Thursday, July 31, 2014

"It Would Be a Better Story If It Was Kings"

This one goes back to the Sunday of Memorial Day Weekend.  This was early in the “Vegas Trip from Hell” (see here) and by the time I got to BSC, I had wasted most of the day dealing with internet issues.  I wasn’t in the best of moods. I was deep in thought, looking forward to a long session of poker to cheer me up.  What could go wrong?

As I was walking past the lobby from the parking structure, walking right in the area where I’ve been known to encounter a hooker or two, I thought I noticed a familiar face out of the corner of my eye.

I stopped and looked back, and sure enough, it was the one and only Pete P. Peters, blogger extraordinaire. He was parked in front of some kind of gambling machine.  I assume he not only emptied his wallet into it but a good chunk of his 401-K too.  I did recall Pete saying he was visiting the promised land for this holiday weekend.  I assumed we’d run into each other in the poker room but from reading his subsequent write-up of this trip, he apparently indulged in everyone of his degeneracies but poker (you know, sports betting, boozing, gourmet eating, concerts, and banging Starbucks baristas).  So we never got together other than this impromptu meet-up.

I do want to point out that Mr. Peters failed to mention running into me in his blog post about this trip.  And here I’ve mentioned him prominently (and oh so flatteringly) in the very third paragraph of this post.  Just sayin’. 

Soon after I arrived in the poker room they opened a new game and Nancy was the dealer.  Nancy is the one who had been dealing with a cast as she had broken her hand punching out another woman (see here). I can’t recall if she still had the cast on this time or not, but I did ask her how her hand was coming along.  She said it was getting better, getting stronger.

I said, “Yeah, it’ll be fine as long as you don’t punch anybody out again.”

And she replied, “Well, she hasn’t been back in town yet.”

Things went south for me early.  Third hand of session, I was on the button with Ace-Queen, offsuit.  There were a few limpers so I made it $12.  It folded back to the Asian guy in the cut-off who looked familiar.  I was pretty sure I recognized him as a bit of a loose player. 

Just the two of us to see a flop Ace-8-8.  He checked, I bet $15 and he check-raised to $40.

If this was the guy I remembered, he could have easily done that with a weaker Ace than mine.  No way did he have Ace-King or he would have raised before it got to me.  So I went ahead and called.

The turn looked like a blank and he shoved—for $76 more. The pot was about $100 before his bet, and I reluctantly called. I was trying to figure out how he could have an 8 that he would call my raise with, when he knew it was just gonna be heads up.  I couldn’t come up with a good way, other than he was loose.  But that also made me think it was possible he had a weaker Ace. 

Another blank on the river and I asked if he had an 8.  He didn’t say a word, just flipped over 8-7.  It wasn’t even sooooted!  Ugh.

I took a break, skipped an orbit or two to recompose.  I stopped by the cashier to pick up another stack of $100.

I got pocket Queens and after one limper, I raised to $10.  Four callers and the flop was King high.  I was probably overly cautious and checked, as did everyone else.  No one had a King?  A blank on the river and this time I bet $40.  It folded to a guy who I had already pegged as a pretty bad player, kind of a newbie.  He thought long and hard and finally folded.  I thought he might have folded a weak King there.

I got Queens again a little bit later but a tight player raised to $15 in front of me.  Again, proceeding with caution, I just called. It’s heads-up, and the flop came King-Queen-3.  He bet $20 and I called. This was long before I had written the post about slow-playing (here),  and I had started experimenting with slow-playing sets. The turn was another King which I liked a lot (unless he was prepared to show me pocket Kings).  He bet $30 or $35 and I shoved for my last $93.  He thought for a good long time, then finally called and showed pocket Aces.  The turn was a blank and I had taken in a nice pot.

Having almost fully recovered from the early disaster hand, I took an extended dinner break.  The table wasn’t full, and I thought it was in danger of breaking anyway.  Thus I didn’t really consider leaving my chips at the table to eat.  I was gonna take too long anyway and I figured I’d be fine with just going to a new game when I was ready to play again.

After dinner, I got back and was given my choice of four tables, each with one open seat.  And to my surprise, not only was the game I left still going with mostly the same players, but my same seat was the one available.  It was as if they had been holding it for me.  None of the other three games looked any better, so I rejoined my old friends.

I started losing chips, drip, drip, drip, and then a new player came to seat 1.  I was in seat 9 (it’s 9-handed). He was young and loud, a big guy.  “What’s the most I can buy in for?”  He was told $300 and handed over three hundred dollar bills. 

His very first hand, I was the big blind.  He could have waited to come in behind the button for free, but no, he took a hand.  And open raised to $15.  Under-the-gun.  First hand at the table.  As far as I could tell, he didn’t know a soul at the table.

To my surprise, four players call his $15 bet before it got to me.  I had 9-8 suited and figured that, for those odds, I should call, so I did.

I don’t remember the flop, other than that it totally missed me.  I checked and new guy put out a big bet, I don’t remember how much.  Only one guy called, a middle-aged, very serious gentleman who hadn’t said a word the whole time he was there.  He was there before I went to dinner too.  I think I recognized this guy as someone who mostly plays $2-$5.  The new guy bet bigger on the turn and the serious man called.  On the river, the new guy went all in for his last $155.  He had managed to get his entire $300 buy-in into the pot on his very first hand, betting all streets.

The serious man took a long time.  He counted out his chips.  He had the new guy covered.  He restacked his chips and thought some more.  I really thought he was going to call, and I was sure hoping he would because I was dying to see what the hell the new guy had.

But after a long, long time, he folded.

The new guy of course didn’t have to show.  But he flipped over his hand, which was Jack-3.  Offsuit.  There was a King and a Queen on the board, but no Jack. No 3 either.  The guy never had a straight draw.  He never had a flush draw.  He had Jack high.  That’s it.  And oh, by the way, yes, he raised preflop, under-the-gun, with Jack-3 off.

The new guy said, “Oh, I was so sure you were gonna call, I was all ready to muck it and say, ‘good call.’”  The serious man said nothing.  Not a word.  He had a poker face, but I’m pretty sure he was not a happy camper.  Pretty sure he could beat Jack-high there.  He actually left the game a short time later, and I suspect that hand was the reason why.

Well, the new guy was every bit the maniac you might expect from this hand.  He rarely folded preflop.  He never limped in.  Once maybe.  He came in with a raise every time.  Every time.  And a big raise too.  That $15 he raised with the first hand was the bottom end of his bet-sizing.  More often it was $20-$25.

OK, I know some people love to play with a maniac like that, but I don’t. Especially in this case, since he was to my left.  But I resisted the temptation to get a table change, at least for a while.  I figured all I need is a hand, one hand, and I could get paid.  Just sit there patiently, wait for a big pocket pair, limp in, let him raise, and then do the old limp/re-raise move I love so much.  This time, I would love it if it was against him.

So I put up with him for awhile and waited for a hand.  When I got playable hands I played them and that cost me chips when I’d miss.  Please, poker gods, please, give me a big hand.  Give me the goddamned pocket Kings even.  I’ll take my chances getting it all in against his 7-deuce.

But no, it didn’t happen.  And with each and every huge preflop raise he made, I got more and more annoyed with this maniac.  Meanwhile, a really nice guy had taken the seat on my immediate right.  Very friendly fellow, seemed like a good player, was talking about how he liked to play tournaments and was probably gonna play in the 10PM tournament that night at BSC.

Anyway, the nice guy had a small stack, a bit over $100 I guess and had raised preflop.  The maniac re-raised and the nice guy called. On the flop, the nice guy checked and the maniac bet more than enough to put the nice guy all in.  The nice guy reluctantly called for his last $75.  At which point the maniac flipped over one card—a 6.  There was a 6 on the board (and one or two paint cards).  “My six is good, isn’t it?  I bet my six is good.”  The nice guy didn’t show any cards or say a word.  When a 10 hit the turn, the maniac said, “Oh shit, I bet my six is no good now.”  But the nice guy said nothing.  And after the river, the nice guy just mucked without saying a word.

At which point the maniac got up and started shouting—with delight—“Yeah, yeah, my six is good.  My six is good.  Yeah, yeah, damn it, my six is good.”  He practically got up on the table and started dancing.  He kept this up for a good thirty seconds.  It was one of the most obnoxious displays I’ve ever seen at a poker table.  It was sickening

And then the nice guy left the table without saying a word.  He had been real friendly to the players around him, but he left without acknowledging any of us. I could hardly blame him.

I had had enough.  Life is too short for me to spend time with assholes like this one.  Right then, the shift boss happened to walk by and I grabbed him and asked for a table change.  He accommodated me immediately and I grabbed my chips and moved to the open seat at the table he pointed to.

I really should have told him about the disgusting display I had just witnessed.  Actually, the dealer should have. I think the dealer did mention to the player something about “excessive celebration.”  But more than anything else, I wanted to get away from this jerk.

As I said in a recent post, I seem to be running into more and more jerks at the poker table lately, and I have less and less tolerance for them.

The guy to my right at the new table was a guy who talked non-stop, but at least he was pleasant.  I can best describe him by telling you that people asked him if he had heard he looked like Curtis Jackson (aka 50 cent) before and he said he got that a lot.  He talked about every decision he made, every decision someone else made. “That flop was good for me,” or “That flop didn’t hit you.”  The turn card came and he’d make similar comments.  He was in love with the sound of his voice. He played a lot of hands and it didn’t take me long to figure out he was a pretty loose player.

The player on my left seemed like a nice, quiet gentlemen, um, middle-aged, I guess, who I was 100% sure I had never seen before in my life. For reasons I will soon reveal, I’m going to call this guy “Joe.” Joe didn’t say hi to me when I came to the table (no reason he should have).  But I guess he was observant enough to notice me carrying on conversations with the first two dealers I played with there.  In fact, Nancy was dealing when I got there and she had heard the jerk celebrating that hand he had just won, and could even see him standing up and practically dancing.  She asked me what that was all about and I gave her a brief rundown of what had happened and why I got away from him.  I probably told her that he had been making huge opening raises nearly every hand.

The first hand I played at the new table was the dreaded pocket Kings.  There were a few limpers and I made a standard raise, but nobody called me. 

Not too long after that, I looked down at pocket Aces in the Big Blind.  I made it $8.  It folded to the small blind, aka 50 cent. He played a lot of hands, but I was thinking, damn my luck, I’m not going to get anything for a big pocket pair again, he’s gonna fold.  But no, he not only didn’t fold, he raised!

He started counting out chips and said, “Let’s make it $29.”

An odd amount, I thought.  I wanted to say something cute like, “Twenty-nine?  Well if you made it $25 or $30, I would fold, but since it’s $29, I’m going to have to raise.”  But I thought better of it, feeling that might give away something.  I counted out chips.  I wanted to make it $70 but I miscounted and put out $75.

Fiddy said, “Really?  Oh really?”  And then counted out chips. I actually thought he was gonna re-raise, but no, he just called.

The flop was Queen-Jack-3.  He checked and I shoved for around $110.  He had me covered.  He thought for a long time.  Several other times before this, when he would call a big bet, he’d say, “I’m betting the come.”  He might have said it this time, not sure.  But he considered it for a long, long time and then he said, “I think I’m gonna hit it.”  And he still took some more time before announcing he was calling.

And he said to me, “Come on, let’s show.”  Ok, fine, so we both flipped our cards over.  He had pocket 9’s.  He really was betting the come.  This was the first hand he’d seen me play on the flop. He couldn’t possibly believe his 9’s were ahead of me.  He was counting on hitting a two-outer.

The board bricked out for him and I had a very nice double up.  Thank you, 50 cent!
I was pretty happy and gave the dealer a nice tip and as I was stacking my chips, I heard the fellow on my left—the guy I’m calling “Joe,” say, “That would have been a better story if it was Kings.”

Did I hear that right?  I was sure I did.  He made a reference to pocket Kings.  To me.

I didn’t respond.  I was too happy stacking my chips.  And I thought that maybe it didn’t mean anything.  A lot of people have issues with pocket Kings, right?  It’s not just me.  Just a coincidence.  I looked over at him again and was still sure I had never seen him before in my life.  Just a weird thing to say.  Although, I was thinking maybe I should ask him what he meant by that.

So I let it go for the moment, and then, as I was still stacking, he said to me, “You know, I read your blog.”

Holy shit.  I don’t remember what exactly I said, other to ask him if we’d ever met (we hadn’t) and how he recognized me.  From my pictures on the blog, he said. Plus, he saw me chatting with the dealers and he could tell I was a regular. Maybe even some of the conversation I was having gave him further clues.  Besides, I suppose, the fact that he knew has playing at BSC and might have suspected there was a chance he’d run into me.  In fact, although he said he didn’t comment much, he did say he actually had commented one time asking (or guessing) about the true identity of “BSC.”  No, I haven’t looked through the over 4,600 comments that are on the blog to find that one.

I asked him his name and he said it was Joe.  Yes, that’s his real name I’m using.  For two reasons.  One, I don’t have anything embarrassing to say about him.  Oh wait, I just told the world he reads my blog, I guess that could be embarrassing.

And second, Joe is such a common name no one could figure out who he is anyway.  Joe is from back east, and he told me he discovered Josie’s blog from a Google search and that led him here.  Then he showed me on his phone that he put a link to the blog right on his home screen.

Naturally, I was quite flattered, and we started chatting up quite a bit. Joe was a real nice guy—as you would expect from one of my blog readers. It turns out that he and his wife made a last minute decision to hit Vegas for the holiday weekend and when they got to town, his wife heard about the Cher concert that was that night.  He had no interest, so she was enjoying Cher while he had a few hours to get some poker in.

So I told him that the first dealer when I joined the table was Nancy, the dealer who punched out her friend.  I gave him her line from earlier in the evening about her friend not being back in town yet.  I identified a few others from my “cast of characters” and even got to introduce him to Abe, who came over to say hi.

And oh yes, at one point, getting back to his pocket Kings reference, I did tell him that the first time he saw me raise and not get a call, I did indeed have the dreaded hand.

I ended up calling it an early evening.  It was a mentally exhausting day from all the issues I was having with my hotel room, and I was finding it difficult to concentrate on the poker.  I figured I better leave before I spew away all those chips 50 cent gave me.  I said goodbye to Joe and thanked him for making my night by telling me he liked the blog and recognized me.  And I left with a small profit, which was pretty nice after the way the evening started.


  1. SWEET PIC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! good post too. was the kid wearing a backwards ball cap???????????

    1. Thanks. Actually, he was wearing a baseball cap but the right way.

      So he wasn't ALL bad. :)

    2. i liked the dude play thou even if he asked like a DBAG. got to keep ppl guessing

  2. I can't believe that anyone has the link to your blog on their home screen... Pretty cool.

  3. Nice work picking up the chips for an extended break. Well done on the J3 hand. Not sure if I could of kept my cool whether I was in the hand or not.

    1. Thanks, Ben. Yeah, I seem to keep running into jerks like this more and more.

  4. Wow -- maybe I need to make playing at MGM a little bit more of a priority next trip to Las Vegas.

    1. Yeah, you know, I've never seen Ron play there, so maybe it would be safer for you!

    2. Rob...nice meeting you too. I was wondering when you were going to get around to mentioning me in your blog ;-) I have to tell you you left about 10 minutes too soon. As soon as you left the cute asian woman from across the table asked to move to your old seat (next to me). She then went on a huge heater....won 3-4 huge pots in a row. Her friend called her from another table (guess a seat opened) so she picked up her chips and was about to move. I asked her if that seat was not hot enough for her and she said she would stay but wanted to play with her friend. Sorry for the bad news ;-) MGM is my go-to poker room, although I only make it out there 3-4 times a time I will say "hi" right away ;-) -Joe

    3. Great to hear from you Joe, I was hoping I would. And of course, great meeting you in May. And sorry I took so long to tell the story, I guess I was a little self-conscious about it since it was almost a vanity post.

      Great story about the Asian woman taking my seat and going on a heater. That doesn't really make me feel bad, there's no way to be sure that it would have played out the same way if I had stayed. I might have folded some hands she played or vice versa. For that matter, just folding a meaningless hand that she played preflop could change all the cards after that. I might have stayed there and gotten felted. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

      But if you thought the seat was so hot, did YOU move into it after she left to play with her friend?

      How did you end up doing that night?

      Anyway, thanks for giving me a great story and I hope to see you next time. You can drop me a line next time your headed out there and we can arrange a for-sure meeting, if I'm there too.

      Take care.

  5. BREAKING NEWS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Taco Bell has DIET BAJA BLAST at least here in NoCo

    1. Hopefully they'll produce it for retail locations too. I'll keep looking.

  6. i will check the location mom and pop stores, if i c it . i will mail u a bottle

    1. Thanks for that offer, but not necessary. I'm sure if it's available in CO, it'll be in L.A. too.

      Plus, I realized there is a Taco Bell in Baker, CA where I almost always make a rest stop in route to Vegas. Hopefully they have a reasonably clean Men's Room there and if I haven't tried it by next trip up there, I'll sample it then.