Wednesday, June 14, 2006


I arrived in Vegas with the crew last July, having recently returned to the States and ready to gamble.

I sat in a no limit game at the Flamingo. I was probably a bit too eager to get some hands in. It was a $300 buy-in game, and I had come to play.

After almost a round, I raised prelop with AQ. It was folded around to the big blind -- A calm, kind of talkative guy who I had pegged as a gambler. He called.

The flop came Axx. No draws.

He checked to me, I bet, he put in a check-raise. I thought for about three seconds before pushing all in.

"I have to call," he said, turning over AK.

The turn brought a King to add insult to injury, and I was out before I had barely started.

The guy reached his hand out and shook mine.

"Nice hand," he said. "Just a little too aggressive."

I wasn't sure if he was mocking me or not, but I was getting the hell out of there. I hate the Flamingo. It's like playing at some ratty third-rate online site with crappy software.

I was pretty tilty, so there was only one thing to do -- go to the 2/4 limit game at the Sahara and gamble it up!

I was thinking about this hand because I felt so fishy about it. I didn't think it through, and it should have been obvious that many players will cold-call AK in the big blind when facing an UTG raise. I assumed at the time that he would have re-raised.

I've improved my game tremendously since then, and I'm struck by how many little things there are to consider. But each of them can be taken one at a time, and most decisions can be made with plenty of time to spare.

My game is getting better because I'm thinking harder about what I'm doing before I act. I'm not mindlessly 10-tabling while waiting for the nuts. I'm not ramming AK all-in unless I have a good reason to do so. I'm not playing AA like a kamikaze pilot going for bust.

If I had it to do over again, there's no way I would make the same mistake of running my AQ into AK like that. It's a slow process, but little by little, the percentage points of EV are adding up.

1 comment:

Victor_Enriq said...

Any other time or place different from tournament play, I have almost always cold-called with AK.