Wednesday, December 23, 2009

WBPT Trip Report: Part 3 - Playing poker with Teddy "KGB" #WPBT

By now, PirateLawyer has fallen over dead waiting for me to post pictures from the Pinball Hall of Fame. The truth is, I'm just about finished going through the pictures from the trip. Just about. I'm just shocked I've actually gotten to put up post #3. I mean, I really never finished last year's recaps...Bravo! Besides, last night, one of my neighbors invited me over for $.10/$.25 NLHE cash. Degeneracy before all, right? (A tidy profit too :)

In my last post I alluded to my final poker session of the WPBT weekend. I personally found this to be the most fun I had had all weekend at the card table. Gotta thank my buddy Drizz for getting me there. After dusting off my profits the night before, I wasn't sure I was really playing +EV, but he was in the mood to play some donkey poker before we left. How could I say no.

He suggested we head over to the Flamingo and try that card room. He was staying there and I'd never been there, sounded like a winner. It wasn't $10/$20 NLHE at the Bellagio so I figured I didn't need a second mortgage to play.

The card room is another one of these converted space areas on the casino floor like so many other Vegas rooms. When we asked about $2/$4 LHE, wouldn't you know there was no waiting and we could sit right down.

Drizz tried buying in for $400(?) but for some reason the floor staff gave him a ton of static. Sure it was more then most people needed but he was in philanthropic mode...right?

I was determined not to let the play of the previous night distract me or follow me to this game. The first sign I'm about raise into a guy when I put him on the nuts, I was standing up and leaving. This table felt angry when I sat down. There wasn't a lot of fun in these faces. I was in the 8 spot, Drizz on my left, an Asian woman that looked like Mimi Tran was on my right.

2 or 3 spots to my right was a young man that asked if we were from Minneapolis. If you aren't from Minnesota, you might not understand why I asked him if he meant from Minnesota. You might be surprised at how many people think Minneapolis is pretty much the whole state, even though, surface area wise, Minnesota is a pretty big state. I'm not from Minneapolis or even the Twin Cities area, so frankly, I sometimes just answer no, I'm from Minnesota. He snapped at me for having the gall to even do that. He too was from the Twin Cities. He calmed down after some small talk, but I could tell, he was a man on the edge.

Everyone at the table was on the edge and it didn't take long to figure out why. In the 1 spot was a very drunk Russian guy. In my experience at live limit hold 'em at low stakes in casinos, there's one "strategy" you'll see a fair bit of. It's the jerk that raises at every opportunity. He's usually drunk and pisses people off because the price of poker gets spendy and most people just won't keep calling him with top pair all the way down. I've also learned from experience that trapping these guys doesn't do much. You've got to wait for cards that may or may not ever come. What I've found particularly effective is go after them. Reraise them, make it friggin' expensive to keep firing blindly at the pot. Turn their game against them. It does take a complete disregard for the value of the money in front of you and you definitely need to check your ego and fear at the door. You've got to play some pokah.

I mucked the first 3 or 4 orbits, playing only a couple of really cheap hands from the blinds and the button. I think there was 2 times maybe I put money in voluntarily. When I saw the flop for free, I mucked to any raises. Drizz...well his VP$IP was asymptotically approaching 100%.

Teddy "KGB" made a quick comment about how tight I was and I took that as my cue. Time to play some pokah. I figure it was time to change the mood of the table. The frustration over Teddy's constant raising and his growing stack was making everyone so angry.

Sitting up very tall in my chair, I blurted out loudly, "All day with the check, check, check." trying as hard as I could to sound like I had a Russian accent. On the ride side of the table, reserved laughter. Teddy, he laughed and smiled at me. The dealer, had no clue what that was all about. I swear, how the hell do you end up a poker dealer in Las Vegas and don't know the movie Rounders??? I mean really.

From that point on, I tried out a few more quotes from the movie and a little table banter starts. Ah, we might actually have some fun...playing a game! Some side action about the year the movie came out was all it took to bring some smiles back.

Not long after, Teddy raises from UTG+1, still not unusual. The table actually folds to me in the little blind, I looked down and found one of my favorite hands, so I call. Drizz, perks up, makes a confused grunt and calls as well.

We see the flop. KK7 rainbow. I check, Drizz checks and Teddy raises (no surprise there), I was next to act and with supreme confidence and calm, I announce raise and make it $4. Drizz takes a second and mucks his cards like they were covered in H1N1. Teddy seems confused, I can tell from his face he's thinking, "Did I really just check raised?" I looked back at him confident in my play and when he reraises, I grab the chips for one more raise. He reluctantly calls.

The turn is a blank. I grab my $4 a put in my raise. Teddy calls. At this point, he seems reserved to the fact that I made my hand. I'm not sure why he's still in the hand, but he is. I don't remember thinking there were draws.

The river is another blank. I grab $4 more and firmly throw the chips into the pot. Teddy grabbed his cards and declares "I missed my draw, you win." I took my cards and threw them in front of the Russian, "I missed too." My J 10 of spades was complete air. He was not a happy man. The most aggressive and crazy betting man at the table had just been bluffed out of a $2/$4 limit. I smiled. I played pokah.

"Don't worry, I'll get those chips back. Just wait, I'll do the same to you," he tells me. I felt very confident I could out play this man. I gestured to my stack like Vanna White, "They are right here. Come get them." No fear.

Drizz was just shaking his head. I know, things can go so wrong in a hurry at $2/$4 LHE. Bluffs get called all the time with someone making a pair on the river or ace high, but today, I had a read on Teddy. We talked about ordering him some Oreos, but never did it. Would have been funny, don't you think?

Teddy had some tells. He was obviously drunk and the casino kept serving him. We hypothesized as to what he was really doing there. He showed some definite skills at the table, I mean to lay down to my river bet meant he was at least thinking about something. Was he a better player that was just drinking hard and letting off steam? Was he really just a moron with too much booze? We never did find out. His tells were as thick as his Russian accent.

When Teddy played, he talked like crazy when he had a hand. He was also betting differently. When he had nothing, he just grabbed the bet and threw it when it was his turn, very slow and distant from the game. When he had a hand, he counted his chips carefully and couldn't wait to get them in when it was his turn. These tells were just sitting there. In the open and about as rock solid as I've ever seen.

I played 2 more hands with him and one more with the Asian woman. I bet into Teddy every street with top pair and a medium kicker. He didn't like me doing that with just a pair of kings. The Asian lady called all my bets. She had top pair and an ace kicker. The mortal nuts in LHE, right? Well, if someone had raised preflop, I might not have been there when my 94o hit two pair on the flop. She seemed disgruntled.

The last hand I played with Teddy "KGB" seemed to leave him a little upset. I let him bet every street. He was just grabbing and firing. I like my chances with my hand. On the river he fires the last $4, I grabbed my $4 white chips and tossed them in front of me, turned my cards over and threw them to the middle face up, "My ace high is good, isn't it." His cards were thrown hard into the muck. Ace high? Yeah, he missed. Funny how that works.

Not long after, I was hungry. Vegas is hard on the body. You leave your normal schedule behind and eat when the need arises. There are so many fun things to do.

Stay tuned! More to come: the Pinball Hall of Fame, Gamblers Book Shop, Steel Panther and living the good live at the Palazzo.


SirFWALGMan said...

Fun owning people!

The Wife said...

If we do SKOL-Vegas, will you do your Teddy impersonation?

diverjoules said...

Great Story. Thanks for sharing.