Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Nothing but low-limit silliness this post.

So me and a buddy decide to do some more low-limit donking, and decide the 2/4 at the Imperial Palace is the place to do it. $3/hour in comps is enough to convince me.

Once again I start out trying to be good, but end up straddling every time I'm UTG and raising with the hammer. I don't think I three-bet with much worse than 65o, though, so I wasn't being that bad.

I created a good image for myself, so that people kept trying to pay off my legitimate hands. But the darndest thing is they kept hitting! KK went down in flames at least five times. Top-two lost to runner-runner more times than I can count.

All told, I played 6 hours and lost--brace yourself--$400. At two freakin' four! That's 100BBs in 6 hours, for a lovely winrate of -16.67BB/hr. That's gotta be some kind of record.

I also somehow managed to get into another grudge match with a dealer. Now, I have to say that I always treat dealers wonderfully. I tip on every pot, I never berate them or get mad at them or anything. Hell, they screw up tremendously at times and I'm the most understanding guy at the table. Yet, here I am with yet another grudge match.

Okay, that all said, this one I kind of understand. So it's 2/4 and so they change out a dollar to quarters since they take rake in .50 increments. Well, when I was winning big pots, I'd grab a dollar chip and tip that. But when I won a small pot, say $10-12 and so there were still quarters in there from the partial rake taken, I would tip $0.50. Okay, okay, call me a cheapskate, but c'mon it's two freakin' four, it was a twenty second hand, a tiny pot, I'm getting brutalized enough by the rake, I'm not going to be tipping another 10% of my pot.

But the point is I was still tipping. And I repeat, I was tipping $1 on the decently large pots.

Anyways, this one dealer seemed to take offense to my fifty cent tips. David his name was. He dealt to us probably about four downs. He'd deal the cards, but only throw them halfway to me. And if anyone has been to the Imperial Palace, you know the tables are huuuge. So finally I tip him $0.50 on this tiny pot and he doesn't even take it. He leaves it in the middle of the table, for all to see, and goes on and deals the next hand, leaving the two quarters in the center of the table. People play their hands, and David just scoops the bets right into the center, with the fifty cents now part of that next pot.

So fine, if he doesn't want my tips, he won't get any. I won a good-sized pot and didn't tip him at all. So the next hand, he deals around and literally drops my cards right in front of him. Everyone else gets them flung perfectly to their waiting hands, and mine are like three feet away, practically on top of his chip rack.

"Uh, David, you gotta throw 'em a little farther."

He just smiles.

He normally pushed the pots completely over to the winner, but when I won another pot he just grabbed the portion of it on the far side of the table and pushed it over and just dropped it unceremoniously still like three feet away from me, still in a random spread out mess.

I would have complained, but fine I was tipping fifty cents, and he was finally done dealing, and he's like seventy fucking years old and dealing 2/4 poker, so I imagine his life isn't all that great to begin with.

But still, wow.

That does answer why I think that one dealer at the Wynn acted strangely towards me--I probably forgot to tip him on a hand.

I imagine being a dealer is stressful and annoying, and that's why I try to treat them all nicely, and always tip (my recent decision to do 0.50 on small pots at 2/4 notwithstanding). But still, if a dealer decides to be overtly rude to someone for not tipping, that just seems to exacerbate the problem. I mean, if someone simply forgot to tip on a pot, and then you treat him like dogshit, well do you think he's going to start tipping? Not at all--I sure wouldn't. And, in fact, others might see the treatment think the dealer is a prick and stop tipping themselves.

But fine, if that's how they get their jollies, so be it.

Oh well, no more soapboxing. Time for bed.

Monday, August 29, 2005

First, a NL hand. I don't play much NL, so it's good to get some feedback.

2/5 NL at the Mirage. I'm at about what I bought in for, approximately $500. Typical loose, dumb table.

I get AKo UTG+1 and open for $15. I immediately regret making such a small raise because the last time I did 3X like that I got six callers. But after one fold, MP raises it to $65. It folds back around to me. MP has $110 more behind.

Not a fun situation to be in. Based on how he played other hands, I was pretty sure he didn't have AA or KK since the raise almost seemed as though he wanted everyone out. So what does that mean? Unfortunately, he probably doesn't have AQ or AJ, since to him those are calling hands. That tells me he has a pocket pair, but fairly low. Probably not JJ or TT, either based on my read.

So I'm essentially in a coin flip situation. I definitely have odds, but I'm still pretty much flipping coins for my money, and I don't like to do that. Since he was on a pretty short stack I decided to push right there. I figured that way I give him the chance to fold, and if not then it's a flip, and I get to see all five cards rather than simply calling and hoping I hit my A or K on the flop, in which case I might not get paid off. So I pushed (well, raised enough to put him all-in) and he reluctantly called.

My read was good, as he had 66. And it worked out, as I hit a K and he didn't improve. But still, I have no idea if that was the best way to play it. Looking back, I don't think I can really fold, and I don't like calling for the reasons mentioned--I'm only seeing three cards and I probably won't get paid if I do hit.

I guess my main concern is how would I play that if the stacks were deeper? His short stack limited my options (rather nicely, I think), but if we each have, say, $1000 behind, then what? Call and hope? I'm getting about 1.7:1 but I'll only hit an A or a K 1/3 of the time on the flop. And if I do hit, I'll probably not get paid off. That just seems like a tough situation to be in. Just like in NL tournaments, in NL cash games AK seems to be a good hand to raise with, but a tough hand to be reraised with. I'm sure this is a very basic hand as far as NL goes, but that's about my level right now.

Anyways, secondly, all I have to say is that poker is SICK. Sick, sick, sick.

Last week was my worst week ever, and so what happens this week? I have my best week ever, and it's not even close. The entire week was one huge rush the likes of which I've never seen before. No Royals or even straight flushes, but lots of big hands, and lots of big hands holding up in big pots.

The week started off a bit slowly, but then Thursday I had my best single day of poker ever, as I tore through both online and live games. Friday was another very good day. And then Saturday. Wow. If Thursday was Mark McGwire in 1998, Saturday was Barry Bonds in 2001. I set a personal single-day record online and then I went out and had a top-ten day live to blow past my two-day-old record and set yet another all-time best single day. I finished the week out with a Sunday that was very good, but still paled in comparison to the previous days.

To continue with the baseball analogies, this past week was Steve Carlton circa 1972. Just the absolute pinnacle. All I can hope is that next week is a little better than ol' Lefty was in 1973.

Each of the last four days of the week was a good week in itself, to make the entire week the equivalent of a good month.

It's amazing how fortunes can change so dramatically.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

A couple of pocket aces hands from last night:

Mirage 20/40. UTG limps, MP raises. I'm in the small blind and find black AA. I three-bet. Call, MP four-bets and I cap. Call, call.

Besides the other two aces, there's exactly one hand that MP could have: KK. UTG is immaterial since he's a calling station donk; I'll worry about him once he starts acting up.

Flop comes Ts 9s 2d.

I bet, UTG raises, meaning he hit a pair or a draw, and MP three-bets. Here's where I'm unsure whether I played it correctly.

Obviously I could four-bet. UTG would call just about no matter what, and MP might at that point start getting the idea, and simply call. Assuming bet-call-call, bet-call-call, that's five BBs more going into the pot, unless one of them hits.

What I was thinking at the time was that, well, it's already a big pot, and so I'd like to drive out UTG if possible. I could smooth-call the flop, it'll check to MP on the turn and then I can check-raise, either driving UTG out or making him make as big a mistake as possible for calling. And even if he does call, that's six BBs going in. So I merely called.

Fancy play syndrome?

I finally got called to the big game. Mirage 40/80 (this is more of a "look at this donkey!" hand):

MP opens, once again in the SB I find black AA. I three-bet. He four-bets, I five-bet. He six-bets. Er...okay, no FPS here, seven bets! He eight-bets. Crap, I get AA and so does he. Well, if so, that's that. Nine bets! Finally he just calls.

852 flop. I bet. He calls.

Turn: A. What? He went nine bets preflop without AA? This is where I made my mistake of the hand. I bet. He folded, claiming to have KK. But as I found out from playing against him, his real range of hands there is: any two cards, one of which is at least a face card. Sigh.

I have to say, the Mirage 40/80 has got to be the least predictable game I've ever played at, as far as what to expect day-to-day. Maybe that's more the nature of games as one moves up in limits, but a lot of lower-limit games generally play pretty similarly. The Bellagio 15/30 has its crazy games and its tight(ish) games, but there's a pretty typical type of game you can expect when you sit down: loose passive. Same with the 30/60. In fact, same with most low-limit games. The Mirage 20/40 is often just plain wacky.

But the Mirage 40/80 is half the same players every night, yet every night it's a completely different game. Sometimes it's tight-aggressive as anything, and other nights it's loose-passive beyond belief. Just one or two players can make a huge difference in how the game plays. I imagine that's not a good quality, since that game takes me the longest to adjust to every time I sit down, despite the fact that its mostly the same players night after night.

Anyways, apparently the Wynn is changing their selection of games. They used to jump from 15/30 to 40/80. But last week, I was in there and the options were: 15/30, 30/60, 60/120! Hey, good stuff. They weren't able to keep a consistent 40/80 going, so maybe 30/60 is as high as they'll ever have going regularly, but a 60 game would be fantastic. I've been looking for a stepping stone between the readily available 40/80 and 80/160 games, and Phoenix simply isn't convenient enough for me.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Top Ten Reasons I Love Living in Las Vegas (non-poker related):

10. No rain.

9. No cops. Seriously, I can count on one hand the number of cops I've seen the entire time I've been here. It's great.

8. When I do see a cop, he's usually breaking more traffic laws at once than even I can manage, and so he hardly cares what I'm up to. I mean, when he's going by at 120, my 90 appears the speed limit to him.

7. In a similar vein, traffic "laws" are merely suggestions. Ultimately, do whatever is most convenient for you. At a red light, but no one's coming from either direction? Go ahead and run it. Everyone else does it.

6. I sleep until I don't feel like sleeping any more. Oh man, that's so great I just have to repeat it: I sleep until I don't feel like sleeping any more. Aaaahhh.....

5. Forget an alarm clock, I don't even have a clock in my bedroom. Every morning is a little game with myself, as I try to guesstimate what time it is by the time I get clothes on, lurch into the kitchen and turn on my cell phone to find out what time it actually is. It's my own little daily surprise.

4. There's a poker room on practically every corner. Even junky little casinos like Silverton and Tuscany each have one! Oh, that's poker related? Heh...moving on...

3. 24-hour booze. I don't drink, but it's nice to know my opponents can still drink at 4am. Poker-related again? Crap.

2. 24-hour everything. It's 4am, I'm hungry, no problem. I want to work out? No problem. I need to go food shopping? No problem. I want to go to a club that's full of hotties? No problem. Seriously, this place has 24-hour hotties. And I'm not even talking about strippers or hookers. What a town.

1. I no longer need to go visit anyone. This is Vegas! The whole world--quite literally--comes to visit me. The other day, I was in line to go to the top of the Stratosphere and no more than about half the line was even speaking English. And don't even get me started on what moving here has done to my popularity amongst friends and family. Although, I guess one might consider that a mixed blessing.

Bottom line: Vegas = great. And I can even say that right after spending a week getting reamed at the tables.

Monday, August 22, 2005

I tilted pretty hard for the first time in a while last night. Mirage 40/80, I was up a bunch, then lost a few tough hands. We kept losing players, and I promised I would leave when we were down to four-handed. This one guy put a couple tough beats on me and then left (as soon as he got back to even, of course) and then another guy put a couple tough beats on me and he left (as soon as he was back to even) and so suddenly we were three handed and I couldn't win a hand. Seriously, we must have played 80-100 hands, and I probably won three of them, all tiny pots where my lone opponent check-folded the flop. When you're paying $20/hand in blinds alone, that can get costly.

This one guy who was all-in two hands in a row at one point went on a tear flopping sets and straights and full houses every other hand, managing to come back and have a nice winning session, all the while I sat there plummeting like I haven't in a long, looong time.

Sometimes, try as you might, you can't beat 83o.

That culminated an entire week where nothing could go my way. I was up and down, up and down all week, until Saturday when I got hit pretty hard, and then Sunday, as I said, I was up a bunch before getting rocked. I think the week's worth of frustration set in on me during that last fateful hour of three-handed poker as I dropped like a stone. There's nothing I could have done to not lose money, but I certainly could have lost a fair amount less.

So I had my first losing week in I can't even remember how long, and definitely the worst week I've ever had. It's still been a good month overall since the first two weeks were fantastic, but this past week has got me thinking that maybe I'm overdoing it: too much poker, not enough other stuff.

What I need to do is really diversify my life. And regain some discipline at the poker table.

I had a big, long philosphoical rant thought up about poker, tilting and doing other things, but I won't bore everyone with it and just stick with that.

Friday, August 19, 2005

I'm in an excellent 30/60 game at the Bellagio when this hand comes up:

Regular I've played with a lot limps UTG. One other limper, I come along in MP with a red 33. Button limps, SB completes, BB raises, we all call.

Six see the KcTc3s flop. Set! Woohoo!

Check, check, UTG bets out and I raise. Everyone else gets out, so we're heads up. She won't bet with crap, but she would with good draws. We end up going six bets on the flop, when I finally just call. I know 100% that she'd raise KK, TT or AK preflop, so she has one of two hands: KT or QcJc (maaaaaybe QJ non-clubs, but very doubtful she'd play a bare straight draw that hard).

Turn: (KcTc3s)5s. She bets and I raise. Finally slowing down, she just reluctantly calls.

River: (KcTc3s5s)As. She checks. Uh-oh. She either still has KT and I'm good or her straight just got there. She checks, but she'll do that simply to check-raise if she had made her straight. So I'm caught in a moment of indecision, how sure am I that she didn't just make her straight (or even a backdoor flush, with say KsTs)?

In my moment of indecision I have kind of a "false start" with chips in my hand. It was very slight, but my opponent took it to mean I checked and so she says, "Oh you check?" and proceeds to flip over her cards. At the exact same time I'm saying "no, that was not a check" and the dealer was also saying, "no, that was not a check," but it's too late, the damage is done and her red KT is on the table for me to see.

Who still bets here?

Obviously it was her mistake since even the dealer agreed with me that my action wasn't a check. But also I'm sure she wasn't angleshooting or anything, and I do understand how she could interpret my actions as a check (although I think a bit of wishful thinking was clouding her judgment). Also, she's a non-pro regular and so it's in my best interest to be on good terms with her. And, finally, although I probably would have ended up betting anyways, at that moment I was undecided and so seeing her cards pretty much made up my mind whether or not I should bet. So, in short, it was almost an angle-shoot on my part--I'm unsure and so act in a way that reveals to me the strength of my opponent's hand. Obviously it wasn't intentional on my part, but that was the end result, anyways.

So I told her not to worry about it, didn't bet, showed my cards and took the pot. I think I made the right decision.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Good news! For me at least.

According to this article,

[A] new survey finds ladies like their men scruffy, a wee bit chubby - and definitely not metrosexual...

...42% said they thought love handles were kind of sexy and 47% approved of chest hair...Metrosexuals were also out: 73% want a guy who is "rough around the edges."

I sit around and play poker all day. If there are three things that describe me, it's chubby, scruffy and rough around the edges.

Bring on the babes!

The only protential problems with these findings are:

1) The survey was conducted by Playgirl, who "asked 2,000 of its readers." Er, and what percentage of those readers are actually gay men? Obligatory: not that there's anything wrong with that. But really, I care what actual women find attractive.

2) The survey also reported, "only 4% of women said the size of a man's wallet mattered," and the article also included the phrases, "Women are practical," and "women don't care [about looks]." Um, what planet are these people from?

So on second thought, false alarm. Nothing to see here.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Wow, Monday already? Time for a few days off.

I played a lot of hours this past week, about half online, half live. I've fallen into a pretty consistent pattern--play online from 9 or 10pm to about 1am, and then go play live until 6am. Eat a nice, big, artery-clogging, comped meal and then hit the sack.

Up until last night, this entire week was one huge upswing. I couldn't lose. Every session, live or online, I was winning, often quite big. All told, it was my second most profitable week to date.

I was running so hot, I hit two Royals, on back-to-back nights. One was online at Party, and the other was live at the Mirage. Some places give you $500 or $1000 for hitting a Royal at their casino, at the Mirage of course I just won the pot. The third day I didn't hit a Royal, but I did get a straight flush on Party.

This brings my total tally of Royals to about ten. Three live, and about seven, maybe eight online. Some people go a lifetime without ever hitting one. I know one guy who plays a fair amount of poker who says he's never even hit a straight flush. So even though I play thousands of hands per week, I definitely think I've hit more than my fair share of Royals. Interestingly enough, all my live royals have come from AKs. Once with hearts (flopped), once with clubs and now once with spades, each of the latter two made on the river with a gutshot Q coming in. Diamonds, I'm waiting for you!

This past week I temporarily switched allegiances. Instead of hitting the Bellagio 30/60, I was at the Mirage every night playing (eventually) in their 40/80. I say eventually because they often had just one table going that simply did not budge, so I was often forced to play in other games for a couple hours before getting in. One night I spent all night playing in their 2/5 NL game while the 40 game stayed set for five straight hours. Finally someone left at about 5:30am, but by then I was way too tired.

When I did finally get into the game it was great. Amazingly great. I mean unbelievable. I'd heard horror stories about how tight the Vegas 40 games were, and I know that a fair number of local pros play in that game, so I've been hesitant. Well, all the pros were on vacation or something, because the game I played in was better than many 4/8 games I've played in. Six or seven to the flop, often unraised. Amazingly rich, amazingly bad players who kept rebuying and rebuying and paying off every hand even though it was obvious their opponent was exceedingly strong. Seriously, at what level to people stop playing A3o for a raise, and then calling the preflop raiser down only to (of course) be shown AK or AQ? Except it's even better than that, because at 4/8 the guy will just meekly call down from the start whereas at 40/80 the players are aggressive enough that the A3o guy will put in a few more bets before shutting it down.

Anyways, speaking of NL, I tried the 2/5 NL at the Wynn, Bellagio and Mirage. Very juicy at all three places, although the Wynn game seemed tougher (small sample size issues of course apply). The Mirage game was terrific. For the most part, everyone played exceedingly straight forward. If I hit TPTK and bet big and the guy kept calling, well he had TPW(orse)K or some other pair or draw. If he raised big, he could beat TP and so I could confidently lay it down. Simple, easy and straight forward.

One hand, I raised with AA, guy called with J8, flop came 843, he bet, I went all-in and he called (!?!?!). "I know I'm beat, but I call anyways." Wow, what better words are there to hear? I guess except when you're bluffing...

I'd say the Bellagio was probably the softest of the three games, but the $200 min/max buy-in is very limiting. I like the $200-500 buy-in structure of the Mirage. The no-cap at the Wynn is nice, but when half the table is sitting on $1000 or more, it does get a bit unnerving. I'm still just a baby NL player, thankyouverymuch. $500 is plenty.

Maybe one of these days I'll work my way up to the 10/20 NL level. I think that's a good goal to have. I don't need to ever become a world-class NL player, but I'd like to become proficient enough to hold my own in most games/situations.

Anways, I did say every session was profitable "until last night." What happened last night? I got together with a buddy and decided to donk it up at Aladdin's 3/6 game. Wow 3/6 is boring. At first I was trying to play reasonably, but it's 3 freakin' 6! Not only that, but most of the hands were three or four ways at most. That is most definitely not how 3/6 should be. Soon enough I was straddling every time I was UTG, was was raising and reraising every time I got 24o and in time the table was a madhouse, with 6-9 players in preflop, often for two, three or more bets.

I of course dropped $235. Besides the straddling and occasional loose preflop raises, I wasn't playing that badly. Paying off a little too much, that's about it. No my problem was that I was actually running badly for the first time in a while. Every gutshot was hitting against me, every person who was dead to runner-runner was, well, runner-runnering me. I was seeing so many two and three outers come in, I thought I was on Party.

One hotshot sat down with his friend and began talking about odds and strategy and stuff (boo!), and then after getting sucked out on a few times (thanks to my livening up the table a bit) complaining about how "if this were NL, I would be able to push you guys out!" And saying stuff like, "That's 3/6 hold 'em for you, where you can't get the donkeys to fold. They just call raises with their Q3."

I was near him, so I calmly asked, "But don't you want that?"

"No, I want them folding that trash. The most solid player in the game raises UTG, it gets three-bet,"--hehe, that was me with my Q5s, btw--"and this guy calls with Q3 and wins?"

Muahahahaha!

After he finally left the game in disgust, he came to me and said, "Let me give you advice, you're hanging out here trying to win money from [certain fishy player], well, you might get his money but you also might go through $500 trying. He might win it all from you. It's all luck at a game like this."

To which I of course had to reply, "Thank you, I don't know how to play this game. I need your help."

His friend was a little more level-headed and told him that, "He knows what he's doing, you don't need to give him advice."

Hotshot's reply of course was, "He probably needs it!"

Young males' egos are quite amusing sometimes, especially at a poker table.

But it was fun. I played until 10am, which is way too late, so now my schedule is even more screwed up. But whatever! That's the beauty of not having a wage-slave job that I have to plan my entire life around.

Anyways, I really need a couple days off. Maybe I can use the time to finally unpack all these boxes still sitting in the middle of my living room.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

So the other night at the Mirage 40/80, it was getting late--pushing 4am--and I kind of one-eighth heard one of the other players talking to the dealer about something concerning wireless internet connections. I immediately thought nothing of it and forgot about it.

Then I heard the dealer ask, "Does anyone mind?" And I glance up to see that same player pulling out his laptop computer from a bag. Figuring he was just going to check email or whatever I grunted in reply which I hoped would be taken for "Why, not at all. Thank you for asking, fine sir," and once again I immediately forgot about it.

But then a few minutes later I glanced over at him during a hand and saw that his computer screen was facing the table. And on that computer screen was a sight that I knew very, very, very well.

He had open two tables on Party Poker. No fucking shit. Here he was playing a live 40/80 game and he was also multi-tabling at Party.

Talk about high comedy. I've joked with friends many times about doing just that--sitting down at a live poker table and in the long dead time between hands playing some online poker, but even I never had the cajones to actually try and do it.

But now I'm very tempted...

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

So today (er, yesterday, I guess...whatever, last night let's call it) was a good day. Er, night.

Let's try that again. Last night was a good night.

I slept in, waking up at nearly 5pm. I read some emails, did some web browsing, took a nice, long relaxing shower then finally headed out around 8:30.

I headed over to the Wynn to meet my friend who's in town with a couple buddies of his own. And for the first time in my life, I tried the Wynn buffet.

Wow. $30 is a lot to spend for a meal, but if I've ever felt like I got my $30 worth, it was last night. Everything was delicious, and I was stuffed--so stuffed I'm still full and it's 9 hours later. Note to dessert lovers: have the lemon tart. Lordy.

After the buffet, we headed downtown to check out the Freemont street experience. Did I mention it was my buddy's first time in Vegas? So we had to see everything we could.

Eventually, we decided to search for some $2 blackjack. Ten or twelve blackjack tables were lined up at the 4 Queens and we ask the pit boss, where's the $2 table? He looks at us, and somehow, with just barely a noticeable change in expression, manages to convey the message that we just asked a really stupidly obvious question. Why, out of the twelve or so quiet, half-to-three-quarters empty tables, it's the one that's full of loud, drunken hicks, with another line of people hooting along behind.

No $2 blackjack for us.

We checked out the "Freemont Street Experience," that is, the actual light/screen show, and as my buddy remarked, "Jingoism at its finest."

Well, what are we in the mood for now? Omaha.

Off to the Mirage.

Their 5/10 Omaha with a full kill is a good game, but there was only one seat. They did have a four-handed 40/80 hold 'em game going, though...

How could I resist?

I made it five-handed, but pretty quickly we were down to three-handed. We all agreed to play for at least 45 minutes more, but soon enough another player sat down, and then another, and finally we were six-handed. A couple of the players were decent, but thankfully a couple were amazingly horrific, and so that along with the pretty good run of cards I had let me finish up a dime.

And. And! I got a hassle-free food comp.

5am, time to head back home.

It was the perfect night. Everything I envisioned how my life would be when I came out to Vegas, well that's what happened. Friends visiting, eating a glorious and gluttonous meal in a posh setting, getting out and about a little bit, and finally spending the rest of the night playing cards and winning some money.

For one night at least, life couldn't get any better.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Just a brief post to reiterate why I don't like the Wynn very much at all.

I usually don't play there, but a friend's in town and he really wanted to check out the Wynn, so last night we headed up there. It was a Monday night and Mondays are usually either my off day or my low-limit-screw-around-with-a-different-game night, so rather than play their 40/80 game (oh wait, what 40 game??? My bad, they only have 15/30 now), I decided to try some low-limit NL. 2/5 NL, here I come.

So I'm playing and at least a dozen times after a big bet and a seemingly tough fold, I see the winner flash his cards to either the person right next to them or the person who folded if they're close enough. Not once are the cards shown to the rest of the table, in part because no one asked.

So I finally pick up a good hand, KK, reraise someone preflop and bet big on the raggedy flop. My opponent laid her hand down, saying she had AK. She was two to my right, so I flash her my KK and muck.

Before I knew what was happening, my KK was face up for all to see.

Me: "Woah, did anyone ask to see the hand?"

Dealer: "No, but it's the rules--show one show all."

Me: "But no one actually asked, did they?"

D: "No."

Me: "And you still just go and show it?"

D: "Yes, that's what I do"

I mention how people have been flashing their cards to others all night and not one has been shown, yadda, yadda and eventually,

D: "All dealers are supposed to show any cards that have been shown to another player. Other's may not do it, but they should. It's the rule, and it's what I'll do every time."

Fine, fair enough.

Not five hands later:

Same dealer, same kind of hand--person A makes a big bet, and person B takes a while and folds. They were sitting next to each other and Person A proceeds to show Person B her cards, with Mr. Dealer person staring right at her, and mucks, saying "Oh, you won't show my cards will you?"

D, with a smile: "Of course not" as he pushes them into the muck and goes onto the next hand.

Needless to say, I was bit stunned. Usually I'll say something, but the fun-loving, juicy table had gotten a bit annoyed at our previous conversation about showing the hand and so rather than bring it all back up and break the mood, I let it slide.

Of course 15 minutes later, I've switched to my buddy's 8/16 table and the same exact dealer lets another player--clearly in the dealer's line of sight--show his cards to his neighbor and muck without flashing them.

At this point I figured he might have just been curious to see what I had that one hand and taken it upon himself. But whatever the reason, I found the entire episode quite annoying.

And to add insult to, er, insult, when I then go to request a comp, I find out that I have 25 hours of play logged, which sounds about right, but I've taken $44 worth of comps! No, in fact I haven't. I got one comp and because of their asinine rules, I was only able to use $12 of it (after waiting around for 30 mins after eating while they finally figured out how their comp system works).

Let's see, at the Bellagio I play for three or four hours at night, ask for a comp, and most of the time, voila, I get one! Occasionally the floor manager is cranky, but whatever. At the Wynn, I now have to play another 40 hours or so before I'll be able to get a comp. Hmm...where might I be playing in the future?

Yes, in reality I'll play wherever the best games are, but considering the Wynn can't keep anything above 15/30 going, that's not really an issue. No games + stupid comp system + at least one royally stupid dealer = Wynn sucks.

Monday, August 08, 2005

I've now been in Vegas a month and I have a confession to make. No, not about that night I had with five underage hookers, a bag of coke and a goat, but rather this:

I've become a lazy slob!

It's true, so true. I still "work" plenty, that's no problem. The problem is everything else. I've unpacked and set up my computer (of course) and I have my bed set up and kitchenware out...but that's it. Everything else is still sitting in boxes in the middle of my living room. My clothes are in a heap on the floor. Okay, two heaps--one clean and one dirty heap; the clothes pass from one, onto me, onto the other.

I didn't go to the gym at all for nearly three weeks. I've gotten a little exercise the past couple days and I plan on spending 20 mins or so on the treadmill right after I type this, but that's still nothing like the active stud I was just a little over a month ago.

I sleep until 3 or 4pm (although, admittedly, I don't go to sleep until 7am).

I eat, sleep, play poker and web surf. It hit me today: I'm 26, and I'm retired! Now all I need to do is find somewhere to play shuffleboard.

Poker has still be going great. Yesterday, I got sat at a dream table like none I've sat at in a long time. Bellagio 30/60. Six-handed. Loose passive beyond belief, thanks to three total doofuses who couldn't outplay a reasonable 4/8 player.

Example 1: UTG raises and Doofus1 calls UTG+1 with 23o. Flop: KT4r. UTG bets. Doofus1 calls. No pair, no draw, two undercards and he calls. Turn: 2. UTG bets. Doofus1 calls. River: 4. UTG checks. Doofus1 bets. UTG calls with his AQ, and the whole table baffles at Doofus1 as he shows his turned pair.

Example 2: Seven-handed now, a couple limpers, and I raise two off the button with AJo. Five see a JT9 two-tone flop. Checks to me, I bet, button raises, Doofus2 (the BB) cold calls, I call. The three of us see the turn: (JT9)J. Doofus2 checks, I bet, button hesitates and calls, Doofus2 calls. River: (JT9J)T. Doofus2 checks, I bet, button folds, Doofus2 now check-raises. Hmm...unless he's got quads I'm good, and he's such a doofus that he probably only has a T. I reraise. He thinks a bit, thinks a bit more and says almost as if he's doing me a favor, "I only call." I show my AJ for J's full, and he shakes his head and shows T9. I mean, c'mon, that's how a completely inexperienced 4/8 player plays!

Example 3: Doofus3 raises and the entire table besides me see the flop of QJ8 with two spades. Some random flop action, turn: (QJ8)9 not a spade. Super-tighty bets out from the SB into about fifty players. Doofus3 calls. River: (QJ98)2 not a spade. Super-tighty bets out again. Doofus3 calls, and shows his As6s, for the nut flush draw, but still only A-high. You know, I call down with A-high, probably even more often than I should, but wow.

Of course besides that AJ hand, I couldn't win anything. But what a pot it was, so I still finished up a little bit. Barely an hour after sitting down, all three doofuses left in pretty rapid succession to be replaced with fairly tight, fairly aggressive players with some semblance of brain activity, and so I was soon gone, as well.

So although poker's been going well, there really aren't many live hands of interest. In fact, none that I can really think of where I was in a tough spot or saw something particularly new.

I played some SnGs on Stars tonight and there were some interesting statistical oddities. At two different tables one right after the other I had two hands where I was the button and it folded around to me.

Hand 1: I have AK, SB has AA, BB has QQ. Yes, we all got all-in.

Hand 2 (remember this is like 20 seconds later at another table): I have QQ, SB has AK, BB has AA. Once again, we were all all-in.

Two different hands in rapid succession where the button/sb/bb all had AA, AK and QQ. Very interesting. And yes, I busted each time. Hand #1 QQ won with a JT98x board. Hand #2 the flop came 862 with no flush draws, and AK amazingly won when the turn and river came K, K.

All I know is that Stars must have started using Party's random number generator. Heh.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Okay, no real poker news other than to say I got demolished the other night so I've decided to finally take a couple days off (I'd played 50ish hours over the previous eight days to that point).

No, the point of this post is to say one thing: Maddox rules. I agree with everything he says. The ending is a bit weak, but the first half is priceless.

And, yes, I'm aware of the irony.

Monday, August 01, 2005

July has come and gone, and what a month it was.

It was especially hectic for me as I had to take care of moving from Austin, TX to Vegas in two parts. I was worried that maybe I wouldn't be able to play many hours of poker this month.

Hah.

I crammed a decent number of online hours into the first week of the month when I had my desktop still set up, and then continued to play consistently live in both Vegas and Phoenix to end up having my most profitable month to date--along with my busiest hours-wise.

Here's a list:

62.2
65.8
41.4
73.3
67.1
53.3
27.5

Here's another list:

40.5
8
20.5
8.2
28
44.6
76.5

The first list is the number of hours per month I've played online, starting with January. The second list is the number of live hours I played per month, also starting with January. Hmm...can you pinpoint the month I moved to Vegas?

Those numbers resulted with this list:

102.7
73.8
61.9
81.5
95.1
97.9
104

Which, of course, are my total hours played per month for the year. And the funny thing is, despite playing nearly three times as many hours live as well as running extremely well in those live games, I still won more money this month from online play than from live play (although the two numbers are very close). This 3X phenomenon has been pretty consistent throughout my (admittedly brief) poker career--for a given skill level, at least at the relatively low limits, online poker seems to be three times as profitable for me, per hour.

And it requires a smaller bankroll. With fewer transportation costs. And there's more game selection. And rakeback.

But...live...poker...is...so...much...more...fun. Argh.

I will admit to having limped to the finish line this month. After starting the month with my best week ever, I had solid, unremarkable results the rest of the way until the last few days when I took a hit online and suffered a break-even stretch live. This all led me to notice something...

Where have the games gone? The Party 15/30 and 20/40 games, in the few hours I've played this last week, have been rock gardens. The Bellagio has been nearly half empty even on Friday and Saturday nights. The Wynn couldn't even get a 40/80 game going Friday night!

It must be post-WSOP depression or something. I can imagine a lot of players dumping a lot of money on large buy-in tourneys and into side games, playing almost non-stop for weeks and now being simply unable to play more, partly for financial reasons and partly just from being burnt out. Whatever the reason, I hope the games pick up again soon, because I need to make a living, dammit!