Sunday, May 27, 2012

My first Los Angeles bad beat

Hollywood Park, Thursday, I experience my first day of felted on the West Coast.

Since I have some friends in Santa Monica, Hollywood Park has become the most frequented casino of late - a tournament series is popping up at the Bike next week so I plan on going out there sometime soon (I've yet to play a tournament out here), but anyway, the story.

When an aggro hits a table in LA, they really hit.  When you consider how shallow your buy-in has to be, you either play like a nit and ABC it until you find a good spot (me), so you can play some real poker deep, or you're like the guy I played with.

I had built my $100 buy-in up to $180 or so when this happened. Deep stacked LAG with headphones who had been punishing the table limpers for an hour decided to go to the $300 5/5 table ( I know, I know - more LA blind madness), "didn't want to carry the rest of his chips" becuase he couldn't find a third rack, so he announced he was playing his last hand blind.  He raises blind for 80- something.  I show up with QQ. I, naturally, shove it all-in against any two cards.

The flop:  8 A Q.  Nice!  This should be easy.  Turn: A Brick.  River: K.  He turns over his cards...

"Give me the money!"

Jack Ten.  Truly brutal.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Hollywood Park - a review

I was due in Santa Monica tonight at 8, so beforehand I decided to hit the last of the undiscovered LA casinos, Hollywood Park.

On the way I passed the historic LA Forum.  It looks deserted now but I remember it from the days when Magic and Karim used to play would always see it on TV.

Although I had a rough showing today, I have to say I liked the vibe at Hollywood Park.  Something about it felt oddly comfortable.  It is small, like Hustler, but something about it made me more comfortable - can't quite place it.

I sit in the 1 seat and I am card dead.  No other way to say it. This is a $100 max 2/3 table (I know - madness)and one guy was definitely the captain as I sat down.  He was raising about 80% of his cards, and I was just dying for something to trap him with, but nothing came.  The best thing I saw all day was JJ, and I had to lay them down when a tight guy raised the captain.  I had the captain on aq because he put out a larger than average raise for him UTG, and then the tight guy 3 bet...I had him on KK or QQ, so I laid the Jacks down.  I told the guy next to me exactly what I thought, and sure enough...AQ v QQ.  i like it when my reads are right.

I then took over for a while.  I raise late with one limper with Qh7h and flop two pair.  I trap the captain by calling every raise until the river when an Ace comes.  He reps it with a $40 bet and I shove...he folds.  I then bluffed the same guy out with 99 on a board with KQ83 and induced a turn fold. I then went up and down a bit, catching absolutely nothing, and left 30 down.

I'm glad I finished the tour....but I'm still not set on my favorite place yet.  It is all very location specific. Technically Commerce and The Bike are closest, no doubt - and I dont see a trip to Hawaiian Gardens in my future. I think my next trip will be back to the Bike.  It was my first trip, and I should give it another shot.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Hustler casino - a review

I haven't had a whole lot of opportunity to play since my recent trip to Pechanga - lots of settling in, taking meetings, all that LA stuff you have to do.  But - I had a day where I booked two callbacks in quick succession, and was only 15 miles from Hustler after my last one, so off I went.

Now for starters - I had always assumed that this was like Larry Flynt's Hustler, so I envisioned it being adjacent to a strip club or some such thing.  But indication of any affiliation whatsoever.  I might be wrong, but it just seems to be the name of the casino.  Two things about this place right off the bat - it is small, basically just a big circle , but it is dominated by poker tables.  The other thing - it is probably the best appointed place.  The tables have a nice purplish felt, and the chairs are ok.  The food/drink thing varies wildly in LA as OJ was $2.75, even bottled water was $1. Also, as usual, Limit is King outrageous limits too...$50/$100 was running while I was there.  And also, the high blinds for NL.  A seat at a 1/3 $100 max table was open - I had no idea how long I might stay, so I settled for it.  Going in with 33BB is not my preference, but...

When everyone is that deep, players are really easy to profile.  While some folks were up to around $180, I could tell in about two orbits who was smart and who was looking to gamble.  I didn't win a hand for about an hour...but I was gathering valuable information.  I dusted off about $40 when a jittery guy who was always calling with second pair actually found the K against my 1010, when I figured he was drawing to a flush, and I reloaded it back to $100.

Big moments.  Splashy Asian to my left, I have JJ.  Many limpers as usual, I pop it to $15, and only the Asian calls.  I shouldnt say splashy....over the 90 minutes, he has gotten in with good hands, maybe not best by the river though.  Flop comes 8 -x-x two diamonds, and I have red Jacks.  Now here is something I ALSO see a lot in LA.  People are really poor at protecting their cards.  I could immediately see a black card that might have been an 8, but I wasn't sure.  So, at this point I knew he could only have one diamond, if that.  He makes it 18 and I call.  The turn brings another diamond, not the ace, so I'm wondering if that other card is the ace.  Oddly, he checks to me - based on my read, I'm thinking that he can't have a diamond here unless it is a low one, and only three diamonds can beat me.  I make it 32.  He calls.  River is a brick, and now he leads out for 22, and now I have no reasont o think he has anything better than two pair or trips, and I call.  He shows 88, and  yells 'Ha Ha!  Trips.' and starts to take the pot.  Whoa mister!  See my Jd?  He feels pretty stupid, and I scoop it.  He does another stupid thing later...

This is a place where I was sure I was beat by the river, but I have 99, and I dont really remember all the action, but Asian clearly misread his hand, because on a 5-7-8-3-K board, he shows a4os and yells 'straight.'  Uh-huh.  Thank you!

Another example of splashiness.  Guy comes in, headphoney guy with $60,plays EVERY hand in an orbit.  He then commits all $32 left  and I have 77 again.  There were limpers behind and I shove all in on him (I have about $220 now), assuming he was just trying to take the limped pot right there.  He shows 6-8???  77 holds up and I scoop again.

A little up and down, but I leave with $240, with $80 for three hours work.  That'll do, pig - that'll do.