Glenn's Poker Journal

Husband to FeliciaLee.. here are some of my poker adventures in 'bilking the internet poker machine, six dollars at a time' (--quoted from Sean, Anisotropy).

Location: United States

NOT a poker blogger!

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Taking A Shot?

Kept thinking that I’d write this “trip” report up; so, here it is.

Felicia and I headed up to Vegas for her to either play a tournament at Bellagio or Binion’s. Bellagio ended up being sold out, so we’d have to end up at Binion’s for the tournament. As long as we were there at Bellagio, however, we ended up playing some ring games.

I found out last time that we were there they started spreading NLHE cash games, so I put my name on the list. Felicia said, “I’d thought you’d want to get on the 15/30”. I thought about it and, although I’ve not played that high yet, I have played 10/20, and I’ve grown as a player since then. I also have been reading Ciaffone’s Middle Limit book and so far haven’t come across anything much new (granted I’m still towards the beginning ;). So, I figured, “sure, why not give it a shot”.

I, of course, got called for the 15/30 before the NL. I pretty much folded until I was next on the list for NL. I almost picked up when it got to my BB, but it was taking so long to get called I decided to go one more round. Of course, I get KK in the BB. I always wait until the action gets to me to look, and, interestingly, there were already 4 callers. It had pretty much been raise-fold-fold, or limp-raise-fold-fold-check-bet-fold. Tight table. I almost didn’t raise with all the limpers, but that would be weak, so I did the mandatory raise, knowing that everyone would call. I tried to watch the faces of my opponents before I looked at the flop, but they were actually looking at me (we’re not at the low limits here ;). I looked and bet the Q-high flop of Q67, 2 hearts (of course, both kings are black, no help there). I got called by two players. Turn brings an off-suit 8; that would have been a little lower than I put my competition on, so I bet out. I get raised by one of the players that seemed to pretty much be straight forward. I almost folded, but he was mid-position. Is he semi-bluffing the draws? I’m actually hoping he has trips that I can possibly outdraw and just call. No help on the river and I check call to see T9s hearts. Yes, it was a gut-shot, but he did have the heart draw too. Still, I didn’t put that player on this hand. He seemed too straight forward to be playing those cards from mid instead of late position. Of course, after paying the BB AND getting my KK cracked, I got called for NL.

I played that for a couple hours. Worst structure that I’ve encountered. It’s a 200 max buy in game with 2/5 blinds. Leaves you too short for the blinds really. Plus, you’re not supposed to top up until your under 100! Additionally, there were 3 tables, the first two “must move” to keep the main game full (this, with a list of about 10 names). Blah! I paid some raises with pocket pairs here and there, and basically got blinded down getting nothing. Finally it was time for Felicia and me to get to Binion’s for her tourney.

I played the 1/2 NLHE at Binion’s and did better there. I was up 20 at one point after getting AQs and betting the draw on the flop, then turning the Q (TPTK). My lone opponent folded the turn (folded up, showing me his 66 that didn’t hit). After that, it pretty much was fold, fold again. When Felicia got knocked out and I folded to UTG, I had $1 extra…yippee! Hehe.

It was only 10ish (pm) and we elected to go back to Bellagio. There was a 20/40 stud game that she found attractive, so, back we went. I watched the 15/30 HE and liked the table. A maniac and a drunk guy. Didn’t care for the others as much, but thought I’d give it another shot. I can’t lose all the time, right? Wrong!

First hand I’m in, the maniac raises (no surprise) but there had already been a couple limpers and I knew the people would call. I was getting around 7-1 to call with my Kx suited so I called. No draw, so folded to flop betting. I folded until I got AKo UTG +1. Drunk guy is to my right and he limps. He’s not horrible, but not great either, doesn’t know when he’s beat. I’m able to get it HU when I raise and we take a flop of QJx. He checks, I semi-bluff and fire out. He calls. I already feel that I’ll check the turn, take the free card if I don’t improve. K on turn. Yes this brings a possible straight, but I don’t think the guy is so bad as to have called with T9 UTG or called the turn with AJ for a gut-shot. However, he bet into me. I put him on KT (since he didn’t bet the flop, I can’t put him on KJ or KQ, although it’s possible). I quickly raise him. OK, let’s see if he raises, then I’ll put him on the straight or two pair. No raise. Good, I’m good. Until the river, that is: 9. The act he puts on is soo funny (or course it could be no act, he was just that toasted and really unsure “did I really get there?”), he cranes his neck…loooooks at the board …looks back at his cards…looooks at board…”check”. I turn up my hand, and say, “I know you have the T”. He tables his KTo. Ugh. I knew I was ahead until the river. Oh well, next hand.

Again I pretty much am getting nothing. I think I folded 22 or 33 in early position, that was about it, until I finally get TT in late position with a bunch of limpers. There weren’t a lot of limpers usually, but the maniac was back (he took walks every so often, and I think if he limped people came in for the action he was sure to generate). So, I don’t raise, and see a cheap flop. Jxx, there’s a bet and a call by two solid players and I muck knowing TT is no good.

After more folding, folding, I finally get TT again. UTG+1 is a woman I’ve seen play before and respect and she raise-opens. I know that she could just have a high Ace (AK or AQ) and since drunk guy is caught in the middle (cold calling her raise) and the maniac has already folded UTG, I reraise. I also figure, if I’m beat (she has a higher pair) she’ll pop me again and I’ll know where I stand. No reraise, both call, and we see the flop 3 handed. Flop comes QQx, two clubs (I have the Tc). Checked to me. I don’t like the Queens on the board, I could easily put the woman on AQ but bet anyway to see where I’m at. Of course I nail it and am check-raised. Drunk guy is sober enough to get out. Again I wonder if I’m being played at and figure I’ll see the turn to see if there’s another club or my 2-outter (hey if the fish can get ‘em!) There were 14 small bets in the pot at this point, not quite what I need, but I if I could get my T and get into a raising war with her, I _might_ have the implied odds. Also, I know I just didn’t want to give it up. Turn is no help (no club, no miracle T) and the woman bets out. I sit there, not believing that for the 4th time I had a premium hand I got out drawn again.

She now does something that I thank her for. I think she knew that I was getting run down and, I’d like to think, understood that I knew what I was doing. She takes the hand that she was holding her cards with and points at the 30 that she bet, kind of like, “here’s the bet, I bet 30”, but while she’s doing it she’s flashing me the Q in her hand. So it was more like, “hey, I’m not trying to play you, I really have the Queen”. So, I fold and that’s that.

After a few hands I hear the floor man announce there’s open seating in the 8/16 games (there _was_ a huge list before) and I ask to be moved. I get a seat at a table and, man, what a difference! I feel like I’m back at the 2-6 games in Laughlin. I made about $42 in about 1/2 hour to an hour.

Geez! What the heck was I doing at 15/30? Oh yeah, taking a shot!

Posted by Glenn

Saturday, August 21, 2004

Live Gives More To Write Home About

Hi. Yeah, I know. Where the heck have I been? I’ve been grinding it out online mostly (besides the 2 weeks I was gone with Felicia to Missouri). For some reason, online play, although can still be somewhat exciting, just doesn’t hold a candle to live play the majority of the time. Live play give me more to write home about ;-)

The other night Felicia and I went to our new watering hole in Laughlin, the River Palms, and I more than doubled up on a limit table. I don’t do that often! Out of 4 pocket pairs, I hit sets twice. I was able to check-raise both times. Only one was called to the river though.

The first one I had 55 in the BB. Late position guy makes it straight $6 ($2-6 spread limit, only one blind—me—for $2). I’m looking at the 4 limpers and I know they’re going to all call the extra 4, so I shoot for the implied odds and call. Sure enough, call, call, call, call. Ahh, low-limit no-fold-em hold’em. There’s just some things you can count on in that game. Flop comes 985. Happy days! Check…just too many people, plus the late position raise to not have someone bet. Classic “check-to-the-raiser”, and he bets $4. I raise the full Monty into the field. Fold, fold, fold to one cold caller for the full $10. This guy is a weird one. Older gent with his salt and pepper turning mostly salt, he’s looking in his 60’s. To look at his face, he’d look like some business exec. That is until you get to the Harley shirt that says “To ride or not to ride, that’s a stupid question”. Then comes the second dichotomy: The bike shorts; as in the tight shorts that serious bicyclists use. Huh? Scary picture.

Anyway, pre-raiser calls the $6. While nowhere near maniac, this guy has been doing most of the raising at my passive table. Good amount; mostly gets control of the flop. To this point, hasn’t showed down a hand. I’m hoping he’s got an over pair that he can’t get rid of. Turn’s a blank, deuce I think. I bet, biker- bicyclist calls, decent pre-raiser mucks (AK?). River pairs the board: 98529. I think that while biker- bicyclist could have 98, he just didn’t give enough action and put him on the straight draw, although I’m hoping he just has a bare 9 and bet again. He folds.

Very next hand I’m button w/ 9d8d and see a cheap flop of QdJd4d. Wow, nice. Decent guy is in the hand again and bets $4, again. Calling station local (CSL) is next to act and flat calls; I absolutely know he has at least one diamond. I raise to see where I’m at. Early limpers fold, Decent guy (DG) just calls, CSL calls. OK, I’m thinking I’m ahead, but if I’m not, I got one out: the Td :-D Turn is blank; check, check, bet, call, call. River is a blank. Check, check. At this point, I was worry about DG slow playing the nuts on me and I just check. Turns out that DG had QJ for flopped top two pair. CSL, of course, had the Ad—he showed; he loves to show his hands.

Other set hand, again, in the BB I have a pocket pair: 88. Just a couple limpers, including CSL. As I’ve said, some things you can count on in low-limit. Folding anyone with a raise here would just not work. Doesn’t matter how much of a dog their ace-deuce off-suit might be, it’s not going to happen. I check for a free flop of: Q8x. Once again, I happily get a bet after checking, by CSL. Here a check-raise might just get everyone to fold, but at least I got one bet and do the check-raise. All fold but CSL, who thinks better of it but calls anyway. Why do people feel so stuck when you check-raise? Like you’ve offended them? Being a local, he should have known that he was beat, he's seen me play often enough and I fold 90% of the hands! He even mumbled something under his breath like he knew he was behind but called anyway. He had QTo and called me to the river; unable to fold his top-pair-no-kicker.

Last night I played at Sam’s Town, where Felicia continued her cashing streak, this time against a large field (I think there were 6 or 7 full tables)! I, as always, played the cash games.

Started playing 4/8 with $1-$2 blinds. Nice :-) Can get in cheap, so people were playing very loose. For example, I saw 24s got runner-runner for the flush. I was astonished when I saw this exact same hand do the same to me at the Palms when I flopped top set of Jacks. Both times, the 42s hand had no pair on the flop, only one spade. Both times, they went to the river. If I had hit more, I would have won a ton, they were such calling stations. But you so often get the odds to draw, you find yourself bleeding chips here and there. Twice I had the odds for the gut shot alone (regardless of the extra odds I had for backdoor draws) with 8, 9, 10 people to see the flop!

Once I got there. Had 98s in the SB. Flop of AT6 rainbow. Old guy bets. I’m sure he has the A, but there’s 9 callers to the flop, there’s one of my suit, and 7 others that I’m sure someone else will over-call. Spade on the turn. Now I’m stuck with the flush draw and gut shot and check-call. 7 on the river. I bet, old guy calls down.

Besides that, there was only one other really good pot. The tournament was loosing enough players for a No-Limit game to start getting enough players on the list. I’m UTG+1 and have JJ. I’ve had the hand once before with a couple limpers that I know are not going to fold, so I didn’t raise. Sure enough, K on flop, old guy bets, I know he has the king, so I muck. It goes to showdown and I was right. This time, I raise as first in. Get 3 callers! I pray for all little, and it comes 345. Not exactly what I was looking for, but bet anyway and all 3 call. 5 on the turn; blah. Any of these loose players could have a 5, but I say “I’ll bite” and put in my 8. Call, call, call. Geez. Last card is an 8. If someone had a straight, they would have flopped it, but I just check either way. Check, check, check. It’s so funny when you don’t give the opponents a chance to muck and hide they’re holdings, and instead are left with looking miserable to show. Asian woman calling station in late position actually flipped up here 72o to show her open-ended straight draw on the flop. Yes, recall, everyone in the hand flat called a raise to be in this pot—both blinds folded. Someone showed royal-rag, with the rag a 6 for another straight draw. I dodged a couple and was able to take down a nice pot.

UTG, just as they’re calling for the NL game, I get TT. Feeling frisky, I raise again. Again I get multiple callers to see a flop of Axx. Tight old guy in old of the blinds is one of the callers, so after he checks, I check too. Checked all around. Turn, blank, tight old guy bets and I fold my unimproved pair that I know is behind at this point, and run off to the NL game.

I ask what the buy-in is, and they tell me min of 100. OK, so, any max? No. Kewl; unless someone tables a grand (hehe). I add a C-note to my stack (after finding out that 100’s play) to make sure I cover what others have. What limits are we playing? Seems it was supposed to be a 2/5 blind game, but some thought it was only going to be a 1/2 game. Being there are only 5 people at the table, all agree to the 1/2 so that we don’t lose anyone and we start. I’m used to being dealt for the button, but the dealer gives the 9 seat the button (no 10 seat) and tells Dave (from 2+2) on my right in 2 seat (no 1 seat) he’s small blind, and I’m big (in 3 seat). I joke, “hey, if I knew you weren’t going to deal the button I would have taken the 10 seat!” I chuck in my 2 and get to see a free flop of A82. I have 82o in the big blind, but with 2 spades, no free cards! I bet 10 and I get the first pot. We have a ton of limping going on these first few hands. One involving two slow-played high pocket pairs; no help to lower, and AA takes it down.

Not long after, raising gets a little more prevalent and it’s not uncommon for someone to raise to $15 pre-flop. $15 at a $1-$2?? I feel this is a little insane, but in a way, makes for good trapping. Dave takes down a good pot when he gets the better on the turn in a 3-way pot. All had group ones! UTG makes it 15 to go (we saw him do this with ATo so we’re not expecting much from him). Dave makes it 65 for a raise of 50. Late position thinks and thinks. Finally cold-calls 50. UTG calls 50. T95, 2 diamonds. UTG bets 50 himself, this time. Dave shoves all-in for his remaining 106. Cold caller (CC), calls again! UTG just calls. Turn is 5d. UTG and CC check-check. River is another blank and check-check again. Dave says “ship-it” before he sees the hands and tables AdKd for the flush. UTG shows JJ and CC shows QQ. Nice turn card!

Couple hands later (or before? I don’t recall), I limped in with 88 fairly early. This can be a risky play, but can pay off if you hit. I have been folding, folding, and I think people noticed that (since so many were tournament players), so with me limping up front, there was no raise. Go figure, people actually paying attention? With no raise, it’s not too uncommon for a bunch of limpers at our now full table, and this time I think we had 6 or 7. Flop is T87, two hearts. Scary, but I have a good hand, so I over bet the pot with the multiple draws: $20 to go!. CC from previous hand calls me, and button shoves in. Folds around to me and I lean over in my chair and say “J9? You flop the straight on me?”. He just looks at me. I’m trying to count the money and have the dealer tell me how much to me and I blew a fuse. Although I’m counting the money CC put in the pot, I completely forget he’s in the pot. While I’m trying to figure out if I have odds to call to fill, I’m also thinking he could have two pair, 9 with flush draw, overs with flush draw, just the flush draw…all this is rattling my brain. Felicia, over at the tournament table (where I just saw her go from a short stack and almost out to one of the chips leads...go, baby!), says something to someone like “that’s my husband over there pulling his hair out”. I noticed that I had both hands to my temples with both my index fingers scratching at my scalp. Must have been a very comical sight :-p I look over at her and (doing a Puggy Pearson, trying to get a tell) say “I flopped a set, but I think someone flopped a straight.” I look back at the button, and now he’s not looking at me. Hmmm.

Finally, I decide I can’t give it up. I could be ahead, but if not I had redraws to fill or quads (it could happen! –grin-).

I do something bad and flip up my cards after I call. I was thinking so hard on what the button all-in had, I forgot about CC being in the hand…doh! Staring at 88 for 2nd set, CC still shoves in his last 30-odd chips he had left. I say “your still in the hand? OMG”, and slap my hand on my cards, like that’s going to help! He says, “don’t worry, you’re ahead”, and flashes me the 9 of hearts for a straight draw, at least, runner-runner flush draw. Button, surprising me, says, “yeah, you’re ahead”. He doesn’t show his cards though, even being all-in. I’m thinking, ok, I have to dodge a Jack, a Six and most likely a heart. I recall a black 4 on the turn, don’t recall the river, but it wasn’t one of the above, and I took down the pot. Whoohoo!

Now Dave and I am the big stacks at the table. Not too surprising. I did try a steal once with my big stack. I’m in the BB w/ KQo and see a flop with Dave and a loose limper of 88x. Check, check, check. Turn 6; Dave checks, I bet 10. Loose guy thinks and calls. Dave mucks. I’m thinking he’s scared of the 8 but still wondering if he has it. No, I think he doesn’t like it. River is an Ace. Could have hit him, so I try the old, bet enough that it looks like I want a call, without spending too much to lose should I actually get called: I make it 15. He thinks again, he’s nervous, doesn’t want to call, but does anyway. He looks at me and asks what I have, “nothing, K-high”, and he turns over –gasp- Q6o for the turned pair. Oops, hand caught in the jar ;-) But you gotta love the information!

After that only one real memorable hand was a 166-1 shot that got there…for the other guy!

Again I have a BB special: 75o. Button limp-opens, Dave tosses 1 chip in and I knuckle. Flop is 757, two spades. My, oh my. Dave checks, I check, button tries to steal and bets $7. Surprisingly Dave calls. I could take it down now, but I just flat call. Off-suit J on turn and it’s checked around. River…Jack. Dave fires out $20. Oh brother. I look at Dave and shove my cards to the dealer, telling him not to muck, but that I fold. Button folds. Dave shows me QJs, spades of course, he was drawing dead to the flush. I have the dealer show him my cards and give Dave a friendly shove as he laughs. The button is like, “you could have bet”. I laugh too and say “yeah, yeah, but it only cost me $7 to slow play and hope one of you got a spade” (button was on the same flush draw). Best laid plans and all that. All in all, I was over 200 up for the night. Felicia cashed too.

All around, it was a good night.

Posted by Glenn