Tuesday, July 12, 2005

So I arrived in Vegas last Wednesday, July 6. That's almost a week, now, and it really doesn't seem like it. It's funny--I feel like I've been in Vegas for only a day or two, but when I think back to my very first night here it seems like a lifetime ago. Such a strange contradiction, I know.

That first night I spent in a hotel, before finally seeing my apartment for the very first time on Thursday. I'm definitely impressed with my ability to randomly look at apartments online and choose a good one. I'm a 10 minute drive from the strip, and, well, what else is there to know? I also bought a tempurpedic bed. Expensive as all hell, but it's fantastic. It wasn't going to get delivered until 9am Friday, so I had to figure out some way of sleeping Thursday night. Then it hit me. I'm in Las fucking Vegas with no job, no responsibilities and the best poker room in the world 10 minutes away. So off I went to the Bellagio, to return only two hours before bed-delivery time.

I played the 30/60, where I would also spend Friday and Saturday nights (and where I will spend a significant portion of my live play in general, at least to start). Wow, I don't know if it's just because it's WSOP time or what, but those games were juicy. Some of these guys just try to give their money away.

There was one all-star who just loved to limp-reraise no matter what. If he limped (which he did at least 60% of the time) and someone raised after him, he was reraising about 80% of the time, with no rhyme or reason. It was great. I had one good hand against him when he limped UTG+1 and it folded around to me on the button. C'mon, what else could I do with any semi-decent hand? I saw Qd8d and of course raised. Both blinds called, damn them, but then the all-star three-bet and I of course had to four-bet. One blind got the hint, but the SB was stubborn.

Three of us saw the 752 flop. All of my suit. The SB eventually got out on the four-bet flop, but then the turn was the 6d, putting a four-flush on the board. Unfortunately, the all-star was halfway intelligent postflop, and so his willingness to go four bets on the flop told me he at least had a diamond, and probably a decently-sized one since he would generally play big cards. He also loved to check-raise. So when he checked to me, I wimped out and checked behind. I can only look at it in hindsight, but I think I should probably have bet. But I'd hate to get CRed in that situation.

He bet the Td river and once again I wimped out and just called (the deck was running out of small diamonds I could beat!). He showed T9o with the 9d, and I dragged the pot, thinking I might have left a bet or two on the table.

Another all-star was playing 30/60 for the very first time, as he was so willing to tell me. But then he mentioned playing the 80/160 the previous night. "I'm actually a small stakes player. I usually play at the Orleans," he told me.

Er, so why the sudden jump to 80/160 and 30/60?

"I just won over $100K from a weekly Pokerstars tournament, and so now I'm having fun!"

Let's just say that I was planted to his left for as long as he wanted to play.

After I three-bet him preflop with KQ and he called down with what I think was a small pocket pair on a JT9xx board, he gave me the typical internet-player lashing, "what, you three-bet me with that crap? You were dominated preflop, dude. Just keep playing like that. Gooood hand."

Me: "Thanks."

Him: "I was being sarcastic, dude."

Me: "Really? I couldn't tell."

Him: "I really was."

Me: "I was being sarcastic."

Another hand I had A5s and flopped a flush draw, gut-shot and overcard, and so I ended up capping the pot three ways, with him on a smaller flush draw. After the turn and river bricked and we both lost, he showed me his 87s flush draw and asked what I had. So I told him honestly--nut flush draw and gutshot. He looked at me like I had three nostrils, "Are you just flat-out insane? You capped the flop on a draw?" Er, yeah, I estimated myself to have 50% pot equity with three players in, so sure. (Plugging in the hands later, I determined it was only 47%, but that's close enough for governement work, as they say.) I of course simply responded to his "are you flat-out insane??" with a simple, "Yes." Next hand.

He finally left after my AQ beat his 44 and he was incredulous at my preflop three-bet, and willingness to call him down to the river (eventually spiking an A on the river). "You had nothing, dude!" He went to play 80/160, and was I ever tempted...but it was already after 5am, and I was winding down mentally for the night.

Speaking of 80/160, it seemed as though they had more of those games going than the 30/60! That seemed to be the game of choice for a lot of WSOP players in town. Or maybe I just noticed how popular they were for the first time. But not only were there a bunch going, but they all had tons of action. I may have to try my hand at them sooner than I had planned...

Rich guys with more dollars than sense would be a theme for the weekend, as I met another guy who had also recently just come into a little bit of money (I forget now exactly how) and was there playing in the WSOP ME. If he played online, his stats would look like 60/60/5 or thereabouts. I of course was on his left, and was able to get a nice chunk of his stack before he left at 5:30, $2000 poorer and with a 10am wakeup time.

Finally, there was a great old man who would play semi-normally in multi-way pots, but only had one setting in heads-up pots--raise, raise and keep raising. I had 99 and raised UTG and he CCed from middle position. Heads up, flop came KK7. I bet and he raised, of course. I three-bet and he four-bet. The only times I'd ever seen him slow down HU were when he completely missed and it was obvious his opponent had a real hand, then he'd (eventually) fold, or when he hit a monster then he'd slowplay. Well, he wasn't slowplaying or folding here so he didn't have a K and he didn't have nothing, so it meant he most likely had a 7.

The turn was an A and that got me slowing down a little bit, as the hands of his I could beat got slimmer and slimmer (TT, JJ, A7, heck any A were all ahead of me now). Then the river made my hand wonderful: (KK7A)A. Yes, I now had 9-high. There were now very few hands I could beat, and so I checked to him but he kept firing. But he would do that with any two cards. I went into the tank a bit.

He has a 7, that I'm very sure about. TT or JJ are possible, but he'd probably have three-bet preflop with those. So, what hands with a 7 would he play? He was still relatively tight, so Q7s? Possibly. J7s, T7s? Possibly, but all those were far apart. More likely, he had a suited connector, like 78s, 67s, whatever. There was also the small possibility that he had an A. But basically I had tremendously good odds to call, given his possible range of hands. Which I did, allowing me to drag the decent-sized pot with 9-high when he turned over 78s.

The table was amazed, and he couldn't let up. "How do you call that with 9-high?" A very strong player hadn't seen the whole hand but he saw the size of the pot, and saw the shown-down hands and was baffled as well.

But even at the time I wanted to kick myself, because once again I had made a critical mistake: I should have raised! As I said he could back off when he had absolutely nothing, and could fold for one bet in such instances, so rather than simply call and be good those times he had 67 or 78, I should have raised and taken the pot those times he had TT, T7, J7, and perhaps Q7, although I think he quite possibly would call with a Q. But I do knock those other hands out of there. I do face paying off a three-bet in that situation, but I'd say he's able to desperation-bluff-three-bet often enough that it's worth it.

Aargh. I really, really need to get better at situationally raising my weaker hands.

Sunday and Monday would be spent checking out the WSOP, days 2 and 3, respectively. What a madhouse. I can't really add much if anything that isn't already in a thousand poker blogs, but it was definitely an experience. Okay, one thing--while walking from the poker room to the bathroom I pass a row of massage chairs and there's this one guy getting a massage on one, and he's staring at me evily. I'm a little put off and just keep walking, but then I realize I recognize the guy. It's Devilfish! And he just keeps staring at me. My lord does he have an evil gaze. I just kept walking, but geez, is that what he does, practice his gaze on strangers and see how they react, for better use at the poker table?

I played a couple satellites to the $1500 and $1000 side-tournaments going on at the Rio, but busted out fifth each time. 15 minute levels and T1000 to start with 25/25 blinds made it more of a crapshoot anyways. I probably should have just bought in directly, but as people know, I hate tournaments (even though I'd like to get more proficient at them).

So yeah, the first week or so has gone great. I even made it to the gym a couple times. Sleep all day, play poker all night. What could be better?


Blogger April said...

Ummm...you know, the $2/$4 game at the MGM is really soft too... ;)

7:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Eric,

It's Gamblinsteve. Just wanted to let you know that I'm moving out to Vegas in the near future. Glad I came across your blog recently. Congrats on making the move (professionally and physically). Give me a call sometime; Mike K. has my number.

8:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ummm yeah.... I would raise my eyebrow too with a 9 high call. That was a situation where a raise or fold seem like the only logical moves. But good to hear that u dragged the pot.

2:45 PM  
Anonymous Evan said...

Tempurpedic bed.

I've come close to buying me one of these a few times. I swore to myself that I'm buying one in the next few years though. My tempurpedic pillow is one of my favorite things in the world.

6:52 PM  
Blogger eric said...

Hi April! You out here yet? My phone is out of commission for a couple days if you've been trying to reach me. Email is probably best.

Steve...it'll be like an Austin reunion out here with Leslie out here and OJ on his way from what I've heard. Let me know when you're out here. Dealing or playing or both?

9-high--given the range of hands I put the other guy on, the three options I had, ranked, are: 1) raise, 2) call, 3) fold.

Evan--they are great. For me especially because I've had back problems recently. Expensive, but woth it, imho. Also, you should be able to get a decent deal even though the "official" stance of the company is fixed prices. Some places offer, with a full-price mattress, free foundation, free pillow and free delivery.

Myself, I walked in and said "I'll buy a tempurpedic bed, foundation and pillow if you give me a futon/mattress set free." And they did it.

2:02 AM  
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