Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Arizona trip report - Part 7 of 8

Arizona Trip Report - Day 7

Chris, Viv and I woke up just in time to shower, dress and check out of the Harrah's hotel. It wasn't the best place I ever stayed, but it wasn't the worst and the price (FREE) couldn't be beat. Rather than going back to Wild Horse Pass, we headed over to Casino Arizona, which is where the best action in the state was. I wanted to play in the $3-$6 O/8 game, which is my achilles heel but I love the game so much! Alas, there wasn't a seat available at the moment so I put my name on the list and sat at an open seat at the $1-$2 table ($2-$250 spread limit hold'em). My second hand at the table, I get 68 in late position. There's a few limps and I come along and the flop is A57. OESD on the flop. There a bet of $10 and 4 people call. I call and the turn is the 3. It checks all around. River is the 4. It checks to the first bettor, who bets $20. One guy calls. Now, I pop it to $60. I have the stone nuts with the straight to the 8 but the board is perfect for me. Any 2 or 6 makes a lower straight and I'm hoping at least one of the mooks who're in the pot has one. Maybe both. If I'm really lucky, one of them will shove! It gets back to the initial bettor who, inexplicably, folds. I'm guessing he had a high Ace since he led out the betting on the flop, or two pair that he wisely gave up. The other caller tanks for a few seconds and then makes a crying call saying, "If you've got 6-8, you've got me". I show him the nuts and he turns over 67. Ouch. But at least he played it disciplined. A lot of weaker players would shove with the second nuts!

I got called for my Omaha table after a few minutes and played there for nearly 3 hours, breaking even, before Chris tapped me on the shoulder. She had to go to the airport to take a bus to Tucson to visit her friend (the real reason she was in Arizona). I had the only car, ergo, I had to drive. Viv graciously picked up from her $2-$5 table too to give me company on the way back. We drove Chris to the airport, a 20 minute drive from the casino, said our goodbyes, and headed straight back. I felt bad for Viv because she came along to keep me company and I ended up on the phone with Ali the whole ride back! Sorry Viv... :-(

Coming back to the casino, I was ready to, FINALLY, crack out for a very long session for the first time in the trip. I parked myself at a $1-$2 table and stayed there for the rest of the night. The table was pretty actioney with a lot of movement of chips around. I didn't get too much traction, losing half of my first $160 buyin in an hour and the rest of the stack when I flopped a pair and a flush draw on a low board and pushed into an overpair which held up. I rebought for another $160 and managed to double up in the next hour with a flopped set of Queens holding up against a flush draw. I was sitting at about even for the session when Viv, who was being brutalized at the $2-$5 table, came to swim with the guppies. I was sitting in the 10 seat and Viv in the 6 seat when I got KK. It limped to me in the SB and I raised to $15, a slightly more than standard raise at the table, getting two callers. The flop was TT5. I was frozen. Most people at this point would bet out to see where they stand, but my feeling is that this hand is vulnerable to a big bluff raise. If I bet out, representing an overpair or a big Ace, and then someone comes over the top of me for half my stack, I'm going to have to make a stone read on the guy to be able to win the pot. A Ten in someone's hand is easily within the range of hands that would call my $15 PF raise, and there were 2 people to worry about! I checked, the second seat checked and the last caller, who was a young kid giving off an 'I'm aggressive' vibe, bet out $65, just over the pot size. It got to me and I mucked my Kings. It hurt to do, believe me, but I was $15 invested and I didn't want to be the idiot who put his stack at risk over $15. It works both ways, I guess. Either I'm the idiot who gives up KK to a bluff, or I'm the idiot who gets married to his overpair against a dangerous board that's been bet out. The second caller, who could have also been slowplaying trips by the way, also mucked. It was a good bluff (he confirmed it was to Viv who was sitting next to him). Viv told me later that she would have "raised to see where you're at", which is her answer to all of the thorny poker problems, coincidentally! (Jus' kidding Viv!). I'm proud of myself for being able to get of overpairs so easily these days. Yes, it sometimes costs me money, but it probably saves me more in the long run. Who has an opinion on this?

I got bet off of that hand and just before Viv sat down, I got bet off of a hand by a woman in the 3 seat. I had 45 on the button and the woman had raised to $6 PF, getting a few callers. I came in and the flop was raggedy. 247. The woman c-bet by holding out her hand and dropping a redbird on the felt. A second later, she dropped another one, not because she was string betting but because the chip had gotten stuck to her hand. Never the less, I thought I could use this to my advantage and immediately called out "string bet". Before the dealer could respond she came out with, "That wasn't a string bet, the chip was stuck." It stuck in my craw that she would make her own ruling and I was pissed that the dealer didn't say a word. I thought I might be good here, but I hadn't seen her play any hands and she had the table outchipped with $750 in front of her. She was an older woman, maybe 55, and those types of players in my experience are rocks. I don't know how she got her stack, but I thought it might have been through an early double up of a big hand. But I really didn't know. So rather than get involved with middle pair on a board I wasn't likely to improve on, I let it go. She half-smiled at me and mucked her cards. I think she thought she was either a) getting away with something or b) happy she won the little verbal argument about the string bet. I vowed to get even with her. I would take her big stack from her if it was the last thing I did.

An hour later, with Viv now at the table, I was dealt 57 in late position. The woman raised to $12 and there were 2 callers. I came along hoping to crack her. The flop was something like K28. I had a flush draw, but nothing else. The woman c-bet again, $25. It folded to me and I called again. The turn brought 3 and this time she checked. I checked behind, intending to bet the river if it was a good scare card. In hindsight, I should have bet the turn, but I thought it would look fishy betting a naked 3. Instead, the A hit the river, completing the flush draw. She checked one more time and I fired out $40. She shuffled her cards (always a good sign of weakness) and mucked. When I tabled the 57, I didn't even look at her, but Viv told me that she gave a grimace and a scowl. Tilt had been achieved! GAME ON!

From that point onward, for the next 2 hours, the woman spewed out half her stack. Viv was the recipient of a large chunk of that. The woman had raised PF to about $11 or so and Viv and a few others came in. The flop was 559 and it checked to the woman who bet out $22. Turn was an Ace. Viv, in first position, checked and the woman bet out around $35. Viv check raised to about $90. The woman hesitated, but called. The river was another 5. With a board of 5559A, Viv put out a bet of $125. The woman hesitated again, tanking for a good 30 seconds before finally making the call. I tapped the table to give Viv props. I knew what she had. The woman had AQ and Viv had 85 for quads. The funny thing was that the river 5 doesn't change anything for the woman. If Viv had the 5, she was drawing dead to an Ace, so why the hesitation on the river, unless you're just figuring out where you stand. Whoops. :-p Viv and I picked up at 4:10a, with the woman's stack at less than half it had been at it's peak. I cashed out +$75, but Viv had run the table for a good score. It was a good night.

Incidentally, since Casino Arizona is *the* place to play in the stats of Arizona, it happens that poker players sometimes bump into each other here, even when they're from other states. Chris, that afternoon, ran into a guy she knew from New York whose wife was in town for a conference. And Viv's friend, who was in Vegas with her, told her that there was someone he knew at the casino that we should hook up with! Poker is a small world indeed.

More to come...


HighOnPoker said...

About the KK hand on the TTx board, I think you need to provide a bit more information. Everything you've mentioned encourages a check-raise or a much simpler bet on the flop. If he is a kid with an aggressive appearance, he's probably going to take a lot of swipes at pots. His oversized bet also suggests he is trying to push out his opponents. So, I think the laydown there is a bit weak.

As to your concern of a bluff raise, how often does that really happen? I don't think most players at the 1/2 stakes are capable of straight-up bluff raises.

Finally, I think you either need to spend more time reading your players in this particular hand, assuming that you did not leave anything out of your writeup. If you were not sure if his overbet was for value or a bluff, a keen eye should have given you some hints as to which way to break.

Ultimately, though, a bad fold is a lot better than a bad call.

Jamie said...

No doubt, the KK laydown was badly played. The kid definitely looked like he was making a move. I felt he was and then couldn't pull the trigger. I'm a pussy. It also didn't help that I had another person behind me to act (a solid TAG player); that definitely gave me more pause. I find this to be a leak in all of my games, be they poker, backgammon, investing, etc... I am too risk averse. I prefer a 70%-75% advantage to press my bets vs. a 60% advantage, which is probably the sweet spot for making money. This is why I laugh so hard at non-poker folks who think I'm "gambling". I'm soooo not gambling.

Chris Faustina said...

Watch Johnny Chan lay down his Aces against Huck Seed who flopped a strong 6JJ with his pocket 6s. Everyone checks to the end, before Huck can get his chips in the pot to squeeze out some sort of value bet, Chan's cards hit the muck.

It is a sign of a seasoned player to not get married to those premium pairs, when you play enough you will see them come and go and the times they make money for you will over-compensate for the times you play them well and limit your losses.

LHE taught me this after losing too many pots (hell they never win lhe unless you make a straight or full house--lmao)

I say GJ and agree you'll benefit in the end.