Wednesday, December 14, 2005

The following events occurred from 3-9am, Sunday Morning, Sun, Dec 11th and were reconstructed from notes and memory and were cut/pasted and put in this post.

It's very long and gets personal, but I believe it focuses on what has been up till now the best night of poker I have ever played.

I don't mean best to mean "most profitable" - I mean when I don't make mistakes - when I make the right calls and laydowns. When I do what the right play is regardless of results.

I don't have to explain this to you. You know what it means the night you've feel you've played your best game.

This takes place in an average sized poker room on the Strip – around the poker tables. - 3am Sun. morning -

two tables left and two drunk guys who enjoy ragging a guy and his girlfriend nearly start a fight - the 2nd I've seen since I got there - you know how it is - when two guys think they're cool, they get a laugh out of the fact and rip into whoever they feel like in the name of fun - they're on 2/4 and I'm on 1/2 NL - no biggie - the fight was de-fused, They took some cheap shots at the guy and his girl - probably said some crude stuff about how she needed to give him some sweet stuff or how he needed to go down on her or something… - I wasn't at the table - just saw the little shit step out of the poker room boundary trying to call the boyfriend out. He’s tall and skinny with his hair shaved pretty much all the way around but for maybe a quarter inch – Honestly, I think the boyfriend looks a HELL of a lot tougher, but unknown to him, loudmouth has a big, bulky friend two seats over at the same table who is not saying a word yet, but I KNOW if there was a fight outside it would be 2 vs. 1

They could be a California kids or cowboys in civilian garb, which is what the loudmouth calling the boyfriend out on reminded me of. They go sit down when the floor woman, a tough old broad, starts shouting at them – Security shows up a min. later and they never address the kid who stepped away from the table except briefly to make it clear that no one fights tonight – (whereas the night before 8 guards took a drunk out in cuffs.)

He later says he was joking and that he was bluffing and he's a lover, not a fighter but he was going to call the guy out. I think they antagonized the BF enough to the point where the BF made the first verbal threat and then the loudmouth stood up and walked out side the rope while the BF stood up, and in the end everyone sat down but Loudmouth was just calling out the BF and showing him down and he thought he looked like a winner. The boyfriend, BTW, didn’t know the big guy across from him was loudmouth's buddy.

Honestly, I don’t know if he was just full of shit or looking for fist action, but between him and his buddy, they could have handled any one guy. Sidekick alone probably has some bodies to his count on his own with that scar on his forehead.

Oh yah – it’s not enough to be an obnoxious ass at the table nowadays. You need the Andy Richter-ish sidekick – except this was Frankenstein – bulky with a scar on his head. Not pretty.

Eventually the two guys come to my table cause no one at the 2/4 game wants to play with them anymore and we’re the last one standing. – the 2/4 game has dissolved and all I hear are smart ass cracks about looking like a guy from Ferris Bueller's Day Off - I previously made no secret of my disdain for their shit when they walked by the table and one of them brought up the resemblance - and they tore into me with the Ferris Bueller crap -

it's true, BTW - I look like Cameron - LOL - but there's a difference between saying it and being an unbearable prick about it. I also look like Russell Crowe, I guess, and it’s been mentioned to me, but that’s not what I hear – they just keep going “Bueller” like Ben Stein does in the movie and lay into me pretty hard.

But I don't care - I got $250 in front of my from a $100 buy in and they've got short stacks of $60 so I'm going to wait for a hand and just play - I joust with them verbally a bit at first but it gets old fast and I'm getting tired of it. Then they run a couple bluffs and I pull out the Walkman to imply that I’m trying to ignore them. I’m hoping by not talking to them I can make it go away. They start making fun of my fucking CD Walkman – LOL. –

Let me diffuse this now….I know what’s gonna happen – YES, it’s a CD WALKMAN, but it’s CHEAP and held 12 burned mp3 albums – so it was enough for this trip.

They’re asking if the needle skips if they bump the table or was it my Grandpa’s - I’m not trying too hard right now – I’m listening to the Hank Williams anthology.

A nice one comes in…AQ diamonds. Loudmouths act after me and I think I raised to 10 and got a call from the Loudmouth. I may have checked trying a check-raise but in the end, skinny loudmouth was in and the Frankenstein sidekick was out and there couldn’t have been more then $20 in the pot.

Flop comes T44 - two diamonds - I bet 20, he calls –
Turn J of diamonds - I bet 20, he raises all in, and I call with about $80 more, leaving me $130....He has a J7 offsuit.

River is a J – hooboy. Yah. I lose to someone who caught a 4 outer and then a 3 outer. His friend gives the ol hi-five and says how great he played, and he's shouting and laughing cause he laid down J4, taking away two of his bud’s outs. They ask me how it feels and I’m boiling and trying to keep it down and they’re goading on how I’m steaming – I go “Nice hand – nice hand” but I’m trying it Phil Ivey style – I can’t smile anyways cause it would look fake. I have to deadpan it and tune out all the questions about how bad it hurt to lose to a two outer.


Ok – sidetrack - Let's do the math on Poker calc.

Preflop, I'm about a 68% fav to win.
Postflop that goes to 87% fav.
Turn - when I got the J of Diamonds...I actually still went UP to a 91% fav. If it had been a diff. suited jack, I would have suddenly become a dog favored to win at 38%, and it's not the lock that any other card would have given me on the pot, but my chances actually haven't gone down, I’m just now a 91% favorite.

NOW - Let's see what the odds are IF his buddy had J4. I set up poker-calc to replay the hands imaging that there is now a dead J and dead 4 - (you can't set it up as a third player cause the calc. adds them into the winner column...LOL - I just had to learn how to do this - in Poker Calculator, it's done by right-clicking the cards on the game grid, BTW.)

Anyways, here's a chart.

- - - - - - - - - - With 4 outs- - - - With 2 outs
Preflop - - - - - - - -68% - - - - - - - - -71%
PostFlop - - - - - - 87.3% - - - - - - - -89.8%
Turn - - - - - - - - - 90.9% - - - - - - - 95.2%

side note....I expected the preflop/postflop percentages to be a bit more dominating and higher in the 2nd category.

No matter how you read it - it's one of the worst beats ever - except sidekick boy was looking at me when he said it. He was smiling and gloating and talking for me to hear.

And whether it’s true or whether I wanted to believe it, I told myself He didn’t muck J4 offsuit - He's trying to put me on tilt. I honestly don't know if it's cause they're drunk assholes stuck in high school or cause they think they can really be Phil Hellmuth and win money, but they're gunning for me now. This is serious go time. This is war.

They're asking if I'm a local and imply they're not - they ask if I think I’m a pro - remember, I’m not drinking and am stone-faced now – staring at the center of the table all the time. They ask why a pro is playing ½ NL – Actually, I almost think it’s possible in Vegas if you’re a shark with a big BR looking for drunks on the weekends to easily survive on the ½ NL games.

He jokes he got a $55 hand job last night if I wanted a referral and how bad it must feel to lose to that hand. I turn into a stone and stare at the dealer/board and don't say a word except to stare in the eyes of my fellow players and I’m sort of seeing a half disgust and one or two almost have a look of pity in their eyes…LOL.

Then they ask when I had my last girlfriend and they start saying - "Oh it's been a while" - and then they go "Oh, we got to you on that one” and laugh like two stupid high schoolers.

and they know they did cause I didn't say a fucking word and I didn’t change a fucking thing but I KNOW my face must turned red at that point. I FELT the blood rise to it, cause this is going on and on and and we go from 15 hands/half hr to 8 - and in the middle of one of these ridiculously long hands, I get tired and call the clock and the ringleader says he's going to wait the full minute before folding just cause I called clock on him. Probably still ended the hand two minutes faster then if I hadn't but he was in my face about it.

Floor can’t do anything – cause no one’s threatening anyone – which is fine. – but of course, the play lag is unbearable and the environment at this time is almost unreal for the 4 players at the table who have been playing fairly tight and not really getting involved a lot.

This was a rough time. I almost lost it.

So for my own mental health, and for my tilt-free composure, I realize I need help. I grab my mp3 walkman and threw Kate Rusby on there - In the past Kate has soothed loud voices inside my head, but today I need her to drown out the voices at the table. I take one song and put it on repeat and crank it – it makes it possible to drown things out and I just stare and focus at betting action so I don’t miss anything.

And I listen to her voice wash over me – it’s a lullaby, really, is what she wrote, a reminder of better days – Yes, I look like Cameron from Ferris Beuller’s Day off. Yes, I have not gotten laid in Las Vegas ever and I’m slumming in ½ NL on Sun Morning 5am where there had to be better places to be.

But I didn't lose that hand – I played it perfectly. I may be run down with the best of them to runner, runner, - I may get bluffed occasionally off a winning hand or get drawn out on and there’s a good chance I won't get my $120 back from him it cause I'm down to $130 on a $100 max buy-in NL game and my arch enemy has at least $240 now and his bud has about $100.

But I don’t tilt. That doesn't happen. Not tonight

Ok - Next problem...Let's me start now with the table setup and dynamic to give you a clue of the battlefield.

Seat 1 - Good guy from Canada - solid player – a bit tight, but solid
Seat 2 - good guy from somewhere - also solid and was there for hrs. with a stack between $100 and $200. – He asked for the address of this blog so if he reads this, gives me a shout out

Seat 4 - Me
Seat 5 - really drunk kid who looks like Shane Mcgowan and has some cash. He's drunk and obnoxious as drunks are, playing sloppy, but he's not part of the initial duo that’s giving me shit – his biggest concern is literally getting the waitress to bring him more booze, not coming after me.

Seat 6 - Main Skinny Ass punk Loudmouth. –
Seat 8 - a quiet older guy who REALLY tightened up when the fireworks started
Seat 9 - Big sidekick loudmouth - The Andy Richter of the dynamic duds. – just as loudmouth but sorta mean looking, really - J - maybe he was the guy who’s head/body was later carved up for the Frankenstein Monster – Not pretty.

Occasionally there's a tight passive player who wanders in and out but it doesn't disrupt the general dynamic - they will be acting after me more times then they will be acting before me. As we start out, if I'm in a hand, the dynamic duds generally take control of it from the other players and when they’re heads up will joke about just each putting in 5 bucks and checking it down with each other and the drunk in seat 5.

It's starting to look like the drunk in seat 5 is joining up with Loudmouth and the Sidekick The duo is 6 and 8 but the drunk in seat 5 is getting into it, But at one time Seats 5 and 6 got up for a smoke break and talked out of earshot and I think something not kosher was discussed. He's going along with their needling and they bring him in as a sort of ally. I can't prove it or do a damn thing about it without either breaking the game or making it unbearable by bringing the floor over, but I feel there is soft playing going on. In any case, I’m outnumbered, but I KNOW I’m the better player.

This is just like deep stack tourney play with a couple unpredictable assholes on the Internet and a guy who types LOL a lot when either one says something. I’ve lost a couple big pots but have 60 times the BB and am in no danger whatsoever and can continue to buy-in at $100 increments for the next 6 bad beats if need be.

This can be done.

It starts with seat 6 repopping me a lot. Twice I limped with hands and I get repopped, lay it down, and he shows the bluff. I’m getting a feel for the game and their postflop play now that things are serious and they think I’m on tilt. Maybe I am on tilt – I tell myself if I can get in cheap with 6/8 suited and hit a flop I can outplay them post flop - but I don’t have enough confidence in my hands to commit my stack yet so I lay them down – But about the third time he repops, he encounters a reraise from another player and he quickly lays it down

A bulb then goes off – I still got $130, and I decide to limp with any hand when I'm in position where I've already had two or three limpers and there's still one or more of my foes to act. One thing about having loudmouth almost on my immediate left - I am almost at a point where I can literally command a raise out of him with a semblance of accuracy just by limping – so I want him in there with a lot of opponents.

I also loosen my preflop starting requirements for limping - I'm trying to encourage lots of $20 repops by my foes and shown bluffs. I want to bring the whole table down on them. I’ve got $700 more cash if I need it – let’s see what a few $2 limps will accomplish.

Sure enough, a couple of the smart guys still at the table started slow playing big hands and got some nice hands in – that toned down the aggression by the dynamic duds a bit. It won't put an end to soft playing or later, attempted chip dumping, but I'll get to that. After they dropped about 20% of their stacks I could start playing my regular hands again without issues and stopped limping with crap. Probably cost me about oh, 12 bucks total cause I would never commit post flop. One problem solved.

Seat 5 is now overjoyed, BTW, cause the waitress wasn’t coming fast enough and he wanted a 2nd beer when he got down with the first one. Apparently the waitress wasn’t fast enough – heh. She can’t give it to him, but seat 1 gets a beer and hadn’t drank it and graciously offered it to seat 5 who set it on the carpet next to him out of prying eye sight. He’s happy now. – LOL –

In retrospect, I think Seat 1 was salivating for a nice juicy bite – unfortunately he didn’t get one, to my knowledge – and was getting offended but wasn’t saying much –He joked about disgracing his country with his play cause he didn’t get more chips on a table this bad but he was more then complimentary when I took a pot down from the bozos. Most folks at the table stayed out of it verbally though. But I may have missed some stuff cause I was tuning everything out – LOL.

So loudmouth and the sidekick kept trying to get me to talk to them - to start something up - and I stared at the board like it was a car crash and I turned up the headset to 11. I've got other opponents at the table wondering how I do it and I let a couple of them in on the walkman. I’ve got this one peaceful song replaying over and over. The song, BTW is called “Sleepless Sailor” by Kate Rusby – it’s on her album “10” and I highly recommend it.

and somewhere about 5:30am, this hand happened.

I get AQ suited again. - I can't recall if I raised preflop or if it was diamonds - I think I limped trying to get them to move on me.

flop comes with an A - I bet 20, he calls
turn K - I bet 20, call
river J - I bet 25 - he raises to 75 - I think for 20 seconds, sigh a deep breath, and I call – If I lost, I know I lost with the best hand, best flop, and played the hand fine and just got run down again, but he mucks without even showing. I've got my $260 back that he took from our first encounter

Then the damnest thing happens – the tilt brothers go on tilt. - - They’re still needling and being loud and as cocky as hell, but ya know, they’re losing now occasionally.

And then I feel like it’s time to start in. I tell him he’s right that I need an Ipod – I’m going to buy one with the money he gave me. I’m not winning pots vs the duo but others are, and when another guy takes a pot from one I toss a tip to the dealer. Then the unthinkable – sidekick busts out

He came to the table with 30 and loudmouth gave him 30 more and I knew if one busted the other would eventually pass chips to the other and I was ready… I called the floor and asked for a ruling and she was firm – no way chip passing or moving is occurring. If he leaves and rebuys, he’s got to rebuy for the same amount or he’s out for 2 hrs. - Well, this gets them pretty indignant and so forth and but she's putting her foot down. Personally, I’m still not sure there wasn’t some other cheating going on then soft playing, but it don’t matter. I’m enforcing the rule and calling them on out for one reason only – to piss them off even more.

And now I’m starting to talk. - “Sorry, man – chip passing is a no-no between players – what if you were colluding? - rules are rules – got to obey the rules, bro, but yeah, go to the ATM and buy back in for your buddy.” in a condescending way like the way a bureaucrat might manipulate the law or the rules for ill-gotten ends. Nothing ever happens and sidekick spends 30 minutes busted behind his friend before apparently saying goodbye and walking off – I missed it thru the walkman but I made damn sure I buttoned all the pockets on my jacket and was cautious of getting an elbow to the head for a few minutes.

Bear in mind, the floor people are now in on this with me. This whole thing is sort of pissing off the floor cause it’s disruptive, and we got this one old dealer – a fun sarcastic guy named David who said he only got in 8 hands that table when he usually gets 15 - and dealers who are getting half the normal amount of tips cause these dicks are talking so much time up they're slowing the game down.... so they’re with me on this and hey, all we’re doing is enforcing the rules…The money you have on the table stays in front of you.

The table’s real bad now – obnoxious – we get a new player – older fellow – who I try to talk out of sitting down – he seems nice and I don’t want him to get a bad impression of live poker. He just smiles and sits down anyway. Oh…boy…did I read him wrong. We never butted heads but it became extremely obvious to me he was NOT a kindly old gentleman just trying out Vegas poker for the first time. - J - I imagined a local retiree there to make comp dollars and watch Sunday football or something while being mean with big hands. I’m not convinced the best player departed the table when I got up from it.

Finally our Loudmouth friend is gone.

He never said a goddamn word to me when he got up and walked from the table. No smartass cracks – no parting jabs – he slinked into the darkness

Well, at this point, I want to leave, and I stand up and I say - "Gentlemen - I can't beat you - you're too good for me" and get ready to go. A dealer walking by says that's the most honest thing he's ever heard anyone say in the Card room – :).

but the other 5 are encouraging me to stay and I feel like I can take off the headphones and just relax again in a nice game of poker with some decent guys if I want to. Maybe they all thought I was the next fish to gut – LOL –

but all I have for all that work of 4 hard hrs are my $100 buy-in and about $175 in profit – about what I had before the dynamic duo joined our table. - their chips are on the drunk guy's stack in seat 5 and at one time I think he . Well, he was enjoying the whole thing and laughing with them even though he wasn't part of the original he's guilty too, right? And he’s slowplaying

So I sit back down and do 180 degrees on my attitude. I make it clear, those guys pissed me off, but I got nothing against you, bro.

Our “hand” - I have 68 diamonds - freebie in BB – drunk limped UTG.

flop - comes 457 with two hearts – I flop the nuts. I bet 20, he calls
turn - comes - 9 hearts – There are now three hearts on the board and I make a blunder – I slow down and check – he checks also. Have to hope it’s not expensive.
river - K clubs - I bet 25 - he pushes enough to get me all-in.

I do something I almost never do - I turn to him and start talking, fishing for a tell. He's drunk so he won't be quiet - He says he doesn't think I made the flush or that it's a small one. He's talking about how I didn't make it.

Previously we had an encounter where I flopped bottom set and he pushed me all in – I was afraid of a bigger hand and draw then I could beat, but then he said "Your kicker's no good" - I instacalled and snapped off his AK - so he's not saying things to be deceitful. I think he not sure if he has me beat but he knows I don’t have a big hand cause I checked the turn and slowed down when he repopped it and so he’s trying to say that I have an inferior hand to him. He has a light smile, and I have to believe from my evaluation of his play (generally hideous at least cause he was drunk) that I am dealing with a guy who probably really does know how to play poker when not drunk of his ass.

An all-in at the river and he wants me to believe I'm losing and I don’t think he wants a call. I spend 30 seconds wondering if it's cause he has 23 of hearts - I'm scared of a really small flush - but I think he'd like any flush and would want a call if he had that.

I call - he had flopped a set of 5's – I drag the pot.

And after that redeeming call and excellent play, Here’s where it gets dark….

He rebought while I complimented him PROFUSELY and SERIOUSLY on how good a bet that was and how it was so close and how I only called cause I could rebuy cause I had $600 in my wallet from a lucky run last night. I massage his ego and let him know he's a good poker player - I don't mock him or put me up or get too condescending – I’m a good actor when I want to lay praise on a drunk. I’ve been convincing people I like their band for years. I tell him that I'm tipping the waitress for that next beer she's bringing him.

I feel a bit ashamed for acting like a Casino boss to the drunk guy. I am buttering him up and acting like a Casino host for the sole purpose of tearing his money away from him. I relax and tell myself he's in his mid 20's, def. close to alcoholic - (you know the look - Shane McGowan pale face with a double chin) - and this is just $400 bucks...I'm not taking money from children. Truth is, that’s all the guilt I feel on it – he makes his choices and I make mine. People offered to put drinks in my hand too but I didn’t drink them and as you might guess I once had problems with alcohol myself.

But a man makes his own choices. I doubt floor would remove him anyways. So I make mine and I keep him happy.

We ran into each other one more time - I caught a 9 outer to run down his diminished stack. He rebought for 60 more but I was drained. The money won would not be easy with 3 or 4 other players looking at it – I guess they milked him for another hr. or two as I understood later. Truth is, I don't have any energy left to do anything but collapse – but I run down to the internet pc’s and come on here and start a quick post with the rough draft of this – I can save it and it’s here when I get home in a draft fold.

and I took back all the chips I lost and more. Every last cent and cashed out $360 in profit. - I must tipped away at least 40 - I felt bad for all the floor and dealers cause you know it costs the dealers tips when we're at 8 hands an hr. cause everyone's a comedy star nowadays. I made a point of getting a couple of them an extra 5 and the floorpeople an extra $10. And the guys left at the table will make more money with me gone – LOL.

I can’t think of a night where I was more on. I saw the hands, I saw the cards, and I stopped the tilt factor from playing. That’s our most dangerous enemy, and he had reinforcements that night.

And then there’s that dark side again. I readily encouraged a man who clearly had an issue with alcohol to continue carrying on acting like a man on the way down a road I know is bad news. – he had that shallow pasty face and the double chin going – I knew he was in danger…and I didn’t walk from it,

but I didn’t starve any kids either and I didn’t kill any civilians..

This is poker. I’m not there to get drunk or be an ass or listen to your comedy routine. At the end of the day, I’m there to take your money.



At 1:28 PM, Blogger Nick said...

Riveting story, RB. Way to fight off the tilt and stay on course. I don't think I would have had the patience or dicsipline not to walk away once the a-holes started up. You're a better man than I.

At 2:14 PM, Blogger iamhoff said...

Damn. Quite the night. I don't really know what to say. I haven't done much live playing, so I can't say how I would have reacted in your position. I don't look like Cameron from Ferris Bueller, either, but I don't think that has any bearing on it. In all seriousness, I think you played it right. You took the high road to stay off tilt, and stepped in the mud when it became necessary to issue some called-for justice. Get some sleep and have no remorse. You earned it.

At 2:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

...all I can say is...



At 2:54 PM, Blogger G-Rob said...

Excellent post main.

Enjoyed playing with you at the Aladdin tourney.

At 8:16 AM, Blogger Ignatious said...

damn, whadda a post.

wish we had a chance to hang more in vegas, my man. next time for sure!

At 8:23 AM, Blogger whiskeytown said...

def. there or here in Minneapolis.

I actually don't seem to do well mentally in large groups of people - I retreat to small groups and one-on-one's - so I avoided most of tehe post festivity - probably just as well - you donks would have run down my BR.

probably why I always drank in dive bars instead of the trendy crowded spots. - LOL fewer people.


At 12:47 PM, Blogger Drizztdj said...

Definitely need to meet with ya sometime.

If that was the IP, I remember the two loudmouths.

At 9:45 PM, Blogger DrChako said...

Great post. Quite the journey.

Of course, now that I know what gets to you, then next time I see you at Paris, you're mine!!

In all seriousness, thanks for reminding me why I play. For a while, I started feeling bad taking money off of these young kids when it clearly meant a lot more to them than it does to me. Like you said, they make their choices and I'll make mine. When I see someone playing above their comfort level now, I no longer have any desire to take it easy on them. It's cutthroat, but that's part of why I love it. I could never fight in school (I briefly entertained thoughts of being a professional punching bag). The felt is where I get my revenge.



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