My session started out so-so, then I picked up some chips and was up a ten spot when I ran into a hard luck hand. I was in the big blind where I picked up . Two players limped, the small blind folded, and I raised pot to $1.10. Both limpers called. The flop came . Kind of a crummy spot, really, as I have my set but probably can’t push out the draws from out of position. In fact, if someone has both the straight and flush draws, I’m probably a dog.
I bet $3.25 (nearly the pot), one player called, then the other reraised all in for $7.15. The middle position player had enough chips to bust me, but I went ahead and reraised pot to try to squeeze him out and it worked. He folded. My lone opponent then turned over for a lower set. Awesome. He had neither draw going, and was pretty much drawing to a single out.
But wait. There’s another way. The turn was the and the river the , and he’d made a straight to take the pot.
That erased my profit and put me a little in the red. Played a little while longer, crossing the 200-hand mark, and lost a little more. Was wanting to go but now had that irrational urge most of us have experienced to get “back to quits.”
I had multiple reasons to leave, then. I’d been playing longer than usual -- indeed, while I haven’t the stats to back it up, I am certain my win rate during the first 200 hands of a session crushes whatever it might be afterwards. And I was a little cranky from having had my rockets shot down mid-flight.
Then came the hand that I really wanted to tell you about.
I know I make mistakes as frequently as any player of my modest skills does. Some are costly, some not. But one error I never make is reading the board incorrectly. Well, almost never.
Got in a hand from the small blind with . Two players limped, I completed, and the BB checked. The flop then came . It checked around to the button who put in a pot-sized bet of $0.95. Seeing my draw, I called, and the others folded. The turn was the , giving me my straight. I promptly bet out $2.50. My opponent just as promptly raised to $10.30. I happily pushed all in, thinking not only did I have the straight, but the flush draw, too! Yes, somewhere deep in the recesses of my mind, the word “freerolling” was floating around.
Just about the time I’d pushed, I’d saw what I’d done. You saw it, I’m sure. Didn’t you?
Of course my opponent has the jack-ten. Completely missed it. And to rub things in, he had the nut diamond flush draw, too! Damn. Even better than freerolling. I was drawing dead.
Luckily I had him covered and so didn’t lose the whole stack. But I’d thrown away a good twenty clams or so for no reason other than fuzzy thinkin’ caused by fatigue and/or a dash of tilt. Embarrassin’, it was. Kind of like Elpenor in the Odyssey getting drunk and going to sleep on a roof, then waking up and falling off. A most ignoble death.
I managed to skedaddle shortly afterwards. Too bad for me that it took that hand to figure out my head was no longer in it.
We’re always relearnin’ these lessons, I guess. So I’m writin’ ’em down again here today to remind myself of these things (and perhaps you, too, dear reader). Sort of like Elpenor asking Odysseus to give him a proper burial when the hero encounters him in Hades in Book XI. Don’t chase your losses. Don’t let losin’ 90-10 situations get you down. Don’t play longer (or more tables) than you are comfortable with playing.
Oh, and if yr drinkin’ don’t fall asleep on roofs.