Monday, February 23, 2015

Every Hand Revealed

Credit to Gus Hansen for the title.  His book was far more interesting than this post will be.  I assure you.

Sunday night, I drove back to the Shoe, looking to log a few more hours.  I played a brief three-hour session from 6:00 to 9:00.   I did not play many hands; but each is detailed below.

6:00 P.M.

Buy in for $300.  Get the ten seat.  Table looks like a bunch of regulars, several of whom had decent stacks.  Not surprising I guess for  Sunday evening.

Two hands in, dealt AQ UTG.  I limp $3.  Six people see the flop.  I miss.  Fold to a bet and two calls. [I limped here because I had just sat down at the table, and, because my confidence is shot.  I figured I'd get a handful of calls if I raised, and that I'd miss the flop. I miss EVERY flop, lately].

6:15 [$297]

Get AQ again, in early position.  Raise to $11.  Four callers.  The flop is 8-high.  I check.  Someone bets $25 and gets a call . . .

6:28 [$288]

KJ in middle position.  I raise to $11 and get one call.  Another low flop, which I completely whiff.  I check OOP.  It checks back.  Turn blanks.   I bet $15 and get called.  River is a K.  I bet $25 and he folds.

6:35 [$318]

I call $10 in the cut-off with 9T(d) after four people already called.  Six of us take the flop.  I flop a gut shot (no diamond draw), which I fold to a $45 bet and a call.

6:50 [$303]

I have K(c)9(c) in the big blind.  A single player raises to $10, and I throw in $7 more.  Flop is 77T.  I fold to a C-Bet. [I may have been ahead on this flop; but I put in the $7 hoping for clubs.  Since I missed, I moved on. I figured it was a hand I should not have played to start with, so why compound my mistake].

7:10 [$283]

Twenty minutes of nothing.  I won one small pot the first hour.  Pretty standard lately.  I'm dealt KQ off (both black) UTG+1.  This is likely a foldable hand.  But, I'm fucken bored as balls.  When you are card dead, every session, these hands seem to get harder and harder to fold.  I Raise to $11, and get two callers.  The flop is 89J (all hearts).  Another gut shot draw to a hand that could already be crushed.  Just the way I like it.  I check, villain #1 checks, villain #2 bets $20.  I fold.

7:25 [$275]

I limp 23 from the small blind.  Five to the flop of 344.  I check and it checks around.  Turn is a 3.  I check again.  Middle position bets $10, and I call.  Heads up to the river, which is a Queen. I lead $20 and he folds.

8:00 [$280]

Card dead for another two orbits, when I get AT off in early position.  I limp-call $7, and we go four to the flop.  I miss.  Of course. [Again, another hand I should probably just muck.  But after two orbits of crap, I got antsy to play a hand]

8:05 [$268]

Limp call $13 with 66 after two other callers.  Miss.

8:10 [$255]

Limp call $15 four ways with 22 UTG.  Several deep stacks.  Miss.

8:15 ($240)

Very next hand, I'm dealt 44 in the big blind.  There is a $17 raise and a call when it gets to me.  One of the villains has about $200.  The other is very deep.  I've just limped two small pocket pairs the past ten minutes. I feel like my stack is just starting to drain.  I haven't hit a flop all night.  But I suck it up and call.  The flop is 8 4 Q rainbow.  About time.  I check.  Original raise bets $25 and gets a call.  I just call.  Turn is a T.  I check, raiser bets $40, and villain #2 folds.  Raiser only has a little over $100 left.  I shove and he snaps with KK.  I basically played my hand sort of face up, here.  I mean, isn't the check-raise on the turn the donkey line for a set?  If I lead the flop, maybe I get some more out of villain #2.  But, who knows.  If I lead, maybe KK raises, and villain #2 folds the flop..

Shockingly, after my "mini rush" of shitty pocket pairs, I am again card dead.  Which is frustrating as hell.  Because, just after my 44's, the entire table basically turned over.  We got four-handed, then merged with another table.  The new table was insanity.  Several big stacks, and every pot was several hundred.  One dude bought in for $300, lost it all in 3 hands; rebought another $300, and lost that too in a a single orbit.  I got none of it.

9:00.  Time to head home.  Work in the morning.  Cashed out $435.

Not a very good weekend.  If I try and view it positively, if my trips hold up Friday night, I'm sitting on $800 (off a $600 buy in), and I have a decent weekend.  Hell, if I had just folded my K9 on that hand pre flop, I'd have only been down about $60 . . .  That $400 loss to the rivered heart was the key hand . . .  That's poker.  At least I roll into next weekend on a hot streak! 

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Friday Night Thrashing

I logged six hours Friday night at the Horseshoe.  I got in to the game for $600.  I left with zero.   My stack was $404 when I played K9 and flopped trips.  There were two hearts on the board.  Guy bet $45.  I raised to $185.  He shoved.  I snapped.    River was a heart.  Done.  This puts my yearly stats at 40 hours, down $975.  Yuck.

I woke up at 11:00 this morning, and was planning on playing again tonight.  But it was snowing.  And I wasn't sure there would be much action in the poker room tonight.  And I didn't want to spend the evening donking sweet, sweet video poker.   So, I decided to take off for home (u, see, I do not have to gamble every day).  The 35 mile drive took 2.5 hours; the roads were treacherous, as the snow got worse and worse the further south I drove.  At one point, I wasn't sure I was actually going to make it home.  Racing tires do not fare well in snow!  But all's well that ends well (or something like that).   Now I'm just relaxing in my room playing on Bovada, eating pumpkin pie from Walmarts . . .

And, finally, in the event anyone is still reading this exciting post . . . . I finally met Poker Meister.  We live 10 minutes from each other.  We've emailed for years.  He shipped me some bitcoin to get me back in the on-line game a year or so ago.  It was crazy that we had not actually met in person.  Around 7:00, I got a message that PM was thinking about playing at Maryland Live!  I was already in Baltimore, about to grab a steak at Mortons before playing the Shoe.  I convinced him to drive the extra 10 miles.   We sat down at the same table around 9:30 or so.  I was eventually able to get a seat directly to PM's left.  I'd like to say I used my position to abuse him all night long.  Instead, I used my spot in the seat next to him to get some tips and pointers about my crappy play!  He made it a fun evening, despite my poor play and even worse results.  Hoping it won't take years before we play again.

Thanks for the tips, P-Meister!  

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Red Hot, Hard-Core, [VP] Porn

I've been subsidizing my NL Hold'em game with some sweet, sweet VP.  The Double Double Bonus game has been good the past two weeks.  Here are a few of the bigger wins (Aces, and 2's, 3's, 4's):

My run-good is making my grind for Diamond re-up a breeze.


Monday, February 16, 2015

Presidents' Day Salute

P3 just got back from 3 days in Atlantic City.  I spent most of the weekend grinding sweet, sweet VP, in effort to take advantage of the Caesars' Tier Credit Bonus (50% bonus for points awarded prior to March 31st).  I'm currently at 5,250 credits and should easily be able to hit Diamond this year, mainly through grinding the $1/3 game at the Horseshoe from here on out.

For the second weekend in a row, the Double Double Bonus game was kind.  Between the past two weeks, I've hit quads 17 time, including AAAA five times.  When you run well, you run well.  Fun while it lasts.

Saturday night, I played the $5,000 guaranty tournament at Bally's Wild West. $75 buy-in.  $25,000 chips, 20 minute levels, no antes.  It was, in a word, boring.  There were 111 runners.  10 spots were paid.  And, tenth place paid $111.  In my mind, the money did not even become relevant until 4th place of so, which at least paid close to 5-1.  A five way chop would net about $750.  In short, a min-cash was nothing more than a waste of seven hours.  I played down to the final 28. I was up to $120,000 chips, which was somewhere just above average. But, with blinds at $6,000 / $12,000, it was still basically bingo.   I felt like I made a mistake on this hand:  I was in Big Blind.  Agro loud mouth min-raised to $27,000.  I just called $15,000 more with 88. The flop came down J T 4.  Agro shoved $100,000.  I folded, rather than put my tournament on the line.  But, as soon as it happened, I regretted the fold.  It was probably as good a spot as any to double up or go home.  And, the more I thought about it, a hand like AQ or KQ seemed more likely than a pocket pair that had me beat, given  villain's position and the pre flop min-raise.  Following that fold, I had a couple of hands that were playable -- KQ, AT, but I was forced to fold to raises and wait for a better spot.  It never came.  A bit later, a small stack, who had been shoving light, shoved about $30,000.  I jammed $120,000 or so with KJ from the cut-off, hoping to isolate.   But the agro-loud mouth called from the blinds and tabled KQ, and I was done.

Sunday night, I finally sat down at the $1/2 game at Harrah's.  My first hand: QQ.   A guy in late position made it $10, and I decided to just flat.  The big blind called $8 and we went three to the flop, which was 8 5 J.  The small blind checks, and raiser bet $15.  I called.  Blind called.  Turn was a 7.  Checked to the raiser, who bets $25.  I call again.  River is a 2.  Raiser bets $35.  I call.  Raiser tables 6-4 for the straight.  One hand in, I'm down $85.

Second hand was AQ.  I raise to $15 and get two calls.  Flop is J-high.  I fire $27.  Two callers.  I give up on the turn.   Down $130 two hands in.

From there, it was back to being card dead . . . again.  An hour or so of 94, T2, 83 . . .  I caught a couple of playable hands, like KJ, AT, but always in middle position and after an early position raise, so I folded.  I had a couple of pocket pairs which I set mined and missed.  And that was it.  In fact, I played two hours before I won a hand.  I opened AK diamonds to $15 from early position.  Short stack shoved $37 and got a call.  I considered a three-bet, but just called.   The flop was K Q 5. Kid, sitting on about $200, bet $55.  I raised to $135, and he folded.  That was basically it for the next two hours.  Literally nothing playable.  Meanwhile, the collection of mouth breathers around me were just stacking chips.  It was frustrating.  There was one older guy, who bluffed away a $1,200 stack over the course of 4 hours or so.  He always raised the button, and fired with nothing.  I knew what he was doing.  Near the end, he raised two limpers on his button to $15.  I had KJ in the big blind.  The small blind called.  Again, I thought about three betting light.  But, the way the table was playing, I'd likely get a few callers.  So, I just called, hoping to catch my hand or just outplay him on the flop.  But, of course, we ended up 5 handed, and I missed everything.  He fired, got called by the small blind (I folded), and two other spots.  Ultimately, he fired three barrels and just mucked when the small blind called him down.  I ended the session down $138 after 4 hours.  I just got to the point where I was too frustrated to play any longer.

On the year, I have 40 hours in, and I'm down exactly $400.  While I've definitely butchered a few hands, I really feel like I'm just running bad.  The few big hands I've had, have routinely been cracked (KK to QJ three weeks ago . . . JJ to AA twice two weeks ago . . . QQ to 6-4 this week).  I also had AA and KK last week, and couldn't even get a single caller . . .   And, beyond those few hands, I've basically had 97% unplayable crap, combined with 3% of some mediocre hands in spots I couldn't play.  And sure, some of the results may be on me -- I could have raised my JJ's, even in early position, instead of limp-calling . . . but being up against AA both times on 9 and T high boards seems like bad luck.  And, yeah, I could have three-bet QQ this week.  But, I figured going heads-up with the hand would be a good spot.  How many times is 6-4 going to beat me there?

Anyway, nothing to do but wait until next week and hope things turn around . . . 

Friday, February 13, 2015

Pete Peters' Open Letter to Readers

I'm trying to finish up some work so I can head out of town for the holiday weekend.  P3 is heading up to Atlantic City to spend the President's Day holiday degening like a good American.  However, I wanted to take a moment to address some comments to recent posts.

Last evening, there were a couple of new comments to the "How High is Too High" post.  In addition to insinuating that P3 is too stupid to understand the brilliance of the local Baltimore $1/3 players (my fish-like approach to the game has been a frequent topic of comments lately), I took some heat for posting pictures of the "high guy."  Upon reflection, I agreed with the criticism, and promptly removed the pictures.  And, if "high guy" (or any of his friends) were offended, I do apologize. 

It's never my intent to take shots at other people with this blog.  It's meant as entertainment.  I try to make posts as interesting as I can.  And, in the instance of "high guy,' I was simply amused at just how fucken high that dude appeared in public, and decided to post the pictures to liven up the story.  Frankly, I did not even think that he (nor anyone who knew him) would ever see the post.  In my mind, I still think of P3's readers as being a limited circle of people.  Perhaps that's no longer the case.  Maybe more people swing by here than I know.  In any event, my intent was not to embarrass "high" guy."  Hell, I've been that high before myself.  Albeit, never in public* and not while crushing a poker table . . . But I digress . . .

In addition to this blog hopefully being a source of some mild entertainment, I also use the format to receive feedback and discussion on hand histories, in the hope of continuing to improve my poker game.  Comments from guys like Brian, Poker Meister, Bill and others are infinitely appreciated.  Of course, if you want to just criticize, that's cool too.  I'm not going to start censoring comments.  You all can say what you want.  I'm a big boy.  I can take it.  In the grand scheme of my life, negative comments from anonymous strangers, who may or may not actually beat the local $1/2 games, is not going to make much of an impression.  It's as simple as that.  And, the numerous folks I've actually been able to befriend based on this blog more than make up for any trolling I endure along the way.

Please be advised, if you haven't picked up on this already -- P3 is often a sarcastic kind-of guy.  Sometimes, perhaps that does not come across on this blog.  But, my intent is never to seriously insult anyone.  Sometimes I may come across as angry at events transpiring at the tables.  Believe me, it's 99% for dramatic effect.  I play poker for fun.  Even the roughest sessions are still enjoyable on some level.  Don't take those "FUCK POKER!!!!!" posts too seriously.  I don't.

In summation -- this blog is intended to be entertaining.  If anyone has a problem with something posted on here . . . if someone is truly offended  . . . . or thinks I've crossed a line . . . tell me about it.  I'm reasonable.  I may agree with you.  I have no problem admitting when I'm wrong. 

And, finally, High Guy, if you do read this blog, and if we run into each other at the poker room, say "hello."  I'll buy you a beer . . .


* PS.  I have a pretty good story that, against my better judgment, I'll probably share on here when I get a few moments to post.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

I ha[d]ve a Dream . . .

At the risk of flaming those pesky "P3 is TBC" rumors, I want to mention I dream I had the other night.


So, I'm playing poker.  Location undisclosed.  And, for some reason, I'm dealt like 20 cards.  A good variety of numbers, faces and suits.  This is all good for me.  For, [yo]u see, a big bet is on the table.  It's time for my action.  And, given the plethora of cards at my disposal, I'm able to find two face cards AND an Ace.  Yes, 21 . . .  THE NUTS!!!  I check villain's bet . . . then check my cards again, verifying that, indeed, I have 21 -- THE NUTS.  And so, sans any iota of potential adverse consequence, I raise all-in, get called, and, naturally, rake chips.  Easy game!

But moments later, I find myself in a tricky spot.  Once again, I'm facing a sizable bet from a competent and aggressive opponent.  And, once again, I have a shit-load of cards at my disposal . . . plenty of face cards.  And, I specifically recall having seen several aces, though at the moment, there is no Ace at the ready.  Nevertheless,  once again, I can make 21 -- THE NUTS.  Knowing this, I shove all in.   And, here's where things get tricky.  This time, many of my cards are ripped to pieces.  Really, just shreds of cards.  Mind you, the ripped shreds are still valid cards.  They can be played.  But the problem is, I'm having difficulty finding an Ace. The shredded nature of the cards, combined with the shear magnitude of cards I've been dealt (prolly twenty to thirty cards), is making my search difficult.  Time is ticking.  Pressure mounts.  7's looked like Aces . . .  panic starts setting in . . . The table is looking at me . . . waiting for me to play my hand . . . any moment, my opponents' good manners are bound to give way to the undeniable practicality that the game must move forward, and one of them will surely call the clock.  I can feel my face getting red.  I'm flustered.  I feel like a fool.  I just cannot locate one of the several aces I KNOW damn well I'm holding.  Then, without warning, fortunately (or, unfortunately, if you believe I ultimately would have located an ace), I awake . . .


Now, upon reflection, I'm not sure what game I was actually playing.  Piles of cards to choose from . . .  no community cards . . . and, of course, 21 has no actual significance in No Limit Hold'em.  Moreover, despite a game so apparently rigged to ensure my ultimate success, I STILL could not make my hand when it really mattered.  I'm not a dream interpreter.  But, if forced to speculate, I'd say this one was my subconscious intimating, quite plainly, that I have no idea what the fuck I'm doing at the poker tables . . .  

Sunday, February 8, 2015

The Saturday All-Nighter

Saturday night, I played my longest session ever -- a 10.5 hour all-nighter.

My evening began at the poker room at Borgata.  The last time I played Borgata, I dropped $400 when my KK got cracked by QJ.  I was seeking redemption.  None was found.  I played my first hand about half an hour in.  Pocket Jacks under the gun.  I limp-call $10 and we go 4 to the flop -- Ten high, two diamonds.  Villain -- the pre flop raiser, was somewhat short stacked.  I check and he bets $25.  I call and we are head up.  The turn is the 2 diamonds.  I lead for $65.  I'm not sure if my JJ is good; I figure I can represent the flush the way the hand was played.  Villain has about $85 behind.  He tanks, and eventually calls.  We check check the river (I don't think there is any fold equity in a bet here).  Villain flips AA(d).  He indicates he would have layed them down to my turn bet if he didn't have the redraw.   So, first hand played -- JJ versus AA on a T-high flop.  The hand costs me $100.

Twenty minutes later, I play my second hand.  JJ.  again.  I call $15 on the button.  The flop is 9 4 3.  Villain leads for $25.  I call.  The turn is a Ten.  Villain bets $65.  Fuck.  I fold.  Villain shows AA.     Two hands played.  Both JJ versus AA as an overpair to the flop.   At this point, I've only been playing less than an hour, but I'm sort of on tilt.   I leave shortly thereafter, down $118.

I decide to move on to Harrah's.   I buy in for $300.  My first playable hand -- JJ.  I feel like throwing up.  After two limpers, I raise to $11.  It folds around.  

A few orbits later . . . you guessed it.  JJ.  Fourth time in two hours or so.  I open to $15 in early position and get two callers.  The flop comes J T 3.  I lead for $22 with my top set.  Fold.  Fold.  Of course.  

Over the next few hours, I worked my stack up to $525, with a combination of decent hands and some bluffs.  My image seemed solid.  Then the wheels started to fall off.  It started with this hand:

I call $15 with 66 against a decent reg, who is sitting on $400+.   The flop is T 4 2.  He checks and I check back.  The turn blanks.  He checks again.  I put him on an Ace, and decide to take the pot down.  I bet $23.  He RAISES to $75.  Weird.  My read does not change.  I get the sense he thinks I'm trying to buy the pot.  I call.   The river does not change anything.  He leads for $65.  Now I'm thoroughly confused.  Why check two streets if he had a hand?  I call and he shows TT for top set.  In retrospect, I suppose the board seemed particularly dry, and he was hoping I'd catch a card on the river and he could get at least a bit of value for his hand?  I gave him more than he could ever have hoped for.  Another spectacular hand by P3.

Over the next hour or so, I lost a bit more on a series of standard hands.  Then this gem:

I limp call $8 with 44.  The flop is 4 9 T.  Old guy ships his last $60.  I snap.  Turn is x . . . River is 6.  Old guy tables 78.   And, with that, I found myself down for the session.    

A few more hours goes by.  I'm card dead; although I do pick off a few pots with some bluffs.   Then, finally, I look down at AA on the button.  I raise three limpers to $15.  Fold. Fold. Fold.  Good times.  

The very next orbit, I look down at KK on the button.  I raise 2 limpers to $15.  Fold.  Fold.  Of course.

An hour or so later, I'm sitting on $230, and pick up 6(s) 8(s) in the big blind.  An active player (both in terms of hands played and constant table talk) raises to $10.  He picks up two callers.  I decide to come along and throw in another $8.  The flop is 6 6 4.  Interesting.  Dude leads for $25. It folds to me.  I just call.  The turn is unmemorable.  He leads for $65.  Again, I just call.   The River is a Q.  Dude puts me all in.  I call .  .  . and show my 6.  Villain just mucks.   Hand really felt like he just spazzed.  I don't think he said a word for an hour afterwards.  His mistake was OK by me!

My phone died at some point in the night.  Eventually, I asked the guy next to me for the time. 4:45 am.  I had sat down at Harrah's just after 8:30 pm.  This was my longest session ever, particularly including the roughly 1.5 hours I played at Borgata.  Tally for the evening:  ($118) at Borgata; $160 Harrah's . . . $42 profit.   Not particularly favorable; but it beats losing.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

How High is Too High?

It' Super Bowl Sunday, and I'm back from two days in Baltimore, grinding dem pokerz at the Horseshoe.  I played three sessions over the two days -- a late 4 hour run Friday night; an early  3.5 hour afternoon session saturday; and a late 3 hour session Saturday evening.  A little over 10 hours total.  I was card dead the better part of the weekend -- long stretches of an hour or so without any playable hands.  I was committed to staying patient.  And, in the end, I finished up $140 Friday night; break-even to the dollar saturday afternoon; and up $210 Saturday night.  I also was able to turn $45 in free play into $255.  A good weekend.

I tried to play tight, mistake free poker.  I think I generally succeeded in this approach, with one exception detailed below.  I do, however, feel like I may have been too "limpy" . . .  In between the long runs of J-3, 8-4; 9-3's, I found a few K-Q / A-J type hands, always in early or middle position.   I choose to limp them, with the idea that if I hit the flop, and then faced significant resistance post flop, I'd just get away from the hand.  The way it worked out, while I was able to see some cheap flops, I ended up missing each time, so the hands cost me the minimum $3.  Of course, it's possible I could have raised some of these hands, and then taken down some small pots with C-bets.  But, then again, I also could have lost a decent amount with this approach.  I'm curious on peoples' thoughts on limping these types of hands from early to middle position.

Friday Night

I left work around 6:30 Friday night, and checked in to the Westin around 7:50.  Although I had been pumped to play poker all afternoon, by the time I got to my room, I was fading.  I decided to grab dinner a the bar downstairs and, perhaps, just spend the evening renting a movie.  I headed downstairs with my copy of Phil Gordon's Little Blue Book in hand, grabbed a beer and some food, and read a bit.  By 9:00, I started regaining my motivation, and decided to head to the Horseshoe down the road.

I sat down around 9:15 in the 10 seat, and bought in for $300.  54 minutes went by without a playable hand. Fun times.  Then, finally, I was dealt A(c) J(c) under the gun.  Less than ideal. I decided to limp it.  It folded around to the cut-off -- a dealer at Maryland Live, and a decent player, who was sitting on about $1,400.  He bumped to $16.  The small blind, sitting on $200 or so, called.  I was anxious to get involved in a hand.  But A-J out of position could be problematic.  I thought about seeing a flop in hopes of hitting a broadway or nut flush draw.  But, in the end, I folded.  The flop came out A high, and Mr. Dealer and the small blind went to war, ultimately building a $300 pot.  When the cards were flipped, the small blind actually had A-J too.  But Mr. Dealer had him dominated with AQ.  I felt like I dodged a bullet.

A few minutes later, I was dealt 99 in the small blind.  There were 4 limpers in front.  Is this a check or a raise?  I opted to check.  My thinking was, based on the table dynamic, if I raised to $16 or so, I'd likely still get 2 or 3 calls, and would be in trouble if any over cards hit.  So, I checked, and missed the flop.  Another $3 loss.

I made all of my profit Friday night on two hands.  The first was with J(c) T(c).  I limp from early position.  Middle position raises to $11 and gets a caller.  I call.  The flop is T 9 7.  Not bad.  Top pair and a gut-shot.  I check, Mr. Dealer bets $20 and gets a call from an older guy, who is sitting on about $225.  I call.  The turn is the 8 I need.   Mr Dealer bets $55 and old guy calls.  QT has me crushed.  But I can't put either villain on this specific hand.  I decide to raise to $145.  Dealer quickly mucks.  Old guy tanks, and ultimately folds 88 face up.  

Hand number two saw me limp into a pot from UTG with 22.  The flop was J2J.  Pretty good.  It checks to old guy from the hand above.  He bets $10.  I just call.  The turn is a 5.  I check, and he checks.  The river is a King.  I'm not sure what old guy has that's going to call a bet on this board.  I opt to check again.  This time, old man bets $15.  I raise to $45.  He tanks and, this time, calls with 99.  Not sure if I could have gotten more value from this hand by betting the turn.  

I wrapped up my night at about 1:00 am and headed back to the Westin.


I woke up around 11:00 Saturday and went over the the Shoe to burn some free play.  I ended up getting a hot machine, hitting quads 4 times in just over an hour.  I turned $45 into $250 and drove back to the Westin to work out for an hour or so.

I returned to the casino around 4:15 and got seated after a 15 minute wait when a new table opened.   The table had the makings of a profitable session.  One reg with a PARX Poker sweatshirt on, three "hillbillies" from West Virginia, a middle-aged black woman, drinking bud lights and wearing a "Las Vegas" T-shirt that, she proudly explained, her daughter, who actually went to Vegas!!!! had bought her.  And a guy who was soooo fucken high, his eyes were rolling back into his head in between hands.  Or, maybe he wasn't so high, as the table later came to find out.   In any event, while the dealer worked on getting set up, there was some friendly table talk.  The hillbillies wanted to know if the Horseshoe was affiliated with Charles Town Casino in West Virginia.  They also were quite concerned with the inner workings of the bad beat.  Good signs they would be soft.  Then, the hillbillies and Ms. Vegas got into a serious discussion of whether or not you could take a cruise to Vegas.  Um.  Let that sink in for a minute.  You see, apparently, the hillbilly to my right was a big fan of cruise, and would love to take a cruise to Vegas.  While the table advised that there was no place close to Vegas into which you could take a cruise ship, the table consensus was, nevertheless, that one COULD, in fact, take a cruise that went to Vegas.  You could sail into a nearby port, and then take a bus to Vegas.  They were convinced this was possible.  Um.  I wonder if this cruise would also stop by Britni's magical city of Atlantis?  The kid directly to my left seemed normal.  I turned and asked him, "is this really happening?"  He confirmed.

So, eventually, some cards were played.  I picked up right were I left off.  Card. Dead.  I went 38 minutes without playing a hand.  The whole time, I was transfixed by the High-Guy.   When he sat at the table, he tried to buy in for $1,500.  And he was playing hands.  Like, a lot.  And aggressively.   And he was winning!  While I was folding hand after hand, High-Guy quickly turned $300 into $1,200.  It was insane.  And with hands like J-5, 7-4, etc.  Consistently hitting two-pair  . . . runner-runner flush, and everything else you could imagine.  Raising, re-raising, making big river bets . . . barely able to get his chips across the betting line without making a mess.  It was a sight.   On one hand, he went to war with AK on an Ace-high board, getting AJ to stack off for nearly $300.  Another hand, he button straddled to $15, got 4 callers, then re-popped to $60.  He got two calls.  Ultimately, the table was shocked when he turned over  . . . QQ for the winning hand.  Yes, this High-Guy was simply abusing the table with magic like QQ on a button straddle.  While he was clearly getting lucky hitting cards, he was, at the same time, getting incredible value for his hands.  What was the deal?  Well, after an hour or so, my hillbilly friend ran into High-Guy out on the smoking deck, and came back to report to the table that, in fact, High-Guy might not really be so high.   He claimed he was able to carry on a very cogent and lucid conversation.  Well, if it was an act, it was award winning.  I mean, the dude's eyes were rolling into his head in between hands.  Slurred speech.  And he maintained this schtick for several hours.   

Eventually, of course, I found myself in a hand with High-Guy.  I was pumped.  I had not played a hand yet, when I looked down at K(h) Q(h) in the small blind.  High guy limped, along with my Hillbilly friend (who was in the big blind).  I opted to limp in as well to see the flop: Q(c) 8(h) 2(d).  I checked and it checked around.  The turn was the 5(h), giving me top pair and second nut flush draw. I lead out for $16 from the small blind.  High guy calls, and offers, "whhhaaaat ddaa heeelll . . . I donate . . ."  River is a black 8, pairing the board.  No flush, but I have top pair, second kicker.  I check, sort of hoping high-guy bluffs.  Well, he does not disappoint.  High-guy clumsily pushes out a $100 stack.  Yes, $100 into a $40 pot.  Now what?  What is this guy doing?  Missed flush draw?  Stone cold spazz?  Or an 8?  Now, while this guy had been raking chips and getting lucky, he had NOT been caught bluffing.  But, after having it hand after hand after hand for an hour or so, and building a $1,200 stack, isn't this the perfect time for him to bluff?  I keep starring at this clown, who is sitting across from me, with a $100 river bet in front of him, and his eyes completely closed.  But, again, hillbilly says the guy is NOT that messed up.  Fuck it.  I call.   High-Guy flips 8-4 and adds another $150 to his monster stack.  

And, with that, I'm on tilt.  Why did I pay him off?  When will I learn this lesson: 

"If a player at a $1/3 game bets like he has TPTK beat, the player at the $1/3 game has TPTK beat . . ."  

If a player at a $1/3 game plays a hand like he has an overpair beat, the player at the $1/3 game has an overpair beat . . ." 

If I could stop trying to "outthink" players . . . If I could stop feeling like someone is trying to outplay me and making "stand-my-ground" calls . . . I'd plug a huge damn leak in my game.

After my bad call, I got up, walked over to the diamond lounge and grabbed a beer.  I needed to regroup.  I was down $165 and fuming.  One mistake.  One damn mistake.  I added $100 in green chips from my pocket -- in the game for $400.  Fortunately, I was able to grind back to exactly even.  This strange hand helped:

After 4 limpers, I look down at KK in the small blind.  I raise to $22.  Old guy in middle position (also a hillbilly) limp-shoves $96.   Now, I did not read him for AA.  Rather, my take was that he had a decent hand . . . figured it was worth $22 . . . and then just said, "fuck it - if I'm gonna call $22, I might as well just shove."  In any event, even if AA was in his range, not sure I'm folding KK in that spot when my downside is limited to another $76.  So, I quickly call.  The board runs out QT357 and guy ables QJ.   Scoop it...

Around 8:00, having worked my stack back to even, I decided to grab dinner.  I cabbed over to Morton's at the Inner Harbor for a filet and a few glasses of the Morton's Primal Cut Cabernet - always a solid choice.  

I returned to the tables around 10:00, with a decent buzz going.  I again bought in for the max $300.  I played a bit more aggressive, raising hands like 99 and AJ, and taking down pots with C-bets.  I got some decent cards too, including a flopped set of QQ's.  I was able to build up a $200 profit fairly easily without much resistance.  Around 1:00am, I decided to call it a weekend . . .


In retrospect, I really should try to keep my expenses down on these weekends, and see whether I can actually start making some money.  This weekend, for instance, I spent approximately $350 on hotels and steaks.  I was able to cover the expenses (and them some) with winnings.  But, over the long haul, it's not a winning formula.  Staying at the Westin 10 miles from the casino is convenient; but I think I need to just suck it up and start making the 45 to 50 minute drive back-and forth from my home.  

I'm also committed to playing less VP on typical weekends.  My goal is to hit Diamond at Caesars again this year by playing almost exclusively poker and grinding free play.  So far, I've earned just under 2,000 tier points this month taking this approach, so it may actually be possible.  I think I'll save my big-donking weekends for those rare trips to AC and vacations to Vegas.


Until next Friday,