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Thursday, December 31, 2009

HO Down II

On Saturday night, we had another variety tournament. This time it was the HO Down, a NLHE and PLO tournament. Levels 1, 3, 5, ect are NLHE, and Levels 2, 4, 6, etc are PLO. The buy-in and structure are the same as the regular tournament.

Despite being the day after Christmas, we ended up with 31 players which was the same as last year.

My tournament got off to a great start. I caught a few cards, and played some good poker. I got to the first break with 19200 chips. And that was in spite of losing 4900 on a cooler; bottom two pair vs top two pair on the Flop.

The next part of the tourney didn't go as well. The first dent out of my big stack came in Level 6 (200/400 PLO). There were a few limpers. I was in the SB with As AKJc, and raised Pot to 2800. The BB, who was short stacked, decided to push All-In for 1100 more with T9d 85o. He ended up hitting two pair on the Turn.

I lost another chunk in a Blind vs Blind hand when I flopped two pair and he rivered a straight.

In Level 10 (800/1600 PLO), I had about 15k, and raised to 5k with 8c87h6s. I had one caller who limped before me. The Flop was Jd Td 5h. He shoved All-In. I did hit this Flop with a bottom wrap and backdoor flush draw, but my draws could easily be crushed. I ended up folding, and waiting for a better spot. In hindsight, this was a mistake. As someone pointed out, you just gotta shove it in when you're short stacked in PLO. My inexperience in PLO tourneys showed.

I ended up busting out in 11th place later that level.

For the Cash game, I ended up playing at the TV Poker (NLHE) table instead of the 8-Game table. I saw some spots that made it a better choice. I only got to play for 1.5 hours, but cashed out up $154. Some one pushed All-In for $90 with top pair after I turned two pair. I picked off a bluff against someone on the Button. I even lost $80 on a three barrel bluff against someone who just can not fold. Hopefully that was an investment that will be returned with interest in the future.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Greektown Review

Greektown Hotel & Casino is in downtown Detroit, MI. The easiest way to get there is to take I75 to I375 to the first exit (East Lafayette Ave). The parking garage is right off the highway.

Poker Room:
Greektown just opened up a new Poker Room. For those that are familiar with Greektown, it is in the location of the old Alley Grill. The entrance is on the 2nd floor where the snack bars are located, near the Buffet. Take the stairs to a sub floor between the 1st and 2nd floors.

There are four rooms on this sub-floor. The first is just a lounge area with a few chairs and a couch. The second is where for the Desk and the Lists are displayed. The third is for the Cage and a little Bar. The fourth is the actual Poker Room.

The Poker Room has 13 tables. There are 12 tables in this room. Number 13 is located in a side room, and is used for the "Big Game". The tables are really crammed in the room, and there is not much space to move around. There are bathrooms located off this room, which means that we don't have to go wandering through the casino to find one.

The rake is the Detroit standard of 10% $6 max + $1 for the Bad Beat Jackpot, which is Aces Full of Jacks beaten by Quads. The BBJ ranges for $5000 to $100k depending on how often it's been hit.

The only games that are spread regularly is $50-$200 ($1/$2 blinds), and $3/$6 Limit w/ Kill. I have seen lists for $2/$5 NL, but I think it rarely goes. They also have the "Big Game" which is $5/$10 PLO ($300 min). It is officially spread on Tuesdays and Saturdays, but I have seen it go on other days. Sometimes they will mix NLHE with it.

Greektown does give Comps to their players. The $6 Food Voucher has been replaced with $1/hr on the Player's Card. You need to swipe in & swipe out at the Desk. Hopefully in the future, they will get Card Swipers at the tables like most other Poker Rooms do.

They do have some food available in the Poker Room; just some cookies chips, and fruit. It would be nice to have a bin with some bottled water in it. The Bar in the third room does have a little menu with some sandwiches that you can purchase.

The players are a mix of skill, old nits, and gamblers. Most people in Detroit either love or hate Greektown, so the player base generally only plays at Greektown. I have noticed that the Poker Room has gotten busier since they opened the new room, so I'm assuming that other players are checking it out.

If you're a tourney player, then Greektown is your only choice in Detroit. They have two daily tournaments, 11am & 7pm. The normal buy-in is $75 for 4k chips. On Sunday and Wednesday night they have $100 tournaments, and occasionally larger buy-ins. The turnout for the tournaments are 20-50 for the 11am, and 40-100 for the 7pm. The structure of the tourneys can be found on their website, and is what you would expect from a daily casino tournament.

Casino:
Greektown is a two floor casino. The first floor is all Slots, with some table games up on the 2nd floor.

They have most of the usual tables game, including the new Blackjack Switch. They do not have Texas Hold'em Bonus, which is one of the games that I play. The table limits are a little high, with $5 games only until 10am on weekdays.

If you're into Video Poker, Greektown has a few full pay 9/6 $1 Jacks or Better. It is very rare to see these pay tables outside of small Vegas casinos.

Greektown has many food options. They have little sandwich carts spread out around the casino, and they usually have something different at each one. One will be a Hot Dog cart, another will have Hot Roast Beef, etc. They quality is OK, but it's overpriced, as you would expect in a casino. There are some restaurants off the first floor, but I can't say much about them, since I'm never down there. I know they have a Cold Stone Creamery and a Five Guys Burgers

There is a Buffet on the 2nd level. The good thing is that it is the cheapest one in Detroit. $9.99 anytime of day from 11am til they close. However, it is one of the worst buffets that I've been at. They have a very small selection of dishes, and they don't rotate what they offer. Every time that I've been, they have the same few options. If you have enough comps for a free buffet, then it is worth the money.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Hand of the Day #19

I don't have many tournament hands for Hand of the Day. I feel that most of them are simple, with all action preflop or just a Raise & C-Bet.

So here are three of them from my tournament at Greektown on 12/17.

Level 1 (25/50) 2nd hand of the tourney.

I'm UTG and fold. A few others limp in. The BB (an old farmer) raises to 350. Mid position (middle aged dude) calls. The Button (old cowboy) raises to 650. BB and Mid calls. Pot size: ~ 2100

Flop: K 7 3 - BB checks. Mid checks. Button bets 200. As an observer, this bet is pathetic. He limps on the Button, and the raises after someone else did. And now he bets 200 into a pot over 2k. This screams Weakness. BB folds. Mid guy thinks for a bit, and then calls.

Turn: [K 7 3] 8 - Mid checks. Cowboy bets 500 into a 2500 pot. Mid guy thinks for a bit and calls.

River: [K 7 3 8] 4 - Mid guy checks. Cowboy bets 500 into a 3500 pot. Mid guy thinks, and then calls. Cowboy shows 55. Mid guy, who just checked or called for the entire hand, shows JJ, and wins a pot of 4500.

Level 1 (25/50)

I'm UTG+1 with AKo, and I just limp. A Mid position guy (different than previous hand) min-raises to 100. A bunch of players call. I back-raise to 700. Mid guy calls. It folds around to the SB, who is the Cowboy from previous hand, and he raises to 1400. I insta-ship All-In. Mid guy calls, which I'm not happy about. We might have the same hand. Of course, the Cowboy calls.

Cowboy has 99, but Mid guy has AA. Crap!. If he would have reraised after I made it 700, then I probably would have folded. But Cowboy had to jump in the middle of this, and now I'm screwed.

I flopped a Broadway draw (J T x), but I missed. Cowboy was eliminated, and I'm left with 725 chips.

Level 4 (150/300)

It folds around to the Cutoff who just limps. I'm the SB with 96o, and call. BB checks.

Flop: Q J 6 - Bottom Pair. Yippie. All players check.

Turn: [Q J 6] T - I check. BB checks. Cutoff bets 1200. He's a 30 yr old, and seems fairly solid. But this bet doesn't seem right. He overbet the pot of 900. I've got Bottom Pair, and the bad end of an open-ender. But I've only got 2200 chips left.

I decide to follow my instincts, and go All-In. BB folds. Cutoff thinks for a moment, says he's pot committed, and calls the 1000. He shows A9h. Sweet! He's got the same draw as I do. I love a good read.

River: [Q J 6 T] A - I'm out in 16th place.

Nice Hand, Sir.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Marathon

On Saturday night, we ended up with 32 player due to some normal December weather. The early part of the tourney was uneventful for me, and I got to the first break with 7900 chips, 100 below the starting stack.

After the break, I only played one hand of significance. It's important to remember who's Big Blind you're trying to steal. One player at the table (Gary K) was doing some straddling, aka raising blind UTG, and this is not unusual for him. So I raised on the Button with K9o, and he called from the Straddle. I whiffed the Flop, and we both checked. I bet the Turn after he checked. He then said, "Ah, what the hell," and moved All-In. It wasn't that much more, but I couldn't call with just K high. He showed a Q-high Flush Draw.

That left me shortstacked, and I basically blinded off. I finally went All-In with 55. The player next to me looked down at TT, and missed my two outer. I finished in 20th place.

Since I was out early, I got to play a little Cash. After doing some TD stuff, I sat down at the 8-Game table. That table did not have the usual lineup of mixed game players. Instead, there was a lineup that was marshmallow soft. Two players at the table were playing every single hand. One of them did not understand the concept of the Hi/Lo games, like Omaha8. He kept chasing or betting the Low when he didn't have one. Another player raised on 3rd Street in Razz with a 9 showing. Of course, he won the hand against one of the players who just can't fold.

A table like this will make any competent player rich in the long term, but it also can be high variance in the short term. I only played for an hour before I had to go deal the Final Table. I bought in for $100, and left the table with $78.

After I finished up my TD duties, I sat back down at the 8-Game table. The table lineup had gotten tougher, but there was still one of the "play every hand" players left, and he had a large chip stack. So, I sat down two seat to his left with my $78 stack, and things didn't go well. Lousy starting hands, and missed draws slowly bled my stack. I finally went busto in the Limit Hold'em round when my Top Pair lost to Trips on the Turn.

I was very frustrated at this point, and considered quitting. However, I rebought with my last $100. I finally won a hand in the Omaha8 round. I then won some more money in Omaha8, and I won two Razz hands. At the end of the Razz round, I realized that I had $215 in front of me. One good round in this game can cure a lot of frustration.

As much as a good round can be, a bad round can hurt just as much. My stack for most of the night was hovering between $225-$275. But the last of the night round before the game broke was PLO, and it was not good for me. I missed a few draws, and made a River call with Two Pair against a player who's been throwing out some big bets. This time he had it; a Flopped Straight and Turned K-high Flush. When the game broke, I cashed out for $213 for a measly $13 profit. It is disappointing after about 5.5 hours of play, but it is also my first positive cash out in 8-Game.

Normally, we end the cash game around 4:30am. But this week, we got the "green light" from the Host to play as long as we wanted. We kept playing until the 8-Game table broke at 7am. The NL table kept going until 9am, from what I was told.

After we cashed out, a few of us went to Bob Evans for some breakfast. I finally walked in the door of my luxurious double-wide at 8:20am.

*Yawn!* 

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Sticking With What Works

After I check out of my room at Motor City and had some breakfast, I had a little time to kill before heading over to Greektown for the 11am tourney. So I sat back down at the 3 Card Poker (3CP), and ended up grinding out $105 profit. Now I'm freerollin' in the tournament.

The Greektown tournament ended up with 30 players. Unfortunately, in Level 1 (25/50), I ran into a cooler/trainwreck that took my starting stack of 4000 down to 725. I grinded it out for a while, and finally got a double up in Level 3 (100/200) to 2800. But in Level 4 (150/300), I lost to a 3-outer on the River, and finished in 16th place.

I then walked over to see if there were any seats open in the Cash game. There was a list for $1/$2, but an open seat at the $3/$6 (w/kill) table. I haven't played any 7-Card Bingo lately, so I figured I could work on my Limit Hold'em game.

12:40 $150 - There was the usual mix of old people, and really old people. Unfortunately, I got seated next to a loudmouth regular who considered himself an expert at this game.

1:00 $163 - Hit a Small Blind Special. Flopped Pair + Flush Draw, and hit Flush on River. Table is playing just like a $3/$6 table. A couple of players are playing almost every hand to the Turn. And a couple of players are playing rather tight, including Mr Loudmouth.

1:30 $126 - Raised with AK in BB. Ended up losing to KJ when he hit Two Pair on Turn. I'm trying to play tight overall. I am playing most hands in the Button and Cutoff, and will occasionally limp with other hands. Have had very few "Quality Starting Hands".

2:00 $81 - Could someone please remind me exactly why I wanted to play this game?

2:30 $59 - Got AK for the 3rd time, and lost for the 3rd time. Ended up 4-betting ($12) preflop with two of the 7-Card Bingo players. One of them was All-In for $9. The Board was all rags, and I ended up checking it down with the other player. He had JTd. All-In guy had K3 and hit the 3 on the River. I got the $6 side pot. Wheeeee!!

3:00 $52 - The last four hands dealt to me were Q4, T2c, 84, and 83.

3:35 $34 - Cashout. I know I'm just an average Limit Hold'em player, but it's impossible for me to win without cards. I don't think I had a pocket pair the entire three hours. As I already mention, I had AK three times. I also had AQ once, and won with it. I raise preflop in a Kill Pot, and took down the blinds and Kill. That happened shortly after the last AK hand, and it was the last pot I won.

I walked over to the Buffet for some grub, and debated what my next move was going to be. I decided to stick with the only thing that has been working for me lately. I headed back into the Pit, and sat down at a 3CP table. I grinded it out for a couple hours, but eventually I hit a big hand, J J J, cashed out up $250, and headed home.

For whatever reason, 3CP is the only game that I've been winning at lately, including $1/$2. Since October 1st, I'm up $694 at $1/$2, and up $820 at 3CP. I don't know if I have "cracked the magic code" or I am just running good. I don't think I'm running Hot in the game. I have had losing sessions, and have had very few big hands (Trips or Straight Flush). Most of my wins have just been grinding it out, and quitting when I'm ahead.

I have no delusions of grandeur, and I'm not think about becoming a 3CP pro. When I walk into a casino, the first place I head to is the Poker Room, and that's not gonna change. But for now, this is working for me, so I'm gonna keep riding it until it crashes.

And I know it eventually will.

Friday, December 18, 2009

A Little $2/$5 Action

Walked into the Greektown Poker Room around 8pm Wednesday night. There was a list for $1/$2 and $3/$6, but they were just opening a $2/$5. I was a bit surprised, since I haven't seen a $2/$5 game there in 18 months. But, I did have $600 on me, so I walked back to see if there was any open seats. There was only three players, so I marked a seat, and walked back to the Cage to get $600 in chips ($400 Green & $200 Red). I put $400 on the table, and wait for the game to start.

8:15 $300 - Only three players want to play $2/$5. A Floorman changes game from $200-$500 ($2/$5) to $100-$300 ($1/$2). It seems really weird to me that they can just create a $300 max $1/$2 game. Why not always have it? But that's Greektown for ya.

8:50 $400 - Stacked off a player with Nut Flush for about $75. I bet the Flop with the Draw, and Check/Called his All-In with Two Pair on the Turn. He missed his 4-outer.

A different Floorman comes over, and discovers our unique $1/$2 table. He rules that the $100-$300 game has $2/$5 blinds starting next hand. I think this is a terrible decision. There are players with just $100, and this game will break soon. Just make it a regular $1/$2 game.

Again, typical Greektown.

9:30  $376 - This is not a normal $2/$5 table. It is playing more like a $1/$2 game with bigger blinds. Tight & passive play with standard preflop raise to $15. More than three players to see a Flop is rare.

10:00 $300 - Because it is so tight, I'm doing more limping or raising in late position. Having mixed results. Won a decent pot with JJ. Lost $90 with Top Pair vs Set on Flop.

10:30 $231 - Really card dead. Only significant pot was a loss. Top pair on Flop vs Flush on Turn.

We are only 6-handed now, and this table is dying quickly. Only two new players have shown up since they made it $2/$5. Most hands are a preflop raise and everyone folds, or everyone folds and the blinds chop.


10:40 $228 - Table breaks. Once again, I have shown my inability to win at $2/$5.

I considered joining a $1/$2 table, but it's getting late to buy into a new table. If I can't sit for at least three hours, then it just becomes a case of luck whether I win or not.

I decide to head back to Motor City, where I have my Free Room. Last week, I didn't even walk into their casino. So I decide to play a little in the Pit and "pay" for the Free Room.

I sat down at the Texas Hold'em Bonus table, and played for almost two hours. I was grinding away, but not winning. I almost went broke, and then started to make a comeback. It didn't last, and I busted out for $200.

So I walked over to the 3-Card Poker table. This is the only Pit game that I've been beating lately, and it didn't disappoint. I didn't hit any big hands, but grinded out $275 of profit in over an hour.

Finally, I got up to my room a little after 2am, and passed out.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Hand of the Day #18

$1/$2 NLHE - Horseshoe Hammond - 11.11.09

This is from a weekday afternoon session, and the table has been playing rather tight to this point. A new player just sat down, and he seems to be an action player. On this hand, he was the Button, and he tried to do a Button straddle for $7. The problem is this casino doesn't allow Button straddles. The players tried to tell him this, but he wasn't listening.

So I'm in Early Position and look down at the mighty Th 5c. I get a frisky feeling, and raise to $10. Now the dealer is confused, and calls the Floor over to our table. The Floor person eventually gives the ruling that I knew he would; the Button straddle is not an option at this casino, and my raise is good. Naturally, the Button calls, and so does the BB, who is the only other player at this table who could be considered an action player.

Flop: Qd Js 9d - Cool! Now I've got outs. BB checks. I bet $20. I'm hoping that both players fold, and I can show my hand. But the Button calls, and then the BB check-raises All-In for $126. I quickly eject. Button thinks for a while, and reluctantly folds. BB shows Jd 6d for mid pair and a flush draw.

Was it a smart move to raise in EP with T5o? Of course not.

Do I have any regrets from this hand? Yes. I should have raised more preflop, like $15. Maybe the BB would have folded his hand.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

8-Game

Those who play Online poker probably know about PokerStars 8-Game mix. It consists of Limit 2-7 Triple Draw, HORSE (Limit Hold'em, Limit Omaha-8, Razz, 7-Card Stud, Stud-8), No Limit Hold'em, and Pot Limit Omaha. They introduced it about two years ago, and it has become the main mixed game on the site. This year Full Tilt copied it by creating a 7-Game mix. It has the same games, but without 2-7 Triple Draw since Full Tilt doesn't offer it yet.

Recently, the 8-Game mix has started to be played at my Saturday night home game, in addition to the standard $1/$1 NLHE. The structure of the NLHE and PLO is $1/$1 with $150 max buy-in. The Limit rounds are $3/$6. The SB is $1. The ante is $.50, and the Bring-In is $1.

8-Game has quickly replaced the previous mix of NLHE, PLO, & NL Crazy Pineapple. The 8-Game is starting to draw some of the NL players who are a little bored with TV Poker (NLHE) and want to try something else.

On the surface, the 8-Game would be a good thing for me. I enjoy playing the mixed games, and I know how to play all of them. But I don't think this game is +EV for me unless there are some players who are just trying it out.

In our group of home players, I would consider myself one of the Top 5 Mixed Game players. But if I'm playing against the other four players, then I'm at a disadvantage. Yes, I do know how to play all the games, and I think I understand the basic fundamentals of each game. But there's a difference in knowing the basics, and having actual experience. I really don't play the Stud games except the occasional mixed game in this group. I am learning 2-7 Triple Draw, but other players know it better than I do. And my Limit Hold'em game really needs some work.

I would rather do some "game selection", and just play TV Poker where I know I have an advantage. Last week, I did this because I saw no soft spots at the 8-Game table, but there were a few at the NL table. And, as you can see, it was a wise decision.

This week, the tournament finished early due to the low turnout. And since I had an extra $200 in my pocket from finished 2nd, I sat down at the 8-Game table. I ended up playing for three hours, which was my longest session of this mix so far.

I bought in for $100, and got off to a good start in the Limit Omaha-8 round. I end up either winning half or scooping most of the pots. I had about $160 at that point. For the next few rounds, I just maintained my stack around $150. This table played rather loose passive, with few raises preflop or on 3rd street. Also, many of the hands are still multi-way going to the Turn or 5th street. So I tried to play "quality starting hands" and not chase too much.

In the PLO round, I attempted a semi-bluff in the SB with a check-raise to $50 on the Flop (As Kc 8c) with just top pair and Nut Flush draw. Unfortunately, I ran into the only hand that could raise me, a set of K that also checked to the preflop raiser. He thought for a while, and raised me to $150. I quickly ejected, and called myself a donkey for trying to bluff in PLO.

That left my stack at $85. And, as always seems to be the case, the Poker Gods punished me. I went ridiculously card dead for the rest of the night. The one Razz that I got involved with started out with 7 up and A 3 down. Next card was a 5. 5th street was Q. 6th was paired my 3, and 7th was a third 3 giving me a Q low. Surprisingly, it didn't win.

The final hand of the night, I got dealt arguably my best Stud hand of the session, Qs Js Ts (Hello, 3-Card Poker). The next two cards were 2h and 5d, so I had to fold.

I ended the night with just $14 in front of me, for a loss of $86. Granted, $50 of that came from a badly timed bluff. And I still walked out to my car with about $100 more than I walked in with, thanks to the tournament.

I think I will still use some "game selection" in future weeks, and play the 8-Game occasionally. I'm sure that with more experience in some of the games, I will eventually become more than just an average player at that table.

Monday, December 14, 2009

You Don't Win a Poker Tournament ... You Steal It

I heard this phrase recently, and it seemed appropriate with me working on my Chip Accumulator gear.

For whatever reason, we only had 23 players on Saturday night. This meant that I got to do less running around in the first few levels, and actually play a little poker. My seat draw was rather good, with three ladies sitting on my left. So I did a lot of preflop raising to steal blinds. I also did a bit of 3-betting (reraising). As the blinds went up, I also started to limp on the Button when it folded to me, and then bet at any Flop that was checked to me, which usually won the pot.

I also ran a little good with some "splash around" hands. I limped with 42o in late position. I called a Flop bet (Q 8 4) and hit the second 4 on the Turn. I bet out on the Turn and River to win a good sized pot. Later, I limped with 53d in late position. Girl on Button (Kerry Z) raised. BB and I called. I flopped bottom two pair to crack her JJ, and knocked her out of the tournament.

By the 1st break, I had run my 5k starting stack into 23200. I didn't even take the 3k AddOn, and saved myself $10.

After the break there was only 16 players left, so I took my foot off the gas. All I needed to do was keep my stack around 25k, and coast to the Final Table. It started off well. But one of the ladies (Special K) got very shortstacked. It was hard to try any steal attempts without a decent hand, so I started to blind off. Plus I lost a small chunk when someone hit two pair on the River against my top pair.

My big stack was slowly approaching a small stack when I doubled up in a Blind vs Blind hand. I hit two pair on the Turn, and shoved All-In on the River to make it look like a missed draw. He (R R Dave) thought about for a while, and reluctantly called with a low pair.

When the 2nd break came, we had just reached the Final Table. My stack was up to 29500. However, it took forever to get from 11 players down to the Final 9. I think we played five handed for almost an hour. So the average stack at the start of the Final Table was only 9 Big Blinds at the 1k / 2k level, and it didn't improving much during the rest of the tournament.

Since I was one of the chip leaders (2nd, I think), I just sat back, and was patient. I did manage to knock out two players, including the Bubble with a three outer on the River, A9h vs ATd.

When we got to three handed, the chip stacks very fairly even. But the average stack was still around 10 Big Blinds, so the chip lead got passed around. A young lady, who I sat next to at the first table, had a little rush of cards. She took a small chunk off me with JJ vs my TT, and then she eliminated the 3rd place player (Doug Poker) with AT vs KJ All-In preflop.

This gave her a very large chip stack going into heads-up, roughly 145k to 30k in the 2k/4k level. We exchanged a few blinds back and forth, but I never got the double up that I needed. Finally, in the 25/5k level, I pushed for 32k with T9o, and she called with A2o. I lost the coin flip, and finished in 2nd place for $200.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Hand of the Day #17

$1/$2 NLHE - Greektown - 12.9.09

I've got Kc Kd on the Button, and do my standard raise to $7. Five players see the Flop: Jd 9c 7d. SB (old guy) leads out for $20. Mid position (middle aged guy) calls. Cutoff (30 yr old) goes All-In for $40.

This hand is a good example of the drawbacks of only raising to $7 every hand. I have no clue where I'm at right now. I just recently sat down, so I don't have any information about these guys. The player that I'm most worried about is the SB. It's common for an old guy to lead out with two pair or better in this spot. Since the Cutoff has only $40, he could be pushing with anything from top pair to a straight to a draw.

While I'm thinking, I notice that the two remaining players don't have much money behind, maybe $150. So I decide to raise to $100, and try to isolate with the Cutoff.

The SB quickly folds. Mid guy thinks, and goes All-In for $31 more. I hate this, but I gotta call. At Greektown, you have to show your cards for an All-In. So I show my KK, and Mid guy show Jc 7c for two pair. Cutoff has Qd Jh for top pair. I brick out, and Mid guy wins the pot of $352.

Nice hand, sir.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Hand of the Day #16

$1/$2 NLHE - MGM Detroit - 12.08.09

Straddle hand. I'm in Mid position with ATs, and raise to $15. Next guy and Cutoff calls. An old guy on the Button raises to $30. SB folds, but BB calls. Straddle folds. UTG calls All-In for $26. I call. Next guy goes All-In for $37. Cutoff thinks for a bit, and then calls. Button, BB, and me call the $7.

Main Pot $161-$7 rake & BBJ  (UTG), Side Pot1 $55 (Next Guy), Side Pot2 $0 (BB, Me, Cutoff, Button)

Flop: Kd Jh 5s - Not a terrible board for me with a Broadway draw and a backdoor flush draw. Surprisingly, all four players check.

Turn: [Kd Jh 5s] 8d - BB checks. Since nobody seems interesting in trying to win the $209 sitting in the middle of the table, I fire out $50. If I get called, then I've still got outs. But everyone folded.

River: [Kd Jh 5s 8d] Tc - Nobody turns their hand over, so I show my AT. The player next to me shows A3c, and the UTG mucks. Cutoff says he had 99. I scoop up both pots for $209.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

New Greektown, Old Results

After eating a free breakfast at the Motor City Buffet, I head over to Greektown to play in their new Poker Room. I got to Greektown about 10:15, and signed up for the 11am tournament. There wasn't enough time to sit down and play some Cash, so I went to play 3-Card Poker. Fortunately, I hit a few straights, and walked away up $175.

The tournament seemed to be the same as in to the old poker room. $75, 4k in chips, and 25 players. It started off good for me. I won a nice pot with AJ in the first level. Later on, I got my KK cracked by a short stack with 55. The only real blunder of mine was in the level before the first break (200/400/25). A few limpers with me in the BB. I look down at A3, and decide to do a squeeze for 2000. Unfortunately, I forgot how short stacked the first limper was. He called for less, and that started the chain reaction. Four players saw the Flop with two of them All-In. The other player and me just checked it down. I ended up with two pair, but both of the All-Ins won with a Flush and a Straight.

I got to the break with 5150 chips. I walked over to a .25 slot machine, put a $20 bill in the machine, and cashed out for $40. That extra $20 went into my gas tank on the way home.

The level after the break was 400/800/50. In the last few tournament I've played at Greektown, we were at the Final Table when the first break came. But this time we still had 15 players left, so there were many short stacks. The UTG moved All-In for 1800. I'm in Mid position, look down at my cards, and move All-In to isolate for 5500. The player next to me, who has a few more chips then me, goes into deep thought, and finally calls with 99. That is a terrible call because he can't beat anything at this point, except my 33. I miss my two outer, and I finish in 13th place.

I buy-in to a $1/$2 table. Within 30 minutes, I get my KK cracked for $130. It's a decent table, but I'm just not mentally here, so I don't add-on. I milk my short stack for a while, but I'm not getting any cards. About two hours after I sat down, I walked away down $200.

I head over to the Buffet for a free meal, and then started my journey home.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

How About a Quickie?

Last night, I walked into the MGM Detroit Poker Room at 7:50. They had 3 $1/$2 tables and a $2/$5 table. They also had a list with a few names on it, so I waited.

8:15 $200 – Finally got a seat. I bought in for $200, with $200 in my pocket. There isn't a lot of money on this table. Most of the stacks are between $100-$300. The only big stack (maybe $500) is a young Asian on the other side of the table.

8:30 $186 – Won a nice pot with a set of 3 in the SB. Next hand, I lost an equally nice pot with AQ on the Button. The Asian kid back-raised (limped, then re-raised) after I raised to $7. I called his c-bet on the Flop (K J x), but folded to the Turn bet (K J x K).

9:00 $235 – Stacked off someone with KK in the SB for $81. The money went in preflop. Also, lost $25 with a stab bet on an A-high Flop with KQ, and got raised by the Button. It was stupid to try that this early in a session. 

9:30 $632 – Sent three players home with two future "Hands of the Day”.

10:10 $615 – A few new players came to the table, but I'm the Big Stack now. I was planning on staying until 12am, but I'm already up $415. My bankroll has been stuck in Neutral for a few months now. I'm not winning much, and I'm not losing much. Most of these overnight casino junkets have been somewhere between +$200 and -$200. So I decided to cashout, and book a sweet win.

After leaving the Poker Room, I went to the Palette Food Court and got a slice of pizza (paid with comps, of course). I then went back to my free hotel room at Motor City.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Hand of the Day #15

$1/$1 NLHE - Dave's Basement - 12.5.09

As usual, there was nothing good from the tournament on Saturday night. This hand from the Cash game was the only thing of interest.

I'm UTG+1 with Kc Kh, and raise to $5. Four players see a Flop of Ks Js 9s; top set on an all Spade board. I lead out for $15. Both the Hyjack (Jamie) and Cutoff (Monsignor) call.

Turn [Ks Js 9s] 9d - Sweet!. I check. Jamie goes All-In for $58. Monsignor thinks for a bit, counts out some chips, talks a little, and finally calls. So, now I start doing the thinking, and counting out chips. If I just call, I've only got $75 behind. I've seen Monsignor hollywood big hands before, and that kind of looks like what he was doing. So I go All-In, and he snap calls.

Monsignor shows Jh 9c for Nines full of Jacks. Jamie show Qh 9h for trip 9. I turn over my Kings full of Nines. The River is a Qd, giving Jamie Nines full of Queens. I scoop a pot of $391.

In each of my running logs of a Cash game, I noted a giant trainwreck that involved big hands over big hands. It's really weird to be involved on the good end of it. There was no skill of mine, and nobody giving their chips away. Boat over Boat over Boat was just dumb luck.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Hand of the Day #14

1/2 NLHE - Majestic Star - 11.11.09

I'm in the Cutoff with Ac Ad. There are a bunch of limpers, so I raise to $10. Four players see a Flop of 7h 4h 3c. A 50 yr old guy in Mid position leads out for $10. He's the Action guy at this table, and has been playing most of the hands. The next player (an older gentleman) calls All-In for just $13.

Now it's my turn. That is an ugly Flop for AA. Mid guy's bet doesn't mean much, since he's been playing so many hands. I could raise here, but Mid guy's range is very wide. He could go All-In with anything from a 65 straight to some kind of draw. I decide to go for the small-ball approach, and just call. If a safe Turn card comes, then I can get more aggressive with this pot. The BB calls the $13, and Mid guy calls the $3.

Turn: [7h 4h 3c] 3h - That does not qualify as a safe Turn card. Everyone checks.

River: [7h 4h 3c 3h] Qh - BB checks. Mid guy leads out for $20. Now it's time for me to go into thought. I've seen him stab at pot on the River with not much, so there's a decent chance that my two pair are good. Second, that is a small bet compared to the size of the pot (roughly $120 including his bet). Third, the All-In guy is now grabbing money out of his pocket to rebuy. I'm thinking that might just be a tell meaning that he doesn't have a Heart.

So with all these factors, I call the $20. Unfortunately, the one factor that I forgot about was the BB, who also called. Crap!

The Mid guy shows Q7s for two pair, but the BB wins the Side Pot with a flush, 8h 8s. The All-In old guy shows Ah 7c, and wins the Main Pot with the Nut Flush. Why he was getting money out of his pocket, I will never understand.

Looking back at it, I don't think there was any way to win this hand, other than raising preflop to $50. I'm still not sure if the correct move was to raise the Flop, but I do think that I lost the minimum the way I played it. Sometimes that has to be enough.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Hand of the Day #13

Today's Hand is a Classic Hand from days gone by. This Hand is the worst example of Donkey Luck I have ever encountered. And considering how many home games I have attended with new players, that is a bold statement.

My first trip out to Las Vegas was back in October 2006. Even though I was staying on the Strip, I did go to Downtown for a day. Naturally, my first stop was at Binion's, and I played in the 10am tournament. Since it was mid-week, there were only 15 players. My first table was filled with tourists and old grinder nits. I was by far the best player, and I had no resisitance in accumlating chips.

When we combined for the Final Table, there was only one stack larger than mine who had played at the other table. At the Final Table, he ended up in Seat 10, and I was in Seat 7. Since he had position on me, I just waited patiently to see if he was a good player, or just some maniac who was playing every hand and hitting. As it turns out, it was the latter.

As the Final Table progressed, he just kept hitting hands, and knocking out players. I was card dead, and starting to get short stacked. Finally, in the 300/600 level. it folded to me in the Cutoff. I only had about 4000 chips, so I shoved All-In without looking. It was one of the few aggressive actions that I had done up to this point. It folded around to the BB, our favorite maniac. He looked at his cards, counted out the chips, casually pushed them forward, and turned his hand over. 7 3 offsuit. (W T F ?) Now he did have a lot of chips, but this was only a daily casino tournament with just 15 players, and 4k was still a healthy chunk. If he called blind, then I could understand. But he did look down at 7 3 offsuit.

And that's not even the best part. Remember, I pushed in blind. So I turn my hand over. 6 2 offsuit. HE'S ACTUALLY AHEAD!!

Ok, we are probably racing towards a chop. There are many Boards that our hands won't even play. But, as you probably already guessed, he Floped a 3, and I missed the Turn and River. I was eliminated in 6th place.

Needless to say, I was pissed. I stormed away from the table, and actually went out to Freemont Street to vent. It took about a half hour to finally calm down, and go play some Cash at Binion's.

Later that day, I found out that he finished in 2nd place from the guy who won the tournament. At least there was a little justice in the world.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Hand of the Day #12

$1/$2 NLHE - Mountaineer - 11.30.09

I'm UTG+1 with Jd Jc and make it $7. Four players see a Flop of Td 6d 6c. I lead out for $15. The only caller is two seats to my left. He's an older guy who is one of the few at this table who is playing tight and predicable. He relucantly called the bet. I figure he's got a weak Ten or a pocket pair.

Turn: [Td 6d 6c] Ac - I don't like that card, and I'm hoping he doesn't like it either. We both check.

River: [Td 6d 6c Ac] Ad - The flush got there, but I don't put him on a Flush. I'm 75% sure I have the best hand. So I do a small value bet of $20. If he raises, then I will quickly fold. He thinks for a moment, and calls. I say, "Jacks." He shakes his head, and shows 8 8.

One of the keys to winning money in Cash games is making the thin River value bets, and this was a good example of it. If it were a tournament hand, I just would have checked the River and happily taken the pot.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Top of the Mountaineer

On Monday night, I headed down to Mountaineer for an overnighter. I walked into the Poker Room at 8pm. There was 2 $1/$2 tables and 1 $2/$4 table running. There was also the 7:30 tournament with 5 tables running.

A new table opened at 8:30. I knew after the very first hand that this was gonna be a good table. There were a few calling station, and a few LAG-tards. The best part was they were all on the opposite end of the table. All of the tight player were sitting around me. One of them, an older guy named Doc was the most active. He was also hitting everything. He had KK at least 6 times. He Flopped or Turned two pair at least five times, and overbet each time. But since he was playing so many hands, people kept paying him off.

As usual, when I'm at an loose, active table, my cards were terrible. I have very few quality starting hands. The one time I had AA, I had to fold them on the Flop to what ended up being two pair (QJ on a Qh Jd 9h). I did have a lot of "splash around" hands (97, 45, JT, etc), but I just kept missing everything. Eventually, my patience got paid off. I hit a few hands, and even took a chunk off the old guy.

By 1AM, the Little Man in my brain was telling me it was time to go. I didn't want to listen, because all the action players were still at the table. But I've learn my lessons in the past, so I cashed out +$183. Still a good session at $40 per hour, but it could have been so much better with just a few more cards.

Tuesday, I went back for the 12:15 tournament. It was a $55, 5k in chips with 28 players. My run of bad starting hands continued. I didn't win a hand until Level 4 (100/200/25). I then won a pot or two, and stole a few blinds, but just could never get going. Finally, in Level 6 (300/600/75) I pushed All-In for 5125 with JT. The SB called with AQ, and I was out in 12th place.

It was now 2pm, so I went over to the main building to eat a free lunch at the Buffet. I have to say that is the worst buffet that I have ever seen at a casino.

Even though I kept telling myself that I wasn't gonna play in the Pit, I played in the Pit. What can I say, I've got issues. Fortunatly, this time it was profitable. I played 3 Card Poker and Texas Hold'em Bonus. I didn't hit any big hands, but I just grinded it out until 6pm for $165.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Hand of the Day #11

$1/$2 NLHE - Mountaineer - 11.30.09

I limp UTG with 6h 6c. This table has been playing very loose with a few calling stations and a few LAG-tards. Mid position guy (loose but decent players) raises to $7. Cutoff calls. Button (old LAG-tard) raises to $15. I call, and so do the other two.

Flop: 6d 6s 5s - I check my Quads. Mid guy bets $25. Cutoff (young lady who plays like an online pro) calls. Button folds. That sucks because he's got all the chips. I pause, and just call.

Turn: [6d 6s 5s] 7s - Someone just got there. I check. Mid guy bets All-In for $72. Cutoff girl thinks for a while. She got just over $100 left, and she doesn't like that Turn card. I'm trying to look like I'm just waiting to fold, while praying she puts her chips in the pot. She eventually folds, and I call. Mid guy has Tc Ts.

You know it's a great table when I win a sweet pot with Quads by just checking and calling.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Dave's Update

Wednesday night was Thanksgiving Eve, so we had a Cash game ($1/$1 NL). We didn't have a large turnout, with only one full table all night long. I end up $150 for the night. I had only one big hand that I got it All-In with AK vs two AQ. I did try to a make a few moves, with mixed success. The Cash games at Dave's are extremely loose preflop, so I try to be patient and wait for my opportunities.

Saturday was the last game of the month, so that means another variety tournament. This week was the $50 Deeper Stack - 12k chips, 25 minute levels without antes, 30 minutes with antes, and a few extra levels. We had 39 players this week, and that meant we had the most chips in play ever at Dave's. And that meant the longest tournament ever, with a chop occurring at 4:10am.

As usual lately, my tourney didn't go well. Even though this was a "Deep Stack" event, I still was working on my "Chip Accumulator" gear for the start of the tourney. It had mixed results. It definitely adds more variance to my chip stack, which I need to get used to. Twice I dropped to almost half of my starting stack before the first break, but I managed to grind it back each time. At the first break, I had 11075 chips, which was just under my starting stack of 12k.

But after the break, I had to take my foot off the gas, and go back to patient mode as my stack got shorter. Eventually, I started to blind off, and the antes weren't helping. (Who's dumb idea was that, anyways?) I finally shoved All-In for about 5 BB with ATo, which my first pushable hand in at least three orbits. The very next player, Meat, wakes up with AK. I don't hit my 3-outer, and I finish in 18th place.

With the long tourney, I didn't get to play any Cash again this week, and that sucks because there were a few soft spots over at the 8-game table. It is becoming a standard for me to not be playing in the Cash game due to the length of the tournament. This sucks for me since I'm not making any money in these games, and I don't like working for free.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

MGM Detroit Review

MGM Detroit is in Detroit, MI. It is located off of Grand River Rd next to I-75.

Poker Room:

For some bizarre reason, when they built this casino from the ground up, they decided to put the Poker Room on a different floor from the rest of the casino. It is located on the 3rd floor, next to the Ignite Sushi Bar & Lounge. Those are the only two things on the 3rd floor. The only way to access them is a set of elevators located on the other side of the casino floor from the Parking Garage.

The Poker Room has only nine tables, but it is the most posh room in Detroit. The chairs and tables are high class, and the room is well lit and decorated.

The rake is $6 max plus $1 for the Bad Beat Jackpot, which is Aces Full of Queens beaten by Quads. Both hold card must be used. Three Aces on the Board disqualifies the Bad Beat. Something unique for a casino, MGM keeps their rake in the dealer's rack, on right hand side. It's interesting to watch how many Green $25 chips are in there after just a few hours.

The only games that are spread are $1/$2 NL ($300 max) and $2/$5 NL ($500 max). The $1/$2 game doesn't normally get started until 11am, and is the only one in Detroit with a $300 max buy-in. The $2/$5 game will usually run later in the afternoon, and on weekends. I've heard they might get a $5/$10 NL game on weekend nights, but I've never seen it. They have had an interest list for $5/$10 Limit, but I've never seen it close to running. They do not spread any Omaha.

The level of competition varies greatly, depending on when you're in the room. On weekdays, it is one of the tightest rooms I have ever seen, with a core group of regulars who know each other well. On weekends, the play can be rather wild and crazy. I have had some of my best sessions in Detroit at MGM on Sundays.

Even though the tables are equipped with the Bravo card swipers, they do not offer any kind of comp for playing in the Poker Room.

Due to the small size of the room, there are no tournaments offered.

Casino:

Without question, the MGM is the largest and most posh casino in Detroit. They are trying to be the high class casino of Detroit.

They have all the usual table games, including a Money Wheel. The table minimums are a little higher than the rest of Detroit, usually ranging from $10-$25 depend on time of day.

The food options are among the best of the Detroit casinos. They have many first class, high end restaurants if you're into that sort of thing. Their buffet is also high class, but on the expensive side. For me, the best option is a food court area called Breeze. It features 4 or 5 stations that you can grab different kinds of food. The food is a bit overpriced, but nothing unusual for a casino. And the quality and portion sizes is rather good.

There is also a free drink bar off in one corner of the casino. You can just go up a grab a cup coffee or pop.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Hand of the Day #10

1/2 NLHE - MGM Detroit - 11.22.09

A few limpers, and I check in the BB with QTc. Flop is Qd Th 4d. Ya gotta love a Big Blind Special. I lead out for $11. UTG calls. UTG+2, a 60 yr old Eastern European lady, raises to $22.

It folds back to me. The old lady has been playing just like an old lady. She could just have AQ, or maybe something bigger, or maybe just a great draw like KJd. I don't want to call, be out of position, and let UTG hang around. Plus, I need more information. I raise to $75. UTG folds. Old Lady instantly says All-In for $252.

OK, now I really go into deep thought. I do something the poker geeks like to call Structured Hand Analysis. Basically, I go though all the possible hand that she could have, and then see how those hands do against my top two pair.

Flop is Qd Th 4d

Draws: KJd, ATd, AJd - The nice thing about playing against "Old Casino Nits" is that they all play the same. I have occasionally seen them raise with a draw. Usually it's a big combo draw, like KJd would be here. But, they would never shove All-In like this. They have never heard about the concept of Fold Equity. If this were against some 22 yr old with a Full Tilt hat on backwards, then this would be a strong possibility.

One Pair: AA, KK, AQ - There was no raise preflop, so AA and KK are unlikely. AQ is possible, but unlikely. Earlier in the session, I saw her barely call an All-In with top Two Pair. So shoving with just top Pair is doubtful.

Two Pair: QT, Q7, T7 - I doubt she is playing Q7 or T7. QT is certainly possible.

Set: QQ, TT, 44 - With no preflop raise, QQ is unlikely. She would limp with TT, but that means a one-outer hit the Flop. 44 is definitely a possibility here.

Random Bluff - Absolutely no chance of that happening in this situation.

So the most likely hand here is 44, followed by QT and TT. Two of those hands have me crushed, and the other one I am just getting my money back.

After about 90 seconds of thought, I do the only option that I have. I turn my cards over, and throw them into the muck face up. I showed my hand because Old Casino Nits love to show their big hands. She proudly shows her hand, 4h 4c for Bottom Set. Everyone at the table was amazed with my laydown. "You're a great player. I would have never folded that."

However, I was calling myself an idiot. Instead of raising her $22 to $75, I could have made it $50. I would have gotten the same information, and saved $25. Yes, I did save $177 by folding. But $20 here and $25 there really adds up over time.

Nice Hand, Sir.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Hand of the Day #9

1/2 NLHE - Greektown - 11.23.09

A few limpers. I have A6s on the Button, and raise to my standard $7. The SB folds, but the BB raises to $15. One player calls. This hand is deep into the session. The BB is one of two players that was here when I first sat down. He's a 50 yr old, tight passive player. I haven't really been all that aggressive preflop, so I pop it to $45. I know that a baby Ace is not a good hand to do this with, but I'm on the Button and it's sooooted. If he ships his stack All-In, then I will fold and call myself an idiot. But, he just calls.

Flop: Js 8s 6h. Sweet Flop. Bottom pair with a Flush draw. He checks. I shove All-In for what I thought was around $100. After counting it down, I end up with $146. Crap! That a huge overbet into a pot that's got about $100 in it. The BB thinks for a minute, and then folds. He said that he just had AK.

It was a mistake to bet so much. If I completely whiffed the Flop, then shoving would make sense. But I wanted to get some value from that Board. A bet of $60 on the Flop, and then All-In for $86 on the Turn would have been better.

As the dealer gathers the pot to ship it to me, I turn over the As. A few players wanted to see the other Ace, so I showed the 6s. That got their attention.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A (Not So) Grand Opening

I had already planned on going to Greektown on Monday. As it turns out, it's the same day they are having their Grand Opening for their new Poker Room. So, I get to Greektown just after 9am, and head to the old Poker Room expecting it to be closed. But it's still open with only 6 tables in the room, and one of them occupied. The Floor Person said they are opening the new Room at 6pm. That seems bizarre to me. Wouldn't it make more sense to close the old Room from Sunday at midnight, and open the new Room at noon the next day? But there are reasons that Greektown is one of the worst run Poker Rooms in the country.

9:20 $200 - Since the table has been open all night, I buy-in for the full amount. There aren't any monster stacks on the table. The largest is around $350.

10:00 $138 - Won a decent pot with AK, but I got my KK cracked. The player didn't have enough chips to make me fold. The table's rather active for a Monday morning with a few spots that are willing to put money into the pot rather light.

10:30 $205 - I called a few raises, but whiffed. I took four green chips out of my pocket to reload. Two old grinders come to the table.

11:00 $180 - I'm getting good starting hands, but lousy flops. AK on an 7-high board. 88 on a Broadway board. This has become a very social table, and it's starting to annoy me. The pace of the game has become slower than one of our home games.

11:30 $168 - I'm getting board, and that's a bad thing. I started making loose calls preflop, and that's a good way to burn through a short stack. There was a $700, four player trainwreck that didn't involve me. Jd Tc 8d  Ac  4d. 97 takes it down against a Set and two different Two Pairs.

12:00 $234 - Won a decent pot on the Button against a flush draw. Very next hand, I pop it to $7 preflop with T8o and won with a c-bet on a J high Flop. I'm starting to get my groove back. The Floor Person announced that the old Room will close at 4pm.

12:30 $289 - Did my first straddle for $5. A few players limp in. I look down at TT. I give a quiet thanks to the Poker Gods, and raise to $30. Only the SB calls, and he checks in the dark. So I bet $40 in the dark. The Flop comes J high. He think for a moment, and folds. I show my TT. Since I won about $50, that ended up being my only straddle of the day. It's better to quit while I'm ahead.

1:00 $284 - Nothing of interest happened. I'm heading to lunch at the Buffet.

1:30 $281 - I come back from lunch, posted my blinds, and folded to a raise. Three new faces came to the table.

2:00 $121 - Gambled with a Flush Draw against what turned out to be a Set. Ooops! I hit my Flush draw on the Turn, and he hit his Boat draw on the River.

2:30 $156 - Won a decent pot with KK in the BB.

3:00 $228 - Won a sweet pot on the Button with a semi-bluff.

3:30 $230 - Stabbed at a pot in the SB and took the little pot.

4:05 $247 - Cashout (-$53) due to Poker Room closing.

Since I had some time to kill, I headed in to the Pit to play some 3-Card Poker. I played for over an hour before losing my buy-in of $250. I was grinding it out for a while, but I just wasn't getting the cards this time.

5:20 - I head over towards the new Poker Room. There is a mob of 30 people waiting for the 6:00 opening. I grab a quick sandwich at a nearby cart, and wait for the opening.

5:40 - Security makes the now 50 person mob form a line towards the Buffet. I'm in the first half of the line.

5:45 - A "Suit" comes out and goes down the line telling everyone what the plan is for tonight. In honor of "Opening Night", Greektown is having a $100 + $0 tournament at 7pm. Yes, there is no juice for the house. They are expecting to be using all 13 tables for this tournament, so there will be no Cash games until a table breaks. Some of the players in line already knew about this, but it's all news to me.

This sucks for me. I have to work in the morning, and I can't stay until the tourney finishes at 2am. And since we probably won't see any Cash games until at least 8pm, there is no reason for me to be here. I decide to just wait, and check out the new room.

6:00 - Still standing in line. About 80-100 waiting patiently.

6:05 - The "Suits" come out, and the line starts moving. You have to go down some stairs to a level between the ground floor, and the upper floor where the old Poker Room and Buffet are located. You then go through a maze of four small rooms. Some of the rooms have couches and chairs. One of them is for the desk to sign up for a game. Another room is the cashier's cage and a little bar.

And then you finally get to the actual Poker Room. My very first impression was "Beautiful, but Small". It certainly looks better then the Dungeon that the old room was. There are new tables, or at least a new felt with a betting line. They also have snacks out (chips, cookies, fruit, and sandwich wraps), just like Motor City. I don't know if that is permanent, or just for Opening Night.

But it's not a big room. The tables seem to be a bit crammed together. With all these little rooms that you have to walk through to get to the Poker Room, couldn't they have knocked a wall down in order to made a bigger room. Or at least use two of the rooms, just like the original Poker Room.

So, after a quick look around, I left the Poker Room, went to my car, and headed home. Next time I'm in Detroit, I'll go back to Greektown to do a more detailed review of the new Poker Room.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Fasten Your Seatbelt

I headed up to Detroit again for an overnighter. I started out at MGM, since I've had some great Sunday afternoon sessions in the past. I ended up keeping a log of my chip stack and highlights. I wasn't planning on it, but I got off to a sweet start, so it seemed like a good idea.


2:30 $200 - Even though the max buy-in is $300, I just put $200 on the table. If I felt that I need more, I've got $200 of green chips in my pocket. There were stacks of various sizes on the table, including an middle aged gentleman to my right who has about 12 black chips along with a few stacks of red.

3:30 $500 - Won two big pots. I was never All-In, so the extra $100 that I didn't put on the table wasn't a factor. This table is full of action, as expected.

4:00 $394 - 85h vs 87 in the SB on an 889 3 6 board. I probably should have folded to his $50 River bet, since my kicker didn't play.

4:30 $201 - Made a few moves, including a 3-barrel bluff on the Button with 4 high. The Big Stack next to me check/called down with 3rd pair. Hopefully that will be an investment that pays off later with interest. I also ran into a cooler. I got away from it on the Flop, but it took a small chunk.

5:00 $220 - Flopped a set in a pot that someone else raised preflop. I led out on the Flop, but everyone folded. There was also a giant trainwreck that didn't involve me. A $1100+ pot involving QJ, KJ, and Jx on a T97 8 x board. The three players put $100 on the Turn, and $240 on the River.

5:30 $401 - Stacked off 3 players in two different pots. First pot, UTG+1 goes All-In for $25, and an Old Lady shoves for $42. I'm on the Button, and decide to gamble with 75o. I River a straight. The second pot was a straddle. I'm UTG with QQ. I limp and then back-raise. I get it in against ATc and win $145 from him.

6:00 $397 - Cards have gone quiet. A few players have left, including Big Stack with at least 10 black chips. The new players are even more action with overbets and not much folding.


6:30 $406 - Cards are dead. There are plenty of big pot with just one pair. It's time to be patient, and wait for my opportunity.

7:00 $552 - Patience got paid off. And so did my flopped set versus an overpair for $150.


7:15 $543 - Cashout.

Afterward, I headed over to Motor City to check into my free room, and eat a free diner at the buffet. And then I went back to my room, and called it a night. No poker, and no pit games. I'm tired from Saturday night, so I decided to book a $343 win, watch some TV, and type this post.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Dusting Off the Chemistry Set

My basic strategy at my Saturday night home game has been "Fold to the Final Table". This was due to my TD duties, as well as the structure being a little fast compared to our other home tournaments. Once I get to the Final Table, I can do my thing, and I cash more often then not.

And for a two table tournament, or even 25 players, "Folding to the Final Table" was working OK for me. But now that our games are getting between 35-45 players, my basic strategy just doesn't work. I realized this last week when I didn't win a single pot, and was blinded off by Level 6 (300/600).

I've also noticed something else lately. I've won nine home tournaments in the last two years. The largest field was only 27 players.

I would consider myself an Above Average to Good tourney player. The one gear that I don't have is Chip Accumulator. I have no clue how to build a big stack without getting run over by the deck.

So tonight's crowd of 35 players seemed like a good time to start experimenting on some stuff. I really changed up my playing style in the five levels before the first break. I'm not going into details about what I did differently, since some of you fine readers are playing with me on Saturdays. But overall, I was pleased with the results. I had a goal of 15k at the first break. I ended up with 12125 + the 3k AddOn that I hadn't used yet. I did get a little lucky in a hand against Malcolm, but the rest of my chips were gotten with the new stuff.

So with some chips, I kept doing some of those things after the break, just not as often. And it went well. At the 2nd break, I had 22k with 14 players left. After the break, players were knocked out fairly quickly, and I made it to the Final Table with about the same size stack, which was a little under average.

At the Final Table, I didn't get run over with the deck, so I just hung around and did my thing. I ended up in 5th place for a min cash of $70 which is only my second cash and second Final Table of this season of 11 games. At the 2500/5000 level, I had just under 30k in the BB. I looked down at KTo and shoved against the SB (RR Dave) who limp in with AA. It's a bit of a cooler for me, but it was a standard shove with just 6 Big Blinds left.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Hand of the Day #8

Tournament Level 3 (100/200) - Blue Chip Casino - 11.13.09

Five people limp into the pot, including me in Mid position. The BB raises All-In to 1450. UTG, UTG+1, a Mid player, and the Button calls. I fold.

Flop: Ad 8h 6h - UTG bets 1000. UTG+1 calls. Mid calls All-In for 975. Button calls.

Turn: [Ad 8h 6h] 4c - UTG bets 2000. UTG+1 calls All-In for 900. Button calls.

OK, let me recap what has happened so far, there are 16525 chips in four different side pots: Main Pot - 7650 for the BB, Side Pot 1 - 3900 for Mid player, Side Pot 2 - 2775 for UTG+1, Side Pot3 - 2200 is active with UTG & Button. We only started with 3500 chips, and there are almost five Starting Stacks already in the Pots. There's a Kid next to me who is a solid player. We are laughing, and watching in amazement at this slow moving train wreck. Nobody is trying to win this pot. The only player who has bet or raised All-In was the BB preflop. The Button has only 1500 behind, and UTG doesn't have much more than that.

River: [Ad 8h 6h 4c] 2c - UTG bets 1000. Button folds what I can only guess was a flush draw. UTG shows AJ and wins Side Pot3, Side Pot 2, and Side Pot 1. BB shows AJ, and they split the Main Pot.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Hand of the Day #7

$1/$2 NLHE - Horseshoe Hammond - 11.11.09

It fold around to the Button, who blocks the Chop by limping. I'm the SB with Q3h, and call. Three of us see the Flop Qs 9h 3c. Wonderful! I hit a Small Blind Special, and there's $6 in the pot. I bet $3 expecting both of them to fold. But the BB calls. He's an older gentleman who has played few pots. I put him on a Q.

Turn: [Qs 9h 3c] 8d - I bet $5, and BB calls.

River: [Qs 9h 3c 8d] 6d - I bet $15. BB calls, and says, "Straight". He turns over Tc 7c for the backdoor straight.

Nice Hand, Sir.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Hand of the Day #6

$1/$2 NLHE - Horseshoe Hammond - 11.11.09

I limp in Early Position with 9c9s. Hijack raises $6. He's the only player at the table who might be considered an Action Player.

Four players see the Flop of Ad 9d 3d. I hit my Set, but it's on a Flush board. Since I'm out of position, I check, and so does everyone else.

Turn: [Ad 9d 3d] Js - I need to bet to see where I'm at. $20. Hijack thinks, and calls. He could have a big A or slowplaying a flush.

River: [Ad 9d 3d Js] Ac - Sweet! I bet $40. If he's got the flush, then he'll call. If he's got a big A, then he hopefully will call. But if he raises, I will have to fold. I can only see him raising with AJ or A9 for a bigger Full House.

He thinks for a bit, and then reluctantly calls. I show my Boat, and he mucks.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Game Selection

At my regular home game on Saturday night, we got into a small discussion about Detroit poker rooms. Someone agreed with me that Motor City is the nicest room, but they also said that the players are tougher at MC and Greektown has the softest games.

To be perfectly honest, I never really compared the 'toughness' of the $1/$2 NL games. Most because I've always thought that $1/$2 is the same at every casino. I just go to different places for some variety.

Since I keep track of my poker wins and losses in a database, it's very easy to make a query to compare results. So I did some poking and prodding, and came up with some surprising results.

I used results from the last few years for all Detroit rooms, as well as Mountaineer since it's just as close.

I have to use a disclaimer. Since these are using a small sample size, the numbers could change drastically if my next session at any room is either +$500 or -$300. But these are the numbers I have, so that what I'm gonna use.


Motor City: 18 sessions (8-10 .444) $248 profit ($13.78 avg)

MGM Detroit: 17 sessions (9-8 .529) $960 profit ($56.47 avg)

Greektown: 13 sessions (8-5 .615) $890 profit ($68.46 avg)

Mountaineer: 38 sessions (24-14 .632) $4014 profit ($105.63 avg)


Well, I was obviously wrong. Looking at these numbers, I have no reason to go back to Motor City, except for the "free room" offers. Greektown seems to be the best results. I know that MGM is also great on weekends, but super tight on weekday afternoons.

And since I've been getting so many "free room" offers from Detroit, I have only been to Mountaineer only a few times in the last six months. That's something that I need to fix.

Monday, November 16, 2009

And Now ... The Rest of the Story

Thursday, I woke up at Majestic Star. I played a little 1/2 NL and 3/6 Limit before the 1pm tournament. Total was -$13.

The tourney was the same as the night before: $50 3k chips with a dealer option for $5 600 chips and 30 minute levels. The difference today was there was only 12 players. However, they still paid four places. Fouth got $48 and third got $72. I finished in sixth. I screwed up by making a bad hero call, and then lost a race.

So, I moved on to my next stop, Holiday Inn Express in New Buffalo, MI. I often stay at Holiday Inns during my journeys, and I've earned two free nights that I'm using this week.

After I checked in to my room, I went around the corner and down the street to Four Winds casino. It has the second largest gaming area in the country, behind Foxwoods. But the poker room is a little different. It has 16 of the PokerPro electronic tables. Those are the same tables that were in Excalibur in Vegas and Trump Plaza in AC. I really like these tables, but I hate the poker room. I think the tables have a lot of potential for games other than NL Hold'em. They would be great for PLO and HORSE. Even Sit-N-Go tournaments would be good because of the higher Hands Per Hour that you would get at an electronic table. But when I got to the Poker Room at 6:30, there was only one table of $1/$2 NLHE. There was a list for .50/1 PLO with one name on it, so I put my name on it. I found out later that the PLO game hadn't run since July.

At 7pm, they broke the $1/$2 table for the evening tournament. It was a $10 rebuy tournament with around 70 players. But the idiots that run this room screwed up this tournament with a horrible structure. We started with 2000 chips with rebuys for the first three levels of 50/100, 100/200/25, & 200/400/50. So in the third level you can rebuy for 5 Big Blinds. Most people quit rebuying at this point, including me. Our table had the most rebuys. There was one player whose screen didn't have a Fold button on it, and he hit everything. This 70 player tournament ended in 2.5 hours with that card rack taking it down. Oh, and I forgot to mention that 20% of the prize pool went to the house.

After busting out of the tourney, I waited for a cash table to open up. Once it did, I ended up playing $1/$2 for almost 6 hours until the table broke around 1:30am. I ended up losing $296 in another frustrating session.

On the way out, I used a Free Bet coupon for $75 that I received in the mail. Since it can only be used on an Even Money bet, I walked over to a Roulette table, and put it on Black. The little ball landed on Red 18.

Friday, I went to Blue Chip Casino in Michigan City, IN. It was around a different corner, and farther down the street from where I was staying. I played in the 11am tourney, $105 3500 chips, 20 minute levels. There were 23 players in this one, and five players got paid. I ended up heads-up in this one, and we eventually chopped for $580 after the dealer tip. The Final Table was crazy and it reminded me of the Main Event Final Table that was shown on Tuesday. There were plenty of suckouts and River cards, and I gave as well as received.

After the tourney, I bought into the 1/2 game. And, technically, it went better than my other sessions, +$15. It was another session of dodging bullets. JJ vs QQ on a low board, but I only lost $30 because the old geezer kept betting $10. Flopped straight vs Flopped straight (89 vs K9), but I only lost $60. KK vs JJ All-In preflop for $30 that hit the two outer.

But, around 9pm, I "hit the Wall". I just didn't want to play any more. And being Friday night, that is not a good thing. But since Poker is a mental game, I decided to leave before I donk off my chips. On the way back to the hotel, I ended grabbing a burger, and then headed back to Four Winds. I wanted to see if there was any chance of a .50/1 PLO game happening tonight. But, of course, there weren't any names on the list. So I went back to hotel room, and called it a night.

On Saturday, I had to head home, so I could run my Saturday night game. On the way, I stopped by a new casino, Firekeepers, near Battle Creek MI. The Poker Room has about 12 tables, but only a 1/2 table was open at 11am. I didn't have much time, so I didn't want to wait 30 minutes for another table to open. I walked over to a 3-Card Poker table. I bought in for $300, and an hour later, I walked away with $620 and a $1 chip for my collection.

Here are the final total: +$190 total
-$580 Cash games (1/2 & 3/6)
+$335 Tournaments
+$435 Pit games

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Road Trip II

I've got a few days off work, so that means Road Trip. I'll be visiting poker rooms in Northern Indiana and Southwestern Michigan.

My first stop was at the Horseshoe Hammond Casino just outside of Chicago. It is considered as the best Poker Room between the Venetian and the Borgata. When I left the room at dinner time, they had a bunch of 1/2 NL & 3/6 Limit tables, 5 2/5 NL, 2 5/10 NL, 2 20/40 Limit, a 2/5 PLO, and interest lists for 10/25 NL, 40/80 Limit, and 5/10 PLO.

But when I got there at 11am, they only had 4 1/2NL  with a long waiting list. During the wait, I play a little Video Poker. I got a $10 Free Play coupon in the mail. I played for about 10 minutes, When I hit the $20 mark, I cashed out.

I finally got a seat just before Noon. As expected at Noon on a Wednesday, the table was tight, passive with not much money on it. There was only one player that was there the whole time that was even close to an action player, plus another that sat down for a hour before I left at 4:30 down $103. My timing was just not there. When I had a hand, nobody paid me. When I was making a move, or had a marginal hand, somebody had something better. At least I got a free dinner at the Buffet.

Since the Horseshoe doesn't have a hotel, I moved on the my next stop, the Majestic Star in Gary, IN. After I check into my room, I went to the poker room. It has about 15 tables, but there was only 2 1/2NL and 2 3/6Limit going at 6pm. I finally got a seat at 6:30. Since I already signed up for the 7pm tourney, I only bought in for $100. I ended up playing less than an orbit. I flopped a set, and another player turned a straight.

Instead of rebuying for 20 minutes, I went ventured into the Pit, and played a little 3-Card Poker. It was a good choice as I won $125. That will probably hopefully be the only table game I play on this trip.

The 7pm tourney was a $50 buy-in, 3k chips. There was a $5 dealer option for 600 chips. The good thing about the tourney was the 30 minutes levels. I'm not sure about the structure because I was out in Level 2. Some LAG-tard hit a River card on me.

So I got back on the 1/2NL list, and finally got a seat at 8pm. This table was definitely better than the Horseshoe table. There was one loose action player, and I had a good position on him. Unfortunately, the results were the same. I left the poker room at 12a down $87.

Overall, I was happy with my play today, but the "luck factor" just wasn't there. There were only two pots that I won over $50 of profit all day.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Hand of the Day #5

Dave's Cash Game - $1/$1 NLHE - 11/7/09

I finished up my TD duties, and I was able to sit down in the Cash game. There was only one table, and just one open seat. The Cash game had been going for a few hours by now, so there was some deepstack at the table. Also, the beer had been flowing, so some of the players had really loosened up.

I decided to try some shortstacking. I've been wanting to give it a try, since the Cash game can be very loose preflop even with big raises. Plus, I was tired and I didn't want to do any deep thinking.

So I bought in for $40 (max is $150). Nobody ever buy-ins for less than $100, unless they're a new player who is scared to put any money on the table. Everyone was having a good laugh about this at my expense.

I had to wait for the Button to pass me, so my first hand was in the Cutoff. As usual a few players limp. I look down at Kh Kd. I give a quiet thanks to the Poker Gods, and raise to $5. I get a few callers, and even more comments.

Five players see the Flop of 8c 6s 5c. The UTG player (Malcolm) goes All-In for $33. It folds to me, so I shove All-In for my remaining $35. Everyone else folds.

The rest of the Board is [8c 6s 5c] Td 4d. He says that my KK is good, but never said what he had.

So now I'm really hearing it from everyone for sitting down and getting Kings on my first hand. But I just smile, and stack the chips from my $94 pot.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A Study in Patience

Since the Browns are on a Bye week, Julie had a Sunday tournament this week. It's $40, 10k stack, with a long structure.

I've seen some poker blogs that give a Twitter-like recap of a cash game or tournament. I can't really do that at Dave's, since I'm busy running it. Casinos in this part of the country don't like electronics at the table (After all, we might be cheating). So Julie's is the best place to try this, since I can just sit there, and play poker.

Most of the "Tweets" will be at the end of each level with a chip count and highlights.

- Our table started with 9 players. I had an ok table draw. The table was a mix of regulars and a few players I haven't seen before.

- Level 1 (25/50) 9300 - Raised once with AQ. Also limped with AQ and a couple of other hands. Missed everything.

- Level 2 (50/100) 19175 - Doubled up and eliminated a player with QQ.

- Level 3 (75/150) 19325 - Played some pots, and won a few. Raised UTG with AQd and folded to a 3-bet from SB.

- Level 4 (100/200) 16650 - Called some raises preflop, and then folded when missed. Doing too much of that. If I'm gonna play patient and not make moves, then I can't keep calling raises with marginal hands and just folding if I don't hit hard enough. That's a good way to blow a big stack.

- Level 5 (125/250) 16650 - Played just one hand, and stole the blinds.
Break Time: We ended up with 19 runners, and 16 are still in the tournament.

- Level 6 (150/300) 17600 - Won a decent pot with a set in BB. Got moved to the other table just before the Level ended. This is a decent seat. The tighter player are to my left, and some loose cash game players are to my right. I played one pot, called with 88, and missed my set.

- Level 7 (200/400) 17200 - Played one hand and won the blinds.

- Level 8 (250/500) 15700 - Very card dead. It's hard to make moves at this table. The Cash players have chips, and want to see Flops. I need some cards, but they really suck last few levels.

- Level 9 (300/600) 18100 - Won a nice pot with a Big Blind Special (2 pair on Turn).

Then we arrived at Final Table. I had 20100 chips, which was an average stack.
However, I got a horrible seat draw. I have 3 loose Cash game players to my left, and they all have chips. Julie, the host, is seated between them, and has chips. We frequently talk strategy, and she knows that I like to "step on the gas" at the Final Table. So all four players to my left have a wider range to call or raise my steal attempt.

I played one hand before end of level. A steal attempt that didn't go well.

- Level 10 (400/800) 13900 - Raised and C-Bet with AJ, but lost pot. The run of 9 3 and J 2 continues.
Break Time: 8 players left. My stack is around 6th.

- Level 11 (500/1000) 13900 - Cards have gotten a little better, but not the results. For example: two limpers. I've got KQ in Hijack. I raise to 4000. BB quickly raises to 12000, and I have to fold.

- Level 12 (600/1200) 10500 - A player just got knocked out. Chips are really moving around the table thanks to the Cash players. Various players are doubling and tripling up. But the 7 3 and 9 2 just isn't helping me.

- Level 13 (700/1500) 0 - Early in level, I shoved UTG+1 with A7. This was the first hand lately that is even close to push-worthy, although I would rather do it closer to the Button. The next player (T Gross) woke up with QQ. I miss my 3-outer, and I finish in 7th.

Overall, a very frustrating day.

Looking back, what did I do wrong? I was calling too many raises after I doubled up. But since that was early in the tournament, it really didn't have any affect on the outcome.

So if I didn't screw this up, then what could I have done to win it, or at least cash? Honestly, I feel the only thing I could have done was to just start shoving All-In, and hope to get lucky. And with the number of All-In pots towards the end, that was certainly an option.

But I just don't play that way. When I'm playing my best, I am patient and picking my battles. There are certainly times that I'm too patient and too passive. But my style works good for me, and my results show that. This year, I'm up in Group tournaments (45 tournaments. $470 profit, 28% ROI, 5 wins), including a 2nd place on Wednesday.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Where is Everyone?

Two weeks ago, we had set a record at Dave's with 47 players. This week, we had only 20 runners. Why? I have no clue. Another host had a Ladies' Tournament, but we only lost about five players to that game.

With the smaller field, it makes it easier to be the TD. But I only finished in 11th place. There just wasn't much that went well for me. I had around half my starting stack at the break. I just hung around as long as I could.

After the tournament concluded, I bought into the Cash game. With so many deepstacks, and players being rather loose, I decided to short stack with just $40 ($1/$1 blinds $150 max). I got off to a good start, but I eventually had to rebuy with another $40. That buy-in didn't last long, so I put the rest of my money on the table ($120). Things kept going badly. When the game broke at 4:30am, I cashed out for a loss of $148.

Since going busto over the summer, I'm having a hard time rebuilding my 'roll. And Dave's has been a big part of the problem. I've only had one tourney cash, and the cash games have not gone well. I don't know if it just bad luck or bad play, although it's probably a little of both. I've been doing very well there for the last two years, so Variance is due to have some fun with me.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Wednesday Night at the River Pete

Weeknight tournaments are rare in our group. A couple of years ago, someone had a regular Wednesday night tournament. I would consider it a failure. Not because nobody wanted to play, but because everyone wanted to play. At times, attendance was over 40 players. Even with 5k stack, and a structure that was a little quick, the games didn't end until between 12:30 and 1:30am. That is just too late when you gotta work in the morning.

One of our hosts, River Pete, expressed some interest in trying a weeknight tournament. Since he's only got two tables, and I'm off the next day, I decided to TD for him. My goal was to have a tourney that was over by Midnight (7:30p start), but not be a Push-N-Pray shove-fest. We started with just 5k chips, which is now a small stack for any our tournaments. I added extra levels like 125/250, 250/500, 500/1000 to keep things moving slowly. Overall, the structure worked very well. But the 11:30p end time was mostly due to the low turnout of 15 players.

This is the second attempt at this Wednesday night tournament. The first one, about six weeks ago, went horribly for me. I was the first one out with a Boat over Boat cooler. I flopped bottom set, and they flopped top two pair. The Turn was my death cards as the board paired. It's very boring to be the first player eliminated, and being stuck there as the TD.

This tournament started much better. After about 30 minutes, I was up 2k chips. The biggest chunk was from calling a raise on the Button with 54s and flopping two pair.

After that, I went really card dead. I didn't mind, though. With the short stack structure, I wanted to avoid conflict, and basically fold to the Final Table. When we got to the Final Table, I had 4400 chips. With the blinds being 125/250, I was still in OK shape. I just stuck to the plan of being patient, and wait for my opportunities.

And they finally came. I had a nice run of Big Aces and Big Pairs. I even knocked out a few players. By the time we got to the Bubble (3 got paid), I had about 20k and was either the chip leader, or close to it.

At this point, things started going down hill. The chip leader, Jesse, is a new player, and this was the first time I've played with him. And, as it turns out, he's a bit of a LAG-tard. He plays a lot of hands. He limps from any position. He min-raises, and he overbets. The first time I got to see his cards was when he raised UTG 8-handed, and then called Diablo's All-In with K9d.

Since he sat directly after me, Jesse was a bit of a pain in my ass when we got short handed. My chip stack was slowly shrinking. When Jesse knocked out Rasin' Ray in 3rd place, it gave Jesse an obsene chip lead. I had 8400 of the 75k chips in play. And with the blinds at 500/1000, I only had 8 BB to start the heads-up match.

I folded the first two hands of trash. Third hand, he raises All-In again. I look at the first card, which is a Q, and I call. I've got Q3s and he's got 77. I hit the flush on the Turn, and I've now got a few chips.

A few hands later, we get to one of the most important hands of the match, but not because it was the biggest. It was a simple limp, limp, and check to the River card. Jesse then fires 2500 into the 2000 pot. Since I've seen him overbet many pots tonight, I quickly call with K4 no pair, and wait for him to show. He shows 10-high, and I turn over my K-high. He wasn't happy with this. But it really slowed him down. He started raising less, and even folded some small blinds.

So I started to step on the gas. I even got back to my standard Heads-Up strategy of raising every other SB, regardless of my cards, and either calling or folding the other SBs. At one point, he noticed that the chip stack were getting closer. I had about 25k of the 75k in play.

Finally, at the 600/1200 level, I raised in the SB with 83o, and he called. Flop 8s 7s 4d. He leads out for 6k. I shove All-In with top pair. He calls and shows Q4s for a pair & flush draw. It's a coin flip at this point (48% to 52%). But a Q on the Turn gives him two pair, and I miss my two outer on the River. I finish 2nd for $140.

Normally, I hate 2nd place. But with such a huge hill to climb, it's hard to complain. Plus, I made $110 in four hours. Not too bad for a Wednesday night.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Hand of the Day #4

$1/$2 NLHE - Motor City - 10.28.09

UTG +2 raises to $7. He's a middle aged regular player who often plays higher than $1/$2. He's on the loose side, but not aggressive. Only the Button called. I'm the BB, and I call with 6c 6s.

Flop: Ks 8s 6d. I check my Set. UTG+2 bets $7, and Button calls. I check-raise to $20. UTG+2 calls, and Button folds their Flush Draw and Two Overs, QJs. (She told me what she had after the hand.)

Turn [Ks 8s 6d] Jh. I bet $35. He calls.

River [Ks 8s 6d Jh] 5s. Even though the Flush hit, I still bet $50. He calls with his remaining $33. Fully confident, I show my Set. He shows 72s for a six-outer Flush.

Nice Hand, Sir.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Hand of the Day #3

Here are my two Bounty hands from Saturday's tournament

75/150 -
Chan raises in the Hijack to 525. I'm the BB with JTs, and I'm the only one who calls. Flop 9c 8h 3c. Good flop for me with the open-ender and two overs. I check and so does Chan.

Turn [9c 8h 3c] Qc. Hit my straight, but the flush also hit. I check. Chan bets 1100. He's been playing a lot of small pots, and has lost most of them. He lost about half of his starting stack of 10k, and he's also losing his patience. I can really tell that he's starting to tilt a little. So I check-raise to 3000. He doesn't like this, and shoves for around 5k. I call. If he hit the flush, then Nice Hand Sir. He shows Ks Jc for flush draw and gutshot.

River is [9c 8h 3c Qc] 9h, and I collect the first bounty of the night

100/200 -
Ryan just lost most of his chips a few hands before. He's now UTG, and goes All-In for 2175 before the cards are dealt. Special K thinks for a moment, and then reluctantly folds. Karen just calls with AK. I'm the Button with T8c. Since I'm getting 2/1, and I've got the Button, I also call.
The Board gets checked down, and I hit my T on the River to scoop the pot of 6825 and another bounty. Karen and Specail K are not happy with this outcome. I said if either of them raised, like they should have done, then I wouldn't have called with just T8c.

Monday, November 2, 2009

$40 Bounty Night

On the last Saturday of each month, we do a Variety tournament just to mix things up. This month we did a $40 Bounty tournament. It's a the same tournament structure, but you start with 10k chips and no AddOn. For each player you knock out, you get $20.

Since it was Halloween night, we only got 29 players. Being the TD, it was nice not having a large mob to deal with. I actually got to sit down a play some cards, instead of just being blinded off. And it went well. By the first break, my stack was at 18,600 and I had already collected two bounties (freeroll!).

With an actual chip stack, one might think I should have no problem getting to the Final Table. But not this time. I was out within two levels. I would like to say it was bad luck or bad timing. But the honest truth is that I just got too careless with my chips. Because of the Bounties, I was more willing to get involved with coin flips, which I lost. Finally, after I had blown thru half my stack, I did an All-In squeeze in the BB with TT against a player I should know wasn't gonna fold. I was knocked out in 15th.

The Cash game had a similar ending. I was slowly building up my stack, when I ran into a big cooler. Set over Set against the biggest action player at the table. I rebought for my last $100, but I couldn't get anything going. I finally walked out of Dave's basement down $240 for the night.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Hand of the Day #2

I'm putting this in the "How Would You Play It?" format. I'm not sure I did the right thing in this hand, so feel free to leave some feedback.

$1/$2 NLHE at Motor City 10.28.09

UTG +1 & +2 limp in. Old Geezer in Hijack raises to $12. He's been here for a few hours chasing the BBJ, and has played few hands. When he does raise preflop, it's always been to $5, and he always plays passive after the Flop. This is the first time he has raised bigger. I think he's serious, and has a big pair: AA, KK, or maybe QQ. He's got about $250 total.

Button calls the $12. You're the BB, and look down at QQ. You've got around $200 total.

Your Turn.



While I think all 3 options (Call, Raise, Fold) are plausible, I think Call is the worst. It allows the hand to become a multi-way pot, without any more information about the Geezer's cards, other than my read of "Big Pair". That essentially turns my hand into a set mine. With JJ or lower, this might be acceptable, but QQ is just to strong just call and hope to hit a two-outer.

I could just Fold based on my read, but it's only $12 which is a standard $1/$2 preflop raise. If someone else raised, and the Geezer made it $40, then Fold would seem prudent. But folding to just a standard raise just seems to tight, even for me.

So that leaves Raise. I don't want to blow up the pot, and commit myself. It would seem to make more sense to do a smaller raise, and hopefully isolate with Geezer. If he calls, then I may be good, or we're flipping with AK. If he re-raises, then I'll know to eject.

I choose Raise, and make it $30. Both UTG +1 & +2 call, which I didn't expect. Geezer counts his chips, and ships it All-In for about $250. Button folds. I flash my cards to my neighbor, and make the easy fold. UTG +1 & +2 also folds.

Geezer shows KK, and scoops a nice pot, thanks to me.

Of course, there is also the question, "What if I looked down at KK, instead of QQ?"

Friday, October 30, 2009

The Bad Beat Effect

Just like many players, I hate the Bad Beat Jackpot. It's just taking $1 out of the pot that I will never see again.

I know I will never be involved in a Bad Beat for two reasons. First, I'm not a lucky player. I'm not say that to bitch, whine, and moan. It's just a simple fact. I don't go on sick runs of cards and cashout for $1000+ like everyone else seems to do. I only get quads or better like once every six months. I don't think I've ever had a live Royal Flush. I know someone who gets quads at least once every two weeks.

Second, I've never been involved in a hand that would qualify for a Bad Beat. That includes casino and home games, tournaments and ring games. The closest I've ever seen was at Binion's during my last trip to Vegas. Someone flopped a straight flush, and another player hit running quads. But it was one in his hand and three on the board, so it wouldn't qualify (for example: Tc 9c 6c 6h 6s - 8c 7s vs 6d 5d)

Also, I've only been a casino one time when the Bad Beat hit, and I wasn't even playing. I was a Greektown railing a friend in a tournament, and the Bad Beat hit at a $3/$6 Limit table (of course).

But, like it or not, the Bad Beat Jackpot is here to stay. Mostly because it does what it is designed to do. It gets people in the door and at the tables. Gamblers love the Big Prize, even it's a 1/1million chance to win part of $100,000+.

As I previously mentioned, Motor City's Bad Beat Jackpot is at $101,000, which is huge for Detroit standards.

I got to the Poker Room at 9:30, and sat down at a $1/$2 table. The "plan" was to sit there for 8 hours, and take advantage of the Bad Beat chasers who are more interested in funding their retirement accounts than in playing poker.

When I arrived at 9:30 on Wednesday morning, about half of the 14 tables were full. By 11am, all the tables were full, with 9 of them being $1/$2 NLHE. And most everyone was there was for only one reason. At my table alone, there was a guy who had been there for 30 hours. Another dude call off work for two days, went home for 5 hours of sleep, and came right back to the Room. Another player, who was a regular in the Room, was going to other tables and making deals with other regulars to swap some money if it hits: $300 for a Table Share; $600 for the Winning hand; $1200 for the Losing hand. He ended up with deals on five different tables.

For an example of the mentality of the Bad Beat Chasers, here's a hand I played at Four Winds Casino back in December (Hand #1)

My session had it's ups and downs. With so many players buying in for just $100 and waiting for the lightning strike, there were times that the action was quite dead. I was able to win numerous small pots, but I don't think I won more than $70 in any pot. However, any time I took a hit I was able to rebuild by grinding out the small pots. I also made two River mistakes (a bet and a call) that cost me about $75.

I ended up playing 8.5 hours. During that time, my stack hovered between +160 and -50, I ended up leaving the Poker Room at 6pm +$116. And, surprising as it may be, nobody hit the BBJ.

I guess I should have gone to Greektown.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Hand of the Day #1

$1/$2 NLHE - Motor City - 10.28.09

I've got AA in the Cutoff, and make it my standard $7 preflop. Four players see a Flop of Kc Th 8h. It checks around to me, and I make it my standard $15. All fold except for the Hijack, an middle aged black lady, who check-raises to $30. She's one of the $101,000 Bad Beat chasers, and has been playing tight, passive poker. I'm 90% sure that I'm behind, but I still call.

Turn [Kc Th 8h] 9d. She bets only $15. I call.

River [Kc Th 8h 9d] 3c. She checks. OK, maybe I'm not behind. I value bet $20. She calls and show TT for a flopped set.

What the hell was I thinking? I knew I was behind from the moment she said Raise. So why didn't I just check the River, and be thankful for the free showdown. All I did was light a $20 bill on fire.