The Indiana Gaming Control Division busted a place in Tipton, IN last night. Tipton is about 30 miles north of Indianapolis. Investigators say the place ran illegal poker games where patrons were playing for money. Although several card players were there during the raid, none were arrested. Their names have been passed on to the DA for possible charges.
State law permits only non-for-profit groups to host poker tournaments for charity. The man who runs the business says there's nothing wrong with the card tournaments he's hosted over the last four years.
Oh... the name of the business? Holdem House. I wonder what tipped off the cops?
Here's the website which informs us that the place is "temporarily closed."
I guess the only question is why it took the cops four years to shut down a place that has been advertising poker tournaments so brazenly? After all, it's been more than a year since the Indiana Gaming Commission took over regulation of back room poker. Maybe they had better things to do...
G-Rob and I missed the driveway into the pub and busted a U-turn in the middle of a busy highway. Our tires crunched on rock as we slid into the small gravel parking lot. The entire bar could've fit in the downstairs floor of my house. It was barely big enough to hold G-Rob's hair, let alone his ego and my enormous sense of self-loathing.
It was a Friday night around 7pm. Nobody reasonable goes to places like this, least of all suburban fathers with mortgages and firm grasps on their drinking problem. No, these places are for professional drunks who don't quaff martinis before sundown and certainly don't have many people who give a damn or dram where they are.
We two suburban fathers, however, find ourselves in these dives more often than we do the trendy or chain bars in town. We look for out of-the-way Quonset huts and cinder block buildings where the floor really does smell like beer and the people only look up from their drinks to make sure you aren't the police.More in this Poker Blog! -->
I picked the place Friday because Mapquest said it was the closest possible drinking establishment to a poker game G-Rob and I were hitting. Trendy names and dueling pianos be damned, this place simply called itself the name of its city and "Pub."
I knew I would love it before we even sat down. My belief was confirmed when the bleach-blonde 40-something behind the bar gave G-Rob and me a look that said, "Oh, give me a fucking break."
"IDs," she sighed.
See, it's not that people in places like this don't like you. It's that they don't like the idea of you. You are something new, something they can't immediately trust, something they have to work to know. That kind of activity is not what dive bars are about. The places where I feel most welcome are the places where I can walk into an established routine, even if it is not my own.
I stuck my hand in my pocket and pulled out my drivers license. "I have gray in my beard," I said as I handed it in the direction of the woman's ample bosom.
She looked me straight in the eye. "I don't care," she said.
The two beers we ordered were cold and appeared immediately in front of us. The bar was comfortable and everybody except G-Rob and I knew each other.
I caught G-Rob's eye and nodded toward the back of the room where seven or eight guys were sitting around the table. Someone was dealing from a red deck. No chips were in sight, but it was obvious the game was serious. No matter they were drinking some concoction made out of Crown Royal and Rumplemintz, they were into what they're doing.
"Playing cards back there," I said aloud, half to point out the obvious and half to see if the bartender would eavesdrop and fill me in on what they were doing.
G-Rob did a half-turn on his barstool and took a look.
"Somebody just passed some money across the table," he said.
We had a poker game to go to. It was a safe place where there was no chance of robbery or arrest. There was no chance of cheating and no chance of getting knifed in the gravel parking lot. Still, we were intrigued.
G-Rob noted someone had just mentioned trip queens getting beat by trip aces.
"Are they playing on paper?" I wondered aloud.
It seemed like such a game would be difficult to pull off, especially for a group of guys hopped up on peppermint schnapps.
"It's Guts," said the guy sitting on the other side of me. I came to think of him as our new best friend.
This is how you survive in a dive bar. This is how you survive in a gambling hole. You find one guy who is willing to let you in and show you the ropes. If you decide you can trust him, you're good as long as you want to be.
"Four card Guts," he said, "With a discard. $20 a hand. You can drop if you want to, but if you're in, you're in."
He went on to tell us that winning and losing $500 is not impossible in the game. He further told us the game runs nearly every night and well into the dark hours.
This is the beauty of gambling holes. You will not find people playing cards at the Applebees bar. Liberty Taproom may have a great selection of beer, but the chances of rolling dice for "however much cash is in this envelope" are slim to none. This little pub, though, was all about gambling--cops, preachers, and wives be damned.
If we'd stayed a week, we could've played four card Guts with the drunk and sunburned. We could've played a game in which a winning raffle ticket earns you a roll of the dice and a successful roll of the dice earns you a draw from a deck and a successful joker-pull from the deck can earn you...
"I won $7,000 one night," our new friend said. "They had to walk me out to my car." And I believed him, because there is no real reason to make up something that ridiculous.
We didn't have a week. We had but an hour, time to roll the dice for the envelope money, time to laugh at the guy at the end of the bar who said, "Do you know the odds of actually--oh, nevermind."
We knew the odds and we didn't care. The dice could've been weighted for all we cared. There could've been only deuces and threes on them. We still filled the cup, slammed the dice on the bar, and sighed happily when we lost. It was action, in a public place, where nearly everything that was happening was in some way illegal.
It was perfect.
We walked back out into the sunlight on the way to our surburban poker game where the table stakes were much higher, but the romance was the same as an entree from Ruby Tuesday.
No, we don't haunt or hunt in the underground games much anymore, but the glimmer in both of our eyes as we finished our beers was enough to say without saying, "Damn, we would if we could."<-- Hide More
PokerNews' Haley Hintze reports today that a number of people busted in the Palmetto State's latest poker raid will be opting for a trial by jury.
A few weeks back, the
jack-booted thugs local constabulary cited 38 people for violation of our state's antiquated gambling law (yes, the one that makes it illegal to play even some board games on Sunday). Usually, the notion of taking a misdemeanor ticket in front of a jury is pretty silly. In South Carolina, however, it's pretty damned smart. Those people who didn't pay their tickets? Well, they may never see the inside of a courtroom.
It's been nearly three years since a raid on a neighborhood clubhouse in Greer, South Carolina resulted in the arrests of several friends of the Up For Poker blog. It was a small tournament in the middle of the afternoon and nothing much compared to what the poker scene eventually became here.
It's been nearly two years since we mentioned the case in a post on this blog and noted the fact one of our local attorneys was challenging the validity of our South Carolina gambling laws.
You know how far that case has progressed since then?
You guessed it. Nothing has happened.
The judge has refused to move the case along for trial and prosecutor has little to no interest in reminding everybody about the case. The law is broken, lawmakers (out of fear of being perceived as pro-gambling) won't fix it, and thus prosecutions become well-nigh impossible. Getting busted for gambling in South Carolina isn't all that bad. All you have to do is not pay the ticket and say, "Not guilty" and there is a reasonable chance you'll never have to worry about it again.
Of course, prosecutors in the Low Country are different than prosecutors in the Upstate and we may see the folks down there actually have to face a jury. After that, it's back to what we've discussed before--actually challenging the gambling law in the Supreme Court.
That's actually what lawmakers need and want. This year, the boys and girls at the Statehouse killed two gambling-related bills. Few people want their signatures to be seen on legislation that, in an upcoming election year, could be the fodder for a "State Senator X loves to gamble on South Carolina's family values" advert. Thus, despite the good intentions of a few lawmakers here, there is slim chance we'll ever see a decent reform of the gambling law. That means, in short, the South Carolina gambling law is a law in name only. As it is broken and antiquated, it can't be used in what normally would be a viable prosecution.
That could all change if the state Supreme Court was forced to look at the law. Suddenly, lawmakers would have a legal mandate to take an honest look at the law.
This is a weird place, South Carolina. There are many things about it that are forward-thinking and progressive. Underneath it all, though, there is still a foundation of unwavering conservative thought. In many cases, it's wrought with hypocrisy. It's hard for me to accept as a poker player that I'm allowed to run as bad at I do at Powerball but actually forbidden from running well at poker.
But, that's the Palmetto State for ya. Smiling faces, beautiful places, and not a legal poker room as far as the eye can see.
Thank goodness the gambling law is so messed up. Otherwise, we'd all be in jail.<-- Hide More
Police in Charleston called it the result if a "ten month investigation." They arrested 27 people, including an assistant prosecutor at an underground poker game.
The Charleston Post says the game was run out of the bottom floor of a two story house with games spread on several tables. The host started the games last year and they "just grew."More in this Poker Blog! -->
From the Charleston Post:
A Sheriff's Spokesman described an efficient operation that ran like a business. "They had specific nights that they gambled. The bosses determined where the games were being held and determined the buy-in."
The buy-in was anywhere from $300 to $1,000 per game, he said. The person who sponsored the event was paid a specific amount each time a hand was played.
Those arrested Friday night and Saturday were charged by Hanahan police with unlawful games and betting. Twelve of the 26 had outstanding warrants through the Charleston County Sheriff's Office for unlawful games and betting, Clark said.
That charge is a magistrate's-level offense, but Clark said the people who were dealers or bosses will likely face General Sessions charges, meaning the punishment could be harsher. "
This isn't the first big raid in that part of the state, we call it the "Lowcountry," there was one in Mt. Pleasant a year or so ago.
Keep in mind, we've had several high-profile busts here. There was one in the city of Greer years ago in which an "informant" led Greer City Police to a neighborhood community center and a realtively small buy-in tournament. Of those arrested, the people who decided to fight that case in court are still awaiting resolution of the charges. (More on the poker bust appeal.)
It's been at least 3 years.
We had another big poker bust at what we used to call the "Gaelic Game" last fall. Again, deputies claimed to have and "informant", although in this case it may have just been a case of the game beeing wayyyy too obvious.
As for that assistant city prosecutor, he's turned in his resignation. His boss still hasn't accepted the resignation and the poor bastard is on "suspension" for now.
Police claim they took more than $40,000 from the game, which makes me awfully jealous of the game... you know... until they all went to jail.
Related coverage<-- Hide More
It was a quote handed down through several generations, so it's possible that the deputy said, "If you play poker, you deserve to get rubbed." That would make sense. We leather-assed grinders get many a knot in our collective back. A ten-hour session is the perfect excuse for a rub-down. If we play poker, we deserve to get a massage.
However, by the time the quote reached me through the poker community's version of the Telephone Game, it sounded like, "If you play poker, you deserve to get robbed."
That's not nearly as nice a sentiment.More in this Poker Blog! -->
The most recent robbery turned shooting--this time in the Big Apple--drew, not surprisingly, national news attention. Though the same thing had happened in Florida a few weeks before, the NYC Underground scene piqued the interest of big time media. Around these parts, robberies and the enforcement of street law don't make the news. Maybe they don't need to. After all, though the second half of this year has seen the most violent poker scene in G-Vegas history, it's not the big city and few people outside the tight-knit poker community care. However, when somebody like Frank DeSena dies, everyone pays attention. And they should, because no matter whether it happens in a big city high rise or a backwoods trailer, events like these are a reflection of the community we love and the problems it faces.
In the eyes of the law, we who have or currently play in underground poker games are no better than people who deal drugs, engage in prostitution, or run illegal liquor houses. We are lawbreakers. We are scofflaws. We are a thorn in their gunbelts.
The Greenville County Deputy who allegedly said, "If you play poker, you deserve to get robbed" is right, or, at least close to it.
A couple of years ago, I hosted the Bradoween Invitational tournament. It was a no-juice event in which I charged nothing for food or drink. Everyone in the event, all 43 of them (the max I could fit in my house) was a friend. It was a social gathering played more for bragging rights than cash.
I still put a lookout on the front steps.
Why? Well, despite its social atmosphere and lack of juice, it was illegal. Had the local constabulary decided it was a day to make an example of somebody, deputies could've raided my house and cited us all for illegal gambling.
I, of course, would've been furious. However, looking at it through a bigger frame, I would not have had much reason to be. It would've been no different than a minor being cited for possession of alcohol or someone being picked up for simple possession. They may not be laws we agree with, but they are laws.
Local law enforcement does not--or should not, anyway--have the luxury of subjectivism. Their's is not the role of interpreting the law. At the risk of losing their jobs, they have to enforce the law or else. If they know of something illegal taking place and chose to turn a blind eye, they will have to answer for their subjective approach to law enforcment.
To wit: The underground scene in G-Vegas flourished for the past two years. Hardly a month passed without a new game popping up somewhere in the Upstate. We could play any night of the week for as high of stakes as we chose and we rarely worried about getting raided.
One night, though, as it drew close to midnight, I sat in the three seat at the Gaelic Game. Two guys walked in and got on the list. I couldn't take my eyes off one of the guys. His face was so familiar, and everything in my mind was screaming, "Cop!" Finally, it hit me. He was a key witness in one of the biggest murder trials I ever covered. He had been in law enforcement. Last I heard, he had left the force and left town. Now, he was back.
I told the host of the game and was later told everything was okay. Still, I didn't feel right. When G-Rob got there, I told him what I thought. He investigated and confirmed that my read was right, though the former law enforcment officer claimed to no longer carry a badge.
That was the worst it ever got until the hijackers got involved and popped the Black Stallion. Word spread quickly through the community that guns had been involved. Now, it was no longer a matter of whether illegal poker games were being played in town. It was a matter of whether somebody was going to get killed. Sure enough, the Greenville County Sheriff's Office came down hard and put the word out that anybody else running a game was going to be taken down, as well.
I don't blame the Sheriff's Office at all. As it happens, I have a number of friends and associates for whom I have a lot of respect who work inside that office. What's more, I know the Sheriff and have just as much respect for him. It was an odd place for me to be. On one hand, I was a regular at the local poker games for more than two years. On the other hand, I was a former cop beat news reporter who had respect for the hard work the deputies put in. It actually caused me problems when I first started getting into the scene. People knew who I was, who I worked for, and what kind of stories I regularly covered.
One night in a nearby city, I was an unknown in a game and attending without my regular running buddies. People kept looking at me sideways until one of them said, "I got it. You're XXX. You work for XXX." My stomach knotted up. "You here on some kind of investigation?"
I talked my way out of it, but it wasn't without a little sweating. Soon, most of those people would become my friends and it became more of a joke than anything else.
Now, there is no joking. The poker scene here is in serious trouble. To be honest, if I wanted to find a game right now, it would take several calls and likely finding someone to vouch for me. Even then, I'm not even sure if I could get a game.
And you know what? I don't want one anymore. I am one of a few people I know who have definitively sworn off underground poker. That's a real bitch to say, but it's the truth. I have played in the back of strip clubs, basement bars, country clubs, old houses, new houses, and warehouses. I have stories from every one. It wasn't just a part of me. It was me for a couple of years. Giving it up is like saying goodbye to a girl you love, not to mention saying goodbye to some of the best sex of your life.
Now, the poker I play will be restricted to friendly home games, legal brick and mortar casinos, and whatever other legal means of playing I can find. You can read the above however you want. I'll summarize: I'm going to play poker where my chance of getting shot or arrested is as close to zero as possible.
A lot of people may accuse me of giving up the fight. That's not the case. There was a time when Outlaw-Lite fit me pretty well. I enjoyed it. However, now I have a kid who has shown me he needs me around. I have a wife with a face on which I now recognize actual worry. In short, it just ain't worth it. But giving up? Not so much. Most of us aren't outlaws or road gamblers who fade the white line. No, we're basically suburban dads, teachers, salesmen, firefighters, and retirees who enjoy the game. We don't make our living off poker and that's why we can't get up the gumption to fight.
See, I still believe in poker. I still believe poker shouldn't be illegal. However, I can't blame the cops for busting the games. Furthermore, I can't even blame the robbers for jacking the games. It's easy money and the chances of getting arrested are pretty slim. I hope they get what's coming to them, but I don't blame them.
The people I can blame are my state legislators. They actively refuse to consider amending South Carolina's antiquated gambling laws. They continue to allow our law (which makes it illegal to play Sorry! or Monopoly on Sunday) to exist as it sits on the books. While some amendments to the code have been introduced by more elightened lawmakers, they have been disregarded by the state legislature at large. The only way to get the law changed to is mount an impressive and expensive lobbying effort. Based on the video poker debacle a few years back (annother story for another day), I contend we are very far from the goal of making live poker legal in the Palmetto State. I'll be happy to support any effort with money and whatever other meager talents I have. However, my read right now is that such an effort is -EV.
Already, two regular rounders here (the kind who do, in fact, make most of their living off the game) have made the decision to leave the state and go somewhere where lawmakers appreciate that poker is not a community parasite. These two guys have made the right decision and, for better or worse, I applaud their decision.
As for me, I've never really been a poker player anyway. I'm a guy who plays the game with varying levels of success. I love the game and will feel a hollow spot where the underground games used to be.
But that's better than feeling a hollow spot where my internal organs used to be.<-- Hide More
The games around here used to have names like "Gaelic," "Depot," and "Spring Hotel." The next one will be the "O.K. Corral". The latest undergound game to face a gang of armed bandits is a tale of lessons unlearned... and the first appearance of Wyatt Earp.More in this Poker Blog! -->
I actually got curious about this one after EDDIE posted about his near miss on Sunday. He was ALMOST the dealer there. He slept late, after getting up early for a very rare visit to church, and missed the shots fired, cash stolen, no-pants party. (See Otis' Entries Below)
Here's the second of two comments to his post:
Did you hear about the foiled attempt by the same robbers Wednesday night in Piedmont?"
HERE'S WHAT I NOW KNOW:
The game was one I've never played, but I think I've met the guy who runs it. They, of course, knew all about the other two armed robberies here in the past two months. All poker players in these parts know by now. STILL, according to my source, they almost got in trouble.
The game had a camera that looked over the door. The thugs covered it up. When they knocked, they were asked for a name. They gave EXACTLY THE SAME NAME they gave when robbing the "Black Stallion" game. STILL, someone opened the door.
Luckily, that someone (and probably some others) realized who was out there and got the door closed again. Then, they called police. In fact, there may have been a deputy playing IN the game at the time.
WHAT IT MEANS
Now police are on the case.
I don't play underground poker.<-- Hide More
"Where that chip money at? I love me some chip money!"
It's the one phrase Sunday night players at the Spring Hotel will probably remember for a long time. It's funny now to hear the players recount the words, imitate the robbers, and have the phrase "chip money" slowly sneak into the local poker lexicon. At the time, though, it was the farthest thing from funny. Because when the thugs who hijacked the Spring Hotel couldn't find the house bank (aka "chip money"), they fired their gun for the first time.More in this Poker Blog! -->
By Monday night, victims of the second Greenville poker robbery in two months were able to laugh about it and deny ever being actually scared or now emotionally scarred. I caught up with some of them Monday night where they were--no surprise--playing poker.
One player was sitting at the end of the table when he heard a commotion at the main entrance to the Spring Hotel. He looked up to see a player's girlfriend with a gun to her head. She'd been walking outside when the thugs jumped her. The robbers, one curiously tall, were all dressed in dark clothes, had their faces covered, and wore latex surgical gloves.
Immediately players recognized the MO. After the robbery two months ago at the Black Stallion, the story of how the robbers made everyone drop their pants had spread quickly through the poker community. The players at the Spring Hotel knew what was coming.
Within seconds they were all taking off their pants and noticing the oddest of details--how many people were wearing boxers versus briefs, what was written on the side of the gun, who was and who was not in the room. One player fumbled with his cash and phone and tried to drop them into his socks. He missed his target and tried to cover his money with his shoe. It worked until the robbers made the rounds around the table and started picking up everything. The player's shoe got moved and his money--a good score on its own for the thugs--sat in open view.
At first, it looked like the hijackers were going to be happy with their take out of the players' pockets. The money split among them, they were going to have a good night without taking any more. However, there was was clearly a leader among the group and he knew the score. He knew how to get there, he knew what kind of money was available, and he knew what to search for.
That's when he said it.
"Where that chip money at? I love me some chip money!"
Nobody said anything. It was likely the players themselves didn't know for sure where the money was. The dealer and the operators were mum. The robbers grew more agitated. The next thing the players would remember was the shot.
One of the operators was already on his knees. When the gun went off, the big man fell onto his chest and didn't move. Everyone--in their underwear--stood in shock.
"I thought, 'Someone's actually been shot in here,'" one player said.
The operator had not been shot, but no one knew that until he eventually turned his head to see the robbers searching the house. Finally, they found the cash they were looking for. Nearly sated, they headed for the door with the money, credit cards, cell phones, pants, belts, and at, as would later be inventoried, at least one shoe.
"Grab that suitcase," the lead robber said. "It looks expensive."
While it was clear the robbers had been tipped to the game and how it worked, they were still laughingly unaware of value. They grabbed a cheap metal chip case and headed for the door. Then, like a scene out of a wild west robbery, one of them fired a final shot in the air and the masked men disappeared into the night
Then began the frustrated inventory. Everyone had lost what was in their pockets. Blackberries full of contacts and months of unbacked-up data were gone. Keys, credit cards, drivers licenses, thousands of dollars, and clothing were all gone. So was one of the remaining bastions for poker players in G-Vegas.
While there is more to this story, it's nothing I can tell here. There's only so much that can be put in a public forum.
By Monday night, the laughter had returned. One player remarked how he expected to be jumpy and still shaking from the night before. Instead, he was just pissed off. He couldn't stop thinking about the robbers driving down the interstate, "thinking they were bad motherfuckers."
While bold, few people would call the robbers anything but opportunists. The cheapest form thievery is stealing from people you know won't shoot back or call the cops. However, bad motherfuckers or not, they got away and put another ding in the local poker community.
"You see my new phone? It's the 2007 Razor," said one player with mock pride at last night's game. He held up a brick of a cell-phone circa 2003, one he had pulled out of a drawer to replace the one he had stolen the night before. He fumbled with the key pad and mumbled, "Takes me ten minutes to send a text message on this thing."
Old school poker players will tell you, it's all part of the game. Getting raided or hijacked was just part of the territory. The old stories told by the Texas road gamblers are fun, legendary, and even a little romantic. However, when people you care about are staring down the barrel of a gun, the romance ends. The idea of attending the funeral of people that I consider friends is not something I consider the least bit fun.
A younger Otis, one with sick ideas of romantic danger and James Dean cum Christian Slater-like violent brooding, might have gotten off on the idea of having a gun shoved in his face and living to tell about it. This particular Otis, however, is much more content to suffer with lower back pain, an ulnar nerve tweak, and an expanding waistline as his bigger physical dangers. That is, this is a story that is intriguing to hear, but not one I want to tell again.
Because, in short, it's just not worth it.
Previously:<-- Hide More
Two months to the day after G-Vegas' Black Stallion game was hijacked by armed thugs, it has happened again, this time at the long-running Spring Hotel game.
Full details are still coming in, but here's what we know thus far.
The Spring Hotel has been running regularly for the past several years. It was, in fact, the first underground game in the area where I played. Typically running one or two tables a night, this game was among the more discrete in the area. Unlike some of the other games, this was a room you couldn't just drive by and find. You had to have directions...and good ones.
According to one of last night's victims, the MO was almost exactly the same as the Black Stallion robbery. Several thugs came in with guns, forced everyone to take off their pants, and then cleaned everybody out. The jackers picked up cash, credit cards, cell phones and just about anything else of value they could find.
Since the Back Stallion robbery and sheriff's office raid on the Gaelic Game, most operators in town chose to either shut down or go on indefinite hiatus. That meant that the Spring Hotel was one of, if not the only regularly running game in G-Vegas this week.
While no one was physically hurt during the robbery, the robbers fired two shots into the ceiling of the Spring Hotel. The Black Stallion robbery was reportedly very scary and somewhat violent, but no shots were fired during that hold-up.
While we have no independent verification of this, it seems pretty obvious that both robberies were committed by the same group of people. These guys apparently have pretty good sources when it comes to finding the games to rob. With the exact same MO and both robberies happening on the same night (Sunday), it's clear there is a gang getting its rocks off by robbing the local poker community.
To all the good folks who got held up last night, I'm glad you're okay. To the robbers, I'd watch your ass. That's all I'm saying.
Update: For an updated, more detailed version of this story, see: G-Vegas Spring Hotel robbery update
I did the late night Gaelic game last night. Got there after the "News at 11" and played a few hours of $1/$2NL. I've been buying in for $1000 lately. More on that in a minute.
First, here's a hand that really pissed me off. I'm curious for the reader's take. I'm on the button with AJh. UTG straddles the pot for $5.
There are 2 callers to me on the button and I make it $25 to go. BB calls. UTG calls.
The flop is Kh 10d 8c.
BB leads out for $45 and UTG min-raises to $90. I've taken a hand or two from UTG and the min-raise has my attention. BB could have top pair because he's a fairly loose and incredibly aggressive player. Plus, $45 is a curious lead out in what is now a $100 pot.
Fearing the min raise, and with noting more than a gutty and an over, I fold. BB then turns to his good friend (they've been buddies all night) and says, "Well, now we can check it down!"
He calls...they flip up their cards and check it down.
I was livid.
Frankly, I was beat, but this is cheating. I said so. The rest of the table said, "I'm not sure there's a house rule about that." Which, actually, further emphasizes my point. If there is NO house rule, the standard rules apply. This IS textbook collusion and I called it just that.
UTG won the pot. I stacked him an orbit later. Then a second time with 85o. That made me happy. After the second, I said, "Perhaps you'd have a better shot with (player x) in the pot".More in this Poker Blog! -->
A THOUGHT ON TABLE IMAGE
I've been wodering if we aren't overly aware of our own image online and sadly unaware in a live game. That is, I can think of several times when I've folded away 50 straight hands online and thought, "My image is tight enough that I can move with anything here," only to find that nobody else at the table paid attention.
Plus, 50 hands isn't nearly as many online as it is at a bricks and mortar table.
In a live game, however, even less experienced players have a handle on basic playing style. The good players will see you as they sit down and expect a certain stlye of play.
I'm the maniac here. To be fair, I do usually play like a maniac and we've been over that topic a million times. Still, when I shift gears, there are only a few who will pick that up quickly. Hopefully I can make some money before that becomes obvious to everyone.
By the way, for a loose aggressive player there is NOTHING more frustrating than making the conscious decision to switch gears to something tighter and then going totally card dead.
The past two games (one at the depot and one at the Gaelic) I've bought in for a grand at the 1/2 game. At the depot I was motivated by Dusty Rhodes who bought in for the same. I tried it again at the Gaelic after great success the night before.
When I chatted with Otis about the strategy he said, "Its a good move agaisnt a weak and passive game."
I disagree. At least, I think it's even better against a loose and somewhat passive game.
There are so many times in our games in which the standard preflop raise is about 6 or 7 times the big blind. But even with that raise, we'll get 4 or 5 callers to each pot. Even people determined to limp in for $2 in middle position will then call $15. That means decent pre-flop drawing hands will be good odds to call all night.
In fact, it usually means you'll find yourself calling $35 or $40 on the flop for the same reason. Now, if you're joining, as we usually do, a game in progress, then there will already be several stacks of several hundred dollars. That means to get proper IMPLIED odds or have any reasonable fold equity with our great flop draws, we need an oversized starting stack.
Like all my big poker theories, this one has extensive field testing. I tried it twice. It worked extremely well those two times. That means it's foolproof.<-- Hide More
I think it's the "Black Stallion". It could just as easily be the "Cheese Factory" or the "Hamburger Room". I have no part in these silly nicknames and so I never remember them. Nonetheless, I finished up pretty huge last night.
Plus, at some point below, I'll get to the bottom of this little gem from the comments to my "Hooker" post, "you've been tagged."More in this Poker Blog! -->
Lately, the Thursday game's been my favorite. My work schedule is Saturday to Wednesday, so Thursday is the best part of the weekend. Plus, I usually win there, which is nice.
The room has 3 tables, but I've only played on 2. The main game is in what would have been the living room if this was a real, functioning, house. A plasma TV hangs from one wall. There's a piano in the hallway.
I called Blood to get him to reserve a seat for me in that room but he and Mark we late. I got the last seat at an incredible game.
1s: Dudley Overalls (who just won the jackpot there a week ago, Later, Buddha)
2s: Tighty McTightbox (I called ONE preflop raise from him all night)
3s: G-Rob (I love this guy)
4s: Tilty McDrunkerson (Later replaced by Drunky McMoredrukerson)
5s: Solid aggressive guy
6s: Steve Shortbuy (bought in for $40... 15 times)
7s: Dave Drawsky (will call any bet anywhere with a draw. Later MarkySals)
8s: Loose guy (Later different loose guy)
9s: Unabomber wannabe (Later Father Christmas)
10s: Unhappy Pappy (Later Unabomber Wannabe)
This is important because, for most of the night, this is the single best table of all time.
I bought in for $300 at first. I lost it in an orbit. Most of it with Jh9h. I was on the button and called a raise to $15. The flop is J, 10, 3 with 1 heart and it's checked to me. Because there are 3 of us to the flop, I bet $40. Only the preflop raiser in EP calls. The turn is a 9 and I'm sure I'm good.
EP checks and I bet $75. He pushes for another $30. I call. He has the nuts.
So, after tilting off the rest of THAT buyin, I rebought for $500. I'm not a big chronological order kinda guy (EAT THAT SLOW MARCH TO DEATH HANDS OF TIME) so here are some of the biggest hands... such as....
Father Christmas sits down and everyone says "Oh boy look out this GUY IS CRAZY!"
He's determined to prove them right. He's been playing O8 at the mysterious 3rd table and brought about $600 over with him. I start in immediately.
"You know, people say you're nuts."
"I am," he says, "I'll play for this whole stack."
"Well, a real man makes it $75 blind. Especially from the 9 seat. But you're not crazy. You're weak. Go on, make it $75."
Father Christmas tosses 3 green chips, $75, into the pot.
I slowly look down and find a King, and hey what's that, another King. I raise.
$375 to go.
Now two short stacks in EP decide THEY want to play too. And Father Christmas? He just calls.
The flop is 7,7,5 rainbow. I have visions of this guy holding 73o, but when he checks... I push.
He calls, and tables KJo.
Lord I love poker sometimes.
Buddha made a really good fold a few hands earlier. He'd taken the 1 seat after I stacked Dudley Overalls. I straddled and caught AKh. After bumping it to $25 only Dudley called. The flop is K, J, 2 and Dudley went all in with J7. He lost.
So, on Buddha's first hand there are 2 limpers to me, and I make it $20 with JJ. The BB calls and so does Buddha in the 1 seat. The flop is A,J,9 with 2 hearts. BB makes it $25 and Buddha calls. I hate those draws and raise another $50. BB calls.
Buddha folds what he later claims is J9. If that's the case, he made a very good fold.
The turn is a King and that's one of the kooky gutty draws that's been killing me lately. BB checks and I bet $125. He calls.
I push in the dark (he only has $25 left). The river? Q of hearts.
He calls and shows A9. Yeesh.
I'd built that $500 into $2255. I decided to call it a night.
SO ABOUT THIS "TAGGING" BUSINESS
The most popular "bitch" in G-Vegas has one of these silly blog question things a-going and I'm game for it I suppose.
7 THINGS YOU DON'T KNOW ABOUT ME (AND FOR GOOD REASON)
1. The one thing I can't drink is Scotch. In high school my best friend Jay moved to Chicago after his Junior year. When he graduated I flew up there with our friend Beth Ann and we hit the town. Chicago didn't bother to ask for ID so I remember drinking "Old Styles" in some crappy blues bar all night. Then, when we got back, the only thing in the house was his stepdad's Scotch. To this day, if someone 10 feet away is drinking the stuff, the smell will make my stomach turn. Bad times. Bad Times.
2. Once, a moose shit on my head. I actually told this as a bedtime story to my older daughter the other day. I didn't use the word shit. But I was camping alone in Montana and heard some rustling late at night. When I flipped on the flashlight a startled moose ran past. Only the next morning did I discover just how scared that moose was.
3. I once flew to Amsterdam for a week after seeing an ad in "High Times." My college buddies and my then-future wife drove straight to the travel agent and booked round trip flights. We arrived a few weeks later with a few hundred bucks a piece and no plans at all. Ask me to show you pictures sometime. That was back in my very long ponytail days.
4. I got into TV by taking 3 newspaper stories in Chattanooga and faking coverage of them with a wedding photographer and a former TV news director. When I got my first reporting job I'd never been inside a TV station. I'm still not entirely qualified for my job. Luckily, my boss couldn't care less about qualifications. It's a necktie thing.
5. I don't use pot odds much. I do use implied odds, but I rarely do any math when I'm playing poker. I'm not what you'd call... um... good at poker. You already knew this one but I'm struggling to think of 7 things.
6. I've crashed 5 different cars. A VW Jetta, Toyota Camry, Corolla and Tercel, and a car I borrowed from this girl during an ice storm in college. The Jetta wasn't my fault, we got rear-ended on a highway on ramp. The guy didn't have insurance. The Tercel wasn't my fault. A guy from Louisiana ran a red light and hit me in Lexington. The Girl-in-college's car wasn't my fault either, this Chinese national had stalled out in the middle of the road, blocking all the lanes, and I crushed his car. He then fled back to China without paying. The girl never talked to me again. The Corolla and the Camry were all my fault. I actually crashed the Corolla twice.
7. I've had knee surgery 3 times. Twice during high school, one on each knee, and then again a few years ago. After the first my dad asked the doctor, "Will he be able to play basketball after this?" The doctor said yes. "Good," said my smartass dad, "He could never play before."
NOW I'LL TAG A FEW MORE:
Have a nice day.<-- Hide More