Friday, September 22, 2017

The Boys From Brazil

As I'm writing this poker session recap, I'm also watching the movie The Boys From Brazil for the first time.

My last session didn't go that well and this one started off with a crippling hand.  I'm dealt K,J in seat 3 with $180 behind.  It checks to me and I open to $12 from the CO.  I get two callers and the flop is J-9-4.  It checks to me and I bet $20.  UTG calls and the other guy folds.  The turn is a blank and he checks.  I bet $30 and he calls.  The river is a blank and he leads out for $40.  I call and he shows me 4-4 for the win.

I lose the rest in a three-way all-in pot where I'm holding an open-ended straight draw and a hearts flush draw.  One guy had J-J and the other guy had a nut flush hearts draw and a pair.  I didn't hit one of my 6 outs and decided to switch tables after the hand.

I settled into seat 6 at the new table.  For two hours I couldn't get anything going.  My stack slowly dwindled down to $67.  

I straddled for $5 with 5-6.  By the time it got back to me, three players had put in $20 each.  I made the call and we saw a Q-4-5 flop.  The original raiser moved all-in for $90 and only I called.  I knew I was most likely behind but with the pot so large, I called off my last $47.  He flipped over K-K.  The turn was a 7 which made the situation very interesting.  The river was another 5!  I raked in the chips, tipped the dealer, and was back up to $175.

Then I picked up J-J and bet $12 pre-flop.  I got three callers and we saw a 10-5-4 flop.  I bet $22 and only seat 8 called.  The turn was a 4, I bet $40, and he called.  The river was a Q and I bet $40 again.  He called.  I showed the winner and was up to $305.

The last hand of importance was A-8.  Seat 10 bet pre-flop and two of us called.  The flop was A-10-2.  I checked and he bet $40.  Only I called.  The turn was a 6, I checked, and he bet $40 again.  Picking up the nut flush draw, I called.  The river was a beautiful 3.  I decided to go big and bet $140.  He took his time but finally called with A-10.  That got me up to $575.  I left few orbits later.

From $67 all the way back up to $567!

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Poker Quiz Results

It was nice to see the Tennessee Titans beat the Jacksonville Jaguars today.  They are back in the lead (tie) in the division.  Let's get back to poker.

1.) With K,J in mid position, I make it $10.  I get two callers including the rock on the button.  The flop is K,J,4 and I lead out for $15.  Only the rock calls with $95 behind.  The turn is a blank and I bet $30.  He raises to $60!  What do you do?

I moved all-in and he scooped with J,J.  To remove any doubt that he was a rock, after the hand was over he said, “I thought you had pocket kings.”  This particular table had as many old rocks as Stonehenge! 

2.) I open to $10 with Q,Q and get one caller two seats to my right.  The flop is Q,J,3 and I lead out for $15.  He calls.  The turn is an A and I bet $25.  He raises to $70!  I'm $240 behind and he covers.  What do you do?

I’d like to have this one back.  I moved all-in and was snap called by K,10.  The correct play was to just call.  The river was a blank and he won.  If he shoves the river, I definitely fold and save $170.  But if he bets half pot on the river, I doubt I fold.

3.) I'm sitting on $95 and both opponents cover me.  Seat 10 opens to $10, seat 2 makes it $50, and I look down at A,K.  What do you do?

Seat 10 was a loose player.  I thought seat 2 wanted to isolate him.  I talked myself into believing that neither of them had A,A or K,K since I was holding A,K.  My only options were fold or shove.  I shoved, seat 10 called, and seat 2 moved all-in for $140ish.  Here is the sick outcome of the hand.  Seat 2 flipped over A,A and seat 10 showed Q,9.  The board ran out 9,x,x,Q,K and seat 10 won all the chips!

4.) I am dealt J
,J and bet $12.  I get one caller.  On a 10,9,2 flop I bet $20. He goes all-in for $90 and I cover.  What do you do?

I called and he showed A,3.  The board ran out…

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Tennessee and Maryland

Tennessee Golf

I was out of town for the Labor Day weekend.  We went to Tennessee to visit my brother's family and see the newborn baby boy.  My brother and I got two rounds of golf in.  One of our rounds was a two vs two scramble.

We were crushing them thru 12 holes, up by 4 without losing a single hole.  Then things turned around.  They tied it up on the 17th after an uphill 15 yard chip that landed a foot from the hole.  Our three putt didn't help.  On the 18th, they sank a 10 foot par putt for the win!  They finished the back 9 one under and pulled off an unbelievable comeback.

River Islands Golf Club

Maryland Poker

I hadn't played any poker in September until this week.  Here are some interesting hands:

1.) With K,J in mid position, I make it $10.  I get two callers including the rock on the button.  The flop is K,J,4 and I lead out for $15.  Only the rock calls with $95 behind.  The turn is another blank and I bet $30.  He raises to $60!  What do you do?

2.) I open to $10 with Q,Q and get one caller two seats to my right.  The flop is Q,J,3 and I lead out for $15.  He calls.  The turn is an A and I bet $25.  He raises to $70!  I'm $240 behind and he covers.  What do you do?

3.) I'm sitting on $95 and both opponents cover me.  Seat 10 opens to $10, seat 2 makes it $50 and I look down at A,K.  What do you do?

4.) I am dealt J,J♦ and bet $12.  I get one caller.  On a 10,9,2 flop I bet $20. He goes all-in for $90 and I cover.  What do you do?

Thursday, August 31, 2017

A Six Dollar Walk

During one of my recent sessions, I got into a small argument with a dealer.  The whole thing started when I went for a walk to stretch my legs.  I got back to the table and the Missed Blind button was sitting in front of my chips.

I had two stacks of $5 red chips in front of me and one $1 white chip to the right of my red chips.  I waited for the previous hand to end and then tossed in a $5 chip.  Since we were playing $1/$3, I owed $4 to the pot before the next hand was dealt.  The dealer changed the red chip for five white chips and mistakenly tosses two chips back to me.  He then proceeds to get the cards ready for dealing.

I said, "Isn't it supposed to be $4?"  I threw one white chip back across the betting line.  I was left with two white chips next to my two stacks of reds.  Less than ten seconds later, the dealer got my attention again and said that I need to put one more dollar into the pot.  I looked at him confused.  He said that I had only put in $3.  I told him that I had put in $4 already.

He wouldn't have it.  Seat 1 looked at me and started nodding.  He was agreeing with me but said that it's just a dollar more.  Instead of starting a big argument, I threw another dollar into the pot.  I was left with one white chip again.

Coincidentally, that hand was the dealer's last at our table.  As he was pushing back, I said, "Hey buddy, here you go."  I tossed him my last white chip.  After he left, seat 1 said, "I'm 99% sure you were right."  The guy sitting next to me also spoke up and said that he was pretty sure that the dealer made a mistake.  We all kind of laughed it off.

A ten minute walk cost me $6.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

One Day, Two Hobbies

The plan was to make the drive up to MD Live after work.  I had another $25 free slot play to collect and a $15 food credit.  After that, I could enter into a tournament or sit in a cash game that had a $400 high hand promo.  So off I went.

I stopped by a rewards machine, collected the food credit, and loaded the $25 free slot play onto my rewards cards.  Since I had parked closer to the VP machines, I ran the $25 thru a VP machine and cashed out $25 exactly.  I hit plenty of trips but zero quads.

Morty’s, a New York style deli located all the way on the other side of the casino floor, was my next stop.  I ordered the roast brisket sandwich and a chocolate chip cookie.  It was a good quick meal on the house.

My last stop was the poker room which will celebrate four years since opening next week.  I decided to skip the tournament and instead got seated at table 17.  The play was passive and the bets were on the smaller side.  It might have been due to the high hand promo going on.

I won three hands total but there is only one hand of importance to share.

I called $2 pre-flop with K,Q and so did seat 7, seat 8, and seat 9.  The flop was 4,K,K!  Seat 8 bet $10 and only I called.  The turn was a Q!  He bet $10 again and I called.  The river was another 4 and he made it $35 with about $80 behind.  I raised to $120 and he called.  I showed the winner and he mucked.  I doubled up my starting stack in less than 30 minutes. 

I have to say that Lady Luck has been by my side lately.  She stops by from time to time, just don't ask her to stay.  Since there was still daylight, I decided to book the profits and go enjoy my other hobby.

I drove down to Laurel, MD to a driving range.  I leave you with a few swings.


Sunday, August 20, 2017

High Noon Poker

I took some time off from work Friday and got in a three hour session at the MGM.

The bus pulling a DeLorean time travel trick

They were running a Lucky Table promo drawing every hour.  I got there at high noon just in time for the 12:15 pm drawing.  My table went 0 for 4.  During the last drawing, the TV screen showed our table number and then moved once more.  Congratulations to everyone at table 23 for winning $500.  Let's get to some hands.

I sit down in seat 4 and the third hand I get is K,K.  I make it $13 and get called by an Asian guy in seat 6.  The flop is A,x,x and it checks around.  He bets $10 on the turn and $15 on the river.  I call, he shows A,5 and I pay that man his money.

Before I knew it, I'm down to $135.  The table didn't impress me that much so I added $60 to my stack.  I worked my stack up to around $350 and then this hand happened.

Hand 1:

Less than 30 minutes later, this strange hand happened.

Hand 2: 

I finished the session with the following hand.

Hand 3:

There was an older guy at the table who was a bigger rock than Dwayne Johnson.  If he raised, you could be sure that he had a very strong hand.  For some reason, some of the other players didn't notice this and donated chips.  Overall, I don't think there was much skill involved in my win, just good cards.

The Trophy

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Hand Histories

If you like poker hand histories, you've come to the right place.  Below are some of the hands from the two winning sessions that came before the post about quads and being called Troy.  Let me know which hands you would have played differently.

Hand 1:

His raise pre-flop made me think he most likely had a pocket pair or (less likely) A,Q.

Hand 2:

A,K would probably have raised pre-flop.  AQ, AJ, or A9 seem most likely but I hold a J and a 9.  Maybe I should have found a fold on the flop.  Would you have folded this hand?

Hand 3:

I didn't think there was a way I was ahead on them both on the flop.  I stand by my fold.

Hand 4:

This was one of the craziest hands that I've ever played.  You might say that my play was extremely reckless/dumb and I won't disagree.  If I remember correctly I had built a stack and it had dwindled down.  Seat 4 opening to $13 is AK, AQ, TT, or 99+.  Seat 6 calling could be 77, 55, or 33.  When I jammed, I didn't expect seat 4 to call.  After the hand, I asked seat 6 if he would have called if seat 4 folded and he said NO.  My image before this hand was very tight and I think that's why seat 6 gave me credit.  I don't expect to do anything like this again any time soon.

Hand 5:

Hand 6:

Seat 6 was a very competent player.  He had built a stack and was playing well.  On the flop, after my bet, seat 9 threw his cards into the muck and the K flipped over.  After the hand, seat 6 said that seeing the K go into the muck influenced him to call.

Hand 7:

Seat 5 debated on calling the flop but decided against it.  He jumped up when the 5 came on the river.

Hand 8:

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Four and No More

It's over.  Four in a row.  That is where the streak ended at the MGM.  Getting to four was difficult as I explained in my last post.  Going for five winning sessions in a row proved to be too much for this grasshopper.

From the start, I struggled.  I was unable to win even a few redbirds to get me above the starting stack.  I seemed to have the second best hand a lot or I'd fold only to see one of my few outs arrive on the river.  The cards weren't going my way, therefore, I was playing badly OR I was playing poorly, therefore, the cards didn't go my way.  Let's take a look.

Few calls before it gets to me.  In late position, I open K,J to $12 in seat 2.  Only the guy UTG calls with a stack of $80.  We see the flop of J,3,7.  He checks, I bet $15 and he moves all-in for $68.  I call and he flips over Q,Q.  He just called $3 pre-flop.

Few orbits later, I look down at 10,10.  I open to $12, seat 3 calls, it folds around to seat 1 who makes it $50.  I move all-in for $52 more, and both call.  Ace on the flop, seat 3 ends up scooping with A,9.  Seat 1 had K,K.

I rebuy and continue to slide.  I lose $60 with A,6 vs 8,Q♥ on a board of A,7,8,9 when the 4 comes on the river.

I butchered the last hand of the day.  I specifically put my opponent on a hand but couldn't fold.  Why?  Because I was playing my pocket aces like they were invincible.

Seat 1 opens to $16, I call with A,A and seat 3 calls.  The flop is T,J,Q and seat 1 bets $30.  I call, and seat 3 moves all-in for $148.  Seat 1 folds and I stop to think.  He called pre-flop and he's moving all-in on the flop.  It has to be A,K.  I don't fold right away.  I start telling myself that it could be A,Q.  I call and of course he shows me A,K.

The End

Friday, August 4, 2017

Digging Myself Out of a Hole

We start the session with a 3 session winning streak.  I'm in seat 5 at table 22.  The table is playing tight and rarely do we see a big pot.

I lose some chips when my open-ended straight draw doesn't connect.  I strike-out again while fishing for the fifth club.  Third hand, I open A,K to $12 and get two callers.  The flop is J,Q,7 with two hearts.  It checks around.  Another J comes on the turn.  Thinking that a queen or jack would have bet the flop to charge flush draws, I decided to open for $30.  First guy calls but the second one moves all-in.  I get out of the way while the other guy makes the call.  The river is a blank and they show Q,J vs J,J for the quads and $300 for hitting the high hand promo.

Down to $85, I bet A,7 both diamonds to $12 and get a two callers.  They both check the Q,9,2 flop and I move all-in.  I get called by Q,K and lose.  My starting stack pulls a Houdini in less than two hours.  Time for a walk.  As I get up, I think to myself, I didn't like that table anyway.

I decide to take a stroll on the outdoor deck overlooking the National Harbor.  I make it about ten steps outside before the blaring music forces me to pull a U-Turn.

Back to the podium I go.  This time around, I get sent to table 13, seat 2.  In for $250.  It doesn't take me long to realize that it is a completely different game.  The stacks are bigger, there is more betting, and the bet sizing is bigger.

I hover around $200 when the following hand happens:

Unable to win a hand, I make my final stand with K,J:

Trooper in seat 5

After that hand, I lose two decent size pots.  In one of them, I called $10 on the button with K,5 both clubs.  Four of us saw the flop.  The flop was 4,4,5.  I bet $50, the SB and another player called.  The turn was a 3.  SB bet and the other player called.  I got out of the hand.  It went to showdown and SB flipped over 3,3.  He called $50 on the flop!

It felt like my chances of making it 4 winnings sessions in a row were returning to 0%.  But then this hand happened:

Thirty minutes later, I'm dealt the final hand of the night.

I cash out +$75 for the night and make it 4 in a row!

Saturday, July 29, 2017

My Name is Troy and I Flop Quads

I got a chance to play some cards and here is what happened.

Usually when I get to the podium I just tell them my nickname and they put me on the $1/$3 list.  The MGM had a lucky table promotion going, one table is selected every hour and each person at the table wins $500.  I got to the podium 15 minutes before the drawing and there were 21 people on the waiting list.

The two guys in front of me gave the podium guy their rewards cards and he put them on the list.  I did the same and went to grab some chips.  Twenty minutes passed and the list had shrunk down to 7.

With my chips in hand, I walked back to the podium and told the suit that I should be on the list but don't see my name.  Also, I didn't hear them call me for a seat.  He swiped my card again and told me that he just called my name a minute ago.  I couldn't believe it!  I was few feet away and didn't hear my name called.  He said that he will bump me up to the top.  I said OK and moved few steps to the side.

As I was standing there, the suit called out, "Troy for $1/$3, Troy for $1/$3."  I thought to myself - so much for him bumping me up, oh well.  Then he looked at me and said, "Troy, right?"  I moved few steps towards him and replied, "I'm not Troy."  He said that in the system my nickname came up as Troy.  I had him correct the name, which by the way was not even close to Troy, and then he sent me to my table.

I sat down in seat 5 and started to ponder why would they suddenly have my nickname wrong.  And then I remember!  Last time I played, I didn't have my card and they printed me a new one.  I ended up going up to the Rewards desk to have them reprint the card with my nickname on it.  Which they did.  I guess the lady mistakenly typed Troy for my nickname into the system.

With everything squared away, I focused on poker.  The table was very passive.  Many hands were checked on the flop and the turn with three or more players in the hand.  I didn't really have to make my brain work hard.  It was ABC poker.

The first hand that I played for more than ten dollars was KJ.  I bet $12 and it folded to seat 10 on the button.  She moved all-in for $42.  This was her third all-in bet in the past orbit.  It folded to me and I decided to put in $30 more for the chance to win almost $60.  The board ran out J,K,x,x,x and I scooped.  She rebought.

Then, I played K,10 of clubs versus an Asian lady in seat 1.  The flop was 10,4,5 rainbow and she opened to $10.  I called.  The turn was an 8 and she bet $15.  I called.  The river was another 5 and she bet $20.  I called and she showed 10,2 of hearts.  I scooped again.

Few orbits later, I look down at K,K in the cuttoff and open to $12.  I get two callers including the lady in seat 10.  The flop is a magical K,K,J and it checks around.  The turn brings another J.  The lady in seat 10 bets $15 and only I call.  The river is a blank and she folds to my bet.  I show the quads.  The dealer quickly gathers the cards and I only manage to get a blurry photo.

The last hand of the day also included pocket kings.  

And that's how "Troy" booked a solid win.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

DC Getting a New Poker Room!

That's right, you heard it here first.  The Washington DC metro area will be getting a brand new poker room!  

I played a 4 hour session today at the MGM National Harbor poker room and got the news straight from the horse's mouth.  In this case, the metaphorical horse was a dealer.  It would be irrational for him to make up a story like this.  You might say, "Ace, are you sure you heard it right?"  I'm here to tell you that I was in seat 1 and heard all that was said.

You might ask, "And where will this new poker room be?"  The answer: the room will be one floor above the current MGM National Harbor poker room.  The current poker room is going away.  How could a very busy, 39 table, poker room that is considered the cream of the crop in the DC metro area be going away?

The main reason is to add more tables.  The new MGM poker room will have 57 (plus or minus 2) tables, making it the biggest poker room in the area.

This is great news.  And on top of all that, it will be away from the annoying and loud slot machines that are right next to the current room.

Closing Fall 2017

Friday, July 21, 2017

Miami Weekend

DC temperatures have been reaching mid 90s daily.  The lady and I decided to head to the beach for the weekend.  She was unable to go to Mexico City because of work, so we booked a short weekend trip to Miami.

We left DCA Saturday morning.  A friend picked us up from the airport and we all went to Versailles, a well known Cuban restaurant, for lunch.  After lunch we were dropped off at our hotel on South Beach.  By early afternoon, we were catching some sun rays and swimming in the warm ocean.

People watching was also fun.

After the beach, we went to an outdoor bar on Ocean Drive and had two cocktails for ONLY $48!  What a steal, not.

In the evening, we went to Bunbury restaurant with our friend and her boyfriend.  Bunbury's empanadas each have a different filling and they were all delicious.  Afterwards we headed over to Lagniappe house/wine bar.  We had some drinks in the garden until a typical Miami rain shower made everyone run for the canapĂ© covering the outdoor bar.

Sunday we started the day with another trip to the beach.  Cooling off in the water while small fish swim around you is as good as it gets.  At one point, few silver fish with yellow tails jumped above the water.

In the afternoon we went to downtown Miami for a stroll around the Bayside Marketplace.  It's an interesting place with a lot of bars, restaurants and people walking around the marina.

In the evening, we joined our friends at the Lido Bar at the Standard Hotel in Miami Beach.  The atmosphere was good but the view was even better.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Knock, Knock

Who is there?
Losing who?
Losing Streak!

My play at the MGM has been mediocre.  Because of my decisions, not only is Lady Luck not knocking on my poker door but she has left the building.

Here are several examples of how I chased Lady Luck away.

Hand 1:

I could have played it differently by checking the flop.  I thought a healthy flop bet would get him out.  Once he called, I slowed down on the turn.  Unfortunately, the river was the worst card for me and my shove was just as bad.  I put him on a king.  Of course he is not going to call the river bet with just a king!

Hand 2:

It's unfortunate that he caught one of his three outs on the flop.  I did not think he had AA, KK, or QQ since he only called flop and checked turn.  He debated folding on the river.  He even said, "I think I'm beat." But he called and my bluff failed miserably.

If you think that was bad, here is something more dumb.  I'm in seat 1 and the old lady in seat 5 is terrible.  I just watched her call a big river bet (and lose) with the fourth best pair!  She rebought and I made a mental note that she sucks.

Hand 3:

Here I am saying how bad the old lady was but my play was even worse!  What hand will I get her to fold on the river?  Only draws.  If she has pocket deuces, she is calling!  This is an example of me trying to represent a big pocket pair and thinking that I can outplay her without having a pair.  Wrong!

Let's end the post with a hand where I actually got it in as a favorite.

Hand 4:

Looking back at the hand, if I raise pre-flop to $30 and he called, on the flop I move all-in for $45 and maybe he folds.

I need to look for better spots with made hands and leave bluffing to the professionals.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Independence Day Weekend

I spent five days in Mexico City over the Independence Day weekend.  The overall trip was a success.  There were few minor issues but I'm glad I went.  Instead of writing a detailed trip report, I thought I'd let the photos do the talking.  Enjoy.

National Palace

Metropolitan Cathedral

Palace of Fine Arts

Paseo de la Reforma and the Angel of Independence

Chapultepec Castle

Chapultepec Castle Garden

Old Playing Cards

Street Performers

Pyramid of the Moon

Soumaya Museum

Bicycle Festival

View from the Monument to the Revolution

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Greetings from Mexico City!

The first half of 2017 is in the books.  In those six months the lady and I moved in together, then we got engaged, my nephew was born, and I played some golf and poker sporadically.  As for vacation and travel, there were only a few short trips to places I've visited before...until now.

My buddy suggested doing a trip to Mexico City few months ago.  His friend and her family live here.  At first, I was hesitant but since he speaks Spanish and we would be hanging out with locals, I agreed to go.

The flight was uneventful.  First thing I noticed after getting out of the airport was the traffic and chaos driving.  I'm not sure if the drivers are bad or the sheer amount of cars are to blame.  Let's move on to some positive things.

Yesterday we went to Teotihuacan, an ancient city located 25 miles northeast of Mexico City.  I'll write a more detailed post about the day trip and some road bumps along the way.  Walking the site and climbing the pyramids was a wonderful experience.

Pyramid of the Sun

Can you find me?
Dinner was in the upscale district of Polanco.  I tried Escamoles, a dish native to Central Mexico that was considered a delicacy by the Aztecs.  You might ask what is it and the answer would be...ant eggs and larvae aka insect caviar!  It tasted OK but the main dish, grilled octopus, was delicious.

Dinner (stock photo)
Since I'm writing this on my phone, that's all for now.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Treading Water

I've been treading water for the last month or two.  I haven't played that much.  I've had a winning session at all three local poker rooms.  I've also had losing sessions at MD Live and at the MGM.  In my experience, it only takes a few hands to decide if a session ends with a win or a loss.  Let's take a look at some hands.

The first hand, we'll call it the Poker Meister because in a recent post, his opponent beat him with 8,2.
Hand 1:

This hand was very frustrating for three reasons.  One, earlier, I was involved in a hand with the same player.  I flopped a queen-high straight but on the river he caught up and we chopped.  Two, I flopped it but he caught one of his three outs on the turn.  Three, after we both checked the river, I said, "You have an eight, don't you?"  He replied that he did.  Then he turned his cards over and the dealer had to tell him that he had rivered a flush.

Hand 2:

This hand happened not too long after Hand 1 above.  Hitting top pair on the flop with a flush draw is about as good as it gets.  I think he called because I was short stacked and he liked his hand.

Hand 3:

I was surprised at the number of players in the hand.  I wasn't sure if betting bigger or controlling the pot was smarter.  I definitively thought at least one person was on a club flush draw.  Once I nailed the river, I wasn't sure how big of a bet would get called.  Maybe I could have bet more?

Hand 4:

I wanted to include this hand because my river bet didn't get called.  I didn't think the river would have raised any flags for the opponent.  Maybe he was on a draw.  I was left wondering what sizing would have work if he had a jack.