Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Live Poker Coverage

I played two live poker sessions at the Venetian.

Here's the final 62 minutes of the second session.

12:51 AM. I limp under the gun with ace jack suited. No one raises and we see an ace high flop with one of my suit. Conservative looking gentleman bets 10. I call. Everyone else folds. Same gentleman bets 20 on a second suited but otherwise harmless looking turn. I raise to 60. Happy to take it down. Mostly trying to find out where I'm at.

From the looks of this guy I'm waiting for his reraise. But he doesn't. He just calls. Huh. I thought he'd raise or fold. What hand calls?

A weak ace? A runner draw?

He didn't raise preflop so I think my ace has the best kicker unless he has two pair.

But I'm sort of lost in the hand. I comfort myself by thinking of my raise to 60 on the turn as potentially also being my river bet.

Like if I had called the 20 on the turn, it would have been reasonable for either of us to bet 40 more on the end.

Only I'm doing it on the turn when he still might be drawing.

Someday when I'm good at poker I'll value bet another 75 bucks on the end.
Like Phil Ivey.

But for tonight, against a player I have no read on, I checked it down, showed my cards and watched the dealer push me the pot.

12:58 AM. Ace 8 suited. I flop an ace and bet 10. One caller. Turn gives a 3 card flush, but not my suit. I check and the somewhat aggressive player checks behind me. I'm real suspicious of this check. This guy had been betting most of the time. Taking shots at pots. Like it almost seems more likely for him to bet when he doesn't have it, than when he does.

What's so interesting to me here is that if he bets this turn I don't believe him and probably call. Yet his checking it terrifies me.

So I check again on the river and this time he bets 50 into a 25 pot. Easy fold. I don't mind being bluffed out of such a small pot. But I don't think he was bluffing.

1:05 AM. I call from the blinds with queen 9 off and lead out for 10 bucks on a 9,8,2 flop. Two players call. Turn is a 10. In 2004 I'd have checked and called. In 2008 I bet 20 dollars. Both players call me again.

River is a jack. I have a straight. I bet 40. One guy folds. One calls.

A somewhat decent example of aggression confusing and disguising my showdown hand. The bets on the flop and turn made it impossible to know where I was at.

Was I semi-bluffing a straight draw when I bet on the flop?

Or did I connect with it and pair up?

This is huge because if I initially connected on the flop (which my bet certainly represented) then I might not have the straight by the end. Which is why I think I still was called on the river. Because of the flop and turn bets. A dude with the bottom end of the straight or two pair can't exactly lay down there.

Yet if I had played the flop and turn more passively and waited till the end to bet, it's way less likely that anyone calls.

1:17 AM I overbet preflop and raise to 20 with king queen suited. I think I genuinely forgot that I was sitting at 1/2 and was in habit from 2/5. Who knows?

I can't say I was in love with this situation when I actually got called by another conservative player. What hand could he call a 20 dollar bet with preflop?

Things looked slightly better when the flop came queen high.

I under bet 22 bucks. Opponent calls. I hope he doesn't have ace queen.

Turn was a damn pretty card. A second heart giving me a flush draw along with my top pair. He checks to me. So many options. I can bet again. Small or big bets both make some sense here. I could also check behind him, show some weakness and hope he leads out with a bet on the river. But that's old school Robert. New school Robert wants to bet as often as he can to create confusion.

I push out a $45 bet into the 70 something dollar pot. Lets find out if he has ace queen. He folds and I immediately wished I bet less. Or checked.

Then again maybe he wasn't putting another cent into the pot. And of course if I get outdrawn then I'm on here writing about how poorly I play.

1:26 AM. I'm proud of this hand. Six limpers. I'm on the button. I look down at two crap cards and fold. It's so easy to call and hope to get lucky. But calling felt horrible. Weak. Dirty. Shameful. I almost raised to take advantage of my position but that also seemed unnecessary. Forcing the action. Rather than letting the good situations come to me. So I folded. And it felt great.

1:38 AM. I raise preflop with jack 9 suited and get 4 callers. So far so good. But then the big blind pushes all in for 70 bucks. I'd love to call. Some nights I talk myself into gambling, but unfortunately I can't call here with 4 people to act behind me. If I knew NONE of them was going to reraise then I might. But I'm not crazy enough to stick 70 bucks out there when I'll have to fold to a reraise behind me.

1:44 AM. Two limpers, then an aggressive guy in middle position raises to 15. I call with 5,8 suited on the button which I'm hoping will entice the others to call. Two of them do and four of us see an 8 high flop. Preflop raiser bets $20. It's tempting to raise him here. He's probably got two big cards. I'm probably ahead. Then again even aggressive players get real hands sometimes. I use my position and smooth call. The two players fold behind me. Lets see how he bets the turn.

Turn is a beautiful card. A second small spade. I still have my top pair but now I've also got a flush draw going.

If he checks I can't wait to bet.

If he bets I can't wait to raise.

But then he does something I wasn't counting on. He acts first and goes all in.

Damn. So much for my raise.


I hate calling all ins, much less with 5,8 for top pair, 5 kicker.

There's a good chance I'm about to give this man a couple of hundred bucks. Everything he has done has screamed big pair. But he's staring me down. He's acting too strong. If he was a tighter player I might still fold. But his loose aggressive style has hooked me in. I think he has ace king. If he's got a real hand, he deserves my money.

I call. I'm trusting my read and if I'm wrong and he does have that big pair, at least I've got some flush outs on the end.

The river comes. It's red. I miss my flush. The only good news is it's small.

I'm waiting to see his hand and then he says the magic words.

"You got me."

I show my 5,8.

He mucks and says he had king queen of spades for the bigger flush draw.


I guess I got lucky, not to get lucky, and hit my draw.

1:53 AM. I fold ten, jack to a 15 dollar preflop raise and then watch the dealer turn over a king, queen, 9 flop. Betting ensues. Chips fly. Two players go all in.

By showdown my folded hand was still the best.

Usually I am able to laugh it off but tonight it put me on tilt. Pissed me off.

Not playing that hand made me feel like I lost money. Even though I know I made the correct long term decision.

And so I did the one thing I do best at poker.

I left the table.

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