Sunday, November 01, 2009

Take Me Down to the Jackpot City...

Where the money's green and the cards are pretty!

Hey, y'all wanna see what $4,444 looks like, in Benjis and twenties? Well here ya go!

Actually, that's only about $3600 and change--there were a few expenses before I got home...

So I guess I've got to put this Halloween in the books as the best one ever! Lemme offer up the details...

Like I mentioned before, I had no plans for Halloween this year. I wasn't gonna dress up, I had no party to go to, and pretty much all my friends were working. When you work in the casino biz, all the weekends and holidays belong to The Man. This was the first Halloween I've had off since I got here almost five years ago, so I was kind of at a loss for something to do. I had a last-minute invite to go down to the Palms with a couple of my gals, but since I had no costume planned, I begged off. That, and I didn't want to pay $14 a pop for drinks all night, either.

Anyhow, so instead of prowling the Strip, or even going to Carnaval Court, I fell back on old reliable and just wandered on down to one of the local poker rooms. Since it was the last day of the month, all of the rooms that I frequent were winding down their good October promotions--flopped four-of-a-kinds and made straight flushes were paying off all month, but I never caught a single 'high hand' in all the hours I've put in at the tables over the past several weeks. But I wanted to give it one more try.

The M Resort was giving away a thousand dollars for any flopped four-of-a-kind, and Green Valley Ranch and Sunset Station had a Card of the Day promotion that if you flopped four-of-a-kind of that number, you won that money in thousands. Four nines got you $9,999, four sevens would get you $7,777, etc. The card of the day at Sunset was pocket fours, and it was my understanding that nobody had flopped the quads of the day for the entire month--it happened a few times at GVR, but never at Sunset.

My buddy AC went to GVR for the night to take his shot, but I ended up at Sunset Station. My plan was to play a few hours there, and if I broke even or was up a few bucks, I'd cash out and head over to the M. I have been damn near unbeatable there this month, and besides that, my gal Sammi works over there, and everyone knows I'm hot for her stuff.

There was a pretty good waiting list going when I got to the casino around seven o'clock, so they opened up a new game almost immediately after I got there. I thought it was great table--after a couple orbits, I could see that there were a couple of calling stations who would play any two cards almost every hand. My Pavlovian mouth-watering kicked in and I told myself that I was about to get paid!

Of course, that was the plan. But sometimes, the Poker Gods laugh at my plans, and strike me down with a seemingly never-ending series of bad beats and impossible draws. I think I was stuck about fifty bucks within the first half hour. There was one guy at the table I just couldn't beat. He didn't seem to be a very good player; he kept turning over junk cards, but man, he was just getting run over by the deck--he hit everything! And several times it happened at my expense. It got to be a frustrating night, and I found it damn near impossible to duplicate my success of the previous night. Card of the day be damned, I just couldn't make any hand hold up, and every pocket pair seemed to get cracked.

After a couple of hours, I was actually stuck $160 and fading fast. Going over to the M was out of the question, as I was so frustrated that I was bound and determined to make my money back at that same table, no matter how long it took. I know, bad move, but I probably wasn't thinking rationally at the time.

At ten o'clock, one of my favorite dealers in all of Las Vegas came to my table, and I told her that I was counting on her to get me unstuck (I'd made a furious comeback by then, but was still down about sixty bucks). She laughed and said she'd try.

About fifteen minutes into her 'down', it was a kill pot, meaning that somebody had won two hands in a row, and instead of playing 4/8, we were now playing 6/12 until that particular player lost a pot. I was on the button, and looked down to see two black fours staring back up at me.

Woot! I had a chance to win a monster jackpot. Fours were the card of the day, and if I flopped quads with 'em, I'd win $4,444.00. Oh hell yeah! Of course, I didn't really count on it, because I've been playing poker pretty regularly for almost ten years now, and I think I've flopped quads maybe three times in the last decade. Besides, I heard somewhere that flopping quads is like a 93,000-to-one longshot.

Three players in front of me called to see a flop, so I limped in for $3, fully aware that the minimum $10 was in the pot (most houses have a rule that there has to be ten bucks worth of called bets in any pot to win a high-hand jackpot). While the dealer gathered up all the bets into the middle of the table, I turned my head away and looked down at the floor, telling myself Just once--it's now or never.

I didn't see the flop get spread, but I heard the dealer say Well, I hope somebody's got it!

I looked up and I about satcheled my wares when I saw the most beautiful flop ever: a six with two red fours on either side of it--I just flopped four fours!!!

Holy shiat! It took me a second to let the realization set in that I'd just won over four grand...

Besides, there was still a hand to be played out. My three opponents all checked to me, and of course I checked it. Hell, I wanted somebody to make a hand. The competitive poker player in me wanted to get paid off! And if I were fortunate enough to actually get beaten by a bigger four of a kind or a straight flush, then I'd get another four grand or so as a share of the in-house bad beat jackpot, too! That was too much to hope for, so I really didn't give it a second thought.

I consciously made an effort to keep my hands from shaking and to keep my voice from cracking as a blank hit the turn and all three of my opponents checked to me. I checked again--free card for everyone!

The jack of diamonds came on the river, and again, all three of my opponents checked. I grabbed a stack of twelve chips and slowly made a bet, saying to the dealer, I really like that river card, so I'm gonna go ahead and bet twelve. (pause) And oh by the way, you should probably call the floorman over here and tell him to bring his clipboard!

The look on her face was priceless, as she realized what I was telling her. Immediately, everyone else at the table stood up and I flipped over my cards, revealing the four of a kind.

Instantly, it was absolute pandemonium at my table. Everyone in our game jumped up and cheered and I let out a nice loud OH HELL YEAH!!!

Of course, all action at the other five tables stopped and everyone stood up to see if we'd hit a bad beat or something, and then the high fives started coming. All of my table mates were excited for me, and of course the dealer had a huge ol' grin on her face! Immediately, my phone started going off as people at other tables were texting me with congratulations. I was shaking like a leaf at that point. I just couldn't believe I won such a monster jackpot! Talk about lucky--the whole promotion was ending at midnight, less than two hours later, and I squeezed out a winner just under the wire!

Over the course of the next several minutes, almost half the people in the room came over and offered me congrats and told me they were happy for me. It felt awesome. I was still pretty shaky, and it took me several tries to get my fingers to work well enough to send out a global text message with the news to all of my friends.

The floorman came over with the paperwork for me to fill out, and again, I could hardly write down my information because my hands were still shaking. Eventually I calmed down, but the excitement didn't leave the room for some time. A few minutes later, the floorman came over with a whole bunch of chips for me--One rack of green ($2500), three racks of red ($1500), and then the last $444 was in black, green, red, and white. The dealer counted it all down in the middle of the table, and before she pushed it over to me, I told her to keep the $444 for herself. I think that made her day.

I then gave the floorman a few hundred bucks and told him to split it up between himself and the rest of the dealers who were on the clock at the time. Hey, when I win, everybody wins! Good karma and all that! That put everyone in a good mood, and it was nice to be able to share my good fortune. I swear, for a few minutes there I felt like Andy Dufresne the day they got the beer up on the roof of the old license plate factory.

I thought about cashing out and going home, but damn, it was barely 11:00 o'clock by that time. Besides, I'd had a few drinks, and I didn't want to drive anyways. It wouldn't be responsible, and there were about a hundred cops out on all the roads within five miles of the casino. I did, however, cash out my jackpot winnings and put all the hundies in my wallet. I think I tipped the waitress $25 for a bottle of water a few minutes later, and then I just kinda half-assed my way through the game for about an hour with the $150 or so in white chips I still had in front of me. It was tough to play, as my phone kept going off and everyone kept coming over to talk to me. Besides, I wanted to donk off a few chips to my tablemates, just for the sake of goodwill. I built a few pots, raising with nothing, and then folding, letting other folks take down a nice pot or two.

I ended up just sitting around for a couple of hours, and then decided to call it a night. I said goodnight to everyone, dropped all my extra chips into the graveyard floorman's bucket (he wasn't there when I hit my quads), and headed back here to the batch-pad. As tired as I am, and as much yawning as I've done, I just can't get to sleep--I'm too keyed up!

I'm sure I'll eventually collapse, with a satisfied smile on my face, but not just yet. As far as the money is concerned, what am I gonna do with it? Well, I still have that cruise to pay for, and next month's bills are gonna be here before I know it, so that'll take a big chunk of it. I'm gonna send a few hundies into my E*Trade account, and maybe buy some new clothes and a bunch of household supplies that I normally hate spending money on. But I'm probably just gonna save the rest. It's always feast or famine in my world, and I certainly remember the lean months, so I shouldn't do anything too frivolous. However, I've been thinking about a new Canon DSLR, so I might end up getting myself an early Christmas present.

Anyhow, that's how my Halloween went. Not too bad for a guy with no costume and no plans. But I guess you don't need any when you've got pocket fours!


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