We’ve all been there at least once: you’re sitting at a table and you’re on fire. You’re winning pot after pot and the cards are all going you’re way. You’re in the zone. You’re up a lot of money.
There have been a few times in my day when I was up a significant amount of money, thought I should go home, and didn’t. This is not a story about me, but from my perspective from the other side of the coin.
There are a few things that creep through one’s mind when in this situation: I just want to get up to X amount before I go home… I’m hot right now; I will just play one more round of blinds… etc. etc etc.
It was a typical busy Saturday night at the famed Commerce Casino in Southern California. I was playing a $100 buy-in no-limit game with a cast of colorful characters. There was an old Asian woman, a sleepy man with a hard, wrinkled face, a few other young guys all equipped with hats or sunglasses or headphones and you know they watch the WSOP on tv, and one middle-aged woman who looked out of place. As soon as I sat down I was greeted by a man to my right who I will call “Chuck” because he looked like Chuck Lidell from the UFC. I eyed his stack, noting that he had probably around $500 in chips. He was quite talkative and told me that his friend had taught him the secret to winning (the games tend to be pretty soft at the low stakes). He was also saying that it was a friend’s birthday party at a local bar and that he had to leave in an hour (It was around 7:30 PM at that time).
Chuck and I played a hand together where he busted me with a higher spade flush. He leaned back in his seat, collecting his chips triumphantly, and had no idea that things were about to turn around for him.
After I bought back in, a few very loose and wild players entered the game. One of the newcomers was a very wild playing lady who seemed to have plenty of money and was playing every pot and chasing every draw down to the river even if she had to go all-in. To make things worse, there was a guy who had no problem bluffing most of the hands he was in. Now it was around 8:30 PM and Chuck said he was going to play one more round and then go. He changed his mind though, when my AK beat his K9 with on a 10-K-5-K-2 board.
After a few more beers and a few more lost pots, Chuck leaned over to me and said, “I’m still up a few hundred, I’ll leave in a few minutes. Just another hand.” I shook my head and told him that he should go or he’ll lose it all. He kept leaning back over and muttering, “Just another hand.” And then I doubled up again, courtesy of Chuck.
As I stacked my chips, satisfied to have gotten my first buy-in back from him, I turned to him and said he should go because there’s a Laker’s game on and he didn’t want to miss that. I was trying to help him out before he lost all his winnings. Then, the wild lady took him down with 63os by rivering a straight to beat his flopped set of sevens. Chuck shook his head, his eyes a little crazy and probably on-tilt, and he bought back in.
Luck came his way for a little while, and he came up a couple hundred again when things turned around again. It had been a couple hours now of him leaning over and saying, “Just one more hand.” He folded a big pre-flop raise with 66 in which he would have flopped another set and won a massive pot, which definitely sent him on-tilt. Now, instead of saying, “Just one more hand,” he would lean over, his beer breath wafting my way, and say, “Shoulda’ played those sixes.”
Finally I said to him, “You should just go, you don’t want to lose too much tonight.” I felt bad for the guy. Not only was he missing the party, but this game had a hold on him and he was losing everything. Normally, I don’t mind if people stay and blow away all their money at my table, but this guy was chill and I liked talking to him. He ignored my advice though and bought in one last time. At around 12:30 AM, I, his biggest supporter ended up giving him the gauntlet and sending him home. With about $350 I had 9-10 of spades and the flop was 9-10-5 with two hearts. Chuck bet $50 and I just called. Turn was 10 hearts. I bet half the pot and Chuck called. River was 2 of hearts and Chuck quickly went all in with his 4-3 of hearts: a flush that couldn’t stand up to my boat. I called and Chuck ended up slamming his hand on the table and walking away from the table, angry with his hands on his head about to rip out his hair.
The moral of the story: leave when you should, or I will take your chips.