Las Vegas Poker Journal, Part Three

15 June 2005, Day Three:

Brutal Ass-Kicking: I call the dollar blind, a guy at the opposite end of the table makes it four to go, and everybody between him and me folds out. I have pocket jacks, and I put him on a drawing hand. I make it seven to go, hoping he’ll come off of his hand, but he calls. Now I think that maybe he’s holding a low pair. If he has a high pair, he would have re-raised, and I would have folded then. The flop comes 4-4-10. After he called my raise, I assume that, with the cards he must have been holding, the flop couldn’t have helped him. I bet the max and he calls. Fourth- and fifth-street are junk, low cards that don’t help for a straight or a flush. I bet it after each round and am in for $16. What does he turn over? A-4. He flopped trip fours and I was basically cracked the whole way. This genius bet seven dollars on A-4 before seeing a flop, and he got lucky. I can’t tell you how much that sucked.

Somos Carnales: This was the night that I sat immediately to the left of an old-school pachuco, Ese Vato From Los Angeles. I’ll tell you what I thought when Ese Vato From Los Angeles sat down next to me: “Ah, my brother. I am among my people, and it is good.” We talked about Los Angeles, his 'hood, laughed, talked poker, and gave playing tips to Tattooed Applebee’s Server Guy With Probably Too Much Gel in His Hair, this guy who eventually sat down two positions to my right. Tattooed Applebee’s Server Guy With Probably Too Much Gel in His Hair had been watching our table from behind the rail for a while before he sat down, which you see a lot of in poker rooms. They want to play, but they’re kind of scared. I wanted to make his entry to Las Vegas poker as pleasant as possible; that’s the kind of guy that I am.

I’m Sure He Doesn’t Mind: Ese Vato From Los Angeles was a great guy. We joked, talked smack about the other players, and he pointed out all the pretty girls who walked by. Then this exceedingly pretty girl (exceedingly, is what I’m saying) and her man parked themselves on the rail of the next table over. Her top was the size of a cream colored paper towel and Ese Vato From Los Angeles opined, “They’re fake,” and I said, “I’m sure the boyfriend doesn’t mind,” to which Ese Vato From Los Angeles said, “He probably paid for them,” and I, in agreement, said, “Yeah, I’m sure he didn’t mind that, either.” As we were having this discussion, Ese Vato From Los Angeles’s wife, who was playing slots about twenty feet away, caught her man’s and my analysis of the subject at hand, and Ese Vato From Los Angeles waved at his wife and said, “Hi, Honey,” and she, in bemusement, smiled and waved back. Ese Vato From Los Angeles then said to me, “She’s cool as long as I don’t touch.” Ese Vato From Los Angeles and his wife really seemed to get a kick out of each other, and they seemed like a really happy couple. Ese Vato From Los Angeles, I hope you keep kicking ass in those on-line poker tournaments.

Russian Throat Cancer Lady: For part of the night, I sat to the left of Russian Throat Cancer Lady. Every hour or so, she took a cigarette break, but countered the effects of smoking by drinking hot tea all night. The tea wasn’t working, though, because I've never heard a raspier voice in my entire life. She's got, like, one vocal cord left. Couple the raspiness with a thick Russian accent, and it was pretty hard to understand her. She would say something, I would pick out a word I could recognize, and respond to it, hopefully in a way that made sense. She would say “**@#^% *^& %$#@, $%&^ *&%^ %$; %^&$* idiot (&%&* #$^$#% lucky &@^()(@,” and I would say, “Yeah, people don’t know what they’re doing,” and she and I would nod in some half-assed form of understanding and fellowship.

Russian Throat Cancer Lady, at least at this table, was having a bad run of cards. Finally, in what seemed like desperation to me, she made a $3 pre-flop bet. I had unsuited A-Q, so I called it, and so did the guy to her left, Tattooed Applebee’s Server Guy With Probably Too Much Gel in His Hair. The flop was all rags, cards that couldn’t have helped any of us. It comes to me and, though I have the second-best non-paired starter hand, I check it. Russian Throat Cancer Lady throws in three chips, but the way she threw them in makes me think that she might just be trying to buy the pot. Tattooed Applebee’s Server Guy With Probably Too Much Gel in His Hair calls, and, after some thought, so do I. Fifth street is also a blank and I didn’t pair, so I check. Russian Throat Cancer Lady throws out another $3 and Tattooed Applebee’s Server Guy With Probably Too Much Gel in His Hair folds his hand. I’m pretty sure that she had nothing and was on a bluff the whole way, but there are now five different cards on the board and she could have paired with any of them, and I could theoretically lose to a pair of fours. I don’t really have a choice but to fold, which I do, but instead of throwing my cards face-down into the muck, I throw them face up to show her how much respect I have for her play. She throws her cards face-up, too. What did she have? A-J. I had her beat the whole way and I had been right that she was making a play. I started laughing because it was pretty funny how she had punked me. Then Tattooed Applebee’s Server Guy With Probably Too Much Gel in His Hair said that he also had had A-Q. Russian Throat Cancer Lady: respect.

Ah, We Have Bonded: Throughout the three or four hours that I played with Tattooed Applebee’s Server Guy With Probably Too Much Gel in His Hair, I gave him some tips and strategies that he started to put into effect pretty quickly. He had burned through his first forty in a hurry, but after Ese Vato From Los Angeles and I gave him some pointers, he slowed down his losses and actually started winning. Now, why did I help him? Because he was an innocent and because he wasn’t acting like a jerk. Here’s some advice: don’t wear your fucking sunglasses when you’re playing low-limit poker. You'll look like an idiot. But Tattooed Applebee’s Server Guy With Probably Too Much Gel in His Hair was a sweet kid, and when I left, he reached out to shake my hand and I told him, “Good luck, bro.” Tattooed Applebee’s Server Guy With Probably Too Much Gel in His Hair, wherever you are, spread your wings and fly.

Last Hand of the Night: I had suited A-3, flopped a straight draw, made the straight when I caught a 5 on fourth, and won, which was a nice way to leave the table.

Day Three Total: In ten hours and five minutes, I win twenty-eight hands for a total of forty-six dollars.