The Lake Provides No Relief

Wednesday, July 12th, 2006, 7:36 pm

Mired in the worst losing streak of my poker career, I thought a trip to the lake last weekend might shake me out of the doldrums. The trip didn’t get off to a good start–while picking up Ted I saw that my rear left tire was half-flat. I didn’t hear air hissing out, and it didn’t seem to be getting worse, but a 90-minute drive might not have been the best way to test it out. We’d just finished loading the car, so we had to transfer everything to Ted’s car then take mine back to my house. Then I had to listen to Ted’s choice of music on the way up. Let’s put it this way–the BEST choice among his CDs was Duran Duran’s Greatest Hits.

By 10PM or so the usual suspects had arrived, I had three or four Yuenglings in me, and it was time for poker. Last year at the lake was a nightmare for me, pokerwise–I don’t think I won a single game. I know I didn’t the last 2 times we went up. And with me in a downward spiral I needed to get off to a good start.

And a good start I got. I played lots of pots, played the Hammer to tilt-inducing perfection, and ended heads-up against Debbie. My nemesis. As Napoleon had Wellington, as Rommel had Montgomery, I have Debbie.

I had her about 3-1, but what does that mean when Debbie is involved? I did get her to lay a few hands down with well-timed bluffs, giving me confidence. Though that confidence was shaken when all the money went in with me holding K-5 and Debbie K-2. With a deuce showing on the flop. But I had a feeling…you know how it is, you just KNOW your card is going to show. Of course, 90% of the time when you have that feeling it ends up being totally wrong, but still. I had a feeling a five would hit on the river. And, shades of Dutch Boyd! A five on the river, and I reigned supreme! It felt good to hand a three-outer on someone for a change. Especially when it’s Debbie.

Alas, I was to be punished for my hubris.

The next game began with me picking up hands. Won with pocket eights, won with Queens, won with the Hammer. And then I was dealt pocket aces. There was action ahead of me, so I kicked it up there content to take the pot right there. But Neil called. The flop came King high, Neil made a healthy bet, and I decided to end this nonsense right now. “All-in,” I said, and Neil went into the tank. He thought long and hard, long and hard enough to convince me that he had a king he wasn’t too happy with. Which made me very happy. I didn’t care what he did, and he ended up calling with K-10. I rolled over my aces and started designing blueprints for the chip castle I would build with this pot.

Until a goddam ten hit on the turn. I mean, come on! “Pair the board?” I asked the Poker Gods, and they answered, “Yea!”. Trouble is, they put another king out there, and I was first man out.

“Nice hand,” I sneered and went to the kitchen for a cookie. Neil won that game, with MY chips. Bastard.

Riddle me this–we played poker until 3AM, an early night for us. I drank, oh, 20 beers. Yet not only did I not puke my brains out, I wasn’t even that drunk. I even read for 30 minutes before turning out the lights. Yet if I have 3 beers after playing volleyball I get this goofy smile on my face and start waxing poetic. I can’t blame it solely on dehydration, because I get goofy even when I’m only WATCHING volleyball. Could the emotional, mental, and physical requirements of poker in some way accelerate the body’s ability to synthezize alcohol? Probably…not.

The next morning I woke without a hangover, but that didn’t mean I didn’t enjoy my favorite hangover cure–zipping along the lake in the JetSki and plowing through the waves to kick up freezing curtains of spray. It never fails to exhilarate and clear the mind. Let me say this–I have newfound sympathy for Ben Roethlisberger. There is a particular thrill about going at a high rate of speed with the wind blowing through your hair. It wouldn’t be the same with a helmet on. It also wouldn’t be the same if I fell off the JetSki as opposed to a motorcycle. Water doesn’t do the same damage as steel or concrete. So while I think riding a motorcycle without a helmet is crazy, I understand it’s appeal.

Set a personal speed record–got it up to 53MPH. That’s a pretty good clip, even on glass-smooth water. It wasn’t really a good weekend for the JetSki, as the sun stayed hidden most of the time and the whipping wind-chill dropped my core body temperature down toward 90 degrees. Still a blast.

More poker Saturday night, and Debbie took her revenge. Down to three against her and her husband Scott (yeah, no collusion there) I had my lucky hand, pocket tens. I raised, Debbie called. The flop came nine-high, she bet, and I pushed all-in. She had me easily covered, and so she called…with jack-high. She called me with jack-high! The turn was a bad card for me, as it gave her a flush draw. And the river sucked–it was a jack. And I was out.

I got knocked out the next time by Tara…darn it, I don’t recall the exact details. Oh, now I do. She’d survived an all-in against me when I held A-10 and she held jacks. Then I was dealt the jacks, and she she called with K-J. You know what came on the flop, and I was out again.

I was snakebit and stayed snakebit. Couldn’t put two hands together. Haven’t been able to in the last 2 weeks. I haven’t been playing much, but when I have, I’ve gotten killed. Really wished I’d skipped the Full Tilt bonus and just cashed out. I would’ve had a little spending money for the wine festival I’m going to this weekend. I just got bounced in a SNG to a guy who won five consecutive all-ins…each calling with the worst hand or the bad end of a coin flip. I pushed with pocket nines, he called off 1/3 of his stack with Q-10. He made Broadway by the turn. And that was the best call he made.

Sigh, sigh, sigh. I thought I was playing good for awhile and then the wheels fell off. I planned on giving my game more attention when I moved into my apartment and the house was sold, but I kinds need to find a job first. Sigh, life won’t let me devote my time to my poker. And the way I’m running, life might be doing me a favor.

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