Friday, February 28, 2014

Lamson Wins Caesars Classic, Ante Up Poker Cruise

My new column for Ante Up is now online and can be found here.

The issue should be in poker rooms around the country soon if it's not already there.

Alert readers--and I do have them--will no doubt recognize the last item in this column.  Check it out!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

It Was the Emily Ratajkowski of Turn Cards

It was a totally frustrating night of poker.  It looked like I was gonna be stuck three bills, but then something happened to save the night.  Not totally, mind you, but enough to make a big difference in my bank roll and my demeanor.

I’ve already told you one story from this session.  This is the session where the otherwise unemotional dealer took umbrage at the drunken Aussie (is that possibly redundant?) referring to the USA as “this f***ing country.”  That story is here.  This is the rest of the night.

When I got to the room I had my choice of three tables, each with one seat open.  Since this was a Nightclub night, I picked the table that was not only closest to the front but where a seat was open facing the coming parade.

But after a few minutes, I started wondering if should move to a different table.  It was a wild table full of maniacs.  Every hand was raised preflop, usually with a bet of close to $20.  My inclination was to go to a saner table, but I thought better of it.  Sure, there’d be high variance, but I knew that if I could just hit one hand—one hand—my evening would be made.

There was no chance of making any moves at this table, no way to bluff.  People were calling on the river with Ace high.  You needed to make a hand.  Not a great hand, maybe not even a good hand, but at least some kind of hand.

But damn, I picked an awful time to be totally, totally card dead.  Calling preflop with a pair of 3’s or Ace-9 was getting costly (as I said, $20 pre).  When I whiffed on the flop, I might have been tempted to stick around with those pocket 3’s if I was heads up.  But there were usually four or five players and you know, at least one of them must have had a mighty pair of 7’s that crushed my 3’s.

When I got to the table there were two Aussies and two Canadians.  The Aussie who was not featured in the previous post was a very nice guy but a total aggro maniac.  He was always making sure it was expensive to see any flop.  If he didn’t raise preflop, it was only because one of the Canadians—the same Canadian who got into with the dealer over the Aussie’s choice of words—had raised first.  Now the aggro Aussie was a good player who knew when to let go of a hand.  Not so the Canadian.  He was almost literally an ATM.

He bought in for the $300 max and went through that in less than 20 minutes.  He excused himself to hit the ATM.  When he came back, he had also gone to the cashier to get his own chips.  He had $500 worth of red and he put it all on the table.  I nudged the dealer that the guy was attemping to bring more to the game than allowed and the dealer told him he had to put at least $200 away.

He did, but not for long.  In 15 minutes the $300 was gone and out came the rest of his chips.  Which were also soon gone, forcing another visit to the ATM.

I think he only came back with $200.  But see what I mean?  He was basically a human ATM.

And I couldn’t get any of his donations.

It was frustrating as hell.  But even though it was costing me way too much to see almost any flop, how could I leave knowing that all I had to do was finally get a hand—and boy, was I due—and I’d get it all back and then some?

I never got into a showdown—heck, I barely saw a turn card—but I managed to drop $100 pretty fast.  So I reloaded, adding on $100.

The two aggros were getting along fine, having a good time.  But apparently the poker action wasn’t enough to amuse them.  One of them said, “Where are the hookers?”  The other responded, “Yeah, this is Vegas, where are the hookers?.  And the cocaine?”  The other summed it up.  “This is Vegas, damn it!  Where are the whores and the cocaine?” 

Things calmed down a bit.  The aggro Aussie left, taking a shitload of the Canadian’s money with him, and the Canadian finally busted out for good.

I was still card dead, though.  By then I was so frustrated—especially that Canadian had given away so much money and none of it to me—that I was probably not capable of really refocusing and changing my game to adapt to the new conditions at the table.

In the meantime, the club girls started showing up.  I noticed one young lady who actually caught my attention more for her hair than her outfit.  I’m sure the dress was flashy, but her hair was a bright, fluorescent pink.  It was rather attention-getting, to say the least.

I said to the dealer and any player nearby that heard me, “I wonder if that’s her natural hair color?”

And the dealer replied, “No, the question is, do the curtains match the drapes.”

I laughed and then did a double-take.  I knew what he meant but he got the expression totally wrong.

“You mean, does the carpet match the drapes.  Curtains and drapes are the same thing.”

He realized his goof.  “Yeah, whatever.  You got the point.”


Somebody then made a real tacky comment to the effect that it was doubtful this young lady had any carpet at all to match to the drapes.  Ok, that was me, if you must know.

It was past the 10 PM drawing.  I had played three plus hours without getting close to getting a ticket for the drawing.  It was looking like this night was a total loss.  Then I got Ace-King of clubs in late position.  After a bunch of folks limped in, I made it $15.  Two players called.

The flop was Jack-10-x, rainbow.  It was checked to me and I made a $30 continuation bet.  One player called.  There was an Ace on the turn.  I bet $45 and the player hesitated and finally called.  I thought his hesitation might have been about whether to raise.

A meaningless looking 8 hit the river.  After he checked, I decided to check behind him.  I didn’t have many chips left, around $50.  But by now I realized if I didn’t win this hand, I was pretty much done.  I wasn’t about to put more money into this horrible night.  If I lost, I could play a short stack while longer and look for a big hand or just get up and take the $50 or so with me, and start anew the next night.  My thought process was that the villain was either ahead of me or he had missed his draw and wouldn’t call me if my Aces were good.

It was the right move.  He flipped over Jack-10 for a flopped two-pair.  He must have been worried that I had a straight.  But I’m sure he would have called me on the river if I had shoved.

I should have left then if I didn’t want to add chips, but I figured I’d see another orbit and hope to get something good.  I was only going to play premium cards, or see if I could limp in with a pocket pair.  Otherwise, I’d call it a night when the big blind came back to me.

Well, that was the plan.  I folded time and again until I was UTG+1.  My second to last hand.
I had exactly $46 in front of me.  I looked down at Queen-10 of hearts (as it turns out, I now know that ~Coach refers to Q-10 as “the evil hand”—but what does he know?)

This should have been an easy fold, but knowing I had but one more hand to play after this and that it likely wasn’t going to be a decent one, I said to myself, “What the heck, throw in two bucks and see what happens.”  After all, it was sooooooted.

But the guy right after me raised to $12.  Damn.  Well, I’m done with this hand, I thought.  But then one, two, three players all called the $12.  Huh.

That made things interesting.  With all that money in the pot, I figured I had to at least call.  Should I have shoved instead?  I thought about it, but I realized my stack wasn’t enough to get everyone—or perhaps anyone—out of the pot.  My remaining stack was actually less than the pot already was. I didn’t see that I had a lot of fold equity there.

Looking back at it now, I realize I probably should have shoved even if I didn’t get anyone out—especially if I didn’t anyone out.  I’m basically rolling the dice there with my crappy hand.  Walking away with $36 or zero is that much of a difference, and if I could build a big pot in case I hit it, why not?

But I wasn’t thinking that way at the time.  So, knowing I would close the action, I threw in two red chips and we saw the flop.  It was Jack-8-4, two spades, one heart.  I had a gut-shot and the back-door flush draw.  Not much.  The big blind checked, I checked.  The preflop raiser put out $40.  The next guy called.

The action is now on the obnoxious Aussie who was featured in that previous post.  He had once had a huge stack, but his luck had run out, and the fact that he was stinkin’ drunk hadn’t helped him either.  He went all for less than $40 (I think it was around $20.)   Actually, before the flop, in his drunken state, he intended to go all in instead of just calling the $12, but he screwed up.  Before he put his chips in, he said, “Call…..all-in.”  His all-in was disallowed of course because he had said “call” first.  That screw up was probably a very good thing for me.  I dunno if the other two players would have come in if he had shoved, and then I might have folded.

Then the big blind called.  Even though I wasn’t getting the right odds to call with my gut-shot, at this point I couldn’t possibly fold.  The pot (my share of it) was quite large, and I had a shot at it.  So of course I moved all in my last $34.

The turn card was beautiful.  Beautiful?  It was freaking gorgeous.  It was sexy, it was smokin’ hot.

It was awesome.

I wanted to marry that turn card.

Let’s face it, it was the Emily Ratajkowski of turn cards.

Nine of clubs.

So now I had the nuts, at least right then and there.  One river card to dodge.

The big blind checked and the preflop raiser put out a big bet, something like $70. 

The next player took forever to decide what to do.  Seriously, he took like an hour and a half.

At least it seemed that way to me.  I know he took longer than “the Minister” ever took to make a decision.  I dare say it took him longer than it takes to read one of my blog posts.

I was dying.  I just couldn’t wait to see how this was going to end.  Did it have a happy ending or not?  The suspense was killing me.  It was like being engrossed in a “who-done-it?” and dying to know the murderer.

I almost called the clock on him.  Finally, he called.  The big blind said, “I have to call” and thus he did.

I wanted to see a card as beautiful as the turn card on the river.  The lowest, reddest card in the deck was what I was praying for.  No spade, and don’t pair the board.  I was almost afraid to look.

It was red.  It was a King.  I did a quick calculation in my mind and realized that it couldn’t give anyone a higher straight than mine.  My straight was now King-high but it was still the nuts.  The worst possible scenario was that someone else had Queen-10 and we’d chop it. 

When the preflop raiser put out a river bet, the other two players still with chips folded instantly.  I showed my nut straight.  The preflop raiser showed Ace-Jack offsuit, just top pair, top kicker that he had played very aggressively.

The drunk Aussie took forever to expose his hand.  I couldn’t see it when he finally did, other than he had a Jack. So the preflop raiser won the side pot.  The big blind told me he had Ace-10 of spades, so he not only flopped the nut flush draw, but turned an open ended straight draw.  I assume the guy who took forever to call also had a flush draw and took so long to call on the turn because it wasn’t to the nuts.  Or maybe a straight draw.  He didn’t say anything.

Wow.  That was some nice pot I had won for starting out with only $46 when the cards were dealt.

When I counted my chips, I had $218 in front of me.  I was still down for the night, but what a difference that one hand had made.

I did stay one more orbit—I hate the ol’ “hit and run”—but didn’t play another hand (I only threw out AA, KK, once each and AK twice—just kidding).  I left in pretty good spirits.  To quote ~Coach quoting me, “It's amazing how much winning a big hand can improve one's disposition...”

And speaking of Ms. Ratajkowski, here’s a link to a cute blog post from a woman talking about how Emily’s boobs are perfect.  I would be hard-pressed to argue.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Blogger Freeroll Coming Up!

I'm looking forward to playing in the Blogger Freeroll tomorrow. 

Fellow blogger Poker Meister has helped arrange this on the site, Seals with Clubs.

The big event is Wednesday, February 26, at 5PM my time (Pacific), 8PM on the east coast.

You have to have a blog to play, so if you do and are interested, you should see the link here on Poker Meister's site for all the details. 

However, I should warn you, I do plan on taking this down, so the rest of you will all be playing for second place.

Shuffle up and deal!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

"Grow Some Balls, Will Ya? You're Such a Vagina!"

Somewhere in a previous post, I mentioned getting to Vegas earlier than I expected for Christmas because of a couple of events that were taking place there.  One of them was the unofficial BSC Holiday poker party.  This was just one of those crazy (mostly) dealers games that I am now routinely invited to.  The story of the very first one I attended was told here.  The most recent one (before this one) I blogged about is here.

I got back to Vegas extra early to attend this sacred event on my first night in town.  The hosts of this event were Prudence and Mike (the dealer who was cracking my Kings before I even knew that was a bit).  Unfortunately, Mike picked the games.  It wasn’t just Crazy Pineapple and Omaha Hi like it had been last time.  No, Mike insisted we include Reverse Hold’em in the mix.  Ugh.  Reverse Hold’em is like hold’em but after the first round of betting, only one card is put on the board, there’s another round of betting, then another single card is put on the board, another round of betting and then finally three cards are put down at once, then the last round of betting. For a discussion of why Reverse Hold’em is the single worst card game in the history of the universe, see here. It sucks, it really, really sucks.

The stakes were 2/4 limit, but with a half-kill.  You can’t really play a game with crazy, drunk dealers for higher stakes than that, it would be way too expensive. 

I arrived before the game got going and said hello to all my pals.  When the game finally got underway, there were enough fish players for two tables.    Fortunately for those of you don’t like long blog posts, I did not end up at the “fun table.”  Our table was rather restrained all evening.  I was sitting next to Prudence, but as she was drinking nothing but water, she was on her best behavior.  We shared some nice private conversation, but she really didn’t say anything that can make it into this post.

The other table was the crazy one.  Mike was there, as were Ginger and Nancy.  Ginger has been discussed many times here, most recently here.  Nancy was the dealer who told us about auditioning to be a porn star while at a hypnotist show (see here). Also at the table was a dealer I’m going to call Gretchen.  Although I didn’t give her a name, I did talk about Gretchen in that first post I linked to above, my first Crazy Pineapple game.  She was the lady who said, “Don’t look at my boobies.”  She was also the lady who jokingly offered a $40 lap dance.  That’s about to come into play.

Their table was right behind us and the noise was palpable.  There was so much laughing, cackling, screeching and screaming from there, you would have thought they were having an orgy.  But every time I checked, they all had their clothes on.  Despite the fact that most everyone there was a BSC employee (or if not, a BSC regular), the floor had to come over several times to remind them to try to be quiet.  I believe they were getting complaints about the noise from Harrah’s.  I mean the Harrah’s in Laughlin, not the one down the street on the Strip.

And the poker was wild too.  I heard that the betting of almost every round of every hand was capped.  And reports were that frequently, Ginger and Gretchen were raising and re-raising blind preflop.

I guess from the standpoint of poker, I’m glad I was at the more sedate table.  I probably would have busted out of that other table within an hour (unless I had gotten lucky and hit one hand, which could have made my night).  But if I had been at the noisy table, I suspect I would have had enough “woman saids” to fill three Rob-sized blog posts. 

The one thing I did hear, over and over again, was a desire, expressed in very loud tones, to go to a Strip Club.  The voices expressing this desire were all female.  Most of the comments that I could hear were coming from Gretchen and Ginger.  Gretchen was also offering to buy lap dances for any of the males that came along to the strip club.  I guess Gretchen has a thing for lap dances, since she mentioned them at the game a few years back.  And although she had warned a guy not to look at her boobies then, I guess she didn’t mind looking at other women’s boobies. 

It was hard for me to take this seriously; I thought they were all kidding, or that this was just the free-flowing alcohol talking.  When I called it a night, they were all still at the poker table.  But the next day, when I returned to BSC and went over to get my name on the list, Nancy was working the front desk.  Since we were at separate tables and had never conversed, I wasn’t even sure she would remember that I was there the night before.  But what the hell, out of the clear blue I just went ahead and asked her, “So, did you guys ever make it over to the strip club last night?” 

She stopped for a second.  Nancy is new and doesn’t know me as well as a lot of the other dealers do.  I wouldn’t have been surprised if she felt uncomfortable answering that question for me, or if she might have even wondered how the hell I knew to ask it.  But no, she said, “Yes, we did.”  She claimed not to have stayed too late but she gave me the complete list of all the folks who went there.  All the ladies I’ve mentioned of course, including Gretchen and Ginger.  And she mentioned a few of the guys.

Apparently a good time was had by all and I later heard from yet another, anonymous source, that a huge amount of money was spent by this crew at the club, one of the nicest strip clubs in Vegas.  It was a slow night, and it seems there might have been more dancers than patrons on this night, about a week before Christmas.  Apparently Gretchen had spent a fair amount of money (like over $2K) on booze and also on buying lap dances for the guys who were with them.  The guys that went with them were not, as far as I know, the husbands or boyfriends of the ladies who took them to the club.

I had to think about that for awhile.  Woman A paying Woman B to give a guy (who is just a co-worker) a lap dance? This is not the world I grew up in.  I believe the dances were given in a private room, so the purchaser of the lap dance didn’t get to see if she had gotten her money’s worth, though all things considered, that might have been for the better.

I have to admit, this is something I don’t understand.  I mean women going to a strip club.  A girls strip club that is.  We’re not talking male dancers here.  The girls were seeing naked girls, not guys.  Why would they want to do that?  I can assure you that I have no interest whatsoever in seeing guys take their clothes off.

A few days later I actually asked a woman of my acquaintance why girls would go to strip club.  She replied something to the effect, “Oh, to make fun of the strippers….you know, critique their boobs.  That’s what that’s all about.”  OK, then.

BSC management graciously provided pizza for us.  While I was up getting some, I overheard a brief snippet of conversation between Nancy and one of the male dealers who was at her table.  They appeared to be arguing and the only line of conversation I actually caught was Nancy telling the guy, “Grow some balls, will ya?  You’re such a vagina.”  Sorry, I have no context for that. The reader will have to supply his or her own context. 

So I did get a “vagina-mentioning” out of the night, even if it wasn’t from Prudence.

One of the ladies who was sometimes at our table was Michelle, the dealer I can never win a hand with.  That’s when she’s dealing.  When she’s playing, it’s a different story.  Michelle never saw a hand she didn’t like.  Her boyfriend was there and at one point, when she went to the other table, he instructed her, “Try to fold at least one hand per orbit, honey.”  When all the strip club talk started, Michelle told her guy that he was welcome to go to the strip club, and even “get a woman, as long as you don’t do anything with her.” Nice.  Michelle did not join the group that went to the cub, according to my spies.

As for the poker, it was mostly a miserable night for me.  I couldn’t catch a hand to save my life, it was about 2-2-1/2 hours before I even won a pot.  The good thing was that after one round of Reverse Hold’em, our table unilaterally decided never to play it again.  It was a rules violation but they didn’t penalize us for it.  This was actually bad news for Prudence, as she won most of the hands during this round.  She should have lobbied for us to keep it, but I think if we had, ¾’s of the table would have left.

I didn’t write down any hands.  There were so few that I won, and then too, in a game like this, those no strategy to discuss.  By the time I finally won a hand I knew I wasn’t going to be talking much poker in any blog post that came of this.  I don’t think I ever won a single hand at Crazy Pineapple which is the game I actually like.  The few hands I won were all freakin’ Omaha.

The first hand I won, I almost didn’t see that I had a straight.  I kept my hand because of the pocket Queens I had, along with a Jack and who knows what else.  There wasn’t a lot of betting on this hand, and although the Queens didn’t improve I stayed around for some reason.  Someone bet the river, and I stared at the board to see if I had anything—I didn’t think so.  Then Michelle, who was behind me, called a bet and showed her hand, which was only 2 pair.  It was at this point I was starting to think I might have a straight.  I mean, I knew I had a straight, but I didn’t know if it was an Omaha straight.  Could I use exactly two cards from my hand to make my straight?  Yes, yes I could.  So I just called—this was after Michelle’s hand was exposed. I didn’t know if her hand was better than the other hand, but it didn’t matter.  My straight was good.  This was something of a miracle because a straight is so rarely the best hand in Omaha.

I won another hand in Omaha with just trip 10’s.  Not a set, mind you, but trips.  There were 2 10’s on the board and I couldn’t believe no one had a boat.  I was so sure my trips were no good that I accidentally slow rolled Michelle, who thought her pocket Queens (along with the pair of 10’s on the board) were going to be good.  She gave me a hard time about that, and I apologized profusely.  It’s just that, who thinks trip 10’s is going to win an Omaha pot?

I’m not sure I won any other hands.  My last hand was Omaha and I had pocket 7’s and an Ace so I saw the flop.  No 7, but an Ace kept me in the hand.  I just had to call $3 (this was a kill pot).  The turn was a 7, giving me the set.  I only called $6.  An unimproved set wasn’t likely to win, especially with 2 clubs on the board.  I just wanted to get to the showdown cheap.

The river was a 9 that paired the board.  So now I had boat, but was it good enough?  In this game?  Not likely.  I lead out with $6 and Michelle raised and I think Abe, the other player in the hand, re-raised.  I probably should have folded but I called and Michelle didn’t re-reaise.  They both had Ace-9 for 9’s full of Aces.  Ugh.  Fitting ending for a bad night of poker.

Still, it was a fun night, especially if you ignore the poker.  I know the $90 I lost was nothing compared to what some of the maniacs at the other table lost.  And I always feel honored to be invited to these special gatherings. 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

A Shark in Guppy's Clothing

You all remember Alicia, right?  She’s the terrific poker player I ran into a few years ago at the Aria tournament.  The story of our first encounter was told here, where I used the pseudonym “Veronica,” Eventually I wrote an article about Alicia for the online magazine ADANAI which you can find here.

Well, this is the story of my encounter with another terrific female poker player.  And it has an eerily similar ending to the time I met Alicia (oops, sorry, I should have given a spoiler warning).  Maybe one day I’ll write a magazine article about this woman too.  I’d like that.

This story took place exactly one week after the big tournament score at Binion’s that I described here.  And at the same tournament, the 2PM Deepstack at Binion’s.  In fact, before the tournament started, a young bloke came over to me to say hello.  It was Leeds, the lad who took first place last week.  We chatted briefly and I asked him how many more tournaments he had won since I’d seen him last.  He said he hadn’t played another tournament since. This would not be the last time I saw Leeds before he returned to the U.K. (I assume he’s back now).  I would run into him and his father later this very day, a story I told here).  Apparently he and his dad like the same two poker rooms I do.

I was getting settled in to my seat (7) when I couldn’t help noticing an extremely attractive young woman approaching our table, seat card in hand.  I can’t say I was unhappy when she took seat 9 at my table (this tournament plays 9 handed).  She was really cute, and her figure got my attention in a way that readers of my blog might expect to get my attention.  In addition, her sweater was low-cut enough for her to be working the Jennifer Tilly effect just a bit. 

I was pretty happy about this turn of events.  I can think of worse things than sitting across of a pretty face for a couple of hours while playing poker.  I didn’t recognize her, at least not from this tournament.  As the day wore on, I started to think it was entirely possible I had seen her in other venues once or twice, but I wasn’t sure and I know we had never really played at the same table together, tho it was possible I’d seen in a poker room or two. 

I’m going to call her “Lois.”  She had a Superman bobblehead doll that she used as card protector.  So I’m naming her for Superman’s girlfriend, Lois Lane. 

I certainly wasn’t the only guy at the table to notice Lois.  Two seats to my right was an older guy I’ve played with a million times before at this very tournament.  He’s a regular so I’ll just call him Reg for short.  Reg was very interested in chatting up Lois. 

It turned out that Lois was perfectly fine with chatting with Reg.  And me too.  She soon revealed herself to be an absolute delight, a real doll, very nice, very friendly.  And from the conversations we were having about poker, a very knowledgeable and experienced player.

As the session wore on and we could all see she was really tough player, she mentioned that she had played a lot of poker all over and had some big successes.  At the WSOP, she had played only in the Ladies event, but hoped to change that this year.  She had had a few big scores at the DSE’s at the Venetian in the past.  And she had once placed 2nd in the Main Event of a WSOP circuit event held in the Midwest a few years back.  For that, she took home over 6 figures.

One of the dealers did recognize her and asked her what happened to her other card protector.  Apparently it was some kind of fish trinket.  She said a guy had stolen it.  That’s awful, a few of us noted.  Then she said that the guy claimed to have found it, but he was sure he had stolen it.

“Why would he do that?” I asked.

“Because he wanted my number.  He knew he’d run into me again in a poker room somewhere and then he could get my phone number.”

And in fact, he did run into her and told her that he had her fish.  “Did you give him your number?”

“Yes, I had to.  I wanted my fish back.”

Then I asked a question that was surely none of my business.  “And did you go out with him?”

She said she did not.  I expressed relief.  “Good. He sounds sleezy.”

She still uses the Superman bobblehead even tho she has her fish back. I said to her, “You know, I’m not sure that, as a poker player, you want to be associated with a fish.”

But she disagreed.  “No, no…that’s exactly what I want.  I want people to think I’m a fish.”

By this time I knew that she was definitely not a fish.  I conceded that this was not a bad image at all.

Then she said that one time on the 2+2 forums someone described her as a “shark in guppy’s clothing.”  She explained that she was wearing a summer dress at that event.

It was because of Reg that I learned her name.  After the first break, he came back and claimed that he was sitting next to a woman at a slot machine that was her spitting image.  He thought it was her.  So he asked her name and the woman was surprised. “What?”  So Reg said, “Wasn’t I just playing poker with you?”  The woman assured him he was not.   So Reg told Lois that her twin was out there playing slots.  She laughed and then said, “It’s Lois, by the way.”  Except instead of Lois, she gave us her real first name.

Reg had ordered a “Virgin Mary” from the waitress.  When she came back, she apparently had both a Virgin Mary and a Bloody Mary on her tray.  She picked up one to examine and said, “Let’s see… this your virgin?”  Lois said, “Yeah….that’s the only virgin you’ll find in this town.”

I had a blast talking with Lois—about her life and about poker.  She would comment on the hands that other people were in (after the fact, of course) and even guess as to what the odds were for a particular player.  Then she would look at her poker odds calculator to check and she was always within a few points. 

She would even give me a little free after-the-fact-advice from time to time.  I found this most interesting because helping out other players is not usually something a good player wants to do. Lessons are extra.

She wasn’t giving tips to any of the other players.  And all her advice was sound, it wasn’t like she was trying to hurt my game.  So I can only assume either she didn’t consider me any kind of threat to her getting into the money, or….she liked me.  Actually, I think that was it, really.  We were having quite the nice conversation all through the tournament.

And once again people had noticed me taking notes and were starting to comment about it.  At one point, Lois also gave me a poker hint to put in my book. Something like, “Put this in your book….don’t shove against a guy who’s running super hot.”  Earlier, she had asked me what I was writing in my book about her!  I kind of shrugged and then was about to say “Until I learned your name, I was referring to you as ‘Beautiful Girl’ in my notes.”  However, either I chickened out or something distracted me right as I was about to say that, and then the moment was gone.

Early in the tournament, who should join the tournament and be assigned to our table by none other than The Bubble Bitch (see here).  This was now just a week after her dramatic exit scene.  No one mentioned anything about that—at least while she was still there. 

And speaking of The Bubble Bitch, on a more recent visit to Binion’s, Audrey came over to discuss that post.  When she read it, she was dying to know who The Bubble Bitch was.  She had a very strong hunch as to the identity but wanted to be sure.  I hadn’t been back in awhile so she finally realized who the T.D. on duty would have been and asked him to confirm her suspicions.  She had totally nailed it.  She had identified The Bubble Bitch from my description of her behavior.

For brevity’s sake (since I’m so good at brevity), I’ll refer to The Bubble Bitch as BB from now on.  BB wasted no time in making more friends.  As last time, she was an aggro maniac.  And so she shoved on a flop even though she had plenty of chips if she had wanted to play it safer.  But the guy next to her called.  He was another regular and of course had some experience playing with BB before.

It turned out that BB had 10-9 and there was a 10 on the board.  That was it.  She had top pair, weak kicker and had gone all in.  But the other player only had Ace-King and had nothing on the board….no pair, no draw.  By the way, it was actually a third player who had raised preflop, neither one of them had.  So BB had called a raise with 10-9.  Anyway, BB was ahead until the other player hit a King on the river.

We all found that hand very interesting.  BB didn’t say anything to other guy at first, but she was shooting daggers at him with her eyes.  You could see the faint hint of smoke coming out of ears.

The rest of us couldn’t understand the hand at all.  Well, I understood the shove—that’s BB.  I had seen her play like that just the week before.  But the guy calling her shove with nothing?  WTF?  He had a shorter stack and so he didn’t bust BB out, but of course, if he hadn’t gotten lucky on the river he would have out of the tournament.

BB and the other guy were in seats 1 & 2, on the other side of the table from Lois and me.  And everyone on our side of the table was quietly expressing our disbelief.  Somebody said, “I don’t understand the call.”  And Lois said, “I don’t understand the shove or the call.”

Well BB and Seat 2 started overhearing our conversation so finally BB started commenting on the guy’s call herself.   And the two of them started arguing for a bit.

This caused a reaction from another woman at the table, a mature woman who was from New York originally—complete with NY accent and NY attitude.  While the other two were bickering, New York Lady (NYL) turned to our side of the table and said, “Oh, she’s so mad at him.  She wants to pull down his pants, take him over her knee and spank him.”

Someone said “He might like that.”  I think it was me. 

Everyone was laughing about NYL’s line about the spanking and Lois said to me, “Put that in your book.”  Of course, I did.

Anyway, her own comment about the spanking got NYL started.  “When she’d pull down his pants, he’d be wearing….what is it…..not briefs….not Speedos….”

“Tidy Whities?”  I was trying to help her out.

“Yes, that’s it.  Tidy Whities!”

She did not look like the kind of woman who would be talking about spanking men or men’s underwear.  But she was just getting started.

This got NYL telling the story of how she took her granddaughter to “Thunder from Down Under” for her 21st birthday.  That’s a Chippendales-type show at the Excalibur where male dancers get almost completely naked (for a post about a show where there’s no almost about it, check here).  I did find that a bit strange. I’m thinking that, when I was 21, it sure would have been weird and more than a bit uncomfortable to see a strip show with my grandfather.  But times have changed, I guess.

Anyway, NYL took her granddaughter and her granddaughter’s best friend to the show to celebrate her big day.  Then she went on to explain that the girl’s best friend was in fact a guy.  But as she said about him, “He likes men.”  She went on to declare that gay guys make the best friends.

Of course she described the finale of the show. “At the very end, with their backs to the audience, they all pull their bottoms off.  But they don’t turn around…..damn it.

She went on for at least a minute complaining about the fact that the guys didn’t turn around and reveal their…well, their true personalities.  She felt cheated. What a randy grandmother!  We were all laughing at her kvetching.

I’m not going to discuss many hands because I didn’t cash. But one I want to mention was in the 5th level with the blinds at (300/600).  My initial $20K stack was down to $18K or so. I raised to $1,800 with Ace-10 of hearts.  Good ol’ BB shoved for $6,500.  Assuming it folded back to me, it would have been an easy call for me, knowing BB was almost definitely shoving light.  And if she happened to have woken up with a good hand, well, I’d still have almost 2/3’s my stack.

But it folded to Reg, who was the big blind.  He thought and thought and thought for a long time and finally called.  Damn.  At the start of this hand his stack was similar to mine.  If I shoved, he’d likely call, feeling pot committed.  I considered him a fairly tight player, not a maniac. 
I didn’t want to put my tournament life in play against two players, one of whom (Reg) could easily have a better hand than I did.  I never really considered calling.  It was either fold or shove, but I just didn’t want to shove against Reg with only Ace-10.  My stack was about an M of 20.  I decided to play it safe and fold.

So they flipped over their hands.  BB showed Ace-5 offsuit, which was actually better than I thought it would be.  But Reg flipped over Queen-Jack offsuit.  WTF?  How the hell could he call $6,500 with Queen-Jack?  I thought he was a much better player than that.

The flop made me ill.  It was Ace-10-x.  Ugh.  Nothing else of consequence hit the board.  BB took it with a pair of Aces, 5 kicker.  If Reg had folded like he should have, I would have won with 2 pair.  If I had called or shoved, I would have gotten a lot of chips.  Ugh.

I was so surprised and more than a bit pissed.  I did something I don’t normally do—I told everyone what I folded.  I explained that I couldn’t call with Reg calling, assuming he had a much better hand than he did.  I came thisclose, I mean really close to saying, “I would have called but I had no idea Reg was such a bad player.”  Knowing Reg’s sense of humor, I know he would have enjoyed that, and laughed.  But I thought better of it.

But thinking about it later, the next day, I kind of figured out maybe why he called.  He knew that BB was a maniac and that Q-J was beating her shove-range there.  But that doesn’t explain why he did that in a pot where I had raised.  He’s played with me enough to know I’m not raising with a hand nearly as crappy as BB’s range.  I guess he was rolling the dice.  He figured I’d likely fold, and if I had a big pair or AK, so be it.

Sometime soon after this, BB did indeed bust-out.  This was much earlier in the tournament than the previous week, a long ways from the money, and she managed to leave without making a scene this time.  But we started talking about her inasmuch as her aggressive play and her verbal jousts with Seat 2 had made an impression on everyone. 

The dealer confirmed that she was a dealer somewhere in town, or at least had tried to be.  He claimed that one time, she had an audition at one of the bigger rooms on the Strip.  The manager ended it within 5 minutes.  She spent the entire five minutes ordering everyone around, so the manager told her, “This audition’s over.  You don’t have the right attitude.”  Shocking!

After that, I decided to tell everyone at our table the story of her exit last week, which of course everyone thoroughly enjoyed. 

By level 9, I was more than a little bit desperate. I shoved with Queen-Jack and the player to my left snap called.  He had me covered but not by that much.  He flipped over pocket Aces. Ugh.  Blank flop.  Jack on the turn.  Queen on the river.  Nice suckout for me.  The guy was now talking about being dead, but both Lois and I gave him the old “chip and a chair” speech.  In fact, this guy had a decent chip stack back by the time I busted.

And then something bad happened.  Lois was moved to balance tables.  As she got up, she told me she enjoyed playing with me and asked my name.  I not only told her but gave her a card with the blog’s URL on it and whispered that this was the real reason I was using the notebook.  She said she would check it out.  I told her she was a delight.

Anyway, I ended up helping the guy whose Aces I cracked make his comeback.  We were both all-in, I had shoved with Ace-Jack, he had called with Ace-8.  And he hit an 8 on the river.  I guess I had that coming.  And I doubled him up again when I shoved with Queen-10 and he called with Ace-Queen, which held.

My table broke and I was sent to the table where Lois had been moved to.  With an M of less than 5, I had Queen-Jack of diamonds.  First in, I shoved.  Lois was the big blind and called, turning over Ace-10.  A Queen hit the flop.  But then an Ace hit the river.  I was done.  Just like with Alicia, I met a terrific female poker player in a tournament and got busted by her.

As I got up, she said, in maybe the sweetest voice I’ve ever heard, “You’re not mad at me, are you?”  I said of course not, she had made the right move.  I told her again what a delight she was.

I hope I run into her again.