Thursday, March 24, 2005

Part Trois

I should have known better than to mention the word variance in my last post. Right after posting I was visited by 3 down sessions. I have since recovered though and am looking a little better than break even for the week so far.

Your not here to read about that though, you want to hear about my Ameristar Casino adventure. So let’s get started.

I arrived at the casino at 4:30 pm on Tuesday the 15th. My only real live play experience to this point was the CardPlayer Cruise so I was a little nervous when I approached the card room. They run a Tuesday night Limit Tournament and I wanted to get signed up but the guy in line right in front of me got the last seat. The policy on alternates was changed apparently the week before so I couldn’t get on a waiting list. At any rate I purchased my chips and headed to my first casino table.

When I was on the cruise I found the games to be very much like the online games in terms of player types and betting so I was expecting the same. Was I in for a rude awakening. It is possible on PartyPoker to find tables were 6 to 7 players will see a flop every hand but they take some hunting. Here that was the rule and not the exception. I was amazed after the first few hands at how many people will stay till the river hoping to hit something. I was playing my normal online game and that was just not going to cut it here. I’m used to being able to raise not only for value, but also to somewhat thin the herd. Here a raise was an invitation for everyone to join in. I heard from players on numerous occasions, “Now I have the odds to call”. With so many players seeing the flop and sticking around after the flop almost any two cards were good preflop. After the flop they took on the mentality that since they were already in the hand the odds no longer applied. They had invested in the pot and they were seeing it to the end.

This is a great situation if your hands hold up. Mine didn’t. In the first 2 hours of being at the table I saw many flop worthy hands but nothing would materialize. I dropped $89 dollars and decided to check out the restaurants. We did have a mildly amusing player join our table about a ½ hour before I left for dinner. He sat at the table complete with hat and sunglasses and announced on his arrival that he had never played live poker but watched it a lot on TV. Of course no one believed him until he started playing. He saw every hand and when he was in a pot the shades would go on. It would have been a lot funnier if he hadn’t blown his bankroll in that ½ hour.

After enjoying a nice meal in what was a very cool sports bar & grill (complete with touch screen TV’s in the booths) I headed back into battle. I knew I had to change my game up if I was going to survive these tables and I did a fairly decent job of it. I removed most preflop raising from my game. If it wasn’t a big pocket pair or AK it just wasn’t worth the investment. I had to jam the pots postflop if I hit, not preflop. The new table I was seated at had a regular player of retired age. He sat with a chip stack of around $600 in front of him and he kept going on and on about how the cards were hitting him. He was correct and I saw him take down many a pot when I first arrived. I tried to stay out of everyone’s way for a while but with a kill pot (all the games were 3/6 with a kill) I found A6 suited on the button. I had to call the unraised five-way pot and made my set of sixes on the flop. The turn shown my full house and the river brought me my fourth six. Mister $600 called my raises all the way to the end. After the table cheered at my four of a kind Mr. $600 grumbled that I had taken a chunk out of his stack. I replied that I’d be happy when he had to break into his black chips. It was meant in fun but I don’t think he took it that way.

By the time midnight rolled around I had managed to take back my earlier $89 loss and put a $60 profit ontop of it. The table was full of fun people and I got to see one woman make a Queen high straight flush to win the high hand of the day. The table broke up and that’s when I should have gone home. But that would be a boring story so I decided to stay and was moved to another table. The new table had a very different make up of players including three young guns . Young gun one was weak/tight and easy to push off hands, Young gun two actually knew what he was doing and how to beat this game, Young gun three was misplaced aggression. The three knew each other and sat at one end of the table constantly talking about the other players and what they thought they had. It became very annoying, very quickly, especially when the aggressive one actually started hitting his crap hands. To take down quite a few pots. My play became uninspired as the hours began to wear on me. At 4:30 am they finally closed the place and I had to go. I gave back most of my earlier winnings and left with an overall loss of $72.

I paid 1BB an hour for the privilege of playing at the casino. I did get to see a drunk guy get escorted out by security after getting into a confrontation with another player and then the floor man. So at least I got some entertainment for my money.

I left without any real desire to go back since I can make money at home and I don’t have to deal with the personalities or the smoke. The card room was smoke free but all the players would go stand at the entrance and puff away. I of course was seated near the entrance for most of my play so I was able to add a headache to the money loss.

I was lured back on Saturday night as a friend of mine was coming up from Wichita and he wanted to hit the casino. I was originally scheduled to work but things changed and I joined him after my day shift. I only had four hours to play since the wife works on weekend nights and I have to be home with the kids. The place was packed and my 15 minute wait ended as they opened up a new table.

The new table was a smaller one that only sat nine players and the auto shuffler was broken so our hand/hour rate went down quite a bit. I tried to apply what I had learned form my previous outing and managed to leave with a $37 profit. Still down overall for my two visits but I’m confident I could make money in the long run.

My big hand of the night involved another kill pot like the visit before. I was again on the button and called one raise with my KQ of diamonds. The flop came QKQ and although I’ve never used the expression ever in my life I distinctly remember thinking “Oh Snap!” when the flop came up. It almost made me chuckle out loud but I managed to contain myself as two players called my flop raise and one stuck around through the river to pay me off.

The other big hand of the night involved a new casino player who played on the internet and an old lady regular. It was a kill pot and the new kid raised it preflop. I got out of the way but grandma called the additional $6 as she was on the kill button. The flop came down 22Q. They raised each other back and forth. The Turn was another Q. Again some raising back and forth. The river was a blank and it went down with only one bet each. At the conclusion the young guy showed his AA and the grandma showed her 72 offsuit. The table erupted and everyone in the room thought we had hit the bad beat jackpot. Grandma just kept saying “I already had $6 in the pot, I had to call!”

Had to call indeed.