Thursday, November 12, 2015

"Don't Be A Dick"

Some unbelievable things happened on this night.

1. I got a straight flush (probably like the 4th or 5th one I’ve ever gotten).

2. I accused a player of collusion.

3. I got called a “dick” (ok, that’s maybe not so unbelievable).

4. I became pals with the guy who called me a dick.

The context for this session is very important.  It was my last night in Vegas.  And as I’ve already made quite clear, I was not having a good trip, poker wise (see here, if you’ve forgotten).

So this was my last session of the trip.  And it got off to a horrific start.  Just a few hands into it, I lost my first buy-in ($200).  In the big blind, I turned a wheel with a redraw to the steel wheel.  But on the river, the other flush hit, and that was that (going into more detail is too painful to recount).

I was chugging along, trying to get my money back when a flopped two pair became somebody’s straight by the river.  That only cost me $100.  So I topped off my stack for $100.

So, as you can imagine, by the time the key hand of the evening took place, I was not in the best of moods. 

Sitting to my right was a reg who I first mentioned in the post here as the guy who reminds me of my best friend from Junior High School.  I’ll give him a name this time, since he figures into this story a bit.  I’ll call him “Craig.”  But for this hand, the key characters are two brothers (middle-aged) and a Frenchman.  The Frenchman we’ll just call “Frenchy,” and we’ll identify the brothers as “B1” and “B2”. 

B1 had been at the table when I arrived, and had a whole lot of chips.  B2 arrived after me and had a smaller stack, varied between $100 and $200.  It turned out that the two brothers live on opposite sides of the country and were getting together in Vegas for a visit.  Pretty sure they are both married and left their wives behind.  B1 actually lives in the L.A. area, not far from me.  B2 lives in Washington, DC where he practices law 

B1 was on the opposite side of the table from me, and B2 was sitting across from me.  The fact that they were sitting far apart from each other didn’t prevent them from having a conversation the whole time.  It was pleasant enough, they seemed to be having a good time interacting with each other and the other players.  They were giving each other some good-natured ribbing throughout the session.

Because of the aftermath, it took me awhile to write down the hand, and with all the ensuing commotion, I might have some of the details wrong, but I’ve hopefully got most of it right.

This happened a few hands after I had just added on the $100, so I had a bit less than $200 in front of me and was in for $500.  I was in the big blind with 9-2 of diamonds. 

Five of us saw the flop, including B1 and Frenchy, but not B2.  And the flop was 8-6-2, with both the 8 and the 6 being diamonds.  So I had bottom pair, a flush draw, and a back door straight draw.  Certainly enough to call a $10 bet with, and it was now three handed with B1 & Frenchy.

The turn was, amazingly enough, the 7 of diamonds.  That gave me the 9-high flush, as well as the open-ended straight flush draw.  But I pretty much dismissed that, as straight flushes are so rare.  I was worried that my flush wasn’t high enough and I sure didn’t want to see another diamond on the river—unless it was the 10 or 5.  I led out for $25 and both players called.

Well, wouldn’t you know it, it was indeed the 10 of diamonds that came out on the river, completing the first straight flush I’ve seen in well over a year.  Now what to do?  I wanted to be called by at least one of them, if not both.  How much could I bet?  It was certainly tempting to put all my chips out there, but for the size of the pot that would have been a huge overbet and I was afraid no one would call. 

But I didn’t have very long to think about it—no time at all, really—when suddenly, B2, not in the hand, blurted out, “Oh look at that—an up and down straight flush draw out there!”

Are you freaking kidding me?

I was lived, but of course, I couldn’t say anything.  Sadly, the dealer didn’t say anything, either.  This is a dealer who has dealt me thousands of hands over the years and is one of the least likely to correct a player unless he absolutely has to.  I would have liked for him to have told him immediately that what he did was wrong, even though, of course, it was too late, the genie was out of the bottle.

Now, with my hand basically having been called, I grabbed just a few chips--$40 worth—and put them out.  There was now probably zero chance that if one of them had the Ace of diamonds they would raise.  Maybe they wouldn’t even call.

B1 folded in a nano-second and Frenchy tanked.  He asked for a count.  He tanked some more.  Finally he called.

The action was over and I wasted no time in exploding. As I was starting to flip my cards over, I angrily said to the dealer, by name, “Would you tell this guy he can’t talk about the hand?”

As soon as the dealer finished calling out my hand, he did indeed warn B2 about talking about the hand.  And the guy apologized.  He said, “Oh, I’m sorry.”  Now that should have ended it, but I was way too upset to let it go.  At that moment, I had just had the best hand I’d han in a long time, at the end of a long trip where little went right, and I was sure the guy had cost me some money—possibly a lot of money.

I don’t remember exactly what I said, but I can assure you I used a very angry tone.  It was something like, “You know, that’s really bad.  And that was your brother who folded.  Someone might think that was collusion.”

B2 didn’t take very kindly to that.  “Oh come on.  Collusion?  Don’t be a dick.” His tone was pretty angry, too.


I didn’t say anything to B2.  I was sitting right next to the dealer and I said to him, “Are you gonna call the floor?”  He replied, “I got the light on.”

In the meantime, I didn’t even see Frenchy’s hand, which he had exposed because he indeed had a flush (so he earned a drawing ticket).  Did he have the Ace or a lesser flush?  I couldn’t tell you.  The steam coming out of my ears was blocking my vision.

Nothing else was said until the shift manager showed up a few seconds later.  Of course, this shift manager knows me by name.  I said nothing while the dealer accurately described what happened.  But interestingly, instead of saying that he called me “a dick” he said he called me a bad name.  I wonder if that’s procedure, not to use the offending word?

I think I may have said, “he called me a dick,” but at the same time, Craig spoke up and said, “he called him a dick.”  Thanks for having my back, Craig.

No one disputed anything, and the shift manager said, “Now, two things.  One, you can’t talk about the hand when it’s live.  And two, you can’t call my players nasty names.”

B2 didn’t argue.  He said he understood, and apologized to me again.  By name.  He heard both the dealer and the shift manager refer to me as “Robert” so he said, “I’m really sorry, Robert.”

At which point the shift manager turned to me and said, “Are you ok with that?”

Well by now, I had cooled down some.  And anyway, there was nothing else that could be done.  I mean, if the guy had actually helped save his brother some money, I didn’t think it was intentional.  By the way, his brother didn’t say a word during any of this.

I said I was fine and then the shift boss said something about getting back to poker and maybe kind of reminded B2 to watch his mouth again.  And that was it.

Now, if I had said I wasn’t ok, I’m not sure what else could have/would have been done.  I don’t think he would have kicked B2 out of the room.  I think at most he would have found another table for one of us to move to. 

And I want to say that I don’t think I got any preferential treatment due to the shift manager knowing me as one of his regs.  I’m sure it would have been handled the same way regardless.  I suppose if B2 had disputed any facts, I might have had the advantage since they know me, but since he admitted being at fault, it wasn’t a factor.

Although it was over, there was kind of an uncomfortable air over the table, or at least for me.  And I realized I was extremely self-conscious (I rarely lose my temper like that). And so, having cooled off, I kind of realized that I had over reacted.  I’m sure if the same situation had occurred during a time when I had been running well, I would have handled it more in stride.

And I was feeling very uncomfortable there.  And I realized that the guy had just made an innocent mistake.  So, when we were both out of a hand, I got up, walked over to him, and yes, believe it or not, I actually apologized to him.  I apologized to the guy who had called me a “dick.”  I said something like, “I’m sorry I overreacted, it’s just that I’ve been running really bad and I don’t get many straight flushes.”  Duh, who does?

He was a gentleman, “Nah, forget it, it’s over, I understand.”  And then I reached out my hand and we shook on it.  It was over.

And so we all played together the rest of the night.  Turns out both B1 and B2 were pretty good guys.  And B2 and I almost got to be buddies. Maybe I don’t need the “almost” in the last sentence.

There was hand where I was heads up against Craig after the flop, which was 3-4-5 rainbow.  I had been the small blind and I had Ace-6 of hearts.  Craig limped in from the button and bet the flop and the turn, which I called with my open ender, especially with the turn being an Ace.  When 2 hit the river, I bet out my straight and Craig hesitated a bit before calling.  He flipped over Ace-2, so he got worse than counterfeited.  He figured he was calling for a chop after flopping the wheel, but I had a better straight than was on the board.

Anyway, as I was scooping my chips, and giving Craig my insincere, “I’m sorry,” B2 said, “Did you hear that?  I did it again.  I said, ‘There’s a straight on the board.’ I can’t help myself, it’s totally involuntary.”

Now the fact was, I did hear him say that, but I was sure he had said it after Craig had called.  But no, B2 insisted he said it before the action was over.  Wow.  Interesting confession to make, especially to me.  But it goes to show that we had become pals by then.

As I mentioned, he and his brother were bantering and giving each other shit all night.  At one point, his brother said something he didn’t like, and, before responding, he looked at me and said, “Is it ok if I call my brother a dick?”  I laughed and said sure.  So of course, B2 called his brother a dick and then said that I had given him permission to do so.  I laughed and said, “I’m guessing that’s not the first time you’ve called him a dick.”  He laughed and said not even close.

When I found out he was a D.C. lawyer, I asked him if he ever played in those Maryland rooms that a certain Poker Barrister plays in.  He says he never does.  Too much going on when he’s home between his wife, his kids, his dogs, etc.  Hmm…Perhaps if he’d play more live poker he could break himself of the habit of blurting out what’s on the board.

Of course, I had to tell him the story that said PPP, the other DC lawyer I know, had just completed a 6-week assignment where he was forced to stay in Vegas during a trial.  He agreed that it must have been pure hell to be stuck in a suite at the V’dara all that time.

I had a couple of tickets for the midnight drawing so I stayed that long.  And they were giving away five $200 prizes.  I whiffed, but both B2 and Craig were called.  Two winners at my table and neither was me.  That was how I was running.

I left down a bunch, and said goodbye to both B1 and B2, wishing them safe trips home.  Meanwhile, Craig and I cashed out together.  To this point, we had hardly spoken a word to each other, ever.  He did call me “Robert” a few times that night, after hearing the shift manager call me that.  Like, “Ok, Robert, I’ll call you,” or “I wish I hadn’t played that hand, Robert.”  But nothing more than that.  So I was surprised when he asked me what my “poker website” was.  Hmm….I don’t recall the blog ever been talked about it my presence.  But apparently one of the dealers had told him about it at one point.  I’m kind of thinking he wants to read my report on this particular night.

So here it is, Craig.  Welcome. 

On my last night in Vegas, I lost money, hit a straight flush, and became buddies with a guy who called me a dick.  Ho hum.

19 comments:

  1. I love how you set up this story Rob, tbh I think you handled that straight flush incident the best you could. Unbelievable, I would have had steam coming from my ears like in the cartoons!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Anony, thanks for the kudos....so I wish you weren't anonymous!

      Delete
  2. Oh, so someone called you a "dick". Big whoop. Come back when someone calls your mother a ... C-word.

    http://craakker.blogspot.com/2010/03/imop-memories-beatdown-at-bally.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hmmm ... at first I thought that I was somehow involved in this story. Or maybe you don't write about "bad players" anymore ... he he.

      Delete
    2. @Grange, wow that was a great story....but come on, it wasn't YOUR MOM who was called the c-word, just a casino pit boss.

      BTW, the Bally's poker room has moved since that story took place so the poor blokes wouldn't have gotten in trouble with the pit boss

      Delete
    3. @Lightning....what, do you have a guilty conscious? No bad players in this story (except for me), just rude ones.

      Delete
  3. Good read, Rob. I'm glad you didn't "retire."

    Hey, my last class is Monday and I'm a free man. Almost certainly going to play next Friday somewhere. You in town?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks very much, Dave.

      Assuming you're talking about 11/20 and not tomorrow (or today, really), I might just be available. What would your schedule be like?

      Delete
    2. Definitely mean the 20th. With the exception of a soccer game, this weekend will be finishing my final paper.

      I usually start 9is or so after I put my daughter to bed.

      Dave

      Delete
    3. Hmmm....kinda late for me (when I'm home0 but I'll have to see how my schedule is next week.

      Delete
    4. I thought that may be the case. I'll try to ping you Thursday or earlier in the day on Friday.

      Delete
  4. As far as your losing streak, I think Vegas can be a tough place to play. There are too many time you end up at a table that is dead, or filled with regs. Regs are not people who can afford to lose money. You have to earn your money from these people. That said, I think MGM is a great poker room, but not the softest game in town. Also, I think it is better to play later. So if you sit down at 8:00, you will exhausted and maybe a little inebriated at midnight.

    However, the reasons you stated are exactly when it is hard to consistently make money at 1-2. If you fold to a bluffer and call when they have a monster, you will lose your shirt. The problem is that if make that mistake once, you are vulnerable until you are unstuck. Throw in being card dead for long periods and it makes it very hard to recover. However, this is just my opinions. I just found the games in Maryland much softer.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Daryl...Don't think I'll be playing in Maryland any time soon. Also, I don't drink so being inebriated isn't a problem.

      I thought of trying to play later but not sure how easily I could adjust my schedule, especially since I have to work most days in Vegas.

      Delete
  5. Great post Rob! We all have our moments.

    Kenny #12

    ReplyDelete
  6. The psychology is difficult if you call a bluff. Afterwards, you start to wonder if everyone is picking on you. On the other hand, if you call someone who has really crushed and you show, they start to think "what a fish, he will can anything with second pair or less." The real problem is when the initial mistake puts you in the hole and you start re-buying. Then your table image makes it harder for you to play. If you folded, or called then you have to worry about people bluffing you. You end up calling too much. If you fold to another bluff then you look like a total tool. You are in a difficult situation because of the first mistake.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ok, good observations.

      If I call someone and they show me a better hand, I almost never show my cards.

      Delete