Tuesday, March 09, 2010

All Things Reconsidered - Mastodon Weekend

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

It is hard to describe the feeling about driving around the back roads of South Carolina en route to an underground poker game while passing a white-steepled church every half-mile as few grand in greenbacks bulges out of your pocket.

A moment of anxiety set in. Do I tweet about this? Will anything I unleash to the intertubes be used against us in the court of law? What do I do if I get busted?

The little voice inside my head calmly reiterated emergency instructions...
Insist that you have a prescription for the pills. You never met The Mayor before. Don't rat on your friends. Just remember to keep your mouth shut. And, demand a lawyer before any further questioning.
We unloaded the gear off of the back of the Mayor's white truck or what the district attorney could potentially call Exhibit 1A. It took four of us to carry the heaviest poker table known to man up a half-curved flight of stairs. Four tables were set up in what would have been a private banquet area. The owner of Azia catered the event with the finest sushi that G-Vegas had to offer. Otis found a local sponsor for the food, Bustout Poker, who picked up the catering tab and added a few bucks and t-shirts to the prize pool. A simple rinky-dinky innocuous tournament turned into a fancy-schmancy event.

Before the Mastodon Weekend tournament began, I taught a couple of more of the crew how to play Big Deuce. After a quick tutorial, we had two tables going. Drizz jumped into the mix right away in a four-way match including myself, Bad Blood, and G-Rob. After cruising towards a victory in a short amount of time ($116 profit in only seven hands), G-Rob fell in love with the new game. He vowed to sing the praises of Big Deuce love and promised that by the next time I visited G-Vegas, that the Mayor would be spreading a couple of Big Deuce games in his card room. Bad Blood, on the other hand, suffered a brutal beat and would be wanting to erase that deficit the remainder of the weekend. I was not even in G-Vegas for three hours before everyone succumbed to the Big Deuce phenomena.

Everyone became so engrossed in Big Deuce that The Procedure was canceled without any fuss. I know. Shocker. That's how addictive the game is -- so much so that we'd postpone a trip to a strip club and crotch grinding with single moms on the afternoon shift. We probably saved ourselves a slew of cash.

The crew slowly assembled. Lots of hugs, handshakes, back slapping, and frenzied snippets of conversation before we stuffed our faces with sushi appetizers. We eventually headed into the tournament room. The mini-bar, manned by a couple of local hotties, was prepped for AlCantHang and stocked with SoCo.

Cards went in the air as I took my seat at a table with many familiar faces. Four tables. A few locals. Free flowing booze. Semi-drunk friends. Buzzing excitement.
My Starting Table:
Seat 1: The Dentist
Seat 2: Empty (later Lee Jones)
Seat 3: BG
Seat 4: Big Pirate
Seat 5: StB
Seat 6: Dr. Chako
Seat 7: Empty
Seat 8: Drizz
Seat 9: Your Hero
Seat 10: Frank the Local
3,000 chips to start. Typical blogger tournament. Loud. Lots of laughing. Gratuitous prop betting. Shots being passed around. Pics going off. Faces were buried into smart phones during the lull in action with the iPhone geeks bitching about Twitter not working properly. AlCantHang paid for rounds of shots for entire tables. Ten at a time, including one for him. The Mayor was running around collecting money for the last longer.

I found myself in a few hands with the cagey and aggressive Dr. Chako. I flopped a set of sixes against him and I shoved all in on the turn. He said that he had a flush draw and folded. I was glad that it held up. You always hate to be the first who busts in these events. Luckily, the guy next to me was the first to expire. PuraVida26 took his place.

I won another hand against Doc with A-J. I flopped an Ace and I pushed him off the pot. After both of those hands, my stack went well over 5K. Looking good until the waitresses drowned us in colored-vodka-concoctions. Continuous trays and trays of shots with the Mayor and/or AlCantHang tossing cash onto the tray and handing out shots after shot after shot.

The vodka was free courtesy of some sort of promotion. They also had t-shirts -- mostly women's sizes -- which is why Drizz was paid $40 to wear the skimpy shirt for the rest of the tournament. Yes, I had to sit next to him as he nipped out of his purple shirt for the next two hours in an outfit that was more suitable for a Gay Pride parade.

I knocked out BigPirate in a three-way pot. I opened with 8-8. The short-stacked local in Seat 1 shoved for a little bit more. BigPirate called and I also called. The flop was A-10-8. Big Pirate moved all in and I insta-called. He had A-Q and my set of ochos were ahead. Seat 1 held 9-7 and of course, he got there and tripled up. I busted BigPirate and won the side pot.

The breaks lasted thirty minutes, or so it seemed. I hung out in the parking lot with the young guys dealing the tournament. That's where I sampled the organic local produce and I was impressed with the quality and the generosity of my hosts. Southern hospitality. Nothing beats it. I suspect that the breaks were longer than scheduled because they were waiting on the dealers to return from their high-altitude training sessions.

After the break, I was a lit monkey and have no idea what happened but according to my notes, I won a hand with A-K against A-J and moved up to 7.5K.

At that point, the final two tables had redrew for seats. I was moved next to Roman, otherwise known as the Jesus Quintana of G-Vegas. If I were to describe Roman, I'd say think about the biggest douchey-looking guy in the poker room during your last session. Well, that's Roman. Mirrored sunglasses. Hipster cowboy shirt. Fake Rolex. You get the gist.

I had no idea about Roman's run-in with the law until after the tournament ended. He introduced himself and I blurted out that I heard all about him. He gave me one of those looks like "holy shit what the fuck did they tell you?!!?!?" as daggers shot out of his eyes. I smirked and said, "I'm messing with you. I have no idea who you are. I'm just a friend of a friend."

"So what do you do? Why are you here?"

"I'm a UFO chaser," I said. "That's why I'm in G-Vegas, investigating strange lights in the sky and all of those goat mutilations. You know anything about that? Anyway, one of the guys I interviewed invited me to the game."

I later found out that Roman is a registered sex offender in the state of South Carolina for exposing himself to a minor. Well how about that? A pervert, a pederast at my table.
What's a pederast, Walter?
Shut the fuck up, Donny.
I found myself involved with a hand with Roman. Battle of the blinds. I raised with 5-5 in the small blind and he shoved for a little more in the big blind with A-9. He flopped a nine and crippled me.

I busted out a few hands later. My A-8 was all in against Roman's J-J and G-Rob's K-Q. As it was scripted, G-Rob won the pot and busted both the pederast and myself on the same hand. Of course, it wasn't without any drama when Roman engaged in one of the worst attempts of angle-shooting that I have ever seen. That's why I don't feel bad about calling him out on his uncouth behavior.

Here's what happened. G-Rob opened. I shoved. Roman re-raised his entire stack minus a 100 chip which he kept on his cards as a capper. G-Rob asked for a count. He had only 400 more than Roman and announced he was all-in. Roman tabled his Jacks. G-Rob flipped over his K-Q. He flopped a King and it was all over. As the dealer pushed the pot to G-Rob, Roman insisted that he was not out. He still had one chip remaining he argued. Of course, we all know that was bullshit. When G-Rob re-raised all in, Roman had two choices -- fold and keep the 100 chip or call and toss the chip into the pot. Roman refused to leave the table. The dealer told him that he was out. Roman called the floor. The floor told him that he was out. Roman refused to leave. That's when Otis and the Mayor stepped in and told Roman to hit the road. He might be able to angle shoot local rednecks, but he was up against savvy poker players and a handful of scribes who actually cover tournament poker for a living. Nice try, dickwad. I can't believe he was trying to fuck with G-Rob.

I recanted the Roman angle-shooting story while I chowed down on the kick ass Asian-fusion food from Azia. That's when one of the locals clued me in on Roman's run in with the law.

Otis went on to beat Bad Blood for the championship in a heads-up match for the ages. Bam Bam finished in third place (and the highest out-of-town Mastodon Weekend finisher) and poor poor RamHole bubbled out of the money.

I sat down at a 1/2 NL cash game. Roman took a seat. I looked around my table -- lots of tough players including Curtis, Iggy, and G-Rob. I told Iggy that my goal was to stack the angle-shooter. He agreed that Roman was the softest spot at the table.

I won a monsterpotten early on when I stacked Roman. It was one of the most satisfying hands that I've ever played in my life. I know that it's a bad thing to play poker with a personal vendetta against a specific person because you're prone to making mistakes instead of playing objectively. But, you know, fuck that. Roman was my mark and I was going to take the pederast down.

We were playing with a $5 straddle. Roman opened for $15, something he had been doing the entire time. He was that guy who was raising every friggin' hand. A couple of players called including Iggy, G-Rob, and myself with Ah-9h in the small blind. The flop was 8-6-5 with two hearts. The flop hit me hard with a gutshot and a flush draw. I fired out at the pot. Roman raised. Everyone bailed. I shoved. He called with 9-9. He had the same gutter but I picked up more outs with the Ace. He wanted to run it twice. I told him no way. The Qh spiked on the river. I made my flush and stacked the sex offender.

I added a little more to my stack when I busted Curtis. His A-K was no match for my set of sixes. Shit, fitting that I flopped the anti-Christ twice in an illegal game just down the road from Bob Jones University. I heart irony. Hallelujah.

My profit was over $800 in less than an hour. That was before I lost two pots to that fucker G-Rob. We even ran it twice both times and I whiffed both times. Yikes. The slide continued when I lost a pot to a local. He opened for $25. I re-raised to $75 with Ad-Ah. He called. The flop was all diamonds and we got it all in. He had Kd-Qd and I couldn't catch up. Aces snapped off.

My profit slipped to under $200 so I decided to walk across the street to the sports bar. We closed out that bar and I opted to skip the Big Game that the Mayor ran. At that point, I had been up for well over 24 hours. I needed some rest before the Frolf tournament on Pub Crawl Trivia contest on Saturday. I bailed with G-Rob and passed out on the floor of his den.

I woke up a couple of hours later to G-Rob's family dog licking my elbow. I fired up Twitter just at the exact moment that a couple of friends who were working in Berlin had tweet'd that the EPT Berlin was currently being robbed by armed men in ski masks. Sweet Jesus, nothing happens in the poker world for several months and the second that I decided to embark on an old-fashioned bender -- the biggest poker news story in the last year pops up.

We headed out to the local frolf park and I played a quick round with Timmy and G-Rob. The rest of the crew (TripJax, Drizz, Bobby Bracelet, BrainMC, and Skidoo) showed up and I played another 18 holes. My arm was sore, but I knew the course after having just played it. G-Rob invented a way to gamble on the round of frolf and he created a frolf/poker hybrid tournament. We all ponied up money. Winner takes all. If we could get a 4 or lower on each hole, we'd get one card out of the deck. At the end of 18, whoever had the best 5-card poker hand wins the entire pot. G-Rob is a ringer (and semi-pro frolfer) so he had to get 2 or under per hole in order to get a card. With seven of us, we ran out of cards on the back nine and had to discard one card each hole.

I was ahead with three pair (A-A-8-8-6-6) at one point until Bobby Bracelet took the lead with a Wheel. I had four diamonds so I was drawing to a flush on the last three holes. I didn't earn a card on 16. I did on 17 but whiffed. It all came down to the last hole. Bobby Bracelet had a much better tee shot but I played it safe and kept it on the fairway. I managed to make a four. G-Rob said that there were only three diamonds left in the deck. He shuffled. I made my selection. Nine of diamonds. Bam. Sucked out on the final hole to win Frolf/Poker.

The highlight of the round -- Skidoo aced #14. Yep. Never seen a hole-in-one on a frolf course before and it was a moment of beauty. I'm bummed out that I didn't get it on tape.

After frolf and before the pub crawl, I played another session of Big Deuce with Bad Blood and G-Rob. That time, I prevailed with a nice score in just 13 hands. I had an $86 swing in three hands to seize momentum. The G-Vegas boys are hooked.

* * * * *

To read an expanded entry about Mastodon Weekend including hijinks about the Pub Crawl Trivia Challenge, head over to Tao of Pauly to read The Mastodon Chronicles.

I also uploaded a brief Mastodon podcast that I recorded with Change100 yesterday morning. It's called Mastodon Postscript.

You can check out Mastodon Weekend photos here.

Original content written and provided by Pauly from Tao of Poker at www.taopoker.com. All rights reserved. RSS feeds are for non-commercial use only.

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