Life Shouldn't Be A Fuckin' Grind

I will never be a poker pro, but my lifetime poker ledger is positive and I think that's something to be proud of.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

A Longish Trip Report

I've been in Texas since early August and I haven't been able to play live poker once since I've been here, because there aren't any casinos in Texas and it's been bugging me. So, this weekend I drove out to the only casino that's technically in Texas. I say technically because it may as well be in Mexico. It's in a small border town called Eagle Pass, about 3 hours, through absolute nothingness, from San Antonio. This place is definite proof that ownership of a casino is basically a license to print money. Like I said, it's in a small town on the Texas/Mexico border hours from any significant city, yet the place was hopping, with between 10 and 15 poker tables running and a ton of slot machines as well.

I only brought $200 with me, but I ended up playing 5/10 LHE because it was the first seat they had available. $200 is a bit of a short buy, but I was willing to go to the ATM if I got too shortstacked, so I figured I was probably ok. It was great to be able to play with chips and cards and people for the first time in a quite a while. I forget sometimes how much I miss playing practially every friday night at the Argosy in Cincinnati back in 2006 and early 2007. But anyway, I digress. I definitely played some hands a little bit differently last night than I might have online. I straddled one round because everybody at the table had agreed to it. Nothing significant happened, but I do believe that it's EV neutral at worst when everybody agrees and can definitely be +EV from an image standpoint. The game I played in was decent, but not great. I'd guess the 3/6 was probably softer, but there were definitely donkeys at the table. I had a pretty swingy session, I was stuck several times, up as much as $85 at one point early on and ultimately ended up breaking even with a $4 win. I did make a couple of straights and flushes and even flopped a set once with TT to beat QQ, but ultimately couldn't get enough going to book a real win.

I'll try to recount a couple of interesting hands for my own records and for whatever readers I may have.

The first hand happened fairly early on and just really flat out confused me. A couple of people limped and I limped on the button with 9cTc. I think 6 people saw a flop of J8x rainbow. It checked around to me, and I decided to bet my OESD with the intention of taking a free cards on the turn (at least most of the time). Two people called and the turn came another Jack. At this point, there are approximately 4 BB in the pot and I don't think either of my opponents has a Jack, they check to me and I decide to bet in an attempt to represent a Jack in my hand, one guy folds, but the other raises. He's an older guy, who has seemed like an ok player so far, nothing special but not terrible either. I hadn't seen him get out of line yet, but it was still early so I didn't have a great read. Obviously, I put him on the Jack at this point, but couldn't fold my OESD, so I called. The river brought an insignificant card, I think it was a 3, and he checked to me. Now, I'm really confused, I have no idea what he has here, but I don't see how he's folding any hand that he could raise the turn with, so I just checked behind and gave up. He showed KQo (WTF?!). I have no idea what he was doing in this hand, and the sick thing is that I probably could have bet him off it on the river. Oh well, interesting hand and a fairly good story nonetheless.

The next hand is one that I would never play this way online (at least I wouldn't have recently, though maybe I should think about it). At any rate, I raised in EP with TT and got called by the SB and I think the BB. The flop came 98x with 2 clubs (I did not have a club) and the SB bet out into me. The SB here was a pretty poor poker player and I was pretty sure that his bets and raises generally meant what they looked like. Of course, this was still a pretty good flop for my hand, so I raised him. He called and it was heads-up to the turn, which came another 9 and he lead out again. Here, I'm pretty certain he has the 9, but I called anyway (in hindsight I think I should have folded right there). The river was a complete blank and he lead out again. Now, I'm certain he has the 9 and after tanking for a short time, I folded. I think it was a pretty interesting hand because I almost always pay that off on the river in an online game, but with the read I had, it was really that hard of a fold in a live game.

Finally, there was a hand that I could almost never play the way I did in an online game. Late in the session, there were two limpers and I picked up A9o in LP, I actually wasn't sure what to do, but didn't think folding was correct and wasn't sure I was really strong enough to raise, so I decided to call and see what happened. We saw a flop (I think five-handed) of AK8 with 2 clubs and it checked around to me. I bet and was called by only one player (I think he was one of the blinds) who was fairly new to the table. The turn came another club and while I had the 9 of clubs, I didn't really like that very well. He had a stack of chips in his hand, acted like he was thinking about betting (and I think he actually was) and ultimately checked. I decided to check myself here because I wanted to get to showdown as cheaply as I could. I thought he might well have the flush and I didn't want to get check-raised. It was a pretty scary board for A9o (I think there was a K and a Q out there as well as 3 clubs, but I don't remember exactly). The river was a blank and this time the villain did bet out. I thought he probably had a flush, but since he was pretty new at the table and I didn't really have a read on him, I didn't feel like I could fold. If nothing else, I'd get some info about the way he played. He showed A2o and I raked the pot. Strange hand, that I think I played the way I did, only because of game texture and being able to physically be there at the table with the other players.

All in all, it was a pretty enjoyable experience. I wish I'd won instead of broken even and I wish I hadn't had to drive 3 hours each way to get there and consequently had to pay for a hotel room because I didn't want to drive that far at midnight when I felt really tired. But, I had a good time and I enjoyed being able to play live again.


  • At 2:18 PM, Blogger Whatever said…

    I didn't know you were in San Antonio now. I'm about 4 1/2 hours about from that casino I guess being down in McAllen. I've seriously contemplated making the drive a couple of times. What limits were spread and what is the rake like there?

  • At 5:10 PM, Blogger TheCinciKid said…

    I was there on a Friday night, they were spreading 3/6 and 5/10 limit and 2-5 No Limit. There were probably between 10 and 15 tables going. Rake was actually pretty fair. It was a flat $3 per pot. Probably a little less costly than the standard 10% up to $5.

    Drawbacks are that they don't have a hotel on site, so if you're driving 4.5 hours, you'll want to get a hotel room ahead of time somewhere in Eagle Pass. They do have a Hampton Inn and a Holiday Inn Express in town. I stayed at the Hampton Inn and it was just fine.

    I'm actually leaving Texas for good in a few weeks (I'm moving to Vandenberg AFB in CA indefinitely), but I may try to get out there one more time before I leave. I certainly find playing live to be much more fun than online.


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