Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Foxwoods trip report

The trip to Foxwoods was a quick one, but it was enjoyable and educational nonetheless.

Summary stats:
- I was at Foxwoods for ~26 hours, of which time I spent 20 hours at the Hold'em tables.
- I finished down exactly -$110 (including all time charges and tips).
----- $2/$5 NLHE, -$65, 1.5 hours, (-8.7bb/hour)
----- $20/$40 LHE, +$1205, 15.5 hours (+1.9BB/hour)
----- $50/$100 LHE, -$1250, 3 hours (-4.2BB/hour)
- The low water mark for the trip was around -$1500 and the high water mark was around +$1300.
- Complete trip expenses were $381 (including all transportation, accomodation, meals), so my net hit for the weekend was -$491.

I was somewhat disappointed with game selection at Foxwoods. I played from 1:30am Sunday to 5:00pm Sunday, and 11pm Sunday - 3:30am Monday (Flight 1 of the Main event started at 12pm Sunday). During those time periods there were (in the limit hold'em category) between 2-4 $20/$40 LHE tables, 0-1 $50/$100 LHE tables (nothing in between), 0-1 $100/$200 and higher tables. I was unable to play at my desired limits of $30/$60 or even $40/$80. There were a huge number of low limit LHE and NHLE tables. Incidentally, there did seem to be a decent variety of mixed, Omaha, and Stud games across a wide range of stakes and a moderate number of mid->high stakes NLHE games.

I'm not sure if it is the same for all levels, but for the stakes I played, the players were essentially comped $1.50 per hour. Although dealers were relatively competent, the tables did not have shuffling machines.

I was very pleased with the amount of quality table time I put in. On most of my previous poker trips, my percent of trip time spent at the poker tables ("tooth-to-tail ratio") was far too low. I plan to keep this up in the future.

The $20/$40 LHE games were very soft. I played at 3 seperate tables. All three of those tables featured 2 truly terrible players. I would say that 5 of the top ten worst opponents I have ever faced at $20/$40 were at those tables, including my personal favorite - a mid-50 year old dried up prune who called himself 007. My guesstimate is that I played with roughly 50 distinct opponents at $20/$40 during my 15.5 table hours. The table turnover is far lower than at my local poker room. The reason is because most people are on some kind of gambling trip when coming to Foxwoods whereas at my local poker room, there are far more locals that may just be spending between 2-4 hours at the table. For example, in my longest single stretch at a $20/$40 table of 10.5 hours, 5 of the players who were present when I sat down were there when I left. I probably only faced around 15 distinct players during that time stretch.

Out of the 50 distinct opponents, I estimate about 4-5 were very decent midstakes pros and triple that number were semi-decent recreational, but experienced players (for a $20/$40 game). There were a couple of people who told me they were midstakes pros, but appear to me to be fairly poor players who will either have to learn or go broke when they go on an inevitable bad streak.

Perhaps it is a case of selective memory, but as far as I can recall, I completed exactly zero flush or straight draws at the $20/$40 tables (although I did flop the nut flush once that I will write about some other time because I have some thoughts about how that hand progressed, and I did flop and turn several boats). Many of my nut draws were in 4-5 way pots, so my results from the 20 game don't reflect how juicy the games were. Naturally, I have little idea of how many times my opponents missed. 007 ran exceeding well including runner runner'ing 2 ugly pair countless number of times. 007 was amusing to play with. During the 10.5 hours, 007 received exactly 2 bad beats, and he would simply not stop talking about those bad beats whenever either of those players entered a pot with him. No one was willing to point out the irony to him, though surely he saw it?

One of the fun parts of the $20/$40 experience was the first game I sat down in. There were 2 empty seats at the table. I recognized a winner of a WSOPC main event and elected to sit on his immediately left. He was fun to chat with about the game play at our table. Additionally I was pretty interested in his explanations of his 2 sponsership agreements with Stars and FTP after his WSOPC win. He wasn't necessarily bragging; the info just came because I asked a lot of questions and he seemed willing to answer.

$50/$100 LHE
I was rather nervous for the first couple of orbits in this game. I found myself strangely to be almost shivering until I found out that this table and its 2 direct neighbors were directly beneath an A/C vent and had a reputation of being the coldest tables in the room to play at. It wasn't just my nervousness....

Within 1 orbit, it became very apparent that I had been seated 2 seats to the right of a very laggy donk. He did a live straddle whenever he remembered, and was a very reckless player. All players had their eye out for him, and seat changes were not an option for me during the duration of my session because the people ahead of me on the seat change list all moved to get position on the donk and no one else left the game.

The line up for the game was a mixed bag. It appears to me that there were 3 extremely good (aggresive and smart) players at the table (one on my immediate right, and the other seated on the opposite side of the table with position on the donk). There was also a writer for Card Player magazine who didn't strike me as playing particularly well, but I didn't see enough of her play to make a fair judgement. A calling station who wasn't familar with a number of rules sat in the game for about an hour. It was actually amusing as you could almost see those good players start salivating when the calling station was asking for some clarification on some of the rules. There were also a couple of tight passive players that I was not involved with on any hands. I was the weakest player at the table, and I was punished for this on a few hands until I started to push back.

I emerged from the experience with one particular lesson reinforced in my mind. That lesson is to ~think~ before acting on every street when playing against very smart thinking players. I'm not wording it very well, but I think another way people word this is to think at another level. The river decisions made by some of those smarter players are more heavily influenced (than I am used to) by what my opponents think that I think that they think about the hand.

What came as absolutely no surprise is that the whole game broke down within minutes of the donk leaving.


My most incomprehensible slip ups of the trip were completely non-poker related, but are so shameful that I will list them here.
1) When I picked up my rental car, I gave the agent my bank debit card instead of my bank credit card which basically made me forgo the insurance coverage on the rental car. Both of these cards look extremely similar, and when I travel on trips like this I don't carry a wallet so it is easier for me to mix up my cards. The uninsured car was my biggest potential financial liability of the trip, not the $50/$100 game... No incidents occured with the car, so no damage done.
2) When I went to the cage to get chips for the $50/$100 game, I gave the teller a $6000 wad of $100's with the mistaken impression that I was giving a $5000 wad. ~She~ pointed out the mistake. I had wrapped up that wad of $100's after a different poker trip, and for some reason, it had just been implanted in my mind that I had wrapped a wad of 50. Because of this, I wasn't paying too much attention when she was counting out the bills. Terrible. I'm just trying to give money away.

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