Sunday, August 02, 2009

Revenge is a dish best served cold

Readers who have been around for a while may recall a series of two posts I did about a very difficult decision I had to make against an incredible jerk. This was at the Palms, just short of a year ago. (See here for the dilemma I was in, and here for the outcome.)

I had not seen this reprobate since then, nor thought much about him. But I had no difficulty recognizing him instantly today when he sat down three seats to my right. For his return into my life, he picked a day when I could do no wrong, when the deck was smacking me upside the head at every turn, when I averaged $123/hour all day, when I made more than I have in a single day in well over a year.

I had to keep reminding myself not to go out of my way to target him. He was likely to run into me all on his own, without me trying to force the issue. I had no idea if he remembered me at all, let alone as vividly as I remembered him. So I wasn't counting on him coming after me specifically--but it was just his nature to overplay hands, and I intended to be waiting for him when he did.

It didn't take long. I was, once again, being clobbered by the deck. In the first hour of play I had seven pocket pairs, of which four flopped sets, and all held up to win the pot--a truly remarkable run of luck.

So we get to what would prove to be the big hand. I have the two black 9s in middle position. I call a raise to $15 from an early-position player, as had my miscreant, and the button called behind, making a $60 pot. Flop is 9-7-2 rainbow. It's hard to ask for it to be more perfect than that--I have the nuts, with top set, no flush draws, and almost no straight draws. It's checked to me. The button is a classic Crazian that I think will bet if it's checked to him, no matter what he has, and I'm hoping that if he does, one or both of the others will come along. I was right: he puts out $45. Original raiser folds. The jackass counts his chips three times, rechecks his cards, and pushes all-in for $129. Happy dance!

Now my dilemma is whether to just call or shove. The Crazian and I both have stacks of about $400, and, obviously, I'd like his to be shipped over to me. The most obvious play is to call, hoping that he'll either shove over the top trying to drive me out, or feel pot-committed and call my shove on the turn--because there is no card that can come on the turn that will inhibit me from shoving if I call and he calls behind here.

I eventually decided to push all-in. This was not because I wanted to force him out. Quite the contrary. I wanted it to look like I was trying to push him out, so that he would feel he was sniffing out a weak hand being overplayed to try to get heads-up. My hope was that he had pocket tens for an overpair, or maybe A-9 for top pair/top kicker, or, of course, a smaller set, and would take the bait. Sadly, he folded. In retrospect, I think it was a blunder on my part. I think I overthought the situation and tried to reverse-psychology him, when the obvious play would have been the right one.

But in any case, my set held up and I took the entire stack of the nasty man in seat 5. I don't know what he had. He kept claiming pocket jacks, but I know better because I caught a glimpe of his bottom card as he mucked, and it was an 8, 9, or 10, definitely not a face card. So I called him a liar to his face three times, after each time he insisted that he had jacks. I know--I shouldn't have, but I did. And it felt good. Some days I'm human. Get over it.

So now he and I have played three big pots together. He's a little ahead in total dollars, but I'm quite certain that I'm ahead in satisfaction.

My satisfaction was enhanced a bit when I was cashing out a short time later. There's a woman who works the floor a couple of days a week at the Palms. I not only knew her back from Hilton days, but she was actually the first employee of any poker room who learned my name (the first day I played at the Hilton), and she called me by name the next day when I returned, which impressed me. She was there today, and had watched the big hand go down, so I quietly told her the back story of why this felt so perversely rewarding. She confided, "I can't stand that guy!" She has had several previous problems with him acting uncouth (surprise, surprise!), harassing opponents, mistreating dealers, etc. So clearly my intensely negative impression of this obnoxious ass is not unique.

I wonder when I'll get a chance at him again.

(For a brief discussion of the origins of the "best served cold" phrase used in the title of this post, see here.)


Anonymous said...

Two questions/comments....Seems like you are playing more durning the day...might be misperception on my part. Ironic tweet about laying down QQ is beside post about guy from Palms who beat you last year when you couldn't lay them down.

I haven't searched all the old post but have you considered moving up in stakes, say 2/5?

Anonymous said...

The name of this A-hole is Falah and has been playing poker in LV for twenty some years. He is rude, obnoxious, and has been shooting angles for years. Personally, I can't stand this man, obviously. He has been warned several times about being in a raised pot and getting it heads up, to then announce to the other player to check it down. Palms dealers have been instructed to call the floor as soon as he does this. Most regulars know this as the Falah rule.