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Winning Begets Winning (Vegas Trip Report Pt 7)

Raging solo once again, I made my way to the MGM. I knew I was on a schedule, since it was almost 4pm and the crew was meeting at 7pm for dinner. I tried to move as quickly as possible, and found myself at the Luxor, which I remembered was one of the stops on the way to the MGM. I stopped a woman and asked how to get to the MGM. She pointed back from where I came, "Go through Excalibur..." The rest was just noise to me. I was walking in the wrong direction. Holy shit. So, I manned up, and started back through the Excalibur. I then realized the err of my ways and took the walkway to New York New York, bypassing their doors and walking down the escalator to another overpass leading me directly to the MGM. The sun was swelteringly hot and I was glad to be back in the air conditioned Valhalla of the MGM.

Once inside, I went to the sportsbook and cashed in Roose and my tickets to the Mets/Yankees first game. I took the dough over to the poker room and put my name on the 6-person long list for 1/2 NL. I was worried it would take too long, given my time constraints, but I resolved to grab a Bluff magazine, sit back, read and wait. In about 20 minutes I was called to the front desk and seated at Table 1, Seat 9. Across the table was the Jared Leto lookalike from the day before. He had less than $100 in front of him. He still wore his Red Cap. I tried to catch his eye to wave or say hi - I was just interested in being friendly - but from what I could gather, he didn't even want to look at me. I don't blame him either. After all, I whooped him the day before and I was going to whoop him again. I knew immediately that he saw me as a luckbox donkey and I would use that to my advantage.

In my second hand, I was dealt AA. I raised to $12, not knowing how the table was going to react to bet sizes. It folded to Red Cap, the only player I knew at the table. He raised to $25 and everyone else folded to me. I knew Red Cap was still sore from the day before. I could see it in his eyes and the way he raised back at me. I pushed all-in, confident that he was going to call the $50 or so left behind him. He did, and at showdown he mucked. My AA held up and I was already up a decent amount. He left the table.

A couple of hands later I make a successful continuation bet with AJ to take down the pot. I may have won a couple of other small pots. With this in mind, when it limped to me in the CO, I decided to play for $2 with my Q8o. I have enough money to not sweat the small blinds. The flop came down 79T, giving me an open-ended straight draw. It checked to the button, who bet all-in for $24. There was no way I was paying $24 into a pot that had maybe $10 in it so far. I resolved that I would have to fold, UNLESS at least two callers also decided to play. I made this decision before any other players acted. An older Asian gentleman, who incidentally was going to be my one trouble at the table, called. A player in MP folded. The friendly young Asian player on my right called as well. I was a bit surprised, but decided that I should follow my initial strategy. I called as well. The turn was a beautiful Jack. Not only did I have the straight, but I had the hidden second-nut straight to the Queen. It was easy to see someone having an 8 for the open-ender, but with the Queen, I had some extra strength. To my surprise, the Asian Asshole bet out $45. The friendly Asian kid called. I was surprised. The pot was now pretty big, and I decided to win it outright. Also, the Jack brought a club flush draw, and while I wasn't worried about someone playing two bare clubs, I had been traumatized by the early flushes and the pot was good enough at the moment. I waited for a moment and pushed all-in. Asian Asshole folded and the young Asian started chatting with me. "Man, I can't believe you put me in this spot." He took his time. "I think we have the same hand...Q8." This perked me up. He announced my freaking hand! I had to think quick. I acted a bit concerned, "You have the Q8? Damn!" "Haha, I'm kidding. I think we have the same hand though. I call." I flashed him my cards. "Sorry, man." He showed A8. The river bought another club, but the all-in player from the flop mucked. I doubled up nicely and was up over $300 in less than 30 minutes.

I considered walking, but when the conidtions are good, I like to stick around. After all, winning begets winning. Well, usually.

I decide to play KQ in late position to a $7 preflop raise from MP. The Asshole Asian calls in one of the blinds. The flop was King-high with two hearts. It checked to the bettor and he bet out $20. When it folded to me, the guy on my left was discussing very publicly his reads. "The bettor has TT or JJ. He's seeing if anyone hit the King." It's just plain wrong to discuss hands like this while the hand is pending, but I was on the same track of thought. 99 or TT would explain the weak preflop bet out of position and the weak feeler bet with one over on the flop. I decided to raise to see where I was at. $40 total, basically a min raise. To my surprise, Asian Asshole calls from one of the blinds. The bettor folds. The turn is a 7h, finishing the flush draw. Asshole checks and I think for a moment. I had put him on the flush draw, and his check seemed fishy, so I checked as well. The river was a blank, or maybe a Queen. He bet out $40. The bet seemed odd. "Do you have the flush? You do have the flush, don't you?" "I'm stealing the pot." I thought for a moment. "I dunno. Okay, I call." He showed J5h for the turned flush. I had the read, but I didn't follow through. Flushes were killing me on this trip.

From here, the Asian Asshole just was relentless. He wouldn't let up, seemingly playing hands merely because I was in it. The players near me were also feeling his brunt, as he caught cards. I wasn't willing to give into the "lucky donkey" attitude, and admitted to my neighbor that once this guy started winning, he just got into the zone. He was making great plays. Sure, he was loose, but that was part of his style. "Winning begets winning." It got to the point where a new player sat in the ten seat and heard me discussing the hand with the nine seat (I had moved to the eight seat after the young Asian left...I struck up a conversation with one of the few other good players at the table, Steve, a NJ guy in the 7 seat). The kid in the 10 seat sat down, heard us discussing how the Asshole Asian was screwed down, playing well. The kid posted his blind, watched one hand after folding and then moved to a new table. He had to freakin wait for his chips to come just so he could toss Asshole his $2 blinds before heading out. He was probably smarter than anyone else on my side of the table. We all knew the Asshole was becoming an unstoppable beast, but couldn't walk away.

By 6:15, I was still up $175, but lost a decent amount of my profit. I decided I needed to leave soon, and chose to play tight to save what profit I had left. Then I got JJ in mid to late position. When the action got to me, I made my standard raise to $15. Of course, Asian Asshole called. An early position limper called as well. This kid had re-raised me a few hands back, getting me to fold. I got the feeling that he (correctly) read me as aggressive, but willing to fold to resistance. He also probably put me on a wide range, since I was playing lots of hands, usually to limps. The flop came down T64, rainbow. It was a nice flop, so after the kid checked, I bet out $45. I was glad when the Asshole folded. I was surprised when the kid called. What do you limp in with and then check-call $45? The turn is an 8 and, amazingly, the kid bets out, $60.

If you are like me, that bet just stops you in your tracks. What the fuck could it mean? Literally at that moment, a super loud technosong started up in the adjacent bar. The bar and poker room shared a wall, but it wasn't an issue except for maybe 2 to 3 times an hour, when the music, for some reason unknown to me, increased volume 10-fold. The sound of the bass beating over and over was literally fogging my mind. I even put my hands up to the sides of my temples and shook my head while saying, "This music is fucking with my head! SHIT!" The guy to my left, a relatively new player to the table who was also pissed at Asian Asshole, said to himself "He has a set." Again, this is just plain wrong, but I'm no one's nanny, so I kept my mouth shut. I was thinking the same thing, and hearing confirmation scared me a bit more. A 44, 66 or 88 might call a raise out of position preflop. In the first two instances, it would explain the flat call of $45 after he flopped a set. Maybe the 8 scared him with phantom straight draws, so he decided to take the lead on the turn. The 88 made sense too. Preflop, its a decent call. Post-flop if he put me on two high cards, all he had to do was hope I didn't have a Ten. Then, when he turned his set, he bet out. Both were plausible scenarios. I thought it over some more. I tried to concentrate.

I had a sneaking suspicion that something wasn't right. I recalled when he re-raised me off a hand a few hands before this one. I believed that he was the type of player to make a play like that, following what history has taught him...that I will fold to resistance. I thought a bit longer and decided to check for tells. In hindsight, I'm surprised no one called for time. My neighbor left for a piss break. I looked at the kid. Shortly after his raise, I asked, "How much do you have left?" He said matter-of-factly, $35. I didn't get any info from his demeanor. I had to try again. "Okay, do you have a set? You might have a set. Damn it, I just don't know." He had stiffened up, placed his hands, clasped together, in front of his mouth. He stared straight ahead like a little robot. I was onto something. I asked the dealer, "Can I show him my cards?" When I got the okay, I laid the JJ face-up on the table. "I have a good hand here. I don't see how I could lay it down. What do you think? Do you want me to fold?" Nothing. And then I realized that he was exhibiting one of the most surefire tells out there: the lack of tells.

Here's a quick lesson. When someone bluffs, they are often so worried about giving off tells, that they go into tell lockdown mode. This involves turning into a statue. To the player, by tightening up phsyically, they are providing no information to induce a call. On the flipside, to me, if you had the goods, you wouldn't be so worried about covering up tells. You'd be more relaxed. The fact that he had shut off all tells led me to believe that he didn't have it. I was shocked that I had come to this conclusion, a full 180 from where I started, thinking I was dominated. "I'm all-in." "I call." "SHIT!" I figured he had it. Why else would he call my all-in? He saw my freaking cards. He flipped over KTs, for top pair, second kicker. The river was a blank and I took down the pot.

When he stood up, I motioned for him to come over. I told him why I called. He was a bit pissy at first, but then, after gathering his stuff, he came over and thanked me and told me "nice hand."

I left there up around $350. In total, I was down $51 from poker. I was overall doing alright, though, and I felt great about that final play. I cashed out and headed to the casino to meet up with the crew.

From there, we all headed out to a condo that was secured by Scotty. It was off the strip, and was a much-needed break from the rest of the weekend. Still, we headed over to the nearby casino, South Pointe, which had just openned up a year and a half before. We grabbed dinner and gambled some more. The party continued complete with drinks and festivities. By the time we were back at the hotel it was late. I was very drunk, mostly on Redbulls and Vodka. Before I left Vegas, though, I was going to face some Demons, and it was going to be one of the most difficult gambling realities that I every faced. But no time for that now. More on that later.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 1:56 PM,

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