So, I just had to share a great night I had at a great casino in a great poker room.
My girlfriend and I received a comp night at Borgata in AC this past weekend (3/12/16). We went and had a great time on the casino floor and were comped a buffet for two as well. We had a late dinner and went up to our room on the top floor. Karen was wiped out from the great day we had but I had a few bucks left in my gambling budget and decided I wasn't ready for bed yet and headed to the poker room.
Now, I should start by telling you that although I play a lot of poker and truly enjoy it. I really don't consider myself an exceptional player. I play well enough to sit at the table long enough to have gotten my money's worth of entertainment. And that's fine, I figure if I spend $100 and get to spend a few hours playing cards, well then that's money well spent. What else can to do that is as fun as poker for three or four hours for a hundred bucks. So, loosing has never really bothered me and winning is always taken as a bonus.
I like low buy in tournaments and have done well in many of them. But, in a cash game I never perform very well. I study a bit when I can and I always go with hopes that something will click, but of all the times I've played a cash game in a casino with players unknown to me, I have rarely ever walked away with much of my bank roll left and only on a two occasions have I left the table up.
But the other night something happened to me. I smoked the competition. I'd love to know if anyone else has had this happen to them so I can try to glean some insight into what this means for me. For those of you that consider yourselves "great holdem players", how did that come to be? Was it gradual, or was it easy and come natural? Or, like my experience, did a light bulb just turn on after a lot of study and practice that illuminated the table in a new way?
Because, that's what happened to me the other night at the Borgata. All of my past play and evaluation just seemed to click into focus and I was seeing things very clearly.
I have heard that the Borgata is not a poker room for pushovers. It is a big room with lots of tables and a variety of games. There are regulars that make a good living in that room and I have seen that in the past. So, I don't think I found the one table in the room full of fish... but who knows, I don't think I have developed the type of skills to pick those tables out either. But as the saying goes, "If you can figure out who the sucker is in the first half hour... You are the sucker." well, I didn't see any suckers at this table and I sure didn't feel like one myself (though I never have in the past either).
So, I bought into a $1 - $2 cash game and sat down with $100. Now, I usually always buy in for the max ($300 at most 1 -2 cash games) but, I didn't have huge resources this night, and quite frankly, I didn't expect to walk with any of my buy in left. So, I bought in with what I could afford to loose.
I'm guessing about half of you reading this are licking your chops at the prospect of sitting down at a table with me. But, be warned, something connected... synapses fired and I saw the game in a new way.
I have always tried to be cognizant of the table situation, but I saw everything more clearly on Saturday night. It was obvious to me when my holding synced up with my table position and number of opponents. I knew exactly when to play my hand, when to fold and more so, I was influencing the table and my opponents were making the decisions that were perfect for me and my situation.
When I had the nuts, my bet sizes were just right, I got the calls I wanted and even a couple of times coaxed raises from lesser hands re-raised and got called again. Transversely, when I semi-bluffed at a hand I either caused a fold, or a re-raise which I would fold to save money. I can't remember getting sucked out on at all (which I have a terrible habit of) or betting with dead hands against superior holdings (which I also have a bad habit of doing).
Now, I will admit, I was getting some great cards, and that goes a long way. But as I stated I sat down with $100, and 4 hours later I walked away with almost $600. In my (limited) experience I have come to realize, having great cards will only get you so far, playing them well is just as important as the cards themselves. And the other night, I was on fire. It was like I was using the Jedi Mind Trick. Everything I wanted my opponent to do, they did.
I will admit, there were some bad players at that table, and they paid me pretty well. But I didn't see any suckers, and there were some pretty big stacks at the table when I got there and at least two of them got felted, with my help. I wasn't the only one pulling big pots, and I pulled pots away from almost every other player there. There were a few big pots that I didn't rake, But they weren't made big by my mistakes which was often the case in the past. I took some chances that didn't go my way, but nothing catastrophic happened that I was unable to recover from.
These things are what tell me I was more than just lucky the other night... I was playing in "The Zone".
Anyway, I had a lot of fun at the Borgata and I can't wait to go to a poker room again and see if this was just a fluke or if I have finally found my stride as a card player.
I'd love to hear what your thoughts are...