Took yesterday off to take my mind off of poker. I'm going to go in reverse chronological order for no good reason.
Went to Starbucks. Spent some time in the shower visualizing myself winning the National Championship. Cards in the air today at noon. Field is loaded. Excited about it. Looking forward to mixing it up and challenging myself. I have that good feeling.
Took the day off from WSOP tournament poker to relax before today. Gene and I went to a few different casinos and I booked a small winner at an old Vegas casino in a tiny donkfest. Had my Phil Ivey on and just decimated a table betting two or three times an orbit. Might have a slightly different strategy today.
When I sat down I immediately discovered the cards were marked. I think the process is called daubing. Ace's had a mark right in the middle of the card, kings just below it and queens just below that. The cards were white with a diamond shaped grid on it, and the marks, almost translucent white obscured the grid barely but if you know to look for it you could spot. Apparently it was only one deck as once they took it out of play, three hands after I saw it. I got an Ace on my first hand and saw it was an accidental mark then confirmed it when I got dealt a King and a queen. I also saw the mark for the Ace on another's players hand when he exposed it.
They broke my table and boxed up the cards and I didn't see another bad deck in play. I felt compelled to say something but at that time there looked to be several unsavory type players in the field and no offense to the floor but he looked like an old Vegas "good guy." I decided I'd bite the bullet and speak up if I saw another bad deck but didn't. I advised Gene of it and told him to keep his eyes open too.
I played well and avoided going broke with pocket Aces. Here's how the hand went. Lady opened. She's a tight older woman. I got a huge read of strength physically to go with the read of her strength just opening from early position. A guy shoved but didn't have enough to reopen the betting. I called from the big blind (I'll tell you why in a second). Flop came KQx. I checked and she shoved. I asked her if she had KQ she didn't like the question got a big read of strength.
Eventually, I showed my aces to the dealer and I folded. The woman turned over a set of kings. I'm really happy with how I played that. I knew she was married to the hand and my strategy when playing bad players that exhibit the strength of their holdings obviously is to see as many cards cheaply rather than just get it in and let the cards decide the winner. Some can argue I lost value with my aces, but I'd say if the flop, turn or river is all ten cards I'm getting her money regardless.
KQ is a terrible flop for me when she continues aggression. She doesn't lead with JJ or 1010. Nor does she do that with AQ. Actually AQ and AK are far less likely considering I have two aces. In fact, there are only three hands she probably had I told myself KK, QQ or KQ. Though KQ was probably the least likely given the read of strength I had on her preflop. When I folded I told myself it was a good fold even if she was supposed to get coolered and peeled AK. Thankfully, she didn't.
I hope today I'm locked in the same way. I made a couple of other spot on reads though I didn't follow through on one. A guy exposed his bluff 4-2 (I almost shoved on him with A-2 on a 10107 board) and I merely said "You had me outkicked." I wasn't upset that he bluffed me in fact, I loved it because my read was so spot on all he did was confirm it. The other I shoved 99 on a 10 high board when a guy postured with a flush draw (he called me and bricked).
Also, went to City Center and saw that billion dollar (?) project. Insane the scale of that thing. Aria is beautiful. One thing that I found amusing, the Aria has the same video poker display on their bars as every single video poker joint in the world. Same interface. You'd think they'd pay the supplier a little more to juice up the visualizations and class up the game a bit. Just weird, you can play the same game in a dive in cajun country as you can in one of the most glamorous casinos in the world.
Day Before Yesterday:
Mike went home late at night. Weird but it felt lonely and empty to not have a roommate. Mike was a great partner in helping me focus on poker. Course he offered a lot of temptation too. His cousin was in town, a choreographer and a bit of a free spirit. Her friends rented the Palms Playboy suite for 40k for a 40th birthday party and invited us over. My mind is solely on poker so I demurred. Tough decision but I'm here to make money. My wife even said I should have at least just dropped by to see it.
Mike visited during the day (the pic up there is of his cousin and two of the guests) when I was playing cards. He met this group of friends that includes cheer-leading coaches, gymnasts, and other beautiful people. At night there was a white party and I've given Mike non stop grief for not returning even just to be a wall-flower. To be fair his cousin was leaving early but... come on. Mike's a single dude. He's ready to mingle. Come on.
I played a mega and the shove fest ended badly for me. I learned some valuable lessons: play the $550 and get there on time. It will still be shovefest but you get double the starting chips and the early levels offer a lot of opportunity to chip up.
Day Before the Day Before:
At some point, and these days all blur together I finished ninth for crumbs in a $135 nightly. Thought I was going to bag first but ran bad in critical spots. I will probably come back and clean this up a bit but I wanted to give everybody a run down. Real quick.