Daily Update: I got to play poker last night
Last night was another fun night. I don’t normally do things without the wife and my favorite daughter so doing something two nights in a row (Tobias Buckell’s book signing the previous evening) is quite odd for me.
It was a charity poker tournament held at the Viejas Casino. The buy in is a tax deduction and goes to some much needed causes. There are still prizes, but it’s not about the prize, it’s about having a good time and playing poker.
I’m not sure how many we started with, but once again it was over the 200 person limit as my friend Curt (late as usual) would up in the overflow room (as usual). Our friend, Todd, invited us the first time four years ago and last night was the 6th annual. Each year it’s a lot of fun to play poker with a lot of really bad poker players (I’ll get to that in a little bit).
We started out the evening smack talking. Well, ok, Todd, a couple of his friends, and I started out the evening smack talking. Curt showed up late and got stuck in the registration line. While some of us ate dinner waiting for the event to start, Curt hit the slots and won back his entry fee before the event even started. The man is the luckiest person I know with his luck level reaching that of Gladstone Gander proportions. No, seriously.
After dinner and much smack talk and a “last longer” bet made, we all headed into the Dreamcatcher Lounge. Filled with laughs, loud conversation, unusually quiet background music (class rock) and the sound of chips being placed into neat little stacks.
I found my table and because we were all in line together and they forgot to shuffle the seat cards, four of us wound up on the same table. There was much smack talking to be had. We also had a gentleman named Frank at our table. A very loud, boisterous person with a bounty on his head. Each “Posse” member (two at each table) had a $25 bounty on their head. My friend Todd, who won last year’s tournament, had a $75 bounty on his head.
I found myself in a hand early with 5-6 of diamonds. Not a great hand, but hey. Two diamonds and a 6 hit the flop. Smack talking with one of Todd’s friends ensued. The turn brought a 5. I now had 2 pair and a flu draw. Nice hand. The river brought another 5. I had a full house. Much smack talking continued, but little betting. Lucky for me as Todd’s friend had pocket 6s. His 6s over 5s beat my 5s over 6s.
Here’s where things got a little weird at our table. I knew our dealer wasn’t shuffling well. I kept getting the same junk hands, but she also raised the blind levels on us by her watch and when the MC announced the blind levels were increasing. So in less than an hour we were at 400/800blinds which is pretty high.
Right before our table broke the table folded to me in the small blind. I looked down at Q-2 spades and decided I’ll pick up the Big Blind (800) and was quite surprised when she called me. She had A-3. I managed to pick up a couple of twos and made three of a kind to double up before our table broke.
Going to my new table the blinds were 200/400. Color me confused. One of my other table mates said when he got to his table it was 100/200 which is where they should have been at. I know this was a charity event, but I felt a little slighted on the time I should have been playing and I had lost a good amount of chips because of the high blinds. But hey, it’s charity and I had a good time. If it had been a real event, I’d have been upset.
I noticed that shortly after our table breaking and getting our new seat assignments, one of Todd’s friends had busted. Talking with him later, he took a bad beat getting Aces cracked.
My new table was a little quieter and after a few hands of mostly folding, I figured pretty conservative. Before the break I was on the button and decided, with K-Q, that I’d steal the blinds. The table had folded to me and I shoved as soon as the action got to me. The small blind looked down and called. The big blinds I’m not even sure if he looked, but called right away.
Now my bet wasn’t small. It was 3200 to call into a fairly small pot. Based on earlier play I had expected them to just fold so getting two callers was surprising.
Back to the action. The flop came A 8 8. I missed and I figured one of them had an Ace, the other maybe a pair. The small blinds shoves all in and the big blind instantly calls. Wow. One of them must have an 8 and the other an Ace, maybe?
Remember, this is a charity tournament. People don’t play poker like regular people. They don’t have to have a hand to play or even good cards. They’ll play everything and just hope for the best.
The cards all turned up. My K-Q I thought was dead. The small blind had K-9. Wait, what? Did I see that right? Sure enough. K-9 called my all in and shoved all in on a missed flop into a ‘dry’ side pot. The big blind turned over Q-J. I stood up, blinked a few times, and said out loud “really?” I mean, I was in good shape. Not just good shape, but I was looking to triple up. I was going to be in good shape. All I’d have to do was avoid a J or a 9 to lose and avoid a K to split the pot. The turn was a 3. Good for me as my two high cards still played. Then I let out a groan as a J hit the river. I shook my head and threw up my hands. I congratulated the person on his amazing call. He said something to the effect of “I don’t even know what I’m doing. I just keep winning.” I wished him luck and went to share my bad beat story.
Nearly all of us lost to a bad beat. Todd knocked out one of his friends. Todd with KK, his friend with AK. All the chips were going in the pot on that one, but mostly it was more experienced players taking bad beats from players who either really didn’t care and were just shoving chips around having a good time or taking bad beats to people who had either no idea how to play or knew enough and were just getting lucky.
There were drawings, there was food (I’d eaten already though), and then there were slots. Todd had to get up early for a flight so he left shortly after he busted. Curt and I stayed and watched it get to the final table and for the final drawing. The person who lost “on the bubble” (one before payouts) won the last raffle drawing of the night.
Curt, you remember I was talking about how lucky he is?, decided we should play some slots (or maybe it was my idea, I forget) and we sat, played, talked. I watched my money disappear into the machine and much spinning of fake reels and down down while I watched him hit bonus, bonus, bonus, cash out, bonus, bonus. I grumbled a lot. I did move to a different machine that ‘felt lucky’ and won back some of what I’d lost.
Some of the people started getting weird in the casino. For example I stood next to Curt while he was hitting a bonus on a machine (again) and some older lady walking by leaned in close to me nearly putting her head on my chest and sighed LOUDLY! Curt turned around and as “what was that?” I pointed to the lady. She sat at another machine and started at us for a bit.
Another girl sat down at a machine and gave Curt some advice on the bonus game. It was difficult to tell if she was just giving information, trying to flirt, or trying to pick up a ‘date’. After that bonus round it was time to head on home. By head home I mean into the parking lot to our cars and talk for another half hour before getting sprinkled on and finally heading back home.
I got in somewhere around 1:45am. Changed, kissed my favorite daughter on the forehead, kissed my sleeping wife, and went to bed. I smelled like my mom’s bar (smoking is allowed at Viejas) and woke up to that smell. Despite gum after my dinner (I was so tired I didn’t brush before bed) my mouth tasted like my clothes smelled. I’m sure I snored quite well last night also and I had some strange chase dreams I can’t really remember this morning other than when I woke up, I was AWAKE! Perhaps it was from all the oxygen they pump into the casino. Who knows.
Todd, Curt and I will be making plans to go play in a regular tournament. One with a more even playing fields, less wild players, and a better blind structure. I’ll post when that happens.
I didn’t hit my writing goal yesterday, but I’ll pick up the slack today. Just you wait and see.