Sunday, September 19, 2004

Kenny Rogers Gets His Revenge...

Home game action out in VA last night, and plenty of it. Started just after 8:00 PM and didn't finish up until about 4 AM. Only one table this time, and a more limited/skilled field.

The Early Going
As usual, the game was $20 buy in no-limit hold 'em, 6 or 7 handed most of the way. Notable players included a guy who tends to get very, very unlucky, an asian guy who played too many hands, a complete newbie, and a highly annoying, nerdy-looking westerner whose ass I still have a small desire to kick. More on these characters later.

When I bought in, the game had already been going for about 30 minutes, with several players I had not met before sitting around the table. Those that did know me had seen me haul big wins from the game in the past, and half-jokingly objected to my presence at the table. I figured this was worth some kind of edge with the guys I didn't know, so I set my mind on running over the game (almost) no matter what cards I was holding. I showed down the hammer (for a loss) and a few other marginal hands in the first 30 minutes while losing 1/3 of my stack. I immediately switched gears and tightened up at this point.

The next two hours dragged my stack down to a ultra-short $4.50 at one point, as I hit zero draws, and didn't get paid off on KK or AA when I had them. The fact that blinds were set at .25 and .50 (or a combined 3.75% of the starting stack each orbit) didn't help much either. I think I was playing a little over-aggressive, but not by much considering the shortness of the table. Finally, I got in a decent raise of 4x the BB with AJs, and with two callers the flop came down JKx. I immediately moved in from EP, and got one caller (asian lawyer that played too many hands), who held K7. I lucked out on the turn when another J fell, and I was back in business.

All this time, annoying, nerdy-looking westerner was 1.) verbally announcing the presence of every K and A on the flop by saying "cowboy" or "bullet," as if someone wanted him to do this, 2.) disrespecting other players by insisting that HE count their chips out when they cashed, a complete departure from past precedent and an unnecessary slow down, 3.) yammering about his support for the NRA (I'm not a fan of their politics. Deal with it or ignore it), 4.) slow rolling absolutely EVERY showdown, intentionally, 4.) asking other players to show their cards when they called a river bet and lost, and 5.) shuffling the deck face up when it was his turn, leading me to believe he might be trying to gain an edge somehow as a result.

Add to this litany of subtly evil poker-violations the fact that he looked like an uber-geek, pointy nose and glasses and all, and I just couldn't take it. If you watched the WSOP on ESPN, this guy physically resembled the nerdy player who was acting all buddy-buddy with Mike Matusow. He was an ok poker player, but he has no business in this ethical, friendly game. I was glad that he lost a substantial all-in bet later in the night, virtually ensuring him a night in the red.

Back to the action
I remained relatively shortstacked until the big college football games of the night ended, when a few more players joined us, including the host (who does a great job putting these games on and itsn't a half bad player either). Bought in another $10 around this time. Made two pair kings and queens early and brought my stack up to a more respectable level. Hit a few other hands, a set, and a flopped flush to work my way up to about $50. I'd been commenting on how bad the rap re-mix of Kenny Rogers' "The Gambler" was, when someone put it on the stereo.

To spite them, and Kenny for ruining a pretty good song ("you better count your bitches"? Kenny, Kenny, Kenny... please), I started counting my chips in bored defiance of his admonition to "never count your money, while you're sitting at the table." It way my small way of protesting the musical selection, I guess. Anyhow, I reaped the consequences in spades, as my stack never got back to that level again, and I actually left the game stuck a dollar or two. As a matter of context, this is a game I should not lose money in.

Last hand (pre-determined), I'm still in the black by a small margin, when I pick up Qc4h on the button. I would normally chuck this, but it was the last hand, it was readily apparent I'd be able to see a flop for one bet, and the Qc was my lucky card from last time in this game. Flop came down AcXcAs, and it checked around, though I suspected someone had an ace. Turn brought a low club or some kind, and a .75 bet in first position. Second seat makes it $5 to go, folded to me, and I'm faced with a decision: do I pay big (and go into the red) to take a 20% shot on busting his trip aces with a rivered flush? The Qc helped me win a monster pot on the last hand last time (flush over flush), I didn' sense a big club in first position, so I called. First to act thinks for a second and then moves in for $10 more -- not good for me. Second to act calls, and I ponder, then fold. Turns out first to act had Kx4c, and second had Ah5d. So if I had called, I'd have been on a 7-outer (the 8 clubs not seen minus the 5c, which would have made second to act a boat).

I made a small prop bet with another player after folding that the river would be a club, knowing this to be a statistically stupid bet, but feeling I was right anyhow. Ilost, river was a blank, and I'm glad I didn't call the all-in bet. Ended the night -$3.50, which generally isn't awful for 8 hours of play without catching many big starters or completing many draws. Kenny Rogers got revenge for my blatant violation of his "no counting at the table" rule, the unlucky guy walked out of the room +$70, and all things considered, there was a degree of justice about both of these things.

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