Thursday night I played a session at Cada’s Poker Room. Got there late so could only play a couple of hours until the room closed at 2 AM. As I sat down at the table I could sense the excitement rising in me, like the rattling climb to the top of that first dive on the roller coaster. For reasons I will discuss in our next podcast, I took a small loss to a second table. It was like one of those roller coasters where you get to the top of the incline but instead of dropping right away you level off and run a little turn to the first dive.
At the second table I top up and size up the competition. Some solid players at the table, and some crazy regulars from The River and Snookers. There were some big stacks to my left, but the real action drivers were on the other side of the table, like dips and loops you could see coming up on the tracks. Didn’t take much longer to take the first screaming dive. I get dealt 99 in MP. UTG, a solid regular from Snookers raised the pot. I just called, not wanting to make a big pot pre-flop with some deep stacks behind me. Surprisingly, everyone folded to the SB, a reckless maniac who I have played with at The River. He calls and the big blind folds.
The flop is an interesting 8-4-4 two diamonds. SB checks and preflop raiser bets out a continuation bet. I am certain that I am ahead here most of the time. I don’t think I can represent a 4 here, so raising doesn’t make any sense. No hands that I have beat call a raise. I decide to just call. SB also calls. Now this is interesting. SB is the type of player that is a blaster. He would have raised any made hand that he had and hoped to get called. Flush draw then? Turn is a low card, no diamond. SB checks, UTG checks, and now I’m pretty sure I am ahead. I bet close to a pot size bet hoping to get SB to call with a flush draw and pick up the dead money from UTG. Suddenly, the roller coaster whiplashes me as SB shoves for 1.5x my bet. UTG quickly folds. I’m getting about 4:1 here, and I call thinking SB has finally returned to form and is shoving with very little fold equity and his flush draw. He shows 84o for a flopped boat! Whoa, we reach the bottom of the drop, and my stomach is turning inside out. Nice hand, sir.
Now I am entering another turn with QQ in MP. I open for $10 and the same aggro villain who won the prior hand goes all in with $200+. As I am sizing up if I can be ahead of his range, the same solid player from the prior hand goes all-in for less! What is going on? I must be up against at least AA or KK, probably the young player to my right. I fold my queens face down. Flop comes queen high (ugh, stomach turning again), at showdown aggro villain shows AKo and young reg shows JJ. I am holding that handle bar with white knuckles trying not to tilt as I would have stacked both players if I find a call somehow in that hand.
I wittle away as the roller coaster slams me left and right. I double up with JJ against AK, all-in preflop when the board runs out A-K-x, but the turn is a jack. Then near the end of the night, with only 50 big blinds left, I find KK and get it all in pre-flop against the same aggro villain and the solid reg. This time solid reg has QQ and aggro villain doesn’t show. The board tries to make me puke as it runs out J on the turn and J on the river. Aggro villain mucks, and I am back to even!
As the ride ends at 2 AM, I get off the roller coaster and cash out down only $17. What a crazy ride and yet very fun and stressful at the same time. I feel for the young reg from Snookers who got coolered a couple of times and lost all his flips. I guess his track had a few more dips than mine.