Notes from an slot hoki addled mind

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I felt it coming on Monday night. At first I thought I was severely dehydrated from drinking too many Diet Mountain Dew’s during the workday. My throat was a little scratchy. By 9pm, the flow hard started. By 1am I decided I was calling into work sick. By Tuesday morning I was a mess of sloppy-headed confusion.
And somehow, all I could think was how grateful I was this was coming on now instead of in two weeks.
With that I slipped into 24 hours of medicine-headed introspection and gambling.
The month of November was about to close much as October had. My bankroll had been sliding precariously close to July levels. It was then, upon the slot hoki encouragement of others, I had decided to ride the lightening and play above my head. It worked for three straight months. I built an impressive bankroll that allowed me to pla safely at the middle limits. Something happened in early October that I still haven’t fully grasped. My bread and butter $200 PL game was dead. My $10/$20 shorthanded play was showing its variance. I floundered around, jumping from limit to limit, no-limit to no-limit and couldn’t win.
It was actually quite a shock to my system. I thought that my good three-month lightening run had been a good indicator of my playing ability. But as the slide started, I started to doubt myself. I still don’t know what happened. I don’t know if I was lucky for three months and unlucky for two. I don’t know if maybe I shouldn’t play in the bigger games. All I know is that I lost a nice chunk of my bankroll during October and November.
In an effort to save my remaining bankroll from what seemed to be inevitable depletion, I scaled back my big play and began to play one table at a time at $100NL.
Finally, the slide stopped and the gradual climb returned.
It was with all of this in mind that I sat down at 2pm Tuesday afternoon–nose running and head-a-sneeze–and logged on to Party.
I bought in for the $100 limit and sat back to think.
For some reason y mind started messing with phrases I heard recently. I’d seen a promo for the movie The Five People You Meet in Heaven. My pseudo-ephedrine addled mind co-opted the phrase and turned it around to The Five Outfits You’ll Wear in Vegas.
My head started speaking in Martin Short’s voice from Saturday Night Live’s synchronized swimming skit.
“I’m not what you’d call a strong dresser,” I said to the dog. She licked herself.
I can’t dress myself to save my life. I’m a t-shirt and jeans guy. Often, I’ll toss on a ball cap to hid my bed-head. I can match my tie to my suit. Beyond that, I have no idea what I’m doing.
That’s why Vegas is so nice. Unless you’re clubbing (my mind asks, They have baby seals in Vegas?) you only need to be comfortable. Still, I know when next Thursday rolls around I’ll be digging through my closet looking for something to pack. Inevitably I’ll end up with a few pairs of jeans, a few t-shirts, and a jacket. Maybe a sweater.
“You’re not what I’d call a strong dresser,” the dog said.
So, I licked myself.
I was up a couple buy-ins by 4pm. My big hands were holding up, my draws were hitting, and my bigger stack was commanding respect for my bluffs.
How in the hell does this happen? How does it happen that a casual conversation between Pauly, his brother, and BG turn into an epic Vegas pilgramage for blogging-kind?
Not only have more than two dozen people signed onto the trip, we’re getting last minute add-ons like G-Rob and CJ.
And Mystery now surrounds the trip. As chronicled in today’s issue of BG’s blog, the Genius investigates the coup d’etat of the Guinness and Poker domain. I’ll let you read his thoughts. Left unanswered is the question of whether the WPBT will be happily surprised by a neat practical joke or marred by a Judas in our midst.
Frankly, as my head swims with sickness, drugs, and the demon caffeine, I find myself a little frightened by the whole prospect.
To settle my nerves I decided to invite Linda from Table Tango to play in the tournament. I’ve always wanted to meet the lady who was poker blogging before anyone knew what a blog was. No word on whether she’ll feel like playing with a bunch of booze-stinking ruffians.
“You’re still not what I’d call a very strong dresser.”
I don’t know who said it that time, but I licked myself anyway since I was alone in the house.
By 7pm I was up six buy-ins. G-Rob and BadBlood were both online playing in SNGs and multi-table tournaments. They IMed simultaneously to tell me they had doubled up. That freaked me out a little bit.
This is odd, I thought.
I’m going to meet a bunch of people and I have no idea what they look like.
I mean, sure, I know what badBlood looks like. I’ve seen pictures of Pauly, Al Can’t Hang, the Poker Prof, and Hank, but beyond that I could be sitting next to a blogger at the table and have no idea they were there.
That actually was a running fantasy of mine: Anonymously slip in next to a blogger at a table, be quiet for an hour or two, then drop The Hammer on them. When they look up to hate me, I’d just mutter something about how I learned it by watching Grubby or something. It would only be better if it were Grubby I was hammering.
By 9pm I was still at $700. I’d been going up and down a little bit, making some questionable calls, and starting to get a little more loopy as the Nyquil kicked in.
One more hour, I said.
I don’t see myself sleeping much for the first couple of days in Vegas. I plan on playing all day on Friday. My buddies will be trickling in all night on Friday night. If I make it to bed at all, it will only be a for a few hours before the meet-up at Sam’s Town.
My problem is that I can’t even conceive of how fun this might be. For the past year I’ve been fantasizing about partying and playing with all of the bloggers out there. I want to drink with Al, learn from Felicia, commiserate with BG over women and food, live vicariously through the Prof, be entertained by Pauly’s travel tales, have my picture taken by Joe Sr., and live inside Grubby’s mind for a few hours.
Do I have time for all of this?
I mean, for the love of all that’s holy, I turn 31 on Saturday. I’ve been out of social practice for several months now. My liver has returned to a healthy color and my hands are steady. And here I stand on the edge of a slippery slope.
It’s 10:02pm when I decide I’m playing the final orbit of the night. I’m still hovering a little below $700 at $678. I figure a $578 profit is good for the day.
With AJhearts, I call a $4 raise from the small blind. Three callers.
The flop comes down with all diamonds, but AJ5.
We all checked to the original raiser (OR). OR fires a $30 bet into a relatively small pot. I think for a couple of seconds. That bet is way too big if he flopped the nut flush. Why price everybody out of the pot if you’ve got the nuts?
So, I sit and think. I put the guy on a big ace. Likely AQo, but possibly AKo. My medicine-head didn’t think long enough to rationally weigh the consquences of a call. After all, if the guy is holding AQ or AK, his kicker is likely a diamond, which means he still has a ton of outs if I call with my top two pair.
I still have two hands behind mine. I made a decision that, in retrospect, was maybe a pretty bad one.
I re-raised enough to put anybody else at the table all-in.
The concept, while perhaps flawed, was this: I push the other two hands out of the pot with my big-ass raise that represents the nut flush. That way if the two hands behind me are holding a diamond in their hand, they won’t be tempted to try to run me down. Once I’ve isolated myself with OR, I just have to hope I had the right read on him and he doesn’t hit his outs.
In theory (or at least a sick dude’s theory) it might’ve worked. What I didn’t count on was a call from a guy to my left. So, he’s all-in. The next guy folds. OR calls, although he has to know he’s now beat. Either me or the other all-in guy has the nut flush.
And, yeah, it’s not me.
My original read was sort of right. OR had A5 of spades and had flopped a worse two-pair than mine and now only had two outs. The other guy, obviously, had K8 of diamonds (aka the nut flush).
That left me with three outs (for those not keeping score, I needed one of the two remaining jacks or the case ace for a boat).
The turn was the four of hearts.
I was still going to walk away with a decent win for the day. I’d made a good read, but failed to consider the phantom hands behind mine. I was already planning to have another shot of Nyquil and hit the sack.
That’s when the jack of spades hit on the river giving me jacks full of aces and the $396 pot.
After apologizing to Mr. Nutflush, I settled in for the remaining eight hands of the orbit. It was not to be however. After seven hours, the table broke, leaving me sitting sick and alone, up more than eight buy-ins.
I’m now a little nervous about going to Vegas. I just used up every bit of luck I had allotteed for the rest of the year.
Now, I’m off to find something stronger than Nyquil.
Where’s Al Can’t Hang when a guy needs him?