Wednesday, August 14, 2019

"You Want to Give Him Money?"

This was my first night in Vegas and my first session of the trip.  It was most notable for an incredibly stupid play I witnessed, followed by a hand with pocket Kings and what I think is a gaming violation.

I was at Caesars playing 1/2.  I bought in for $200 as per usual.  I'm sorry to report that Caesars is still using those damn $2 chips I've bitched about in the past.  I hate them.  And their usage seems to be spreading.  Later in the trip I played at Venetian and they are using them there now too.  My guess is they bought a ton of them years ago to use for the rake, but now that the rake at virtually every Vegas poker room maxes out at $5, they really don't need them for that any more.  So rather than retire them, they are using them in play.

Anyway, it was a rather dull game, not too much action but it was just what the doctor ordered.  I was really tired from the drive up and from the packing and unpacking for the trip.  The act of packing suitcases and packing the car really takes a toll on my chronic back issues.  And that long drive to Vegas isn't as much fun as it used to be.  So I knew it was going to be a short session.  In fact, if not the fact the fact that I was only going to be there seven nights (a short trip by my standards), I might have decided to skip playing that night.  But I couldn't afford to waste a night.  So I picked Caesars because of all the rooms on the Strip, I figured that one required the least amount of walking from my car to the poker room.  Since I was tired, I appreciated the fact that it wasn't a wild game that would require more concentration than I could produce this evening.

Early on I had pocket 6's in the big blind and called $10.  It was three-way. The flop was King-high and I whiffed.  But no one bet.  The turn was a second spade and still not a 6.  Again, no one bet.  The river was the King of spades.  The preflop raiser bet $15.  It smelled fishy to me.  If he had a King, why didn't he c-bet the flop?  Surely he would have.  And did he really luck into a back-door flush?  I suppose it was possible but it seemed unlikely.  So I thought it was worth a call.  He said, "I have nothing," and waited a few beats before finally showing his hand, Jack-8 offsuit, which matched nothing on the board.  My 6's were good.  Also worth knowing he raised preflop with Jack-8.

To introduce this next hand, I have to describe I hand I wasn't involved in.  There was a guy at the table I had already thought was a bit of jerk and this hand totally proved it.  I don't really know why I had already come to that conclusion but there was just something about him, the way he was reacting to results that seemed off.  And he had lost a big pot where he got caught in a bluff and didn't reload.  So he was playing with about a $25 stack for awhile, but he was able to win a pot or two to get up closer to $100.

Anyway, this hand was heads up.  I can't remember whether he had raised or the other guy had, but there was some king of raise preflop and so after the flop the pot was like $13-$15.  The flop came Ace-King-Jack, rainbow.  Neither player bet.  I noted that Queen-10 would be a pretty good hand to have.  The turn was a 10.  Neither player bet.  In my mind, for some reason, I was rooting for a Queen to appear so that Broadway would be on the board.  Don't ask me why I was rooting for that, I just was.  I guess I thought it would look pretty. 
Well, sure enough, a Queen did hit the river.  Damn it.  Apparently wishing for a certain card to hit the board only works for me when it doesn't actually matter to me, never when it does.  Anyway, there was no flush possible and so both players were obviously going to be playing the board.  There was no way anyone could beat it.  It was destined to be a chopped pot.

So the aforementioned jerk goes ahead and bets $10!  See, I told you he was a jerk.  The other player was steamed.  "Why the hell did you do that?  You want to give him money?"  He was pointing to the dealer.  Of course the dealer wouldn't get the additional rake this idiot was creating, the house would.

Then he said, "I suppose I should re-raise?"  But he didn't, he just called, they both showed their hands and of course they shared the pot, each playing the board.

Rarely have I seen such a bone-headed play.  So in this hand I'm about to tell you about, I knew I wasn't up against a rocket scientist.  It was finally time for me to get the dreaded pocket Kings, first time for this trip.  I opened to $10 and got three callers.  Considering this table, that was a lot of callers.  The flop was Queen-9-x, rainbow, and I bet $25.  Only the aforementioned jerk called.  The turn was a 10 and I bet $40, and he called again. 

Now looking at the board, with the Queen, the 10 and the 9, I started thinking that the last thing I wanted was to hit my set.  A deuce would sure look nice to me.  I mean if this guy had a set or two pair he would have raised for sure.  So I was wishing for a low card, the lower the better.

Of course, I only get the card I want when I'm not in a hand (see above).  Sure enough, a King hit the board.  I was confident I was ahead before, but now I wasn't so sure.  All he needed was a measly Jack and he had a straight.  Queen-Jack was certainly in his range.  I didn't have to worry about a flush at least, that was not possible.

Now his stack was up to around $120 when the hand started.  Between that and the hand where I saw him bluff off most of chips earlier, there was no way I was going to fold if he shoved (his likely play if he bet at all).  I'd pay him off.  So I guess I should have bet.  He might very well have paid me off if he just had a Queen.  But it was pocket Kings and with him only needing one card to make his straight, I couldn't bring myself to bet.  But he checked behind.  I showed my set of Kings and he reacted with disgust—like maybe he was mad at himself for not betting/raising an earlier street—and just mucked his cards.

I would be surprised though if he ever had a hand that could have beaten my overpair.  I suppose it's possible but I think more likely he was mad for not trying to take a stab at the pot earlier by raising me when I just had a pair of Kings.  But I'll never know.

I won a few more small pots and was able to cash out after two hours with a $100 profit.  And a 1-0 record with pocket Kings for the trip, so it was a good session indeed.

Now after I cashed out, I headed over to the Sports Book. I had been watching the Dodgers on TV in the poker room and when last I looked they were trying to rally from three runs down with a couple of men on base and a run in.  So I figured I'd find a seat and at least watch the rest of that inning.

But by the time I made it over to the book, I noticed the inning was over and they had failed to score any more runs.  So I kept moving.  But I did see something that I thought was unacceptable in the book.  There, in the front row, was a woman sitting there, watching the screens.  To her left was a small boy, no more than 6-7 years old, asleep.  And the woman had a smaller child, a little girl, lying on her in her chair, also asleep.

Now the book was closed for the night, so there were no ticket writers at all in the place (is that the right phrase for them?  I don't think they like being called "bookies.")  But it is my understanding that children are not allowed in the gambling areas of a casino.  They can just walk through a casino swiftly (accompanied by a parent, of course) but not loiter at all.  These kids were doing more than loiter!

Or does the fact that the book was closed make it alright?  Technically, at that particular moment, it wasn't really a gambling area.  You couldn't place any bets.  As opposed to say, sitting at a slot machine which would of course be a gambling area.

I guess I don't know if that changes anything, but it seemed wrong to me.  But then, I always wonder why parents bring kids to Vegas anyway.


  1. why not discuss the TRUE reason $2 chips are used, the ones the staff in the poker rooms wont admit to? its because they think that people will tip $2 on a pot theyd otherwise tip $1 on if its got a bunch of $2 chips in it instead of ones. ive heard so many say that the dealers will get more money this way, specifically dealers saying this benefits them.

    yeah thats a great way to make people want to tip u more, by pissing them off to where u never have 10 or more ones on you at all times like most people like. instead u have like 0 or 1 or 2 ones and a bunch of annoying twos.

    1. Well, I don't think that's the reason they use the $2 chips, Tony. I mean that MAY benefit the dealers, but it doesn't help the house any and it's the house that decides to use those chips.

      At the places that used $2 chips this time, I ALWAYS had more $1 chips than $2 chips, except for when I had just one $2 chip.

      I guess by your theory, the dealers always have incentive to put more $2 chips into the pot, instead of $1 chips, but I never witnessed that happening.

    2. Tony, I think what you said is ridiculous. Very few poker players are as obsessed about tipping as you.

    3. To be fair to Tony, I do recall a dealer I follow on Twitter saying if (or when) he deals in a room that uses the $2 chips, he'd try to make sure the pot always had a $2 chip in it so he might get it back as a tip.