Some of you may remember that I started playing at the local casino once they finally introduced poker tables a while ago, and I wrote several blog posts about my experience.
Those posts, for those interested, are:
It has actually been 6-months since I last went to the casino; after playing for 7-8 days, I stopped after going on a downswing, and then went back to online poker.
However, I started playing live at the casino again a few days ago. I don’t know what prompted my return. I guess I was just interested in seeing if anything had changed – perhaps there were more tables, or higher limits.
The first two nights I went, there were absolutely no people playing poker – literally. Everyone was hypnotized by the slot machines, and I had to sit in the table all by myself. The first day I think I actually waited close to 2-hours (I was talking on my phone to pass the time). The poker tables are close to the entrance, and so a fair number of people walk near them when entering. I was trying hard to get the game going, making eye contact with people when they looked at the table, smiling at them, but the end result was always the same: they gravitated towards the slot machines.
I even got the casino to make an announcement the first two nights I went, trying to get some players to the poker tables, but not a single person ever did, and I ended up going home those two nights having not played a single hand of poker.
However, the 3rd day picked up fortunately, and at one point the table was full (10 players). I did well that night, leaving with just over $600 on the table. The limits are only $1/2 NLHE with a minimum buy-in of $40 and maximum of $200, so I was very pleased.
The 4th day (two days ago), nothing too interesting happened… I wasn’t flopping anything, and ended leaving $11 down.
Last night was quite fun. There were a lot of younger players playing and it was just a lot of fun to play with all the joking and friendly-insults flying about. The “main” table filled up fairly quickly, and I was about $100 or so down after running into two bad beats. One of them I had 44 and limped in. I bet close to pot since there were 2 diamonds on board, and a guy who had absolutely no idea how to play (literally – we had to teach him the rules the whole time he was there) pushed. Keep in mind this was his first hand too; he had just sat down. I called, and lost… he had JJ and caught a Jack on the turn.
Unfortunately, he was stacked by somebody else shortly after so I wasn’t able to get my money back from him.
Then I lost a hand with top two pair on the flop (A7) where the other guy chased the turn and river to get a runner-runner straight.
So I was down about $100 on that table, which I was more than fine with considering what I had been running into, and I was playing well, when the table got full. I noticed that the other table had two guys waiting on it, and a real young kid (must have been 19…) was waiting to get in on the main game, so I decided to move to the shorthanded table and let the kid in on the big game.
I’m probably one of the only people who plays at the casino who would have done that, but I’m more than happy to play short-handed with players who I know aren’t good regulars. But actually, those two players were “decent” regulars, so I had to still keep my wits up. We played for about 10-15 minutes and then they both left to the main table since two seats opened up. I think the real reason they moved though was because I was already up $100 after only 10-15 minutes.
So there I was again, sitting all alone on the second table… like an outcast from the main table; nobody would play with me!
A seat opened up shortly after though, and I rejoined the table. I continued to play my game, but the table dynamics had changed a bit since there were some large stacks on the table. One guy had over $500 at one point, another had $400, and 2-3 others had around $250. This was pretty unusual for the table as the average stack is usually around $100.
For some reason, people weren’t respecting me, which was fine with me, and I won two nice pots with KK (versus TT) and a set of 8′s on the flop which transitioned into a full house. I was also bluffing a lot, picking on player’s weaknesses, and before I knew it I was at a $450 stack.
The poker table “broke down” at 1 AM. Remember, I’m playing on a poker-hybrid table which is electronic, and the tables have been infamous for breaking down usually once per night. So I went to get the casino manager (who actually embodies the stereotypical image of a casino manager portrayed in Hollywood films; think Andy Garcia in Ocean’s 11) and they fixed it in about 15 minutes.
Since the casino closes at 2 AM and there was only an hour left, half the players left, and the 5 remaining players moved to the second table since the first table was wonky. I should have just went home too, instead of opting to continue playing, especially since 3 of the players there were pretty good. I was having a good time, but I was also tired so I wasn’t thinking clearly (I should have left when the overall table skill level was pretty decent), and ended up losing $50 on the table. In the end, it was only me and another guy left (the guy who had $500 at one point), and it’s a stupid decision to play head’s-up against a decent player, so I left. The casino was closing anyhow.
Before we left though, the casino manager was talking to us – he’s real nice, and even offered us drinks to apologize for the broken table earlier (drinks are already free, but it was the gesture of him personally getting it instead of the… drink people).
The funny thing is, even though most of the staff there recognize me now and know I’m a regular, security still card me half the time when I enter the casino, heh. Actually, last night when I got carded I was a bit scared, since I just happened to be wearing the exact same shirt I was wearing when I got the photo taken (I renewed my license just a few months prior), and was scared that there might be a problem.
When I started playing poker again at the casino a few days ago, I deposited $600 onto my card, and 3-days later (I went the last 5 days but the first 2 days don’t count since I didn’t play) my account is over $1200. It would be nice to be able to grow that up to $10,000+ or so for bragging purposes on the tables (since they’re electronic, you can show people the total amount on your account), but I’d be a fool if I thought that 3-days meant anything.
I was going to mention what I learned about the “private club” and “big games” around town here, but I’ll save that for a future post.
Update: I just got back from the casino a couple minutes ago (it’s 2:10 AM right now), and thought I’d give a quick update on how today went, instead of rewriting/updating the entire preceding post.
I started well, climbing to $350 within the first hour, stayed the same for another hour or so, and then decided to leave the table to grab some food at their restaurant. Since I left, when I came back to play, I had to sit with $200 (max buy-in) again.
Then the crazy Asian guy came. The crazy Asian guy is a very well-dressed, loud, gambler who always comes to the table each night, plays hyper-aggressive, and then goes bust within usually 5-10 minutes. Today, the main table was full and he came, so I left the main table to join him head’s up. About 5-minutes later I had his entire $175. I then went back to the main table (he left), and shortly after he joined the main table as well, and I again took another $150 or so of his money.
I feel bad for the guy. I see him everyday, and it seems like he just wants to have fun, but everyone at the poker table is pretty rude to him. I can understand how it might be frustrating when somebody keeps going all-in, but isn’t that a good thing? Anyhow, I try to talk to him a bit and be nice to him.
I made a big dumb decision today. The main table was full again, but somebody was sitting on the other table alone, so I left the main table to join him to play head’s up. He had a girlfriend watching and another friend as well, and the second or third hand we played he reraised me preflop. I pushed with my AQo which was absolutely retarded, and he won with AK.
I then proceeded to play the worst possible poker you could imagine.. betting $40 with absolute garbage repeatedly. I gave the guy $400 within 3-4 minutes, literally. Why did I do it? I guess I was trying to show off. I wasn’t being cocky, and I never showboat or anything, but I guess I wanted to show him that I’m not afraid to lose that much money, and that it doesn’t mean much to me.
Him and his girlfriend were so excited and couldn’t believe their eyes as I kept giving him free money.. I mean.. I was in pots of over $150 with not even a pair…
I’ll definitely try not to make that mistake again. Sometimes when you run so hot and play well, dominating everyone, it’s hard to keep yourself grounded and not play to the crowd.
I took a walk around the casino to let myself cool down and reflect on my bad play, and then joined the main table again. I was back to playing my good poker, and by 1 AM I had $600 on the table. The casino manager stopped by to ask how we were doing, when one of the regulars said “How are we doing? Just ask Tyler…”.
So, even though I blew hundreds of dollars to that one guy within 5-minutes, I managed to compose myself and grind my way back up to a finish of around $350 profit, making my total to $1,550 after 4 days of playing.