After posting about being slaughtered at South Point yesterday, I went to the gym for a much needed workout. Then it was time to get back on the grind, and as I have mentioned briefly in a post earlier today - this was the destination:
Quickly got a seat in the $1-$3 game, and started playing. Won the very first hand dealt when I raised 76ss, made a pair of sevens and beat AK high (who obviously only called pre, lol).
Then it was time for another suited connector, this time 9h8h from 2nd position to $12. I get 3 callers, and we see a Q-9-7 flop without hearts. Check from SB, check from BB, and an OMC-looking guy (who turned out to be somewhat active) bets $25 from the button. The blinds fold out and I call. Might be somewhat borderline with no backdoor flush draw, but felt weak to just give up a pair when I am closing the action. Anyway, turn comes a T, and I check again. This time he bets $50. We now have OESD but he is showing a lot of strength, and if he has a hand like KQ then the Jack is a dirty out. Should maybe have folded here despite picking up equity, but decided to call. River is a random low card (3 or something) and goes check-check. He wins with KQo.
Also lost a bit more with another 7s6s, then won a small one with KJhh, both these fairly uneventful HHs. Then we see a limp for $3 and I make it $15 from cutoff with 98dd. The old man from above calls in BB, and the limper does too. Flop comes T-6-4 one diamond, which I think is pretty good for my actual hand. Limper checks, and I bet $25 with the intention of keep firing on all diamond turns + broadway cards. BB folds but limper calls.
Turn is a bad one for my plan, as it pairs the T. He checks, and I just check it back trying to get there. I do not however, as river comes a 4. He leads for $50 and I have to fold.
Continue losing when I check QTo in BB. The dealer spreads out Q-6-2 rainbow, and I lead for $6 into $9 (3 players). The UTG-limper makes it $16, second player folds and I call. This could easily be a better queen or limped AA, but way too nitty to fold here. Turn is a 9, I check and he bets $25. I chose to call once more and see what he does on river + hopefully pick up two pair. No such luck however, river is a 3, it goes check-check and he wins with KQo.
At one point I was down $175 or so, and although I didn't feel I was doing too much wrong it felt a bit demoralizing coming off that big loss last night. You obviously start to wonder if you even have it in you to beat the games etc.
It would all turn around however. It starts with a gigantic OMC (huge nit) limping in from $3, however something he did with his chips made me think he had intended to raise. So when a few other players limp behind I just check my KTdd in BB - a hand I could easily have raised over limpers otherwise. Flop comes A-J-3 with one diamond and checks around.
Turn is an amazing Qd, giving me a very hidden nut straight + even the flush-draw to go along with it. I lead for $6 into $12, just to get some money in there without scaring anyone away. OMC calls, before BTN makes it $15. Maybe I could have just called here to entice the OMC into the pot, as I cover everything, but I staunchly stand by my approach of fast-playing big hands. So I make it $55, the OMC folds and button tank-calls.
River is actually a bad card, as it comes K. Now the straight is very obvious, but regardless I just move all-in for whatever he has left. It was not a ton anyway, probably between $70-$100 somewhere. He tanks for a while but ultimately decide on a call, which is great news. I assume he had two pair or something since he actually thought he could be good there.
Back in profit then, but we can do even better. It starts with having 55 under the gun, and I raise to $12 as always. I get 3 callers, and we see the magical Q-9-5 flop with two clubs. I bet $32 into $51, the very tight OMC calls and a third player also calls. Turn comes with a Q, and they both have around $150 left (or less). Pot is already $147, and it seems very obvious to me that at least one of them has a Queen and that they will never fold. So I move all-in, the tight OMC calls and third player folds. He obviously had AQ, but no help for him on the river.
Then we raise 87ss from the button to $12, only to see BB 3-bet to $35. He has been fairly tight so far, but has almost $300 so I think this is a fairly standard call in position. We see T-9-3 on the flop, sadly without any spades. That said, I have an OESD so when opponent bets $40 I obviously make the call. Turn is an 8 so we make a pair. Opponent check. I briefly considered starting turning my hand into a bluff, but decided to take the free card instead. It's a J and he checks again. Seems obvious he didn't like the runout then, so I don't need to be afraid of any higher straight. I make it $85 which is only around half pot, to try and get a crying call out of AA/KK. He does however not oblige and folds, showing KK in the process.
After this nice looking stack picture, we did however run into some trouble. It starts with a limped pot, where I find AJo in BB. I raise it up to $20 and to my surprise another gigantic OMC-nit in the Small Blind calls. He has been extremely tight, and playing a very short stack, but has won a few small pots and is up to around $100 now. Flop comes J-T-8 two diamonds and I bet $20 after he checks. He calls.
Turn is 9d so there is a straight out there, however I do have the nut flush draw now as well. I was a bit uncertain about this one as the OMC can have a ton of hands that beat me on this board, but at the same time it would be a distaster if I bet $20 now, he calls, and then he folds to a river diamond. So I just decided to move him all-in, although it might be debatable versus his tight range. But given his playing style I even thought he could be capable of folding something like JT on this board.
Anyway, he thought for a long time, looked like he was gonna fold, then said "flush is good" and called. River is an A, which I liked as I though it might have given me better two pair than him. But no, he had KQo for a turned straight.
Did however win two decent pots to basically cover for the losses in above hand: first I raised A9dd from cutoff to $12, and Button (fairly tight Asian) called. We see A-Q-3 with the latter two in diamonds. An interesting flop, and I decided to check it. Although I have TP and a huge draw, I will behind most Aces that he flats the raise with. He bets $11 and I call.
Turn is an 6 which does not change anything. I check, he bets $25 and I once again call. River comes the 9 of spades, so I make two pair. In hindsight not entirely happy with my decision here, as I move all-in (he has less than $100 left). I figured he would often check back hands like AT and AJ, but not be able to fold them when the most obvious draw missed. At the same time, I should probably rather have milked him a bit, maybe bet $40 or something to ensure I get calls + leave him something to play with. Players often hate the idea of going broke, so leaving him some money behind could maybe have done the job. He thinks for a bit, but ends up folding.
Last hand of note is when I raise TT to $20 from BB over two limps. First limper calls, second folds. This player was fairly sticky and we had a few small pots between us in the past, usually with me winning them post-flop. Flop comes 6-5-2 and I bet $20 again. He min-raises to $40, and I call. These types of raises can sometimes be monsters, but are also often used to 'find out' where they are at in the hand. I do think there is a good chance I am still ahead.
Turn is another 6, which I like as that reduces the combinations of TPs he could have min-raised flop with. I check, he bets $40, and I call again. River is a 2, as the board gets more and more favorable. There are very few combinations of good hands he can have here, and I was almost tempted to lead and get value from 77-99. But might be a bit suicidal given he has raised flop and bet turn, and of such still can be strong. Not this time though - he checks behind and I confidently turn over the winner.
End result was +$364 USD after 4 hours of play. Very happy with that! Did I run good and get some great runouts? For sure. But I also think I made some decent decisions, and overall did not give away many chips on unnecessary play.
Will post another update shortly, including stats, but here are All The Pretty Lights (as Andrew Belle would name a song) of Vegas:
After Venetian I went to eat at In & Out, then made my way over here:
The intention of visiting Ceasars was to play their $100 6pm tournament, as I still hadn't played any tournaments this trip. While waiting for it to start I also played some VP and won $215 USD. Nice, covers the buy-in!
Didn't note down too many hands from the tournament, so will just do a quick recap. My starting table was very weak, lots of limping and no one really knew what they were doing. I got 3 streets of value with QQ on a J high board early versus a female player, I won a nice pot with AKo after having 3-bet an open and gotten a cold-caller, and I generally was able to pick up pots without too much trouble. So after 6 hours of play I had increased my stack from 15k up to around 40k:
(this picture was taken a bit earlier):
After the break was over we learned that the tournament had 51 entries, only 25 remained, and 6 players would get paid. I believe first place was $1600 USD, which would have been a great score.
It was not to be however, as I got fairly card-dead after break, and I also need to mention that blinds went up really quick. After the break we had:
I didn't even reach the last level of the above mentioned ones, as I found myself with around 30k left and the following hand: UTG limps, EP1 pushes for 5500, a young kid who seemed a bit active calls the 5500, and I have AQo in the Small Blinds. Obviously reship for 15 blinds or so, and the kid who had Kings the hand before now had Aces. I was out around 20th place.
Oh well, I jump straight into a $1-$3 Cashgame at Ceasars instead, and it was an action-packed start! I find 9Tcc from UTG and make it $10 (mostly because I didn't have $1 chips). I get 3 callers, and we see 2-3-8 with two clubs. That's decent, so I bet $15, only to have an Asian player raise to $55 behind me. The other two fold, and I call. Seems mandatory with two overcards + flush-draw, although the overcards might not be good.
Turn comes Jc so I now have a flush. I check and he quickly checks behind. River is a harmless T and I announce a bet of $107 (into $150), and he pretty much snap-calls with what I assume was a set? He never showed when I turned over the winning flush, so I guess we'll never know.
Also won a hand with QQ, where I raised over a straddle, got two callers, and a safe 5-5-6 flop. I bet $40 into $70 and took it down. Then lost a small hand with JTss after once again raising over a straddle, only to get min 3-bet by a young guy who seemed very clueless about live-poker. I called, along with another caller, but only K-8-2 in flop without any spades.
Then we find KK utg and make it $12, and get no less than 4 callers. Flop is Q-T-3 with two clubs, and I have none of those. Fairly coordinated board but still have to bet so I make it $30 and everyone surprisingly fold.
The hand straight after this one there is a limp for $2, player on my right make it $7, and I make it $25 with JJ. An old Asian woman cold-calls the raise, the limper calls, and the original raiser calls. Already $100 in the middle, and we get 7-8-3 rainbow. Seems safe enough, it checks to me, I bet $50 and everyone folds.
Then we find a monster in the BB, in the form of 74o after it had limped around. I check, and 5 players see Q-4-4 two hearts. SB checks, and I lead out for $7 into $15. I get two callers, and a harmless J hits the turn. I decided to check it to not make it obvious that I have a four, first caller checks, but the second one (the inexperienced young kid) bets $15. I go for the check-raise to $55, simply because this player had shown that he could over value hands earlier (called $175 on river with top pair AT against a straight for example). So even though it now becomes obvious I have a four, I am banking on him not folding. He did however fold quickly, so I have no idea what he could have had.
Probably lost a few very small pots as well, but after playing for 1h and 45 minutes at Ceasars, I cashed out a cool profit of $270 USD. Again running very well/pure, both with the flush earlier versus likely set, and also that my overpairs didn't encounter much resistance but still landed me decent pots.
It's been a great day, and although I should be able to detach myself from it, it feels so much more amazing being in Vegas when you have a day like today when things go well at the tables. All good things must eventually come to an end - only 2 full days left now, and I doubt any amount of time in Vegas will ever feels like enough. But I am looking forward to getting back out there tomorrow, and see if we can continue winning.
Now Cesars to put that back into the green and then probably venetian followed by Bellagio later at night. Its not really avoy winning anymore, just doing a challenge where I can put as many rooms in the green as possible.
Quick update from me as well - I woke up fairly early as I had decided yesterday to take a morning trip to Downtown LV. Surprisingly enough I convinced MuckPls to join me, as you can see from above post.
While he got immediately seated in a $1-$2 game, I went for some breakfast at this location:
After quickly eating some donuts, I went back over to Freemont to check out Circa. Let us look at some pictures below.
Main entrance, you need to show your ID to get it as it's 21 and over:
Vegas Vickie in da house:
The sportsbook is huge, picture doesn't do it justice. Also tried sitting in the chairs, which were decently comfortable:
Entrance to Stadium Swim. Will have to come back here and actually swim sometime:
After this, it was time to play some $1-$2 NLH at Golden Nugget! I put myself on the wait list and got into a new game that started around 20 minutes later. Didn't play for very long, but game was very easy and passive. Not too many interesting hands to speak of, but we can through a few.
I won some early small pots with JJ and AK, but no one wanted to play with me. Then I get QTcc on the button after an OMC has opened from UTG and gotten two callers. I call as well, as the hand is probably slightly too weak to 3-bet in this spot. The flop is an amazing looking T-5-3 with two clubs, and it checks all the way to me. I bet $15 (into $27), and get two callers.
Turn is another 3. I decided to check this one back, but in retrospect think I should have bet again to target hands like JT/T9 or pairs between 5 and T. River comes with a harmless 6 (no club), and it checks to me again. I bet $25 for value and both fold.
Then I lost a little bit after raising As Kc to $17 over 3 limpers. Two of them called, and we got a Q-8-3 flop with two hearts. Figured this guys were so straight forward that I could just bet small here and see the reaction, so I make it $15 (less than 1/3 pot). They both do however call, and turn is a 7. Don't think I can bet again, so I just check and give up (button bets $25 and take it down).
Then I go card-dead for a bit before picking up Ac As in 4th position after it folds to me. I make it $10, and only the BB calls. Flop comes Q-9-8 with two diamonds. Not the most ideal one, but still an easy bet I think. He checks, I bet $12 and he calls. Turn is a T so there is now a 4-card straight out there. He checks, and I check it back. Card could easily have improved him to 2 pair or a straight after all.
River is a harmless 3 and he checks again. This is a good spot for a bet, as players at this level generally don't see anyone betting without a Jack here. So they will think that the bet is either the nuts or a bluff, and call down wider. I bet $16 to target some random pair, and he calls somewhat quickly. I show, and my hand is good.
Also played one more hand, where I made it $15 over two limpers from SB with AsJs. They both call, and the flop is once again pretty awesome: J-8-5 with latter two in spades. I bet $20, first player folds, but the second calls. Turn comes a 6, which shouldn't change much, so I make it $42. He folds.
Short session, but good start to the day regardless. Now I'm gonna hit up the gym, then go play more.
Woke up 30 minutes ago for what will be my last full day in Vegas this time around. Bit sad, but I am glad that MuckPls persuaded me to come (although to be fair it didn't take much!). Although the mask mandate + my own play has frustrated me at times (more about that below), it has still felt pretty similar to previous Vegas-trips. There is just something magical about being here and having nothing else to think about, and the whole day ahead to do things that you enjoy the most.
After being Downtown last morning, we took a taxi back to the strip. I went back to the room to update the TR and get a quick workout in at the gym. Also went to NYNY for a 15 minute quick massage, which felt great but made my shoulders really sore. Definitely felt it while playing last evening, and also still feel it a bit today.
Random picture on my way back:
I then went over to Bellagio with the view to possibly try my hands at $2-$5 but I was honestly a bit undecided as I felt slightly tired last evening for some reason. So jumped into the $1-$3 instead as it had no list, and proceeded to play what I believe is my longest session ever. Makes sense when you feel a bit tired....
My first table looked pretty bad, as it had several young Asian players and only one player who looked a bit like a spot. So I actually did something I have never done before in Vegas - I asked for a table change. I did get one eventually, but before that played a few interesting hands. Let us run through two of those.
My first hand is when I raise A9o from cutoff to $12, and only the BB calls. This was a hefty guy around 50 (? hard to tell with these ******ed masks). Flop comes 9-2-2, which is about as good as I can hope for. He checks, I bet $15 and he calls. Turn is an 8, he checks, I bet $30 and he calls. River comes another blank (3) and he checks again. I am very certain I would have heard from him if he had 98, but I really do think a nine is a big portion of his range here for check-calling twice. He only has around $100 left and pot has grown to $115. So I just move him all-in for max value, but he folds fairly quickly. Maybe he had a pocket pair below a nine, but I still think going for full value versus the best portion of his range is the best play.
Also one interesting one where a young guy opens UTG to $11, an Asian in the field calls and I call from BB with K6hh. Although one should call tighter (and not wider as many ppl do) multiway from Big Blind, I still think a suited King should be good enough here. Would obviously snap-fold things like A8, K9o, J8o etc.
Anyway, flop is pretty good as it comes Q-6-2 with two hearts. Pair + flush draw. I check, raiser checks, and Asian checks. Turn is an Ace, I check, PFR bets $20, Asian folds and I call. It's a good chance he hit that card, but I still have a pair and a draw. River lands a K so now I have two pair. I debated leading out here, and in hindsight I think it's the best play to ensure I get value from Ax. Because he can't have AQ (he wouldn't check flop), and there are much less AK-combos out there. Pot is $74 so I could easily bet something like $45-$50 here and then just fold to a raise (as crazy as it sounds).
As it was I checked, he bet $35 and I just called. He was actually a good enough player to value bet AJ there, but that was obviously no good versus my two pair. Don't think I can raise river though.
With those two hands and getting two 3-bets through (KK and AQdd) I was actually up around $80 or so before leaving that table:
My new table had a very drunk guy from New York to my immediate right, but who I sadly hardly got any money from before he dusted off and left. To his defense, he was also getting unlucky in some spots, while a foreign guy (Eastern European?) on the other side of the table was running like a God and had well over $1000 in his stack. Despite this, I could tell the guy was not a very sophisticated player.
Anyway, I played a few small post after getting seated there, winning the first few ones, then losing a few small ones. So I was up around $100 or so when the following stupidity came up.
There is a raise to $13 from the semi-active EE from 4th position (as we will call him), and a random player calls in cutoff. I have 76cc in the Small Blind, which I think is a great hand for the occasional squeeze here. So that is what I do and make it $60. EE calls and the flat-caller folds.
Flop is however really bad, as it comes A-8-3 all spades. Obviously good for my range with the Ace, but with no backdoor flush my first thought was to just give up versus a player who didn't particularly seem to like folding (maybe an argument for not 3-betting). He does however check it back, and we see a red J on the turn. With his check back I think that he might not be that strong, so I bet small ($45) to see how he reacts. That said, this might not look very believable.
He thinks about it for a few seconds, and out of the corner of my eye I see something, which is either genuine hesitation or the most obvious fake tell ever before he calls. I don't even remember what it was now, but I was unsure of how to interpret it. River comes a K, and here is where I make the giant mistake. I think there is a chance he is weak, the flush bricks out, and I could easily have played KK this way.
However, if I think he is weak then a bet of $85 or something will likely be enough to get the job done. Instead I make it the absurd amount of $150 (pot is like $225 or so), when in reality there is no need to go big here. He either was Hollywooding on turn or has a rather weak hand, thus I can just bet small and fold to a raise.
He insta-jams and I can just send my hand to the muck at the speed of light. This is just complete spew on my part, for so many reasons. I like the 3-bet, but the board and this player type is not the one I should try bluff even though I am at the very bottom of my range. And in hindsight obviously my observation on turn was a fake tell of weakness - I should have realized, as I had already classified this player as not highly competent.
After that I just battled for hours, the table got very tight as the drunk guy got felted and the big stack went into lockdown mode after winning some more from the drunk guy and easily have a $1500+ stack. His very attractive girlfriend also came by and seemed very impressed by his stack - some guys just have all the luck! But it was funny to see how he went from playing 30% of hands to hardly play any the last hour before leaving.
I did make some good plays here and there, winning small pots with some decent double barrels with equity and doing enough to stay afloat around -$200 or so. I lost a semi-big one with 9To from SB when I flopped two pair on K-T-9 and lead out flop and turn, got called in two spots both times. River was a terrible J, it checked around, and one of the limpers had KT. So I do think the river actually saved me some money at least.
That said, my overall feeling was that I was not playing my best, I was feeling a bit tired (as said), and I also get too passive sometimes at these limp heavy tables. I should really pound endlessly on these types of players with raising pre with an even wider range, especially as I often saw what they were limping with. That said, I probably had a bad table image as someone who bluffed too much (since people will remember a big bluff like above), and that should make me reign in on bluffing and rather value bet more.
Then all of a sudden a new dealer sits down and things heat up. His very first hand is me picking up As Ad from UTG. I make it $12 to go, a very tight OMC calls behind, before younger guy on button makes it $40. A short stack behind moves all-in for $43, and I am left with a decision. I need to 4-bet this I think, however younger guy only has around $250 in stack, so it's hard to find a good sizing. I do think he is likely strong here, although he might also be the only one at the table who recognize that I have raised a fair amount of hands and is putting in a 3-bet.
In the end I settled on $107, which is a small 4-bet but ensures that I can push like 60% (?) pot on any flop. OMC folds, and younger guy insta-calls. I was a bit puzzled, but figured he must have KK/QQ/JJ and wanting to see a safe flop before continuing. Flop comes J-7-4 two clubs, which I like as I think JJ is the least likely of hands he will have here. While debating for a few seconds (read, making it seem like I have a decision) I see in the corner of my eye that he pretty much has grabbed his stack and is ready to go. So I jam, he snap-calls, I show and he obviously has KK. Board runs out clean and I take the whole pot.
Stupidly I ended up staying $45 more minutes, obviously losing a bit in the process. I should just have thanked the Poker Gods for the gift I didn't deserve, and blatantly rack up immediately while recognizing I am not playing my best. I was in for $600 overall in the game, so it's hardly a huge win regardless, but it annoys me that I seem incapable of leave games when I am not playing my best.
After my longest session ever (5h 45min) I cashed out a paltry $95 USD profit. That is just astonishingly bad when I got yet another gift like above. I lost $150 on that stupid river-bluff earlier, and I also lost $70 pre 3-betting 98hh in another hand that I didn't write about - only to recheck my hand and see that I made the raise with 98o (!). I was so unfocused that I couldn't even see my cards right, so obviously I make that night my longest session ever. Go fkn figure.
I am actually winning over $1000 now overall, but if we look factually on it I am playing terrible and not beating these donkeys at all. I see so many absurd mistakes that others make - sorry Americans, but most of you are truly completely terrible at poker. The sizings are ******ed, and often goes like this:
Raise $15, re-raise $30 with AA, bet $20 flop, $20 turn, $30 river and mumble something about 'I was afraid of two pair', while you can see their excitement of not getting Aces cracked and winning a 'huge' pot. Just no capability of getting value from their good hands at all.
And yet here I am donating money to these players. If we overlook two coolers (AA vs KK) and winning one the other way (KK vs AA) I would actually be break-even at best. Not good enough. Not nearly good enough.
Oh well, one last day in Las Vegas - let's make the most of it! The good thing is there is room for improvement, it's not like I don't know what I am doing wrong. I do however think that as soon as I have a few winning sessions at the table I get overconfident and think I can get away with too much. Plus, when I get tired I mentally check out of way too many hands, not thinking about the right things and even sometimes forgetting the pot-size.
Probably too much negativity in this post; I know I am winning and should be happy with that. But I expect more of myself, especially since I love many of the lines I take in certain hands. But there is just not enough consistency. Let's try to make today consistent at least, and if nothing else I am putting in volume. Should probably be able to reach 50 hours for this trip, which is a new record for me.