Vegas Loose Ends

Part of my plan for Las Vegas was to play a lot of poker. I did just that.

The first table I sat at, a $100 + $15 ‘sit ‘n go’, paid off! I thought the week would be easy money.

After that one tournament, I couldn’t win. If I had good cards, someone had better cards. Or, I’d have awful cards for extended periods.

It was depressing. I know Helaine could see that in me, and she told me so.

What was bothering me was, I was playing well, but still losing. I think I’m a good (not great) player, so this steady losing was making me question what I was doing. A good player should be able to win at poker over a long enough period of time.

Was it the Las Vegas competition?

Maybe I had moved up to competition that was too tough for me? Or, it could have been just the cards. You can’t tell while it’s happening.

The difference between winning and losing, even over a week, can come down to one or two hands! Seriously. The difference between winning and losing could be, as an example, plus $150 (win) or minus $80 (loss). That’s a delta of $230.

The more I played, the more I lost and the more I questioned my play. My goal was to play tight; a conservative player. It is easy to succumb to temptation and play hands you shouldn’t play. I did that a little, not a lot.

Finally, two days before we left, the tide turned. I finished that day up around $150 – though still seriously down for the week.

On Sunday, my last poker day, Helaine gave me a pep talk. It was like a scene from Rocky and she was Burgess Meredith!

First I sat down for a $100 + $15 ‘sit ‘n go.’ I came in second for a $185 profit.

I moved to a $10/$20 limit table. This had been the bane of my existence all week. Suddenly, I could do no wrong. In a few short hours I had made back another $400+.

We had dinner and took some family time. Then I returned for one more session. I was still smoking! My tight reputation allowed me to steal at least one pot with what I’m sure were losing cards. I won a bit less than $200 before calling it quits.

After being a net loser all week, two nights turned things around. Between Saturday and Sunday I made up my losses and added on a profit of a few hundred dollars. Spread over our week plus there, my hourly rate was pitiful – but I was a net winner!

What did I learn in this week of live playing? More than anything, over the short term (and that can be a few days or more) cards can be fickle. Steady play will pay off if you have enough time. You have to be able to weather setbacks without going on tilt.

Oh… and it’s cool getting a pep talk from your wife.

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