Wednesday, July 31, 2013

"You've Loosened Up A Bit"

It’s been over a year since I made the switch from being a 2/4 limit player to a regular No Limit player.  Every time I think I’m making progress as a player, something happens to convince me otherwise.  It’s just that this poker thing is hard, you know?  On the one hand, I think I’ve learned an awful lot— but then, it also seems like I’ve just scratched the surface and have so much more to learn.  And I played 2/4 so long that to some degree, I still forget and think of myself as a 2/4 player.

But this story is from a couple of back-to-back sessions from my March trip.  It wasn’t so much that I won a lot of money, it’s just that I think I played a few hands well and even impressed one of my dealer pals with my play.  You see, all that 2/4 earned me a bit of a reputation among the dealers at BSC.  I was really, really, really tight as a 2/4 player.  I’m nitty tight as a 1/2 player too, but not as tight as I was playing 2/4.  One of the dealers there, Troy, the dealer who asked me to post this story here about the “heart attack” victim, dubbed me “The Rock” for my tight play at 2/4.  He saw me play multiple times when I was testing the waters of 1/2 and saw me play, initially, even tighter that I did as limit player. 
But as I’ve gotten comfortable, and learned, I’ve definitely loosened up.  You would hardly call me a maniac or any kind of a loose player, but there have definitely been changes (and hopefully) improvements in my game over the past year.
So back in March, my very first hand of the session I was in the cut-off seat with K-10 offsuit and called a small $7 raise.  Not something the old Rob would have ever done.  But I figured I would have position so I took a shot.  King high flop, both the raiser and the other caller checked.  Of course I bet but the caller (not the raiser) called.   We both checked a blank turn.  A third club hit the river and I hesitantly bet out, he called and then mucked when he saw my King.
Soon after, Troy came to deal.  I limped in late position with King-Jack of spades.  Ace of clubs with 2 spades on the flop.  With the draw to the second nuts, I called a $12 flop bet.   Blank on the turn and I called a $21 bet.  The river was the Ace of spades, giving me the nut flush but not the nuts since the board had paired Aces. Now the guy checked. Ordinarily I would have just checked behind him and played it safe, but I tried to see if I could get some value for my hand and bet $50.  Nope, he folded. 
The guy in that hand was kind of an aggro British player.  Earlier, when Troy was pushing him a pot, he somehow jammed a chip against the Brit’s finger and he yanked his hand away quickly.  “That hurt,” he exclaimed.  Troy said, “I thought you Brit’s were tough.”  I chimed in with, “I guess he has a glass finger.”  Troy, a boxing fan, liked that one.
On Troy’s last hand of his down, I was dealt pocket Jacks in the big blind.  On the previous hand, another player had had the same hand, raised big preflop, gotten several callers, and then taken down a huge pot by hitting his set.  Now the Jacks had come to me.  As I was trying to figure out my bet, a late position, very tight player, made it $15.  If it had been the aggro Brit, I would have three-bet, but with this guy, I just called.
Three of us saw the flop, which was King high.  I checked and so did everyone else, including the preflop raiser.  So we all saw the turn for free which was a 7, pairing the board.  When the preflop raiser checked, I was thinking my Jacks were good, although I have certainly seen players slow play a set of Kings in that situation.  I couldn’t imagine him slow playing any other King he might have had.
The paired 7’s made it even better for me to bet there, I thought. It would look like I had a 7 and now had trips.  I bet out $25 and the preflop raiser called (the other player folded).  Then I got lucky and caught a Jack on the river, filling me up.  I put out $60 and the other guy called, which surprised me.  But he just mucked his hand when I showed my Jacks.
Troy got up to leave and I whispered to him, “Nice river, Troy.” And he whispered back, “You’ve loosened up a bit.”

I kept trying to expand my range a bit but just lost chips.  I was over $100 up at one point but start drip, drip, dripping downward.  I was getting a lot of small pocket pairs that never hit the board.  I did make one three-bet against the aggro Brit with Ace-King.  He looked me up and down and took awhile and finally said, “Alright, I’ve never seen you do that before,” and folded.
As I was nearly ready to leave, most of my profits for the night were gone.  In late position, I had Jack-10 of hearts, There were two limpers, and I was ready to limp in too when I decided to raise instead.  That’s not a hand I normally raise with, but I had position so I figured why not?  Two callers including an absolute calling station.  This guy, an odd looking older man with long hair and a huge white beard, had around $600 in front of him when I got to the table and never saw two cards he didn’t like.  He was never very aggressive after the flop himself, but he saw almost all the flops and made many calls on the flop and turn.  By now his stack was down to less than $300 but still more than I had.
The flop was 10-9-7, no hearts.  I bet out $25 and he called, as did the other guy.  The turn was another 10, which I was happy to see.  I put out $70, a bit less than half my stack and the calling station called but the other guy folded.  The river was a blank, didn’t make the straight any more likely than the flop had, no flush.  Just a pair of 10’s.  He checked.  Not long ago, I would have checked behind and shown my hand.  But I thought, “this guy is a calling station, he’s not a check raiser.”  But I didn’t think he was likely to be slow-playing a straight.  My biggest concern was that he had a bigger 10 than me.
But I decided to bet out.  If I lost my $90, so be it, I got a lot of play for my one buy in.  I could call it a night right there.  So I shoved.  He asked for a count, a good sign.  He snap calls if he has a boat, a straight or even a big 10.  After getting the count, he thought for a long, long time.  I really thought he was gonna fold but no, eventually, he called.  When I flipped over my hand, he looked at it for some time before folding without showing. Nice double up there.
That was pretty much it for that session.  The next night, I was assigned to the seat immediately to the dealer’s right at the same table.  I lost some chips early playing The Grump against a guy who totally disproved a stereotype.  He was an Asian who had at least $1,600 in chips in front of him.  Seriously.  I limped in with deuce-four and caught a 4, but since there was also an Ace I checked.  So did everyone else.  So I bet the turn and the river when the board looked ok (except for the Ace) and the Asian called both times.  I showed my deuce-four and figured he had a bigger pair since he called.  I was shocked to see he actually had an Ace.  Ace-9 to be exact.  I dunno how he didn’t bet his top pair on the flop.  He may have been the first Asian in the history of poker to not bet a pair of Aces on the flop, a very surprisingly meek play, especially with all those chips in front of him.
Troy soon came to deal and I got deuce-four again.  I limped.  All I caught was a draw (open-ender) but it was checked to me and instead of accepting a free card, I bet the draw.  Both called. The turn blanked and this time I checked behind the other two.  The river also blanked and again they checked to me.  Knowing my four-high wasn’t likely the best hand, I went for the steal and bet the pot.  Nobody called.  The irony is that Troy had made a comment to me about bluffing only a month or two earlier.  I had made a bet that no one had called and someone said, “Show the bluff.”  Of course I just chuckled but Troy whispered to me, “You’re not even capable of bluffing.”  Yeah, right.  But I didn’t tell him about this hand then.  I was afraid someone might overhear.
I limped in with Ace-6 suited in early position.  The flop was King-6-6.  I bet the flop and the turn, and one of the tightest regulars called both times.  On the river, I put all the rest of my chips in.  Sorry, I didn’t write down the amounts, but I’m sure my river bet was close to $100, a little bit less than the pot. Troy knew that I knew the regular in the hand was a tight player.  Troy whispered to me, as he pushed me the pot, “There’s only two hands you have there.  Pocket Kings or pocket 6’s,” Come on Troy, I would have raised preflop with KK and I would have slow played the flop with quad 6’s.  I said to him, “neither” and he shook his head in disbelief.  Again, I didn’t want to whisper it for fear of being overheard.
So, later I wrote down on my note pad “Ace-6 suited” and showed it to him and said, “The hand I shoved on the river, that’s what I was holding.”  He was surprised. “My, you have loosened up!”
Then this young guy came to the table with $1K in chips.  He had moved over from another table.  Apparently this guy was a well-known (to Troy, anyway) donkey who was having a good night.  Why he would have wanted to leave a table where he’d accumulated that much in chips remains a mystery to this day.  In the small blind I had Ace-Jack off, and there were tons of limpers.  I made it $16.  The only caller was the kid with the $1K stack who was to my right, on the button.  The flop was King high and totally missed me.  So I made a $30 c-bet and the kid thought about it for awhile before folding.  Later, he told me he had a King there.  “You had a King beat there, didn’t you?  It was a good fold, wasn’t it?”  I of course nodded and said it was indeed a good fold.
It was a good fold for me, that is.
Apparently too overwhelmed by my brilliant play, the kid took his big stack to another table soon thereafter.
I left the table not much later myself.  Not to leave for the night.  No, it was because this was the same night that Jack came over to me to tell me Natalee had returned, and I moved over to join her and see what antics she was up to this night.  If you haven’t already, you can read about the rest of the night—poker wise and  “lucky boobs” wise, here.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Taking the Pineapple Express to Omaha for My Birthday

This goes back to my birthday earlier in the year, late April to be exact.  I’m always in Vegas for my birthday and I had extra reason to do so this year.  My dealer buddy Mike was having another birthday celebration that involved a wild poker game in the BSC poker room.  Mike’s birthday is the day before mine and he was celebrating his a day late, on my actual birthday. 

This meant that a lot of Mike’s pals would be playing some form of limit poker, getting extremely drunk and having a good time.  A lot of the players would be dealers, most of whom work at BSC, but there would be other friends of his too, including other BSC regulars, like me.  The first time I was invited to such a game it was just Crazy Pineapple and that story is told here.  The next time was also Crazy Pineapple and that story is told here and here.  And then we had a non-birthday event to celebrate, away from BSC, and that story was told here.  For that last time, a rotation of Crazy Pineapple, Omaha and an abomination of a game called “Reverse Hold’em”  was played.
For this game now, the game was going to be half Crazy Pineapple and half Omaha, 2/4 limit but with a half-kill.  Mike had to get special approval for the half-kill because kills and half-kills are normally verboten at BSC.  If I was still a limit player, I probably would have already done a post or two about how much I hate kill games, but for a crazy dealer’s game like this was going to be, I was fine with it.  I was less fine knowing that half the time we’d be playing Omaha (for my diatribe about Omaha, see here.) But I do like Crazy Pie and I also like playing wild limit games with my buddies and with crazy dealers.  I was hoping to win some money and get a blog post out of it, but I only accomplished one of my goals.  OK, I accomplished another one of my goals, which was to not have a finish to my birthday like the one I told about here.
The game was supposed to start at 6pm, and I had to work of course and managed to arrive only a little bit early.  To my surprise the game was already going, but the table wasn’t full.  The important thing is that Mike had already arrived and had already started drinking.  I dunno when he started drinking but he was already pretty hammered before I was even dealt my first card.
Mike had an unusual card protector that he was using.  It was a small figurine of a character from South Park, Randy Marsh.  Apparently in one episode Randy gave himself testicular cancer by putting his balls in the microwave so he would qualify for medicinal marijuana.  The figurine depicted Randy sitting on his huge balls that were basically as large as him.
Mike kept showing off hit figurine to everyone who came by, and asked all the girls to rub or lick his balls.  He meant the character’s balls. I think.
At one point, one of his co-workers, Susan came by to bring chips.  She was working, not playing.  She spent some time examining the figurine and walked past me.  I asked if she rubbed Mike’s balls.  “I licked them,” she said. O.K.
The table was 10 handed and originally I sat down in seat  9.  To my immediate left was none other than Adolf himself.
There was a floor person playing when I got there, actually higher than a floor person but not the poker room manager.  The dealer was Ginger, who clearly couldn’t wait to take an “early out” and start playing herself. This higher-than-a-floor-person told Ginger, as she was about to deal a hand, “Give me a hand please.  I want a hand.  I said give me a hand, not a hand-job.”
Ginger just laughed but thinking back to when I was in the corporate world, I couldn’t help thinking this was pretty blatant sexual harassment!  He could definitely have gotten into trouble for that comment if Ginger so desired.  It’s also possible that Ginger was relieved that he was demanding that she not give him a hand-job.
A few minutes after I got settled in, Prudence and Tom showed up.  Prudence took the last seat, on the other side of the table from me, and Tom helped open the second table.  Before long, they had actually had three tables going with a waitlist.  It was the third and final table that was the table that was considered “the fun table.”  It had the most drinking and the most wild, crazy players, led by Ginger.  Every time I looked over there, she was standing up and practically dancing at the table (tho she didn’t give anyone a lap dance that I saw). No more than 45 seconds ever went by without hearing raucous laughter from over there.  I suspect that if I had been playing at that table, this would be a much longer blog post.
My night started out dreadful, pokerwise.  I couldn’t win a hand at either game.  Seriously, I think I went about 2 hours before winning a pot.  Even at 2/4 that adds up.  It was almost that long before I even had a chance of winning.  I was usually out of the hand at the flop if I even got to it.  But against Mike, I flopped a gut-shot straight flush draw.  Mike bet out and I just called the flop and the turn, but on the river I hit my flush.  It was a low flush, but it was the first made hand I’d had all night so I bet out.  That put Mike in a quandary but he eventually called.  He had the flush too but his was 10-high and mine was 7-high (he also had the 6 I need for the straight flush)
By this time Mike was well beyond drunk and he was actually mad at me for betting out!  He was mad at me even tho he won the pot!  That was more than a little bewildering since I hadn’t won a pot yet and that looked like a good chance for one.  He was giving me a hard time, “You scared me, betting out there, and it was you…..”  By that he meant he knew I was a tight player and wasn’t likely to be betting there without a good hand, probably better than his 10-high flush.
At one point soon after the hand, he shouted to me, “I hate you Robert!”
This was the kind of game where you expect to take verbal abuse when you win a pot, that’s part of the deal.  But you aren’t really expecting to get shit thrown at you when you lose a hand, especially since it would have been the first hand I’d won since I sat down.
Finally, playing Omaha, I had Q-5-2-2.  I’ve still haven’t read “Omaha for Dummies” but I’m thinking that’s not a great starting hand.  However, I had been so card dead that I decided to play it anyway and see if I could hit a deuce (which probably wouldn’t have been good enough, I know—I was really hoping to flop quads).  The flop came Q-Q-5.  Not what I was going for but I’ll take it.  I knew there was a good chance that a boat wouldn’t hold up in this nutty game but at least I had a shot.  The only caller I got was Adolf, and I fully expected him to suck out me as he did in the post where he earned his pseudonym.  But the turn was the last Queen.  Now I had quad Queens and felt pretty good.  He called my turn bet and it didn’t matter what the river card was.
Adolf had his $4 in his hand waiting to call my river bet.  I faked putting it out a few times, and then finally bet.  As he called, I said,, “What, you don’t want to raise?”  No, he didn’t want to raise.  I showed my queen and he showed 2 Aces, so he did have the second nuts.  Since I now knew the point of this game was to give people shit for losing a hand, I started bitching about him not raising there.  He took exception to that, saying I should be grateful that he paid me off for my quads.
Then I realized that this was the first hand I’d won all night, and I said so.  “Finally won my first hand and it took quads to do it.”  No one gave me any sympathy.
I was already mad at Adolf because he had been straddling my big blind all nite.  At one point I said to him, “You keep straddling my big blind and you’re gonna be Adolf again.”  But that didn’t phase him, “Good, I want to be Adolf, again.”  Ya vol!
Then there was a hand of Crazy Pineapple that was quite annoying.  I had pocket 3’s and some other card so I called a preflop raise.  The flop missed me (10-6-x) so I should have been done with the hand.  But no one bet the flop, I got to see the turn card for free.  It was a 3.  Before I could bet it, Prudence bet.  I of course raised.  She was surprised but she called.  A 6 on the river paired the board and gave me a full house.  It was just the two of us now and Prudence checked, I bet, she called.
She flipped over 10-6 for 6’s full, a bigger boat than I had.  Damn, just the way my luck had been going that night.  But then I thought, “Some free card.  That free card cost me money!”
Then I thought some more.  Prudence had flopped two pair with her 10-6.  But the only reason I had turned the set was because no one bet the flop.  Why the hell didn’t she bet her two pair on the flop.  I yelled over to her, “Why the hell didn’t you bet the flop.  You had two pair.  You bet when you have nothing, but you don’t bet when you have two pair?”
She laughed and said, “Don’t give away my strategy!’  But she texted me to explain.  She was first to act, and she expected the preflop raiser, one of those wild, crazy dealers, to bet and she planned to check-raise.  But instead he checked and of course I checked with my underpair.  Grrr.
I should mention that Prudence has been staying on the wagon lately, and did so on this night.  Perhaps it was not a coincidence that she failed to mention any of her more intimate body parts or really say or do anything outrageous that I can report here.
One of the players at the “fun table” was a daytime cocktail waitress who works the poker room.  Now, only because it is actually relevant to the story will I point out that this waitress has large breasts.  A cocktail waitress with large breasts?  Who’d a thunk it?  Anyway, she was wearing a low cut top.  At one point she came over to our table to visit with Adolf.  I guess Adolf had just won a big pot and his chips were a mess, but he was now in another hand and so the waitress was leaning over behind him stacking his chips for him.
Did I mention she was leaning over?  Yeah.  Well it so happens that the guy who was in the hand with Adolf was right across from Adolf.  I believe he was getting quite the eyeful.  The waitress was not unaware of the view she was offering.  I heard her say, about Adolf’s opponent, “I’m distracting him with my breasts.”  I guess Adolf must be quite the tipper to get that kind of assist.
I finally got my revenge on Mike when I flopped a straight in Omaha and it held up against him.  A straight winning in Omaha?  OK, it was Broadway but even so, that’s a long shot.  Later, I saw Mike in the Men’s Room and he said, “I forgive you Robert.”  He was even drunker at that point than when he got mad at me for losing a hand to him.  It was pretty strange.
But not as strange as the comment he gave a male dealer who pushed him two or three big pots in a very short period of time.  Directly to the dealer, he yelled at the top of his lungs, “I want to butt-f*** you!”  The dealer said sure, he was good for that.  I think his response might have something to do with the size of the tips Mike was giving him.
No one came by to warn Mike about his language, although I’m pretty sure they could hear him at Paris.
I don’t mean the casino, Paris.  I mean the city in France.
Speaking of urination, which I wasn’t until now, one of the players, a regular player in the room, needed to go to the Men’s Room but was waiting for the button to come.  He was struggling waiting, however, and was pretty obstinate about waiting until the button was in the right position.  He was telling all of us just how badly he had to pee.  Just then, the waitress come by to take orders, which was pretty much the last thing he needed.  The player said to the waitress, who he knew well from playing in the room every night, “Can you pee for me?”
She thought about it a second and said, “Not standing up, I can’t.”
Heather, the star of this post here and many others, joined the table after we had been playing for a few hours.  She was drinking steadily and also mentioned that she need to pee.  She too did not want to leave the table, but in her case I think it was more do to her not wanting to miss any hand at all, not really worrying about where the button was.  At one point, as she was complaining about her situation—“I gotta pee so badly”—she took the half empty glass of whatever it was she was drinking and put it under the table, out of view, presumably between her legs.  I can report that she only had it down there a second or two, and there was not any more liquid in it than when she took it off the table.
At one point Heather warned Mike, who was saying the f-word as if he was getting paid to say it, to “Watch your f***ing language.”  And she wondered how Mike was going to be able to drive home.  Mike explained that he had gotten a room for the night.  His wife was already in the room, and in fact she had come down to say hello to us before Heather arrived.
Heather liked the idea that Mike’s wife was waiting in a hotel room for Mike.  “She’s waiting for you?  That’s nice.  Is she waiting there for you in lingerie—or maybe nothing?  And maybe some drinks?  Just two Jaeger bombs?  Jager bombs on her boobs? That’d be nice.”

It was getting late and I was getting tired of losing. And I had to work the next day, so I cashed out.  I think it was only then that I noticed that “Buzzedsaw” was at the other table (not the “fun table.”).  Buzzedsaw is an AVP’er and has the distinction of being the very first stranger to tell me he read my blog.  It actually happened the same night I met Prudence (see here).
This game took place right after the club I wrote about in my Slut Parade post (here) had opened.  There was some discussion on AVP about how the club had affected the MGM poker room (this was before they moved the poker room away from the club).  Buzzedsaw told a very interesting story, and thus I asked him if he could—you’ll pardon the expression—flesh out the details so I could include it in a future blog post. 
This appeared to be my chance so I hit him for details before I left.  It took place around 3:30 AM. The club had attracted a huge crowd (this was the first or second weekend it was open) and it was now breaking up. A guy came out of the club and there was this hot, sluttily dressed woman with him.  The guy sat at Buzzedsaw’s table to play some poker and the girl wanted to watch him play.  Instead of pulling up a seat behind him, she wanted to sit on his lap and the other players didn’t object.  And at some point, the guy gives the girl some kind of signal and she disappears to get more girls.  While she’s gone, another hot girl (also sluttily dressed—shocking, I know) shows up and she also sits on his lap for awhile.  But then she leaves too.
Soon thereafter the first girl comes back with five other girls.  They are of varying degrees of hotness (two were extremely hot, two were not really hot at all and one was smack-dab in the middle).  Somehow the girls were all “assigned” a player and each one of them stood behind one of the players at the game.  They were smiling at the guys and complimenting their muscles but they weren’t asking for anything.  Buzzedsaw didn’t think they were “pro’s”—just drunk.
The girl “assigned” to him was the one in the middle of the hotness scale.  After feeling his arms for awhile, she turned around and started massaging his shoulders with her ass.  Which was no doubt barely covered by an extremely short, extremely tight dress.  I’m pretty sure that the official massage girls that patrol the poker room don’t give massages like that.
I guess I need to start playing poker at 3 AM.
With that, another birthday with a wild poker game was over.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Lumpp Named Director of Bellagio’s Poker Room

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

Should be appearing in poker rooms around the country soon, if not already. I never know.

As you can see, most of the column is my interview with Craig Lumpp, the newly named Director of Poker at The Bellagio.  There was one thing we discussed that didn't really belong in the magazine column so I want to mention it here.

Just before meeting with Craig, I had read the blog post by Grange about his recent experience playing at the Bellagio.  In that post (here), he questioned Bellagio's policy requiring players to post before playing a hand.  It is the only room in Vegas that requires it.

So of course I asked Craig about it.  Just checking my recording just now, I hear myself telling him that although that discussion wouldn't go into the Ante Up column, it might end up on my blog!

He said they reviewed that policy a few years back and  it is not a "player unfriendly rule."  Basically, when the players get into the higher stacks--and they are one of the few rooms that has higher stakes--they want players to post (the players do).  And they want to keep it consistent throughout the rules.  Players start at 1-3 or 2-5, get on a heater and step up to the bigger games (5-10, 10-20).  They want the players "growing up" with the same set of rules.

I described the situation Grange discussed about thinking he was buying the button but the dealer didn't realize that's what he was doing.  He agreed with Grange's point and said he would address it.

Some time back, I also addressed Bellagio's posting policy in a silly post here.


Thursday, July 25, 2013

Would Patch Adams Kiss the Girl in the Purple Bra?

There will be a number of references to breasts in this post.  I apologize in advance.  But this post about a person who is obsessed with breasts.  No, not me.  It is about a woman is obsessed with breasts, at least her own.

I did a couple of posts last month about a girl I gave the name “Didi’ to.  You can see those posts here and here. Didi is the girl who, among other things, revealed to everyone at the table that she wears a 36DD bra (hence the name “Didi”).  She also liked to bet in prime numbers and decided that I look like Robin Williams—specifically Robin Williams in Mrs. Doubtfire.  She even threw a celphone across the table at me to show me the scene in that movie where I looked like him.  It was not her celphone, by the way, it was the player to her right’s.

That story took place early in my late May/early June trip to Vegas.  I noticed Didi several times during that trip, seeing her at other tables, but I was never sent to the table she was at and I did not go out of my way to play with her.  I hadn’t had a good session, pokerwise, when I played with her that one time.  And she played erratically, raising very big, and seemed to be a luckbox.  So it was hard to play my game with her at the table.  Besides, I thought, I had heard her schtick, and I figured I got all the blogging material I could out of her.
I was wrong.
My last night in town of that particular visit was a Sunday night, and I was assigned a table right near the front of the room.  As I took the open seat, seat 1, I noticed Didi at the table behind me. She was sitting at seat 9 at that table so I had a good view of her and also was within hearing range of her.  Of course, in her case, you didn’t have to be in very near proximity to her to hear her.
Our eyes met and she recognized me.  I believe we had said hello to each other once or twice when we played at separate tables.  This time, she pointed to me and said, “Patch Adams!”
Patch Adams?  Patch Adams was one of the more obscure, least popular movies that Robin Williams ever made.  Most people have mercifully forgotten its existence by now.  There are at least a million Robin Williams characters better known that Patch Adams, including the aforementioned Mrs. Doubtfire.  And yet now she was calling me “Patch Adams?”  Well, I guess it was better than being identified with a cross-dresser—not that there’s anything wrong with that.
I said hello to her by her real name and couldn’t help noticing her stack.  Yes, I mean stack of chips.  She was almost invisible behind the huge stack of chips in front of her, and there were $100 bills in front of her too.  She was clearly having a very good night. 
Oh, and yes, I did notice her rack too.  Sorry, I couldn’t help it.  Not only was it 36DD but she was wearing a v-neck t-shirt that revealed a whole lot of cleavage, of which she had plenty to reveal.
I recalled that the table she was at was usually a 2/5 game, not a 1/2, so I asked my dealer if that was a 2/5 game and indeed it was.  Didi was moving up in the world.
The seating was perfect for me in the sense that I could hear pretty much of all her outrageous comments without actually having to play at the same table with her.  Of course it did distract from the poker at my table.  All I will tell you about this poker session for me was that it was not a good one, but there were no particularly memorable hands.  I will also point out that this session took place the night after the story I told here took place, and that the Dutch guys I talked about in that post joined my table soon after I got there.  And they also knew Didi from a previous session, apparently. 
Almost immediately, I heard Didi telling her male dealer that she would give him half the pot if she won it.  And then demanded a kiss from him just as she had before.  By now all the dealers were familiar with her routine and kissed her on the check without a fuss.
Later one of my dealer pals told me that he figured that, between two other dealers and himself, she had probably tipped over $1,000 that night, already. At one point she had at least $4,000 in front of her.  So there was a lot kissing going on.
Aside from that, the first odd comment I heard from her was, “I have small boobs.”
Well, it is a well-known fact that people lie at a poker table.
Soon thereafter, I heard her say, “Spank me.  Spank me.”
I turned around and saw that she was standing up and had turned her back to the dealer, who was my pal Jack.  She was a bit bent over, so she was pretty much thrusting her ass in Jack’s face, demanding to be spanked.  I think this was in lieu of a kiss for a half-pot sized tip, but am not sure.
Jack of course could not “spank” her, even if he wanted to.  He gently patted her safely on her shoulder.  Didi reluctantly decided that this was close enough to the spanking she was demanding and sat down and gave Jack his tip.
Referring to her poker play, she announced that she was “tight as a ten-year old.”  I thought that was in remarkably bad taste, but she continued.  “I know I’m tight.  I’m tight because this barely fits.”  By “this” she meant the two fingers of hers, her index and middle fingers, she was now holding up, closed together, in front of her.  And then she bent over her third finger, extended her pinkie and….well, if you don’t see where she was going with that, you’re probably better off not knowing.
Didi had such a mountain of chips in front of her at one point that she wanted to color them up to $100 bills (perfectly ok as long as she kept the bills on the table, which she did).  Jane, the floorperson I’ve mentioned a number of times before (see here for one example) was called over to take her red chips and exchange them for bills.  But she didn’t bring her a chip rack with her and went to look for one.
“I have a big rack,” Didi said.  And so Jane replied, “I do too.” A fact which has already been mentioned here.
Jane was wearing a suit jacket and that comment caused Didi to grab the jacket and open it a bit so she could get a better look.
Women get away with murder.  If I had tried that, I would have gotten slapped, and kicked out of the room.  Not that I would ever consider such a thing, mind you.
Then, kinda/sorta referring to the poker, she said, “I have a big pair.  I have a big poker pair.  My pocket pair is bigger than yours.”  I really don’t think she was referring to her hand, though.
When Jane took away 4 stacks of red to get the bills, she said to Didi, “You’re $400 behind.”  To which Didi replied, “I like it from behind.”
Much later, I heard her refer to herself as a “backdoor girl.”  I’m sure she meant she was always chases those backdoor flushes.  Yeah, yeah, that’s what she meant.
I guess there is one poker hand of mine I can squeeze in here, because I actually think Didi played a part in it.  I raised preflop with a pair of Aces.  I bet $14 because there several limpers.  One of the really good players at the table called, as did a weak player.  The flop was King high, two diamonds and I didn’t have the Ace of diamonds.  I bet out $30 and the weak player folded but the good player called.  Black queen on the turn, I bet $50 and the good player starts fumbling with his chips and looks like he’s going to raise.  Since I figure he’s doing this to get a read on me, I look away.  I turn to see Didi behind me leaning over, with her elbows on the table.  The effect was to create a rather generous view of the aforementioned 36DD’s.  I admit that got my attention for a second or two.
When I turned back to my game, I saw the guy playing with his chips for another second or two and then just folding.  I think the indifference that I was exhibiting by looking away convinced him I wasn’t worried about his raising. Maybe he was thinking, “This guy is checking out boobies when it looks like I’m gonna raise? He must want me to raise.”
Soon thereafter, I heard Didi say, “I’ve got the nuts.  No, I don’t have nuts.  I have big tits.”
Now she was telling the truth.  I glanced behind me and was rather surprised to see that she wasn’t just claiming to have big tits.  She was attempting to prove it.  Because there she was, pulling her t-shirt down to fully reveal her purple bra. That part of this story was teased here, complete with a picture of a blonde showing off her purple bra (in case you don’t know what a purple bra looks like).  Note, that blonde is not Didi (nor is the girl below).  She didn’t just quickly flash the top of her bra, either.  She pulled the shirt down completely below it, and sat there with her bra (and a whole lot of cleavage) fully exposed for quite a few seconds.  Also, she kind of felt herself up, touching the ta-ta’s from both the outside of bra and digging in the bra a little to get a better feel.

For those who won't click the links, this is what a purple bra looks like
I’ve played a far amount of poker the past few years and I’d never quite seen anything like that in a poker room.  I’m pretty sure that is a non-standard play.  So, at the risk of spoiling a future blog post (i.e., this one), I sent out the following tweet to all my followers: “Just saw a girl playing 2/5 announce, ‘I've got big tits’ and then pull down her top to reveal her purple bra. She kinda felt herself up too.”
Two of my female followers, who were presumably nowhere near where I was playing, tweeted back that it wasn’t them!  Several male tweeters demanded that I post pictures of the event.  You know, “pics or it didn’t happen.”  Interesting, these tweets are no longer available to me but I know I got them.  And then there was good ol’ Poker Grump, retired from poker but checking in with this tweet from Asheville, NC: “You just condensed what would normally be a 10,000 word blog post into 140 characters.”  Of course, I replied, “Fear not, Grump. The inevitable 10,000 word blog post is coming.”
Sadly, I don’t think this post will make it to 10,000 words.
I replied to those that wanted pics that it would be impossible and that I doubted she would even flash her bra again.
But I was wrong about that.  She flashed her bra at least three more times during the evening that I saw.  I don’t recall the context of those other times, but at least once she said, as she covered up, “I guess I should tuck them back in.”  And reached into her bra to do so, before pulling up her shirt.
One other time that I recall her doing this was when I heard someone say, “they’re kinda nice.”  I’m not sure what he was referring to but Didi took it to mean her boobs.  “They’re very nice,” she said and then dropped her shirt again to reveal her bra, and I guess prove her point about them being very nice.
As far as I could tell, no floor person or higher ups saw her do this, but the (male) dealers sure did and did not request that she either refrain from doing this or cover up.
I guess I should comment here a bit about Didi’s outrageous behavior.  No doubt she is doing this distract the other players, especially the male players.  She has basically taken the Jennifer Tilly effect to the extreme, not just showing off her cleavage but talking explicitly about her big tits and other risquĂ© topics.  And of course, flashing her bra.
Around this time, an older woman passed by that Didi apparently had played with before.  Didi flagged her down to say hi and then added, “Oh, you should try to get on this table. It’s a fun table.” Then she added, “And you’ve got big boobs too.”
The woman didn’t seem that surprised by the comment and just said, “Why, thank you.”
Why do I get the feeling if it had been me who had said that she had big boobs, the reaction would have been totally different?
From a distance, it became apparent that Didi’s luck had changed, and her stack had diminished a bit.  When she lost, she would occasionally get nasty but then catch herself.  She apparently missed her card and I heard her say, “Oh, I was one jack off.  Don’t make fun of me, assholes…..I love you all.”
Not sure if there was any context at all for it but I heard her say, “I’ve got really big tits.”  Apparently since she had been playing they had gone from just big to really big.  I couldn’t help turning around when I overheard this and she noticed me and again called me “Patch Adams.”
This time I called her on it. “Patch Adams?  That’s what you’re gonna call me?  The most obscure Robin Williams character ever?”  I considered telling her the name I’d already picked out for her, but didn’t.
“Yes, it’s Patch Adams.  Why don’t you come over here and kiss me?”
Hmm.  I assumed she meant a little peck on the cheek as the dealers who she had tipped had done.  I honestly couldn’t think of a reason not to.  And I thought giving her the peck on the cheek would make for a noteworthy bit in the inevitable blog post that was being written in my mind as the evening progressed.
But as I had just been dealt two cards, I would have to wait.  By the time I mucked my hand (pocket Kings, of course) and got up to go over to her to give her the peck on the cheek, she was in the middle of a big hand and I had to walk back to my table without kissing her.  A player at her game said, “I think she was kidding about the kiss,” but I said, “No, I don’t think she was.”
As I waited for another opportunity, I began to think about the requests I had gotten for a pic of her exposing her bra. I knew I couldn’t take a pic like that secretively.  But what if I asked for her to pose and she agreed?  She just might, outrageous as she was.  Dare I ask?  Dare I tell her that my twitter followers demanded it?  I thought about it.  I hadn’t mentioned her on the blog yet.  But if she found out about the blog before I wrote about the first night (let alone this one), it might inhibit me when I wrote about her.  Did I have the guts to ask for a pic?
I was trying to figure out just how big my balls were, but alas, I never got a chance to find out.  Initially, the problem was I kept waiting for he not to be in a hand, and that just didn’t happen.
Meanwhile, the dealer at my game was Rita, who, oddly enough has already her rack discussed on this very blog (see here). She noticed me talking to Didi.  But the Dutch guys at my table were also talking to her, and were very interested in how she was doing, especially when she had that massive amount of chips in front of her.  I think they were considering trying to get into her game and taking some of those chips from her.
Rita noticed the Dutch guys’ interest in her and I said to her, “She’s kind of an attraction, there, isn’t she?”  Rita said, “Yeah, her play, her attitude…”  and I said “her big stack.”  To which Rita whispered to me, “Her big rack.”
Feigning shock, I said to Rita, ‘You said that, I didn’t….at least aloud.”  Rita responded with, “Yeah, I’m a pretty good mind reader.”  And I just laughed and said, “I think that one was pretty easy to read.”
I was still looking for an opportunity to go over and give Didi the peck on the cheek.  Now I was kinda hoping when I did it, I’d have the courage to at least mention the purple bra, and maybe if she flashed it for me (as I suspect she would have), I’d find the guts to ask for a pic.  But as I kept looking over there, I noticed that Didi’s stack was diminishing dramatically.  The Dutch boys reported that she had just lost a huge hand and a lot of chips.  Then I looked over a short time later and there was a big commotion over there.  I saw a hand that was over and Didi had apparently just lost another big pot.  I went over to look.
All I saw was the aftermath.  They were counting some guys chips to pay him off, he was the winner.  In front of him were the dreaded pocket Kings.  The board had a pair of 8’s (one on the flop and one on the turn) and a King on the river.  Didi apparently had an 8.  I think she may have turned a smaller full house than Kings full, and I’m sure it was pushed all in on the turn, and the guy with the Kings rivered his full house to win a monster pot.
I didn’t see how much but when I looked back over there after the pot was settled, she was buying more chips, although she was probably using the hundreds she had left, not actually rebuying.  Still, considering the stack she had in front of her just a few moments before, it was shocking.
I didn’t see what happened next, but we then noticed Didi had gotten up from the table and was heading out.  I saw her drink was still in her seat but there were no chips left.  The Dutch boys asked her if she was done.  “No, no, I just need to hit the ATM and rebuy.  I got sucked out on a few times.”
Wow.  She had lost at least $4K, actually more like $5K if you count the at least $1K in tips I mentioned at the outset (and that was only to three dealers, it was likely a total of well more than that).
The Dutch guys suggested she move to our table.  She said she would do that….but when she returned, she sat down at her old seat in the 2/5 game and played there.
But not for very long.  I looked around not long after and she was gone.  She had lost the $500 she rebought for and had taken off without saying a word.
This was my last night of that trip, but my contacts in the room told me that Didi didn’t return to the poker room the entire time I was back home.  However, I did see her a couple of times on my most recent visit.  She was back playing 1/2.  I guess getting up so far ahead and then losing it all (and then some) at 2/5 took it’s toll on her.  I didn’t play with her either time I saw her, and wasn’t close enough to her table to tell how she was doing (or hear any outrageous comments).  As far as I know her bra was kept under wraps the entire time.
Ultimately it was a rough nite for Didi, but she plays wild, aggressive poker and this night she got burned. And gratuitously showed a bunch of poker players her purple bra.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Here's an Article I Wrote for ADANAI Magazine

(Note:  This post is actually a reprint of an article I wrote for a new Online magazine, ADANAI and is just being published there today. You can find the article in its original form here, and I recommend you do just that so you can check out all of ADANAI.

As for the article itself, long time readers of mine will be familiar with Alicia, the subject of the piece.  Those of you who are new to the blog and coming here thanks to the link on ADANAI may want to read more about Alicia and the story of how I first met her and was amazed at her poker skills. You can find that blog post (“I Lost to A Girl!) here, but please note, in that original post, I gave Alicia the pseudonym of “Veronica” because I almost always use pseudonyms here.  But the following year, when Alicia played in the Main Event at the WSOP, I virtual-railed for on the blog and she gave me permission to use her real name.  Alicia was most recently discussed in my blog post here when I ran into her again as this year’s WSOP was getting underway.

Please let me know what you think.  This is obvious a departure from both my normal blog posts and my Ante Up columns) 


Ever wonder what it’s like to be a professional poker player in Vegas? Not one of those pros you see on TV, but someone trying to make a living playing low stakes cash games and tournaments; the kind tourists come from around the world to glimpse and dabble. Thousands of young men—and some not so young—live this no frills existence.  They are called “grinders.” Quite a few less women attempt it.
Alicia Spencer is one of those rare female grinders who succeeded at the trade for several years. She learned the game in Minnesota where she grew up, initially playing tournaments in bars and achieving some great results, including winning the first tournament she ever played.
When a job landed her in Washington, D.C., she sought out home games and continued to do well.  She remembers that first night playing $1/$2 No Limit when she won a big pot. “It was pocket Aces vs. pocket Kings vs. pocket Queens vs. pocket Jacks. I had the Aces, and although a Jack did hit the board, the player with the Jacks was short stacked and I took most of the money.  I left over $800 ahead, and they invited me back,” Spencer says. She continued to take their money.
The first two times she went to Atlantic City, she finished first in both tournaments she played.  The third time she had to settle for fourth place, but that was in a WSOP circuit event.
After that, she started entertaining the crazy idea of moving to Las Vegas to play poker for a living. She was good at the game and wanted to see if she could pull it off.  “I was young and thought this would be a good time in my life to do something crazy.”
So, in May 2009 she packed up her SUV with everything she could fit into it and drove all the way to Vegas.  Spencer played poker every day once there.  It didn’t start too well.  “I lost $2,000 in the first two weeks.  I didn’t know anyone in town.  I wondered if I made a big mistake,” she says.
But she started making friends and started having some better results at the table.   Although she preferred tournament poker, she had to play cash games in order to make a living.  “It was too risky to invest hours in a tournament that could too often result in leaving empty-handed.  Those hours were better spent at a cash game where I could make money more regularly.”
Even in the cash games, she’d win a little more than half the time.  She had to be disciplined and learn to minimize her losses.   “I would say, ‘I’m going to do two or three buy-ins.  If I’m done with two or three buy-ins, I’m done for the night.’”  Playing $1/$2 NL on the Strip, she’d frequently leave with an $800-$900 profit, and when she played $2/$5 she would often take away in excess of $1,500.
Playing on the Strip meant encountering a few good local players and plenty of tourists.  And the latter’s where she made her money.  “I divided tourists into two groups.  Really bad players and really, really bad players.  I preferred to play against only the really bad players.  The really, really bad players were too unpredictable.”
She was in Vegas for the 2009 WSOP and played in a few events without cashing.  The next year, she decided to play in the Deuce to Seven Triple Draw bracelet event.  “It was an unusual move since I had virtually no real experience playing that game.  I had learned it watching a friend play.  Despite that, I cashed, placing 21st.”  For that, she got a $6,000 payday.  She cashed the next year in the WSOP No Limit Hold’em Shoot-Out event.
Her skills started impressing a few people willing to back her in these events.  Professional poker player Bill Chen – who won two bracelets at the 2006 WSOP – was one of them. He not only became Alicia’s backer, but her mentor too.
Alicia never read poker books; she was a natural and learned by playing.  Her specialty was the psychological, emotional aspect of the game.  She could read the players well, not only to determine what they were likely to be holding but also how they would react to any move she made.  And she was real good at it.
She didn’t really pay much attention to the mathematics of poker until Chen worked with her.  Chen has a Ph.D in mathematics. He gave Alicia a better understanding of the odds.  Once she added that to her game, her results got even better.
She stood out in the very much male-oriented sport and took advantage of her table image.  Male players usually have pre-conceived notions of the average woman they see at a table especially if, as in Alicia’s case, she is young, pretty and blonde.  They automatically assume she lacks skill and plays timid and tight.  She’ll only bet a hand that is really good…they assume.
Alicia took full advantage of that stereotype.  She bluffed like crazy.  She was a ruthless, take no prisoners type of player.  “I rarely got called down because I was aggressive and confident. I would three-barrel with air over and over again.” (i.e. bet the flop, the turn and the river heavily with absolutely nothing).
A few times, Alicia experimented with more overt ways to exploit her femininity at the poker table. She’d put on a dress – instead of her usual comfortable jeans and sweatshirt – and act like she’d never played before.  For someone so comfortable at a poker table, it was a difficult ruse to pull off; she had trouble stopping herself from handling her chips and cards like a pro.  She did find that it was even easier to bluff when she tried this, but ultimately, it wasn’t necessary.  She went back to dressing like a poker player and not a girl heading off to a club.
Many female players report sexist, hostile comments directed at them from the men at the table. “I never encountered anything like that—or if I did, it didn’t really register.  Oh, I was hit on constantly while playing, but that was it.  I think the male players were upset with me because I was an aggressive, successful player, and not because I was female.”  Although it’s likely the fact that they were “losing to a girl” might have made it easier for some guys to go on tilt.
The guys she met away from poker were all fascinated to learn what she did for a living; most of them thought it was great.  They wanted to play poker with her.  A few even wanted her to teach them to play.  She actually charged them for lessons.
If being a professional poker player sounds glamorous, Alicia will tell you otherwise.  “It was a tough existence.  I was ever mindful of my bankroll, and I knew that a few bad sessions in a row could be devastating to it.  The pressure to play and win was overwhelming.”  She played 50-60 hours a week, mostly on the Strip.  Most often she would start early afternoon and finished a little before midnight.
Unlike some grinders she knew, Alicia never found herself playing just because she had a bill coming due. Her bankroll was never that low. Instead, she sometimes found herself buying in when she shouldn’t have.  She’d walk by the poker room after doing something else and decide to play for a little while. She wouldn’t really be in the right frame of mind.  “I remember one time when I walked right past a poker room coming out of a club.  I decided to play for just a little while.  I lost $500 in 15 minutes.  I had to learn the discipline to avoid that type of situation.”
The lifestyle of Vegas was a culture shock for her.  She hung around with other poker players and gamblers, and they didn’t seem to value money the way she did—or at least the way she did when she first moved to Vegas. Eventually she started to realize that money was meaning less and less to her, too.  Everyone she knew seemed to be just looking out for themselves, and she was beginning to include herself in that category.
After a little over year living in Vegas, she had had enough. “I realized I didn’t like the person I had become.  Playing because you have to rather than because you want to was taking the fun out of the game for me.” So she decided to move away from Vegas and get a real job.  She still visits Vegas frequently, and enjoys poker a lot more now that she’s back playing it for fun.  And yes, she’s still very good at it.  In May she cashed in a Bracelet event at the WSOP.  But then she flew home and went back to work.