Friday, May 10, 2013

"He's a Gentleman"

The week after this story took place, I returned to Binion's for the Saturday tournament.  But this one was different.  As I mentioned in that post I just linked to, Paul was experimenting with a “Super Saturday” tournament, upping the guarantee from $10K to $25K for a slightly increased buy-in (from $125 to $160), and making all levels 30 minutes (instead of the first three levels being 20 minutes before switching to 30 mins).  He figured the first Saturday of March Madness was a good time to try this.

He was right.  A total of 326 runners competed, and the outside tournament room was used for the overflow.  And they had to bring in extra dealers too.
One of those extra dealers was Stump, and I had heard on Twitter that he was going to be dealing for the first time ever in this tournament.  So who I do run into walking towards the tournament area?  Stump himself, having a bite to eat at the deli before his debut.  We chatted a bit and I wished him luck.  Keep Stump in mind; he comes back at the end of this story.
Prudence and her husband Tom had both decided to play in this big event.  But I arrived much earlier than they did and I was seated inside the main tournament area.  They were assigned to the outside area (but no, not on Fremont Street and not forced to play nude).  Fortunately, or unfortunately, they were assigned to the same table.
As I was chatting with them, in the outside area, waiting for the tournament to begin, I noticed a very familiar face.  It was Suzie, whose real name and real cleavage have appeared on this very blog (see here).  And it was at this very tournament, last year, that I saw her friend Jeanne take a picture of Suzie’s cleavage, a story reported here.
It turns out Tom and Suzie are long time pals, a fact I knew, and when I saw her walk by, I pointed her out to Tom.  Tom called out to her and Suzy replied, “Hang on, I’ve gotta go pee.” But she was also assigned to the outside area so I believe they had a chance to catch up during the tournament, or at least during the breaks.
My table was #90 and I had a rough idea where that was.  I went over to what I thought might be it, and asked the dealer what table he this was.  He said it was 91, so I knew 90 was on one side or the other.  At one table was Denise, who I wasn’t really concerned about after last week (again, the post here).  (the original post that had me concerned is here).  There was another attractive female dealer at the other table.  I guessed that Denise was at the table I wanted and went over there and asked if she was at 90.
“No, that’s the other side.”  I said, “Oh, well I had a 50/50 chance.”
She said, “Oh, you were just drawn to me.”
Somewhat interesting comment, but I didn’t think much of it.
I said, “”Yeah, well either way I get a beautiful woman, so I win either way.”  She laughed.
The next time I saw Denise, she was in street clothes, less than an hour into the tournament.  Hmm, it appeared she was not going to be dealing any more.  Was she going to be playing instead?  Yeah, she was.  She was walking around with a starting stack of chips in her hand and headed for….table 90.
Indeed, she took a just-opened seat at my table.  She was in seat 2, I was across the way in seat 9.  And she immediately started bantering with the two guys next to her in seats 3 & 4.  I think those two were buddies, and they obviously knew Denise from the room.  The bantering seemed a lot friendlier than the bickering she was doing with the guy from last week.
So very quickly she got into a hand with one of those two guys, and I believe she won on a draw heavy board.  Her set of 9’s were good.  I think her last bet wasn’t called, but she showed her hand (or at least said what she had) anyway.  “I had a set.”
One of the guys said, “Oh, I know you had a set.”
I think he said “had” instead of “have”, but it was obvious from his tone and the way he said it, that he was making a double-entendre.  He was referring to Denise having a different kind of set than the set of 9’s she was talking about.  I’m too much of a gentleman to say what he meant, but you can get a hint in this old post here when I thought that Shirley was making a similar double-entendre about having a “set.”
Denise was much too classy to take the bait, and just reiterated that she had a set of 9’s.  If it had been anyone other than Denise, I might have allowed myself to giggle at the little joke, but I was still on my best behavior around Denise, so I suppressed that giggle.  The other guy did indeed get the joke and laughed a little but didn’t make a follow up comment. 
When someone at this table, or perhaps a nearby one, tried to tell the dealer how to do something, Denise told a funny story.  As indicated previously, that’s one of her pet peeves, players trying to tell her how to do her job.
So one time when she got fed up with it, she just took the deck, handed it to the guy and said, “OK, you deal then.”  It shut him up.
Another time she got tired of hearing players say things like, “If I hadn’t folded, I would have had a straight.”
So she said, “If, if, if…..if my aunt would have had balls, she’d have been my uncle.”
And then Denise and I got into a hand together.  In the big blind I had Jack-7 of spades.  Denise made a small raise and a few players called, so I thought it was ok to call the raise myself, since I was already in for a piece of it and the pot was getting big.
There were two spades on the flop, which was low, and she bet out, again, not a big bet.  I was the only caller with my flush draw, I felt I was getting decent odds.
The turn was a Jack, so no flush but now I had a pair with the draw, but only one card to come.  This time she made a big bet.  I didn’t make a note of the amount, but it gave me pause.  I thought about it quite a bit but decided even with all those outs it was too risky.  I put her on a big pair (ahem) and couldn’t rule out the possibility that she raised with AK or AQ of spades and hitting the flush would cost me big time.  Reluctantly, I folded.
Again, she showed her hand when she didn’t have to, saying, “This is the last time I’m gonna show.”  It was pocket Queens.  I thanked her for showing.
Just then, a new dealer pushed in to the table, one of the regulars and I thought he was talking to Denise as he came in.  I heard her say, “At least you got a story, you got a story out of that.”  Or something to that effect.
I wasn’t sure she was talking to me at first.  In fact, it didn’t dawn on me that she might have been, until I thought about for a few minutes.  I thought she was talking either to the players near her that she had been bantering with, or perhaps the dealer that was coming in.
And to be honest, at that point, despite Audrey’s assurance that Denise knew me on sight as the guy who had blogged about her, um, assets, I still wasn’t 100% sure myself.  It wasn’t that I didn’t believe Audrey, it’s just that I had a hard time believing it.
So I spent some time at the table wondering if that comment was directed at me or not.  I started at least considering the possibility that she might have been.
Meanwhile, I was making notes on various hands, right in my notebook, right at the table.  I had forced myself to do this after a few times earlier in the trip when I could remember almost nothing about the hands from the nite before the next day when I did my notes (and I don’t drink!)  I had taken down notes on a few hands at that point, but no one had said a word about it to me (and that’s something I worry about, people commenting on my note-taking at the table).
So I heard some player near her ask if Denise was a dealer and she confirmed that she was.  She then mentioned that some players don’t like playing with her and when they find out she’s a dealer, especially that she deals in the room where’s she playing.  She indicated that people seem to think it gives her some kind of advantage, because she’s seen them play and they’ve never seen her play.
That reminded me of a conversation I had with Heather, another dealer in the room, after she cashed in this very tournament.  She mentioned that people accused her of having a book on all the players and how they play and what every move they make means (see here).   So, finally starting to feel relaxed in Denise’s presence, I said to her, “You mean you don’t have a book on all the players and their tendencies?”
She kind of brushed it off with a laugh, “yeah, right,” but the guy to my immediate right, who hadn’t said a word to me to that point all day, piped up and said, referring to me, “He’s the one with the book.  He’s writing notes in a book on every hand.” 
Before I had a chance to react, Denise responded.  “Yeah, he does have a book.  Actually, he’s got a blog.  He’s got a blog he puts all this on.”

Well, well, well.  Audrey was right of course.  Denise does indeed know I’m the guy who blogged about, well, you know.
I can’t say for sure, but I bet either my face turned bright red at that moment, or all color was completely drained from it.  I said nothing, just waiting for anyone to respond to that.
But no one did.  Denise did not elaborate on my blog, did not reveal anything about what sort of things I might reveal on it.  And no one else seemed to care about my stupid blog.  No one said a word about it, then, or ever again.  No one cared that I have a damn blog.  OK, not the curious sort of crowd.  Fine by me.
But I couldn’t stop thinking about Denise’s revelation.  I kind of thought I might say something to her privately, at an appropriate time, about it.  I figured her saying what she did, saying that in public like that, made it fairly clear she was ok with what I’ve said about her. Right?
I mean, she couldn’t be sure no one would ask about it.  It could have easily been the case that someone would ask, get the info on my blog, and check it out.  And thus possibly find the entries about her.  Of course, even though she knew, I still couldn’t be sure she had read the recent three part post about Audrey and her, perhaps she didn’t know about that. Still, the original post was bad enough.  I was relieved.  If she was upset, there’s no way she mentions it in that context.
Still, I thought I should be classy and try to find a way to apologize to her, even if it wasn’t necessary.  Despite all the evidence on this blog, I can be classy when I try.
It was also clear that the comment earlier about “at least you got a story out of that” was indeed directed at me.  Yes indeed.  And further, that comment means she must realize I blog about poker sometimes, and not just about breasts.
Sadly, Denise’s tournament didn’t last all that much longer, and I was to blame.
I had been totally card dead.  It was still fairly early but I had already lost about a a quarter of my 20K starting stack without really playing much, somehow.  I woke up with pocket 10’s and made a good size raise.  Denise was the only caller.
The flop came Jack-9-8, rainbow.  So I flopped an open ender.  I would have made a c-bet anyway, but now I had a rather nice draw in addition to a pocket pair that might well have been good enough as it was.  So I put out a good sized bet (sorry, again, I don’t have specifics) and was surprised when Denise shoved.
Grrrr.  I didn’t put her on a bluff, but I didn’t think she had a monster, either.  Yeah, she could have flopped the straight I was drawing to but I doubted that.  I put her on a pair of Jacks, maybe two pair, maybe a set.  I figured I was behind but that if I hit my straight I’d be good.
This is part of my change of attitudes regarding tournaments.  In the old days that’s an insta-fold for me.  Now I am much more likely to take some chances in order to either get a big chip-up or call it an early day.  I didn’t want to be there for 10 hours and have nothing to show for it. With this turnout and starting stacks, that could easily happen.  I wanted to take a chance that would make it more likely I could get in the money.
Denise had at least 3K less in chips than me by now.  So I knew even if I called I’d still have a few chips left—enough to try one more move.  I decided I was ok with that.  Besides, getting crippled by a former (and future) featured player on my blog would give me another fun blog post.  So I called.
She flipped over her cards, she had Queen-Jack.  So she had top pair and the gut-shot to my underpair and open-ender. Thus, hitting my set was not something I wanted to do.  I needed a straight.
The turn was a King but the river was a Queen, giving her two pair but giving me the straight.  I had a near double up and Denise had busted out of the tournament due to my suckout.
I felt guilty, I have to admit.  I don’t usually feel sorry for other players when I take a pot from them, but it was Denise, and she had been responsible for several memorable blog posts of mine.  So I did feel bad about it, especially since I had indeed sucked out on her.
She packed up her things and said, “Nice hand, sir.”  She didn’t really seem as upset as I might have expected.  There seemed to be less sarcasm in her voice than you usually hear in that situation. 
I heard someone say she was going to play cash the rest of the day.  At Binion’s, the cash games are played in a totally different room from the tournament.  So during the break, I went to see if that was true.
I had decided I would apologize for the suckout—and more generically, for anything else I needed to apologize to her for.  So I went into the cash room and saw her at a table, she was chatting with another woman.
I waited for a pause and told her I was sorry about busting her out.  “I’m sorry about the suckout.”
She was taken by surprise and said, “That was a suckout!  You did suckout on me.”
“Yeah, I know, sorry.”
She was in the middle of saying something like, “oh, it’s ok” when I added, “And if there’s anything else I need to apologize to you for, I’m sorry about that, too.”
She just laughed and said it was ok.  But I’m not sure if she knew what I really meant, of if she just was referring to the poker.  I was contemplating whether I should clarify when the woman she was talking with asked her, “What’s that all about?”
“Oh, he sucked out on me.  But he apologized.  He’s a gentleman.”
Oh wow.  That was pretty much the best thing I could have heard her say.  I mean, after I had criticized myself for such ungentlemanly comments I had made about her here on the blog.  It was just perfect.  It made me feel really good, Denise of all people, calling me a gentleman.
I left the room to to return to the tournament with a huge smile on my face.
Soon after the break, a broken table in the outside area brought Suzie into the tournament room.  She was at the next table from me and we were practically back to back.  I said hi to her and she responded, “Oh, hi, Sweetie.”
Suzie was apparently consuming some adult beverage (wine, I think) and her naturally outgoing personality was somehow exaggerated.  And the more that was consumed, the louder she got.  I could hear her chatting up a storm at the next table over.  I didn’t catch everything she said, just bits and pieces.  At one point I heard her say, “What’s the big deal about sex?  I mean, everyone’s done it.”
But most of what I heard from that table was Suzie bragging about how great her own tournament was.  She said to one guy at her table, “If you love tournaments so much, why haven’t I ever seen you at my tournament.  It’s the best tournament in town.”
She was of course referring to the Friday night tournament at the Orleans, which she runs.  That tournament has been discussed a few times here, see here, for instance.
Now it is a great, and extremely popular, tournament.  And she’s right, the turnout for it regularly is close to what the huge turnout for this event was.  But still, selling her own tournament so hard at another venue, and telling people that hers was the best in town when she was playing in a pretty damn good one right there, struck me as a bit tacky.
But remember, there was alcohol involved.  And that meant she kept getting louder and louder and  talking about her Orleans tournament more and more.  It was shockingly blatant. 
At one point, when I saw Paul nearby, I yelled out to him, “Hey Paul, are you charging Suzie for all the advertising she’s giving herself here?”
He laughed and said no, but he should.  Paul and Suzie appeared to be friends.  I’ve seen Paul playing in that Orleans tournament.
Suzie turned to me and said, “I’m going to get my ball-gag and ball-gag you, sir.”
That was an interesting turn of phrase.  I can honestly say that no woman has ever said that to me before.
In a poker room, anyway.
I said something like, “Um, that sounds kind of interesting.” (What else could I say?)

 She then defended herself by saying, “Actually, I’ve been talking a lot more about sex than I have about poker.”
Outside of the comment I’ve already quoted, I couldn’t recall her talking about sex.  But yes, it did prick my interest.
“Oh really?  What have you been saying about sex?”  I hope you all realize that question was asked solely for the purpose of getting you folks interesting blog material, and for no other reason.
“A lot.  Ask him.”  She pointed to some guy at her table, but he neither confirmed or contradicted her statement.  Guess I’ll never know what she had to say about sex, other than it’s not a big deal.
The other line I recall overhearing was when she exclaimed, “I’m a girl.  I only play the nuts.”
Pretty sure that’s not true.

But enough of the “woman saids.”  You want to hear more about the poker, right?
Well, it turned out that thanks my sucking out on Denise, I had a good long run.  I stayed aggressive, choosing my spots.  But once or twice, that aggression cost me and after a few hours I started to get desperate for chips.  I went into fold-or-shove mode early and that got me some steals  Shoved with pocket nines and someone called me (with less chips) with Ace-8 and missed.  But when I shoved with pocket 4’s I ran into someone with pocket 10’s and took a big loss (tho I had him covered).  I even shoved with Ace-3 of clubs, ran into a caller with Ace-7 offsuit—and hit my three.
Prudence and Tom had long since busted and moved on, while I was hanging on by a thread. After six plus hours of poker, I was definitely in shove-or-fold mode by anyone’s standards.  And who came to the table?  None other than Stump, finishing up his first day as a professional poker dealer.  He had survived  I don’t want to let it go to his head, but when I told Paul that Stump was my buddy, he told me he was doing great.  And if fact, I’ve seen him deal there since, so it must be true.
But you can’t tell by me. Second or third hand he dealt me was Ace King.  There was a raise in front of me, but it wasn’t a shove and so I moved all in.  Unfortunately, my stack wasn’t enough to get him to fold, not since he had put a fair amount into the pot already.  So he reluctantly called.
He only had Queen-Jack, but that was plenty good enough when a Queen hit.  I didn’t get any help and on his very first day of dealing. Stump busted me out.
Hey, it was his first time.   He’ll get better, right?
More importantly, Denise had called me a gentleman, and I was very pleased about that.


  1. U have. Officially Jumped the Shark. This blog now eats asd

  2. Talk about poker dummy

  3. Congrats Rob, you have an anonymous troll You must be so proud. I'm sure Stump's dealing to you will get better. Next time it will be KK in your hand and you'll lose to 7-2 when he turns a 7 and rivers the deuce.

    1. Thanks, Neo. Don't give Stump any ideas, please. I've never had quite THAT bad a beat with Kings.

      And please don't insult one of my thoughtful, articulate readers. :)

  4. Is there a CliffsNotes version of this post? Otherwise, I have some vacation time coming up in a few weeks. I would like to have a few days to read it sometime.

    1. There IS a CliffNotes version, Lightbulb, but it costs $100. Please deposit into my paypal account.

  5. Looks like my "anonymous" has jumped over to your blog and now posts his brilliant comments to you. Welcome to trolling 101 :-).

    1. That's YOUR troll, PM? Damn.

      I really wanted a troll of my own. Guess I'm not good enough for that.


    2. Sorry to disappoint... it *DOES* sound eerily similar to my troll, with the exception that my troll thinks I'm the worst player - whatever call or fold or raise that I choose (and get so see the result, which, more often than not, is the correct move). I think I've made his top 10 in worst moves *EVER* about 15 times.

    3. Well this guy's complaint was that I didn't give any poker content to criticize me for! I guess that's his issue,. he wanted me to talk about how badly I played a hand so he could rip me for it.

      Perhaps he can find that in my next post!

  6. Replies
    1. Thanks, Jerome. I had long since forgotten about that troll. Guess he didn't come back. No loss, for sure.