Tuesday, January 17, 2017

The Ace Whisperer

On Saturday, I headed out to Player’s Casino in Ventura to play my first Southern California session of the New Year.

It started out as a loose game.  Lots of action, and on the wild side.  I only recognized one person at my table, an older gentleman who’d I’d played with a few times before.  He was moderately aggro as always, and whenever he’d raise preflop, it was always to $16, whether there was a limper or two or not (the game was my usual 2/3 NL, with a $100-$300 buy-in).  I remembered finding out one time that his son, who used to play in this room quite a bit, is a touring pro with some big cashes on his resume.

Didn’t recognize anyone else, but at least three or four of them knew each other very well.  They were talking and teasing and razzing each other a lot. I almost felt like I was intruding on a private poker game.  However, they weren’t all like that; there were a few of us at the table who weren’t part of this clique.

I had seen absolutely nothing like the hand I’m about to describe until it happened, and I never saw anything like it again.  It was a one-off.  There was a guy who was definitely part of the clique sitting on about $350.  The other character in this hand was sitting on at least $550, maybe $600.  He had busted out soon after I got there but had hit a big hand or two with his second buy-in.  Although he seemed to know the other guys in the group, he was the least social with them of anyone at the table that I thought might be part of the group.  And if he had any contact or conversation with the other player I described, I hadn’t noticed it.

I don’t think this was a three-bet pot, but it might have been.  The guy with the shorter stack was the raiser or the re-raiser, and the bigger stack called.  It was not a big raise, though I can’t remember the size.  I’m guessing the pot before the flop was between $30 and $50, give or take.

I happened to look over to the smaller stack as the dealer was about to put out the flop.  He was in seat 3, the other guy was in seat 8, so they were across from each other, about as far apart as you can be.  Anyway, I saw the preflop aggressor mouthing something to the other guy.  There was no sound, and I’m not a great lip reader, but I was sure he mouthed the words, “I’m going all in.”  Interesting.  With the size of the pot, his $350 shove would have been some huge overbet.

 Well the flop came out 10-10-x (very low card).  And sure enough, the shorter stack, first to act, said “all-in.”

The other guy didn’t react right away.  It appeared like he was actually thinking about calling.  Again, he had the bettor covered, he’d still have $200+ left if he called and lost.  So, the next thing I see, the guy who went all-in is holding up, in front of his face, his two cards, totally exposed, showing the guy his hand—two Aces.

The other guy paused for a second and then said, “How’d you feel if I showed you a 10 right now?”  And then he flipped over his hand, showed his pocket 7’s, and pushed them to the dealer, without calling, of course.

I didn’t get it and still don’t. I thought the purpose of playing poker was to win money, not to avoid winning money.  Yes, yes, I know I’ve already explained it—the guy was soft playing (in a weird way) his buddy.  But I swear, nothing else I saw during the session was like this at all.  As I said, the guy with the 7’s wasn’t all that chummy with the “clique.”  And the other guys who all knew each other—they seemed to be playing at each other pretty hard.  Every other hand I can think of where one of these guys was involved with another one, they really seemed trying hard to take their buddies’ money.  This was the one exception and it was a hand where, if the guy just played it normal, the other guy didn’t figure to lose much.  And of course, the guy could have a 10 (or a pocket pair same as the low card) and the guy shoving could have lost everything.  I mean, if he was that committed to soft-playing the other guy, just shove preflop and not risk a dangerous flop.

I was on extra-alert after this hand to see if anything else like this happened, and it did not. It was just the one hand.  I suppose maybe the guy with Aces had a thing about them.  Maybe he’d lost a bunch with them lately.  But also….there was really no point in telling the guy he was going to go all-in before the flop hit.  I guess there’s a possibility he said that before the guy decided to call, but I don’t think so.  I mean, if he wanted the guy to not even call his raise, he could have shown his hand before he called or said he had Aces.

Now I’m sure the dealer must have seen the player show his Aces and he said nothing.  But that is a house rule that varies from room-to-room.  Some rooms allow one player to expose his hand in a cash game if it’s heads-up.  Others don’t.  Last time it came up while I was playing at MGM, it was still not allowed there. 

Very strange, and I didn’t like it.

As for my session, it started slowly for me.  I was going to try to force myself to be a little more aggressive, but the session started so wild I realized my best bet was to just wait for a medium or better strength hand and go for value. 

Calling some raises and missing cost me $100 over time. For example, I called a $6 straddle with pocket 3’s, all but one player called and then the straddler put his last $25 in.  All the callers called so I did as well.  I missed and folded on the flop, but there was a side pot.  It turned out the straddler had pocket Kings and they held up even though there was an Ace on the river.  So he got an octuple-up.  How could the dreaded hand hold up in an eight-way pot???

I finally won a pot when I had Ace-King, raised to $12 and had two callers.  The flop was Ace-Ace-4 and I bet $15 and took it.

In the small blind with 8-6 off, I completed but the big blind made it $13.  Since two others called, I took a chance and called as well.  No one bet a Queen-8-4 flop.  On a blank turn, the preflop raiser checked again, another guy bet, and I called, and the big blind called.  No action on the river.  Turns out my pair of 8’s was good.

There was no raise when I had King-Jack of spades in the big blind.  It was four-way. I flopped the flush draw and no one bet.  The turn was a blank and someone bet $20.  There was a call, and I called.  I hit the flush on the river, led out for $25 and didn’t get a call.

Then came the most interesting hand involving me.  I had pocket Queens in late position and there was a straddle ($6, UTG).  A whole bunch of people called the straddle.  So I made it $40.  Fold, fold, fold….until one guy called.  It was the guy who had flashed his Aces to the other guy earlier.  I saw two Aces on the flop….and then I noticed the Queen in the middle.  He checked.

I didn’t know whether to slow play the boat.  I guess usually I do.  But I started counting out chips.  I figured if he had an Ace, he’s never folding.  And what do you call a $40 preflop raise with?  Ace-King, Kings, Jacks….not much else.  Pocket Aces if you want to get cute.  I dismissed that.  I figured he’s calling with Ace-King (or raising) and he might stick around with Kings because two Aces on the board makes it less likely I have an Ace.  So I did bet.  Only $60 into a pot that was around $100.

He thought for awhile and then said, “Do you have a big Ace?  It could be a jackpot hand.”  And then he mucked.  It was clear he thought I had killed our chances for the bad beat jackpot and was pissed.

I didn’t say anything, just took in the pot.  But I wondered if I had blown it—cost us a shot at winning the bad beat jackpot?

You see, I don’t often play in a room with a bad beat jackpot so I never think of playing for it.  Well, technically, that’s not quite true.  The Bike has always had the BBJ, and for that matter, so has this room.  I just don’t think about it, because it’s so unlikely.  When I first started playing here, the BBJ was house funded and pretty small (a few thousand I think).  Now they take a jackpot drop for it and I noticed it was up to $35K.

I felt dumb….but then I tried to remember what qualified for the BBJ, and I didn’t think my hand qualified.  I was pretty sure it had to be Aces full of something for the losing hand.  I didn’t think Queens full of Aces were good enough. I didn’t ask at the table, I didn’t want to reveal my hand.  Also, I was starting to feel silly for betting just for strategic reasons, not even considering the BBJ. 

But when I was done with my session, I went over the shift boss and asked.  I was right, the minimum losing hand is Aces full of Jacks.  And the winning hand has to be quads or better.  So there was never a jackpot on the line in that hand.  And so I wondered what the guy was talking about.  If he thought I had an Ace—let’s say Ace-King—I’d have to pair the King and he’d have to get quads somehow. Not possible.  If I had Ace-Queen, and he had a pocket pair, it’d have to go runner-runner that pair to hit the jackpot.  That is ridiculously unlikely.  If he had Ace-King, there’s no jackpot possible (if I had an Ace as well) and of course, he’s not folding Ace-King there.  So he didn’t have Ace-King.  He must have had Kings, or maybe Jacks.  Even then, he has to put me on Ace-Queen for it to work.  So what the hell is talking about?

OTOH, as it played out, if he checked behind, there are two Kings (if he had Kings) and two Aces that beat me—with no chance of it turning into a jackpot hand; my hand will never be good enough.  That’s not why I bet, but checking there was a small risk.  And even if I remembered the jackpot, I had no chance for it.  But I’m still not getting his logic.  I mean, he asked if I had a big Ace, not Ace-Queen.  If you can figure out what he meant, please let me know.  You can also let me know how bad you think my bet is anyway (if it is).

(Edited to add: see Dave's comment below, it's the first one, he explains how we could have hit the jackpot if I had an Ace in my hand)

NOTE:  As I was about to post this, I thought of way to get to the jackpot.  If I catch the case Queen, giving me quads, and he had an Ace, his Aces full would lose to my quads.  But, his hand wouldn’t qualify, as both cards have to play.  Now, if he had Ace-King and the last two cards were exactly a King and Queen, it would work.  Only that way though.  And he was asking me about my big Ace, not his.  He didn’t have an Ace or he would have called.  He’s not putting me only on Queens or Ace-Queen there, not the way he played.

That was the last hand of note.  I left up $30, after being down over $100.  Considering the cards I was getting, it wasn’t a bad result.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

As I Was Saying, It's A Great Promo

When I first got to Vegas last month, I knew I wanted to take things easy the first couple of days, and not push myself too much.  I had only been cleared to drive and travel barely a week before.  And I hoped to feel well enough to stay in Vegas for over two weeks, through New Year’s. 

So the first couple of days I envisioned relatively short poker sessions just to see how things went and how I felt.  The trip up there, on a Saturday, eight days before Christmas, was smooth sailing.   I got on the road a bit later than I would have liked, but that was fine.  After checking in to the hotel, I hit the local supermarket to stock up on food.  By the time I put my groceries away and unpacked all my stuff, I should have been pretty tired, but I felt fine.

Just one thing left to do before heading to MGM for some dinner and poker—set up my laptop.  And there everything went off the rails.  I couldn’t get on the internet.  I had already gotten my celphone on without an issue.  But for the computer, I wasn’t getting the welcome screen asking me to log in to the service provider’s internet service.  Just a message saying there was no internet access.

I debated just leaving and dealing with it later, but I decided it was probably a quick fix so I called technical support.  After trying a bunch of things and checking all my settings, they decided the problem was not with their service but with my laptop.  I had an “invalid IP address,” you see.

I thought that was bullshit.  My laptop had connected to the internet from the hospital, from my sister’s house, and from my home just the day before.  It was crazy to think my laptop was the issue.  But they told me that I needed to call the manufacturer of my laptop to get it resolved!  Are you kidding me?  I left for the MGM, figuring I’d have Sunday to figure it out. 

Now, I’m sure all my readers have been dying to know if my parking situation had gotten resolved.  You all remember, right?  When last I was in Vegas (in early July), I had started getting these weird messages whenever I inserted my MLife gold card into the machine to either enter or exit the parking structures at MGM properties. I finally determined that the parking system thought I had never left the Monte Carlo parking structure in late June and that was causing the problem.  You can read about it here.

So, I wondered if the system would think my car had been in the Monte Carlo garage for all this time—like six months!  And if it that were the case, would it give me a hard time trying to get into the MGM?  Or worse, would it decide that, gold card or not, I had to pay hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars in long-term parking fees?

Well, the good news is, I had no issue at all.  The machine let me in, and let me out, and never once gave me a stupid error message.  It no longer believes my car is still at Monte Carlo (except for those times, I presume, when my car actually was at Monte Carlo this trip).

Anyway, I got in a game and it didn’t go well.  My mind wasn’t into it.  I couldn’t get my computer issues out of my mind. It was a non-starter that I be without an internet-connected laptop for over two weeks in Vegas.  I had to work, not to mention blogging.  I was thinking this could be my shortest trip ever—I’d be driving home the next day!  I came up with a bunch of things I could try the next day to see if I could prove it was not my laptop.  Like go to a place or two with public wi-fi and see if I could get on.  Then I remembered I still had an old, crummy laptop in my car.  Last I checked, it still worked.  I could try that.  If I could get on the net with it, well, then, maybe it was my laptop that was the problem.  And if the old clunker worked, I supposed that, worse case scenario, I could use it for this entire trip if I had to.

But I was totally distracted and not paying enough paying attention to the poker. I thus had a pretty bad session, highlighted by being on the wrong side of a set-over-set situation.  I ended my session fairly early, realizing that my head wasn’t into it and I had little chance of recovering on this night.  Besides, I had intended to make it a relatively short session anyway.  I cashed out while I still had some chips and decided to relax and enjoy the parade of proper young ladies who inexplicably wear provocative clothing.

That would also be a test.  Was my newly repaired heart up to the stress that this bevy of beauties would provide?  I’m happy to report that yes, my heart was up to the challenge.  Even though it had been six months since I had witnessed the display, my various body parts reacted just the way they are supposed to.

Well, for awhile anyway.  Suddenly the long day, and perhaps my medical condition, took its toll.  Nothing major, just extreme fatigue.  I was unable to do all the walking necessary to fully enjoy the eye candy.  I had to return to the hotel before I wanted to. It was shame, because this was the last time the club would be open until New Year’s weekend. Oh well.  I did see enough to remind me of what I had been missing.

Back at the hotel, I remembered to take my old laptop into the room and decided to spend just a few minutes seeing if I could get it on the internet.  And I had no problem at all.  Hmm….did I really have to contact Lenovo to get my new(ish) laptop on the internet?  It seemed ridiculous.  I used the old laptop to Google solutions to the invalid IP address thing.  I tried the suggestion at the first page I went to.  It was a bit messy, having to go into DOS and type a bunch of arcane commands.  But son-of-a-gun…it worked!  I got the sign-on screen and my good laptop was now on the internet.  Strange that it should have developed a problem just at the precise time to make me think it was the service provider’s issue.

I still wanted to take it easy the next day (Sunday).  In the afternoon, I saw a movie (Rogue One, which I thought was quite disappointing).  Then I headed back to MGM for some poker.

This being Sunday night during the NFL season, the latest incarnation of their football promo was running, and this was my very first exposure to it.  Recall that in prior years, the MGM used to give away money to a lucky random person after every score during the game (from $100 to $500). It was one of my favorite promos (although I did wish the games were played during a more convenient time).

But this year they were doing something else.  Starting two hours before game time, players were given a “football parlay card.”  The card consisted of five different poker hands (two pair, three-of-a-kind, straight, flush and a full house). Every time you won with one of those hands, you would get that hand on the card stamped (assuming the pot was $40 or more, and both cards in your hand played).  If you filled up the card with all five stamps during the game, you would get $300.  After the game ended, you still had until midnight to fill up the card and then you’d win $200. Remember, on the West Coast, the games typically end around 8:30PM-9:00PM.

Of course, I learned about the promo when it started back in September.  This would be my first chance to actually experience it for myself.  To be honest, when I heard about the promo, I didn’t think it was as good as the old one.  It just seemed like it would be too difficult to fill out a card in the required time period.  Especially for someone like me who doesn’t play a lot of hands.

When I went to the podium to get a seat, the guy there gave me a card and started explaining the promo.  He was new (to me) and didn’t recognize me.  I was sorta of nodding, “yeah, yeah, yeah.”  I mean, even tho I hadn’t played the promo myself, I knew about it from having entered it into PokerAtlas, and putting it in my Ante Up column.  And then, as I was trying to get to my seat, he added, “And at midnight, there’s a second chance drawing for $500.”  Wait, what?  I totally forgot about that part.  “How many stamps do you need to qualify for that?”  “Just one,” he said.

Yeah, it sounded familiar when he said it.  At midnight, anyone with an incomplete card, but one that has at least one stamp, gets thrown in a hopper, and they actually pick two winners.  First one pulled gets $500.  Second one pulled gets $300.  Glad he reminded me of it.

But I really wasn’t there for the promo, as I just didn’t think my chances of filling out a card were very good.  With the old promo, I did always try to play at MGM on football nites.

Interestingly, as I got to my table, they were paying someone $300 for filling out a card.  It was still the first quarter, or maybe early in the second.  I commented about how fast he had filled out the card.  A player near me explained he got three stamps on three consecutive hands.  Impressive. 

Still, I wasn’t paying attention to the promo, except in how it might affect the play of others.  As the session wore on, there was a guy at my table who was only one stamp away from completing a card—all he needed was a flush.  You can bet he played every suited starting hand he received.  In the fourth quarter, he was anxious for the dealer to deal faster and even called time on someone prematurely because he wanted to see more hands.

My session was dull.  I was more focused, but I was card dead.  I didn’t come close to getting a stamp, and the football game ended with my card blank.  But the players at the table were talking about the second chance drawing—all you needed for that was one stamp.  And a buddy of mine (a long time blog-reader) came by to say hi (and ask me about my health) and noticed my blank card. He reminded me that I needed a stamp for the last-chance drawing.

It was getting late, past 10.  I was still stampless, and was pretty much ready to call it a night.  I wasn’t tired, but I did plan on making it an early night again as part of my plan to take it slow.  When my stack dwindled down below $100, I didn’t add on.  I decided that was it.  I was nearly ready to go and didn’t want to risk another buy-in.  I had milked that one buy-in for at least four hours and was satisfied with that on a night when the cards just weren’t coming.

I was almost done when I had Ace-King and a guy straddled (the straddle at MGM is $5).  I raised to $20. I didn’t have much behind.  Only the straddler called and the flop missed me.  I made a c-bet that was called.  Fortunately, the other guy didn’t bet the turn or river (neither did I) and I won the pot with Ace-high. 

Then my pal Heather pushed into to deal.  She soon dealt me a couple of Aces.  I opened to $8 and had four callers.  The flop was King-King-X.  Ugh.  Not exactly a great flop for my Aces.  Surely someone had a King.  I almost checked, but instead bet $25.  The first guy tanked for a bit before folding.  Everyone else folded quickly.  The pot was mine.

I came thisclose to just mucking my cards and just taking in the pot when I remembered the promo.  I actually had two pair, Aces and Kings.  It’s easy to forget about that because usually when you think of two pair, you’re thinking of your two hole cards matching two cards on the board.  You’re really thinking of your hand there as whatever pocket pair you have.  When they ran a similar promo as their main promo (see here), I’d often forget to show my hand when I had two pair by having a pocket pair with a pair on the board—it’s such an easy mistake to make.

Somehow, at the last possible second, this time, I remembered.  I asked Heather if there was $40 in the pot (I’m sure I knew the answer when I sized my flop bet, but now I was thinking about having two pair and I can’t really hold on to two thoughts at once).  She said yes. (Of course there was: five players at $8 each is exactly $40, duh). I showed my Aces and gave her the card for the stamp.  My first stamp of the night.  There was less than two hours left to fill out the card, but I didn’t care about that.  I figured this would give me the option of hanging around until midnite for the second chance drawing.

Mostly due to my inability to lose my entire stack (despite my best efforts) (I’m kidding), it had gotten to the point where it was too late to leave early, if you know what I mean.  And you know, while waiting to bust out, I did some math in my head.  There were 6 or 7 games going.  A lot of the players in the room didn’t even have the football cards (they stop giving them out when the 4th quarter starts).  A few that did have them would leave, or fill them up and not have a card for the drawing.  If there were, say 63 players active in games at midnite, likely half or less would have cards in the hopper to be eligible for the drawing.  So 30ish cards eligible, and they draw two.  DIdn’t seem like such impossible odds.  And $500—or even $300—is nothing to sneeze at.

An hour earlier I was of a mind that, even if I got a stamp, I wouldn’t stay for the drawing.  But now, after thinking about it, and it getting close to the drawing, I decided that now that I had my stamp, it’d be worth it to stay to midnight.  I wasn’t really that tired anyway. 

Except that, as soon as I decided to stay (after getting the qualifying stamp), I did start running out of energy.  And after awhile, I realized I wasn’t focused on the game very much.  Luckily, in this case, I wasn’t getting any cards to play.  That hand with the Aces was the end of a long draught and the start of a new one.  I tried to get focused again but I was losing that battle.

I decided to just nit it up to an extreme degree.  I really didn’t want to lose what was left of my stack and have to risk any more money waiting for the drawing.  Of course, if I actually had really strong hand, I’d play it, but nothing speculative, nothing very risky.  I was basically waiting for a pocket pair, Ace-King or Ace-Queen.  Pretty much anything else would get mucked.

And if I did lose my stack?  My plan then was to buy-in for the minimum and milk that $100 for all it’s worth.  I wasn’t even sure I’d look at my cards before mucking them (just kidding—I think).  Maybe a long bathroom break would be in order.

It never came to that.  I don’t think I would have played most of the hands I received under any circumstances.  It was one garbage hand after another.  I did get pocket Queens once, and I did raise with them.  And then folded to a donk bet on the flop which had both an Ace and a King.  That was about it.

My stack, such as it was, survived until midnight.  The shift manager collected all the remaining football cards that had at least one stamp on it.  My card still had just the one, but it was enough to qualify.

The shift manager had all the cards and explained that she would be pulling two out; the first one would be worth $500 and the second one would be worth $300.  By this time I was really tired, but managed to be alert enough to hear her say, “And the winner of the $500 is….”

I actually imagined her saying my name.  I heard her say it, in my head, a few times, before I finally heard her announce the winning name. Yes indeed, she called my name, for real.  I gave out a quick little shout of joy, and heard her say, “I haven’t seen you for a long time. Welcome back.”

I waited a bit for her to bring me my $500 and then left as fast as I could.  The drawing had saved my first two days in town.  I told you I liked that promo.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

My Biggest Stack Ever (Special Guest Post from arniejokin)

I was delighted to meet up with longtime reader Paul, aka arniejokin, on this recent trip to Vegas.  We didn’t get to play poker together, which was probably good for my bankroll, but we did have a nice dinner together.  After hearing about his great session at Hard Rock, I asked if he would do a guest post about it.  He agreed and as you can see, he reported on more than just his Hard Rock session.  I told the story of my only poker session with Paul here). Paul hails from jolly ol’ England, btw, which explains his unAmericanized spellings.  Take it away, Paul… 

This is a story from my latest trip to Vegas, which will be brief as I know Rob's blog only allows these types of posts.

I had stayed a couple of nights with my wife at the Encore and only played one rollercoaster session where I was down $850 before finishing up $450.

I was itching to get back to the felt and after allowing my wife to go to the airport, I found myself at MGM too early to check in.

Whilst waiting at the bell desk, I saw a tweet from
MrBen saying he was playing in the poker room. Fifteen minutes later, I was sitting in the 1 seat opposite him and we talked about West Ham's new stadium and their lack of form.

I woke up with AQ fairly early on and put a raise in to $12. The flop was a very nice AKQ and I was sure I was in front and commenced betting. MrBen called my flop and turn bets, and the board ran out 99. I put a small river bet out saying I wouldn't charge him too much still thinking I was way in front. Turns out I was totally wrong and he had flopped broadway but luckily he hadn't raised me. So I started stuck a fair bit and after 30 mins or so I added $200 to my stack.

Fortunately I took a few pots back from MrBen to even our score and not long after I called a raise in position with 6-3 suited, sitting on around $400. Then an early limper made it $50, the raiser called and I decided to take a shot (after all, I had the
Spanish Inquisition). The flop came down with 2 diamonds and my 6-3 was in diamonds. First guy to act pushed for about $120. Next guy also pushed, about $150.  I called without much hesitation, as the pot was about $450 with all the dead money, u see. Fortunately I spiked my diamond on the river and scooped a nice pot.  Of course, this was only to be expected playing one of the strongest hands in poker.

The rest of the session I played a lot of hands and had my stack up to around $1,100 at one point, but had lost a fair bit back when MrBen had to leave. Rob then came over and I gratefully took him up on his generous offer of dinner at Tap. Cashed out around $750, so a profit of $250.

My dinner with Rob was great, with a Captain’s burger and good company. So glad Rob is back in action and getting back to full strength.  I also told him of my intent to play with
TBC and VegasDWP at the Hard Rock. He told me to keep an eye out for The Iceman....

After checking in and putting my things in the room, I headed over to Hard Rock. Tony was already seated and had put me on the list.  I got seated to his right and suggested we should swap sides on an hourly basis to have position on each other. Tony was not interested in this concept, but as we are very different players, this did not really affect my game. VegasDWP arrived not long afterwards but had to wait a while for a seat.

I got involved with a big stack early on and managed to drink off my first buy in on a 5-high board with AK. Made a bad shove without much fold equity and reloaded another $300. Over the next 3-4 hours, I managed to build the $300 into around $1,200. Tony had also made around $300 and was keen to book his win, even though he got rivered on his first buy in (set of 8’s beaten by flush draw) and took the beat well. VegasDWP on the other hand wasn't so lucky and lost his stack to a very drunk but nice guy (VDBNG) with a boat.

Hard Rock had a promotion where if you make a full house with a pocket pair, the next pot is splashed by up to $100 depending on how big the full house is. I managed to win 3 of these splash pots in a row for $75 each, first raced vs short stack when in unraised pot I had A8 in the BB. He had Q-10 and Ace high won. Second I took down with a flop bet on a Queen high board with Q9, and last I took down preflop with a raise with AQ. This promotion is good as it promotes action, as does the uncapped buy in.

DWP is an expert selfie taker.  Tony complained the stacks were not in the picture but at least the beer is (awaiting refill).

The Iceman took the seat next to where DWP had been seated. He is an enormous guy, with multi coloured jewelry and Vaseline to keep his head moist. He took $200 off me early on when I could not get him to fold AJ on an Ace high board.  He didn't really play much after that as his policy is easy come, easy keep. I told him my policy was easy go, easy come.

Tony decided to cash in not much later and I decided to play on as the table was good, especially the VDBNG in seat 9 who had a similar stack to mine.

One interesting hand that occurred earlier when everyone was playing, I raised 76 spades and flopped a flush draw on an Ace high board. Two callers I think, turned the flush and got raised. At this point the board was Ac8s5s2s. He had position on me but we were both very deep and the raise was about $100 more. I was pretty certain I was behind but had outs to the straight flush.  I called and the river was an interesting A of spades, putting a 4 flush out and the possibility of a full house. There was around $500 in the pot and after some consideration, I decided to bet $250. My opponent was a good thinking player and fairly quickly showed his QJ of spades and mucked face up. I showed him my 67 of spades and he took it all in stride.

Not long after Tony left, the VDBNG won a few pots from me and I was back down to my original buy in of $600. Then I won a few back off him and we had pretty even stacks again. I woke up with KK in early position and raised to $15. Pretty sure I got 4-5 callers including VDBNG and the flop came 664. He bet into me and I was fairly certain he wouldn't do this with a 6. I raised and he called. Pot was now about $300. Turn comes an 8. He checks, I bet around $180. He ships it all in for around $400 more and I snap call.

River comes an Ace and I am a little worried about A4, but that wouldn't make much sense for the turn shove. After a little anguish, he flips over 74 and I show my Kings to scoop a $1,600 or so pot.  Who said Kings were

I then got into quite a few other pots and pushed my final tally up to $2,418. My biggest ever stack and cash table win.  There was a lovely waitress there called Christine that Rob would have loved. My win included generous tips, a $60 massage, a load of beers and a ton of laughs.

A 5-rack cash out.  Now I realise the error of not getting a picture of the lovely Christine, sorry to all of Rob’s fans on that one....

Thanks to Rob and the Captain’s burger for giving me the power to play my best poker!

You're most welcome, Paul, and thanks so much for the great guest-post! 

Yes, it is a shame that you didn't get a pic of your waitress.  We can only imagine what she looked liked.  Personally, I imagine she looked exactly like the lady below, but of course, that's just me.  At least she seems appropriate to finish off a post titled, "My Biggest Stack Ever"!  Or maybe not?