Saturday, February 24, 2007
Well, that's not how I wanted to ring in 2007 on the poker front.
I couldn't resist the urge to play yesterday. I went and bought an iPass (the device that lets us use the open-road tolling on the tollways around here) and headed out to Resorts East Chicago (since Empress closes at 6pm on Fridays).
I have to say, I tend to fare better at Empress. I'm not sure exactly why. The Resorts $5/10 game has the same mix of fish and regulars, but I think as a whole the regulars are of higher quality at Resorts. Some may play very loose-aggressive, but they don't give their opponents action when they're on the defensive. I suppose that is the way to play LAG poker, but I certainly hate not getting paid off when I manage to spike a hand against them. I also seem to get much more unlucky at Resorts than at Empress. That's an intangible and probably a myth in my mind, but it seems real all the same.
I ended up dropping the requisite 30 big bets over 10 hours of play before calling it a night at Resorts. At one time, my final rebuy allowed me to earn back 10BB, but that dribbled away as I tried to catch a comeback wave. Howard Lederer once said, if you lose 30 big bets in a session, it's time to get up from the table. It's just not your day. That is my rule of thumb. Sometimes, I'll walk away at even a 20BB loss, but if the table is ripe... I'll stick around and use 30BB as my stop-loss.
This table was indeed ripe, particularly towards the wee hours of the morning. There's definitely something to be said for the strategy of showing up when the pool of players is good and drunk. I watched several people go from being decently solid players to absolute fools over the course of 10 hours.
The cast of characters remained relatively stable for my entire stay at Table #4. To my left was a guy named Patrick, who started out quite gentlemanly but seemed to be rather blatantly hitting on me by the end of the evening. Then came Bob in the striped shirt - a solid player who succumbed to what might has well have been an IV tap of Miller Lite into his veins. The 10 seat was a revolving door - but always had a girl in it. To my right was an old cranky guy (eventually replaced by Patrick), and to his right was "the west side" of the table.
The West Side was a bunch of apparent misfits who liked to chat it up. The 1 seat started off with a guy named Jesse, who was buying drinks for the entire table. He was on quite a roll to start out the night, but ended up felted by a guy I referred to as Earl in my head. Have you ever seen the show "My Name is Earl?" Yeah, Earl. You know. Jason Leigh's character. This guy looked just like him (a bit older and a bit less attractive, but there was a resemblance all the same), and he acted like Earl, minus the mission to become a better man.
To Earl's left was a guy whose name I cannot remember. He was a fireman and had apparently been in an accident of some kind, as he had horrible scars from apparent burns on his face and hands. He became the juiciest of them all as he got more and more drunk as the night wore on. Jim sat to Fireman's left - a quiet, sort of nerdy guy who quickly proved to be your garden variety calling station.
I don't think any of my opponents were particularly good poker players. Bob and Patrick were probably the best at the table, though Bob got worse as his eyes glazed over in alcoholic bliss, and Patrick got worse as he went on tilt from bouts of awful luck.
Jesse was a crafty player, and probably fared better at no-limit. In one hand, he raised preflop, and 4 of us saw the flop. It came an uncoordinated bunch of blanks, for which I'd flopped 3rd pair. It checked around, and the turn brought an Ace. When everyone checked to me, I bet out, representing the Ace, and Jesse raised me. I laid my hand down with a grin, smirking, "Nice AK. You got an extra $10 out of me." Sure enough, he showed me his AK. I said, "I know! Why do you think I folded?" with a smile. Most of the time, I think crafty play is wasted at these low buy in limit tables. Jesse did manage to get me to position-bet that Ace, though.
Earl racked up a sick number of chips throughout the night. Eventually, the guy was raising nearly every hand he was in, and was making mad hands with 45o and other such gems. It was his night, for sure. He was responsible for cracking my flopped set of 7's with 94o on a board that looked like 7-8-K-T-6. He went a long way for that gutshot, but like I said - it was his night. If I was hitting like crazy as he was, maybe I'd chase everything too. He also cracked my AA and my QQ - once with a straight with 86o and once with a wacky 2 pair. Earl was drinking CC and ginger ale like it was water, and I really wanted to stick around and get some of those chips back from him. His luck started to slow around 3am, and if only I wasn't ready to pass out from hunger, I might have played a little longer. Earl had about $800 in front of him when I left at 4am.
My table was a bit feisty. Patrick and Earl got into verbal sparring matches a few times, as Patrick took beat after beat from the Jason Leigh look-alike. After the cranky old man felted, we got a loud and proud African American fellow named T. He sure was fired up! He had some booze in him, and I'd venture to bet some wacky tobacc-y as well (since the aura of scent that surrounded him sent me back in my mind to many a Dave Matthews Band show). He was constantly yelling at Earl, and chattering about how the people at this table were idiots, raising preflop. "Why would anybody raise preflop?" he asked. "You have no idea what cards are coming! Why waste your money when you don't know if you're gonna hit it! Raising with 66. You people are fools!" (sprinkle in some F-bombs for flavor). Eventually his taunting turned to tilt, and he started raising every hand. I would have loved to consider him a blessing to the table, but he literally talked so constantly and so loudly that my left ear was ringing. (He sat directly to my left after Patrick moved to my right, trying to change his luck). Nothing against T - he was generally a very polite guy (aside from the repeated F-bombs) - but man... shhhhhhhhh!
I thought I was going to leave last night with a phone number in hand. Patrick was a nice guy, and I enjoyed chatting with him throughout the evening. He started out very polite, apologizing when his leg would bump mine under the table. By the end of the night, one of the dealers had assumed we were dating, and Patrick was making efforts to find reasons to squeeze my leg under the table. It was harmless flirting, but I was admittedly playing the cool-as-a-cucumber thing, maybe a little of the hard-to-get thing (maybe because I'm neither looking for any sort of serious relationship right now nor a poker room bootie call).
He was asking all of those get-to-know-you questions throughout the night, and at one point was trying to wrangle my words into some sort of invitation to come over to my house. To that, I laughed and said something like, "I don't know about an invitation, but if you're nice enough, I'll let you call me." heheheh I have to laugh out loud at myself sometimes. I was definitely acting like I was all that and a bag of chips, but what the hell. He was all about the Pringles.
At the end of the night, Patrick was down on his luck, and I really had to hit the road (as my commute takes a good 45 minutes, even with the glory of open road tolling). Around 4am, Patrick felted and went back to the ATM, and the big blind got around to me, I announced my departure from the table. I gathered my things and headed towards the cage to cash in my remaining chips. I ran into Patrick on the way. Here's where I thought he'd ask for my number, but instead he said, "Get home safely," and kept walking. I continued on, and as he passed me, he hesitated and said something like, "I'd hug you..." I'm sure there was supposed to be a "but..." on the end there, and as I looked back he looked awkward and confused. I waved and kept walking.
Maybe if I was looking for love at the casino, I'd have taken the lead and given him my number. The irony is not lost on me, however, that the last time I found love 4 years ago was also at a casino. That didn't work out so well. (Randy and I remain great friends, but I honestly thought I'd get a husband out of that deal - not just a friend). So, I'll paint myself flattered that Patrick was interested in me, and apologize to no one in particular for not at least giving Patrick an out there. I wouldn't have minded exchanging numbers with him. He seemed like a nice guy, and good looking for my taste. There's a tiny bit of guilt in the back of my mind for leaving him high and dry like that.
But not too much guilt. Here's a tip for the guys: I know it's 2007 and women can be equal to men and all that jazz, but 99% of the time it is STILL appropriate for YOU to do the asking for phone numbers! I may be a model of the modern independent woman, but damn it... I don't want to do all the work. Grow a set and ask for my number, if that's what you want.
And that concludes my day at Resorts. I'm itching to go back and see if I can't rectify that -30BB thing this afternoon, but there's a winter storm warning for the Chicago area, and they expect an ice storm this evening into tomorrow. That's probably not the wisest time to head out on the roads, but the worst of this is supposed to hit north of here, with only rain south of here. The dividing line of this storm is I-80, and I-80 is exactly the road I need to travel to get to the boats. I live barely on the south side of I-80. Should I stay or should I go...