Nate Bell was a good kid. He was good looking, a charmer, and Eddie Haskel to my Wally Cleaver. He never actually commented on what a lovely dress my mother was wearing, but he might as well have. My Dad, while appreciating Nate's scheming ways and general sense for mischeif, never really felt all that good when I left the house to hang out with the kid from Nixa.More in this Poker Blog! -->
Dad was pretty justified in his worry. Trouble followed Nate like we poker players follow tilting players from online table to online table. On one particular night, we were just out from a midnight showing of The Shining at the theater on Battlefield. After leaving, we ran through a Hardees drive-through. My buddy Brad was driving, I was in the passenger seat (having mastered the art of Shotgun), and Nate was in the back (with a girl, as I recall, making me believe that maybe I wasn't as good at Shotgun as I thought).
I can't recall why, whether it was provoked, or the exact circumstances of Nate's middle finger extending from his hand. Nor can I recall how long it took the car load full of wrestlers from Glendale High to exit their car and make it to ours. All I know is that there was a building on our left, a row of hedges on our right, a car behind us, and the wrestlers in front. I also know I had to explain a rather bloody face to my dad the next day.
Nate was one of the nicest guys I've ever known, but trouble followed him everywhere.
That was a long preamble to a story about The Mark. Our travel woes getting to Tuinca have already been documented. I have not, nor will I, mention in any detail how we had not been in town for an hour before Mark was in a verbal altercation with another poker player. Nor will I list in any detail times past that have led me to believe the following:
The Mark is my new Nate Bell.
The Mark is a man of almost constant good intentions, and yet, like Nate, wherever Mark goes, trouble ain't far behind. In this particular case, trouble was trailing by about 15 minutes.
There was a lot of talk about dinner. Dinner, especially a sit-down meal, is always a priority with The Mark. He has a hard time eating alone and feels personally offended if you won't take a break to go have supper with him. This particular night, most of the blogger-types were looking to go out together. At first, I considered going. I was later told they were going to some cafe, and I became less interested. My game was pretty good and after about eight hours of play, I'd developed enough reads to make a little money.
All of that said, it was taking the bloggers a while to get rolling and The Mark was impatient. Noting an open seat at my table, he sat down to play for the 15 minutes he had to kill before he went to eat.
We played a few hands together before an old man, with whom I'd been sitting all day, returned from a walk.
"That's my seat," he said to The Mark.
When Mark sat down, there had been two empty seats at the table with about $250 in chips sitting in between the two empties. I knew the old man had been sitting in the two seat all day long. Mark sat in the three seat.
The Mark apologized in his own special way. Just when it appeared the situation was going to be resolved, the old man said, "And I had some hundreds sitting there."
The guy was, in essence, accusing Mark (who had $1000 on the table and much more in his pocket) of snatching a couple hundred bucks in paper.
"Man, I don't need your money," The Mark said.
"Floor!" the dealer yelled.
Now it was a sideshow. The old man was insisting he had left paper on the table. Mark was rolling his eyes and edging up to verbally combative. A crowd was forming, including G-Rob who called, "You going to ban this guy from the casino for shooting an angle?"
G-Rob had put just about as fine a point on it as was necessary.
I, too, recalled the old dude having some bills on the table after winning a hand about half an hour earlier. What I didn't see for sure was whether he ratholed the money when he went walking. What I did see for sure was Mark sit down, never touch the old dude's chips, and start playing as if the $250 in redbirds didn't exist.
Let's go to the tape.
Oh, yes. Now a floorman, his supervisor, and security were involved.
"I'm going to eat," Mark said, not surprisingly. "I'll leave you my name and phone number if you need to talk to me later."
The floor's silence indicated that would not be necessary. And Mark was gone.
A part of me wanted to go with them. Another part wanted to stick around and see how the silliness ended. And that's what I did.
"I can't play while this is hanging over me," the old man said, ever the victim. He stood on tthe rail and waited for 15 minutes while the floor talked to his supervisor. A few minutes later, the floor introduced the old dude to the suspervisor. They talked for ten minutes before the old guy, came back to stand and wait again. He told us they were still checking the tapes. Fifteen minutes later, the old dude sat down.
"So, what happened?" I said, knowing the answer already.
"What?" he said, a bit of his spirit gone.
"Did the cameras see who took your money?" I said, knowing the answer already.
"They didn't see nothin'," the old man said. Then he refused to post his dead blind and another fight began.
This one, thankfully, didn't involve The Mark.<-- Hide More
For some strange reason, we each traveled hundreds of miles to sit down at the same poker table. I drove 8 hours. Bad Blood and G-Rob drove 2 hours and flew a couple hours and Otis and TheMark spent 12 hours in travel hell. And yet, there we were, all at the same damn poker table. Five of us out of the 8-10 players seated at a time.
It was stupid, if I could be so bold.
And yet, when the night was over we all walked away with a little more money in our pocket. And it was all thanks to the furry coat.
Yes, the furry coat.More in this Poker Blog! -->
It started so well...
I collect my $600 in chips and sit down to G-Rob's right. Frankly, I didn't want to sit that close to him. But there I was, nonetheless. My first hand, I squeeze AsJs, and raise four limpers up to $20. G-Rob calls, of course, and so do the other limpers. Guess respect is earned at this table.
The flop comes A-x-x rainbow. It's checked to me, I bet $100, and take it down. I'm up $100 after my first hand. This rooooolz.
I lose for the next two hours. That doesn't rule. And I moved seats.
"Hi, Jacqueline. I haven't won a pot in hours, can you help me?"
"I don't know," she tells me.
"Well, let's make a deal. I'm going to tip you 10% of my next pot."
She laughed, "Well..." she trailed off. Then she leaned over to G-Rob, who was in the 10 seat, but decided not to say what she wanted to.
On the very next hand, I look down at 6c4c. It's not the kind of hand I'd normally play, but it was limped to me and I tossed my $5 chip into the pot. Of course, it's raised behind me and I end up calling another $15. Well, maybe I'll get lucky.
Jacqueline burns a card and slides out a flop of 7c8cKc. I flopped a flush. It's checked around. The turn is the 9 of diamonds. This time a kid in the SB leads out for $25. I smooth call and am delighted to see the furry coat behind me raise to $75. When the kid calls, I decide to just call, hoping to get even more in on the river.
The river is the J of hearts. The kid checks and I bet $100. Furry coat raises to $200. The kid calls the $200 and I push for the rest of my money. If my flush is beat, I'm going broke. But I'm 99.9% sure it's good.
The furry coat squeezes his hand up for the rest of the table to see. He's struggling with his decision. I figure he's got a T and doesn't want to be pushed off the straight. I'm not worried when he calls because, frankly, he's terrible. He's already donated more than a grand to the G-Vegas crew.
When the kid agonizes over his decision, I know my flush is good. I'm positive he's holding a T and he doesn't want to lay it down. He calls as well.
I flip over my flush and four of the players at the table are shocked. The G-Vegas crew had no doubt. The kid flips over AcTd. He was open-ended and on the nut flush draw on the turn. I can't blame him for seeing the river. And I can't blame him for making the last call since he wasn't sure I had the flush. He hit his card and there was a ton of money in the pot.
The furry coat flipped his cards over too. He was almost proud of his hand, yet disappointed it didn't hold up. Any guesses? Try the 6h5c. Yeah, he turned the 9-high straight. That's why he raised me on the turn. When the J likely counterfeited his hand, he wasn't ready to lay it down.
After the cards were shown, Jacqueline looked at me and smiled, pointing to G-Rob, she said, "I was going to tell him that after the deal there was no way I was going to push you a pot."
"Don't worry, I'm The Luckbox," I told her, holding up my Luckbox.
She pushed the massive pot my way.
"Let me count this up and see what I owe you."
When the chips were counted, the pot came up to $1170. It's one of the biggest live pots I've ever won. I slid a $100 stack Jacqueline's way and tossed her another 17 bucks. She earned it.<-- Hide More
It was late and I'd just mucked an $800 full house. I'll save that story for another time.
I cashed out my now narrow profit and took the escalator downstairs to play the -EV games I love. Otis and Luckbox were playing Pai Gow.
Here's what happened....More in this Poker Blog! -->
I bought in for $300 I think. It's hard to remember because I was also ordering two drinks, a shot and a beer, at a time. Actually, a lot of that night is hard to remember. I do know Otis and I were following the time honored tradition of betting $75-$100 per Pai Gow hand and getting blasted all the while.
For many of the hands we'd put a good $5 chip out for the dealer, "Michael", to win. Each Pai Gow he dealt himself was worth a good $30 for him.
Meanwhile, at the next table, (I remember it as a blackjack table and Otis says it was 3 card poker) there was a woman with her back to us who'd scream with every good hand. It was a wall rattling shriek. Truly impressive.
We decided that the next time Micheal threw himself a Pai Gow, we'd ask her to shreik for us.
Sure enough, the Pai Gow came.
I tapped her on the shoulder and said, "Excuse me. We were admiring your shreik and our talbe just won too. Could you give us a shriek?"
Later, while I wasn't watching, this woman cashed out and another woman sat down.
Again our table won on a Michael Pai Gow.
I turned to the new woman and tapped her on the back.
"Pardon me," I said, "the woman who was here before had a truly great shreik. I was wondering...could you shreik for us too?"
Then the unexpected...
The woman rose from her seat and crowded my shoulder.
"I'll do you one better," she stammered, "I'll show you my tits!"
The woman had her shirt and bra completely over her head exposing some of the longest, deepest and darkest stretch marks in recorded history to our stunned table...and at least 500 cameras.
Then she started molesting me.
Soon her slightly less drunk friend appeared and whisked her to her room.
I bet $200 on the next Pai Gow hand.<-- Hide More
It was Sunday afternoon and the NFC playoffs were on TV. The poker room was made up of the people who didn't have the cash to make it into the World Poker Open main event. Everybody looked a little tired, unshaven, and ready to be somewhere--anywhere--else.
I'd gone out to go to the bathroom. On my way back, I saw a guy bust out of the main event after only a couple of hours. His girlfriend stood outside the door with him and only said, "Now we can go home."
We, a conspicuous group of poker players from a place we would often describe as "All Over," were about to go home, as well. We were in the waning hours of a four-day trip to Tunica, Mississippi. We planned to leave for the airport at 5pm. It was just after 4pm when I walked back into the poker room and The Mark was standing up.More in this Poker Blog! -->
If you haven't been to the Gold Strike in Tunica during a January tournament season, you're missing out on a fairly unique experience. I liken it to a weekend high school lock-in. Hundreds of people, by choice or by circumstance are forced together into a place they normally wouldn't be. In Tunica, the choices are slim. You can play poker or you can gamble.
The Mark was facing people who wanted to do both.
Though we didn't know it until we'd been in town for a few days, there was many a discussion had about the five of us. G-Rob, Luckbox, BadBlood, Mark, and I had been in town since Thursday, and apart from a few hours on Thursday, had made it a point to avoid having the lot of us seated at one table. Still, people were talking--more than I thought. In fact, there was one group of players that apparently sat down and had lengthy discussions about us, our individual styles, etc. On this final day, however, it was of no matter. We were just killing time until it was time to leave.
Mark and I were playing in a $2/$5 game with no max on the buy-in. Over the course of a few hours, I'd worked my $1,000 up to around $1,500. Mark had been doing a bit better and had around $1,800 in front of him.
We were all tired. Me, I had slept around ten hours out of the last 85. That kind of fatigue can actually focus a player if he works at it. Still, it required a constant infusion of caffeine and I was running to the bathroom at the end of every dealer's down. I was in no hurry to get back...until I saw Mark standing with a familiar look on his face. He had a decision to make.
I picked up my pace and made it to the table in time to see the hand of the weekend.
I had missed the pre-flop and flop action, but here is what happened before I got there:
Several people had limped for $5 to Mark in the cutoff. With a pair of jacks, Mark made it $20 to play. He got calls in the big blind (a loose, semi-aggressive older guy) and a player in middle position (a 30-something bundle of grumbles and tilt).
The flop came out QJ4 rainbow.
The big blind had already proven himself unbluffable and willing to go to war with top pair. No surprise, he fired $100 into the pot. Mr. Middle Position mulled his situation before flat calling. Mark raised to $300, making it $200 more to play for the other players.
"Well, son, I'm all-in," the big blind drawled. He matched Mark's $300 and put $900 more in front of him.
Mr. Middle Position called for less and now it was up to Mark.
I didn't know what to do. At this point, I'd seen nothing of the hand. Mark was still standing and had a hand on the back of my chair. I couldn't sit down. I tried to lean back on the counter behind me, but the Popcorn Girl kept nudging me out of the way. And Mark was pretty deep in the tank.
Noting that I had returned, he peeled up his cards and showed me.
The son of a bitch had middle set. I wasn't sure what was taking him so long and could only guess he was trying to figure out if the Big Blind had a set of queens.
After what seemed like longer than it was, Mark said, "I call," and tabled his jacks.
This ain't tournament poker. We don't get to see all the hands at showdown. But I knew from looking at the big blind's face, he was so beat.
Until the dealer peeled a queen off the deck and laid it down on the table.
At the very same moment, Mr. Big Blind and Mr. Middle Position jumped out of their chairs and slammed their cards on the table. I wanted to puke on the Popcorn Girl.
Big Blind: Q4
Middle Position: QJ
Now, wrap your head around that for a second. Just let it sink in. Think about it. Count how many outs Mark had to dodge to win the $3000 pot.
The was one card in the deck that would beat Mark in the three-way all-in.
If that doesn't help you, let's put it in terms of percentages.
Pre-flop, Mark was more than 65% to win the hand. That's not bad by itself. With that percentage, Mark had only put $20 in the pot. What were the percentages when it came time to put $1,200 in?
Big Blind (the pusher): .11%
Middle Position: 4.65%
Yeah, that's right. The guy who pushed had less than 1% chance of winning (he needed running fours to win the whole pot). The guy who called in the middle (who made the worst decision out of the three by calling with top two with that kind of action) was less than 5% to win.
I think the kids call it...sick.
Mark had a moment of denial. It's understandable. He kept picking up his cards and trying to find a way they made him a winner. After ten seconds or so of him saying, "Wait, I've got...," I leaned over and said quietly, "Mark, you lost."
He knew it, but couldn't accept it. It wasn't the money. Mark has had a good year and the pot didn't even make his Tunica trip unprofitable. That said, a one-outer is, in short, a bitch.
Mark was quickly himself again. He reached in his pocket, pulled out an oversized $1,000 chip and tossed it at the big blind. He went and saw Spaceman. Five minutes later, Mark was back in his seat.
I took three pretty bad beats this weekend (river three-outer for $1,200 pot, river eight-outer for $600 pot, river four outer for $500 pot). You will not read about any of those stories here. One, I don't like to relate bad beats. Two, nothing I faced this weekend, nor anything I expect to face anytime soon will compare to what happened to Mark.
This was a trip that began with a lot of airline beats and included a lot of tremedous stories, some of which we'll likely relate here over the next few days. Or maybe not.
All I know is that traveling with the G-Vegas boys is about as fun as it gets. Bad beats or not.<-- Hide More
This is what you're missing:
Roshamboozled by Otis
In the pit with Otis and the Luckbox by Otis
How to waste $1000 by Otis
Waiting for Monsters by Luckbox
The Poker People You Meet by Otis
Derailing the Express by Luckbox
Otis' Final Prelude by Otis
Tunica by way of Ego Road by Otis
The Comeback by G-Rob
If that won't make you jealous you're not there... nothing will!
Originally posted at Rapid Eye Reality. Then I realized it really belonged here. Because my wife told me it did.
The game began after two people had already lost. Though this pair of card players is willing to risk several hundred dollars on the turn of the card, the two ninnies weren't patient enough to wait for flight prices to level off. Rather than play the waiting game, they booked $270 flights out of a city more than an hour away. My friend Toenails and I knew we could do better.More in this Poker Blog! -->
A day or so after Christmas, while I was away visiting family, Toenails called, e-mailed, instant-messaged, and sent smoke signals. Our horse had come in. The flight was from our home airport, a direct trip that would be less than two hours door-to-door, and a mere $220. Within ten minutes, I'd booked both our flights and sent e-mails to the other players. Gloating, while not something I do often, is a lot of fun when you've cut several hours and a long drive out of a trip and done it for $50 a person cheaper.
After gloating for a few days, something poked at my noodle. Wait? How does Toenails spell his name again?
That's the thing about this guy. No one is sure how to say his surname. I've heard it pronounced everyway from Toenails to Thelonious. I'd spelled it semi-phoenetically when I booked the tickets. And, as it turns out, I was wrong. Instead of Toenails, his name was actually spelled something like Toennailss.
I don't worry about many things, but when it comes to making sure this gate-to-gate gloating goes off well, the last thing I want to worry over is some overzealous gate agent giving us the business about a couple misplaced letters.
So, I called Expedia and waited on hold for 20 minutes before giving up and calling Northwest Airlines directly. After going through a five-minute automated process that promised to get me to an agent, a recording came on and said, "Due to high call volume, we are not able to answer your call at this time. Please try again later. And up yours, sir."
While bothersome, it was not the end of the world. I figured I'd try e-mailing customer support. And so I did, to both Expedia.com and NWA. The return e-mails were not a lot of help (emphasis is mine).
Thank you for contacting Expedia.com about changing the name on your ticket.
Without exception, tickets, whether issued on paper or as e-tickets, are not
transferable. This means that the name that appears on the ticket cannot be
changed nor can it be transferred to another traveler. For this reason, Expedia.
com urges customers to make sure the name matches the traveler's passport or
driver's licenses to avoid travel delays.
These rules emerge partly from increased security following world events over
the past few years, and also the fact that a complete name change would be seen
by airlines as a cancellation.
Thank you for contacting nwa.com Customer Service.
Brad, I apologize but we are unable to make a name change as this
reservation was booked on December 27, 2007. A name change may be able
to made within 72 hours of the initial booking.
You may contact Expedia for further assistance. The number is
I trust this information will assist you with your inquiry. Enjoy yourThank you for choosing Northwest Airlines. We value your patronage and
consider it a privilege to serve your travel needs.
Obviously, I'd been unclear. I didn't want to make a complete name change. I just wanted to move a couple of letters around. While Toenails could talk his way off of death row, I didn't want to leave anything to chance.
So, back to the phone. This time, I waited on hold for 27 minutes before the Expedia.com agent answered. It soon became clear that there is a template response for queries like mine. It goes like this, "Let me check. Ah, yes, I see it right here, sir. Fuck your mother."
The longer version was a recitation of the e-mail. Once the ticket was booked, there was nothing Expedia could do. The dude made a show of calling the airline and then coming back to discuss the various ways he'd like to violate my mother and wife. Finally, he said there was one way he could help me. He could cancel my existing reservation and re-book us. I said, "That'd be great." He said, "Oh, but I get to fuck your mother first. And charge you another $200 or so."
Unacceptable. An extra $200 tacked on to the price would get us dangerously close to not being able to gloat over our friends who were going to be getting up earlier, driving out of state, and then flying to arrive at our ultimate destination even later than we were.
I explained to the bumbling Expedia rep that I wasn't at all interested, but that I'd been with his mom the night before and she could use a day at the spa. "Try the wax," I muttered.
So, on to Northwest Airlines, where I got the same screwjob as I has before: automated responses promising the end of the rainbow and then a premature disconnect. I thought for a moment, and then realized during the automated responses, I'd indicated I was interested in talking about an existing reservation as opposed to interest in a new reservation. I wondered...
Three minutes later, after unabashedly lying to the machine, I was directly connected with a woman who had obviously just finished her chicken fried steak and gravy. The tone in her voice was clear: You just fucked with the system, mister, and now I'm going to fuck you...and your mother.
I explained my problem and the lady, none too politely, said, "You booked this online. I can't touch this ticket."
And so here we were at an impasse. Expedia says Northwest won't let it touch the ticket unless I cancel and rebook for more. Northwest says it can't touch the ticket because I bought it from Expedia.
I called my mom and told her to lock herself in a room with a can of mace and a machete.
While I appreciate airline security to the point that it attempts to keep known terrorists from riding first class, I've recently become disenchanted with the system. What we were dealing with here was not airline security. It was a couple of misplaced letters in my buddy's Toenails' name. In the name of security, Expedia was attempting to extract another $200 from me. And the lady at Northwest had a chicken bone stuck in her throat and a lamp up her ass.
Obviously, my incredulity and refusal to back down forced the piece of fatback on the other end of the line to give in--to a degree. She still refused to correct the spelling, but she promised to put a notice in the remarks on the ticket account. That notice will likely amount to, "Make sure you fuck this guy's mother," but at least it is something.
Now, any fellow gamblers are welcome to set the over/under on the number of times we encounter an issue related to this problem.
Now, time to make sure my mom is doing okay. It's been a long week.<-- Hide More
In place of the post I plan to write later this week, a question.
Who is coming to Tunica?
Time is running out.
I pulled a red chip and a white chip off my stack and handed it the old man in the Mardi Gras beads. I'd been waiting for more than an hour for my food order to arrive. I was patient because the Gold Strike offered free food to its players. C.J. was on his way to winning an $1800 pot, fueled by pure adrenaline and a tasty meatball sub that had arrived in 30 minutes.
The old man took the toke and asked me if I needed anything else. I said no, but he stood over me as I dug into the container. My mouth was already awash with au jus.
I opened the styrofoam and saw a few chips and another container full of what appeared to be vomit. Since the old dude was still standing over me, I said, "I ordered a French Dip."
"That's the only kind of dip they had," he said, as if the vomit in the styrofoam was as close to a French Dip sandwich as he could muster. "Do you want something else?"
I agreed that I did, in fact, want a French Dip sandwich, knowing I'd never see the old dude again. Bad beat, I figured, and ate the vomit.More in this Poker Blog! -->
In need of a break, I walked into the WPT tournament area to tell the gathered partying masses about CJ scooping the nice pot. The drinks had obviously been flowing and Iggy was holding court from his perch on the bar. It was the only way he could look Spaceman in the eye without a step stool.
"Otis," he said, "Roshambo for $40."
For a moment, I thought I should get back to my game. The diminutive one is a known hustler. But, I smelled Grayhound in the air and I thought my sobriety might help me overcome the hustler's edge.
After working out the timing of the shoot and the obvious height disadvantage, we got ready to go.
"Wait!" Iggy said. "I'll give you double or nothing if you go rock first."
I considered the bet. The odds said I should do it, but I was worried about the hustler's skill. I told him that the bet was on.
I threw scissors and cut his paper into confetti.
"I'll take even money," I said, privately thinking, "Who is the hustler now, bitch?"
Two throws later, I had skunked him, taken my $40, and walked back to the poker room.
By and by, the hour grew late. We had to check out of the hotel a few hours later and CJ and I decided it was time to call it a night. As we had Iggy's booster seat in CJ's car, we made sure to pick him up before we left the casino. We found him holding court near the bathrooms with a dealer, Tuscaloosa Johnny, and Spaceman. Iggy didn't want to leave.
"Otis," he said. "Roshambo for $40."
I was eager to get the hell out of Dodge, but I thought, "Hey, I won the first time and the alcohol has surely found its way to Iggy's noodle."
Again, it was on. This time, the match was more even. Iggy made it a contest, but I ultimately prevailed.
Eighty bucks to the good and feeling good about hustling the hustler, I again suggested we get on the road.
"Otis," Iggy said, "Roshambo for $100."
I felt sorry for the little guy. I really did. Drunk, obviously off his noodle, and hemmoraging money like a lanced leech after a big meal on Wil Wheaton's boys.
Before I considered it further, my hustler mind woke up and two Franklins were sitting on the table.
I'm not sure what happened in the next two minutes. While I'd only had a couple of beers, I blacked out, lost time, and dreamt of a life in which I was fucking Paul Newman and Robert Redford wrapped into one.
When I woke up, CJ, Iggy, and I were on the escalator. It was 4am and Iggy was talking.
"I feel sorry for you, Otis. I really do."
I heard myself saying, "That's enough."
"No," he said. "I mean really, I do. Really sorry. Wanna go for another $100?"
"Just plain sorry. I mean, to be that bad at Roshambo..." He trailed off and I know his eyes were twinkling behind his indoor shades.
Some days, I think I'm the Roadrunner. I can beep-beep with my tongue and run really fast.
Iggy. my friends, is Paul Newman, Robert Redford, and the Roadrunner wrapped into one.
Me? Just call me Wile E.<-- Hide More
The banks and circles of slot machines sat like a technicolor M.C. Escher eye explosion. Two round female security guards were zombies at the rear exit of the buffet. A middle-aged man rushed by, intent on getting somewhere fast. I stood still in the middle of it with my cell phone in my hand.
Maybe it's different for everybody. Maybe it's just a matter of perception. For me, it's like the empty-headed stupor that follows good sex. My vision is clear but I can't see anything on the periphery. Thoughts refuse to coalesce. Intentions present themselves and disappear as quickly as they came. Only, unlike a welcome visit from the Afterglow Bird, there is no electric tingle, no deep feeling of satisfaction. Instead, everything is just numb when I bust out of a live tournament.More in this Poker Blog! -->
Following my dead-money appearance in the $1000 event at the WSOP Tunica, I stood among the slots and video poker machines and realized I had nowhere to go. I'd just bid C.J and Iggy good luck as they walked back to the tables. BadBlood and G-Rob were in the cash games at the Gold Strike. I made a couple of phone calls, but I'm not sure who I talked to or what I said. When I looked up five minutes later, I was standing in the same place. I was more of a zombie than the security ladies.
Through the throngs walked C.J. I knew he had been shortstacked and it was clear he was out of the event, as well.
"I haven't moved," I said.
For a couple of minutes, we talked about his bustout and our options.
"I don't think I can play poker right now," I said and C.J. agreed. We looked at the buffet and talked about the two comps we had in our pocket.
"I'm thinking it may be time for a little negative EV," I said.
And C.J. agreed again.
Much has been written and many more tales have been told about big time pros who have a problem with the pit. No matter how much money they win or lose at the poker tables, they find a way to lose it all or lose even more in the pit. Long ago when I abandoned the blackjack tables for the poker rooms, I made a vow to stay away from the table games. With my storied Pai Gow fascination and California Mike's Craps-pushing serving as notable exceptions, I have managaed to stay out of the -EV waters to a large extent. And yet, there C.J. and I rode down the long escalator to the main casino.
"This is $200 worth of therapy," C.J. and I agreed, completely ignoring the absolute ridculousness of the statement. Within 30 minutes, we'd run our therapy money into a nice profit at the blackjack tables. Fifteen minutes later, the profit was gone and I was playing behind. A last-ditch hand brought me back to even. A look in C.J.'s eye and my reciprocal stare made it clear that we weren't sated.
"Roulette," C.J. said and we walked.
As we set our bankrolls to Search and Destroy, my eyes fell on Let It Ride.
"How do you play that?" I asked.
C.J. needed to only say two words: "It's easy."
"Chip change!" the dealer yelled out and the pit boss nodded as black turned into red.
The game moved along uneventfully and more black was subsequently turned into more red. When it appeared all was lost, a new dealer stepped in.
His name was Alex.
Balding, black, and as big as an NFL tackle, Alex waved his hands like a magician. He looked at the table and realized he was facing an old dude and two youngish gamblers. "Alright!" he yelled, the voice of a Southern Baptist P-Funk Preacher breaking through the din. "Who let the dogs out?!!"
The old man in the two-slot didn't say anything.
Alex instructed, "When I say that, you say 'WOOF!, WOOF!"
Again, "Who let the dogs out??!!"
Alex pointed to a pretty girl at the next table. "Can I get a meow?!!"
"Alright. Now, I'm going to give some money away up in here!"
And for the next 45 minutes, we woofed, meowed, and James Browned our way through a game of Let It Ride that turned the old dude next to us into a hundredaire after Alex gave him trip kings on a $15 bonus bet.
Our stacks went up and down as we found a way to make Let It Ride an even more losing proposition. Still, I found myself laughing, woofing, and yelling like any old tourist looking for a good time. Finally, when I didn't think I could laugh any more, I looked up at Alex. He'd been working so hard, he'd broken a big sweat on his forehead. I told C.J. that Alex should get a raise. If every casino pit dealer was as animated as Alex, the casinios would make even more money than they already do. He was the first dealer to ever make me feel better about losing than winning. He was better than any stage show offered along the Mississippi River moat.
"Alex, man," I said, "You're working too hard. You're sweating."
And suddenly, Alex was quiet. He stole a look at the pit boss and the eye in the sky. He leaned in and said, "Let me tell you a secret."
While I didn't expect him to bring me into the fold and tell me the true odds of winning--er, losing--at Let It Ride or slip me a black chip for my patronage, I didn't expect the next bit of wisdom.
"Listen," he said. "Poor people sweat. Rich people perspire. Me? I'm just cool. I defrost."
And that was all I needed. C.J. and I didn't win anything but we made therapeutical gains that were far greater than our losses. After a 20-minute visit to our comped buffet, we found our way back to the poker tables and proceeded to win some real cash.
And that was what going to Tunica was all about.<-- Hide More
Jessica was her name. She wore giant rocks on her fingers and a black leather jacket on her shoulders. She ordered filet and crab cakes at the table. At 4am, she'd sat down on my left and pulled what appeared to be two grand in hundreds on the table to back up her rack of red. She straddled at the first opportunity and I couldn't help stealing a glance at her torso. I wondered how much her breasts had cost and if she'd had the tiny love-handles before she started playing poker.
If there had been speculation about anything in the Tunica Grand poker room over the past few days, Jessica was in the center of it. She always had cash, whether she was wining or losing. She was always on the phone. She was always getting snarky with someone.
"Her daddy is rich," said one local.
Another local raised an eyebrow. "Her daddy or her sugar daddy?"
I wasn't sure it mattered. To be fair, the girl knew the game pretty well. Also to be fair, she wasn't afraid to put the money in when she had reason to believe she was ahead. Finally, to be fair, it seemed that winning or losing a few grand wasn't going to change her outlook on life very much.
When 4:30am rolled around, Jessica started craning her neck, looking for a better game, a game where the players were soft, a place where her Mississippi good looks and large roll of cash could win her a few hundred bucks more toward creating the perfect Poker Bitch persona. While she craned, I racked up with a small profit. I'd promised myself I wouldn't stay up all night before the $1000 event on Saturday.More in this Poker Blog! -->
Poker can make a big man feel small and a smart man feel like an idiot. It's impossible to ignore the daunting task ahead when you sit down at a table and see your short stack of chips. You reassure yourself that everyone has the exact same number of chips and you are not starting at a disadvantage. Nonetheless, you know 2000 chips don't go very far and even a couple small mistakes will put you in a position that requires less poker play and more guts.
I have no guts.
I wanted for only two things when I sat down. I wanted to have played with at least two of my tablemates before and I wanted to see no name pros. I got one of my wishes.
The one-seat was a guy I'd played in cash games with over the past three days. While skilled, he was predictable and I wasn't worried. The four-seat was occupied by Moustache Dude. The night before, he and I had played together for a long while and made it together to the final two tables of the $200 Second Chance tourney. I knew him to be the type of guy who would put all his chips in the middle with top pair-no kicker. He was the guy I expected to double me up. The first hand of the tournament cemented my read.
The one-seat made a three-times the big blind raise and Moustache Dude smooth called. The flop came out king-high rainbow. Pot-sized bet, followed by another smooth call. The turn brought a three and the next thing we knew, both players were all in. The one-seat held the expected AK to Moustache Dude's K3. Goodbye Mr. One-Seat.
As the first hand ended, the remaining seats started to fill and I realized my second wish would not come true. Mike Sica, a WSOP bracelet holder, sat down in the six seat. Bill Edler, an up-and-coming poker genius, sat down immediately to my left in the nine seat. (Click here to see Edler with pro-blogger Jason "Spaceman" Kirk). When the three seat emptied for the third time in the first hour, a guy I have seen everywhere on the tournament circuit sat down. For lack of a name, I'll call him Mr. Ugly Shirt.
In the first hour, I played four hands. I raised in EP with AQo and everybody, including the cocktail waitresses, called. I missed the flop, couldn't muster a continuation bet, and check-folded like a ninny. Ten minutes later, I called a multi-called min-raise on the button with 88. Again, the flop was ugly and I folded to a bet and a call. When I found JJ in the cutoff, I got excited. Sica raised and a tight Nashville music producer and writer re-raised. I knew jacks were already beat and made my only good play of the day by folding (Nashville later showed down queens). Finally, I limped into a family pot with A5s and mucked again on the flop.
Looking back, I played perfect weak-tight poker. No continuation bets, no re-raises, no nothing. I played like a pure amateur. It wasn't nerves, so I don't have much of an explanation. I finished the level with 1525 in chips.
During the break, I talked with CJ and Iggy. CJ's Law's of the Luckbox had not been holding up and Iggy's protestations that he wasn't a good tournament player were proving to be comically false. During this time, I took to hatiing myself.
With the blinds moving up to 25/50, I realized I had about two pots in me and at least one of them had to be a win.
During hour #2, I spent the time enjoying Edler's dry sense of humor. For being a guy who has been doing very well recently, he was humble, careful, and friendly. He also drank coffee like I drink diet soda.
Having not seen a hand for the first half hour of level two, I got a little excited when it was folded around to me in LP and I found ATo. I popped it and it folded to Mr. Ugly Shirt in the small blind. He'd been telling a story to a friend over his shoulder and took a quick peek at his cards. His story stopped for one half of a second and I knew in that very instant he had a monster.
"Raise," he said, tossing out five hundred in chips, then resumed tellling his story like he wasn't even in the hand. When the action folded back around to me, I auto-mucked.
He flashed me two black aces. "I was hoping you were better than that. You hadn't played a hand in a long time."
I nodded and smiled.
"You noticed when I stopped talking for a second, didn't you?" he said.
I smiled again and wondered if the previous 60 seconds had any meaning whatsoever.
By and by, it came to be that I would not see another playable hand until the last hand before the end of level 2. With 1350 or so still in my stack, I sat in the big blind. A newly-seated player in the one-seat came in for a standard raise and Moustache Dude called. I looked down at AQ suited in spades.
I've seen this moment happen many times on the tournament circuit. It's breaktime and everybody at the table except the players in the hand leave. I called.
The flop came out Qxx with one spade.
Check, bet, or push? Well, I'm weak-tight Otis. I checked.
The original raiser made it 400 to go and Moutache Dude raised to 800.
Suddenly, I'm in the tank, realizing have put myself in a horrible position by not betting the flop. Folding is an option, but not an attractive one. To fold here I have to put the original raiser on aces or kings. As he just sat down, I have no read on him whatsoever. As far as I knew, that 400 bet could be a continutation bet with AK or a middle pair. What's more, the re-raise from Moustache Dude didn't scare me in the least. I knew in my gut he wasn't any better than KQ.
Calling, it seemed, was not an option either. If I had simply called, I'd be left with only 400 chips and even the most dense player would recognize I was committed to the pot.
After being in the tank for a couple of minutes, I finally announced I was all in for my remaining 1200. My rationale seemed sound. I had to hope the original raiser didn't have aces or kings. I had to hope he would fold and my hand would hold against Moustache Dude.
The original raiser called in a flash, Moustache Dude only had to call 400 more, so he did.
My eyes were so fixed on the table, I didn't see CJ come up behind me. The hands?
Original raiser: KK
Moustache Dude: Q9o
I didn't even have time to calculate that I had four outs twice when the dealer peeled the case queen off the deck and put it on the table. In fact, when the queen hit the board, while I registered that I was way ahead, I didn't smile, yell, or even breathe. I just sat there.
And then my mouth formed the word "nine." Don't ask me how. I just knew.
There was the nine on the river.
I had been ahead in the hand for a grand total of four seconds.
I closed my eyes tightly and heard the pocket kings guy screaming as he walked away from the table. For some reason, he seemed more mad at me than at Moustache Dude.
I looked up and CJ was there. I don't know why, but it was comforting to have him around.
Since then, I've talked over the hand with a few friends. Looking back, the only safe option was to fold. However, it was a question of either heading into Level 3 on the short-stack or tripling up. The biggest problem was not betting the flop for information. However, even if I had bet the flop and been raised, I don't know that I could've folded. The only thing I could've hoped for was a raise from the kings and Moustache Dude growing a brain and folding. It's all moot, though, and I guess I'm still confused.
Since then, my poker game has been in shambles. Late last night I booked a nice cash game win. Still, I haven't cashed in a tournament since taking second place in a silly $100 PLO8 tournament a couple of weeks ago.
I ask myself sometimes if I'm at all cut out for poker. I believe I have the skill and the sense to handle the game at medium levels. Beyond that, however, I look at people like Bill Edler (who, incidentally, went on to take third place in the event) and wonder if I'm missing some important mental component.
Experience, I tell myself, could make all the difference. That's why I dedicated 2006 to playing as much live and expensive poker as my bankroll and life will allow. All in all, January was not a good month. Fortunately, there are eleven more months to figure it all out.
And then, as I understand it, there are some more months after that.<-- Hide More
She was wearing a $100 chip around her neck. Her earrings were pocket Aces.
"There's really no place you can go to buy poker-themed costume jewelry," the 10-seat told us.
My table leaned toward the woman poker player this day, thanks to the WSOP Circuit Ladies Event. As they busted out, they headed to the NL tables. I was there waiting. And so was the woman with the chip on her necklace. Maybe she figured it was the perfect customer base for The Poker Boutique.
The woman to my left in the 8-seat was very attractive, sexy even. Dark hair, dark eyes and a cool poker style. She was a real player, head and shoulders above the other women at the table.
"You're demeanor and voice are very familiar to me," she told me.More in this Poker Blog! -->
Poker? I don't even know her!
I'm not sure where my game is right now. Perhaps I left it in Tunica. My tournament game has gone to hell. And, frankly, I'm not enjoying it. I'm allowing myself to get so easily tilted for no reason at all. It's bad poker. I can't blame the cards. I can't blame the other players. Sure, I've had my share of bad beats, but that's poker. Am I really going to complain about that?
"Believe me, I'd remember if we had met before," I told her. I wish it had been a pickup line, but I knew she was married to a short 40ish guy who had made the final table in the $1000 NL Event that I had bombed out of. Part of me wondered how the hell that marriage happened. The other part told me I shouldn't care, dammit.
The table folded around to me in the small blind and I turned to her and said, "Chop?"
She shook her head and with a wry smile said, "I've got possibilities." She was leaning back in her chair as she had been most of the session.
I looked down at my cards and found ATs. "Okay, then, I could suck out on you." I called the $5.
The flop completely missed me. It was all undercards and not of my suit.
"I missed," I said, rapping the table twice. She smiled and cooly checked behind me.
The turn put a second club on the board, but I didn't have clubs.
"Well, that didn't help me." Rap, rap. She simply tilted her head towards me and tapped the table as well.
The river was the Ace of clubs.
"Uh oh, I hit," I said, again checking to her.
She sat up a little and reached for her chips. "I like you, but I hit, too. $30."
She wasn't getting a call from me. I showed her my AT of diamonds and mucked. She flashed me her KT of clubs, the nut flush and gave me that smile.
I didn't want to leave that table. But when her husband dragged her off to the blackjack table, I racked up and took my leave as well. I had crushed the NL tables in Tunica to the tune of $1550, in just three sessions, and it was time to drive home.
In the end, it wasn't really the money that made me feel alive. It was the felt and the chips and the real people in the seats around me.
Taking a break
I need a week off. Breaks are good. I'm going to stay away from playing at the virtual tables until at least this weekend. On Saturday, I'm driving back up to Coushatta to play in the $200+20 NL tourney. I may even stick around and play in the $2/$5 NL game depending on how the tourney goes. Maybe another live session will help me refocus on the virtual felt. I know I need something right now.
Less than 24 hours earlier, I sat down at a NL game with Otis. I wasn't a huge fan of playing with one of the G-Vegas crew, but the list was long and I didn't have much choice. My first night in Tunica, I busted GRob with KK vs. JJ. It's not something I wanted to do again.
And not only did I sit at Otis' table, but when a seat opened to his left, I took it. The seat I was in was rather cold. And a player just vacated the seat beside Otis in exchange for the 10s. I'm a little superstitious, and generally believe that when someone does a seat change, they're leaving some good cards behind. I hoped it was him leaving the cards behind and not me.
The 10s realized this after just a few hands when the monsters started coming my way. My NL game is very different than my tournament game. I wait for monsters. It's all I do. When I get them, I play them hard until I think I'm beat. I don't overextend myself and only feel comfortable putting my stack in when I believe I have a strong advantage.
That's how I make money. I don't bluff. I don't bully. I don't make plays. I wait for big hands and maximize my profit. It worked, consistently, in Tunica. It's an easy game to play... if the cards are right.
Shortly after my seat change, a new player sat down to my left. It wasn't long before we all recognized he would be our personal ATM.
"Hey, does anyone mind if we add the rock?" he asked. There had been a fair amount of straddling already, so the rock wouldn't really change much. In Mississippi, you can straddle from any position and the button gets the first option.
No one at the table objected, and a $10 rock was in play. A tightbox who made me lay down AK even after I turned top two pair was away from the table when we made the decision. Apparently he was philosophically opposed to the rock because he made someone buy it from him every time he won a pot.
My turn to make a withdrawal came after the ATM managed to chip himself back up to about $850. This was after his second rebuy, so he had been spreading his money around nicely.
I'm in LP when I look down at KK. It's raised to $50 in front of me. I just call, as does my ATM. I thought about a reraise here, but figured the ATM might call the $50 from the button, but wouldn't call a reraise. It was a calculated risk inviting another player into the pot.
The flop came down K-Q-7, rainbow. I couldn't ask for much better than that. It's checked to me, I value check my mortal nuts and, predictably, the ATM leads out for $100. The other player in the hand folds. I raise it to $200 and, without hesitating, he calls.
The turn is a 9 and it puts two spades on the board. I think for a moment, and push the rest of my chips into the pot. He's got me slightly covered, but it's about a $600 bet. For a moment, JT flashed through my mind. I worried I just bet into the nuts.
The ATM thought, this time, and I knew my hand was good. He considered and considered, before reluctantly calling. I showed my hand and he dropped his head. He didn't, however, show his hand. He was waiting. That worried me because it meant he had outs.
The river was a T of diamonds. My heart sank. I heard Otis sigh. He thought the same thing I did, "That fucker has a J."
Thanksfully, there was no celebration from the ATM. He flashed K8s and mucked. He had top pair and a flush draw. It was a $1700 pot. It was my biggest pot ever. The adrenaline ran through my veins for the next half hour. I think Otis got up to tell GRob, BadBlood, Iggy and the Spaceman about the hand, but I'm not sure.
We didn't play much longer that night. When they moved the Big Game from the ballroom to the poker room, our table was moved into what seemed like a hall way so that Chad Brown, Mimi Tran and some guy could play $400/$800 Omaha. I guess that's what it's like to be a second class poker citizen. I ddn't mind, tough, because my K's held up. And I had a great trip.<-- Hide More
In Hollywood, the stars pay hundreds of dollars per hour to get over the fact their mom was an alcoholic and their dad liked to wear corsetts on the weekends. At poker tables, the group therapy only costs the blinds and rake. In Tunica, the rake was a $5 per half-hour time drop.
My dad took me to the circus. My mom made me Snicker Doodles and ice cream floats. I didn't have much to talk about, but I paid my $5 per half hour anyway.More in this Poker Blog! -->
"I don't know what it is. Six months ago I washed my hands whenever I went to the bathroom. Now, I have to do it ever half an hour or I get a little weirded out."
That was the man who owned the restaurants in Columbus, Georgia and across the border in Alabama who was wearing a loud cowboy shirt. He was proud of his chemise and strained to point out that if we saw him tomorrow, he'd be wearing one that was even more offensive. He didn't know then that when we saw him tomorrow, he'd be wearing the same shirt, having sat at the same table for nearly 24 hours. When I sat down, he had about $1300 sitting in front of him and was the biggest stack at the table. I'd bought in for $500 and was waiting to see if he would be an easy or hard mark.
"Bloody Mary mix with salt on the rim of the glass," he ordered when the cocktail watress came by. He was sober and friendly. I didn't have a read on him when the big dude in the cutoff made it $25 to go. The singer/bassist girl on the button folded and I peaked at my cards in the small blind. I'd only been there for a half an hour and I was already looking at pocket aces. The restauranteur was the only player left to act. If I simply called, he'd have to call $20 more into a $55 pot. At the time, I ignored the 2-1 he'd be getting and smooth called. So did he. The flop came down JTx. I bet, he raised, the big dude folded, and again, I decided to be clever and just called. The turn brought another ten. I jammed the rest of my money in as fast as I could. He called just as fast, showing me JT for second nuts. I was drawing dead to an ace which never came.
"Sorry," the guy said. He actually seemed like he meant it.
The girl sitting on my left (and seen at the left here) went by the name Piper Skih. She said she was named after the plane. I didn't ask if Skih was her real name. I was too struck by her beauty and impossibly good attitude and friendliness. She'd been the bassist in a Dallas-area band called "Blue October" but apparently had moved on to new projects. Her husband was sitting at the next table. Every few minutes, the guy looked over his shoulder and checked in on his girl. It was evident that he was either concerned about how she was playing or that some poker player might make a move on her. I wanted to reassure him that she was playing a good tight game and that every guy at the table would not ever quite make it into Piper's league.
"I have a freakish sense of smell," Piper said at the very same moment I realized I hadn't washed my hands after I ate at the Grand's buffet. I'd rested my chin on my hands and the smell of peel-and-eat shrimp slipped up my nostrils.
Jesus Christ, I thought. This beautiful girl can smell my skanked up hands.
I should've realized right then that I was not in the right mindset to play poker. I'd busted out of the $200 second chance tourney in 26th place out of 108 and got paid nothing. I'd busted out of a single table satellite on the very first hand when I raised five limpers with AK, got two callers, flopped king-high with two spades, pushed all in to get rid of the flush draw, and got called by 4-6 of spades. He got there and I was off to the cash games. Now, I was worried more about a pretty girl smelling shrimp on my hands than how to play cards.
As soon as I could, I ran to the bathroom and washed my hands with industrial soap and hot water. I rushed back before the blinds passed me and sat down.
"I lost 150 pounds in six months," said the guy in the cowboy shirt. After I conducted a brief interview, I learned the guy had once weighed 310 pounds. He'd had gastric bypass surgery and lost half his body weight. It was around that time, he said, that he started getting obsessive compulsive about his hygeine.
"I've gained 100 pounds in the last year." That was the big dude in the one-seat. He was a walker, a guy who had to have a smoke every 20 minutes, and who had been pretty chatty for a Mississippi local. "Then my life took a bad turn." Over the next ten minutes, Piper the group therapy director, listened intently as the guy talked about going from walking around with $20,000 at any given time, making $50,000 a year playing poker, to losing everything, including his family and home. Somewhere in there, the guy put on 100 pounds and had found the will to leave his bed and play cards again. Oddly, I believed him. He seemed genuine, if not a very good card player.
It was a family pot where I was again in the small blind. Pocket threes looked like fucking gold when the flop came down 234 rainbow. I checked, again being clever, and watched as somebody in the middle of the table bet out and the big guy raised it to $100. The big guy had about $200 behind, so I decided it was as good a time as any to raise. I put in a raise to $300. The guy in the midddle folded and the big guy insta-called with 5-6 off and the flopped straight. The board didn't pair and again, I was a victim of my own bad play and bad reads. Piper watched with something near fascination as I pulled the roll out of my pocket and thumbed off a few more bills.
"I have a confession to make," I said. Piper, the restauranteur, and the big guy all turned to me. The big guy was stacking my chips. His chips, actually.
I turned to Piper. "I had a big dinner at the buffet. I ate a lot of shrimp."
Everyone was looking at me like I'd just sprouted a penis from my cheek.
"So, when Piper said she had a freakish sense of smell, I got to worrying that my hands stunk. So, I just went and washed them...vigorously."
Piper burst into a belly laugh. I blushed. "Vigorously?" she said.
"Yeah," I said. "With vigor."
Still struck with the funny, Piper kept laughing. Suddenly, the big guy was giving me the eye. I felt uneasy.
"Hey," he said There was an unintentional grumble in his voice, like he was 70-year-old progeny of Jabba the Hut and a Sicilian. I looked in his direction and he was leaning across the felt. I suddenly realized he was about to offer me something in the way of sage advice. "Next time," he said, "take a lemon and rub it on your hands. Takes that fishy smell right out." I swear to God, the 300 pound man just might have been Martha Stewart on a bad day.
The dealer continued dealing. I found myself stuck about $1300. Piper leaned over and whispered, "I couldn't smell your hands."
And suddenly I felt absolved. It was like, well damn, if Piper's freakish sense of smell couldn't pick up the smell of shrimp on my hands, I probably should be paying more attention to the poker.
By and by, Piper left, and the big guy left, and other people came and left. By 6am, eight hours into my session, I'd erased my losses I think a lot of it had to do with the guy I called Boomhauer. If Mike Judge had a prototype for the dang-ol' character on King of the Hill, it was the guy in the sunglasses at the end of the table. More people than I could count turned to me and asked, as if I knew, "What did he just say?"
Only once was I able to accurately transcribe what Boomhauer said: "I'd rather have offsuits. That's two shots at the flush draw."
I should've gotten up right then, break-even on the day, and eight hours into the session. Instead, I lost $500 on a set versus runner-runner full house.
I sat back and steamed a bit, only able to congratulate myself for not losing more. The well-rested and showered sharks started to filter in at daybreak. With no max-buy, they sat with $3000 or $4000 and eyed the rest of us. I'd been awake for 24 hours and I was glad Piper was gone, because I was starting to stink. At the end of the table, an old guy that might have been a guitar tech for Crosby, Stills, and Nash, got in a hand with one of the fresh sharks. The shark raised pre-flop and the older guy popped him back. On the flop, the shark decided to put the old guy all in for his final $600. The old dude insta-called, showing a pair of threes.
Incredulous, the shark turned over pocket aces.
As the dealer burned and turned the turn, the old guy started to explain, "I saw you make that same move yesterday with nothing better than ace-king."
The river came off. The table gasped. It was a three.
The older dude cringed. "I thought you had ace-king."
Shaking his head, the shark said, "Good read, sir."
The old dude suddenly exploded in self-loathing. "No, it wasn't a good read! It was a triumph of goddamned ignorance!"
That's when I knew it was about to be over for me. I should quit right then, I knew. But the game was too good. A foreign pony-tailed guy had sat down and was throwing a party and I knew I could get even if I just sat long enough.
During a break from the table, I ran into Taylor, a young unshaven guy I'd been playing with all night long.
"Look at this," he said, pulling three slips of paper out of his pocket. "ATM receipts." He explained that he'd come in from Alabama with $700 in his pocket. He'd been up to as much as $2000 and down several hundred as well. "I had to call my wife and tell her 'I took some money out of the bank.'"
His unshaven cheeks were a little rosy from having taken a big pot off Loud Cowboy Shirt. "I feel sort of bad," he said. Cowboy Shirt had fallen from a high of $2000 to buying back in twice and now being stuck for $1000. "That guy had a lot of money when I sat down."
"Taylor," I said, "you know this as well as I do. We can all be friendly when we're sitting there. But when it comes to poker and money, there are no friendships."
Taylor stubbed out his cigarette and said, "Yeah, I know" in a way that said, "Yeah, I know, but I don't like it."
Back at the tables, it was nearly 10am. I'd been playing poker since 3pm the day before and at the same table since 10pm the night before. I had the button and $1000 sitting in front of me. As usual, the observant players had started to refer to me as "locked down," AKA the guy who is only playing hard if he has a hand. Sleepless, I was ready to exploit the image. A raise to $15 came in and I made it $35 to go. Taylor called out of the big blind, as did the initial raiser.
The table captain, a brash former baseball player who was currently facing charges for beating the hell out of his wife's lover, looked at Taylor and said, "Remember what I told you." The implication was clear. Don't get involved in a hand with the Lockdown.
"I know," Taylor said.
The flop came out queen-high and Taylor pushed $100 into the middle. The guy in the middle folded and without a second thought I made it $300 to go. Taylor thought for a moment then called the $200. The table captain shook his head, as if he were about to watch Taylor lose his stake.
The turn was a blank, and this time, Taylor checked to me.
"Three hundred, again," I said.
Again, Taylor struggled, and then reluctantly put three red stacks in the middle.
I glanced up and realized everybody at the table was watching. The Showered Sharks were staring intently. One even gave me a nod, as if to say, "It's yours, buddy."
I was fully prepared to push my stack on the river if Taylor checked to me. Instead, a queen came on the river and Taylor pushed in the rest of his chips.
"Oh. My. God," The table captain said. "Fucking incredible."
I put on a good show for the table, pretending to consider my cards for 30 or 40 seconds, before throwing them disgustedly in the muck.
The most-Showered of the Sharks nodded toward me and said what everybody at the table--except Taylor--already knew. "He had aces or kings."
Taylor flipped up AQ and showed it to me like he was doing me a favor.
"I know," I said, then grabbed the cash I had left on the table. "Gentlemen, it's been fun, but I need to sleep now."
As I walked away, I knew the table captain, the Showered Sharks, the Loud Cowboy Shirt, and even Mr. Ponytail were still shaking their heads about my bad luck. Even Taylor now knew how lucky he'd been.
My pocket jacks were shuffled back into the deck and the game continued as if I had never been there.<-- Hide More
Quick note for the ladies who read Up For Poker... if you haven't stopped by my other blog, go see how you can win me in an auction and help raise money for an important charity.
He's a large man. When he sat down to my left, I had to move my chair closer to the 3 seat. He took up a lot of room. It was also a lot easier to slide down my chip stack considering it consisted of just a 500 and a 100 chip.
Chris Grigorian had a lot more. Of course, I didn't know he was Chris Gregorian. I only knew that he was audacious enough to wear what I assumed to be his nickname on his hat. It made me want to begin printing my Luckbox trucker hats right away.
He wasn't there five minutes when he managed to join the other 8 players and I in a silent pact to crush him. We wanted nothing more than to see him leave our table with nothing but the sting of a bunch of no-nicknamed-players taking all his chips.
We got our wish.More in this Poker Blog! -->
The WSOP Circuit
I kept telling myself I was prepared. The night before I cashed in a 2nd chance tourney with 158 players. Sure, there was one patented Luckbox suckout when my A2 outflopped A7, but that's poker. My K9 also managed to outflop AQ with 15 left, but an Ace on the river sent me packing.
When I woke up Saturday morning, something felt wrong. I thought I might have picked up a bug of some kind. I actually went to bed at about 11pm Friday night when I could have been playing poker instead. That should tell you how bad I felt. I felt lingering effects Saturday morning, but I think my nerves actually magnified it.
I'm surprised I was nervous. I thought there was no way the players or the situation would intimidate me. I was wrong. And it cost me.
We started with T2000, 25/50 blinds and 60 minute levels. That's plenty of time for me to pick good hands and play them hard.
Unfortunately, the first hand I picked was ATs. Hardly a premium hand, but it was a hand with which I felt I could pick up some chips. I raised from MP and got called by both the button and the BB. The flop came down T-high. I put out a strong bet, almost pot-sized, and the button called me. I was concerned right there that I might already be beat. Or was I giving him too much credit?
The turn put both a flush and a straight on the board. I checked, acknowledging the surrender. Perhaps I was ahead. I'll never know.
A little while later in the first level, I picked up pocket T's. I put out another solid raise and got one caller. The flop was AQx, two hearts. I had the T of hearts. I put out a feeler bet and got called. The turn didn't help me and I gave up on this hand, too. I was scared money.
That was the last hand I played that wasn't out of the blind until the hand that busted me. Once, I won a small pot when A4 flopped two pair. Another time, A6s won a small pot when the flop came 6-3-3. That was it.
The second level was over and it was time for a ten minute break. I had just T500 left and blinds were 50/100. In my mind, I had played horribly. Of course, the ATs and the TT were the two best hands I saw in two hours of play.
The first hand after the break, I looked down at 66. I was one hand from the BB and I wasn't going to find a better spot. I got one caller, and then the big stack re-raised. Isolation meant just one thing: Rockets.
I was dead. I may be a Luckbox, but I have absolutely no power over pocket Aces. I think I was the very first person to bust in level 3. I don't even know how many people busted before me. I might as well have finished in last.
Getting Over It
But at least I wasn't Chris Grigorian. CardPlayer says he was the 1060th best tournament player in the world last year with three final tables and about $50,000 in winnings.
I outlasted him.
Moments after he sat down, he began establishing his image as the table boss.
"Can I get change for this 500?" The 8 seat asked the 1 seat. The 1 seat nodded and started counting out 4 blacks and 4 greens.
"No, no, no, no," The Armenian Express demanded, "Only black. Only black!"
The 1 seat was no poker slouch. He had pretty much owned the table up until that point. But he was still a little thrown off by the demand.
"Okaaaaay," he said, sliding 5 black chips to the 8 seat.
"It's faster that way," the Express responded. I suppose that extra 10 seconds he would save in this level might help him in the long run.
The cards are dealt and the Express immediately throws out a strong raise. He gets a caller and after the flop, the Express throws out another big bet. I didn't believe him. I'm no pro, but I think this tell is taught on page 3 of every poker book ever written.
The other player didn't believe him either and came back over the top. The Express folded.
The next hand was a near instant replay with a different player. I could sense the wheels coming of the Express.
Two hands later, he raises again from early position. It's folded around the BB, who has become the biggest stack at the table. He re-raises, and without missing a beat, the Express goes all in.
The BB went into the tank a bit. He was a nice guy who laughed at all my jokes. He's also the guy who would later wake up with Aces against me. I liked him. I was worried that The Express actually had a hand here, and was hoping his previous lay downs would invite a call. I knew the BB wasn't making a move, but I didn't know if his hand was big enough.
He called and when the cards are flipped, the BB is holding QQ and the Express is holding AKs. It was a race. And since the Express did not get his nickname for being very fast (he's a big guy), the BB seemed to be in good shape.
The QT7 flop, nearly sealed the Express' fate, but there were four Jacks in the deck. None would come and just like that, the Express' day was done.
He had no parting words for the table, but did hurl a chip rack at a copy machine nearby. Apparently in this case, being table boss did not pay off. It merely ensured everyone else wanted to bust him as soon as possible.
Looking back, all I could do was chalk this up to experience. At least I can lay some of the blame at the foot of the dealers. After all, my cards really sucked. But I didn't exactly play them as well as I could have either. This just means I'll need a little more live practice before the next big event.
By the way, the picture above was taken shortly after the start of the HORSE event. The lineup of pros was impressive, including TJ Cloutier, Barry Greenstein, Carlos Mortensen, Andy Bloch, Layne Flack, David Williams and more. For some reason, Erick Lindgren was on his laptop instead of in his chair. And when I snapped this picture, The Armenian Express was asking if he could use Lindgren's laptop to check his email. Weird.<-- Hide More
"It's not hard to play this game. The hard part is getting up and leaving."
I never got the guy's name. It's funny, you know? If you sit down to dinner with someone, you'll likely know their name before you finish your salad. At a poker table, you can spend hours and hours talking with someone. You might learn some of the most intimate details of their life. And yet, when it's all over, you couldn't even look up their name in the phonebook.
I sat with the dude who said the above line for more than 12 hours at various tables and I have no idea who he is. All I know is that G-Rob, during a late-night hit-and-run session, cracked the dude's aces with 6-9. A day later, without mention of the hand, the dude said it:
"It's not hard to play this game. The hard part is getting up and leaving."
Eight hours later, the guy had won $8000 in the nightly second chance tourney and I was still stuck.More in this Poker Blog! -->
I was the first of the G-Vegas team to arrive in Tunica. With a cheap flight and a rented Chrysler 300, I made my way though the dirty streets of Memphis, down Highway 61, and across the border into Mississippi. Just crossing the state line made me feel sick to my stomach. The state holds a lot of ugly memories for me, and despite being made an honorary Mississippian by former Governor Kirk Fordice (the only Governor I've ever known who has threatened--on television--to whip a TV reporter's ass), very few things would move me to willingly travel to the Magnolia State.
Within an hour of getting my car, I was walking into the Grand. Again, I had stuff a roll of money in my pocket. It was bigger this time. In the past year, I'd seen stacks and stacks of Franklins at tables. My goals were twofold. First, after successful 2005 online but less than stellar live play, I vowed to become a better brick and mortar player. Second, after being hesitant to sit big live, but play way over my head online, I planned to play bigger than I had ever played in a live card room.
Inside the Grand, I followed the familiar dark green WSOP signs through the banks of slots machines and up the escalator to the poker room. My hope was to find a good $30/$60 game. It was still smaller than I had played online, but I figured it would offer me a certain comfort zone I needed to begin. In lieu of that, I thought I might try a $5/$10 NL game. Again, it was smaller than I'd been playing online, but my no-limit game is not the best in the world and I didn't want to drop too much money early in the trip because I was uncomfortable.
I heard Johnny Grooms' voice over the mic. It was familiar from weeks of listening to him announce the final tables at the WSOP. I stepped across the invisible line marking the entrance to the room. I was ready.
But where the hell was everybody?
I was like I'd walked into the end of the poker boom. The tournament area was winding its way through the day's WSOPC event and a couple of single table satellites were running in the corner. It was not what I was looking for. Just a couple of week's earlier, I had been to a major tournament in which the cash games were rocking all day long. Here, the cash game area was in the small 14-table poker room. I headed for the board and asked what games were available.
"We've got two tables playing $4/$8. There's a list for the $2/$5 game." The dude said it as if it were the most reasonable thing in the world.
This was January's poker Mecca? I felt immediately let down, and yet, I had a visceral need to get in action.
And so, this Otis, so full of himself, sat down and played $4/$8 limit hold'em.
Now, don't get me wrong. There's nothing wrong with $4/$8. My first live casino poker action was $4/$8. It's a great place to play and, due to the number of donks who play it, can be quite profitable if you can avoid the suckouts. Still, I had built up the trip to be a test of myself, a test of my bankroll, a test to see if I was really the poker player I thought I was. A game of $4/$8 wasn't going to accomplish that. An hour later, my name was called for the $2/$5 game. I played four-handed for half an hour before the game broke. Everybody in the game, including me, was headed to the $200 second chance tourney at 5pm.
Yesterday's post was a prelude to this prelude. To review: I needed to learn to play better live. I needed to play bigger live. I needed to test myself. Finally, I needed to avoid what has become a common pitfall for me when playing live. I needed to stay off the bottle. When playing for fun, I still see nothing wrong with having some drinks and a good time. Somehow, however, the good time poker seemed to be slipping into my serious live play. A drink to relax myself would turned into a drink to break up the monotony. Another drink would follow and eight hours later, I'd end up playing bad poker.
With the goals in place and the early Thursday afternoon behind me, I set into Thursday evening, a 19-hour session, and the game in which I heard the following converation:
"Good read, sir."
"No, it wasn't a good read. It was a triumph of goddamned ignorance."<-- Hide More
As Otis mentioned, there are tales-a-plenty from Tunica. We'll try to list most recent at the top, but you can always click on Tunica Tales for the complete list of stories from our trip.
I don't have time for a full story right now, but there are plenty to come. I think if you've been worried that something was missing from Up For Poker that you'll be excited by what's to come. We're home from Tunica and flush with stories.
For those backers who hadn't heard, I didn't do so well in the tourney. I'll chalk it up to experience and feel better prepared for the next one. It's time to get back to work, but I'll write more soon!
Chances are, this collablog is going to get confusing, with the three chief contributors all getting back from a road trip at the same time. I'll do my best to ease the confusion by listing previous posts at the top of mine.
I shuffled through the remaining bills in my pocket. Four days before, the roll had been big enough to draw attention. It was a bulge in my pants where, sadly, none had been before. Now, tired and hungover at McCarran, the bulge was gone and I returned to a familiar state of emasuclation and self-loathing. Wharfing down a bad chicken sandwich in the Prickly Pear with The Mark and Gamecock, I knew that this was not the kind of loathing Hunter Thompson had described. His loathing was one of a scene, a society, a moral culture worthy of scorn. My loathing was internal and brought upon myself. Behind me was a debaucherous weeked of revelry and wanton disregard for cash. Perhaps, I thought, that was what the weekend was supposed to be about in the first place. Still, Gamecock and The Mark had bulges where I had the last fluttering of a few hundred bucks.
Upgraded to First Class for the plane ride home, I settled back into the seat and fell into the restless sleep of a man who fancied himself as a gambler, a degenerate, and a card player. In unmemorable dreams, I realized that I was none of the above.More in this Poker Blog! -->
As the holidays wound through big meals and big love, I found the embarassment of my trip waning. Like all true addicts, once the hangover is gone, the bad memories fade. Within weeks, even if I had not fully recovered from the slight shame of my drunken idiocy, I had recovered my card playing spirit. Back in the game, if only virtually, I found myself eying a bigger game than I'd ever played. It had not been a month since I had said matter-of-factly to my wife, "There is no reason for me to play bigger than $30/$60. The game is good. The game is profitable. And I can mange the losses."
In the past few years, the desire to, as they say, "take a shot," has hit me at odd times. The jump to $30/$60 hit me in a London hotel room in May. Boredom and insomnia struck at the right time. Within a couple hours I had made twice what I could in a good session at $15/$30 in half the time. The same thing had happened when I hopped--inexplicably--to $10/$20 the year before. During the annual November Slide in 2005, I had briefly toyed with he $50/$100 game, but ran away scared after dropping half a buy-in in about half an hour. A month later, without explanation, I sat down at 5pm and entered a $50/$100 game. I wouldn't quit for ten hours.
When the game was over, I looked back at the win-rate and knew I could never duplicate the session. It was beyond any expecatation I could ever hope for. Six sigmas out didn't begin to describe it. I extrapolated the win rate to a year's worth of play and laughed out loud at myself.
When I woke up a few hours later, I checked my e-mail and discovered that Expedia had given me a $150 coupon. It was like a hot and cold front coming together over Kansas. The high of the previous night's win collided with the memory of an embarassing stint of live play just a few weeks earlier. In my heart, I fancied myself a card player who could make a living at the game. But good sense told me that stellar online play doesn't always translate to live play.
As I sat on the couch, I wondered why I bothered worrying about it. Online play would almost always be more profitable than online play, but the money itself really had never been an issue. With the exception of a couple small withdrawals to fund Vegas trips and a European cash bankroll, I have never taken any significant cash out of my online bankroll, nor did I have any plans to. Don't ask me why, because it's something I have yet to fully understand. Still, with such profit to be made sitting on my couch, I wondered why I was entertaining an idea that hit me the moment I saw the Expedia e-mail.
I knew the answer all along. The profit is not monetary. It's ego. It's self-esteem. It's the Id, the Ego, and the Super Ego in a manage a trois of 70s porn industry proportions.
In short, it's the romantic notion of being a card player. For better or worse, it's something that will rarely admit out loud, but have come to accept during quiet nights by myself.
I don't want to be a mouse jockey. I want to be a card player.
* * *
I've never put much stock in the concept of a collective conscious. Generallly, there are Idea Men (or Women) and there are the followers. I've been and have enjoyed being both. When the Expedia e-mail hit the inbox, the idea was too strong to ignore. Tunica would be rocking for the entire month of January. I had a basically free plane ticket to what would be a live poker Mecca. Still, my fears were two-fold. First, I didn't want anyone to know about my plans, because failure in Mecca would surely result in a lower self-esteem and future worries about my abiity to compete in a live forum. Second, I didn't know if I had the stones to head into a fray of true rounders.
And yet, I had almost made the decision. I was going to go to Tunica by myself and tell no one but my wife. Regardless of the outcome, I vowed I would tell the truth in my writing. I would telll the stories, bad and good, and then would re-evaluate whether I had any chance of being a live card player. With the decision 99% made, I settled back and started looking for plane tickets with no thoughts of collective conscious or seeing anyone I really knew in Tunica.
Within two days, I'd spoken to both Iggy and CJ. At seperate times, they said the exact same thing without any prompting from me.
"I'm thinking about going to Tuinca."
And that's how this past weekend began.<-- Hide More
I'd just won a pretty fair pot from the older guy to my left. He was from New York and, evidently, an avid tennis player. At one point a Nashville man with an Australian accent offered to play him on the closest courts for $1000. Mr. New York politely declined. By the end of the night, he'd give me more than that at this NL game.
Just few hands later, I've got about $600 in chips with another $600 behind and the young asian player in the 2 seat is ready to test my hand.
I was in the 5 seat and on the button when he led out for a raise, making it $35 to go. I popped it up to $80 and he just called. I figured him for a strong ace. If I'm right then the flop was great for him. It was :
Ad Kh 6h
Oddly enough, he decided to check and I bet $100. He calls.
The turn is :
That puts a SECOND flush draw on the board and if he DOES have a strong ace he can't let this hand go any further. Honestly, by now, I'm worried he may have a set..especially when he checks again. Still, because I'm an aggressive donkey, I bet out another $200. He calls again.
The river is :
He checks again. Both flushes are gone and, while a straight is possible, it seems awfully unlikely given the action so far. He checks again. I bet $400 and my newfound friend goes deep in the tank before asking how much I have left. He then looks to the table, hoping they'll offer a clue about my hand, before complaining "you just sucked out on the damn river!!" and folding into the muck.
I showed the hammer and raked the pot.More in this Poker Blog! -->
It's a 9 hour drive from G-Vegas to Tunica. Badblood and I took turns driving and the man at the wheel had the I-Pod option. Mine was loaded with Phish, Galactic, Particle, and Acoustic Syndicate. His is all Heavy Metal (with the odd exception of Olivia Newton John, I'll let HIM explain that). It's not a bad drive, almost all of it on a single highway, and we made good time. Otis flew into Memphis. CJ drove from another direction.
We often like to brag about our homegame here and it's, frankly, a warrented boast. Blood and I hit about 3 games a week, and the hands we play heads up are always the most fun. I know his moves by now, and he knows my donkey agression. It's a level of thinking we don't use often. Otis and CJ, I've known for much longer and I consider them 2 of my closest friends in the world. When I heard they'd be in Tunica, I wanted to meet them. At first, it wasn't really about poker. Lots of people are more skilled than our G-Vegas gang, but nobody has more fun.
Take Saturday for example...
The Gold **** casino was running games in two rooms. The WPT was done for the day with the main event final table scheduled for Sunday. I spent most of Friday sitting next to Clonie Gowen's mom at a NL table while her daughter played next door. She knocked out Cloutier. Mom wasn't bad either.
On Saturday night, Sunday morning really, the WPT room was used for the really high limit games and Blood and I wanted to see the action. As always, I wanted in. The game was $400/$800 Omaha with 4 players : Mimi Tran, John D'Agostino, Chad Brown, and Tuan Le. I couldn't find an empty chair, but one player, Hasan Habib, stood up to let me in.
When I sat, I spread 3 $20s across the felt and waited. Nobody even blinked. After Le and D'Agostino played one hand, Brown looked at me and asked what I wanted. "Sixty Dollars," I said without a smile.
"This is $400/$800," he replied, "you can't play here."
"Don't you have a $60 chip?" I asked without blinking. I just sat there waiting.
The table played another hand with me watching and waiting. Then another hand...and another. Finally I just tapped my finger on the 3 $20s on the table to remind the dealer of my intent. It had the opposite effect. He made me leave.
It's odd that after driving all that way to see Otis and CJ, I hardly spoke to them at all. Otis was hanging out in the Grand's poker room when we got there that night and CJ arrived an hour later. The place was totally dead by then with the WSOP Circuit events over for the day. The only games they spread by then were three tables of $2/$5 no max NL and a few games of $4/$8. I'd never played $2/$5 before and I'd only brought $1000 to play but I suck at limit poker so I took a stab.
I bought in for $300 while most of the players had almost 10x than much behind. One younger girl, Otis called her "rich bitch", had close to $10k. It forced me off my game. As BadBlood would later observe, the smell of scared money had to be obvious to the other players. The only hand I won was when I played the hammer hard, and the others folded post flop. They just knew a poor beggar like me wouldn't bluff.
Once CJ got there he took my entire stack. I raised pre-flop and he came over the top. The flop was 10-high and I led out $100, obviouly a mistake in retrospect, and he came over the top putting me all in. His KK held up against my JJ and I needed a break. At least I lost to CJ. I took break to donk off another $100 at Blood's limit table before investing another $350 in the NL game.
I should add, once you go broke in Tunica, there isn't much else to do. Here I'd invested almost all of my cash in this stupid game and I still hadn't seen our hotel room. I decided that if I was gonna go broke, they'd have to beat my A-Game and the scared money was gone. I made back all of my losses and finished up $220.
It was a great setup for Friday, my best ever day of casino poker.
CJ, Blood and I drove over to the Gold **** and had "brunch" downstairs. The poker room, just like at the Grand, is an escalator ride upstairs. Unlike the Grand, this room was packed thanks to the WPT main event. I found a seat at $1/$2NL and was comfortable from the start. Clonie's mom was nice enough and the conversation went like this :
Woman in 10s : So, is your daughter playing right now?
Mom : Yeah, she just knocked TJ out.
Woman : Did she win her way here by playing online?
Mom : No, she's sponsored by Full Tilt.
Now the word "sponsored" caught my attention more than anything else, so I just had to chime in...
G-Rob : What's your daughter's name?
Mom : Clonie Gowan
G-Rob : Oh! She's famous. You know, I'm G-Rob, I'm famous too.
Mom : I haven't heard of you.
G-Rob : I'm a friend of Otis.
Mom : I don't know him either.
G-Rob : I find that hard to believe.
I bought into the game with $300 and cashed out with $1300. It felt good to play well. Plus, my table tilting powers were finally intact. After crushing the free buffet, Blood and I went to railbird Otis and CJ in the WSOP second chance tourney.
NOT AS NEWBIE
We found Iggy already watching Otis and CJ play. Both of them were close to the money when our midget friend talked us into a quick and stupid satellite. Buyin was $120 with $1100 to the winner. Starting stack was T800 with 15 minute blinds. It was a donkfest from the start. When we got down to three players (me, Blood, and guyin a visor) with nearly even stacks, I proposed a donkey chop, but visor guy refused.
One hand later, Blood took me out. I wasn't out of the room before visor guy proposed a chop.
So, after checking on Otis and CJ...both were in the money, I went back to the ol' $2/$5.
I sat in the 5s with tennis guy to my left. On the first hand I realized just how agressive he was, straddling the blinds and popping the limpers. He played almost every hand and counted on what was, admittedly, very good post-flop play to profit. He doubled me up fast.
I raised in EP and he smooth called. The flop was Ad 6s 4s and I led out again for another $50. He looked at me and smiled before raising to $150. I re-raised to $350 and he says, "You're on a flush draw!" and pushes all in.
I call and say, "You're right". Then I turn over my AKs. He has QQ. I win $650.
A few hands later I played the hammer hand you read above.
More to come... I've rambled enough for now.<-- Hide More
I don't have much time.
The WSOP Circuit event has cards in the air in just under an hour. Otis and I are both registered. And now we've got to follow in the footsteps of Absinthe. That's not an easy task!
So far, the G-Vegas crew is collectively in the black. Yesterday Otis and I each scored modest cashes in the WSOP 2nd chance tourney (14th adn 15th respectively), while at the same time G-Rob and BadBlood were crushing the No Limit tables.
I hope I have a good update for you tonight! Wish us luck!