Business took me to Melbourne and Casino Malaysia found me a room a the Crown Towers (for just $210 for the night).

Well, it was Monday night so there wasn’t a big choice of games at the Crown poker room. It looked like it was going to take a while for a 1/2 game to get of the ground, but there was a seat open on the 2/5 game which I took and bought in for $200.

I’ve never played above 1/2 before, and only a few times at a casino, so I wasn’t exactly in my comfort zone at that table. On a Monday night at the Crown, I was also the only one at the table who a) wasn’t on a first name basis with every other player and b) didn’t know every dealer and floor staff by their first name. They players there that night were, I would guess, the ‘pros’ of the Melbourne poker community, just filling in time and honing their skills until the easier pickings later in the week.

So here I was, playing above my comfort level, with people who knew each other well, or well enough. No beers or mixers on this table, it was all coffee and Red Bull. These guys also knew what they were doing at the table.

The first few hands go by and there are lots of limpers. Each hand sees four or five people limping to the flop, with small bets and quick folds after. Average pot size is about $40.

Oh-kay, I’ll try that. I limp from mid position with pocket eights. Five limp to the flop including me and the blinds. Flop comes 4,5,9 rainbow. Check, check to me, I make a half pot bet of $15. Fold, fold, fold, big blind now check raises to $100.

A very suspicious raise, looks like a bluff or semi-bluff to me. But I have only seen six hands so I have no information on this guy. The table has been fairly tight up until this hand. I fold.

The button moves around without much more of interest happening and I am in the big blind. UTG raises to $20, there are two callers and I fold. The rest of the hand is checked down.

I am in the small blind and there are again four limpers in front of me. 2,7 off, not this time fella’s, I fold. The hammer saved me $3 at least.

On the button now and I wake up with A,Q both diamonds. The table folds to the guy on my right (who I have picked as the loosest guy on the table, and probably the weakest – except for me). Loose-weak calls and I raise $20. SB folds, BB calls, Loose-weak calls.

The flop is A,5,7 two diamonds. Hello! BB represents and ace and bets the pot. Lose-weak represents the ace and flush draw and calls. I actually have the ace and nut flush draw. All I fear is if someone has made trips, but I don’t read either of them that way. I could just call and let them put some more money on the pot on the turn, but do I really want to see another card? What if the 5 or 7 pairs, or a 6 hits for the straight? Calling to get more money in the pot is probably the right thing to do, since there is little equity in the possible outs they might have. But, as I said, I am not in my comfort zone here – this is what happens when you are ‘scared money’ at the table.

Anyway, I don’t want to see a another card, so a pot sized raise seems right to me. Which is, um, just a bit more than I have actually. Oh well, all in then, and I push.

BB folds. I find a sudden interest in the grid iron game on the big wall screen ahead of me. After a few moments thought, loose-weak says ‘have to keep you honest, I call’. Next two cards are blank for me. I have already turned mine up to show the paired ace. Loose-weak says ‘yeah, I hit the ace too but I had a kicker problem’, and mucks his hand face down.

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