Thursday, January 17, 2013

My Biggest Hand Playing Live

Because my mind seems to be focused on poker these last couple of posts, I figured I would tell the story of my biggest win in a live poker hand.

But before I do that, I wanted to point out some similarities that I've noticed about these hands.  I tend to play big hands poorly.  Sometimes very poorly.  Which makes me think, Maybe I play all of my hands poorly.  Maybe I suck at poker.  This is something I should spend some time reflecting on, hopefully at a poker table.

Anyway, I was at a shithole boat casino called Argosy in Sioux City, Iowa, where the briny smell of the water somehow found its way into the casino.  The poker room was small.  Perhaps there was only one $1/2NL game running.  Everyone in the hand had at least 150 big blinds, with my stack of $300 being the smallest.

I'd been playing for three hours or so.  A very tight young player UTG raised the minimum.  He had never raised so small before.  I called with 77 in middle position.  A real moron called from the small blind.

Three handed, we saw a flop of Q 3 3.  Absolutely nothing for me.  The mouth-breather in the small blind checked, the tight kid bet $10, and I made my first mistake by calling.

What was I thinking?  Not sure.  Perhaps my only thought was, I call.  That might have been the extent of my analysis.  Just: I call.

The small blind raised the minimum.  The kid under the gun shifted in his seat uncomfortably and eventually called.

I made my second mistake by calling.  This time I had an actual thought.  The thought went something like this: I just called $10.  How can I not call $10 now?  It's like admitting that my original decision was wrong.  

So I slid out two red chips.  Just one time, I pleaded.

And the turn was a miraculous, heaven-sent 7.  This turn 7 was absolute proof of two things: (1) that I hadn't made any mistakes earlier in the hand, and (2) that I was a poker genius.

The small blind pushed out $35.  The kid called.  I raised to about $100.  He small blind called.  The kid under the gun sank down in his seat for a while, then lifted his cards to show them to the dealer (the kid was in the ten seat).  Everything about his demeanor indicated that he was about to fold aces.  Which he did.

On the blank river, the doofus checked, I went all in, and he called immediately.  I showed the boat; he showed trips--something like J3.

The process of stacking chips after a hand like that has got to be in my top ten of happiest moments.

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