Saturday, December 22, 2007

Afternoon Delight

3:09 PM. I arrive at the Bellagio. It's my last poker session for a few days and I feel some nervous energy in my stomach as I sign up for 15/30 and 2/5 no limit. There must be way more 2/5 tables than 15/30 tables because every time I've signed up for both, I seem to get called to 2/5 first despite the list usually being longer.

3:21 PM. I get on the phone with Johnny M.

Johnny M probably wouldn't mind if I used his full name but I may as well check with him first cause I'm always talking about how classy I am and the problem with always talking about how classy you are is that if you don't ever actually do classy stuff, it's actually borders on classlessness.

So you gotta be careful with that stuff.

It's the very same reason I choose to always donate to charities anonymously.

I don't even tell my wife.

Never mind. Forget I said anything.

3:29 PM. I get off the phone with Johnny M. Johnny M. is my sports betting friend. I worked for Princeton Review back in the 90's and their materials told the legend of two guys (John Katzman and Adam Robinson) coming together to combine their SAT tutoring methods to develop a way to beat standardized tests. And I'd like to think that Johnny and I are combining two different methods. And when a game falls into the vend diagram. When 3 or 4 factors are all on the same side, it tends to win.

I've only been doing it for a few weeks. And noticed some other interesting trends along the way. If I keep working on it perhaps I'll create a separate place from poker to discuss sports.

Anyhow, introduction aside, the system today likes Southern Illinois +11 in the bowl. That's really what it's called. The halftime show was sponsored by Flomax.

System also likes UCLA +6.5 against BYU, and wants me to take Carolina plus 10 against the Dallas Cowboys! What the hell? Is the system crazy? Has the system lost it's mind?

3:37 PM. I am seated. Buy in for 500. Did I already mention that I feel nervous today? The only good news is that it will probably make me start out tight. If I can avoid bleeding off chips in the first orbit I usually do fine.

3:47 PM. Bad start. Minus 55 with jacks win a blind on blind battle when I don't believe the other player on a queen high flop.

3:58 PM. I raise to 35 with queens and get two callers. 3,4,7 flop. Can you say 5,6? I bet 45. One folds. One calls. Turn is a 2. I bet 100. It looks like he wants to raise me but I'm not sure he thinks I'm good enough to fold with less than 300 in front of me.

I sit there and wonder what to do if he reraises me all in?

He doesn't. He folds. I'm up to 541.

4:07 PM. Someone raises to 20. Three callers. I complete from the small blind with pocket 7's. Big blind calls. Six of us see the 7,8,9 flop.

Well the great news is I finally flopped a set.

Balloons come falling down from the ceiling.

Although that has got to be the scariest flop I could imagine.

Read the next sentence in your best Jerry Seinfeld:

"Why is it that every time you flop a set, there's either 3 of the same suit out there or a straight draw? Why is that? Have you ever noticed this?"

As you know I've been waiting days for my set to come. Seeing flop after flop with any pocket pair. And here I finally flop a set of 7's on an 7,8,9 flop. I'm already trailing 5,6 or 10, jack. Although at least I can root for the board to pair. Unless someone has pocket 8's or 9's. Then I'm gonna lose some money.

I don't want to bet the flop and and get raised. I'm way out of position. By checking up front I can either call a bet, or check raise when it gets back to me.
With 5 other players in the hand I need to figure out if anyone hit the straight.
I want to sit back and watch them bet it.

There's no rule for how fast or slow to play. Alot of players play hard and fast in my spot and figure that if they ran into a straight they still have outs. But I'm playing conservatively these days because I'm completely brainwashed by the ONE LONG GAME concept. I don't need to shove here. If a 10 comes on the turn I can fold too. There will be other sets. At some point in 2008.

It gets checked around. I don't think a 10, jack straight slow plays here. Not when a ten or jack could come on the turn and counterfeit it.

A queen comes on the turn. A great card. No new straight possibilities get there and 10, jack was already good.

Feeling better I lead out for 25. It's small bet, almost tempting them to raise.

I guess it works because an erratic older gentleman raises me to 100. 75 more. I call. A push would have been fine here if I'm gonna call an all in on the river. But I want more information.

A king comes on the river. Beautiful. Nothing has changed. Either he had the straight on the flop or he didn't. He reaches back and pushes all in. 175.

Wow. Am I really going to pay him off? It really disturbed me last night when I called that 150 dollar bet on the river with my kings against the set of 8's. Earlier today I was thinking about how I know better than that.

Is this the exact same hand just with different cards? Aren't I too good to be paying off a straight with a set?

But then I go back through the hand. He didn't bet the flop. He only raised me when the queen came. He could have a queen or two pair.

I look at him and he makes a silly smile at me. The pot is also too big to fold.

I call. He shows king queen! I table my set.

Wow. I was so scared I was making a bad call.

4:13 PM. Minus 20. I raise with king queen from cutoff. Blind calls and leads out on ace high flop. I fold.

4:29 PM. I raise with king queen again. This time I flop top pair but check it and a dude with 5's calls 20 on turn and 30 on river when rags fall. This particular gentleman never folds if you keep the bets small enough. I cannot leave this table until he does.

4:51 PM. I flop the nut flush draw in position and call 25, pair my ace on the turn and call 50, and then watch the bluffer bluff off another 100 on the river. The board paired the board so I don't actually raise. And there's really no value in raising since I've put him on a hand that's missed anyway.

A fellow who would have hit full house next to me folded on the flop to the 25 bet.

Did I mention that I'm wearing my lucky hat today?

5:50 PM. It's been a pretty smooth hour. My head is in a good place. I'm very pleased to be up and after giving back some of that profit last night, I really want to be careful. I'm satisfied to sit here and fold. The two football games are about to start. Ohm.

5:52 PM. For some reason I've been avoiding the weekend afternoon sessions. Maybe I just don't wake up in time. This may be a mistake. I like playing with these opponents. They're weaker.

The late night players give away chips but they're way more aggressive. These guys seem to just want to stick around in pots and see who wins. Almost like they're playing 20/40 or something. They never fold. They will call 20 bucks on any street at anytime.

There are fundamental flaws in their games. Awful leaks. Yes I will have good and bad luck days, but if I'm playing against this table of opponents every day, I would make alot of money. I had the thought sitting here today "Is this what it was like for Doyle in the 1970's?"

I am playing with opponents who will call a $35 flop bet with ace 5 on a 7,7,8 board and then check it down. I don't need to get lucky to beat this guy. But he's going to need to get lucky to beat me.

5:45 PM. Seems like every session now I'm making one lay down that is questionable.
Here is today's. Check out this madness. I call raise to 15 with king queen from big blind. 3 of us see the flop. King, jack, 10. It's a freaking dream. I got top pair and opened ended. I check. Preflop raiser bets 25. The guy sandwiched between us raises to 100. It's back to me.

Now if it's just me and this guy raising to 100, I push. He only has 200 bucks.

However the problem here is the preflop raiser sitting to my left who just bet the first 25 has over 2000 dollars in front of him. I'm having a good day myself and at this point have around 1200 in front of me. Looking back on the hand now, I suppose the move was for me to call or raise to 200 and see what the other guy did.

But in that moment I decided that the stack to my left was too large to gamble with. If he has ace king on the flop I'm almost a 3 to 1 dog. I don't want to even discuss my odds if he has ace queen. And let me say I've been chatting with this guy since sitting down. He's very tight. Has hardly shown any aggression.

So on the hands when he does show aggression, I kind of have to respect the strong possibility of ace king. Or ace ace queen. A set is certainly possible. So I got out of the way.

But then when the tight player folded behind me I knew I blew it. I gave the tight player too much credit. He actually apologized to me after the hand when I told him I laid down king queen.

I told you he was a nice guy.

Meanwhile this is another example of how bankroll matters in poker decisions. For a couple hundred bucks this is an easy hand to take to the river. But for more than 1000 I didn't want to put myself in a position where my best case scenario could be chopping the pot.

Rent is due in a week. I'm going on vacation tomorrow. I fold.

5:54 PM. This time the patience pays off. Early position guy raises to 25. Two callers. I look down in small blind and see pocket kings. I still got the big stack to my left in the big blind. I take 3 hundred dollar bills from in front of me and toss them in the middle. I'm basically saying the 75 bucks out there is mine.

Early position guy gives the usual speech. Do I want to gamble? Blah blah blah. He's going to call. We both know it. He has around 250 in front of him. He turns over pocket 10's. Somehow someway my pocket kings defeat his pocket tens.

6:02 PM. Table has gotten a little tougher. A couple of bad players were replaced by a couple of good ones. There's still one or two reasons to stay. On this hand I took down a pot from one of the better players. I limped in with 6,8 suited and flopped a 7,9, something. I led for 20. He calls. My 10 comes on the turn. I don't hesitate. I quickly bet 30. As if the card didn't matter. He quickly calls.
River completes a flush. Again I bet quickly. This time 50. He calls and holds his cards over the muck as if to say "I know you've got me."

This hand is a good example though of how hard it can be to get chips from a good player. If I hadn't semi-bluffed the flop I'm not sure he calls the turn and river bets. Cause later on he made some real sharp reads in other hands.

I completely appreciate watching a guy like this play. He won a big pot against an aggressive player calling a big bet on the river with only bottom pair. His opponent and half the table looked on in shock. But it made perfect sense if you watched the whole hand. It's amazing how completely different experiences are occurring at the poker table all the time. Yet due to experience and skills of perception, not everyone can see them.

6:10 PM. A couple of these players are amazing. They really don't fold their ace high. So if I hit any piece I can actually get paid on any street. It's plain silly.

6:18 PM. I just had to act first in a hand on the river where I knew I was ahead.
Right as I went for my chips I noticed that the other player was unaware of position and going to bet but I had already stuck my hand out there and so I dropped my 65 on the table. He called and I won the hand. But greed is angry because I should have let him bet it and then raised and won more. He would have called. I let him off the hook.

7:12 PM. Nothing is happening for me. I've sat here and folded for the past hour. How nice not to force anything. I get up to use the bathroom and when I get back to the table I decide to call it a session.


Check Raise Chin said...

Nice hit on the football games. All winners.

Who do you guys like next?? lol

Robert said...

Over the couple of days when I wrote this entry the system was on fire. It hit 10 out of 11 and I thought I was onto something big.

The past week it's been picking more losers than winners, which on some level is a relief.

I need to compile months (years) of data before I'll really know anything here.