Monday, August 25, 2003

Monday, August 25, 2003

I have never had very good results playing cash games at the Luxor in Las Vegas. I really am not sure why. There is a good mix of newbies, rocks, loose retirees, young guns and fish, but for whatever reason, my results have been less than stellar.

About two months ago when I was in Vegas getting ready to go house hunting, I swung by the Luxor for their noon tourney.

In the pre-WPT days, the Luxor had a 29 max player hold'em freezeout. As poker has exploded, they are now allowing many more players.

The setup is turbo style. It is LHE for the first hour. The blinds move from 10/15 to 15/25, 25/50 and 50/100 within the first hour. Since we are given such limited starting chips (250 for $25 and an additional dealers add-on of 50 chips for $3), fast play is absolutely necessary.

After the first hour, play turns to NLHE.

I arrived rather early, and thank God for that, because they were sold out in record time. Most of the competition was young and male. Lots of them were sporting caps and dark glasses, but looked clearly nervous and I guessed for most of them it was their first live tourney.

I was lucky enough to receive several premium starting hands early. I even had two Group I hands. I rammed and jammed the pot and got off to a good lead. Most of the players were very loose/passive calling stations. My pocket aces had 4 callers, two of whom called the river bet.

One woman folded her big blind every round, although the dealer tried to stop her. She also had the misfortune of playing at the same table as her husband, and they gave away valuable information as the hands progressed.

Our table was the first to break and my second table wasn't nearly as juicy, but I still made a few well-placed steals and stayed ahead of the doubling stakes.

Within an hour I was at the final table. We squeezed in 11 players. They announced that the final seven would be paid (ouch), making the hourly rate not so hot. I think in the old days the Luxor only paid the top 3 or 4, so I was pretty shocked when they announced that it would be seven.

With a short stack, I survived several all-in's. The blinds became 800/1600 in no time at all (they were still doubling every 15 minutes). The cost per round was so high compared to the total number of chips on the table that I knew the game was becoming a crapshoot.

Fortunately, players had no idea that if they just stayed out of the fray for a round or two, they could get into the money. Instead, several players would go all-in during any given hand, leaving one player deep and knocking others out.

I passed every hand except premium hands or steals while in late position and the first in. I never, ever limp or raise a small amount in these turbo style tourneys, it is all-in or pass.

Before long, we were down to 7. Several players found themselves shocked at having been the chip leader in one hand, and just a couple hands later, being out of the money. It certainly happens when the blinds are so high compared to the total number of chips.

My last all-in was when we were down to five. I had managed to hang on by a chip and a chair while others busted out. I shoved my last precious chips into the middle with a decent shorthanded hand, to be called by a better hand left to act, and IGHN.

My prize money was only double my buy-in (ouch), but it was still fun, and sharpened my fast playing skills.

Next to come...Luxor Freezouts Revisited!