Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Cell Phones at the Poker Table are Here to Stay

My new column for Ante Up is now online and can be found here.

The issue should be in poker rooms around the country soon if it's not already there.


Sunday, December 29, 2013

I Don't Have Any Pictures of Kaley Cuoco Naked

I don’t.

I also don’t have pictures of her “nackt.”

Really, I don’t.

One of the fun things about having a reasonably successful blog is checking the stats to see what search terms people have used to find it.  I talked about this a bit in this post here.

Some of the terms people plugged in to search engines that landed them here so amused me that I even started a separate page to keep a running list of the more unusual ones.  You can find that page here.  You’ll notice that the page hasn’t been updated in awhile.  There are a couple of reasons for this.  One, it was getting to be a drag to keep updating it even as I was getting no feedback on it whatsoever.  But more importantly, Google changed their policy and now seldom reveals what the search term is.  If you are logged in to Google with your Google account, the search term you put in shows up in my stats as an “encrypted search” and I have no idea what you were looking for when you found my blog.  So I'm no doubt missing out on being advised of a lot of the more interesting and amusing search terms people are using.

This is ridiculous, because even if I knew the search term, I would have no way of identifying the searcher.  Revealing this information would be helpful to me, and would cost the searcher nothing in terms of privacy.  If you ask me, the folks at Google are just being bastards doing this.  I’ll never know who that person was who found the blog by typing in “Slots O’ Fun Hooker” a few months back (that’s an actual search someone used to find the blog).  But if that person had been logged into his or her Google account when he or she typed that in, I would never have seen that search.  Pity.

Anyway, for a few months now, one search phrase has appeared over and over again in my stats, and it must be being entered by a person or persons who are not logged into Google, so I can see it.

The phrase is a variation on the same theme.  Here are three different recent versions of the search that all appeared recently:

“penny von big bang theory nackt”

“penny big bang theory nackt”

“big bang theory penny nackt”

Of course, I Googled “nackt” and found out it that it's the German word for “naked.”  The rest of it is pretty self-explanatory.  One or more people apparently want to see Kaley Cuoco, the female star of the TV show The Big Bang Theory, naked.  Her character’s name is “Penny.”

Initially I was a bit surprised.  I had only very recently been made aware of the fact that there are actually some people out there who desire to see celebrities, actresses, famous people, etc, stark naked.

Who knew?

I’m not sure I understand this desire, but who am I to judge?

In almost every case I’ve seen this search, it uses the German word “nackt”, and not the English words “naked” or “nude.”  This leads me to believe that searchers are German.  Just a hunch.  I guess Ms. Cuoco has quite the following in Düsseldorf..

I want to make it clear that this search shows up nearly every day. It shows up in the daily listing, so it is a new search made almost every day, not just an old search made once or twice last month. 

I suppose there could just be a whole lot of Germans coincidentally searching for Kaley in the buff, but the more logical probability is that this is the same German guy searching for nude pics of Kaley, over and over and over again.

He may be a little bit obsessed.

Now, the reason that search gets him to my blog is because of the way search engines work, something I don’t really understand.  But if you look at my post here, about Time-Warner cable, you will note that I included a couple of pictures of Ms. Cuoco in that post.  Sorry—if you clicked that link hoping to find nude pictures of Kaley, you were bitterly disappointed, just like that German guy has been. You will note that in neither of those pics is she even remotely naked.  She’s fully dressed.  Well, at least somewhat dressed.  But the ways of Google are mysterious.  Even though she is dressed for church, searching for nude pics of her leads one to my blog.

It is probably because of those pics that the Time Warner post is one of my all time most popular posts.  As such, it appears on the main page of the blog, not once, but twice, in the  "Most Popular Post" sections on the right side (one for the most popular of the month, one for most popular of all-time).  Thus, the first pic of that post appears twice on the blog’s main page. So that search leads one to my main page.

Again, my working assumption is that it is the same person who is searching for nude pics of Kaley Cuoco, most likely from Germany, almost every day.  I guess he expects that any day now, that secret vault of naked Kaley Cuoco pics will be opened, and he will finally get to see what he apparently really, really wants to see.

That’s rather amusing, but what I find really funny is this. The only way that it would show up in my blog stats would be if, after entering that search term and coming up with my blog as one of the search results, this poor guy goes ahead and clicks on the link to my blog.

Every single time.  Every single day.

Even though  the day before he clicked on the link and only found pictures of Kaley that she could proudly show to her father here, he keeps coming back.  Does this poor man keep forgetting that he’s already been to my blog and that there are no nude pics of Kaley here?  Has he not figured out enough about the blog to realize that if, by some chance, nude pics of Kaley were suddenly available,, they wouldn't appear on this blog?  After all, there are no nude pictures on this blog. 

And if he really thought this blog was the go-to website to find those hot-off-the-presses nude Kaley pics, why not just bookmark my blog so he doesn't have to keep typing ““big bang theory penny nackt” into Google every day?

I just don’t get it that this same guy (again, I assume) is doing that same search every day and somehow thinking that this blog—called "Rob’s Vegas & Poker Blog"—is going to be the place to find those nude Kaley Cuoco pics whenever they suddenly emerge.

I would think that every day he does that search and sees my blog show up, instead of clicking on the link, he’d say, “Scheiße, that stupid poker blog again?  No pictures of Penny nackt there!  Arschloch!”

But I guess he is the eternal optimist.  He never gives up on seeing Kaley naked. And he never gives up on those pics appearing on this very blog.

Well, sorry, mein freund, there are no pictures of Kaley Cuoco in her birthday suit here.  I don’t have any.  I wouldn't post them here if I did—this is a family blog!

Now, the constant appearance of this search phrase caused me to do a little research on my own.  I would never have  thought of it myself, of course, but I decided to see if indeed there are any nude pictures of Kaley out there.  And it turns out there aren’t.  Ms. Cuoco is a modest woman.

Furthermore, some research shows that she is steadfastly opposed to appearing nude.  She has stated this unequivocally and repeatedly.  Interestingly enough, though, this is not due to any strong moral or religious principles.

No, I've read that Kaley just doesn't like the way she looks naked. 


Apparently, in Kaley’s eyes, she is so unattractive without her clothes on that she dare not let the world see her that way.

Of course, never having seen her naked, I have no idea if her fears are well-founded or not.  For all I know, she may indeed look hideous without her clothes.

That’s not the way I’d bet, however.

It occurs to me, however, that there are people out there, some of whom are likely men, who indeed have seen her naked.  Is it possible that these men have told Kaley that she looks bad naked, and that’s why she won’t allow herself to be photographed that way?

I rather doubt that.  Even if a man who saw Kaley naked was somehow disappointed at that sight, I don’t think he’d tell her that.  I mean, I imagine that most men who have seen her naked were doing so right before they were about to do something that they really, really, really wanted to do.  And they were probably smart enough to realize that if, at that moment, they expressed disappointment with her physical appearance sans clothing, they might not get what they were just about to get.  It might be a real mood killer.

But then, Kaley is a smart lady, and she surely knows that no man would likely tell her she looks bad naked in such a situation.  So, while she was no doubt getting compliments from these fellows about to reach the promised land, maybe she is so filled with low self-esteem and self-doubt that she just didn't believe them.  She must know that these guys were not in a position to be objective.  Or at least verbalize such a thought.

Clearly, Ms. Cuoco needs an unbiased judge to give her a totally honest assessment of her nude form.  So Kaley, if you’re reading this—and I’m sure you are—I selflessly volunteer to check you out without your clothes on, and then give you an totally objective opinion. I would be glad to tell you whether you have nothing to fear from having nude photos taken, or if you have been wise all these years to have kept your clothes on. It would be a great personal sacrifice, but I am a giver.  Contact me through the blog, and let’s see if there’s a chance you can make that German kerl happy.

In the meantime, Herr Kaley Cuoco fan, I don’t have any pictures of Penny von the Big Bang Theory nackt.  Sorry.  You can stop coming here to find them.

Oh, I suppose the photo above is technically a photo of Kaley Cuoco naked.  But it doesn't really count, right?  She’s naked but she’s not naked.  You could put this pic on broadcast television.

I seriously doubt this will satisfy my obsessed German freund.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

"Don't Touch My Pizza, Dude"

I’ve spent almost every Christmas season in Vegas for more years than I care to admit.  So of course I’m spending the season in Vegas again this year.  Due to both professional and personal reasons, I arrived in Vegas for the season earlier than usual.  But that was fine, as it meant an extra weekend in Vegas.  An extra weekend of poker.  An extra weekend of enjoying what I lovingly refer to as The Slut Parade.

So there I was, on the Thursday night before Christmas, playing poker at the MGM, waiting for the young, engaging, minimally dressed young hotties to arrive.  But they didn’t. An investigation revealed that club was apparently not going to open that night.  WTF?  When I returned to my room, I checked their website.  The club was dark the entire weekend before Christmas.  Oh, the horror.  Don’t they know that nothing would bring me more Christmas joy than seeing the young attractive girls wearing dresses that are too short, too tight, and too low-cut to be allowed in public in any other locality than Vegas?

Bah humbug.

I shouldn’t have been surprised.  For years my pal Norm and I would go to Vegas every holiday season and we knew that for all its reputation as a 24-hour town, there would be certain things that would be closed until Christmas was in the rear view mirror. 

Of course certain things don’t close.  You can be sure that the casino itself and all its gaming operations are available 24/7.  No Christmas holiday for that!

But most if not all of the showrooms were dark the two weeks or so before Christmas.  Although I almost never go to a show these days, back in the day, Norm and I went to many a show.  In fact we saw almost all of the big shows on the Strip at one point or another.  And many headliners as well.  But when we went for Christmas, we were mostly out of luck.

We were even surprised to find that many of our favorite eateries were closed.  That was a shock but we sort of got used to it.  Some buffets actually closed, and our favorite dives as well.

We liked certain snack bars (this was before they all had food courts).  Frequently when in Vegas, we’d stuff ourselves to excess at a buffet for lunch and then would only need a light snack at night.  We found all the best places for a light nosh.

I recall one of our favorites was the snack bar at El Rancho.  Before it was El Rancho, this casino was known as the Thunderbird and the Silverbird (I forget which was first).  With El Rancho, they went with a western theme.  It was just south of the Sahara on the same side of the Strip.   It is long gone. 

One of the things we liked about the place was that they had lower limits for their table games than most of the places on the Strip.  We were cheap and really appreciated that.  Then they opened our favorite snack bar.  I’m not sure if the food was really that good or we loved the fact that they had a boatload of video games there that we enjoyed.  We were arcade game enthusiasts back in those days.  As I recall, after we got tired of Pac-Man, our favorite game became Burger Time.  We played an awful lot of Burger Time at that snack bar at El Rancho.

There was one time when we had to wait to play Burger Time.  There was a kid there playing it, with his buddy watching, urging him on.  I do mean kid—I’m thinking he was probably too young to be in the casino itself.  He had a slice of pizza on a nearby machine or a stool or something that he couldn’t eat because his hands were busy playing the game.  He was breaking the high score for the machine and was quite proud of that fact.

Still, he was worried about his slice of pizza.  He kept telling his friend, “Don’t touch my pizza, dude.”  There was just something about the way he said that, the tone in his voice, the use of the word “dude”—which was not a particularly popular word back at this time—that totally cracked Norm and I up.  He repeated it a few times as he continued to play the game--one eye toward the pizza to make sure his friend wasn't helping himself to it--and it got funnier every time he said it. We started quoting, “Don’t touch my pizza, dude” to each other the rest of the trip.  It became a long running catch-phrase between us.  We never missed a chance to quote this phrase, whether it fit in our current context or not.

So the Christmas after the pizza dude, we were bitterly disappointed to go to El Rancho and see that our favorite snack bar was closed for the holidays, and would not reopen until we were back in Los Angeles.  Rats.

The arcade games were still there and working, and I think we played them, but it just wasn’t the same.  We both commiserated that there was no chance of hearing that kid once again warn his buddy, “Don’t Touch My Pizza, Dude” even if he did somehow miraculously show up while we were there. Besides, we had to find another place for our much needed snack.

On my current visit, of course, it isn’t just Hakassan that was closed for Christmas.  I was surprised to see that MGM’s signature restaurant, Craftsteak, is also closed until after Christmas.  This is not an issue for me, because the place is so expensive I couldn’t afford to eat there anyway even with my comps.

And when I went downtown last weekend to play in that Binion’s weekend Deepstack (a very good decision, see here), I saw a big sign at the Fremont that their buffet was closed until Christmas.  Fortunately for me, I remembered that the deli right next to the poker room at Binion’s was closed the last two years I played in the tournament before Christmas.  I made sure I ate lunch before I got there, and I had food with me in case I needed to eat during the tournament.

So I was pleasantly surprised that this year, they remained opened.  That was really nice for me, because I was able to eat a couple of hot dogs from there for dinner, instead of just a bunch of nuts I had with me.  I might not have made it all 11-1/2 hours in the tournament without that Deli being surprisingly open!

But that was a lucky break, and as I’ll eventually reveal, I had a few lucky breaks during the tournament.  Be warned if you plan to visit Vegas right before Christmas—Vegas does somewhat close down a little bit this time of the year. 

And that’s why that, unlike for Halloween, there’ll be no post entitled “The Christmas Slut Parade" to follow.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

As we approach Christmas, here’s my favorite version of the Christmas classic, performed by the late, great, Ella Fitzgerald.  It’s more up-tempo than most versions, which I like.  And you’d be hard pressed to find a better singer on this or any other planet that Ella.  Enjoy!


The song itself has an interesting history.  I recommend the Wikipedia entry on it, which you can find here.  One of the original lyrics, never recorded, was “Have yourself a Merry little Christmas / it may be your last.”  That’s a fun Christmas message! 

Although Ella’s version is up-tempo and up beat, it does have the line “Until then, we’ll have to muddle through somehow,” which was in the movie and in Judy Garland’s original version.  Later, Frank Sinatra thought that was still a little two downbeat and he changed it to “Hang a shining star upon the highest bough.”  Most versions you hear have that lyric; I much prefer the original and don’t think it’s a downer at all.

And for those of you who don’t like Christmas music, here are a few pics.

 Merry Christmas Everyone!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

The Bubble Bitch

Before I get started, I want to offer a sincere apology to a very nice, very classy, very good looking lady I met just yesterday.  I played over 11 hours of poker Saturday, all at the Binion’s 2PM Deepstack.  I had a great time and met this awesome woman who I played poker with on and off the entire day.  In keeping with this blog’s tradition, I’m need to give her a pseudonym, so I’ll call her “Liz.”

The one thing that prevents yesterday from being a perfect day was a tacky comment I made in front of Liz.  I won’t re-enact it for you—sorry, but that would only compound my indiscretion—but blog readers can probably hazard a pretty good guess as to the nature of the comment.  I certainly know better than to make such a comment to a woman I had just met.  It’s just that the people I’ve encountered lately—especially since I started blogging—have continually surprised me with how much they have let me get away with.  Recall that I was nervous as hell about the “ungentlemanly” comments I had made about Denise and my surprise that she was actually flattered by them (see here).   And just last week I played at a holiday poker party here in Vegas where the ladies present said some of the most outrageous things.  Thus,I had somehow gotten lulled into the notion that I could take the filter off permanently, and clearly that is not the case.

So I apologize to Liz, a lady of class and considerable poker talent.  I apologized in person several times, and my apology was graciously accepted.  But I want to do it in public as a permanent reminder to myself.

After the tournament was over, I gave Liz a card with the blog’s URL on it and I hope she checks it out.  Liz, this will not be the last time that you’re mentioned here!

Liz is just part of the story of yesterday.  There is so much to tell it would probably take my longest blog post ever.  As much as I know my readers are clamoring for longer posts, I will have to break it into several parts, over a period of time.  I cashed in the tournament, and not a min-cash, a significant cash.  I was one of the last three players (along with Liz).  I ran into someone who had been a star in a very recent, very popular blog post (the guy who asked, “Will you show if I fold?”), see here.  As such, my blog was much discussed at the tournament.  More of this to come, to be sure.

With all that poker, there are many poker and non-poker stories to write about.  But for this post, I want to discuss the “Bubble Girl”….or the “Bubble Bitch” as I am calling her.

The situation was this.  Eleven players were to be paid and there were 12 left.  One table had everyone agree to play the bubble.  But before they polled the table I was at, the tournament director announced that one player had secretly come to him earlier and said he or she would not under any circumstances agree to pay the bubble.  So the discussion was closed.  We played hand-for-hand.   For a discussion about how I feel about paying the bubble, see here.  

I had just been at the table I was at a short time as the bubble had approached and been reached.  Across the table from me was a rather aggressive woman.  When the bubble was reached, she stayed aggressive even as most of the other players tightened up.  She was not the chip leader at the table.  She had a big stack, but several were bigger.  I was not at all the short stack, but I was shorter stacked than many others.  We had already played about 6-7 hours and of course no one wanted to play that long and leave empty handed.

So on this hand, the lady raised, the chip leader called (he might have been the Big Blind, not sure).  I’m not sure of exactly how it played out, but I believe she shoved on the flop (it might have been the turn) and the chip leader snap called.  She had Ace-5 for nothing.  Really nothing.  Maybe she had a straight draw with the 5.  What she didn’t notice was that the chip leader flopped a straight.  She said, “I need an Ace.”  And sure enough, she got an Ace (either on the turn or the river).  She actually thought she had won (she must have misread the guy’s hand and assumed he had a small pair).  When she was told he had a straight, she was stunned.

Because all her chips were in $1K chips, she had a lot of them.  The chip leader had mostly $5K chips and fewer of them.  But when the count was done, his stack was considerably bigger than hers, and she was done, out on the bubble, the 12th to last player out.  No money for her.  No soup for you.

I’ll point out here that when the T.D. had announced a player had already vetoed paying the bubble, she hadn’t said a word.

She had a significant stack and lost it all to a bigger stack.  She had played very aggressively and got burned.  If she was so concerned with getting paid something, she could have played a lot tighter and easily out waited one of the short stacks busting out first.  But she was aggro and paid the price.  She could have used that aggression against someone with a smaller stack than hers, but picked on one of the few players at our table who had her covered.

And thus, as she got up to leave, she went totally ballistic.  I wish I had a recording of her speech.  I’ll do the best I can from memory.  She said, “So, I play poker for all this time and don’t get anything or it?  Is that fair?  Is that nice?  Who didn’t want to play the bubble?  Who didn’t?  Everyone one but one person, and they didn’t even have the courage to say it openly?  Say it now!  Who was it, who screwed me over like this?  Was it you?  I’ll bet it was you.”

She was talking to the guy who busted her.  Since he was the chip leader, he was a likely candidate for having vetoed paying the bubble.  Plus he was very young, and from England, if that means anything.

He didn’t say a word.  She continued to rant and rave about how unfair it was, how terrible it was that she got nothing.  She caused quite a scene.  I expected her to start shouting f-bombs and the like, but to her credit, she kept her language PG-13 rated the whole time.  She went over to the other table, where they had all stopped playing and were watching her tirade.

“You all wanted to pay the bubble, right?  How about you all give me $10 for my troubles, since you all wanted to pay the bubble anyway.  That’s fair, right?”

They all looked at her like she had just landed from Mars.

She reiterated her demand that the bubble-vetoer show him/herself , which of course didn’t happen.  The T.D. said to her that the reason the person came to him privately was because they didn’t want to receive the venom we were now all hearing.

Finally she left.  Now ordinarily, the remaining players tend to feel bad about the bubble leaving empty-handed, even as they are happy that they are now in the money.  But this time, I’m sure that every single one of us was happy that she gotten zilch.  We weren’t just happy that we were in the money, we were happy she was gone and scoreless.  We all thanked the chip leader for busting her, more for the fact of being rid of such a sore loser than for enriching our wallets.

We all rehashed that moment several times the rest of the evening.  Players who had busted out earlier but who were still at Binion’s came over to see how we were doing and heard the tale from various sources.  Much later, when it was down to just 4 or 5 of us, I suddenly, out of the blue, said, “So now are we all going to give that lady 10 bucks each, right?”

That got everyone laughing again and the T.D. said that this was up there with the worst scenes from a bubble person that he had ever witnessed.  And he’d witnessed his fair share. Then he surprised us by saying that she is actually a poker dealer herself!  Not at Binion’s though.  And he said she is always poorly behaved and always pissing people off.

Some of the players were noting that her scene was no doubt recorded by the security cameras.  I said they should put on a DVD and sell it.  The kid from England said it should be uploaded to YouTube.  Great idea.

That’s your tease for this great day of poker.  Many more stories to follow.

(Edited to add:  The rest of the story of this great tournament day can now be found in the two posts that are here and here.  Enjoy!)

Friday, December 20, 2013

Sloppy Play or Angle Shooting?

During the session I described here, I saw an unusual situation in a hand I wasn’t involved in regarding a player exposing his hand prematurely.  At first I thought the guy had just done something stupid, but the more I thought of it, the more I thought he might have been angle shooting.

I wasn’t really following all the action on the hand; I believe I was actually jotting down notes on a hand I was involved in at the time.  But on the river, with an obvious straight out there, and two players left, the last player to act flipped over his hand.  The trouble was that the player who had first action claimed to have not yet taken any action.

The player who exposed his hand indeed had the straight, but it was King high.  A glance at the board revealed that an Ace high straight was possible.  So the guy had the second nuts (there was no pair, and no flush possible).  Now, this is a guy I’ve played with before, an older gentleman, generally a tight player who is capable of the occasional bluff.  I’d never seen him do anything like this before, and I’ve played enough with him to know the guy knows the rules of poker pretty well.

It was clear that the old guy had turned over his hand thinking the hand was over, that his opponent had checked and he was checking behind and showing his hand.  The trouble was, as soon as the guy tabled his hand, the other player said, “I haven’t acted yet.”

Old guy says “No, you did, you moved your hand to indicate that you were checking.”  The guy denied doing any such thing.  The dealer was unsure of what happened.  He did think the player had made a motion, but he hadn’t read it as a motion to check and he hadn’t turned his attention to the old guy to see what he was going to do.

With the other player insisting he hadn’t checked, and with the old guy’s hand exposed in front of him, the other player put out a bet of $25.  The dealer was willing to accept that as a bet, but the old guy said no, he couldn’t bet and insisted the floor be called over.

As the dealer waited for the floor to show up, I was surprised that the old guy, the old veteran, had made such a rookie mistake.  You don’t table your hand unless you’re sure the hand is otherwise over.  Surely he knew this.  Whenever I’m in that situation, I almost always ask the dealer if I can show, or if the other player had indeed checked.  The only time I don’t do that is if the other player has made such an obvious checking motion that no one could have missed it.  Or if he audibly said “Check” loud enough for the players at the next table to have heard it.

By the time the floor had arrived, the other player was saying it was ok, he would take his bet back, hand over.  In fact, he showed his hand and he had the exact same King high straight the old guy had.  He was just trying to steal half the pot with his bet.  After all, if he could get away with it, the old guy might indeed think he’d only bet there if his exposed hand was losing to the Ace high straight.

But the old guy insisted on getting a floor ruling anyway for the future.  I don’t think he liked what he heard.  The floor told him that ultimately, it was up to him to protect his hand.  Since the dealer hadn’t turned to him, since the dealer hadn’t indicated that the action was on him, he should have checked with the dealer before exposing his cards.  In other words, if the other player had insisted, his bet would have been valid.  This is exactly what I thought, and I almost said something to the guy.  I almost said pretty much what the floor said, and then added, “You’ve played enough poker to know that.”  But I saw no reason to get involved and agitate the old guy further.  Especially since the floor had already told him what I was going to say.

I should add that there was some “mild” warning to the other player about being careful with his gestures, since there was some issue there.  I have no idea what that player did with his hands, if anything.

I thought it was weird that the veteran player had goofed liked this, and then chose to make a big deal out of it.  But as I thought about it more, I had to wonder if maybe the guy was angle-shooting.  He didn’t want to bet because he was afraid of a bigger straight.  But suppose he was wondering how big a bet he could call there with the second nuts?

Is it possible he tabled his hand knowing full well the other guy hadn’t acted, and planned to insist the guy had checked?  If the other guy bets, it’s tough to call knowing the most likely best case scenario is chopping the pot.  This way he gets his chop for free.  Maybe he had taken advantage of some minor little hand movement the guy had made to try his angle?  Make it impossible for the guy to bet his Ace high straight?

I don’t know.  I’d never seen the guy pull anything like that.  On the other hand, I was really surprised that he tabled his hand like that.  Just on the basis of how much poker the guy has played, I think it is more likely he was angle-shooting than screwing up.  But who knows?

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The King of Pocket Kings

Blogging may be problematic for me for the rest of the year and then some. My Thanksgiving Vegas trip ran long so I could attend the latest WPBT bloggers tournament on December 7.  That story will be told eventually and it has a happy ending (no, not that kind), but you can read about last year’s epic event here. Then, I had to return to Vegas this week for business reasons.  And I’ll be here through New Years.  So I was only back in L.A. for barely a week.  I wasn’t home long enough to make any kind of a dent in writing up all the tales I have to tell from the last two trips.  And I have stories from earlier trips left over too. But when I’m in Vegas, I spend most of my “free” time playing poker and not writing.  So I don’t know if I’ll be able to keep posting fresh material here until I get back home and have more time to write.  We’ll see. 

This post is about a fun night a bunch of us degenerates had at the Quad a couple of weeks ago.  The wonderful AlaskaGal, who I’m going to call “Kristi” the rest of the way (hey, it’s on her Twitter profile) had been tweeting about getting a game together for a particular Wednesday evening.  It would be a 50c/$1 No Limit game at the Quad, the only place on the Strip where you could get a game like that going.  I believe they used to spread it at O’Sheas and at Bill’s before they tore those places down.  I also recall them offering it for about a year at MGM.  In fact, I played it there once or twice while I was still mostly a 2/4 player.  The problem with the game at MGM was that they referred to it as the “beginner’s No Limit” game, which I always thought was somewhat demeaning.

I figured a game with Kristi’s poker pals at such low stakes had to be fun, and I was right.  There were plenty of familiar faces and some new ones.  Former blogger Stump was there, and I sat immediately to his left.  A couple of nice folks I had first met at February’s “Grumpament” (see here) , Steve and Michelle were there.  Another one of my Twitter peeps, Bill, was there as well, and I met him for the first time. Mitzula showed up, but not to play, just to kibitz.  Early in the evening, The King of Pocket Kings (aka Nick, aka Cokeboy) showed up.  This took place two nights after my first meeting with Nick, told here.

And then there was “Gwen.”  I’m going to give this wonderful woman a phony name because I’d never met her before, she doesn’t know about the blog, and because she’s not on Twitter. I don’t know how open she would be to my revealing some of her comments under her real name.  So better to be safe than sorry.  Gwen’s boyfriend was also there, and the two of them both work in the poker industry (shocking, I know).  I’ll call him Jerry and he’s a good guy too.

The low stakes and the group we had pretty much insured that no serious poker was going to be played, but also that we all were going to have a great time.  And we did.  There was almost a constant roar of laughter from our table.  Unfortunately, there were too many funny things said, and too many disparate conversations going on for me to keep track of.  I wish I had an audio recording of the entire session.

Gwen kept me laughing the entire night.  Now, she is not a small woman.  One area where she is not small is in the chestal region.  And she was wearing a low-cut top to emphasize it.  At one point, the topic of strip clubs came up.  She joked that she used to be a stripper, but had to give it up when they closed the “Curvy Girl Strip Club.”

Another time we were discussing the Mega Beat Bad Beat Jackpot at Caesars’ properties, and discussing what we might do if the call came in while we were playing at the Quad that it had been hit.  We’d all got some share of the prize pool.  Someone said we should all go to a Strip Club.  Kristi said, “Rob would like.  He likes boobies.”

Ahem.  But that reminds me of something I overheard  a few nights earlier at the MGM, while I was over by the Slut Parade.  Not sure where else I can report this line so I’ll throw it in here while I’m thinking of it.  There was a girl talking to two guys over by the line to get in the club, but they were not in line.  The girl was a little older than the average age of the club goers, and was dressed way too modestly for the club.  In other words, she was dressed.  As I passed this group, I heard the girl exclaim, “I thought we were going to a titty bar.”

The amusing part of this was the tone in her voice.  I swear I could hear a great deal of disappointment in it.  It sure sounded like this woman really, really wanted to go to a titty bar.

Gwen mentioned some guy she was dealing to once who insisted on calling pocket Queens “boobies.”  No one had ever heard that one before.  Then the guy took it a step further and started calling Gwen “boobies.”  She didn’t appreciate that at all.   She said she knows she is “blessed,” but that was uncalled for. (Note: she might have said “gifted” instead of “blessed”, not sure)

Kristi was eating some trail mix and it spilled on the poker table.  I think she was sharing it with Nick and he was debating whether it was still safe to eat.  So Kristi told him, “Well, I’ve had meningitis.”

Jerry misheard this and said, “What?  She’s had men in her vagina?”  I think he may have purposely mis-pronounced “vagina” to make it rhyme with “meningitis.”  Kristi didn’t hear why everyone was laughing, so she asked him to repeat it.  Reluctantly, he did. “Oh that too,” was her reply.  “Everyone knows that.”  Well, the fact that she has a kid is kind of a tip off.

Kristi and Stump are good pals, and though they are just friends, they sort of bicker and carry on like a married couple when they get together.  It’s pretty funny to watch them go at it, although I can’t remember anything specific

Michelle came specifically to get her revenge on me, and she did.  She tweeted that she wanted to get back at me for a hand we had together in the Grumpament (which I linked to above).  I busted her out when her JJ wouldn’t hold up against my King-Queen.  I had completely forgotten about it (except that it was in the blog post) but she has been holding this grudge all this time.  Typical poker player—it’s the hands you lose that stick with you, not the ones you win.  She said that I had a great expression on my face when I saw her Jacks, assuming she was shoving with a lot less. 

Anyway, I raised in early position with Ace-Queen and she was the only caller.  I don’t remember the flop; it missed me completely.  I dutifully put out a continuation bet and she just called.  I checked the turn, which also missed me, and this time she bet out. I folded, as I had nothing.  She didn’t show, but she told me she flopped a boat on me.  Glad that turn didn’t hit me!

And speaking of the turn hitting me, that brings us to the hand of the night, starring Mr. Cokeboy, aka, the King of Pocket Kings.  As I mentioned, Nick kept getting pocket Kings in that first session I played with him, and won every time.  Now again, at the Quad, he was getting them almost every other hand, and showing me (and everyone else) that he was winning with them.  It was starting to piss me off.  I hadn’t seen a decent hand all night, and Nick was getting cowboys—and proving to me that it was a good hand—more often than Tony Romo throws a game losing interception (OK, guess what Cowboys game I’m watching as I write this?  Answer:  All of them).

So I had Ace-Queen and made it $3 (remember, the blinds are $.50 & $1).  Nick came over the top and made it $9.  Folded back to me.  I should have folded right then and there.  But what the hell, I thought, it’s only six more bucks and I should see a flop.  So I called.

The flop was King high, nothing for me.  I checked and Nick checked behind me.  Now, I did consider that he had three-bet with pocket Kings.  So I wondered if he had actually hit his set of Kings there.  But I thought, no, no, he wouldn’t slow play it like that.  I guess I was assuming he was me.  I’m the one who has a rule against slow playing flopped sets.  Although on this particular trip, I modified that a few times.  But then I thought no, it looks real suspicious to three bet and then check the flop.  He’d make the continuation-bet almost every time, no?

I wondered if he had pocket Queens and if the King had scared him (putting me on Ace-King).  So a damn Ace hit the turn and now I have to bet, right?  I put out $10. 

And Nick promptly raised to $25.  Shit.  He did indeed have a set of Kings.  I was sure of it.

But….did you ever have two completely contradictory thoughts in your head at the same time?  As sure as I was that he did have a set of Kings, I was equally sure he didn’t have a set of Kings.  I mean, I’d seen him have pocket Kings a hundred thousand times by now.  How could he have them again?  Nobody ever gets one particular hand—even 7-deuce—as often as Nick had gotten KK.  It defied the law of probability.

The more sure I was he did have pocket Kings, the more sure I was he couldn’t possible have them.  And that there was a decent chance my Ace was good.

So I called and heard Nick say, “You were supposed to fold there.”  Whatever that meant.

The river was a blank and I checked.  Nick put out $30 and I tanked.  Again, I held two diametrically opposed thoughts.  He both did and did not have a set of Kings.

I folded in my mind an infinite number of times….but not in reality.  The more I became convinced he had those Kings, the more I became convinced he didn’t have them.  Does that make any sense?

And then finally, I thought, well, it’s a low stakes game, it’s only $30.  I started thinking that Nick, having shown me pocket Kings a zillion times by now, could easily be trying to bluff me there, knowing I’d be putting him the one hand that was my worst nightmare.  He was taking advantage not only of my irrational fear of the dreaded hand, but also of the fact that he’d shown me it over and over again for the past two sessions and always seemed to win with them.

At least that’s what I talked myself into when I decided it was only $30 and I should call.  So that’s why I called.  Either that, or I’m not a very good player.

Of course, of course, the King of Pocket Kings did absolutely have KK once again, for a flopped set of Kings.  And made me look a total fool as a bonus.  I swear he won more times with pocket Kings in those two sessions I played with him than I have in my entire life.

Everyone had a good laugh at my misfortune and my bad play.  I took great pains to immediately whip out my notebook to write down the hand.  The King of Pocket Kings of course made a comment about it, “Rob, are you writing down the hand?”  Of course I was.

I said, “Yes.  How do you spell your name?  A-S-S-H-O…..”  I was just kidding.  The asshole in that hand was yours truly.

And of course I had to live tweet that epic event, so I sent out this missive:  “So @nickg_96 can't seem to lose with #thedreadedpocketkings. Especially when he flops a set with them against me. I see a future blog post.”

I had to add chips a couple of times, but there was one nice hand for me that involved a player who was not part of our little group.  I had pocket 8’s and had to call a small raise.  The flop was Jack-8-x.  So I led out with a $6 bet and the pre-flop raiser made it $12.  I decided to just call.  I checked the turn, now convinced the lady who raised would bet, which she did.  It was $30, I think.  I didn’t have much more than that so I went all in.  She promptly called. 

The river was a blank and she turned over pocket Queens.  My set of 8’s was good.  It was one of my few good hands of the night.  Having to work in the morning, I had to leave when I was down around $100.  It was a fun night, full of laughs, and definitely worth it.

And yes…Nick is The King of Pocket Kings.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

"....So You Can Rub Against My Boobs"

It's always nice to finally meet one of my loyal blog readers.  It might not always be so much fun actually playing poker with them, as I reported here.  But it’s always nice to meet them.

Readers of this blog and many others on my blogroll are no doubt familiar with Nick.  He comments under the name “Cokeboy99.”  He also is on the AVP forums under the same name.  I would refer to him as Cokeboy in this post but he seems to prefer “Nick” these days.  I guess he switched to Pepsi.  Also, having met him, I can assure you, he is no “boy.”  Not that I’m one to talk.

So a few days before this story took place, I got an email from Nick asking if I would still be in Vegas in a few days, when he was scheduled to arrive.  Yes, I would be.  He mentioned that he wanted to play at MGM that coming Monday, for at least a couple of reasons.  He had never played in the room before, and he also was interested in their Monday Night Football promo (which I talked about here). 

I arrived a bit after he did and I noticed immediately from his not-really-green “Beer Hunter” sweatshirt (which he had warned me he would be wearing).  I joined his table, which was in the process of getting started.  Rather than introduce myself, I reached out my hand and said, “Why aren’t you wearing a “Cokeboy” shirt instead?

Nick and I played at the same table all evening.  During that time, I saw him get the dreaded pocket Kings approximately 750 times.  And he won with them every single time.  I got them exactly once, and of course lost. 

I raised to $10 preflop with them and only had one caller.  My flop bet was called.  I just checked the turn on a scary board, lots of high cards, a straight very possible.  The river put four cards to a straight out there.  I figured I was beat but I called a small bet on the river.  He didn’t have the straight.  He had two pair, which is one more than I had.  I folded without showing but asked Nick what he thought I had.  He whispered “pocket Kings” and I nodded. 

A few hands later, Nick won a pot.  I think he had made a bet—not sure what street—and wasn’t called.  However, he flipped over his cards even though he didn’t have to.  The reason was that he had pocket Kings, of course.   He wanted to rub it in! 

Early in the evening I felt a hand rubbing against my right side, near my back.  I quickly looked up and was surprised that there was a beautiful blonde girl standing over me who had just pawed me.  It was Alicia.

You all remember Alicia, right?  She’s the awesome poker player I introduced you to in the post here (where I called her “Veronica”).  And earlier this year, I sold an article about her for Adanai magazine (see here).  This was the first time I’d seen her since my article was published.

Alicia was in town for a quick visit and she and her boyfriend were hitting the MGM poker room for a few hours waiting for a show across the street.  She eventually joined our table and played with us.  As she noted, I was doing better than the last time I played with her (see here).

I actually took a few small pots from Alicia.  I think in both cases it was when I called her small raises in position with weak holdings—suited connectors or gapers.  I wouldn’t ordinarily call raises with such hands but because of MGM’s cash drawing promo, I find myself playing suited cards more often, trying to win a ticket into the drawing.  And I think I got lucky a few times with them against Alicia.  She definitely noticed and probably thinks I’m even a worse player than I was the first time we played together.  At least one of those times I did indeed catch a flush. 

When Alicia came by I had introduced her to Nick as the great poker player I had written about.  Alicia thinks she’ll be playing in more WSOP events next year and it is her goal to be the first female at the final table of the Main Event since 1995 (the only time it happened).   I wouldn’t bet against her doing it, though it will be tough since she isn’t playing full time anymore.

When Alicia sat down, on the other side of the table from Nick and me, she noticed me fiddling with my cell phone.  I think I was sending a text.  She shouted, “Rob, are you blogging?”  Nick and I both cracked up.  So did the dealer, Brent, who knows about the blog.  So I explained to Brent that I had written an article about Alicia and what a great player she was.  Alicia remembered Brent from her days grinding at the MGM years ago.

Nick and Alicia got into a hand together.  The board was Queen high, and Nick, who had raised preflop, shoved a relatively small stack either on the turn or the river.  Alicia thought about it for awhile and finally called even though she didn’t seem very confident.  It was just that Nick’s bet wasn’t big enough to get her to fold her top pair hand.  She was worried about her kicker, but Nick didn’t have a Queen.  No, he once again had the dreaded pocket kings.  So he took the pot.  Damn him.  He won a pot from the best poker player I’ve ever played against with my personal Kryptonite hand.  In all seriousness, I think he won 4 times with KK and showed them to me every time.  However, I think two of those times no one had called him preflop.

Nick was not enjoying the football game.  Not only did he not get picked for the football drawing (nor did I), but he had bet the game and it wasn’t going well.  This was the Seattle-New Orleans game.  He had bet both that Seattle would cover and the over on the points.  Seattle won easily but both teams forgot to even try to score in the second half.  So he lost his parlay.  Plus, no scoring meant less chances for either of us to get picked for the football drawings. So we all lost.

A bit of the football game ended, I decided to call it a night.  I had made a (very) bucks, but after a full weekend of poker, I was tired and wanted to make it an early evening.  I picked up my chips and Nick decided to move on as well.  I was carrying my rack of $200+ in redbirds and a nearly full glass of diet coke that had just been delivered to me.  And then I recognized a woman playing at another table as I headed to the cashier.

For reasons that will soon become apparent, I have to be careful as to how I identify this particular poker player.  It might just be that she is a woman who has earned a mention or two on this very blog.  It might be that she has been identified on the blog with either one of my famous “blog pseudonyms” or perhaps even her real name.  Those things might all be true….or they might not be true.

One thing that is definitely true is that she is familiar with my blog.  And further, she is also aware of my (totally undeserved) reputation of being “obsessed with bosoms.”

I guess it will be easier if I give this lady a blog pseudonym to use for this post.  So we are going to call her Alexandra.  I stood behind Alexandra and waited for her to be out of a hand.  Then I called out her name.  She turned and looked at me.  I wasn’t sure if she recognized me instantly, which didn’t surprise me.  But then I said, “Hi, it’s Rob,” and I mentioned a person we both know who would help her place me. And then she knew exactly who I was and how she knew me.

I could see the light bulb go off and she leaped up to greet me.  Suddenly she was acting like I was a long lost brother that she hadn’t seen in ages.  She actually moved in to give me a hug, but then held back, noticing that both my hands were full.  “I was gonna hug you but you’re carrying too much stuff.”  I was a bit surprised she wanted to give me a hug.  We really haven’t had that much contact over the years.  I don’t know her very well at all.

So we stood there and chatted for quite a long time.  At one point, I put my rack of chips and my drink down at the empty table nearby.  Finally, we were in the process of wrapping things up.

And then she said to me, "Well, since you put your stuff down, I might as well give you that hug so you can rub against my boobs."  Before I had a chance to react, she was hugging me.  And when we separated, she said, "I mean, since I know you're a boobs man."

In case you missed it, here was a woman who wanted me to rub against her boobs.

I laughed. But then she said, "Oh, don't put that in your blog.  You put everything in your blog.  Don't put that in."

I chuckled at that and said no problem.  I told her I would always obey a request not to blog something.  

Then she said, "Oh, I guess you can put it in there if you don't use my name.  Don't say it was me."

And thus, “Alexandra” was born.  I do have to admit, it would be a better story if I could reveal Alexandra’s true identity.  But I am a gentleman, and a man of my word.  So of course I will honor my promise.  Hopefully it is still amusing as told.

As for Nick, I said goodbye to him for the evening, but that’s not the last you’ll hear about him. Nick and his magical touch with the dreaded pocket Kings will return in a future post.

Edited to add, and that post is now up and can be found here.