Friday, March 24, 2006
Randy and I checked out the Resorts poker room last night in East Chicago, Indiana. Randy had been there previously when it was owned by Harrah's, but not since it changed hands.
My first impression of driving there was that the signage wasn't so good. I think I'd have gotten lost if I was driving there myself, for the first time, at night. They could definitely use more signs with arrows. That, though, only affects a person's first few trips to the casino, so I guess I can forgive it.
We had called ahead for seating at the $5/10 limit hold'em game, and arrived to the casino about 20 minutes early. We stopped and got player's cards, and headed up to the poker room. The poker room is on the top floor of the boat, and escalators are available to shuffle gamblers between floors. That was nice, though wandering around the place, I felt like I was always on the verge of getting lost. I'm glad I didn't go to Resorts alone for my first trip. I'd probably have stressed myself out so much getting lost finding the place and getting lost inside that it would have been an awful session. :)
Once we got up to the poker room, we saw that our names were in the top 4 on the board. We checked in, and that put us next up on the list. About 10 minutes later, though, 2 people who had called before us checked in, and their names got moved above ours. Is that how most lists work? I was under the impression that the order you CHECK IN is what determines your final seating order. (ie. it shouldn't have mattered that the 2 guys called in before us, because we checked in first). Not so at Resorts. That was a bit annoying, so after standing around for a while, we asked for pagers so that we could go roam the boat. If you have a player's card, you can get a pager, and the poker room will buzz you when your seat becomes available.
The check-in system is very nice at Resorts. It reminded me a bit of MGM in Vegas. There's a flat panel monitor by the front desk, listing all of the games, names on the waiting list, and whether those names are phone-in's or waiting. I'm not sure how much Resorts comps poker play, but you can give your player's card to the desk when you check in and they will swipe it. When you leave, they'll swipe it again, and that is how players get rated.
If I'm not mistaken, there were 14 tables in the Resorts poker room. It was a nice sized room. The tables were decent (but what's up with places not having cup holders? I much prefer tables with cup holders. Empress doesn't have them either). Most of the dealers were good. They reminded me of Trump dealers (errr Majestic Star 2) - except that the dealers at Trump are so much... I don't know, cooler. More personality. Friendlier. Something like that. Trump has the best poker dealers in the Chicagoland area, between Trump, Empress, and Resorts. That's my opinion so far, anyway. It was nice to play in a game where the dealers kept the action going and pointed out proper poker etiquette to the players while enforcing table rules (ie. English-only when in a hand, no showing your hole cards to your neighbor, etc). Empress is SO annoying in their lack of dealer control of the game.
The best thing about Resorts: THEY ALLOW iPODs! Woohooo! I didn't use mine last night, since Randy was there at my table and I could chat with him, but I will definitely take advantage of that allowance in the future.
The bathrooms are slightly inconvenient, located down one level on the boat. They are, however, near the escalators, which are near the entrance to the poker room, so you just have to go outside the poker room, down the escalators, and the bathrooms are right there.
Drinks were speedy enough for my taste.
What you're all waiting for... the poker stories. The other night at Empress, I had overheard a couple people talking about the 5/10 game at Resorts. They were talking about how it's a tougher game than Empress, and that the players are better. I went to Resorts last night with that expectation.
I did not find the same to be true.
My table for most of the night looked like this:
1 seat: newbie - as in, you could read her lips as she counted straights on the board and compared them to her hand, looking back and forth from the board to her hand 8 times before making any decisions. She didn't understand the "best 5 cards" rule and why some pots got chopped. She played EVERY hand. She showed down ANY pair. Fresh as a newborn baby, she was.
2 seat: Asian gambler kid who played a lot of hands but knew what he was doing. Slightly loose with selective aggression. I didn't care to be in many pots with him.
3 seat: Asian gambler's friend who really should take some lessons from his buddy. Any ace or face. Notable starting hands: K4 suited from UTG+1, A4o (cold-called 2 bets). etc.
4 seat: Tight aggressive. Good player.
5 seat: Donkey. J4o, any two suited, and two connected (suits irrelevant), any face card, any ace. Bet and raised with junk.
6 seat: WPT wanna be kid. Randy thought he was a good player, but I had a little extra information on him. He wasn't too careful about protecting his hole cards, so I got to see a lot of the hands he was playing (when I was out of the pots). He checked his cards constantly. He played a lot of suited face cards (like J7 suited, Q6 suited, etc) and would call down to the river with 2nd pair and muck when he lost. He went through 2 buy-ins, and was highly prone to tilt.
7 seat: me (and you already know that I rule). ha!
8 seat: a black man of maybe 58 or so. I thought initially that he was a gambler-type, as he kept buying in short-stacked for $55. He played a lot of hands (suited face cards with disregard to kickers, any ace, suited connectors), and often tried to collect orphan pots when the table showed weakness. He got lucky on a few hands, betting his overcards on ragged flops and then catching a pair, flush, or straight on the turn or river. He got out of pots when he was beat, and rarely showed down losing hands. I decided he was one of the better players at the table.
9 seat: Randy
10 seat: Fish. A man in his 50's or so who played lots and lots of hands (offsuit connectors, 1-and-2 gappers, any ace, any face - basically, any two cards). Had no problem calling down to the river. Raised when he hit 2 pair or better. Predictable.
That makes 10 seats, and we were only at a 9-handed table, so I must have one extra person in there who left and was replaced by someone else. At any rate, there were 3 people at the table who I thought to be decent (though only 1 I was really concerned about in terms of what he would raise preflop with). 4 were awful players. Plenty of fish available to pay off big hands to the river (and they did).
Randy and I both got on early rushes, and within an hour and a half or so, were each up over $100. We probably should have taken our money and ran... Over the next hour, Randy got himself stuck $100, and I was back down to even. As the clock approached midnight, though, three of the good players left, leaving me, Randy, and the barnyard animals. I was loving the look of things: a shorthanded table full of fish. I now had no doubt whatsoever and Randy and I were the best players at that table. Now to catch some cards...
I opened up my starting hand requirements a bit and saw some flops. A6 suited from the button flopped me two pair, and I bet it all the way down. The river counterfeited my 2 pair, pairing the board with 8's, but my Ace was good and I collected a nice pot. In another hand, I saw a flop with KJ and flopped 2 kings. I got paid off on all streets but my last river bet. I won a couple other pots, bringing my profits back up over $100, and with that, we called it a night.
Randy considered it a "nice little rush" I went on in the last half hour or so, but as soon as those few people left the game, I practically started to salivate. I had reads and hand pattern tells on every player at the table, and I just needed a few cards to get my money back. It worked out well.
Other hands... AK did nothing for me. KK got cracked by A4o (the Asian gambler guy saw my raise from the small blind). I saw pocket 8's four or five times and never hit a set. Early in the game, I had A2 suited on the button and flopped 2 pair. I raised the early position bettor, who called. The turn made his straight (he had QJ on a board of A-2-T-K) and he check-raised me. I called the hand down and lost. At that point, I didn't yet know anything about his play, but in retrospect, I'd have called him down anyway, as he was likely to bet and raise with anything (regardless of his actual hand strength), and his starting cards usually sucked.
I had my one-hand-donkey-leak again last night. GRRRRR. I need to stop and listen to myself before acting. I call down one hand per night that I KNOW is going to lose. I know it WHILE I'm doing it. CONSCIOUSLY. And I do it anyway. One hand per session. Guaranteed. This one was a biggie too. From the small blind, I had 67 suited in clubs. Lots of limpers, and the guy to my right on the button raised. I'd seen him raise with anything from monsters to A2 of diamonds UTG, so his raise didn't put too much fear in my soul, and I was actually glad to have suited connectors in this situation. My cards were likely live, and I'd have more odds than I'd ever need when the rest of the table completed the raise. It got most of the way around the table, when someone 3-bet it. Ugh. I called the bet, and the guy to my left capped it. (I should have capped myself, as it's one of the things I do... it's unlucky to see a flop for 3 bets instead of 4! I don't know where that came from. I just made it up. But that's my rule). Everyone came along for a 7-high flop, one club. I had top pair/weak kicker, a gutshot draw to the straight if an 8 fell, and a backdoor flush draw. I checked, and the guy to my left bet out. Lots of people called, including myself. Turn was a blank (no club). I ended up putting in another bet to see the river, and one more on the end because the pot was so huge that I couldn't get Sklansky out of my head... "Even if you know you are beat, you shouldn't fold for one bet on the river in a big pot, because you only need to win at showdown 8% of the time to make the call profitable." (Or something like that - it's a concept out of Small Stakes Hold'em). It sure was a big pot. The guy to my left had the straight with 8-9 of spades. At best, I was drawing to a split pot with him (once my redraw to the flush went down the drain). Ugh.
The night ended well for me, but not so well for Randy. We once again had the conversation that his game is much better suited for no-limit, and that he should try the NL game.
My results for the night:
Spring Break Rush for 1K:
$534 to go
3 days left....
I'll be heading out to Resorts again this afternoon, since Empress doesn't spread poker on Fridays or Saturdays. I'd like to visit Trump again, now that it is Majestic Star 2, but they'd have to be running the 6/12 game because there's no way I'm hitting up 3/6. I hesitate, though, because most of the regulars in the Trump limit games were rock tight players. I doubt that has changed, and I'd rather play a more fishy game than spend 5 hours trying to bleed chips from a stone.