Saturday, July 22, 2006


After the marathon that was the H.O.R.S.E Event, Jen and my good self decided to reward our hard work with a spot of cash. First stop was Caesar’s Palace in the centre of the strip.

A quite foreboding building, we were instantly greeted by the nefarious figure of Julius Caesar whose statue stood in the centre of the lobby. Resisting the temptation to take a corny piccy, we headed straight towards the cardroom.

Accompanied by the American born and now London based Ron ‘Mad Yank’ Fanelli, we waltzed straight onto a $1/2 ten-handed cash table, eager to show the Americans how to play the wonderful game.

To my delight, the table appeared to be somewhat intoxicated with one fellow acting like the proverbial newt. (He must have asked my name a hundred times before it finally sunk in.) Ron suggested that perhaps he wasn’t as drunk as he made out, especially after he folded for $1 in the small blind, but his constant F-bombing, shaking of hands with the cardroom supervisors, and general ‘be a pain in the arse’ skills seemed too convincing to question.

Now, Mad Yank is pretty infamous in England for his brazen behaviour. Well known on various forums and generally regarded as someone who isn’t afraid to speak his mind, he can fall victim to some rather unjustified bad press. True, he’s loud, but get to know the inner Yank and he’s really as mellow as the rest of us. However, his outrageous table presence, which is often nothing more than mere strategy, will always be explosive and boisterous – and why not?

After just several minutes, the ‘mad one’ was already causing a stir. Although currently an adopted Cockney, the table refused to believe that he was anything but 100% devoted to the stars and stripes, and so Ron announced that the next time his chips went in, he’d proudly sing Rule Britannia.

And would you Adam and Eve it, the very next hand, after a raise and a reraise, what does Ron look down to find? Yep, those lubberly jubberly American Airlines. As promised, he shoved in the chips and blew out the ol’ pipes “Rule Britannia! Britannia rule the waves!…” strangely enough, sounding quite mad.

And it worked! The second raiser fell right into the ‘he must be mad’ theory and briskly doubled Ron up with his pocket Kings. Now, if Jen or I had made the same move, but without the native singsong, would we have received the call? I’m not too sure…

As stated earlier, this was a rather intoxicated table, and a pretty weak one regardless. In fact, within just a couple of hours, I’d managed to scoop in a $1,000 profit! Pretty good going for a $1/2 game.

Although this predominantly derived from a K-K v Q-Q encounter on a K-T-rag-J-J board (the turn bringing a call from my all-in after we both checked the flop), the most intriguing hand came just as we were packing up to leave.

Ron raised from early position (to about $10) and received around 5 callers, one of whom was moi with A-T suited (spades). The flop came Ac-9c-6h. Ron checked, as did everyone else. The next card brought something innocent like the 4 of diamonds.

This time Ron bet $20. I glanced to my left, and, seeing as nobody else looked interested, just called, as I felt Ron had a strong pocket pair and may call a value bet on the river. I wasn’t too worried about an Ace here as I didn’t see why he’d check it on the flop.

I’m pretty sure the river was the 8c, but I’m certain Ron bet out $40. This bet baffled me. If he held K-K, Q-Q or J-J like I first thought, then why was he betting the River? At the same time, however, I really didn’t think he had the Ace, especially after his check on the flop, which therefore either meant he had a smaller pocket pair or was stonecold bluffing with a hand like K-Q or K-J. Anyhow, I had a feeling that he wasn’t strong, so I called and, to my surprise, he turned over Q-Q.

After a short trip to the cashier, I spoke to Ron about this hand and told him that I didn’t put him on Q-Q on the River due to his $40 bet. In response, he stated that his bet was based on ‘probability’.

Now by this I believe he means that he didn’t just think “this guy has this hand so I’ll make this play”, but more that “there’s a 70% chance he has this, and a 20% chance he has this, so the +ve move would be to do this”. Although this isn’t a strategy I employ (I’m more of a “I think he’s got this so I’ll bet this” kind of guy), I can appreciate such an approach, especially when it comes to ring games.

However, in this particular circumstance, I’m not sure betting out can be a profitable play, mainly because too many hands that call the $40 will be winning hands. If I have any Ace or something innocuous like 9-8 suited, I will call and win. And if I have 9-9, 8-8, 6-6 or 4-4 I’ll probably raise. Same with the flush or straight.

But what are my calling (and losing) hands that will win the pot for Ron. Well, I could have J-9 suited, I guess, but that’s about it. Anything else and I probably would have released to the $20 bet on the Turn. He’s seen me reraise with pocket Tens before, so I can’t believe he’d put me on Tens or Jacks.

What really raised an eyebrow was when he said that he’d have stuck it back up me if I’d reraised. This I considered to be a ‘hindsight based’ comment. If he thinks I’m bluffing, then he can just call. If he thinks I have him pipped with the Ace, then will a reraise force me to fold? Even if he has a set of Aces, which is unlikely if I have the potential case, then surely reraising on a board that dangerous is an unnecessarily risky move. Besides, I could actually have a monster.

Anyhow, it was an interesting hand that went my way (accompanied by a tongue in cheek (I hope) “give it to the donkey” comment from Ron). Mad Yank was a couple of hundred up from his early double-up and Jen was a $100 in the black from a missed nut flush draw which still managed to win come the river. A lucrative night all around, but fortunately for me, it was my turn to buy brekkie.

Next day (apologies I’ve lost track of which day is which), we quenched our poker thirst yet again. This time it was the Sahara.

Whilst Ron and Jen tackled the daily multi, I decided to try and increase my Vegas winnings even further by venturing into the cash game, one that was slightly less alcohol heavy, but still potentially profitable.

However, the cards didn’t really fall my way, and for the most of it, I rarely won or lost a big pot. So how did I end up $600 down? One giant $1,100 pot.

8-handed $1/2 NLH, fairly tight table, couple of loose players, including a young American in Seat 1 (let’s call him Hank). Hank seems pretty useful and not afraid to play weaker hands. We'd tried to outplay each other on a number of occasions, including a brief, but fun heads up session. In fact, the first hand I sat down I checked a set on the river and he bet $40 into me with 9 high, so I knew he could bluff.

Anyway, I have $550 in front of me and Hank has about $650. About an hour into the session, I receive 9d 6d. Hank raises to $8 (all raises in Vegas seem to be huge, this was minute in comparison), I call from the small blind. Everyone else folds. We hadn't been folding to each other's raises all night, unless they were big or involved other players.

On a flop of Qd-4c-7d, I check raised his $25 bet to $65, he called. I then check raised (again) the 8 turn. This time he bet $120 and I made it $320. After a lengthy dwell, he pushed all-in and I was forced to call for my last $140 or so.

He shows 6s 7s (2nd pair), King of Hearts on the River and that’s all she wrote. A $1,100 pot sails away.

Now, I’ve received several views on this hand, and the general concensus is that I played it incorrectly. Whilst Mad Yank (left) made the valid point that there is no story being told here that makes any sense with my two check raises failing to represent any kind of made hand (this guy knows his stuff), blondeite Dale added that, against a player like this, a check call on the flop followed by a bet on the turn is probably the best option. In hindsight, I think I’d have to agree with this approach. Dem boys speak sense.

My reasoning behind betting the Turn was no more than pure greed. I read him for a hand like second pair (I actually had him down for a pocket pair), and thought I could lure a few extra chips out of him before making him fold to my reraise.

My mistake was more in the misread of my opponent. As I later found out when he made a questionable call with a crappy pair against a flush draw and overcards, he certainly has a slight ego problem in terms of “I’ll show them by making an awesome call”.

So, against this player, I really should have refrained from making the pot so big.

Overall, I ended $600 down for the night, but $400 up for the trip. I’m not finding too many opportunities to play, but come the end of the $5,000 6-Handed Freezeout, I’m sure I’ll be back at the tables looking for a drunk tourist to finance my trip. Believe you me, there’s plenty around…


At 6:09 AM, Blogger Alex Martin said...

Call me crazy but i reckon you are overanalysing. Playing a 2-gepped connector out of position against an aggressive good player is the original mistake, the rest just follows on.

gl, Alex

At 8:49 PM, Blogger snoopy1239 said...

Hey, alex

so you're the one who reads my blog!

I am an overanalyser, but, given that I did make a loose call preflop, I think the hand is still an interesting one.

On a sidenote, what is i with Americans and Ace-rag. They just can't fold it here!

At 5:53 PM, Blogger MadYank said...

This MadYank Guy sounds a right Hoot!


Post a Comment

<< Home