Hollywood Park has several levels of no-limit holdem, most defined by their fixed buy-in. Recently, I've been playing their $400 no-limit game most of the time, which has $5-10 blinds. They have another 5-10 blind game that they call $500 no-limit. For quite a while a couldn't understand why they would have two such similar games, but eventually someone explained to me that the $500 game has no cap, by which it is meant that while $500 is the minimum, there is no maximum buy-in. This is very similar to (if not the same as) the 5-10 NL game at the Wynn. Obviously, the average buyin at these games tends to be much higher, making the effective stakes much higher as a result.
Although I'd put my name on the list for the $500 NL game several times before, Sunday was the first time I was actually called for that game before the $400 NL game. I sat down with $988 (I had lost $12 at a 4-8 limit game while waiting for my NL seat). On one of my first 10 hands I doubled up another player who fortunately had only bought in for $500; I would have put in quite a bit more than that if his stack were larger. On the turn the board was KQ33, and I held KQ. My opponent had 33 for quads, so there wasn't much I could do.
After maybe half an hour, a player wearing a helmet sat down at my table. I'm pretty sure this wasn't even the same guy I had mentioned wearing a helmet at Hollywood Park before. The original guy's helmet was chrome, while this guy's looked like a green WWII-type helmet. Also, the first guy looked rather like Flavor Flav or maybe Pierre Bernard, whereas the guy I now found myself playing against was much bulkier. So as strange as it may seem, I'm pretty sure there are at least two people who like to wear helmets while playing poker at Hollywood Park. After just two hands it became apparent, as I quipped to the players sitting next to me, that his style of play was so wild that he may have actually needed the helmet. He was very fond of continuing to bet at each opportunity regardless of his cards.
Before long, I found myself in a hand with helmet-man and a few other players. My stack was back up to about 800, while helmet-man had just bought in for another 500. I was in a blind with K7 and the flop was KQT. I bet and got a caller, and then helmet-man raised. I called and the third player, who I though may have had a J for a straight draw but also may have already had me beat, also just called on the flop. The turn was a 6. We both checked to the helmeted man, who bet again. I can't remember the exact amount but I think this bet was about $175. I called again and the other player folded. The river was a 2, and I put helmet-man all-in for his last $175. He called and showed K9 for the win.
I was at a "must-move" table and had to leave before getting into another hand with this crazy player, and he didn't stick around long enough to move into the main game where I had been moved. Even without him at the table, the game was quite beatable. After losing a bit more I was able to come back and even make several hundred before heading home.