I just couldn't ... not when it mattered.
I didn't think games this consistently beatable existed anymore, but in my third live LHE session (3 hours in length) of the month I booked a +38BB win vs. a table full of Crasians of various ages (Vancouver does have a relatively high Asian population; and we all know they are predisposed to gamble it up).
I kept some good notes on this session and the telltale sign that it was an excellent game was that I ran poorly despite winning that much.
In sequence, here are five notable hands that took place during the session. Two of them I won, and three of them I lost.
Hand #1: As was often customary, seven players each paid two small bets to see the flop. I was on the button with 5h6h. The flop came down 7-high with two diamonds giving me a gutshot. Someone bet and *everyone* called. The turn was another diamond and not a picture card. Surprisingly, it got checked around. The river was another rag and everyone checked to me, so ... I bet. Everyone folded. Since I was a solid winner at this point I opted, somewhat uncharacteristically, to show the bluff, to more than a few murmurs of amazement and some laughter. My motive for doing so was to induce more action the next time I got a premium hand.
Hand #2: On the very next deal, I get AA in the cut-off. You can't script this any better, I thought to myself. Sure enough, I raised it up and I got three callers, including an extremely loose payoff wizard three to my left who would regularly call with absolutely anything and wanted to see every flop. On the river, his 9h2h had improved to bottom two pair and he check-calls me and I get the bad news. I flash the AA and he acts all surprised as he collects the pot (5-outer).
Hand #3: I raise a bunch of limpers with AcJc on the button and get a bunch of callers. The flop comes down J-high and the BB (old grizzled Crasian) leads out, I pop him, he 3-bets. He leads out on the turn and the river and spikes two pair on the end with KJ. I run goot (3-outer).
Hand #4: I lose the big one. The kill was on and a young Crasian wearing an old KVOS baseball cap had the kill button UTG. I see a spot to create a ton of dead money so I re-raise from the cut-off with a small pair (44). Six players cap it preflop with the UTG kill player ramming and jamming with me. The flop comes down KQ4 rainbow. If there's one thing I believe in, it is playing small sets fast. Three of us cap the flop and we force the other three out of the pot. The turn is a deuce and both players check to me; I bet thnking there is absolutely no way I'm beat here ... and they both call. The river is a nine (JT got there) and it gets checked to me, I bet again, UTG calls and the MP player folds. UTG player announces "I have a set". My heart sinking, I say "So do I" and table my fours. He flips over ... 99. Goodbye, 48BB pot. (2-outer that really stung)
My 14 BB profit for the session evaporated in one fell swoop and I'm back down to my starting stack.
Undeterred, I battled back and win some pots (97ss was a very good hand for me several times), and I was able to play AK on the button vs. the villain from #4 for maximum value with a AJT flop, forcing him to fold QQ to a river raise after he'd taken the lead with a preflop 3-bet and I had just kept calling his bets on the first two streets. Then I get some revenge in Hand #5, another kill pot where again I had good table position. I held the mighty 5c7c and take down a juicy 28BB pot when I flopped a double-gutter on an Ad3s4d board, got there on the turn when an off-suit 6 fell, and was able to milk some extra big bets from two aces-up hands.
All in all, my wallet continues to grow fatter and the 5/5 PLO game inches ever closer. I may have to rethink my plans though ... I don't know that I can reliably beat that game for $100/hr with anywhere near the consistency I've shown so far in the LHE, and the variance issue is important when comparing fixed-bet to big-bet games. Even with losing a huge pot to a 22:1 shot I came out well ahead overall; in PLO I would lose my whole stack and have to rebuy. As long as I can book the wins at this rate, I'll stick with the LHE.