Friday, June 26, 2009

Bally ho!

Bally's Casino in Las Vegas is located on "the strip" and is a member of the Harrah's family.

Bally's is a stop on the Las Vegas monorail. I have monorail photos and will post one or two later.

There are several components to a being good poker player. You have to be able to read the board. You have to be able to read the players. And, sometimes you have to know a little math.

I played $1/3 NLHE with Lightning36 at Bally's poker room. A player two to my right raised to $8 and I raised to $20 from the hijack seat. The button and the raiser called. I started the hand with $200 as did the button. I don't remember the first guy's stack size, but it wasn't relevant.

The flop was Q 8 7. The first guy checked and I bet $30. The button raised to $60, the first guy folded and I called. The turn was the 10. I checked and the button bet $60 and I called. the river was the Q. I checked, the button bet his last $60 and I folded. Yes, I lost $140 and probably looked like a donk.

What do you put the button on? I thought his hole cards were 8-8 or 7-7 or possibly A-Q (but less likely, especially when the queen came on the river) for a likely set.

What were my two hole cards? If you think about it, it's obvious. I don't have A-A or K-K (or A-Q) because I would have folded to his likely set. I had A K. I raised pre-flop to (try and) drive out the cut-off and the button, so I would have position.

What happened? Let's do some math.

There was $60 in the pot pre-flop. On the flop I bet $30, expecting to win the hand right there. When the button raised to $60, there was $150 in the pot and it cost me another $30 to call. I had nine outs to the nut flush. Three aces and three kings might be outs, but either card could give the button two pair if he had A-Q or (unlikely) K-Q. With the nine outs, I'm nearly 20% to hit a flush on the next card. The pot was laying me 5:1 and I'm only risking 4:1, so easy call from within an express-odds framework. Also, let's don't forget that I'll get more money from him if I hit.

The turn was a 10 -- that now gave me three more outs because now a jack would give me a Broadway straight, so I now have 12 outs, although the Q isn't a clean out because it might give the villain a boat. The button bet $60 into a pot of $180. This means it costs me $60 to win a pot of $240 or I'm getting 4:1. Having 12 outs means I'm nearly 24% to hit the flush or the straight (or 3:1), so it's still +EV to call. Also, don't forget that if I hit, I'll bet my last $60, and can expect him to call such a small amount to (try to) win such a big pot.

Yes, the board bricked and I lost $140. My calls were (mathematically) correct, but the card gods didn't cooperate. The villain, on the other hand, made several mistakes in bet sizing. It worked for him, though. He built a bigger pot, but he should have bet larger to protect his hand, both on the flop and turn. He may have read me for A-A or K-K, in which case his bet sizes were correct (I'm drawing to two outs, so he wants to keep building the pot). Too bad he didn't have to pay for his indiscretion.

The Bally's poker room has 10 or 12 tables and each seats 10 players. There are automatic card shufflers. The room was well-run and the dealers were good. Players varied from local leather asses to tourist donks to ball cap kids. They have daily tournaments and overall, it's a comfortable place to play.


  1. Good review on Ballys. Last time I was in Vegas I played most of my cash game time at the Flamingo where I was staying but did play a few tournaments at other casinos. Be good to check out Ballys when I go in September.

  2. I am glad you enjoyed LV. Better luck next time at poker. I agree that the meeting of other bloggers is often the highlight of the trip.

  3. Good analysis. It makes sense to fold when you know you're beat. It's just so damn hard to practice sometimes, so score another for having the discipline!


  4. If your flush draw had only been crubs...

    Good hand analysis. Enjoying the pics. The Vegas Bally's looks nothing like our Bally's LOL.

  5. I'm a bridge-playing friend of Jon Weinstein's currently vacationing in Vegas staying and playing at the South Point for now.
    If you think AQ and KQ were possibilities, isn't there enough fold equity to 3 bet all in on the flop?
    Also, from my limited experience out here, while your math is correct, the majority of your opps will be so far from accurate in their math that I think you might need to tweak your numbers a bit. eg. I see range of preflop raises 8-15 frequently for a wide variety of hands. Given that, I think a reraise to 20 is extremely unlikely to isolate as you were hoping for (ie. the guy who calls 8 might still easily call 20 in position).

  6. Thanks to all who commented.

    @Pretender: Good points. GL out there.

  7. Thanks. One of the things my friend who grinds for a second job told me was that the 1/2NL games in Vegas during WSOP probably played more like online .25/.5NL.