For my 30th birthday, my friend Speck bought me the first volume of Harrington on Hold 'Em and I devoured a few chapters in the week before my trip out to Las Vegas. I didn't do any of the workbook problems, and maybe I should have before I hit the casinos on Friday night.
It was fairly late in the evening--or early in the morning--when I stumbled upon the poker room at PH (aka Planet Hollywood). My friend Marc had just arrived from Los Angeles, and we were about to start a heavy night of drinking. Because this was my 30th birthday party weekend, the other people who were with me that night graciously let me set the tone of the evening's drinking and followed me through and around the various winding pathways that can get you lost and alternately dump you as close to as many slot machines to catch your eye as possible. The room itself was small, maybe only 10 tables, half of which were full. I'd had a Jack and ginger at the Heart Bar mere minutes before I went to the desk to ask about the availability of a $1/$2 NL Hold 'Em table, just to check. When I was told that yes, there was a seat free, did I want to take it, I choked. Before I knew it, I had borrowed $30 from my best friend Lewis to make up the $50 minimum buy-in, and sat down at a full table.
To my left was an Asian lady, but I didn't stay long enough at the table to see if she was what Dr. Pauly calls a "Crazy Asian lady." I do remember that she had a big stack and was likely bullying the table all night because the frat boy to my right celebrated pretty noisily when he beat her with a flush draw on the river, and the rest of the table was pretty appreciative as well. I didn't catch any cards at all until I hit J-J on the button. The initial bet was $5, which I called. I knew I was playing short-stacked, but I figured that I should at least see the flop, y'know?
On the next round of betting, I pushed a few people out with a $15 raise, which frat boy called behind me. The turn paired aces, and my next move was to bet $20, which FB called again and even more people got out of the way. Honestly, things were moving so quickly that I wasn't watching the table carefully enough to notice that there was a flush possibility. I think we all know where this is going because when it came time to flip 'em over, he made his flush draw, and I exited the room with grace and dignity.
Hannah told me later that since she subscribes to the A2C (any two cards) newsletter and I was short-stacked, I probably made the right call. My poker mentor Aaron concurs, and he said he'd teach me more when we go to Atlantic City in November. I'm not too upset because I did fully go into that room expecting to lose whatever money I was going to bet because I'm still learning how to play this game. The rounds went faster than I was ready for. Hell, my money went faster than I was ready for. But I think that's something that I'll have to adjust for and get used to if I really want to make a serious stab at this.