Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Guest Blogger...a local's point of view...Welcome P-Back.

I returned to Harrah's this weekend and sat down at a juicy table and got felted after two and a half hours...fraking embarassing. One good thing is I ran into one of the young regulars that I used to play with and against...used to think he was a lunchbox...not really...he wanted to give you a little of his perspective and I told him to write me something, thinking he was messing with me...he did. Enjoy...

Return to the poker life/ Harrah’s New Orleans Gripes It had been awhile since I last sat down. Lots of changes in my life have come since. A baby arrived, a real job, and also having to cater to the needs of a fiancĂ©e who is still in college. It had been exactly 11 months since my last “session”. What I consider a real session of poker would consist of a minimum of 6 hours of uninterrupted poker. As we all know, with these added responsibilities, my poker life had been put on the back burner. Being a New Orleans native my whole life, Harrah’s has always been the home track. So when I walk in to Harrah’s on March 7th, 2009 it was sure to be an exciting return to the world I was so accustomed to. But Harrah’s, arguably the most profitable business in NOLA, had to make some changes. The first sign that I had returned to my home for so many years was the beautiful sound of the word “cocktails” flowing out of the mouth of our lovely waitress. So I ask for the usual, a tall double crown and coke. She informs me that due to the current state of the economy, Harrah’s will not allow her to serve me a double. In a stunned silence I finally muster the courage to just order a single. If Harrah’s cannot afford to offer drinks to their players, doesn’t that take away from the “house advantage”. Think about every poor decision you have made in a casino. How many of those were NOT alcohol influenced? Back to our girl. Now I understand that people may call me an asshole for the following exchange I had with her, but it is what it is. She kind of brought it upon herself. After I have had around 6 of these “single” crown and mostly cokes, she must have realized I was only tipping her every other drink. She notifies me that she will be leaving and this is her last round and kind of stands there for a second. So I turn to her and say, “well with the current state of the economy, I can only tip you every other drink.” I don’t think it went over well, but it got quite a few laughs from the guys near me. Harrah’s is ridiculous. I feel bad for their waitresses who work off of tips because they give them no wiggle room to hook you up. That’s how they make their money. Not anymore. On to poker. I kind of prepared myself for a session full of getting a feel back for the game(1-2 NLHE). My expectations weren’t set very high. I had a couple of goals in mind for the night. 1- Play a patient game- Premium hands only so I could cut down on tough decisions and not risk a lot of $. 2- Pick my spots well- Recognize which players I could profit from most. 3- Pay attention- Pick up on everything that used to come natural. Betting/Raising patterns, tells, % of hands each player was involved in. All of which are crucial to playing winning poker. Needless to say, I felt much like a kid playing his first session of no-limit. Nervous, timid, and somewhat scared to stick my foot into the water. Kind of embarrassing. The first hand I choose to get involved with is my kryptonite (J10s). Older fella raises to $17 preflop and with 1 caller to me and the button in front, I opt to call. This guy had been playing a ton of hands and 75% of them that he played were a raise and take situation. Not many people had stood up to him. This was evidenced by the $1400 he had sitting in front of him. Flop comes down Jc8s7h. He leads out with a $25 bet which prompts the other player to fold. Well, I decide to just flat it, keep the pot small and see if he is going to fire again. Turn card is 2s. Picking up 8 more outs here makes me feel comfortable raising if bet into. He shoots $50 into the pot of approximately $105. I have only $145 more so I ship it. I can’t recall the last time I had that feeling. Hand shaking towards the betting line with a handful of checks, heart pounding, and hoping to just take it down now. God do I miss this. He eventually folds showing 99. I drag in the pot and a little confidence. By the end of the night, I had opened the game up. Raising suited connectors in position, calling raises with any 2 cards knowing I could steal at some point. I did happen to get caught in a pot drawing out at a nut flush/gut shot draw for a little over $100. All in all I leave my first session after 8 hours up a shade over $300. Not bad for a night where I cost myself at least $200 more. 2nd session I return on Tuesday after working early that morning. I arrived around 3pm. The room was surprisingly full. I sit down and immediately flop set over set against the big stack. This guy played with a reckless abandon that I hadn’t seen since the Biloxi days. He was the type that if you bet, he pushed in. It just so happened I didn’t have to wait that long for my double up. Sitting on $600 after about the first hour was nice. I was knocking back single shots of crown at an alarming rate and I know I’ll be here awhile with the old lady at the Britney Spears concert. I knew it was just a matter of time until I loosened things up a bit. Enter the douche bag. This guy was 6’2 275-300lbs, approximately 23 years old. Announces his presence at the table prior to sitting. No bull shit. Proceeds to inform everyone that he is an internet player and that he only knows 2 things, raise and fold. Super was the first word that popped into my head. This is gonna be fun. First hand, he calls the $12 raise. A weak continuation bet of $10 is shot into the pot of $38 and insta-raised to $35 by our internet soldier. Takes down the first pot. Very next hand, he raises preflop to $22 and takes it down. At this time we are switching dealers. The new dealer sits in and asks everyone how they were doing. This douche bag announces that once he doubles up twice through that guy(pointing at me) he will be doing better. LOL!! Can’t wait! Another interesting thing he was doing is whenever I took down a pot, he would ask me for a count and rebuy for ½ my stack. Nearly an hour and a half in and after telling all 3 dealers the same thing about doubling through me I had had it. Our little internet tough guy raises to $22 and gets 3 calls around to me on the button with 67o. I decide its time. 5 way pot with a flop of A Q 3. It checks around to me. First thing that hits me, is that this guy isn’t the type to check an AK or AJ in this spot. Too aggressive. Hasn’t missed a bet yet. So I decide to see where I stand with the other 3 players. I fire $45 dollars as to which our tough guys looks down and decides to raise to $135. I am sitting at nearly $900 after my bet and he is around $550. Quick folds around to me and my first thought was to fold and not to get too deep. WRONG!! “Go with your instinct”, I told myself. “He doesn’t have an A and you know it.” I put him on JJ or 1010 just trying to steal from me. So I re-raised to $285 total and waited. He goes to moaning and telling me I have 2 pair and I am lucky and how he can’t wait till I miss a flop and folds eventually. I gladly turn over my 67o and show him the goods. He freaks out and calls me a sicko and wonders how I can make that play. “Because I know you have 1010 or JJ” to which he then says he had 1010. Not too much went wrong on this night. My reads were pretty strong and I played well. End up leaving after 8 hours up $975. Strong work for the second night back. 3rd /4th sessions back I returned Harrah’s Friday night and immediately picked up where I left off. I was sitting on a gold mine of a table. No familiar faces, all young guys and all here for different bachelors parties. You don’t find games any softer than this. All drunk 21-25 year olds with money to spend getting drunk and carrying an ego problem. Not to mention not much in the way of live NLHE poker experience. This one guy from Staten Island was obnoxious. If he didn’t say the word fuck or a derivative or it 500 times, he didn’t say it once. From a poker standpoint there really wasn’t much to this night except for wading through all of the bull shit and bluffs. I have never in my life, besides at a 3-6 limit game, seen more gutshots hit while people were banging the pot. I witnessed my biggest pet peeve about these jackasses who chase this shit is that when they finally hit it, they don’t bet! Chase a 4 outer and hit it and then are too scared/stupid to bet it. Were you really taking less than 2 to 1 odds to hit this and then sit on your hands when you get there? I really guess I should be thankful they don’t bet because I would’ve lost a lot of $ early. My night was cut a bit short because a family emergency and I end up with 5 hours logged and another $509 to the good. Saturday night saw the same stable of players. Mostly the same crew but a little more intoxicated than the night prior. I sat with $300 instead of the normal $200 because I was very familiar with the game and felt good about making big money. I run into my first barn door when I run my 2 black Aces into a flop of all hearts with 6, you read right, 6 players for $25 preflop. Jh6h3h and I lead out a feeler bet of $40. To my surprise, I only get 1 caller and he isn’t part of the stable crew. Actually, he was a pretty solid player. On the turn was a Kc. In my mind I was looking to check raise at this point depending on the strength of his bet. His bet turned out to be a bit stronger than I hoped at $60. At this point I was confused as to what he could’ve been holding. I tanked for about a minute and a half and decided to call. The river was a 2c putting a board of Jh6h3hKc2c which didn’t seem too bad. I decided to check and let him dictate the action hoping one of two things. 1- I put him on Ah Jx meaning top with flush draw on the flop and hoping he would take another stab at the pot thinking he was good or… 2- He had 2 pair with KJ or a small flush Well bet he does with $50. Here is my dilemma, either way I feel I have to call. Couple reasons. 1- $50 into a pot of nearly $400 with an overpair that has what I felt as a 20% chance of being good is plenty enough odds. 2- He is an unknown and I would just like to see how he played this hand for future considerations I make the call and this guy had 4d5d for the straight. I was totally confused. Did he really think I had shit? Had I raised preflop and then led into the pot with 5 donkeys waiting behind me? Was he really expecting to take the pot down on the turn for $60 into $280? Doesn’t matter. After that hand I had to rebuy and was now in for $500. I switch tables/stables after a couple of those guys leave and “rocks” sit down, whom I am all to familiar with. I find a table that looks a little weak besides one young Indian guy I have played with 2 of the last 3 days. He is all kinds of tight and in my opinion, overthinks himself way too often. First day I sat down with him he folded 88 preflop for $12 and told me he didn’t want to be in a coinflip. OK? It’s a flip for the first $12 and then you decide your fate after the flop, right? Wouldn’t you want to see a flop of A85 and have a chance to stack another $300? I would. I think that’s what makes me dangerous. I’ll play any 2 cards at any time in any position. DECEPTION. You never know what I’m holding. Back to the action. About 5 hands into this new table I have noticed that every pot has been raised preflop. Not the normal $15-22 raise, the chicken shit “I have nothing” $5-10 raises. Well this guy in early position, who looks as if he has no business at a poker table, raises to $12. He looks like he belongs in the middle of a mosh pit at a Limp Bizkit concert. Well I look down at QQ. I repop it to $26. As he is completing the bet I point out to a guy on my right that his hand is trembling. I know this guy has AA and tell this guy that I am about to stack him if I hit a queen. Flop comes out Q103. He checks to me and I know he is going to check-raise. I lead out $30 and he makes it $90 and I jam it in there. He insta-calls and proudly fires over 2 Aces. Really? I didn’t know you had those? I show my QQ and the dealer(Maria) shows me an Ace on the turn. Done and Done. I am shipping another $250 on top of the $90 he already has committed. Great game! Knowing where you are the whole way and having your nuts kicked in on the turn. I wonder what thoughts if any went through this guys head? Any rational and decent poker player in his spot should know that the 1 hand that he still has beat with that flop is KK. Would I reraise twice with JJ, 1010, 99 or AQ? Wouldn’t you think you were beat and save the other $250? Or even give it a second to settle in? Na! Insta-call. Steaming, I proceed to rebuy for the last $200 that I am willing to donate with the way the night is going. I dump off about another $30 in a rage with shit like 3d6d, 94o, A4. I go take a walk and regroup determined to play my game and get this back. Well I get into a pot with Mr. 2 outer when he raised to $17 and I had 77. 4 handed flop comes down AA4 and we check it around and the turn was a J. Fred Durst himself checks and I bet out $20 bucks and both fold. Before he mucks his cards he shows them to the guy next to him and under his breath says, “it’s ok, he only took $17 off of me when I took $400 off of him with the same hand”. He is lucky, lucky that I didn’t get up and kick the shit out of him. Punk bitch! I can’t wait for the next time I sit down with him. I think Keith was his name. He’s got red hair and a long goatee. Also, he has those earrings that stretch your earlobe to the point where you can put your fingers through it. If any of you sit with this assclown just watch his hands tremble and hope to flop him. He will give it all to you. I sit for the next couple hours grinding my ass off. No real big pots, just a bunch of $25-60 pots. I make one move on our Indian friend who is ever the thinker. I raise out of desperation to represent a hand with A9o in the cutoff. He flats out of the BB. Flop is A75 rainbow. He checks over to me and I bet $25 and he min raises to $50. I know if he didn’t flop a set or is holding AK that he is going to fold. So I push in my last $185 on top and he quickly folds face up AQ. WOW!! This guy either respects my game too much or doesn’t have a spine. Either way when I look back at it, this was the key hand of the night. Up to around $550 and an old friend arrives. Big Ray comes and graces the table with his presence and instantly tightens the table. I dunno if it is because they are scared that if they take his money that he will follow them outside and literally crush them or what. But, he has that effect. I immediately open my game up. Playing all sorts of madness. One of the key hands is 4c5c. I have a great record with this hand, probably around the range of 76-0 with it. I call a raised pot with 5 players to me. Nearly $75 in the pot preflop. I am in position and board falls Qs9c4h and we check it around. Turn another 4 with a rainbow on board. Bet of $45 into me and I flat it. River is a 2 and the guys lays another $100 to me. Am I beat? I think not. He was not the original raiser, and not the type of guy that would check a set into 5 others. I call and he says he missed. I guess J10? Or maybe KJ. Who cares. Here’s a story about the legendary 4c5c. My buddy B and I went out to Vegas in Dec 05. We were there for nearly 2 weeks. First night there I get hit in the face with the deck. I couldn’t miss. I pull $3500 out of a 2-5 game at the Rio. The rest of this trip was basically about proving a point. I wanted to break a table so bad. Just sit down and take every dollar off of it. B and myself go to the Mirage and sit in a 2-5 and for the most part, stay out of each others way. Well I bought in for $500 and was sitting on nearly 2K when I looked down at what else but 4c5c. I was on the button and action to me was a raise to $35 and B going all in for $120+. I am not folding my hand and this other guy, who I didn’t think was going to repop it but I knew he was going to call had nearly 1,500 in front of him. So I call and the flop is Kh 3c 2c. I remember it like it happened last night. This guy bets out $300 and I push. He tanks for awhile and calls with KQ. Nice call sir! What are you still doing with this hand? My buddy B starts cheering for an Ace because he has AQ. I look over at him and say, “B, you don’t want an Ace man.” The turn was the Ace and he turns his hand over and says, “what do you mean I don’t want an Ace?” I show him the 45 and he goes crazy. “Mike blah, how do you call $125 preflop with 45 blah?” I didn’t have an answer and probably never will. It is my hand and I don’t know if I can ever fold it preflop. I’m a sicko I guess. That trip was great. I made over $6k in just cash games. I got more hours of massage than I did of sleep and stayed in one on the nicest suites I could ever imagined. The best part, it was FREE! Saturday’s session ended with me leaving the table with $1350, extremely happy with a profit of $650 on the night. For the 4 sessions since I returned I am up a total of nearly $2500. Much better start than I could've expected considering the fact I was on a limited bankroll and still a bit rusty. Hope things keep up!


Thanks P-Back...

You all stay nice as rice and mello as jello!