Exploring Midwestern Poker Part 4 of 5

After playing in the Oneida casino, I spent a couple of days in the area before we started to head back. It would take us a few days to get back to Las Vegas. On the day we left we made a quick stop for lunch with an old friend of my wife halfway to our destination for the night. As usual, there was nothing eventful about the drive. We kept going until we arrived at our destination in Council Bluffs, IA. It is a small city that sits on the Missouri river on the border just before you cross into Nebraska. There are at least 3 or 4 different casinos located there and we stayed at Harrah’s Council Bluffs.

When we arrived, I discovered that there was no valet just like the previous locations at which I had stayed. This did not surprise me as I was convinced at this point that everyone outside of Vegas had decided to get rid of complimentary service that was useful to guests. The check-in process went smoothly, and we got to our room with no issue. Dinner options were a limited since it was a Monday. The only thing that was open was this diner/grill place that was only open for takeout. The food was okay, but I remember the biggest complaint that we had is that part of order was not correct. Considering how long it took for the order to be prepared and the place being closed, I decided to just keep the food.

After dinner, I had made plans to go check out the poker rooms. I had not been able to make up my mind on where to go but from what I had seen on Bravo there seemed to be a few locations to pick from. I had thought about going to check out Ameristar. I walked downstairs and decided to check the app so I could get the address when I noticed a place called the Horseshoe. I decided to go there instead because it was a Caesar’s property. By now I had started to accumulate enough points that I could easily make Diamond status, so if I had the chance to play and earn rewards then that is what I would rather do.

The room at the Horseshoe is big. It looked like it had more than twenty tables. When I arrived one of their daily tournaments were still running and then there were a few cash games running. I was promptly sat at a $1/$3 game and my immediate read was there were a couple guys at the table that seemed to be tight, the rest of the table was average, and then there was one player that did not know what the action fold was. As I sat there and watched the game, I realized that this guy was in every hand. This is the type of player you want to play against, but you must be careful because they can easily out flop you. The night could easily swing down or up depending on how things went. I just settled in and waited for good spot to play.

Eventually I picked up pocket Queens and got my chance to double up, but I missed value in the end. Looking back at the hand now, I think I could have made a river bet regardless of whether I thought villain would call or not. Villain had just bought back into the game for $300 and had me covered by about $10. The UTG and +1 players had both limped in and when action got to me in the CO, I decided to raise up to $15 with my pocket pair. The BTN folds and then both blinds and both limpers decide to call. The pot is now $75. We see a flop of six of diamonds, four of clubs, and Jack of hearts. Villain in the small blind donks into three players for $15 and action folds around to me. I decide to raise it up to $55 and get called by villain. He did not call me right away and a part of me thinks I caught him off guard with my raise. We see a turn heads up. The pot is now $185. The turn pairs the board with a six of clubs. I do not like this card as there could easily be a six in villain’s hand but when he checks to me, I decide to put the pressure on him. I make a bet of $100, looking back at my notes I think I could have sized up a little and made it $125 or $135. As played, villain really took a while to call. He appeared hesitant to call the $100 bet. I was not sure if it was because he had just bought back into the game or if he was putting on an act. In the moment I honestly did not think he had that hard of a decision, if he has a Jack then call and hope to suck out. Villain called and the pot was now $385, and I had about a one third pot sized bet left. The river was a complete brick, it did not complete the backdoor flush or put any straights on the board. Villain checked again but this time I decided to take my showdown value and checked back. Not only did I want to see what he was calling me with, but I also was not sure where I was in the hand with the pair on the board. Thinking about it now, I think I could have jammed on the river and there was still a good chance that he would have paid me off. After I checked back, I waited for him to show his hand, but he did not. Eventually someone at the table said, “C’mon first one to show probably wins the hand.” I realized that villain was not going to show unless he was sure he had the winner, which also meant that the other player was also right. I tabled my hand and villain very slowly mucked his hand after checking it multiple times.

Eventually the game died out and I was moved to another table. Something interesting about playing there that I learned is that players are allowed to make the straddle any amount that they wish from the button. I am not sure about the UTG straddle. This makes for an interesting game because it was clear to me that most of the players there did not understand what a straddle will do to the game other than create some action. Soon I found myself in a hand that had a button straddle of $12. There was one limper when the action folded around to me, and I raised it from the CO to $40 with AQo. The straddler defended and we were heads up. We both check the flop and turn. When the river came the board was a two of hearts, five of clubs, six of spades, eight of hearts, and the Jack of clubs. I did not think that villain in this hand would check back a straight on the turn, so I took a stab at the pot, but my mistake is that I made the bet too small. I bet $45 and he called. Villain had rivered a pair.

Soon after I decided to cash out. It was getting late, and we had another day of traveling in front of us. The next day was going to be our last stop with a casino. The next morning as I was checking out of Harrah’s I noticed that they had a shuttle service to the Horseshoe. I had asked the poker room manager that was on duty the night before if there was a hotel and he had informed me that there was a Hilton that was attached to the casino but technically they did not have a hotel. So, if for some reason you find yourself in Council Bluffs, IA I would suggest staying at Harrah’s and just taking the shuttle over to the Horseshoe.

Click on this Google Maps link to see the route that I traveled – https://goo.gl/maps/pBzvb4pmvusGPDaU8. To get notifications when I make another post about my trip you can scroll down to the bottom of my blog site and subscribe to get email notifications.

Bizzy’s 2021 Gains: $4020.49

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