For the second time this month, Friday afternoon, I made it out for a few hours of poker. Venue of choice? Charles Town. I had not played "The Chuck" in years. Basically, since Maryland Live! and then The Shoe opened in Maryland. But I can't say I love playing at either room. Seems like MDL! still has long wait lists at prime times, and I just don't have the time or patience to show up at the casino and wait an hour to play. I'll end up grabbing a few beers and smashing VP while I wait and, more often than not, my night goes off the rails before I ever even play a hand. As for the Horseshoe . . . Often times, the $1/3 game plays outside my comfort zone. Not because of the $3 big blind, but rather, the style of play. There are many nights every other hand seems to be opened to $20 or $25 with 4 callers. I know some people love these types of games. But I have a hard time playing when I feel like I may end up playing for stacks every pot I enter.
Interestingly, the Chuck use to play this way as well. But, lately it seems, the game has changed. I played two sessions February 6th (surrounding an OAR show at the "events center"), and a three hour session Friday. Each time, the games were relatively passive, and most definitely soft. A few competent players, and lots of bad players.
My first session, February 6th, began around 3:00 pm. It resulted in a small $29 loss. I was largely card dead. I finally got a big hand and, arguably, made the wrong play with it. The hand was against two of the better players at the table. I began the hand with approximately $300. Both villains had me covered. Villain 1 opens to $10. Villain 2 flats. I look down at AA and raise to $26. Both call. Flop is K J T (rainbow, I believe). It checks to me, and I opt to check. My thought at the time was two-fold. One, not a great flop. Sure, there's a lot of hands villains could have played that I'm way ahead of; but there's also a fair amount that I'm crushed by. KK likely would have four-bet, but JJ and TT could have flatted. Some two pair hands hit that flop; and a bunch of strong draws that likely are not getting out of the way to a C-bet. I felt like this was a good spot to exercise some pot control, and re-evaluate on the turn. I check through. The turn is an 8. Villain 1 checks, Villain 2 bets $30. I call. Villain 1 bows out. The river is a 4. Villain 2 bets out $70. Certainly a reasonable bet into a $135 pot. Felt valuey to me. Villain HAS TO KNOW I have a hand here. I had not been active, and here I three bet. What's my range? And how does my range NOT smash that flop? So, I figure villain is polarized here. He's either got AA crushed or he's bluffing. It was a really close call; but I opted to fold. More of a gut play. Villain shows 99. Nice hand.
I sat down for a second session later that night after the show. This table was truly awful. One decent player and 7 calling stations. So, of course, I found myself down $200 the very first orbit. My third hand dealt, I get "The Grump." 2-4. I play it, of course, because I've never, ever, won a hand with The Grump, and I really want to experience the magic. Flop is A 5 3. Not bad. We're 6 handed, so I bet it. One caller. An older, hillbillyish dude who's shortstacking. He's already busted once since I've bee at the table and rebought. Turn is a J. I bet, he calls. River is a 5. Hillbilly shoves for like $65. I call. He flips J5 for the boat. Nice. Two hands later I raise KJ to $10, flop top 2, and get sucked out on the river to woman's flush. But, as I said, the table was bad; and so, I added on, and eventually worked back to even and left at 2:00 or so with a $75 profit. I would have played longer, but needed to get up early Sunday morning to crush some work product.
Friday's session was fantastic. Began around 3:00. New table. Two older regulars (husband and wife), a couple of younger guys, a middle aged, competent reg, and a guy who admittedly had "never played in a casino before." Guy in the 1-seat was a forty-ish, tatted up, black dude who fancied himself a solid player, but was truly, truly awful. He bought in for $150 and got stacked 4 times in less than 2 hours. All bad luck, of course. The first time, he had AA on the button and raised 4 limpers . . . to $7. I throw in an extra redbird, as did the other three folks. Ultimately, of course, some dude played T 7 and flopped two pair to crack his aces. The whining about "bad luck" thus began, even though he was quick to tell the table that he raised small "to get action on his hand." Well done, sir. Guy rebought, titled, and got stacked again by the same guy 5 minutes later when the guy sucked out with two pair on the river. Dude continues his complaints: "AGAIN. Why do I ALWAYS get rivered?" Well, sir . . . Not sure "once" is "always." But, what ever.
For my part, let's just say I had a good session. Won with QQ on a T-high flop. I opened to $12 and got two callers. Flop was T high, I bet and one call. Turn was a low card. I checked, hoping to look like I had C-bet the flop with a big Ace and get paid on the river. Sure enough, river blanks, guy fires $65, I snap, and he mucks. Won with KK. Opened to $12, got one caller, who folded before I could even cut out chips for a flop bet. Won with AA against the dude in seat one. He opened to $7. I 3-bet to $26, and he calls. Flop was 5T6 (two spades). I bet the flop, and he calls. The turn blanks, I bet $55 and he calls. River is the queen of spades. He has about $85 left. I don't feel great about my hand. Against a better player, I may try to get out of this hand cheaply. But, against Seat 1, I feel good about trying for value. So, I slide out a stack of red to put him all-in. And, he tanks. Starts talking aloud: "Did you hit your flush? Did you really river me with the flush?" Gulp. From his talk, I assume he does, in fact, have AA beat. I'm hoping for a fold. But, after two minutes or so, he calls. I show AA and he just mucks, and continues railing about his bad luck. Wow. Um, what the hell did he have that he called off his stack with and could not beat a pair? Was my three-bet not a clue that I had a big hand? Anyhow, I'll take it . . .
Won, for like, the first time ever, with The Grump on an A 2 4 flop where I got three streets of value.
Meanwhile, one of the younger guys open shoves $175. It folds around. Dude shows AA and proclaims, "I refuse to get sucked out on with aces." I can't help myself, and offer a "nice hand, sir." Really?
Perhaps the most interesting hand of the day occurred mid-session. By way of background, there is an hourly "high hand" of $250. But, you need a players card to qualify. I don't have one. In know . . . I know . . . But, any way . . . I end up limp-calling a $7 raise with 8(d) T(d). Six people see the flop, which is a delightful T T 4. Dude bets the flop, gets two callers. I just call. Turn is a T. Quads. The AA-shover bets $15 or so. Gets one call, and I raise to $65. Kid calls. River is . . . something. Kid checks, and I bet $135. Kid calls with a 4. Yes, a 4. He claims he thought I was bluffing because "no way would something raise the turn and risk not getting to the showdown with the high hand. Um, he definitely would if he didn't have a players card!
I ended up walking after a quick three hour session, cashing out $734. I'll continue to play Charles Town. Games seem good . . .