Monday, September 20, 2004

Vegas, baby Vegas!

Just back from Las Vegas for my room mate's bachelor party. Lots of poker and a couple of new experiences.

The main scare or adrenalin pumping moments came during my first ever cash no limit game at the Flamingo. The blinds were 2-5 and the minimum buy in was $100 and the max was $300. I bought in for the max and told myself to play very tight and conservative and fight the urge to make fancy plays.

My plan worked brilliantly for the first two hours. The table was incredibly weak tight. Most people folded to a preflop raise or the first bet at a flop. They weren't even big bets for the most part. Usually $20-$30 bets into pots of $20-$30. I recognized the trend and thought about trying to steal a couple pots or blinds but I didn't pull the trigger. I really didn't need to because I was winning every hand I got involved in. I was up $250 after 2 hours. There was only one hand that went to a showdown. I had a suited Ace on button and called down after the flop gave me 4 to a flush. I easily had the odds to call the whole time because the guy with top pair was too much of a pussy to push me off the hand. I caught him on the river and won a nice pot.

After two hours it was 1:00 AM and the table started to turn over. The weak tights were being slowly replaced by the loose aggressives and the gamblers. The pots started to get bigger and the cards got colder. I can't tell you how many times I did the math in my head on whether I was up or down for the trip and whether I should quit. At my peak, I think I was up $100 overall if I walked away. Finally I decided that I was not tired, I might be able to trap one of the new players for a big pot, and I would just make sure that I did not chase any draws so I should be fine. Once again, famous last words.

The heart breaking hand of the night. I am dealt King Jack offsuit on the button. Two players limp for $5 and I raise to $15. (When I posted this hand for feedback on 2+2 I was told this was not a big enough raise). Blinds fold and limpers call. Flop is KK8 with two hearts. The first guy bets $20 (oh good I am going to make some money here) and the next guy raises to $60 (maybe not). I decide I need to narrow the field so I raise to $100. My thinking at the time is the first guy is just betting at the board because he read somewhere that the first one to bet at a paired board usually wins the pot. The second guys raise tells me he has a King. How big a kicker is the question. Plus I am concerned about the flush draw.

The turn is 10 not a heart. The opponet checks in to me. My first instict is "whew, good I am happy to check down to the river because I have never bet so much on one hand of poker in my life". Obviously not the correct reaction. I check even though I could be giving him a free draw at the flush.

The last card is a 3 also not a heart. Ok no flushes so 3 of kind or a full house wins this hand. I didn't think he had a full house or he would have bet. I didn't think he had Ace King or he would have raised preflop. Now I think I have the best hand because only King-Queen can beat me. I bet $60 hoping he calls and pays me off. He calls and I pay him off because he has King-Queen.

The poker books would say that I should have lost a lot more money on this hand. Preflop if I raise more, maybe I win the pot uncontested. If I raise it to $25 or $30 and they call I have more leverage. After flop when it is bet and then raised, If I raise all in maybe I win it right there. Then it looks like I have Ace King maybe even the flush draw. Does he call? I think my opponet had just enough gamble in him that he calls but I'll never know.

So that wiped out my profits. Later I got dealt 9's on the button and decided to call hoping to flop a set. The flop was J82. The same opponet who is in middle position checks along with the others. When it gets to me, I decide to bet the pot thinking no one has a Jack. My nemesis calls and the rest fold. Another low card comes out. He checks and I bet again. He calls. The last card is a Queen. He checks and I check. He turns over King Jack. What the fuck?! I still can't figure out why he didn't bet that? So now I am down $150. I am remembering the line from rounders where Matt Damon's character explains that a lot of pros will not play No Limit because the swings are too high. I can see why.

Finally I get a pair of 4's late and limp. The flop is A-7-4. A black guy across the table from me who I know is a bad player bets $30. Good let's trap him, I call. The next card doesn't scare him or me so he bets $30 again. I go for the jugular and bet all in for just over $100. I had seen this player earlier call an all in bet preflop with just A-4 of spades. The guy who went all in bet at least $100 and there was only $20 in the pot. A really stupid bet, I thought. Until this guy called him. The all in guy turned over Kings and won easily. It might have been the only pot I saw they guy win all night. Anyway I thought the odds were pretty good that I would get called and sure enough he did with his pair of Aces. No help on the river and now I am back up a few bucks again.

That's pretty much where I stayed the rest of the morning until 3:00 AM when I left. Overall I won $15 playing for four hours and got some good experience. I felt for the most part that I treated my chips as units and not as dollars which was my biggest fear coming in. I could have played better on the trip kings hand but in all likelihood I would have lost more money. I made some good laydowns that saved me a lot of money as well.


Ignatious said...

fun and well done writeup.

i agree with your thinking that poker books would have you lose a lot more money on that hand. i sure as hell would have. :)

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