Sunday, June 23, 2013

Good Run at the M Resort (At Least, For a While)

As most of you know, fellow blogger “-S”, aka “pkrdlr” is about to become an ex-pkrdlr.  He’s moving to Hawaii, a state that has no legal gambling.  He’s already given notice at M Resort, where he was more or less the acting poker room manager after the manager who opened the room left a few months back. In fact, I think I may be posting those entry on the his very last day on the job for them. Now, the M will presumably be looking to someone else to help them turn the room around. 

A lot of what was going on with M Resort—before –S resigned—was covered by me in the blog post here.  Just a few days after I published that blog post, I played in a tournament at M and did rather well.  I haven’t had a chance to tell the story of that day, but now that –S is leaving M (and Vegas), I thought it would be a good time to tell the story from that day.  Another good reason to run it now is that the end of June is the first HPO Championship Event which is being held at the M.  I’ve mentioned that event both on the blog (here) and in my Ante Up column.
M has been running a monthly deepstack tournament the last Saturday of the month.  The tournament in the post I just linked to was a special HPO event, but in late March I returned to M to play in their monthly deepstack.  Sadly, I didn’t last too long.  But I had heard that my blog post about the HPO experience went over well with some of the The Powers That Be at M.  Presumably they had been told about my post by –S.  So I made sure I introduced myself to the manager at M in March, and he did indeed tell me how much he liked the blog post.  Little did I know that he would be leaving the M just a few weeks later.
When the next deepstack came around, I was a bit torn.  Having just written that blog post giving my well wishes for the M, hoping they could indeed turn the room around, I kind of felt obligated to play in that tournament.  I felt I should put my money where my mouth is, as it were. Besides, as I’d mentioned in the post, I really liked the room.
But as a result of my day job with AVP, I had learned of an interesting competing tournament that day, an even bigger deepstack tournament at Stratosphere.  More chips, slightly smaller buy in, and a bigger guarantee ($25K vs. $10K).  I came real close to skipping the M tournament for the one at Stratosphere,
But no, I wanted to show my support for the M’s hoped-for turnaround.  And besides, the M tournament started at Noon, the Stratosphere didn’t start until 2pm.  If I made a quick exit at M, I might still have time to head over to the Strat and play that one too.
The way things started, it sure looked like I was going to be able make that second tournament.  Until the first break, I was totally card dead.  For a deepstack tournament, the blinds escalate rather quickly in this tournament, so I was almost short-stacked after the break even without losing any significant pots because I just didn’t get any hands to play. 
But after the first break, everything changed.  First, with the blinds 75/300/600 I had Ace-Queen offsuit in the big blind.  One limper, I made it $2000.  I actually considered shoving there but I did have a few chips to play with   Big blind and limper called.  The flop totally missed me, but it looked kind of ragged.  I thought there was a good chance it had missed the others too, and unless someone hit it big, they wouldn’t want to risk the chips I had in front of me.
So, first to act, I just shoved with nothing.  My other thought was, if I got caught, well, I still had time to get to the Strat.  But they both folded.  That got me some chips to work for a bit.
I actually tried the all-in trick a couple of more times, once preflop, once after the flop with marginal hands.  And it worked.
Then came the hand that prevented me from going to the Stratosphere.  Blinds now 75/400/800 and I woke up with pocket Aces.  I was actually thinking of taking a big chance and limping there, hoping to get a bigger score than I could if I just raised.  But instead, an older guy in early position raised first, to $3,000.  He had me covered.
It folded to me and I considered just calling, figuring he would make a continuation bet and then I’d shove against it.  But I decided to make a quasi-min raise instead.  I made it $7,000 thinking he’d probably call that, and then I could shove on the flop.  If he did fold, well, so be it.  And if he came over the top, all the better.  I was willing to risk busting out there to get as much value as I could out of my hand.  Go big or go home (or to the Strat, actually).
He just called.  The flop was 9-9-3, a flop that did nothing to dissuade me from my plan of shoving virtually any flop.  So after he checked, I shoved and he snap called.
Shit.  Did he have a 9?  Nope.  He had….Ace-10.
Ace-10???  WTF?  OK, I understand his preflop raise, and maybe—maybe—I understand his calling my three-bet.  But calling on the flop there, where he had nothing?  No draws at all.  I don’t recall the suits, but his A-10 was offsuit.  He had zilch.  The only way I can possibly understand his call was if put me on a bluff, maybe a crappier Ace than his?  Weird, just weird.
The board bricked out and my Ace’s held.  I got a very nice double up.  So now I had enough chips to go back to playing poker again.  And also, I knew I wasn’t making the long trek from M to the Strat this day.
The other thing about the older guy was, after I won the pot, he gave me a dirty look, like I somehow didn’t deserve to win the pot.  Like I had sucked out on him or something.  Geez, sir, you played that hand about as badly as you possibly could.  That’s hardly my fault.
A bit later I raised with Ace-King suited, got one caller, then made a big c-bet on a blank flop and took it down.
Then, with about 37k in front of me, a guy with about 20k raised before  me.  I had Ace-Jack of spades. I really thought there was a good chance he was raising light with that stack of his (not sure if this was the same level as the Aces or the next level).  So I tested my theory by going all-in (and you thought I played too tight).
He called and flipped over Ace-Queen of diamonds.  Oops.  The flop was King-10-x.  Now that made things very interesting.  We both had gut-shots and we each had each other’s card.  The last thing either of us wanted was to pair our lower card now!
Sure enough, he caught his pair of Queens on the turn, which meant I had the straight.  The river blanked and he was done, and I had all his chips.
Then there was a hand against a kinda weird guy there who had a custom made shirt that had two big Jacks on it.  I don’t recall the suits but he said those particular jacks cost him a lot of money once so he made a shirt to memorialize it. He said with those two Jacks once, he flopped quads and the other guy flopped a boat with his pocket Aces.  And caught quad Aces on the river.  So he lost a huge pot.
But when I said, “Too bad they didn’t have a bad beat jackpot there,” he said, “Actually, they did.  I won more money from the jackpot than I lost in the hand, but still, it pissed me off.”
Huh?  Unless the pot was huge and the jackpot unusually small, I’m assuming he was a lot better off winning the jackpot than winning the pot.  Oh, he did say that the guy’s boat (Aces full) would have been big enough to win the jackpot, but of course in that case, he would have gotten the smaller share, so I’m sure he did ok with his bad beat.
Anyway, in early position this guy raises to $3,000 (blinds were 100/500/1000).  It folded to me in the big blind and so I put in $2,000 more with pocket 6’s.
The flop was Ace-6-Ace.  Always nice to flop a full house, right?  I can’t recall what my thinking was, darn it, but for some reason I shoved.  As soon as I did it, I was thinking how stupid that was, I should have made a much smaller bet, maybe even slowplayed it.
Didn’t matter.  He snap called. I had him well covered.  He said, as he shoved, “I was hoping you’d do that.”  That scared me a bit but he flipped over Ace-9.  My boat held up and now I had even more chips.
I think it was at this point I took a picture of my stack (see below), and tweeted out that I was “running like god” at the M Resort tournament.

Our table broke and I wasn’t quite as hot at the new table.  I tried limping/calling a raise with pocket deuces and missed.  Then I raised preflop in early position with pocket 4’s.  The flop put three to a straight on board (and no four).  Playing aggressive, I made a big bet but the other guy shoved and I folded.  He showed that he had indeed flopped a straight so it was a good fold, but it did cost me some chips.
With the blinds at 100/800/1600 I picked up pocket Queens in the small blind.  There were a few limpers so I made it 8,000 and got three callers.  Flop was 8-7-7, two diamonds and so I shoved.  One guy with a shorter stack than mine called.  I was afraid of a draw or a 7 but he had pocket 10’s.  For good measure, I hit a Queen on the turn and won a nice pot.
At this new table there were two or three young guys who all seemed to be friends, based on the banter.  One of them was directly to my left.  With a couple of limpers already in, I raised on the button with Ace-3 of diamonds.  Two called.  The flop was K-10-2, no diamonds.  When it was checked to me, I put out a big bet and the both folded.  The kid to my left said, “Playing King-Queen is very dangerous, sir.” 
I just laughed and said, “No, I played 10-2, sir.”  He said he folded pocket 8’s.
Then his buddy was texting some girl he had recently met.  He had been complaining about going through a long dry spell, saying it had been a year since he’d gotten laid.  He was saying this girl was “kinda wild” as he kept texting her.  It sounded like he was going to see her that night.  So he turned to the attractive, not quite middle-aged woman to his left and said, “Cover your ears, ma’am.”  And then he told his buddy, “If she comes over tonight, I’m gonna lick her ass.”
The guy to my left said, “Yeah, I know that’s your thing.”
His buddy said, “Yeah, you do know that.  Actually, it’s a little concerning that you know that.”
Back to poker.  I limped on the button with pocket deuces and the flop was all high cards.  Surely someone had one of those.  But when it was checked to me, I put out a big bet and everyone folded.
So I rode that big stack I had accumulated for quite some time.  But eventually the blinds and some of my aggression caught up with me a bit. As we got close to the money, my stack was still pretty big, but there bigger ones at the table.  Still, I couldn’t remember when I had last been in that good of a chip position that late into a tournament. And then, I was moved to even up the last two tables and we were one or two players from the money.
And then, going against the way I usually play in that situation, cost me.  I think the blinds were at 200/2000/4000.  I was in the big blind with Jack-10 offsuit and there were a couple of limpers so I just checked.  The flop was Queen-9-6, so I had the open-ender.  I checked.  One of the limpers bet out $10k.
I hadn’t played with this guy very long, but he was young, had the hoodie, the sunglasses and the headphones, and so even though I hadn’t seen any signs of obvious aggression from him the little bit I’d played with him, I really kind of thought he was making a move.  It folded to me and I thought long and hard about my play.
Close to the bubble, my instinct is to fold there.  But sometimes, I try hard to fight against my instincts.  Instead of folding, I could have just called and seen one more card before risking a whole lot of chips.
But I decided there was a very good chance that, if I made a check-raise there, the guy would lay it down.  He had enough to call my bet without shoving if he wanted to, but whatever happened, I had 8 outs to hit my straight if I needed to and I wouldn’t bust out no matter what. So I made it $2500.
Well, he did take a long time to decide.  He counted his chips, looked at my stack, and the pot.  I really thought he was going to lay it down.  But no, instead, he announced “all in.”
Back to me.  I didn’t take note of the chip counts, but I wasn’t really pot committed there, but it would have hurt to just fold.  I got a count of his chips and I’d be short stacked if I called and lost, but not totally desperate.
I finally decided that this was my chance to get enough chips to finish near the top, or maybe even win the damn tournament, and it was risk worth taking.  I had eight outs and although I was no longer “running like god” I wasn’t running that bad.
So I called.  To my surprise, he turned over pocket Aces.  Yeah, he had limped in with Aces.  He’d taken a big risk, and unless I caught my straight, it was going to pay off.
I didn’t hit my straight.  Ouch.
Now I was second shortest stack and when the 11th player finally busted out—the guy to my left refused to pay the bubble—I was in the money but the shortest stack at the final table.
However badly I played that hand, I’m sure I played my final hand even worse.  I think the blinds were now 600/3000/6000.  I was in the small blind with Queen-8 of diamonds.  No one raised so I limped in for 3K.  The flop was Ace-8-2, one diamond (the Ace).  An older guy bet relatively small compared to the pot, and I decided to call.  I didn’t note the size of my stack, but obviously I still had some chips to play with, even tho, as I said, I was pretty sure I was the short-stack.  When a low diamond hit the turn and the guy put out another too small bet, I called again.  If I missed, I still would have a stack left to make one move with, and perhaps an orbit or two to do it.
I was praying for a diamond.  King of diamonds was my first choice, that would have given me the nuts.  Instead, it was an 8, giving me trips.  The older guy shoved and had me covered.  I wasn’t about to fold trips there, so of course I called.  He flipped over Ace-8 for the boat.  That 8 was the worst card I could have seen, as it turns out.
I was done and had to settle for a min cash of $280 ($125 buyin; there were a bit more than 100 runners).  It’s always nice to cash in a tournament, but very disappointing considering my chip position before that kid limped with Aces and sandbagged me.
But at least my decision to give the M tournament another shot wasn’t an unprofitable one.

(Edited to add:  M Resort closed its poker room 8/2/13 --see here--so this was the last time I ever played there.  Damn.  At least it was a winning session.)


  1. Sounds like a fun day. Gonna miss watching the good guys win now and again ;)

    Thanks, as always, for all the support. It's been greatly appreciated!

    1. Thank you sir! It was indeed a fun day and I speak for most of the poker tweeter/blogger world when I say you will be greatly missed while you're walking barefoot on those Hawaiian beaches with the wife.

  2. No mention of boobage? At least it looks like you are moving into a new area based on your post about -S and M. Not that it surprises me any ...

    1. Boobage? S & M? Hey, this is a SERIOUS poker blog man!

  3. He said, as he shoved, “I was hoping you’d do that.”


    1. Yeah, I enjoyed the comment too! I guess he thought I had a weaker Ace than he did. But he only had a 9!

  4. Rob, enjoyed the tournament summary. If possible, please include your stack size when the describe hand history. It's a lot of fun to put myself in your position and determining what I would have done in your situation. Thanks

    1. Thanks, xdex, I would like that too. The problem is, it takes me so long to write down just the hand action, bets, etc, that I don't want to take even more time to try to note the stacks. I always lose enough time not focusing on the play. But I do try when possible.

    2. Fair enough. I usually count my chips at the beginning of each tournament break, maybe this could be an easier thing for you. If not, keep up the good posts!

    3. I do do that when I have I have to remember to make a note of it!