After two days off that were spent entirely outside the Rio, I finally had the itch to play. A week in Vegas already and I had yet to play a hand of live poker. In the interest of reversing my body clock from normal to nocturnal in preparation for covering tomorrow's $10,000 Mixed Game Extravaganza (2-7 triple draw, the five limit H.O.R.S.E. games, NLHE, and PLO) which sports a 5 p.m. start and likely a 3-3:30 a.m. ending, I decided to leave my media badge at home and play for a few hours. From every report I'd heard the satellites were as lively and soft as ever, and though it's not exactly great bankroll management for me to play that high, I've read a lot of SNG strategy and played a helluva lot of single-tables this year and probably have a decent edge over the average satellite joe.
I stood in line in front of three forty-something guys who, from the sounds of their conversation, were (a) friends (b) in town for some sort of gathering and (c) were recreational players. One wore a poker-themed T-shirt and the other two were straight off the sale rack from Tommy Bahama. They were already giving off tells in line. After only ten minutes of waiting, one was bitching about how long it was taking, another was threatening to leave and the third one was berating the floor supervisor for not starting the satellites fast enough.
"There's nine empty tables in there with dealers at them! Nine!"
"They just want to seat the $1,000 players. That's all they want. That guy has only called for $1,000 players. Every time. And all of us want $125 or $175."
"Yeah in like seventy-five or eighty seconds I'm outta here."
"Hey is that Mike Matusow? He looks like he lost 100 pounds."
"I bet it was coke."
"Or gastric bypass."
I could have told them that the "empty" tables with dealers at them were spillover tables from the $1,500 Omaha 8 tournament or that Matusow had dropped 50 pounds to win the $100,000 weight bet he made with Ted Forrest one year ago today. But why give away what you don't have to.
The guy immediately behind me in line started trying to chat me up. I told him I was a Hollywood screenwriter and had just written Warner Bros.' next Katherine Heigl/Seann William Scott vehicle. He asked me what I did during the strike and I told him that I got bored with picketing so I went to New Zealand with my boyfriend to wait it out.
Finally, a floor guy called for players for a $225 satellite. It was a little higher than I would have preferred, but he cautioned that the $125 and $175 ones would probably not go off in the next few hours since everyone was trying to get into tomorrow's $2,000 NLHE event. I grit my teeth and pulled a seat card from his outstretched hand.
I drew the three seat and Chatty McChatster drew the nine. I had a red-faced, rotund gentleman in golf clothing on my right. He swilled Miller Lite the entire time. On my left was a recently retired gentleman with white hair peeking out of the bottom of his black Stetson. He had a jeweled ceramic frog as a card capper and proudly told me that he'd cashed in yesterday's $1,500 donkament-- his first live tournament ever.
1000 chips, blinds started at 25-25 and went up every fifteen minutes. I developed exactly the image I wanted. Tight and aggressive. Don't fuck with me, pick on that other guy down there, OK? I didn't play many hands but on the ones I did my raises and c-bets got respect. We were down from ten to eight by the end of the second level.
Early in the 50-100 level, Chatty shoved all in for 600 and I found 7-7 on the button. I re-shoved to isolate, the blinds folded and I was delighted to see his pocket threes. My hand held up and I was up to a little over 2,000 in chips. I won a small pot with K-K when the flop came down jack high and another small one where I had As-Ts in the small blind and raised, the BB looked me up and the flop came down A-A-Q. My flop bet got no action, but my stack had inched up to 2,500.
The shorties started falling one by one until we were down to four. With the blinds at 150-300, the short stack started talking about chopping it up four ways even though he only had about 1,500 left. The chip leader-- a thin, bespectacled European guy in the one seat declined.
"I won't chop with you. Or her. I'm going to bust you both and then chop with him" he said icily as he pointed toward the total tool in the 6 seat with the shit-eating grin, who had the distinction of checking the second-nut flush behind on the river in a previous hand, not realizing he had made it.
"Well, you can try" I said.
"Yeah, buddy she's probably the best one left. Don't get ahead of yourself there" replied the short stack.
Icy Euro had been tight in the early going much as I had, and had been slowly opening up his game. He had a slight chip lead over the Tool and I, who were similarly stacked. I'd only played one hand with him so far-- a big blind special for me when I flopped middle pair holding the 6h-8h and check-raised him on fourth street when I turned trip eights. With the blinds at 150-300, he made it 700 from the button and I looked down at two red sixes in the small blind.
He mucked his cards disgustedly and with that, I took the chip lead.
On the very next deal it was folded to him in the small blind. He raised to 1,100 which looked to be almost half his stack. I peeked at my cards.
I figured I was well ahead of his range and even though I had the largest stack at the table, it was still less than 10BB.
"Fuck!" he said, dropping his head into his hands. "I guess I have to call" he said after about a ten-second pause and turned over 5d-8h.
I'm a 2-1 favorite there and I pat myself on the back for getting aggressive and picking him off. Until the flop comes down 5-8-9 and a 5 turns and I'm left with 500 chips and 150 of them are in the small blind on the next hand.
Just kill me now.
The next hand I get 2-4 in the small blind and fold behind the shortie's all in. On the one after that Icy Euro folds UTG and I find Ad-9h on the button. The last 350 goes in the middle. The shortie in the BB calls 50 more and turns over Ks-9c. I'm a 3-1 favorite there, but this time I simply feel doomed and the king in the door confirms that.
Before I can even pick up my purse and water bottle, they're negotiating a chop and I walk out to my car feeling like I've been shot. That's the first stage of tilt. Disbelief.
By the time I made it to the parking lot anger took over. That's the second stage.
"Can I ever win any fucking money?" I seethed to no one in particular as I plodded toward my car.
Then sadness. Poor fucking me. Woe is me. I never win anything. Waaa waaa waaah.
By the time I was turning into our subdivision, the cloud had lifted. I played fucking great tonight. There wasn't one decision I made in that game that I was unhappy with. I got my money in good twice. There's really nothing more I could have done. Yeah I'm still a broke-ass fool with poor money management but had I won that hand, I would have been coming home with at least a thousand dollars in my pocket and I'd be looking at this whole night as a worthy gamble that actually (one time!) paid off.
Instead, I don't feel much of anything.
I guess that's better than kicking holes in walls.