Nice to be on a roll in the local hold'em game

Nice to be on a roll in the local hold'em game

October 17, 2017 3:00 AM


At one time or another, we have all had the wonderful experience of being “on a roll” – a prolonged spell of success or good luck at the poker table. What an awesome experience; great for your morale and psyche! What could be better than watching your stacks of chips growing and growing? What more could you ask for? But, there is much more to it than simply getting lucky one hand after the other.

The other day, I was in a $4-$8 limit game at my favorite local casino. During the first hour, I had few worthwhile starting hands (using Epstein’s Hold’em Algorithm); and those I did play to see the flop, rarely improved enough to warrant going further with them. I did go to the river with a few hands, and lost to better hands. There was one with which an opponent called with just two outs all the way, only to river me in a bad beat.

So, I was quite a bit behind when I finally took a pot on a semi-bluff. (I used the Esther Bluff to help me.) Actually, being behind really is not so unusual when you consider the cost-to-play and that you are playing against eight other players – the “enemy.” That’s pretty hefty odds against you.

But I was determined to be patient. Eventually, the dealer was bound to give me a winner. My turn “to get lucky.” I don’t recall the details of that hand; but, it sure felt good to scoop up a good-size pot.

Two hands later, I found myself with K-Q suited in the hole. In a middle position, I decided to just limp along and see what the flop would bring. (I know one out of three times, I can expect to pair up one of my non-pair hole cards.) It was another King with two medium/small other cards. A loose player before me came out betting. I assumed my hand was in the lead. Now I decided to raise to thin the field so my K-K would have a better chance to survive. As it turned out, I did not improve, but my pair of Kings took the pot. More chips for my stacks!

My confidence was growing. I was sure I was the best player at that table, and now I was getting my fair share of good luck. As the game continued and I won hand after hand, I realized I was on a roll; I was winning much more than my fair share of the hands. Now I was actually well ahead for this session.

As you can expect, eventually the starting hands became fewer, and I had started to lose back some of my hard-earned winnings. Variance – ups and downs – is inevitable in poker. I decided to take a break, go to the restroom, and then a short walk in the fresh evening air. As I breathed deeply, enjoying the warm summer breeze, I pondered about my experience. I realized my roll was more than just good luck. I had found myself with more confidence in using my poker skills. And, my opponents had become more respectful – perhaps even fearful – of me. That’s a reaction one might expect under the circumstances – all to my advantage.

Several opponents moved to other tables. The new players who sat down, could easily see my racks of chips, one atop the other. Apparently, they too were hesitant and perhaps overly cautious in playing against me. All to my advantage. And my confidence grew. I raised more frequently with drawing hands, so long as I had plenty of outs (I never chase); and my opponents folded more often.

By the time I had to pack up and leave, I had so many racks of chips, too many to carry to the cashier, I asked the lady who provides the chip service to cash them in for me. (I gave her a nice tip.) A great feeling!