Sunday, June 28, 2015

Living the Dream

Please; don't hate me because my life is awesome.

I returned from the desert two weeks ago (Saturday night). By Sunday evening, I started developing a rash.  By late Tuesday morning, I was 80% covered, literally from my toes to my neck, in hives.  Um, like this shot:

I was pretty sure I was dying.  Not to mention it hurt every time I moved an inch.  Fortunately, I got in to see my dermatologist Tuesday afternoon, who confirmed this was an allergic reaction, and proscribed oral steroids, among other medications, to remedy the situation.  By the weekend, I was feeling better.  I'm still not sure what caused the allergic reaction.  Perhaps an allergy to work? Or the absence of alcohol in my system?

And then there is work . . .  There's always a price to be paid for spending a week out of the office.  Since my return, I've been working 12 hour weekdays, and 6 to 8 hours a day on the weekends.  I was suppose to be up in New York last weekend for a friends wedding, but had to cancel (and eat $600 or so in hotel / airfare).   Yesterday, I spent about 8 hours in the office, and, today, awoke at 6:30 to get crack-a-lack'n once again.  I'm trying to get out of the house around 4:00 today to head out west to catch the Fray and Train at Jiffy Lube Live tonight.  We'll see how that goes.

In any event, as of now, I'm still planning on being out in Vegas Thursday night for a quick weekend of Kenny Chesny and gambling.  Fingers crossed!


Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Attention All Anonymous Trolls: Hand Histories posted.

This is the post the trolls have been waiting for.  Below are some of the more interesting hands played during my recent week in the desert.   So, without further ado, let the anonymous bashing begin! 

Friday Night - MGM

Friday night, 10:00, first session of the trip.  Same table as Lightning and Rob (and, later, Stump).  First hand played: I raise AJ, flop top pair, turn trips, and lose to a rivered 6-high flush.  Down $78 immediately.  This was an omen of things to come.  I would basically be honey for flush draws the entire week. 

A few hands later, Rob opened a pot pre-flop and I got the chance to three-bet him with his dreaded KK's.  In my head, I was thinking about the irony of Rob cracking my hand; but, ultimately, he folded with what looked like little effort.

Friday night ended up being a profitable session -- 4:00 hours and plus $365:

Saturday - Binions Tourny

Saturday, I met Rob downtown and we both entered the Binion's Deep Stack for $160.  Neither of us had much luck.  Hell, I did not even have many interesting hands before busting in Level 8.  However, one interesting thing did go down:

This is somewhat visual, so try and picture it . . . I'm in the 8 seat -- basically right at the head of the table.  Blinds are $1000 / $2000.  I've been playing for around 4 hours, and, basically, am BORED. AS. FUCK.  The button is actually in, I believe, the 5 seat.  I look down at KJ and decide to raise.  I grab a $5,000 chip, and two $1,000, intent on raising to $7,000.  Then, I look at the table, and see two $1,000 chips in front of me.  So, I drop the two thousand chips in my hand, pull in the two from the table in front of me, combine with the $5,000, and toss out my bet.  All of a sudden ALL SHIT BREAKS LOOSE!!!  The dealer basically shouts: "SIR, YOU CANNOT DO THAT!!!!!"  In my head, I'm thinking, "how can that be a string bet?  What is this dude so worked up about?"  Turns out, it wasn't a string bet.  Rather, I had actually taken, and then bet, the $2,000 limp from the woman in seat seven!  In my defense, her chips were literally directly in front of me.  In her defense, given her seat position in seat seven at the corner of the table, they were pretty much in front of her too.  Of course, I immediately apologized and made a joke about wanting to raise, but minimize my risk on the hand.  The other end of the table thought the entire situation was pretty hilarious.  The woman in the 7 seat . . . not so much.  In fact, about 10 minutes later, she was still harping on it, and basically accusing me of an angle.  She claimed: "well, I see what you did.  Just try it, and if you get caught, claim it was an accident . . ."  Um, yeah.  The key to my tournament success is getting away with stealing your measly $2,000 limp . . .  C.U.N.T.

Anyway, I lost $160 on the buy in, but got a decent story out of it . . .

Tuesday Afternoon -- MGM

I took Monday off from Poker, but got two sessions in on Tuesday . . .

Tuesday afternoon, I played an early session at MGM with Mr. Ben.  My intent was to play a few hours, and then take a break at 6:00 to bet/watch the NBA Finals.  I quickly built up a decent profit, with hardly any tough spots.  Two boats helped.  The first was with A2 on a 228 flop, A turn, although it did not really pay off.  The second was with AK on an AK2 flop.  The hand was against the table fish (a guy who Mr. Ben had apparently played with previously and detested).  No, not me.  He lead the flop, and I raised.  He called.  The turn as an A. He checked, I bet fairly big, and he called.  He checked the river to me.  The pot, at the time, was about $150.  He has less than two stacks left.  He seemed, generally, like he hated to fold.  I had also just re-raised him off a hand several minutes prior, and thought he thought I might be bullying.  So, I decided to overbet/shove.  Sadly, the dude found the fold button.  I prolly could have value bet him for $80 or so, but really thought this move would work against this guy.

Any way, up about $350, and just as I was about ready to leave, this hand took place: 

My stack was about $600.  Villain in the hand had position on me, and was quite LAG.  He too had about $600 or so.  On several occasions, he had either made big raises, or called people down with draws and the like, and stated, more than once, "I'm here to gamble."  I'm not sure I'd call his game ATC's . . . but, it wasn't far from accurate.  So, with that background, I draw AA (I believe my first rockets of the trip).  Villain limps UTG, middle position raises, and I three bet to $35 or so from the small blind.  Villain calls, and we go heads-up to the flop: K 8 4 (two hearts).  I lead out for $40 or so.  Villain repops it to $105, and gives me the speech:  "I'd think really hard about your next move here . . ."  Interesting.  King and a flush draw?  Set?  Total bluff?  I had not gotten out of line, so I assume he was giving me credit for a hand with my three-bet.  I could easily call the $105.  That wasn't the issue.  Rather, my hand is unlikely to improve, and this guy is most certainly not going to slow down.  So, either I'm ahead and I'm prepared to play the hand for stacks, or I'm not.  In my mind, it's fold or raise to $250 or so . . . I want to raise.  I start thinking back to a session at the Shoe several months ago where I had AA on a King-high flop . . . first to act lead flop for $20, reg raised to $100 or so, and I (in position) folded Aces and was shown AK by the reg.  That's a sick feeling.  I don't want to be semi-bluffed out of another big winner.  But, on the flip side, if I raise and he calls, I'm pretty much fucked on the hand AND out of the entire session's profit.  And what about that speech?  It seems to me that when ever someone gives that speech, they are strong.  At least in my relatively limited experience.  Numerous times in the past, I've heard similar things ("sir, I have you . . . just fold") and have called based on the old "act strong means weak" . . . It seems that's not true with this type of speech.  Any way, I let go of my Aces . . . and villain tables K8 for two pair.  I'm still not sure if this was a horribly played hand with a good result, or a legitimate lay down based on the circumstances.  Had the effective stacks been shorter, perhaps I make a different move.  But, I felt like, in that spot, we were playing for $600, and I couldn't find the ability to rest my stack on aces in that spot.

Tuesday Evening - Excalibur

Later that evening, around 11:30, I walked over to the Excalibur to get a session in.  I waited about 30 minutes until finally, a new table opened.  To say it looked fishy was an understatement.  About half the table bought in for the minimum $60.  Only one person, besides me, bought in for the full $300.  While not a great sign, I was moderately liquored up after watching 3 hours of shitty NBA hoops, and figured I'd just nit-up and try and make some profit off the short stacks.

Once play began, it was readily apparent the skill level was even worse than initially anticipated.  Indeed, only the kid to my direct right (who had also bought-in full) seemed anywhere near competent.  So, of course, first hand played, I lose $140.  I limp in with pocket 44, and flop a set.  There are two clubs on the board.  And two villains, one of whom is the kid to my right.  I'm in position on the hand.  It checks to the kid, and he bets $12.  I pop to $40.  Both villains call.  Turn is a club, and player number 2 leads for $35.  Kid calls.  Assuming one or both were drawing, and just hit, I still have outs, and the bet is relatively small, so I call the $35.  River blanks.  This time, player 2 checks, and the kid bets out $45.  Kid probably has the flush.  But, he also strikes me as good enough to try and represent the flush.  Plus, I'm getting like 6-1 on a call.  So I make it.  And player 2 comes along for good measure.  Kid flips 6 4 clubs for the 6-high flush.  Player 2 mucks.  Once again, I'm honey to the flush draw.

A few hands later, I raise AQ, and get four callers to a A45 flop (two spades).  I lead the flop for $17, get one call, and another guy shoves for $220.  Huh?  I fold, another villain calls, and shover takes the hand with A 9 spades.  Good bet, I guess.  As an aside, it would have been a chopped pot as the turn was a 4 and the river a King . . .

Down $150 or so to a table of monkeys.  I add on another $100.

I limp in with A 9 diamonds.  Five of us take the flop or 9(s) x(h) x(h).  I'm in late position, and certainly not in love with the hand.  It checks to me and I bet $10.  All four villains call.  Of course.  The turn is a black Ace, giving P3 aces up.  Some dude bets $20, gets two calls, and I re-raise to 70.  Call, call.  What the fuck!?!?  River is . . . you guessed it . . . A HEART!!!!  First to act leads for $100.  I feel ill.  GOD DAMN HONEY TO THE FLUSH DRAW!!!!   Second villain CALLS the $100.  I'm about to muck.  And then I notice it.  The river.  It's the 9 of hearts.  Fucken classic!  In my initial rage, I almost missed it.  I shove, villain 1 calls, and villain 2 (the kid) open mucks his 7-high flush in disgust.  Villain 1 tables AQ hearts for top pair, nut flush.  Pretty sick river! 

End result - another good session:

Wednesday -- Excalibur

Wednesday night, it was back to excalibur.  I sat down at a table full of Euros, allegedly here for the WSOP.  Some fairly good players.  Agro-types.  I bought in for $300, and was down about $120 when a fairly crazy hand went down.  

Villain, starting hand with about $180, straddles to $4 UTG.  Two callers.  P3 looks down at A6 in the BB and calls $2 more.  Villain checks his option and we go 4 to the flop.

A K 6 rainbow.

I check, and UTG bets $6, and gets two calls.  I raise to $35.  Villain shoves for like $170.  I feel like there's not much I'm behind on this board, particularly given his option check.  This guy is obviously bumping up his straddle with AA, KK or AK.  66 is Grump's Monster Under the Bed.  So, I make a pretty easy call.

Villain announces "two pair," and flops K6.  SWEET.  I expose A6 (friendly game, after all . . .).

Turn: King.  WTF!?!?!?!?  My head nearly hits the table in disgust . . . .

Until the Ace falls on the river!!!

And with that, I'm back above even for the night.

Until the very next hand . . .

I'm UTG with AK, and open to $10.  4 callers.  Why not.  Flop comes down K(h) T(d) 4(h).  Small blind, who is short stacked, leads for $10.  I raise to $40.  It folds back to SB who shoves for like $18 more.  I call, and he show 6(h) 8(h).  Again, based on the way my week is going, I start counting out the $18.  The turn is black, but the river is, of course, a heart.  And, just like that, I give back $70 or so from the last hand . . . 

Ultimately, I leave the table down $55 or so,

Wednesday -- MGM

Later that night, around 2:00 am, I sat down for another session at the MGM.  I only lasted an hour. But, during that time, there was one interesting player.  I'll call him "Old Guy," because, like, he was old.  About 15 minutes in, Old Guy raises pre, gets a caller, and bets the FUCK out of the flop.  Like 3x pot.  OK.  Thirty minutes goes by without him playing another hand. Then, he again opens to a $10 raise.  I look down at KQ and decide to call.  Probably not a great call.  But, it was late, and I was not playing a great game (as if I ever do . . .).  Flop comes down Queen high.  Old guy bets $45 into $23.  What?  I had no idea what to make of this.  I folded.  Given I had no idea what this guy's game was, I figured it was best to cut my losses and look for a better spot.  Old guy did not show.  I commented about possibly being ahead there.  Another fairly old guy at the table shook his head and commented, "you were never ahead on that hand."  So, perhaps this was one of those guys that just lives in constant fear of his AA / KK getting cracked, and over bets to scare any potential suitors out of the hand . . . content to rake a small win . . .

Thursday - MGM

Thursday night, in what ended up being my last session of the trip, I sat down for a four hour session with ggrouchie and Stump.  No real interesting hands.  But, I continued to generally run well (aside from being flush honey, of course).  This included winning the only race of the night.  Short stack opened to $10, and got three callers.  I look down at JJ and raised to $50.  Original raiser shoved for like $26 more, and I call.  He flips AK and the board runs clean.   I played very few hands this session, and stayed out of tough spots.  Around two in the morning, I cashed in my stack:

Over all, a successful trip:

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Eight Days In The Valley

Saturday.   12:30 pm.  Sitting at at the airport awaiting the flight back home to Dulles.   It's been a hell of a week.  Fun, of course.  But I'm ready to leave . . . 

I got in to town on Friday, around 7:30, and barely had time to drop my bags off before meeting up with Lightning and Rob  for dinner at Tap at MGM.  It was somewhat bitter sweet, since lightning had only a few more hours left on his trip before zooming back to reality.  Nevertheless, after months of texts and tweets, it was good to finally catch up in person.  Of course, Rob graciously bought dinner with his poker comps.  It's a funny thing . . . by all appearances, Rob does not live a flashy lifestyle.  He seems like just another regular guy.  But, from what I hear, if you count his poker room comps among his assets, he's actually a millionaire.  Nice to see him stay humble despite his great wealth . . .

After dinner, we got a quick session in at MGM Grand:

Rob and Lightning both wore red.  I assume this is because they are both old as fuck, and this made it easier for them to recognize each other in the crowded casino.  Sort of like the shit senior citizens in Florida put on their car antennas so they can find their cars when they leave Publix . . .  A bit later, Stump joined us at the table to sling some cards.  It was a fun start to the trip. 

Over the course of the week, I met up with Mr. Ben several times, for some late night drunken black jack at the Excal, and once for a session of $1/2 at the MGM.   If you've never hung out with Mr. Ben in Vegas, you are missing out.  Always up for a good time, and never short for quality stories . . . I also met Mr. Ben's wife one evening.  Although, by the time she showed up at the black jack bit, I'm pretty sure I had lost the ability to speak.  I'm sure she was impressed.  The "Babbling Barrister" . . .  In any event, sir, it was a pleasure as always (although, my liver hates you more than Jimmy the Dealer!)

In addition to spending time with Rob throughout the week, I also had the pleasure of playing a late night session at MGM with Stump and this Vegas legend: Grrouchie.  If either of them raises pre flop, and the flop comes down 7-high, chances are one of these gentlemen just crushed the shit out of it.  One of these days, I want to see the "opening hand-range" chart these guys follow.  But, until then, I'll just keep my head down at the table when they are around and Nit-Up like a champ!  In any event, it was fun.  Grrouchie made a bit of cash before heading home to get a "nap" in before going to work at 6:00 am . . . and Stump managed to keep a smile on his face despite taking multiple bad beats . . . Class acts all around.  Looking forward to the next time, gents (which, I assume, may also be the next time grrouchie actually gets out of the house (congrats again on the kid).

Ultimately, I ran well at the poker tables through the week.  While I'll eventually post some interesting hands, suffice it to say that I am finally in the black for the year:

My luck was not quite as good off the felt:

$2,500 in the hole on the Devils Game!  Damn!!!  I've apparently lost my golden touch . . .

Anyway , it feels like I haven't been home in a month.  Actually, that's not that far off.  Between the 5 days I spent in Miami at the end of May, and the past 8 days in Vegas, I've been home 2 nights since May 29th . . . While I always hate leaving Vegas, I'm sort of looking forward to getting home!

And, I'll leave you with a taste of my daily view at the pool:

One of the many things I love about Signature.

Thanks again to those who took the time to hang out.  It was fun!  Until next time,