You can read all about the weekend on www.JCAlvarado.com. Anyway, we arrived at the Commerce Casino and I was too tired to play, but that did not prevent me from instantly flipping my sleep schedule to European time.
Aside from the fact that when I'm there I lose track of whether it's night or day outside, only eat at the poker table and see nothing but grumpy old degenerates every day for a whole month, the Commerce Casino is by far the best poker room there is. I just went downstairs to get a drink at 5 a.m. and walked into a room full of poker - it's unbelievable.
Now, I can understand a high-limit area being busy at all hours because there's a lot of money to be won or lost. But what really fascinates me is the low-stakes room is packed 24/7 with people that are just playing $4/$8 Limit Hold'em and games like that.
It really shows how many people just like playing the game and how the game will continue to draw newcomers to it as long as it keeps evolving and "keeps things fresh."
Today I played my first session and it seemed like I had forgotten what people are capable of in the good ol' SoCal cardrooms.
One guy in my game lost his original buy-in. I thought he was leaving but he pulled out about an $8k wad of cash from his pocket, counted out about $1,500 and sat back in. On his very first hand after that he was in middle position and he just slid his rack of chips into the middle of the table.
I thought he was kidding but when the action got to him and he left the rack across the betting line, I just started praying for aces or pretty much anything I could call him with.
He lost that buy-in too, then another, and I was getting frustrated because I couldn't pick up a hand and I was down about $500. He once again reloaded and when he had $1,300 behind he moved in without looking down at his cards.
It folded to me in the big blind and I was just hoping for anything reasonable - I might have called him with Q-8 in that spot, but I obviously wouldn't want that.
I peeled my first card and it was an ace; I insta-called. He didn't want to look at his hand until the end so I had to sweat out the board and just pray he missed when I saw that the board didn't help me at all.
On the river, the board was J-J-K-9-Q rainbow. This guy looks down at his first card and flips over a three; he peels his second one and it's a Q to scoop the $2,700 pot. Oh well.
It's tough to see a guy move in in the dark every hand and lose thousands to the whole table, and then be the one guy that doubles him up. Fortunately for me though I went on a little bit of a rush when he had $2,700 behind. I had A-K twice and pocket nines, eights and sevens three hands in a row.
The guy didn't move in every one of those hands but he did for a couple of them and I ended up taking everything back by limp re-raising him every time. After that I took a little bit more off of him and he got up and left, down about $7 or $8k.
After that fish left I was still sitting at a table with eight other fish that I had forgotten even existed. The game started to break once the guy left and although this is sometimes a bad thing, when it happens in live poker I love it.
In fact I would go as far as to say that I'd rather play four-handed vs. regulars in a live game than to sit nine-handed with a huge fish. A lot of live players just have absolutely no clue about how to play shorthanded, and I love it.
So for the next 45 minutes that the game kept going I raised every hand and bluffed every street. I might be exaggerating a little bit but if I had to put a number on it I would say that I raised 90% of my hands outside of the blinds, and bet 98% of the time when checked to me.
I made another thousand or so off of the shorthanded session without seeing a showdown. I wish that game could have kept going all night long, but the three players remaining decided to quit and I just cashed out.
Overall, I had an okay winning session but I still felt like I lost money. I mean when you have a guy moving in every hand it's hard not to feel like you should get every penny he had on him, but that's never how it works out.
I've quickly come to the realization that poker is a hollow game of insufficiency: 99% of the time you'll be left with that feeling of wanting more, like when you stuff your face with really good sushi and you feel hungry 20 minutes later.
If you win money off of a fish you usually feel like you should have won more; if you get second in a tournament (something I'm all-too-familiar with) you'll feel like what you got wasn't enough and you should have won.
I guess I need to learn to be satisfied with any positive result before I end up chasing results that will leave me flat busto - or will that drive actually make me filthy rich? I guess there's a fine line, and I just have to find it through experience.
For now I'm going to be avoiding most tournaments. I might play the $2,500s, which I had good results in last year, and I will almost definitely play the LAPC main event to try and get that $2.4 mil that I had within reach exactly one year ago. GL ME!