Until Friday night, I hadn't played poker at Rivers Casino since last November. During the winter, I stuck to The Meadows, where I carried on my recent traditions of playing badly and losing far too much money, and then I mostly stopped playing altogether in February upon reaching a point where I was so frustrated with the game that just being in a casino put me in a bad mental place. So, excepting a couple of cheap tournaments and the occasional low-stakes home game, I took a break.
Last week, though, I decided it was time to climb back on the horse. The Meadows was not an option. I wanted free of the nits and grinders there who had been bleeding me dry. It was time to take a run at the casuals and drunks who make up a much larger portion of the Rivers player pool. I headed over for some $1/3 NLHE action after Friday's Pirates game. The result was boring but acceptable: $60 profit in a mere 72 minutes. (My table broke up and I decided to head home with a win rather than have to learn the play styles of a new group of opponents.) But just because my own play was uneventful doesn't mean I didn't see anything worth writing about. Seventy-two minutes at Rivers is plenty of time to get a heaping of good blog material. To wit ...
-- When you play at Rivers on a Friday or Saturday night, especially if it's a ballgame or concert night, you're pretty much guaranteed to have at least one drunk crazy-person at your table. Friday was no exception, and our table's resident drunk started ranting for all to hear just four hands after the table opened. He had raised $20 preflop with pocket eights and shoved all-in for ~$100 when the flop came J-6-3. He was quickly called by a quiet fellow holding 6-6.
"He hit an eight-percenter!" he bellowed, leaning back in his chair and smacking his fists off the table. "I guess the best hand doesn't win here. That's bullshit. If the best would just hold up, there's not a one of you who could beat me!"
Never mind the fact that the guy over-shoved with a mediocre hand. Never mind that it was the other guy who held the best hand when a majority of the money went into the pot. Never mind that getting beat by a set sometimes just happens.
"Fucking eight percent," he mumbled over and over again for at least 10 minutes, presumably so we'd understand just how good a player this guy is because, like, he knows math and stuff.
-- A short while later, we had a four-way all-in between three solid probable-former-Internet players and a middle-aged guy you could tell was somewhat of a poker newbie. The board was draw heavy with an ace, something like A♥-10♣-9♣-4♦. The newbie was short-stacked, while the other three were all in the same neighborhood chip-wise. Before peeling off the river, the dealer separated out the main pot that all four player could win, including the short-stack, but left the rest of the figuring for after the hand. The river was dealt, seemingly missing all of the draws that were out there. And, of course, once all action was completed, nobody wanted to fucking show.
"Okay, we need to see some cards," our table's token drunk yelled out, enjoying all the drama.
Newbie, who was the one guy not showing because he was unsure of protocol, as opposed to just being douchey about it, finally said, "Well, I've got two pair," and rolled over A-4. The next player in line flipped up an ace for top pair, while the third player mucked.
The last player, who started the hand with the biggest stack of the four, then turned to the dealer and said, "There's another side pot between us, right?" as he nodded toward the guy who had mucked.
"Yeah, there should be," the dealer said, as he stacked chips. "Let me count it out." The fourth player flipped up a busted flush draw; he was playing queen-high.
"Oh, fuck," the guy who mucked said, realizing he had just thrown away a hand that, had it been turned up, would have resulted in at least some of his chips being returned to him. Pissed off, he stormed away from the table, not even waiting for the dealer to finish counting it out. I wasn't sure if he was mad at himself for mucking or mad at the dealer for not making it clear before showdown that there was another side pot in play. I hope it was the former, as it's clearly the player's responsibility to not throw his cards away until all proper pots have been awarded. This is especially true when the hand in question is a big, confusing four-way all-in job.
The punchline was that, after the secondary pot was counted and awarded to the guy with aces, the third pot ended up being worth only $6 total. Hardly enough to throw a hissy fit or chastise oneself too much over. But the guy never returned to our table. He was off steaming somewhere.
-- Drunk players are always welcome at my table. Drunk non-playing girlfriends of players ... eh, not so much. Toward the end of the session, some girl walked over and plopped down into the empty seat between me and her boyfriend. "Come on, let's go," she barked at him, but the boyfriend clearly wasn't ready to leave.
"Come on, take me home, or I'm going to get one of these other guys to take me home," she said and then turned to me. "I think it's going to be you. You'd take me home, right?"
Oh, boy, here we go.
"Ehhh, not sure that's really an option," I said, just trying to blow her off and pay attention to the game.
"Sure it is," she replied, oblivious to my wedding ring. "You know you'd take me home."
"Yeah, but then I'd have to fight your boyfriend," I said, "and that doesn't sound like very much fun."
"Nah, I'll fight him," she said. "I'll do the fighting."
It went on like that for a couple of minutes. Her trying to make her boyfriend jealous so he'd stop playing. Me trying to diffuse any potential situation with a bit of humor and remain focused on the game. Her boyfriend pretty much ignoring the whole thing, until finally he racked up his chips and the two of them left.
I plan on hitting Rivers again in a week or two, and hopefully I'll get to play a little longer. Just think of how much craziness I could see in two or even three hours there!