Net Result: -$295
I didn't want to get caught in a session and skip my meal today so I walked straight to Hooters for an early dinner. The walk from Imperial Palace isn't exactly a short one. My plan was to eat at Hooters then go visit my old pals at Excalibur.
After a bloated meal, I waddled my way down the path to Excal. You have to pass Tropicana to get there. The Trop used to have a poker room a couple of years ago, but they tore it down when they renovated the casino. So it didn't even occur to me to play there. But as I passed it, I saw a sign saying "New Poker Room Now Open!" Hmmm. What the hell, I'll give it a shot.
Session 4: Tropicana $1/$2 NL HE (9h 15m)
I should have known it was going to be a bad session when I saw the sign that Jamie Gold was the featured poker pro that will play exclusively at the Trop poker room. I guess the Trop is trying to make people aware that they have a poker room again, and they needed a big poker name to promote the room. For those that don't know, Jamie Gold won the World Series of Poker Main Event a few years ago. He won the largest Main Event tournament ever, which paid out the the largest 1st place prize ever. I think it was something like $12 million for first place. I'm not sure. Google it if you really care. It was a lot.
There was some controversy about Jamie Gold's winnings, and how he didn't want to split the prize money with some guy that covered part of his initial $10,000 buy-in to that tournament. I'm not sure the details. Again, you can look it up. But I can say that in the poker pro world, he's considered a shady, subpar player that just got lucky. He's sort of the laughing stock of the poker pros. It's like being the Vanilla Ice of poker. Famous for a time. Popular. People still flock around him and know who he is, but he's not respected for having any talent. Personally, I have nothing against the guy, but things are what they are.
So imagine going to a hip-hop club endorsed by Vanilla Ice. Yeah. That's pretty much what I did.
The room itself was fine. Everything was new. The chips, the chairs, the shufflers. Nice. They'd been open since May though, and I think they'd been struggling to make players aware of their existence. So they contracted Jamie Gold to live at the Trop and play there nightly.
Now, the Trop isn't exactly a "big game" room. They play small tournaments, $1/$2 and stuff like that. It's no Aria or Bellagio. So I walk in, and there is Jamie Gold playing $1/$2 with a stack of about $600. Granted, he's playing with the 'commoners' as a promotional stunt for the poker room, but it still looked funny watching a guy that won millions play $1/$2 No Limit Hold 'Em.
Luckily, they put me on another table. Not his. It's not that I didn't want to play with him, it's that I didn't want the attention he was garnering. He's loud and boisterous, and people are constantly asking for pictures and stuff. I'm not one that gets star struck. They're just regular people like me and you. They just happen to have more money and power. But other than that, the same, right?
Anyway, the table I'm on is very short handed. I think I'm player number 6. Soon Jamie Gold leaves the other table (also short handed) and that table breaks. We get a few people from that table, and I just play my game.
I'm up pretty quick. Not a lot, but the table is short stacked and very soft. I steal a bunch with continuation bets or by playing my position. I build it up to about $75 in profit or so. Things are slow and pots are small.
The table starts filling up slowly. Then I noticed this huge guy sit to my right. Whatever. I keep playing. Then I notice that he has a buddy of his sitting behind him that keeps whispering stuff into his ear. Huh? I finally turn and look directly at the guy and recognize him. It's Hal Lubarsky. He's legally blind and has an assistant read his hole cards and pretty much play-by-plays the action to him because he can't see. He's not blind blind. He can see some things like where his cards are more or less and where his chips are. I could tell they had worked out a nice little system. He placed his chips in specific locations after his assistant, Arnie, separated out the colors for him. This wasn't his first rodeo.
It was amazing to watch though. Imagine closing your eyes and having someone tell you what is going on at the poker table. You can't see stacks or the board. You're told your hole cards once and have to remember the history of seat 5 or seat 8 without any visual reminders like "the guy in the hat." Hal would remember flopped cards from half an hour ago. Specifically the suit and rank. Shit that I saw with my own eyes and couldn't remember. He would remember the bets. He remembered everything.
For a while, Hal didn't win a pot. But then he started getting hot. Initially it seemed like he was very tight, but later we finally started to see his hole cards, and he'd bet or call you down with 2nd pair if he thought he was good, and most of the time, he was.
I avoided him, and after a while, I could tell he was avoiding me. I sat immediately to his left, and I could tell he was well aware that there were fish at the table and that I was not one of them. If he limped and I raised, he'd fold. If he'd raise, I'd fold. I only played one hand against him. I called his raise with AJo on the button pre-flop and re-raised a weak looking opening bet from early position after the flop, which Hal had called. They all folded. I was bluffing and just playing my button, so it felt nice to steal a pot from a famous guy. :-)
After a few hours, Jamie Gold came back, and as luck would have it, the only open seat at our table was the vacated seat between Hal and I. So I had a drunk Jamie Gold sit down immediately to my right which made Hal two to my right. If I'm going to have poker pros at my table, that's where I want them.
Jamie is a nice guy, and he told us all straight up that he had been drinking and was being stupid and apologized in advance for any jackassery that he would certainly cause. At first, he was fine. He made a lot of jokes and teased Hal about being blind. It was in good fun. When the cocktail waitress took forever to get drinks, Jamie took orders from the entire table and walked up to the bar himself and brought everyone back drinks. He seem good natured, and it seemed like he was having a good time.
After a while, the wait list grew for our game, so they opened up a second $1/$2 game at Jamie's request. Jamie would have stacks at both tables and split his time across them. He slowed the game down quite a bit doing that, and the dealers were getting annoyed, but hey, they were paying this guy to attract attention, and he was doing it.
He would go All-In all the time. Mostly with a weak pair, but sometimes with the nuts. It was tricky. I never really got involved with him. I might have played a few pots with him, but he never put in more than a few dollars.
He did bust Hal though. On a board of Td 7d 6h, Hal bets out pretty big. Jamie pushes all-in instantly. This is not uncommon. Everyone folds, and it's back to Hal. Jamie doesn't see Hal's cards and mucks his hand but quickly takes his cards back when the dealer says Hal hasn't folded. Jamie tells Hal not to call… that he has the nuts. Of course, he always says that. Hal calls anyway. They each have about $400 or so… Jamie has the slight edge on chips. Hal turns over 3d 4d. Jamie turns over 8h 9d. Jamie, thinking he has two diamonds, instead of just one says that Hal is drawing dead. When we point out that a single diamond can still make Hal a flush that would win, so Jamie offers to run it three times. Hal accepts, but in a stroke of bad luck, he loses all three.
I fully expected Hal to re-buy, but he leaves. Jamie apologizes (in a poker way), and the game continues.
Rewinding a bit…
I hit quad 7's on a guy earlier in the night against a guy with pocket Queens. That pays me out an extra $100 in bonus "high hand" money that they say I can pocket. So I do just that. I put $100 in chips in my pocket and continue playing.
I'm up $200 if you include the $100 in my pocket.
I'm about to leave. I'm just going to see my free hands. But Pancho Villa gets in my way of a successful session.
Pancho was an idiot Mexican guy two seats to my left that had been sucking on Jamie Gold's cock all night long. "Hey Jamie! Get us drinks again! That was awesome!" "Hey Jamie! That was a funny joke, man. You rock!" "Hey Jamie!" "Hey Jamie!" Dude, shut the fuck up.
Anyway, the Trop has a rule that if Jamie is at your table you can button straddle or run it multiple times or table talk shit, etc. etc. So this Mexican dude takes this opportunity to suck on Jamie's cock a little more. He straddles on the button for $10. "Hey Jamie! Check it out, man! I'm straddling on the button just for you!" he exclaims.
I look down a pocket 8s.
4 callers, including Jamie, put in the $10. It gets back to me. I figure I can take this down with a hefty raise and get the fuck out of there with a little extra profit. I'll go get some pizza, and then finally make it over to Excal for a bit. I raise it. $50 on top. Guy to my left folds, and Mexican cock sucker says "I'm all in!" with the biggest shit eating grin ever. He looks at Jamie and says… you guessed it… "Hey Jamie! Check it out man, I'm all-in on my button straddle! Woohoo!" God this guy is annoying.
The dealer says it's $142 to go. Fuck. Is this guy for real? It just looks like he's trying to show off for Jamie. Why doesn't he just get on his knees and suck him off under the table. Or just bend over and take it in the ass so he can have Jamie Gold spunk inside of him. That's what he wants. Fucker. That would have saved me money. What do I do? Does he have two overs? Do I wanna coin flip for $400? Not really. What if he saw any pair and shoved thinking I was raising with like AK or AJ. I mean, he could have 55 or 77 even. He could have any under pair. Or hell, he could have 99. Fuck it. I call.
He flips over KK.
I ask him if he wants to run it twice, but the fucking dealer took off on me… because I'm not Jamie fucking Gold. Asshole.
I lose and now I'm down $3.
Yes, I should have left, but the table was getting more and more retarded, and I figured I could get it back. I didn't. In fact, I lost $200 more. I eventually just cashed out the $100 in my pocket and called it a day in disgust.
The good news is that on the way back to my room at the IP, I stopped off at Planet Hollywood to see if I could make any of it back… and, well, read the next entry tomorrow to see how that went. ;-)