I got into Amsterdam early on Saturday and settled into my hotel room by about 9:00AM. Use a travel guide for finding a cheap hotel in Amsterdam. The last thing you want to do in this situation is to fall asleep, which will screw up your sleep schedule and pretty much doom you to a week of jet lag. So my plan was to wander around the city until 9:00PM or so and then get to bed at a normal time for this time zone.
Alas, the plan was thwarted when I ran into the Holland Casino, which was not even listed in my travel guide. I asked the person at the front desk whether they had poker and he confirmed they did – starting at 8:00PM. So after dinner and a little more walking around I got to the casino about 7:00, paid my €3.50 (as if they don’t make enough money they have to charge an entrance fee?) and played a few games I had no earthly business playing like Baccarat, which cost me €80.
The poker games started getting setup shortly after 8. They were spreading a 10/20 limit game with a €200 buy-in and a no-limit game with a min buy-in of €250 and a max buy-in of €500. Blinds were 5/5. Since I loath limit I signed up for the no-limit and within 20 minutes or so I had bought in for €250 and we had a 10-handed game going.
My plan going in was to play very tight until I could get a better handle on how people were going to be playing and whether I could tell who the sucker was. Because if you can’t find the sucker odds are it’s you! Fortunetly it didn’t take long to determine that the sucker was the Indian guy with the huge wad of cash in his pocket, which everyone pretty much set their sights on from the beginning. He proceeded to fold at least 3 times in the first 5 hands when he could have checked for free – a sure sign the guy doesn’t know what he is doing. I’ll call him George.
Key Hand #1
I was playing tight so I hadn’t played a hand in the first orbit when I found K::sK::h UTG(Under The Gun). I mistakenly raised to €40 instead of the €20 I meant to because most of the chips we were using were €10 chips and both blinds had posted with €10 chips (they would get change back). But despite this I got two callers, George and the guy I’ll call the Guy on George’s Left.
The flop came K::dQ::d5::d. So the good news was I flopped top set. The bad news was there were a couple of draws out there and while unlikely even a possible made flush. With €130 in the pot and €210 in my stack I decided it was time to fish or cut bait and I pushed all-in. Both George and the Guy on George’s Left called. Uh oh. I don’t know if this is a European thing or not but nobody showed their cards even though both George and I were all-in. When the turn came the 7::d I knew I was behind and I yelled out “pair the board!” and someone listened because the beautiful Q::s hit giving me the full house. The Guy on George’s left showed A::dJ::h so he called with a straight draw and the nut flush draw that hit and George showed A::s4::c so he had called with nothing. This would be a trend for him. You’ve never seen 9 people so happy when he reached into his pocket and rebought for €500.
Key Hand #2
So I had tripled up and loosened up my play a little, staying pretty much around the €700 mark when the next key hand came along. After 6 limpers I limped from the button with A::cT::c. Flop came K::c8::s4::c. After a couple of checks George led out with a bet of €40 which I had already determined didn’t mean anything. I smooth called from the button and it was heads-u A card that wasn’t a club came on the turn and George bet another €40. I knew I couldn’t get him off any hand so I just called again and when the river came a club I had the nuts. George bet €40 again and I raised him to €100 and George called immediatly. I showed my nuts and George showed ten high. Yes you read that right, ten high. He called my raise with ten high. This pleased the table to no end because if anyone had any thoughts George was acting this pretty much sealed the deal that he was just a rich clueless guy looking to have some fun.
Key Hand #3
My stack was back down to €800 after I had to lay-down a couple of decent hands that I had re-raised with when the other guy re-re-raised all-in. I hate that and it would be a trend that would cost me later. In this hand I had K::s8::c in late position and loosely called a small raise from the Guy on George’s Left. Flop came K::d4::c8::s giving me two pair. It checked around to the Guy on George’s Left who bet €20 into a pot which must have had around €60 in it, so it was a small bet. I decided to smooth call and see what happened. It was heads-up between us when the turn came the K::c giving me the stone cold mortal nuts (well technically he could have also had K8 for a chop). Again he just bet €20. Now this was just rediculous and I had no idea what it meant but I knew I liked him in the lead so I just called again. The river came the third club and this time the Guy on George’s Left bet €80. I raised him to €200 and he re-raised me another €300. I pushed and he didn’t look too happy but he called anyway since it was just a little bit more. He showed J::c5::c for a Jack-high flush, which really surprised me as he had played it like he had the Ace-high flush. In any case I had doubled up to €1600 with my fullhouse and the Guy on George’s Left was crippled and quit.
As often happens when I get a big stack I loosened up way too much and tried to take away pots from people by re-raising. This worked a couple of times but a couple of other times it really hurt as I was re-re-raised and just couldn’t call. I really need to learn that I don’t always need to be the table captain.
So I drew my chip line in the sand at €1000 and at 2:00AM I limped my last nickle and when nothing hit the flop I folded and cashed out for a nice €750 profit, which while not as big as it could have been was still a nice take for a short night’s work.
So after a long time of no sleep I finally crashed at about 3:00AM and woke up around 11:00AM Sunday – and as I write this Sunday night I feel pretty good with no jet lag, and some spending money in my pocket. I may head back Wednesday night before I leave on Thursday but we’ll see. Day trip to Brussels tomorrow.