Felicia and I went back to Vegas for more of her “studly” Stud tournaments. While there, as always, I played the cash games.
OK, I’ll admit, I did do one satellite (-grin-). We got to the Four Queens kind of early on Monday. Last time we were there early, I noticed that there weren’t many cash games going, being downtown, LV. So, when they started calling for a $65 satellite, I figured I’d give it a go. I was able to chop one the last time we were there (I only got 1/4 of the prize pool that time though, as I was a serious chip dog HU, but the guy was willing to chop, so I took it).
As the sat was filling, we were in need of one more. One of the regular players that also always plays the side games said, “John will play, he’ll fill up your table”. Later, I came to find out that John is a “Horse”. Someone that another player backs, and gets a piece of his action (normally someone that doesn’t have the money himself, so needs someone to finance him).
It was mostly uneventful, as I did my normal “fold, fold, fold” until I had a hand. I stole once or twice with raises with AK and AQ. Other than that, just like the previous sat that I played last time, I got KK, got a caller, and doubled up. This allowed me to get to the final 3. Myself, John the Horse, and an older lady (OL) that actually played pretty well (although she did have a way of holding her cards that I could tell if she had a hand or not).
At this point, John and I had the chip leads and he starts in with “When you and me get heads-up we’ll chop, OK? You wanna chop?” Now, I didn’t really like that he did this right in earshot of OL, but wasn’t entirely sure she heard it. I tried to gauge from her face, couldn’t tell, so just kinda did the “smile-and-nod”…”yeah, sure, ok”. Most of the final 3 it was raise, fold, fold. Fold, raise, fold. After a while, the lady asked if we’d do a “save” for 3rd (i.e., 3rd gets their money back). John asked his backer and he said “no”; so, on we played. Both John and I had her all-in, and she’d win, getting some chips back. Then we’d steal the blinds from her and she’d have to go all-in again. After a while, John agreed to the save for 3rd.
I started with the biggest stack, but then got whittled down with her going all-in and the three of us shuffling the chips around. At one desperation point, she called my raise (A5o) holding 93o. She made a full-house! Very next hand I had 44 in the BB, John had folded, she put me all-in w/ KQo, but my 44 stood up and I had chips again :-P
Eventually a pivotal hand occurred where she took almost all John’s chips and suddenly he was the chip dog and then out. Good thing for him that he agreed to the save, as he was the one that ended up needing it!
I had more chips then the lady as this point (being the one who finally knocked John out). I asked her if she wanted to chop and, even though she seemed reluctant to, she agreed. She said “I think I can take you, I play a lot of heads-up”. I laughed and said that I knew that was part of my game that I needed to work on. Either way, she gave me a compliment that I was a good, patient player.
Felicia finally got a Razz satellite going and I made sure she was settled so that I could “wander”. This usually meant that I’d go walk from Four Queens to Binion’s and Golden Nugget and see who, if anyone, had any games going. I found a 1/2 blind NL game at Binion’s and was able to grab a seat.
I love Binion’s, btw. The poker tables have always been good to me there, and there is never a shortage of characters! This table was no exception. To my left was a LAP (loose-aggressive-player) that had a habit of making it 5 or 10 to go each time. Of course, he _had_ to be on my left, meaning that I never got a free play from the blind, it was always raised. He was chatty too. He talked it up the whole time with a guy to my right that they ended up knowing each other. “Yeah! I thought that was you! I still have your number…” Yap, yap, yap. A true LAP (-grin-). Made a few hands here and there and was mildly up when LAP got called to the main game (they actually had two games going and mine was the ‘must-move’).
Then an interesting hand happened. A younger guy (I’ll call GQ since he had that look about him, although very soft spoken) sat down in LAP’s seat. GQ was BB, I was SB and another loose younger guy (YG) was UTG. YG limped, no surprise, and it was folded to me. I look down to see T2o; Doyle’s hand. Normally I’d chuck it, but it’s only 1 chip to me and we’re basically short-handed with only three in the pot…maybe a T will be good :-p I chuck in my chip and GQ goes, “Let’s make it five straight”, tossing in a red. YG, of course calls, as I look back at my T2o thinking, “there you go, burning chips”. YG looks at me and says “come on, you’re half way in”. Oh brother, “Alright”, says I, replacing my white for a red.
We three see the flop of ATA. I chuckle, knowing my T is no good and check. Come on, a weak raise when against just 2 people, to me has to be a big Ace, or KK/QQ. A Ten is just not cuttin’ it. I check, GQ checks, YG checks. Turn (ATA)T. I laugh again; I turned a boat and can’t bet it! I say “I check my boat”, GQ says “I check mine” (yup, big Ace), and YG says, “I’m checkin’”. River, would you believe is the case Ten?
So the board is now ATATT. I don’t see any nervousness from GQ, I think he’s been checking the nuts and hoping someone would bet his hand for him on the flop and turn. Now, the river changes things. I put him on an Ace from the start, so I go ahead and chuck a red bird into the pot to test the waters (I have to get _something_ for my quads ;). GQ makes it 15, raising me 10 and YG gets out while saying to me, “You bet $5?” I double GQ’s bet to 30 and he quickly puts in a bit more (turned out to be 65). I wonder for a min if he flopped quad Aces on me but I reraise anyway, again doubling his bet. He thinks about it and says “I gotta call you”, and shows me exactly what I was thinking he had: AK…for the flopped trips, turned boat, rivered 2nd best hand. I show him my T2o and go “It’s a Doyle!” (Unfortunately, I think that fell on immature ears :p )
After a little while, I was moved to the main game. I didn’t like it. Even with the LAP in the game, it just didn’t seem like a good line-up: no good soft spots. After an orbit I left, but still with a smile on my face due to the Doyle hand.
The next day Felicia and I got to the Four Queens poker room and she got another satellite going, so off I wandered back to Binion’s. This day they had an interest list for the 1/2 NL (no game going yet), and 4/8 with a long list of people waiting, and a 2/4 with an open seat. Action junkie that I am, I took the 2/4. Man, with seven people on average seeing the flop, I was limping a lot. Plus, of course, first hand I have a hand (QQ) and of course, no one believes me and I get beat by massive schooling.
With all the limping, I’m down about 40 until I got a hand where I actually had the pot odds to chase a gut shot! I flopped top pair, but someone that I had been watching raised pre-flop so I knew he was on an over pair. However with all the callers before the flop and him raising from the BB, there were at least 14 SB’s in the pot pre-flop, for 7 BB’s. On the flop, it’s bet and called in at least 2 other places, so I call too with my JTo on the board of T87. Turn is a Q, no help, but still bet, call, call, so I call with 12 BB’s in the pot. River is the 9. Now with only a J needed for a straight, it’s check, check, check to me, I bet, call, call. Original raiser: AA (ouch). One of the callers: J9s for the flopped straight. Slow played it the whole way and let me get there. If he raised the flop or the turn, I would have known one of my cards was gone, didn’t have the odds and gotten outta Dodge! He claimed that once the Q fell he couldn’t bet. I don’t understand this, as it wasn’t until the river that a better straight was possible. Either way, that put me almost back to even, getting almost a stack and a half back (and that was with splitting the pot). After that, KK held up for me and I was a stack up for the game. I cashed out and headed back to check on Felicia.
At the Four Queens Felicia was playing the side game. This time ‘round, it was 10/20 half Razz (in honor of the Razz tourney) and half Stud/8. I love watching Felicia play the cash games, she always looks so confident and in her element. Sometimes seems more so than tournaments just because there’s no pressure. She doesn’t really care if she wins or loses. You can still play to win, to enjoy the competition, but not be effected by the beats. She does well in these games. After a little while a satellite she was waiting for filled up and she left the game to play. I watched them play Razz a little and then it was turning to Stud/8. I asked if she minded if I played and she said to go ahead. I played tight, had to fold a low draw once when I bricked and another player was showing a 3 and a 5 for a possible wheel draw. But later I scooped a good hand against the same player. She went to the river with me but folded on the end. I had the 2, 4, and 6 of spades showing first 5 and I lead out when the 6 hit. I had made my 6 low on the river (I had the A of spades but no flush, and I actually had paired with the 6’s on fifth, but she didn’t know that ;) When she got her river card she was looking and looking for a reason to call, couldn’t find one, and I scooped a nice 120+ pot. Once the half hour was up, I got up, having never played Razz live.
I watched Felicia in her tournament, but she’s been running badly and getting beat when starting with the best of it. I know the situation all too well…that’s what happened with me last week! She’s a trouper though and takes the beats well.
The next day it was back to Binion’s for a very uneventful day, in terms of poker leaving –$5 after an hour, but very fun session. One of the players from the previous day was there and we ended up chatting it up. He was from Key West and talked about a good game that he runs. He takes no rake as he makes more in tips since he deals it. Plus, he plays the games as well! He says he mostly wins there too! It’s amazing the people keep coming back ;) We had fun conversation and it made me realize just how much I like playing at Binion’s. It’s a poker player’s poker room. Poor lighting, colorful characters, dingy old setting. I know I’m strange, but I love it :-)
The Key West dude was talking about having left due to the storm coming, so I had to plug Iggy’s post about playing in Aruba. I also found that Key West dude either had friends or lived at one time (can’t recall which) in West Field, NY, where my grandparents used to live—small world!
Key West dude (KWD) and a silent old man (SOM) both ended up cracking my AA’s one hand. I brought it in for 20 (10xBB) and they both called me. Dang, action on my AA’s! Flop is 986, all diamonds and I have clubs and hearts. Best hand pre-flop and I can’t bet. KWD bets 25, and SOM tosses in a call without thinking about it. I do and KWD says “I know I got you beat, but I’m more worried about him”, pointing to SOM. I flash my cards to the guy next to me, a very solid player, and say “there was a point in time I would never have folded, but let’s see if I’m right”. OK, I knew I was right, but I just couldn’t help myself. Felicia keeps bugging me to wear headphones when I play so that I don’t talk too much and give away how I play :-P
Turn is off suit rag and it goes check, check. I curse KWD for making me fold my hand, now wondering if he was on a draw. River, no more diamonds (which is what KWD was hoping for) and bet out again. SOM points his thumb up to signal a raise and grabs for a bunch of chips. KWD turbo-mucks and goes “that’s what I thought”. As SOM is pushing his cards out of the way so the dealer can push him the chips, KWD says “at least show me diamonds”. SOM, silent as ever, gestures to the dealer to flip up his cards and we get to see A5d for the A-high flush on the flop. Solid guy on my right tells KWD that I mucked AA and KWD says he had two pair on the flop. Can you believe that? Talk about loose, calling 10xBB with, what, 98 (hopefully, but not necessarily) suited, and A-rag suited? No wonder I love this game! Now do you understand why I got up after KWD left. (-grin-)
I ended up back at Four Queens to watch Felicia, where I got called “eye-candy” by one of the lady tournament floor people. “Whoohoo, did you hear that Felicia? I got called ‘eye-candy,” I said with a big grin.
After making sure Felicia was doing well, I went back to my wandering. This time ending up at Golden Nugget where I ended up sitting next to a Dapper Dan (DD) type that I’d seen play before. Apparently he’s a regular, knows a ton of people, and currently looking for his new ex-wife…hopefully, with sisters. Yes, poker is just full of characters! He had the zoot-suit going, complete with corsage. He claimed to have a bunch of flowers so he’d be prepared should he meet someone. He also had wads of cash on the table so big he needed 3 different money clips! Someone joked about him having ten thousand, and he laughed and said, “If I had ten thousand, I’d be leaving, ‘cause I’d be about seven grand stuck!” LOL.
I got a good pot there when I did the o’ limperoo with Acey-deucey suited. I got checked into runner-runner, again, and made a wheel. With about 4 others in the pot with me, I wasn’t proud of the idiot end of the straight, so I chucked the single red into the pot to see what action I got. I got raised 20 more. I didn’t like it, but I called. And wouldn’t you know it, someone slow played a set, just to get beat out. He finally bets when he’s beat! Did I already say I love this game?
Today (Wednesday) was the last day of our stay. I found a 1/2 NL going again at Binion’s and sat down. This time nothing was standing up and I left a bit down after an hour. For a while it was a fun time playing with the local pros, one of which was very chatty and a little sarcastic. But then he started getting beat and his sarcasms turned mean and I was wishing I had my headphones. He really started tilting when he got his PP (pocket pair) beaten by…drum-roll please…32s! Yes, for the _rivered_ flush! “How can you pay 25 pre-flop with deuce-trey?!?! And then you say ‘here take it all’ [the guy shoved all-in], after we just shook hands!” Oh, man was he steaming! Even though I was losing, I was just waiting for a time to bust him (well, double through—he was another one of those with a wad of hundreds in front of him). Unfortunately for me, that time never came.
I got the old guy with the 32s in a later session, however, when he tried to draw out against me. I had ATo and limped in mid position, he had A9o and we both flopped our side cards. I was first to act, potted it and he called. Ace on the turn gave me top two and after I bet again he went all-in on me for 25 more. Even if I thought he might have a set, I can’t not call for 25 more. I was happy to see that he had two pair as well, but of course I had the best hand and took down the pot when no 9 came on the river. He did get some of his money back later, when he claimed he flopped a boat when I flopped trips. I had a suited Daniel Negreanu (T7s) and limped in mid position. It got raised from someone in late position to 10, but there were so many others in the pot called that I called too. The flop came 877 with 2 clubs and I decided I was happy with the size of the pot and would just take it down with a bet of 40. The old 32s man, shoved all-in for over a hundred more and I went into the “tank”. I’d seen him bet big, but never go all-in. We had a split pot before where be both flopped trip 5’s with Ace kickers and we had a fun little raising war until the board double paired on the turn and we checked the river. As soon as he bet weak on the turn I told him we now had the same hand and I was right. His A5 was unsuited, but I just meant I didn’t know his side card, but I was sure he had a 5 and that now the side card didn’t matter, cause he I know he didn’t have a 6.
Back to the 778 hand, everyone folded back to me after he shoved in. After thinking for a little bit, I showed him my 7 and asked him if he had an Ace kicker again. He said ‘yes’. I didn’t believe him but I still didn’t like the fact that he shoved in. I kept thinking he was stronger than me and I finally folded. Now I know that poker players lie but he said, “I had ya’ beat sonny. I had a canoe, do you know what that is?” I said that I didn’t, but I was thinking that I could figure it out. “A big fullhouse is a ‘boat’, if you have a little one, it’s a ‘canoe’”. So he basically was telling me he had 87 for sevens-full-of-eights; the smaller of the possible fullhouses. Whether he had it or not, it was a good move and I laid down my hand.
I still ended up 55 for that session. Lately my reads have been pretty darn good. I also folded a smaller pocket pair (though still an over pair to the ragged board) when I felt the smooth call by one of the other players would only be with another pp. He said later he had a “made hand”, which means a pp, and I knew I was right. Only misread I did was when I had implied, if not pot, odds to draw to my AK over cards (since I put in a preflop raise) with a board of: QTx. I _really_ only wanted a J, since I was unsure if my A or K wouldn’t give someone two pair or a straight. The bettor in the hand I put on AQ or at least KQ to cold call a raise (since he acted after me) after watching him play for a bit. K on turn, after I folded of course, and on the river he and the only other in the pot (a calling station) turn over QJo! I didn’t think that player would call with such a hand, and either way, I was already bit once by the calling station slow playing KK on me, so I laid down my overs to the decent size flop bet. Even though I might have misread his hand, I still think it’s a lay down with that board and a bettor and a caller.
After returning to Four Queens, I found Felicia still in the Stud 8 tournament. She still had chips but had just lost a hand and was back down to where she started. I found a 4/8 HE side game going (of all things, they usually only played 10/20) and I started to play. I dropped almost 40 a little too quickly playing short-handed (I really need to steal more, but was also cold-decked) and then we started playing 1/2 NL (Whoohoo!). I still didn’t get many hands and ended almost 50 down, canceling what I just won in the last session at Binion’s. Ahhh, well, such is variance.
All-in-all, I had a good time. I wish Felicia was able to place during one of her tournaments, but she had a few too many out-draws. We both started home exhausted and ‘pokered-out’!
I just finished pounding this out, and Felicia has just gone to the bedroom after I said “almost done” for the 3rd time, so I’m going to post this and ask that you forgive any English errors, as my editor is MIA :-P