Remember the great guest-post from @AvoidOddLawabout his successful run in the Venetian tournament? Well, you can find it right here. As you can see, I played in that tournament too. I haven't written about it myself until now because I didn't have a particularly great run. Or to put it another way: @AvoidOddLaw cashed, I didn't.
But there were a few interesting floor rulings and one bit of salaciousness that took place at my table that I can tell you about. I do love a good "woman said" story, after all.
The first thing about my table that I'll mention is the guy to my immediate right. He had this deep, rough, gravelly voice. I didn't care about that, but what I did care about was that the entire time he was there he had this cigar either in his mouth or his left hand. It was unlit of course—smoking in strictly forbidden in the poker room—but he managed to keep poking my hand with it as 10-handed tables are a bit cramped. Also, when he had it in his hand, it sometimes blocked my view, making it harder to see where the action was in front of me or even see an opponent's chips. I had to strain to look around the damn cigar on occasion. What's with that? What does anyone get out of holding an unlit cigar (either in his hand or his mouth)? Since I've never smoked, I sure don't get it, but you do see people walking around with unlit cigars. Frankly, if you are going to ban smoking (which of course I approve of), I think you should have a rule that cigars are to be put away while you’re in the poker room. No carrying around unlit cigars while playing. Aren't there pouches or carriers for those things? Or at least he could keep it in his shirt pocket (and I don't recall if his shirt even had a pocket). As it was, I got poked by the damn cigar dozens of times, and yeah, I could get a faint whiff of it every now and then, though of course it wasn't nearly as bad as if he had lit up.
Can anyone explain to me why anyone would do this? There's gotta be more to it than just for the fun of annoying other people, I would think.
As I said, there were some interesting floor rulings. At one point, on the river, it was three-handed. The first guy checked, the second guy checked. At this point, the first guy, thinking the action was over, started to expose his hand, revealing one card. The dealer stopped him and pointed out that there was still another player left to act. But since the guy had exposed one of his cards the dealer immediately called the floor over. The floor said to finish the hand. The third guy bet, and the other two players folded. Then the floor penalized the guy who had exposed his hand by making him sit out the next four hands.
Wow. I thought that was a bit harsh. It was clearly a mistake on the player's part, I really didn't think he was shooting any kind of angle. He just didn't see the third player had cards. This was fairly early in the tourney and I guess it wasn't really that harmful to the guy, but I dunno, I just felt it was a bit heavy-handed. And the guy actually had penalized himself by showing his hand. But I do know they are very strict regarding the rules at Venetian.
Then, when the blinds were 75/150, someone raised and the action was on the small blind. He had three green chips out there for his small blind. He announced "raise," and he took back the three green chips and then put back some more chips—a $100 chip and three$25 chips. Then he put out a bunch of big chips for a big re-raise, like $4K or so.
The dealer was confused. "What is that? You made two motions. That's a string bet." The guy said, accurately, that he had announced "raise." But what was the $175? The guy explained he was first putting out the big blind then he was putting out his raise. Except that the big blind was $150, not $175. Again, the floor was called. Obviously he meant to put out $150 and then put the raise out, but he screwed up. Of course, since there was already a raise out there, putting out just the big blind didn't make a lot of sense either.
The floor said, "If you had put out $150 I'd allow it. But you put out $175…that's nothing. You can only min-raise." The player was really pissed, but he went ahead and min-raised. The original raiser called. On a Jack-high flop, the other guy bet, the guy who could only min-raised shoved (perhaps on tilt) and the other guy snapped called. He had a set of Jacks. The guy who couldn’t count to $150 showed only the dreaded pocket Kings. But he got his revenge. A King on the river saved him. It actually worked out really well for the guy because the first guy might very well have folded his pocket Jacks if the guy with Kings had been allowed to make his big raise.
But the guy with the Kings was still upset. He actually went over to complain to the floor person and missed a few hands while he was kvetching. I didn't hear the conversation but he didn't seem any happier when he returned to his seat.
Much later in the tournament, the guy on my left was in a hand with Carol. You remember Carol, don't you? She was in that big tournament (also at the Venetian) that I cashed in last year (see here). The guy shoved and the action was on Carol. She was tanking and the guy starting yapping. After a few sentences, he said, "Well, obviously I have an Ace. So the question is, do you think you have a bigger Ace?" Well, as soon as those words came out of his mouth, he caught himself and, before the dealer could speak up, he called himself out! "Oh, wait, I shouldn't have said that. You can't talk about the hand. Floor!" Yes, he actually called the floor on himself! He said, "I'll guess I'll get a penalty." The floor person was walking right by and came over immediately and the guy actually explained what he did to the floor. Well, they let the hand play out—Carol folded, and the guy took the pot.
Then the floor ruled—and gave the guy a five-hand penalty. The guy was surprised it was so severe. "Don't I get any credit for turning myself in? The dealer hasn't said anything." I think the dealer was about to but he beat him to it. I don't recall what the floor said but the five-hand penalty stood. Again, seemed a bit much.
Now for the salaciousness. At one point, and older (and totally humorless) gentleman folded out of turn. The female dealer gently warned him, saying, "You're premature." This got a bit of a giggle from most of the table (except the player who folded out of turn) and one of the other players defended him, saying, "It's the first time." And the dealer replied, "No it's not." That got a bigger laugh and one of the players said, "Oh, do you know this guy?" She said, "No, I don't know him. But he's a guy. And all guys are premature at some point." Much bigger laugh.
After that, every time she asked for the blinds, saying "You're little, you're big," we all giggled, reading it in the most suggestive way possible.
There was a guy with a beard and at one point Carol got into it with him a little and said something about "cutting it off." This lady dealer said, "Oh, Lorena Bobbit?" Carol said, "No, no, no. I meant his beard. I didn't mean anything like that."
As for the poker, I lasted to level 9. I won't enthrall you with a bunch of stimulating hand histories. I'll just leave you with the last hand. This one was bothering me afterwards for some time. I was down $24K when the level started, blinds were 200/600/1200. I'd lost some antes and possibly a round of blinds by the time this hand happened. I looked down at Ace-King off and there was one limp in front of me. Now, I was close enough to $19K (which is an "M" of 5) to have just shoved there. Frequently I do just that in such a situation. But I decided I still had one more move left before it was shove-or-fold. I raised to $4K. Two players called, including Carol (who, from the first time I played with her, always seems to call me.). They both had me covered. The flop was King-Queen-10, two hearts. Did I mention that I had the Ace of hearts? With top pair/top kicker, a gut-shot to Broadway and a back door nut flush draw, shoving seemed obvious. So I did.
The guy shoved instantly. Then Carol snap called. Gulp. The guy had King-10, Carol showed Jack-9. Yikes. So I definitely needed help. A Jack or running hearts (but Carol had the Jack of hearts and the guy had the King of hearts). The turn was the 7 of hearts, giving me a bunch more outs…..but the river was a brick and my tournament was over. Basically, I was a Jack off.
All the rest of the evening, I kept thinking I was short enough that I should have just shoved with Ace-King there. Neither would have called. That's not just results-oriented thinking. I considered it at the time, and in the past, I've definitely shoved instead of just raising in identical situations. I need to go back to shoving sooner, rather than later. What do you think?
I was recently reminded of this post from several years ago and when I read it, I felt nostalgic. This is my favorite type of post to write, and I haven't really had the opportunity to write up many like this recently. I miss these kind of stories.
What happened was I came across something doing my real job that reminded me of this post, and at the same time made me realize that I had a follow-up to my original post that I never reported to you. So enjoy this trip down memory lane and then be sure to check out the new epilogue to the story at end.
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You all remember Alicia, right? She’s the terrific poker player I ran into a few years ago at the Aria tournament. The story of our first encounter was told here, where I used the pseudonym “Veronica,” Eventually I wrote an article about Alicia for the online magazine ADANAI which you can find here.
Well, this is the story of my encounter with another terrific female poker player. And it has an eerily similar ending to the time I met Alicia (oops, sorry, I should have given a spoiler warning). Maybe one day I’ll write a magazine article about this woman too. I’d like that.
This story took place exactly one week after the big tournament score at Binion’s that I described here. And at the same tournament, the 2PM Deepstack at Binion’s. In fact, before the tournament started, a young bloke came over to me to say hello. It was Leeds, the lad who took first place last week. We chatted briefly and I asked him how many more tournaments he had won since I’d seen him last. He said he hadn’t played another tournament since. This would not be the last time I saw Leeds before he returned to the U.K. (I assume he’s back now). I would run into him and his father later this very day, a story I told here). Apparently he and his dad like the same two poker rooms I do.
I was getting settled in to my seat (7) when I couldn’t help noticing an extremely attractive young woman approaching our table, seat card in hand. I can’t say I was unhappy when she took seat 9 at my table (this tournament plays 9 handed). She was really cute, and her figure got my attention in a way that readers of my blog might expect to get my attention. In addition, her sweater was low-cut enough for her to be working the Jennifer Tilly effectjust a bit.
I was pretty happy about this turn of events. I can think of worse things than sitting across of a pretty face for a couple of hours while playing poker. I didn’t recognize her, at least not from this tournament. As the day wore on, I started to think it was entirely possible I had seen her in other venues once or twice, but I wasn’t sure and I know we had never really played at the same table together, tho it was possible I’d seen in a poker room or two.
I’m going to call her “Lois.” She had a Superman bobblehead doll that she used as card protector. So I’m naming her for Superman’s girlfriend, Lois Lane.
I certainly wasn’t the only guy at the table to notice Lois. Two seats to my right was an older guy I’ve played with a million times before at this very tournament. He’s a regular so I’ll just call him Reg for short. Reg was very interested in chatting up Lois.
It turned out that Lois was perfectly fine with chatting with Reg. And me too. She soon revealed herself to be an absolute delight, a real doll, very nice, very friendly. And from the conversations we were having about poker, a very knowledgeable and experienced player.
As the session wore on and we could all see she was really tough player, she mentioned that she had played a lot of poker all over and had some big successes. At the WSOP, she had played only in the Ladies event, but hoped to change that this year. She had had a few big scores at the DSE’s at the Venetian in the past. And she had once placed 2nd in the Main Event of a WSOP circuit event held in the Midwest a few years back. For that, she took home over 6 figures.
One of the dealers did recognize her and asked her what happened to her other card protector. Apparently it was some kind of fish trinket. She said a guy had stolen it. That’s awful, a few of us noted. Then she said that the guy claimed to have found it, but he was sure he had stolen it.
“Why would he do that?” I asked.
“Because he wanted my number. He knew he’d run into me again in a poker room somewhere and then he could get my phone number.”
And in fact, he did run into her and told her that he had her fish. “Did you give him your number?”
“Yes, I had to. I wanted my fish back.”
Then I asked a question that was surely none of my business. “And did you go out with him?”
She said she did not. I expressed relief. “Good. He sounds sleezy.”
She still uses the Superman bobblehead even tho she has her fish back. I said to her, “You know, I’m not sure that, as a poker player, you want to be associated with a fish.”
But she disagreed. “No, no…that’s exactly what I want. I want people to think I’m a fish.”
By this time I knew that she was definitely not a fish. I conceded that this was not a bad image at all.
Then she said that one time on the 2+2 forums someone described her as a “shark in guppy’s clothing.” She explained that she was wearing a summer dress at that event.
It was because of Reg that I learned her name. After the first break, he came back and claimed that he was sitting next to a woman at a slot machine that was her spitting image. He thought it was her. So he asked her name and the woman was surprised. “What?” So Reg said, “Wasn’t I just playing poker with you?” The woman assured him he was not. So Reg told Lois that her twin was out there playing slots. She laughed and then said, “It’s Lois, by the way.” Except instead of Lois, she gave us her real first name.
Reg had ordered a “Virgin Mary” from the waitress. When she came back, she apparently had both a Virgin Mary and a Bloody Mary on her tray. She picked up one to examine and said, “Let’s see…..is this your virgin?” Lois said, “Yeah….that’s the only virgin you’ll find in this town.”
I had a blast talking with Lois—about her life and about poker. She would comment on the hands that other people were in (after the fact, of course) and even guess as to what the odds were for a particular player. Then she would look at her poker odds calculator to check and she was always within a few points.
She would even give me a little free after-the-fact-advice from time to time. I found this most interesting because helping out other players is not usually something a good player wants to do. Lessons are extra.
She wasn’t giving tips to any of the other players. And all her advice was sound, it wasn’t like she was trying to hurt my game. So I can only assume either she didn’t consider me any kind of threat to her getting into the money, or….she liked me. Actually, I think that was it, really. We were having quite the nice conversation all through the tournament.
And once again people had noticed me taking notes and were starting to comment about it. At one point, Lois also gave me a poker hint to put in my book. Something like, “Put this in your book….don’t shove against a guy who’s running super hot.” Earlier, she had asked me what I was writing in my book about her! I kind of shrugged and then was about to say “Until I learned your name, I was referring to you as ‘Beautiful Girl’ in my notes.” However, either I chickened out or something distracted me right as I was about to say that, and then the moment was gone.
Early in the tournament, who should join the tournament and be assigned to our table by none other than The Bubble Bitch (see here). This was now just a week after her dramatic exit scene. No one mentioned anything about that—at least while she was still there.
And speaking of The Bubble Bitch, on a more recent visit to Binion’s, Audrey came over to discuss that post. When she read it, she was dying to know who The Bubble Bitch was. She had a very strong hunch as to the identity but wanted to be sure. I hadn’t been back in awhile so she finally realized who the T.D. on duty would have been and asked him to confirm her suspicions. She had totally nailed it. She had identified The Bubble Bitch from my description of her behavior.
For brevity’s sake (since I’m so good at brevity), I’ll refer to The Bubble Bitch as BB from now on. BB wasted no time in making more friends. As last time, she was an aggro maniac. And so she shoved on a flop even though she had plenty of chips if she had wanted to play it safer. But the guy next to her called. He was another regular and of course had some experience playing with BB before.
It turned out that BB had 10-9 and there was a 10 on the board. That was it. She had top pair, weak kicker and had gone all in. But the other player only had Ace-King and had nothing on the board….no pair, no draw. By the way, it was actually a third player who had raised preflop, neither one of them had. So BB had called a raise with 10-9. Anyway, BB was ahead until the other player hit a King on the river.
We all found that hand very interesting. BB didn’t say anything to other guy at first, but she was shooting daggers at him with her eyes. You could see the faint hint of smoke coming out of ears.
The rest of us couldn’t understand the hand at all. Well, I understood the shove—that’s BB. I had seen her play like that just the week before. But the guy calling her shove with nothing? WTF? He had a shorter stack and so he didn’t bust BB out, but of course, if he hadn’t gotten lucky on the river he would have out of the tournament.
BB and the other guy were in seats 1 & 2, on the other side of the table from Lois and me. And everyone on our side of the table was quietly expressing our disbelief. Somebody said, “I don’t understand the call.” And Lois said, “I don’t understand the shove or the call.”
Well BB and Seat 2 started overhearing our conversation so finally BB started commenting on the guy’s call herself. And the two of them started arguing for a bit.
This caused a reaction from another woman at the table, a mature woman who was from New York originally—complete with NY accent and NY attitude. While the other two were bickering, New York Lady (NYL) turned to our side of the table and said, “Oh, she’s so mad at him. She wants to pull down his pants, take him over her knee and spank him.”
Someone said “He might like that.” I think it was me.
Everyone was laughing about NYL’s line about the spanking and Lois said to me, “Put that in your book.” Of course, I did.
Anyway, her own comment about the spanking got NYL started. “When she’d pull down his pants, he’d be wearing….what is it…..not briefs….not Speedos….”
“Tidy Whities?” I was trying to help her out.
“Yes, that’s it. Tidy Whities!”
She did not look like the kind of woman who would be talking about spanking men or men’s underwear. But she was just getting started.
This got NYL telling the story of how she took her granddaughter to “Thunder from Down Under” for her 21st birthday. That’s a Chippendales-type show at the Excalibur where male dancers get almost completely naked (for a post about a show where there’s no almost about it, check here). I did find that a bit strange. I’m thinking that, when I was 21, it sure would have been weird and more than a bit uncomfortable to see a strip show with my grandfather. But times have changed, I guess.
Anyway, NYL took her granddaughter and her granddaughter’s best friend to the show to celebrate her big day. Then she went on to explain that the girl’s best friend was in fact a guy. But as she said about him, “He likes men.” She went on to declare that gay guys make the best friends.
Of course she described the finale of the show. “At the very end, with their backs to the audience, they all pull their bottoms off. But they don’t turn around…..damn it.
She went on for at least a minute complaining about the fact that the guys didn’t turn around and reveal their…well, their true personalities. She felt cheated. What a randy grandmother! We were all laughing at her kvetching.
I’m not going to discuss many hands because I didn’t cash. But one I want to mention was in the 5th level with the blinds at (300/600). My initial $20K stack was down to $18K or so. I raised to $1,800 with Ace-10 of hearts. Good ol’ BB shoved for $6,500. Assuming it folded back to me, it would have been an easy call for me, knowing BB was almost definitely shoving light. And if she happened to have woken up with a good hand, well, I’d still have almost 2/3’s my stack.
But it folded to Reg, who was the big blind. He thought and thought and thought for a long time and finally called. Damn. At the start of this hand his stack was similar to mine. If I shoved, he’d likely call, feeling pot committed. I considered him a fairly tight player, not a maniac.
I didn’t want to put my tournament life in play against two players, one of whom (Reg) could easily have a better hand than I did. I never really considered calling. It was either fold or shove, but I just didn’t want to shove against Reg with only Ace-10. My stack was about an M of 20. I decided to play it safe and fold.
So they flipped over their hands. BB showed Ace-5 offsuit, which was actually better than I thought it would be. But Reg flipped over Queen-Jack offsuit. WTF? How the hell could he call $6,500 with Queen-Jack? I thought he was a much better player than that.
The flop made me ill. It was Ace-10-x. Ugh. Nothing else of consequence hit the board. BB took it with a pair of Aces, 5 kicker. If Reg had folded like he should have, I would have won with 2 pair. If I had called or shoved, I would have gotten a lot of chips. Ugh.
I was so surprised and more than a bit pissed. I did something I don’t normally do—I told everyone what I folded. I explained that I couldn’t call with Reg calling, assuming he had a much better hand than he did. I came thisclose, I mean really close to saying, “I would have called but I had no idea Reg was such a bad player.” Knowing Reg’s sense of humor, I know he would have enjoyed that, and laughed. But I thought better of it.
But thinking about it later, the next day, I kind of figured out maybe why he called. He knew that BB was a maniac and that Q-J was beating her shove-range there. But that doesn’t explain why he did that in a pot where I had raised. He’s played with me enough to know I’m not raising with a hand nearly as crappy as BB’s range. I guess he was rolling the dice. He figured I’d likely fold, and if I had a big pair or AK, so be it.
Sometime soon after this, BB did indeed bust-out. This was much earlier in the tournament than the previous week, a long ways from the money, and she managed to leave without making a scene this time. But we started talking about her inasmuch as her aggressive play and her verbal jousts with Seat 2 had made an impression on everyone.
The dealer confirmed that she was a dealer somewhere in town, or at least had tried to be. He claimed that one time, she had an audition at one of the bigger rooms on the Strip. The manager ended it within 5 minutes. She spent the entire five minutes ordering everyone around, so the manager told her, “This audition’s over. You don’t have the right attitude.” Shocking!
After that, I decided to tell everyone at our table the story of her exit last week, which of course everyone thoroughly enjoyed.
By level 9, I was more than a little bit desperate. I shoved with Queen-Jack and the player to my left snap called. He had me covered but not by that much. He flipped over pocket Aces. Ugh. Blank flop. Jack on the turn. Queen on the river. Nice suckout for me. The guy was now talking about being dead, but both Lois and I gave him the old “chip and a chair” speech. In fact, this guy had a decent chip stack back by the time I busted.
And then something bad happened. Lois was moved to balance tables. As she got up, she told me she enjoyed playing with me and asked my name. I not only told her but gave her a card with the blog’s URL on it and whispered that this was the real reason I was using the notebook. She said she would check it out. I told her she was a delight.
Anyway, I ended up helping the guy whose Aces I cracked make his comeback. We were both all-in, I had shoved with Ace-Jack, he had called with Ace-8. And he hit an 8 on the river. I guess I had that coming. And I doubled him up again when I shoved with Queen-10 and he called with Ace-Queen, which held.
My table broke and I was sent to the table where Lois had been moved to. With an M of less than 5, I had Queen-Jack of diamonds. First in, I shoved. Lois was the big blind and called, turning over Ace-10. A Queen hit the flop. But then an Ace hit the river. I was done. Just like with Alicia, I met a terrific female poker player in a tournament and got busted by her.
As I got up, she said, in maybe the sweetest voice I’ve ever heard, “You’re not mad at me, are you?” I said of course not, she had made the right move. I told her again what a delight she was.
I hope I run into her again.
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Well, just a few months after I published this post, PokerAtlas received an email with some minor corrections to our listings for a couple of Vegas rooms. That email was forwarded to me since that's my responsibility.
I noticed the name on the email. It was the real name of the Lois that is the subject of this post. Now, her real name is a rather common name, so it wasn't definite that the writer was the same person I played with a few months earlier. So, I timidly emailed her back, and after thanking her for the corrections (which I confirmed were correct), I asked if she was the same "Lois" that I had played with at Binion's that time and described enough of the interaction so that she'd remember. I knew it was a long-shot that even if it was her, she'd respond, but in fact, she responded almost immediately and confirmed that she was that enchanting young lady I met back then. She said she hoped to run into at the tables again some day.
Well, of course, I decided to tell her that I had written about our memorable encounter and sent her the link to the post about her.
She responded within a day, saying, "Very interesting read! I'm flattered." She went on to say that she had recently played a few Venetian Deepstack events, finally tabling two of them. Also, she was planning to play in a few big events that summer, including the WSOP main event for the first time. Then she added, "if do make it deep in the Main, you are certainly welcome to write an article about me :)"
I told her if she made a deep run in the Main, I could write about her in Ante Up (though now that I think about it, I probably couldn't do that). Sadly, I have not heard from her since then, nor have I run into at a poker table anywhere. According to Hendon Mob, she last cashed in a tournament in late 2017, but that wasn't in Vegas.
Well, who knows....maybe this summer will be the time I see her again.
This was from late in my Xmas Vegas trip. I was at the end of a losing session when a guy took the empty seat immediately to my left. He bought in for the $100 minimum. He was dealt his first two cards and the action came to him. He didn't do anything. The dealer said something like, "It's on you."
The guy said, "I've never played poker before. You're going to kind of have to walk me through it."
Wow. I'd never heard that one before. I decided that I could stay a little bit longer after all.
The dealer said something like, "Well, look at your cards. If you have good cards, you can call or raise." So the guy looked at his cards and called the $2.
The action got to the guy in seat 8 (the "never played poker before" guy was in seat 2), he started talking to the newbie. "I don't know what to do here. I don't know if this guy's legit. You really never played before?"
The guy said, "Well, I just play on my phone."
Seat 8 was still baffled. "I don't know…he could have a good hand and not know it. He could have a bad hand a not know it."
Newbie agreed. "That's right."
He played a few hands and didn't win. He tended to call preflop and maybe the flop. Sometimes if the betting wasn't too big he'd get to showdown with very marginal hands—or total garbage.
Sometimes he'd show his garbage hand and said, "Well, I thought I might get something." He called once or twice with less than nothing and said, "I wanted to see what he was doing." Well that almost sounded like he might have known what he was doing, but he didn't. A few more times seat 8 asked him if he really never played before, and he always said he'd only played on his phone.
But he started getting talkative, especially with seat 8—and another fellow who wasn't saying anything (seat 9). But he decided seat 9 was always bluffing (perhaps because he was Asian?). In fact though, seat 9 never seemed to bluff at all.
He almost never took an aggressive action. I think I saw him raise one time. Oh he would sometimes make a opening bet, but he would never raise in response to a bet. Once, he limped in, called a flop bet and maybe a small river bet. At showdown, he showed—pocket Kings! There was no Ace on the board and it was very dry. Even I would have won more money with pocket Kings. He played them like deuces.
So he would start telling the other players, "You can't call me….I got you beat, you should fold." Sometimes that meant he had a hand, sometimes it meant he had nothing. Or, in response to a bet, he'd say, "You don't have anything. You're bluffing." And he would call. But then he would show up with nothing himself (and the other guy wasn't bluffing). One time he called with something like 10-high. He called a guy with two pair. "I had to call you cuz I knew you had nothing." Apparently he hadn't learned that 10-high isn't a good bluff-catcher. He almost never called quietly. It was like, "I gotta call you, you got nothing."
And sometimes he'd talk when he didn't have a hand. Once or twice he would say, "Oh you have to call him, he doesn't have anything," when he wasn't in the hand. Of course the dealer did warn him not to do that. But they were going easy on him since he obviously didn't know what he was doing.
At one point when he wasn't in the hand (or maybe he was and there were multiple players) he said, "I think he's going for a straight." The dealer didn't hear that but I think one of the other players told him he couldn't do that Eventually he did get warned about saying too much about the hand again.
I did consider the possibility that this was all an act, and that he really knew what he was doing. For what it's worth, I was pretty sure that wasn't the case. Even though he kept winning the occasional small pot that kept him from busting.
Unfortunately, I remained card dead through all this, and there was enough action from the other players to prevent me from mixing in. I finally had to leave as it was getting late, down about 3/4's of a buy-in.
Once again, I was unable to find an appropriate picture to go with this blog post, the pic above again has nothing to do with this post. However, the site I stole borrowed it from had the headline for this pic as "Fitness model from Russia with ample bosom was the star of Instagram." I'd like to think that a fitness model from Russia with ample bosom will always have a place on this blog.
My most recent poker session in Ventura was short and sweet. We had a bit of rare (for Southern California) inclement weather and as such I got to the poker room later than usual. I had some things to do after playing so I knew it wasn't going to be a very long session.
I bought into the 1/2 game for the $100 max. I was down about $20 when I got pocket 5's in the small blind. It was raised to $5, which I called. Five of us saw a flop of Ace-5-3, rainbow. I checked, fairly certain the preflop raiser would bet. Indeed she did—$13. One player folded, another called. I looked at the player behind me and she sure looked like she was going to at least call, maybe raise. I decided to take a chance and make sure I didn't scare her off with a raise. I flatted and indeed the last player called.
The turn was a blank and I checked again. This time I planned on a check-raise. The same player bet $15. The next player folded and I made it $36. That was a few chips more than the last player had and I couldn't see the original bettor folding for that amount. Well, I was right that the last player shoved for a less, but the original bettor went into the tank before finally folding.
The river was another brick and she flipped over Ace-3 for two pair. I dragged a nice pot of over $100. Pretty good for this game.
I went card dead for a long time, then got a pair of 6's. It was a limped pot and multi-way. The flop was King-Queen-6 for my second set of the day. I led out for $6 and got two callers. But on a blank turn, my $15 bet didn't get any action.
There was a straddle and I was dealt a couple of Jacks. I made it $12 and only the straddler called. The flop was King-King-5. He checked. He was short stacked and I thought he'd only call me if he had a King. But I suspected if I checked behind he might bet his stack on the turn. No way he had enough to get me to fold. So I checked and indeed on a blank turn he shoved. It was like $12 or $14. I called The river was a blank and he said he didn't have anything. I didn't bother to make him show…I showed my Jacks and took the pot.
I was in the cutoff and woke up with pocket Kings. It folded to me. I'd already heard one of the blinds talking about chopping. Well the hell with that. I only raised to $6, but the three players behind me all called. The flop was 10-10-x and it checked to me. I bet $12 and no one called.
Ace-Jack in the small blind, a bunch of limpers and I just completed. I bet $8 on a Jack-high flop. One call. Blank on the turn and I bet $15. No call.
It was time to go and I cashed out $220….for a $100 buy-in. I'll always take a double-up.
The picture above doesn't have anything to do with this post. If that bothers you, let me know.
This is one goes back to my October trip, taking place a few days before Halloween. I had taken the day off to play the Aria tournament. I played the tournament for about five hours, busted out 26th and didn't cash. There's nothing really to report from the tournament, I only mention it because some the people I ran into there turned up later in the evening.
After a quick dinner, I ended up at MGM for the evening. This was a Thursday night and they had their then current football promotion going on. This version was the poker parlay card where you had to fill up a card with five different hands in order to get paid.
I recognized Pokerkrautat the table I was sent to and said hello. This incident took place a few days after I had met him (see here) and recorded the opening for his vlog. But he had not used my opening yet and I had not written about our meeting yet either. He had been there for some time and had most of his card filled out. While I was there he got his fourth stamp and the football game was still going so he had a chance to fill his card out and get $400. If he completed the card after the football game was over he would only get $200. And if he didn't get his final stamp before midnight, he'd get nothing.
Well the game was winding down and Kraut made his final hand to complete the card. When he showed his hand to get the final stamp I looked up at the football game and it appeared to be over. The players were walking off the field and shaking hands. But it turned out there was still five seconds left to go in the game; it was one of those situations where there were no timeouts left, no way to stop the clock, so there was no need to run another play even though there was still time on the clock. Kraut completed his card with about five seconds to spare and got a well-deserved $400 promo payout. He cut it about as close as you possibly could.
As soon as he got paid, he decided to take the money and run, and left game. I took over his seat because it offered a better view of the crowd that would inevitably be coming for the club later that night. I happened to look over at the podium while Kraut was cashing out and I recognized the guy he was talking to. It was a tall guy in a baseball cap who I had played with earlier that day at the Aria tournament. When he joined my table at the tournament, I knew I had seen him before, but I couldn't place him anywhere. But he was definitely somebody I had seen before. Was he a dealer from another room? Was he a player I played with before? I wasn't sure. I didn't think I'd seen him at the Aria before, but honestly, I couldn't be sure. In addition to the fact that he was tall, he stood out because he had a deep booming voice and he used it a lot, if you know what I mean.
While they were talking and while I was settling into my new seat, a woman took the seat directly across from me. She looked familiar to me as well. In fact as she sat down she even said hi to me. But I wasn't sure if that was specifically directed to me, or if she was just one of those people who says hi when they sit down at a poker table—there are people like that. I guess I was staring at her a bit trying to figure out where I knew her from, so she said to me “What?” As she said that, it suddenly hit me where I knew her from. She too had been at the Aria tournament with me earlier that day—in fact she had been at the same table with me and the tall guy that Pokerkraut was talking to. At this point I had no idea she and "Tall Guy" were connected.
So I said to her, "Oh, you were at the Aria tournament with me earlier today right?" She said yeah and said it with an inflection like duh,so apparently I was remiss in not recognizing her immediately. I asked her if she cashed and she said no, she had busted out 46th. Well I had busted out 26th, so I must have seen her bust. I pointed out Tall Guy talking to Kevin and said he was at our table too. She said yes and made it clear that they were somehow connected. So I asked if he had cashed and she told me he was the stone cold bubble. I said that sucks and she agreed. For a while I kept referring to him as the tall guy and she found that somewhat amusing. I eventually asked her what his name was and she told me, but I will not reveal that here. I'll just keep referring to him as Tall Guy. I saw that this woman was talking to another woman at a different table and I was pretty sure I recognized her as also having played the Aria tournament.
Then, while Tall Guy was still at the front talking to Pokerkraut, the woman said to me, "How about that, they're vloggers and you're a blogger." That really caught me off guard, because as far as I could tell the first time I'd ever seen this woman was earlier that day at the Aria. So I asked her, "How did you know I was a blogger?” She replied, "Because I'm smart." Well that was a little too mysterious for me and a little annoying, but try as I might I couldn't get her to tell me how she knew that I was a blogger. Furthermore, for the next hour or so she kept looking at me—not really staring but just kind of looking my way a little more than I thought you should have—and I was looking back at her, I guess because she was looking at me. So every now and then she would just see me looking at it and say, "What?" I said, "Oh nothing," but I guess I was kind of looking at her to see if I could recognize her and try to figure out how that she would know that I had a blog.
The other interesting thing was her line, "They're bloggers." I assumed at the time she meant Kraut and Tall Guy. So maybe I had seen Tall Guy in a vlog—maybe he's a vlogger? As I mentioned before though, I don't actually watch too many vlogs. But I suspected that maybe that's how I recognize Tall Guy.
Of course I knew there was a possibility that Pokerkraut had told her that I was a blogger, but for some reason I just didn't think that was the most likely scenario initially. As I mentioned earlier, I had just met Kraut a few days earlier and he hadn't known about my blog until I told him about it, and he hadn't published the vlog with my intro, so I figured he wouldn't necessarily even think much of the fact that I was a blogger.
At one point, seemingly out of the blue, she looked at me and said, "Don't write about me." I said to her, "How can I? I don't even know your name?" (as if that's ever stopped me!) She laughed and said, "Yeah, we're going to keep it that way." So any chance I of finding out who she was left the building. Actually I think this was all pretty much a game to her and she was just enjoying keeping me in the dark about how she knew what she knew. But since she was so intent on driving me crazy and also on not having me write about her, well obviously I have to write about her. That's why I'm doing this post!
So at one point during the game, a dealer pushed in who I barely recognized. I think I've seen him maybe one other time before. But the woman obviously knew the dealer and started telling him about this home game sheet runs regularly. Apparently she has a couple of poker tables in her house and they have a regular game every week or two and they run tournaments, with the eventual prize being a Main Event seat to next year's World Series. She was really talking this guy up trying to get him to commit to being one of their dealers at the game, talking about how much money he can make and how it's a great gig and she even serves food and she's a good cook and he'd really enjoy it and make a little money. He could even drink on the job. So then the woman took out a card from her purse and handed it to him while he was dealing and said to give her a call or send her an email. But she put the card on the table face down and said to him, "Don't let him (meaning me) see this card! I don't want him to know my name." I laughed at this and said, ”I'm just going to refer to you as 'Mystery Woman', but it'll be worse than if I knew your name." She laughed.
Mystery Woman at least gave me a really good "woman said" at one point. As I mentioned, it was a club night and it was just a few days till Halloween. I was kind of hoping that people would start showing up in costumes. A few did, but not many. But at one point Mystery Woman said to the entire table, "Did you see that?" Nobody knew she was talking about, so she explained. "There was this girl in a babydoll nightie with the back totally rolled up and you could see her entire ass." She really emphasized the word "ass." Damn, how the hell did I miss that?
During all this, did I play any poker, I hear you ask? Yes I did, but it was a pretty boring session. There weren't really any noteworthy hands, and I had a slightly losing session. I got only one stamp on the parlay card, and I hung around until midnight but didn't get called for the drawing. Sorry to disappoint those of you who love my hand histories, but I don't have any for you this post. Basically I'm telling the story because I know Mystery Woman didn't want me to.
I never officially learned Mystery Woman's name, but I did manage to see it on the Bravo screen in front of the dealer because I was sitting next to the dealer. I won't reveal the name, but it didn't really help me identify her at all. I also heard her call her female friend (at the next table over) Christin. But I left for the evening not knowing how Mystery Woman knew anything about me.
It was driving me a little crazy afterwards that I hadn't figured out how I knew Mystery Woman or Tall Guy and how this odd woman knew me, or at least knew that I was a blogger. By now I was assuming that she did indeed get this information from Pokerkraut, but I wanted to confirm it. I did in fact email Pokerkraut sometime later and asked him for some details.
However, before I heard back from him, I watched a couple of his latest vlogs and found out some info on my own. I saw that friend of Mystery Woman, Christin, on one or two, and Kevin identified her as a vlogger from Ireland (although she is actually German). You can find her twitter account hereand her Youtube page here. I'm using her real name because I'm sure as a vlogger, she wants all the publicity she can get. As a result of seeing her on Pokerkraut's vlogs, I checked out some of her videos and they are well worth watching.
And that explained Mystery Woman's line, "They're vloggers, you're a blogger." By "they" she didn't mean Kevin and Tall Guy, she meant Kevin and Christin.
And in one of Kevin's videos, I saw Tall Guy. He was with a woman whose face Kraut took great pains to cover with an animated smiley face. I assumed it was Mystery Woman. She really does have a fetish about keeping her identity a secret!
When I did hear back from Pokerkraut, he wouldn't say much about Mystery Woman other than that she was actually Tall Guy's wife. But he did tell me that Tall Guy used to work as a dealer in a certain poker room in Vegas. And that finally solved that mystery. The room he used to work, which I won't name, is one I used to play in a lot until a few years back. And as soon I learned that, my brain immediately placed in that room—that's why he looked familiar!
In fact, as my memory finally kicked in, I could actually remember bits and pieces of a story Tall Guy had told us back when he dealt at that room. Don't remember the whole story, but it had something to do with him getting involved in a huge traffic jam either coming back to Vegas from L.A or vice versa. So strange how the memory works (or doesn't).
Anyway, that's the story of Mystery Woman. Still mostly a mystery to me…but then most women are.
Here's my newest column for Ante Up The link for it on the Ante Up website is here. Remember, my contribution is embedded in the entire West Coast report. So below is just my Vegas report. The magazine should be in your local poker room by now.
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WYNN: Stephen Buell of Las Vegas topped a field of 743 players to take home $65K in the Wynn Signature Weekend event Jan. 28. Las Vegas’ Wendy Freedman claimed $53K for second and England’s Barry Isaacson earned $32K for third.
The buy-in was $600 and the prize pool was $389K, easily surpassing the $250K guarantee. All tournaments in this brief series used the big-blind ante format, where the big blind posts an ante each hand, a format that is rapidly gaining popularity.
VENETIAN: The March Extravaganza runs March 12-18, offering $400K-plus in guarantees. The main event is a $600 SuperStack event with three starting flights beginning March 15. Players start with 20K chips and 40-minute levels. The guarantee is $200K. A one-day $400 PLO event with a $12K guarantee is March 15. Players start with 12K and play 30-minute levels.
The Venetian’s second Deep Stack Extravaganza of the year will run March 26-April 15. The event with the biggest guarantee, $250K, is $250 with five starting flights beginning April 10. Players start with 15K chips and play 30-minute levels on Day 1, 40-minute levels on Day 2. The final 10 percent of each flight will be in the money, with the final 5 percent advancing to Day 2.
The first of two starting flights for a $1,100 DoubleStack tournament with a $200K guarantee is March 28. Players start with 30K chips and play 40-minute levels. A $600 DoubleStack event has three starting flights beginning April 5. Again, players start with a 30K stack and play 40-minute levels. The guarantee is $200K.
Two of the tournaments are using the big-blind ante format. The first one is March 27, a one-day, $400 SuperStack with a $35K guarantee. Players start with 18K chips and play 30-minute levels. The same tournament runs April 4.
A $250 Omaha/8 tournament with a $7K guarantee runs April 1. A $250 PLO tourney with a $7K guarantee runs April 6. A $400 seniors event with a $25K guarantee runs April 5.
More than $1.2M in prize money is guaranteed over the course of the series.
On the cash-game side, the room has a high-hand and splash-pot promo running March 1-May 13. Between noon and midnight, $400 will be awarded every half-hour to the highest hand of that period. Between 12:15 p.m. and 11:45 p.m., a table will be selected randomly every half-hour for a $100 splash pot.
WESTGATE: Vegas’ newest poker room will host the Heartland Poker Tour (March 29-April 9). The $1,650 main event offers the first of its three starting flights on April 5. Players get 30K chips and play 40-minute levels. The final table on Day 3 will be live-streamed on Twitch on April 9.
A $350 Monster Stack event with three starting flights kicks off things March 29. Players get 15K chips and play 30-minute levels. A $1,100 two-day event starts April 1 as players start with 20K chips and play 40-minute levels. There are also a few $200 events and plenty of satellites.
PLANET HOLLYWOOD: The World Series of Poker Circuit returns March 22-April 2. The $1,675 main event offers a $500K guarantee and starts March 30. A $365 event with a $150K guarantee starts March 23. A $250 seniors event runs March 29. A $365 PLO event is March 26. A $2,200 high roller is April 1.
STRATOSPHERE: The room at the north end of the Strip has revised its tournament schedule. The regular tournament is $75 for a 10K stack and 20-minute levels. This runs every weeknight except Wednesday at 7, and Friday through Sunday at 11 a.m. The 7 p.m. tournaments on Friday and Saturday feature a $1K guarantee.
Wednesdays at 7 p.m., the room offers at $100 bounty event, same details but there’s a $25 bounty. For all tournaments, players can get an extra 1K chips for registering at least 15 minutes before start time. Frequently, the room will replace one of the afternoon tournaments on the weekend with a $125 Stratstack tournament, which starts players with 20K chips and features 30-minute levels. All tournaments serve free pizza to the players at the first break.
TREASURE ISLAND: The new regular tournament is a $50 rebuy tournament and is offered three times a day, at 12:30, 6 and 10 p.m. The starting stack is 5K. For the first four 15-minute levels, rebuys for 5K are available for $20, whenever a player is at or below 5K. There’s an optional $20 add-on at the end of Level 4 for 15K.
On the first and third Thursdays of the month, the 6 and 10 p.m. tournaments are replaced by the new Magnum T.I. event. It starts at 7 p.m. and has a $125 buy-in. Players start with 30K chips and play 20-minute levels.
There is an optional $15 add-on for $15K chips after the 10th level, when registration closes. The poker room is adding $500 to the prize pool.
Players can earn a free entry into the Magnum T.I. tournament by finishing in the top three of the weekly leaderboard, which tracks the players with the most cashes in the regular tournaments. Also, players can get a free entry by playing 20 hours of live poker in the room during a week.
The room is continuing its Get Paid To Play program. Players will be paid $40 for 10 hours of live play in a week, up to $599 for 60 hours of live play.
The main cash game is $1-$3 NLHE with a $100-$500 min-max buy-in.
Introduction: The guest post was submitted to me by a long-time reader of this blog after his recent visit to Vegas with his buddy. I am only posting this with the understanding that his identity, and the identity of his friend, be withheld. However, I totally trust my source and am quite confident that that the narrative you are about to read did indeed happen.
Every year, millions of men visit Vegas, and more than a few of them seek female companionship of the "by the hour" type. This is a reminder that such activity is illegal in Clark County, where Vegas is located. I thus present this as a cautionary tale. And I'd like to thank Anonymous for this "word to the wise."
Take it away, Anonymous…..
This accurate account of a Vegas Hooker Attack—"Trick Roll"—is NSFW.
During a recent trip to Vegas for poker and other activities with my good friend, he had what turned out to be a wildly violent encounter with a local "working girl."
Please keep in mind that the buddy I'm describing is not a young man, and is one of the kindest and most non-violent people I have met, yet he really likes the ladies and is a bit of a "horn dog." On our second day in town, we had both played poker tourneys and cash games most of the day and I had a dinner date that nite with my caddy. So we split up about 7pm, and he continued to play cash games. I have never seen this man drink any alcohol away from the table, but he does consume mass quantities of beer while playing his favorite game. His drinking never seems to affect his play, even though his speech sometimes becomes a bit slurred after about 20 or more beers. I knew he was heavy into the beers this night, and when he phoned me in a bit of a panic at 3am, I became very concerned for his welfare.
We both have been visiting Vegas on and off for the past 25 years, and the following is by far, the wildest true story I have ever heard. It begins with him walking from one strip property to his hotel—an undisclosed property, which cannot be identified for obvious reasons. He had a winning session and was feeling no pain as he strolled to his hotel. As he passed a few shops and bars, a tall, attractive young female, with short skirt, and massive boobs, smiled and motioned to him as he passed by. He stopped and she approached, asking him what he was up to. He related that he was just making his way back to his hotel, and she became very friendly, asking him if he wanted any company on his way back. Even though he was a bit apprehensive, he said she was so hot that he couldn't turn her away.
When they got close to the hotel entrance, she suggested that he walk ahead and they should go in a side entrance to avoid security. She followed him into the elevator and began groping his crotch on the way up to his floor, as they were alone in the elevator. As they walked to his room she was telling him she was about to rock his world. He had no idea who would get really rocked a bit later. When they entered his room, he told her she could not use her phone in the room at any time, and she agreed. He told me he had heard stories of hookers going into the bathroom, calling their pimps or partners to set up robberies of their victims. So, that's why he had her turn her phone off and leave it in her purse.
They discussed her fee and he said he would pay 50% now, the rest later. She said no way, so he laughed and gave her the full amount. She immediately pulled up her mini skirt to expose her shaved monkey and fine ass, then pulled up her tight top to expose those massive hooters, and sat on the bed beside him, saying, "take it off baby." He disrobed, leaving on his socks and a baseball hat only, and laid back on the bed. She began rubbing his leg, then asked for more money. He told her she had agreed to the original price and that he couldn't pay any more. She told him she would need more money to get busy.. He refused and that's when things went crazy wild.
After a short argument, he asked for a refund and she immediately pulled her clothes together and attempted to make her way to the door. He said he jumped up and said she had to give his money back, and she began reaching for the door. He caught her at the door as she was opening it, and grabbed her purse to retrieve his money. At this point she began screaming and scratching and swinging wildly at him. She caught him under the eye with a sharp finger nail, and he said at that point he lost his cool and began to defend himself. He put a foot to her torso and slammed her away from him, while holding onto the purse, still trying to retrieve his money. He later told me he wasn't going to let this bitch roll him. Her body hit the opposite wall outside his room, but she didn't go down and charged at him again, swinging wildly. This time he pulled a "Ray Rice" and decked her with a single punch; she hit the floor with blood coming out off her nose and mouth, clearly stunned. He recovered his money, dropped her purse beside her, and turned to re-enter his room, only to discover that his door had closed and was locked, and he was standing in the hallway, totally nude except for his socks and a baseball hat, with a bloody hooker lying on the floor in the hallway.
The hooker wasn't out cold for long and began to stir around on the floor. He kicked her phone down the hallway as she was attempting to get up. She had discovered that she wasn't going to be able to "trick roll" this man and had paid a heavy price for the attempt, so she fled. He immediately took off his socks, covered his junk with them, and went down the back stairwell looking for security. He exited the back stairwell onto an empty loading dock, ran down the dock and entered an unlocked door into a receiving area, and yelled for security. Someone way down the hallway saw him and called for security. They showed up a few minutes later and he told him he had been locked out of his room after an attempted robbery. He was now surrounded by about 4 or 5 security guards and someone brought him a towel to wrap up with, and later, a robe. After about 15 minutes of questioning, they escorted him back to his room, and let him in so he could dress. He had told security that he wanted to move out of that room, because he thought the girl may have her pimp return to kill him. They stood in his room as he packed up and told him he would have to come down to the security office and be interviewed by their staff and the LVPD.
My buddy said he overheard the guards on the radio, saying that the female had called the LVPD and wanted to press charges against him. She must have been new to the area. Hotel security had him fill out a long detailed written statement, beginning when he first encountered the hooker, and describing everything in detail. He said he wrote so much, that he had to request a second page from them. After about 15 minutes, the LVPD showed up and entered the office. They checked him out, noticing the scratch under his eye that had bled a little, and asked if he wanted medical attention. He told them no and that hotel security had asked him as well.
The officer was a female, so my buddy thought he may be in deep shit, depending on what the hooker said to them. After a brief questioning, they asked him if he wanted to press charges against the female. They said the hooker wanted to press charges for assault and kidnapping, and if he was charged, he would have to bail out and come back to Vegas at a later date for court, and that the minimum charge would be solicitation for prostitution, a misdemeanor. They warned him that this happens all the time in Vegas, and hookers always try to trick roll their marks, My buddy told the police officer he just wanted it to end tonight and not press charges. He said they interviewed the hooker in a separate room and she decided not to press charges either. So the female officer told him she would give him a break this time since he did not even have a speeding ticket on his record, and they would let him go. She warned him again, that if a young female smiled at him again, to look the other way and keep walking to avoid trouble in the future. My buddy thanked the female officer profusely and left the office. Hotel security told him he was being evicted from the property that night, and would have to find another hotel. They wouldn't let him catch a taxi on property and escorted him off property. They also told him the hooker was being trespassed, meaning that she would be arrested if she ever set foot back on the property.
My buddy walked down the strip dragging his bag and procured a room at another location at 3am, and called me with the bad news. He said he was still a bit shaky, but felt lucky that he avoided being locked up for the night, or longer. He said the hooker was surely out of commission for a while, and she probably wouldn't be attempting to roll anyone in the near future, due to receiving that beat down in the hallway.
Moral of the story—if you are ever in Vegas and looking to rent a girlfriend, head out to Pahrump, about 45 minutes away, where its, LEGAL and SAFE!
Here's that other incident I wanted to tell you about from my most recent session. The rest of this day is reported here. By the way, I'm a little surprised that on that post, almost none of the comments were about the guy's antics in calling the clock on me so soon. I thought that was the most interesting aspect of the story. Yet everyone ignored that and instead seemed to comment on how I messed up a hand with Kings again--as if that is a surprise. Oh well.
I mentioned the guy on my right took his sweet time to make his bets. Remember, at this game they only use dollar chips. Before he got to the table, the previous person in that seat string bet a couple of times. He would count out his chips in front of him before he actually bet, and have them in several stacks, then frequently would put one stack out at a time even though it was pretty clear that he meant to bet all the chips in front of him. It was technically a string bet. He never stated that he was going to raise or what he was going to raise to.
Well it was odd, but the guy who replaced him in that seat did the exact same thing! There must have been something about that chair. This is the guy who took forever to make a bet—he would count out all his chips and have them in several stacks and then put them out one stack at a time instead of pushing them all together out in one motion.
I never said anything because I know what the rule is in this room. I wrote about it hereandhere. The player has to call out the string bet—the dealer never will. So I had that in the back of my mind, knowing that I might have to call him on it at some point, if it was to my advantage. On the other hand, if it was to my advantage that he make the full bet, I would keep my mouth shut. I suppose that's angle shooting to some extent, but that's what's encouraged by the house rule.
So I had pocket Queens in late position. Some guy had opened to $4. Although by this time there had been some pretty big preflop raises, that was still a pretty common move, the $4 bet. The reason is, if everybody limps in and there's only four players, that's $8 in the pot and $6 of it will be taken by the rake and the jackpot drop. So you're playing for $2. So, sometimes it makes sense to raise to $4 just to build a pot.
I was going to re-raise if it didn't get raised in front of me, but the guy on my right held up the action to figure out what he was going to bet. He did his thing cutting chips for some kind of raise. He counted out and stacked some chips and he had two piles that he was going to put out—one stack was much taller than the other. It looked to me like one pile was $12 and one pile was for $4. So he put out the $12 stack if that's what it was, and then he put out $4 additional, and then it was on me.
This guy was a slow player, but he certainly wasn't a maniac, and I assumed that if he made a bet like that he probably had a pretty big hand. Maybe Ace-King, maybe Kings, maybe Aces, maybe Jacks. So I was content to just call. The string portion of the bet wasn't enough for me to make it an issue. I asked he dealer to confirm what the bet was and it was $16.
Now as I was putting out my chips to call, a lady who had already folded spoke up. “Isn't that a string bet?” she asked. To my surprise, the dealer said yes it was a string bet and that he'd have to take back some of his bet. The player was obviously surprised because he had done the exact same thing several times before and had never been called on it. I was surprised because that lady wasn't in the hand and it was my understanding that only a player could call another player on it, and she really wasn't a player because she had folded. So the string bet didn't affect her at all. But the dealer was confused further by the fact that I had obviously already called the bet (after she herself had told me how much the bet was). So the dealer said that she had to call the floor over. The player who had made the comment about the string bet apologized profusely and said never mind, she didn't want to pursue it, forget about it. But the dealer insisted that the floor had to get involved at this point.
Thus, everything was held up and the floor came over and tried to understand the problem. The player explained that he had been doing that all day, but the floor told him that didn't matter now that he was called on it. The trouble was that the dealer wasn't sure exactly how much the original bet was before he added to it. The floor man said that he would have to look at the tape to determine what was going on. This delayed things even further and was actually getting kind of silly. Fortunately it didn't take long for the floor man to come back with an answer. But his answer didn't make a lot of sense to me. He said that the tape clearly show that he put the bets out in two motions. But nobody was disputing that. The dispute was how much he put out first. I think he actually made a legitimate raise to $12 and then added $4 to it. But the floor ruled that since he made two separate motions, his bet was merely a call and not a raise. That was just crazy. But the ruling stood. Therefore I had all my options open to me. I could call, I could fold (not very likely), or I could raise. At this point I didn't want to raise as that would give the guy an opportunity to come over the top. So I just called. It was three ways.
The flop came Ace-high and the guy on my right bet only $5. I decided that was low enough for me to call, even though I was probably losing to Aces. The third player folded. The turn was a blank and this time he bet $10. I figured I could call the $10. It was still less than he originally wanted to bet preflop, so I was thinking he really didn't like the flop or the turn that much. But when another brick hit the river, he announced all-in. I had him covered, but not by much, and I wasn't about to stack off with my Queens on an Ace-high board. I folded.
But I have to admit I was as confused as hell by what happened. I had thought that only a player facing a bet could call a string bet, and the way it sounded they had changed that rule. I asked the dealer and couldn't get a comprehensible answer.
So when I got a chance I went over to the floor person and asked about it and he explained that no, they hadn't changed the rule. The dealer will never call a string bet, that is still the policy. However, what I didn't understand was that any player at the table that had been dealt in can call a string bet. Even if they already folded and they're out of the hand, they still can call a string bet.
To me that's the worst of all possible worlds. I mean, I can actually understand how sometimes it might be beneficial to the players to be able to call it themselves, if they're involved in the hand and there might be a situation where you would want to call out of string bet and then be another situation where you wouldn't.
Suppose in this situation, I had pocket Aces instead of pocket Queens, I would definitely not want to call the string bet cuz I would want his extra money in the pot when I raised him, and if he folded, I've got a few extra bucks. And if he's got pocket Kings or Queens that he wants to call me with, I'm putting a lot of money in the pot as a favorite. So it would have really pissed me off if some lady who isn't in the hand were to call out the string bet and take some money out of my pot. I mean if the dealer isn't going to enforce the rule why let some random person who is not involved in the hand enforce it? And in this case, it was especially weird because I don't think the lady knew that was the rule was the house wouldn't enforce the rule, it was up to the players. How she missed all the other times this guy had done the same thing I don't know. She had been there almost as long as he had.
Whatever it was an interesting interpretation of a rule which I think is bad to begin with.
I ended up breaking even for the day, but I got a couple of weird stories out of it, at least.
Last Saturday I went to Ventura again. There were two rather bizarre situations regarding rules that happened at my game. I'll end this post with the telling of the first one, and then I'll report on the second strange thing in the next post.
As luck would have it, my arrival to the room gave them enough players to start a brand new 1/2 game, so they did. I bought in for the $100 max.
The game started quietly enough. After one player limped in, I raised to $7 with Ace-Queen off. Only the limper called. The flop was all low cards, and as I reached for chips to bet with after she checked, she immediately mucked.
I limped in with 8-7 of clubs and a guy made it $11. It folded back to me. I know I probably should have folded, but I decided to make call. The flop came Queen-10-9. I checked, expecting him to c-bet, but he checked behind. The turn was a blank and again it went check-check. But the turn was a 6, giving me the straight. I bet $20, expecting him to fold. But he went into the tank and finally made the call. He didn't show when he saw my straight. Another player—an Asian no less—said he also had 8-7 and had folded because $11 was too much. I felt like saying to him, “You're a better player than I am,” but I wasn't sure how it would be taken, so I kept quiet.
With pocket 10's, I raised to $4. That's a fairly common raise size in this particular game. I got four callers and the flop came Queen-10-X. A lady donked out $4. It folded to me, I made it $12, and it folded back to her. She tanked for a while and then folded and I took the pot down.
I got pocket Jacks in the small blind and there were many limpers, so I made it $12. I got two callers. The flop was 10-high and I led out for $20. The lady on my immediate left shoved for $23 and the other player folded. As I was grabbing my three dollar chips to call, I looked at the dealer and said, “Should I think about this for awhile?” A few players laughed and the dealer said to me, “Well, I'm sure some people would.” I would have made that joke under almost any circumstances, but there was actually some context to it. The player on my right had been taking an inordinate amount of time to figure out his bet sizing whenever he wanted to raise. He would count his dollar chips and recount them and restack them. I was actually losing patience with this guy, and I could tell the dealer was too. I'm sure the dealer was thinking of this character when he gave his response to my joke question. We’ll get back to this slow player in the next post. The board blanked out, and my Jacks were good. She showed Ace-King and said she was trying to get lucky. Hmmm, I'm thinking she probably should have just shoved preflop after my raise, but what do I know?
I guess I was up about $60 or so when the fireworks began. I looked down at my old friends, the dreaded pocket Kings. I was in late position, and before it got to me it was raised to $7. Now the player who had raised had just gotten to the table. I'm pretty sure I never seen him before in my life. He looked really young, but later he said that he had been playing poker for 15 years and he sort of made it sound like he was a grinder, not just a rec player—but that was after this happened. He didn't really look old enough to have played poker for 15 years. In fact when he said that, a lady said, “Oh you must have started playing when you were 10 years old.” He laughed and thanked her for the compliment. But at this precise moment I hadn't heard him say a word and he'd only been at the table for a few minutes. This was either his first or second hand and he had bought in for the maximum $100.
At first glance though he did sort of give off the appearance of a grinder. There were no sunglasses, but he did have earbuds. The thing that made him look unusual to me was that he was wearing a wool hat. It was an absolutely picture-perfect 72⁰ Southern California day outside, making the hat seem a little ridiculous. Let's call this guy “Wool Hat.”
It folded to me and I wasted a little time in taking a $20 stack, adding a buck to it, and pushing forward a bet of $21. There were a few players left with cards and they all quickly folded. As soon as it got back to Wool Hat, he started talking. “I just got here.” Huh? What the hell does that have to do with anything? I didn't say anything at all. I think it was at this point that I heard him say for the first time, “Are you sure you want to do that?”
What am I supposed to say to that? Obviously I can't take the bet back, in fact, I said that. He must have repeated each of the lines I've just quoted at least once maybe more. So after the second time he asked me if I was sure I wanted to do that, I said to him, "They won't let me take the bet back.” In hindsight I wish I had thought to ask the dealer if I could take the bet back. Then when the dealer said of course not, I'd go back to the guy and say “Sorry, I tried."
I don't know what game he was playing, but it was just kind of weird that he was acting like he was taking it so personally that I had three-bet him. Had he never been three-bet before?
Anyway, he did call and we were heads up. And then, as he put his chips out to call, but before the dealer put the flop down, he said, “Check in the dark.”
The flop was 10-9-8, rainbow. I checked behind, which was probably my first mistake. I have to admit his little act had me confused. I had no idea what kind of player he was but certainly a set with any of those cards was in his range, and for all I knew any two pair there was possible as well. Hell, he might have had Queen-Jack and flopped the joint. I even considered the possibility that this character could possibly have played Aces this way just to set a trap.
The turn card was another 8. He checked, this time not in the dark. I bet $20. Rather quickly, he announced “all-in." Here's where it gets interesting. Before I had at any chance at all to react to is bet, he said, “I'll give you 30 seconds to act before I call the clock." Then, as soon as he said that, he corrected himself and said, “45 seconds.” Well thanks for that concession, pal. BTW, in all my years of playing poker, I don’t think anyone has ever called the clock on me.
WTF? I wasn't really bothered by that as much as baffled. I knew I would get enough time to make a decision, but it was really weird to threaten to call the clock that soon. But I ignored it and started thinking about whether or not I was going to call. At least I started to, but then the dealer interrupted. He said to the guy, "You can't call the clock, only I can call the clock, and I'll only call it when he's had enough time to act.”
Now I was really confused. A player can't call the clock? Only a dealer can call the clock? The dealer's never supposed to call for the clock. This particular dealer is not a kid and has been there since I started playing there. He's a solid dealer. After I thought about it a bit, I realized what the dealer was trying to say was that the player couldn't call the floor over for the clock unless the dealer first thought that I had enough time to act. Although that isn't right either, is it? I think if a player calls for the clock the dealer must immediately call the floor. But then the dealer will be asked by the floor if he thinks the player had enough time to make a decision, and in this case the dealer would say that no, I didn't have enough time to make a decision. Of course I was going to get 45 seconds before that even happened so it all was kind of moot.
So my interpretation of all this is that, although I don't really like this kind of table talk and never have, I wasn't all that bothered by this guy's schtick, but the dealer really was. I think the dealer just took an immediate disliking to this guy's whole act.
Of course, Mr. Wool Hat wasn't going to take that quietly. He started arguing with the dealer about whether or not he could call the clock and the dealer would have none of it. The dealer said that I have to be given adequate time to make a decision and that he was trying to intimidate me with his comment about calling the clock.
Wool Hat denied he was trying to intimidate me but finally quieted down, and it was on me to make a decision. I almost spoke up and said that the guy's talking wasn't bothering me and that I didn't feel intimidated, but I decided not to say anything. I really wasn't that distracted by all this. I was distracted by the fact that I was in another pickle with my least favorite hand. Again, I had no information on this guy. A guy raises his first or second hand at the table, it could mean he's trying to create an image for himself. It could mean he's a aggressive player. Or it could mean that he got dealt a really big hand.
He started the hand with a hundred bucks so his bet was about $79; it was almost $60 to call. I had him covered. One of my big weaknesses as a poker player is that I really, really, really hate losing to assholes. Once I have determined a player is a jerk, it bugs me five times as much to lose him as it would be to any player that I didn't think was a jerk or actually thought was a nice person. I know that's bad to admit but it's true. At first I was amused a little bit by his act about my initial three-bet. But when he gave me a time limit of 30 seconds that he pulled out of his ass, and then “graciously’ gave me a additional 15 seconds. I decided that this guy was an actual dick. Thus it would have bothered me tremendously to give this guy a double up. Not because of the money it would have cost me, but because of the money he would have won.
And of course there's the other issue…it was pocket Kings. You know my history with pocket Kings of course. So calling there and losing (if I lost) would have been a double whammy on my psyche. Doubling up a dick with my kryptonite hand would have really taking its toll on me. I can't be sure, but I think I would have been more likely to have called if I had Queens or Jacks.
After I deciding I was going to fold, I waited a little bit just to make him wait. I actually considered waiting so long that he really could have legitimately called the clock on me, and then waited for the floor to come over, waited for him to count down to the final second, and then mucked. Or even better, not even fold, just wait for the time to run out and for the floor to kill my hand. But I decided I didn't want to put the rest of the players through that. So I folded.
Wool Hat didn't show, and he stacked his chips. As soon as I folded, I started regretting it. I decided that he most likely had Queens or Jacks and that I was ahead. Of course if he had Jacks, he had an open-ender. Well that's what I was thinking for an hour at least. But after watching him play longer and seeing some of the hands he was showing down, I realized he had a much wider range than that. I don't think I ever saw him fold to a three-bet, not that there were that many. And it looked like he could open raise with any two cards, especially if one of them was an Ace. It was very possible there that he had Ace-8. Or 10-8, or 9-8. Or Queen-Jack. Or even 7-6. Or Aces.
Of course if he had a boat or even trip 8’s, would he really have shoved on the turn? Well I don't think so but maybe he would have thought that his move would look so much like a bluff that I would call.
Anyway after the hand, he couldn't let go of the dealer's comments about his calling for the clock. He asked the dealer for clarification, saying he was interested in the rules and didn't want to violate any. But the dealer wasn't particularly forthcoming. So we all noticed that when the floor person happened to walk by, he got out of the seat and had a talk with him. I could only hear bits and pieces of their conversation but he was obviously trying to get an interpretation of the calling for the clock rule. I don't know what he was told. But when he came back to the table he seemed to be satisfied and never mentioned it again.
The irony is that after this incident he seemed like a pretty decent guy after all. He was never any trouble after that. He had friendly banter with the players on either side of him, and also with a player across the table who he got into it with in several big hands. I heard him say that he's mostly a tournament player and that he was just playing 1/2 for fun. He was telling the guy on his left hand histories from some of his tournament runs. I really don't know why he was acting so odd that very first hand, but he seemed like an okay guy after that. And I have to admit that maybe the dealer exacerbated the problem by his comment about not being able to call the clock, which obviously is incorrect.
I'll tell you about the other weird incident from this game next time.
I went out to Ventura a couple of Saturdays ago to play some poker for my first session since getting back from Vegas. I was playing 1/2 with a $50 minimum buy-in and a $100 max.
The highlight was a questionable move on my part which somehow paid off. I was down to $69 when I limped in with Ace-5 of clubs. The guy behind me made it $10 and there was a call, so I called. I recognized the player who raised. He's a regular and very aggressive. I knew he usually plays bigger games. I was pretty sure he was waiting for a seat to open at the 3/5 game. I figured if I caught something he would pay me off. I also had the other player involved to give me better odds. It seem like a worthwhile risk.
I didn't write down the specific cards, but I flopped the flush draw. I checked and the initial raiser bet $30. The other player folded. With only $59 left, I really didn't have enough money to get paid properly if I called and hit my flush. But it was close and I felt pretty sure that I’d get a double up if I hit my flush. And it's hard to double up in this game. So I leaned towards staying in the hand.
Once that was decided, it was only a matter of whether I should call or just shove. If another club came on the turn, I really figured that this guy was likely to pay me off, but I understood that there was a chance the third club would scare him. On the other hand, I didn't really think I had much fold equity. From what I knew about this guy, there was almost no way he would fold if I shoved. I guess maybe if he had made a continuation bet with total air, then maybe he would fold. But otherwise he was going to call, and then I get my double up if I actually hit my flush.
Since I was pretty much committed to risking everything on the flush draw, I decided to go ahead and go all-in. Of course he wasted little time in calling me.
Well the board bricked out, and I was left with nothing but Ace-high. Neither one of us was eager to show our hands, but I finally did. I said “I just have Ace-high.” To my surprise, he stared at my hand for a few seconds, and then said “You're good.” But he kept staring at my hand, and finally said, “Oh, you bluffed, huh?”
I didn't respond. I guess he’d never seen a semi-bluff before. Whatever, I was certainly delighted to win the hand and get a double up with Ace-high.
I couldn't stay in the black for the rest of the session. I was down a little when I got pocket 8's. A lady with a big stack raise to $10, I called. Then the guy on my immediate left shoved his last $20. The lady called so I figured I would call too. The flop was 9-high, the lady checked and I checked behind. The turn put a second 9 on the board. This time the lady bet $14. I didn't think the 9 helped her at all, and I thought she probably had an Ace-King type hand. Of course if I had folded there and that's what she had, she wouldn't get any money unless her AK could also beat the all-in’s hand. But she might have figured that the short stack’s hand was weaker than my hand. Anyway, I called.
The river was a blank and this time she checked. I checked behind and sure enough she showed Ace King. So I took the side pot but the shortstack showed pocket Aces.
With pocket Queens I made it $8 after one player limped in. Only the limper called. The flop was Jack-10-9, two diamonds. I bet $15 and he called. The turn was the King of Clubs and I bet $20. He tanked for a while but then folded.
I called $6 with pocket 5’s and it was four ways. The flop was 8-7-5 with two clubs. The preflop raiser shoved his last $19. I called and it was heads up. The turn was the third club, but the river was an 8, filling me up. He didn't show.
I was able to leave with a small profit and call it a day.
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