Saturday, April 10, 2010

Play Poker Long Enough, And You'll See Everything... And Wish You Hadn't

So I'm playing poker at a house game just two miles from my place, a relentlessly upscale place that feels like a mini casino, only nicer. There's a 150 inch projection screen television on the far wall, a casino grade table, and dealers who are flashing a little cleavage and taking tips and a rake. It's $1/$2 no limit Texas hold'em, just like you'd see on television, save for the hole card cameras, and I'm pretty sure that the guy who runs the game is going to put them in next week. Side rooms have additional tables, and people start the night buying in for $100. It's a little outside my comfort region as a player -- I don't make enough to really put too much at risk, and when the stakes get too high, I'm not experienced enough to make my best decisions -- but what the hey, I'm here, let's make the best of it. Besides, maybe I can get some of these folks to come to my game, which is the excuse for playing in the first place.

I start off fairly card and/or flops dead, and I'm down to my last $35 when my two pair all-in bet holds up against two overs, and I triple up to near starting stack. A straight pays off nicely, as does low pairs that become trips for trapping hand payouts. I also make my best read of the night when I call with pocket 10s and the bettor had air. My stack gets to $370 at the high water mark, and I'm pleased with my play and starting to feel comfortable at the table...

When in walks an old guy -- has to be in his 70s or better. He buys in for $300, sits to my left and starts raising just about every hand, hard. He's joined by a younger player who clearly has some antagonistic history with him, and as the hour is getting late -- it's 1am now, after an 8pm-ish start time -- the dealers join in. And now I'm not just card dead, but I'm also watching $50 and $75 raises pre-flop. In other words, this is the time in the casino when I check my watch and move off... but as my ride is also in the game, I don't mean to presume. It's fold-fold-fold time, even with intriguing hands like pocket fives, and even when I do make a bet, everyone at the table comes over the top on me, sensing that I'm really not in my element, or ready to blow this whole nice stack against some kamikaze play from people who feel empowered by not having to make the drive to Atlantic City.

Which is when the craziest freaking hand I've ever seen comes off.

I'm under the gun with Ace-10 suited, the kind of hand you'd really like to see a flop on, so I limp. The raises go to $10 and I'm still inclined to see it, when two to my right in the small blind, against a mild (for this table and time) pre-flop raise, the dealer woman, in the small blind, raises to $50. One to my right, the player makes it $100. I fold and think hard about just walking home, and the old guy calls. For the last $50 the woman calls, looking like she's gotten her hand caught in the cookie jar. So with blinds and other bets that are out, there's three to the flop, and something like $300 in the pot. It comes out is 7-7-2, and the small blind checks. The big blind goes all-in, the old guy folds, and the dealer woman calls. She turns over... 7-2, to his pocket kings, then watches her hand improve to quad 7s on the river, and pulls in the largest pot of the night with the worst starting hand in hold'em.

Her post-hand reaction is priceless. "I meant it as a joke." So not only am I not playing the same game as these people, I don't even share what counts as humor.

It's a really nice room, it's only a couple of miles from my house, and they play every night. I wound up clearing $190 for the night after my buy in, even after the rake and tipping the dealers. And as soon as my testes swell to five times their normal size, I'll return. The room has, of course, invited me back.

1 comment: said...

Um, yeah, thanks for inviting me along for the ride, Nutsack.

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