Sunday, November 29, 2015

Ask Rob

This is going to be a bit different kind of post--It will actually be entertaining.  (Well, let’s not go that far.)

No, I’m going to respond to a couple of questions I received in response to my previous post (which you can find here).  When I read the comments I realized my response would likely the size of an average blog post.  Not one of my average blog posts, mind you, but one that a normal person might write.  So rather than spend all that time and effort on a reply comment that hardly anyone would see, I thought I’d turn my response into an actual new post that maybe a couple of dozen of people will see.

Since one of the questions actually involves the inner-workings of this blog, you could say I’m taking care of some housekeeping.

The comment was from fellow blogger FlushhDraw.  The first question involves a hand I described last time.   He quotes from my post then asks about why I played it the way I did, so here’s his comment quoting from me and then posing the question.

"’Then I called $7 with Ace-King of diamonds. Another player shoved for $22. The first guy called so I did as well.’

“You did not mention approx what you would had or what the other guy had in chips where you had AK, but wouldn't the proper move have been to go all in pre flop in a squeeze play in order to isolate the guy that went all in for $22 or did you feel that the guy that raised originally and then flatted the $22 had a big pocket pair?”

OK, FD, this goes to the whole topic of how you value Ace-King, a topic I’ve covered a few times over the years.  In fact, I even did a post titled “Overvaluing Ace-King” which you can find here.   As you can see, I got some pushback on that and I know there is debate about how to value that hand, especially in a cash game.  I probably undervalue it.

When I first saw your comment, my immediate reaction, without even trying to recall the hand you were referring to, was, “That’s more of a tournament move than a cash-game play.”  And the truth is, at different points in tournaments, I would value that Ace-King a lot more than I did here, and I certainly can and do play it more aggressively than I did here. 

In this particular situation, this was the last hand I made note of.  That means that I had most of the profit I made from this session (about $140) in front of me.  If I recall correctly, the guy who made it $7 actually had me covered.  So shoving there would have been totally incorrect.  But should I have made a reasonable three-bet?

Well, as I’ve stated many times, I rarely three-bet with Ace-King in a cash game. That might be weak, too tight, whatever, and I admit I probably play it too soft most of the time.  Would this have been a good time to mix it up (for me) and try the squeeze play as you suggest?  Possibly.  But remember this was in the midst of a pretty bad run, I had gotten pummeled the day before, and I was certainly not of a mind to try to a play I wouldn’t normally make even when I’m running well. 

I would have considered it if the guy who raised to $7 was a guy who had a really wide open-raising range, but this guy was not raising preflop all that much, perhaps just a bit more than the average player. So it never was something I considered for more than a milli-second.

And the bottom line is, yeah, maybe making that three-bet would have been the right play.  And now you know why I don’t write strategy articles for Ante Up!

FD’s next question is directly about how I do things here on the blog:

“My second question is one of simple curiosity. You used to refer to the places that you played on the strip as BSC which meant big strip casino. Previously you felt uncomfortable about stating where you were playing but I noticed now you seem to always say where and I was wondering what brought about that change. I will say that I so enjoy the fact that you do mention when you are playing much much better.”

This is something I’ve mentioned from time to time as well, but maybe it’s worth talking about every now and again as readers come and go.

When I started this blog, I really didn’t expect to be talking this much about poker.  Maybe that sounds silly, but it’s true.

Back when I started doing this, I was strictly a 2/4 limit player and I didn’t start the blog to talk about my 2/4 hands or the strategy behind my play.  That’s not to say that there isn’t any strategy for low limit poker, but it’s a lot more straight forward than strategy for No Limit and I honestly didn’t have any interest in doing a poker strategy or even a poker hand history/results blog about 2/4 limit.

No, the reason I started this blog was to relate stories I had accumulated from all my trips to Vegas.  Since poker was my main activity in Vegas, a lot of those stories took place at the poker table, of course.  But it was actually my non-poker playing friends who convinced me that my stories (and also my way of relating these stories) were interesting enough to share with a wider audience.  You can read about that in more detail in the post here.  (Note: that post from 3+ years ago was celebrating 50K pageviews; I’ve now hit 16X that number, so I guess there are some people interested in my silly stories).

But the original batch of stories I had in the bank when I started were all taken from play at the 2/4 limit table (if they had any poker context at all).  I would talk about poker hands only insofar as they were part of the story.  Like when I had quad 7’s and an obnoxious guy kept betting non-stop even tho he only had two pair (including the two 7’s on the board) (see here).  Or the time a girl had the greatest reaction ever when she saw her quad Jacks lose to a Royal Flush (see here).

Hmmm… usual, it’s taking awhile to get to the point (which I actually think is what a lot of folks like about the blog) but here it is.  When I was just telling stories, those stories could and would involve the employees of the rooms I played.  Some of those stories might have been embarrassing to the employee mentioned in the post.  I became pretty friendly with the staff in the three rooms I played in the most.  In addition to these pals being involved in the stories I had, they started telling me interesting but somewhat confidential stuff about what was going on in their room and around the city.  That’s why I gave everyone phony names.  But I went a step further and figured I would make it even harder for anyone to identify the person in my story, so I didn’t reveal the real name of the poker rooms, either.  It was double protection.

But what happened was, I switched to NL.  I didn’t plan on it, it kind of just happened.  Pretty soon after I started the blog, in fact.  And suddenly I started blogging about that.  For a good while there, the blog became a lot about my transition from a limit player to a NL player.  As such, hand histories and strategy (or attempts at strategy) became a lot more important than when I started.  Damn, suddenly I was actually writing a poker blog!  How’d that happen?

Despite all this time, I still feel I am transitioning from limit to NL, which I guess explains some of my poor play.  But of course, playing poker is a constant learning experience.  You never can or will know all you need to know.

Anyway, when I started having good results in tournaments, I felt it would be weird not to mention where these tournaments were.  So I named names.  If I also gathered fun stories there—and hopefully I did—I just had to rely on the phony names I’d given to the staff and the players for protection.

And then damn….suddenly this blog got a bit popular.  I mean, I never meant for my own real name to get out there, and then I landed the gig at Ante Up and I had to use my real name (or at least, what the Feds think is my real name, heh heh).  And my attempts to hide casino’s identities never really panned out anyway.  Check out this three-part post to see how I thought I was being so careful to protect the identity of a poker room and a dealer and it was about five minutes before the subject knew I had written all about her—that the story about her undone zipper was on the internet.

And then what happened to make it even extra difficult to keep the actual casino names secretive was when the Slut Parade was born, and I couldn’t really talk about that regular Vegas feature without identifying the casino where it took place (although of  course, there are similar Slut Parades in every casino with a nightclub).

So that’s why I started out with fake names for casinos and have pretty much abandoned that practice.  Although you will note that very recently, I refused to identify what poker room a certain story took place because I felt I needed to be discreet (see here).

OK, to finish this post with some fresher content, I’ll describe a hand I saw from my latest session at the local poker room.  Personally, it was similar to my previous two sessions—mostly card dead and ending up close to even.  Nothing very dramatic.  But this hand I wasn’t involved in was kind of neat.

On a flop with two clubs on it (let’s say the two clubs were the 5 & 8), someone bet, someone called and the last guy shoved for a total of $110.  Original bettor called as did the other guy.  Two of clubs hit the turn.  First guy shoved for about $200 and the other guy, who has slightly under that, tanked.  Finally he said, “Let’s get lucky” and called for all his chips.

He thought he had when the river was the 6 of clubs.  He showed his Ace of clubs (other card was the 10 of spades).  But the guy who shoved the turn had 9-7 of clubs for the straight flush.  So he got a lot luckier than the guy who wanted to get lucky—he didn’t need a club to hit but that was the only club that wouldn’t have beaten him.

Oh, the original shover on the flop had a set of 8’s.

Poker, huh?

Thursday, November 26, 2015

The Missing Linq

This session took place the night after the story I told here.  That had been a really brutal day of poker in a trip that was also brutal.  You see, in addition to the $460 I lost there (in basically two hands), earlier that day I had played in one of the Venetian deepstacks.  How’d I do?  Well the fact that I was at the MGM that night in time for their NFL promo should give you the answer.  Still haven’t decided if I’m going to a post about that tournament.

Anyway, I was still reeling from that day the next night.  I was surely tempted to skip playing that evening.  But instead, I figured I’d do the next best thing—I’d lower the stakes. I headed over to the Linq to try the $1-$1 game there.  I figured I’d at least cut my loses if my bad run wasn’t over with.  Since they reopened the poker room there, I’d player there twice.  The first time, the tale was told here.  The second time I played there I was a bit under the weather and got nothing to blog about from a slightly losing session.  So even tho The Trooper wasn’t going to be there to pitch me some cards, I headed there after dinner.

As I got there, I saw one tournament table going and just a few people sitting at another table, with chips in front of them but no dealer.  It appeared like they were trying to get a cash game going.  As I approached the podium, the woman running the room gave me a big smile and a “Hi, how are you?”  My immediate assumption was that she was just happy to see anyone who appeared to be interested in playing in the room.  But as I got closer, I could tell by her expression that she actually recognized me and was saying hello to someone she knew (or at least, kinda knew).  And so I took a good look at her and decided she was, I was pretty sure, Pokermufin.

No that’s not a pseudonym I made  up.  Pokermufin was a member of the AVP forums back when they were going strong.  Our paths crossed there, but I think by the time I started getting real active, her posts were minimal. I hadn’t actually met her in person until this summer.  She was one of the AVP’ers at the mixed game I described here. 

Now, when I saw Pokermufin at that table back then, I dunno exactly how, but even though I had never met her, I somehow knew who she was.  I guess I had seen some pics of her recently in posts about previous AVP events I’d recently reviewed.  These were all events that took place before I was a member.  And then there were actually a couple of times when I ran into her—or so I thought—in poker rooms around town and thought it was her, but never had the right moment to ask.  Because you know, if you ask someone, “Are you Pokermufin?” and she’s not, it’s kind of awkward.

But at that mixed game, when I was 99% sure it was her, I knew I had to introduce myself.  It was a friendly crowd of course, we were all friends.  Pokermufin was one of the few people I didn’t know. So I figured out a way to ask the question the most delicate way possible.

“Excuse me….if the answer to the question I’m about to ask you is ‘no’ I apologize in advance but….are you ‘Pokermufin’?”  She laughed and said she understood my dilemma.  All the other players around (some of who know her as Pokermufin and some of whom do not) enjoyed my question as well.  She pled guilty and so I introduced myself.  She said she recognized me from around town as well.  I’ve always regretted not telling that story in the post I did about that night, and I’m glad I finally had an excuse to tell it.

Anyway, it turns out that since the Linq opened, she moved over there from another CET property and sometimes is the floor and sometimes deals.  We had a nice chat and she said they were trying to get the $1-$1 going.  So I took a seat and in short order we were able to start the game 6-handed with a reduced rake.  But fortunately it didn’t take all that long for the table to fill up and we played either 9-handed or 10-handed the rest of the time I was there.

I have to say, the Linq room is fun.  Because it is so small, you see the same dealers several times within a few hours.  We sorta become pals, and management obviously doesn’t mind if the dealers play around with the customers. All the dealers were friendly (as well as competent) but there was one dealer who was especially entertaining.  He liked to give all the players nicknames—well it seemed he gave a nickname to everyone but me.  What, “Costanza” didn’t come to him?

When anyone straddled he called it a “straddidle.”  He cracked jokes the entire time he was in the box.  Now, at one point, a guy made a $8 bet and I folded, we had been heads up on the flop.  The guy who bet said, “Would you have called $7?”  I said no. “How about $6?”  I laughed.  Not sure if he got to $5 or not.  The dealer said to me, “I always thought they should allow the last player with a chance to call to be able to bid on how low the bet would be to call.  You know, if you wanted to call just $4 there, you could offer that.”  Interesting variation.  But what if the bettor was making a pure bluff?

You’ve heard of multi-tabling?  Well, there was one guy at the table who was multi-casinoing.  There was a big stack of unattended chips when I took my seat.  About 20 minutes later, the owner of said chips took the seat behind him.  In the course of the evening, he disappeared for 20-30 minutes at a time every 20-30 minutes.  He explained that he was also in a game at the Flamingo (right next door).  Really?  Yes, I believed him.  I have no idea what he was accomplishing by doing this.

I bought in for $100 (still 100 big blinds).  By the time I wrote down a hand, I was down to $41, which tells you that this night was starting off just like every other session from this trip.  I’m not sure I had won a pot.  With Ace-Jack of hearts I called $4, three-way.  The flop was King-Queen-10, rainbow. The preflop raise bet $12 and I shoved. He called (other guy folded).  I was worried about being counterfeited when a Jack hit the river but the guy didn’t show when I tabled my straight.

I raised to $4 with Ace-Jack offsuit, which was too little because I had failed to notice that there was a $2 button straddle.  It was five-ways.  The flop was Ace-Queen-3, two diamonds.  My Ace was a diamond.  I bet $12 and no one called.

I called a $2 straddle with Ace-8 of diamonds, then called a total of $12. It was heads up.  Two diamonds on the flop, I called $21.  I shoved when I hit the flush on the turn and was called. The shove was only for $16 more, so I must have lost some of those chips I’d won on the earlier hands I discussed.  He called and my nut flush held.

I got pocket Aces and it was raised in front of me to $10. I made it $30.  A new player to the table cold called my $30 from the blinds and the original raiser folded.  The flop was King-10-2, two hearts. I was heartless.  I bet $45, around half my stack. He called.  A third heart on the turn and this time he led out for about $50, more than I had.  I tanked but realized that for the size of my stack and the size of the pot, I couldn’t possibly fold there.  I called and the river was a blank, he showed Queen-10 offsuit.  That was my biggest pot of the night.

Then there was a weird hand.  One of the better players at the table, and also the guy with the second biggest stack (and way bigger than mine) raised to $6.  I called with pocket Jacks.  There was another caller.  The flop was 10-9-4, rainbow I think.  The preflop raiser checked.  So I bet $10, the next guy folded, and the preflop raiser check-raised to $30.


Whenever I see that move, I don’t get it.  Since he was the preflop raiser, if he liked the flop enough to check-raise, how could he possibly be sure I (or the other guy) was going to bet?  I don’t see how he could.  Really, what hand could he have there where that made sense?

I was confused to be sure, but I decided to call and see another card.  I figured he most likely had a set of 10’s or 9’s.  But if he’s slow playing it, wouldn’t he just call my bet and get aggressive on the turn?  Anyway, we were heads up. 

The turn was a blank and he surprised me again by checking.  I was lost.  I checked behind.  Then an Ace hit the river, and he bet $45.  I assumed I was beat, so I folded.  He showed his hand. It was two Kings.  Seriously?  I didn’t get that all.  He checked the turn but the Ace on the river didn’t scare him?  And what was the flop check-raise all about?  I actually told him I thought his check-raise was quite odd.  He said he thought I was going to bet. Weird. I hadn’t been playing in a way that would give him that thought up until there.

Then I called $7 with Ace-King of diamonds.  Another player shoved for $22.  The first guy called so I did as well.  The board was all bricks until the river and no one bet.  The river was a King.  I checked it.  The live player had pocket 8’s.  The guy who shoved just mucked.  Lucky river.

And that was it.  I left after three hours or so, up $145.  It was certainly nice to leave ahead. It was good for the mind—and the soul. And you know, I should probably play the Linq more often.  Not only is it fun room, but I have to say the level of competition is pretty low.  I didn’t see anyone there who looked like a reg except for one player who sat next to me for awhile who I’ve played with in a few other rooms around town.  So maybe I’ll hit it up more often next visit.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

A Quiet Day in Ventura

Had another session at Player’s Casino in Ventura on Saturday.

It was a rather calm, quiet session, nothing very dramatic.  I was again quite card dead.  I dunno, it seems I’m running above average in card-deadness lately.  Maybe I should start counting how many hands I fold preflop vs hands I play.  Based on the percentages of hands I should be playing based on Ed Miller’s starting hands, it just seems like I’m playing way fewer hands than I should be.  One thing I don’t want to do is starting playing junky hands just to get in on the action.

This was a new table that just opened as I arrived.  No familiar faces this time, though some of the players obviously knew the dealers and the other players somewhat.  I guess their customer base is pretty large.  The table was pretty stable….I played nearly four hours and most of the players did not change during that time.  One exception was when a guy left for a bigger game and was replaced by the player I have dubbed “Director” (see here).  And again, he did not say hi to me (still holding that grudge).  However, there was a guy who I have played with a few times who walked by our table at one point and he did nod hello to me, so there’s that.

As I said, it was a rather tame game, no maniacs present.  It was almost bordering on the “too tight” side, but maybe not quite.  I did consider asking for a table change, but decided against it.  After the run I had in Vegas, I was more interested in a more “normal” game where I could hopefully hone my game at lower risk than a game with high variance.  My goal for these sessions is to improve and get my confidence back, more than it is to make a huge score.  Not that I wouldn’t like to win some money in the process, you understand.

Early on I won my first hand in embarrassing fashion.  I was the small blind with King-9 of diamonds.  I completed for a buck and four of us saw the flop.  It was Jack-10-9, two clubs, no diamonds.  I called $25 on the flop with the bottom pair and the gut-shot. It was heads-up. (Edited to add, this is incorrect, see my response below to Lightning's comment for the correction)  There was no betting the turn or the river, which were both low cards that didn’t help me. Now, I had assumed that a pair of 9’s was no good, and the whole time I was hoping to catch a Queen for a straight.  So when the board was complete, I total forgot about my pair of 9’s and said, “I have King-high,” and showed my cards.  The dealer just repeated what I said, “King-high.”  But before the other guy had flipped his hand, I realized that I had the pair and said, “Oh wait, I have a pair of 9’s.”  The other guy had turned up his hand by now and it was Queen-9.  I won the pot and we were both glad that the other one of us didn’t catch his second pair. 

With a straddle to $6, I had Ace-Queen off and made it $15.  I actually think that’s too little to raise there, but no one called.  Tell me, does it make sense to straddle and then fold for an additional $9?  I mean, I don’t believe it ever makes sense to straddle under-the-gun, but if you’re gonna do it, shouldn’t you be calling a $9 raise with almost anything?

A bit later I got Ace-Queen again and raised to $15. Director and one other player called.  The flop was 10-8-2.  I put out my $25 c-bet and Director checked-raised to $85.  The next player took a long time, but she called.  So I folded.  It turned out that Director had called my raise from the big blind with 10-8.  Hmm….I have to lower my estimation of his game.  The lady just had a 10 (I think it was King-10 off, so not a good play either—she had limped/called my raise).

Very next hand I had Ace-King offsuit and opened to $12.  Four of us saw a flop of Jack-9-6, rainbow.  I didn’t see the point of c-betting a four way pot, so I checked and folded to a bet.

With 9-8 of hearts, I raised to $12 and had two callers.  The flop was 7-6-4, two hearts (the 4 was one of the hearts, I didn’t have an open-ended straight flush draw).  I c-bet $20 and didn’t get a call.  That was one time I bet with nothing that I wouldn’t have minded getting some action as there were so many cards that could have helped me.

I took down another small pot with a raise to $12 with King-Jack of spades.  The flop was Jack-9-6, and a $20 flop bet took it down.

I raised to $15 with Ace-Queen offsuit and had four callers.  The flop was 9-6-2, rainbow.  I’m never c-betting there, not five-handed.  And so I almost checked (I was third to act, I believe).  But then I started thinking about how dry the board was, and that it just might have missed everyone.  And it was a $75 pot pre.  So I thought, why not try for it, and put out $40.  Two people thought about calling, but didn’t.  The others folded instantly.  To show you how this session was, that was my biggest pot of the day.  Also the move I made that I’m most proud of.

I called $15 with pocket 6’s.  The flop came Jack-9-6, two spades.  The preflop raiser checked, so I bet $20.  No call.

I limped in with Ace-8 of diamonds, it was 5-way.  The flop came 9-6-5, rainbow, no diamonds.  No one bet.  A 7 on the turn filled in the gutshot.  I bet $10 and had one caller.  The river paired the 6.  I checked and the other guy bet $25.  I called and he just insta-mucked. 

And that was it.  I took off with a mighty $10 profit.

But again, I was card dead.  Biggest pocket pair was 10's, followed by 7's and 3's.  And the 6's I got a set with.  That was it for pocket pairs in four hours.  I actually discussed every time I had Ace-King or Ace-Queen, and never got Ace-Jack.  The only other suited connectors I got was something like 4-3 once.

It wasn’t exciting session but it was fun, and while I was still not as aggressive as I need to be, I felt a lot better about my play these past two weeks.  And I have much better attitude about poker than when I departed Vegas. I’m enjoying playing poker again. Onward and upward.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

One Promo, Two Hookers, No Johns

This is the one night in Vegas last month where the promo paid off for me (guess I should have given you a spoiler alert, huh?), but I basically have a crazy reg and the upstanding young ladies that make up The Slut Parade to thank for it.  Oh, and there are even hookers to talk about.

Now I did a big post about promos here, but the promo I was mainly chasing this night was the NFL promo.  It was a Sunday night, so they were giving away cash each time a team scored.  I wasn’t sure how much longer I’d be playing after the football game was over.  I was in the midst of that much-discussed bad run I was having.  Plus I intended to get up early the next morning to play at one of the Venetian Deepstack events.  I dunno if that tournament will ever make it into a blog post or not, but the fact that I haven’t mentioned it here before should give you a pretty good idea of how I did. 

Not only was I planning on making it an early night, but I got a late start too. I missed the beginning of the game because I was in my room slaving away, trying to get a blog post written and posted.  The sacrifices I make for you guys.

By the time I got in a game, I’d already missed the first score of the NFL game.  Also, my pal Don, most recently mentioned here, I believe, was already there.  I ended up at a different table. I asked for a table change but it the football game was nearly over by the time I was able to move over.

Before that, at the first table I was sent to, I got stuck sitting next to Norman Chad.  No, it wasn’t really him.  I just called him that because as I got there, he was busy analyzing a hand that had recently happened with the reg on his right.  And boy was he analyzing.  And analyzing it.  He could not shut up about all the things that were going through his mind through every street, what he had, what he assumed the reg had. Boy was it annoying.  This hand occurred before I got to the table, and it didn’t sound like it was that big a pot, but man was this guy obsessing over it.  And by the way, the reg was not even responding at all, preferring not to give away any information.

It was distracting.  He kept talking about the board cards from that hand, and I kept thinking he was inappropriately talking about the hand we were playing.  I sure didn’t want this guy in my ear all night if he was going to spend 20 minutes talking about every hand he was in like that.  Plus, he was coughing pretty regularly.  I took the first opportunity to change seats and get as far away from him as possible as soon as I could.

I left that seat even after I actually one a pot with the dreaded hand.  It was the third hand I was dealt, and Norman was still talking my ear off (he wasn’t actually talking to me, but he might as well have been).  I raised to $8 with the two cowboys and had three callers.  The flop was an innocuous 8-8-6 and no one called my $25 c-bet.  Hey, for me, with Kings, that was an epic result.

I texted Don that I was considering staying at that table for awhile because it must be a good one for me if I won with Kings.

Our table was frequently short-handed by a person or two, making it impossible for me to move.  I think it was late in the 4th quarter when I finally heard my name called for the table change.  By this time, my $200 starting stack was down to $186.

When I got to Don’s table, I saw that my buddy Mike was dealing. Of course, I felt obligated to insult him, because that’s what friends are for.  As I went to take my seat, I said, “Damn, they didn’t tell me this dealer would be here.  Maybe I should go back?”  Then Don said, “Well, he’s already won with Kings tonight, so it’s your turn to crack ‘em.”  Mike, of course, is the dealer who has been known, in the past, to deal me Kings an inordinate amount of the time.  I had no idea if Don knew that Mike was the dealer famous for cracking my Kings, or if this was just an incredibly fortunate coincidence.  And you know what? I forgot to ask him later.

I was still unracking my chips when Mike dealt my first hand at this new table.  It wasn’t Kings.  It was, in fact, the only hand better.  Welcome to the table, Rob, here are your pocket Aces.  Before it got to me, someone had made it $12 and another guy had called.  I made it $50 and the original raiser called, the other guy folded.  The guy who folded had a bigger stack than mine, but the guy who raised and then called only had about $30 or so more behind. It didn’t really make sense for him to just call, he should have put all his chips in.  But that didn’t have any bearing on the hand.

The flop was Queen-Queen-Jack, not exactly a great flop for me.  But there weren’t enough chips behind to worry about.  When he checked, I bet enough to get him all in, and he called.  The board bricked out and he had King-10 offsuit.   Interesting that he called my three-bet.  He’d never seen me before, but do I look like the kind of guy who would three-bet with a hand that didn’t crush King-10?  Well, maybe Gabe Kaplan would.  Or Costanza.

I had taken seat 9 (the games are 9-handed) and suddenly the guy in seat 1 started pissing and moaning.  He wasn’t in the hand but it turned out that he had been in seat 9 all evening and had moved over to seat 1 right as I was taking seat 9.  This was the first hand he’d been dealt at his new seat.  If he had not changed seats, those Aces would have been his.  Timing is everything, right?  Frankly, since seats 1 and 9 are on either side of the dealer, I don’t get why you would change from one seat to the other, but his odd decision worked out very nicely for me. 

Now is a good time to talk about the other promo, the cash-drawing.  When I got to the room (about two hours before the 8PM drawing) I learned that there was still one $1K envelope left—it was the one that had 5 $200 winners.  I was hoping that it would be drawn for the 8PM drawing so that I would not be so tempted to hang around until midnite trying to cash in.  With only two $100 prizes at stake, I could convince myself it wasn’t worth hanging around just for the drawing.  But no, at 8PM they only gave away $200 total and I wasn’t one of the winners, mainly because I didn’t have a ticket in the drum. The $1K was still in play.  My inclination was not to hang around for it though, because I wanted to make it an early night. 

My immediate plan, after the 8PM drawing, was to wait for the end of the football game and then grab some dinner, which I desperately needed. 

In the meantime, while the game went on, my buddy Jack came to deal.  It was about 8:15—a long way from the next drawing—when he dealt me Ace-6 of clubs in the big blind.  Four of us saw a flop.  It had two clubs and two 7’s on it.  No one bet it.  The turn was a blank and no one bet it.  The river was a club.  The pot was only $8, which meant if no one called whatever bet I made, I wouldn’t get a drawing ticket (has to be $10 in the pot).  In that situation, what you’re “supposed:” to do is bet $2, because almost for sure someone will call a $2 bet.  But since I wasn’t really playing for the ticket (or at least I thought I wasn’t), I bet $5. It folded to a rather quirky reg, the last person with a chance to call.  He did so.  So I showed my hand and since the pot was now $18, I not only won it but Jack gave me a drawing ticket.  The reg didn’t show his hand, but it turned out to be a great call for me.

I joked to Jack about keeping me there until midnite, but man, I really, really didn’t want to be there that late.  I almost gave him back the ticket without filling it out.  I really almost did that.  But then, before I could do that, I suddenly found myself on auto-pilot, filling the damn thing out.  In my mind though, I was thinking….the odds of my getting picked are really, really small anyway, the most that ticket could be worth was $200….so I certainly will not go out of my way to stay long enough to be around for the drawing.  I really felt at the moment that there was almost no chance I’d be playing at midnite to have a chance at winning the drawing.

The game ended, I told Don I was running off to a late dinner.  He had eaten before the game.  I wasn’t sure what I was gonna do after dinner.  I cashed out of the game thinking I wouldn’t be back, but if I was, it wasn’t really busy enough for me to worry about getting a seat again, and this table wasn’t great anyway.

A few minutes after getting my comp and then getting a sandwich at the deli, I heard from Don.  It seems the table had actually broken, and he saw too many regs at the table they were sending him to, so he cashed out as well.  He asked if I would like some company while I finished eating.  Next you know, it was a couple of hours later, the two of us sat there at the deli discussing poker and life for all that time.  It was around 11PM and it was at the point where I was either calling it a night or I wasn’t really calling it an early evening.  So I headed to the parking structure and Don headed out as well, also deciding he was done playing poker for the evening.

On my way to the parking garage, I couldn’t help being reminded that it was a Sunday night and the club was open.  Yes, there were plenty of elegant ladies in somewhat proactive dress to remind me. Because I had completely forgotten that fact.  Yes, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. So I was walking rather slowly to better enjoy the view.

Near the exit, I stopped to see a few large crowds of young girls eager to hear the exciting sounds of the nightclub.  Or something.  Then, another woman, who didn’t have music on her mind, got my attention. She was a rather tall black woman who was just standing there, trying to get the attention of any male passersby.  I believe the term for this type of woman is “hooker.”  She had on a tan dress that was neither short nor low cut.  But it was super, super tight, which revealed the most noticeable feature of her figure.  She had enormous tits.  Pretty sure even a leg man, or an ass man, or a foot fetishist would have noticed that.

I really didn’t want to get hassled by her, so I avoided her and I’m pretty sure she never saw me.  I did notice that she had a very small purse, however. 

By coincidence, the next day I heard from Don, and around the same time I noticed this young lady, he too encountered a working girl.  He had gone over to the Bellagio to check out the conservatory.  And there, he told me, “As I was walking away from near one of the tables, I was approached by a working girl, who told me ‘don't run away baby’ as I was walking in a different direction. That's as much of her spiel as I heard, saying ‘no thanks.’”

This was odd for him. He said, “Even though I live in Las Vegas, I almost never get propositioned by "working girls." I guess I look like too much of a bum to afford their services.”

I told him I’m sure it’s more that he looks like too much of a stud to ever have to pay for it.

I asked for a better description of the young lady he encountered, specifically in regards to the size of her….purse.  Because that’s a debate I’ve had (mostly with myself) here on the blog.  Do hookers prefer really small purses or really large ones (average size purses seem to be the rarest).  He didn’t notice the purse, but gave this description:   “All I noticed was that she was to be polite ‘heavy-set’ and was wearing stupidly high heels. She was wearing a rather low cut purple dress -- so low, I actually thought she was a club goer until the approach.”

By the way, Don credited this unusual—for him—encounter with a hooker for changing his own luck with promos.  The next night he played again at MGM, had a ticket for the midnight drawing, and was the first name called, awarding him, in that case, $400.  It was his first time ever hitting one of the MGM promos. It was also the only ticket that he had in the drum. And he wondered if somehow, the unusual-for-him approach by the hooker had somehow changed his luck with promos.  Because, well, we were promo whoring, right?  So if you promo whoring and you run into an actual whore, maybe that helps with the promo, right?

Since I’m talking about the world’s oldest profession, I might as well include here the one “conversation” I had with hooker.  This happened a few nights later. As I was about to get n the escalator at NYNY to get to the garage there, a woman said to me, “Hi.” Pause.  “What’s up?” Pause.  “Come here.” She was sitting at a slot and I didn’t get a good look her at all, I was deep in thought about another lousy poker session. I totally ignored her.

Anyway, I was about to head to my car when I suddenly remembered I had not parked in the MGM parking garage, I had actually parked across the street at NYNY.  So I turned around and headed back to the other end of the casino, which took me right past the poker room.  Since the walk was again slowed down by these wonderful “distractions,” it took me awhile to get there and by the time I was near the poker room, it was now 11:35PM or so and thus it was definitely not going to be an early night. 

But the poker room was really quiet.  I could see that there weren’t a lot of games going and that there were seats open.  Damn.  I did have the one ticket.  If I got into a game and was thus eligible for the drawing, I might very well have a much better chance than normal of hitting it, as I could imagine there were not only fewer tickets than normal but it was also likely that a lot of the tickets in there would belong to people who had left and they’d have to keep picket tickets until they found people still there.

What the hell, twenty-minutes wasn’t going to kill me. I had actually booked my first win of the trip when I cashed out earlier to get dinner…..a bit less than $100.  But since it had been nearly three hours since I cashed out, I didn’t have to buy in for what I cashed out with (see here).  In fact, I decided to just buy in for the $100 minimum instead of my normal $200.  I figured I wasn’t really going to play poker.  I was filling a seat to be eligible for the promo.  It wasn’t that I was that concerned with keeping my meager profits from the “real” session, it was more that, well, it usually takes me at least an orbit or two for me to learn the players and the table before I play my normal game anyway, and so I’m usually even five times the nit I am normally for that period.  I figured I’d likely be keeping that pattern, so unless I saw a golden opportunity, I’d just be a folding machine.

In fact, I kind of laughed to myself, as I took a seat at a table where I recognized nobody, that I’d only play Aces, Kings or Ace-King suited (and even that last hand was iffy).  So of course, after folding my first hands of total garbage, the third hand I got was pocket Queens.

Oh well, I managed to ignore my pledge to fold anything less than Kings.  And no, I didn’t just limp.  I raised to $8, had two callers.  The flop was 8-8-7.  I bet $20 and took it down.

I managed to lose that small profit over the next 15 minutes, calling a few raises with low pocket pairs or suited connecters.  Nothing else interesting came my way.  I was back to about $100 when they announced they were indeed giving away $1K, five $200 winners.

They started the drawing, and after three names were drawn (one of which was for someone not present), I heard my name.  Sweet. I don’t know what was better—the $200 I had just won, or the fact that everyone would have rubbed it in my face the next night if I hadn’t been there to claim the prize.  As soon as they brought me my money, I left, my poker for this twenty-minute session was exactly dead even, with a nice $200 bonus.

So when I cashed out, my buddy Stan was there to convert my chips to currency.  I told him that I had come thisclose to missing the drawing. And I added, “And you would have given me such shit the next day if I hadn’t come back.”  He agreed that’s exactly what he and all my buddies would have done.

And you know, this incident, including the comment there, might have contributed to my stupid play regarding the promos the rest of the trip.  So maybe like often happens in poker, I learned the wrong lesson.

But at the time, that $200 sure felt good in my wallet

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Shouldn't The Dealer Know the Rules Better than I Do?

This was from a session last month in Vegas, the one “notable” hand in another one of my bad sessions from that trip.

Same old same old as far as the poker went, at least in regards to result.  But I caught a dealer error that I want to talk about.  By correcting the dealer, I may have cost myself a few bucks, but I figured that out only in hindsight.

I had only been at the table for a few hands, so I still had my original $200 stack.  Now, I don’t want to publically embarrass the dealer or identify the dealer in anyway.  So even tho this dealer has a “blog name,” I’m not going to reveal it.  All I will say is that this dealer has been working full time in my favorite room since I started playing there, and has dealt me a shitload of cards over the years.  So the dealer should know all the house rules, right?  And know them better than I do, right?

In early position I had Ace-King offsuit.  The guy in front of me raised to $7 and I called.  As I’ve mentioned a bunch of times, I rarely three-bet with A-K and since I had just sat down and didn’t recognize anyone (except the dealer), I wasn’t about to change things up there.

One other player called and we saw a flop of Ace-9-7, two hearts.  My King was a heart and the Ace on the board was a heart, so I had the back-door nut flush draw in addition to top pair, top kicker.  The preflop raiser bet $20 and we both called.

The turn was an 8, and it wasn’t a heart.  The preflop raiser put out $50.

Well, I thought about folding.  No chance for the flush, how much do I want to invest on a TPTK hand, with a possible flush coming and perhaps already a made straight?  And I didn’t know anything about the other players in the hand. But I talked myself into calling.  This was probably just one of the many very bad decisions I made this trip.  My thought at the time was, “It’s just too weak to fold there.”  But I think I confused “weak” with “sensible.”

Anyway, the last guy puts all his chips out—a total of $81. Uh oh.

The preflop raiser announces raise and I know there’s no way he can raise.  His bet wasn’t raised by a full bet.  All he can do is call.

The dealer didn’t say anything and the player hadn’t committed to a specific raise amount yet, he was counting his chips.

I wasted no time in telling the dealer, “He can’t raise there….it’s not a full bet.”

At first the dealer agreed.  “He’s right, the bet wasn’t enough……”

But while the player was questioning it, the dealer was thinking and then came up with a “correction.” 

“He can raise, the bet was $50, the raise was $31, that’s more than half, so he can raise.”  So the dealer not only didn’t get the rule right, but is bad at math, at least initially.

This topic has been covered a few times here, most notably in the post here.  The dealer was using the rule from limit poker for this no-limit game.  The dealer totally confused the two.

What was odd was that although I used to play limit there all the time when I was starting out in poker, I know for a fact that they hadn’t spread a limit hold’em game there in at least a year, and probably longer.  So how the dealer could still be thinking of the limit game rules is beyond me.

Of course, in that discussion of the rules of limit vs. no-limit, it was pointed out that there may be some poker rooms that use the limit game interpretation for no-limit.  But I was 99.999% certain that wasn’t the case for this room.

I explained to the dealer why that ruling was incorrect, and that it is different for no-limit.  I should have asked the dealer when the last time they had a limit game there where it could have come up, but I didn’t.

The dealer, at that point, did not argue with me, to the dealer’s credit. “Wait, wait….now I’m confused…..I’ll get the floor.”  The dealer saw the shift manager in the vicinity and called him over.  The dealer accurately reported the situation and the shift boss gave the exact same ruling that I had said.  The first player could only call the raise.  I was still shocked that a veteran dealer could make such a mistake, but then, we’re all human, right?

When the shift manager left, I started wondering if I hadn’t just been arguing against self-interest.  Had I let the player raise, I surely would have found a fold. Any raise would have have pretty much been for all my remaining chips and at that point, it would have been pretty obvious I was beat.

It still was….but for the size of the pot, and with my call closing the action, I didn’t see how it made any sense to fold for $31.  So I did indeed call.

The river was another 7, and to my surprise, the preflop raiser, who wanted to raise on the turn, announced “check.”  I was only too happy to check behind.  The all-in guy showed Ace-7 for a boat.  The first guy didn’t really show his hand but I managed to catch a quick glance at it and he had Jack-10 for the straight. 

As I said, my session didn’t get any better and I left down some money and wondering why I paid $31 to prove I knew the rules better than a long-time dealer.

Well now, this is a pretty short post by my standards, so I better put some filler in here.  Just the other day, I was shocked to find out that a lot of people enjoy looking at pictures of large-breasted women.  So I’ll fill this out with a few pics of same.  Enjoy.