Monday, February 27, 2012

I Expected the Burger to be Served on a Bra, Not a Bun

I am about to ruin my fellow blogger grrouchie's day. 

He calls himself grrouchie and tries to project this image that he is mean and grrouchie and nasty and an overall bastard.  That's why people love his blog right?  For the snarkiness.

But after playing poker with him for 2 days, and even breaking bread with him, I am here to tell you that is a really nice guy, and an honorable guy, not at all "grouchy".  He is in fact a prince among men.

In addition to the fun we had at the poker table, and I use the word "fun" advisedly since we both took our share of whippings, he was nice enough to treat to me a very nice meal at a nice burger joint, Le Burger Brasserie.  He used his comps to pay, but those were hard earned comps he slaved over many a poker table to obtain.  What a great guy.  Of course I offered to return the favor next time, but, really, can I be trusted to keep my word?  I am, after all, a poker player.  So we'll see.

Not only was the burger tasty and yes....they served it rare, as any true burger aficionado would insist upon....but the waitstaff was nothing but comely young ladies in skimpy, lingerie type attire.  And yes, there were bosoms to be ogled.  Not bare bosoms, but to be sure, but plenty of cleavage in outfits that were not only low cut but tight to emphasize the chesticles area.  Most of the girls had big tits very nice figures, so it was a very appealing atmosphere to enjoy munching on a nice sized portion of dead cow.  Yes, grrouchie, it was dead, but only very recently so, judging by the red blood flowing out.  Or was that ketchup?

My only disappointment came from realizing that word "brasserie" is entirely different from the word "brassiere".  What a difference the relocation of a letter has!  I was trying to imagine exactly what a "burger bra" would be!  Would the girls be holding up their bosoms with the burgers?  And then serve them that way?  Would the buns be actual edible bras?  Nope.  Apparently "brasserie" is just a French word for restaurant.  Sigh.  But still, with the outfits they were wearing, it wasn't that far off.  I did see the girls' bras, and a lot of flesh not covered by the bras.  Which shockingly, is something I like.

OK, truth be told, the preceding references to "bosoms" were added entirely for the benefit of one specific young lady who reads my blog and who spent the last two nights accusing me of being "obsessed with bosoms."  You know who you are, missy, and I hope you enjoyed the boob talk. 

During our dinner, I bet the ears of several of our fellow blogger buddies were burning. We talked a lot about the poker blogging community and certain popular bloggers. It was all good. That was really fun. 

grrouchie is such a nice guy that he didn't even criticize me for the horrible poker playing I exhibited during our time together.  So thanks for that and the burger, my friend, and sorry to blow your cover.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Poker with grrouchie

Be sure to check out the grouch-meister's post about our evening of poker together last night, you can find it here.  I had a great time at the poker table with him despite the variance and eventual loss.

What is great is that he's done the blog post for me, you just have to go to his blog to read it.  Please check it out.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Whilst I'm away....

OK, I'm not really away.  I'm in Vegas right now, getting more things to blog about (I hope).  Thus I will not be able to update the blog as much as I have been lately.

I hoped to prepare a few posts before leaving town that I could quickly post every few days while here, but emergency root canal ruined that idea.  Instead of writing blog posts, I was in a dental chair with my mouth wide open.  Not really fun.

Anyway, it seems like I've got a fair number of new readers lately, for which I extremely grateful.  So while I'm not updating regularly, I remind you that if you are enjoy my posts (and if you don't why the hell are you reading this?), remember you can read some of my older posts in my archive that you may have missed.  Virtually nothing on this blog is time-sensitive, so if they were worth reading when they were published, they should still be worth reading now.  (I was going to say my posts are timeless, but I don't have that big an ego--yet)  You can see the most popular posts to your right (tho I suspect most of you have read them, that's why they're the most popular) and/or check out the labels to find posts on your favorite topics.

Thanks and I will back to blogging more frequently soon!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

"This is the Bellagio, Dude"

Here's a quick little story from my visit to Vegas last month.  One afternoon I busted out of the Aria tournament prematurely and decided to play a No Limit cash game as I had been doing most of the trip.  Since Aria's No Limit is 1/3, not 1/2, I decided to take the tram to The Bellagio since they have 1/2 NL.

Only played in Bellagio one previous time, a long time ago.  I played in the 4/8 limit game and didn't like it.  But maybe I'd like it more as a 1/2 NL player?  It was worth a shot.

I actually did ok there, but not as good as I should have.  I could see myself playing there again.  If only the place wasn't so freakin' big. So much walking.

Anyway, I was playing there for about half an hour when I realized that they required new players to the table to "post" the Big Blind amount, or wait for the Big Blind to come to them in order to play their first hand.  This was the rule at almost every Vegas casino when I first started playing poker, but I thought it had totally disappeared.  It seemed that all of the casinos I'd played in for at least the past year--and probably longer--no longer required you to post.  You could get a hand right away for free.  I assumed this was Vegas wide.

But apparently Bellagio hadn't gotten the memo.  I hadn't noticed it at first because I started playing there at a brand new game that had just opened.  So when I saw this a couple of times, I asked the dealer about it.  The dealer was a chatty, older lady who can best be described as "fiesty."  I said, "You require new players to post?  I thought all the Vegas poker rooms did away with that?"

She said, "Not here.  Here you have to post."

"Interesting, did you just start that up again, or has it always been that way?"

"Always.  This is the Bellagio, dude.  We want the money."

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

TennePenne: Vintage Strip Poker - NSFW

I can't imagine anyone who enjoys my blog wouldn't love this post from TennePenne with vintage "strip poker" pics. Check it out!

TennePenne: Vintage Strip Poker - NSFW


Monday, February 20, 2012

"We Don't Need Nutjobs Playing Here"

This is the long awaited sequel (two whole days) to my earlier post, "Without Really Thinking, I Threw a Punch At Him",  you can find it here. That post is pretty much required reading before reading this one.

Since I had promoted the BSC poker room to Marsha (before learning she was a certifiable whack-job), I knew I had to tell at least some of my BSC pals about this gal.  And maybe I thought I should warn them, in case I had done too good a sales job!  I was only able to tell one person, and it was Jack, he liked the story and joked with me about it, saying something like, "thanks a lot for trying to get a whacko to come play here.  You know Rob,, we don't need nutjobs playing here.  We try to keep people with a violent streak out of here."
It was just kidding around, and it was fun.  But I did apologize and reiterate that I had try to sell her on the BSC before she told me about her punching a guy out the night before.
A couple of days later, I was back at BSC playing my then usual limit game.  They had opened up a second limit game and I noticed a floor person escorting a short blonde girl to that new limit game.  I caught a glimpse at her, and she saw me.  She looked familiar.  I swear I saw a hint of recognition in her eye as she saw me.  I thought she was going to say hello to me, putting me on the spot to remember who the hell she was, but she did not.  She just took her seat at the other game, more or less directly behind me.  I caught another look at her and began to think it was Crazy Marsha.  But I wasn't sure. to be sure?  Well, I saw her hang up a jacket (or sweat shirt) on her chair.  I could see she was wearing a short sleeve shirt.  If it was Marsha, she'd have that odd tattoo on her arm (unless, as I thought it might be, that was merely drawn on with pens, not a permanent tattoo).  I had to check it out. 
I got up and glanced over to her.  She was busy with a hand or a conversation and fortunately didn't notice me.  I saw the odd tattoo still there on her forearm, plain as day.  It had not faded.  So not only was this gal indeed the whacko from the other poker room, but it was an actual permanent tattoo, not a drawing.
I knew I absolutely had to tell Jack the gal I told him about was there.  I had to.  I also wondered if I should warn somebody...but I wasn't sure whether I should have or not.  I was thinking that I might tell a couple of my pals, more for amusement than for a warning, but I figured it was probably not necessary to actually warn the bosses.  Pointing her out to them might actually have caused more trouble than saying nothing......I figured that Jack would know what to do.  I could have warned the shift manager, who of course knows me as a regular, but decided not to.
Fortunately I know how poker rooms operate, and I had seen Jack working but he hadn't come to either my game or the game Marsha was at yet that night (I was there before his shift started, so I knew this for a fact).  I looked to see what table Jack was dealing to.  I then checked the board.  After the game he was on, Jack would be on a 1/2 hour break, then would deal one more table, and then, would be dealing at Marsha's table.  So in about an hour and 10 minutes, he'd be dealing to whack job.  I had to tell him that it was her before he got there, if only so he could be especially attune to her behavior and be on the lookout for anything odd about her.
When I wasn't in a hand, I got up and went over to the No Limit game where Jack was dealing and got his attention for a second while he was waiting for a player to act.  I whispered in his ear, "Try to come see me when you go on break."  He said ok.  I dunno if Jack had seen me that night, but he knew where to find me, at one of the limit games that were right next to each other.
Meanwhile, I had seen several of the dealers I am friendly with all dealing at Crazy Marsha's table.  I actually tried to think of a way to warn them about Marsha before they dealt at the table, but I didn't know if I could do it in the five or ten seconds I had while they were waiting for the previous dealer to leave, and I didn't want to have Marsha look over and see me talking to the dealer, or worse, overhearing anything I said (like....."I can't go into it now, but keep an eye on that girl in seat 1, I'll tell you about her later").  So I didn't get to warn anyone. 
Although I was tempted to say hello to her, and almost did at one point, I soon thought better of it.  Why bring myself to the attention of such a loose cannon?  So I decided to keep my distance and avoid any further eye contact with her (after all, it was eye contact she had said was the reason she punched a guy).  I did not say hello to her.
Jack took his break and as I asked, he came over to me.  Mike was dealing at Marsha's game.  I said to Jack, "Remember the story I told you about the girl who was banned from the locals poker room?  That's her, the blonde in seat 1 at table 19, right next to Mike."
"You're kidding!"
"No, that's her....I confirmed it with the odd tattoo."
He again gave me a hard time about selling her on the room, then pointed out that he was going to be dealing at that game in less than an hour.  I said I knew that, that's why I had to warn him. "But she's been there for over an hour and so far she hasn't punched anybody out yet!"  He laughed.  I knew if he wanted to he could try to quiz the previous dealers about her, to get a hint of what he was in for.  She was in seat 1, that's the seat immediately to the left of the dealer.  So Jack then said, "Well at least she's in seat 1, I won't even be able to look directly into her eyes!"  Jack remembered my story very well!  I said, "Well, let's hope she doesn't ask for a seat change."  He agreed...then said the other good news is that security was actually right at the front counter just now for some other reason....maybe he should warn them.  We laughed.  He said, if she does anything, it will be my fault! I think he was kidding.
I was paying a lot more attention to Marsha's game than the one I was at.  And I watched as Mike left the game, unscathed.  He was on break now, and I called him over.  Mike had not dealt to me that night but had already come over to see how I was doing, as he frequently does, earlier in the evening At that point earlier, I had just lost a huge pot when I had pocket Kings, had made a set of Kings on the flop.....but all three cards were clubs.  The fourth card was a club as well.  The fifth card was meaningless and I had trip Kings beaten by a flush.  Mike has a "history" of dealing me pocket Kings (which usually lose) so I knew he would be interested in this story.  See, my headaches with Pocket Kings go way back, before I was playing No Limit and tournaments!
But now I was calling him over for another reason.  He came over to where I was sitting.  "What do you want?  Can't you see I'm break?"  He was just kidding around. I asked if the gal in seat 1 at the game he just left seemed ok.  Why did I ask?  I gave him a 20 second explanation, only telling him that I played with her before and she volunteered that she had been banned for punching a guy at locals poker room the night before.  He was interested.  He said that now that I mentioned it, she did seem "combative." 
Then he asked if I knew who Mike McDermott was.  OK, he didn’t actually say Mike McDermott.  Mike McDermott was the name of the poker player Matt Damon played in The Rounders. I want to be really careful so Marsha cannot be identified.  Anyway the name he gave me was the name of a professional poker player.  How well known I’m not sure, as I had never heard of this person.  But there’s a lot of poker players I’ve never heard of.  
I had never heard of “Mike McDermott” and told this to Mike.  "That's a professional poker player.  And that girl in seat one claimed to be Mike McDermott’s daughter."  Suddenly I realized Mike was playing with his celphone while he was talking to me. He said he was trying to find a picture of “Mike McDermott.”  He tried for a few seconds and then said "I'll find it and come back and show you in a few minutes."  I said ok....btw, did you notice that tattoo?  "Yeah...what the hell was that????"  Mike disappeared to take his break.
He came back out a few minutes later, having found a picture of professional poker player “Mike McDermott.”  He showed it to me and suggested that yeah, there really was a strong resemblance between the girl at table 19 and this poker it was likely that Marsha was telling the truth, that she was the daughter of a famous professional poker player.  Interesting, to say the least.  Mike kind of thought that if she was the daughter of a famous pro she would mostly likely not be a problem, and returned to her break.  I don't think I ever mentioned to Mike that I had try to sell her on coming to the BSC poker room, so he, at least, didn't hold it against me that she showed up, unless he eventually got the full story from Jack.
While playing, I used my celphone to look up “Mike McDermott.”  I was able to see some more pics and boy is there a strong resemblance!  Also I found her bio and saw that “McDermott” has one daughter...named Marsha!  So that was definitely the truth.  Eventually Marsha left the game and the room before Jack made it over to that table to deal.
So that added an interesting spin to the whole “Crazy Marsha” story, that one of her parents is a somewhat famous poker player.  Furthermore, Jack had seen Marsha watch and then leave with an older person who was playing NL.  Presumably a relative of hers.  This older person had been in the room fairly frequently lately, so that’s probably why Marsha was in the room that night, not because I “invited” her.  Jack said I was off the hook.
Oh, and according to Jack, the older person with Marsha was a very good poker player but a certified wacko.
If they are related, I guess it runs in the family.  But at least Marsha’s debut at the BSC ended without any physical violence.  I mean, assuming she didn’t punch a guy at the main cashier, outside the poker room, out of my view!

And that is the final post about Crazy Marsha....unless I run into again in the future.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Wild No Limit Hand at The Bike

Yesterday I went to The Bike to play in their $40 noon tournament, and after I busted out, I saw what I thought was an interesting hand at the No Limit table.  Fortunately, I wasn’t involved in it, but I think it’s worth blogging about.
The game was 1/3 No Limit, but they call it “$80/$120” because you can only buy-in for $80 minimum and $120 maximum.  Yeah, that’s right, the most you can buy-in for is 40 Big Blinds.  I guess that’s the way the schnorrers who frequent the local L.A. clubs want, they’re all like that.  In Vegas, for a 1/2 No Limit game, you can usually buy in for either $200 maximum or $300 maximum, which makes a lot more sense.  I talked about this particular game at the Bike here.
The two players involved were each now deep-stacked, both sitting on close to $500 in chips in front of them (maybe a little more).  Since they couldn’t buy in for more than $120, this means both players were having good days, and that the money in front of them had been won, not bought.
I’d been at the table over an hour at this point, and neither player exhibited any LAG (loose aggressive) tendencies.  Neither impressed me with brilliant play either, but they seemed fairly tight, somewhat passive but decent players.  At this table, most flops were seen without a raise, and the pre-flop raises that were made were usually $9 and sometimes as low as $7 (one guy, not in this hand, like to bet $7 pre-flop).  The guy in Seat 9 might even be called a “calling station” because he made some loose calls in my opinion.  In a hand against me, I rivered Broadway (Ace high straight) on a board of A-Q-J-10-x no flush possible.  I knew my King gave me the nuts, but I didn’t think I’d get a call unless he had the same hand.  So I bet only $20 hoping that was small enough to get him to call but not really expecting it.  But he did call and as he did, he said, “I know you have the straight but I have to call.”  Thanks.  Of course I had the straight!  He said he had 2 pair and couldn’t let it go.
The other player was in Seat 4, directly to my right.  He and Seat 9 had been playing together there long before I got to the game, so they should have been familiar with each other’s games.  After Seat 9 had earlier won a huge multi-way pot to get a lot of those chips that were now in front of him, Seat 4 said to him, “Oh wow, you made a great comeback, you got all your chips back!”  So not only had they been playing together for quite some time, but Seat 9 had had to rebuy a few times before his luck started changing for the better.
Now, in early position, Seat 4 raised to $9, as I said, a typical raise for this table.  Seat 9 was the big blind.  I was distracted a bit by getting a drink (I folded trash) so I wasn’t exactly sure what happened, but Seat 9 raised another $60 which may have been an accident.  There was some dialog between the player and the dealer that he was committed to betting $60 based on what he said, and it sounded like he didn’t mean to bet that much.  That was by far the biggest three-bet I’d seen pre-flop at this table, save for a few short-stacked shoves.  So I’m not sure he meant to bet that much.  Based on the hand as it played, I don’t think he meant to bet so big.
Back to Seat 4, who calls the $60 without any hesitation.  Interesting. Flop is K-10-4 rainbow.  Seat 9 bets $70 without thinking much and Seat 4 insta-calls.  Turn is a second 4.  Seat 9 bets $100 and Seat 4 again insta-calls.
River is a 9.  No flush is possible but there is a straight there if somebody thought Q/J was worth $69 pre-flop.  And the paired 4’s made things a bit interesting as well, but it was hard to think of a way either of these guys could have a 4 in their hands with all that money bet pre-flop. 
The 9 didn’t scare Seat 9 and he once again bet $100.  Seat 4 insta-called yet again!  Seat 9 turned over pocket Ace’s.  That’s it.  So two pair with 4’s on the board.  I was sure that Seat 4 would have that beat to call all those bets.
But no, he said, nice hand and started to muck his cards.  Until he just called on the river instead of raising, I was beginning to put him on Pocket Kings, and not just because I see Pocket Kings in my nightmares. That would explain his pre-flop raise and I could see him just calling the $60 three-bet with that.  Then I could see him slow-playing his set on the flop and his boat on the turn as long as Seat 9 was willing to bet.  But if he had that, for sure he’d shove against Seat 9’s river bet.
Anyway, another player, not in the hand, asked to see his cards.  I’m not sure why a player not in the hand is allowed to request that, but I’ve seen this before at The Bike and any player at the table is allowed to make this request and have it honored.  So the dealer flipped over Seat 4’s cards and he had Ace-King offsuit.  So, on hand where he had top pair/top kicker, he lost $340.  Wow.  Ok, he did have 2 pair, but one was the pair on the board that didn’t really make a difference
I don’t get it. And I don’t get the guy in Seat 9, who won the pot, risking so much money with just an overpair.  If these guys have shorter stacks, I can see it.  But with all that money at risk?  I really don’t get it.
As I’ve been documenting on this blog, I’m sorta making the transition from playing limit poker (which is really what I thought this blog was gonna be about initially) to No Limit.  In that process, I’ve been reading books about how to play No Limit.  One of things emphasized in the books I’ve read is not to go too far with a deep stack with a “small pot” hand…like an overpair, or top pair, even with top kicker.  True, neither of these guys went all in.  Seat 4 still had a bit over $100 left after this beating.  But that was a lot money to throw away on such a hand, if you ask me.  And for that matter, it was a huge amount for Seat 9 to risk with just the Aces that didn’t improve (though I guess the paired board helped him if Seat 4 had King-10 and flopped 2 pair, an unlikely scenario).  I don’t like the play of either of these guys.  I would love to get feedback on those of you who have a lot more experience at playing No Limit than I do.  Am I wrong about this?
A few other notes on my day at the Bike.  The tournament started well for me, early I flopped the nut flush but didn’t get paid for it, then flopped a set of 4’s, got paid on the flop and then on the turn when an Ace hit and I was raised.  I just called the raise and hit the full house on the river, a third spade.  But I didn’t get paid for it, the other guy didn’t have spades.
After that I went extremely card dead, but was losing chips slowly by being tight, and I stole a few very small pots.  Then I got pocket Queens and was deciding how much to raise when a short stack went all in first. OK, I decided to shove (still had one of the larger stacks at the table) to make sure it was just heads-up with the short stacked guy.  That worked, and he showed King-Jack offsuit.  Good, only one over card.  A Jack hit on the flop but that was ok.  What wasn’t ok was the King on the turn.  No Queen for me on the river and I lost a good amount of chips.
From there I hung on and chipped up and down a bit until I got to the point of looking for a place to move all-in and double up.  A few previous shoves had gotten everyone to fold which also was ok.  In the big blind I looked at Queen/Jack off suit.  It folded to the cut-off seat who just limped.  Button folded, small blind called and I decided not to shove.  I figured I could see the flop for free and then shove if I liked it, or get away if I didn’t.
The cut-off guy who had limped was the huge stack at the table, and really wasn’t a very good player.  I knew he’d call my shove and I thought it better to see the flop at that point.  Why did I know the cut-off guy would call my shove?  Because he called a pre-flop raise (a decent sized one) with Q-7 offsuit against a player who at that point had more chips as he did who was holding pocket Kings.  On that hand he called a shove on the turn and hit a flush when the fourth spade on the river.  The loser of the hand couldn’t believe he called his pre-flop raise with Q-7 off.  He was extremely pissed, to say the least.  But it doubled up this guy and now he was the chip leader.
Anyway. The flop was K-10-lowcard, rainbow, so I had an open ended straight draw.  I shoved then because the flop might have missed the chip leader and even if it didn’t I had 8 outs to make my straight, right?
Make that 6 outs.  Chip leader calls and Small blind folds and I show my draw and he shows….Pocket Aces! I was behind to any pair of course but I was beyond shocked to see that he had only limped in with Aces, sitting on that huge stack in front of him!  Wow.
Anyway, no 9 or Ace showed and I busted out 20th, they paid 12.  I moved over to the 1/3 game already described.  I played a bit less than two hours and came away up $15.  Sigh.  It would have been nice to have at least gotten my entry fee for the tournament back, but it wasn’t meant to be.
One other note about The Bike.  You know how they always say you never see a clock in a casino?  I don’t know why I never noticed it before but while I was playing in that cash game I noticed a huge digital clock on the wall in the poker room.  Surprising.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

"Without Really Thinking, I Threw a Punch at Him"

This story took place last summer.  I was playing in a strip casino, but not BSC.  I won’t say the name of the casino because then you’ll know for sure a casino that isn’t BSC.
I was playing at the limit table as I always did back then. I sat next to a somewhat cute young blonde girl. Probably mid to late 20's.  Not at all sexily dressed....she was wearing a zipped sweatshirt jacket (it was very cold inside the casino).
Seemed like a nice enough gal.  We battled together on a couple of early hands and we chatted a bit about the hands.  Nothing out of the ordinary.  I changed seats early and a guy took the seat between us and  started chatting with the blonde.  The guy was here from Phoenix.
Phoenix guy found out the blonde's name was Marsha and that she was a local, not a tourist.  He asked if she always played at this casino.  No, she said, she plays all over town, she plays "everywhere."  I didn't recognize her from the BSC so I asked if she played there.  No, she never has, she's been there, seen the room, but never played there.  She remembered the bar near the poker room as being nice.  I told her it is a really nice room and she should definitely check it out.  
At this point I'm thinking later that night I'm going to tell this story to some of pals at BSC and tell them I should get a commission or a recruitment fee if this gal shows up there to play some day.
But then....maybe not.
Marsha soon volunteered that she really prefers to play at a certain off Strip, locals poker room, especially because it is like five minutes from where she lives.  But unfortunately, she just got banned from there.  She explained why.  It seems just the previous night she got into a fight with a guy.  A physical fight.  She said she punched a guy in the face.  She was quick to point out that it didn't happen in the poker room, and she didn't hit a casino employee.   Nevertheless, she was told not to let the door hit her on the ass on the way out.
She said it happened by the cashier (where there are, of course, lots of cameras).  She said she isn't even sure why she did it, she didn't know she was going to do it until she did it, and she didn't even say anything or give any kind of warning she was going to do it.  All she could say to justify it was, "it was part, he was hitting on me, and part....the look in his eyes.  He was giving me this odd look.  I think he was wearing contacts and it made his eyes look funny when he was looking straight at me.  So without really thinking, I just throw a punch at him and hit him in the cheek.  It wasn't that was almost more of a push than a punch.  But security came over immediately."
Phoenix guy and I quizzed her about this.
“How long are you banned for?”
“Forever....and it sucks, because it’s is so close to where I live.  Now I might as well come to the strip to play.”
“Did they take your picture?”
“Not that I saw, but I'm sure they have me on tape punching the guy.”
“And they escorted you out of the casino?”
“Yes.  I tried to run as soon as I did it, but they stopped me and took my ID and stuff.  I wanted to get the hell out of there before security came over because I once got into a fight at a Blockbuster and I don't want to get stuck in that "treatment program" ever again.”
A fight at Blockbuster?  Boy, don’t ever try to charge this lady late fees!
We kinda let it go at that point. At one point though I was talking to her about a hand, looking at her, and Phoenix guy says to me...."Hey, whatever you do, don't look her straight in the eye."  She didn't react to that at all.  Later when she left the table for a second Phoenix guy and I looked at each other and shook our heads....that was weirdest story I've ever heard at a poker table, I said.  He said yeah, especially the part about the "treatment program."  I said I guess she has anger management issues.
The guy kept talking to her when she returned.  He asked what she did when she wasn't playing poker.  I took the question to mean, "what do you do for a living." but she took it to mean what else does she do for fun.  She mentioned a couple of hobbies, including yoga.  The guy almost choked.  "So I guess yoga isn't all that it's cracked up to be for stress relief, huh?"  She mumbled something I couldn't hear.
The guy kept talking to her and I couldn't hear a lot of what she said....she was speaking softly.  I did hear her say at one point, "Well, I'm very quiet but I'm also very open, I'm an open book.  I don't hide anything." volunteering that she was kicked out of her favorite casino for fighting just the night before!
At one point Marsha took off her jacket, revealing her arms (and nothing else).  She had a tattoo on her arm, but maybe it wasn't really a tattoo.  It was amateurish, even childish, perhaps just drawn on there by someone with a couple of pens.  I won’t describe it because I don’t want Marsha to be easily identifiable but it looked really unusual—it was unattractive and totally unidentifiable.  Why anyone would want this permanently on their bodies was totally beyond me.  But I couldn’t dismiss the possibility it was just drawn on her with regular ink and not a tattoo.
It was very weird body art for a very unusual girl, to say the least.
When I left the casino, Marsha was still at the table talking to Phoenix guy.  I was trying to figure out what was weirder—the story she told, or the fact that she told it to a couple of total strangers without any need to, or any prompting whatsoever.  In thinking the whole thing over, I guess I hoped I’d never see the woman again.  But that was not the case.  I have a follow up story about Crazy Marsha.  You can find it here.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The First Hooker Sighting

(Reader warning:  This post may contain content that some sensitive people might find offensive.  You have been warned.)
I’ve posted twice previously about some interactions I’ve had with hookers, you can find them here and here.  In the “Full Service” post I mentioned a married friend of mine who especially enjoys these particular anecdotes. In fact, he and his wife are the two people who most encouraged me to start this blog, they both enjoyed my tales of Vegas that I put in emails or told them in person.  So this friend has been really pushing me to document more of my “hooker sightings”, as he has heard many of these tales and is, oddly perhaps, fascinated by them.  Frankly, I’m not sure how much the “average person” would get out of these stories, but then again, I doubt if the “average person” is reading this blog, right?  Sorry if I’ve just insulted you!
Anyway, here’s a “hooker sighting” story and let’s see if my readers (and there’s now more than three of you!) like this type of post.
First you should know, although this story goes way, way back, the title of this post is not quite accurate.  This is not my very first hooker sighting.  But it is close.
This tale dates back, believe it or not, to the early 1980’s.  A male friend of mine, both of us young studs (!?!) started visiting Vegas from L.A. together several times a year.  Let’s call my friend Norm and you can be sure that Norm is not his real name.  At that time, we liked to hit the buffets, the shows and the blackjack and craps tables.
A favorite area of ours was in the vicinity of the corner of the Strip and Flamingo.  There were many casinos within walking distance, and many of them had low limit blackjack and craps tables.  Being young, poor and cheap, the low limits at the tables were essential to us.  This was a time when you could still find $2 blackjack and $2 craps, if you can believe it.
Evenings found us at the corner, walking to and from the various casinos there.  What is now Bill’s was then the Barbary Coast (one of our all time favorite casinos) and what is now Bally’s was then the old MGM Grand.  Where the Bellagio now stands was the Dunes.  The Flamingo was called the Flamingo Hilton.  Harrah’s was the Holiday Casino. If you walked north far enough, instead of the Venetian you found yourself at the Sands.  Caesars was there of course but it was always “too rich for our blood.”  But Imperial Palace was there and that was definitely in our price range.
There was an awful lot of foot traffic at this corner, as there still is now.  At night it was really packed full of pedestrians.  Most of the foot traffic was of course tourists, like us (though we started going enough we began to feel like locals).  Each time we went, we kept seeing more and more non-tourists walking around that area at night. A better word for these non-tourists would be “hooker” because that’s what they were.
After a few visits, it got to the point where the ladies of the evening were almost as plentiful as the tourists.  It really got out of control.  Any man who was walking in front of any of these casinos alone, or with just other guys, could count on being approached by numerous working girls in even a short work outside the casinos.  Norm and I used to start counting how may hookers we saw and how may approached us.  A walk from the Holiday casino to Barbary Coast was usually good for at least 10 hookers seen and half as many trying to solicit us.
It got to the point where it was no longer fun (if it ever was).  Some of the girls were quite aggressive and wouldn’t take no for answer.  Norm and I would frequently split up in the evening and would walk around on our own.  Norm told me the story of a gal who not only asked him if he wanted a date, but actually tried to lock his arm in hers and walk with him.  I think Norm was able to avoid the arm lock, but the gal kept walking with him and finally said, after being rejected by him at least three times, “Well, I’m going where you’re going.”  He said, “OK, but they’ll probably stop you when we get to the Men’s Room.”
The most common pitch the girls used was, “Wanna date?” or “Wanna have some fun?” or “Wanna party?” or “Want some company?”  I do recall one girl saying, after we said we weren’t interested, “Are you sure?  It’s more fun than gambling.”  We sorta considered it the same thing, but with a different pay off.
Now a few months after this story happened, the powers that be in Vegas finally cracked down on the hookers on the Strip and just cleaned up the whole area.  One visit or two later, there were no hookers anywhere on the strip!  They moved inside.  Also, the hookers on the strip were replaced by those folks you see handing out cards promoting escort services and strippers to your door.  The police apparently can’t do anything about them. But at least they aren’t as annoying aggressive as some of those hookers were.
Anyway, that brings me to the most memorable hooker encounter from this long-ago era.  Norm and I were walking on the Strip, probably between the Flamingo (Hilton) and Barbary Coast.  A particular unattractive Black hooker approached us.  Now, these hookers came in all shapes and sizes, and some were pretty good looking, most were ok looking, and some were pretty bad looking.  This gal belonged in the last category.  I don’t recall how she was dressed, but it didn’t matter.
She reached us and said, “You fellas want a date?”  Oh my god.  That voice.  That voice.  That horrible, horrible voice.  It was one of the most horrific female voices I’d ever heard.  She had a very, very, very thick New York accent, an accent I find particular unpleasant, especially in a woman.  Also, this gal apparently had bad adenoids and sounded excessively nasal.  It was really an awful voice.  I said she was unattractive but really, with her voice, it didn’t matter.  She could have looked like Halle Berry on her very best day and with that voice, it would have been such a turn off that she couldn’t have paid me to do her.  Really, it was horrific.  I wish I had a recording of her saying what she was about to say to post here, because that would add so much to the story.  Just imagine the worst, most nasal, most New York accented voice you can imagine.
So as I said, in that nightmarish voice she asked if we wanted a date.  We were nothing if not polite.  “No thank you.”  I think we said this in unison.
She replied, “Not even a blowjob?”
Again, in unison, we replied, “Oh a blowjob?  Is that what you meant?  That’s entirely different.  We thought it meant dinner and a movie.”
OK, we didn’t actually say that.  We both thought it and as soon as we were away from this slut we both kind of made the joke to each other as we laughed.  But what we really said was no, this time very forcefully, and this time she took no for answer and looked for her next prospect.
Norm and I couldn’t stop laughing about this for the rest of the trip.  “Not even a blowjob” became a catchphrase for us for years.  Again, I wish you all could have heard her voice saying it, that added so much to the humor.  Never have I heard the word “blowjob” spoken in such a less inviting manner.  If you didn’t know what a blowjob was, after hearing her say it, you might never try one, it was that bad.  In addition to the horrible nasal voice, she sort of stretched the word out as she said it, particularly the last syllable.  It was more like “Not even a blowjooooooobbbbb?”
Another thing to point out is that this was 1982, when that word was hardly even spoken in decent conversation.  Not that it comes up (so-to-speak) in decent conversation a lot these days, but remember, this was long before the whole Bill Clinton/Monica Lewinsky incident which made oral sex a general topic of dinner conversation for months.  Back then, not so much.  And then and now, hookers as a rule are never that blatant.  Recall that the hooker I blogged about here just said “oral” to get the same message across.  They say “date” and “party” and “company” and “fun” or even ask where you’re going…but they don’t offer you a specific sex act so unabashedly. 
So that was my first really memorable contact with a Vegas hooker.  Let me know if you want to hear more.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Did She Just Tell Us She Was Wearing Red Underwear? (A Valentine's Day Story)

This post is in honor of today being Valentine’s Day.  As I mentioned here, I am not in Vegas today, but I was in Vegas last year for this most romantic of all holidays.  This story took place exactly one year ago today, Valentine’s Day, 2011.
On this day, I found myself at LC2.  In honor of the day, some of the dealers had managed to add some kind of red to their wardrobe.  Apparently, you are supposed to wear red on Valentine’s Day, just as you are supposed to wear green on St. Patrick’s Day.
The uniforms the poker dealers wear at LC2 are the typical drab, boring mono-colored shirt and black pants.  Some of the ladies had added a red ribbon, or had red earrings, or perhaps had red nail polish.  Even one of the male dealers got in the spirit.  He wore a red flashing heart on his shirt.  Or it was supposed to be flashing.  Apparently the battery died and it stopped flashing while he was dealing at my table.  Someone pointed that out to him and he said, “Yeah, the battery died.  But at least I have a heart on.”
I giggled.  And in fact, I was the only one who got his joke, which he acknowledged.  “At least Rob got it.”  I actually remember that about a zillion years ago, Doc Severinsen used that line with Johnny back when Johnny Carson was The Tonight Show.  At the time, it was rather a risqué joke for network television.
Anyway, one of the female dealers at LC2 is Jessica, a young, very attractive blonde.  She has a very pretty face and a killer smile.  She appeared to have a really good figure, but it was harder to tell about that since poker dealer uniforms are not designed to show off a lady’s physical assets—nor should they be (did I just write that?).
But I did discover that her figure was even better than I could possibly imagine (and I have a very, very good imagination) when I saw her out of uniform one day—no not that way, dammit).  One time, I was at LC2 waiting for my name to be called and I saw an off-duty Jessica swing by to say hello to her colleagues.  On this day, Jessica was apparently all dressed up for a night on the town.  Wow. And I do mean Wow.
Now when I say dressed up, I mean dressed up.  She was dressed to the nines, as they say.  She was wearing a short, tight black dress.  It was low-cut too off course, but not as extremely low-cut as the most extreme you see in Vegas.  It was classily low-cut.  The dress answered every question I had about Jessica’s figure….it was awesome. She had curves everywhere a woman is supposed to have curves, and then some. Additionally, she had her long blonde hair running down to her shoulder all on one side, and it was absolutely stunning look for her.
It looked to me that when she was getting ready for the evening, she put her whole look together with only one thought in mind….that she was going to snap the necks of every man she passed by trying to get a second look at her. 
Sitting there, watching her chat with her co-workers, I was actually kind of mesmerized. Then at one point she was standing there by herself, as all her colleagues were busy helping patrons.  I found myself walking over to talk to her.  I couldn’t help myself.
I thought Jessica would recognize me even though I knew she wouldn’t know my name.  You see, LC2 is a locals casino where most of the poker players are there almost on a daily basis.  The dealers go to a poker table and they probably know the first and last names of at least 9 of the ten players there.  They also know the names of the spouses, their children, their grandchildren, and their pets. I did say grandchildren.  The reason most of these folks can play poker so much is that they are retired.  Some have been retired for a long time. I stand out because while I am there often for an out-of-towner, I am a virtual stranger as compared to the 95% of their clientele. 
But she had dealt to me enough times that even if she didn’t know me as well as the regular regulars, I still would look familiar to Jessica, I thought  But just to make certain she didn’t think I was just some strange, dirty old-man trying to hit on her, I made sure I addressed her by name.
When I got over to her, I said, “Jessica, I just felt compelled to come over here and tell you how sensational you look.  You look great, just awesome.”  Now, I had no idea how she would take that.  A woman capable of looking this good is surely used to guys telling how great she looks, right? Would she care what some old guy she’s dealt a few hands of poker to thought about how she looked?  She certainly wasn't dressing for me.  Or would she fear I was trying to hit on her?  I was somewhat concerned about how she’d react.
No worries.  She gave me a huge smile (did I mention she has a great smile?) and thanked me. I returned to my seat quickly to wait for a game.  I didn’t want there to be any doubt in her mind I had no other purpose than to pay her that much deserved compliment.  But I can say this.  The next several times she saw me at LC2, whether to come to my table to deal or just as we she was passing by and spotted me, she said hi and flashed that million dollar smile at me.
Sorry about the digression, but I was trying to paint a picture.  Imagine that Jessica coming to the table on Valentine’s Day in her drab poker dealers uniform, wearing no red whatsoever.  She says hello to everyone and they do likewise.  As I recall, I am probably the youngest person at the table (except for Jessica) and likely the only non-regular (meaning someone who comes to the room at least 3 times a week, every week). It was all men.  There are plenty of women who are regulars in the room, but this particular table was all male, save for Jessica.
There was some chit-chat and then Jessica took a look at this motley crew and said, “Where is all your Valentine’s Day spirit, guys?  How come no one is wearing red?”  One or two of the guys pointed out that they were wearing red, but then she spoke directly to one of the most regular regulars at that table.  “How about you, John?  Where’s your red?”
John, or whatever his name was because I honestly don’t remember, said, “I’m wearing red socks.  You just can’t see it.”
Jessica replied, “All right then.”
But John had noticed that Jessica was showing no red either. “What about you?  You’re not wearing red!”
Jessica replied, “I am too. You just can’t see it.”
Every one of the old farts at the table, myself included, snickered like a bunch of high school boys.  You know what we were thinking.
Jessica seemed embarrassed, but you know, not really that embarrassed.  She said, “No, I’m wearing red socks.  I have red socks on. That’s what I meant.  Come on.”
None of us were buying.  There were comments like “sure” and “right” and “yeah, I’ll bet”, but she just smiled.  Finally John said to her, “You know what we’re thinking about now, right?  You got us all thinking about it.”  She just shook her head as if she was surprised by the dirty minds she was in the presence of.
I have no idea if Jessica was wearing red underwear that day.  But I would bet plenty that Jessica was intentionally being provocative with her statement, the way she phrased it.  Since the guy had just said that you couldn’t see his red, because it was his socks, the most natural comeback to his question would have been, “I’m wearing red socks too.”  Would have been short and simple and it would have come naturally to her.  Instead, she phrased it in such a way that all the guys there were indeed thinking about her undies.  And that was very intentional, I’m sure.
One more reason I’ll always think of Jessica as “sensational.”
Happy Valentine’s Day.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Huge Score! Taking 2nd in the First Very Josie!

I'm ready for the main event now!  Tonight was the inagural Very Josie Tournament on Black Chip Poker.

A special invitation only poker tournament for followers of the terrific Very Josie blog.  Most of the players were fellow poker bloggers, most of their blogs are on my blogroll, and if they aren't they should be, and soon will be.

Unfortunately, our lovely, hostess (who has really big boobs, btw), got knocked out early and was never at the table with me.  Even more unfortunately, once you got knocked out, you weren't able to chat, so the main reason I played--so I could take abuse from Josie--was negated. 

But a good time was had by all anyway.

It probably helped that I took 2nd place.  Yeah, against all those savy pro's, this rank amateur managed to take 2nd place.  Lightning was the big winner, knocking me out.  And TBC took home third.  He was the big chip leader for most of the tournament but ran into a bad streak to finish in the last cash position.  Tough luck Tony, but at least you cashed.

This was a bounty tournament and I took two bounties.  I knocked out Gary and Poker Grump.and scored two bucks each for that.  Now the Grump is actual a professional poker player and his blog is basically a course on how to play smart poker, so I am especially proud of that.  I could see what a tough player he is even tho I suspect that considering the stakes involved and the fact that all of us were paying as much attention to making smart-ass comments on chat as we were the poker, he was hardly playing his best.

Yeah, I'm pretending to be bragging but I know I just got lucky.

And amazingly enough, I won not once but twice with Pocket Kings.  However, in both cases, I raised preflop with them and got no callers. 

It was a fun time and winning a few bucks (and I really mean it, it was a few bucks) was just icing on the cake. 

Thanks Josie!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

All the Fun of a 2/4 Game But With Big, Beautiful Stacks!

Since my last two poker posts (see here and here) were downers, it’s high time for a good story.  Ooops, I spoiled the ending.  Sorry.
This took place the same night, and in fact at the same 1/2  table as two previous stories I’ve posted, here and here.  Yes, I was sitting between Ginger and her pal all night.  As I mentioned, this was a real fun table because Ginger and her pal were chatting up a storm, having a good time, and it was totally contagious.
I bought in for $200 and almost immediately started added to my stack.  I started getting chips from a number of folks at the table but definitely not Ginger.  Ginger’s friend, yes.  I took her stack once and won a couple of early pots I was in with her to the point where she was making comments about me being her nemesis. 
My stack was up to about $380 when this hand happened.  A LAG (Loose Aggressive) guy from Germany in early position raised to $10.  He had been raising a lot, and won a lot chips, and also lost some chips.  I’m guessing he was down around $180 from a $200 buy in but had been ahead not long before.  In one hand against me, he took down a pot from me when he raised my flop continuation bet and I folded.  He showed a total bluff.  I wasn’t concerned because I didn’t have the goods either, I wasn’t going to risk a lot of money on Ace High and it was good to know that he was bluffing.  Ginger’s friend immediately to my right called the ten bucks (she called a lot of pre-flop raises).
In late position I looked down at pocket Aces.  Thank goodness it wasn’t Kings!  I re-raised to $30.  It folded to the Big Blind.  Mr. Big Blind hadn’t been at the table all that long, but he had been there awhile and I didn’t have much of a read of his game.  He’d won a few small pots, lost some money in some small pots, hadn’t really gotten involved in a big pot yet.  My gut reaction was that he wasn’t a terrible player, but he wasn’t a great one or a particularly experienced player either.
Without almost any hesitation, he re-raised me to $60!  It was a rather odd bet, it seemed to me.  If he truly had a hand worth four-betting, making the minimum re-raise was not a great play.  Seems to me he should have either called or shoved all in there, depending on what he had.  And since I was looking at the best starting hand in Hold Em, it was hard for me to imagine either a fold or a call there wasn’t the right play for him.
Meanwhile it was the German guy’s turn to act, he looked like he was in great pain.  He gave the Big Blind a glance, but he just stared at me and also the big stack of chips in front of me.  He said aloud, “I really like my hand” and thought some more, eyeing me a lot more than the guy who raised me.  We had been playing together for way more than an hour, and he surely was an observant enough player to know that this was the first time I’d three-bet pre-flop since he’d gotten to the table.  And then there was my stack to consider, which was a lot larger than his (in poker, size does matter!).
After a few seconds he said, “I have a good hand here, I have a really good hand.”  He showed it to a guy standing behind him, who was neither his friend nor in the game.  Finally, almost painfully, he folded. Ginger’s friend took no time at all to muck her hand.
Back to me.  The one thing I knew for sure about Big Blind’s hand was that it couldn’t possibly be better than mine.  The minimum re-raise made me strongly think that he had the other two Aces.  The odds of that are small but I’ve seen it many times.  More likely, in my mind, was that he had pocket Kings (better him than me).  I really couldn’t imagine him making that $60 bet with anything else.
I paused only a few seconds, then softly and emotionlessly (I hope) said “All in.”  The German guy now exclaimed, "I knew it!"  It was the fear of my acting behind him, doing exactly what I did that caused him to fold.
I figured that Big Blind might at least think about it.  I had him way covered.  If he had Kings, well, the rule is that you “never” fold Kings pre-flop in a cash game, but….but he wasn’t pot committed and he certainly must have considered there was a strong possibility that I had what I had.  He hadn’t seen me play a lot of pots since he’d sat down (because I play tight, probably too tight) and he saw all those chips I’d collected in front or me.  He might have thought for a bit if he had Kings and maybe even found a fold there.
But he wasted no time at all.  He insta-called my all-in.  “Ace’s or King’s” I thought to myself, now even more likely Ace’s.
Although it was a cash game and we didn’t have to show, we both did.  I showed my bullets and he flipped over….Ace King offsuit!  It was a lot better than I hoped for.  Pocket Kings is basically a two outer for him.  But AK he needs a lot of help.  Two Kings on the board, or a lucky straight or a miracle flush (his King was the same suit as one of my Ace’s).  I was in very good shape.
No Kings, no Ace’s, no straights or flushes hit, my Ace’s held up, and I won a very nice pot.  But there was a Queen on the flop.  Why is that significant?  Because the German guy groaned when he saw it.  “Oh no…..I had Queens!” He said.  Since there was no further betting action, it was ok for him to say that.  So if he was telling the truth, he made a great lay down but in reality, would have won one heckuva a huge pot if he’d called both the $60 and then my all-in.  But hey, that’s poker. 
Big Blind said nothing, and just left the game, never to be seen again.  But he had done me a huge favor.  If he had merely called my raise, I’m pretty sure German guy would have called my $30 bet.  And then been deliriously happy with the flop, to say the least.  I suppose it’s possible he would have re-raised me himself (in which case I would have shoved) but I doubt it.  It was really a bad play on BB’s part.  AK is a good hand, but it’s not a hand you want to fall in love with pre-flop when it’s already been 3-betted to you.  Or if you have to go all in with it having a big stack,  He made two bad plays, the four-bet and then especially calling my shove.  Calling my shove with AK offsuit there is unforgivable.  And the German guy will in fact never forgive him!  But I will.  Thank you very much, kind sir!

Big Blind's seat was taken by the guy the German had shown his mucked hand to.  He confirmed that he had indeed folded two ladies.
That wasn’t the last of my success on this night, I kept winning, but nothing as big or as memorable as this hand.
By the time Jack came to deal at the table, I had well over $600 in chips in front of me.  Knowing me as a 2/4 player, and not a particularly successful one at that, he asked, “What’d you buy in for, $600?”  Of course he was joking, knowing full well the most you could buy in for was $300.  I told him it was $200 as I laughed and he nodded, impressed.
Some time during the evening, Brent passed by my table while going to deal at another table.  He had been dealing at this table much, much earlier in the night. He stopped for a second to lean into me and say (loud enough for Ginger and her friend to hear), “I commend you sir, for being able to sit between these two for so long.”  I laughed and he was off to his new table before I could respond.
But when I was finally ready to call it a night, and had two racks holding about $700 in red chips in my hands ($500 profit), I saw him at a table, held up the chips and said, “Now do you see why I was willing to sit at that table for so long?”  He nodded and laughed and said, “Yeah, I kind of figured that might have something to do with it.”
A great evening to say the least.  A good time (more like a 2/4 game) and a very successful night, profit-wise, poker-wise.  Couldn’t ask for more than that.