Thursday, October 31, 2013

Guys and Dolls

What's this?  Two posts in a single week?  Is JT feeling okay?  I feel fine.  It's just that I only get motivated to post when one of two things happen.

1.  I play poker


2.  Somebody pisses me off

As it happens both of those two things happened in the last 24 hours (unrelated to one another).

Prairie Meadows Racetrack and Casino hosts 3 or 4 no limit hold 'em poker tournaments each week. The structure in these tournaments is awful, but they're a fun and inexpensive diversion.  Depending on the tournament and its buy-in you get either 2,000 or 2,500 chips.  Blinds start at 25-50 and essentially double every 20 minutes.

The Wednesday night tournament started out as a ladies only event, but then ladies would often ask if their husband or boyfriend could play with them.  The fields for the ladies only event were only about 15-20 people which hardly makes it worth it for a $25+5 tournament, so they eventually opened it up to everyone and billed it as the "Guys and Dolls" tournament.  Corny, right?

My usual M.O. for these donkaments is to either bust by the first break or go very deep.  The blinds go up so fast that if you haven't chipped up by that first break you are already in shove or fold mode by level 4. 

On about the second or third hand I limped from UTG+1 with 66. I think 7 people saw the flop of 9-7-9 and it checked all the way around. The turn was another 9.  The blinds checked to me and I decided to donk bet my tiny boat.  I bet 200 into the pot of 350.  The older woman to my immediate left called and everyone else folded. my experience when the 65+ ladies at the table call or bet they usually have the nuts or pretty near to it, so I was none to happy that my only caller was a woman with some cobwebs on the old cooter. I figured she had to have a bigger pair than me for a better boat or maybe even quads.

The river was a jack. I checked and she bet another 200.  I should have gone with my gut instinct and folded, but I couldn't talk myself into laying it down to such a small bet. I called and she shows J-10.  She called my turn bet with just a gut shot and hit one of her 13 outs to beat or tie me.  I guess I'm supposed to be happy that she called my turn bet when I was like a 70-30 favorite in the hand, but I was only disgusted.  I hatched a plan right then to take this old biddy to value town the next time I had any kind of hand.

As it turned out the only time I saw two cards worth playing from then on was on my final hand.  There was one hand where I had Q9 suited in the cutoff, but a tight player made it 500 to go preflop and I didn't feel like putting in almost half my remaining stack with that hand.  It turns out I would have flopped two pair and turned a full house. The original raiser had pocket kings and his only caller flopped a straight with KJ. I would have tripled up had I played that one hand.  It's hard not to be results oriented.

There was one other interesting hand that I wasn't involved in.  I missed the preflop action because I folded my rags early and kind of disengaged.  Things kind of caught my attention when one of the more TAG regulars in seat 10 bet the flop of 4-Q-4 and the even older lady than the one from the first story in seat 1 called.  The turn was a 2 and he bet again and she called.  The river was another Q making the final board 4-Q-4-2-Q.  He shook his head and checked.  She made a very small bet for the size of the flop and he folded pocket 2's face up and said, "That queen counterfeited me."  The old woman showed pocket aces.  He definitely had a full house to her 3 pair and had laid down the winner to a bet that was like 1/15 the actual pot.

On my final hand I shoved my paltry 725 chips in the middle with JJ and got two callers. They both checked the low flop of like 9-6-4.  I knew I was sunk when a king fell on the turn and one of them shoved his whole stack in the middle. He rolled over KQ suited and I headed for the door halfway through level 3 without even uttering a "good luck" or "good game" to anybody at the table.

One other thing about this tournament. Prairie Meadows has on the whole one of the best crew of dealers around. They're generally experienced, fast, efficient, friendly, and accurate.  They rarely make mistakes.  During the recent HPT event they brought in table games dealers to supplement the poker dealer staff.  Most of those table games dealers are mediocre poker dealers at best.  If you had one of them at your table you could expect to get in about half as many hands and expect at least 1 or 2 errors per down.  Players were regularly helping them determine the amount for side pots and preventing them from pushing pots to the wrong player.

Since I only lasted part of 3 levels I only had two dealers.  The first was a regular dealer mechanically he was solid, but he never called out raises or bet amounts.  People were constantly asking him how much it was.  The second dealer that came to our table was a recruited table games dealer.  I thought once the HPT left town we wouldn't have to put up with them anymore, but here he was.

He looked bleary-eyed like he had just woken from a nap.  Somebody asked him how many entrants the tournament wound up with and he kind of angrily said, "I don't know I just got here.  I got called in on my day off."  His very first hand at the table he never reminded the blinds to put out their bets.  Three people to their left had folded when I pointed out to them that they needed to post their blinds.  From there he was just as bad as any of the other table games dealers.

And now for the angry rant portion of today's program.  I've started riding the bus to work.  Several years back I rode the bus to work and I actually really liked it. I can just zone out and listen to some music and even doze a little along the way.  Then my schedule changed and my start time was before the bus route could get me downtown.

I recently discovered that there is a route that runs from the mall near my house to downtown that has a stop right in front of my building.  It gets me here with about 10 minutes to spare.  I drive from my house to the mall and park near where the buses pick up and drop off.  There are two routes that run from the mall.  Most mornings when I arrive in my car both buses are already sitting there waiting for passengers.  Today when I arrived neither bus was there yet.  I checked the clock and saw that it was 5:32.  My bus is supposed to depart at 5:38.

I sat in my car dinking around with my phone listening to the wacky morning radio guys to kill the time. A bus approached the stop, but its sign still read "Bus Garage." Since I wasn't sure if it was my route or the other one I didn't immediately leap from my car.  Finally after a minute or two he changed the sign to display my route info and I got out of the car to walk over to the bus.  To my surprise he shut the doors and started to pull away while I was still 50 feet or so from the bus. I sprinted after him and was able to catch up as he turned out of the bus dropoff area.  He stopped when I knocked on one of the windows.  I checked my phone, saw that the time was only 5:36, and held it up for the driver to see. He just frowned and shrugged at me. to you again when I play poker or get angry. :-)


  1. where is this casino? also, i can relate to bus drivers.i use to live in florida,california,and now colorado. was in texas but no buses there. alot of them like 75% not an official number r dicks. i guess it is dealing with the public but that is a piss poor xcuse thou. there r worse jobs that deal with public like retail,fast food,etc.but the 25% make up 4 the 75% DBAGS hagd

    1. It's in Altoona, Iowa...a suburb of the capital city Des Moines.

    2. is it a place that is busy during the week? or just weekends?also, if u know do they play alot of hi/lo omaha with a kill like 5/10 limits. thx in advance,bro

    3. They used to have tournaments like the one you described (crap shoots) at Sam's Town Tunica. Just awful to play in.

    4. I'm not an Omaha player, so I usually don't pay much attention to which of those they have running. On weekends they usually have at least one Omaha game, but I couldn't tell you for sure what limits or type.

      They have action pretty much 7 days a week, but it really varies except for Friday and Saturday nights.

  2. I would caution you about wanting to get back at someone in a tournament, but ...

  3. It was only a fleeting thought. I quickly went from wanting revenge on her to just desperately trying to get chips any way I could. The cards just didn't cooperate.