Tuesday, August 09, 2005
Surprise! Randy got off work early yesterday, and surprised me for lunch! Excellent :) After doing the burgers-and-dogs-on-the-grill thing, he wanted to go see a movie... but I had something else in mind. How about we go check out the poker room at Trump Indiana? I mean, I like movies and all, and there are a bunch that we still have to catch before they leave the theater, but... c'mon... let's go play some poker!
So, off we went. We got there around 6pm and wandered around a bit before heading up to the poker room. After climbing to the top level, where the poker room sits next to a nice little deli (cheesecake, anyone?), we saw a huge waiting list for the $3/6 limit game. Yikes. There was also a tournament starting up at 7pm, but the only room left in the tourney was for alternates. We put our name on the 3/6 list around 6:30pm and headed back downstairs for some video poker. There were 17 people on the list ahead of us, and we didn't call ahead (thinking it wouldn't be crazy on a Monday night). After losing some coin in the non-human poker machines, we headed back up to the poker room. We were gone all of 25 minutes, but discovered that we'd missed our names, and now there were another 8 people ahead of us. Apparently, most of the people on the list were waiting to get into the tournament, so when tournament seating began, the list cleared out. Damn it. So, we got on the list again at 6:55pm, and waited....
Randy got seated around 7:45pm, at table 1. I finally got called a little after 8pm for table 2. I took the open 4 seat, across from the dealer. Interesting. I've never been seated where I had a good view of the flop. Somehow, every time I've played live poker, I'm on either end of the table. Sweet!
I noted early on that my table was very passive. Lots of limpers, and lots of free cards. However, the check-call was very common, and most players would call down only to muck if they hadn't improved by the river. There were a couple of guys who knew how to play and pick up orphan pots, but even they were a bit passive. There was one guy who was aggressive but only with the monster hands preflop, so you always knew what he had when he raised, and he was like a bull in a china shop with those hands - betting and raising them all the way regardless of the texture of the board. I saw him buy in 5 different times with $40 each time. ($40 at a 3/6 game? Huh?) There were no real "rocks" at my table - nobody I didn't want to get into a pot with.
The table was $3/6 limit hold'em with a full kill. I must say - having played these kill tables twice now, I like 'em. I had a hunch that I liked them after playing at Potawatomi, but I thought it might have just been because I got lucky with them. I managed to win one nice kill pot last night, but it's easy to get away from sucker hands in those pots for me. So I think those pots offer me much more opportunity for reward than risk.
Question - do any of you bring little notepads to take notes in the casinos? I didn't... thought it might seem a little weird and I didn't want to discourage people from playing in pots with me. I'm curious if you guys do though - I wish I had better recollection of hands. I don't have that kind of photographic memory.
Anyhooo.... I only have a few hand stories, due to my faulty memory.
- First hand of the night. I have Q-10 suited in the big blind, and see a free flop of Q-9-9. I have no read yet on my table, and check to see what happens. (Yes, I need to work on this. I am not aggressive by nature, so it has been one of the hardest parts of my game to implement). It checks around. Turn comes an undercard. Aside from the gapped Q-9, there are no straight or flush draws on board, and nobody seemed to have a nine in the hole. I should have bet here, but I went into check-call mode purposely, for some reason feeling that my hand was not good. My brain said - "look, nobody is betting - your queen is good!" but my gut said, "you are doomed." I don't yet have the confidence in my poker gut to always act on it, so the alternative was check-call. A woman at the far end of the table bet the turn. She got a few callers, including me. The river was also a blank. It checked to her, she bet, the other limpers folded, and I called. She flipped over pocket 9's, for four of a kind off the flop. Yeah - "doomed" was an understatement.
- An orbit later: I won a small pot from early position, and was stacking my chips. I'm in the big blind again, and look down to see pocket rockets. Action was already on me, as I'd been stacking chips while action went around the table. Shit. I was completely taken off-guard, and I checked my option. The flop comes K-Q-J of diamonds. Well, hell. And I didn't have a diamond. So, I bet out after the small blind checked, hoping someone would raise me if I was beat. Two callers. Turn came a blank. SB checked to me, and I bet out. Two callers. River came another blank. I mistakenly acted out of turn (after the small blind had been checkity-check-check-checking) and bet out on the river. Last to act set his chips forward and mumbled, "two pair," while at the same time, the small blind spoke up to say that he hadn't had a chance to act. The dealer (who was of the kamikazee school of poker - she pushed the action so fast that she didn't even notice my misstep) was confused, and the SB tried to explain that he didn't act. She said, "It's $6 to you," and he repeated that he hadn't acted. I clarified by saying to her, "I acted out of turn." She decided to handle the situation by giving the SB the chance to act (he checked), my bet stood, and third to act had the chance to change his mind. He did, and mucked. The small blind mucked, and I mucked my aces, winning the pot. Now - if I heard correctly, third to act had attempted to call my bet and had two pair. If that was the case, I was beat. I overheard him telling his friend next to him after the hand that my quick bet out of turn on the river was a tell, because I was so anxious to get money into the pot, and that's how he knew he was beat. Good laydown, sir.
- A few hands later, I saw a cheap flop with pocket 3's. I hit my set on the flop and checked it on an uncoordinated board (with no face cards, even). I was afraid that nobody would have matched up with a board that messy, and would get no action. I have to remember that at these low limits, everybody calls anyway, and giving free cards is suicide. In this case, it worked out for me. The turn came a 6, and the nice gentleman to my right bet out. I called. The river was a blank, and he checked. I bet. He reluctantly called. He turned over 6-7 suited for the pair of sixes, which lost to my set. He later said, "I knew I was in trouble when you called." He was such a nice guy - seemed to be a local - but he was getting sucked out on left and right. When I wasn't in pots with him, I was rooting for him to win, but none of his big pocket pairs held up, and he just couldn't win a hand.
- Kill pot: I've got Q-10 of diamonds and flop an open ended straight draw with J-9 onboard. 7 people saw that flop. The turn brought my 8, and I took 4 people through the turn and 2 to the river with me on that one. Very nice pot. I tipped the dealer a red chip for that one.
- Pocket nine's won me another pot off of the guy to my right. The board flopped an overpair and I was cautious. The turn and river were undercards to my pair, and with me calling the guy down, he should a match with one of the lower cards. At that point, he told me he was going to "stay away from me" because I always had the cards against him.
- A classic example of a pot at these low limits: I'm in early position and limp with pocket 7's. Muscle-guy who was a pretty solid player raises it, and the aggressive guy who only bet monster hands to my right re-raised. It's 2 more bets to me, and I'm thinking I'm definitely beat by Mr. Aggro, and could easily be against two big cards in Muscle Man. (He'd position-raise any big cards). My hand isn't likely a winner right now, but if it hits a set, could be a monster. I call to see the flop. Muscle man re-raises to cap it at $12, and for $3 more I have to call. There's $36 or so in the pot going to the flop (I think the blinds has folded, so there was probably slightly more). The flop comes K-K-x. I'm first to act and check. Muscle Man bets, and Aggro just calls. I'm getting 14:1 on my money to call the $3. I would normally not even consider chasing a 2-outer (all I could hope for was another 7 - I figured I was otherwise beat), but for 3 bucks and odds like that - I have to call. I'm only 12:1 against hitting my 7 with 2 cards to come. LOL! I can't believe I had odds to call a 2-outer. So I called... and the turn brought my miracle 7. I checked, knowing there was guaranteed to be action behind me. Muscle Man bet, Aggro folded, and I called. The river was a blank, and I checked. Muscles bet, and I raised to $12. He sighed, and said, "Show me your king" as he called. I flipped my 7's for the full house, and he goes, "Shit, I can't beat that, nice hand." I didn't get to see what he had, but it obviously wasn't a king. Aggro said later that he had pocket Jacks. Could I have made a couple more bets on that hand by betting the turn? Maybe. Muscles might have re-raised me. I probably should have tried it. Aggro was disappearing regardless. It's that aggression thing - I need to work on it.
My thoughts on the room: nice. Big. Lots of tables. I wish they had some pager system, or announced poker seat availability throughout the casino, because the standing room to wait for your seat is not very big, and there are no chairs. If you sit in the adjacent deli, you can't hear the podium announcements. Drink service seemed regular and fast enough. The bathrooms were incovenient, located down a level from the poker room. But if you are seated in the back of the poker room, you can go out the back doors to the deck of the boat and down those stairs. The bathrooms are just inside those same doors inside the next lower level - directly beneath the poker room. The dealers seemed good. There were no mistakes that I noticed (except for the action oversight by the super-speedy dealer). One dealer was a bit rude with players - I'd describe her personality as "militant." At one point, Muscles had flipped up one card instead of both to show his winning hand, and the militant dealer said to him (and I quote), "Show me both cards or I will muck your hand next time." It was an honest mistake, and I think she could have phrased it a little differently - maybe, "Both cards must play" or "Please show both cards." Was it necessary to treat him like a toddler that just peed himself? Other than that, everyone was cool.
Good times. I found myself wondering if I was in the presence of Baz or Maigrey (both of whom play at Trump). The trouble is, I wouldn't know either one of them if I saw them! I wore my Flyers hat in case anybody might recognize me. No such luck! Maybe next time :)