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.

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


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.


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


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.