Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Cram it, Clown

OK, boys and girls....just minutes ago, I rolled into my (very) humble L.A. abode after 11 fun filled days in Lost Wages, NV.  I didn't get to write even one blog post while there, too busy getting new material.  This post here is the last one I composed before heading to Vegas late last month.  Since I have an Ante Up column due this week, I dunno if I'm gonna have time to write a new post by Thursday evening.  We'll see  In the meantime...... 

This odd session took place on the Saturday night of Memorial Day Weekend in May.  There was a chatty Brit I’ll call the Brit, and then an extremely talkative guy to my immediate right that, for reasons I won’t explain, I’ll call CN. 

CN talked non-stop.  He talked about all the drinking he had done this day.  He said he had started at 10AM and hadn’t stopped.  The Brit said it was pretty much the same thing with him.  CN mentioned he had tickets for the club later that night, that he was going to have leave the game any minute now to take a nap, shower, and get dressed.  He kept saying he was going to leave soon.  He said that for several hours.  Needless to say, when I left he was still there playing.

He also talked about the poker being played.  He was in most hands.  He wasn’t that much of a raiser, at least preflop, but he’d call most preflop raises or limp in.  He’d say things like “You don’t have anything,” or “I don’t have anything,” or “I’ve got something.” Things like that.

And when he was talking to the other players with those kind of comments, he’d call the other player a “clown.”  “You’re a clown, you don’t have anything.”  “Do you have top pair, clown?”  “That clown doesn’t have anything.” Clown was definitely his favorite word, at least at the beginning.  

But somehow, he said it in a basically non-nasty way.  I mean really, it didn’t sound bad being called a clown by this guy, it was almost endearing, and it came across as good-natured.  I have to admit tho, I was probably the only person at the table that he didn’t call a clown.  I’m not sure why, although it might have been because I was probably the oldest person at the table, and perhaps I got some respect for that. 

But I honestly didn’t think anyone was offended by his use of the word “clown” about them.  Until I was proven wrong.  On the other side of the table, there was a big guy, a kind of rough looking guy.  He was youngish—about the same age as CN—but he looked like the kind of guy you didn’t want to mess with.

He was wearing a Miami Heat hat.  The NBA playoffs were going on back then and CN was also spending a lot of time talking about the Heat game that was on the TV because he had bet $1,000 on the Heat to cover.  So he was nervous about that for some time. Actually, during the first half, he was talking about betting the second half since he hadn’t bet the game before it started.  I believe this was a game that the Heat were behind at half time, and CN was sure they would rally in the second half and win.  So he talked himself to making the bet at half time, and went to the sports book to make the bet.  He was nervous about it the entire second half, but they covered (this was before the NBA finals and I’m way too lazy to look up what game it was, not important).

Anyway, with money now on the Heat, CN wanted to talk to the guy with the Heat baseball cap (worn the correct way, thank goodness) about how great the Heat were.  But the guy with the cap said he wasn’t really a Heat fan, he was just wearing the cap.

But things got tense when the guy with the cap got into a hand with CN.  Of course, during the action, he called the guy “clown.”  Twice.  After the hand (and I don’t remember who won it), the guy with the cap got nasty with CN.  “Hey man, you called me ‘clown.’  Twice.  You don’t know me.  Don’t call me ‘clown’.”

CN said, “Oh I didn’t mean anything by it.  I call everyone ‘clown.’  It’s nothing.”

But that just made the guy with the Heat cap angrier.  He repeated what he said and basically told CN to keep his mouth shut.  The dealer called the shift boss over and told him what happened.  And the shift boss warned both players that there would be no more name-calling or they’d both be tossed.  CN admitted that it was his fault and apologized.  The other guy said it was no big deal, he was ok, no worries.

Now here’s the weird thing.  There was an uncomfortable silence for a while and CN made a couple of more apologies and the guy with the cap said, “You know, you’re ok, it’s not a big deal.  I was upset about something else.  You’re a good guy.”  And they got to talking and by the time the guy with the Heat cap left the table, it was like the two of them had actually bonded.  It was the darndest thing.  But CN didn’t use the c-word (“clown”) much after that.

CN and the Brit were talking quite a bit too.  About drinking, about the club…..and about sports.  The Brit was belittling American sports.  He couldn’t believe Americans preferred football to, well, what they call football in England, aka soccer.  He found that absurd.  Then he started singing the praises of cricket, of all things.  “How can you like baseball?  Cricket, now that’s a real game.”

Yeesh.  Cricket?  Really.

The Brit was going to be in the States awhile and asked the people at the table if Atlantic City was the same as Vegas.  Everyone told him no, it was nothing like Vegas (except for some casinos). 

Then someone asked if Atlantic City was in New England, and someone said yes.  I’m not sure if it was the Brit or someone else.  I immediately disputed that. “No, Atlantic City is in New Jersey.”

The guy said, “Yes, and New Jersey is part of New England.”

I said, “No it’s not.”

The guy insisted. “Yes it is….that’s why it’s called New Jersey. It’s named after a place in England and it’s new, so it’s New Jersey.  So, it’s New England.

I laughed.  “Oh, so next you’re gonna tell me that New York is in New England, too?”

“Yes, of course.  New York is in New England.”

Yeesh.  I almost said “Wanna bet?” and I don’t really know why I didn’t.  It would have been the easiest money I ever made.  But I was easy on him.  I just went to find a source on my smartphone and verified that neither NJ or NY were part of New England.  By the time I found a source, he must have realized his mistake because he agreed I was right without ever looking at my evidence.

To be honest, I almost asked for a table change because of CN when I first got to the table.  The talking was too much, plus I was right next to him.  But at first, I believed him when he said he was going to leave soon so I figured I’d just wait him out.  And by the time I realized he’d probably be saying “I’m gonna leave soon,” at 4 in the morning, he had won me over.

I was up a few bucks from my $200 buy after flopping a set of 4’s against the Miami Heat cap guy’s wife.

And then a guy game to the table and took his first hand under-the-gun when I was the big blind.  He immediately raised to $40.  WTF?  Very first hand he plays and he makes it $40?  Yikes.

I had never seen this guy before in my life, so I had no idea what this meant, no read on him at all. 

And I looked down at my cards.  It was Ace-King, offsuit.  Now I did a post some time back about how I thought a player was over-valuing A-K (see here).  But I got some push back from folks who thought that I was actually under-valuing it.  I still need some convincing.

You see it folded to CN, who called right in front of me.  Now that didn’t mean much, he would call preflop with almost anything.  I didn’t necessarily put him on a big hand.  I couldn’t put the new guy on any hand.  I’ve seen people make similar moves with total rags on their first hand, just to establish an image.

Should I have called with my Ace-King?  Or should I have raised?  You tell me.  Now, in tournaments, Ace-King is definitely a hand I’ll three-bet shove with under the right circumstances.  But I just don’t look at it the same way in a cash game.  Not with over 100 big blinds in my stack and at risk.  CN had a little more than me, and new guy had a little less, having bought in for $200.

If I had had any kind of read on the new guy, I might have considered playing the hand.  But I figured the best case scenario was, I’m in a coin flip, a slight underdog, and why risk my stack when I’m the dog?  He might have had AA or KK too and I’d be a big dog.  Now, I figured that calling there would have been a mistake.  To me, the option was raise big (even a shove?) and see what happens, or fold.  I didn’t consider calling.  And Ace or a King hits, and can I be sure I’m not losing to a set?  So after rejecting calling, I rejected raising and just folded.  I figured I’d get a read on this guy and see what he was up to for later hands.  Hopefully I’d get to see his hand since CN had done me the favor of calling his ridiculous bet.  But if you think I should have called or raised, please let me hear your logic.

Anyway, the flop was 10-high, all hearts.  I was trying to remember if the red King I had tossed was a heart.  I was pretty sure it was.  The Ace had been black.  CN, the small blind, almost immediately announced all-in.  And just as fast, the new guy announced a call.

The board ran out King, Ace.  Honest.  And worse, the Ace was the Ace of hearts.  If my memory was right, I not only would have had two pair, but the nut flush.

CN turned over Ace-10.  Offsuit.  No hearts.  New guy turned over….Ace-King.  Offsuit. No hearts (convincing me that I had indeed tossed the King of hearts).

CN was incredulous.  He was upset.  He couldn’t believe the new guy had called his flop shove with….nothing.  Absolutely nothing.  Just overcards.  On a monotone flop.  Putting his entire stack in the center with Ace-high.

CN suddenly lost his good nature.  “You called me with nothing.  You called with nothing.  Nothing.”  He repeated this quite a number of times.

While I agree that new guy’s call there was pretty bad, I didn’t bother to point out to CN that…”what the heck were you doing calling a $40 preflop bet with Ace-10 offsuit?”  Not to mention his shove on a flop of all hearts when he was heartless was probably not the greatest play in the history of poker.

Anyway, the rest of the time new guy was there, CN kept saying, “I’m gonna get you….I’m gonna bust you.”  The new guy answered back and once again, it started getting nasty.  But it never escalated to the point where the floor had to be called.

The weird thing was, the new guy worked his stack up to over $600 and then….in a matter of a few hands, gave it all away.  Really, after playing solid, aggressive poker for awhile, he suddenly just went crazy and gave away all his chips in like three hands, on some outrageous bluffs that didn’t seem even remotely well-thought out.  And then he left.

Meanwhile, my session had gone south, and I was drip, drip dripping downward.  When it got too low, I made the decision that I wasn’t going to add more chips or rebuy if I busted.  I was tired and decided I could make it an early night if necessary.  I got down to about $80-$85 and was willing to gamble a bit with it if the situation arose.  If I lost it, I’d be done for this day.  On the other hand, I wasn’t going to throw my money away….I figured I’d play just another orbit or two and if I still had chips left, I could cash out rather than doing something too crazy.

When the big blind came to me, I decided to play it and that this would be my last orbit unless something happened to change my thinking.

I looked down at Ace-Queen offsuit.  The under-the-gun player, fairly new to the table, made a normal raise.  The next player, who can best be described as a Crazian, went all in for around $95.  It folded to CN who asked for a count and then called.  Note, by this time, he had a $1,000 winning sports ticket in his pocket from the Heat game and no doubt felt flush from that.

The original raiser had less than me so I couldn’t imagine that he would fold.  I figured, if I was looking to gamble, this was a pretty good place to do it.  Maybe some of these guys had pocket pairs, hopefully not Aces or Kings, and maybe I could get lucky and catch my Ace and that would be enough.  But the thought of a four way all in when I was so short-stacked was just too good to pass up under the circumstances. Besides, only the original raiser was likely to have a decent hand, the other two could have bet the way they did with almost anything.  Ace-Queen was probably favored over their ranges.

I know, in theory, this is a worse spot than when I folded Ace-King earlier, but when I folded Ace-King I had a much bigger stack to protect.  Here I was actually looking for a spot like this.

I put all my chips in, and so did the original raiser.

The dealer spent some time sorting the chips, since there were two side pots.  In addition to the main pot, I was in a side pot for $75 and there was a smaller side pot, just between the Crazian and CN, which just had a few bucks in it.

The Crazian said “Should we show?” and flipped over pocket 9’s.  I wanted at least one more player to show before I did, but the other two guys kept their cards down, so I didn’t flip mine over.  The flop was a bunch of blanks—all low cards. The turn was an Ace.  “Shit, shit, shit,” said the Crazian.  Another low card hit the river. I showed my hand, as did CN.  He had Ace-5, offsuit.  I double checked the board.  With so many low cards, was there a five on it?  Nope. Did the five make a straight?  Um, no, he missed that too.  I had a better kicker by far.

Then the original raiser turned over his pocket Jacks.  My Ace-Queen was good!  I had just (almost) quadrupled up.  Meanwhile, CN said, “It’s a chopped pot, right?”  Meaning we both had a pair of Aces and we’d split it.  Fat chance.  I think he was just kidding.  I think.

I was still in the mood to leave, so I played that last orbit and cashed out.  I ended up winning $100, and considering where I was before that last orbit, I was pretty well pleased with that.

And I wonder if CN ever made it to the club?


  1. an easy shove with the AK instead of a fold. new player sits down raises big 90% of the time its an image play with nothing

    1. Thanks, Tony.....very valid point.

      But I've also seen players do that and then, when no one calls, flip over Aces, or Kings, or Queens.

    2. I kinda agree with Tony that you should shove the AK. I also don't think it's a terrible fold, it's a highly volatile play if you decide to play it. I also agree calling is out of the question - shove or fold. But here's how I analyze the hand...

      There are 3 possibilities...

      This could be a coinflip (he has a QQ-22 or the same hand - AK). In this case, going all in is a volatile play, but with a 3rd player who will either leave some dead money in the pot or make a bad call, a shove is best. There's also a chance he will fold a smaller pair, maybe not a big chance based on his preflop raise size, but it's possible.

      He could have you crushed (AA/KK). This is a real possibility. He did just sit down, but he could be raising big with one of these top two hands because he just sat down and hopes to make people think he's crazy to get paid. I've done it before and it works quite well. If this is the case, you're obviously in bad shape, especially if he has AA.

      You could have him crushed. He could have a few hands that he thinks are really good, but you have dominated (AQ, AJ, KQ). He could also have two random cards. Yes, we've all seen people do crazy things with J4 off suit, so it's possible. If this is true we obviously want to shove.

      Now, I consider in my mind the likelihood that he has AA/KK vs the likelihood that he has some other random hand that I'm crushing. If I think it's more likely he has the random bad hand, I'm going to shove.

    3. I'm sorry. But is this type of actual, well-thought-out, analysis allowed in a blog comment? Please advise.

    4. yeah i thought this was the part of the blog process were i just rant/rave about random topics

    5. @Dave...awesome analysis, Dave. Have you considered doing your own poker blog? I guess the bottom line there was I didn't risk my stack with the limited knowledge. Obviously in the long run it would be a +EV move.

      Another thing tho...CN, I he called a lot of raises and led a lot on later streets but I didn't see 3-bet often. I think he was capable of just flatting KK or even AA there. Not likely but I could see it.

      So question, when you do this guy's move....big bet when you first get to the table with a big hand....if you don't get a call, do you show your hand or not? I'm think you might, because then when you bet smaller with AA/KK later, they won't think you have such a big hand (cuz you didn't bet $40 again).

      @PPP It's actually encouraged, believe it or not. But I do understand the question. :)

      @anger....I know, Dave doesn't get my blog yet. Do you think he should have responded with a comment about boobies? (Look who I'm asking).

    6. I made an assumption that CN would not just call with a monster hand, but if he's the type of player who would do that, I agree this pushes me closer to a fold. This has actually got me in trouble in hands before - I assume that someone would have surely raised with a certain hand, and then i'm shocked to see it (usually as i'm losing the pot).

      I once sat down with a beer in my hand and before my chips even arrived I looked down at AA. I looked up and saw there was a $10 button straddle and 1 caller. I shoved all in and was called by A4. He later commended me on my slurred speech that seemed to get better after the hand was over. If it folds around I'm probably not showing the hand, better to keep them guessing.

      As for doing my own blog, I've thought about it, but I'm probably too lazy to follow through with something like that.

    7. Thanks again, Dave. CN called $40 with Ace-10 off. Would he have three-bet with Aces or Kings? Possibly. I think he would be more likely to do it than most. But who knows?


    However Cricket? Not so good.

    Personally for a big(ish) stack, I would of laid down the AK against 2 people, but maybe not one if its their first hand as well.

    1. HAHA u said soccer not futbol .there is hope 4 u redcoats. RAIDER NATION is invading the Empire ,biiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiitches. the autumn wind is a RAIDER.

    2. Thanks, Ben.....sorry about the "football" dig. So you're not a big cricket fan, huh?

      @anger....how many games doe the Raiders win this year? Is it more than zero? :)

    3. two words SUPER BOWL CHAMPIONS ok 3 words. the road to the superbowl begins in New York,sir.i hope hope that john grisham of baltimore/dc area doesnt have carpes,organic saugage,$4 toast or whatever the bourgeois/yuppie/1% class eat 4 breakfast bcuz he will b puking it up and feeling sick after the RAIDUHHHHHS destroy the Just End The Season like Gun and Roses destroyed hotel rooms during the Appetite for DeSTRUCTION tour circa 1989 .

    4. I'm pretty sure you could get a really good price on betting the Raiders as Super Bowl Champs in Vegas...or online. How much did you put on it?

    5. Damn, the Raiders are coming as well. To play at the home of world FOOTBALL., and no doubt ruin the pitch. At least you have decent cheerleaders (just google for Hammerettes, to see what i get most weeks :( ) .
      On another note I have joined up to do Lucki's nfl pick comp. Would be quite funny to see a good ol Limey win a comp knowing nothing about the sport. Get involved if you fancy your chances !

    6. 10 bucks sportsbook.com at 200-1. EZ MONEY

    7. limey?? fancy??? speak english to me mrben09.i thought this country spawned the forncating(c what i did there) language but so far nobody seems to speak it

    8. I would love to engage you in a verbal joust over this great lexicon that is the English Language. However, i feel that some of the subtleties involved in real discourse may lead to a misunderstanding, like those chaps in Boston, back in 73'

      I hope the above is English enough for you :) I feel like an extra in Downton Abbey.

    9. also,sir. u need to pick a team to WIN not tie aka DRAW. LOL. have a happy hump day. KCCO

    10. LOL. sweeeeeet.joust?? what is that?? this is sounding like an episode of Dempsey and Makepeace,sir.LOL

    11. Anger, what we speak here in the USA isn't really English. It's American. An improvement over the original, to be sure.

      I mean, who needs a "u" in "color"?

    12. true or a"u" in armor too. i am sorry mrben09 .i guess i am still angry of the smallpox that sir jeffery amherst unleashed on my peeps during the french/indian war,the burning of the White House during the War of 1812,and the Spice Girls too

    13. I fear we've gone totally off topic now.

      Oh, and @MrBen....good luck with Duck's football contest. I'd enter myself but because I don't follow the game closely enough during the season, I'd have to rely on Coach's picks and thus wouldn't stand a chance.

    14. no GL 4 me?? WTF!!!!!!!!!!! lol J/K. i dont need luck it is a skills game

    15. Man, if you're picking the Raiders, no amount of luck in the world can help you. Sorry.

    16. not the 1st week,sir. i dont want to rub it in with a certain counselor that eats 100 dolla meals with watered down beer. just in case, i get arrested 4 stalking Kate Upton,firebombing PepsiCo HQ for stop producing Baja Blast in a can/bottle,slipping HGh in peyton manning drink so he gets suspended ,etc,etc.i may need the poker world's version of F Lee Bailey

  3. CN talked non-stop.

    These players drive me up the wall. I played a tournament last Saturday, and a guy offered commentary on EVERY hand like he was a hot shot. About 90 minutes into the tournament, he was gone. They replaced him with another hot shot who was even worse. Fortunately, he was gone in 30 minutes! Whew! Why is it the ones who know everything are the worst? "How can you call me with that?" one of them asked as his bluff failed and he busted. Questions that don't deserve an answer, I guess.

    1. table captain oh, table captain. LOL.

    2. That's one problem with tourneys, MOJO....when you get a player like that at your table, you are stuck with him! At least in a cash game you can ask for a table change....or a poker room change in extreme cases.

      But here's something funny, one of the stories I have from my latest trip is about a guy who asked me how I could call his flop bet when I sucked out on him. I finally have the best answer in that situation. "I'm a terrible player, sir." I don't mind if they agree with me, either. I'm just chuckling to myself inside.

  4. sweeeet pic,sir. i never tittie banged( c no f-bomb) a clown b4

    1. Thanks for the language choice, appreciate it. I was actually disappointed that I couldn't find a better sexy clown pic. I guess clowns aren't that sexy.

    2. ok not that i am complaining BUT i googled sexy clowns then the 2nd option down it says disturbing clown pics or smoething like that and BAM!!!!!!!!!!!!! some pretty HOT clowns. some with TATTS too. r u ok??? jack bauer and u having problems?? man up ,sir

    3. Ordinarily I just go straight to the images and don't look at actual sites, but I do recall looking at that site that you mention.

      I found the pics more disturbing than sexy. But to each his own.

    4. dude u needed to look at ALL the picture like at the end. cute girl dressed like ronald mcdonald too

    5. You're right, I probably gave up before getting to a few good ones.

      Next time I do a clown post,I'll look again.