Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Vegas...Day 4, Getting the last bit of play in before leaving

Historically, the last day in Vegas has been a nightmare for me. If I am up, I usually give it back. If I am down, I dig the hole a little deeper. I figured I was in the groove playing the ring games so I was confident that the last day wasn't going to kill me. Especially with the Mirage right across the street.

At roughly 10, I entered the poker room looking to play 6/12. There was one game going and they had a list of about 6 people waiting. I was told they would open a table soon and it shouldn't be that long. Yeah right! I waited an hour as they took their sweet time opening the damn table. Seems they did not want to lose the list for the current table. After the hour I was finally called for the existing table. That wasn't bad as I had the chance to watch it for a bit to gauge how everyone was playing. What I should have done was hop in a 3/6 game to kill time as well. Instead I hung around, read Poker Player magazine and shot the shit with one of the dealers.

A dealer had been sent to open up the NL game. He was sitting there waiting as the supervisor called names off. No one was showing up. At the same time, they were opening an Omaha game in the corner. The dealer was telling me what a crappy game that was. Not the game itself but the people at the table. The same old bunch of farts day after day. He was pointing them out. How the two crusty looking guys never bet unless they have a hand. And if you suck out on them, they will bitch and moan. He showed me one guy who takes his chips home with him. I watched as he pulled them out of a knapsack. He talked about how the codgers make a big deal out of a kill pot. There are rarely kill pots as no one is going to play one hand after another. I pointed out the one young guy in the group and asked if he had no clue what he was getting into. The dealer just laughed and said the kid wouldn't last long and would leave because of boredom. He then told me about the tourney they had at the Mirage for the WPT event a couple of months back. As he was, some people finally showed up at his table to start the NL game. Another thing I noticed was they were trying to open a couple of other tables but no one was showing up. Well, if you opened the 6/12 table earlier....

I finally get the call just after 11. I sit down and size up what I have seen already. I am in seat 1. The 9 & 10 seats are two black gentlemen, one is an oversized puffy ski jacket and another in an blue shirt. They are both playing tighter than tight. There is a wrinkly old lady next to them who is playing loose. The 7 seat kept changing a bit. There was another older lady in the 6 seat who had these huge glasses on. Next to her was brown shirt from Birmingham, a young somewhat tight player. Over one more was Mercedes, a guy who had his Mercedes key on the table. Over one was knit cap with a pair of sunlasses, a younger player who wasn't bad. Next was Michigan, a loooooooose player who couldn't quite understand why he won only once in a while. Finally, the 2 seat was a big guy from Nevada who would come into Vegas from roughly an hour away to play poker now and then.

The table overall was playing on the tight side. I had seen only 1 player leave during my wait and no one seemed to be very short stacked to be leaving soon. I won a couple of small pots early playing face cards from the blinds. I would flop top pair and bet it just to see everyone fold. That was how this table would go. If it folded around to the blinds, it would be chopped. If someone had raised, there was a good chance it would be folded preflop and the blinds were the raisors. I was willing to chop but if someone raised my blind, I was going to defend it. I also knew enough to stay out of a hand if the brothers were playing. It was rare they were in a hand. Even rarer for them to call a raise preflop even if they had tried to limp.

Not many exciting pots early on. It was a miracle if the pot got over $50. I was enjoying watching Michigan's chips come out of the racks and get distributed around the table. Same for the Wrinkly lady. Knit cap and Birmingham took some bad beats. A newer guy had plunked in to the 7 seat and hit them both hard when his AJ sucked out the river on them. I myself loosened up my play to take advantage of the tight table. Whereas I might call with A 10, I was now raising with it. I did this a couple of times and hit top pair on the flop. Of course, my flop bet would cause everyone to fold.

I used it to my advantage. If the table is tight I will run it. I have already shown down some good hands and I realized I had some table cred. It worked when I would bet second pair out and people would fold. My favorite was from the guy who had sucked out with the A J. I bluffed a flush on the turn (I had high pair with the draw). He stared at me and mucked saying I probably had it. Nice.

I did have a tough beat though. Birmingham raised in mid position to 12. There were 4 players to see a flop. I called to see the flop in the big blind with 4 6. Flop came 4 5 5. Two pair, not bad. Let me see who might have the 5. I bet. Michigan calls as does Birmingham. Hmm. Turn is a 4. I now have the full house. Does someone have the 5? I bet again. Michigan calls, but Birmingham folds. I don't think he has the 5 or he would have raised. River is a 7. I like that card as it may give someone the straight. I bet and Michigan raises. I just call because I don't have the nuts. He turns over K 5 suited. He called a raise preflop with K 5 suited and wonders why he doesn't win often? Birmingham mentioned he folded Q Q.

At about this time, the big guy on my left had left and a middle aged guy sat down. I pulled off a brilliant play against him with me knowing it until I did it. I was in the big blind again with A 5. UTG he raised to 12. There was only one other player in so I called. Flop came A 4 8. Not the best of flops as I would have preferred two pair because of my kicker. I checked and he bet again. The other guy folded. Did he have an A as well? Hmmm.... Turn is a 3. A bit better as now I have top pair and a straight draw. He bets again. I take a drink of my beer (slight side story, I had started drinking when I had sat down. There was a garbage can right behind me that the waitresses kept dumping my empties into. I didn't notice this right away but did when I left and saw 7 in there. Me, drink that much?) and go into the tank. I am feeling good with the suds sloshing around in me. I take my hands and cover my face and let out a big sigh. I truly don't know what to do. I feel he has an ace but I am outkicked. But I do have the straight draw. It is only 12 to call. What to do, what to do? Then it hits me. I grab my chips and raise! This seemed like the best decision. Why fold if I can hit the straight? My aces may be good still. Calling wasn't an option. By raising, I know if he re-raises, I am in trouble. He just called. Now I know he won't bet if he doens' t have an A because I will raise him back. River is a rag. I check and he shows pocket 10s. I take down one of the bigger pots that the table has had since I put my butt in the chair.

A hillbilly sits down in the 9 seat when puffy jacket left. He was interesting as he was looking for action. He would raise with any two face or an ace. At first he didn't show down too many hands, but when he did, he was exposed. I was able to trap him on one play. I had 10 J and just limped. I called his raise when it came around. Flop came K 9 8. I checked so he could continue to bet. Turn was a 7. I now have my straight made. I checked again, something I rarely do in limit. He bet it out and I called. On the river came a Q. Uh oh. Now I could lose to an A. I checked as did he. He showed two pair, K &Qs. My straight was good afterall. I wish I had raised on the river still.

I even had fun talking with the same dealers. On the hand I played from the blinds on the hillbilly and won I declared "I call that a bargain, the best I ever had". She looks at me and says "Isn't that a song?". Yep, name the artist. She guessed but I had to give it to her. Using my clever wit I asked if she was sure she didn't know WHO it was. When she left she joked that now she would have that song stuck in her head. Could be worse music in your head than the Who.

Before I knew it, it was 3:00. I had to go get my bags and head for the airport. I cashed in up $119. Broke the last day curse! It was sad too. I know I could have stayed and made more at that table. But I had to leave. Curse the real world!!!

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