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Sunday, February 20, 2005

Madness at the River, or How I Learned To Stop Being Afraid and Cap 10-5 Suited Preflop "For Value"

A mini trip report. I didn't take notes and my memory is probably a little fuzzy, but this should be more accurate than inaccurate.

Tagged along with the Boy Genius and Bob for a little casino poker action at the "local" Indian casino. Little River is a big fat nothing by the standards of any of the poker meccas, but it was jumping yesterday -- by evening, all of the tables were in use and they even had pressed one of the usual floorpersons into dealer duty.

The name of the game at the River is 4-8 no fold'em holdem. I would like to describe the overall level of play, but the words are failing me. It was somewhere between "simian" and "unfriggenbelievable".

We roll in about 2:00 pm and of course have to wait. Fortunately, they have another dealer on the way, so it's no more than half an hour or so. I draw a seat two to the left of BG, and Bob starts on another table.

I don't have a lot of hand histories, for reasons which will become apparent shortly, but I picked up pocket 5s the first hand (thanks for not making us post, by the way). Missed and folded. Shortly thereafter, picked up pocket 10s, flopped a set and it held up for a nice pot.

Bob got a table change to join us and ordered a shot of Southern Comfort to make a toast to Al Can't Hang. It was quite possibly the skimpiest shot in the history of booze. I don't know what they charged you for that, Bob, but it was an extreme ripoff. I think if you'd have just breathed in over the "glass", it would've been empty.

Still very early in the afternoon, I get Aces. Of course I'm aggressive as can be, raising preflop, betting out, doing whatever I can to have those suckers stand up. My bets and raises get called by Mr. Action at the other end of the table, and he ends up raising me on the turn when a second 8 hits the board. I check and call down despite knowing I'm beat.

People really do crack pocket Aces with 8-4 off.

Mr. Action was quite possibly the most unbelievable poker player I've ever run across. He played everything. I mean everything. I remember seeing him fold one small blind at the end of the night when it was capped to him, but other than that I do not recall him folding a single hand preflop. Not one. He straddled almost every time it was around to him, bet out at least two thirds of the time on the flop, raised with nothing. He made straights with A-4o. He made a winning two pair a half dozen times with 8-2, 8-3, 8-4, 8-5, 9-8. He pushed flush draws to the river and hit them an incredible number of times, usually in clubs. Add in the stylish Little River T Shirt and wraparound shades, and you've got yourself a playa. I mean, a Playa. Capital "P".

After I had my Aces cracked, I didn't get a pocket pair better than 5s the rest of the evening. I have AK go down a couple times, and my stack is getting thinned out by steady migration into that of Mr. Action. It's still early, though.

What would you do at this point? Tighten up? Get more aggressive? Nah.

When you're me, you decide to starting drinking and have some fun, and this table was the perfect place to do it. In addition to Mr. Action, you had a dad & son combo who were OK players -- Dad would have some fun and ended up a big winner -- a guy and his wife who were beyond horrible (yes, sir, your queen six is good this time too), the older guy to my right who had built his stack up to about $1,400 at 4-8, but was pounding the draft beers extremely hard. A couple calling stations came in and busted out. Horrible wife ("goddammit, why are you raising?") of horrible player busts out and is replaced by a young guy willing to gamble it up.

About this time, we have the perfect mix of players to absolutely blow the roof off the place. We have a couple maniacs, a couple calling stations, someone with a massive stack who's three sheets to the wind, at least one guy who has no idea what the hell he's doing, BG folding everything unless he was getting kings cracked (or was this about the time you left the table?), I'm getting fired up, Miller style, and Bob who was playing a solid game and getting nothing for it.

Chaos ensues. Straddling, raising, capping becomes much more common. Ridiculous hands are shown down and win -- A6o, pairing the 6, was good. Q5 or Q6 won several pots.

One hand, the board comes KKK. Turn is the fourth K. River is an A. Eardrums are damaged and the pot is split between QTo and Q6o. BG: "And they say online poker isn't rigged." I love this game.

More beers are pounded. The guy to my right is just gone. He's playing everything and not making any effort to protect his hand. Thankfully, we never get heads up. His towers of $2 chips are rapidly disappearing, and to add to it he drunkenly knocks them over so he's just got a pile in front of him.

I get another AK and river a straight. Board has flush potential, but mr. horrible has only called down with AT for a pair or two. Thank you. Another beer, please.

More raising and capping. I get no cards and bleed off chips when I get anything marginally playable like JTs. Somewere along the way I drag pots with J8s & J5s out of the blinds and KTs. I get a set with a pair of deuces and take a nice bite out of Mr. Action's pocket sevens. I also donated large numbers of chips with the hammer -- I had it at least ten times and would always see a flop with it. Never hit -- I kept showing it to Bob and folding after it's two bets to me on the flop. Stupid limit poker.

More beer. My memory gets sketchy here. Somewhere in there, I capped 10-5 suited preflop "for value". Didn't hit, unfortunately. We got a new dealer, and she promptly screwed up the deal and had the floor fix it. She told us our cards were good. I got J3o. That's good? Fold. Wouldn't you know it, would have turned a full boat.

Never doubt your dealer.

I'm not doing well at this point -- I'm playing just barely tight enough to avoid complete disaster -- but it could be worse. Mr. Action has had to color down three or four of the blacks he colored up earlier, and he's suddenly not winning every single time when he shows down J6s. Mr. $1,400 to my right has bled off many hundreds of dollars and looks like he could pass out any minute. Get the man a fresh beer!

Bob has come back from being majorly stuck -- starting the comeback playing 32o blind, nice job -- and has gone up a fair amount.

Late in our session, I pick up a beautiful nerf hammer (7-2 diamonds) in middle position. It's raised by Mr. $1,400 and I cap for value. A deuce comes on the flop and another on the turn. I'm in, Bob's in, and Mr. Action is in. Let's raise it up. All three of us go to showdown, and trip deuces are GOOD. Sorry about that Bob, but I needed that $150+ pot to get up off the felt.

Besides, I donated some of it back the very next hand when I had the real hammer. If that had hit, it would have pushed the table completely over the edge.

Unless it was there already. Which was a distinct possibility. Man.

If I were a genius, I would write a book on how to beat drunken no fold'em games. Since I am not, and since I have no real solid idea how to do it without going completely insane, I won't be doing that. Oh, I have a few ideas. Calling preflop bets and raises with the hammer isn't +EV. I made about nothing out of my handful of suited connectors, usually JT or T9. I'm sure that if I'd played tight and stayed longer, I could have come out ahead. I guess I'll just live with knowing that the variance in these games is off the chart, and that money lost is money well spent for the entertainment value.

The end total for the night was down $90.00, which includes probably thirty or forty bucks in beer and tips. I was up big early, then down after getting the aces and AKs cracked, up again, then waaay down before getting the nerf hammer, then up about $30 at that point. I had many chances to leave ahead, but so what. I have no complaints, and I could've easily blown through a couple buyins online for a whole lot less entertainment.

At the right table, casino poker is a helluva lot of fun... if you're not afraid to cap for value.


Huge Junk said...

Looks like I'll have to cover the parts you missed (or left to me) about the Wild Wild West, asking for t-shirt clarification, and the deer.

Maybe tonight, for sure by tomorrow. It was a pleasure, and we'll have to do it again. Not just because I have a $25 chip I forgot to cash either.

on_thg said...

I know I left a ton out, but there aren't enough hours to cover it all.

Nice job on part 1, and there's so much more to mention - don't forget about dad taking you to Ponderosa, taking the shot at an Antonio with 6-3 soooted, "I know I have the best hand", etc etc.

Oh, and if you don't have an avatar on Stars prior to the next tourney, may I suggest a picture of Kool Moe Dee?