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Thursday, July 31, 2014

ONE BULLET!!!??? Call That a Win!!!!

 (I am pleased to announce that I won't be using any of these stupid fu**ing words in this blog post: 'bird' (in place of tourney) 'heaps' (lots of chips) 'spew' (giving away chips on a frequent basis) 'rip' (moving all in with aggression) 'showers' (being felted) 'binked' (hitting the card you are rooting for) 'runners' (number of players-a British term, this is America) and I won't refer to myself as 'we' either. It's just ME and/or I. I won't say 'bagged and tagged' either, that's for dead people. Nor will I describe my opponent as 'villain'. Enjoy)

A 12-hour drive. 5 hours of sleep. 8 hours of poker. Standard disaster in Level 12. 42,500 chips (16 bb's) placed in plastic zip-lock bag in the opening event of the PBKC WSOP Circuit event's Flight 1A. I will take it!

When you arrive for the first day in an event that has FIVE starting  flights....with unlimited rebuys/re-entries for the first six levels, the painful reality is that a lot of players are going to expend a LOT of buyins (bullets) to chase the big prize at the end of the rainbow. It's inconceivable to even imagine who will own the record for entries in this event. But suffice to will have someone with 10+ bullets spent probably.

Are you laughing? Don't. If you were at one of the tables yesterday, and saw how a lot of these pickle brains were would think they all have money trees in their backyards down here. Hell maybe they do...if so, I need to follow a couple of them to their house when they leave, being stealthy as hell, of course.

The day started horribly. I sat down at 12:18pm EST...and looked down at JJ on my very first hand. Wow. I raised to 250 (50-100) and got no action. That would  be the last hand I would win in three levels. It was a blood bath. What made it worse was my table was SO soft...I mean...the whole time I'm just thinking....please just let me make a damn hand I'll get paid off. Didn't happen. I just kept losing, and losing, and losing. My 12k starting stack dwindled to 5400. But I wasn't freaking out. In fact...if you've followed my adventures this're likely aware that anytime I've started out hot...which I did a LOT this summer at Venetian, it usually ends in disaster.

I finally caught my break. The worst player at the table...a black guy I'd never seen before, wearing a (I shit you not) Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles t-shirt...raised to 750 at 150/300. Pretty much the whole table looked him up. I wasn't about to fold J10h in the SB. Flop comes...hello! 6c-8c-9h. There was about 5400 in the pot...and I had 4600 in my stack. Can you say "check raise?" I can. I check.

Ninja Turtle bets 1000. He gets two callers. I move all in. He tanks and calls. Then Ricky Daniel calls with 9-10. The turn is the king of clubs. Ugh.  But they both maybe they WEREN'T on a flush draw!!?? The river is...boink! 7 of clubs! Making me the straight...but also putting 4 damn clubs on the board. Surely I'm fucked. Ricky turns over his hand...'I have a straight.' Then he sees my J10 and groans. And I'm still waiting for the other guy to turn over a club that sends me walking. (or to the showers if you're one of these 'new age' Twitter fucks) No! No club. I win. Boom! And just like that I'm up to 17k! Hell yes!

From there I took off...and had the chiplead at my table about half an hour later and held it for 3 levels. Then our table breaks. I move to an equally soft table. In fact...the whole field yesterday was crazy soft. I guess all the 'real' players haven't shown up yet. I have one guy at the table who is a major fucking pest...raising light a lot, raising 5 or 6 'x' behind one or two limpers. You know....'that' guy! He was a generally pleasant guy...and if we were just hanging out I'd actually like the guy. But as a poker player? I wanted to kill him. Bad!

So I'm sitting at 44k. He raises in MP. (not a rarity) It folds to me in the small blind and I look at KcQc. Had I been at the table a little longer...and known this guy like I would hours later, I would have three-bet the hell out of him there. But I had limited info at that point. So I flatted. The flop comes Qs-Js-9h. I decide to take it down right there. I lead out for 3500. Which is about what was in the pot. He immediately shoves. It's 15k to call. I look at him. I look at the board. I watch his body language. I finally conclude that he either has A10...or a flush draw. Even tell him that. And watch for a reaction. I'm pretty convinced that I have him least on the flop. And now there is a pot that tells me I'm getting two-to-one to call. I'm also thinking that if I can hold...bust his irritating ass, and be sitting on 60k with the average at 27k...I can likely cruise to the finish line.

I call. He tells me "good call" and turns over 9s-10d. Boom. Yes! Right call. Now please hold! The turn is a four of spades. The river is the 2 of spades. Holy shit! Four-card flush. He jumps up, celebrates...and I just bury my face in the bumper...clenching my fist under the table. It leaves me with 21k. At 800/1600.  And then I go card dead. Lovely. here we go again.

Had that sinking feeling it was going to be another one of those play all day deals only to get hit with disaster at crunch time again. The last three hours were excruciating. This lady...who had 22k when I got to the table...literally blinded down to 5400...never played a when she finally moved all in, and I looked at QQ I wasn't that thrilled, knowing how long she waited. Regardless I moved in for 14k. No one called me.

She says "I only looked at one" which tells me...shit! She has an ace! Yup. Luckily her kicker wasn't an ace! She had Ac3c. Flop was clean....but the turn gave her a flush draw and a gutshot. "Oh god, oh god, oh god...don't do it don't do it!!!" River......brick! I had already cut out the 5400 preflop expecting to lose. it wasn't a double up...but it was a hand  I could NOT afford to lose. And didn't. Whew.

I picked up a few other pots along the way...finding a few good spots to move in on guys I knew were just raising because they had position. Hate those guys too. To their credit they didn't screw around with folding..making it quick. 

Earlier in the day, we had this old guy in the 1-seat...who had an accent that suggested he was Greek maybe. He was insane, we think. Later, an older guy named Dave who I've played with, and who everyone seems to know, told us he's always been a prick...even when he was younger. So that explained a few things. For some reason, he took a severe disliking to me. So I started doing what I do in those situations sometimes...speaking like a loon. He would be talking about something, and I would quickly switch the topic to something completely irrelevant to the conversation. During one occasion, in the midst of another one of his 3-5 minutes to act on his hand, someone quipped that if he stayed at our table we would all make it to Day 2. I think I said something to the tune of..."I might kill myself before we get that far." 

He heard me and goes ballistic about not being able to see. Oh...because those bright yellow chips are incredibly hard to make out. 5 yellow chips...none on top of the other...neatly and clearly  laying on the felt: "How much is that?" about 100 times. He goes on a rant about how lucky I am because I have perfect vision.

But instead of sharing with him that I actually have pretty bad eyes...I tell him instead that it's not fair for him to 'discriminate' against me because I have good eyes. I tell him I'm an astronaut for NASA and that we are required to have perfect vision. Meanwhile he loses the hand...and it was the last hand before break...and he starts mumbling incoherently, then as he is leaving the table...says this classic gem..."why don't you go shit out your ass!" Huh? I look at the guy two seats over...who is cracking up...and who says "Aren't you SUPPOSED to shit out your ass????"  The table laughs some more.

While the back and forth with this guy was going on...the floor person was walking back and forth behind our table and visibly trying not to start cracking up. I notice the guy has a badly infected finger. You know when you have a hang nail...and you rip it off...which leads to your finger getting all infected? Real nasty and painful? He had that going on. So I tried to act like I cared...and asked him what happened to his finger. He got really defensive and refused to tell me. A little while later...while he was fuming from a hand in which he lost AK to A10 for a good portion of his chips....he said something to me...and I said "Sir, I don't want to talk to you anymore...not until you tell me what happened to your finger!" 

"It's none of your goddamn business what happened to my finger!!!!!"

About three hands later he moves all in with A8. I call him with AQ. Nice. it? Jeezuz...the board comes J-9-4-9-4. Unreal. Chop. And he yells out "Karma!!!" Huh? Karma??? Who's dog did I poison!?? How is that karma? I think karma might be one of the most misused words in the vocabulary...and it's certainly not the first time I've had a poker player use it out of context. But got me old man. KARMA!!!!

Well...a little while later...he would raise again...with AK again...and the guy next to him...a guy I'd grown fond of, actually I pretty much liked our whole table with the exception of that old psychopath...who I actually was enjoying because he made the table interesting...and the pest in the 10-seat. Oh sorry, back to that guy next to him who shoves all in (for a lot-a lot of that going on yesterday...the standard 3-bet was simply all in, not a lot of pot control) with Ac3c. The old guy calls obviously. And loses. And goes mental. He's now sitting there with 4000 chips at 600/1200. He's cursing the dealer. I almost feel sorry for him...but naw...that would be stupid. He is literally the definition of the word CURMUDGEON. I did take his picture...but per my agreement with the WSOP...I will NOT post people's photos during an event. But if you want to see him, email me and I will send it to you.

Now you want to talk about funny? Jessica, the floor person...shows up to our table to balance the tables...and moves our next big blind. Who is it? Yup! Good 'ol Happy Pants! Who picked up his now 2400 chips and goes to another table. We all start howling! I think he was out five minutes later. I'm guessing he busted...then went down to where they keep the racing dogs and kicked 5 or 6 of them. 

Late in the folded around to me and the big blind. We had both been struggling the last three hours. He had a scene like me where he had trapped this old lady...him holding AQ her with A8 on a flop of A-4-J. He checked. She shoves..which she did a LOT (she was also a pretty nice lady...and appreciated my warped sense of humor...which made her alright in my book!) and he calls...only to watch the board go JACK...KING! Chop! He lost another hand in sick fashion after that. In fact...our table was disgusting...the best hand RARELY won. And if someone was all in...they almost inevitably won. Well it folded around to us in the blinds and I looked at A4 at 1200/2400 and 16k in my stack. I raised. He shoved. I couldn't fold. He had Jd10d. Yikes. I think we all like his hand there. Whoa! Ace on the flop. And on the turn he was drawing dead. That...was a critical hand!

I managed to fade the Level 15 disaster...picking up a few pots...and bagged up the aforementioned 42,500. And yeah, it's certainly not a lot. But...most of my 'good work' in tourneys has come when I go to Day Two with a smallish stack. I tend to make better decisions, play more patiently...and frankly, we will go back almost in the I should be able to survive long enough to at least bank what will likely be about $800 or so to cash. And while I'm certainly not chasing $800...I think it's important to set goals and accomplish them one at a time. Goal 1: Buy in ONCE...and bag. Check! Goal 2: Make the money, get that buy in back, with a little profit. Goal 3: Get down to 3 tables and some respectable money. Goal 4: Make the final table and make a 5-figure, life-altering score...and Goal 5: Win that bitch! Win a ring! Win some respect! And freeroll the rest of the event! Goals...gotta have 'em. 

So I bag up. Decide (bad decision)  to play the 8pm $135 Shit Show. I seriously wish they would just rename it that. Because that is exactly what it is. Horrible horrible players...or players on super tilt from busting out of the nooner (11am!) littering the field. 12k starting stack! Wait what? Okay calm down. The blinds go like this...brace yourself:  100/200 (yes that is the FIRST level) 200/400, 300/600, 400/800, 600/1200....yup. 20 minute levels. Started with 68 players. I busted and rebought. Turned that 12k into 40k at 300/600 and actually had a moment where I thought I might just win this thing. Had a real friendly 2nd table too. Ricky Daniel was back at my table..and to be honest...he owned my soul. I had a good hand, he had a better hand...about 3 or 4 times. I finally got 8 BB's in with KQ and ran smack into AA and KK. Wow. I did flop a queen...but didn't get another one...and was out. 17th place. Oh well. It was fun.

Next up? Cash game. The max buy in is only $200. Hate that. It was a weird table. We had a guy who looked like Meatloaf when he cleans himself up, and not quite as fat. We would end up liking each other I think. Him in the 3 seat, me in the 8 seat. At one point we tried to get the floor to let us...just him and for our bankrolls. He was raising just about every 15 or 20. And he would run hot and cold. I slow rolled him one time on a board that sported four spades (I had the ace) and which gave me a straight on the river. So at showdown...I turn over the 3...and tell him 'Straight!' He turns over the king of spades and says...'Well I have a flush!!!' 

"Ahhhh...nice hand. Oh wait! I have a flush also! And show him my ace!' This was early in our 'table relationship' so he snapped. Went storming off telling anyone he knew that he'd just been slow rolled. Apparently he'd been bullying the shit out of the table because they all loved it. I had only been there about 20 minutes. It only got better from there, until we eventually were having a lot of fun with each other. He was over there pounding tequila while I was having an occasional Coors Lite. Then at some point...he started wigging out. Why? Oh shit! The waitress cut him off. Now in his defense? Sure...he'd had a LOT of shots. But he was plenty coherent. Big guy. But I guess he had violated the 'drinks per hour' rule or something. That had him pretty pissed off.

I wasn't running very well. Missed 17-outers about 5 times. One of the more memorable ones being a flopped open-ended straight flush draw only to brick. And it kept happening to guys who had less than 100 I could never fold to them. Standard play. They bet 20 on the bet (c-bet by them) and I raise to about 50...they shove, I obviously call...and go brick brick. Sigh. Over and over and over...with an occasional win mixed in.

It was getting late. I was getting tired. Then IT happened. Our dealer was this old...I mean OLD guy. Three of the regulars had mentioned how f***ing slow he was, and how he always makes mistakes. Great. Well...he did NOT disappoint. 

Have you ever been playing cash game late at night...and notice that the floor supervisor has that look about him that if he is ever called to your table to make a judgement call that it is very likely not going to be handled correctly? Well...we had THAT guy. And that guy cost me $380...and got me sent home for the night. That guy will  have a written complaint issued against him today when I go in to play the 5pm PLO 8 or Better tourney.

The kid next to me had been whittled down to $12. Yah! TWELVE DOLLARS. Nice kid. I looked at him...and told him "Dude...your $12 stack is putting me on life tilt! Buy some chips!" Nope. He was gonna ride that $60 buy in into the dirt. Okay. Literally two hands later...he moves all in behind a raise of $20. I re-raise to $60 with QQ. My buddy (Meatloaf) calls, because, well...he calls everything WITH anything. Fair enough. The original raiser...a crazy guy who was either Hispanic, Asian or a combination of both...and who kept trying to tell us some kind of story about a mango he kept trying to smuggle into the poker room, pushes all in. This meant nothing. I wasn't folding QQ to this guy. No way. I call. I show the kid my hand. He shows me AK clubs. Ah. Nice hand. The flop? Hilarious. Qc-Jc-9c! Set for me...nut flush for him...and we don't see the other guys hand.

I turn over my cards...tabling my queens. The cowboy hat-wearing,  mango-smuggling guy grunts when he sees my hand. This is when things get interesting...and by interesting...I mean TOTALLY FUCKED UP!

The dealer pulls my cards into the muck. Um...excuse me? Sir? You just mucked my cards!

"What?" just pulled my cards into the damn muck!

Fortunately I'd tabled my it was anything but dead...despite the guy in the 5-seat now lobbying for it to BE dead. (angle-shooting asshole) Oh no you don't! That's when the floor was called. A guy I can only compare to someone who looks like the cartoon character Droopy Dog. I won't post his name here. But if you are a regular down here, you know who it is. The hand is explained to him, unfortunately by the dealer...who is failing to mention that my cards were tabled. And when I try to tell the floor guy that, the dealer barks at me that 'I'm explaining the story, do you MIND!???" 

"Um...well, yeah...I do mind, because its almost a $400 side pot...and you aren't explaining the story correctly, the way your telling it...that my cards were face down...the floor guy here is going to rule that my hand is dead, despite you 'accidentally' pulling it into the muck. So please...explain it right!"

Well, this is when Meatloaf chimed in...insisting that the WHOLE table saw my queens...and that my hand should NEVER be dead there. So...I got my cards back.Thanks 'Loaf!

Now? It gets REALLY REALLY interesting...and this is something I have NEVER seen happen before. Ever. And HOW long have I been playing poker? Get ready.

With Droopy Dog still hovering around the table...Kermit the Frog (the dealer's nickname in my mind, due to his posture mainly) puts out the turn and the river. The kid holds up on the main pot (small) but I win the side (big) pot. The guy in the five seat turns over KJ, cards in his hand still...displays disgust...and shoots his cards...upside down...into the muck. Hand over...pot shipped to me.

Wait!!!! Now the guy in the 5-seat claims he had a straight! Okay...first of he didn' there was no ten on the board...which he needed to make a straight. And furthermore...he knowingly mucked his hand...even if there WAS a ten out there. Done deal right?

Nope! The dealer...who couldn't be counted on probably to remember his address, let alone the last 5 cards on the board...all of a sudden decides that YES...he DID have a straight! What!??? No fucking way. 

I go mental. Here comes Droopy Dog. He had been watching the scene unfold. I am freaking out...two other guys at the table have my back...and they are telling the floor that he did NOT have a straight...and that he killed his hand anyway. But oh no...this fucking dealer is insisting he did. Well then he tries to dig the cards...both hands..AND the flop from the muck...and it's a total circus. There are cards scattered all over the place. 

"You have gotta be kidding me!??? Is this really happening? Floor! Do you even realize how ridiculous this is? This isn't even a hard decision."

He waves security over...and tells me if I don't calm down he's going to make me leave for the night. 

"So you are about to give away my $400 pot...wrongly...and I'm pissed because your wrong...and you are going to just make me leave? Really? That's how you deal with a mistake? I know you have surveillance here. Go check the damn tape...see what the board his action...then give me my damn pot!"

Oh no...the dealer reaches over...and pulls my pot back..and pushes it to Mr. Mango! I come unglued. And Droopy tells me I'm done for the night. I get escorted a Sheriff I'd been chatting with earlier in a friendly he was pretty cool with me..and just told me to take it up with the poker room manager the next day. He told me he didn't know enough about poker to know what just happened. I told him I basically just had $400 stolen from me by the fucking dealer...and had an incompetent floor guy back him up.

Now...ya ever had THAT happen to you??? No? Yeah, probably not. Do I expect them to make it right? Hell no. Maybe they will say their sorry. Yippee. But they need to know who they got working graveyard. And the mistakes they are making. 

Oh...speaking of the cash room. They did a real nice remodel here. New tables, new carpet...and I guess they painted the walls. The layout is still the just looks and smells better. 

I bet on my first dog ever yesterday. #4. Don't even know his name. But I was on break...was running good...and saw the dog take a crap on his way to the starting gate...which I'm told is the dog you should always bet on. So I put $20 on him to do something I didn't understand. Told the lady I didn't know what I was doing...she said something about a box, or a quintilla  or something. Whatever...I was rooting for #4. That dog sucked. He was in last place until he made a little burst at the end to finish 2nd to last. Damn dog. Maybe if he could have run TWO laps instead of one he'd have pulled it out.

It's 1pm...and I kind of want to go to the beach. I've never been to the beach down here..and I can only assume its really nice. And my 4th of July tan has pretty much faded. But I don't know...the beach really drains you...and I would like to be fairly 'fresh' when I go play this Omaha tourney at 5pm. I'm also afraid of sharks. And they live in the ocean.

Day Two in this first event isn't til Sunday....nice! So I will just play some one day events probably, work in a few sit n gos...try to build up my bankroll. Then hopefully return on Sunday and get lucky!

I'm outa here!


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