Thursday, January 30, 2020

Remembering the Good Ol' Days (Part 2)


Note:  Be sure to read part 1 of this post first, below or see here, before reading this.  This post picks up right where part 1 ended.

After a couple of dealers, my buddy Jack came to deal.  While he was standing by the current dealer, waiting to replace him, I whispered to him that he was in for a wild ride.  I’m sure he’d heard Natalee from wherever he was dealing before.  He asked, “a new blog post?”  I said “Absolutely.”  Later, after a few minutes, and in response to one of her strange or outrageous comments, he turned to me and said, “How do you always happen to be at tables like this?”
I had no explanation, I just giggled, glad that this happened to be the case so often.
Then there was the guy in seat 9.  He was an older gentleman, a regular, and from my brief experience with him in the past, usually a nice guy.  I couldn’t hear anything he was saying to her, but she accused him of saying he wanted to break her finger, and he didn’t dispute that.  She stacked him a couple of times, and he was mostly silent, or quiet enough that I couldn’t hear him with the dealer sitting between us.  After what was I believe the second time she stacked him, he angrily got some more money out of his pocket and threw it down on the table for another rebuy. 
And then almost immediately got into yet another hand with Natalee.  While this hand was in progress, the Shift Manager returned to see what was going on. And also, I think, to address Natalee’s concern about getting another beer, which she hadn’t gotten yet.  I later learned that the waitress herself had kept her cut off.  Natalee began complaining to the Shift Manager about the horrible treatment she was receiving from the other players, and truth be told, I couldn’t disagree with her.  The hand kind of stalled for awhile, with a flop of (I think) K-9-5.  Seat 9 bet the flop, and, while thinking about to what to do (as if there was any doubt), Natalee spoke to the boss.
“They’re mean to me.  There being mean to me.  Aren’t they being mean to me?”  She was asking Jack to confirm that.  He agreed.  “They are being mean to her.”
Then she gave examples, and pointing around the table, she said, “He called me stupid, he called me a bitch, he said he was going to break my finger.  Of course, they’re not going to do anything to me.  They’re all on tilt.”  It wasn’t the first time she said her opponents were on tilt, which was definitely the most accurate statement she made while at the table.  A couple of times as she was hearing comments and stacking their (former) chips, she would say, “It’s called ‘tilt’.  Get over it.”
The Shift Manager warned everyone to watch their language, that any abuse given to Natalee would not be tolerated, that sort of thing.  Wyoming said he called her “biatch”, not “bitch” but the boss said, it was close enough.  Truth is, he did say “bitch” more often than “biatch.” 
He stayed to watch this hand play out.  After careful thought (!), Natalee said, “Well, I have a piece of that, so I’m gonna raise.”  Seat 9 said, “Well, you know what I’m gonna do,” and then announced “all in.” Natalee replied, “I’ve got middle pair.  I know I’m behind but I’m gonna hit it.  It’s gonna be runner runner and I’m going to take it.  Besides, I like sixty-nine.”

With that she called, and Seat 9 said, “and I’m going home.”  She showed her cards, indeed it was 9-6, she had middle pair, as she said.  And just as sure as I’m sitting here, the last two cards were a 7 and an 8 and she made her straight.  I’m sure two pair would have worked too.  Seat 9 had a pair of Kings, got up and stormed off.
By this time, she had huge stacks of chips in front of her, at least $1500 worth of red chips (from the $100 buy in) and my pal Susan came over to offer to color up her chips, which Natalee thought was a good idea.  Earlier, Susan had come over to me and asked what was going on at the table, as everyone in the room could hear at least part of the insanity.  I just had time to say she was really crazy, and she was really lucky, and she was putting most of the table on tilt.
And then finally, your humble blogger got into a hand with the crazy woman.  I was on the button when I woke up with two Aces.  I have to be honest, I almost was unhappy to see them.  I knew the way Natalee was running, the odds of her drawing to beat my rockets were excellent, if not guaranteed.  For a nano-second, the thought of mucking crossed my mind.
Not really.  After all, it wasn’t the dreaded pocket kings! The truth is, outside of the blinds, I don’t think I’d really played a hand yet.  Maybe I limped in a couple of times with medium pocket pairs.  I was down to about $150 (from $200) without really having played yet.  I had been waiting for a premium hand to play, and this was the very first one I’d gotten at the table, and of course, it was the most premium hand you could get.  I was going to play it strong and hope for the best (odd thing to say with the best starting hand in Hold’em, but that’s a reflection of the run that Natalee was on). (I should repeat here what I said in part 1, I was really completely card dead, and hadn’t gotten any hands I would have played under more normal circumstances)
I was kind of hoping this would be one of the few hands Natalee would muck preflop,   I would be happy to play those Aces against anyone else at the table.  But sure enough, Natalee led out with a raise to $15.  It folded to me.  Since I’m sure no one could remember me playing a hand, everyone must have been surprised as I counted out chips and made it $45.  Actually, more accurately, I’m sure no one could even remember me being at the table, they were all so focused on Natalee.
It folded back to Natalee who commented about having a good hand, what was she gonna do?  And she called.  The flop came 10-high and she checked.  I shrugged, announced “all in” and waited for her inevitable suck out.
She actually took some time before she called.  I really think, crazy as she seemed, she probably noticed that of all the guys at the table she had stacked and put on tilt and sucked out on, I was none of them.  I’m pretty sure she was coherent enough to realize that I hadn’t been much of a participant in the poker up until then and that I probably really did have a hand.
But call she did, and why not?  The way she was running, as long as she wasn’t drawing dead, with two more cards to come, the odds were actually in favor!  Well, not really.  I immediately showed my Aces, and she flipped over Ace-King.
Two things there.  One, that was probably the best starting hand she raised with all night, by far, except for the Aces she had when she stacked Wyoming with KK.  So, when she raised there, she actually had a hand.
Second, except for the fact that she was the world’s biggest luckbox, it was a terrible call on her part.  I’ve seen other people make that same call with AK and I never, ever get it.  Not in a cash game.  In a tournament, sometimes it makes sense to call in that situation.  But in a cash game, where the flop misses you and you can walk away losing only $45, why would you call?
But again, even though she probably knew I had her beat, why not call with the way the deck was hitting her?  Truth be told, when I saw her hand, I was debating in my mind whether she was going to beat me with runner runner Kings or runner runner Queen-Jack for the straight.
But no, this time she didn’t hit her hand.  Maybe it was good karma from me because I was one of the few guys at the table who wasn’t nasty to her.  Whatever, my Aces held and I had a nice double up, now over $100 up for the session.  After basically playing one hand of poker in 90 minutes.
I think while I was still stacking my chips, Natalee lost another hand, and might have now been down to only about $1200 plus in front of her.  Sensing her incredible run was over, and no doubt being unhappy over some of the hostility she had been receiving almost from the minute she had sat down at the table, she did what she had been threatening to do for some time.  She took off.  Susan helped carry her chips (now, mostly green, $25 chips) and she took off.  I couldn’t help notice that she did give Susan a couple handfuls of $1 chips as a tip, both for helping her stack up and color up, and for helping carry her chips.
Despite the fact that several of the players there truly despised Natalee with every fiber of her being, those same guys were all sad to see go.  Not sad, mad.  They didn’t want her to take all that cash they’d given her and give it away to the casino at the blackjack table.  Well, to some degree, they had only themselves to blame.  If they had been nice to her, she might have been willing to stay after her luck changed and given them a fair shot to get some of their chips back.  But by being so nasty to her, they just encouraged her to take off once she sensed that she was going to hit runner runner straight every time she needed to.
In fact, while dealing, Jack had been whispering to me how stupid it was for the guys to be so nasty to her.  She’s the kind of player you want at that table, once her luck runs out, as it inevitably must.  I suppose she might have left anyway, but who knows?  I guess the guys were so tilted by her, they couldn’t help themselves.  Or they were complete idiots. 
But that isn’t the end of the story.  A few minutes later, after she had exited the poker room, the waitress who was serving our table came over to me.  All the regular waitresses at BSC during swing shift know me and my order, of course.  But other than saying hi or confirming that I want another drink, they don’t really speak to me much.  Of course, the waitress knew me as a most regular regular in the room, so she wanted to discuss Natalee with me.
She got besides me and crouched so she could speak with me quietly.  “What the hell was with that woman?”  I just shrugged and said she was crazy.  She asked if I’d ever seen her before and I assured her I had not (I’m pretty sure I’d remember!).  She told me that she had been cut off, which I knew, but then she explained that it wasn’t just the Shift Manager who had cut off.  The waitress had actually gone to her own supervisor (in beverage service, or whatever they call it) to complain about her!  I didn’t know that.
But then the waitress told me that she looked familiar to her, and either she had served her before or she just looked just like some other crazy woman she’d served.  They she asked me if I thought she was really drunk or if it was just an act.  Hmm…..I have no idea if the waitress knows anything about poker, although she has been serving in that poker room for as long as I can remember.  She wondered if the woman was acting like that to drive the other players nuts and thus this was actually a strategy, an act if you will, and not some drunken sideshow.  I had to consider the possibility.
Then Susan walked by and I called her over to ask if Natalee had really gone or if she had just moved to a less hostile table.  No, she was really gone.  She said, loud enough for all the players around me, including Dirk, to hear, “She was really scared.  She was really scared .  She was scared of the guys here.”  I was surprised but Susan insisted she was frightened.  The other guys weren’t really believing her. 
Later, Susan pulled me aside privately and said she was just saying that to see how seat 4 (Dirk) would react to it.  Apparently she wasn’t really scared.  And Natalee had also given the Shift Manager a big tip too, which surprised me since she seemed pissed at him for cutting her off and also for perhaps not “defending” her strongly enough from the tilting guys at the table.
A few hours later, despite Natalee’s exit, Dirk was still on tilt.  He kept getting sucked out on time and again.  Wyoming was doing his best Natalee impression in terms of calling with weak hands and hitting what he needed on the turn or the river, or both.  He was visually angry and started swearing so much that the dealer called the floor over to warn him about using the “f-bomb.”  He eventually busted out of his last buy in and at least initially, refused to say goodbye or shake the hand of Wyoming, who he had initially been pals with (they had a mutual dislike of Natalee to share).  But he did eventually do a fist pump with Wyoming before leaving in a huff.
But before that, we heard the dulcet tones of Natalee speaking to us from afar.  Yes, just outside the poker room, puffing on a cigarette, was dear, sweet, Natalee.  “Hi guys, I’m back,” she shouted over to our table.  By now, only Dirk, Wyoming and I remained from the gang that played with her.  “I lost all your money at the blackjack table.”  Nice twisting of the knife there!  But at least I could say that she hadn’t lost any of my money at blackjack!
To my astonishment, I saw Dirk get up and go over to talk to her.  They seemed to be chatting amicably, and when he returned, he wouldn’t tell us what they discussed.  Perhaps he was enough of gentleman to apologize to her?
Natalee disappeared, and I was getting ready to leave, still having my $100 profit or thereabouts.  It had been up and down for me since she left, and since I was able to start actually playing poker again.  The original dealer we had when Natalee joined us returned to deal.  He asked me if things were a bit different at the table now, and I said they sure were.  Then he told me she was playing again, and pointed out a table as far from ours as physically possible, where I could see Jack was dealing.   I said I was surprised I couldn’t hear her!
A few minutes later, I got up to get a rack for my chips, and at the front, the same Shift Manager was there and saw me.  Natalee’s new table was the closest one to the front.  The Shift Manager made some comment about what a wild ride we’d had earlier, and asked me what I thought of the woman.  I started to shake my head and was about to say something about her being crazy when I heard her pipe up from the table she was at.
“I can hear you!  I heard that.  I’m wearing these earbuds so I can hear you.”  Actually, I’m not sure what she said she was wearing that enabled her to hear us.  Amplifiers?  I dunno.  But as she was saying this, she got up and came over to talk to us.
“I can hear you guys,” she repeated when she was standing right next to me.  The Shift Manager told her he hadn’t said anything negative (though both of us were about to).  “I put all those guys on tilt, didn’t I?”  I told her she indeed had.  She started to go back to her seat and as she turned away from me, she said, “I’m a Jewish woman.  I know how to annoy people.”
I had no possible response to that. I just shook my head.  But it did make me once again consider the possibility that everything she had done was an intentional act to put people on tilt, and if it was, it had worked brilliantly.  I peaked over and noticed she had at least $500 in red chips in front of her, and I would be shocked if she had bought in for anything other than $100 again.
By the time I’d gotten my chips racked and was walking to the cashier, Jack had moved to another table, and I whispered to him to make sure he emailed me with any good stories he could report about his latest down with Natalee.  He nodded.
I was stopped by one more person before I got to the cashier.  A female floor person came by and started telling me about the crazy woman!  I don’t think I’d seen her back there when Natalee was at my table, but of course she knows me as a regular.  “That woman’s crazy.  Did you hear what she just said?”
I told her I had not.  “She said, ‘Is this a gang-bang or a ménage-a-trois?’”  I laughed and she immediately was called over to do something for one of the players, so I never got a chance to ask her exactly what the context of that comment was, if she even knew.  The funny thing is, I’ve had hours and hours of contact with this lady floor person, and she’d dealt me thousands of hands of poker before she became full time floor, and I had never, ever heard a provocative or risqué comment from her.  So I found that especially amusing.
Jack dealt to me the next night and his first words to me were, “How’s the blog post coming?”  I said I had barely started on it.  He did have one more item of note.  After I left, and after a shift changed brought a new Shift Manager, this one female, the same waitress who had talked to me about Natalee was still insisting she wouldn’t serve Natalee a beer.  So Natalee had gotten on the phone and called her Casino Host.  And sometime soon thereafter, the Casino Host came over and had a talk with the new Shift Manager.  The result of that conversation was that the female Shift Manager personally delivered Natalee a beer a few minutes later.
I was only left to wonder how many guys Natalee put on tilt at that table.

Friday, January 24, 2020

Remembering the Good Ol' Days


I miss the good ol' days.  The good ol' days of Vegas, of long trips there, of playing a whole lot of poker and getting lots of great stories.  I miss getting great stories and looking forward to writing them up and I miss the fun of writing them and then seeing the reaction I get to them (if any).

Mostly, I miss the "woman saids." 

Those were always my favorite stories.  But going to Vegas so infrequently, I just don't get them like I used to.  Truth is, I wasn't getting very many of them the last few times I spent weeks in Vegas.  It's been a while since I've really had a good one.  I dunno when I might be able to come across another one.

So, since I am not accumulating material at the rate I used to, I thought I'd go back into the archives and reprint one of my favorite stories from the early days of the blog.  Of course it is a "woman said" 

This is a two-parter, second part to follow.  I hope you enjoy this trip down memory lane! 


So I ran into a crazy lady at BSC. I have no idea this lady’s name, but we’ll need to give her one.  So I’ll call her Natalee for reasons which will be explained later.
I had only been at the table for an orbit or two and was still trying to get a feel for the players and the action when a seat opened up and a thin, middle aged woman was escorted to the empty seat.  To say she changed the dynamic at the table would be a gross understatement.
As she took her seat and bought in for $100, she was given the option of coming on the next hand or waiting two hands and come in behind the button.  She chose to wait.  As the dealer tossed a “reserve” button in her spot to indicate that she wouldn’t be getting a card this hand, she asked if that meant she did something wrong.  And she sorta fixated on that.
“Did I do something wrong?  What did I do wrong?  You know, I’ve been playing blackjack all day.”  She said that as if it was going to explain her actions.  It struck me as odd, but she was merely getting started. 
She saw a floor person walk by and asked if she had done anything wrong, and repeated that she had been playing blackjack all day.  The floor insisted she had done nothing wrong.  Yet, anyway.
Her first hand, someone raised to $15.  She looked at her cards and said, “I’m suited, so I’m gonna call.”  I don’t remember the exact play of the hand, but she either called or made some fairly large bets, and won the pot with 2 pair, Jacks & 8’s.  But she hadn’t lied.  Her Jack-8 were both hearts.
She was still somewhat fixated on what she had done wrong, and when she asked the dealer a question about the next hand, she then said, “I’m sorry I ask a lot of questions.  I’m a Jewish woman.”  I really didn’t see the connection, but one of the guys who was about to go on tilt responded, “You don’t look that Jewish.  You look more Vegas.”
I guess I was a bit put off by that comment (see here).  But I sensed something well out of the ordinary poker session was about to happen, so I didn’t say anything.
She wouldn’t stop talking.  If I had a dime for every time she told us she’d spent all day playing blackjack, I would be able to play the main event.  Once or twice she also mentioned that she had lost a lot of money playing the blackjack.
But she was also talking about the poker.  And every hand she had.  “I got a piece of that, so I’ll call.”  “I have a good hand, so I’ll raise.”  “I’m suited, so I’ll raise.”  With every decision, she would comment.  I think she pretty much crossed over the line of talking about the hand, but I guess she didn’t go quite far enough past it to get warned about it.  She verbally reacted to any bet or any raise someone else made, asking what they could possibly have, or revealing that she had a pair, or two pair, or whatever.
And when she wasn’t telling us about her day of playing blackjack, she took to telling us she was in “relapse.”  I thought at first she meant “rehab” but no, she kept saying she was in relapse.
Her non-stop chatter of course got some reactions from the other players.  She was in seat 7, I was in Seat 1.  The three guys to my immediate left had all seemed friendly enough before Natalee showed up, and were getting along swimmingly with each other.  Suddenly seats 2 & 4 were headed for tilt, as was an older gentleman in seat 9.  Truth be told, I have never in my poker life seen a player put so many other players on tilt so fast.  Within 5 minutes these guys were already tilting.
Some of that had to do with the poker, which I’ll get to shortly.  But a lot of it had to do with her overbearing personality, her non-stop talking, the nature of her comments, and frankly, her rather unpleasant voice.  The guy in seat 2, who was from Wyoming, in particular got into verbally jousting with her from across the table.  Her dress had stripes, so he asked if she was a leopard, then realized his error and said, “I mean tiger, I guess it would be a tiger.”
She replied, “Tiger?  No, I’m a cougar.”  Then, just to make sure we knew that wasn’t an unintentional joke, she added, “I like younger men.”  Wyoming said she was too young to be a cougar, but she indicated that she was older than he apparently thought.
By now, only one thought was going through my mind.
Blog post!  
Truly, a “woman said” blog post was happening before my eyes.
She was wearing ear buds and frequently would ask questions saying she couldn’t hear what was said, and then would tell us she had ear buds in her ears.  But she rarely took them out.  And when she started getting some hostility from some of the players, she would tell us she was going to tune us out and that she was listening to Eminem.  She didn’t really look like an Eminem fan, if you know what I mean.  One time she told us she was now listening to Frank Sinatra, causing me to comment that Eminem and Sinatra were an unusual combination.  But the guy in seat 3 said it sounded like his play list, so maybe it wasn’t that strange.
Finally the dealer button came around to her.  She said, “Oh goody!  I’ve got the button.”  Then she asked the dealer, “Can I spread my legs around the button?”

That got everyone’s attention, and then she added something about liking to straddle.  So it was her rather unique way of asking if she could button straddle.
Wyoming had already had his fill of her, so he said, possibly loud enough for her to hear, “Ugh, that button would be so sticky, and so stinky, it would be disgusting.”
She had a beer in front of her and I don’t remember if she brought it with her when she took her seat or if she ordered it once she got there.  But when the waitress came around to take orders, the waitress told her that wouldn’t bring her another drink.  She was certainly acting like she might be drunk, but I couldn’t rule out just plain crazy as a viable alternative.  The Shift Manager came over and told her that she wouldn’t be getting another alcoholic beverage until the bottom of the hour, which was a bit over 30 minutes away.  Besides, as he correctly pointed out, she still had more than half of her beer remaining.  She gave some explanation of why she wanted another beer brought to her now, which I couldn’t hear, but essentially, she was cut off for at least the next half an hour.
Let’s talk about the poker.  Before she showed up, I sensed that this was a rather aggressive, action table.  But her presence really upped the ante in that regard, almost immediately.  She played almost every hand, called almost every preflop raise, and made a lot of raises herself.  Seeing the hands she was playing, I can tell you two things for sure.  One, she was a terrible player, calling raises she had no business calling time and time again.  And two, she was a major, major luckbox.  She was having the run of her life.  In less than a half an hour, she had run up that $100 buy in to $500, and she was just getting started.
It was the combination of her refusal to ever shut up, along with her amazing ability to suck out on the other players, that put so many of the players on tilt so fast.  She would keep calling bets and raises when way behind, and would somehow, some way, catch the exact card she needed to win the pot.  The original guy in seat 4 was a nice guy who was pleasantly chatting with seat 3 and Wyoming when I got to the table.  Suddenly, he was in a hand with her and raised her on the flop.  It was something like 10-5-4.  She said, “What are doing that for?  What, you got a set of 4’s, is that it?  What if I’ve got a set of 5’s?  Did you think about that?”  And she shoved.  This was early in her run and Seat 4 had her covered.  He called.  She said, “Well, I don’t have a set of 5’s, but I’ve got something.”
Yeah, she had 5-something, so a pair of 5’s. And of course she caught her second pair on the river and the guy just gave her a look of total hatred and mucked. I assume he had at least a pair of 10’s, or an overpair.
This put seat 4 totally on tilt, and he didn’t say another word while there—to anybody.  Even as his new pals in seats 2 & 3 tried to console him, he sat there in total silence and just stared at Natalee.  He got into it with her two more times, giving her stoned cold silence and a total death stare as she babbled on about her hand and speculated on his.  And she took all his money, playing crap cards and hitting whatever she needed to take the pot.
Natalee definitely noticed the “if looks could kill” expression on this guy’s face.  So she said to him, “I know you want to Van der Sloot me right now.”
Seat 4 said nothing.  I honestly don’t think he was capable of speech right then.  But a bunch of us laughed, and a couple of guys asked or wondered what the hell that meant.  It seems Van der Sloot is old news and nobody but me could remember the guy who was accused of murdering poor Natalee Holloway.  I knew the reference and knew what she meant, but I couldn’t recall his apparent victim’s name until I looked it up later.  But seeing as how she was using Van der Sloot’s name as a verb to accuse seat 4 of wanting to kill her, I decided to give the star of this post the pseudonym “Natalee”, spelled the same way the victim did.
Here’s the thing.  With both this guy and a couple of other guys, even with her incredible luck, the hands she was hitting weren’t that good, generally.  Guys were betting big with pretty mediocre hands apparently (they never showed), playing right into her hands.  What a stupid plan.  It was clear that she was pretty much going to call every bet, so trying to bet her off a hand was like pissing into the wind.  And seeing how lucky she was at the moment, these guys were just throwing money at Natalee as if she was the world’s sexiest stripper, which she was so very clearly not.
Speaking of strippers, at one point, after taking a boatload of money from one of the guys on tilt by hitting some ridiculous draw, she said, “Sorry about that.  I guess I should buy you a lapdance.”  She did say “buy” and not “give.”  Phew.
As for me, well, within a few minutes of Natalee coming to the table, I knew that I was not going to be able to concentrate on the poker while she was there.  You may be wondering why, if I knew that to be the case, I didn’t ask for a table change.  Isn’t the reason obvious?  I didn’t move for you, my dear readers.  I did it for this blog post.  So what if I was giving up on a chance to play real poker and win real money.  I knew I would get a good blog post out of this session.  Nothing is too good for my loyal readers.
I was paying more attention to Natalee’s comments and her outrageous behavior than the poker, but I was following enough about the poker to quickly figure out how to play in this situation.  With Natalee being so loose-aggressive and so many players going on tilt because of her presence—playing even crazier and more aggressive than they ordinarily would—I knew that the only way to play was to be extremely tight.  I’m a tight player anyway, but now I became uber-tight.  I wasn’t going to play any speculative hands, any borderline hands.  No, I was going to wait for a true premium hand to play.  That’s the only way to play at a table full of maniacs and that’s what this table was.  As it turned out, I was totally card dead anyway, and I didn’t really get a hand that I’d play under more normal circumstances, especially with a raise in front of me.  And there was almost always a raise in front of me.
Wyoming was already on tilt when he got into a preflop raising war with Natalee.  Now as I said, she was raising a lot preflop (but rarely, if ever, 3 betting), and with very light holdings.  I believe on this hand, Natalee made the first raise, Wyoming made a big re-raise, Natalee re-raised and Wyoming shoved, she called.  I may have the order backwards.  Wyoming was so happy, he was sure he had trapped her, and revealed his hand.  Yes, it was, of course the dreaded pocket Kings.  He was sure that based on her play to that point he had her crushed.
Not this time.  Of course, she turned over two Aces.  Nothing on the board hit either of them, and Wyoming was stacked, about $300 lost to her.  But here’s the thing.  There’s no doubt in my mind that if the hands had been reversed, and she had the KK, she would have caught a king on the board (or a lucky straight or flush).  That’s the way her luck was running.
Although Wyoming was still kind of joking around, even after getting stacked with his cowboys, he was demonstrating pretty blatant hostility towards Natalee.  He was calling her a bitch (or “biatch”), calling her ugly, saying he hated her, loud enough for her to hear.  She didn’t react, at least initially.  Later she said something like, “You’re treating me this way because I’m a woman.  I’m a woman.  I’m an abused woman.”
Wyoming responded, “I can see why.”
I guess that may have been the reason for a comment she made a little later when they got into it again.  She bet $10 on a hand and he raised it to $30.  She couldn’t see how much so she asked the dealer, and before she heard the answer, she continued, “How many inches is that?  Is that an inch?  Is it about an inch you’ve got there?”  I’m pretty sure she wasn’t asking about the dimensions of the poker chips. 
Wyoming just laughed and said, “Oh, an inch is way more than I’ve got.”  And then he proceeded to lose more money to Natalee.
Another time, he bet or raised and Natalee thought about it for awhile and then said, “You’re full of caca.  You need a laxative.  I raise.”  She won that hand, too.
The guy originally in seat 4, who may still not be capable of speech yet, was replaced with a guy visiting Vegas from Germany, so let’s call him Dirk.  Dirk was very much the stereotypical Aggro Euro.  In other words, he was the perfect prey for Natalee.  He had only been at the table for a short time when this hand happened, but that was more than long enough for any even half way observant player to figure out what kind of player Natalee was.
He raised preflop on the button after a bunch of limpers came in, and of course Natalee called.  All that meant is that she had two cards.  The flop came something like Q-9-4, rainbow.  I think there might have been a bet and a raise, and then Dirk shoved.  I guess he had about $200.  Natalee, by this time sitting behind a stack of at least $1,000, thought for a bit and finally called, saying, “I need help.”
Of course, there was no doubt that she would get the help she needed.  Except this time, she didn’t need it.  Dirk kindly turned over his cards.  King-3.  Yeah, it was a stone cold bluff.  Against a player who couldn’t possibly be bluffed!  It may have been the single dumbest move I’ve ever seen in a poker game.  Natalie showed her pocket 3’s and to the surprise of no one at the table, they held up.
Rather than realize that his own play had been monumentally stupid, he proceed to bitch and moan about Natalee’s horrible call there. True, it was a horrible call.  But Natalee had run up a $100 buy in to $1000 making exactly those kind of horrible calls for the past hour.  So Dirk called Natalee’s call stupid, and then asked if her name was “Stupid.”  She ignored that, at least at first.
And that’s all for part 1.  Despite all the complaints I get about doing posts that are too short, I’m going to stop it here and pick up the story in the following post.  In the second part, you’ll get to read about what happened when crazy Natalee got into a hand with me!  See here.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

No Royal For Me

You can play a lot of poker and never get a Royal Flush.  I know, because to this day, I have never had a Royal, either in live poker or online.

So it caught my attention recently when someone on twitter copied something off the South Point Poker Room Facebook page.  It was a picture of a woman with the caption to the effect that she had gotten two Royal Flushes within a half hour of each other.  Not one, but two!  I've been playing live poker for going on 15 years and never had one. And this woman gets two in the span of half an hour?  It doesn't seem fair.  Or even remotely possible.

I responded to that tweet with the only logical thing I could think of.  "Live poker is rigged."

A few days later I was at PC Ventura to play my usual 2/3 game.  Their Bad Beat Jackpot had grown to over $50K so it had been quite some time since it had been hit—it resets at $10K when it does hit.  I couldn't recall ever seeing it that high. I've rarely seen it reach $20K.  Aces full of Jacks beaten by quads or better is the requirement, so it's not as hard to hit as most of the BBJ's in Vegas are.

Well, I was at the table and we started talking about how long it had been since it was hit.  And someone said that when it hits, it will likely hit again a day or two later because that's what usually happens.  Someone mentioned that they could recall a time it hit twice in one day a few hours apart.

That reminded me of the lady with the two Royals, so I related that story.  Of course, everyone was amazed and a few of the players told their stories about Royals they had hit.  As I mentioned, I had no such story to tell.

Well, about 10 minutes after we stopped talking about Royals, a player in our game tabled a Royal Flush!  Yep, on the board was the King, Jack and 10 of diamonds.  The 10 was the river card.  And this guy, an older gent, showed Ace-Queen of diamonds.  Nice.  Sadly for him, it wasn't a very big pot.  There hadn't been much action and when he bet a modest amount on the river (a pot sized bet would have been modest sized), the lady next to me proudly called.  Apparently she was friends with the guy who had the Royal.  She even said to him, "You remember what my favorite hand is, don't you? Jack-5!"  And very proudly tabled Jack-5 offsuit for two pair..

The guy showed his Royal and we all ooohed and ahhhed and I pointed out how it was funny that we were just talking about Royals and not 10 minutes later this guy showed up with one.  Coincidence?  You be the judge. 

Aside from the smallish pot, the guy won nothing else for his beautiful hand.  No high hand bonus. Generally speaking, the poker rooms in CA don't have high hand bonuses.  Although this room does….on certain days of the week.  But not on Saturdays.  Oh well, it's still a Royal.

Honestly, I can only remember seeing two or three Royals at my game over the years.  I do recall one time in a limit game a guy beat me with a Royal.  I don’t remember what I had but it didn't cost me much to make the call and I must have had some kind of hand, even though I was obviously concerned about the scary board.

As for my session, I managed to win a few pots, but no monsters for me.  In the small blind with 5-4 off, I completed.  Four of us saw a flop of 9-6-2, two diamonds. I checked and then called a $10 bet with my gutshot. We were now heads up.  The turn was a beautiful 3—isn't that the way it's supposed to work?  I was fairly sure the guy would bet again so I checked.  Sure enough he put out $15.  I made it $45.  He called.  The river was a third diamond so I just checked.  But he checked behind and all he had was a 6.  No diamonds.

In the big blind I had Ace-Jack off, and just checked after six players had limped in.  The flop was Jack high, I bet $10 and got two callers.  The turn was a blank and I bet $35 and got one caller.  The river was blank and I just checked, as did he.  He didn't show when I tabled my Jack.

That got me up over $100 but then poker occurred and I managed to drop to below $50 up. In the big blind with Queen-Jack off, there was no raise and four of us saw a flop of Jack-9-8, rainbow.  I bet $6 and got two callers.  Another 8 on the turn and I bet $10 and got one caller.  I bet $20 on a blank and he folded faced up, showing that he missed his straight.

That was it.  I booked a $75 win and headed home.

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Vegas Poker Scene -- January 2020

Here's my latest column for Ante Up.  Since it still has not been posted on the Ante Up website for some reason, this is the version I submitted for publication.  You can read the entire issue online here.  The actual issue is available in a poker room near you.
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Michael Trivett, long time Vegas pro, won his first WSOP circuit ring in November at Planet Hollywood.  Trivett, who until just a few years ago was mostly a mixed games player, took down the $1.700 No Limit Hold'em Main Event.  Trivett won $216K.  James Petzing, a fellow Las Vegan, busted to Trivett in heads-up play for a $133K payday.  Canada's Tzu Huang earned $99K for third.  The event drew 778 entrees and had a prize pool of $1,178,670.

VENETIAN:  Samuel Uhlmann from Colorado won the Main Event at Venetian's November Deepstack Extravaganza, taking home $93K.  Rory Brown from Ireland claimed $73K for second and Matthew Leecy from Florida received $46K for third. The $1,600 event attracted 312 players, resulting in a $446K prize pool
In February, the cash game promotion will be a "Let it Ride" High Hand Giveaway. Every thirty minutes between noon and midnight, the high hand is worth $600.  If that high hand is a full house or quads, the winner has the option to let the hand play through the next thirty-minute period.  If it remains the high hand, the winner receives an extra $900.  If it does not hold up, the winner who beats that hand receives $1,200 instead of $600.

ARIA:  Sam Soverel won the Main Event of the High Roller Poker Masters series in early November, securing his title as 2019 Masters Champion for his overall performance in the series.  Soverel won $680K for his first place finish in the $50K main event, and finished with 1,160 total points in the series.  His overall winnings for the event were $1.4M.  Kahle Burns and Chance Kornuth each had 630 points for the series, with Burns taking home $586K and Kornuth earning $556K.  Soverel cashed in seven of the 10 events, quite an impressive feat, and also took home the coveted purple jacket for winning the series.

The room runs two popular tournaments daily, and has just added guarantees to the daytime events.  Monday through Thursday the 1 p.m. tournament has a $140 buy-in and a $5K guarantee.  Players start with 12K chips and play 30-minute levels. Late registration and re-entry is open for four levels.  On Friday through Sunday, the starting time is 11 a.m. for the $240 buy-in that now has a $7,500 guarantee. Players start with 20K chips and play 30-minute levels. Entry and re-entry is open for six levels. The guarantees have definitely increased player interest in these dailies, and have been routinely surpassed thus far.

The 7 p.m. tournament running Monday through Thursday is the same as the one during the day, minus the guarantee. The weekend 7 p.m. is the "20/20" tournament.  It's a $140 buy-in for 20K chips, with 20-minute levels.  Players have six levels to register and re-enter.

The cash games are usually hopping at the Aria.  You'll always find multiple $1-$3 NLH games going.  Minimum buy-in is $100, maximum is $300. The $2-$5 game is almost as busy, with a minimum buy-in of $200 and a maximum of $1K.  Another popular option is the $1-$2 PLO game with a $200 minimum and a $500 maximum. 

Beyond that, Aria is home to some of the biggest and most varied cash games in town.  You'll often find a $5-$5 PLO game with a rock that has a $400-$2K buy-in spread.  There are mixed games of various limits available, and much bigger NLH games spreading during busier hours.

BINION'S:  The venerable downtown poker room, the birthplace of the WSOP, has new hours.  The room is now open from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m., daily.  Of course the room will stay open past 1 a.m. if there are games running. The one daily tournament is at 6 p.m.  It's a $75 buy-in that starts players with 10K chips. There is an optional $25 add-on for 10K chips available any time through the first four levels.  In addition, players can re-buy 10K chips any time they are below 10K through the first four levels.  The levels last 20 minutes. 

The main cash game is a $1-$2 NLH game with a $100 minimum buy-in and no maximum. There are high hand bonuses, and additional bonuses for flopping the high hand.

SOUTH POINT:  Qualifying for the $225K winter freeroll runs January 1 – March 31.  Players need to play 120 hours during the period to earn a seat.

RED ROCK: The popular locals room in Summerlin recently made some changes to their tournament schedule.  Tournaments run daily at noon and 6:30 p.m., except for Saturday, when only a noon tournament is offered.  Monday through Friday the noon tournament is a $60 NLH event with a 6K starting stack, 20-minute levels and a $1K guarantee. Saturday a $100 Bounty tournament runs.  Players start with a 13K stack and play 20-minute levels.  The bounty is $25 and the guarantee is $2K.  Sunday the noon tournament has a $125 buy-in and a $5K guarantee. Players start with 18K chips and play 30-minute levels.

Monday and Thursday the 6:30 p.m. tourney is a $100 NLH Bounty with a 13K starting stack and a $3,500 guarantee. The levels are 20-minutes and the bounties are $25.  Tuesday and Wednesday it's a $90 buy-in with an 18K starting stack and 20-minute levels.  The guarantee is $2K.  Friday evening a $150 NLH Bounty is offered with a $5K guarantee.  The starting stack is 15K, the levels are 20-minutes and the bounties are $50.  Sunday evening the buy-in is $60 for a 7K starting stack, 20-minute levels and a $1,500 guarantee.

All the tournaments offer a $10 add-on for an additional 2K in chips. Players can win free tournament entries for hitting high hands of quads or better during tournament play.