Thursday, May 31, 2007

Memorial Day in AC

This was going to be my last long weekend in AC in a while, so I wanted it to be good. I’ve been neglecting a lot of personal things to play poker. Friends, family, my own health, exercise, reading…uh, everything actually.

Darko and I took off Friday from work to make this happen so we left after work on Thursday to stay at the Tropicana. Traffic was virtually nil, which was pleasantly surprising. We hit the Trop, checked into the West tower and immediately headed off to the poker room. I decided to ease into the weekend with a ‘harmless’ 4/8 limit game. How bad could it be, right? Well, 5 hours later, into the wee hours of the night, I was 3 buyins in and getting my ass kicked. I went stone cold card dead for 3 hours straight and got so frustrated by seeing people take down huge pots with trash, that I started chasing trash myself. J5o looks like a good hand when the donkey to your left just won $110 with it! But, of course, that only works for other people. I’m not as blessed. So my frustrations mounted and my stack dwindled and I was down $330 when all was said and done.

I went to sleep angry, a recurring theme of the weekend, and shook it off. I had played badly, I know, but at least I recognized that. When we woke up, we went to the Mall next to Casesar’s for some breakfast/lunch. We went to a really nice place called Sonsie, where I feasted on really good Cream Cheese stuffed French Toast. I paid for Darko with my Amex card and we hit the Caesars poker room. The play there was weak, but I couldn’t string together enough hands for a winning session. I had been down a whole buyin but got most of it back and managed to leave near even. The worst was when I got 77 in the small blind and got a raise and a big re-raise in front of me. The book tells me that I’m facing an overpair (I was) and I wisely decided to fold. I flashed Darko the 7’s and complained that I hadn’t hit a set in ‘weeks’. Sure enough, a 7 flops. Oh wait, I’m sorry. It was two sevens! And the re-raiser, who had Kings, moved all in! I would have made a monster pot. I got up in obvious frustration, stalked over to the other side of the room and let out a mini-scream.

Darko was getting updates from Wendy, who was on her way down by bus, and we decided to head over to the Taj to wait for Dimples and Vivian, who were also separately on their way down. At the Taj, I sat down at an incredibly weak 5/10 game. It was so weak, they stacked me for two buyins within 3 hours! This time, I didn’t play badly. I was just cursed with bad players not folding bad cards. An example; I have AhQh UTG and I open the pot with a raise to 10. Two people call, including the button who is a confused middle aged woman who clearly doesn’t know what she’s doing, yet has a big stack in front of her (my favorite kind of player). The flop comes K-J-rag. I have nothing but two overs, but I come out firing anyway. The first two players fold, and the button calls. She’s been calling with middle pairs for a while so I naturally put her on a Jack. Even if she had the King, which I think she would have raised with, I still have some outs on the turn. Bright as a Sunday Morning, the Ace hits on the turn. I lead out again and she calls again. The river is a 7. One more time, I fire out. Now, she raises!!! WTF? Was she slow playing a monster this whole time? I call the bet to find out and she flips over her cards to show a Jack. I turn over my Ace and wait for the dealer to push me the pot. Uh uh. The button points to her second card, a 7! Offsuit! She called a preflop raise, a bet on the flop with an overcard and then another bet on the turn with 2 overcards!!! Well slit my throat and call me Sally. The entire session was like that. Donkeys hitting inside straight draws going heads up, etc… Very frustrating.

Wendy eventually joined us at the Taj and we stayed until 5AM. Paul was up big, but the rest of us were even or down with myself as the big big loser (Capital L). In the morning, we decided to go to Sonsie again for breakfast, not least because I had left my Amex card there! After more wonderful French Toast, which I shared with Vivian, we went to Bally’s to play. Bally’s used to be the ‘smoking’ poker room. The only one on the strip that still allowed it, it got all the guys who only went there for the smoking. So if you could stand the toxic fumes (It was like playing in Chernobyl), you could make a lot of money from the action. Well, due to the AC smoking laws passed a few months ago, smoking is no longer allowed in Bally’s. The poker room is much nicer to play in now but the action is still loose. In fact, this was my only winning session. It was still frustrating though to see a beautiful girl sit down with $60, have hardly an idea what she was doing, run her $60 to $350 and then leave with a smile on her face like she beat the table. Oh that smirk! That money was coming back to us, I swear it. We played at Bally’s for a few hours and then decided to head back to the hotel (Fairfield Resort for Friday and Saturday nights) for a well deserved nap. Wendy stayed behind, of course, but the rest of us retired to our quarters. A few hours later, we were raring to go and we picked up Wendy on our way to the Borgata.

The Borgata was magical. I sat a ridiculously soft table with only one good player at it and I even managed to scrape together a good winning session. Or at least it was good until I gave all my profit back. I had been up $240 but had to leave the session up only $60. I watched donkey after donkey rebuy and reload only to watch their chips go to other less deserving players. We stayed at the Borgata until 5:30AM, again, and then drove Dimples home to his parents place at the south end of the strip. We were at the North end and when we finally pulled into the Valet, it was 6:30AM. Bleary eyed, Darko left the car for the Valet while Wendy and I tried to convince the front desk to give us a late checkout. It worked. When we got up in the morning, ready and primed for the famous Hellman family Sunday brunch, we jumped in the shower and packed to check out. I was ready first so I called for an elevator (there were numerous elevator problems at the Fairfield) and went to go pick up Darko’s car. John, still very tired since we only slept about 3.5 hours, reached into his pocket absentmindedly and pulled out his car keys. “Here, you’re going to need these”. I stared at the keys. Something was off but I couldn’t place it. Finally, I pieced it together in my hazy, woozy state. “John, didn’t you Valet the car last night?”. Sure enough, John had pulled in, hadn’t seen any valets on duty and then left the car in the driveway, taking the keys with him. We rushed downstairs, but of course the car had been towed. We were barely running on time for the brunch and it wasn’t boding well. Knowing the Hellman family, they were politely waiting for us, not eating. Our guilt overwhelemed us. Wendy and John pleaded with the front desk to get us our car, and quick. It turns out, luckily, that the car had only been towed two blocks away into a hotel lot, not a police impound. Wendy, instead of waiting for the manager to come and open the lot, rushed outside, found the car and proceeded to convince John that he could jump the flower bed in his 4X4 and drive us to the church on time! But logic prevailed (oh, and there were two cars blocking their way) and the manager came over and dutifuly let us out. But we still had to get to brunch. Darko peeled out, went north to Atlantic Avenue, turned left…and hit a wall of traffic. Bypassing that, we passed by a flower shop and screeched to a halt. Wendy and Vivian jumped out, but the shop was closed. Our plans to buy a make-up bouquet would be foiled (cue dissapointment music). But the shop’s door was open since they were loading a van for a delivery (presumably a wedding). Wendy strode in and demanded they sell her a bouquet, regardless of the fact that they were closed! Was there any doubt whose will was stronger? Wendy and Viv left with a bouquet and we were only 20 minutes late to brunch.

On a side note, Paul’s father was very grumpy from not having eaten, but was polite nonetheless. We are very thankful and grateful to the Hellman family for being so kind and generous. Plus, brunch was delicious.

After brunch, we decided to meet up with Abbie and Michael at the Showboat. They had come down for the day and were going to play in the 2PM tourney. Stephane had also arrived and was playing at the Hilton. I left her messages but we couldn’t hook up for the weekend. The tourney turned out to be awful for everyone. Out of 80 players, of which Wall Street Poker represented nearly 10% of the field, we only got one final table entrant (Vivian) and she bubbled. My only good hand was doubling through Darko, of all people, with AA vs. his KK. I was short stacked and all the money went in pre-flop. A King flopped and my heart sank, but an Ace turned to save me. I didn’t mean it Darko!

We played 1-2 NL at the Showboat until about 7, had dinner and hit the road to go home. Other than a monster rain storm, which Paulie drove through admirably, it was a nice ride home. Good times…Good times.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

New Florida cardroom rules!

From an article in -

"Mike Sexton is fond of saying "The price of poker is going up." Well in
Florida that may soon be true. A bill recently passed through Florida House
and Senate, raising the maximum betting limits in Florida. Unless Governor
Crist vetoes it, which is not anticipated, the new law will go into effect
on July 1, 2007.

While poker has been legal in Florida, the maximum betting limit had been
set at $2, with a maximum of three raises in any betting round. The pending
law has raised the betting limit to $5. The new law also allows no limit
Texas Hold'em, providing the required buy-in is no more than $100. A
provision for tournament poker is expressly defined, allowing buy-ins
(including rebuys) not Aussie Millions to exceed ten times what a
participant could potentially wager in one hand on non-tournament poker.

Legislators considered expanding cardroom hours to 24 a day, but the
operational hours were ultimately left at 12 hours per day. However, the
new law no longer specifies the hours of operation, originally set at noon
to midnight. It also allows pari-mutuel cardrooms to operate on any day;
previously pari-mutuel cardrooms could only operate when wagering was
opened for pari-mutuel events. Predictably, licensing fees for cardrooms
were also increased.

Whether intentional or not, the new law seems to have some wiggle room for
higher buy-in no limit games and tournaments. On the first reading of the
bill, one might assume that they'll be an explosion of $1/$2 no limit
Hold'em games being spread with a maximum buy-in of $100. But on subsequent
reads, the new law only specifies the limit of the "required" buy-in, or
the implied minimum buy-in amount, for a no limit game, not the maximum
limit. Since the tournament buy-in limit is expressly tied to the maximum
amount a player can wager on one hand in a no limit game, this too has some
wiggle room for substantially higher tournament buy-ins.

Florida cardrooms are currently assessing the new games they will spread
under the new legislation. On the limit side, it is expected there will be
a plethora of $2/$4 games, but $1-$5 spread games and $5/$5 limit games are
also likely. One cardroom is currently evaluating the introduction of a
$2.50 chip for a $2.50/$5 game, consistent with a limit offered at the
Tropicana in Atlantic City. On the no limit side, $1/$2 is expected to be
an immediate cardroom staple. How long will it be before cardrooms test the
wiggle room on no limit buy-ins? Time will tell. "

Friday, May 18, 2007

How bored was I last night?

During the cash game, I played 7c4s! For a raise no less! The flop came 5c 8c 3c. David bet out $12 and I pushed all in for $30 more! David squirmed but made the right call and asked if I wanted to do business. It's more like I talked him into into it. He showed 8h2c! Unbelievable that he played crap too but he was way ahead with his pair of 8's. We ran the turn and river three times....and I won all three by spiking a club each time! Holy Toledo Batman!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Implied odds at the Crackhouse

Haven't written a blog entry in a while...

I played in a 2 person tourney Monday night at the Crackhouse in Brooklyn. Though I did well early on, a couple of suckouts from other people cut into my chip stack enough so that I had no ammunition left by the time I reached the final table. When I finally did my patented all-in UTG move with Kd8d, I was called by the big blind with AA. I’m sure he wasn’t happy that I killed his action either, but so it goes. I busted out 8th in the tourney, outlasting some very fine players in the process.

During the game, in the second blind level, I made a nice pot against Ron, Karol’s brother by hitting my open ended straight draw on the river. He was mightily pissed about it too and I started to wonder if I played it correctly or it I had just gotten lucky. After doing some analysis on the hand, I think I *did* play it correctly though it might not have seemed so to Ron. Here’s what went down:

Blinds are 50/100 and starting stacks at the table are 3000. I have about 3500 in front of me. Ron raises UTG to 300 and I call in 5th position with J9o. I normally wouldn’t call this in middle/early position, but I read Ron as having two high cards and I thought I could crack him nicely. It’s risky though, because I would optimally want 1-2 other people to call to give me pot odds here and if they re-raise Ron, I have to fold. The table is semi-weak, though, and only one other player calls. The pot now contains 1050.

The flop is T82, rainbow. I flop an OESD with an overcard (my Jack). Ron leads out with 300. I am now certain he has AK or AQ. He’s scared the board didn’t connect with him, and two players are behind him, but he’s willing to make a continuation bet anyway. I consider a re-raise semi-bluff, but wimp out and call instead. The 3rd players folds. There is not 1650 in the pot. Here’s where things get interesting.

The turn is a K. Ron immediately bets 600. This confirms in my mind that his AK has now paired up. He’s confident he has the best hand. I now have to call 600 into a pot of 2250 to see the river. I have a 16% chance (approx.) to make my straight which is about 6-1, but the pot is only offering slightly less than 4-1. This would normally be a clear fold EXCEPT for implied odds. If I hit my straight, it would make me the nuts, or second nuts, and if I can get him to call another bet, I’ll have the money needed to make the initial call. How much more would he have to bet? 2-1 more on my 600 = 1200. I call, hoping his machismo will drive him to call my river bet, if I hit.

The river is a Q, making me the second nuts (nuts is AJ). He checks to me, further proof in my eyes he has AK. I bet out the 1200 and he hesitates but calls, showing down AK (yay, reading skills). I flip over the J9 and he steams.

I did play pot odds the whole way, though it was risky. A lot of things could have gone wrong, especially if he didn’t call the 1200 river bet. But tourneys are like that sometimes. You have to take risks to accumulate chips. That’s how it is at the Crackhouse!

In other interesting sightings…7c4c at my table called a preflop raise to go heads up! Furthermore, she flopped a flush draw and called huge bets to see her cards and suck out a flush on the turn against AA.