Thursday, June 27, 2013

Improvements to Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races' Poker Room

As talked about a few months back, I aired my grievances with CTRS, aka "The Chuck."  In it, I complained about the lack of promotions, among other things.  I've been back numerous times since (of course, because there is no other poker offering in my area - YET).  However, I was in there last week and low & behold - I found a flyer listing the daily tournaments... and more importantly to my interests - a list of Poker Promotions.

I thought I'd share them here, to expose egg on my face (for not knowing about the promotions; shows what a good job they do promoting the promotions), as well as allow me to recant some of the issues I have with the Chuck as far as their lack of promotions.  Apparently, these promotions were introduced in April, but it looks as though they'll end at the end of June.

The following is quoted from Hollywood Casino's flier (verbatim):

  • Full House Mondays - Every Monday from April 1, 2013 - June 24, 2013, players will receive entries for every hand where they make a Full House or better.  From 8am-11:45am, players will receive two entries.  From 11:45am-9:45pm, players will receive one entry.

    From 12pm-10pm, entries will be randomly selected from the drawing drum.  The prizes and times are as follows: 12pm: $100, 1pm: $100, 2pm: $200, 3pm: $200, 4pm: $300, 5pm: $300, 6pm: $400, 7pm: $400, 8pm: $500, 9pm: $600, 10pm: $700.  There will be no drawings held on May 27, 2013.
  • Full House Thursdays - Every Monday from April 1, 2013 - June 24, 2013, players will receive entries for every hand where they make a Full House or better.  Players will receive entries from 2pm - 11:45pm.

    From 3pm-11:59pm, entries will be randomly selected from the drawing drum.  The prizes and times are as listed: 3pm: $100, 4pm: $100, 5pm: $200, 6pm: $200, 7pm: $300, 8pm: $300, 9pm: $400, 10pm: $500, 11pm: $600, 11:59pm: $700.
  • High Hand Wednesdays - Every Wednesday from April 3, 2013 - June 26, 2013, players will be eligible for the High Hand Promotion.  High Hands will be tracked from 11:00am-10:00pm with the first drawing at 12pm.

    Each hour at the top of the hour a player will be awarded $100 for making the high hand of the previous hour (minimum high hand 5 high straight).  The current high hand of the hour will be posted conspicuously in the room.
  • Suited Royal Flush Daily - Every day, when a player achieves a Royal Flush using both hole cards, they will win the current jackpot amount.  $100 will be added to the prize pool each day for each suit (Spades, Hearts, Diamonds, and Clubs).  Only one royal flush prize pool for each suit may be won each gaming day.  If any of the price pools reach $1000 or more, it will be divided as follows: 50% of the funds will go to the player that received the Royal Flush and 50% will be divided equally among the remaining players at the table.
  • Mustang Giveaway - The Mustang Giveaway Promotion will run between March 11, 2013 and April 7, 2013.  Players will receive 1 entry into the drawing for 60 hours of BRAVO tracked eligible play and an additional ticket will be issued for every 10 additional hours of BRAVO tracked eligible play.  EXAMPLE: 80 hours equals 3 tickets in the drawing.

    The drawing(s) will be held on April 14, 2013 from 10am-9:45pm.  A ticket will be drawn every 15 minutes for a prize pool of $1,000.00 in valued chips.  At 3pm and 8 pm an additional ticket will be drawn for the grand prize winners who will have the choice of a 2013 Mustang GT Coupe or $25,000 in valued chips!
Today is the last day of the promotions listed above.  I sincerely hope The Chuck continues or betters their promotions.  As for the Suited Royal Flush daily promotion, it should be noted (although it is not explicit on the flier) that you must be clocked in with your Hollywood Rewards Card in order to be eligible.

My next post will be a list of the daily tournaments they started running since April 2, 2013.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Losing begets bad play just as winning begets good play?

I know it shouldn't be this way, but sometimes, when we experience these kinds of trends it pervades our thoughts and our game.  Clearly, this is not the way it should be; whether we're winning or losing, we should strive to play a solid, "A" game every time we are dealt cards.

Card dead?  Not a problem!

Pay attention to the guy who's folding or whatever on your left.  It's a valuable opportunity to improve your reads and perhaps pick up a tell or two.  As a minimum, you may be able to determine whether he grabs his chips when he's readying to make a raise.  That tell will save you money from limping or raising your weaker-ranged hands.

Watch for other players and how they play their hands.  Do they check the turn when they give up?  Do they shuffle their chips nervously when they make a bluff?  You should treat this time as a learning opportunity to improve your intangibles game.

Finally made a hand?  You can fold it!

I got into this situation where I couldn't believe my made hands are constant losers.  For the past month or two, I've become used to missing my draws.  I understandably got excited when I finally made a 5-card hand.  It was clearly not the nuts, and I should have folded it in retrospect given the action.  However, I got into the mindset that it was incomprehensible to me that I make my hand [finally after 2 months of waiting] yet am still behind.

For the hand in the link, I was not ready to accept that fate that the hand I held was a loser.  More to the point, if I believe the hand is the winner, I shouldn't be just calling a river bet - I should be raising.  I think part of me subconsciously knows I'm beat there by my lack of raise, but I willfully accepted my beatdown like a lamb to the slaughterhouse.

Get over it!  If you're a winning player, you're still winning.

There is no "due" or "owe" in poker.  The simple fact is you can be the best player in the world, and fold fold fold your way out of paying off the winners of the hands you play, yet the cards owe you nothing.  You are not due for a nut hand.  You are not in line for Sklansky (which, as I'm writing this, blogger tries to auto-correct Sklansky to Klansman - go figure) dollars.  There is no EV bank in the sky keeping track of your lifetime variance.  Each hand is independent from one another.  Each new player is independent from one another.  One player and one hand has no memory of how your past session / week / month went.  They don't know and don't care.  They're just playing their cards.  (Good thing, too - because they probably wouldn't want to play with you if they knew your lifetime winnings or history / experience with the game.)

You have a choice: you can either accept your fate as the natural course of cards, or you can fight it.  Acceptance will lead to an eventual turnaround (hopefully), and fighting the "fate" will lead to further losses (i.e. improper bluffs, bad calls, bad play).  Your choice.

One last footnote.

I want to point out something that happened to me while playing last night.  It didn't really affect my play, but I was seething mad at an annoying guy who kept laughing inappropriately.  He wasn't doing it get reactions, but he was more the type to laugh for tension release or reasons unknown.  I couldn't wait to stick it to him; I never got the opportunity, but I really took it too far.  When he lost a major pot, I started laughing loudly, and in a forced manner, trying to mimic him.  I tried to tilt him as he was subconsciously doing to me.  He was too aloof / dumb to really understand or know what I was doing, but it didn't feel good to be the verbal bully at the table.  That's not me - that's not my game.

I don't understand why it annoys me so much when player play laughably badly.  This guy (first, from the SB) called a raise to $25 (my late position raise to iso with QcJc on a straddled limp pot) with $51 behind with 6c4c.  Flop came 4d Tc Kc and he auto shipped the flop.  Natch, I called & missed my 19 outs.  This is the same guy who, an hour later, insisted on checking out an opponent's stack to "see how much you have behind - for pot odds!" and proceeded to get it in with 2 pair against a flopped nut straight for totally incorrect pot odds.

I need to stop allowing this kinda crap to bother me.  I need to zone it out.  I need to stop focusing in on the hatred and anger for this guy (I'm sure he's a very friendly guy outside of the casino), and work on more productive things like creative ways to extract chips from every player instead of zeroing in on the annoying guy.  Even though I'll likely never see him again, and he'll never read this article, I want to take the bottom of this post to apologize for my over-the-top inappropriate behavior.  To the dude that looks like an Asian Harry Potter, I am sorry for my behavior at the table last night.

Point is: we need to stop sweating the small stuff and focus on the important things when we're playing.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Overall report & AC report

Things have been fairly quiet around here - and for good cause.  I've been fully engaged at both work and school, and coupled with the way I've been running at the tables lately, I've been passively avoiding sitting down (as opposed to actively refusing to play, I simply haven't been rushing out to play when I get a free opportunity).  This little run bad (past 2 months exactly) has seen me set over set someone only to get runner 4 flushed, run my 2 pair into a backdoored flush, and have all sorts of bad stuff happen.  Interestingly enough, though, during the 6 sessions I've played over the 2 month period where the run bad has occurred, I find myself down "only" $1200 - 6 buy-ins.  I say "only" because it feels like so much more.

It feels like I can't win a session if my life depended on it.  More often than not, my sessions will end in frustration of being coolered somehow or some way.  I don't feel like I'm playing poorly, but I do feel like I've been cold decked frequently.  People are nutting on my constantly, against my value hands.  I should be crushing 1/2 and right now, it's crushing me.

Atlantic City

The Meister family generally stays at the Tropicana when we go up to AC.  Note that we go up to the hellhole (AC, not necessarily the Trop) MAYBE once per year.  The kids get to go on the beach, we can walk the boardwalk, and they can go shopping at the outlet mall area while I can get in a bit of table time.  I also don't have to clockwatch to deal with the 45 minute drive home when I'm playing at the Chuck; my room is a mere 5 minute walk / elevator ride upstairs.  Since it was raining this past weekend, I opted to play at the Trop's poker room.  For a Sunday night, they had maybe 2 1/2 games running and 4 2/4 limit games.  I was kinda in shock; I figured it would be busier than that for a Sunday summer night.

I sat down to the cast of rocks and donks and was able to spot the regs with ease.  On a first name basis with the dealers, my first reg was a mid-aged woman with 2 dogs at home.  I think she fancied herself much better than she actually was, frequently moving her stack in with top pairs and rarely getting called.  In all fairness, perhaps she was a bit tilted by the donkey in seat 10 snapping off her 3bet shove ($11 raise called 2 ways and she 3bet/ shoved $100+) with 2 2 PF (he had ~$50 total) - 2 on the flop natch sealed it for him.

My next 2 hands in my history involve both of these players, although individually:
I introduce myself to the table by raising the CO with AQo (3 limpers, I popped it to $15 and get 2 callers + fancy lady who is to my right).  Flop misses but has 2 hearts; 8 4 4.  I cbet $30 and fancy lady player calls.  Non-heart Ace on the turn and she open shoves her remaining $50.  I think for a bit and determine that she doesn't have a 4, so I call.  She flips Ah2h immediately and I'm very happy to see that I'm way ahead; 80% to the win, 2% to the chop.  Of course, 4 on the river has us chopping and she comments that I should be glad that I didn't see a heart...  yeah...  glad...

A few hands later, I limp along with a host of limpers - A5ss.  Flop is A J 4 - 2 clubs and aggro Asian leads for $15 into around that size pot.  Donk in 10 calls and I come along.  Turn is a 5 and donk checks to me.  I decide to take the lead, ensuring that I charge for the donkey's club draw - I bet out $40; Asian dude calls as does donkey.  River is 2c and donk open shoves (lol) for $23.  I think I snap here (maybe incorrect because I'm reading him directly for a club draw) and Asian dude folds.  I'm shown Q8cc and concede the pot.

2 hands, shitty results.

I tread water, get to break even and contemplate leaving when, of course, the following happens:

KTss UTG+2 and I limp.  It folds all the way to the SB, who comes along and the BB, and ABC player raises to $12.  I call as does the SB and we see a flop of QsJsJx - OESF draw.  Checks to the BB who leads for $20.  I think for a bit and opt to call instead of raise here.  I can see what develops on the turn, but I can fairly well put the ABC player on a tight range; he's never gotten out of line in the hour I've played with him - always shown the nuts or very close to it.  No need to knock him off the hand if I can even get him to fold AA or KK.  Best case, he holds 2 red Ace's and I can stack him with a straight flush over boat.

Turn is a beautiful 9h.  Not the 9 I was looking for, but completes my straight.  BB leads for $30 and I again don't want him to go away.  I think a raise here forces him to fold, so I opt to flat the $30.  I also want to draw to that straight flush rather than folding out my opponent.  At this point, the board is pretty scary for AA, KK, and he's showing extreme weakness based on bet sizing.

7s on the river and I now have a flush to trump my straight.  However, he now leads big for $80.

What do you do?  Why?

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Weekend in AC

Are any of my readers going to be in AC this weekend?  I'm headed up with the family for a quick Sunday / Monday getaway to drop off the kids at my parent's house in NJ.  I'm hoping to get in a few solid hours of poker; I haven't really had any time to focus on poker within the past month or two...  School, work, my son's baseball schedule and miscellaneous other things have all been getting in the way of my poker schedule.

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