Tuesday, October 07, 2003

Is it already winter in the cardroom?

After such a "hot" tourney week, I froze into Siberia. I knew it would happen. No one can get 4th, 1st, and 1st in a row, and expect to keep making the money every tourney, much less winning it. So I have gone into hypothermia.

Last Thursday, in the Omaha 8 tourney, Glenn did get 2nd place (go Glenn), but I was out of the money. Ditto on Friday. This Monday (October 6) brought us another hold'em tourney and I was out right after the first break, doh! Glenn made it to the 2nd table.

Cash games, however, have been excellent.

We have been playing the highest limits that the Colorado Belle offers. Usually that means 10/20 with a 1/2 kill on the weekends, and 5/10 with a full kill during the weeks, when we cross our fingers and pray to get it going.

The first time I played the "big" game (10/20), I was shocked that it played like a 1/2 game, or maybe the pink game at the Trop. At least 7 players saw every flop, and most of the time more! Raises were almost mandatory, with capping every round frequently. Not too surprisingly, was seeing hands like 74o called to the river.

Glenn and I bought in for three stacks ($300) with another $300 tucked under our chips. I played ultra-tight and watched the table. Some players were truly horrid. They played badly before the flop and afterwards. I gradually picked out the players who "looked" like fish, on the surface, but acted anything except. Sure, their starting hands were sub par, and they didn't hesitate to call four bets cold before the flop, but after the flop, their play became superb. They were tricky and wiley, adding to their stacks slowly, but steadily.

Since we had joined the game late, and I knew that it would be a short session, I played incredibly tight and just relied on a couple of big scores to leave with an increased stack. I doubled myself up, and got out of Dodge when I was too tired to play anymore. Glenn was a little down for the session, but nothing to be concerned with.

The game was so juicy that I knew I would play it whenever I got the chance.

A couple of weeks went by while we were in Vegas waiting for our Arizona house to settle. We didn't get to play in the "big" game. The next time the game got going was on Saturday, September 27, 2003. We arrived "early," or so we thought (about 5pm), only to find out that the big game had started before noon!

The cardroom "catch" for this game is that they give out tickets when one sits down to play. Then, every time someone initiates a kill pot, they get an additional ticket. Every hour, all players get an additional ticket. Starting at 8pm, they have an hourly drawing for a stack ($100). I guess this gets the locals out early, to build up as many tickets as possible before 8pm. It also makes the locals play a lot looser than normal, to accumulate more tickets.

Glenn and I sat down at about 5pm that day. I watched the table for the first hour, playing ultra-conservatively. None of the previous locals were there, as it was much earlier than the last time we'd played. This game was much more tricky than before. My first tactic was to play ultra-aggresively. I promptly got all of my premium hands outdrawn. A flopped flush would catch runner-runner for a full-house. I had a ton of bad beat stories, none of which I will repeat, as I'm sure you've had your fair share :)

The problem with my aggressive play was that I was vulnerable in every way. The tricky locals knew exactly what I had, and knew what they needed to outdraw me. They paid attention and watched me like hawks. So my wins were pitiful, while my losses were enormous. The second problem was that the real fish never watched a thing and just called, called, called with losing hands, which somehow managed to outdraw me the majority of the time.

There was a husband/wife duo at the table who were from California and very wealthy. They both just continued to buy-in for a rack at a time ($500) no matter how much they lost. The wife was losing, but the husband went on a rush and built up about $1500 chips during the course of his play. One of the locals, Troy, who is a very good player, told me later that in the years that couple has been coming to play in the "big" game, he has never seen the husband walk away a winner. This proved to be the exception, and helped attribute to the downfall of *me.* The fish ate the shark, so to speak.

I found myself down about $700-800 before I could blink. Fortunately, the game was so juicy that I could never leave, lol. I kept buying in for more, never going all-in (why do people do that to themselves???). Over the course of the next five hours, I slowly dug myself out of the hole to end about -$350. I didn't manage to win any of the drawings, but luckily, the husband/wife duo won them all, so contributed the money back to the table. That is always a good thing. I have heard that the "donators" will be spending two consecutive months in Laughlin this winter and always playing the biggest stakes offered. Ah, there is a God! LOL.

We got the 10/20 game going again last Saturday, October 4, 2003. I was told it started at 9:45am, but Glenn and I didn't arrive until a little after noon. There was just one seat available, which Glenn gave to me, graciously. My buy-in was the same.

Troy, the good player whom I mentioned earlier, was back in the nine seat, and stuck. A few other crafty locals I've gotten to know, took most of the other seats. The main fish was in the seven seat. Other fish came and went, losing a rack or two before giving up.

The thing I have learned about this game is that outplaying the fish is always a piece of cake. They will outdraw me on occasion, but they are my biggest donators. The locals, however, are tricky. They aren't the best poker players in the world, but they have enough "sneak" in them to outplay me, at times, and definitely not to give me much of their money.

I promptly lost about $300. I regrouped and tried a better tactic. I out-snuck the sneaks, lol. I made money mostly from the fish, but the locals started caving. Troy wasn't outfoxing me anymore. He purposely stayed out of my way, as I did his, and mostly refused to mix it up with me, without anything save a premium hand.

RC was winning most of the money. RC was in the two seat. He was seated when I arrived at the game, and still there when I left, shortly after midnight. RC is a decent local who got bumped out of the hold'em tournament I posted about when his big slick met my AQo and I flopped two queens. He has never let me forget that ;)

Like me, RC is a diabetic who doesn't make very good decisions when his sugar is low. He was doing well all day on Saturday. At one point he was up to about $1700, but was back down to $1500 when I left the game. RC is not the best player, but he is an "aware" player and doesn't make the same mistakes over and over again. This was the first time I'd had RC in any of my cash games. I learned to let him take chances with marginally profitable hands against other players, then take a small part of his stack when I was the clear favorite. He let me check-raise him a couple of times, then backed off. I had to get more sneaky. I would check on the flop, bet on the turn and sometimes get a bet out of him. Then I would revert to betting on the flop, checking the turn. I kept varying my play against RC, because he would only let me outsneak him once or twice with a certain play before he adapted and refused to let me have any of his chips. This fencing continued for about 11 hours.

Lenny is a crusty old local who thinks he is gruff and mean, but really has a very soft center that I can open. We like to spar back and forth every day. He lets me insult him, and vice versa, in a very gruff sounding, but friendly way. He seems to "want" everyone to hate and loathe him (they do), but I see a different Lenny. He is great to me, in the way he knows how to be great. He is one of the wiley old foxes. He calls me too much when he knows he is beat, and sometimes I do the same. Last night he was in the bb and I was in the sb. I had AT, which I could not raise at this particular table. I let him see a free flop, which brought A22. I bet, he called. We were head's up. The turn brought a blank. I bet, he raised, grrrr. I knew he had the deuce, but I paid him anyway. Sometimes he falls into my traps, as well, and let me check-raise him last night on the turn, yet still paid me off on the river. Lenny likes to tell me, and the rest of the table, when I make a bad move. He also likes to "pretend" that he can get a tell on me. It's hilarious. He knows it's all BS, but we have a fun time playing the game. Lenny, Lenny, gotta love him. He really is a teddy bear.

Do you remember this guy I told you about when I played the monthly championship? We were at the final table, and he was shortstacked. He went all-in with JTs. I called from the BB, as the only player still in the pot, with K8o. I hit an eight, but he got runner-runner for a straight. Later he went up against 3 all-in's and lost, with a very marginal hand. He has since told me what a bad play that was (I agree). I knocked him out of the monthly tourney when he went all-in with KTo vs. my AJo. He is a decent player, but in playing the big game with him, I have found that he plays a bit contrary to the table dynamics. He bluffs too much, and not just one player, but sometimes many. He takes too many unwarranted stabs at the pot. He is aggressive, which is always good, but he will only buy in for a small amount, and never rebuy, no matter what. He will run up his buy-in to $500, $1000, etc, but will just burn it all off, until he goes all-in, then leaves the table. I never can understand this philosophy.

Last Saturday, I left the big game a little after midnight. I even managed to win one of the drawings!

I was up about $1000 when I left. Once I regrouped after the first big string of losses, I never had to pull more hundreds out from under my stack. My gameplan became more sneaky. I came from behind a lot. I tried to portray a timid/tight image, then pounced when I was able. I switched up my play quite a bit against the locals, but played very straightforwardly against the fish, extracting the maximum value from my hands, while minimizing my losses with a myriad of Sklansky tricks.

Glenn was about $700 up at one point. He lost $200 and decided to leave the game up $500. Glenn is going through a phase of playing a little scared. His comments run along the lines of "stop-loss," and "quitting while I'm ahead." Glenn cannot take the swings of this limit very well. He just isn't "there" yet.

Chris, a young 30/60 Bellagio player who lives in Bullhead City, says that the locals are fascinated with me. They have never seen a "girl" play quite like me, and can't figure me out. They are constantly talking about me, and trying to dissect my game, which is tough, because I am constantly switching things up. He thinks I am the most hilarious thing to happen to the Colorado Belle in a long time.

So I am grinding it now. Not my favorite thing to do, as I'll take tournaments all day, every day, over a cash game. It is, however, very profitable, and naturally a learning experience.

Good luck at the tables!!