Tuesday, January 20, 2015

"You Are the King"

Where was I?  In my previous post (see here), I had just left the Aria and the WPBT to head for the MGM.  I was waiting for Lightning to join me. I hoped I’d be waiting a long time, but he didn’t last too long after I left.  I was also waiting to hear from Nick (Cokeboy) who was flying out from IL that afternoon/evening.  He planned to meet up with us at the MGM for the evening. 

It was late afternoon.  I was playing some totally unmemorable poker when Lightning did indeed show up, full of tales of bad beats.  He was assigned a different table and since the one I was at wasn’t particularly exciting, I got a table change and ended up directly on his right.  Before I moved, I managed to drop close to $100 at the first table, not winning a hand.  The closest I came was when I raised with pocket 9’s, made a c-bet on a Q-Q-x board.  I checked the turn and the river was another Queen.  I called a $30 bet from the other player.  He had pocket 10’s.  Well, I did get a drawing ticket for it.

Sitting next to Lightning, I raised to $15 (after many limpers) with Ace-King.  I think two or three called, including Edward.  I’ll describe Edward in a minute.  The flop came King-7-x.  I bet $40 and Edward raised, it looked like he eyeballed my stack and bet a bit more than I had, which was about $100-$110 when the hand started.  Edward had a huge stack of chips.  I thought I was likely beat, but I was pot committed so I called.  The Ace I caught on the river was too little, too late, Edward had flopped a set of 7’s.

I guess I should talk about Edward since he’ll probably figure in a few future posts.  I don’t think I’d ever seen Edward before this trip, but in December I saw him a lot.  A whole lot.  He must be one of those new regulars the freeroll brought in.  I would have definitely remembered him if I’d seen him before, he kind of stood out.  He was tall.  Really tall.  He was of the African-American persuasion.  He was also very friendly and quite funny.  Quite chatty too, but not overly so.  And at one point he mentioned that he was closing in on 90 hours for the freeroll that would be held the next day.

I had to rebuy.  Won a few small pots, one of them when I limped with pocket 5’s.  No raise.  I caught my set and bet $5 and absolutely nobody called.  That’s how the day was going.

Then I had pocket Jacks.  I raised to $10. Three players called my bet, including the fellow sitting directly to my left, a very bad player that, for the purpose of this story, we are going to call Lightning.  The flop was Jack-9-x, two hearts.

My notes might not be totally correct here because of what happened afterwards.  It took me a long time to write the hand down and what I wrote down didn’t make sense to me the next morning.  But according to the notes it was four-handed and I only bet $15.  Seems too little, although I might have been trying to find the right compromise between slow-playing my set and somewhat protecting it against a flush.  Yeah, doesn’t make sense to me either.  So that might a bit off.  The important thing is that Lightning called and it was now heads up.

The turn was an 8, and not a heart.  I bet $30 and suddenly Lightning raised it to $60.  WTF?

I immediately dismissed the possibility that he had a straight.  He’d have to be playing Queen-10, and as all know from our friend Coach, Queen-10 is the “evil hand.”  It’s a junk hand and I wouldn’t expect Lightning to have called a raise with it, at least a raise made by a nit like me.

I was thinking maybe I had set over set….or perhaps he was betting the flush draw?  Maybe he had pocket 10’s and picked up the open-ender?  I called.

The river blanked, I checked and Lightning put his last $33 out in front of him.  I had him covered and even though at that point I was thinking this donkey may actually have played Queen-10, I couldn’t fold for that little a bet.  I shrugged and said to myself, “OK, I’ll give Lightning $33.”

As I put the chips out, I said to him, “You couldn’t be playing Queen-10?  That’s the evil hand.”

And of course Lightning turned over his Queen-10 of spades.  He said it was his favorite hand—specifically Queen-10 of spades.  I immediately tweeted to Coach that I doubled Lightning up for playing the evil hand, and that he crushed my set of Jacks (which I hadn’t showed to him at the time, I just mucked).  When he learned I had the set of Jacks, he indicated that he had no idea I was that strong there.

After Coach’s tweet back that the evil in the evil hand can work both ways, I tweeted back, “I mean, he called my raise pre with QT.  Who knew he was that bad a player?”

Seriously, if you are going to double up your friends, at least you can have the fun of teasing them for it.  I had to get something for my money.

That became one of the dominant running gags of the evening—and of Lightning’s visit to Vegas, really.  I would go back and call him a bad player for calling my preflop raise and he would play his trump card—who was it who won the pot?

It was all in good fun, and the ribbing back and forth continued.  This actually got the attention of Edward.  He started giving me a hard time for giving Lightning a hard time.  “You guys are buddies and you keep calling him a bad player.”  He didn’t get the dynamic.  I suppose I should have told him all this would make the blog post better, but I didn’t.  Then he started calling me “Darren Hellmuth.”  As in, “You must be Darren Hellmuth, Phil’s brother.  Telling everyone that you’re a better poker player than they are.”  I just laughed.  For the record, I never referred to myself as a good player or as a better player than Lightning.  I just said that he was a bad player for calling my preflop raise with Q-10.

We decided to take a dinner break and I suggested we eat at the sports bar conveniently located next to the MGM poker room, Tap.  As we were talking about this, Edward overheard us and offered to sell us his comps at 50%.  This was amusing.  Edward must have thought he had more comps than me.  Even with the 90 hours he’d accumulated in the prior week, I seriously doubt that, but I didn’t tell him.  I just said no thanks. 

As we were waiting to get seated at Tap, I heard from Nick and he was on his way, so he joined us.  And it turned out that he had informed grrouchie of his plans, and he was available this evening, so he joined us as well.  Three of us ate and all grrouchie had was a huge mug of beer.  Note:  I dunno if he just wasn’t hungry, or if beer is now the only thing grrouchie consumes these days.

We had a great time at dinner swapping stories about mutual acquaintances and some other notorious characters we’ve encountered in the poker world.  We probably talked about every other blogger we knew who wasn’t there to defend him or herself.  It was an awesome time, but I would probably get sued for defamation if I related any of the tales.  Sorry. 

After settling up the bill (with my comps that I didn’t buy off Edward), we headed back to the poker room. Of course we wanted to sit together at the same table and have a good time together.  One of the group made a reference to the “TBC Invitational” from a few months back and asked if I was going to throw my weight around to get us all us all seated at the same like I did at the Venetian (see here).  In fact, on that night, I wasn’t able to use any “pull” at all to get us together, I just did what anyone else could have done and then got kind of lucky.

But this time I thought I had an edge.  This was the MGM, my “home” poker room, where just about everybody who works there knows me on sight. Some of them even like me. When I saw that my pal Susan was behind the counter taking names and assigning seats, I decided to have some fun and test her a bit.  For a good story about Susan, you can see the post here.

So, in response to the question of whether or not I was going to throw my weight around to get us all seated together, I turned to the group and said, “Watch this.”  And as I got to the counter and Susan saw me, I kind of pounded my hand on the counter and said, “OK, Susan, this is what we want.  We’ve got four of us and we all want to sit together at the same table.”

Truth be told, I couldn’t be sure of what Susan’s response would be.  And truth further to be told, I was acting like just a bit of asshole the way I said it.  If it was anyone else but Susan, she might have told me to go to hell.  And I actually considered the possibility that she might indeed do that.  This was totally impromptu, we had arranged nothing, and she might have been taken aback by my uncharacteristically aggressive approach.

And if she had reacted like that, it would have been ok.  It would have made a great story that way.  I could have turned to my pals and said, “See how much pull I have here?” and everyone would have gotten a good laugh out of it.

But no, as I suspected, Susan was absolutely awesome.  She didn’t blink, she didn’t act surprised. She looked at me and said loudly enough for all of my pals to hear, “You got it Rob.  Whatever you want.  You are the king.” Note: I thought she said “you are the king of this poker room,” but grrouchie insisted (and tweeted) that she only said “king”—which I guess makes me even more omnipotent.

The three of them all were left with their mouths wide open in amazement.  If I had given Susan a script, it wouldn’t have been any better.  She was absolutely perfect.  It took every ounce of self-control I possess not to have jumped over the counter to kiss her.

With a grin that I’m sure could only be described as “shit-eating,” I turned to the three of them and said, “See?” 

Susan continued, “Just give me some names and I’ll make sure you’re all on the same table. No problem.”

Now, as we were doing this, good ol’ Edward was cashing out.  He saw us ask to be at the same table and said to us, “You all want to take each other’s money?”  No, actually, we just all wanted to sit at the same table and have a blast.

I was called into a game almost immediately, but then the waitlist grew and they started a new game soon thereafter.  Suddenly, the gang came by and said to me, “Susan told us to grab you by the hair and take you to the new game they’re starting.”  I had only played one hand at the game I was originally sent to.  So, just like that, we were all sitting at the same table, all of us right in the same corner, in fact.  I am the king!

The conversation picked up right where it left off at dinner, with the occasional discussion of the poker we were playing taking place.  I kept ribbing Lightning about his bad play costing me money, and then he and Nick got into a hand that resulted in Lightning referring to Nick as a “weasel dick.”  I think Nick convinced Lightning that he had bluffed him off a winning hand.

I was too busy talking and listening to write down many hands, but there wasn’t much for me to make note off.  I was completely card dead, and seeing as how I was paying more attention to the conversation than the poker, I played very tight.  One hand of significance came when I limped in with pocket 4’s.  Only three of us saw a flop, including an off-duty daytime dealer I knew. No one bet the flop or the turn.  But the river put a fourth diamond out there and indeed, I had the 4 of diamonds for the baby flush.  The trouble was that there was only $6 in the pot and In order to get a drawing ticket, there has to be at least $10 in the pot.  I knew I had to bet and pray for a call.  As I put out $3, the off-duty dealer, thinking I had checked, flipped over his hand.  He had the 6 of diamonds for the bigger flush.  But even though he might have seen my hand, he just called my bet.  Although I lost the tiny pot, it did give me the drawing ticket.  It was the only one of the night for me.  Note, because he works there, the dealer was not eligible for the cash drawing, so he called just to win the pot. 

There was a hand involving Nick and another player worth noting.  Preflop, there were a couple of raises back and forth and eventually Nick called an all-in.  They didn’t show.  There were three clubs on the flop, and a fourth club on the turn.  That’s when Nick flipped over his dreaded pocket Kings, one of which was a club.  The other guy flipped over his pocket Aces, neither of which a club.  As I tweeted out at the time, Nick had proven that he was still the “king of pocket Kings,” (see here).

There was a hand against Nick when he limped in UTG and next to act, I raised with Ace-6 of clubs.  At some point in the hand (not sure when), Nick shoved and I folded (as did the other guy in the hand).  Nick had Ace-Queen (there was an Ace on the board, but I had missed my flush draw and didn’t like my kicker).  I asked Nick why he hadn’t raised with Ace-Queen preflop.  He said he didn’t want to raise with it UTG.  I said, “Boy, I can’t win a hand against these bad players.”

I was down a couple of buy-ins and then some when the midnite drawing came around.  Just that one ticket, but they were drawing 10 tickets worth $100 each.  And they not only picked my lone ticket, they picked one of Nick’s tickets as well.  Nice.  That $100 saved me from an even more horrific day, pokerwise. 

Still, I’d been up a long time and had been playing poker since 11AM. So I said goodbye to the gang and left the game.  Susan cashed me out and I gave her a nice tip for her perfect performance.  She said that, even though she had no idea what was going on, she was happy to do it and enjoyed it.  In fact, a few weeks later, she asked me when my buddies were going to come back so we could do it again.  I had to sadly report that my buddies were long gone.

A very fun day, good times, good folks.  But lousy poker.


  1. What a fun night -- especially the Q-10 part! Actually, you would have had quite a laugh at me if you had paired the board on the river on that hand. And I am glad you didn't remember any of the other names I called Nick that night.

    As you know, I talked with Edward several times after that. Fun guy, from my perspective. The only thing missing for me that night was winning one of the drawings.

    With that, I bow to the King ... : o )

    1. Definitely a fun nite. Still can't believe you called my raise with the "evil hand" tho!

      Edward is a good guy, I've had more than a few encounters with him since then, but this was my introduction to him.

      Woulda been nice tho if I had won a few pots. Just sayin'.

    2. I can't believe Lightning gets so worked up at being bluffed off of a hand playing cards. I mean, that's part of the game, right?

      Next time we need to try to get a game of pineapple going!!

    3. He doesn't like being bluffed by such a bad player, just like I didn't like losing with my set of Jacks to such a bad player. Imagine someone playing Q-10!

  2. Thanks again for dinner that night! The whole night was a blast. Winning pots against you and Lightning, getting my name drawn, and cracking Aces with the Kings that you despise! You left before the fun with the cowboy, however. While I posted it in the comments on Lightning's blog, I may as well relate the story here also.

    Shortly after you left, a cowboy sat down. National Finals Rodeo was in town, and MGM was one of the main hosts. He was younger, maybe in his late 20's or early 30's. He sat down and early on we got into a hand where I called his flop and turn bets with A3 on a board with an A, K, and a couple of other cards. The 3 on the river gave me 2 pair, but I wasn't entirely sure he didn't have a better hand and just called. He had AJ and I'm pretty sure he uttered something about me being a donkey upon seeing my cards. He then asked, likely rhetorically, "What exactly were you trying to hit there?" to which I deadpanned "I was hoping to hit a 3." The entire table busted up laughing. Next hand when got into together, I was in the BB, where I saw a flop of 9s-5s-5x with 9-3. I bet, the cowboy called. The turn was a third spade, and again it went bet call. The river was another 9....I bet big, the cowboy hemmed and hawed, said "I can't believe you hit your 9 there" and called with AsJs. Once again I rivered him, although this time he sucked out on me on the turn first. 2 hands against him, 2 wins so far!

    Then Lightning told the guy sitting between us that he felt I was going to win a couple of stacks off the cowboy due to my style of play. Shortly after, I raised pre with AQ, and only the cowboy called, I flopped top 2, and managed to get about $170 off of him, including 3 streets of value....not a bad prediction sir! The cowboy left awhile later. While I got the best of him in the 3 hands in which we clashed, he managed to leave up due to winning some decent pots against the rest of the table. I truly think his frustration with me caused him to cash out!!

    1. "I was hoping to hit a 3..." Another great quote... I like your strategy here Nick, answering Rob's predictably long post with a blog post of your own... :)

    2. Great story Nick....you should do a blog. :)

    3. Thanks....lol

      Had I known at the time of my trip to Vegas that I was going to re-commit to the blog, I would have made sure to take notes so that I could do a proper trip report/blog post. Going forward, I will do just that. There were certainly a few other tales that could be posted, both good and bad....But between you and Lightning, most of my trip was covered in blogs anyhow!! :-)

    4. Yes but we all want three different versions of the same story!

  3. "This was amusing. Edward must have thought he had more comps than me..." Made me laugh out loud - quite possibly the quote of the year to this point. I guess if anyone's going to play with fire, it's going to be someone named 'Lightning' - don't say that I didn't warn you... Be very careful with the evil hand...

    1. Actually, tho, if Edward was earning 90 freeroll hours every week, he man indeed have more comps than I do, or close to it. Depends on how often he uses them and where.

    2. I'll take you up on that comp challenge, Rob.

    3. Haha.....you might be the the one person who could beat me, BuzzedSaw.

      Seriously, often when I have them run my card just to check my comps, they do a double take (less and less often now). I sometimes ask if they've seen bigger comp balances. They usually say something like, "a few, but not very many." So you might be one of the few.

  4. Mmmm beer.
    Much appreciated that the real pocket kings of comps bought my beer.

    1. Heh heh, "pocket kings of comps" that's pretty good.

      I hope you didn't just piss that beer away......

  5. Hi Rob,

    Just writing to let you know that the URL for my blog (Down The Rabbit Hole with Pocket Aces) has been updated from http://poker.toddsville.com/ to http://poker.pdtodd.com/

    Thanks and keep up the writing!


    1. Thanks, Patrick. I've updated the blogroll.