Over & over in life, I’ve learned that some mistakes just need to be made before you learn from them. Even though you know you are making a mistake, once you go through the process, you’ll have the muscle memory of the error, and so when the next time to flub up comes around, you will already have the wax-on, wax-off moves in motion, preventing you from fucking up again. And so, yes, things did not go so well at the tournament, but I’m pleased with myself for having condensed pretty much all of the possible errors I could have made into one, economical event.

Some random categories then…

Game Observations: Lots of ladies played this event. One decent level headed nlhe player commented that he had never, ever seen so many women at a tournament table. Lots of locals, the professionally unemployed, and New Jersey types, people wearing their “I knocked out a pro on FTP” shirts and other dumb crap. I suppose that was one mistake I did not make: dressing like a dork.

A strange new problem for me. Some of the “better” players did a lot of jamming early on with weak pairs. This worked on me against my kings. Dude is re-raising me with a pair of fours. And he gets a third one on sixth. My kings weren’t entirely dead; only one was out, but maybe he had the remaining one. I can’t say I’m going to start re-raising with pocket fours just yet, but maybe against weak players, like myself, I will.

Game Errors Well lets see. The worst was my playing past 5th with draws too often, and didn’t bluff with my failed draws enough. A lot of the Sopranos extras liked to drive over the old ladies and I suppose I fell into the old lady category too. I only let this happen once, but it was enough for me to illustrate myself as someone who will fold under pressure. My once attempt at shaking this perception was a raising war between and a bulimic meth head. I had a queen high straight, one of my few made hands, but that ended up losing to a flush, on 7th of course.

And that was another major error. Being self-involved. With that queen high straight, I had taken so many beatings previously that I could barely see straight. I knew on seventh I should just bet/call, and maybe, maybe check, LOOK to see if I’m dealing with some major BS, but I just wanted it done. So I didn’t see the flush. The girl didn’t either. She had just 2 pair all along, which I knew, but she fell ass backwards into the flush. Later I did take down both her and the Soprano via an Ace-nine high flush, which I was really cry calling because she was showing a possible Ace-King flush. Come seventh I’m afraid to look up, NJ bully announces “King high flush,” the girl is silent, and I get shipped a huge pot! Yay highlight of the day. I actually gasped for air, like a pro lol.

Sometime after this came the pair of fours, turning into a set of fours jamming. I lost a lot here. One thing I did last time that I didn’t do this time was keep a constant tally of my chips. I probably would have backed off a street earlier if I knew I was already so low, but, fours? I don’t know, as much as you don’t want to be known as a stubborn turkey, do you want everyone to know you’ll fold your kings if they represent?

After that, if was just more bad luck. Tried to knock out a girl with an Ace-King-eight flush draw. Nothing. Got it all in with another Ace-King-nine flush draw. I get a pair of sevens. Dude starts with nothing and gets threes and fours. The end.

I suppose, looking back, I didn’t play super bad. A lot of shit cards, 2 really good players at my first table, stayed in too long a few too many times, brought in a lot. The biggest mistake was getting bullied one time. This was super early, so not a huge amount of chips, but it bent me mentally. I knew the players who were going to get all jammie and I avoided them, a few times when I shouldn’t have. I could put them on steals, even if it wasn’t my bring in, but should you get stubborn with a 3 card straight draw?

Regional Lifestyles and Customs: There are a lot of bad hard drugs in Southern CT, and a lot of drunks too. Too close to Long Island. And the cheesecake at the buffet blows. Made of ground up styrofoam and cremora. The dealers were great as always, very polite and always on my side.

I guess I had a good time. My cash game went very well so it wasn’t a total washout. Perhaps I should have taken the tournament more seriously, tried to look scarier? Whatever. For a $230 event I got a great education. Maybe Foxwoods in the Fall, but for now, its back to cash and Juniors Cheesecake.

for casino buses. At long last I have a winning stud session at Foxwoods! Nothing to write home about in terms of how much I won, but I did break an annoying losing streak.

Because I was on vacation, I had the luxury of making 3 failed attempts to get to CT before I finally made it down. The first try, I was havin’ short money, next morning, woke up late, next next day, eldest daughter was sick. Then Saturday morning I woke up 35 minutes before the bus would depart, so I showered, did 1/3 of my hair, hit the ATM, left money and instructions, and ran down the street like a nutter, catching the bus just in time to board. Had to wait until Providence to get a coffee, but I was glad to get it.

I was good to go. I had enough to cheerfully play 1-5. I decided on this game early because last time I was on the 5/10 list all day and never got a seat. That was a distraction, so I said forget it. Got on the 1-5 list, then within minutes, a new table is called and me and a bunch of dudes looking like Bass Pro Shop models hit the ground running.

Nothing noteworthy happened to start. Took down some small pots, chatted about the special Foxwoods spicy bloody mary mix and why Tiger Woods wasn’t wearing a tie to his famous apology. Then I lost a big multiway pot. It was never mine really, but it still burned me up. I semi-bluffed a flush on 5th and it never came to fruition. On 7th I ended up with trip kings, but I knew I couldn’t shake the other players so I checked in last position. Seat 5 shows trip 7’s (yay!), seat 1 shows a small flush (boo). I think he had it on 6th, but he thought I had him beat. I still don’t think he would have folded 7th even with capped betting, so bleh. “Nice, hand, yadda yadda yadda.” By now my face is 5th degree red.

This is the spot where I always mess my live game up. I lose a big one, not through any huge error, I just lose, and I get all burned up and back off. Sometimes I’ll stop for the whole day. Hmm stopping short. Not much of a plan. So I did the Junior’s Cheesecake walk. It’s a long walk. Past the Rolex store. Past the people mover. Past the Gelato place (which sells cannoli). If ever searched and did not find it, you probably just didn’t walk far enough. And when you ask the guards how to get there, you’ll get an answer as clear as Brad’s.

So I get my cheesecake, drop $5 into a slot machine, and head back. This adventure turns into about a 40 minute trip away from the table. And after, amazingly, I felt better. My face wasn’t red with anger anymore, and I knew I could win my money back with a little patience.

So, with my first hand upon my return, I have to junk my kings on 5th of course. Player to my left had pocket aces, and then trips on 4th. He was nice enough to show me at least. But, I might have been stubborn about the kings if I had just stewed from the earlier loss. Yes, this is why we buy in with some extra padding when we play stud.

Life did get better. I got some flushes, and I kept my eye out for aces and suits and who might be going for what flush minus-whatever ace they need. Also caught a full house. It could have been ugly. I had QJQ. Queens and Jacks are kind of meh in the 1-5 game. Good enough to play certainly, also good enough to lose a lot with. At the higher stakes you could wrap it all up by 5th, but not at 1-5. I decided to call a $3 bet, and then player to my left does as well. Hmm. He’s a decent regular, and he’s showing a 5. What’s going on here? Yuck. The player to his left is leaving, my left shows him his hole cards. “Oh lucky you!” Great. No aces are out right now. No kings either.

So then it gets better. Or worse? I catch another jack. So how many times have we seen pots lost with queens and jacks on 7th? Is this going to be me? Bah. I lead with one $5 bet to see who we can get rid of. Lefty calls. Blech. A fold, 2 more calls by lackluster players. Still no aces out. An ace comes out on 5th, not to lefty
though. OK I feel a bit better. Check, check. check, lefty bets. The new ace folds. So it’s 3. Still no jacks or queens are out, so maybe this will be good, but I’m still hating it. Well I blank 6th but catch a jack on 7th whheeee! Two callers. Lady makes her straight and fellow to my left has aces and another pair. At this point I’m just raking up my chips so I didn’t notice what the second pair was.

So what do I learn from this? Well, sometimes you can limp along with pocket aces, but you shouldn’t. And you should watch to see how many aces are out, even if you don’t have any. And you should listen in on hand-related conversations. And you should watch suits. And you should make sure you’re not card dead. And you should take a cheesecake walk if you get steamed. You should have 8 pairs of eyes and a photographic memory too. But no one plays right all the time anyway. I can’t really say if I played this correctly, but I won, and I left with a small profit, so it was a good day.

Next episode, I’m going to Mohegan Sun to play the el-cheapo Monday tournament. I know I have to work on not running my mouth after I win a hand, being more aggressive, and remembering to not tip the dealer! I want to make the money, but I have no idea how many players there will be or how many places will pay. Online, I have a history of being just short of the money, or in the short-short money. Chris thinks that being a solid bubble-maker isn’t an accomplishment, but I do. I hate messing up and being busted in the top 50%. What can I say, I’m not Neil Young. I’d rather fade away than burn out. Good luck to me!