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Sorry to say I don't have the glamorous "kicked the fishies' ass" tale that Quads had in Detroit, but I spent the beter part of the day and night up in Jackson yesterday. This will be a long grueling tale - if you're just reading for the ending skip on down to the bottom right now.

Before I get down to business, a few poker room news bites to report. They are going to be remodling the room in January in order to expand. There's some kind of busniess rooms behind and to the right of the poker room and they're opening that up to add a few more tables. their temp room will likely be smaller and will likely be very chaotic for about a month. Their scheduled tournies will be discontinued during the remodel, but they may offer some SnG type tournies. The bigger room may allow player to have meals while playing which will be a two edges sword - it'll be nice to munch while playing, but I foresee a lot of messy tables with that clueless crowd. (The reason they don't allow eating now, is for lack of space to accomodate the little side tables.)

I got off at 10:00 and planned to spend the day - poker god's permitting - in the card room. Since it is on the eve of New Year's weekend and they had the tourney ending somewhere between 11 and noon, I expevted the place to be jammed and wanted to get there as early as possible to avoid hours of waiting.

To my surprise, the area wasn't as jammed as I expected. I got there at around 11, there were 2 NL and 1 3/6 in progress, the final table of the tourney was just seating with the director already trying to talk them into chopping. I was about 9th on the NL list with a good chance of a new game opening soon. there were a couple of NL openeings, so the list got too short to expect a new game any time soon so I grabbed some lunch.

Ended up getting seated in one of the games at about noon. The other table had most of the regulars and despite having a bit of advantage of knowing their games a little, I really wasn't looking forward to catching that table, at least not right off. I got the other table. No familliar faces and wasn't able to scout it while I was waiting, so I went into "get some reads" mode. Right as I sat down there was a fairly big all-in moment occuring. Older (well, compared to the young guns - maybe 50) guy in seat had just made the all-in call from one of the younger guys (20ish). The board was TTJ. Younger guy proudly flips up AT and seat 1 almost slow rolled pocket jacks. Brutal welcome to the table, but it was a pretty reasonable introduction to the game - there was a lot of crazy action.

All of the action was down on the other end, as were all the chips. The guy to my right ( a regular who sat down when I did) managed to land a pretty decent pot within a hand or two, but after that we (our end) pretty much just say and watched - no cards. The other end was a fisfull of young guns and the older guy in seat 1. They were all flappin' their gums, spashin' their chips and trying to out bluff each other. While it was somwewhat enretaining, it got old to watch after awhile. 8 out of 10 hands were raised $10-$30 so limping was just no an option and they were'nt smart enough to recognize the representation when one of us "rocky" types would poop out of the shadows. So, sit and wait for hand. I think I drug pieces of 3 pots in 2 hours. I chopped a small pot with the regular guy, drug a $7 orphan pot and managed to sink my claws into a good enough pot to get nearly back to even.

One of the young guns managed to give his respectable stack to one of his neighbors on an awful call and that seemed to calm them all down for a bit. He left and we strolled along and then the action amped back up. After 2 hours of basically watching, I finally hooked up with KK. Finally, something to go to war with these clowns. One of the action guys raised to $10 from EP a few callers and I popped it $20 more. He looke dup and went all-in, fold to me, I obviously call. Wouldn't you fucking know it - he flips up AA. God this game is cruel. I actually have a chance to suck him out when I end up with an open ender on the turn, but wasn't gonna happen. Right as this hand is happening, the floor is brinign us all racks to moive us to another table. Why, I don't know, but they were. "I'm not gonna need a rack....."

So we all move over to the other table, same seats, same button... wait where is that guy who just took my stack? Him and the older splashy guy both racked up and left. Pretty poor taste in my book, but in about 15 minutes, I was happy to be rid of them. They back filled the seats with some of the late arriving regulars, most of whom have a little sense, are a little splashy, but are ultimately playable. My first hand at the other table: AA. Half of me celebrates, half of me thinks about the "back-to-back bad shit" phenomenon. I was in the BB (they just started over with the core of new players) so was able to get 4 limpers to put in an extra $10. Flop was scary enough (3 cards in the 5-T range) to force me to over play and shove. They all went away and I showed my Aces. Don't exactly know why I did it, but I was feeling a little ironic to catch Aces the hand after getting busted against them. I actually went on a little run and got nearly even shortly after sitting down at the new table.

This table atmosphere was much more enjoyable, raising was respected and play in general was relaxed and "properly" aggressive. We were plying the game that I am familliar and comfortable with and I had fun. Better cards and dragging an occasional pot obviously added to my enjoyment, but it would have been enjoyable even if the cards weren't coming. I got one firly decent pot on a hand, that if I had a crystal ball, I would have played a littel slower I might have got paid-off even more, but I was happy with the results. I was dealt KJs in LP and limped. Flop brought me a gutshot, one to my suit and my K was an over card (something like T9x). The pot was opened in EP for a reasonable amount, there were a few callers ahaead of me and I decided to peel off the turn, despite not really having correct odds to do so - I was feeling just a litel splashy. Thinking very clearly that the exact card I wanted to see was the Q spades (my suit) I was very surprised to actually see it pop up. Excelent! The pot was opened again, and then raised by Larry (one of the regulars). I thought for a second and decided to push hard rather than wait. I was pretty sure he hit his open ender and would think that my overplay was the same hand trying to push people off the flush draw or higher straight draw. He immediatley got upset that his hand was in danger. I raised it $50 more (on top of his $30 raise) and was called by the lead bettor. Larry glared at me and gave me that "I knwo what the fuck you have" look and mucked. The river brought an 8, which may have killed my river action (sure wish I knew that card was coming), but how can I know? Lead bettor checked, I tried to extract another $50 from him, but after a few minutes, he gave up on what I have to guess was 2 pair or a set. I mucked with out showing and Larry spouts off about laying his straight down for me. "You laid a straight down for ME?. Thank you!" I heard him fling a "Fuck you very much" back at me. Not sure how serious it was as I wasn't looking at him (busy stacking chips don't ya know) but I'm sure it was about a 50/50 good natured/serious fling. We all laughed and I never showed. I wanted to pull him aside and let him know he made a good laydown (he's one of the nicer regulars and it's nice being near the inside of the "regular ring" (for many reasons) so my image would stay intact, but I never got the chance. That pot put me up about $150 on the day, it was about 3:30.

A few orbits later, they started gathering up the players interested in the 2/5 game and poof, all the reasonable players were gone. I seriously thought about taking my stack and getting in the big game, but that concept felt foolish, so stayed put while they backfilled our game with other 1/2 refugees and few new players. Sigh. Just when things wre going smoothly, they send me3/4 of a whole new table to train and have to figure out. Just like a switch ahd been flipped, my cards went back into the freezer. Nursed my stack for the better part of 2 hours with pretty much no forward progress, but little bleeding. A few limps a bunch of blinds and a bottle of No-doze. Boring, boring, boring. At abotu 6:00, I decided that the cards were telling me to go get some dinner, so I did.

I returned to the table and there was yet another regular seated, whoi had been transplanted from one of the 1/2 games and wasn't present when they called for the 2/5 game. So they picked up his $250 and placed him on our table. I've played with this guy a few times and watched while waiting a few others. Still not quite sure, what his complete game is, but I know he likes to play the bully and is absolutely fearless with his chips. Raise, raise, raise. Put on the shades and glare people down. I do get the impression that he likes to depend a lot on intimidation an luck which he displayed on several occasions.

There was on pretty solid kid down at the other end who just kept on getting snapped off by crap and intimidation guy was at the head of the list. Solid kid had raised preflop and Intimidator called (along with plenty of others - game had gotten pretty splashy and wild again). The flop came 2 diamonds and 2 paint. I don't remeber the entire sequence, but Intimidator and the solid kid were sparring pretty good. The solid kid ended up all-in and his top pair had been sucked out by the Intimidator's 67diaomnds that hit runner-runner 2 pair. God that was ugly. The Solid kid did a little disgusted laugh and head shake managed a reasonably genuine nice hand and got some more chips. (This just wasn't going to be his night. He had a a couple of other similar suckouts and then had his QQ bump into my KK. He shorthly moved to another table in which he was involved in poker room rattling suckout for what looked like about a $500 pot. Don't know what happened, but the roar form the table indicated a pretty severe suckout on the turn or river. HE finally put his jacket on and left.)

I did pick up a read on the Intimidator's glare, which I think will be very valuable. He tried to read me, but I think I got more out of his read than he did. After being pretty quiet for the better part of an hour, I got AKs in LP and raised it up. I still got about 4 callers including the Intimidator from the big blind. The flop was a hideous flop for me (something like J97, 2 clubs (not my suit). As usual, I was watching the players rather than the flop and Intimidator looked straight at me after the flop as if to see if it hit me. I don't know if I gave a read or not (sometimes I think I must be an open book, despite my efforts to not react) but I sure got a read out of him thanks to the action. SB opened for about 3/4 pot. Intimidator immediately raised it and stared at me, sunglasses and all. (He wears his sunglasses around hius neck and then sports them before the board is dealt most of the time, but not always.) I gave it a moment of drama and then declared that it was an awful flop and pitched my cards. SB, moved in and Intimidator called, pretty quickly. SB had flopped a set (or straight or maybe bigger 2 pair) and Initmidator landed 2 pair 9s and 7s. SB drug the pot, but I think I got more out of it than he did. Couldn't take advantage of it last night, but it will pay off in the future.

SB in that hand was a super fish and for a while went on a tear of hitting flushes and gutshots at will. See 99% of flops regardless of raises, hit some shit and drag pots. It was making me sick to watch. I had one prominent run-in with him. Intimidator had raised and I called the BB with KQo, SB also called. The flop came K high all clubs (of which I had none.) I fired at the pot (Intimidator wasn't stupid and probably knows me well enough to know that I'm not firing at a board like that without something pretty strong, I wanted to let him know that I hit that board good and hard) SB called as did Intimidator, "just in case". The turn was a blank and I fired another bet at the pot. SB called and Intimidator got out, which I was very happy with. I was pretty sure SB was on the flush draw and when it didn't come club on the river I fired another bet. To my surprise, SB raised me. Very uncharacteristic, he was mostly a calling station. I just couldn't believe he held the flush and hadn't played it stronger at somepoint. I thought for quite a bit and decided the pot was worth paying him off. He flipped up 94 clubs for the flopped flush. My god, that was awful play on every street, but it worked. I was able to muck without disclosing my hand, so I dind't have to give out any read on myself, other than I was willing to bet into a flush board from EP without having it, but my hand was never disclosed.

This started a good solid 2 hours of extreme frustration for me. I wasn't seeing many flops and when I did, I wasn't seeing much hope and when I did, there was always a lot of resistance to any moves I made. It got into one of those grooves where it felt like the table thought it was a crime if I drug a pot. Despite my pretty tight image, I'd bet, they'd call and then raise me. My hands just weren't strong enough to deal with that so I pitch and eventually started moaning about the nonsense. I was actually getting pretty agitated (I know, hard to believe ;) ), but it was agonizing.

A new guy sat dwon to my right. I limped with 55 and actually hit my set on a 58T board. Opened, raised by new guy and reraised him. He though for a minute and just called. Board brought a very ugly J, he was all-in, but I had to call. He hit a set of 8s! Set over set! Fuck me. Steaming abit, I look down at QQ on the very next hand, raised it and was called by 6 or 7 players. Jesus Christ! PLease set me up again. The flop came K high, a kid in SB opened for a large bet and I just pitchied them in. He was too comitted to try to bluff him and I didn't think he was bluffing anyway. He was one of them any 2 suited cards players and he always got suited cards.

I took a little break, went ouside for a few trying to calm down. I weas a an ugly fucking rut and was having words with the gods. The conversation went something like this...I just don't know why it has to be so damn clumpy on the ugly end of the game and the wins to sparse. I just can't get into one of them grooves where I storm the table, sit back for a while and then storm again. Everyone else in the world appears to have those grooves, but I seem to get the other ruts. Bleed, bleed, bleed, get near even or little up. Bleed, bleed, bleed, drag a little, get hammered for 3/4 of my stack on rediculous beats, and then get lucky if can scrape back to even, but often leave banging my head and muttering to myself. I know we all get these runs, but I just feel like I get more than my share. How do I deal with htis shit?! Didn't get an answer, but wandered back upstairs.

Next orbit I get QQ in the same pos as before, raise it up and got a bunch of callers including the littel shit in SB. The flop came what felt like a pretty 722. Every one checked, I fired $40 to take it down and then the litle shit in SB c/r all-in. Are you fucking kidding me? How much do you gotta raise to get a fucking deuce out of the hand? I thought for a long while and just couln't put the kid on anything other than a deuce in which he could pull off a c/r other than something suited that had a deuce. Fuck! I pitched my QQ face up and mucked with extreme steam. The little shit flipped up J8s to show his masterful semi-bluff c/r. I caught it out of the corner as I was getting up for another break, so I don't know if he saw that I saw it (I didn't let on that I had) but I'm sure he thought he was the king of poker). Very irritating none the less, but I figure he would have caght his fkush o, even worse caught some other runner-runner suckout anyway.

And all around me I watching hideaous play by most players. Uberfish (the same guy who managed a raise with a 94 flush after calling all along) failed to rasie the nuts with closing position in a hand. WTF? How do you not raise with the nuts and noone to act behind you? But alot of the chips were sliding away from the fish, just not to me.

So I'm sitting there with about $70 left. It was getting late (11:00 or so - remember, I've been playing since noon) and I just wanted to get square and go home. I was tired and just feeling like I've been getting punked for the last 3 hours. IN all honesty, I should have picked up and left, but I was in a stubborn mood and there were plenty of fishied, if I could just get "that hand". Round about 11:45 I was in EP and limped with QJo. Several limpers and the BB raised. I made the bad call along with several others including uber fish to my left. Flop brought me an open ender. BB opened, I called as did Uberfish. Turn was a 4. BB opened, I called and Uber fish shoves his last $50, which put BB and me all-in. BB called. Fuck! I was getting pretty decent odds (3 1/2:1) to go for my draw, but I'm just not feeling lucky. The pot was big enough to get me square and I finally decided that this was gonna be my last hand, win or lose, I'm gone. "It's my turn to suckout on somebody!".

By some miracle, the 9 hit (luckily nobody was on the flush draw, cause it flushed the board) and I drug the pot. Uberfish had a set of 4s and BB had second pair with an Ace. I was stunned that I actually out fished the fishies. I wasted no time playing off to the button. I picked up my $217 and got the fuck out of there. You'd think I would have been happy, but the shit was (and to some extent still is) banging around in my head.

I keep reading about how the best hand this, the best hand that. Draw here, but not there. Wait for your spots and cut off their legs. But it seems that everything I see is in direct opposition to what all the experts say. The best hand on the flop (which is suppoed to be a strong favorite most of the time), rarely actually wins the pot. Draws seem to come more often when there are not correct odds to hit them. (I know this is purely my imagination, but, with what I've seen, I would swear that you have higher chances to hit a gutshot, than an open-ended. I just have to come to grips on what the truth is on this game. I will go insane if I can't figure out what the reality is.

Sorry for the sour tilt on this post, but I am really struggling with the game right now.

(For those of you who skipped to the end, I played for 11 1/2 hours. 2 hours was pleasant and fun. 6 hours was boring as hell. The rest was agony and hell. I walked away $17 to the good with a suckout on the last hand.)

Sorry for
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