Friday, June 30, 2006

The BadBlood Slows and Turns to Stone

I don’t do much traveling for the company.  Mainly, I just don’t like it.  So if I really have to, I try to make the trips worthwhile by somehow including some live poker on the itinerary.  Last year, when I had to travel to Austria, I managed to time it to coincide with Otis’ coverage of the Vienna EPT event.  That short time at the Concorde Card Casino made the whole cross-Atlantic flight worth it.

This past week, I was in the Albany/Schenectady area.  I finished my obligations early on Thursday, and my coworker Random101 and I took the 90-minute drive to Turning Stone Casino in Verona, NY.  It’s very similar to Foxwoods in that there is nothing whatsoever nearby and then, bam, it’s “Hey!  A casino!”

The poker room is pretty decent.  They were spreading a bunch of low limit games like $2/$4 and $3/$6 but also had a $15/$30 going.  For no limit, they had the following types of tables, $1/$2 (100-max), $1/$2 (200-max), $2/$5 (300-max), and $5/$5 (500-max).  Random101 and I took up shop in seats 9 and 10 at the $200 max buy-in table and played for about 6 hours.

It took only that long for me to go busto.

To be fair, I didn’t bring my entire roll, but did drop slightly more than two buy-ins at the table.  I was involved in 5 major pots and lost 4 of them.  The only big pot I won was AA vs QQ and my rockets held, although not without a runner-runner flush scare on the turn.

The players were, shall we say, unsophisticated.  I’ll give you a few examples of play to showcase their talent level.  And, oh yes, you can hear about some bad beats.  Come along.

The player in the 7 seat was the loudmouth action guy.  He claimed he normally played the $500 tables but there were currently none running.  He raised it up in MP to $15 and after the 8 seat called, I did too with pocket 9’s.  The big blind came along for the ride too.  The flop was AdQh9h and loud mouth leads out for $30.  Seat 8 folds and I do what most would consider a standard play and raised it to $90.  Two hearts, a potential open-ender for JT and I wouldn’t mind taking the pot down now.  The big blind hems and haws for an eternity and then folds his obvious draw.  Loud mouth decides to just call and seat 8 folds.  The turn is the 2h and seat 8 leads out again.  But for only $30!  There’s now $270 in the pot and I’m getting 9:1 on my set.  I call, knowing he hit his flush, but praying for the board to pair.  Sadly a 4th heart fell on the river and he went all in.  I mucked and he showed Ah8h.  He flopped top pair with the nut flush draw.  If he pushes over the top of my raise to $90, he stacks me.  I don’t like his line, but it did save me my remaining chips.

Later on in the evening, an uber-donk sits down in seat 5.  I open by raising to $10 with pocket J’s.  It’s folded back to him in the big blind and he re-pops another $25.  He’d just bought in and I had no read on him but still called.  The flop was 955 and he checked.  Two things were going off in my head when he checked.  The first was that he was smartly playing a bigger overpair and would get me to bet at that flop.  The second was that he re-raised with AK, not necessarily a bad play.  Sadly, neither was true.  I glanced at his stack and he had about $120 left.  I bet $50 on the flop having a hunch that it was AK and I was good.  As soon as I bet, I KNEW I was good by his reaction.  However, that sure didn’t stop him from eventually deciding to just go all-in.  I insta-called and he showed  pocket 7’s.  Yes, that’s right, another good read and what I still feel was a good play by yours truly.  Seven on the turn.

My last hand of the night was KQ in the big blind.  I elected to check my option with about 5 limpers.  The flop was KT6 rainbow.  I checked with the check-raise in mind and got my wish when a new straightforward lady player in seat 1 bet out $6.  Uber-donk in the 5 seat called and I raised to $20.  Seat 1 folded and uber called.  I put him on either a weaker King or the Ten.  See, second pair was gold at this table, gold I say.  The turn brought a 4 and I had only $75 left in my stack.  The pot was about $56 at this point and I didn’t want him to catch his donkey two-pair or trips.  So I pushed.  I even said aloud “Maybe you’ll call.”  I figured a fold but was wrong when he slowly counted out 15 reds and dropped them in the pot.  He showed ATo and at that point, the girl in seat 1 said “I folded AT too.”  Nice.  Only 3 outs.  Good read, good play.  Ten on the river.

All in all, the trip was fun.  I left the table, not too displeased with my play.  I did make one suspect play when I pushed with pocket T’s on an AKQ7 board with 3-hearts.  I had the T of hearts, but the button gladly called with pocket 7’s.  Big mis-read there, but in the final analysis I had 14 outs.  I’ll not defend that play too greatly, but it wasn’t abhorrent.  I probably called a few too many bets on the flop and turn only to fold the river on missed draws.  I was just dying to get paid off on a made hand, but it just never came.  And paid off I would have been, trust me.


This trip was Random101’s first live casino poker play for him and he held up rather well.  Those in G-Vegas know him to be an extremely tight player who will capitalize on his table image at times against the right players (*cough* G-Rob *cough*).  Random101 lost his first buy-in with pocket A’s vs. QQ on a KQx flop.  His second buy-in outlasted mine though and he was able to cash out chips at the cashier.  I, on the other hand, simply got to keep my souvenir $1 chip for my collection.  For those who care, the chips are clay, most likely Paulson’s.

Random101 nearly did lose the rest of his buy-in on a zero-outer to a tollbooth operator on Route 90.

It was dark and he was giving me some cash for the tolls.  Just in case, he asked that we turn on the lights to make sure it was just $1 bills he was handing out.  Luckily we caught the stray $100 before it made its way into the hands of Joey Palooka.  That would have been funny.  Blood: two and three outers.  Random101:  zero-outers.

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