Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The Curse is Lifted

Returning to Foxwoods on the Yankee Trails bus, I experienced some really fine poker. Soft tables coupled with good cards and fine luck let me leave with $229 profit, the first really huge win in a long, long while.

I played 4-8 because there were seats open when I arrived and it was a wait for the 2-4. After lunch I played it again although I put my name on the 2-4 list. I found the players very bad until the last hour.

In the morning I got great cards and bad flops so I was down $40 in no time. Then things turned around. The great thing was that so many people bet so many poor and third best hands that when I did have good cards, I got paid.
Then in each case after about two hours I stopped getting paid and found people folding as soon as I raised. That tells me I need to think more about hit and run in poker and not play such long sessions.

I went on the bus with Jimmy Morey who turned 57 today. Although we live just a mile from one another, over the last few years we just don't seem to get together. I am hoping that changes now and we find things to do together. We had so many stories and people to catch up on that there was no time with conversation and stories on the way up. On the way back we watched Deja Vu with Denzel Washington, a movie that was no doubt over the heads of most of the elderly riders, but fascinated me as I love stories of time travel. They did too much car chase scenes and too few tying up the loose ends of the time travel ideas, but it sure kept my attention the long ride back. we had a fine driver whose name escapes me. A Black fellow (Bobby?)who was so polished and finally one who picked a movie that respected our intelligence. Some don't even care enough to bring a film for the ride back home. It sure is appreciated on dark ride home.

Quite a bargain using a $10 coupon that came in Yankee Trails email. Booked on line the trip cost $15 and offered a free $16 buffet. A good deal.

I drank a bit of coffee and amaretto in the morning and a bit of Myers rum in the afternoon, so I really got my money's worth and had such an easy time of it winning money.

It was a while to get back from my earlier losses in the morning, but I went to lunch ahead $117.
One of my best hands was Q-3 of hearts in the big blind that flopped two hearts, turned the flush and won me a fine pot.

The buffet was not as good as usual. The cod fish batter has suffered a set back. Soggy. Too bad that was my favorite. The chili just looked dried out. Another favorite. The beef looked overcooked and grisly.
But there were good bits and bites. Always enough to eat. Nice fresh cut onions for my salad. Tasty bit of chicken breast. Great chocolate chip cookies and iced cream for dessert.
We met some neighbors while we ate. I remember the woman from Little League here with Frank years ago.

I sat down in the afternoon and waited for the blinds, watching the players. Then I moved my seat just as the big blind came to me, and because I was new, they let me go and I saw 2 other hands before I had the big blind.
when I was dealt cards, my hand in the big blind was A-A.
Everyone called except one. I raised the big blind. Everyone stayed. When it got half way around the player I'll call Kid Fish asked, "Who raised?" and drew attention to the fact that I had raised the big blind. These folks had not played with me before, so I explained it by saying,
"Hey, it is my first hand. Ya gotta raise your first hand"
I don't know how many believed me, but when the flop came up Jack-rag-rag I bet my aces again hoping that they would believe me. Only half the table believed me.
Turn was nothing important. I bet again and this time there were three.
The river was nothing, so I checked, one guy checked and Kid Fish bet into me. I called figuring my aces were busted, the other guy called as well. Kid Fish had a pair of Jacks with a five kicker.
I showed my aces and the last guy just folded. Incredible! What did the kid think I had to raise and bet and bet? Well, he looked at me and said,
"You said that you just raised because it was your first hand." as if I had lied to him and his feelings were hurt.
"Well, " I said, " I do always raise my first hand......if the hand is pocket aces."

The kid entertained us all afternoon while he lost pot after pot. He would be so dumbfounded when someone would beat his hand and always question why they played certain things. I remember one time when Statistics Man called caught a pair on the river and beat the pair of eights that Fish Kid had been betting. On the board was one card short of a straight and four other cards higher than the eight. Fish Kid bet anyway.

Of course, my raise on the Aces could be debated. With everyone in the hand I was not the favorite to win. Had I been playing mathematical players I might easily have cut my own throat by giving them enough pot odds to keep calling draws they might otherwide fold after a flop with a smaller pot. But this bunch was not folding draws, or even pairs. So it was a good bet, putting a good bit of money in the pot. I was fortunate the aces held up.

Statistics Man also made some of the most ridiculous plays. He was so busy writing down each hand on this set of forms he brought and telling us the statistics that he did not take time to play very well. I beat him time and again. Even when he won a hand, he often did not get as much as he might have had he bet as he should.

Finally, for a good while there was Granny. Granny was a stubborn lost in space player who liked to raise for no reason and who often did not seem to know it was her turn. She played three to my right and one time the action went all the way to me before she acted. She had missed her turn. I kept talking about that so that folks paid attention and when we got a new dealer quietly asked her to keep tabs on Granny and see that she acted in turn and that the entire table did not jump in ahead of her. That worked. Granny told me I was such a considerate man and had such a good sense of humor. I laughed a lot at this game. These players were very funny. The worst raise I saw Granny make was when she held K-8 and raised after the flop when there was no king or eight there. I found out about another bad play when I won a pot with a trips and any ten would have made a straight. Granny had folded her ten not seeing the straight and after I won and remarked that I was happy no one had a ten, she told me she had folded hers and missed the straight. I thanked her.

The rest of the table could play, but only two were tricky. Solid Rock guy played for almost two hours and hardly made a bet. He complained a bit of bad luck. A bit later I had a good draw and missed it on the river when Solid Rock Guy and I were head to head. It was a small pot and I thought a bet might steal it. Solid Rock guy said, "Well, I have a pair but I think you have me beat." and folded. Another time he asked if another player contemplating betting had aces up as well and they might split. The other player had trips but did not take the hint and make a bet. Sure enough Solid Rock Man had the aces up.

After a couple Myers rums I did have s0me fun joking with the players. Some were so stiff it took a lot to warm them at all.

Only about half the dealers were attentive to what was happening. That is very frustrating. I go and pay a rake so I don't have to watch the game and catch mistakes and explain them. One dealer in the morning kept misreading hands. I keep my winners close to me and my fingers on the cards until the others are mucked and the money is coming my way. But is is nicer not to have to watch all those details.

On the other hand there is no questions of or fighting about rules. This time a woman brought up the rule that only Hold Em related materials can be read at the table while playing. A Chinese guy had a book in Chinese. The cover was Chinese too except for two English words, "Sex Shop" Well, he did not give up his book, and the floor was not called, but had she really been bothered by it, we could have gotten a definitive answer easily.
He was a pretty good player and used the book to entertain himself between payable cards and also whenever Fish Kid decided to take a long, long, long time to decide acting as if he were on television and playing no limit.

I was dealt 10-3 in the small blind. Everyone was in this pot. So I tossed a chip on top.
The flop came 10-10-6. I checked and the fellow next to me bet. Some called and I called. The turn gave a blank. Same betting pattern. On the river I had not made any improvement. There was not even a pair on the board to cancel out my poor kicker. I checked and again the fellow next to me bet. One guy called and I called last and reluctantly saying I supposed I was beat. The guy turned over a pocket pair of jacks. Second guy folded and I showed my trip tens. Jack guy got very disgusted and left the table.
I figured that any raise on my part would have announced trip tens. There was nothing developing in straights or flushes so I did not want anyone out of the hand. What I don't get is all day, whenever it flopped a pair, no one took seriously that anyone staying in the hand ought to have at least trips. They would be so flabbergasted when trips would be turned at showdown.

I won a second time with pocket aces. These I raised preflop and bet every hand after that and yet I was called by two players including Fish Kid.

After a couple Myers rums I did have s0me fun joking with the players. Some were so stiff it took a lot to warm them at all. One woman had her socks rolled so tight that her face had become part of the rigidity. I worked and worked at her, but rarely could get a smile. Her answers to any kidding were serious crabs. I did not see her smile until she left with her two racks of chips. As she packed up what probably was a $300 win, she said she had to leave to catch her bus, so I asked her if having done so badly at the table, she was not short bus fare and needed us to pitch in a few coins.

About two years ago an old fellow showed up with a powder blue Laughlin hat. He seemed to know quite a few people and made the rounds of the tables talking, so when he was at my table, I engaged him in conversation. We told a few tales of Laughlin and he told me that in the Colorado Belle gift shop he had found this hat for $2. Well, I got my own powder blue hat this time and brought it along. I saw the fellow pass by and went over to the table where he was playing.
"Are you the guy?" I asked tapping the brow of my hat.
"I'm the guy" he answered.
"Well," I said, " I got my own now only it cost me $2.50."
He laughed and said, " God Bless you."

.Jimmy quit ahead left with a good bit on his slot play, something called a Popcorn machine. Great for his birthday. Let It Ride and Three Card Stud tables were pretty crowded, he reported.

Well, it was a great trip and I look forward to going again. It is a long bus ride, but was well worth it this time. After all those games up the Mississippi and in Vegas and Laughlin it was such a relief to be in these games, much easier by comparison.

No comments: