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playing poker and teaching science: It was one of those days... (a trip report)
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Location: Indiana, United States

I'm a middle school science teacher, wrestling coach, poker player, scuba diver, aikido black belt, amateur writer, and student of life. In the past I have tried to give back a little by volunteering at a children's home in Belmopan, Belize, Central America. I also love Frosted Flakes. I have taken a year sabbatical from my teaching position in order to sail the Caribbean. Does that sound crazy to you?

Monday, April 14, 2014

It was one of those days... (a trip report)

A life lesson from the movie The Hangover: "You never walk away from the table when you're on a heater." 

As poker players, we've all said it at one time or another, "It was one of those days."

How was it said though? Is it said with enthusiasm and excitement or is it said softly while shaking your head side to side? In my case the sentence was followed by an exclaimation point rather than three dots.

Lesson learned. I stayed at the table and played my heater, and that's exactly what it was, a HEATER. It was a 24 hour period playing poker unlike any other I have experienced. In that time frame I chopped top three, then top two in consecutive tournaments, and then won a little more than $1000 at the cash table.

To me, poker is all about numbers and patterns. There are the ever present numbers; the math of the game. And then there are the patterns of the other players. When do they bet? When do they fold? When do they bluff? CAN they be bluffed? All the things that happen at the table fall into a pattern for me. Conversly, I try to NOT let myself fall into those predictable patterns, but at the same time try to make it seem as if I AM playing those same patterns.

Tuesday morning I landed in Las Vegas and knowing I couldn't check into my room until later that day, had the taxi drop me at The Orleans to play a little Omaha 8/b, one of my favorite games. I splashed around in a game I don't get to play very often, probably played too many pots because of my desire to play, and left down a few red chips.

I checked into my room at the Luxor, a place I have never stayed before, and went downstairs and immediately got a seat. Then the cards started to hit me in the face!

It began benighly. I was dealtt pocket kings and made the standard raise to $11 and got two callers. The flop was unconnected small cards so I bet the pot and got one caller. Another small card I bet, was raised, reraised thinking I'd been cold decked, and doubled through QQ. Ouch for him. Yay for me. Two other times I had QQ over JJ and 10 10 over 99 and all were winners

You know how you're scared of the guy that's on a roll? For once I was the guy people were scared of! When I raised and missed the flop they all folded to my continuation bets. When I raised with my semi-bluffs, they all folded. I was the table captain with the big hands I hit and the way I controlled the betting.

It was one of those days!

Sidebar: I really enjoyed the Luxor poker room. They had some fun promotions in the morning where they gave a raffle ticket with every pot won and drew a number for $100 every hour (yes, I won one), and also hade out $100-$500 for quads and better hands. (I never got quads!)

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