One thing on my to-do list for this most recent trip was to play some poker at the newly re-opened poker room at The Linq and have some cards tossed to me by The Trooper.
You all know The Trooper, right? If you haven’t been following his great vlog, why not? I told you all about my meeting with Tim, aka The Trooper, in the post here, but I imagine most of you already were familiar with him.
Before getting to town, I learned that the Linq (formerly The Quad, formerly The Imperial Palace) was reopening their poker room. They had closed it at the beginning of the year. And then, Tim announced on his vlog that he was going to be working there as a poker dealer when they reopened. Tim had dealt poker where he is from but had never been a dealer in a Vegas poker room before.
Well, many of his fans and Twitter pals decided to hit the Linq the first Friday night the room was open. Sadly for me, this was the week before I was scheduled to return to town, so I missed it, I’m sure it was a lot of fun.
Tim was scheduled to work the first Friday night I was in town, so I penciled in that date. What ensured it though was learning from Paul that he and his pal Dom would be playing there that evening to meet Tim for themselves. Paul and Dom are the two Brits that were featured in the recent post here. The night I’m about to tell you about took place one night before the activities in that post occurred.
Since I had never met them and most definitely wanted to, this seemed like the right evening to check out the latest incarnation of the Linq poker room.
I arrived around 7PM and Tim was there, in uniform, ready to deal, waiting for a game to start. The room has four tables and in addition to $45 tournaments four times a day, they offer $1-$1 NLH. Yeah, both the small and big blinds are a buck. Back in the Quad days, they were actually offering a $.50-$1 NLH game (and I wrote about the fun we had playing it here). When they reopened, they decided the fifty cent pieces were too much of a headache to deal with, so they went with a 1/1 game, $100 minimum buy-in, $300 max. They also offer a 1/3 game with no cap and a 1/1 PLO game, though I haven’t seen those spread very often.
Tim of course was not wearing a baseball cap so he actually recognized me before I recognized him. And then he told me that there were already some guys here waiting for me. He meant Paul and Dom, who were sitting at the one active table, a 1/1 game. I went over to say hello. It was hard to talk though over the noise that was coming from their table. It was one of the rowdiest tables I’ve ever heard. There was shouting and laughter and obscenities every other minute. But alas, it was full.
There were three people or so sitting at a table with a dealer. Tim suggested I take a seat there and they could soon start a second game. He was sure that if we could get the game going short-handed, it wouldn’t take long for other people to show up and fill the table.
He was right. We decided to start the game four-handed with a very reduced rake. A buck for the promo at $10 and a buck (max) for the house rake at $20. Can’t beat that. I took to Twitter to promote the game and see if I could induce any of my Twitter followers to join. But it wasn’t really necessary. One by one, players came to fill the seats. It was a full table (with a waiting list) in less than 45-minutes or so.
Now, Paul had initially told me that if that other game started, he would ask to move over to join me. But he decided he couldn’t leave that game and I don’t blame him. I don’t know how “juicy” that game was, but it was clear everyone was having way too good a time to leave.
I heard a dealer or two (not Tim) talk a little bit about this, but I didn’t get the full story until I saw Paul the next night at MGM. But there was a guy in his game who got robbed the night before. Apparently said guy had won $3K gambling and had three $1K chips that he’d taken up to his room. But he didn’t go up to his room alone. No, he apparently took a woman with him that he had just met. Paul was not clear on whether the woman was actually a hooker, or this was just a hook-up, but apparently, after some physical activity was engaged in, the guy fell asleep. When he awoke, both the woman and the three $1K chips were gone. Not the first time something like that has happened in Vegas, I’ll wager.
I asked the most pertinent question which was, of course, did the guy actually get laid before he dozed off? And as far as we know, the answer is yes. So he got screwed twice, although he only enjoyed the first screwing. Well, at least he got something of value for his $3K. But you know, for $3K you could probably find yourself one helluva a smoking hot hooker, and I doubt this gal was up to that caliber.
But perhaps the funniest part of the story was that this guy’s buddy was telling everyone at the table—indeed everyone he encountered—the story as if it was the greatest story ever. Paul said the guy who got was robbed, who happened to be Russian, was already so drunk by the time Paul heard the story that he didn’t seem to notice (or care) that his misfortune was being used for comedic effect by his pal.
I bought in for $200, apparently forgetting that it was 1/1 and $100 would have been more appropriate. But I have to say, for whatever reason, it was hard for me to take the game seriously. Not sure why. It was real money, even though the stakes were a little smaller. Perhaps it was because the game started so short. But for awhile there, I was too busy on Twitter trying to get folks to show up to pay much attention. And then, at the beginning, I wasn’t even writing down hands. Not sure why.
Tim did a fine job, and I suspect once he gets more experience dealing under his belt he’ll loosen up even more, but it was a fun table whenever he was dealing. Actually, all the dealers were pretty fun, and very good. It was a very nice atmosphere, but my table couldn’t compete with the craziness behind me at Paul’s game.
The action was loose and I started out doing pretty well—well enough so that I wasn’t really tempted to ask for a change to Paul’s crazy table even after our game filled up.
There was one guy at the table who was pretty much dictating the action. Very loud, very loose. His brother was also in the game, much quieter, sitting across from me, until I felted him. But the very loud, loose brother, who I guess I’ll call Chatterbox, was the key to the session. He talked nonstop and bet nonstop. He was making the biggest preflop raises, and the most frequent. The average preflop raise size was all over the map, sometimes $3 or $4 and sometimes as high as $12-$15.
I didn’t take real notes, but against Chatterbox’s brother, I called his preflop raise with Ace-2 of diamonds. I called something on the flop with the flush draw, which I hit on the turn. I think I bet that turn and he called, then went all in on the river where I had the stone cold nuts. He flipped over two Aces. Suddenly I was sitting behind a bit over $300. Chatterbox had also done well with his aggression and had me covered, probably just by a little bit.
I was in the blind with Jack-10 offsuit. I called a small raise, there were a bunch of us. The flop was Jack-10-2, rainbow. I bet $20, I’m sure that was less than the pot. Chatterbox, who was not the preflop raiser, called. The turn was a Jack. I thought about slowplaying it, but with only one more street to go, I felt I had to get more money in the pot while I could. But I only bet $25, he called (I believe we were heads up at this point). The river was a King. I bet $50 and he went into the tank.
My thought was he was likely to fold but trying to talk himself into calling. He had played with me long enough to know I wasn’t betting there with nothing—at least I thought he was observant enough to figure that out. I could be wrong on that. But after a while, he was starting to count out a lot more chips than $50 and he slid forward $155.
He didn’t have that much behind and neither did I….but I decided to just call. I wasn’t really worried about pocket Kings—I couldn’t see him playing Kings that way—but I figured if he had King-Jack he could have easily played it pretty much same way.
He flipped over his hand, “I have a full house,” he said. He sure did….pocket deuces. He flopped a set and turned a boat. Sadly for him, I had flopped two pair and turned a bigger boat.
When I finished stacking my chips, I actually took a picture of my stack and tweeted it out with the line, “Boat over boat is good!” People were tweeting back asking me if Trooper had dealt me that hand. I snarkily replied, “No, Trooper would never be that good to me.”
Then I lost some chips with pocket Queens. I raised preflop, bet every street on a Jack-high board. On the river, the board was still not very scary and I bet $50. The guy who had been calling me suddenly checked-raised to $150. I don’t think a guy playing 1/1 is bluffing enough there to make a call profitable, so I let it go. I’m sure he had a set or two pair. But I’ll never know for sure.
A bit later, Tim pushed back in to deal. And so, the player on my right, who I believe had just entered the game, asked Tim about the promos for the room. Since they just opened, the promos are on the small side, just high hand bonuses, $50 for quads, $100 for straight flushes and $200 for Royals. Tim explained that to the guy and within five minutes, dealt that very guy quads. Seriously, it was quite coincidence that the guy who asked about the bonuses got one so soon after. He had pocket 6’s, flopped a set and turned quads. I don’t think anyone called his turn bet but he showed them for the bonus.
Tim remarked how funny that was, the timing, and he said he was gonna mention it in his next vlog, but I don’t think he did. I guess he was leaving it to me.
So not that much longer after that, with Tim still dealing, I got King-6 of spades n the big blind. I think there was a raise to $3 which I called. The flop was 10-6-6 and I checked, but the preflop raiser and everyone else checked too. The turn was the case 6. That would be the second time Tim dealt quad 6’s during this particular down (tho, since I didn’t have two in my hand, no bonus). I bet $10 and got a caller. I don’t recall the river and I hoped the guy would call $25, so that’s what I put out. He did call. He started to flip over his cards and then turned them back over when he saw the 6 in my hand.
I had to amend my tweet. Trooper wouldn’t deal me boat over boat, but he did just deal me quads.
Last hand of note, I had pocket Jacks and called a raise with them. I flopped a set with a flush draw on the board. I bet $20 and had one caller. I bet $50 on the turn and no call.
I was up over $300 at one point and managed to cash out with about 2/3’s of that. Not bad for a 1/1 game. I picked up around the same time Paul and Dom did by pure coincidence.
It was a fun night and also profitable. But it wasn’t until the next day that I realized my biggest mistake of the night. I forgot to drop the “f-bomb!”
You see, when I heard that Tim was going to be dealing at Linq, I told him, on Twitter, that I would go play there and say “f***” a lot and enjoy the moment when he had to warn me about my language. If you’ve seen Trooper’s videos you know why this funny—every other word out of his mouth starts with “f.” The irony of him having to warn someone about their language appealed to me.
That said, I don’t think it would have mattered. Tim responded to my challenge on Twitter that he understood that they would be pretty lenient in enforcing language rules at the Linq. And for that matter, the table behind us was shouting enough f-bombs for them to be complaining from the Bellagio.