Thursday, June 16, 2011

Ocala Poker

On Sunday, I drove from a bachelor party weekend in Destin to Orlando for a week long business trip.  I looked on the internet and found a poker room at the Jai-Alai place in Ocala where I could spend some time Sunday afternoon and evening.

The address didn't show in my GPS but I figured I would see some signs for it in Ocala.  I apparently blew right past it and didn't start looking for it until I actually hit Ocala. Since it wasn't in my GPS I looked it up on the trusty iPhone and realized it was 15 miles back up I-75. According to the website, it is "located half way between Gainesville and Ocala." D'oh! Truth be told, I was distracted by all of the Cafe Risque billboards. So back the way I came for another 20 minutes and then I finally found the place. It is in the middle of nowhere but sure enough, they had 1/1, 1/2, and 2/5 games running.

I bought in for $100 at the 1/1 and immediately played 1 hand before getting moved to my seat at the 1/2.  We had a couple of gamblers at this table that would see flops. One of the gamblers was pretty good and was running great. He was a young kid that used to deal there. He was good at extracting value and putting people on hands. He had the deadly combo of running great and getting paid.  He flopped a set of kings 3 times in less than 2 hours and got paid every time.  I didn't get involved in to many pots in the first hour or two and was slowly getting blinded away.  I tried to steal some pots but usually got push off pots when I got a caller or 2 and then a raise. To induce a little more action or fight boredom, I started doing some straddles and that would build the pot a little better.  My timing was pretty good because I was able to hit some good flops whenever I did straddle.  This got me back over the original buy-in and then the heater began.

I'm in the big blind and we have some early position action with almost everyone calling behind so I complete with the almighty 4,7 offsuit.  The flop comes out a terrific 4,4,7 with 2 diamonds.  Weeeeeee!  I do my usual early position check and let the action unfold.  We get a bet, a raise, and a call by the time it gets to me.  I grabbed some raising chips but then put them back and just called.  Yikes, major tell there.  I clearly wanted the diamond draw to come and I couldn't have advertised it any better.  Sure enough, the turn brings the 3rd diamond.  I check again to see how the flush draw that got there was gonna play.  The first guy checks and the other gambling guy puts out a good size bet.  The tightest player at the table is next to act and just calls.  Now its to me and I have about $50 more left after I call so I go ahead and push all in.  The gambling dude thinks for a bit and calls.  Now it's to the tightest player at the table.  He thinks for a couple of minutes and folds.  We flip over our cards and he's got 4,6 and is drawing dead.  He actually caught his boat on the river but mine was better.  The tight player showed us the nut flush that he folded.  Damn old rockie coots!

This put me back to being up slightly over a buy-in.  After folding for the next 5 hand,  I was ready to leave because I still had 1.5 hours to go to my hotel. I grabbed an empty rack to put my chips in after the next hand. I had 2 more free hands before I was big blind. I look down at UTG+1 and have 2 black Aces. I make it 11, a short stack behind me calls and the guy I just doubled through earlier makes it $25. I have about 210ish in front of me and am willing to just take this pot and book a +150 win for the night so I push. The shortie call his last 30 or so and the other guy thinks and finally calls. Fortunately, he had recently topped up and won a pot so he had over 200 total. The shortie has AJ and we all know what the poor bastard with the big stack had, KK. I quietly ask for my hand to hold. How many times have we lost it all on the "last hand" that we intended on playing, or the 1 after we should have quit? The flop is a wonderful wiff with no draws for either. The turn seals the deal with another ace and I rake one of the biggest pots of my life. I tip the dealer and tell him I'm done. I told the table that I wasn't hitting and running, it was already my last hand. They were cool with it and said they saw me grab the rack before the hand started.

I didn't play particularly well. I had too many tells that I caught myself doing and at least 2 of the other players saw them also. I did make some good laydowns and never really got myself in trouble. I was card dead for a while and bled down to a $40 or slightly below before I went on the heater by winning a couple of good pots and then the biggie.

Since I have a coworker riding back with me tomorrow and I'm so ready to be home, I will have to skip the Ocala Poker Room on the return trip.  I don't expect to be back in the area any time soon, especially not by myself, so who knows when my next casino poker session will be.  I was going to try to meet some friends over in Tunica, but the flooding has put those plans on hold for a bit.  I will have to live vicariously through the bloggers that are in Vegas right now and follow the progress of the winner of our home game league that will be playing an event any day now.  My 2% interest in him could be worth tens of dollars if all goes well.

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