Monday, March 11, 2013

What an Ocala weekend!

Normally my gambling here in Florida is up or down about a hundred dollars per session.  Last year it was all down, so the sessions added up.  This year I followed that pattern but results were mixed.  This weekend the low stakes pattern broke.
Saturday I lost $311.  Competition was hard and my cards were unlucky.  The worst hand was holding a king and ending up all in on a king high straight to find my opponent holding a king as well but with an ace kicker.  That hand alone cost me almost half my losses.
And there were no high hands.  I was not even on the board.  Ocala offers high hand awards to the highest in the poker room and on Saturdays these are $500 every half hour.  It is a fine promotion, but it like other good promotions, it draws good players and so it is not good for table selection.

On Sunday the award is $300 every hour, a good bit less, and it is not given during the tournament time, from 4-7.  So, the regular good grinders are not as attracted to Sundays and the good players who do come, play in the tournament and leave the little 1-1 no limit game very soft.  Added to that is the absence of a 1-3 spread limit game, so the weaker player come to the 1-1.  They were there this Sunday and it made the play much easier and in particular let me play all day a tight, aggressive game and still get paid.

Also, Saturday I was off a bit.  I was tired and something was amiss as I felt disoriented the entire day.  While Sunday I was just disoriented in the morning and then it lifted as I drove to the little buffet I have found for a meal before poker where I can get a Mongolian grill and shellfish.

In no limit in casinos the weakest aspect of my game is bluffing and reading players so I can call bluffs.  Failures here cost me more money than anything else. And just reading players in general is not my strength.  I do well absorbing their patterns and sometimes these are great giveaways.  Then there are those whose body language tell everything.  But I get beat by the stone faced poker players, especially the aggressive players who bluff and then catch on the river. Some players I can't read at all.  Take that Saturday hand where I don't have the nut straight.  I could have saved $60 had I read Eddie right and thrown away my straight on the turn when he raised my substantial bet.  I should have known that was not a bluff and that he had the nut.

Playing at a table where a few players are going to call everything or even raise for no good reason means playing for the most part the odds of the cards.  We had such players yesterday, especially on Russian who barely spoke English and kept running out somewhere for more money and played the worst poker I have seen.  And there were others.  So I did well in the poker and was only behind at the beginning of the game when one player stayed with a hand she should have folded after my solid bet and then folded.

That would have won me over a hundred dollars and been a successful day.
However, my luck was better yet.  Of the ten high hand awards given out yesterday, I was paid for two of them.  Amazing luck!  So I bought in for $100 and cashed out for $818 even after tipping $30 on each high hand win. This is a huge Florida record for me.

My first high hand came early in the hour.  I held J-10, caught two pair on the river and another jack on the turn for a full house.  I did not think of it as a high hand when I played it and so I bet aggressively and was well paid in the pot.  When I turned the dealer said, "Hi hand" and I chuckled because I certainly did not think it would last an hour.  Just last Sunday I had lost a high hand award of $300 when my Aces full of nines were beat with just a few seconds left by Aces full of Tens. 

It is unnerving when this happens.  There are two huge televisions with huge digital numbers that count down the time remaining and show the current high hand.  It is a fine way to keep that current knowledge unlike the Silks where you have to keep asking and the dealers don't really know.  At the beginning I did not give it much attention but as the hour ticks away...well... this promotion does really add to the fun of the game.

At my table were plenty of talkative people, including one Black fellow who kept promising to beat me and then kept bantering with me.  It was a good bit of fun.  He was a funny guy and never let me forget for a moment that the clock was ticking.

And then I won.

The second high hand was easier and I won even though I played it wrong.  It was late in the hour with just 9 minutes to go.  On the turn my K-6 caught a full house. (we play more odd hands in this game because there are two blinds a dollar each, and often they show us flops on hands we would have tossed.)  I checke the turn.  Slow played.  I was thinking of the poker and I was thinking that I might catch the quad king and really have a high hand.  Now this was a mistake. My kicker was a 6 and were I to catch the quad kings I would have a good,strong hand for the pot but since a flopped card was higher than my six, I should have gone all in on the turn and forced everyone out of the pot in order to protect the high hand award.  Well, in this case it worked fine because no fourth king came and my slow played showed enough weakness for me to be called on the river with a decent value bet.

I was more confident this would hold up for the 9 minutes left.  And it did.

As well as being a day of winning, the players were mixed and interesting.  There was plenty of talk and entertainment, a few pretty girls, a mixture of ages and races.  That is part of what I like in poker, a community of strangers. That, and winning money.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

In the words of Wild Bill--unbelievable!