The Entry I Was Dreading

THUD! Everything was going so very well, I’m halfway across the world living a dream. I knew it was coming, but I wasn’t sure when and how bad, but as far as downswings go, this is one of my worst. I’ll start by describing you my last two appearances in live cash games, yesterday and today. Yesterday I played for six hours straight in one of the loosest and juiciest games I have ever seen. The problem with loose and juicy games though is that they increase variance, meaning both profits and losses are magnified. My problem in this game wasn’t bad beats; I managed to get through relatively un-hurt, only losing about $70. There was one hand where I think a lapse of concentration/inexperience playing live poker cost me. I held the nuts on the turn, JQ with the board of A8TK. The biggest donkey at the table bet, I went to raise him, I wanted to raise 3x his bet, but made a mistake with my chips and it was ruled I could only double his bet. He ended up calling with JJ in the hole, still and extremely stupid call with two over cards on the board and one of the tightest players at the table raising. Anyway a Q hit the river, and I had to split a massive pot with him instead of winning the whole pot if he folds on the turn to a bigger raise.

When I got home from live cash game I was straight into playing online. I have run out of bonus to earn at the site I’ve been regularly playing since I got here, so I had to find a new site to play. I had a bonus from Full Tilt Poker, a site that I’ve never liked, but it allows US traffic so I had to go with it. I actually have a rule, never play at Full Tilt Poker, so my first mistake was playing here. Within a heartbeat I was down $300 with some pretty sickening beats. Losing 3x $100 buy-ins is really not common practice for me and I play nearly every day. I hung in there, I vented a little to Hui and I made an inspirational comeback. I actually ended up winning about $150 for the session.

Feeling confident from my Houdini effort last night, I set off to Planet Hollywood for some live cash game action today. Within an hour I was up about $100, thanks to a set of fives. For the next four hours though I was completely card dead. The key pot of the day was where I held AK, I re-raised before the flop and got called by 88 and QJ, they called off about half their stack to call me. The flop came 89T. I should have checked folded right there, instead I stupidly put out a continuation bet, of course fireworks started between them and I had to fold. I haven’t seen a pocket pair higher than jacks in my last 10 hours of live poker, which I guess can somewhat explain my lack of results. I probably could have got away with a loss of about $130-$150 today, but a bit of frustration at the end left me down $210.

I should have cleared my Full Tilt Poker account of funds last night and found somewhere else to play. I didn’t though and tonight I sat down again. So began one of the sickest sessions of poker of my life. I’ll give you a brief rundown of the hands that cost me. I had 77, the flop came 7AK, we got it all-in, he had AQ, it comes QA, about a 1% probability of that happening. I had over pairs all-in against, flush draws and straight draws which never held up, I had pair and a flush draw all-in against over pairs that didn’t work for me either. I also had some idiot pushing all-in with AQ pre-flop when I knew my JJ was good, of course the A flopped. I don’t care if I lose, especially when I play badly, because I understand its all part of poker. However, Full Tilt just pounds, pounds and pounds me again. It took me losing $500 there tonight, to withdraw my remaining funds and once again declare I will never play there again. Something just doesn’t add up, I have a very large sample size of hands there, yet my results compared to other sites is something that I don’t think can be explained by variance or bad luck.

After closing down Full Tilt I went back to Cake Poker, I still felt like I was playing good. I needed a confidence boost and I got one, albeit a small one. I decided to take a plunge and step up to $1/$2 online, the same stakes I’ve been playing live. Early on I held 33, I called a raise on the button from an under the gun player and the flop came K3x. He bet, I raised, he went all-in and I had to call. He had KK in the hole and I just slumped in my chair. The odds of set over set being flopped is one in one hundred, there is absolutely nothing I could do. It takes so much courage to play this game and I knew I had to get back up off the canvas, take some more punches if I have to and get through this shattering mess. I took another punch, this time with KK against a short stack holding AJ. Two aces flopped and there was little I could do to get away from it given the size of his stack. Then the hand I really needed came about, something to give me a glimmer of hope.

I held 88 in the small blind, there was a raise and a call in front of me, I called and someone else called. The flop came A38, I was first to act and I bet right into them, hoping that at least one of them held and ace that they weren’t going to let go of. The original raiser went all-in, a massive over bet of the pot and I obviously called instantly. It turns out he had A3; all I had to do was dodge one of the two remaining aces. Even that doesn’t seem easy when you are getting beat up on as I had been. I managed to hold it off though and win one of the biggest online pots of my life, nearly $500 in size. I closed the Cake Poker session up about $150, it’s a start in what’s going to be a long and patient recovery period. It seemed a long way off when I was down nearly $900 for the day at one point, but I ended up with a loss of about $500. I’m still ahead for the trip in live cash games, and way ahead online for the trip, I just have to take heart from that and plow through.

I’m not going to play live tomorrow, or the next day probably. I need a few days off, I am starting to get bored and frustrated by the slowness of it all. As for online I’ll probably play a little bit, but I’m going to take the chance to really rest up and start to feel like I’m on a holiday again.

For a little bit of perspective I need only turn to my best mate, Mr. Hui Zhang. Hui has been on a real tear lately, making me insanely jealous running a small sum up into a massive one with his gambling ways. Last few days he had turned $300 at Cake Poker into over $5000. He was sitting with just about his whole bankroll at the table (as you do) and he suffered the same set over set fate I did. His TTT running into KKK against the only guy at the table that could bust him. While I get jealous when he runs up his massive scores, I get a reality check when this kind of thing happens to him. We have very different approaches when it comes to playing cards, gambling and bankroll management, if there was a way we could combine the two of us I think we would be the ultimate force. For now though, my personality dictates a slow and steady approach and I am at peace with that.

The ‘H’ word hadn’t even entered my mind until today; it hadn’t really had any reason to. That’s right, for the first time on the trip I felt a little homesick. At home there are plenty of ways to distract myself when something in life goes sour. Here, on the other hand I am stuck with myself with little else to occupy my mind. Tomorrow I plan to punch out a blog that has nothing to do with Las Vegas, Poker and probably this trip really, so stay tuned for that. Until then, know that no matter how good or bad things go for me the rest of the Vegas trip, my feet will remain firmly grounded. I can thank a good support network and my steadfast character for that. I will be encouraged by the tough times I have pulled through in the past and a self believe I have gained. The number one thing my Eureka Kid alias stands for is the heart and courage that I believe I posses and constantly remind myself of. I have many reminders written down and a few pictures and icons to keep me strong and I’ll share one with you here. Thanks to anyone who is still reading this at this point, you must really be a true associate. At the end of the day it’s just money, it’s just a game, there are heaps more important things, but it is good to vent and get it all out of my system. Tomorrow is a new day and I know I’m going to feel infinitely better when I wake up, so until then.

My WSOP photo is now up on the site that I provided in my last blog, I looked positively thrilled to be there. Question is can you read me? Am I genuinely bored or bluffing that I’m bored.

About the Author: Andrew Ferguson

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