This week we took the blue pill and entered THE MATRIX! Wait it's actually THE M8TRIX! A spelling I truly H8! The whole building is powered by the body heat of the the humans trapped in the ghostly pods.
The casino is on level 1 and there is not a hotel. WHAT IS THE REST?!
The M8trix opened in 2012 after buying the license to operate from a smaller poker room called Garden City that had 12 poker tables. Now after this huge expansion, they have 12 poker tables and a ton of extra space.
When I first went to the M8trix my impression was that it was really nice. The lists were always a mile long and they had the biggest games in town running what I think was $10/$25 no limit and sometimes uncapped buy in $25/$50. Having not been there for 4-5 years, it felt like it was a little bit on the downswing compared to its neighbor Bay 101. The felt was kind of dirty. The shuffling machine lost power a couple of times. The dealers were openly watching and discussing football and not completely paying attention to the game. The dirty chips are warn enough that if you really try with just the right stack you can get 21 into one slot on a rack.
When I arrived there were four $1/$2/$3 games and three $2/$3/$5 games with no bigger games going.
In for $800 as per usual
I got off to a not great start in a very innocuous way. I raised 33 to $25 over one caller, got 3 bet to $100, made the call, missed and folded on the flop. Then I raised to $20, got 3 bet to $90, made the call, missed and folded on the flop. Both of these hands should probably be folded to sizable 3 bets with $800 effective stacks, but in the moment I didn't want to look too weak. When you see a new face in a poker room that primarily serves locals, that person will usually be prey not predator. Also just the fact that I got 3 bet twice and to a larger sizing was not a great sign for this being a soft game.
Stuck $200 before my seat was warm I was faced with a big decision against a totally unknown opponent. I raised to $30 with AQ over two limpers who along with the big blind made the call. The flop came down AT5 giving me a solid top pair, they checked it to me and I made it $60. After two folds my one remaining opponent check raised to $140. Gross! Small check raises are usually big hands, but I think it's too weak to fold here.
The turn came a 4 and my opponent asked for time. He goofed around with his chips for maybe 20 seconds and then announced a bet of $400. I looked down at my stack and I had $630 left. "FUCK!" I thought to myself. My opponent was a late 40's or early 50's Korean dude who was chatting it up with a few different players at the table. My instinct was telling me that he's a reg and was taking a shot at me because the early 40's guy you've never seen before should be bluffable. Then I looked back at the board and there were no draws. Is this guy actually check raising small to set up a big turn bluff with total air or is this just two pair or better like it should be? "FUUUUCK!" I thought again but slightly more drawn out. And why did he ask for time and take so long? Is this acting or actual uncertainty? In the end I decided, I think correctly, that the small flop check raise is almost always a strong hand looking for value and it's very rare for a pot size turn bet to be a total bluff at these stakes. I folded. Ugh.
Another hand I played cracked open the deep recesses of my brain and I remembered something I discovered in 2008 when I was playing 6 max online limit games. I was playing around 3,000 hands of $10/$20 6 handed limit hold'em 6 days a week at the time. Imagine there is a raise to $20, a caller in position, and then I call from the big blind. The flop comes out, I check, the preflop raiser checks and the caller checks. In this spot the preflop raiser is almost never slow playing in a multiway pot, and after we both check the other player is going to bet if they have anything. On the turn here I would instantly reflexively bet 100% of the time without even thinking about it. Risking $20 to win $60 when both of my opponents have told me they don't like it was just always a good idea. I didn't have hard data on this play, but it felt like I would just win 70% of the time and I was getting 3 to 1!
Back to the M8trix! The cutoff raised to $35, the button called and I called in the big blind with 76 of diamonds. The flop came down A 6 2 and we all checked. The turn was a T and I thought to myself "aren't I supposed to bet here?" not yet having explicitly recalling what I just described. I checked, the preflop raiser bet $55, the button folded, and I was able to sort out that he should never have an A unless it's AA. I check raised to $220 and he instantly mucked.
The illusion of winning!
I was briefly about even in for $1,200 with $1,200 in front of me before a fairly steady and rapid decline.
On one hand I called $20 and then called a raise to $90 with T9 suited. The flop came down A65 rainbow and I check raised the 3 bettor from $100 to $260. This guy was tight and passive and I thought a lot of his three betting range was pairs JJ-KK and I could easily have 55, 66, A5 or A6 suited or 65. He thought for about a minute and then went to $650! Whoops!
On another hand this kid who looked 19 raised preflop to $25 and then bet $30 into 4 players with a pot of $100 on an 855 flop. He had no idea what he was doing any I thought he could have anything. One terrible player called and I decided to got to $200 with KQ. The kid instantly went all in for $300 total and the other guy folded. Getting more than 5 to 1 I called another $100 and lost to QQ. More whoops!
I don't really have any stories of me winning hands with good cards which I guess is not good considering I played for 5 hours. I did flop a set and a two pair, but got no callers on the flop on both.
In the end I lost $1,303 which is my biggest loss of the year. This is amazing considering I have 23 sessions of $5 big blind no limit averaging close to 5 hours per. I would expect to have been stuffed harder at least once.
In my post WSOP project that I really should have named, I'm +$3,616 over 83.5 hours. One more weekday evening cash session this week and then off to Thunder Valley Friday for WSOPC tournaments.
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