A Really Crappy Day at the Bike, Part 2
READER WARNING: This blog post, part 2 of the post I started here, may be offensive or too gross for some of you. No, there will be no gratuitous mentions of female body parts, or descriptions of young ladies exposing generous amounts of boobage (damn it). But if the scatological bothers you, you may want to skip this one. At the very least, you don’t want to read this post while eating. OTOH, if you like to read in the bathroom, this might just be the post for you.
As I was saying, I started off the tournament running well. And then….and then…..I started feeling some strange rumblings from my lower abdomen.
I tried to ignore them for awhile. The rumblings went away. But then returned. It was clear I was suffering some form of gastric distress. Was it minor or was it about to become legendary? Not so clear.
The second level had just begun and it was almost 40 minutes until the first break. I didn’t think I could wait that long. Besides, it was starting to feel like the 10 minute break wouldn’t be long enough to accomplish what I needed to accomplish.
As soon as I folded on the button, I headed to the nearest Men’s Room. There was only one stall open. I looked inside and almost fainted. It looked like the previous user was Bigfoot suffering some pretty bad gastric distress himself. Not usable.
So I went to the next nearest Men’s Room, conveniently located right near the Gift shop. You know—that Gift Shop that no longer existed (as noted in part 1)? Yeah, that one. You guessed it, the Men’s Room that used to be there was gone too.
OK, I moved onward, to another Men’s Room, further away from tournament area, closer to the Event Center. There was an open stall, and it looked clean. Just as I was about to tend to nature’s urgent call, I noticed that there was no toilet paper there. This would definitely be an issue.
It appeared I was getting nothing but bad beats, just not the kind that had anything to do with poker.
OK, so when I toured the Bike looking for where they had relocated the Gift shop to, I actually entered a part of the casino I was pretty unfamiliar with, far away from the poker area I normally play at. I probably saw it the first time I went to the Bike and never again. But I had to assume that this area had its own restrooms. And it was actually pretty close to where the tournament was. I found the Men’s Room and there were actually two janitors there, and it looked like they had just cleaned the place. Sure enough, there were several stalls to choose from, all of which looked freshly cleaned.
I grabbed one and dropped trou. I have to say, I didn’t really have a lot of time to spare. But I’m glad to say I didn’t have it quite as bad as the Bigfoot had it. Still, it was a bit more than unsettling. I took my sweet time, hoping I could solve the problem in one, um, sitting.
And so I thought—or at least hoped—I had. I washed my hands (quite thoroughly, I assure you), used the hand sanitizer they thoughtfully provided, went to open the door to the Men’s Room door—and suddenly had to do a 360 and make a beeline back to the stall I had just vacated. Round 2.
Somehow, I finished up and left the Men’s Room without having to deal with a round 3. I got back to my seat with the 2nd level still in progress. And I was in quandary as to what to do.
I thought, well, I should probably hit that gift shop and get some Kaopectate or Imodium. But I couldn’t do that because the gift shop was freaking closed due to the construction. Another bad beat.
I wasn’t at all convinced I would be sitting at the table very long before having to run back to the throne. I considered just getting the hell out of there and heading home, let my stack be blinded off. The good thing was I was only in for $45, no big deal. I was sure glad I hadn’t taken the add-on yet.
And I was kind of wishing I was just playing cash, like usual. No penalty for being away the table too long and of course, I could just cash out of the game and go home to recover without losing any money.
Another thought I had: Twice recently, at the poker table, I had been referred to as “Costanza” (see here). My predicament did indeed seem somewhat Costanza-like. I know they did episodes about Costanza having similar problems. Holy shit (so-to-speak)! Am I doomed to completely follow in Costanza’s footprints now? At least George Steinbrenner can’t hire me. But I'm scared to death someone's gonna need a marine biologist.
I decided to wait a little. For one thing, if the gastric distress wasn’t over, I had no confidence I could make it home “in time.” Without traffic, it’s about a 35 minute drive home. With even semi-normal weekend traffic, it could easily be an hour. That could definitely be a problem.
So I just went back to playing, totally distracted, waiting to see if another episode was on its way. And on top of that, I seem to have flushed all the rungood I was having down the toilet as well. Suddenly I was card dead.
Which was a damn shame, because right then I was just looking for a way to exit gracefully. Shove all in, lose, and then I could leave the Bike guilt-free. But I didn’t get hands that I could do that with without looking like the biggest donkey in the history of poker. One thing I knew: There was no way I was ever taking the add-on, I was going to make this unpleasant experience as cheap as possible. Besides, the thought of being there to midnight or beyond wasn’t very enticing. How many more visits to the Men’s Room would that entail?
Of course, the shove light strategy had some danger as well. What if I got lucky and got a few double ups? It’d be just my luck that we would be near the bubble, and have to run back to the Men’s Room, and then bubble by getting blinded out while away from the table. Yeah, I actually did think of that possibility.
But suppose the crisis was over? Wouldn’t that make a helluva a blog post? “I survived gastric distress and scored big at the Quantum Reload.”
I got some air during the first break, and honestly, seemed to be feeling better. I wasn’t sure I was out of the woods, but I thought I might now just be ok. But I still had no intention of taking the add-on. Not only because I wasn’t sure about my situation, but also because, once you get past the first two levels, I think the add-on becomes a pretty bad value.
The third level started and I had about a stack of $9,250. It was too much to just shove with, I had to play some poker to lose it. Or win it. Then, before much happened in the level, they came by and broke our table. This totally confounded me. There were people lined up to buy into the tournament, and our table was in fact full. Why the heck would they break a full table?
Well, it seems that this is one of the features of the Quantum format. They put players who buy into Session “B” (starting with level 3) into their own tables. Same thing with players buying into Session “C” (level 5). So they wanted players from Session “A” to fill the empty seats from other Session “A” tables, so they could have entire tables of Session “B” players together.
I don’t get it, really. Since it’s the same tournament, what would be the harm of putting players who bought into the tournament at the higher price point (and with more starting chips) at the same table as players who had been playing for some time and had bought in for less? It makes it somewhat chaotic as they kept breaking full tables and filling them up with 10 brand new players. And by chaotic I only mean the format, the rules. I must say the personnel at the Bike were completely on top of what they were doing during all of this, very professional (they’ve done this before). It just baffled me why they decide to do it this way. I’m not sure how it benefits the players and is a lot of work for the staff to keep all this straight.
Anyway, the next two levels I was card dead, played aggressively a few hands when I could and won a few but lost more….but not enough to bust out. By the next break, before level 5, my stomach seemed completely settled down and it appeared my intestinal problems were behind me (so-to-speak). Trouble was my stack was down to $4,500, shove or fold mode. And as I said, even though it appeared I was now feeling ok, at that point taking the add-on didn’t make economic sense to me. I’m not sure how many hands I would have played differently if I wasn’t worried about my colon. But probably there were some where it made a difference.
And now, I had another concern. Was it possible I was going to hang on for two more levels? I actually didn’t want to. Again, I suppose I could have just taken off and let my unattended stack be blinded off. But no, I couldn’t pull the trigger on that. But seriously, I didn’t think I had very much equity, under any circumstances, with my chip stack. My chances of surviving and cashing were remote, though obviously not zero.
Part of me wanted to hang on at least long enough to see the prize pool. There was no indication of it, and the way they do it at the Bike, there wouldn’t be until well after registration closed. They had a lot of entrants, 390 for the first session, a couple of hundred at least for the second session and I think at least 100 for the third session. I was curious to see what the pay structure would be like.
But part of me wanted to get out of there. It would have been nice to have left in time to have had dinner at home. Dinner, you ask? With my intestinal issues? Yeah. They had been quiet for awhile, and because of medication I need to take both before and after dinner (as discussed here), and because I really can’t go long without food, I am going to eat dinner unless I’ve been recently projectile vomiting. Fortunately, I had no issues with food coming up that way. So if I busted out before the quickie 20-minute dinner break, I could go home, make myself some chicken noodle soup (the cure for everything anyway) and have a nice safe dinner. If I was still around at the break, I’d be forced to eat something there at the Bike, whatever I could find. Oh, and it would have to be fast. Grrr. Where was that damn snack bar they usually have in the tournament area when I needed it?
My best chance to get the bust-out that would send me home to dinner was when I had pocket 5’s and no one raised in front of me. My stack was about $4,500 so it was a pretty easy decision. I had shoved a bunch of times by then and never gotten a call, picking up some blinds and antes. But this time a guy with a pretty big stack called. We were heads up and he showed pocket 6’s. Out the door, right? Nope, I flopped a set. He didn’t. I doubled up.
That gave me enough chips to play with, and trying to be aggressive, I raised first in whenever I could. A few times I wasn’t called but other times I was—or was raised. Then with only one move, I shoved a few times and didn’t get calls. Bottom line, I lasted through level 6, but with just enough chips where all I could do was shove if I had something playable. I wouldn’t even have an “M” of 5 when the 7th level started.
Damn. I had taken my premeal drugs when it appeared I might be stuck there for dinner. As soon as I realized we were on the last hand before break, I raced to the Deli across the casino. There were only 2 or 3 people in front of me, not bad. I had never eaten there before, but the food they serve in the casino while you play is quite good. I looked over the menu. I wanted to order a hot dog because I wanted something fast, and I thought that was just enough food so that I could take my post-meal drugs on a not empty stomach, but wouldn’t be too much food if my stomach wasn’t 100%. Although honestly, although I wasn’t hungry, my stomach did not feel at all queasy at this point. And yes, I know that a hot dog wasn’t ideal, but beggars can’t be choosers, or something like that.
I didn’t see hot dogs on the menu. I couldn’t believe they wouldn’t have them. So when I got to the counter, I asked if they had hot dogs. “Yes….but we prepare them in the back, and it takes a good 10 minutes.”
Wait, what? No, that can’t be right. Places that sell hot dogs have them ready on a grill, and it takes all of 10 seconds to grab one and stick it in a bun and hand it to you. That’s why I wanted to have one, more for speed than anything else. But he confirmed it would take that long.
In hindsight, I should have just stuck with that, and if it meant I missed a few hands before getting it and bringing it back to the tournament, so be it. But instead I tried to find something else that I could get served really fast.
I noticed pizza on the menu. “How about pizza, you have a slice of pizza ready?” Yeah, I know…even worse for me than the dog. But I was desperate. “We have pizza, but we make it to order, a whole pizza. Takes about 15 minutes.”
Seriously? I saw sandwiches on the menu. “How about a sandwich, how long does that take?” “Made to order, about 10 minutes.”
This was turning into a Monty Python routine. “Do you have anything that can be served really fast?” He said yes, and pointed to the Taco Bar.
As all my loyal readers know, I don’t like Mexican food (see here). So, more because I was now really pissed off, and not because it made any sense, I just left in disgust. I felt I had wasted so much time enacting the Cheese Shop sketch I didn’t have time to wait for a 10-minute hot dog.
I raced back to the tournament area and considered my options. I figured I had no choice but to order food service at the table. My concern was, by the time they brought it, I likely would have busted out. And so a) how would they find me and b) where would I eat it? There were no empty tables anywhere in that poker room. But I figured I’d somehow manage. I would order a hot dog and just find a place to eat it.
I got back to the tournament area and saw no sign of a server to call over. I returned to my seat to count my chips, figuring one would come by sooner or later. And then, I noticed a big crowd at the front of the room, and I saw people eating and carrying food. I went over to investigate.
It seems that a mobile food cart had been brought into the tournament area at the break. WTF??? Now they tell me? Are you kidding me?
I saw that among the items on the cart: hot dogs. Unfortunately, there was a long line, moving slowly. I got into it and waited. I figured I’d get back to my seat after the tournament started and lose some antes, perhaps even some blinds. But it seemed like the best option.
I finally got to the front. I had seen the lady put several hot dogs into buns for people. I was going to live! There was also a guy manning the cart and when he asked me what I wanted, I said, “Hot dog, mustard only.”
“We’re all out of hot dogs.”
“Do you have pizza?” I thought I had seen someone walking around with a slice of pizza.
“No pizza. We have tamales though. You want a tamale?”
Number one on my list of Mexican food I don’t eat….tamales! I’ve already linked to that post.
“Not now, but they are bringing us more hot dogs, it will just be a couple of minutes.”
I moved to the side and waited for a god damn hot dog.
The lady there hadn’t heard this, she was helping someone else. Seeing me, she said, “Do you want a tamale?”
I can’t believe I didn’t scream. I said, “No I’m waiting for a hot dog. I just want a hot dog with mustard only.”
A few minutes later, some hot dogs miraculously appeared. Note, more tamales were brought first, even though they weren’t out of those. The guy suddenly had a hot dog on a bun on a plate he showed me and asked, “What else do you want on it?” OK, he was busy as hell, I forgive him for forgetting that I said I wanted a hot dog with mustard only about five times.
“Just mustard? Well, it’s already got mayonnaise on it.”
Mayonnaise? Mayonnaise? Are you freaking kidding me? Who the hell puts mayonnaise on a hot dog? Is that even legal? I tell you, if it is, the first Presidential candidate that campaigns on a platform of making it illegal to put mayo on a hot dog will have my vote, I assure you of that.
I said to him, “I’m Jewish. What kind of a schlemiel puts mayonnaise on a god damn hot dog? If I punched you for putting mayonnaise on my hot dog, no jury of Jews would ever convict me. They’d give me a medal.” Note: If you don’t get that joke, you’re not Jewish.
No, I didn’t really say that. I just said, “Who puts mayonnaise on a hot dog?” (and without asking first, I might have added). I think he saw the look of an insane man in my eyes, and got nervous.
“No problem, I’ll give you another one.” And he pulled out a new dog and a new bun, and then said, “Just mustard, right?” Yeah, I think the fact that I wanted mustard should have been pretty obvious by this point. So he squeezed some mustard on my dog and handed it to me. It was only the bland, boring yellow mustard and not the spicy brown stuff, but I was just thrilled to get something approaching edible.
I managed to get back to my seat, dog (with mustard) in hand, before the first hand of the next level was dealt. A true miracle. I ate the damn dog while playing the first few hands. And I must say, it didn’t look or taste like any hot dog I’ve had before. It was plumper for one thing, and had some kind of ridges around it. Maybe from the grill, I dunno. But it sure wasn’t an all beef, Kosher hot dog, I can assure you of that. It might be due to the circumstances, but it was one of the worst hot dogs I’ve ever had. But it was edible and it got enough food inside me so I could take a damn pill, and that’s all I wanted.
I had $5900 in chips. Around the third or fourth hand of the level, as I was about to eat the last bite of that hot dog, I looked down at Ace-Jack of spades. The guy with the biggest stack at the table raised to $2,500. He had been fairly aggressive with his big stack and I didn’t assume he necessarily had a big hand. However, he had gotten that big stack from just knocking people out left and right. Everyone who had busted in the past level or so had busted to him. We were joking that he’d be killing it if this was a bounty tournament. Never the less, I knew this was my chance. Even the antes were costing me, and the blinds weren’t far away. I felt this was likely my best chance get a double up. I wasn’t betting there for fold equity. With the size of his stack, the amount of his bet, and the size of my stack, I knew he would call and he did.
I was right that he was raising light. He showed Queen-6. But of course, it was sooooted (hearts). And of course, there was a Queen on the flop. A Jack on the turn gave me a couple of more outs, but the river bricked and I was done. I hadn’t even had time to take my post dinner medicine, that’s how soon after the break I busted. Would have been so much better to have busted before the dinner break. Another bad beat.
You know what another bad beat was? Because of the gastric distress, I didn’t play my normal game, I didn’t really get a chance to properly evaluate the Quantum Reload set up and offer my opinion of it, which was actually the whole point of playing in it. So that sucked.
As a PS, on my way home, freeway traffic, normally light on a Saturday evening, came to a complete stop for at least five minutes not once, but twice. Once near downtown L.A., so not really surprising, although when we got moving again I could see no apparent reason for the stoppage. The second time was much closer to my house, where there is never usually any traffic. This stoppage was longer but I was able to discover the reason for it, there was a major accident, with cops, fire engines, tow trucks, flairs and two lanes closed.
And so ended a really crappy day filled with bad beats—but not the poker kind.