Thursday, May 7, 2015

Gregg's game

Gregg asked it I would write up the game this week, and I agreed.

I'm afraid that my ability to remember detailed hands is gone now, but perhaps I can offer a sense of the experience.

The venue has changed. The original expensive art is gone and in its place are huge 6 foot high slot machines on wall paper (or perhaps wall plastic) covering the entire room, so it is now more like being in a casino than an art museum. Those of you who have not been to a game in a while need to get over on Wednesday because SOS is a bit like Vegas. Just as the old Riviera will implode one of these days soon, the slot machine decor will certainly be replaced with some other creative venue invention, and you will have missed the experience.

The music Jim writes about each week is really amazing, a professional collage of all sorts of music, from opera to rock to country to blues to those old funny favorites we laugh about, all spiced with a few Sinatra classics.

Each week is different.

I wish the Vegas casinos could have such a blend of music. I've often written about just that issue since so much of the background music of Vegas is a new sort of whinny music that I intensely dislike and it is the same stuff over and over.

Every Vegas visit the music gets worse.

In fact, I've bought a couple of industrial ear protectors at Harbor Freight to wear the next time I play the video poker at the Four Queens.

There was some good talk of Vegas. I tried to talk Charlie into going with his wife and offered to help him find affordable and pleasant casinos with decent plays. He might go too during one of my next two upcoming trips, one in September and one starting at Halloween and going to November 20.

Charlie always has some interesting notes on Foxwoods or Turning Stone. He may go to Aruba to play there.

Well, back to the poker game.

Peter came along with me again and played well too. He was a bit tougher on his old dad this time, taking quite a few hands away from me. I don't quite see how he could have that many straights.

A newer player to the group, the second guy named Ed, came. He is a very pleasant fellow with a quiet, good sense of humor. The whole interaction of the players is just easy and delightful.

More of you should join us.

I knew that the old guy named Ed was not coming because it was a nice day. He was probably fishing or looking for buried treasure, or racing his motorcycle up and down the Galway country roads.

We missed Ezzy who is generally a regular now.

Jay Fowler should come and he wants too, but he is busy rebuilding America. Now that my kitchen is done, he has the rest of the Greater Capital District to rebuild.

I knew that Wild Bill was not coming because I had called him to see what was up. He was bowling in El Paso when I called. He said maybe next week. Bill works harder now bowling and coaching and picking horses than he did when he was a teacher.

Bill would have enjoyed the talk of the Derby. Everyone at the table who bet the race had won money. Jim had won $300.

Slink did not come. I think he still works. He needs to get himself retired. We even had a brief talk about religion between hands. Slink has a favorite theology taken from the verse about, “Faith, hope, and charity”. Slink's take is that if one loses “faith,” he can still have “hope.” My spin is that this ignores the third virtue, “charity.” You could bring some of that to the game, Slink, and cover all the Biblical bases.

Blowers did not come. But that did not mean we lacked plenty of action. In fact, there were so many double straddles and so many all-in hands that it was rather like a John Blowers Memorial Poker game except no one wore a hat and Blowers is as far as we know still alive somewhere in America and playing perhaps like “a gorilla” as that famous woman poker player once remarked. I know he went to Tampa. SOS is much closer than Tampa, John.

We missed others who come now and again. Basketball Jim was not there. John's wife Ann has been facing some serious sickness and we think and talk about the two of them every week, wishing them well and hoping they will be back soon. Pat who often comes missed this week.

Ron rarely comes anymore.  

Gregg says that Bruce and Phil have dropped off the map, but they would both enjoy this game. Bruce would find comfortable space for his knees, and we need to hear the old, “God hates a coward” as Phil makes some questionable call.

Scott Rice is just a shadow in my distant past. Too many children, too much work. You have been neglecting your decadence, Scott! I know you came once when I was in Florida. Not nearly enough.

And speaking of old decadent teachers, where is Mike Karp?

And there are others perhaps on Gregg's mailing list who I haven't mentioned.

The room will accommodate whoever comes, even two tables.

The game started with Gregg losing about seven hands and four or five buy-ins in a row. I took most of Gregg's money and I played with it the rest of the afternoon, going up and down and then losing much of it back in the last hours of the game as is my pattern.

That had to be one of the worst streaks Gregg has experienced in recent times. He even had to go “upstairs” or as it is now “in the next room” to replenish his cash.

At the end of that time I also had a high hand of jacks full of kings which held up until 4PM. Only this week we played until 6 PM, and I recklessly agreed to extend the time, and old Charlie managed to turn his pocket Aces into quads.

There went that dough.

We may do an Aces Cracked bonus next week for those interested. The high hand is optional too, but many join in. It is just a side amusement and there is no pressure.

Gregg made a grand comeback and quit about even. I played on one buy-in and ended up $25. Peter bought in three times and ended about $30 up. Jim lost pretty big. The cards just did not come. The new Ed lost a couple buy ins and left early. I think Charlie broke about even with the high hand money.

I wish I remember more particular hands. Perhaps others can fill in what they remember.

There was plenty of action and plenty of poker drama.

I played Peter's favorite 6-9 and flopped a straight.

Peter bluffed Gregg off a pair of queens when old Peter had absolutely nothing except one of the queens Gregg wanted.

Since often Gregg was first straddle and Peter a double straddle, with me next to play, I often raised to push out the other players and just be left with only folks playing blind. Once I bet 20chips on A-4 preflop, trying to steal the $8 blinds. The blinds all called me. On the river I made a wheel. No once could believe that I put 20 chips on an A-4.

It was a grand pot!

I put Jim all-in preflop on one hand when I held pocket kings.

He held pocket Aces.

They held up.

Peter once held 4-6 and caught a straight that beat the wheel. On that hand I had 4-7 of spades but had folded it. It would have yielded a higher straight and the flush.

Peter was once behind in a well bet preflop hand with Gregg when both went all-in. Gregg had two pair. Peter had an Ace of hearts with some other high card, and four hearts came on the river to give him a very good pot.

Perhaps others remember some other dramas.

Thanks to all for helping me keep this pulled back muscle from getting reinjured. Each day that I baby it, it seems to get just a bit better.

I tried sitting on the new water spurting bidet toliet seat, but it did not do the job for me. Those of you who have not come lately need to show up just to see this new innovative technology in waste elimination.

You never know what you will experience when Gregg arranges the venue.

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