Wasting Away in Donkeritaville
Thursday I went over to play at the Rio (The World Series of Poker) for the first time this trip. There was a little bit of a crowd there, but still very light. I got a seat immediately, locked it up so that I could open my box and get chips. There is one window for the boxes, and there was someone ahead of me opening a box for the first time. It takes a lot more time to do that than to get into one that you already have rented. By the time I got back to the table, my locked up seat was gone. They had taken my seat card and returned it to the board even though I told the dealer what I was doing. Oh well, it was just a few minutes before I got another seat.
They have a seat card system this year to prevent people from jumping the line. The reason people were jumping the line last year was because the board was not keeping up and there was a long list at the same time that several tables were short-handed. I see no signs of improvement in the board operation, so I predict that the seat card system will break down in the next day or so.
Having gotten my second seat-card and gone to the assigned table, I saw just the kind of action for which I was hoping. That is, donkey central. There were certainly several solid players at my table, but there were two or three really soft spots. If the spot is soft enough, you really only need one. For example, this one player sits and posts immediately. He was not behind the button or in the hijack seat. He posted under the gun. Within two hands, he needlessly stretches out his arm so that people can notice his WSOP Circuit Event bracelet. If those two things are not clues enough, you have to check out the action in the first hand he showed down.
I was the button. I am straddling the button every time (more on that in a later post.) He is the cut-off. The small blind and big blind call the straddle, as do three other players. There are six players and $60 in the pot and this donkey shoves for $370. All fold to the third limper who goes into the tank and then calls with AQo. The donkey flips over A6o, the dealer runs the cards and the donkey makes a straight.
I am delighted to have a donkey with chips on my right. There is also a donkey on my left. The weakest donkey I have ever seen. He called off his chips several times with nothing. He was buying in for $200 at a time. I didn’t think that was so terrible until he told me he was playing the $10,000 Pot Limit Holdem event the next day. I almost lost my mind when he told me that. On the inside, that is. Outside, I politely smiled and wished him the best of luck. It goes on from there, but you get the idea.
Throughout the session, I have no big starting hands, I make no big hands, and I don’t get involved in many pots, but I end up bleeding off a little just out of shear boredom. I catch myself doing this and get up immediately. I am stuck $200 for the session. No big deal.
I head over to the Venetian to meet a guy that is a Tilt regular and a 2+2er. I saw him post on 2+2 that he would be here and would meet up with other 2+2ers, so I had set that up before I came out here. We were going to have a beer, but he was still in the midst of a bad case of food poisoning. It appears that he got it from eating something at Caesars, another Harrah’s property.
We talked for a while about playing for a living and such. I think he and I could collaborate. He has a lot more experience multi-tabling on-line for a living than I do. I have a lot more experience with all things computer related. I am going to help him with some of the tools I am using and so on. He is going to talk strategy with me, help me review tricky hand histories, etc. And we may cross-sweat each other as soon as I get him hooked up with YIM, because AIM blows for that.
The next day, I went back to the Rio. I was having a really solid session. I played well, stole some mid-sized pots, and caught a few good hands. I was up about $750 and thrilled to be having my first decent win. Sadly it did not last long and there was nothing I could do about it. I am about to tell you how I lost a huge pot. It is not a bad beat or cooler story per se, it is more about the thoughts that went through my head after the pot was pushed.
I had AQh in the big blind. There was one limper in EP, MP makes it $30 to go, I call, the limper folds. Heads-up to the flop with $67 in the pot, the board is Q86, two hearts. I feel that my opponent has a limited range based on how I have sized her up and the limited number of hands I have seen her play so far. I fear AA or KK, but don’t think she is raising a small pair. She could have a number of other holdings that she will c-bet with and then fold. I decide that a check-raise is the way to go. I check to her, she makes it $60, I make it $150 on top. She jams back over the top. Now it is either stone cold bluff (unlikely), same hand, AA or KK. There is $487 in the pot, not including her raise, and about $350 more to call. I am getting good enough odds to call even if she has a set. I have played this scenario enough to know that without doing the math, so I insta-call. She shows me aces. I whiff on the hearts and the queen and she takes down a pot worth close to $1,200.
Now here is the reason I am telling you this story: I acted correctly with a minimum of anguish, and I wasn’t even slightly upset when they pushed the pot her way. It takes a certain indifference to money to play poker properly that is paradoxical, especially when the bottom line is the ultimate concern. I feel pleased with myself that I am not upset. I am friendly with her as the pot is pushed, as the game continues, and as I am leaving. And again, later, when I return to retrieve my sweater that I had left behind. Losing money never felt so good.
I had been playing several hours, needed a break, and, potentially, some food. I decided a change of venue is in order, so I cash out for a $167 profit and leave. I head over to the Mirage where my 2+2 friend is playing. When I get there, I discover that he is stuck quite a bit in a 1/2NL game and is in no mood to go back to the Rio with me. I play in his game for a few hours without result and call it a night.
I feel a little disappointed about not having a big session yet, but it is a high level concern and did not change my play while I was sitting. I am not seeking to have no emotion at all about poker, just not while I am playing. I am slightly above water for the trip and feeling frustrated.
The Rio will be a zoo on Saturday due to the first affordable event for the large donkey demographic. I likely will not play there.