Flopping a monster is a very rare thing. And when you do, the question is, can you get paid for it? Yes and no.
This is about my most recent session in L.A., a return to the Player’s Casino in Ventura. Since I started going there over a year ago, the place has made some changes. The first thing I noticed was they changed the way they do the rake. I know I mentioned this before. It’s now like the other L.A. area rooms I play…..they take it off the top, no matter how small the pot is. And it’s five bucks. So if just the blinds in the 2/3 game decided to play instead of chop, and there was no raise, the pot on the flop would be $1, and there’d be $5 taken out for the rake.
Or at least, that’s the way it was until a month or two ago. That’s when they added a jackpot drop. I’m not sure if I mentioned that before. Before that, they had a house-funded bad beat jackpot, which was something like $1,000 or so. Not sure, because I never pay any attention and I don’t expect to ever hit it. But now with the jackpot drop, it’s progressive, and starts at $10K for hold’em and they add to it daily, based on how much promo money they take in. And they take a buck out of the pot for that.
So I guess, in the scenario I just mentioned, if the blinds wanted to play, and no one raised, they’d be playing for a pot of zero. I never saw that happen—and I hope to never see it happen—so I can’t say for sure.
Well, when I got there Saturday, it didn’t take long for me to see that there’s been another change. And it hit me right in the gut. As is my custom, I ordered a diet Coke soon after getting settled in at the table. As I mentioned in my very first post about this room, they charge for the soda. It’s $1.50. Refills are free, and it’s a large cup, so I was ok with it. But now, they’ve increased the price to $2.50 (refills are still free).
It’s only a buck, but it’s annoying. I guess I’m used to the free drinks in Vegas. California casinos aren’t allowed to give alcoholic drinks away (state law to protect the players from themselves), but they could give free soft drinks if they wanted. As I noted in my recent post about the Commerce tournament I played, there they charge 50¢. The Bike still serves them at no charge, at least as of the last time I was there. But the Bike has different rules depending on what game you’re playing, it’s possible they charge if you play a lower tier game.
When I expressed surprise at the increased price, some of the players told me “Everything went up.” Apparently they increased the prices on the food they serve table-side (and in their restaurant). I was told that the “$5 lunch” is now the “$8 lunch.”
So it’s not the “bargain” it used to be. The rake is still a bit better than Bike or Commerce because those rooms take an extra buck rake if the hand goes to the river. But still….the extra buck to feed my soda addiction is irksome.
Another thing I should mention is that PC has no rewards/comps program. Nothing. For awhile I was seeing signs saying that a player’s card was coming, but those signs are gone. So you really get nothing for playing there, except a place to play.
On the other hand, for now at least, the parking is free.
Anyway, I had to wait for a while to get into a game. And when my name was at the top of the list, they opened a new table, so I was sent there.
The second hand I was dealt, I had pocket Queens. There was a limper in front of me and I made it $15. Five of us saw an Ace-high flop. I c-bet $30. There was a call, then a raise to $80. I folded. The caller shoved, the raiser called. The caller had Ace-4 offsuit. The raiser had Ace-2 off for a flopped two pair. Hey, doesn’t everybody call a raise with Ace-rag?
Or how about this one? I made it $12 with Ace-10 of clubs. Only two callers this time. The flop was King-8-5, two hearts, no clubs. I dutifully put out a $20 c-bet after the small blind checked. The other player called, the small blind check-raised to $60, I folded. The other guy called. There was more betting and by showdown time, it was revealed that both players had flopped two pair. How could that be with that flop in a raised pot, you ask? Ha! The guy who called my c-bet showed King-5. The check-raiser showed 8-5. Standard, right? Anyway, the guy with 8-5 sucked out when a second 8 hit the river.
I went a long time without winning anything, just slowly bleeding chips. Then, after a couple of limpers I raised to $18 with Ace-King offsuit. Only one caller. The flop was Queen-high. I made a $20 c-bet and claimed my first pot of the day.
Later, I had 10-7 offsuit in the big blind. No one raised, so four of us saw a flop. There were a lot of 10’s on that flop. Three of them, to be exact. Yeah, I flopped quads. But it was limped pot. Of course, if it had been raised, I wouldn’t likely be holding my cards still. I checked, and a guy bet $10. The next guy folded, but the small blind called. I called as well. I had to hope someone liked the turn card. In fact, the turn card was an Ace, I figured that was good for me. This time the small blind bet, it was $20. I called and the other guy folded.
The river was another Ace. So if the small blind had an Ace, he now had Aces full of 10’s instead of 10’s full of Aces. But did that really make a difference? If neither of us had an Ace or the case 10, it’s a chop. Or it’s a chop if we both have an Ace. Of course, if he had pocket Aces, that would be one of the all time bad beats for me, but I was fairly confident he didn’t have two Aces in his hand.
When he checked instead of betting, I figured he wouldn’t call a big bet, if he would call any bet. So I just put out $20. He actually thought about it for awhile, and said, “I didn’t like that second Ace…..OK, I call. Do you have the 10?” I nodded and turned over my hand, as he turned over Ace-4. A player not in the hand said, “Boy, you sure didn’t get much for your quads.” I just shrugged. There was no way I was gonna get a lot of chips there.
Then there was a brief bit of excitement, someone said that this was a Bad Beat Jackpot hand. Ace’s full beaten by quads. Except it wasn’t, for two reasons. The minimum hand to beat is Aces full of Jacks, so the losing hand wasn’t good enough. Besides, as I pointed out to the table, only one of my cards played, and both must play for the BBJ to hit (same thing for his hand, for that matter). It was just a very small pot for an absolute monster hand.
In the big blind I called a $6 straddle with 8-7 of diamonds. I had noticed that the guy who straddled virtually never raised his straddle when the option came to him. Which is kind of weird, if you ask me. What is the purpose of straddling under-the-gun if you never raise? Isn’t the whole point to get last action pre-flop? Otherwise, you’re just inflating the pot blindly, out of position. And once again, he just checked and it was 4-ways. The flop was King-Jack-4, two diamonds. I called $18 and it was now down to three of us. The turn was a 7 and it checked around. The river was an 8. So I bet $30 and had one call. I was almost embarrassed to show my hand, runner-runner two pair. I quickly explained that I had the flush draw on the flop. The other guy didn’t call, but he looked as bewildered as I must have looked during the first couple of hands I described.
I had Ace-King off and there was a straddle and a call of that straddle. So I made it $25. Two players called. I couldn’t believe the flop—it was only Ace-King-King. I was wondering if I could get more for this monster than the last one. Well, yeah, I could since there was already $75 in the pot when the flop was put out. But how much more could I get?
I had last action and I was leaning towards checking, hoping at the very least, one of the two other players would try to steal it on the turn. But after a check, the guy on my right bet in front of me. Sweet. It was only $30 but I didn’t want to scare him off with a raise, I just called. I was hoping those pot odds would be too tough to pass up for the third guy, but no, he folded.
The turn was whatever and my neighbor bet again, this time $40. I dunno, should I have raised then? I decided to just call. On the river, however, he checked. How much could I get him to call? I figured for the size of the pot, he could find a call if I bet $100, so that’s what I did. He didn’t waste any time in matching my $100 stack so I guess he would have called more. Oh well.
He didn’t show when I tabled my flopped boat, I assume he had the case King—but in this game, anything was possible. I figured my actual profit from that hand was around $215, not bad. Another player recalled my flopped quads and then when his buddy came around, he pointed to me and said, “This guy’s flopped quads and King’s full of Aces today.” Just another day at the office.
Very next hand I lost some chips chasing a flush. I didn’t note the details but it wasn’t too much. I played another couple of orbits but could not flop another monster—or anything, for that matter.
I left up $135. Not awesome but not bad. I just hope there are more monsters in my near future.