Let me just get this out of the way..****;dr, cool story bro, std imo, pics or gtfo, wall of text, 'bout tree fitty, but how much did you lose, etc. Whew...
Also, warning: this post is the back-story...if it's boring and nobody cares, I won't continue. I think I've had a pretty interesting few months leading up to the trip (I'm leaving for Vegas this Friday) so I thought I'd try my hand at a tr. I have very much enjoyed the great tr's on here, and I in no way expect to live up to those. But, if I can entertain a few people for a few minutes here and there, then that's ok with me.
I'm a computer nerd by trade, doing network security for a university here in Nashvegas. I'm 43, married with a 3 year old at home and one in the oven. I've been playing poker recreationally for about 15 years. I started out with stud/8, and moved on to hold 'em like everyone else, around 2002 or so, when the online game got rolling. I didn't really start taking my game at all seriously with regard to working to improve, tracking results, etc. until about three years ago (and even now, 'seriously' is a bit of a stretch). That's when I discovered the great underground poker scene here in town and began playing regularly in 1/2 and 2/5 nlhe ring games. I'm not about to quit my job or anything, but I have managed to convince myself that I'm consistently beating the local games as well as 1/2 NLHE casino games when I travel.
ANYway...about three months ago my wife's good friend Elizabeth announced that she was getting married in Vegas in late September. I've been going to Vegas to play a few times a year because I get 3x the vacation time that my wife gets, so this was a natural fit for me. The wedding is on the 23rd...oops, can't have that day off. But, I can fly out on the 24th, have a great time with my wife through the weekend, then she can fly home on that Monday and I'll stay until 10/4 and play. Perfect.
Issue: three months ago I was on the tail end of an extended break, or as Mike Sexton might say, "I was between bankrolls" not due to busting out, but due to life expenses getting in the way of keeping a poker roll separate from real world manies (ucwidt?).
Solution: get off my butt, bear down, and go to work. Play my best poker, work on my game, and build a bankroll.
Now, as I mentioned I'm a consistent winner in the local games, so this wasn't a terribly daunting task. I do reasonably well at my job money-wise, so it doesn't take much bankroll to get going again. On the other hand, I am not in a position to just go grab $2000 out of the bank and risk it playing poker. I generally grab a few hundred, and go about building a roll, until eventually something comes up and I spend it.
In any case, I found myself more motivated than ever, with a newly intense desire to play and work on my game, and to get to Vegas with a workable bankroll to play 1/2 while I'm there. It was June 20th or so, and I had a full 3+ months to get down to brass tacks, build a nice roll, and prepare for a fun Vegas trip. I still don't know why I had this change in perspective and attitude, but suddenly I was super serious about playing, and I felt ready...destined, even, to crush the games, make a bunch (relatively) of money, and in general, kick ass.
It's Monday night at Jimmy's game. I'm on the button with just under $500 in front of me, and I haven't looked at my cards yet. The game is as soft as it ever is going to get, and as this game generally does, it plays like 2/5 even though it's 1/2. Directly to my right is possibly the biggest donkey in the history of donkeys. He's one of those guys who can't really be called a fish, as he understands that the way he plays is ridiculous, but he can't overcome his gambling demon, even for a hand, ever. He's got about $450 in front of him, and he calls the $30 mp raise when the action gets to him.
I look down at two black kings and make it $160. The blinds fold, as does the mp raiser...Gamblor calls.
The flop comes 5d 2h Kd. Gamblor checks, I'm all-in, leaving me just $40 behind if he calls, which he does after about 2.25 seconds of careful consideration. The turn and river come Jd, 4h, and he turns over exactly what you'd expect someone to call $160 pre-flop with.
"Jimmy, give me three."
Roughly five weeks had gone by since I'd decided to get serious about my summer sessions in an effort to build a roll for my trip to Vegas, and I was on the books for $4,300. When I'd come back to playing in June, I had three good sessions in a row, but since then I'd been on a horrible down-swing. I lost all of the profit I'd made, then all of the $1,000 that I had started with as a roll, and now I was into Jimmy for over $4,000. I'm not going to make up a bunch of drama about how this is a guy you don't want to owe, because it's nothing like that at all. However, for a guy like me who normally stops at the ATM for $400 of spending money on the way to the game, and if he loses he doesn't come back for a few weeks, this was hugely depressing.
I was pretty sure I'd only made a few mistakes over that period of time, but I was on one of those stretches where I just couldn't win a hand. When I got that last $300, I was actually on for $4,600 inclusive, and as I got my chips out of the rack, I knew that this was it...if I couldn't get it turned around I was going to have to stop, cancel the extended trip to Vegas, and take what is to me a sizable chunk of real world money out of the bank to pay my debt. In fact, I'd already put in a transfer from a savings account on line, and had a check on the way.
I spent much of this time in a sort of daze. I'd never incurred any sort of gambling debt before, and I certainly wasn't about to get any deeper. I was intensely disappointed in myself for getting to this position, and I knew I'd never do it again. It was more than that though; I was shocked at how easily it can happen. I have a great relationship with Jimmy, so there was no problem there, but it felt like I was a couple of hundred in, and then all of a sudden I looked up and it was four grand...like 'how did this happen?' Of course I knew damn well how it happened, but I still couldn't shake the feeling that there was some loss of control there.
I used to wonder how people could possibly get into situations where they lose everything to gambling. Now, it isn't so hard to imagine. I'm not a very compulsive person, I do not carry much debt, and I've never had any gambling issues. And yet, there I was, a guy who's biggest buy-in ever was $300, and I had gone over $4,500 in debt in five weeks.
I no longer wonder how it happens.
This, friends, is not a good feeling, and I sincerely hope that you might take something from this and never get into this situation. It sucks. I learned a new humility through this episode, not to take things for granted. I did end up turning things around (keep reading), and I had committed to myself that I was done at that point, but what if I'd kept losing? Can I say that I know 100% that I really would have stopped? Would I have paid Jimmy, and then had a sense of relief that I was out of debt, picked up the shovel and started digging anew? Well, if you'd asked me in June what the chances were that I'd be over four grand in the hole in August I'd have looked at you like you had three heads. Now, I'm not so arrogant. I think that I really was committed to stopping, but...?
Luckily for me I ended up putting that $300 on about $900 before I left that night, and that started my long crawl out of the hole. It took me about three weeks to get back to even with Jimmy, and as of August 10 I was in the black roughly $300 including my original investment. In that "what doesn't kill you" kind of way, I'm glad it happened. Hopefully I've fully assimilated an important life lesson that I thought I learned 20+ years ago.
I'm in the cut-off, and I look down at Ac 10d. There's a $5 straddle on the button, and two limpers, when MP guy with about $800 or so makes it $25. I decide to call, as do two other players. The flop comes 10c 5c 10h. The action checks to the MP raiser, and he bets $45. I make it $200 straight...folds to the raiser, and he re-raises after no time for thought at all, to $600. This is interesting, because if this player had done this a year ago, I'm snapping all of my chips in there immediately, no hesitation. But, he's slowed down some in recent months, and has become a better player for it. However, there's no possibility of me laying this down in this spot, so I shove, and he, clearly committed, calls. The board bricks out, I turn over my cards, and I hear my favorite two words in poker. "It's good." The dealer pushes what is easily the biggest pot of the night my way (yes, this is the same 1/2 game), and I stack my chips.
I'm leaving for my Vegas trip in 3 days, and after that pot I had a little more than $2,400 in front of me, and $3300 in cash at home. Less the $200 I bought in for, and the initial $1,000 I started with in June, that makes $5,500 in my roll, a $9,100 swing in roughly eight weeks. Not exactly three stacks of high society, but I'll take it.
Last edited by dietDrThunder; 09-22-2010 at 03:54 PM.
I'm glad you're enjoying it. Just so you all know, I promise not to embellish at all on these...I really was on the books for that number, and it really did suck. I know I'm taking a chance starting the tr before I leave, as the trip might end up not being at all interesting, but oh well. Hopefully I'll have some interesting stuff to post.
Also, I plan on writing entries during the trip. I've never written about stuff in close to real time before, so I'm interested to see if it makes it better, or if it works better to have experiences ferment for a while before relating them. We'll see, I suppose.
I know I'm taking a chance starting the tr before I leave, as the trip might end up not being at all interesting, but oh well. ...Also, I plan on writing entries during the trip. I've never written about stuff in close to real time before, so I'm interested to see if it makes it better, or if it works better to have experiences ferment for a while before relating them.
I'd read any TR from somebody from Nashvegas. I'd make it a point to read a good TR, irrespective of where they're from. Nice start and I'm looking forward to its finish.
And you are taking a chance by starting it now, but it might work out well for you. That's not been my experience, but ymmv.
And remember, good writing and good times can make a TR great- even if the poker gods treat you shabbily.
Very good writing, and I like the idea that you are replaying events of the past few months, but the main part is your TR that hasn't even started yet! A new twist for sure. I can't wait for what is to come, and neither can you!