Saturday, February 13, 2010

If it's a race, run faster

The Atrium Cafe above is one of the many places you can eat at the Gold Strike Casino. If a casino doesn't offer a variety of good food, players will go elsewhere. Casinos love to take your money. In return, you get free/comped food -- good deal for them.

I went to play in the Friday night tournament at the Gold Strike. I was surprised to see it was a $70 buyin and you only got 5000 in chips. If I'd known that, I would have tried one of the other tournaments, probably the Horseshoe. With "only" 5000 to start with, you have to take chances to build your stack.

We started with 42 players, so there were 210,000 chips in play. At the final table, the average stack would be 21K. The tournament was playing five places. First was around ~$850 (I don't remember exactly) and fifth was ~$85.

One of the things I look for when I play live is this: Which players make an automatic continuation bet. That was important when I picked up 8 7 in the big blind. A player whom I had identified as a CB type guy raised three times the big blind. It folded to me and I called. The flop was Q 7 3. I checked and the villain made a pot-sized bet. I check-raised him (I don't remember how much, but a sizable bet) and he folded. I actually had middle pair, but the check-raise would have worked no matter what I had. Players who always make a CB should check occasionally (whether the flop hits them or not) to mix up their play.

My crucial deal came when the blinds were 300/600/50. I was in the big blind with 6400 in chips and checked my cards: J J. The UTG guy raised to 1400. It folded to the button who thought a long time and called. What would you do?

If we had deeper stacks, I would call and decide what to do after the flop. If there were only one player, I might try a stop and go, but with two villains, that is less likely to work. I decided to shove. If they both folded, that would be sweet. If one called, maybe the other would give up and I would be heads-up.

Sure enough, the UTG called and the other guy folded. UTG showed A K. We were off to the races: The odds calculator says I am a 56.2% to 43.31% favorite (it doesn't add to 100% because there can be a split pot in some cases). This is excellent because not only am I a slight favorite to double up, there is dead money in the pot: the antes (450), the small blind (300), and the money from the guy who folded (1400).

Unfortunately the flop was A A 10! Not to worry -- tomorrow is another day and another tournament.

As I was leaving, I saw two Elvis impersonators at the bar. I asked to take their photo, and they were more than happy. People dress up like that either as a paid gig, or because they like the attention. These guys probably weren't paid, but they were having fun, for sure.

Then another impersonator ran up and wagged his finger in my face. "Your photo is no good," he said, "because it doesn't have ME in it." Sure why not? I took another shot and this time one of their lady friends jumped in. Some people will do anything to be on my blog, lol.

Images by MOJO and taken with my P&S.


  1. Fun description of your thought process, even though it didn't turn out. Do more, please.

  2. Well, I've decided poker is way too complicated. Hell, I can't even decide what to have for breakfast.

    As for your pictures, they are just too funny! What a bunch of characters! And, yes, these days it seems people will do anything to get 15 minutes (or less) of "fame."

  3. Good play with the Jacks, too bad it didn't turn out better.

    Haha at the Elvi..(that's the plural of Elvis, right?) I LOVE Elvis impersonators! :)

  4. Hey, MOJO, why don't you get some roller blades, come on down to the Cross Florida Greenway and wait until these gals come by and ask them for lessons...they might just help you out!

  5. Hmmm .. mebbe a trip to Tunica would be good for me ...

  6. I think I would probably have shoved as well. Like you said, it'd be better if we could see the flop, but you were so short stacked that you may not pick up a better hand before you blind out anyway.

    Just tough he came out on top. I bet the other player was Ace high as well. That or pocket 8's.


  7. Don't you hate that? He's drawing to 3 total aces - and 2 hit him in the window! You're drawing to 2 Jacks and get nothing for your effort. Poker is so unfair.

    However, it's a well known fact that any pocket pair (including KK) facing Ax will always flop an Ace. I find it best to only play Ax and AA.

  8. I'm glad you said these guys were Elvis impersonators, because they look NOTHING like him. Not even close.

    JJ with 2 other people? And then one folded when you shoved?

    That's why I never play tournaments - all these race situations you have to survive.

    In a cash game, you call and fold, or depending on the players, you just fold. You can sit there and choose your spots - no hurry in cash games.

  9. @Crash: To anyone at the table, it looked like I had jacks and shoved. But, in fact, I gave it some thought.

    @Jusdealem: these guys were having fun, but, as Wolynski mentions, they were really impersonating an impersonator, lol.

    @Jacob: Yeah, nice looking women can teach me to rollerblade anytime.

    @lightning: come on down, we can donk it up.

    @Joxum and Pokermeister: I didn't feel bad with the actual result - I tried to make a good decision, then the result was only normal poker variance stuff.

  10. Mojo,
    I wish I had your outlook. It irritates the heck out of me when bad players make bad plays and get rewarded. Not that I'm saying AK calling against JJ is a bad play, but when AQ > QQ or AK > KK, etc. I've had enough of it. I guess we should all be reminded that we're winning players, and without a gambling element to the game, there would be no fish.

  11. I like your shove in that situation with JJ and don't like the flop

    I also like your insight about the CB guy - easy money if you can catch a read like that isn't it?