Picking up where I left off here, this is the second part of my report on the Player’s Casino in Ventura, Ca.
The atmosphere was much more pleasant than it usually is at the Bike. It had the feel of a locals Vegas room, but without all the grumpiness. The players were friendly and it seemed like most of them were regs. They knew each other and the dealers seemed to know most of the players. The servers knew them too, calling many by their first name. That said, those of us who were not regulars were not made to feel unwelcome or like they were crashing a private game. Not at all. It was friendly. Really, it was a nice group of folks, I never saw or heard anyone get nasty or unpleasant the whole time I was there. Really unusual. Also, I never saw players disappear from the table for long periods of time like at the Bike. My only issue was one of the guys next to me left a couple of times to go outside for a smoke break—I knew this because he always came back reeking of the cigarettes.
The other thing I want to mention is that they have no comps program. No player’s card. According to their website, they are working on that. It will be interesting to see what they come up with for that. Since I’ve never really taken advantage of the comps at the Bike, this didn’t bother me.
After getting back home, I did some more research and found some interesting gossip (or whatever) on the 2+2 thread on the room (here). According to some posters, they are planning to add a jackpot drop soon. And one of the forum members stated that it is state law that California casinos take all the drop up front, so that’s why they do it that way at the Bike and Commerce, etc. And this poster wondered how Player’s Club was getting away with not doing it the same way.
I have no idea if this is true. It strikes me as a weird law—but I bet if it’s true, casinos probably lobbied the gaming commission to make it a rule so they could do it without getting the blame. Am I being too cynical? I seriously doubt, however, that the Player’s Casino is breaking any gaming rules in doing it this way. Perhaps, if that is true about the law, they negotiated some kind of waiver to do it the way they are doing it. I dunno.
As for the poker, I started out quite card dead, which was ok as I was trying to get a feel for the place, the players, and the action. And I concentrated on making sure I knew which chips were the $1 ones and which were the $5 ones.
The first hand I really played was pocket 9’s, I called a raise to $15. It was 3-ways and the flop came 9-8-7, rainbow. I had flashbacks to the period in Vegas where my sets were crushed by straights (see here). It checked to me and I bet $40. No one called.
I limped in with Ace-10 of hearts, and it was five-way. The flop was all bricks, save one heart. No one bet. I caught an Ace on the turn and called a $15 bet, it was now heads up. The river was a blank and we both checked. He showed Ace-3 so my kicker was quite good.
The first time I raised, I had K-10 of spades under-the-gun and made it $12. Three of saw a flop that had one spade but otherwise missed me. I c-bet $25 and got one caller. We both checked the turn, a blank, and then I checked the river and folded to his bet.
I raised to $15 with Ace-10 of hearts and had two callers. The flop was Ace-Ace-8. I bet $25 and no one called.
In the big blind I had 8-7 offsuit and checked to see the flop for free. There were five of us. The flop was Ace-8-7, two diamonds. I bet $15 and one guy called. There was a third diamond on the turn, I checked and called $25. Instead of boating up, the river brought a fourth diamond. I checked and so did he. He showed two diamonds, the highest being a Jack. I guess he was afraid of bigger flush once the fourth diamond hit.
With Ace-7 offsuit in the big blind and no preflop raise, the flop came A-10-7. None of my four opponents called my flop bet of $10.
With King-6 of hearts in the big blind, the guy to my left straddled. The straddle is always $6 and I’m pretty sure only UTG can straddle. Four players called the $6, so I took a chance and called as well. The guy had straddled a few times and had raised less than half the time when he did, so I thought there was a decent chance I could see a flop in that inflated pot for just the three bucks. Indeed, he just checked. The flop was King-Jack-6, with a heart thrown in for good measure. Nice to be flopping all these two pairs from the blinds. I bet $25 and one guy called. A low card hit the turn and I bet $50, he called again. When an Ace hit the river, I was concerned the guy might have either caught a straight or possibly two pair with the Ace. So I played it conservatively and checked. He checked too and I showed my hand, and he just mucked.
At this point I was up around $80-$90. Not bad for being card dead. Seriously, I had not seen a pocket pair bigger than those 9’s I had early. Probably had a total of three or four smaller pocket pairs that never caught a set. Not even any dreaded Kings to scare me. Never saw Ace-Queen, folded Ace-jack once to a raise. No King-Queen, suited or otherwise. I finally saw Ace-King a few times. Once my raise got no call, once I c-bet the flop and got no call. I didn’t even get any suited connectors.
I wasn’t quite ready to leave but I started thinking about planning to take off “soon.” In the big blind, I had 3-2 off suit and no one raised. The flop came Ace-3-2, rainbow. There were five or six of us who had cards. I bet $10 and one player called. A big card hit the turn and I bet $25, he called again. A medium card hit the river. There was no flush possible, and the only straight would have been a flopped wheel. Still, I thought bottom two pair was pretty vulnerable. My instinct there is to play it safe and check. But I forced myself to make the value-bet, I put out $50. The guy counted out $50 and called, then mucked when he saw my little two pair. I guess he had a weak Ace with a kicker that didn’t pair up. One of the other players said, “3-2, huh? I guess that’s the big blind special.” Yep.
Now I had nearly $200 profit for the day, and the thought of “booking the win” started creeping into my mind. Not a big score by any means, but after last weekend’s rough ending, leaving up would feel good, and having a positive result playing in a new place seemed good to me as well.
And I still wasn’t getting any cards to play except when I hit something in the blinds. So there I was, thinking this may be my last orbit, looking at Ace-3 offsuit in the big blind. There were many limpers but again, no raise. The flop came Ace-9-3, two clubs. Ho hum. Just flopped another two pair from the big blind. Doesn’t everyone? I swear there were plenty of times when I totally whiffed from the big blind. Anyway, the small blind checked, I bet $12, the guy to my immediate left called, it folded to the small blind, who shoved.
But he was short stacked. The shove was only for $31. He had been playing really tight and I kind of figured him for a set, but I don’t see how I fold two pair there. Should I have re-raised? I dunno. I just called.
The guy who had called my $12 surprised me by putting out a stack of $100. Hmm. So it was back to me. He only had $50 left. My first thought was to protect the win and fold. Yeah. But I argued with myself and thought about it. It made no sense now to call, if I was gonna play I knew I should shove and get him to put the rest of his chips in before he saw another card. This guy was fairly new to the table and had made no impression on me whatsoever, so he might have been a tight player, maybe he could beat my two pair. Or maybe he was betting the flush draw?
So when I got out of the tank, I had gone from folding to shoving. I announced “all-in” and of course the guy called but he didn’t seem too happy about it. We didn’t show. The turn was a blank but the river was a lovely Ace. I eagerly flipped over my boat. The short stack showed his pocket 3’s. He honestly thought he had won the hand. “I have a full house.” Yes, but sir, I sucked out on you. It’s called “poker.” The other guy, the guy who had put $150+ in the pot, hesitated, mumbled something, started to show his hand, but then turned his cards in face down and left the game.
Wow, that was a damn nice pot, and damn lucky too, of course. It was about the sixth or so time I’d flopped two pair from the big blind, and the first time all day I’d boated up….and I needed that boat.
Or did I? Well, yes, to beat the short stack but…..well here’s the thing. I think the dealer did something improper here. I didn’t realize it at the time, only after. We were all talking about the hand—like I said, it was a friendly table—and the short stack was still trying to figure out how he lost with a full house. The dealer explained that I had a bigger full house, and even showed it to him. I think he thought I only had trip Aces, not realizing I had the case 3. I wondered aloud what the other guy had, no one else had even heard the guy mumble whatever he mumbled. I said, “Was he on the draw?” Then the dealer said, “I saw his hand, he had Ace-King.”
Interesting. I asked if he also had the draw and he didn’t (by this time I’d forgotten if one of the clubs on the flop had been the Ace). He said the King was a diamond, so no draw. Anyway, do you think it was proper of the dealer to tell us what he had? I mean the guy had left, and maybe the dealer never saw him before and didn’t expect him to come back to play, but still, he’s giving us information that could help us if we play against the guy again. Although I appreciated learning this, I don’t think he should have said anything since the guy didn’t show. OTOH, the guy had started to show his hand, which is how the dealer saw it, so maybe he figured the player had showed long enough for this to be public information.
The other thing is, if the guy had Ace-King, he deserved to get felted. He should have raised with it. I’m not calling a raise from the big blind with Ace-3. He still would have lost to the set of 3’s (assuming the guy would have called a raise, and he may very well have shoved preflop), but he wouldn’t have lost that much to him, as opposed to stacking off to me.
And if he had Ace-King, it means I didn’t really need that Ace on the river to come out ahead. As long as a King didn’t hit, then barring the board pairing a different card than the Ace to counterfeit me, he would have lost anyway. I would have lost the main pot to the short-stack, but I would have won a much bigger side pot from him and still made out ok.
But I did appreciate being on the right end of the suckout for once. When I finished stacking my chips, I had nearly $400 more than the $300 I bought in for. Now I was definitely in “booking the win” mode. Since the short-stack rebought, I didn’t want to look like a hit-and-runner, I stayed two more orbits. I only got one playable hand—Ace-King again. I raised with it under the gun and no one called. That was it.
So I picked up and cashed out a $390 win. Mostly because I kept flopping two pair from the big blind. If it was only always that easy.
I have to admit, however, I never had caught two pair as big as the two pair above.
So I had a rather enjoyable first time at the Player’s Casino. I know I didn’t demonstrate any great poker skill, and readily admit my score was virtually entirely due to dumb ass luck. The deck kept hitting me when I was in the blind.
But you know, sometimes, it’s better to be lucky than good. I’ll definitely be back to this room again, we’ll see if I can get lucky there again, or if I actually have to play well next time.