So, today is my last full day in Las Vegas so first things first…. Complete the shopping list of gifts for the family. Two hours in the Fashion Show Mall carrying an ever increasing number of carrier bags dealt with that problem. The challenge then was to find a way of paying for it all. Ahhhh, the $5/$10 at the Bellagio might be the way.
Straight off the bat I declared my $5/$10 beginner status to the table by answering the dealer’s question of how many $5 red chips (as opposed to $10 orange chips) I wanted, with “A couple of stacks”. Everyone else had $50 at most in reds and the rest in oranges! In hindsight, I’m still not sure if I got my arse handed to me at this game or if I was just unlucky. I think it was more bad timing than bad play but not totally a consequence of luck. You be the judge as I take you through the three hands that accounted for my $1000 bullet being a dud.
• Hand 1. I open for $30 with As-Jc from the hijack and the only caller is the cut-off. The dealer fans a board of 2-3-4, all diamonds, and we both check. The turn is a very appealing Jack of spades and I bet $50, only for my opponent to re-raise to $115. Now, I have top pair and top kicker in this hand and it is certainly not beyond my opponent to put me to the test in this spot. Equally, this could be him showing me I am way behind, so I decided to ask the question. I 3-bet to $220 and my opponent called. Being out of position, I felt compelled to lead any non-threatening river card and the 8 of clubs seemed to fit that bill. My bet of $220 was met with a re-raise all-in from my opponent. I tanked, upset with the situation but then threw away what I thought was a very strong hand. My opponent showed me 5-6 of diamonds for a flopped straight flush!
(I obviously butchered this hand, particularly the river bet. It has been posted and dissected on 2+2 http://forumserver.twoplustwo.com/56...-flop-1215828/
• Hand 2. I open the betting again with A-K of clubs and the shortstack shoves. It seemed like an obvious call for me but my opponent had pocket aces. Oh, bollocks. The board gave me a King but one wasn’t enough and I was left shortstacked.
• Hand 3. A different opponent opened for $30 and I shoved my shortstack of $150 with A-K off suit. He called and I was up against his A-Q off suit. The board ran out J-T-7-6……K to give him a 3 outer on the river for Broadway. A 3 fuc#ing outer. For fuc#’s sake. Surely this has to stop sometime soon. This is really getting horribly painful now.
So, was I a suckout victim? The victim of coolers? Or was it just bad play? I didn’t mind losing my buy-in but I would have liked it to last longer than the two hours it did go for. I kinda feel that the last hand was just plain bad luck, the second hand was a bit of a cooler (let’s face it, AQ, AJ, QQ, JJ, TT, 99 makes the same move) and the first one I could have made a bit cheaper. I could have flat called his re-raise on the turn and then checked (and folded if necessary) the river to lose a cheaper pot. Either way, my $1000 shot at $5/$10 was not a successful one.
I took myself off to the Venetian for another crack at the $200 7pm Deepstack event and managed to knock myself out in level 6 with an ill-timed shove with K-Q suited into pocket Kings. That early knock out saw me searching for something completely different, and I settled on a $1/$2 game of PLO at the Venetian. That didn’t go as expected either.
I called off a bit of my opening stack of $400 in the first orbit, before folding to c-bets after the flop. It was then that a dealer change happened and as the old dealer was leaving the table, he called to the new dealer “Omaha Hi/Lo”. I thought it was just his way of having a joke as he left but I figured best to check this out with my neighbours at the table. They confirmed it was indeed Hi/Lo and I confirmed I had no fuc#ing idea what the hell was going on. Maybe I had folded potentially winning hands earlier on, at least good for the Lo half of the pot. I’ll play until the big blind gets round to me and then move on.
During this last orbit, I called another pre-flop raise and called again after the flop before taking a stab myself after the turn. My opponent folded and I was left stacking a few chips from the hand, having had no idea whatsoever if my hand was good, bad or indifferent. I guess that made me pretty difficult to read! I could leave the table with my head held high, despite the minor inconvenience of a $21 loss.
There was a big list for all the other games at the Venetian so I took advantage of being in the mecca for poker, and went off in search of another room with a shorter list. The $1/$3 No Limit Texas Hold’Em at Caesar’s Palace was to be my salvation. I quickly knuckled down but not before dropping $130 to a flopped set of 5s on a 7 high board when I held pocket tens.
Two quick hands of note; the first a well-played hand and the second a very lucky one. I was sat in seat 8 and in the 1 seat was a sunglasses wearing young player who rarely said a single word. His actions were slow and deliberate, and each of them seemingly meticulously thought through. He had shown a propensity for 3-betting, often from the button. In the hand of note against him, I opened from the button with 9-7 off suit and he thought long and hard about a re-raise before settling on a flat call from the big blind. Maybe it was being out of position that made him curb his naturally aggressive tendencies on this occasion. One other player came along for the ride too.
The flop was A-8-2, rainbow, and the player in question bet $45. The other player quickly folded and I started thinking. If he had been holding AJ, AQ or AK, he would have 3-bet pre-flop, based on his earlier displayed betting habits. If he had A8, he wouldn’t have bet so much. I therefore decided he must have been holding something in the 'weak-ace' range and also decided that he would struggle to call a re-raise from me here, especially considering I had been the pre-flop raiser. I settled on a re-raise to $110 and my opponent tanked for a while before laying down his hand. It wasn’t a big pot but it was one where I played the player well.
The next hand of note was one where I was exceedingly lucky, and one that I never expect to get away with ever again. A guy in mid-position opened for $10 after looking at his chips for a while and seeming like he wanted to bet more. The new player on the button re-raised to $25, the small blind called the $25 and I looked down at A-K off suit. I decided to 4-bet to $80 and strangely, all 3 of the other players called, the last one in the small blind just calling because, as he said, he was now valued in.
The flop was a 7 high rainbow and with $320 in the pot, I figured it was worth taking a stab at after the small blind checked to me. I slowly and deliberately slid out a bet of $220 and the original pre-flop raiser went into the tank. He talked long and hard about how he thought I had to have pocket aces here and he eventually threw his hand away.
The new player on the button then took his turn in the tank, and after a couple of minutes finally threw his hand away too. The small blind took his opportunity to tank on his decision too, but like the others before him, he eventually threw his cards face down towards the muck. “Come on, show us the aces” the three of them implored. I showed them my A-K and all three of them were disgusted.
The first had folded pocket Queens, the second pocket 9s and the third pocket 8s. In a single hand, I had managed to get three players, each holding an overpair to the board, to throw their hands away to my ace high! As I said earlier, I never ever expect that to happen again.
I played pretty solid poker in this session and managed to rack up a $576 winner. Despite that, I’m very conscious that a call or shove from any of those three players with the overpair would have wiped out that profit. Unless of course the turn or river card would have brought a King or an Ace.
Either way, it was nice to finally have a session where variance was on my side for a change. I felt like it was loooooong overdue.