Cliff Notes on my 29th Birthday Trip to the HS-BC
In celebration of my 29th birthday, Mr_Taterhead
(the poker player formerly known as BJJIII) and I decided to make a long trip over to our favorite cardroom, the Horseshoe-Bossier City.
Last year at this time we went up to Tunica, MS during the WPO and the WSOP-Circuit Events. This year we decided to forego the 5hr long drive in exchange for an hour and a half one and we got free rooms ta boot at the HS-BC!
My holiday started on Wednesday since the Tunica trip was slated for the 16th through the 19th. Because the drive was going to be less, we shortened our trip down to the 17th through the 19th. We planned on leaving on the night of the 16th, but Harper (Mr_Taterhead’s kid) got sick and Mr_T had to stay back. I decided to stay an extra night home w/ my hot wife and drive over in the morning. I hoped to grind online most of the day Wednesday, but ended up down in the south side collecting some late rent monies, and only getting 3 hours in at Pokerstars. I think that I netted $10 or so after 2,800 hands of 25NL and had at one point been up >$100. We’ll call Wednesday a wasted day, as I got nothing accomplished that I had hoped to.
A Great Start
ran according to plan and I couldn’t have asked for a better start to my get-away. I was able to do some quality reading and have some quiet time before I took a shot at 50NL. My shot was a successful one as I won $135 and cleared my first ever $50 FPP bonus within an hour’s time. I’m now fully rolled for 50NL and am looking forward to the increased stakes. After a quick shower, I headed out of town at 11am.
There were a few stops on my way out, so I didn’t arrive at the HS-BC until ~ 1:30pm. Check-in wasn’t until 4pm, so I just went straight to the tables. Josh, the daytime floor manager
, greeted me when I walked in. He’s a super nice guy and keeps things running smoothly. I hit him up for a club sandwich and, of course, I’ve got meal comps running out of my ears from frequenting this place twice a month for the last year. If you ever visit the HS-BC and start accumulating the $1/hr food comp, don’t freak out when you put your card into the reader machine and it tells you that you don’t have any points or dollars built up. The $1/hr comp rate of the poker room is completely different than that of the rest of the casino. The reader told me that I had $1 in comps, but Josh explained the difference to me and informed me that I had $120+ of comps built up! (Friday night seafood buffet here I come!)
Learning from others
I was pretty card dead for the afternoon but was able to break even by playing positionally aggressive poker
. I think my stack grew to a $100 profit at some points, but it also got low enough that I had to top it off once after a tough series of hands. The player on my immediate left [(the 9 seat) we’ll call him Michael] and I had lots to talk about as his primary income was from live poker. We played together at several tables and I really learned a lot from him. We immediately hit it off and were soon sharing ideas and reads that we had picked up on the other players at the table. His style of reading players was quite different from mine, but his stack and results proved to me that he knew what he was doing. I won’t elaborate on how he reads players because I don’t want to expose any of the information that he uses and that he shared with me, but I must say that picking his brain made it well worth the trip.
The table was to my liking at first, but changed dramatically late in the night when one very bad and very lucky maniac sat down in Michael's seat to my left. One maniac by himself isn’t that tough to deal with, but when that maniac is on your immediate left and is hitting every hand that he plays, he changes the entire dynamic of the table. Normal players start to play back at him in some questionable spots and they start playing more like him. They chase too many weak draws and call preflop with some very speculative hands hoping to have the same lucky results that the maniac is having. This leads to maniac tables where the game is more like craps than it is a game of skill. I was even to slightly down when the maniac sat to my left. I should have taken the hint to get up when he sucked out on me early, showing me the Q
from the SB that he had called my LP pfr with. I doubled through him w/ the nut flush a little later and had my head out of the water very briefly. I knew that I didn’t have as consistent of results at these maniac tables, but I just never got up for some better playing grounds.
The most memorable hand that I played Thursday night was when I limped in on the button w/ 6
. Several players had limped in as well and we saw a low, two diamond flop. The table checked around to me and I fired $20 into the $21 pot and got 2 calls. The turn completed my flush and once again the table checked to me. I fired out $50 this time and only got called by the 10 seat. He was a very large black man who looked like he knew what he was doing, though he had the demeanor of a live game rock. The river put a fourth diamond on the board and the 10 seat stacked up his chips and pushed all in for $80. I dumped my 6 high flush and felt like puking on the carpet. The guy wasn’t even nice enough to tell me if he had it on the turn. I can’t imagine him calling the flop w/ a lone big diamond, so I assume that he had me beaten on the turn. I got up a little after this hand was played, eating a loss of $270 for ~11 hours of play.
I did take a <1 hr break during this session to check into our room and rest my mind for a few minutes. The check-in process was super easy and I had my stuff out of the car and into the room in no time. The rooms at the HS-BC are top of the line. Our room had 2 queen beds, a desk, a couch, a 32’ TV, fully marbled floors in the bathroom and a huge Roman bath. The Roman baths were the clincher for me; these things were enormous! They also provide complimentary bath salts to heighten the experience. I know that I ran the water for 15 minutes and still never got the whole thing filled up. And even with the tub not being completely full, I was still easily able to sit fully immersed in warm relaxing luxuriance.
Friday Lunch: My First Visit to a Buffalo Wild Wings
I’m not much of a daytime sleeper, so after 5 hours of in and out sleep and a long bath, I was up and ready to go by 11am. My buddy and I went to the Buffalo Wild Wings located on the Boardwalk. The atmosphere was incredible and is definitely a great spot to watch the big game. Our server, Kristen (I believe,) was jam up and really took the time to walk us through the menu. She was very knowledgeable of the different sauces that they had to offer and she made some great recommendations for us. My only complaint about the place was that their wings were a little on the small side, but that won’t prevent me from giving them a positive review. Good service and a great atmosphere go a long way to completing the experience in my book.
I took a catnap after our lunch outing and walked into the poker room ~1pm. This was a rather quiet session and I really can’t think of any hands that were worth mentioning here, but I netted a small $60 profit on the 3 hr session.
I returned to the comfort of our hotel room and tried to relax before my long Friday night marathon. Mr_Taterhead arrived around 4:30pm and after a quick conversation he was out the door to play some cards. Within 15 minutes he called me to tell me that they were starting a new table and that I should come down and join it. I love starting new tables since the game usually isn’t full of maniacs or players on tilt yet. I like starting w/ mostly equal stacks and I feel that I can pick up reads on players more quickly than other players can. So, I put my hoodie on and headed back down to the cardroom.
This table was very much to my liking. It had semi decent players with no calling stations or maniacs. What I like about tables of this texture is that you can raise preflop in position and if you don’t take down the blinds and limps immediately, you can continuation bet with a high percentage of success to win a slightly larger pot. When they call your raise preflop then fold on the flop, you can add to your stack w/o much risk. Most of the time, you win enough of these to net out a profit, so you shouldn’t feel discouraged if you get called on the flop a few times in a row. It will net out in the end.
The only real memorable hand from this session was one in which I raised from the SB into several limpers with A
. I make a larger than normal raise in this spot to discourage callers and set miners. I got called in one spot and then checked the Ace high, very-uncoordinated flop to encourage action from weaker Aces. The villain checked behind and I led the turn and river for a nice medium sized pot. The villain was very surprised to see my big ace, and mucked his hand w/o showing. Later he admitted that he had A
w/ a flush draw that he had picked up on the turn. Note: You should never call a big pfr w/ a dominated hand such as this. A-x suited is so over-rated, good players just aren't going to pay you off when you make your flush and if they can't beat a pair of aces then you're wasting money there too. This is a great example of why not to play A-Xs. He ran into a bigger Ace, stayed in due to his draw that he picked up on the turn and paid off 2 streets of value post flop.
Friday Night Seafood Buffet
I played another 3 to 4 hours in this session and booked a small win of ~$120.
Unfortunately, I got hungry and the HSBC buffet was calling to me. After some coercion, I finally talked Mr_T and another friend into going upstairs to try to break the buffet. Kim and Joe quickly hooked us up w/ some buffet comps and we were on our way!
On Friday nights, the buffet at the HSBC is a seafood buffet that runs for $21.95 or so. Due to us being well-respected degenerate gamblers, we got to eat for free based on our comps that we had accumulated in the pokerroom. The buffet spread is quite large and the assortment of foods included home-style, Chinese, soup and salad, seafood, dessert, and even some Cajun cuisine. The stuffed halibut was my personal favorite, followed closely by the crawfish etouffee. I ate until I almost popped, but fortunately for me, we had a room upstairs that I could relax in until the drowsiness of a big meal wore off.
Out of the Hole!
Around 10 or 11 I decided to come down out of my nest and play some more cards. There was another new table starting up and I jumped right in. This new table seemed tougher than normal though. There were only 2 old guys to start the action and 5 young guys who seemed ready to gamble. When 3 of the 5 young guys turned out to be friends, I considered making a table change. I hung in there a few minutes and realized that not only were they trying to bash each other’s heads in but they were drinking heavily and really sucked at No Limit Texas Holdem. My new friend Michael from the previous afternoon’s session joined the table on my immediate left. This is where we actually discussed our strategies for reading opponents. The action was really hot and the 3 friends were quickly going broke. Luckily, they were there to gambool and kept reaching into their pockets for more Benjamins. I think they even ended up making a few trips to the ATM. I took a preflop race w/ one of them w/ my A
vs. his J
. I had raised from LP and he stuffed his short stack in from the SB. I had figured out that his range was pretty wide at this point (Jacks were actually in the top of his range) and felt very comfortable that I wasn’t going to be in a dominated situation w/ my A
. I caught an ace in the door to take down the $120 pot. Within 2 hours they had all three made it to bustoville, I’m not sure if it was the rusty nails they were drinking or simply them not understanding that K-Qo in a 4-bet pf pot is a losing hand.
With the 3 friends gone and all of their money left on the table, the line up made some dramatic changes. Only one of the old men remained and he was joined by an even older man in the 10 seat who Michael immediately pegged as someone who would call you down w/ 2nd pair. Mr_T was in the 1 seat and was taking a beating from the deck. The 2,3 & 4 seats were filled by a bad player, an excellent player and a player who thought he was excellent but actually played very straight-forwardly and bordered on just plain weak-tight. The 6 & 7 seats to my right had some weak players come and go and I was in the 8 seat w/ Michael on my left.
With one limper to me in the cut-off, I made it $15 to go w/ A
and got called by the old man in the 10 seat. The flop was Q
giving me a gut shot and the nut flush draw. The 10 seat was pretty tough to read but he definitely didn’t appear strong when the flop hit. I bet $20 when he checked to me and was really surprised when he called. The turn was a total brick and when I fired out $50 the old man got stubborn and called again. The river was a blessed Jack, and I somehow felt some relief that I had just caught up in the hand, though I hadn’t made near the hand that I had hoped. Once again the old man checked to me, but w/ 2nd pair and having fired on 2 streets already, I couldn’t fathom what he would call me with on the river that I beat. I checked behind and announced that I had a Jack not quite knowing what I expected him to turn over. He showed 10
for a flopped 2nd pair. He seemed kind of upset as if I had sucked out on him, but if you figure the outs on the hand, I had 9 flush cards, 3 straight cards, 3 aces and 3 jacks to track him down. With the 4x rule on the flop, I’ve got 72% less 10 (for outs over 8) for an equity of 62% in the hand w/ 2 cards to come
. On the turn I’ve still got 39% (18/46) equity in the hand. I don’t think this was much of a suck out. I’m ahead on the flop w/ 2 cards to come and only a slight dog on the turn w/ 1 card to come. I’ll take this scenario every day of the week including Sunday! I played this table until 2:30am before deciding to turn in. I cashed out a $285 winner for the night
and was now back into the positive. Mr_T hung around for a while longer to try to get even; I think he came in around 4:30 w/ some more bad beat stories.
My phone rang around 8:30am but I struggled to stay asleep until 10ish. Mr_T beat me to the shower and was out of the room and headed to the cardroom before my shower water was even hot. I meandered to the cardroom around 11 and was once again pleased to be seated at a newly opening table. This table had the best line up of all for the entire weekend and it turned out to be my most profitable. There was one good player, one semi-maniac, a nut-peddling, weak-tight regular and a bunch of exploitable middle-aged men who called pf and folded to cbets. Now that’s my kind of table!
The cards ran very good for me in this session. I picked off a $30 straddle-bluff w/ one caller w/ a measly pair of 3s on the flop. My big hands held up, I flopped a flush w/ J
and I had the one maniac’s number. The biggest hand that I won was all in preflop for ~$200. I was in the big blind and the table limped around to me and I put $25 on top w/ the A
just hoping to take down the limps. It folded around to the maniac who asked me if I had a big hand, I responded, “I have a big enough hand that I can raise $25 out of the blinds.”
He thought for a second then announced that he was all in. The 3 limpers between us obviously folded. I got him to count down his stack and he had ~$180 that I would have to call. I looked at my stack and had about that much in profits. I wedged my hand into my stack to separate the profit portion out and said, “Let’s gamble!” This isn’t a raw gambling shot in the dark. What does he have here that he would limp behind with but he would push all in over my BB raise with? It boils down to the fact that he is making a play on me w/ a medium pocket pair. He would have raised any big ace or any pocket pair as big as or bigger than 10s preflop. I figured out that I would be in a coin flip or better and decided to gamboool! He turned over pocket 8s and we were flipping. The flop contained a Q and a 10 giving me 4 additional outs. The turn was a dud, but the river was a Jack to give me the Broadway straight! The maniac reloaded and I stacked the pot. I played another hour or two and due to my level of exhaustion from not having slept more than 5 hrs per night for 2 consecutive nights, I decided to cash in my $400 win (4hr session.)
Overall, for the trip I netted $581 in poker winnings
, less a meal and some gas. Both nights at the hotel were comped and my friends and I had a wonderful time. I’ve been to Tunica and I’ve been to Biloxi and I must say that the Horseshoe-Bossier City ranks right up there with the top poker rooms in the south. You can usually get sat down at the game of your choice in a matter of minutes, the food comps are great, the dealers are first class and the tables, set-up and chairs are second to none. The next time that you’re passing through the Bossier City, Shreveport area, make sure to swing into the HSBC. When you walk into the casino, take the escalator downstairs and head to the left of the gambling area. The cardroom is 75% glassed off and has a flat-screen in view for anywhere you may want to sit. Good luck and I hope to see you on the felt soon.