Thursday, January 31, 2013

“Can I Spread My Legs Around the Button?” Part 1

I never figured I’d ever encounter a more outrageous woman at a poker table than my dear friend Prudence.  Now, truth be told, Prudence hasn’t been all that much “Prudence” lately, due a reduction in both her alcohol consumption and her poker playing of late.  Of course, the most recent post from Grange (see here) proves that there are exceptions to every rule. 

But earlier this week, while playing at BSC, I played with a woman who made Prudence—and I mean the early, inebriated Prudence of say, this post here—look like the school librarian who would give you the big “shush” if you ever even whispered.
I have no idea this lady’s name, but we’ll need to give her one.  So I’ll call her Natalee for reasons which will be explained later.
I had only been at the table for an orbit or two and was still trying to get a feel for the players and the action when a seat opened up and a thin, middle aged woman was escorted to the empty seat.  To say she changed the dynamic at the table would be a gross understatement.
As she took her seat and bought in for $100, she was given the option of coming on the next hand or waiting two hands and come in behind the button.  She chose to wait.  As the dealer tossed a “reserve” button in her spot to indicate that she wouldn’t be getting a card this hand, she asked if that meant she did something wrong.  And she sorta fixated on that.
“Did I do something wrong?  What did I do wrong?  You know, I’ve been playing blackjack all day.”  She said that as if it was going to explain her actions.  It struck me as odd, but she was merely getting started. 
She saw a floor person walk by and asked if she had done anything wrong, and repeated that she had been playing blackjack all day.  The floor insisted she had done nothing wrong.  Yet, anyway.
Her first hand, someone raised to $15.  She looked at her cards and said, “I’m suited, so I’m gonna call.”  I don’t remember the exact play of the hand, but she either called or made some fairly large bets, and won the pot with 2 pair, Jacks & 8’s.  But she hadn’t lied.  Her Jack-8 were both hearts.
She was still somewhat fixated on what she had done wrong, and when she asked the dealer a question about the next hand, she then said, “I’m sorry I ask a lot of questions.  I’m a Jewish woman.”  I really didn’t see the connection, but one of the guys who was about to go on tilt responded, “You don’t look that Jewish.  You look more Vegas.”
I guess I was a bit put off by that comment (see here).  But I sensed something well out of the ordinary poker session was about to happen, so I didn’t say anything.
She wouldn’t stop talking.  If I had a dime for every time she told us she’d spent all day playing blackjack, I would be able to play in Bobby’s Room.  Once or twice she also mentioned that she had lost a lot of money playing the blackjack.
But she was also talking about the poker.  And every hand she had.  “I got a piece of that, so I’ll call.”  “I have a good hand, so I’ll raise.”  “I’m suited, so I’ll raise.”  With every decision, she would comment.  I think she pretty much crossed over the line of talking about the hand, but I guess she didn’t go quite far enough past it to get warned about it.  She verbally reacted to any bet or any raise someone else made, asking what they could possibly have, or revealing that she had a pair, or two pair, or whatever.
And when she wasn’t telling us about her day of playing blackjack, she took to telling us she was in “relapse.”  I thought at first she meant “rehab” but no, she kept saying she was in relapse.
Her non-stop chatter of course got some reactions from the other players.  She was in seat 7, I was in Seat 1.  The three guys to my immediate left had all seemed friendly enough before Natalee showed up, and were getting along swimmingly with each other.  Suddenly seats 2 & 4 were headed for tilt, as was an older gentleman in seat 9.  Truth be told, I have never in my poker life seen a player put so many other players on tilt so fast.  Within 5 minutes these guys were already tilting.
Some of that had to do with the poker, which I’ll get to shortly.  But a lot of it had to do with her overbearing personality, her non-stop talking, the nature of her comments, and frankly, her rather unpleasant voice.  The guy in seat 2, who was from Wyoming, in particular got into verbally jousting with her from across the table.  Her dress had stripes, so he asked if she was a leopard, then realized his error and said, “I mean tiger, I guess it would be a tiger.”
She replied, “Tiger?  No, I’m a cougar.”  Then, just to make sure we knew that wasn’t an unintentional joke, she added, “I like younger men.”  Wyoming said she was too young to be a cougar, but she indicated that she was older than he apparently thought.
By now, only one thought was going through my mind.
Blog post!  
Truly, a “woman said” blog post was happening before my eyes.
She was wearing ear buds and frequently would ask questions saying she couldn’t hear what was said, and then would tell us she had ear buds in her ears.  But she rarely took them out.  And when she started getting some hostility from some of the players, she would tell us she was going to tune us out and that she was listening to Eminem.  She didn’t really look like an Eminem fan, if you know what I mean.  One time she told us she was now listening to Frank Sinatra, causing me to comment that Eminem and Sinatra were an unusual combination.  But the guy in seat 3 said it sounded like his play list, so maybe it wasn’t that strange.
Finally the dealer button came around to her.  She said, “Oh goody!  I’ve got the button.”  Then she asked the dealer, “Can I spread my legs around the button?”

That got everyone’s attention, and then she added something about liking to straddle.  So it was her rather unique way of asking if she could button straddle.
Wyoming had already had his fill of her, so he said, possibly loud enough for her to hear, “Ugh, that button would be so sticky, and so stinky, it would be disgusting.”
She had a beer in front of her and I don’t remember if she brought it with her when she took her seat or if she ordered it once she got there.  But when the waitress came around to take orders, the waitress told her that wouldn’t bring her another drink.  She was certainly acting like she might be drunk, but I couldn’t rule out just plain crazy as a viable alternative.  The Shift Manager came over and told her that she wouldn’t be getting another alcoholic beverage until the bottom of the hour, which was a bit over 30 minutes away.  Besides, as he correctly pointed out, she still had more than half of her beer remaining.  She gave some explanation of why she wanted another beer brought to her now, which I couldn’t hear, but essentially, she was cut off for at least the next half an hour.
Let’s talk about the poker.  Before she showed up, I sensed that this was a rather aggressive, action table.  But her presence really upped the ante in that regard, almost immediately.  She played almost every hand, called almost every preflop raise, and made a lot of raises herself.  Seeing the hands she was playing, I can tell you two things for sure.  One, she was a terrible player, calling raises she had no business calling time and time again.  And two, she was a major, major luckbox.  She was having the run of her life.  In less than a half an hour, she had run up that $100 buy in to $500, and she was just getting started.
It was the combination of her refusal to ever shut up, along with her amazing ability to suck out on the other players, that put so many of the players on tilt so fast.  She would keep calling bets and raises when way behind, and would somehow, some way, catch the exact card she needed to win the pot.  The original guy in seat 4 was a nice guy who was pleasantly chatting with seat 3 and Wyoming when I got to the table.  Suddenly, he was in a hand with her and raised her on the flop.  It was something like 10-5-4.  She said, “What are doing that for?  What, you got a set of 4’s, is that it?  What if I’ve got a set of 5’s?  Did you think about that?”  And she shoved.  This was early in her run and Seat 4 had her covered.  He called.  She said, “Well, I don’t have a set of 5’s, but I’ve got something.”
Yeah, she had 5-something, so a pair of 5’s. And of course she caught her second pair on the river and the guy just gave her a look of total hatred and mucked. I assume he had at least a pair of 10’s, or an overpair.
This put seat 4 totally on tilt, and he didn’t say another word while there—to anybody.  Even as his new pals in seats 2 & 3 tried to console him, he sat there in total silence and just stared at Natalee.  He got into it with her two more times, giving her stoned cold silence and a total death stare as she babbled on about her hand and speculated on his.  And she took all his money, playing crap cards and hitting whatever she needed to take the pot.
Natalee definitely noticed the “if looks could kill” expression on this guy’s face.  So she said to him, “I know you want to Van der Sloot me right now.”
Seat 4 said nothing.  I honestly don’t think he was capable of speech right then.  But a bunch of us laughed, and a couple of guys asked or wondered what the hell that meant.  It seems Van der Sloot is old news and nobody but me could remember the guy who was accused of murdering poor Natalee Holloway.  I knew the reference and knew what she meant, but I couldn’t recall his apparent victim’s name until I looked it up later.  But seeing as how she was using Van der Sloot’s name as a verb to accuse seat 4 of wanting to kill her, I decided to give the star of this post the pseudonym “Natalee”, spelled the same way the victim did.
Here’s the thing.  With both this guy and a couple of other guys, even with her incredible luck, the hands she was hitting weren’t that good, generally.  Guys were betting big with pretty mediocre hands apparently (they never showed), playing right into her hands.  What a stupid plan.  It was clear that she was pretty much going to call every bet, so trying to bet her off a hand was like pissing into the wind.  And seeing how lucky she was at the moment, these guys were just throwing money at Natalee as if she was the world’s sexiest stripper, which she was so very clearly not.
Speaking of strippers, at one point, after taking a boatload of money from one of the guys on tilt by hitting some ridiculous draw, she said, “Sorry about that.  I guess I should buy you a lapdance.”  She did say “buy” and not “give.”  Phew.
As for me, well, within a few minutes of Natalee coming to the table, I knew that I was not going to be able to concentrate on the poker while she was there.  You may be wondering why, if I knew that to be the case, I didn’t ask for a table change.  Isn’t the reason obvious?  I didn’t move for you, my dear readers.  I did it for this blog post.  So what if I was giving up on a chance to play real poker and win real money.  I knew I would get a good blog post out of this session.  Nothing is too good for my loyal readers.
I was paying more attention to Natalee’s comments and her outrageous behavior than the poker, but I was following enough about the poker to quickly figure out how to play in this situation.  With Natalee being so loose-aggressive and so many players going on tilt because of her presence—playing even crazier and more aggressive than they ordinarily would—I knew that the only way to play was to be extremely tight.  I’m a tight player anyway, but now I became uber-tight.  I wasn’t going to play any speculative hands, any borderline hands.  No, I was going to wait for a true premium hand to play.  That’s the only way to play at a table full of maniacs and that’s what this table was.  As it turned out, I was totally card dead anyway, and I didn’t really get a hand that I’d play under more normal circumstances, especially with a raise in front of me.  And there was almost always a raise in front of me.
Wyoming was already on tilt when he got into a preflop raising war with Natalee.  Now as I said, she was raising a lot preflop (but rarely, if ever, 3 betting), and with very light holdings.  I believe on this hand, Natalee made the first raise, Wyoming made a big re-raise, Natalee re-raised and Wyoming shoved, she called.  I may have the order backwards.  Wyoming was so happy, he was sure he had trapped her, and revealed his hand.  Yes, it was, of course the dreaded pocket Kings.  He was sure that based on her play to that point he had her crushed.
Not this time.  Of course, she turned over two Aces.  Nothing on the board hit either of them, and Wyoming was stacked, about $300 lost to her.  But here’s the thing.  There’s no doubt in my mind that if the hands had been reversed, and she had the KK, she would have caught a king on the board (or a lucky straight or flush).  That’s the way her luck was running.
Although Wyoming was still kind of joking around, even after getting stacked with his cowboys, he was demonstrating pretty blatant hostility towards Natalee.  He was calling her a bitch (or “biatch”), calling her ugly, saying he hated her, loud enough for her to hear.  She didn’t react, at least initially.  Later she said something like, “You’re treating me this way because I’m a woman.  I’m a woman.  I’m an abused woman.”
Wyoming responded, “I can see why.”
I guess that may have been the reason for a comment she made a little later when they got into it again.  She bet $10 on a hand and he raised it to $30.  She couldn’t see how much so she asked the dealer, and before she heard the answer, she continued, “How many inches is that?  Is that an inch?  Is it about an inch you’ve got there?”  I’m pretty sure she wasn’t asking about the dimensions of the poker chips. 
Wyoming just laughed and said, “Oh, an inch is way more than I’ve got.”  And then he proceeded to lose more money to Natalee.
Another time, he bet or raised and Natalee thought about it for awhile and then said, “You’re full of caca.  You need a laxative.  I raise.”  She won that hand, too.
The guy originally in seat 4, who may still not be capable of speech yet, was replaced with a guy visiting Vegas from Germany, so let’s call him Dirk.  Dirk was very much the stereotypical Aggro Euro.  In other words, he was the perfect prey for Natalee.  He had only been at the table for a short time when this hand happened, but that was more than long enough for any even half way observant player to figure out what kind of player Natalee was.
He raised preflop on the button after a bunch of limpers came in, and of course Natalee called.  All that meant is that she had two cards.  The flop came something like Q-9-4, rainbow.  I think there might have been a bet and a raise, and then Dirk shoved.  I guess he had about $200.  Natalee, by this time sitting behind a stack of at least $1,000, thought for a bit and finally called, saying, “I need help.”
Of course, there was no doubt that she would get the help she needed.  Except this time, she didn’t need it.  Dirk kindly turned over his cards.  King-3.  Yeah, it was a stone cold bluff.  Against a player who couldn’t possibly be bluffed!  It may have been the single dumbest move I’ve ever seen in a poker game.  Natalie showed her pocket 3’s and to the surprise of no one at the table, they held up.
Rather than realize that his own play had been monumentally stupid, he proceed to bitch and moan about Natalee’s horrible call there. True, it was a horrible call.  But Natalee had run up a $100 buy in to $1000 making exactly those kind of horrible calls for the past hour.  So Dirk called Natalee’s call stupid, and then asked if her name was “Stupid.”  She ignored that, at least at first.
And that’s all for part 1.  Despite all the complaints I get about doing posts that are too short, I’m going to stop it here and pick up the story in the following post.  In the second part, you’ll get to read about what happened when crazy Natalee got into a hand with me!  See here.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Vegas properties listening to their poker players

My latest column for Ante Up Magazine is online and you can read it here.

It will probably be another week or two before it starts appearing in poker rooms around the country.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

"She Has The Greatest Ass of All Time"

I’ve mentioned before that, when I first started playing tournaments, my main goal was just to last long enough to feel that I was getting some value for my money; I never thought I might be good enough to cash.  As I got better though, and did indeed start cashing, the way I approached tournaments, specifically the deeper stack ones, changed.

So, early in my tournament “career” I would have been horrified at busting out in the first round and would have been happy to play several hours and still have busted out before cashing (truth be told, I probably wouldn’t have ever risked busting out in the first round back in those days).  Nowadays, it’s totally different.  I’d rather bust out on the first hand than play 6 hours and get nothing to show for it.  In fact, even a min cash would be a bad experience for me, if it was a deep stack tournament. 
Before I won that Bally’s tourn (see here) I think the last time I cashed was taking 6th place at the Aria tournament (see here).  That wasn’t exactly a min cash, it was $371, but when you take away the $125 entry fee, a net profit of $246 (before tip) isn’t a big pay day for seven hours of poker.
Point being that I’ve been trying to be more aggressive earlier in the tournaments, in the hopes of securing enough chips to increase my odds of winning one of the top prizes—or going home early and doing something else with the day, like play a cash game.
So I found it very interesting when the Tournament Director at the Venetian called me in late November to tell me about their new Survivor tournament.  He contacted me because he knew I’d want to update AVP with the new tournament structure.  Because it’s my job to do that.  Also, he thought I might be able to mention it in my next Ante Up column.  And I did (here).  I hoped my readers found it interesting.  I sure did.  The unique feature of it is that as soon as the tournament is down to 10% of the field, the tournament ends and the remaining players split the prize pool evenly.  For a $200 entry fee, everyone in that final 10% gets $1,600.  There will be some money left over to pay a few spots beyond the 10%.  The idea is that rather than a top-heavy prize pool distribution where only the top few spots make a nice cash, almost everyone who cashes will take home a respectable piece of change.  It’s basically a guaranteed chop.
Aside from wondering how that format would affect play, especially once the bubble neared, I thought it might be just the kind of tournament I was looking for, greatly reducing the chances of a min cash and increasing the chances of a nice payout.  Also, unlike the other Venetian tournaments, which have the levels switching from 20 to 30 minutes after three levels, the levels would stay at 20 minutes all tournament.  This was done purposely to make it so the tournament wouldn’t last deep into the wee hours of the next morning.
I knew I wanted to give this a try, and last month, I did.  I played in the second one they had (it’s only offered on Friday evenings).
The night I showed up, a few days before Christmas, I discovered that, as a result of the remodeling project at the Venetian (note: is there a Vegas hotel that is currently not undergoing a remodel?), the restrooms closest to the poker room were closed.  If you know the Venetian, you know that even the restrooms closest to the poker room aren’t really very close to it.  So the restrooms next closest are not even in the same zip code (the Venetian is a big place).  I’m pretty sure the nearest restrooms across the street at the Mirage are closer to the Venetian poker room than these restrooms are.  Good thing the tournament’s breaks are 15 minutes, 10 minutes would not do. 
I had my ups and downs.  I had a near double up when I raised preflop with AA and had one caller.  On a 10-8-6 rainbow board, the guy check-raised all in.  I just didn’t smell a set or even two pair.  I thought I was good.  I called and I was right.  He had a two Queens.  I raised in late position with K-9 suited and caught 2 Kings on the flop.  A guy thought about calling (or raising?) my flop raise but he folded instead.
One disaster was when I raised with K-J suited, and the board came K-J-8.  We both got it all in on the flop.  He had a set of 8’s.  That left me crippled but alive.  I was desperate enough to shove with 5/4 suited and a lady called me with AK.  I caught a 5 and doubled up.
I made it to one of the two last tables, but with a small stack. There were only 8 going to get paid the $1600 so I still need a lot of help to make it into the money.  This put me with a disgruntled older gentleman who I heard complaining during the break.  He was obviously a local and a regular who was really bitching about the fact that all levels were 20 minutes.  He said he was going to speak to the T.D. personally about it.  I know that, in general, that was the one thing everyone was a bit uncomfortable with, the lack of 30 minute levels.  In fact, due to customer feedback, by the next week they had changed it and they now switch the levels to 30 minutes starting with the 4th level (but they now start the blinds at 50/100 instead of 25/50).

Anyway, disgruntled guy was, well, disgruntled.  He wasn’t afraid to make comments, usually under his breath, but audible to many players near him, about the play.  He was particularly upset whenever anyone took too long to make a decision, always relating back to the 20 minute levels (“it’s only 20 minute levels, and he’s taking half the level to make a decision!”)

So when a table broke—reducing the tables from 3 to 2—he got really pissed when a couple of the players from the broken table took their time to join us.  Since one was going to be the big blind, the dealer held up the action, but the clock was still running and the other table was rolling.  The disgruntled guy really kind of lost it when he saw the two “slowpokes” were both women, both long past qualifying for Social Security.  “Come on ladies, come on,” he muttered, no so softly.  The problem was that one of them was in the middle of getting a massage and the other one had a lot of belongings to gather.  Then he said, “Old ladies playing poker?  What the hell are old ladies playing poker for?  What are they gonna do with $1600?  Get face lifts?”
The one getting the massage seemed to be delaying the game (once she got there) because she was enjoying the massage.  Of course, I hadn’t seen her play before she started getting the massage so I can’t for sure that wasn’t her normal pace.
I was in shove or fold mode and I therefore had to shove with a pair of 6’s.  The guy to my left shoved immediately.  Two hands before, he had taken a nice three way pot with a set of Kings.  It folded to a guy with a decent stack who had limped in.  He took his time.  He asked for time.  Disgruntled guy started complaining, loudly. “You’re gonna call two all in’s.  Sure.  Come on.”
The other guy said he had a good hand and was thinking about it.  The other guy just kinda of went “Hmmph.”  The guy thinking it over said, “This guy’s been complaining all night, he’s out of control.”  But since he wasn’t really talking to the dealer, nothing came of it.  He finally folded.
So the two of us flipped over our cards.  I showed my 6’s and he showed his….pocket kings.  Yeah, the guy had pocket Kings in two of the last three hands.  This time he didn’t hit a set but didn’t need to because I didn’t hit mine.  And I was done.  So this guy next to me won with pocket Kings twice in three hands.  Tell me, is that even possible?
I had played about 4 hours and sadly, didn’t last long enough to see if or how play was affected “guaranteed chop.”  I haven’t been back to play it again but I’m sure I will give it another try soon.
Since that hadn’t kept me out too late, I decided to play in the 2PM tourn at Binions the next day.  I was determined to either make a short day of it or get a significant payout.  But you know what they say about the best laid plans, right?
The early part of the tourn was memorable for two things.  One was for the third time in 4 days, I flopped a set only to run into a straight.  The first two were in cash games and in both those cases the straight was flopped (as was my set).  This time the guy turned his straight.  But only because he called my flop bet with nothing but a gut-shot and hit it. 
The other thing that was memorable was a comment I heard from the next table.  There was a lot of talking and laughing at that table.  Suddenly, and very loudly, I heard a guy proclaim, “She has the greatest ass of all time.”  He repeated it at least twice.  Someone else said that she—whoever she was—had a map of the Hawaiian Islands tattooed on said ass. 
I have no idea who he was talking about, whether it was someone famous or just someone the guy knew (maybe his ex-wife?).  But if there is a famous woman known for having a great ass that has the Hawaiian Islands tattooed on it, please let me know.
I was being aggressive, but a lot of the time all that did was cost me chips.  Then it would pay off and I’d be back with a mediocre stack.  I guess if I want to insure either an early exit or a big payday, I should never raise anything less than all-in, even when I don’t have to.
I did go through a streak where my pocket pairs hit sets like 5 times in a row.  But I never got a flop bet called on any of those hands.  I was just glad not to keep running them up against straights.
Down to desperation mode after a couple of hours, I shoved with Ace Jack and it looked like I would get my wish of a (fairly) early exit when the guy who called (and had me covered) showed Ace King.  I stood up and started to put on my jacket.  But no.  I hit a Jack on the flop to double up.
That gave me some money to play some poker with for awhile, and again, my aggression had mostly negative results.  So I was back to shove-or-fold mode when I was dealt K-10.  Definitely good enough to shove with in my situation.  A woman who had me covered called with Ace-rag.  I caught a 10 on the turn for a double up, leaving the lady crippled.  I finished her off a few hands later when she shoved with a very small stack when I was on the big blind with Jack 9.  I don’t remember her hand, but neither of us hit anything and my Jack high was good.
Now I had been there for quite awhile and it was no longer possible to “leave early.”  So I was just going to have to cash in this thing.  And not a min cash either.
I tried to steal a pot with a late position raise with 2/3 off when no one had entered the pot.  Unfortunately the big blind made a big re-raise and I had to let it go.  Later I raised with KJ and got a caller.  The flop missed me and I hoped my continuation bet would take the pot.  Nope, it was check-raised.  I let it go.
Now we were down to 14 players, they were going to pay 10.  I was short stacked.  Tenth place, which looked likely for me if I cashed at all, was around $150.  In the old days, I would go into shut down mode at this point, hoping to hang on for any kind of cash.  Not this time.  I was determined to stay aggressive and try to get a couple of double ups which would give me a shot at the upper end of the prize pool.
So in late position, with nobody having entered the pot, I saw K-7 of hearts and figured I had a good chance to take the blinds and the antes with a shove.  And it wasn’t a terrible hand to make that move with anyway.  I mean, it was sooooted.  Unfortunately, the guy on the button insta-called with less chips than I had, and the big stacked big blind called two.  Shit.  I didn’t think I’d be able to beat both of them.
The short stack had a couple of 10’s and the big stack had AK.  Worse, his Ace was the heart.  In the absence of two 7’s hitting the board, my only real shot was exactly three hearts hitting.  Definitely not 4. There were 2 Queens and a meaningless card on the flop (one heart).  A King hit the turn, locking me out.  A 7 now would be worthless, the best hand would be Kings and Queens and the guy with AK had me outkicked, obviously.  A worthless, too little, too late heart hit the river.  The guy with pocket 10’s and I were both out.  Somehow, this made the counter on the “player’s remaining” drop from 14 to 11.  I guess while we were playing that hand, someone from the other table busted out.  So now it was down to 11 and as they were about to go hand for hand—and as I was putting on my jacket, this time for real—I heard someone suggest they pay the bubble, $100 off the 1st place money.  They all agreed.  I should point out that the tourn buy in was $105, so the 11th player would still be getting $5 less than his or her tourn entry fee.  But it’s better to lose five bucks than $105, isn’t it?
Anyway, that made me the official bubble boy, because I had more chips than the other guy who busted out with me had at the start of the hand.
So, despite the fact that this was exactly the situation I was trying so hard to avoid, I ended up playing poker for seven hours with absolute nothing to show for it.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Jerry Buss 1933 - 2013

The original post has been taken down out of respect to the Buss family

R.I.P., Jerry Buss

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Winning With Pocket Kings is Just as Bad as Losing With Them

Let me start this post by thanking Poker Grump for the homage he paid me on his blog the other day.  See his post here, he even called the post “The Dreaded Pocket Kings” which of course, is the label I use for all my posts about that nightmarish hand.  This will be the 40th post to have that label.  You will note that Grump also mentioned some things I supposedly like as much as I hate pocket Kings, although how he got the idea that I like the things he listed is beyond me.

I would like to comment briefly on the second hand he discussed in his post, the one he actually won.  His cowboys held up against an aggro player who had 6-7 offsuit.  I just want to say, if that had been me with those Kings against the same player, the flop would have come K-8-5, and the turn would have been a 9.  Guaranteed.  I would have been left to pray for a paired board only to see a deuce hit.  But that’s just me.
At any rate, I found out just the other day that winning with those Kings is just as bad—if not worse—than losing with them.  I was playing in the Binion’s 2PM tourn, now for $125, that I enjoy playing in whenever I can.  In a future a post, I will discuss the time recently when I played in that tournament for seven freaking hours only to bust out as the official bubble boy.  Frustrating doesn’t even begin to cover it.
I was determined to not let that happen again, and I was going to do everything in my power to put myself in a position to get a decent chip stack before it became a shove-fest, or bust out well before the seven hour mark so I wouldn’t have invested the entire day in a long, losing venture.
I made more raises than usual and with weaker hands.  I mean early in the tournament when I usually play pretty tight.  Not this time.  This met with some early positive results, and I chipped up a bit.  Then my aggression started running into resistance, and I started losing chips.  Sometimes I got re-raised, other times I got called and my continuation bets were raised, and other times I just got called with better hands.
After a few hours, I was getting a bit low on chips, but I wasn’t quite at fold-or-shove mode.  A player who everyone in the place knew came to the table, sitting immediately to my right.  I think he was a dealer, very possibly at Binion’s.  He had a bigger stack than I did.  He and a few others had limped into a pot and I looked down at two Kings.  Here we go.
I made a fairly big raise.  As I said, it was too early to shove preflop, and if they held up, this looked like a pretty good chance to get some needed chips.  Only the new player to my immediate right called.
The flop was King-7-5, rainbow.  He checked to me.  Now here, a lot of players in my position would check too, and slowplay what was now a really big hand.  But even though the board was really dry, I have adopted the philosophy of never slow playing a set.  Last trip to Vegas, I got burned with sets too many times.  Maybe it’s become a superstition, but that’s how I play them.  At least until I find myself sitting at the same table with someone who I know reads this blog, and I can easily fool them.
So I bet a little less than the size of the pot, and the other guy called.  I was kind of surprised he called, to be honest, but since I had the nuts at that point, I wasn’t displeased about that.
The turn was an Ace, and I wasn’t at all unhappy about that.  I figured that might have given the other guy a pair of Aces, possibly even two pair, but that was it.  There was no way I could imagine him having pocket Aces there.  If he had limped with them, he surely would have re-raised me preflop, right?  True, I have seen a player so bad he limped and then flat-called preflop with his bullets (see here), but I don’t expect that to see that twice in my lifetime.  I would especially not expect to see it in a tournament situation, where aggression is even more important than in a cash game.

He checked and I made another big bet.  To my delight, he announced all in!  Science has not yet invented an instrument sensitive enough to measure how little time elapsed between his saying “all in” and me saying “call.”
He turned over Ace Jack.  Yeah.  I don’t get it either.  He was drawing dead, and I had a very nice double up.  One of my first thoughts was, what I great post I’ll have, when I cash big time in this tournament and am able to credit it to winning with my kryptonite hand.  Then I couldn’t help wondering why he played his hand the way he did.
He hadn’t been at the table with me very long, so I suppose that maybe calling my raise with AJ wasn’t the worst possible play.  However, his hand is more often than not a raising hand in tournament play (and in cash games too, there less so).
But what I really couldn’t get was his calling the flop with nothing but Ace high.  If it had been a limped pot, I could see it, I guess.  But since I had raise pre?  Well, ok, maybe he thought I was just making a continuation bet and the flop missed me.  But what if I didn’t have a pocket pair when I made the c-bet?  What did I likely have?  How about Ace King or Ace Queen, two likely hands I could have made that move with, both of which would have beaten him.
I guess he put me on Queens or lower.  It seemed like remarkably bad play on his part.  But I wasn’t complaining, at least at the time.  The double up gave me a lot of chips to play with and for the next couple of hours I was one of the big stacks at the table.  I stayed aggressive with about a 50/50 success rate, so that over those couple of hours, my chip stack stayed about the same.  It was always one step forward, one step back, and I didn’t really get any really good cards that would have given me a chance at a big pot.
When the 50/50 success ratio finally ended, it did not end in my favor.  Raising with KQ offsuit and pocket 4’s hurt me.  Then the blinds and the antes started to hurt me.  Suddenly I no longer had chips to play with, not a lot of them, at least.  With the blinds at 400/2,000/4,000 my chip stack dipped below 50K.  I stole a few blinds, but as we took a break for them to color up the $100 chips, I was definitely in desperation mode.  I knew I needed a hand to shove with and I needed it fast.
First hand back from the break, it’s now closing in on seven hours of poker.  They are paying 12 and there are still 24 players left, so it’s a long way from cashing.  And lucky me, first had at 500/3,0000/6,000, I’m the big blind.  That 6,000 in chips really hurt, and I didn’t think I could afford to fold there unless I had a really bad hand.
It was Ace-6 of hearts, which I thought was more than enough to shove with.  The under the gun player had just moved to the table and I had no idea what kind of player he was.  He had way over 100K and chips and when he looked at his hand he announced “all in.”
Damn.  I had no read on him and it seemed to me like he had enough chips so that he didn’t have to shove there, especially if he had a good hand.  But I really had no clue.  It folded to me.  I did consider folding and hoping for a better circumstance to shove, but I decided this would likely be my best chance for a double up that would give me a chance to make a decent cash.  So I called.
He had Ace Queen and I groaned.  I needed hearts (or a 6 and no Queen).  There was only one heart on the flop, zilch on the turn so I needed a miracle 6 on the river and didn’t get it.  I bemoaned the fact I had to stay there through the break only to play one stinking hand after the break.
I looked at the clock, and saw that I had played seven hours and had nothing to show for it.  Then I remembered the pocket Kings hand.  If only I had lost with them, as I usually do, I probably would have busted out hours ago and been spared the agony of playing all that time for nothing.  In the end, I won nothing with that set of Kings and lost something—at least 4 hours of my life!
So I found out there are worse things than losing with pocket Kings.  Winning with them.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Lacy Bras & Burning Ears

Lately, I seem to have a strange effect on women.  It apparently started sometime after I got heavily into poker and more specifically, since I started blogging. 

Now, it’s not exactly the effect on women I would most like to have.  If you need me to explain what that would be, you’re probably too young to be reading this. 
But still, women seem to be doing strange and provocative things when I’m around.  And as I’ve mentioned recently, to some degree, this blog was established to document these things.  Sometimes I just happen to be there when they do these weird things, but other times, it does seem like I might actually be the cause of the unusual behavior.
For example, just recently, a young, very attractive, voluptuous blonde poker blogger from London that I’ve never met proposed marriage to me.  Don’t believe me? Please see Lady Mayliss Boardman’s fine blog here.  Scroll down to the comments section of this post (about her Vegas New Year’s Eve visit, among other things) and you’ll see her proposal.  By the way, if you’re not already aware of Mayliss’s blog, you should be because it is always entertaining. And by the way, when you read that post, you will notice that, unlike me and my short, barely there posts, Mayliss really gives you a respectable-sized, meaty post.  I’ll try to do lengthier posts from now on.
But this is about one of my last night’s in Vegas last month, and some women I’ve mentioned on the blog numerous times before.  It seems there was a charity poker tournament at BSC, one that I did not want to play in because of the structure.  But Prudence was playing in it.  By the time I got over there, the tournament was well under way.
Before I settled into a cash game, I went over to the tournament area to rail a little for Prudence.  We talked for awhile and I noticed that Ginger was dealing at her table.  Ginger, of course, is one of those ladies who seems to act, well, in an interesting manner when I’m around.  I don’t think most of the behavior she’s exhibited previously was actually affected by my presence.  I’m pretty sure it was the alcohol she had been consuming, not my presence, that led her to pretend that she and her pal Isabel were strippers the night that Isabel grabbed Susan’s crotch (see here).  And I don’t think there was anything unique about me that caused her to ask me to give her a ride to Red Rock (see here).  I think she might have made that request of anyone who was sober and had a car. 
But this time it might have been me.  At least I’d like to think so.  Prudence won a nice pot or two while Ginger was dealing, then was pushed out so she could go to her next table in the tournament.  She walked by Prudence as she got up from the table, and thus, walked by me as well.  She of course said hi to me while she and Prudence celebrated the fact that Ginger had “finally” pushed her a big pot.  Apparently Ginger is to Prudence as Michelle is to me (ie, never wins a pot when she’s dealing).
Anyway, part of Ginger’s saying hello to me including her rubbing my arm and shoulder as she walked passed me to get to her next table.  But the table she was assigned to had just broken, and the previous dealer stayed there to clean up, leaving Ginger without a table to go to.  She came back to visit with Prudence and me.  While she was talking to us, standing right next to me, she again started rubbing my shoulder and my arm, then her hand moved lower down my back, and soon she was rubbing my lower back.  Now, unlike Josie—another woman who I may have caused to act strangely, though with her, who’s to say?—Ginger didn’t go below the belt, but she came close.  I mean, if I had rubbed a woman where she rubbed me, I likely would have gotten slapped, or worse.
So is it me?  Maybe.  Or maybe not.  I have noticed that a lot of poker dealers are frequently “physical” with each other.  I think it has to do with the “push”—having to tap the shoulder of the dealer they’re about to replace.  I’ve seen dealers giving their fellow dealers back rubs and neck massages as they are waiting to take over.  This is without regard to gender, I’ve seen guys doing it to guys or girls, and vice versa.  Maybe I’ve spent so much time in this room, Ginger thinks of me as a fellow dealer.
Meanwhile, while talking to Prudence, I had noticed another familiar face at a nearby table. It was my pal Jeanne.  Of all the people I’ve mentioned so far, she’s the second whose real name I’m using (Mayliss is the first), because she outted herself in a comment she made on the first post where I mentioned her.  That was the story of how I was playing a tournament, minding my own business, when Jeanne took a picture of her friend’s Suzie’s cleavage right in front of me at the same tournament table I was at (see here).  Presumably, this was to celebrate “National Cleavage Day.”  Isn’t every day National Cleavage Day? I think it every day should be.  And I say that as a certified expert in cleavage (see here).
Anyway, that incident didn’t seem to have anything to do with me, but I was definitely responsible for the next incident that featured Jeanne & Suzie.  That, of course, was when they pulled down their tops in front of me and then begged—demanded, really—that I take a picture of their now partially exposed breasts.  That story can be found here. 
Oddly enough, the last time I’d seen Jeanne and Suzie together, I almost took another picture of them…yes, that kind of picture.  I ran into them at the Orleans where Suzie runs the tournaments.  Jeanne was playing and they were chatting.  I went over to say hi. I wasn’t just being sociable.  I wanted to tell Suzie that I was writing for AnteUp Magazine now, in case she ever had something that would be good item for my column.
Jeanne of course said hello, but neither of us were sure if Suzie would remember who I was.  When she introduced me, Jeanne asked Suzie if she knew who I was.  She said, “Yes. He’s the man who took pictures of our chests.”
When I told them that I was working for Ante Up, Jeanne asked if they (she and Suzie) were going to be in the magazine.  I believe she was referring to her and Suzie’s cleavage.  I laughed and said no, not that way, but I was always looking for something poker related, and I gave my card to Suzie so she could contact me if she ever had a story.  Then Jeanne stood up and tried to pose with Suzie for me to take another picture.  And I’m pretty sure it would have been that kind of picture.  That must be me, right?  Or maybe she wanted to have her cleavage appear in a national poker magazine?  But Suzie demurred, saying she was having a bad hair day.
Anyway, I was still talking to Prudence but trying to see if I could make eye contact with Jeanne.  I did not.  But after I left Prudence and wished her luck, I went over to say hi to Jeanne.  To my surprise, she said she had noticed me and had tried to get my attention to say hi to me.  “But I didn’t know how to get your attention.  I mean, other than to flash you.”
I laughed and said, “And you’ve already done that.”
Now as it happens, Jeanne was sitting next to a woman, a woman I’d never seen before in my life.  For some reason, Jeanne misinterpreted what I said and thought I was saying that the woman next to her had flashed me.  Of course, I meant no such thing.  But Jeanne said to the lady, “You flashed him?”
The poor woman was both startled and embarrassed.  She of course denied it and I immediately corrected Jeanne, explaining that I was referring to her, not the stranger next to her.   The woman was relieved, and Jeanne laughed and acknowledged that I was right.  I wished her luck in the tournament and headed for a cash game.
The next part of the story I didn’t witness, but I have a reliable source, Prudence.  And besides, this story explains the burning sensation in my ears while I was playing that cash game.  When I was talking to Prudence, I pointed out Jeanne to her.  Now, I’ve mentioned many times what a small world the Vegas poker community is.  So it was surprising that Prudence and Jeanne had never met.  Prudence not only knew of Jeanne from my blog, but they actually have another “connection” in common, which I won’t divulge here to protect identities.  Suffice it to say, Prudence and Jeanne should have known each other before this. And of course, even if I hadn’t pointed her out to her, Prudence would have recognized Jeanne from her picture being on my blog.
Prudence and Jeanne both did well in the tournament and ended up at the final table, sitting right next to each other.  Jeanne didn’t know Prudence at all, but Prudence introduced herself to Jeanne, using her real name, of course, and said she followed her on Twitter.  She brought up their other connection—the one not involving me.  They discussed that and then Prudence turned to their other connection…..yours truly.
“Plus, you know my good friend Rob.”
Jeanne was (apparently) excited to hear that.  “Oh you know Rob?  He’s great.”  (I’m not sure if she really said I was “great”, or if I was actually told that, but that’s the way it plays back in my memory…and after all, this is my blog, so…..)
Then, Prudence whispered to Jeanne, “And oh, by the way, I’m Prudence.”
Apparently, Jeanne was both excited and surprised to hear this.  “You’re Prudence?!”
Damn, I wished I’d seen the expression on Jeanne’s face.  Anyway, Prudence confirmed that indeed she was the Prudence from this very blog.  I should note that Prudence was drinking on this night, quite a bit actually, and was no doubt acting very “Prudency”, so it shouldn’t really have been much of a surprise.
And because she was indeed Prudence on this night, she commented to Jeanne, “You know, it’s funny that we never met before, inasmuch as I’ve seen your boobies.”
Jeanne acknowledged that she had, and then, pulled down her shirt for Prudence and showed off her lacy bra to her—right there at the poker tournament table. As Prudence later reported, she saw Jeanne’s "lace-covered tata’s."
Now, even though I wasn’t there, I know was responsible for that. A woman flashing another woman in the poker room?  Yeah, I caused that.
The good news is that both Jeanne and Prudence cashed in the tournament.  It’s not really surprising that Prudence did so well even though she had been drinking.  As I reported here, she plays better when she’s drunk.
Later, she played cash in a 2/5 game with Grange, who, as I reported earlier, was in town for a few days.  I’m pretty sure the only reason he was in Vegas was to inspire me to play the 6-3, ie, The Spanish Inquisition, the next night.  Grange had a good night at the tables, and confirmed a rumor I heard about his getting twin lap dances for his birthday at last year’s WPBT from the same ladies who provided the girl on girl action I wrote about here.  He went on to say that if a straight man could successfully convince people he was gay, there might be no limit to the action he’d get—from the ladies, that is.  We thought that might be a good concept for a sitcom.  I suggested that was sort of—but not quite—the idea behind Three’s Company, but in that case, only Mr. Roper had to be convinced Jack was gay, the girls knew he was not.
Hmm…..based on that premise, I wonder if I could convince women I’m gay?  I don’t really like breasts at all, you know.  It’s just schtick. 
Speaking of which… one point while Prudence was playing, she needed more chips, and the female dealer who was actually playing at the seat next to her, was kind enough to get them for her.  The chips came in one of those portable chip racks.  Prudence took the chips out of the rack and now had to dispose of the empty rack.  Since I was just a spectator, I thought I’d be a gentleman and remove the empty rack from the table for her.
I started to reach for it and said to Prudence, “Mind if I grab your rack?” Both Prudence and the lady dealer just laughed.  I honestly don’t know what came over me, making a risqué comment like that.  I guess in this instance, it was all the women I’d encountered this evening that were having an effect on me.