Tuesday, October 25, 2005
I'm contemplating an uber post, it's true.
But while catching up on my reading I found this Trip Report from the WSOP circuit events at Caesers in Indiana. I feel like an idiot for not playing in these events, but quite frankly, it's too easy to fire up Party Poker and grind away.
not wearing pants > wearing pants
Thanks to my Danish reader, Robin, for providing the translation from the prior post:
One of the more interesting bloggers is Iggy, who writes one of the most visited poker blogs. He doesn't conseal the fact that besides poker he fancy a drink. So you can also read about his "wet" travels around UK and Ireland, which very apropriate is called Guinness and Poker. Iggy also entertains his visitors with links to strange artikels, interviews, and different discussions groups
Thanks to whomever linked us up. Seriously.
Anyway, here's the trip report, fresh from the field. I'm really impressed with the damn poker memory this guy has. And the cash games are juicy at this boat....read on...
Subject: Hail Caesar! Headhunter's Trip/Tourney report
So my 40th birthday happened to coincide with the WSOP Circuit event at
Caesar's IN. Some call it coincidence; I decided to call it fate, and
Mrs. Headhunter wished me a happy birthday, good luck, and I was off.
Unfortunately, neither of the docs, with whom I always hit the poker
rooms were able to make it that weekend, so the Headhunter flew solo
for the trip.
It's a 3 1/2 hour drive from here to Louisville (well, Caesar's is
actually 20 minutes west of Louisville in New Albany IN, so I got the
chance to drive from New Albany, OH to New Albany, IN). A little
longer than I would prefer, but being in the Poker Hell known as Ohio,
I wasn't about to complain. Besides, I didn't have to fly (which I
For those of you who haven't been there, let me tell you that I was
very impressed with the hotel and the casino itself. If I had been
blindfolded and dropped in the middle of the hotel or the casino, I
wouldn't have known that I wasn't in Vegas/Foxwoods, etc. The hotel
room was nice (as much as I cared about it), with the only downside
being that it was a good 10 minute walk to the riverboat (albeit
completely under roof). You walk on to the 4th deck of the boat, and
with all the carpeting, and decorating, you can't REALLY tell you are
on a boat until you see the stairs. The poker room is on the 1st deck,
so you have to walk down three flights of stairs. My understanding is
that they cleared out an entire room to make the poker room larger for
the WSOP, but that it won't stay that size. For this trip, the room
was plenty big --with enough room between tables (unlike the "newly
renovated" but hardly improved Bellagio), and very comfortable chairs.
I get there very early Friday morning, and am staying with Morey,
another poker player from here, who is there for 7-10 days or so.
Throw my stuff in the room, and we head to the poker room. Morey is
telling me that the only downside to the poker room is that when the
tournament is playing or they are running the super sat qualifiers for
the Main Event, it ties up many of the tables, and the wait is very
long to get on a table. Morey gets something to eat, but I can't eat
before I get some cards in my hands. I sign up for a $120 one table
sat, and the winner gets 2 $500 chips and some cash. 1000 starting
chips, and blinds basically double very 15 minutes.
In the first blind level, the guy next to me raises, and has the player
two to his left re-raise. First guy moves all-in, and the other guy
calls. First guy has AsKs, and other player has TT. The pocket pair
holds up, and Mr. AK suited goes home. Basic poker, right? Well, not
according to the self-anointed Table Captain of Caesars (TCC). He goes
on an on about how he has never seen AK so overplayed as he has this
weekend. After all, it's nothing but AK, right? I bite my tongue as I
agree with his basic premise, but when you are playing a satellite, and
you're down to 850 or so in chips, and you make it 100 to go, and the
next guy makes it 400 to go, do you just fold? In some satellites, you
might not even sniff a hand close to that. He continues lecturing the
table, and then moves all-in on the next hand. He gets called in two
places. When the smoke clears, TCC has 7s8s, first caller has AsKs,
and third caller has 99. K on the flop gives Big Slick the pot, and
TCC goes home (or to my dismay DOESN'T go home, but wanders around the
poker room for quite a while). I consider making a comment about how
I've never seen suited connectors so overplayed in my life, but bite my
tongue, and keep quiet. We are into the third blind level, and I
haven't seen a pocket pair, or an A with a kicker higher than 4. Mid
player raises and I see AQ. It looks like manna from heaven at this
point, and I move all-in. He agonizes FOREVER, and reluctantly calls,
saying that he is WAAAAAAAY behind. I tell him that if he called, I
can't imagine he's that far behind, if at all. When he shows AK I
realize I am right and I am out in a matter of seconds.
I decide that I don't like the satellites, and decide to buy into the
1k NL event that I came down for. I then joined the newly opened 2-5
NL game ($200 min, no max). I'm mainly a limit player (having started
playing in 2000 when everyone played limit, and the only NL game in
town had Doyle Brunson sitting in it), but wanted to give it a shot. I
buy in for $500, which is close to the table average I was guessing.
Morey was also at the table. When I play limit (mostly 20/40-40/80) I
like to play a wide range of hands and generally loosen the table up
and have a good time. Well, in NL, if you throw in IMPLIED odds, I'm
CERTAINLY going to open up the range of hands I play. I played several
hands, missed most of the flops, and was down a little, when I picked
up 66 and open raised, getting a couple of callers. Flop was 67x with
2 of a suit. I bet hard at the pot not wanting to price in any of the
draws, and got one caller. The turn was a high card, and the caller
check-raised me all-in. I called in a heartbeat with my Devil (666),
and he turned over 67 for two pair. My set held up, and I was off to
I won a few more pots, and was really starting to like this game when
George the Greek (a local?) sat down on my left with close to 4k.
Morey told me he saw him in the 10-25 NL game the night before. Well,
if there's one thing I DO know about NL poker, is that it's just like
real estate: Location Location Location, and I knew I didn't like this
guy owning the property directly to the west of me. He had a habit of
grabbing a handful of chips, and then just sliding them into the pot,
and saying "I bet whatever is here." If the standard opening raise was
25-30, he'd open for 45 or 50, and then make a massive overbet on the
flop. When some poor fool stuck around, George always showed a big
hand. He showed AA 3 times, and KK once and claimed to have had the
rockets one other time when he lost a pot to a flopped set (and the way
he bet it I was convinced he did have the Airlines).
As soon as another seat opened up, I moved away from him, and enjoyed
the distance. The game was actually quite loose with preflop raises of
30 and 40 and 3-5 callers. Another local, Elton, open raised to 30,
and I decide to re-raise to about 75-80 with 77. Unfortunately for me
George the Greek calls out of the blinds, and the first player just
calls. I decide I'm done with the hand unless I nail it. Flop is A T
8, so at least I'm overlayed only THREE times. They check to me, and I
opt for my free card. Turn is the loveliest 7 I've ever seen. George
checks, other player makes a hard bet, and I move all-in. George
folds, and other player thinks for a long time. I have him covered,
and maybe he has 300-350 or so in his stack. He calls, and when I flip
over my hand, I'm pretty sure he's drawing dead as he didn't care much
what the river was. A little while later, UTG raised to 30 or so, and
we had a few callers, so I called with Ac2c (heck, who am I kidding, I
would have called him heads-up with that hand) on the button. Flop
came Ad 2s 8s. UTG bet out 75, next player made it 175, and I raised
it to 500. Everyone folded except for the other raiser, and the turn
was the beautiful red deuce. He checked, and I checked behind him.
River was a nine, and when he checked, I moved all-in. I had him
covered, and he had almost 700. He thought for a VERY long time, and
then finally called. I showed my boat, and he turned over As9s for
flopping top pair, nut flush draw, and then had to hit his kicker on
the river. Soon after, I went for a dinner break, up $2500.
Unfortunately my luck did not continue when I came back from dinner. A
young kid was on my left and I quickly figured out he was the best
player at the table. (That's the other thing I've learned is that
table selection and player selection are two of the most critical
pieces to your success at that tables. I may not be the most talented
player there, but as long as I can avoid the ones who are, I'll be OK).
I lost a few pots, missed a few draws (and when the pots were as big
as ours were, the made hands were betting a lot to price out the
draws), and then got crushed when my flopped top two pair lost to a
flopped set). I had given back half of my winnings and decided that
was enough. The problem is that it was only 9:00 -- what else was I
going to do? I had kept my name on the 20-40 list, and took the seat
when it came open.
At least I can lose my money a little more slowly, in 20-40 limit,
right? Not necessarily. It is a VERY tight table, and I didn't switch
gears from NL to limit very well. I played many of the same hands, but
without the implied odds, I wasn't getting paid off. What's worse is
that the table was very talented, so my check-raises didn't even get
paid off. I chased too much, played too much, and gave even more back,
before I moved back to a different 2-5 NL table.
My second foray into NL land was much less exciting. There was one
player who bought in for $200, and had almost $2500 in front of him.
Unfortunately for him he was very soft spoken and it almost cost him
dearly. He called a raise from an early player, and the flop came all
diamonds. The raiser bet hard at the pot, and this guy thought for a
long time before calling. The turn put a fourth diamond on the board,
and when the first player bet at it, he moved all in. However, the
dealer didn't hear him, and when she saw him match the bet, thought
the round was over, and burned a turned a blank on the river. The
table erupted, and the floor was called. Of course the river card was
brought back and shuffled back into the deck, but this time, the river
card paired the board. As he showed his Ad, we all assumed the pair
cost him the pot, as the first player had to have a set, right? Nope.
He called the massive all-in bet with no diamond and no set. I didn't
catch many cards, caught fewer draws, and ended the night down $800 or
so. Major disappointment considering where I started, but .....
The next day was the 1k NL event. Not only did I draw the dreaded 1
seat, but I was in the "auxiliary" section. There were about a
dozen or so poker tables set up in a room across from the poker room.
They had cleared out several banks of slot machines, and set up this
auxiliary section in the middle of the slots making for a VERY noisy
tournament. In addition, it was cordoned off by flimsy theater ropes,
but since it was the "poker room" you could not smoke INSIDE the
ropes, but you could smoke OUTSIDE the ropes, harkening back to the
days of smoking and non-smoking sections on airplanes.
You started with 2000 chips, 25-25 blinds, and 60 minute blind levels.
Tournament started at noon, and in classic Harrah's fashion, cards
were in the air at 12:15. A couple of locals were at my table, and a
couple of friends who traveled for the tournament and were a little
disappointed to be seated at the same table. I was all set to play,
but who joins my table? None other than TCC himself from the
satellite. Great! Between the smoke, the clanging of the slots, and
his lecturing, it's going to make for a LONG day!!
Sure enough, TCC is playing tons of hands. In his defense, he did
catch a ton of cards. How do I know this? Because every time he
folded, he did so face up, claiming that HE could make those kind of
lay downs. I kept thinking I was playing with Hellmuth and his "who
else can get away from that hand? I'm dodging bullets today"
comments. On one hand, he folds KT on a Kd Td 5d board when he gets
monster raised late. Of course his opponent had the flush (showed it),
but it didn't stop TCC from talking about - or telling everyone who
wandered by what great folds he was making.
I play a couple of cheap flops, take a stab at one I pre-flop raised,
and am catching nothing and am down to 1500 or so when I catch a break.
I see a flop for free in the BB with Q8. Flop is Q85 with 2 hearts,
and I bet the size of the pot. Folded to the button (who plays 90% of
the hands) who raises me, and I move all in. He calls in a heartbeat,
and I assume he's got Presto, but instead of the set, he shows me Q5.
He's way behind, and soon gone as the turn and river are of no help.
In the next blind level, I don't get anything big pre-flop, but I
gamble a little, and catch a ton of flops. At the first break, I have
tripled up to 7200 in chips. However, the chip leader at my table has
8k and is on my left. In two orbits, I have 99 TT AK and AJs and lose
all of them. My 99 and TT lost on J high boards to the chip leader who
called with JQ and KJ respectively. I am now down to 2000 or so in
chips. I grind my way back up, and just before the next break, I find
77 on the button. Late player moves all-in with slightly less than I
have, and I move in over the top. He has KJ and the A Q x flop gives
him most of broadway to beat me, but the board pairs then blanks. He's
gone and I'm up to 5k.
After break, I find 88 in the SB. The short stack second to act moves
all-in, and it's folded to me. I pick up my chips to raise, when the
dealer's cuff catches the muck and flips over THE ENTIRE MUCK FACE UP.
She quickly puts her hands over it and calls for the floor. Floor
rules that she must remove her hands, spread the muck so we can see ALL
the cards. I see something like A Q K 5 5 2 Q 6 -- basically no 8's
and quite afew high cards. I raise to freeze out the BB who dutifully
folds. Raiser has ThJh, and when the flop comes A K Q, I'm drawing
real thin, and drawing dead when the blank hits the turn. They then
break our table. We come back from break, and they break our table.
We're down to 12 tables, and I have the average stack of 5k. Not for
long. I find AQ three hands in a row. The first one, AQs , I raise,
and the next player makes a big re-raise. I lay it down, and he shows
the rockets. Next hand, I try it again, only to see the SB double my
raise, and the BB move all-in. I fold again, and SB has KK and BB has
AK. Next hand I have it again, suited once again, and raise. Only
the BB calls. Flop is KQx, and when he checks to me, I move all-in
(2800 or so) and he calls, with KQ. T on the turn gives me some
straight hopes, but he catches a boat on the river, and IGHN.
I wander around the boat for a while with that
just-got-kicked-in-the-gut-and-now-I'm-sick-to-my-stomach feeling. I
put my name on a few lists for cash games, and move on. The tournament
is over, I'm leaving the next day, time to win some of my money back.
I finally get on a table around 6:30 or so. We had a great table, and
most everyone was very friendly. From 8:00 until 3:30, none of us
left. On my immediate right was Larry who owns the company or works for
the company (not sure which) that makes table tops (screen printing,
material, etc) for casinos and his company had done them for Caesars.
If there weren't already a Mrs. Headhunter in the picture, the woman on
my left would have been the top candidate. She is a pilot, and is
heading off to Harvard for B-school next fall. Smart, attractive, AND
she plays poker? What else can you ask for? Oh well, there IS a Mrs.
Headhunter, so I guess it's the pilot's loss. She was very tight, so
most of the time she raised preflop, we all folded and she showed her
big pocket pair.
I went to work, and proceeded to go through my initial buy-in very
quickly. Missed some draws, and got a couple of hands rivered. One
player in particular who was from Venezuela but now lived in Atlanta
had my number. No matter what I did, I could not beat him. It got to
the point where I would raise, and when it came to him, I would just
ask him to fold. His friend came by and I asked if they were ready to
leave. I offered the friend $100 to take Mr. Venezuela away. I'm not
sure if I was joking or not. I kept getting close to even, and then
take a huge hit and get buried again. Finally, I had Qc4c in the BB.
5 way action for 15, I called the extra $10. Flop came 2c 4 9c. I
checked, original raiser made it $75, and the next player made it $175
to go. Folded to me, I decided that they had a big 9, or maybe even an
overpair, I probably have 15 outs twice, so I moved all in for my
remaining $325. Original raiser folded, but the other player called,
showing AA (but not the Ac). The club came on the turn, and I was
healthy again. Rocket Man admitted to misplaying his AA. He should
have re-raised pre-flop, and then I'm never in the hand. I add further
injury to him later on when I play the suited Doyle Brunson from the
BB, flop trips, and turn quads.
A few hands later, I called a raise with 68o. Flop came 279, and a guy
with sunglasses and a hooded sweatshirt (Unabomber) bet about $75 into
a $75 pot. There were 2 callers including me. Turn was a King, and he
fired $200. Only I called. River was the lovely 10, and when he bet
out again, I raised $400. He thought forever, and finally called. I
showed my straight, and he said something about cracking his Kings. He
then commented on how I was obviously willing to gamble on my draws,
and so I used this to my advantage. The next couple of draws that got
home on the river, I bet hard at the pot, and my opponents folded. But
NL is a huuuuuuge roller coaster, and playing lots of draws can get
Around 4:00, the game started getting short handed. We were actually
playing 4 handed for a while, when we decided to play one last hand.
Pilot limped first to act, button called, SB completed, and I checked
from the BB. Flop came out 2h4h5h and I announced I was checking my
straight flush draw. It checked around. Turn was a blank, and I made
the same announcement, and it got checked around. River was a blank,
and I checked, announcing that I missed my straight flush. Pilot bet
$5 and we all folded. She turned over Ah3h for a flopped straight
flush that was worth exactly $20!!!!!! That's rough.
The table broke up, and I followed her to the $1/2 NL table. Stayed
there long enough to drop $100, and called it a night/morning and went
to sleep at 6:00, up $300 or so on the session, but down $600 in the
cash games on the trip.
Overall, I was very impressed with the poker room, with the one
exception of how inconsistent the rulings were. In the NL games,
sometimes the $1 chips (less than 5) played, other times they did not.
Some dealers made you turn up your hands when there was no more
betting, some didn't. I finally called for the floor just to get a
ruling on it. The ruling was that you didn't have to show your hand
until after the river, and then only if you were the bettor, or had the
winning hand. Of course, this didn't stop other dealers from asking
for the cards to be flipped up, so we had the floor come over several
times. Posting was the other big issue. I moved seats often, and even
when I moved INTO the blinds, the dealer made me post. The next player
did the same thing, but didn't have to post, so the next time I moved,
and the dealer asked me to post, I called for the floor. The floor
advised the dealer that when you move INTO the blinds, you need not
post. I really didn't care what the rule was -- I just wanted to know
what it was and keep it enforced uniformally. And then there was the
line. Whenever you bring chips over the line, it is a bet. If you
bring more than 50% more chips than necessary to call the bet, it is a
raise. Fine. I have no problem with that. Except that sometimes it
was enforced, and other times not. And one time I was stuck at a stud
table that was so tight, and the line so close to the edge, that my
chip stack almost touched the line. The mere act of picking chips off
my stack to count them had me crossing the line.
All in all, a great time, and if you haven't been to the Caesar's
Riverboat in Louisville/Indiana, I highly recommend it.
16 days and counting to Vegas!!!
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