Saturday, June 13, 2015

Why I'm Blogging Instead of Playing Poker


First a sick laptop.

Then a sick me.

This is not the Vegas trip I envisioned.

I guess it started Thursday night.  My throat was bothering me all day.  I was hoping it was just “Vegas throat”…that excessive dry feeling I get more often than not when I’m in Vegas due to the aridity of the desert.  It’s one of the reasons I’m so sensitive to getting drinks at the table promptly and get so upset when they take my glass of ice away (see here).

But then, as I was playing, I started feeling a bit nauseous as well.  I stopped being able to concentrate on the game and just kept wondering if I was going to be tossing my cookies later.  This is actually another common thing that happens to me in Vegas, though.  The radical change in diet from being on the road sometimes affects me like this and usually it goes away in a couple of hours.

The trouble was that a fun game was about to take place.  Pete Peters, grrouchie and Chris were about to descend on MGM for a game of bloggers poker.  And just as they started showing up to join me, I decided it wasn’t safe for me to stay there and play.  I cashed out, said hello/goodbye to all of them, and felt terrible that I missed such a fun time.

Fortunately by the time I got back to the room, the nausea had passed.  My throat still felt funny, but it seemed to be on the mend the next day.  I thought I was ok to play last night, and that’s the session I’ll be writing about today.

I wanted to play a tournament today….it is after all Saturday in Las Vegas during the WSOP.  But after waking up, I started coughing.  And coughing.  And I could no longer deny that I had a cold.  Ugh.  So I am staying in for now.  Other than the cough, I feel pretty good, but I sure don’t want to be stuck at a poker table—especially at a tournament, where I’d be locked in—with a non-stop cough.

The irony is that all last fall, last winter, and just this past spring, I had managed to avoid getting a cold.  And now I finally get one…in summer?  In Vegas?  During the WSOP? (OK, technically it’s not summer quite yet, but tell that to the Vegas temperature, which is currently 102 degrees and is supposed to get wormer by the day all week.

Well, at least it gives me a chance to do some much needed blogging.

Last night was a success mainly on the basis of one hand.  I started out chipping downward.  I raised to $8 with Ace-Queen off, had two callers.  The flop was Queen-9-x. There was a $15 donk bet which I called.  A King on the turn and the two of us left both checked.  A Jack on the river was pretty scary, but he bet $20 and I made the crying call.  He had 10-9.  So he went runner-runner straight. 

Ace-7 of clubs, I raised to $8 and again had two callers.  The flop was A-10-7, and the 10 was a club.  Pretty good flop.  I bet $15 and had one caller.  The turn brought a second club.  I bet $25 and took it down.  I wondered if I should have slow played there.  I don’t think so. I’d be playing for a drawing ticket, not to win.  I had a lot of outs to either a boat or a flush for the ticket.  Everything I’ve been reading lately says don’t slow play.  Besides, why give a free card and then possibly get counterfeited on the river?

A guy raised to $6 and I had a couple of Aces.  As soon as I grabbed enough chips to re-raise, before I even counted or made my bet, he threw his two cards away.

In early position, I had King-10 of spades.  Against the advice of TBC (but totally following the advice of Ed Miller), I raised to $8.  The flop was King high, and two spades.  Again, another damn good flop.  Again, I didn’t slow play it, I c-bet and took it down.  Maybe this table was just too tight?

Pocket 8’s in the small blind, no raise.  I just completed, and five of us saw a flop of 7-8-9, two clubs.  I bet $5 and another guy—the resident aggro at the table—made it $15.  Hmm…..It was such a scary board I decided to just play for showdown value.  Pretty wimpy, I know, but I couldn’t get the possibility out of my head that I was already behind.  The turn was a King, non-club and I check/called $25.  A red 6 on the river put four to a straight out there.  I checked and so did he, and he flipped over 9-8 for flopped two pair.  Damn….we probably could have gotten it all in if I tried.

Then came the big hand.  I had dropped down to about $120 when I started to win some of those smallish pots.  I was now back close to my $200 buy-in.  I raised to $8 with Ace-Queen of clubs.  The guy behind me made it $25 and it folded back to me.  This guy was Belgian, and was moderately aggressive.  It was a close call, but I decided to call and see the flop.  I think it would have been an easy fold if it my hand wasn’t suited (Miller really likes suited hands). 

I didn’t see any clubs on the flop, as I had hoped.  But there was an Ace and a Queen, along with a 9.  I expected him to c-bet so I checked, and he put out $25.  Something about the way he bet made me think he wasn’t going to stop.  So I just called.  Sure enough, on a low turn card (no flush possible), I checked and he put out $50.  Again, I called.  Another 9 hit the river, and I checked, assuming he would make another bet.

He did.  He wasted no time in announcing all-in.  He had me covered, and I had $100-ish left.  I snap-called.  He showed Ace-King.  It was a really nice double-up, putting nearly $400 in front of me.

I managed to drop some of that profit, and one hand is haunting me.  I had pocket Jacks and raised to $8.  It was 3-way.  The flop was King-high and I c-bet $15, and one player called.  I’d played with this guy a few times this trip—and in the past as well.  I heard him chatting with another grinder a few nights earlier.  He’s a European grinder hoping to be able make a living at poker.  He moved from one European country to another recently because of better rules for online poker.  He was also the guy who had insta-mucked his hand when I grabbed chips to three-bet him with my Aces earlier this session.

Another King hit the turn, and I checked, as did he.  But on a blank river card, he bet $50 after I checked.  Did he really have trip Kings?  I tried to talk myself into making the hero call, but I just couldn’t do.  I laid it down.

A few hands later, I got Jacks again, and took a small pot with a preflop raise and a c-bet.  By then I was starting to think that a shorter session would be the right call, not sure if I was actually sick or not.  So I picked up my stack and booked a $115 win.  Not bad considering how I started out, or that I was coming down with a cold.


  1. i would think it would be good for Rob to do what i do and play in a lot of rooms where u can grab ur own coffee and soda without ever needing a waitress

    1. Thanks, Tony, I don't know any rooms that let you get your own soda, tho I think some do have coffee available. Never drink coffee.

      As I recall, the room at the Tropicana had a fridge that had cold water and even cans of soda. And the M Resort, when it opened, had several soda jockeys in the casino where players (poker or otherwise) could help themselves to soft drinks. But when the new owners took over, they took them out.

      Do the Reno rooms have self-service on soft drinks?

    2. Yes all four of the main rooms

    3. Wow....they need to bring that concept to Vegas....or I guess I'll just have to start going to Reno.

  2. also please edit ur blog to say another K hit the turn instead of another K hit the flop

    1. Yeah, thanks for that correction. For some reason, when I take notes, I frequently misstate the flop, turn and river, and have to straighten it out when I write the post. I missed this one.

  3. I like your nurse - I'm sure she'll be getting you feeling better in no time. :-)

    For me, pocket-Jacks are like pocket-Kings to you. My "dreaded hand". I can never seem to win with Jacks ... might have to start tossing them away pre-flop

    Hope you are feeling better soon. I'm in Tokyo (land of anti-boobage) and playing golf this weekend, before a series of meetings next week.

    GL in the rest of your WSOP action, whatever you decide to play.

    1. Thanks....figured you'd like that nurse.

      Pocket Jacks are bad, it's just that KK is supposed to be the second best starting hand and it blows up so least for me.

  4. Vegas Throat? You can get that downtown for like $15.

    1. Hmmm....I think if I had gone that route, I'd now be a lot sicker than I am.