Wednesday, December 26, 2018

This survey said I’m from Belarus

Nearly everyone lies about something – and for most people it’s usually about exactly the same thing. It’s also a question that your answer probably depends upon your age and your answer will most likely change over time. But whatever age you are when asked this question the answer will probably be a lie. How much alcohol do you drink?

Now when we’re first asked this question by friends or family – usually in our late teens we’ll probably understate the answer. Then a few years later we’ll overstate it. Then starting from our 30s onwards we’ll go back to understating it.

Examples of answers to the question would be:

19 year old son to mum – Only a couple (despite having had 6). No one wants to tell their mum how much they drink.

Friend to friend in 20s – It was mad and we were out most of the night (despite having had 3 beers and heading home about 10pm). No one wants to admit not being able to party all night.

Friend to friend in 30s or later – We don’t drink much now, mainly wine at dinner parties (forgetting the pre dinner beers plus scotch or brandy afterwards). It’s not seen as mature to over drink.

And I can virtually guarantee that if you’ve ever been asked this question by a doctor you’ve probably lied – I certainly have. I’ve had numerous medicals (usually work related to ensure I’m not going to die on a job) and I’ve just given an answer that is within the recommended healthy guidelines. I’m pretty sure that the majority of people lie on medicals as well – a friend of mine was once a telecoms engineer in the Army and his job entailed repairing telecoms towers on the edge of a military zone. During the night angry, well armed, locals would then try to shoot at these towers, only for my friend to have to repair any damage again the next day. Unsurprisingly, whilst he was in this post he drank a lot and when asked at his medical how many units he drank he replied with 20-25. The doctor replied that this was a little on the high side (recommended 16-20 per week) but nothing exceptional – my friend failed to mention that his figure was a daily, rather than weekly, intake.

But I decided to be honest about my alcohol intake – it wasn’t for a medical and I haven’t shared the results with anyone. But there was a catch – it included the week before Christmas where I’d been to 3 or 4 parties plus had 1 day at a sports event which entailed all day drinking. So it was never going to be truly representative of my average consumption – just a snapshot into a week of my life. 

It was worrying to say the least – I’d consumed over a litre of pure alcohol that week. Dear god how am I still alive but that might explain the sore head then!! The survey said I was unlike any other country but my nearest match was Belarus – the heaviest drinking nation in the world. Inhabitants of Belarus consume about 17.5 litres of pure alcohol per capita each year – compare that to Russians (15.1 litres), Brits (11.6 litres) and Americans (9.2 litres).  

As I said earlier it was never going to be truly representative of my normal intake but it’s certainly worrying that over a short period of time I can drink more in a week than other nations average in a year. But it’s not put me off the beer – if only for this reason

If anyone wants to take this themselves here is the link Please comment with your drinking nationality.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

No it wasn’t a good call. It was f*cking terrible

There’s lots of things that annoy me at the poker table and most of these are down to other people, having totted up my list I think I’m going to look like a sociopath. But if other people didn’t do things to annoy me then I wouldn’t get annoyed so surely I’m not a sociopath – right?

There’s only a few things that a casino can influence though. The lack of inbuilt cup holders are one of my biggest gripes along with slow waitress service. But I get the economics of the waitress service – it costs the poker room money to provide this service so they do the bare minimum possible whilst keeping people coming to the room. Plus a lot of poker players don’t drink at the table anyway so I’m probably in the minority waiting for a waitress who only comes round every half an hour or so. Plus I have a choice – if I really dislike a room’s service I won’t go there.

But I don’t really have a choice about other people – when I sit down at a table it’s just pot luck whether the table will be full of people who should be classified as oxygen thieves. A lack of basic personal hygiene, being obnoxious and “spreading” are all worthy of being added to my list headed “people to taser when I come to power”. I had an encounter with one particularly horrid individual, who managed to combine all three, a while ago who kept telling people they need to do something – move, act, post blinds etc. It came to a head when he persistently bumped into my chair when manoeuvring his enormous frame around his seat followed by him snarling “you NEED to move to let me in” followed by me declaring “I don’t NEED to do anything, if you’d like me to do something you’d better learn some manners”. But anyway – I digress.

One of the things that doesn’t wind me up at the table are bad beats. We all get them but they are actually good for poker – I know that anyone at the table who is on the positive side of a bad beat is generally a bad player and thus is more likely to lose money. Which is good – so in a way bad beats are good. What does annoy me is what sometimes happens after a bad beat – as the pot is pushed to the luckbox someone will state “Good call” without any hint of sarcasm or irony (note this doesn’t always happen – probably only about 10% of the time). 

Now I reserve “good call” for a completely different scenario – it’s making a truly difficult decision, potentially for a lot of money. Holding pocket 10s on an ace high board and making an informed decision that the LAG repping an ace hasn’t actually got one would be that scenario, not luckboxing a 2 outer on the river having called a pot sized bet on the turn from the tightest player at the table. You know your 10s are behind here but spiking a set to beat AK will sometimes cause someone at the table to pipe up “good call”. Which makes me want to scream “No it wasn’t a good call. It was fucking terrible”. But us Brits don’t like to make a scene, so I’ll probably just tut and stare which is one of the worst insults we have, whilst silently adding another name to my list

Thursday, December 6, 2018

I’ve been done on 2 sick bad beats. I’ll tell you about it later

I’d been sat at a $1/2 table for about 3 hours and over that period there had been quite a number of LAG players. Nothing overly crazy but play was definitely on the looser side of the spectrum for the majority of the session. There had been a player sat 2 seats to my right (I’m in the 5 seat) for about half my session and he was running well. When he first sat down I thought he was a crazy loon but it turned out he was just being hit by the deck – hard. Over the course of his first hour he must have raised nearly half the time and very rarely slowed down on the flop. But whenever he got to showdown he had a decent enough hand and I don’t recall him being caught bluffing. He held pocket Kings 2 or 3 times, Aces and Queens at least once and if he didn’t have a big pocket pair to start he’d usually hit the flop – all in the course of an hour or so. Unfortunately I’d lost about $200 to him on one particular hand – I had pocket 10s to his KQ and he spiked a K on the turn and after about 90 minutes he’s sat on over $1,000 and I’m on about $600 (I’d rebought so I’m effectively even for the session). 

He lost about $200 when he called someone’s all in – he held 10s and the other guy had Kings. That’s when the wheels started to fall off the bus. Whether it was tilt or just plain stupidity I didn’t know but if ever there was a time to have banked a profit it was now. He won a few then lost a few in quick succession but nothing catastrophic until this hand – we’re now about evenly stacked at around $600 apiece.

I look down at AA from UTG +1 and raise. There’s 1 caller before this guy (now in the BB) gets to act and he 3 bets to $35. Now I have a decision to make – if he’d been a crazy loon I would have raised but I think that just telegraphs my hand. I’m only really doing this with 2 or 3 hands and a smart player will get away from anything other than Aces, Kings, Queens or potentially AK. I don’t particularly care about the other guy in the flop as he only had about $150 behind and he’d not been overly aggressive at any point. I give it my best Hollywood “Really – you keep getting it eh?” to him and puff my cheeks as I call. Other guy folds and we see a flop of A-10-9 (2 spades and I’ve got the Ace of spades). BB now bets about $50 and I raise to $150, BB jams and I instacall. Neither of us show and the turn and river are both Jacks. BB flips over AJ and shouts “full house baby” and thinks he’s won. I’ve not slowrolled but I’ve waited for him to show here. I flip over my cards and scoop the pot whilst this guy rebuys. 

He’s now lost most of that that rebuy in the space of 15 minutes when one of his buddies walks past the table and they have a chat which I can overhear. Buddy asks him what happened to his chips as he saw him with a monster pile the last time he walked past. Our man now says “I’ve been done on 2 sick bad beats – I’ll tell you about it later”.  

So losing with a pair v overpair and flopped pair v flopped set are now classified as bad beats are they? Please don’t tell the wider poker community as it’s just going to add to the long list of bad beat stories we all have to endure.

Friday, November 30, 2018

The Vegas tax

One of my biggest gripes in life is being ripped off – either being over charged or being charged for shoddy service really gets me going. But I understand how business works and differences between urban and rural economies mean that cities generally have higher prices because land is scarce which forces up rents which force up wages which leads to higher prices etc etc.

But it seems everything on the strip in Vegas is designed to suck every single dollar out of every single pocket that walks by. When I travel I try to do so pretty light – I very rarely check a bag even when flying transatlantic a couple of times a month. This has its advantages such as rarely having to queue for check in if I can get a mobile boarding card on my phone, not having to worry about bags going missing, not having to wait on arrival for a bag and also being able to take tighter connections without fear of my bag not making it. But it also has its disadvantages in that I’m limited on space and I also can’t take liquids over a certain volume through security so I need to buy certain items like shower gel, sun cream and deodorant as I travel. This is fine if I’m going straight from the UK to 1 place but I often travel London – New York – LA – Vegas – LA – London or more on 1 particular trip so I can’t just get what I need in London as that would only last until my next flight. If I’m in a city for more than a couple of days I’ll try to use hotels that well stock their bathrooms and buy anything else but I try to keep my wastage to a minimum. But Vegas is different – hotels are pretty stingy in stocking their bathrooms and I’m generally there for around a week so I need some supplies. As I usually stay at the MGM Signature I can pick up what I need at the Walgreens underneath Planet Hollywood but I’m still amazed at the prices - $10 for shower gel, $8 for deodorant and around $20 for sun cream are 100% mark ups compared to anywhere else (caveat that I presume locals don’t shop there and that normal stores nowhere near the strip are far better priced but it’s not really worth me spending $20 on a cab to head to a store).

The drinks prices – again I understand the mark up (I’ve lived in and around London for the best part of 20 years and the prices in the tourist areas are exorbitant but anywhere in London is far more expensive than the rest of the country) but the gouging just winds me up. It’s not that it’s $12 for a bottle of beer – It’s $12.32 (or other weird pennies) for something that even in NY would cost just $6. But $12.32 means $14 really – the change is pointless so that’s left on the side plus $1 tip as it just looks mean to only leave the coins.

Cover charges – I was in Vegas for Superbowl weekend a few years ago and I’d played poker at Planet Hollywood on the day of the game. After the tournament ended I headed over to Yolo’s to get something to eat and to catch some of the game. They were charging a $125 per person minimum cover. I eat there pretty regularly and my average check is about $40 for a couple of beers and a main dish. They were empty except for maybe 15 people for most of the game but still enforcing the cover charge – I sat there for the whole game drinking beer and eating constantly and still only just hit the minimum charge.

Guarantees in poker tournaments – quite a lot of rooms offer guaranteed prize pools which I like as it means it’s worth playing a tournament even when turning up and realising there are only 7 entries and the prize pool would usually be small. But I’ve been to numerous strip casinos that cancel their guaranteed pools when they fear they won’t get enough entrants but they’ll magically reappear their “guaranteed” event the next day when they get 30 entries. Either offer a guarantee or don’t – I don’t care either way but cancelling it just because you won’t meet it really winds me up. Offering a guarantee is a risk on the casino’s part– just the same that it’s a risk offering any other gambling game but like all forms of gambling it’s weighted in the casino’s favour. Over a long enough period of time the casino will always win – just because you don’t hit a guaranteed prize pool on 1 particular day does not mean you should withdraw it. (I realise this is not every casino does this btw)

Which brings me to my last point – the airport, which a large percentage of visitors will use. If you haven’t been ripped off by one of the unscrupulous cab drivers to or from the airport you’re doing well. Anywhere else around the world I’d usually head to the lounge but AA don’t have one at LAS because they had to agree not to in order to get more take off and landing slots. Why didn’t the airport want AA to have a lounge? So travellers can spend any money they might have left at the slots in the airport (I’m aware there’s an Amex Centurion lounge but that’s not a frequent flyer lounge). 

My only pleasant surprise was finding out that you can get on the plane without having a Vegas heavy hold you upside down by your ankles and shake you to ensure you’re not trying to leave town with any money left in your pockets.

Other people will gripe about resort fees, paid parking, increasing cash game rakes and buffet prices and these are all just as relevant. They are all just further examples of where Vegas is going too far – I really get the short term economics but by increasing prices you inevitably decrease demand – the golden goose will only lay so many eggs but won’t lay forever.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

I only need to win one hand

"I'm having the best time – I'm winning most of the hands" the crasian (he's not Chinese, maybe Thai or Vietnamese but by definition he's a crasian) next to me said. He was right – he was winning the most hands but he certainly wasn't winning 2 things: the most money or any friends.

Rewind 24 hours or so and I'm sat next to this same guy but not for long. For 2 reasons – he's on my left and raising stupid amounts every hand, the second being his very dubious personal hygiene. His hair is greasy and he smells like he's been up for 3 days solid. There's no way a healthy person should smell so bad but having been sat down for 5 minutes he makes it worse by walking over to the rail, smoking half a cigarette then blowing smoke over the whole table as he sits down (he continues to do this every 10 minutes or so throughout my session). Bizarrely I take an immediate dislike to this guy. So I request a seat change and move to the other end of the table – the rest of the session is pretty unremarkable apart from our crasian's play which is pretty insane and he manages to lose 3 or 4 buy ins over the space of an hour.

So now it's the next night and our crasian has again taken the seat to my left – he looks like he might have actually taken a shower but he's wearing the same clothes so still smells pretty bad. Unfortunately there are no free seats so I'm stuck with this loon on my left. After an hour or so I decide to give it one more round then leave as the smell is putting me off my beer – I told you it was bad!! Crasian is playing his usual game and I've folded most of the time when he turns to me and tells me he's having the best time because he's winning most of the hands, he then follows up with "Why do you play if you fold all the time?" to which I don't respond. He doesn't look like he remembers me from the previous night – might be due to a complete lack of awareness or maybe his eyesight is damaged from the bad aroma that seems to follow him around all the time. I mean to leave but I'm dealt cards whilst in the BB so end up playing – I probably can't stomach another full round so I decide to play till my button then leave (I'd normally leave UTG but got distracted before I could tell the dealer that I was leaving).

Crasian makes his standard raise to $12 whilst UTG and there are 4 or 5 callers before I look down at J-6 off. Normally I'm folding like a cheap suit there but I'm last to act and there's already over $60 in the pot and I'm getting a decent price to see the flop so I call. Flop comes J-6-6. I check and crasian bets $25 or so. It folds round to me and I call. Turn is a blank and I again check call $50. River is another J which is actually a bad card – if crasian has a J then we're chopping and if he has a 6 he's possibly not calling a bet. There's no bigger house on the board as the turn is a 2 or 3. I decide that he's likely to bet if I check and he does. He bets $75 and I shove (I started the hand with about $350 and crasian had about the same). He now thinks about it – this probably means he doesn't have a J and I'm beginning to regret such a large raise. This is the 1st time in 2 days I've seen him actually think about a hand but he announces call and I show. He turns a 6 over then mucks and tells me I got lucky – err ok. As I'm scooping I turn to him and said "In answer to your previous question – I only need to win one hand". 

Now I'm hoping he leaves but after a 30 second cigarette and again remembering to blow smoke over the table he's back and rebuys. But as I said the smell was putting me off my beer so I decided to stick to my plan and leave with a tidy profit.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Of course poker is a sport

There’s a lot of debate over whether poker can truly be classified as a sport – I know my drinking arm gets a decent workout over a long session and some people’s mouths must ache after whining for hours on end. The same question has been asked over bridge and chess. The European Court of Justice has recently ruled that bridge can be classified as a sport which has tax implications in the UK – VAT (effectively our version of sales tax) isn’t charged on certain sporting events and also the UK’s central sporting body currently gives no funding to non sports.

So I’m attempting to settle the argument once and for all, utilising my analytical skills (and the power of Google on a rainy Sunday morning) I’m going to show the numbers. 

For the purposes of this I’m going to exclude all North American sports – most of the world tends to compete internationally before calling themselves world champions, I’m also going to exclude single sport events such as the rugby, cricket & football world cups. So there’s only set of numbers that I really need to look at – the Olympics. Now there’s no arguments that the Olympics are the pinnacle of most sportsmen’s (or sportswomen’s) careers but are all the events technically sports? 

That sounds like a stupid question but hear me out – there are plenty of events in the Olympics where you can excel without technically being called an athlete but does that mean the event should be precluded from being called a sport? Not at all. Have a look at some of the Olympic events if you don’t believe me – shooting, archery, sailing & dressage (essentially horse dancing) could generally be done by anyone with the right equipment with no real degree of physical fitness required on the participant’s behalf (OK being 400lbs should probably preclude you from riding a horse but you get the drift). 

So I’ve broken Olympic events down into 2 categories – sedentary and active. Any sedentary event involves the participant partaking of his or her event whilst being sat down or being stood still for the majority of the event. Quite easy you think but for the purposes of my analysis sedentary events include rowing & cycling which are technically active events but the participant is sitting down. I’ve then used the gold medal tables from the last 2 (2012 & 2016) Olympics analysing the 5 countries (USA, China, UK, Russia & Germany) who won the most gold medals and the results are surprising. 

The USA, China & Russia are remarkably alike in that they gain nearly all of their gold medals in what I’ve classified as active events such as swimming, athletics & gymnastics (the only time this figure dips below 90% is USA’s number in 2012 and that’s only to 89%) whilst the UK & Germany are the complete opposite in that the majority of golds are achieved in sedentary events as shown in the tables below:

The numbers are the % of gold medals won by that country in the 2 sets of events

Americans, Chinese and Russians excel at athletic events where physical attributes are the defining factor between success and failure whilst the British and Germans are quite comfortable achieving success whilst sitting down.

So back to the original question of whether poker can be called a sport. I’ve already made the argument that athletic ability should not preclude an event being called a sport and the ECJ has ruled that another card game can be classified as a sport. So of course poker is a sport – but only if you’re British, or perhaps German.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

A Freudian Slip

A version of this was originally published as my guest post on

Most of my interactions at the poker table are pretty banal. But occasionally I get a decent story about something interesting or amusing said at the table and as long as I’ve not overdone it on the beers I get to write something up. It’s mostly other players who give me something to write about though - until now. It involves a dealer saying something to another player which goes straight into the top 3 funniest things ever said by anyone, ever. 

This particular evening I had the best seat in the house. I’m sat in seat 4 at a fairly decent game and doing relatively well – I’m probably up around $200 from my initial $300 buy in over a couple of hours. The waitress service is also pretty good tonight and I’m getting through my fair share of beers. But neither of these are the reasons that I’m in the best seat in the house. That reason is the lady in seat 1 – she’s running well and she’s a very competent player. She’s maybe early 30s and has a very good figure. She’s also not overly chatty and doesn’t seem to be with anyone else at this table. I really don’t like it when there’s a couple of friends chatting through the table – if you want to chat with your friend then sit next to each other and not in seats 2 & 7 which means you have to talk through the entire table. But anyway – I digress.

Did I mention this lady has enormous boobs and a very low cut, tight, top on? Well I have now. And every time this lady leans over to the betting line to place chips her top rides a tiny bit lower on those aforementioned enormous boobs. So I’ve had some beers, I’m winning some chips and I’ve got a pretty lady with enormous boobs to look at which is making for a very enjoyable evening. The dealer can see me admiring the lady and is taking the opportunity to check her out as he spins his head to keep up with the action. We’ve exchanged knowing glances with each other that acknowledge that we’ve both clocked each other checking the lady out.  

So it’s a major disappointment when this lady announces that she’s leaving the table after the next hand (she’ll be UTG) and she starts to rack her chips up as the cards are dealt. I get another decent sight as she leans towards the betting line to make a raise (I think to $8 but I’m not sure), it folds round to me and I fold, guy on my left in the 5 seat 3 bets to $25 and the button announces all in for around $80. Now the action is back on our top heavy lovely. She asks the guy to my left how much he has - $180 or so after his raise. She announces all in and the guy to my left snap calls. Button shows KK and says he thinks he must be behind, lady shows AA and the 5 seat doesn’t show.

Flop is something like Q high. 5 seat announces nice hand and mucks without showing (he later says he had KK which I’ve got no reason to doubt). The dealer pushes the pot to the lady and asks if she’s still leaving. She says she is and the dealer asks “Are you going to need a bigger rack” immediately correcting himself by saying “are you going to need another rack?” Too late though as I’ve already laughed beer out of my nose. The lady either doesn’t notice his faux pas or just ignores it and replies that she does. She racks up without further comment and leaves.

As soon as she’s out of earshot I burst out laughing and the dealer does the same – I tell him that’s it a shame that she left as she was much easier on the eye than the rest of the middle aged men at the table. He laughs and says he doesn’t know what I saw in her and that he’d barely noticed her.  

Friday, November 9, 2018

Promoting your own home game

I’d been in LA for a week so scheduled a trip over to Vegas for the weekend – having taken an early morning flight on the Friday it was too early to check into the hotel so went off to play some poker and partake of a couple of beers.

It was a completely meh session with no real poker action to report but there was something very odd about 1 of the players at the table. I got the impression that about half the table were regs but they barely said two words to each other so not sure if they knew each other or not. The other half were tourists, One player would not shut up though – for about an hour he kept talking – he wasn’t talking to anyone directly but was constantly promoting his own home game, telling anyone within earshot that there was no rake but to tip the dealer in lieu, where it was, what limits they played, how many players they had there last night etc. Bear in mind it’s barely noon so I have no idea if it operated all day long but I really couldn’t have cared less as there was no way in the world I’m heading off to some random guy’s ranch. One of his points was that they provide food and drinks but I’m pretty sure that casinos in Vegas have free drinks covered – I might have mentioned in an earlier post how I love free drinks!

I did find it odd that the dealer didn’t tell a supervisor though – he was being far from subtle about it and surely it’s not in the casino’s interests to have someone sat at a table looking to poach their customers.

So – has anyone ever encountered something like this before and if so has anyone actually ventured out to one of these mass organised home games? Or are they still there hog tied and squealing like a piggy while Maynard and Zed have their fun?

Friday, November 2, 2018

I am a complete idiot and should never be allowed at a poker table ever again (part 1)

In this session I’d been playing for an hour or so with nothing of any interest to report - just treading water really.

I look down at KK UTG+1 and raise to $8 and get 3 callers (all MP to C/Obefore the button raises to $35This guy had been playing position very strongly all night so I’m not overly concerned about his raise here. I figure the MP callers are folding to the button’s 3 bet anyway so I might as well 4 bet to see what the button does and I make it $100. Button has me covered and 5 bet shoves. Is this position or does he really have AA? I really don’t believe him and I call for around $300. Neither of us show and the flop is something like J-5-4 rainbow. The turn is a 9 and he immediately turns his hand over showing J-9 leaving me sickened. River is a 4

I muck my hand in disgust, rebuy and get back to my beer. The player next to me (who I’d been chatting to for a bit) asks if I had AK. I tell him KK and I couldn’t believe how the button bet with a lousy J-9. He then says I won (or would have if I hadn’t mucked) – I’d been so infuriated with seeing him hit 2 pair on the turn that I’d completely failed to notice that the board had paired. Why did I not just flip my hand over like I usually do? It really bugged me how stupid that was but at least I could drown my sorrows once the waitress came round again

What’s the stupidest thing you’ve ever done at a poker table?

Friday, October 26, 2018

Where is Mianus?

I’ve noticed that whenever Americans are asked where they are from they’ll nearly always reply in the same format of town / city then state. Examples would be “I’m from Beaverlick, Kentucky or “I live in Wankers Corner, Oregon” (although these are real places I’ve never met anyone from either). The only exceptions would be if people are from one of the major US cities like NY or LA which, to most people, would need no clarification of which state their hometown is in. I like it when people do this as my knowledge of the US is pretty limited to the major cities so if someone just said Beaverlick I couldn’t be expected to know that it’s in Kentucky for instance. 

We Brits don’t necessarily do this even when talking to other Brits – the UK is such a small place that even if you live in a tiny village then you’d just mention the nearest medium sized town and the majority of people would be able to roughly place it on a map. If we’re talking to foreigners most people from the south east would say x miles from London on the assumption that most would have a vague idea where London was.

But I like the American way – it’s a conversation starter as I can usually ask someone where they are in relation to a major city in their state or even update my crossword skills and ask where their state capital is. I would have thought that this would be possible for nearly everyone until I had a very odd encounter with someone from Pennsylvania who didn’t know where they lived in relation to Philadelphia. Now I know that Pennsylvania is a pretty big state but to me there’s only 2 big cities that most people would be able to place – Philly being one and Pittsburgh the other. I asked this lady where she was in relation to Philly and she had no idea, I followed up by asking about her local sports teams – if she’d said the Eagles or the Flyers I would have face palmed myself but she said her whole family support NY based teams and were regular travellers to NY which was only 2 hours or so drive away. From a few follow up questions I’d ascertained a few things that narrows it down that you live in east PA, possibly just inside the Delaware River? Yes – just over the river into PA.

OK – now I can picture where you are on the map and you’re about 2 hours north of Philly. This was a surprise to her. She’d lived in this place for years and had no idea how close (or even what direction) Philly was. Now I can understand living 2 hours from somewhere and never going but the thing I found very strange was not even knowing the distance or direction. 

And just in case you were wondering where Mianus is – it’s in Connecticut,_Connecticut, and Uranus is in Missouri,_Missouri.  

Normal poker based drunken idiocy will resume in due course

Saturday, October 20, 2018

No one likes a shaved girl

Before I proceed I’ll describe my own hairstyle – or lack of. Although I’m far from bald I’ve had a receding hairline since my mid to late 20s. Since then I’ve always just had a buzz cut and it’s brilliant – no more time spent exchanging inane chit chat with an over priced barber, no more expensive hair products or worrying if your hair looks funny because you’ve slept on it or got it wet in the rain. But it’s even better if you travel a lot as I do – given the restrictions on carrying liquids through airport security I don’t have to utilise valuable packing space on shampoo or gel and if I’m away from home for more than a couple of weeks I can just bring my clippers to trim it myself. It also shows that I’m growing old gracefully and accepting certain inevitabilities that come with the passing of time – there’s nothing more ridiculous than a guy who is trying to fool the world (or maybe just himself) with a bad comb-over or wig.

So now to the line – I’m sat enduring a very boring poker session, being dealt no decent cards so I’m just enjoying a few beers when a couple of ladies (maybe mid to late 30s) sit down at the table in seats 4 & 6. I’m sat in seat 5 and I ask if they want to sit next to each other and they say they actually prefer to sit apart so I stay put. As long as they don’t start trying to talk through me I decide to hang in there but the lady to my left says hello and starts chatting to me. Usually the only female attention I get in Vegas is from hookers and even then it’s pretty rare but I’m happy to exchange pleasantries for a little bit. She asks what I do and not being in the mood to tell her I’m in the Colorado coastguard I tell her, I ask her and she says she’s a hairdresser. I tell her I don’t have much use for one of those and she laughs politely but says that if I grew it out I could get a decent style going on. I then tell her about it being much more convenient when I travel etc and her friend now comes into the conversation. She tells me that she also travels a lot for work and she wishes that she could do the same but “No-one likes a shaved girl”. I swear I laughed so hard half of my beer came out of my nose. A couple of the other players have heard this and are sat sniggering like Beavis & Butthead. When I regain my composure I tell her that quite a lot of men would have a differing opinion. She realises what she’s said and says she didn’t mean it that way – I laugh and protest my innocence and she’s soon chatting away as well. They were a lovely couple of ladies and made an otherwise forgettable night quite memorable.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Not a good day to get aces

Some sessions are dull in that I fail to get a decent story out of them. That doesn’t necessarily mean that I made or lost money, just that there’s nothing interesting enough to put into black and white. This was not one of those sessions. To say it went to 11 on the 1-10 poker scale would be doing it a disservice. It was more like smoking crack and snorting speed being chased by tigers whilst blasting across the alkali flats in a jet-powered, monkey navigated…. and it goes on like this It was mental. There were also numerous beers consumed over my 5 hour session but that had nothing to do with it.

No one at the table was particularly remarkable, there were a couple of LAGs over the course of my session, one of whom features heavily in the later stages. Quite a few of the players were very passive and it wasn’t uncommon to see multi raised preflop action get called by 4 or more players. The only player I’ll describe is grandma calling station (GCS) on my immediate left who, over the course of the 2 hours that she was sat next to me, must have called 95% of the time preflop whatever the action and didn’t make a single raise. One particularly weird hand was when she called something like $40 preflop then folded to a $25 shove on the flop with no action behind. 

When I join a table I usually like to sit down with a beer already in front of me and I do this for 2 reasons. The first being the waitress service – if I’m parched I’ll spend the first few hands scanning the room for a waitress and not concentrating on the table. The second is other people’s reactions – the better players’ eyes will light up when a new player enters the game holding a beer as they presume that anyone drinking is likely to be less skilled and therefore will be easy pickings. If you’ve never noticed it before you will now – even local grinders will loosen up a bit if they think there is easy money to be won from a drunk tourist.

I’m in MP when I first sit down and don’t see a flop for the first few hands – the waitress has already come by and I’ve ordered another beer so I’m trying my best to get rid of the one in front of me before she returns – I know she’ll want to take this however much is left and I don’t want to waste it. The first hand I’m interested in is when I’m on the button and look down at 77 – there’s been 4 or 5 limps already so I raise to $16. GCS in the SB calls and the BB raises to $40. Now I don’t like my hand so much and I’m thinking about a fold when there are 3 callers before I act so it’s only costing me $24 into a pot of over $160. My only concern is if GCS is going to come over the top (at this stage I’ve not realised that she’s a calling station) but I call and she does the same. So we’re 6 to the flop of A77. GCS checks, BB bets $50 and there’s one call before getting to me. I’m hoping GCS has an Ace and will call so I only call rather than raise but GCS folds. Turn is a blank and there’s now 2 hearts on the board and the BB bets $100 which is called before getting to me so I call. River is another heart and the BB shoves maybe $250 which is called before I call for my last $100 or so. BB turns over AA for the house, other hand is Ah-Qh for a rivered flush and the BB looks sick as I table my flopped quads (looking back I should have raised the turn– neither player is folding for another $100 and if the flush draw doesn’t come in then the MP player can potentially get away given the BB has bet $250 and all he would have is 2 pair). More than a triple up and I’m still stacking chips when the waitress comes along with my beer. Lovely.

I barely play a hand for a few rounds until I’m dealt AA in MP – UTG has limped so I raise, GCS calls as do the blinds and the UTG limper. Q high flop but not overly scary so I bet when it’s checked to me and it folds to the UTG limper who shoves his last $80 or so. I call, everyone else folds and he tables QQ. Aces are 0/2.

I look at 4h-5h in the BB when there’s an MP raise plus 3 calls with only GCS left to act. Flop is A-2-3 all hearts!!! Checked to MP who bets, 1 call, I call and GCS calls. Order another beer as the turn is dealt, checked to MP who now checks, bet from late position and I call, GCS folds and MP calls. Another blank on the river and I decide to bet but I’m unsure of the size. A large bet potentially goes uncalled – the board is unpaired and the only hand that’s raising is a K high flush so I only bet about ¼ of the pot. MP calls then other guy shoves for maybe $150 more. I call and the original raiser tanks before open mucking AA. Other guy shows Kh-Qh and I scoop my second monster pot of the night. Aces are 0/3. 

I take a bathroom break after my button and I return to see someone’s Aces cracked again – they are now 0/4 in about 90 mins.

I button raise with JJ and get called by GCS in the SB plus one in MP. 10 high flop and I bet, GCS calls and the other guy folds. Turn, check, bet, call. River, check, check and GCS flips over AA!!! But at least it’s to GCS – anyone else could quite easily have doubled up through me. But AA is now on the scoreboard although looking pretty bad at 1/5. 

GCS has left at this stage and there’s a new guy sat on my left – he asks how I’m sat behind nearly 2k and I recount a few of the hands and tell him to avoid playing Aces. I jokingly tell him I’m just open shoving if I get them. 

Next hand I get involved with is from late position holding J-10 suited. I call a small raise as does half the table and floppeda flush draw which hit on the turn. I can’t recall being overly aggressive but the original raiser bets all the way and is all in when we’re heads up at showdown – he tables AA which are 1/6 now!

I 3 bet in late position holding KK after 2 calls to the original bet, original raiser 4 bet shoves (he was fairly new to the table but pretty LAG so I’m not overly concerned that he’s got AA) and there’s 2 all ins behind him for not much more. So I call and table my hand. Bizarrely all the other players do as well – A rag for all 3!!! What the fuck? I’d be embarrassed to show if it were me. I think the strongest kicker was a 10 but LAG showed A-3!! There’s the case fucking ace on the flop and I lose $300 or so. Someone scoops a $1,200 pot with A-10!!!

I lose some more holding QQ against 22 who turns a set then rivers quads despite me betting preflop and effectively putting him all in on a J-10-8 flop

Then I get some chips from the LAG – he raises from MP and there are 3 or 4 callers before I look down at AA in the BB. Given he shoved with A3 he’s probably calling a decent sized bet but I don’t want 4 callers so I just shove. The guy next to me chuckles, LAG calls and everyone else folds. LAG tables A5 off!! He gets no help and I’m glad I shoved as one of the original callers says he had KJ for a straight. I know preflop I want him in the hand but I’m only 40%ish to win against 4 opponents and I’m probably not getting him off an open ender on the flop. Aces are 2/7!

I lose some more when I call a short stack’s all in – I’ve got AA and he flops a set of 3s. I jokingly look at the dealer and tell her not to give me aces as I can only win with rags – it’s her 2nd or 3rd down at this table and she’s seen AA get busted all night so she knows what I’m talking about. Aces are 2/8 now

Then the last noteworthy hand of the night. I’m holding JJ in late position and I get 2 calls to a raise - the BB (who had only been sat down a few minutes) and the LAG who is now sat on around $1,000. Flop is A-J-2 rainbow and the BB checks, LAG bets, I raise and the BB shoves (he started with $200), LAG shoves behind*Parp – has someone slowplayed AA here? This makes no sense here as LAG is definitely reraising preflop with AA but would the BB have flat called preflop then check shoved on the flop? I actually take a bit of time to think about this and I work back the hand history. I decide LAG has definitely not got AA, even a single ace is unlikely so that means BB could well have it. LAG’s got all his chips in preflop with A-rag a couple of times already so there’s no way that he’s limped then called my preflop bet with AA, I’m putting LAG on 22 for bottom set so I call, expecting to be behind BB but ahead of LAGBB turns over A9!!! LAG tables KQ off – fuck my life, $1,000 on a 4 outer drawalthough he’s got quadruple the number of outs than if he’d got bottom set!!! Turn is a 9 and the river is another fucking Ace – fuck off poker gods! BB scoops $600 but at least I take the LAG’s money. BB burns off his chips within a round or 2 but none back to me.

*Looking back I really have no idea why he did this – he knows he’s behind so should want me in the hand as if he hits he wins big but if he doesn’t then he loses everything he’s got. Or is his thought process to bluff me off a better hand? Again that doesn’t work because he must be behind the BB and therefore losing $200 anyway. I understand betting the draw (as his bet could cause me and the BB to fold) but once the BB is all in he needs to hit to win the hand. Or maybe he just doesn’t want to have to call a big bet on the turn if he’s missed and if I fold he effectively gets 2 “free” cards for his draw?But wtf goes on in the minds of these crazy loons? I really have no idea.

I decide to call it a day after about 5 hours and 12 or so beers. Although I’ve racked up more than this at higher stakes tables this is by far my biggest win at a 1/2 table – I cashed out for $3.5k and change which just looked ridiculous at a small stakes table. It had been a complete rollercoaster and my only concern now is where to buy some downers.