Saturday, December 22, 2007

Oh Sweet Jebus He's Really Posting About Poker for Once

It's true. An actual post about actual poker.

So things went downhill quickly the last part of the recent Vegas trip, as I managed to dump a couple of buy-ins at $2/5 NL and went 0-3 in the tournies I played, finishing 8th, 8th, and 9th in the Caesar's tournies, with top 6/top 7 paying. Mmm, bubblicious...

But it was fun to play live poker again, and I couldn't help but remember a certain fondness for poker in my heart, especially live tournament poker. I tend to get a bit burned out playing online tourneys, feeling like I'm on auto-pilot, but playing live adds a welcome element of thought to the proceedings.

I'm still amazed at the table coach phenomenon, and the inability of some people to simply keep their mouths shut. I mean, I get it, but it's just weird, especially when the situation directly refutes 95% of what you have to say. If you drag yourself out for a juice-riffic $90 + $30 tournament at the ungodly hour of 11 PM that won't finish up until 4 or 5 in the morning, don't even try to pretend that you're going to "play all the major WPT and WSOP tournaments next year". Espcially when you can't get away from hands like KJs facing a raise and a re-raise all-in before you act.

I did have an interesting hand or two, though, that I'm still not sure about, that Coach gave me a hard time for thirty minutes or so (and might have been right about). We were down to about 30 players, with top 6 spots paying, and UTG (directly to my right) pushed all-in for less, something like 275 chips. Blinds were 150/300, with a 25 ante.

So there's nearly 1,000 in the pot and I look down to find 10 10 in UTG+1. I've got about 4,500 chips, but blinds are set to go up to 200/400 with a 50 ante next hand. The structure in these is super fast so there's some pressure to make something happen.

I actually pondered for quite awhile, as my first impulse was simply to call, seeing as I'm in early position, UTG is all-in for less, odds of everyone checking it down who calls pre-flop is high to try to knock him out, yada yada yada.

But there's also nearly 1,000 in the pot, and that's not an insignificant amount to potentially add to my stack. With UTG about to blind out next hand, he seemed more disgusted when he threw in his chips as opposed to strong, and I was pretty sure I was ahead of him. While calling would increase the chances he'd get bounced out (as far as letting in at least the BB to take a crack at him), my own odds of winning the not-insignificant pot would drop pretty drastically.

But if I raise to try to take the pot down, what do I raise to? If I raise enough to pot-commit myself I'm very likely only getting called or re-raised by a hand that I'm way behind, which defeats the purpose of intentionally pot-committing myself.

So I ended up raising to 1,500 (and insta-folding if someone came over the top of me) and Coach immediately blew up and started lecturing me about providing him protection, that that was the stupidest raise he'd ever seen, yada yada yada. He also debated calling himself but finally folded. Everyone else folded, UTG rolled over Q9, and turned a Q to stay alive. Coach exploded when a K hit the river, as he claimed to have K10s, and wouldn't stop talking about what an idiot I was, that the gained equity from knocking out UTG was much greater that what was in the pot, etc.

I just kept my mouth shut, as arguing with an idiot is pretty idiotic, but at the time I was pretty certain he was wrong. The more I think about it, though, the more I wonder. The chance to increase my stack by nearly 20% seemed more valuable at the time than eliminating a player with 30 remaining, but that was just my gut talking, and my gut can be an idiot at times.

The funny part is exactly the same thing happened about 2 hours later, with the same exact player going all-in for less from UTG for his last 600 chips. It folded around to me in the SB (we'd been moved to a new table) and I had QQ. Blinds were something like 400/800 now, with a 100 ante, I had about 30,000 in chips, though, and there were 12 players left. Gut said that was an easy call, and I did, and the BB and I checked it down and my queens held up to knock UTG out. Coach was long busted by then, so I didn't get to show off what a quick learner I was.

The other funny hand was from Coach Junior, who was at the same starting table in that tournament. Young guy, very much a balla wanna-be, wearing a Full Tilt hat and letting everyone know about silly prop bets with his friends, such as someone paying him $10,000 if he grew out his scraggly goatee to a foot in length. He wasn't terrible but he immediately assumed the wingman role for Coach, and insisted on calling everyone's hands, showing off his mad poker skillz.

I'd donked off about half my stack early on and was down to 2,500 or so when three limpers came in before me with blinds of 150/300 and I went ahead and shoved with AKs. It folded to Coach Junior in the BB, and he went into the tank, reading my soul, and he finally called. All the limpers got out of the way and I flipped over my hand. He did a double fist pump, banged the table, and screamed "I READ YOU PERFECTLY! THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT I PUT YOU ON!"

So I'm assuming he's going to turn over a mid/big pair of some sort and that we were off to the races. That is, until he turns over 5c 7c. Mmkay. And the fact that I flopped a K and won the pot only seemed to reinforce his call, as he kept saying "THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT I PUT YOU ON!", even as the dealer pushed me the pot.

Nice read, sir, nice read...

Friday, December 14, 2007

The Bellagio is a Decent Enough Place to Stay, I Guess

It always amazes me how quickly I lose track of what day it is when working these tournaments for the blog. The combo of being in a casino and working long days is pretty deadly, as far as wiping out any normal sense at all of what day it is, what time it is, etc. It's easy enough to tell when it's Friday, though, as that's when suddenly the pace is jammed, with people coming out of the woodwork, as opposed to the relative calm of the day before.

Things have gone smoothly so far and, other than missing my wife and zoo at home, it's been a great trip and a nice break from all of the never-ending house renovations and rehab work. My heater at massively -EV dumb casino games continues, as I wandered down early yesterday morning to play a little $2/5 NL at the Bellagio poker room before the tournament started, got on the waiting list, and grabbed a coffee at the nearby bar. I plunked some cash in the video poker machine, got my coffee, and realized that it was a $1 machine, which is a bit rich for my nickle and diming (well, quartering) video poker play. So I played a few hands of Double Bonus Jacks or Better, bemoaned the fact that my coffee had actually cost me $25, then hit quad 3s for a payout of about +$400. Sweet.

Added about $250 to that from playing poker for a few hours. Nothing real exciting, as I won a nice pot with AJc on a J high flop, with little blanks coming on the river and turn, and a fairly solid player calling my 2/3 pot bets all the way to the river, where I finally checked behind him fearing some monster, but he mucked what I assume was a weaker J. I also won a nice pot out of the BB with A9 on a Q 9 9 flop, that I slowplayed and got a call on the river with an overbet when another fairly solid player looked me up.

The best -EV action was at the slot bank right next to the tournament area (which is out on the main casino floor due to Fontana Room renovations). One of our players was near the rail there, so I spent many hours listening to the Monopoly Big Event bonus feature blaring on the community slots there, and finally got sucked into playing. Channeling my anti-Grubby mojo, I ended up +$350 on the day, playing off and on here and there during dead spots in the action, which isn't too bad for a silly nickle slots action.

We managed to get three of the five players through to Day 2, which ain't bad given the stength of the field. It'll be interesting to see what Phil Ivey does with his mountain of chips after Day 1, as he tends to play these things pretty fast, with little concern about busting out, so he'll likely have an uber-mountain of chips at the end of today or be donking it up in Bobby's Room.

Hoping to play a bit more poker this trip, but it's hard to squeeze time in on these working trips. Early mornings are usually the best time for me to play, but the games aren't always that juicy, unless you catch the drunks and degenerates still up from the night before. I'm here through next Wednesday, though, so hopefully I'll get in some hands at some point or another.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Commodore Casino

The following is a paid review for Commodore Casino:

Commodore Casino is a newer entrant into the world of online casinos, and they offer all of the standard fare that action junkies come to expect in their online casino of choice, including casino games online such as blackjack, baccarat, video poker, and slots.

They also offer more table and lottery games, as well as their virtual horse racing game 3D Gold Cup Horse Racing, where you not only can bet on the ponies but watch the race play out in front of you in 3D. While screaming at your horse to get off its lazy ass doesn’t, in fact, seem to result in him running any faster, it at least lets you blow off a little steam.

As far as the software itself, it’s quick enough and fairly clean and intuitive, with no glaring weaknesses or jaw-dropping perks. Again, pretty standard fare as far as online casinos go and you should expect a pretty standard casino experience (minus the hot cocktail waitresses in skimpy outfits bringing you free drinks).

They don't allow US or Canadian customers to wager for real money, but do serve virtually every other country out there, and offer all the popular deposit options such as Neteller, Moneybookers, EcoCard, bank wire, and Visa and Mastercard. They claim to have support staff on hand that cover all the major languages and their main site is translated into 12 different languages, for maximum appeal to the international crowd.