(renamed) Poker Trip Report Thread

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(renamed) Poker Trip Report Thread

Post by RCC »

This is a poker trip report, so this seems the appropriate forum....



Last Wednsday, about 11 AM I pretty much got fed up enough with certain issues at my place of employment. For the most part I'm a bit fed up with waiting around for certain lawyers and judges to do what they are supposed to do. I decided to skip town for the week. By 11:20 AM the reservations were made, the wife notified, and the office left. By noon the bags were packed, bankroll assembled, and the mighty saturn rolling towards Atlantic City.

Long drive though. Unremarkable except for the fact that Baltimore sucks, and south Jersey looks a lot like the northern Panhandle of W.Va. Even has a similar accent. The drive should have taken about 7.5 hours but since 1) Baltimore sucks and 2) I'm a moron, it took a little more than 9 hours. Much of the overage was spent trying to get from U.S. 40 to U.S. 30 so I could get to the hotel. Later consultation with a map suggests I went in a circle twice, then to AC and back out to Absecon to my hotel. I did hit three $.50 toll booths on the AC expressway, which may be a record. This is the last time I change my mind on the fly as to the route I take through that state. To think that I had never even heard of a traffic circle...

So I get to my hotel about 9PM or so. I'm staying in some kind of chain hotel, a Hampton Inn or some such. What I do know is that it is both cheap and has a "Denny's" in the parking lot for any 4AM food needs that may pop up. Unpack, check in, let the wife know I'm not a grease spot on I-95, and off to the tables I go.

For some reason I decide to try the Taj the first night. I'm a bit tired and want to play small, and I am familiar with the Taj as it is where I usually play. I get to the room and on a list for 3-6 holdem and 2-4 Omaha H/L. I'm soon seated in a 3-6 game between two guys from Brooklyn who are discussing thirty year old gas stations. The play is typical 3-6 nonsense, almost everyone seeing the flop and so forth. Big swings. I go up a hundred, and then stop making any draws and wind up about 4 dollars down when I give up at about 2AM. Wholly unremarkable, except for one thing that turned out be a bit of the ol' foreshadow. One of the Flatbushies kept talking about how there was a royal flush before I sat down and about how nobody at the table except him thought it was any kind of big deal. He went on about it for a while. He asked me how many royal flushes I've seen. I said I didn't know, that I had had quite a few and seen quite a few so I'd guess I'd had maybe twenty and seen at least a hundred. He looked at me a bit strange before I told him I play mostly on the internet and at that I play a bit of omaha. Royals happen at Omaha all the time. He nodded and went back to how he couldn't figure that people just sat there when the royal was turned over. I shrugged and said that if you live long enough you see everything at least twice...

So I wound up down four bucks, but up around 1300 calories from the "French Toast Slam" at Denny's. I would usually get the pancakes but I went with the French Toast in honor of the Repub convention....


Decide to try the Borgata. Much closer to the hotel and not really in AC proper, so a much less scary prospect to leave at 3AM as I plan. It also has a ramp right onto the road to the hotel. I find the room and get on a list for both the 6-12 holdem and the 4-8 omaha h/l.

The action at the 6-12 is unreal. Loose and soft. So why I get stuck off the bat about 2 hundred is anyone's guess. Part is luck and part is that I am playing like a goddamn moron. Mostly the latter. I'm not exactly catching cards, but I'm not exactly folding when I should against the loose but timid players I'm playing against. It is like I can't lay down top pair when the second highest card on the board is paired on the turn and some weakish player check-raises me. This happens like 5 times, which adds up to over 100 bucks from that alone. Just sad.

So I'm stuck about 2 bills when the following three hands occur. The first was about 30 mins before the second two, the second two being back to back.

Hand 1:

I have AhJc on the button and call along with 4 limpers. The blinds call and we are six handed and see a flop of AcTcQc I flop top pair, royal draw, and second nut flush draw. It goes check-check-bet-call-call to me and I raise, folds to the bettor who three bets and I and the other guy call. Turn is a 7s, and it goes bet-call and I call. One of the others has a small flush and the other is drawing to a set hoping to fill up. I have the odds to chase my jack and think it will be good if it hits and I also doubt either of these two will fold to a bet on the river if a club hits. River is of course the Kc, making me a royal flush. Checked to me and I bet. Both make crying calls and I show my hand. One mucks, the other throws over his small flush in disgust, like I should be sorry for drawing to a bigger hand in a large pot.

So I drag a roughly $160 pot and I'm back on my horse. Or so I think.

Hand 2:

I get dealt JcJd first to act. I raise, get some callers and a late re-raise and we all call and we are 8 players for 3 bets to the flop, a nice Js8h3h flop. I bet out and get raised and we wind up with 4 players putting in the maximum 4 bets. Nice pot here. Turn is an ugly 9h which puts both a flush and a straight on the board. I check, next player bets, and there are two calls to me, and I call as well. River is the Jh which gives me four jacks.

So... I bet out 12. Guy across from me goes to 24. Folds to me and I make it 36. He just smoothly puts out another raise to 48 (no limit to number of raises when only 2 in the hand). I realize that although this is not a strong player, he isn't a total idiot and I sense exactly zero fear from this player.



No, really. Monkeyfucking holy shit.

He has a straight flush. Has to be. There is about 5.6 million in the pot (okay, more like $380 but still). I'm getting over 30 to 1 odds to call this final bet. I know I'm beat. However, the huge pot dictates that any chance that I am wrong or even that he misread his hand and has a diamond instead of a heart or something. I can't fold. I really want to.

So I look at him and say that I am calling mainly in hopes that he misread his hand but I know I'm beat. I toss in a call. He flips over QhTh for the straight flush. I nod, smile, and say "You have me. All I have is four jacks" and flip over my hand. A lot of "wows" and "holy shits" are heard, but I just play it cool. No big deal. If this casino had a "bad beat" jackpot I'd have just won something like 40K, but whatever. I feel good that I held the carnage to only four bets. Next hand.

Hand 3:

Next hand indeed. I get the same pair of jacks in the big blind. 5 calls to me and I pop it. All call. Flop this time is a nice smooth. Jh7c7d. Flopped full house. I bet out, all call to the button who raises and I raise back. Folds to the button who calls with a worried look. He's not acting. Turn is the As. I bet out he raises. Woried look is gone. Fuck.

He slowplayed AA and spiked me on the turn. Again there is a chance I'm OK and the pot is huge. He could have A7 suited, as that is the only other hand that jives with my read. Plus there is another jack out there which adds more value than you would think as I'd get a few bets if it hits. However, given the board there is only one A7s left (spades) so it is actually more likely that he has the AA. Crying calls on the turn and river (2s) and he shows me AA. Only a $280 pot this time...

I do manage to make a small comeback because the player to my right is really bad. He is a very loose raiser and the rest of the table is lettimg me isolate him on the flop. If I have anything at all I raise (or re-raise) his bet (or raise) and drive out the field and then outplay him the rest of the hand. Like Christmas...

So I end up stuck about $150 for the night. I have trouble getting to sleep as all I see when I shut my eyes is that fucking jack of hearts...

It got weirder on day 3, but that is a story for part 2....
Last edited by RCC on Wed Mar 08, 2006 6:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by slimshady2357 »

Just wanted to say that I highly enjoy reading these summaries RCC :)

Keep them coming!

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Joined: Mon Jun 07, 2004 5:28 pm
Location: Here for now.

Post by RCC »

Part 2

Day Three:

No more Taj for me. Borgata all the way. Resistence is futile...

I'd list the criteria where the Borg is better but I'd be here for a while. One is that the chips at the Taj are beyond gross. The Borg has magnitized speed chips that don't seem to have the buildup of dead human skin that the Taj chips have. Plus the Borg doesn't have a bus depot so instead of broke ass smelly jerks there are more wealthy yuppie types that think they are smart. Just two reasons...

I get in about 11AM and settle in for my usual 14 hour session. On the list for 6-12 HE again. Get seated in another good game. Player to my right is some kind of weird yuppie type woman in town with the freinds. She and her husband have apparantly seen poker on TV and read a few books so she is of course an expert. She is a joy to have on my right as she is completely predictable and can be easily manipulated. She plays just how the book (I think she has read Lee Jones) tells her preflop, but she is a bit passive and weak postflop. Her play is enough that she is a winner in this game unless she gets a very tight but tricky and agressive player to her left, and just her luck....

Two seats to my left unfortunately is a 50ish lady who plays very loose but very aggressive. Raises quite a bit, and both calls and raises preflop with weak hands. She is also quite aggressive by local standards postflop. I'm guessing she is at best a small winner, likely a long term loses, but a player that has wild swings. Her loose raising is going to be a good thing for me but will require me to tighten up more than I would like. I should try to change seats and get on her left but I like the seat I'm in directly across from the dealer.

Other than those two the table is what I see as typical AC fare. Timid and just a bit loose with little or no concept of position.

So I'd be in good shape but I'm running awful. The loose raiser is catching cards so she's getting even looser, and as she shows down weird hands the table starts calling more of her preflop raises, which makes the pots way way bigger and changes the proper strategy quite a bit. The combination of huge pots and more players seeing the flop makes draws go up in value. I'm just not hitting flops, and this is a game of cards right now.

An example would be where I have As 9s on the button, call a raise and see an 8 handed flop of 9d 2s Kc. First to act bets, all call to me and I'm getting like 23-1 so I have to call and take off a card as a 9 likely makes me the best hand, an ace could as well, and I have a runner-runner nut flush draw. Then the turn comes like 3s and it goes bet-raise and all call and I gotta call as even if it caps I'm getting the 4-1 I need to hit my flush and gets raised again and all call and since there are still 8 players I'm getting enough odds so that my proper play is to raise and they all call and the river comes with another king no spade and fold city here I come...

Shit like that. Draws where I have odds to call and will win in the long run but today I'm not quite doing it enough. I hit a few hands but not a monster like above which weighs in at about $600. The loose raising lady proves a poor sport when on a hand I flop top pair and a flush draw, and she joins the chase party and when I hit my flush on the last card she raises me and I pop her back. She calls and when I turn over my flush she slams her rivered straight under my nose like I should be ashamed of myself.

The game drags on and I do Ok mainly by stealing pot equity from the predictible woman to my right. She gives my raises way too much respect, so I'm now raising her with any pair or overcards on the flop as I know I can based on her reaction either get her to lay it down or give me free cards.

The woman starts talking to me. I am polite, but she is now into the bloody marys and tells me she has been up all night with her friends and I see she is getting a bit frayed. Unfortunately she is a very not nice person and she starts yelling at other player for some reason when she doesn't like their play.

For example, a guy has 35s and wins a hand, catching the last two cards to make a straight and busting her trip aces. She winds up going 6 bets on the river with the guy and when he shows his hand she starts to tell him just how stupid he is for playing that hand.

In her drunken anger she misses that he was in the big blind, got a free flop where he picked up a flush draw, and the action was such that he was correct to call as there were no raises. He was drawing to the flush and hit a straight by accident. This guy was a bad player, but by ironic chance played that hand correctly. But she is going off in a drunken frenzy.

This is about the time I notice that an ARGer/ old RGPer is at another table with an open seat. So I get the floorperson and see what I can do over there. The ARGer is killing the game but is getting ready to leave. He's by far the best player at the table, including myself and part of the reason I moved was to see if I could learn something. I stay out of his way and make a bit of small talk and find out he can't make it to FARGO this year and that sucks and so on. I'm still treading water. He leaves about 6PM and until about midnight the game is a bit slow and unremarkable. I'm continuing my pattern of not being able to lay down a hand when I know I'm beat and also otherwise playing like an idiot. Mainly I'm being too tricky. I need to be just sitting back and playing ABC poker, but I'm trying too hard for some reason, like it is a tournament and I need to make something happen instead of just waiting for good situations and showing patience. Patience has always been a strength, but on this trip I'm not being patient. So at midnight I'm stuck about $100 despite being in what should be a profitable game.

Then all hell breaks loose.

There are four major players in this drama, entering at different times. First is the dweeby drunk kid (DDK). He is fresh off getting busted out of a tournament at the Taj where he made a really bad play to lose his chips but has no idea that he was an idiot and he is repeating the story like he got unlucky. He is slightly tight but really bad and can't lay down a hand.

The second is the male model type (MMT) he has no clue. None.

The third is the young toughguy (YT). He has half a clue, and no emotional controll.

The forth is the eastern european superstar (EES). He is nuts. Good looking 23ish male with no sense whatsoever. He makes the MMT look like Doyle Brunson.

And we are off. I am introduced to YT when he and DDK are in a hand where DDK flops bottom set and he and YT go 4 bets on the flop. DDK gets a bit spooked and just calls the turn and river and beats YT's AA. YT gets a bit miffed and basically implies that DDK is a wuss as if he had the set he would have kept raising.

I then get into a hand where I am the big blind and YT is the button. All fold to him (EES and MMT haven't sat yet) and he raises, small blind calls. I look down and see QQ. I just call. Flop comes T52. SB checks, I check, YT bets, SB calls and I checkraise. YT calls and SB folds. Turn is a 7. I bet YT calls. River a 3. I bet YT raises and I call. He shows JJ, I show my QQ and he gets a bit testy and questions why I didn't reraise. I don't answer, although the correct answer is "because I am not a lunatic."

So I know where his head is at. DDK compliments me on my play with the queens. He's a nice guy. For some reason we then start dicussing the catholic church. Less said about that conversation the better.

Then the weirdness ensues.

MMT enters the game. He proves clueless rather quickly, when the following hand arises:

Forget the action before the river. At the end the board reads: 5c Ad Kd 9d 5d.

Only MMT and YT are in the hand. MMT raises, YT re-raises, MMT re-re-raises and rather than flood the screen with "re"s, lets just say they go back and forth. About six raises in YT looks at his hand, looks at the board (he has now moved to the seat on my right) and mutters that "I have the nuts!!! What is he raising me with?" and he raises again, and the MMT comes right back over the top at him. This goes on with YT checking his hand and getting more and more confused but no less aggressive as by my count they manage to raise each other 23 times (at $12 a pop per person) before YT is all in.

Meanwhile, DDK and I are losing our shit and whispering as to who has the quad fives and who is the moron. Has to be Aces full against four fives, right? YT keeps checking his hand and he has to have it. Wow.

Then, once he is out of money YT flips over Qd3s. Nut flush, but not the nuts. I start to duck away from him as I when MMT turns over at least a full house YT's head will explode.

This is when MMT shakes his head sadly. He turns over Jd2h. Holy fucking shit.

I whisper to DDK "does that board have 2 fives or am I crazy" he slurrs that it does, sure thing.

At this time YT is saying that he knew he had the nuts and he was scared that something was wrong and yada yada as he stacks the monster pot he just won. MMT says something about next time he will made real sure he has the nuts before betting like that.

Then the artist soon to be known as EES sits down. EES, MMT and slightly drunk asian dude (SDAD) cap it three ways. Flop comes down AT8 (two hearts). EES and MMT raise each other until it is capped and SDAD calls along. Every time MMY raises he rechecks his hand, looks at the board, and says that he is sure he has the nuts and he's not misreading the board this time. Big grin on his face.

Turn comes with a 5 no heart. Same deal. Capped three ways with MMT babbling that he knows he has the nuts this time.

Like a silly child I actually think he has AA. I wonder why EES is raising, but at this point I am ignorant of the force of nature that EES is so I, again the naive child figure him for a set. I have the confused SDAD on a flush draw, although he may have a small set and is hoping that MMT and EES are morons.

River a 2h. Flush draw hits. But the third verse same as the first two. EES and MMT get SDAD in the middle for 4 bets. Same claims about "I got it right this time" MMT. EES just looks neutral.

Then MMT tables KK like a proud father. Not even two pair. Not even an overpair. How he thought this was the nuts is anyone's guess, but I'm in shock.

It gets worse when EES tables a mighty pair of fours.

The really confused, but releaved SDAD tables AT for top two pair and the pot. He reads morons well. Actually I think he just got confused. He racks up and leaves. MMT is about busted but lasts a few hands and leaves.

Then the EES show takes over. He has some idea in his head of what to do, but I would love to have figured out a rational explaination.

He continues to play every hand, and wildly overplay any pair no matter the board or how he is beat. One hand where the board is: 66TT2 he calls a few raises all the way down, checkraises a player on the river and seems suprised that his 38o lost. A few hands later he rivers the nut straight when he holds 87 on an unsuited A3456 board, and just calls on the river.

The table is in a joyous uproar, and openly rooting for the EES. He looks a bit confused but happy. We are all having a good time and hoping he is some kind of rich kid with a pocket full of C-notes. He has put in about a grand into the game and the table seems to understand that if he stays happy the party continues and nobody is getting all pissy when they get the short end, like I did when I held AA in the gutshot hand above. I just smile and throw it away. No abuse...

That is until the evil loose raiser from earlier sits down. She is as stupid as she is mean. She never gets the picture. She not only actually folds to a river raise from EES she then loses a hand on a freaky drawout and starts giving him shit. Great.

Much has been written about not "scaring off the fish." Much of this missed the point. Yes, I like having the poor players around so that I can win their money. Poker isn't a big touchy feely thing. However, the reason why you don't make fun of how others play while at the table is:

It is rude. Pure and simple.

She then draws my ire by calling a string raise on him when she is not even in the pot. I have top set on the river and I bet and he wants to raise. Who knows how much I can get, but he pulls the old "I call you and raise you" which in a cardroom is technically a call. Thanks lady.

Then she pulls the "ugly American" double-combo when during a hand EES's friend comes up and they exchange words in some language who knows what. She is not in the hand but starts freaking about the "english only" rule. Good grief.

EES gets tired of her shit and leaves some minutes later. Probably off to the craps pit to play about $500 per number....

So I leave a few minutes later, up about $40 on the day.

Stay tuned for part 3, the conclusion of this fine and terrible saga...
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Post by RCC »

Part 3:

Day 4:

I plan to play for a few hours before heading back home. Like 12 or so.

I get to the same table I left the night before. Same game, different players. Same results. I have bought in for 300 and I am just treading water. Not really getting anywhere, but I can tell I am playing better. I'm just getting beat by longshots quite often. It happens.

The husband of the bloody mary drinking abusebot from yesturday gets into the game and he sits to my right. He plays a little better than his wife but still a bit weak and passive and prone to both sermonize about how smart he is (he's been playing for a whole year and read a book you see) and also play silly hands.

For example he says "I never make loose calls" and then limps in and I raise, he calls all the way to the river on a board of QT472 and turns over J2o, which I am sorry to report beat my AKs. No loose call there...

Not that it matters because he figures out that I play even tighter than he does preflop, but he doesn't figure out just how crazy aggressive I am playing postflop so I'm pretty much pounding on him since I raise almost every time he bets with me still in the hand. I can read him for the most part, and his bets are allowing me to get him heads up in a decent size pot. I'm manufacturing profitible situations, but the run of cards stays frozen. I do steal enough pots to keep myself around even.

At least for a while.

When I lose I tend to closely analyze the hand. I want to make sure that I didn't make a mistake. or cost myself extra bets. I am making very few mistakes but I am getting killed here. So I don't worry. I finally get myself to play basic poker, very few fancy plays (I pop up to take advantage of the guy on my right now and then, but I dial back on that). I lose with a set to a flush made on the river, and get beat when one person spikes a set on me to beat my two pair and so forth. I am doing a good job of not giving away bets when I am beat, but I am getting a bit too much practice at it...

I do have a good seat to see Rutgers beat Michigan State. I like the Big East teams to do well as it is part of my grand scheme for the One True And Noble Team to at least play in the National Champtionship. The LSU Oregon State game is about to start, and I'm thinking I'll leave when it is over. If I make it that long seeing that I'm down to like $70 and I am not rebuying today. Screw it, I'll just get home.

The next hand I flop a set and, amid multiway action damned if it doesn't actually hold up. As I rake in the chips I mention something about a miracle card on the river to which sooper geenus to my left looks confused. I'm back to around $200.

Then the luck changes. Hand of the day.

I'm in the small blind. All call to the button who raises. I have Ad5d. Not great but a suited ace is decent in a 10 way pot and I think that is what we will have. Not quite as the big blind folds but everyone else calls and we now have 9 players and 19 bets in the pot (call it 18 after rake). flop comes down Th 5c 3d. I check and the next player bets and all call to me. Right. Just like the hand in day one I am getting 26-1 to call here. I have to call. The only hands that scare me are a set, or someone with A9. Otherwise any A or 5 makes me the best hand, and running unpaired diamonds make me the nuts.

Turn comes with the Jd. I'm in now as I'm about 4-1 to hit the flush alone. I check, my left bets and 6 call to me. I grit my teeth and reraise as I have a small positive expectation and it will also disguise my hand if I hit it. Guy to my left 3-bets (whoops... there's your set) and 4 more call.

River is the sweet 8d. I now have the stone cold nuts and the only thing left is to see how much I can get in there. I check, dude to my left bets out, folds to a guy across the table who raises and folds to me. I smoothly put out the reraise to $36, and both make reluctant calls. I table my Ad5d for the nuts and a HUGE pot. The guy to my left disgustedly flips over TT and the other flips over Qd9s for the straight.

This is why loose holdem games can be tricky. Even if I know what these guys had the whole way my play is correct except that my call on the flop is marginal. I had no idea I was drawing to a running flush or running aces or fives. I had about one 1.5 outs on the flop out of 47 unknown cards (43 if I know about the TT and Q9) and when you consider the great chance for future implied odds in that I will collect extra bets if I hit, the call is close to being profitible.

Most players have a narrow and incorrect view of what the best hand is. They are fooled by who is ahead at the turn as in who has the best hand if you stop right there. This works as a rule of thumb when heads up or three handed, but even there it has exceptions. If player one holds Tc 4c and player two holds As Ks, and the board reads Ts Qs 7h, player two is a favorite to end the hand ahead, even though right now player one has the better hand if the game were to be over (pair of tens vs. Ace high). Player 2's overcards, flush and gutshot straight draw gives him so many outs that he should win about 60% of the time at the river once all cards are out...

If this breaks down with two players, it gets obliterated with many players. Often, as above, there are times when more than one player has a hand that should show a profit. An exagerated example is a 6-12 game as above where someone comes along and drops 50K in the pot before each hand starts. At this point, anyone in the game with any shot at winning the pot would show a profit in the long term. Folding would be crazy except when completely certain one is beaten.

More realistic is when there are a few players drawing dead (no win possible) or very thin, that money can be so that two or three other players are showing a positive expectation, and it often is the strongest drawing hand and not the best made hand that has the strongest expectation.

Yet, typical players fixate on the "who is ahead now" fallacy and it makes them angry when the hand "ahead" at the turn doesn't hold up.

I play for a while as a watch the Beavers blow a chance to knock off a high ranked team and further WVU's title hopes, nothing interesting, and finish the day up about $230, making my final trip result about $65 to the good side.

So I leave. I walk upstars to the casino floor. The Borg poker room at present is in a sort of basement no-smoking area along with the racebook and a nice snackbar. I understand it will be moving to a bigger area soon, so who knows. The room as it is now is one of the nicest poker rooms in the world. Adjustible chairs, clean chips, close and clean bathroom. The casino comps players with credit based on time and limits played. The 6-12 I played comps at about 1$ per hour. Not much but enough to pick up a free meal now and then. The Borg also has the most convienient comp system, you clock in when you start, clock out when you leave, but to use the comp you just present your player card at the point of sale and it gets swiped like a credit card. In other places comps must be requested in a particular amount and for a particular place (buffet, coffee shop, etc.).

The amount of money is staggering. As I walk out I pass a row of blackjack tables. $100 min bet. There are a few $50 min bets. The line to the ATM machine seems about 30 deep. Average age of the patrons here: 32. Average age at other AC casinos: 62.

The Borg has made created a hip place to be in AC, which is almost the most alarming thing in this report. Just a totally different kettle of fish from the rest of the blighted city...
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Post by slimshady2357 »

You promised us another synopsis when you got back from the latest trip.......

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Joined: Mon Jun 07, 2004 5:28 pm
Location: Here for now.

Post by RCC »

I wrote this for a slightly different audience...

As per my custom my ARG event trip report, typed out the day I return (yeah, I didn't get back until Friday) and not restricted by my having taken any notes or anything like that... ellipses may play a part though... lets see what happens....

Leave my office in sunny metropolitan Charleston, W.Va. at about 3PM last weds to begin the sojourn to the woods... never been north of Scranton in my entire life... or even to NY state much less Connecticut... we miss most traffic and get there at the not-so-bright hour of 4AM... staff is friendly... no rooms available though... maybe around 9... kinda tired... go to the cardroom... should mention that I have a fellow redneck with me, coop... we get a wampum card... sit at a 2-4 table... don't know what I am thinking there... drop a slow 80 bucks... room is ready... NEED SLEEP NOW... only time the entire weekend I manage to clock out of the poker room... also only session I leave stuck, so I guess if you are going to pick one 20BB loss 2-4 is a good limit to have it at...

After a nap I wonder back to the poker room in the early PM. Sit at a 5-10 kill game... Total geologic formation... Blah... Decide to try 4-8... find a lively game... pick up a few hands... nothing interesting or memorable, but good enough to pick up about 2 racks of the yellow 2$ chips... Also meet DQPaulie... tag along to the smoker... mmm... Chilean sea bass... back to the 4-8, where the following transpires:

I'm sitting on the button, 6 callers to me. I have been playing almost no hands. Two to my left is a very observant, somewhat solid and tight player whose main leak is that he can't shut the fuck up about making a big laydown, like when he dumps TT on a AKJT board w/2 hearts on the turn to a bet and three calls, saying that he has to put someone on the queen and everyone else on two pair and his outs are gone, but there is like already 20+BBs in the pot plus who knows the implied odds. So we know he can lay it down. He also likes to give his analysis as to every thing anyone does, ridiculing the play of others and so on. He's making a bit of an ass of himself. I raise from the button with black presto, he calls from the blinds. Flop comes AJT, all hearts, which, as I learned from a Dave L. post, is not a bad flop for presto. He bets all fold to me I call. Turn is a 6c. He bets I raise he mucks face up before my chips hit the felt. ATs in diamonds. I tap the table and say nice hand and muck. He asks what I had. I tell him. He turns a little red. Then he assumes I am fucking with him. He's right about that.

A few hands later the same kid gets on the dealer when there is a screwup moving the button. The kid says he can fix the problem implying that the dealer as well as everyone that wants the floor is wasting his precious time. Guy to my right wants the floor. Kid is quite animated saying he can fix it. Guy to my right tells kid to "Shut the fuck up." Kid starts saying he will get the guy "thrown the hell out for swearing." Floor comes over, straightens it out. Guy to my right is apologetic. Later apologizes to me personally for swearing. I tell him I am only sorry he beat me to it. I leave soon after up a few bucks, wondering if "hell" counts as a swear word... if the kid had pushed the issue with the floor I may have decided to ask...

I then go to the suite, and run into Don Perry, who is watching the debate. I think Don should have his own political cable show. Call it "The Spotted Dick Hour," and just let him loose.

Then the great computer crash of 2004, the less said about that the better, although I still wonder if I could have made a diving catch...

In the pairs tourney, Coop is playing the HE leg, so I get the O8, which is for the most part a 20 minute penalty. Fold fold fold. We survive until Coop takes some kind of big pot off of DaveL. We muddle our way to the last two tables, and to our shock and horror we have a healthy stack. That is until a bizarre misplayed hand at I think the 200-400 level.

Coop has a mighty T5o in the sb. In the bb is Korbin's partner, whose name escapes me. Coop raises and gets called, flop is 589 rainbow. Coop bets and gets raised. Turn is a 6. Coop bets out, gets raised and reraises and they cap it. He shows his hand to me. At this point I realize that he thinks he has a straight. This now is like a horror movie, except the "don't open the closet" is replaced by "don't checkraise the river." Coop of course does when the river brings a 2, gets called and is shown K8o.

Yikes. We are crippled. We manage to tread water and then triple up with QQ in the next level, and the 08 level after that a key series of hands arise for the teams of Lexx/Llew, Treasure/Taki and ourselves. Lexx had just hit a huge hand with with QQ and he and Llew are healthy, we are OK and Treasure/Taki has like a BB. I think it is like 400-800 at this point... so by healthy I mean we have maybe 4 BB, Llew has maybe 8, around 15 teams left. Treasure is in the BB, and Llew limps in, only two players. Matt raises and Llew calls. Lew flips over some kind of low wrapish hand, like 3467 suited or something, a decent hand for the situation. Treasure hasn't looked. He flips the first card. Ace. The second is another ace. His eyebrows raise. Third card is yet another ace. Buzz in the room. Then he flips... yup... the case ace. 4 aces. Good hand, wrong game. Llew hits a low straight and the defending champs are out.

Shortly thereafter I'm in the big blind with my measly 3BB. Llew raises from the sb. I peek at my hand, and see AA34 double suited. See y'all at the river. I raise, call flop comes with 2 hearts (not my suits) and paired jacks but heads up no freaking way I do anything but floor it and it goes bet raise call so I have .5bb left. Turn is 3rd heart but second low Llew bets I call all in she shows the nut flush. I have outs to a full house with an ace or jack for a scoop and any low card gives me an escape. This is when I realize I'm on the bubble as I hear someone (DaveK?) behind me yelling "no low" and I see a few other interested observers from the other table. River is no help (paired one of the low cards) so I make my first career live bubble. To compound the agony the last open seat in the yellow chip 10-20 hose just got swiped. Llew/Lexx put our chips to good use and won the tournament. No idea who r00led the yellow chip...

After the buffet a midnight madness is like no chance and lists ahoy and I just wonder for a few and then just go crash and work on the sleep debt. I overpay the sleep debt after, in a display of my West Virginian technical savvy, I set the alarm for 7:30 PM instead of AM, so no breakfast for me, or even a shower for that matter as I wake up at like 9:35. NL is at 10. I race walk to the poker room from Two Trees in time to register.

So I have that going for me... NL is uneventful... 1000 starting stack, steal my way to 1400, lose about half when a player makes an early position "give up" all in raise... I read it as a weak hand but so what as I find KK in the small blind so I just jam it in there... he flips over AJ.... ace on the turn.... fuck... break... table breaks... down to 500, crunch limps in for 100 in ep, put him on small pair, move in with AJs from the button, get called, shows 44... flop is AJ4...IGHN ... Actually, more like IG4-8N.

I decide to get into a 4-8 game. The alarm debacle has me lacking confidence that I can survive a trip "off campus" as it were for the heads up, and I have had enough NLHE today anyway. In the 4-8 game I had a bad habit of flopping top pair, turning two pair, then rivering a flush. I'm up like 4 racks. Unfreaking real. Since I decided to buy in for two racks I have way too many goddamn yellow chips in front of me. I am a magnet for weird stares and questions from random patrons. One guy wants to know why I only bet one chip. I point out that was a small blind. A girl wants to know if I am ahead. I say that I am. At this point I start to color a few chips up. I go cold for a while and lose back a rack or so and give it up around midnight.

The next morning I am fired up for the METS tourney. I wind up with DILLIGAF on my right and Ice on my left. Good grief. I die a not so slow chip death as I do a good job of overplaying my hand preflop and then missing flops through the HE/O8 legs. Next is stud and I have my worst game with a short stack. 4-8 here I come. I then get wired aces and get back to about my starting stack. Then I find rolled up tens when ADB Satan has (I think) wired aces that turned into a staight / flush draw and he spiked an A on the river at the same time I filled up and I was in very good shape and he was crippled. I had no idea what was going on except I started with 3 tens and wasn't slowing down absent an extreme circumstance, so his semi-bluff raises really did no good as I just kept banging back. I may have had my eyes closed...

I then had a series of two hands with DaveK in the second HE round.. Where in the first I 3-bet/mucked QQ on an ace high flop, and then we went to the river including a flop raise with my AA against his AJ on a J high board. So I was in good chip postion right until the Omaha round when AA34 double suited bit me in the ass again. It was 4 bets preflop heads up with a short stack, and I bet the flop and turn putting him all in on a board of QQ82. I forget the other hand, but I had a flush draw, the low locked if a low fell, and my aces were good. He had something like A286 w/ a suited ace. River was an 8, and half of my stack went bye-bye.

I muddled through the stud and stud8 rounds, stealing antes and realizing that the starting blinds for the NLHE round were so high that I wasn't sure taking any chances was really worth it at that stage. Last hand of stud-8 I was dealt (4A)4, and a very short stack brought it in for a full bet with a 5 showing and there was one caller to me, with a king (yeah... a king). I had a 1000 chips, and the level was 300-600 with a 50 ante and 100 bring in, so the pot had 950 in it already. Both I and the bring in were short, so if I raised I figured to be going to the river as the short stack was going nowhere and the king wasn't either. I just didn't like my hand hot and cold against what looked like a better low draw and a pair of kings (although I can't promise that dude wasn't on like KQJs) Also, Tahajian also seemed a bit froggy to my left with I think a 7 up. So I mucked it. Take my chances with 1000 in the 200-400 blind NLHE round. I think Tahajian called and then he and the King folded when the shortstack caught a scary non brick. Of course, it turned out I would have caught a third 4 on fourth street, but that's life.

I may have made a mistake, but I really just didn't want to go broke there. I just didn't think it was a good spot, both straight up and also given the weird tournament structure that we were moving into the NLHE next hand.

After a break and me I think half getting the hand right and discussing it with DaveL (I think at that point I thought that I had the ace up, but that would mean I didn't have one down and I now remember not having a wired pair) the general consensus between him and Tina is that I am a wuss. This is of course true in a general sense, but I'm not convinced I should have played it differently. I wonder what the equity of A44 is against a pair of kings and a low draw with a 5 showing either suited/connected/or with an ace (or two of the three).

We are back at the no limit. First hand I steal from UTG with A7o, second hand I double through that same A7o with 77. Then, Paul Stine makes a small early position raise to 800 (blinds 200-400). I find a pair of kings in the big blind and move in with my approx 2500. Stine folds and I am heads up with DaveK's big blind, and he calls all in for 100 with like T7o, which I survive, collecting a bounty (5$) and DaveL's meta-bounty on DaveK of 1$. This is significant because due to my glorious Pokerstars satellite victory I have only five bucks in equity in this tournament, so I am now $1 ahead. I then go card dead, steal the blinds here and there but not enough as the blinds are going up and I limp to the final table with about 3k with the blinds at 600-1200. I somehow manage to emergency steal from middle position with 78s and last for a few minutes until my all in UTG raise with AQ for 2400 with 800-1600 blinds gets called more or less blind (and correctly so) by Dangerous Dan and his titanic chip stack, and his T6o catches a 6 to bust me out 8th. My first ever live (as in not internet) tournament final table, my first ever live tournament in the money, and it goes without saying my first ever ARG event final table and cash.

Thus the end of the official fargo events.

I stuck around Foxwoods for two more days though. On Monday I more than doubled my career B&M tournament earnings by cashing in the $100 limit tournment. Then my last day I played my traditional "last day of an arg event" 10-20 session, and wound up in the wildest 10-20 game I have ever seen. 10 way preflop for a raise not uncommon. I ran pretty bad and only won about $150 or so.

Favorite hands:

I get presto in the big blind. All 10 players call to me so I of course raise it. All call. Flop is 5QQ. I bet, all call to sb who checkraises and I three bet. This loses 4 players, so we are 6 to a turn of 9c. I bet out and all call. River is a 5, also putting 3 spades on the board (lots of "any two suited" in this game). I bet out. two fold and the next player looks worried. What I really need is Tiger's "bluff" button. I improvise:

I toss the dealer a white chip. She looks at me perplexed. I say that I'm tipping because it is my pot 'cause these guys are all folding. They all call. I open and they muck.

Also fun was another 10 way called preflop to my big blind. I held 42o, so I knuckle (apologies to raydon). Flop is 226 rainbow. SB bets I raise UTG three bets and three call and all stick after I put the cap on it, so we are 6 ways to the turn which is the Kd, the second diamond. UTG bets out I again raise and UTG again three-bets it, two callers on the other end, SB folds and I just call. River is the Jd. I check, UTG bets, both call to me and I call expecting to lose to K2o, but I'm not folding in this game. UTG proudly tables AKo. One player on the other end looks relieved and tables 3d7d for the flush, and then the other dude flips over Qd6d for a bigger flush. I muck without showing, and listen to UTG bitch for 20 minutes about the bad beat he just took.

Another moment of fear. Loose raiser raises from mp, I three bet from the cutoff with 99 and the button (new player) caps. 5 players see the capped flop as the blinds "defend." Flop is 952 rainbow. Checked to me I bet button raises all fold to me and I three bet he calls. Turn is an 8. I bet he calls. River is a 6. I bet he immediately raises. I think for a second. Just looks like a delayed raise with 78s. I'm not folding, obviously, but I may just call. I go ahead and call. He of course has 44. I thought 78 was a bit of a stretch, but his turning over 44 was a kind of "aha" moment as to what I was dealing with. He blew off about 500 in 30 minutes and wondered off...

The final insight into what I was dealing with. Game is 7 handed. I get QTo in the sb and complete it, 4 ways to the flop of TT6. I Bet out and 3 callers. Turn is a 5. I bet, folded to the cutoff who raises. I just call here. River is a Q. I bet out, get raised and three bet. He calls and shows 55. He doesn't shut up about how lucky I was to catch the river until I leave an hour later.

The next day I spend in Hartford, and the less said about Hartford the better. We left Thursday afternoon, and I trudged in the door at about 5AM this Friday morning, and after a nap here I am...
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Post by RCC »

(Editor’s note: The Author had planned a rather lengthy and literate trip report, going so far as to use a laptop and take notes. However, due to that lousy bastard’s unfortunate physical condition and his typical redneck technical savvy, the notes are useless and The Author is forced back to his traditional style of just talking right out of his ass.)

We got to ATLARGE a little early this year. Monday morning to be exact, trying to avoid the frozen wave of doom that swept the earth. I don’t get to play live much at all outside of ARG events so I do try to push it where possible, and this time I may have pushed it too far trying to spend a solid week in the Taj... Everything was spiffy the first few days, beat up on the 5-10 and 3-6 games, managed to cash in one of the Taj tournaments. I like the structure of the Taj’s tourneys... no rebuys, and the antes kick in at the third level (100-200 w/ 25 ante). Many of the players seem to be ignorant of pot odds and are fond of limping way too late in the tournament. At one point I from the button raise 3 limpers all in for my last T6800. I don’t remember the structure, just that it folded back to me and I doubled through on the hand even though nobody called me...

On Thursday other ATLARGERS begin to appear. Some wander into my 5-10 game, others I just see. For some awful reason at about 11PM or so a bunch of us decide we want to play 2-4 Omaha. The Taj relents and gives us a table, but then in typical Taj fashion tell us it must be a must move game for the main 2-4 O8 game. This of course, defeats the purpose and makes no sense seeing that it would really be a “must leave” game as nobody with any sense would willingly go to the main 2-4 O8 game for the same reason that people don’t willingly go to prison...

So someone, I think me, suggests a half HE half O8 game to avoid the must move, and the Taj people agree. So we have a little rocking 2-4 game where I show off my advanced skill at hitting two outers on the turn and overtipping dealers. Unfortunately I’m starting to feel notsohot, and this is where the whole trip starts to come apart....

Ironically, the list for the above game got long enough where a second non-ATLARGE two-way 2-4 game got started, and wound up breaking the main 2-4 O8 game...

So Friday morning I’m really feeling like crap. I vaguely remember the HOE, the only concrete memory I have is busting out in the omaha round with something along the lines of AA35 with a suited ace that got beat both ways. I was short stacked and got about half of my chips in pre-flop and when the flop didn’t brick me I felt committed. What I do remember is turning over my hand, and when Goldie (who had the high) started clapping the thought passed through my head that he was acting rather oddly... I guess I was dazed enough to sorta forget about the bustout applause thing... but I soon remembered where I was and what was going on and waived to the applauding throng...

Then I went to take a nap.

After an hour or so I felt duty bound to try a little more poker, see how it goes. I decide to try a little 3-6 as I am a bit fuzzy. Crappy game, table that time (or at least the floor) forgot, short handed and so forth. I want to leave but the banquet is in less than an hour so suck it up... I torture myself for a while over this, then get up. While walking to the banquet I begin to now REALLY feel like poopie. So I abort and return to my room. Maybe a 14 hour nap would be just the thing before the no-limit.

At least that is the plan. I maybe sleep two hours total that night. My throat is driving me nuts, I have some sort of world record for a tongue ulcer (from the cough drops) in that I can see it in the mirror across the room without using my glasses, and best of all the Taj beds and pillows seem to have been designed with the “Cell of Little Ease” as a model. If my tossing and turning could have been harnessed I could have provided a small village with electrical power for the next decade...

I was on autopilot for the no-limit. I remember turning a nut straight and then folding on the river when the board paired. I remember a weird hand where I flopped top pair, bet out, was told it was not my turn yet, apologized, and then when the other player bet I folded. I also remember being moved to table1 seat 10, a seat only accessible by hovercraft, and getting to it just in time for break so I could leave and try to get back to it again only to bust out on a 77 vs. AK race five hands past the break so I could force my way out again.... I’m a wreck from lack of sleep, and the first thing that goes for me is my emotional control, so the above just seems like the Worst Thing That Can Happen To Anyone Ever. Totally irrational, but I’m feeling easily put out at this point. This is when I realize that I feel like acting the same way most of the people (not ATLARGERS of course) tend to act at the Taj. Being a Good Country Boy I tend to spectate the kind of urban rudeness here with some level of amusement. Unfortunately, I'm feeling myself slipping into what I mock. Ye gads.. I maintain for the most part though...

OK... At this point I’m having No Fun. I appreciate the work done on the whole deal by Goldie and others, and I do wish I could enjoy myself, but I’m a mess. I’ve been looking forward to this for months and I’m here and I just want someone to shoot me, or at least teleport my sick ass back home. Back to the concrete slab mattress and maybe another 2 hour hot shower.

That night I hang out a little in the suite... try to keep a moderate distance in case I’m spreading the SARS virus... hate the idea of just camping out other than the tournaments... hang until about midnight, get some sleep for the Stud tournament...

I get up in time for stud. My first ever live high only stud tourney, as I didn’t register for it last year. I’ve had some good results in internet stud tournaments, but I usually just play Stud8, and the big game back home in my youth was 7stud hi/lo no qualifier. I just never really grasped regular stud for some reason. Seems like every time I play it I keep getting great hi/lo hands...

Second hand in I get dealt rolled up fives. Nice. I make quads on 4th street. I can dig it. Thing is we are playing 15-30 with a stack of 3K so I’m not going to win it here... I think it would be nice to get this a little later. Unfortunately I catch 2s on 5th and 6th so even though I think my opponent has trip queens he slows down and I win a nice pot rather than a really absurdly large one...

From there I muddle on until there are about 5 tables left. I have about 2400, and am waiting for a chance at a noble death so I can sit in the pink chip game for a few minutes at least. Then I make concealed trips on 4th street and manage to almost triple up, and then win the next pot I think on a scary board and a bluff. So I’m doing alright when the table breaks until I get into my saga with Golfman. He has many chips and is playing very aggressive, seemingly completing the bring-in 70% of the time. When there are I think still 3 tables we play a series of crucial hands.

In the first, he brings it in and I complete with an ace showing, and a suited QJ under. He calls. He catches small on 4th and I catch a 9. I bet he calls. On 5th street I pair the nine and he pairs a small card. I bet he again calls. On 6th I catch an ace, pairing the door card. He has 3 to a wheel showing. I bet out and he goes into the tank. I think he has a low draw or two pair and is contemplating dumping it. I have maybe 3 bets left and he is pretty deep. He remarks that he can’t believe he is laying this down as he made his draw and shows a 6 high straight and folds.

After a rather serious limit increase we went at it again. He brought in with a five showing for the full bet (I think... he had maybe raised a bring in), and I raised with an exposed 9 and a suited QJ under with larcenous intent. He called. We both catch 9’s on 4th street, and I bet to represent the trips. He calls, which concerned me a bit. I was ready to fold up the tent on 5th street until I catch the case 9. I bet with my exposed trips, and he isn’t folding yet. He’s just tortured, and says something about it being a close call and now I know he started with rolled up 5s. He calls me down and my trips hold.

The final chapter came with nine left in the tournament, and he again raised someone’s bring in only for me to find rolled up queens. I reraised him all in and soon the final table was underway...

The final table was quite mad. The limits for most of it were 6K/12K, heavy stuff with only 190K on the table. Then they were 10K/20K. I think I only played one hand without a monster when I completed with an A up only to be reraised by a queen. For some reason I decided a checkraise bluff on 4th street was the correct play, and to my shock I took down the pot.

Other than that from what I recall I busted four of the eight remaining players in my march to the title. As I recall these were the hands I started with:





...given the limits we were pretty much playing no-limit stud anyway...

So, I won the ATLARGE stud tournament. I didn’t believe it then and I’m not sure I believe it now. I’d have given it to be able to at least breathe without having a knife stuck in my lung, but we all have our little problems in life I guess...

Thus ended my ATLARGE. I made it back home where the recovery continues. What did I learn?

1) Being sick at the Taj sucks.

2) Seriously.

3) If the structure is fast enough not really knowing the particular game in a poker tournament is not much of a liability.

4) You can be rolled up 3 times in an hour and not get arrested.
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Post by RCC »

If you want to know what I look like with the flu, no sleep, and after winning a poker tournament, some action photos at the bottom of the page:

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Post by V.2 »

Congratulations... nice to know I've not been taking advice from a loser! ;)
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Post by slimshady2357 »

RCC wrote:If you want to know what I look like with the flu, no sleep, and after winning a poker tournament, some action photos at the bottom of the page:

Hey RCC, what were the entry fees for those three tournements?

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Post by RCC »

slimshady2357 wrote:
RCC wrote:If you want to know what I look like with the flu, no sleep, and after winning a poker tournament, some action photos at the bottom of the page:

Hey RCC, what were the entry fees for those three tournements?

A whopping $75.

It is an interesting group to play with, mainly the same group that I was with during the above posted FARGO trip report...

Here is the registration form for this past trip: http://conjelco.com/atlarge.html
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Post by slimshady2357 »

RCC wrote:
slimshady2357 wrote:
RCC wrote:If you want to know what I look like with the flu, no sleep, and after winning a poker tournament, some action photos at the bottom of the page:

Hey RCC, what were the entry fees for those three tournements?

A whopping $75.

It is an interesting group to play with, mainly the same group that I was with during the above posted FARGO trip report...

Here is the registration form for this past trip: http://conjelco.com/atlarge.html
Wow, according to my quick calculation, they paid out 100% of the entry fees for the NL Hold'em! :o Nice.

Thanks for the info!

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Post by RCC »

Another weird poker saga...

PART 1: In which our hero visits the heartland and startles some locals:

I decide to flee real life for a few days and make my way to somewhere on the Ohio River between Louisville and Cininnnantttiieee or however that is spelled. Luckily, there is a casino there with a card room, so I decided to maybe play a little.

The Belterra riverboat pokerroom is somewhat new, and while not having many tables it is a very nice room, clearly and by far the best poker room on the Ohio. It seems to be well supported by the general casino management where in most places poker is more tolerated than promoted. There are 16 tables or so, all well spread out. The tables have automatic suffling machines which speed up play, and most importantly the dealers keep their own tips rather than spreading them out through the casino, which has an obvious impact on dealer quality...

They do seem to be a bit new at running things though, and several things happened that made me wonder if there was some sort of maniac making decisions there... For one thing there was one table that had a problem with the shuffler, it would miscount the red deck. For some reason even early in the day the floor kept trying to start the 3-6 game at that table even though 1) there were other tables and 2) if you were going to use that table wouldn't it be better to slow down the 2-4?

Anyway, I get there Thursday night and get into a 3-6 game. I really don't feel like playing big on this trip. The 3-6 is a good game, as they usually are, lots of people calling a lot of bets but not raising much. There is one older guy with a pissed off look a few seats to my right. He seems to be some kind of "rock," an unimaginitive player that just plays really tight but weak and usually wins a little over time against really loose competition and whines when he loses a pot.

Only hand of note of the first night:

I'm in the big blind, game is 9 handed. All call to the rock on the button. He raises, the small blind folds. I find 83s (clubs). I had been playing for 4 hours and at no point had anyone limp-reraised, so I go ahead and take my likely 15-1 odds and call the extra 3 bucks. All call.

Flop comes 347 all different suits with one club. All check to the rock who bets out. I decide that he's lilely on KK or AA, so I of course raise with my mighty threes trying to clear the field. Everyone folds to the rock, who, being a rock, just calls. Now I have to also allow that he might have AK and be praying for an overcard, but most rocks don't like to raise with AK because "they never win with it" or some such. Either way there are 19 small bets out there after the rake, so I like my two-pair/backdoor flush/backdoor straight draw.

Turn is a 5 that completes the rainbow and gives me a gutshot to go with my two pair draw. I bet out on the scare card, taking my 9.5-1 shot that he has AK and will lay it down or better yet call. Plus, I'm pretty sure he will not raise, but he would likely bet if I check. I figure I have nine outs, two threes, three eights, and four sixes, so I'm a little better than 4-1 to win so I have to call a bet, so why not bet myself if I figure he will anyway?

River is of course the six, making me the luckbucket special running gutshot. I bet out and with the straight on the board he's not folding. I open my mighty 38s and he angerly mucks KK face up. There is some table talk among the others that I am some kind of moron seeing I just raised the flop and bet the turn with what appeared to be little more than garbage and made a running straight. The dude to my right sounds like he just witnessed a brutal murder or something. The rock glares at me and whispers to the person to his right. I'm waiting for someone to make the comment that I love to hear, and the dude to my left does not disappont me:

"That's why I like no-limit better. People like him can't get away with crap like that at no limit."

Which earns my stock response: "I find that I can't get away with it at ping-pong either." Followed by me grinning, putting on my Ipod, and knowing that the general response to all of this is that I'm now going to be getting called a lot more than usual since I'm outed as a bad player, or in the present lingo that some players have picked up from ESPN or something, a "donkey." I eventually quit up a solid amount.

Coming soon: Part 2, in which our hero angers a wannabee pro and the unexpected appearance of Amarillo Slim.
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Post by shemp »

If I could find tables like that every day I'd quit my job.
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Post by RCC »

Part 2: Our hero maintains his image as a lucky SOB, meanwhile Amarillo Slim enters our story

I get to the cardroom about 10AM. I'm trying to maintiain normal sleep patterns this trip, a goal that conflicts with a goal of optimal table selection as I'm not wanting to stay up late when usually games get really good.

The only game going is a 2-4 holdem, which I join for a while. The only interesting thing going on is that I'm asked if I want on the early registration list to lock up a seat for the 7PM tournament. $100 entry fee, NLHE, limited to 80 players. I'm all over it.

In a short while, a 4-8 game opens up and I join it. A set of three serious wanabee types sit down. They all have hats and sunglasses, are carrying portable cd players and so on. They play tight, and make comments on the play going on, comments that betray that they all seem to take this seriously, read books and so on, but that they are more concerned with self-image than in really understanding.

This becomes really obviously very quickly. Wanabee #3 is second under the gun and raises after the first player limps. He gets 4 callers to me, and I look down to see 7h8h. I'm on the button, and I'm guessing we will have at least 6 players to the flop, and I like my hand in a volume pot so I call the raise, the blinds fold and UTG calls.

Flop is 2c5h6h, making me a straight flush draw. I like the flop. He bets, one caller to me, and I just call. Only three of us see the turn come 9d. He bets, the other player folds, so I just call figuring that I have him drawing absolutely dead if he has a big pair, and even if he has AhKh he's drawing thin and to two outs (9h or 4h) that are really going to hurt him...

The river is a meaningless Ts, unless he had TT and then I have him pretty good... He bets out and I now raise. He grumbles and calls, I open and he mucks his pretty aces face up, grumbling about lucky chasers and so on...

Later the same player calls utg, two callers and I raise from the cutoff with AQs, folds to him, he looks at me and says "I don't chase" and mucks it... others call, the flop is 269 rainbow or some such, checked to me I bet and all fold... From his reaction to the flop my guess is he folded something with a nine in it...

The final sin I commit against this player is when he later again limps in second to act, and I limp along with 6 others from the button with QTo. Flop comes 39A rainbow. I decide to fold but it is checked to me. Turn is a J of the fourth suit. Wanabee bets, gets one caller to me and I'm now priced in to my open ended straight draw. River is a K. Wanabee bets out, other calls, and I again raise, wanabee is a bit upset, says "Hit a miracle card, eh?," and tosses out a call. The other player folds and I turn over the nuts, saying "only if hitting an open ended straight is a miracle"... the wanabee angerly slams down AKo and says something again about fucking chaser" and then disgustedly says more to himself than anyone else: "eight outs!!" I refrain from pointing out that now if he just considered the amount of cards unknown (46) and the size of the pot when I called (a smige more than 5 bets after rake) and that I had position which means a good chance of extra bets if I hit (implied odds) that I'd be a moron to fold...

Instead I admit that I was foolish to call on the flop with nothing. Of course someone can't keep from correcting me that there was no bet on the flop....

About at this point a person that looks an awful lot like Amarillo Slim walks into the room. He's greeted by the floorperson as Slim. Turns out he is Amarillo slim. He shakes a few hands and sits at the no limit game. I take a break from my game after a few tough hands... like when I flop a set of queens and lose a ton of chips when someone's slowplayed aces make a running flush. I was up a few and decided to go get lunch so I cashed out...

When going to get something to eat I finally notice all the signs saying that tonight is the "Amarillo Slim Tournament," for some reason Slim is here to play in a $100 tournament, the one I'm registered for. Go figure.

I return and get a seat in a 3-6 game, where I'm getting some bad cards. I flop a set with QQ again and again lose when JJ makes a straight. At some point, a few cocktail waitresses show up with huge bowls of watermelon. Apparently Slim brought some up from his ranch or something and is treating the whole room to it.... He's even going around and serving it to people, telling stories and so on. Very weird.

Then I have a bit of a shocking hand. I'm on the big blind, UTG+1 and three others call, I see I have 93o so I check. Flop comes 269 with two spades. I check, UTG+1 bets, folds to me and I decide since this player seems to be very solid that he likely has a spade draw given how he bet and using my sooper 1337 reading skillz... so I call with the idea of betting out if a spade does not come. Turn is the 3s. Now I hope I'm wrong and he is slowplaying a big pair. He bets, and I call both for a chance he has AA or KK or even A9 and I also have 4 outs to a boat. River was Qd, he bets I call he shows AA and I flip over my two pair.

I'm a bit shocked he just smiles and nods. Most players would have lost it completely.... I get the idea he understands what happened so I make a mental note to be careful with this player in the future... Rarely do I see someone who can just shrug off getting aces cracked by 39o when they risk it by just limping preflop...

Then the tournament was about to start...

Coming soon: Part 3, where our story goes completely absurd...
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Post by RCC »

shemp wrote:If I could find tables like that every day I'd quit my job.
There seemed to be a lot of them at Foxwoods... I don't think I could match my present salary at those 4-8 games but I'd have a very nice hobby....

But 12 hours each way is a long commute... I will be there Sept 29 - Oct 2 for FARGO though...

(You should be too... I may need a teamate for the pairs tournment on Friday morning...)
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Post by shemp »

RCC wrote:
shemp wrote:If I could find tables like that every day I'd quit my job.
There seemed to be a lot of them at Foxwoods... I don't think I could match my present salary at those 4-8 games but I'd have a very nice hobby....

But 12 hours each way is a long commute... I will be there Sept 29 - Oct 2 for FARGO though...

(You should be too... I may need a teamate for the pairs tournment on Friday morning...)
You would want to play with me as a pair? You must be insane, must be the WV water. Plus I don't think I'm ready for that level yet. Maybe next year.
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Post by RCC »

Part 3: In which our hero confronts absurdity and unease.

So the tournament is upon me. Each player gets 1500 in chips, blinds going up every 20 minutes. I have no idea the exact structure though.

I take my seat a few minutes early and chat with an older gentleman to my right who is wearing a Pokerstars hat. He's really chatty and more than a little daft. I find quickly that he really likes to talk. At this point it is announced that all players reaching the final table will both make the money and win a signed copy of Amarillo Slim's "recently" released autobiography. This must be a different use of "recently" seeing I bought a copy about two years ago...

Off the bat my chatty pal gets some hands, totally overplays them and busts two players in the first two hands. He has a huge stack now and says that he needs to stay "aggressive." His idea of "aggressive" means more like "play like a maniac" as he bets every chance he gets, and is obviously absurdly easy to trap. He's still dangerous though and while one player doubles up through him two more get knocked out when he catches cards.

Then they move Amarillo Slim to his right. Second time I've been at the table with a world champion (First was Greg Raymer at FARGO during the pairs tourney). Slim is decked out with his trademark stetson, exotic cowboy boots, large belt buckle, and western shirt.

My chatty buddy then graces me with pure unintentional comedy gold...

He immediately asks Slim, "Are you from Texas?" He's dead serious too...

The look on Slim's face I will never forget. He smiled at first thinking it was an absurd joke, but realized quickly that it wasn't.... He did catch himself though and launched into a story...

The tournament went on. They moved Slim shortly thereafter. I limped in with 77, turned a set, and nearly doubled up. My buddy loses a few big hands and has about the same size stack as me. A few hands later I'm in the big blind, the blinds are 75-150. It folds to my buddy in the small blind who raises to 450. I look down and see two black aces. I would usually play back here, give the impression that I am defend stealing and hope he has a hand. But since I'm 80% sure he will move in on the flop with anything, I just call. flop comes 78Q, he says all in and I beat him into the pot. My AA holds up against his 33 and he only has about 100 left, which I get on the next hand along with another players last 800 when my KQ flops top pair and it holds up. I now have about 7800 in chips and am in good shape.

Then I fold literally every hand for the next hour. Total garbage. Soon we are down to the last two tables, and I have about 3500. With about 14 players left we reach the second break and all the 100 chips are taken out of play and replaced with 500 chips, meaning I have exactly seven chips in front of me. Blinds are now 500-1000, so I need to stop being picky. Plus Slim has been moved to my table...

First hand back I find presto and move all in. I get called by KTo but my fives hold up and I double up and get the blinfs. This makes me about 3rd of the seven at the table. There are only 120000 worth of chips in the game...

A few hands later I move in with 88, and get called by a slightly smaller stack with KJo. Flop has a king, but I river the 8 to again almost double up and become the second chip leader at the table. The first chip leader is now on my right and playing very aggressive with a stack about twice mine. The rivered 8 also prompts Slim to start talking about Chris Moneymaker and about how Slim beat him back to Tennessee after Chris won the WSOP to try to get him into a heads up match...

The lead stack then started moving past aggressive to silly and he doubles up Slim, and Slim then knocks out another player and we are down to 11 left. The blinfs go up to 1000 and 2000 (ye gads) and it is folded around to the leader who hemms and haws and then calls from the small blind. I decide he really is marginal and move in for about 8000 more from the big blind. The leader mucks while giving me a suspicious eye.

The next hand, as if on cue, the leader calls from the button. I look down and find aces. So I move in with the same exact motion, body language and etc. as the last hand. The big blind considered calling for a few minutes than mucked. The leader stared me down for about another two minutes then declared he couldn't let me steal again, so he called and flipped over Ah6h.

My aces held, and I busted the tilting leader on the next hand when I found 99 and called his all in raise and I became the chip leader with about as we all advanced to the final table with about 32000 of the 120000 chips remaining...

But with now 2000-4000 blinds my lead wasn't exactly safe. I wound up starting the final table in the small blind. The big blind to my left had exactly one 500 chip, so he was all in. UTG then called all in with 3500 , it came around to Slim who limped for 4000, and then the button moved in for 2500. I looked down and found presto, and called, figuring Amarillo wouldn't bluff at a dry pot and that I wanted the company in that each player busted was another step up the pay scale and a bigger chance to win.

Flop was 238. I checked and Slim checked. turn was another 8. The button, a young excitable chap, cheered and jumped up and down. Check check.

River was, of course, a five. Presto kills. I bet Slim all in. He folded almost immediately and I turned over my rivered boat. The first two players mucked and shrugged, the kid on the button turned over A8 and was still celebratin, telling the dealer to ship him the pot and so on. The dealer told him he lost to my full house, but the kid just kept saying "but I have three eights."

Then it hit him and he came down as hard as he went up and was moaning about "two outs" as he walked away.

Seven players left. A guy across the table busted someone, and six are left. Same guy then busts Slim, and the blinds are now 4000-8000, which means poker time is over. With four players left I get 33 and move in first to act. Not a time to be picky. I get called by the second leader with A8o. Flop is 238 with two hearts. Then the turn and river are hearts as well to match my opponent's 8h, and leaving me with maybe 5200, 4000 of which are in on the big blind for the next hand. My chatty buddy is still sweating me, seeing how "his chips" are doing, and he complains about a "bad beat." I point out that when the money went in I was maybe a 54-46 percent favorite and that isn't exactly a bad beat. The way the cards came it was a dramatic beat, just not a bad one...

The UTG player moves in, folds to me and I call without looking. My mighty 76 flops a 6 and beats AQ so I'm alive and in fact ahead of the UTG player. Next hand same thing, I move in blind he calls me with Ac8c. I have a mighty 3h5c. Flop comes AhAsKh. Ugh. Turn 2h. Uh oh. River 7h and I get healthy the same way I got sick, the running heart draw...

Now we are 3 handed, with me trailing with about 19K, the leader having about 70K and the other dude with the other 31K. Blinds are still 4K and 8k, So I start moving in every hand as I think they might fold. It works and after a few steals I'm on the button with about 40K, and I move in with 8cTc and finally get called by the chip leader with AJo.

I fail to improve and bust out 3rd... I get Slim to sign my book for my friend who is going through a divorce. I'm just not that big on collecting celeberty memorabilia and the like, and more than that I'm not a real big fan of Amarillo Slim, given that black marketing con artists who get busted for fondling underage relatives aren't high on my list, poker legend or no... His book is a good read nonetheless and I can recommend it. Regardless of his moral fiber he's led an interesting life...

I would have liked to have busted him just to be able to tell the story though.

"What did you do last weekend?"

"Busted Amarillo Slim than winked at him and asked him how his Grandaughter felt these days..."

But that is more or less the story as is... except for the weird hat caper. The next day I was sitting in a game when the floorpeople handed out promotional hats. They had a logo that simply read "Poker Room."

Yup. Just "Poker Room," not the casino name or anything. Reminded me of Belushi's "College" sweater from Animal House... I still laugh when I think about it. A nice absurd keepsake for a strange weekend...
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Post by RCC »

Yet another installment: This year's FARGO...

FARGO Trip Report (Abridged)

(Or at least shorter than usual...)

Part One, in which the hero arrives and settles in:

The drive to FARGO was long. (How long was it?) It was so long that I felt a cold coming on, got sick, and then felt better by the time I arrived. Then again maybe Scranton does that to people...

So I get there late on Wednesday. I wonder over to the poker room and get in a 4-8 game during which nothing happened besides me being told to turn off my Ipod. I wonder if this is to speed up the game, as half the room is paying more attention to the ball game anyway... I’m told it is because they fear people broadcasting signals about hands and so on and so forth... big problem at 4-8 I guess... I ask for a tinfoil hat because the government has this transmitter in my head that tells me what to do and isn’t that also a problem?

The floorman rolls his eyes and walks away...

I play 4-8 for a while, and after an hour or so and a bit to the good side I for some reason decide to play some stud. I get into a 1-5 game. I win a monster pot when the guy to my left misreads his hand for a straight and caps it all the way from 5th street against my fifth street full house. As one highly skilled and noble ARGer mentioned during the METS (I may have the wording off) “In stud, part of my advantage is the fact that most of my opponents are senile.” I do quite well at the stud. That or I was just lucky. I really have no idea. Perhaps there is little difference...

So I go to sleep.

The next day I play 4-8 all day. I like the upper lower limits. I came up upper lower class in the northern end of the south so maybe that fits. The game is loose-weak, where most players see over 50% of the flops but will automatically assume the nuts if there is a post-flop raise, often making big laydowns, sometimes face-up, to the point where I’m showing a profit by betting to the river with any hand whether I hit or not. On one hand I have 88. I limp in from the cutoff, seven way pot. The flop comes 752 two clubs, and the UTG player leads out, three callers and I raise, folds back to the cutoff who calls, all three of the other callers call. Turn is the 2d, check to me and I bet. UTG calls all fold. River comes a Tc. UTG checks I bet out. UTG stares at the board, pissed off, looks at me, says “nice catch,” and mucks 99 face up...

Worse is another hand with another player. I hold QQ and raise UTG, three callers including the button. Flop comes A9T rainbow. I take a stab at it and it folds to the button who makes what seems to me as a reluctant call. Turn is a 4, completes the rainbow. I bet out, the button again makes what looks like a painful call. I don’t think this player capable of any willful deception of this nature. She doesn’t like the board, which could mean anything from AQ to a pair of twos to a gutshot draw. River comes a 3 and I bet out again. She mucks KK face up saying something about how she knows I have an ace...

I do very well in this game, usually by just playing to the river against certain players and betting any scare card, and retire early for some sleep.


Part Two, in which our hero sucks out in a big way and then plays Omaha like he was raised by wolves.

Because I’m too stupid to realize that my room alarm clock is over an hour fast, I get to the noon pairs tournament at about 8:30 AM. I wind up getting into a 4-8 game to “warm up.” A little not as good of a game as the night before, but still nice. I get a few hands cracked and then lay a huge bad beat on someone.

I’m on the button, In the two seat. I make the mistake of looking at my cards before the action gets to me. I try to never do this because I’ve found it makes me more likely to convince myself to play a hand I should not. I see 6h7h. It folds to the ten seat, a player with a big stack who has been somewhat aggressive and a loose raiser. He raises. It folds to me, and like a moron I call two cold. The small blind calls as well, and we see a flop three handed.

Flop comes AcKd8h. I flop two undercards, a running flush draw, and a running straight draw. More concisely, I flop absolutely nothing. SB checks, seat ten bets, and I of course call. Then the SB raises, the ten seat calls and I figure that I’m now getting better odds to make a bad call so I do. So I manage to get two bets in there with my runner-runner draws. At least that sounded sane at the time. Maybe I do need that tinfoil hat...

Turn is the 4s. I now have the gutshot draw. It checks around.

River is of course the 5h. SB bets, seat ten calls, I raise and both call. I table my hand like a proud father, big goofy grin on my face. The small blind, who had rivered two gutshots on me to that point just shrugs. The ten seat is beside himself and is directing mostly gibberish in my general direction. He flips over AQ and is talking about his stack size and how he knows I needed to make a stand but not with “five-seven suited” and that people like me are why the lower limits suck and so on and so forth. I respond that I only played the hand because God told me to.

I then go register for the pairs. My goals for the pairs:

1) Not bust out before Ken gets to play.
2) Raise a lot. That is fun.
3) Be a total luckbox, hopefully mostly during the 100-200 level...

I tight out the first round. So does Ken. We continue with the geologic strategy until I sit down at the ...yeah... 100-200 level. We are more or less even. I’m in the small blind and get some cheese like A24Q with the suited ace. I really don’t remember much of the pre-river stuff except it wasn’t too aggressive. I think a bet and three calls the whole way down, and I checkraised once for no reason. We are four-handed at the river, I’m in seat nine. The board reads something like 57KQJ rainbow. Both players on my end of the table start to throw their hands away when the jack hits, but I can’t see the other player who is in seat one or two... So I take a stab at it and take down the pot... although I probably had the best hand... I scoop another large pot a few seconds later with second pair when the low doesn’t get there, and then I stop playing.

Ken really never starts playing. He does come out of his slumber to open raise 57s out of the cutoff and then run two pair into a higher two pair.

That pretty much does it until a hand at some kind of real level, 200-400 or so... I get A388 with a suited ace and a stack of like 1200. I raise UTG and get 345 callers. Or maybe just five. Flop comes a nice 866. I manage to checkraise and get two small bets. Turn is a T. I bet out all-in and get the same four callers. River is a 2. It checks around and I scoop the whole thing. This gets us enough to where we can fold to the final table.

Then we fold some more. I’m not exactly an Omaha expert so I just wait for a hand I kinda like and then see how many bets I can get in there. Then the dealer tells me if I won. This works until we are down to six players. Needless to say we are the small stack. Ken has been reaching new heights in rockiness. At one point I make him a sign that reads “Please Steal My Blinds.”

Ken then wakes up and open raises with 77 from the button and gets three bet, and decides this is the time for a raising war. He’s all in on a board of something like Q36AK. Uh oh. I’m ready to take my second consecutive bubble in the pairs like a man when the 77 turns out to be good...

Ken then folds every hand when he is up and I split every omaha hand for a while trying to isolate Landrum who is raising like 50% of the time until The Queen decides to try to run her AT past Ken’s AQ on a Q33 flop. To her credit her flop raise did slow Ken down.. So we double up there and soon someone else busts the Queen’s partner and after a month of six handed play we are off the bubble. Shortly after that Ken really loosened up and played AT from the button. He and Sabyl hammered each other on a board of KQXX. When Ken rivered the ace it looked like we were off the hook as he bet our last chips... which Sabyl called and showed him JT... WGCN (We go Custy’s now)...

Well... sorta. First we had to find Ken’s car, and he had to drive into the darkness and realize he had no clue how to turn on the lights... but we went the wrong way anyway and we got there after a lovely detour through the countryside. The good news was I was so mentally tired from Omaha I slept like a rock.... the bad news is that I kept dreaming about misreading omaha hands...


Part III, in which our hero feels like an idiot and then just acts like one.

The no limit was simple. I played somewhat tight and held my own for the most part. At some point JimPepper sat to my left. He was writing down his chip count at the end of each level on his structure sheet. Before the break I give mine to the dealer. I tell him I’ll just take Jim’s when he’s gone as Jim has about 300 and the blinds are 100-200. Jim gives me a half-amused/half harsh look. Then he busts a few hands later, and hands me the sheet as tosses the pencil in front of me. I laugh and make a big deal out of putting a big zero next to the 100-200 level.... Jim is amused....

The blinds were soon 100-200 w/ 25 ante, and because of some conspiracy I have only 1400 in chips. I think a steal raise went wrong or something. I move all in from the cutoff with Q2o or some such and take the blinds and have about 1950. A hand or two later I see that we have about 5 mins before we go to 200-400. I decide to jam with 89o from about 3rd UTG. I’m thinking I’ll only get called with a monster and then I’ll just suck out. Rick Becker has the bad taste to find AA and the worse taste to have it hold up. I give him Jim’s pencil.

I don’t remember much about Saturday after that. There were rumors of my being card dead in a really good 4-8 game and then my playing in a 2-4 HOSEX game in the suite where I managed to have KK, QQ, and AA23 doublesuited beat in the first ten hands... I personally don’t believe it though.

Sunday morning was very strange. I’m sitting around minding my own business when I for no explainable reason flip through a copy of one of those silly poker magazine. Little do I know I would see something that would change my life.

It was an ad for a poker game soon to come out for the X-box, typical hyped out Danny N. and co. with a WTP tie in... but the blurb... oh sweet PRESTO.... the blurb that pretty much summed up the downside to the poker explosion...

“It’s HALO .... with chips!!!!”

Wow. Let me type that again.

“It’s HALO .... with chips!!!!”

My thoughts raced a bit.

“Yeah, except for the running about and shooting aliens from a first person perspective poker is just like HALO...”


“Geez... maybe that explains the play at 4-8... ,maybe those people think they are playing HALO...”

Either way I didn’t recover from that for a few hours. My A245 catching 9TQ in the stud8 round compounded my confusion and the only way I can explain my play in the second holdem round was that I was committing poker suicide... It was bad even by my calling two to a runner runner straight and flush plus two undercards standards...

I played a little 4-8 later, wound up sitting next to Ken. One notable player played every hand down to the river, while wearing the sunglasses and tossing the chips in with panache... she would also show her hand at the end and say “I had to call... whatcha gonna do?” She’d show 37o on a AK984 board with 4 hearts and say she had to call to draw to the straight. I wasn’t sure if was an act or not... What was funny is that at some point Ken gets like AA, QQ, and AK three hands in a row and wins each one and on the fourth he folds and this player says something to the effect that she is surprised that Ken folded... I wished The Queen was there to hear that....

After dinner Ken, Paul Stine and I gooned it up at a 4-8 table. Straddles, raising blind, babbling pokerspeak, making the locals act crabby, etc. A good time was had by all... well... except for some of the locals. The one kid to my left was a good sport, I complimented him on his skillful value calls and isolation checks... The poor kid to his left had no idea how to handle people straddling... every straddle he’s call the straddle (and the regulation straddle raise) and call all flop bets and fold the turn...

Then see my 74o spike the river to beat Stine’e pair of threes...

Thus ended my fargo trip.

I drove home, which was like HALO... with gasoline prices...
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Post by RCC »

Good grief. I'm at it again.

"Getting so lucky I should have had my ass kicked"

Last Thursday buddy is in town for a Friday conference of something or other at the Capitol. So he stays at my place to save on the hotel cost.

We decide to go to Indiana to play poker for the weekend. Two minutes later we have reservations for Friday and Saturday night. Viva la internet.

So off we go to the Beltarra riverboat in not quite Cincinnati but not even close to Louisville. We wonder in about 9PM, the room is not quite full. There are two no-limit games, which I avoid mostly because I get bored watching people stare at each other. There are several tables of various limits. I'm a bit tired and not really wanting to play serious poker so I slide into a 3-6 game of which I remember like nothing except I caught a run of cards and was up $100 or so in an hour.

There was a rocking little 3-6 full kill omaha h/l game a few seats over, seemed to be at least seven people playing every hand, etc. I'm on the list for that, and as soon as I am called and sit down 5 of the live ones are gone.

I get back up and go back to the 3-6 and screw around until we leave.

The next day was more interesting.

We get there at noon. The room is dead. There is a no-limit game, a 3-6 game, and two 2-4 games. That's it. I sit at the 3-6 game until I realize half the players there are waiting for a 10-20 or higher to start and the game is pretty much unbeatable considering the rake. So I pick up and go to a 2-4 game.

I decide this is "play like a goon" day. I'm going to experiment with just running over the table, playing a lot of hands very aggressively but still trying to play well. I sit down with $300 of white $1 chips, both trying to create and image and to set a loss limit. Off we go.

There is no requirement to post for a new player, so I raise my first hand blind from middle position. I bet the flop and turn and all fold. This might be fun.

Turns out I'm at a table that is perfect for a semi-maniac style. People just don't want to call without the nuts or close to it.

I raise blind and win the next two hands.

Then I am first to act, so I put out a "straddle." The way that works is that you put out double the big blind (in this case $4) and that bet acts as an extra blind, so I can then raise again when it comes around. It becomes a 2-4 game with 1-2-4 blinds.

People are getting fed up with me at this point. Seven out of eight call back to me and I of course raise blind. I made a point of not looking at my cards, placing them under two stacks of chips. The mythical "code of the straddle" is that you must raise blind and continue to raise blind unless you are raised. Only then can you look. I tend to follow the code.

All call. Flop comes 7d 8d 3c. Checked to me I bet and get five callers. Turn is the Jd. I bet and get only 2 callers, the button and the big blind. River is the 3s. Big blind checks, I bet, the button calls, the big blind raises. I figure what the hell so I re-raise. Button eyes me and asks "You looked yet?"

"Nope... still under those chips somewhere, but it feels like at least a full house."

Button caps it. Big blind calls, I call.

Button turns over a pair of Jacks. Big blind flips over a slowplayed pair of aces for aces full. I giggle. "I think I might be in trouble."

I flip over the first card. Nine of diamonds.

I start to laugh at this point. I flip over the other.


Holy fucking shit.

Ten of diamonds.

Straight flush.

Big blind is displeased and is screaming at me.

"Sorry to make you cry" I say.

He slams the table, and walks to the cage for more chips.

I calm down a bit, still wildly aggressive and building big pots which most of the table have no idea how to play, just that now I'm mostly doing it with position. The proper method is to call more than usual because of the odds. Since they fold too much it becomes proper for me to raise quite a bit to knock players out, and since I have position I can also "take control" of the hand so I can take free cards or a cheap showdown if I choose.

To the uneducated eye this makes me look even more like a maniac, so the table is near mutiny. They have no clue how to combat my play. Plus, when I do have something it gets ugly.

I'm in the big blind, a raise and four callers to me. I have Th7h and see a flop. Buddy comes up behind me and taps me on the back, so I half turn around. He asks me where the snack bar is as the flop comes.

Tc Ts 7d

I peek at the flop and turn back around while checking. I tell him and we talk as someone bets, someone else raises, and a few call.

"Your action sir. Four dollars to you"

"Sorry," I respond and toss in the money casually and turn around.

The turn comes a 4. I check, there is a bet and a raise and then turned around, I shrug and three bet it. I've not looked at the cards since I got them, nor have I been paying attention, but two call.

River is the case ten. I check, and there is a bet and a raise to me. I start giggling and make it three bets. Both call. They both have jacks. I show my T7. Exasperation ensues.

I've more chips than a pasture. I started with too many, but now I have complete pyramid with a five base...

In other words I have a triangle of 20-chip stacks with five on each side (300 chips) on top of that is a full 4-side triangle (200 chips) on that is a three sided triangle (120 chips) then a two sided (60 chips) and then a single stack... It is high enough that I can't see over it, making playing a bit tricky.

A floorman walks by. "Would you like to color up sir?" He's asking if I want to exchange some of my white chips for red $5 chips to free up space. I answer in the negative and mention that I'm thinking about buying more as I need a wing.

He responds that I'm not allowed to do that because "If that thing gets any bigger you are going to get busted for not having a building permit."

Buddy comes back. "How you doing there?"

"I'm almost even."

A bit later I straddle again. Eight call, big blind (same guy) raises so I re-raise. We get 8 way action for 5 bets (extra bet because the straddle doesn't count as one of the 4 raises.)

Flop is Qc3h7s. I BB bets, I raise, we cap it with three hangers on. Turn is a 7h. Again BB and I jam the pot, with only one person tagging along.

River is the Ad. BB bets, I raise, straggler folds, BB 3-bets and I cap it. He wants to go 5 bets but since the round did not start heads up we are limited to four raises. He just calls. He wants me to show.

I look at my buried hand. I see QQ.

My first though is "Ding!!!!"

My second is "Holy shit!!! Where am I going to put all these fucking chips?"

BB shakes his head sadly. Pounds the table, and with an air of resignation flips over his cards. He has.................................

AA for a higher full house.

He then looks at me, big grin on his face, and screams "Fuck you."

I start laughing so hard I start to cry.

I rack up a bit later, wanting to get something to eat. The dealer reminds me to bend at the knees, not the waist. I tip him the $7 that didn't fit into the last rack...

I dine on a hot dog w/ relish and an oatmeal cookie at the snack bar. Buddy is still having his ass handed to him in the poker room.

When I get back to the room, there is a 4-8 game just starting up, and a shorthanded 10-20 game where the players are all but begging people to sit down.

Fuck it. I decide since I'm gambling today I want to wonder around the pit. Buddy decides to join me. He probably shouldn't have

(That's foreshadowing, BTW)

We hit the craps pit. I have some idea how this works. Bet the line, take the odds, stay the hell out of the center of the table. Buddy's knowedge is limited to something like "we use both dice, right?"

He passes the dice his first try. My come out roll is a nine. I then throw 2 hard eights in a row, which makes the guy next to me an obscene amount of money between his large line bets and the quarter he had sitting on the hard eight. I then roll the nine. He is asking if I want to marry his daughter. I come out with a nine again, and make it. He's jumping up and down. I come out with yet another nine. He slaps me on the back, calls me "Captain Nine" and puts out the full 10x odds plus like a grand on the line for a nine.

I seven out. He suspects his daughter has lost interest.

The table is still rocking. Two more rollers make big points. Then the dice come back to buddy.

He picks them up and rubs them between his palms. The boxmen stop him. One hand on the dice only. The table captain(?) has to inspect the dice. Buddy is pushed two more. He rolls them too hard and they leave the table. He is pushed the final two. Only one leaves the table.

We are out of dice. Everyone but me pulls their bets and leaves.

We roll for a while and lose some back and then quit to move to something else...

We go to the roulette table, where the dealer is threatening violence against buddy because he can't seem to wait to grab his winnings until the marker is off the table. We have no luck here. Fuck roulette.

I stop by a blackjack table for a few hands. I lose three than go on a nice streak and get my roulette money back. I get up and buddy sits down and gets absolutely hammered.

I cash out happy to be ahead, and thus endeth another epic..
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Post by RCC »

Suddenly's ATLARGE Trip Report, or "Mangos, threes, and other perversions".

...and then the Rabidly Outspoken Evangelical Christian Asian Law Student suddenly confessed a statutory rape to the entire table. You see, God would protect him if he just told the truth and accepted his sins.. Which may or may not work but I can say that no lawyer would be able to unless he would shut the heck up.

We are getting ahead of ourselves though. Because of a series of events probably only slightly below the "ye gads" factor of the above, the trial on Monday didn’t go so I wound up in AC a few days early for ATLARGE. Which I think is a good thing. So I spend some extra time in the splendor... er... squalor... of the Taj low-limit section.

The trip in wasn’t all that eventful. It was about 65F when I left Charleston WV, so I of course didn’t think to take a coat or anything. On my way I had to stop in the northern part of the state to talk to a few clients sorta forced to live there. The only garment I had suitable for the 40F weather I now found myself in was... my ATLARGE sweatshirt from last year. So.... I now have a "prison worn" ATLARGE sweatshirt. Does that make it a collectable?

Other than that everything went just fine. Played some poker on Wednesday and Thursday. Sat there listening to my Ipod, just relishing in the brainlessness of the whole ordeal. Decompress.

Then Friday was upon us. I wake up and eat a handful of dried mango. I’ve developed a small problem with dried mango and may need to seek help. I go down to the room, register for the tournament and get my atlarge stuff and hang out and then... ugh. I have to go back to the room. NOW. Rutgers’ Revenge or something.

On reflection, trying to, with dignity and tact, explain to the maid who doesn’t speak English all that well that you would be most gratified if she would just go ahead and skip cleaning the bathroom because it would be a futile exercise, one taking up time you would really, really, rather use in a different way, was a task I think I handled quite well. I even managed to get her to leave a few extra towels. Of course maybe I didn’t need to include any of this.... nevermind.

So I go back to play in the HOE. I remember some of it. At some point in Omaha I think I manage to win the whole high and 1/3 of the low with the nut low and a pair of fours or something silly. I do remember getting rolled up kings in a hand against Jodi that filled up on the river. I think my Omaha tournament strategy (find a decent starting hand and just keep betting... if you get raised just re-raise. The sooner you get your money in the more chances to suck out) worked well for me as it has in the FARGO pairs tourneys. My stud8 and holdem strategy (fold) worked even better. We got to eight handed and stayed there forever. Every player at the table besides Gabe was all in at some point. Epic struggle. Then we lost four players in some sort of cataclysm that stopped as suddenly as it started, and we played four handed for several days.

There is much controversy over what happened next. We were in a holdem round. Jodi was raising every hand. Well... 60% or so anyway. Now and then Bill, Gabe, or I would poke our heads up and toss up a raise. On the fateful hand, Jodi opened under the gun for a raise. I find a pair of nines and re-raise. Bill shrugs and dumps all his chips into the pot, and we both call. I have about a big bet left. Flop comes QTX. Crap. I call the flop and turn, both blanks. We turn over our cards. I have 99, Bill has AK, and Jodi has something with a ten in it. The river blanks, so Bill and I are eliminated in the same hand, but I’m third because I’m better at math.

Okay okay... because I had more chips. Geesh.

Later that night, I’m waiting for my friend to get in, I told him to find me in the poker room. I’m just sitting there, Minding my own business in a 3-6 game, some guy starts talking about something and asks me what I do and like a fool I tell him and now he wants to discuss the criminal mind with me. General BS, nurture v. nature, can some people be fixed or are some hopeless. We are blathering away, me in the 7 seat, other guy in the 9 seat, when the young Asian kid in the 10 seat interrupts.

"Can I just say something sir?"

"Sure" I shrug, mildly alarmed at the aggressive politeness.

"They are possessed by demons and only Jesus can save them."

I nod. I then continue the last answer to the other guy, who really wants me to tell him it is alright to bang the chick that he caught stealing from her because she can learn to be honest and he can tell she really loves him... which is in and of itself an alarming conversation too complicated to relate. But the poor kid has this tortured look about him.

"Can I say something else sir?"

"Well... sure."

"I think that anyone can be saved, but the only way to do it is by accepting Jesus and turning yourself over to His will."

"Does that help with mango addiction?’


This goes in circles for a few minutes. The one guy is talking about types of criminal personalities and the kid’s face keeps getting more and more intense as he throws in more comments about Jesus. He’s no longer paying attention to the game at all. The dealer has to remind him every time it is his turn and he just throws chips in. His delays and the fact that he wins four huge pots with complete trash hands has the other end of the table at near mutiny. He fixes me with a earnest glare and asks me "Do you think I’m insane?"

"I kinda do now."


"Well.... because you asked."

He got even more anxious. Still tossing in chips whenever the dealer prompted him, not so lucky now.

He starts asking me about law school. He attends one in the Ivy League. I smile and say something like "Well, don’t feel bad. Not everyone can get into WVU."

No response. He wonders if I ever felt really anxious and worried during law school. I tell him no. He’s dumfounded.

I explain that the way I saw it, the drive to the school was the most dangerous part of the day. The worst thing that could happen to me at school was not becoming a lawyer. Damn far sight from being eaten by bears....

This is when he explains to pretty much everyone that he had sex with a fifteen year old girl and he’s worried about getting in trouble. Apparently he told his entire law school class about it and "now they think I’m weird."

I mean does this happen in 20-40 games?

At some point he asked me if I would say anything about his little problem because he was going into politics. Before I can answer someone else asks if he has any other secrets. Apparently nothing but his serious drug use and some hookers.

Then my friend shows up. Good thing.

The next day at the no limit I’m doing alright until the table change. I walk into the force of nature that is Chic with a monster stack. He would have had an insane stack but... he kept taking brutal, brutal beats from the same two guys, one of whom would celebrate each time. We develop a small "criminal attorneys v. collection attorneys" rivalry that lasts until I make a stupid play to cripple myself (just say no to AQ), and then I get busted by Chic.

The rest of Saturday is spent tormenting a guy in a 5-10 game. I get on the list for the pink game, but no open seat yet so I go play 5-10. Some guy is critical of my play. He thinks raising is evil. However, he seems to call most of my raises then fold to any post-flop action. So now I start raising with pretty much everything, and re-raise him every time he raises because he will lay it down if he doesn’t hit. Early on I make consecutive runner-runner club flush draws (the first I had overcards, the second I had monster ITOs (implied tilt odds.)

Soon we have a rocking 5-10 game as nobody will fold to my raises, and the anti-raiser is headed off cursing my name. I love games where big pots are built pre-flop and everyone thinks chasing is evil and wrong. Soon I become disgusted with the dirty red chips, and see an empty seat in the pink game. It breaks before I can get back from the cage with chips. I consider that a proper show of respect for my card catching skills.

Pretty much it for Saturday. I wonder through the suite and see The Worst Laydown Ever in what I think is a 1-2 or 2-4 game. I’ll say no more.

The Stud tournament was enjoyable. Sort of a weird lazy Sunday post-Apocalypse feel to it. I keep a decent stack most of the way through thanks to my catching running threes on two consecutive hands where I managed to build huge pots while drawing close to dead. I manage to lose a bunch of chips right before the final table and then at the final table fold a bunch of times, finally get all in with the first hand that had a three in it and lose to Sabyl’s somewhat gratuitous full house.

Thus another ARG trip came to a close.

So what happened?

The good:

1) Fun time with people whose company I enjoy.

2) Cashed at least once in four consecutive ARG trips

3) At least seven runner-runner suckouts.

4) Made someone who wears sunglasses in a 5-10 game cry. (See (3) above)

5) Friend from home won like $400 playing 2-4 on Friday and Saturday

The Bad:

Still have gone nowhere in ARG NLHE events.

The Ugly:

I think Jerrod Ankenman may have ruined my life. Okay... not nearly that dramatic, but I’m sitting there during a break, and there is a conversation about PokerStars and player numbers and that some of the games there are rakeless. Jerrod says something like "I wonder what a decent winrate is for a no rake nickle / dime game?"

I didn’t think much of it at the time. But it just stuck in the back of my head and now I’m like Kevin Mchale in that "Cheers" episode where he wonders how many bolts there are in the court at the Garden....

Hopefully I’ll get over it but if I don’t I’ll have decent idea of it by next year...

Ugh. Maybe I should start a pool....
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Joined: Mon Jun 07, 2004 5:28 pm
Location: Here for now.

Post by RCC »

Again, I traveled long and far to observe the odd animal that is the "FARGOer" in its natural habitat. I survived and lived to write about this odd but fascinating experience.
(As usual, I’m going off of like 100 words of cryptic illegible notes, so if there are any errors just chalk it up to artistic license…)

Part one, in which the narrator donates to the Gods of Ennui:

I leave civilization on Friday afternoon. I arrive at Foxwoods on Wednesday morning. There were a few stops. A few rounds of golf where I proved that it is possible to regularly hit the ball 150 yards off line, have a first rate case of the yips so that the longest putt made is two feet, and break 90. Got to see the folks. I wanted to see the glitz and grandeur that is Altoona, but alas there was no time.
Once there, I hang out in a pleasant 4-8 game all day until I see Joan, then I see Ken, and all of a sudden we are legion. We flowed through the poker room like a river of steel. Or something like that. We at least talked for a while and then 2/3rds of us seemed to be stuck in "but it was a good game" type of games.

On Thursday I wind up back in a silly nice loose 4-8 game where I’m not able to suck out on anyone so I’m running about even. Then "BlueFish" wonders by, we speak for a while and then I see an open seat next to him in the 2-4. I’m in the mood to be a bit goonish, so off I go. I run bad. I’m properly straddling and raising blind, but I can’t seem to catch. Then I take a horrific beat. I forget to straddle, and foolishly fold T7o, and then watch the T make the high end of the straight flush with someone having the low end and someone else with the ace. I have offended the poker gods, it seems. So then I really get weird. Some lady informs me that straddling and then betting blind to the river is a bad play. I tell her it is noble to spread cheer.

Later that night I’m at some restaurant where they have some really big crawdads and sugary cornbread. Then we have the heads up tournament. I school two fishies in my first two matches*, win the third when with a 3-1 chip lead call an all-in bet with 68o, which isn’t great but dominates 64o. Then I seem to lose interest. Way past my bedtime. I have no idea what happened after that…

* (note for SC readers) This was an attempt at wry humor as my first two opponents were Greg Raymer and the woman that has always ran FARGO...

Part two, in which the narrator gets carried to the money:

Ah. The pairs tournament. Always an interesting time. During the first part I play the maniac, hitting hands, raking the chips, and annoying half of the 13 feet of poker player while Frank passively gives the chips back. Then, like a switch being thrown, I’m passively handing over the chips while Frank runs the table the hell over. We make it to the final table… or at least Frank makes it. We are out before I get to sit, but we needed to gamble and it's his fault we got this far anyway… This does make my 5th ARG event in a row with at least one cash though...

Later on Joan sneaks me into the HORSE game. Fun game, until a swarm of two or three locals land, one of which is a complete ass. He takes offense at our general good cheer, ends any chance of our "winner antes" system, argues about procedure, etc. He tips half-dollars and at one point screams for us to shut up. He manages to make both Tracy and Joan livid at the same time by means of two completely separate acts. He looks like the skinny guy (Ryan Giles?) from the Drew Carey Show’s idiot brother. He gets a sour look on his face when we raise a lot. His signature move is getting that sour look on his face making same somehow longer than normal while slightly shaking his head and turning his palm towards the person he finds distateful. Joan for example.

He is tighter than tight. So I put into effect the "squeeze or freeze" policy where I give no action and if I play make him call a raise since he’s on my left and isn’t going to call without a real hammer. I also plan with LenG to do a dual "sorry for the cheap bastard" bonus toke when he wins his next pot, but since a) this would probably cause WWIII and b) he wins like one pot over two hours, this doesn’t happen.
At some point he argues that the woman about to post the big blind didn't have to post the big blind. I tuned this out. While it would have been absurd to draw up formal debate rules, giving five minutes to each side and two for rebuttal, it would have been faster. I still don't get it....Later he was in an animated discussion with the floorman about this.

What a tool.

Part 3, in which the narrator misreads his own hand for value.

I’ve often said that I try not to look at my own hand because it will probably just confuse me. For the most part in the NLHE I fail to take my advice and fail to steal as much as I needed to given the huge antes. I’d be in decent steal position, look down at J2o, and wimp out. Then around the blinds again… I found a few decent hands (one to annoy the same half of the 13 feet of poker player…) and made my way towards the money.

At one stretch I get dealt AA, open from UTG with a raise, get raised back and I push. The very next hand I’m in the BB and it folds around to madmary in the cutoff, who makes a raise. She’s done this the last four rounds, and I’m steaming a bit. I’ve her covered and her raise is only about 20% of her chips. So I jam after fake looking at my cards. She goes into the tank. Whoops. Well… sorta. She hasn’t beat me into the pot so I’m not all that worried about a call because, well… I’m an idiot and two live cards are just fine with me. Or one. Whatever. I need the chips. She then mucks JJ face up, and I probably should be relieved, but for all I know I have aces.

Then, like a moron, I start looking at my cards again and dwindle. Plus I’ve never cashed in a NLHE ARG so I’m sorta clamping down. After the bubble I’m in "must steal" territory and jam with about 5x the BB the first hand after the blinds where I’m first in, in middle position. I have 74s. I get called by A4o. IGHN. WVU stomped Syracuse, so not all is lost. Two cashes, and I’m up a staggering $100. This raises my expectation for the three ARG tourneys from –360 to –20.

Back to the HORSE. I’m doing … bad. Then the Stud8 round begins and I decide to call my wife and walk on my best game. I’m not smart. I get back to the table in time to be dealt 234. I catch a 5 on 4th street. I get a 7 on 5th street and I decide, as I am, again, not smart, that this makes a straight. So I’m raising and betting and I’m heads up with the guy to my left. I bet the river blind. He goes into the tank and eventually folds. I flip my cards to show the straight and realize I have 10 high.

Then I go to the main game and do ok but manage to hurt myself in a razz round and I need sleep…

Part 4, in which the narrator gets into a bad beat contest:

Why I play the HORSE is anyone’s guess. I’m sick of it and then run bad and goodbye. So I go play 4-8 until the other half of the 13 feet of poker player (just call him Ken) busts and we wind up in a 2-4. I’m playing my usual 2-4 game, etc. Until Ken manages to make a call on the flop that shocked even me. He’s in the small blind. He calls after 5 limpers. The BB raises and he calls 7 ways. Flop is KsJs8h. BB bets, all call. Turn Th. Three call the BB’s bet. River Ah. BB bets, other player calls, Ken raises, both call.

He has 4h5h. BB has AA. Other player has Q8.

The AA is just… well… on tilt. I’m envious. Two unders with running straight and flush draws is my trademark play. I can’t just let this go unchallenged. Of course given the pot size and opposition his flop call might have been correct so he shouldn’t get full credit… Oddly enough the lady with the straight shruggs it off.

So next hand I call all the way with 27o on a board of A5648, but have to split with 77.

Ken straddles. Raised to me and I cap. I have AA. Flop was A88. Ken bets I raise. Turn is a 4. He check calls. River the case A. He check calls again. He has King high which gets just nipped by my quads. (Although I admit king high is a must call against my range of hands.)

Later I straddle and blind raise, blind bet every street. At the river I’m heads up with Ken. I blind bet one last time he calls. He has JJ, overcards to the board. My 3h7h, which of course is good for the running flush, gets rolled over with suspense. I consider a lap around the table. Nah... I didn't come here to exercise...

At some point I change seats. I post the blinds in the 6 seat and then move to the 2 seat now 3 under the gun. I'm told I have to post. I ask "huh?" The dealer assumes I care and calls the floor. The floor says I can either post or wait for the button to go by and play for free. I've that weird combination of abject confusion and not caring one bit. So I go to the restroom, come back and post my big blind in turn. This leads both the floor and the dealer to assume that I don't understand that I can let the button go by. I say I like to play my blinds. They explain again. I start to giggle and tip the dealer for no reason.

They give up.

After a dinner of half of a pound of semi-raw ground beef on a fresh roll, we go back to a less wild table where I still manage to make four runner-runner hands to crack a few "serious" 2-4 players, twice in a row at one point. I figure if you have three separate runner-runner draws (straight, flush, 2 pair/trips) it pays to take a card off on the flop considering the Implied Tilt Odds. Don't tell the guy with aces that though. Just tell him that it is a proven fact that nobody ever wins with aces.

Plus, it’s 2-4.

That about sums things up. I made the drive back in 13 hours and finally got around to writing this now, whenever this is.

This year's lessons?

1) I need to not look at my hand more often, or better yet misread it.
2) Quit hitting the driver and putt crosshanded
3) HOSE si, HORSE no.
4) Sure, Neil Cassady was a romantic figure and all, but if he stole YOUR car and left it in a ditch...
5) It is hard to make too big of a mistake calling the flop in a really loose game.

- Suddenly (Rob Catlett)
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Joined: Mon Jun 07, 2004 5:28 pm
Location: Here for now.

Post by RCC »

Okay, fine. I'll describe the key hand in my heads up match against Greg Raymer, the mug with the funny eyeglasses that won the 2005 WSOP.

We played for a while. He'd look at me when the cards flop and I'd giggle out of some sort of nervous reaction. I know I threw off an obvious tell when I flopped a big hand early on, but I knew he caught it by his reaction. Nervous people throw off "wow, a full house!!!111!!!!" tells.

After about fifteen minutes of us punching and counterpunching, no hands being turned over, I got dealt

:Ac :10d

A strong heads up hand. The blinds were 2-4 and we each had about 100 chips. I made a raise to 8, he made an unusually big raise back to 40. We had been jousting back and forth with crap hands mostly. The pattern was that he'd call there and bet out, or he'd make it 20 or so. By going to 40 he was putting me in an "all in or fold" situation, and knowing that he's smart I knew he wasn't putting out that much with the intention of folding. I guessed it was a big hand that he wanted either to win there with, or get all in pre-flop.

Which is usually AK or a similar big ace. It plays very well against a smaller ace or any smaller two unpaired, and is OK against QQ or lower pair. But you need to be all in against the pair or you face a tough decision if you miss the flop.

If I call there, I might as well put on a clown suit as far as classic strategy goes. He wouldn't mind a fold. The size of the bet is designed to force me to not call.

I figured a big ace and folded. He showed me

:Ac :Kh

I then showed him my hand. He was suprised a bit and he, playing the benevolent teacher, explains that I had a good hand. He's right. Had he just come back with 20 I'd have moved all in. It was the extra 40 that set off bells because I knew he was at heart an optimal math guy. Thing is, with small stacks it is hard to "cover" this sort of thing. He can't go moving in with half the stack early on with lesser hands unless he's nuts. It was a perfect play with AK at that point. Had it been a bluff it would have worked. But such a bluff would be pretty bad strategy.

At the start of the 3-6 blinds, I was down about 120-80. I was dealt :3c :6h on the button. I open raised to 12 and was called. The flop came :3s :4c :8d

He moved all in on me.

I went into the tank. The way he moved in set off a bell. Some math players have pet plays. In this situation that move is right with a bunch of hands. However, some players get this weird sense of satisfied cleverness or something when they make certain moves.

For example, there is a play known in some circles as "the stop and go." Late in a tournament and short stacked, someone makes a bet into you for half of your stack in a situation where (1) odds force a call (2) you will act first on the next round (3) your moving all in right now will always be called and (4) your hand is not worth writing home about.

What you do is call. Then you move in on the flop unless you flop some kind of monster, like two pair or more. This gives you the best chance to survive the hand. Now in those situations where the opponent was making a steal raise and the flop is scary, you win the pot even though you may have missed the flop. With a monster you don't want to scare him off and the best move is to give him a chance to bluff again...

Fair enough. My larger point is that there are some players who know this, and get this... way ... about them when they perform a tactic such as this so that anyone else that knows the move knows that that player is using it.

That's the sense I got when he moved in on me. I figured two overcards, and since there was no flush or overcard straight draw, I would be ahead.

Of course, I could be wrong and he could have a set of eights. Or even A8. Usually an easy fold.

But the read bothered me. I was a moderate favorite over two overcards and I was under no illusion that I was the better player. I figured it was a puncher's chance and called. He showed

:Ad :9c

My bottom pair held. On the next hand he moved in, and I found :10c :10d and called.

He had :10s :3h and the match was over.

(He was right to move in with anything with less than 40 chips and the blinds at 3-6.... just real unlucky to run into that particular hand...)

Later on in another match I made a bluff raise with :6d :8c and that opponent moved all in on me. I had a 150-50 chip advantage and realized that my bluff raise was really bad because I priced myself into a call. I called and my opponent showed

:6c :4h

He looked at me like I was insane for making the call, but in reality trying to bluff-raise my raise was bad in that it was obvious (by the math) that I had to call such a raise, which in turn makes my initial raise silly as it should have been less (so I could get off it) or just all in (more "fold equity")...