Friday, September 30, 2005

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Finally, the upswing.

In my last 7 sessions at Trump (prior to last night), I posted 6 losing sessions (to varying degrees) and one break-even session. I was starting to think the honeymoon was over. I was still in the black in terms of Trump profits, but my BB/hour took a massive hit and I was down to around 1.5 BB/hour profit. Ouch. Granted, this only covers a month-long timespan, but I started to wonder if maybe the fishes AREN'T beatable over any long term. I squelched those voices in my head and went on with the brutal task of analyzing my own play and admitting my leaks that were contributing to my losses, and labored on.

Last night, I headed to Trump after work, confident that if I just kept playing my game (sans leaks), the table would be mine. I am happy to report that I doubled my buy-in last night over the course of 3 1/2 hours, posting a profit of a little over 5 BB/hour and left a winner. Finally.

One leak I discovered while thinking about my play of the past couple weeks was that I started chasing unlikely draws on the river. With one card to come, my odds rarely justified a call of a big turn bet, but the allure of the sizable pot overwhelmed me. I started chasing - namely, the gutshots and the 2-overcard draws. Sure - the gutshots are likely to win the pot if they hit. And - with the size of some of those pots, I'm sure that sometimes I had odds to chase. The fact is, though, I wasn't calculating my odds. I knew I should be, but I didn't want to because the odds might say, fold. And I didn't want to fold. The overcard draws are just sick. Hello - Earth to Shelly - your top pair may not be any good against 5 opponents who've called down all that way. It's just a stupid thing to chase. The weak players over-value top pair, and chasing top pair is even weaker. I am quite disappointed that I let myself get sucked into the trap of Pot Lust. It's not pretty and it's not profitable.

Last night, however, I rekindled my relationship with poker and got back to the game. For the first time in a while (maybe ever), I felt like I was "on." I was running on all cylinders, making good laydowns, making better raises, and reading people well. I reclaimed that blissful emotional detachment from the pot. Laying down a gutshot draw wasn't "disappointing." It didn't feel like anything - except the right move, considering the pot odds. Making the right move felt good, and that's as far as the emotions went. I'm not sure if I have ever felt quite so comfortable playing poker before - where it was almost effortless. Almost second nature. I didn't realize it while I was sitting there, but thinking back on it now, it just felt damn good. Everything clicked. I was in sync with the game.

It didn't hurt that I had a great table - a very nice mix of fish, a regular, and a couple solid players. All were friendly. The table chatter was pleasant without being annoying, and it was a great atmosphere to play in. Most of the dealers were in a good mood too, and that somehow really does affect the game, I think. To my right was a quiet man in his 50's or so who played like a rock and didn't speak much - though had a very good sense of humor when he did come out with a comment. Two to my right was a 26 year old lawyer who battles insurance companies for a living. He was a solid player.

His friend at the other end of the table (who reminded me of Ashton Kutcher) was getting very lucky, if not a solid player. I made the early mistake of thinking he was solid, but realized that it was coincidence that the hands he showed down were monsters. It became clear after a while that people were folding to him much too often, and he had the opportunity to muck more hands that resulted in dragged pots than he had to show down. It turns out that he had flopped quads on his first hand at the new table, and everyone feared him since. (See? Flopping quads totally kills your action!) This kid was smart enough to take advantage of his table image, though. He got cracked off a few times showing down relative junk (Q7 suited), but it wasn't very often.

In the 1 seat was a friendly regular whose name is escaping me. He always drinks his coffee with cream and Equal. Nice guy. Good player - he knew how to pick and choose which hands had +EV based on the game conditions at the moment, and to me that said clearly "avoid getting up against him without a monster on your shoulder." He was telling us that he had to go back to Iraq in a few weeks. I don't know if he was military - it seemed like a civilian job, or a contracted government job. He wasn't specific, except to tell one story that he'd lost most of the 18 men in his team, and the work involved dismantling bombs. He hated the war and thought the US should pull out of Iraq. He said, "Every time I go over there could be my last. I never know if I'll make it home." Wow. I can't imagine living like that.

To my left was a 50-ish man who'd been playing since noon. (It was 10pm by the time I arrived). He was trying to "win his way back to even." He was friendly but fishy. To his left, the rest of the table was VERY fishy - the "any two cards" variety, which causes shivers up my spine. If you manage to get lucky against them, they're like a gold mine, but if you're on the bad end of the suckout stick, they can make you weep like a baby. One of the three oober-fish was prone to bluffing. I prefer the "any ace or face" fish. They are much more predictable. Watching an oober-fish drag a pot with a goofy ass two pair just grinds my gears.

The biggest highlight of my game last night: I only lost one showdown. It was with pocket Kings, and the friendly fish to my left beat me with 3-4 suited when he rivered a second 4 to make trips. Since we'd had some earlier banter about playing various hands, I said (in a conversational tone), "Wow - you called me with 3-4 suited?" He said, "Well, yeah, I had three of a kind!" I said, "No - I mean, preflop." He replied, "Oh. Well, I don't usually play that hand - that's the first bad hand I played in a long time." I said, "Come on, they all say that!" He said, "I know, but they were suited!" If I had a nickel.... I said, "I know... Good hand. I'm going to suck out on you later - you know that, right?" We had a good laugh and I quietly lamented the shipment of a stack and a half of my chips into the fish's collection. I knew he'd give them away in due time - I only hoped it would be back to me.

I did manage to get a few of those chips back when I called his preflop raise in late position with pocket 3's (flop it or drop it, right?) I flopped it and my set of treys beat his pocket Queens. I was content to call us even at that point.

I saw AK twice and hit it neither time, though managed to make a cheap exit from the hands. AQ suited won me a pot against Ashton Kutcher - though I did get a bit lucky. I missed the flop, and acting after Ashton's check, fired a continuation bet at it. I lost a couple opponents, but Ashton hung in there. He wasn't acting quickly, though, and I'd noticed that when he had a good hand he immediately went for his chips - so I thought he might be drawing. The turn was a blank, and he checked it. I bet, and he called. The river came the third of a suit, and I thought I might have been set up. However, the face was that of a Queen, giving me the top pair, top kicker I'd been hoping for. Ashton checked, and to avoid the possibility of a check raise (and to contribute to the ongoing "this is a friendly table" mentality that was being shared amongst players), I checked behind him and turned my cards over saying, "I rivered a Queen." He nodded and mucked, appreciative for the check on the end. I'm glad he noted it (since that's why I did it - aside from fearing the flush, of course).

And that, my friends, is how I got my groove back!

3 1/2 hours, 18 BB profit, and some good vibes. Another tidbit of note - my new lucky penguin made his table debut last night. His name is Jeremiah, and I liked having him there with me. He'll be back.

I'll probably head to Trump one day this weekend. Not sure which day yet. But now, I must go fix my cousin's computer and then go to work. I'll happily ride my poker buzz until my next swim in the fishbowl.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Yippee skippee, I'm heading to Trump tonight after work... haven't been there for a handful of days. I'm feeling withdrawl symptoms. I don't have any of my bankroll in the online poker sites right now, so the only poker I've been feeling this month is of the brick and mortar kind. There's a game over at Scott's tonight as well (of Diamond game fame), but I get off work too late to get in on either of the tournaments they run. So, Trump it is...

Work has been insanely busy, and somehow, over the course of this past week, I've managed to get myself appointed to the position of Secretary of our college faculty Senate, get asked to join a tenure committee for a new faculty member, get on a search committee for a new hire, and get asked to join an advisory board for a yearly conference that I've attended for the past two summers. WTF?? Let's just pretend I don't already belong to a couple committees (one of which I Chair), or teach, or do faculty tech support. Holy crap. How do I get into all this crazy shit?? (None of it pays any extra, btw).

Ahh well. It's good experience. And it looks good on the ol' curriculum vitae, right?

Anyhooooo thank jeebus for some time at Trump tonight. I honestly cannot wait. Too much work makes Shelly a dull girl.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

I don't think I've ever pimped a new blogger before... if he's been pimped elsewhere, then this is multi-pimpage.

I was first attracted by the blogger's handle: "TrumpJosh." (I wonder why that might pique my interest?) Then, the catchy title got me: The Armchair Fisherman.

Check it out:


I myself have had 2 losing Trump sessions since last I posted - more dead cards and monsters getting cracked off by fishy junk. It's ok though - the tides will turn. I just have to keep playing my game and having faith in the lifelong poker session... My next trip to Trump will probably be Monday or Tuesday night after work. Here's to breaking the dead card slump!

Friday, September 23, 2005

You might have noticed the Blogger control panel offering a link to the beta Google Blog Search tool (if you use Blogger/Blogspot to host your blog). I played around a little bit with it today, and discovered a neat little trick.

Go to the Google Blog Search and search for whatever you want (such as, sites that link to your blog - like:

Once you search, scroll down to the bottom of your search reasults, and you'll see links to an Atom feed and RSS feed of those results. Copy your link of choice and add it to your newsfeed aggregator (like You'll get a daily update of whatever you were searching for (ie. sites that link to your blog, etc).

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Pretty average night at the boats.

I headed for Trump after work last night. Randy was out for the night, so I settled in for a few hours of poker. I got there around 9:30pm and proceeded to play until 2:15am or so.

My best hand of the night was when I flopped quad seven's. The only thing that could have been better is if someone else had flopped quad eights or something (therefore triggering the bad beat jackpot). It was early in the night, a kill pot, and with 5 people in on the flop, I managed to keep two of 'em around to pay me off on the river.

Very late in the night, one guy who had seen the quad 7's questioned why I slowplayed the hand. "Well," I said, "The flop came 7-7-3, so that pair of seven's scares people with the potential trips. Someone pairing their 3 isn't going to feel all that strong - it's not like having a pair of Kings or something. If I went crazy betting, who in the world would have stuck around?" I know this is no-fold-em hold'em, but there was no way anyone liked that flop but me. And, it had been raised preflop by the button (I was one off the button), so after checking the flop (3 people checked ahead of me), I figured I was pretty safe when the button continued with a follow up bet. I check-called down the streets, and kept everybody in to see the turn, but lost 2 after turn betting. The third dropped out on river betting, and I check-raised the button, who was the last guy in. He called with nothing (??!?? thanks for doing my betting for me??) and I scooped a very nice pot.

I overheard one of the railbirds telling her husband (who was playing), "Wow, she has a great poker face - I had no idea!" LOL. That's probably because, unless I'm in conversation (which is rarely), I probably look cranky at the table :) I usually have my chin propped up on my hand, and stare at the board. I try to do most of my people-watching with peripheral vision, unless they're oblivious, in which case I can stare right at them. I just watch the game. I probably look too serious. I try to smile a lot when I first sit down to get the good first impression going, but I AM watching the game, and I AM serious, so when I'm not thinking about my image, that's probably how I come across... which doesn't seem to discourage action as much as flopping quads does.

Unfortunately, I didn't have a whole lot else going on for me in the way of good cards. I saw no monster hands in the pocket. AK was my best hand (other than the 77), and it won me a small pot whereby I was totally dominated by a rock playing K9 who'd flopped two pair. The turn and river came 10-10, giving me a higher kicker for my board-created two pair, winning the hand. I also saw AQs and raised it up preflop, and everybody folded to me.

Flopping quads in the first hour of a game REALLY kills the action that opponents are willing to give to you. They think you have quads every freakin' time.

Other than that, I have no real tales to tell. The fishes were catching, and I lost a couple good hands (including a button-played A8s with 2 opponents, when I flopped two pair and lost to A4 offsuit when a four-flush of the wrong color threw up all over the board).

I ended up leaving down -$3, the cost of a Gatorade (red or purple, please). With the lack of playable hands I saw, I'll take it.

With as few playable hands as I've seen lately, one may be inclined to believe that I'm playing way too tight, but honestly - I'm not even seeing good drawing hands. No suited connectors, not many big suited aces or big suited kings, not even any suited one-gappers like QT or J9. Nothing I can even stretch for a late position play. At one point last night, I saw ten-nine offsuit and almost played it, thinking - well, at least it's connected! I folded...

I did see 96 suited once on the button and almost played it (gettin' frisky and all), but there were only 3 other people in the pot (one limper and the blinds), so I didn't think there were enough people in the pot to have any sort of positive EV. I folded, and the flop came 9-9-6. D'oh! I also folded a K4 suited in middle position preflop, and would have taken the pot with the spade flush. But, come on - you can't play King 4!! What are you hoping for in that case? If you don't hit your suit, you're screwed, because even flopping a King sucks ass with a crappy kicker and the high likelihood that the fishes will play any king in their fins.

Ahhh well. Tonight, Randy is going to see U2 with his friend Flip (I wish I had a cool name like Flip), so it may be off to Trump again after work for me! Why not, eh? Gotta get back on the upswing :)

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Thanks to rcfox for this one...

You are a

Social Liberal
(60% permissive)

and an...

Economic Moderate
(41% permissive)

You are best described as a:

You exhibit a very well-developed sense of Right and Wrong and believe in economic fairness.

Link: The Politics Test on OkCupid

Monday, September 19, 2005

I left Trump void of all cash for the first time.... stuck for $140 with no chance of a comeback. I'm glad I was in a very "it's all one big session..." mood.

Aside from my big blinds, I played 5 hands:

  • 77 held up on a board of K-K-2-3-6
  • AK hit a King on the flop, and got crushed by a river flush.
  • QQ had to bail out on the turn after my bet got raised on re-raised when an Ace hit the turn
  • AJ hit an Ace on the flop and again got river crushed by a flush.
  • 66 missed the flop and got folded under heavy betting action.
That was it. 3 1/2 hours, 5 hands.

I won one hand the entire afternoon. Literally. The cards weren't just cold - they were frostbitten.

But, it was a friendly table, and today's losses were still paid for with fishes' money, so I'm okay with it. It's all one long session...


Saturday, September 17, 2005

My Friday afternoon this week was spent much like my previous few: I headed to Trump around lunchtime for a few hours of poker. As per usual, I chose $3/6 hold'em. I've decided that until my bankroll can comfortably handle sitting down to $6/12 with $300, I'll stick to $3/6. I've actually got enough money in my poker box right now to sit a few losing sessions at $6/12, but I'm saving that money for Vegas in October. So - it's really not my "bankroll" so much as it's my Vegas fund right now. I'd also like to track my stats at $3/6 for a while to make sure I'm actually profitable here.

Anyhoooo... so I showed up to Trump yesterday, and much like the other night, there was a waiting list. I was first on the list, with a few people beneath me. After a few minutes of waiting (I had called ahead), a group of college kids comes into the poker room wanting to play. So, they opened a new table, and I found myself seated to the left of 4 punk ass kids who reveled in showing down stupid hands to amuse each other. These guys weren't even friendly like the group I played with the other night; they were people that I really would not like, personally - at the table or away from it. Pretty much jerks. The day wasn't starting out well.

Despite the internal groan that was ringing in my head, and how much effort it was taking for me not scold the boys for talking about hands while they were in play (only a few of the dealers seem to have the balls or the degree of care for the integrity of the low-limit game to reprimand players that break this rule and politely correct them), I managed to start out pretty well. I took down a few pots early with decent hands. The boys immediately labelled me as "tight." I got quite a rise out of them when I pulled a re-raise over the top of one of them after I'd turned the nut straight using my two hole cards. The guy called me down and seemed surprised when I spanked his bare ass red. As annoying as they were, they respected my play, and I was able to steal a few pots with continuation bets when my preflop-raise-worthy hand didn't hit the board. I normally don't bother to bluff at these $3/6 tables, but I've discovered that if you pay attention to what your opponents THINK of you, you can use that against them. Yesterday, I used my table image when I was in hands with only the boys to sneak in a few extra starting hands and represent hands on scary boards. Usually, it worked, and when it didn't, I somehow managed to manipulate the betting so that I never had to show down my bluffs. I'd decided that it was more profitable, the way they played against me, to continue the "tight" facade than to encourage more action from them.

These boys were pretty good players, aside from their atrocious poker etiquette. One stood out from the crowd, and didn't participate much in their antics. Unfortunately, his monster hands weren't holding up, and his friends repeatedly sucked out on him with inferior hands, so he didn't do so well over the course of the afternoon. Another one of the boys was prone to tilt. I've never seen a classic tilter. I've heard of them, and read in books that you can take advantage of these players after a bad beat because they'll turn super-aggressive and bet/raise with nothing. Finally, I saw it "live." Granted, this guy suffered some brutal suckouts by the resident fish at the table (the any-two-cards old guy that played to the river with any part of the board, or as low as King high) - but his tilt was so predictable! He'd come out firing on the very next hand, every time. He'd bet or raise the flop and then check-raise the turn (if that was possible - otherwise he'd just bet or raise it). If he hadn't picked up the pot by then, and his hand didn't hit, he'd go all soft on the river and usually ended up mucking it. I managed to take a nice little pot off of him (with my own nothing cards) after I recognized this pattern and played back at him. Lucky for me, his junk didn't hit and I stole the pot on the river.

As for my own play, I think I played well. To my dismay, my good hands weren't sticking, and I folded quite a few hands on the flop. Some that I can remember:

  • I had pocket Jacks twice - my best hands of the day - and neither of them held up. Once they suffered a river flush suckout, and the other time the flop came A-Q-Q and I couldn't play them in the face of all the action.
  • Pocket 5's hit a set for me, twice. Remember how I mentioned that my baby pocket pairs did nothing for me last trip, and how I was due to hit some sets with them? I had that set karma going on yesterday. One of my sets got crushed by a wheel straight, and the other won the hand on the flop and made me no money.
  • Pocket nines hit a set for me and won the hand. I thought I was showing down the loser, as I was against a quiet guy who seemed new to live poker, and seemed to play by-the-book. There was 3 to a straight onboard that Ten-Jack would have completed, and once the third straight card hit, quiet guy raised my bet. I called his raise on the turn and continued to bet the river, but definitely feared a 10-J in his hand, since it fit within the profile of hands he'd play in late position. Lucky for me, he'd hit two pair KQ and my set held up.
  • I saw AK twice, and neither time it hit. Once, I took it too far, calling all the way to see a river card. I should have folded after the flop missed me. I took a couple hands one street too far yesterday, which cost me $20 or so. When you think about it literally, those small leaks add up. I don't think I hit any of my over-called hands to offset that cost.

As 5PM rolled around, my chip stack wasn't looking good. I had $30 or so in front of me, and was not feeling well. The waters were a bit choppy yesterday, and the boat was rocking a bit. I noticed it in the bathroom when I first arrived, and many people commented on it in the poker room. I couldn't much tell the boat was rocking in the poker room, but I think my body could, because after a couple hours I was feeling a bit queasy. I'd also forgotten to take my allergy pills before leaving home, so I had awful sniffles that gave me quite a headache (one of those that didn't go away until I went to sleep last night). To compound the fact that I physically was feeling like crap as the day wore on, the last 2 1/2 hours or so were completely cold-decked for me. My good starting hands missed every flop, and I couldn't drag a pot in any of the few hands I did play.

The fact that I felt like crap by late afternoon was affecting my demeanor, though I don't think it affected my game. I went to great lengths to avoid playing hands out of boredom that I wouldn't normally play. A few times, I took a walk outside on the boat's deck to look at the water and try to put myself in better spirits. Since I wasn't enjoying myself, though, I thought it best that I head home (despite planning to stay until 7pm). I settled into my last orbit and accepted my apparent defeat.

Right around the 3rd or 4th hand of my last orbit, who should appear but Maigrey! Finally, we meet up at Trump! "There's been some damage..." I said of my chip stack, and mentioned that I was finishing up my last orbit. Maigrey headed back to her NL table, and suddenly there was a bright spot on my day. On my very next hand, I won a pot that netted me twenty bucks or so - my first pot in a couple hours. Hmmm. A sparkle of hope?

I had 2 hands left to play, and was glad to have made back a little bit on that pot. Then, the guy to my right got up and left the game, and suddenly the big blind was on me. It was my turn to post, but I hadn't indicated that I was leaving the game, and I was caught off guard. In my head, I had one more hand to play.My gut reaction was to post my big blind. So I did. Oh boy. Here we go. I thought back to what I'd said the other day about leaving when you know it's time to leave, and I was stricken with the fear of losing what little money I had left by completing one more orbit. Then, I decided that I was being a bit neurotic. Play the damn hand. Play the next one, if you want. If you don't feel it, get up and leave. Who cares if you didn't finish the orbit. (Or so my internal dialogue went...)

I played the next hand, my small blind. I channeled the power of Maigrey and looked down to see A8 of clubs. The pot was raised in front of me, and in most cases I'd probably fold it in the small blind, but with 4 other people in the pot, I decided to see a flop. The flop came 7-8-10, two clubs. I'd paired my 8, and had the nut flush draw. I checked under the gun, and one of the regular guys to my left bet out. Everybody called, including me. The turn came a blank, and the woman (new to the table) to my left bet out. The old guy raised, two people folded, and it was on me. Big pot sitting there. If I get lucky, I'm pretty much a lock to win the pot. I didn't bother to calculate my odds - maybe I should do that right now and see if this call is justified in retrospect. Assuming that the woman to my left would call the raise (I thought she would), there was $57 in the pot, and I had to call $12. I was getting almost 5:1 on my money. If I only counted my flush outs, I needed 4:1 to call the bet. If I counted my other 2 eights as outs (for trips), or my Ace to hit two pair, I'd have even more outs. I had odds to call. I feel better now, having calculated the odds. I thought at the time that it was close, and that the raise probably priced me out of the pot. My thought, though, was that a club would definitely win it for me. It was a gamble, but the pot was big.

I called.

And a club came on the river. Not wanting to risk losing the extra bet on the river (having seen the old guy fold to 3-to-a-suit several times in the past), I bet out. Both players called (the old guy lamenting his luck at the 3 clubs onboard). In fact, my ace high flush won the pot. I don't know what the woman to my left had, but the old guy had flopped a straight with J-9. I felt a little bad, knowing that I was chasing my hand, but I don't think I made a bad play. If anything, my call of a preflop raise with the hand from the small blind might have been a bit loose.

At any rate, that one pot won me back the rest of my buy-in. I folded the rest of the hands in the orbit, and left the table.


I played for about 5 hours, and cashed out up $2. After tipping the cashier cage a buck, my one dollar profit felt like a million, considering how close I was to leaving with nothing. I was so happy to stick that buck in my pocket.

I think there were 2 recurring themes of the day: first, there's money to be made in playing the player, and taking note of what each player thinks of you. We spend so much time thinking about what we think of our opponents, but what they think of us can be just as valuable. Now, of course, sometimes it won't be worth the effort to try and figure out what an opponent thinks of you, because they don't! (Think of you, that is). The fishes and socialites don't care if you're a loose-aggressive or tight-passive - they aren't there to play a serious poker game. So wasting energy trying to reverse engineer their thought processes is useless. But against the better players, it seems that the effort can pay off. I knew it would work against the boys yesterday, particularly because the one guy kept commenting that each play gave him "more information" about his opponents. "They're just feeding me the information!" he'd say after particularly fishy plays from the other end of the table. He was taking mental notes. I fed him what I wanted him to think of me, and then used it against him.

That was kind of fun, actually.

The other thing that I think will pay for me to keep in mind is that you don't have to win many pots to be profitable. When you go through a couple hours of folding hands and losing pots, it can start to wear on the positive attitude. If I can just remember that it doesn't take many pots to leave a winner, it might not hurt the attitude so bad to lose a few.

That's my Friday in a nutshell. I'm not playing any poker today, as I'm partaking in a girl's night - a bunch of us are heading to a local comedy club. I'm not sure if I'll go play on Sunday. We'll see. If not, Tuesday night after work will probably be my next trip to Trump.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Friday is here, and I'm heading to Trump for an afternoon of poker bliss!

See ya's on the other side....

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Well, I did it... I dropped the hammer for the first time at Trump last night.

It was a slightly tilty hammer. The backdrop: I lose a big hand with Pocket Aces to a guy who called me down for a runner-runner flush. The very next hand, I look down to see The Hammer: 7 of clubs, 2 of diamonds. I'm all over it. I say, "Let's try this again," and raise it up under the gun for the second hand in a row (the previous hand being the cracked aces). I get 4 callers. The flop comes K-7-x rainbow. I bet - 3 callers. The turn brings a second heart. I bet. Two callers. The river brings the third heart, and I actually almost surrendered and checked - I started to move my hand to the felt, pinky down (that's how I've been checking lately), and then thought, screw it. I went back to my chipstack before tapping the table and grabbed 6 chips to bet.

Both of my opponents folded!

I showed the hammer, particularly to the 4 college guys that were sitting to my right.

Ya see, there were these 5 guys at my table who had all come together. I had been on a waiting list, and when the 5 guys arrived, we had enough players to open a new $3/6 hold'em table. I thought, "Great..." It would probably be a giant pissing contest between the five of them, making play at the table obnoxious and unfruitful. I'm glad I didn't go by my first impression - the guys ended up being pretty cool, despite their tendency to criticize other players out loud. Had I been in a cranky mood I might have asked when their poker book was coming out - you know the type I'm talking about. They know everything about poker, and $3/6 is SO beneath them, but tonight they just want to get drunk and slum around in the baby game... that type. My Hammer showdown came relatively early in the game, after I'd shown down a couple tight winning hands, so it didn't have the anticipated effect: I thought the Hammer would get me more action, but from those guys - the one guy later admitted to me that the Hammer messed him all up and he didn't know what to think of it. It said I was "tricky" and that he was staying away from me (and he did).

Another memorable hand hit - the very first hand of the table, I had pocket seven's. I flopped a set, and turned quads. It was a shorthanded pot, so I didn't make a fortune on it, but it sure was nice to turn up quads again. They just look cool out on the table.

My small pocket pairs were abundant and useless - aside from the quads, I couldn't hit a set to save my life. You're supposed to hit a set approximately 1 in 7 times, and I had 12 different small pocket pairs. That means I should hit almost immediately next time I have a small pocket pair! LOL. The quads took all of my number karma.

The hand 9-10 was the hand of the night. I can't even tell you how many boards would have been won with 9-10, and MANY times, it did! I can recall 6 different pots that were actually won with 9-10, in addition to the boards that were favorable for 9-10 (most of them straights). I unfortunately only saw 9-10 in my hand once, and the pot was 3-bet preflop before it got to me, so I dropped it.

I had aces one other time last night, and they held up for a small pot. I was up fifty bucks or so after a couple hours, but for the last 2 3/4 hours, I folded folded folded. No cards. I bled back my fifty bucks, plus $20 more to finish down a Jackson on the night. I also had 2 Gatorades, so there goes six bucks.

It was an entertaining evening of poker, though, albeit a bit boring on the tail end. I'll pay twenty bucks for some more practice reading hands and patterns and people. I hope to get back out there Friday afternoon.

That's about it poker-wise for me. I haven't played online in a few weeks, after getting my ass handed to me. Randy's been playing on Full Tilt, though, and it makes me want to play. We'll see. I'm saving my Trump winnings for our October Vegas trip, and don't want to sink any more personal cash into online poker. Not while I'm running so bad online! Do you think the bad streak could be done by now??

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Frustrating day at the poker tables today. First - some miscellaneous tidbits.

I found a nice little Excel spreadsheet online yesterday that is much nicer for recording my brick and mortar poker wins and losses than the scribbly notebook I was using. I plan to tweak the spreadsheet eventually to tailor it to my liking, but for now - it works. Using that spreadsheet, I can see in plain ink some stats for my B&M play:

In 40 hours of playing at Trump over the last 3 weeks, my win rate is currently 3.2BB/hour. This includes 9 sessions at $3/6 and one at $6/12. Interesting.

Question - what's the average number of hands per hour that you see during live play at a casino? I'm reading that it's anywhere from 25 to 60 hands per hour. Assuming mechanical card shufflers, can anyone give me a more accurate number? I'm putting 30 in my spreadsheet, but I'd love to hear if anyone has any solid info or at least a smaller range for me to guesstimate within.

OK... back to my day.

Today started out wonderfully. I was in a great mood, after stopping at Subway for a sandwich on my way in to Trump around lunchtime. I was bopping along the highway, thinking to myself that "Two Step" by Dave Matthews Band is literally a knee-slapping good song. Why I was slapping my knees, I don't know, but I was just full of glee and feeling lucky as I drove to the casino.

When I got there, I was seated immediately in the 10 seat, next to the dealer. Nice. I wasn't being crowded, and the table seemed to be in a good mood. I got myself a purple Gatorade from the cocktail waitress as she passed and was ready to play.

I soon discovered that the table was VERY loose, with an average of 7 players to every flop. It wasn't unusual for 8 or 9 players to see the flop (though I don't remember any true family pots with all ten of us). With the huge number of cards in play for each hand, you can imagine that the suckouts were plentiful - but the pots were gigantic.

What did I do? Loosened up a bit and started playing some hands. The problem? My cards weren't hitting. Within 2 hours, I was down to the felt. I realized, however, that part of the problem was my own doing. The table is loosy-goosy - I should be playing my tight game. I was limping into pots with things like K9 suited which - while not the worst hand in the world - is much too loose to be profitable, and I know that. I felt that this table was ripe for the picking, and having spotted my leak at that point, I decided to rebuy for another hundred bucks and tighten the screws a bit.

It was a good thing I rebought. Within a few hands of replenishing my chips, I won myself a monster pot that had me nearly back up to even. For the life of me, I can't remember what that hand was. There were so many bad hands to follow that they've claimed all of the real estate in my mind.

When I made it back up to even, I should have left. I think I have to find the rule of thumb for leaving. One regular told me that he buys in for a hundred bucks, and as soon as he doubles his buy-in, he leaves. While that sounds well and good, I've had 4 different sessions where I won more than a hundred bucks (one being $400!) so - I'm not sure that's the best strategy. Maybe my rule of thumb should be, "If the thought of leaving crosses your mind, you should leave."

I decided to take one more orbit before leaving. I was exactly at $200 - my total investment to that point. I'd been playing for a little over 3 hours. Then, I hit a big hand:

I'm in early position and limp with pocket 5's. There are 2 other callers. The flop comes 10-5-5. No, that is not a typo. I flopped quad 5's. With action first on me, I had to think quick. Do I slow play and hope someone bets? It's not likely that that flop hit anybody else, since I've got the other 2 fives, and the only other card that could have helped anyone is a ten. There are only 2 other players; what's the likelihood that either of them have a ten? Not very high. But, this is a classic table of no-fold-em hold'em, and people have been calling down with overcards all afternoon. If I bet, it's very likely that I'll get at least one caller. I'm still in debate as to what I should have done here. I can argue either side.

I ended up betting out. One guy folded, the other called. The turn came a blank. My opponent checked, and I bet. Then, he raised me! WTF??? I just got check raised, and I'm holding quads. What now? Do I reraise and try and take control, or let him keep betting into me? I decided to call and save the re-raising for the river. He bet into me on the river, and I raised, and he called. Ends up he had 2 pair, which could not beat my flopped quads.

I was up $45 or so at this point. After the drama of losing a hundred bucks, winning it all back, plus some - NOW I should have left. But I was in the middle of my last orbit, and there were only 4 hands left till I'd be leaving. I decided to play them. How bad can 4 hands possibly hurt me?

Pretty bad. I found myself in middle position with AQ of spades. I raise it up, and get 4 callers. The flop comes Q-x-x with one club (ie. a rainbow, but the clubs have future significance). I bet out, and two players call. The turn comes a 2nd club, putting the draw out there. I bet again. Call - call. The river comes a 3rd club. I bet, and the action goes raise - reraise. I go, fuck. These sons of bitches are chasing me with clubs. I fold. Guess what they showed?

7-5 of clubs, for the flush, and Queen 6 of clubs, for the higher flush.

7-5 and Q-6 for a preflop raise.


I'm back to even. I should have left.

Very next hand is a kill pot. The holder of the higher flush in that last hand was referred to as "Dorothy Hamill" in my mind. He looked like that male figure skater, Scott Hamilton or something like that? But he was such a damn moronic nancy that I decided to call him Dorothy in my head. Well, Dorothy's queen high flush won him the kill button.

I look down at my hand and see the Hilton Sisters. Pocket Queens. They were red. Rule of thumb: Always throw away premium hands preflop in kill pots. They never hold up and you lose a fortune.

I raise like a good little girl, and wouldn't ya know - Dorothy came along for the ride, as did the 7-5 suckout artist (who'd actually sucked out on me twice earlier with a crappy two pair on the river). A couple other people called as well. The flop came random undercards with two clubs. (Here we go with the clubs again). I thought to myself, let the suckout commence! At any rate, I bet it. One guy folded, the rest called. The turn came a blank, and this time Dorothy bet out. I called. Two more people folded. The river came a 3rd club, the King. Dorothy of course bets out, and I reluctantly called and said, "show me your clubs... " since he'd been catching flushes all day. He said, "I missed my draw," (the most popular phrase out of his mouth after calling junk all the way to the river). "All I have is a king."

All you have is a king. Well good for you. That beats my Queens.

Then I saw what he had: K5 offsuit.

OK. Let me think here. He was already in six bucks for the kill, and then called a raise with his K5. Maybe that's forgivable in the name of kill-blind defense. But he missed the flop completely! No pair, no draw, and someone was betting into him (namely, ME!)

I said - "Wow - King five??" He replied, "I had the flush draw!"

Insert Scooby noise here: "Huuuuhhhhhhhrr?"

"The flush draw?" I asked. "You've only got one club in your hand."

He said, "I flopped a club - it was a backdoor draw."

Scooby noise, accompanied by the desire to stick pencils in my eye.

"You called my flop bet with a backdoor draw to a FIVE HIGH flush??"

He replied, "Sure, I'll go fishing for one small bet. Plus I had a king!"

Commence beating my head against the wall.

"Nice hand," I said.

Oh, Dorothy. How you pissed me off with the fact that you weren't making dumb plays out of ignorance. You were making them out of calculated stupidity.

I was now down $30 or so. I should have left. Unfortunately, I had only 3 hands left till the blinds hit me, and I was now determined to win my money back from Dorothy.

Note to self: If you have to TRY to win, you aren't playing your A game. Go home immediately.

The next pot was a kill (Dorothy was on a rush, he was). I limped, he raised, I called (amongst others). Flop missed me, and I folded.

Repeat cycle.

Dorothy wins, kill pot resumes, I limp, he raises, I call (amongst others), flop misses me, and I fold.

There goes another $24. There was one more hand till my blind. I began stacking my chips to leave, and looked at my last hand. Jack seven of diamonds. I threw it away and got up from the table. I wished everyone a sincere sounding "good luck" (and didn't mean a single syllable of it) and left.

I cashed out down $60 for 3 3/4 hours of play.

I tried to look at the bright side: If I hadn't rebought after 2 hours, I'd be down a whole hundred. At least I was only down $60. That really didn't make me feel any better when I could have left UP forty bucks. Bad decision on my part.

I won't be heading to Trump on Sunday. I've got a bunch of work to do, and also have an early dinner to attend with family. My next trip will probably be Monday or Tuesday night after work.

I hope you all had a less frustrating weekend on the felt!

Friday, September 09, 2005


Usually I don't have to work on Fridays, but today I had to go in for a little bit to take some pictures of a portable nitrous tank for the dental clinic, and show one of the faculty how to put the pics into PowerPoint. It's an exciting life I lead, I know - but I sure was glad to see that the happy gas is still in use! I have great memories of that stuff as a kid. (I haven't been to the dentist in a LONG time, and I really should go... I have an orthodontic retainer on my bottom teeth that was supposed to come out a decade ago, and I still have my wisdom teeth...) Maybe they would give me the happy gas. Incentive!

Anyway... since work is half way to Trump, I decided to play cards this afternoon. There wasn't a whole lot going on there - but of course, at 2pm, most normal people are still at work.

I won a few pots early on, with good hands. I think I walked into a bit of a passive table, because when I raised up those first few hands preflop, I got some strange looks. That's OK. I'm not afraid to raise anymore :) LOL bring it on!

One of my first hands was pocket Jacks. I raised preflop from the big blind and got a few callers. The flop came all undercards, but 3 clubs. Gulp. I had no clubs. I bet! Call - call. Turn came another club. Mother $#*&#*##@@!. Well, what the hell. I bet. Mr. Aggresso regular guy disgustedly folds, and the tight guy to my right sighs and says, "I'm sure yours is bigger than mine..." W00t!! I muck and nodded... HA. Yeah. I've got a big one. BIG BALLS, THAT IS! Giggle!

Believe it or not, that same scenario happened TWICE more - where I had a good hand on the flop (TPTK once, and 2 pair once), and acted the role of the aggressor on the flop and when the turn came a 4th of a suit and I had no cards of that suit in my hand. Three times today, people layed hands down to me. Come to think of it, those 3 hands probably made up most of today's profits. Sometimes it pays to have the nuts - and not the proverbial poker kind.

I hit a straight flush today - unfortunately it was heads up and I got no action. It was pretty though, a low straight with the diamonds. They're a girl's best friend, you know. Sapphires look good next to them, but there's no suit of sapphires. Damn it.

We had a hand today that was SO close to a bad beat jackpot hand. It was ONE card off; one guy had a straight flush, and the other was drawing to a higher straight flush and missed by one card. The jackpot is only at $10k right now, but that would still be a good day! The way they do it at Trump, the loser of the hand gets half of the jackpot. The winner gets 25% and the rest of the table splits the remaining quarter of the jackpot. You need a minimum of Aces full of Tens, and both of your cards must play.

The bad beat was not to be, alas. It seems like all of the regulars there have tales of winning a jackpot at one time or another. I'd sure like to join that club!

Nothing else spectacular today... I played for 4 hours and left with $50 profit - about 2 big bets an hour. That's reasonable - we're only supposed to realistically expect 1 BB/hr, right? I'll take it - offsets yesterday's cold cards a bit.

I hope to get out to Trump once more this weekend. Baz is probably there right this minute! Good luck, Baz :)

Oh - I added Randy's contact info to the left column up there. IM or email him and harrass him to post more! hahaha. Love you, baby!

Thursday, September 08, 2005

I headed up to Trump after work last night, and was seated at the tightest 3/6 hold'em table I've ever seen in my life. Not only was it tight, but the monsters were out. In one shift, my friend Jose managed to deal a couple boats, a couple straights, some flushes, and quads - TWICE. Quad aces flopped once, and the quad sevens took until the turn to appear, if I'm not mistaken. It was crazy!

Too bad none of those monster hands were mine...

After about 2 1/2 hours, I was down $85. I decided to take my remaining $15 and get the funk out. Cut my losses and head home! I had no sense that the tides were going to turn....

I'll head back out there tomorrow after lunch and play some cards while Randy's at work. I have to go in to work for a little bit first... at least I'll have something to look forward to!

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Bill Rini is da man, posting some solid details about the WPBT Winter Classic, 2005.

Date: Dec 10th, 2005
Place: Imperial Palace Casino
Time: Shooting for around 10am’ish

Go visit Bill for the rest of the details.

I'd like to go, but I can only go for the weekend - like Fri to Sun - because that's final exams week where I teach, and I can't miss any work that week. Also, Randy can't get off work that weekend, so I'd have to go solo.

Any bloggers out there wanna share a room?

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Hello, all. Just got home from Trump. It was quite a poker weekend over here in Chi-town. Friday was a great day for me (as posted previously), and Sunday and Monday weren't bad, either. Poker is my labor of love right now, so in honor of Labor Day, I spent 20 hours or so in the poker room at Trump Indiana.

The thing with playing all this poker is that it all starts to run together... let's see how much of the weekend I can reconstruct.

I spent all day Saturday on the computer working on a PHP application (web programming) for work. Then, Scott (of the Diamond Games) was having his fantasy football draft, with poker to follow. Randy headed over there for the draft, and I lagged behind a bit, showing up later to play some cards. The game was NLHE - ring game - and I bought in for a hundred. Things were going OK for me, until my pocket Kings ran into Derek's trip ten's and I lost all but $25. I managed to win back a bit of it and cashed out down $35 on the night.

Sunday, Randy had to work, and there was word in the air that Baz might be headed up to Trump. I have yet to meet my fellow blogger, so I decided to have a daytime romp in the sack over at Trump. It was no afternoon delight, unfortunately. I initially thought I was going to have a kick ass day. When I arrived, a new 3/6 game started, and I was dealt the button for the first hand. Nice. I look down to see Q-T clubs, and wouldn't ya know - I flopped trip ten's and turned a full house on a hand whereby my opponent had hit his straight. I took down a beast of a pot on that first hand and thought it to be a sign from the poker gods. Unfortunately, that rush of luck didn't hold up for long.

I ran into a difficult situation on Sunday. There were 3 separate players at my table that were completely passive. They weren't tight - more like "any ace or face" types of players, but they would limp into every pot they played - even with top 5 hands. There was never any way to tell if they had a hand, because all they ever did was check-call. NEVER a raise, NEVER a bet. On one hand, I had AQ and raised it up preflop and one of the passives called (amongst others). When I flopped a queen I thought I was golden, with no other draws onboard. I was in early position, so I led out betting on each street. When we got to the river and the passive called me down, he turned over pocket aces. What?! OK... noted. The same thing happened to me 3 other times with those guys - once when I held pocket Jacks, once with Queens, and once with A9s when I flopped top pair nines on a raggedy board.

How do you play against those types? I mean - they were SO weak that there was never a peep out of any of them! Check, call, check, call. Never a raise, never a bet, and NEVER a check raise. I guess you just have to keep betting into them and hope your hand holds up. If they were tight-passives, at least I'd know not to take any non-nut-like hands down to the river with them, but they showed down plenty of wacky losing hands too. They definitely weren't selective in their starting hands. Tough to play against. There's just no information there to aid in deciding how to play a hand.

Considering the pots that I lost, and the bad timing of my monster hands to run into bigger monsters, I was very glad to leave the casino up $38. Hey - profit is profit. At least it made up for my losses at Scott's house the night before. (With gas up around $3.50/gallon, though, it sure didn't cover my gas money for the trip!)

I hadn't planned on going to the casino today, since Tuesday nights are going to be my night. This afternoon, I went out to lunch with my brother and his newly-pregnant wife (yay! I'm going to be an auntie!), her mom, my mom, and my gram. (Olive Garden - yum!!!!) While I was on my way to lunch, Randy called to let me know he was heading over to a friend's house after work. Hmmm.... sounds like the perfect time to hit the poker room to me! (I feel guilty going without Randy, but he's taking a bit of a break from poker and doing some reading. But still - I feel better going when I know he's doing something else or working, rather than sitting at home while I'm out gallivanting). The thing that made up my mind was that we ended up going to lunch at a restaurant that was coincidentally halfway between home and Trump. No brainer. Off to Trump I headed after lunch.

It was a late lunch... so I arrived at the casino around 6pm. I was immediately seated at a new game, and again I thought it was gonna be my day. I won the first THREE hands of the new table - one with a flush, one with AK suited when I hit a king on the flop, and one with the nut straight. The third was a kill pot. I was up a chunk of change immediately.

My end of the table had a bunch of older guys who were Trump regulars. One recognized me and became chatty, which surprised me because I had thought he was a bit grumpy from sitting with him once before - but again, it seems like there's a certain clique that you have to penetrate with these regulars before they open up to you. He turned out to be a nice guy. Chuck I think was his name. He seems like he could be a tough guy though, so I definitely won't be messing with him.

A little later another regular guy sat to my right - he knew Chuck and the lawyer guy that was to my left. I missed his name, but he was a friendly guy - chatting with me and comparing my playstyle to some other regular guy that I hadn't heard of.

As 9pm rolled around, the freaks started to come out of the woodwork. We got one guy at the table who looked like he'd been at the Cubs game that day - a bleacher bum, I'd guess, wearing his Cubs bucket hat, and a Hawaiian lei around his neck. He had a Wrigley Field t-shirt on, carpenter khaki shorts and flip flops, and nursed what looked like his hundredth Corona with lime. He was a character - loud, obnoxious, and just a bit drunk. At first I was amused by him, but when he started to get belligerent, berating players at the table for making "bad" calls, I was done with him. He would bluff at scary boards, and then show down 5 high and repeatedly and disgustedly ask his opponent (who called with a weaker hand than the scare hand, but a winning hand nonetheless), "How in the WORLD do you make that call? Tell me. Please. How do you make that call? Seriously. I want to know so I can learn to make calls like that." It's like... asshole - this is 3/6 hold'em, not the World Poker Tour. He made that call because he didn't believe you when you said you had the flush every time you bet out! You're a drunken buffoon - NOBODY here believes you! He eventually lost all of his money in a giant kill pot when his Kings ran into Aces (though a majority of his money vanished to various people at the table as a result of bad bluffs).

I did manage to scare him though - at one point, I overheard him saying to the guy next to him that I must only play the nuts, because I hadn't played a hand since he sat down at the table (all of twenty minutes had gone by). He then said, "Watch, I bet she'll fold her small blind, too." I had K6 of clubs, and would have folded - but I decided to see a flop with the hand, if only to prove him wrong. He'd been "putting people on hands" out loud since he sat down, and I thought it could be valuable to me later to show down a junk hand while he was watching. I ended up making a king high flush when 4 clubs came onboard, but thank goodness the guy who had the ace of clubs was totally passive and didn't raise my river bet. I had to show the hand, since I was the aggressor, but I caught a glance out of the corner of my eye of surfer Cubs dude, and indeed he was surprised to see my lackluster hand. Unfortunately, I never got a chance to use that little planted seed against him, and I wasn't in any more pots against him.

In a later hand, I held KT on the button and limped with it. I flopped a King, and not liking my kicker so much, I just called down the bets made by the player under the gun - a semi-loose aggressive player who had no problem betting 2nd pair down to the river. When he bet, he always had SOMETHING, but since he played so many hands (any ace, any face, any connectors with less than 2 gaps - suited or not, and suited cards), it was hard to put him on anything. At showdown, he produced K7 for top pair, but my ten kicker was good and I took the pot. Surfer Cubs dude then said to the guy next to him, "Man, just stay outta pots when that girl is in them - she wins no matter what!" All I could think was, damn it! Stop killing my action! Soon after he went broke and the table had some peace and quiet.

I probably should have left while things were good. I was up $180 or so at one point, and kept doing the "last orbit/stop loss" routine: I'll play this last orbit, and if I lose $40, I'm gone, or if I finish the orbit without winning another pot, I'm gone. Well, on orbit number 1 of that routine, I won another $20. On orbit #2, I hadn't won but hand't lost anything - shoulda left right there. I stayed on for one more orbit, and on my very last hand, I got pocket Aces in a kill pot. The betting was 6/12 for that round, and it ended up capped at $24 preflop with 4 players in the pot. Holy crap. This had "suckout" written all over it... The guy to my right who was in the big blind (the friendly regular who I'd been chatting with all night) had just endured a brutal beat when his aces got cracked, and he was steaming. He re-raised the action preflop, so I honestly had him on tilt and not on a monster hand. (Can't be any better than my aces, anyway).

The flop came a rainbow K-Q-4. Nice guy bet out, I raised, and one guy called. The other folded. The turn came a blank, but Nice guy was already cocked and loaded with chips. Hmm. He could have been raising with kings or queens and now has a set. I decided to proceed with caution and just called his turn bet. The other guy in the hand dropped out, and said something about not wanting to see aces on the board. Nice guy goes, "No aces? Why not?" and then I thought... I bet he's got Ace-King. The river brought another blank, and the potential straight was null and void. Nice guy bets, I call - and he turns over pocket 4's for the set. Fuck. I'm glad I was able to sense that I was beat, and didn't go raising the guy. I suppose I lost as little as I could in that hand - fifty bucks or so - but it was heartbreaking to lose that pot.

Then, the guy - who'd been so nice for the last four hours - turned into mega-jerk, celebrating his win and telling everybody at the table how he owned that pot and how it was someone else's turn to get cracked with aces. He probably didn't mean it personally, but holy hell - you don't have to be a total dick about it. He kept elbowing me as he flailed around pumping his fist and scooping his chips, and when he kicked me trying to move his chair back, it was all I could do not to flip out and sock him in the skull right there. Nope! Time for Shellmuth to get outta dodge before she loses all of her money back to these clowns!

I immediately put on my most pleasant of fake "that's poker" smiles, wished everybody goodnight and good luck, and filled up my racks of chips. Time to boil my head in a sense of humor. I got away from that table as quickly as I could and headed to the cashier's cage, angry as hell about how that guy behaved. Yeah, I was not happy to drop fifty bucks on my last hand, and yeah, that was a very sweet pot that I really would have liked to win, but jeez. That guy really was an asshole about beating me.

I tried to look at the bright side - I was cashing out with $100 profit, so for 5 hours of play, I made $20/hour or a little over 3 big bets per hour. That's good. I just can't get out of my head - even now! - man, ya didn't have to be such a dick about it.

I left around 11:30pm, and began the hour long trek back home. I cranked up some Nine Inch Nails on the iPod and screamed my head off for a good 30 miles or so before I finally exorcised enough of Shellmuth from my soul that I could regain some semblance of calm. Thanks to Trent Reznor, I was able to once again find my happy place, and drove the rest of the way home in peace and without incident.

And here I am... I have to work tomorrow (boooooo!) and will probably head up to Trump after work to take advantage of some of the drunk fishes. The daytime fishes aren't nearly as intoxicated, on average, and the evening fishes. Hopefully I can go suck out on some of them while they play all footloose and carefree under the influence of Sweet Mother Alcohol.

I hope everybody had a great weekend! :) Back to the grind...

Friday, September 02, 2005

Trips to Trump Casino, Indiana

(This post is solely for the purpose of collecting all of my Trump game links on one page, so I can post them as one link in my navigation column instead of making a huge long list...)

Wow! Today was Trump-o-Riffic!

First of all, I have a wonderful 4 day weekend going on here. I was off work today (Friday), and am off Monday for Labor Day, so for the first time in a few weeks since going back to work, I have a couple days to relax.

Today, Randy had to work and then planned to head to a fantasy football draft, so I figured to have the day and most of the evening to myself. For some odd reason, when Randy got up for work this morning at 8:30am (which is the ass-crack of dawn in my world), I sprung awake and couldn't for the life of me fall back to sleep. I hadn't even gotten my requisite 8 hours of zzz's!! Why fight it, though... I got out of bed and foraged around for some breakfast.

(Total Raisin Bran)

Once Randy left for work, I got on the computer and putz'd around the internet. I have no money left in Full Tilt, so I fired up my alternate form of pixelated heroin - Ultima Online. You see, the new expansion came out yesterday - Mondain's Legacy. Good stuff. I've been playing UO for almost 7 years now. Yes, I'm sick. I did a couple quests and checked out the new lands before getting pissed that I couldn't find any gazers to kill for one of my quests. I logged off.

Now what?


Why not, right? At this point, it was maybe noon-ish. Why the hell not. So I went. Over the river and through the woods, avoiding I-80 I go... I drove past work and grinned at the fact that for once, I could just keep on driving.

I got to Trump around 1:15pm and was seated immediately, thanks to my call-in. I decided to sit $3/6 limit hold'em, since I figured on being there for a while and I only had $200 total on me to wager. I never needed more than my original $100 buy-in.

The table seemed to be made up of mostly regulars. It was a pretty loose game, though, which surprised me. Many of the regulars seem to play like rocks - tight passive, and very predictable when they've got a hand. Some are more tricky, but those varieties of Trumpians weren't around today. It was mainly a 50+ crowd for the first few hours, and I was definitely the youngster at the table (and now that I think of it, the only female for quite a while as well).

It was a slow start. I had spent $40 and an hour and a half of my life before winning my first pot with AQ suited. I saw AQ a bunch of times today; it held up all but once, when a river flush took out my two pair. When I finally dragged that first pot, I could feel it in the air... I was going to have a good day.

I wouldn't say I was getting smacked with the lucky stick - not like the first couple times I went to Trump. I was playing tight and a little more aggressively than usual (I think I'm starting to feel a lot more comfortable playing live. I didn't consciously feel uncomfortable before, and was completely hooked on live poker after the June WPBT Vegas trip, but I can see in retrospect that I was playing a bit weak - calling too much and not betting or raising nearly enough). My good hands were hitting today, for the most part, and the ones that didn't weren't costing me a fortune. The board and the players were giving me enough information to enable me to get out of the way early and cut my losses.

Unlike my last 2 trips to Trump, I didn't lay down any winning hands. I stuck to my guns even the couple times I was getting bullied around, and ended up showing down the winning hands. I feel good about that. I just got this t-shirt that says, "Don't think of it as losing - think of it as getting beat by a girl." I would *never* wear it to a casino (it's for friendly prodding at my home games), but I'd really like to say that to some guys. If I was Dr. House like on TV, I'd say it. That guy says all the things that I only *think* about saying but don't have the balls to.

As the day wore on and evening approached, the average age of my table plummeted. A few twenty-something guys showed up with bells on, and they didn't come to fold. One was your typical LAG. Another was semi-loose but passive, and the third seemed to be a student of the game. He was always watching the action and paying attention, and seemed to be thinking really hard, but he was playing too many hands and taking them too far. He looked to be in his early twenties. Add ten years to him and I mighta thought he was cute - but cute or not, I took his chips all the same. Poor kid seemed to think that bets and raises actually mean something (other than acting as Trump Pot NutraSweet) at $3/6. In one hand, he raised it up preflop, and I was holding today's lucky hand, AQ (offsuit this time). 6 people came to the flop, including me in middle position. The flop came K-10-x, two clubs. OK - I assess the situation: I've got an overcard with a possibly good kicker (unless the kid's got AK or KK), a gutshot draw to the J, and a backdoor flush possibility to the nuts. After discounting my draw to the overcard, I figured I had a good 5 or 6 outs. There was $36 in the pot, and UTG bet out. 2nd to act called ($42 now). I figure I'm 20% or so to hit my hand, and the pot is giving me 14:1. No brainer. I call. Even if the kid raises (which he did), this pot is juicy - and if I can hit my straight or flush, I'm going to win a ton of chips. Turns out, 5 of the 6 of us came along to the turn for a raise. The turn put a 3rd club onboard. I could already be beat by a flush, but I have a draw to the nut flush and a draw to my straight. I'm seeing the river no matter what. This time, UTG checks, 2nd to act checks, I bet out, one player folds, and the kid just calls. UTG and UTG+1 both fold. It's now heads up between me and the kid. The river brings my glorious Jack. I'm very confident that the kid was unhappy to see 3 clubs out there. He doesn't have the flush. I bet out, and he raised me. I re-raised, and he sighs in frustration as he calls. As he went to flip his cards up, he said, "You have Ace Queen, don't you."

Yup. I did. He had KJ for top pair, and two pair on the river... poor kid.

The very next hand I ended up heads up with the kid again - and he was visibly frustrated as I kept betting into him. We split the pot, both holding KQ with a flopped King.

I just figured out who that kid reminded me of: Ben Affleck's little brother. What's his name? Casey? He looked quite a bit like Casey Affleck.

A little while later, a regular I'd seen before sat down across from me. She recognized me from last weekend, and started chatting. Eventually she introduced herself by name, and it was almost like being initiated into the little club of Trump regulars. Once she did that, a couple of the other guys who seemed to be regulars (knew the dealers by name) started chatting with me as well. It made me think that Mary was their ringleader. She's a little spitfire, that Mary gal. She reminds me of Shellmuth... when things don't go her way, she sure gets pissed! Complaining at the dealers, whipping her cards around in disgust. But when she's winning, she's just delightful. I think I've made great strides in containing Shellmuth's outburts, and I will continue to do so. It's not becoming at all to see someone acting that way at a poker table. I liked Mary though. She's a cool chick.

Other notable hands:

  • Pocket Aces held up twice for me today.
  • I had a suited hammer in the big blind, and as the dealer was laying the flop, I was chanting in my head, "Hammer power! Hammer power! Hammer power!" Sure enough, he flopped me a flush draw and completed in on the river. I took a nice little pot with that one.
  • The Hilton Sisters won me a small pot - I was so happy not to see them get cracked.
  • J7 of diamonds on the button in a kill pot flopped me a straight flush draw, and completed the measley regular straight on the river, which won me a very nice pot.
  • Pocket 4's, Pocket 5's, and Pocket 7's did absolutely nothing for me.
  • Saw AKo once - flopped nothing and had to get out of the way when action came knocking.
That's about all I can remember, hand-wise. Around 7:30pm I decided to set a stop-loss/go-home point. I would leave when either of these conditions became true: I lost 2 stacks of whites ($40), or 8:00pm hit on clock. I settled in for my last orbit. It turns out that instead of losing 2 stacks of whites, I picked up a couple more stacks, and when 8pm hit, I was leaving at a stop-win.

After 7 hours of play, I cashed out for $496 for a profit of $396. Add back in my tips from 3 bottles of water, and the tip I gave to the cashier in the cage, and I can call it an even $400 profit. Holy crap. Let's see... that's about $57/hour, or 9.52 BB/hour. Again - after a session that I don't think was particularly "lucky" - just not particularly UN-lucky, I'm thrilled at the results.

I wore a Flyers jersey to the casino today, just in case any area bloggers were around - though I don't think Baz was heading out till later tonight. I hear he's going to play there on Sunday - I might have to make a trip out while Randy's at work :)

Whew. What a day. I will sleep well tonight!

Thursday, September 01, 2005

I headed out to Trump this past Tuesday night after work. I think I'm going to try to make Tuesdays my regular night, since work is half way to Trump from home. Jose told me a great way to get to Trump to avoid all of the I-80 construction, and it was just the cat's ass.

I was all set to play $6/12, but when I called ahead, I was distracted by a confusing turn in the road and said $3/6 instead. (I should say, the phone distracted me from my ability to pay complete attention to my driving... ahem). So, whatever... it's frustrating late at night when the $6/12 table goes shorthanded anyway, so I was fine with $3/6. I had to wait a few minutes for a seat when I arrived, so I grabbed a fruit punch Gatorade from the nearby deli and had a seat. I caught up on reading a few poker blogs on my Blackberry while I waited. I'm so far behind in my reading. Bloglines has me at 170 unread poker blog postings right now. I swear I'll catch up this weekend. Work is still crazy.... should settle down a bit next week. Or the week after. Ayayayay.

I was seated in the 2s, to the right of a cool black guy named LSD, who I had seen before. I didn't recognize anybody else at the table. To my right, I had a gangster-rap guy who was rapping under his breath the whole time - quite the gambler, I discovered. The 3s was an unremarkable young Asian guy who was quite rock like. In the 4s, an impeccably dressed but trendy guy in a hip looking suit with a pink shirt underneath - but a trendy pink, not a girly pink. He had a bald shaved head, and expensive but classy looking rings on his fingers. He looked like he had money. I'm guessing he was pretty new to casino poker - his hands would shake like leaves any time he had a hand and was in a pot. Otherwise, his demeanor was calm. The remaining seats were somewhat merry-go-round-ish, and I don't remember much of who was in them, except for the 8s. The 8s was a kid - 21 or so - with glazed-over eyes, lids half closed from too much Corona with lime. LSD informed me when I sat down that the kid had already won 10 straights on his watch. (The kid corrected him - "it was only four!") I saw the kid take down 5 more straights in the time I was at the table. It was nutty. I also saw him lose back his entire monstrous stack before leaving - equally nutty.

The weather at the table was a bit harsh for me early on. I quickly saw my entire $100 stack swooped away to the felt within the first 45 minutes. Pocket Kings got rivered by a naked Ace. My king high flush with 2 diamonds in the pocket and 3 onboard lost a monster kill pot to the ace high flush, with 4 people calling bets to showdown. I once had a pair of 8's in the pocket, and bet a flop of A-A-4 with only 2 opponents (me being last to act). Both had called my preflop raise, and both called my flop bet. When the turn came an undercard, I bet out again, and lost one opponent. The river was another undercard, but of course by now I smelled a rat, and figured one of the two aces in the deck was in the hands of my lone remaining opponent. I checked behind him and said, "Show me your ace..." and he did... A3 offsuit, for a preflop raise. Nice hand. I made another bad laydown of the winning hand when I got to see a free flop from the big blind with K-4 suited. The flop came K-x-x, and I bet out as first to act. 2 callers. Turn came an undercard, putting two to the flush onboard. I bet out, got raised, and re-raised. It smelled like a goofy two pair to me - though I thought the first raiser could have been betting his flush draw, as I'd seen him do that before. No way my kicker was holding up here. I laid it down - and later found that in fact, the first raiser had been betting his flush draw, and the other guy had Jack high for a whole lot of nothing. My top pair kings with a shit kicker would have won the pot. Oh well. Considering the action, I think I still made the right play, but I really wish I had a fish-bluff-o-meter... Working on it.

With about $18 left in front of me, I had no sense of fear. No notion that I might have to rebuy. No feeling that I was about to make the long trek back home. I wasn't worried. I don't know why, but I knew I was just one good hand away from being right back in the game. I was very pleased with my patience and lack of anxiety with the short stack right then. None of my beats were irking me. They were in the past. I did very well to move on mentally after each hand and not dwell on the wins OR the losses.

In late position, I looked down to find 2-3 of clubs in my hand, and it was shouting, "Play me!" Sometimes goofy hands do that to me - not often, but occasionally. Maybe once per session. I've been trying to have the balls (proverbially speaking) to play them sometimes and test the ol' poker intuition. I know, many people consider intuition to be a load of crap, but I believe in it to an extent. I think faulty intuition is quite common, but I do believe it's possible in life to sometimes just "know" certain things. I had a feeling about this hand. So I raised it up preflop (if I'm going to play a baby drawing hand, might as well sweeten the pot and give myself some drawing odds, considering that preflop raises never discourage action in this game). Five players came to the flop, which was J-2-3. Excellent. There was a middle position bettor, a few callers, and I raised. We lost a player, and 4 came to the turn for a raise. It was an Ace. No flush draws out there. It checked around to me, and I bet my last $6 all in. 3 callers. River was a blank - no straights or flushes out there. There was no action on the last betting round (in my absence). Showdown - a pair of J's, and pair of Aces, and my two pair won the pot. All of a sudden, I've got 3+ stacks of white chips in front of me and I'm back in the game. I like it when my poker gut is right.

The rest of the night was more favorable. ATs hit trips for me with the ten's. Pocket ten's held up on a board of undercards - though I might have made a little more money on that hand if I wasn't so fearful of the pair of 4's on the board. A loose player was betting into me, and there were 2 callers ahead of me, so I just called it down. I had no other pocket pairs or big hands to speak of - just your random collection of top pair hands taking down small pots.

In the end, I made back my $100 buy-in plus $48, and got a free meal at the deli when I finally decided to sign up for my Trump player's card. I grabbed a couple hot dogs for the road (the plumpest hot dogs I've ever seen in my life - and quite tasty, to boot) and a free Gatorade, and headed home.

I played for about 4 hours, so that puts me at a profit of 8BB - so, 2BB/hour. Not exactly a windfall, but I'll take it! After the brutality of my first 45 minutes, I think I made a great comeback and was glad to leave a winner.

I'd like to go to Trump this weekend and pick off some of the Labor Day fishes, but Randy doesn't want to go. If I do go, I'll have to do it during the day while he's at work, because I haven't seen the boy too much this week (we've both been busy with work and other things), and I'd like to get some hang-out time in! We'll see what happens...

Hey - is anybody perchance going to be in Vegas the weekend of Oct 19-24? Randy and I will be :) Let me know if you'll be around!