The night began with a stop at the Orleans poker room. I was planning on playing 4/8, but there was no list for the 2/4 game, so I just had a seat at the 2/4 about 11:45 p.m.
10 minutes after sitting down, I get my first hand. In early position I look down at pocket Kings. Sometimes I limp with Kings, but I hadn't gotten a really good read for the table, so I decided to raise them by betting.
I got re-raised by an asian lady in middle position, so I put her on a big pocket pair, but hopefully not Aces. Then, to my surprise we got a third caller in late position. This guy called two bets cold.
At this point, there was nothing else to do but re-raise, so I did, and the Asian lady capped it. The later position player called.
The flop comes down with 8,9,Q. This wasn't the flop that I wanted to see because I figured the asian lady may have pocket Queens. I bet out, but she only calls. I wasn't worried about a set of Queens anymore, but figured she may still have Aces.
We get called by the player in late position, and the turn brings another Queen. Now, I bet again. Asian lady calls. Late position raises. I knew I was toast. This late position guy must have played Q,X, or slow-played a straight. I couldn't let my Kings go though. I check-called down to the river.
I was right about the asian lady, she was holding pocket Aces. Boy does it suck to pick up pocket Kings against pocket Aces. However, neither of us won the pot. The late position player who called our capped bets was holding none other than Q,T offsuit. What a horrible hand to call a cap with.
Oh well. That's the beauty of 2/4 holdem. I should've known I was in trouble when my pocket Kings came in third place in a hand that only had 3 players pre-flop.
About 30 minutes later I picked up pocket Kings again. I raised again and got one caller who folded to my bet on the flop. Way to make those big pocket pairs pay!
I played a trash hand from the button. J,6 offsuit. The flop brought K,K,K. The action got checked around to me, so I bet. Everyone folded except one player who called. The turn brought a Jack, which gave me a full house, but my only opponent went all-in with his last $2.
I called and we flipped our cards over. Guess what? My opponent was playing J,Q and so he hit his boat also. Just my luck, so we chop it down, and I think I made a $1 profit on that hand.
My entire experience at the Orleans poker room was pretty bad. I was sitting next to a mildly entertaining but also annoying local player who was a real talker.
I left the Orleans after about 1.5 hours, down $40.00.
My plan was to head downtown to snap some pictures of some of the old downtown Las Vegas card rooms. My first stop was the El Cortez.
The El Cortez is such a dump. It only has two poker tables, and they may be the oldest poker tables in Las Vegas. Nevertheless, the El Cortez has a special place in my heart because it was one of the first live action poker rooms where I ever played.
Anyway, I snapped my pictures, and I should have left. But I couldn't. I had to sit down just for old-times. I bought in for $60.
You see, the El Cortez has an unusual spread limit Texas Holdem game. It's 3-3-6, meaning that you can bet anywhere from $1 to $3 until the river, and then you can bet $6.
I figured my $60 buy-in wouldn't get me in too much trouble, but as I pulled out my money to buy chips at the manager's desk there was nobody around. That's when an Asian man in a coat and tie at one of the Holdem tables asked me if I wanted to buy-in.
I said sure, for $60. He picked up his rack, and sold me $60 in chips. I thought this was a little strange, and when I sat down I asked what the deal was. Evidently, the poker room manager sits down at his poker games and plays.
I've been playing poker in Las Vegas for several years, but this was a first for me. I had played at the El Cortez before, but I had never noticed this. Very strange.
Anyway, my first hand I'm dealt pocket Jacks in early position. I raise them. I get a few callers.
The flop brings rags. It was the perfect flop for jacks. I bet, and everyone folds but one player. The turn is an Ace. I bet, and I get raised. I'm pissed, but I call anyway.
I check the river, and my opponent checks back. What does he show down? None other than Ace,7 offsuit. What a trash hand! Of course he should've laid that down, but no. He called my bet, and then the joker hit his Ace on the turn.
Similar hands unfolded the entire night.
The El Cortez is an old school hotel and casino, with old school players. The average age of the players at my table was probably 65 years old.
Also, because the El Cortez is downtown, it attracts a healthy mix of low-lifes and crack whores.
Tonight, I had the distinct pleasure of sitting next to a nice young brother who had probably spent his early evening hours slinging crack to the hookers on fremont so he could build up his bankroll for the poker game.
This guy was a real character, and he was really piss'n off the old-timers with his F-bombs. He was also a calling station -- a terrible poker player -- and he kept dumping $20 bills into the table, which is one reason why I kept hanging around.
Anyway, me and the crack dealer have been B.S.'n the whole night, when all of a sudden he looks at me and says,
"You know, we aint like the other fools at this table. We're different. Me and you got money in the bank, you know what I'm saying -- these other fools out here play'n for food."
I don't know why this struck me as so funny, but it did. I asked him how he knew the other players didn't have money in the bank and were playing for food. He wasn't able to explain his reasoning.
Something tells me he doesn't have much money in the bank.
Anyway, aside from B.S.'n with the crack dealer, the El Cortez really sucked the chips out of me.
I walked with $0.
I won't be back again soon.
Between the Orleans and the El Cortez - tonight's trip to the poker tables was a $100 suck-out.