Winning Tilt

Had an enjoyable session at Mavericks last night even though I came out a loser. Friends were there, table was friendly, people were gambling, all good ingredients for a fun game. I could not really get much going early, and already I had been caught continuation betting with nothing twice, so my stack was down to about $120. I had a losing image, and I had bet/folded a couple of hands, so I knew that some of the observant players at the table were ready to pay me off if I hit a hand.

Since the table was fairly deep (several people had over $400, which was unusual at a $1/$2 table at Mavericks), I decided to top up my stack.  I was disappointed to look in my wallet and find only fives and ones. I got up and went to the ATM in the front of the room. Unfortunately, my bank was not part of the ATM machine’s network and was denied. Oh, well, I thought, back to the grind.

I got back to the table and a couple of hands later it gets limped to me in MP. I limp with 33. Flop is KK3. Now there is only $10 in the pot, so when it gets checked to me I bet $5. Folds around to the player two to my right and he bumps it up to $10: customer! I call. Turn is the seven of clubs, great blank. Villain is a straightforward player, generally tight but will get out of line now and then playing garbage. I’m certain he has a king with a big card in this spot, so I’m pretty comfortable. He bets $20. I think for a second and look at what I have left (he has over $300) and raise to $60. He calls really quick. By the way, there are two clubs and two spades on the board. Shouldn’t matter since I put him on a king, but of course my read could be wrong. I have about $65 left when the river comes Jc. I grind my teeth just a little fearing that maybe he hit a bigger boat, but my plan was to bet enough on the turn to commit me on the river and still get a call. He bets more than my stack, and I insta-call. He shows KQo, ship it!

I am kicking myself because had the whole ATM transaction worked, I would be sitting on a very nice stack right now, but instead I’m about $70 up for the night. I’m feeling pretty good about my new fortune when the cards are dealt for the next hand. I am still stacking chips when UTG+1 raises to $12. Villain from the last hand calls, guy to my right calls, and I look down at QJo. Now thoughts of Pay4MySchool writing about not playing this hand from MP on 2+2 flash in my head. But I’m winning and just raked this huge pot, heck, I’m going to play the rush. I call too.

UTG+1 is a good player who has about $800 in front of him. He is a consistent winner in this room and knows most of the regulars. I haven’t played much with him before but he is very level-headed and I think that let’s him analyze situations very calmly. I think he is capable of a big lay down. Flop is 6-9-Q rainbow. UTG+1 makes a small continuation bet of $20. Villain who had doubled me up last hand calls very quickly like on a draw. Next guy tanks and folds, and I’m pretty sure my queen is not good here. But you know that feeling, the feeling of winning tilt that let’s you level yourself into all kinds of nightmare situations? I have a stack of $60 in my hand, if I lose that I’m still ahead for the night. So I turn my hand into a bluff with my top pair, jack blocker and bet the $60.

First of all, it is a tiny raise with all the money in the pot. Second of all, I’m trying to bluff two guys who have me covered, and one of them is way ahead for the night. Third, I completely ignore that the guy who just paid me off is probably on monkey spew tilt. UTG+1 looks at me, reads my soul and calls. Villain then shoves all-in for over $270, and my adventure is over. UTG+1 ends up talking the tilted villain into showing him Q9 for top two pair (they play together a lot), and he says he folds AQ.

I could have ended up a small winner for the night had it not been for that one ill-timed bluff. Don’t let that happen to you. When you feel that winning tilt talking you into a dumb move, just say fold.

About Frank Panama

Frank Panama is the host of the Michigan Poker Monster podcast, a podcast about Michigan poker. He lives in Saint Clair County, Michigan, and loves to play and talk about poker.
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