Thursday, January 19, 2017

The ATM at Red Rock

During one of the first few evenings I was in Vegas last month, I found myself at the Red Rock Casino.  I was there to have dinner with some friends.  When we split up after, it didn’t make sense for me to drive to the Strip to play, it was much easier to play some poker at the Red Rock poker room.

I’ve played at the Red Rock a number of times over the years, and the one thing I can be sure of when I play there is that I can’t be sure of anything.  Every session, every experience there, is completely different.  One time it will be the nittiest game in town, another time it will be a table full of maniacs.  Sometimes it’s all regs who know each other and I feel like I’m intruding on a private game, other times, they act like they don’t know each other (and yeah, sometimes I’m convinced they are just acting).  And you know, sometimes, I see a girl with the largest breasts in the free world get motor-boated by another girl (see here to find that story). Sadly, that is not a regular feature of the room; I only saw that once.  If it happened all the time, I’d move into the room.

On this night, my first impression of the table was completely wrong.  In one corner, there were three older guys all next to each other.  These guys were old enough to call me “Sonny” though none of them did.  I figured with them all together, it was going to be a nitfest. 

Boy was I wrong!  Soon after I got to the table, a younger guy entered the game and sat directly to my right.  When I say “younger” I mean with respect to the three guys on the other side of the table.  And yes, he was younger than me, too.  But he was not a kid by any stretch.

But what he really was though, was a human ATM.  He went through money like nobody’s business.  He bought in for $300 (the max) and lost that in just a few hands.  He bought in for another $300, and that too was gone in about the same amount of time.  This time he got up and said, “Hold my seat.”  He came back a few minutes later with $300 in chips.  Which he lost just as fast.

Generally, each buy-in would last about two hands he’d play thru the turn.  If he got out on the flop, he wouldn’t lose that much.  He played virtually every hand.  It was either call a raise, make a raise of various sizes (from $7 to $25) or even limp.  It was hard to tell if there was ever any rhyme or reason to his preflop bet sizing.  But generally he’d play a hand where he’d lose 1//2 to 2/3’s his stack, and then a hand or two later go all in (either a call or a shove himself) and lose the rest.  I noticed a few bad bluffs that were called, and I guess when he called and didn’t show he made some bad crying calls.

He was apparently a regular.  The dealers all called him by name and I got the impression they weren’t just reading his name off the Bravo board in front of them, they actually knew him.  I wondered, does he come here every night and do this?  Surely sometimes he must win.  He didn’t say much and didn’t seem even remotely upset at all his loses, he was totally non-committal about it.  Don’t get me wrong, he didn’t seem happy about it and he didn’t really seem like he was enjoying himself, either.  But he sure didn’t seem upset.

He got up to get more cash or chips several times.  I would say he went through at least $2,400, $300 at a time, before he took off for good.  He won a few small hands that I saw, but that just meant more chips for whoever he stacked off to a hand or two later.

He was away from the table a lot (getting more money) but the action was good whether he was there or not.  The table was mostly loose, aggressive players.  There was one time a player 3-bet to $30 and got three callers.  A bit later, another player 3-bet to $30 and had two callers.  No nits here.

Well, except for yours truly.  Actually I got off to a good start.  Before I was there for one complete orbit, I got pocket Aces.  As soon as I made my usual $8 bet (first in), I realized that the open was too small for this game. Three players called.  The flop was 9-2-2.  I bet $20 and got one caller.  The turn was a 3, I bet $30 and he called.  The river was a 4.  I didn’t bet this time, and he mucked when he saw my bullets.

Maybe an orbit or two later—with the same dealer—I got Aces again.  Mr. ATM to my right opened to $10.  I made it $30, and it folded back to the ATM and he called.  The flop was Queen-high, he checked, and as soon as I went to grab chips, he insta-mucked.

Then I went card dead for a long time. A few of the other aggro players left, and the game nitted up.  But Mr. ATM was still there.  He was on what was to be his last buy-in and he was playing tighter now.  And I got Queens on the button.  It folded to the ATM who made it $9.  I suppose that’s a situation that cries out for a three-bet from me, but I just called, as I usually do with Queens.  The big blind called as well.  The flop was low, the ATM led out for $20 and I called.  The other guy folded.  The turn was a King and he checked.  I checked as well.  Another low card hit the river.  There was a straight draw out there, but I called his $25 bet.  He showed 5-3 off.  He had paired the 3, but that’s all, I took the pot.

I had gotten a late start because of the dinner with my friends, and when the human ATM  left for good, it was time for me to leave soon thereafter.  I booked a $105 profit for my relatively short session.  Would have been nice to have taken a big pot off the ATM but it wasn’t in the cards, I guess.

Note:  The pic below is courtesy Josie.  She recently posted this on Twitter with the comment, “Clever,” and I thought it belonged on the blog.  Seems quite appropriate.  She agreed.  Thanks, Josie!


  1. Nice to read about a win - too bad you couldn't get $300 at once!

  2. Nice win. I'm curious why river check on AA hand?

    1. Thanks, Dave.

      Good question....just being my typically cautious (nitty) self. With a possible straight out there and also possible trips (or a boat) out there....just decided to play it safe.

  3. Does Red Rock have "go-go dancers" like some of the strip properties? i kind of miss Josie's blog, to bad she quit.
    Hope you are feeling much better with the new ticker tune up.
    GL sir,

    Big L

    1. Thanks, Big L. No go-go dancers at Red Rock.

      Yeah, I miss Josie's blog too. But at least she's getting pretty active on Twitter, so there's that.

      I am feeling quite well. Felt better and stronger when I left Vegas than when I got there.

  4. Rob:

    Glad to hear you're feeling better and racking stacks ;-)

    Had a question about one of your comments:
    "And I got Queens on the button. It folded to the ATM who made it $9. I suppose that’s a situation that cries out for a three-bet from me, but I just called, as I usually do with Queens."

    I'm not sure if I'm reading that correctly, but it seems like your typical 3-bet range is AA/KK - is that accurate (I know you frequently flat w AK)? If that really is your 3-bet range, that's a pretty exploitable strategy.

    While it can be silly to even think about 3-betting ranges at 1/2 or 1/3, I think it's more meaningful for rec players with higher profiles, like yourself. If I know you're only going to 3-bet me with two hands, and fold almost everything but QQ/JJ and maybe A/K, I can raise you frequently off most holdings and I can play optimally against you post flop when you do 3-bet.

    Just something to consider.


    1. Thanks, sure I will open up my three=betting range when I play with you...or anyone I knows reads my blog. :) But I'm really not very high profile, odds of anyone at that table having seen before were pretty low.

      I do sometimes 3-bet QQ and JJ, especially in tournaments. But I know that is an area where I need to improve, 3-betting more.

  5. Rob,
    Years ago I was playing 2/5 in Indiana & there was an ATM just like you mentioned in your post. He would buy in for the maximum of $500 & he was in for $3,500 within an hour. I waited patiently for my turn. ATM opens to $25 from early position & gets 3 callers & I look down at AA from the button. I make it $150 & he instantly jams his newly bought $500 into the pot. Everyone else folds & I call. He doesn't show. Flop comes T93 rainbow; turn 5; River 3; I feel golden & then he turns over Q3 off-suit & tells me that it's his favorite hand. ATM ends up sharing the $1,000 in front of him to the rest of the table & then leaves. Fun times.


    1. Ugh. That's a great (no, horrible) story. Just ugly.

      Thanks for sharing it.