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BYOC Storms Reno!, err... A Few BYOCers meet up in Reno, err.. Hagar represents BYOC in Reno.

OK. SO the grand plans wound down to just me on a poker mission in Reno. It would have been fun to hook up with a few buds during the trip, but still had a great time.

I left work at 3:30 dealt with the pre-rush hour, rush hour traffic through Sac and Roseville and had an otherwise smooth trip up to the "Biggest Little City". Get into town just before 6:00 to find that the main drag right in front of Fitzgeralds (where I tried to get away with a VIP room rate, that didn't quite work out) all tore up with a constuction mess, so I spent an extra few minutes figuring out out to "there" from "here". Check into the hotel, hedge and haw about having misplaced my "promo flyer" and the whole "You don't even have a players card?" routine and get into my room about 6:15. Settled in, grabbed my BR and went in search of the poker room.

Saw the sports book arrow, which is always a pretty good bet and followed that sign around in the tiny little Fitzgerald's casino. Dinky. Found the sports book. No popker room there. Headed down to search the first floor. Nothing. MUst have missed it on 2. Back up and swept the area again. This the most hidden poker room I've ever heard of. Finally ask one of the cleaning staff. "Poker room? We don't have a poker room, but the poker tables are downstairs." Really. OK down again. Stopped at one of BJ tables and asked the dealer. "Poker?, we haven't had poker here for at least 18 years." Oh, I guess that explained the funny look I got when I asked about "poker player" room rates when I checked in. Go back up to my room and grab my coat to head aacross the street to El Dorado, where I pretty much expected to hook up with Hood and maybe Boogy.

I walked into the Eldo and there was the poker room, 30 paces in the door. Excellent! I don't have to search through the bowels of the casino to find the cardroom. The Eldo has 8 or 9 tables spreading 3/6 Kill HE, 4/8 Kill HE, 1-5 7 stud, 1 NL HE and I think I heard someone talking about an Omaha game. Got into a 3/6 game right away and went to work. Sat down to a table, caught the cocktail waitress to get my casino diet of Vodka/Cranberry on the roll (it's not exoctic, but it keeps me lubed wihtout filling me up and hey, there's got to be 1 or 2 nutritional points in the cranberry juice!) and see that the table is probably all or nearly all local regulars. Maybe one other guy was not a local when I sat down. Friendly, mostly older crowd. They have a funny blind structure for their 3/6 game: SB $1, BB $2. It only costs $2 to see the flop. A raise is a full $3 bet so it's $5 to see the flop with one raise. I sat down and watched a few hands drift by and caught AK about my 6th or 7th hand in late possition - raised, flooped an Ace and won, on the river, with no showdown. "I'm gonna like this table." Sit and wait some more. Catch another AK in late postion, raise and win with one caller on the river. Just like that I'm up $50. So this is how it's supposed to work - excellent! As a general rule, this crowd was a little loose, very unaggressive. If they bet, they probably had something, but they'd call you down with pretty weak hands - not quite "any pair" weak, but plenty of 2nd and 3rd pair to showdowns. Amazingly enough there were 6 or 7 AA at our table that held up, just like you'd expect. Alright, I finally found a game that had some "normal" operating perameters, the good hands hold up. I was locking in for the night.

Of course, I managed to start the "crack the Aces" trend. After seeing AA hold up so many times I liked my chances when I hooked up with them about an hour into the session. Raise call, call, call, call, call. The board came with about 300 draws and about 100 of them hit. Well, here we go - back to normal. I was till up quite a bit, but there's nothing like getting AA cracked to dampen your spirits. AA, KK, QQ were all BIG losers for me all weekend. I got them quite a few times (maybe 15) and I think I one exactly once with AA - no calls on the flop. Pretty brutal.

There was this "kid" (30ish) to my right who was just going through chips like they were play money. He thought pretty highly of his poker skills ("this is most I've ever lost") and was getting pretty whiny about his luck. True, he running pretty cold, but he made his losses so much worse with poor hand selection and poor calling choices; he just assumed everyone is bluffing. He caught KK a couple times and got NO callers with his pre-flop raises. But he just kept buying chips $20 or $40 at a time and just kept giving them away. He went through at least $200 while I was there and who knows how many before I got there. OF course, he was not alone with this habit of $20, $40 at a time, but he just seemed to think he was too good to be having bad luck, and he clearly wasn't "too good".

This table acted as a feeder table to the 4/8 games so there was a lot of turnover. After about 2 hours the complexion of the table changed from mostly locals to about half locals/half tourists. About 9:00, my nemisis for the session wandered in and sat in the 2 seat (I was in the 4 seat). As people sit, I tend to size them up; get a "first impression" for what to expect from them. He was kind of a geeky looking guy, maybe 50, and was dressed reasonably nice and sat down with a full rack. I stuck the "possibly solid" label on him and watched him for a while. He started out pretty tight and then loosened up. At first he was bleeding pretty badly and then he started catching cards. He didn't take too may pots from me, but he just started winning pots and got this "Man am I a great poker player" smirk on his face. He wasn't obnoxious about it, but it just bugged me. He went from "possibly solid" to "fish" in about an hour.

I kept looking over my shoulder to see if Hood had bopped in yet and he never materialized on Friday night. I hoped he just decided to come up Sat. morning. I looked down at my watch and saw it was 11:30. Hmmmm, I think I forgot to eat dinner. I asked about ordering a sandwhich and it took about 3 cardroom staff to tell me how to call the coffe shop. I finally get through and I get a "we don't deliver to the poker room - we're understaffed tonight". WTF? I asked the brush what was up with that and he says it goes that way sometimes. Oh, thanks a lot. I ask some people where I can grab a quick sandwhich and they told me to go to this place "just over there", "around that way"....find the nearest Tasty Freeeze and ask "Where the hell am I?....." So off I go, I follow signs up the escalator, down the stairs and I end up at the coffee shop that refused to deliver. I really didn't want to give tham any business, but I just wanted some food. After waiting for a few minutes at the front counter, I tell him I want ot order something to go. "We'll have to seat you and your server can box up something for you." Argggg! OK, OK. They sit me down, I watch the waiter run about the room setrting tables and he finally comes over to take my order. I get my sandwhich in about 10 minutes and then have to stand in a 20 minute line to pay for the damn thing. The cashier was doing a hostile takeover on the computer (or something extremely time consuming that showed no resemblence of getting somthing done, I don't know). I finally get out of there and get back to the table and chow down. "Wow, what took so long?" "You didn't even eat yet?" "Oh you went to the wrong place!" Yeah, thanks a lot.

Friday night was such a long time ago, so I don't have too many details left lodged in my brain about that session. As a rule, the table was a limper's paradise - very few pre-flop raises so I could really loosen up my pre-flop starting standards, especially from early position. The cheap blinds made for a real "let's see the flop" attitiude. I remember playing a 67o from early position from and catching my gutshot straight draw on the turn, getting in a check-raise and dragging quite a pot with a little raggy straight. It was just that kind of game. I don't think I ever dipped much below my starting rack and my stack was as big as $300 at one point. Up and down. I was feeling pretty tired all night (Not what I had hoped when I'm there to play poker all f'in weekend), but I stuck it out until about 2:30 when I finally decided that I wasn't sharp enough to play anymore. I was $99 up for the session. Not a crushing blow, but hey, profit is profit. I hand over my $199 in chips and the brush says he'll trade 2 $100 bills for $1. Yeah, I can do that. I pulled out a 2nd $1 bill and saked to do that deal again. He looked up and kind of laughed and sied it was just a one time offer. Oh well, can't hurt to try. Back to Fitz's, to bed hoping to get up in time for some breakfast buffet.

I woke up around 9:00. A little earlier than I had hoped but I just couldn't get back to sleep so I headed out to find Fitz's buffet - after taking care of all my personal hygiene needs of course. Find it and shell out the $8 (whatever happened to all those cheap buffet's Reno used to have?) and go about filling my plate with buffet essentials: some "not to bad, psuedo-cheesy-omlette-eggs" and 3 pounds of bacon. Coffe and milk. Not bad. Went back for more (hey, I get my money's worth) and decided to try some french toast and another half pound of bacon. I nearly had to ask for a steak knife to eat the french toast. Not especially fresh. I left that buffet with no desire to return. Being a buffet kinda guy, I don't have exteremly high expectations for 4 star dining type food or anything, but this place just really gave me no reason to return.

Let's go play some poker! I headed back over to Eldo's at about 10:00 and again get seated immediately at the 3/6 game, in the 7 seat at the table I was in the night before. Again, the table was mostly populated with local regulars. The guy to my left was a hoot. He was very clearly a regular and had a line for everything. We had a few witty banter exchanges and a genuinely good time. He and a few of the other old cronies shot barbs back and forth across the table (the dealers chimed in a few times as well) and for the most part we had a very enjoyable several hours. I got bak on my Vodka/Cran diet by about 11:00.

This one guy (I started calling him River Roy) started running over me with shitty hands that caught on the river. He rarely showed a hand worth playing to begin with but just caught on fire. It seems to me, that I had the displeasure ofstarting his hot streak. I raised pre-flop with AKs in middle position (the table, at this time, was showing a little respect for raises) and I got it down to 3 or 4 of us. I flopped 2 of my suit and led out and got 2 or 3 callers. I hit my flush on the turn, bet and get raised by River Roy. Really!? :lol: I 3 bet him and he called. The board paired a 7, which really didn't look all that scary so I bet into him and he just called. And then showed me a J7o that made a boat on the river! So I start making mental notes: "He cold-called my pre-flop raise with a J7o; he doesn't raise his 2 pair before on the flop when they are actually good; he raised with 2 pair when a 3 flush hit the board; he didn't raise when he made his big hand on the river." Aye carumba - this guy is going to be impossible to read. Anyway, he went on this tear of catching every river he was chasing and built up his stack from something like $60 to well over $300 in about an hour. Just unstoppable - until, of course, his rush ended. He lost his chips almost as fast as he got them. As his stack was starting it's downfall, the guy to my left whispers something about having played with River Roy for years and that he's a long time loser. That didn't surprise me one little bit since he couldn't stay out of a hand and if he didn't hit a miracle he was pretty much toast. AlLthough I never cuaght enough good cards to go after him and get my $100 pot back, I did have the small satisfaction of taking hm to the felt when his last prayer was not answered.

Saturday was river day for me. I got pretty big hands cracked at least 12 times over the course of the day. AA, KK (as mentioned above) continued to be huge losers for me. I was able to get away from them a couple of times, but when you're playing such generally poor players, it's hard to give them too much credit for a great hand. There was on other character of note at our table. He sat down for about 1/2 hour grabbed some chips and bumped up to 4/8. He was back about 10 minutes later, about 3/4 of a rack down. I don't know what happened, but it must have been ugly. He caught fire again at our table and built a huge stack. The thing that cracked me up about him is that in a couple of hands that we were in together, he acted as if he knew exaclty what my cards were - they might as well have been face up. One of them, I would have put me on the cards he seemed to: QJ, with a QQJ flop. He had raised pre-flop and I called. I checked and he checked through on the flop. Bummer. I bet the blank on the turn. He thought for a half-second and got this goofy-as-shit grin on his face pointed at me and just started this stupid laugh. He wasn't laughing at me, he just kind of had an epiphany and was telling me "I know what you have". It just cracked me up. The second time, however, there's no way I would have put me on the hand. I had something like a 67. I was chasing a straight but ended up hitting a boat on the river. When the 6 hit the board (I think there were 2 7s on the board), he started to bet and then did the point and laugh bit again. I looked at him with a "WTF is wrong with you?" half-smirk and bet after he checked and he just folded. Very strange.

I was running fairly cold in my morning session, not particularly bad, just a little cold. I managed to stay above break-even for the entire session (despite all the suckouts) and looked down to see that it was 4:30 and figured it must be about time for lunch! I cashed out up about $50 for the session. Oh well, not bad considering all the awful beats. (Still no sign of Hood and if Boogy showed up he never said anything to me.)

I wandered up to the Eldo's buffet to find out that they were calling my lunch "dinner". $20. Yikes, oh well, I guess I should pamper myself a litte siince I am up and everything. :wink:

At least this place had some good food. Umm, umm Aint Bee, gooooood cookin'! I found that they had a good selecion of all 4 major food groups: steak, fried chicken, crablegs/shrimp and pulled pork. Now that's what I'M talkin' about! For the record, I did squeeze a little salad in between the cracks of the real food. Excellent food. And I managed to save a little room for the minor food group called desert. I was actually disapointed with the deserts I tried: carrot cake and a mint chocolate cake. Not awful, just not great. Back to work!

I went back down to the cardroom and again, got sat right away, this time at another 3/6 table. I sat down and caught the closest thing to a "rush" that I got all weekend. Unfortunatley, this was a very tight table and the pots were tiny. I got the kill button for I think the first time the entire weekend and didn't even get a call. 2 hands later I got the kill button for my second and last time for the weekend and they broke our table up to fill the other two. I made like $30 in about 15 minutes. Oh, well better than a poke in the eye....

I moved back to the table I had been on before and back to my #4 seat. (I like the 4 and 7 seats on a 10 hand table - it gives me the best table vision.) the guy to my left was a guy I had played with earlier and he seemed to think we had formed some type of bond as he welcomed me back to the table by hoisting his beer bottle looking for a toasting type of clink. I obliged. He was doing the "these guys never fold" whine under his breath and I nodded in agreement, so I kind of put him on the "semi-solid" list. That is until he felt the need to call my KK all the way down to the river with an A3s with zero draws the whole way only to catch an A on the river. I looked at him with my pattented "hands in the air, WTF are you doing?" glare. Weren't you just whining about "nobody ever folds"? "Hey, I was gambling man." Didn't even give me the standard, sheepish "Sorry, I guess I got lucky" mantra. Just stacked my chips and didn't seem to have a clue why I might be just a tad annoyed at his play. That steamed me just a little. Not too bad. I did go into my worst tail spin of the trip at this time. Cold cards. Brrrr. I got into that J4, Q2, 92, cycle. The few hands I could talk myself into seeing the flop missed so miserably that there were just not enough free cards possible to make a hand. I got to the point where I was about $50 down for the session and then finally caught a few hands and bingo, bango - I'm back up $50.

From the dealer's perspective, this was the table from hell. We had at least 2 players that had "never played in a csino before" and couple of others that acted as if they hadn't either. They just couldn't grasp the betting structure. And the characters, boy oh boy. This is what I really love about live poker. The whacky people at the tables. Let's see if I can remember some of the players. There was this older (60ish?) asian lady (Rita), from the Sacramento area, plays a lot at Cache Creek. She was just a freaking calling station and was bleeding badly most of the session. There was one hand where she kept questioning the dealer's read. The flop came 2 spades and the Q of clubs. The turn and river brought 2 more spades. There wasn't much betting and the dealer called for the cards. This older no clue hispanic man threw his cards face up and didn't say anything. Rita showed Q2 for 2 pair. The dealer turned the other guy's hand face down for a half-second before he realilzed that he had the Q spades. He quickly flipped the cards back up and awarded the pot. It was all fair and proper, just a little sloppy, but Rita thought that the Q of spades was on the board and was giving the dealer grief about the hand. We all tried to tell her that he had done right but she just kept grumbling about it for about 15 minutes. The dealer got a little short with her (I guess she's a regular there - all the dealers seemed to know her by name) and told her that he'd have the floorman come and clear it if she wanted - or shut up. (He didn't use those words, but he might as well have. She just wouldn't let it go.

Then there was the newbie lady and her nephew. She was on my left, he on my right. She had played "some" at home, but this was her first time in a casino. She and the nephew were talking in some foriegn language about the logistics (she really never really got it after being there for 3 hours). I did what I could to prompt her little (I was trying to help the dealer, but stay out of their way as well) and we had a freindly little relationship for about 4 hours. She made the mistake of hitting the nut flush with her first hand and then started on the path to Rebuyville. She had $300 or $400 in the game. If she had anything, she called or raised. I actually got in a little groove where I raked in about $200 in about 5 or 6 hands. And she was a primary donater. She would bet, all the calling stations would call (which was just about everybody) and I would raise. She looked at me and mumbled something (in very broken English) about I must have a pretty good hand. Call, call, call, call.... Next card, she would bet, calling stations jumped in line, I raise and they all called again. She finally checked the river, I bet and still got about 4 callers. My top 2 pair were easily best and they all seemed surprised that I could have such a good hand. She caught a few hands later and managed to cash out a little over $200 in chips, so she didn't get too mangled.

Then there was this beautiful little Asian gal, who I had to stare at for about 4 hours (what a drag :wink: ) It was her first time too. SHe sat down and played pretty tight for a while and then she just plain flat out caught fire. Nut flush, Nut straight, Top 2. Set...... Whatever it was she was looking for hit for her. SHe wasn't playing trash hands for the most part, she was playing a decent game and hitting everything in site. I managed to get her for a few bets befere she caught fire and managed to stay pretty much out of her way the rest of the night. (I think she got a couple of bets out of me when I just had to play sherrif, but I knew I was dead. After she caught fire she loosened up quite a bit and drained her stack a bit and then caught fire again. I left before she did, so I don't know if she managed to win the war, but she was doing just fine.

There was the usual collection of $40-at-time bleeders. Why do these guys keep coming back? I'll just never understand those guys, but I guess they're the bread and butter of poker so God bless 'em. There's one other specific guy worth taking about. This kid (late 20s) comes in with a double rack, ready for battle. He's the only one who ever came to the table with more than a rack, so I figured he had a little clue about BR, not just another donater. But he had it in mind how poker is "supposed" to be played. He just couldn't stand the fact that everyone was limping all the time, and he was just the guy to do someting about it. He started raising about everyother hand. HE would sit there and watch 7 or 8 people call every single time. THen he would try to ram his hand down their throats, figuring he was gonna buy the pot if he couldn't earn it. Somehow (go figure), that never worked. Especially because he had to keep showing his hand which was very bad for him. A5, A7, KT, 23s! I mean he just never showed anything that was a power hand. I wonder why noone ever folded for him. He actually got lucky and chopped a couple pots when his weak ace got awarded by a double paired board or the kicker was on the board. Once and a while I'd raise him (he was to my right) and he say "Now that's poker!" and fold! I was having a real hard time keeping from laughing directly in his face when he kept going on and on about how nobody ever folds. He recognized the conditon and just flat out refused to adjust his game. "I need to play some real poker" I tell him there's a no-limit table right over there if this game doesn't suit you. "I know, that's where I'm headed." He picked up the $50 he had left and went to play "real" poker. (Don't get me wrong, I know where he's coming from, but you have to adjust!)

I managed to have a prety decent Sat night session. At one point I was up around $300. I colored up some whites to get some $5 just because it was geting hard to find my cards. The last great suckout of the night was getting KK in late postion. I raised and there were about 5 callers (my raises were getting a "little" respect. I mange to flop top set. OK. I'm finally going to get some of those beats back. Bet call, call, call.... Turn brings a T. An early fish bets into me call, call, call, raise, call, call, call... Of course right after I raised I noticed that the T put a possible straight on the board (9 on the flop), but when early fish didn't raise, I figured I dodged bullet. Well, the river had to make it plain and simple for me (probably good) when a Q slips right into place on the "suckout special" board. Everyone checks, "I can't beat a straight" and table my set. Early fish shows the turned straight. He didn't even raise. He had the nuts (on the turn) and did not 3 bet.

Believe it or not I had AA cracked about 4 hands later, I was in the BB and didn't even bother to raise. It's a family pot - if my hand is gonna be good I'll get the money in later. Flop comes Q high, SB bets I raise (hoping to get a couple fishermen out ) but they all just kept coming. The turn brought a rag card that had "STRAIGHT" written in big neon lights on it. I just checked and folded. It was just too obvious. The river brought even worse news and 3 people were fighting over who's straight was better. I caught myself moaning to the poker gods under my breath, but out loud and decided that it was time to pack it in. I cashed out up $150 for the evening. Again, not table crushing or anything, but up is good.

Fri night: about 61/2 hours at the table. Sat: about 14 hours at the tables. +$300 for poker. Not earth shattering and not what I had hoped, but I only had to dig into "my" money once and never had to reload. It could have been a monster weekend if I could have dodged even half of the nasty river cards I got: those pots were pretty big (I had very strong hands and was pumping it hard) and I just don't know why I have to keep getting rivered. I did have a couple of rivers that won me a hand, but they were good hands that got better - not trash that just managed to hook up. I was about 1/15 with AA, KK, QQ and 50/50 with big slick. I won a few pots that I really had no business being in, but they were relatively small pots and I just love free cards.

I think what saved my bacon was somehow having the knack of killing the kill pots. I won several of them, sometimes with pretty crappy (by my standards) hands. That's the good thing about kill games - when those stakes go up, those "$40 at time" players get a little scared. When they have to out there and call a $24 turn bet/raise, they start counting their chips. Miss, and they're digging in their wallets again. I used to hate kill games (and I still do with "gotta cap every bet" type tables), but in this type of crowd, you can flat out run them over if you're not afraid to bet. On one hand, I was on the button and looked down to find K3s. I don't normally play that hand, but there were few callers and I decided to limp. The flop comes AK7 of a different suit. Check, check, I bet my K ($6) and got one caller. Turn brings a blank and I bet again ($12) again he calls. The river brought another spade and I figured I just got sucked out again (or maybe he had an A that he was playing sherrif with). I checked through, but my hand was good - he had J7 no spades! HAd I not bet the flop, someone would have stuck around with a spade. Mr. "I'm gonna run over this game" couldn't believe I played that hand. "Well sometimes I get a little whacky!" He never once picked up on trying to push the table around on kill pots despite his urge to bet and raise everything when the stakes were cheap.

These games were very soft and pretty easy to read. There were handful of "check-raise" guys and few who would try to buy a pot, but mostly it was "bet when I have something good, call when I have a dream, call when I think they're bluffing" type of crowd. The only problem with these people is that they don't usually play a hand real strong - you could play back at them and they'll just call even with the nuts; it can be hard to know where they are in a hand.

The card room staff was pretty good, but not great. I'd give them a B+. They hanve a bad beat jackpot that was up to about $75,000 which is worth hunting for.

After cashing out I meandered about the casino for a bit - it was Halloween weekend and there was plenty of whako-watching to do. I wandered around and stumbled upon a quarter "Wheel of Fortune" slot machine. I've always had a weakness for that particular flavor of slots (as a rule I've done well on them), so decided to drop $20 and see if I could keep my luck rolling. 15 minutes later, I popped out the $60 ticket and cashed out. I wasn't in it for a marathon slot session, just had the need to gove it a try.

Wandered back to bed and got up around 9:30 (new time - YAY extra hour!) I didn't want to go back to Fitz's for breakfast so I went back over to Eldo and had a much better buffet breakfast for $12 (f'in Sunday champgne brunch crap...) Oh well it was good.

As is tradition with me and those machines, I always go back to a friendly face and plopped in another $20. 10 minutes later I popped out a $100 ticket. Cashed it in and went to check out at 1:00. I thought about testing my luck and keep playing for a while and hope to hit the progressive, but I just hate being one of them "If I'd only cashed out when....." people. +300 in poker. +120 in slots. Excellent. I also considered playing some more poker, but 1)I was a little burnt out, 2) I wanted to beat the afternoon traffic out of dodge and 3) I didn't want to wreck the weekend with a ugly parting shot session.

Well if you're still here I guess you didn't fall asleep. I definately need to get back up there and do more poker only weekends. I wish I had got an Eldo's player card and started racking up some points. I could sure use a break on the rooms. I hope, we can get a group thing going that stays a group one of these days, but I gotta say, that it sure is a whole lot easier focusing on the poker when you're not dealing with trying to hook up with people at a certain time.

I found out that Hood had to stay home - I was certainly glad to hear that he was safe.

Thanks for your seat Bud! :D :salut:
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