While writing my larger vacation entry, here’s a short recap of my poker session at Lucky Chances yesterday:
First of all, the more I play there the more I really like LC as a casino. The people (meaning mainly the players) seem friendlier and the decor is more interesting than at the other casinos I’ve visited in the area. It might be because I’m only ever there during the daytime, since it’s far enough away that I only visit on my days off, but I’ve had fun every time I’ve gone there, even when I haven’t won.
I’ve become a fairly decent low-limit Hold ‘Em player, I think. Although I must not be too good, since I’m still not winning a lot. I broke exactly even at this session, and was down for much of it before coming back at the end. A few notable hands:
- I played K-6s in my small blind, and bet on a flop of K-x-x. Several players called. The turn was a blank, so I bet again and everyone folded. One person said, “Pair of Kings good.” My guess is several people had Aces they were hoping to pair on the turn, and when they didn’t, I made it too expensive for them to continue.
- I picked up Q-Q in my small blind, and after several callers the player on the button raised. “Uh oh”, I thought, and just called. The flop was J-x-x. I bet, and the button raised. “Uh-oh”, I thought, figuring I was up against Kings or Aces. I check-called him down to the showdown, and he showed J-J for a flopped set. Gah. I thought there was a decent chance that he had A-K or A-J or even T-T, so it seemed worthwhile to show down, but I could see questioning my decision here, given what my gut was telling me.
- The most painful hand of the day: I checked K-4 in my big blind, and the flop was K-8-4 rainbow. I bet the whole way and drove out everyone but two others. At the showdown I showed my two pair – and got beaten by a guy with K-8. It’s hands like these that keep you humble. This was a huge pot, too.
- Later I picked up Q-Q – spades and clubs – and raised in late position, getting several callers. The flop was K-x-x of clubs, and I bet, and the fellow on my left called, as did a couple others. The turn was a blank, and I bet and only the guy on my left called. The river was a club, so I had the second-highest flush. The guy on my left said, “I won’t bet if you won’t,” and I said, “Sorry, I have to bet this hand.” He called, and showed the Jack of clubs, so I took the pot. Yay!
When I say I think I’m becoming a decent player, I mean that I rarely play a hand where I regret how I played it. But objectively, there’s clearly room for improvement, since I’m not winning. The mistakes I’m making are probably ones of omission (not betting enough, not playing a few hands I should play), which means they’re harder to spot.
I’m not playing as much poker as I did last year, you may have noticed. The novelty is gone. But I still enjoy the occasional game. And I’m looking forward to playing more no-limit with my friends who also play.