Thursday, January 03, 2008

Can I Win at the Wynn?

I walked 3 miles to the Wynn today.

I wasn't even heading there when I left my house by foot at 2:15 PM, but one thing led to another, and I ended up in their sportsbook at 3 PM.

My wife would be driving by the Strip around 5 PM.

Hmmm...what could a guy like me do in the casino to kill time for 2 hours?

The list for 2/5 was real long but there was a seat open at 1/3. I really hate that Wynn 1/3 game for the simple reason that they play it with 3 dollar chips. So my stacks of 20 are worth 60 and not 100. It genuinely frustrates the auto pilot experience that poker has become for my brain. It finally got to the point today where I just decided to think of each chip as "1" rather than "3". Throwing out 6 chips on the flop seems way more powerful than saying "18 dollars."

One of my more memorable poker sessions from 2007 was in July at the Wynn. I lost back to back $500 buy ins and in both hands I was over 90% favorite to win. It's been that kind of room for me. Yet I'm also feeling real good about my game lately. And if I can't beat the 1/3 NL game at the Wynn, I gotta find something else to do with my time. That's the background info to make the following hand summaries slightly more meaningful.

3:20 PM. I limp with with queen 9 suited. Button makes it 12. Three of us call. Flop comes queen high with a couple of rags. We check. Button bets $9. Sort of small bet. He's either missed with ace king or is just toying with me with his ace queen. The others fold. I call.

Turn is a 9. Also gives a flush draw. I lead out for $15. He reraises me all in.

He has pocket aces and like way too many players with big pairs, he's waited until he only has an 18% chance to win to get all of his chips in the middle.

I call with my 82% favorite. River is an ace.

I double him up.

Sure 4 to 1 loses all the time. But why does it keep happening to me in this room?

I tried to stay positive. I told myself there were clearly two good things about this hand.

1- He didn't have more chips in front of him.

2- I outplayed him. I got him to put all of his chips in there when he was underdog.

I got no time to worry about what happened after that.

3:29 PM. Minus 12. I raise preflop with ace 10 suited and get called by one of those guys who really looks like he doesn't know if he's supposed to reraise. I don't continue bet on a rag flop. He leads for 21 on the turn. I fold. He shows pocket queens.

3:45 PM. Here we go again. Me and the same pocket aces guy are all in for the second time. This time I hit top two pair on a 10,9,2 flop. He bets, I reraise him all in. He calls with Queen jack. I'm a 2 to 1 favorite. A harmless ace comes on the turn.

Coincidentally, this makes me an 82-18 favorite. Just like the first hand against this guy. And just like the first hand, he hits his 18% on the river and I double him up. Again.

What should I do?

Do I get the hell out of here as fast as possible? Do I reach into my pocket and get out more cash? On one hand I'm loving the opportunity at this table. On the other hand, I can't seem to win a big pot at the Wynn. If I stay and lose more I will feel stupid as if I didn't respect the bad luck of this seat I'm in. Yet if I go, I am leaving a table with bad players. Players who I want to keep playing hands against.

I stay.

4:05 PM. The guy who has rivered me twice, just got rivered by a woman and he gets up and leaves. With my chips. I can't decide if this is a good or bad thing. I wanted to win them back. But maybe he has my number.

4:10 PM. Plus 40 with position bet after everyone got scared on flush board.

4:24 PM. Table is weak. I've won 3 pots this orbit with preflop raises followed by continuation bets.

On the 3rd one a player says to the table "Someone please call him."

To which I responded "Yeah. You guys better call me soon because one of these times I'm gonna actually have a real hand."

This caused enough confusion for a player to ask me "What have you been raising with?"

4:27 PM. An entertaining hand for me. I raise preflop with king 10 suited. An English woman calls me in position. Flop comes king jack high. I bet. She calls. Turn is rag. I bet she calls. River is a queen. She grimaces, which would normally terrify me. It just seems like such bad acting. But I take a "chance" and bet again. She folds. I guess she wasn't acting.

4:36 PM. I give away 11 big bets calling an all in with queen 9 suited. I might not normally call this but the first guy was all in. And then 2 others smooth called. I tend to get myself into these hands especially because players seem to get thrown off by the whole dry pot thing. However, unbelievably, my hand doesn't win! What kind of crap is that? That's twice today that queen nine has lost. Not sure that has ever happened before in the history of poker.

4:45 PM. Chips poorly spent. I limp with shady cards and then call reraise because the pot gets too big. Flop misses me.

4:52 PM. I limp with queen jack and flop a straight. There's a bet. I raise and get called. Turn comes and puts double flush draws out there. I bet a pot sized healthy 75 dollars. I'm tired of losing on the river. I got to charge him to get there. He eventually folds but I can see in his eyes that he thinks I'm stealing from him. This moment will become pivotal 10 minutes later.

5:02 PM. My wife calls on the cell. She's pulling up to the Wynn. This will be my final hand. I limp in early position with ace king. I've been raising all session so I figure I'll try to play this one differently. There are 4 callers which isn't ideal but I can also fold post flop. Right? I don't have to lose a big pot even if I flop top pair I can get away. Right?

Flop comes 2,3 king. I bet 20. Guy who I "bullied" ten minutes ago when I held the nut straight calls. Everyone else folds.

Turn is 2. I bet 36. He calls again.

River is a 7.

I still think I have the best hand. I'm not in love with the idea of betting and getting raised all in. I also think that if he's missed his draw he ain't calling a bet. However if I check, I know he's going to bet. He has to. I will have shown weakness.

What I'm hoping for here is: I check, he makes some bet like 60 and I call.

However he goes further with it. He moves all in.


My honest immediate reaction is I gotta fold. I'm not about doubling players up with top pair, top kicker.

I ask for a count. It's 165 more. Not alot of money in the big picture. But plenty at a 1/3 table. To put it another way: it's more money than was presently in the pot.

I want to fold. But I can't seem to muck my cards. It just doesn't make sense to me. The story that I am watching. What hand could he have here?

If he has a 2 then he has me beat. I guess the way that's possible is if he limped preflop with ace 2 suited. What else beats me? He could have something like pocket 7's and he hit a set on the river. Or pocket 3's and flopped a set? No. Not 3's. He wouldn't have shown this much patience.

I think it through and just can't put him on a hand that beats me. Well actually I can. He could have king 3 or king 7 and hit two pair. I guess that's possible. But it just doesn't seem likely enough.

This guy is wearing alot of jewelry. He has a tough guy thing going. I think he's bullying me.

I count out 165 and shove it out there. I could be donating here. But I think he's making a move on me.

Or as Tony Clifton would say "I smell a phony baloney."

When I call my opponent doesn't immediately turn over his cards!!!!

That's good news.

Dealer stares at him and the gentleman finally turns over pocket 5's.

I table my ace king and take down the pot. This hand gets me out of the red and into the black. And maybe I finally cracked my Wynn curse.

But the best part of the session was not going on tilt after losing the two all ins.

One long game.


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