Thursday, 22 November 2012

Vegas close out with the Patriots

I returned to Binnions to play again as promised with my American retired friends today in the $100 freezeout. We only had 10 runners due to it being Thanksgiving, but still oceans of play due to the deep structure. I figure the oldies love it because they can spend their entire afternoon for $100 fishing with all kinds of hole cards that take their fancy.

I started very quickly again, moving up to 40k with Aces, top set and quads, but the juggernaut was soon derailed.

I raised to 1k with JJ and next to act shoved for 14k (!). I figured he has either AK or a smaller pair and didn’t want me betting him off post flop, so I called and was happy to see 66. He got his set unfortunately and that lost me tons of momentum.

With about 12 big blinds, I raised to 3k with AQ and the BB called and we see a flop of Q92. His Q9 saw the end of my tournament.

I messed up betting $500 of my poker winnings on the Patriots with a 7 point handicap as I thought the game was in the afternoon. At half time (in the evening) they were 35-3 up against the Jets, so I now have to hop downtown in the morning before my flight to collect my $1,000 assuming there is no miraculous Jets comeback. Good problem to have I suppose.

A good trip comes to a close. I am up on tournaments, cashgames and incredibly sports betting. Off to Aquaknox for a final hurrah.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

My inner old man

We went down to Binnions today to play the $100 freezeout featuring 20 runners and a 30 minute clock starting at 25-50(!) Binnions is amazing – proper old Las Vegas with not an internet hoodie in sight.

Unfortunately I start off playing like an old man, loose passive, as I get embroiled in a 2 hour chat with the old timers about British manufacturing, Jaguars and the war.

At 400/800 someone raises to 2k and I put my 11k stack in with QQ to find I am against KK. Two Queens later and I am back to slightly above starting stack for the final table, so I resolve to make the best of this good fortune by making a fist of it.

Things kick off when I play 55 multiway and the flop arrives 566. Someone decides to shove 25k into a 10k pot with JQ and I am up and running.

Once the antes kick in, I really get in the zone, opening 3 or 4 hands an orbit to min raises and hitting some cards when needed. Before I know it I am sitting on a mountain of about 250k chips and massive chip leader with 5 left. I don’t think there has been a single tournament when I haven’t been top 3 or so in chips at some stage (Bellagio event apart).

I get through one massive bluff against the other big stack on a four diamond board getting him to lay down a big pair, and after that it is a cruise.

3 handed, the other two older guys want to go to dinner and offer me 1st place while they will chop the rest, on the condition I come back and play with them tomorrow. I feel a bit bad so give them $60 off the top and walk away with $740.

One of them says “you’re an absolute gentleman to play with – most young guys are idiots”

Guess my old man status is revoked.  Binnions it is again tomorrow for the final day.

Vanishing Act

We went to see David Copperfield yesterday, which was very entertaining. As seems usual, I was selected to go up on stage, and he made me vanish and appear at the back of the auditorium which was pretty cool.


I managed a 2 hour cash game in the MGM before hand on an easy table and won $350. Everyone limped, and everyone folded to a raise preflop, so after about an hour I had two huge piles of the $1 chips. In a game like this you have to be able to fold top pair if the opponent leads the betting because if you lose a $200 pot it isn’t coming back in a hurry.

Thankfully when my opponents’ curiosity was piqued, I hit 77 holding 57 and 99 holding K9 to win big pots against top pair.

Today we are going to play the deepstack Binnions tournament for a change of scenery.

Monday, 19 November 2012

Spa and Sinatra's

I woke up today feeling pretty pokered out so took a break.  We had a 2 hour massage, plus sauna, steamroom and hot tub which was great, and we are heading to Sinatra's tonight for dinner where we went last year with Mike.

I imagine I'll be good to go again tomorrow, but as the time starts to run out (we have 3 nights left after today) I find myself keener to make sure I try all the restaurants I had on the hit list rather than get tied up in an 8 hour tournament so we will see. 

Checking the records I am level for cash and $16 down for tournies, so a complete non event from a P&L perspective but it has been fun.

Somehow I no longer crave the 10 days of non stop poker action I used to - I think the cash games are certainly worse with a lot of grinders about, although the tournament structures have generally improved. The flip side is that entering these tournaments can play havoc with your evening reservation plans.

Next few days of posts may be low on poker tournament, but perhaps I'll get a second wind.  Looking forward to the home game we have scheduled after I get back.  Those cash games play somewhat different to what is on offer - both harder and more volatile.

Mandalay Bay and Excaliber

On Sunday we went to RM Seafood at Mandalay Bay for lunch which was excellent.  A huge chilled Alaskan King Crab with mayonnaise and washed down with a bottle of Condrieu.

After that I tried to get a seat in the Luxor cash game, but it was full and nobody was moving as they were there for the NFL touchdown promotions, so I headed to Excaliber next door.

I sat in the cash game for about 45 mins and quickly won $250.  The standard was the worse I have come across - not sure what value there is playing cash at the Wynn to be honest with all the younger tricky players there.  At Excaliber everyone limped preflop and then played passively post flop.  I started raising preflop and taking the pots down with a couple of bets, usually on the turn, and folding if they ever led the betting.  Fortunately after 30 mins of doing this I started picking up some hands but I don't think I had to show down a single hand during the quick session in any case.

For a bit of fun before dinner I jumped into the 5pm tournament which featured the quickest structure I have ever seen.  15 minute levels with a 6k starting stack and levels:

100-200
200-400
400-800
800-1600
1500-3000
3000-6000
6000-12000

There were 20 players so after an hour and a half the entire tournament had 10 big blinds!  The play was characterised by people folding when they shouldn't.  One gentleman had a 4k stack at 1500/3000 and managed to fold in the BB to a single raiser.

Four spots paid, and with four of us remaining there were two micro stacks and myself and a Mexican guy with about 90k of the chips.  He had me covered though.  Then he raised my BB, I found Aces and shoved and he called with KQ.  Just as I was considering the near certainty of winning the $450 first prize a couple of Queens arrived on the flop and I was eliminated for a prize of $85.

We jumped in a cab to Planet Hollywood to play the 7pm before dinner at Japonais.  I started like a train in this one getting to 12k by the first break.  Two major hands - I called down 3 bullets from an internet player with 99 on J425J and then turning the nuts in a multiway pot and re-raising and then overbetting river which was called down.

I was then bluffed by an 85 year old (!) who made me convince myself to fold AJ on As9s2d to a check raise shove on the flop.  He showed a spade draw.

That left me with 8k at 300-600, and after someone raised to 2k I shoved with 99.  This genius gave it some thought before calling off 80% of his stack with 8hTh.  He rivered a ten to bust me.  Hmm - ran bad in tournaments today.

We finished off with robata grilled Hamachi and chilled sake at the Mirage's Japonais before heading to bed.  Today we have a spa and dinner at Sinatra's, so I'll try and squeeze in a Flamingo cash session I think during the day.



Saturday, 17 November 2012

$25k Saturday guaranteed at the Wynn

I had a deep run in the Wynn 25k guaranteed $200 buy in today, which had a $7k first prize and paid 10 spots. Unfortunately I made perhaps a rash move to bust in 16th place when I had a top five chip stack.

Don’t have time to blog many hands, but I quickly swept up to 30k from the 10k starting stack, before having two interesting hands against a Norwegian.

He had been re-raising from the button every time I raised, so I decided to make a stand. I raised to 1400 at 300/600 with JQ and he made it 4k as usual. I made it 10k and he called which left me a bit confused as to what he had. The flop arrived all rags, and it was brown pants time as I shoved for 20k to continue the AA story and he eventually passed.

A few levels later I was up to 60k, and raised to 3k with QQ at 600/1200 level. He made it 9k and I raised to 20k. He again called in position and when I shoved the AT3 flop he called off his stack with QT to boost me all the way to 100k.

I was also the victim of a weird ruling early on. I raised to 500 as 100/200 with some garbage and a lady in seat 1, who I couldn’t see, called. The blinds passed and the dealer swept me the pot so I mucked and picked up the chips. However since she had live cards she was awarded the pot. Hmmm.

Things were a bit of a rollercoaster until the exit hand as I moved between 140k and 60k, and had 110k when the bust out happened.

I had moved table and chip leader old guy raises to 8k UTG at 800/1600. Next to act flat called, so it seemed a decent spot to shove 110k with AQ as there was already over 20k in the pot with the antes.

Old guy thinks for ages and looks a bit upset but eventually calls and other guy passes. He has KK and I lose. Probably spewy given I had no reads, but I don’t feel too bad about it. I still have 30% chance to win as long as he doesn’t have Aces and if he is giving serious consideration to folding KK then I have already won.

Friday, 16 November 2012

Up and running

I woke up this morning with a significant hangover, so myself and Shazbo decided to just play the 10am and 2pm $50 Treasure Island tournaments as opposed to anything more ambitious. They have plenty of play in the first hour, but after the break go into turbo mode with most players having stacks of ten big blinds or less.

Treasure Island have also moved their poker room and it is much nicer than the boxy one they had previously, although still small by Vegas standards.

I started slowly in the 10am tournament of 18 runners, not getting far above starting stack. However, just after the break Shazbo decided to deceitfully limp KK against my big blind, and get it all in on the 997 board which coincided nicely with my 9d6s to bust herself.

That got me going, and I made the final table with an average stack of about 12k. After the second break, the blinds were 500/1000 and first hand back I find AA in the BB and the small blind has JJ to give me one of the biggest stacks. We soon made the money with three of us left and we chopped the prize pool to win $250 each.

The second tournament had a much bigger field of 30 runners and paid 5 spots. I again started slowly before cold decking Shazbo yet again. At 50/100 there were 4 limpers into my BB so I checked without looking.

Flop was JJ7 and when Shazbo started betting I looked and was happy to see 77 in the hole which got me a full double up against Shazbo’s JT. Luckily Shaz had already busted someone to have some chips left and recovered to make the final table, despite much general moaning at my luck.

I moved to a new table at 400/800 with a 7k stack. An active player raised to 3000 and I shoved with AJ and he called off with 4d5d. I flopped a flush draw but I survived to mover to 14k. I then won a few more blinds and busted someone else AK v 66 to get to the next break with about 28k and well above average.

The next significant hand involved a Chinese player who had raised my BB from the button 3 times in a row with me folding. The next time he did it I put him all in with A6 and he decided he had priced himself in to call with 8cTc and he was eliminated. This took me to the final table with 40k and probably the chip leader.

Blinds were now 500/1000 and player started falling pretty quickly, including Shazbo unfortunately. Just when it was all looking rosy, at 2k/4k blinds a lady shoved for 25k a shorter stack called it off and I re-shoved with AcKc. He also had AK and lady’s 33 held up to win a massive pot and leave me with 4 big blinds.

Very next hand I tilt call a shove with KsQs and one of the blinds shoves behind. I think I am dead, but it is KQ v JJ v 66 and I flop a King to get back to 45k.

5 handed and in the money goes on for ages with blinds going back and forth before the woman from the 33 hand goes on a spree and busts everyone else. We are left heads up but she has a massive chip lead, and soon after I move in K8 and lose to A2. Oh well – second place pays $350 so I am up $500 for the day on tournaments and it is good for the confidence to get on the board.

Off to Twist tonight which is a restaurant we haven’t tried, and is supposed to be excellent, although French cuisine isn’t my favorite.