Friday, April 28, 2017

Back in Black

It's been awhile since I played MGM.  When MGM opened, I played there for about 2 months straight, moving away from Baltimore Horseshoe.  I figured the benefits of moving my play are twofold: the drive is about an hour shorter, and they give $2 / hour in comps.  The downside is: I give up about $50 in free bets and the players are far weaker in Baltimore.  I wasn't interested in sitting in traffic, and so for the first time in about 2 months, I decided to try out MGM again.

My prior experiences there were the play was very gambly, leading to a higher variance game.  As a result, coming into the session, I found my graph to be a marginal loser; close to break even but still on the losing end.  Just one good session and I'll be in the black... easier said than done, of course; you can't plan winning sessions, unfortunately.

A few consistent observations I've noticed at MGM, which is not necessarily true at the 'Shoe:
  • There's usually at least one "good" player at the table
  • Play is far more aggressive
  • On the aggressive play, there seems to be an unusually high number of floats and preflop raises.
  • The players don't give up on hands as easily as other places.
  • 3bets are not necessarily respected; players will pay incorrect PF odds to see flops.
On a Thursday early evening / late afternoon, there's usually immediate seating.  Last night was no different; I parked, plugged my car into the free car charger (I have a Nissan Leaf EV), found my way into the poker room and within 30 seconds, was dealt into a hand.  It was immediately apparent that there were 2 good players and the rest were just "there" (read: passive, generally fishy players).  Early on, I realized one player opening very wide from all positions.  The first showdown, I saw him river 2 pair with 76o from an UTG $15 raise.  The second time, an orbit or two later, he shows down 89o from a mid position $15 raise.  Now I have the confirmation I need; it's a pattern (obviously 2 times is not necessarily a truth, but it's a going theory as a minimum).  Next opportunity I get, I'm going to bump his raise and take down the easy moneys :-).

I get my opportunity when he opens from UTG and gets no less than 2 callers.  I look down at KQo, a great candidate for 3betting.  I bump it to $55 and take down the $~45.  Easy game.  A bit later, one of the better players (sitting immediately to my right) who'd been raising fairly often, but not showing down, raises to $15.  I look down at AA and 3bet to $45.  Only he calls.  Flop comes 5 6 8, two spades and he checks to me.  Not wanting to slow play, I lead for $60.  He calls again.  The turn is a 5 or 6 and he checks once again.  I look down at my stack remaining: $137, with $210 in the pot.  One move: all in.  He thinks for a bit and folds.  I'm finally in the black for the session.

A few orbits later, the UTG player, one of the weaker players, opens to $7.  Mind you this is a 1/3 table, so this open is basically a non-event for a live game.  Needless, there are 7 or so players who call, including me with 75o.  We see a 7 5 8 ss flop and he leads for $25.  It folds to me and I raise to $55 (accidentally; I meant to raise to $65 but counted out 2 red chips too few).  It folds around to him and he thinks before calling.  The turn is a beautiful 7 and he leads for $90, which makes no sense to me.  I raise to $225 ($65-70 behind), wanting to make sure we get most of it in while/if he's drawing to the flush and he opts to just call.  The river is an off suit 2.  He checks and I put out the rest of my stack.  He snap calls and is mystified that I have 75o.  That's what you get for signalling a strong hand with a weak PF raise!  I'm left assuming he had KK or AA.

A few more hands transpired that I have forgotten about by now, and I end the session up nicely.  Finally in the black at MGM!


  1. Nice session. Your observations are spot on. I need to go play (my 1st) a session at the Shoe and compare with MGM.

  2. So, you normally frequent Horseshoe Baltimore, and you occasionally play at MGM National Harbor. Do you play at Maryland Live! at all? If so, how does it (and their player pool) differ from the other two? Thanks! Keep on postin'.

    1. I play a minimal amount at Live! From the few hours per year I play there, I've noticed it's much more a grinder game, rather than a tourist game. The raises are much smaller, the players are more conservative, and the games are a bit more stale. It's interesting; I'd imagine MGM draws from the same player pool as Live!, but perhaps the 1/3 vs. 1/2 game selection makes the difference between playing styles? I don't know. I do know this, though: the way I play, I prefer MGM or the Horseshoe over Live!


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