Monday, 19 February 2007

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[ [livejournal.com profile] swolfe recently complained that I hadn't finished my Texas trip posts. So, four months late, I pick up continuing story of my Dallas poker week. I wrote previous posts about Monday night and Tuesday, Club 1 and Tuesday, Club 2. Here's the post about Tuesday, Club 3. ]

After leaving the gimmicky club that I previously described, we headed to what I considered the best club we visited that week. It was run by the same fellow (F.J.) who ran the club we'd visited Monday night, but in a different location.

Steve indicated a few reasons that some club owners run in multiple locations. First, it keeps the clubs small and irregular, which helps avoid busts. A club that runs eight hours every single night is much more likely to get busted than one that is only open twice a week. Second, there are a lot of luck-oriented players around the Dallas poker scene. If they are running bad at a particular club, they won't go there anymore, but are willing to come to another.

Indeed, there wasn't a lot of overlap in clientele at this new club. It was bigger than F.J.'s other single-table place; there were two full tables going when we arrived. We got a seat on the back table by the windows.

The game was extremely loose, with two or three calling stations taking almost any hand they played to the river if they hit anything. A few aggressive players were in the game; Steve pointed one out to me as a fellow who'd done well in some WSoP satellite events, but was actually a pretty horrible player. Steve said something like a big chunk of my bankroll is from that guy. I started calling him “Bankroll Builder” in my head at that point.

As it turned out, however, my largest confrontation was with someone Steve identified as one of the better players at the table. This fellow had raised UTG to $25 — relatively standard in this $2/$5 game — and gotten a small reraise the aggressive Bankroll Builder, and a cold call in between. In the small blind, I found AA. I didn't really want to play this hand out of position on the flop with much money behind, so I made it $300 to go, hoping to get reraised for my last $200 somehow. I felt I was basically announcing my hand to the field, but thought the aggressive reraiser might have a hand like QQ and go with it, and if the strong UTG player had KK, he might not be able to fold it — giving me QQ instead.

After a short speech about how he has to have the best hand, this “good” player went all in, and Bankroll Builder went into the tank, and eventually folded what he says was a pair — frankly I think it was just 88 or something. I called immediately found myself up against AKo.

Business was quickly offered. This was a tough spot for me. Of course, the odds don't change if you run six full boards from the whole remaining deck, but I'm not really used to playing $1,000+ pots. I told the fellow I'd do any sort of business he decided — he could name what he wanted. I am used to leaving it all up to luck once the decisions are made, so this seemed to be a way to do that.

He wanted to run it twice, and then asked: two boards or two turn/rivers?. I told him it was up to him again. I just wanted the whole moment over with. He decided on two full boards, which he felt gave him the best chance (probably true), and I was glad to see the first board left me “freerolling”. The second board came with four spades, and that gave his Ks a flush, and the As was sadly the only ace not in play.

I, of course, wish I'd refused business, but besides wanting to leave it up to someone else what happened after I made the actual poker decisions, I also didn't want to hurt the morays of the Dallas poker scene, either. We did chop up the reraise and the cold-call, so it wasn't a loss against the rake, but I still felt like I made a bad decision and that I should have, for example, offered two turn/rivers instead of two full boards.

That was basically the only major hand I played, although I got paid off with turned trips by one of the calling stations, and I played a big draw meekly and won (and was admonished by Steve and a friend of his, a strong player who was dealing for the evening for not potting it all the way to the river). But, as for the poker, those were the only notable occurrences.

I really liked the club. Like the others in Dallas, the space was wide and open. The dealers were friendly but not distracting; the staff was attentive. The whole story at these places was service — it's so different than the abysmal places here in NYC. Heck, these places were even nicer and more accommodating to players than some casinos I've visited.

Steve wasn't a fan of the plaid-ish felt at this place, as it was admittedly a bit too textured and certainly not great to look at. But, given that I was only playing there for a night, I found it to be rather nice.

Finally, the thing I can't stop talking about these places is how nice the players are. There was virtually no dealer abuse. The bankroll builder guy was a bit rude at one point, and but F. J. pulled him aside quite quickly and got him back on track. I suppose I might be able to stand playing poker for a lot longer in an environment like this. I admit to some biases about the so-called “red states”, being the east-coast hyper-liberal that I am, but as long as I avoided discussing politics, I found the whole environment incredibly friendly.

As we left, F.J. even came by and shook my hand and asked if I was enjoying my visit to Dallas. I can't imagine any owner of a NYC club even noticing that a new player had come and wanting to make them feel welcome. Club owners around here could certainly learn a lot from these guys.

Steve dropped me back at my hotel, and I was glad to have had a small winning session, but was still down a lot for the trip. I wished I could have spent more time at F.J.'s club, as I felt that game was the softest and easiest for me to beat of the ones we'd seen. F.J.'s other club was running the next night, so I'd get one more visit there to finish up the Dallas nights. For the weekend, it was off to a nearby casino!

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