Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Trip Report

Late on entries again. Ce’ La Vi!

I played some live poker over the weekend. I’m not far at all from the Viejas Casino in San Diego and I go there and Sycuan for my live poker fix from time to time.

This weekend Viejas was hosting its annual Viejas Poker Classic, a two day $1050 buy in NL tourney. There were 487 entrants ( I was not one of them) which makes the prize pool $487,000. First place was $100,000 and second was over $59,000.

I played in the ring games on Sunday. When it comes to live poker I’m small time. I don’t maintain a real bankroll so I usually play 3/6 limit or 1/2 NLHE. When I can, and the game looks good, I’ll jump into an Omaha Hi Lo or a Stud game.

The interesting thing about Viejas and a lot of the southern California cardrooms is that the limit games are often Killed. This means that if you win a pot you get the “Kill” button in front of you for the next hand, blue side up. If you win the next pot the Kill button flips over to the red side for the next hand and the limits are doubled.

This means that for a 3/6 limit game, whenever a player wins back to back pots the next hand is a 6/12 game!

Remember, in Limit Hold’em the betting is fixed. So it’s $1 small blind/$3 big blind. $3 to call pre-flop and $3 bet on the flop. Then $6 to bet or call on the turn and river. Any time you raise, you increase your bet by one increment (usually capped at 4 raises).

So, blinds are posted, UTG calls $3, 2nd position raises to $6, Button cold calls $6, SB folds, BB calls the extra $3, UTG calls and the pot stands at: $25. But Wait! RAKE!!

The house drags the blinds off of every hand dealt if a flop is seen. So $3 goes to the house and the SB $1 goes to the house by way of adding to the jackpot pool.

With $4 being taken from the table every hand, you’d better be a winning player to stay ahead of these games. The trick is to not play so many hands! Especially in ‘No Fold’em Hold’em’ as low limit Limit play is often referred. You will often have 5-7 players at a 9 handed table seeing a flop regardless of raises or re-raises.

It is vital to play position well, folding moderate, easily dominated hands early and coming in as inexpensively as possible late in multi-way situations with drawing hands like suited connectors or Ace-Rag suited.

For the record, I bought into this game for a ‘rack of blue’ ($100 of blue $1 chips) and played for almost 5 hours. I got off the table with $262 even after the rake, bad beats and dealer tips. I usually tip 1 chip on an average pot and 2 on a large pot.

For the session I had pocket aces cracked once on the river when my sole opponent’s J8 offsuit caught a third 8 on the river. And I managed to fold pocket aces on the river when I was up against 2 aggressive players who kept betting and raising into a rainbow ragged uncoordinated board. I was way behind as they each had a made set. In fact, if I was playing against more conservative players I could have folded safely on the turn. I probably should have in this case as well.

Anyway, that’s my trip report for this weekend. I hope to be back live soon. I’ve been reading Joe Navarro’s Read Them and Reap. It’s an excellent book about physical tells. I’m weak in this area as most of my poker experience is online.

Take care everyone. Hope to see you on the felt.

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