Sunday, February 16, 2014

"I'm The Worst Waitress Here"

This post is about a roller coaster of a session that took place very late last year.  It was so bad at one point I almost quit down a quite lot, but luckily for me, I stuck with it and turned the night around after catching a lucky promo.  Another good thing that happened by sticking it out was, I got to play with my pal Prudence.

Earlier, I had been in contact with one my blog readers, a bloke from England I had met briefly at the most recent AVP tournament.  I wrote about that tournament, and meeting Ben here.  Ben does a blog himself.  He does discuss poker, but he also talks about a sport that he mistakenly calls “football.”  But as we Americans know, the real name for this game is “soccer.”  You can find his blog here.

Ben was back in the states and we arranged to meet for some poker.  I later found out that this session was his only poker of his trip.  Oh well, it’s not like he can’t play poker in the U.K.  We met up at the MGM late in the afternoon on the last Sunday of 2013, which meant that they had their football promo running.  Keep that in mind, it’s important.  Ben and I managed to get into the same game, which was a new table.  Ben was in seat 7 and I was in seat 9, right next to the dealer.

There were a couple of funny moments early in the session.  One involved a regular there I’m going to call Amos (geez, I’m starting to run out of phony names to use, aren’t I?). Amos is a bit of an aggro.  Ok, that’s an understatement.  He’s a major, major aggro.  He raises big preflop most of the time, and makes huge bets, often with nothing, attempting to steal pots.  Somewhere in my notes I have a story about a pretty big bluff he got caught on—I’ll come across that story one of these days as I try to catch up here.  In the meantime, you should know that Amos is a very friendly guy but seems to like to use both his friendliness and his aggression to get on people’s nerves.  He will sit at the table and honestly tell you that his favorite thing to do in poker is hit something while playing a garbage hand and put someone on tilt for sucking out on a guy’s premium hand.  This does not always sit well with the other players. 

So early in this session, when a seat opened up next to me (seat 8), I hear Amos being called to a game and he came over and plopped his rack of $300 and his player’s card right at that empty seat.  Then he turned  to leave (to either hit the Men’s Room first or perhaps to chat with a friend).  Before he was more than a step away from the table, the player immediately to Ben’s right took a look at Amos and said, “Oh shit.”

Amos took it in stride.  Actually, he may have been happy to learn the guy didn’t want to play with him.  Amos said to the guy, with a laugh, “Oh, I’m glad to see you too.”

Ben asked, “Oh, you know him?”

And the guy responded, “Oh, I’ve played with him before.”  But in fact, they seemed to get along just fine during the session.

The other thing involved the cocktail waitress.  This being the holiday season, all the regular waitresses were off.  The ones handling the room during the late afternoon were all unknown to me.  And the service was bad—the worst I’d ever experienced in this room.  I was actually tempted to complain.  It was taking a really long time for us to get our drinks. 

The waitress assigned to us was young, very tiny, and cute.  But she had trouble remembering the orders—even though she was presumably writing them down.  So after finally coming around to take our orders, she disappeared for the longest time and finally returned to the room with a tray absolutely filled to the max with drinks.  For some reason, she came to our table first, even tho we were in the back of the room.  She was clearly struggling carrying the full tray.  As I said, she was a small girl.  I think the tray of drinks might have weighed more than she did.

She staggered to our table and noticed that, although I wasn’t using it, there happened to be a cart right next to me—the kind that people use either for drinks (even tho the tables have built-in cup holders) or food.  She barely made it over to me and, as gently as she could, placed the tray full of drinks on the cart.  Then she leaned in to me and whispered, “What did you order?”

I don’t know why she whispered.  But I whispered back, “Diet Coke,” and she whispered, “Oh, good!”  She gave me drink and then whispered, “Someone else here ordered a Diet Coke, do you happen to know who?”

Oddly enough, I did recall the player across from me, next to Ben, having ordered a Diet Coke.  When I pointed him to her, she was so grateful I thought she might give me my tip back!

But she did mess up Amos’ order.  He had ordered a Red Bull and a water.  She handed him his Red Bull but looked at her tray and told him, “Sorry, I forgot your water.”  But that wasn’t all.  Amos immediately noticed that the Red Bull was warm.  He handed it back to her and told her just that.  She started to take but then said, “Well, why don’t you just keep it for now?  At least you’ll have something.”  He looked at her in amazement. 

And so the girl finally said, loudly, to the entire table, “I’m sorry.  I’m the worst waitress here.  So don’t get your hopes up.  I’m a really bad waitress.”

That got all of us laughing.  That kind of honesty is so rare, so refreshing.  And she really was telling us the truth!

I think Amos may have eventually gotten a cold Red Bull but I don’t think he ever got the water.  But here’s the funny thing.  A couple of nights later, this same waitress was the one servicing me on New Year’s Eve—one of the busiest nights of the year.  And by then she was just fine.  She really did a good job that night.  It was a dramatic improvement.

Early in the session I had the dreaded pocket Kings.  I raised to $8 and had two callers, including Ben.  It was a low flop and I bet $20 and didn’t get a call.  Since I wasn’t sitting next to him, I didn’t get to tell Ben that I had actually won a hand with pocket Kings.

Later I raised to $12 with Ace-Jack; two players called.  I missed the flop, which was Queen high.  I make a $25 c-bet.  One player called.  The turned blanked, and I checked behind the other player.  A final blank on the river and the guy again checked.  I didn’t think my Ace-high was likely good, so I thought for a bit and decided to try to steal the pot.  I put out $40.  The other guy took a long time.  He hesitated.  I thought he was going to fold.  But, no finally, he called.  I showed my bluff.  He had Ace-Queen for TPTK.  Well, at least Ben got to see me bluff.  Too bad it was an unsuccessful one.

Then came a bad hand that I probably played badly.  Any advice on how I should have played it would be appreciated.  I had pocket Queens.  It was raised to $10 in front of me.  I made it $25.  Unfortunately, three players, including the original raiser, called.  So we were looking at a $!00 pot before the flop.

That would have been a good one to hit, but no, it missed me.  It was King high.  Here’s where I need help.  The preflop raiser checked.  What do I do there?  I was thinking I had to bet.  I might have checked if there was Ace, but it was a King.  I bet $60.  Too much?  Could I or should I have bet $35-$40?  Or just checked/folded?  That’s too weak, right?

My $60 bet was immediately met with a shove of $107.  The other two players (including the preflop raiser) quickly folded.  The guy who shoved hadn’t been at the table very long.  I felt for the size of the pot and knowing there would be no more betting, it was pretty much a no-brainer to call.  So I did.

The board blanked out and he showed pocket Kings!  Yeah, he had a set of Kings.  I sure found it interesting that he didn’t re-raise me preflop with those damn cowboys.  Hmm……maybe he reads this blog?  Anyway, that really sucked.  Of course he would have won with even a single King but he surprised me by just flatting preflop. I wouldn’t have been surprised to see a smaller set, but not Kings.

I was down to less than $50 and I re-bought for another $200.

My luck didn’t improve.  I lost some money twice when my top pair, top kicker hands were smashed by rivered flushes.  I dropped down to under $100 and added $50 more (just because I happened to have a $50 bill on me).  And I kept losing, down to about $80.  Then I limped in with Ace-10 off in late position.  I wish I could tell you why.  I don’t know, it was dumb.

But the flop was Ace-10-x, two diamonds (I had no diamonds).  A guy bet $10 and another guy called.  So I shoved with my remaining $80 or so.  The original better hesitated and finally called.  The other guy folded.

We didn’t show.  I didn’t like the turn card, a Jack of diamonds.  I figured he had the flush, but I was wrong.  Another Jack hit on the river, making my pair of 10’s completely irrelevant.   He didn’t have the flush.  He had Ace-Jack for a full house!  I was in really good shape on the flop, but he hit his three-outer and then boated up.  Ugh.  That was particularly painful.

Ben had already left to catch up with his wife.  So even though it was early, I came very, very close to just calling it a day.  Clearly the poker gods were not smiling on me this day.

But the football game was still going on, if only for a few more minutes (I don’t recall what the game was, and I’m not going to bother to look it up).  Of course, I had gone the first 50 minutes of the game without having my seat drawn to win a cash prize.  But I figured I might as well at least hang around another couple of minutes just to try to win the damn football promo.

So I plunked down another $100 bill and vowed to only play Aces (forget about the dreaded pocket Kings!) and then leave as soon as the NFL game ended.

After another hand or two (don’t worry, I didn’t fold anything worth playing), I felt a tap on my shoulder and was surprised to see Prudence and Tom there.  It turned out Tom had some business to take care of and was dropping off Prudence so she could play some poker with her bosom-obsessed” pal.  Although there had been some discussion of this happening, it had appeared from the last few texts I had gotten that it wasn’t going to work out, so I had by now dismissed the possibility.

Ok, it looked like I was going to be staying longer after all.  Prudence got called into a game at another table while waiting for a table change.

I got dealt a few garbage hands that didn’t cause me to reconsider if I wanted to lower my playable range to, say, pocket Kings or maybe even pocket Queens.  And I had completely forgotten about the NFL game and the related promo.  I suppose, if you had asked me, I would have said the game was over.  But I guess not.

Suddenly I heard the shift manager announcing a team had scored and they were selecting a random seat.  Before I had a chance to even think about, he called out “Table 12, seat 9.”

Holy shit.  As out of it as I was, I knew that was my seat.  I looked up at the board and indeed, there in big lighted letters, was my name.  It appeared that Prudence had brought me some much needed good luck.

I hopped up to draw my little football out of the drum.  The shift boss told me that there were still some big prizes in there, including the one $500 prize they had started with.  In fact, he told me that there was an 80% chance I’d get more than the $100 minimum. I’m not sure if it was a good idea to tell me that or not.  It would make me feel even worse if I managed to beat the odds and grab a $100 prize.

But I reached in and closed my eyes, fumbled around for a little football and plucked it out of the drum.  I opened it and it said $200.  OK, not the $500 it could have been but at least it was double the smallest prize.  I’ll take it (actually, I had to, I had no choice).  By the way, this was the third time I’d won the football promo during the NFL season, and in every case, I was picked on the last score of the game.  Bizarre.

I headed back to my seat with a new pep in my step.  A few minutes later they brought me my $200 in chips.  Now, I had the option of keeping the whole amount in play or putting any or all of it in my pocket.  But the decision had to be made immediately.  Once I’d played a hand with that money in play, the “table stakes” rule would take effect and I’d have all of it in play.

I still had my last $100 buy-in intact, so I decided to put a $100 in play and pocket $100.  That way I was basically starting anew with a normal buy-in.  (Actually, I only put $90 in play because I gave $10 to the dealer who paid me the promo money).

Around this time, two seats in the middle of the table had opened up, so I not only got a seat change but was able to reserve the seat to my right for Prudence. 

Prudence soon joined me.  It was fun playing with her again, first time I’d played 1/2 with her in a long time. I should mention that since Nevada started offering totally legal online poker, she has been playing online almost exclusively, that’s why I haven’t seen in the casinos much lately.

I’m not sure, but I think her online handle at the poker sites is “Vagina-mentioner,” in case you want to track her down and test your skills against her.

Speaking of the v-word, another change for Miss Prudence is that she rarely offers up the kind of shock-talk that she did when we were first getting acquainted. In fact, during the session, the one time she referred to that particular part of the female anatomy, she called it “va-jay-jay.”  Seriously.   What’s become of this girl?  Oh yeah, she’s hardly ever drinking these days.  That might have something to do with it.

But there was a guy at our table who mentioned that the night before, he had hooked up with two women through Tinder.  And he ended up treating both of these women to the big UFC fight that was there the night before.  He claimed the seats cost him $1,000 each.  But then he stopped himself from telling us more, “No, no, there’s a lady present,” referring to Prudence.

The male dealer, myself, and of course Prudence herself assured him that he didn’t have to worry about that.  “You’re safe here,” she explained.  He went on to say that after the fight, the two women spent the night in his room.  He didn’t give us any details, but the inquiring Prudence had to ask, “Are you sure they were actually women?”

He insisted they were.  Then he went on to say if they turned out to be “not as advertised” he could have gotten his money back.  I’m not sure he really understood the purpose of Prudence’s question.

Anyway, with a normal stack in front of me, I went back to play my normal bad style of poker. And with my stack down to $167, I found myself looking at the dreaded hand again.

So when a guy raised to $10 and Prudence called, I three-bet to $40.  It folded back to the original raiser and he moved all-in.


Prudence folded and now I had a decision to make.  I’m not normally good enough to fold pocket Kings.  But if ever there was a time when I might have been good enough to fold ‘em, this was it.  Actually, it would have been a case of my being scared enough to fold pocket Kings, not good enough.  And I must admit, I did consider it.  This guy hadn’t gotten out of line before, and the way my luck had been running all night, folding there and preserving most of my stack sounded like a reasonable thing to do.  It would have been so demoralizing to have gotten stacked yet again on this day.  Not to mention painful for my wallet.

But no, no, I can’t do that.  If I’m going to fold what everyone but me thinks is the second best hand in hold’em because my luck’s been bad this day, I shouldn’t be playing in the first place.  Although it took me a few seconds longer than it should have, I boldly announced “call.”

The guy had me covered.  We didn’t show. I took that as a sign he didn’t have Aces.  Usually, the person who has Aces in that situation always shows.  A bit of a relief.

The flop was all low, also a relief (though one or two Kings would have been even a bigger relief).  I flipped over my Kings and he looked and looked and looked at the board and finally dejectedly flipped over two beautiful ladies (well, beautiful to me) that the board had missed every bit as much as they had missed my cowboys.  And I had gotten a nice double up!

It’s amazing how much winning a big hand can improve one’s disposition.  I don’t think it was the money so much (although, yes, there was the money) as getting past that feeling that you’re going to lose every big pot you get in.  Of course, winner with my own personal jinx hand didn't hurt either.

Sometime later, I had A-2 diamonds in late position.  It was raised to $7 or $8, there were a few callers, so I called.  I’ve mentioned the cash drawings they have now, for which you need to get a flush or better to earn a drawing ticket.  As such I play suited Aces a lot.  This seemed like a good time to try it.

Our friend Poker Grump would have liked that flop.  No diamonds, just 4-2-2.   I liked it too.  The guy who had Queens vs my Kings earlier bet $10.  One player called, so I made it $40. Both of the other two players called.

If I liked the flop, I loved the turn, which was just another deuce.  Bingo!  This time we all checked, and I had to consider how to get some value on the river if everyone checked the turn.  Question, should I have bet the turn?  I never know how to play monsters; you get them so infrequently you don’t get a lot of practice.

I don’t recall what the river was but I can assure you it didn’t put a boat on the board.  It was checked to me and I just bet $40 hoping to get at least one caller.  I hoped that somebody would call with a full house even though they might be afraid of a bigger one.  You know, to get that drawing ticket they’d only get by calling.

In fact, they both called and they both had boats.  The guy who bet the flop had pocket 4’s!  He had actually flopped the boat and son-of-a-bitch—I one outed him!  I’m usually on the other end of those.   Poor guy, this was the same guy who had doubled me up with his Queens.  This is how you turn around a bad session.  You go up against the one guy at the table who’s running worse than you!  The other guy had pocket 7’s.

This now put me up for the session—if you count the $200 in promo money (which I do—after all, that money comes out of the pots that I win).  It was a fantastic turn-around.

I wish I could end it there with a plus night, but that’s not the case.  One last hand to describe.  In the small blind I had Ace-King offsuit.  Only one limper and I raised to $10.  The guy who had scored with the Tinder ladies was the only caller.  The flop was Ace-Queen-10 and I bet $15.  The Tinder man called.  Blank turn and I bet $25. He called again, but with a lot of hesitation.  Another blank on the river and I bet $35.  He tanked again and reluctantly called.  But when he showed his Ace-10 for two pair, he explained that he was actually thinking of raising both times but was worried that I might have Ace-Queen.  No suckout for me there.

That put me in the red just a little, and when Tom returned to pick up Prudence, I was ready to call it a night myself, satisfied with my remarkable comeback from a near death experience.  Prudence, by the way, had a great night and made a lot of money.  If I had taken notes on her hands, there would have been a lot more poker in this post.

It was a night that started awful but turned around big time before ending on a small downer.  A roller coaster.  But a small loss after that awful start seemed pretty good to me.


  1. I'm gonna steal your "It's amazing how much winning" quote this time. I probably play too nitty, but on the pocket queens hand, I would have probably checked the flop. With 3 players willing to go 25 preflop, I would think there's a high likelihood of someone having a king. Very nice comeback though...

    1. Coach, go ahead and steal my line. If you keep stealing my lines, however, I am going to have to insist that you compensate me.

      So I would have to get at least 1% of the money you make off your blog.

    2. Quick, 1% of 0 is... ;) The "fringe benefits" of having a blog have been much more (how could they be less?) valuable in my case. We'll discuss that when I move back to the desert...

    3. Ah, yes, the fame! Getting recognized where ever you go....that's why we blog!

  2. Good post as ever

    So you win a hand with KK, and I lose 2 in the same session. nothing like passing the Karma !.
    Anyway, the foot in football would suggest a majority use of the foot, not hands. Also a ball suggests spherical over ovoid. Looking forward to next year's Superbowl in that sport you should call handegg. American Handegg :) The game you won on was whatever the other semi final ( play off ? are they called that ?) was after Seattle got to the final of the handegg super final. I'm assuming the Broncos game.
    As you can tell, big American Rugby fan.

    All joking aside, I'm hoping to get tickets for one of the London games this year, to experience it live for myself, then I'll feel more balanced in my criticism :)

    Be Lucky. Ben

    1. Thanks, Ben.

      No, the game where I hit that football promo was the last regular season game of the season, not a playoff game. I'm thinking Dallas-Philadelphia but I'm still too lazy to look it up.

      "American Rugby" huh? Nice!