Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Pasquale & The Promo

It was the end of my May trip to Vegas, last night in town.  Actually it was Sunday, June 1.  And it came very, very close to being a very, very good session for me.  Very close.  Oh, so close.

This was the VegasTrip From Hell and a nice session would have been a great way to end the trip on an up note.  Before hitting the poker room, the internet problems that had plagued me all trip were worse than ever, and I was barely able to get online successfully enough to file my Ante Up Magazine column that was due that day.

For the new month, the cash drawings they’d been having at the MGM were redesigned and this was the first day of the new format.  Until then, there was never more than one winner per drawing.  That winner would be selected and then would select an envelope with an amount anywhere from $100 to $5,000.  The biggest prize changed every month, I think it was $2,500 or $3,000 max in May.  I also believe that in May they only had drawings four days a week. 

But for June, it was back to seven days a week, every four hours, at 12, 4, and 8, AM & PM.  And each drawing would have multiple winners.  Before picking names, they would first pick an envelope that would reveal the prizes given out.  There would be different combinations of prizes and numbers of winners.  For example, an envelope might give out $200—$100 to two different tickets.  Or there might be four $400 winners.  Or five $200 winners.  Or two $500 winners.  I think they even had some that would give $200 to ten winners.  But $2,000 was the most they’d give out at anyone drawing.  Also, if you had multiple tickets, you could win multiple times for the same drawing.

Keep the drawings in mind, because they come into play.  I got to the room not that long after the 4PM drawing was held, so I had plenty of time to earn tickets for the 8PM drawing.

When I first got to my 1/2 game, there was some annoying conversation going on.  At the other side of the table, there were three youngish guys who were really, really into golf.  I think they were sharing their experiences on their respective college golf teams.  I only have a problem with something like that if it is loud, and incessant, and about a topic I have no interest in.  This was all three.

And the guy next to me was worse.  He was otherwise quiet, but he took a phone call at one point and carried on a twenty-minute conversation without stepping away from the table, playing the whole time.  I tweeted this out: “It turns out that someone carrying on a cellphone conversation loudly next to you at a poker table is just as rude as at a restaurant.”  With his booming voice, I heard every damn word he said.  The topic: high school baseball (I think he might have been the coach).  I really didn’t give a damn which players he was counting on to be his shortstop or his new catcher.  Very annoying.

And from another table we all heard the player I’ve called “Sammy” yell out, “You exposed yourself, you exposed yourself!”  One of the golfers at our table said, “I’ll expose myself right here.”  The lady dealer we had, who is British, said, “Oh, please wait until I’m gone before you do that.”  The guy was insulted.  “Why? I’m a good looking guy.”  At least he wasn’t talking about golf for a second there.  She insisted she had no interest in seeing the guy expose himself.    

The session started well for me.  Early on, I called $6 with pocket 5’s.  Only seven of us saw the flop.  It was King-King-6.  When the raiser led out for only $20 I decided to float and I called.  Although this was not really the ideal situation for it, I’ve started calling the preflop raiser’s flop bets with weak holdings on occasion on the theory that my hand has showdown value and the bettor might only be c-betting with just big cards that whiffed.  Although with so many callers though, he probably wouldn’t be c-betting with air there.  None-the-less, it was such a small bet compared to the pot I took a shot. The brilliance of my move was proven when a 5 hit the turn.

This time he didn’t bet though, so maybe my logic wasn’t so bad.  However, this was before I had re-evaluated the whole slow-playing thing (see here), so I checked behind him.  Low card on the river and he checked and didn’t call my $30 bet.  I guess he probably had Ace-Queen, Ace-Jack, something like that.  But I showed my boat to get my first drawing ticket.

A while later I had pocket 6’s and limped in.  Six of us saw the flop, which was Queen-Queen-6.  Flopping boats is cool.  Everyone checked the flop.  I bet $5 on the turn and only one guy called.  I bet $10 on the river and he called again, and mucked when he saw my boat.  The only reason I’m mentioning this hand is because it was my second drawing ticket.  Remember this ticket, folks. 

I had pocket 7’s evolve into a straight and won some more chips.  Then, I had Ace-7 diamonds in late position, and a whole bunch of us limped in.  The flop was Ace high, one diamond, I called $10 and three of us saw the turn.  The same player bet $10 and then the other guy raised to $30.  With top pair and the nut flush draw, I called.  The original bettor folded.  The river completed my flush and did not pair the board; I had the stone cold nuts.  He led out for $45 and I made it $90.  I probably should have bet a little more there, but not too much more.  He called and I won the pot and got my third drawing ticket for the 8PM drawing. 

I won another small pot when I flopped a set of 5’s.  Then I got another ticket and a small pot when I there were four spaces on the board and my lousy 9 of spades was the only spade in play.  I was the big blind and no one had raised, and I had called a small bet on the flop because my other card (a low card) had paired with the board.  It went runner-runner spades.

When the shift boss came around to collect the last batch of tickets for the drawing, he noticed that our table had quite a few.  He said, “I have a feeling there’s gonna be a winner at this table.”  Of course, for all I know, he could say that to all the tables.

At this point, I turned my $200 buy-in into $420-$425, something like that.  And then the shift boss announced that the envelope he’d just pulled out of the drum indicated that there would be two winners for this hour—each getting $500.  I’m pretty sure that for this month, $500 was the highest individual prize.  Now, when I had arrived to the room soon after the 4PM drawing had been held, I was told that they had given away $2,000 to five winners, and that one player had been called twice, getting $800.

Anyway, he waited a few minutes to make sure he had all the qualifying tickets in the drum and then announced a floor person was pulling out the first winner.  And then he announced, “I knew it was gonna be table 8….Robert….” Yeah, it was me.  I jumped up to claim my prize.  They had to confirm I was the name on the ticket, even though it would be hard to find a person who works there who doesn’t know me.  I almost forgot to look at the winning ticket but then remembered to check it just in time.

You see, when I fill out a ticket, I write the name of the dealer who gave it me on it, so I can be sure to take care of the dealer who dealt me the lucky hand.  It turns out that this was the dealer who dealt me the flopped boat with pocket 6’s.  I looked around to see if he was still there, and I was happy that he was.  I knew that he was a daytime dealer who normally leaves at 7PM, but fortunately he was working overtime this night.  He was dealing at a tournament table.  I didn’t want to take a chance on missing him, so even before they brought me my $500, I grabbed some chips off my stack and went over to give him his tip.  I don’t think many people do this for this promotion (as opposed to a high hand payout where you get paid right away, and from the dealer who dealt you the high hand) and he was very appreciative.  In fact, before he left for the night, he made a special effort to come by and say, “Thanks again, Rob.”  Since he’s a daytime dealer who doesn’t see me that often, I was impressed that he knew I go by “Rob.”

I also gave $5 each to the other dealers who had given me tickets for that drawing, even though they weren’t winning tickets.  And to the floor person who had pulled my ticket out of the drum. 

Oh and by the way, in theory I could have been called again right away and won another $500, but of course, I was not.

Anyway, when they bring you your money, you have a choice of keeping the money in play or taking it off the table immediately.  In theory, if you even play one hand with it still on, it’s in play until you leave—especially if there’s a “Rules Nit” like me at the table. I already had over $400 in front of me and had no problem deciding to pocket the entire $500. I didn’t need to play that deep.

Yeah, I was having a real good night.  Great finish to the Vegas trip from hell.

And then…and then…Pasquale happened.  Pasquale and the guy wearing his baseball cap backwards.

I wasn’t catching cards after that, and after an hour or two, my $425 had dwindled down to $375. 

Pasquale had replaced the nice guy from Phoenix who had replaced the baseball coach that was sitting to my immediate right.  I’m calling him Pasquale because that’s his real name.  I have no idea if he spells it that way (there are a number of variations of spelling for it) but I do know that’s his name and you know what?  I have no idea how I found out his name was Pasquale, but I did.

He had an accent and I think it was an Italian accent and so I’m gonna assume he’s from Italy. Since I’d never seen him before and have never seen him since, I assume I’ll never ever see Pasquale again. so I can call him by his real name.  Plus, by assuming he’s Italian, I have an excuse to run this otherwise totally gratuitous picture of Italian babe Monica Bellucci to accompany this post.

In early position I had Jack-10 offsuit and I meant to limp in but I accidentally raised to $6 by grabbing a red chip in place of one of the two dollar chips I was planning to put in the pot.  Then the punk with the odd hair (pointed up at the center, what’s that called?) made it $12.  He had been raising a lot since he had gotten to the table.  Pasquale called, the backward baseball cap guy called, and I called.

The flop was 9-8-2 rainbow.  Pasquale, who had been at the table for less than 10 minutes, checked.  I decided to bet my draw and put out $30.  Baseball cap called, the preflop 3-bettor folded and Pasquale called. The turn was a Queen of hearts, giving me the nut straight and putting a second heart on the board.  I wasn’t going to slow-play it anyway, but Pasquale didn’t give me any choice.  He led out with an all-in bet.  It was $98.

OK, nobody’s ahead of me and I had baseball cap covered so I just shoved myself.  Baseball cap went into the tank.  Now, when I had announced all in, I heard Pasquale mutter something to himself.  I thought he said, “I hit the straight.”  I thought to myself, damn, I’m only gonna chop this pot with Pasquale.  And so I really, really wanted baseball cap to call, because I thought I was gonna chop it with Pasquale and at least we’d divide up baseball cap’s money.

But as I was about to find out, I misheard Pasquale. What he must have said was, “He hit the straight.”  The “he” being me.

Anyway, baseball cap reluctantly put all his chips in play, over $200.

Nobody showed their hand.  I knew I didn’t want to see the board pair, and secondarily, I didn’t want to see a heart. The flush was less concerning because it would have been backdoor, but who amongst us hasn’t lost a big pot to a backdoor flush before?

Anyway, not wanting a card to come has no effect whatsoever one what card comes.  And sure enough, another damn 9 hit the river.

And actually, even before I had seen that it was a 9, good ol’ Pasquale had seen it, and he jumped out of his seat and starting screaming, “Yes, Yes, Yes!”  He probably has relatives in Italy who heard him.  He triumphantly threw his hand on the table—face up, of course—while he kept yelling “Yes!”  He had 9-8 offsuit. 

Then baseball cap turned over pocket deuces.  He had flopped a set and slow-played it.  I guess it paid off for him.  I’m thinking if he had raised my $30 flop bet, Pasquale probably would have gone all-in in response, and I’d likely fold my draw.  Hmm, maybe I should re-reconsider my thoughts on slow playing.

That hurt.  Baseball cap took the side pot, Pasquale took the main pot, and I had a whole lot fewer chips than a few seconds before.  It cost me about $250.  It was around a $650 pot so I would have made $400 if only the damn board hadn’t paired.  I was the complete opposite of happy.

I had a couple of tickets for the midnite drawing, so I stayed.  My stack dropped down to about $85 and I didn’t add to it, it was getting close to midnite, when I was planning to stop, so I was just hanging on at this point for the drawing. Maybe lightning could strike twice?

I had Ace-Jack offsuit, raised to $10 and had three callers.  The flop was Ace high and I bet $30.  I thought of shoving since I was so short-stacked, but I was trying to get more value for my hand and I didn’t think anyone would call my shove.  The only woman at the table called, the others folded.

I shoved on the turn when a blank hit and she called.  The river was a seemingly meaningless 9—but she turned over Ace-9 for a rivered two-pair.  This was the same dealer who had destroyed my straight.

I was stunned.  “Are you kidding me?” I recall saying as I watched the dealer push all those chips in the lady’s direction.  It had all gone south in such a short period of time. 

Ugh. It was just a little bit before the drawing and I so I bought back in for only $100 so I would be eligible for it.  I dropped down again, made some money back when I won a pot with middle pair.  I didn’t get called for the drawing this time (surprise) and I ended up with $102 when I left after the drawing.

So basically, I had lost $200 playing poker and won $500 hitting the promo.  I was up $300.  I should have considered it a good night, but I kept thinking about the money I lost with that damn straight.  The Vegas trip hell from hell could not end on a totally upbeat note. 


  1. Yeah, those losses hurt... On a brighter note, I can see where you're gonna get so backlogged that you'll be writing. "this session took place in October three years ago..." :)

    1. Honestly Coach, I still have good stories from my 2/4 limit days.....if only I could find my notebooks and then....the hard part.....read my notes from those 3-5 year old sessions.

  2. Pasquale is more of a French name, but hey good pic, so who cares.

    1. Then maybe I went with the wrong spelling, this guy definitely had an Italian accent, not a French one.

      As for the pic, I hope so, thanks....but we haven't heard from anger yet so I can't be sure.

    2. SWEEEET pic,sir.u should hold a cardboard sign that says" will blog for drawing tickets". now i gotta google that monica chick c if she is on thechive.com. KCCO

    3. Forget Chive. Just Google her. She's appeared stark nekkid in many movies. And that's a damn good sight.

    4. WHAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! SWEET. she was in the movie TEARS OF THE SUN.but not naked thou. i am pretty sure Bruce Willis banged her on location