Monday, February 11, 2013

Busting Out Newt Gingrich at the Grumpament

Friday night, February 1, was the night of the first, and probably last, “Grumpament.”  That was a poker tournament to give the venerable (but not vulnerable) Poker Grump a proper send off, as he prepared to leave Las Vegas for a new life in North Carolina (see here).  A group of his friends, followers and blog readers joined the regular 7:00 PM tournament at TI (Treasure Island). Prudence and I were only to happy to say our goodbyes to Grump in the only way that seemed right—by attempting to take his money in a poker game.
There were plenty of familiar faces there, and some new ones.  The new ones were mostly people I was already following on Twitter (and in some cases, vice versa).  The familiar included Alaskagal, Mitzula, PokerVixen, Stump and CkBwop (she was one of the stars of this post).  Those new to me included WriterJen, Snapple95, SteveBrogan, and ftrainpoker.  Of course, there were others there that I didn’t meet, sorry to say.
It was three tables to start, and Prudence and I were at different tables, and Grump himself was in the third table, between us.  At my starting table was Jen, to my immediate left, and Steve, to my immediate right.  We were in seats 10,9, & 8.  In seat 6 was Mitzula, and I believe right next to him was Michelle. I’m sure there’s a great story behind Michelle choosing the twitter handle Snapple95, but I’m gonna refer to her as Michelle from here on.  Just as I will call ftrainpoker, who was in seat 1, Dave, from here on out.
Also at our table, sitting to Michelle’s right, was Newt Gingrich

Ok, it wasn’t really Newt Gingrich.  Just a guy who looked an awful lot like him.  I actually did a double-take when I first saw him.  I did find myself wondering if it was logical that Newt Gingrich would come to Grump’s farewell poker party.  But no, it was just someone who looked like him.
I sent a tweet to Grump asking if the guy was there for him, but he said he never saw him before.  Remember, we were just joining a regular tournament; this was not a private event.  Eleven of the 33 entrants were there for Grump (I base this on the fact that 11 of us were in the “last longer” pool—at five bucks each). Apparently Newt just wandered into the TI that night to play a $55 poker tournament.
It was a fun table, with Mitzula, WriterJen, Steve, Michelle and I all having a great time chatting.  Dave was too busy on the other side of the table stacking chips and bullying the table to say much.  Either that, or I just couldn’t hear him from my seat.  All these people are fine folks.  There was a newbie at the table who was having some beginner’s luck at first who was impressed that Jen was a member of the poker media, and I did eventually point out that I was a columnist for Ante Up myself.
Early in the tourn, I had pocket 10’s and raised preflop.  I believe Mitzula was the only caller.  It was very low flop, Something like 8-4-2.  I thought it was a good flop for my 10’s.  I made the continuation bet, and Mitzula shoved.
Yeah, he freaking shoved.  I had him covered, he had lost some chips by then and I had more or less my starting stack.  I wasn’t going to mess around there, losing an all in would cripple me and there was no reason to risk it at that stage.  I still had plenty of chips, even if I folded.  I admit, I didn’t quite see the significance of the flop right away. I just said, “You like that flop that much, huh?”  I figured he likely had flopped a set; he called my preflop raise so a pocket pair seemed likely.
No, no, he didn’t have a set.  He felt compelled to show his hand as he was pushed the pot.  He had played the mighty deuce-four, i.e, the most powerful hand in poker.  Of course the number one proponent of the deuce-four in all of the blogosphere (if not beyond) is none other than Poker Grump himself.  So that was one reason for him to call my raise preflop.  The other reason was… was sooooted!  Of course, Mitzula had no choice but send out a tweet that he “grumped Robvegaspoker.”
I guess I won a few small pots because I wasn’t desperate by the first break, despite having been grumped.  When play resumed, I found myself looking at pocket Aces.  I raised, and to my delight, Newt re-raised.  Newt had been running well and had me well covered, so I wondered if I could pull off a double up there.
I didn’t have enough chips to do anything else but shove, and then Newt asked for a count of my chips.  OK, that told me he didn’t have the other two Aces.  I also couldn’t put him on Kings, as I felt that too would have been an insta-call.  After getting the count, he called and we flipped over our cards.
To my surprise, he did indeed have the dreaded pocket Kings.  Perhaps I should have considered the possibility that his hesitancy to call there was a sign he was indeed a reader of my blog, or perhaps he was almost good enough to fold Kings.
The board was nothing but blanks and I had my double up.  Now I had some chips to play with, and I had crippled poor Newt.   It wasn’t long before I had pocket 10’s yet again, and I raised again.  I can’t remember if Newt called there or shoved preflop, which was an easy call for me since he was so short stacked.  But the flop contained both an Ace and a 10, he had Ace-something, I don’t remember what, so my set of 10’s crushed his top pair.  And I had more chips, and Newt was gone.
I had busted out Newt Gingrich!  I had to tweet about that.  I tried to come up with a clever tweet, but I was distracted by having to pay attention to the tournament, which thanks to Newt, I was suddenly doing well in.  My tweet read, “Busted out Newt Gingrich with a set of 10's. First time I've ever felt like Bill Clinton.”
Not long after that, I busted out Michelle. (Edited to add: Actually, it was longer than I thought, as Michelle points out in a comment below, it was after our original table was broken, and we were down to two tables)  Now having a lot of chips, I had raised with King Queen offsuit.  Michelle, short stacked, shoved with pocket Jacks, a great opportunity for her to double up.  It didn’t cost me much more to call her shove, easy decision.  And I lucked out by hitting a King or a Queen on the flop (can’t remember which).  She was done and I was stacking more chips.

Meanwhile, Grump was one of the first to go busto, leaving him to tweet, “I thought the plan was that everybody was gonna let me win. Harumpf. Some ‘friends’".   Around that time, Prudence proved she hadn’t lost her touch by tweeting, “Such a tame crowd at @PokerGrump's grumpament. Do @PokerVixen and I need to start offering ball massages or something?”
No tweet from PokerVixen signing on to this was forthcoming, I should point out.  Perhaps Prudence included her because those two ladies had “bonded” a few months back when PokerVixen busted Prudence out of the WPBT tournament, as reported here. 
Grump tweeted back, “Excellent idea. I’m out, so I’m available.”  But Prudence begged off saying that her hubby had vetoed the idea.  Grump responded that he could take a turn too.  But if any balls were massaged during this event, I wasn’t aware of it.
Our original table broke and at the new table, I was one seat away from Prudence, who had started out well but then ran into a bad suckout that left her seemingly crippled.  But she was making a nice recovery by now.  There was a woman between Prudence and I at my new table who, I later found out, had been the person responsible for crippling Prudence.  So it was up to me to get revenge.  The woman shoved on an Ace high flop.  Sadly for her, there was also a five on said flop, which gave me a total of three.  Yeah, with a set of fives, it was pretty easy to call her shove (I had her covered) and her top pair was worthless.  So she was gone and I now had more chips that I could count, I was probably the chip leader at the table at this point. 
Then came the hand that is probably worth a blog post all it’s own, because I’ve never quite seen anything like this before in a tournament.  I had Ace-Queen and raised.  Seat 10, rather short stacked, at least compared to me, called.  I hit a Queen on the flop, so I bet out and he shoved.  It was only a few more chips to call so I did.  He had called my preflop raise with Queen-rag and hit both his Queen and his rag!  I didn’t catch the Ace I needed and lost some chips.  I was far from crippled, but I no longer had the exalted chip position I had two minutes earlier.
But here’s the really bizarre thing.  As the dealer was pushing him the chips, the guy gets up, says, “I’m sorry, I have to go.  I have to catch a plane.  I’m really sorry.”  And left the poker room, presumably to head to the airport.  Somebody said the plane was to Australia, so it likely wasn’t worth it to change his ticket for a later flight even if he was going to win this $55 tournament!
But WTF?  He didn’t even stack his chips.  He practically ran out of the poker room.  So I have a few questions.  1) Why did he bother to play in a tournament so close to his departure time?  He had to know he wouldn’t be able to stick around to the conclusion if he did well.  Or was that not very likely?  Did he know that he was a terrible player who would like bust out in the first round?  I mean…huh?
And 2), ok by the time I raised preflop he must have known that this was his last hand.  So, seriously, why the f@#$ did he call my raise, which he shouldn’t have called anyway?  I mean really putz, and I use that term with no affection whatsoever, why did you call me, knowing that if you won, you couldn’t take advantage of your new found chips?  Why not leave when I raised, since no good could have come of it for you?  Were you actually trying to stick it to me?  Why?  We had only been playing together for a few minutes, and I had never seen you before in my life, and didn’t know you from Adam.  Why do that to me?
I suppose I could look at it another way, and say he made a bad call there hoping he would bust out to me (or anyone), and then not leave chips on the table in a tournament.  Except if that was his plan, he would have shoved to my raise preflop.  Instead, he just called, and shoved when he hit his miracle two pair with Queen freaking rag.  And then he realizes he has to catch a friggin’ plane?  Seriously?
So this clown makes a bad call, sucks out on me, takes a bunch of my chips, doubles himself up, only to leave all his chips, unstacked, and catch a plane to Australia?  I hereby declare personal war on the entire country of Australia.  If you’re an Aussie, I’m gunnin’ for you.
Anyway….has anyone ever seen anything quite like that?  I mean to leave a tournament immediately after you won a pot, got a double up (that you had no business winning, but that’s just my own personal grudge)?
There was nothing to do but for the floor to stack his chips and just blind the dead money off, slowly.  There were no antes in this tournament so it took awhile.  If he had folded to my preflop raise, it would have taken a lot shorter time and, I might add, I would have had a bunch more chips going forward.
I thought since the guy didn’t even stay long enough to stack his chips (my chips, really), let alone play one more damn hand with them, they should have been given back to me, because clearly he violated some rule somewhere.  But no, apparently giving me my chips back would have been a violation of TDA rules, so I just had sit there totally pissed off that I lost my chips to a goddamn phantom.
Eventually we made it down to one table and the dead Aussie money was still there, at least a little of it.  Stump had made it to the final table as had Prudence, who had recovered.  I might be forgetting someone, but I think we three and one other guy were the only “Grumpsters” who made it to the final table.  If I’ve forgotten anyone, I apologize, please feel free to leave a comment correcting me.  The “other guy” was only tangentially connected to Grump as far as I could tell.  I asked his name, and he told me, but I promptly forgot it.  I asked if he was on twitter and he was not. Turns out he was there because he was the boyfriend of CK.  CK had busted out earlier and was off “slot slutting” with PokerVixen and WriterJen.  “Boyfriend,” as I’ll call him, became problematic in a couple of different ways.
He was sitting directly to my left and had a short stack, much shorter than mine, after we redrew for the final table.  Very early with a short stack, I saw him call a guy’s all in with a K-8 off. The original shover had a shorter stack than him, so as he explained to me, he figured the guy could shove with anything there and didn’t figure he even likely had an Ace.  But Boyfriend was wrong, the short stack did have an Ace, Ace–rag I believe.   Boyfriend would have been down to almost nothing if he didn’t get lucky.  But lucky he got and hit a King for the win.  Now he had some chips to play with.
Sometime later, when I still had enough chips to play poker with (and not just shove-or-fold), I raised in early position with A-10 off.  Boyfriend shoved.  By now, he had me covered, but not by that much.  It folded back to me.  I remembered the King-8 hand, but things were different now.  He had chips to play with.  I had enough so that if I won the pot, he would be more crippled than he was when he made the move with the K-8.  Since I had the ability to get away from it without crippling myself, I thought it was best to fold.  I just thought he wouldn’t take a risk like that without a pretty decent hand, either a better Ace than mine or a pocket pair.  Besides, this was before we were all in the money and I wanted to take something home.
Prudence thought otherwise.  She was quite upset when I folded, remembering the K-8 hand and also I believe, having played with him earlier in the tournament.  She shouted our “safe word” to me, after I folded.  That safe word, of course, is “bosoms.”  It’s just a joke between us that we use a code word to indicate eminent danger in a hand.  Of course, it is strictly a joke, and we would never do that during a hand, because that would be collusion.  Which is why she didn’t say until after I mucked, to tell me from across the table that she thought I should have called the shove (even tho she didn’t know what I had).
They were paying four and we managed to get down to four, meaning we were all in the money.   Fourth place was I think $158, so more or less 3X the buy in.  I think first was in the neighborhood of $500.  All the final four were Grumpsters, the aforementioned Stump, Prudence, Boyfriend, and myself.  At the time the we all made the money, the stacks were pretty close to even.  And so both Stump and Prudence suggested a four way chop, including the $55 last longer money. I think we would have each gotten around $300. I was certainly in agreement, but Boyfriend would have none of it.  He insisted he had by far the biggest stack.  Prudence insisted it wasn’t so, we were all very close.  Ok, how about a chop by chip stack?  Nope, Boyfriend refused.  He said that his girlfriend would lose all respect for him if he agreed to a chop.  At the time, I didn’t know who he was talking about by his “girlfriend,” I didn’t even know if his girlfriend was there.
So we played on.  Stump and I got into a hand.  I was pretty short stacked by then.  Stump had plenty of chips so he made an early position raise.  I was next and saw Ace-Jack offsuit.  It had been a long, long time since I’d seen any hand anywhere close to this good, so I shoved.  Stump thought long and hard.  I wouldn’t have minded a call there, I figured it was likely a race (with Ace-King or even Ace-Queen, I think he snap-calls) and I was ok taking my chances on a big double up.  But he took his time and then folded. 
I said to him, “Oh I thought you’d want to call there just to be the star my next blog post.”  He asked me to tell him what I had after the tourn and of course I agreed.  Later we shared info and I think he said he had pocket 6’s, some pocket pair like that.  He was happy I had Ace-Jack; he didn’t want to get in a race there.  Truth be told, his having played with me somewhat, and having read my blog, it made it easier to put be on a big hand there.  So if I had thought of it at that time, pulling off a monster bluff against him would have been fairly easy.
I had a run of nice cards earlier but for the longest time now I’d been card dead, and only managed to steal some blinds with minimal success.  I was the short-stack and dealt Jack-10,  First in, it was an easy shove.  But Boyfriend, now one of the two big stacks along with Stump, called.  He had Ace-rag.  Nothing hit either of us and his Ace high knocked me out.  I hung around to rail for Prudence.  Meanwhile, CK showed up and started to talking to Boyfriend, revealing that she was indeed the girlfriend that wouldn’t respect him if he had agreed to a chop.
I told him, “So what?  You’re a guy, no woman is ever going to respect you.”  But CK confirmed his statement, saying she never chops either, and has plenty of stories of all the extra money she’s taken home by refusing to chop.
Prudence busted out next, and we were left to wish Stump good luck in taking down 1st place so that the refuse-to-chop Boyfriend wasn’t rewarded for his stubbornness.  Alas, a tweet later that night revealed that he had to settle for 2nd place when his pocket 3’s were no match for Boyfriend’s mighty Queen-7.  Damn.
We were unable to join Grump and some of the others later for drinks, but it was a fun send-off to Poker Grump and I’m sure that everyone in the Vegas Poker community, and the poker blogosphere, will really miss Bob (yeah, that’s his real name).  Here’s wishing Bob and Cardgrrl a great life together.


  1. Rob , I graduated in '95, but 'snapple' comes from an alcohol induced, vulgar comment I made to an 'occifer ' when I was 21.
    -no further comment ;-)

    I made it to final two tables with you and was still in for the "I really gotta go" guy. I wished when you shoved that he would have just put his chips in the middle, then politely mucked his cards and THEN said "sorry, I gotta go". That would have been the courteous way to go. *sigh*

    I've seen it too many times in a cash games.
    " I'm just going all-in cause I have to leave" (gf, wife, plane, etc), only for them to double up a few times (staying way past when they 'had to leave by') and raping the table in the process - to then start actually playing when the table noticed that they started folding alot, but no longer seemed in a rush.
    Is this a new "poker personality"?

    1. Thanks very much for commenting, Michelle. As I said in a tweet to Jen, I wish I had remembered more of the great conversation we had, especially at that first table, I know it was a lot of fun and a great group, but all I could seem to remember the next day was Newt, other than being Grumped by Mitzula. So I wasn't really sure when I had busted you with my awesome KQ off to your pocket Jacks! Sorry about that.

      Now you're really pricked my interest with the "alcohol induced vulgar comment" comment. Michelle, I invite you to do a guest post here where you come clean. After all, this blog is all about salacious "woman said" stories. You could be the new Prudence, since she's in semi-retirement. Or perhaps the next "Natalee." No one reads this blog anyway! :)

      Of course, you've already revealed your real name, which I frown away from on this blog. But it's ok, a surprising number of otherwise respectable women aren't worried about their reputations being ruined by appearing here!

      I think if the guy had done what you had suggested, it might not have sat well with the other players, no? I mean just randomly giving his chips to another player.....although I've seen guys who wanted to leave shove with garbage just cuz they wanted to leave. And of course often they suck out. So it is kind of random who they eventually give all their chips to. you say, it could all be a very clever strategy!

      Hope to see you at the tables soon. It was fun!

  2. You reveled Poker Grump's real name? Heresy, I say!

    1. Yep, I violated my own ethical standards. Admit it, you didn't think I had any ethical standards!

      But Bob was outed on his own blog, and besides, he's retired now, giving up his wild and reckless days for a life of domestic tranquility.

  3. I see (and like) what you did with the whole "Venerable, not vulnerable" line there. lol

    1. Yes, Cokeboy, and thanks. I suppose I should give you credit for that! Definitely was thinking of my previous goof there, and how appropriate to use it for Grump, who is definitely venerable, but never vulnerable.

  4. I wish Poker Grump the best ... hoping he'll keep us posted on his whereabouts and anything newsworthy he might want to share. And, keep up the great posts Rob ... we really enjoy them.

    1. Thanks. I believe Grump will still be tweeting plenty. I know he arrived safe and sound in NC and is setting up house.

  5. dont worry, some of the best and longest lasting poker bloggers are still living in vegas, at least for now til im broke.

    1. Yes Tony....OTOH, I don't live in Vegas.......:)