Saturday, July 11, 2015

Three Bloggers, Two Countries & a Big Rack...of Ribs

This session took place early in my recent visit, when Lightning was still in town.  Additionally, Mr. Ben had recently arrived from Jolly Ol’ England, and was able to join the two of us for the evening.

We had a good time, but with three bloggers—one from the Midwest, one from the West, and one from across the pond, I was expecting more shenanigans (i.e., blogging material) than actually developed.  We were not sitting together, but that didn’t stop us from laughing and telling stories and mocking many fellow bloggers who had the poor judgment to not attend (the fact that they weren’t in Vegas that night is a poor excuse). We all enjoyed the game, but as we almost never got into hands against each other, there were no great blogger tales to come out of the game.

In fact, the most memorable thing about the game for me was a really big rack.  I’m talking ribs, you see.  Get your minds out of the gutter!

The fellow to my immediate right was a local grinder and a reg in the room.  I’ve played with him a million times, and have mentioned him before without giving him a blog name.  And I will continue to leave him nameless until such time as we get into a crucial hand together or he does something totally embarrassing.  Actually at this session, he came pretty close to doing the latter.

The thing is, as the game wore on, the reg had gotten unusually chatty with me.  This was not his normal style—he usually was pretty quiet while at the table. In the past, he’s hardly said two words to me.  But as the evening wore on, he was quite the chatterbox.  We started talking about the “freeroll” which he always plays in, and I refrained from offering my opinion of it.  He also qualifies for a freeroll in another room in town.  We also talked about tournaments, he’d been playing a few of the series events, and we even compared notes on our experiences with Colossus—we shared our bad beat stories.  Misery loves company.

Since he’s obviously a grinder, I was surprised to see that he was drinking alcoholic beverages.  I didn’t notice that he did before.  But perhaps the alcohol had something to do with his uncharacteristic loose tongue.

One thing he was talking about was his dinner.  He kept watching the clock, saying he had to hit up the sports bar before they closed at 11PM.  That sports bar, named “Tap,” is the new dining venue where I burn through my poker comps.  The food is decent, and only moderately overpriced.  Let’s put it this way….if I didn’t have the comps to use, I’d never eat there.  But an $18 hamburger isn’t so bad when you only have to pay three bucks for it (that’s the tip, because you can’t use your comps for tips).  It really is the only reasonably priced choice these days for sit down dining on the comps, because after it opened, other MGM restaurants—ones not owned by MGM—stopped accepting poker comps.  In the past I’ve taken folks to the Rainforest CafĂ© and Wolfgang Puck’s on my comps, but that is no longer possible.  By dumb ass luck, I discovered this before taking my pals to Wolfgang’s and telling them to order anything they like—I’ve got them covered—only to find out that my comp was no longer good there and then have pay with real money for the overpriced meal. 

Anyway, my reg buddy was saying he had to get some dinner—the ribs, in fact—before Tap closed.  And so he left the game around 10:50 and came back with his dinner, which he planned to eat at the poker table, presumably while playing poker.

It smelled good, and when he opened the Styrofoam container, sure enough, there was a big slab of spare ribs, liberally slathered with BBQ sauce.  And I couldn’t believe it.  OMG, I thought….he’s not going to eat those ribs while he’s playing poker???  He’ll get BBQ sauce all over the cards!  I kind of freaked out a little.  But I’m happy to report that he did no such thing.  He actually sat out of the game for an orbit or two while eating, and furthermore, he ate the ribs with a knife and fork, and did not get the BBQ sauce all over his fingers.  OK, good on him, but I have to say…isn’t eating ribs with your hands and getting the BBQ sauce all over your hands (and face) the main reason to eat ribs in the first place?

The guy sitting next to the reg was also someone I recognized.  I was certain I’d played with him before but I couldn’t recall anything about him.  My guess was that he was an out-of-towner who came to Vegas often enough to have played with me there before.  In the back of my mind I was thinking he was an aggro, and he may have indeed been the aggro at this table, but that might be more of a commentary about the table than him.

I had pocket Jacks and said possible aggro had raised to $10 in front of me.  He raised preflop more often than not.  In hindsight I should have three-bet him but I figured I might make more money from him by just calling.  On a Queen-high flop (we were heads up), I called his $19 c-bet.  The turn was another Queen and he checked, and I checked behind.  I got lucky with the river, a Jack, giving me a boat.  Unfortunately, he checked, and didn’t call my $50 river bet.  But I won the pot and also got a ticket to the cash drawing.  Spoiler Alert:  This entire trip, despite putting many, many hours in at MGM, I only won exactly one cash drawing, and this wasn’t the nite. 

Then he raised to $8 and I called with Ace-Queen of hearts.  The flop was King-Queen-x, and I checked to him, and he checked behind.  I bet $15 on the turn, which happened to be an Ace, and he folded. 

A bit later, I raised to $8 with Ace-2 of clubs.  Only this guy called.  The flop was Ace-high, one club  I bet $12 and he called.  A blank on the turn and I didn’t bet with such a weak kicker.  He checked.  We both checked the river as well.  He said, “You’re good,” before I even had a chance to show my cards.
Then I called $8 with Ace-King off.  I dunno if the raiser is the guy I’ve been talking about, or it was possibly Ben, or someone else.  But I know Ben was in the hand, I think the only time I got into it with either Ben or Lightning that nite.  It was an Ace-high flop and I checked assuming the raiser would bet, but no one did.  I bet $25 on a blank turn and only Ben called.  Another blank on the river and I bet $35—and Ben again called.  I showed my hand and got an interesting response from Ben.  He just mucked, but he said, “I was hoping to see pocket Kings there, that’s the only reason I called.”  Heh heh.  If I did have the dreaded hand there, I guess I would have lost to some crappy Ace.  But I wouldn’t have called preflop with Kings.  That’s a three-bet hand!  That way, you can lose more money, faster, with them.

The only other hand I noted was pocket Aces.  I raised to $12, it was three-ways, the flop was all diamonds.  I did have the Ace of diamonds and no one called my flop-bet.

I didn’t write down any losing hands but there were some, nothing big but enough to make it a slightly losing session.  But playing poker with my fellow bloggers is always a fun time.


  1. Well, at least we had a guy we mutually hated (at least Ben and I wanted to get him -- about seat six, as I remember). He raised me off a few hands and I was guessing he was bluffing. Ben finally busted him by pushing on a flush draw that hit, I think.

    MGM poker wasn't very good to me this last trip. However, I will say that your friends who run the room have always taken very good care of us and I did let them know I appreciated it.

    1. Funny....of course, this session took place over a month ago. So when I was playing back my voice notes about it to write the post, I heard myself say, "there was a kind of a douche in seat 6." But as I played back the rest of my notes, I made no further comment about him, apparently I didn't get involved with him at all. But I did recognize the douchebaggery when I saw it! If Ben busted him, I'm glad to hear it.

      Yeah...there's a reason I usually find myself at MGM. Glad you let them know.

  2. Rob, I genuinely enjoy your writing, but honestly the strat kinda tilts me.
    Not 3betting JJ, AQs, and AK, for value, especially to weak-ass $8 openings is burning money.
    And in the JJ hand, bet the turn when checked to you on a QQ board. The boat on the river made no difference, you were way ahead the whole way.
    Also, A2s is not an $8 raising hand, it's either a limp, or maybe light 3 bet vs the right opponent. Otherwise you get into spots exactly as you describe, worried your kicker is no good.

    Anyway, hate to be critical, because I do appreciate the missives on the flavor of Vegas $1-2.

    1. Don't apologize, Dave, I always appreciate the constructive criticism. Honestly, there's lots of times when I am playing back my notes and I say to myself, "Why the hell did I do that?" Sometimes I hear myself trying frantically to justify a move when I read my notes into the recorder too.

      That said, a lot of this, believe it or not, is more or less from the Ed Miller playbook. Particularly, that Ace-2 suited hand, that's a standard move for him. He recommends never limping and he raises all suited Aces. He also doesn't recommending three betting JJ, AQ, or AK except in late position.

  3. The seat 6 was a dick. He reraised any action i put out 100% of the time. Once I had this in my head, i needed to use it. So when he popped $40 on a turn, of a dry board, I repopped to 90. He folded I had air. Lightning gave me an appreciative nod, and speaking to him later he noticed the re raises as well, so it was not just my own paranoia.
    A few hands later, I get a9 diamonds and two on the fop. My new friend and i go to a blank turn (i think i called about 20), and the river produces another diamond, which my friend goes all in on. Thanks, free money. He then leaves without so much as a "nice hand" and gets replaced by a guy who is also doing the old "lets rereaise the brit trick" Anyway another rivered flush some time later sets him honest and earns me the new nickname of "River Rat" from lightning.
    As for the hand with Rob. I did call him all the way down and by the turn had 4 to a flush and 4 to a straight. The river was poor for me, but I had to call the 35 just for fun, because if he had KK, there was a blog post right there. I think I had K10 diamonds and the flopped Ace was a diamond,

    1. I guess that d-bag in seat 6 didn't tangle with me, as I said to Lightning, I did refer to him as a d-bag but that was all I had in my voice notes. Glad you got him!

      You really called me with air there? Wow...I kind of thought that at the time, but when I was reviewing this and writing the post, I decided there was no way you'd just give away $35 so that you must have a weak Ace and was hoping I only had the dreaded kings!

  4. I thought 35 was worth it to help lose your fear of "the hand" . lol. Wasn't my money anyway, it was seat 6's.

    1. Thanks, Ben.

      But if I won a $2K pot with the, I'd still fear the dreaded pocket Kings.

  5. Rob, some of us read your blog mostly to get our mind in the gutter!

    1. Hmmm......that's both flattering and insulting. :)

    2. Honestly, reading your blog has made me look forward to making a poker trip to Vegas. The gutter part is just a bonus. lol. :)