The Cards Spoke

After 5 years of silence, I'm back! Check out the new poker blog.



Fish Fry

When we left off, yours truly was in Primm Valley Nevada, comforting himself with a whiskey after losing a huge pot when his rockets got cracked. But I wasn't worried... the combination of a true maniac and a bunch of calling stations made for a very profitable table at the legendary Buffalo Bill's poker room.

The maniac was 3 players to my left, and had about 4 racks in front of him. He raised the maximum nearly every single hand, and there would usually be 3 or more callers, so I limited my hands to suited connectors, any pair, and AT or above, since this was the type of table to play any ace. The hands that were shown down were unbelievable. One player would show Ace high nearly every showdown after calling 2 $6 bets.

Taking a page from Pauly, here's the lineup:

pretty 40 year old lady
guy with sunglasses
young confused redhead guy
another old guy
old guy from utah
one-legged old guy: "coach"
drunk guy

After mucking for a while I picked up big slick offsuit in late position. A trouble hand, since it does very badly in large multiways, so I hoped that someone in front of me would raise so I could make it $12 to see the flop. Maniac just called the $2 blind, as well as everyone else at the table. But a drunk, 40 year old guy to my right popped it up to 8, allowing me to make it $14 and chase off the people who understood what mucking was. (Note: this guy would order a cocktail, the waitress would walk away, and 3 seconds later he would shout "cocktail!" again. When someone reminded him that he'd just ordered, he would pause and say "Yeah I know I ordered, I just want the drinks to actually come!" (pause) "I like the come!") The BB called 12 more, and maniac reraised to 20 for the cap. Drunk guy called, and we had a 4-way, $90 pot.

Flop was no good for me-- J 8 4 or something like that, and I had to calculate my odds for drawing. With 6 outs I needed around 4 to 1 on my money to call, which I got after maniac bet, and everyone limped. I feel like calling with overcards is usually a mistake against good players, but in this case, I was happy to call.

The cowboy rode through on the turn, giving me my money card. A little check raise, and everyone folded except the maniac, who also called my river bet after a harmless river card fell. I was raked the monster pot and quickly forgot about those cracked aces. It actually took me two entire hands to stack the chips. In addition, it appeared that the maniac was only a preflop maniac. He didn't seem to raise often on the turn or river, which made it easier to play against him.

This tendency saved me a few bucks when I flopped top pair Queens with KQ suited, and had two callers the whole way. The river put a runner-runner flush on the board, and I value bet and both called. Old guy to my left showed QJ, and maniac showed... 74 diamonds for the runner-runner. He didn't have a pair or a straight draw either. But why the hell wouldn't you raise?

But Party has taught me how to deal with the old runner-runner flush. At least with party most of the hands are mucked and you don't have to see what's going on. But I began to feel sorry for this clueless collection of imposter poker players. They acted like they knew the game, and must have had some experience, because they knew how to bet (they still hadn't learned how to fold yet, but that's ok). I don't think there's any way that any of them had read a poker book. And I felt my killer instinct fading away, feeling like I was playing against pop warner football players rather than people who have played the game for years and years. But as I was dealt rockets for the second time, the pity faded away.

They held up this time. And the calling stations did their job, and my chip pyramid had grown large. I was up 100 at this point, but since I lost my original buy in I had 300 chips on the table. The maniacs had lost 2 of his racks, and had one left.

The biggest pot of the night? The dead man's hand. I got A8o in the blind (there was a single $2 blind) and decided to call in a 7 way pot for $6 more. The flop was 8 Q 6, and I checked, maniac raised, and several people called in between. Semi-maniac to my right (I'll call him coach) reraised, and I had to decide whether I wanted to call $12 with middle pair. I figured that none of these guys had trips, since people were capping it preflop with nearly any pair, so if I paired my Ace I was good. I called, and of course maniac reraised. Luckily for me, a bunch of players tagged along, so my odds weren't as bad as they could have been. The pot was gigantic at this point, so I made the call... and what do you think the turn was?

A silver bullet, giving me Aces and Eights. I bet out again, thinking my hand was now best, and maniac reraised again. Everyone dropped except for coach, who made it 3 bets. I was wed to the monster pot at this point, so made the crying call. I checked the river, which was a Jack, and called as maniac and coach called a truce on there raise war. I sadly flipped my Aces up, expecting trip queens or trip 6s, or most likely AQ. But maniac flipped over Q6o, and coach also showed Q6! The dealer pushed a mountain of over 200 chips to me, and I piled them up in disbelief. Maniac yelled "rebuy!" angrily, as the old guys eyed the pot and said "nice hand!". Where the hell was I???

Anyway, at this point I began to feel sorry for these saps. I paid the $2 blind for the old guys and the drunk guy for 2 orbits, and my rush continued when I squeezed out pocket aces in late position. 3 times in 3 hours! It was around 2 at this point, and despite the rush, I was running out of steam. The ABC poker was putting me to sleep, but rockets have a way of waking you up. The drunk guy was taking some vicious beats, and I muttered "fold" to him under my breath. But he raised me, so I reraised him, and he called me all the way to the river. I collected another monster pot, as he sadly said "I knew what ya had. But if I hit my third jack..."

The worst thing about it was that no one respected my raises. I sat there for 4 hours playing quality hands, and I've got 500 chips in front of me, but you still won't respect my raise. You gotta love calling stations.

My stack was up to 750 at this point, and I was running out of energy. There were two chubby, drunk looking girls watching the game from the rail for around an hour. They were looking over my shoulder, and I leaned back, initiating what turned out to bed the funniest conversation of the night. My wife had gone to bed long ago, which may have been the reason they were sweating me (why couldn't they have been hot, drunk, and good poker players? Is that too much to ask?):

h: "So are you guys gonna play?"
tall-less-chubby (tlc): (girly laugh) "hee hee"
short-more-chubby (smc): "we've been watching forever but we're too scared!"
h: "Sit down, you can learn."
tlc: "hee hee"
smc: "we're too scared! But you look like you know what you're doing!"
h: "it helps when you're lucky."
smc: "the game moves so fast! it's hard to keep up!" (slurring words)
tlc: "hee hee"
h: (holds up KTo so they can see, mucks) "See, if you start with a good hand, you win"
smc: "yeah! can I order you a drink?"
h: "uhh... no thanks..."
smc: (slightly insulted) "Please. Let me just order you a drink."
h: "no thanks... I uhh... have one already" (sips melted ice from glass)
h: "so i guess you guys saw poker on tv?"
tlc: "hee hee"
smc: "yeah! we play at home too! but never in a casino!"
h: "ahhh, was it the world poker tour?"
smc: "yeah! we love that show!"
h: "yeah me too. who's your favorite"
smc: (long pause) "uhhh... the... asian guy? he wins a lot!"
h: "uh huh"
smc: "and the... russian guy... he wins a lot too! Let me order you a drink!"
h: "you guys are big fans!"
tlc: "hee hee"

I pretty much gave up on them at that point and went back to mucking my hands, but I probably should have tried to get them in the game, if just for the hilarity. They probably would have been two of the better players at the table.

Anyway, after missing a few flops I said my farewells, and could barely carry the 7 racks to the counter. As the cashier counted out the money, I basked in my $500 profit in 4 hours, a new personal best as far as session total win in a B&M (although it's spread limit against idiots, so I'm not sure that counts). Mrs. Double woke up and we enjoyed a terrible meal at the coffee shop, served by a waitress with no teeth who disappeared after our food came, and we never got the check. But anything tastes good after a win like that.

The silly thing was that I probably only won about 9 or 10 pots. They just averaged around 100 each. And I think I only lost two showdowns-- the runner-runner flush and the rockets getting cracked early. I could have sat in that game forever, but honestly, that kind of game is not much fun, unless you like taking candy from a baby.

Of course I blew most of the winnings the next day getting bad beat in blackjack (card counting is the biggest grind ever) and feeding money to Mrs. Double's favorite slot (the price is right). Slot machines are EVIL! Whoever designs those payout structures is brilliant.

I need to get back to playing serious poker. A couple hours in the B&M a couple times a week. Now that the wife has the new job, we'll see what the schedule is like. I would love to make a run and get to that top section, where the rake is small and the big bets are big.

Thanks to all of you for reading! Comments and emails are highly encouraged. And if you ever get a chance to stop in Primm Valley on the way to Vegas... don't waste your time (unless you're looking for the softest spread limit game you'll ever see).

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