A Birthday Win
Well, I’m back in Arizona. Some readers seem confused about where I actually live. I live outside of Kingman, which is in the extreme northwest of Arizona. I am only about 90 miles southeast of Vegas and 25 miles east of Laughlin, Nevada. Phoenix is farther for me than Vegas, about four hours southeast.
So now that I’ve given my geography lesson for the year, I’ll write about playing yesterday in Laughlin.
We decided to celebrate my birthday yesterday, on November 10th, since my real birthday (Halloween) had been spent on airplanes, in deserted airports and sleeping the day away once we actually got to Connecticut.
We had planned to go out to dinner, but then I got an e-mail from Dan, the poker room manager at the River Palms, about an A-5 Lowball Draw game going on. It was only 3/6, but I had a feeling Dan was trying to tell me to get to the cardroom, it was “that” juicy.
The best restaurants around here are in Laughlin anyway, so I figured we’d run by the Palms, play some Lowball, play the NLHE tourney, then get the grub.
Sure enough, it was a good game. Players calling raises, then drawing three, stuff like that. Naturally I couldn’t get anything going on, I kept pairing up my perfect draws (A345 drew a trey). Glenn did well, though, and we had a fun time. One guy from Gardena said he hadn’t played Lowball in 20 years. He was tickled pink that someone was spreading it. . Ditto for Razz, they have been spreading it about twice per week, and it seems to take hold and keep going for 12+ hours at a stretch.
I got a tournament table filled with Marines celebrating the birth date of Marine-dom. They were so nervous, young or not. I’m not sure if there was a party going on at the Palms or what, but they were out in droves. Arafat died while we were playing the tournament, and many of them seemed glad about that.
I tried to remember that this was a $25 tourney, not $1500. I kept reminding myself to remember to adjust, not to get fancy, but naturally I made some errors along the way.
Bluffing was definitely out. I bet my gutshot graw when it was checked around to me, and got four callers, even though I bet the pot, lol.
I went all-in five times in fifteen minutes. I think that is a record for me. I lost all five, and in every instance save one, I was leading. Hee, I’d forgotten about monkey poker.
My first all-in was when I limped in on the button with 97s during the first level. About seven players saw every flop at this table, so I was getting a pretty good price. Two nines flopped as well as one of my suit. It was checked to me, and I bet the pot. I got three callers, I believe. I was all-in by the river, but only got one caller, a guy on my right who limped in with 94o and turned a full house. Rebuy!
Just a couple of hands later, I had kings. Trying to dissuade the battalion of limpers, I went all-in, to be called by the guy in the cut off, on my left, who had pocket fives. Yep, a five flopped. Rebuy!
A few hands later I had A9s. After paying the blinds, I only had about 300 in chips left, with blinds of 50/100. I went all-in when I flopped a nine (second pair) and the nut flush draw. A guy with Q9o stayed with me, along with two other loose-passive players. The flush never got there, but the queen on the river killed my nines. Good thing rebuys are only $10, lol. When asked if I was just going to keep rebuying all night, I laughed and said something about Daniel making 27 rebuys this year at the series, and about 500 rebuys down in Costa Rica. I don’t think anyone knew who Negreanu is, but they were all shocked that someone could afford so many rebuys.
Okay, I was a dog with one all-in. Pocket tens vs. pocket jacks. The guy with the jacks was the same guy who had the fives earlier. When he saw my hand, he said, “Okay, now it’s your turn to get lucky!” I replied that I wasn’t counting on an 8:1 to save my bacon, and started in on some poker talk, which I cut off when I realized that he had no idea what I was talking about. Rebuy!
Some time went by, without a playable hand (thank God, because I sure couldn’t win a pot). Towards the end of the rebuy period, the players started tightening up, due to the 150/300 blinds, and almost no starting chips (900, if the dealer’s add-on was taken). I was in the BB. Only the SB limped in. He was the guy with the 94o from earlier, so I knew he could have anything. I saw A6s and pushed, being that I had virtually no chips (not even double the BB, I don’t believe). He had A5o. I flopped two pair, but then the board paired jacks: A6JJx and we split the pot, lol.
Then things started to change. I was in the SB with KJo. I flopped nothing, ditto turn. Checked all around (they were passive, I can say that much for them). River king, I went all-in, called in one place by a guy with A5s who thought I was trying to buy it, I suppose.
In the BB, Q9s. Flopped top pair, all-in, called in three spots. One guy had a runner-runner flush draw. One guy had a straight draw, one guy had bottom pair. I love these guys. Queens held up. Suddenly I had some chips. Then I started steam rolling the Marines. Boom, boom, boom, my hands began holding up. The break came and I still took the add-on, although the value wasn’t there for my chip count. I needed the ammunition against such calling stations.
I had forgotten just how badly tournaments are run in small cardrooms. At one point, our table was down to six players while the other had nine. I was bellowing to get us a player. Fortunately, the other table lost a player during that hand, so it wasn’t quite so horrible in the end. Some of the dealers acted like they had lost their minds since I’d been away. In one hand, the UTG player raised the BB from 600 to 700. Um, okay. And the funny thing is, the dealer allowed this. I’m sitting there about to act, and refuse to act until the guy takes away his 100 (he never said raise, he just pushed out 700). It took the dealer about 30 seconds to get the look of realization on his face that a player cannot raise a 600 blind to 700, lol. In the meantime, a player in between us had “called” the 700. I told him he could take back his 100.
Our tables combined shortly thereafter, when the blinds were 500/1000. I had about 15000 at this point, I believe.
Other players and dealers kept warning me about the Middle Eastern guy on the other table. How rude he was, how inconsiderate, how bossy. Oddly enough, I didn’t have any trouble with him at all. Of course, I have always had good relationships with Middle Eastern people. Sometimes the aware, more aggressive players simply have to take over decisions at the table. When you get a weak, passive dealer, combined with an absent or inexperienced floorman, you have no choice but to take over the control of the tournament. The Middle Eastern guy was simply trying to get things running well, more smoothly. I had heard he was rude to the dealers in situations where he was wrong, too, but when we were at the final table, he was right in every situation and felt the obligation to set the pace of the tournament. I certainly can’t fault him for that, having been in that situation.
Only the top three paid, but these players were eliminating themselves (unnecessarily) like hotcakes, anyway. We went from ten to four in like 20 minutes. Maybe because the blinds went to 1000/2000, people saw their situations as more desperate than they actually were. Maybe they were trying to double up or get out of dodge. At any rate, I was glad to see them knocking themselves out with horrible starting hands over and over again. In one hand, a short stacked player CALLED an all-in with J3o, versus the first all-in’s pocket jacks. Huh? Oh, well, I can only smile.
I lost about 1/3 of my stack when a guy on the button went all-in as a steal with 76s. I went over the top with AKo, but he got a seven.
Due to the overwhelmingly bad play, I soon got my chips back, and more. I would take a hit, then get my chip lead back. This happened over and over again for about an hour.
When we were down to five, we were in a situation where the chip counts were pretty close. The Middle Eastern guy brought up a five-way chop, but another guy wanted to play it out. Only a few hands later, I eliminated player five, a guy directly to my left, who seemed to be a newbie. I was constantly stealing his blinds, and finally he got fed up and called me with K5o when I had K7s (I was the SB, he was the BB).
Then I lost another hand to the guy on my right, the guy who had the 76s on the button. He had gotten short again, and went all-in when he was the SB with ATo. I was the BB and it was very little for me to call him. I called blind, only to turn over 76s, like his previous hand against me. Naturally I didn’t get lucky, but he made the straight he didn’t even need, and survived.
After this hand, the Middle Eastern guy brought up a chop again, but I suggested doing a save of $200 apiece, and playing out the rest. All parties agreed, since I was the chip lead, and we played on.
I would never have brought up this deal if the blinds hadn’t been so huge. They had just gone up to 2500/5000, so I knew that a couple of beats, and I could be out, and out of the money! I figured $200 in my pocket was better than a $90 loss, lol.
I had one opportunity to eliminate both remaining players when we were down to three, but I passed. I definitely would have called one all-in with KJo while three handed, but I couldn’t call two. Instead, the Middle Eastern guy took out the guy to my right.
When we were head’s up, the Middle Eastern guy wanted to chop the remaining money with me, but I insisted upon playing it out. I felt that I was definitely the better player, plus I wanted to brush up on my HU play, since it had been a while and I needed the practice.
It didn’t take me long to get the advantage. Pot after pot, I either bullied him into folding, or won the pot. He was making some really strange moves. Like one time I put him all-in with AKs and he CALLED with 82s (???). He got a deuce and doubled through. Another time I had J2o and the flop came with JJx. I checked, trying to induce him to bluff, and he bet about 15k. I check-raised all-in, leaving him with only about 15k, but he folded! That only left him with about six hands! Jeez, why did he bluff so much on that hand??? I had forgotten just how bad these new NLHE players are.
Not long afterwards, I took him out. I think I had KJo and he had some raggedy hand like J4o. He had no chips, so he finally just gave up. He kept making me progressively better offers with the additional prize money, but I held my ground and insisted on playing it out. He said he was tired and just wanted to go home. People hate playing me HU. I guess I make them uncomfortable.
So I couldn’t get anything going on at Foxwoods, but I came back and won a $25 Laughlin tournament, lol. What a coup. I guess I know where I’m comfortable.
We missed dinner altogether yesterday, so maybe we’ll go out tonight. Maybe the Palms will have some Razz or Lowball going on. Who knows…until the next flop, I’m Felicia, over and out…