Sunday, May 29, 2011

Hand Of The Day #76

Peppermill - 05.15.11 - $180 Tournament: Level 4 (100/200/50)

In an earlier post, I mentioned that I made a mistake in two separate hands. Well, here are the hands.

- I limp in Mid with QTc, and I call the 800 raise from the Button, who's an old nit. Four players see a Flop of Kd Jc 4h. I decide to take the lead, and bet 2100 with my Open-Ender. The Button quickly raises to 5000, and has 7k - 8k behind. Everyone else folds, and I give it some thought before calling the extra 2900. I'm getting some pot odds (2900 to win roughly 10500), and I'm sure he will pay me off if I hit. The Turn was [Kd Jc 4h] 9s. I check my Straight, expecting him to go All-In. Instead, he just checks. River [Kd Jc 4h 9s] Qh. Great, now I have a one-card Straight. I grab all of my 500 chips, and bet enough to put him All-In. He thinks for a little bit, and folds in disgust.

My mistake in this hand was my River bet. As I mentioned before, he's an old nit. There was very little chance he would call off all of his chips with a four card Straight on the Board. The proper bet would have been 4000 or 5000, since that's what he just put into the pot. I'm not positive that he would have called the 4000, but it's much more likely than the calling the All-In. Leaving chips on the table is just as big of a mistake as making a bad call or lousy bluff for 4000 chips. They are chips that should be in my stack, but aren't.

I could have also bet on the Turn, but I thought the 9 was much less of a scare card than the Ace would have been. Of course, if I knew the Q was coming on the River...

- A short time later, I limp in the Cutoff with 6s 5h, and call the Button raise of 600. Four players see a Flop of 6d 5s 4d. It checks around to me, and I decide to slowplay, assuming that the Button will bet. Fortunately, he obliged by betting 850. Two player called. Now I check-raised to 2850. It folds around to the Hyjack, who thinks for a bit before calling. The Turn is [6d 5s 4d] Td. Hyjack checks, and so do I. River is [6d 5s 4d Td] 7d. The Hyjack starts reaching for chips, and I fold my hand face up. He shows A8d for the Nut Flush.

My mistake in this hand was the check-raise. While the Hyjack was thinking about my check-raise, the Dealer had brought all the 850 bets into the pot. I looked at the large pile of 100's and 500's chips, and I realized that I did not raise enough. It's a common mistake for me. When I decide my raise, I just look at the bet. Raising from 850 to 2850 seems right. But if I factor the preflop action, and the two other players calling the 850, then the 2850 is just not enough.

The proper raise would have been at least 4000. But considering the Hyjack had the Nut Flush Draw and a Gutshot and an Overcard, he still may have called. He had a nice chip stack, and had me covered. So by not raising enough, I may have saved some chips, but that's result-oriented and the wrong way to look at Poker.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Hand Of The Day #75

Atlantis ~ $1/$2 PLO-8 ~ 05.21.11

We've been playing for a little over three hours, and were down to four players. One of them is leaving after this hand, so this is the final hand of the night.

UTG folds, but the Button bets POT to $7. He's an older Asian gentleman who's been playing like an old man. The SB calls. I'm the BB with 9h 8h 8d 5d. A really lousy hand for PLO-8, but it's the last hand, I already have $2 in the pot, and I have had a good night. What's the worst could happen?

Flop: 9d 5s 3s. Not bad for me. I have Top Two Pair but no Low Draw on a very draw heavy board. SB checks. I check. Button bets POT $20. SB folds, and I just call.

Turn : [9d 5s 3s] Qh. I check. He bets POT again for $60, and has $100 - $125 behind. Now I think for a bit. As I already said, he plays like an Old Man, which means he's been Tight & Passive. In the few hands that I've seen him put big money into the pot, he was trying to overbet the pot by around 1.5x (Pot is $50ish and he tried to bet $75, for example.) To me, this means that he thinks he has a good hand, and that he's inexperienced with PLO.

So what did he raise with that would have hit this Board? As an Old Man, he's probably not adjusting his preflop raising range even though we are four handed. So any hands that he would raise with just four players would be the same hands that he would raise at a full table. He also doesn't seem very experienced at this game, so I'm putting him on a hand like AA2X or AA4X. That was a decent Flop for his hand with an Overpair and a Wheel Draw. But the Turn was a complete whiff for him, which means my Two Pair is now comfortably ahead. I say, "All-In"

Not only does he not snap-call, he also gets that "What!?" look on his face. He thinks for a bit, looks at his cards a few times, and mumbles, "I should have checked."

He's right. He should have checked. This is a good lesson for noobies to Pot Limit games. "Pot Limit doesn't mean Pot Only." You don't have to always bet POT, because you can get into a situation like this by letting the size of the pot get out of control.

I'm not sure why, but I started talking to him. "Your Aces are behind," I said. "But if you have a Low Draw, it's good."

I don't know if that influenced him, but after about a minute, he pushed his stack forward. The River was [9d 5s 3s Qh] Kc. He just shook his head, and showed his hand. I'm not exactly sure what the four cards were because he was on the other side of the table. But I was right about what he had, something like AA2X. I showed my hand to collect the pot. He was not happy to see my cards, and walked away from the table. I gathered up my chips, took them up to the desk, and walked out of the poker room up $568 for the night.

As I'm typing this up, I decided to look up the percentages, since I'm not that fluent in Omaha-8 odds. I was 70% - 30% favorite for the High on the Turn, and he had a 35% chance of hitting the Low.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Sunday At The Peppermill

(Before you start reading this, let the dog outside, take a quick visit to the bathroom, and grab a snack along with a cool, refreshing beverage. This is loooong post.)

9:55 - I walk into the poker room, and they have four tables running. $2/$4 Limit, $3/$6 Limit, $1/$2 NL, $2/$3 NL ($5 to go). I put my name on the $6/$12 Interest List and the $1/$2 Wait List as the 4th name. There seems to be two open seats at the $1/$2 table.

10:10 $300 - I finally got a seat after I got annoyed with the Desk. An older gentleman walked right into the room, and got seated immediately because there were open seats, even though I was still fourth on the List. I mentioned on Opening Day that they need to get some bugs worked out of the system. Well, it's been open for almost two weeks, and things haven't improved. They really need to get their shit together, because as a Local, I don't need to stand around and wait 30-60 minutes for a table that has empty seats the whole time. I can just hop in my car and get seated at another table in town within 10 minutes. On Friday, I waited an hour (from 5-6pm) before I went somewhere else, and I didn't even waste my time on Saturday night. That's why I'm here so early. Today will be a madhouse because the HPT Main Event will start at noon.

Anyway, the $1/$2 table is mostly older players and still has an open seat along with a couple of players wandering around.

10:30 $328 - We are down to three players, even though there are four names on the List. We call the Floor to get some players for our game, and we find out they just opened another $1/$2 table even though our table was never full. There are three open seats at the new table, so the Floor breaks our table. (Did I mention they need to get their shit together?) The new table is a mix of players with stacks between $50 - $300.

11:00 $319 - A whole lot of nothing happened for me. The action has been normal for a Sunday morning game. They opened up the $15/$30 Limit table.

11:30 $268 - Started getting some hands, but I had fold most of them including KK and Two Pair twice. I was right each time, which kept the damage low. I also 3-Bet with AQ, and took it down preflop.

They opened up a $4/$8 Omaha-8 and another $1/$2 table.

12:00 $285 - I won a few small pots, but nothing noteworthy. The table has an open seat, and there two names on the List.

I notice that the names on the $6/$12 List are flashing, and the table next to us has a Dealer with chips ready to sell. But nobody has made an announcement about opening a new table. I go grab a rack to move over, and I ask the Desk about the new table. They said they made an announcement, which is not true since I'm sitting next to the new table. I rack up my chips, and take a seat at the new table. The Floor now makes an announcement about the $6/$12 and start gathering up players.

12:30 $301 - I waited at the $6/$12 table for 15 minutes, and only one other player showed up. It's really sad that this game rarely runs at the Peppermill. It's a good game that fits between the $3/$6 and $15/$30 games. I end up back in a different seat at my old table. I won two small pots.

There is still a Dealer and chips at the $6/$12 table, along with one player. They are also trying to opening a $3/$5 NL table.

1:00 $253 - I played various small pots. Some were good, and some were bad. I'm not really sure how I lost the $50.

They opened up another $1/$2 game.

1:30 $495 - Finally, some nice pots. In the BB of a limp pot, I have Td 9h. Six players see a Flop of 9c 7c 4s. The SB bet $10. She's an 60's lady who's been playing like a 60's lady. I call, and so does the Button.
Turn [9c 7c 4s] Th. SB bets $10 again. I now have Top Two Pair, but that's a scary board and she's still betting. The Small Pot player in me says just Call, so I do. The Button also calls.
River [9c 7c 4s Th] Ks. The SB bets $10 again. I just call for the same reasons as before. The Button goes All-In for $69 more. He's a regular in the room, and has been whining all day. He recently mentioned that he was considering leaving because he cards have sucked. After thinking for a bit, I decided that his story doesn't fit, so I call. He says, "Nice call," and turns over Q9d. I scoop the pot, and he leaves the table. (Sort of a Win / Win for me).

More tables are opening up, including a $5/$10 NL with Jamie Gold. I assume that he played in the HPT tournament, did his usual things, and busted out already. The HPT crew is also down here filming some interviews with staff and players using the new poker room as the background.

2:00 $542 - Some good, and some bad. Mid player raised to $12. It folded to me in the BB, and I have AA. I just call, and the Flop is Ad Jd 5c. I check, and he bet $17. Even though there are some draws out there, I just call with Top Set. The Turn [Ad Jd 5c] 7h. I decide to lead out for $30. I don't want to give him the option to check. I figure that if he actually has a hand, then let's build a pot. If he doesn't, then let's move on. He folded quickly.

Two hands later, the same guy raised to $12 again. A Mid player called. I'm on the Button with TT, and I decide to 3-Bet to $30. The Blinds fold, and the two players call. The Flop was 8-high. They check, I bet $50, and they fold.

The "Bad" will be a future Hand Of The Day, where I got coolered and made a great laydown.

2:30 $575 - More good and bad, as I seem to be the Action Guy at this table. (For those who know me personally, if I'm the Action Guy at the table, then you can imagine how the rest of the table is playing.) The biggest pot was me flopping a Flush with A2c on the Button. I bet it the whole way, hit it on the River, and got a $25 bet paid.

The room is getting more crowed, which is what I expected today. More tables are opening as players start busting out of the HPT tournament. One of the HPT announcers is playing on the table behind me. The Interest Lists are growing, including the $6/$12 again and a $10/$25 NL.

3:00 $484 - There is a 70's guy wearing a Hawaiian shirt and Bermuda hat, and he's having a very good day. For example, I limp on the Button with 5d 5h. Five players see a Flop of Jd Tc 5s. A 50's Lady in Mid position bet $20, which is larger than the pot. I just call with my Bottom Set becasue I know she has a good hand, and I know she will keep betting. A Mid guy also calls.
Turn [Jd Tc 5s] 9d. Mid Guy checks. Mid Lady bet $20. I hate that card, so I just call. Mid Guy check-raises to $60. The Lady thinks for a bit, and folds. I'm positive that he has KQ for the Nut Straight. This would be the 3rd time today that he would have the Nut Straight with KQ. (Did I mention that he's having a good day?) I call the $40, and will hopefully hit my Boat Draw.
River [Jd Tc 5s 9s] 2d. He starts to grab a stack of Red chips, but I quickly fold my hand face up. He shows KQ.

3:30 $642 - UTG limps in. I'm in the Cutoff with KJc, and raise to $8. The Blinds and UTG call. Four players see a Flop of Jd Jh Td. They all check, and I bet $15. Only the SB calls, and he's a Kid. The Turn is [Jd Jh Td] Js. SB checks. Naturally, I check my Quads, hoping he's on a Draw. The River [Jd Jh Td Js] 3d. The Kid bet $30. I raised to $80, and he called with K6d for a Flush.

17 out of the 19 tables in the room are in use. All 13 Cash tables are full, as well as four tables in the tournament room. Due to popular demand, they ran the usual Sunday 1pm $65 tournament, and had 66 players. I don't know if they will start running Cash games in the tournament room, but I would guess the $10/$25 NL game might start in there.

4:00 $580 - I'm UTG, and raise to $7 with 9h 9d. I would normally just limp here, but as I said, I'm Action Guy at this table. Five players saw the Flop. The Good News is that I Flopped a Set. The Bad News is the Flop is Js Ts 9s. I still bet $20 because I do not want to risk giving a Free Card. An out-of-town Lady in Mid position tries to raise to $30. Naturally the Dealer says, $40. It folds around to me, and I just call the extra $20.
Turn: [Js Ts 9s] Qc. Wonderful. I check, and she bet $20. She's been at the table for an hour, and has played very few hands. She doesn't seem to be concerned with the 4-card Straight on the Board, so I'm putting her on a decent sized Flush. I'm certainly getting odds to hit my Full House, so I call.
River: [Js Ts 9s Qc] 2d. She grabs some more chips, and I quickly fold. I'm getting tired of folding Sets.

I was right about the tournament room. Jamie Gold & Company have moved to the tourney room, and started a $10/$25 game. A few players stayed at the $5/$10, and other players from the List filled the open seats.

4:30 $502 - I'm still Action Guy at the table. That means I'm starting to lose track of hands, and I'm falling behind on the Running Log. I know I lost a decent pot to the Lady from the Js Ts 9s hand. I folded Top Pair on the River because I couldn't beat anything that she would be betting.

5:00 $378 - Things have gone sour a bit. I chased a flush that missed. I made a bad call against a Shortstack on the Flop for $54, and he had an Overpair. I tried to bluff someone who couldn't fold KK on an A-high Board. Oh, and I folded another Set to the Old Guy who's still having a very good day as he hit his 6th or 7th Straight of the day. The River is supposed give me a Full House a certain percentage of the time, right?

5:30 $369 - A quiet time for me. I played some small pots with mixed results. I'm getting hungry, so I'm leaving in two orbits. They opened up another table in the tourney room, but I don't know what it was. Due to the large crowd, it's ridiculously loud in here.

6:00 $511 - UTG+1, the Kid from earlier, raised to $6. A bunch of players call. I'm in the BB with 88, and decide to 3-Bet to $35. The Kid calls, but everyone else folds. The Flop was 7s 7d 2d. I bet $60, and the Kid goes All-In for $55 more. I call, and the Turn and River were [7s 7d 2d] 5s Tc. The Kid shows AQ, and leaves the table.

Soon after that hand, I also left the table. The room is still over-packed and very loud. I head over to the ballroom where the HPT Main Event is being played. They had 220 runners for the tourney, and are down to 81 players on nine tables. I didn't notice anyone noteworthy, but I didn't stick around long enough to examine each player.

While I was typing this post, they filmed the Final Table for TV. Here are the results.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Hand Of The Day #74

$2/$3 NLHE - Atlantis - 05.13.11

There was a couple of limpers. I have AA in the SB, and I decided to limp. Why? Well, I don't have a good reason. But in the previous hand, I just checked my option with JJ, and won a small pot on a scary board. The odds of me having another big hand are tiny, so why not do it again?

Fortunately, the BB raised to $18, and has a little over $400 behind. A Mid player back-raised All-In for $44. It folded around to me, and I give it a little thought. I decided to just call the $44, hoping that the BB will raise and try to isolate. Well, he cooperated by raising $75 more. I go into a little thought while the Dealer gathered up the $44 for everyone for the Main Pot. I was basically hollywooding since there really isn't much to think about. I grab my 4 Green $25 chips, put them on top of a stack of Red $5 chips, and push it forward to bet $200.

It was rather obvious that the BB was not expecting this. He went into deep thought for about a minute. Finally, he gathers his chips, and pushed them forward. I call, and show my hand. He turns over KK, but the Mid player didn't show. The Board ran out 6d 5d 4c 5s 2d, and everyone mucks their cards. The Dealer pushed me the pot that has almost $500 of profit.

There is some Good News and Bad News about this hand. The Good News was that I won more in this AA vs KK hand than I lost in my previous three KK vs AA hands.

The Bad News is that I almost royally screwed this hand up, and got very lucky to win as much as I did. I'm not referring to my AA running into KK. I'm talking about the Mid player going All-In.

One big flaw in my game is that I can be too passive. I don't know it's from over-thinking things, or just too much of the Fancy Play Syndrome. I was definitely in that state of mind on that night. After all, I did limp in the Blinds with both JJ and AA.

If the Mid player folded, along with everyone else, then I probably would have just called. I may have check-raised the Flop. But the Board got scary, and there is a decent chance that I only win $150-$200 from him, rather than the full $400+. I then would have posted the hand, and complained that my big hands never get paid off.

I'm not saying that I should never limp with a Big Pair (JJ - AA). But if I do limp in, there needs to be a damn good reason to do it. Usually, that reason is to put out a big 3-Bet against a Straddle who like to raise, or a crazy action table where the players are throwing $100 bills around.

But none of those were in effect on that night. And they rarely are in Reno. So stop doing it.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Nevada State Poker Championship

This week is the Nevada State Poker Championships at the Peppermill. It's their biggest tournament series of the year, and is highlighted by two events. First is the Jennifer Harman Celebrity Charity Poker Event on Saturday, May 21. There are a ton of celebrity and poker pros expected to attend. The other event is the $1650 Main Event on Sunday, May 22. This will be a Heartland Poker Tour event, and I believe it's the first time they have been in Reno. It's expected that many of the Pros will play in the HPT event, since they are already in town, and the HPT is one of the few ways for them to get on TV these days.

So how much will I be participating in this poker festival? Well, the short answer is Not Much. I'm not interested in playing in a charity event, and I work on Saturdays. The HPT event is on Sunday, which is good for me. But it runs into Monday with the TV taping on late Monday afternoon. I was not able to get Monday off from work, so I won't be trying to satellite into the event.

The HPT runs a ton of smaller satellites to get to the common folk into their events, both single table and mega satellites. Because of this, the Peppermill will only be running mega satellites all week starting yesterday, and no regular tournaments. However, they did run some tourneys this past weekend, and I played in two of them.

The first was a $130 NLHE on Saturday night. It had 110 players, and was held upstairs in a secondary poker area. When the tourney got to 18 players, it went down the main poker room to complete the tourney. I know this because I was one of the 18 who made the trip. Right after we restarted, I had 49k in the 2k/4k/500 level. I raised to 11500 in the Hyjack with KTs. One the BB called. He is the monster chip leader, and he's having a very good night. He checked "in the dark" to give himself position (his words, not mine). Sometimes I will bet "in the dark" in this situation, but I decided to be more cautious. I also checked "in the dark". The Flop was 5s 3s 2s, giving me the K-high Flush. The Turn was [5s 3s 2s] 7d. He bet a small pile of 1k chips. I quickly shipped it All-In, and he snap-called with A7s for the flopped A-high Flush. (Did I mention that he was having a very good night?) I finished in 17th place, five spots away from the money.

My second tourney was the $180 NLHE on Sunday afternoon. Here is the Running Log of that tournament.

"Shuffle Up & Deal" - I start on Table 12, which is outside the Tournament Room. We're starting 10-handed, but currently have six players. The tournament timer shows 65 players have registered. The levels are 30 minutes long, and we start with 10000 chips.

End of Level 1 (25/50) - The table is now full, and the tournament timer shows 83 players. There has been a lot of preflop raising at this table, including two ridiculous overbets. First was an old geezer who raised to 600, got a caller, and won with QQ. The other was another old geezer who made it 975, and won the blinds (75). I ended up doing a lot of limping and calling raises, but I airballed everything. The only hand I was was with a Small Blind Special (Two Pair 76o). I have 8875 chips.

Level 2 (50/100) - I haven't raised preflop yet for two reasons. The first is that my cards have been dreadful. The other is that everyone else is still raising. I would say more than 70% of the pots have been raised preflop. I know that (former) Online players will think this is normal, but it's not in a smaller Live tournament. I lost some chips when my Top Pair ran into a better kicker (87 vs T7). I have 7375 chips.

Level 3 (75/150) - Someone turned on the Boom Switch. I won various pots with bets on the Flop or Turn, and even a few raises against a tourney regular who loves to make small stabs at the pot. I even did my first preflop raise with A5d (Yes, I've been waiting for that hand). The BB called, and I won it on the Turn. I have 15100 chips.

Level 4 (100/200/25) - There was two hands which I made a large mistake in each, and I will post them later in a Hand Of The Day. One of them I lost, and the other I won. I have 19750 chips.

BREAK - We ended up with 88 players, and have around 70 remaining. The tables are now 9-handed. Ten spots get paid, with 10th getting $255 and 1st getting $4355.

The new Poker Room is packed, with all 19 tables in use. As soon as they break a tournament table, they start another Cash table within 10 minutes.

Level 5 (150/300/50) - The cards were very quiet for me. But... I did hit another Small Blind Special in a limped pot with the mighty 83s. I flopped Two Pair, bet all three streets, and got a caller. I have 22800 chips.

At the end of the Level, they broke our table, and the remain six tables are now in the tournament room. They quickly filled the table with a $3/$6 game.

Level 6 (200/400/50) - With the Blinds & Antes getting bigger, I started raising more preflop, and the results were mixed. The biggest pot was the first. One player limped, and I raised to 1125 on the Button with T9o. The BB and limper called. Flop was Ac Tc 8h. They both check, and I bet 2500. The BB check-raised All-In for 6100 more. I think for a little bit. I recently sat down at this table, and I know nothing about this player. I'm probably behind, but there are some draws out there. I'm getting some pot odds (6100 to win roughly 15000). I make the crying call, he has AK, and I miss. Ooops! Another small mistake by me. I have 16900 chips.

Level 7 (300/600/75) - A very quiet level for me. I wasn't able to raise much because everyone else was either raising or going All-In. Plus, I couldn't catch a hand. I was able to steal a limp pot form the SB with a bet on the Turn. I have 16100 chips.

Level 8 (400/800/100) - More crappy cards. The only raising hand I had was JJ. There was one limper in Mid position. He's an older gentleman who's a tourney regular. I'm the Hyjack, and I raised to 2500. The Button, BB and the Limper called. The Flop was 9c 9h 2d. BB and Limper checked. Obviously, I shove All-In for 14300. The Button folds quickly. The BB thinks for a bit and calls. He's the AK guy from earlier, and has built up a nice stack. The Limper quickly goes All-In for around 15k - 20k more. The BB goes into deep thought mode. He apologizes for taking so long, counts down all the chips, thinks some more, and apologizes again for taking so long.

At this point, a lady who had recently arrived at our table called the clock. This did not go over too well, as the BB started make comments about this classless move from someone who's not even in the hand. The Lady made some comments about her shortstack, and this hand has taken over three minutes. The Floor came over, and started The Clock. More comments flew back and forth between the players. Meanwhile, I'm just sitting there patiently waiting to see if I'm gonna have a Big Stack or if I'm going home for some dinner.

At about the 30 second mark, the BB declared that he knew what he was going to do, but will use up the entire minute before he acts. More comments flew back and forth. Finally, the Floor gave the countdown, the Clock hit zero, and the BB mucked his hand.

I turn over my JJ. The Limper shows Q9s, and I can't believe what I see. He's on the nitty side. He doesn't play many hands, and usually over-raises and over-bets. So why did he decided to limp in the 400/800/100 level with Q9s in Mid position? I could understand if it was A9s or maybe even T9s, 98s, or even 22. But Q9s? W T F ??

Anyway, as I'm sure you've already figures out by now, I miss my two-outer. I finish somewhere around 35th place.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Rants & Raves: If I Ran A Poker Room - Cash Games (Part 2)

This concludes the "If I Ran A Poker Room" series. It covers some more Cash Game stuff, as well as some other things that I forgot to mention earlier.

Promos: Even though many players hate the $1 Promo Drop from each pot, Promos are a great way to get recreational players into the room.

The promos that I would run would depend on what the other room are doing. I would want to run different Promos then they're running, or at least in a different way. Some possibilities are High Hand Bonuses (either a fix amount or progressive), AA cracked, Splash Pot, drawings for stuff, freerolls like Beat The Boss, and the dreaded Bad Beat Jackpot. The promos would probably be rotated for different months to keep things fresh and new.

I know many player bitch, whine, and moan about the BBJ, but they can be a great way to fill up a room. In Detroit, when one of the BBJs hits $100k, the room is packed all day long, with 2-3 hour waiting lists. I think the best way to have a BBJ is to have two different ones. The first one is a smaller one that's easier to hit, and it may even be a fixed amount like the Atlantis has. The second BBJ would be much harder to hit (like Quad 6 beaten). That would make it much larger to entice the recreational players into the room in hopes of hitting the lottery.

As for the Promo Drop, it would be $1 at $10. Depending on how much we take in, there might be another $1 when the pot gets bigger, say $50 or $60.

Posting: For those who don't know what Posting is, it's when you first arrive at a table, and have to post a BB to see your first hand. You also have the option to sit out a few hands, and wait for the Blinds to come to you. The idea behind it is that your Blinds are what you're charged to play an orbit at the table. This is why most players leave the table to cashout right before they have to play the Blinds again.

Posting is not popular with players, as many players would rather just wait for the Blinds. As a player, I really don't care either way. I go to a room to play poker, and not sit there waiting for the BBJ to hit.

Most rooms in Reno don't make players post, except in bigger games (I don't know what the difference is). However, I'm constantly seeing players abuse this by sitting down a few hands before the Blinds come to them, and letting the Blinds pass them before they play a hand so they get a free orbit. (Have I ever mentioned that this town is full of Super Nits?)

I would make all new players post in my poker room. I feel that a player should pay to play an orbit.

Comps: This would obviously depend on my bosses, but the standard $1/hr is a good place to start. The one thing that I would do differently than most room is change the comp rate depending on the time and day. I would pay up to $2/hr during slow times, like Tuesday 10am, and as low as $0.50/hr during peek times, like Saturday 10pm. This is one way, along with other promos, to get players in to the room during traditionally slower times.

Tournament players should also receive comps for playing in a tournament, even if it's just a small amount. The amount of the comp would depend on either the tournament buy-in, or the amount that goes to the house.

Website: It is amazing that most casinos have no clue that we are in the 21st century. Just look at their websites. They are all just giant billboards on the Information Superhighway. Website can be used for so much more information, like telling you what games are running (Borgata or Wynn), or even just tell you what the Bad Beat Jackpot is at today (Hollywood). EDIT: The Peppermill has added a page to it's website that has all their Lists.

Cards & Chips: The cards would be Jumbo Index because they are easier to see from the other side of the table. I've only seen one poker room use these (Turning Stone), and I don't understand why others don't use them. We used them in our Home Games back in Cleveland, and they were wonderful.

The chips would be almost anything but Paulsons, which is the most common chip used by casinos (the ones with the top hat and cane). They are wonderful for stacking, and do hold up very well. However, they can't be washed due to the clay that they are made with. Anyone who plays in casinos regularly knows how disgusting the poker chips can be after a while. Chipco makes very good chips, and are very easy to keep clean.

Lessons: Poker lessons given out by the casinos seem like they are rare these days. I know that Mountaineer used to do it once or twice a week, but I'm not aware of any room in Reno that has them.

I'm not saying that my room would have them, but I would look into it. And maybe not just for Hold'em, but also for other games like Omaha-8.

Cell Phones: I know the old geezers won't like this, but cell phones should be allowed at the table. After all, it is the 21st Century. They can be used as long as you're not in a hand, causing a distraction, or slowing down the game. If you're having a conversation, it would be encouraged that you step away from the table in order to prevent a distraction.

All the conspiracy talk concerning cheating is just silly. If a player is talking about the hand, then everyone at the table can hear it. If a player is texting about the hand he's in, then he's breaking the rules about using the phone while in the hand. Plus, just how much information about the Hand can he text to someone else to get help from that person? However, Bluetooth headphones would be banned. If you want to be on the phone, then you need to blatantly be on the phone.

PokerPro: These are the electronic tables that have sprung up in various smaller poker rooms across the country, including the Silver Legacy here in Reno. Overall, they have been a dismal failure.

I actually like them, and think they have a lot of potential. I feel they have just been used in the wrong way. Most rooms that have the machines are smaller rooms. The manager just turns on the machines, offers something basic like $.50/$1 NL or $2/$4 Limit, and hopes that someone will want to play. This is the wrong approach to these tables.

The PokerPro machines have the best potential to be used for things that a regular Live table is not suited. Mixed games would be wonderful on these. Just think of the Hands Per Hour you could play in PLO rather than with a Live Dealer. Speed Poker (say 10-20 seconds per decision) would be easy to do on the PokerPro tables. Other potential games would include a 6-Max or Heads-Up since a Live Room would never spread these.

The other great potential is Tournaments, especially Sit-N-Gos. In a Live Room, Sit-N-Gos are horrible because the room doesn't want to tie up a Dealer. This isn't a problem with the PokerPro machines. Plus, the extra Hands Per Hour would make a 20-minutes per Level structure seem like 30 or 40 minutes per Level.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Hand Of The Day #73

Grand Sierra - 05.09.11 - 6:30pm $60 Tournament Level 1 (25/50)

This is the fourth hand of the tournament, and our table has seven players. I haven't played a hand yet, so I still have my starting stack of 4000 chips.

UTG raised to 150. Only the SB called. I'm the BB, and look down at Js Jc. I decided to just call. You could certainly make an argument for raising to 500 or so. I don't know anything about these players, but I'm assuming that if they called or raised the 150, then they'll call the 500. I would then be playing a bloated pot out of position. Since this is the first level of the tournament, I would rather keep the pot small preflop. If more players had called the 150, the I would have 3-Bet to thin the field.

Three players see a Flop of Jd Td 4h. The SB, a 50's Asian gentleman who's been talking to his wife during this hand, grabs a few stacks of different chips and bets around 3000 into the 450 pot. I'm not sure exactly sure how much it was because I had Top Set and I didn't care. I went All-In for 3850. UTG, the original raiser, looks at his cards and flashes them to the other players. Meanwhile, the SB had already put the rest of his chips into the pot before the UTG finally folded his 99.

I show my JJ, and the SB show Kc Qd for an Open-Ended Straight Draw and Two Overcards. I'm sure you can guess how the rest of the hand goes. An Ace on the Turn gives him the Broadway Straight, and I miss my Boat Draw on the River. The SB has me covered, and I'm out of the tournament.

I bring you this hand as a great example of what I've been saying about these small daily tournaments. They are profitable because I get to play against players like him. But they are also high variance because of players like him.

Nice Hand, Sir.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Call Me Dog

Shuffle Up & Deal - I'm at the Atlantis for the Sunday 11am $80 Bounty tournament ($20 Bounty). There are two tables today, and we have nine players at ours. The levels are 20 minutes long, and we start with 13k chips.

End of Level 1 (25/50) - The table is now full with ten players. So far, the play has been what you would expect to see in the first level of a tournament. Limp limp limp, call call call. I just sat back, and observed. I only raised two hands. First was to 125 with AQo. I flopped an Ace and got two streets of value. Second was to 125 with 44 from the Hyjack. I C-Bet on the Kc Js 5c Flop, got two callers, and gave up. I have 13625 chips.

Level 2 (50/100) - I hit a Straight on the Turn from the BB with Q8o. The only hand I raised was to 250 with K7h in the Hyjack. Four players saw a Flop of Ah Ks 6h. The BB leads out for 425. This was the Flop I wanted to see when I raised with K7h, so I raised to 1500. The BB called, and everyone else folded. Turn [Ah Ks 6h] Kc. BB shipped it All-In for 7500-ish. Not a tough decision for me with Trip K and Nut Flush Draw. I snap-called, and turned my hand over. He got that "Are you kidding me?" look on his face, and showed JTh for the Combo Draw. He missed his 3-outer, and I collect Bounty #1. I have 23800 chips.

Level 3 (100/200) - I raised many more hands this level, including AK, AQ, AJ, AT, and 88. The results were mixed, but none of the wins or losses were big pots. I also flopped Two Pair in the SB with K8s in a limped pot [Kh Jd 8h]. I bet 700, and got two callers. The Turn was a brick, so I bet 2500 to end the hand because there are too many draws out there. They both folded. I have 27900 chips. 

Level 4 (200/400) - A quiet level for me. I did steal a pot on the River from the BB in a pot that nobody showed any interest. The only hand I raised was when a Shortstack limp for 400 when he only had 1300 chips. I'm the Button with QJo, and decided to isolate by raising to 1500. The Blinds and UTG folded. The Shortstack called with J9o. (Why would anyone limp with J9o for 1/3 of their stack?). We both miss, and I collect Bounty #2. UTG would have hit an Ace on the Flop. I have 30400 chips.

Level 5 (300/600) - In the Cutoff, I raise to 1500 with KK. The BB goes All-In for 3500-ish, and comments about me always raising his BB. (Why do players take it personally, especially when it's not true?) He had A4o, flopped a 4, but missed the Turn and River. That's Bounty #3, and I have 34500 chips.

BREAK - We ended up with 22 players, and have 11 left. I'm the Chip Leader at my table, and I've collected three out of the four Bounties collected at this table. This may sound strange, but it seems that things are going almost too good. I hope I'm just being paranoid.

Level 6 (400/800) - I started to step on the gas a little bit and stealing some blinds while we were still at two tables. The Hyjack raised to 2400, and had 6000 behind. I'm in the Cutoff with AA, and just called. I wouldn't mind someone else calling, or even shoving All-In, but everyone else folded. Flop was K-high. He checked, and so did I. He went All-In on the Turn with K8o, but missed his outs on the River. That's Bounty #4, and I'm now on a freeroll.

That got us to the Final Table. I've got around 45k. I think I'm the Chip Leader, but there are a couple of stack from the other table that are close. The Average Stack is 28600. Nothing happened for me at the Final Table in this level, and I have 43900.

Level 7 (500/1000/100) - A quiet level for me. There is still a lot of limping, even by the Shortstacks, so I'm staying patient. I did win two small pots by stabbing at them from the Blinds. The only preflop raise was after two player limped in. I raised to 4000 on the Button with QJo, and everyone folded. I have 47200 chips.

Level 8 (1k/2k/200) - I raised in Mid with QTh, and got one caller. The Flop was K-high with one Heart. I just checked and folded to his bet.

Two hands later, UTG min raised to 4000, and he's got a lot of chips. I'm the next player, and I call with 77. It folded around to the SB. He's an old geezer who's been whining to the Dealer about getting no cards. He looks at his cards, starts to mumble about this being the best thing he's seen in a while, and reluctantly went All-In for 7300 more. The BB folded, and UTG called.

This is an interesting spot for me. Normally, just calling the All-In and checking it down would be normal protocol at a Final Table. But this is a Bounty tournament, and if someone gets knocked out, I want the bounty. Besides, the current pot is around 20k, and that's a lot of chips. I decided this is good spot to ship it All-In for 29k more on top of the SB's All-In. UTG has me covered, but not by much. I'm hoping that I have enough Fold Equity to chase him away. And if he calls, then I'm getting some Pot Odds with just a Mid Pair.

Unfortunately, he called rather quickly with TT. I'm a little surprised by this, as many of the players at this table would have folded TT. I just got unlucky getting this guy. I miss my two outer, and UTG wins the Side Pot. BB had A4o, and hit the Wheel on the River to win the Main Pot. I walk away from the table in 8th place, and go to the Desk to collect $80 for my four bounties.

In hindsight, I have no problem with what I did. I know I said that I was gonna be patient and wait for an opportunity. That doesn't necessarily mean that I just keep folding and wait for AA. (Although, that is certainly a good opportunity.) I thought was a good spot for me to pick up a chunk of chips, so I went for it. I just didn't work.

No Guts, No Glory.

That's Tournament Poker.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Working The Bugs Out

6:05 - Opening Day for the Peppermill's New Poker Room. The room is busy, with 8 / 13 tables running. Things seem to be really chaotic, as I'm sure they have a few bugs to work out and people get used to the new stuff. For example, the new Bravo system has a new kiosk at the entrance of the poker room that players can put themselves on Lists by just swiping their player's card. I put my name on the $6/$12 List (Interest only) and $1/$2 NL List which I'm the first name.

6:25 - I'm still the only name on the $1/$2 List. I'm tired of waiting and decide to sign up for the 6:30 tournament. As I'm heading to the tournament room in the back of the poker room, I walk by the $1/$2 tables to see if they have any open seats. One of the tables has two of them. So I grab one, and buy-in for $220.

7:00 $202 - I ended up playing one orbit at the table before it broke due to players heading to the evening tournament. Eventually, I got a seat at the last remaining $1/$2 game. There are a few regulars at the table, and nobody has over $300.

As far as the cards, I called a couple of bets, but nothing of interest. The 6:30 tournament has 50 players.

7:30 $71 - I'm the BB, and I call the $12 raise with ATc. I flopped a Flush Draw [6c 4s 3c], bet $25, and the original raiser called. Turn [6c 4s 3c] 7d. I bet $40, and he called. River [6c 4s 3c 7d] Js. I bet $50, and he quickly called with AA.

8:00 $308 - I raised to $7 with 65h in the Cutoff. Four players saw a Flop of 9s 8d 4c. The SB lead out for $12. A Mid player called, and so did I with a Gutshot. Turn [9s 8d 4c] 2s. SB bet $20, and Mid called. I go All-In for $24 more with my Double Gutshot (7 or 3). They both call. River [9s 8d 4c 2s] Qc. The SB wins with 98 for Two Pair. I reload for $320.

8:30 $571 - The table has been slowly losing players, but nobody is replacing them, even though the List shows six players. We've been telling the Floor about this, but not much has happened. I even walked up to the desk to tell them, "The $1/$2 game is down to four players, and is in danger of breaking." Eventually, I discover the speaker system isn't working, so they can't call anybody to the tables. We are currently five handed.

I want to complain about my cards because they've been dreadful all night. But I did double up in a limp pot with TT. The Board was Td 8s 5d 2c when the money got All-In, and the BB had T5o.

9:00 $552 - We are now eight handed, as tournament players are busting out. One of them is a tournament regular who very much on the LAG side. So far, he's been playing that way here. The Action has been good.

In a limp pot, I'm the BB with T4h. Four players see a Flop of 9 8 7. I bet $5 with the Straight Draw. Two players call. Turn [9 8 7] 6. I bet $10, and the UTG called. River [987 6] 3. I bet $15, and he raised to $40. I called, and he had JT for da Nuts.

Bunch of limpers. The SB raised to $12. I'm the BB and call with 64o. I have position on the player who raised, and this should encourage others to call, which gives me implied pot odds. Five players saw the Flop of 8d 6s 4d. SB bet $15. If I slowplay my Two Pair in this spot, it would be suicidal with three more players to act. I raise to $40, and everyone folded.

9:30 $499 - My cards have been sad all night. The only hand I raised preflop was 65h in the Cutoff ($7). The Flop was Qh Qd 7d. I C-Bet $20, got called, and gave up.

The Action at this table is damn impressive for a Reno $1/$2 game, and I have a great seat. All the Action Guys are on my Right, and the tight, solid players are on my Left. The problem is that I was planning on leaving at 10pm.

I would have won a huge pot with 76o in the BB if I had called the $12 raise from the Cutoff. The Board was  77A K 6. The SB kept betting, and the Cutoff just called him down with 72o.

10:00 $527 - I won two small pots, but I never had the opportunity to get in on the Action. There was a ridiculous pot involving a Shortstack with QQ against AJo and JTh All-In preflop. The QQ held up for the smaller side pot ($225-ish), but a Ten on the River gave JTh the much larger side pot ($550-ish).

I wouldn't mind staying to try and hit something, but I'm getting tired. I cash out -$13 for the session, but I did win $10 with some freeplay while I was waiting for a table.

The room still has six tables running, including a $3/$5 and $20/$40. Overall, the new room is a vast improvement over the old neon-filled one. But they have some bugs to work out, and get some systems figured out. Tomorrow (Friday) is gonna be a rough one, but they should get things smoothed out by Monday.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Playing Hookey

Yesterday was my first day off from work since I moved out here seven months ago. In addition to running a few errands, I did the tournament thing today. Here's what happened.

Peppermill 10am $45 - This is a new tournament they just started this week, and it's in addition to their 2pm and 6:30pm tourneys. I arrived at 9:45, and there were tables being rebuilt for the new room, but no games running and nobody there to play in the tournament. There is no signage for the new tournaments, and very few players even know about them yet. With all the focus on the new room, the new tournament schedule has gotten lost in the shuffle.

After waiting until after 10am, only one other player showed up to play, so I started asking some question about the new room. It's opening on Thursday morning (May 5), and the Grand Opening will be on Tuesday, May 10. I asked what the Grand Opening event will be, but nobody had an answer. The room will have 19 tables, and the back room will be a tournament room with six tables.

Grand Sierra 11am $60 - Since the Peppermill one was a bust, it was either the Grand Sierra or Atlantis for the 11am one. I decided on the Grand Sierra, because I won the 6:30pm last night (9 players, no chop, $275 after Dealer Tip). They have a monthly tournament points thing that I don't know much about. But since I got 25 points for winning on May 2, I figured I'd try to get some more points.

This one ended up with 11 players at one table. I really hate that, especially since I ended up in Seat 11. The play was rather passive, and players were knocked out very slowly. Since it was a full table, and my cards sucked, I played rather tight for most of the tournament. I ended up in 3rd place after I made a move that ran into QQ. We had already agreed to do a Bubble Save, so I got my $60 back and five points, whatever that means.

Peppermill 2pm $45 - Unlike this morning, there was 54 players for a Tuesday afternoon tournament, which was quite a surprise. It might be because they add $300 to the prizepool on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

The tournament for me was one of those that everything went wrong. I should have limped when I raised. I should have bet when I checked. I should have zigged when I zagged. I finished somewhere around 40th.

Since I busted out so early, I decided to play some cash game. I ended up sitting at the only $1/$2 table with $200. The game was short-handed for the entire 1.75 hours that I played, between 3-5 players. I was up $90 when the table finally broke. It's amazing that players don't adjust to shorthanded play. They just play as tight & passive as they do when it's four players or ten players. I always end-up being the Action Guy at these shorthanded games. This time, I played 90% of hands, and raised often to $5. One of the players started to just Check & Call my bets, even when he had a big hand. I figured this out rather quickly, and adjusted to only make Value Bets when I had something. He didn't last long.

Peppermill 6:30pm $55 - Only 18 players for this tournament. This one was quite the rollercoaster for me, with many suckouts that I gave as well as received. AJ vs A5, lost. AJ vs 33, lost. K9 vs QQ, won. AJ v 33 again, won. AQ vs K2h, won. (and many more).

I could make a entire post about this tournament, but I don't feel like it. The AQ vs K2h was the final hand, and I won this tournament for $355 after Dealer Tip. This was the 2nd night in a row that I won a tournament straight-up with no chop, although there was a Bubble Save because four handed play took forever.

It's such a better feeling to actually win the tournament, rather than chopping and walking away with the most money. I've played it out in four or five tournaments since I moved out here, and I've only lost one of them. Even with the Blinds & Antes in the stupid range, I still have the advantage because of all the home game tournaments that I've played.

After the tournament, I went over to check out the new room. Everything is now set-up, and they were letting players walk around the room. I took advantage of this oppertunity, and started snapping photos, including the ones in this post. The rest of the photos are in the Peppermill Review page, along some info about the room.

Monday, May 2, 2011

May News & Notes

- Peppermill's New Room is coming along nicely. The photo was taking yesterday morning, along with other photos that are in the Peppermill Review section.

Officially, the opening day is May 10 with 19 tables. I've heard that they are ahead of schedule, and it may open a day or two sooner. I've also heard they're trying to squeeze a few more tables into the room. If you look closely at the photo, you will see a room in the back with the big windows. I heard that will be a separate tournament area, but it looks too small for five or six tables. It may just be a High Limit room for the bigger games.

I don't know if they are planning some Grand Opening event like Greektown did for their new poker room a couple of years ago, or if they're just gonna use the upcoming tournament series. Either way, I will be there on Opening Day, and will give a full report.

- On Friday, I logged on PokerStars to cashout my $259.74, and then uninstalled PokerStars. I waited a few days because I wanted to hear about players receiving their funds, and players were getting their money within two days. I still have around $180 on Cake Poker, but who knows how often I will play online.

- My bad run of cards hasn't really stopped yet, and my bankroll is getting smaller and smaller. I think I hit bottom on Saturday night. I went to the Atlantis to play some PLO-8. There was a list when I arrived, so I sat down for some $3/$6 and dusted off $100 in about an hour. The floor then said they might be opening a 2nd table of PLO-8, so I hung around for a bit. Instead, the opened up another $2/$3 NL table. I sat down with $400. Twenty minutes later, I lost it all. I'm not gonna share the hand because it will sound like a Bad Beat Story, but it was another ridiculous situation.

If things went as bad on Sunday, then I would have to shift into Rebuilding Mode. Fortunately, it was a damn good day. I played in two tournaments. I airballed the Harrah's 10am $45 one, but I did manage to cash in the Peppermill 6:30 $95 Cash Me Out. Unfortunately, it was only a $75 cash for a $20 loss. I usually stay at the Final Table when the tourney chips are converted to cash chips. However, I had a terrible seat draw at this Final Table, so I decided to cash out with the small loss.

The cash games I played on Sunday went much better for me. I won $182 in 2.5 hours playing $1/$2 at Harrah's after the tourney. I then went to the Peppermill to play my first $15/$30 Limit game in a few months, and won $502 in 2.5 hours before their tournament. Hopefully, this was a sign that I'm pulling out of the nosedive that I've been in over the last few weeks.

- And speaking of running bad, we come to sports betting. I don't do it much, because I kind of suck at it. I also know almost nothing about betting baseball. So instead of making the occasional bet during the season, I decided to make one larger season-long bet.

Being from Cleveland, it make sense to bet on them, since they're the team I'm most familiar with. Everyone, including me, expected them to be a minor league team this year. So I was comparing Over/Under for season win totals, and the best I found was 71 wins for Even Money. I bet $200 on the Under.

As of this morning, May 2, they are 19-8 (.704), and have the best record in baseball. They are over 25% of the way to 71 wins, and are just one month in the season. In order for me to win, they need to go 51-84 (.378) for the rest of the season, which means I need to hit a Gutshot on the River.

This whole thing has created a conflict for me. As a fan, I'm happy that things have come together and they are winning. But as a gambler, I'm yelling, "STOP IT!"

So thanks to me, the Tribe will probably win 90 games this year, and make the playoffs. I'm considering making a $500 bet against the Browns, so maybe they'll make it to the Super Bowl.