It’s been well over a month and a half since I have been to my favorite card room, the Horseshoe-Bossier City
. After the hit that my ego took when I went down to Biloxi, MS, I decided to slow down a bit and take some time off from the live felt. I thought that I might be a little rusty with my reading of tells, but I ended up picking up on some things, but wasn’t as sharp on it as I had been the last time that I visited the Shoe.
There were two changes at the Shoe that I noticed. The first was a flat screen added at the back of the room, this flat screen was much bigger than the rest of the flat screens, and a little lower down on the wall. I guess this was so that the seated players near the back of the room would be able to watch TV w/o having to strain their necks while looking way up near the ceiling. It was a nice addition to the room.
The second change was that the room had went from a $1/2 NL structure, to a $1/3 NL structure. The house does this for one primary reason; it allows them to drop the first dollar of rake much quicker than a $1/2 game will. As a poker player, this raise in stakes actually creates a slightly larger game, but it also brings the pre-flop raises back into a normal range relative to the big blind. This may be a temporary phenomenon, but the pre-flop raise size was 4 to 7x the BB on almost every hand versus the 5 to 10x for a $1/2 game. Basically, people are buying in for the same amount or more, and they haven’t adjusted their betting sizes up to match the new structure. The biggest example of this comes in a 7 way limped pot that now holds $21 vs the $14 of a $1/2 structure. The standard flop bet is still $10, which is now half the pot, versus a bet of ¾ of the pot. This creates a situation where drawing hands are more valuable. I actually like the adjustment as it allows a good player to play for slightly higher stakes, while everyone else is still betting like it is a $1/2 game.
The session started off nicely, the 2nd hand dealt to me was pocket 8s, and despite the warnings going off in my head, I just over limped them in the high jack. The flop was K- J- 7r and it checked around to me and I just checked right along w/ everyone else at the table. The turn was an off suit 3 and when it checked around to me again I bet $10 into the $15 pot. The button and SB folded and the BB min-raised me to $20. Everyone in between folded back to me and I just smooth called hoping to see a cheap showdown with him having a 7 or a bluff or I might be able to spike an 8 on the river. Sure enough, the 8 fell on the river and the villain checked to me again, I fired a $25 milking bet into the pot and he made a crying call w/ his lonely pair of Kings from the BB. “Nice slow play buddy!” Mark me as up $50 for my opening hand!
I raised behind some limpers w/ pocket 9s or 10s a few times, only to see four-handed flops of A-K-7. Well, the 7 may be off, but there was definitely an Ace and a King on every flop when I held 9s or 10s and when your 4 handed w/ a MPP on that kind of flop, you never fire a continuation bet, unless you’re some kind of maniac!
I over limped my favorite hand, 6
from the CO, and saw a multi way flop of A
. Well, 6
is my absolute favorite hand, but a suited 6-3 will do. A lady in the 1 seat fired $15 into the pot and when the action folded to me I made it $45 to go. The button and blinds folded and the 1 seat called the additional $30. The turn was the 10
, and after the 1 seat checked to me, I fired a full stack of reds into the pot earning the fold from my opponent. The 2 seat began giving the lady some pointers about how I was playing, but from what I could hear, he had no clue of the depth of my game. I got up from the table to put this hand into my voice recorder because I didn’t want the table to know that I was capable of such a strong semi-bluff.
After folding for an hour or so due to K-3o’s and 8-4s’s and the like, I decided to make a move and loosen up my table image a bit. With the 6
in MP2, I open-raised to $10 and got called by the standard 4 callers. The flop was on my side as it fell A
, giving me a flush draw w/ a gut shot str8 draw. The lady in the 1 seat once again led into the pot, this time for $10. I raised it to $50 from the 5 seat and once again the 1 seat is my only caller. The turn is a total brick, and when she checked to me again, I blasted another $100 stack of red chips into the pot. She folded a little quicker this time and I triumphantly flipped my semi-bluff over and ask for the dealer to reveal the river card for me. It would have filled up my gut-shot which would have been the go card for a monster pot for me. Too bad I bet her out of the hand on the turn, but the result was what I was looking for, I showed down a non-premium hand that I played aggressively and won. Then it was back to folding.
Unfortunately, the table roster turned over 75% within the next hour or so, and I was still very card dead and folding every hand dealt to me. I did win some small hands out of the blinds, but they were relatively inconsequential. The value of my shown bluff was quickly diluted as the players rotated out, and I was back to square one as a rock! Seats 1 & 2 left, and a lady that we’ll call Ms Debbie transferred over to the 2 seat from another table. She was sitting $550 deep, and had a no-nonsense look to her.
With my squeaky tight image, I raised to $15 from the CO w/ K
getting the standard 3 callers to put the pot at $60. The flop came K-4-2r and Ms Debbie led out into me for $30. I felt like this was some kind of information bet and I wanted to test the waters to find out where she was at. I counted out $90 and saw that she was already reaching for some calling chips, I probably should have taken this as a sign of weakness, but I hadn’t played much with her as of yet and I wanted to control the pot a bit and so I just called her $30. The turn was an uncomfortable 10 and we both checked the turn. The river was a 9 and she led out again for $50. I thought maybe that she had paired her kicker and caught up, so I once again just called her down. She saw my hand and admitted that she was out-kicked, and I was just perplexed at how she could be out-kicked by my K-J on that board. When I questioned her, her response was classic, which set the tone for the rest of the hands that I played against her. She said, “I hit two pair a lot!” And she meant it! She claimed that she was on a card rush since 5am that morning and it was 6pm. Boy, was I itching to get involved with her now!
Another hour or so went by with me folding or raising, and my won pots were small ones. Many pots I would just let go after my pre-flop raise; the standard 3 players would call me, and the flop would come all over cards to my MPP. A-Q had become my standard “premium” hand, and I can’t tell you how much I really hate this hand! Anyway, I’m dealt another A
in late position and bump it to $15 and once again get the standard 3 callers, including the now deep-stacked Ms. Debbie. She had grown her stack to ~$800 when this hand came up. I was ~$550 deep at the start of this hand. The flop was Q
and she led into me for $30. Due to the last hand that I played w/ her, I figured that she was out-kicked once again and so I made it $90 to go. Everyone folded around to her and she called, so far so goot! As she calls she questions me, “Do you have pocket Kings over there?” The turn was a very scary card, it brought the J
which fit into her 2 pair range and kind of spooked me a bit. I checked behind on the turn to control the size of the pot and to induce her to bet the river with a weaker queen. The river was another bad card, an off suit 10, and once again she led the river into me, this time for $100. I called due to the fact that I had induced a bluff, but unfortunately the river had paired her kicker. “NH, Lady!”
This frustrated me a bit, and I lost another pot w/ QQ against a turned set. Fortunately for me, live players don’t bet in increments of the pot, nor do they raise accordingly. Min-raises are standard and the river bets following a turn min-raise are usually the size of the initial turn bet. “Reload, table 6!!”
With about $290 sitting in front of me and Ms Debbie sitting uber-deep at about $1,600 in the BB, I’m dealt K
in MP2. UTG and MP1 limp in, I decide to play this one different and not raise to $15 with it, especially since a $15 raise only swells the pot and doesn’t insure a heads up pot. Most of the rest of the table limps in and we see a flop of Q
. Ms Debbie leads out for $10, MP1 calls $10 and I raise it to $50. The rest of the table folds out to Ms. Debbie, she calls and the MP1 player folds. Pot = ~$130. The turn is an off suit 7 and she checks to me, I feel that I am once again ahead of her range, especially since her range includes many flush draws and Qs with worse kickers. I reach over and push out a stack of reds for a $100 bet and, in return, she digs around in her monster stack to find 2 black $100 chips for a min-raise! With the history that I had w/ her I didn’t hesitate to push out my remaining $140. She instantly called the additional $40 and totally floored me with her hand, I never once put her on this, especially since she had just checked her option in the BB. I mean, I’ve got her pegged as a player who overplays top pair, chases on occasion and generally is flying by the seat of her pants. She then enlightens me with her brilliant knowledge of poker tells, “Sweetie, when someone bets their black chips, that means that they plan on getting them back!” Wow, and you play that bad? Thanks for the insight! Her hand? Pocket Aces that she checked into a multi-way limped pot!
I’ll admit that I grossly over-played my hand, but this is the worst example of playing pocket aces that I have ever seen! Then to feel so confident about her one pair is just plain sickening. I played my hand like I had >2 pair, and she puts all her money in against this betting line w/ confidence. Geez! I wish that I would
have brought more money to the casino! The river was a brick and I’m sent packing with another poker horror story.
Thinking back on this final hand, I’m less sick about my decision than I was when it first happened. I had her pegged as a certain type of over-player, and I got my wish by getting all of my money in against her, but for once she woke up w/ and once again grossly misplayed a very strong hand. Here’s to unfortunate circumstances!