It called itself a cigar bar, but a few cigars in a case and a leather couch hardly make it such. In fact, the place was so small, one cigar probably would have been enough to smoke me out. Thankfully, everyone ignored the "cigar" part of the name.
I was one of the first players to arrive, but that's probably because I didn't know the 8pm start time really meant 9pm. It was my first time there, and I didn't know a soul. I asked for a Bud Light despite the fact that I hate drinking and gambling. I felt self-conscious sitting in a bar alone without a beer in front of me.
As more players trickled in, I worried I wouldn't be permitted to play because of a height requirement. Everyone else was under 6 feet. Are people generally shorter in Louisiana?
Eventually, the 16 players had all arrived. I quickly realized this wouldn't be one of my favorite poker playing experiences. We drew straws to find out which table we'd sit at, and then just took any chair we wanted. Our $25 buy-in got us 100T. You could rebuy once for another $25 to get another 150T. Thankfully, my $25 was paid for by a friend of a friend who was just happy I'd come. I couldn't turn that down.
I hate rebuys, especially when this one seemed so pointless. It's bad enough when you start with such a small stack. It's even worse when the blinds begin at 2/4, and double every 30 minutes. That means 6% of my stack goes every time around the table. Unless I catch some pots early, this was going to be a short night.
I knew I couldn't sit back and wait for premium hands, so my plan was to play rather aggressively. The first two hands, everyone at the table called the big blind. Everyone except me. I wanted to play the hands. If I had anything close to playable, I'd have paid to see a flop. The hands were just rags.
There was no method to the tables madness. Few, if any, pots were bought. And no one stole blinds. It didn't take long before people were going all-in, and we were still in the first half hour.
I saw just one flop before the blinds jumped to 4/8. I was down about 30T. When I finally caught a marginal hand UTG, I raised to 28T and everyone folded. I actually won a pot... wow. Maybe my "rock" status was going to pay off.
A few hands later, I got pocket 10's. My first real hand of the night. I raised again to 28T, and got one caller. The flop came 5-9-A, two diamonds. The slow cajun who called me looked at the flop, looked at his cards, and checked. He only had about 23T left in front of him, so I forced him all-in. He struggled with his decision, glancing at his cards, then at the chips in front of him, and finally called.
He flipped AQ of diamonds. There were just 6 of us left playing at this point, and he struggled with his pair of aces, great kicker and nut flush draw!?! I got no help on the turn or the river and suddenly I was pretty short stacked, and kicking myself for the misread.
The next hand I'm in the BB with J-7. No one raises in front of me so I check. The flop comes 4-5-6. I've only got a few chips left in front of me so I push all-in with my open-ended straight draw. The big stack at the table calls as does the small blind. The turn is a K.
At this point, the small blind goes all-in and the big stack calls him, too. I flip my lowly J-7 begging for a 3 or an 8. The big stack flips Big Slick, and he's calculating his chances of winning. The small stack flips 3-7. He flopped the straight and the big stack is drawing dead. I need a 3 or an 8 to split. A miracle 3 comes on the river, and I'm still alive. I don't have much, but I'm still alive.
A few hands later, I'm dealt K9o. We're down to just 5 at our table now, and that's suddenly a very playable hand. I raise and get one caller. The same guy who Aced me earlier.
The flop is 3-9-A. Five at the table and flopped second pair. The slow cajun checks, but I know that doesn't mean anything. I check as well. The turn is a 4. He checks again. I have to push in here. I don't have much in front of me, and the blinds are jumping to 8/16 on the next hand.
He calls me again and flips A5o. He flopped the pair of aces again. What the hell was I supposed to do? I didn't feel that bad actually. Even if I win that pot, I have a paltry stack. I make maybe three trips around the table before I bust out on the 8/16 blinds. Maybe I catch a hand somewhere in there.
I still hadn't re-bought at that point, but I wasn't going to spend $25 for 150T. That's just 6 trips around the table. It's not worth it. I would have been so short stacked in comparison that I would have needed to push all-in the first chance I got. And with my first 100T I got to play a whopping 3 hands.
I walked out of there without losing a dime. Well, I did buy two beers so I lost $5.50. It was fun only in the sense that it was poker. I didn't really enjoy it that much. Perhaps getting better cards would have helped, but the set-up was so poor, it discouraged solid play. I just don't have a good loose-aggressive style.
I don't think I'll be back. They play every Tuesday night, and they say starting next week, the cards will fall at 8pm. Unless they change the set-up, I'm not interested. They'll also be starting a 3/6/12 game on Thursday nights, but that's a little more than I'm comfortable playing with a bunch of people I don't know, unless I'm in a casino.
Speaking of casinos, this weekend might mean a trip to Baton Rouge and a report on the poker rooms there. Stay tuned!