Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Quads, Coolers, Sets, and Suck Outs

On day two of my quest to find the softest $1/$2 no limit tables on The Strip I stumbled into Harrah's after parking at Flamingo and walking through there and The Imperial Palace looking for action. I couldn't even find The Flamingo's room (which is never a good thing) and The IP only had $2/$4 limit going at around 11:15 am. When I got to Harrah's, there were two no limit tables going along with a morning no limit tourney. This looked great to me as players that busted from the tourney might sit in the cash game, hopefully on tilt, and ready to spew chips. This did not turn out to be the case but there were a couple of weaker tourists mixed in with the locals. It turns out that Harrah's has a bunch of promotions running to reward regular players and tourists alike. The first is what is deemed "the breakfast club." Play for three hours starting your session before noon and come back the next day (or take at least an hour off and then come back) and receive $30 in cash your next session (Sunday through Thursday.) Also, if a player accumulates 125 hours in a month in the room, that player will receive $599 in cash. Doing the math, that comes out to $30 x 5 x 4 = $600 + $599 = $1,199 per month guaranteed income for making Harrah's your official place of business. As a result, it attracts the local retirees who put their hours in to get their monthly stipend along with the hopes of either winning some money or hitting one of the high hands or bad beat.

In the first orbit I picked up 7s in the big blind and the flop came down with a pair of 7s. Holy Shit I flopped the stone cold nuts!! That never happens. I check and call the flop which gets us down to heads up, we both check the turn, and I bet $12 on the river which got called. I showed the quads expecting only to pick up the pot. The room does a really poor job of letting you know all the promotions that are going on. But when I saw the dealer call for the floor for confirmation of a high hand, I was like a school boy on a Christmas morning grinnin with anticipation of what Santa had brought me. In this case, Santa was the floor man and he brought me two greenie and five reds for my $75 bonus. I'll take it.

I thought this was the proverbial corner I was turning, especially when I picked up wired aces on a jack high board against a player I had bullied out of several pots in the first hour of play. I bet $12 and he check-raised me to $30. I insta-shoved hoping to look like a kid who has watched too much WPT final table action. He immediately called and when I turned over the rockets he did not flip his cards and I knew I was good. However, when the turn paired the board with the jack I knew he had sucked out and he then turned over his J9o. I had this guy right where I wanted him. I had set it up perfectly only to have fate take that pot away from me. If you've been following my trials and tribulations it seems like a reoccuring theme for me. In my heart of hearts I know that I have not played nearly enough hours of any form of poker since deciding to do this full time to see variance even out and get a true sense of what my win rate should be (from past experience, I know I am a winning player at low limit hold'em but no limit has yet to be determined.) Even so, all the red entries in my book make it disheartening to look at. I hate it when I get in the mind set that when all the chips go in and I am way ahead, I am still expecting to get sucked out on. I really need to have a good run so that I can see if works both ways.

The odds held in my favor when I flopped a set of 6s against a calling station. I limped in early position, got a bunch of callers, the button raised it to $12 and only I called. The board came down mono-chrome in clubs but my 6 was amongst them. Knowing full when that the odds of flopping a flush when holding two of that suit is 117.8 - 1 I bet out the size of the pot and got called. I wanted to charge the maximum should my opponent be holding the trump ace. The turn brought a great card for me in the Ace of Spades. Now if my opponent was holding a hand like AK with ace of clubs he would surely call any sized bet on the turn. I moved in for $110 and he insta-called me. I thought for a second maybe he had wired aces with the trump ace to boot. Instead he turned over his AJo with the nut flush draw. The river was kind to me for once I and double through him, getting me back to about even for the session.

I picked up wired aces again against a calling station who had been feeding the table. He was into his 3rd buy in of $200 at that point and he had a nice stack in front of him. I thought to myself this is it when He called my $12 bet from late position while he was in the big blind. We took the flop heads up and it was a great flop for me. All over the place, no flush draws, no straight draws, just pure chaos. I bet the size of the pot and he called. Sweet! At this point I am planning to make a pot sized bet on the turn and push on the river. The turn pairs the board and I bet out $30 (about 2/3 of the pot) and sir-calls-alot check-raises me for his entire stack of about $100. A red flag goes up in my mind when losing calling stations bet into me or in this case play back at me with a check-raise. Instantly A-7 flashed in my mind. I felt strongly about this for a couple of reasons: First, he was the type of player to call a raise with any ace. Second, he was the type of player to call down to the river with any medium sized pair. Third, he was the type of player that would only bet out with a strong hand. Fourth, when I asked for time from the dealer he sat back in his chair. I watched his breathing which appeared to be pretty normal. Many players will hold their breath in an attempt to appear calm when making a big bluff. He also looked away like he was uninterested in my decision. Now this could be viewed as a sign of weakness since if a player is not very interested in your decision if usually means he is very interested in what you are going to do. However, with everything mulling around inside my melon, I was about 99% certain I was holding the loser and I mucked it face up. I did this for a very important reason. I wanted the players to know that I was capable of making a big lay down, but in the back of my mind I also wanted them to remember this so that they might try a similar move in a later session and I will pick them off. I only did this because of my read on this particular player in this particular hand. The board was very mean to me today with it's pairing when I didn't want it to. That thought crept into the back of my mind that someone somewhere must really want me to go broke.

That thought was reinforced when it was limped around to me on the button I raised to $15 with wired ladies. I raised to $15 because there was already $10 in the pot and I didn't want to lay too low a price for someone to come in with a suited ace or king and out flop me. I only got called by a weak/tight player to my immediate left. Early a similar situation had come up where I raised a bunch of limpers from late position, only he called, and I made a $25 bet on the flop and got him to fold while I only held ace high. This time I had the goods as the flop came down ten high. He checked to me and I made a similar sized bet. I was hoping the guy would get fed up with me and either flat me or check raise. He had a small stack of about $65 in front of him and when he moved in I was hoping he had a hand like the aforementioned suited AT and I would have to fade a five outer twice to stack him. Instead he showed me a flopped set of 8s when I called the additional $35 and I could not find one of the two remaining queens to put my own bad beat on someone for once.

my alternate title for this entry was:
Bonus Grinding - Sounds Like A Job To Me

The reason I play poker is because I didn't want a 9 - 5. However, with my recent results I think it is in my best interest to play this room for a while, take the guaranteed money, hopefully grind out some additional wages, and maybe pick up a couple high hands or even the bad beat. I sound like the local retirees I described in the opening. What has my life become?

I'd like to give a quick shout to Tyler, the computer guru from North Cackalacky. Eat and drink well my friend as long as the boss is using the company credit card. I also think I have found a compratriot in a guy named Mike who recently moved out from Long Island and is grinding away a living playing no limit. I look forward to talking about hands with him in the future as well as getting together to hang out. I don't have many friends out here so hopefully this is a sign of good things to come on this front.

A note on the figures below: My total buy in out my pocket was $240 for the session. If I don't count the $75 bonus for the quads then I left the table with $130 ($205 - $75 = $130. $240 - $130 = $110) This leaves me down $110 on the session. If you add the bonus back in it comes to a loss of $35. I need some input here because I have mixed feelings on this. On one hand, I feel like that is extra money that did not come from the players at the table and should not be factored into my hourly rate. On the other hand, I am paying for that jackpot with each hand I win with the $1 jackpot drop. Therefore, all the players are paying for it and it's what attracts players to the room, which in turn attracts me to the room. So for now I figured it into my hourly figures since it is not house funded. I think that will be my cut off. If I win a house funded jackpot then I will not count it into my hourly rate since the players are not providing the funding for it. Any feedback from those of you that peruse my rantings would be much appreciated.

Hours Played This Session: 7.00
Gave: $35
$ Per Hour: -$5.00

Month to Date: -$208
Year to Date: -$331
Hourly Rate Year to Date: -$6.54
Total Hours Played Year to Date: 50.58
Sessions Played Year to Date:9
Win/Loss Record by Session: 3/6 33.33% win rate

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