As has been the case for more then 3 years, I am celebrating my personal Friday today, on Monday. I enjoy 3 days off every week, and while I would like the financial gain of a fifth work day, there are many benefits to a 4 day work week. If things have been difficult at work that particular week, it gives me plenty of time to recharge and come back on Friday refreshed. It also gives me plenty of time with Jasmine and Asher, as I pick Jasmine up from school 4 times a week, as well as dropping her off in the morning 4 times each week. Asher and I spend my days off hanging out together and generally we have a great time. Come Friday when work calls once more, I am usually pretty exhausted from 3 and a half days of chasing after an active 16 month old little man. This morning as I quite literally danced my way through the morning routine at work, it dawned on me just how lucky I am to have the job I have. Now, financial considerations aside, it is quite uncommon for a job to have so many positive aspects as the one I have. There are plenty of things that need doing at work that adhere to structure and guidelines provided by the common that I work for. I need to assist the guys in a safe manner, ensure they are well fed, cared for, and supported. I spend time encouraging the guys to try tasks that they are capable of doing, and when something is out of your scope of capabilities, I am there to help with that. As usual the morning routine of getting ready started at 800 when I wake one of the guys and ask him to use the washroom, I assist with showering, getting dressed and I make breakfast for the 3 of us. I don't rush the guys, as there is nowhere that we need to be on my morning shifts, so the routine usually lasts until 1030 or even 1100 some days. Today, due to an unusual amount of pep in my step, the guys were ready to face the day by 945. One guy is in the living room as per usual, and this morning he is dancing to the music I have playing on my ipod. The other guy often gets upset in the morning as he is not a fan of the morning routine. He generally doesn't like taking a shower, and he particularly detests shaving. Today, after shaving a particularly bushy beard he had going on and helping him get dressed, he was red in the face but something was different about his mood. Within minutes he was sitting in his recliner, and promptly fell asleep. I realize that my good mood and my lack of anger while assisting this morning may have contributed to his not getting as worked up, and I am going to actively try this in the future. Anger begets anger as they say, whoever they are.
Now, to the reason for my good mood. With Sheila and the kids down in Quesnel to visit our families, I took place in the poker game as I usually do on Sunday afternoon. The Sunday game is usually fairly quiet as the tight regulars are often playing, and there may be only 1 or 2 loose cannons sitting down. A buddy of mine was sitting, and he likes to gamble as he so aptly puts it. I like to get involved, and if the table is generally passive, I will take the opportunity to play more hands. Within 30 minutes, the first big pot came my way.
In late position I tossed in $12 with 79 offsuit. I am looking to take control of the hand, buy the button, and take the pot down either right away, or on the flop. I get a call from my buddy in the big blind, and one of the limper. 3 handed to the flop, and I have the button. The flop is 885 2 spades. Checked to me and I fire $20 and recieve a call from the loose big blind. His range is so wide here that I have no clue where I should put him. He could be floating with high cards, he could flush drawing, he could have just the 5, or of course he could have caught trips. As I beg for an offsuit 6 in my mind, I recieve the card I want, 6 of diamonds. The big blind check calls $35, and when a harmless 3 of clubs comes on the river he check calls $50 and I announce straight. This caused a stunned pause as everyone realized that I had raised preflop, with someone saying: "well, I didn't have that hand in your range" in a playful manner. Little did I know that this was a sign of things to come.
In the next orbit, I tossed in $2 with Q9 diamonds from the cutoff, and paid another $10 when it was raised from the blinds. It was 5 handed to the flop with a pot of $60. The flop came down A 9 6 with the 6 of diamonds giving me middle pair and a back door flush draw. When the first 3 players checked to me I decided to bet. I felt that the 2 players who had limped in early position and just checked the flop likely did not hold an ace. If they had a weak one and had chose to check it, I might get them to fold to my flop bet, or to a bigger turn bet. I settled on $40 and tossed it into the $60 pot. A solid, tight player was behind on the button and he gave the spot some thought. He know me well enough and told me later that he couldn't see me having an ace as I had played so passively preflop. He decided to fold eventually. The small blind, who was the original raiser and the same villain from the previous hand, called the $40 and we were heads up after the others folded. The turn was the 3 of diamonds. I lit up inside as this was a very exciting card that allowed me to continue my line. After the villain checked I eyed up his stack which was about $180 and the pot was $140. Knowing that I was going to bet, I wanted to make a bet size that would still allow me to fold if he indeed went all in. At the same time, I didn't believe he had an ace as he checked the flop after raising preflop, and then just check called my flop bet. The most likely hand was 87 I felt, with a 9 also possible. He could hold a medium pair and have called the flop bet to see if I would shut down. I went with a $70 bet, half pot. This left me room to fold, but was also large enough that it may have convinced the villain that I was not folding to a push. He called the $70 quite fast and we had a $280 pot to the river. The 8 of clubs peeled off. At this point I was looking for a check down as any other play would have required some deep thought. I still wasn't convinced he had an ace, and I was still leaning towards 87, but it was entirely possible he had some combination of 2 pair. He contemplated his options a while, then checked. I checked behind and he announced that he had an 8. I tabled my Q9 of diamonds and dragged the pot, as he showed his 85 of diamonds, seemingly relieved that we hadn't found a diamond on the river. This was one of the funnest hands I have ever won, as I really doubted my chances of holding the winner. As if that wasn't enough, the session managed to get even better.
I had won a few more hands in the mean time through either value betting made hands, having solid starting hands hold up, and riding my high horse to a stack of around $600 from the $200 I started with. I was holding K9 off this hand in the small blind. Early position player made it $5 to go, and I completed along with 5 others. I made a joke saying: "I gotta flop the nuts to continue. This isn't the type of hand you want to catch a piece with." Sure enough the flop is K96 with 2 spades. I fire $20 into the $30 pot. I get a call from the same loose cannon as he seems determined to get me back for the other two hands. A call from the small blind sends us to the turn 3 handed. The turn is the 9 of hearts, completing my full house. I decide to get cute and make a small bet that may entice either loose opponent to go over the top. I bet $20 into the $90 pot. I was trying to tell them I was holding a K, but not one that I was proud of. Sure enough, the guy in position min raises to $40. The small blind called quite quickly. Here, I wasn't sure of my next move. Knowing I had the best hand I could just call and hope to get a ton of money on the river. There wasn't a card I feared much on the river, but if a scare card came it might stop the opponents from putting more money in. I settled on a raise, but one small enough that the guys would have a hard time tossing their hand away. I made it $100, $60 more then the raise I was facing. Without hesitating, the villain was all in for $350. The small blind stepped aside and I called showing my full house. The villain had the case 9, holding 97 offsuit and he was drawing dead. My stack had hit $1000 and we hadn't been playing for 2 hours at that point.
It was a great feeling to have solid play and a ridiculous amount of luck come together in a perfect storm type of situation. I have been feeling really good about my game lately, and I am confident in my abilities at the table. Knowing the regulars really well is helpful, and I rely on what I know about the opponents to maximize my winning spots and reduce the size of my losses against tighter regulars. Putting the proverbial pen to paper in this space and discussing specific hands, or the game in general has helped me keep everything in perspective. Support from my family has been great also, as I think Sheila has accepted that poker is a source of income for me and for her, Jasmine and Asher. I have read significant material on the game, and that has really helped me develop an understanding of the finer points of the game, some that are way beyond anything my opponents are thinking about. As I finish up work for the week, I can't stop smiling about the Sunday afternoon poker game that resulted in my biggest winning session ever. After more the 5 years playing live cash games, I would never have predicted that in a million years.