Tuesday, March 13, 2007

The criminal element rears its ugly head

I went out with John last night to Good Look AND Salami, mostly as a test to myself to see if I was feeling up to it. I have to say that I acquitted myself fairly well. I feel awful this morning, of course, but that’s a different story.

Good Look was first and I donked off $45 in the first three hands. I came into the game under the gun with 99 and I limped in. I had to call a preflop raise to $12 but the flop missed me. Next hand was A9 in the BB and again the flop missed. Then came AK in the small blind. I even raised this time, but to no avail. Things floated along until I had Ah9h in late-ish position, which I raised aggressively to $15 when everyone limped. A loose, aggressive player on the button called me. The flop missed me totally, with Q83 rainbow. I didn’t hesitate and fired out another $25. He called. The turn was a 4, which made 2 clubs on the board. I slowed down and checked and he bet $20. It was suspicious and I should have moved all in there, but I just called it. The river was 9c, making me the second best pair on the board. There were three clubs on the board but I wasn’t worried about that at all. If he had had a Queen, I was confident he would have raised me earlier. I moved all in for my remaining $40 and he insta-called with JT for the inside straight! He had called all my bets all the way down and he hit his stinking 2 outer for the straight. Oh well. I reloaded for $200 and went back to work.

An hour later, after getting mostly nothing, I got AA in middle position. After a few limps, I raised to $10, hoping to knock a few people out, but nearly everyone called. The flop was Jd/8d/Jh. A scary board. My loose aggressive opponent from last hand checked and the big blind bet $15. I figured him for the 8 and when it folded around to me I called. The dealer nearly turned the next card but Mr. Loose and Aggressive said “Wait a second, I’m still in!”. He check-raised in the small blind another $50. The initial bettor folded, confirming my instinct he had the 8. It was possible this guy was slowplaying trip Jacks, but his previous betting patterns suggested he had either a big draw (I guessed diamonds) or a big 8 (A8 or K8). I had weakly called the $15 so either hand from him and a big bet was liable to knock me out. I had a choice here. Fold or all in. I thought about for at least 60 seconds and finally decided to trust my read on his patterns. I went all in. He called the remaining $50 or so and didn’t turn over his cards. This made me feel better since I knew he was on a draw now. The turn was a King and the river was an Ace. He shouted, “Ship it! I’ve got a straight”, but he never showed it. I flipped over my Aces for the second nuts, Aces full of Jacks. He mucked and stormed off to rebuy. That pot put me up about $45 for my session. It was the last time I would see profit tonight.

John and I left at around 10PM with John up $150 or so and me about even. We hopped a cab to Salami, where the 5/10 game was going in full swing. Our names went up on the board for the 1-2 table, we ordered 2 plates of pasta from Ricardo and we settled into our familiar surroundings. It was only 10 minutes before 2 seats opened up. John and I bought in and started scouting the table. Dominick was there, along with Elias and some aggressive guy named Brice who was playing table captain. I sat tight for a while and couldn’t make anything happen until I got JT in middle position. John raised it up pre-flop and I called along with a few others. Flop was 893. I had flopped the open ended straight draw with two over cards and I knew I wasn’t going anywhere. I checked and another caller bet out. John made a big re-raise and I called, knowing that if the other guy folded I would be able to check it down with John. If he *did* call, I would be getting the right pot odds for my draw. He did make the call and the turn was a 9. All my money went in at that point and the river was a T. I have some hope that my top pair would take it, but John had KK and scooped the pot. I didn’t feel too badly about that one. The next big hand was when I had AK and flopped A33. All of my money, plus two other players went in and the turn and river brought blanks. The initial raiser turned AQ, I turned AK and the other guy had Qs5s but had rivered his flush. Grrrr…. There was $600 in that pot and I needed that money. I reloaded yet again but walked away even on that rebuy when we left.

The best hand of the night was when John had QQ and popped it to $20 pre-flop. He got raised, re-raised and raised again to $500 by the time action came back to him. Looking at 3 raises in front of his QQ, John WISELY laid down his hand. All three players went all in with big stacks and showed. JJ, AK and KQ (huh?). The Queens would have held up, as it turns out, and Brice scooped a $2000 pot! John kicked himself, but I hope he is content with what is a good laydown in the long run.

About 20 minutes before we were going to leave, a scary incident occurred. A new guy walked in the door and 3 minutes later was nearly in a fist fight with a guy at the 5-10 table. He and the guy at the table evidently owed each other money. How much and who owed who was the dispute but the numbers being yelled were in the neighborhood of 10-15 thousand. I’m not a thug or anything, but I’m street smart enough to know that that kind of money gets people killed sometimes. So when the guy at the table stood up, and his pants promptly fell down around his feet, it added a moment of levity to an otherwise scary situation. But the guy simply pulled his pants up and continuted shouting. Elias got in the middle and broke them up but the guy at the table, who kept calling the other guy a cocksucker (he was the bookie in this relationship), said he was going to come back in 15 minutes and ‘settle this’. In gangster code, that means he was going to come back with a gun and kill the other guy, and maybe me too! John and I looked at each other and the message was clear. Let’s get the fuck out of here! True to our nature though, we played for another 30 minutes before leaving. Maybe not the best decision in hindsight, but my adrenalin is still pumping this morning!

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