Monday, April 22, 2019

Great Customer Service and an Honest Poker Player

This is my evening cash session at The Venetian, following the tournament that I discussed here.  I had dinner at CafĂ© Lux, using the $10 comp I had received for playing in the tournament and paying a few bucks out of pocket.  I figured this would be my last chance to play 1/2 at the Venetian; on January 1, they changed the game to 1/3. 

I got into a game and what a wild game it was.  Seriously, it'd been a while since I'd played in a 1/2 game that was this crazy.  It seemed as if every player, save yours truly, was a maniac.  Really, for a few hands there, it looked like I wouldn't even be able to play a hand unless I was prepared to get my whole stack in preflop.

It wasn't quite that bad, but there were three or four players who really liked to make big preflop raises and then up it a notch on the flop.  I figured I would try to wait for a premium hand and have them pay me off (if it held).

So I was there for awhile and bleeding chips as I did call some preflop raises with some possibilities that missed.  Then I got pocket Queens in the small blind.  Not sure what happened, but there was a raise to $10 and it folded to me.  I just called.  My notes don't give me a clue but I suspect one or two of the main maniacs must have been away from the table for this hand, and I'm not sure if the preflop raiser was one of other maniacs but I suspect not.  Because on a Jack-high flop, two clubs, there was no bet. I guess I should have bet the turn, but it was a third club and I just checked, as did the other guy.  The river was the fourth club.  Did I mention I had the Queen of clubs?  This time I led out for $10 and he folded.

I was down to about $160-$165 when this next hand happened.  There was a lot of straddling at this table.  Some guys straddled from the button and under-the-gun when they could.  But the villain in this hand was one of the maniacs and he would only straddle under-the-gun, never on the button.  Of course that's nuts. There's no good reason to ever straddle UTG, but an argument can be made that it might be a good play to straddle from the button.  This guy was the reverse.  This guy's stack had gone up and down like a yo-yo since I'd been there.  At this moment, he had me covered by quite a bit.

In middle position, I looked down at pocket Jacks. I decided the situation called for me to just call the $4 straddle, not raise. There were still plenty of maniacs behind me. I was certain that I'd get a chance to put more chips in play before the flop. The odds of one of those maniacs raising were quite high.  And if they didn't, I was really sure the straddler would raise.  He'd never just checked his option in all the times I'd seen him straddle UTG.

But to my shock, there were just a few calls and the villain just checked behind.  Damn.  I was prepared to get my stack in if possible before the flop and I thought I had I figured out a way to do it.  Note:  Because I had been playing so tight, in stark contrast to just about everyone else, I thought if I had raised initially I might just get everyone to fold.  I hadn't raised a single hand prior to this, and so even though I had only two cards, they might have put me on quads.

The flop was nice:  King-Jack-4, two hearts (I had no hearts).  The villain led out for $15.  Seeing that wet board, I knew I had to raise, so I made it $40.  He thought a few seconds and called.  Everyone else folded.

The turn was a Queen, non-heart, and he bet $40.  Hmm….did he have Ace-10 or 10-9? It was possible.  It was also possible he had air.  I considered shoving but decided to just call. 

The river was a 6 or 7, black.  And he shoved. I had about $80 left and snap called.  If he had the straight, so be it.  As soon as I said "Call," he said, "You're good."  But he did show one card…the case Jack.  I wonder how bad the other one was?  It was a nice pot and it put me well over $100 in the black.

Sometime later I had pocket 5's and called $10 (at least one of the most extreme maniacs was gone at this point). It was multi-way. I hit my set but the flop was all diamonds.  I checked but the preflop raiser also checked. The turn was a blank and this time I bet $25.  Only the preflop raiser called.  He was not one of the maniacs, he was an older gentleman who had won a few big pots from the maniacs.  He had me covered.  The river was a blank and I put out $45.  He folded and showed one card—the Ace of diamonds.  Dodged a bullet there.

With Ace-King on the button, I called $25 on the button.  I suppose this was a good table to three-bet there, but I didn't want to get raised out of the hand and I didn't want to put my entire stack in play at that time.  It was 3 way. The flop was Ace-King-10.  It checked to me, I bet $45 and took it down.

I got pocket 5's again and I limped in, it was one of the rare limped pots.  The flop was 8-2-2, no bet.  The turn was a 5 and I bet $5, one call (the guy who paid me off on the Jacks hand).  The river was a blank and I started to bet $10 and he mucked before I got the chips out.

In the big blind with 6-9 off (aka "Big Lick"), the same guy made it $4!  It wasn't the first time he'd raised so little, although typically he raised huge.  He was an unusual player, to say the least.  It was six-ways. The flop was Ace-9-3, two diamonds.  My 9 was a diamond.  There was an Asian guy who was new to the table, he bet $10.  He had actually been complaining about how crazy this game was.  Imagine that—an Asian complaining the game was too crazy?  I called, and it was now heads up.  A third diamond hit the turn and we both checked.  A fourth diamond hit the river.  Was my 9-high flush good?  I wasn't going to bet it.  But he checked.  He had Ace-10, no diamond, and I took down the pot.

And that was it for me.  When the guy who paid me off for the Jacks finally busted out (after a few rebuys), the game got less crazy and I had grown card dead.  I had about $300 profit…almost what I was out buying into the tournament earlier that day (it was a $340 buy-in).  I was pretty happy about getting most of my money back.

I grabbed a rack.  The dealer asked, "Are you all done, Robert?"  He saw my name on the Bravo screen right in front of me.  I said yes as I racked up, I saw that I had mis-stacked my chips—I had them in stacks of 21, not 20.  So it took me a bit longer to rack then and then somehow the one black chip I had (which I won in the Jacks hand) was mixed in with the reds.  Then the dealer offered to buy the white chips off me, so we did that exchange.  Sometime during all this, I knocked a couple of my red chips into the cup holder.  If you're familiar with the Venetian, you know that their tables have unusually large cup holders.  So I heard the clank but then forgot about them.

Fortunately, I decided I wanted to take a pic of my chips for social media.  So as I walked towards the cashier, I found an empty table nearby, placed the rack of chips down, and was just about to snap a pic of the rack when I heard someone calling out, "Robert, Robert!"  At first I assumed it wasn't me they were calling, after all, I hadn't seen anyone I knew in the room, and if anybody did know me, they would have called me "Rob," not "Robert."  But since the voice was coming in the direction of the table I had just left, I looked over there, and saw a floorman and the dealer looking over the room.  The dealer was indeed calling my name and calling me back.

Had I left something there?  Before heading over there, I grabbed for my phone and it was right where it should have been, in my phone holster.  As I approached the table, the dealer was holding up a couple of red chips and telling me I left them behind, they had fallen into the cup holder.  Oh yeah.  Well what happened was that the player called to my seat noticed them as he was taking the seat.  Even though the seat was right next to the dealer, he could have easily pocketed the chips himself, so I am grateful for his honesty.  And I really appreciate the dealer reacting so fast and remembering my name and calling it out before I left the area.  Great customer service on his part.  I tipped him a buck.  Maybe I should have tipped the player too?

In a way, I did.  He needed chips and asked if he could buy some off of me, as they were still in my hand.  Of course I sold him the $200 in red he wanted.  So, instead of $500 in chips, I had two $100 bills and $300 in chips.  That's why I didn't take the picture.

Anyway, the great customer service (and that player's honesty) made me feel even better about the two-hour cash game that got almost my tourney buy-in back. I actually won $310 in that session.


  1. Making progress finally, a win of more than 100 plus. Maybe a pull at the mega million slot after every winning session? That would be epic if you hit.

    1. Hmmm....long odds tho. Really long odds.

  2. Pretty much every blog where he posts hand histories I see so many hands played poorly

    1. Who are referring to by "he", Tony? Did you mean me? If so, why didn't you write "you" instead of "he"?