Wednesday, April 10, 2013

"If You Play Poker on Fremont St., You Have to be Nude"

This was going to be my first appearance at Binion’s since I published the three-part post that started here.  And yes, I was a little nervous about it.  Maybe more than a little.  How would Audrey react? More importantly, how would Denise react?  Or had she even seen those posts?  I wondered.  Unlike Audrey, who I figured was a regular reader, I assumed Denise probably only read the blog when Audrey gave her the heads up that my post would be of interest to her.  Perhaps Audrey wouldn’t be so eager to tell Denise about my lengthy discussion of her, well, chest.

Despite having decided to go ahead and publish the entire story—after being convinced by my friends that it was ok—I couldn’t help wondering if it had been a mistake as I anticipated playing in the Weekend Deepstack.  In the final chapter of that post, I even speculated that “I might never be able to set foot in Binion’s again.” 
I went in with a simple plan.  Speak only when spoken to, and try to avoid eye contact.  Unlike the last two times I saw Audrey, I would not ask her any questions about the blog.  The last thing I intended to do was ask her if she saw my post about her and Denise.  If she wanted to bring it up to me, if she had the chance, that was ok, but I wasn’t going to say anything about it. 
As for Denise, I would try not to look at her straight on, just out of the corner of my eye to see if I could detect any reaction towards me at all.  Yes, I admit it.  I was a bit paranoid. 
But my plan was somewhat changed when Prudence decided to join me at the tournament at the last minute.  This was a pleasant surprise.  Prudence had never played poker at Binion’s before, and of course had heard me talking about this tournament many times.  Based on the comment Audrey had made to me when I first found out she knew about my blog, I knew if I had the chance, I had to introduce Prudence to her.  That meant I had to go out of my way to speak to Audrey, which was not my original plan.
Once again, I picked up Prudence and we went to Binion’s together.  We had time before the tournament started, and as we were walking around, I spotted Denise in the distance.  I had to point her out to Prudence as the dealer whose physical appearance I had spent so much time blogging about.  Denise may or may not have noticed me, but if she did, she had no reaction to me whatsoever.  That’s a reaction I’m used to from attractive women, and in this case, it was actually welcome.
When Prudence found her assigned seat, it turned out that the first dealer at her table was none other than Audrey.  She saw me talking to Prudence and said hi to me.  This was perfect.  I was then able to introduce Prudence to her.  “Audrey, this is Prudence.”  I kind of whispered it.
She said hello and then confirmed what I had told her, she didn’t know her.  Prudence didn’t recognize Audrey either.  See, despite how small the Vegas poker world is, there are actually dealers and players who don’t know each other.
Well, Denise started the tournament one table away from mine.  That meant her second down was at my table.  Just my luck, I had failed to bust out during the first 1-1/2 levels. 
But she had no reaction to me that I could discern whatsoever.  Instead, she was bickering and bantering with the guy who was in seat 10.  Although I didn’t recognize him, he must have been a regular, and they apparently had some kind of history.  Almost before she sat down, he said something to her and she said, “Don’t start with me.”  It was kind of a relief for me that someone else had her ire.
The guy wasted no time in starting with her, though.  He tried to help her with a hand, and soon they were joking (I guess) about what the winning hand was.  She sarcastically asked if a full house beat a flush before pushing a pot to someone.  Then he told her that a flush beats a straight a few hands later.  It was hard to tell how much of this was in fun and how much of this was actual unpleasantness.  But another time she was about to push someone a pot and she said to the guy, “Is that OK with you, that I give him this pot?  Do you approve?”
Before she started “asking” for his help, he had volunteered it, and she referred to him as “the Table Captain.”  She didn’t mean it as a compliment.  A few minutes later we overheard a player at the next table over trying to tell the dealer how to handle a situation, and she said to us, “See, there’s one at every table.”  I knew from the time she told us about Poker Genius that she found players telling her how to do her job especially annoying (see here).      
This took place on St. Patrick’s Day, and the cash room had a promo going regarding quad Jacks.  Depending on when you hit the quads, you could get up to $10,000, I believe.  She said, “That’s the only way to win with Jacks.  Flop quads.  I tell you, I’ve never won with them.”  I thought about saying something about pocket Kings, but was trying to avoid any references to the blog at all costs.

The following Saturday, Binion’s had planned on a special “Super Saturday” tournament, where they were upping the guarantee from $10K to $25K for a slight increase in the buy-in (from $125 to $160).  The staff was talking about a possible turnout of over 300 runners (usually they get 100-125, or thereabouts).  The players were wondering where they were gonna put so many players.

Well, outside the tournament room is another tournament room, that is usually used only for the Binion’s Classic, I believe.  There’s a whole bunch of empty tables out there that I see every week.  Obviously, that’s where the overflow would play, and Denise explained that to the players.
Then the guy in seat 10 joked, “They’re even gonna have tables out on Fremont St.”
To which Denise responded, “Yeah, but if you play out on Fremont St., you have to be nude.”
Yes, that’s what she said.  I swear.  It was totally out of the blue, for her to bring up players playing nude.  It did not follow from the conversation we were having. But that’s what she said.
I should point out that, of all the tournaments in Vegas where you don’t really want to think about the players playing naked (and that’s pretty much of all them), this particular tournament  is probably #1 on that list.  The average age of the players at this tournament is at least 10-15 years older than most other tournaments I’ve played.  The regulars who play this tournament are old.  And of course, like most poker tournaments, mostly male.  Who the hell wants to see old men naked?
Denise, apparently.  Hmm, I wonder….no, never mind.
The guy immediately asked if that included the dealers.  That was actually a thought that occurred to me as I was pondering Denise’s odd comment.  Because, as I mentioned here, there are a lot of really attractive female dealers for this tournament, much more so than in most poker rooms and most poker tournaments.
If it had been any other dealer than Denise, I probably would have commented there, but I was keeping my mouth zipped.  Denise said, no, not the dealers.  Just the players.
Then she added, “My opinion on that is, nobody looks better nude than they do with their clothes on. Nobody.”
Ok, again, I just bit my tongue.  I so wanted to interject, “Well, there are some exceptions.”  I would have said that to any other female dealer who had made such a comment.  But not her, not then.
((Note: the woman depicted above is Emily Ratajkowski.  No, she was not present at this tournament, sad to say.  She is a model and I’m using her as an example of someone who, despite what was claimed above, looks even better nude than she does dressed.  I don’t put nude pics on this blog because, well, it would be wrong.  However, I just heard about this thing called “Google” and it exists so that you can actually find pictures of certain people in their birthday suits on the internet.  Who knew?  Anyway, if you use this nifty new invention, you should be able to locate pictures of Emily wearing less than she is wearing in the pictures above and below, and I believe might just agree with me that there are indeed some people who actually look better nekkid than dressed.))
I think I may have said one or two rather innocuous things to her that were totally within the context of the game and the table conversation, but the one thing I do recall was when she was complaining about players trying to help her run the game.  I said, “You know what you should do when that happens?  Just whip out an application and hand it to them and say, ‘Here.  If you want to be dealer, you can apply’”  She really liked that idea, saying she’d love to do that.
And then she moved to the next table and I never saw her again….on this day.  Rest assured that both the Super Saturday tournament and Denise will be featured prominently in a future blog post.
I guess that means we’ve come to the poker portion of this blog post, for those of you are interested in such things.
The tournament didn’t really start for me until after the first break.  That’s because before the break, I was totally card dead.  I really might as well have taken all four levels off, I had nothing to play.  An aggro at the table who was raising quite a bit made it impossible to play a hand with the crap I was getting.  I think I got one decent hand and raised and took a small pot with a continuation bet (I couldn’t remember the hand I got the next day).  That was it.
Things changed after the break, though.  The first noteworthy hand I had King-10 offsuit on the button.  There were a bunch of limpers so I raised.   Two callers.  The flop is 9-8-7 rainbow, giving me the open ender.   I made the continuation bet and one player called, an older woman who I remember from the first time I ever cashed in this tournament—she was one of the six of us who chopped first place (see here).  The turn card was 6, completing my straight, though I had to worry about the Jack/10.  She thought about it a long time, but finally called.  Blank on the river and I bet out again.  She hesitated, called, then mucked when I showed my straight.  That was almost a double up for me.
Then I raised with pocket 9’s, and two players shoved.  However, they were both short stacked and the bigger of the two had only slightly more than double my original raise.  It was an easy call (one of the shovers was the woman in the last hand).  One of them had Ace-3 and the other had Queen-Jack.  So I had a lot of cards to dodge.  And I dodged them all, my 9’s held up against three over cards.  Another nice pot, plus I busted out two players.  I made a joke that this was a bounty tournament, wasn’t it?
The weird thing about this tournament for me was that the only pocket pairs I ever got were either Aces or deuces.  Nothing in between.  I never caught a set with the ducks.  Most of my Aces didn’t get a call of my preflop raise, or I took it down with a c-bet. 
One of the times I got Aces was after the aggro at the table had raised something like 10 hands in row.  I’m not really exaggerating.  So I was just waiting for him to unleash his 11th straight preflop raise so I could three bet him with my rockets.  But damn if he didn’t pick this one time to just limp in.  I had to raise myself, and he was the only caller.  The flop was King high and he folded to my flop bet.
Not long after I got Aces again.  This time he did raise.  But he didn’t call my three-bet!
And then I returned to card-deadness.  The blinds were dipping into my stack, and for every “move” I made that worked, one or two didn’t.  My tournament life was in jeopardy, but I just wasn’t busting out fast enough. 
Then came the moment in the tournament when I choked.
I don’t mean that I played a hand badly.  I mean I choked.
During the coming break, I knew I had to get something to eat, it had just been too long since I’d eaten anything.  So on the break I grabbed a hot dog at the deli right next to the tournament room.  The breaks are only 10 minutes long, so I took the hot dog back into the tournament area, sat down at a spare chair in the back, and proceeded to wolf down the dog.
Not sure what happened.  But I bit off too big a piece and it slid down my throat before I chewed any of it.  It must have squirted out of the bun as I tried to bite into it.  And it got caught in my throat. 
I was able to breathe, cough and even speak, so I guess I wasn’t really in serious danger, but I couldn’t get the piece of hot dog down my throat.  I ran over to my seat where I still had some diet coke left, and tried to wash it down.  That only made me choke more, and I started spitting up the diet coke.  But it got me coughing real good and the piece of hot dog came out of my throat, and out of my mouth.  I realized what was happening and was able to catch the meat in my hands so I didn’t spit it on anyone.  And then I made it over to a trash can and threw away the piece of dog. 
Ugh.  It was embarrassing, not to mention a little scary.  But I was fine, other than my throat feeling terrible.  The hot dog being stuck in my throat that long made my throat sore, and the rest of the night I just couldn’t get enough liquid to soothe my throat.  I was fine by the next day.
And yes, dammit, I was actually able to eat the rest of the hot dog.  In little bitty, tiny pieces.
Back to the tournament, where my stack was almost gone.  I was in shove-or-fold mode, and won a few blinds & antes with shoves, but I needed a bigger score to have much hope.

So of course I was dealt the dreaded pocket Kings in early position.  Believe it or not, this was actually the first time I’d seen KK since the time I won with them all three times I got them at the Bike (see here).  I wondered if my luck with them was still good.
I had barely enough chips so I could have conceivably only raised, and not shoved.  If I had gotten Aces I would have made a reasonable raise instead of a shove, hoping to get one caller.  But I decided not to do that with the Kings.  I didn’t want someone with a big stack and an Ace to call,  So I shoved.
An old guy with a stack about the size of mine also announced all in.  No one else came in.  I turn over my Kings and the old guy turns over his….pocket Aces.  Yeah, the ol’ Aces vs Kings trick (see here).  As it happens, that last time I’d gotten Kings at the Bike session, I ran into Aces but caught my set.
Not this time.  The board hit neither of us.  The dealer counted our stacks and the old guy had me covered by a tiny bit.  I was done.
Meanwhile, Prudence, after having some early success, had gone to hell after the first break and busted out long ago.  I texted her and she was playing penny slots at the Golden Nugget.  She said she’d be right over so we could get out of there and I sat in the poker room waiting for her.
It gave me plenty of time to think about my favorite hand.  The dreaded Pocket Kings.  At one point, Paul, the tournament director walked past me, and realized I must have busted out.  He offered his condolences as he went by.  I said, “My Kings lost to Aces.”
He said, “You had Kings?”
He said, “You hate that hand, don’t you?”
Uh huh.  I confirmed that I did, and of course realized that Paul must be familiar with the blog to have known that.
Always nice to discover another blog reader.  Well, almost always.

(Edited to add:  Follow up to this story with Denise took place a week later, and you can find that story here.)

Probably Not a Reader of My Blog


  1. Extremely important questions about that day at Binions:
    1. Did Audrey and Denise knew they were actually meeting the REAL Prudence?
    2. Did Prudence utter the dreaded "V" word?

    1. Audrey knew Prudence was Prudence. Prudence was not introduced to Denise, nor has Denise ever mentioned her. I don't think Denise dealt at Prudence's table anyway. I have no reason to believe that Denise has read enough of the blog to know of Prudence. But here's a tease for coming attractions....the next week I found out straight from Denise that she indeed does know who I am (ie, the blogger).

      Prudence did not say the "V" word that day, at least in my presence.

  2. The chick in the photographs above would look better with a bag over her face.
    Also, she is too skinny. She needs to eat more meat and potatoes and then she might become attractive.

    Just saying :)

    1. Well, like I said, she looks better with her clothes off.