Saturday, April 16, 2005

Up a Creek Without a Straddle

Finally made it out last night to the remodeled poker room/casino of my local Indian tribe. Casino Morongo (which some of you might recognize from the Poker "Superstars" Invitational). Emphasis on the "Moron," at least in the early going.

It's a nice enclosed (non-smoking) room, 36 tables spreading 2/4 to 500 NL and a half-dozen limit Omaha8. Spacious, competent and friendly dealers and well-run. The board was a large, swanky electronic deal and the PA system was top-notch. Only drawback is the new tables, which have way too much give in the felt. Too spongy. Don't even try having a stack of more than 15 chips stay upright. No automatic shufflers. The cocktail service was a little slow, as well. I counted two waitresses for the room. Good news is there's a bar just outside and they have pints of Newcastle for $4.


I arrived about 9 and was seated immediately at a 3/6 table. All the limit games are Kill games at Morongo. My first hand was a kill pot (I didn't have to post). I look down and see ace-ten of diamonds and raise it up to $12. No use easing into it. I flop an ace and it holds up. Two minutes, one $80 pot.

My table had two of the worst players I have ever seen. Real live maniacs. Play any two and bet and raise with nada. One guy paid me off a couple times and went through 3 racks in two hours. The kind of guy you face online and can't believe he is anything other than a 14-year-old kid or a mildly functional retard. The kind who think J8o is a pre-flop raisin' hand. I hated to see him go.

I won a couple other pots, once getting two callers all the way with my flopped set of fives. Dragging another with a set of jacks.

At this point, I was up nearly 20 BBs, thought the exact number was impossible to figure since my chips were falling and sliding all over the giving felt. Even as I was amassing my empire, however, others were getting majorly sucked out. A good player (and good guy whom we'll hear from later) twice lost with his Hiltons to rivered flushes, even though he flopped a set each time. Them bitches were, in fact, a death hand the entire night.

They were soon the catalyst for dark times.

It's a kill pot and I get those ladies in LP. It's raised, I 3-bet and it's capped. Five players to the flop (as loose as this game was, it was even looser in kill pots), including the elderly woman to my left who had been dropping chips at an alarming rate. Flop comes jack-high rainbow. A bet, I raise, elderly lady and original bettor call. Turn is a rag. Checked to me and I bet. Old lady calls, all in for $6. Other guy calls. River makes me turn green.


Other guy check-calls my bet with second-pair and I beat him for the comparatively piddling side pot. Elderly woman, for whom I'd previously felt sympathy, flips J5o and yanks away my triple-digit pot.

Thus begins my descent into Suckout Hell.

I flop top two with KQs and lose to a rivered set of tens. Pocket Kings falls to AJo. Pocket 9s no good on an KKQ flop. Big Slick worked by JTs.

A good two-hour binge of chip dumping. I'm now stuck about 5 BBs and I have a decision to make. Pick up and get out while I've still got some meal money...

Or straddle.

Guess which one I choose?

By this time, the good guy/good player has moved to the seat to my immediate left. We were having a nice conversation, a minor salve to the beating the cards are giving me. He forever etches himself in poker lore when, without prior discussion or provocation, immediately three-bets my straddle.

The rest of the table is flummoxed, to say the least. By now, after a lot of player rotation, we've got a mix of mostly solid, tight players. Their looks of bewilderment and annoyance add to the fun. But several of them call anyway, even when I cap it blind.

The flop comes K44 with two spades. SB bets and I raise. Still blind. My buddy looks at his cards and folds. I admonish him for looking.

Turn is a Q, not a spade. Checked to me and I finally see what I'm playing: Q4s. You have got to be kidding me. I bet and get one caller who follows me to the river. I toss up my cards with a defiant, "Behold the power of the straddle!"

And I'm back up.

My buddy straddles my blind. The quiet, but amusing guy to his left straddles his. And we're off. Let's gamb000000000l. The other side of the table is less inclined, but for three orbits, there is much straddling. I win another pot in mine, losing a second with K3o when my pair of 3s is outkicked. Seriously.

I've pulled my stack up about 6 BBs and it's late, but I started this insanity , so I'll finish it. "Finishing it" means "staying until the table is short because people are pissed." To my dismay, nobody calls me "disturbing." I drop my meager profit in a kill pot and since we're 6-handed, I decide to rack up. Exactly even for the night.

Good fucking times. Even though I coulda walked outta there with a handful of racks had things gone a little better. Next time. I'll be back out there in short order. Maybe some of my Greater Los Angeles bloggers might enjoy a trip out to the IE? We've got plenty of extra beds at the desert compound.


At 1:01 AM, Blogger High Plains Drifter said...

Verrrrry interesting.

I haven't seen the insides of Morongo, and if I do, I think I'd like to sit at a $100 buy-in NL table.

I should look into what Morongo has to offer as far as NL tables and NL tourneys.

Either that, or I need to become less-clueless at limit poker.


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