Monday, August 19, 2013

The Famous Robvegaspoker

I’m famous.

OK, I’m not really famous famous, but in the poker world, I am starting to get a name for myself, and I don’t mean “boob Rob.” Between this here blog and my Ante Up columns, people know me and/or know of me.  Not a lot of people maybe, but more than I ever would have expected.

This post is going to be quite a bit self-indulgent.  Even more than usual.  Sorry.
I found that out during my late May/early June visit to Vegas.  Even before then, I would sometimes get tweets from people I didn’t know telling me about how they lost a hand with the dreaded pocket Kings.  And yes, they would always refer to them as the “dreaded pocket Kings.”  Damn, I so do wish I had thought to copyright that term.  Last Christmas, a reader of mine all the way from Australia was visiting Vegas and recognized me in the poker room, saying he was able to Google my picture and that I was “internet famous” (story is buried in this post here).
But it was trip I timed to coincide with the beginning of the WSOP (and two AVP events, and Memorial Day Weekend) that really illustrated it for me.
First there was the first event in the annual Binion’s Poker Classic.  I talked a bit about this tournament back in this post here, explaining that I wouldn’t have time to do a complete write up on it then.  So I guess now is the time to report on the rest of it.
This was a $160 buy in NL tournament with a $25K guarantee.  Paul, the TD director at Binion’s, was tweeting about it, and I tweeted back that I was going to play.  I got a tweet back from one “MDGPoker” saying, “Cool I have a shot to be lambasted in my fav blog besides mine. GL!”  That was very flattering, especially since I didn’t even know who he was.  I was following him and twitter (and vice versa) but that didn’t mean he reads my blog.  I had never heard from him before.  As far as I knew, I had never met him.  So that was pretty nice.
I tweeted back, “Ty! Just crack my KK and you're guaranteed to get your whole blog post.”  And he replied, “OBV! and it will be with 5 high lol.”  I told him I would be wearing my Ante Up shirt and to be sure to stop by and say hello.
In fact, when I got to Binion’s, before the tournament started, I actually recognized him from his Twitter pic.  I said hello and he was surprised, he said I didn’t look like he expected to me to look.  I guess he just didn’t anticipate me being quite so good looking!  We never ended up at the same table that day, but he will return never-the-less.
Apparently I have this habit of being seated next to dealers who read my blog.  Remember, at the Venetian I was seated immediately to left of Audrey, a dealer at Binion’s who I thus found out read my blog (see here).  Well, this time, I was seated to the left of Ron, who not only deals at Bally’s but is a blogger himself (see his blog here and my recent post where we played poker together here).  That was a nice surprise and I’m glad I at least had position on him; he’s a much better player than I am.  But I don’t think we really got into any pots together.
One of the dealers at the table was a fellow AVP’er, Bubba Sparks.  We’d met a few times before since he frequently deals the Binion’s weekend tourneys these days.  He started discussing TBC with me.  That led to a discussion of my ol’ nemesis, “Poker Genius” who I haven’t run into in some time.  In fact, last time I saw him, it was at the Bike in Southern Californa.  I expected to see him at the WSOP venue trying to bumming stakes off people, but I never saw him.  And I found out why.  It seems the poor guy has been banned from all Caesars Entertainment properties!  Wow, that is major, he used to always hang out at Bally’s or Planet Ho.  I actually thought he lived at Bally’s, and by that I mean slept in his car in the Bally’s parking lot (that’s just conjecture).  Anyway, he is supposedly living in Florida now.
The discussion of TBC sort of outted me to a player at the table who is also an AVP’er, 24fanatics.  He overheard us talking about Tony and on a break, introduced himself even though we had been playing at the same table the whole time.  He introduced me to another AVP’er, phantom309, who it turns out is a fellow columnist for Ante Up!  He covers the Oklahoma area and was visiting Vegas.
I do want to flesh out (so-to-speak) a story I just gave the punch line to in the earlier post where I mentioned this tournament (again, the post here).  When the lovely and vivacious Denise came to the table to deal, she noticed there was something amiss with the chip rack at our table.  Since it only had a few tournament chips in it anyway, I’m not really sure what could have been wrong with it, but it was bothering her.  Finally, she said, “Look at this.  The rack is a mess.”
This guy she’d be bantering with, obviously a regular well known to her, said, “You’re what is a mess?”
With a hint of exasperation, she said, “The rack.  This rack,” pointing down to the chip rack.  And then, “My rack is perfect……since you asked.”  And as she said it, she looked straight at me and winked.  The guy protested, “I didn’t ask,” but everyone was too busy laughing to pay him much attention.
When I told that story in the previous post, I wasn’t certain whether that wink and nod was specifically directed at me or it was more of a factor of my being directly across from her.  But subsequent events have led me to believe with much certainty that it was definitely directed at me purposefully. It was Denise's comments about my blog and my very first mention of her on the blog that convinced me.  See the post here and you'll see what I mean. There’s no question in my mind she did that because she knew I had blogged about her—and, ahem,the part of her that she had told us all was perfect. But at the time, all I knew was that I always wanted to be on my best behavior around Denise, even if she had called me a gentleman on the same day she told everyone at the table that I had a blog (see here).  So I tried to stifle my laugh as much as I could and kept otherwise silent.
Speaking of “gentleman”, some other guy at the table referred to himself as such, another one of the regs that she was bickering with.  She said, “Yeah, you’re a gentleman.  You take the dishes out of the sink before you pee in it.”
Later when somebody said something risqué that I didn’t quite catch, she said to the guy, “This isn’t a strip club sir.  This is a family place.”  The guy said at a strip club, “they just bust your balls.”
Since I didn’t survive all that long into the tournament, I won’t discuss more than a couple of hands.  In that prior post, I mentioned the two best hands, flopping a set of Jacks and then, flopping another set of Jacks that turned into quads.  The guy who I hit the quads against actually called my river bet, as I noted in that post.  He was a very nice, older gentleman.  During the break, he came over to me and discussed his bad luck and told me another story of the time he bet into quads in a tournament.  Then he said to me, “You look very familiar, I feel like I should know you.”
I said my name was Rob but that didn’t help him.  Then I told him I play at Binion’s all the time on the weekends, but he said he had never been to Vegas before on a weekend, only during weekdays (he’s from the Midwest).  That couldn’t be it.   So then I said I write a column for Ante Up and that my picture’s in there.  He said that must have been it.  Yes, he recognized me from the little picture they run of my every month!  See, I am famous!
A few days later, he posted on the Binion’s Poker Room Facebook page that he had a great time playing in the Binion’s classic even if he did lose to quads—and mentioned me by name!
One funny hand worth mentioning was Ace-7 off in the big blind.  Nobody raised, three of us saw the flop, which was all low cards, something like 5-4-4.  I checked and so did everybody else.  Another low card, so this time I figured, what the hell, I can steal this.  I led out with a pot-sized bet.  One guy, who was kind of short-stacked, called.  Another blank on river.  The only way I’m gonna win this pot, I thought, was to get him to fold, so I bet out again, slightly less than the pot.  He called. I had no choice but to show my bluff, Ace high.  He said, “Oh, I didn’t think you had an Ace.  I knew you were just trying to steal it, I figured my King was good.”  Yes, yes, he tried to catch my bluff with only King-high!  “I didn’t think you were that strong.”  I just shook my head, I thought that was pretty funny that I got caught bluffing and won anyway.  I think you should have better than King-high to catch a bluff.
My last hand, desperate, I had Ace-6 in the big blind.  An aggro guy raised in front of me and I felt I had no choice but to shove.  I thought he could have been raising with a wide range of hands, but he snap called and showed two Aces.  I got half as many 6’s on the board as I needed and I was done.  The good news was that I found out the next day that Ron had chopped first place, but it took him until 6 AM to do it.  The tournament started at 2PM the day before.
That brings me to one of my only two sessions at this year’s WSOP, less than a week later.  I thought I’d play in a few of the $235 3PM Deepstacks, but it turned out this was the only one I played.  I should mention that this took place a little more than a week after my infamous Slut Parade post appeared (see here) , and it was already well on its way to becoming the second most popular post I’ve ever done.  My readers, apparently, like sluts.  Or prim and proper ladies who enjoy dressing like sluts.  Before the tournament began, I ran into Alaskagal, who had retweeted my the tweet I had sent out with the link when I first posted The Slut Parade.  This was the first time I’d seen her since I’d gotten back to Vegas.  She reiterated how much she liked that post.  “I was laughing out loud.”  I said, “Well, I had some great material…..of course, the girls weren’t wearing much material.”  And she said, “Yeah, that’s Vegas.  It’s like Halloween every day.”
She introduced me to a friend who was with her (can’t remember his name) and he said he also read the blog.
And at the table I was assigned to, who did I see a few seats away, but the aforementioned MDGPoker, who I had met at the Binion’s Classic.  So we were playing at the same table, giving him a chance to do something to me so he could be “lambasted” in a blog post.  Sadly, I don’t think we even got into a major hand together.  So I can only say that he seems to be a really nice guy.  But what would you expect from someone who calls this his favorite blog?  I mean, we know for sure he has excellent taste.
Before the tournament began, we were talking a little about the blog and making jokes about the dreaded pocket Kings.  He recognized another player at the table, someone I’ll call Sean because I think that might actually be his name.  Sean had been on some televised poker, he is a really good player and also had once had a deep run a WSOP main event not too many years ago.  If I heard right, they had both worked behind the scenes in televised poker so they had much to chat about.
Then the weirdest thing happened.  I was sitting there playing the first or second level of the tournament. A guy came over, not a young man by any means, and I guess he was playing the same tournament at another table.  He said to me, “Are you Rob?”  I said yes.  “Oh man, I just gotta tell you, I love your blog.  It’s great.”  He started to walk away as I thanked him and I yelled after him, “What’s your name?’  He said it was Larry and went on to say he never comments on the blog, he just reads it.  “I just read yours and TBC’s, that’s all I read.”  And then he left.  But a minute or two later he came back over and said, “Oh, and congratulations on the Ante Up gig.”
Well that was pretty cool, I have to admit.  Suddenly everyone at my end of the table, not just MDGPoker, knew I had a blog.  The guy to my immediate left said, “What’s your blog about?”
“Well…..”  He wouldn’t let me finish, “Come on, come on, tell us.”  I said, “Well, it’s sorta about poker but other stuff too.”  At this point Sean, if indeed that was his name, asked, “So you do a blog, huh?  What’s the name of it?”  I told him it’s Rob’s Vegas & Poker Blog and gave him the URL.  If it registered with him, he didn’t indicate it.
He didn’t say another word to me for the next two hours.  Meanwhile, the guy to my left started calling me “Famous Guy.”  And when I ordered a Diet Pepsi, he said, “Oh, Famous Guy drinks Diet Pepsi.”  Yeah, that was kinda weird.
And then, two hours later, Sean finally spoke to me again.  “Did you write that blog about New York New York?
I said, “No, I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned New York, New York.”
But he continued.  “About the club there?  About the girls dressing sexy?”
Aha.  “Oh, you mean the MGM, Hakkasan?”
“Yeah, yeah, I thought it was New York, New York.  I did see that!  I liked that.”
That was pretty cool too.  Even if he did confuse the names of the casinos.   
As for the poker, I’ll only mention a few hands, I think I didn’t quite make it to the second break. I was doing ok for awhile, no dramatic hands, just slowly chipping up, when I got into trouble with Ace-King.  I raised, the guy who kept calling me “Famous Guy” shoved.  He was short-stacked, had about half my stack, maybe a little less.  I called. He had pocket 6’s but I didn’t get any help and lost a bunch of chips.

After that, nothing panned out until I was in fold-or-shove mode.  I hadn’t seen an Ace for a long time, so I shoved with Ace-6 and a big stack called me with Ace-Queen.  The flop and the turn were blanks but I caught a 6 on the river to prolong my life a little.  I guess now I had enough chips so a shove might get someone to fold.
Our table finally broke and I saw about two or three hands at my new table and then a guy with a big stack raised in front of me.  I had Ace-Queen and so it was an easy shove for me.  The guy asked for a chip count, which he got, and then called.  And then…..the putz flipped over two Aces.
Huh?  Why did he ask for a chip count?  There were no other players in the hand.  Exactly what did my chip count have to be for him not to call me there???  Kinda pissed me off because his asking for a chip count gave me some small hope.  Maybe he had Ace-Jack, King-Queen, Ace-10?  Maybe he has a pocket pair and I win the race?  But no, he had me absolutely crushed.
No help on the board and I was done.  Two tournaments in this post and in both cases I was busted by pocket Aces.  At least I didn’t get sucked out on!  Or lose to the dreaded you-know-what.
Oh, and yes, I’m famous.  A little bit, anyway.


  1. Hi Rob. I'm usually lurking & enjoying your posts ~ keep it up

    Re:- The guy with pocket rockets checking out your all-in stack size before he called...

    You didn't say what your relative stack sizes were,
    but if he stood to lose a good portion of his stack & it's fairly early in the tourney, then folding AA is often a smart move. Especially if he feels he's a better player than average at the table post flop.

    Why lose a sizeable chunk of your stack on one play out of the money if you know you have the abilities [& a post flop passive table] to chip up more gradually & safely with small ball poker as per Negreanu?

    If there was a big differential in stack sizes, then it's possible he couldn't visually gauge your stack size for some reason. Blocked view, poor eyesight ~ something like that.

    I've seen some tourney stats showing that "small ballers" tend to progress on average deeper than the high variance 3-bet, 4-bet, 5-bet style that puts you up top early & busted before the money

    Just some thoughts

    1. Thanks, Michael. Glad to hear you are enjoying this.

      I don't recall exactly, but it was pretty well on in the tournament, and he had a pretty big stack compared to mine. I understand what you're saying but at the time, I thought it was a pretty obvious snap-call. I understand not risking your stack early, but this was I'm sure a no-brainer for him.

  2. Can I has your autograph and a cheeseburger?

    1. You want me to autograph a cheesbeurger? Sounds messy.

  3. I wouldn't give the prick as much credit as Michael Fisher does. He was torturing you, plain and simple. I had something similar happen to me, though it was a cash game :

    1. Thanks, Mr. S. I didn't know this guy from Adam, I dunno if he was be a dick intentionally or not. It was just weird in my opinion. I pray for players to go all in against me when I have Aces.

  4. I have a couple of short "dreaded pocket Kings" stories for you Rob:

    I'm playing a $440 satty to a $2100 ME ticket at Winstar in's level 5 and I have a good stack...I make it 3x ($450) in late position with AA...Cutoff makes its 13x ($2000ish)....folds back to me...I shove obviously...he says "well if you have Aces you got em!" and calls....we had exactly equal stacks strangely know the rest of the story...K in the window...and he got a ticket and the $500 bonus for top twenty.

    The other day on Bovada...I'm playing a $3 donkament...just got to the final table where the money is....I'm like 4th in chips....I look at QQ....since it's a $3 donkament and the blinds are so high...I don't get cute...I just stuff it in...hoping to get called by AK,AQ,AJ or smaller pairs....and I do get a the "dreaded pocket kings"...and I'm out in 9th when I could have cruised to 4th or 5th.

    1. Thanks, bill. Those are good, but you know, to be really proper dreaded KK stories, the teller should have the Kings!

      Still....just fold 'em.

      Actually, I now may have the mother of all dreaded pocket Kings stories from last night, playing against a buddy who reads my blog! Can't wait to get to that one.

  5. I have followed your blog for a while, but never had occasion to post. However, during a recent session of 1/2 NL I heard a "woman said" comment about your alleged favorite subject and immediately thought of you.

    A woman with considerable "assets" sat to my left and made a comment to the dealer as she was sitting down. The dealer replied, "don't try to guilt me into dealing you good cards." I asked her if that worked and she replied, "only if you have titties." That was apparently true, as she cashed out over $600 on a $200 buy in after only 2 hours.


    1. Thanks K9dr! That is a good story. I've never considered cross-dressing before but....wonder if that would work.

    2. Didn't someone already mention you resembled Mrs. Doubtfire ?

    3. Yeah, I guess so, all I need is the dress and the fake boobies.

  6. You're not famous Rob, you're infamous. I'll have you know the "Dreaded Pocket Kings" (is that like the Dread Pirate Roberts?) were very good to me on Saturday night. AK on the other hand screwed me over repeatedly.

    1. One man's meat is another man's poison, Neo.

  7. I enjoyed your interview in the latest magazine.

    1. Thanks, MOJO. Interviews are actually kind of hard, because you really have to ask the right questions and then hope the subject gives interesting responses. Then you get to figure out what's worth putting in the column and what isn't. And of course, in this case I had enough material for 2 or 3 columns. See--I CAN edit myself!

      This was even more of a challenge because we did the interview in a Starbucks-type place at Bellagio and it was very noisy. I had trouble hearing Craig's answers on my recording. Only because I had some good earbuds with me could I do it.

      Craig is a really nice guy, young, so it will be interested to see if he makes any changes at the venerable Bellagio.