My tour of the bay area card rooms continued recently at Lucky Chances in Colma which is a little south of San Francisco proper. I was too lazy to take a picture, but not too lazy to find this stock photo on the internet of what it looks like inside.
Before I get to that, for the record I have to breeze through another session. I was at Bay 101 for 5.5 hours. I lost a couple of all ins vs short stacks including AT < QQ and KJ < Q9, spewed off $350 on one hand with AK in a straddled 3 bet pot and generally had nothing good happen to me. I lost $565. Sad face.
The Lucky Chances sessions was much more interesting. My best memories of Lucky Chances are 20+ years old when I was still in college playing $9/$18 limit hold'em in the hours between midnight and 8 am. Poker was always so exciting in those days!
Anyway, I bought in for $1,000 in the $3/$5 game (There is no $2 blind on the button) which is the max. I saw a "kill" button on the table and quickly discovered that the game was playing "winner kill" which is similar to a rock straddle in the sense that the winner of the pot puts out a $10 blind. But I think in general with a rock straddle it's 100% mandatory and the action starts to the left of the straddle. In this game I believe you could object and not straddle (this did not happen a single time) and the straddle acted last preflop. Unlike other games I've played recently where it's straddled some of the time this was a straight up $10 big blind game.
And my opponents were TRASH! For the first 2 hours this was the best game I've been in in 2022. These dudes were so passive and in a totally linear way scaled their bet sizing based on the strength of their hand. When they made something a small bet meant a hand that was just barely good enough to bet, a half pot sized bet meant a solid, but non nut hand and when they had a monster they'd go huge.
After 6 or 7 pots where I raised preflop, bet the flop, and won with no resistance I got dealt KQ of hearts made it $50 over two $10 limpers and took the flop 3 ways with the button and one of the limpers. The flop came down K63 rainbow and after the limper checked I decided to check for deception. The button quickly fired out $90. I took my time like I was thinking about what to do and called. The turn was an 8, I checked again and he instantly ripped it in for $400! Despite the fact that big bets almost always meant big hands, this was the driest board in the universe with no draws other than 54 and no two pair combos that call a raise to $50 preflop. I thought with a set I'd see a bet of $150 on the turn followed by $250 on the river, not just a ship and also that AK would have 3 bet preflop. I called feeling 90% sure I was up against a worse king. Sure enough after a blank river my opponent showed KT practically reaching for the pot because he was so sure it was good. Sorry bro! My pot!
A little later I had two hands against a younger guy who seemed like a regular player and was talking non stop. On the first hand Mr. Talky raised to $35 on the button vs one limper, I called in the big blind with 65 of spades and we took the flop 4 ways along with the straddle and the limper. The flop came down 865 with two diamonds giving me bottom 2. We all checked over to Mr. Talky who bet out $75. I grabbed three $100 chips off my stack and slid them into the pot. The others folded and Mr. Talky AGONIZED over what I might have. He had about $1,000 when the hand started and I was ready to stack off hoping he had an over pair. Eventually he folded, but for at least the next 30 minutes he would not shut up about this hand! It was clear that he was suspicious that I might have had a flush draw or a combo draw and regretted folding. I told him nothing!
At that point I got dealt AJ of spades on the button and raised to $40 after Mr. Talky limped. Along with the big blind we went 3 ways to a flop of Q93 with one spade. They checked over to me and I checked it back. The turn was the K of spades and Mr. Talky bet out $35. Picking up a gut shot and a flush draw on a card that should favor me as the preflop raiser is probably a time to raise, but I just called (I'm not sure what I was thinking exactly). The river came out the 6 of spades making me the nuts! Mr Talky checked and a very quick the thought of "over bet" passed through my brain. I grabbed $220 and Mr. Talky called so fast that I literally did not see him put chips in the pot! I was kind of aiming for 1.5X the pot and didn't quite get there as there was $190 in there already. If I'd gone a little slower with my thinking I might have bet $300, but I'm happy I got more than a pot sized bet on the river. I need to work on keeping track of exactly how much is in the pot.
I had a couple of hands go the wrong way, but all in all it was a great session.
In the end after about 4.5 hours I booked a $1,306 win! Hooray! After 46 hours my $10K starting bankroll is at $11,197. We're on a ~$3,000 upswing over the past 5 sessions and I definitely feel like I've shaken off some of the rust of 4 years of not playing very often.