Wil Wheaton and I weren't holding hands, but it was appearing more and more as if we were on a date. Absinthe walked beside us, eying us as if we had morphed from his drinking buddies into a pair of lovers.
Me? Well, I was just lost. I'd spent my day off playing cheap mixed games with friends and then folding to a non-cash in Caesar's nightly 7pm tourney. When I finished, everyone else was either still playing or gone. Except for Wil and Ryan, who insisted I have gelato from the Italian joint in the Fourm Shops. Wil bought my pistachio dessert and made things better, if a little more on the "light in the loafers" side of the sidewalk.
"So, what now?" we asked each other.
"Let's go back and walk through the poker room and show off our gelato," we agreed.
And back we headed, dodging the line of paparazzi that had formed outside of Pure. I get the impression that Red Carpet events are really losing their uniqueness. Now, some girl I never heard of had her own red carpet an her guests were people I'd never seen before. Regardless, the paparazzi were clicking and shooting away. I wanted to scream, "Hey, I got Absinthe here! Son of a bitch made Day 3 of the WSOP! Oh, this guy, my date, the guy who bought me gelato? Yeah, he's mother fucking Wil Wheaton! He's widely read!"
The problem with all this (and my love for ice creams that have less than 35% air in them) is that by the time we got back into the poker room, I had eaten all my pistachio gelato. I tried to pretend I was still eating and show off for my friends who were stuck at the poker table, but I looked more desperate than I looked like I was enjoying myself. I was licking the inside of a plastic cup, like, "Yeah, bitch. I'm enjoying this stuff."
Wil and Absinthe looked at me like they had finally tired of my gelato fetish and bid me goodbye. And there I was left with nothing to do but leave or play cards. My gelato was gone. Wil and Absinthe were gone. G-Rob had been saying he was going to leave his table for the past four hours. Badblood was waiting on the drunk Norwegians. Pauly, Craig, and Change were whooping it up in the limit section of the room.
And, so, I sat down at the first table I could find. It was a $2/$5 no-limit, no-max game. To be honest, I'm always more comfortable buying into games with a max buy-in. I feel like it keeps lesser players from buying in and using a big stack and hyper-aggression to bully around people who buy-in with a reasonable amount of money.
This night, however, I was looking foward to the game. There was something in the air, something in mood of the table, and something in the gelato that made me want to play.
Before you wait for Part 2 of this small story, you should know I won all of $20 after playing for about five hours. This is not a big win story. This is a story about finding Ray Bitar in the one-seat, a bi-polar englishman in the two-seat, a tightbox in the four-seat, a tough Norwegian in the five-seat, an up-and-coming punk in the six-seat, a maniacal Asian grandfather in the eight-seat, and me cuddled up next to the dealer.
I bought in for a grand and settled in to watch $40,000 appear on the table.<-- Hide More
The halls surrounding the WSOP Amazon Ballroom were teeming with so many bad beat stories, if each one of the story tellers had paid his dollar, I could've bought my way into the main event. I tried not to stay in the hallways for too long, lest I start believing that poker was just a game that required not getting beat badly.
But I had to pee, and I had yet to find a private bathroom where bad beat stories weren't allowed.
That's when I ran into a flushed-faced Jay Greenspan.
When he started telling his story, I drifted off into the place in my mind I go when bad beat stories get started. It's a happy place, full of virgins and cheap beer. I would've stayed there, but I realized Greenspan was telling a story about a Pot Limit Omaha hand. Frankly, I rarely get to hear bad beat stories that involve Omaha hands, so I started listening again .
When I rejoined the convesation, Jay was telling me that by the turn, he had the nut straight with a flush re-draw on an un-paired board. In short, he had a pretty damned good hand. What's more, he was in the pot with two other players and suddenly all of them had all of their money in the middle. This was no small game. It was a $2/$5 Pot-Limit game, but it was playing much bigger.
For half a second, I tried to figure out two things. First, I wondered how three people could get all their money in with one card to come. Second, I wondered what horrible fate was going to befall one of my favorite people in the poker writing world.
Jay didn't make me wait long to answer the first question. As it turned out, all three players held the nut straight. However, where Jay held the re-draw to the flush, one of his opponents held a re-draw to a higher straight. What's more, the other opponent also had a set, so if the board paired, he would make a full house or quads. Suddenly, the answer to the second question was a lot more clear. There were several ways Jay was going to lose the pot.
Jay looked at me with that look people always offer before they give you the kicker on their bad beat tale, and then said, "Queen of hearts on the river."
Wait! My mind raced. I hadn't been listening to the first part of the story. Did the queen pair the board? Did it make the other dude a higher straight? What happened?!!
Just as the word "river" came out of his mouth, Jay reached in his pocket and whipped out...more than $6,000.
Indeed, that heart made Jay's flush. It hadn't been a bad beat story at all.
So, that story is one of the reasons I like Jay. He's pretty good at the cliffhanger.
But that's not the only reason. Early on in the 2006 WSOP, Jay gave me an advance copy of his book, Hunting Fish: A Cross-Country Search for America's Worst Poker Players. In the few down hours I had during the WSOP, I read the book from cover to cover.
The title spells out the basic premise: Jay spends three months driving across America looking for good games full of bad players. Beyond that, Jay is trying to build a bankroll big enough to play the big no-limit games in L.A. That's a mid-five-figures roll, for those of you who aren't familiar.
I'm not going to give away anything about the book, but I want to tell you why I liked it. These are things I meant to discuss with Jay before the end of the WSOP, but by the end of the tournament, I just wanted to go home.
Unlike a lot of other poker books out there, Jay makes no attempt to make the poker world seem romantic. Jay's age puts him in the perfect place. He's not a middle-aged guy seeking to reclaim his lost youth. He's also not a guy who is new to the scene and thinks everything is dangerous, romantic, and gonzo. Much like Jay, the poker scene is what it is.
Jay's book is a good and easy read and I recommend it to anyone who is trying to build a bankroll or considering going pro. It's a sobering read that, hopefully, will make you think.
I have a couple of future posts planned based on some things I took from Jay's book. Those will come a little later.
Until then, have a good weekend. And keep your fucking bad beat stories to yourself, three-outer or not.
 Note: I don't have any notes on this conversation and I'm recalling it more than a month after it happened. However, I think I'm pretty close in my recollection. I'm sure Jay will tell me if I'm not.<-- Hide More
It's in the middle of the night--not to mention the middle of the week--in downtown Las Vegas and I get the sense that if a cinematographer was looking for a post-apocalyptic movie set, he would choose the emptiness under the Fremont Street Experience. I am the only one breathing within earshot and I'm breathing hard. The 2:00am Binion's tournament starts in two minutes and I am nowhere near the tournament room. Wil Wheaton is hungry--starving maybe--and on the verge of homicidal low blood sugar madness. My brother, Dr. Jeff, would say this low blood sugar shit is for the birds, but at the moment I'm not listening to Dr. Jeff. I'm listening to Wheaton, who needs a sandwich. Or peanuts. Or a bag of sugar.
On the Strip, I could've wandered into Fat Burger and picked up something greasy to soil Wheaton's cards. Instead, there's nothing. Nobody is breathing. There are no hookers, no strip club denizens, no hustlers. For a moment, I longed for a New Orleans Lucky Dog vendor. Wheaton would never eat it, but it would be a good way to tilt him.
No, I've made it my mission--as a friend, as a fanboy, as the primary reason we'd ended up in a Stephen King version of Las Vegas at 2am--to make sure Wheaton survives long enough to actually compete for the last longer bet we've made with Absinthe and Spaceman.
The only problem is, Stephen King didn't write a diner into this zombie movie and I have a tournament to play.
Absinthe would later write that no one should listen to me after one in the morning. Apparently, I am incapable of rational thought after Vegas' version of the 13:00 hours. That night, the same night Phil Hellmuth won his tenth bracelet, my friends had no such warning. They'd mistakenly hopped on the Otis Tilt-a-Whirl and were on the ride for the duration.
Our ride took us from the now infamous confines of the Tilted Kilt, to the side of the poker table as Phil Hellmuth celebrated his tenth bracelet, to the Ultimate Bet hospitality suite, to a taxi cab where the driver told actual fish stories and tried to convince the lot of us that Treasures strip club had the best steak house in all of Vegas.
Ultimately, we landed in front of Binions and in another world. We stood in front of the place that made the World Series of Poker famous. It was where Hunter Thompson, Al Alverez, Tony Holden, and Jim McManus had found the inspiration for each of their most famous books. Nearly every poker legend that we knew had made their bones inside the rundown building. As recently as one year before, Binion's still played host to the biggest event in all of poker--and, arguably, the richest event in all of sports or gaming.
Now, it was 1:58am and I had more name recognition than most people within stumbling distance. I would learn this half an hour later when the dealer looked up at me and said, "You're Otis" and the guy in the one seat said, "Holy shit, you are Otis." A world where I get recognized is not a world that God created.
If it hadn't been for the complete vacuum enveloping all of Fremont Street, my footsteps would've echoed. It was not a cavern of despair. For despair to exist, it would require someone actually caring. Instead, it was simply a black hole for things forgotten.
Everybody knows the little shop I'm talking about. It's the place you go when every bar and every gift shop in Binion's has closed down for the night. It's the first corner store you see when you breach Binion's air conditioning and step into the superheated Vegas air. If it weren't for the completely depressing nature of such a store in the tourism capital of the southwest, it might be considered a beacon of hope. Instead, it was the only place I was going to find sustenance for Wheaton.
I jogged through the door and then sprinted past the zombie behind the counter. He mumbled something about "brains," and I thought, "None here, sir." With time being of the essence and all (the tournament was now starting in less than one minute), I let marketing decide how to best feed Wheaton's beast.
"Snickers satisfies," I thought. I was a zombie for a good marketing campaign. I grabbed one candy bar, then decided I couldn't be sure that Wheaton wasn't on the verge of real meltdown.
"Three oughta do it," I said to myself. I threw some money at the zombie and ran for the door.
As I reached escape velocity, I spotted a giant bin of cheap sunglasses.
"Yes," I thought, my 2:00am trance kicking in something fierce. Poker players wear sunglasses. I should wear them for the tournament.
Another voice, this one near my medulla oblongata (incidentally, I think the zombie was eying that particular cut of my noodle), spoke to reason. "You don't have time to buy sunglasses. The tournament is starting in thirty seconds."
I'm not sure where the third voice came from, but it was emphatic as Wheaton was when he said he needed food.
"Steal them," it said.
I've never been a thief. Outside of a few poker blinds and a piece of gum from a corner store when I was a kid, I've always shied away from a life of theft. Still, it made so much sense. The bin of shades sat right by the door. I was already nearly sprinting. No one would catch me. What's more, I would be the envy of every 2:00am tournament player. The 22-year-old recovering alcoholic on my right would ask to borrow them. James Souza (onetime WSOP final tablist turned Binion's $110 tournament regular) would forget that I sucked out on him and compliment me on my ability to turn downtown Las Vegas fashion on its ear. The waitress who learned to bring me a drink every time she came by would ask me what I was doing when she got off at 6:00am.
In short, I needed the glasses and I was willing to resort to a life of crime to get them. Indeed, I would steal the sunglasses.
Just as my brain forced my hand toward the overflowing bin, my eyes fell on a hand-printed sign hanging on the display.
It read: DON'T STEAL.
The world stopped. Wheatons' Snickers began to melt in my hot hand. Suddenly, the tournament and making it to the table on time meant nothing.
The zombies were one step ahead of me and that meant they had more brains than I did.
Everything beyond that moment is a matter of poker. It was a practice in crapshoot action, late night hijinx, and short-stack strategy at the final table. It was Souza saying (after I sucked out on him), "I didn't realize you'd been drinking." It was the young alcoholic asking me to move over because I "smelled like beer." It was Wheaton, Absinthe, and Spaceman sweating me at the final table and imploring me to bubble.
It was, in short, fun.
Still, as we sat down in the cab and settled up on the last longer, there was no escaping the fact that we were likely leaving a casino that won't exist in the near future. Like an old man who has outlived every member of his family, there was no one left to care whether Binion's lives or dies. We young travelers were hoping to find some breath of the excitement Binion's used to symbolize. We were left with the smell of cigarette-burned carpets and the sound of doors that closed before we even got there. While there was universal uneasiness about the way Harrah's was now running the World Series of Poker, there was no questioning that poker had outgrown its home and that Thomas Wolfe was probably right.
Still, Wheaton's belly was sated and I had somehow escaped transformation into a thief or a zombie's dinner. We had set out looking for adventure and we had found it. Like they say, it's not really about where you're going, but how you get there.
We left downtown Las Vegas as the sun rose over Vegas. The zombies would go back to their holes and we would go to bed knowing that, even if no one else cared, we had sat with Binion's as it slipped a little closer toward irrelevance and its ultimate demise. We were a hotel's hospice and it whispered to us as it drifted away.<-- Hide More
There is a story about my grandpa that could very easily fit on this page. Instead, because it is more personal than poker, I wrote it on my other blog. If you're at all interested, feel free to read Grandpa was a Gambler.
Boy Genius and I are ready to hit it big. We've been practicing our handicapping, making the appropriate sacrifices to the gods of luck and rebuilding our Pick 6 strategy. That means now is the time, and we need your help.
We're looking for those willing to put a small part of their bankroll on the line for a chance to hit it big. We are going to make a big Pick 6 bet at Arlington Park in about two weeks (not this coming weekend, but next weekend).
What do you have to do? Not much. All you have to do is put up $50 (we may do half shares for $25, too). BG and I will do all the hard work. The potential payoff is in six figures if we hit all six, and more than a grand if we hit just five.
So, if you want in, just drop me an email, or leave a comment here. I'll pass on all the details as we get closer.
The "Spring Hotel" is like most underground games, with that cheap homegame air and the same rotating roster of players. They rake 5% of every pot with no cap. They give us free pizza from some non-National chain and offer as much Sprite as we can pissibly drink. The same dealer is always there and at least half of the table is always players I know well. Most of them are middle class types, cable installers, construction foremen, and small scale contractors. They're uniformly awful at poker.
I've made a helluva living at the Spring Hotel. I've finally become the guy the other players talk about, the ringer in the room, which suits my agressive style just fine. Most of the time it's pretty standard stuff, but I thought you, dear reader, would get a kick outta last night.More in this Poker Blog! -->
I'm in for $800. You read that right. I'm getting killed. It's unusual, but it happens. The max buyin is $200 and I've only brought $600. I had to take a marker for the last buy.
90 minutes later, I've built it back to $750 and I'm starting to play my game.
Then it happens.
I have J9 offsuit. It's limped 4 times to me and I limp as well. Then the man on the button, in the 10 seat, bumps it to $15.
Flop is J-9-5 with 2 clubs.
I know the 10 seat well, he never stops betting, and I decided to let him act. I check and, sure enough, he bets another $15.
I bump it to $65 and he calls. Honestly, he could have anything, but I'm most concerned about the flush.
The turn is a 7 of hearts. That means there's a SECOND flush draw on the board. I bet $125.
He instantly goes all in. He has me covered.
I'm stunned. The only thing I'm worried about is a set.
Then he says, "Would you like to see it? I'm happy to take your $125."
"Sure," I say without acting.
He shows... Q-10 offsuit.
He has a straight draw. The total bet now, including my $125, is $663.
For a full minute I kept staring at the board, I was sure there was something about his hand that I just wasn't seeing.
I win a $1400.00 pot.
I'm still baffled.
Later he claimed he thought he already HAD the straight and misread his hand. He was trying to keep me from calling with a flush draw.
Its a $700 gift.
A friggin' GIFT!
This is why I LOVE the Spring Hotel.<-- Hide More
WPT photographer Paul Hannum died suddenly during the WSOP when his appendix burst. I did not know him personally, but from what I've heard from others, he will be missed in the poker world.
The lovely Jen from Absolute Poker alerted me to a charity tournament being hosted by one of our favorites, Gavin Smith:
When: Tuesday August 29th, 7pm
Where: Bicycle Casino in Bell Gardens, CA (during the WPT Legends of Poker)
Buy In: $1,000 (play for prizes, money goes to charity)
UPDATE: Prizes Announced!!
FIRST PRIZE: 25K Seat WPT Championship Event at the Bellagio
SECOND PRIZE: Paradise Poker Conquest Prize Package (May 12-18th, 2007 Atlantis Resort, Bahamas which includes $5200 seat to the Conquest of Paradise Island Main event, 6 nights accommodations at Atlantis, plus $1K cash to your Paradise account)
THIRD PRIZE: Seat into the WPT Invitational
If you are interested in playing, email Kristin Cranford at this email address: kristin -@- pokerpadz.com
All the proceeds will go to Paul's fiancee Sarah Percey and their unborn baby girl who's due in October. If you can't get to the tournament and still want to donate, you can go to the Baby Hannum website.
The girl had piercings where momma wouldn't have liked them. She sucked on vodka and Red Bulls and stacked ceramic poker chips in front of her. She had seven blue Palms chips and an absent button on the table's racetrack. And she looked like she wanted to ride the spikey-haired kid beside her until the sun rose over the Nevada desert.
"I don't know about you," Wil said to the kid, "but if she were looking at me the way she's looking at you, I wouldn't be playing poker right now."
I played very little serious poker during my six-week Vegas stay. I played maybe 20 hours of $2/$5 no-limit hold'em, two hours of $20/$40 limit, five or six satellites ranging from $175 to $525, five tournaments that ranged from $110 to $225, and one $1,500 WSOP event. All in all, it was not a profitable trip. Among my friends, I had the distinction of making two final tables and having exactly no money to show for it.
In fact, I only had fun playing cards four times in six weeks. One time was a $2/$5 game that had nearly $40,000 on the table (that may be a story for another day). The other three times were playing low-limit ($3/$6) mixed games with my fellow writers and PokerStars employees.
"She's a Keno player," Spikey said, eying the young lady. He might have been serious.
I couldn't figure the guy out. When he sat down, he pretended like he'd never played HORSE before. It's the same thing I've heard from lots of players who consider themselves experts. They think they are hustlers and plan to roll the table for all it is worth. This guy was an exception. He really had no idea what he was doing. And not just in poker. This girl wanted to lick every part of his barely post-pubscent body and make him beg for her to stop.
He wanted to play poker with us.
To be fair, at first, I thought she was a hooker. She had more of a hustler's eye than her beau. She had a look that said, "I'm going to take your money and you're going to enjoy it."
However, as the hours passed and her man ran out of money, she stayed. It was evident that she was caught up in the poker player's circle. It's the tilt-a-whirl ride that goes with being a poker player's woman. Her man wants to play, and figuring it means more money or better sex for her, she waits. Most of these women are either gold-diggers or hopeless slatterns who have little chance of finding a man who will love them outside of poker circles.
This girl was just as stuck as Spikey. When she walked away to have a cigarette, her guy went bust. Just to keep the game going, Blue Rabbit and Dan each gave the kid $50 to keep the game going. By the time the girl came back, Spikey was sucking so hard on the poker pipe, he'd completely forgotten he could've gotten laid in a way that would shock most of the sex workers in Las Vegas.
Sharon said, "Excuse me," and elbowed Wil out of the way. My better hand had just held up, and despite her desperate attempts to suck out on me, she had come up with the loser. A half-second later, my towers of chips lay in a giant pile of semi-ruin. Sharon's swat had done a wrecking-ball's work and everybody was laughing.
I took it in stride. Sharon is a friend and a damned good poker player. HORSE at the $3/$6 level is no fun for her unless she is playing every hand and sucking out. I could understand. I'm much the same way.
The only problem was that she started a bit of a trend. Anything I did to piss off another player ended with my towers turning into a pile. Suck out on my boss? Pile. Suck out on Wil? Pile. Have a real hand for once? Yeah, pile.
Eventually, the novelty wore off for my opponents. As the hour grew late and the drinks started to take hold, the effort of standing and swatting became too much.
From the end of the table came a request for Spikey's woman. "I'll give you five dollars to knock his chips over."
As she already had seven unexplained chips sitting in front of her, I knew what was coming. As she leaned in, I could smell her. As she swatted my tower, I wondered how Spikey could be having more fun burying himself in a losing session than burying himself in her.
To keep myself occupied, I started building my stacks in uneven towers. They were monuments to one last good time, one ultimate winning session, and the unexplainable relationship between Spikey and his non-courtesan.
I don't even remember what I did to deserve it, but, once again, the other end of the table was offering the lady $10 to knock over my stack again.
"Ten bucks," someone said. "That's worth it."
The girl was looking at the $12 blue ceramic chips in front of her. In slow motion, her head came up, her dark hair a haphazard frame for her young face. The smell of free poker room doughnuts mixed with her inexpensive perfume. Her eyes swam with well-controlled vodka and Red Bull. She didn't slur when she mused, "Worth it?"
She turned her stare toward me and said, "What's it worth to you for me not to do it?"
That's how I left Las Vegas. As Wil drove me back to my hotel, the sunrise glinted off the Bellagio and I thought about how Vegas will turn anyone into a hustler. It's the desperation that goes along with going broke or loving someone who is about to. It's the sunrises that, instead of waking up to see, you find at the end of your night. It's the need for affection or the ability to give it. It's the yearning for human touch and the supply and demand nature of the Vegas economy.
Several nights later, I woke up from a dream thinking one thing: Sex is the only form of contortion that requires rigidity.
After six sexless weeks in Las Vegas, I finally made it home, as rigid as necessary. Spikey still sits in the back of my mind. I wonder if his lady used her $12 to buy a new sex toy to keep her occupied or to tip the room service guy after he brought the whipped cream. Spikey was barely 21 and already he is ignoring what is certainly good lovin' for the rush that comes from raking in piles of chips. It's amazing what a stack of meaningless ceramic discs can do to one's perspective.
"What's it worth to you for me not to do it?" she had asked.
I never gave her a real answer. Why? Because I would've given her the ten bucks to knock over my chips and make sure I never stacked them up again.<-- Hide More
Lessie shall we. Where did I leave off? You know, I'm checking online now for some supersavers to Oslo. Does Delta go there? Is it a connection in Atlanta? I could live in Norway for 18 months (that's exactly 1 winter) and then retire in my 30s.
Glory!More in this Poker Blog! -->
By now our friend in the 4 seat is pushing with every hand. Preflop. He's rebought for another $500 and is getting cocky about the $3-$12 he's scooping up each time.
I found AKo and decided to call. Actually, that's a pretty scary statistical edge against whatever he's holding and, to make the drama worse, he refused to show his cards until after the river is dealt.
Luckily, his 39o didn't improve and my ace high was good. Another $1000 pot comes my way.
He's rebought again.
So Blood and I have now been at this tabe for a good 90 minutes. The entire floor staff is watching in a semi-circle around our table. Players at the other tables have stood up to watch the carnage and, while there are open seats at the same limit, there's a waitlist for our game.
Most of the Norweigians are now totally broke. Their money stacked in cool pyramids of chips in front of seats 6-10. All of us have, at the very least, doubled up. Only 2 Norweigians are left. The guy in the 2 seat, who has decided to actually play poker, and DENVER! in the 4.
It was clear 2-seat was starting to come to grips with what had happened. Now, when DENVER! pushed all in, he'd say, "WHAT ARE YOU DOING???" then fold decent hands face up.
Then, it happened.
Folks, there is one sure sign that you're the worst player at the table. There's one ironclad way to tell that it's time to get up and leave. DENVER! is about to hear it.
He tried to push again, under the gun this time, but after mumbling all in he flicked his cards toward the muck and the dealer grabbed them. His action was dead. DENVER! was furious.
He grabbed the brand-new $500 he had in front, cradled in his arms because he was too drunk to ask for a tray, and started to walk away.
The sign he was right to leave? The table went NUTS!
"Noooooooo! Stay... Pleeeease!"
People stood up and begged. I asked how much we should all pitch in to make him sit again. We all agreed to fold around, to make the hand instandly dead for EVERYONE, and let him push all in right away.
"I can push all in?" he asked, seriously wounded by the previous aborted attempt.
"Yup," we said in unison, "Do it right now."
He sat down, and put his chips in the center, before the dealer was finished shuffling the cards.
The Chinese guy stacked him with a pair of Jacks.
THE ATM... at the ATM
It was bound to happen. DENVER! ran out of money. Here's another lesson he can teach us all. If you're drunk and losing, badly, do NOT go to the ATM. DENVER! did just that.
He locked up his seat with what looked like a Norweigian drivers license and stumbled out the door.
It was weird having to play poker in his absence. I got up for a bathroom break.
When I returned, so did he.
He had another $1000. He lost it in 20 minutes.
I love this guy.
Shortly after DENVER! busted for the night, Blood and I cashed out and headed to breakfast. It was the 2 of 4 nights on which I'd have breakfast at about 7AM. We'd cleaned out the Norwegians for several grand in about 2 hours.
DENVER! was standing in the sportsbook as we passed.
"Are you guys staying here?" he asked.
"No," we said, "we're at the Rio. What about you?"
"I'm staying here. I need to win back some money. Will you be playing here tomorrow?"
"DENVER!" I said, "You tell us where and when... we'll send a limo."<-- Hide More
For part one of our very silly tale, check out BadBlood on Poker.
I was already having a pretty good trip and had just added a fairly nice buzz. I'd done OK at the $500max NL game that afternoon, then busted in a tourney, then bought in for $1000 at the $2/$5NL table. The one good thing about Caesars, the players are just as bad but the buyins are bigger. It's good vibes all around.
I was up about $400 at that table when a very excited Otis sidled up to my left. You can tell when Otis is excited because his eyes go wide. Really wide. At the moment, I had a full 3d panorama of his entire eye sphere. Very good or very bad news coming...More in this Poker Blog! -->
"Blood's table is getting silly," he mumbled in typical Otis understatement, "5 very drunk Norweigans just sat down with gigantic piles of money."
I was off in a shot to get a table change.
"I need to move to table 1," I said to the man with the mic. He was obviously perterbed by my request because, for the length of my sentance he was unable to hear the sound of his own voice.
"That game's only 1/2," he said.
"Yeah, I know, and I don't want to play 1/2 UNLESS it's AT THAT TABLE!" I yelled, not meaning to scream but too excited to care.
By then I'd already cased Blood's game.
There was a short, almost childlike Norweigian in the 1 seat. He had long uncombed blonde hair and about $1000 in chips. He called every preflop raise but never raised. He saw every flop and hit almost none.
The 2 seat was a much larger man, who once quizzed me on the great cities of Norway. It slowed him down when I named the country's capital, but he was on fire again when he asked, "What's the largest industrial city?"
I guessed Manchester. The guy was apopleptic. On the bright side, he had about $850.
The 3 seat was a Norweigain so drunk he never said a word. He'd mumble occasionally. He kept showing his cards to the drunks on either side and then mucked in anger. I only saw him play 2 hands. He lost them both and lost $1000 in the process.
The 4 seat.
Oh GOD the 4 seat. He was about 6 feet tall and had tight curly hair. His chips, about $2000, weren't stacked but were in a pool of red and green. No matter who was in the pot, no matter his position, he raised. If someone had already raised, he pushed. I saw him push all in 4 times before I sat down. He kept it up later.
The 5 seat, Norweigian again, had just $500. He'd already paid off his countrymen on a few hands before I arrived.
The 6 seat was some sort of degenrate monkey who kept asking me for money. He didn't want to win it in a pot. He wanted to BORROW it. "I'm good for it," he said, "just ask anyone!"
I didn't ask.
The 7 seat was BadBlood. He had about $150
The 8 seat was some American type who couldn't seem to win. Even against these guys. It made me sad.
The 9 seat was a very friendly Chineese guy. During the night he gave me a full lesson in the rising ascendancy of the Chinese economy. I politely pretended to listen.
The 10 seat, thank God, was me.
When I sat down I was wearing sunglasses and an iPod. I kept it on during the bigger game because I was getting drunk and needed focus. The 4 seat immediately started in.
"Where are you from that you wear sunglasses inside," he screamed.
"I'm from Dover, Delaware," I answered, "I run a chartered deep sea fishing company."
"You go FISHING in DENVER!" he replied. "There are fucking MOUNTAINS in Denver! Take off those damn glasses."
"I think you're flirting with me, you want to see my eyes," I said.
"Every man has a price DENVER! I'll let you fist my ass for $500,000!"
"What if I take it to the elbow?"
A FEW HANDS HERE AND THERE
From the beginning it was clear exactly what we were up against. A few people on our end, the reasonable end, of the table would limp into a pot and one of the Norweigians would bump it to $30.
Then, the 4s would push all in.
Sometimes another Norweigian would call. Most times people folded. It was clear we'd see no flops.
So our end of the table made it explicitly clear. We'd stay out of each other's way and take the Nordic ATMs for everything they had.
On my third hand, I found pocket 6s.
I looked to the dealer, just to my left, and said, "If you flop a 6, I'll give you $10."
The Norweigians were first to act and I was only $30 when I came to me. I called.
The dealer flopped 6, 5, 9.
I gave hime $10, then pushed all in... for $1400.
(The casino let me bring my ENTIRE $1400 from the $2/$5 game to this one, despite the max buyin. It's because I was changing tables. It's unfair, but none of the reasonable players cared.)
The Norwegian in the 2 seat called for his $850. The one in the 5 seat called for another $530.
The 2 seat had a gutshot draw with 28o. The 5 seat had air.
We chopped the pot 3 ways.
TWO HANDS LATER
I have pocket 9s and call the $40 preflop raise with 2 others to see a flop.
I tell the dealer, "Flop a 9 and I'll give you $20."
The flop is 9, 5, 2. I have top set and push all in for $1400.
The Norweigian in the 2 seat goes deep in the tank and then finally folds.
The 5 seat calls. He has 9-10 offsuit.
I win the pot... which would be the third biggest I'd win at this table tonight.
THIS GAME ONLY GOT BETTER!
Read Part 3 of "Busting Fehljiglop" on BadBlood on Poker. I've got part 4 after that.
You won't believe this game.<-- Hide More
Two lucky Vegas vacationers had a chance to skip their flight home, if they felt like driving instead. Absolute Poker capped off their WSOP 2006 Expo experience by giving away a Dodge Truck and a Dodge Charger. It was simple, apparently. You get your hands on a ping pong ball and they let you try to open the door and start the car. The person with the right key wins. They gathered quite a crowd.
To kick things off, Absolute sent some random guy and a hottie in the back of the truck. I just wish I had gotten a better picture.
Things nearly erupted into a riot, however, when random guy announced there were six no shows and the hottie would toss ping pong balls into the crowd. I thought someone was going to die (I'd like to formally apologize to the elderly woman with the walker).
I wasn't able to stick around until the end, but Jen promised she'd let me know how it turned out. Either way, someone won some new wheels. I think I'd have fought a little harder for the ping pong ball if the hottie would have been part of the prize.