The Right Time for a Bad Call

The trip is a whirlwind of last minute activities and is more spontaneous than planned. The World Series of Poker has a magnetism that just draws a man in. My friend will play and I will be there to help him. If only I felt like I wanted to go. I am dead tired and do not feel like I can drive 40 miles let alone 400 miles. I would not want it any other way.

I find a nice comfortable pace and just drive into the night. The miles go screaming by. I know the intersection with highway 395 is coming up and I will stop for another piss. I grab a soda more out of habit than actually being thirsty. The fatigue is noticeable and I am suffering. Drive on young man. Does the devil really talk to me or is it all in my head?

The City of Barstow feels like a welcome site and I feel like I am nearing my destination. Only 160 miles to go and I am finding a second wind. Cars whizzing past me on my left and I make my way around the occasional truck. The traffic is light and I am travelling well. I make it to the Riviera and things are just the way I remember them old and tired, not so unlike myself. I check into my room and head down to the poker room. Four no limit games are going and it is almost 2 AM. The Pool Tournament is in town and these guys are good action. I am too tired to play and yet I am too stupid to go to bed.

I am stuck almost immediately and my table breaks. A seat opens up and I jump in with a fresh $200 on top of the $85 I have left. I guess I was only stuck $115 after all. I feel worse than it is. I play well and I play tight, just not at the same time. I end up putting all my chips in pre-flop with KK and dread seeing the AA from the young drunk kid. When the flop comes K94, I feel relief. My opponent flips his 99 up very proud only to be crushed by my bigger set. That hand got me turned around and back to even.

Around 7 AM, I played a hand that will be remembered. Losing $2 with AA in a 1-2 NL game. I am in the BB and talking. I know hard to imagine me telling a story and not playing poker. I check my option when it is my turn and I do not bother looking at my hand. I do this all the time and it is a bad habit. The flop is KK9 and I check. A tight player to my left bets $10 into a similar sized pot. Everyone folds around to me and I am folding my hand when I take a glance at it for the first time. I have AA. I pause for a few seconds mid-muck and contemplate the hand. I tell my opponent I have a big hand and he stays quiet. I decide there are easier opportunities at the other end of the table and I fold the AA face up and he flips a King face up.

I head to bed at 8 AM as the tournament starts at noon. I call for a wake up call at 10:45 and know that two and a half hours is not enough sleep. The alarm goes off and I stagger into the shower and scrub some of the funk off. I head over to the Rio to meet my friend Manny. I worked all day in a support role. I may have walked 10 miles in the 10 hours I was there. Manny busts out around nine and our tournament is over.

Once again the games are too good to pass up and I find myself jumping into the no limit action. I am playing tight and winning a few pots. I am slowly building my stack up. I am dealt AcKs and I raise it to $11 and get too many callers. Six people see the flop. AsQs6s and I am first to act and I bet $25 and I am called by two players. The turn brings the 9s and I bet $40 and I get one caller. The river brings the 5s and I no longer have the nuts. I bet $50 and my opponent immediately raises to $100. I go into the tank and try to decide what the play is here. Does my opponent have the Js? Could he possibly have 7s8s? Why wouldn’t he raise on the flop and protect his hand? I spend a full minute and I decide to call. If he has the straight flush he should have raised on the flop with his flush. Most likely he is on a bluff and has no spade at all. If I set him in he has to fold the bluff. I decide he might have the straight flush (5%) and the rest of his range is a fold here. So I decide there is no upside to the raise and a slight risk I would lose my chips. I make the horrible call. I win the big pot and find that I am up to $500 and I need to go to bed. Cash me out.

I made a bad call and I will have to live with it.

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