Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Louisiana Trip Report, part 1

One of my homegame buddies, the “Poker Savage”, and I left Galveston on Friday, the 15th at about 1:15pm. The weather was cloudy and threatening to rain, however, even the usually slow ferry ride seemed to go quickly. We were looking forward to playing some poker at the casino and the miles flew by. After checking in at our motel, we arrived at the Coushatta poker room around 6:30pm. The Coushatta poker room is very nice. It has approximately 40 tables and is mostly enclosed from the rest of the casino so smoke and noise is minimized. However, while lots of fish choose Las Vegas as a destination, not many choose the swamps of Louisiana. The shark to fish ratio was askew, there were too many sharks and not nearly enough feeder fish. The game itself had also changed. Instead of the $100 min and $300 max I was expecting, it was $200 min and $500 max. This game played much, much bigger and faster. I also believe this is why there were fewer fish than before – they were priced out. Within the first hour, we were both down $200. There was a straddle on just about every hand and that created a lot of action. The size of the game and way it was playing pushed me out of my comfort zone and, initially, off my game. Earlier, I had folded the best hand in the first big pot I got involved in. I had Ad-Kd, raised to 5xbb pre-flop and got 4 callers. The flop was K high with 2 spades, no diamonds. I was first to act and bet about 1/2 of the pot, because I did not want to kill the action. To my surprise, I got called by three players. The turn is a spade and I check. Everyone behind me checked, too. The River is another spade and I check not wanting to pay off since I figured one of my three opponents had to have a spade and I had none. One guy bets, a-ha, the spade I think, he is called and the caller shows Kh-8c, winning with top pair, 8 kicker. The better had pocket sixes and had never improved. I seethe inside for not betting the turn and then folding the winner on the river. However, I make a mental shift in gears and decide to play more aggressively. I figured if my opponents were going to play this recklessly, I would punish them. Soon, I look down at Kh-Qh and raise a field of limpers, two players call. The flop is Q high and being short stacked, I move in. Only a mature woman calls me and tables her A-Qo. I do not improve and she wins. So much for my first buy in.
I re-buy and soon after, I get moved to another table. That table breaks when the tournament begins and I am moved again to the “main table”. This table has five old guys (out of ten seats) wearing Coushatta jackets and talking amongst themselves as though they play together all the time. The dealer is calling all of them by their first name (and they are not wearing name badges). Oh, did I mention they all had me covered by far? Three of them had more than $1,200 in chips in play. I start taking some flops in position but before long, my flopped 2 pair go down to a rivered flush and I am knocked down to about $65 in chips. It is about 10:15pm, I have lost two-thirds of what I brought to play with, and I am beginning to wonder if I was shamefully going to be watching television back in the room by midnight? A few hands later, the straddle was on and I was in late position. I looked down at Ad-8d. There is about 2+5+10+10+10+10 in the pot so I move in for my last $65. I am called by three players and we take a flop of 9d-Jc-5d – giving me the nut flush draw and an overcard. The other players begin a side pot. The turn is a 7s, adding an inside straight draw for me. The river is a Kd giving me the nuts, so I win the main pot of about $270, some other guy wins the side pot with 2 pair Kings and Nines. Within two orbits, I am dealt two beautiful red Aces. The straddle is on and I am in middle position so the pot is about 2+5+10+10+10+10+10 and I make it $75 to play. The player to my right raises to $150 and gets one caller before it gets back to me. Of course, I move in. Both players call. They also have a side pot. I win the main pot when my Aces hold up. My opponents held J-J (the raiser) and A-Qs (the caller). I am now up to over $730 chips in play. I made a critical error in judgment and did not immediately pocket my profit by cashing out. I could have re-bought for $200 and been playing with other people’s money. Within 2 hands, I am dealt K-K. One of the old guys opens from UTG to 3xbb. He gets two callers so I raise to $50 when it gets to me. The original better re-raises to $100. My spidey-sense is tingling. However, my testosterone takes over and I move in (I have him covered by about $250). Of course, he calls and tables his pocket Aces. Ouch. I feel as though I just got kicked in the junk. The flop is all undercards and I think I would have moved in on the flop even if I had just called his raise instead of re-raising him. Anyway, I lose all my profit and am reduced to about $250. It is about 11:00pm, I play a while longer remaining at or about the same level in chips before deciding to take a food break. One of the nicer gentlemen at the table had advised me a $15.00 food comp was available once one played at least 3 hours of 2-5 NLHE. I asked the floor and was promptly presented with the best food comp I had ever received (in Las Vegas, you get $1 per hour seated). At about 11:40, I hurried over to the oyster bar since I knew it closed at midnight. I ordered a dozen on the half shell and a brew. Oysters are a great late night snack because they are high protein and low fat. Which is to say, they provide substantial nourishment without causing one to too full or sleepy. I wolfed those babies down and they were so delicious, I immediately ordered a 2nd dozen. I gobbled those down even quicker than the first dozen, finished my beer, and hurried back to the poker room.

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