Gladys and I went to Vegas a few weeks ago to celebrate her birthday. Her sister Dolores went with us. I don’t really like to gamble, but Gladys and Dolores love it, so I play along. My favorite casino game is craps. It is a lot of fun to be at a table when a roller gets hot, and hits pass after pass. And you can make a bundle in very short order. Now, obviously, the casino is a profitable business, the house has an edge, and the average player is a loser. But gambling is entertainment at a price, and craps is pretty good value for money, in my view.
I entered a poker tournament, something i have never done before. The buy-in was just $300, and you got $4k of funny money chips. About 80 players entered the tournament, and only by finishing in the top nine players would you win any money.
I had a neighbor I’ll call Festus (I don’t know his real name so for all I know it might BE Festus) who was heavily into the psychological aspect of the game, or perhaps he is just a nut. He had many little games he wanted to run. One of them which I found quite amusing was that he would do a shock take on me no matter what I did. If I folded, he was shocked. If I called, he was stunned. If I raised, he was stunned and surprised, and disheartened for me. I said to him, “You’re easily shocked, aren’t you?”
At one point, in my exuberance (I was really getting the cards all night long), I said “the bitches were always good, baby!” I had been dealt pocket queens, and I won the pot with pair bitches. Festus goes, “Don’t call me baby.” I said “Everyone is someone’s baby.” “Not me,” he rejoins. “And don’t call me dude, either,” he continues. I say “How about pal?” “Pal’s okay,” he grudges me. I say “well, just bear in mind from now on, any uses of ‘baby’ are a general address to the table.” No reply from Festus.
The next hand, I get pocket cowboys. I raise extravagantly, and people run in fear, folding like cheap tables. I expose my hand, and go “Cowboys, baby!” Festus jerks like he’s grunting out a sharp turd. I murmer side mouthed “general address.” He relaxes.
Festus was highly disturbed by my artless manner of telegraphing my action. I’d raise, I see a downstream raise, and I would immediately begin fingering my chips, assembling my reraise or call. Festus kept saying things like “I can tell what you’re going to do.” Duh, Festus. I seldom hesitated over what to do. It’s just simple math, and moderately your assessment of whether your opponent has got ’em or is bluffing. I have never really understood what people are pondering. How long does it take to count the pot? How long does it take to count the outs?
At one point, when i had been dealt A-J suited, the flop was three threes, one of my suit. I say in disgust, “Now, that is a genuine butt fucking.” Festus jerks as though he has stabbed with a sharpened stick. “Don’t use that language!” I remark again how it is an authentic fucking in the rectal zone. He repeats more insistently that I must not use foul language. “Pal,” I say, “if you don’t like my language, go elsewhere.” He says “Do you want me to call the pit boss?” I say “call away.”
The pit boss shows up, and Festus is all like a nine year old, pointing at me and recounting my use of a bad word. To my great surprise, the pit boss listens intently to the recitation of my crimes, and says, without really even looking at me, loudly, to the whole table, “I don’t know what happened, but I will tell you now, it is going to stop right now!”
Ok, you can knock me over with a feather. I say to the pit boss, “What is going to stop right now?” He says “the language.” I ask, “what language?” He goes into a long speech about how he is not going to enumerate the bad words. I say, “I’m not asking you to do that, but are you really saying that curse words are against the rules?” He looks pretty surprised, and says “yes, they are against the rules.”
Ok, color me stupid, I had no idea. I assure the pit boss and Festus that I would hencefoth comply with the rules, and I add that I was ignorant of this rule.
Three hands later, I get pocket bullets, and to boot, I bullet up on the turn. A large pot slides my way, due to an opponent disbelieving that I could top two pair cowboys and jacks, the jack popping up on the river. “A friggin’ wonderful development,” I enthuse. Festus looks grim.
Alas, Festus was rerouted to another table, and I lost my entertainment for the evening.
An hour or so later, I was dealt big slick suited. Hong Kong Boy raised exuberantly. Mute Orange Sweater mimicked. The pot was $24k. I had $7k, and the call was more than that. All in.
We exposed: Hong Kong Boy had A-Q unsuited, and Mute Orange Sweater had A-J unsuited. The flop helped no one. Jack on the turn. No help to anyone on the river: Pair jacks wins the pot, and I am out. There were about 20 players left.
This was a lot of fun. My call was correct. I learned that I need to bluff more. I was so hot that the other players could have easily been persuaded that I had ’em. Earlier, Hong Kong Boy won a large pot from me when he was Qs full of aces to my Qs full of cowboys. But for that, I would not have been forced to go all in to call with my big slick suited, but I guess Mute Orange Sweater would still have called, and I still would have lost. That’s Vegas, baby!