Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Revenge of the Pocket 7's

The weekend after this story took place, I returned to The Bike (in luxurious Bell Gardens, CA) with the same game plan.

I won the first hand I was dealt when I bet on the turn with air and didn’t get a call.  A few hands later I won another pot betting the turn against three opponents—also with air.
But of course, it wasn’t going to be that easy.

I raised to $12 with pocket 8’s and only got one caller.  The flop was King-Jack-X.  My opponent led out for $10, I called.  He checked a blank turn, and I bet $25 expecting him to fold.  Ed Miller said he would.  But he called.  A blank river and he put his last $15 in.  I shrugged and called.  He had Jack-10 but it was good enough. 

I lost a few bucks paying a guy off on the river for his quad Aces.  Well, I did have a full house (10’s full of Aces—three Aces on the board).  It wasn’t a lot of money, and I couldn’t convince myself the guy wasn’t bluffing.

I won small pots by raising with King-Jack suited and Ace-7 suited and making c-bets that weren’t called.  I called a raise with pocket Queens and called a flop bet on a scary board.  Out of position, I just checked it down and to my surprise the Queens were good.

I raised to $14 with 8-7 of hearts.  Two players called, and this older, British gentleman made it $100.  Ugh.  Last time he three-bet, he had pocket Aces. It was the only time I’d seen him three-bet.  I folded.  The other two players, with short stacks (both less than $50) called.  Note: I had over $300 when the hand started, and the British guy had over $400.  So I saw it play out.  The shortest stack had King-Queen and flopped Broadway.  The next shortest stack had pocket 8’s and missed.  The British guy had pocket Aces again, and flopped a set.  But he didn’t catch up to the flopped straight.  Oh, and by the way…..there were two hearts on the flop.  And a third on the river.  Had I stayed in, I would have won the pot.  However, if I had foolishly called the $100 preflop bet, the Brit would have in all likelihood bet me off the hand. Based on how he played, I don’t think he would have slow played his set of Aces with that flop.

Oh and by the way, this was, I noted, the second time he had been dealt pocket Aces that I saw.  They came within about a half hour of each other.  In two sessions at the Bike since I got back to town, I have yet to be dealt pocket Aces, pocket Kings, or pocket Jacks. 

In the small blind I called $15 with Ace-Jack of hearts.  As soon as I called, I realized that was a mistake, I’m supposed to either three-bet or fold there.  It was heads up and I flopped the flush draw and called $15.  The turn was the third heart.  I checked and he checked behind me (I was hoping for a check-raise).  The river paired 10’s, but I bet $30 and the other guy called, and showed his pocket Aces.  The nut flush was good.

I was on the button and UTG straddled to $6 (that’s the only straddle allowed at the Bike). It was raised to $12 and I called with King-Queen of clubs.  Six of us saw the flop.  It was King-high, rainbow.  It checked to me and I put out $50.  Only one player called, and the $50 was a bit more than half his remaining stack.  I checked a blank turn (I think that was in keeping with something Miller said on his video but I can’t easily explain it).  He shoved on the river ($40-$45?) when the board paired 7’s.  It had been runner-runner 7’s and I didn’t consider folding for a second.  Of course, for that size bet, I couldn’t fold anyway, considering there was $170 or so in the pot before he bet.  The Kings were indeed good (he had second pair).

That put me up nearly $150 from my $300 buy-in. And then….and then…..

At this point, two women joined the table, sitting right next to each other.  I assumed they were sisters. They looked very, very similar.  Not twins, but just a very, very strong family resemblance.  The both came to the table carrying racks of $1 chips.  I assumed they had been playing at the $1-$3 game (which I described a long time ago, here).  Yes, that’s a $1-$3 game (max buy in is $120) where they use dollar chips, not $5 chips.  They both had to buy some more chips to get over the $100 minimum for the game they were joining.

Under the gun, I raised to $10 with Ace-Jack of hearts.  One player called and then the action went to sister #1.  She made it $30.  She had $139 when the hand started, pretty much what she started with, except for the $3 she had to post to come in on the previous hand.  I think this was her second hand, but she may have played one or two others where she just folded preflop.

Sister #2 folded behind her, but another player called and in keeping with the strategy I was following, I called. Of course, I had no read on sister #1 other than the fact that she came from a smaller game and had bought in fairly short. However, most players in this game buy in for way less than the $300 maximum.  The player who called my initial raise also called, putting $120 or so in the pot before the flop, less the rake.

The flop was Jack high, rainbow.  I checked.  Honestly, my normal play there would have been to check anyway.  I’m probably not betting into a three-bettor there unless the flop hits me harder than just top pair.  But I somehow felt that Ed Miller would want me to check there too.

Here’s where things got a little weird.  The next player to act, before it got to sister #1, had been moderately aggressive, but nothing out of the ordinary for the Bike.  He started counting out chips as if to bet.  I had my eyes glued to him waiting to see how much he was going to bet.  He had at least $35-$40 in his hand, and he made a motion forward, and then suddenly just as it appeared he was going to put his chips down over the betting line, he pulled his hand back, and then, in a very quick motion, took his two cards and mucked them.

What I hadn’t seen, but he had, was that, seeing the guy about to bet, sister #1 had put her whole remaining stack out.  That’s why he not only didn’t bet, but he mucked, he knew he wasn’t going to call her all-in for $109.  Sister #1 complained to the dealer—didn’t he bet?  The dealer offered to call the floor, but as far as he was concerned , he hadn’t put his chips down, so he hadn’t bet.  Sister #1 jumped the gun by not waiting for him to actually drop his chips.  I assumed that she was going to insist the floor be called, but, although she seemed quite frustrated and upset by his actions, she didn’t.  After a bit of thought and discussion, she said go ahead and continue the hand.  The next guy folded.

So I was the only player left, and the guy behind me had already mucked his cards.  So it was pretty straightforward for me.  As I said, I had no read on the woman.  But it sure seemed like she was upset the guy didn’t put his money into to the pot.  I had to put her on a overpair.  Maybe a set, though that was unlikely.  There were no good draws out there.

But the pot was now $225 or so, it was $109 to call.  The math—and the invisible Ed Miller whispering in my ear, were telling me to call.  Plus this was the Bike.  She bought in short, and lots of players there look to get a short stack in without much regard to how strong their hand is.  In Vegas, my default player—before I have a read on them—is a fairly tight.  My default player at the Bike—until I see evidence otherwise—is a maniac.  Please feel free to tell me why I shouldn’t have called there.

But call I did and neither of us showed our hands.  The turn card was a 7, which seemed innocuous to me.  But she liked it.  A lot.  As soon as she saw it, she picked up her two cards and then slammed the face up on the table.  Of course, they were both 7’s.  I was now officially drawing dead. 

There went my profits for the session.  I know that in poker this happens all the time, and you’re supposed to feel fine if you got your money “in good” which I had.  I was ahead when I called her flop bet. She had a two-outer and she hit it.  That’s poker.

But man, I would have felt a lot better if she had a bigger pair or had flopped a set.  Then I could just shrug and say, well, I knew I was behind but the math dictated that I call.  But now, knowing I was ahead when I got it in….it just stung.  Damn two outer.  And this was the second straight week that I had a huge hand against a set of 7’s.  I liked the previous week’s outcome a lot better.

I pondered whether the guy’s “fake bet” had made any difference.  I don’t think so.  She might have bet less if he had just checked normally, but considering her stack and the size of the pot, that strikes me as doubtful.  And I can’t see her checking behind the guy if he had just checked, seeing as how she was willing to risk her stack when the guy was indicating he could beat her pair of 7’s. But of course, I’ll never know.

Although tempted to leave at this point, I stayed on.  Maybe I’d have a chance to win my money back from sister #1.  Instead, I lost about $50 when my top pair (10’s) succumbed to trip 4’s on the river.  Ugh.

Then I had King-Queen of diamonds and called a raise to $15.  Five of us saw the flop.  It was Ace-Queen-10, 1 diamond. Two players checked, the preflop raiser checked, and there was only one player behind me to act.  I had middle pair, the gutshot, and the backdoor flush draw.  I bet $50.  At least two players tanked, but everyone folded.

In the big blind, I had pocket Queens.  Second time this day.  Still no Aces, Kings or Jacks.  Anyway,  UTG had straddled to $6, a couple of players had called the straddle.  The Brit made it $15 and it folded to me.  I put out $60.  No one called
And that was my last hand of note.  I managed to win around $60, even with that bad beat against sister #1.

Just another fun day at the Bike.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

The Vulva Tea of Mercy is Not Strained

This post will, among other things, explain why the post here was called "The Big Teaze" and not "The Big Tease." 

Who out there is familiar with “Boba Tea”? Let me see a show of hands.  OK, probably most of you.  As usual, I was late to the party.

It seems my pal Abe almost always arrives to the BSC poker room with to-go cup of boba tea.  When I asked once what he was drinking, he told me “boba tea.” So, I asked him what the hell that was and he answered.  I still wasn’t sure.  I figured out it was some kind of tea drink that has been imported here from Asia .  So it appeared to tie into Abe’s preference in the fairer sex.  As I revealed in the post here, Abe has the Yellow Fever. 

Abe would stop in Chinatown on his way in and pick up a boba tea.  And for awhile, he had been trying to get me to join him in his favorite Asian Tea House for a boba.  I resisted because I don’t really like tea. I will drink hot tea only if absolutely necessary when I have a cold and a sore throat.  I will drink Iced Tea only when no other more suitable beverage is available.  In either case, I will put enough sweetener in it to pretty much obliterate the taste of the tea.

But Abe discovered a tea house that he felt might have something that would override my objection to tea: Girls serving said tea in their underwear.

Ok, technically, Café Teaze advertises that their servers (all of whom are Asian) wear lingerie.


It was pretty obvious that a place like this indeed cried out for closer inspection by yours truly.

That almost happened the first night I was back in Vegas, in late August.  I was playing poker with Prudence and Abe joined us.  As the evening wore down, Abe was telling us more about his favorite Boba Tea place.  We agreed we would all hit it together before I left town. In fact, as we finished up with the poker, Abe suggested we all go there right then, but I declined.  I was just too tired from lack of sleep, the long drive, unpacking, a rough poker session, etc. Abe and Prudence went without me, and Prudence sent me the following picture she took of their server, with this note: “You are really missing out.”

Ok, I was sold.  A week or so later, the three of us all met at Café Teaze, right when they opened, at 6PM.  Prudence and I got there first.  A really nice looking Vietnamese gal came over to us to give us menus.  She was wearing a bra and panties.  Or so I thought.  It was definitely not a bikini, this was definitely underwear, and pretty skimpy underwear at that. She went over the menu, and asked if we’d been there before.  Prudence said yes, but I of course said no, and told her that I had never had boba tea before.  My actual plan was to see if they had some non-tea drink, like diet coke, or even water.  But it was pretty hard to say no to a hot gal in her underwear. There was something on the menu called “chocolate milk boba tea.”  I decided that it sounded like something I could probably handle.  After all, when in Rome…..

Now, aside from tea, and the nice scenery, this place is offering, well, an “experience,” for lack of a better word.  So when the girl came over, she told us her name was Crystal and sat down at our table (I believe we were the first customers of the day) and chatted with us, very friendly.  When she got up to place our order, I realized she wasn’t really wearing panties.  She was wearing a thong.  It revealed approximately 100% of her buttocks.  It was a damn pleasant sight.  Prudence totally cracked up at my reaction to seeing her bare backside.  Too bad she didn’t take a picture of me, I’m sure my expression was pretty good.

I commented to Prudence, when I realized the gal had planted her totally bare butt on the chair next to her, “That’s unsanitary, isn’t it?”  She agreed, and laughed.

Now there was another girl behind the “bar” who was apparently the bartender or the barista or whatever you’d call her.  She was also only wearing a bra and because of the bar, I couldn’t see what she had on the bottom.  I complained to Prudence, “Isn’t she gonna come out….I want more than one girl.”  She laughed.  It wasn’t till we were nearly ready to go that I saw her come out from behind the bar.  She was wearing a slightly less revealing thong than Crystal.  It did cover a little bit of her ass.  I thought I saw a third girl when we first got in, but I never saw her from the neck down and I never saw her again.  It’s possible I was hallucinating hot Asian gals.

Note:  Due to the, um, hiring practices of the management of this tea house, the view from the waist down was better than from the waist to the neck.

When Abe joined us, I was surprised that they didn’t know his order cold. My first words to him were, “Gee, I can’t imagine why you like it here so much.”  I asked him if he actually lived there.  I mean, why would he ever leave?

He ordered something from Crystal.  As I said, the girls are more than just servers, so every time she came to take our order or check on us, she actually sat down and joined us for quite a long time.  Prudence, ever the student of life, asked her if she had run into a lot of creepy guys working there.

She said yes, and then told us a long story about a guy who didn’t sound very creepy at all, but who didn’t leave her a tip.  Subtle.

Another time, she came over, sat down, and said, “You want to hear something crazy?  Friday night is ‘Pasty night.’  And we’re opening at 4.”  Abe had already informed me of a previous “pasty night.”  It’s just what it sounds like.  Instead of bras, the girls wear nothing but pasties on top.

“Damn,” I said.  I won’t be here.  I guess I’ll just have to win enough money tonite to be able to afford to stay through the week.”  I didn’t.

Abe and Prudence were comparing Crystal to the woman who served them a week earlier, the blonde above.  I commented that I don’t really like blonde hair on Asian women.  “It’s too unnatural looking,” I said.  Prudence responded….”Oh, you so traditional.  You’re probably into bush porn.”  I just laughed.

We had a good time, catching up on our recent activities (when we weren’t being interrupted by our mostly naked server).  I found this picture of Crystal on their Facebook page.

And here’s a shot that Prudence took of a different waitress on a different night she went there.

The only problem:  Not a fan of the boba tea.  My drink would have been fine if it didn’t have that bitter tea taste.  And the boba didn’t add anything to it, as far as I was concerned.

We only went there for the drinks.  They have a limited food menu so we decided to eat at BSC before playing some poker.

On the way over there, I called my friend LM.  She and her husband Woody are big boosters of my blog, and I wanted to tell her that I had been served boba tea by a nearly naked Vietnamese girl.  It would be easier to leave her a voice message than to text her when I got to the casino.  So hours later, I got texts from LM and Woody.  It seems that when LM related my message to Woody about being served boba tea by a girl in her underwear, he somehow heard “boba” as “vulva.”  Perhaps it was wishful thinking on his part.  But when I saw his text about my having “vulva tea,” I knew that, forevermore, I would be referring to boba tea as “vulva tea.”  Perhaps you can all do that and we can start an actual trend.  It could become bigger than “the dreaded pocket Kings.”

The poker wasn’t much to talk about.  At first, I was sent to a separate table on my own while Prudence and Abe were at the same table.  I managed to win about $100 there while waiting for my table change to come through.  Nothing dramatic, won a small pot flopping a flush, won a few pots with c-bets, won a pot with top pair.  And didn’t take any big hits in the process.

By the time I got called to the other table, the Slut Parade was in full gear, and this table was right in front.  Prudence and Abe, on either side of the dealer, had the two best seats in the house to enjoy the parade.  I had a less preferred seat on Prudence’s immediate left.  This may have been Prudence’s first real exposure to the Slut Parade.  This was the Sunday of Labor Day Weekend, and I have to say, that particular weekend turned out to be an especially good weekend for SP viewing.  Especially if one happens to enjoy looking at liberally exposed bosoms.  Let’s see, do we know anyone like that?

There were also plenty of ladies representing Abe’s preferred “genre.”  For some reason, Abe started asking Prudence for her opinion of the ladies he was noticing. As in, “What about the girl in the red dress?”  We both found it odd that Abe needed a woman’s opinion.  Finally, Prudence said to him, “Come on, what do you need my opinion for?  Your penis knows what it likes.” 

As vividly as I have tried to describe the ladies going to the club, they still seem to shock first-time viewers.  As a worldly woman, you would think Prudence would be unshockable, but no, she found herself oft-times amazed at the clothes—or lack thereof—the club goers were wearing. And keep in mind, this was after we’d just had a girl in a bra and a thong serve us vulva tea.  At one point, she said, “Why do they even bother wearing any clothes at all?” I was no doubt distracted by whoever happened to have elicited that comment from her.  But when I recovered, I said to her, “If they allowed it, what percentage of the girls would just show up stark naked?”  She said, “More than you think, you’d be surprised.”  Damn decency laws.

I also made a comment about the cost of those “dresses” the girls were wearing.  “They can’t cost very much, right?  I mean, there’s so little material.”  She said, “No, those are like $700 dresses.”  For about three square inches of material?  Somebody’s making boatloads of money.

Once I got to that table, between the parade and the conversation with Prudence and Abe, I wasn’t concentrating too much on the poker.  I managed to keep all the money I came to the table with, and I considered that a win.

I guess I should explain the title of this post.  You already know where the “vulva” came from (so-to-speak).  The actual title is a play off of a “feghoot.”  A feghoot is basically a shaggy dog story with a bad pun as its punch line (see here for a longer explanation).  Back in the day, I heard and/or read a ton of these.  I’ve mercifully forgotten most of them, but a few of the punch lines have stuck in my mind all these years.  The punch line I remember the most, for some reason, is, “The Koala Tea of Mercy is Not Strained.”  I’ve ruined the joke for you (as if that was even possible) but you can find a version of it here.  So pretty much as soon as I realized I would be doing a post about tea, the title was sealed in my mind. It was originally going to be “boba tea” in the title, but it was easy to replace “boba” with “vulva.”

And if you think about, and have a dirty mind, you will see that “vulva” tea not being strained works out really, really well.  Especially if, ahem, you’re into bush porn.

I’m going to leave you with some pics Café Teaze’s FB page, I hope it’s ok that I use them.  Enjoy.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

"I Cannot Beat Queen-Ten"

The TBC Invitational, Part 3

This is the third and final part of this night of poker, and continues right where part 2 (see here) ended.

Then came the only hand that I really got into with Tony.  Not sure how it started, I think I might have called a raise with the evil hand, Queen-10 suited.  In a game like this, there’s bragging rights attached if you can win a pot with your friend’s most hated hand.  There were four of us, including the aforementioned Asian woman.  I think she might have been the raiser.  I called her flop bet chasing a gut-shot, and that bet had put the Asian woman all-in, so there was no turn bet.  It was still four of us on the river, but only three of us had any more money left to bet. The board was King-high and I needed a Jack to complete the straight.  The river was a Queen instead.  I checked. The guy in seat 4—the one interested in our blogs—checked.  And then, I had a brain fart. 

I knew the next player was the lady who was all in.  So I either forgot that Tony was still in the hand, or I thought he had been first to act and had checked.  Because I thought Seat 4’s check ended the action.  And so, I turned over my hand.  As soon as I did, I saw that Tony was grabbing chips to bet.  Shit, the action wasn’t over, it was on him.  I think my reaction was pretty good, I slammed my hand down on my cards immediately and pulled them back in and turned them back face down. They were only exposed for a nano-second.  I really didn’t think anyone had seen them.

But somehow, ol’ eagle-eyed Tony saw my hand, with the action on him.  At this point, there was no side pot, but if he bet, there would be one.  So Tony went into full Tony-mode.  And started talking. “Queen-10?  Queen-10? I can’t beat Queen-10.  But I was gonna bet.  I can’t beat Queen-10.  I was gonna bet…..but I cannot beat Queen-10. I cannot beat Queen-10.”

I dunno how long this went on; probably not as long as it seemed to me.  But he must have said “Queen-10” at least a dozen times.  And then, admitting again that he couldn’t beat Queen-10, he went ahead and put out a $55 bet.

Great, now the action was on me and I’m going to look like an idiot no matter what I do.  Of course, it was my fault for exposing my hand.  Tony’s action—betting knowing what I had—would indicate that knew he had me beat.  OTOH, that just gave him the perfect opportunity to bluff, didn’t it? So I had the option of looking stupid by calling a bet made by someone who bet knowing what I had and losing that way (“why did you call?”)—or, folding the best hand because I fell for Tony’s outrageous attempt to bluff.  Neither option was appealing.  I dismissed Tony’s rant that “I can’t beat Queen-10” because actions speak louder than words.

And there was another player to think about it.  I didn’t think he had seen my hand—but it didn’t matter, since Tony had so nicely told him what I had. 

Sigh.  I decided to call.  I felt if that was the wrong play, it would somehow be less humiliating than folding the better hand.  And besides, if Tony took my money there, I could, in my heart of hearts, consider it an act of charity. 

As soon as put my money out, the player behind me folded like a cheap suit and indicated that he was losing to Queen-10, which he knew I had.  Tony and I were asked to expose our cards for the side pot.  I showed my Queen-10, and Tony showed his…..Queen-10.  Yes, he wasn’t lying, he couldn’t beat Queen-10.  He couldn’t lose to it either. We both got a laugh and we took our river bets back.  By the way, his wasn’t suited, unlike mine.

And it was all moot, as the lady who was all in flipped over her hand to show King-10, giving her the pot.  And so, whether or not I called Tony made no difference, he was never going to win any money on the river (or lose any more than he put in the pot).  Or was he?

I started wondering if maybe Tony’s table talk might have cost him a few bucks.  How?  Well, I can’t say for sure, but I really don’t think the guy behind me saw my hand.  I’m pretty sure his eyes were focused on Tony, waiting for him to act.  So he wasn’t looking at me or my cards when I exposed the hand.  Now, if that’s true, then maybe, just maybe, he might have considered calling Tony’s river bet there.  Suppose he had a lesser pair than Queens?  Based on his play, he was certainly capable of making a weak call on the river.  If Tony doesn’t tell the guy that I have Queen-10—which he obviously couldn’t beat, whether Tony could or not—maybe he finds a way to call the $55?  I dunno, it’s a long shot, but it could have happened.  We’ll never know.

Furthermore, if Tony hadn’t said anything, I would have assumed that he hadn’t seen my cards.  And I almost definitely would not have called his bet if he just made it and shut up.  As it turned out, that didn’t make any difference.  But again, if the guy behind me only had to worry about Tony’s bet and not my call—and he had anything—he might have called, not just to win Tony’s $55 but to keep his interest in the main pot alive.

Soon after grrouchie came to the table, he proceeded to slow-roll me.  Yes, he did.  He raised in front of me and I called with pocket 9’s.  He started a whole “Woe is me” schtick when I called.  “Oh no, Rob called.”  Every time I entered a pot he was in, he was like, “Oh, I’m in trouble.” Another guy called as well.  The flop was high, a couple of Queens.  He didn’t c-bet and no one else bet.  It was checked all the way down.  The other guy had nothing, I showed my 9’s.  grrouchie took his sweet time showing his hand. He looked at my cards, paused, then paused some more, waited even longer….by the time he showed his hand, the next two dealers were ready to push into our table.  And then he finally showed his pocket 10’s to take down the pot.  Of course I gave him a hard time about the slow-roll.

Then we got into another hand together and I didn’t write down the details, but at showdown we both had Queen-10 (that was clearly the hand of the night).  We chopped a small point and again made a big deal about it to Coach.

Then there was the now famous hand that involved Tony and grrouchie.  I don’t recall the beginning of it but it was three handed, the other player was the guy to Tony’s immediate right.  Grrouchie was on Tony’s left, with only Coach between them.  So all the action was on one side of the table, in the corner there.  On the turn the other guy bet $35 and Tony called.  As would  soon nr revealed, grrouchie hit a straight on the turn and he shoved, $101 more than the $35 bet.  The action went back to the guy who put out the $35 and while he was thinking, Tony started asking the dealer to pull out the $35 bets from the pot.  The dealer somehow indicated that he didn’t need to do that but Tony kept badgering him to do it.  The dealer wouldn’t do it.

Finally, Tony took it upon himself to start separating the pot out.  The dealer forcefully told him not to do that—to keep his hands out of the pot, and specifically, out of grrouchie’s all-in bet.  I’m not sure recall how long Tony kept complaining or how long the dealer kept warning him, but I did start to worry that the floor was going to be called and it was going to get messy.

But things settled down, and when they did, the guy folded.  Grrouchie was sure he would have called if Tony hadn’t influenced his action.  Tony called and grrouchie showed his straight and took down the pot.  Tony was not happy.  And since grrouchie thought that Tony talked a guy out of giving him some more money, he wasn’t all that happy either.

The problem with Tony’s request was that the action wasn’t on him, it was on the other guy. And as such, the dealer was acting totally properly by not acceding to Tony. I’m sure we’ve all seen instances where dealers, on their own accord, went ahead and pulled in the original bets out to show the person whose turn it was how much it was to call.  But as our dealer pals all confirmed on Twitter the next day, that is incorrect.  It should only be done if requested—and it can only be requested by the person who the action is on. Tony was not in position to the request and the dealer was totally correct to refuse.  And obviously, it was totally inappropriate for Tony to start touching and moving chips that were in the pot.

Soon thereafter, when he was on the button, the same dealer stopped one player short and didn’t give Tony a second card.  After everyone else’s action, Tony didn’t say anything, just pointed to his single card.  The dealer finally noticed he was missing a card and dealt him one.  But Tony gave the guy a really hard time about it, clearly believing this was intentional on the dealer’s part.  Again, it got heated, but things cooled down in time.

After many, many hours, I felt it was time to call it a night. I was having a nice night, breaking the Venetian jinx, and I wanted to make sure I left with my profits. I hadn’t been paying enough attention to the poker and it was only a matter of time before that that would cost me.  Plus I was tired.  I cashed out with a $265 profit.  Not bad for a session where I was paying a lot more attention to the conversation than the game itself.  After getting my cash, I returned to the table to say goodbye to everyone.  Just then, Tony got up and asked to speak to me privately.
It was not a surprise at all that Tony asked me for a lift to Vince’s place, where he was staying.  Vince was supposed to join us and be Tony’s ride, but for some reason, he never showed.  I guess he really, really, really doesn’t want to meet Pete Peters.

Tony said he should have really left a long time ago.  He had lost most (or all) of the money he was ahead when the blogger’s game started.  He told me that it was a $30 cab ride to Vince’s, and he would give me $15 to drop him off there.  It sounded to me like Vince lived in Summerlin, a pretty far drive from the Strip.  At least it wasn’t Reno. My only condition was that Tony be absolutely certain he could direct me there without getting us lost.  He assured me that he could.  It was about 1:30AM, the perfect time of day for a little detour to Summerlin. I was staying just a few minutes from the Strip.

As I led Tony to my car, I was reminded that this was a Friday night (and a holiday weekend) and that I was therefore missing the Slut Parade over at the MGM. What reminded me were some of the ladies I noticed at the Venetian just walking through the casino.  And I wasn’t anywhere near any of the nightclubs at the V or the Palazzo.  I’ll bet it would have been quite a sight to have seen the line-up on this night.  Note to self:  Have yourself cloned so next time, you can check out the club scenery at both the V and the MGM at the same time, and contrast and compare.

Anyway, Tony very much wanted to explain what happened with the hand with grrouchie.  He felt that by separating out the bets, it would be easier for the guy to see how big the bet was, and therefore make it more likely for him to fold, which is what Tony wanted.  So he was absolutely trying to effect the action, which is precisely why he should not have done it.  In his defense, as I pointed out earlier, he had seen so many dealers do it voluntarily that he thought it was ok to request it.  I pointed out to him that, regardless of that, it is never, never ok for him to have reached into the pot and touched (and moved) the chips as he did.  He could have gotten into much greater trouble just for doing that.

And then he explained the missing card on the button.  He was sure the dealer absolutely did it intentionally to him because of the other incident.  But he also pointed out that he felt the dealer was distracted because he was flirting with one of the many Asian ladies at our table who wasn’t Alysia Chang.

Anyway, Tony did indeed know how to direct me to Vince’s place.  I managed to miss the cut-off to US 95 totally on my own, but was able to correct course in short order.  As we neared Tony’s destination, let the record show that Tony went for his wallet and started to pull out the fifteen bucks he had offered me.  And let the record further show that I of course refused to take his money.

And another fun night of blogger’s poker had come to an end.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

More Pocket Kings Than You Can Shake a Stick At

 The TBC Invitational, Part 2
This is the second part of this night of poker, and continues right where part 1 (see here) ended. And it's not just a good idea to read part 1 before you read this part--it's mandatory.  Reading this saga out of order will cause your computer to explode. That's probably just a joke, but why take that chance?
But not long after that, luck intervened.  Pete texted me, asking me what was going on with trying to get together at the same table. He said that the table he was at needed players.  Really?  I folded the pocket Aces I had just been dealt (just kidding) and rushed over to his table.  There were actually three open seats at his game, which had apparently all been opened at once. Awesome.  I practically ran over to the guy I had earlier talked to. He was talking to another floorman and I got his attention.  I explained that at Pete’s table there were there open seats, and would it be possible for the three of us to be moved there right now, before they sent other players there?

He said sure.  Then the floorman who he had been talking to tried to interrupt and asked, “Wait, are you in other games now, or are you on the waiting list?”  No, no, we were not attempting to cut in line, we were all playing.  The shift boss knew that.  Did this floorman think his boss was going to violate his own room’s policies?

Anyway, I went back to Pete’s table while the shift boss was messaging to the front about three table changes and reserved my seat right next to him.  Then I went to Tony and Coach and told them to pick up their chips and come to Pete’s table.  And so, we finally were all at the same game. I didn’t use my “influence” to do it, I did what anyone could have done.  Next day I received a tweet back from my Venetian contact and he apologized for not responding earlier, but he was indeed out of town.  No worries, I told him, it all worked out.

So I was in seat 1, Pete in seat 2.  On the other side of the table, Coach grabbed seat 8 and Tony initially took seat 9.  The Venetian 1/2 game is 9-handed.  Anyway, not long after we all got to the table, seat 7 on the other side of Coach opened up and Tony asked to move there, which he did.  Immediately after moving his chips and all of his stuff to seat 7, he went to the Men’s Room.  By the time he got back, a new player had come to the table and taken seat 9.  On returning to the table, Tony saw the new playing in seat 9 and told him to get out of his seat.  He had completely forgotten that he had just moved to seat 7.  Fortunately, Coach was there to remind him before things got heated.

After we were all there awhile, having a fine time, the guy in seat 3 or 4 suddenly turned to Pete and said to him, “OK, now that I’m leaving, I can tell you this.  I don’t want you to think I’m a stalker or anything—I’m not—but I once flew on a plane with you to Charlotte.  I even commented on your blog about it, but you didn’t respond.”

Pete was taken aback, and then the guy described the flight and he knew the guy was not making it up.  He said goodbye and said something about hoping to run into him again.  He also said something about being on AVP and mentioned his handle there.  Anyway, after that, Pete described the flight and it was memorable.  They couldn’t catch their connecting flight home from Charlotte due to a snowstorm.  And Pete did remember a guy commenting that he was the plane with him, but he didn’t respond (he had asked where he was in the airport, while they were waiting for a flight) because it did sound a little scary.  In person, the guy seemed harmless enough.

Now, just based on our conversation at the table, it would have been easy for this guy to figure out who Pete was.  But he couldn’t figure out how he knew who he was back last winter when they found themselves on a plane together. Especially since he didn’t have any contact with him.  And as I’m writing this, I figured it out.  He didn’t know who Pete was or he might have said hello during the flight.  He just happened to be a blog reader and read the blog post that Pete wrote from the Charlotte airport after the flight!  And from his description, he could tell Pete was talking about the same flight out of Vegas he was on.  So he made the comment but didn’t have any idea what Pete looked like.  You can find Pete’s airport post here, and the guy we met at the Venetian is obviously the first commenter, using the pseudonym Anonymous.  Obviously, from all the conversation we were having, he was able to figure out that PPP was the author of The Poker Barrister blog.  Small world.

At Tony’s suggestion, I sent a text to grrouchie to see if he could join us (in case he had missed my tweet and all our blog posts about this).  He was working, but after I assured him we’d likely be there to way past midnite, he said he would stop by if he had a chance.  Oddly, when he arrived, he just got into a game first without looking for us.  Then he texted me to find out where we were. I gave him our table number and he put in for a table change.  One player shouldn’t be a problem.  However, when a spot finally opened up right next to Pete, they wouldn’t move grrouchie there, saying there was a table change in front of him.  He had to come to this table?

Yes, he did, because he had asked for our table.  It was a fellow named Dave, an avid reader of Tony’s (I don’t think he’d ever met him in person before).  When Dave found out about the game, he arranged to join us and even spent some time catching up on all our blogs, which I don’t think he was familiar with before (except for Tony’s).  He had commented on Tony’s blog  before. 

Anyway, it turns out Dave is a really nice guy, and we had a great time chatting with him.  He only recently moved to Vegas to become a full time grinder, and so far, is doing pretty well.  Since this took place, he’s been making a bunch of really insightful comments about poker strategy here on my blog.

And then grrouchie finally joined the table.  He ended up in seat 9, so I was to his immediate left (although there was of course a dealer always sitting between us).  Bloggers were now sitting in five of the nine seats in this game, and when you throw in Dave, a long-time follower of Tony’s, we had 2/3’s of the table. 

So I’m not sure how much serious poker was being played.  To be honest, I wasn’t really paying much attention, which perhaps explains why I did so well.  One of the reasons I haven’t played a lot at the Venetian is that I never seem to do well there.  Isn’t that ultimately the biggest reason you like or dislike a poker room?  I mean, if you always walk away with extra cash in your pocket, you’ll forgive a lot of a room’s sins.  And similarly, if always seem to lose multiple buy-ins at a place, they could have Kate Upton-look-alikes dealing topless and you wouldn’t play there.  Hmm….perhaps that’s not quite the analogy I was looking for.

At my first table, before we all got together, I was even more distracted than I would later be when we all the Avengers bloggers assembled.  That’s because the only thing I was paying attention to was trying to figure out a way to get us all at the same table.  But while there, I looked up from my phone long enough to notice I had been dealt pocket Jacks.  I raised to $10 and had a whole bunch of callers.  I don’t remember the flop (I started writing notes down long after, when we all got together). I bet $30 and had one caller.  We checked it down the rest of the way and the Jacks were good.

I called a small raise with pocket deuces and flopped a set .  I checked and the raiser, a woman, shoved for $31, and it folded to me, with one player left to act.  I just called hoping the guy behind me would call (or even raise) but he folded. The lady had Ace-Jack for Ace high, I didn’t even need the set to win that pot (though I wouldn’t have called her shove if I hadn’t had the set).

That was the last hand of note at my original table.  When the bloggers table assembled, I managed to hit three more sets before I was there half an hour.  It was a set of 7’s, a set of 4’s and a set of 3’s.  I didn’t get much money tho as none of those hands progressed beyond the turn.  I never had to show one.  I whispered to Pete that I had already hit four sets this nite.  Of course, I don’t think I hit another set the rest of my trip.

Then there was the titanic confrontation between Coach and Tony.  I don’t remember who raised first, but there was a re-raise and before I knew it, they were both all in. Wow.  Since this was the first time Coach had raised all night—hell, I’m pretty sure it was the only hand he actually played all night—I assumed he was somehow dealt quads.  They both turned over the hands and I expected this to be one of those classic Aces vs. Kings situations and I was ready to feel sorry for whichever one of my blogger pals was stuck with those dreaded pocket Kings.

But it turned out they both had them!  No Aces here, just all four Kings between two of them. The board mercifully played out nice—no four card flush for anyone—and they got their money back.

Speaking of Coach, when I was dealt his Kryptonite hand—Queen-10—I limped in, mostly in his honor.  Also because it was suited (spades).  Four of us saw the flop.  The flop was Queen-Jack-10, two clubs.  I bet $8, the guy in Seat 4 (one of the rare non-bloggers at the table) raised to $16.  Hmm…..I just called.  It was heads up. Ace of clubs on the turn, and I checked and then called $16.  Another club came on the river, and we both checked.  He showed Jack-10 and no club.  My two pair was just a notch better than his.  Of course, as I dragged the pot, I had to make a point of showing Coach that I won with his “evil hand.”

The guy in Seat 4 was a nice, friendly fellow who seemed to enjoy listening in on the conversation we were all having. And he joined in whenever he could.  He kept asking us about our blogs. “All you guys have blogs?”  This was before grrouchie joined us, so I said, “Well, four of us do.  Less than half the players at the table have blogs….but just barely less than half.”
He asked what we all blogged about— “Poker?” Pete said, “Some of us talk about poker, some of us talk about other stuff…Tony talks about his whole life…..”  And then I added. “I mostly talk about poker.  And also, boobs.”  He laughed at that and so did the cute Asian girl sitting next to him.  I hadn’t intended for her to hear that but she seemed to enjoy it, so I was relieved.

Speaking of the cute Asian girl who laughed at boobs, she hadn’t been at the table very long when this hand happened.  I think she had just bought in for $100 and still had all of it. She opened the pot for $16 and it folded to me.  My good friends, the dreaded pocket Kings were staring me in the face.  I made it $43.  She called.  The flop was Jack high and she led out for $10.  I made it $30 (I would have put her all in but I was worried that she wouldn’t call).  She reluctantly called.  Now she was pot-committed, but based on her flop bet, I wasn’t sure she understood that.  Of course, she should have just put it all in there.  The turn was a blank and after she checked, I bet enough to put all in.  She reluctantly called.  The river didn’t change anything.

I showed my Kings and she showed pocket Queens.  I shouted over to Tony and Coach., “Did you see that…..did you see that?” to make sure they saw I just won a nice pot with the dreaded hand, of course they had already noticed.  Pete had not, he had stepped away from the table. I can’t recall if he was dealt in that hand and folded or didn’t get a hand—if it was the latter, then his absence was the reason I won the hand.  When he returned, I had to tell him about my Kings paying off and of course, he didn’t believe me.

That Asian gal rebought, and she was one of two Asian woman to occupy seat 5 during the festivities.  I believe Tony texted Pete each time a new Asian woman came to that seat to see if she might be Alysia Chang.  But none of them were. At least as far as we told Tony.

And so ends part 2.  We will conclude next time.  You can find part 3 here.