Tuesday, April 16, 2019

"Did You Spit in My Drink?"

On the Saturday before Christmas, I played a tournament at Venetian.  They were having their New Years Extravaganza, and that weekend they were featuring a two-starting flight $340 buy-in with a $100K guarantee. The levels were 40-minutes and the starting stack was 25K so it was a pretty good value.  The Saturday I played was the second starting flight and those who made it thru either day 1 would return on Sunday.

Sadly, I wasn't one of those returning on Sunday. I was at a really tough table, with some solid players.  Worse, I was quite card dead.  The guy on my immediate right was a dealer.  He looked familiar to me but he said he doesn't deal in Vegas, he deals in circuit events at Choctaw and places like that.  Despite the fact that he was a dealer, he was a really good player.  A couple of spots to his right there was a guy the dealer recognized as a Twitch streamer.  You know, one of those guys who would play online and stream it and discuss what he was doing and why. That guy said he had closed down his channel a few years back but apparently he was real popular at the time.  This guy claims to play mostly live cash nowadays—5/10 and higher—and it's like "printing money."  Which doesn't explain what he was doing in this tournament, but I digress.

The dealer ordered lunch while he was playing.  When the waitress brought his food, he was in the middle of the hand.  Which reminds me.  The surest thing in Vegas is that the cocktail waitress will come over to the person whose turn it is to act and ask for his order (or give him his drink), slowing down the game.  Anyway, the guy had the waitress wait until the hand finished before settling up, and then he said to her, "Sorry, sweetie."  Wow, can a man say that to a female service person these days?

Anyway, he ate and then left the table.  He was gone for a long time.  He missed one or two complete orbits.  I hope that's not a reflection on the meal he had just consumed!  It was costly because by this time the big blind ante had kicked in and he missed two of them.  When he finally came back, the cart with his finished meal was still there, as was his cup of lemonade.  So as he was settling back into his chair, he surveyed the cart, reached for his lemonade and then said to me, completely out of the blue, "Did you spit in my drink?"

Totally caught off guard by this question, I none-the-less managed to get off a pretty good response (if I do say so myself).  "No.…did you want me to?"

He looked at me for a few seconds, sized me up, shrugged, and said, "It'd probably be ok."

The tournament drew a big crowd.  I was actually surprised there were so many players considering the time of year it was.  I think this flight ended up with around 360 runners.  For much of the afternoon every table in the room was in use, and the cash games had long waiting lists as they needed so many tables for the tournament.  Finally towards the end of my run, I saw that when they were breaking tournament tables they were immediately turning those tables into cash games.  I think the flight the day before had well over 250 players.

But as I said, tough table and even tougher cards. I won't do a complete hand history.  In fact, I'm only going to discuss my last hand, because it was somewhat noteworthy. 

It's level 7 where the blinds are 300/600, with a $600 big blind ante.  My stack was at a bit more than 18K when the level started and I hadn't won (or played) a hand this level.  I was on the button with 5-4 offsuit.  Easy fold, right?  Well, a couple of people and limped in and no one raised.  That was unusual because there was usually a raise in front of me every time.  The blinds behind me hadn't been aggressive.  The aggressive guys all limped or folded already.  I wasn't in fold-or-shove mode yet, but I needed to take some risks to get some chips. With that limper money in there, I thought maybe it was worth $600 to see a flop.  Maybe I'd get lucky.

Another possibility was to raise and try to steal it all preflop, I know.  But I thought I didn't have enough chips to risk raising enough to make the steal likely successful, and if I got four-bet I'd be screwed.  And if I got called, I'd likely to have to c-bet fairly large with nothing.  It seemed like the better option was to call, hope for a great flop, and if I missed, well, I wouldn't be out a lot of chips.

So I decided to take a shot and call.  The blinds didn't raise.  And I got my lucky flop.  Boy, did I ever.  It was Ace-2-3.  Also known as the stone cold nuts.  As I'm thinking how to play it, an early position player shoved his short stack.  I had him covered.  But the next guy also shoved.  And he had me covered.  So there was no decision to make, I had no choice but to call/shove.  With the best possible hand.

The rest of the players folded and we showed our hands.  The short stack had Ace-9 or Ace-8, something like that.  The bigger stack had a set of 3's.  So I really needed the board not to pair. I started thinking, "don't pair the board, don't pair the board," repeatedly in my mind.

But the turn card didn't just pair the board—it was the case 3.  Yeah the big stack turned quads and I was drawing dead. Flopping the wheel just wasn't good enough.  At least I lost to quads, right? And thus my tournament was over, just like that.

And that's how I learned you should never play 5-4.  Serves me right.

I wandered over to the food court, in a slight daze, with my drink and tried to figure out my next move.  While I was thinking, I caught up a little bit on Twitter.  I hadn't been on there all day.  I noticed that my Twitter pal Luke Johnston was playing over at the Mirage, which of course is right across the Strip from the Venetian.

Hmmm…despite our multitude of Twitter interactions over the past few years, I'd never actually meant Luke.  And I started to think that this would be the perfect time to correct this.  If you don't follow Luke on Twitter, he is a Vegas grinder (both online and live), a sometime poker dealer, and a total political junkie.  He's somewhat of a poker insider and often gives me heads up about poker happenings in Vegas (and sometimes, I'm the one giving him the dope).

So I walked over there.  I figured I'd recognize him from his twitter pic and surprise him.  But when I got there, I was greeted by Kristi, aka Alaskagal. So I asked her if Luke was still there.  She said no, he had just left, in fact she was surprised I hadn't seen him when I came in.  Damn.  I said I came over to finally meet him and she was surprised we had never met.  Kristi assumed that everyone in poker knows everyone else—a natural assumption to make.  She volunteered to text him and see if he'd come back to say hi—she was sure he hadn't even had time to make it to the parking lot, that's how recently he'd left.

Well Luke responded to her text and said he'd come back to meet me.  Cool.  A few minutes later there he was.  We chatted mostly about inside Vegas poker stuff, who's in, who's on the way out, stuff like that.  We did not discuss politics.  That's because like me, Luke doesn't believe in discussing politics in the poker room.  When he's dealing he won't allow it.  Now if you read Luke's tweets you will see he has some extremely strong opinions about the current political scene.  He is not afraid to tweet them out in a sometimes pugnacious style. He's certainly not shy about making his case. But somehow I knew that he wouldn't come across that way in person.  In fact, he is a really cool, very soft-spoken guy.  It was great finally meeting him.

Anyway, Luke had to run, so he took off, as did I.  I'll fill you in on the rest of my day sometime in the future.


  1. Yeah - he's a pretty decent guy for a Democrat - he he .

    1. Some of my best friends are Democrats, Lightning.

  2. Replies
    1. Huh????

      I dunno what you mean, sorry.

    2. You are always in a casino, go do something crazy , win big, something crazy like trying to run 250 to 10k?

    3. Oh.

      You now, I've been trying to do that my whole life.

    4. And I had been waiting for so many years . Go fictional hahahaha.

    5. Well, if I don't get back to Vegas soon, I may indeed have to resort to fiction!