Played at the Hustler again last night. As always, I started in the nightly tournament which was a $100 buy-in event. They started us with 10k in chips at 25/50 blinds so we had a lot of play. Couldn't get anything going and lost a major pot when I went all-in with 9k in chips at 300-600 blinds with AJ and got beat by a call from KQ. I was now really short and busted a few hands later.
As always, I headed over to the $300-500 5/5 cash game. A friend was seated at one of the 3 tables and I was given a seat across from him. I bought in for $500 and quickly got involved with TT. I raised to $25 from MP, had two callers to my left and one of the blinds. The flop comes 9TQr. I raised to $70. I suppose I could have slowplayed it, but I didn't want to give a free card on this board. Everyone folded.
I won a few more hands after that to bring my stack up to $800ish. Then things really slowed down. I went orbit after orbit looking at nothing but K3 type hands. When I did hit a hand I would almost always get rivered -- e..g, medium flush on turn, bet the pot, one caller, 4 card flush on river, lose to A. Or I have QQ, flop AK, have to fold to re-raise. Or A9, 99 on board, but four flush by river, etc. In my last two sessions I got a little too bored or pissed and tried to press with borderline hands that put me in the position of making difficult decisions on later streets. This time I just tried to sit back and play my game. I brought my headphones and I really think that it helped pass the time and get into a better rhythm.
During my down times I really focused on getting a read on the table. There were three players who I felt I could read very well and I tried to play pots with them. Especially when I was in position. My stack never went much below the starting $500. My key hand happened when I raised from MP to $20 with 88 and was RR from the button to $80. I called for set-value and the flop came a beautiful 58J. I checked, he bet $200, I pushed and doubled up against his KK.
It was now approaching 1am, and I really wanted to play tennis early on Sat am, but I was feeling good and my friend was staying so I played on. A few hands later I pick up JJ in the BB. There are 5 limpers to me and I make it $45. The KK player makes the call. The flop comes Axx with two spades. I lead for $75 and he mini-raises. I call. This is one of the players who I felt I had a good read on. The turn pairs the A. I decide to check and he makes it $150. My plan when I checked was to check-call if he bet (I could have led out, but would have been forced to fold to a RR). I spent some time on the call but picked up some weakness. I had noticed a few hands where he was strong, and it was very obvious to me that there was a difference in his manner here. His bet was also very weak. This guy tended to raise much more with big hands. I called. Blank on the river. It goes check-check and he mucked when I showed.
I won a few pots with raises and continuation bets. Then this hand happens. I'm UTG+1 and there's a $10 straddle to my right. I have only T7h, but decide to limp. Not great, but I was just stacking my chips from a nice pot, so decided to play. There's a bunch of limpers and the straddler makes it $60 more. Normally I throw this hand away without hesitation, but this guy had lost some brutal hands and I feel he is steaming a bit. I also felt that he played very straightforward, respected my game (didn't think I would do anything out of line) and of course I had position. My biggest gamble was that it would be only the two of us. Luckily everyone folded. The flop comes Axx with two hearts. Pretty good flop for me. He makes it $100 and I call. A T hits on the turn. He now bets $100 again. It felt to me that he was not crazy about his hand and this was a blocking bet. He might have had a weak A, but it felt more like air or a pocket pair. It might have been as good as JJ-KK, but no way to be sure. What I did know was that I had outs, second pair and an opponent who was uncomfortable and respected my bets so I raised $150 more (he had about $350 left). He folded and asked if I had the A. Of course I told him yes.
I won a few more pots after that, some with good hands, some using my position. By 2:30am and with 1600 in chips behind I decided it was time to get some sleep.