Sometimes, you are very close to people and you are very different. That is the case with my business partner, Alain. We have truly grown to be brothers throughout the years and his careful, conservative ways have rubbed off on me. I believe I have shown him the carefree “leap before you look” side of life. I also think that we are both better for the mixing. I know I am, for sure. We have made a tradition for years of going to Vegas for little weekend trips and we talk about business, but mostly we eat, gamble, relax and have fun.
I left Alain around 9:30 p.m., after giving Caesar what was his on a roulette table, to go play a little live action and wait for the nightly 11:00 p.m. tournament. I bought in and had a little over an hour to kill before the tournament, so I put my name on 4 NL Holdem lists. I was no better than fifth on any of them. Three minutes later, Nikki, the high brush, called my name, “Nitro, your 2/5 seat is ready”. I handed her five $100.00 bills and sat down. She went for chips. You are asking yourself, four players were seated in the three minutes I was waiting, right? The answer is, of course not. Nikki knew me and she also knew that when she brought me that rack of red chips, two of those would belong to her. When I am in Vegas, I tip everyone and they remember, and as I have said many times, “being nice is just a good policy”.
My chips arrived and I tipped the brush. “Thank you Mark, Good Luck.” She knew my name wasn’t “Nitro”, and she also knew I didn’t need any luck. She was just being nice. It’s her policy. You may be thinking that all I got for my $10.00 was a seat before I should have, and you would be wrong. It is true, I didn’t have to wait in the line, but the more important thing is, I got “THE” seat. You see, as the high brush, Nikki is watching all the games and she knows where the open seats are. But, more importantly, she knows where the fish are swimming. That is how she knew I didn’t need any luck. She had seated me in the softest seat in the Caesars Poker Room.
I was un-racking and watching the play. In the first 15 minutes at the table, you can get a pretty good feeling for who is playing and how. This table would take me about two minutes. I am in seat one, next to me is Grandpa with $225.00 in chips neatly stacked and three drinks,two waters and a coffee. Those chips were not going anywhere. Seat three was a business suit with $75.00 in chips, all held in his hand. I suspect those used be a rack of chips. So, threat level zero. Then next to three were all college guys with between $125.00 - $175.00. Welcome to Vegas fellas. Open seat and someone’s Mom with $400.00. Seat nine was a big fat guy who had a Chicago accent and better than $900.00. Seat 10 was a Persian dealer that said he was waiting to deal the 11:00. he had to have a coat on at the table to cover his uniform. I always give respect to dealers that are playing, not because they are always good, but because they have a tendancy to really move chips. They watch all these hands while working and when they get their own seat, they want to play. If you are in a pot with a dealer, you have a good chance to play for all his/her chips.
The first hand I watched went like this: fold to one of the kids, he makes it $20.00, call, call, the round man makes it $50.00 straight, two of the kids call him and we see a flop. The board is 3KT rainbow check. $20.00 again from a frat boy and the fat man says “raise, make it $70.00 to go” and he turns to the kid that bet and says “I’m just getting us to where we are going to go. If you play this hand, you will be playing for all your money!” The lambs go away and chubby fingers start stacking chips, next hand.
I am in the big blind now, I never look at my cards before it’s my turn, so I am watching and it is an exact repeat of the last hand. Two college kids for $20.00 and Dom DeLouise making it $50.00 total. The dealer in the small folds. I look down and see wired 6s. I think at least one of the boys is going to call, so I am getting implied odds to gamble a little and see a flop, I put in $45.00 more and say “call”. Both boys jump in the bucket and we take it four handed to the flop. We have a game. It’s Q6T rainbow. I have hit my set. I say “check” as fast as I can. 1st kid check, 2nd kid $20.00. Fatso says “$100.00” as his previously, buffalo wing stained paws, set out a stack of red. I think for a couple of minutes and call, we lose both the boys. The dealer says “Heads up”. It was a description, but the bully should have taken it as a warning.
The turn is my money card, the Ace of clubs. I had him on AQ or AT on the flop and if I was right, he has made two big pairs. All his fat was going in the fryer. I decide, for some odd ball reason, to mimic the college kids this guy had been pounding on, so I bet $20.00 into the pot, which is now $427.00. I hoped he wanted to pick on me. He did. Two chubby hands, two stacks of red, “Oh No, not $20.00. We are playing for $200.00, if we are going to see the river!” I say “Oh are you just getting us where are going anyway?” I saw his face, and the fat man had just realized, Big Papa wasn’t a college kid and his rather substantial ankle was caught in the snare.
I continued, “Well I can’t call”. I swear to Doyle, I heard him exhale. I continued again, “I would only have $140.00 left, if I called” it was time to stop the dance. “I know you have an Ace, but I am going to go all in” and I shoved. You would have thought I gave him a cookie, he was so happy. “I call” he said, and flipped over his hand. It was A6, just as I thought, only better. He was drawing to one of the two remaining aces. I didn’t have to turn over my hand in this cash game, like he did. That is only for tournaments. I did want the kids to see their bully get a spanking. I turned over my cards and said “well, looks like we are all out of the sixes”. The turn is a 5 of clubs and the dealer asks him to cut out $140 more. While he is doing that, he says under his breath, “How can you call $50.00 pre flop with sixes?” I responded with “I got lucky on you. I’m sorry, would you like your money back?” The boys at the table couldn’t believe what I was saying and the man in seat nine said “Hell Yeah. I want my money back”. I then said, “Okay, I promise to get it all in with you again, but you have to promise to play a lot better.”
The boys were laughing now. Not only did I spank their bully, but it was clear that he wouldn’t be pushing them around like before. There was a new bull at the table. A bigger one and somehow they knew Big Papa wasn’t there to tease the young ones.
The pot was $960.00 all in red chips, so I had a mess on my hands with stacking the chips as the next hand started. Again, two kids bet and call $20.00, three others call, including my new fat friend. I am in the small blind, still stacking and with that many callers, I just throw in blind. The flop comes 5J7 and I check. One kid makes it $20.00. Mr. Personality makes it $75.00. I am almost done stacking my chips and say “okay for $75.00, I will have to look at my cards”. Somebody’s Mom in the 8 seat says, “you haven’t looked yet?” and the dealer says “no he was stacking”. I look at him and say “Shhhhhhhh” and smile. I open my cards to see POCKET JACKS. I actually say “WOW”! I look at fatso and say, “you ready to get your money back?” He looks down and won’t talk to me. Sweet! I put him on a very big hand. AA or KK, I am going to gut him. The only problem is, I have this kid in-between us and I really don’t want to break him.
I would normally just call here and let the bully seal his own fate, putting in his last 350.00 on the turn. However, if I call, the kid may call and he would have to call his last $50.00, when I chop up Mr. Wonderful. I decide that I am going to shove. If the kid calls all his money to my all-in, he deserves what he gets. The action is on the kid now and he looks down at his cards to recheck them and I say “stop, look at me for just a second”. I say “I have a big hand and to win, you would have to have a hand that you could have remembered”. I then say, pointing to seat nine, “I am going to bust Mr. Ed over there and I would rather not have your last $100.00. Now, with that said, if you want action and know that you will need to get lucky on me to win, you are a big boy and you should do what you think is best. Just know that I am not messing with you.” He was on the horns of a dilemma, and he looked at his cards again. He then looked at me. The fat man who was staring straight down as to not give away his intentions, I suspect, he wanted that boy to call. The kid looked at the dealer, who shrugged his shoulders as if to say, “don’t ask me, I just work here”. Finally, the kid mucked his hand and I heard nothing from the bad man in the corner. The the dealer said, “player all-in”.
The nine seat had just slid three and a half stacks of red over the race track line, and went back to staring down. Just to satisfy my ornery side, I leaned in and asked him “Do you want action?” Nothing. “What, we don’t talk now? After all we have been through?” The whole table was looking at looking him and then looking at me. I said, “you want to tangle, and I am not going to disappoint you. I call!”
The bully in seat nine jumped up, (which to my guess, was the extent of his exercise for the week) and said, “You dumb ass! You talked him out of calling and cost me $125.00. I have the set!” I said, “nice hand… me too!” I waited for that to sink in, knowing that with a flop of 5J7, he couldn’t have a set of jacks. Big Papa had those. He had 5s or 7s. He was in trouble. He flipped over pocket fives, and I said, “that hand is going to be second place, unless God loves you”. I showed him my hand and he actually started calling for a 5! I walked over to the counter and picked up 3 empty racks. As I walked back, the turn and the river were out…Ace, Ten.
The bully walked over to some guy sitting over by the rail, and said, “That guy just sucked out on me, let’s get out of here”. I just couldn’t believe it, but my sense told me that the man on the rail, had put this guy in the game! These two 50 year old men had formed a corporation to take money away from these college kids and someone’s Mom? Unreal. Just then, the kid that was in the hand with us looked at me and silently mouthed to me, “I had pocket queens”. I said, “I knew you had a hand, and I really didn’t want you in that mess.” He said, “Thanks”.
I started to rack up. It was 10:45 and the college guys were like, “Hey, don’t go. It didn’t get fun until you showed up”. I said, “Sorry guys, I have a tournament to play at 11:00, and I need to do my pre-game bathroom stop. Plus, my friend left.”
As I was leaving, I said “I will probably get knocked out quick and I will come back and play with you guys”. The kid that held the queens said, “I think that is the first lie you have told us.”
“Thanks for the game guys.” Big Papa made some friends, some money, and I wouldn’t trade the former for the latter.