Good Lord, I leave for Vegas tomorrow

Posted by in Poker

That just kinda hit me.

Good thing my luggage showed up last night from Reno. It was a little late, as my flight from Reno to DFW was late getting in and I barely made my flight to Austin myself – my luggage took a later flight apparently.

Had a great time in Tahoe. Very happy to be home though. Almost don’t want to leave again, but…it is Vegas.

Made the first casino trip to Harvey’s Lake Tahoe, a stop on the WSOP circuit this year. They have one NL game, a $500 max buy-in, with a $200 min buy-in. My poker budget this trip was $200. Hence the decision to play limit. John & I each bought a rack of whites ($100) and sat down at a $3/$6 table.

We chatted a bit with the guys at our end of the table, noting the fish-like tendencies of a player at the other end of the table, despite his rising stack. For the most part, the table was friendly, and loose. My notable pot came when our buddy to my right raised in late position saying “This is my favorite hand, I have to play it”. I was in the big blind with 7-5 off. I told him “Well, this is my favorite hand, so…I’ll call ya”. [Hush. That pot was huge already, they were all going to call his raise, and it is my favorite hand] $70 pot pre-flop. Flop was all low cards, one of which was a 5. I bet, get called of course. Turn comes a 7. River is a flush card, but I can’t fold at this point. I take down approx $140 pot.

I don’t keep it though. Played all night (morning?) leaving at sunrise broke. I ran into flopped boats twice and that dented me. In these loose games it’s hard to know if your two pair are good. The truth is, even if you have Aces in the hole, if the board is paired, you are most likely fucked. Of course you have outs…and depending upon how many people are along for the ride (and oh my are they often all along for the ride) sometimes you have to keep betting. Right?? Wrong?? The other crippling factor for me was that the game had gotten short-handed and John had suggested we bump it to $4/$8. While that was better for rake, it didn’t help my dwindling stack.

I missed playing NL. At one point during the night, I looked over my shoulder at the NL table, to see all those big stacks of red chips, and seriously considered hitting the ATM. But then I looked at the players…and thought better of it. I learned to love limit though. My hardest block so far as been to shut off the little things that have been ingrained in my brain from playing NL. Things like – “I have AJ. I didn’t hit the flop in any way. I should fold.” Hell no. In limit, Ace high is gooooodddd – bet it! Showdown at the river even – I win. The first time that happened I was stunned and amazed. But I’ll take easy chips. Limit is my friend. 🙂

So you play poker all night and sleep all day. Then what do you do? Get up and do it again, of course. This time at Harrah’s in Reno. Again $3/$6. I bought in for my last $100. And again, there was “guy who plays every pot” at the other end of the table (I’m thinking there is one of these at every table, yes?). The rare occasions he folded, I was dying to know what those cards were.

Reno was by far my best time in a casino. I won a pot with AJ bluffing all the way. There was a King and Queen out there, so I suppose it was a semi-bluff. Got the guy to my left to fold on the river, and as I was stacking my chips, he said to me, “I know you had a King. Right? Right?” I just smiled. I had Q8 in the big blind and hit trips on the turn. I was heads-up with John in the pot, and I really should have known better. I raised and he called…anyone else I wouldn’t have thought twice. Clearly I didn’t think twice here, but I should have. He had a Queen as well, and I was outkicked.

I was shortstacked again, down to about $14. I took a break. This game was beatable. My only losses had come to John! But I wasn’t on my game, wasn’t focused, wasn’t something. I didn’t want to, but I was seriously considering buying in for another rack, because I knew I could get it all back and more from this game. Of course I also knew I had to be disciplined. I had to stick to my shortstack and make it work.

John tried to give me $20 for the trip Queens pot. I refused. We went back and forth for a couple of minutes. “Take it, that way when you have the nuts you’ll be able to get the most from the pot.” Fine.

A few hands later I was in the big blind with 10-2. Flop was low, with a 2. No draws on board. I bet, get more callers than folders. (Hey. I have a pair and outs, plus a large pot that I know is going to get bigger. And, I will admit, perhaps a certain degree of tilt. However – give a girl some credit for knowing her table. And sometimes you just have a feeling.) Turn is a blank. River is a 2. I needed that $20. As I stacked my chips, I thought of some guys in LA and thanked Doyle. 🙂 [And yes, I paid John back]

That was my turning point for the night (morning?). While I didn’t have the night that the guy on my right did, hitting the nut straight and flush on his first two hands and doubling up right then, I steadily built up my stack. Rarely did I have to showdown my cards. My Aces held up. My Jacks did too, when I flopped a set with them and was heads-up with the new guy at the table, a young guy who kept check-raising me. [Who the hell did he think he was????] Everyone at the table was disappointed when he folded at the river, given the action that there had been. John asked me “What did you put him on?” I replied “I didn’t. I just knew I flopped the nuts and…” Yea. April needs to work on that. I tend to forget that the best hand at the flop can change oh-so-quickly. There was a flush draw out there, but still…I would have had to call a bet on the river.

It was a fun table. At one point John suggested we make it a kill game. Everyone agrees. I tell him “You are so negative EV”. The dealers were great, the people were great. My card protector is a UT magnet, which is about card sized itself, which annoyed some of the dealers, but…I don’t really care. I don’t like much dealers that do the whole “the gentleman folds, the lady calls” bit – I’m no lady. 🙂 There was one who called me Texas. I liked him. At one point after I had taken down another large pot, one of the dealers asked, “What exactly did you study at the University of Texas?”. My favorite dealer was Bill, who stayed up with us all morning. Poor Bill. We drove him a little crazy, but he was cool enough to put up with it. At one point John told the table we all needed to give Bill a chip for putting up with us. I gave him $5 when I racked up. Guy at our table hit a royal, we had people who were litterally playing for the first time ever (I tried hard not to drool over the sight of their chips) and we had railbirds watching us play and even offering their commentary and expertise. One guy with a wife who needed to really tone down the perfume and makeup at 7am told a guy at our table he couldn’t have fear in this game. While true, I wanted to tell him to grab a rack and sit down if he felt that way.

I went to rack up and grabbed two racks. Then found I needed another. And still had to carry some chips in my hand. It was a good night. Let’s hope it continues this weekend.

That experience made me ready for Vegas. Bring on the stay up all night in the casino thing. I was there till 7 am. I slept for an hour and then found myself back in the casino and was seriously telling myself I was capable of buying back in. Addicted? Me? Not at all! 😉 [I did not buy back in.]

The only other poker I played was at home, heads-up with John. And I only mention that because of one hand…

You see, he’s read all of your blogs because I’ve pointed him to them. John is a writer himself, I’m often pushed him to write about poker, but no dice. Not really into the whole blog thing. And he’s never respected the hammer. He did play the french hammer in one of the casinos earlier in the week and take a pot down with it, but we all know that doesn’t really count.

We’ve always loved playing each other heads-up. We played one game and I was winning easily, outplaying him hand after hand. He wasn’t agressive enough, he wasn’t bluffing enough, etc. I told him these things. I need to shut up. 🙂 He won that game.

Second game, he was shortstacked again. He goes all-in for 800. Having plenty of chips and A8, I call. “Show ’em”. Reluctantly, he turns over…the hammer. I am shocked and amazed. And then I get pissed. Flop is 7 2 9. Turn and river don’t even matter.

Me: “That’s not supposed to happen for you. You have never respected that hand”.

I am assured it will get the proper respect it deserves this weekend in Vegas, so be forwarned. Like you aren’t on the lookout already. 🙂

See y’all tomorrow.