It’s a typical Saturday night from before the lockdowns. I make way into the poker room and get a seat at a 2/5 table. I put 1k on the table and have a few extra bullets in my pocket just in case, but I hope to not use them.
Since it’s the weekend I’m expecting a table of about half regs and half fun players. My usual game plan is to play conservatively until I get a feel for the table and all the opponents.
I immediately spot 3 players drinking alcoholic beverages. I make a mental note they are probably fun players. I see one guy with a hoodie up and sunglasses on and assume he’s the biggest fish of everyone. I see two solid regs I’ve played multiple times and a couple unknowns. But it looks generally like a table I can make some money at.
I’m emotionally flat and calm after getting some exercise earlier and I feel like I’m about to play some solid poker. Let’s do it.
I patiently fold every hand for the first few orbits waiting for a premium. I’m still not comfortable enough yet with the table to start widening my ranges. First playable hand is KK in the hijack. There is a 4x open from UTG from someone I marked as a fun player. I make it 13bb. He calls and it’s heads up. I assign him any pair between 7s and 10s or KQ AJ, with AJ being the most likely unpaired holding based on fact I’m blocking hands with a king. I expect 4bets from AK AQ or JJ based on my read of this player. Flop comes K56 with two clubs, I don’t have a club. He donk leads into me for just over full pot. This feels like a dream spot. My read now is that he has AcJc exactly. Classic theory says I should let him keep bluffing, but based on watching him play for a while I expect this player is not folding to any raise with a hand he can be donk leading with. I tank for a minute then announce all-in for a massive overbet. He has me covered. He shrugs and quickly calls with the exact hand I believed he had AcJc. Of course he gets there. Not with the flush but the turn and river are Q and 10.
Ok fine. They have to win sometimes. It’s what keeps them coming back. “Don’t be results oriented” I tell myself. I brush it off and pull a yellow chip from my pocket. Still not tilted. Round #2. Let’s go.
Sticking with the original game plan. Despite playing conservatively over the next few hours I manage to lose a few more buyins. Aces cracked by a rivered two pair. Then top set cracked by a rivered flush. Both times I got my money in good. I’m down to my last bullet. If I lose this I’m going home. I’m slightly tilted now but still in control.
Now I have 8s6s on the button. There is an open from UTG for 5x. Two players flat call before it gets to me. I decide to come along for a reasonable price hoping for a miracle, but planning to fold on almost every flop. Both blinds also call. 6 way pot 30bb in the middle. The flop comes 865 with two diamonds. I have no idea what these players have. SB leads for about half pot. Everyone flat calls until it gets to me. I have no idea what’s going on. The only player I’m worried about is the small blind. Nobody in their right mind, not even a Saturday night rec player is slowplaying a big hand on this board with this many players. I take a few minutes to process the situation and feel as though I have the best hand and assume everyone else is drawing. The SB is the only player I’m worried about and I notice he doesn’t have have even another half pot bet left. Several deep stacks are after him and I believe I can get it all in good against their draws given the pot size. I’m willing to bet my stack none of them have hand stronger than my top 2 pair right now. I say a silent prayer and announce all in. The SB quickly calls. BB folds. There are calls and rejams from the remaining 3 players after. This is now a 5 way all in. I can’t even count how much is in the pot. My initial read of the situation was clearly wrong.
Everyone tables their hands.
Player 1 (SB) 55
Player 2 (UTG) AA (original raiser, the hoodie sunglasses guy)
Player 3 (+1) 66
Player 4 (HJ) 97o
Player 5 (me the donk) 86
The dealer spends a few minutes sorting out the side pots while I’m sitting there stunned at my stupidity and how easily I could be trapped like this. I’m thinking of all the other things I could have been doing on a Saturday night instead. For some reason I have an urge to phone my mother and tell her I love her.
There is one faint hope. An 8 will save me. But I’ve given up.
I stand up and start putting on my coat. It’s over. I’m done. I’m never playing poker again. I’m an idiot and I have no business playing this game. If I can be trapped by these fish this easily it’s time to find a new hobby.
The dealer starts to peel the river. I watch with no expectation to win, I’m just looking for closure. Wait. It looks like an 8. It can’t be an 8 because I’m not allowed to win. The poker gods don’t allow rivers in my favor. Wait it is actually an 8. I win. What the hell? How did this happen? Were the sadistic gods not paying attention for just this minute? I won I win.
A massive pile of chips starts moving in my direction. It takes multiple pushes for the dealer to complete the delivery. I’m in shock. Some of the losing players start chirping and leave the table, cursing at me as they leave. I don’t even acknowledge the noises their mouths are making, I’m too focused on stacking a pile of chips that feels like Mt. Everest. I tell the dealer to deal me out for a few hands, I’m too excited and can’t play right now and only worry about organizing my stack.
Shortly after the floorman comes over and says this table is being broken up. I realize after that hand I’m now up a few hundred dollars on the day. I decide to quit while I’m ahead.
I cash out and get in my car and head home.
Just another Saturday at the office.