Thursday, August 16, 2007

My New Single-Pot Record

A few days ago, I won what I'm pretty sure was my biggest pot ever: $6100, dealt by "La Guardia". It wasn't a particularly exciting hand strategically, but this is how it happened:

I was at the 5-10NL, no max buy in game at Hollywood Park. The table had almost broken, and we were down to just 4 players. I had managed to build my stack up to $3050 from $500, and the other players all had at least $2500. The game was a little loose and aggressive, even more than is expected in a short-handed game. I'd been getting some good hands so I think my image was rather aggressive as well.

In my $6100 pot, I had AcAd in the small blind, and the under the gun player straddled for $20. So, three of the four players put in money blind. The button limped, and I limped also. I think people assume AA will always raise out of the blinds, and that's basically true at a full table with no straddle. In this hand, though, I had two players behind me (instead of the normal 0 or 1 when you are in the blinds) because of the straddle, and both of those players had been aggressive so far. I figured there was a good chance one of them would raise, especially considering the pot was already up to $70 and nobody had shown any strength yet.

The big blind called $10 more, and the straddle raised to $120. The button folded. I raised to $350. Usually I like to raise a bit extra from early position pre-flop because I'm happy to end the hand right away by making everyone fold. This raise of $230 more was not actually very big. My limp-raise move is pretty strong, and I was trying to entice the raiser to call with a weaker hand than usual.

The big blind folded this time around, and after just a few seconds, the original raiser re-raised me to $750. This was a raise of only $400 and there was already $700 in the pot, so it seemed to me like he was trying to keep me in the pot. So he probably had a strong hand after all. I counted down my chips: $2695, and my opponent had that covered. After some deliberation, I decided to push all-in. In another minute or two I had been called.

Flop: Jd9d6d. I checked my had to make sure I remember correctly that I had the Ad, and I did. So I figured this was an excellent flop for me, since my opponent most likely had KK or QQ, and I turned my hand over to show. Then my opponent started saying "don't kill my hand, don't kill my hand" to the dealer. I realized he must have JJ. The turn was 4c. When the 2d hit the river giving me the nut flush, my opponent slammed his hand down on the table, somehow managing to send one of them flying 20 feet in the other direction. The card that remained was a jack, of course.

Half an hour earlier I had gotten aggressive with JJ preflop in order to get heads-up against a short stack of $250. That pot was already up to $1000 and I wanted to get the other two players out because I was out of position. Anyway, I think people noticed this and may have concluded I was a reckless player (including the player in the hand I just described). That played into my decision to push all in with myAA.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Vegas Shootings

Sad to say, Vegas casinos were not such a safe place to be this past month.

Casinos on the strip have no visible security but millions of dollars in chips floating around. I still don't quite understand that. I guess it's just understood that it would be prohibitively risky to actually get away with trying to rob them. It's hard to imagine there being an actual gunfight there. The worst I ever encountered was a fistfight that didn't seem to draw any blood.

The first time I went to the Commerce Casino, the people at my table were chatting about a gunfight that happened the day before in the parking lot. Supposedly the police killed a potential thief. One of the guys at my table claimed to have bullet holes in his car. That was the closest I've come to actually witnessing one of these shootings. Of course, this one was in Los Angeles, not Vegas.