Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Greg's Game Makes me Know I'm Home Again

I don't know how Greg will tell this tale, but I'll add his spin in here when he does.
I thought I'd write it up the way I remember it. The regulars are starting to take notes, so they can accurately reflect the details of the play. I'll just spin it anyway I might imagine it, like John does in his novels, only without the seductive women and celebrities moving in and out of the action. This is after all, an all guy's game.

Greg decided this week that the poker was just too slow for him. Going to the kitchen, cooking food, pouring drinks, walking the dog, minding the canned goods in the basement (as he does each week between deals) did not keep him distracted enough between bluffs, so today he brought along his lap top computer, and when his vibrating leg got the least bit restless, he could load things up on the Internet during the game.

I don't think it was porno. Well, at least not in between every hand.

I also don't think he was looking up the mathematics of the poker.
Every chance draw is "fifty percent" in Greg's mathematical universe.
It is the only mathematics spouted at the table that I can understand.

Besides, Blowers was there, and he would gladly do the poker mathematics for us. In fact, by the time John left, his mumbling had Jerry talking to himself in mathematical equations and sounding just like John, reviewing each of the prior bets, studying the situation, mumbling. Saying "Really?" as if somehow this might actually be an imaginary game.

Now, you have to understand that Jerry has just reached a place where he has successfully limited his confusion between chips and idiophones, and now John has inspired Jerry to do this New Math mumble, while orally reviewing how each bet was made before acting. Here we just thought we might actually have some speed in the game and this new pattern means we might as well walk the dog and come back later whenever it is either John or Jerry's turn.

John is into idiophonic counting of chips also, but usually only when he intends to fold.
He loves to confuse us:
Click, clack, stack, double stack, push with the left hand; fold with the right.

Anyway, since Greg has set the precedent, next week I'll bring my own laptop,
and I'm bringing my harmonica to keep up with these rhythms.
So for those of you who have been avoiding the action, games will now include free wi fi as well as lounge music.
John also seems to be working on some lyrics for a new song to go with idiophonic noises. When Greg raised a bet by saying raise "to three." John loved the homonym "two three" and sang it at odd times, when it might confuse us.

We told John to bring an orangutan so we'd have a complete circus, but he thought if he came with an orangutan, we'd take professional poker player advice and give the beast his seat.

Of course, we really would like to substitute the orangutan because John whipped us again at the poker. He beat me once with 7-2 that rivered into two pair. He lost for a while, and I thought we had him for one week, but he rebounded.

Bruce stayed out with his hoity toity friends for some Black tie affair at some plush venue.
Fine Bruce, but just see how singing "Gloom, despair and misery on me" goes over with the wealthy set.
Phil took Bruce's seat, and so he felt obligated to chase and call everything. He knew he was doing it, but he was obsessed, demonized, out of control.
While sometimes we laugh at being superstitious about things like seats, these perceived patterns do change the way we play. Phil had been the big chip winner last week. Now we could see him caught playing much looser than usual. Of course, it could have worked to his advantage had he managed some good river suck out plays.
And never once did he say, "God hates a coward." he just bet as if he was saying it quietly to himself each time.
And so he lost more than he won. But near the end he had a turn about and got some of it back.

Peter suffered two bad beat preflop all-in bets when the river allowed his Ace high card to lose to some Ace low card.
Then he seemed to go on tilt. Hey, who goes all in after the flop with K-7 off suit? Who even plays it?
Peter tightened up before he went home, but not enough to win back his losses.
He went all-in with pocket jacks.
I had pocket queens and called him.
John thought a while, and then made the luckiest fold of the afternoon.
The flop held another jack and the river gave out the case jack for Peter's quads.
It was a sweet hand!

Of course, we did manage to come up with some new patterns of play.
Although this game, unlike the last I played, we dealt the hands using one deck right through the river rather than mixing it up.
John straddled and double straddled every chance he could.
Gregg now wants to try the straddle strategy ( if you can call a blind bet a strategy) if he can remember when it is his turn.
At first he thought that when you did it, you never got to look at your cards.
We should have said, "Yeah Greg, that's the way you play that straddle bet, you play it blind well beyond the river."
It did tend to be a pot builder.
I benefited once.

Rule Czar Jerry decided that if you go to the bathroom, even if you only miss one hand, and you come back to what would have been your button, well......too bad buster, you gotta pass the button to the guy on your left ( which coincidentally for me just happened to be ....Jerry....).
Although this would not happen in any casino in America, and here at Gregg's no one ever cared when you left or came back, we did not get into any heated discussion because I just let it go, and no one else noticed it even happened.
It won't really be a rule ever again because no one will remember when someone else does it.
Well, maybe if Jerry goes to the bathroom.
But then he never goes to the bathroom.
Which really explains a lot.
I was dealt a 7-2 on that hand.

I was so tired I was very easily confused most of the afternoon. I woke up at 3AM and never went back to sleep and then Peter, Jen and Casey had joined me for Indian lunch at the Royal India (where I am addicted to chicken tika marsala) so I was gigesting and almost asleep when I got to Gregg's.
But the coffee I brought revived me, and I even managed one Molson's Bock.
However, I could not stay focused; the least little thing distracted me.
And when is there only the least little thing at Gregg's?

Jerry left with a profit. John left with a profit. Greg and I ended the day heads up and I had him out chipped.
Earlier I had taken a huge all-in preflop from him when his pocket Aces got cracked by my K-Q off suit that caught one Queen on the flop, another on the river, and then added a sharp twist to the Ace-cracking knife by delivering a full-house-making King on the river.

Now, in later afternoon head to head, Greg figured he had his chance for revenge.

But no revenge was to come as the cards went my way, even the little cards. I beat him with my eights when he had sixes. I beat him with my Deuces when he had Ace high. And finally he played Ace- eight and the flop gave him a pair of eights.
It gave me a pair of jacks.
He limped along behind me hoping.......... and then his dream came true : the Ace showed on the river.
Greg was all in.

But guess what my kicker to my jack was?
Yep, an Ace as well.
I had the bigger two pair and so I had all the chips. I took home a profit of $97 and all on only one buy in.
I was pleased with my day and my play.

In fact, I had a fine time.

Well, there was that one bit of tension:

In one rather tense hand, when I was head to head with John, Gregg decided he had to know something right at that minute. I think it was whether the beer bottle opener needed to be grounded at a 45 degree angle against the blue stripe of my cooler.
Or was that what my Sgt. yelled when he inspected my my foot locket at Lackland Air Force base basic training?
The two tones seemed similar, and I get the actual questions confused because:
I was trying to play poker, dammit!
Well, anyway, I got a bit testy and Gregg got a bit testy and well...... he made one particular interesting offer that surprised me.

I declined.

Not that there is anything the matter with that...............

After this, I'll just stop the game, stop studying my opponent, let the poker wait, answer his question, explain my answer to Jerry (who is sure to have something to say about however I answer,) write down any jokes John makes (because who knows he might be famous someday) take plenty of time, go to the bathroom, use my chips as idiophonic percussion instruments, and then...........after a good long while.......... perhaps I'll condescend to act.

A similar thing happened when it was time for Gregg and I to play head to head at the end of the afternoon.
Peter decided he needed to talk to me on his way out about Friday's apple picking. I think he needed to plan the actual strategy for each apple.
Jerry decided on his way out to get this one....count the bank's money and see that it matched the chips in play.
I suppose he was trying to figure out if Greg really deserved the thirty extra chips that got left an hour before when some winner left an unclaimed earlier pot and the chips stayed piled near Gregg for three more hands.
No one noticed until Greg, thinking they were his, tried to rack them, when it was pointed out that they could not be his, and then, after much questioning and dumb looks all around, John decided to splash the next pot with them.
But the rule Czar vetoed that decision and decided that the chips should be deposited
in the bank.
And who is the bank?
He might as well have racked them up as he was going to.
At least then we all could have had an opportunity to play for them.

Generally Gregg does not find it necessary to buy in for the chips he uses (or the money he might lend anyone who suggests they have to go home). He just pays out at the end of the day for the chips that are cashed back to him and takes everyone's word for what they count that to be.
Gregg does not like counting money or chips or odds.
He'd have to stay in his seat too long.

So what are the odds that the bank money will match the chips to be redeemed?
Well, Greg says "fifty-fifty."
At any rate, there is no way counting bills in the bank is going to mean anything meaning.
So while I'm trying to figure out when I might want to go all-in on a head to head game, Jerry ( who is done playing, has cashed out, and should be out the door) is counting bills and raising Chief Financial Officer issues.

This time I was smarter.

"I am not ready to play just yet, Gregg."
"What?? " he puzzles, looking at the recent flop, and seeing that I have cards and he has cards and eyeing the nicely built up pot we had already made, and ready to say,
"Well, aren't we already playing? It damn sure looks that way to me."
"I am not ready to play just yet." I repeat, looking at him straight in the eye.

He got it this time.
He was not testy.
There was no offer as there had been earlier (and that was a very good thing as soon we would be soon alone in the kitchen and I hate to think................)

So I waited for those who were done playing to actually leave, and for that quiet that comes at the end of the afternoon when it is a head to head game,
"mano a mano" as the Spanish say,
which I suppose,
the way we mindlessly play poker waiting for the end of the day,
is much more accurate than
"cabeza a cabeza."

And then, at the end of the day, I beat the old guy.

Well, we missed regulars Belt-into-song Bruce and Wild Bill and Risky 7-2 Rice, and Rocking Robin and Fast Eddy and Ivan the Terrible and Krazy Karp who is now teaching again, and Chuckmonk, and Slithering Slink, and any other guys who ought to set priorities in their lives and get to these games.

Which reminds me that Greg mentioned that one upcoming Wednesday he will not be able to host. Here is his note and his take on today's game,
So as Jerry says, "Pay Attention!"

Gregg's game update:

The game next week will begin at 1pm and also on October 7th, but I will not be here on September 30th (I'll be at the University of Montevallo in Alabama ???) doing some China lectures). So, would someone like to offer to host the game on Sept. 30th? Please e-mail and we'll decide at next Wednesdays game and I'll e-mail the decision and hopefully the location.
Should I really try a write-up after Dewey's wonderful update?
Why not? (but I hope he continues his novel with a write-up of every Wednesday game) -- I want to see how these characters develop and find out if I ever catch him in head to head or maybe straddle with Phil.
We welcomed Dewey back by giving him the first 5 hands, then Blowers showed up and took all the money -- but only for a while. I'd say the 'best/worst" hands were Peter's four Jacks over Dewey's pocket Queens and Gregg's pocket Aces beaten by Dewy's fucking full-house.
We also welcomed Dewey back by giving him the biggest bag of money to take home.
And, thanks Jerry for the bank bailout on those "lost" chips that I almost got into my rack -- having them go to the bank saved me $20.
"There are no cards higher than 7/2 when Blowers is at the table;" there is no poker better than Dewey's retelling." Jin Fei Bao

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

dewey, hehe lots there to digest math, music, bank examining, apple harvesting, where's the poker!? "attention means attention" so says Zen Master Ikkyu. if Greg can add to this summary, it will be a game changer. Like double checking chips left on the table. I dont get that. All in till next time.