October 07, 2010

Printing Money at the 'Shoe

"Flopping a set is like printing money."

—Ironman Santa Claus
The Horseshoe Casino in Council Bluffs is the nicest poker room in the state, and conveniently located off I-80 on my trips back home to Nebraska.  Pardon me, since the Kansas St. game kicks off in a few hours, we must digress for an obligatory ...

Gooooooo  Biiiiiigggg  Reeeeedddd!   GO! BIG! RED!

(Fellow Husker fans and fans of teams we regularly stomp will understand.)

Where were we?  Oh yeah, the 'Shoe.  Well, although I like the room a lot (despite the usurious $5.50+$1 rake), my last session there ended about as well the denouement of Old Yeller.  But, on Monday, I found myself in Omaha for a court hearing, and as I headed back to Des Moines, I found my car taking the 'Shoe exit.  Well, what could a couple of hours at the tables hurt?

I had a short wait before a second $1/3 NLHE table opened, but it was worth the wait.  Now, the buy-in is capped at $200, and many of the players (old nits and young kids) were buying in for less and nursing their stacks.  Not exactly an ideal money-making situation, and definitely not an environment for my typical crAAKKer-style play, but it was my only option.  So I settled in and channeled my inner rock, then began impersonating Johannes Gutenberg.  After about two hours, I had more than tripled up, mostly off of two flopped sets of 10s, and one hand of turned trip 10s; each time, one or two opponents had top pair or an overpair and simply paid me off in full. 

After I built a decent stack, the seat to my left opened up, and a new player who looks like Greg Raymer's younger brother came over to join the game.  However, the regular to my right (let's call him "Andy") had requested a seat change to the open seat.  The Raymer doppleganger happened to be a 'Shoe poker dealer (Brian) on his day off, and he teased Andy about making him wait to play a hand (the open seat would be the next big blind).  Andy told Brian to go ahead and take the seat.  At this point, the on-duty dealer (Mike) says, "What if he hits a jackpot hand?"  Brian laughs and promises to pay half to Andy.  As if ...

Well, the very next hand, Brian and Andy both limp into the pot.  The flop is Ks-Qc-7h.  Checks around.  Turn is the 8h.  Checks to Andy on the button, who bets, and Brian is the only caller.  River is the 9h.  Brian checks, Andy bets out small, and Brian pushes all-in!  Andy thinks a moment, then calls.  Andy shows Ah3h for the nut flush, but Brian rolls over ... 5h6h for the straight flush!  Turns out, there was a progressive high hand jackpot of $746 as well ('Shoe jackpots are progressive by individual hand and suit).  So, Brian won a little over $200 profit from the pot, plus half of the jackpot, while Andy lost $200 in the pot but got $373 back on the HHJ.  Of course, if Andy had changed seats, he would have coolered Brian for his $200 plus kept the entire $746 HHJ.  Hmmm, it does suck to be the nice guy.

I ended up cashing out for a profit of seven buy-ins, my best #rungood in ages.  It was mostly a matter of waiting for good cards (including folding every hand preflop for four straight orbits, which has to be a first), then playing ABC/TAG.  Not the most thoughtful or exciting game, but stacking and counting chips is a good boredom reliever.  Not to mention I got caught up on my Google Reader mega-backlog.

There were a handful of fun moments.  An uber-aggressive young gun ("Blondie") sat down to my right.  He would straddle to $10, then re-pop it every time.  So, I limped with a LeDawn of hearts (King-rag for the uninitiated), intending to steal if a chance arose.  Sure enough, Blondie repopped to $30, so I called.  Flop was K-high.  I just cold-called the flop, turn, and river, as Blondie fired out $40, $60, and $80.  After I called the river, he sighed and said, "Good call."  I said, "I know."  Blondie waited for me to show, and I contemplated universal heat death until he finally showed AQo for Ace-high.  When I rolled over my monster hand, hilarity ensued.  Blondie said, "You called me with that?", then commenced to muttering about how terrible a player I was for the next orbit, before finally donking off his last $50 and storming out of the room.  Thank you, come again!

There were two other entertaining pots where I gave youngsters a good reason to go home and waste their lives away playing video games.  In one, I decide to play J7 of crubs for a button raise, because, well, why not?  There were at least 14 callers, and the flop comes down a rather amusing 7-7-4.  It checks to me, so I bet half the pot, and get two callers.  The turn is a Yak, natch.  Checks to me, I bet again, and this baby-faced nit check-raises me all-in.  Poor kid thinks he's making a big trap play; how cute.  I snap-call and say, "You must have Ace-seven, eh?"  Kid grins for about 171 nanoseconds before he sees my catamaran.  Kid suddenly seemed sad.  Or maybe poor.  Hard to tell.  He definitely was poorer once the river blanked out.

In the second "kicking poker puppies" hand, a young whippersnapper thought pretty highly of his abilities.  Whiz Kid loved to run the squeeze play.  So, when I find KK under the gun, I decide to let the boy show off a little.  I raise to $17, knowing there would be several callers to invite the constrictor move.  Right on cue, Whiz Kid raises to $45.  I hesitate a bit, then slam out a $100 stack with a little extra English, hoping to use the ol' reverse weak/strong tell.  Folds to Whiz Kid who can't ship his $300 stack fast enough.  Well, if Poker Baby Einstein has Aces, so be it.  Whiz Kid sees my Kings and is suitably deflated as he shows 77.  But, the flop gives him reason to let out a primal scream when it shows a 7.  Mon Dieu!, caveat emptor, res ipsa loquitor, c'est la vie.  But, the poker gods correctly taser Whiz Kid in the face when I turn a King.  In the face!

Regrettably, I had to head for home after only a few hours of play, but it felt kind of cool to be racking up roughly 40% of the chips on the table when it was time to cash out.  Oh, and I made about $2.50 in comps on my Harrah's Total Reward card, so I've got that going for me, which is nice.

In any event, to return to our opening thoughts about sets and money, I also played a very short session last week at the Meadows ATM.  I ended up cashing out for almost two buy-ins profit, mostly based off two hands.  In the first, I had pocket 9s, flopped set over set against 44, and turned quads.  In the second, I had AA and several preflop callers.  I flopped a set and stacked two infidels.

Praise the poker gods and pass the chips!

Set, Egyptian god of darkness and chaos,
and poker god of monsterpotten.

(Image from here).


  1. I swear Raymer is the luckiest man I know around the felt...

    Case in point

  2. "You called me with that?"

    That's what makes poker so tough. The perfect, genius play, and the idiot, donkey play look about the same to an external observer.

  3. Ryan R (CRM114FGD135)October 8, 2010 at 6:08 PM

    "Oh, and I made about $2.50 in comps on my Harrah's Total Reward card, so I've got that going for me, which is nice."

    Gunga galunga... gunga, gunga-lagunga.

  4. @ Ryan: Good to see youngsters with respect for the classics!



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