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Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Baby Steps

I have been brutally cold-decked for a week or so now. After a few days, I was actually able to start laughing about it. Bluffing? Out of the question--someone has pocket kings. Raise with AQo? No, sir--someone's pair of fives will find another five on the turn. I'm losing races, I'm losing hands where I get all my money in with the best of it, and I'm failing to steal anything. Also, as a result of all these bad cards and beats, I've started playing erratically and, well, stupidly.

I've had to move down to the $5.50 SnGs, in order to slow the bleeding of my bankroll. Last night, I finally made it back into the money, finishing 3rd in a single table $5.50. I saw some good cards, made some good reads, and took advantage of some weak betting. The sense of dread that had been accompanying flops disappeared. I made $3.50 for an hour and a half of work, and I couldn't feel better.

I leave for Las Vegas tomorrow, so I'll be taking a break from online play. I'm going out for defcon, the "largest underground hacking event in the world." If you have any computer security interests or responsibilities, you should be heading to defcon every year.

The weekend is jam-packed, but I hope to spend some time playing live games. I have only played in a poker room once before, and that was last year during defcon. I headed over to the Bellagio and bought into the 2/5 NL game for 200--no more, no less. I explained to the dealer and those around me that I was new to live play, and to please let me know if I did anything stupid or offensive.

Settling in, stacking my chips, and trying to get comfortable, when I look down and find KK. On my first hand. Still trying to figure out what the hell is going on. No time like the present to jump in. I threw out a weak raise to $15 and had one caller. Flop comes K-x-x. My heart pounding at 200 beats per second, I bet $50, hoping to take it down there and get comfortable. Caller re-raises me all-in. What the hell? He counts out his bet, which ended up putting him all-in $160 for the hand, meaning I could call and have a lonely $40 left in front of me.

I didn't know if he had flopped one of the rag sets, or if he was just picking on the self-professed new guy, but I had no option but to get my money out there. The turn came A, and then a rag on the river. My 3 kings were faced with -- AQ. I guess he had been taking a stab at the pot, trying to intimidate the new guy. After one hand, my stack had grown to $360.

I spent the next two hours giving it all back. I got some very weak cards, and my constant folding, after showing KK early, killed any action I might have gotten on my few good hands. Further, I just wasn't a very experienced NL player. Still, it was a great experience, and I look forward to playing again this year.