She was wearing a $100 chip around her neck. Her earrings were pocket Aces.
"There's really no place you can go to buy poker-themed costume jewelry," the 10-seat told us.
My table leaned toward the woman poker player this day, thanks to the WSOP Circuit Ladies Event. As they busted out, they headed to the NL tables. I was there waiting. And so was the woman with the chip on her necklace. Maybe she figured it was the perfect customer base for The Poker Boutique.
The woman to my left in the 8-seat was very attractive, sexy even. Dark hair, dark eyes and a cool poker style. She was a real player, head and shoulders above the other women at the table.
"You're demeanor and voice are very familiar to me," she told me.
Poker? I don't even know her!
I'm not sure where my game is right now. Perhaps I left it in Tunica. My tournament game has gone to hell. And, frankly, I'm not enjoying it. I'm allowing myself to get so easily tilted for no reason at all. It's bad poker. I can't blame the cards. I can't blame the other players. Sure, I've had my share of bad beats, but that's poker. Am I really going to complain about that?
"Believe me, I'd remember if we had met before," I told her. I wish it had been a pickup line, but I knew she was married to a short 40ish guy who had made the final table in the $1000 NL Event that I had bombed out of. Part of me wondered how the hell that marriage happened. The other part told me I shouldn't care, dammit.
The table folded around to me in the small blind and I turned to her and said, "Chop?"
She shook her head and with a wry smile said, "I've got possibilities." She was leaning back in her chair as she had been most of the session.
I looked down at my cards and found ATs. "Okay, then, I could suck out on you." I called the $5.
The flop completely missed me. It was all undercards and not of my suit.
"I missed," I said, rapping the table twice. She smiled and cooly checked behind me.
The turn put a second club on the board, but I didn't have clubs.
"Well, that didn't help me." Rap, rap. She simply tilted her head towards me and tapped the table as well.
The river was the Ace of clubs.
"Uh oh, I hit," I said, again checking to her.
She sat up a little and reached for her chips. "I like you, but I hit, too. $30."
She wasn't getting a call from me. I showed her my AT of diamonds and mucked. She flashed me her KT of clubs, the nut flush and gave me that smile.
I didn't want to leave that table. But when her husband dragged her off to the blackjack table, I racked up and took my leave as well. I had crushed the NL tables in Tunica to the tune of $1550, in just three sessions, and it was time to drive home.
In the end, it wasn't really the money that made me feel alive. It was the felt and the chips and the real people in the seats around me.
Taking a break
I need a week off. Breaks are good. I'm going to stay away from playing at the virtual tables until at least this weekend. On Saturday, I'm driving back up to Coushatta to play in the $200+20 NL tourney. I may even stick around and play in the $2/$5 NL game depending on how the tourney goes. Maybe another live session will help me refocus on the virtual felt. I know I need something right now.
Less than 24 hours earlier, I sat down at a NL game with Otis. I wasn't a huge fan of playing with one of the G-Vegas crew, but the list was long and I didn't have much choice. My first night in Tunica, I busted GRob with KK vs. JJ. It's not something I wanted to do again.
And not only did I sit at Otis' table, but when a seat opened to his left, I took it. The seat I was in was rather cold. And a player just vacated the seat beside Otis in exchange for the 10s. I'm a little superstitious, and generally believe that when someone does a seat change, they're leaving some good cards behind. I hoped it was him leaving the cards behind and not me.
The 10s realized this after just a few hands when the monsters started coming my way. My NL game is very different than my tournament game. I wait for monsters. It's all I do. When I get them, I play them hard until I think I'm beat. I don't overextend myself and only feel comfortable putting my stack in when I believe I have a strong advantage.
That's how I make money. I don't bluff. I don't bully. I don't make plays. I wait for big hands and maximize my profit. It worked, consistently, in Tunica. It's an easy game to play... if the cards are right.
Shortly after my seat change, a new player sat down to my left. It wasn't long before we all recognized he would be our personal ATM.
"Hey, does anyone mind if we add the rock?" he asked. There had been a fair amount of straddling already, so the rock wouldn't really change much. In Mississippi, you can straddle from any position and the button gets the first option.
No one at the table objected, and a $10 rock was in play. A tightbox who made me lay down AK even after I turned top two pair was away from the table when we made the decision. Apparently he was philosophically opposed to the rock because he made someone buy it from him every time he won a pot.
My turn to make a withdrawal came after the ATM managed to chip himself back up to about $850. This was after his second rebuy, so he had been spreading his money around nicely.
I'm in LP when I look down at KK. It's raised to $50 in front of me. I just call, as does my ATM. I thought about a reraise here, but figured the ATM might call the $50 from the button, but wouldn't call a reraise. It was a calculated risk inviting another player into the pot.
The flop came down K-Q-7, rainbow. I couldn't ask for much better than that. It's checked to me, I value check my mortal nuts and, predictably, the ATM leads out for $100. The other player in the hand folds. I raise it to $200 and, without hesitating, he calls.
The turn is a 9 and it puts two spades on the board. I think for a moment, and push the rest of my chips into the pot. He's got me slightly covered, but it's about a $600 bet. For a moment, JT flashed through my mind. I worried I just bet into the nuts.
The ATM thought, this time, and I knew my hand was good. He considered and considered, before reluctantly calling. I showed my hand and he dropped his head. He didn't, however, show his hand. He was waiting. That worried me because it meant he had outs.
The river was a T of diamonds. My heart sank. I heard Otis sigh. He thought the same thing I did, "That fucker has a J."
Thanksfully, there was no celebration from the ATM. He flashed K8s and mucked. He had top pair and a flush draw. It was a $1700 pot. It was my biggest pot ever. The adrenaline ran through my veins for the next half hour. I think Otis got up to tell GRob, BadBlood, Iggy and the Spaceman about the hand, but I'm not sure.
We didn't play much longer that night. When they moved the Big Game from the ballroom to the poker room, our table was moved into what seemed like a hall way so that Chad Brown, Mimi Tran and some guy could play $400/$800 Omaha. I guess that's what it's like to be a second class poker citizen. I ddn't mind, tough, because my K's held up. And I had a great trip.