In poker there are good lay downs and bad ones. A good - that is winning or profitable poker player is one who is able to calculate the odds of his or her hand winning against a particular opponent's hand and play or betting on those hands while laying down or quitting on the rest.
You can win a poker hand with a bad bet - putting money into a pot when your sure your friend has 4 of a kind and you are hoping for a one-outer to make your straight flush and win by getting that one card you need but it was a bad bet. On the other hand you can make a very good bet or call getting all you money in with the best hand only to loose on the river.
Yesterday I made what I felt were 3 good calls and walked away from the table without much left in my pocket.
Good call #1: Baldy - as the weather was shaping up it was clear that Baldy would work but possibly East which is not good - hard to fly and routes are interesting. Then in the last 24 hours it turned North and possibly stronger. I spent at least 3 hours working weather to make the call and was still 52/48 coin flip on Baldy by the night before.
Good call #2: Stick to your guns. Play tight and aggressive. All morning was spent texting and talking with the crew who wanted to go to Chelan - or most did. I reworked the weather including very current trends and came up with the same call and at the coffee shop decide I would fly Baldy regardless the crews decision. (at which point I got the message that they were coming to Baldy as well)
Marginal call: - Weather was just as I figured - backing off to light and variable with lots of high pressure. On launch at 12:15 - good times and all the prevailing North was backing down to the heating up of the South bowl - It is going to be very hard to get off soon. We wanted to launch together so we call 1:00 - I am ready and feel the last of the puffs and go at 12:50.
This was marginal on two accounts - first, launching first you never know and it was a mega sink fest all the way to 500 over the North LZ - I have never had that much sink on a North launch at Baldy it was so bad that my right leg couldn't stop shaking for 10 minutes. When I hit the lift it was hard and nasty. - So launching first I got to fly for 45 minutes waiting for everyone else to get their puffs - rather their first puff, I flew alone for most of my flight.
Which was the second marginal part of that call - by leaving first I was worn out fighting the low pressure lift bubbles by the time everyone else was launched.
Good call #3 - well I think it was good - after 50 minutes or so of flying in the most disturbing lift, sink and winglessness I can remember - except one other very High pressure day last summer I had had it. Toping at 5,500 and remembering that prior bad day I decided there wasn't a flight to be had that was worth another 2-3 hours of this kind of struggle. At least it wasn't worth it to me. So I decided to land. Even though the others were in the air and struggling to get up just as I had - two made it big and 3 didn't in the end, I would top land (if safe) and drive down.
It was a good call but the river hit and Mer and Frank took the pot. Mer worked a long time at Baldy then went South late toward and eventually to Sunnyside and Frank took bold lower than usual line to Vantage working all the way, had a save at the crossing then boated all the way to just short of Moses Lake.
In the end I walked away putting 6 hours into weather and 6 hours of driving to get a 17 point FAI triangle and one lesson - Keep making good calls and maybe add some patience to the mix . If you walk away happy with your calls and all-ins it is not a loss in the long run even if your friends scoop the big money on a given day. Great flights you guys.