Monday, June 22, 2015

Pokering out in Arizona

It is now Monday morning and I have been enjoying my trip to Arizona. The weather has been hot hot hot -- and so has the poker!

Getting out of town was more difficult this trip since I had to work the day before we left -- and stay a little later to make sure everything that needed to be done was done since I was only in my office for 1 1/2 days -- and spent the evening before leaving celebrating my son's 21st birthday. Of course, Mom and Dad were not invited to the party he was hosting for friends!

After flying in, getting my rental car, driving to our friends' house, etc, I didn't think that heading to the casino that night was a good idea. Better to wait until Friday.

It seems like my poker playing has gotten into a bad and familiar pattern. I lose initially, then struggle to catch up, then either win or lose. This trip, unfortunately, began the same way. In my first session at Talking Stick Casino in Scottsdale I was at the table of a regular who, I assume, is a guy who is loaded and who just likes to mess with people. He put his money up for grabs but then sucked out or hit crap like you wouldn't believe. I guess I got a little impatient and greedy since I had not been winning many hands. Although he at one time had a big stack, he was enjoying playing short stack ninja with a stack that kept going below $100. One time I called his all in with A-7 sooted. Sounds screwy, right? I knew my Ace would be ahead. He pushed with 10-9 sooted and, of course, binked a 9. Crap. I then was in a hand with him holding J-10 on a Jack-high flop. I checked the flop, he raised, and I pushed all in. He called and, believe it or not, had a set of deuces. I was surprised and frustrated and didn't even know if he flopped the set or hit it on the turn. I was also in a huge hand with a huge draw and missed on both the turn and river, donking off more money. Anyway, I was down to start the trip.

I left the casino to get some lunch and clear my head. I came back for a long session that saw me folding hand after hand. The hole got deeper and I was not happy. I hung out in the slots section afterwards, which was one smoky, crowded madhouse. I was ready to call it a night.

On Saturday morning, Mrs. lightning and I went to breakfast with our hosts. Afterwards, we did a little shopping and just basically enjoyed the morning and early afternoon. Fatigue set in, and I napped away the afternoon. For dinner, my wife and I ate at a Hawaiian restaurant. Afterwards, I went out of my way to find a store where she could get the dessert she craved. But then ... it was time to get things right at Talking Stick, and I did it in a hurry.

I got on the wait list for $2/3 spread (the closest thing to my usual $1/2 NL) and a new table open almost immediately. I bought in for $300 and was ready to go. There was a guy who resembled Poker Grump who blabbered on non-stop. How nice to have constant irritation. At least he didn't play the might 2-4. But I was ready to go.

This day certainly marked a different day. After folding several hands for the first orbit or so, I got AA UTG. I raised and got two callers. The flop was 2-4-5 rainbow. I raised, one caller folded, and another (stack of a little less than $200) called. The turn was a brick. I put out a $100 raise and was called. What? It was a new table, so I had no read on the guy. Had he flopped a straight? The river was a brick. I went all in and he called. I flipped over my Aces and flipped over ... A-4? What? Yowsa! I happily added his chips to mine. He left the table.

Several hands later, I was dealt pocket 3's in middle position. Someone raised to $12 and I came along with a couple of other people. The flop was 3h-6h-Ks! The original raiser made it $25, one person folded, and I repopped to $100 to try to keep out the flush chasers (notice that I said "try" since it seems like players now chase every flush no matter what). Much to my surprise, a guy to my left, who appears to be a good player, pushed all in. Sheeit! He had over $300. The woman who initially raised then mucked, leaving me with a decision for all the chips I had just won plus over $100 more. Was I going to lose to a set of 6's? No way he had Kings or else he would have three bet the flop. There was no way I was going to lay down a set there, so I called. He flipped over 4h-5h for the open ended straight flush draw. Now I had to dodge a ton of outs. The turn was 8s -- one down -- and the river was ...........9c!

So how can luck and circumstances change in poker? The day before I sucked big time and the poker gods pissed on me left and right. Now, after 20-25 minutes of poker, this:
In my mind I was thinking that the poker gods recognized my efforts with my wife's dessert and showed me some sympathy. Unfortunately, after that half hour was over things were back to normal. Nothing of note happened for the rest of the session and I did lose a little of the stack, but I did cash out a nice profit at the session. Back in business, baby!

Yesterday (Sunday) after attending church, Mrs. lightning and I had breakfast at a café that was highly rated on Yelp. I love searching for these hole in the wall places. So ... away from the trapping of the Scottsdale elite, we found a great locals place to eat breakfast. The food was excellent and the service superb -- all from what looked like a junky little diner!

Sunday, however, was the day I designated to lay poker at Wild Horse Pass Casino. On my trip to Phoenix last March I made a killing at Wild Horse. I was hoping for more of the same.

When I checked in they decided to open a new table. My goodness -- the players at it were bad! I wasn't getting cards, but I tried to remain patient. The big hand finally came after an older gentleman sat down. He was the small blind and I was the big blind. Unfortunately for him, he limped or minimum raised his pocket Aces and could not let them go in the despite my re-raises. Fortunately for me, I flopped a straight, and then kept trying to move him out of the hand in case he had a flush draw or flopped a set. Double up time. Yeessssssssssss!

Our table kept getting short handed and the really weak players left, only to be replaced my a couple of agro players and one woman who was a local who appeared to be quite good. It was time to leave. However, there was no way I was going to leave without playing some slots since I had been successful at them last trip. Thanks to the Pegasus game I was waiting about 30 minutes to get on.
Not bad for a 40 cent button mash!
I headed back to Talking Stick for one final session yesterday. I had plenty of ups and downs but won again in poker and slots. You can't ask for much more than that.
This afternoon I plan to drive to the campus of Arizona State University just to look around, and then a session or two at Talking Stick. Tomorrow afternoon I am flying to Reno, where I will be playing some poker with Tony Bigcharles, meeting poker acquaintance Karen and hopefully getting to explore the area at least a little.


Blogger The Poker Meister said...

Good luck in Reno! Have fun with Mr. BigCharles!

2:25 PM  
Blogger Pete P. Peters said...

Please take pictures for us of the ASU girls.... some of the biggest smoke-shows on the collegiate scene, for sure.

Also, who is this Tony Bigcharles? He sounds like a dud. Why would you want to spend time with him?

3:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice report. But where is the information on the VBJ or the straddle rules?

6:40 PM  
Blogger ~Coach said...

1) What was the dessert that your wife craved?
2) NICE stack...
3) The Cal-Neva Casino in Reno has a diner upstairs with lots of cheap food. (I still have to write about Reno)... :P

7:45 PM  

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