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.


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.