Sunday, January 01, 2006

A Tale of Two Aces

Actually, I guess it would be four aces. Or maybe, lessee, seven aces.

I played for several hours at the Mirage this trip at a $3/$6 table. I had never played there before and a friend said the Mirage was his favorite poker room, so I tried it out. I thought this limit might be too high for me, but a couple hours at a $2/$4 table at the MGM the previous day drove home how much slower live play is than online, and that if I played tightly I could last at the table a long time even if I never won a pot.

My table was a mixture of player types. Two or three retirees, quietly frustrated guy, a couple young student types (not obnoxious ones), and two off-duty Mirage dealers. One was on break or standby or something, and simply had a coat zipped up over her uniform. The other was in plain clothes, apparently on his day off.

Most of the players were pretty passive pre-flop, limping in, then would start throwing the chips around after the flop, even with some pretty marginal hands from what I saw at showdowns. After playing tightly for 30-40 minutes, I looked down in MP to see pocket aces. There were several limpers before me, including the day-off dealer on my right, so I raised it up. About 7 players called.

The flop came A-8-T with two spades. The players in front of me checked, so I tried for a check-raise to try to drive some players out. One of the late-position players bet, so I happily raised. There had been no check raises so far, and several players went "Oooo, a check-raise!" and dropped out. But one late-position player called, as did the dealer to my right.

A third spade fell on the turn, and the dealer to my right raised.

He knew what I had. I was sure of it. And he knew I knew he knew. And here he was raising me. Shit. I called, and the other guy dropped. A King came on the river, he bet, I called. "I didn't have the spades," he commented as he flipped over Q-J offsuit for the straight. Dammit.

"Ouch, that had to hurt," someone commented. Ayup.

About three hands later, I'm still off balance, trying to work out how that happened. Now under the gun, I look down and find... pocket aces. Oh joy, here we go again.

This time I just limped with them, and again about 7-8 players limp in to see the flop. It came A-5-J of mixed suits. Checked to me, so I hesitate slightly and bet. Quietly-Frustrated guy raises and about 3 other players call. Thankfully dealer-to-my-right folds out. I consider for a second and then call.

The turn comes an Ace. Like, the last one. I've just made quad aces and all I can think is, Thank god, at least I'm not going to lose this one. I stare at the ace for a second and then deliberately bet. Quietly-Frustrated calls, along with one other player. The river comes a small card and I bet again, and only Q-F calls. I flip over my aces and the tables makes appropriate, "Oooo, four aces!" noises. Q-F's hand hesitates, whether pondering to show what he was playing or unwilling to believe that he is beaten, then he mucks in disgust.


This brought me back up into the black, but it did not last. I got KK cracked a bit later, and played K-J offsuit offsuit a couple of times, but got nothing else worth playing for the rest of the evening. I watched several other players bust out, including Quietly-Frustrated, who just grimaced, smiled tiredly to the dealer and made his way out. They broke up our table after we dropped to 5 players -- I was stuck for $100 but not feeling too bad.

I looked around to see where the chips had all gone. Players had busted, and the ones that were left had dwindling stacks. All the chips had found their way to the two dealer-players - the lady dealer had migrated to a starting tourney with two racks of white and red. Dealer-to-my-right had been making "I better head home" noises for about an hour but kept on winning pots and so stuck around until his rush wore off.

Gotta watch out for them dealers.

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