Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Horseshoe Hammond Now Open

According to our man on the ground, Chicago Joe, the new casino (new boat, existing casino presence) opened this afternoon around 2:20 pm, after being rescheduled several times in the last week.

This represents Harrah's newest vessel's soft opening, to be followed by the grand opening in less than two weeks, on August 8, 2008.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Poker in Chicago - August Charitable Games

As always, thanks to Chicago Joe for compiling these dates...

Fri 8-1 ..........West Chicago
................... Chicago Charitable Games
Sat 8-2
..........Bolingbrook ....................Chicago Charitable Games
Sun 8-3
.......... Willowbrook ..................Chicago Charitable Games
Mon 8-4
.......... Niles ..............................Rockford Charitable Games
Tue 8-5
.......... Skokie ............................Rockford Charitable Games
Wed 8-6
.......... Rolling Meadows ..........Rockford Charitable Games
Thu 8-7
.......... Schiller Park ................Rockford Charitable Games
Fri 8-8
.......... Villa Park ......................Chicago Charitable Games
Sat 8-9
.......... Wauconda ....................Rockford Charitable Games
Sun 8-10
..........Chicago .......................Chicago Charitable Games
Mon 8-11
..........DesPlaines ..................Rockford Charitable Games
Tue 8-12
..........Streamwood ................Rockford Charitable Games
Wed 8-13
..........Rolling Meadows ........Rockford Charitable Games
Thu 8-14
..........Mt Prospect .................Rockford Charitable Games
Thu 8-14
..........Tinley Park ..................Chicago Charitable Games
Sat 8-16
..........West Chicago ................Chicago Charitable Games
Sun 8-17
..........Willowbrook .................Chicago Charitable Games
Tue 8-19
..........Addison ........................Rockford Charitable Games
Wed 8-20
..........Rolling Meadows .........Rockford Charitable Games
Thu 8-21
..........Buffalo Grove ...............Rockford Charitable Games
Fri 8-22
..........Tinley Park ....................Chicago Charitable Games
Sat 8-23
..........Hillside ..........................Chicago Charitable Games
Sun 8-24
..........Downers Grove ..............Chicago Charitable Games
Tue 8-26
..........Schiller Park .................Rockford Charitable Games
Wed 8-27
..........Rolling Meadows ..........Rockford Charitable Games
Thu 8-28
..........DesPlaines ....................Rockford Charitable Games
Fri 8-29
..........Homer Glen ....................Chicago Charitable Games
Sun 8-31
..........Naperville .....................Chicago Charitable Games

All Charity Poker www.allcharitypoker.com

Chicago Charitable Games www.chicagocharitablegames.com


Illinois Chartiable Games www.icgapokerevents.com

Midwest Poker Live www.midwestcharitablegames.com/

Rockford Chartiable Games www.rockfordcharitablegames.com

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Ace of Draws

I guess I owe Wil an ice cream cone.

He had a pretty solid session on Thursday night - playing well and catching very well. After the game we made a quick run to Baskin-Robbins, and he was nice enough to buy me a cone. I did not run well that night.

Sunday was a different story. I feel that I played very well, as well as I have in awhile. I had a strong handle on the game, and felt my read was pinpoint in its accuracy. I also found either the cards or the opportunities to make some money, and those cards and opportunities are not always there.

Wil was also playing a little faster and looser than he typically does, probably riding the wave of his Thursday night success.

I played a hand head's up against Wil that he did not enjoy. I'm not going to say I played it perfectly, by any stretch, but I did enjoy the thought process and gamesmanship that went into it.

I was in middle position, in a 1/2 NLHE ring game with 8 or 9 at the table, and raised it to $11 with Ah4h. If memory serves, I opened the pot, though there may have been one limper. Occasionally I'll fold this hand here, and much of the time at this table I'll limp. I was feeling particularly frisky, and thought I was playing well after the flop. So I raised.

The action folded to Wil in the small blind; he paused and then raised to $30 total. The blinds (and limper?) folded to me. I considered the situation and called. Wil's range is fairly tight here, at least for him, but he knows my range is really broad, so he sought to put pressure on me, define my hand, and isolate. His range is probably 1/2 of my opening range in this position. I put him on any pocket pair 7s or better, and Ace-King, Ace Queen (or even AT suited or bigger). He doesn't like that he's in the small blind here, but if he can isolate, he's feeling comfortable enough to make this three-bet with good middle pairs, in my opinion.

The flop comes 855 with two hearts, giving me a four-flush. My Ace would also be good against most of his range. With about $65 in the pot, Wil makes a continuation be of $50. To me, this doesn't narrow his range much. He might elect to check with a big pair, inducing me to bet, or he might bet right out. With Jacks or smaller, and with a big Ace, I think he makes this bet most of the time, hoping to take down the pot, or cause me to make a bad call.

I consider my options here. There's about $115 in the pot and Wil has about $220 left, if memory serves.

I can call here with my flush draw and hope to hit on the turn. I'm getting just better than 2-to-1 on my money, and I'm about 4-to-1 to catch my flush card. If I do hit my flush, I can get paid a bit on a later street, but Wil may not pay me much more unless he has JJ - KK with one heart. This may or may not be a profitable decision, and puts no pressure on my opponent.

I can also fold. I played what amounts to a garbage hand and my opponent has shown a lot of strength by re-raising in the small blind and then leading into me for 75-80% of the pot. I'm am undoubtedly behind, and potentially only my flush draw is good.

I can raise on a semi-bluff. When I evaluate this option, I need to consider how much fold equity I have. What can I hold that Wil would be concerned about? Having a 5 in my hand for flopped trips is possible, given the way I play, but not that likely. Wil may write off losing to flopped trips with a 5 as "the cost of doing business". Of course, in this particular case I had a 4 in my hand, so it is obviously within my range. I could have a pocket pair of 8s, giving me a flopped boat. He isn't expecting a monster. In this case I probably would call behind most of the time, though a small raise is probably my best option. If Wil has an over pair I put him to a really tough decision with a small raise. He has to think about it, at least. I could have an overpair to his pocket pair, if he has one. It is entirely conceivable that I'd smooth call his re-raise pre-flop with KK or AA. I've done it before, and I'll do it again. And he knows it. Finally, if he does have an A-X hand, he probably has to fold to any raise of mine. Even 66 in my hand would put him in bad shape.

I elect to raise on a semi-bluff. I figure to have 9 flush outs (he could have a flopped boat) and possibly 3 Ace outs. As we discussed, if he holds just a big Ace, he probably has to fold to my raise. This creates a terrific dynamic for me in that he'll fold in occasions where I'm dominated (i.e. he has a bigger Ace) and he'll call/shove in situations where my Ace is live, which gives me 14 full outs (barring a full house). With 14 outs against an overpair, I am a 2-to-3 underdog (including 88 in his range), with enough money in the pot to justify getting it all in. Factor in my fold equity, and I think this is a strong decision.

The amount of my raise may not be as interesting a question as you think. Wil just put in a $50 bet, and there's $65 in there on the flop. The amount of my call will make the pot $165 and Wil has just over $200 remaining. He knows that if he just calls a small raise on the flop that he will face a big decision on the turn. If he has a very strong read on me, however, he can actually just call a small raise from me and make a big bet into a safe turn card. Because of that, I am well served by making a fairly significant re-raise, from $110 on top of his bet, up to an all-in bet.

I do not perform this thorough of an analysis, and decide that a small re-raise will actually make him think harder and put me on a stronger hand. I re-raise him to $110, or just $60 on top of his initial $50. My rationale is that I'm forcing him to make a decision for all of his chips even though I've just made a small raise. This is a bad analysis on my part as he could actually afford to call the flop and fold the turn if a heart came (if he thought that helped me).

I believe Wil evaluated it the same way I did in the heat of the moment and re-raised all-in for his last $200+. With $445 or more in the pot, I only had to call $160 more, I was getting almost 3 to 1. I also "knew" that Wil didn't have an Ace in his hand, and thus figured to be a 3-to-2 favorite over my holding. Getting great odds to draw, I called his bet. [Wil could have held AA here, for certain. Two things caused me to diminish this likelihood. First, I had an Ace, meaning there were only three combinations of AA left in the deck. Second, I had a feeling that he did not. Sometimes I have a feeling about something, or sometimes my opponent may have a baby tell that gives away a little something, and I go with it. These feelings are rare, but frighteningly accurate.]

The turn was a blank and the river was the A of diamonds. Wil said, "well, you called my shove, so you must be good".

I declared "umm... Aces and Fives?" His eyes shot daggers, and he mucked his cards as I opened my Ah 4h and sheepishly raked in the pot. I attribute my sheepishness more to Wil's reaction than my plan, in retrospect. I occasionally feel sheepish or guilty when I suck out, but if I have the odds to do so, I wouldn't have it any other way (would I rather not hit?)

I didn't have to risk all of that money with a bad Ace, even a suited one, pre-flop, but I like all of my decisions even in hindsight. If I could change one thing, it would be the size of my raise on the turn; it should have been bigger. As it turns out, it didn't affect the hand. Wil probably reraises on the turn either way.

What did Wil have? Based on the information on all streets, I'm going to guess QQ. It could have been KK and JJ is a possibility, but with TT or smaller, I believe he would have a hard time shoving on the turn.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Freakin' Hilarious

I don't know where this came from, other than Phishguy on Two Plus Two - I cannot take any credit for it. However, it is freakin' hilarious, I wanted his (or the creator's, whomever that may be) hard work to be seen by as many people as possible.

Wow.