"If you get a bloody nose, they won't let you back in the box."
Poker is a game of time. I once told my wife if I don't have six hours to dedicate to a live game, I can't play right.
Time for me at the World Series is in short supply. I've been trying to find six free hours to play and coming up short. I've played one six-hour session since I've been here.
That's just not enough.
When Pauly cashes in an event and Michal Craig final-tables another, it's enough to make a lowly writer like me a little green. Okay, a lot green.
Still, I'm trying to get in a little time at the tables. While not kicking me in the junk, it's not necessarily giving me the lovin' I enjoy. That's made for a lot of frustration where I normally wouldn't suffer it.
Dealers, for instance.
Some dealers don't know to handle a guy sitting down between the button and the blinds, and yet are well-versed in the rules of getting off work and the heretofore unfamiliar Bloody Nose Clause.
The problem with this is that it's unfair to most of the dealers here. In fact, I'd say 90% of them are really good. However, there is one I'll call X (because that's what her name starts with) who literally just stopped the other night and asked me, "What do I do?"
This lady is old enough to have been around the block, but I think the pace of the Series has gotten to her. The game had been on the verge of breaking several times and we had lots of people coming in and out. Finally, after watching her face scrunch up in confusion and, perhaps, fear, I just moved the button to the correct place, told the right people to post their blinds, and gave one guy an option to but the button. That was enough, apparently, for X to defer to me for most decisions over the next 20 minutes.
There are dealers here who have my attention and appreciation however. Stefan is the fastest and smartest in the room and actually stopped me 24 hours after a hand I played to talk about it again. Beth has kind eyes and is one of the roaming Dallas crew. Then there's an old Japanese guy who has three As and two K's in his name.
"My name Aces Full of Kings," he said. "I action dealer!"
Then there was a player I calll Bob's Big Boy. He sat on my right for a few hours one night and talked about every hand.
"Sure, I could've raised my nines there, but I just didn't feel like messing with it. I mean, I raise with my nines, what am I going to do if a ten comes out? I mean, I will raise with nines sometimes, but that time I thought, awwww, why mess with it, you know?"
This happened after every hand and usually in a hand he limp-folded.
I put up with it for a long time and decided that some people just talk too much. However, when he started digging his hand inside his underwear and scratching his balls incessantly, I vowed to bust him.
His friend had just asked him to leave and he said, "Wait, I'm down a dollar. I need to get that back." He came in for a rare raise and I looked down at 45-off. I called with a couple of other people and we saw a flop of A2x. He continued into the pot for $40. I called and everybody else went away.
I told myself that I was done unless...
...that beautiful three came on the turn.
"Should I bet again or should I check?" he asked.
"You're the one who was worried about being down a dollar," I said.
"Same bet," he said and laid out $40.
I paused, maybe a little too Hollywood, and then put out $40 on top of a $100 bill.
He hemmed, then hawed, then called.
The river was an ace, enough for Bob's Big Boy to wake up and bet his ace-king. His stacks became my stacks. Bye-bye ball-scratcher.
"Fucking idiot four-five offsuit."
"Come on, now. I'm a nice guy," I said. And I had been all night. Usually am, in fact.
"Alright, you're a nice fucking idiot."
A guy at the other end of the table came to my defense and told the guy he was out of line. In retrospect, the guy was probably worried about my glass getting tapped.
Regardless, bye-bye ball-scratcher.
Ten minutes later, I flopped a set of queens against a guy who mis-reaed the board and called my all-in river bet for a $1,400 pot. He thought he had a straight. He had J9 on a AQ872 board.
All of this would've been well and good but for me mis-reading the board a few hours later. I was sure I saw AK diamonds on board and thought--since I was holding the queen of diamonds--I could bluff the nut flush. Which would've been fine except my opponent--TheMark, for what it's worth--held the ace of diamonds. I guess it could've cost me more.
I'm still in search of that elusive five buy-in win that makes me feel like I'm doing myself any good at the poker tables.
That's just about all there is here. My time is spent sweating other poker players and writing about them. It's a good life, to be sure, but I'd kill for a week of participatory journalism, you know?
Hell, maybe I'll become a dealer.