Thursday, April 23, 2009

Shamus in Vegas: Episode 4 -- I Just Want to See What You Have

Gold Coast Casino, Las Vegas, NVGot over to the Gold Coast about quarter to two Thursday afternoon. There were two tables going, a full $2/$4 limit hold’em table and a half-full $1/$2 no-limit one. When I asked, I was told a list was forming for another LHE table, with two players already there and a couple more on the way. Was a little suspicious of the wishful-sounding talk of players “on the way” (who calls ahead for $2/$4 LHE?), but put my name on the list anyway and grabbed a copy of Poker Player Newspaper.

Some time passed, and eventually I was sitting at a table with the two other waiting players. A dealer came over and we mutually decided to go ahead and start playing a bit. To be honest, I was a little disappointed in myself for not just leaving, as I knew I didn’t want to be playing much three-handed LHE. But I talked myself into sticking around. There’d be no rake for pots under $10 and only a single big blind. And were those two people over there coming to join the game? Okay, whatever. Deal ’em up.

My two opponents were only buying in for $50, so I just took $60 (rather than $100, as I’d normally do). We drew for the button, and an African American fellow who looked about thirty sitting across the table (which was my left) got it. That meant the player to his left, a twenty-something dude with dirty blonde hair who would soon be ordering drinks almost as frequently as he played hands, put in the lone blind. First hand I was dealt QsTc and I raised. The button folded, and Captain-and-Coke called. A queen would flop, and I’d end up getting a couple of bets out of the Captain. Good start.

Players began filling the seats between us, and I’d win a few more pots, usually without showing down. Would get AcKh and after a couple of players limped I raised and we saw a flop five-handed. Flop came AdQc9d, checked to me and I bet, and two players stayed. The turn was the Js. Didn’t like that much, and liked it even less when the drinker led out. I called, and the other player folded. Captain-and-Coke started talking. “Who’s got the king-ten?” he asked. The river was the 4h. He looked at me and asked his question again, then after lingering a little longer made the bet. I knew I was beat, but called anyway. “You two pair?” I asked. Yep. He turned over Jc9s.

I was back to nearly even, but never would fall much below my starting stack. Had another hand in which I was dealt ace-jack in late position and raised, getting a couple of callers. The flop came J-7-4, and when I bet only the fellow in the big blind called. The turn was innocuous-looking deuce, and he check-called me again. The river was an eight, I believe. He checked, I bet again. He shrugged and said “I just want to see what you have” -- sort of what I had been thinking in that A-K hand just before. It is usually a good thing to hear someone else say that as they call you, I’d say. I quickly showed my jack and he mucked.

Eventually a lady would take the seat to my immediate right and start chattering to me and everyone else. She seemed mostly to be referring to the cards, but I noticed pretty quickly that her comments didn’t always seem to match up perfectly with what was actually going on. Her play didn’t make a lot of sense, either. She was doing a lot of calling to the river, then folding, then asking her neighbors what the board was afterwards.

Anyhow, I was dealt Td6d in the small blind and watched as pretty much everyone limped in, including the lady who had the button. With 13-to-1 odds or whatever it was, I gladly completed, the big blind checked, and the flop came Tc8d4d. I bet my top pair and flush draw, and most everyone stuck around. The turn was the Jh. I checked, and the rest of the table also checked to the lady who bet the four dollars. It was plain she had the jack, but the pot was also plainly big enough to stick around so I called, as did one other player. The river was the Ts. I bet, the other player called, and she mumbled something before calling. I showed my trips, the other player mucked, and, indeed, she had the jack -- J-7, to be precise. I dragged a fairly big pot.

We “discussed” the hand a little bit afterwards. “I thought you had the nine,” she said. Then, “I knew you had the nine.” But what good would a nine have done me there? Finally I realized she had flopped a gutshot draw and needed the nine, and so somehow had fixated on that card right to the end, which never came. She may have even seen my 6d when I turned over my hand and thought it was a nine, I’m not sure. I never was convinced she understood that I’d rivered her with that ten. Such is life at the low limit tables in the Gold Coast on a weekday afternoon, I guess.

I’d leave soon afterwards, a nice $45 up after just the hour of play. Thought then I’d surely have the chance to play again somewhere, but it ended up not working out.

Although I played fine and caught cards, I probably made at least two significant mistakes with this session. I really shouldn’t have started. And I shouldn’t have stopped, either. Was definitely sitting in a good spot, although that only means so much in the $2/$4 game, for sure, where you have to make hands ’cos there’s always going to be someone who just wants to see what you have.

Vera and I would motor over to the Hard Rock for dinner. Had another couple of full days ahead of us, most of which I’ve already recounted. Do want to add one last post, though, on being back in Vegas -- and writing about poker. Again.

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