Thursday, December 18, 2014

"Did You Just Ask Him if He's on Tinder?"

All during my October trip, I had been trying to get to Mandalay Bay.  As I mentioned before, my buddy Abe has been singing its praises lately.  And the last time I played there (see here), I did have a nice little run.  But things kept happening preventing me from getting over there.

But finally, on my last full day in town, a Sunday, when October had actually turned into November, I arrived there late afternoon, in time to get a seat for the last football promo of the day, the Sunday night game.  Their promo is nowhere good as MGM’s is.  It’s just $100 paid to the high hand of each quarter.  So at most, they are giving away $400.  Some quarters they might not give away a prize, as the minimum hand to qualify is Jacks full.  And as I learned, if you make a boat, in order to qualify you have to have a pocket pair in your hand.  Huh?  Why do they have that rule?  If I have Ace-Jack and the board has two Jacks and an Ace on it, that’s not good enough?  I understand needing a pocket pair for quads to qualify, but I don’t get the restriction on full houses.  But dem’s the rules.

When I arrived, they only had two games going, both 1/2 NL. This surprised me because just about 10 minutes before, on my Bravo app, it showed four games going with 4 people on the waitlist.  Place must have thinned out fast.

In the first half hour, I figured out why Abe liked the room so much.

Early on, I was dealt pocket Aces.  I bet $9, had two callers.  The flop was 9-9-2, I bet $20, no one called.

Very next hand, I had Ace-Queen. I raised to $8, had two callers. The flopped missed me, but no one called my $20 flop bet.

A few hands later, I had Queen-Jack of hearts, I raised to $8, had two callers (see a pattern here?).  The flop was 10-9-4. The 10 and the 9 were both hearts, the 4 was black.  I c-bet $20, one guy called.  The turn was the 2 of hearts. Now here’s maybe where I should have gone promo chasing and I didn’t.  With the open-ended straight flush draw, maybe I should have checked even though I already had the flush?  In addition to the high hand of the quarter that a straight flush (if I had hit it) likely would have won, they have high hand bonuses there, so I would have won that too, if it hit.  The amount of the bonus is progressive so I don’t know how much it would have paid.

But no, I went ahead and bet $50.  He folded.  Now I wonder what the point of betting there really was?  If he had a set, he’s not likely folding to any bet I could reasonably made.  Same thing if he has a naked Ace of hearts (or even, a naked King of hearts).  Probably not folding two pair there.  So with the third nut flush, maybe it would have been ok to promo-chase and try to hit the two outer to the straight flush. Thoughts?

Then I had pocket 9’s and raised to $8.  Once again, two callers (no, it wasn’t always the same two).  I rather liked the flop, which was 9-8-8.  I checked and so did the other two.  The turn was a 5, this time a guy led out for $20 and we both called.  The river was another blank.  Same guy bet $20 again.  The other player folded.  I made it $50.  He called and mucked when he saw my boat.  He said he had an 8.

I won a couple of more hands on the flop with c-bets.  One time I had raised with Ace-Queen and missed, another time I’d raise with pocket 6’s and missed.

In about half an hour, I had very nearly doubled my $200 buy in.  Then I reverted to form and went card dead.  Meanwhile, one guy at the table caught not one but two straight flushes.  The first one, he went runner-runner to get a 10-high straight flush, and that held to get the first quarter high hand bonus.  Early in the third quarter, he turned a steel wheel (Ace thru 5 straight flush, for those of you aren’t poker players).  Two straight flushes in an hour, both qualified for high hand bonuses?  Now that’s running good.  In the second quarter, the guy next to him won the high hand of the quarter by rivering quad Queens.

I’d gone a good hour plus with barely playing a hand.  I was still up over $150 and I needed to have some dinner.  The deli at the Mandalay Bay was overpriced and I didn’t have enough comps to pay for a sandwich.  So I cashed out and headed over to MGM, where I could use my comps to get an overpriced sandwich.

Dinner accomplished, I got into a game at MGM.  There were two interesting players at the table, both joining after I got there.  One guy was, I assume, stoned. He was actually barely conscious, and he kept nodding off at the table.  Young guy.  He claimed that he hadn’t slept much and was just tired.  He ordered Red Bull.  They didn’t bring it fast enough. He took forever to act on all his hands because he was always starting to doze off.  I began to wonder if he was actually capable of reading his cards properly or forming any kind of a coherent strategy.  That said, I never actually caught him in any kind of error that would have indicated he was impaired.

The other player to mention was a woman I’ll call Maggie.  The reason I’m calling her Maggie is that, when I left the game and asked her name, she told me it was “Maggie.”  Yes, I’m using her real name (assuming she didn’t lie to me).  She didn’t embarrass herself sufficiently to warrant protecting her identity.

Maggie came to the table from another game and had a lot of chips with her, and observing her play, I figured out how she got them.  She’s a good player, plays a tight-aggressive style.  I eventually found out that she’s from the L.A. area and plays at the Bike when she’s home.  She plays the same 2/3 game there that I do, but we don’t play at the same times, that’s why I’d never seen her there. 

After Maggie had been there awhile, my pal Jack came to the table to deal.  We started chatting and he asked me what I had written about for Ante Up lately.  Maggie asked Jack what I write about.  He wouldn’t answer and deferred to me.  I told her I do a monthly column for Ante Up.

She asked what the column is about.  I told her I covered the Las Vegas poker scene.  “So….do you do gossip?”

I laughed.  “No no, I don’t do gossip….I have a blog for that.”

Like most people who hear I do a blog, she didn’t ask me about it.  She just chuckled.

She did notice me writing down notes about hands.  So one time she asked, “What are you writing?  Notes for your column?” 

“No…..not for my column.”  I didn’t amplify.

Jack and I eventually started talking about a mutual friend of ours who has recently re-entered the dating scene. I confirmed what I think Jack already knew, which was that this woman was spending a lot of time on Tinder now.

And that led Jack to ask me, “So Rob, are you on Tinder?”  

I just laughed and said no.  But the question caught Maggie’s attention.

She asked Jack, “Did you just ask him if he was on Tinder?”  She was clearly amused by Jack asking me that.  Jack confirmed that he had.  She laughed at the answer.

Maggie seemed like a fun woman so I decided to take fake umbrage at her reaction.

“Whoa,” I said. “Do you think that’s a funny question to ask me?  What? Do you think I’m hopeless?  Do you think that I couldn’t be on Tinder?”

At first she thought I might have actually been upset. “No, No…..I didn’t mean that.”

I said, “Are you dissing me?”

“No, no, I’m not dissing you.”  Now, I’m pretty sure that Maggie knew I was just kidding.  “It’s just that—for one guy to ask another guy if he’s on Tinder, it’s kind of weird. It’s like, he wants to go out with you.”

I said, “I don’t think his wife would like that.”  Jack agreed, she wouldn’t.

As for the poker, the semi-conscious guy raised to $12 and I called with Ace-Jack.  It was heads-up. The flop was all spades, King-high.  There was a 9 I think and a 6 or 7.  He led out for $40, well more than the pot.  Do you just call with the nuts there?  I guess I should have.  But I went ahead and bet, thinking this guy would call if he had anything at all.  I mean, there’s no way he was going to fold Ace-King.  I actually expected him, in his sleepy state, to just shove the rest of his chips (we had similar $200 stacks).  

But he hesitated.  “Oh, you got it?  You got it already?”  He was slurring his words. “Will you show if I fold?”  I do so love that question, see here.  I said nothing.  Continuing to slur his words, he said, “It’s just common agreement among players.”  Why should I help him play his hand?  He gave up and eventually said, “Oh well…” and mucked.

As it happens, I did show my hand, but only because I needed to show my hand to get a ticket for the next cash drawing.

The other hand I’ll mention involved both this guy and Maggie.  She raised to $12 and the guy made it $40.  I looked down at pocket Queens.  I had close to $300, the semi-conscious guy had about $150, but Maggie had me covered by quite a bit.

If it was just a bet from the guy, I would have three-bet.  But not with Maggie being the first raiser.  I think I would have just flatted even if the other guy had folded.  So I just called.

Maggie thought about it for a bit and announced “all-in.”


The semi-conscious guy tanked forever.  Of course, he was taking a long time to make $5 decisions, so you can only imagine how long this one took.  But eventually he laid it down.

Having played with her a while, I really couldn’t imagine Maggie making that move with anything other than Aces or Kings.  I thought Ace-King was extremely unlikely.  It was painful to do it, but I folded.

As Maggie took in the pot, the guy said he folded Jacks.  Maggie said she had two red Kings.  I said, “So I guess my Queens were no good?”  Of course, no one showed anything so this information might not be accurate (except for my Queens).  But I’m pretty sure they were both telling the truth, especially Maggie.  The stoned guy might have been hallucinating his pocket Jacks. Maybe he actually had Aces?

That led to a nice discussion of the hand and the play.  Maggie looked directly at me and said, “I was sure you didn’t have Aces when you just called.  I was sure you would have raised if you had Aces.”  Well, she was right about that.

So I asked her, “If I had raised, would you have folded your Kings?”  

“No….I’m not folding my Kings.  But I would have called, not re-raised.”

Brent was the dealer and so he asked her, before I could, “What if he had shoved?  Would you have folded then?”

She thought about it and then said she might have.


Then Brent added, “Or you might have called anyway.  We’ve all done it.  You say, ‘I know he’s got Aces….I call.’”  Because it’s so hard to lay down those damn Kings.

I ended up winning over $100.  Because I laid down those Queens to Maggie’s Kings.

When I left, I told Maggie how much I enjoyed playing with her. She said she would look for my Ante Up column.  I hope I see her again—at the Bike, if not Vegas.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014


First hand of the 1/2 game at MGM.  I was dealt pocket Queens.  I raised, only one player called.  The flop was all low, my continuation bet took the pot. 

Easy game.

Folded some garbage the next hand, and then, third hand of the night, I looked down at pocket 10’s.  I am under-the-gun plus 1.  The big blind was a lady I recognized.  She had straddled the hand before and then forgot to put out her big blind on this current hand, so, thinking she was first to act, she tried to raise to $6.  The dealer corrected her and then she put out her big blind instead.  UTG folded.

I couldn’t remember exactly where I recognized the lady.  She seemed to know the dealers and the staff, but I swear, she didn’t seem like a regular in this room.  I suspected I knew from someplace else.  I think she might even be a dealer in another room.  But from the straddle, the under-the-gun raise attempt, and my vague recollection, I knew she was aggressive.  I therefore knew that if it limped to her, she would raise.  Since I didn’t have a feel for anyone at the table yet, I just limped in with my 10’s.  These days, I’m actually raising there more often than not.

But sure enough it was raised to $10 by the button.  The aggro big blind just called, as did I.  All told, five of us saw the flop.  Said flop was 10-9-8, two hearts.  Kind of a wet board.

The big blind led out for $20, kind of a small bet for the pot.  The action was on me with three to act after and already a big pot building.  There was no way I was going to slowplay this one.  I put out $80. 

So the guy in the hijack seat, with a huge stack, $400-$500 at least, announced, “all-in.”  It folded back to me.

I had about $120 left; there was no way I could fold, right?  I was hoping it was a set-over-set situation.  Perhaps he had one of the many draws out there.  I didn’t think he had flopped a straight, although Queen-Jack was certainly a possibility.  At this point though, I had no read on this guy.  Anyway, I called. I didn’t think I wanted to see a heart or a straight card, but I was hoping for the board to pair so I didn’t have to worry.

No such luck. I remember a King of hearts, which would have scared me except the villain said, “Oh no, did that hurt me?  That must have hurt me.”  The river was a blank.  And so as I showed my pocket 10’s, he turned over Jack-7.



Yeah, he flopped the straight.  He limped in with Jack-7 off, and called a raise with it.


I took out another $200 and re-bought.  It didn’t take me long to figure out that the guy who won that pot was both aggressive and drunk.  He raised a lot and limped in when he didn’t raise.  If it was raised in front of him he almost always called.  And he usually bet big, often over-betting after the flop.  One thing he didn’t do much—if at all—was fold preflop.  Honestly, I can’t remember a flop he didn’t see.

Less than 20 minutes later, with my stack still around $200, I was dealt 9-8 clubs.  Although most pots were raised pre at this table, there hadn’t been a lot of three-betting. I figured someone was going to raise this hand and it might as well be me.  (Note, I’m almost always betting suited connectors now, unless they’re really low).

I made it $11 and four players called.  Yeah, it was that kind of table.  The Jack-7 guy from the earlier hand was one of the callers, of course.  So was the guy to my right, who also had a big stack, a lot bigger than mine.

The flop was 7-6-2, rainbow.  What’s the right move here?  Usually, I don’t bet my draws.  But that’s if I’ve limped in, or if someone else had raised.  This hand I had raised preflop, so I wanted to make a continuation-bet, right?  But… you c-bet with nothing (but a great draw) five-handed?

Well I did. I put out $30.  It folded to drunk/aggro/Jack-7 guy.  He raised to $100.  Now, I knew by now that he could be betting there with almost anything.  Top pair, overpair, draw.  Probably not a naked bluff though, not with so many in the hand.  As I was thinking about my action, it folded to the guy to my right, who thought for a bit and announced “all-in.”

Shit.  As I said, he had me covered.  So did Jack-7 guy.  At this point, I was as sure as I could possibly be that Jack-7 guy would call the all-in, whether I called or folded.  So we were looking at a huge pot and I had the draw to the nut straight.  After the $30 I had already bet, I had about $155 left. If I was right about the other guy calling, the pot, at least for me, would be $545 if I called off my stack.  I was getting more than 3 to 1 for my call, with two cards to come. The rainbow flop made me less scared of a flush.  The draw was to the top end of the straight, not the bottom end.  I might have thought twice if it was bottom end.

There was nothing to do but call, right? 

I called.

No one showed.  I didn’t get any help with the next two cards.  No straight for me.  The guy to my right showed pocket 7’s for top set.  Jack-7 guy didn’t show when he saw the guy’s set.

I had lost two buy-ins in less than half an hour.


Ordinarily, I would have called it a very early night.  However, on this night, Prudence, Lightning, Nick and Alysia Chang were all in the poker room with me.  So, you know, I had to be sociable.  I bought in for a third time.

In fact, the table, as wild as it was, and with Jack-7 guy still there, getting drunker and drunker, it was probably wise to stay. I should have been able to get my money back, or at least some of it. Jack-7 guy stopped running so good and began distributing chips back to the other players.

But not to me.  I was totally card dead for the next couple of hours. I played some extra hands to try to catch something. Couldn’t.  I eeked out a few small pots and managed to keep all but $25 from my third buy-in.

It was a brutal night.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

First Experience with

As I mentioned recently, this current Vegas visit will be the longest I’ve ever stayed in Sin City continuously—the good lord willing and the river don’t rise.

In anticipating it, I realized that I would finally have enough time to do something I’ve been thinking about doing for some time.  Play some poker online at

Surely there would be a day or two when I just had enough of live poker and wanted to stay in and just fool around on the laptop with some virtual—but real money—poker.

In anticipation of the trip, I went ahead and put some money on my heretofore dormant account.  Although you can only play while you are physically located in Nevada, you can put money on your account from anywhere.  At least in theory.

My first attempt at funding my account was unsuccessful.  I tried to do a transfer from my checking account.  My bank refused to transfer the funds.  Apparently they wouldn’t authorize a transfer to a gambling account.  Even though it is perfectly legal in Nevada, where the account was and where the money was going.  Oh well, I didn’t bother to complain to my bank or ask them why they have such a stupid policy.  My bank is located only in California, and has no presence in Nevada, so I guess they are just playing it totally safe by not authorizing any money going to such an account, even if it is in Nevada.  My next attempt was to fund it with a credit card, and that went through, no problem.

So a few nights ago, after several rather brutal live sessions here in Vegas, I decided to stay in and give this thing a try.

Now of course, I’ve played online poker before.  But honestly, not that much.  Before Black Friday, I played some to help me learn the game.  But I never fell in love with it.  It was useful for learning the game, the rules, the etiquette and of course the strategy, but it was just too cold, too impersonal for me.  Even before Black Friday hit, I was hardly every playing online any more.

So this was my first time ever playing poker online that was, without any doubt whatsoever, 100% legitimate, government sanctioned, approved, and blessed.

I didn’t have that much time when I loaded up the software to give it a spin, so I just went with a one table Sit-N-Go.  Entry fee: $5.  Yeah, this was going to be some serious, big-time poker.

My assumption was that a 9 handed tournament for five bucks was going to be a shove fest almost from the first minute.  I assumed that—even if I won the damn thing—it would be over in less than 30 minutes.  At least, that’s what I remember from my old online days.

Boy was I surprised.  Almost everyone played really tight.  Seriously, this was like playing in a 2/4 limit game at the Orleans.  With one possible exception, I was the biggest aggro at the table.

And so, it went on and on and on.  There were five minute breaks scheduled every hour.  To my amazement, we actually had two breaks.

I don’t know if I played good poker, but I had some nice luck.  I got pocket Aces twice fairly early, and they held both times.  Same thing with the dreaded pocket Kings—got them twice and won both times.  None of those hands went to showdown or resulted in huge pots, but they helped me build a nice stack.  The one time I got pocket Queens, it was late in the tournament and no one called my preflop raise. 

After a few players had finally been knocked out, I found myself with a nice chip lead.  But then the third biggest stack won a huge all-in against the second biggest, and suddenly had more chips than I did.  The lead went back and forth a few times, but when it was three or four handed, and I was in second place, I shoved with King-Jack offsuit.  By this time, it was long past time when I was ready for dinner, and I was shoving as much to bust out and get some dinner as I was to win the tournament.

The chip leader called me with Ace-Jack.  Oops.  There was a ten and a Queen on the flop. So when an Ace hit the turn, giving Villain top pair, it also gave me Broadway.  Heh heh.  I never relinquished the chip lead after that.

It took me an excruciatingly long time to finish off my opponent.  Finally, I raised with pocket 9’s and my opponent shoved.  I figured with stack sizes, Villain’s raise could be with any Ace, any pocket pair, even any two broadway cards.  I called.  I would have been the short stack if I lost.

The computer showed the Villian had pocket 6’s.  The board missed both of us and I had won my very first Sit-N-Go on WSOP.  My reward?  A whopping $20.17.  So, $15 profit.

Actually, it was a fairly boring experience.  I like playing live, being in a place where there are live people around you, even if they are annoying. Of course, if I want more excitement, more action, I can always try multi-tabling.  We’ll see if I try that in the future.

But you know, I’m kind of thinking of retiring right now from  Undefeated.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Credit Card Scare

So I’m sitting in my hotel room here in Vegas a few days ago, working, when an email shows up, apparently from American Express.

The subject of the email was “Fraud Protection Alert” and it said that they recently refused to authorize a charge on my AmEx card, as they suspected fraud.  They asked me to confirm that I had recently attempted to make a purchase from “Stone Mountain Park Silver Dollar.”  It was a small charge, only $12.50.

I never heard of Stone Mountain Park Silver Dollar.  Clearly, this wasn’t me.  I started to access the website included in the email to dispute it, but then stopped myself.  I knew that it there are nefarious people out there sending out “phishing” emails to steal your identity and your credit card numbers.  It looked like it was from American Express.  But the crookes are really good at making it look like their scam emails are official.

In fact, I almost fell for one a few months back.  I got something that looked like it came from PayPal, telling me my account would be deactivated if I didn’t click the link they provided and update some of my personal information.  I actually started to log onto the site when I suspected something phishy.  I called the PayPal folks and was told they had sent me no such email.  Phew.  Just to be safe, I changed my password.

So rather than use the link provided, I got my AmEx card and started calling the number on the back.  Before I finished dialing, I got a call, took it, and it was a recorded announcement, presumably from AmEx, asking me about a charge.  Now I was pretty sure it was legit, but to be safe, I hung up and called AmEx directly.

Well, indeed, they had just declined two attempts to charge something from Stony Mountain Park Silver Dollar.  Since I had my credit card with me—and there’s only one card in my name—they had somehow gotten my card number.  I wonder how?

I also wondered why they suspected that it was not me using the card. My account is in good order and they rejected it not because I was over my credit limit, but because they suspected something was wrong.  I didn’t get an answer for that, but I think the source attempting to charge my card is somewhat suspect.

But...good job, AmEx, for catching this before it resulted in a massive headache for me.

Anyway, there was no alternative but to immediately cancel my card and send me a replacement with a new card number.  Fortunately, I have other credit cards I could use until the replacement card arrived.

Of course, I won’t be home for awhile, so I had them FedEx the replacement card to the hotel where I’m staying.  And in fact, it arrived here yesterday, and I’m good to go.

Still, it’s scary, and let this be a warning to all of you.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Kunovic Wears Many Hats at Caesars’ New Poker Room

My latest Ante Up column is online and can be found here.

Should be available in your local poker room now.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Hooker Update

I'm adding this preface to the post because of something grrouchie said the other night while we were playing blogger's poker at MGM.  We were commenting on all the blog stories I was getting from the session and grrouch pointed out that I would eventually do the (long) blog posts months from now, but that I would be teasing said stories many times until I get to them.

OK, so for once in his life, the grrouch is right.

Heh heh.

Just a few days into this Vegas trip and I have tons of good material.  Some incredible (good and bad) poker hands.  Some fun girl-on-girl action from the blogger's tourney.  Insults flying back and forth among friends.  Tonite is the Alysia Chang "Cards Against Humanity" get-together, so that should get me a ton of good stuff.

But for now......I leave you with this post I wrote before I hit town.  Very soon I will need to find time to write some stuff from here, but it's too crazy here right now. So......

Astute readers (and I’m sure I have some) have no doubt noticed that I haven’t done a post about a real life encounter with a hooker in quite some time.  Well, I’m happy to report that the Vegas authorities have totally cleaned up the city, and there are now absolutely no hookers working anywhere in the city.  Las Vegas is now a 100% prostitute-free.

Just kidding.  It’s way too early for April Fools.  I am fairly certain there are still ladies selling sexual favors in town.  But you couldn’t tell by me.  Honestly, the last few times I’ve been to Vegas, I scarcely saw one.  Have they found different places to set up shop than they used to?  Or is it just a case of bad timing?

Anyway, in October, I did manage to encounter a couple, thought the meetings were less than memorable.  

The first one was over at New York New York, where I had parked my car.  Over by the escalator to the parking garage there was a young lady just standing, saying something to any unattached male or males that passed her by.  I didn’t get a really good look at her, but she was young and reasonably attractive.  I walked by her and she said something to me, but I didn’t hear what it was.  It was really late at night and I was extremely tired, so I didn’t stop to chat with her in the hopes of getting some material for this here blog.  Sorry, I know I’m letting you down.

A few nights later I was at the MGM.  I was wandering around, noticing some of the girls showing up for the night club in outfits that would make give their fathers’ heart attacks if they saw them.  And I walked passed a woman—somewhat older than the average club girl—in an outfit that was decidedly not nightclub-appropriate.

She was so plainly dressed that I wouldn’t have noticed her at all if I not for the fact that as I walked by her, she flashed me this huge smile. 

That’s pretty much a sure sign of a working girl.  Trust me.  I turned away and then found a fairly hidden spot to observe to see if I could confirm my suspicions.

Before I did, I assessed her outfit and it was really hard to believe she was a hooker.  Her clothes were more conservative than a nun’s habit.  I mean seriously, if she tried to go to church in those clothes, they would have refused her entry until she put on something a little flashier.

She wore a plain, loose top, brown in color.  There was a little bit of skin showing below the neck but it was cut way too high to show any cleavage.  She had on pants that weren’t tight.  The looseness of her clothes gave away very little information about her figure.  I’m guessing her figure was about average. Her hair was rather mundanely styled (medium length).  And I even checked her shoes, no heels.  They were flats.

I’ve mentioned this before.  My pal Woody and I have an ongoing debate about the size of hookers’ purses.  Based on information he got from a friend of his, he believes that hookers carry very tiny purses.  Although I have seen that, I tell him that most of the time their purses are fairly big, sometimes huge.

So I checked out this lady’s purse.  It was humongous. Seriously, it wasn’t a purse, it was more like a duffle bag.  She could have been hiding at least two—possibly three—performers from the midget show they have now at MGM in there.

So she couldn’t have been a hooker, I thought.  Maybe she just liked me.  Stranger things have happened, right?  Right?

But then she went over to a guy playing a slot machine, sat down next to him and began chatting.  I could tell from the body language this was a cold call, that they didn’t know each other.  She walked away a minute or two later.  No sale.

She sat over by another slot machine and said something to a guy walking passed her.  He stopped and pulled up a stool next to her.  They talked.  And talked.  And talked. Obviously, she was indeed a lady of the evening.  I just couldn’t believe she was dressed so plainly.  She made the hooker I described in this post here seem naked.

After a good 10 minutes or so, the guy got up and walked away in a hurry.  The woman stayed put and didn’t talk to any more passersby.  I lost sight of the guy, but I was sure he was going to either get some funds to complete the transaction, or perhaps ask some buddies if they wanted to join him.  I couldn’t wait around to see if he returned, but I was certain he would.

Sorry, those are less than exciting encounters.  So I will finish this post with a hooker encounter that my friend Abe had a month or so ago, that he posted to his Facebook page.  I reprint it here with permission:

Walking out of Mandalay Bay tonight there were two obvious hookers trying to get clients over by the bar area. They were talking with each other in such a manner that suggests that one of them was a little new to the trade.

I unfortunately was headed the same way and witnessed them trying to hook a few young guys wearing suits on their way in. They didn't bite, so out to the taxi stand they went. As they paused, I passed around them.

"Hey... where YOU goin?" the younger Latina one, presumably the trainee asks.

"Are you guys doing hooker school? Is this training? This is cute."

"Say what? Hooker school? Why, what you going to? Nerd school? Is that what you fuc---"

"Pfft. This is your witty comeback? Keep training."

I disappear up the escalators to their laughter. Apparently, part of hooker school is to insult potential clients. Free lesson!

I have a couple of quick comments on Abe’s story. First, perhaps the reason they insulted him was that they might object to be referred to as “hookers.”

Second, even if they didn’t object to being called hookers, they might not have liked it being said loudly enough for someone (like Security) to have heard.

Just thinking out loud here.  Still, a cute story, to be sure.  Thanks, Abe.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Doubling Up (Almost) at the Bike

As i just arrived back in Vegas for what promises to be my longest stay here ever, it seems appropriate to tell the story of my last session at The Bike in bountiful Bell Gardens, CA.

Before I get to that, I want to mention that tomorrow, Saturday, I will be playing the the WPBT poker tournament at the Aria.  For past tales from this event (which I cashed in last year), see here and here.  The following Saturday, I will be playing again at the Aria, in the AVP/PokerAtlas meetup and tournament (see here). If you're in Vegas for either one of these days, or both, please come join in!

But back to the Bike. I bought in for $300 in the $2/$3 NL game.  I had only been there a few minutes when, after a couple of limpers, a guy raised to $20.  I was in late position with Ace-King suited.  I called.  The guy behind me called.  The lady under-the-gun, who had limped in, re-raised to $125 (the classic limp/re-raise, a favorite of mine).  The other limped folded, the original raised shoved.

Welcome to the Bike. 

Both the lady who had limped/re-raised and the guy who shoved had similar stacks to my $300. I folded, the guy behind me folded, and the lady called.  I don’t remember the board, but it was Jack high and I would have shown down Ace-high if I had called.  The lady flipped over pocket Queens.  The gentleman flipped over pocket Kings.  The lady rebought.

Still early in the session, I raised to $11 with pocket 9’s.  Four players called.  The flop was 7-6-5, rainbow.  I bet $40, one player called.  We both checked an Ace on the flop.  We both checked a Jack on the turn.  He flipped over pocket 8’s.

In the small blind, I threw in a buck to complete with Ace-8 off. About five of us saw the flop, which was Ace-8-5, two diamonds.  My Ace was a diamond.  I bet $5, three players called.  The turn was a blank, I bet $30.  Everyone but the short stack folded; he shoved for $32 more.  I called, and after a blank river, he showed a weak Ace.

Then, amazingly enough, I got pocket Queens, both red.  I say amazingly enough because that is the only premium pocket pair I seem to get at the Bike.  No Aces, Kings (dreaded or otherwise), no Jacks.  Just Queens.  I raised to $18 in late position and had two callers.  The flop was 9-8-8, two clubs.  A guy led out for $25.  I called, the other guy folded.  The river was red 6, and he shoved for $131.  Sigh.  It was the Bike so he could have been playing just a 9 that way.  But I just couldn’t see putting that much in to that pot with just an overpair.  It was probably weak, but I folded.

I went through a long spell where I didn’t play much as I was too card dead.  Then, I just limped in with pocket 7’s.  Six of us saw a flop that was 10-7-3, rainbow.  I checked but no one bet.  The turn was a blank, I put out $15, only one player called, a short stack.  The river was the case 7.  I was first to act, I had to bet for value.  I put out $20.  He only had about $35 but I thought he was more likely to put it all in if I bet smaller than if I bet him all-in.  Nope.  He tanked and eventually did call, leaving $15 behind.  He didn’t show his losing hand when I showed my quads.

Just a few hands later I limped in from late position with pocket deuces.  Many of us saw a flop of Ace-8-2, rainbow.  I decided to slow play it again, so I checked, as did everyone else. The turn was a second heart and a guy bet $12, I called, and it was heads up. The river was the Ace of hearts.  Did he make a backdoor flush?   No.  He checked, I bet $20 and he folded.  He said he had misread his hand and thought he had turned two pair.

I raised to $17 in late position with 7-6 of hearts.  Only one player called. The flop was Ace-7-6, two diamonds.  I bet $20.  He made it $40 and everyone else folded.  He had less than $80 left, I put out a stack of $100.  He called.  The other cards were blanks, I showed my hand and he showed an Ace.

That put my stack at well over $400.  A while later, I raised to $12 with Ace-Jack of spades.  Three players called.  The flop was Ten-8-8, rainbow, one spade.  A guy led out for $20 in front of me.  It was the same guy I folded my Queens to (he had made the donk bet on that hand too).  I called.  I had the overcards and two back-door draws, more than enough to call with according to the Ed Miller strategy.  It was now heads up.

The turn was the King of spades.  He bet $50.  I tanked, but then called.  I was happy to see the 4 of spades on the river.  He announced all in!  He had about $125-$130.  I snap called.  I didn’t think he had a boat but if he did, so be it.  He didn’t want to show….he said, “You probably have me beat.”  I definitely wanted to see what hand he had played that way, so I didn’t show until he did.  Very reluctantly, he showed Ace-Jack.  But both of his were red (I didn’t see if they were suited).  He had played that hand all the way as a total bluff.  Thank you sir!  Unfortunately, he didn’t rebuy.

I now had over $600 in front of me.  It was fairly early, but I couldn’t get myself away from thinking that it would sure be nice for my last session in L.A. before a return to Vegas to be a double up.  I didn’t quite make it.  I entered a few pots, won only a small one.  When I didn’t c-bet after raising with pocket Jacks (finally a premium pair other than Queens), I knew I was getting too protective of the win and it was time to call it a day.  On that Jacks hand, there were four callers and both an Ace and a King on the flop, so it was a bit scary.  But no one ever put in a bet in, and I probably could have bet the guy who won it with King-crap off his hand if I had bet.

I walked away up just a tiny bit over $300 ahead, and I was ok settling for that.