Do The Hustler
This Is Sometimems a Poker Blog
The setting: Hustler Casino in lovely downtown Gardena. Table number 72 (seriously). The game is 4/8 Limit Hold 'Em. The players:
Seat 1: Emily, girlfriend of the 2005 WPBT Winter Classic champion. She thinks I should be a male excort, an idea I'm one bad beat away from undertaking. Filled post-Dodger game by Alan who was wearing a neon sign over his head that said "I'm here to lose money."
Seat 2: Glyph, aforementioned champion and soft-spoken shark who is not afraid to push someone off their chair if necessary, even if it's his girlfriend.
Seat 3: Coco, multi-time Bad Beat Cover Boy, turbo-LAG, who holds the distinction of being the only one of us to play California Blackjack at 3 in the morning.
Seat 4: Asian Guy, who buys in short, is crippled on Hand One by Glyph's AJ (Gold!) with A9. Loses another pot and is gone like the wind within a half-hour. Seat is taken by Morey, a nice guy who sits down with an aura of Dead Money, the color of which, for future reference, is piss yellow. His predictable demise is a signal for things to get nuts as the seat is taken by F-Train, reigning WPBT champion whose powers--and physique--very closely resemble that of the fella on his right, turning that little corner of the table into a chorus of "three-bet" and "cap."
Seat 5: Big Red, amiable giant with a foot-long banded goatee. A tight, competent player who turns out to be an unlikely voice of reason to his buddy.
Seat 6: Middle Eastern (or Latino) Luckbox/Card Rack. Nothing but made or rivered monsters for this cat who finally left with quadruple his buy-in, give or take.
Seat 7: High Plains Drifter, the OC's tightest player who had a difficult choice between Girlfriend Time and Poker Time, ultimately choosing the latter and totally forgetting to call the former.
Seat 8: Yours Truly, known throughout the region as a guy you want at your table after eleven drinks.
Seat 9: Uber-Tilt, Big Red's buddy who professed to be slumming (claiming 15/30 as his standard level) and gets his ass handed to him repeatedly throughout the evening and yes, he took some river beats, but he also took some (obvious) turn beats and couldn't let his hand go and he also played WAY too many hands against a hyper-aggressive table and he also bluffed too much against a table that would call you down with second pair. He moved to Seat 6 when Luckbox/Cardrack moved on and the 9 was filled by Veneno, who scooped one of the biggest pots of the night in a hand that had the floorman updating his resume.
The Hustler 4/8 game has only one $4 blind and no live straddling, news to most of us that put a damper on the usual blogger silliness. At the beginning. Soon enough...
I call Coco's raise from the blind, as does a limping Emily. Flop is all spades and I bet my unimproved/no spade SMTL, Emily calls and Coco raises. We both call and I bet out again on the no-help turn. Emily calls and Coco drops. Still no improvement on the river and my bet induces Emily's fold. I show, Emily fumes, Coco claims The Hammer.
Coco raises and gets two callers. He continues to bet/raise Uber-tilt all the way through and the board is all red and all high cards by the river. UT has a pair of jacks and a busted heart draw and folds to Coco's river bet. When he shows his 6s5s, Uber-Tilt immediately murders our Asian cocktail waitress. Coco soon has Shower's Remorse and attempts to buy Uber-Tilt a drink. "It's not enough money to matter," UT says by way of forgiveness. His face and constant mumbling betray him.
Emily takes a bad beat when she flops the flush and Luckbox/Cardrack turns two pair and boats up on the river.
HPD raises pre-flop and the flop gets capped (with Emily and Uber-Tilt) when it comes KTT. Turn and River are both Kings and betting is hyperactive throughout. HPD shows Big Slick for DQB, Emily JJ and Uber-Tilt JT. One pocket 10s from an $11K jackpot hand, instead HPD scoops a $170 pot and endures glares from Uber-Tilt, who now visibly has steam coming off his head.
I turn the nut flush against Emily in a big pot, value check-call my nuts, then check-raise her on the river. Hear that ladies? Chivalry is totally dead on Table 72. Now it's my turn to feel like something of a dick. Not a good night for her with the cards. Oh well, it's Glyph's money.
F-Train bets me off my pair of sevens on a four-flush board with unimproved A9. I raise my turned straight (which was also an open-ended straight flush draw) on the river and lose to a higher straight when Cardrack/Luckbox hits a gutshot for a higher straight (3-outer, ladies). My stack, which was over my buy-in for the entire evening is now about half. Me not so good at the limit, though I do know well enough to call Coco down with second or third pair.
Uber-Tilt finally snaps. I've only mentioned two beats here, but he took several others, like turning the flush (with...ahem...3h2h) only to see Big Red's Qh (half of his Hiltons) play when the fourth heart hits the river. Funnily enough, UT flopped quads twice, but even on this "loose calling" table, doesn't get paid on either. Anyway, he's had enough and starts loudly lamenting his fate when Big Red speaks up and says, "Dude, you've played every hand for an hour." While not exactly true, true enough, and many of those hands he called more than one bet cold. He never adjusted to the table and had only himself to blame for losing a lot of bets, bets that I wager added up to about $400 when the night was through.
Then, all of a sudden, he gets happy after moving to Seat 6 when the cards start working for him. He's back up to over $200 in front when the Raising Corner conspires to cap pre-flop and he calls three cold from the blind with QT. Five of us--FIVE!--see a flop of KJ9 with two diamonds. It's capped again as I ram and jam with my nut flush draw, four still in. Turn is 6d. He bets, I raise, everyone else drops and he calls. River diamond probably saves him a bet as he check-calls, asking, "You got the flush?" Huge pot takes me from down $50 to up $80. Takes him from the 6 seat to wherever it is that steaming Poker Experts go.
It's down to just six bloggers now and there's really only a couple things that could happen. Vegas Hold 'Em? Check. The dealer is amused, but not concerned. That changes when we play a hand of Indian Poker.
"What are you guys doing?" says a flustered Paul, our very nice and accomodating floorman. "You're gonna get me fired."
We cap it pre-flop.
"Turn the Camera off on Table 72," says Paul into his walkie-talkie.
Veneno pairs her queen on the flop and HPD, Alan and I drop. Coco and F-Train, both unimproved, cap it, lengthening Paul's discomfort.
"We'll tell 'em it's somebody's birthday or something," Paul says to the dealer.
It was probably the longest four minutes of poor Paul's life, but in the end, Veneno scooped a three-figure pot. She then dragged another nice-sized one with AQ, thereby doubling up her buy-in within an hour of sitting down. Timing is everything.
We broke pretty much right after. I apologized to Paul, telling him I hoped nothing bad would happen and he assured me it would have happened already. Larry Flynt's hammer is quick, apparently.
Great fun, as always. And this time, I didn't get stacked. Repeatedly.