Saturday, August 27, 2011

I Still Owe Her Something Nice, Because the Buffet Friggin Stunk

I never said this story didn't END well...

Of course it started off with a decent plan. Josie was going to play a tournament Friday morning and was taking the Foxwoody equivalent of the Fung-Wah bus to get there from South Station. She would have, in her tiny little fist, money I had earned staking her in an amazing performance at a recent tourney.  I in turn thought I'd try my luck at the cash games; I was just sick of tournaments, or rather my lack of success at them.  I was going to get a decent night's sleep and a good breakfast, wait out any morning traffic, and head down there around noon for a 1:00 start to a day downstairs at the cash game section for some 1-2NL, after I stopped upstairs to get my dough from Jo.

That was the plan, anyway. It all changed in the blink of an eye, or more accurately the shrill ring of a phone, at 7:18 that morning. It was Josie, and she had missed the goddamn Fung Wah bus or whatever rickety-ass crap can was going to do its best to wheeze its way onto Injun territory before it threw a rod and breathed its last.

Anyway, the girl to her credit had a decent plan B. She was already at South Station; she would take the train down to the stop five minutes from my house and down we'd drive; she in time for her tournament and me in time for THREE HOURS LESS SLEEP THAN I WAS GONNA GET.  I scramble to get a load of clothes in the wash and this unspeakable load of human goo into the shower. But ready I got, and even had time to stop at Dunkie's and do the morning right. And really, how badly did I need the sleep?  It's 3:27 Saturday morning as I write this, so that should tell you something.

So we get there largely without incident, my arm only once bruised by the sight of a Volkswagen Beetle. Josie registers herself for the tourney, and I head downstairs to find the No-Limit reg desk and start playing.

I was in seat 1. Seat 2 was an old-timer who confided in seat 3 that he at times couldn't see the cards or hear a bet amount.  Seat 3 would say, "listen pal, it's your money, you should speak up if something isn't clear," and smirk to himself.  So already I didn't like him. The good news was that the deck was hitting him early so he had a bunch of chips that he'd be giving me soon enough.

Seat 4 - well, let's get back to her in a minute.

Seat 5 was this dude who was killing time waiting for a seat in 2-5NL land. He had a rack of chips on the rail, and after every hand he would build his chip stack back up to the maximum. So seat 4, a girl of maybe 26 with hair that had been dyed so many different colors it was anyone's guess what her "real" color was, she decides to douchebag up, and do it right proper. She calls the brush over, and not only complains about the rack on the rail, she flat-out accused him of using the rack chips to bet his hands. He, predictably, gets mad, and this seems to floor seat 4, who couldn't quite understand why anyone would get upset once directly accused of cheating.

So she was the table douchebag, and I didn't have to know seats 6-10, or at least you don't. I settled in to play some cards.

In cash games, my philosophy is a simple one: the first hand I play should be a monster. This serves two purposes:  one, it helps to give me a table image as Tighty McTightman, which helps, but it also forces me to sit back for a minute and study the table, see who is legit and who is just there to see how long they can make $200 last that they've managed to hide from their shrew wives while they blow six rolls of nickels at the slot machines.

Well after about 20 minutes I woke up with AK.  Seat 3 came with a standard open UTG.  Doucheface in seat 4, whom at this point we all hated with irrational, white-hot fury, raised to 20.  I re-raised to $55, and with a sour puss like she was trying to channel her inner Douchy from the Block while eating a lemon, shoved her entire stack in.  And I tank, start talking about how she could be steaming because of the controversy, but that I really didn't think so, and that I hadn't played with her nearly long enough to know, and that, you know what?  Nahhh... and I folded my AK face up. She turned over KK and oohed and ahhed about my fold. So I lost fifty bucks but got a good table image in the bargain.

Over the next hour I got my fifty back and even went up about fifty bucks with some well-timed aggression and sticking with a piece of advice Josie gave me:  in cash games, position is king.  I don't think I played five hands out of position all night, but here's a good story about one.

I knuckled J6h as unraised BB.  The flop came two hearts including the King.  I checked, seat 2 bet $15, and the action folded to me, and I called.  I had him on a King and if I were to make my flush I could keep him on the hook for his entire stack. Turn came a blank.  I bet $25 and he calls fairly quickly.  So now I think he might have two pair, or caught trips or something.

The river brings my heart. Glory and Trumpets! This dude is toast - and BUTTER, baby. First of all I just catch the card out of the corner of my eye, so I didn't stare at it, and made sure I didn't react to it at all.  I thought, how much could I get from this guy without scaring him away.  He bet the flop after I checked, called my big bet on the turn - he definitely had something.  But there were no pairs on the board, so unless he had AXh or QXh I had the best of it.  I decided an all-in would make him think flush, so I opted for a $100 bet - an imposing sight when you shove 20 nickels in two piles into the pot - and hoped that he thought I was protecting a bluff.

He hems and haws a while and says, "I have to call you," and puts in his money.

"Third nuts," I declare, and turn over my flush. He folds.  BOOM! I'm now up over $200 and on my way.

The next big hand, and the tale on which I'll close this already-overlong post, was just two or three hands later.  In middle position I look down at A7c, and call a $7 raise that already had a bunch of callers ahead of me, and would get a couple behind as well.  I think there were six people pre-flop.  The flop brings two clubs, one of which was the K and another was the J. Seat 7 bets $10 and I call.  The turn brings the 9c, filling my flush but leaving me open to Q10c which would fill a straight flush. He bets $30.  I was going to pop him right there but, I swear it was right out of a movie, I heard a voice in my ear whispering the word "patience."  So I just called him.

The river comes the 10c, and I'm officially in a pickle.  Now this schmuck could be holding Qc2d for example and have my hand crushed.  And I think that maybe I betrayed these thoughts with the look on my face because he bets out $75, which is a huge bet for him.  And if you thought I went into the tank before, brother, it was like I was a panzergrenadier in Hitler's Wermacht. And Madame Doucheface in seat 4 whispers to her buddy bud in seat 3 that she's about to call a clock on me.  That's bad enough but to call the clock on someone when you're not in a hand, while legal, is especially douchy. Anyway she didn't, and eventually I decided that with over $150 already in the hand, I was priced in, and I was already ahead and playing with house money, so I put in my crying call, asking him "Do you have the Queen of clubs?"  He said no, so I said, "well I win, then," and show my ace-high flush. He folds face-down and even though I had a right to see what he had I didn't push it.  But I wonder what he could have had that he thought could beat me, unless he was trying to bluff me...I had the Ace, the K was on the board, he didn't have the Q, the J and 10 were maybe he had an 8 or 9 and thought it was good, or maybe he was just bluffing, but either way, I got most all of his chips.

There were other hands, smaller victories, not as worthy of re-telling, that increased my bankroll even more, but for the most part, that was it for the cool stories.

So that's how I turned $200 into about $600 in about three hours, and created a bankroll for future 1-2NL games that are hopefully just as soft as this one was.  Seriously, I was shocked that a game spread at a casino could be so soft.   My biggest mistake was getting up when Josie came by to have a little lunch. I wanted to buy her something nice for letting me stake her, when she didn't really need the dough, so I bought her lunch at the buffet.

Sorry for the long post but thanks for listening.  Until next time, please remember my dear Aunt Sally.


  1. Well done Gary. A reward for those lost hours of sleep. Virtue may be it's own reward but a little cash never hurt either.

  2. $1/2 NL games can be crushed with good play. Nice job!

  3. Thanks guys. Spect I'll be making this a more or less weekly thing - or more often, if the success rate holds up. I'll let you all know how things go.