In my other life…

Where I’m not tied to the computer every moment that I’m not at work, sometimes I play poker. And since I’ve been getting killed online over the past couple of weeks, last Friday night I drove to the nearest place to play live poker with real cards.

In West Virginia.

Four and a half hours away.

Yep, that’s right folks, unless I want to play in a home game (which I enjoy, but it does sometimes feel like we’re passing the same money around the table week after week) or I want to play in an underground game (which I’m not fond of not just due to the illegality of it, but more due to the risk of robbery), I have to drive multiple hours through the mountains and rent a hotel room just to play cards.

Fortunately for me I still had a bunch of Marriott points, so the room didn’t cost me anything. Unfortunately for me, filling up my new truck with gas costs me almost $75. But I’m just whining, and that’s silly. I knew the deal when I hit the road. So after our mini-trade show on Friday, I rolled up I-77 to Charleston, WV, and checked into my room. I decided not to play Friday night, even though the games were probably pretty good. I had only gotten about four hours of sleep Thursday night, and may have consumed my body weight in wine, so after working all day and driving four hours, I was pretty well done in. So I finished off volume 1 of The Hunger Games, which is teh hawesome, and went to sleep.

I got up Saturday relatively early, wrote a little bit, then made my leisurely way to the casino. I got there about 1:30, and got on the list for a 1/2 game. It wasn’t an unreasonable time before they opened up another table, and I sat down with about $200 in front of me. And took off. I went on a quick heater, making some good reads and picking off a couple of bluffs from a guy in the 5 seat. He was a 2/5 player waiting for a seat, and showed all the earmarks of a player sitting in a game that was too small for him. He juiced the pots bigger than they needed to be, c-bet every hand, checked the turn if he got called, bet the river regardless of his holdings, etc. It’s not a terrible way to play, but when you do it every hand, and you’re in 80% of the hands, people are going to pick up on it. So I watched him get caught with his hand in the cookie jar a couple times, and then called him all the way down with second pair for my whole stack. I was good, and doubled through him.

I got off to a great start, but when the room opened up another 2/5 game, all the action left our table and it turned into the battle of the old nits. I couldn’t get anything going, and was starting to get frustrated. I looked at the $450 in front of me and decided that the next time it got to an even hundred, either $400 or $500, I was racking up.I never got there, racking up a couple hands later when I caught myself playing badly and cashed out $250 ahead. That was something I had really wanted to work on this trip – paying attention to when the table wasn’t any good and picking that time to take a break. I figured I’d go indulge my slot jones for half an hour or so, and put my winnings in my pocket.

Slots didn’t go so great, as I dropped a quick $40, so it was back to the poker room. I got seated right back at the same table, with the same old farts, and the same frustrations. I bought in short to start, only $100 this time, and blew through that in record time. Then a young Asian kid who I’ll stereotype later sat down on my left, and another new guy sat down directly across from me. I was in the 6 seat, so the Crasian was in the 7 and the other new guy was in the 9. A middle-aged ladynit was in the 8s, and she wasn’t crazy about all the betting going on. I reloaded to $200, and had about $150 in front of me when my key hand came along. The Crasian was in every hand, pretty much regardless, and was on his third or fourth buyin. I think he’d just come back from the ATM for buyin #4 and promised our end of the table that he was going to “play smart now.” The 9s had shoved his whole stack in over the top of Crasian’s raise for three hands in a row, and seemed to be really grumpy about something. It must have been something away from the table, because he hadn’t been sitting with us long enough to have any issues that I understood.

So I’m in the cutoff with KsQs, and it’s limped around to me. I make it $12-15 to go, I don’t remember which, but that was my standard opening raise. Crasian calls, Ladynit gets out, Grumpy calls, and we’re three-handed to a flop of Q-5-7 rainbow. Grumpy checks, I bet, Crasian calls, and Grumpy puts out a big check-raise. With top pair, 2nd kicker I think I’m ahead here, and I’ve seen him make big overbets several hands in this orbit, so I stick the rest of my stack in the middle. Crasian calls, which I’m flat amazed at, and then Grumpy calls, turning over AQ. Shit. Bad read, Johnny, you’re dominated.

Until the King hits the turn, which crushes Grumpy’s soul. River is a blank and Crasian mucks his hand, claiming 5-7 for a flopped two pair. I only half believe him, because he was a nutjob and might have made that call with QJ and been in third place the whole time. Grumpy leaves, Crasian rebuys, and I stack a $450 pot. I tread water for a little longer there, finally cashing out with a $50 profit when I’m called for a 1/2 PLO game.

PLO lasts about three orbits before I stack one player, who isn’t replaced, then I get it all in with the nuts on the flop against another with the same straight and a redraw to Broadway. There’s a third player in the hand who has a wrap Broadway draw, and I pick up the nut flush draw on the turn. River blanks and I chop the pot, but the game breaks because we’re only three-handed at that point. So I decide that at 11PM it’s a good time to grab some grub and head back to the hotel, banking about $350 for the day.

After I eat I wander through the pit because I’m a degenerate, and plop down with $80 at a $5 Let it Ride table. I make all the bonus bets and pick up a steady string of nothing-nothing-nothing, until I’m down to two hands’ worth of chips. I make all my bets, look at my cards, and I’m holding 6-7-6, so I’m already good for the $5 3-Card Poker bet. I pull back my first bet, because I need tens or better to make anything good, and tell the dealer to show me a six or a seven. He obliges, turning over a six. I wave off and leave my other two bets out there, since I’m a guaranteed winner this hand, and he continues the nice and turns over a seven for his other down card, giving me a full house! I’m pretty happy about the 11-1 on my $10 bet, but I’m even happier when I see that the payout for the $1 bonus bet on a full house is $200! The dealer turns over all the hands, gives me my chips, I toss him a redbird and head straight for the cage, certain that I have used up all my run-good for the day.

So it took me nine hours of poker to win $350, and in 15 minutes of Let it Ride, I won $250. Crazy world, right?

I crashed, got up Sunday and drove home, happy with a $600 profit and no worries about covering gas money for this trip. Not sure when I’ll b back up there, but it won’t be long, I guarantee.

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