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The Week(s) in Review

December 6, 2009

I’ve played a good amount of live poker in the past couple of weeks, though I haven’t really written anything about my sessions. That gets rectified – somewhat – right now.

Before heading back east for the Thanksgiving holiday, I played two sessions here in town. The first was the new Pokerati HA game at the Hard Rock. For those of you unfamiliar with HA, it’s simply alternating rotations of hold ’em and PLO. It was a fun game, featuring a lot of folks I see (or don’t) on a regular basis, including Michalski, F-Train, CK, Parvis and Jessie. I honestly don’t remember any of the hands, except from the one where I doubled up after making my full house against a nut-flush draw in PLO. I walked away from the game up about $700.

A couple of days later, I spent Saturday night at the $1-$2 game at the Venetian. Again, I don’t remember very many specific hands at this point, but that’s because there really weren’t any that were all that memorable. Still, I won a number of small and mid-size pots throughout the night and quietly turned my single $300 buy-in into $1,100 by the end of the night.

I celebrated my return to Vegas with another trip to the Pokerati game on Thursday night. The game started off slowly, with Michalski, me and Tom “Donkey Bomber” Snider playing about 30 minutes of Chinese before enough players arrived to kick off a short-handed table. Once we got going, we quickly secured a full table and had ourselves a fun time. The highlight of my night was bluffing Tom off of a $240 pot in PLO. (I hope he’s not reading this… oh wait, almost no one reads this.)

Again, I played very few large pots throughout the night, but consistently won more hands than I lost (which I like) and was, at the end of the night, up $700. Then came Friday night.

Feeling good after my HA session at the Hard Rock, I headed down to the Venetian for some $1-$2. With the rodeo in town for the week, I thought it would be a good night as the cowboys love to play loose and fast, resulting in lots of action and, oftentimes, profit. Strangely, the V was pretty quiet when I arrived and my first table was just painful. Slow, tight and boring. I put in for a table change as soon as possible, but still found myself down about $100 before I finally got moved to F-Train’s table.

My first two hands at the new table were more profitable than my first 90 minutes at the old one, as made Broadway with Q-10 from the big blind on my first hand and flopped TPTK with A-Q from the small. The profits didn’t last long and after rivered on my next hand, I was suddenly $100 in the red when a drinky CK arrived. Considering the action at the V wasn’t up to the usual Friday night standards, she, F-Train and I made the decision to pick up and head downtown to the Nugget.

None of us play the downtown rooms with any regularity, but they can be fun if you’re in the right mood or with the right group. In our case, we figured a lot of the rodeo money was probably sitting on the tables and that it could be a profitable move. We were half right.

Unlike most rooms on the Strip, there’s no max buy-in at the Nugget and at least three players had bought into the game for $1,000  each. I made my usual $300 buy-in and hoped to run it up. I got off to a rocky start, losing a little more than I was winning. I slowly bled off $100 before making most of the money back on one of my more entertaining hands in a while.

I had called a $4 straddle from the button with 3h-4h when the straddler moved all in for his last $21. When three other players called in front of me, I found myself priced into the pot and reluctantly made the call. The all black flop came 10-3-10 and action checked to me. Figuring the only way I could win the hand was by betting, I moved $45 into the center and quickly got two players to fold. Action moved to the British guy on my right who didn’t look pleased with my action.

He considered my play and debated a call, trying to get information from me by asking if I was on a draw. I did my best not to tip my hand and merely raised my eyebrows in a sort of “what do you think” manner. He finally, reluctantly, mucked his hand and the dealer put out bricks on both the turn and the river. I turned over my 3-4 for two pair and the all-in straddler flashed Ace high before mucking his cards. The Brit wasn’t pleased that I pushed him off his apparently better holdings and the end of the hand brought the following tweet from F-Train:

Random English guy to @jakatkin: “I play guys like you on Full Tilt every day.” #notacompliment

Sadly, that was the last decent pot I’d win for the night and, within the next 90 minutes, bled away $300 before leaving the game and finishing $400 in the red for the night.

Not one to be easily deterred, I returned to the Venetian again on Saturday and once again found myself seated with F-Train. Action was a little better than Friday, but still kind of slow. I bought in for $300 and slowly worked my stack into the black. Some of my key hands included limping with 6c-7c from the button and catching my gut-shot straight on the turn for a $50 pot against F-Train, cracking Aces when I flopped a set of 2s, and having Aces hold on both a paired and flushed board for another $200 pot.

Having won back most of Friday night’s losses, we decided to cross the street and check out the action at Caesars which is another room that we don’t play often. After spending a few hours there last night, I remember why.

While it’s certainly big and comfortable, it isn’t all that attractive. Coupled with the fact that the room wasn’t even half full on Saturday night, you feel like you’re playing in a warehouse or airplane hangar. Another thing I dislike about Caesars is that instead of $1-$2, they spread $1-$3. While this doesn’t make a difference in the overall size of the game, it does $2 chips into play, making it more difficult keep track of chip stacks. It’s a small difference, but it’s annoying.

Speaking of annoying, F-Train quickly went on dealer tilt at Caesars. It started with a young blond dealer who thought his time in the box meant it was time for him to practice his comedy routine. While I managed to drown him out, he got under F-Train’s skin. The next dealer didn’t help things when Dave was obviously preparing to muck his hand to an all-in river bet and showed his cards (pocket 7s) to me before laying them down. The dealer thought we were colluding (I wasn’t involved in the action) and his comments put Dave on edge.

Then came dealer #3 and the hand that ended our night. To anyone paying attention, it was obvious that Dave and I are friends and were having a good time shooting the shit while trying to take each other’s money. So, when Dave raised to $12 from UTG and action folded back to me in the big blind, I decided to defend with Ah-6d. The flop came 2-A-2 with two clubs, and I check-called for $20. The turn and river brought blanks and we both checked the hand down. Dave announced two pair and showed pocket Queens, while I turned over my crappy hand for Aces up.

“Fuck! Why can’t I ever fucking beat you” Dave exclaimed before mucking. We both laughed, but the dealer wasn’t so amused, giving Dave a warning for dropping the F-bomb at the table. And that was the beginning of the end. “Fuck that,” Dave responded. “We’re just joking around.” The dealer didn’t want to hear it though, and called the floor who reiterated the warning that “improper language would not be tolerated.”

After a brief exchange of words, Dave decided the best course of action was to pick up and head out. I followed suit and, just like that, nearly $900 left the table. Our actions quickly prompted another player to pick up behind us and follow us to the cage where he too complained about the dealer’s reaction to our hand.

Leaving the Caesars game was no great loss as far as I was concerned and I can’t see myself heading back there anytime soon – aside from the WPBT tournament next Saturday where hopefully I’ll defend – and improve on – my fourth-place finish from last year’s event.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Tom Schneider permalink
    December 12, 2009 5:03 pm

    First of all it’s Schneider. 2nd, how do you know you bluffed me? You probably had the best hand. I rarely make big laydowns, but if you did bluff me, bad idea to disclose via this heavily read blog.

    It was fun playing with you. I will seek revenge.

    http://twitter.com/donkeybomber

  2. katkin permalink*
    December 12, 2009 7:06 pm

    Sorry for the typo Tom. My bad.

    As for the bluff… I know I had shit. I can only assume you had better shit than me. Guess we’ll never know for sure, but I’m very likely to pay you back – with interest – the next time we play.

    And thanks for tuning in to this little corner of the web. I think you’re reader #3.

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