Monday, December 28, 2009

Special Guest

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas! For those of you crawling back to the real world today, I have a treat for you. As part of her ongoing debt-repayment plan, and because well, I'm lazy, I've recruited a special Guest Blogger to give you your Monday morning fix--from warm and sunny Boston Massachusetts, it's Miss Josie. She also has the poker bug and is one of the people who actually like my poker stories better than the tales of the coleslaw. We've been talking a bit lately, and it turns out that she's got some experience on the green felt, too. So I suggested that she write up one of her stories and I'd post it here for everyone to enjoy.

Here it is:

November 2009

Just over the Massachusetts/New Hampshire border is the Seabrook Poker Room in Seabrook, NH. It’s about 40 minutes from my house and I play there maybe every two months. They have sit-n-goes, tourneys, and cash games. I went up to play the 1pm $150 daily tournament.

First, let me tell you that most of the guys that play there fall into two categories--older men in their mid-50’s thru mid-80’s, and they are in there all time. I dunno if they’re in there playing every day, but I know they’re definitely in there every week. I always see the same faces, regardless of which day I’m there. The other type of player there is the young guy--wearing his hat, ear buds, and sunglasses, thinking he’s all that. Those two categories make up about 90% of the players.

I’ve played there in the past and have placed in the money more than a few times, and I was hoping that this visit would be the same.

I don’t know if it’s typical of larger poker rooms, but these men always want to split winnings and never play to the end. Heck, they start talking about splitting when it’s down to five players. About six months ago, we were down to the money and there were only four of us left; I was the chip leader and they all wanted a straight split. Um, no. I said “Let’s play until we’re even and then talk about splitting or maybe let’s wait until we’re down to just two or three people.” Anyway, the place closes at midnight, and at this point it felt like the other three guys (all regulars) were ganging up on me and insisted we split. It was about 11:30pm and one of the guys tells me the place will be closing down soon anyway. I admitted that he’s right and I agreed to go ahead and split.

Here’s the thing--I later found out that even though the casino closes at midnight, if there is a final table in progress they’ll let you keep playing until at least 1am. Needless to say I was a little bitter about that. Nobody told me that the guy was handing me a line--not even the dealer. This place is very close knit, and I guess I don’t play enough to be considered a regular. Plus I KNOW the woman thing is a factor, at least with a few of these guys anyway.

Okay, fast forward to the current 1pm tournament. Usually when I play there, people will remember me because I play tight but aggressive, but I like to have fun at the table, too. The first 45 minutes of the tourney go by pretty uneventfully. I usually spend the first hour doing two things; people watching and blind-stealing. I like to monitor people’s betting habits. And people are creatures of habit--they just can’t help it. So that first hour is spent identifying who’s tight and who can’t let go of a hand, and I’m only in a hand if I’ve got the goods. Don’t get me wrong, in that first hour I’ll try to steal as many blinds as I think I can get away with, but if I get called and I miss the flop, I’m outta there.

Before the first break, I got my first good opportunity–a suited J-10. I flopped a pair of Jacks and had a flush draw. I made a big bet and got a call (oh my!). There were two people in the hand – me and this middle-aged biker chick. The turn comes and it’s my third diamond. I hit my flush and I checked. Biker chick goes all in.


Either she’s representing a flush because I acted weak by checking or I guess that maybe she has a higher flush. I think about it for a while and say Puck it, I call. She hadn’t impressed me with her play up till then, but then again, anyone can have two higher diamonds – with skills or without. I’m glad I called. She had Big Slick, but no diamond. It was a total bluff and I got a nice influx of chips right before the break.

Then I got moved to another table. I start chatting with the dealer and I tell him that he’s my fave dealer (can’t hurt right?). But then he gets tapped out and leaves. The next dealer gives me a full boat, and I knock out another person. I tell the new guy that he’s my favorite dealer, and this gets a big chuckle from the table. At this table there are three older guys, three young ones and I forget who else. The old guy to my left tells me that I remind him of his ex-wife and she’s dead. I tell him I’m sorry, and he says don’t be. He said “I have two ex-wives and they’re both dead. The first one died of mushroom poisoning and the second one died of a hit to the head…..because she wouldn’t eat the mushrooms! Do you like mushrooms?”

He’s sitting directly on my left and has made it his business to try to steal my pots and over-bet. I wait and wait till I have something good, like Big Slick. I hit the Ace on the flop and hurt him badly. He’s pissed. He tells me “You’re like a snake. Snakes lick and then they bite. I know you bite but do you lick?” I said Buddy, if you want to find out, you’re gonna have to buy me dinner first. Laughter at the table and the mood lightens. I’m easily the chip leader at my table but I don’t know where I stand in relation to the rest of the tourney. They update the average stack about every half hour, but it’s hard to see the main whiteboard up front from my seat.

There is another dealer change and the new guy seems pretty nice. I win a quick little pot and I say “You’re my favorite dealer!” All the guys start laughing and say “She says that to all the dealers, don’t believe her”. I then told the guy he could be my real favorite if he gives me Ace-Ace. Then the old guy to the left pipes up and says “She licks, you know. Maybe she’ll lick you!” The poor dealer turned red, and I asked him if the old coot is allowed to talk to me like that. Old coot said “I wasn’t talking to you I was talking to the dealer”.


I tighten up and wait. No matter what I play he’s raising and I know half the time he has shit, but I’m just waiting for the one time when I have something great so I can snap him off.

And then I got my chance.

I flopped a straight and he flops top pair. I make a bet, he raised, and I go all-in. He insta-calls and I happily show him my straight. The turn comes and it matches the board. He’s got two pair, but thank God there was no full house made on the river. He’s out like a busted streetlight. Then he starts with the f-bombs and tells me how lucky I am and how lucky I’ve been for the whole tourney. I told him that most of my luck came from sitting next to somebody who would call an all-in with just a measly pair.

Fast forward to the final table--eight places are in the money and there are ten of us left. We decided to take a little money off of first and second place so that everyone’s a winner.

Before long, the short stacks do the suicidal jump, and we’re down to the final five. I had more than double the chip stack of everyone else and they wanna chop the prize money.

NO way, not now that we’re down to four. It was three men and I, and all three men are named Brian. For real. How wacky is that? There’s a nice Brian, mean Brian, and a forgettable Brian. And they all wanna chop!! I tell them to talk to me when our stacks are even. Mean Brian says that he can have me out of the tourney in five hands, and having more than double the chips doesn’t matter. To a certain extent I agree, but I’ve been playing well, the poker gods are with me, so no thanks. Besides, I like my chances heads-up.

First place is $1,800 and I really wanna buy a sectional sofa…which I can do with $1,800. I tell this to the Brians and they say "Split and you can still buy a sofa" (I never bought the sofa, at least not YET). To mean Brian, I say Get close to my chip stack and we’ll talk. Nice Brian is just happy to be there, playing nice, tight and predictably.

Nice Brian goes all in pre-flop and I’m looking down at J-J. I gotta take a chance so I call. He has Ace-Ten and doesn’t connect. He’s out, so it’s down to me and the meanie, and the meanie is one of the young hat-and-sunglasses types, so I really want to bust him.

Second place is $1,000 and if we split it’s still $1,400, but I’m not interested in giving this guy $400. We kept playing, and I started going all-in more often than I should, and steal steal steal. Then I got pocket Kings and do the same thing--All-in, baby!

He decides that this is the hand and calls me with a K-J and it’s over--he never improved and I won the whole thing--Mean Brian is out and I am the champ!

The tourney itself took about ten hours to play, and there was another interesting thing going on. For about three of those hours I was sitting next to this other guy who was like the Mayor or something. Literally seven different men came over, said hello and massaged this guy’s shoulders – every one of them! After his third massage I said Dude, all these guys come over and massage your shoulders, what’s your secret? It happened again and again and we’d laugh about it every time. He was a nice older guy whose wife was playing at another table. Anyway, after he got knocked out of the tourney he stayed to watch, was really nice and supportive and actually came and massaged my shoulders every half hour! Sooo nice. Not a creepy massage – just being a nice guy. He’s a definite regular and we became friends that day. When it was over he gave me a hug and said he was impressed with my play. That made my big win even better.

I haven’t been back there since then, but as soon as I finally buy my new sectional, I’ll be up there looking to score some throw pillows or a nice rug to tie the whole room together…


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