I've been rollicking in the glow of what Blood calls "a perfect storm," the confluence of good cards, good reads, and my usual hyper-aggressive style. Actually, it's just hyper. I can tilt a table in 90 seconds flat. That's how I roll.
I had 11 consecutive winning sessions live, and many of them were for very big wins, before losing a buyin (and a half) on Monday night. Still, even when I'm playing well, I'm never far removed from thinking I suck at poker.
Probably, that's because I do, in fact, suck at poker.
But I digress...
So, I played last Friday and almost got stabbed. Actually, there's a bit of embellishment there, but not a helluva lot. I was in the 1 seat, Otis in the 2, and the guy in the 3 seat, (his nickname was "slow"... as in retarded... which he didn't seem to mind), and we came very close to a stabbing.
The strangest part of the incident is that I did absolutely NOTHING to provoke it. God knows I piss people off. Sometimes it's on purpose, sometimes it ain't, but in this case, the witnesses will attest, I did NOTHING to this particular retard. But he wanted to stab me nonetheless.
This happened at the ol' Spring Hotel. I must confess, it took me a good 6 months to understand WHY Otis calls the place "Spring Hotel" but it dawned on me last night. It's sort of like calling the host, Tallahassee. That ain't his name, but it's in the same ballpark.
I've been hitting the place at least once a week for the past several months. It's an old 2 bedroom house, just off the road, owned by a man who lives there and plays occasionally, but rented for 3 weekly games. They always play $1/$2NL with a $200 max buy.
It's wierd that I play there so much. The dealer is good enough, but likes to talk during every hand which slows the play. There's a 5% rake on every hand with no max, and with occasional dealer tokes it does crimp the EV a bit. Plus, it's a semi-advertised game, the kind every player in G-Vegas knows all about, so there is always a risk of bust.
Still, I can't stop.
I haven't had a losing session there in over 3 months. Most sessions I win big. Most players there are totally awful, and the ones with mediocre skills have more tells than a bratty first grader. I've cashed for more than 5 buyins 4 times.
500 pounds of ANGER
The problem here should be rather obvious. This is a good game, with a few dozen regular players and the house, "Tallhassee," does pretty well from the rake, but none of the players are the type who can easily afford their gambling jones. My guess is this unskilled menagerie simply passed their money back and forth for years, with the table always skimming a steady profit.
One donkey wins another donkey loses, sure that the roles will flip next week. Everyone is happy and everyone is on the verge of becoming a WINNING PLAYER.
Last Wednesday I heard one of the donkeys, one of the worst actually, say he was ready to quit his job and hit the road as a pro.
Christ I laughed at that one.
But what happens to this sort of game when ACTUAL POKER PLAYERS show up? Turns out the host ain't thrilled.
I've taken thousands from these folks. They aren't winning it back. BadBlood and Otis are now regulars as well. It's like a powerful EV magnet sucking the room to the negative pole.
The donkeys are no longer on the verge of anything.
FIRST RULE OF FIGHT CLUB
So Wednesday night, I'm cruising to another fairly profitable night, Otis wrote about it below, and I start hearing what I thought were snide barbs from the jolly... and gigantic... host.
"You need to stop bullying people," he said as I stumbled out to the pisser, "people are getting sick of that shit."
"You need to stop taking advantage of my players," he said as I walked outside to stretch my legs.
"Isn't there another game worth hitting?" he asked as I left for the night... with a net profit of about 4 more buyins.
Now, granted, he didn't appear particularly threatening at any point. Nor did I ever believe he would WANT to cause any disturbance at his game. Plus, the donkeys themselves were so convinced that I could only win through good luck and suckouts that they were bound and determined to have me return... and LOSE.
Still, it's something I mentioned to Badblood when we met for lunch on Friday.
That's right. I talked about fight club.
So, against this very G-Vegas backdrop, I picked up Blood and we met Otis at the Friday night game.
Here's how you know things are going well. Before Otis arrived I was in the 1s and a guy named "George" is in the 2 with "Slow" in the 3. George limps in and so does slow and 3 other players. I'm in the BB here and find pocket Queens. I raise it to $17 and 3 players, George, Slow, and the small blind call.
The flop is Q 5 3 with 2 clubs and the SB checks. So do I. Then George, who has a relatively short stack, pushes all in for another $55. Slow insta-calls and SB mucks. I come over the top for another $125. Slow insta calls that too.
The cards, thank God there isn't a flush draw... George has pocket Aces... Slow has a set of 5s... and I'm solid GOLD.
I'd already noticed something strange about "Slow." He didn't seem to suck at poker. I mean, he wasn't particularly GOOD, but he wasn't GOD-AWFUL either, which is unusual here.
I also realized his name wasn't one of those silly ironic kinds, like calling a fat guy "Slim" or calling Otis "Curly." "Slow" was fantastically slow. On every hand the dealer would have to yell, "Slow!... Slow!... SLOOOOOW!!!! It's your turn!" He was, at the very least, slow.
So I'm in a big hand with Slow and Shep when things get weird. I have pocket aces in late position and when Shep raises it up to $15 buckaroos... I make it $30. It's a rediculous bet, but sure to have a few callers at a game like this.
Sure enough, Slow calls and Shep min raises to $60.
I re-raised it another $100...making it $130 to Slow.
That's when something weird happened.
One of Slow's other defining characteristicts is slurred and garbled speech. I DO know he started cursing about the re-raise. That's followed by him saying, "The only things I'm good at is fighting, fucking and playing pool!"
I told Slow I don't like to fight or play pool.
Then he asked, "Have you ever been slapped right the fuck outta your chair? Has that ever happened?"
Blood chimed in with, "Not as long as I'm sitting here," which I appreciated.
Otis, as I recall, dove for cover.
I offered to settle our still very bizarre misunderstanding with a punching contest. He hits Otis' left arm and I'll hit the right, first bruise wins.
Neither Otis nor Slow found that funny.
Then Slow mucks his hand and STORMS out of the room while Shep just calls.
The flop is J 9 3 rainbow and Shep bets another $60. I push.
Shep calls and shows Big Slick.
THEN SLOW RETURNS... SLOWLY
"MotherFUCKER!" he yells, when he sees the board, "You made me fold pocket 9s! I wouldda won!"
Sure enough he would've flopped a set. By my accouting, that means I played the hand exactly right, but Slow saw it otherwise.
It's difficult to say exactly what happened for the next 20 minutes or so because, again, Slow is hard to understand, but I do know he wanted to fight.
I tried to diffuse the situation. So did the dealer, the other 8 people at our table, the 10 people at the other table and the game host. Frankly, if there's anything the host wants LESS than he wants some jackass taking his player's money... its a fist fight... or worse.
Slow storms off again.
I haven't posted here in some time. In part, it's because I've been playing fairly well lately. Moreso, it's because I've been winning at a rather incredible (and admittedly unsustainable) rate for MONTHS. I'm careful about thinking I've become a decent player because I know success doesn't always mean skill... not in the short term anyway.
Besides, of all the G-Vegas bloggers, I am still BY FAR the worst player.
It just so happens that outside of our own poker circle there are literally hundreds of really really really HORRIBLE players who have a seemingly endless supply of OPTIMISM. I have a hard time passing that up.
By comparison, TheMark's brother hosts a very nice $200NL game on Monday nights. No rake, great room, almost no risk of getting busted or stabbed... but the players always include The Mark, The Rick, Blood, Otis, and myself. Throw in a MAXIMUM of 2 or 3 donkeys and you have a VERY tough table.
I can win a little, I hope, but the money will NEVER be nearly as good.
It reminds me of my best friend from back in college.
About midway through my junior year my buddy started growing pot... really... really... really GOOD pot. As a result he started making a LOT of untaxed cash. He rented a huge house and filled it with every gigantic and fancy electonic gadget known to man. He was the king of Lexington and everyone wanted a piece.
I remember asking him once, right before graduation, when he planned to give it up. Kinda weird now that I think about it. He said, "Pot isn't really addictive, I'm not worried about quitting when I decide it's time"
But I wasn't worried about the pot... I was worried about the cash.
Nothing is more addictive than cash.
So here's one of the smartest and most ambitious guys I know, still unemployed and still risking a few dozen years in prison... for the cash he can't give up. Sad really.
I never grew weed. And I missed out on most of the great trips and cool toys back in the day. Still, I'm pretty comfortable with the decision I made.
It isn't a moral decision really, but a question of SATISFACTION.
When people asked this kid what he wanted to be one day... "stoner" was never the answer.
But I wonder if I'm near that threshold with the "Spring Hotel."
It IS a dangerous game. The risk of getting busted is constant. Otis, Blood and I have all wondered at various times if the game was fixed.
But I LOOOOVE that cash.
Speaking of cash, as I wrap up the rambling nonsense, I'm BOOKED for Las Vegas.
I'm there August 2 thru August 6.
Look me up if you'll be in town.