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How to Loosen a Table with Two Easy Gimmicks (AC Trip Report Pt 2)

When we last let off, I busted in the $125 2pm tournament at the Showboat, during the 300/600 level, approximately 70 minutes after the event began. Meanwhile, bro-in-law Marc was whooping ass at a cash game table and I was sitting down to a separate 1/2 NLHE table.

I was dressed in my usual $uperman logo t-shirt, more out of lack of thought than anything. It was rumored that Albert Einstein wore the same outfit every day because it was one less thing to think about. Well, I'm largely from that school. I looked through my wardrobe the morning of my poker sojourn and just couldn't think of what else to wear. I went with the $uperman shirt, a hooded sweatshirt and gray convertible cargo pants because it was easy and I knew I'd be comfortable.

I sat at the table in the 6 seat to the immediate left of a guy in his late 50s with a mostly bald, bristly head of gray hairs and an old school European vibe, albeit dressed in non-descript clothing. He had a huge stack, easily $700 if not $900 or more, so I was glad to be on his immediate left.

To my right was a black guy, probably in his early 30s, dressed in a rather conservative powder blue turtle neck. He appeared tall and well composed, with well groomed hair and some facial hair that was also in shape.

To his immediate left was a soccer-mom-looking woman, perhaps a bit longer in the tooth as demonstrated by her short, boy-cut hair. She wore an AC heather-gray sweatshirt, which reminded me of wifey Kim's amazingly true fashion statement: Heather Gray is not flattering on anyone. The woman seemed mid-western, but was actually from Virginia.

To her left was an Asian guy with long, black, Farrah Fawcett-like hair in a cream zip up fleece sweater.

To his left, in the 10 seat, was a white guy in his mid to late 20s wearing a Duke sweatshirt. He had dark hair and a dark goatee/chin scruff to match.

The dealer came next, obviously, and then in the 1 seat or perhaps 2 seat, a newer player sat down (shortly after me), a blue-collar, white guy, probably in his mid to late-30s. He was a bit thick rather than pudgy, wore a blue sweatshirt and looked a tad dim-witted.

To his left was an essential blank at the table, a guy who I don't recall in the least. Somewhere around the 3 seat was another pudgy white dude wearing a black t-shirt and a button-down dark shirt over it. He had a pair of sunglasses hanging from the neck of his t-shirt, and scruffy facial hair, even though his hair was combed. He was alternatively the image of a tough guy and a goofball, leaning mostly toward goofball.

To his left was a slew of interchangeable players followed by another white guy in his mid-20s who was joking copiously with my big stacked neighbor to my right about how he was gifting chips to the big stack. He was wearing a white baseball cap with a hurley logo in black stylized script with other markings. I like his kind of jovial attitude, especially since it was merely a thin shell covering his actual frustration at some losses that predated my introduction to the table. To his left was the big stack and then we were back to me, in the 6s.

I bought in for $300, having realized from my last failed experiment that buying in light just doesn't work for me. I took my seat, pulled out my green and white Buddha statue. I left my sunglasses in its case, hoping to appear like a non-threat until I felt it necessary to take them out and change modes. As it turned out, I never took out my sunglasses.

I was fairly quiet to start out, getting a feel for the table. Most of my hints were coming from the complaining guy two seats to my right with the White Hat. I finally decided to play a hand when I was dealt 66 in the SB.

The Duke guy limped in early position and a few mid position players limped as well. The SB big stack amazingly folded, so I figured I was good for a $11 bet with my 66. The Duke guy called, but the others folded and we saw a flop, KK5. I figured my pocket pair was good, so I bet $15 into the ~$30 pot. Duke called. The turn was another King and I opted for a check. I wanted to see what my opponent would do since I wasn't getting sufficient information from betting into him. He bet $35 and I thought for a moment. His bet screamed pocket pair, since the turn put three of a kind Kings on the board, giving any pocket pair (or naked 5) a full house. If he had a pocket pair, which one did he have? The only ones I was worried about were 77 or higher, and since he didn't bet from EP preflop, I doubted he was on any of those hands. A truly conservative player might limp with 77 or even 88, although that is doubtful. Even so, I didn't get that vibe from a younger guy like Duke. I figured he couldn't have a bigger pocket pair, so my only other fear was the case King. That would suck, but it wasn't likely. I opted for a call and we saw the river, a blank. It went check check and he showed 33. I took down the pot and started off the game with a decent $50 score.

Of course, I gave all of my profit back a short while later with 88. I was in early position and there was a raise to $10 from the Friendly, Dim-Witted, Blue Collar Guy ("FDWBCG") in the 1 or 2 seat. FDWBCG riased earlier in the game to $12 with AA and had a couple of hands where he opened for $10 only to fold post-flop, so when it folded to me, I assumed he was weak with two overs and I raised to $30, hoping to scare him away. In hindsight, it was probably too low, but I don't think I could justify raising more with only 88. Regardless, the Asian Farrah Fawcett Guy had limped in early position and now pushed all-in for his tiny $42 stack. He had been fairly quiet since I sat down, so I didn't know what to make of his push. FDWBCG called and I followed suit, since it was just another $12. We checked it down and FDWBCG had TT, ahead the whole time...until the river. The Asian kid had QTo and rivered the Queen, taking down the $120+ pot. He then grabbed the chips and immediately said, "I'm out," racking up like we would stop him if he didn't move with speed. I don't particularly have a problem with this. He was about to be the BB, so maybe he was planning on leaving in the first place. That would explain the weak push, an awfukit play. Still, his demeanor made him seem guilty of doing something improper. He scampered off and we went back to poker. I had given away most of my profit, but I was still up $10.

This is when the table started to tighten up. There were a series of hands in which there would be maybe one or two limpers along with the blinds and then on the flop, a $5 bet would take it down. I decided to get what I could out of the situation. In the BB with 97o, I saw a flop for free against hte SB and a limper. The flop was J72 and with middle pair, medium kicker, I bet $5 and won the pot. In the very next hand, I had KJo in the SB and after FDWBCG limped, I raised to $7, a small sum. Only FDWBCG called. The flop was Kxx, and I checked, knowing full well that it would be hard to make decent scratch on this hand, since it was not likely my opponent held a weaker King and even he was tightening up. FDWBCG must have also been picking up on the tightness of the table, because he bet out $10, seemingly taking his chance to take down the $16-20 pot. I called with my top pair, good kicker, and we saw a blank turn. I offered some more rope to hang himself, checking again, but FDWBCG checked and I knew the hand was over. The river was another blank and I tried to extract a few more chips by betting $15, as though I were taking advantage of his check on the turn. He folded and I took down the small-ish pot.

Things continued much along the same way, so I went to the poker desk and asked to be moved to another table. No need to fight hard for scraps when another table might be giving away the money. Dave, the guy at the desk, told me he'd get me as soon as one opened up. I went back to poker in the meanwhile.

I decided to loosen up the table using one of my favorite routines. I can't describe these things as anything less than a routine. It's almost like a choreographed play designed to elicit a particular response from my audience. I went for the mocking big bettor routine, which involves min betting stupidity.

With QJh, I made a big show raising from early position, slamming four $1 chips onto the table and announcing, "I RAISE!" The chips clattered as everyone looked to see the size of the bet, a silly $2 min bet on top of the $2 blind. Five players called me as I acted incredulous that they called my strong bet. We saw a flop six-handed, Jack-high with two spades. I decided to keep everyone on the hook by announcing "I'm going to continuation bet...TWO DOLLARS!" I slammed my two white chips onto the table. A couple of people called until it got to FDWBCG who raised to $10. It folded to me and I boo'ed my opponent for overbetting the pot, obviously in a sarcastic manner. I called "out of spite," and we saw the turn. I should mention that FDWBCG was apologizing for the raise, but I made it clear that I was kidding, "Someone was going to have to cut off the bullshit raises sooner or later. It might as well have been you."

The turn was a blank and it went check check. The river was a King and I decided that if I were going to win any more money, I'd have to bet. I went for $14, enough to elicit a call from a weak hand. He took his time, announcing, "You know, the 14th is my birthday." I replied, "That's why I chose it. I had a feeling you were either born on the 14th or on the 14th month." Okay, admittedly the table chat was a bit...silly...but I wanted to keep the mood light. He finally called and I showed my hand. He mucked and announced he had a Jack too, but with a weak kicker.

The table began loosening up again, so in mid- to late-position, I raised to $10 with AJc, hoping to build a pot without overdoing it. The Black Guy on my immediate left called. We hadn't tangled in a hand yet. Duke called too, and we saw a flop, Q85, with the 8 of clubs. I missed completely, but I figured that I could represent the Queen, so I bet $20 and was called by both players.

The turn was a 7c, giving me the nut flush draw and one overcard to the board. I checked, assuming that I wasn't going to push anyone off of the pot. The Black Guy bet $35 and Duke folded. When it got to me, I took my time. The pot had $125 in it, including the $35 bet, so I ultimately thought that my nut flush draw was too good to give up. I called.

The river was an Ace of hearts, missing my flush but giving me a pair of Aces. I checked, fearing that I was running into AQ. He checked too and tabled KK. I showed my hand and took down the pot. Sucks to be him, but he should have re-raised preflop.

Once the table was sufficiently loosened, I moved onto the Prime Time routine, basically betting only prime numbers whilst announcing to the table that it was Prime Time, Baby! The gimmick usually gets the table chatting about prime numbers and you can get a feel for who is intelligent when you start asking absent mindedly what the prime numbers are beyond 13. You also get people who jump in on the gimmick, adjusting their bets accordingly. If nothing else, it lets you know they have a sense of humor.

After the Prime Time gimmick started, I was in the BB with 67h and decided to call a raise to $11 since it was, you guessed it, a prime number. I had some momentum behind me and a decent stack, so I could afford the additional $9 to see the flop. I believe there were at least three of us to the flop, and probably more like 4 or 5.

The flop was 589, with the 8 and 9 of hearts, giving me a flopped nut straight and a straight flush draw. For the record, you get nothing for hitting a high hand at Showboat unless it is part of the bad beat jackpot. The SB, the threatening big stack, bet to $15. He actually hadn't played many hands since I sat down, but he chatted with some of the dealers and I already learned that he was a 2/5 player who was playing in the 1/2 game to "take it easy." I decided that if he had a hand, I wanted to make him pay big time, since I had the nuts with a solid redraw. I raised to $43, taking my time to find the right prime number. It folded back to him and I took down the pot. I would've like to have won more, but I felt that I could potentially double through the guy if he had a strong hand, and since he was in the SB betting out on the flop, I had to assume he had something worthwhile. Whatever the case, the pot was over $50, so winning outright was not the worst result.

I bumped heads again with the big stack in the BB with JJ. He raised to $10 preflop, but rather than re-raise, I opted to flat call since I was out of position. The flop would help me dictate the rest of the hand.

The flop came down Jack-high, rainbow, and the big stack, who was also the SB, checked. I checked as well, since I had the nuts and wanted my opponent to either get a chance to bluff or catch enough of a hand to hang himself. The turn was a blank but brought a flush draw. My opponent bet $10, but rather than raising, I just called. I wanted to see the river and I figured since he was out of position, I could probably squeeze more money out of him on the river, provided the flush didn't hit. It didn't, as the river was another blank. He checked again and I grabbed a stack of my chips and placed it across the bet line without counting, as though I was just taking a stab at the pot sensing weakness. He paused and then folded, adding, "If you bet $100, I would raise you, but $35 is too small." I replied, "You know, you could've raised to $100," acting like I didn't understand. I really just wanted to turn that comment back on him. Whatever the case, when he said, "No, I would've raised to $1000 if you bet $100," I added, "Then I guess I should've bet to $100!" I figured that if I acted like I had it, he'd think I didn't have it. Whatever.

On the button, I was dealt AJ in a hand with an assload of limpers. I decided to raise to $8, a harmless raise meant mostly to build a pot when I'm in position. AJ is not a premium holding, but an AQ or AK would've likely raised preflop, so I felt confident with position. There were a slew of callers and we had a decent pot going when the flop came down JJ2. NOICE! Three or so players checked and I reached my hand out with $10 in chips, about to bet. That's when people started calling over to me, informing me that two seats to my right, there was still a player left to act. It was the guy with the White Hurley Hat, a mid 20s Caucasian who was joking with the big stack that he, Hurley, was just gifting his stack. As I mentioned earlier, his joking was a thin veil for his frustration, since he couldn't seem to get any momentum going over the several hours we played. He usually railed, unsuccessfully, against the big stack, but I guess it was my turn. I pretended, with a heaping dose of absurdity, that I was merely stretching. When he completed his bet, $20, I opted just to call. I figured I was ahead, but who knew? My only concern was 22, which was possible. But otherwise, I'm more or less a lock to win, so no need to push him out of the pot if he's betting out of position. Everyone else folded. The turn was a blank and Hurley Hat bet $30. I called. The river was another blank and he bet $50. I took my time, trying to make sure I didn't miss anything. He may've gotten lucky and turned or rivered a full house, but otherwise, I was probably good. I chose to flat call and he showed 99. I showed my hand and he looked disgusted. Enjoy your LEMON!

Final hand of the post. I don't know what happened to it in my notes. Sadly, I guess it didn't record. But this was a fun hand, so I'll mention it quickly here. I had KTo in LP and decided to bet out $10 or $12. I got calls from the Black Guy on my left and the Short Haired Woman to his left. She had been pretty conservative all night, but she was clearly experienced. Everyone knew her, she referenced stopping into the Diamond Club Lounge, and she acted like a regular. Whatever the case, we saw a flop, AT8, with two spades, giving me a nut flush draw and a middle pair. I decided to bet $15 and got two calls. The turn was a blank, so I bet again, I think $35. She called, but the Black Guy folded. The river was a 7s, giving me the nut flush. She checked to me again and I took my time, before betting $65. I wanted to seem desperate and I guess it worked, because she snap called with QQ. I showed my nut flush and raked the pot, FDWBCG chiming in, "Semi-bluff, huh?" "Uh, I guess so," I said. "I just got lucky." That was probably before the last hand I mentioned, but I was particularly happy that the hand paid off and it help me net a significant portion of my profits, so I didn't want to leave it out.

When I finally got up at about 8pm, I was up $446 at 1/2 NLHE, turning my $300 stack into $746. Minus the $125 I lost playing the tourney, I was up $321 for the trip. I stepped outside for a quick smoke on the Boardwalk while Marc finished up his orbit. Done with the smoke, I returned back to Marc and we headed over to the 8:30 bus from Showboat. I was back in my apartment by 11:10pm, an easy 12 hour roundtrip poker session with a fairly decent profit. Marc ended up about $550, naturally one-upping me...jerk.

A couple of quick notes. While playing, I began feeling hungry around 6pm. The Showboat has a House of Blues restaurant and every 20 minutes or so, a waiter walked through the poker room bringing food and taking orders. I eventually ordered a medium-rare cheddar cheeseburger which came with chips. While it wasn't particularly hot when it got to me, it was still delicious and free thanks to comps that I didn't even know I had. Frankly, I think the waiter may've bended the rules to get me the freebie, so I tipped him well.

When the food came, I was faced with a dilemma. I'm not a germaphobe, but all poker rooms, tables, chips and cards are just nasty with filth. Fortunately, I had my hand sanitizer, but I was still playing as I ate. My solution: I sanitized both hands but only ate with my right hand and played poker with my left hand. It must've looked odd, but it was very effective. You can thank my Muslim friends for that little trick.

The poker trip was effortless. The rides to and from were super easy and I played poker well for most of the day, with a few poorly played hands highlighted herein. The tourney was a failure, but really that was because of a three-outter when I flopped a boat. I don't blame anyone but fate and God (you hear me God!!!??) for that. I didn't internalize it or make myself tilt. I probably could've extracted more chips on a couple of hands, but otherwise played well.

The entire ride back, Marc and I were giddy, recounting stories of how we worked over our table. While I became the friendly fun guy, he played the role of the feared player at his table, showing off his mad skillz. We both started winning immediately at cash, and since Winning Begets Winning, I'm sure that didn't hurt.

The trip was so easy, I cannot find a reason not to do it again soon. Basically, if wifey Kim is occupied for any weekend day, I'll be on a bus to AC.

Final thought: About an hour after asking the floor staff, Dave, to move me to a new table, he found me to tell me the table change was ready. To him I said, "Nevermind. I got the table to loosen up. I'm not going anywhere." Thank god he forgot about me for an hour.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 10:58 PM,


At 9:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't forget about 23 and 29. I filled one of the seats to your left at about 4pm. :)

At 10:55 PM, Blogger Jordan said...

Blonde guy? Hit me up with an email if you get a chance.

At 11:45 PM, Blogger Schaubs said...

LOL all over the place.

Nice post dude.

At 4:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hate players like you who make stupid raises to 8 dollars when people limp. Dont u realize people limp with big hands, hoping idiots like u raise. Ur effectivley turning ur hand into a bluff. Well played

At 9:06 PM, Blogger TripJax said...

Who are you kidding. You new before you woke up you would be wearing that outfit. I can't count the number of times I've read superman shirt and cargo pants. Your posts just wouldn't be the same without those words.

As usual J, love the attention to detail. Keep up the good work.

And by the way, I like the new look. Sorry if it is not necessarily new, I just read you through a reader and didn't notice until I clicked through to leave a comment.

Any chance both Anonymous commenters are the same person. Just wondering.

At 1:08 PM, Blogger Dawn Summers said...

HAHAHAH I second what Trip jax are superman tshirt, cargo pants. (And what eh said about the new look.) Love your reports! I miss playing poker with ya. Though I do like keeping my chips, so there's that for upside.


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