Mark S. Rasmussen
Jul 26

So I finally got into my first ever real poker cash game at a casino. My main game is without doubt tournaments, I rarely play cash games as I don’t think they’re nearly as interesting, also I’m far worse at cash games than at tournaments. When I do get into cash games online, I usually play the NL25 games at Party, I’ve had lots of problems beating even NL50/100.

I was planning for playing the NL1/2 games in Vegas, but the Rio has 2/5 as it’s lowest, and i didn’t really want to travel further into the strip as I were going to the Rio anyways. So here I was, signing up with the brush for the first Vegas cash game, a $2/5 NL game with a max buyin of $500.

After my name was called for I was assigned a seat at table 199, we were playing 9-handed. I sat down, pulled up five benjamins (benjamins were live at the table, no other notes were allowed as table money) and put them on the table. Within five minutes the chip runner came and took three of my benjamins and turned them into chips. After tipping off the chip runner, I was ready to gamble.

Playing live cash was a lot different than playing online. Within five minutes I’d already categorized most of the players at my table. There were a single female at the end of the table who clearly only played the nuts, she must’ve had a VPIP of like 5-10%. Then there were like 3-4 people who limped anything. And had they thrown their first nickel into the pot, they were calling most raises behind. Lucrative LPP’s, they were.

Also there were three guys who had clearly played some time together as the chatter was going on lively, just as they also ordered drinks én masse.

I had full control over the table, I really felt comfortable playing even though the stakes were much higher than my ‘usual’ game. I worked my stack up to about $1k when I ran into a very nasty hand. At this point in the game, one of the LPP’s had left the game, and instead another serious very tight rock had taken his seat. Like the nut peddling woman, this guy also only played prima hands. So i pick up QsQc in the CO. A couple of limps to villain1 (the rocky man, stack ~ $600) who also limps. Another limp before the rocky woman (villain2, stack ~ $110) who also limps. I raise it up to $35 to get the worst limpers out. I get two callers, both rocks, great. The flop comes 5d2cTd, and the rocky man bets $80 rather quickly. The woman calls all in and the action’s on to me. Now, I didn’t fear the woman as she was already all in and she was shortstacked, I was more careful with the guy as he had a healthy stack himself, and i knew he had to have something to bet out there. I called to keep the pot size under control. The turn brought the money card: the Qd! The guy checked it over to me, i bet $200. He thought for a couple of seconds before he called. The river brought the case Ad. The guy instantly pushed his last chips, around $300. FUCK. I went into the tank. Again, this had no influence on the woman at all, I was only thinking about the man, what did he have? He limped preflop, that could’ve been AK/AQ maybe, definitely nothing worse than that. The way he played it, it would’ve had to be suited, and since the Ad was on the board, it couldn’t have been in diamonds, so no flush. I gave him respect and gave up my hand. He flipped over KdKc for the rivered nut flush. The woman then flipped over AsAh for a rivered set of aces. Wow, talk about a rigged fucked up game. AA vs KK vs QQ, and both AA and KK smooth limped / called preflop, crazy stuff!

This terrible hand brought me down to around $500 again, my starting stack. To avoid tilt and too much thought in general, I left my chips at the table and went to get something to eat. Clever decision.

Later on I had another interesting hand. I get Qs9s on the button. Everybody limps before me, literally, everybody, so i limp with the hopes of flopping a flush, straight or something good. The SB raises it up to $20, and again everbody limps, as do I. The flop comes QhAh9h which gave me bottom two pair, though it was a monotone board. It’s checked around to a semi-aggresive player that had a serious tendency to overplay his hands, he bets around $200 into the middle. The pot is like $160 before this. Now what would he bet so hard here? He certainly wouldn’t do it with the made flush, most likely it’s a hand that’s scared of the flush, it could easily be AK. To shorten it up, i go into the tank and conclude that the risk of him having AQ / the made flush is simply too great, so i fold. The rocky guy from earlier instapushes his stack of like $1k, and the action’s back to the semi-aggresive player. He thinks for a long timem and finally mucks his hand, he shows it to the table… AdQd. The rocky guy won’t tell what he had. It is however later on suggested that it was a bad laydown, I’m very satisfied with my laydown though.

As the night progressed we got increasingly shorthanded, much to my joy. We played 5-handed for a long time, and I loved it since clearly nobody else knew how to adapt. In this period of time i brought my stack up to around 950ish again. The chat was getting really friendly since we’d all been playing together for like 5-6 hours, only one of the guys were talking in toungs sine he’d been drinking all night.

It was clear that the people respected me and my game very much, and they could see that I was an above average player. At one time one of the guys (Kyle) asked me where i was from. I gave him a taunting smile instead of answering (he could see the joke), so he started guessing: “Sweden? Norway? Finland?” I told him to try the last scandinavian country. A couple of seconds passed before he finally guess, “Holland?”.

I ended the session at around 4:45 AM when our table broke up due to it being only 4-handed.

Result for this session: $422
Overall cash game result: $422

Mark S. Rasmussen
I'm the CTO at iPaper where I cuddle with databases, mold code and maintain the overall technical & team responsibility. I'm an avid speaker at user groups & conferences. I love life, motorcycles, photography and all things technical. Say hi on Twitter, write me an email or look me up on LinkedIn.