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Suck Outs and Bluffing in Vegas

I am currently in Vegas, my personal Mecca, enjoying everything gambling-oriented. I've only had one opportunity to play poker (1/2 NL) at the Excalibur Thursday night, but it was a great time. I have never been to Vegas before, and the difference between it and Atlantic City (my usual casino fix) is like apples to apple farms. Everything is bigger and better here. The Excalibur poker room had a free buffet (its the little things). And in general, its just excitement everywhere.

Kim (my fiance) and I decided to come to Vegas for two very different reasons. One of her friends from college, Heather, (we all went to UB together) moved here with her boyfriend, Craig. Another friend, Brian, was here on work for the week. So, for Kim it was a college reunion of sorts. A third friend, Denise, joined as well.

But for me it was all about one thing: Poker. Or just gambling, frankly. I've already played poker, blackjack, roulette, carribean stud, and craps.

So, I started at Excalibur with 100. I eventually had to dip into my pocket for another 50 when I was down to 20 left. I wasn't playing my best poker, trying to hit flushes that were not coming. But eventually, as the night wore on I hit my stride. I was down to my last 30 chips or so (down 120), but then made a comeback until I was up about 50 or so. Maybe even more. I made a sweet bluff at one point, but just before the end of my play (our girls came to get us), I had a terrible suck out that left me down 50 for the night. Stupid suck outs. Here are the two hands that I just mentioned.

The Bluff
I was holding K9, suited diamonds. I was on a rush, and decided to press it a bit. The flop came down JT4, with two diamonds. I had a K-high flush draw. A bettor before me raised 10. I called. The next card was a 9. The bettor raised either 15 or 20. I called, knowing that if I hit the flush, I could win big. The last card was a T. The bettor checked. And then I moved all in. He only had 40-50 left. Plus, I had not gone all in yet so far, while playing for several hours. He thought for a moment. And then he folded. I was trying to represent a set of tens. But he asked me if I hit the straight (I didn't even realize the straight was possible until he said it). I had to show some bravado. I showed my cards. The table was shocked. I got some compliments. It felt good to effectively bluff. Kudos to me.

The Suckout
I held KQ in the BB. There were only 5 or 6 at the table (which is rare for Vegas, but usual for me). The table went around with a couple of callers. I raised it up a small amount. A couple of people called. The flop was K87. I raised 15$. Most folded, except for one player, who raised $15 on top. I saw he had about $45 left, so I pushed him all in. He hesitated and then called. He had pocket tens. I was in good shape. But then a 9 came. And then a 6. The guy hit runner-runner straight, and I was suddenly down $50. Sucks. But I kept my mood up. That is the game. If you can't take it you shouldn't play.

, there it is. My first Las Vegas poker game. It was great. When I started writing this blog entry, it was right after the Excalibur game. I saved the draft and continued it today (3/29), a day after returning. In a nutshell, after that suckout, everything went haywire. I was doing well in a Luxor tourney, until I overplayed KQ three times, to lose all of my chips. The blinds were ridiculously high, so I thought I was playing smart. It just never paid off.

I then played a cash game at Luxor, 1/2 NL. In one of the first hands, I had pocket tens. I raised to 7. One person called. Another guy raised all-in for another 47$. I folded, thinking that (a) he probably had Js or better, OR if he had AJ, AQ, AK, or even JQ, JK, or QK, it would be a coin toss, which was not worth my money. I folded. My earlier caller called. The caller had pocket 8s. The raiser had 5s. I was steamed. And then the flop came...2 more tens. I would've hit a 4 of a kind. What a joke! If I had been at that table earlier, I would have seen that the raiser was a joke. I would have called. But I could only use the info available to me at the time. And if I called and he had KK, I would have hated myself even more. I proceeded to lose about $100 there.

On the final day, I woke up early to play poker. What a mistake. I lost an additional $260. Nothing was happening. I got sucked out on a A5 against 54, when I moved all in pre-flop and the 54 called. They hit the straight. I pushed pocket 5s when the flop was 336, and at the end of the hand was shown 34, thus losing more. It was ridiculous. I went upstairs to Kim with my tail between my legs. Losing is hard. Overall, I lost 468$ on poker, won about $260 or more in craps and roulette.

So, for Vegas, my losses were about $200, not bad for 5 days entertainment, in which I played at least 4-6 hrs per day. However, I keep my poker winnings seperate from general gambling winnings. So I lost most of my winnings for 2005. I dropped from $505, to $37 or so. Its a blow to the ego. But that's poker. I should have played more selective hands. I should have been more patient. I should have better luck in the future. But I won't let it effect me too much. I've been mourning my loss for 2 days. I'm getting over it. And the next time I play at a home game, I'm going in fresh and ready. I got a lot of ground to make up, but I'll do it, one hand at a time. Oh yeah, and Vegas sucks! (I'm still allowed a little bitter resentment.)

posted by Jordan @ 3:58 PM,


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