Last night, after watching the World Poker Tour’s Aruba episode, I decided to play a few rounds. When I got bounced from a $30+$3 NL Sit-N-Go on Empire on the second hand, I should’ve gone to bed. When I bought back into a second like tourney and got bounced on the first hand, I should’ve gone to a bar. When I switched sites and went over to True slothoki and my trips got beat by a hidden boat, bouncing me in 27th out of 35, I should’ve decided not to play poker for three days.
But I didn’t.
I did exactly what I’ve always said I had the discipline not to do. I went up in limits. Something in my head was, in a word, off.
I sat at a $5/$10 ring game on True. I noticed that a guy two to my left, vietguy, was playing loose. Beyond loose. He was capping nearly every bet. He played every hand and rarely folded before the flop. I was sure, with the right discipline, I could take his $250 buy-in.
The game moved slowly for half an hour or so. Vietguy’s buy-in trickled to nothing and he bought back in, still slinging chips, capping pots. That’s when it happened.
My pocket aces got cracked by two running diamonds for a flush. Ten hands later, my pocket aces got cracked by two running hearts. Big Slick held up for a small pot. But then my pocket queens got cracked by vietguy’s 6-4. He pulled a six on the turn and a four on the river.
Something in my head said at that moment, “This is not poker. It’s slots. You’re not playing against vietguy. He’s not playing poker. He’s throwing chips in, hoping to catch a big pot. This table is a slot machine and you’re losing.”
I didn’t listen to myself.
I started trying to figure out if he was working with somebody at the table, building pots for their hands. I watched and watched but couldn’t find the evidence to send to the host.
It was poker slots and I was losing.
I looked at my previously strong bankroll and noticed how bloody it was. He cracked my kings several hands later and I fell apart.
All poker sense I had slipped away. I can’t account for about half an hour. All I know is that I had lost half my roll and I couldn’t see or breathe anymore.
The last hand of the night for me was pocket jacks. We capped pre-flop. The flop brought me a jack and two rags.
We capped the flop. The turn brought another rag. We capped it, too.
The river came with an ace. We capped it.
Vietguy dragged a $257 pot with a set of aces.
I pushed back from the computer and stared at my bankroll. I said out loud, “What the hell happened?”
This morning, I still don’t know for sure. I only know that I should’ve walked away four hours earlier. I should’ve quit. I never should’ve jumped up in limits. And I should’ve had a better understanding of variance before I tried to take on a guy who played poker slots.
I took some solace this morning in Hdouble’s post on poker, why we play, and what it says about us as players. It helped me set my head straight, but I’m not sure I need to be playing for a while.
Before I went to bed, I took my bankroll at True and cashed out. My Empire bankroll is still intact. I’m not broke. I’m still way up from my fresh start last February. But as the song goes, I ain’t broke, but I am badly bent.
I have a homegame this Saturday and then the World Poker Blogger Tour III on Sunday. Hopefully that kind of play, the fun kind, the kind that serves as the reason we play, will rejuvinate me.
But this morning, I feel a lot like I did the night of the hypnotized beat-down. And I’m still asking, “What the hell happened?”
You think there’s any chance that vietguy was actually that hypnotist exacting revenge?