Wednesday, January 15, 2020

No Royal For Me

You can play a lot of poker and never get a Royal Flush.  I know, because to this day, I have never had a Royal, either in live poker or online.

So it caught my attention recently when someone on twitter copied something off the South Point Poker Room Facebook page.  It was a picture of a woman with the caption to the effect that she had gotten two Royal Flushes within a half hour of each other.  Not one, but two!  I've been playing live poker for going on 15 years and never had one. And this woman gets two in the span of half an hour?  It doesn't seem fair.  Or even remotely possible.

I responded to that tweet with the only logical thing I could think of.  "Live poker is rigged."

A few days later I was at PC Ventura to play my usual 2/3 game.  Their Bad Beat Jackpot had grown to over $50K so it had been quite some time since it had been hit—it resets at $10K when it does hit.  I couldn't recall ever seeing it that high. I've rarely seen it reach $20K.  Aces full of Jacks beaten by quads or better is the requirement, so it's not as hard to hit as most of the BBJ's in Vegas are.

Well, I was at the table and we started talking about how long it had been since it was hit.  And someone said that when it hits, it will likely hit again a day or two later because that's what usually happens.  Someone mentioned that they could recall a time it hit twice in one day a few hours apart.

That reminded me of the lady with the two Royals, so I related that story.  Of course, everyone was amazed and a few of the players told their stories about Royals they had hit.  As I mentioned, I had no such story to tell.

Well, about 10 minutes after we stopped talking about Royals, a player in our game tabled a Royal Flush!  Yep, on the board was the King, Jack and 10 of diamonds.  The 10 was the river card.  And this guy, an older gent, showed Ace-Queen of diamonds.  Nice.  Sadly for him, it wasn't a very big pot.  There hadn't been much action and when he bet a modest amount on the river (a pot sized bet would have been modest sized), the lady next to me proudly called.  Apparently she was friends with the guy who had the Royal.  She even said to him, "You remember what my favorite hand is, don't you? Jack-5!"  And very proudly tabled Jack-5 offsuit for two pair..

The guy showed his Royal and we all ooohed and ahhhed and I pointed out how it was funny that we were just talking about Royals and not 10 minutes later this guy showed up with one.  Coincidence?  You be the judge. 

Aside from the smallish pot, the guy won nothing else for his beautiful hand.  No high hand bonus. Generally speaking, the poker rooms in CA don't have high hand bonuses.  Although this room does….on certain days of the week.  But not on Saturdays.  Oh well, it's still a Royal.

Honestly, I can only remember seeing two or three Royals at my game over the years.  I do recall one time in a limit game a guy beat me with a Royal.  I don’t remember what I had but it didn't cost me much to make the call and I must have had some kind of hand, even though I was obviously concerned about the scary board.

As for my session, I managed to win a few pots, but no monsters for me.  In the small blind with 5-4 off, I completed.  Four of us saw a flop of 9-6-2, two diamonds. I checked and then called a $10 bet with my gutshot. We were now heads up.  The turn was a beautiful 3—isn't that the way it's supposed to work?  I was fairly sure the guy would bet again so I checked.  Sure enough he put out $15.  I made it $45.  He called.  The river was a third diamond so I just checked.  But he checked behind and all he had was a 6.  No diamonds.

In the big blind I had Ace-Jack off, and just checked after six players had limped in.  The flop was Jack high, I bet $10 and got two callers.  The turn was a blank and I bet $35 and got one caller.  The river was blank and I just checked, as did he.  He didn't show when I tabled my Jack.

That got me up over $100 but then poker occurred and I managed to drop to below $50 up. In the big blind with Queen-Jack off, there was no raise and four of us saw a flop of Jack-9-8, rainbow.  I bet $6 and got two callers.  Another 8 on the turn and I bet $10 and got one caller.  I bet $20 on a blank and he folded faced up, showing that he missed his straight.

That was it.  I booked a $75 win and headed home.

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Vegas Poker Scene -- January 2020

Here's my latest column for Ante Up.  Since it still has not been posted on the Ante Up website for some reason, this is the version I submitted for publication.  You can read the entire issue online here.  The actual issue is available in a poker room near you.
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Michael Trivett, long time Vegas pro, won his first WSOP circuit ring in November at Planet Hollywood.  Trivett, who until just a few years ago was mostly a mixed games player, took down the $1.700 No Limit Hold'em Main Event.  Trivett won $216K.  James Petzing, a fellow Las Vegan, busted to Trivett in heads-up play for a $133K payday.  Canada's Tzu Huang earned $99K for third.  The event drew 778 entrees and had a prize pool of $1,178,670.

VENETIAN:  Samuel Uhlmann from Colorado won the Main Event at Venetian's November Deepstack Extravaganza, taking home $93K.  Rory Brown from Ireland claimed $73K for second and Matthew Leecy from Florida received $46K for third. The $1,600 event attracted 312 players, resulting in a $446K prize pool
In February, the cash game promotion will be a "Let it Ride" High Hand Giveaway. Every thirty minutes between noon and midnight, the high hand is worth $600.  If that high hand is a full house or quads, the winner has the option to let the hand play through the next thirty-minute period.  If it remains the high hand, the winner receives an extra $900.  If it does not hold up, the winner who beats that hand receives $1,200 instead of $600.

ARIA:  Sam Soverel won the Main Event of the High Roller Poker Masters series in early November, securing his title as 2019 Masters Champion for his overall performance in the series.  Soverel won $680K for his first place finish in the $50K main event, and finished with 1,160 total points in the series.  His overall winnings for the event were $1.4M.  Kahle Burns and Chance Kornuth each had 630 points for the series, with Burns taking home $586K and Kornuth earning $556K.  Soverel cashed in seven of the 10 events, quite an impressive feat, and also took home the coveted purple jacket for winning the series.

The room runs two popular tournaments daily, and has just added guarantees to the daytime events.  Monday through Thursday the 1 p.m. tournament has a $140 buy-in and a $5K guarantee.  Players start with 12K chips and play 30-minute levels. Late registration and re-entry is open for four levels.  On Friday through Sunday, the starting time is 11 a.m. for the $240 buy-in that now has a $7,500 guarantee. Players start with 20K chips and play 30-minute levels. Entry and re-entry is open for six levels. The guarantees have definitely increased player interest in these dailies, and have been routinely surpassed thus far.

The 7 p.m. tournament running Monday through Thursday is the same as the one during the day, minus the guarantee. The weekend 7 p.m. is the "20/20" tournament.  It's a $140 buy-in for 20K chips, with 20-minute levels.  Players have six levels to register and re-enter.

The cash games are usually hopping at the Aria.  You'll always find multiple $1-$3 NLH games going.  Minimum buy-in is $100, maximum is $300. The $2-$5 game is almost as busy, with a minimum buy-in of $200 and a maximum of $1K.  Another popular option is the $1-$2 PLO game with a $200 minimum and a $500 maximum. 

Beyond that, Aria is home to some of the biggest and most varied cash games in town.  You'll often find a $5-$5 PLO game with a rock that has a $400-$2K buy-in spread.  There are mixed games of various limits available, and much bigger NLH games spreading during busier hours.

BINION'S:  The venerable downtown poker room, the birthplace of the WSOP, has new hours.  The room is now open from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m., daily.  Of course the room will stay open past 1 a.m. if there are games running. The one daily tournament is at 6 p.m.  It's a $75 buy-in that starts players with 10K chips. There is an optional $25 add-on for 10K chips available any time through the first four levels.  In addition, players can re-buy 10K chips any time they are below 10K through the first four levels.  The levels last 20 minutes. 

The main cash game is a $1-$2 NLH game with a $100 minimum buy-in and no maximum. There are high hand bonuses, and additional bonuses for flopping the high hand.

SOUTH POINT:  Qualifying for the $225K winter freeroll runs January 1 – March 31.  Players need to play 120 hours during the period to earn a seat.

RED ROCK: The popular locals room in Summerlin recently made some changes to their tournament schedule.  Tournaments run daily at noon and 6:30 p.m., except for Saturday, when only a noon tournament is offered.  Monday through Friday the noon tournament is a $60 NLH event with a 6K starting stack, 20-minute levels and a $1K guarantee. Saturday a $100 Bounty tournament runs.  Players start with a 13K stack and play 20-minute levels.  The bounty is $25 and the guarantee is $2K.  Sunday the noon tournament has a $125 buy-in and a $5K guarantee. Players start with 18K chips and play 30-minute levels.

Monday and Thursday the 6:30 p.m. tourney is a $100 NLH Bounty with a 13K starting stack and a $3,500 guarantee. The levels are 20-minutes and the bounties are $25.  Tuesday and Wednesday it's a $90 buy-in with an 18K starting stack and 20-minute levels.  The guarantee is $2K.  Friday evening a $150 NLH Bounty is offered with a $5K guarantee.  The starting stack is 15K, the levels are 20-minutes and the bounties are $50.  Sunday evening the buy-in is $60 for a 7K starting stack, 20-minute levels and a $1,500 guarantee.

All the tournaments offer a $10 add-on for an additional 2K in chips. Players can win free tournament entries for hitting high hands of quads or better during tournament play.

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Happy New Year!!

Wishing all my loyal blog readers (and even the disloyal ones) a Happy and Healthy New Year!

By the way, the decade of the 2010's does not end tonight as many are saying.  We don't start counting years at "zero."  We start counting at "1."  So the first year of this current decade was 2011, not 2010. This decade lasts one more year. Just so you know.

Edited to add, my pal Lightning said they did this bit in a Seinfeld episode that I had long forgotten.  You can see the punchline here and be sure to read the comments for some further explanation and debate!.  Thanks, Lightning.


In case your Christmas was a bust....