As I'm shutting down my computer at work, one of the doctors storms into the office. "Did you print it out?" What??? "I just sent you an e-mail. The printer downstairs doesn't have toner and I need you to print my grant out." I opened up Outlook and, sure enough, there was an e-mail from him with an MS Word attachment. I wanted to say, "No, I'm leaving," but (1) he was the doctor who referred me to his wife for free LASIK surgery three years ago and (2) the grant application had to go out that evening or he might not have funding for his lab. Skipping the boring details, I didn't leave work until 7:30.
So, I missed the first tournament-style game of the evening. I went home and sang. Then I rushed to get to the host's home in time for the second game. I wasn't able to grab anything more than an Atkins Bar for dinner. But I didn't want to miss the second game. As one of the doctors who sympathized with my plight last night said, "You're probably due, too." Well, I was due, dammit!
I decided to play aggressively. The buy-in was only $5, so I didn't care much if I lost it, and I had to be done playing in an hour and a half because I had to pick K up at 11. Right off the bat I bought the blinds with a big bet and then got caught in a big bluff by someone who had an even worse hand than me. With an early chip lead I was relentless.
I've played great poker before and lost; I wouldn't call last night great poker. I was aggressive -- some might even say careless -- with my chips. I got people to fold hands that were probably better than mine. When I got called on a raise, I usually had something. I drew a four-of-a-kind in 5s to knock someone with a measly full house out of the game. (I laid down my hand another time when I would have caught a four-of-a-kind on the river, but that's life.) I mostly played smart, but the truth of the matter is that I capitalized on a couple of less experienced players to build up a commanding chip lead and was able to bully my way through the rest of the game. I only got about 2 or 3 really good hands all game; but Texas Hold 'Em is not about the cards, it's about how you bet. I'll readily admit I got lucky a few times when I got called on mediocre hands, but I kept getting called by players with even worse hands, and I played with the knowledge that I could afford a few losses thanks to my chip lead.
It finally came down to me and surrealestate, who is no slouch at poker. Anyone who has played any sort of game with her knows how competitive and skilled a player she is. Head to head with an even number of chips, I think she probably beats me better than half the time. But I had about 5-6 times as many chips as hers. It was only a matter of time before I muscled her out of the way, too.
It was satisfying to win last night, even though the take was only $25 for first place. It's been so frustrating the past couple of months playing good poker and often coming in second or third. It's nice to break through, finally. I just hope I don't have to wait so long for my second win.