I got to the MGM about 7:45 pm and there was traffic outside the garage. The garage was full! Apparently the whole DC metro area had decided to descend down on the National Harbor. Luckily, they opened an outdoor parking lot so I didn't have to turn back. There is a new conservatory theme on display in honor of the upcoming Chinese New Year. 2018 is the Year of the Dog.
Inside the casino, it was a zoo. The poker room was also packed. I got on the $1/$3 list and it took about 45 minutes to get seated. I ended up in seat 1.
In the first orbit I got K-K UTG and raised to $15. Zero callers. The next hour was a snoozefest. I can't recall how many 7-4, J-8, and 8-3 I saw. 7-2 also made an appearance. Things picked up after that.
I'm in the BB with 7-7. Seat 4 bets $12, seat 8 calls, and I call. The flop is 2-4-5 and I check. Seat 4 bets $40, seat 8 calls, and I fold. I'm putting seat 4 on a higher pocket pair and I'm not willing to risk any chips to find out if he is bluffing with two big cards. They end up getting it all-in. Seat 4's pocket fours end up rivering quads to beat seat 8's 3♣-6♣ and a flopped straight.
My stack shrinks slowly as I fold flops that do not connect. Then, UTG I limp with A-5 with four other players. The flop is A♦-8♣-5♣ and I bet $16. Seat 7 calls and seat 8 makes it $40. I move all-in for $126. Seat 7 folds and seat 8 calls. His 8♥-5♥ is no match and my stack improves to $280.
With A-K, I bet $13 pre-flop. Seat 2 makes it $30. Seat 5 calls. Seat 10 goes all-in for $75. In this spot, I feel like all options are on the table. I could fold but that would be the worst choice. I could call but that would make it easier for seat 2 and seat 5 to stay in the pot. I decide to move all-in for $237 more. Seat 2 folds quickly and seat 5 also folds. The board runs out J-x-x-x-x and seat 10 flips over J-K hesitantly. Nice hand, sir. Back down to $175 for me.
I get my stack back up to $240 by winning a pot holding Q♦-9♦ on a board of 9♠-7♦-A♦-8♣-9♥.
This brings us to the hand of the night. Close to three hours into the session, I decided to play one more orbit before calling it a night. On the button, I look down at A♠-A♥. Seat 6 opens to $15. Seat 7 calls, seat 8 calls, and seat 10 also calls! Time to see who really likes their hand.
I make it $105 and only seat 6 calls. The flop is Q-9-4 all diamonds! Not the best flop in the world. He leads out for $80. I call hoping he only hit the queen. The turn is a J♠. He checks and I go all-in for $92. He calls reluctantly. In my head, I'm screaming at the dealer saying NO DIAMONDS, NO DIAMONDS! And then the dealer puts out a 2. The 2 of fu*ken diamonds.
I turn over my pocket rockets and he turns over...
...two red face cards. I sink into my seat. I look closer and he has a king of hearts and a jack of hearts! Victory at last! I rake in the chips as my stack grows to $580.
That's poker for you. One hand determines if you are a winner or a loser for the night.