My wife and I made a quick trip to Biloxi this weekend for our anniversary (9th one - just like another blogger) thanks to a cheap air/hotel offer from Harrahs. (I guess those Rio table game hours are paying me back a little.) The offer gave us the option of leaving from Tampa or Jacksonville. My Mom lives in Jax and agreed to watch the kids, so Jax it was.
I felt a little sketchy heading to the airport Friday morning. We had no tickets, emails, or letters showing that we had reservations. I had expressed my concern about this a week prior to one of the Total Rewards reps and she said, "No worries. Just go up to the Continental counter with your IDs. They will give you the tickets." Amazingly, we arrived at the airport and the lady behind the counter gave us our Continental Express tickets. She also charged us $20 for a checked bag - guess we should have taken two carry-ons instead of one big suitcase.
The flight was pretty quick. We landed, picked up our suitcase, boarded the shuttle to the hotel, and were in our room at the Grand Biloxi in few short hours later.
After showering and changing, we headed down to check out the casino. No poker room. I knew that going in, but it obviously wouldn't have been my first choice of places to stay since there was no poker room and the casinos with poker rooms were about 2 miles away. I did LOL at the people playing the table games. The Grand Biloxi was running a promotion - play 30 minutes and get a free buffet. Of course we sat (at a roulette table) to grind out our free buffet. During our 30 minutes at the table, I heard two people ask the pit boss if they had been there for 30 mins yet. We left the table when my $100 buy-in was gone (about 35 mins). My wife had doubled her $100, so we broke even plus two free buffets. Wooohoooo!!! :)
The Grand Biloxi had one good thing going for them that helped make up for the lack of a poker room - free limo service even if you were heading to their competitor's casino. Not too shabby. It was the same cost as a cab after tipping the driver. After grinding out our free buffet, we took the limo to the Beau Rivage.
The Beau Rivage was much shorter than I imaged from pictures that you see online. I called it the Mini-Bellagio because the casino was like a miniature version of the Bellagio - same fonts on the signs, similar chips, similar finishes, etc - only with less stuff. We basically checked out the mini-B to get our bearings, grabbed a drink at the bar and then headed next door to the Hard Rock.
I was pretty impressed by the Hard Rock casino. My wife was going to head to the Rick Springfield concert while I played some poker in their very very small poker room. The room had probably 6-8 tables, but there was only one running when I arrived. We managed to get a second 1/2 NL uncapped game going about 30 minutes later. The table was full of nits, especially for a live low limit no limit game. No joke. I saw several hands that wound up with chopped blinds when the table was full and a ton more that consisted of raise to $5, fold around. I managed to stack someone for $100 with AQ against their KK on a Q high flop, Ace turn.
About 45 minutes later the poker room manager thankfully moved me to a seat at the other game running. It was so much juicier. There were at least two really soft spots with a lot of money on the table. I saw a donk chase a flush with horrible odds all the way to the river. He overbet the pot on the river when he obviously hit and was called by top two. (Top two later proved to be one of the better players at the table, so there must have been some history for him to make the call.)
I won a few big pots. One against the donk when I had about $375-$400 in front of me. He had about $1k. (I was really kicking myself for not buying in deeper.)
I raise to $7 from mid position with AQo.
Donk otb calls. BB calls. Two limpers call.
Flop is TJKr. Bingo!! Now, how do I extract as much as possible from the donk.
Checks to me. I bet $20. Donk and BB call. Two limpers fold.
Turn is a blank.
BB checks. I bet $75. Donk makes it $275. BB folds. I shove. donk calls with KT. River blank. Just like that I'm up to $850ish from my starting stack of $200.
I run it up to as high as $1,050 before leaving with $800 (+$600) in about 3 hours of play.
The Rick Springfield concert was over pretty quick. It started at 8 PM (doors opened at 6:30) and the women (and a few poor men that were dragged to the concert) started filing out of the concert hall around 9:30.
The guys at the poker table started talking about the concert. I sat there and just listened for a little while until one of them said, "There are a lot of 40 year old guys that are going to get laid tonight."
I jokingly replied, "Hey! My wife went to that concert.....but I'm not 40 yet."
Less than 30 seconds later my wife walked up to the table. :)
We had some drinks at the bar with a few people that she met at the concert before heading back to our hotel.
Saturday was a great sleep in day. It has been a while since I've slept in that late. We had a late lunch at the crappy Grand Biloxi Buffet. If I had know how bad the buffet was, I don't think that I would have grinded out the free buffet.
The rest of the day consisted of playing poker at the mini-Bellagio (Beau Rivage) while my wife relaxed, followed by watching the Gator Game and some more late night poker.
I had some ups and downs at the poker table playing 2/5 NL and wound up down $800 for the day thanks in part to a couple of hands. One I played poorly and one I don't think I should have played differently.
Poorly played hand
I was on the button with 8h2h (around $400 stack - hadn't topped off after bleeding down a little). The entire table limped to me, so I called also - mistake #1.
BB raised to $20. He only loses 3 players, so I decide to call again - mistake #2.
Flop (Pot - $155) - Flop 88T
BB checks. Mid position bets $60. I decided to just call. SB thinks for a minute and calls. I really didn't like the SB calling since he was playing 100% of his hands preflop and giving up after a lot of flops.
Turn (Pot - $335) - Ax
SB checks. MP bets $80. I just called - didn't really like this, but I had gotten too deep into the hand and the pot was too large relative to my remaining stack. SB shoved. MP folded. I really knew that I was behind but the pot was now $575 + $250ish ($825). I had to call $250 to win $825. I can't fold here even though I'm fairly certain that I'm beat. Can anyone make the case for folding? I don't think so because there are too many river cards that could result in chops against his range of random 8x hands. There is even a possibility of the pot currently being a chop of the outside shot of him having something like AT.
I reluctantly called. He had K8. I didn't improve on river.
Top pair and Flush draw - no reads on player
The next big hand that I lost was literally my very first hand after being moved to a new table late Saturday night. (Our table had just broke after a couple of players decided to call it a night.)
I was in Seat 10 in the cutoff. Two limpers. I limped along with 9h7h.
The button (Seat 1 with around $550) raises to $20. Both limpers call. I call.
Flop - 9x6h4h.
Checks around to button. He bets $75. Fold back to me.
I raise to $275. - Thoughts on the size of this bet?
Button thinks for quite a while and finally shoves for a little less than $300 more. I call and don't improve. He turns over TT for the win.
I don't mind getting all the money in on the flop in that spot. Any thoughts on playing this differently?
A little while later, I left the Mini-B down $800 at poker for the day.
All and all, I had a great time despite being up $900 overall at one point and leaving down $100. I don't think that I would recommend Biloxi for a vacation unless it was to someone within driving distance that was looking for a weekend get-a-way just to gamble. There wasn't much else to do there. The casinos where relatively small, but had that small local feel to them plus the southern hospitality.
I have been playing a lot of 50nl and 50pl full ring since the beginning of the month. There was definitely a learning curve when I first started playing these limits, but I am doing well now that I have made some adjustments based on the players. There are quite a few differences from 50nl and 200nl. Below are some of the major differences I have run across:
1. Nit runs rampant - Table selection can be difficult at times. I usually wind up only wait listing for deep stack tables since a lot of the regular tables are full of short stackers. There are times where all the tables are full of 8/6s to 14/10s. It would be easy to laydown KK pf to some of these guys. I have found myself leaving tables a lot more often than I used to.
2. Loose passive calling stations - On the flip side of nits running rampant, I was surprised how many 50/8 type players you find. They come in different varieties but generally call any pf raise or 3 bet with any two cards. The majority of these players either fold to c-bets on the flop, call when they are chasing a draw, or re-raise on the flop when they flop a monster. They are very predictable and very easy to play against.
The minority of these type players take more adjustments. They are the loose passive players that call any raise with atc pf, but have a fold to c-bet of 0.0 or close to it. Position becomes paramount against these guys. With position, you can milk a ton of $ out of them. Without position, you can wind up building big pots without knowing exactly where you stand. If I have one of these guys to my direct left, I usually wind up tightening up to extreme because most of them don't adjust to your play and will still pay off your monsters.
3. Bluffing of missed draws - I was surprised how often you will see someone over shove all in when their draw misses on the river regardless of their stack size. It is usually the random player that sits down at the table, not the regulars. I was buying in for 100bbs at the deep stack tables but recently increased that to 200bbs mainly because of this over shoving seemed to be happening way too often.
4. Some players get more frustrated when you 3 bet them too much. - A few nights ago, I had been pretty aggressive on the button on one table. A nitty guy (10/8) to my immediate right was obviously getting frustrated when an ideal situation arose. It folded to him in the cutoff and he raised 3x. I had AA on the button and raised like 2.5x his pf raise. SB and BB fold. CO insta-shoves for 100bbs. I call and he turns over AQ. (This was actually at 100nl)
5. Most players don't get all-in with draws that are favorites. - This is mainly the nitty guys. I can't tell you how often I have seen players just call each street hoping to hit their monster draws (straight draw+flush draw, etc) that have to be favorites instead of raising with it. Once they hit their hands become very transparent.
There are quite a few other differences, but these are the ones that come to mind first.
It's been a while since I've updated, but here goes........
First and foremost, GO GATORS!!! The FL/LSU game was a little boring, but effective. The Wins are what count and the Gators went into a tough stadium (especially at night) with a quarterback that wasn't 100% and came away with a win. GO GATORS!!!!!
Hard Rock Tampa Trip Report (Cash Game - $2/$5NL)
I decided to head over to the Tampa Hard Rock last Tuesday afternoon since I was slow at work - one of the benefits of being my own boss. I arrived at the Casino around 5 PM and sat down at the first available $2/$5 NL game with $100 max buy-in. (Yes, you read that right. Florida max poker buy-ins are $100.)
The table was comprised of several nitty players and one really awful guy that I don't think had a clue.
Typical example of a hand with the clueless guy:
Clueless limps utg ($100 stack). 2 more limps. I fold. Guy to my left ($200 stack - hasn't played a hand in 3 orbits) raises it to $60. Clueless guy UTG calls.
Clueless guy checks. Guy to my left goes all-in for the UTG's last $40.
UTG calls with J2o and doesn't improve. Guy to my left of course has AA.
I managed to get my stack all the way up to $400 before losing $200 to clueless guy when we got all in preflop with my JJ vs. his Q6o.
Later in the session I ran QQ into AA for $100 or so.
I finished the cash session down $60 and decided to register for the $100 MTT that was starting at 7:30 PM
Hard Rock Tampa Trip Report ($100 MTT)
I was hoping for a bigger turnout in the $100 7:30PM MTT than the 48 runners that showed up, but I wasn't expecting much since it was a Tuesday night. 48 entrants meant that the top 5 places would be paid.
Nothing really eventful happened for the first few hours of the tourney. Fast forward to 2 tables remaining......
The average stack was getting relatively small compared to the blinds when I went on a rush. I was winning races like never before (most against a lot shorter stacks):
My TT>AK and 66
My AQ>AJ (not really a race)
I chipped up huge and was bullying the table when we were down to around 12-14 players remaining. Then my luck ran out:
medium stack: 99
Flop - KJT
Turn - 7
River - 8
My opponent got up from the table pissed and whined about how he can't win a race until the dealer started pushing the pot in his direction. He had no clue how he won until his neighbor explained that he made his straight.
Not much exciting happened until we hit the final table. I was probably a little above the average stack of 25k with blinds at 1k/2k no antes.
The final table was pretty comical from a mtt strategy stand point. Maybe 3 total people at the FT has a clue. A typical hand would see 3-4 limpers pf (most of the limpers in the 6-8 bb range). Flop comes down. One person bets minimum and everyone folds.
I chipped up twice with air in the BB after several players limped to my BB, I shoved, and everyone folded.
My favorite hand was one I wasn't involved in.
8 players; avg stack 33,000; blinds 2k/4k
I fold UTG. The entire table limps.
I don't remember the flop. Checks around to a guy with 3k remaining. He puts his last 3k in. Everyone folds. LOL.
When we got 6 handed everyone agreed to an even chop for a little better than 3rd place money ($680). I wouldn't normally agree to a chop in this spot because of how horrible several of the remaining players were, but I had 28k and was going to be in the BB with 3k/6k blinds. The chop seemed like a good idea since after the blinds I would probably be the shortest stack.
I forgot how horrid the play can be over at the Tampa Hard Rock. I may have to try to make it over there more than twice a year.
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