Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Vegas: Day Three

Monday morning Mrs. Dynamite and I headed over to the food court at the Venetian to hammer out the breakfast of champions: Panda Express. I then put Mrs. Dynamite on tilt by failing the test and taking her up on her word when she said "I don't mind if you go play poker." I always fail that test...

Arriving back at the Wynn poker room Monday around 11:30am, there wasn't a lot of action: I put my name on the 1-3 Peach Chip list, and the 2-5NL list, and also said "What the Fuck" and joined the 4-8 and 8-16 limit lists.

The Big Show was crushing a 4-8 limit game, when I came to peer over his shoulder. There was the Douchebag of the Week in the 7 seat, with a veritable fucking PYRAMID of blue $1 chips. ONE THOUSAND chips stacked in a beautiful 3-d tower. IN THE FUCKING $4-$8 LIMIT GAME! Now, if you told me that you'd seen this, I'd lay 75-1 that the douchebag was also wearing sunglasses, but strangely enough, he apparently felt safe enough behind his impenetrable mountain of $1 chips that he didn't need the uber-donk sunglasses factor to complete the ultimate low-limit Bill Fillmaff image. I begged the Big Show out loud right in front of the douchebag to take a picture of him on his cellphone camera, but Big Show refused to accommodate me.

There was a similar character in the 2-5NL game on Monday and Tuesday: he bought in for about $15,000: in a motley assortment of ample stacks of red $5 chips arranged in a multi-level honeycomb, along with stacks of green $25 chips, and black $100 chips thrown in for color. To finish the art, he had some bling artfully draped on the top of his stack. At least it was a NL game though: I think the $1 super-pyramid in the $4-$8 game is overkill. Interestingly enough, another player told me that an opponent in the NL game had retaliated by buying in for $20,000, and that it killed the game, as neither player wanted to play a big pot with the other. I find this shocking, because usually the whole point of players wanting a big stack is that they have confidence exploiting the weaknesses of OPPONENTS who don't want to go broke.

Anyway, I get called for the $8-$16 game, which is played with, you guessed it, it's OWN denomination of chip: the $2 gold chips (or brown chips, depending on your optimist/pessimist slant at the time: they are either SF 49'er gold, or poo brown). Within 4 hands, I played a big pot which was destined to TILT me. Now keep in mind, I haven't played limit hold'em in about 18 months - and making the adjustment from NL to Limit is essential and can be difficult, but I tried to maintain the Killer Poker mindset that I last took to the limit tables many months ago.

I was 2nd to act, with my signature hand: Friday In Vegas: J-J. UTG raised to $16, and I beat him to the pot making it $24. All folded to the SB, who called, and UTG called as well.

flop: 2-3-6 rainbow. SB bets out. UTG raises! What the fuck? I hate limit poker! Fuck this - I know what E-dub would do here: I three bet! SB calls 2 cold, UTG calls.

The turn is an offsuit Ten, and now the SB bets out again! UTG calls, and I slow down and just call.

The river brings a five, and it's check-check to me. I turn over my hooks, and the SB lamely tables A-Q. UTG shows 7-7. Boo Yah! I won a nice limit pot with J-J! I proceeded to give back 1/2 of my profits on the next hand, when I raised preflop with K-J suited, and got called down all the way by some schmuck holding pocket 4's.

I got called to start a new 2-5NL table, and was surprised to see a character from the past: the Cowboy. I had previously met Cowboy at the Mirage in January - he's a big time sportsbettor, and Vegas local. He likes to try to run over games with his patented "Cowboy Up" declaration as he pushes his whole stack in. Cowboy is a true character: with a bolo tie, poofy shirt and Cowboy hat. Although he cultivates an image, Cowboy is no fool. I immediately greet him and smile, again decked out in my Red Sox sweatshirt and hat, and tell him that I saw him last before the prior Indy-New England game in January. "Well, I probably gave you a loser that time," he admits, as the Pats stomped Indy in the snow @ Gillette that cold January day. Tonight, the Colts and Pats are playing again, and I ask him, "How about tonight?" "Indy in the first half. Big." He tells me with the same confidence (That pick came through, so Cowboy is 1 for 2)

Cowboy has a propensity for moving all in on the very first hand, to try to create a wild image he can take advantage of later, and to try to loosen up the game. I knew this, and on the very first hand, I found K-Q suited in EP. I raised to $25, and it was folded to Cowboy in the BB, who made a fake move towards his chips, then smiled at me, and just called. I was ready to commit my $500 stack here - as I fully expected him to come over the top of me, but Cowboy actually realized that I was not one to be fucked with, and that I knew his gig.

On a raggedy flop, we both checked, and did the same on a blank turn. When a king peeled off on the river, he bet $50 into me, and I insta-called, and took down the pot - he had 3-8 offsuit.

A kid from Cleveland was sitting to my immediate left, and a local pro was to my immediate right. The pro was a young kid who had just graduated from B.U. and moved to Vegas to play poker. The one thing I couldn't understand, after sitting in the game with him for a while, was why he didn't try to find a better game: this game was not good - there were several local pros, the Cowboy, and Kid Dynamite. And I wasn't exactly giving my chips away. I guess the kid from Cleveland put it best when he muttered to me "This is a very bad game to be stuck in," and he would know - he was into his second $500 buy-in after running into a rock's flopped set.

While the Cleveland Steamer was steaming, I piled it on in this pot that didn't go exactly as I'd planned:

I was in MP and opened for $25 with A-J suited. Cleveland cold called me, and everyone else folded. We each had about $500 in chips.

The flop came 8 high with 2 clubs, not my suit. I bet out $50, and Cleveland called.

The turn was another offsuit rag, and now I checked. Cleveland bet out $75, and instead of mucking, I think I went through this train of thought: This guy completely expected me to bet the flop - after all, I raised preflop. He figures he'll play his position on me, freeze me by calling me on the flop, and then take the pot on the turn when I can't follow through without a big hand. In conclusion, I decided I'd foil his plan to outplay me and get back on the winning track, and I unleashed the brutal: CHECKRAISE TO $200!

Blammo! What a fucking play. Brilliant. I love it. Until he calls!!! Fuck. Uh Oh.. Now I've lost about $250 too much on this hand.. Fuck.

The river did NOT complete the flush, and perhaps I could have really knuckled up and fired a final bullet at this pot, but I decided it'd been costly enough. I checked, and my opponent went into the tank. Hold on - I suddenly knew exactly what was going on - I think I actually have the best hand! This guy is on a busted flush draw, but he's running so bad, he feels like NOTHING is working for him, he's trying to decide if he has the stones to fire a bluff at this pot. How can he though - after I raised preflop, bet the flop, checkraised the turn, and then checked to him to INDUCE a bluff?!?!? He finally taps the table and checks. I announce "Ace high." He doesn't move. I wait 5 seconds... I turn my hand over... "ooohhh..ahhhhh" from the rest of the table. He shakes his head and mucks! I felt like a man on death row given a reprieve! What a nice bonus to be bluffing with the best hand all along.

I played a hand with the young pro earlier, while he was sitting across the table from me: I made it $25 from UTG with A-K of hearts, and he was on the button, bumping it to $50. I though, and made it $200, pretty much committing myself. He mucked QQ! That's the kind of game this was - tighter than I'm used to, to say the least. In my local game, you'd have to pry QQ from Ivan's cold dead fingers to get him to lay it down preflop.

I later ran the Cowboy off a big hand by giving him some of his own medicine. I had been telling him "We have to play a big pot in the next 30 minutes, " "We have to play a big pot in the next 20 minutes," and continuing to give him a countdown, as I knew I had to go get ready for dinner. I somehow ended up playing a pot with him where I was in the BB with J-9, and called a meaningless preflop raise from him after 2 other callers.

The flop came 9-T-Q, and I check-called a $100 pot sized bet from him. When the turn blanked off. I quickly announced "Cowboy up," and shoved my $450 in. Cowboy was befuddled, and I was shocked to see him throw away a jack which he exposed as he mucked. I have no doubt that I beat him to the punch, as Cowboy LOVES to make those semi-bluffs on draws when he'll have outs if he happens to get called. My play was reckless and strange, but it worked in this situation. "You have a straight?" he drawled. I nodded. "King Jack?" he guessed. "Nope. The ass end of it," I lied.

I played a final note-worthy hand when I finally woke up with a big hand: A-A in EP. I made it $25 and got called four times! The flop came 5-5-9 with two clubs (I had the ace of clubs), and I fired out $100. Everyone folded to the young pro to my right who thought briefly. Now, preflop, after 3 people had called my bet, this kid was in the BB, and gave serious though to re-raising. I was pretty sure he had a hand like TT, and wanted to re-raise preflop, but figured he could also just call. Now, postflop, it was back to him, and it felt STRONGLY that he had an overpair when he hesitated. He finally mucked, and I winced.

"I'll show you one," I said, and laid my cards on the table.
He turned over the ace of clubs, and groaned, putting me on a flush draw: "I knew you had a big pair or two big clubs,"
"I though you had an overpair!" I responded.
"I DID!" he admitted. And I gave him the Jean-Robert Bellande "Excellent Laydown" as I showed my other ace.

I ended the 4 hour session +$108, and returned to the room to shower and get ready for dinner @ Prime in the Bellagio, with Mrs. Dynamite, E-dub, and his pregnant wife. We had the most incredibly pretentious waiter, Danny, I have ever encountered in my life - he was like a fucking bad Saturday Night Live skit. Although E-dub pushed for a $17,000 bottle of Chateu l'something, I ordered a bottle of Cab-Shiraz, and as he walked away, he confirmed "Are we sure this is what we're looking for?" "Yes" I told him. "Are we looking for something silky and smooth?" "We want that one." (Douchebag!) And he went off to retrieve the bottle.

When he returned, I had to show him I was no fool, and retorted, "I'm surprised to hear you describe this wine as silky and smooth - it's really not," Kid Dynamite is CULTURED! Danny replied, "Oh no, I know, I just wanted to make sure that wasn't what you were expecting."

When E-dub ordered the fois-gras ravioli, Danny went into a soliloquy about how if E-dub was a "Fois Fan" - yeah - he said "Fois Fan" about 5 times, then he should try the special blah blah blah blah blah. I need to get E-dub a shirt that says "Fois Fan" on it. I was looking at Danny the Waiter with pure shock in my eyes, and simply PRAYING that Mrs. Dynamite would catch my psychic waves and punch him right in the junk. punch-him-in-the-junk-punch-him-in-the-junk-punch-him-in-the-junk I willed her silently... Unfortunately, my brain waves failed to motivate Mrs. Dynamite, and E-dub was also left with insufficient time to think of a suitably pompous reply when Danny came to see how he was enjoying the "FOIS."

Dinner was ok, although my fillet mignon was significantly overcooked, I plugged E-dub with the check, on the grounds that he stilled owed me for the Amazing Jonathan tickets - the show we were going to see at the Rio after dinner. Amazing Jonathan is a very funny comedian/magician - I strongly recommend you check him out if you have the chance.

Before heading over to see Amazing Jonathan, we stopped by the Bellagio sports book to check out the Monday Night Football progress (Patriots getting killed) - and to scope the action in the poker room. While Saturday night had been uneventful in terms of poker celebs, Monday night had me feeling like a star-struck kid: Scott Fishman (who is about 5 feet tall), Jeff Lissandro, John Esposito, Allen Cunningham and Amir Fucking Vahedi were playing in a $25-$50 NL cash game. There was a full table of $100-$200 deuce-seven triple draw lowball going on, and my main man Jean-Robert Bellande was playing heads up $200-$400 deuce-seven triple draw against a guy I didn't recognize.

I stood back in the corner of the upper level where the high stakes games were, and watched J-R Bellande's game. He took some brutal beats, getting a pat 7-6-5-3-2 cracked, and was on serious tilt. Scott Fishman was roaming around talking on his cell phone ranting about beats. Now, J-R Bellande's brother is my fraternity brother from college, and I wanted to go say hi to him, but I knew better than to approach him when he was getting his ass handed to him. I wandered in and out, and about 20 minutes later, he went on a run, ripping through about 8 straight pots, and his opponent got up to take a bathroom break. I went over to introduce myself, and Jean-Robert was gracious, telling me that his brother Reggie had told him that I'd recognized him and asked about him. He invited me to sit down at the table to get a closer look. I declined, but then he advised me, "You really shouldn't stand behind my opponent, because you know me," - so I guess we're BOYZ now!

The action at the Bellagio was frantic, and it was great to see all these guys live. Vahedi and his boys walking around - the pros complaining to each other about the beats they take just like the donkey's too - high stakes 2-7 triple draw!

We headed over to the Sahara for the Amazing Jonathan show, and I was unimpressed by the joint. I can love a lower-class place like the Imperial Palace, Frontier, or O'Sheas, but the Sahara just sucked. The show was good, and we emerged exhausted, and headed back to bed to regroup for our final day in Vegas on Tuesday. Something must have been wrong with our cabbie, because he did NOT try to take us to the Spearmint Rhino. Shit Happens.

until next time,


Anonymous said...


brett said...

RE: the JJ limit hand, yeah, seems like you need a refresher.

Kid Dynamite said...

brett -
I think I played the JJ limit hand perfectly - except for the check on the river. Although, as it turns out, neither opponent could call a river bet (7-7 told me he was mucking)

where do you think I went wrong?

Anonymous said...

the worst play in the JJ scenario was the a-q schlep...calling the 3 bets preflop in the small blind, then betting out on flop, then cold calling 2 more, then betting out again on turn, then checking on river. horrible. but as i say that, is that more or less the way you played k-j on the next hand?

oh yeh, that's right, it turned out the guy had pocket fours...crap, between the a-q guy and him, it just shows you why low limit hold em is such a crap game.

Kid Dynamite said...

well, with the KJ on the next hand, I raised, bet the flop, bet the turn, and bet the river... He was happy with only 4 overcards i guess, and called me down. I was counting on the fact that I'd just shown down a winner to lend some credit to my continued aggression.

On the JJ hand, I think A-Q's cold call of 2 raises preflop, bet and cold-call of 2 raises ON the flop, and BET on the turn screamed of strength, and mandated that I slow down... A good player would bet his set on the turn, not go for a CR, as he has two players who have each raised him on each street behind him - he's going for a re-raise, not a checkraise... In my opinion

Anonymous said...

yeh the guy with 4s is the type who thinks he's won already with a pair in the pocket. then he just holds on for the pot, or dear life, on each round until the showdown.

regarding the a-q, yeh, from your perspective you should be thinking he maybe picked up a set and he's getting value all the way. of course, your no bet on the river was the right play. your 3 bet on the flop was aggressive but i like it because you're hoping to push out big cards from the pot (to no effect here though) and it slows things down in front of you when the bets are double.
but from his perspective, the play was bad all the least the way i see it. he's in bad position from the start, after calling 2 raises preflop, then first to act on the flop...he'd need to connect with the flop in some manner and by the time it comes back to him for 2 more bets with 2 other players, he's gotta be thinking he's a dog chasing his tail with no real chance at the pot. btw, what would you be thinking if he capped it when it came back to him on the flop?

Kid Dynamite said...

oh yeah - no question A-Q played it bad all the way. If he caps the flop what do I do? not sure - that's when i'm back in "I have no idea how to play limi" hell... I probably slow down... but then again, I slowed down anyway when he bet the turn...

brett said...

brett -
I think I played the JJ limit hand perfectly - except for the check on the river. Although, as it turns out, neither opponent could call a river bet (7-7 told me he was mucking)

where do you think I went wrong?

Yeah, what you said. The river is a super-easy bet. I'd prob also raise the turn. SB prob has some weak made hand, and the other guy is drawing to overs. Make him pay to draw out on you. If he has a better pair, you'd have heard from him by now. Same for the SB, most likely.

I'm also not sure I'd believe the guy with 77 was mucking.