I’m getting lazy, I guess. You see, if Chuck had done even one only slightly embarrassing thing this night—or if we had managed to get into a hand together, even—I would probably have taken the time to come up with a blog name for him. But alas, he really isn’t part of this story, except for the fact that he organized the game. Which means when I finally have a really outrageous tale about him to tell, which I hopefully will, some day, I might just use his real name when I tell it. But for now, he’s safe.
I’ve known Chuck for many years, long before I started blogging. We were both active on the AVP forums and had many exchanges. I’ve met Chuck in person at several AVP events over the years. He came into town on New Year’s Eve. Chuck is mostly a limit player but likes to dip his toe in the NL waters every now and again—especially when he can do so at The Linq where the game is $1-$1, not $1-$2. So and he and our buddy Don (recently mentioned here) were going to play some $1-$1 at the Linq, the night of New Year’s Day.
I put the word out about the game, hoping to get more friends and perhaps more AVP’ers to show up. No other AVP’ers showed, but we were joined by “Inner Circle” member Alysia Chang. Alysia certainly needs no introduction to readers of this blog, but if you want one anyway, you can find one here.
The most famous participant in this night’s festivities was Tim, aka The Trooper. But he actually had to be there, since he is in the employ of The Linq and was dealing there. It’s always a fun time when Tim is dealing. There was a rather annoying player at the table (no, not me) who wouldn’t shut up. He kept asking dumb questions that I’m pretty sure he knew the answer to—like why he had to post his blinds when he missed them but new players didn’t. I believe Tim had dealt with him, I mean dealt to him, before. Early on, he accused this player of having “diarrhea of the mouth.” To make sure the player wasn’t offended, Tim said he was guilty of having the same ailment.
That joked tied in nicely with one of Tim’s favorite bits of schtick. Whenever he puts a deuce on the board, he announces, “Look at that, I dropped a deuce on the turn” (or the flop, or the river, whatever).
During the evening, Tim told me the story about a player acting out of turn before he (Tim) finished his action. At the time, he wasn’t sure that he was going to mention this in his vlog, and I encouraged him to do just that. So you can find that story, told as only The Trooper can tell it, here. And of course, I am taking full credit for the success of that particular vlog. Autographs available on request.
I needed Tim’s help in directing me to food. My feeding schedule was all messed up this day, due to having been up until 4:00AM that morning. So I needed to take a break and find some food. He suggested The Nook, a snack place in the back of the Linq. What he didn’t tell me was that, before one gets to The Nook from the poker room, one passes “The Nook Express” which is not at all what I had in mind. The Express version is just a coffee place that has a few premade sandwiches that having probably been sitting there since this hotel was known as The Imperial Palace. Fortunately I figured out there must have been a bigger, better Nook further towards the back.
The place had pizza, salads, sandwiches I guess…..it looked like the pizza was the safest bet for me. So let me make a meal recommendation for those of you visiting Vegas in the near future: Do not, under any circumstances, have the pizza at the Nook at the Linq. It’s not that it tasted bad, mind you. It’s that it had no discernible taste whatsoever. It had absolutely no flavor at all. I couldn’t taste the cheese, the dough, or the tomato sause. It was like eating air. I suppose I should be grateful it didn’t taste bad, but honestly, it was really the most tasteless pizza—or pretty much the most tasteless food of any kind—that I’ve ever had.
But it saved me from starving and it didn’t make me sick, so I guess in that sense it was fine.
The other thing I want to mention is the weather….the weather inside that is. Weather was an issue the entire trip, it was very cold in Vegas. And even colder in some poker rooms and casinos. The issue with the Linq poker room is that it is in the very front of the casino, right next to the doors that lead to the Strip (and also the Linq outdoor promenade or whatever they call it. Despite having double doors, every time the doors would be open for someone to come in or out, a extremely cold blast of air would hit pretty much everyone playing poker.
They tried to compensate by cranking in some nice warm air thru the ventilation system (a trick some other casinos haven’t mastered) but that created the situation where you were actually too warm as long as the doors were closed, and then you were suddenly freezing when someone entered or left the casino. The contrast in temperatures was rather unpleasant, and I’m sure not really healthy. I’m surprised I didn’t die a few days later.
Enough food talk, let’s get to the poker. With the big blind being just a buck, I bought in for $100. Early on, I had the most powerful hand in poker, the mighty deuce-four, in the big blind. I slow-played it by just checking my option and a bunch of us saw a flop of King-3-2. Alysia bet $5 and I called. There was another King on the turn and no one bet. Another deuce hit the river and I bet $10, and no one called. Alysia asked if I had pocket Kings (and thus, by the turn, quads). Since I won the hand, I dunno how she could think that. I did not reveal my hand (until right now).
Then I found myself looking at a couple of Aces. Before it got to me, Don raised to $5 (remember, both the small and big blinds are $1). I popped it to $15, Don thought about it and then called. We were heads up. The flop was King-Jack-9 two spades, and I did have the Ace of spades. I led out for $25 and Don tanked for quite a bit before folding. He later told me he had 10-8 suited (presumably not spades) and almost shoved over my bet with his draw. Knowing what a tight player he is, I would have folded had he shoved and he probably won’t be too happy to read that here. But to be fair today, prominent in my range was pocket Kings, and even yours truly is not going to fold a set of Kings there.
Speaking of the dreaded hand, I returned after my dinner break and waited a few hands until I was the big blind. And sure enough, my first hand was two red Kings. A spewy player had raised to $10 in early position, I made it $30, he called and we were heads up. The flop was 4-5-6, two diamonds. With my stack ($100ish before the hand started) I couldn’t think of a bet to make other than a shove, so I shoved. The other player tanked and called (he had me covered by a bit). The Ace of diamonds on the turn gave me the nut flush draw, which I thought I made when I saw a red 10 on the river. But the 10 was a heart, not the fourth diamond. No matter, the guy looked at my kings and just mucked without showing.
Of course, getting a nice double up with pocket Kings got everyone’s attention. Alysia made a big deal out of it, as did Chuck. In fact, Chuck tweeted out something to the effect that I can win with the dreaded Kings as long as I’m not playing at MGM. But I’ve got news for you Chuck—my issues with KK go way behind the confines of the MGM poker room.
I noted my stack after I finished stacking, I had exactly $213. Alas, I was not able to keep any of that profit as the evening wore on.
I want to mention a hand that Don and Alysia were in, because her play there had some effect on the big hand of the night between us. To make a long story short (something I excel at, of course), Don raised preflop with pocket Kings and by the river, there was a baby straight on the board, also two 6’s. His Kings were still an overpair and he and AC were all in (don’t remember when they got it all in). Alysia announced she had a 6 for trip 6’s as Don showed the Kings. But when her hand was exposed, it turned out she didn’t have a 6 at all. Instead she had suited connectors that made a straight (it was either 4-5 or 7-8, I guess). She was embarrassed but more than willing to drag the pot.
Don was not at all happy. The fact that she misread her hand seemed to particularly bother him (or perhaps her calling his preflop raise with a marginal hand did it). But the truth is, whether she had trip 6’s or the straight, she had his Kings beat.
The rest of the night, long after Don left after another bad hand, Alysia kept referring to herself as a bad player for not being able to read her hand. She said she should have looked again. Who knows, maybe if she had looked at not seen the 6 she thought she had, she wouldn’t have realized she had a straight and mucked? She might have played it differently, somehow. At one point she said, “When you’re playing suited connectors, it’s easy to forget what they are,” or something like that.
Later, I had pocket Kings again. I raised to $10, was called in four spots. The flop was Ace high. It folded to me and I bet $35. Bad play? I realize that with four players it’s likely someone has an Ace, but am I just supposed to check/fold there? I usually don’t. Anyway, it folded to the last guy who could call me, who took forever to go all-in—for $36. Yeah, one buck more than my bet. Tim was dealing so I joked, “I need time, this is tough decision, so I need to think about it.” Of course, as I was saying that, I threw in a buck. Naturally, the guy was playing Ace-2 (I think it was suited). That sucked.
Then came the hand of the night. I had Ace-Jack of diamonds and raised to $6 (remember, the BB is a buck). Six of us saw the flop, including Alysia. The flop was Jack-10-8, two clubs. Remember the guy with diarrhea of the mouth? He was still there, still yapping, and he led out for $10, a donk bet. Ordinarily I might just call there, but based on his play I thought he might just have a weaker Jack than me, so I wanted to raise. I made it $30.
And AC, next to act, shoved. It turned out be $93. It folded to the chatty guy, who talked for about five minutes before acting, coming pretty close to revealing the contents of his hand. He was warned to keep it quiet since there were players behind him, including me. He clearly did not want to fold…but he finally did.
So it folded back to me. And then this character would not shut up. He did this other times too, saying something like “two pair no good there,” and “how big are your two pair,” Honestly, I don’t understand why the dealer (it was not Tim) didn’t tell him to shut up. It was just distracting to me and arguably bad for Alysia, who didn’t need the player facing action to be coached. It’s one player to hand, right? I can only assume that the female dealer wasn’t paying enough attention, or since she could tell that AC and I were obviously friends, maybe she thought this guy was part of group as well. Truth be told, this guy liked to talk during and after hands, commenting way too much on the action, on the kinds of hands that might be good. He was warned to keep quiet, but to little effect.
But AC was also talking. She didn’t tell me what she had, but she kept telling me over and over again, “I’ll show if you fold.” She said this any number of times. Even over the other guy babbling, I heard this.
I was thinking of a lot of things. I was thinking about the very first time we played together, she bluffed me off my Kings (see the link I gave at the beginning). I was thinking of her constantly referring to herself as a bad player and misreading her hand (I think she may have pointed out that she had double checked her hand this time). My gut told me she wasn’t bluffing, but that maybe she was semi-bluffing with any of the draws out there or a pair and a draw.
But the other thing I was thinking of was the math. When I was finally able to tune out the chatty guy, it seemed to me that, from a Stack-to-Pot ratio analysis, the right decision was to call. It was borderline, for sure.
But I finally became convinced she really only would do that right there with one hand—Queen-9 for the flopped straight. And that reminded me of the hand I had against Lightning some time back (here), where he took down my set of Jacks with a turned straight while playing Queen-10. Of course, afterwards, I gave him all kinds of grief for being a bad player to have played Queen-10 there, it became a great source of ribbing between us. Well, if Lightning was a bad enough player to have played Queen-10, certainly Alysia was a “bad enough” player to being playing Queen-9 there. I mean, she had been telling us what a bad player she was all evening.
And so, after tanking for approximately 45-minutes, I decided to make the most of the situation. I didn’t just fold. I announced, “Well, since you’re a bad enough player to play Queen-9, I fold.” I said this while mucking my cards. Alysia, realizing I was folding, was good to her word and was in the process of exposing her hand. It was revealed before I finished my declaration. Of course, it was indeed Queen-9 (but it was sooooooted).,
Well, I lost the pot but got a great laugh, a great reaction from everyone for not only calling her hand but the way I called it. Alysia was the last one at the table to realize exactly what I had said when I folded, then she too cracked up. She even tweeted about it. I knew she’d be a good sport about it.
With three people at the table (four when Tim was dealing) familiar with this blog, it was mentioned quite a bit. Can’t remember the context of it, but very early in the session I somehow mentioned that when I use a quote as the title of a blog post, I almost never use one of my own quotes—I prefer to quote someone else (and better yet, a woman). But now I realized that I had to quote myself for the title of this post. I’m pretty sure Alysia even said something about having to quote myself.
Well, nothing much happened after that. Between the Kings hand I lost and the hand I lost to a player bad enough to play Queen-9, I ended up down a few bucks.
But it was certainly a fun session at the Linq.