Sunday, June 29, 2014

The Solution to Chris Moneymaker's Poker Quiz

Here it is.  In my previous post I gave the poker brainteaser that Chris Moneymaker gave us when I played poker with him Thursday (man, it is still cool to say that!).  You can find that post here, but I'll reprint the question below.

"In a regular Hold-em game, you are ahead of a single opponent on the turn.  It's heads-up.   Yet, no matter what card hits the river, you cannot win outright.  You can either lose or chop.  What hand must you have, what hand must your opponent have and what must the board be for this to be the case?

I'm pretty sure that you have to assume no flush possible, otherwise it might not work."
The solution:

You have 7-2, your opponent has 6-5, and the board is 3-3-4-4.  At that moment, you both have two pair and your 7 is the better kicker.

But if you make a pair with either of your cards, your opponent has a straight, you lose.

Obviously if a 6 or 5 hits, your opponent has a better two pair, you lose.

A 3 or a 4 gives you both the same full house, you play the board, you split the pot.

Any 8 or bigger gives you both the same five cards, you play the board, and you split the pot.

There's no way you can win the pot outright, but your opponent can.

As soon as I post this, I will approve the comments with the other suggested answers I received.

Here's the thing, no one had that exact scenario, but at a casual glance, it appears that some of the other possibilities may also work.  But honestly, I'm having too much fun in Vegas right now to further analyze them to see if they really do work.  Is it possible that Chris Moneymaker missed a few other legitmate possibilities?  Hmm....

Go ahead and take a look at the other answers and see if they work.  If you see that they do or don't, go ahead and make a comment as to why it does or doesn't work, either on this post or in the previous post.

Hope you enjoyed this brain teaser, and thanks for playing.

And thanks to Chris Moneymaker for the question.  

I will do a post about my meeting Chris soon, I promise!

UPDATE: Because blogger put the comments in the order they were received, it's hard to find them all with the other comments that I approved at the time, because they weren't possible solutions.  Therefore, all the other scenarios I received are reprinted below, to make it easier to find them all and comment on!

Thanks so much to all who commented!

I was going to say:

Me - 2,4
Opp - 2,2

Board - 3333

but then if the case 2 comes I would still I dunno

I'll take a stab at this one. Have to use some questionable logic to give you the better hand.

You both have similar pocket cards, yours are connected his are suited. Your hand is the better hand due to domination. Flop gives both of you a straight draw. Turn completes the straight and pairs your kicker, and giving the villain a flush redraw.

You cannot win. On any card but a flush card, you chop with the straights and obviously your straight loses when the flush hits.

Ahead is 2-7, behind is 4-6. board is double paired 3355

Example hands for my wordy explanation:





Other hands can be constructed to fit the criteria.

I've been running this through my head and even tried to use a deck of cards to figure it out, but couldn't quite get it, even though I was on the right track with either A2 vs A3 or 22 vs 23.

I ended up using google, and found it posted here

Ahead hand is 2-7, behind hand is 3-4. board is double paired 5566

Board is A 7 7 4. You are holding 2 6 and opponent is holding 5 3. No one has a flush draw. If you hit a 2 or 6 he makes a straight. 5 or 3 you have a pair. Any other card is a chop. 

Don't know if my previous post got lost: So my solution is: Board is AAKK and I#m holding 32 and the opponent is holding 22. We will chop it with anything than a 2 and if a 2 is on the river, I will lose.

Board is A 7 4 4. You are holding 2 6 and opponent is holding 5 3. No one has a flush draw. If you hit a 2 or 6 he makes a straight. 5 or 3 he makes a pair. Any other card is a chop.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Poker Quiz

OK, today was pretty much the coolest day ever since I got into, and especially since I started working in, poker.  All I did was play poker with Chris Moneymaker.  Yeah, that Chris Moneymaker.

It all has to do with the Hollywood Poker Open that is starting at the M Resort tomorrow.

He is a great guy and a full report will be forthcoming.   But for now, all I can do is post the quiz Chris gave us during the tournament I played with him.  

In a regular Hold-em game, you are ahead of a single opponent on the turn.  It's heads-up.   Yet, no matter what card hits the river, you cannot win outright.  You can either lose or chop.  What hand must you have, what hand must your opponent have and what must the board be for this to be the case?

I'm pretty sure that you have to assume no flush possible, otherwise it might not work.

I suppose this might be a well known hand that I don't know about, but none of the other poker journalists there seemed to know about it either.

Note:  I'm not going to approve all the comments right away, since that would ruin it.  But post your answers and I'll approve them all when I'm ready to give the answer.

There's no prize for this.  But remember, being right is its own reward.


Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Coffin Making Changes at Treasure Island Poker Room

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.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Aces vs. Kings -- Tournament Edition

(This is Part 2 of the previous post and picks up right where we left off.  For Part 1, see here).

I started the next level up to $31,600 and the level after that $31,300.  All I could do there was make a few timely shoves that basically got me enough chips to pay for the antes and the blinds.

Level 11 saw me doing a lot more shoving and never getting called.  This time I chipped up doing that and by level 12 (400/1500/3000) I was up to $54,500, still fairly desperate.  After a few uncalled shoves kept me fairly even, I had Queen-10 on the last hand before break..  First in, I just raised to $9K.  No one called and I was still alive at the dinner break.  Two crummy hot dogs for dinner.  I kinda/almost wished I’d busted there.

Note:  Binion’s Deli, right next to the poker room isn’t bad at all.  But it’s not equipped to handle the 57 people left who were now on dinner break.  Especially since they only had one guy working there—getting the food, preparing the food, and being cashier.  I’ve seen them have two people behind the counter sometimes and this time they really needed it, but no, there was just this one guy.  I was second in line, so I was lucky.  I was almost going to have the guy make me a sandwich, but out of consideration of all the folks behind me, I just had the fastest thing, the two hot dogs.

Started level 13 (500/2000/4000) with $56K and soon after it started I was moved to a new table when ours broke.  Bad luck, I had just been big blind and then I was moved into the big blind at this table.  The player under-the-gun made a normal raise, it folded to me and I was looking at King-Queen of diamonds.  To me, that was more than a big enough hand to shove with, so I did.

The raiser had me covered and he made some comment, “OK, let’s go” and called.  He turned over Queen-Jack.  Not only did a King hit but there were two diamonds on the flop as well.  The flush never came but the King was good enough.  The other guy was fuming.  “How could you shove with King-Queen?”  I didn’t bother to ask him how he could call a shove with a worse hand than King-Queen.  And he had not raised so much that he was committed there.  Easy laydown.  Especially since that was my first hand at the table and he had no idea how I played.  He was pissing and moaning about the hand for some time.

That guy got a double up himself a bit later and announced, “Now I’m dangerous again.”  Then he raised preflop and the girl behind him shoved.  It folded back to the guy, who snap-called and flipped over pocket Aces.  The poor girl had pocket Jacks.  There stacks were pretty similar.  The guy had a defeatist attitude, sure that a Jack would hit.  It didn’t.  But there were two clubs on the flop, another one on the turn and a fourth one on the river.  The girl had the Jack of clubs.  Neither of the guy’s Aces were clubs. The guy had no idea what happened, he was already celebrating the lack of a Jack.  “What….what…what happened?”  When he saw he actually lost the hand, he was cursing in disbelief. It was close but the guy had less than she did and he was done. All of us were thankful to her for busting out this jerk.  In fact, she even joked that we should all throw her some chips for getting rid of the table’s most obnoxious player.

This girl was really nice, and I later found it she was playing in her first tournament.  Soon after the hand I just described, I found myself looking down at my old friends, the dreaded pocket Kings.  And this same girl made a reasonable raise in front of me.  I of course announced all-in.

When she snap-called, I asked, “You got Jacks again—or Aces this time?”  I didn’t like the answer.  It was indeed Aces. 

The flop had two Queens and I said, “Damn, if only those Queens had been Kings.”  The turn was a blank and there was no air between my butt and the chair.  And then a beautiful, beautiful King hit the river.  Still alive.

She had me covered and said, “Well, I guess I deserved that after the Jacks hand.”  That’s how I should have known she was playing in her first tournament.  I said to her, “No, that’s just poker.”

My notes were a little hard to decipher which is why I wasn’t specific with bet sizes and chip counts.  But this was before level 15 started and when it did, I now had $177,500 chips and the blinds were 1K/4K/8K, so I was still fairly short stacked.

I was moved to balance tables.  We were down to 4 tables and we needed to get down to 3 tables to be in the money.  I raised to $18K on the button with King-9 off.  Small blind folded instantly. The big blind, a lady who took forever to make any decision, tanked and finally said, “Goodbye chips,” as she folded.  I laughed and said, “Goodbye Mr. Chips.”

Then came the hand that started my downfall.  In the small blind, first in, I raised to $18K with King-Jack off.  The big blind was a gray-haired lady who I didn’t recognize but seemed to be a pretty good player from my brief experience there.  She had a much bigger stack than I did, and for that reason alone I probably should have made a bigger raise.  We were getting near the bubble and I didn’t want to bust out on K-J when I didn’t have to.  She called.

The flop was Ace-King-X.  I bet $30K and she called.  The turn was a blank and we both checked.  The river was a 4, which looked like a blank to me.  This time, she led out for $45K.

Sigh.  I knew she could have a crappy Ace that would beat me.  But I also felt she could easily have read my check on the turn—and the river—as a sign of weakness and that she was capable of betting there with a smaller pair or even air.  I tanked and finally convinced myself there was too much in the pot vs. the size of her bet for me to fold.  I called.

She turned over King-4 offsuit!  WTF?  She called my preflop raise with that?  Then called my flop bet with middle pair, no kicker?  And then got extremely lucky to river her total rag.  Yikes.

She played that hand badly, I thought.  But I guess I played it worse.  Where did I go wrong on that hand?  The preflop raise?  Betting the flop?  Not betting the turn?  All of the above?

I started level 16 (1500/5K/10K) with $101K.  I shoved with Ace-King and didn’t get called.  In the big blind, I had pocket 10’s.  It folded to the small blind, who completed.  I raised and he folded. 

That took us the last hand before the next break.  By this time we were down to 28 players and on the bubble. We had been playing hand-for-hand for at least half a dozen hands. Several attempts had been made to pay the bubble, taking the money off the 1st place prize of over $6K.  But one guy, who wasn’t really close to be the chip leader—and an old coot at that—vetoed it.  The first time it was suggested that we pay the bubble $150—which wouldn’t have ended hand-for-hand.  So it was suggested we pay $275, the same as last place, but again, the one guy vetoed it. 

There had been a few all-ins at the other tables, but no one busted.  My stack was one of the three shorties at my table.  On the last hand of level 16, it folded to the small blind, who shoved.  To everyone else’s surprise, the big blind called.  They were the other two short stacks.  It looked like it was possible that we would break the bubble right before going on break.

Small blind flipped over pocket 5’s and big blind showed pocket 3’s. There was no need for the dealer to count the chips and with the different denominations, it was hard to tell who had the bigger stack.  The pocket 5’s held and everyone was praying that the big blind had the bigger stack.

Nope, it was real close, but the big blind had a few chips left over.  Just a few.  He had $15K and we were headed to level 17 where the blinds were (2K/6K/12K)  In other words, on the first hand back, he’d be the small blind and hew would be shoving with anything.  So hopefully that would burst the bubble.  He even said, as he left for break, “The worst part is I have to wait through the break to bust out.” 

I started level 17 with $119K.  I was under the gun.  I folded some junk and it folded all the way to the small blind, who of course put everything in and the big blind called for only $1K more.  The short stack had Ace-9, a pretty nice to hand to have in that situation.  The big blind had 7-5.  There was a 5 on the flop and a 7 on the turn.  Looking good.  But no, a damn Jack hit the river, putting four to a straight out there.  The missing card was the 9, which the small blind had and now had a double up.

Damn.  That made me the big blind.  Again, it folded to the guy on life support, now the button.  And he shoved.  I was praying the small blind would call so I could fold my Queen-6 offsuit.  But the small blind folded (later he said he had 5-3).  It was another $18K to call and I couldn’t really afford to lose that.  But I figured I had to call.  I could bust this guy out, bust the bubble, and there was no risk of busting myself….at least on this hand.  I assumed he was shoving light and I had just as good a chance of catching a pair as he did.  So I called.

He turned over Queen-10.  I needed a 6.  Nothing hit the flop but a 10 on the turn had me drawing dead.  That guy had doubled up again and I was now really hurting for chips.

I had to fold some garbage hand in the small blind. Before the next hand was dealt, we heard that at another table, someone busted out and the bubble had burst.

It turned out that the girl whose Aces had lost to my Kings was the one who busted.  Oh well, she sure had a nice run playing in her first tournament.

Hand-for-hand was off and now, some 10 hours after we started, near midnite, I was in the money.  I didn’t make a note of my stack, but it was just a few big blinds.  The very first hand after the bubble broke I finally got a hand—Ace-King.  It was raised before it got to me but there was nothing that could have happened that would have made me fold there.  I shoved and it wasn’t much more for the original raiser to call.  He flipped over pocket Queens.  Among the cards not on the board when the hand was completed?  An Ace and a King.

I was done.  I collected my $275 and after leaving a tip, it worked out to about $13 an hour for my efforts.  I suppose if you look at it another way, I came really close to paying $140 to be stuck in a poker room for 10 hours.  So I guess getting paid a bit more than minimum wage was a lot better than that.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

"Have You Ever Seen a Butt That Great on a Real Woman?"

During my May trip to Vegas, I played in three tournaments.  You already read about the biggest disaster (see here).  The other two were more-or-less the regular Binion’s Saturday deepstacks that I like to play. Since the “Binion’s Classic” series had started, both of these were part of that—the only difference was that during the classic, they added a 30-minute dinner break.  The jury is still out as to whether I’ll do a post on the first one I played.  This post discusses the second Saturday I played.

This was the weekend of the Millionaire Maker event at the WSOP, but sadly, I didn’t have a spare $1,500 lying around to enter that.  Apparently a lot of people didn’t, because the turnout for the Binion’s tourney was huge. A total of 228 bought in, the total prize pool was more than double the $10K guarantee.  Twenty-seven would get paid, the min cash was $275 (the buy-in was $140) and first place was over $6K. 

The turnout was so big that they ran out of both tables and dealers.  In fact, the wonderful Audrey was at our table for three consecutive downs (they just didn’t have enough dealers to do a push).  Readers who have memorized all my posts (and I know that’s most of you) will recall that Audrey discovered my blog because she was a reader of Poker Grump’s blog.

I had said hello to her before the tournament but we hadn’t had any particular conversation while she was dealing to us.  And then, a player in the small blind hit a big hand playing the mighty deuce-four. He had a straight that his opponent couldn’t put him on because he wasn’t expecting him to play deuce-four (obviously a fish).  As he swept in the pot, the loser said, “You played deuce-four!?”   The winner said, “I was the big blind!  Nobody raised!”

Of course, I already had made a mental note of deuce-four winning, and then Audrey looked straight at me and said, “Deuce-four!  The most powerful hand in poker!”  I laughed and said, “Yes, the Grump.”  No one else paid attention to our private conversation.

My first table was fairly close to the restrooms.  As the first break approached, with every table in the tournament area full, someone commented on how jammed the Men’s Room was going to be.  Audrey said, “Yes….it’s going to be standing room only in there.”

One of the total shocks of this tournament was seeing the lady I dubbed “The Bubble Bitch.”  Oh, I’ve seen her play since she earned that moniker (see here), but this time she was actually dealing the tournament. 

Yes indeed.  She was one of the rent-a-dealers that they use at Binion’s.  They use a dealers service for the Saturday tournament and of course for the Classic.  You can tell who is an employee and who is a rental by the different colored shirts they wear.  I heard Bubble Bitch’s name called out and was shocked to look over and see her dealing the tournament.  Recall that after she created a scene that one time, the T.D. had told us that she was actually a poker dealer, but not at Binion’s. No way.

Heh heh.  And here she was dealing right at this very tournament.  As it happened, she never came over to any table I was playing, and she left long before the tournament was over. And also before that very T.D. started his shift.  But later, I couldn’t wait to take a minute during the break and ask him about her.  He was very professional in indicating that it wasn’t his idea.  Then he mentioned that she’s very professional when dealing, but he would like it if she’d show more enthusiasm.  I suggested she might not have the best possible reaction if she was dealing a cash game and didn’t get tipped. He kind of chuckled like he wanted to tell me a story about that, but thought better of it.

Of course, this time of year, there is a very heavy demand for dealers due to the WSOP and all the other poker series going on around town.  I immediately thought of a line from one of my all-time favorite movies, Mister Roberts.  Roberts, played by the legendary Henry Fonda, finally tells off the Captain, played by the equally legendary James Cagney.  The film takes place during the waning days of World War II.  Mr. Roberts tells the Captain, “I realize that in wartime they have to scrape the bottom of the barrel, but where did they ever scrape you of off?”  For some reason that line has really stuck with me, even though it’s been a zillion years since I last saw it.  If you never seen the movie, I can’t recommend it enough, a really terrific film.  I tried to find a clip of that scene to embed, but couldn’t.

I couldn’t help thinking that they were scraping the bottom of the barrel using the Bubble Bitch to deal.  Audrey was still around and I also commented to her about it.  Recall that the first time I saw her after posting the Bubble Bitch post, she came over to me and told me that she had correctly guessed BB’s identity from my description. Anyway, she just looked at me with a “WTF” expression on her face, rolling her eyes in disbelief that BB was one of her co-workers, if only for a day.

Right near the tournament area is a store that sells really cheap hats, t-shirts and jackets.  And right by our first table there was a female mannequin modeling a tee-shirt.  It wasn’t a full mannequin, just a torso.  No head, no legs, no arms.  But it did have a butt, with tight shorts on.  And since it was made to order, it had a really nice butt. Seriously, the mannequin designer clearly intended to design the greatest ass of all time.

After Audrey was finally relieved, a young guy came to deal.  He was directly facing the mannequin.  All the players at the table were guys.  Suddenly he said, “Honestly now, have you ever seen anything close to a butt that great on a real woman?”  We all looked at it and laughed.  Then another guy said, “You know, when you think about it, that’s really the perfect woman.”

We all laughed, although I did think it was a pretty demeaning thing to say about the fairer sex.  And not at all accurate.  I can think of a few things women can do with their mouths that come in real handy.  Oh yes, plus, they need them to talk.

Anyway, the dealer then mentioned that he had been to the Mirage for the first time in years the night before.  He said that in the past, he’d usually see a few hookers.  But this time, he couldn’t believe how many there were….he said they were tons of them, all lined up.  Then he finally realized that they weren’t hookers, they were just girls lined up to get into the nightclub.

Duh.  Of course I had to explain it to him.  “The hookers dress a lot more conservatively than the club girls.  That’s how you can tell.  If you see a girl dressed really slutty, she’s going to the club, she’s not a hooker.”  Do I still have to explain this to people---especially people who live in Vegas?  I felt like giving him a link to my Slut Parade post right there at the table.

As for the poker, I played a long time—10 hours.  And I was fairly short-stacked the entire time.  I never really had a decent stack after the early levels.  But I kept hanging on.

The early levels were not good, and by the time we got to level 6 (400/800), my stack was down to $12,600 (from a $20K start).  I was getting the feeling this wasn’t going to be my day, and I really didn’t feel like playing hours and hours more without cashing.  Here’s when I decided to be a little more aggressive, and if I bust, I bust; I haven’t taken up the whole day and evening with nothing to show for it.   But if I can catch a double up or two, I can maybe make a long run after all.

So when it folded to me on the button with Ace-Jack off, I shoved.  But I had some additional information.  The small blind to my left hadn’t noticed I still had cards, and I could see he was grabbing chips to just complete his bet.  Knowing he wasn’t going to raise helped make it easier for me to play that aggressive, I figured he didn’t like his hand all that much if he was only going to call.  So I only had one hand to worry about, the big blind.

Wrong.  The small blind, faced with my all-in bet, announced a call.  He had about $9K left.  The big blind got out of the way.  The small blind flipped over Ace-Queen.  Ugh.  I was sure he was only planning to limp in if I had folded (or limped).  Weird, in his situation that’s an automatic shove, I would think.

Anyway, he was looking pretty good until a Jack showed up on the turn.  That actually gave him a gut shot, but he missed, he was gone, and I had a near double up.

I lost some chips raising with 8-8 and folding to a three bet.  Then I raised with King-Jack from the small blind (it was just the two of us) and didn’t get called.  Very next hand, in the big blind with King-4 off, it folded to the small blind, who had a pretty big stack, and surprisingly, just limped in.  I checked.

The flop was King-5-4, two clubs.  Nice.  The small blind bet $550 and I made it $2,400.  He re-raised (didn’t note the amount) and I just shoved.  He had 8-5 of clubs.  Lucky for me, he missed, and I had a nice double up.  This had been a good level for me.

On level 7 I picked up some chips when someone raised in front of me while I was holding pocket Aces.  He didn’t call my three-bet.

I started level 8 with $41K but lost a bunch of chips raising with K-Q and pocket 5’s and c-betting both.  Neither hit (and on the 5’s hand there were overcards like crazy).

So by level 9 (200/800/1600) I was down to $15,900.  In other words, desperate.  And honestly, I would have been ok with busting out before the next break, after level 12.  That’s when they had the dinner break.  If I was still alive, I would have to have a very rushed, not very pleasant dinner at the nearby deli—most likely a couple of mediocre hot dogs.  If I busted before then, I could move on, have a better dinner, and play some cash back at BSC.  My prospects for a big cash—or any cash—seemed extremely remote.

I shoved with Ace-7, first in.  No call.  I shoved with pocket Kings, first in.  No call.  I shoved with Ace-4 and was called by King-Jack (shorter stack than mine).  Ace on the flop, Jack on the turn, blank on the river.

(And……this is really a close call, but I’m going to do this as a two-parter.  It’s not really that long (by my standards) but I’m short on content as I head back to Vegas for my longest trip of the year, and spreading this tournament recap over two posts will help keep fresh material on the blog while I’m in Vegas getting more stories.  Part 2 can now be found here)

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

"I Knew You Before You Were Famous"

It was my first day in Vegas on my most recent trip, the Friday of Memorial Day Weekend.  As I noted here, there were issues with this trip.  By the time I found myself in the MGM poker room, I had already started experiencing the problems with the hotel’s internet that I discussed in that post.  And I had had a soft dinner in my room before heading out due to the considerable discomfort I was having due to my visit to the dentist two days earlier.  So I wasn’t in as good a mood as usual am when I first hit town.

Fortunately, I had gotten texts from two of my loyal (?) blog readers about the possibility of meeting and/or playing with them this particular evening, so that was a pick-me-up.

Actually, I had met one of these fine fellows before, almost a year earlier.  That would be “Vegas724.” The story of my first encounter with Vegas724 begins (sort of) in the post here.  He indicated that he had some business at the MGM and would be finished in time to play some pokerz. 

The other person was “Vegas DWP.”  You’ve no doubt seen his comments on many of the blogs on my blogroll, including my own of course.  He had come a long way to visit Vegas (he has homes in several locations) and on this night, he indicated he was having dinner right there at the MGM and would come by to introduce himself after he was done. Between the way the poker was treating me and the way my mouth was feeling, there was no guarantee I’d be there long enough to meet him, however.

Since they both have “Vegas” in their nom de plumes, I will refer to them by the second part of the names only. So 724 came by soon after I was sitting at a game, and was sent to a different table.  But he soon was transferred to my game.  We weren’t sitting too close to each other however, so we would occasionally exchange texts. 

Also sitting at the table was Sammy, the loud, friendly (perhaps excessively so) regular I’ve mentioned a few times before, most recently here.  I believe he was sitting next to 724.  I couldn’t resist telling him that this loud fellow had been mentioned a time or two on the blog.  724 wasn’t surprised, and said that he had only played at MGM one other time in the past year, but he remembered him.  I responded that he is pretty hard to forget.  724’s response was, “Yep.  At least the Slut Parade has started.”

Heh heh.  Have I mentioned that I love it when readers throw back phrases like “Slut Parade” and the “dreaded pocket Kings” back at me?

Meanwhile, DWP had texted me that he was nearly finished with dinner and he was heading to the room.  He said he was going to ask for me.  Hey, people recognize me from my pic in Ante Up and/or blogs all the time these days (it’s sometimes a little scary).  I was wondering how he would ask for me, actually.  I texted him my table/seat # but he had indicated that the battery on his cell phone was dying, so I didn’t know if the message had gotten through.

But sure enough, a little later DWP found me and introduced himself.  “I just wanted to say hi, I’ve been enjoying your blog for so long.”  We chatted for a bit but it wasn’t long before he got called to a game.  So we didn’t chat for long, but as he left he said, “We should play together some time.”  I did indeed want that, but sadly, it never happened, and I never saw DWP again. 

Witnessing all this had been my dealer pal Troy (see here), who had been waiting to push in this whole time.  Early in his down, a couple of players had walked away from the table meaning that when 724 was the small blind, I was the big blind.  I hadn’t noticed that it folded to 724 and he was trying to get my attention to see if we’d chop.  He shouted out to me by name—my last name.  This might have surprised Troy since he obviously didn’t recognize 724 as a regular.

It wasn’t long after that when Sammy rivered quads.  Quad Kings, to be exact.  He had the dreaded hand to start, flopped a set and hit the case King on the river.  Of course, when he turned over his hand, everyone in the poker room (and probably at the poker room at the Excalibur) could hear his celebration.

The Kings were not lost on 724.  “You see that, Rob, you see that?  Look at that with pocket Kings!” 

At which point, Troy turned to me and said, “Does everyone in this room know you?”

I started to respond, but before I could, he added, “Just remember, I knew you before you were famous.”

I was more than mildly amused.  I got a great laugh out of that.

Now, to jump ahead just a bit, because I have no idea when (or if) I will get to reporting the story of the next night, Troy recalled this incident the very next night.  He and another poker room employee (one I know for a fact reads this blog) were talking before having to work, and I came over to schmooze with them.   

Suddenly Troy pointed to me and said to his colleague, “Do you know this guy is famous? People are asking for his autograph....some guy was telling him he reads his blog...."

His colleague responded, "You mean the blog about girls showing their boobies?"

"Yeah, and then some guy says, 'Pocket Kings, you saw that, pocket Kings?'"   

The comment about boobies reminded Troy of a girl he'd seen the night before, right after he left our table.  He described the outfit--backless, deep V-neck cut down to her navel, and wide open in front.  Apparently there was plenty on display.  He asked if I had seen her, and sadly, I did not.  We need to work out some kind of system for situations like this.

The poker was not good on this night but I’ll mention a few hands.  I had both the dreaded pocket Kings and the dreaded pocket Queens fairly early, sort of a “welcome to Vegas.”

It was the Queens that burned me this time.  Only one player called my preflop raise.  The flop was low but had two hearts.  I did have the Queen of hearts.  My flop bet was called.  I guess I should have just folded when the other guy led the turn, which was a third heart, but no, I called.  I even made the crying call on the river (not a heart) and he showed me King-Jack of hearts for the flush.  That cost me $90-$95.

At least the Kings were ok.  There were a bunch of limpers, and no one called my preflop raise.  That’s a damn good result for me with those suckers.

Another bad hand was 9-8 hearts.  I was on the button and there was one limper, so I raised to $10 and had three callers.  The flop was Jack-10-x, giving me the straight draw, but the bottom end of it.  I bet $30 on the flop and had one caller.  The turn was a blank, we both checked.  The river was another blank and I folded to my opponent’s bet.  I didn’t think 9-high was good there.

One good hand started with pocket 3’s.  I limp/called $10 and several of us saw the flop.  It was all diamonds, Ace-5-3.  Tricky.  I bet $15 and had one caller.  The turn was a blank and I meant to bet $25 but somehow a dollar chip got caught in there and I bet $26.  He made it $52.  Damn, had he flopped a flush?  I called.  A second 5 hit the river so I didn’t have to worry about the flush.  I had less than $100 left—and his stack was more-or-less the same as mine—so I just shoved.  I was sure he’d call, feeling pot committed. It looked like he was going to call but….no he found a fold.  I was fairly certain he folded a flush, finally deciding I had the boat.

At one point I had to add $100 to my stack, and managed to work it back over $200.  I had Queens, I had Kings….so of course I had to get pocket Aces too.  Under-the-gun, I raised to $8 and had three callers.  The flop was Jack-8-5, two diamonds, and I bet $25.  Only one guy called, but it was a guy who had been there all night and I couldn’t remember him playing very many hands.  He had me covered.  The turn was a black 9 and I foolishly bet $50.  I say foolishly because that really committed me.  I should have bet less or maybe checked.  Afterall, all I had was an overpair and Queen-10 made a straight.  Unlike Coach, a lot of people really love that hand.  Besides, he was the big blind on this hand, so he only had to call $6 with two players already in. 

Sure enough, this guy counted out $125 and put it in front of him—a check-raise.  I tanked for a long time.  Based on his play (or lack thereof), I was fairly certain my Aces were no good.  But I had put too much in already to fold.  Except I did.  I was just too convinced he had at least a set if not the made straight.  It bothered me a lot but I had to let it go.

As it happened, after I was done playing. but before I left the room, I saw him cashing out and I went over to him and asked him what he had there.  At first he struggled to remember the hand I was referring to (as if he had bet $125 any other time that night), but when he did he told me he did indeed have the nut straight. Of course he could have been lying, but I doubt it.  In fact, I played with him a few more nights before he returned home and I never saw anything in his game to indicate he didn’t have me crushed there.

Not long after that, I left.  My tooth was bothering me and my stomach wasn’t so great either (probably from the anti-biotic).  I said good-bye to 724.  I looked around for DWP but couldn’t see him in the room.  However, I did recognize one person.  Actually Mike had come by to tell me that Didi (see here) was playing.  I had mentioned previously that Didi had moved away from Vegas.  However, she didn’t move far and her boyfriend still lives in Vegas.  Her boyfriend is a regular in the room himself.  In fact, I have a story where Didi’s boyfriend doubled me up one nite that will eventually be told. In case you’ve forgotten who Didi is and don’t want to check the link, she’s the girl who a) thinks I look like Robin Williams; b) revealed to everyone at the table that she’s a 36DD (hence my name for her) and c) pulled down her shirt several times one evening to show everyone her purple bra—presumably a 36DD.

I knew I wanted to say hi to her because I’m always looking for the next “woman said” and Didi rarely disappoints in that regard.  And she didn’t this time.

I saw her sitting at a table, stacking some chips she had just won. I didn’t see the hand, but I assume that she won that pot on a suckout.  I assume that not just because I know how she plays, but because of what I overheard her say while she was stacking her chips. It was, “When I suck out, I swallow.”

It took me a few seconds to digest that (so-to-speak) but I managed to get her attention to say hi.  She didn’t call me Patch Adams.  But she said hello.  I asked her how her new job was going.  It was fine and she was back visiting Vegas—and her boyfriend—for the holiday weekend.

Then she added—without any prompting from me—“Every time I come to town, I wear my boyfriend out.”  And then she pointed out that he was playing at a nearby table. 

And with that, I left, and returned to face my swollen mouth and my quirky internet issues.  The poker wasn’t very good but I enjoyed meeting up with a couple of blog readers, and being told I was famous

Sunday, June 15, 2014

"You're On The Cover of Asshole Magazine"

On this night, I guess I should be grateful to the jerk who pissed me off enough to get me to change tables.  The second table was a lot of fun, and was also profitable.  Who knows what the result would have been if I had stayed at my original table.

It was a Slut Parade nite, and by dumb-ass luck (honest), I was sent to the best seat in the house to view the parade.  However, even before an annoying jerk showed up to ruin the game.  I considered giving up this seat, seat 1 at one of the tables right up against the rail that separates the room from the pedestrian traffic.  For some reason, the player at the table behind me was sitting far enough away from his table so that every time someone walked between our tables, they bumped my chair.  It was very annoying.  And never, ever, ever did someone have the courtesy to say, “Excuse me.”

But I won some small, unmemorable pots and was up a bit, so I was reluctant to move.  All poker players have their own set of superstitions, right?  Plus, as I said, it was a good seat to view the traffic that was about to hit the casino.

But then the jerk showed up to take seat 8.  At first, he was fine.  He had less than $100 when he came and he was quiet.  But he won a few pots, built up his stack a bit, and turned into a maniac.  And a chatty one at that.  I don’t know what was worse, the non-stop flow of words coming out of his mouth (and loudly too, since I could hear them from the other side of the table) or his tendency to make ridiculously large raises preflop more and more often.  I mean like, first into a pot, he’d make it $15, $20, $25.

I know the way to play against a guy like that—lower my preflop calling standards a bit (since he’s obviously raising with marginal hands—and then wait to make a hand.  Not a monster, just a hand.  And collect an inflated pot because of this guy’s ridiculous raises.

Of course that’s high variance.  And I really didn’t want to go through more than two buy-ins this evening trying to catch a big hand.  But I stayed for awhile, called a few raises with playable hands and whiffed.

Then things got even worse.  Another player joined in seat 6 that wouldn’t shut up either.  I don’t mind talking at the table at all—hell, it’s how I get most of my blog posts—but it was just non-stop, and neither one of them was saying anything interesting, plus it was loud enough so I couldn’t tune it out.

Then to make matters worse, the guy next to me, who had been a rather normal player before the jerk showed up, suddenly started playing back at the jerk.  They started re-raising each other, and trying hard to out-bluff each other.  It wasn’t nasty, it was all in good cheer.  They were actually admiring each other’s audacity.  Still, I was basically in the middle of a dick-measuring contest and it became harder and harder (pun not intended) to every play a hand.

The final straw came on a hand when the jerk was the big blind.  In early position I limped in with Jack-10 offsuit.  In hindsight, I should have raised, but at the time I was thinking either the guy to my left or the jerk would three-bet me anyway, and that maybe I could call a single raise with that hand but not a three-bet.  To my surprise, the guy to my left folded and the jerk just checked.  So six of us saw the flop, which was Ace-Queen-9 two clubs.  I didn’t have a club.

The jerk led out with a bet of $25.  Typical of him, as the pot was $12 before the rake.  I clearly wasn’t getting good odds with my open-ender, but there were players behind me who might call if I did.  And I thought I had pretty good implied odds from the jerk if I hit my straight. 

I was tanking and then the jerk spoke up, “He never plays a hand.  If he calls, I’m folding.”

I laughed and for some reason, that encouraged me to call.  I actually thought that based on his comment, I might be able to bluff him on the turn.  Actually though, a much better play would have been to raise him right there—put out $75.  I wish I had, but I just put out $25 and said to the dealer, loudly enough for everyone at the table to hear, “Verbal is binding, right?”  The dealer just chuckled.  Guess not.

But then the next player moved all in for $86.  Damn.  This is a regular I’ve played with a zillion times before—a very nitty player.  It was only the third or fourth hand he’d received since he was at this table, but I was very familiar with him.

It folded to the jerk who folded instantly.  Back to me.  I was pretty sure that the shove meant he had a set or two pair at a minimum.  But he also could have done that with a draw, especially since his stack was so low.  I had him covered.  I figured he might have the same straight draw I had—meaning I’d be calling just to get a chop—or he had the flush draw, which would obviously beat my straight.  That meant I might only have 6 real outs, not 8.

I thought for a long time.  It was a real close call. I would have called if it wasn’t for those two clubs. But with the flush draw out there, I reluctantly folded.

That was it for me at this table.  The excessive, boring chatter, the chair-bumping, the dick-measuring contest, the jerk and his oversized bets, ….and then I had probably made a bad lay-down to the table’s nit.  I knew I would never be able to concentrate well enough going forward to play my best at this table.  I got up and looked for a better table.

All the other 1/2 games looked pretty good save one (that one had only short stacks at it).  So I asked to move to any table but that one.  And in a few minutes I moved to another table. 

This table was one row away from the rail, so even though it was still facing the pedestrian traffic, it was farther away from it.  Keep that in mind.

I took seat 1 and there was a kid in seat 2.  I mean it when I say “kid.”  He didn’t look familiar to me but I swear, he looked too young to be in a casino.  He looked more like he should be preparing for his Bar Mitzvah than playing poker.

Not long after I arrived at the new game, my pal Abe showed up.  He had just arrived in the room and been sent over to the same table.  Seat 3 was open, but as Abe was about to take it—and before he and I had had a chance to say hi to each other—the kid in seat 2 said he was going to move to seat 3 and Abe could have seat 2.  He explained, “Friends should sit next to each other.”  Though surprised, I immediately shot back, “I’ve never seen this guy before in my life.”  You can’t believe everything said at a poker table, right?

As I said, I didn’t recognize the kid—and he hadn’t acknowledged me at all when I arrived at the table—but he clearly knew me—and Abe.  I asked Abe about him when the kid left and sure enough Abe knew his name.  I don’t know how I didn’t remember him.

Not long after Abe joined the game, our mutual buddy Mike pushed in to deal.  “Oh look at this, the gang’s all here,” he said referring to Abe and me.  He had seen me at the “prime” viewing table earlier (recall that Mike loves to comment about how I always seem to get one of the best seats in the room on “Slut Parade” nights).  So he asked why I gave up such a valuable piece of real estate on such a night.  “One too many assholes at that table,” was my answer.  He responded, “Then one of the moved to here.”  Heh heh.  All in good fun.

Abe won some big pots and had a nice stack of chips in front of him.  A couple of those pots were when he raised preflop and I called his raised, and let it go on the flop.  I don’t recall the hands, since I didn’t win them and didn’t lose much, I didn’t make a note of them.  But it meant that in theory, a little bit of Abe’s winnings came from me, a fact that comes into play later.

One of the hands that increased Abe’s winnings was when he flopped quad 10’s while Mike was dealing.  The pot he won wasn’t very big, but at this point in May, they still had high hand bonuses (since discontinued).  Abe got to draw an envelope and could have won $1K, although the likeliest prize was $50.  He beat the odds a little by grabbing an envelope worth $100.

Monte was working the floor.  For what may be the most recent post I’ve mentioned him, see here.  When Monte came by with Abe’s $100 (and with the paperwork he had to sign to get it), he went over to Abe’s stack and just knocked all of his chips over for fun.  I’ve seen Monte do that to regulars a number of times.  I’m pretty sure he’s even done that to me, although it might have been when he was playing and not dealing or flooring.

Abe laughed I guess, but the kid who had recognized me had a great comment the instant the chips went flying.  “Excuse me, dealer, is he allowed to keep his chips like that?”

As I was laughing I said, “Yeah, kick him out.”  Then I went on, “You know, that’s a good way to get someone kicked out….keep knocking over his chips.”  Of course, one little problem….if a player were to knock over another player’s chips, the person touching another person’s chips could be asked to leave.  (For those who might not know, in a poker game, particular a No Limit game, a player is obligated to keep his chips stacked in a way so that other players are able to estimate the size of his stack).

Mike was pushed by Michelle, aka the dealer who never pushes me a pot, aka the dealer who famously wanted to be “Jack-Balled” (see here).  For some reason, she and Abe got into right away.  Of course they’re pals, and I don’t know what started it, but Abe said early on that he wasn’t going to tip her for any pots he won.  Later, Abe said something to Michelle and she didn’t respond.  “I’m not talking to you.  You said something terrible to me.”  Asked what, she replied, “You’re not going to take care of me.” 

That only egged Abe on.  He won a bunch of pots from her and would stack his chips deliberately.  And he’d say to her, “I’m stacking my chips.  See, I’m stacking my chips.” And then when he was finished, he’d say, “See, I’m all finished stacking my chips.”  And of course, he wouldn’t throw any chips Michelle’s way.  I’m not sure what Michelle said in response, but she was acted displeased.  Now, there was no doubt in my mind—and I seriously doubt there was any doubt in her mind—that Abe would throw some money Michelle’s way when she was pushed out.  So it was almost like a little skit they were performing.

A little while later, I actually won a pot while Michelle was dealing—I think I may have won more than one, in fact.  It wasn’t a big one, but still, it wasn’t lost on Abe that it was Michelle sending the chips my way.  Before I had a chance to comment on this unlikely turn of events myself, Abe said, “Oh, look at this.  She’s pushing you a pot. I should take a picture of this.” 

Michelle said, “Well, just take a picture of him not me.”  I asked, “You don’t want your picture taken?”  She responded, “No…..I’m famous.  I’m on the cover of magazines.”

So I had to ask what magazines.  Now, I actually wanted to say, “Playboy?” but I thought better of it.  “What magazines?  People Magazine?”

“No.  Asshole Magazine.”

Abe and I both cracked up at this.  While we were still laughing, she corrected herself. Pointed directly at Abe, she said,  “Actually, You're on the cover of Asshole Magazine.”  That was just awesome.  The two of us were now in complete hysterics.

Shortly thereafter there was some discussion about who was the biggest asshole in the room and of course Michelle said, “The guy in seat 2.”  That would be Abe, of course.

When Michelle left, of course Abe threw her some chips and said, “That’s with interest. I’m giving you interest” She said, “You should give me interest for making me wait.”

I think it was the next dealer that turned things around for me.  Down to about $160, I was in the big blind with Ace-10 of clubs.  Abe, under-the-gun, made it $10.  Four other players called by the time it got back to me, so I put in another $8 and six of us saw the flop.

It was Ace-high, no draws.  I checked and so did Abe.  A guy who was down to $58 bet $16.  Pretty small bet for the size of the pot.  One player called, as did I.  Abe mucked and got up from the table.  “Let me know how it turns out,” he said as he walked away.

The turn put a low pair on the board.  I checked, the same guy bet another $16 and we both called.  The river was a blank and the guy put his last $26 in.  The other guy folded but it was an easy call for me, even though I thought there was an excellent chance I was out-kicked.

When I called the other guy said, “You got an Ace?”  I both said yes and showed him my Ace.  And what did he have?  Would you believe two Kings?

Wow.  If I started playing pocket Kings that badly, I’d probably start a blog and call them “the dreaded pocket Kings.”  Hmm…..

Seriously, that was poorly played on his part.  He of course should have three-bet Abe before the flop.  In fact, with only $68, he probably should have just shoved preflop.  I mean, if he’s willing to get it all in with his dreaded hand even if with an Ace on the board, why not put it all in when you’re likely ahead?  Alternatively, a shove on the flop might have gotten a weak Ace to fold.  Probably weaker than a 10, tho.  As it was, his small flop and turn bets made it too easy for someone with even Ace-deuce to call.

I was originally planning on calling this post, “How not to play Pocket Kings.”  But you know, I just had to put “Asshole Magazine” in the title.

I was just about done stacking my chips when Abe returned.  “So what happened with the hand?” he asked.  I pointed to my now much larger stack.  “Oh, you got them.”  Another player told him that the guy who bet—who took off immediately after the hand—had pocket Kings.  “And didn’t re-raise with them preflop?”  Yes, that’s what he did.  Or didn’t do.

One of our mutual pals asked if any of the big stack in front of Abe had come from me.  I said no, but Abe corrected me and pointed out that I had put in $26 calling his preflop raises on hands he eventually won.  So later, when Abe got a massage, he made it very clear to me—and the masseuse—that he was paying for the massage with the chips that he had won from me. I said, “Okay, good.”

A bit later I had Aces in early position, and my $8 bet was called by three players, including Abe. The flop was Queen high, two hearts, and I did have the Ace of hearts.  I bet $25 and Abe was the only caller.  The turn was an Ace (there goes my backdoor flush draw) and I put out $50.  Abe tanked for a long time but finally folded. Guess Abe ended up paying for that massage with someone else’s money.

With some profit in front of me, in the small blind I was dealt the dreaded hand myself.  There were a bunch of limpers, so I made it $15 and got two callers. The flop was Ace high.  I bet $30.  Does anyone have a better suggestion for what to do there?  Kings with an Ace on the flop?  You have to bet there, right?  The first guy folded immediately but the second guy tanked for quite a long time before folding.  I’m guessing he had a weak Ace and put me on a stronger one.

And that was it.  I ended up over $150 up for the night.  And just missed out being on the cover of Asshole Magazine.