Thursday, September 15, 2005

Vegas -- Bluffing with Aces

It's strange what desire will make foolish people do.
--Chris Isaak.

I'm a hustler homey, you a customer crony
Got some dirt on my shoulder, could you brush it off for me?

LAS VEGAS -- "I have two pair," the Canadian says to me, to no one in particular, as he dejectedly looks at his cards and his chips.

He has more than $100 left, what he would have to call for my all-in on the flop, his $50 bet looking suddenly stranded in a pool of loss.

Me, I'm sick to my stomach, as I misread the hand of the Canadian -- who has never played poker before -- and I'm all-in with aces.

Flop is Q,4,2 and I put the inexperienced guy on some pair of queens. He bet out $50 on the flop, to my right, just like that.

I didn't put him on two pair.

I'm shuffling, trying to keep the same speed I've been doing, trying not to spill the chips. I look at the felt while he ponders and think, I'm going to lose $100 on this hand.

He turns and asks, "Will you show me if I fold?"

"Of course," is my reply, fearing that even my response will tip him off.

He folds his cards, flashing 42o.

I turn over my cards. The AA. The table breaks out in oohs. I had been beaten on the flop and they knew it.

"You had the best hand," I say, as I scoop up the pot. Why do novices want to lose money so bad not knowing how to play and conversely, why are they so afraid to lose money. I wonder if he thought he would have to call all of my $400 in chips on the table, instead of just the $100 he had left.

It's good to be back in Las Vegas. Already, two hands from the Canadian have put me up +$380 and I'm glad to be playing poker.

The other hand was a rough call -- the Canadian reraises a $12 entry raise to $62. I'm to his right and call. This rockish guy reraises $93 more all-in and the Canadian calls.

I have AKs of diamonds. I think and think and think -- I have the rock on AA -- and the dealer says "You have one minute."

I call. The pot was too big not to. As I reach for my wallet to get my next $200 buy-in, I think of what Mark says "You always say, 'I think I'm beat but I'll call.' And then you win the pot."

I can only hope.

Flop is Q9T, two diamonds. Canadian checks. I bet my last $14.

Turn is a diamond.

Ace on the river.

I have a flush. The rock has JJ and yells at me for calling. I yell back, "You want to see all five cards with AK," I say, parroting a recent column in Card Player. The Canadian has 77.

After those two hands, I'm sitting at the $200 max buy-in $1/2 NL table with more than a rack of red chips, dominant over the table like the goddess over a table of men. Or rather, a table of lesser women.

"You should come back -- there are easy games here," a dealer tells me after I cash out.

I certainly will!

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