Sunday, June 19, 2022

"You'll Read About it on the Blog!"

As I mentioned in one of my last two posts (or possibly both of them), I’ve been to Vegas twice since mid-April.  I’ve never told my stories in chronological order, so let’s start with the reason I went back there a second time, just at the end of May.

My long time poker/blogging pal Lightning organized a Poker Blogger (and readers) Meet Up Game for May 30.  This was to celebrate the return of retired blogger Josie to Vegas.  It’s been 10 years since I first met Josie in person in Vegas. At her insistence, she has her own personal label on this blog, so you can find it on the right side of the page and find all the blog posts that reference her. I think the prime motivation for her timing of this particular visit was to see Koalapete from down under again, who I first met on the same trip that I met Josie and have seen in Vegas a few times since.  Josie was coming to Vegas with her long time pal Gary, aka The Crafty Southpaw (The link is to his seemingly defunct blog, even tho he hasn’t posted in over four years, but you see, Gary is not on Twitter)  My recollection is that when I burst upon the blogging scene, some 11 years ago, Gary was the first person to add my fledgling little blog to his blogroll, and I am forever grateful for that.

I wanted to see all those wonderful folks again, and I wanted to finally meet Gary, who always struck me as a great guy from his blog.  So I had no choice but to head up to Vegas just a few weeks after I’d returned from there.  Lightning, enterprising fellow that he is, did a blog post about the game and soon everyone wanted to attend! 

The location was the fairly new Sahara poker room, which I had never been in since the hotel underwent about 17 ownership and name changes.  It is a small room and is sadly short of players too much of the time, so I could never find a game there during my last trip.  Since it was quiet and the manager over there is a good guy, Lightning figured it would be a good place for a private game (or two), and he was right

I was surprised to see Mr. Ben, but then I shouldn’t have been. Ben lives in England, but despite that, of all the bloggers I’ve met in Vegas, I’ve probably run into him the most.  It’s like he’s always in Vegas when I go.  He is a good guy, and it is always a pleasure to toss cards with him. I don’t believe he made a special effort to show up in Vegas for the game, but like I said, he’s in Vegas a lot.

Josie greeted me with the traditional ass grab, or at least that’s what she tweeted.  In reality there was a big hug but no ass grab.  I don’t think anyone else hugged me, and I’m not complaining about that. 

By the time we started, there were enough for two tables, and I think a third table of mixed games broke out at one point.  We drew for seats, and at the “main table” I got seat 8, sitting between Ben in Seat 9 and Lightning in seat 7.  In seat 6 was Luke Johnston, not a blogger but a long time twitter pal to most of us, and a former dealer at both Sahara and the WSOP.  Blogger and twitterer Mr. Subliminal claimed seat 4.  He lives in Vegas and I’ve had the pleasure of meeting him several times before.  Usually he is sitting next to me at the Wynn and after about an hour and a half he finally gets around to telling me who he is since I apparently suck at matching names and faces.  This time I recognized him!

Seat 5 was taken by Joseph W, aka Hockey_Poker who I only recently started following on Twitter but is a prolific poker player and, I guess, a hockey fan.  By strange coincidence, I met Joe for the first time earlier that same day.  You see Lightning, Koala and I had lunch at the Cafe at South Point, and afterward, I wanted to check out the tournament area they had for their summer series.  I was kibbitzing with one of the dealers there I know (it was Mike, ex of the MGM) and somehow, even though we had never met, Joe figured out I was Rob or perhaps I figured out that he was the hockey poker guy.  I have no idea who first realized who the other one was.  But I did recognize him when he showed up at the MUG game and took seat 5.

Gary, Koala and Josie took seats 1,2,3 respectively.

It was a really fun game, but we were surprisingly restrained, and not nearly loud enough to justify having the room to ourselves. But we were laughing all the way through.  A few of the Sahara dealers were having fun knowing it was a big group of friends and were making as many jokes as we were.  Sadly though, as much fun as we were having, I didn’t catch a lot of “blogging material” type comments and I didn’t catch a single “woman said.”  That’s probably because Josie was so far away from me it was pretty hard to hear most of what she was saying.   Same for Gary & Koala (tho I wasn’t expecting any “woman saids” from them).  And after a couple of hours Josie switched tables so she could play with the one and only Tony Bigcharles  (he needs no introduction) who responded to Josie’s many pleas on twitter that he come down from Reno to play in the game.  Another twitterer who needs no introduction, Alysia Chang was also at that table.  There may have been some other people at that table that I knew or should have known but I can’t recall.  Sorry.

So….the poker.  The very first hand I was dealt pocket 6’s on the button.  Instead of facing a raise, a re-raise and a 4-bet, as you might expect from a game like this, it folded to me.  I have to raise there, right?  I made it only $8, but the blinds folded.  Can’t win them all if you don’t win the first, right?

Later, with King-Jack of spades I limped in and Ben, acting next, raised to $11.  It was four-way and the flop was Jack-high. I checked, Ben checked and the rest checked as well.  On a blank turn Josie bet $15 and I called, heads up.  There was no betting on a blank river and I claimed the pot, beating Josie’s pocket 8’s. 

I got pocket Aces and before it got to me, Joe made it $11. After a couple of folds, I made it $33.  Joe called, we were heads up. The flop was Ace-high but two spades.  I bet $35 and Joe called.  There was another spade on the turn and we both checked.  A Queen on the river put four to Broadway out there, in addition to the possible flush.  When Joe bet $45, I tanked for awhile, but the board was too scary to raise.  I just called.  Turned out that Joe had rivered a set of Queens. Set over set is always nice if you have the bigger set, but Joe didn’t have that set til the last card.

I limped with 9-7 clubs.  The flop had two clubs so I called Josie’s $15 bet.  Heads up, no more betting.  The final board had two jacks and a third club hit the river.  I didn’t bet it because my flush was low and the board was paired, but I won the pot.

I didn’t write down the details but I lost a pretty big pot when I rivered the bottom end of the straight with a Jack in my hand.  However Lightning had King-Jack and won with a bigger straight. I was kind of chasing the gut shot all the way through and just needed a King to get it.  Instead, an 8 gave me the bottom end, so I called off on the river only to see Lightning’s bigger straight.

As I noted, Josie moved to the other table and was replaced by a fellow named Gabriel.  I’m not sure if or how I know him, but he was apparently part of our group and was a good guy.  Anyway, he opened this hand to $10, and before it got to me, Luke called the $10.  And I looked down at the dreaded Pocket Kings!  Well, now, what do I do here?  I believe Gabriel had a lot of chips and I was thinking, “here goes my stack.”  Nevertheless, I did indeed three-bet.  Not sure why I bet a little bigger than I ordinarily would have, but I made it $50.

Everyone folded and of course, I mean of course, I had to show the Kings. I figured almost everyone there knew of my perpetual problems with that hand.  So I showed my hand and everyone reacted.  At least a few people, including Gary I specifically recall, shouted “Dreaded” or “the dreaded hand” or “Dreaded pocket Kings.”  I have to admit, it warmed my heart a little!

Luke had left and been replaced by someone not of our group.  And this new player was acting like he really didn’t know what he was doing, like he had never played poker before.  I had pocket Queens and this newbie had opened to $6 in front of me.  Lightning called.  I was thinking about raising but I got caught up in thinking this newbie was so quirky and so unpredictable I should play it safe and just call.  The flop was K-Q-X.  The newbie checked, Lightning bet $8.  I made it $25.  The newbie folded and Lightning tanked. He talked about trying to get a read on me.  Finally, reluctantly, he folded.  I told him, “You can read about what I had on my blog post!”  I didn’t show.  But I believe I texted him what I had just to be a nice guy.  I think he folded a King with a weak kicker.

I had pocket 9’s in the big blind and Gary opened to $12, a few others were in the hand.  My 9’s were an overpair.  I really don’t remember the betting action but on the river, with the 9’s still an overpair, Ben took a stab at it with a $25 bet and I called.  He said, “Well you won, I have nothing.”

Now, my good buddy Don had arrived and took over Joe’s spot in the center of the table.  He opened the pot for I don’t know how much and I called with Ace-10 of hearts.  I didn’t accurately record the betting action, but there was an Ace on the flop and I called Don’s c-bet.  Another Ace on the turn. I think I called but I may have bet, can’t recall.  I do recall the river, it was a 10. Yahtzee!  Kaola was in the hand too and he led out for $25.  Don tanked a long, long time..I had the nuts so it was just a matter of how much I was gonna raise if he did call (if he had raised, I would have shoved).  But eventually he folded.  So I put out $75 and now it was Kaola’s turn in the tank.  He thought a long, long time, talking through the hand.  I suspect if he didn’t know me, a call would have been easier.  But eventually he folded.  I shouted over to him, “You’ll read about it in the blog!”  However, after we were done playing I did tell him I had the boat.  He told me had pocket Queens.

Eventually a good chunk of us got up to move on.  I had played 4-½ hours. My longest poker session by far since the 2020 lockdown.  There was a lot of nice conversation after we were done playing too.  I did get to chat with both Alysia and Tony who were at the other table the whole time (or maybe they were at the mixed game that sprung up, I know Alysia was).  Alysia and I compared our results for the night, she won a buck or two, I recovered from down over $100 to book like a $7 loss.  Tony was really interested in learning about the re-opened and re-located poker room in Ventura.  I answered all his questions, and I must admit I have been remiss in not discussing the new room here on the blog. I hope to rectify that soon.  I have no idea why Tony is so interested in the Ventura poker room though.  It’s not like it is practical for him to play there.  Now that it is right on the beach I’m sure there is no lodging anywhere near there that he could afford.  I’m not sure there is lodging near there that that Elon Musk could afford.

The goodbyes were turning out to be long, most of us were through playing, and when I left I thought everyone would soon join me in departing but that was not the case.  I got texts from both Lightning and Don that I missed a big time brouhaha.  It was at the other table, not the one Lightning, Don and I were playing at.  Don was still playing and Lightning was just chitchatting.  But apparently a drunk guy gave another player a “beer shower” (and got beer all over the table) and then took a swing at the same guy, but the guy successfully ducked the punch.  He fled, but I think I heard that security caught up with him, and the victim was hanging around because he wanted to press charges.  I hope that in Lightning’s version of this night, which I’m sure is coming soon, will give more details on this epic skirmish.

It was really great meeting old friends, making new ones, and just bullshitting and playing poker with a great bunch of folks.

I saw we do it again, soon, what do you say?

Very funny dealer (Tom, maybe?), Gary, Kaolapete, Josie, Mr. Subliminal

Joe (Hockey_Poker), Luke, Josie, Lightning, Mr. Ben, yours truly.


  1. ive no idea who don or gabriel is, i dont remember u telling me the poker room in ventura moved to a different location, and i notice u left out vince, tatude, and count everything on twitter. and id sworn i heard the guy who started the fight got away.

    1. Don is the fake name I came up with for a long time reader and long time pal of mine, he took over the seat vacated by hockey_poker, seat 5 at our table. Not sure if you ever met him, tho.

      I don't know and didn't meet the folks you mentioned, that's why I didn't discuss them. Wish I had met them. I heard that Vince was there but we were never introduced, and I wouldn't recognize him on sight.

      Well, Tony, I did mention in our Twitter DM exchange that the Ventura room relocated. And it is really right on the beach. You can see the beach and the Pacific Ocean right from the back window of the room. You can practically reach out and touch the ocean.

      I dunno what happened with the guy who started the fight, I only got two second hand versions of the story. Hopefully Lightning will give us a blow-by-blow report in his blog some day.

  2. Got there late, we just missed each other. GL, Chris M.

  3. And great fun was had by all. My only hand of note didn't make it I see. My 7-2 push everyone off with stupid opens and raises, just to show the W.H.I.P
    I'll admit stupid covered a lot of my play that day, but hey, Vets bills don't pay themselves and I have my first ever Dunkin Donuts T-Shirt ! See you all again soon folks.

    1. Thanks, Ben. Always great seeing you. Damn, I forgot about the Dunkin Donuts shirts Josie was giving away, not mention the free pens! I guess I was just pissed I didn't win a pen.

  4. The poker game was not to celebrate Josie's return to Las Vegas. I think her grabbing your butt might have clouded your brain. 😁 Actually, the whole thing was set into motion many months ago when Koala Pete told me when he would be in Las Vegas. We set up a time for me to see him and for him to come back to Arizona with me for a few days afterward. I let Josie know when both Koala and I would be in town, and she and Gary were able to come out that same period. With three ex-bloggers and me as a basis, I decided to set up a game at Sahara and got initial help from Luke. You, in fact, were the first other blogger to commit, so thank you for that.

    Tony did mention some of the other people who came but didn't play at our table. I got to meet Tatude for the first time. Vinnie was the hero of the night as he sprung for several pizzas for the players in the room and the dealers. I wish that Count Everything had introduced himself as such. And I spoke briefly with Chris M. Joseph's wife was at Sahara but didn't play. And ... we were treated to a guest appearance from Benny Profane! Some people were not able to come due to work or family/self health issues.

    As for the fight ... there's not much more to tell. I think the guy who started it was well lubed and had been losing all night. And after the drama ended, another guy at from that table was also well lubed, stumbled, and crashed to the ground. Security took him away in a wheelchair. I don't believe that he could walk on his own.

    Great night of poker and of seeing long-time and new friends. 😃

    1. I think I know how I got the idea that the game was in honor of Josie. I got that from Josie! She spent weeks on Twitter promoting the game and asking everybody including Todd Brunson (but not his pal O.J.) to come to the game that was in her honor! She does tend to take things over, doesn't she?

      I really don't know who Tatude, Count Everything and Benny P are. Are they on twitter or just commenters on Tony's blog?

      I was aware that Vinnie brought in some pizzas, although it wasn't clear if that was just for him or for everyone. I would have gone over to investigate but at the precise time the pizza was introduced, I was suffering some serious indigestion and I was afraid even getting close to it would cause an unpleasant reaction. Fortunately it passed after an hour or two.