MGM National Harbor Trip Report
My trip to D.C. went pretty well in terms of my goals. I put in 38 hours at the tables, which I was pretty happy about even though I fell just short of the 40 hours I was looking to hit. I also meditated three times, studied for about four hours, and unfortunately neglected to run at all. Results wise, the trip was kind of a bummer. While I did manage to book a small profit, it was quite below expectation. Fortunately, my only real expense for the trip was gas as I was lucky enough to be hosted by a child-hood friend of mine who’s living in the D.C. area (shout out to Rocket!).
I only played 2-5 NL while in D.C. and I have to say the games were pretty stellar. It seemed that National Harbor had 6-8 games running around the clock, and of the one’s I played in, 95% of them were softer than the average game at the Jack. Some of them were even softer than the average 1-3 game, which was pretty unreal. Unfortunately, I was unable to capitalize majorly in any of these games, mostly as a result of card-deadness and 2nd best-hand-syndrome. Still, it was a real treat to actually be able to table select at the 2-5 level, and definitely pushed my urge to get out of Cleveland quite a bit.
My only real complaints with National Harbor are the wait-lists and the comp-money system. The wait-lists were fine during the week, but on the weekend, I spent at least 2.5 hours sitting around waiting for my name to be called. There’s not much MGM can do about this, at least right now, but the rumor I kept hearing was that they were going to expand the poker-room sometime in the near future. Given the room currently only has 39 tables and was having 50+ people wait-lists on the weekend, I’d advise them to get on that sooner rather than later. The comping system was also a real drag. While they give you $2/hr for playing poker (which is a nice step up from the $1/hr at the Jack), they make you jump through hoops to access your comp money. Anytime a poker player wants to use money they’ve been comped, they have to go up to one of the floor-people and ask to have access to however many dollars they want to use. The floor person then sets it up so you can make one purchase, but if you fail to use all of the money you requested, that money is lost forever. So basically, if you ask for $12 but only end up needing $10, you’re out $2. Obviously, this isn’t a huge deal, but it was annoying having to request access each time I wanted to get something to eat and I struggled to understand why the casino would be doing it this way. It seems that it only creates extra work for the floor-people, but maybe I’m missing something.
Tough Spot Vs. an Undercover Reader
The villain in this hand was later found out to be a reader of this blog. I wasn’t aware of it at the time, however, so the descriptions given are based on the information I had at the time of the hand.
Game: 2/5 NL
Hero: (1050) on the CO with KdQd. Hero has been playing pretty LAG in the 2 or so hours at the table. If my memory is correct, I had only gotten to showdown once with K9o on a KJxxx board where I raised to $40 OTB over a few limps and then called 3 smallish donk bets vs. a fish. Villain was likely very aware of my aggression and probably views hero as professional.
Villain: (2500) on the button. Late 20’s-Mid 30’s in a classic grinder uniform: hoodie, backpack, and headphones. Villain stacked hero in hero’s first hand at the table. A quick recap of that hand: hero opens to 35 in a straddled pot from CO with 66, villain calls OTB, straddle calls. Flop: Ks9s6x, straddle leads for 50, hero raises to 130, villain 3bets to 330, straddle folds, hero calls. Turn: 4x, hero checks, villain jams for 650ish, hero calls and loses to 99. Other than that hand, I don’t think villain had gotten to showdown. Had been playing pretty TAG from what I’d seen.
Preflop: (7) Two limps to hero who raises to 30, villain 3bets to 100, folds back to hero who calls.
This seems pretty straightforward to me. While I’ve mostly seen villain play on the nittier side, I still think he’s capable of 3betting light sometimes, especially with how LAG I’d been playing. I think he’s definitely 3betting all of his JJ+, AK, and likely AQ as well. I’m not exactly sure what his 3bet bluffing range looks like, but I’d imagine it’d be a good amount of Axs and possibly some suited connectors as well.
Flop: (210) 6s4s2h. Hero checks, villain checks.
When villain checks here I think a lot of his range is A-high type hands looking to get to showdown as cheaply as possible. While I do think villain should be checking some of his over pairs some of the time on this kind of board texture, I didn’t think this opponent was necessarily that sophisticated (at the time of the hand).
Turn: (210) Qc. Hero bets 125, villain raises to 350, hero calls.
I think betting or checking are both ok from my point of view. Given how aggressive I’d been, I expected to be able to get two streets of value from A-high (at least some of the time) so decided to start betting now. When villain raised, I was honestly very confused. I really just didn’t (and still don’t) see what hands he’s credibly repping. At the time, I thought AA/KK/AQ were basically the only value hands he could have here (AA/KK somewhat discounted as they’d often bet OTF). In hindsight, 35s may also be possible. However, I think at least some of the time villain would flat with those hands in order to induce a second barrel from me on the river. All of that said, it’s hard to imagine hands with which villain would be bluffing. I’d expect him to bet a lot of his flush and straight draws on the flop, but I suppose he could be taking a weird line with those some of the time (full disclosure, I didn’t consider this to be a much of a possibility in game). I also do think a frustrated AK is possible although it’d be a pretty spewy line to take IMO. I ultimately decided to call because I’m pretty far up in my range and villain’s line was quite strange, which in my experience weights his range towards bluffs.
River: (910) 3d. Hero checks, villain thinks for 10-15 seconds and jams for 600 effective, hero tanks, puts on his hero-calling cape, and makes the crying call.
It was so lost in game when villain pulled the trigger here. I didn’t think it was very likely at all for villain to have any kind of 5x here, as I thought many of those hands would be betting OTF. I also didn’t think it was too likely for villain to be going for thin-value with AA/KK/AQ, so it was hard for me to put villain on a hand that beats me. Given I only needed to be good about 28% of the time for this call to be profitable and I did think it was at least a possibility that villain was spazzing out with AK or some kind of other weird bluff, I decided to make the crying call. Unfortunately for me, villain rolled over 8d5d for a straight and stacked me for 200 BB’s for the second time in about 2.5 hours. Not to be results oriented, but I do think that calling OTR is a pretty substantial mistake. People so rarely bluff for large absolute bet sizes OTR that my default here should be to exploitatively fold, assuming we haven’t seen the villain get out line in similar prior spots (which we had not).
I later found out that the villain in question is a reader of this blog, so shout out to him for straight up owning me… lol. While I’m not happy with the results, I am happy that my losses went to a reader and not some random fish. Anyways, that’s all I’ve got for now folks. Tune in again next week. Until then, peace, thanks for reading, and be sure to leave any comments/ questions below.