Monday, September 26, 2011

Poker is tough when you hit the nuts - Trip report to Chumash Casino / Santa Ynez, CA

Sorry for the lack of posts; nothing interesting has happened lately.  I've been continually cashing out of my Bodog account, my only current online bankroll.  I was able to achieve $650 in bonuses this past month (plus winnings), and worked my bankroll beyond my comfort level given the state of online poker in this country.  Therefore, I dropped my roll back down to the $200-300 level, and I'm back to playing 25NL :-(.  Regardless, it's still a profit center, though I wish legislators would weigh in and pave the way for legalized online poker.  It's still tilt-inducing to read about the Full Tilt debacle; it would be very very very nice to get my money from them.

Back to the title: Trip report to Chumash Casino - I'm in San Luis Obispo this week on business travel.  After work, it's just an empty hotel room & me - and once I'm done with my studies, I have the opportunity to play some poker... this being California and all.  Unfortunately, the San Luis Obispo area has 2 very small poker rooms, but Chumash is an hour's drive south, which is where I headed when I came in last night.

The Chumash Casino is somewhat bland; nothing exciting to report - fairly typical of an Indian Native American casino.  They had a small-"ish" table game area, surrounded by a wealth of slot machines.  The poker room, located at the far far back end of the casino (and upstairs), is not likely to be visited by your casual slot machine / blackjack gamblers / players.  On the Sunday night that I was there, they had 3 1/2 $60 min/max buy-in  (typical for California) tables coupled with a 2/5 $100-500 buy-in game and a smattering of 2/4 limit games.  In all, roughly 10 tables were running, but I was able to find a seat within 15 minutes (playing 3 hands of 2/4 limit before getting called for 1/2NL).

Once seated, I realized that my table would be a very easy / pushover table.  The typical raise would be a  min raise to $4 or even $5.  The typical host of limpers / overcallers would oblige the raise and flat their any two cards.  It was fairly easy to 3bet to $30-40 or even $20 and drag a decent pot without risk (at worst, I'm putting a max $60 buy in at risk to start anyway, and my table was totally weak/tight).  Over time, (I'm not pushing any other players off a pair of Aces or mostly any pair for that matter, I built up to $85 and the table broke.  I was moved to a table with larger-than-starting stacks - averaging around $100 stacks.  I was able to build a TAG image, raising the hands I entered and cbetting to take them down on the flop most of the time.  Finally, I raised $12 AQs on the BTN into 3 limpers who called my raise.  A beautiful AQQ flop (2 diamonds) comes and it checks to me.  I debated cbetting, but they had seen be check / flop and cbet turn a missed AK in a prior hand, so I wanted to follow a similar pattern.  Therefore, I opted to check the flop and see a turn 8.  The MP limp / caller leads for $20 into the ~$36 pot and I opt to flat (he had around $10 behind).  The UTG check/raises to $100, which has me roughly covered.  The MP folds (no idea why he folds here for $10 more) and instacall & double up - UTG complaining the whole way about a HUGE cooler where he has a Q.

That hand sets me up with ~$230 effective stacks for the next hand; it's folded around to me on the CO and I raise my A2s to $8.  The one other big stack at the table, $~230, and the most competent player of the group, 3bets me to $18.  Normally, I'm folding to this bet - clearly, though, given the stack sizes, and the fact that he knows that I know how to play, I flat, in position.  I'm getting nice immediate odds, it's not likely that he holds a dominated Ace (I'll find out immediately if an Ace flops regardless), and if I hit a flop, it's likely he'll think that I'm playing him.  Note that I said competent, not good...  Of course, the flop comes down 7 2 2, rainbow, giving me trips.  He cbets $25 into me and I feign pain and call.  The turn is a 5 and he once again leads with $40.  Putting on my best act, and PRAYING that he has a very strong range given the 2 streets, I opt to put him all in for the remaining $~150, which clearly caught him off guard.  It felt like eons before he finally made a call - I knew he would NEVER put me on trip deuces, but I was ultimately concerned that he would think I had either a set or JJ+.  Putting myself in his shoes, nothing really made sense for him in the hand; the only hands I would be able to put myself on in this spot are sets and <=JJ, given the PF action.  Granted, there are plenty of bluffs in my range, but why would I shove a marginal overpair in this spot given that he's repped such a strong range.  With most hands 88-even JJ, I would be calling each street.  I could be spazzing, of course, but he was correct in narrowing my range (he even said it while he talked out his reasoning before the call) to 88-99.  In the end, I have to believe that if I'm in his shoes, I'm folding, putting my opponent on a stronger-than-overpair range more likely than a bluff, but like I said, he's competent, not good.  He shows TT for the overplayed overpair (I know that I'm not basically min 3betting PF, OOP, against the other big stack at the table who happens to be the other competent player (not good either :-) ), and cbetting 2 streets only to call a shove with a weak-"ish" overpair).  Regardless, I scoop a $450 pot FTW, and go home 30 minutes later with a heavier pocket than when I began the night.

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