While Debbi and her friends went off to a crafts faire today, I decided to go try my hand at poker again.
Oh boy, it did not go well.
Unlike other recent sessions, I was picking up plenty of good starting hands. I got dealt A-K four times, for instance. This is a big hand which you’ll get dealt about once every 80 hands, and since I played for about 2 hours – around 70-80 hands – I was way ahead of that curve. As I understand it, the way you make money with A-K is by flopping top-pair-top-kicker, which will happen about 1 time in 3. Even if you miss, if you raised before the flop then you will usually be getting odds to call a bet to see the turn, when you might still pair one of your cards. Since I almost always raise with A-K before the flop, winning a big hand 1 time in 3 should more than compensate for losing the other two times.
Guess how many times I paired a card by the turn? If you guessed “zero”, then you’re right. That’s bad luck.
I also got dealt some pocket pairs, and although I never managed to flop a set (3 of a kind, which should happen about 1 time in 8 ), I did win a big pot with Jacks, and a small one with Sevens.
What killed me were the A-K hands, and then having a good hand which lost to an even better hand several times. The latter are the ones where you really take a beating, two pair losing to a set, or a big pair losing to a full house. Painful. Overall I ended up losing my whole buy-in for the session, which was certainly discouraging.
But I felt that I played well, which was encouraging. I didn’t chase bad draws, and I didn’t do things like play middle pair with no redraws against someone who clearly had top pair. So I wasn’t playing hands and losing and thinking, “Geez, why did I do that?”
And I even had some fun moments: One hand I played A-Q, and flopped a full house! Action was slow on the flop, so I just called the one bet, and I started betting on the turn, and I think I got as much action as I could reasonably have hoped.
Another time I checked my big blind with A-3, and the flop was A-A-2. The turn and river were an 8 and a J, and one other player was betting. I suspected he had the other Ace, but I thought he might be bluffing after checking around on the flop. It turned out he had A-5, and neither of our kickers played, so we split the pot.
My last hand of the day, I played J-9s, and flopped an open-ended straight draw. I suspected at least one other person in the hand had a big pocket pair, but lots of people saw the flop despite a raise. I got pot odds to call to the river, but I missed my straight, darnit. I even went all-in on my last bet! The other two players at the showdown had Kings and Aces, and the rockets took the pot. Just bad luck.
So I decided that was enough for me. There ain’t no justice!
Incidentally, I went to Garden City Casino, where I haven’t been in a while. They always seem a little cramped compared to some other casinos – they pack a lot of games into their floor space – but I like them well enough. I hadn’t been in quite a while, but I’ll have to go again.