Saturday, 7 May 2011

14hr Marathon Poker Session

Lately I have read numerous reports of live cash poker.

These are mainly coming from the American players who currently cannot play online on the major sites.

I hadn't played live once this year until yesterday when I decided to head down to the VIC Casino (Grosvenorvictoria) in London's Edgware Road.

I arrived at around 4.30pm and had a look around, got a drink, before signing up for the waiting list. The system is really good as you just scan your card on the computer and select your game(s). You then appear on the large electronic board and can see your position on the wait list.

It took about 20 mins before I got a seat. They started a new table at stakes £1/£2 + £4(optinonal straddle). The max Buy-In is £400 and that's what I bought in for as I always max buy-in to maximise implied odds.

We started out playing 5-handed and I thought I would just take it easy for a couple of orbits to see what people were playing like. That didn't happen as I got into 2 decent pots with the same guy within the first 5 Hands. The first hand saw me complete the SB with 4 players in the pot with no PFR. I had A8 and the flop was JJ4 and I checked, BB checked, next guy bet small, last guy folded, I called giving him no credit for a J but thought I was probably behind but with the small bet I stayed in with A-high even though I was OOP. The turn was an A and I checked again. He bet again and I called. The river was a blank and it went check check and he had complete air.... 1st pot to Rosh..!!

A few hands later I got 55 in EP and opened to around 3x and got a few callers. The flop was 457 with a flush draw and I lead out about 2/3rd the pot and the same dude called. The turn was an ace and I bet again, he folded. As it turned out he was one of the biggest fish of the night buyin in around 5 times and busting each time making bluff after bluff and everyone calling his bluffs. If I had known that I would have checked the ace and let him hang himself on theat previuous hand.

Live poker is very different from online in many ways. The main one is that you can only physically sit on one table as opposed to maybe 24+ that a few sickos do online. This means that people play a lot more pots because it is boring to sit there and nit it up. Also the action is very much limp limp limp. When people raise everyone calls. This makes your raise range choices very interesting as you know you can't fold people out pre. If you try the raise pre, then cbet good board strategy that you use online you will find it hard as you will often have 5 callers and your cbet will be called or raised. So I think it makes more sense to limp a lot too and kick into gear when you hit the flop hard. I soon picked this up and started to limp a lot too in the last 3 positions with more marginal holdings.

The table had now filled to 9 players and my stack had gone back to maybe slightly less than I started with. I raised in early position with A2s and only the blinds came along. The first guy was a young dude that was a cross between Elky and Timoshenko and seemed to know what he was doing. The second guy was an old dude over 60 who looked like Raymond Rayme. I hit the nuts on the flop with 9T4 all clubs. I also had the relative button and was rubbin my hands with joy. The young dude leads straight out for only £7 and BB calls. Now I don't wanna scare them off with a huge raise so I min raise to £15 and they both come in. The pot is close to £60 and the turn is a blank. They check round to me, I bet £35 and they both call putting the pot at around £160. There are no nice on screen indicators like you have online so you have to keep track of the pot too as you play. The river came the ace of spades maintaining my nut position. I was really trying to figure what each of them had.... maybe a K or Q of clubs?..... maybe 9T or JQ or AT. Anyway, I wanted 2 calls so I bet £65, young dude folds and old dude calls with 73 clubs for the baby flush. He was a clever guy as many I saw on the night would have gone broke with that!! That took my stack to around £475, which sadly was the peak of my night as things went down hill from there...!!

One of the things I hate about playing online poker is the isolation of grinding on my own for hours a day. I am a people person and miss having work collegues. I know I won't play poker for a living for ever for that reason but for now I am really enjoying the freedom it gives. Playing live gives you that human interaction with people who do the same thing whether for fun or to make $$$. As long as you can put up with the endless stories of bad beats you hear during the night it makes a nice change from staring at screens for hours each day.

There was an American dude who was the best player of the night and seemed a bit of a pro. He sat down quietly and was giving a few stares out, checking the competition out. As it turned out he became quite the chatterbox and got into a few huge pots of which he won almost all of them. The biggest one was for around £1,000 when he got it all in with 2pair vs a flush draw and held. I chatted with him for a bit before we got into an interesting pot. He was often raising his button and cutoff and using his position post flop well. I pick up TT in the BB and the American dude has the button. He raises to £7 and the SB calls. I make it around £30 and the yank calls and SB folds. The flop is 779 with 2 diamonds and I cbet around £35, he calls. The pot is quite big now and the turn comes an 8 giving me a OESD with 2 flush draws out there. I am in a really tough spot here OOP with potetially and all-in to come right here with a hand that could be way behind. I decide to check for pot control and he checks behind. The turn is the J of diamonds completing the flush and straight for me. This is where I made a mistake. I only probably beat QQ. I should check call here or check fold if I think he has me. For some reason I decide my straight is good, probably due to his check behind on the turn. So I bet £60 and he makes it £180. I can beat AA, KK and QQ and thats it. AA/ KK often get 4bet pre so I can only beat QQ. He can easily hace JJ here which looked very likely. I tank for ages and decide to fold. He shows 88 and takes it down. My stack is around £200 now.

I was also unlucky to have a rude maniac to my left for around 3hrs who kept raising and 3betting everyone and then showing nothing often on the river. This guy was an ass and when he left the table was slagging him off a bit, deservedly..!! I only won one pot against him and he used his aggression and position on me well. I had to adjust my strat vs him but I lost that battle. Position is everything....... I also had a fish to my right which was great but he sucked out so many times on the river vs me it was crazy..!!

I chip up a few pots and I am up to around £450 again and enjoying a small profitville and some food I ordered. This is where I make another mistake. It was around 11pm and I should have left and called it a night.... but it was so early and the place was jammed and I was having a laugh, so i stayed. The problem is that tube trains in london stop running every night at around midnight and start again at around 6am. This is the best method for me to get home. I can get a night bus which is only £1 and runs from midnight to 6am but it takes ages to get home and you have a small walk too. A cab is always an option but paying up to £60 too get home is very expensive and I only do that on big win nights. I didn't want to get the bus so I thought sod it, lets marathon it up and catch the train in the morning.

My stack had slowly dwindled to around £200 with only 2 significant hands where my 2pair ran into trips on the turn and when my QQ got beaten by J7 held by the donk to my right who rivered 2pair. In the end I was really tired and in the future I will get the last train or take the bus option a few hours earlier than I did yest.

The final 2 hands for me happened back to back as I was almost asleep at the table after 14hrs of poker. I got it in with the nut flush draw and gut shot straight draw vs a guy who went all in with 2pair. I was only getting 1.5-1 on my money so should have folded as there was only 1 card to come, but I gamboooled and lost. The last hand I had A9s with only around £75 left and had 2 to the flush on the flop and shoved with no fold equity and missed my flush or ace and he held top pair. Busto..... I left just before 7am with no cash in my pockets..!!

Even though I lost £400, it is only one buy-in, which is nothing in relative terms. My conclusion is that live poker is lots of fun and if I play solid while wide awake and not drunk I have a good edge over the randoms. I saw so many ridulous plays last night. It interesting how you make impressions and judgements on players and they are so wrong. There were many that came and went that I thought this guy seems solid only to see pure junk at showdown. I could never be a live game cash pro as it is simply too slow in terms of hand rate. Online I see around 1000 hands per hour playing 16 tables. Live, you will see like 30-40 per hour on one table.

From July onwards I intend to play live once or twice a month just for a change of scenary but from tomorrow its Pokerstars multi-tabling once again.... back to the graind..!!



  1. The VIC rocks, you should go more often since you live down there mate

  2. My record session is 17hrs online. Played the $11 $10k GTD Deepstack on Stars...Started at 1:30pm and went until 6:30am when I took down 1st place..I was like a zomby by the end of it.


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