Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Back to Basics

Mookie and the Austin crew rolled into Vegas this weekend and I've enjoyed hanging with them for the last two days down at the MGM. After a tepid run the last few months I decided to get back to the basic and enjoyed some $1/2 NL with Mookie and KOD on Sunday then some solo $1/2 Monday before the Mooks showed up to play.

I played super tight, I didn't chase too many speculative hands, really I just played ABC poker and got paid off. I'd forgotten the money that can actually be made at $1/2 provided you play tight, don't try tricky moves on the donkeys, and get your stack in the middle when you have good hands.

Sunday I only had one hand of significance but I got paid off. Some aggro draw chasing dude who seemed to be in every pot, calling or raising, had been all over the board, getting stacked, stacking others with shit cards, a real target to double through.

He got KOD's AA when he called a big pre-flop raise with 83 sooted luckily seeing a flop of 334. He also stacked some guy when he called a $15 pre-flop raise and a $35 flop bet with 35o hitting a gut shot on the turn. He then lost all-in preflop when his QQ lost to some other Einstein's JackAce.

I get QJ sooted in SB and our maniacal friend makes it $6 to go. Four of us see the flop of 89T rainbow. Beautiful. I lead out for $10 trying to build a pot and its called by the donk and one other. Turn is perfect, an Ace. I give a little look of disgust and check. Other dude checks and the maniac makes it $45. I check-raise all-in and he insta-calls but mucks when he sees my hand. This has me up a buy-in but I miss on good drawing hands later on but I still leave with a profit of $100. Not a huge win like a good day at $2/5 but a win nonetheless.

Yesterday I had a really good session taking $540 from a $1/2 game in just five hours basically playing and raking two very big pots. Man it's nice to put two good sessions together in a row.

This brother was Action Jackson, bluffing, overbetting pots, straddling and making it anywhere from $30-50 on his straddle, really running the weak table over. He was up to about $600, bled some chips for a couple orbits then like most brothers, and aggro donkeys, he couldn't leave well enough alone and he got snapped off in two hands. The first he lost a big pot calling a big pre-flop raise with 84 sooted then turning a flush only to see the pre-flop raiser turn over AQ for a higher flush oops. Then I got him.

I get 67o in late postion and limp after a few other limpers. I think 7 of us see a flop of J66 two hearts. He bets out $20, I smooth call (yes slow-play to pay day), and some horrible lady calling station of course calls too. Turn is the case 6 and immediately I think how can I get this donks stack. Well thank you sir for doing the heavy lifting, he jams. How fucking perfect to have four of a kind (you need two in your hand for quads) and to see some aggro donk jam into you. Well that was the end of my man and unfortunately the game got tight as can be.

It's dinner time and the room, like usual in the middle of summer, starts to clear out. The tables consolidate so we get a couple new players at the table. In the hijack I get KK and make it $15 to go and it winds up with 5 of us seeing the flop. Yikes, let me proceed with caution on this hand. Flop is J53 rainbow, decent enough. Checks to me, I make it $50 folds around on I get one caller. Hmmm?

Turn is a 4. There are no flush draws and I don't think dude hit a gut shot so I make it $125. Dude thinks for a couple seconds and check-raises me all-in. Fuck. Does he have a set? I still can't give him credit for a gut shot and two pair would certainly be a stretch.

After the $125 the dude still has $200 or so left behind him so this is going to be a monster pot. Initially I feel I'm beat but I have to remember this is a $1/2 so the guy is probably playing straight forward. I'm in the tank when the dude spots one of his buddies, hollers something in Arabic, points to his watch gives the accompanying head gesture like they gotta be somewhere. There is the tell. It's time for him to go and he's either pushing me off a hand and paying for dinner or he's going broke. I call and he turns over J9. I dodge the five river outs and rake a big pot.

As I'm stacking the chips I make a comment to the guy next to me about the watch/head gesture thing. The dealer who is a big-time player tells me he noticed the same thing and also thought it was a tell and the guy was full of shit. Either way overpairs for big pots are scary situations. It's much easier of course in $1/2 when the stacks are smaller but from playing higher games those are very difficult decisions whether or not to bet your stack. If our stack sizes weren't so big compared to the game and table I insta-call with KK figuring I'll go broke in that spot for $200.

So booking two wins was nice as was getting back out and playing live again. I think the break I took was much needed, and the time I've spent back in the books and clearing my head seems to have paid off. I think I'll stick with some more $1/2 for a while before moving back up to the $2/5 games.

Hope everyone had a good weekend, made some money at the tables, or got wasted, or got laid, or enjoyed time with their kids, or hey maybe all of the above.


At 1:23 PM, Blogger smokkee said...

that 1/2 game at MGM is ez money if you can get your hands to hold up. TPNK is king to those donkeys.

At 1:41 PM, Blogger cmitch said...

Nice work.

I luv me some live cash games.

At 1:53 PM, Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

Good work and nice post, Don. Glad to see you back to your winning poker ways.

And I tend to agree with you, I find 1-2 games live in casinos to still generally be "nit" games where many people set mine and peddle the nuts. I have found that at 2-5 is where the game starts to open up a little bit and you start to run into the bluff-raisers with air and types like that.

Well done.

At 1:58 PM, Blogger Alan aka RecessRampage said...

How good are the players playing 2/5NL in Vegas? Every time I've been there, the 1-2NL players are awful. If I'm moderately successful playing 2-4NL online, you think I can be moderately successful playing 2-5NL live?

At 3:02 PM, Blogger jamyhawk said...

Great freakin' read! I really wish I could play live more often.
Great post too.

At 4:43 PM, Blogger Chad C said...

Alan, $2/$5 at MGM or Bellagio is just as soft, if not softer than a $1/$2 game.

At 6:19 PM, Blogger Alan aka RecessRampage said...

Chad, your comment made me wet... can't wait till December.


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