Tuesday, May 20, 2008

I Hate the Sunset Station Game - Moving Onto Bigger and Better Things - Days 7 & 8

I think the title says it all, but let me rehash just in case you forget the different structure at Sunset compared to the traditional structures at Green Valley Ranch as well as Red Rock (all Station Casino properties mind you.) Sunset's game is a $4/$8 limit hold'em game with a 1/2 kill for a winner of two pots in a row. OK, so far so good. However, their opening blind structure is $1 for the small blind and $2 for the big blind. In essence, it turns the game into a $2/$4 for the preflop betting round. plus, the 1/2 kill blind posted is only $3 instead of $6. This structure makes for tough time preflop isolating players, since pretty much every player at Sunset is a calling station. However, I have had much greater success playing at GVR (my first session out here) and at Red Rock (where I played today which I will get to shortly.) to sum up the type of player that frequent's Sunset, I got into a an argument with a lady who was on the button and complained the the UTG player was raising too much. she mucked her hand as did I and then she states to no one in particular that "I had suited connectors. how are we supposed to win the bad beat jackpot if we can't see flops?" a little background info is required here. Station Casino properties have a property wide bad beat jackpot which as of today is over $233,000. the qualifying hands at the time of this lady's rant were quad 6's or better beaten. I guess she was expecting to flop a straight flush and have someone either make a higher one or have someone go runner, runner to quads with a pocket pair. in any event, since she made the comment to the table and I was sitting at the table, I piped up and told her that the raiser can do whatever he likes with his hand. he earned his money and he is allowed to play his cards however he sees fit. In defense of the raiser (also a calling station when he wasn't getting beaten silly by the deck,) he had picked up pocket AA for the third time in the one hour he had been at the table. I turned to the lady who was pissing and moaning and went on to tell her that she is free to ask the floor for a table change since no one was requiring her to play in this game and furthermore that if she wanted to hit a jackpot she should go play a slot machine. That damn bad beat jackpot rake costs me a dollar per pot. if I win 60 raked pots a week, that is $60 in profit being taken away from my bottom line or about a tank and a third of gas. It pisses me off even more to know that donkeys like that have been sitting at my tables all week at Sunset and I still couldn't get back in the black and start building my bankroll. What a week. Anyway, I got stuck really early in this session and it looked like I was going to piss away another rack like the day before, but I managed to flop an open ended straight with 24o and a flop of 3-5-j with two clubs and a family pot. of course i'm up front so I check it and luckily for me the guy to my left bets it and the table calls around to me just like well trained calling stations do. I know I'm up against a club draw somewhere but with 6 outs to the second nut I close the betting getting about a million to one on my call. the turn brings my gin card, the 6 diamonds which makes a rainbow so luckily no backdoor flush draws to contend with but still the clubs. so I bet out because if I don't with my luck it will get checked around and I will have given a free card to beat me. I get called in a million spots like normal (luckily this portion of the game play's like a traditional $4/$8 so the donkeys are now paying me off at an acceptable rate.) the river brought a non club J and I was in the money. again I bet and got called by most the players and won a handsome pot. when I left to pick up wifey I was only in the red $22. It felt like a win and I commented to wifey later that night that I think I've turned the corner or bounced off the bottom so to speak and was psyched to get back in the action tomorrow.

Today is tomorrow so we pick up the story with me driving my car in the direction of Sunset. But I get to thinking about how much I despise the structure of the game and decide I want to play at Red Rock. Being a Station property my time there will be added to the hours I've already accumulated at Sunset and GVR so I pull over, go to my favorites on my Garmin GPS and find Red Rock. 15 seconds later my directions are mapped out and I'm on my way. the trip took about 25 minutes which is not bad at all since I am used to the hour commute from my home town in Jersey to A.C. It actually reminded me a lot of the rides I used to make to A.C. in that I had ample time to reiterate to myself what topics I wanted to focus on today. each night before I go to bed I read and study. right now I am rehashing Gary Carson's "The Complete Book of Hold'em Poker" and I am also studying the lectures of Mike Caro found on his website, Mike Caro's University of Poker, Gaming, & Life (www.poker1.com.)
Here are some of the notes I scribbled down and took with me so that I could peek at them periodically while playing to remind myself to stay focused:

1. pay attention to tendencies of players after the flop.
2. keep counting the pot to determine pot odds. compare odds to how opponents are playing, especially when there is a showdown and the cards have been revealed.
3. watch how opponents breath during critical portions of hands.
4. watch hands when someone bets, look for something unnatural or out of the ordinary
5. look for acting jobs.
6. look for opportunities to change seats to get position on certain players or change games if more than one game is going and the other game appears to be more appealing.

OK, so you can start to sense that I am serious about this poker stuff. and it's a good thing because I had a great table today full of different types of players that really tested my abilities for the first time in about a week (the GVR game was about the same as today's.) I started off by folding all of my hands for the first orbit. It's amazing how much one orbit can tell you about the players. so on the second orbit I pick up QQ in middle position and a kid in the 2 hole raised. he had raised a couple pots in the first orbit and I got the sense he didn't fully understand hand values. I reraised to isolate but the calling station in the big blind decided her hand was worth two more bets. World Poker Tour kid smoothe called me and we had three to the flop where I spiked top set (nice!!) the kid checked to me and I bet out, asian calling station lady calls me, and WPT kid comes along as well. a K comes on the turn and again it is checked to me. I bet out and the calling station calls, and surpising the kid folds (must have been JJ or or something to that effect that he was holding.) a blank comes on the river and I fire one last time and, you guessed it, the calling station called. she proudly turns over her pair of kings with a 7 kicker with no match of suits and I shrug and show her my three prom dates and she looked surprised. I guess she is used to drawing out on players that 3 bet her preflop??? so, the rest of the time she was there I would look to isolate her in middle position after she had limped in and it was folded around to me. If I had a medium strength hand I would raise. I had a very tight/aggressive style that was getting too much respect at the table so I figured I would take advantage of it. I raised preflop sometime before this hand and got no callers so I decided to show my two Kings. I figured I would exploit the ultra solid image that the cards were giving me so that I could steal later which I did on a couple occasions where I would raise from middle position, miss the flop, and paint would come on the turn and I would fire again and take it down. I'm a much better player with this image than when I pick up a lot of playable hands early, lose with them, and look like a loose/aggressive player. I have not managed to make that table image work for me yet. Going into the second hour I was up about $60 and got two of the more aggressive players at the table to give me $40 each from their stacks. On one hand, I had AJs and the flop came down A-A-6. I played it fast hoping that my opponent who had been raising every flop bet would go ahead and play back at me. he did and I reraised hoping he had a weak A. he called and I bet the turn when I Q fell and again he called. a blank fell on the river and I checked it to him because he looked like he was itching to bet and I started to get the sinking feeling he might have a bigger A (after all he was aware of my tight/aggressive table image.) I also thought he was capable of bluffing when I showed weakness. He fired, I called, and he said "you got me." that I did, and a nice pot as well. the last significant hand came when a young gun who had been raising his button about 50% of the time when it was limped around to him raised in just such a spot. Only I was one of the limpers with KQo. there were two callers in front of me and I had been raising quite a few pots so I decided to change gears and just call to see what developed. everyone called the raise and we went 4 to the flop which came King high. it was checked around to me and I rapped the table as well knowing full well the young gun would fire (probably with nothing but position) and I would check raise him and whoever else decided to call his bet. only one player called and then I raised. to my surprise he re-raised and the guy between us dumped his hand. I thought about it for a moment and then decided to smoothe call. now I wasn't sure if I was best. Maybe he had raised for value with a small pair and hit a set. An Ace fell on the turn which I didn't like too much and the young gun surprised me again by taking a free card. the river was harmless and I checked again. I figured either the A beat me, he outflopped me, or I was ahead and I was going to induce a bluff out of him. He was a pretty smart player though and knew that my check raise on the flop was not just air. He checked behind me and said I missed. I showed him the KQ and took down a healthy pot. Evidently he had picked up a flush draw on the flop and had raised with suited connectors. I gotta say, I liked his style. he was unpredictable and aggressive. I would have never three bet with a flush draw on the flop though I might have raised with suited connectors now and then on the button. He disguised his draw so well that I would not have been able to put him on it should it have hit. The free card he took on the turn in retrospect was the key peice of info I misinterpretted. Here's to you young gun, you taught me something knew today and I am greatly appreciative.

Here are the figures for the past two days. Let's hope things are on the up and up:

(5/19 - Sunset Station)
Hours Played this session: 3.75
Gave: $22
$ Per Hour: -$5.87

Month to Date: -$138
Year to Date: -$138
Hourly Rate Year to Date: -$4.76
Total Bankroll: $479

(5/20 - Red Rock)
Hours Played This Session: 2
Take: $121
$ Per Hour: $60.50

Month to Date: -$17
Year to Date: -$17
Hourly Rate Year to Date: -$0.55
Total Bankroll: $600

1 comment:

chuckthetuns said...

Two words for you. No Limit. That is, of course, after you grind your way up to at least a G playing the low limit game. I'm assuming you are playing against a lot of senior citizens....distract the old ladies by flexing your muscles every now and then while wearing a two sizes too small Neil Diamond tshirt. Distract the old men by passing around your camera phone with naughty pics of Becca on it.