Monday, May 14, 2012

Poker with the Pip Squeak

My oldest son and I ventured over to participate in a cheap $30 donkament at Meskwaki, the local Iowa indian casino.  (Is that a politically incorrect term?  Should I have said injun instead?) He's only nineteen, but Meskwaki allows 18-year olds to play poker and the even more exciting option...BINGO.  They can't play slots or table games.  When we arrived at the casino the security guard at the front door checked his ID and then asked where we were headed.  Once we told him the poker room they put a bright green wristband on his left wrist and then stamped the back of both of his hands with a giant UNDER 21 stamp.  It seemed like overkill to me, but whatever.  Then they radio ahead to the poker room to let them know an under 21 was on the way.  I assume if we hadn't showed up at the poker room there would have been a massive manhunt. 

You start the tournament with 3,500 in chips, but for $5 you get an additional 1,000 tournament chips.  Pretty much everyone took the $5 add on.  The tournament had 25 minute levels and the blinds started at 25-50 and basically doubled every level.  There are no antes.  None of the tables have auto shufflers so the whole tournament was hand shuffled....very slowly.  The dealers at Prairie Meadows are at least twice as fast and way more efficient as a group.  I only lasted until shortly after the first break and I think some of that had to do with my frustration with how poorly the tournament was run.  It was one of the most bizarre tourneys I've ever played in.  At one point my table was four handed for at least two orbits while the other two remaining tables had 8 and 9 players each.  When I said something to the dealer about balancing tables she replied, "She'll (the floor) get to it! She has to wait until they're not in a hand!"  And in the meantime the blinds come around almost twice as fast on our table.  That seems fair.  

My son and I wound up seated right next to each other with him on my left.  To my immediate right was a guy who had to have been 80 years old minimum.  My son said he looked like the stereotypical old prospector from the old westerns so he nicknamed him "Stinky Pete" for the Toy Story lovers out there.  The old man was the most passive player I've ever seen.  Twice I saw him just call a bet or check on the river with the absolute nuts.  The second time it happened the dealer admonished him, but didn't threaten a penalty or anything. 

On the very first hand of the tournament I folded 5-7 offsuit from early position only to see it limp around.  I would have flopped an open ended straight draw and then turned the straight.  Stinky Pete and another older regular were the only two players to make it to the river. After tiny bets and calls on the flop and turn both players checked the river.  The other older regular showed pocket kings and Stinky Pete rolls over pocket aces.  The whole pot was maybe 500 after 5 players limped preflop for 50.  The dealer even remarked, "What I'm wondering is...where is the rest of this pot?"

There was only one player at our whole table who seemed like a tricky aggressive player.  The rest were either super tight-passive or just played such ABC poker that it was 100% obvious when they had a hand or not.  I had a frustrating day where the only semi-playable hands I saw were offsuit broadway cards like Q-J or suited connectors, but I always seemed to get them in early position.  The one or two times I got something good and came in raising I missed completely and one of the ABC players who only bet when they had something came out firing.  Another time I raised preflop with J-J and my son who plays just as tight as me 3 bet me.  I called and when an ace hit the flop I folded to his continuation bet.  He showed his dad (and the rest of the table) A-K suited.

I wanted to jump into a cash game, but the only one they had going was a 3-6 full kill Omaha high-low game.  I suck at Omaha, so I passed on it.  I headed out to the blackjack table and played for about 20 minutes.  I was up about ten whole dollars when there was an overhead announcement that they were starting a new 1-2 No Limit Holdem table in the poker room.  By the time the cash game got rolling I had played about an orbit and a half when my son busted and had won about $25 more to basically cover one of our buyins to the tournament.

We had a good time and I need to get him all practiced up before we go to Vegas in November of 2013 for his 21st birthday.  Next time over to Meskwaki I'm going to take him on a Friday or Saturday night and stake him in the no limit cash game.

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