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April 16, 2007

The $400 Parking Ticket

by Luckbox

His name was John and he was perched in the ten seat with a couple hundred in chips in front of him. He was a regular, he knew our current dealer was slower than most. Another player told him he looked like a "Bohemian Chris Hansen." We all guessed he meant Gus.

The thing I remember most is that he enjoyed raising me.

******************

Lady Luck and I decided to hit downtown New Orleans to watch Sharks 3D at the IMAX theatre. It'd been a long time since I'd seen a movie on a five story screen and these beasts of the sea were very impressive.

I couldn't help but think about poker as I watched the sharks.

When the movie was over we headed over to Harrah's New Orleans. We had parked in the Harrah's parking garage and it was going to cost us 20 bucks, unless I did a little gambling.

My first thought was to grind a half hour of blackjack and hope I didn't lose more than $20. Lady Luck had a different idea.

"You should play some poker," she said, "I've never gotten to watch you play."

That was all the encouragement I needed.

With a couple hundred dollars in my pocket, I got my name on the $1/$2 NL list. There was a $2/$5 seat open so I decided to sit there while I waited. I figured I wouldn't be playing long enough to make the $2/$5 table worth it. I only got one hand in there before my other seat came open.

("I had a feeling about that first table," Lady Luck would tell me later as we were leaving the casino. Looking back, I wish she would have said something before I moved.)

I took the 9 seat so Lady Luck could sit behind me. She's still learning the game so all she'd really be able to follow is whether or not I was winning or losing. A few hands in, I was up $50. Maybe I should have gotten up then.

Two players showed up shortly after I did and appeared to buy in short ($200 max, they each had $100). One of those players raised to $15, the other short buy-in called and I looked down at AQo on the button. I called as well.

The flop came down AJ9 rainbow. I liked my spot and thought I was probably ahead. The original raiser lead out for $50, leaving about $30 behind. The other player called, leaving about $25 behind. I figured I might as well get all their money in right now, so I raised to $100.

"I have another one hundred coming, right?" the original raiser asked the dealer.

What!?!?

I should have learned that lesson a long time ago. It's important to pay attention. I wasn't, and it cost me. He raised me another $80 and it was a tough spot to fold. At this point, I had to be worried about AK or AJ. I threw away 16 more red chips and saw AK. On top of that, we saw the third player in the hand had flopped a set of 9s.

Sorry, Lady Luck, I suck.

My first confrontation with John came a few hands later, after I bought in for another $200.

UTG, I decide to straddle to $4. John blind raises to $10. I can honestly say it's the first time a non-blogger has ever blind raised me at the poker table. And I thought this guy liked me!

A short, 20-something guy in late position called. I peeked down at T9o and decided to call as well. The flop came down 9-high with two clubs. I suppose I should have lead out. I was gun shy and I don't know why. I checked.

John bet $20. Shorty called. So did I.

The turn was a deuce of hearts. This is where I should have taken control of the hand. I didn't trust John had me beat at this point. I didn't, however, have any idea what Shorty had. I checked.

John checked and Shorty checked.

The river was the ten of clubs. I had two pair. But I hated the three clubs. I checked.

John bet $50. Shorty thought about it for a bit and called.

"You have the flush?" Shorty asked John. He began to table his hand.

"The action isn't over, sir," the dealer said, pointing to me.

It all happened so fast, I couldn't take it all in. Unfortunately, my attention was on the almost tabled hand and not on John because I didn't get to see his answer. After moving my $50 into the pot, I found out the answer was "Yes." The river brought the only card that both made my hand and gave someone else a better hand.

Inexplicably, Shorty was holding pocket Queens. And I thought I played the hand poorly.

Once again, it was about paying attention, and I wasn't. It cost me money. I was left with just $71.

"This is it, everyone," I announced to the table, holding up my chip stack, "Next hand I play, you can expect all of this to get in the middle."

That next hand would be AQo, a hand that had already cost me a lot of money. I raised to $10 from early position and got two callers. John and the same guy who dropped AK on me last time.

The flop was beautiful. Q74 rainbow. I checked hoping John would fire at my pot. He didn't but Mr. AK did, betting $35. I quickly pushed my final $61. John folded and Mr. AK reluctantly put in another $26 and flipped K6o.

Great! This will get me back up to $150 and leave me with at least a shred of dignity with Lady Luck watching.

The turn was a 3, giving him a gutshot to go along with his overcard. The river was a K.

It didn't register at first. I couldn't figure out why the dealer was pushing the pot away from me. When it finally sunk it, I was done. There was no more re-buying.

"Thanks everyone," I stood up and tapped the table. On the way out of the poker room, we got our parking validate. I guess we saved that 20 bucks. As we walked away, Lady Luck reminded me I didn't have my Luckbox with me.

Ah hah! So that was it.

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