Well, I was hoping that I got all my "bad" poker out of my system on Friday, after having not cashed in the WSOP event and then going "on tilt" to a certain extent in my cash game session afterwords. Dan and I got up early to hit the Bellagio's breakfast buffet and made our way over to the sports book to watch the USA play Ghana in its World Cup match. What a disappointment that was! It was a shame since we had a really good atmosphere in the sports book. Every seat was taken in the room, and the people had lined up about 5 people deep just watching the game on the giant screens. The game itself was exciting, it was just a very disappointing outcome.
I had brought a larger bankroll to Vegas for playing in cash games and tournaments this time thanks to how well I was doing back home. It was now time to put some of that to the test so I decided to sit down in the Bellagio's $5/$10 No-Limit Hold 'em game. Aside from the blinds being higher than at the $2/$5 game, the rake is done differently. At every dealer change, which occurs every half hour, the dealer collects $6 from each player and that's what the house gets instead of raking a percentage of the pot. I like this format since every player is then equally paying the rake, and not just the person winning each hand. The range of buy-in amount is slightly different for this game, too, having a range of $400 - $1500 for the initial buy in. The $2/$5 game has a range of $100 - $500. I decided to buy in for $700, and I was seated. They actually had a good number of tables that were running $5/$10. They also use orange $10 chips at the $5/$10 game, so the stacks don't look too much different in size from the ones at the $2/$5 tables, but those stacks add up pretty quick!
The action started slow for me, since I really wanted to have a good feel for the table before getting too many chips involved in a large pot. Once I had won a couple hands and dragged a couple smaller pots I started to feel in my comfort zone. It was around this time that I picke up 8-8 and raised it up to $40 preflop. I was called by three other players, which is almost never good when you're holding a middle pair like 8s. The flop helped me out tremendously: 6-7-8. I decided to lead out at this board since it was a pretty coordinated board and even though I had top set I was vulnerable to a couple of draws. After I bet $90, the short stack at the table called, and another player reraised it to $240. Once the action was back on me I decided to reraise it to $560. Even if I'm behind (and I'm only behind to T-9, 5-4, and 9-5) I still have outs to catch the full house, and this is the type of hand that I'll play strong because of its combined strength and drawing potential. Well, the all in called for his remaining $200, and after some serious thought, the guy who raised to $240 folded. I never found out what either player had, but the all in lost, and the other guy said he would have lost, so I dragged a very nice pot there.
It wasn't too much later that I picked up the 8c-6c and decided to raise it to $40 from late position. The player in the small blind called, and the big blind folded, so it was heads up to the flop, which came: J-6-4. Now I wasn't crazy about getting called preflop, but now that I've hit a piece of the flop I decided it's worth a bet so I bet $50. I was called immediately, and I already had it in my mind to be done with the hand. The turn card changed all that as the dealer put a 6 out for me on the turn. It was checked to me, and I was now hoping that my opponent had a hand with a Jack so I could squeeze a few more dollars out of him. I bet $110, and he raised it to $260. I put on a little show to think about it, plus I was trying to figure out an amount that I thought he might call, and decided to raise it to $510. He moved all in for a total of about $820, and I called that. I turned out he had pocket Aces and was slow playing them. Well, there was no Ace to save him on the river, and now I had dragged another really nice pot.
Shortly after this, I picked up pocket Kings. A player in early position raised to $30 and there was a caller, so I repopped the bet to $110. When it got back to the first raiser he thought for a minute before reraising it to $220, which was almost a minimum raise. This caused me to go in to the tank. He only had about $700 when the hand started. If I raised to $450 here, which would be normal (3x the bet), there's almost no way I can fold for the remaining $250 so it would make sense to put him all in. But if I put him all in and he snap calls I know he has Aces and I'm dead. Now, I don't think I'm going to fold Kings here no matter what, but I wanted to make sure I had that option in case he put in a 5th raise. I ultimately decided to raise it to $330. That way if he went all in I would still have the option to save the $370 it would take to call that. I might still call anyways, but I wanted to give myself the option. Moving all in takes that option away. Well, he thought for a minute before folding and I was now dragging another very nice pot; this time without any board being put out. This might be one of the few hands where I've ever even considered folding Kings preflop. I still don't know if I'd have done it, but I certainly would have put some thought in to it, that's for sure.
There was one more significant hand that I got this session, and that was pocket Aces shortly after those Kings. The guy whose Aces I cracked earlier had raised to $40 from early position. There were two callers before it got to me, and when I saw I had AA, I pushed it to $150. The original raiser thought for a moment or two, and pushed it to $400. The other players folded, and I went in to the tank again. I wasn't sure if he had a hand or was making a play because I had gotten him earlier, but he had just put in about half his stack, so I set him all in. He chucked his hand at that point, but that was still another healthy pot to drag in to my stack.
After it was all said and done, I had $3208 in front of me, for a nice little profit of just over $2500 for the session. It wasn't bad for the 5 hours I put in there. I was really looking forward to some more action on Sunday over at the Venetian.