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Scenes from the Venetian

February 28, 2009

This was going to be a much more detailed post, but after a 14-hour session yesterday, I honestly don’t remember half the stuff I wanted to mention. So it goes.

Still, I spent almost 20 of the last 48 hours at what has somehow become my default casino (I’m not sure how that happened), and there was certainly some entertainment to be found during my time on the Strip.

My long weekend started Thursday afternoon when I headed down to meet CK for some relaxation after the completion of her Nevada bar exam. All was well and good, except that she blew me off in favor of sleep. Why someone would be tired after taking a three-day exam is beyond me, but whatever, I let her slide. I was also supposed to be meeting my buddy Chris who was flying in from LA for a weekend of poker debauchery, so I grabbed a seat in a $1-$2 game to pass some time.

That was expensive.

I don’t know what was going on with me, but I had another session where I just couldn’t get a hand to hold up, no matter what. I got rivered at least four times, got coolered a few others, and just burned through a buy-in without ever getting into positive territory. So I did what I usually do in those situations – headed for the blackjack tables.

Again, I got off to a rocky start, but after awhile of play, the shoe turned around and banked a solid profit – half of which I gave to Hughes upon his eventual arrival to pay off a loan from a bad night at the Wynn about six weeks ago. After dinner with a bunch of Hughes’ french poker buddies, we returned to the Venetian poker room while they hit up the Wynn for some much needed sleep.

My shitty session continued, and by the time we wandered out at about 1AM, I was down $600 on the day.

Walking out to the parking lot, we spotted just about the ugliest car ever – a pink (chartreuse?) Mini with a custom license plate reading “Godless”. Since our friend Drew uses the Godless moniker – and we used to joke about pink Minis when I worked as a dealer – a picture was required. While Hughes pulled out his iPhone, two women exited the elevator and approached to see what we were up to. Being friendly, we pointed out the hideous ride and it’s custom plate only to hear one of the funniest responses ever: “That’s horrible. It offends my good Catholic hooker sensibilities.”

Really, what can you say to that?

After confirming we weren’t in the market for their services, we walked away, but not before one of them handed me her business card for future reference. Marketing at its best.

The ugly pink Mini

The ugly pink Mini



I had been planing on returning to the Venetian to meet CK for the noon tournament on Friday, but by the time I got to bed at 4AM, that just wasn’t going to happen. Instead, I showed up at around 1:30 and took a seat in another $1-$2 game while CK spent her birthday in the donkament. This session started out better, though I was up and down, winning and losing a number of big pots throughout the day.

My worst beat occurred against a luck-box Asian guy who had been running hotter than the sun. We had pretty well stayed out of each other’s way for most of the session, and each had relatively large stacks when we finally tangled. I raised UTG with A-K spades and he called. I checked the Ace-high flop and then check-raised his $30 bet on the flop up to $85. He snapped called. When the 10c hit the turn, he shoved for $205 into an approximately $200 pot. Even thought I had a gut feeling he had just hit his hand, I was too priced in not to call, and shipped him the pot when his Ace-10 stood up on the river. Sick.

The hand cost me most of my profit for the session, but I somehow managed to shake it off and slowly rebuild some of my stack over the next couple of orbits. Then, I got the rest back from CK who had joined the table after bubbling the money in her tournament.

I raised in early position with pocket Kings and CK called with Ace-9 of clubs. All the money went in when she flopped top pair and the nut flush draw, and my hand held. Busted. On her birthday. Ouch. So I did the only thing I could, aside from giving her her money back. I took her to dinner at the noodle house.

After the much needed hour break, we headed back to the poker room for another session, grabbing seats at a brand new $1-$2 game, which was as nutty as any I’ve ever seen. The table was essentially broken in half, with the 1 through 5 seats either being complete maniacs or inexperienced rocks. The 6 through 10 seats were, in general, more experienced and more aggressive players. I held seat 6 and CK was seated in 7.

The guy on her left was obviously a local grinder prone to tilting. A blaster who would fire at everything – with nothing – especially after he had lost a pot or two. I took two good size pots off him early on when I hit top pair with my Ace-King and then later, when I turned the nut flush on him and shoved over the top of him on the river.

He settled down for awhile after that before going on uber-mega-tilt later on when CK called him down with a lowly pair of 3s on an Ace-King board, and took down the monsterpotten. I’m not sure I could have made the call there, but she trusted her read and went with it. She did that with me later on to chop a pot when I limped into a pot with Ace-4 of crubs. I hit top pair and the nut flush draw, and bet every street. I missed my flush, and CK called me down with Ace-5. Since neither of our kickers played, we chopped it up and moved on from there. Another amazing call though.

But while CK and I could pretty well tell how players on our end of the table were acting, we were completely mystified by the other end of the table. Especially the 1 and 2 seats.

The 1 seat was a crazy Asian guy who loved to min-raise with any two cards and who would often call down with hands like King-2 off-suit. It was impossible to put him on a range and he ended up playing a number of large pots because of his unpredictability. I had taken a few hands when I re-raised him with solid hands either pre-flop or post-flop, when he did something that completely baffled me. I raised to $13 in early position with pocket 9s and the action folded to the crazian, who promptly re-raised me to $100. WTF? That was well outside of his usual min-raise range and it completely threw me for a loop. I very well could have been ahead there, and I debated making the call, but decided to fold because I didn’t want to face a scary board if I missed the flop.

I still have no idea of what he was holding in the hand and am not sure if I made the right lay down or not. I know it was the safe play, I’m just not sure it was the profitable one.

Speaking of profitable – or unprofitable – I had my Aces cracked twice during the session. The first time wasn’t so bad it only cost me $81 when I called the short stack’s all-in pre-flop bet. I was way ahead when he turned up Kings, and way behind when he caught trips on the turn. Oh well. It happens.

The second time I got cracked though. That hurt. I was in a hand with Mr. Unpredictable Newbie in the 2 seat who played any two cards and hit with almost everything. I popped the action to $15 pre-flop and he called from the big blind with Q-7 off-suit. When the flop came 7-7-10, I turned to CK and told her I was going to get tilty if I lost. I bet $25 on the flop. He called. I bet $50 on the turn. He thought for a second, and then called. I bet $100 on the river. He tanked a little longer, and called. I tabled two pair. He showed trips. Ugh! Bye-bye $200.

The game continued like that for awhile, with people playing ridiculous hands on crazy boards. I can’t count how many times the flop fell with paired 7s (at least 10) or flopped flushes or straight flush draws. It was nuts. I did manage to take advantage of this on occasion though, when I managed to get paid off on the three or four times I flopped a monster hand.

Speaking of monsters, I hit quads twice during the session. The first time was when I was holding pocket 5s in the big blind. Mr. Blaster Guy in the 8 seat raised to 12 and four other people called before the action got to me. I made the easy call and flopped my set on a board of Kd-5d-Ac. I bet and got called by Mr. Blaster and the crazian in seat 1. The turn was gorgeous, as the case 5 hit the board. I checked, hoping one of the other two players would take a shot. They didn’t. The river was a blank, and I fired out a small value bet that neither player called. Still, I was happy enough to show quads as I scooped in the $100 or so from the middle of the table.

I hit quads again at the end of my session when I limped into the pot from the small blind with 9-10 off-suit. The flop came 9-8-9 and I checked called my way through the flop and the turn. We were heads-up by the time we reached the river and the final 9 hit the table. I thought about the best way to try and maximize my profit here, and finally led out for $30 into a $100 pot. The villain in the hand with me thought for a second, and shoved for another $50 or so. I insta-called.

“If you’ve got four 9s, you win.” He tabled his full house and I showed my 9. Sorry dude.

By the time I finally walked away from the table at about 4AM, I was up more than $1,150 for the day, which more than recouped my losses from the day before. And, as I wrote this after a solid 7 hours of sleep, I got a text message from CK who is still at the table.

And I thought I was degenerate.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Marc permalink
    March 2, 2009 2:57 am

    Great stuff, Jon. Congrats.

    Today, I taught my 7 year old how to play. The kid is a maniac, playing any two cards. But after about 15 minutes, we were in a hand. I fired off a bet and he said, “You’ve got the king, don’t you?” and folded. He was right. The kid is either a prodigy or I’m way too predictable. Probably both.

  2. katkin permalink*
    March 2, 2009 3:31 am

    Thanks Marc. I was tempted to play again last night, but instead ended up at a night club with a bunch of folks. I remember now why those were never really my scene.

    It’s nice to hear there’s another generation of players getting started. I’m trying to convince my math prodigy nephew that he can pay for college by playing, not that my sister really wants him to start down that road.

  3. Marc permalink
    March 3, 2009 7:29 pm

    That’s funny. When anyone has asked me why I’m teaching him to play, my response has been, “Someone has to pay for Stanford.”

    FYI – If you can’t tell, I really enjoy the blog. If you’re as good a poker player as you are a writer, you can pay for your nephew’s college.

  4. March 10, 2009 6:10 pm

    So, uh, retardedly I hadn’t linked you in my previous posts. Getting fixed now (thanks to a reminder from F-Train that you had a blog).

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