I started my session at the Orleans tonight at 6:45. On about the fourth hand I had A-J suited in middle position and raised to $13. Had two callers. The flop came jack-high (don't remember the other cards, but nothing scary in terms of straight or flush draws). I bet almost the pot, $35. Player A (who had me covered) called, but looked uncertain about whether she should. Player B was short-stacked, and went all-in for $65. I couldn't reraise there, of course. I called, as did Player A. I had only $25 left behind. So when the turn card was another baby and the fourth suit, I put it all in and got called. River was another blank. I showed my A-J. Both opponents flashed a jack before mucking, but apparently they didn't hit their kickers. So five minutes into my session, I had more than doubled up.
Maybe 15 or 20 minutes later I had lost a little because of raises or calls that had to be aborted. I was sitting on about $230 when I found A-10 offsuit in late position (two off the button, I think). I raised to $13, had three callers. Flop was Kc-5d-Jc. Ick. With that many people in, somebody surely has my ace-high beat and will call if I bet. There's even a significant risk of getting check-raised. So when it's checked to me, I check behind. I'm prepared to abandon ship if I don't get help.
But the dealer, bless her little heart, puts out the Qd, instantly turning my nothing hand into the nuts. The small blind bets $20. Next two players fold. It's to me. I raise to $65. Don't want to scare him off yet, but, conversely, in case he's on a flush draw, I want him to pay too much for it mathematically. He calls. River is the 9h--no flush to worry about, fortunately. Turns out that is the worst possible card that could come for my opponent. He bets $50, and it looks to me like he's very much wanting a call, whereas on the turn he had seemed wary about calling my raise. Something about that river 9 changed his mind about this hand. The obvious conclusion is that he has a 10 and made his straight. I kind of doubt that he matches my A-10, because of his demeanor on the turn and the fact that he didn't shove to my turn reraise. So I think he'll go all the way with this one, and I move all in. Sure enough, he calls almost immediately and turns over his K-10.
Nice hand, sir, but not quite good enough. As Maxwell Smart was fond of saying, "Missed it by THAT much!"
Turns out our stacks were very nearly equal. He had me covered by about $7. He didn't stick around. He just said, "Nice hand," then said, "That's it for me," and took his last few chips and left.
I decided to take the money and run; since my main victim was no longer there, I didn't have an issue of giving him a sporting chance to win his chips back. So I played one more orbit, losing a bit when a couple more hands couldn't connect (including a suited A-K on my last hand). But I left the table at exactly 7:15, 30 minutes after I started, cashing out for $507, a profit of $407, or a win rate of $814/hour. I can live with that!
The beautiful final chapter of the story is this: I needed to talk to somebody at the Orleans poker room while I was there (in fact, that was the reason I chose to go there in the first place). When I was done and finally walking out, a woman who had been sitting two seats to my left stopped me. She told me that the young man who had taken over my seat when I left lost his entire $200 buy-in less than five minutes into his session when he got on the bad end of a set-over-set flop (his queens, somebody else's aces). That would have been me!
In short, I sat down at the perfect time, and stood up at the perfect time. Now if only I could manage that difficult feat every time I played....