Tuesday, February 01, 2005

In the Poker Dungeon

A glance at my notes reveals:

At 10:30, I lost the bar.

I told you this place was huge.

The group had scattered to the four winds, some to the tables and a few of us up to the tournament room to watch the action. Some familiar faces, but no real action to report. Plus, I didn't have a drink. And my fingers were starting to itch. Too much poker playing going on, none of it including me.

I made my way downstairs and found the list for 2/4. Unfortunately, I was only going to be here for the rest of the night and winding up in the fourth column of initials was probably not going to get me to a table before the summer solstice. So I made an executive decision to hit up the 3/6 list, which was much shorter. And it became apparent that you shouldn't wander far from the list if you wanted to sit as soon as possible. If the three barely recognizable blurts of your initials went unheeded, you were passed over. What is it with the electronics in these places? You get better acoustics at Denny's. Anyway, I stuck close, jostling for position with other addicts, almost getting pitched onto a 4/8 table numerous times. I remained drinkless. Furthermore, I'd lost track of the bloggers, though I figured I'd see them eventually in the big room as they made their way to the tables.

Ah, the best laid plans...

I was called after about a 15 minute wait and led, against my will, out of the big room. Down a stark hallway. Through a custodial closet. Into what appeared to be somebody's basement. Clearly, I was in an overflow room, with overflow humans. Folks who appeared to have not seen the light of day in several weeks. Most of the players at my table were Asians well into their AARP years. Between the lot of them, they may have been able to combine for a full set of teeth. This was not exactly the game I had in mind; not exactly my crowd. I resolved to request a table change as soon as I found a floor person. Sadly, one was as noticably absent as a cocktail waitress. Which is to say, completely non-existent.

So, at this point, I'd pretty much lost everything except my bankroll, and I didn't feel really good about hanging onto that, either.

It soon became apparent, however, that there were a couple donators at the table. One, a ruddy-faced Bill Paxton look-alike ran through two full racks pretty quickly and I'm pretty confident they weren't his first two of the evening. When he finally sulked from the table a couple hours in, I couldn't believe my misfortune at not getting any of those chips. Another older gentleman paid me off twice almost immediately, playing top pair/no kicker. But that was it for me for the first 3 hours. I got literally nothing to play. Most of the hands were raised pre-flop, often without reason. So I spent a lot of time folding and talking to the gentleman to my left, who turned out to be fairly entertaining.

He looked a little like Hal Holbrook, if Hal Holbrook were middle eastern and hadn't seen a dentist in the last 25 years. And he was a solid player. On top of that, he wasn't out to take anybody. "I bet my top pair!" was a common refrain from him. "I check the river for you" was another. He was never untruthful. He knew when he was ahead and seemed to care about saving people bets.

Eventually, I started to get frustrated. Aside from being cold-decked, I was plenty perturbed about the lax enforcement of basic table etiquette. There was a lot of non-english speaking, even more players betting or folding out of turn. I was about fed up. It was then I took a walk, trying to find the bar--again--and/or a friendly face. No luck on the second, but I returned to the table refreshened by a pint of ale and a little pep talk I gave myself about being patient. It didn't realy take.

I chased a couple draws and failed to hit. Did a lot more folding. Not once did I stare at premium cards. Found myself stuck about $60. It had been at least 2 hours since I'd dragged a pot. I was not feeling this place--this dungeon--and was about to call it a night when the table broke and we got herded back into the big room.

It was now about 1:30.

Things were about to change, but first they got weird. With 83o in the BB, I saw the flop for free and made top pair. Now, this is nothing to get excited about, but it was the first pair I'd seen in a while. Still, when the SB bet, I folded. And watched runner-runner 3s come off. Two hands later, I folded J10o on the button to three bets pre-flop. Naturally, I would have been holding the nuts. Time for another pep talk.

And then I started to hit. Then I started to play back at the wild Asian raisers. Got myself a couple free cards and made my hands. I was rollin'. I slow-played AA (something I would normally never do, but I was feeling frisky) and capped the betting with one other player on the turn with the board showing Jack-high and two sixes. A third 6 hit on the river, muting our raising war, but his pocket 7s no good. And he was a little angry I was holding aces. "You were not betting like you had aces!" he railed. That was kinda the idea, buddy.

I eventually ran my roll up to +$50 or so. Got sucked out on a couple times late, however, and ended up $2 to the good. That's right, two bucks. After 5 1/2 hours of play.

I never did re-connect with the blogging crew and I feel bad about that. They were really the reason I was here and I enjoyed every minute I spent in their presence. I'd like to thank all of them for making me feel welcome and for the laughs.

Until next time...


At 7:25 PM, Blogger AlCantHang said...

Damn, that sucks man. I was walking around in a fog and couldn't find anyone either. Eventually they drug me off to the hotel. I have no idea what that was either.

Had a blast. Go Chelsea! :)


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