Monday, September 8, 2008

The $456 T-Shirt, Part 4

Alrighty then - to review:

I'm in the Mountaineer Poker Room in WV. I've brought a paltry $300 and burned through it in 5-6 hours. I buy in for $200 more and switch to limit holdem, which goes well for awhile, but the combination of lack of sleep and bad cards knocks me down to $40. We go to bed.

I'm ready to call it a trip right there - my play has sucked, my luck has sucked, and I'm down about $460. But Tony has won in every session, it's Saturday, and we've got no deadlines to get home. We compromise and decide to go back to the poker room for 3 hours - from 10 am - 1 pm.

I take my last $40 and sit back down at the $2-$4 limit table. My mind is fresh and I got a decent night's sleep, and I've vowed to tighten up and play solid poker for a few hours and see if I can end the trip on a winning note, even if it's $5.

The guy to my left is on a little rush - he's raising up a bunch of hands and showing strong cards. He tips the dealer and tells her to "keep 'em coming". I hope I can use this to my advantage, somehow.

In one hand, I get K9 in the small blind. There is only 1 limper to me (odd for a limit table where 4-6 routinely take the flop), and I complete as well. Mr. LuckyCards checks the table. The flop comes with a King high card and very dry, and I decide to try a top-pair checkraise. I probably wouldn't try this in no-limit, especially with a 9 kicker, but I feel like
Mr. LuckyCards would have already raised with an ace or King-Paint and he might have caught middle pair here and bet out. I check and sure enough, he bets, the other limper folds, and I raise it up. I'm immediately rewarded when Mr. LuckyCards says "you've got the King, huh? Ok, I'll pay you off". I read this as an honest statement as opposed to some type of misdirection. I bet the turn and river, he calls me down with middle pair (and no draw), and I win a nice pot

I won a second pot on an opponent's mistake. I call with A8 suited against an early position raise from a decent-playing female. The big blind plays as well. The flop comes with an Ace and Queen and she bets out, I call with my paired Ace and backdoor flush draw. The big blind calls as well. On the turn, she gives up the betting, telling me she doesn't have the ace, and I decid to take the betting away and lead out myself. The big blind calls and she folded (she later admits she had a pocket pair of tens). I was worried about my kicker now and planned on checking the river. Then the river pairs the Queen, and now I have even more to worry about - he could have been calling with second pair and now has me beat, or he could have a better kicker for his ace. I check. He bets out, and while I'm strongly considering folding, for some unknown reason he turns over his cards before I call my action. Her shows me A6 and I actually have him outkicked. He looks embarassed, and although I could have raised, I simply say "well, sorry, I've got to call you now", put the $4 into the pot, and turn over my A8.

The telltale hand of the trip - I play KQo in late position (no raise). The flop comes 9 T 4. One player leads out, I call with my 2 overcards and a gutshot. The turn doesn't help anyone - some low card - the villain bets out again and I call again with a possible 10 outs. The river comes a J, giving me the nuts. He checks and I bet out - he thinks for a second and finally calls. I turn over my cards, saying in a semi-apolgetic way "I hit the gutshot on you". Then I briefly turn around to see if Tony was still at the table. When I turn back around to stack my chips, there are no chips in front of me! I looked up at the dealer and said "wait a minute, I had the nut straight on that last hand, where are my chips?". She looked confused. She had already pushed them to my opponent, who was now stacking them. The cards are already gone so we can't look at the board. A big debate follows. My opponent explains he had Q9. He says that he honestly didn't think I had KQ - he thought I had KJ. I reply "well even if I had KJ, I would have won with the J on the river anyway". 2 people at the table knew I had the straight "for sure". The player to my right, an excellent player, by the way, was not sure I had the straight because he couldn't remember the board, but knew I had KQ. He asked if there was a 9 on the board. I said I knew there was a 9 on the board, because my opponent was claiming victory with a pair of 9s. He then said "well, if there was a 9 on the board, then you definitely had a straight".

We eventually called the floor man over. They were going to check it out on video. My opponent turned out to be a class guy - he said that he just wanted the correct result, and if it turned out that it was my pot, he would gladly give over the chips to me. I said the same, in case there was some small chance that I was wrong about the hand (though I was pretty sure I was right).

It was a frustrating hour that followed. The floor captain came back twice reporting results, but for the wrong hand. He would come over and say something like "ok, which one of you had an 8?". We would reply "neither", and he would scurry back off.

At about 12:15, the final indignity of the weekend came. I got KK and got to 3 bet a raiser in early position. There were 2 callers. The entire board came low cards with no real draws and I bet it all the way down. One older guy called me to the river - he had played 46o against a 3 bet and had hit 2 pair on the flop. This was the final straw for me, I stood up. I had a paltry $9 in chips, plus the possible $20-odd bucks from the pot that I had won but had been taken away from me. I was steaming from both ears now - I cashed in my $9 indignantly, thinking that at least I would get out of my weekend alive by exchanging chips for cash in some fashion by refusing to donk away this last little dribble of cash. Then I sat at the bar and waited for the floor guy to come out a third time. He did, finally getting the correct hand this time. We were able to piece together the result from his notes and the conclusion was that indeed had QK and the nut straight. He asked the other gentleman to give me $20, which was pretty close to the size of the pot. He went back to the table and came back with chips and handed them to me, and I thanked everyone for bearing w/ my insistence on getting the pot correct. I told them if I was up $400 instead of down, I probably wouldn't have been such a bear about the whole thing.

I was amazed at the time that the casino didn't just fix this problem on the spot by comping me a room or a meal or something. I think it was pretty clear to him that I was not having a good weekend at the table and that this paltry $20 was in some way important to me. They seemed very intent on getting the result right, even though that meant taking chips out of another player's stack. That player could have been angry himself - it wasn't his fault that the dealer didn't get the hand correct (he turned out to be a class act, though). Why doesn't the casino just make this problem go away with a quick comp and keep both players happy?

When Tony was done, he asked if the floor guy had given me a T-Shirt, because he was looking for me, and had already given one to the the other player in the disputed pot. I said I hadn't seen him in 20 minutes or so. We hunted him down, and I said "thanks again". He said a few nice things but didn't mention a T-Shirt, so I finally said "my friend says you were looking for me earlier?". He comes back "oh yeah, I was going to give you a shirt if you wanted it", kind of hinting that I wouldn't want it, but I shot back, "sure, free is free, I'll take it". He ran off behind the main desk and came back with my official, sparkling white Mountaineer T-Shirt.

Over lunch, I joked to Tony that this was by far the most expensive T-Shirt I had ever purchased - exactly $456, all told. For that sum of money, I got a nice shirt and some serious education on live, cash game hold'em.


bastinptc said...

Sounds like how I've been running at the casino for the last year or more. I felt all of your pain, every last bit of it. You have a $456 T-shirt. I have a $500 pack of smokes.

matt tag said...

we should put them both on eBay!