Thursday, June 20, 2013

Poker with the Bloggers -- LIGHTNING36, PLEASE FOLD!!!

Poker is a social game. Poker is a people game. More importantly, poker is a "take as much money from your opponent as possible" game. However, there are times where you play people you don't want to take money from, but the circumstances drive you too....

Few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of playing $1-$2 No Limit at the Luxor with 3 bloggers, who I have the absolute respect, admiration, and huge fans of their particular blogs: Lucki Duck, Robvegaspoker , and Lightning36. The 3 bloggers arrived at the Luxor about 20 minutes after I was there. I was sitting in a very very very extremely extremely tight tight table!! (Did I mention the table was very, extremely, tight??) Lightning said they had enough to start a new game. At first I was apprehensive about joining the game because I have this thing about playing people I like cause I really don't want to take their money, and in the case of Robvegaspoker and Lightning36, they've been very generous tippers to me whenever I've dealt then, even tipping in small pots when they didn't have too. It was a definite quandary, it's the reason I don't playing where I work, and if I do, I NEVER play at the table if I've dealt it already. It's my belief you shouldn't play at poker room if you work's a "conflict of interest" rule. Yeah, I know it might be a little paranoid, cause in 99% of cases, your regular players really don't care if you play with them, but I usually am uncomfortable if I'm check-raising a guy who tipped 15 bucks the week

The only reason I decided to join the new table was the table I was at was very very extremely extremely tight tight table!! (I have mention how tight my table was??). The first hours, the table really played tight, but I was enjoying the conversations with my fellow bloggers. We talked about an array of interesting topics, one of which was the whereabouts of "Backpack" Steve, a leech who used to hang around poker room begging for money. When I told them what happened to him, the bloggers, particularly Robvegaspoker was shocked yet not too surprised. It was definitely a delightful time, to the point where I sometimes forgot were in a card was like we were sipping a cold one and shooting the breeze in a bar. But alas, the game of no limit Texas Hold em took hold of two of the of which was me...the other was Lightning36.

Like many no limit poker hands, the hand started out nonchalantly, A player opened for $12 from a $90 or so stack....I'm sitting two seats later with Pocket 10's and call. My stack was a little over $200. Two more callers behind me, and Lightning in the Small blind calls. So we take the flop five-handed...The flop comes A A 10 A. I actually did a double take...did I just flop a boat?? Lightning, first to act checks, the initial raiser bets $20. Quickly, I raised to $40. I acted quickly because I'm a believer if you flop a monster you act the opposite of what you'd normally do. I see it too much as a poker dealer, when someone flops a monster, they put on the "Hollywood" Act as if they a tough decision to make. I can pretty much tell they have a monster by this act, and I'm almost always right. It's actually helped in my poker playing in identifying big hands and being able to either get away from them or lose the minimum. The 2nd part of this hand is why did I raise on the flop with a full house. My goal to extract maximum value for my hand and with 5 players in a raised pot, there had to be an Ace somewhere with my 4 other opponents, and I wanted to get that Ace to commit this stack to the point as early in the hand as possible where he is forced to put the rest of his chips in the next two streets.

Two players behind me folded quickly, the action was now on Lightning, who tanked. At that point, I knew he had an Ace, and I thought, "Dammit, this is not what I wanted." I wanted one of the other guys sitting with an Ace and Lightning would insta-fold his hand. Lightning hemmed and hawed for a long time, starting at me, playing nervously with his chips before sliding the $40 towards the pot. the initial raiser were all in for another 18 bucks or so. Since it wasn't a full-raise I could only call as did Lightning. The Turn was a 3...Lightning check, I instantly go all-in for around $140. I actually was hoping Lightning would see this as a sign that I had the goods and he would fold, but when he asked how much I had...I knew there was no way he was folding his hand. AFter another minute, Lightning calls....River was a 9....I announce "Full House" and turn over my Pocket 10's...Lightning shows AJ and the other player mucks claiming he had an Ace too.

I had mixed emotions scooping that pot. On one hand I was happy for winning such a monster pot, but felt bad that it had to come in the expense of Lightning. But I don't blame him, he played the hand very well. I probably would have played the hand the same way.  It was just a "cooler" hand that comes up from time to time where hands kind of play themselves. Lightning took the beat very well, and I  was happy when he texted me the next day saying he won his money back at Ballys.

Next time, Lightning comes to town, and stiffs me, believe me I will not be angry about it. I'll shoot him a sly smile and wonder what would have happened if he paired his Jack on the river :)

Monday, June 10, 2013


I've always tell people, the best part about being a poker dealer is no 2 days are alike -- the good and the bad...then you come across the third category -- The Ridiculous! This third category comes once in a blue moon, but when it comes across, as a poker dealer, you either laugh or shake your head...On this day, I had a little of both.

I'm dealing a standard No limit game, three players in the pot...First guy tosses out an 100 dollar bill and says, "$50, indicating he was betting $50 of the $100. I announce the bet to the table immediately. As a poker dealer, it's my obligation to quickly announce the bettor's intentions so the players involved know immediately what the bet is. The next player to act was an older gentleman from New Zealand, I know this for a fact cause I dealt to him earlier in the day and I overheard him telling someone he was from New Zealand, "Here in Vegas on Holiday". This native New Zealander looks at the bet puzzledly, then looks up at me,

"Is he allowed to do that?" He says.

"Yes, his bet is $50" I answer.

"No,  I mean, can he bet with the money?" He replies.

At first, I'm thinking, maybe the guy didn't see the $100 bill beneath his chips, which is an understandable objection, it's happen before when as player doesn't see the bills and objects that's it's "in Play", So I answer, "Yes sir, $100 bills play."

I saw this New Zealander's eyes bulge from it's socket, I could tell he was getting a little upset, "I never heard of any rule like that, why didn't he get chips?"

I hesitated, thinking, "Is this guy serious?" Finally, I answered, "I'm not sure, maybe he likes to play bills."

The New Zealander wasn't having any of that, "I never heard of a fucking rule like that. I've played in casinos all over the world, and never of a fucking rule like that!!

At this point, I wanted to nip in the bud before it escalated, the gentlemen sitting next to him, who was the third player in the hand intervene, "He's allowed to play $100...he had it on the table before the hand started."

The New Zealander finally folded his hand and the hand played out with the third player winning the pot. As he was dragging the pot with the $100 bill amongst the money, he showed it to the New Zealander, and said, "I can't take it off the table now, it's in play!"

The New Zealander wasn't finished, he directed his venomous tired at me, "I think that the fucking worst rules I've ever heard. You shouldn't be able to have Goddamn money on the table like that..."

I tried to explain the $100 bill rule to him again, simultaneously, telling him he need to the cool it with the language, but the New Zealander was still angry beyond belief. Then one by one, every other player on the table was trying to explain the rule to him, but it was to no avail. He truly believed that having $100 bills on the table was against the rules and continued his tirade for another 5 minutes -- a lot of it directed at me.

At the point, I tried to ignore him and continue on with the next hand. I actually called the floor over cause he was cursing up a storm and I wanted to the Floorman to explain the rule to him. If this New Zealander wasn't going to believe in the poker dealer (Dressed in all-black), maybe he'll believe floorman (With the nice suit).

The entire table spent the rest of my down, the players continued explaining the $100 bill rule to this guy to e point that it became comical. I wasn't really upset or angry with his guy, I was more shocked his bullheadedness not to listen to the poker players....

Yes people, that's


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Saturday, June 8, 2013


Been telling myself to update my blog, update my blog, update blog. Met a couple of bloggers at a Luxor on Thursday, and it made me realize, I need to continue this. Well today, I'll do just that. I'm not going to talk about one specific topic, I'll let my fingers to the walking and let the words flow...

I've been increasing my cash game poker play the past few months and other than a blimp at Harrahs about a month ago, I've done very well. I don't play as much as I would like mainly because of my family obligation and that fact that I work in a casino for 8 hrs, and I don't feel like spending my free time in a casino. Lately though, I've been consciously trying to play more. Rust is definitely a factor in my early sessions, but the past 3 of 4 sessions, I've found my groove and a comfort zone similar to the one I had when I was playing a lot a few years ago. More importantly, I've been self-analyzing a lot of the hands I've been playing seeing if I could have played them better, both winning and losing hands alike.

My tournament play has been very scarce which is completely by design. I hate playing long sessions but tournament poker you have to dedicate a lot of your time and concentration to thrive in them. I actually playedthe FIRST EVENT of the Binions Open (Where I sat next @Robvegaspoker for most of the day) and chopped up the final table for 2K,  but it came at a price...The tournament started on Saturday 2PM and we completed the deal at 6AM...Too top it off, I had to work at 11AM!! Needless to say, I was a complete zombie and it took me 2 days to completely recover physically. Poker tournaments are taxing, tough, and rough on the body/mind. Although it's the probably the most lucrative time to play tournament poker (WSOP time!!!), I'll probably only play 1 or 2 more tournament this summer.

Another aspect of my life which I've been giving a lot of my concentration as been betting Major League Baseball. I've been fascinated by the game cause it's the only sports where you can beat the game cause you can isolate certain statistics to correctly predict the outcomes of the game...The term is called sabremetrics, and I've been a student of this statistically science since the end of last year. This year, I've had some incredible winnings streaks and some tough losing streaks, but overall I am ahead. But with each passing game, I'm learning what statistics are more important than others -- (EXAMPLE, RBIs and ERA are not true measures of a baseball player.)

Well, that's a start...Once again, just wanted to get this blog updated and maybe it'll give me momentum to write and write and write...