Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Back to the Bellagio

The chaos at the Bellagio continues. I'm not sure this photo does descriptive justice but...

...I hadn't seen every single table in use before on a Tuesday night. I waited for close to an hour to get a seat. I was hoping to play 15/30 but the first available spot was 2/5 no limit, so there I went.

While waiting I wandered around the room and checked out the different games. At this point in the Vegas Year it blows my mind how many faces are familiar to me.

Every time I sit down I recognize people. I can literally see their faces and tell you specific hands I've played against them. Sure it makes it easier to already know their style although you'd figure that we should all be playing against the tourists. Not each other.

That said, I am way past the point of fearing these regulars. In fact there are some full timers that make the game really good. They sit down and start raising immediately.

There are other full timer grinders even tighter than me. I can often steal pots from them with reraises on later streets. They don't want to play a big pot with top pair any more than I do.

Anyhow here's my Tuesday night session....

10:36 PM. My first orbit (from the cutoff seat) I raise it up to 25 preflop and get 2 callers. Flop is 7,7,7. I bet 25. Loose Israeli guy to my left calls. Other player folds. Turn is a rag. I bet 40. Israeli guy calls. River is an ace.

Now what you may not know is I have quad 7's and that ace probably either just killed or enhanced my action.

What to do. I considered checking. But in the few hands I've witnessed the Israeli guy is more likely to call than to bet. He plays too many hands but he hasn't shown any aggression once the flop comes out.

So how much to bet?

I decide he's probably not calling any bet here without an ace. I raised preflop so it's likely I could have just hit. I go the other way with it and overbet $200.
Since it's gonna seem obvious from my preflop raise that I have an ace, I figure I'll charge him 200 bucks if he also has an ace and wants to "chop" the pot with me.

I could have bet smaller (maybe 80 bucks or so) to try to get some value out of him if he has a pocket pair and doesn't believe me. But without an ace in his hand it's real hard to picture him calling any nice size bet here.

(And after watching him play over the next 4 hours I dare to suggest he held something as weak as king queen on this hand. Seriously. There would be multiple times I watched this gentlemen call players down on the turn and river with only king high. He even check raised with king queen on an ace king flop.)

10:51 PM. Another hand against the same loose player. This time I've raised preflop with pocket 10's and he's calls with queen 3 suited. Flop is 5,5, king. I bet 30. He calls. Turn is a queen. We both check. River is a 3. We both check. He shows the queen 3 an takes the pot. Nice hand sir!

11:01 PM There are a few $10 straddlers at this table. On this particular one 3 players call the 10 bucks in front of me. I look down at ace king and raise to 45 from the small blind. Everyone folds.

11:03 PM. I limp with 6's. Loose guy behind me makes it 10. Another genius makes it 20 total. I call and fold after seeing a king queen flop. My set comes of course on the river after I'm long gone. At this point I am plus 61.

11:26PM. Loose Israeli guy raises to 25. I'm gonna fold my 5,6 suited in big blind but we get 2 callers so I throw another 20 in the middle and see the flop.
It's an intriguing 2,7,8. Loose guy bets 100. It's too much. I think long and hard and fold. He clearly has an overpair. I want to gamble with him but not here, not now. He's the type of player who will eventually lose his whole stack with just a pair. No need for me to shove my chips in on a draw with the worst of it. If I hit a set here he'd pay me off. I fold and he shows me his pocket 10's.

11:28 PM. I reraise in position and take down a pot with nothing. I only mention this hand (for myself) because there is no way I win this pot a year ago. My read on the other player wouldn't have been as strong. There are many times when I still feel like such a novice at poker. This wasn't one of them. When I get it right like this and play my opponents cards rather than my own, poker feels like a completely different game.

In the beginning all poker bets seem the same. Now I can actually watch a guy bet a 10 jack flop and think to myself that he specifically has queen 9. Rather than lets say ace jack. I have no idea how. It's just something inside the body and mind.

11:42 PM. Israeli guy raises to 25. One caller. I pick up pocket queens in blinds. I can call or raise here. Against this guy I call. Flop potentially destroys my future with a king. But everyone checks. The board paired on the turn. A rag hit on the river. By now I'm doing the betting and Israeli guy calls me down with pocket 4's.

Him calling my bet on the river with pocket 4's is the exact reason why I didn't feel the need to gamble with him before with my straight draw. He will pay me off when I know I have the best of it.

11:52 PM. Wow. 4 players all in preflop. Israeli guy takes it down. He has over $1000 in front of him now. I am genuinely excited to see him win the pot. I sure ain't going anywhere soon. And of course the way poker works I had limped on this hand with ace 4 suited, folded to a $35 raise that preceded all the all in's and then of course the board goes runner runner 4's on turn and river. I would have taken it down.

12:09 AM. I'm up $149 and bored out of my mind. This feels like grinding. Probably because it is. I can't believe I've only been playing 90 minutes. Feels like 8 hours.

12:11 AM. I pick up 2,3 offsuit in middle position. A guy bets in front of me and his chips roll towards me. I am going to muck but an Asian man to my right tells me I should play the hand because the chips were rolling to me. I wonder what poker books he's read. I fold anyway and thank the universe when the flop doesn't come out 2,2,3.

12:27 AM. Nothing new to report. Up 142.

12:41 AM. My most interesting hand of the night. I've got 9,7 suited in the blinds. (Same hand I had when I hit quads.) Flop comes 8,10 ace with two of my suit. I think that's what you call a straight flush draw. I check because there is a grinder on the button who bets every single time it gets checked to him in position. I want him to bet so that the rest of us can call and build the pot. He obliges. I think it was 20 or 25 bucks. 3 of us call.

I miss on turn. This time we check and he bets 80. I have to act next and I think a long time. I am genuinely considering my options. However what I also notice is the grinder seems worried about my pause. I guess I might be wondering what to do here if I really was ahead. So I let him suffer a little bit. I finally decide to call. But these seconds were crucial because I now think I can take down this pot no matter what comes on the river.

The river comes. I miss flush draw. If I had just called the 80 quickly it would have seemed like I was drawing. But since I took so long it's believable I was already there. I bet out 200. Grinder is all pissed off. He tells me that I hit two pair on the turn and folds.

12:46 AM. Opponent won't let go of the previous hand. He keeps asking me to confirm his suspicion that I had two pair. I tell him that I bet the river because I put him on a diamond flush draw. This doesn't make him happy.

It seems win/win for me. If he folded an ace to my missed draw he could go on tilt. And if he really did have the flush draw then perhaps he's scared that I read him so well.

This whole encounter was particularly gratifying in that he was one of those guys who is always talking, offering the table his reads, and feeling the need to show everyone how smart he is at poker.

This hand also begs the question - if he really did have the flush draw, was it bigger or smaller than mine?

12:50 AM. He brings up the hand again. I guess it's the hand that keeps on giving. This time I respond by asking him how big his flush draw was. I hope this implies I had one too.

12:55 AM. I raise preflop with ace king to 25 and get a few too many callers. Flop comes ace high to give me top pair top kicker but it's all spades and I don't have any. I follow through with a 35 bet to see where I'm at. The truth is I shouldn't have made this bet. Why? Because I've picked up a tell on the Israeli guy next to me. It's almost absurd but this guy keeps giving off reverse tells. So if he connects with the flop he starts to shake his head "no" as if he's unhappy.

Thus when the flop came out with the 3 spades I looked peripherally to my left and see the guy shaking his head. This alone should have made me check.

But I didn't. Because I wanted information. (Even though the truth is I already had it.) Israel guy talks for a minute about how he should fold and then calls my 35. The guy after him reraises to 135.

Israeli guy pushes all in. Other guy calls. This was for like 700 each.

After turn and river the other guy shows his flopped jack high flush. Israeli guy slow rolls and then shows a king high flush.

But we already knew that. Whether or not we wanted to believe it.

Funniest part was how proud the Israeli guy was of the slow roll. It was completely intentional. He even said "I wanted him to think he won." Exactly sir. And that's why it's bad etiquette.

Israeli guy (who was already real loose) now has 2 grand in front of him. He's playing every hand.


1:11 AM. It's clearly this Israeli guy's world and we're all just playing in it. He takes a minute or two to decide what to do preflop. Each time. Cause he's too busy talking and telling everyone how they take the game too seriously and it's driving some players crazy. I don't mind. He can talk my ear off all night as long as he keeps playing every hand.

1:14 AM. A new guy sits down to my right says he's been to the Wynn and Venetian tonight and how those casinos are so much tighter. Exactly buddy. Exactly. It's the reason we're all sitting here after Midnight on a Tuesday night. Damn it sure feels like a Saturday.

1:17 AM. First loose call in awhile. Only costs me 15 bucks. Up 177 on night.

1:28 AM. Up to 214 after I raise preflop and win on flop. What's been awesome about tonight is that for the most part I'm winning small pots. I haven't hit any sets, flushes or straights. My usual money makers. Tonight I've had to fight and claw for the smaller pots. Makes me feel like a real player.

1:31 AM. I sniff out bluff and call river bet with pocket 8's on overcard board.

1:44 AM. Up 269.

1:56 AM. I'm thinking of leaving but a rich looking couple in formal evening ware just sat down. They look like they're dressed for the prom or a wedding or some activity that doesn't take place in a poker room.

2:11 AM. I turn the nut flush draw with my ace suited. Dude bets 20 from the blinds. I call (without getting proper odds) only to see 5 people call behind me! So now not only am I getting proper odds, but I'm guessing someone may also have a smaller flush draw. But I miss on river and that's that. The Poker Gods are making me earn tonight. Not much is being given to me.

2:16 AM. Damn. Israeli guy just gave away ALOT of money after the river with pocket 7's on an 8,8,8 board. Of course the other guy had the 8. But Israeli guy should have known this once he got reraised on river. You can't call here. Not for someone's entire stack. You just can't. I sure didn't need to see the cards to know who had won.

2:21 AM. Remember the guy sitting to my right who thinks he's such a great reader? I'm passing the time amusing myself by giving him false tells everytime I bet. And I'm cracking up inside watching him over think my moves. This may not be the best example but I just limped in under the gun with 7,8 suited and purposely knocked over my stack while betting. I then observed him him notice my nervousness, smile to himself knowingly, and fold. By the end of the hand the board had paired 8's giving me trips. There was also an ace on the river perhaps killing my action. After everyone folded to my river bet, he says to me "Show us the full house" as if he knew I had pocket aces. And so I reached down to my cards, said "Which one do you want to see?" and turned over an 8 for him.

2:33 AM. I give away $25 taking a shot on the flop. Tight player calls me. I see him instinctually reach for chips on the turn before remembering to check and let me bet. Sure he could be putting on a show for me by reaching for chips but I've got 10 high and am done with putting chips in on this hand. I fold when he open bets river.

2:37 AM. I flop a flush with my 10, jack suited but get no action. Even the Israeli guy has slowed down after losing to quads. It's time to go.


NewinNov said...

Nice report. Good grinding, evaluating players and picking your spots.

PJS JR. said...

Dude, thanks so much for writing. This is kind of report that I love to read. Sounds like you had a pretty good night, congrats!!

Good luck, your Vegas Year is nearing a close. I will be sad if this blog were to end.

Good luck in the upcoming month. I will be in Vegas next week, but probably not at the Bellagio... T.I. and downtown. Staying at the Nugget.

Hope to read more soon!

Check Raise Chin said...

Nice post rob. Next up. Vegas year II.