Monday, February 3, 2014

"I Know Exactly How You Play Every Hand"

This is the story of one of the longest and most fun days of poker I’ve had since I started playing.  Yes, the fact that I took home the most cash I ever had playing poker in one day sure helped, but it was fun above and beyond the money.

A small portion of the events of this day were told in the post here. Yes, this is the tournament with the famous “bubble bitch.”  When I get to that part of the story, I’ll refer you back to that post again.  But perhaps we should, finally, start at the beginning.

It was the Saturday 2PM Deepstack at Binion’s, $125 buy-in, $20K starting stack, $10K guarantee.

Early in the tournament, a guy got up from his seat at another table and he noticed me.  He didn’t actually say hello.  No, he pointed at me and said, “Oh, I know you.  You’re the blogger.  I know all about you.  I want to sit next to you, cuz I know exactly how you play every hand.”  He rambled on in a similar vein for another minute or two.

Gulp.  The first thing I should mention is that, despite the fact he said this loud enough for them to hear him at the Golden Nugget, no one paid any attention.  Nobody.  That was fine by me.  In the middle of a session, I’m not all that eager to have people know I’m a blogger—especially a poker blogger.

The second thing is, I had absolutely no idea who this guy was.  And now I was totally distracted from the poker trying to figure out who he was.  All I could do was laugh.  I did point out that the seat next to me was open.  Of course, he was already sitting at another table and couldn’t ask for a seat change.

He eventually took his seat and that was the last I saw of him—for many hours, anyway.  Meanwhile, I racked my brain trying to place him.  My initial thought was that he was someone I had met over the summer, someone who was a blog reader that I had run into—right at Binion’s, as it happened.  But I wasn’t sure.  I even looked at the suspect’s Twitter feed.  Maybe he had tweeted that he was playing at Binion’s today.  But no, there was no mention of his activities for the day.  Also, I looked at the pic of himself that he had on his Twitter profile and although was a slight resemblance, it was very, very slight and I kind of felt that it likely wasn’t him.

And by the time my first table broke, he was gone, presumably having been knocked out.  I totally forgot about him as the poker was taking an interesting—and long—turn.  But then, near the end of the tournament, when we were down to the final five or four or maybe even three players, he showed up.   So I’m going to take jump forward to near the end of the tournament for this interlude, and then come back to the early stages of the tournament.

When this blog reader of mine returned late in the evening, he started talking with Liz.  I introduced you to Liz in that earlier post about the tournament, but she is most assuredly not the person referred to in that post’s title.  Liz was a delight, I played with her on and off all day and enjoyed doing so thoroughly.  Very funny, very charming, very friendly. Anyway, at first, I actually thought that he might have been Liz’s husband. But no, no.  It turned out that Liz and her husband had run into this guy at another casino the night before and they had played many hours together.  Since he had busted out, he, along with Liz’s husband, had been playing in the cash room at Binion’s.

Once he noticed me again, he started going on and about my blog.  Same as before, knowing how I played, that sort of thing.  Again, no one else paid attention.  I was embarrassed that I didn’t know who he was, and I felt that I might be insulting him by asking his name.  But eventually, I couldn’t help myself.  I had to ask.  It was killing me not know for sure who he was.

“I’m sorry but….what is your name?” I asked.

“Oh, I’m sorry.  It’s Mickey,” he said (except that he, presumably, gave me his real name).  The name didn’t ring a bell, so I said, “And how do I know you?”

“I’ve played with you a bunch of times.  There was that one time we sat next to each for a long time….”

Suddenly, it clicked in.  He was the “Will you show if I fold” guy (see here).  Now the funny thing is, he didn’t mention the hand I wrote about, where he asked me to show if he folded.  You would think he’d have mention that.

More important, he didn’t bother to say that I had written an entire blog post about him.  Surely he knew that.  Surely that would have been the easiest way for him to identify himself to me. 

Anyway, I figured it out.  I think maybe the reason I had a hard time recognizing him was that he had been sitting right next to me, and I only saw him in profile. Or, my memory just sucks.

When he finally revealed who he was, he reiterated that he reads my blog now, knows all about how I play, and can’t wait to get into a game with me.  Heh heh.  You think I won’t remember you saying that when I do get into a game with you, Mickey?  Watch me three-bet with 7-deuce!

I think it may have actually been before he had identified himself that he said to me, “I’ve read your blog, and how come I never see where you talk about how you play a hand badly.  Every time you talk about a hand, you always played it great, just right.”

I laughed.  Now, I know that isn’t true.  I am self-critical all the time, and even invite readers to give me their criticisms.  But as I was in the middle of a tournament, it was kind of hard to debate him.

I just said, “That’s not true.  I mention hands I played poorly or where I question whether I played them correctly all the time.”

He just repeated that I always talk about how great I played.  I didn’t say much more, since I was trying to win a freakin’ tournament.

But anyway, that’s why I “dedicated” this recent post here to Mickey, where I talk about badly playing a couple of hands.  Of course, that was written after hearing Mickey’s accusation.

So how about an earlier post entirely dedicated to how badly I played a hand (see here).  And here’s another one where I am self-critical. And how about a post where I wondered if I was just spinning my wheels even playing poker (see here).  And sprinkled throughout all the post where I talk a lot about hands, you can indeed find hands where I either criticize myself, ask for help, or at least comment that maybe my bet was the wrong size, or that I should have bet/raised/checked instead of what I did.  But those types of comments are embedded into my poker posts, and even though all my posts are very short, I don’t have time to go through them all to find a few comments like that.  But trust me, Mickey, they’re there.

And then Mickey saw me take down a pot.  And he said, “Oh, here comes the notebook out.”

I don’t remember the hand, I think it was one where I was just first in, and didn’t get a caller to my raise.  I might not have even written it down….except that after Mickey’s comment, I had to. 

I made a big show of whipping out my little notebook and writing down the details of the hand.

Mickey was amused.  “You know, they have technology now.  You don’t have to write things down on paper.”

“Yeah.  I know. But the thing is, I really can’t type that fast or that accurately on a virtual keyboard.”

But Mickey was going on.  “You could even blog from a smart phone, you know.”

“Yeah, I know I could in theory.  I have a good celphone, too.  But I guess I’m just too much of a dinosaur for that.”

Mickey finally went back to his cash game.  I didn’t see him again.

Earlier, at the second table I was at, there was a particularly friendly, social group of players.  This is where I first met Liz, she sat to my immediate right.  Most were more-or-less my age (not unusual for Binion’s—sometimes I’m the youngster).  One guy had a great story.  Back in the 70’s, when he was just a kid, his family was on a vacation and he and his two sisters had a day to pick something to do.  His two sisters had picked something the day before and now it was his turn.  But then it turned out that they had a chance to see Elvis perform live.  His sisters were begging for them to do just that.

But no, this guy, then a boy, was a huge Roller Derby fan.  He mentioned one player he really liked, “Skinny Minny.”  And this boy wanted to see the L.A. Thunderbirds play.  You can read a fond remembrance of Roller Derby and the T-Birds here.  Anyway, it was his pick, and the family went to see the T-Birds play instead of Elvis.  And, at least according to his story, Elvis died not soon after and thus his sisters never got a chance to see him live.  And to this day his sisters have never forgiven him.       

Another guy claimed that, as a 14 year-old boy, he had smoked his very first joint with Jim Morrison, of all people.  And that he was actually riding in Morrison’s car, at the car.  The weed was too much for him, he got sick, and threw up out of the window of Morrison’s car.  Morrison found that hysterically funny.

The guy who told the Morrison story was wearing a shirt that showed the progression of man from prehistoric times (on all fours) to an full standing human.  The last man in the pic, on the right, as you looked at the shirt, was facing the other three or four “men” and pointing at them.  But it looked like maybe it could be something else.

The guy who told the Elvis story, perhaps perturbed that he had been topped by the Morrison story, said to him, “You’re pretty funny for a guy who has a hard-on on your shirt.”

Everyone laughed.  The guy asked what was he talking about.  He said it wasn’t a hard-on.  Liz said, “Yeah, it does look like a hard-on.”  We all pretty much agreed.  Soon thereafter the male dealer was replaced by a lady dealer, a mature woman.  The guy who said it looked like a hard-on asked the lady dealer’s opinion.  I think she had heard enough to realize what we were talking about while she was waiting to push in.  She was very professional.  “I see what you mean.  I know what you’re talking about.”

In the first level (50/100) I had pocket Jacks, raised a bunch of limpers and had two callers.  King high flop, and no one called my flop bet.  Two hands later I got pocket Aces.  There was a limper in front of me, I bet $400.  Three callers.  On a 10-high flop I bet $1500 and had one caller.  We both checked the turn.  A King on the river, and I bet $1500. He called, and mucked when he saw my hand.

I started the second level (100/200) with $26K. I raised to $600 with Ace-Jack offsuit, one caller.  Ace on the flop, two diamonds.  I bet $1,000, he called.  A third diamond on the turn, he checked, I bet $1,500 and he check-raised to $5,000.  I folded.

In the big blind I had 10-3 off.  There were a bunch of limpers, no raise.  It was a 10-high flop, I bet $500, one caller.  Blank on the turn, I bet $600, and that bet was called.  Another blank on the river and I bet $700.  This time he folded.  I had been trying not to give up control of the pot without risking too many chips, and it worked.

Third level (150/300) I raised with King-Queen off, got one caller.  I bet a blank flop and he called.  The turn was an Ace and my opponent bet it, so I folded.

Then I got Aces again.  Many, many limpers, so I made $1900.  One caller.  I bet $4,000 on a Jack-high flop and he folded.

And then I went completely card-dead.  I essentially didn’t play a hand for three levels.  Seriously.  I might have seen a flop a couple of times as a blind, but essentially, I was a spectator for 90 minutes (level 4 is when the blinds increase from 20 minutes to 30 minutes).

I had around $20,500 early in level 7 (500/1000).  That’s a tournament “M” of less than 15.  In early position, with one limper, I made it $4K with King-Queen off.  No one called, and, small as it was, I took my first pot in over an hour and a half. 

On the button I had pocket Queens.  Someone raised to $3K.  I figured any raise I made would pretty much commit me.  And I didn’t want some crappy Ace to have any reason to call.  So I shoved.  No one called.

That took me to almost $29K.  I got Queens again.  I raised to $3500 and had two callers.   The flop was Jack-high.  I bet $10K and had one caller.  The turn was a blank, my opponent was first to act.  He asked how many chips I had.  I put them out in front of me so he could take a good look.  He asked how much it was.  I just pointed to the stack.  I guess I could have counted it for him by I’ve never done that.  He asked the dealer for a count, and the dealer said he couldn’t do that.

The guy was befuddled.  Why not?  “Because he hasn’t bet, sir.  Once he bets, you can ask for a count.  But right now, as long as you can see his stack, that’s sufficient.”  They guy didn’t understand.  But he checked.  I shoved.  Now he could certainly have the dealer count my stack, which was my bet.  But he didn’t ask.  He just folded. Huh?

Later in the tournament, when two other player s were involved and someone asked for a count of the bet, he said, “No, they won’t do that here.”  But of course the dealer counted the bet.  He still was not getting it.  We tried to explain the difference and he still wasn’t understanding.  Weird.

And that’s the end of the first part.  I’ll wrap it up next time.  See here.


  1. "Yes, the fact that I took home the most cash I ever had playing poker in one day sure helped, "

    Doesn't it always?

  2. You're always evaluating your hands, and not posting just how great you play - don't give that a second thought. I also use a memo pad for my blog (although I can imagine you using a Big Chief tablet for yours, based on how much we write), so don't worry about that either. Whether it's poker or something else I'm trying to remember in a rush, it's easier for me to "boot up" and find my place on the memo pad... And above, Mojo's observation..., yeah..., it ALWAYS helps... (based on both times that I won money playing poker)... ;)

    1. Thanks, Coach. I think Mickey may have been teasing me a bit, but who knows. I really wish I was faster on the virtual keyboard, it would be easier and less attention-getting. I need to take touch-virtual-keyboard typing.