Sunday, May 29, 2011


I started in at Bally's a little after 3:00 pm yesterday, part of a new table that was opening. As usual in this situation, there's a lot of down time while everybody gets seated, gets chips, gets cards swiped, the dealer gives the cash and leftover chips back to the floor guy, cards get inspected and shuffled, draw for the button, etc.

I got bored with the waiting, and from my spot in Seat 1 snapped this picture of the women in Seats 3 and 4, sending it to Twitter with the message (referring, obviously, to Seat 3), "I wonder if she has any poker weapons other than distracting cleavage."

What I didn't know at the time was that I had left out of the photo the player around whom the game would revolve--the guy in Seat 2. (I guess I didn't completely leave him out; you can see his hands.) But I had definitely noticed him. In fact, immediately before sending the photo, I had Tweeted, "Game hasn't even started, and the guy next to me already slammed down a whiskey before starting on his beer."

I'll refer to him as DMLCP, because he was a Drunk Maniac Luckbox Creepy Perv.

The Drunk part is self-explanatory.

The Creepy Perv part he earned by trying ridiculously to hit on the two women to his left. Every time he would say anything to either of them, it was accompanied by reaching over and touching them on the hand or arm. This happened half a dozen times or so until, after the two friends exchanged a disapproving we've-got-to-stop-this-ickiness look, Ms. Cleavage said to him, "OK, that's enough with the touching now." He then apologized ten different times or so over the next half hour, repeating himself as drunk people tend to do.

The Maniac part comes from the fact that he raised pre-flop almost every hand--in the range of 90%--making it either $15 or $20 each time. As you can easily imagine, or perhaps have experienced, such a player completely changes the usual dynamics of a $1-2 game.

Luckbox? Well, if you've ever played with a guy like this, you have surely observed that drunkenness is highly correlated with being a card rack. There's a Nobel Prize for whoever works out the quantum physics by which a high blood alcohol level causes a temporary superhero-like ability to hit two-outers. He bought in for $200, and was up to $400 within 20 or 30 minutes, between his bullying and his card-catching.

His conduct had a predictable effect on the other players, who became much more willing to gamble than I think would be their usual tendency. Within the first half hour of play I saw a three-way all-in pre-flop with J-J, A-J, and K-Q, with K-Q taking the massive pot. (DMLCP started the madness with his usual raise, but bowed out after the reraises and shoves started.) The guy with A-J had been in Seat 6, and when he went away steaming mad, I claimed his seat, so that I didn't have DMLCP on my immediate left, where he was a real irritant in both personal terms and poker terms.

My first big confrontation with him: I had the button and Ks-Qs. Given his opening range, this was an easy call when he put in his usual $20 raise. Two limpers called, too. The flop was Kc-Qc-10c. I loved having top two pair, but three clubs and a Broadway possibility were obvious dangers. Both limpers checked. DMLCP bet $20. I raised to $60. Limpers folded. DMLCP called. This was significant, because he had shown a willingness to fold when somebody stood up to him and he had nothing. I didn't think he had a made flush or straight, both because he just called (I think he would have shoved with either made hand) and because it was just too unlikely to believe, even for a luckbox like him.

The turn was the jack of spades. Ick. While that didn't complete any one-card flushes, it did mean that if he held any ace he now had a straight. He checked, and I checked back, hoping to catch a boat card on fifth street. Before the dealer could produce it, however, DMLCP announced all-in dark. River was a blank, but I still had to decide whether to call off the rest of my chips, in the neighborhood of $200. There was $200 in the middle, plus the $200 (effectively) he was putting up, offering me 2:1 on a call. Given his undoubtedly high bluffing frequency, that was tempting.

I finally decided, though, that he most likely did have an ace, and that he had been planning on an all-in check-raise on the turn, which I had foiled with my check. That seemed the best explanation for his dark bet on the river, a move he had not previously made. So I reluctantly folded.

Bally's high-hand bonus for a club royal flush is currently sitting at over $10,000, with each player at the table when it hits getting a $599 share, so everybody was anxious to know if DMLCP had it. He flashed the ace of clubs before giving his cards back to the dealer, and I think we can safely assume that the other one was not the jack of clubs. In any event, it confirmed my read of the situation. It sucked, but I think I played the hand perfectly. I believe that if I had shoved the flop he would have called and I would have lost more.

(I'm not just being results-oriented in saying that pushing there would have been wrong. With an all-club flop, there was a real possibility that either of the limpers had flopped a flush and was trapping; I was prepared to fold if one of them moved all in after my raise.)

DMLCP's course followed that typical of his species. Like a meteorite, he burned brightly for a time, but then crashed to earth. Ironically, his downfall began when he had the best of it. He got into a pre-flop raising war with the table's other luckbox, the guy who had won the three-way with K-Q. They both ended up all-in, with the K-K of DMLCP looking good against the Q-Q of the other guy--until a queen flopped. An $800 pot went to the queens.

DMLCP rebought twice more, and lost both stakes on ill-advised bluffs that got snapped off. Sadly, I never had another bite at that particular apple before he left the table.

Within two orbits of his inglorious retreat, I got on the bad side of a set-over-set situation (first time that has happened in about a year, I think), and lost nearly my entire buy-in. The last $20 or so went in two hands later when I had J-J and lost to A-K with the classic ace on the river. I didn't feel like starting over again, so swallowed the $300 loss and called it a day.

I do hope to run into DMLCP again, though. Players like him make for an extremely high-variance game, but will be profitable for the smart, patient players much more often than not.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Huh, I would certainly peg the guy snapping pictures of females, I am sure without their permission, for the sole purpose of posting them on the internet and commenting on their cleavage to be a much bigger creepy perv then the drunk guy.