After our marathon gambling session the night before, Morris and I got some much needed sleep. Unfortunately, it didn’t last long. I was so geeked up to be in Vegas for my bachelor party, that I only slept for 4 hours before popping out of bed ready to go. I woke Morris and we decided to catch a cab to visit the Gambler’s General Store. I wanted to see their collection of poker chips and tables.
The store was pretty cool, wasn’t overly impressive. I had seen most of the chips before, and the tables were outrageously priced. We made the mistake of letting the cab leave, so afterwards we hiked about 12 blocks downtown to Binion’s.
The NL game at Binion’s was very soft and Morris and I took command of the table pretty quick. Interesting note: While we were there they were filming a poker movie called “Lucky You” starring Robert Duvall, Drew Barrymore and Debra Messing. The cameras were all filming a poker table in the adjacent room, but we couldn’t really see what was going on.
We also ran into Charles and Judy (former owners of the Top Hat). They’re now living in Vegas and playing poker for a living. Judy told me that the Top Hat grossed about $15,000-$20,000 per month. Sick.
Morris and I each booked a small profit at the Binion’s game, and then headed back to the Bellagio to meet the guys who had just flown in. Morris sat down at the $2-$5 NL table, but I decided to try to play in the big $10-$20 NL game. At this point I was up nearly $1,400 playing poker and I wanted to let it ride and see if I could make something happen. I bought in for $1,000 and played very tight for a couple of hours. When I was moved to the Main Game I had about $1,400 in chips and felt pretty good with my play up to this point. However, I knew the Main Game would be different as the chip stacks were enormous. Most players had between $5,000-$10,000 and one or two had over $20,000. Nearly all of these players were professionals and it was clear that in order to win, I was going to have to get some cards. I sat down hoping to get a little lucky.
I didn’t get many cards, but I did get a lot of drinks (which played a big part in my loss at the table). I played very tight (only played 5 hands in 2 hours). At one point I was down about $400, and I reloaded an additional $500. I was extremely cold and never really mixed it up with anyone. After 4 hours, I had seen only one river card, and I was both drunk and bored. Recipe for disaster at this table.
With approx. $1,000 in chips in front of me, I called $60 preflop with 77 on the button. Jimmy Chan (very seasoned professional) was first to act. He had about $15,000 in front of him. The flop was 9TJ, giving me an underpair with a gutshot to the sucker end of the straight. The pot was approx $240. Chan led out with a bet of $100. The other two players folded to me, and I must’ve lost my mind because every rational player in the world would’ve folded in this situation. I knew I was behind, and might’ve even been drawing dead (to a KQ). Even my gutshot probably wasn’t good. However, I was drunk and didn’t think about any of these things. I put him on top pair, and thought he might be willing to lay it down it if I raised him. My table image was tight and passive and I thought they might respect my raise. Also, I was frustrated that I kept getting pushed out of pots by raises. I had made many lay downs that may have been winners. And did I mention that I was drunk and bored?
Anyway, I moved all in for $960 more, making it $1,060 to go. This move violated my cardinal rule that I swore I would live by in Vegas: “DON’T MOVE ALL-IN UNLESS YOU HAVE THE STONE COLD NUTS!!” I had repeated this to myself several times over the weekend, and had generally been following it fairly well, until now. I had just pushed all my chips in on a stone cold bluff.
Jimmy Chan went into the tank for about 60 seconds. He asked me, “Do you have a Jack?” I didn’t respond and stared right back at him with my sunglasses on. The 60 seconds seemed like 4 hours. I was in agony and immediately knew the error of my play. I just prayed that he would fold so that I could start playing correctly again.
He called with J6 (with a flush draw) and took down the pot. So much for trying to outplay the pros.
if you were playing as tight as you say, I am surprised that a pro would call with top pair, bad kicker (even w a flush draw). It seems much more likely that you have made a hand with KQ than to be trying to steal a pot
I think a $960 bet into a $240 pot is more likely an overpair, not the nuts. Most players would play AA or KK the way Junell did there. A hand like KQ is usually played with a pot sized bet on the flop and a move in on the turn when the blank comes off. If he has top pair and a flush draw, his hand is favored over AA or KK. I think he thought he was calling with an inferior hand with a superior draw and was surprised to find out he was in the lead. Thats why he wanted to know if Junell had a jack. If Junell does have a jack, Tran is in bad bad shape. Tran would rather see AA from Junell that see AJ.
I agree with Morris. He was concerned that his Jack may be beat or that he was only playing with one live card. Also, since I overbet the pot, it probably looked to him like I was trying to steal it. Those two factors probably played a role in his decision to call.
As to the anonymous post, if you've played with me before it's likely been in small stakes home games. And yes, I do play much looser in those games because I like to make my decisions post-flop. The stakes are much smaller and the players generally much more passive. That strategy seems to work well for those types of games. Plus it's not easy to put me on a hand if I'm capable of playing any 2 cards.
But to think I only have one playing style is inaccurate. I play significantly different in large stakes games with strangers than I do in beer-drinking home games. I try to adjust to each game and situation depending on the situation.
For instance, in the $10-$20 NL Bellagio game I played approx. 5-7 hands in 3 hours, and only had 1 showdown the entire time. That's not loose by anyone's definition.