Thursday, 29 November 2007

November 26th 2007

So we get to the final full day of my 2007 Las Vegas trip. Poker wise it has been a bit of a let down, but the rest of the city and the break has been great. To be honest I have not played as much poker as I usually do this trip. What I will do is post a general Vegas post to highlight what I think are the do's and don'ts of Vegas.

So the morning started with a re visit to the Venetian card room. Len and Dave wanted to enter the $150 mid day buy in tournament. There were about 40 runners in this, starting chips of 7500 and 30 minute blinds. A very good quality tournament for Vegas. Len made the final table of this tournament but went out when his dominating KJos went heads up against KTos on a K high board. Of course the ten hit the river and the tens remained to be Lens bug bear for the holiday.

I didn't enter the tourney but played a $1 / $2 cash game. Second hand in I was able to get into a pot with 77 in the SB. The flop came down 37A with the 3 and the 7 being hearts. I put in a small bet and was re raised by the under the gun player and then this was re re raised by a mid position player. I loved this action and firmly believed I was ahead. The under the gun player then acted out of turn and called this re re raise (flush I thought). She was forced to leave her bet there whilst I contemplated my next move. Putting her on a flush draw due to the flat call I decided to raise it up and get head to head with the mid position player who I put on the ace. I bet an extra $100 into a pot of what was now about $60. The UTG player folded and the mid position went into the tank. After being prompted by the dealer he pushed all in having me covered, I instantly called. He had 2 pair A7's. My set held up and I was firmly ahead for once.

The session went nice and smoothly after that and I was able to increase my winnings by making a few nice hands and good calls (calling my ace weak kicker in the BB after a bet of $50 on the river by my opponent into a $60 pot when the flop paired my ace and getting my read right).

Once I was nicely ahead I decided to finish my poker playing for the trip and leave on a positive high with at least one winning session of note.

So from there on it was relax, have a drink and go to see the Phantom of the Opera that evening.
The show was excellent, they had apparently spent $45 million on the set and it showed. The sound of the orchestra combined with the excellent performances of the actors and special effects gave it the air of watching a tv programme rather than being at the theatre. Anyone visiting Vegas should at least see one show.

That's all for now, I will put a summary post of the trip up shortly (after my jet lag subsides) along with a few photo's.

For now here was the days wins / losses:

Buy Ins - $200
Cash Out - $525
Profit - $325

Tuesday, 27 November 2007

November 25th 2007

I saw the comment about having no photo's. My camera went faulty at the beginning of the holiday so all my photo's are on my phone, I'll put a gallery up when I get back to England.

Today was tournament day, Binions, the home of Poker. They have a great tournament at the weekends and is a must for any tournament player. It is a $70 buy in with $40 one time add on in the first 3 levels, and yet it has a guaranteed prize fund of $10,000. If you win you then get entered for their Tournament of Champions which is run on the first Sunday of every month, so it is worth booking your holiday to cover this just in case you get lucky on the Saturday before.

I ended up going out mid field (about 145 players entered) after I was damaged by someone going all in on a flush draw and I called with chips to spare, confident that this was the fact holding top pair Aces. My read was good but I didn't lose to the flush draw, the other player hit runner runner 6 and 7 for 2 pair.

Len went deep into ther tournament going out in about 20th place and went out pushing all in with AK, and getting a call by a player with TT. A ten came on the flop and it was all over.

We then went back to the Tropicana for a cash game. This was an excellent opportunity to fill my wallet. There were about 3 people who had been drinking all day and were struggling to see the cards through their drunken haze. They would call bets of $20 with a board low pair of 3's. I just had to make sure not to try to bluff these calling stations, all I had to do was hit a few flops. This was the flaw in my plan, I sat for 2 hours and watched their chips go to all other players but I could just not hit a flop. Even the cards I passed didn't hit the board, not even any draws. Sad, sad, sad ... so another loss today.

Here's the stats:

Cash Game Buy In - $450
Cash Game Cash Out - $343
Tournament Buy In - $110
Tournament Cash Out - $0
Profits - $-217

Until Later

Keep it Tight!

Sunday, 25 November 2007

November 24th 2007

Well over half the holiday now gone and I have yet to hit a very profitable session.

In fact quite the opposite. I played terrible today. Possibly a mix of frustration and the fact that I had so many low pairs I just did not know what to do with them. The session was again at Ceasars $1/$3 NL.

One notable hand where I played completely out of character was when I looked down at 8d8s. There was a pre flop limper who raised $25 on the BB after I had limped in mid position. He had done this sort of bet before when he was holding AQ so I put him on a similar holding, either small pair or AJ, AQ, AK etc. I decided to take a punt and called. The flop came down 7d9sTs. As first to act he put in a bet of $20 into a $65ish pot. I saw this as weak and went over the top all in (massively overplayed I know, and is an example of how poor I was playing). He thought for a while then called showing AsJs for an overpair, flush and gutshot straight draw. He didn't fill his flush but hit an A on the end. In hindsight I would have been better flat calling his continuation bet then betting it on the turn if he slowed down, but however I played it I was still no better than 50/50 really.

One buy in down I continued. The small pocket pairs kept coming and I tried to get back some sort of composure, but still felt I was playing badly. I had some respite when my 77 in the BB hit a board of 772 giving me quads. No one wanted to bet this flop after my check, the turn came an A which really killed any action I was likely to get and I raked about a $15 pot. I did get the house high hand jackpot for 7777 though for $89.

I then got back some of my losses when my pocket KK hit a K on the flop and fill to a full house on the river after the guy who beat my 88 called my final round all in holding a similar hand to the one he had before.

Although I made a loss today it feels like a win.

I didn't play any more poker after this and ended having an early night to see if I could wake more fresh and alert the next day.

Here are the figures:

Buy In - $400
Cash Out - $333
Profit - -$67
For now
Keep it tight

Saturday, 24 November 2007

November 23rd 2007

Today we returned to the shopping mall to pick up our new suits we saw yesterday. I didn't realise but the knock down price I quoted yesterday actually included a free shirt, tie and suit cover; this place just gets better and better.

Pokerwise I played in the afternoon for about an hour and a half at the MGM again. The table was tight but was beatable with a couple of visitors who had no idea of how to play. To give you an idea one player was faced an early position $6 raise pre flop and called in mid position. Along came 3 other limpers into the pot. I can't remember the exact board but basically when 3 players got to showdown the original calling player held AA and was complaining about how he never wins them, of course I wasn't going to be the one to educate him. I then played back in the Tropicana to kill an hour or so and I also had an evening session at the MGM and played early into the morning.

I have to say that the cards are still not falling for me and I am winning most of my hands with weaker holdings than the board shows. I just hope I hit a bit of a card rush before I go home and win big one day. But you can't push this game around, all you can do is take the opportunities as they arise.

So for the figures today:

Buy Ins - $600
Cash Out - $724
Profit - $124
Bye for now

Friday, 23 November 2007

November 22nd 2007

Today was shopping day!!

If you ever get out to vegas you have to go to the retail shopping mall just on the outskirts of the city. Here you can buy clothes, shoes, watches, cameras etc all at great knock down prices.

The added bonus this trip was that there is an extra sale on due to Thanks Giving. Just to give an example on prices.

Levi Jeans - £10 - £15
Calvin Klein Shirts - £5 - £15
Hugo Boss Suit - £150 or buy 2 and get one free

On the poker front we didn't get to play until about 7pm. Len & Dave wanted a poker tournament so we went back to Binions where I set up in a new table for a cash game. The play was pretty unremarkable and started only 6 handed. Then the table filled up and I was able to play for about 1/2 hour before I was moved to the top table.

Now this is where you have to be careful if you play at Binions because last time I was here I didn't see this going on. Basically there were 4-5 of the players on the top table that were entrenched in their position, all sitting on stacks of between $500 and $1000 (from an initial max buy in of $200). These all chatted with each other freely and obviously played together on a regular basis, the local pro's.

I sat for about 1/2 an hour and realised that if it was raised into an un open pot then unless the opposition had very good cards they would fold. If there were already limpers in the pot and it was raised then there would be 3 - 5 players in the pot with you ready to snap off any continuation bet. In my opinion the only way any chips were likely to be won by myself would be if I had great starting hands that held up or to play value hands and hope to hit a better monster hand than someone else. These are the sorts of tables I will get up from on line to find better pickings and this is what I did as I felt there was no value continuing here. If I were a rich visitor who doesn't play much poker I would probably lose a stack of money her, lambs to the slaughter.

If anyone has an idea on how to play these types of tables give me a clue, but I was happy with my decision to leave.

I then came back to play at the MGM Grand. The action here was a complete contrast, it was fierce and quick, possibly due to the Thanks Giving alcoholic celebrations.

I got involved in a few pots and ended up slightly ahead but I will definitely be returning to play here as this has been the best venue for action in the cash games.

So now just for the days figures:

Buy In's - $400
Cash Outs - $440
Profit - $40
Until tomorrow
Keep It tight!

Thursday, 22 November 2007

November 21st 2007

If the poker demons had ascended to possess the souls of my pocket kings earlier this week, then today the Angels of the felt flew down in an attempt to exorcise these evil spirits.

Playing at the Venetian $1/$2 I once again looked down at KK on the button. I raised it up to $12 and got a call by the BB only. The flop came down KdTd3c. I bet about 2/3 of the pot and the BB called. The turn came an A spades. I loved this card but was also afraid of the flush draw. I pushed in a pot bet and the guy thought for a while before calling. The river came down a nice 7 clubs. I pushed in my remaining chips and he reluctantly called showing the A diamonds and I scooped the pot with my set. He informed me he was also on the flush draw so those demons are still trying their hardest to drag down my big pocket pairs.

We signed up to see the Phantom of the Opera at the Venetian while we were there, so a full review of that will be posted once we have seen it on Monday. The tickets for this event were $122 so Dave in his usual fasion decided to see if he could get his ticket for free by putting $100 on the high numbers on the roulette. He won, then took out his $100 stake gave me and Len $50 each from his profit to make into $100. Len did this easily on the Blackjack, but I lost mine on the roulette (surprise surprise eh?). So now we had $100 between us that was freerolling. Dave picked it up and put it on the middle third of the roulette, and hey presto he had $300. So we all got a kick back and now our tickets only cost us $22 each. Bet this is going to be a good show for just £11.

I then had a little game at the Tropicana and gave $30 of my earlier profits back, damn top 2 pair was beaten by a set - oh well keep it going eh?

I am going to take some pictures tomorrow and get them on the blog so check back.

So just for the days stats:

Buy Ins - $380
Cash Out - $552
Profit - $172
Until later
Keep it tight!

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

November 20th 2007

Today was a day for reflection and to build some of the confidence back that had been knocked out of me yesterday. I have managed to draw a few conclusions and writing this blog has helped me to do that.

My usual game is very tight and very cautious, so I think. The table I was playing at Ceasars Palace yesterday was allowing me to steal alot of pots though. This must have given me quite a loose aggressive image in the later stages of the game. In my mind however I was still that tight aggressive rock. If I am playing a loose aggressive player myself I more than likely will go into trap mode, waiting for a good hand and trying to hit big letting them bet into me or will hammer back on top pair decent kicker. I think my opponents identified this stealing nature in my game and looked in hind sight to have adapted in their own way to get me. It was I who failed to identify that my image to them was quite different from my image to myself. And this, as well as the fact that the cards fell quite nicely for them helped in my downfall.

I only played in the Tropicana today. I started the day with a $50 freezeout with a $10 one time add on. The tournament didn't last long for me as I ended up losing all my chips in the second level to Dave when my pre flop raised AJ hit the J on the turn and the A on the river to give me 2 pair, but was beaten by Daves straight filled by the A on the river; the cards falling harsh and not giving me any respite from my immeadiate poker pain.

I then took a break and went into a cash game with $200. I went below $100 so bought in for another $100. Then the guys returned from yesterday, the ones I gave my respect to and left the table. Well one of these guys who sat to my left yesterday sat to my left again today. His tactic (and I now know is one of his few only tactics) is to straddle the blind of a tight player, i.e. ME!

What this does is blind raise the BB under the gun to twice the amount, in this case the straddle is $4. If anyone limped behind then he would re raise the limpers, thus finding out if anyone has a very strong hand. So I decided as the cards were not being kind I would play without cards against this guy and try to use my tight image from yesterday against him today. He had taken a couple of hits earlier in the session so he was down to about $60.

The first time he straddled I looked down at A7 off suit. The button and the small blind called the straddle as likewise did I. As predicted he raised all in for his $60. The button and SB folded (as he wanted them to) but to his surprise I didn't. I thought for a while then called. The community cards were dealt (I completely missed) but he paired the T of his 9T off suit, he showed me his cards to win the hand and I folded mine to comments of his asking "did you have AK?"

Now this confirmed alot to me, he didn't have a monster. He was re raising sub standard hands, blind and out of position, andmy tight image was there with him. From now on all I had to do was let him straddle my BB, I could flat call and he would do the raising for me. Whats better I could act last after all of the pre flop limpers had made their decisions.

So when I looked down at KQ of clubs in the BB and he had straddled I was prepared to call any bet of his. I called his straddle as had 2 other players. He raised about pot size (about$15), and I flat called after all the limpers had folded (making the pot about $45).

The flop came down 4 clubs 5 clubs 7 diamonds. I stuck with my letting him raise plan and checked it to him, after all a free card wouldn't be too bad a result. He quickley threw in $30, I thought for a little while and announced all in.

He looked shocked, thought for an age, muttering how he would love to call but eventually folded. This slowed him down a bit, he straddled once more after that as I called, he raised, I called and then bet the flop regardless.

So although my figures show a little down today (due to the multi tourney buy in) I have made a great moral victory against someone who I thought was a better player. I suppose it just takes a bit of figuring sometimes.

Cash Game Buy In - $300
Cash Game Returns - $340
Multi Tourney Buy In - $60
Multi Tourney Returns - $0
Net Profit - $-20

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

November 19th 2007

When I started this blog I said I would make it a true and honest report on how to win or lose money at this great game.

Well today was certainly a lesson in how to lose that money.

I could therefore make this post one of moans of bad beats and how unlucky I have been but I am not yet sure that is the case.

The day started with my usual $200 buy in at the tropicana for an afternoon session. The table was great fun and I certainly played my normal game. I cashed out at a loss of $100, mainly due to my KK (which I held 3 times in the session) not holding up. Once I had to fold it in the face of what I thought must have been a set, or just very good play by my opponent. And twice when it went to showdown against the short stack and the short stacks won. The rest of my game I felt I played well and didn't have too many dramas or tough decisions to make. I also am happy about the fact that when 3 players decended on the table (locals I recognise from playing here last march) I realised I was going to be outclassed by these sharks and left with what was left of my stack in tact.

After an afternoon break Dave and Len wanted to play a tournament at Ceasars Palace so I thought I would go along and join the cash tables there. This has got to be one of the best card rooms on the strip. It is light and airy and the full ring table is a 9 player max which gives lots of space to relax and play.

Ceasars only hold their minimum game at $1/$3 with a max buy in of $500. I bought in for my usual $200 and played fairly solid. After approx 2Hrs I had got my buy in up to about $375 and should have cashed out there and then, but Len and Dave were still in the tournament and I was having so much fun on a table that I was beating. This was to be the mistake of the day as my hard earned profits were to be blown apart.

The full $375 went on a hand where I held top set KKK. Yes it was those kings again but not in the pocket this time. I held KJ suited on the button and was able to limp in for $3. When the flop came KKT (no helping suits) I put a pot bet in. This was re raised and I re re raised only to be faced by an all in by my opponent. I was looking at a call $195 into a pot of what was now about $550. So I was either facing K with a better kicker, K with a worse kicker or TT. I ruled out TT as the player I felt would not have limped in pre flop as he was first to enter the pot after a couple of early position folds. So now I felt I was facing a 50/50 decision on a nearly 3-1 proposition, I liked those odds so gave the call. He did hold TT and the monster pot was his.

I re loaded another $200 and played again for another 1/2 hour or so building it to about $250 when I got 78 spades in the BB and it limped around to me. The flop came 2d7h8h. I pot bet and got heads up with one caller. The turn came a Kc and I pot bet again to be re raised ... I pushed all in and he spent an age wondering whether to call. Call he did holding K8 for a better two pair.

At this point, tired and stunned I decided to call it a day for today.

Lessons to be learnt ....

I am not too sure just yet, my mind is still spinning and I am still wondering about what my table image was and whether that induced some of the play I fell foul to. Should I be folding top set? Should I be pushing all in on bottom 2 pair?

Who knows?

If it were right to fold in those two costly positions then I may well have saved myself somewhere in the region of $200 - $300. But I am supposed to win sometimes in those positions too. I would like some comments.

So time to pick my self up, dust down and back into the fray. I am limiting my buy in to just $200 tomorrow. I don't feel like I'm tilting but just in case I will just try to pay more attention to the game and play my normal strategies.

So until then here are those horrible figures:

Buy In - $500
Returns - $0
Profit - -$500
Until next post
Keep it Tight

Monday, 19 November 2007

November 18th 2007

The flight to Vegas was great and the time went reasonably quickly, it is just impossible to sleep on a plane so knew I was going to be very tired on arrival.
The view of the Vegas strip as we landed though soon got the adrenaline going and tiredness took a back seat as I impatiently wanted to get to the hotel and buy in to my first cash game.
2 hours after landing I am in my hotel room at the Tropicana (thats the night time view above from my hotel window). After a quick freshen up I head down to the poker room for a Budweiser and a game of cards.
I initially buy in for my $200 at a full ring table $1/$2 blinds and sit to play and assess the players. The Tropicana is not known for its tough games although you do get one or two locals taking advantage of this who can play a bit. First impressions were that there were no dangerous players at the table. There were however 2 people who were loaded with cash, limping into every pot and calling any pre flop raise with trash. This was an ideal situation it was just going to be a wait to see who would get their chips.
I managed to get into 3 big pots with the gentleman loaded player holding the middle card to a straight 3 times, only to amazingly get the pot split all 3 times as he held the same middle straight card.
I then proceeded to make an ill advised re raise on the same gentleman holding 88 on a board of Q72. I wanted him to fold but was expecting a call, so when he re raised me all in for a further $130 I had to give him credit for a better hand and folded. This I know now on reflection was a very bad play as I shouldn't be trying to put moves on a serial caller - noted for my next session.
All these antics following another $100 top up left me down $150 on the session after 2 1/2 hours. I was contemplating cashing in after the next round of the table when to my joy I looked down at KK in the SB. All the serial limpers came into the pot so when it got to me I decided to give it a big pre flop raise of $12 knowing that at least one of the cash laden callers was going to go with me holding a weaker cards whilst the rest should get out of my way. So I wasn't too chuffed when one of the tightest players 2 to my left announced a re raise to $24 after his initial limp. Not surprisingly every one got out of the hand (even the cash laden callers) and I was left heads up. Now I am not folding KK to anyone so decided to give it a hefty re re raise of a further $50 (pot size approx $160) .... Mr Tight just called, OK so now I don't have him on AA, I just didn't want an A on the flop. The board came out JJ6 with 2 hearts (and I didn't have a king of hearts). Having about $150 left behind me I put in about a $100 bet which he thought for a while then put me all in for the rest of my chips. I insta called with my last $50 or so. How relieved I was when I saw his QQ (also with no hearts), the K's held up and I had gotten back to just over my total buy in of $300. I took a couple more rounds of the table and managed to steal a small pot using my new found image of having the goods and decided to cash out $22 in profit.
Dave and Len entered a $50 freezeout. Dave came 2nd for $200 after a deal on how the $720 prize fund should be distributed amongst the final 3 players.
So there ended the first day in Vegas. Ready and geared for some games the next day I retired to my room for some much needed shut eye. I will report my daily wins and losses so the figures for today are below:
Buy Ins - $300
Returns - $322
Profit - $22
So until tomorrow ...
Keep It Tight!

Sunday, 18 November 2007


November 17th 2007

As I said I had a little treat for myself this month and that is my annual trip to Las Vegas.

This time I am out here with my two good friends Dave Smith and Len Beck. Dave is an ultra aggressive player who likes to play big stakes. Len is more of a cautious player who still has a little bit of gamble, and this works for him. I'm probably the tightest of the 3 so it will be a good mix of game play.

I hope that I will be able to post the days activities and profits / losses here daily.

Game plan for the week.

1. Cash games, cash games, cash games .... I have been before and know I can beat the $1/$2 games more than I lose. Due to the slower nature of live games I will remain seated until I either make a reasonable profit, start to get tired and lose concentration or my stack gets to half 100BB (whichever happens sooner).

2. At the end of the day I will take my net winnings (if there are any) and half them. Half to play more cash games the next day, half to build a multi tourney pot. The smallest multi buy in worthwhile is about $120, so if half of one days profits is not enough to buy into this then I will carry it over to the next days profits and so on until the multi pot is big enough for this buy in. If I lose on any given day the multi pot will remain frozen where it is.

Of course this plan is open to daily tweeking if needs be.

The game play started today when we travelled to London and stayed over the night before our flight.

We fired up the laptop and had a 3 way share on some SnG's. We played 2 $55 buy in 10 man tables (coming 2nd in one for $150). And 2 $55 6 man tables (coming first in one for $200 win).

More tomorrow of our arrival and first game news.

Keep It Tight!

Thursday, 8 November 2007

October has been and gone ... hope builds for November

Well October has finished and it has seen me make the biggest monthly profit of the year.

Total profits = $881.75

This was made up from the following figures:

Multi Tournaments + $12.50
Sit n Go's - $7.50
Cash Games + $677.73
Bonuses + $199.02

This is my 5th consecutive month at making a net profit on my poker play.

November so far has not started too well. Its much like how it is when you open a new toilet roll, you pick and pick at it and just when you think its got started it all splits apart again.

Still onwards and upwards hopefully, plus I have a special poker treat for myself in store ... more in the next post.

So for now ...

Keep It Tight!