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Adjusting for Conditions (Vegas Trip Report Pt 2)

The next morning, Roose and I were up extra early. Like the smell of Folgers in your cup, the phermonal scent of gambling in a nearby casino always coaxing me up. I lay in bed for a few minutes trying to remember where I was and what I was doing. Once I got my bearings, I called Roose and coordinated. A quick shower later and we were heading downstairs for the buffet and poker tournament.

Excalibur's buffet isn't bad. The price is right, around $10 in the morning and around $15 for lunch. Like any buffet, it had the usual shortcomings that come with mass-produced food. But the selection was bountiful, and for a quick meal, it sufficed. We still had some food comps left over from check-in, so Roose, me and the two Holes ate for $2 total. This time, the meal was on Randy.

By the time we were leaving, most of the crew had joined us for breakfast. We moved en masse to the poker room to sign up for the 11am tournament. The buy-in was a ridiculous $25+10. That fee constitutes a whopping 40% of the buy-in, but I didn't wince. I was on vacation and my friends wanted to play. $35 was a drop in the bucket, so even if it was a turbo crapshoot, it wouldn't hurt much to lose.

As stated, the format was insane. Each player started with 300 chips, with blinds starting at 5/10. Blinds increased every 15 minutes and doubled. 10/25, 25/50, 50/100, 100/200 and so on. The tournament itself had 70 players, more than the usual 40. According to the floor, with 40 players the tournament lasted a mere 2 hours, so at least we wouldn't be waiting around all day if someone went deep. Top prize was usually around $500, but with 70 players, it was probably closer to $700 or higher.

Adjusting to the game is always a crucial part of winning poker. Whether it be a fast tourney structure or loose players, a solid fully-rounded player will be able to adjust his game to any condition to find an edge. I had decided, due to the structure, that I would be loose very early on. I'd rather bust early than get blinded out in the middle.

It didn't hurt when my first or second hand was AQo. I raised to 30 or 40 and got one or two callers. The flop was Q high and I bet out 100. The other player, an Indian gentleman, folded. I showed my Queen. I wanted to show the table that I had the goods, lest I start to get the image of a stealer. I needed my aggression to induce folds, and this seemed like the best way to strat on the right foot.

A couple of hands later, I was dealt A9d. I opted to limp in EP, as did Robbie Hole in MP and one or two callers, including the female button. We see a Jd8dX flop. It's a good nut flush draw for me, but I was hoping to see the turn for free or cheap. I checked and Robbie bet out. The female button, a middle-age broad, called, and I called as well. The turn was another 8, offsuit. I checked once again, as did Robbie. This time it was the button's turn to bet out, and she did, putting about $100 into the pot. I called, mostly because of the fast structure. I was willing to gamble it up early as a strategy to protect myself from the ridiculously escalating blinds. Robbie folded and it was just me and the chick in the hand. The river was an 8d. I wasn't worried about quads, but I was distinctly worried about a fullhouse. If she had a Jack or even pocket 22, my flush was beat. I checked and she checked behind. I showed my flush and she showed K9, a complete bluff. I took down the pot and was building a monster stack.

A little while later I limped with ATo. The flop was ATX and I checked to allow the Indian guy to push all-in. He was fairly short and playing aggressively, so I was confident he would put his last pittance in for me. I called and he showed T8. I took down the hand easily and busted him.

All this while, I was also betting and continuation betting the flop, taking down chips and hands left and right. Someone by me said that I was playing very aggressively, raising almost every pot. That's the type of info I need to know. It lets me know that I need to build my legitimacy back up. I explained as though I was an insecure donk, "I don't know what else to do when I get great cards. I've gotten AK three times already and Jacks a couple of times too." I was lying.

As soon as that conversation was done, I was dealt...AK. Scotty was at my table, along with Robbie Hole and college friend Big Rob. It had a lot to do with the fact that they expected 4 tables, so when we picked seats, we only had four possible tables to end up at. Ilan, Randy and Roose were at the other tables.

I know Scotty and his game very well. From when he first started, he's made leaps and bounds. At this point in the tournament, I had about 850 and he had 750 or so. I was in LP and he raised before me. I decided to raise all-in back, hoping that he had a weaker Ace. I had a lot of reason to believe it. Although Scotty is a better player than he once was, I knew his game so well that I could imagine AT-AQ in his hand. It certainly was what it felt like at the time. I also knew that I could bust him. At the very least, I get him to fold his hand and I win the raised pot outright. By now, the blinds were getting significant, 25/50 with 300 starting stacks. He called and we flipped our cards up, my AK v. his AQ. The flop had a Queen, and by the end of the hand, I was down to 100. I was okay with it though. If someone was going to suck out on me, I'd rather it be a friend than some stranger.

In the next hand, I pushed my 100 with QJo. By the time it got to me, there were 4 limpers and I was in LP/MP. All-in-all, I could sextuple up by the time it got to the flop. At first, the T94 flop was decent, but when the straight didn't come in, I eventually lost the hand. I walked away and decided to play some cash.

I don't think I adequately described the Excal poker room yet. First off, the game selection sucks. Its all 2/4 Limit, 2-6 Spread Limit, 1/3 NL with a $200 max buy-in, or 2/4 NL with a $400 max buy-in. I opted for the 1/3, mostly because I was budgeting myself. You would think that 1/3 would play a lot like 1/2. In some ways it does, but in other ways that extra dollar just shakes things up. Bets to $15 are called a lot easier, for instance. Frankly, there is also something intangible. Picture driving someone else's car. Even though the steering wheel works like a steering wheel and the seat is a seat, it just feels different. Its just not the same.

Whatever the case, I played fairly well in the cash game, but saw my stack dwindle. I hit two pair with AT and check-raised Robbie Hole, who came to join me after 10-15 minutes. He was smart enough to fold. Not long after, I raised with QQ and one player calls. The flop had an Ace. I bet $20 and he raises to $40. I folded quickly. I knew I was beat. He showed A8s. "Nice hand." I always encourage them to show.

Everyone had busted from the tournament, and Roose was anxious to explore more casinos. I was about 4 hands from the BB, and when he insisted I leave, I told him he can either wait the three free hands I have coming or he can go without me. I didn't want to feel rushed. I generally never leave a table until after I've played the UTG hand. The way I see it, the blinds are a covercharge to see a whole orbit for free. If I had three more free hands coming, I was going to take them. After all, I might get KK or AA just for waiting out a few hands with no monetary exposure.

With one hand left, I was dealt A6h. I was slightly down, but nothing too bad. I called the $3, and a frat-guy, cocky player raised to $13 from LP. I called along with two other players. The flop was Ace high, and it checked around. For what its worth, I noticed that there wasn't much slowplaying in Vegas. I think it was largely because at the lower levels, players are not sophisticated enough to know when they should and shouldn't use it. So, when the turn came Jack, I was mildly concerned about being out-kicked, but I decieded to stop worrying. I bet out somewhere in the $20 range. Only the frat-guy called. The river was a blank and I bet out $30. This time frat guy folded and showed me his KJ. I don't know why he folded, because it gave me a lot of info. Unfortunately, I wouldn't get to use that info. I cashed out and left the table around $60 up. I'm glad I made Roose wait.

The next stop was a walking tour of nearby hotels, and a stop for poker in what would become my poker oasis for the trip. But that will have to come later. Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 9:10 AM,


At 10:14 AM, Blogger kipper said...

Poker is what poker was!! Sweet!

Thanks for mentioning that in your earlier post!

I have been laying low on the blogging scene but I have been catching up on some of the postings!


At 12:24 PM, Blogger Memphis MOJO said...

I'm enjoying your reports, thanks !

At 12:39 PM, Blogger MHG said...

I knew an upswing was coming... there hasn't been a dejected "I lost all my Vegas money" post yet.

I'll put the over/under at +$300 for the next post, any takers?

At 12:53 PM, Blogger NewinNov said...

Nice detailed trip report. It's like I'm there also depleting my bankroll.

At 1:54 PM, Blogger Matt said...

These recaps conjure up memories of my last trip to the Excalibur. Sunday morning. Table for 8 at the Sunday Champagne Brunch. 100+ glasses later, we walked out with a stomach full of nausea and a head full of regret.

Good stuff man.


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