Saturday, June 14, 2008

Derby Lane

I decided to start playing no limit poker at Derby Lane in St Petersburg, Florida where I thought the competition might not be as stiff as Vegas, especially in August when my next Vegas trip is planned.

Derby Lane does have some very low limit games. There is a 2-4 and a "straight 2" in which the bets do not rise on the turn. However, with a $5 rake and a dollar for the bad beat, I was further encouraged to try the no limit.

My first two nights I lost a total of $610 after about six hours of play each time. I made some mistakes, but felt it was more the cards than my play. I played very tight but not very aggressive. In each game I developed a table image of a tight player, so it was hard to bet unless I wanted to drive out the others. I did use that under the gun with medium pairs or after the flop to take a pot with second best. Just a $5 early in the game would cause people to fold or just call.
My third night I went with my buddy Lucky Pete. He has not been a poker player and wanted to try. So we played a 2-4 game and he did very well. The table was loose and passive except for one raiser. So I made money. $134. Pete lost about $27 even with hitting the jack promotion.
Monday-Wednesday Derby Lane had a promotion for winning with pocket jacks. The house double the pot up to $500. But you had to be called to the river, so it did change the play of the no limit games. Peter won for a small amount.
The next day I hit twice on the no limit winning $250 on the promotion alone and coming home with enough to put me up $9 for the trip. The no limit table really played more like limit poker. These players were cautious and not crazy. I managed to confuse them. Still again I developed a reputation for being tight so that I had to be careful not to bet. Slow playing did pay off.
My pocket jacks win on the first table was calling a fellow with a pair of tens (high flopped card) and an ace kicker. I never raised that then kept him trying to push me off the jacks. My second was similar. On that one a king came on the turn and an ace on the river but I kept calling decent bets. A guy with pocket 9's was trying to push me off. He would have gone had I raised. I was very lucky. He did not know about the jack promotion so did not consider that as part of the possibilities.
On my last night I was at a totally nutty table where raisers and callers pulled in pots on the river. When my ace went to a straight, I was beat by a fellow with a 6-2. On one hand I got aggressive. I held ace-queen and there was a queen on the flop and a decent bet from one woman in early position. I raised all in thinking that I could force out the competition and I did but she help a pair of pocket queens.
So I lost. My weekly losses were $331. Not bad for a beginner.
Still it is a much more complicated game and I don't yet really understand the nuances. I don't think I will play it much in Vegas, but it will be a better game for me at Turning Stone where the rake makes limit poker difficult. In no limit the rake is not too hard to overcome even when the table gets down to 6 players.
Derby Lane did have a bad beat, but the bad beat of the week was at Tampa Hard Rock and they hit it while I was there. It had risen to a half a million dollars o the loser of the bad beat hand won over $250.000.
One disadvantage of the dog track was that the card room can only stay open 12 hours a day so it did not open until 1PM or 2PM. On the 2-4 table the game is constantly slowed by people betting horses or dogs or that game played like hand ball with curved rackets. On the other hand this distracted the players in the same way that the horses do at the horse track.
I only be the dogs once. I bet a 2-3 exacta and the 2 came in first but the other dog was...well, a real dog. It was fun to watch them run.

Home from St Pete

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Well, another beating. The week has not done well for me. I do not have confidence as I approach a week of poker in St. Petersburgh, Florida.
I was never even today, but I did come very close. In the end I lost my $100 to Peter and Greg who took most of the money off the table. Phil made a small win. Bruce lost so fast he left very disappointed.
Bill's Dad died this week, so we missed him at the game.
Peter had a great day, racking up chips, losing many of them back, and then racking them up again for a $90 win. So Greg must have won about $100.
No really dramatic hands. Peter had four 7's, but no one was there to bet into him. Twice I beat Peter with a flush card just one number higher than his. I had straight flush draws twice but nothing came of them except winning one pot.

I think I played way too loose and then on tilt for the last few hands.
I have to get the idea that losing less is also good and quit making the total score for the day the measure of good play.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Dark Day for Dew at Foxwood

An old friend of mine, his 89 year old mother, his brother and wife, and another friend and wife all made the drive to Foxwoods yesterday for a day of gambling. No one came home with any money.

My poker day created my the worst loss since November of 2005. I ended up down $310 playing $4-$8 limit

And I did everything I could to win, even took along Louisiana Mudgriff Dan's 3 Musketeer lucky coin. Everyone touched the coin for luck. Everyone lost money. All eight of us. I' have written Dan for directions. We must have gotten some part of the coin ritual wrong. Perhaps he'll send over the correct page from the Aligator Brotherhood Lodge so my play in Tampa this week won't be so sour. Yep, I'm takin' the coin to Florida. It has no where to go but up.

Still, I loved the the game. There was the right mix of players at each of my sessions ( I cashed out to go to lunch) They might have sucked me out on a few hands except I was never in long enough to have that experience. Other players did get rivered with gut shot draws. I was generally beat long before the river. Also I had the habitual raise4r just two to my left. I hate when that happens unless I manage to get great cars and use him to squeeze the table, but I could never get a seat change.

Because there was enough of that loose play at the table, there was very little bluffing. Often hands would be over bet. One fellow holding Q-6 bet when I checked my pair of queens (Q-K) on a river that created a pair of 4's.
Once I got pushed off a pot. Three of us had held aces and called an A-J-J flop to the river. One ace bet and the second raised, so I folded mine. I lost my third of the pot. I'd do that again. But I would not have played like those guys. I would never have bet the ace after getting called to the river and certainly not raised with two guys in, one of them a tight player like me.

One woman took nearly half of my losses in two hands. I flopped a king high club flush and with 4 clubs by the flop, she raised my bet. I called. The dealer said, "Show me the ace" and she said she did not have it, but turned over pocket sevens for 4OAK.

On another hand her pocket 3's flopped a full house. I had trip tens. She never raised my bets, even on the river.

What was unnerving was she often called other players to the river with second and third best hands. But when I had cards, she had better cards.

There was no other great drama.

My son played a 30 home game tournament last night planned by an Albany Pokerpal meetup group. I'd have gone with him had I not gone to Foxwoods. He won $30 in third place.

It was a fine day. The almost 3 hour ride went very quickly with plenty of stories. It was not as slow as the bus by myself. One fellow bought lunch with his points for everyone. Waiting in line they met a small woman who spoke Italian and had a little exchange of thoughts in Italian. That was fun to hear.
I picked up a voucher on my points for a free bus ride within three months. And I learned that there is a poker rate of $59 at the Two Trees Inn, their cheapest motel like rooms. So I could take the bus up and back, getting both bonuses, and stay a couple nights. Sounds very good.
The new MGM was interesting to see. The machines were all very new and it felt pleasant enough. I am not a great fan of the Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun expansions. They seem to be less interesting, more like huge lobbies in expensive hotels than casinos. And waling from MGM to Foxwoods (15 minute walk) was like walking through a mall with fewer shops. But the days of there being real themes seem over now even in Vegas where Wynn and Palazzo have that same dull feel to me.

I wonder what the Trump in AC will look like as a Margaritaville themed casino or what some of the newer building may look like in Vegas. The renovations I like best in Vegas are the old style neon added to the the East Freemont renovation. Downtown as a town of old neon seems delightful. I am bored with flat screen videos. I want to see more things like the Bellagio Conservatory, or the statues at Caesars, the fountain in front of Paris, Excalibur at night or the canals at the Venitian or the Stratosphere Tower. We have malls and 5 star hotel lobbies at home.

Tomorrow is Gregg's home game and then we go to Florida for 8 days. I'll play at Derby Lane dog track. Have to get my money back.