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Showboating (AC Trip Report Pt. 2)

Friday, 5:30 am. Bro-in-law Marc's cell phone alarm went off. Unlike the rest of us, Marc didn't have the freedom to take some time off from the office, especially since his office is pretty much wherever Marc is. So, like a good soldier he planned to wake up early and get some work done before the festivities recommenced. I was not so inclined. I believe my exact response was, "Turn that shit off!"

Friday, 9 am. So I wake up feeling chipper. Time to get to business I think. Roose, still sleeping, had to get back to NY to pack and move, so I lightly nudged him and woke him up. I stood up to check my balance and general constitution. Feet away, Robbie Hole was sleeping on a cot. His eyes peaked open. At the same moment, Marc, who had returned to bed, started to stir. Much like a house of females with synchronized menstral periods, as soon as we enter a casino we all naturally synchronize our internal poker clocks...and it was going to be a heavy flow day.

I did something a bit out of ordinary on a usual casino trip. I showered. After that, we headed to the car to dump off our bags. We checked for comps and I had the only significant amount, $5, but the left over $20 from the night before paid for most of our breakfast sandwiches at Showboat's Chelsea Market. Just before that, we had swung by the poker room to see if anything was going. Nope. But there was a table out that said Tournament Registration. If you look at Showboat's website, it says that they hold tournaments every Tues and Thurs at 11am and 7pm. In reality, its every weekday at those times. We didn't know this, so we planned to go to the 2pm at the Hilton. But once we saw what Showboat had to offer...

You see, Showboat has a great tournament. For $50 ($40+10) you get 5000 chips with blinds starting at 25/50. They go up every 20 minutes and it can get a bit steep as time wears on, but you get a decent amount of bang for your buck. The last time I played, there were 59 players, and I bubbled in 9th or 10th. This time, I was hoping to beat my old score.

I didn't. Roose was the first out of the group, even after his early chip lead (amongst the four of us). Hole went out at around 27th. I lasted to 20th. Marc placed 13th. All out of the money.

But I had a great time. At my table, I kept quiet getting a feel for the table. I guess I have a look that says that I am a bullshitter. People were paying me off like I was a crooked cop busting a prostitution ring. In one hand, I have QQ. I raise preflop and get called. The flop comes down and its all unders. I believe that I bet and he pushed. I called. He had KQ and failed to improve.

In another hand, my Ace, which paired the board, was called down by two players. My kicker was nothing special, but that didn't matter, because the other players were calling my bets with middle pair of Tens.

All the while, a Sri Lankan on my left (or at least he looked like a Sri Lankan guy I know) kept shaking his head in disgust whenever I won a hand. I kept an eye on him and knew right away that he was going to be a bad player. I finally got fed up with his disapproval of my success. I turned to him after winning a hand and loudly, in front of everyone stated, "You can't stand when I win, can you?" "You so lucky. You keep getting paid off." Now, I heard it, and I probably shouldn't have said this. Everyone was looking at us as we chat because, frankly, I made sure to get everyone's attention when I called him out. "Its all in the looks. People see me and say, 'Look at that shlub. I'm going to call him. He can't have anything!" I was wearing olive-brown cargo pants, a light blue hooded sweatshirt, a hat and sunglasses. I have a beard. I hadn't shaved my neck, so I looked scruffy. And I gave away my secret.

No problem really. I set Sri on tilt and took his money a couple of hands later when my flush draw hit. I also changed my game to work with my speech, running the table as much as possible. I eventually lost a big hand, which I can't really recall. I believe it had something to do with someone else's pocket Aces to my pocket high pair, but I don't recall rightly. I made friends with my new neighbor, an Internet player who was a female of about 50 years. Don't expect that. She didn't know how to bet and whatnot and I gave her tips. I like making friends at the table. Plus, while it isn't my conscious goal, once you make friends you can exploit that friendship.

I eventually was short and pushed with KQ. I was called by two players and missed the board, ending my run. I had a great time though, and I'd play that tournament again in a heartbeat.

So, going back to my look. I should probably mention that under my hoodie was my Superman shirt. If you read my prior trip reports, you'll note that I always have the shirt on my AC trips. When I lost my hand to become shortstack, I unzipped my hoodie, which until then was closed to the top. "Okay, guys" I announced. "I've been taking it easy on you but I can't be doing that anymore. It's time for Superman." Yes, cheesy. The table loved it, cracking up. I pretended I could see through their cards with my x-ray vision. Yep, I'm the comedian at the table. It gets me paid. Maybe that tourney wasn't especially successful, but by playing the role of bum and wise-cracking kid, I control the table's perception of me, and I exploit it the entire way. This is why I love live poker. Chatting it up, playing a role (which of course MUST come naturally), are all integral to maximizing your play. For me, I play the wiseguy punk kid who's smart but overly aggressive. I can evoke fear to make people lay it down because they see that I am bright and playing it up. I can evoke frustration that brings action by appearing cocky and overly aggressive. I can evoke good natured soft playing by being fun and light. In the end, its the last one that I do best. For all of my joking, leave me long enough at the table and people will seemingly give their money to me and smile while they are doing it. But we'll get to that later.

On the subject of playing a character at the table, let me say that it must come from who you really are. You can't complete fake it. And you don't have to go my route either. People see stereotypes at the table, and you just need to embody your stereotype and then use that to your advantage. There are wide varieties too. Hole plays the role of maniac, constantly betting and showing down crap cards. But when he wants action, he gets it because he plays the role. He wears comfortable clothing, is unshaven and has a cap. He's sorta like me, but much more manic in his betting style. Marc plays the role of the successful young man about town. Someone you want your daughter to date, or someone you can have a beer and a good conversation with. He also comes off as smart and analytical, which frightens his opponents, but not in a way that involves intentional intimidation. It's all about not wanting to play against someone who is so well-rounded and apparently successful. He wears clean jeans, shoes, and button down shirts. He's clean shaven and well groomed. Roose plays the role of goomba jock, with his gold chain, shirt with subtle Nike swoop, and overshirt left unbuttoned. In reality, he is paying close attention and exploiting the players, while they think he is bumbling along.

Post-tournament, Hole and I considered walking the casino floor. The 1/2 NL game was stacked, with players having way more than the $300 max buy in. Even so, I put my name on the list. While Hole and I were on a bathroom break, I heard my name called. I didn't plan on playing at that table, but then I heard some great words from the loudspeaker "new table starting."

Boom, I'm in the room, sizing up my competition. Hole also sat down, in the 2s or 3s. I was at the 8s. This is where we perfected the technique that would net me the good payout later that day/night. Since it was a new table, I was even or above everyone in chips (I maxed out at $300). The game went smoothly, with laid back players. There were a couple of mid-west overweight females who were atrocious. Their male companion was too. The tough guy on my right was, well, in the right place for me. It wasn't a coincidence either. I saw the young Asian guy and immediately used my amazing reading skills (read: racial profiling) and the fact that he bought in for the max to know that he meant business. Rob and I bantered across the table, while chatting up our friends. Often in poker, one side of the table forms a sort of loose coolition against the other. It was Rob's team and my team. But Rob and I, well, we were a team onto ourselves. No, we didn't collude. Not one bit. You'll hear more about the lack of collusion later. But I know how he plays, and he knows how I play, and we were able to control the table's tempo. I won $65 before Marc came over after his tourney loss. Robbie Hole and I got up after sitting for barely an hour. We cashed out and headed to Trop, where I had a poker rate room, which costed only $112 if I played 4 hours of poker. HAHAHA! Pull my arm, why dontcha.

Time for a hand history. This was one hand that I would really like people's opinions about. This took place at the Showboat table with Rob and I after the tournament. Robbie Hole was in the SB and had AA. There are several limpers before action gets to a player in MP who raises from $2 to $7. He was tight. Another player raises from $7 to $15. It was the only reraise we had seen preflop. That player was, well, one of the chicks. She was tight, seemingly, but not bright. She coulda had anything. It gets to Rob and I see him reach for chips. Nothing new there, as Rob plays the role of the maniac (all well orchestrated). He bumps it another $30, an unheard of bet at this table, and the first re-re-raise we had. He got both of the initial betters to call. And then he checks, in the dark. The flop comes down Ah7sAs, and Dems Quads Beeches. Because of the check in the dark, the action moves to MP who checks. Mid-west checks as well. The turn is a King, and Rob bets right away, practically before the King hits the felt. $15. The pot is way too big. Tight folds, surprisingly. Mid-west calls. The river is a blank, and Rob bets $30. Mid-west lays it down. Rob flips his cards. DEMS QUADS BEECHES! No, he didn't say it. It would be way too harsh a thing to say live. But I mumbled it.

Next stop, Tropicana, where I juiced the competition. Get it? Tropicana, juice. Ah hell, stay tuned...

posted by Jordan @ 6:50 PM,


At 11:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Much like a house of females with synchronized menstral periods, as soon as we enter a casino we all naturally synchronize our internal poker clocks...and it was going to be a heavy flow day."

LOLOL!! Seriously, I laughed so loud I woke up the cat across the room.

Nice work.

At 11:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't like the check in the dark here. It looks cocky or otherwise Lee Jones ABC poker is the best way to beat these idiots. I wish your buddy tossed out a continuation bet of about 1/3 the pot here. Hope that someone has some kind of PP and is dumb enough to try and catch a two-outer or raise your friend trying to represent and Ace here. They most likely had nothing, so he wasn't going to get much here.

As an aside, I love this $300 max buy-in for 1/2 NL. Awesome. I think Foxwoods only has a max buy-in of $100 which is completely retarded, but I only play 5-10 limit there anyway.

Good post, Jordan. The line about the heavy flow was really funny.

At 12:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks guys. I don't ever check in the dark, but I think it served a great purpose here. Once that flop comes, you risk betting and scaring away the other players, or checking and having them think you are slowplaying. By checking in the dark, he doesn't look to be slowplaying (at least relative to the flop, necessarily) and he doesn't scare anyone away. He let's someone hopefully catch a card, AND his turn bet seems like an out of position steal since he just saw it check around on the flop. I think a 1/3 pot bet would push the players out of the hand. This way, he hid his strength and squeezed out some more dough.

At 5:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, when there's a raise, a re-raise, and then I see your buddy pop it up again and check blind, giant red flags come up on my radar screen and I'm not giving him any action. Probably not if he bets, either, but I think some of these schlubs would which is why I bet every street in a casino.

At 1:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If he's playing the maniac, I'd rather see him bet dark than check dark. A $30 bet dark might have generated more action, or it might have killed it entirely. Or even an all-in dark would have been fun and in keeping with the image he was portraying.


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