Monday, August 04, 2008

One Night In Vegas

"Get a load of that guy," G-Rob whispered to me. "What a douchebag."

He sat in the 4-seat. He was probably in his mid-to-late 30's and wore his wispy blonde hair with a part on the left. He was wearing sunglasses that most likely went out of style in 1979. G-Rob and I were planning on stacking him. It was the donkey show at the MGM poker room and we thought we'd take over the table. At first, we did.

G-Rob flopped a full house with pocket Queens and stacked two people simultaneously. The show was on. My luck, on the other hand, wasn't at peak capacity. I turned the nut flush and got it all-in with a woman in seat 3 and G-Rob. G-Rob's flush was lower than mine so I won a decent side pot. But the woman's flopped quad 2's took the main pot. She racked up not soon after, the first in a series of minor disappointments that would begin my Thursday gambling session in Vegas.

I got frisky not soon after. I raised with 6c7c because at that moment in time, I felt like controlling the action. I'm pretty sure my raise to $12 was called in 6 places. It wasn't a surprise, because we still were at the MGM poker room at a 1/2 table. When the flop came down Q76 with 2 spades, I felt some guarded pleasure. I knew I couldn't get spades to fold, nor could I get a Queen to fold. So I bet nearly the pot. Fifteen redbirds, stacked in piles of 5 went into the pot after it was checked to me. The guy to my immediate left called and so did the douchebag in seat 4. Awesome, I thought to myself, he can't lay down the Queen. The turn was the 2 of hearts, putting 2 hearts and 2 spades on the board. The pot was about $300 and I had one move left. "Todos los chipos en el pot-o. That's all-in for our bi-lingual friends." Nobody laughed, even though that's pretty high-level comedy. The guy to my left folded what he said later was As7s for a flopped pair and flush draw. Douchebag went into the tank. "I think I gotta call," he said. Of course you do, I thought. How else can I stack you.

The river was the 9h. Backdoor flush got there, and so did his straight. He flipped over the 5h8h and took down my $700 pot. Inside, where I keep a small, tiny little black shard of something locked in a small box, my restraints began to give way.

Society's failed to tolerate me. And I have failed to tolerate society.


I cashed out down $500. I'd won the day before and was still up for the trip, but that session was disappointing. Winning that last pot would have gone a long way in paving my mood for the evening. But it was not to be. G-Rob and I got a call from Otis who got off work early. CJ was due in town soon and we all agreed to spend some time at some -EV games. And when you're with Otis, you know what game that is.

It's supposed to be hard to lose a lot at Pai Gow. But sometimes, if you're very, very lucky, you can lose umpteen straight hands and find yourself down $900 at the game. I was that lucky. And I was also approaching mega-tilt. The grey goose martini's at The Palms didn't help. And neither did the endless onslaught of female talent walking by, all of whom were off limits to this happily married, but increasingly horndogish tilt machine.

I got up from the table, leaving G-Rob, Otis and CJ to do whatever it is that you can do to try to win at Pai Gow. I went to a nearby Roulette table and bet on my kids' birthdays. That would ground me. If I could win some back with the power of the mini's magical numbers, I'd be fine. Or so I thought.

It didn't happen. I lost my roulette buy-in quickly and wandered back over to the the Pai Gow table. All of a sudden, and without really trying too hard, I found myself down $1500 for the day. I'm pretty sure I was going to be in for some trouble. The black inside grew and nearly broke free. It was hungry for more of what I'd been feeding it.

Come forth, for we are blood
And to blood we shall return


The G-Vegas collective decided that Texas Hold 'em Bonus was next. I couldn't see straight, but figured what the hell, how bad could that be? The rules are simple. Place a bet (the ante) and get dealt 2 cards. You can fold at any time pre-flop or you can pay double the ante to see the flop. You can then bet up to the ante on the turn and river if you like your hand. If you beat the dealer, you win your flop/turn/river bets and keep your ante. If you lose, you lose everything you put up for grabs.

And that's what I did. Lose everything I put up for grabs. There's a bonus bet as well, that pays dependent on your 2 starting cards. I lost those wagers as well. The first $300 went quickly as did the next $200.

Impressive I thought. Minus $2000. The BadBlood that my friends knew vanished, but they didn't see him go. His replacement took out another $200 and placed it in front of Mihaila, our friendly Eastern Bloc dealer. I put my head down and stared at the felt in front of me. Part of me honestly thought that if I stared long enough and hard enough, I could set it on fire.

Hello darkness my old friend.


I didn't say much for a while. G-Rob, Otis, and CJ were having fun. I think. I really couldn't be sure because I wasn't paying attention. I was winning. With stupid, stupid hands. I'd ante $50, look at random cards and convince myself I should play any Jack or better. $100 pre-flop. $50 on the flop, $50 on the turn, $250 at risk to win $200. It got to the point where I played the hammer. Naturally, I flopped two-pair and took it down.

Then it happened.

Mihaila spoke to me. "You should double your bets."

I stood up from the table, nearly in shock. "Your rooting against me, aren't you?" Why else would she recommend a customer to double his bets. I had made a comeback and she knew my luck was going to change. It had to, because nobody wins 10 hands in a row at this game. Fail at probability? That's unpossible! She could only have wanted me to lose more when my luck turned around, back to what it was earlier in the day.

It was at this point I explained to the dealer my affinity for the rest of mankind.

"Let me draw you a picture," I said. I traced a circle in the felt before me and said, "This represents me." I traced another circle next to it and said, "This represents every other human on the planet." I then drew a third circle.

"This is a button that if pressed would eliminate every other living human from this planet. Right now, in the mood I'm in, I would happily press that button.

"Double my bets?" I chided. "No way. Same bet size. I press the button."

And so it went. Every hand, I'd get dealt two cards, stand up from the table and yell across the casino for all to hear, "I press the button."

Purgatory unleashed. Now burn the face of the Earth.


Otis and G-Rob would later say that my comeback was the greatest -EV gaming comeback they'd ever witnessed. My last $200 buy-in grew to nearly $4000. I hated everyone and everything and couldn't lose. I've never had so much fun in my life. Pit bosses came to watch me play. Mihaila the dealer watched me play for an hour after her shift had ended. Apparently I was mildly entertaining.

Finally, a dealer came in, and I knew my run was over. They sent in the cooler. But they weren't going to fool me. The black inside me recognized her for what she was and before it crawled back into its tiny box, it clued me into the nature of the replacement dealer.

"Cash me in," I said, "I'm onto your little game."

I literally stumbled to the cashier's office with $3500+ in blacks and wandered back to the table. In the aftermath, Otis, CJ and G-Rob began to play their hands blind. And win. And then I didn't hate anybody anymore and smiled at the good fortune of my friends. I was on the other side of tilt and on the other side of massive losses. It was 4am and the four of us were dead tired.

There really wasn't any other choice to make when confronted with what to do next. That's right. Poker. 2/5 NL with $1000 cap.


On hand #2 in the big blind, I found myself with 24o.

The flop came A35 rainbow. There was a small part of me inside a tiny, little box that started laughing.


DubsPoke said...

Awesome story-telling. Brought a smile to my face which is exactly what I needed. Thanks!

nick said...

Same here, great story, great words.`

Unknown said...

Awesome writing. But do you ever find it disturbing that our moods can be so blackened by whether or not we hit the right cards? The reason I ask is not to judge, it's to question why my own behavior, too, can be so colored by the bottom line, when we're supposed to be having fun.

I think I'm playing less online poker strictly because of that.

Maybe there's a post there.

BigPirate said...

Fantastic post.

Joaquin "The Rooster" Ochoa said...

Excellent post.

joxum said...

Very good post, sir!


BamBam said...

Great read fellow BB.

Mucho fantástico.


Unknown said...

Wow, this kicked my ass.

Nice story sir!

BamBam said...

I heard the news today...OH BOY.
About a special man, who'd "bash" with me.


DrChako said...

Slow to the game but trying to catch up "pre-bash."

Great story. See you all soon.

-DrC said...

My friends were always having fun playing at the casino, but I didn’t understand it at all before, and only when I realized the interest in playing the casino UK, it turned out to be very exciting. Then she always played. And I also liked the fact that this is a good income.