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Thursday, January 26, 2006

A Night in Paris

I played some poker while in Las Vegas. I started out playing at Paris, after we moved from Hard Rock on Saturday, and it's really only worth playing there if you have no better options. The room isn't actually a room -- it's a roped-off section of the casino. It's still new, so it may be worth checking out as time goes by ("Play it, Sam. Play 'As Time Goes By'"), but if you are looking for a nice poker room, there are better options. Many better options.

Fresh off earning some nice comps at the Hard Rock for blackjack and craps, I was very interested in knowing how my poker play would be rated by the casino. I was told that Paris had just starting rating poker play, but that it would probably work out to one dollar per hour for play at the 4/8 table. Well, ho-hum to that. At least the guy had the decency to look embarrassed as he told me. I don't know what kind of revenue a poker room generates for the casino, but if a buck an hour is the best you can do for comps, it's probably not even worth doing. Just enter me in a drawing for a free car or something.

I played roughly ten hours of 4/8 on Saturday. I was amazed to find that the game was exactly like the theoretical brick-and-mortar casino in my head. There were two or three people playing nearly every hand, two or three people taking their money, and the rest in a gray area until their play revealed to which group they belonged. As long as I waited on premium hands, and didn't get tangled up in a big pot with other good players, it was basically a relaxing afternoon of increasing my chip stack.

It wasn't all folding and free money, though. Fairly early in the session, I woke up with KK and came out for a raise. I had been at the table long enough to know that slow-playing was a waste of time, and that any raise, even mine, was going to get 3 or 4 callers. It did. The flop came out rainbow under-cards. It was checked to me and I bet. Folded around to a caller, and we were heads-up. Turn brought out another under-card, and I can't remember if I straight raised or check-raised, but the other guy called. At this point, I wondered if he had hit two pair in there somewhere, but most showdowns to this point had been won by low-to-medium pairs or Ace-high, even. River was a rag and the guy checked to me. I bet, he called and flipped up AA.

I put Mr. AA in the category of people to be treat with care. He recognized that I only played premium hands, and played them aggressively, so he let me drive the action and build the pot without ever signaling any strength. It was bad luck that not only was this guy one that knew what he was doing, but he had the hand to beat me. I suppose it was good luck that he didn't check-raise the river, because I would have been compelled to call and throw away another eight dollars.

I spent the next few hours making that money back, and ended the session fifty dollars up. After a couple of days of losing my ass in blackjack and craps, it was nice to spend some time playing a game that was +EV.

Later that night, I played some more, and failed to recognize the onset of exhaustion. After playing (and losing) a few big pots with the good players at the table, I realized it was time to go to bed. I left 150 down for the session, so 100 down for the day. If I had gotten up an hour earlier, I would have been (slightly) up for the session. Lesson learned. +EV is a state of mind.


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