Sunday, March 15, 2020

"I Don't Even Play Kings"

Well last Saturday, March 7, I played at PC Ventura.  At the time, I didn't realize it would be the last time I played live poker for awhile.  All the local and semi-local casinos are closed now, and who knows when they will reopen.  My blog output will likely get a lot lighter than it has been, and of course it has already been fairly light.  We live in interesting times.

Nevertheless, I can still talk about that "last" session, and so I will. There was one good hand to report. I also have some news and a couple of interesting stories.  Well, they're interesting to me, hopefully they will be to you.

First the news.  When I went over to the podium to add my name to the waitlist, I told him I wanted 2/3.  The (relatively new) guy working the podium asked, "Just 2/3 or 2/3/5?"  Huh?  That was a new one.  Without asking details, I reflexively replied, "Just 2/3."  Then I went over to look at the board more carefully.  I had already noted that there were four 2/3 games going when I walked in.  Now I noticed that there was also a column indicating that they were spreading a 2/3/5 game.  And they in fact had two tables of it, and at least 4-5 names of players waiting for it.   There were many more names waiting for the regular 2/3 game, and I was thus hopeful that they would start another table soon.

I was pretty sure I had never seen them spread a 2/3/5 game before.  I do remember that in the past, the sometimes spread a 3/5/10 game, but I hadn't recalled seeing that in awhile. 

While I was waiting I asked the guy what the buy-in was for the new game.  Not that I ever intended to play it.  I mean, you guys know me.  Can you imagine me playing a game where there is, essentially, a forced $5 UTG straddle every hand?  Not bloody likely.  Anyway, the min/max is $300-$600.  The buy-in for the 2/3 is $100-$300 and I always buy in for the max.

When I finally got into a game, I overheard some talk and it appears that they just started offering this game at the beginning of the week, and it seems to be fairly popular.  I just hope it doesn't displace the 2/3 game, as I have no interest in the bigger game.  Even if started getting more tables than the regular 2/3, it would be bad—it might make it harder and harder to find a good 2/3 game.  I hope the 2/3 game remains dominant.  Note: this was written before all the closures.  Who knows what will happen now when they reopen?

Well, I finally got into a game, right before they called down the list for a new game.  I was assigned a corner seat at the existing game, which had bad lighting.  Also the chair was broken so I couldn't adjust it.  And I have problems seeing the board from the corner.  So after a few hands, when the guy to my immediate left got called to that 2/3/5 game. I grabbed his seat.

I hadn't played a hand to that point, and as I moved over one seat, I looked down at a couple of Aces.  You might say "good seat change" but no one had yet taken my old seat so I would have gotten the same hand if I hadn't made the move.

On this hand, there had been a $6 straddle (UTG, the only spot they allow it).  And the next player called the $6.  Then the guy right before me made it $40.  He had about $110 or so left after that bet.

Nice.  That was an overbet to be sure.  I didn't know how the table had been playing and I'd never seen this guy before.  I've seen people overbet like that with the dreaded hand, but it more often is pocket Jacks.  Truth be told, I've seen people with Aces bet like that, as in, "I hate getting my Aces cracked."

My normal three-bet is 3X plus any limpers.  In this case it would be plus the two straddlers.  Oh and by-the-way, would my raise technically be a four-bet since the straddle could be considered a raise?

But I decided that $120 was enough without adding anything for the straddlers.  I figured I was unlikely to get a call from any of the players left behind even at "only" $120.  I assumed there was a good chance though that the guy betting $40 would call, because he didn't have all that many chips left, and unless he was just trying to steal with nothing, he probably really liked his hand to make it $40.

So I put out $120 and it quickly folded to the guy who made it $40.  I thought he said all-in.  But when the dealer said, "Sure you can go all-in," I wondered if the guy had said, "Can I go all-in?" instead.  This was my first clue that maybe he was somewhat of a newbie.  Any experienced player wouldn't have to ask if he could go all-in.  I confirmed with the dealer that he had indeed gone all-in.  So of course I called.  Although it wasn't necessary to do it right away, the dealer counted his stack and told me I need to add $30 to make the call, which I did.

The guy didn't show, so neither did I. The flop was Jack-high and dry.  It remained dry except that by the river there were two 8's on it.  I think we flipped over our hands at the same time.  He had Ace-7 offsuit for….nothing.  My bullets were good.  And I was certainly grateful to the guy by playing so badly and getting me off to a really nice start. Also glad that he had Ace-7 and not A-8.

He left to get more cash.  That was more good news.  Seriously, what the hell was he doing playing Ace-7 like that?  Once I caught his steal attempt (if that's what it was) he should have folded like a cheap suit.

Now the guy did come back, but after another orbit or two he got called into the 1/2 game.  Based on how he played subsequent hands it was obvious he didn't really know how to play and he definitely made the right decision to switch to the smaller game. I dunno if he had ever played poker before but he definitely wasn't ready for 2/3.  I almost felt guilty for taking his money.


I managed to win a whopping two more hands for the day.  About 45-minutes later, I looked down at two Jacks.  There was a straddle and a two callers so I made it $30.  Only one caller.  The flop was King-high and I c-bet $40.  He folded fast.

Near the end of my session, in my last big blind, I had Queen-Jack off.  No one raised and four of us saw I Queen-high flop.  I bet a whopping $5 (the pot was only $6 after the rake) and took it down.

Other than that, I was obscenely card-dead.  I think I only got one other pocket pair—8's that went nowhere.  No Ace-King or Ace-Queen.  Suited connectors?  One.  It was 9-8 and I was UTG so I just mucked them.  It was pretty pathetic.

As it happened, the guy who took my old seat a hand or two after I had those Aces noticed how few hands I'd been playing.  He had relocated to the other end of the table.  At one point he must have said something to the fellow next to him, because the fellow responded, "Yeah, he placed Aces once."  I looked over there and the first guy said to me, "No Aces or Kings, huh, sir?"  I just shrugged.

I didn't appreciate the comment.  He's giving free information to the other players—that I haven't played a lot of hands.  You say it should be obvious to anyone else at the table?  Well yeah, it should be.  But believe me I run into plenty of players at this room that aren't paying that kind of attention—why help them out?  It's one player to a hand, after all. 

There was a female player who did a couple of annoying and disgusting things. She apparently moved over from another table, with the waitress following her with her food order.  Apparently she ordered the Ahi tuna salad.  The waitress herself pointed out that the tuna seemed to be overcooked.  The player agreed and the waitress took it back to get it replaced.  Of course the women complained about being hungry the whole time waiting for her new meal.

Eventually the waitress brought her back a new meal.  The woman immediately picked up a leaf or two of lettuce off the plate—with her hands—to examine the Ahi, to see if it was cooked to her liking.  She said it was and then picked up a lemon wedge off the plate and squeezed lemon juice over her meal.  Again, she did this with her bare hands that had just been touching the cards and the chips. Has she not heard of the coronavirus? Even before the casino closed, it was in all the papers. It was never a good idea to touch food you are about to put in your mouth with your bare hands after touching casino poker chips.  But these days, it's a really, really bad idea.

Then after she finished eating, she made a call on her cel phone.  And she put it on speaker so the whole table could hear her call.  She was calling Netflix because she was having trouble changing her password.  Seriously?  She had to do this at the poker table?   First we heard the automated attendant thanking her for her call and telling her how important her call was to them.  Then we heard about 15 minutes of that horrific music they play when they put you on hold.  Then we heard her talking to someone from Netflix walking her through what she had to do to change her password.  Yes, we heard the Netflix person through her speakerphone. All this while she was playing poker!

It was annoying and rude.

Anyway, it came time for me to leave.  I had booked a $120 profit.  As he saw me racking up my chips, the guy who had commented earlier about my tight play said to me, "Leaving, sir?  No Aces or Kings?"  I ignored him.  But in order to get to the cage, I had to walk right by him.  So as I passed him, I said to him, "I don't even play Kings."

I had planned to add, "They're Ace magnets, haven't you heard?"  But I saw he had his face buried in his phone and didn't appear to have heard me.  So I didn't say it.

However, the guy who was next to him—the guy who pointed out that I played Aces once—laughed and nudged him and said to him, "Did you hear what he said?  He said he doesn't even play Kings!"

I was gone by the time the guy had a chance to answer, if he did.


  1. I always look forward to your post Rob. I will keep an eye out for your updates after the poker rooms close. Stay safe!

  2. Stay safe Rob. I’m locked inside as I’m old and have breathing issues. Can’t chance it. I got a new Grandson coming soon and want to be sure I can spoil him.
    Sure wish we had online poker here in AZ as about to go stir crazy.

    1. Thanks. Yeah it's rough. No online poker for me either. I hope we can get back to normal soon.

      Stay well.

  3. Old Man Coffee