A Long Drive Spoiled

Saturday, October 27th, 2007, 2:03 am

I decided around noon to head down to Mountaineer to play a little poker in their new room. But I procrastinated a bit and exercised and booked my flight and room for December’s blogger blowout. So it wasn’t until a little after 4 when I hopped in the car and headed toward town. I decided to take Ben’s advice from my comments and go out 22-30 instead of the Turnpike. The good news is that this is almost certainly a faster (and easier) way to get there. The bad news is that by leaving the flat at 4, I ran headlong into rush hour. I knew that would happen, of course, but I didn’t think it would be too bad. I was wrong. It was Bad. Getting there took more than 30 minutes longer than driving home.

To the tables! I got on the list for $1/2 NL and was told a new table would be starting up soon. I went to the bar and before I’d taken my first sip I heard a list of names called, including one for "Gee-Wee." I ignored it until I realized that I’d given my name as "Gene" and the guy wrote my name almost vertically on a slip of paper. Yeah, they’d mistaken his "N" for a "W" and Gee-Wee was born.

I arrived at the table and set my beer in the cupholder at Seat 5. I like that seat because it’s easy to see the board and the other players. This is where I took my first bad beat of the day. I went to the cage with several other players to get chips, and when I returned a woman was sitting in my seat. "Um, where did my beer go?" I asked and she pointed to the cupholder in the 1-seat. Nice. She shows up late and moves my stuff to a different spot. I guess I could’ve raised a stink, but I didn’t. Making matters even more annoying is that the woman actually sat down at the wrong table. She picked up her stuff and left, and before I could switch seats a floorman brought another player to our table. So I ended up sitting in my least-favorite seat, number 1. What made that even worse was that I hurt my left shoulder last night playing volleyball and leaning against the rail with my left elbow (I tried to stay out of the dealer’s way) hurt like hell.

I bought in for $100. I did this because the woman at the cage said that was the max buy-in for the $1/2 NL tables. Well, either she misunderstood what I (and the guy ahead of me in line) wanted, because the max buy-in was $300. I’m not saying that I would’ve bought in for the max, but I certainly would’ve started with another $50 or so. And in retrospect I should’ve gone to the cage after a few orbits and added some depth to my stack.

Because the average pre-flop raise was around 6 times the big blind. Sometimes bigger–one guy was fond of raising it to $17 preflop. There was a woman sitting at my table who might’ve been Change100’s long-lost sister, the resemblence was really startling, right down to the super-determined game face. Reinforcing this were two dealers at adjoining tables who shouted out "Change $100!!" in quick succession . But the woman at my table broke the spell when she made her pre-flop raises $15 straight and once bet $25 into a nine-dollar pot. She raised to $17 once and, after taking down the $3 in blinds, flashed her pocket Aces. I don’t think Change would describe that as optimal play.

I played nearly an hour without winning a pot, then I won two nice ones in quick succession–and I played both kinda awful. I flopped top pair with As-9c, the board came a third club on the turn, and when the Ace of clubs hit on the river it gave me top two pair…but, no it didn’t. I had a 9-high flush and I bet $25, which a guy wearing sweatbands on his wrists reluctantly called. "You got me," I said, turning over my nine of clubs…and he flipped over two black eights. Whew.

A few hands later I was dealt QQ and after a few players limped I popped it up nice. One guy who liked making big preflop raises called, and the flop came three baby hearts. I had the Queen of hearts and I bet $25. He called. The turn was the Queen of diamonds, so I had a set and a Queen-high flush draw. I thought he might have the Ace or King of hearts, and I thought he might call a big bet if that was the case, so a big bet I made . He sighed, looked at his cards and then said, "Well, I know you don’t have a heart…" which of course I was happy to hear, "but I don’t either," and he mucked. Maybe overplayed that, but I scooped a nice pot and I didn’t want to give him a cheap road to the river, just in case.

That was about all for me. I lost a pot when a guy went runner-runner to make trips against my overpair, lost another on a big blind special when I held 2-5, flopped a pair, made two pair on the turn, and the guy I won the QQ hand against hit on the river to make a runner-runner flush. He shrugged as he raked in the pot and told the guy next to him, "It was too cheap to call on the flop, if he bets more I don’t call." There was $6 in the pot after the flop. I bet five bucks. Whatever.

I wasn’t drinking as I played–well, I had two of their tasty cappuccinos, but that was it. Oh, a brief aside–our waitress for much of the evening was a slender blonde woman who had…rather an interesting accent. It was a combination of the French Taunter from Monty Python and the Holy Grail and Zsa Zsa Gabor. Extraordinary. She was very friendly, very polite and formal, and in all respects did a fantastic job. But, wow, did she have a remarkable way with the English language.

Anyway. it was getting on 10:30 and I was getting tired and hungry. I hadn’t eaten since around 2PM and I knew I had a long drive in the dark and rain ahead of me. I decided I’d play till 11PM and then head for the homestead. The poker room was jammed by this point, every single table was in use and it looked like there was a monster waiting list (especially for $1/2 NL). A few players limped into the pot and I looked down at two black sevens. I decided to limp along and call if there was a raise. There wasn’t, and we saw the flop come 7h-Qh-Kh. Great, I flop a set and there’s three hearts on the board. It was checked around to me and I bet ten bucks, which was the size of the pot. A player who’d busted and rebought check-raised me an additional $30. He’d played fairly tight during the night, but if he’d flopped a flush would he have check-raised? Yeah, maybe with a baby flush. Or if he thought I’d flopped something big. I couldn’t rightly fold a set, and maybe I should’ve just moved all-in. Not that that would’ve worked, as the other guy had Ah-10h and had flopped the nuts (and a Royal Flush draw to boot).

I just called, hoping the board would pair on the turn. It didn’t–the eight of diamonds fell. If another heart had hit, maybe I bail. But when he moved all-in (he had me covered by a few bucks) i tried to think things through. OK, maybe he flopped a flush–but doesn’t that happen less than 2% of the time? Maybe he had KQ? Maybe he had something like A-Q with the Ace of hearts. He didn’t have a set himself, and even if he had the flush I had outs. Plus, as I said, I was getting tired and hungry and, dammit, sometimes you gotta gamble. "I call," I said.

He flipped over the nuts, "I have outs,"  I said, flipping over my set. And the dealer, for some reason, nearly killed the hand. She set the deck down with the cards in the muck and almost started to push the pot the other way. "Whoa!" everyone at the table said, and the dealer quickly realized that, oops, the hand wasn’t over yet. The deck was still intact and she burned and turned the six of spades. Which left me with nothing to do but wish everyone good luck and head for the exit.

Pretty depressing. If that hand had happened earlier in the night I would’ve re-bought and played on. But it didn’t, so I went home. Tonight’s session mimicked last Saturday–started way up, and then my stack slowly trickled away. Oh well. Next time I guess I’ll buy-in for $300 and make my preflop raises sixty bucks.

When I played last Saturday some of the dealing was a bit rough, but tonight it seemed a lot better, Excepting the hand where I got felted and a few times where cards flipped over during the deal. Getting better, slowly but surely. When I left at 10:45 the waiting list for $1/2 NL was over 20 players long. They had a $5/10 Omaha Hi-Lo game going and a $5/10 Stud game. The joint is jumpin’. They haven’t even been advertising yet. And tournaments are coming. Next time, I come home a winner.

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3 Responses to “A Long Drive Spoiled”

  1. Junkbutton Says:

    You make it sound like wearing sweatbands on the wrists aren’t cool. That was going to be my “thing” when I made it to the big time… Sounds like someone already beat me to it. I guess I’ll need to start looking into eye patches or overalls… All the good ones are gone… Damn you Humberto and your little shark! I swear the flash light mouth was my idea!

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