Monday, November 27, 2006

Blue Chip Casino Competition Plays Like Undrafted Underclassman

I paid a visit to Blue Chip Casino's new poker room, and I was impressed.

When I arrived, at about 1:30pm on the Saturday following Thanksgiving, the room was about 2/3 full. By dinnertime it was packed. The were spreading all Hold 'em games during my visit, including limit $3/$6 with full kill and without. They also had two different stakes of No Limit, max $100 with $1/$2 blinds and max $300 with $1/$3 blinds.

I was about to sit at the max $300 when the floor manager offered a seat at the max $100 table. I didn't intend to risk more than $200-300, so the prospect of only playing one buy-in, and chancing an early exit did not appeal to me.

The room itself was well run with capable dealers and floor staff. There was a waitlist during most of my time in the room, and one player claimed that he had waited two hours for a seat. I called ahead about 30 minutes early, and did not wait for a seat. Additionally, I got up for a bit mid-afternoon, and then waited about 30-40 minutes for a seat when I returned. The room offered a pager to allow me the freedom to lose money on craps, blackjack, and roulette. I opted to return some phone calls instead.

Through no fault of the casino or poker room, I had the single most painful session in recent history. First of all, $100 maximum buy in with a $2 big blind and $6 every 30 minutes for time is incredibly short stacked. Being patient meant leaking about $12-15 every rotation or so, between blinds, time charge, and waitress tips. I kept a handful of green chips in my pocket so that I could add-on if needed. And needed it was, often. If memory serves, I won four hands in five hours of play. None of those pots were particularly big. Worse, I didn't go to a showdown on more than two other hands. Once it was because I was all-in pre-flop with pocket Jacks against pocket kings. In other words, I never had a hand worth playing. The agony of watching hand after hand get dealt, without ever having a winner was more than I could bear.

In sum total, I had three genuine playable pre-flop hands over the 4+ hours - pocket Jacks (aforementioned), AQ on the button, and pocket 7s. I mentioned the pocket Jacks hand, I was a 4.5 to 1 dog with all my money in pre-flop. I, of course, did not improve. On the AQ hand, my opponent held AK, and the flop came King high, and I mucked. Finally, on the pocket 7s hand, I was in mid-position, and two players limped in before me. I made a healthy raise to thin the field. It folded around to the UTG+1 who limp-reraised me all-in. After considering his likely holdings, I surmised that I was once again a major underdog. I mucked without seeing a flop.

I played plenty of suited connectors, and a few more creative holdings, but nothing ever improved.

Of the two tables I played, the competition was soft, with the first table being particularly so. The first table featured the weakest competition I have ever experienced at a no limit table, actually. The problem with that is there were numerous calling stations, and no excuse to ever make a bluff. I never got cards, so I never had an opportunity to win a hand.

In all, I really like the facility. There was a big open casino, a nice, yet small poker room, live entertainment, and the worst deli food I have ever tasted. If Blue Chip were closer to the city, it would replace Majestic Star as my default Chicago-area destination.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

52 Greatest Moments

Chicago's own Mark Roger's will be signing his new book 52 Greatest Moments, World Series of Poker next Thursday, November 30 at Rocks Lincoln Park on Schubert. The event will be held from 7-10pm.

The book itself is a hardcover/coffee table style book featuring stories, great photos, and highlights from the famed Las Vegas tournament. 25% of the event's proceeds will go to benefit the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.

Book summary from the website:

The World Series of Poker is the longest standing poker tournament in the world. In turn, the WSOP has become the undisputed preeminent poker event every professional seeks their success. When the best come to knock each other out, amazing stories result. This book chronicles 52 of the games finer moments. The collection serves as a reminder of how the WSOP has evolved to its current state and the impact history has played in defining each moment. The stories vary from Main Event championships, to preliminary event bracelet records to unique cultural moments that took place between poker's most recognizable characters.

Support a local author, a great cause, and buy a great new book!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Great AIPS

Our good friends Scott and Chris at Ante Up! poker podcast put together a thoroughly enjoyable tournament series. Event #10, the double-stack no limit hold 'em main event took place on Saturday, November 4.

Congratulations to 2a3 for making an incredible comeback after finding himself head's up against Sharkey420. Sharkey seemed to have an insurmountable chip lead after finding great hands and playing very good poker.

We were joined by the show's hosts Scott Long and Chris Cosenza, as well as there sometimes-co-host Mike "Fatso" Fasso. Professional Poker Pro Kenna James was also on hand to play in the Main Event.

Personally, I played a very loose aggressive game in the early goings, and almost found myself out amongst the first three or four eliminations. "Beaker D" seemed to have my number, picking off possibly every bluff or semi-bluff attempt I made in the first three rounds. If I pushed with fourth pair, representing a big made hand, he called with third pair, etc. Often he followed his chip raking with a coy, "I respect you".

I worked my way down to only 800 chips, after starting with 3000. The average stack at that time was somewhere near 3600 chips. I was fortunate enough to flop a full house on a board of JJQ to double up through an opponent holding the case Jack. From there, I played a little more solidly and began accumulating chips.

In the middle stages of the tournament, I found myself catching cards and also getting respect for my raises. I went on an aggressive tear, playing about 2/3 of the next 30 hands, and growing my stack substantially. I found myself in the chip lead for about 30-40 minutes.

When we got down to 10 players, I still had a slim lead. When player number 10 was eliminated, and the final table was formed, I was in second place.

I seemed to pick up a lot of second best hands, finding myself folding to a re-raise pre- or post-flop. My chip stack diminished, and I was near the bottom with 8 players left.

Again, I tightened up and hung on. With 5 players left, and an "M" of near 6, antes and blinds were taking their toll. When I finally got called on an all-in move from late position, my opponent held A-Q. My A-6 never improved, and I went out in fifth place.

CLICK to expand.
Not a bad way to spend a Saturday afternoon!