I neared my limit after playing at a $2-$4 no limit hold ‘em cash game for over 36 hours. I built my stack to $2,000 from my original $400 buy-in and was happy to walk away with a decent winning session even if it took me a day and a half. I told myself I’d leave after one more round. My eyes burned and I had trouble spotting potential flushes and straights on the board.
My chip stack was much deeper than everyone else’s at the table except for an accountant looking fellow named Dan who was just slightly behind me. I’d taken to calling him Steely Dan because he looked like he was probably a fan. The average IQ of the crowd at a Steely Dan concert rivals that of a Mensa convention. Some still refer to their music as “Mensa Pop.”
Steely Dan was on a roll and he took to raising almost every hand. He was the only player at the table who had enough chips to hurt me, so I didn’t want to get in a big pot with him. I folded my cards to a few of his raises after looking down and merely seeing one low card.
I was in the big blind when Steely Dan raised to $20 from early position. Everyone folded to me and I squeezed a look at my cards. The top one was a Queen and the other was also paint. My vision was blurry but I saw another Queen. “Re-raise,” I said, “make it eighty total.” Steely Dan called.
The flop came down Queen, Jack, 7, rainbow. At first, I thought the Jack was a Queen and I’d flopped four-of-a-kind. I refocused my eyes and I realized it was a Jack. Still, I had top three-of-a-kind and was ready to go to war with my three ladies. I bet out $100 and prayed he’d raise.
Steely Dan pulled off his glasses. “Raise,” he announced. “All-in.” I insta-called. The dealer counted our chips and I had him covered by exactly $400.
“I got rockets,” Steely Dan said turning over pocket Aces. “Hope you didn’t hit a set of Jacks.”
“Top set, actually,” I said turning over my cards.
Steely Dan stared at my cards and then gave me a befuddled look. “You got top pair, you mean,” he said.
“Huh? No, I got pocket Queens,” I said, and then looked down at my cards. The bottom card was not a Queen, it was a King, I’d misread my hand with my tired eyes. I rubbed my face with my palms as the dealer turned the final two cards, which were no help. “Oh my god,” I moaned. I picked up the $400 in chips I had left and said, “F’n dude looked like a lady.”