Sunday, July 2, 2006

My last cash game of the WSOP trip

I had all day Friday to kill and decided to play poker over at the Wynn all day. I really enjoyed their poker room and figured this would be a good way to wrap up the trip. I played poker from noon until about 9pm when I had to leave to grab my luggage and get to the airport.

I was drinking Long Island Iced Teas all day long, and as the day wore on I found myself getting more and more chatty (go figure). I normally don't talk a whole lot to the other players, but I was finding myself being able to extract lots of information out of the other players. I'm sure since I was not being as "rigid" as I normally am I was giving up some more information in my play, but I know that I was picking up lots more and so as I slowed down my drinking I still kept the chatty part of my game going.

I started the session by working my way from my $300 buy-in up to about $850 in chips through just really solid play, never once having to risk my entire stack of chips, but it was around 4 hours in to the session that I stepped on a couple of land mines that cost me all those chips plus $300 more.

I was in seat 5 at the table all day long. A new player in seat 10 had limped in as did several other players when I looked down at my small blind and saw I had pocket 8s. I decided to limp and take a flop to see what happened. I know, I know, you're thinking "you should have raised". I disagree. There were 5 or 6 limpers, and I didn't know if anyone was trying to be coy with a hand. If I make a big hand out of the flop I can really hit someone hard with it, and it makes it easy (and cheap) to get away from if you miss. Anyway, the flop comes:


Now, usually when three of a card is on the board the fourth isn't in play. It doesn't always work out that way, but a significant majority of the time it does. I decided to lead out and bet. I bet $25 into the $35 pot, and only got one caller. It was the new player in seat 10. In a situation like this pocket pairs are usually very good hands. It was the turn card here that made it so that I wasn't getting away from this pot. The turn card was an 8. This gave me the 2nd best hand possible, a boat 8s full of 7s. I led out and bet again ($60), but this time I guessed that my bet was a trapping bet. I was now hoping my opponent had a bigger pair than me. Since he limped preflop I was guessing that he could be holding 9s or Ts. He calls again. The river comes 2. I bet $100, and this time the player moves all in. Obviously he may have the 7, but with that turn card there and the pot the size that it was I felt that there was almost no way I could fold there, so I called his $225 and he very promptly turned over 7-5 showing me the quad 7s. Where it looks like this may have been an easy fold keep in mind that he had the only hand that could beat me (also known as "the cooler").

So I lost a lot of money in that pot, but I was still up. About 15 minutes later I get pocket Aces in middle position and bump it up to $25. Two players call. The board flops:


giving me a full house. The first player, a guy named Joe who was at the table the full 9 hours, checked to me and I fired $35 at the pot. I fired the bet hoping someone would have a piece of it and come over the top of me. The player behind me folds and Joe calls. Now Joe was a real nice guy and was very friendly to me all day. He kept telling me "I give you money" as he paid me off on hand after hand. Well he calls the $35 and turn card comes Ten. Now I'm back to the same situation I was in the last hand I described. Once again, a significant majority of the time no one has that 4th card. This time I was hoping Joe was calling me with an Ace since it would appear that if we both had an Ace this would be a split pot. Since I had AA I knew that wasn't the case. Joe checked and I bet $75 at the turn. Joe calls, telling me as he calls that "I do not think you have the Ten". The river comes a blank, and now he leads out and bets $200. Well, I am certainly going to call that. Joe did have about $6000 on the table. If he had moved all in I am about 95% sure I would have folded. However, it was only a $200 bet, and he would need the cooler to beat me, and sure enough, Joe had the cooler.

You may be asking, how did Joe get $6000 on the table? At the Wynn's $2-$5 No Limit game, the minimum buy in is $200, but there is no maximum. Also, when you play at some of the poker rooms in Vegas, you can have $100 bills on the table and they play. Earlier in the day, a player had beat Joe in a sizable pot, and in the very next hand that player and Joe were going heads up again and the player had asked the dealer how much Joe had in front of him because I think he thought he had Joe covered. Joe didn't like that he was being asked that and pulled out a wad of rubber-banded $100 bills and tossed it on the table and promptly told the player, "I have the table covered".

So now in the space of about 15 minutes I went from being very much ahead to very much down, having lost to the cooler twice. The drinks were kicking in and I had a lot of work to do. It's hard to try and stay chatty and friendly when you've taken a couple hits like that, but I managed to do it, reminding myself I was still way up for the trip. I started grinding away again. I did manage to get a lot of chips back about an hour and a half later when I found Ks-9s in middle position. The pot was bumped to $20, but there were three callers so I called. The flop comes:


giving me the nut flush draw. A player bet $30 and I called and another player called. The turn missed me and the player again led out, this time with $60. I raised to $200, knowing that if he has a weak Ace he may chuck it anyway. The other player folded and the initial bettor, Shannon, called. The river was the 7s and since there was no pair on the board I knew I had the nuts. Shannon put me all in and I called instantly, winning a nice pot. I think Shannon thought that when I raised at the turn I may have had two pair, and since he called that he may have been on the flush draw so he tried to represent it with his bet. He didn't count on my raising with the draw. He did comment a little after that how dumb of a bet that was since he himself didn't have two pair if he got called by anything he was beat. That's one of those that sometimes you determine "if I bet at the river, what can call me?" and realize that only hands that can beat you will call you. That's not always the case, but he was holding AJ as it turned out so when he put all his chips out there, the only hand calling him was beating him.

My next big hand came at the expense of Joe, but he set himself up for a bigger loss than he needed to. I was dealt the Ah-4h in a hand that was only raised to $15 so I made the call when the board came:


flopping me the nuts! I check, now trying to extract the maximum out of this hand. Joe bets $45 I think, gets a caller, and I call. The turn card was an 8. I check, Joe bets $50, the other player goes away, and I call. The river didn't pair the board and I checked again. I knew Joe had something and wasn't going to just check it. This time he bets $15, and then flips his cards face up on the table! One thing you should know, you can show your cards at a poker game. You can only do it when it is heads up action though. Some players do this to get a reaction out of their opponent. Joe also had flopped the flush, but he had 8h Th for a baby flush. Well, I knew I had the nuts before, but now knowing what Joe had it changed what I was planning on doing entirely. When he threw out that silly $15 on the end I was going to bump it to $100. Now, I was going to have to try and sell a steal. I kind of tried doing that "wild eyed look all over the place" look to make it look like I was thinking about it and then moved all in for $450! It was an insane overbet, and I knew it. I wanted Joe to question that bet. It worked, as he called me and I showed him the nuts. Joe just smiled and said, "See? I give you money."

That wasn't the only time I saw cards before having to make a decision. I had a player show me his A-rag when I was on a drawing hand at the turn that I made at the river and got paid off, and another player thought that there were no players left and turned his hand over when I was in the process of calling. I did have that player beat, but decided to not raise instead of calling since I had already started to move those chips out there, and I thought it would be unethical to do it to a player who had done it on accident when I had planned on just calling and started to make a motion to just call.

It was around 8:45 or so when I had $1100 in chips and a couple $100 bills in front of me, putting me up $400+ for the session. In my second to last hand I was dealt As-Qd and bumped it to $40. Two players called. One of them, Gary, was a player who only bet or played the river with a very strong hand. He had been at the table all day long himself. The flop came:


I now have top pair with top kicker so I bet $100, hoping to just take it down here. Gary calls, and the other player mucks it. The turn comes 3c. I bet $200, and Gary comments "You must have made your flush, heh?". Honestly, those may have been the first words spoken by this guy when he wasn't asked a direct question all day. Given the fact that he only played the river with strong hands and the fact that he was there when I paid off the quads both times I think he was trying to do what Joe had been trying to do when Joe had told me "I don't think you have the Ten" earlier, although this time it wasn't just a cooler that could beat me. There were many, many hands that could beat AQ. The river brought a 5, and I decided to check being fairly certain that the verbal statement Gary made was a sign of strength, and he quickly confirmed that with a $300 bet. I chucked my AQ, and when the BB got to me it was time to go. I racked my chips and headed to the cage to cash them in. I ended being up $39 for the session. Not great considering it was nine hours of play, but it's always better to be in the black than the red. I did get to drink for free all day and had an enjoyable time at the table with Ricardo, Joe, Nick, Shannon, Orash, Gary, Steve, and Oliver. I look forward to my next visit to Vegas. I'll be sure to stop back at the Wynn again!