Monday, March 17, 2008

Oklahoma Trip Report, Part 1

The weather in Dallas was a very comfortable 86 degrees and pleasant. We BBQ’d briskets and ribs most of the day but my mind kept wandering in anticipation of the serious poker we would be playing later. It seemed as though the appointed hour would never arrive. Finally, we headed north from the Colony at about 6:30 pm. I- 35 is not particularly scenic but at least the road was smooth as opposed to the pot hole ridden ride out I-10 to Louisiana.
Upon arrival at the Winstar Casino, I headed straight to the poker room.
The room is very large and nice with about 45 tables and competent dealers. They use auto shufflers. The floor staff seemed pretty good, too, since I got the chance to observe them fill in for dealers a few times (something I have not seen elsewhere). Incredibly, you must PURCHASE your beer which sucks because they charge $3.50 each. They only have 1 waitress serving cocktails but plenty serving food. Evidently, they do not want their clients to get a good buzz, which seems counter-intuitive to me.

I obtained $100 chips (max buy in is $200) and got on the list for a seat. Yes, I buy in somewhat light. This is by design since I like to use a semi-short stack strategy ala Ed Miller. I think I get more action with a short stack and it keeps my decisions relatively uncomplicated. I was seated (after waiting about 15 minutes) in the 2 seat of table 22. It was approximately 8:30pm. I observed two lovely ladies working the room. One, I recognized right away, Lady Luck. Her friend, I thought I had seen before but could not quite place her. It would not be long before Lady Luck re-acquainted me with her alluring associate, the vampiric Madame Variance.
I did not get anything worth mentioning for the first 40 minutes and folded a lot. Then, I get 5-5 in late position and limp in with 4 others. The flop is A-5-9 rainbow. In my mind, it almost couldn’t have been any better. An early player bets the pot, gets one caller and I smooth call, too. The turn is a meaningless Q. The early better bets half the pot, the caller calls again and I move in. The better folds but the caller stares at me, thinks about it, and announces call. I table my set and he turns over pocket 10s. What he thought I had, I can’t even imagine since both the Ace and the Queen beat him. The dealer burns and reveals the river – a 10. The guy hits his 2 freaking outer on the river. I had him covered so I am not out but I am very short. I consider rebuying but decide to take a shot at getting lucky with my remaining few chips. Within a hand or two, I am dealt 6-6 in the BB. The pot is limped to me so I move in for my last $20 and get one caller, a friendly Asian gentleman from the Austin area. I table my sixes, he turns over K-5offsuit, and I am a 70% favorite to win. Of course, a King comes right out on the flop, so I reload. Within a few orbits, I get A-A in the BB. The pot is limped to me so I bet the pot (to look like a steal) and to sweeten the pot because I never limp my Aces. What do you suppose happened? Everyone folds, of course. Oh well. I keep grinding. Within 3 orbits, I get A-A again. This time there is a 5xbb bet from a loose player and three callers before the action gets to me. I raise! Everyone folds but the original better. Sweet! I have isolated this guy, he has been showing some questionable hands, and he has a big stack. I am feeling good and plan to move in on the flop since my stack is now roughly equal to the pot. The flop is 8-8-5 rainbow. He checks and I move in. He insta-calls and tables 8-5offsuit. Are you kidding me? I shrug and reload for the 2nd time. I get nothing playable for a while so I focus on my breathing and watch the other players. Then I get A-Qs in late position. The pot is limped to me (again) and I bet the pot. Two guys call and we see a flop of Qh-10d-4d so I have TPTK and the nut flush draw. A tight early player bets and a very short stacked Russian guy moves in. I have him covered but I want to drive out the tight guy in EP and isolate the shorty so I re-raise all in, too. Sure enough, the EP guy folds his A-Qo face up. I table my Ad-Qd and the Russian fellow tables his Q-10o. Lame, but I have outs. I do not improve and he wins. No big deal but damn, I am running cold tonight.

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