Sunday, February 7, 2016

Remember When I Said I Hated That Promo? Well....

This is the story of my first poker session of my December Vegas trip

Allow me to set the scene.  Recall that my previous Vegas trip, for Halloween, had been a disaster, poker wise.  I came back to L.A. with my tail between my legs, licking my wounds, wondering if I should ever play poker again.

Soon after I was back in L.A., I did some deep self-introspection and determined that one of the reasons for my bad results was due to making bad decisions because of the promos at the room I was mostly playing. I wrote a post about that and you can read that post here in case you’ve forgotten it,  Then, right before I returned to Vegas, I did another post about how I was determined to, as much as possible, avoid rooms that offer freerolls, which you can find here.  The problem with rooms offering freerolls is that the amount of money taken out of any pot I won for the jackpot was basically a gift to the local grinders who intend to play in the freeroll.

Which basically meant, that I wouldn’t be playing at MGM very much, since MGM had those cash drawing promos that were affecting my decision-making, and also had a freeroll I would never play in. (I’m happy to report that MGM no longer has either the cash drawings or the freeroll)

So of course, my very first poker session of this December trip was at MGM.  But I had always planned that.  I have a lot of friends at MGM, and couldn’t completely abandon them, and honestly, I was anxious to see them again.  And then, as I was unpacking all my stuff in my hotel room, I realized it was Thursday, and that meant they’d also have the football promo going (oops).  So yeah, I figured I might as well get there for the NFL game.  I actually do like the football promo, and it doesn’t really affect my play.  I just have to work dinner around it.  This night that would not be a problem.  Because of travelling to town from L.A., I had a very late lunch, and a post-football game dinner would actually be perfect.  Plus, the cash drawing would be held at 8PM. I vowed to make it an early evening, so that if I played past 8 (as I likely would, since the football game would still be going on), I just wouldn’t fill out a ticket if I earned one.

But I was thinking to myself that it would be kind of embarrassing if I had to write a blog post about hitting the cash drawing promo after basically publically vowing to avoid it. 


I got to the room a bit after the game had started and got a seat immediately.  Early on, I had Ace-2 of spades in the big blind.  After a few limpers, the button raised to $8.  I called, assuming some of the limpers would also call.  But none of them did.  The flop had two spades on it, and I called $10.  I turned the flush.  I checked, and the button bet $20.  I check-raised to $50.  He folded and I showed my hand to get a drawing ticket.  Here we go again….

The most interesting hand of the evening occurred a dealer or two later.  With Jack-10 of spades, and after an under-the-gun limp, I was next to act.  I made it $10.  There was one caller.  The flop was 8-5-2, all spades.  I bet $20 and he called. 

The turn was the Jack of diamonds.  I bet $25.  And then my opponent made it $70.  Ugh.  We both had similar stacks (a bit under $200 when we started), and I had to think that if I called, I’d have to put the rest of my stack in on the river.  Did I want to do that?

Since I’d been there, this guy had played about as many hands as I had, maybe a few more.  I couldn’t remember him raising, although he did open pots.  The few times I saw his hand at showdown, he always had the goods. 

Based on our brief history, it was pretty hard to imagine that he was raising there without a flush—and I only had the fourth highest one.  I couldn’t see him doing that with just a pair.  Two pair seemed unlikely with the cards that were out there.  A set?  Did he a set of Jacks on the turn, or maybe he slow-played a small set on the flop?  Well, wouldn’t he have raised the flop with all those spades out there?  Since I had a Jack, a turned set of them seemed like a long shot.

There were two other things messing with my head.  One, the bad run I had had last trip.  I sure didn’t want to start this trip in the hole (for psychological reasons, more than anything else).  And two—I couldn’t help thinking if I felt there was a good chance he had a bigger flush—and I did—that I’d be continuing just to get another ticket and that would be one expensive drawing

So I folded.  And then, to my displeasure, the guy didn’t show his hand for a ticket for his flush.

Damn.  Did that mean he didn’t have a flush after all?  I knew that he was aware of the promo.  I saw the previous dealer give him a ticket and explain how the drawings worked.  I told this story to a buddy later and he said you can’t read anything into the fact that he didn’t show.  He reminded me that we see people forget to show their hands to get tickets all the time.  It’s true.  I can even recall players say, a few hands later, “Oh damn, I forgot to show you my flush.”

Still, it was disconcerting.  And the, a bit later, at 7PM, he got up and cashed out to play in the tournament.  So maybe that was why he didn’t fill out a ticket, because he knew he wouldn’t be around for it?  Except, why did he fill out the earlier one?  Maybe he just decided to play in the tournament after filling out the first card?  I’ll never know.

I only noted two more hands.  One time I had King-Queen of spades in the big blind.  After a few limpers, someone made it $15.  I called and it was three of us seeing a flop which was Queen high.  I called a bet of $25 and it was heads up.  No more betting after an Ace hit the turn.  Turned out the raiser had pocket Jacks.

Then my pal Mike came into deal.  My bit with Mike is that he always seems to deal me the dreaded pocket Kings every time he deals to me.  This goes back to long before I was playing no limit and also long before I found out that pocket Kings were to be dreaded.  But lately it seems it had been a long, long time since he dealt them to me.  So, first time this trip he deals to me, there they are again.

I raised to $12, had two callers.  The flop was Queen-Jack-9, rainbow.  I bet $25 and took it.  Surviving my first hand with KK, especially with Mike dealing, was a huge, huge victory.  I was sitting next to Mike and I said, “I had ‘the’ hand there.”  And Mike said, so everyone could hear, “Pocket Kings huh? And you won.”  Hmmm….I need to have a talk with him.  The reason I said I had “the hand” and not “Kings” was that I didn’t want anyone else to know what I had.  Why should I give that info away for free?  I was a little bothered by that.

But not for long.  I barely heard them announce that the 8PM drawing was being held when the hand started.  I had already learned that the only envelopes left were the ones with two $100 winners.  As I was being pushed the pot, I heard the very first name called.  It was yours truly. My only card in the drum was picked.

I was a bit embarrassed.  I mean, I had just blogged about how I wanted to avoid this very promo.  And barely playing poker for less than three hours, here I was hitting it.  I felt that it would be wrong to take it under those circumstances, so I turned down the money.

Heh heh.  If you believe that, I can bluff you out of a $700 pot with 7-high.  Of course I took the damn money, and looked forward to writing the blog post where I reveal myself to be a total hypocrite (but one with an extra $100 in my sockroll).

Nothing much happened after that, I didn’t win or lose another significant hand, cashed out down $100 for the poker but even if you count the promo money.  The trip was off to an ok start.

Note:  This was a post where I not only had a hard time coming up with a title for, but also where I couldn't even think of what kind of pic to look for to include with it.  So I gave up.  Here's a totally gratuitous picture of Kaley Cuoco looking might fine.


  1. Nice post Rob. With the J10 hand, I would suspect his most likely holding would be either KJ or AJ with the A or K of spades. Flopping flush over flush is pretty rare and he is more likely to have the above, a set or 2 pair. I would push there every time and if he had the bigger flush (maybe 10% of the time) then so be it.

    1. Thanks, Paul, you may be write. I can recall, however, many flush over flush hands (yes flopped) and even one where it was flush over flush over flush.

      I just hadn't seen him do anything like that (a semi-bluff) before. But I definitely spent a lot of time thinking I'd made a bad fold.

  2. Who cares about the poker stuff. Outstanding picture!

    1. Yeah....thinking of skipping all the text stuff next time and just posting more pics I like. Would be so much easier.