Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The $200 Cheesesteak

This is another night from early May, the night after this story took place.  Like that story, it took place when the poker room was still in its original location, in the middle of the Slut Parade—and this was indeed a Slut Parade night.  In that previous post, I discussed a very chatty fellow and explained that having a non-stop talker at the table could go one of two ways.  It can either be annoying as hell or quite entertaining.  Jake, the guy in that previous post, turned out to be quite entertaining.

This is the flip side. 

I joined a table and was sitting directly to the left of a guy from Philadelphia.  I found out that he was from Philly before I’d even had a chance to put my jacket on my chair.  He mentioned it every five seconds.  But then, he mentioned everything every five seconds.  This guy would not shut up to save his life.  You could offer this guy a million dollars if he could go 30 seconds without saying a word and you’d be at no risk of losing a penny.   

Never in my life have I ever, ever encountered anyone as much in love with the sound of his voice as this guy.

I don’t catch his name.  Originally I was gonna call him simply, “The guy from Philadelphia” but that’s just too much typing for a jerk like him.  Since Philly is famous for its cheesesteaks, let’s just call him “Cheesesteak.”

Cheesesteak had this incredibly loud, booming voice.  And of course a very pronounced east coast accent.  If he hadn’t said he was from Philly, I probably would have thought he was a New Yawker, but I think there’s a difference in the two accents, and I think I may have noticed it.  Anyway, his voice was annoying because of the volume, because of the unpleasant accent, and mostly because it didn’t have an off switch.

On top of that, Cheesesteak was one of those highly opinionated guys.  Every opinion he had was said as a proclamation.  It was clear that he wasn’t interested in a debate; he was right and that was that.  He wasn’t just giving his opinions.  He was pontificating.  And the person he was mainly talking to was on the other side of the table, so he was raising his voice, which didn’t need to be raised. 

Fortunately, he wasn’t talking about politics.  Thank god for that.  You might remember how much I like politics being discussed at the poker table (see here).  If he had been discussing politics, I probably would have killed him right at the table.  Even if he was on my side politically. 

What Cheesesteak was actually talking about, non-stop (except occasionally about the poker) was sports.  In fact, when I first got there he was discussing the NBA playoffs which were taking place at the time.  Now as you know, I’m a huge NBA fan so you would think that I might actually have been able to enjoy and participate in a conversation about hoops with him.  But no, I couldn’t.  The guy was just too loud, too annoying and too opinionated for me to appreciate anything he said.  I wouldn’t have been able to live with myself if I had said anything to encourage him—although this guy clearly needed no encouragement whatsoever to make his lips move.

After his discussion of the playoffs was over, he proceeded to move on to the NFL, where he proceeded to state (as if it was the word of god) exactly what each team needed in the upcoming NFL draft.  He was of course a fan of the Eagles, a team which, I’m led to believe, still plays in the NFL.  But he was a (self-proclaimed) expert on every frickin’ team in the NFL.

Many years ago, I was every bit as much of an NFL fan as I am an NBA fan now—and I still didn’t give a shit about the NFL draft.  So now that I don’t pay all that much attention the NFL until the playoffs roll around, I surely wasn’t interested in hearing this loudmouth talk about how the Jacksonville Jaguars absolutely had to take a speedy cornerback—or a long-snapper—with their 8th round pick.

Another annoying thing about Cheesesteak was that he wouldn’t even shut up when he was in a hand.  Even when the action was on him.  He’d be in the middle of story about the third string punter for the Houston Texans and the action would be on him and he would insist on finishing his point before he would decide what to do about the action in front of him.  He was actually holding up the game.

Now I will have to admit something that will shock my readers.  When I arrived in the room, I had a choice of tables and picked this one for very non-poker reasons.  Of all my options, this table was the one that offered the best view of the scenery that was about to descend upon the casino as the hot nightclub’s opening time neared.  The human scenery.  The human, female, scenery.

Thus, I was reluctant to move tables.  I kept hoping Cheesesteak would just leave.  But after awhile, he showed no sign of wanting to go and I just could not take it anymore.  Between his booming voice (right next to me), his non-stop talking and the fact the he was an annoying know-it-all, I was finding it unable to concentrate on the poker.  I expected to be distracted from the poker for a much better reason in a few hours.  This was the time I needed to be able to actually pay attention, before the pleasant distractions started showing up. 

So when I noticed a seat had opened up at the table behind me, I jumped up and asked the floor if I could take that seat.  It would give me a slightly worse view of the pending parade that was coming.  But I had to move.  If I killed Cheesesteak, they probably would have taken me out of the poker room before the eye candy showed up anyway.

Unfortunately, at the new table, there was a new distraction.  This particular table was ice cold.  I guess I was sitting under the vent, as my hands were so cold I had to keep them in the pockets of my jacket when I wasn’t using them to look at my cards or to bet.  This was in May, it was nice outside and sub-arctic where I was sitting.  Even though I had a jacket on, I started thinking about making the ridiculously long trek to my car to get a sweatshirt—even though what I really need was ski gloves, something that is not in my wardrobe.  Soon I became convinced I had to walk to the car to get the sweatshirt.  I wasn’t sure how much that would help, but I figured the long walk—a lot of it outside, where it was warm—would help too.

I decided would play the button and then trek over to my car.  I played a few more hands and then, on the button—my last hand before the break I was planning to take—I looked down at pocket Jacks.  The table’s designated aggro—and this guy was really aggro—raised to $10 in front of me.  A reasonable player called.  I’m not always three-betting there, but against this guy, it was easy to three-bet.  I was ahead of most of his raising range, which I’m pretty sure consisted of every possible card combination in the deck and maybe a few Uno cards as well.

I made it $40 and the aggro called.  The reasonable player folded.   The flop was Queen high, and very uncoordinated.  He checked.  What should I have done there?  I had about $120 or so left and he had me covered by at least $500.  Should I have shoved?  Should I have checked behind? 

I figured I probably had the best hand, but with his range, he could have nothing or he could have had me beat.  I made the c-bet of about $60, half my remaining stack.  He check-raised me all in.  I called, because even if he had the queen, I couldn’t fold there, having put so much of stack in already.

We didn’t show.  Nothing on the turn or river changed anything.  He showed Queen-4.  There was no four on the board.  Just the Queen.  He had top pair, no kicker.

And won the pot.



Oh, I guess I should mention.  It was soooted.  But he never caught a flush draw.

So let’s see.  He raised preflop in early position with Queen-4 sooooted (I told you he had a wide range).  Then when I three-bet him he called $30 more with Queen-4.  I guess I should mention that this was the second time I had three bet at this table.  Earlier I had three-bet with the dreaded pocket Kings.  And I had taken down the pot with a bet on the flop, so I didn’t have to show.  But that was my only preflop raise at this table.  I’m sure I had a tight image.

And he had no kicker with his top pair.  He check-raised me with a 4 kicker.  I could have had Ace-Queen there, no?  Or a set of Queens?  Or Aces or Kings—how many other hands do “normal” people three-bet with?

When I finally had a chance to jot down notes on that bad hand, after giving the details, I wrote, to myself, mind you, “Are you f***ing kidding me?”

So I went to my car to get my jacket.  Not having any chips left, I decided not to ask them to hold my seat.  At that moment, rather perturbed by the turn of events, I wasn’t even sure I would play anymore that night.  Maybe I’d just hang around and enjoy the scenery that was starting to show up.  I couldn’t stop thinking about Queen-4.  I was flashing back on all the times, when I was playing 2/4, people would say they hated 2/4 because you could never bet someone off a hand.

I guess you can’t bet someone off a hand in NL either.  I guess there’s really no difference between NL and limit poker after all.

The walk to the car was good for me.  I did warm up.  And cool down, if you know what I mean.  When I got back to the poker room I just sat around for awhile and then finally got my name back on the list.  I saw Cheesesteak was still at the table I was originally at.  I told them I didn’t want to go back to that table.  In addition to his being an annoying loud-mouth, I had now gotten it into my head that Cheesesteak had cost me $200 by forcing me away from my original table and into that game with Mr. Queen-4.

I also didn’t want to return to the other table, as Mr. Queen-4 was still there.  Sometimes when a guy takes my money like that I relish the thought of getting a chance to win it back, but not this time.  The Queen-4 was just too much to take.  I thought if I played at the same table as him again I was in danger of going on tilt.  So I requested not to go to that one either.

Fortunately they had a long enough list to start a new game.  My buddy Mike was opening the game.  This table didn’t have a particularly good view of the scantily clad females who were starting to appear, but since listening to my baser instincts hadn’t worked out for me too well earlier, maybe that wasn’t so bad.

Mike greeted me with, “So I get to bust you out?”  I told him I had already busted out once that night and he said he saw that, he saw me leave.  “Maybe you can double me up,” I told him.  He responded, “Or bust your Kings.”  Yeah.
Mike was soon pushed by the next dealer and the girls were starting to walk through the poker room, causing some distraction, of course.  One (male) player said there were too many people walking by for him to concentrate.  Just then, a particular hot group of young ladies walked by, wearing some exceedingly short, exceedingly tight dresses.  I said to the guy who complained, “It’s a feature, not a bug.”

We had started to discuss the young ladies lining up.  One guy said that the skirts would get shorter as the night wore on.  A woman said, “They get better looking as it gets darker.”  I said, “They get better looking the more alcohol that’s consumed.”

A guy came to the table who looked like something the cat dragged in.  I’m not sure what that means, exactly, but my late father used to say it all the time.  He had long, straggly hair that looked like it hadn’t been washed in about 6 months.  He had a beard—or the beginnings of one.  Maybe he just hadn’t shaved in about a week.  He was wearing an old fashioned hat—like the kind every man wore in the 1930’s and 1940’s.  I guess you could say he didn’t exactly look like he’d be stealing women away from Bradley Cooper.  Or Anderson Cooper, for that matter.

Suddenly three of those incredibly hot girls walked by, and stopped to say hello to this seedy looking character.  I’m sure that, between the three of them, the quantity of material they were wearing was enough to produce one actual dress.  The hottest of the three girls proceeded to lean in (how she bent over in that dress, I’ll never know) and give the guy a big kiss right on the lips.  Trust me, this was no platonic kiss.

The other two girls didn’t kiss him.  I was sitting next to the dealer and leaned over and whispered to him, “Really?  Really?   He laughed and said, “Yeah.  Go figure.”

The poker was better at this session, at least for me.  Won a couple of small pots, then I was dealt pocket 9’s in the small blind.  Someone raised to $12, one person called, and I called as well.  The flop was A-10-9, two hearts (I was heartless).  I lead out for $25.  One guy folded, the preflop raiser made it $60.

That looked to be about half his remaining stack, give or take.  I didn’t see any point in waiting any longer to get it all in, so I shoved.  I had the guy covered.  Now that I think about it, is there a difference there in shoving and just raising the guy all in?  I didn’t think it mattered, but is it better to figure out exactly what the guy has left and raise that much instead of announcing “all in”? Psychologically, does hearing me shove with a big stack scare him more than if I had just raised to $120 there? 

I asked because he folded.  I was surprised; I really thought he was pot-committed.  And he folded face up too, showing Ace-King.  Wow, that was a pretty big lay down.  I don’t think most players would have made it.  Maybe my saying “all-in” instead of betting just enough to put him all in was a tell?

Still, a decent pot.  The rest of the pots I won aren’t really worth discussing, but I won enough small ones to get back all the money I lost to Mr. Queen-4.  Yeah, I recovered and ended up breaking even for the night.

And by the time I cashed out with my money back, there was a awful lot of beautiful, exciting scenery all around the place to admire.

Which I did.


  1. I know a couple of guys from the bar league I'm in that play Q4. It's one of those things where it's one guys favorite hand, and the other guy plays a friend's favorite hand.

    1. Thanks, Herb. I get that people like to play their favorite hands. I mean, there are people out there that always play deuce-4 because it is their favorite hand--not realizing that it is the most powerful hand in poker.

      But this guy's "favorite" hand was pretty much whatever two cards were in front of him at any given time.

  2. ur either a good storyteller or have a good memory

    1. Thanks, Tony. I have a terrible memory these days. If I relied just on my memory to do this post (or most of them), my posts would be one or two sentences, tops. I realize that this would please some people.

      I explained my method for keeping track of my blogging material in the recent post linked below. Basically, I take notes at the table and then record voice notes the next day.


  3. good post.good decision not going back to the Q4 table.sometimes the fish bite back.but i guess from his point of view , it was i call the 3bet, if i miss. ez fold. he had like over 500,right?if he put u on aceface or something,then he has 2 live cards.

    1. Thanks, anger. From his point of view, even hitting the Queen doesn't mean he's good there. But really, I have to learn to want people to play that badly--in the long run, I'll make money off them.

    2. true,personally q4 is too risky. i will sometimes do with 57o or even 29o. my reasoning being i got 2 live cards if against an aggro and position bcuz if hit no1 puts u on that hand and later if u 3 bet with a quality hand hopefully ppl with think u r playing rags again. just thought. gl at the tables

    3. Yeah, now you're playing the meta game, and if your opponents are smart enough to notice, that could work. In this case, the guy I faced had already convinced me he could be playing any two cards and he was.