Thursday, June 05, 2008

You Picked the Wrong Time for That, Slick...

Pauly's latest post mentioning Eskimo Clark and Terrence Chan's Event #5 tale of asshatery at the tables jogged a few of my remaining brain cells as far as stuff I meant to blog about from my last trip out to Vegas for the WPT Championships but never got around to.

Those are obviously different tales with their own lessons, but both revolve around the ability of poker to bring out the absolute worst in people. Great game, love it tons, but man, hang around a tournament room or cash game tables for a few days and it's hard to not leave a slight bit saddened at the behavior of your fellow primates at the tables, whether it be from angles shot, general douchebaggery, or the general toll the gambling jones takes on many folks.

My last foray to Vegas was no exception, but it was sort of funny for once to see people immediately get back some of the negative mojo they were shooting out into the cosmos. I always like to believe that shiity behavior comes back to perpetrators in spades, and maybe it does in the long run, but you usually don't get to witness it quite so directly.

Karma is a Bitch: Exhibit A

Deep stack tournament at the Venetian, probably 5 or 6 hours in. Two younger WPT fanboi guys got moved to my table to the 7 and 8 seats (I was right next to them in the 9 seat), and I'm 95% sure they already knew one another, or else had played at the same table for awhile as they were talking as they came over and continued to quietly talk after they sat down.

It was a little annoying as they were discussing their takes on what people were holding as the hand was live, but they were doing it pretty quietly. Sitting next to them, I could hear them, as could the 6 seat, but I doubt anyone else at the table could actually hear what they were saying. Stuff like "There's no way he's got an A, he'd have raised pre-flop", "He's full of shit," etc. Kind of out of line but they were trying to impress one another with their mad hand reading skillz more than anything else.

So that went on for maybe 15 minutes or so before an older guy at the table finally piped up and complained, something along the lines of "You guys have been talking since you sat down, cut that shit out" and a couple of people at the other end of the table voiced their agreement. And of course the two culprits fall all over themselves reassuring him that they weren't even talking about poker or hands, they were talking about the NBA playoff game, yada yada yada, bullshit bullshit bullshit.

One of the fanbois, though, obviously didn't appreciate the old dude calling him out. It didn't help that the old dude was on a monster heater and had been hitting everything and building up a huge stack. The next hand was disgruntled fanboi's big blind, and the old guy raised it up from early position for what seemed like the 2 millionth time in the last few orbits. Disgruntled fanboi mutters "Watch me run a stop and go on his fucking ass" as the old guy is putting his raise out there.

Everyone folds, disgruntled fanboi calls, and the flop comes K K 8. Disgruntled fanboi insta-shoves, overbetting the pot by about 5x. The old guy sits there for a few seconds, bemused, and finally says "You picked the wrong time for that, slick. I call" and tabled KK for quads.

Karma is a Bitch: Exhibit B

We were close to a break at a $300 tournament at Caesar's and my table had just broken. Backing up a bit, we were five or six hours into the tournament and getting reasonably close to the money bubble, which was an hour or two away. I'd had a pretty big stack the whole way but just lose to monster pots with AA versus A7s and QQ versus 1010, so I was about average stack and a little bit pissed.

An hour or so earlier there'd been a big brouhaha at the table behind us. I have no idea what really went down, but a guy made a huge scene, yelling and screaming and berating the dealer. He claimed that because the dealer screwed up a dead blind situation, he'd paid a blind twice, that it happened when he was in the bathroom but he'd counted his chips and knew exactly what he had, and that he'd wrongly paid a blind twice.

Again, I have no idea what happened as it wasn't my table, and from the way the floor and dealer were reacting, I think he was actually probably right, as they were apologetic but basically telling him it wasn't fixable at that point, as he was away from the table when it went down and too much action had occured, as it was a few hands later when he returned and freaked out. Assuming he was right, yeah, he has a legitimate beef, but he was way over the top, and was absolutely unloading on the dealer, saying she should be fired for that, she was incompetent, she didn't deserve to be allowed to breathe, etc. He also wasn't desperately short-stacked nor were the blinds that huge, so whatever happened didn't substantially alter his chances. Plus he was the one who decided to take a stroll and blind off anyway.

So he finally shut up after about 15 more minutes of grousing and everything went smoothly after that for an hour or so. My table breaks, I get my new seat card, rack up my chips, and stand up and check my cell phone. I'd swapped 25% with a friend and he'd texted me a few times to see where I was at, as he'd busted early and taken off.

I'm reading his texts and all of a sudden someone is standing next to me, way too close, and they snatch the seat card out of my hand. I look up and it's Freakout Guy, who's now yelling at the dealer to call for the floor, and that I'm intentionally stalling to try to avoid playing my big blind. Then he walks my seat card about ten feet to the new table, smacks it down at my spot, and he swaggers back to his chair.

I was honestly more perplexed than anything, as literally ten seconds had elapsed from me racking up to checking my cell phone, and a few other people at my old table still hadn't even racked up yet. The dealer is just waiting, looking at me with a weary expression on her face, and I'm like "I'm just checking my phone" and she says "I know." So I sit down, pay my blind, and everyone else is shaking their heads and chuckling.

Freakout Dude is sitting three to my left and giving me the stink eye for the next few hands. The floor announces that its the last hand before a break, and Freakout Dude is in the BB. Folds around to me and I have 88. I briefly considered just folding and taking a stroll during the break, as I was a bit below average stack now and still a bit steamy from the two big pots I'd lost plus Freakout Dude's behavior.

But folding seemed way too weak so I bumped it up 4x BB, and it folded around to Freakout Dude, and of course he insta-shoved. To be honest, his shove really was too much for me to call, as it was more than half my stack to call and I'd only been at the table for a few hands and had no real idea what his range was. If I called and lost I'd be rocking a pretty short stack. It was really close, as far as calling, but not quite there.

In the end, though, the "Screw it, I call" line of thinking won out. And I have to admit that part of me was thinking, "Come on poker karma, I can't pretend that I entirely believe in your existence but, you know, one time." So I finally called and was fairly happy to see him turn over AJs. Not so happy when a J was the door card on the flop, but it came with a 9 and a 10, so I was open-ended and hit my straight on the turn when a 7 peeled off.

Which obviously didn't please Freakout Dude much, but he surprisingly packed his stuff up and left quickly without too many words. I guess it would have been a funnier story if I'd picked up a huge hand in the big blind to bust him when he ensured that I was there for a big blind, but I'll take any sort of poker karma that I can get.

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