Don’t Play Tired!

Last Tuesday I had people in and out of the house between 8am and 10am and I typically don’t wake up until 10:42am each morning. Normally that’s not going to disrupt my sleep, but my little chihuahua Mushu just doesn’t stop barking for more than 3 seconds when people come and go. Just nonstop barking and makes sleeping a challenge.

I finally got up, not like I was really sleeping anyway, jumped in the shower and made it to the gym for noon. We had an intense workout that got the heart pumping and ended up turning into about a 90 minute session of lifting with some pace and lots of movement in between.

These poker games I’ve been playing at the Bellagio start around noon, so I came home, showered quickly, had my assistant Patty pack me a dinner and I was on the road and at the Bellagio by 4pm to take the last seat.

The very first hand dealt to me in the big blind, I looked at the plaque and it said “A-5 Lowball” which hasn’t been in the mix during any of the previous sessions I played. The small blind raised and I looked down at A45QJ. Pretty good starting hand playing triple draw so I decided to re-raise.

There was only one problem. I forgot to read the rest of the sign that said “Single Draw.” I mentioned that I was playing the wrong, asked if I could take my raise back, and my opponent, a really strong regular pro in the game, let me take it back. He had every right to punish me for my mistake, but he chose not to and I really appreciated it and owe him one in the future. He stood pat, so he obviously had a pretty strong hand and could have re-raised me but chose to be a good guy and give me a break. I missed my two card draw and he showed down a pat 9. That’s a $3000 error I made playing $1500-$3000 limits that I didn’t end up having to pay for.

A few rounds later against a different pro I made another brain fart mistake. Going into the last draw of 2-7 triple draw, my opponent drew one in front of me, and the correct play for me was to draw one card as well and draw to a rough hand. Instead, for some reason I can’t even explain, I drew two cards to the 257. Worse than that, I started the hand with 2255 which makes it less likely my opponent would make a strong hand and gives me even more reason to draw rough. He caught an Ace, and had I drawn one card like I was supposed to, I would have won the pot. There was over $15,000 in that pot that I was supposed to win. Ugh. Mushu!!!

A couple hours later we were playing pot limit Omaha 8 or better. Three people limped into the pot for $800 and there was another $1200 in antes out there. I was in the big blind with a terrible hand, 278Q and folded. Good fold right? Except, nobody raised! I would have gotten to see a free flop that ended up coming 885. I would have ended up getting half of that pot so we are looking at about another $3000 mistake.

I wasn’t done making mistakes in what ended up being a 4.5 hour session because the game broke. In a hand of 2-7 Razz I was dealt a monster starting hand of 257. A very conservative player raised and I 3-bet on 3rd street. On 4th street I caught a Jack, he caught an Ace. I bet and he called.

Fifth street:
Me: (57) 2 J T
Him: (xx) 4A7

Now he bet, and I called.

Sixth Street:
Me: (57) 2 J T 8
Him: (xx) 4A79

This opponent raised in early position so he probably didn’t pair the 9. He is also unlikely to have paired the 7 although I guess it’s possible. It seemed clear to me that he had a 9 made which beats my 10, but I did have a draw to a powerful 8.

Me: (57) 2 J T 8 (3)
Him: (xx) 4A79 (x)

I decided to check after squeezing my card and sweating in a “nothing across” which means it was an Ace, 2, or a 3. I was a 2 to 1 underdog at that point to have made my hand, so I checked figuring my opponent would bet a 9 anyway and if I made it I could check-raise.

My opponent bet, and then for some absurd reason I talked myself out of raising because if he did make a 7 on the end I’d be laying 2-1 odds on my river raise. It’s limit poker, and its really tough to make an 8. Besides, if He made an 8 I’d almost certainly have a better 8 with 23578 and him showing a 7 and a 4. To beat me, he would either have to have 238 for a better 8, or nailed the perfect card and made a 7.

He had a 9 as advertised and I won the pot, less $3000 I was supposed to get when he called the raise.

This was the worst session of the 5 that I have played so far this year and I left a lot of money on the table. Despite my mistakes, I ran hot enough to win $48,600 over 4.5 hours.

In order to beat these games with many of the world’s best mixed game players, I’ll need to bring better focus than that. I chalk it up to fatigue, but it’s deeper than that. It was bad planning. Based on the fact I didn’t sleep well enough, I should have either not played, or forced myself to focus harder on the game than I did. I was going through the motions and it certainly cost me more than just a couple bets.

The goal I set this year was to put in 200 hours of cash game play and profit $250,000 or more. I’m on track so far on both of those goals and will keep a running tally and let you know how I did by the end of

Hours: 32.5
Results: +$65,800