Thursday, March 6, 2014

"See What Happens When You Have Boobs?"

I don’t usually get this kind of blog post when I go down to the Bike.  Usually, if there’s anything to talk about, it’s strictly poker.  Or perhaps it will be about some asshole I ran into there (see here).  But usually it’s not about a fun session, unless the fun came from winning.  Winning is always fun.

But this session was more like a Vegas poker session, right there at the Bike, in glorious Bell Gardens, California.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.  I went there on Sunday specifically to play in the Noon tournament.  Last time I played in that tournament I did well, see here.  This time, I knew it would be my last chance to play in this for awhile, as a WSOP circuit event is about to start there and the regular tournaments will be cancelled.   I wanted to see if lightning could strike twice.

When I first arrived, I saw signs about a charity poker tournament taking place this day, and it was in the main tournament area.  Uh-oh.  But they did have the Noon tournament, just in a different location.  Phew.

The charity was an organization that fights poverty in Israel. As such, there were gentlemen walking around the Bike in yarmulkes. This is highly unusual.  I’ve occasionally played poker with men wearing yarmulkes in Vegas.  Gambling is not a sin in Judaism.  But at the Bike?  Let’s put it this way—if they didn’t have this particular charity event, I would bet that I was the only Jew that ever set foot in the Bike.

(Note: the mention of Israel gives me an excuse to run a pic of Israeli super-model Bar Refaeli--as if an excuse is even needed.  Much better than an old bearded man wearing a yarmulke)

I had rushed to make the Noon tournament.  I didn’t have time to eat at home, so I quickly made a sandwich and took it with me.  I planned to eat it during the last 10 minutes of the drive there.  But it starting raining—actually it starting pouring—and the roads were slippery and treacherous.  I decided I didn’t want to be distracted eating while driving.   So I waited until I parked and gobbled the sandwich down in my car.  Between that and the fact that I originally went to the far opposite side of the casino from where the tournament was being held on this day, I was a few minutes late for the tournament.

I mention this because of something I’d never seen before while in line to buy my entry—as the clock was ticking away during the first level.  The line was held up as a guy who had just bought his way into the tournament asked for a seat change.  He had been give his computer-generated seat and didn’t like it.  Seriously.  He told the cashier he wanted another seat, he didn’t want to sit at seat 10.  The cashier (the only one working, which was surely bad planning on the Bike’s part) had to call the Tournament Director over. 

He came over and told the player basically, “tough.”  That was fine by me.  I’ve never heard of such a thing.  I’ve seen players request not being seated at the same table as a spouse, which I understand.  But to reject a seat just because he doesn’t like Seat 10?  Are you kidding me?  I suppose it may be a superstition, but I was glad to see that the Bike wouldn’t accommodate this jerk.

He was told that the only option was to have his money refunded and then be ineligible for this tournament.  I think he wanted to get his money back, rebuy and see if he would get a different seat, but they wouldn’t do that.  So he accepted that and got his money back.  Unfortunately, the cashier had a problem figuring out how to refund his money and it took about five minutes.  All while the line was getting longer and longer for the people who were showing up just a few minutes late.  And because the tournament wasn’t in the regular place, there were more latecomers than usual.

Finally he got his money back, I bought in and the tournament started.  It didn’t last long for me.  I won a few pots but not enough.  I’ll only mention three hands. On the first level, I had the dreaded pocket Kings.  It was raised in front of me, I three-bet, and everyone folded.  The original raiser said, “A big pair not good enough?”  Guess not.

By the fifth level I was pretty short.  I had Ace-King of clubs and put out a bet 3.5X the big blind.  I probably should have shoved but I wasn’t quite that desperate.  A short-stack shoved.  It was about half my stack to call and I did.  He had pocket 7’s.  The flop was blank but he caught a 7 on the turn, and I was now the short-stack. 

A few hands later, I had pocket Jacks.  The aggro at the table raised in front of me, but I would have shoved there no matter what.  One guy asked for a count and then called.  He showed pocket Kings so I wasn’t really sure why he needed the count.  Clearly with my stack my range was pretty big.  The board blanked out and my tournament was over.

I had gone to the ATM before heading to the bank and had a bunch of $20’s on me. Now that I knew I was going to be playing cash—the $2-$3 NL game I play there—I wanted to convert the twenties into $100 bills.  I dunno why, but I somehow feel better—more respected—buying into a NL game with $100’s rather than $20’s.

So I stopped by the cashier before going to the cash game area.  I put out my $20 bills and asked if I could get $100’s for them.  She counted them out and then said, “We have a maximum of 5 $100’s that we sell at a time.  Just so you know.  I’ll make an exception in this case and give you six, but next time, it has to be five max.

This struck me as incredibly dumb.  I can’t imagine the reason for it, but there are many different cashier cages at the Bike.  So there would be nothing to stop me from getting five at this window and then going to another cage and getting another one.

Except for one other thing.  I had only given her $500!  That’s how much I had taken out of the ATM, and I even counted it first before going to the window.  She had miscounted and if I don’t say anything there, I make a cool $100 profit.

It should go without saying that I immediately told her of the error.  “I believe I only gave you $500.”  She counted again and acknowledged her mistake.

Now here’s the thing. I did the right thing and without a second thought.  But you know that are plenty of people who would have not said a word and taken an extra $100.  I have no idea if the cashier would have had to pay that out of her own pocket when she balanced for the day, or if she would have gotten written up for it, or perhaps even fired.  But I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if I had taken the money.

But I would have at least expected the cashier to thank me for pointing out the error.  But she did not.  I was a little disappointed with that.

I got onto a long last for the $2-$3 game and had to wait until they started two new games to get a seat.  It was quite busy there.

The cash game was mostly noteworthy for the players and the not the play.  I didn’t have any really bad hands but I had few good ones.  I didn’t get the dreaded hand at all, but I did get pocket Aces three times, and two of them were bad.  The first time I had one caller to my $!5 bet.  The flop was all spades, King high.  I did not have the Ace of spades.  I c-bet $25 and he called.  A fourth spade came on the turn, he checke and I checked behind him.  A blank river and he bet out $85.  I folded and he politely showed me the Jack of spades before dragging in the pot.

Next time, the Mexican drug lord to my right raised to $12 in front of me.  I call him that because I swear, that’s what this guy looked like.  I mean, he came straight from Central Casting as a Mexican drug lord.  I made it $33.  Everyone else folded and he called my shove for less.  I even caught a set on the flop, and he had Queen-Jack and ended up with nothing.  I was disappointed that I didn’t get more money for a set of Aces.  But I was happy he didn’t rebuy.  It was kind of freaking me out, sitting next to a drug lord.

The last time I got AA I made it $10 in early position.  The big blind, the same guy who cracked them the first time, was the only caller.  The flop was Queen high, two diamonds.  I didn’t have the Ace of diamonds.  He checked, I bet $15, he called. A five of diamonds paired the board on the turn.  He checked, I bet $25, and he checked-raise to $75.  Ugh.  I thought a long time but I finally folded. 

That was pretty much how the poker was going for me.  But things started looking better—literally—when a really cute blonde woman came over to our table and took the seat immediately to my left.  She was wearing a tight, low-cut top that revealed quite a bit.  As it happened, she had quite a bit to reveal.  I know you’re shocked that I noticed that, but I did.

I didn’t think of it at the time, but on the way home, it occurred to me that she bore more than a passing resemblance to the player I call “Didi” (see here).  Same short blonde hair (although blonder than Didi), similar face and an almost identical body.  Yeah, she was built just like Didi and you all remember why I call her that.  Also, same low cut top that Didi always wears.

Her personality was quite different, however.  She was very nice and quite friendly, but she wasn’t obsessively outgoing (or trying to annoy people) as Didi. And a perfect lady at all times.  No talking about (or showing) her body parts.  I know this lady’s real name, so I’m going to call her “Alice” because I just thought of it right this minute.

Alice would get attention anywhere, but she really stood out at the Bike.  You see women like this in Vegas all the time.  But seldom do you find them at the Bike.  Very seldom.

She had come to the table with a guy, who took a seat at the other side of the table.  He appeared to be a bit older than she was and it appeared that neither one of them had much experience at the Bike.  But based on a couple of questions Alice asked, I surmised that she was an experienced poker player.  First she asked if she had to post to come in (yes, at the Bike, at this game).  A few minutes later she asked if money plays (no, not at the Bike).

This was clearly a person who had some experience in brick-and-mortar poker rooms.  My assumption was that Alice lived out of town and was visiting L.A.  I asked her where she lived.  To my surprised, she mentioned an L.A. suburb. 

A few minutes later I explained my question.  “I asked where you live because you’re obviously an experienced poker player, and I find it hard to believe a poker player living in L.A. has never been to the Bike.”

She said she goes to Vegas regularly and usually plays at a room I won’t mention—not one of the rooms I play in very much.  Then she said that she has a lot of home games.  She said that she had her own poker table that her boyfriend helped her with and that it even has a built in auto-shuffler! Now that’s impressive. She said it was nicer than the tables you see at the WSOP.  Of course, except for the ones they have on television, that really isn’t that much of a challenge.  She also said she’d played tournaments at the Bike before, but never cash.

And she was texting someone and giving her friend updates about someone else’s progress in a tournament.  It turned out the three of them had all played in the charity tournament I mentioned earlier.   And it was Alice’s boyfriend that was the last man standing.

But before long, he came over after busting out. I’m going to call Alice’s boyfriend “Ralph” because it seems to go with “Alice.”  Ralph spoke to Alice and she convinced him to get on the list for this game.  There was a long list.  He just stood behind Alice while he was waiting.  And boy did he look familiar.  I was sure I’d seen him before.  For that matter, their male friend looked familiar too.  I double checked Alice—concentrating on her face—and could not convince myself I’d ever seen her before.  But since the two guys looked familiar and they didn’t seem to have played in the Bike, I was wondering if I’d seen them in Vegas poker rooms.

Finally I told Alice that her boyfriend looked very familiar.  She said, “Well, he’s a famous guy.”  She didn’t say it like she was kidding, but I didn’t pursue it.  But overhearing conversations, I realized what field Ralph was involved with, and I was able to Google right from the table to find out exactly who he was.  And he is kind of famous in  his particular field.  However, it’s a field I don’t follow at all, so it’s doubtful I recognize him from that.

Ralph had gotten to be the third name on the list for the $2-$3 game when a seat opened up in our game.  Alice pointed it out to Ralph and told him to grab it, but of course he knew that he had to be called first and he wasn’t first on the list. Just then, a floorperson walked by.  Alice got up and went over to talk to him, presumably to try to get him to allow Ralph to join us at this table.  Wouldn’t you know it, after a brief conversation with Alice, the floor told Ralph he could take that open seat.

As Ralph took the seat, he said to Alice, “See what happens when you have boobs?”

Alice acted as if she hadn’t quite heard that comment.  “What did you say, Ralph?”

My opinion: She heard exactly what Ralph had said and this was her way of gently admonishing him for the rather personal comment he made.  So Ralph said, “I said your….assets….were put to good use.”

From hearing the conversation across the table, it became clear that the three of them came together in one car from a bit of a distance (L.A. covers a big area).  This turned out to be a problem for “Ed,” Alice and Ralph’s friend. Ed was getting texts from his wife about coming home. What the hell, even though she really wasn’t present for this story, I’m gonna continue with the theme I’ve inadvertently started and call Ed’s wife “Trixie.”

But Ralph and Alice were having a great time at the game and didn’t want to leave.  Truth be told, in addition to the three of them (and me, of course), it had become a very nice table, everyone was very friendly, laughing, talking, having a good time.  These are not the normal conditions at the Bike, I can assure you.  Alice had to rebuy once (with Ralph’s money) but Ralph was having a nice session, and was up almost a buy-in.

Ed was having a good time too, but Trixie was texting him that she need him to help her with a specific piece of business that needed to be taken care of that very night.  And so, since Ralph and Alice wanted to stay, Trixie was about to take a 40 mile drive to the Bike to get her husband.  Ed’s story was that he had thought that this was something that could be done tomorrow night but suddenly Trixie was insisting that it absolutely had to be done tonight, or this big deal would fall through.

Alice asked what Ed was thinking, playing in a poker tournament when he had a curfew.  “You could still be locked into that tournament,” she told him.

“Well, you’ve seen him play,” I couldn’t resist, it was just too easy.  Alice let out a “whoa,” but Ed hadn’t heard.  I immediately apologized and said I was just kidding, just making the obvious joke.  Alice told Ed, “He just took a gratuitous shot at you.”  But Ed didn’t pursue it.  He was preoccupied with his wife wanting to come and take him away from all this fun.

Ralph knew something about the business Trixie was involved in and, while at the table, called someone to get an expert opinion on whether Trixie’s business needed to be done tonight or could wait a day.  It was determined that it could wait a day.  Ed tried to call his wife and couldn’t get through.

Alice wanted to know if this resolved the problem and if he could stay, or if he still had to go home now anyway.  “She may just want you home regardless.  It may not matter to her that you don’t need to help her with that, she just might insist you come home.  Women are crazy that way.  I know.  I’m a woman……..but I play poker.  You see the girl sitting behind the guy playing in Vegas, she keeps standing up and saying, ‘Come on, you said only one more hand half hour ago.’  That’s not me.  I’m there playing and drinking til 5 in the morning.”

I turned to Alice and said, “And that makes you the perfect woman.”

She said, “Could you say that a little louder please?”  Ralph had pretended not to hear that.

Alice kept inquiring if it had been cleared with Trixie that Ed could stay.  “Because if you still have to leave, then we’ll know.”  And with that she pantomimed snapping a whip.

Alice and Ralph were won over by the Bike, asking if the players were usually this nice.  I said no, not really, this was an exceptionally good group.  Apparently they have played at Commerce nearby and are less than thrilled with it.  Or as Ralph said, “Commerce is disgusting.”  To be fair, I know people who swear by the Commerce and find the Bike wanting.  It’s all a matter of taste.

Speaking of taste, another thing that impressed Alice was the huge plate of spaghetti I had for dinner—at no charge.  So I think they’ll be back.  During our conversation, I also tried to convince her to give a certain poker room in Vegas a try, one that I said “has really nice tournaments.” 

But all good things must end and I had to leave despite all the fun I was having.  It was a school nite.  As I picked up my chips and said goodbye to everyone, “nice playing with you,” I looked straight at Ralph, pointed to Alice and said, “She’s a keeper.”  She laughed and thanked me.  Ralph said that he knew that.

I hope to see them again, either at the Bike or in Vegas. And maybe Ed will teach Trixie how to play poker, so they can all play long into the night.


  1. You're really going to tease that Ralph is kinda famous and then not at the very least hint at what field he is famous in?

    1. Sorry Jeff, I can't say too much because I don't want to give it away. However, I can say Ralph is not a front of the camera type of guy, and he is probably totally unknown outside the Southern California area.

  2. Replies
    1. Well, he's more of an entrepreneur but.......

  3. Easy - Southern CA - Behind the Camera = Porn Director

    1. Definitely NOT a Porn Director, sorry to disappoint.

      Sorry I didn't approve this comment earlier, not sure why I didn't notice it pending. Thanks for comment, RobO!