Thursday, August 04, 2005

Vegas Rounders

I've played a lot online poker this week in addition to hitting up several casinos here in Las Vegas.

Noble Poker has their $1 Million Challenge for the entire month of August. If you win 7 SNGs in a row, then they'll pay you $1 Million. They also offer consolation prizes for 6 in a row and 5 in a row. To date I've played 15 SNGs and only won three and they were not in a row. Actually I won two out of my last three. I've made the money in 6 of them and bubbled out of two. I also have four 5th place finishes. The juice is $2 a shot, but it's worth it if you consider you are paying a small fee for the opportunity to win a cool million.

Grubby has been playing those a lot too and we discussed some strategy. For the most part, Noble Poker is not a huge site. That means the players at those special SNGs are usually the same group of players. Take good notes on them. It will pay off down the line. Keep track of those who have been winning too. We've noticed that the quality of players at Noble Poker, specifically those at the $10 SNGs trying to win $1 Million, are flat out horrible. I expected to see a high percentage of solid players. I'm not complaining. I'll play against players who don't normally play SNGs and like to push all in preflop with any ace. I've been spending my morning writing for a few hours then logging onto Noble Poker to play in those SNGs. My personal record is 3 SNG wins in a row (and that was at the $30). I've cashed in 5 in a row and 8 out of 10 once... so I'm chasing a difficult task here. But shit, for $1 Million it's worth it.

If you do not have a Noble Poker account, you should get one today. Their generous 100% sign up bonus up to $700 is worth it. Add to the mix the $1 Million Challenge, and that's a great reason why I'm spending most of my online time playing there.

I sweated Joanne in a slew of MTTs on Party Poker. I have been hanging out at the PLO tables on Party Poker. Man, I'm really enjoying Pot Limit Omaha. I've been winning too, which makes the learning experience slightly more fun. Playing Omaha Hi/Lo is like hanging out a church function, while playing PLO is like hanging out at a trendy nightclub. I won a monster pot on the button when I flopped top two pair with a gutshot straight draw. On the turn I picked up a flush draw and ended up rivering my gutshot. Like I said, it's all about redraws in that game.

Casino Hopping

On Monday, I spent a lot of time at Mandalay Bay. I usually play in their $4/8 game with a 1/2 Kill, but instead I sat in their NL game. There were two hands in particular that I want to discuss, both in $1/2 NL ring games.
Hand #1: I had KK at the cutoff and with three limpers in the pot, I raised $20. I got three callers. The flop was 5-4-2 rainbow. Asian lady with two towers of $5 chips in the BB checks, young gun underbets the pot, and I reraise to $120 or roughly the pot. The Asian lady check-raised me and moved all in. She had me covered. The young gun put on an act for like five minutes and folded. In the mean time, that let me think about her hand. Would she play A-3s and flop the Wheel? Not likely. She's a tight player. How about A-A? My guess was that she would have reraised me preflop and possibly moved all in. That left the possibility that she flopped a set. Would she call a raise with pocket 2s, 4s, or 5s? I had to put on a set. If they young gun made that move on me, I would have called in a second. I blurted out, "You wouldn't play A-3o. How about A-3 suited?" No reaction. I flipped over my K-K and said, "Will you show me your set of fives?" She said, "No fives," and showed pocket fours. Good read by me. Grubby suggested that I might not have been able to fold A-A in that situation. He was right. Howard Lederer said it best, "No Limit is about making big laydowns."

Hand #2: I found 10-10 in MP and raised. I got two callers, both players had limped in and called my raise. The flop: 10-J-Q rainbow. One guy, who's been playing loose ad betting out with second pair a lot, bet 1/2 the pot or roughly $30. The other player folded. I raised to $60, and he reraised me all in. I didn't have too much left and called. He flopped a straight with 8-9. I thought he might have A-K but wasn't thrilled with 8-9o. I probably should have folded there, but it was hard to get away from that hand against a player who I thought would push with top pair or even second pair. I hoped he just had two pair and made a bad read. I asked the dealer to pair the board to help bail me out. The river was a Queen of hearts and I was saved. If that guy played better poker during my time at the table with him, I might have folded. Sometimes your reputation at the table can lead to suckouts.
Now what would have happened if the players involved were different?

On Tuesday, Grubby and I headed to Terrible's for dinner. He loves the $4.99 half chicken dinner. I got the spicy chicken strips and a cheese quesadilla. We had a weird waiter and we think he was a special needs person. He kept saying, "Great!" after we'd say anything.

"I'll have an iced tea."


It was more weird than funny and it would have made an interesting Saturday Night Live sketch. Afterwards we headed to Tuscany since they just opened up their new poker room. There was only one table going, but they spread a $4/8 game for us. After we sat down we realized that everyone there was affiliated with Tuscany. The poker room manger was playing. Two dealers in their uniforms were playing. And two off duty dealers were also there. Finally a group of three tourists sat down and made the table even better casino workers and tourists.

I dropped $100 mostly on two river suckouts and a hand I should have folded. Grubby on the other hand won a big pot with A-A. He walked away up $100. He was also enamored by one of the poker dealers. She looked a lot like Claire Danes. "If she was a stripper, I'd get a lap dance from her," Grubby mentioned to me on our way out to the parking lot. The room is OK but it's a Smoking Room. I guess they are going to cater to locals who like to smoke. They offered up some freerolls this week but I dunno if I'll ever go back.

We still wanted to play cards so we drove over to Palms. I've only played there once before. Actually twice including a tournament. I signed up for the $4/8 with a 1/2 Kill. Grubby headed for the NL tables. While I was waiting for my seat, Grubby walked over to me. He had a sad look on his face. He lost his entire stack with A-A, when a guy with A-10s rivered a flush on him. He decided to leave. I was next on the list and stuck around.

I was seated at the back table with a few characters. There was Grumpy Old Man in Seat 9 who refused to chop the blinds if it was folded around. He drank Bailey's and Coffee like it was water. There was California Hipster with a sideways hat in Seat 5 slurping Red Bulls. There was the coked up chick in Seat 3. She looked like Catherine Zeta Jones and would sneak off to the bathroom every fifteen minutes for a bump. She'd miss half the hands during an orbit and it seemed like she was constantly posting her missed blinds. She would stumble out of the bathroom with a shit eating grin on her face and her swollen nose looked like she could audition for the role of Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer.

In the second orbit I found A-A. It was a kill pot and the rounds were $6/12. I got three callers preflop. I flopped an ace and turned quads! I won the medium sized pot and won a high hand jackpot for $117. I tipped the dealer $25 and he seemed thrilled. Later on another girl at my table won with Quad 10s. I also missed an open-ended straight flush draw with Jc-10c. I had so many outs that I chased all the way to the river and missed everything.

Minh Ly wandered through the poker room. He was talking to a dealer at the adjacent table. He spotted me and we shook hands. It felt good that someone of his level of play remembered talking to me on previous occasions. Sad to say that the majority of people on the room had no idea one of the best players in the world was standing there talking to me. He kept saying that he was waiting for Mike Matusow to play him to that $1 Million heas up freezeout. Matusow talked shit and Minh Ly called him on it.

I was sitting at a real juicy table with the hipster doing multiple rebuys and the old man on tilt. I eventually left after the cokehead chick pissed away two racks worth of chips. Just another night at Palms, eh? By the way, Palms has some of the hottest cocktail waitresses in Las Vegas. I fell in love with one Romanian chick with flowing blonde hair. I kept ordering beers just so she's tap me on the shoulder to hand it to me. Maybe it's the fishnet stocking and latex mini skirts? I'm a sucker for blondes.

Alas, I've learned the hard way that blondes are -EV for me.

On Wednesday, Grubby and I headed over to Palms for dinner. I have a routine now. I wake up around Noon and write for a few hours. I play a few SNGs on Noble Poker, then write some until it's time to meet Grubby for dinner. Then it's off to casinos to play poker.

Grubby had passes to a preview of the new Wes Craven film callled Red Eye. We caught that and decided to play some more poker at the Palms. He wanted revenge and I wanted to see my hot Romanian waitress. Red Eye was pretty good. Grubby liked it better than Star Wars 3. Before the flick we got comped for the Palms buffet. It's better than average and I liked the penne in garlic butter and the pesto chicken.

We wandered over to the poker room and I was seated at a fun $4/8 with a half kill table. I sat next to this hilarious 60+ Jewish woman originally from NYC. She cussed like a sailor. She had tiny statues of Buddha that she'd use as her card cappers. When she lost a big pot, she's switch statues. I dropped about $35 in three hours. Derek called from Atlantic City. He was playing at the Taj and was about to head over to the Borgata. Grubby's table was broken up and we decided to bail.

We headed back to the Redneck Riviera and we fired up Party Poker and played an SNG. It was good to see how he'd play a specific hand as compared to how I'd play. We took 3rd and ran into AA on a steal.

Time for a Noble Poker SNG.

****** ******

You should be reading... Helixx and Felicia Lee.

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