Wednesday, September 18, 2019

I Finally Found a Hand to Play

This was my Friday night session in Vegas in July.  It was my first—and, as it turned out, my only—visit to the MGM this trip.  This session is basically all about one big hand that I didn't play well but, you know, luck is a good thing.

I was quite card dead for most of the session, and it was kind of a decent game.  After texting me to see where I was playing, my pal Don showed up, but we never played at the same table.  When he texted me he asked how the games were, and I said they were good but I couldn't find a hand to play.  By the time he showed up and was waiting for a seat, I showed him my stack and told him, "I finally found a hand to play."  He said, "I see that."  I added "But you won't like how I played it," I warned him.  "Probably not," was his reply.

I couldn't have had much less than my original $200 buy-in because of not playing anything.  Finally I got pocket 10's in early position and I limped in.  Don and I had discussed that hand just the night before.  Of course I should raise with it and he was reminding me of that very fact.  I explained that whenever I do, it seldom works out well for me.  So with the first pocket pair I'd had all night, I just limped in.  No one raised and five of us saw the flop.

And a fine flop it was.  Jack-Jack-10.  Always nice to flop a boat.  The lone woman at the table bet $10, a guy called, and I just called.  The others folded.  The turn card was a 9.  I checked, the lady bet $40, and the guy called.  When I checked, I was thinking I'd probably check-raise.  But when the guy called the $40, I started thinking I might get more money if just called and didn't chase anyone out.  So I just called.

I didn't like the river card, a Queen.  Players love to play Queen-Jack.  It struck me as plausible someone just hit a bigger boat than mine.  Hell, for all I knew, the lady had Jack-9 (another hand people love to play) and I was beaten on the turn. After my check, the lady bet $55 and the other guy called.  It struck me as very possible my hand was not the best.  I hated it, but I just called.

The lady turned over Jack-something.  The something wasn't matched with anything on the board.  The guy turned over pocket 8's.  At least that's what I think it was.  He only had it face up for a second. Maybe I missed something.  I mean, it's hard to believe he would have thought that was good against two other players. He couldn't have had a straight because he was obviously disappointed to see the lady's trips and he hadn't seen my hand yet. Whatever, my boat was good and it was a nice pot, but I know I cost myself some value there.

Not much happened after that either.  I had 5-3 in the big blind and no one raised.  The flop was 6-3-2 and no one bet.  The turn was a 5 but now I had to worry about a low straight.  I checked and called a bet of $10 from the aggro Euro at the table.  The river was an 9.  There was no flush possible and I checked.  This time the Euro put out $30. I just had a gut instinct that he was full of crap.  I shrugged and called.  All he had was a deuce for bottom pair.

And that was all that was worth reporting on.  I was able to cash out with a $110 profit.  During the game I had a good seat for the parade of scantily clad females attending the nightclub, and I was able to explore said parade more fully after I cashed out.  But I have to say, it was a disappointing show. For some reason there wasn't a big crowd for the club that night. But the extra money in my wallet was most welcome.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

I Showed Her the Nuts

On this particular night in Vegas, I met up with my pal Don for some poker and dinner.  Don graciously offered to burn through some of his comps for dinner.  We ended up deciding to play at Mirage and eat at the burger place there (LVB Burgers, I believe it's called).  I'd eaten there once before with Lightning.  It was fine, nothing special, and not cheap.  We each had the burger/fries/drink combo, and after tax, the bill came to $51. That's two burgers, two orders of fries and two sodas.  Twenty-five bucks for a burger & fries at a casual burger place?  Like I've been saying for years now, Vegas ain't what it used to be.  Fortunately Dave's comps covered it.  Of course I volunteered to cover the tip.

After the meal we headed over to the poker room as planned.  We not only got into the same game but were sitting right next to each other, Don on my immediate left.

It was an ok game. It was short-handed a lot of the time. I managed to win a few hands, but Don had terrible, terrible luck.  He was mostly card dead and when he did get something to play he couldn't win a damn pot.  There was one time when he did win a small pot, and he said to the dealer, "Count the deck….I'm not supposed to win a pot here, something's wrong."

Early on, after three limpers I made it $12 with King-Queen of spades.  No one called.

Then came a more interesting hand.  In early position, I opened to $10 with Ace-Queen of diamonds. It was four-way.  The flop was rather favorable for me:  King-7-4, all diamonds.  I was first to act, and I figured even though I flopped the nuts, I had to bet.  So I decided to bet, but bet small.  I put out $15.  A guy made it $35 and it folded to me. 

What to do?  If I assume he had a weaker flush, I just have to call and keep calling as I take his money.  But what else could he have?  Two pair?  A set?  Would he raise with those hands?  I thought he might.  If he did have a set, I didn't want to make it cheap for him to draw to his boat. And if he did have a set, he'd call a raise from me, and I could build a nice pot (hopefully for me and not for him if he ended up catching his boat).  I put $60 on top of my $15.  He tanked.  But finally he folded, saying, "I don't have a diamond."

Well what did he have?  Did he raise on that board with just a King?  Two pair?  Hard for me to believe he folded a set there.  Don and I talked about afterward.  He thought it was a mistake to re-raise.  He said I should have just called, the only hand he could have had was a smaller flush (he hadn't heard the guy say he didn't have a diamond—of course, we don't know if he was telling the truth).  He said he wouldn't have raised with a set but I dunno if that's true.  He might raise with a set hoping to protect his hand against someone with a naked Ace of diamonds.

So I won the pot and possibly misplayed it.  What do you think?  Should I have just flatted his $35 bet?

There was a woman at the table, across from me, who was wearing a low-cut top.  I know you're surprised that I would notice such a thing, but somehow I did.  She was in seat 2 and I was in seat 7 so I had a fairly unobstructed view.  Now when I saw her stand up, she really didn't have a great figure, and I couldn't get a good look at her face because the baseball cap she was wearing kind of hid it.  But I did notice the cleavage—there was a lot to notice if you know what I mean.

We had seen her win a few nice pots and at first we thought she was a good player, but as we watched her more we came to realize she wasn't that great a player and she had just gotten lucky.  

Anyway, I had Ace-6 of hearts in the small blind and just about everyone limped in.  So I completed and we saw a flop.  Six, seven of us?  Something like that.  I couldn't tell you what the flop was, but there was one heart on it and it checked around.  The turn card was the something other of hearts.  The aforementioned lady bet $15.  With the nut flush draw, I called and we were now heads up.

The river was another heart, giving me the nut flush through the back door.  This lady had been fairly aggressive all night and I figured she was likely to bet again on the river since she had bet the turn.  So I took a chance and checked.  My instincts were solid.  She put out $50. 

My inclination was to make it $150 but I thought about it a bit.  My check-raise there is going to scream "nut flush."  Especially since I had been playing so tight.  She could easily fold.  But I thought there was some chance of a call, she had been so aggro.  I decided to make it only $125 figuring it would be slightly easier for her to call that.

She went into the tank.  I was thinking she was going to fold but no, she did call.  Sweet.  I showed her the nuts and she mucked without revealing her hand.

Later, I was in the small blind with pocket Jacks.  After a bunch of limpers, the button made it $20.  I called, no else did.  The flop was Ace high and it went check-check.  The turn was a blank and he bet $20.  I called.  No betting on a blank river. Before we flipped our cards over, Don said to me, "You have Queens?"  He was thinking I had Queens and the button had Kings.  Very close.  The button had the Queens, still good enough to win.  Dave suggested that maybe I should have bet the turn since he checked the flop.  Maybe he would have folded his Queens?  Who knows?

Meanwhile, Don's horrible night continued.  He lost the last of his buy-in when his top pair/top kicker lost to a flopped set in a three-bet pot.  He didn't rebuy and I cashed out a little bit later, up $115.

It was a fun evening, for me anyway.  I wish Don had had a better night.

Thursday, September 5, 2019

With A Little Bit O' Luck

Well, maybe just a tad more than a little bit.

My most recent session in Ventura wasn't going so well.  Another session where I was totally card dead.  Up to this point I had had a total of two pocket pairs.  Both times it was pocket 7's.  BTW, is it just me or does it seem like whenever you get so few pocket pairs that you notice how few it is, they always seem to be the same pocket pair?  Anyway, those two hands didn't pan out.  I never saw Ace-King or Ace-Queen or any big cards where I could play them.  No suited connectors (well, I think I might have gotten 3-2 suited under-the-gun once). 

I did manage to win a very small pot early when I was in the big blind and no one raised.  My King-9 caught a 9-2-2 flop.  I bet something and didn't get a call, even tho six of us saw that flop.

But that was it.

So after a several hours, I was about ready to call it a day.  The table at my 2/3 game had started off fairly juicy, with a few aggros putting chips into play.  I never had anything to battle them with.  Then the aggros left and the game got dull.  A lot of chopping the blinds.  We were short for awhile but another game broke and we got a player from that table.

That new player had a short stack, around $55-$60.  For the first few hands, he shoved every time he entered a pot.  After a few times doing this, he managed to get enough chips so he started playing more seriously.  He got his stack close to $100 and then up over $100 when this hand happened. 

I had decided to play no more than another two orbits after posting my blinds.  And on the button I looked down at a couple of Aces.  Finally a pocket pair.  And it wasn't any damn 7's, either.

The fellow I just mentioned who came to the table shoving his short stack was under-the-gun, and raised to $15. By now his stack was over $100, but not much over.  After a few folds another guy called the $15.  His stack was over $300.  It came to me, and I was sitting behind around $220 at this point (down from my $300 buy-in).  I made it $60, which I thought was the right size.  My assumption was the initial raiser didn't have enough to call, he'd either shove or fold.  And my money was on shoving.  Since he had stopped open-shoving, it didn't appear to me that he was opening light.  I couldn't imagine him having a hand good enough to raise with that he would let go easily, especially since he had demonstrated a willingness to put his chips in play.

The guy on my left, the small blind, had me covered at least three times over  He had been one of the aggros when the other aggros were there, but once the others left he had been fairly quiet.  So I was a bit surprised when he cold called a $60 from the tightest player at the table. 

Now it was back to the initial raiser, who did what I expected and shoved.  The other guy folded instantly.  It was back to me. I asked for a count of the shove, and it was $111.  I thought that was enough for me to be able to raise, but I have to say, I've seen some weird rules interpretations in this room (really all CA card rooms) so I asked if I could raise.  The dealer did some math and told me I could indeed raise.  No one at the table objected.  In fact, the guy behind me, who had called me, actually said "yes" to my question before the dealer did.  Hmm….maybe he wanted me to raise?  Did he have Kings perhaps (or, a long shot, the other two Aces?)

Anyone think I should have just flatted there?  It didn't make sense to me.  And I couldn't really raise without shoving.  "All-in," I announced.

The guy on my left spent a good bit of time in the tank.  Finally he said, "I know you've got me beat," and reluctantly folded.  He did, however, show his hand.  Pocket 10's. I was thinking his initial call of my $60 kind of sucked, but what do I know?  I was grateful for the dead money.

The dealer put out the flop.  It was Jack-high, two fairly low cards.  At which point the other guy flipped over his hand.  Two Jacks. Yuck.

Fortunately I didn't have much time to dwell on my misfortune because the dealer quickly put out the turn card, which was a beautiful, gorgeous, smokin' hot Ace.  The river card was something or other.  I had started to turn my hand over at the sight of the Ace but I don't think I beat the dealer to putting out the river card.  Anyway, the guy with the Jacks groaned, I said something  like "Gee,"—you know to indicate that I was at least acknowledging my good fortune (after his initial good fortune).

Then the guy said, "One more Jack…..jackpot."  Huh?  Then I realized what he meant.  "And you would have had the bigger share, with the losing hand."  Yes indeed. The minimum hand needed to be beaten to qualify for the bad beat jackpot here (and in the other CA rooms I've played in) is Aces full of Jacks. Had he caught his one-outer to taken the pot from me, I would have been very happy.  The BBJ was worth $15K.  So I would have gotten a tasty $7,500.  He would have gotten $3,750. and the rest of the table would have split the rest.

Ordinarily I wouldn't even mention it, but this was probably the closest I've ever come to actually hitting a BBJ. And it was all set up for it too.  All that was missing was the case Jack.  Hey, it was only a 1-in-42 chance (counting the fact that we'd seen two 10's in addition to our own hands.  That's a better chance than I usually have, right?

Oh well, winning the pot with a little bit o' luck and turning a losing session into a profitable one would have to do.

I played another two orbits, just as I had planned, and called it day.  I cashed out up $92.