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A Long Slog to Nowhere

February 22, 2009

It was a quiet Saturday in Vegas. My planed trip to LA was postponed, and I didn’t have much to do, which meant just one thing. Poker.

I hadn’t hit the Hard Rock for awhile, mostly because the room hasn’t been getting much action, but I figured I’d swing by and see what if anything was going on. I was pleasantly surprised to find about 12 tables running, and happily bought into an empty seat at a $1/$2 game for the table maximum of $300. That was my high water mark of the session.

The table was pretty good – a bunch of young aggressive guys showing down some pretty ugly hands. My problem was that I couldn’t pick up anything even remotely worth playing. The dealer kept feeding me a steady stream of 9-2, Q-3, and the like for the entire session. I think I did see one pocket pair, and won the pot when everyone else folded to me before the flop. Yay! The few “playable” hands I did pick up all went south somewhere along the way and, after about two hours of self-inflicted torture, I had pissed my buy-in away.

Not wanting to leave yet, I wandered over to the pits and took a seat at a $15 blackjack table. Again, not my smartest move. I dropped $50 in the first shoe – not bad – and then made a small profit by the end of the second shoe. The third shoe, however, was my undoing and within 15 hands, my $200 buy-in belonged to someone else.

For those of you keeping track, that brings the total to Hard Rock $500, Jon $0.

Being a glutton for punishment, I decided the only smart thing to do was to try my luck somewhere else, so I jumped in the car and made the short drive over to the Venetian where I again bought my way into a $1/$2 game for the table maximum of $300.

This game was a little more solid than the Hard Rock, aside from the two drunk frat boys in seats 2 and 3 who were raising every hand, singing horribly off-key, buying shots for the table and generally being loud and obnoxious. I kind of liked them right away, especially since they were sitting on a combined roll of about $1,100. By the end of the night, they would lose it all, along with another $500.

I again played pretty tight for the few first orbits until my first big pot of the night came up. Having played nothing much more than my blinds for about 40 minutes, I decided to raise from UTG with Ace-10 of hearts. I popped the pot up to a reasonable $10, and the older man on my left min-raised me to $20. The rest of the table folded and I called.

The flop came King-10-3, all diamonds. I didn’t love it, but I’d picked up middle pair and figured I could steal the pot with a bet. I led out for $30 and the villain thought for a few seconds before again min-raising me to $60. Since I hate being min-raised, I made the call. The turn brought a blank – the 7 of spades, and I decided to keep representing my hand, so I led out for another $65. This time, the villain went into the tank for awhile, finally asking if I’d show if he folded. Being uncharacteristically nice, I said sure, and he proceeded to make the call. That’s what I get for being nice.

The river brought the 3 of clubs, putting a pair on the board. Figuring the villain had missed his draw and that I could only win the pot by betting again, I shoved for my last $140. Villain again went into the tank for about 20 seconds before finally mucking pocket Aces face up, including the Ace of diamonds. Shit, I didn’t put him on that. I showed him my Ace-10 and scooped up the chips.

My next big hand came about an orbit later when I picked up my own pair of pocket Aces. Frat boy number 2 raised to $13 pre-flop and I quickly re-popped him up to $45. The rest of the table folded and he made the call, even as his buddy accurately called out my hand. The flop came Queen high with two clubs frat boy led out for $50. I re-raised to $120, which was enough to put him all-in by that point and he made the call. When the board ran out blanks I tabled my Aces to bust him for the first time that night. He claimed to have had Ace-Queen with a flush draw. I’m guessing he wasn’t really that strong, but if he was, I’m happy he didn’t hit.

Having added about $300 to my stack since buying in, the next big hand came up after frat boy returned from the ATM. Now sitting in the 8 seat, he raised to $7 pre-flop and got two callers, including a young blonde woman who had taken his spot in the 3 seat. With Ace-3 of hearts on the button, I made the call and flopped a monster: Ace of clubs, 2 of hearts, 5 of hearts. Top pair with the nut flush draw and a gut shot straight flush draw.

Frat boy led out for $25, one player folded, and the blonde and I both called. The turn brought the 10 of hearts and frat boy pushed all in for about $140. The blonde called all-in for her last $90 and I happily called them both. The river was a blank and frat boy turned over Jack-7 of hearts, while the blonde turned over the King-9 of hearts. They both almost cried when I tabled my Ace-high flush and took the pot.

With that win, I had successfully recouped everything I lost over at the Hard Rock – and a little more. I continued to play for awhile longer, winning and losing a few pots here an there until it was suddenly 3AM. Looking down at my stack, I hadn’t moved much and was sitting with $810 on the table. Deciding that I wasn’t really going to do much better, I pocketed my $10 profit and called it a night for a whopping profit of $1/hr.

As my friend Sue said, it’s better than losing. But not much.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Marc permalink
    February 23, 2009 5:53 pm

    Congrats for clawing your way back.

  2. katkin permalink*
    February 23, 2009 8:22 pm

    Thanks, and it’s nice to see that you’ve been reading regularly. You’re one of the few.

    It may not have been a profitable night, but it was a lesson learned. Skip the Hard Rock. That Venetian game was beatable for a lot more money if I hadn’t started to fade at about 3AM.

    Are you going to be out this way any time? Or back in NY? It looks like I’m heading to the Ardsley area for a few days in May.

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