Sunday, July 4, 2010

2010-07-03 Atlantic City session notes

So thanks to the wifey, I was able to play my first significant set of live poker sessions.  As I talked about in an earlier post, she bought me tickets to see Jim Norton at the Borgata in Atlantic City, for my birthday back in May.  As a side effect, we would be in Atlantic City (sans kids thanks to my mother, who stayed at our house for the day and night - Thanks, mom!).  I am no fan of Atlantic City; I think it is by-and-large a dump.  However, it does have "entertainment" for both my wife and me.  She enjoys spending time at the beach and / or pool, in the sun, as well as shopping.  Atlantic City has the outlet mall and plenty of [crappy] beach, along with a surplus of pools.  Therefore, our destination was well-matched, and she absolutely did not mind if I went and played poker for every available waking hour.  As a result, I spent a total of 14.5 hours at the tables; the start of my live poker bankroll.

Before getting into session notes, I want to recommend that all of you go & see Little Jimmy.  It was truly an excellent show; even the opening act [Lenny Marcus] was awesome.  For those of you who haven't heard of Jim Norton, he's an off-color comedian who has a truly deranged way of seeing life.  In my opinion, he's a creative comedic genius.  Due to his F*ed up childhood, he's simply damaged... and funny as hell.  I've been listening to him for years on the Opie and Anthony radio show (on XM / Sirius); they should add his name into the title as he is clearly [at minimum] an equal to O & A.  I was fortunate enough to be at the show Anthony (of the title show's fame) would attend.  I thought it very cool that both Anthony and Jim would hang around after the show to sign autographs and take pictures.  They didn't need to do that; but clearly they're appreciative of their fan base.  Finally, as proof to Jim's comedic genius, I actually caught the wife laughing it up pretty hard at times - and she is *NOT* into raunchy comedy (though I did prepare here ahead of time).

Anyway, back to poker:

My first session, at the Tropicana, started out well enough...  I chipped up to about 175BBs, and was feeling on top of the world.  Clearly, I felt at an advantage to these players.  My table consisted of two players who I considered decent - one of whom would felt me for the full 175BBs, when I overplayed my KK into his AA.  I don't know; I kinda lost my head here - I don't think I would do the same online, but details as far as overall play will be at the bottom of this post as a summary.  The KK vs. AA action, which put me into a 1 buy-in hole went like this:

As I said, $375 effective stacks:
I raise to $15 with approx. 4 limpers.  Folds around to smartie, who insta-raises to $60.  Folds back around to me...  and without thinking (there was a few seconds of thinking actually), I 4bet to $75 on top, for $135 total.  He flats and we see a flop.

6 6 5 rainbow board - and he checks out of turn.  I lead for $100 and he overshoves.  I call and insta-turn over my KK.  He lets the board run out J J before showing his AA.  That miffed me a little bit; he knew he was far ahead and didn't need to let me wait to see that bad news, but whatever - there are schmucks everywhere...

I didn't have any memorable session notes on my second session; I hit 3 made hands and got paid decently on all of them.  I didn't play particularly well or poorly, but I did realize that made hands will get paid nicely in live $1/$2 poker.  No need to trap and / or slow play.  If you don't play fast, they're not going to pay off the river when they miss their draws.  Moreover, they will definitely pay incorrect odds for draws - I saw guys call an all in ($80 into a $30 pot) on a T 9 x board against an obvious set holding QJo... WHAT?  LOL.  I made back all of my earlier day's session losses, which was nice.

My third session was the most interesting; I had two WWYD hands, which I will post in the coming days.  Walking into the session, I was break-even, so it felt good to start anew.  However, at the first table, I ran into a streak where I dusted off a total of one buy in with TPTK twice to the same opponent within a 5 hand set; once to a flopped set and a second to a rivered 4 straight.  UGGG!  I started to re-evaluate my play and determined to stop being a payoff wizard with my TPTK hands to strong action.  Regardless, the end result,  was a success - I ended up positive a half buy-in...  Go me!  My first live poker spree and I'm net positive to kick off my bankroll.

Quick WWYD, which is more of an etiquette thing: I realize that it is *NOT* my responsibility to protect other opponent's cards.  However, is it wrong to purposely look when they're inadvertently showing me?  I mean, come on!  I had a player to my left that would BRING HIS CARDS TO HIS FACE, exposing them for me to see every time I looked to my left.  Just like a tell, I don't believe someone giving free information away should be told he is doing so... it is not my responsibility.  For all of you live players out there: what do you do when presented with this type of golden information?  Are you purposely trying to look away?  For me, it's like looking at cleavage...  I'm kinda shy to take a peak, but I just can't help myself!

Overall session notes:
  • It was a truly wonderful feeling [for the first time] to sit down at a casino poker table, and feel as though I will get my money in ahead and value town most of the players
  • It was nice knowing each player; who was going to be a payoff wizard, and who I should avoid tangoing with.
  • Value bet your made hands.  Don't worry about trapping because they will pay you off on their draws and / or second pairs.
  • Don't be afraid of betting decent money.  To start, I felt like a bet of $40 was heavy and people would become gun shy like I potentially would.  NOT THE CASE!  These people are here to GAMBOL, while I'm here to make educated bets.
  • On the contrary, beware of strong bets.  These players do not know [generally] how to trap their made hands.  All they know is bet bet bet and strong when they have a strong hand.  Besides the occasional bluff, they are betting strong with strong hands and betting weak / checking their weak hands.
  • Although I was confident with my play of the cards and assessing other's cards, I need to become less self-conscious.   I felt like I was giving off a TON of reads, through actions and facial expressions, which I need to work on [if my opponents were even paying attention, which I don't believe they were...] if I want to have a decent live game face.
  • I need to work on taking my time with decisions.  For whatever reason, it seems that live poker puts the pressure on me instantly when it is my turn to act.  I have no problem paying attention, and have a general idea of my move before the action turns to me, but for whatever reason, I feel rushed and have probably made incorrect plays due to that fact.

    I made a poor call for $54 from a shove with bottom pair an open ended straight draw on the turn into a ~$60 pot...  This is a simple math problem; $54 to win $104 is ~ 33% pot odds to make a 24% equity call.  Bad call (and bad result :-( ).
  • I am the chatty Kathy -type that Poker Grump wants to tune out.  I hadn't realized this in my home games (probably because everyone is talking too much), but I'm the talkative guy at the table.  I'm always spawning light conversation.  Although I'm never talking strategy or speculating about a hand, I'm always going on about something inane.  I think it's due to the fact that I'm nervous, and want to keep it light at the table.  Subconsciously, I believe the people are there to have a good time and gamble it up on their 8% turn equity...  why not help them have that good time?
  • Keep my eye on the table; if the Yankee game is on, don't tune out the table because I've folded the hand.  There is valuable information to be picked up when two guys are all in and I have no idea how they got there... as far as tells on when a player has a monster pot, etc.
  • I am totally comfortable with the amount of money being played.  I feel confident that I can sit down at a $2 / $5 table and not concern myself with the money as well.  When I build my live bankroll, I will certainly and unhesitatingly be taking shots at the $2/$5 games.  I can't remember one time over the weekend where I considered a single call, raise or bet equating to a steak dinner, etc.
  • I am totally comfortable stealing blinds and limps (I was afraid I would freeze up when the live pressure was on).
  • I am totally comfortable 3- and 4- betting.  Quick example:

    I was dealt AKo (one of my few premium hands this weekend) in late position (one off the CO), facing 4 limpers.  I raised to $16, as my formula was typically $10 + $2 per limper, which seemed to strongly discourage 5 7s or A3o from calling.  I believe the BTN called and the BB, who had previously splashed around a bit, 3bet me to $40.  It folded around to me, and I 4bet him to $95 where the CO folded and he flatted.  Nice flop of A T T and a check to me.  (I was playing $225 effective stacks).  One move: all in.  He folds and I take it down.
  • I am comfortable cbetting, floating and bluffing.  I was expecting to be scared due to the irregular amount of money in play (i.e. needing to lead $20 on air) to be a scary thing.  It wasn't.  The plays I was making, for the most part worked (unless I was betting INTO one of the 5-6 flopped sets my opponents would have against me.  BOO HOO HOO.
  • There are *FAR* more limpers than I every remembered from prior play experience.  Perhaps this was happenstance, but all of my sessions were met with a high percentage of limpers.  It made for easy times to raise my stronger hands and / or steal from position or limp in and see cheap flops.
  • Live poker players seem to rarely bet "correct" bet amounts.  I saw plenty of overbets which were supposed to be for value.  I saw plenty of players betting too light against would-be draws, providing more-than-correct odds to a player on a flush or straight draw.
  • Finally, I simply CAN NOT WAIT for Charles Town Races and Slots / Hollywood Casino to open their poker room doors.  I am SO GOING TO SOUL CRUSH THERE.  This poker spree started the poker juices flowing...  I am ready for live play!
If you've read this far, don't worry; this blog will not become a live poker blog. I will continue to play online and post HHs, though, both live and online.  


    1. Once had a player in Kansas City (Ameristar Casino poker room) peel up the corners of his card so high, I couldn't help but seeing them. When I told him, he biatched to the dealer I was checking his hole cards out and everyone at the table (mostly local regs would be my guess) began staring at me lol!

      "Floor" arrives and I tell him what's happening and he let's it go, but the table thinks I'm an angle shooter obviously. Villain keeps cards low for awhile then resumes his old habits.

      Moral: Let your conscience be your guide.

    2. At home games, I'll usually tell the players that I can see their cards. I just don't want to be caught looking in that situation.

      In a casino, I usually won't say anything unless it is total blatant. I agree, it is a bit of a tell, and I'm not going to avert my eyes just because I have a bad player next to me.

    3. Agreed about the home game comment; I think most home games are friendly games where we're there to all be better players, not to cut throats and win any way possible.

    4. As far as turning over the cards, I usually ask the other if he wants to turn them over, "It's more fun," I say. If they don't, then I normally don't.


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