Sunday, March 15, 2015

The Luckiest Bastard on the Planet

Just to be clear, the person I'm referring to in the title of this post is not me.  Definitely not.

I’m also not referring to the person who arguably could be considered the luckiest person on the planet.  Maybe even the luckiest person in the history of the world.

That would be Richard Starkey, Jr. of course.  The reasons that Mr. Starkey—better known as Ringo Starr—is the luckiest bastard ever should be obvious, but I’ll briefly explain for those of you who can’t figure it out.  First of all, Ringo was the least talented of The Beatles, yet he shared equally in the fame, fortune, and, dare I say, women, that the Fab Four enjoyed.  For that alone he would be considered lucky.  But what made him even luckier was that he happened to join what was about to become the most successful rock group in history at the last minute, replacing their original drummer at virtually the exact moment the group was about to explode on the music scene.  Or, as we would say now, just as they were about to go viral.  Talk about great timing!  Definitely the luckiest bloke on the planet. 

But since this is not a music blog, we’ll move on.  No, the luckiest bastard on the planet was the guy who came to the same poker table as me one night.  He was in the right place at the right time.  He got the right cards in the right place at the right time.  And in getting those right cards in the right place he had the incredible good fortune to come up against a donkey on a mission.

In case it is unclear, the “donkey on a mission”?  That would be me.

It was early February and because I was in the neighborhood, I ended up playing at Caesars Palace.  I had been meaning to go back there anyway, as the last session I’d played there had been very successful, as I explained here…..except wait, I actually haven’t actually written up that post yet.  It’s on my “to do” list.  I’ll get to that very nice session from my December trip soon.  For now, all you need to know is that it was a very profitable session, and I wondered why it took me so long to make it back there.

I got into a game quickly and was in seat 7.  It soon became obvious it was a wild table, there were at least three maniacs at the table, the biggest one was seat 6 to my right.  He was an older gentleman with some kind of European accent but he didn’t talk much.  I think he played at least 98% of the hands.  About 90% of the time he raised or three-bet, or at the very least, called a raise.  There were almost no limped pots at the table.  He was generally aggressive post flop, c-betting or raising and only rarely would he fold before the river.  He caught some cards of course, but also made some pretty big bluffs that I saw.

Towards the end of my session, he made one of the oddest plays I’ve seen in a poker game—he folded for $1.  On the river, in a three-way hand, he was first to act and put out an $80 bet (a reasonable amount for the size of the pot).  The next player went all in for $81.  The other guy called the $81.  The maniac folded.  Yeah, for a dollar, as I said.  No one could believe, both the other two players in the hand said to him, “You folded for a dollar?”  He was embarrassed but admitted, “I didn’t expect either of you to call….it was a bluff.”  I dunno, if it was me, I think I would have put the buck in just to avoid the humiliation of folding for a buck when the pot was at least $325-$350. 

The other two maniacs left after a bit, but seat 6 was there the whole time, making it impossible to see a flop for cheap.  His raises were all over the map (and didn’t seem to relate to what he had), but anywhere from $12 to $25 to open was well within his repertoire.

So I came up with a plan.  The plan was simple, like my cousin Kenny.  But unlike Kenny, this plan just might work. Be patient and wait for a hand, but also open up my calling range so I could nail him with middle pair or even less. 

I dropped down under $80 just calling his raises and missing.  I added another $100 and finally, in the big blind, got a hand—the dreaded pocket Kings.  A few players limped, and then, to my dismay, the maniac only put in a buck to call from the small blind.  One of the few hands he didn’t raise.  I made it $17 and he called, it was heads up.  I c-bet $25 on a Jack-high flop, he called.  The turn was a Queen and we both checked.  The river was 9 which made a straight possible (no flush) and he led out for $60.  I was already planning to call any bet he made short of a shove, so I snapped.  Yeah, he certainly could have had a lucky two-pair or even the straight but I figured it was much more likely this guy was full of it.  He showed King-9 offsuit for a rivered pair of 9’s.  My dreaded hand was good, and I had a small victory over the maniac.

It was short lived.  I called a raise from him with Ace-Jack.  In hindsight, if ever there was a player I should have three-bet Ace-Jack against, he was it.  The flop was 6-6-2 and he checked, I checked behind him.  The turn was a Jack and I just called his bet, and also called a bet on the river.  He showed 8-6 offsuit.  Glad I didn’t raise.  This cost me most of my profit from the Kings hand I was down to around $175-$180.

The maniac was still in my sights.  I’d be glad to win money from the other players too of course, but it was obvious that one way or another, I’d have to go through him to win any money as long as he was there.  I kept waiting and waiting for another opportunity.

Then, right before the crucial hand of the night, the player to my immediate left took off.  Just as a new player was about to claim seat 8, the player in seat 4 requested a seat change to seat 8.

This is absolutely crucial for the climax of the story.  Seat 4 moved to seat 8 and so the new player, who we will hence forth call “Lucky Bastard” or LB for short, took seat 4. 

The guy who moved to my left had been there longer than I had.  One of the first hands I saw was this guy going all in for a nice amount.  I had already discovered the game was wild and thought based on that he might be one of the maniacs.  But no, in this case he shoved with a set of Kings and was paid off by one of the maniacs (not seat 6, one of the guys who soon left).

From then on, seat 4—now seat 8—barely played a hand.  I swear he was tighter than me.  And I suspected he wanted that seat change to get behind of the maniac in seat 6 and have position on him.  No doubt he was tired of acting before this maniac.  It made perfect sense.  In fact, earlier in the evening, I had a chance to move to seat 1, one of my preferred seats, but stayed put because I couldn’t think of a better seat than to maniac’s left.  So seat 4—now seat 8—had moved to the second best seat at this table.

LB had only played a hand or two—maybe three at the absolute most—when the hand happened.  LB was in the big blind for it.  After the under-the-gun player folded, the maniac made it $17.  I looked down at pocket Jacks.  Oh man, or man, this was the hand I’d been waiting for all night.  A pair of Jacks was so crushing this maniac’s raising range.  This was absolutely the perfect time to three bet those fish hooks.  I was practically salivating as I put out my bet of $50.

It folded to LB in the big blind.  No reason to think LB would do anything other than fold; he hadn’t played any of the few hands he’d been dealt in thus far.  That was fine with me.  I wanted to be heads up against the maniac.  If he (the maniac) were to repop it, fine, I’m more than happy to shove against him with my Jacks.  I figured my Jacks were as good as Aces against the maniac.  If he happened to actually have Aces or Kings or Queens this time—well that would surely suck, but you know, that’s poker.

But LB didn’t insta-fold.  He didn’t bet at all at first.  Instead, he said to me, “Fifty bucks?  Why so much?” 

Wait, what?  I said absolutely nothing but in my mind I was saying, “What do you mean, why so much?  It’s three times the bet I was facing.  That’s a perfectly normal three-bet.  Besides, you just got here, watch and learn, and when you see this maniac play for an orbit or two, you’ll know exactly why I bet ‘so much.’  Now sir, this hand, and my bet, is of no concern of yours at all.  Fold your cards like a good boy and then come back after this maniac doubles me up on this hand.  Thanks for playing.”

LB said something else to me, but I couldn’t hear what it was.  At that point, the dealer warned him not to talk, there was no discussion about the hand allowed in a three-way pot.

LB said, “I can’t talk huh?”  Then he shrugged and grabbed some chips.  He didn’t put out $50.  Nope, the son-of-a-bitch put out $100.


Maniac took a few seconds to think about it and then folded.  Oh joy.  This plan was working so well.

What to do, what to do?  This was not at all the way it was supposed to go.  I was supposed to be heads up against the maniac, possibly all in preflop.  The maniac was my target.  I didn’t know LB from Adam.  This was the first time he’d done anything at the table other than play with his chips.

The guy was youngish (mid-20’s), wearing a baseball cap (the right way), no sunglasses, no hoodie, no earbuds.  Normally my default is to assume a new player plays tight until he shows me otherwise.  And yeah, I know when players talk, they usually have it. OTOH, I’ve seen many a player make a really aggro move on one of his first hands just to establish an image.   So I had absolutely no read on this guy, and by the way, what the f*** did he think he was doing spoiling my well-designed scheme to take down the maniac?

So I ask you, dear readers, what should I have done?  What would you have done?

I thought about putting the rest in but on the chance he was doing that with Ace-King (and that was certainly a possibility), I just called.  I bet you’re all going to say that’s an easy fold for me, but I just couldn’t do it.  I hadn’t really stopped salivating from when I saw those Jacks after the maniac made it $17.  I guess I was having a brain freeze from the unexpected turn of events.

The flop was low, 10-high  I believe.  When he checked, I shoved (about $75 or so).  He snap called and flipped over two Aces, of course.  I did nothing.  The last two cards were blanks and I just mucked without saying a word.  I stood up, grabbed my jacket, my card protector, my half finished drink and left the table without saying a damn word.  I heard one player say, “he must have had Kings.”  They had all seen how tight I was playing, what else could they put me on?

What a lucky son-of-a-bitch that guy with Aces was.  First, two or three hands after he sits down, he gets Aces.  And he gets Aces against a guy who gets Jacks.  There’s a maniac at the table who raises with jack-shit so the guy with Jacks three-bets and builds the pot. The guy who has Jacks—normally the tightest player in the game—stupidly calls his four-bet because the maniac had turned him into a donkey on a mission.  The stars really aligned for him on this night.

And here’s another way he was lucky.  Remember he only got that seat—the one where he got Aces on his second or third hand—because someone left that seat to get better position on the maniac.  The thing is, he had been at the table for such a short period of time it is entirely possible those Aces would have been dealt to seat 4 even if the other player never moved away from—as would have happened in a just world.  And if the original player in seat 4 had made it $100, or raised to anything, I would have folded like a cheap suit.  That guy hadn’t played a hand in 90 minutes.  But as I said, I had no information on LB.

So that’s the story of the luckiest bastard on the planet, at least for this night.  Now, I’m pretty sure that Ringo Starr, deep down inside knows how lucky he is (check out his wife, below),.  I wonder if LB knows how lucky he was.


  1. Min raise 4 bet? with a speech? from an unknown? at 1/2??
    That's the snappiest of snap folds.
    I'd rather see a ship, where you could maybe plausibly maybe think it's AK. Maybe.
    Sorry you got blinded by your desire to stack maniac, but that should have been a tire-screeching, needle-drag-across-the-record moment.

    Also, Ringo is both a quite good drummer and also extremely lucky. (See, also: Dave Grohl.)

    1. Thanks, Dave. I can't disagree with you. It was terrible play on my part.

    2. Ditto Dave... Not quite sure about the commentary on Dave Grohl though. Dave Grohl was in the right place at the right time with Nirvana, but he has more than proved himself independently and with Foo Fighters.

  2. I feel bad for your cousin Kenny . . .

  3. C also it is Justin Verlander who is the luckiest MOFO on EARTH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! millions to throw a ball and banging Kate Upton #RingoisaHack

    1. Verlander is pretty good at throwing the ball, I dunno if I would call that luck, but I suppose having god-given talent is lucky

      But I don't get "RingoisaHack." If you think that, doesn't that just prove my point about lucky he is?

    2. i meant he was lucky that he can make million by throwing a baseball not that he isnt talented. like a old florida cracker i knew in Mims , that dude should play horseshoes like a pro BUT UNLUCKY that know pays $$$$$$$$$$$$$ to ppl that r good at horse shoes and sheeeeeeit

    3. oooooooooops #fuckingtypos could should WHATEVER!!!!!!!!! free ice cream cone at Dairy Queen BIIIIIIIIIITCHES brain freeze/MJ= bliss

    4. anger, some day you'll have to ... ummmm .... share what it is that makes you what you are. It is either an overdose of fried Twinkies or something medicinal, for sure.

    5. It's Mountain Dew, Taco Bell, deep fried twinkies & oreo's, weed and an over indulgence of boobie pics.

    6. LOL exactly plus bacon and pnutbutter/banana/honey samwiches too oh an Raider highlights

  4. T-minus 24 hours to Vegas, baby!! See you at BSC to watch the Slut Parade. (So they still have that? Or has the poker room moved to a less scenic area?)

    Let's take some money from March Madness Maniacs!!

    1. Yes!

      BSC poker room has not moved (lately). Slut Parade still goes right by it.

      However, there's a new SlutParade in town to check out. Caesars opened its new niteclub, owned by the Hakassan people. I suspect at least for the time being the SP there will be better than at BSC.

    2. @DWP eat all the fried oreos/twinkies and Ohio State to win it allllllllllllllll LOL

  5. My favorite Ringo moment from The Beatles was when they were in a press conference and somebody asked Paul and John if they thought Ringo was the best drummer in the world. I think it was Paul who replied, "The best drummer in the world? Ringo isn't even the best drummer in The Beatles."

  6. The last time a guy made a comment about my raise being big, and then raised me anyway, he had the nuts.