Thursday, January 31, 2013

Short Trip Report from San Diego - Palomar Card Club

I went downtown to eat with my coworkers last night and found myself 10 minutes away from the Palomar Card Club.  I figured I'd try to get a little poker variety while I'm here, and was kinda nervous when I drove by and saw what basically amounted to a Starbucks-sized "club."  Parking was fairly easy, but I was nervous from the cast of characters hanging outside on the street, taking a break from the non-smoking rules of the club inside.  Nevertheless, I persevered against my initial judgement, parked and went inside.

There were around 7-8 tables total, of which 6 were in action.  There was a constant buzz as well; somewhat noisy with no discernible background music.  I felt like this place was right out of an underground poker club, except this place was fully licensed and legal.  Going up to the brush desk, I was surprised to find that they hold their chips in an unlocked, seemingly insecure cabinet.  The brush was able to ship me my $300 buy in (same stakes as the Oceans Eleven Casino, 2/3), and I was seated almost immediately.

I sat down, and like Oceans Eleven, I wasn't required to post.  I started to settle in, watching players, looking for ideas as to how they play, etc. but before long, I was told to move to another table - i.e. the "must move" feature, which I don't believe I've ever experienced.  I'm not quite sure the logic behind a must move, but I didn't have to re-post blinds or anything, so it was okay by me.  Unfortunately, though, I was moved over to a table with better players, where I really needed to think about things rather than autopilot my way through the donks.  Make no mistake; these players were no Tom Dwan or Phil Galfond...  but they certainly new how to run a bluff and were aware that aggression is key.

Third or fourth hand, I wake up to QQ in the BB and watch 3 or 4 overcallers calling a mid position $12 raise.  I 3bet it to $45 (which in retrospect, should have been more) and a supposed loose player and an unknown call.  (I was told the loose player was loose / aggro by a player to my left who had apparently had a lot of history with him.)  Flop [natch] comes A K 3 rainbow.  I [stupidly] lead out for $45 and get raised by aggro to $140 ($300 effective, FWIW).  Folds to me and I think through the situation...  I truly truly contemplate a shove / call but can't bring myself to actually execute...  I fold and he flips J 7 hh for the bluff.  DAMNIT!  I knew his story didn't make sense.  Welcome to aggro poker :-).

Here was my thought process:  I 3bet PF and he's flatted 2 raises.  If he's aggro he's almost definitely raising pocket pairs and certainly good Aces.  He's calling down all his other weak Aces, wanting a cheap showdown.  He *HAS* to be concerned with AK, AA, KK, all within my 3bet range.  Granted there are some bluffs in there, but  is really trying to raise me off my bluffs (unless he has a bluff himself)?  Lesson learned...  against this player, take your time and think through the situation.

I would get a few chances to extract some money from him; he would frequently raise his BB and aggress his way into a non-showdown win, but whenever he'd get his money in, he always had "some" equity.  I stacked him once when he called a 3bet (again I'm OOP) to $45 and I held AQss - flop of Q Ts 3s.  Checked the flop, check / jammed the turn and stacked his KTo (nice call of a 3bet), but broke even on the pot because a short stack degen had essentially called all-in PF and turned a guttter KJ straight.  (I would also later nut on him with with a QT straight vs. his supposed set ($10 raise PF, check flop... $290 all in on the turn with the turned straight FTW & $300+ winnings).

EDIT:  I want to include a comment made below in response to a question about the QQ 3bet hand and how it plays into the hand above.  In the QQ hand, I thought about it after the hand... and I realized I made the "classic" "same bet" tell, where I bet the same bet on the flop as I had PF.  This is usually a weakness tell that more astute players know.  After 3-4 hands, I'm not very accurate at sizing up this guy's game, so I choose the default fold, unwilling to stack off with what could very easily be an A or K.  Noted.  It would play into the AQ hand, though, which I failed to fully describe until being reminded of it from the below comments.

So the action went like this: 3bet to $45 and 2 callers, the KJ turned straight guy with an effective stack of ~80 and my nemesis.  I check the flop, looking to induce his bet which he doesn't bite.  Then, I decide to cbet the "same bet" on the turn as a delayed cbet... the turn was an offsuit 9, if I recall correctly.  As if scripted, he immediately raised me to ~$140, putting shorty all in.  I contemplated for a few seconds, sizing him up and announced all in myself.  He insta-called, believing me to be bluffing / hoping for his gutter Jack / over King / trip Ten to hit.  I believe he's drawing WAY thin (as was the gutter boy) because I'm 4 flushing and I don't think any of them had spades in their hand.

The crux here, though, is that I was able to use a false tell to induce action and stack someone (although the resultant pot was *A LOT* lighter than it should have been due to the short dick winning the main pot).

The only hand that "bothered" me on the night was where I jammed my TPTK AcTx against his 98 two pair on a T 9 8 cc board and I went runner runner QQ for the better two pair.  As I said, he's wont to raise BB and he did so with 98hh PF after a few limps (he raised to $15).  My plan was to limp raise but I don't remember why I abandoned that plan...  Anyway, I feel like I'm pretty good jamming TPTK against this type of player because he has so many draws that he's calling where I'm on the good end statistically - he had snapped off with mid pair and no re-draw earlier, and I had seen him play up & down poker...  Egg on my face, but happy to sweep up the winnings for a decent winning session.

I don't know that I'd go back to Palomar Club, because it felt very much like a home game where everyone knew everyone by name.  However, it was fun to get back into the "home game" scene for a respite from the casino scene.  It's always also nice to get a decent win :-)


  1. Perhaps its my relative inexperience, but I really don't understand the villain on your QQ hand. I had a similar situation last weekend, and folded to a bluff. I donlt understand villain's mindset on running a bluff in that spot, given your three bet and the AKx flop. I mean, isn't he basically stepping right into a landmind more often than not? If you have AK, AA, or KK, which is likely a significant part of your three bet range, you are not folding and he is giving away money.

    I mean, how does he try and represent cards that primarily make up YOUR range in that spot? Is villain just not thinking? Or is he brilliantly putting you on TT to QQ?

    Yes, these are the issues that keep me up at night . . .

  2. Just lost my friggin reply due to this crappy internet connection.

    The short of what I wrote is this: There are tells involved here (one which I use later to stack him). I did a same-bet tell where I cbet $45 into the 2 callers. To his credit, he read it correctly as weakness (same bet is usually weakness), but I figured that out immediately after seeing his hand. I used it on again on the AQs hand above, cbetting $45 on the turn which he raised to $140 or so and I jammed on him.

    Also, I said it was [stupid] for me to cbet into the two of them. The reason is because my hand is turned into a bluff at this point. I'm way ahead / way behind and I'm only getting Kings to fold (since they called a 3bet >10% stacks PF). I should be bluff catching and deciding who / what rather than bloating the pot and making my decision more difficult by throwing in bad money after good.

  3. FYI - I updated the post to better describe the situation on the AQ hand, if you'd like to go back & read it.

  4. Hey PM --- just wanted to give you an update --- was able to sneak away to delaware park for about a 3 hour session this past sunday. they had a decent cash game selection and the room seemed well run. i wound up playing 1/2 NL and i found the players to be mostly passive. walked away up exactly $200. was up around $350 when i lost about 250 when i 3 bet 78d from the button and lost to Top Pair on a 679dd flop. made the rest of the profit when i 3 bet 99 from the button and got one limper to call. AA2dd flop. Check , Check. blank 4 on turn. he bombs i tank call. river blank. he's all in , i tank call again and MHIG, he shows 2 low diamonds. this was my first session in 2 years and now I realize why i love the game so much. hoping to sneak away again this monday as i have off work cause of super bowl sunday.
    Don't you just love owning people's souls?

  5. Love it David! Just love to hear it. I hope my blog helps you grind them up as well! It's so easy peasy at Del Park. For a little while back in December, I felt like the games had all dried up / gotten tough, but I've definitely come out of that funk and I'm more enthusiastic about live poker than ever! They're as good as they ever were - and feeling like you're on the top of your game is the greatest feeling.

    YES - I LOVE owning people's souls! Great picking off the bluff!

  6. OP glad you recognize the QQ hand is not your best played hand. Pre is too small, hate the flop bet sizing. For obv reasons shoving over his raise would be dreadfully bad. But it's a good hand to illustrate the importance of hand reading. Few do it very well frankly and the ability to read hands well can make you a lot of $$ that more ABC players miss. Glgl. I had some interesting 2/5 and 5/10 hands @ Borgata last week. Maybe I'll post them on my blog for discussion purposes

  7. Good report. Thanks for adding the edit.


Blog Archive