Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Talkin' Vaginas With Kim Jong-il (part 1)

I timed my May Vegas trip so that I could attend a Crazy Pineapple game at BSC.  It took place my second nite in town.  Because of complaints of some people who remain nameless, I will once again do this as a two-parter.  The second part will be up in 48 hours or less.
The story of the first time I played Crazy Pineapple is told here. (Quickie description of the Crazy Pineapple variation of Hold ‘Em:  You are dealt 3 cards not 2, you bet the flop, after the flop betting is over you have to discard 1 card; other than that, exactly like Hold ‘Em).  Like that game, this was being held as a birthday party for one of my BSC dealer pals, in this case, Jack.  Jack has been referenced in quite a few of my posts, perhaps most memorably in this one here.  I was disappointed that in April, the same “birthday boy” who hosted last year’s game was not having another such game for his birthday, choosing to take a day off instead.  But Jack mentioned his birthday was a month away, and he would be having a game to celebrate.  For all the times he’s dealt to me, I’ve never seen Jack actually play poker.  Of course I asked him if I could attend and of course he said yes. 
This would actually be the third time I’ve played this crazy game.  Sometime last summer, I think, I wondered into BSC and found one in progress.  It was “unscheduled” as far as I knew, and it was mostly dealers and BSC personnel playing.  I immediately joined the game and immediately started winning.  Like the first game, I had a great time and a great winning run.  I have to find my notes on that game to see if there are any memorable stories from it to blog about, but right now, all I remember is that I was two for two in scoring big at Crazy Pineapple games at BSC.
Once I was able to confirm the actual date of the game with Prudence,  I made plans to be in Vegas for it.  Although it was originally scheduled to start at 10PM, when I saw Jack the night before he indicated that he was basically taking the entire night off and perhaps the game could get started as soon as 7PM.  So I planned to make sure I was there early enough to get a seat.  There seemed to be enough interest from both BSC dealers and BSC regulars that it was likely eventually the game would be filled up and there would be a waiting list.  I was grabbing a bite of dinner at around 6:15 when I checked my celphone and saw that Prudence had sent out a plea for attendees to start showing up; she was stuck at boring 1/2 game and dying to get the Pineapple game started.
I quickly finished eating and headed over to BSC.  I soon found her and as I got there she showed me the hand she was playing, calling it grrouchie’s hand.”  It was of course 7-2 offsuit.  I don’t recall the result of the hand, but I guess she lost as she was all too eager to leave said boring table and take a break to talk to me and see about how fast she could get the Pineapple game going. 
But before she did leave, Mike came by.  I believe the most recent time I mentioned Mike was this story hereI assumed Mike would be playing in the game later even if he had to actually deal for part of his shift first.  He played in one of the two Pineapple games I played in before and on that night, his luck was very bad, losing lots of money, and watching me win lots of money.  Anyway, Mike said hello to me but he had something for Prudence, it looked like a home made DVD.  He didn’t say what it was, but Prudence said to him, “I hope it’s porn.”
Mike said, “It is.  It’s homemade porn.”
I’ve never seen what’s on that DVD but I’m quite certain it was not porn of any kind.
Prudence stuck the DVD in her purse and left her NL game, and she and I went over to the podium to talk about the getting the Pineapple game going.  It was then that she encountered her boyfriend Tom filling in there and that is when the story I reported here took place.
We killed some time there and finally Jack showed up, with homemade Rice Krispie treats his wife had made for the occasion (they were delicious—thanks Jack).  Jack managed to get a floor person to open the table we would be using for the game.  It was just after 7PM. 
Jack as the birthday boy got his seat of choice, and Prudence wanted to sit on his left.  Tom sat on Jack’s right.  I took the seat immediately to Prudence’s left.  The game got started short-handed with one other dealer playing and one other BSC regular (who I didn’t really know, but he looked familiar) playing.  Jack knows my poker history of course so he asked how long it’s been since I’ve played limit poker.
You see, this was a limit game, not a No Limit game.  I believe that’s pretty standard for Crazy Pineapple (and for most offshoots of Hold Em, I think).  The last two Pineapple games I played at BSC were 2/4 limit, but this game was going to be 3/6 limit, not much of a difference.  So I told Jack that it has been awhile.  I think I played 2/4 at a locals place a couple of trips ago one time.  And I even said that I was thinking of playing a little more 2/4 that day or the day before just to get some practice in.  But I decided not to because I didn’t think a regular 2/4 game (with “normal” poker players) would be all that similar to a game that was mostly dealers.
A couple of things here.  First, as I mentioned in the earlier pineapple post, dealers play crazy, especially when they play in any kind of low limit game.  They generally are saner when the play NL.  But when a group of dealers, especially if they are friends and co-workers, get together in any kind of low limit game, they are playing not so much to win money but to have fun, play wild, and try desperately to suck out on each other.  (I was actually counting on this).  Thus I expected most pots to be raised or re-reaised pre-flop, 7 to 8 players minimum seeing each flop, and the pots to get huge even tho maximum bet would be six bucks.
The other thing is that there is such a huge difference between the limit game and the NL game.  I found that out the hard way making the transition from limit to NL. Now, I did a post a few months back about the differences between the two games, which you can find here.   But that post was mostly about the differences in the more social aspects of poker, not the playing of poker itself.  Perhaps one day I will feel comfortable enough to do a post about the differences between the two games pokerwise, strategywise. It’s really almost a misnomer to call them both “poker”, that’s how different they are.  I had a lot of bad habits to unlearn to make the switch, and I still sometimes fall back into my old limit ways.  Actually, Jack and I were discussing how very different the two games play just the night before.
Now most of the dealers would be dealers, who have played all kinds of poker and dealt all kinds of poker and would surely know how differently a limit game played.  But Prudence was worried, and with good reason.  She has played almost exclusively No Limit after one or two introductory limit sessions.  So she was kind of at a disadvantage.  About midway through the game, I realized I should have given her some “limit poker” tips, and I felt bad that I didn’t think to do it earlier.
But ultimately, between the nature of the game itself, and the fact that the players were likely to throw lots of money into most pots, the game was going to be pretty much a crap-shoot.  The one strategic advantage I thought I’d have was that I’d be playing tighter than everyone else, so I would lose less on bad hands and be able to win some money on those good ones. That’s what worked the previous times I played this game with a table full of dealers.
The table started filling up.  A fellow who works day shift joined in, who I knew to be a good friend of Jack’s.  Let’s call him Stan. The funny thing is, although I recognized him, I didn’t feel that I really “knew” Stan because I usually play BSC in the evenings, it’s mostly the swing shift that I see.  I play during the day enough to know a lot of the daytime dealers, but Stan doesn’t usually deal, he does other things in the room (what, I’m not really sure, to be honest).  So I was just floored when he said hello to me by name.  And by name, I mean “Rob” which was even more surprising.  Most of the dealers call me “Robert” because they first learned my name from my player’s card.  Then he added, “Rob’s gonna be taking notes and put all of this on his blog.”
Wow, right you are Stan.  Not only did Stan know who I was, he knew about the blog.  Oddly enough, a lot of my buddies I see every night when I’m in town never mention my blog, but Stan, who I wouldn’t have bet would even know my name, knew about the blog.  For some odd reason, that made me feel good.
A little bit after the game started, Monte joined the table. Monte appears in the story I linked above for Mike.  Considering that Monte has probably dealt me thousands of hands of poker, and that I’ve played a lot of 2/4 with him (where he played, that is), and that he’s one of the many truly nice guys that works at BSC, I should have more posts where he appears.  I know I have to eventually tell the story of how he screwed me over once playing K-3 offsuit under the gun.  Anyway, we’ll get back to Monte.
For the first hour of the game, I was just crushing it.  I got some big hands, Aces, Kings (yeah, they held up) Queens, etc.  I was racking up the chips.  This surprised absolutely no one.  Most of the people playing had either played in one or both of the two previous Pineapple games (where I had cleaned up), or they had heard about my success.  It was no secret in the BSC poker room the next day that I had been one of the big winners.  Dealers who weren’t even there were congratulated me on my success.  And oddly enough, everyone expected me to do well again.
As I started racking up the chips, everyone was kiddingly giving me a hard time.  So I joked, “You know, I spent the last read reading and studying ‘Crazy Pineapple for Dummies.’” Jack joked that I had been practicing on a Crazy Pineapple simulator.  
When I dragged a particularly big pot, I said, “You know, they’ve asked me to write ‘Crazy Pineapple for Dummies II.’”  Then a few hands late, Prudence scooped up a big pot, so I said, “I’m gonna ask that Prudence be my co-writer for Crazy Pineapple book I’m writing.”
This was all a lot of fun, but after about an hour or so, everything changed. I think I can trace the problem back to when Michelle came to the table to deal. Michelle’s first appearance on the blog is in this post here where I explained how she never pushes me a pot. She once referred to herself as the “Robert-killer.”  She is really cute and really sweet but I just have the worst luck whenever she deals.
Michelle would much rather play than deal, and she was dying to get into this game.  But she wasn’t that crazy about Crazy Pineapple.  She wanted to know if we could switch to Omaha.  No, oh god, no (see here),  Jack said if she could get off dealing and join us, we could play half Omaha/half Crazy Pineapple.  She liked that idea, but she never got off early and never joined the game.
But she did deal it, and boy, was she ever the cooler for me.  I don’t remember the details but on a early hand she dealt, I was about to take a nice pot when she paired the board on the river and counterfeited me.  It resulted in a chopped pot instead of me taking it outright.  As she gave me half the pot, I told her that doesn’t count as part of one of the 83 pots she owes me (our running gag).  She agreed.
That small, chopped pot was the last pot I won for hours….four hours, maybe longer. Suddenly I went completely card dead.  I couldn’t win a hand to save my life.  Mostly I was getting junk, but I got enough decent cards to lose chips, and fairly fast.  Getting second best hand is a good way to lose money.
Mostly it was the cards, but in hindsight, I would say I did worse than I should have because I am no longer a regular low limit player.  I played too many hands, hands I never played in 2/4 but that I sometimes play at NL.  This is not the way to do well at a limit game, even one as wild and crazy as this.  Worse, the game got off to a slow-start, craziness-wise.  For the first hour or so, Jack and I were both shocked to see how tame the game was, most hands were not raised pre-flop, not that many to see the flop.  It almost played like a 2/4 game at a locals casino.  This was when I was getting good cards.  Suddenly, Jack straddled one hand, that seemed to open up the floodgates on the crazy.  Raises galore, 7-8 seeing the flop, huge pots.  That’s when I went card dead.
It was not only bad financially, it was somewhat embarrassing. Just an hour or so before I was bragging about how well I was doing, how I was the Crazy Pineapple expert, how I was gonna write a book on this game. To see my profits (almost $200 at one point) gone, and my buy in depleted to the point I had to re-buy, was no fun at all.
But the game was fun, oh was it fun.  It was non-stop chatter, jokes, insults, personal comments flowing back and forth.  An awful lot of the jokes went by me because I didn’t understand the reference.  Also, as with good friends, everyone was calling everyone by their last name.  So for those dealers whose last names I didn’t know, I did now.  And they were giving to me as if I was one of their co-workers. They even knew my last name and were calling me by it, which was great. 
At one point, Prudence, who had been relatively reserved (by her standards), turned to me said, “Prudence is about to come out.”  I knew what she meant.  She wasn’t acting like the outrageous Prudence of my blog posts, she was acting more like (insert Prudence’s real name here).
Having just seen The Avengers (see here), I said, “Oh.  Is that like Bruce Banner turning into The Hulk?”
“Yes.  I’ve been drinking quite a lot and have had very little food.  Pretty soon it’s gonna be ‘vagina this’ and ‘vagina that’!”  I said I was looking forward to that.  But Jack and Tom had sent out for pizzas, and they soon arrived. I can’t say if the pizza had anything to do with it, whether or not the pizza sobered Prudence up, but I don’t think I heard the word “vagina” the rest of the night.
I hadn’t planned on having any pizza myself, having already eaten, but the aroma was too strong to resist.  While we were eating our pizza (and still playing, of course), I heard a great story from Prudence. Some time back, she applied to be a blackjack dealer at Imperial Palace.  She just wanted to be a regular blackjack dealer, but they only had positions available as a dealertainer. For those of you who don’t know, a “dealertainer” is something unique to IP (as far as I know) which is a celebrity impersonator dealing blackjack.  More like celebrity look-alikes, really.  So if you go by the dealertainer pit, you might see dealers dressed up to look like Marilyn Monroe, Cher, Lady Gaga, Alice Cooper, Little Richard, etc.
So they said they would hire her (as a dealertainer) if she could impersonate a celebrity.  “Are there any celebrities you can impersonate?”
Prudence, who, you will recall, is Asian, said, “Only one.  Kim Jong-IL.” 
Luckily for me I didn’t have a sip of diet coke in my mouth right then, I would have choked on it.
I dunno what’s funnier.  The thought of Kim Jong-il dealing blackjack, or the thought of someone wanting to be dealt blackjack by Kim Jong-il.
That's the end of part 1, but you can find part 2 right here.


  1. My only comment is that Vegas seems more fun than "The Bike". I think I would time my BSC poker play to coincide with when Prudence is playing. Prudence, kindly get drunk and talk dirty again, PLEASE!

    1. Yes, "Anonymous"--your predilections are clearly noted!

  2. Sweet, people are starting to recognize that I love garbage hands :)

    I mean - Looking forward to part 2 sir

    1. We can start calling you "the garbage man."

      I swear, if there's two Aces on the board, and you insist that you have quads....and in fact you even show me your pocket Aces....I'm gonna put you on 7-2 off. Especially if you raised pre-flop.