Thursday, April 02, 2009

That's Gonna Leave A Mark

I guess I was due for a smackdown, and it came last night. Yep, my Wednesday night was pretty much like all the rest of my non-working nights for the past month, except that I couldn't win a damn thing.

It started off pretty well, I mean, I found myself at Sierra Gold, looking to treat myself to a nice meal. But I couldn't sit in my normal 'Norm' seat at the corner of the bar, as two other guys were there smoking like chimneys. Since I wanted to eat, I didn't want to sit by any smokers. Oh, and the dirty little secret out here in Vegas is that even though they passed a law that says no smoking wherever there is food served, every bar in this town pretty much ignores it (except maybe Buffalo Wild Wings--I don't think they allow smoking in there). When they passed this dumb-assed law, they made no provisions for enforcement--it's not something the cops can write a ticket for (Hell, every time I'm in there, there is usually a table full of cops in the corner), and the Health Department or whoever is 'in charge' doesn't have the manpower or the funding to hire 'enforcers'. So the law is pretty much ignored.

Once the law went into effect, all the bars got rid of their ashtrays and posted 'No Smoking' signs at the entrances, but if you want to smoke, the bartender will give you a coffee cup half-full of water that you use as an ashtray, and then it's business as usual. The only people hurt by the smoking ban are the ashtray manufacturers, as nobody buys ashtrays anymore. But the coffee cup business is booming! And even though I'm not a smoker, it's still a bar and I'm totally opposed to the creeping incrementalism of the Nanny State, so I say smoke 'em if you got 'em.

Anyhow--instead of stamping my feet and throwing a hissy fit that there were, *gasp*, smokers in the bar, I just took a different seat, ordered a beer, and watched the Rockets/Suns game on the big screen. The only problem was, I wanted to sit at the seat that had the triple-play VP machine, but there was only one in the entire bar, so iffin' I wanted to get my beer for free, I had to play real VP in a quarter machine, which I don't really like, but their progressive jackpot is so high (over $30,000) that you can't help but take a shot at it, even though it's a short pay machine.

Of course, forty bucks later, I got nothing higher than a full house, so my 'free beer' cost me two Jacksons, not to mention that I didn't even get a whiff of the jackpot. This was a close as I came:

Again, I'm not much of a video poker player, but I'll put an occasional twenty in while sitting at the bar at Sierra Gold, and the little ten-cent kiddie-machine triple play one has been very good to me lately. But, since I couldn't play it last night, I took a shot at the big hit and came up short. Oh well. And yeah, I've never gotten a Royal Flush at video poker, but then again, if measured collectively, I've probably played for about an hour total in my entire life. I'm the type that if I hit *anything* that puts me up for the session, I immediately cash out, so I really don't have much going for me as far as expectations go. If I were to ever get a Royal, it would be pure dumb fast luck, not from grinding it out for hours.

On the plus side, I had an order of chicken nachos that were very good. And it was way more than one person could eat--quite a bargain for nine bucks. I was stuffed after finishing only half of the mound. That, plus two drafts, and I was good to go.

Once I got to the poker room, I sat in a 4-8 game, but there was only one table, and it sucked. The no-limit gamed looked very good and juicy, so I put my name on the waiting list. I think I played 4-8 for about an hour, and was down about five bucks when I got a seat at the main game.

Unfortunately, I just could not make a hand hold up. I swear, every flop missed me by a country mile. I'd start with decent cards--big suited Aces, pairs, King/Queen, stuff like that, and I'd either raise or call a raise pre-flop and just miss everything. I didn't even have cards good enough to bluff with.

I ended up frittering away about a hundred bucks with nothing to show for it, so when a different seat opened up at the end of the table, I took it. Besides, I had a guy on my immediate left who would raise me every time I led out with a bet. Since he had position on me, and I was missing every flop, I just got hammered time after time. I needed to move.

It turned out in my favor--I got a few small pots, making about $60 back, when I found myself with Ace-Nine of hearts. I called an $11 pre-flop raise, as did three other people, and I thought it was a miracle just this side of water-into-wine when the flop came out with three hearts. I checked, my nemesis bet, another guy called, everyone else dropped out, and I called.

The turn brought a harmless black Eight, and again I checked the nuts. My nemesis checked, and the guy on the button bet $40. I called, and then OH HELL YEAH, the jerkoff who'd been raising me every time went all-in! I couldn't believe my luck.

They guy on the button was the first to act, and he agonized for a minute or so, as it was about $300 to call. He looked at me, trying to get a read on my hand, wondering what I was gonna do behind him, but I just sat as still as a statue, staring at the pot, not saying a word. Eventually, he mucked his hand and said to me Man, I sure hope that was a good laydown.

Since the guy who went all-in was kind of being as ass to me, (since he got me to lay down a bunch of bets earlier, he thought he was the King-shit and could push me around), I really wanted to rub his face in it. I had the stone-cold nuts there on the turn, and yeah, even though it was the same scenario as the other night when I lost a $600+ pot, I figured there was no way it would happen again. Nobody is that unlucky.

He started talking, and gave me enough info to know that he had a set, and all I had to do avoid having the board pair on me, and my nut-flush was good. He had me covered in chips, so I couldn't bust him, but I sat there for a minute acting like I was torn about the hand, making him think that I was wondering if I should call or fold.

Eventually, I gave the droopy-shouldered chip-push and said, *sigh*, I call.

Since it's not a tournament, we don't have to turn our cards over until after the river. My opponent, still thinking he was better than he really was, asked "You have a set?"


"On a flush draw?"

Nope. (I'm already there, bitch!, I said to myself)

"Oh, then I've got you beat--I have a set of eights!"

He then turned his hand over to show me, thinking he'd busted me. I looked down and shook my head, like I'd been beat, sinking the hook in a little deeper.

I waited until the harmless rag came on the river, I paused for just a split second, and then I showed my hand.

Oh, I just have the nuts... But thanks for going all-in, bro.

The look on his face was priceless, like he couldn't believe a mope like me would ever get the best of him, and the huge cheer/groan that came up from the rest of the table is one of my favorite sounds ever. I raked a *huge* pot, tipped the dealer ten bucks, and the lady next to me leaned over and whispered, That was awesome--he's such a dick!


That double-up put me up almost a hundred bucks for the night, and my opponent took his figurative ball and went home to pout.

I folded for about the next twenty minutes, not getting any cards to play, but also, keeping out of trouble. But I was getting bored. The game tightened up, nobody was betting, so I decided to take the money and run. Besides, there was a seat open at the 4-8 game, and three of the biggest fish in the casino were now sitting there. So I told the floorman that I wanted a table change.

But by the time I racked up and cashed out, two of my intended victims left the game. I put three hundred bucks back in my wallet, got a stack of a hundred in white $1 chips, and had a small stack of red $5 chips with me when I sat down at the limit table.

I still felt like I could pound on the game, there were two very weak players there, and everyone else was about average. I thought I'd be patient and just pick my spots like normal, but damn, I could not catch a break.

During one stretch, I caught four pocket pairs in a row, and each time, an Ace came on the flop, killing my cards. One particularly painful sequence gave me pocket Kings, and the betting was capped pre-flop. Of course an Ace came on the flop, and there was a bet and a raise in front of me, so I knew I was beaten. I folded face-up, letting my opponents know how lucky they'd just gotten, and in an act of retribution from the Poker Gods, a King came on the turn.

Sick, sick, sick.

As the hand played out, I would've won a huge pot, but I was just snakebitten at that point. Nothing held up for me.

That's how it went the rest of the night, too. Eventually, my profits from the no-limit game were ground to dust as I missed every flop I played. And there were two horrible players in the game who called all the way down each time, only to catch the miracle river card. I swear, it was like playing on PokerStars, except with better cocktail service.

There was one little Asian kid, must've just turned 21, and I swear he rivered me a dozen times. He didn't even know what he had a couple of times. On one hand, I had Ace-Jack, raised preflop, got a few callers, flopped two pair, he called me all the way down with Queen-Deuce offsuit, making an inside straight on the river. He went to muck it, but he tossed his cards out face-up saying "I've got nothing", until of course, everyone at the table pointed out that he did, in fact, have a straight. Grrrr....

Another time, I had pocket Eights, flopped a set when the board came out Eight-Ace-Ten. I got three callers, but the turn was an Ace and the river was a Ten. Sabotage city--I got the bronze medal full-house on that one. That doesn't pay much, by the way.

Anyhow, that's pretty much how my night went--I suffered more suckouts than anyone should have to endure. It was a statistical anomaly for sure, and the bummer of it was I took a huge beat late in the game, on the river again, so I had no shot of re-couping my losses by then--it was too late at night and too many players were dropping out.

When the game finally broke, I was down about $180 for the night--an unbelievable turn of events. I guess I was due for a smackdown, and my streak of 16 winning sessions in a row is now over. And over in a big way. On the way out the door, I figured my luck *had* to change, so I put forty bucks in the Megabucks machine, daydreaming about 32 million. Yeah, I didn't win there, either.

So I came home, down almost three bills total, feeling like I'd been probed by aliens who left the jar of lube back on their home planet. Luckily I'm scheduled to work later tonight, so I'm sure I'll come out ahead at the poker table this time.

But before that happens, I've got to make myself all pretty again. Carmen and I never got around to getting her TV moved yesterday, so we're doing that in a little bit, and then after that, it's off to the Frog to spend some time with the local literati, drinking networking.


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