Poker & Lifestyle Blog
Once again i find myself inside the not so majestic confines of the Commerce Casino. After playing in Vegas all summer a few weeks ago in places like the Aria, Bellagio, and the Venetian, the Commerce seems like even more like a relic of the past. That being said, there's probably no better place for a cash game player to be. Unfortunately my trip seems to be poorly timed, as the games here have been pretty dry, probably due in large part to the tournaments going on at the Bike. On Sunday night, the 10-20 NL game broke at like 11:30pm, which is pretty hard to believe for the Commerce, and on the weekend peek times, i think there was only 3 games, i remember seeing at least four when i came out here like a month before the WSOP. The games were so much better then in quality and quantity.
Part of what makes the Commerce great and live poker in general are the characters you see and meet playing. If you play on the high limit side at all in the Commerce, you will probably have heard of the mysterious, legendary creature named Juan. He's a middle-aged skinny asian guy with little to no eyelashes, pretty much always wears a long sleeve colored dress shirt, isn't averse to complaining about his luck or making a snide comment to a player. Sorry for the perhaps overly detailed descriptions, but i'm assuming you maybe trying to play the "Do i know that Asian game" right now in your mind.
Not a lot is known about Juan, although i have heard he lives in the Commerce, and has for many years. But after numerous games of telephone over the past few years, the stories and legend of Juan grows. He's rumored to have went on a heater in the 20-40 NL (perhaps PLO too as he plays that) where he won 700k to 2.5 million depended on who tells you. I've also heard one day at the tables that he lost like six to seven figures like in one week or something absurd betting props with like three guys in the game, one of the names was Kenny which i would assume could be Kenny Tran. Again, if you ask 5 people you could hear very different figures on all these tales, but what most regs there will tell you is that's he's one of the most fearless players you will play against and that he's been one of the bigger winners in the big bet games. Another character in these is games is former 12-year NBA veteran and NBA champion Jack Haley, whose a 6-10 white guy that played for the Bulls team that won 72 games. I've never played with Jamie Gold, but playing with Jack is probably as close as i'll ever get to that experience. He's always trying to tell you not to bet, or that he has the top pair or that he's never folding. In this particular hand, he and Juan were jousting, and somehow Juan bet enough on the turn to get Jack to fold his hand. Jack does a rabbit cam on the river and sees that he would have made like a flush or trips or something but the board was paired as i remember. They push the pot to Juan, but he hasn't meshed it with his stack yet. Jack is like, "man i wish i could play that hand over again now!" Juan, who still has his cards is like "Oh we can play it still, if you call the $900 and your hand is good, you win the pot." Jack is like "You know what i think i will, and grabs nine white $100 chips, and he starts playing with them and starts to push them in Juan's direction but pauses and starts to think. Everyone at the table is paralyzed at how the "hand after the hand is over" is being played, a type of thing you could probably only see at the Commerce. Juan eventually jumps on Jack and says "Come on quit wasting these people's time if you wanna call do it, quit jacking around" Jack disgustingly folds and Juan pushes his hand toward the muck. I of course am like "show the bluff, show the bluff!" and he doesn't budge. So then i say, "I'll respect the hell out of you if you show a bluff there" That ultimately was too much for Juan to pass up and he grabbed his cards out of the bottom of the muck and revealed an inferior hand to Jack which also made sense for him to have given the action. I don't know a ton about how technically sound Juan's game is at this point, from hearing about a few hands from friends, it seems he probably has some wholesale leaks, but i think that hand probably exemplifies how Juan's been able to be successful. He probably just has a really good feel for what people are going to do and is completely fearless and treats money like absolute dirt, and to be honest that's often going to be a pretty good trait to have if applied in correct spots with accurate reads. As Jack Haley once told me when talking about Juan, "Juan thinks two things about you in a hand, you either like your hand or you love your hand, and if he knows you like your hand he'll make you hate your hand."
Here's a few key hands that stood out from my play at the Commerce.
Game: 20-40 NL.
I bought in for 100bb's and have about $4200 to start the hand. This is probably 30 hands into my session. An online reg i know through mutual friends (a kid whose done quite well in HU online games but who is also known to be a very straightforward player with elite bumhunting skills) opens utg to $140, i have AhKd in mp. I call, this huge fish, a brother named Will, in the BB calls. The flop is As9s7h. Online kid bets $300, i call, Will calls. Turn is an offsuit 3. Kid bets 1k, i call, WIll calls. River is an offsuit Ace. Now i have like $2600. The kid and the fish are like 15k deep plus. The kid throws out a 5k chip and announces he's betting 5k. At this point, in fact i was even a little on the turn, i'm becoming quite concerned about my hand. A kid i've heard is a very tight, not often out of line player, not only raised UTG, bet flop and turn into two players, including a fish, is now betting 5k on the river in what is a horrendous bluff spot as its quite likely one of us has three Aces. Although on the other hand i feel like he also knows we never have a boat and prolly have AQ at the very best likely as played. I obviously felt he was quite strong here, but at the same time my hand is very underepped, he could be value betting worse and i'm getting pretty compelling pot odds and there's really only a few hands he can have that beat me (although only really a few hands he can have that i beat as well), especially considering i don't think he cbets 33 and folds A7o and A9o probably 100 percent, and perhaps folds A9 and A7 suited UTG. The 5k bet is pretty alarming too but at the same time, only the fish, who has a pretty wide calling range, is the only player 5k effective, my $2700 stack is only like %65 of the pot. It seemed like a really borderline spot all things considered but felt like a call, although not too overwhelmingly, feel like i'd fold AQ. I tanked and called, and the fish folded and the kid had 77.
Game 5-10 NL
I raise JJ to $40 utg and get 3 callers, a young asian reg named Steve calls in the bb. I have played with Steve a handful of times, i know him to be a very good tight reg who is always in the 5-10 game there. The flop is 7c7h4c. I bet $110 everyone folds around to Steve in bb, who calls. At this point i feel pretty confident Steve has a 7, an overpair, or a club draw here. Turn is an Ah. Steve checks, I check. River is the Kc, completing the flopped flush draw. Now quite surprisingly Steve leads out with four white $100 chips, slightly overbetting the pot. Now i haven't played a ton with Steve but i don't believe i've ever seen him table a bluff although i'm sure he does on occasion, but when he does bluff i doubt its in a spot like this and he probably isn't overbetting when he decides to show some waggle i'd imagine. I really felt he put me on a pot controlled Ax here or perhaps a flush i suppose, and was trying to level me into a call with his big bet, having like 44, or potentially a big flush. Now given that Steve flatted in the BB to multiway action, i know he absolutely never has AA or KK here, and i'm fully aware that he knows i'm not only capable of having those hands but would very likely play it in the same manner, betting flop and checking turn if i had AA or KK in his eyes. I also know he never plays K7 and not A7o there. Given that, and the fact that i don't think Steve has seen me reveal a big bluff in our time together and has no reason to expect it, i thought he would absolutely hate his life if i raised him here. It's not often that i put someone on a really strong range including full houses and raise, but i really thought all the factors at play made it the right decision. So i make it $1800 total, $1400 more, we both have like 4k plus to start the hand. He is like "wow this is so sick" and disgustingly folds his hand and says "what do you do with 44 there". I should have showed the bluff but since i like and respect Steve i didn't feel like turning this into a WSOP televised table moment and showing him up with theatrics. I later told him what i had after he asked and the whole table thought i was nuts and i think Steve was a little hesitant to believe as well, i still don't know if he did, but i think he may have believed i had it actually for some reason as time passed.