Sunday, June 25, 2017

My Tribute to the Luxor Poker Room

Note:  As you've probably heard, the Luxor closed its poker room a few weeks ago.  So I thought I would repost my one and only post about the one and only time I played in the Luxor poker room as my lasting tribute to the room.  

And also, I haven't had time to write a new blog post and I need something to post before you all forget I exist.  So I can kill two birds with one stone.

This took place almost exactly four years ago, and features a few fellow bloggers you should all be familiar with.  You will note that it is bit out-dated.  For example, reference is made to Los Angeles not having any any NFL team, but now, today, we have two!  Also this is so long ago that I actually like the "Bra Burger" place--as you recall, I had a bitter disagreement with that place more recently (see here).

One might wonder if the room closed because in all the time I've been playing poker in Vegas, I only played there once.  I do feel guilty about that!

Finally, I should mention that the original title of this post was "A Duck & A Schmuck (x) 2," which explains the beginning of the post.  

I hope you enjoy this trip down memory lane.....


I guess I should explain the title of this post first.  A wise woman once told me that she referred to the starting hand of King-deuce as, “a duck and a schmuck.”  I thought that was quite funny and never forgot it.  But when I googled it, I was unable to locate any source that indicated this was an “official” nickname for that hand.  So I feel obligated to credit my pal Donna for that nickname.  Thanks Donna.  Whenever I get K-2, I think to myself, “a duck and a schmuck.”  And by the way, it’s a much better hand to get than the dreaded pocket Kings.  After all, when you see K-2, you just muck it and it doesn’t’ cost you any money.  Not so with KK.

Anyway, this is a tale about two “Ducks” and two Kings, Hence the "times 2."
In this case, the two “Ducks” involved are not cards but people: fellow blogger Lucki Duck and his awesome wife, Mrs. Duck.  I actually thought about giving Mrs. Duck a phony name, but, I don’t know, Mrs. Goose just sounded too silly.
Our story begins with a wonderful blogger’s dinner at Le Burger Brasserie, which is basically the official dinning place of poker bloggers.  As I explained in this post, it has everything a poker blogger could want.  Burgers. Women in sexy lingerie. Women in sexy lingerie serving burgers.  See what I mean?  The only thing missing is that since it is named after a woman’s support garment, the burgers should either be served on edible bras or on top of the girls’ actual bras, as I lamented here.  But to me, this eatery will always be known as “The Bra Burger” place.
I suppose I should mention that also joining us for the meal was Lightning.  But he doesn’t get mentioned in the title since he generously paid for the meal and that is his reward.  I suppose I should publically thank Lightning for the meal, but since his friggin’ Blackhawks beat my beloved Kings (the hockey Kings, not the pocket Kings), that seems like thanks enough.  Imagine my Kings losing?  Who’da thunk it?
Lucki Duck has already told his (totally false) version of the events here.  The burgers were good and the conversation was excellent.  A lot of fun. Lucki told us of his big score at the WSOP bracelet event, a tale he told here.  My first, if brief, meeting with him was there when he was in the process of winning a big pot and I stopped by to say hello and wish him well.  I have no doubt that it was my good luck wishes that propelled him into the money.
Lightning told the story of how he went to school with every known mass murderer of the 20th century.  On a totally unrelated topic, he told us how he spent several days providing taxi service for TBC.  They had fun hitting limit games, Omaha games, stud games, and I believe he drove Tony as far north as Reno at one point.
A lot of the discussion involved sports, as Lucki & Lightning debated the merits of their favorite home town sports teams.  So, it was the Cowboys vs the Bears.  Of course, I stuck up for my hometown of Los Angeles, proclaiming that my NFL team was the best of all time, the Los Angeles…..oh shit, we haven’t had a NFL team since the single wing, have we?

But I did get into the act.  For some reason, Lightning took great joy in dumping on Troy Aikman, former star QB of the Cowboys (and by “cowboys”, I don’t mean pocket Kings).  I pointed out that before he went to the NFL, Aikman was the star QB of my beloved alma matter, UCLA, for two years.  And damn it, in those two years, he was unable beat the University of Spoiled Children even once.
Mrs. Duck chipped in with a great story about being unable to get their clothes out of the washer at their luxury hotel (or was it the dryer?).  Fortunately, Mrs. Duck was able to figure it out before having to call the SWAT team to assist her.
Then Lightning noticed I had tweeted about our dinner.  I said we were having “bra burgers” for reasons I’ve already explained.  So he proceeded to make the ridiculous assertion to Mrs. Duck that yours truly is “obsessed with breasts.”  I am confident that I have put this ridiculous notion to bed with a recent post (see here).  But before I could explain what a total misconception that was, Mrs Duck proceeded to tell us about a woman she saw on the Vegas Strip recently.
“You would have really liked this woman we saw on the Strip, Rob.”  According to Mrs. Duck, she was wearing a pirate outfit from the waist down and almost nothing from the waist up. 
That pricked my interest.
She said the only thing this gal was wearing on top was mechanical tape.  Apparently very little of it, and apparently very strategically placed.  I couldn’t believe that Mrs. Duck didn’t call it what it was (or should have been).  Duct tape.
After all, you can fix anything with duct tape.  Even sagging breasts, no doubt.  And sagging was what these breasts were, apparently.  Mrs. Duck described her figure as “Rubenesque,” 
“Oh, she was overweight?”  Mr. & Mrs. Duck nodded affirmatively—quite a bit overweight, it seems.  And it seems that there wasn’t a whole lot of duct tape being used.
“Well it was very hot out there,” one of the Ducks explained.  In case I didn’t get the picture—oh, and trust me, I did—Lucki compared the tape and it’s placement to “tassels.” 
What the Ducks were too polite to say was that the gal was obviously using the duct tape to cover her nipples and not much else.
According to Mrs. Duck, the lady in question wasn’t just standing there.  No, she was dancing, jumping, shaking.  If she was indeed Rubenesque, I’m sure a whole lot more than just her ta-ta’s were shaking.
We all had a good laugh about that.  There’s no truth to the rumor that I spent the rest of my Vegas trip fixed to the corner where they said the girl was spotted.
Lightning suggested that before leaving town, the Ducks might go to a hardware store and pick up some duct tape for their own use.  Mr. Duck seemed enthusiastic about that idea, but Mrs. Duck said that he’d have to wear it. I have nothing further to report on the Ducks’ duct tape use, or lack thereof.
Lightning had already arranged to meet another blogger, Ron, over at the Luxor for an after dinner poker session, and invited us to join them.  Of course we said yes.  Ironically, I’d sat right next to Ron less than two weeks earlier at the first event of the Binions Classic, an event Ron discussed briefly here and I mentioned very briefly here. (Ron has now posted a more in-depth post about the session here and Lightning's version of the evening is here.)
We reassembled over at Luxor, (or as I’ve always called it, “The Luth Luxor”, which seems quite appropriate now that a new Superman movie just came out).  Oddly enough, I had never played at the Luxor poker room before, one of the few poker rooms in Vegas I could say that about.
As soon as we got there, they opened a new blogger’s 1/2 game, but I think we all wished we could have been in the other 1/2 game they had.  It was one of the wildest, craziest 1/2 games I’d ever seen.  There was like $5,000-$6,000 on the table, maybe more.  At least three players had stacks of over $1K each and the dealers were telling us that there was some guy there who was just giving money away.  He’d buy in for $300 and within two hands he gave it all away, almost without fail.  Apparently he kept shoving with nothing.  There was actually a crowd around the table watching, as if it was the final table at the Main Event.  It was hard to believe a room like the Luxor, of all places, could get that kind of an insane action table going, and it kept going the entire time we were there.
I sat between Lucki and Lightning, with Ron across from me.  Lightning will no doubt describe in painful detail how he lost his car, his house and his first born in a huge pot to Ron, who only happened to have flopped a boat.  Lightning promised to get it back over time by never tipping him again (Ron is a dealer at Bally’s).  For what it’s worth, Ron actually felt bad about taking Lightning’s money….but he took it just the same, of course.
I think all four of us left the room ahead, which was nice.  Lightning made a nice recovery; apparently his strategy was to give money away to people he knew and take it from total strangers.  Ron can almost retire on the money he took off Lightning and Lucki spent about two hours not playing a hand and then starting winning.
I’ll talk about three hands of mine, the last of which was especially noteworthy.
In a five way pot ($35), I flopped a set of 7’s.  In early position a guy (and I think it was the preflop raiser), bet $5.  There was two to a flush on the flop so I wanted to raise.  Three times the bet wasn’t good enough of course.  That was a ridiculously low bet for a pot that size.  I made it $30 and he folded. I couldn’t see betting less there and giving anyone a good reason to call.
Immediately after winning a nice pot when Ace-King resulted in a top pair/top kicker hand, I was dealt pocket Queens.  A fairly short stacked player in early position made it $6.  I made it $18 and he called.  The flop came King-Jack-9, giving me the gutshot, plus the pair of Queens.  He checked and I made my continuation bet for $30.    
He check-raised all-in.  But his stack was only $60 total.  It was an easy call for $30 more.  The last two cards were low and meaningless.  He showed his hand, King-Jack offsuit for a flopped two pair.  OK, that hurt, and I was left wondering what the hell he was doing, other than taking my chips.
I don’t get his preflop play.  Raising in early position with a crummy hand like King-Jack?  And with such a short stack?  My understanding of a short-stack strategy is you wait for a good hand to play before the flop, not play such a dangerous, speculative hand.  Whatever.  But with that hand, he called a three-bet?  It’s not like I was playing a lot of hands, even though I just had won the previous pot.  Anyone like his play?  I know, I know, you want him to call there.
By the time this next hand happened, Lucki had already taken off, and this was his last night in town.  He’s a great guy—despite what Lightning says—and it was a pleasure spending some time with him and of course, Mrs. Duck, who gifted me with a nice “woman said” story earlier.  But sadly then, only Ron and Lightning were around to witness this freakish hand—freakish for me, anyway.
In late position, I look down at the dreaded pocket Kings. A couple of others had limped, and Lightning, on my immediate right, also limped.  I made it $14.  Only two called, including Lightning.
The flop was Ace-King-8, rainbow.  It was checked to me.  If ever there was a temptation to slow play a set, this was it.  But no, I’ve taken a vow to never slow play a set again, so I bet out $30.  Both players called.  I’m sure Lightning couldn’t put me on a set of Kings, because he knows Kings never treat me that well.
A 6 on the turn, checked to me, and I bet $60, which was a little less than half my stack (that damn King-Jack-off).  The other guy called, and Lightning thought about for quite some time, but folded.
The river card was a beautiful 6, giving me a full house.  He checked, I shoved, of course.  And he called—he had me covered.  I showed my boat and he showed….Ace-7 offsuit. 
This is why you want people to make bad calls preflop, isn’t it?  He limped with a hand he should have folded, and called my preflop raise with a hand he never should have called a  raise with.  Then he kept calling me on every street, even though he had to believe, at the very least, that I had a bigger Ace than he did!
As Ron pointed out, the pair on the river was a great card for me.  If he was worried about his kicker, he might now think that it’d be a chopped pot and we both had two pair, Ace’s & 6’s, with a King kicker (on the board).  Well, as long as I hadn’t raised preflop with Ace-King!
Lightning told me he folded an Ace, and that it was bigger than a 7.  But I wonder—if he didn’t know me, if he’d never read my blog or played with me before, would he have possibly hung around until the river?  I’m glad he didn’t.  I would have felt guilty enough to at least have considered paying him back for the dinner if he had.

It was a nice pot, and put me up over $100 for the session.  I took off not long after that, saying goodbye to Ron and Lightning.

As I said, Lightning recovered by taking money from strangers instead of giving it to friends.  Summing it up, it was a great night…..great dinner, great conversation, great poker….a good time was had by all.
Except the guy who called my preflop raise with Ace-7 offsuit.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

There's a Reason I Call Them "Dreaded"

Sigh.  In my last post (here), I mentioned that I'd had the dreaded pocket Kings a few times so far this trip and won a few, lost a few, but nothing too dramatic.

Until Sunday night. I was having an ok session, down a little but mostly due to still being incredibly card dead when my buddy Mike came to deal.  The night before, I'd actually won a few small pots during his down, so I was hoping the trend would continue.

Now those of you who have ridiculously good memories might recall me mentioning here that Mike seems to deal me pocket Kings more than any other dealer.  Actually, I'm not sure that's true.  But going back to the days when I was playing 2/4 limit, we both noticed that there was a time there where Mike seemed to deal them to me at least once every down that I was at his table.  Of course, when you're playing 2/4 limit, pocket Kings can't do as much damage as they can when you're playing no limit. And losing with them is pretty common.  Usually 4 to 6 players see the flop, so even pocket Aces don't hold up very often unless they are improved.  So it was just a running gag between the two of us.

It wasn't till I started playing NL that those Kings started killing me so much I came to dread them (and I still regret not trademarking the term "dreaded pocket Kings.")  Honestly, I can't say the pocket Kings Mike has dealt me over the recent years have been any deadlier than KK dealt to me by any other poker dealer. And truth be told, despite the running gag, Mike hasn't been sending Kings to me in pairs very often for some time.  In fact, I can't remember the last time he dealt them to me.  Well now I can….it was Sunday night.

So near the end of his down, Mike dealt me a couple of cowboys just like old times.  I was in late position and someone in early position had raised to $8 and it seemed like everyone but Wonder Woman called the $8.  So I made it $50.  Everyone folded until one guy went all in, but he only had $37 to shove.  We were heads up.


We didn't show but the flop looked harmless enough to me.  Just a couple of 7's and I can't remember what else.  There was no King, of course.  So when we revealed our hands, naturally the guy showed pocket 7's.  Of course I would lose with pocket Kings to freaking flopped quads with Mike dealing!  It seemed so right.

Well, Mike pointed out that it could have been worse because he was short-stacked.  True enough, but if he had a decent sized stack, he likely wouldn't have called a $50 bet with two lousy 7's.

Before Mike left, he dealt me two 4's and I limped in, along with five others.  I flopped a set, bet $5 and got three callers.  I bet $20 on a blank turn and didn't get a call. 

A new dealer came in to replace Mike.  On his first hand, I opened to $8 with Ace-9 of spades.  It folded to the guy to my right who made it $28.  I decided to let it go.  The guy showed his hand….pocket Kings.

The very next hand, in the big blind, I got the Kings.  This was less than 10 minutes after Mike had dealt me the Kings and exactly one hand after the guy on my right had Kings.  An early position player had opened to $7 and there had been a caller.  I made it $28. 

The original raiser—who had just come to the table and who I didn't know from Adam—made a large re-raise that was more than I had left.  It folded back to me and of course I called off my stack.  We didn't show.  The flop was Queen-Jack-X, which I figured was bad news.  The turn was even more bad news—an Ace.  The river was a brick. 

I mentioned to the dealer, who I was sitting next to, that it was a horrible board for my hand.  He said, "pocket Kings?"  And when the river was dealt I showed them.  The other guy took his sweet time to flip his hand.  Now that I think about it, he kind of slow-rolled me.  And he showed….Ace-King of course. 

I was done.  Losing twice in a 10-minute span with my cursed hand was a signal it was time to call it a night.  It was getting late and I didn't think I'd get off tilt before it was time to quit anyway.

Dreaded.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Vegas is No Place to be Card Dead

You can consider this a mid-trip update but I'm not yet at the midpoint of my current Vegas visit.  Although if the cards don't start coming, I might have to cut it short.

Been in Vegas for eight nights so far.  One day, I didn't play at all.  Still, that's a lot of poker and it's a lot of poker to be card dead.

For example, until last night, I had gone all those poker sessions without seeing pocket Aces, pocket Queens and pocket Jacks even one damn time.  Not once.

Of course, I did get the dreaded pocket Kings a few times.  Won a few, lost a few.  Without listening to my voice notes, I can't recall an especially horrendous loss with them.  And a couple of the "wins" consisted of me raising with them preflop and not getting a call (of course, that's an excellent result as far as I'm concerned).

But yeah, no Aces, Queens or Jacks.  How do you play that much poker and not get those hands even once? And I just had to Google "suited connectors" to remind myself what exactly they are, it has been so long since I've seen them.  Yeah, I've had an occasional Ace-King or Ace-Queen.  But mostly I've been seeing just total garbage hands.  All this time.

Last night, things changed a bit—a bit.  I did get pocket Queens for the first time this trip—and won with them.  I got pocket Jacks twice; won one, lost one.  And near the end of the session I did get Aces.  They held up for a smallish pot.  That put me in the black for the session, and I left that way.  Maybe it means I'll start getting more playable cards.  Sure hope so.

At least the total unplayability of the starting hands I'm getting means I'm not losing too much.  Throwing away your hand preflop is a lot cheaper than going to showdown with the second best hand.

But it doesn't get me many blog posts, either.  I guess I have a few stories to tell when I have more time, but the blogging material has been almost as bad as my starting hands.

This is short even by other blogger's standards, and practically a tweet by my standards, but I wanted to get something up on the blog.  Hopefully I'll have something spectacular to report sooner rather than later.

Oh, did I mention that right now EDC is going in Vegas?  It's sorta like this…..