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the twenty-four hour saturday/sunday

I had another one of those 24 hour+ days this weekend. It went like this: percussion judging at Denham Springs, poker at L'Auberge, Tulane Winterguard (who did awesome), poker at Harrah's.

After going to bed at around 02:00, i woke up at about 09:00 to do some final prep and get ready for my trip out to Denham Springs where i was judging percussion for an indoor competition. It was a pretty small show because it coincided with a WGI Regional, so there were only about eight drumlines. Short and sweet. It was probably good that it was like that and that there were only one or two groups in every competing class because i felt a little out of practice in judging particularly in score assignments, but it ended up fine.

My responsibilities ended around 15:00 which gave me a few hours to kill before the Tulane Winterguard showed up for our evening performance, so i decided to go out to the L'Auberge Casino to visit their poker room. It's a small room with seven tables in which at the time there were three active tables and they started a fourth while i was there. I recognized a few people - three people that used to work for the Harrah's poker room, and a couple players who i've played at Harrah's.

The action was very loose passive. Hardly anyone ever raised or led out unless they had something that they wanted to protect, but if a pot even preflop was raised and reraised, there were multiple times where it would end up multi-way. This is how i ended up losing about $250 early on when i was in the big blind and raised a $15 raise from the big blind with two callers to $50 - The original raiser called, and one person after that also called. With my KK i led out on a 3c9c3s board, got one caller (not the original raiser), and then i put him all in on the turn because he was fairly short stack. He had called my pf reraise with As3s and happened to catch a perfect flop.

A few hands after that I had KK again and that time they held up, but then i got myself caught up in a pot where i had the second nut flush with two Aces on the board (they were on the flop) and a guy who had check-called the flop and turn (first to act) decided to lead out on the river with a strong $200 bet and the guy after who had been the original aggressor called (putting him all-in) somewhat but not extremely quickly. I thought for about two minutes before deciding to fold because the first guy had been playing very solidly and i didn't like his flat check-calls to start since i had bore witness to him trapping before when he had monster hands. I put him on the K high flush and the original aggressor/raiser on trip Aces. I eventually folded, and it turns out that it was the opposite - the first player had trip aces all along but filled up on the river, and the original raiser/aggressor had K7 for the nut flush and lost.

I left the session after about two hours with a loss of $20. I felt like i played pretty solidly after i made some slight adjustments to the loose-passive nature of the game, and it was a fun enough room. I drove back to Denham Springs to meet up with the Tulane Winteguard.

They got there maybe ten minutes before I did and did some final changing and make-up done before we started warmup. Before we had our gym time, i took the flags while Leora took the sabres and i worked the opening flag feature and did my best to clean up some ambiguity in the middle and the end, and then we worked on the big ensemble flag finish moment with everyone together where i got to see the new big ending they had worked on in the morning.

We got our gym time and did our run. I took a step back and watched them and was amazed at the difference between what they were achieving then versus where they were two weeks ago - especially considering a month prior was the first time that half of the group had ever spun. After the run was over, we pulled it in and after Leora gave her pep talk, i expressed this to the group - that they should feel good about what they were putting on the floor, that they were amazing and they should feel amazing as they perform given what they had accomplished. I don't know how much the pep talk helped them, but they kicked ass in the performance - not because they executed it perfectly, but it was clear how much they shone - how much they went after it and how they put their energy out to the audience. There's still a lot of room for improvement in all of those areas, but i was incredibly proud of what they did and they all felt great about it.

I got done with the Winterguard and started the drive back from Denham Springs at about 21:30. I decided that i wanted to play cards for a while so i drove straight to Harrah's, arriving at about 23:00. It was crowded as it usually is on a Saturday at this time of year. I started out on a table with a few regulars and was just not having a lot of success with my cards - i was pretty happy with how i played, i just kept on missing or falling prey to second-best-hand syndrome. I got moved to another table when my table broke, and that table was *very* tight passive - pretty much everyone on the table were out-of-towners who only sort of knew what they were doing on the poker table. A few dealers murmured asides to me, "why are you on this table? It has to be very frustrating," but the reality was that I was enjoying the lull and the opportunity to relax from a long day. Everyone on the table, despite not being very good at cards and playing somewhat slowly, were very nice people, and one guy had his own jewelry business which he regularly donates to HIV research, and he was a very engaging and fun individual.

That table broke a few hours later - at this point i was stuck about $500 and working on my last buy-in of $300. I went to a new table, and boy did the action change. The previous table had an average pot size of maybe $20-40 total, and on the new table this was the average preflop pot. The aggressiveness of the table and the willingness of regulars to gamble and make hero calls knowing that there was more bluffing going on ended up being very profitable - I manipulated one of the players who i knew liked to bluff when a board showed scary things into betting into a pot that i took down with an overpair, and i was able to stack someone later on with QQ when i hit trips on the turn and filled up on the river. After spending about eight hours at the casino with trickling winnings and losses that had gotten me stuck for about $600, i surged back to even and then profit within about an hour and turned the whole session into a $30/hr affair.

Which was insane. If i had come in for those last two hours instead of starting the seven hours prior, my rate per hour would have been over $250. I didn't want to leave the table, but at that point it was 11:00 and I was starting to hit that exhaustion point, so i decided i needed to leave before i potentially lost all that i had been trying to gain.

One final comment about the night was that in that last hour or so, an older gentleman sat next to me, a guy who always tries to start the 1/2 PLO and is a regular 15/30 limit omaha player named Al. He has to be in his seventies, maybe early eighties. We've played on a few tables together, but i've never had a real conversation with him before, and it was very pleasant - he was an incredibly nice guy and was an enthusiastic conversationalist when it came to poker and the history of poker at Harrah's and in the LA/MS area. He talked about some of the regulars that would sit down with us, some of which i knew but didn't know all of the details of, others who i didn't know at all and he'd say, "yeah, he used to be a dealer, he's a wild player" or "this guy Nick who unfortunately passed away last year, he used to split his time here and at the Beaux; if you call a river bet with him, the best thing you can hope for is a chop." He relayed one story with one of the regular morning dealers - Maggie - saying that he was one of the instrumental people who helped keep Maggie alive after she had a heart attack whilst dealing at the poker table. They also both joked about how when it happened, there was one douchebag who started complaining about how the dealer was slowing the game down before he realized that she was having a heart attack.

And it was very neat, hearing those stories, finding some connection with this otherwise stranger through that common passion of cards that we both share, hearing his perspectives on how poker changed over the past few decades in his perspective. And it filled me with a lot of admiration for his sharpness and progressiveness "despite his age" because he's always the one that's trying to start the 1/2 PLO game whenever he can which made me believe that he was a regular player of that game, but he told me that he only started playing PLO a few months ago (he is a veteran limit omaha player) and he's still trying to figure it out.

And i can only hope that if/when i get to that age and my hands are always a little shaky and i have a slight speech stutter that i will have a similar sense of sharpness and aggresiveness at the table combined with an otherwise friendly and easy going manner that i try to strive for even now, and that some young guy will be able to have a similar conversation with me.

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