In case you were wondering…no, I haven’t finished all my blogging from my December trip to Vegas. Not by a long shot. So let’s get back to it, shall we?
On a drizzly Wednesday evening in December, I found myself driving to downtown to meet up with VegasDWP and Alysia Chang for dinner. We were dinning at Hugo’s Cellar at the Four Queens. Hugo’s Cellar is definitely old Vegas. Very classy, very elegant. It’s not cheap, but because it’s downtown it’s very reasonably priced as compared to a comparable place on the Strip. Actually, I’m not sure there is a comparable place on the Strip. Not in 2017. You might have to take a time machine back about 30 years to find its equivalent on the Strip. And thanks to VegasDWP for the great meal. To quote him, "Anyone who survives a triple by-pass deserves a free meal." Or something to that effect.
Dinner was excellent—I had a terrific steak—and the conversation was scintillating. I must say, all the juicy gossip we discussed would make one helluva blog post. Unfortunately for you, I did promise not to reveal anything scandalous from our dinner conversation. Sorry, but I am a man of my word.
Meanwhile, word had come down from the mountain—well, actually, it was Twitter—that the famous (and infamous) Tony Bigcharles had made his way to Vegas from parts unknown (actually, it was Phoenix, if memory serves). We had reason to believe Tony would be playing some of that pokerz at Golden Nugget. So we decided to check out the GN poker room after dinner to see if he was there.
He was indeed, and the three of us all got on the list for the 1/2 game. I was seated immediately, followed by AC and DWP….but all three of us were at a different table from Tony. Tony got on the list to transfer to our game, and eventually, all four of us were at the same table. In fact, the three of them were all sitting in a row right next to each other. I was kind of on the other side of the table so I wasn’t able to hear a lot of the conversation they were having.
I played about two hours. I must admit that it is a weakness of mine that whenever I’m playing with friends, I have a harder time paying attention to the actual poker. So I didn’t make very many notes about hands. Although I don’t think I missed anything major. I won a few very small pots that never got past the turn. I hit a few sets. I didn’t write them all down because I didn’t get paid for them. I hit a set of 10’s and one other set before…..
I limped in with pocket 4’s, and only Alysia, in the big blind saw the flop with me. I caught my set; I didn’t note what the other cards on the flop were. She led out for a whopping $3 (but considering the size of the pot, it was an appropriate bet). I just called. On the turn, she led out for $4. This time I raised to $12. She called. She checked the blank river and I bet $25. She folded.
Then there was “big” hand against Tony. For some reason, I didn’t write down full notes on it and I had trouble remembering the details the next day. I believe we were heads up in a limped pot on the flop. One of us must have been the big blind but I don’t recall who. I had pocket 9’s. The flop was 9-6-6. I think flopping a boat is even better than flopping a set. I slow-played it on the flop and neither of us bet. I bet something on the turn and Tony called. I bet something on the river and he called. He didn’t show when I tabled by boat. It was another small pot, because it was limped in and I didn’t expect he would call any big bets.
That was the last hand of mine I made any notation about whatsoever. When I left I had booked a solid $15 profit.
But there were a couple of other hands involving Tony that caught my attention. In the first one, I think he talked himself out of taking down a nice pot.
Because I wasn’t in the hand, I wasn’t really paying attention until the river. On the river, Tony shoved. I guess it was over $100 because he had a bunch of chips and a $100 bill (Golden Nugget is one of the few casinos in Vegas where cash still plays). It struck me as a big overbet although I can’t tell you how much was in the pot. Still, I ‘m sure his bet was way over the size of the pot. The flop had come out 9-6-x, one club. The turn and the river cards were both clubs, there was no pair on the board.
It was heads up and the other guy in the hand was sitting right next to me. He was really tanking. And then Tony did what anyone who’s played with him has seen him do so often. He talked. And talked. And talked.
The guy was still tanking, but clearly was very much considering calling. And so Tony said, “I’ll be totally honest with you. I had an open-ended straight draw but I missed. I don’t have a straight.”
The guy stayed in the tank, and Tony kept talking. He repeated several times that he missed his straight draw—and that he was being honest about that. The guy kept tanking.
I kept thinking, “He’s got 8-7 of clubs. He’s basically telling the guy that’s what he has. Why is he talking the guy out of calling?” I didn’t like his bet size either. He should have bet much smaller to get a call.
Unless he was bluffing.
No, I didn’t think he was. One of my (many) weaknesses as a poker player is that I’m not a great hand reader. But I would have bet my house he had exactly 8-7 of clubs. And so, finally, the guy folded. And Tony showed his hand (which of course, he didn’t have to do). It was….8-7 of clubs, for the runner-runner flush. Just as I thought. And all I could think of was, “Why did he talk the guy out of giving him his money?”
At one point during this hand….)’m not sure if it was while the guy was tanking or immediately after he folded….Tony said, “Oh, Rob is gonna talk about this hand.”
Ya think? But I replied, “I don’t think I’m the only one at this table who has a blog. You can write about it yourself, you know.”
Soon after the hand where I flopped a boat against him, Tony caught a boat of his own. He turned it. His only opponent was Alysia. Again, on the river, Tony made a big overbet….over $100 into a pot that was smaller than that. This time, Alysia tanked and called (I didn’t make a note of Tony talking this time, so maybe he didn’t). She didn’t show after Tony tabled his hand.
Now, I never checked with her, so this is pure speculation. And I think she would deny this even if it was true, but I strongly suspected that her call there was just her way of gifting Tony with some money. I may be way off base, I realize that. Just a strong hunch. It’s certainly possible she had a good bluff-catching hand or thought Tony was a lot weaker than he was.
Soon thereafter I said goodbye to the gang and headed back to my hotel. All I could think of was what I was gonna do with my big $15 score.