I woke up on time for my 9:40 am flight out of Chicago on Friday morning. The only problem was that I couldn’t hear out of my right ear. It was totally clogged and I knew that wouldn’t be a good thing for flying. I tried to use some ear cleaner stuff that an audiologist friend of mine gave me a while ago and all that did was give me a driving headache and a touch of vertigo. We were not off to a good start. My wife recommended I try using hydrogen peroxide which helped the vertigo go away, but I still couldn’t hear out of my right ear and a still had a pounding headache. After going through this whole fiasco, I was running late leaving to catch my plane.
My plan was to catch the L to get to the airport. I briefly entertained the idea of just calling a cab to take me to the airport, but a traffic report convinced me that taking the expressway there was just not a good idea. Looking at the clock, I figured I would still be able to make it to the airport on time, but breakfast would have to be in the form of honey-roasted peanuts on board the plane. I was still 25 minutes from downtown when my buddy, Adam, texted that he was boarding the train to the airport, which was on the other side of downtown. I told him I was about 15 minutes behind him. I stretched the truth a little on that one. The train that I was on decided that it wanted to have a ‘go slower’ contest with an old lady in a rascal and won that contest easily. I got to the airport as Adam texted that they were beginning to board. I hadn’t even gone through the security line yet. I talked my way to the front of the security line by saying that I was about to miss my plane (why don’t I just do that every time?) and got to put my bag through the x-ray machine. Of course, they wanted to re-examine it for some reason that was totally unknown to me. When they were re-scanning the bag, some genius decided to put his giant roller bag on top of one of the bins that go through the conveyor belt and it got stuck. AAAAARRRGGGGHH! So I finally got through the security line and I was literally the last person to get on my plane.
The flight was pretty uneventful. Adam and I played Chinese poker for $1 a point. I went from being up by as much as 6 points to being stuck 10 by the time we landed. Beat.
We landed and got in the ridiculously long cab line to go to Harrah’s, where we were staying. Luckily it wasn’t too hot, ~85 degrees, so the wait wasn’t bad. I paid for the cab, to make up for my losses in Chinese. We got checked in and headed over to the Venetian to play.
We put our names on the list and headed over to Grande Lux for lunch. I had a Max Burger, which was really good and a Stella. The burger was too big for me to finish. Adam had some pasta dish. He’s a vegetarian. He said it was good.
We finished lunch and went over to the poker room. I was seated in a 2/5NL game and Adam was seated in a 1/2NL game immediately when we got there. The line up at my table was pretty unremarkable. I was sitting in seat 6. There was a rockfish regular to my immediate left, in seat 7. She was really tight and would bet when she had a hand. She wasn’t very tricky post-flop so I liked having her to my left. There was a tourist from California in seat 8. He was pretty observant, but failed to act on his observations. If he took advantage of the things he saw, he could have been a headache, but he didn’t, so he really wasn’t a problem. There was a Canadian from Quebec in seat 9. He was pretty aggressive and liked to play big pots. He didn’t seem to have much idea about what to do when he was played back at, so my plan was to come over the top of him with a wider range of holdings than I would with a more conservative or trickier player. Seat 10 was a short-stacked tourist who didn’t have much of a clue. Seat 1 was a local kid who it seemed had just stepped up from 1/2NL. He tended to bet too light to get people out of pots and hated calling bets more than $100. The other players were unremarkable enough that I really don’t remember them.
I played a few interesting hands during this session. The first one came up a couple of hours in. I had worked my stack up from my $500 buy-in to about $750. I had just come from taking a walk in time to buy the button. I got Jd-5c in first position. There are three limpers to me and I check it through. Before the flop, I tell the dealer ‘I need a very special flop out of you’. The flop comes down 6-8-2 rainbow. I check. The Quebecois in early position leads at the pot for $20. The action folds back to me. I don’t give him credit for much of a hand so I check raise to $85. He flat calls the $85. At that point I put him on the straight draw or maybe having an 8. Turn is a 6 putting a flush draw on board. I lead at the pot for $145. The Quebecois thinks for a minute before mucking. I tip the dealer a redbird for giving me my very particular flop. Another player surmises that I had 6-8 for a BB special. I say nothing to deny that. ;).
The very next hand I am on the button. The blinds are posted and the Quebecois straddles, as he’d been doing for most of the afternoon. I had raised his straddle to $45 twice previously. Once taking it down before the flop and once taking it down with a flop bet. Both of my previous raises were pretty light. I could tell that he was getting tired of my raising his straddle. ‘So why straddle, then?’ You might ask. I would ask the same question, but Quebecois didn’t seem to get this. Anyway, there are two middle position callers to me and I have Qc-Qs on the button. I raise to $45 again. The local rock flat calls the $45 out of the SB. BB eyes me suspiciously, then folds. Quebecois raises to $245 straight. The action folds back to me. I am not too worried about the SB, because if she had AA or KK she likely would have raised me to keep from having to play the hand multi-way out of position against two aggro opponents. Quebecois had a pretty wide range in my mind. I re-raised all-in. He was visibly upset by the four-bet. He thought about it for a while then muttered something about me having aces and folded. He wasn’t too interested in calling my raises after that. The rest of the session was pretty routine. I wound up +$745 for the session.
Adam is from Michigan and went to the sports book to watch game 7 of the Stanley cup finals. After the game he came back and told me that he was going to get back on a 1/2 NL table. I told him to text me if there was a seat on his table and I’d cash out and play with him. There was a seat, so I sold all except for two stacks of my chips to a couple of incoming players and I went to hang out at Adam’s table.
The 1/2NL table that Adam and I were on was pretty soft. I was in seat 6. Adam was in seat 7. There was a older woman in seat 8 who all but told me that she didn’t want to play pots with me. There was a typical young guy in seat 9. He knew the rules of the game and had obviously played 1/2NL before, but he was not tricky or creative. Seat 10 was a buddy of seat 9 who may have been playing in a casino for the first time ever. He and seat 9 had a few inappropriate conversations during the play of hands when 10 was in and 9 was not. They got called on it and it ended. I don’t think it was truly malicious, but it was still pretty far out of line. Seat 1 was a tourist with terrible teeth and a strong southern accent. He had been getting hit by the deck, but he was pretty bad. Seat 2 was a young guy who was sitting on a short stack and seemed really reluctant to call any reasonable sized bet regardless of the size of the pot. Seat 3 was a drunk young guy who was overbetting every pot. He was funny, but he had a terrible habit of slow-rolling. Again, I don’t think he was being a douche on purpose, but he was still being a douche. He was one of my primary targets. Seat 4 was a young French kid who was a pretty good player. He was the big stack at the table and I knew that he was one of my best chances to double through. He was good enough that I knew I could set him up for multi-street bluffs and other more subtle moves. Seat 5 was an unremarkable tight (for 1/2NL) kid who overplayed his draws. He was the second stack at the table and my second target.
There were a few interesting hands at this table.
I wound up busting the drunk when he limped his KK before the flop. I raised with to $10 AcTc after his limp. There was one intervening caller (seat 1). He re-raised all in for around $105 more. I could tell that seat 1 had lost all interest in the pot. I called. I rivered a straight to beat his rivered set of kings. I still like my call against his range.
A second interesting hand occurred between me and Frenchy. Frenchy raised to $14 from MP. He had about a $450 stack. I called from the cutoff with 5c-7c. I had about a $350 stack. There was one other caller from the blinds. We took the flop 3-handed. Flop came down (Jd-2c-4d). BB checked to Frenchy, who led at the pot for $27. I called the flop with the intention of taking the pot from him on the turn with any diamond, over-card, or board-pairing 5 or 7. EP folded. Turn was the 8d, which was a great card for me. Frenchy led at the pot for $40. I raised to $145 and took the pot down. I was pretty impressed with Frenchy’s play overall and in that hand, especially. I really liked his lead at the turn. He didn’t know that I was capable of raising the third diamond without the flush. I think he wins that pot at most 1/2NL tables. Adam and I talked after and Adam agreed that he almost always wins that pot with his turn bet; most 1/2NL players just don’t have that raise in their arsenal.
Last interesting hand came a little later. I was in the BB with 2d-2c. There was one person who had posted a missed blind. There were a bunch of limpers and I checked my option. I think we took the flop 6-handed. The flop came down 2d-9c-Qd. I led at the flop for $10. Seat one raised to $30. I put him on a Q and thought I might be able to stack him off. Seat 5 flat called the $30. His check call of a bet and a raise had flush draw written all over it. I felt like if he’d cold-call the bet and raise, he’d go for the whole ride. I raised to $135 with the intention of sticking the rest of it in on the turn as long as no heart fell. Seat 1 was convinced that I flopped two pair and folded. Seat 5 shoved for another ~$185. I called. He showed 9d-4d and made his flush on the river. He played that hand so badly in so many ways that it really made me sad for him. When he left a few hands later it made me sad for me.
I rebought and played a few more unremarkable hands. I finished the session down about $120.
I had been tweeting with AVPers Minton, AlaskaGal, and Mrs. Lederer who told me that they were at the karaoke bar at IP. Adam and I headed over to meet them. Also ran into AVPers Pauly_D, and PiJuice, Pokermuffin (Later).
After meeting the crew at IP, Minton suggested heading to Bill’s for .50/1NL. Sure. Why not? The game was fun. We had basically a private table. Only one non-AVPer sat down and he lasted about 3 hands. There were a few interesting hands . First hand of the session I was dealt Qs-Qh UTG and raised to $6. I got 2 callers, including Minton. Flop was Q-high with 2 clubs. I bet $12. Minton called. I didn’t think he was on a flush draw or I would have expected a raise or fold, given that he bought in short-stacked for $60. Turn 8c. I bet $20. Minton shoved. I insta-called. River Xc. Minton shows me Ts-Tc for the rivered flush to snap off my set of queens. I re-loaded.
Pauly_D held over me for the entire session. Whenever we were in a pot together, I bet, he raise, I fold, he show me a superior hand. This has to be qualified by the fact that I was in around 60% of the pots. My range was just slightly wider than when I’m in a 2/5NL game.
Final hand AVPer, zzJitterzz, had was at the table. I called his pre-flop raise with Ad-3d. Flop is 3-4-X with two diamonds. I bet. He raise. I shove. He call. His KK holds up. Game was about to break anyway so I cashed out Down $145 at .50/1NL. It was around 4:00am and I was exhausted.
Called it a night. Report on Saturday to come…