Thursday, February 25, 2016

The First Win

As I’ve documented earlier—months ago, in fact—my Halloween trip to Vegas was not a very good one, poker wise.  I came back battered and disillusioned, with my confidence wavering and my poker bankroll diminished.  So I was sure hoping to get my next Vegas trip, at Christmas time, off to a better start.

It didn’t turn out that way.  My first five days in Vegas left me without a single win to book.  The good news was that the loses had not been too severe.  Also, I had managed to win a couple of $100 promos in that time—one for the cash drawings and one for the football.  So my bankroll wasn’t suffering nearly as much my ego.

On this night, my sixth night in town, I wasn’t even sure I was going to play poker.  My friends from L.A. had driven into town, and I offered to take them to Tap, the Sports Bar next to the MGM poker room, for dinner.  Of course, I had plenty of poker comps in reserve to cover it.

We had a nice dinner. My friends were tired from the long drive so after they went back to their hotel, I had a few hours to get some poker in. I got on the list, must have been around 10PM. It didn’t take long before they opened a new table.

The first pot I won, early, was with pocket deuces.  I missed the flop, but no one bet it or the turn.  Finally someone bet the river—a whopping two bucks.  Since the river was a deuce, I made it $10 and didn’t get a call.  Guess I should have done the min-raise there.

I raised to $7 with King-Queen off in late position and had two callers.  The flop was pretty nice: Ace-Jack-10 (well nice if you consider flopping the nuts nice).  There were two clubs on the board.  I bet $16 and didn’t get a call.

I raised to $7 with Ace-3 of hearts and Badger raised to $15.  Badger?  Yeah, my friends had noticed this guy waiting for a game when we got to the poker room and thought he looked like the Badger character from Breaking Bad.  I called and we were heads up.  There was one heart on the flop and we both checked.  The turn was a blank and we both checked. The river was a 3.  I guess I should have bet, but I couldn’t imagine him calling with Ace-high so I just checked and he showed his hand...Ace-Queen. My measly 3 was good.  Hmm….if you’re gonna 3-bet with Ace-Queen, why wouldn’t you c-bet the flop?  I would have folded.

I raised to $15 after a few limpers with Ace-King off.  One caller.  The flop was Ace-Queen-2, two clubs.  I bet $25, he called.  The turn was a deuce, which put two diamonds on the board.  I bet $60 and didn’t get a call.

Then I gave some money away.  I raised to $8 with 9-8 of clubs and had four callers.  The flop was Queen-10-7.  The 7 was a club.  I called a donk bet of $20, we were heads up.  The turn was a blank.  I called $40.  The river paired the 10, we both checked.  She showed a Queen.

I limped in with pocket 7’s and then called $12 from a guy who had just joined the table. It was three-way. The flop was 10-7-4, two clubs. The preflop raiser led out for $20, I made it $60.  The third guy tanked and finally folded.  The first guy shoved.  I had him covered.  I snap called.  He showed pocket Aces.  Nice.  For good measure, I caught a 10 on the river for the boat. I won about $150 on that hand.

The very next hand I had pocket Jacks, raised to $10, and had two callers.  The flop was King-high, but my $20 c-bet was enough to take it down.

Sometime later I had pocket 10’s, raised to $10, had five callers.  The flop was Jack-high, but my $30 c-bet was good enough to drag the pot.

By the time I was ready to call it a night, my profits had dwindled down to $70.  I cashed out, booking the first win of this trip, and it was a good feeling to do that, even if it wasn’t a lot of money.  As you may recall, this trip turned into a profitable one by the time I came home, and this small win was the start of the turn-around.  In fact, the very next night was the big score I already told you about at Harrah’s (see here)….and I was off to the races.


  1. Amazing how this game we enjoy plays with our emotions and our mind, huh?

    1.'s a mental game...and an emotional one.

  2. Rob - I believe you refer to playable hand ranges from one of Ed Miller's books. Which one is it? I'm going to bd adding to my poker book collection and am looking for suggestions.