Thursday, July 30, 2015

Again... trying new things at the table

I've been posting some oddities / things I'm doing off-norm to experiment with live play and see where it takes me.  Last week, I posted a hand where I decided to flop / squeeze a wet board with blanks, into what seemed like a weak cbet, scared of flopped trips...  It backfired in my face :-).  However, I did get a cool comment out of it: I have "balls of steel."  Nice!

Anyway, your hero joins the fracas this week with a hand from last night:
Straddled to $8 from UTG, who is a Iranian guy - crazy, hot headed who just loves to get loud and grouse about anything and everything.  He also is in love with the raise; he's got a wide range from all positions and is not afraid to "ship it" with weak holdings.  So far, he's made correct reads and worked his stack up from $300 to $500.  I'm on the BTN and I overlimp 3 players to my right with QJhh when it gets to UTG who pops it to $25 on top.  Folds around to the player immediately to my right (weakish player, plays hands face up, etc. - generally non-thinking) who thinks for a bit then calls the $25.

Action to me and I pump it up to $100, having had the plan all along.  Thought is that I can see a flop cheap for $8 with suited connectors / premiums if it checks through or I can squeeze the UTG if / when his bet comes as somewhat expected.  There's a ton of dead money (around $35 plus the UTG $25 + the guy on my right's $25) and UTG is rarely ever showing up with a hand.

Thoughts?  Thoughts on bet sizing?  What about the overall execution?

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Vegas, baby!

I'm headed out to Vegas on Friday morning...  plans are for a 5 day trip.  I'm looking to perhaps mix it up with a few tournaments since I'll have the time to put in.  Here are the "major" guaranteed tourneys going on while I'm there:
  • Venetian 8/1 12pm $300 $15k guaranteed - 12k chips, 30 minute levels
  • Wynn 8/1 12pm $225 $25k guaranteed - 10k chips, 40 minute levels
  • Venetian 8/4 12pm $150 $10k guaranteed - 12k chips, 30 minute levels
So, having never played a wide field tournament, how long do these events last?  If it starts at 12, will I be playing into the dinner hour?   Are they one-day events?  Would any of the above be considered "good value?"  Do the weekly guaranteed at these places carry an overlay (which would be nice)? 

Likely, I'll play the Wynn 8/1 and the Venetian 8/4 from the look of it.  The rest of the days and time that I have will be filled with 1/3 cash games.  Best I can tell, the places for cash games are the Venetian, Belagio, ARIA and Wynn - and based on Rob's latest details with Orel Hershiser, I'll probably go with the ARIA primarily.


Friday, July 24, 2015

My night last night...

I played poorly - and have minus one buy in to show for it.  In light of the poor play and sucky cards, I think that's not a bad result...

As evidenced:
98o <  99 - Top two vs. top set... live poker is rigged
AQ < 89dd - should have gotten away from that on the flop but paid off ~$100
KK < JT - just stupid play on my opponent who flopped 2 pair but should have never called pre-flop
57hh < 46o - Turned straight runs into rivered boat

I realized that I'm having a problem playing off the mid-stacks (~$150) when I have a good hand.  I need to break myself of that habit - despite my raises pre-flop...

In good news, I played $100 worth of promotional chips and won back a $70 return at the blackjack tables!  That feels good, even though I'm convinced I'm playing wrong.  Does such a small sample size really matter when I'm playing for promo chips?  I don't really care to take the time to print out the algorithms and "correct play."  I just went by gut - I guess I did alright last night :-)

Monday, July 20, 2015

Interesting "reg" hand from 'Shoe - what would you do?

I'm settled into a nice session, around $800 deep at $1/3, playing against two regs with $300 each.  These are competent, thinking regs.

Tight reg 1 in EP raises to $15, gets called by thinking reg 2 and me (5h4h), in addition to 3 other players - we see a Td9dTc flop with $90 in the pot.

Original raiser leads for $30 and gets called after some thought by reg 2, when action lands on me.  I think about what I'm going to do.  While I'm thinking, I get the 3 strap hangers to folding out of turn, returning whatever action I take back to reg 1, but I still have yet to act.  Yes, that's right - they folded while waiting for my anticipated raise...  My decisions are a bit easier now, having knowledge that I'm against 2 regs and no Tx hands by the 3 folders.  Reg 1 rarely has a Tx hand because she opened EP - she's rarely (if ever) opening AT, let alone a lesser hand baring TT.  Moreover, TT is not likely to lead this flop - drawing hands can really only call (i.e. no Tx hands available).  Reg 2 is most likely that drawing hand - he paused for a good long time before making the call - likely deciding between raising and calling but barring raising because of the paired board.  I come to the conclusion that I should put in a healthy pot sized raise here - I raise to $115 - it will fold reg 1's [expected] JJ+, and should fold reg 2's draws.  If reg 2 doesn't fold on the flop, then although I sweat a whole bunch of bad turns, I can possibly push him off the turn but I do think it's likely he'll fold my large raise on the flop.  Thoughts?

Click to see results

I wound up putting in $115, only to be shoved on for $300 by reg 1. Reg 2 folded and I was left wondering in amazement before folding. Ouch! After a bit of table talk, she let on that she flopped 9's full and was fearful of being sucked out on by Tx, exactly what I was representing... Oh well - sometimes you succeed in a clever move, sometimes you fail. It seems I fail more often than not - maybe I should stop bluffing :-)

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Mohegan Sun Pocono trip report

Not much poker to report lately; I've been vacationing (vacating?) with the family in the Pennsylvania hills of the Poconos!  As is typical for me, I'll experience a good run followed by a series of bankroll destroying sessions (with quotes, because they actually don't destroy my bankroll but mentally destroy me).  Overall, I make money and average out to a decent hourly rate (~10x BB / hr, which is considered beating the game handily) but it's till frustrating to ride the downs of the game.  Coming into PA, I'm riding a downswing of about 3 sessions.

Anyway, since Pennsylvania (PA henceforth since it's annoying to type out the whole name of the state) recently added gambling to their sources of revenue / taxes, pretty much anywhere in the state, you're reasonably close to a casino.  In this case, I was about 30 minutes from Mount Airy Casino Resort and 35 minutes from Mohegan Sun Pocono.  I opted for the latter because of the game selection; Mount Airy had 2 tables going and Mohegan had 4-5.  I wound up playing a sum total of 2 sessions with 1 interesting hand to discuss.  Before I get into the hand in question, let me set up the Mohegan Sun room:

This is very much a locals casino.  The poker room is located far away from the main parking lot, in a subterranean area underneath the live horse racing track.  No windows, but decently lit room - however, it feels like a basement, which it is.  The room maybe has 15 tables, spread out, with 3-4 $1/2 tables operating at any given time, in addition to the low buy in tournaments that run daily with buy ins of $40-$125.  The room is comfortable, reasonably clean (the chips are filthy though), and the floor staff and dealers are friendly.  I found the locals to be welcoming, but they are definitely locals - they know one another and know how to play one another.  Fortunately, they're mostly awful players, save for a few exceptions - 3 players to be exact - who know how to maximize and seem like they would be consistent winners.

The room has magazines 'a' plenty, offering back issues of Card Player and Ante Up! magazine.  They also have some interesting promotions.  Instead of the bad beat jackpot, they have a roughly 12 hour high hand which wins all the bad beat drop money that was collected during that 12 hour period.  Typically, the high hand wins ~$400.  Yes, high hand is anything from a flush on up - you must use both cards in your hand and a pair in your hand for quads to qualify.  Another, even better, offering is the hot seat promotion that runs from 10pm - 2am and 3pm - 7pm on Sundays and Mondays through July.  Every 20 minutes during those times, they pull a seat out of a hat and award the winner $100 cash.  Given the limited tables in play, this is an awesome promotion with each player having a very high chance of winning at least once!

So, going into the room, I'm running on a down streak which continued for my first session.  I've been card dead for those prior sessions, and I could feel my cards starting to pick up - I was dealt KK, AQ, and some other premiums as well as hitting 2 pairs a few times.  One hand, I limped 67s and flopped 6s7sTd beauty 7 way.  SB leads for $10, I bump it to $30, call, to my left raises to $85, flat, flat, SB folds, I stop & think for a long time before folding, fold, raise all in, re-raise all in, and the rest fold - turns out to be a set of 7's (live poker is rigged) vs. the flopped nuts with a re-draw (8s9s).  6 on the river (live poker is rigged) and the 7's full takes it down.  I pat myself on the back and silently curse the poker gods.

However, I still got hit by the cooler stick on a later hand that I'd like to discuss:

I'm dealt 22 in EP and limp / call a $7 standard raise by a bad player.  6 way flop of 7 6 6 rainbow - a good flop for a small pair like mine, but 6 way?  I check and it checks through to a turn 3.  I lead the turn for $15 and I get called by one of the competent players who thoughtfully called (as opposed to snap called).  2 falls on the river (nice!) and I lead for $60 - hoping he has a 7 or 45 or something worthwhile.  This guy hasn't said anything to me all night - but he takes off his sunglasses, and asks me why so much - and why the flip of the chip at the end?  (I'd been putting out a stack and then flipping the last one in all night, just as I bet this pot.)  I answered that I'd been doing that all night - and after careful thought, he announces all in for about $100 more.  I snap call and am shown 77 for 7's full besting my 2's full (live poker is rigged).  Down a buy in+, I walk away an hour or two later down less than a buy in.  Thoughts on folding the hand?  I keep thinking this is a straight cooler, but wonder if I can be folding to a competent player in this spot.  At that point in the hand, given the paired board and the sudden interest in the pot, is he ever shoving worse than a boat?  In other words, is he shoving 6x or 45?  Overpairs?  I don't think it's a big leak calling that bet - (I don't think betting the river is wrong ever) but thoughts on how the hand played?  I go back & forth on my being coolered vs. overplaying my hand.

Next session I played on Monday night.  It was a 180 turnaround from the prior session; I hit every draw (including a hot seat for $100!) and walked away a huge winner.  One funny hand:

My image is very aggro, but showing down every time with the winning hand that no one is giving me credit for.  I sit on $800 vs. my opponent with $250.  Host of limpers and I raise KQo to $15 on the BTN.  3 callers - $60 in the pot and a broadway A J T rainbow (just the nuts ho hum) flop.  Middle to late aged man bets into me for $30 and I call, hoping I get at least one other caller - no such luck.  Turn is an 8 or something.  He continues to lead for $60 and now I stop and think - he's committed to the hand!  He's got $150 behind or so.  I think for awhile and finally shove - he hesitates for a good long time before finally stacking his chips and calling.  I don't hesitate to show the nuts immediately, and he shoves his high stack over, throwing his cards down in disgust and walks away.  In writing this, it was funnier to witness than read, but the whole table was amused...  Poor guy.

Hopefully, I can continue the run into tonight's session at the 'Shoe now that I'm back in town.

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