Just playing the game ....


As soon as I saw the river card, I knew it was going to be tough to get out of town alive. Playing the game with this crowd was always a gamble. They were seven of the best poker players known around these parts, each one of them as equally skilled as the other. These players don’t just read books on poker, they could be writing them too. Textbook play with perfect check-raises, exactly correct and properly calculated bets, and the ability to lay down cards when they just had to be behind in the hand. They were the perfect players and they always made the perfect play. How was I going to explain my play this day with such non-perfect cards and far from perfect betting patterns?

I knew they were all packing weapons. In this game, you pretty well had to in order to keep outside interest’s, (and sometimes your opponent) at bay. Every time Sam leaned forward to deal the cards out to everyone, I could see the gleam of the Pearl finish on the grip of his revolver. I never really understood what it was he saw in having such a fancy piece to shoot with anyhow. Who’s going to notice? The guy you shoot! I wasn’t there empty handed myself. I wasn’t raised a fool and I have certainly seen enough happen at this table, with this crowd, that I knew to be ready for anything. There was that guy from Cleveland, what was his name? I guess it don’t really matter much anymore anyhow. While Zeke and I were talking about the cards that guy was getting on a regular basis while taking a leak outside, Zeke made mention of the way he was dealing the cards out in an unusual way. I said I’d take a look from my side, but that I hadn’t really noticed anything too strange as of yet. He seemed like a nice enough guy to me, but he sure was running lucky that day. We went back inside and I took my spot to that guy’s right, I’d had that position on him for a couple of hours. I was the dealer for the next hand and nothing major happened. Sam took a small pot with the bullets and I just passed the deck over to that guy. I looked over at Zeke and gave him that nod that meant I’d take a look. The shuffle seemed ok, even though it was a might faster than most of us can manage. At the speed he was shuffling, you could hardly tell the suits of the cards let alone what they were exactly. I could tell this, because every time he shuffled, you could see the front of the deck way better than the back. I did notice some pretty bare white at the end of the shuffle and was pretty proud that these old eyes could pick out what looked like two red aces at that speed. He dealt the cards out with the same hyper speed that he could shuffle at. He made his first full orbit and was just starting his second, when Zeke jumped up and pulled his gun. “Gotcha you cheating bastard!” said Zeke. Pointing his pistol directly at this kids head, Zeke told him to flip up his first hole card and said, “Bet it’s the ace of hearts.” It was. Then Zeke slowly moved around the table, all the while focusing the end of that gun right between the kids eyes. “Bam” I heard, “check that bottom card in the deck. Ace of diamonds right?” I reached over and pulled out the card. I tossed it out into the center of the table to flip it up for all to see. Well I’ll be damned, the ace of diamonds.

With all of the money still sitting in front of where he once was sitting himself, that kid rode out of town and never was seen around here again. I truly thought for at least a second or two there, that he was a dead man. He probably should have been. Cheating in a game of this nature, is a sin that just shouldn't go un-punished. He was an idiot and a Donkey for trying to cheat this table. He’d taken a lot of money off of us in the few days he was there to play. All the while he was setting up the deck while shuffling and dealing himself from the bottom of the deck. One thing I knew for certain, you don’t fuck with these guy’s. Their perfect play always leads to someone having a great hand. When someone’s doing it back to them on a regular basis, there must be something under handed going on.

Which leads me back to my current situation I’m afraid. I’m about to show Sam a rivered boat. A Queen’s over 4’s rivered boat no less. Sam made a larger bet than his turn wager when the river card came. I made it $250 more to go and Sam obliged me with the call. “Queen’s, Ace kicker.” said Sam in that gruff old voice of his. “Boat, ladies over 4’s” I responded with, making Sam stand up and stare at my hole cards. Understandably so in this spot too I’d say. You don’t see many Q-4 off-suit starting hands at this table. “I've never known you to cheat before Bam. But damn if you ain’t cheatin’ now on me.” he said as he pulled out his revolver. I had a moment of thought I found bizarre for the situation, “Yes I thought. The guy about to get shot can see that pearl grip!”

“How am I cheating you Sam?” I asked. “Tell me, please.” He stared right through my eyes with that steely gaze of his and said, “I don’t know just yet. But you need to know I’ll catch you.” With that Sam sat back down, but continued to glare me down. “I think this is as good a time as any for a break boy’s,” said Carson from two spots to my right. I thought it was a great idea.

Those boy’s never would catch me cheating and I played in that game successfully for years. They couldn’t catch me, ‘cause I wasn’t cheating as such. I was cheating their perfect poker. You know what the problem with perfect and by the book poker really is? It’s pretty damn predictable! Poker is a game of knowing where you stand at any given point in the hand. Bet when you know you’re good, fold when you know you’re beat and seek information when you’re just not sure. By playing a range of starting hands the same way you’d play the “nuts,” that information is much harder to garner for those that play perfect poker. You’ve also got to chase once in a while. Going on a chase with a good chance to get there is one of the moves in poker. Showing a missed chase can help set a table image for later in the game, or even later in the month for that matter. Doing the unusual in a game where everyone else is going to do the usual, can be one of the most profitable decisions made at the table. I said it just a while back, my vision of how to play most of the variations of Stud available, is a far cry from by the book poker. I’ve been successful in those games for quite a few years now because of it.

Call me a Donkey on your blog if you want hell, call anyone anything you want on your own little piece of the internet. That’s what we each have our own for. I don’t have to read it if I don’t want to, neither does anyone else for that matter. It’s the freedom of choice and the right to that freedom that we fight so hard to preserve on a daily basis, both in our own countries and around the globe. Why fight for it if we choose to ignore its availability?

But making all of these stupid remarks during a blogger event on-line, while hiding behind the click of a mouse, come on! Poker’s a game and good and bad things happen while playing it. You don’t like some ones play on-line, go elsewhere and find players that play exactly the way you want. Or even better, show your skill and prowess by taking them out with your spectacular play. Both of you paid to play and that gives you the right to play however the hell you want. By the book or not so much, it really doesn’t matter. What matters is, you have the right to play the cards you’re dealt and do so without all the B.S. being slung around by those that consider the play not up to snuff.

Basically, instead of telling everyone else how bad they play and how they’ll go broke because of it, prove it with your play, not your typing. Every time I check, (and I find myself doing it more often every game) it reads "CHAT BOX" not berate, be-little and spew garbage box."

My sincerest thanks for dropping by....


Anonymous said...

That's one big gooder post.

As frustrating as it can be, who ever pays to play, buys the right to play (with in the rules) any way that they want.

That should be in the Poker Players Code. "No being a douche because a bad player beat you with bad cards".

pokertart said...

LOL @ Carson's last line. So true.

I'd love to pull that out at a game one time.

"Um. Sorry, you have a 10 minute penalty for breaking the "No being a douche" rule"

These days I *only* have chat on during blogger events. I guess if someone starts ragging on me in one of those games, I'd just mute them too.

GaryC said...

Nice post Bam, you know where I stand on it and I love the "no being a douche" rule.

Thanks for stopping by bro.


Riggstad said...

Funny story...

Hosting my regular friday night gig about a year ago at my warehouse, and running particularly good, (AA 5 times, cracking AA 6 times) and having over 80% of the starting buyins in my stack, we come to a PLO game, one of the last of the night.

I stack a guy for a third time when the money goes in and I know I'm behind. he has 88 on a board of 8 5 5 A. I'm holding A 5... with the deal.

Guy puts the rest of his money in, and I call off the remaing 30, after about 400 is in the pot... (auto call)

He says you need the case A, cause someone else already folded one, and the remaing 5 was already gone as well...

then he asks, who is dealing? and stares at me says Oh great , of course.

I burn and peel off the case A.

He goes on a tirade unseen before and accuses me of cheating. Manipulating the deck, having a mechanics grip, etc...

the rest of the table comes to my defense, but I sit there staring at him, never taking my eyes off of him. He states that he will never come back, and that if he can't win that hand, he has no business playing.

Then threatens me with insults I've never even heard before.

Needless to say he left without further incident, and was gone for about 3 months. I had him playing on marker as well, and wrote that off figuring we would never see him again.

When he did finally return, he came with the marker and apologies.

I'm thankful he wasn't packing a pearl gripped revolver that night :)