Towards the end of the time that the Hilton poker room was open, I had a highly satisfying session in which one of the trickiest and most aggressive regulars was on my right. Early in the session I pulled off a three-barrel bluff. He thought a long time, eventually folding a strong hand (don't remember the details) face up, but was clearly perturbed at having to do so. Within ten or fifteen minutes, we clashed again. This time I had the near nuts, and pushed him on every street again. It was clear to me that the previous hand worked on his psyche, because this time he called me down quite light, and was disgusted to lose.
Inducing an opponent to make $100+ errors twice in that short time span doesn't happen too often in $1-2 NLHE games, and I loved it. I remember that I have done the same thing once since then (opponent folding to a large bluff on one hand, then shortly thereafter calling me when I had the goods), though I can no longer remember the circumstances--only the feeling, which is one of pure delight.
You wouldn't think that the simple act of stopping at a stale yellow light could induce the same kind of pleasure, but it did for me last week. You see, twice over the previous week I had found myself accidentally cruising through a red. This is not my norm. Usually, as Raymond Babbitt would say, I'm an excellent driver. I stay below the speed limit, don't weave lanes, etc. And I am ordinarily pretty conservative about yellows, with a default to stopping if it doesn't mean making a panic braking. But twice recently I had misjudged the combination of my speed, the distance, and the duration of the light. Also, I have to admit, I was probably gradually loosening my standards over time, as a result of growing increasingly annoyed with having to wait through the ultra-long Las Vegas red lights. (They are far longer than any other place I've lived.) Both times I had been chagrined to find myself entering the intersection clearly after it had changed to red. Both times, I looked around, hoping there wasn't a police officer watching. There wasn't.
Those incidents had caused me to plant a reminder in my brain to return to being cautious, and not to continue pressing my luck in those situations. So last week when I was returning home after my night of poker, northbound on Maryland Parkway, and the light turned yellow, I had a decision. It was a close one, and I might have gone for it but for the warning I had given myself. So I stopped. As I did, I noticed one black-and-white Metro Police car stopped at the intersection heading east, and another stopped there heading south. I think I would have once again have ended up entering the intersection a hair into the red, and I would have been nailed if either officer had been paying attention.
I'm not proud of having been a scofflaw in the two previous incidents, but the combination of getting away with it, then tightening up my game, so to speak, when I was about to be called down, felt awfully lucky to me.