It’s been a long morning, and I’m tired from playing with my youngest daughter all day. The house is a mess, and I’m not really sure how all of the pots from the kitchen ended up in the living room. But here we are. I haven’t thought about poker all day, in fact I haven’t thought about much of anything. The decision between a wooden spoon and a plastic spatula as my drumstick of choice is the toughest one I’ve made all day. I know, not exactly the fantasy life of a high stakes poker player you had in mind.
It’s half past noon and I’m just about finished with the modest meal I’ve prepared for the family. My wife and oldest child arrive home from school, and I’ve been awake since 630, and am teetering on the edge of taking the day off and spending it at home with the family. After the meal I check the phone to see what games are running today. “If there’s nothing above 5/10 running I’m staying home,” I tell the family, secretly hoping that will be the case. To my surprise I see an unfamiliar site on the Bravo app, two 25/50’s running. “Must be a whale in town, I gotta go.” I say to my wife as I kiss everyone and head out the door.
Still tired, but filled with hope, I put the old Honda into gear and back out of the driveway. In twenty minutes I’ll have to be ready to duel with an assortment of characters; some familiar and others not yet known. There’s something about that drive to the casino that always gives me some energy. The Vegas strip quickly comes into view and my heart beats louder with the anticipation of the fight to come. “Welcome to the Bellagio,” says the Valet ready to take my keys and park my car for me. “Thanks” I say as I give him a couple dollars for the trouble.
Walking in, my pace becomes quicker and more electric. I might as well be running at this point as I approach the high limit podium of the poker room. “One seat left” the floor man tells me. Perfect. I head to the cage and place two flags on the counter, a minute later I’m in my seat with $10k in front of me. I survey the table, and to my disappointment the game looks pretty tough. Normally, when a 25/50 breaks out it’s for a reason, and today is no different, I am just a bit late to the party.
The game I sat in is a must-move game, which feeds the main game to keep it full. Normally the must-move game is juicier than the main game because the fish have a hard time making it through to the main game without busting. Not only that, but fish don’t usually play as long as the regulars do. When a whale comes to town, however, things change. The main game is usually 7-8 regs and the whale, and a must-move is filled with other regs waiting to get their shot at the whale who might drop 50k in one sitting. These must-move games are usually low on action as it feels like a waiting game to see who gets up from the main game. I decide that I’ll give the must-move a chance, because you never know who’s tilted and ready to dust it off.
The first hand I play is on the button. A good player opens the pot to 150 and a player in mid position flats, I’m dealt two sixes so I come along as well. Both of my opponents have me covered. The flop comes down 9d 6d 5s. Beautiful, a draw heavy board versus two aggressive opponents who I have some history of playing big pots with small hands against. The opener checks and the flatter bets 350. I raise it up to 1100 as I would with some flush draws and other inferior hands, he quickly calls. The turn is the Ace of clubs. He checks to me and I bet 1600 into the pot of 2,725. He thinks for a bit before sliding in the call. I am trying to imagine the hands he’s calling me down with. The Ace high flush draw (now top pair), 89, 88, 77, TT and JJ are all in his wheel-house. Even the nuts are a good possibility as this player is capable of check-raising all in on the river with his entire range. The river is an off-suit 3 and he checks. I’ve put $2,850 into this $5,900 pot, which leaves me with about 7k on the river. Should have sized my turn bet bigger so I could shove. Oh well. I could still shove, but I decide that even if the chances are low, I’ve seen this player check raise all in with very little fold equity as a bluff, so I had to give him even the tiniest bit of rope. I bet 3800, leaving myself with 3200 behind, probably the size I’d go for if I were bluffing too. He thinks for a few minutes before tossing in the call, followed by his cards quickly into the muck. Good start, I think to myself, as I proceed to cooler another player with AA vs QQ for $15k, and just never lose any significant pot.
An hour into my session, the whale quits before I get a chance to play with him. I look down at my chips and realize I’m up $25,000. Not a bad hourly, and I feel a yawn coming on...I rack up my chips and head to the window. Who needs whales anyways? Shark meat will do in a pinch.