Wednesday, June 7, 2017

"Do You Always Look So Happy?"

This dates back to one of my last sessions from my April trip to Vegas.  Don't panic—I've still got plenty of tales from that trip to relate to you one of these days.  I've just been slow in getting to them.  Actually this was supposed to be my last night in town, but I extended the trip for a day to attend Mike's birthday party tournament the next night.  Mike's birthday is the day before mine, and you can read more about these games here.  Unfortunately, although I had a lot of fun at that game, we didn't get the right combination of drunk and crazy people at that game for it to merit a write-up.  But the point is, since this was my last "real" poker game of the trip (the birthday event featured a rotation of Crazy Pineapple, Omaha and Omaha 8), I figured it was my last chance to actually win some money.

Earlier in the evening, before the "incident" took place, I heard a very loud, very obnoxious sounding guy with a heavy British accent enter the room.  He was loud and somewhat comical.  He was wearing a silver fedora covered in glitter.  And he kept saying things like, "Send me to the fishies.  Fishies, I'm coming for you.  Where are the fishies? Send me to the fishiest table." He was quite flamboyant.  I actually thought initially he was just putting on the British accent for effect, that it was part of his schtick, but eventually I realized it was his natural speaking voice.

When the dealer at my table heard him (and trust me, you could have heard him if you were at the Mirage) he said "oh no, him again."  He said that he was going to be loud and obnoxious and then probably get his assed kicked out.

Fortunately, he didn't come to my table, he was sent to another table where he greeted all the players with a sweet, "Hello, fishies."  I think he may have also said something about how they would all be donating their chips to him before the night was over.  When he got settled in at his table, you could hear him talking nonstop.

He was exactly the kind of player I hate playing with.  And the fact that he was still in the room later, when I first considered asking for a table change, helped dissuade me from moving.

But you might find this amusing.  Later, he did something to warrant having the floor called over. I heard the Shift Manager say to him, "We love having you here but..." And the obnoxious Brit said, "No you don't.  You've kicked me out the last three nights.  And you'll be kicking me out again tonight."  That was pretty funny.  And guess what?  Sometime later, he was joined by a friend of his. I didn't hear the friend, but I did see and hear when the Shift Manager came back to warn his friend to stop putting his feet on the poker table (the very one they were playing at).  The guy refused to comply and guess what?  The two of them were asked to leave.

As for my game, it was pleasant enough for a good long while. Except for the part where i was card-dead.  I couldn't get anything going even though I felt I had pretty good reads on most of the players.  One young woman was creating a lot of action preflop, but generally slowed down if she didn't catch anything.  Another woman was obviously an experienced player.  I caught her name and researched her to find that she had a few cashes listed on Hendon Mob. The way she was handling her chips she was not only an experienced player but possibly also a dealer or former dealer.  She was tough, but I thought played straight-forward enough that I was ready for her if we battled. The other players were fairly conventional.

Until two punks from Texas showed up. I'm going to have to give these punks names to make it easier to tell the story.  So I'll just make up some names out of thin air.  Let's call them Beavis and Butt-head.  Beavis took seat 7 and Butt-head was in seat 1.  I was in seat 9, near Beavis and with only the dealer between Butt-head and myself.

They were chatty and joking around and they kept talking about how they were just killing time before going to the nightclub.  Not Hakkasan mind you.  They were planning to go to the night club at The Encore.  As the night progressed, they kept talking like their departure for The Encore was just moments away (one more orbit....ok two more orbits). 

They were talking to each other a lot across the table, and Butt-head was making friends with the two people closest to him on his left.  On his immediate left was the husband of the aforementioned experienced female poker player.  And she was sitting on her husband's immediate left.  But the husband was clearly not the poker player in the family.  When he wasn't bullshitting with Butt-head, he had his face buried in a book.  It was actually a text-book that had "Neurology" in the title.  I'm thinking he was a med student.

Anyway, everything was fine until one hand, after a couple of limpers, I made it $12 with Ace-Queen of clubs.  And Butt-head re-raised to $30.  It folded back to me.

Now, both Beavis & Butt-head had been more aggressive than anyone else at the table (well, except for that gal who was aggro preflop and not-so-much after that).  But they weren't close to being maniacs.  And I could scarcely remember either of them three-betting preflop before.  So I didn't think he had a particularly wide three-betting range.

I decided I didn't really want to play my easily dominated hand out of position in a three-bet pot.  And if I did flop the flush draw, with my stack size, I'd likely have to put all of it in play to chase the flush.  So I reluctantly folded.  And since it had been quite a few orbits since I'd actually had a hand to play—let alone one I wanted to raise with—I was kind of pissed about it.

But not as pissed as I came to be a few seconds later when I saw Butt-head pick up his cards, clearly show them to the guy on his left, and then put them face down and muck them.

As the dealer went to sweep them into the muck, I said to him, "Can I see those?"  I sure did want to know what the guy had had three-bet with and whether or not I did the right thing in folding.  Dealers rarely enforce the rule on their own, however.  You generally have to be alert and ask them to do it. 

Well I was alert and I did ask but the dealer swept the cards into the muck anyway.  Now, I know this particular dealer well—he's probably been dealing to me for over 10 years. He's good.  And he knows me (he once shouted out to me by name in the Fry's parking lot).  So I'm going to have to assume that either he didn't hear me or I spoke up too late for him to catch himself from sweeping in the cards.  This dealer does work pretty fast.

Well, that was going to be the end of it.  Nothing I could do, and I wasn't about to make an issue out of it. But then Butt-head said, "Why should you see those?"  Well, I guess it fell on me to explain one of the most basic poker rules to this clown. I replied, "It's show one, show all, that's the rule."   He replied, "No, that's crazy."

I said, "You can't just show them to one person.  You have to show them to everybody."   He said, "I didn't show them to anybody."  Yeesh.  I said, "You showed them to him," pointing to his neighbor on his immediate left.  "Oh, well he's my buddy."

Aha!  That's exactly why the rule is there.  BTW, I am 100% sure Butt-head had never seen the guy to his left before in his life, not that it matters. I said, "You can't do that, the rule is show one, show all."

Butt-head either didn't believe me or didn't want to believe me, and said,  "Well, show me the book where it says that."  Well since you asked....Now, actually, I was pretty sure I had a copy of the TDA rules on my phone, but I thought it would be better to get the floor to come over and explain it to him.

I immediately asked the dealer to call the floor.  It took awhile, and play resumed in the meantime.  I wasn't concerned since I knew I was right.  And it didn't really matter, since the damage was done.  But the guy asked me a direct question, I answered, and he didn't believe, he asked me to show him the rule and I was going to show him.

It turned out the Shift Manager was on break.  So Bill, the floor person came over.  Bill is one of the first Vegas poker people to learn my name, we go back a long way. 

Bill made his way over and the dealer whispered something to him—I didn't hear it.  At this point, I wasn't really interested in pursuing this any further. I just wanted the satisfaction of Butt-head learning that he violated the rule (an apology from him would have been nice but way too much to hope for). 

So Bill explained the Show One, Show All rule to Butt-head as I knew he would.  And then Butt-head said, "I didn't show my cards to him. I just picked them to look at my hand."  Bullshit.  A total lie.  Before I could say anything—and honestly, at this point, I wanted to stay out of it—Bill said, "Well, you have to be careful when you pick up your cards because people can see them and that's not right."  So Butt-head said, "OK, fine, I'll be more careful."

And again, that should have been the end of it.  But Butt-head said one more thing.  "Can you get him a tissue please?"  He meant me.  "A tissue?  What for?"  "To wipe his tears."  Oh man.  That rotten little smart-ass.

I didn't take kindly to that.  I started to speak up, and I was going to tell Bill that he had lied and quote back his "He's my buddy," line.  But Bill stopped me (I think Butt-head was also talking).  He gave the entire table a global warning about being well-behaved and being nice to one another and mentioned something about not wanting to have to ask anyone to leave the room.  I wasn't worried about getting kicked out but Bill's a good guy and I didn't want to make his life any more difficult so I shut up.  Butt-head did likewise.

I was perturbed, to say the least.  My inclination was to just get a table change.  I should have. Whenever I have a confrontation like that, I have concerns that the other person will target me.  It could work out well for me, but I don't like that. And I had to worry if his buddy would take it out on me too.  As for me, it has the opposite effect. I don't target them, I actually try to avoid getting into a hand with them.  Sure, it would be extra sweet to take their chips.  But it would piss me off five times as much to lose my chips to an asshole who I just had a confrontation with than anyone else. 

But, as I said, I liked the other players in the game, and knew them.  At a new table, I'd be starting at square one trying to learn the players.  And that obnoxious Brit was still at one of the other tables and there weren't that many other games to move to.  And finally, and this was really the clincher, Beavis and Butt-head were still talking about leaving for The Encore nightclub any minute.  Like a fool, I took them at their word.

So I hung around and hoped to wait them out.  And so it went for quite some time.  Me being miserable, those two clowns having a good time.  There was no reference made at all to our little kerfuffle.  It didn't come up.  I did raise once and this time Butt-head folded.   But I was distracted by the whole thing. 

I kept thinking about trying to get away from them, especially when I noticed the obnoxious Brit was gone, but every time I considered getting up to ask for a change, one of the clowns said something that made it sound like they were just about to leave.  Maybe I could wait them out.  Even though it was now certainly late enough for them to get into the nightclub, they stayed put.

So I was deep in thought, still debating internally about getting up and asking for a table change.  But the seat next to me opened up and this big, overweight Asian guy with a very deep voice (a smoker's voice, really) came to take the seat.  I didn't know this guy from Adam.  I'd never seen him before in my life, and he'd never seen me.  So as he went to take his seat, he took one look at me and said, "Are you always this cheerful looking?"  I actually looked at him and laughed.  A real laugh.  I'm not sure if it was a sincere laugh because I thought it was funny or it was an instinctual thing to show him I wasn't totally miserable.  But I laughed. I even put a smile on my face.

But I guess that wasn't good enough.  He continued.  "Yeah, I thought all of us were here to have a good time, but I guess not."  Seriously dude?  You talk to a total stranger like this, first words out of your mouth?  Maybe I just got off the phone with someone telling me there had been a death in the family.  Maybe I had just taken a horrific bad beat just as he showed up.

I was near my breaking point but before anything else happened, Butt-head spoke to the deep-voiced Asian.  "Hey, you gotta be careful with him....he's already called the pit boss on me. Don't mess with him."

That was the proverbial last straw.  I didn't hesitate, I didn't say a word.  I was done.  I just grabbed my chips and headed to the podium to cash out.  No, a table change wouldn't be good enough.  I knew I was in no mood to play any more poker that night. 

Bill was back, but I didn't want to talk to him as long as Beavis and Butt-head were there—he was too close to that table, I didn't want them to hear me, or even see me talking to him.  I wasn't upset with Bill at all, I just wanted to vent and tell him that the guy flat-out lied to him about not showing his cards intentionally.  I felt if I got it off my chest I'd feel better.  I knew that Bill would believe me.

So I wandered the casino for awhile, hoping that B&B would eventually make good on their promise to leave for the club.  Fortunately, the club at MGM was open so there was enough nice scenery to keep me entertained—and to distract me from my misery.

But when I returned the poker room about 30-45 minutes later the clowns were still there, and showed no signs of leaving.  So I went back to my room without even having had a chance to unburden myself a little by venting.  I figured I'd tell Bill the full story the next day when I returned for the birthday game, but it turned out he was off.

So I never got a chance to vent to anyone about it—until now, right here. And the fact that I waited this long to write this up means I actually did put it past me fairly quickly, as of course, I knew I would.  But it did ruin my last night or "real poker" in Vegas.


  1. dammit... preview took my post and showed me shit....

    just going to click on publish on this post as a test....

    1. I hadn't seen your other comment when I decided to publish this to complete your "test." But since I do have your other comment--the one that you saw as "shit"? I guess this comment is no longer necessary?

  2. It was painful to even read that B&B episode. My most painful table episode was at a Quad-tens promo at Binion’s on Oct 10, 2010. When I finally had my fill with a lout at the table I slow-rolled him and holding 8-3off I barked out “I flopped it bitch” for a full house. The guy ended up being a UFC heavyweight fighter. A guy that took a short-notice fight with Brock Lesnar and got his orbital socket broken in the first ten seconds and then went the distance to lose by decision to Brock. The floor got to the table before he could turn me into a smudge on the carpet. A couple of AVP’rs were present for that promo and my calling out a UFC heavyweight. Every table in the Binion’s cash room was full and the place had went dead silent when I barked out “I flopped it bitch”. Just like in the movies…

    1. Oh wow, thats some story. You know, I never felt worried for my safety at the time...these guys just didn't seem the type. But as it happens, last Saturday I was telling this story to my friend LM and she said "You should be more careful, he could have pulled a gun out!"

  3. Hi Rob I feel you pain. We have a new young know it all player at my club. I think he is off his Prozac. You can tell he emotionally immature by the way he talks about how successful he is playing the stock market. All the old retired guys could buy his net worth 100 times over but the kicker is he a terrible player so every one puts up with it because he is a mark. Everyone loves a mark at a poker game. Play on Rob

    1. Thanks, Ed. This guy was the opposite of a know-it-all....he was a know nothing. Probably didn't have a lot of experience playing in a casino. They probably don't have the "Show one Show All rule" in his home game.

    2. Some home games apply "show one show all" to mucking one card face down while the other is mucked face up. In plain view of all, of course....

    3. Home games have whatever rules they want....its one of the reasons players get in trouble when they finally play in brick & mortar rooms. So you see players try to make their own change from the pot, and of course, the string bet rule is not usually enforced in home games, gets people in trouble, as does the "single chip" rule.

  4. Hello, if they were giving you an impression that they were there to have fun, why would you be a rules stickler? Isn't the goal to keep the fun players at the table and happy? The $15 was gone, wait for another opportunity. Right? You gained nothing the way it played out. - Jay

    1. Thanks for the comment Jay. You're absolutely right, and when I was writing the post, I was trying to think of a way I could have handled it better or exited the situation earlier. It certainly didn't go the way I wanted it to.

      But it was just a progression, one logical step to another. I instinctive asked to see his hand when he showed his neighbor. When he asked why, I was certainly obligated to tell him. And when he said, "show me that rule in the book," well, it was reflexive to ask for the floor.

      I just don't see where the exit ramp was.

  5. I've been at a table where this has happened, I just let it go and didn't ask to see his hand. If you think you can out play him, better to leave it alone and keep the atmosphere friendly. Hard to know when it comes to determining what a player considers confrontational. - Jay

  6. The exit was when it was your turn to act. FOLD. Quit over-analyzing. Want to be a winning player, act like one.