Saturday, December 18, 2004

Good 'ol Boys, Pt. 1

To start things off, let me send another huge congratulations to Otis on his amazing new opportunity, and considering his formidable writing skills, a deserved one at that. And thanks also to Wil Wheaton, who it seems sent the opportunity his way. My fan meter is completely pegged, Wil. It would seem that you truly are a part of what is an ever-dwindling population of good people. NOTE: If you are one of the folks who believe in the inherent goodness of all people, please pardon the cynicism of the preceding sentence.

I’m sure you all already know, but just in case, PokerStars has a new 25% Redeposit bonus.

Even though it will pale in comparison to the trip reports from the recent blogger get together in Vegas, it’s time to get busy on this report of my trip up to podunk Harrah’s Prairie Band Casino in Topeka. One might also call this trip, Lone blogger alone with Good ‘ol Boys.

My brother and I pull up to what is actually a pretty decent little place, especially considering it’s out in the middle of nowhere. As casino’s go, it’s a pretty small place, but there were some little things about it that made it more enjoyable than I expected. Upon arriving a little after 10 AM, I get a replacement players card and we head directly to the poker room, as I am anxious to see what it’s like and get some more details on the $100 NLHE tourney. The details were: $103 gets you T1500 with the blinds starting at 5/10 and increasing every 20 minutes (youch, that’s quick). $3 went to the dealers and $5 went to the casino, WOW. I stood there for a minute dumbfounded, as I realized that the juice was even lower than an online NLHE tourney, and instructed the good man to sign me up as fast as his pen would allow him. After speaking to him a bit more, I find out that average registration for this tourney is about 30 people, very nice. And, I suspect they wouldn’t be able to handle many more than that anyway, as the room only had five tables in total.

This is when I received my first bit of (depending on how you look at it) not-so-good news. The lowest limit they spread in this room is $4-8. Hmm, $3-6 is the highest I’ve ever played live, and so I am wary of this development, as a 25 BB buy-in ($200) is going to get eaten up pretty fast if the table is loosey-goosey and I don’t get any cards and/or get too many suckouts, hmmm. “Oh well,” I think, “I didn’t come up here for the day to be a punk, I came to play some poker. I can hold my own at a table, we’ll just have to see what happens.”

Just then, I hear someone yell, “STRADDLE, woohoo!!” It’s only 10:15 AM. This might get ugly.

Having signed up for the tourney and taken in the poker room (which involved simply turning around, I didn’t even have to put in an entire 360 degree turn), I decide it’s time to take a walk around and see what I can see. My brother is itching for some BJ, and heads off like a shot, which is notable considering I haven’t seen him hurry for anything since my early childhood. Being in a positive frame of mind, I decide to make it a point to notice the good things about this place, despite it’s inherent Podunk-ed-ness. The first things of note: The staff were all very friendly and helpful (possibly only due to the fact the day was just getting started, but what the hey, I’ll take it), and the casino at large was immaculate and updated, not dingy and run down as I expected. It was also very well laid out, with everything very easy to get to. Then again, with it’s small size, how could anything be hard to find? It is here that I find what I believe to be the nicest thing I have seen in any casino, small or large. At strategic locations all along the casino walls I find self-serve soda fountains! This is big with me, since I don’t drink very much (if at all) when planning to play poker, and I DESPISE waiting on the slow wait staff rounds for something as innocuous as a small glass of soda or bottle of water. Even though this was a small thing that I’m sure most folks wouldn’t care either way about, I found my good mood buoyed even further by this development.

Another pro: $5 tables. This is great, as the trend seems to be $10 minimum bets no matter what, at least at the casinos in this region. So, after watching my brother piddle around at the BJ table for a while, I sit down for some Let-it-Ride, as I DESPISE BJ and had about 1 ½ hours till tourney time. I can’t really tell you exactly why I hate BJ so much, only to say that for me, it’s either poker (looking to make money) or a REALLY -EV game like Let-it-Ride (looking to relax and have fun). I left the Let-it-Ride table $75+ with good feelings, and visions of a tourney win dancing in my head. Alas, it was not to be.

My brother and I are seated a separate tables for the tourney, so I pay my fee, get my chips and start trying to size up the competition. This is when it FINALLY hits me: I am one of approximately four people in the entire casino falling into the late-20’s to early-30’s age group. Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, is easily late 50’s and beyond. And they are all on a first-name basis, yikes. I appears I have wandered into the land of the Good ‘ol Boys. So, I simply stay quiet, laugh at the lame jokes thrown about, and mostly keep myself to myself as we finally get started. I’m sitting in Seat 9 and after the first couple of orbits I can see that aside from a couple of notably bad players, most are pretty decent. One guy goes out on the first orbit with AQo, after going all-in when his Q falls on the flop. The caller hit his set of 8’s. I finally pick up an AJo in late position and have two limpers (blinds 15/25), so I raise to T75 and get two callers. J-x-x flop. One player bets out t50, next player calls, and I raise to t150 to see where I’m at. Bettor calls, other calls. Turn comes blank, check to me, I bet t300. One call, one fold. Flush scare card on the river, check to me, so I check opting for showdown with TPTK. Split-pot, the other guy had AJ as well. I suppose there was a chance I could have bet big on the river and pushed him out, but I felt like it was one of those things where I would only get called by a hand that could beat me.

On the next orbit I pick up KQo in late position with four limpers, and raise to t200 (blinds 25/50), all call. Here is where I’m starting to feel conspired against. Throughout the game thus far, there has been a lot of min-raising to which the whole table will fold, or a min-bet post-flop which took the post most of the time. But I notice here that every time I raise, I get called by everyone, every time. I miss my flop and fold to a HUGE bet. I don’t think these boys take kindly to the young whippersnapper invading THEIR tourney, time to adjust. I am now down to a little under t1200.

Last Hand: About 1/3 of the field is gone at this point, and we are on the last hand before blinds go up to 50/100. I catch A10s on the button and limp. SB min-raises to t100, BB calls, the other 2 limpers fold, and it’s to me. Here’s where I turn into an IDIOT, although I don’t think my logic here was too horribly flawed (if it was horribly flawed, any comments pointing out why are more than welcome). You see, SB up to this point had been pretty cocky and aggressive playing a TON of small pp’s all the way to the river and showing them. Given his min-raise, this is what I had him on, so I pushed and tried to muscle him off (he had me outchipped by about t200). He calls, BB folds. Oops, he had JJ. My overcard didn’t come and I left the poker room cursing myself for my impatience.

I watched my brother make a very respectable showing (this was only the third time he has EVER played poker), and get knocked out about halfway through the field. We had some lunch and talked about our respective play. He didn’t have too many specifics, as he doesn’t care about such things at this point in time, but he was eminently satisfied because it seems that his table drew an old and very cocky table coach which generally “rubbed him the wrong way”, as he put it. Evidently, my brother busted him rather quickly which was good to hear, and in the absence of more specifics, I didn’t give it much thought. Little did I know, I should have made a stronger note of his story……..

Later today or tomorrow I will finish relating my adventures in Good ‘ol Boy land, as I wasn’t expecting it to be this long and I imagine that I am as tired of typing as you are of reading, for now at least….

I will post again soon as I now must Think Big about some schoolwork.