Sunday, April 29, 2012

I've Got Nothing Against the Irish, Really

This is the story of my last night in Vegas on my most recent trip.  I am not going to blog stories about my recent trip in chronological order because, well, I never have before; why should I start now?  So this is not the last you’ll hear of my latest Vegas experience.
You already heard about the very end of this evening in my previous post, here. This is what led up to it. I was slightly ahead for the trip, so a good session would make this a profitable trip, but a losing one could put me in the red. I arrived at BSC and waited a bit for them to open a new game  I soon figured out there were some soft players there but the cards did not give me a chance to take advantage.  Furthermore, despite what should have been a busy Thursday night, we kept losing players and they had difficulty filling seats.  Finally the table was short enough that when we requested a rake reduction, they were able to send all of us who still wanted to play to other tables to fill them up.  This happened when Mike was dealing, Mike has been mentioned in many of my stories, the most recent one was this posted here. He had only been dealing for 10 minutes at this game and I felt bad for him, knowing that once the table broke he had no chance of making money for the rest of his down.  I apologized to him and said, “Don’t take it personally.”  He replied, “I always do.”
By the time I got to the new game, I had a little over half of my $200 buy in left.  My current rule is that I usually add a $100 when I dip much below $100 so I was getting ready to buy some more chips.  But I hung on for a bit just keeping my head afloat.  When the dealer was pushed at the new table, it was Mike who replaced current dealer.  I asked if he was following me.
Half way into Mike’s down, he dealt me 8/9 offsuit and I limped in.  There was an 8 on the flop and I called a smallish flop bet.  Another 8 hit the turn and now I was very happy.  I bet out and got a couple of callers.  Some high card hit the river and I bet out, got two callers, and I can only assume they had either top or middle pair because my trip 8’s held up to take down a pretty nice pot.
I told Mike that this was better than when he deals me pocket kings. This is a running gag Mike and I have going back to my 2/4 days, there was a time when he always seemed to deal me KK once every down.  I won about 1/3 of the time with them, but when you’re playing limit, losing with them is not as bad as losing with them in a No Limit.  You lose a few bucks when you lose with them in a limit game.  You can lose a lot of chips—maybe your whole stack—when you lose with them at 1/2.  Oddly enough, none of the bad beats I’ve taken with KK at No Limit were dealt to me by Mike.
More amazingly, I won the next two pots as well.  I don’t remember the details, other than one time I think I limped with K-10o, but in both cases there was at least a flop, it wasn’t like I raised preflop and only took the blinds and limpers.  Neither pot was as big as the first one, but with the three, I was now sitting behind over $200 in chips so I was actually now up a bit for the session and didn’t have to worry about rebuying. 
I thanked Mike and told him he’s never done this before, pushing me three real pots in a row.  I know I’ve never won three straight pots (that went to a flop) since I started playing No Limit.  I suppose it may have happened once or twice at limit.  Now I don’t normally believe that some dealers are lucky for me or some are unlucky for me, it always seems to vary from one day to the next.  The lone exception is Michelle, the dealer who “never pushes me a pot” who I talked about in this post here. I would have fainted if she had pushed me three pots in a row.  So I wasn’t thinking Mike was now my favorite dealer but I do consider him a pal and it was nice I could give three decent tips to him in a row—made up for deserting him in mid-down just a half hour earlier.
Mike was pushed by a dealer I’ve mentioned before when I talked about the pineapple game here.  But since I couldn’t give him a Blog name them I can’t now, But he’s another one of my pals, and he was about to deal me the hand.  Not sure if I had dropped below $200 by now but it was close.  Midway through his down, he sends me K-9 clubs which I limp in with in early position. 

(EDITED TO ADD:  One of my commenters, Lucki Duck, whose excellent blog you should check out here, pointed out that the hand K-9 is known as the "Dog" or "Canine"--K-9.  I wish I had thought of that before posting this story, I would have used it in the title of this postl.  Thanks, Lucki!)

I may have had to call a small raiser after limping to see the flop.  There were no clubs on the flop, but there was both a King and a 9 giving me top two.  I bet out and got two callers.  One, the guy to my immediate left, was a seemingly nice, very quiet older gentleman with an Irish brogue.  The other was a younger fellow with at least $70 more in his stack than I had.
The turn card was gorgeous, another 9, giving me the full house.   I led out again and just prayed that one of them would call.  To my delight, they both did.
Last card was a Jack, putting a possible straight on the board (no flush possible, though). I was hoping someone had hit that straight and would pay me off.  A bigger boat than mine seemed to me unlikely, but certainly a possibility.  My main concern was that no one would call my river bet, which was about 2/3’s the size of the pot.
To my surprise, the Irish gentlemen to my left wasted almost no time in announcing “all in.”  Interesting.  Perhaps even more interesting was the young guy who was next to act.  He tanked for awhile, muttering things like “I have a great hand” and “I think I’m beat.”  But he eventually called. 
Although I knew exactly what my next move was, I waited a bit to act, as if I had a hard decision to make (I wouldn’t have “Hollywooded” it if it was only the all in bet to call).  So after a few seconds I announced “all in.”
The Irishman was already all in so it was back to the younger guy.  He really, really tanked this time.  He said again that he knew he was beat.  But it would have been kind of dumb to fold there.  He had to put another $70 or so into a huge pot, the odds were right for a call unless I showed him my hand.  Reluctantly, painfully, he announced “call.”
I flipped over my hand and the dealer announced, “full house, 9’s full of Kings.”  For some reason, the younger guy hesitated a bit, didn’t show his hand (except he accidentally flashed one of his cards to the player next to him) and with great pain, annoyance and frustration, throw his hand face down to the dealer.  Dealer starts pushing me the side pot and asks the gentleman next to me to show his hand.  He looked at it for some time, looked at the board for a long time, looked at my hand for a long time, and then, without saying a word, shoved his cards face down towards the dealer.
So the dealer shoved the main pot towards me as well, which had a lot of chips.  I gave the dealer, my buddy, two red chips for his efforts.  By the time I finished stacking all my chips, there was over $600 in front of me, up from the $200 (plus or minus) I had started the hand with. Nice.
The younger guy said he had a straight, but after he busted out a hand later because I had put him on tilt, the guy next to him said he saw a 9 in his hand so he didn’t have a straight.  He lost a lot of money for trip 9’s that didn’t fill up for him.  I did ask the Irish guy if he had a straight, he whispered something to me that I couldn’t hear, and I didn’t want to seem like I was rubbing it in so I didn’t press him to repeat what he said.
No more pots won from this dealer but the next dealer was George, the dealer who dealt me one of my all time worst bad beats back in my limit days, a hand I described here.  A while into his down, I looked down at A-10 hearts.  The Irish gentlemen to my left (who had bought more chips after losing them all to me) made it $6 and since I had position, I called.  I can’t actually remember the entire flop, I seem to recall there was only one heart, but maybe also a 10 for middle pair?  I’m really not sure why I called his flop bet but it wasn’t big so I did call.  The turn was a heart and made it easy to call his relatively small turn bet.
The river was the King of hearts, which turned out to be the best possible card for me and the worst possible card for him.  He immediately announced “all in” and since it was the two of us and I knew I had the absolute nuts, I wasted no time in saying “call” (needless to say, I had him way covered, he had bought back in for $100, maybe $120).  I showed my flush and this time he showed his hand, which was pocket Kings.  Yes, the dreaded pocket Kings!  Obviously the gentleman wasn’t a reader of my blog or he would have known not to risk so much on such a lousy hand.  Pretty sure he wouldn’t have shoved all of his new buy-in if any other heart but the one that gave him a set of Kings showed up on the river.  Unlucky him.  Lucky me.
Now I had over $700 in red chips in front of me.  George got a nice tip from me too and pushed me no more pots.  But when he is about to be pushed, who do I see standing behind him, ready to replace him but Michelle, my one “unlucky” dealer.  Or, “The Robert Killer” as she once called herself.  She said hi to me and then noticed the huge stack of chips in front of me.  She did a double take and flashed me a big smile and nodded her approval of my big stack to me. 
So I said to her, “Oh no, should I run away right now?”
“Yes,” she said, “Run away.  Run away!”  But I didn’t it.  Early in her down, I raised preflop with Ace-Jack offsuit.  No one called and I took down the blinds and one limper.  I tipped her a buck anyway.  Then I said “82” to continue the count of pots she owed me, but while she thanked me for the tip, she said, “That doesn’t count.”  Ok, Michelle, you still owe me 83 pots.
I did lose some money with Michelle dealing, and for another dealer or two.  Won nothing of significance.  I realized that, as has happened in the past when I was way ahead, I was actually playing worse than I do when I’m losing.  I got way too conservative and missed some opportunities.  This is definitely something I have to work on in my game.  But as it was getting late and I had the drive back to L.A. in the morning, and I wasn’t really giving myself a chance to win, I racked up my winnings and settled for a profit of $450 for the session.  And the whole night pleasantly reminded me of my last night in Vegas on my previous trip, a story I described here.  The pot in that story, where I had quad 10’s, was the biggest pot I’d ever won at the time.  The pot I just described with the 9’s full of Kings was bigger and the night was even more successful.  That is a very nice pattern I hope to continue, a huge pot and a huge win on the final session of each Vegas trip!
So it was a winning trip, a winning last night in town, and overall, a very successful and fun visit to Vegas.


  1. When I've hit a certain point (being up) in no-limit in the past (it's not an exact number), I've found my play getting stale and just cashed out... Nice session!

  2. Good job taking your biggest pot down!
    Always a great feeling.

  3. The babe hound wins big with "The Dog" (K-9... canine)!

    Nice post.

  4. Always nice to end on a winning note. Congrats on some great hands.

  5. Thanks guys! Yes, it was a very nice nite indeed!

  6. About a year after I moved here in 2003, I worked in my friend's casino on the north end of town. Their Player's Center sold those photos of the dogs playing poker, except their cigars actually lit up. Very classy.

    1. Thanks very much for stopping by and commenting, Vegas Linda Lou! Really appreciate it.

      Interesting about the pic of the dogs playing poker. I will have more to say about that pic in a future post. I believe that in your line of work, that is what's known as a "tease."