Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Casino Arizona


I got in to Phoenix late Monday night, hopeful that I would have enough time to check out the games at Casino Arizona. Fortunately, I found out I had no obligations until dinnertime Tuesday, so that gave me all day to gamble it up.

When I got in the cab, I quickly learned that there were two casinos called Casino Arizona, each about equidistant from my hotel. It's so stupid to name your casinos the same thing, especially when they're only about four miles from each other. I also didn't like that at Holland Casino. Come on guys, show some originality.

Anyway, I told the taxi driver to take me to the larger of the two. Unfortunately, there was no poker (except 3-card poker) at the McKellips location. I sat at a blackjack table for about 15 minutes, lost $7 and decided to get the hell out of that money hole.

I promptly found a cab to the other Casino Arizona at Indian Bend, and I was really happy I did.

It had 46 tables spreading limits from 3/6 to 80/160. Betting in no limit games was capped at $150 at a time, so the no limit tables were either 5/150 (with 3/5 blinds and a $350 max buy-in), or 10/150 (with 5/10 blinds and a $1,000 max buy-in). I got on the list for 10/150 but sat down at an open 5/150 table.

I'm convinced that no matter what casino I go to in life, no matter what the stakes, that at least half of the players at every table will be complete idiots. I looked up at the TVs on the wall and saw a commercial for DeVry Institute, and their slogan was, "People are smart." No they're not. They're dumbasses who think it's a good idea to come to a casino and lose their money, hopefully to me.

Even in four hours of play, I saw some crazy things. I was a woman raise and reraise her $1,000 stack all-in, $150 at a time, with only AJ for top pair, shitty kicker on an A35 board. The other guy had A5, which held up. I got all in three ways preflop with KK against J9 and another hand that mucked. Of course, the J9 hand flopped top pair, turned two pair and rivered a full house.

In one hand, I posted from the cutoff after taking a bathroom break and got to see a free flop with 43o. The flop came 52x, giving me the open-ended straight draw. A middle position player bet pot, about $25, and I called. The turn and river were both checked down, and I didn't improve.

"I think you can beat a 4 high," I said, as I tossed my hand into the middle.

"Wait, that's what I have," said the other guy in the hand.

I quickly snatched my hand back before it touched the muck or the dealer's hand. My opponent also had 43, and we chopped the pot with both of us holding the nut low. That had never happened to me before. Of course, I could have bet and taken down the pot, but then I wouldn't have the story.

There were only two other hands of note. In one, I raised preflop with AK and got a caller from the button. The flop brought an Ace, and I bet my hand the whole way until my opponent was all in. Amazingly, my AK held up in an all-in confrontation. That doesn't usually happen.

In another hand, I saw a free flop from the big blind with J4o against a bunch of limpers. The flop was AJJ, and I bet it out. I got two callers. I bet the turn again, and this time only the utg limper called. Before the river, the utg player asked, "How big is your kicker?"

That gave me a pretty sick feeling, so I checked and called his $100 river bet. He flipped over AJo for the flopped full house after limping with that crap utg. If I were playing better, I could have folded, but I was thinking that he was so loose that his range included a ton of hands I could beat. Also, with the A and a 9 out there, I thought we might chop the pot even after his comment.

Overall, I lost about $250, which isn't too bad. On another day, I might have been up $1,000. I bet the mid-stakes limit games are also good, although I don't know whether I'll have time to go back to the casino.

I'm easily annoyed by kids who won't shut up about their bad beats and old farts throwing away their retirement checks, but I'm consoled that much of the time that money winds up in my pockets.


Craig Cunningham said...

Casino Arizona was the beginning of poker for me, playing in my first $4/8 LHE there. I used to go to Phoenix a good bit and lived there (actually, I most often lived at the Ritz-Carlton or one of the other resorts). I think it's one of the best limit card rooms in the US, although I never played no-limit there.

Ryan said...

I need help. I play daily at Casino AZ. I recently left medical school and a 100K per year job so i could move out west to be with my sick father. I am readig/studying/playing poker non stop when i am not with my mom and dad so that i can spend more time with them later as opposed to the rigid schedule of a 9 to 5 job( or Dr.) I'm doing well... but could be doing alot better. I havent been able to find any postings or books on the particularly unique type of poker they play there. 5/150 is a semi spread limit/no limit game. I have a good undertstanding of it but i would really like some help/tips from all of you pros on how I could improve my game at this level. I could go to vagas and play true no limit but that would defeat the fact that i need to be close to my family right now in this very tuff time. I work hard and dont quit, and really feel poker is my calling. SO any tips would be greatly apprecated. Thanks for you help in advance.