With a second draft of the art review blurring my brain, I thought I’d finish tonight with some limp-festing at Poker Academy. I received the Spinning Chip of Death when I tried to log on, so I thought now might be as good a time as any to try and remember how went my live cash game at Commerce Casino a week ago last Sunday.
It is fortunate that DW has both a brother and cousin-in-law who are avid poker players. It takes little to convince them to hit one of the big poker rooms in the LA area. In years past I have been taken to Hollywood Park and done fairly well, even when just a newbie (still am, really). The cousin likes the room, the brother-in-law, not so much, as he maintains that since it has been for sale a while, the owners have let the place go downhill. It is indeed a filthy place, or it was a year ago, and I have no reason to believe it has improved since then. The brother-in-law also believes that there is a substantial amount of collusion at the tables, not to mention folks who follow big winners to their home and dispatch the player for those winnings. Maybe an urban myth, but I’d rather not worry about contracting flesh-eating bacterial infections from my chip stack, so we discussed our other choices: Hustler, Bicycle or Commerce.
In that we both have spouses to answer to, we opted out of the first choice. Not that anything would have or could have happened, but explanations take words, sometimes words more carefully chosen than at other times, and even then there is no guarantee that those words won’t become pretzels, again, even if nothing happened… You get the idea.
This is how my brother-in-law described the Bike: a bunch of angry Persians and Armenians yelling at each other, “You are a very good poker player!” “No, YOU are a very good poker player!” I don’t mind playing against monkey-tilters, but no thanks. I'm of a delicate sensibility and I’m on vacation.
That left the Commerce, the largest poker room in the world. I believe that’s how it’s billed. It is big, for sure. If memory serves, one giant room is designated for the odd poker games such as Pai Gow, somehow played so that one is not playing against the dealer/house. There’s some Blackjack derivative as well. No thanks. Never played ‘em. Another huge room is for high stakes games. Pass. Then there is the low stakes room. Wow.
I’m not clear on just how many games were being spread, maybe five, yet all tables, maybe fifty or sixty in all, were full. Most games had waiting lists. My brother-in-law tried to give me a quick run-down on the games offered, but frankly, the size of the room had me a bit disoriented. Crowds and me… I heard “$100” buy-in, can reload another 100 if down to fifty,” signed up fifth on the list and was seated within two minutes. He was going to wait for a 3/6 Omaha seat to open up.
$100 buy-in, blinds 2/3. Shit. Get ready for a jamfest.
The table did not disappoint. Crazians (did I spell that right?) jamming with AJo, smiling when a pair of tens holds up, and reloading. I could handle it. Initially there was a lot of such action as I fold my 92o again and again. Two players to my right were building stacks, and based on their play, I knew given the right circumstances, I’d own them. No such luck. I did get involved in a hand with one when I was still nursing 3/4 of my starting stack. I had Queens UTG and given the aggressive tenor of the table at that time, decided to limp. That put the big stack in the SB and he came along with three others and the BB. The flop was good and bad: AQJ. I checked. One player made a small move on the pot, the SB min-raised and I jammed 2xpot. Both players folded.
I hit sets better than I have in a long time. Fours twice, tens, and Queens again. Each time I got no action. Not that I came across as a nit or anything. I mixed it up enough. Perhaps it might have been my age and demeanor. I was by far the oldest player, and as my brother-in-law puts it, “If I didn’t know you. I’d be scared of you.”
Eventually the two players to my right left with their winnings, nitting it up when ahead, and two more players sat down. One, a woman, although obliquely greeted by the dealer, was obviously also a dealer at the casino. The other, I initially didn’t pay much attention to, but when I did (please forgive this indiscretion) was so butt-fucking ugly, I dared not look his way again. The game changed as well, into a limpfest.
The hands came few and far between, but it was during this phase that I hit my sets. Even my second set of Queens came when I checked my BB. Probably the wrong way to play that hand, but eh. Another player sat down, asked the dealer(s) by name about the action, donked off a buy-in on the first hand to the player to my left, lost another half-stack to me with a worse kicker for his King, tried to get some of it back on the next hand, except I had too little invested to bother, and he left soon thereafter, presumably for greener pastures. The ugly duckling changed seats to that one vacated.
But the seat change came later, after the big hand of my evening. I limped with A4c UTG. A full four players came in, including the dealer cum new SB. The flop was beautiful: AQ4. The SB leads out for the pot. I called, as did both other players. The turn I don’t remember; the bet I do: $15. About 1/3 of the pot. I call, as do the other two players. Of course I worried about AQ but I’m not laying down my two pair here. The river was another 4. The SB led out with another $15 and I was left with a decision. How do I keep her in, and possibly keep another player along for the ride? I decided on a small raise to $30. Both players left folded. She called and said, “Show me your four.” I showed her both cards, the table murmured, and I cannot recall what she had. She may have mucked them for all I know.
At that point I had three times the stack size of the second largest stack and knew that my game was finished. I could change tables, and that thought certainly occurred to me, yet when I racked up and checked in with the brother-in-law (who had given up waiting and decided to play NLHE with an angry and donking Egyptian), he was also ahead, so we decided to call it a night.
At one point early in the game I had called off half of my stack and rebought another $100. I liked the bigger stack and used it. I ended up winning 71BB, and the brother-in-law, 32 BB. Not a bad night for either of us, and a great victory, as both of us came home winners.
And that, my friends, is the end of the story. A story that is about 100 words longer than the second draft of my art review, although just a first and final draft, written in about 1/10 the time. And I won’t get paid for the art review. Life’s funny that way, eh?