Tuesday, December 23, 2003

If your dog was still alive, I'd shoot the fucker!

I am back from a run to Foxwoods where I met up with Jay and Senor! It was great to see the two and I never played cards with both of them at the same session. Jay had been playing a bevy of "sit and gos" online at Poker Stars and had been doing very well. My brother had to work, so he could not make the trip. I asked Haley if she wanted to go (she's still reluctant to play hold'em in a real casino... we still have a few more lessons to go) but she had an audition, which she said went very well.

I got up early, and it was still dark outside. I jumped out of bed when my alarm went off because I knew I was going to play poker! I dressed quickly and hopped on the subway to the Port Authority Bus Terminal. Everyone on the crowded subway was going to work and I was excited because I was going to play cards with Senor!! When I got to the bus depot, I forgot about two things: Christmas time and the Orange Alert. The depot was swarmed with holiday travelers with huge bags and plenty of presents. There was heavy security all over the place... not just cops, but those bad ass dudes wearing full combat armor and toting heavy machine guns with sneering bomb sniffing dogs. Normally I rent a car when I go to Foxwoods (I live in NYC and don't own a car...) but rental cars are ridiculously expensive this week, and with only a few left because it's Christmas week. It was a Greyhound bus for me at $28... a 2 plus hour drive slowed down to a 3 and a half hour excursion on the bus.

I got stuck sitting next to a overly chatty Canadian fellow with a mullet, a greasy NASCAR hat, a couple of earings and a ripped t-shirt. He had not shaven in three weeks and was headed to New Haven, the only stop along the way to Foxwoods. All he talked about was NASCAR, WWE, and horror movies. He was not a smart man. I do not mean to offend anyone, especially Canadians, NASCAR, and WWE fans... but the reason I say he was a dumb ass was because he told me he was going to visit his girlfriend and intended to propose to her Christmas Eve... and he left the ring in his luggage, which was tucked away somewhere in the belly of the packed Greyhound. Oh and he packed his cellphone and almost all of his cash in there too. Now, I know what you are thinking... "what a dumb ass!" Oh yeah. I'd traveled all around the world... on buses, trains, and planes... and I never once got stuck sitting next to the sultry, witty, nymphomanic, well read daughter of a real estate tycoon, with a penchant for wise-cracking, self-absorbed, pothead writers... who was also dying to learn how to play Texas hold'em. Nope, no fucking way. I got to sit next to the yapping Canuck. I should have rented a car. Actually it wasn't that bad. After we tired of the NASCAR and WWE stuff and I exhausted my limited knowledge on both subjects... we attempted a real conversation. We discussed Canadian healthcare... (I'm serious) and the advantages and perks of socialized healthcare. He gave me a few tips on how to give better oral sex on women without getting too many pubic hairs in your mouth (I wish I was making this stuff up...) and he swiftly nudged me in the ribs with his elbow and winked when he blurted out, "But I don't mind the shaved ones too... nothing like finger licking good."

I paid $28 for that early morning amusement. I could not create a more insane character in any of my novels. This guy was a walking trilogy. He showed me a huge scar on his neck, and told me he had part of his pelvis inserted in his neck that now acted as his vertebrae. He gave me tips on how to drive in the snow... "because in Canada, there's so fucking much of it, eh!"

Within an hour and a half hour in our trip, he spilled the beans to me on his entire life. The guy was not even thirty years old and from the stories he told me in that short time span... I gathered that he had enough eclectic material for at least three novels, a documentary film, a reality TV series, and all this coming from a guy who looked like he was at the bad end of a bar brawl. He told me everything. He practically told me his fucking pin number and where his grandma stashed her pension money (in her slippers in her closet). He confided in me that he had been detained at the border a month earlier because of a sexual assult charge (which was dismissed) had gotten him flagged at immigration, and we wouldn't let him into the country. I was so relieved when he got off at New Haven. All I could think about was... there's one lucky woman out there who gets to brag to her friends that she's getting married to a wonderful guy!

OK, there is some poker content in this blog. I'm sorry we got side tracked. There's always something strange going on when I head over to Foxwoods. I got there just before noon and called Senor, who was just getting off on I-95 and was about fifteen minutes away. Security searched his car and his trunk when he drove into the parking deck. Even Foxwoods was clamping down on security. So two of the last three times I was at Foxwoods, I saw Ben Affleck and Chris Moneymaker (and you can kinda count the time I saw Kato Kaelin playing $4-8... but he's like a C-list celebrity). You can judge the sucess of the poker celebrities by the limits they play... Affleck was sitting in on a high stakes pot limit game... just like Moneymaker, and poor Kato... was slugging it out on $4-8. I think he had too much pride to play $2-4. OK, I went off on another tangent there... back to the reason for this blog... the title is very important... If your dog was still alive, I'd shoot the fucker! as you will soon find out.

I got seated at a $4-8 hold'em table with Senor. I was awaiting my $2-4 game which was a good hour away. Foxwoods was crowded and they opened up a new table and game for us. I was the Big Blind right away and ended up playing my first two hands. I never like to play right away, but I had a great big blind: A-10o. I caught an Ace on the river, but bailed on the turn when a fourth spade hit. The next had, on the button, I called with K-Q suited. I bailed when an Ace hit the flop and two raises were in front of me. I was down a few bucks and I did not even take off my jacket. The blinds came around quick. Senor commented that $4-8 games seem to be much quicker than $2-4 games... more people folding and less callers at the end speeds it up. Anyway, in the big blind I catch the routine 5-9o. The flop: J-J-5. Interesting. I check so do five others. Senor is one of the last to act. He bets. I call, so do four others. On the turn: J. The table checks to Senor and he bets $8. Since no one else bet, I made them for hands like K or A high. I guessed that Senor was just betting because he had position on everyone, but I kinda thought he had an Ace and nothing more. I had a full house, but was it good enough? Where there any medium pocket pairs out there? I call and everyone folds. A 9 fell on the river, giving me a slightly higher full house. I check and Senor bets $8. I could have raised him, but I didn't... knowing that I had him beat was better than taking his money. I called and he was shocked that I had a full house. He has A-Q suited, a good hand, but not the winning hand. That was pretty much the only hand I won at the $4-8 table. When my name was called for my $2-4 game, I was down $30 in less than a hour. It was all downhill from there.

I sat down and recognized two regulars right away. I was in Seat 7 and the guy in Seat 2 was someone I played in a few tournaments against. Let's call him "Tom" from Vermont. Tom from Vermont is an unusual fellow. He wore a picture of his dead dog around his neck. I played against him in the Act Two satellite during the summer. He was at my table when I had K-K and went all-in pre-flop against a guy with pocket Aces. Yikes. Later that night, he was moved to my table in the weekly No Limit Tuesday tournament. I knocked him out when he was short stacked. He was a really nice guy and we talked on and off during that day at different times. He told me that his dog died sometime ago, and from heaven, he watches over him during trips to the casino.

Anyway, as soon as I sit down Tom from Vermont was happy to see me. "Haven't seen you in a while," he added. I looked at his chips. He had the biggest stack at the table, over $200 in $2 chips. The old guys at my end were funny guys, with healthy attitudes. They had lost a lot of their money to Tom from Vermont. Right away I saw that he was getting crazy hands. I lost to him when I flopped a straight with my A-J and he caught a little flush on the river when four diamonds hit the board. His diamond? The fucking 2! Unreal. I lost another big hand when I got dealt pocket 10s on the button. When I see that all I can think is "Raise!" Nine players were in and they all called after I raised. I nice size pot before the flop is something I love to see when I have position. The flop: 10-7-3 rainbow. A couple of checks on bet, then I raise. Half the field dropped. The rest called. The turn: 2. One bet to me and I raised to $8. Only two called including Tom from Vermont. The river: 8. One bet, I raised, Tom re-raised. We all called and my flopped triple 10s were no match for Tom's gutshot straight when he pulled up with a 9-6o. Unfucking real. I didn't think Tom from Vermont was such a nice guy anymore. That was two in a row that I should have won. I didn't fret. But I looked down and more than $100 of my stack was eaten away since I arrived. Not there for ninety minutes and I lost half my buy-in. Not good. I never should have left my $4-8 game. I thought that if I moved to a lower limit, i could play longer and just wait until the No Limit tournament started at 7pm. Alas, I was wrong. I got my ass handed to me at $2-4.

OK, now so was getting good cards, but horrible flops. I played very tight and only won one pot in two hours at the $2-4 table... and it was a small pot with pocket Kings. All my good hands got cracked. I lost a flopped nut flush to a full house (caught on the river by some kid who showed up wearing sunglasses). When he sat down, one of the old guys joked under his breath to my end of the table... "Looks like someone had been watching the WPT on th Travel Channel." We all laughed and thought the same thing: "DEAD MONEY!" But the kid with the shades took me for a big pot. I hope I don't stumble upon some random college kid's new poker blog and read about him bragging about winning a huge hand after he stayed in on a 3-7o and won a huge pot at Foxwoods. If I do, I'll go find him, piss on his laptop, and break his sunglasses.

Then it got really ugly. I've had some bad beats before, but I walked into one hell of a trap. I had about $80 in chips after I lost a shitty pot when I held A-K suited and lost to an old lady caught a pair of 3s on the river to beat me. Anyway, I see A-A on the button. Tom from Vermont raised pre-flop. I noticed he raised on pocket 6,7,8 and A-J twice. He slow played his pocket Aces the one time I saw him have them. I made him for a medium pair. I re-raised. Eight called. The flop: J-A-J. Did Pauly just flop a full house Aces over Jacks? Yes. What to do? One bet before Tom, he raised, and I re-riased. The kid with the shades called and Tom re-raised. I re-raised and capped it out The kid still called and hung in there. For a second I thought: Someome has a Jack... but do they have pocket Jacks? I put the kid for a Jack and a small kicker. And I pegged Tom from Vermont with a medium pair or A-J and a smaller full house than mine. Rags fell on the turn and the river, the same routine repeats: Tom bets $4, kid calls $4, I raise to $8, Tom re-raises to $12, kid calls, I re-raise to $16 to cap it out. Everyone calls and the kid turns over A-3 suited. I expected to see an A-J from Tom from Vermont, but his dead pooch was smiling down on him from dog heaven because he turned over pocket Jacks!! J-J stared me in the fucking face. I lost the rest of my stack in a $200 plus pot. The kid had no idea what happened, but I was wicked pissed and turned over my pocket aces for the table and dealer to feel my pain. The "oohs" and "aaaahs" filled the mouths of the players. Even the dealer was shaking his head. Too bad there was not a Bad Beat Jackpot like other casinos had... because I would have won that after 4 Jacks beat out my Aces full over Jacks. Fuckin' guy with the dead dog had over $350 in chips, most of that my monet. I had two $2 chips left. In less than three hours I lost $196. I spent a week in Vegas and only dropped around $90. Wanting to cap out my losses at $200, I had to walk away. I was not able to play in the Tuesday night No Limit tourney. Instead, I decided to take an early bus back to the city.

As I got up from my seat to ponder what the fuck happened, I let my disgust be known to the table. My comment was greeted by a thunderous roar of laughter. Even the floor manager who stood nearby heard me. I jokingly said, "If your dog was still alive, I'd shoot the fucker!"

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