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Saturday, February 18, 2006

Trip Report - Great Lakes Downs 2/17/06

Great Lakes Downs is a racetrack located just south of Muskegon, Michigan. It's not a bad little track, not that I'm a horse racing expert or anything, but it's in Muskegon. Where it is currently thirteen degrees with a windchill of about twenty below among other shortcomings.

I went out to the track this evening to partake in a little live cash game poker. As I've mentioned once or twice this week, there was advertising of "live poker action" in our local newspapers. Since this is West Michigan, where gambling is generally seen as mile 33 on the nature trail to Hell, it's not true casino poker.

But it turned out to be surprisingly close.

Technically, any game like this is charity poker. In this instance, the game was for the benefit of the Lions Club of Hesperia. When I was a wee lad, I went to summer camp in the Hesperia area. I have some pleasant memories, and thus it was no problem to donate to the causes of the good folks of Hicksperia. Especially if someone else would end up paying for it.

I showed up about 8:00 or so. There were six tables going - 2 tables of 3/6 limit, 3 tables of 5/10 limit and one table of $1 ante 7 card stud with no obvious limits. There were four people ahead of me after I signed up for 3/6. This was a spur of the moment trip, and I didn't bring much cash.

{side note - this is severalmany more tables than you'll typically find going at the nearest legal poker room, the Little River Casino Resort and Beauty College. Possibly because it's not two hours away from anywhere.}

{additional side note - this little expedition meant that I missed the DADI Heads Up Championship. Oops. Bad, because I would have played to support my man TripJax and company, yet good because I suck at heads up play and would have just been donating $10. Next time, I'll write down the date.}

About fifteen minutes after I signed up, they brought out a seventh table and started another 3/6 game. We started with 6 players, eventually making it up to 8.

For the most part, the game was surprisingly well run. It was being put on by what appeared to be a professional outfit, meaning that they had dealers who actually knew a little something about dealing and a "floor" -- a pleasant middle-aged guy in a Party Poker hat. The rules were standard casino poker, with two notable exceptions. Check raising was not allowed, and there was a 3 bet cap. The setup was located in the bar area, conveniently located to, well, the bar. If you were a horse bettor, you could do that too. Lots of nearby tables for breaks and for
the smokers. Folding chairs, but sturdy and surprisingly comfortable given the lack of padding.

The competition was nothing short of astounding.

I sat with three young guys under 25, a middle-aged hispanic gentleman and a pleasant middle-aged woman. We'll call her "the nemesis". We were joined later by an 18 year old guy and a young woman. Most of them played almost every hand. There was virtually no preflop raising, except by me. The young woman had an amusing habit of folding when it just was checked to her.

Those of delicate constitution may want to skip down a few paragraphs. You call 'em bad beat stories, I call 'em illustrations of the level of play with no whining. Whatever.

I folded every hand the first two orbits, seeing nothing remotely worth playing, except I did split a pot with K6o in the big blind. My nemesis also had a king ... she had K6o as well. Nice hand to limp with. Mental note.

Third orbit, I'm UTG and find KK. I raise. There is immediate commentary from the kids that I hadn't played a hand yet, get out of the way. Nice table image. The hispanic gentleman and my nemesis call 2 cold and come along for the ride. The board comes AQxxQ. He folds on the flop, she rivers trips. I lose to Q3o.

Shortly thereafter, I find KK again in early position and raise. My nemesis calls two cold and we have about 5 to the flop, which is 543 with two clubs. Everyone folds except my nemesis. Turn is a blank. River an offsuit A. I wear a pained expression and make a crying call getting umpteen to 1. My nemesis has 92o for the one card wheel.

This does not bother me. I am surprisingly tilt-free.

I manage to have AA hold up when my nemesis folds on the river. I guess neither of her cards paired up. On the last hand of my evening, I hold 99 and see it go down to her 63o, meaning that I was 1 for 4 on hands that were 85/15 favorites or better. The table broke and I went home. Long week.

Oh, well. Any other night, I would have stayed around and kept battling. Despite the steep rake (10% to $5), there was money to be made. I finished down only a few BBs, a couple of which I could have saved on the 99 hand. Another sign the time was right to go home. I prefer to leave before massive tilt hits. Plus there's always a chance that I'll recover my losses on Saturday by betting on TOODRUNKTOCALL.

The real news is that apparently this is going to be a regular thing -- they're going to have cash games all day tomorrow plus three tournaments, and in talking with Mr. Party Poker Hat on my way out, it seems that they've booked different charities to run poker every Thursday and Friday night until May.

Regular live poker? 15 minutes from my house?

Uh, oh.

I might have to assemble a bankroll. And learn how to play ... without being able to checkraise.


1 comment:

Garthmeister J. said...

Dude, just going through your archives. You can't check-raise though?! I've only heard of that in home games of the wussy variety.