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Post WSOP - Cash Games

5 days to go in Vegas after my exit from the WSOP. Freemont Street filled in and afternoon and evening, just love that area. Gambling is cheap, booze is cheap, entertainments is good and so is the food. I thought I would sit in for a few hands at the Binion's poker room, but, can you believe it, completely empty. I guess everyone was at the Rio.

Back on the Strip, I was looking for a poker room. Aria was closest, lots of tables, and spread a $1/3 game. However also very very popular, with a wait time of 1 1/2 to 2 hours for a seat. Next door is the Monte Carlo. It has a smaller room, only 6 tables, but spreads a $1/2 game, and had a seat for me right away - Perfect.

There were a couple of other WSOP ex-hopefuls at my table. A lady to my left even mentioned she had backers for her buy in (which made me think about the possibility for the future, perhaps). Anyway, the table played pretty tight and small ball, I guess peoples heads we still in tournament mode. It suited me though, while I made the adjustment to a cash game.

For my first session I played for just over 6 hours. I had my stack up to $700 at one stage, from my $300 buy in. I really should learn to quit at those 'large stack' points, but I never do, because the game always seems good.

Just an aside on that - plenty of times I have built up a stack to 2-3 times my buy in, in the first few hours of play. Then, over the subsequent hours, see it chipped away, often to nothing. Yet my play is as good as it was and the table stays pretty much the same. Sometimes I can put it down to suckouts and bad beats, but that can't account for all the times. I am starting to form a theory that, in the first few hours, no one really knows how I play or any tells or leaks I have. But after that, the better players start to figure them out. If that is the case, then it is a major leak I will have to plug.

Back to the story...

I like the Monte Carlo poker room, I played there for maybe 40 hours in total. The dealers are good, the room is well run, the stakes are in my range and most importantly, I always got a seat straight away.

So, I have $700 through tight and conservative play. It is getting late and some novice players join the table, including a couple of drunks. The table loosens up and I decide to keep playing tight but take advantage of any situations that arise.

On the button I see AA. Often hard to get paid out with that hand on the button, but there is a raise and a re-raise before it gets to me. I don't see any advantage in slow playing here, both raisers are pretty loose, and I am figuring on at least one call to a four-bet. So I pop it up by a healthy amount, about $60 I think.

The big blind, who is the lady who said she was staked for the main event, calls, and both initial raisers fold. I figure her for KK, QQ or possibly AK suited. She is pretty tight.

The flop is great for aces, 10 8 3 rainbow. Also I think it is great for me to get paid out on the likely hands my opponent has, except maybe AK.

My opponent checks. If I don't bet here it will look suspicious, and I figure she may be putting me on high pairs, AK, AQ or AJ, and looking to trap when I c-bet. So I oblige her and bet about 1/3 of the pot, call it $50. Sure enough she check raises me to $100. Ok, the pot is big enough, time to show I am not bluffing and take it down now.

I raise again to $250. My opponent thinks for a moment and shoves all in.

Hmmm.

Always give a lady credit for a hand is a maxim that has saved me money in the past. The flop is also safe for her KK, QQ type hands, but she must also put me on something like that too. There is no way she called a 4-bet with 10 8, or even J 9. What is she up to? We have been playing the same table for several hours, so we both have each other pegged as pretty tight. Her stack is about the same as mine, though a similar style of play.

I have to think about it for a while. I don't know what she has, but something is wrong and I am pretty sure I am beat.

I fold my aces face up. The table gasps.

'Good fold' she says, and mucks her pocket eights face up too. Which makes me very happy with the laydown. Thinking after though, I don't think the way she played it was very good. She said she didn't want to see another card so she shoved. But what was she afraid of? There were no plausible draws on the board, so the only hands I could really have were over-pairs, trip threes or trip 10's. If I had the 10s she was already beat, and anything else she was a massive favourite to my one or two outs. If she had just called my raise instead of shoving, it is very likely she could have got my whole stack by the river.

I ended that session only $100 up. Could have been worse.


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