Monday, August 1, 2016

The Dead Zone

Good morning everyone.  As I prepared to write this post for y'all, I realized that there's only one more month at the most that you'll being seeing Sunday entries from me until February.  If I'm not watching football and playing poker on Sundays a month from now, I'll be dead exhausted and sleeping...  From the end of the World Series of Poker until the start of the aforementioned football season, it's more difficult to find good poker games in town, thus the "Dead Zone" reference.  As it happens, I still have some chores here to tend to, and some football studying to get done, so I'll most likely cut back on the poker a bit this month, in hopes of finding better games in the fall.  I will be studying my poker materials some more in the next month also.  Of everything that I've written for you since my latest poker journey began just over two months ago, I strongly believe that game selection is the key component to making money at the tables.  Would you rather play against nine locals who play poker for a living, or would you rather sit with a bunch of drinking and sleep-deprived tourists who are in town for any number of reasons?  There are no guarantees, but I'd rather not face off against the table full of professionals...

I'm coming off of my first losing week at the tables since the initial week that I played after returning to town, but I have a handle on the improvements that I have to make.  Having the best hand hold up would be nice, but I hit hands a few times over the weekend also.  I didn't cash in this week's Flamingo freeroll tourney, and this is what happened...  I was card dead throughout, and my 3,000 starting stack dwindled to 1,100.  I was in the big blind for 800 of that, and ended up getting it all in with KK.  My opponents had QQ and A3, ace on the turn.  Seems a lot like the previous week's freeroll for me, except that I finished 50th of 76 this time, and I didn't make the money.  Last night however, I had three very fortunate hands, or my week would have been much worse.  It's 1/2 no-limit at Bally's, and I have about 62 left when I call a raise to 8 with the KJ of diamonds.  First to act, and not having seen the flop, I check the K 5 3 flop with two diamonds.  Next to act bets 10, gets called, and then I jam my remaining stack.  I'll take two folds, and if I'm behind, I'll probably have outs.  The bettor calls me with 5 3, and the other player folds.  Her two-pair holds on the turn, but a beautiful diamond hits the river.  :D  Now I'm playing 1/2 no-limit at the Flamingo, and I limp with AQ and about 80 in my stack.  Three of us see an A J 10 flop.  Villain bets 10, and I call.  The two of us see another 10 on the turn.  Villain bets 10, and I call again.  Villain checks a 3rd 10 on the river, and I bet out 20.  Villain calls and tables AK.  I'm more than happy to point out to the dealer that "we have the same hand" (10's full of aces).  Not too long after seeing the fortunate river (my second of the night), I decide that I should switch to 2-4 limit for the rest of the evening.  :P  Now after a horrible Friday night (the type where you swear, "I'm never playing limit again), I had a better session last night, and it all came in one hand.  Playing very tight, I called with KQ offsuit preflop, and called the raise to four from the button.  In a pretty loose game, I looked down to see the rainbow 9 10 J flop.  Ho hum...  I think there were six of us in the hand, and I flat-called the preflop action, which was five of us putting four bucks in.  The turn was a blank, and I flat-called twelve (the bet and two raises before the action reached me).  As I said, I had been playing tight, and I believe that some of the raising was done with the intent of forcing me off of my hand.  The fact that the player who raised to eight FOLDED as opposed to calling another bet seemed to reinforce that.  The river was another beautiful blank, and now heads-up, my opponent bet four, and just groaned when I raised to eight.  The loose-aggro called, and he actually had a hand this time, tabling queen-eight suited for a lower straight, but he already knew what I had.  It was nice to get some of my money back last night...  ;)

Speaking of lower straights, I've seen this happen more than once since I've returned to town, and not just in limit games.  The board will run out 7 K 8 6 4, and the river will get bet or called by a 5, with the proud straight-holder not even seeing the possibility of the 9 10.  And I'm not saying, "my five might be good," but I'm saying totally blind to the possibility of the higher straight.  Even 9 5 would work, but you get what I'm saying.  You've gotta love poker...  :)  Some others things that I've seen since returning to town, and this weekend even...  I'm going to withhold the names of the rooms involved in these cases, to protect the guilty.  For the first time since I returned to Vegas back in May, I sat by someone who smelled so bad that I almost had to leave the game.  The offending player wasn't around long enough for me to worry about it though.  Last night I did leave a game though, and only after playing two hands at a table with a drunk guy who sat to my left AND had NONSTOP hiccups.  It was so bad that I left after playing my button, foregoing seeing several "free" hands.  I've often told others that if another player at the table is bothering you (for a variety of reasons), just leave the game.  Having that stuff in your head is not profitable...  When I arrived at a different table over the weekend, a seated drunk guy in that game was SHOVED by a player who was leaving the table.  I hadn't even sat when this happened.  Evidently the drunk player had shoved the departing player first (earlier).  You've gotta love poker...

Now a paragraph for my brother Pete.  This includes another story from the weekend, and yet another instance where I was pretty lucky with ace-queen.  Maybe AQ is a potentially evil hand.  All the books say so.  Anyway, my brother (who introduced me to this crazy game) follows a video blog on Twitter done by a dealer at the Linq who is known as "The Trooper."  I have never seen the VB because I'd rather read blogs, but I'm sure that it's good, as he has quite a following, and I've heard several people mention him.  Pete has never been dealt to by The Trooper, but I was in a 1/1 no-limit game over the weekend.  I shoved AQ preflop, and the flop came K J 10...  My opponent said that he had been ahead, but he never showed.  Thanks Trooper...  :D  By the way, I didn't formally introduce myself to The Trooper, so if you know him, you can say thanks for me.

I also have something for my friend Nick.  This was an "inside joke" that I had forgotten about when I arrvied at a table last week, but feel free to use the line.  The next time that someone says "you look familiar" to you, immediately fire back with, "Oh, you watch porn?!"  Yeah, that table was having a lot of fun when I arrived...  :)  Nick had recently made a comment on my blog that triggered that story in my memory bank...

Before I close, I also wanted to remind you that you can view the blog that deals more in-depth with my personal life by clicking here.  I'm going to do a new entry there, right after I finish this post.  Speaking of my personal life, one of my friends and former athletes recently posted an inspirational meme that I have since pilfered for my Facebook and Twitter profile photos...


Great words.  Thanks again Leanne...  :)  I hope that all of you have a great week and I'll see you soon!


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