Tuesday, August 28, 2018

The Sam's Town Quickie

Note: This is sort of a two-parter, although the poker in the two parts will be unconnected with each other, so each part more-or-less stands alone. 

This took place the day after the tag team tourney I talked about last time (here).  Lightning was still and town, and had arranged to help fellow blogger FlushhDraw with a medical procedure he had scheduled for the day.  He was gonna hang out with retired blogger Stump (Chris) who was driving Flushh to the appointment.  All this went on while I spent the afternoon slaving away at work from my hotel room.

Late in the afternoon I finally heard about their day and their evening plans.  The medical procedure went fine, Flushh was feeling well and they were all headed over to Sam's Town to play in their 7pm $40 tournament. Lightning sent out a tweet to that effect, asking for anyone in the vicinity to join them.  OK, I thought, I didn't have any plans for the evening, why the hell not join them?

It turned out that by the time I found out about this they were already at Sam's Town having some fine dining.  So I was on my own for dinner.  I ate in my room and then headed out to god's country, I mean Sam's Town.  I took my life in my hands by trusting the Waze app to get me there.

You've probably never heard me talk about Sam's Town on the blog before—unless you read my Ante Up columns, because I have talked about it there.  But truth be told, I had never played poker there before.  Sam's Town is way out on Boulder Highway, a good long schlep from the Strip.  It's actually beyond Henderson.  It's part of the Boyd group, same folks who own Orleans and Gold Coast.  It is most definitely a locals casino.

Back in the early days of my Vegas trips, when I was going there with my pal Norm like three times a year, Norm and I would occasionally venture out that far.  Because it was so off the beaten path and strictly for the locals, it did have lower betting limits than the Strip casinos, which is what we were always looking for.  But honestly, there was never really any reason to go there once we had seen it once or twice.  I recall that whenever we did go there, we noted that we immediately lowered the median age of the patrons in there by about a half (but to be fair, we were much younger in those days!).

Once I started playing poker, I knew they had a poker room but never felt compelled to make the drive to check it out.  The main cash game is 2-6 limit, not exactly my game.

But how could I resist playing with those three clowns?  Besides, I had never met FlusshDraw before and it seemed like high time to do so.

It turns out that from the Strip it's pretty much a straight shot heading east on Flamingo to get there, so simple even Waze couldn't screw it up.

Due to human error, I missed the first turn into the parking area from Boulder Highway and ended up at the back of the property.  I headed for the first parking structure I saw and it turned out I parked about as far away from the poker room as I could and still be in Clark County.  If I had walked from Bally's it wouldn't have been much more walking.  I certainly didn't recall how damn big the place was.  I was surprised by the size of it. BTW, the parking structure I missed by turning in the wrong place is right next to the poker room.

Now walking in and through the casino was an interesting experience.  I swear, it didn't seem like I'd gotten there by car, it was more like I'd taken a time machine.  It reminded me of Vegas from 20-30 years ago.  It was nothing like the Vegas Strip casinos of today (well, if you ignore the slot machines, the gaming tables and stuff like that).  Just a totally different vibe than I've experienced from a Vegas casino in years.

I eventually found the poker room and was fairly exhausted from the walk. I wondered if I could take Uber to get back to my car.  I noticed Chris sitting at an unused poker table talking to a rather large fellow, who I assumed was FlushhDraw.  I said hello and met Flushh.  He is a really nice guy and told me a little about his procedure.  Chris and I caught up as well.  They pointed out that Lightning, problem gambler that he is, didn't want to waste any time just sitting and talking when he could be playing and was indeed splashing chips at the only game they had running, a 2-6 spread limit game.

It's actually a really nice poker room, much nicer than you'd expect for a poker room out in the hinterlands.  Eleven tables, nicely spaced apart.  And the room is well run.

When I went over to register for the tourney, I noticed the name of the woman who was running things and taking the money for the buy-ins, Kay.  I realized that this was poker room manager, who I have been dealing with via email and telephone since I started working at PokerAtlas.  Seeing as how I'd never been to Sam's Town since I started this job, I'd never met her.  So of course I introduced myself.  It always nice to meet someone in person you've been working with only electronically until then.  I even had my brand new business card to give her.

Before the tournament started, I tweeted out this:  "Playing Sam's Town $40 donkament with @flushhdraw , @AbramskiChris and @lightning36 . Keep me in your thoughts and prayers."  Well I thought it was funny.  It did get me 12 "likes."

The $40 tournament started with 5K chips and had 20-minute levels.  A $5 staff bonus got another 2K chips.  Not exactly the deepstack tournament I like.  You'll note I rarely play tournaments at that level.  Just not enough play for me.  But with a month in Vegas planned, I'd have plenty of time to play the kind of tourneys I prefer.  This one I was playing for social reasons.

They got a very good turnout for a Tuesday night—five full tables and there were alternates (they weren't staffed for more than five tables).  But the cash game did close down because most of the players in it were playing in the tournament.

Flushhdraw and I were at one the same table, and Lightning and Chris were together at another table.  My notes were quite sparse.  I wrote about a hand during level 1 where I raised preflop with Ace-Jack, c-bet, got called, and had to give up.  That was it until level 3 when it all fell apart.

Down to $5,950, I was in the small blind with Queen-9 off and completed.  The flop was 9-8-x, two of a suit.  I bet $600 and it folded to Flushh, who shoved his last $2,800.  Hmmm…..I figured he knew I had a hand there, and that he wouldn't be risking his tournament life without a pretty good hand himself.  So I decided there was no way he couldn't beat my top pair, mediocre kicker.  He must have a better kicker to go along with his 9, or perhaps two pair?  9-8 was very possible.  So I folded.

Note: Before the evening was over I asked him what he had and he told me Ace-8.  Ouch.  I said, "I thought you had a better hand than that!"  He replied, "I knew you would, that's why I did it.  I was desperate."  Well congrats, sir, on being a better poker player than me.

I still had chips to play with and we were coming to the first break. The next hand would be the last hand before the break.  On the button with King-Queen suited (hearts), I saw just about everyone but the Pope limp in front of me.  So I raised to1K (not sure what the blinds were, I no longer have the blind structure).  As soon as I raised, the guy on my immediate left said, "I knew that was coming."  Huh?  How did you know that?  Cuz I lost the last hand?  I still wasn't desperate. I wasn't gonna raise with 7-deuce there.  How did you know I was gonna get a good hand like King-Queen suited?  Weird.

I got 4 callers. The flop was King-high.  It checked to me and I bet $2K.  Not sure why I just didn't shove there considering the size of the pot but I didn't.  The last guy with cards called.  After a blank turn, he led out for 2K more and that was more than I had.  Of course I called.  Of course he turned over Ace-King to take the pot and bust me out.  When I showed my hand after we were all-in, that idiot next to me said, "I knew you were desperate." 

I didn't say anything to him.  But what a jerk.  It's not like I was raised preflop with garbage.  King-Queen suited is a raising hand, right?  And then I had top pair, second best kicker.  Nothing in my play indicated I was desperate.  This guy was clearly clueless.  Maybe that's why Flushh likes this tournament so much—the players are so bad.  Too bad on this night and I didn't get the cards to take advantage.

I was the first of the four of us to bust, but none of our group cashed. But Lightning was the last to bust out and then imagined that we made a last longer bet.  We hadn't.

Well, I have more to say about this evening, but I'll save that for next time so I can get this posted now.  Come back in in a few days for more of my Sam's Town report.  (Now posted, see here).


  1. Such an awesome blog entry that brought back to me one of the most enjoyable nights of my life and I'm not saying that lightly. It was an honor being able to meet you at last and you were the gentleman that you come across as in your writing. An absolute pleasure finally being able to meet you in person along with all the others that were there as well. Just thinking about that night brings a smile to me every time.

    1. Oh wow, I'm actually blushing! It was great finally meeting you as well and I'm glad you had a great time that night, it was fun. Glad the post brought back good memories for you. Thanks for your kind words.

  2. All you pikers "forgot" about our last longer bet. You scum buckets all owe me $50!

    1. Yeah right. If we had made a $50 last longer bet, I would have played to outlast you guys, rather than cash in the tournament....would have been worth more than the tournament cashing and of course I would have won.

  3. And as for myself I only brought just enough for the entry into that tournament plus a few $1 bills for the cocktail waitress so without the money on me I couldn't have made a last longer bet because I could not have paid. Gotcha you didn't make one with me cuz I didn't have the cash on hand lol.

    1. It's ok, sir. Your credit is good with Lightning.

    2. You guys pay as well as TBC pays his personal taxi bill. Jim Bigcharles? Rob Bigcharles? Mwahahahaha! 😁

    3. Speaking of Taxi bills...ahem...Shall I present a bill to you for Rob's Taxi Service?

    4. I believe that you and Waze conspired to long haul me, sir.

    5. Now you know why I use that damn app!