Monday, August 21, 2006

Tilting Locals, Four Random Hands, and Return of the Poker Grub

"Don't burn the locals." - Hunter
On Saturday afternoon, Grubby and I ate lunch across the street at PT's, a chain of bars with good food which are sprinkled all over Las Vegas. Grubby had a 2 for 1 coupon so we drove across the street because we're too lazy to walk in the sizzling Nevada August sun.

Our server was named Heather and she was waitress cute although nothing special stuck out aside from the tattoos of red stars on both of her hands. We ordered pints of beer while I kept an eye on the Little League World Series. The team from NY played Georgia. It was tied 2-2 in the 6th inning and I had money on my hometown state. I ordered a bacon cheeseburger burger, the pounder special.

"You sure you want it? It's huge. It's a pound of hamburger," she said trying to talk me out of my choice.

"Yes of course. This ain't my first rodeo."

I destroyed the cheeseburger, yet barely touched the fries or nachos. It was actually a double cheeseburger of two patties drenched in Swiss cheese and layered in bacon. Over the hour lunch, Grubby and I freaked out our waitress by using her for a series of prop bets. She had a weird accent. I detected either Vancouver or Minnesota. Grubby had two choices (one city and one state). He said California or Seattle. If either of us were wrong, we were going to pay her the money. Our waitress wrote down where she's from on a cocktail napkin.

"Big Bear, CA," it read.

I tossed Grubby $1 as she rolled her eyes.

Halfway through our meal, she came over and we did another prop bet, this time using her birthday. I picked the dates of 1-10. Grubby had 11-20. And if it was 21-31, we'd give the money to the waitress.

"March 7th," she said as I screamed, "Ship it!"

We also bet on her siblings. I put her on one and Grubby said he got an "only child vibe." We were both wrong. She had two brothers and two sisters. We tossed her the money.

* * * * *

On Friday, I hung out with Miami Don and Sin City Carmen at Red Rock casino. I got there early and played 6/12 with a Half Kill. The game lasted an orbit before it broke up and I had to cash out because they used $2 chips. When the game broke, I sat at 4/8 with a bunch of locals as I waited for them to open an 4-8 Omaha High table.

I lost a huge pot early when I misread my hand. I had a straight and didn't see the flush on the board. Seven people limped in front of me and I called with 5s-7s on the button. I flopped bottom pair and turned a gutshot. I was so happy I hit my straight, that I overlooked the fact that the same card filled in someone's heart flush. It was until I was reraised a second time when I saw the three hearts on the board.

"Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck me," I said as he showed me his flush.

partypokerad.gifI was wearing my glasses too. That's the hard part to stomach. I wasn't paying attention. And yeah, I have glasses now. Shortly before the WSOP began, I lost a hand because I thought I had a flush when I had nothing at all. It wasn't a small pot but the message was clear... my vision was not up to snuff. I noticed over the last few months that I was squinting more to see the cards at the tables when I was covering tournaments. I chalked it up to the fact I wasn't sitting at the table and standing up sometimes another table away. But when I lost the hand by a misread I made a mental note that my vision was slipping.

Halfway through the WSOP I accepted the fact that I need glasses and made a point to getting an eye exam as soon as everything ended. On our way home to Henderson late one night, Change100 handed me her glasses at a stop light. I put them on and it was a different world.

"Holy shit. I can see everything," I said.

Now I only use the specs at the poker tables and while driving. Sorry for the tangent. Back to Carmen and Don...

It was Carmen's day off after working 10 straight days. Working everyday or logging long hours in a party town is tough because you are surrounded by folks on vacation and gambling and getting wasted at every turn. She was looking to let loose and we headed over to Red Rock because along with Green Valley, those are my two favorite casinos. I loathe the Strip these days. It's too crowded, parking is a chore, and traffic is awful.

I played poker for a while before I joined them at the bar near the sportsbook. I watched the second game of the Yankees-Red Sox double dip and drank free beers as I played through the same $20 of video poker. Those video poker machines are much tougher than the ones at the Hooker Bar in the Rio.

We eventually wandered over to the craps tables to throw some dice. Carmen got in first at a super crowded table. By the time Don and I got spaces, she was stuck $100. That was until the lesbian with the mullet stepped up and rolled for almost 20 minutes straight. It started out after I tossed out a chip and said, "Hard eight for the boys!"

The boxman and stick guy thanked me for the impending generosity. Three seconds later, the red dice whizzed by me and danced on the felt before both stopping on four.

"Eight. Hard eight!" screamed the stick man as he pointed to me and said, "Thank you sir."

My favorite lesbian nailed point after point while Don and I kept pressing our bets. Carmen got unstuck inside of minutes as the table livened up. A craps table is the epicenter of excitement and constant action in a casino. The louder we cheer, the bigger the crowds that gather.

One older guy on our end was shooting with his wife. Before he took the dice she said, "Come on Honey. It's time for a Yo!"

After that we kept calling him Honey or a variation there of, like Honeybear or Honeycakes. He also rolled for fifteen minutes and nailed consecutive Yos. Spaceman would have been proud.

To keep the shooter hot, Carmen started showing him her cleavage. He kept rolling and she kept displaying the goodies.

"Why don't I just take off my shirt and just stand here in my bra?" she said. "I'll get more cleavage that way."

She kept the shooter hot while the boxman and pit boss were on mega tilt. By the end of the night, they all knew Carmen's name.

* * * * *

"I'm so addicted. I can't stop," Grubby said on the phone when I woke him up after only an hour of sleep. He was up until 4pm playing slots and crashed for a while before I reminded him about the Sahara tournament.

In honor of Grubby's last night in Las Vegas, we played in the 7pm Sahara tournament. My buddy Friedman joined us along with Grubby's friend Carla and special guests Miami Don and Carmen.

The sleep deprived Grubby outlasted all of us as he went deep taking 13th out of 151 but he still missed the money by three spots. The Sahara MTTs are a donkfest to start then become a pushfest after the second break. But for around $62 it's hard to pass up.

Friedman and I were seated at the same table. He turned quads on one hand. I was card dead and played 3 hands total in the first hour. I limped and saw flops with 2-2 and 3-3. I only won one hand the entire tournament when I doubled up with Big Slick. I busted out by a river suckout after my table broke just before the second break. I flopped two pair and got some guy to push all in on the turn with his two pair. He boated up on the river to send me to the rail.

Around Midnight, Grubby and I decided to grab a bite to eat at Green Valley Ranch. Since we both drove to Sahara, we bet $1 on who would get to GVR first from the Strip. He won by six minutes. In my defense, I took two smoke breaks along the way.

* * * * *

After almost a three month hiatus, I'm back to playing everyday. I got the time to play a slew of poker now that the WSOP ended. Been focusing on live games and online at Party Poker and on Full Tilt where I've been grinding out a reload bonus at 3/6 and 5/10. As of now, I'm stuck my full bonus on FT! But there's still a lot of poker left. Hopefully I'll come out on the healthy side of variance and the numbers will even out for me.

Here are some random hands that for some reason or another I jotted down in my notes over the past week or so.

A-Ko: 5/10 Limit 6-max on Party Poker

I raised UTG and both the blinds called on a non-bad beat jackpot table. I flopped an Ace on a board of A-2-x and bet out. One guy called. The turn was a 2. I bet and he called. The river was a 2. I bet and he called. He flipped over K-2 for quads. I welcome the action with K-2, but I'm stumped to know why he didn't raise me on the turn or river.

A-Ko: NL MTT at Sahara

Blinds were 50/100. Two limped in front of me and I raised to 400 with A-K. I had been playing super tight and that was my first hand that I played for a raise. Everyone folded except one very loose and drunk Haitian with the gigantic stack of chips. The flop was a rainbow with Q-8-2. Drunk Haitian checked and I moved all in for 1200+. It was a slight overbet but I didn't want him to call and suckout since the drunk Haitian was a calling station. I was happy to take it down right there. After a few minutes of indecision, he called with K-5. He had worse than nothing. No redraws and was dominated drawing to three outs. My Big Slick held up and I doubled up to over 4K.

A-A: 3/5 NL at Green Valley Ranch

I'm a Limit guy but my mouth started salivating like Pavlov's frothing dog when I spotted a walking and breathing ATM playing 3/5 NL that Derek referred to as a "Superfish." In his late 40s with nicotine stained fingers, the guy wore mirrored sunglasses a la Sheriff Buford T. Justice from Smokey and the Bandit lore. He sat in the Seat 5 at a 3/5 NL table and we used to see him rebuying all the time in the 2/6 Spread Limit at Excalibur. Calling him a horrible player would be a compliment. He looked like a cab driver who's a part-time pedophile (CDPP).

Grubby likes the 3/5 structure because the squeeze play works at that level if there are a couple of limpers and you can throw out a big bet in late position or from the blinds, unlike the plethora of tourist-centric 1/2 NL games on the Strip.

I found A-A on the button. Four players limped in front of me as I glanced to my left and noticed that both the blinds already had looked at their cards. With the LB intending to muck his cards, I picked up five red chips and tossed them out.

"Raise it up," I said.

Usually 7.5x the BB is a standard big raise in a 1/2NL Strip game. At the 3/5 game, 5x the BB gets people out of the pot. Not in that instance. The big blind and all four limpers called. Flop was ten high with two clubs and I didn't even have to peek at my hole cards because I knew that I had the ace of clubs. The players in early position all checked as CDPP moved all in for roughly the size of the pot. I asked the dealer to count out his stack before I called. An old guy in his 60s with a golf tan wearing a nice Rolex in early position check-raised me. He had me covered and moved all in for about 500 more. I thought for a moment as I took a deep breath and counted up my remaining chips looking for a good reason to fold A-A. I called for the rest of my stack as I said something like, "I hope you don't have a set."

He flipped over A-A. CDPP showed K-10 with the King of clubs. I was free rolling a flush draw with my pocket Aces. The turn and river were both clubs and I dragged the $1K pot. Having the dealer pick up stacks of red chips and place them down in front of you is an orgasmic feeling.

The CDPP left the table and old golfer went on mega-tilt. On the very next hand he moved all in for the rest of his stack with A-10o. He was called by a guy with K-K and the pocket Kings held up.

That's when the old golfer guy berated me for sucking out on him. His angry tirade of insults lasted a couple of minutes as he sat without any chips in front of him.

"That guy (the cab driving part-time pedophile) had you beat too. At least I had Aces," I said. "You gonna rebuy or do you have to get up early for your tee time?"

He pulled out a wad of cash and tossed it on the felt. The dealer called a chip runner over for the rebuy. The old golfer guy continued to needle me. I said nothing back and gave him a sarcastic look like, "OK tough guy."

Over the next ten minutes the old golfer would not shut up as I kept counting my chips that I won from him. That seemed to piss him off even more. The dealer had to say something to him and he snapped at the dealer. I decided to leave since I doubled up inside of two hours. Plus Superfish aka CDPP left and getting yelled at by a bitter unlucky poker player is not fun.

"I'm not going to sit here and be verbally abused by you," I said as I racked up his chips. "That's what my mother is for."

Ks-10s: 6/12 Limit with Half Kill at Red Rock

This one should be subtitled, "Never slowplay pocket aces especially in kill pots." I won two straight hands and had the kill button at the cut off as the blinds bumped up to 9/18. With two limpers in the kill pot including both blinds, I raised my option from the kill button because in kill games the kill button acts last pre-flop.

Everyone called my raise in a five-way pot. An ace of spade flopped with two small cards. Everyone checked to me. I bet and everyone called. The turn was a small spade as I picked up a nut flush redraw. Everyone checked and I fired out. Two players called including the big blind and Seat 5. The river filled in my flush. Big blind checked, Seat 5 bet, I raised, the big blind called, and Seat 5 raised to three bets. When I made it 4 bets to go, the big blind moaned as he reluctantly called and Seat 5 finally called.

Big blind (who looked liked NY Knicks assistant coach Brendan Malone) showed A-A. The guy in Seat 5 showed a Nine high flush. I had the nuts as the dealer shoved two handfuls of chips my way. Brendan Malone played that hand terribly, slowplaying pre-flop and on the flop. If he re-raised me preflop and fired out on the flop, I would have mucked. Instead he tried to get fancy in at a limit table in a local's casino. That hand opened up the flood gates for Malone, because during the next two orbits he painstakingly listed and described every single bad beat he took over the past week.

"You should start a blog," I suggested.

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