Vegas -- Birthday Straddle at Binion's
We goin' sip Bacardi like it's yo birthday
LAS VEGAS -- No sooner than I sit down at Table 14, a $1/2 NL table at a jam-packed Binion's, than this drunk guy to my left urges me to straddle.
A straddle is making a $4 blind raise after the big blind. It is "live," which means you get the option to check or raise at the very end of the pre-flop betting round, instead of the big blind.
"I'm not going to straddle so you can re-straddle," I tell him.
But before the dealer finishes shuffling, I toss out a red $5 chip.
The drunk guy does nothing, so I needle him.
"I did that just for you, so you can re-straddle. What's up with that?"
I am in full Daniel Negreanu Party Day mode.
Why? Maybe because just about now it's my birthday, in the Central Time Zone.
There are four callers, including the drunk guy. The action comes around to me.
"You know what I have to do now. I have to raise, even though I haven't looked at my cards."
I throw out three red chips.
The drunk guy calls. Two people in the middle fold.
"Why are you folding?" I ask loudly. "I haven't even looked at my cards! Why are you folding?"
The guy on the button calls.
Flop is a 5 and two hearts.
"Out of respect for my callers, I check," I say.
It gets checked around.
Turn is a 5 of hearts, making three hearts on the board.
"I check again," I say. It gets checked around.
The river brings a fourth heart.
"I check my flush. I know there's a heart in these cards," I say.
I turn over my cards, seeing them for the first time. 75o. That gives me three of a kind, fives.
"Heart? Anyone?" A flush would beat my hand.
They muck and I take down the pot.
A few hands later, I get a respectable KQs (spades) on the button. The big blind makes it $10. Five other people call, for a nice $60 pot.
"You are an action maker," I tell him.
Flop is Ace-x-x, all spades, giving me the nut flush.
The first guy, a short stack, goes all-in for $50. Another guy, who previously called my straddle, calls.
I push my stacks into the middle and take down the pot.
All of a sudden, on my birthday, I've taken down $150, enough to put me at $650 for the trip -- the amount that I lost in the robbery.
It took me three days to make the money back. At Binion's, where I played my earliest live games. Where the biggest games in the world used to be.
I don't believe in streaks, but I love milestones. I would have made back the money anyway, eventually, but I love that it only took three days (and five days previously to make up the grand that I lost in my last trip here).
Maybe it's not as exciting as quad aces at the Bellagio to hit $9,000. Or the time last year I was $660 in the hole and I won the money back in 24 hours entirely playing low limit hold'em in Las Vegas.
But it's up there.