28 April 2010

The 12 Days OF Vegas Pt:6

Vegas Day 11.

With this day being the last day of poker playing (the 12th being a travel day) I decided to head to where I had been most successful during my time in Las Vegas, the Golden Nugget. I sat down and got a feel for the table, there were a few players I had to keep my eye on and a couple of players whom would be donating to my personal poker fund. Once such player was sat in trap 8/9 and was a non believer, he would call any body as long as he had a pair or he would raise if he had anything more or thought if someone else was bluffing. About an hour and a half into my session I picked up AKos whilst this fella was the big blind everyone folded around to me and I decided to make the standard raise of the table at that time $12, having already established a strong image everyone folded to my raise except the big blind, who I knew would call.

Flop – 3, 9, A.

The BB checked and I bet $20, he thought about the bet and I could see his mind telling him to fold, but his will would not be broken and he convinced himself that I was bluffing and trying to steal his money. So he went all-in for an additional $60. Needless to say that this was the moment I had been waiting for and called he turned over 9, 10 os and with a king on the turn and no nine on the river i watched as the bloke was felted for the third time since I had been at the table. Of course he just reloaded.

Soon after I found KK I make my standard raise and I get one caller

Flop – 586

I lead out with a continuation bet about three quarters of the pot my opponent folds and I show. About nine hands later I find AKos I make my standard raise and this time the old lady in the corner called. Similar flop this time im first to act so I bet about three quarters of the pot asgain she calls.

Turn – J

I check and the old lady follows suit

The river is another low card I bet $50 which is about 70% of the pot she calls without hesitation and tables 99, I muck. She read me like my Nan and must have known I had missed.

Near to the end of my session I kept getting premium hands in the hijack seat much to the annoyance of the BB this went on for 6 orbits AA, KK AK QQ KK I would raise and show when everyone folded; then this happened with JJ. The hands was just about to be dealt when the opponents says to me please don’t raise my BB and I said ok. Being the token Englishman at the table I decided to honour the request of my opponent. I flat called with JJ, which is a 70% of the time move for me. The button decided to raise to $12, the BB mumbled and called so I re-raised $48 this really put the buttons nose out of joint and he stubbornly called.

Flop – KQQ

I check ready to show and throw the cards away, the button checks also

Turn - J

I bet$60, the button raise all-in for another $32 so I call. Button has JQ and I am drawing dead
I stand up and leave with a small loss for the day but happy I’ve had fun whilst staying in Las Vegas although next time I will not be staying as long, as nearly two weeks is nearly one week too many. I might well be going back for the Las Vegas marathon in December if I can get time off.

24 January 2010

The 12 Days Of Vegas Pt:5

Vegas Day 10.

I woke around lunchtime and headed to the Golden Nugget after Brunch at Binion’s. I managed to find a full table and a seat with my name on it. I sit down next to a regular, someone who I have seen playing every time I come here. I have him down as a professional, all the dealers know him and so do a lot of the other poker salary players. I overhear a conversation between him and the card room manager that he requested a move to another table. I find out about half an hour later when he gets moved back after the other tables’ collapse that he had moved because of me. I personally think that he is blowing smoke up my arse. I leave shortly after with a good profit for the day mainly from these three successive hands.
Hand 1 - 32os
I was in the cut off and had not played a hand for quite a while I raised to $11 and both small and big blind called me


10d, Qd, 7s
As both blinds checked to me I decided to do a continuation bet of $20 the small blind called and the big blind folded. I put the small blind on a draw.

The small blind checks and I reevaluate his possible hand range to a flush draw. I figure that he would call most bets to hit so I decided to check to see what the river brings, if it is not a diamond then I would bet if it were then I would fold as I am sure that the small blind would bet.

Perfect. The small blind checks and I bet $60 he folds and I so my bluff. He then confirms my assessment of his hands and shows 9d6d.
Hand 2 - KQs
With a raise from under the gun of $16 and one caller before I get to be my turn I decide to call. Three players see the flop.

As, 2s, 9d.
The raiser was first to act and was not shy about betting out. $25 made the middle man fold. I decided to spend a little from my last hand to speculate.

Not the card I was after but not a bad card either. My opponent bet another $25. Now with $126 in the pot he gave me more than enough odds to call for the flush.

As the card is over and I have made my hand I figure that the action would be check bet fold, but to my surprise he moved all in, so I called. He showed Ah6h.
Hand 3. - AJos.
My last opponent re-buys and posts the big blind. A couple of limpers so I decide to raise to $12. There are 4 callers including both blinds.

Ad, 7h, 10d.
Everyone checks to me so I bet $40 to push away anyone with a flush draw. Apart from the big blind who calls me, everyone folds.

The big blind moves all-in. This makes me think and review all the previous action. I almost fold but then I remember that he could be trying to push me off with a draw as revenge from the last hand. I decide to call as doing so would still leave me in profit for the session.

I show my ace and he shows his flush draw and mucks.

Vegas Day 9

Binion’s was the flavour today and the tournament went quite well, I managed to get to the final table without too much hassle but I was short stacked. On the first hand of the final table i was on the button everyone had folded to me so I pushed with Ah10h. Unfortunately the big blind woke up with a couple of ladies and with no ace on the board I was down to 900. I waited with no avail for a good hand but folded everything until I was under the gun. I decided to push blind. The blinds were 300/600 and I pushed for 900 one player in mid position who playing was a little erratic raised to 1400, bearing in mind that the average was around 18,000 I was surprised to see everyone fold. He turned over J,10. I revealed my blind hand of 6,8os. Neither of us hit and I was sent to the rail. No more poker for the day.

15 January 2010

The 12 Days OF Vegas Pt:4

Vegas Day 7

After a relaxing sleep and a slow start to the day I headed over to the Golden Nugget. I have been finding the action at the G.N. easier than Binion’s so I usually started at the G.N. the only problem was that, as limit was very popular here, I did not always get the option of No-Limit, but today there was one table of NLH so I sat down, unfortunately nothing jumped out as odd play everything was normal, people over playing potential qualifying high hands.

High hands at the Golden Nugget like many places hand to adhere to certain criteria. The pot had to be bigger than $20 (Binion’s $10) in order for the house to rake more than the $1 towards the high hand collection. The winning hand must play both cards. High hands were everything from quads upward, so to qualify for quads the player must have a pocket pair. If the high hand was a straight flush then the player must use both their cards 7h, 9h. with the board being 6h, 8h, 10h, x, x.

This did lead to bad play along with a betting tell, if someone raises to just over $10 then tries to check it down then it is quite easy to place them on a group of hands. Equipped with this information and reasoning I played for 2hrs before the table broke around lunch time and I left with a small profit of $85.

At 2pm Binion’s was holding their usual tournament so as I was already in profit almost to the buy-in so I decided to play. About half an hour in just as the blinds were going up I found myself on the button with AsKs. There were two limpers so I decided to build the pot with an oversized bet of 500 I got one caller.

Flop – Kh, 3s, 7s.

The opponent was the perfect opponent to have in this situation, she was overplaying everything and was also relentless with betting and not allowing any cheap cards, she bets out the pot 1200 which I immediately push all-in. she calls and shows, Kd, Js.

Turn - 10d

River – Jh

I decide that every dog has their day but if she keeps thinking that hitting 9.55% is good play, then good luck to her.

Vegas Day 8

Today we headed to the strip, I only managed to play at three casino’s the first one I cannot remember its name but It held tournaments every two/three hours for $40 with a starting stack of 1500. Very similar to the pub poker which we play over here. The number of runners was in single figures which meant it would be a winner takes all SNG; I walk out of the casino with my money back after making a deal once I had got to heads up. I then head over to Caesars Palace where I end up playing one hand for 3 hrs it just so happened to be within the first 5mins. I was dealt AQos there was a limp before me so I decided to follow suit, the player to my left raised to $15 so we ended up four handed to the flop

Flop – Q, 7, 8.

The first player checks the second bets $20, just under half the pot. I call as the flop was rainbow so there was no need to stir the waters. The player to my left goes all in, he has all the other players covered. I feel it is a “go-away” bet he does not want to be called. The first player folds. The second dwells and calls all-in. I was watching the player to my left when the call was made and I noticed he was not happy, so I called aswell.

Turn - 2,

This put a flush draw on the board.

River – J.

The player who called first showed A,8. The player to my triumphantly flipped over 9,9. So I turned over my top pair and scooped in the pot for almost a triple up. I left about 3hrs later with double my buy-in.

I headed over to Treasure Island for the outdoor show of pirates getting assess kicked by a bunch of women, whilst singing and dancing. The poker room was one of the smallest I’ve come into in Las Vegas. The standard of play was defiantly below par and I lost my buy-in.
My hand was AJ I was in the cut off and raised to $12 only the button called me.
The flop J, 5, J.

I checked raised the button all- in and showed him my J – after consulting with the deal if this were allowed as we were heads up. The button called after saying he was feeling lucky. He got instant service on the turn

Turn – 10.

That’s right he called me with an under pair after I showed him a jack. So I handed him my chips and left the card room before I hit something or someone, bloody idiot. Time to go back and sleep.

08 January 2010

The 12 Days Of Vegas Pt:3

Vegas Day 5

I pop along to Binion’s in the morning as I have found this to be the most profitable time of day, I sit down with $100 and find myself with no hands to talk about for 3hrs I eventually bust out and head to the tournament desk for the 2pm tourney. The Saturday 2pm tournament is the only guaranteed prize pool of $5,000. As the buy-in was $100 the starting stack was 10,000. My table consisted of the usual crowd, we had two internet players, one old timer a couple of young men who were here for much more than gambling and were telling everyone of their exploits, a few women folk and me. I got too involved in a hand early on and busted out. I was in the cut off seat and up against the Big Blind who was one of the internet players.
My hand – 4s6s
With the blinds still at 25/50 I raised to 275 the BB called.

Flop – 10, 9, 6.

As the BB checked I bet 500 a little under the pot expecting either to be raised so I can fold or to win the pot right there. The BB called. Because of the action that had taken place up to now I assumed that the BB had a hand in the region of JQ.

Turn – 4.

BB checked and I bet 1500 with my two pair not feeling entirely happy about the situation, something did not feel right but I could not put my finger on it. The BB called.

River – 4.

The BB quick as a flash pushed all-in. I tried to think of his hand there was no flush possibility as the board was rainbow, the 4 could not really be considered as a scare card, I had to go with my earlier judgment and assume that he was trying to push me off with a missed straight draw and two over cards. I called and he showed me 94os. Now it all made sense except the preflop call, bloody maniac.
I wondered around the casino until a space came available on the cash game where I made up for my losses of the day with a little extra thanks to 94.

The hand I got lucky with made me smile when I first looked at it first card 9s the second 4s. I said to myself ok 94 let’s see how good you are. I was in the cut off seat the table had been quiet for about 45mins with nothing major going on I had managed to grind up to about $180. The player UTG raises out to $15 it gets one caller so I decide to call and see a flop the SB re-raises to $36 UTG calls other player calles with $110 in the pot and only $21 to call I decide that I’m live and call. Just before the flop comes down the SB pushes all his chips in and informs the table he is all-in.

Flop = 4, A, 4.

UTG folds as does the other player. I think about what kind of hands would do what he did and push all-in before the flop and came to the decision that aces would not so therefore I’m ahead and must call. Now because this is a cash game I don’t get to see what im up against – which I don’t like

Turn – A

Now the only thing that is going through my head is why the f*ck did I play bloody 94. I’m such an idiot etc….

River – 6.

SB mucks and I win. I over hear an conversation later to find out that he had pushed with KK, rest assured I will think twice before opting to play 94 again. I’m not saying I won’t, but I will think twice.

Vegas Day 6

This day I played in both the Golden Nugget and Binion’s – after going to church first.
Golden Nugget was a success I doubled my buy-in of $200 and still made a lay down against a stubborn old fool after throwing over $180 into the hand. Im the small blind my hand was KsJs. Everyone had limped and so I decided to charge them all tax with a raise to $16. Two players called and the rest folded

Flop – 4d, Jd, 8c.

Top pair time to lead out 2/3rds of the pot $32. Both opponents called.

Turn – Kc.

Top two pair, time to make a meaty bet. $50. Stubborn old fool min raises me to $100 Button calls – not what I had expected, I could shove here but the Button has been very tight and might be slow playing trips so I opt to check call and not go too crazy.

River – 7d.

Not the card I wanted to see as there is now a flush possibility, so I check the SOF goes all-in for his last $150 he is very animated. The Button folds (AhKh – I found out later, and wonder why the flop call). The stubborn old fool might as well be doing the dance to Saturday night fever, either that or he has just spilt coffee in his lap, normally this SOF is like the statues of Easter Island so I don’t take too long to show fold my hand. As the SOF is raking in all the red chips he turns over his hand Qd6d – fish.
Later that day I opt for the evening tourney at Binion’s, I ebb and flow loosing with AJ and AK against Q7 and QJ both to flushes I make the final table short stack and push with 88 after the cut off raises half my stack, he calls with his fingers in the cookie jar Kh5h. he gets instant service with two pair on the flop and I'm sent to the rail.
Just before I retire for the night I sit down on the 1/2NLH at Binion’s, a few hands in I’m on the BB with JJ. I raise to $16 I get one caller in mid position.

Flop = 8, 8, 6.

With flops like these, I with an over pair will find out where I’m at very quickly with a bet, I figure a little more than half the pot should do it. My opponent goes all-in for an additional $250. It does not take me long to fold he turns over 88 – bloody idiot, he could have milked me for some more if he had just slowed down. He collects the High Hand prize and is the talk of the table for the rest of the night while I lose the rest of my chips to the occasional better hand or out draw.

04 January 2010

The 12 Days Of Vegas Pt:2

Vegas Day 3

This day involved two tournaments ad one stint of cash, all were unproductive and nothing really sticks out. The first tourney was at Binion’s $60 it just seemed that no matter what I had someone either already had better or called and caught better regardless of the implied odds. I busted out within 45mins and headed over to the Golden Nugget for the $65 + I add on or re-buy $40. My run of nonchalant hands continued. When I was low on chips I re-raised all-in with 45os and was called by both AK and AQ both opponents checked it down

Flop – 10, 3, 2.

Turn – 8.

River – 6.

Much to the disgust of the table I hung around the tourney until the first hand after the break where I re-raised all-in with QQ and was called by KK, neither of us hit and I went to the rail.
I returned to Binion’s to see if I could recoup any of my losses and gave up 2hrs later $290 down.
The following day was New Years Eve and I opted for the $100 buy-in starting at 2pm in Binion’s. I played tight buy very aggressive and made my way to the final table with a little under average chips. I won a few hands and knocked a few players we made a deal for the bubble and which I dually knocked out. I was now sitting on the second largest stack, the largest being to my left. Within the space of 10mins he had donated his stack to another player with a series of marginal (at best ) calls. We were now down to three players, the big stack had me and the other player easily covered and played the big stack very aggressively. The hand that took me out of the tourney was 34s, I was in the BB the chip leader called and the small blind folded, we both had been avoiding playing a hand with the big stack as we both were even in chips and hoping the other would be knocked out.

Flop – 3c, Ad, 3h.

I bet the pot hoping to scare the big stack away but he did not take long to re-raise me all-in. I did wonder if he had the other three, but called anyway. He turned over Ah, 10s. and got instant service on the turn.

Turn – Ac.

With no three on the river I went to the rail with a modest profit. The payouts were 1st - $950, 2nd - $560 and 3rd - $365. I did like the structure of the $100 buy-in tourney and will be playing it again. I saw the New Year in on the strip with about half a million others. Very loud!!

Vegas Day 4

New Years Day

Was spent resting from the festivities of the night before and learning how to play craps, an enjoyable social dice game which is good fun. I would like to study the game a little more as it has a lot of potential.

02 January 2010

The 12 Days Of Vegas Pt:1

Vegas day 1

After a day of traveling around the world, arriving in sin city at midnight I opted for a good night sleep. Downtown was so different during the day time yet as soon as you enter a casino you could only tell the time by close observation of the flow of punters chancing their luck. Around 10 am I arrived at the poker room in Binions after sampling the “legendry Binions Cheese Burger” for my breakfast. I sat down on the only $1/$2 NLH there were two other tables in full flow both were $2/$4 LH I decided not to go too crazy and opted for $100 buy-in. After 3hrs I walked away with $311 and the only hand that sticks out was with an old man who looked as new as the carpet and as stubborn as the dirt that lies within.
After about 50mins I was in mid position with 10,10 and the old timer was the small blind. Everyone had folded to me I raised to the standard raise of $12, it was my first raise on this table. I got 4 callers.

Flop - 7d, 6h, 2c

The old timer bet out $25. I min raised and he called whilst everyone else folded

Turn – 8s

The OT checked, I went as to move all-in and he shoved all his chips across the line before I could do anything so, with a quick glance at the dealer and no need for any communication I knew it was still for me to act, so I checked.

Final card – 9c

OT checks, I move all-in and he folds muttering how I lucked out on him. He gets up and leaves the table before the next hand.
In hindsight I think he was angle shooting hoping that I would not bet and so I wish I’d have called him.

Vegas Day 2

I pop along to Binions the next day to try my chance at the tournament. They have 4 each day at 10am, 1pm, 6pm and 10pm. The two 10 o’clock games were 4000 with blinds at 15mins for the first hour then going to 20min blinds thereafter. And were $60 the other two tournaments were $100 and started with 10,000 chips 20 min blinds expanding to 30min after the first hour. We ended up having 27 runners and I ebbed and flowed until the final table where I had a few good hands in succession to become one of the chip leaders. When there were still seven players remaining on the final table four people went all-in the hands were AK, AQ, A6 and JJ. JJ stood the test and he promptly knocked the three other players out, the tournament paid to the top three places so we suddenly arrive on the bubble, with a little ducking and diving I knocked the bubble out and had chipped away at the big stack. I also killed off third place to have a 3/1 chip lead but then some serious ugly dealing happed I had AQ and was facing a raise so I re-raised all-in and was facing AA, a few hands later I had 88 I raise five times the BB and was called.

Flop – 2c, 2d, 2s.

My opponent checked and I went all-in as to make any kind of continuation bet would be committing me anyway. He called and showed K2. I was knocked out in 2nd place.
Later that day I popped into the Golden Nugget for a little cash play I lost $200 in quick succession to the same guy ($100 at a time) and left before I would lose any more to the luck box,

Firsthand – 88
I call in mid position as I don’t want to let the table think I’m an aggressive player
Four people see the flop with no raise.

Flop – 7d, 8h, Jc.

I find this flop difficult with no raise preflop so I decide to go slow unless I house up. Button bets 3/4’s of the pot I call everyone else folds

Turn – Js
A good card for me and an opportunity to check-raise, the button bets $18 and I min raise he then goes all-in which has me covered so I call for the remaining $48 and he shows me J8.
He sucks out on me after me reload and I leave, to chance my luck back at Binions.
The last cash game for me on day two was at Binions and I lost $140 and went to bed the only hand that stuck out in my mind from that session was about half way through the session just before the evening tourney started. I had AdKs, I was on the button there were a lot of limpers so I decided to raise more than normal to $26 I narrowed the field down to two callers

Flop – 10h, Jd, Qh.

The two players checked to me. Because of the flush draw I bet $60 as not to give anyone the odds to call for the flush. The small blind called and the other chap folded.

Turn – 5h.

The small blind bet $120 and I folded.
Two hands later the fish left for the tournament and was seen exiting the card room within 20mins from the beginning of the tournament, that made me smile, I left a short while later and retired for the night.

20 December 2009

The Meadows

Nine o’clock on a Tuesday morning at the end of April 1981, and according to the giant illuminated figures at the top of the Mint hotel the temperature was already 92°. At the entrance of Binion’s Horseshoe Casino stood the famous horseshoe itself, seven feet high painted in gold, and enclosing within its arch a million dollars in ten-thousand-dollar bills. The hundred dollar bills are neatly ranked and held, for whatever foreseeable eternity, in some kind of super-Perspex – bulletproof, fireproof, bombproof – the perennial dream of the Las Vegas punter visible to all, although not quite touchable.
The million-dollar horseshoe reflected the glare of the morning sun on Fremont Street. Behind it were the gloom and movement: a long, low, rather shabby room, full of noise, smoke and, unlike the other casinos at this early hour, full of people. Women in halters and men in cowboy boots and Stetsons jostled each other around the roulette and craps tables, rattled the armies of slot machines, and perched in semicircles before the blackjack dealers; even the seats in the little keno lounge were mostly taken. At the back, there was already a crowd along the rail that separates the casual punters from the area that, for five weeks every year in the last decade, has been set aside for poker.

Excerpts from “The Biggest Game In Town” by Al Alvarez – great book and an enlightening read.

I will be shortly travelling to 'The Meadows' or, in spanish, 'Las Vegas' for New Year celebrations and poker. I will be giving myself strict guidelines as to when I should or shouldn’t play. I will also try to post more information on key hands throughout different tourneys. This will be the 3rd time I have visited the promised land and I hope to continue my success as so far I have always left in profit, albeit once was only $2 – damn roulette.