Here’s a tale that dates back to my December Vegas visit from last year. This was the trip where, the first half of it, I mostly played 2/4 limit, and the second half, I mostly played 1/2 No Limit So this is the trip I really more-or-less made the transition to No Limit.
And this happened on my second to last night of my trip, when I was starting to have real doubts if I wanted to continue to play NL. Not because of the results, which were ok, but because of the difference in the tables….in the difference of the “fun” and “entertainment” factor I was discovering. I discussed those issues in this post here (“The Difference Between Limit & No Limit Poker”). In that post, I first alluded to the “villain” of this story. Basically, what I found the first few nights of playing NL regularly was that the players were not talking much, were not joking much, were too serious, and were decidedly and almost unanimously male. Of course this was just one night before I meet Prudence who totally changed my opinion on all these observations.
On this night, I bought in for $300 and started losing a bit. After awhile, the most seriously ugly looking guy I could ever remember seeing joined the table. Honestly, this was one bad looking dude. He wasn’t disfigured or anything, he just looked fugly to the nth degree. And mean. He looked really mean. As I said in that prior post, he looked like he belonged as a villain on the great TV show “24”. He looked like a guy who would be torturing and beating the crap out of Jack Bauer until, of course, Jack figured out a way to get the upper hand, turn the tables on the guy, escape, and kill him with his bare hands, as he inevitably did. Normally I am not preoccupied with how men look, preferring to concentrate on how the ladies look, but this guy was, sorry, so hideous-looking you couldn’t help be distracted by him in a negative way.
He joined the table that was all male (except for the occasional female dealer) and extremely quiet. Occasionally guys would grunt after a bad beat. I chatted with some of my dealer pals as they dealt. But otherwise, it was actually a depressing table to be at. This is when I looked over to the 2/4 games, and at each one, there was laughing, a lot of cheerful noise, and at least one or two reasonably attractive women at each game. When I wasn’t in a hand, all I could think of was getting up and going over to the 2/4 table. But somehow, I never made it over there.
Now we have to give this bad looking guy a name, so I figure “Igor” works. I apologize if anybody out there is really named Igor and is offended by this. Anyway, Igor had around $100 in front of him and I had a bit less than $200 when this hand happened. In early position I look down and see the dreaded pocket Kings. Yes, my favorite hand. It’s been a while since I talked about how much I love that hand, which is one of the reasons I’m posting this now. If you don’t remember how much I hate this hand, you can start reading here.
I opened the pot for about $8 and it folds to Igor in late position. He re-raises all in. Huh? Really? With around $100. There hadn’t been a lot of moves like this at this table, and he hadn’t done anything like that before. Gulp. This happened just days after the story I linked to above occured, so I already had nightmares from this hand. So I probably threw up a little in my mouth at this point. But I knew that I had the second best starting hand in Hold Em and that sooner or later I would start winning with this hand. Right? Right?
I had the guy covered and I was almost positive he didn’t have pocket Ace’s. If he did, that’s a fairly bad play on his part. He should have raised much smaller. So of course I called.
We both showed our cards. He showed pocket Jack’s, and I showed my cowboys. When he saw my cards, somehow, although this should have been scientifically impossible, his face got even uglier. He stood up. Apparently he had no plans to re-buy when he busted out. The flop was benign, but since it was pocket Kings and I had them, of course a Jack came on the turn. No King for me on the river.
Yeah, freakin’ pocket Kings. Again. So now I had a bit less than $100 and kept plugging away. Boy that 2/4 game looked even more fun now! But I stayed, hoping for a chance to make a comeback.
Sometime later, after winning and losing a few small pots, I still had around $100. Igor had almost double that, thanks to my generosity. This time in early position, I see a pair of bullets. I bet $6, which was a reasonable opening bet for this table. Igor pops it to $25. Folded back to me. Any re-raise I make takes over half my stack, so I might as well try to get my money back right now. “All in” I say. Igor calls without thinking very long.
This time he shows me pocket 10’s. He was very unhappy to see my Ace’s. He couldn’t suck out on me twice, could he? Actually, no he couldn’t. My Ace’s held up and I got my money back from Igor. Again, somehow, he grew uglier after losing my chips back to me. After the hand was over, another player mentioned that he threw away a “10.” I didn’t realize it at the time, but his decision to wait to say that means he obvious subscribes to missingflop’s superstition regarding the “curse of the folded out” that he described in his blog post here. I didn’t know it then, but I should have thanked the guy, because clearly if he had said “I folded a 10” before the cards were dealt out, the dealer surely would have put the case 10 on the board and my Ace’s wouldn’t have been worth anything more than my King’s were an hour earlier. So thank you, sir, wherever you are, for not reporting your mucked 10 until after the hand was over. Had I known about the curse then, I would have tipped you a redbird.
I played a couple of hours more and eventually got almost all of my money back, leaving around even for the night. Igor made a few more all in moves and busted out, but not to me. Although I would have preferred he lose all the rest of his money to me, I was so relieved that I would no longer have to look at his sorry face, I was still delighted to see him leave.
And oh, yeah, I’m sorry if you were hoping the “happy ending” in this post’s title made you think this was going to a story about something else. But you know, both Stripper Week (see here) and Hooker Week (see here) are over.