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I'm finally off a svere steaming that I left with after another horrid session. This will come off as sounding like a bad beat rant, so stop reading if that doesn't suit your needs.

Got up there at about 12:45, and got seated in the existing 1/2 game at about 1:30. Some usual suspects (Helen the old biddy calling station, Drama Queen (DQ), a couple of off duty dealers and a guy who seems to have taken up residence there, I'll call him Leather Jacket (LJ) because I haven't put a nick on him yet.) LJ is a younger guy (somewhere between 18 and mid 20s) and is a super aggressive player. Will bet huge when the pot seems up for grabs and then flipup less than nothing, just to "ptove" how good he is. He always straddles and will nearly always bet big if there's only limpers in front of him. He's a very strong player that I have yet to able get a good line on. He will go away sometimes if the bet is big enough, but takes to playing just about anything perflop if there hasn't been a substantial raise. Very hard to put on a hand, not afraid of losing big chunks of his stack. The kind of guy that I really need to be able to figure out.

I sat down and was unfortunatley only a few seats ahead of LJ so he had position on me on most hands. I knew that I had to be careful of his raises, so I was playing even tighter than my normal routine. Early on I drug a few small pots including a chop with T9 on a 998xx board. As the session wore on, I discovered that the kid to my left was almost as aggressive as LJ so I had 2 players that were raising a lot. Tighten down the screws some more.

I had AJs in posisition on a hand that LJ had straddled, so I pumped it up to $20, hoping to take it down. DQ (in the BB) shoved his whole stack ($100+) in. I couldn't put him om a bluff a laid it down. He claimed QQ and didn't want to see the flop. Nice bet, well played, bad timing for me. No biggie.

A little later, the pot was raised to $15 from another relatively aggressive player in late pos. I had ATs in the BB and decided to see the flop. Flop came A8x and I fired a $20 feeler bet to see what the raiser was going to do. Was called by a new Asian guy (who I would later discover just couldn't get away from a marginal hand) that I put on a flush draw and the PFR laid it down. I figure I am golden when a 7 that didn't fill the flush draw hit on the turn. I shoved my ~$70 stack and the caller immediately called. HE flipped up A7o for 2 pair. Lovely. "More chips please."

Went into a bit of a cold spell where the few marginal limpers I got were raised or I just couldn't get anything at all. LJ had about $500 in his stack at one point and went on a bit of a tailspin adn was begining to tilt. After a couple of unrewarded stabs at pots, I was down to about $70. I called another PFR with 77 and there were 5 or 6 to the flop at $17 ea. Nice pot. The flop came 764, all red, 2 suits. The PFR fired a small bet $10, and I shoved with top set. I got called by LJ and nobody else. THe turn delivered the only helping post flop card I got all day and paired the 6. My boat was good. LJ never showed his crap but mumbled something about a straight. I managed to get s brief run of decent cards and actually got back to square for a short time.

I actually got a hand on the button that LJ had straddled and raised it to $20 with AKo. LJ and Helen both called. BY this point, LJ had tilted away his entire stack plus the better part of 2 more buy-ins, he started the hand with about $50. The flop came Kxx all hearts. LJ shoved his last ~$30. I was gonna call him with no problems, but when Helen, who is notorious for slow playing a made hand (2 pair or better) just called, I froze up. I didn't notice that she was nearly all-in which was my mistake. Still feeling snake bit, I decided to make the big laydown. Turns out that Helen was just on the draw and actually missed, and LJ had opened with K4s, not hearts. Damn. What an awful laydown. The flop was very scary, but had I noticed that Helen had only a few dollars left after her call, I would have got her in and took my chances. I knew that LJ was titlt betting and the fact that he lead out should have clued me that he had a very marginal hand. But I got spooked by the calling station and decided to save my ships for another day.

An orbit or so later I got TT in the BB. There were enough limpers, that I desided to treat the TT like a small pocket pair and go for the "cheap flop" plan. Flop came 8 high, and I bet the pot. LJ called. Turn paired the 2 on the board. I didn't like this card, but even though I know that LJ plays a lot of crap, I decided to stay strong, hoping that a bigger bet will get him off his draw. He just called. River brought a card that wasn't scary, but the little voice was trying to scare me. If I checked, he'd make a big bet whether he had anything or not. I bet $40 and he came over the top for his last ~$20. "This is not going to end well for me is it?" as I made the mandatory call. "I only have a deuce." Is that all? HE flipped up J2o, and I gave him the most sarcastic "nice hand" that I have ever delivered. Someone else gave him a legitiamate sounding "nice hand" and he at least admitted to "not really, in fact it's a terrible hand" and I concurred immediately. "You should have raised." Right, like you weren't gonna call anyway....." I was steaming bad. I'm supposed to love the clown tha limps in very early position with J2 and then calls a flop sized bet with bottom pair against a pretty tight player. I should be golden in tht spot probably 75% percent of the time. But I was just in that groove that whatever freaky ass 3-5 outer that could pop on the turn to wreck my hand would. Just brutal.

I was down to about $70 and was in pain watching LJ drag pots with complete crap. He was titlting bad and hs crap was hooking up. HE drug back-to back pots with 64o. I was just going crazy inside. The guy who had been to my left, busted out, took off for a couple of hours and then came back and sat to my right. We had been chatting on the rail during my smoke breaks and he was providing a little consolation about my crappy cards. Genuine or not, he was being freindly.

AS few hands after he sat down, he said, "man, I really hope you catch something soon. You look miserable." "I not sure I want anymore good hands - they just cost me money." and right on cue I get AJs in the SB. I just call the limp and we're 6 or 7 to the flop. Flop comes J high. "Watch this" i tell the kid on my right. I open for $15 (pot size) and get called by Helen (flush draw) and another lady (youger Asian chick) who had been pretty quiet, but drug her share of pots - some on solid play, some on "right place, right time" situations. Turn brings a K. The little guy was telling me that I didn't like that card, but 85% confidence that Helen was on a flush draw and unsure about YAC I decided to use the K as a scare card and bet it big. I just can't be afraid of every overcard - the odds that one of them actually held a K (at least a K only) was pretty small. I shoved my last ~$40. Helen gave me a dirty "I guess I better give up on my draw" look and mucked, but YAC made a pretty quick call. Sure as shit, she was holding K9 (9 was middle card on flop) and 2 pair was plenty good. Another 5 outer.

I just got up and left. Some days you just can't make anything work. I was so out of sync with everything, that I just didn't know what to do anymore. This session alone wouldn't have been so awful, if it hadn't followed on the heels of several other consecutive crappy runs. Was hoping for a little break in the bad run I'm on.

Some self play post session analysis:

ATs hand: There's no way I could put the guy on an A7. Even when he called, I thought the pot was mine. I felt good about my decisions here, just got unlucky.

AK hand: My failure to recognize the limitations of potential losses caused me to make a bad (in hindsight) laydown. Flop could have ben a little less scary, but it was still a pretty weak play given all of the criteria. Zagged, should have zigged.

TT hand: Raise it preflop big enough to be scary, and I probably would have drug the $20 in limps. There were so many limpers that I just didn't want to run into a limp raise or some fool who would call with any A and hit his cards. Zigged, should have zagged.

AJ hand: Raising preflop is an option, but I don't like raising marginal raising hands in EP. If you don't hit, it's almost impossible to lose al the calling stations who caught some small piece of the flop no matter how much you bet, so they are hard to play from up front. Really don't know that I really did anything wrong excpet for not seeing "the monster". It wasn't obvious and odds were on my side, but just got unlucky. What do you do?

And pot sized bets after a limp are apparently meaningless in this game. The players figure that it's only $10 or $15 and auto call. Consideration of relationship to the pot size is pretty nonexistent. PreFlop and flop play is almost identical to a 3/6 game. Any PFR under $20 is just a "pot builder", $20 to $30 may get a couple to get out if they have absolutely nothing.

I need to adjust to this calling station effect. Overbetting the pot? Seems rediculous to have to bet $20 to drag a $10 pot. to get the fishermen out, but it seems that that is what needs to be done when hitting a solid but vulnerable flop. I like to keep my betting pretty consitent with pot size or near pot size whether I'm made or not, so overbetting the pot when I have a great hand, will lose me action. If I start varying my bets (over pot with a TPTK type hand, pot size with a better hand), I'll have a huge tell. Gotta figure this out. This game is sooooo beatable on most days, but I feel like I've been pushed back into the 3/6 game mentality, but having to deal with huge overbets in critical situations. Some of these players seem to have money growing out of their ass; another buy-in to them seems meaningless. The rich "gamblers" just seem to have my number.

I know, I know, "move up in stakes" to get out of the shallow end. Not yet:
1. The deeper end is pretty much most of the same players so it will just be the same game at higher stakes.
2. My BR has taken a huge hit in the last few weeks, so even if I was really ready to step it up (which I'm not), my BR is in no position to jump up in stakes.
3. The 2/5 game is not spread regularly up there. I hear that Cache Creek has started a 2/5 game (too far) and I just don't like the fel of the game at the Derby (to aggressive for me) so I wouldn't have a consistent game to play.
4. I'm not ready. The concept of having to raise to $30 or $40 preflop just to make a statement, is too much for me to be comfortable. The concept of immediately having $200 at risk is still scary for me. I'm just not ready.

So, I'm just gonna take a couple weeks off, take a little break. Do some thinking. I want to be in better spirits for my Nov 26th game than I am right now.
 
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