Las Vegas Revisited - the further adventures of a low limit player from England
By Ray Morris-Hill
I joined the 12.30 pm Virgin departure from London Gatwick and waited for an hour on the tarmac while the plane took on extra fuel - "We don't like to cut it fine on these long direct flights" said the captain not too confidently. Economy is cramped and if you are long of leg you will find it uncomfortable. I whiled away the ten and a half hour flight re-reading "Winning Low Limit Hold `em" by Lee Jones. My first experience of poker Las Vegas style was last year, chronicled in The British Invade Las Vegas. It was a world apart from the self- dealt games in the cramped cardrooms of London and the rinky dink cash game I played in every month.
This time I was going to be there for a week. I travelled alone but somehow knew the global poker fraternity would make me welcome.
One of the advantages of the Virgin direct flight is that the whole Customs and Immigration process is so much quicker than at major American entry points. I think I was in a taxi heading for the Imperial Palace within 10 minutes of leaving the aircraft at 4 p.m.
I did not intend to play that Sunday evening, instead I opted for a reconnaissance of the poker rooms near my hotel. Alas, the Venetian has closed and so has Harrahs. The Mirage was a busy smoke-free zone and the re-modelled Flamingo room was full. I watched the games there and then spotted Tim, a member of the Regency Casino in London like me. He was cashing in, clearly racks ahead and running for the no-limit tournament at the Sahara. We exchanged mutual disbelief at finding each other thousands of miles from London and I resisted the temptation to donate $35 to the Sahara prize fund, preferring to meet up at the Mandalay Bay tournament at 10 a.m. on Monday.
Monday, 11 June 2001
"Some Like it Hot"
It started warm and just got warmer. Walking down the Strip to sign in at the Mandalay Bay and Luxor tournaments was best done on the east side of the road, in the shade of the hotels. Many things change in Vegas but the locals at each cardroom seem to remain forever. I recognised many of the players in the tournaments I recognised from last year - and they recognised me.
I started well when my AJ caught two pair on the flop and 3 players stayed with me. My red pair of Aces attracted 7 pre-flop callers of my raise. 3 remained when the flop brought 4 5 6 (rainbow) but my bet on the turn when a rag fell dropped them all.
We were down to 16 players from 27 starters and I had 1,050 chips (you start with 300). The blinds were now 100-200 and it was no-limit. An all-in bet with a pair of nines maintained my position and I reached the final table. They paid top four places with the winner getting $270. By the time we were down to 8 most of us were looking pretty desperate. I raised all-in with 8 8 and doubled through when the chip leader (by a mile) called me with K Q.
He played very aggressively and was usually raising pre-flop about 500. I catch A Q on the button and raise all in. The chip leader (another Ray as it turns out) calls me with Js 10s and a Jack falls on the river to knock me out in 6th place. Oh well, that's poker.
It was 11.30 a.m. and I hurried over to get to the noon tournament at the Luxor (29 players). A miserable run of cards left me with 175 chips. I picked up K K on the button and re-raised a mid position raiser. Well we capped it and I had a horrible feeling I was up against Aces. The flop was Q T x and he bet. I was on auto-pilot now and determined to either win or get out. I raised and put myself all in. A Jack on the turn gave me fleeting hope of a miracle straight but a blank on the river revealed the pocket Aces I feared. Better to die like a fox than be roasted like a chicken? I never did like blood sports any way. I lasted just 40 minutes and was one of the first ones out. It had been an inauspicious start to the week.
Some retail therapy can work wonders and I made up for my losses in the morning ($25 for the Mandalay Bay and $27 for the Luxor) by going to the Belz Outlet Mall. I estimated I saved about £200 by buying clothes there. I convinced myself I was ahead so far on the day.
Tim had gone home so I followed his recommendation and joined a game at the Flamingo Hilton. It was 1-4-8-8 Hold `em and I bought in for $100 at 4.20 pm.
I started slow, dribbling away a few chips. Then I picked up Ah Kh in late position. 6 players called the Big Blind (blinds were $1-$2) and I was one of them. A King comes on the flop and Under the Gun bets $4. There are 3 callers and I raise another $4. Five players see the turn. It is checked to me and my bet of $8 drops all but 2 callers. I bet the river when a blank comes and the caller shows down K T. I was off the mark! The importance of weak kickers was paramount all week and I won many pots because I did not play without a strong second card to my A or K.
A few hands later I get 6 6 in the Big Blind. This is one of my favourite hands and I nicknamed it "The Beast" during this trip. It has magical powers, similar to Presto (5 5) but the magic is altogether blacker and more dangerous. I get to see a free flop and just know that a 6 is coming. A rainbow Q J 6 appears. Small blind checks, I bet and 4 players call me. A blank on the turn and I bet again and 2 call me. A Ten on the river and I am afraid that reflex action, so often my undoing, shoots out my hand to slam in another $8 bet. My heart sank when my opponent raised $8! The other player folded and I call time to compose myself. Could he be drawing to K 9? A K? Oh well, I guess I'm going to find out. I call and he proudly shows me Q T. Hang on, that's only two pair. I double checked the board and laid down The Beast. Black magic indeed.
I give a little of this up when a flush draw misses and K K sees a flop of A Q x. At 5.55 pm I cash out $36 up. I quit because (a) I was cold, (b) I was hungry and (c) I was tired. Three good reasons I think.
I sat down in the coffee shop and thought of some objectives for the week:
- A plus score in the tournaments
- A plus score in the cash games
- A plus score overall
- Maximum fun
Tuesday 12th June 2001
I repeated the routine of Monday and registered at both Luxor and Mandalay Bay tournaments. I had no serious cards in the first tournament but scrambled my way to an unsatisfactory 6th place. It was 11.45 am when I rushed over to start the Luxor tourney. For some reason there were only 16 players. I started well, winning three successive hands from the Big Blind, Small Blind and Button. We were down to 12 players and then disaster struck.
Picking up AK in the Big Blind, I was raised by a mid position player. I call and we see a flop of K x x. I check, he bets and I raise. He calls and a 3 comes on the turn. I bet and now he raises. Hmmmm, I think I've walked into something here. We both check the river and he turns over K 3 (unsuited)! I guess some people just have looser opening standards than I do. I'm down to 250 chips.
We got down to the final table and I am really just playing for the all in hand. I wait and wait and then my A J beats A T and I double up (it is no limit now). Meanwhile, players are dropping as the chip leader, a lady called Arlene pounded the table. There are 5 left. In the Big Blind I see A A. Arlene in the Small Blind raises 500. I am quick to call with the cry "I'll have some of that!" and she shows Q Q. Double up!
I hang in there and reach the money. Arlene's husband Frank (both Luxor regulars) is knocked out in 4th and I am now blinded down to 200 after paying my Small Blind. I am saved from 3rd place when the other remaining player raises all in and Arlene knocks him out. I last 2 hands heads up and finish 2nd with a prize of $90. A tip for the dealer left me +$58 for this tournament.
I walked back from the Luxor via Excalibur and saw the Poker Room there. I had a wait of 40 minutes for a seat at the one Hold 'em table. Eventually the Shift Manager removed someone who had been absent a long time and I took the number 6 seat. The missing player was a local called Bob who later I got to meet. He returned shortly after I sat down and seemed a little cross to lose his seat.
I thought he might have cursed me because I managed to drop $60 of my $100 buy-in very quickly. This is far easier than I imagined. It only takes a missed flush or straight draw to lose a minimum of $14 (more if there is a raise you have to call). However, the game seemed quite passive, with very little pre-flop raising and when players raised they rarely made it the full amount.
I found it useful to convert my losses to the same stakes as my home game. I was prepared to stake $200 in this game, compared to £20 at home. A $60 loss was therefore a £6 loss at home. I never panic when down that much at home and I wasn't going to panic now. I just dug in and waited.
I get K K and raise $6 pre-flop. This rare event caused one of the wags to cry "Watch out! Rich Guy!" They all fold. I later learnt that players often slow played pocket Aces and Kings because of the unique rule here at Excalibur that lets you spin a wheel to win between $10 and $100 if these hands gets cracked.
I have edged my way back slowly to level and was beginning to enjoy it. The defining moment of the whole week came when I least expected. I get J J under the gun and raise $6 to thin out the crowd. No such luck, I get 3 callers including the single $2 Blind. Flop comes A x x and without hesitation I bet $6 representing AA or AK. They all call! The turn gave me most welcome help by throwing up a Jack. I bet and they all call again. The river card is the case Jack to give me quads and a barely disguised smile. I get one caller and flip over my pair to a chorus of approval. I won over $60 on this hand and I was now way up.
After that a few good hands just hit me and I went $100 up. I had been playing 5 hours when I got Kc Qc in mid position. I call along with 4 others. The flop is K Q x and under the gun bets. I raise and we are heads up. A blank on the turn and he calls my bet (I was always betting the maximum in these situations). An Ace on the river and something warned me not to bet. We check it down and he shows A K. That was probably my worst loss of the session.
Something told me it was now time to go and I cashed out +$72. Reviewing my notes in the America Café of New York New York, I was very pleased with the discipline I had shown and my patience (not one of my strongest traits!). I ended the day cumulatively -$19 for the tournaments, +$108 for the cash games, +$89 overall.
As the week progressed I was to fight many more exciting battles at the Court of King Arthur.
Wednesday 13th June 2001
"Bound for Glory"
I played far too quietly in the tournaments at Mandalay Bay and Luxor today. In these games the blinds double very 15 minutes and you just have to get out and play some hands. I think I was having difficulty switching back from my cash game stance to the knockabout nature of the tournament. My cautious play saw me knocked out 12th in the first tournament and about 20th at the Luxor.
However, my early departure from the Luxor was a blessing in disguise. I got the only open seat at the Excalibur Hold `em game at 12.55 p.m. and settled in for the afternoon.
The table was mainly local and the pots were small. Over time the texture changed and two looser players joined us. I see J T in mid position and call the $2 blind. My neighbour Joe raises $4 and 3 of us call. The flop is Jc Td 5c. There are two checks and I check too. Joe bets $4 and I raise $6. There are 3 of us left when Joe calls. The turn is another club and when it is checked to me I see out of the corner of my eye Joe reach for his chips as I think. Hey that's a Mike Caro tell! I bet and Joe calls. We check the river down and when he sees my 2 pair he throws his hand away.
In the blind I get the Beast again (6 6). There are 3 callers including Bob from yesterday. The flop is K 6 x and I bet my set, getting 2 callers including Bob. The turn is a blank and I bet $6 again and just Bob calls. I bet the river too and again he calls. Of course he has K K for a higher set. Now that's what I call playing tight!
Twice more this session I came up against slow played AA and KK and lost. I guess the lure of the wheel was what kept these players from betting their hands fully.
I made some gains to reach +$20 and kept reminding myself that solid poker gets the money at these limits. The game was so passive pre-flop that I was creeping in with low pairs and Ax suited and abandoning my hand if the flop did not help. No one gave me credit for having a hand. In mid position I call with 5 5. There are 4 players and the flop comes A Q 5. I bet, there is a caller and the next player raises. I re-raise and two call. Both players call all my bets all the way to the river and my trips are good.
I even called with 2 2 in early position because the table was so passive. Five of us saw a flop of Kh Qd 2h. I bet and all call! Tc on the turn and this time I get one caller hanging in there for the flush I expect. Th comes on the river and he raises my bet. There is now a possibility he could be playing KT and had made a full house higher than mine. I call and my first instinct was correct. He had the flush and my boat was good.
At 7.25 pm I had seen the loose players lose it all and we were down to rocks. I cashed out +$251, my best ever win. My cumulative score was now +$359 in the cash games and -$71 in the tournaments.
Thursday 14 June 2001
"Long Day's Journey into Night"
I decided to give the morning tournaments a miss today and play only cash games. I felt I was very much in tune with the game at the Excalibur and had got some rhythm going there. I set off in the morning to walk to the Gambler's Book Shop to stock up on a few titles that are so much cheaper here than back home. It took about an hour to walk there from the Imperial Palace and I certainly would not recommend the stroll at night. The route passes through a few uncomfortable neighbourhoods once you leave the hotels behind.
I picked up the Mike Caro Tells book to accompany the video set I bought last year. I was going to work hard at watching players for the rest of the trip. Bill at the GBS kindly ordered me a taxi and it was not long before I was settling into a new Hold `em game at the Excalibur Poker Room.
In the early session the tourists did not stay long and the game stuttered along. Eventually we combined with the main table and I recognised one of the loose calling stations from yesterday. I was presented with countless draws and missed them all. I was soon -$60 and bought in for another $50. I spent maybe two hours hovering at -$50 and kept telling myself to keep my discipline. I had just had to wait for the right hand. After hours of not catching any cards T 7 suited in early position can look like pocket Aces!
In mid position I see Jh Th and limp into an 8-way flop. The flop is Kc Qd 5h. Amazingly it is checked around (maybe I should have bet it but my confidence was not high) and we all see the turn for free. It is 9h. I bet my straight and draw to the flush and get 3 callers. The Ah comes on the river and no one calls me. I'm clawing it back.
In mid position again and I admire a pair of Jacks. There are already 4 callers so I limp in too. The flop comes with Qc Jc Tc. Under the gun bets $4 and we all call! There's a Q on the turn making my full house. UTG checks to me and I bet and they all call again. A blank on the river and my bet sees 1 caller. Now we are beginning to get somewhere.
Another lean spell of cards and eventually I get pocket Aces on the button. There are 6 callers ahead of me and I raise $6. They and the Big Blind all call. There is $64 already in the pot and I don't fancy my chances too much. The flop is Qd Jc 5c and it is checked to me. I bet and see 4 callers. The 8c is the turn card and I rather recklessly bet my pair (hey there's always the wheel spin if I get beaten). No raise comes, only 2 callers. I bet the river after a blank comes and a lady calls me. Miraculously my hand holds up, she could not beat a pair of Aces. That post was $124 and put me way ahead.
The Beast (6 6) returned to me in mid position. I call and was surprised when the new husband on honeymoon on the button (his wife was shopping) raised. I am the only caller and I feel a little exposed. The flop brings a 6 as expected and Qd Qc. A full house on the flop! I check and am disappointed when he checked too. The 9c is the turn and I check again. This time he bets $3. I decide to call, hoping that he has a flush draw. The river is Kc and I bet $6 representing the flush. He raises and it looks like he must have the Ace flush. Captain Paranoia jumps up on my shoulder and nags "he might have KQ, have you thought about that?" I give the Captain a smack and re-raise. The table falls quiet as my opponent thinks and just calls. The Beast triumphs again when he mucks Ac Jc.
After these two hands I was substantially ahead but then entered a prolonged lean spell. Maybe I was getting tired and playing a few too many hands or maybe that is just the way the cards fall. I worked on my appearance at the table and when I did get beaten would always say "nice hand" and cultivate a friendly demeanour. I chatted to my neighbours and relaxed. I had three instances of KK getting cracked but recouped my losses on the wheel. After almost ten hours I got up only $50 ahead. It had been a grind today and perhaps a welcome correction to the successes I had been having lest they went to my head and I started thinking this game might be easy.
Now I had to concentrate and make the most of the weekend. I fell asleep after reading Mike Caro's Book of Tells. It was to prove a good read.
Friday 15 June 2001
"Duel in the Sun"
After a day off from tournaments I decided to play the 10 a.m. Mandalay Bay. There were 22 players and I was determined to play more aggressively. I made it to the final table with a reasonable stack but I needed to make several all-in bets to keep my position. The blinds double every 15 minutes and when they went to 200-400 we were down to 5 players with an average chip count of about 1300. I had 1200 chips and it was my Big Blind. Another player made an all-in bet of 625 and it was folded back to me. I had 7c 6c. With 800 chips left I considered a call of the 225 raise. I decided to fold and regretted this decision later. After paying my Small Blind I was left with only 600 chips and facing extinction. They were paying 4 places and after a couple of hands with nothing worth playing I picked up A J. I went all in and the guy who I had failed to call took me on with A Q. I was out in 5th place. I was fuming and strode briskly over to The Excalibur poker room to restore some wounded pride.
All week I was pleased with how quickly I recovered after making a mistake or getting unlucky. By the time I slipped into the only open seat I was composed and ready to play. It is always fun joining a new table and assessing the players. Who is local? Who is loose? Are there any maniacs? Who is winning?
One of the players was a loose calling station from previous days. He had a mountain of chips. There was also a lady who had several stacks of $5 chips (a comparatively rare site at this level). Another large stack was sitting in front of a maniac who had his mother watching him.
I sat quietly for a few hands and then the cards just ran over me. I called a raise in the Big Blind with Ad 8d. Five players saw the flop of three diamonds. I checked to the raiser and called his bet. Another player saw the turn, which was a blank. I checked again but thought this might have been a mistake when the raiser checked too. The river was a blank so I bet out and he called me with Qd 9d.
Then my pair of Jacks held up against A Q and 6 5 when the flop came 7 6 2 and there was no help for anyone on the turn and river. When my pair of Queens met a flop of Q 4 4 I had reached +$140 after only an hour of play.
I find myself with a pair of fives in mid position. I call the blind only to be raised $4 by one of the loose players on the button. There are five of us in the hand and the flop is Kd Qd 5h. The maniac bets, I raise, there is a caller and the maniac re-raises so I call. Does he have trips too? A diamond comes on the turn and figure now he may have a flush. He bets and I call. He bets again on the river when 9c falls and I call him to see A K.
After my pocket Kings hold up twice (no wheel spin for me!) I find that I am +$270 after 4 hours. After that the cards dried up and I found that I could not walk on water playing hands like Q x suited in early position. The maniac exacted some revenge on me when he made a straight on the river and one of the loose players also drew out on me. I was soon back down to +$170.
I tightened up and waited patiently. I missed a few flops and tried to laugh with every one at the table as the maniac took charge. Instead of "Raise" he would shout "Double down!!" and slam down $8 when it was his turn pre-flop. For a while this looked like a very successful plan until…
I get AK two seats to the left of the maniac who is to the left of the Big Blind. He doubles down, sorry, raises $6 and I re-raise to get him heads up. He calls me. The flop is a collection of rags and after he checks I bet. He calls and the turn is another blank. We both check it. When the river is another unhelpful card he slams in a very forceful $6 bet. I have nothing but Ace high but the Mike Caro phrase "strong when weak" ran through my head. I called the bet and turned my cards over with an apologetic "I only have Ace high". He threw away his cards and the table went into mild shock. My neighbour Alex and friendly local student just said, "Man, how did you do that?" It was not a huge pot but it did wonders for my confidence and set me up for a bigger score.
In the Blind the dealer gives me my favourite hand, 6 6. The table lets me see the flop for free. They do not know that they are messing with powers beyond their comprehension. There are 5 of us including the maniac who witness a rainbow flop of 6 7 8. I bet out and get two callers including the maniac. There is a Q on the turn so I bet, someone calls and the maniac raises, I re-raise, he re-raises, I call. The poor guy in the middle calls all the bets. I figure the maniac for a Queen but what did he have with it? I am sure he would have raised on the flop if he had made a pair of sevens or eights. Perhaps he has a straight draw with something like Q 5 or Q 9. The river is another Queen and I braced myself for another rollercoaster ride. I bet, middle guy folds, maniac raises (very loudly and forcefully) and I call time. Is my Full House good now? I quickly reviewed the logic of the betting and thought "seize the day and all that." I slammed back a re-raise and he just called me. I show my sixes and he shows me Qd 9d. By my reckoning there must have been $136 in that pot. Unfortunately the maniac left after this and one by one we saw the loose players go. By 8.30 p.m. the game was dead and I cashed out +$256. It was time for a Philly Cheese Steak and an updating of my journal.
Today I had been questioned by Security at the Excalibur. The security officer wanted to know why I was writing notes in a little book while sitting amongst the slot machines. He said he had seen me several times that day and could not figure out what I was doing. I showed him my poker notebook and explained my need to write down hands before I forgot them. I would slip away from the table and spend a few minutes every couple of hours to keep up to date. He was very polite and with his curiosity satisfied left me to complete this important task.
I had spent all day next to Alex, who was in Grad School studying Clinical Psychology. We encouraged each other throughout the eight and a half hour shift. Good luck to you Alex!
By now the week was shaping up nicely with an overall plus score of +$569. I had still not had a losing session in a cash game.
16 June 2001
"A Night to Remember"
After some vital souvenir shopping in the morning I took the shuttle bus from Barbary Coast to The Orleans. I had decided to play in the noon hold `em tournament. $30 buys 300 chips, another $3 to the dealer buys 75 chips and you can buy another 600 chips for $20 any time in the first hour. That first hour was wild and really at the end of that time everyone had re-bought and we are down to a freezeout. There were 90 starters and some players did not make it to that first break. The cards deserted me. I won my first pot when I went all in with A7 suited and hit 2 pair. I doubled through on that hand but was out after 3 hours in 26th place. I had failed to meet my tournament objective ending the week down $149.
I got back to the Excalibur at 3.25 p.m. and got seated immediately. The first hand I made the nut flush with Ac 5c and won $26! Who needs tournaments?
This table was very passive. There were no pre-flop raises and several players were obvious calling stations. I was soon up $100. Then two wild players arrived and they gave a lot of action. I saw none of it as the cards dried up. When they left it went 5 handed and very quiet. One of the friendly locals, Mort arrived and proceeded to beat me quite nicely with KK vs QQ and a King high flush against my Q high flush. It was the wake up call I needed.
I took a break for a sandwich at 8 p.m. and when I returned I started picking up a few cards. I was mainly scoring top pair on the flop and wining with a higher kicker. Somehow I kept adding to my stack without doing anything spectacular. Two calling stations arrived and they were joined by an aggressive oriental lady.
I crept into one hand with Qd Jd along with four players. The flop came 9c 8d 7d. The oriental lady bets and gets two callers including me. The ten of spades is the turn card giving me the nuts. She bet and I raise, she calls. The 3 clubs on the river prompted her to bet again! I raise again and she curses and calls, showing down K 9.
I held it together until 12.30 am and then decided to play one more round. In the button I get Ad Qd. There are five callers ahead of me and I call, the blind raises $5 and we all call. The flop is a rainbow A 5 x (no diamond). The blind checks, there's a bet of $6, a caller and I raise, dropping all but the two bettors. The turn and the river were both blanks and they both call my two bets. The first guy had Ac 4c and the second had K 5 off suit! Another large pot.
I quit at 12.40 am when my pocket queens got cracked by A 6. He had raised me pre-flop and I re-raised. The flop was nine high and an Ace came on the turn. Bizarrely he checked this down to me. It seemed that all week when I did get to lose a pot I really did not suffer a bad loss. I had won another $238 in this session.
I got back to the hotel at 1 am and spent 90 minutes trying to pack my travel bag full of my shopping. Eventually gave up and got some sleep. I was now +$903 in cash games this week. I was very satisfied and slept soundly.
17 June 2001
"Any Given Sunday"
It was my last day and I checked out of the hotel hoping to use the special airline check-in service that allows you to check bags and get a seat assignment at your hotel. It's a good idea in theory but unfortunately the Virgin computer was down and the service was not available. I cabbed it to the Excalibur, stowed my bags there and got the open seat at the Hold `em game that had been going all night. Apparently the game is good every Sunday morning and today was no exception. It was now 8.25 a.m. and I intended to play until 3.30 p.m. and then leave for the airport.
I won my first hand and kept winning selected pots. The Beast (6 6) visited me one final time in a hand that had been raised pre-flop $2. The flop is 6 4s 2. Under the gun bets $3, he is called and I raise $6 (heeding Lee Jones advice about playing trips fast). I get 4 callers and 9s comes on the turn. It is checked to me, I bet and the button raises $6. Hmmm, does he have trip nines? I call. The river is a 2, giving me a full house but if he has a pair of nines I am in second place. I check to the button and he bets. I call and he shows a pocket pair of fours. He had made trips on the flop like me but fours are no match for the Beast.
The game was really very passive. Players just called me all the way to the river every time I had a hand. Apart from missing flush and straight draws I did not lose a hand in which I played the flop. After four and a half hours I was up $270. I had a quick burger and resumed at 1.20 pm.
I immediately won a pot and then the next hand had A 7 in the blind. 5 players see a flop of A 7 x. I check raise my new friend Ray (the guy who had knocked me out of the Mandalay Bay tournament on Monday morning) after he had lured in a young guy with a bet of $3. Ray was too canny to stay in after my raise but the remaining player called me all the way to showdown by which time I had made a full house with another 7.
I was up $380 when I suffered my first defeat at showdown when someone made a straight on the river with Q8. Almost immediately my top pair fell to two pair made by 8 5 offsuit. Yes, any two cards can win.
At 3.30 pm. I cashed out +$360. I totted up the final tally for the week on the return flight: -$149 for the tournaments, +$1263 for the cash games (47 hours of play, almost 4.5 big bets an hour). A net gain of $1114.
What did I learn from all this?
In no particular order, here are the lessons I learnt from this fun week of poker:
- Count the chips in the pot so you can call knowing the correct pot odds.
- Stay away from low kickers.
- A raise on the turn is almost always a sign that your opponent has made a hand.
- Watch people. Tells can earn you dollars. Read Mike Caro.
- You only really need two poor players to make it a good game. They play lots of pots, often winning off each other. This encourages them to stay in the game.
- Call "time" when you need to think. After all you are not going to be in many pots so no one can really get too frustrated by this.
- Don't get intimidated by fast players. Some players were calling my bets before I could get all my chips down on the table. I cannot think that fast and learning to control that knee jerk impulse has saved me money.
- If you haven't read "Winning Low Limit Hold `em" by Lee Jones, read it. If you have, read it again.
Was I lucky? Probably. Did I play better than last year? Definitely. Did I have fun? Certainly. Will I be back? You can bet on it!
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