Sunday, August 21, 2005
Randy and I made it out to Trump Indiana again last night. It was a completely last minute thing, so I had no time to email Baz or Maigrey - were you guys there Saturday night? Did I miss ya's? I'm fighting the urge right now to head over there tonight. I've got syllabi to write (I'm back at work and classes start tomorrow), and some number crunching to do. But I enjoy it soooooo much, and it's been profitable for me thus far...
We headed out around 9pm to make the trek to the place where there's more than corn. Interstate 80, which runs practically through my backyard and straight into Indiana near Trump is all messed up with a gi-normous construction project that is due to last another year or two. There are a couple ways to avoid I-80 - head up into the Chicago and come back around, or take local roads all the way. We opted for the latter, but it was a bit painful: a 35 mile ride took us nearly an hour and a half. Ouch.
As we crossed into Indiana, I called the poker room to get our names on the list for $3/6 hold'em. The gentleman on the phone was very friendly, and said we had an hour to get there. We made it within 45 minutes of the phone call, and walked in to find that there were seats open immediately for both of us (at different tables). I see now that it pays to call ahead.
As we walked to the cashier cage in the back of the room, I noticed a familiar face dealing at one of the tables. I gawked a bit, trying to reconcile my recollection of the person I was thinking of with the face in front of me, and as we passed by, I turned to Randy and said, "I think I know him!" Sure enough - one of my former students is a poker dealer at Trump. Here's a shoutout to Jose! How ya been, man?!
Randy continued to be cold-decked there at Trump, and his only noteworthy stories are of horrific beats. I fared a bit better over on table #16.
I sat down in the 2 seat, and fondly remembered my last Trump visit, where I sat directly across from the dealer. Sitting at the ends of the table definitely sucks. It's so much harder to see the board, or to see hands that are shown down at the other side of the table. To my right was an older gentlemen who I'd guessed to be a regular there. To my left - a very chatty guy who was three sheets to the wind, flirting constantly with the floor person and cocktail girls and commenting on everybody's "bling." There were two guys who were probably in their mid-30's - clean cut, quiet, and rock-looking. Two of my tablemates were wearing football jerseys and looked to be football players themselves, with a bit of a cocky air about them. At the other end of the table was a trendy looking Asian kid (maybe 22 or so - very fashionably dressed), and a WPT-wannabe type guy in his late 20's maybe (later to be known as Mr. ATC). The last person I remember was a black guy - maybe in his mid-50's - who lived a mile away and said he played in the card room at Trump 7 days a week.
I sat down with my rack of 100 white $1 chips. I'm not sure if you can really call them "white." The chips have this sort of grime on them that I can't even accurately describe. It makes them stick together so that you really can't shuffle them. It's a bit hard even to gracefully pick them up off your stack to toss into the pot. You have to separate them first. The Gary, IN health department must not be involved in poker room sanitation. I realized last night that I often sit at the poker table with my left elbow on the padding, with my chin resting on my hand (and my hand near my mouth). Pretty gross. Once I noticed it, I tried to avoid touching my face. I can only imagine the germs I'm inhaling off those chips. The room is otherwise very clean, and the tables are nice. (I've decided that I *really* like their felt). The chips are just nasty.
The button was one to my left when I sat down, so on the next hand, I opted to post my big blind and get into the rotation. Upon doing so, the man to my right turned and glared at me, as if to say, "Who do you think you are, you snot nosed kid?" He was not an immediately friendly bloke. Grumpy old man. After I showed down a few hands, though, he must have decided that I was worthy of his wisdom, and began to comment to me under his breath what he thought of the other players at the table. "6-4 offsuit for a raise - I'd like to see what book he got that out of! I must be reading the wrong books!" He was, indeed, a rock, and played maybe top 15 or top 20 hands, and played them by the book. An hour or so into the night, he started being less careful with his hole cards when I was out of a hand - I think on purpose, so I could see the good laydowns he was making with monsters that got annihilated after the flop. Honestly, I don't like it when people show me their cards. I don't want to see them - even if I'm not in a hand. But, I did feel bad for the guy. He couldn't catch a cold.
Bling Bling to my left was a character. He rebought a few times - but only in $10 increments. He played junk hands to the extreme. 8-4 offsuit under the gun was my favorite. He told me he'd see a flop with any two cards if the mood struck him, but that he didn't like to call raises preflop with such hands. I made a note to be sure to raise any hand I wanted his goofy drawing hands out of. He had a saying that he kept using - "That's river poker, baby! I play river poker!" Several times he'd get down to the felt and then suck out on somebody on the river. Every time, he admitted that his hand sucked - "but that's how you play riv'a pok'a!" He was entertaining, and I took a few pots off of him when his riv'a didn't come.
The 7-Days-a-Week guy was a cool guy. I enjoyed chatting with him. He wasn't doing so well, getting sucked out on by the maniacs at the other end of the table, but he had a great sense of humor about it, and definitely subscribed to the "that's poker" philosophy. He said he filled his days with golf and his nights with poker. That's awesome. Real down to earth guy. He must have retired young, because he didn't seem quite old enough to be a retiree, but definitely was no longer living the life of a working man (though I'd speculate that he worked hard for his money when he did).
One of the maniacs at the other end of the table was a true any-two-cards guy, and a fishy one at that. He was predictably aggressive, raising when he caught 2 pair or better, and check-calling when he had a pair or less. He often called down to the river with absolutely nothing - no pair, no draw. He sucked out on me big-time, twice. Once, I had QQ and bet the board all the way when all mismatched offsuit undercards fell. An ace hit on the river, and I knew Mr. ATC was taking me down. Sure enough, his A-6 offsuit was good. How do you call a preflop raise and then call bets on every street with that and no draw? That's right - it was an ace draw. That was actually one of his more impressive starting hands. He killed me with 2-5 offsuit when he played it under the gun for my preflop raise and cracked my KK with a straight on the river (calling on the flop with his runner-runner draw, and calling on the turn with his gutshot). He was the only other guy in the pot with me after the flop, so he had nowhere near the odds he needed to chase. Who am I fooling? His game had nothing to do with odds. At least he never gloated when he sucked out on me. He was actually pretty emotionless and antisocial. Maybe he was a robot like that one on Party Poker.
Aside from Mr. ATC sucking out on me, my other monsters held up. Hands I remember:
- AA in early position. I raise it up, get 5 or so callers, and my rockets hold up.
- KK in middle position. Same deal. Held up.
- QQ in early position. I raise, and all but one person folded to me after 7-Days-a-Week called me out and said that I only play monster hands. Mental note: time to mix it up.
- AA in the big blind. I limped this time, risking a suckout but vowing to play carefully postflop. The table was putting me on big hands now, so I wanted to encourage action. I got a little action (though had to come out betting on the flop when the board paired, to hopefully protect my hand). I only had 2 people come to the river with me, and my aces held up for a small pot.
- 7-2 offsuit. Hammer time! I'm on the button and it folded around to me. Why not... I raise. Bling Bling folds his small blind. 7-D-a-W looks at me and goes, "You got aces AGAIN?" I said, "Hell no - 7-deuce offsuit!" He laughed and folded. LOL. The joys of abusing table image with the hammer... I mucked but took a bit of personal satisfaction from my secret display of blogger pride.
- Kill pot! Not many of those last night. I'm on the button, saying to the poker gods, "please give me a nice drawing hand! Please please please!" (Ya know, with the button in front of me and all). King-ten offsuit. 6 limpers in front of me. That'll work. I flop top pair ten's and it checks around to me. I bet, and get callers. Turn comes a Jack. Checks around to me again. I bet, get callers. I'm not really comfortable with the strength of my hand, but the maniacs at the other end of the table almost always woke up with raises when they hit their hands, so the action is telling me my pair is still good. The river comes an ace and it checks around to me again. I figure the only way I'm going to get called on a bet now is if I'm beat, so I check behind to close the action. Turns out my tens were good, and since the betting was at $6/12, I took down a really nice pot. Sweet. I love those kill pots.
It was a bit of a statistical anomaly to see that many big hands. I only played for about 3 hours. As I readied to finish up my last orbit (Randy had to work early this morning), dealers changed and who sat down as my new dealer but Jose! Damn! Why couldn't he have been brought to my table sooner? He cracks me the hell up, and I haven't seen him in a while. So, I made sure to find out what nights he deals, and will definitely have to make it back to chat up Jose. Just what I need - an excuse to go play poker.
Finishing up +$177 seems like a plenty good excuse to me! That's two in a row for me at Trump, nearly tripling my buy-in.
I really like playing there. The atmosphere is nice, and the room is clean. I like the tables, the cocktail service is good, and the dealers are mostly friendly and plenty accurate. Even the players I've met who seem to be regulars are nice enough.
I really want to go play tonight....