Back in Melbourne for business again. Staying at the Holiday Inn just off Spencer Street. Not quite the Crown Towers, but a nice clean room and only a short walk over the bridge to the Casino Malaysia.

It was a Saturday. I got checked into the hotel late at 10:30pm, dumped my case, had a shower and a bite to eat and was in the Crown poker room by 11:30. There were 10 people on the wait list for the 1/2 game, so they opened a new table and I didn’t have to wait for a seat. (compare that with Star City and the minimum 2 hour wait).

After the first couple of rounds I had picked three people on the table to respect, seemed like locals, and knew what they were doing. Then there was me, then there were at any one time six drunk, bad, lose players who came and went. They either went to the bar for one last drink with whatever money they had left, or to the ATM to rebuy.

My plan – simple; avoid the locals, who I am pretty sure can out play me, be friendly to the drunks, wait for them to donk off their money to the table and collect my share.

An hour, maybe ninety minutes goes by and I have nicely doubled up, thank you. Despite having started the day at 6am and flown in from Perth that evening, I still feel fresh enough to keep playing (thanks no doubt to a triple espresso a little while ago). Also, the game is good, lots of easy money coming across the table.

On one hand I am in late position, UTG limps and one other. I have pocket 9’s, so I put in a standard raise to $10. The blinds fold. UTG (drunk) pushes all in for a $50 check raise. The other caller quickly folds. I check out UTG – aggressive posture, staring at me. Strong is weak (thanks again Mr Caro). I call.

He turns pocket sixes, I show my nines and they hold up. ‘Good price mate’ I say ‘I almost folded there, I thought you had me. Gutsy move’. He looks happy now despite his loss, after all, he almost made me fold. He rebuys. I am happy too.

There are plenty of hands like that throughout the night.

A bit more time goes by, I am up $200 on my $80 buy in. I catch some good hands, bet them moderately and get sucked out by people chasing to the river against the odds. No big deal, it happens. Takes me back down to about $150 total.

I figure I have just about had it for the night, and I’m starting to feel the long day. I decide to play until the next time charge and then call it a night.

I am in early position and I see AJ suited. Worth a call to see if I can see the flop cheaply. There are lots of callers this hand, around to the button – one of the solid, coffee drinking, players, who has amassed a huge stack. He puts in a raise to $15, the BB calls and I am looking at about a $45 pot which I can see the flop for $13 more. I like the odds with my hand so I call.

Everyone else folds. Three to the flop.

The flop is 9, 3, J, no flush. BB checks, I bet $30 with top pair top kicker. The button raises me $60. BB folds.

Wow. Another $60 – about half my stack. Now this is where tiredness and too long a day lead to poor judgement. Thinking about it afterwards, he obviously has aces, kings or queens. He is a solid player, and I think he would have let me bet into the pot again if he had hit trip jacks or nines. Also, he had certainly put me on a jack with a strong kicker. He knew my stack size, we had both watched each other watch each other as the flop came out, and he knew I could make the laydown and still be ahead for the evening. His re-raise was perfect, showed me some respect (he wasn’t playing against me, he just had a good hand and he was letting me know it), and he should have taken down the pot there and then.

At the time though, I really was too tired, even though I thought I felt ok. For some reason the most likely hand I put him on was pocket eights or maybe tens and I decided he was trying to buy the pot. Really stupid. But I called.

I am a big dog with just five outs. And guess what? The turn is an ace.

Still, without really thinking, I push all in – stupid again because I am only going to get called if I am beaten.

He looks in disgust at the ace, looks at me, his stack, thinks for a while, shakes his head and folds his pocket kings face up.

That was a great laydown by a good player.

The best thing I could have done, after my miraculous luck, was to muck my cards face down and keep the bad beat I had imposed to myself. But I didn’t. Still in stupid mode I turned my cards up so the whole table could see what a lucky twit I had been. “Hey guys, open season on me now” I might as well have said.

A few hands after that, time charges were called, so I used that as a convenient excuse to cash out without further embarrassment.

All up, $350 from my $80 buy in. Another nice result, but a very lucky one.