Saturday, September 08, 2007

A Place Called Hope

The leak thing I've mentioned previously has continued to be an issue.

We've had people out to fix it multiple times the past few weeks. Yet each time after they've finished plugging something up, the water dial outside my house continues to spin. So the leak guys just have to keep coming back.

In between these partially successful attempts I've tried to play poker.

I can't sit here and do nothing until it gets resolved.

But it also gets very confusing/discouraging etc when chaos ensues each time I go down to play.

The pattern from the past month or two is a few days go by after I lose and I recover and say to myself that this is completely ridiculous.

I'm not going to let some superstition keep me home.

And so I go back.

But when I go back I inevitably witness more mathematical catastrophes.

And then feel even dumber for having gone and played. For having doubted it.

So this week I felt okay waiting until yesterday to play again because the plumbing people were coming over.

They dug stuff up. Who knows?

For all I know a Findlay sprinker head with a Langston 7" gangly wrench may have been involved.

But when all was said and done they fixed all the outside leaks. This is confirmed.

However once again when we went back to the water dial it was still moving. Albeit the good news is it was moving very slowly. (I've never used "albeit" in a sentence before but it sort of felt right).

So at least the remaining leak is small. We also now know that what remains of the problem is inside the house.

But I also had to go and play last night. I couldn't sit home on a Friday night.

We searched around the house for assorted valves. I was going to shut off everything I could.

We've tried this many times before but last night I found a knob that I hadn't noticed. And upon turning this thing our water meter finally came to a complete stop.

(Deep breath).

I got showered and headed down to the Bellagio.

15/30 was a fifteen person wait so I sat down immediately at 2/5 no limit.

My seat was great in that I was facing inward. Half the seats at my table were facing out towards all the beautiful people walking through the Bellagio doing their Friday night club scene.

The MTV Awards are in Vegas this weekend. The last thing I need to be doing while playing poker is staring at human beings not at my table. Unlike the two men directly across from me who kept staring over my head at the scene the entire time.

The best thing I can say about my session is I did not force anything. Just waited. I enjoyed the folding. I tried to frame it as a relief. In other words folding means I can relax. It's only the hands that I play that I need to worry about. There's absolutely no need for me to waste any energy on the fact that I'm getting lousy cards.

My first playable hand came in the big blind. The guy to my left straddled for 10. There were 4 callers. I chose to smooth call out of position with pocket jacks. I might raise here with a bigger pair. Or with nothing. But with pocket jacks I wanted to take a look at the flop and proceed from there.

The guy to my right only had 85 bucks in front of him so I figured there was a good chance he was pushing on the flop.

The guy who straddled looks at his cards and raises it to 50 bucks. It gets folded to the 85 buck guy on my right. He just calls. He doesn't push.

I think this through and decide he makes this call because he doesn't have a pocket pair. If he had a pocket pair he'd raise to try to get rid of me. He wants me and my money in there too. He's not trying to scare me out. I oblige and call the 50.

Flop comes 8 high with 2 diamonds and as expected the small blind pushes in for his last 35 bucks.

Since the preflop raise came from a straddler I don't fear the overpair. His raise seemed likely to be a move. I do think it's very possible he has an overcard or two. So I come over the top here and raise it to $200.

Straddler sits back in his seat, exhales and shakes his head. Good news. It's clear he doesn't have me. He mumbles a bit. Shows his cards to his friend behind him, gets chastised by the dealer for this action, and then folds.

I turn over my jacks. Small blind turns over the 2,3 of diamonds.

He called the raise to 50 preflop with 2.3. I'd respect that call alot more if he had alot of chips in front of him. If he could win alot of money if he hits. But all he's doing preflop is taking the worst of it for his last 85.

The dealer peels off the turn and river. They're both overcards. And neither is a diamond.

The guy to my left who folded after my $200 bet says "Damn it. I would have won the hand!"

I'm about to read way too much into the result of this 1 random hand but let the record state that my jacks held up. After the way poker has gone for me the past 2 months I've started to expect my hand to lose.

But last night after finally getting my house to stop wasting water my hand held up.

I guess it doesn't matter if it's real or I just believe it's real. Either way I'm ready to play poker.

And don't get me and my insanity wrong. There were plenty of races I lost last night. That's fine. That's the game.

But something about winning with pocket jacks versus 2,3 suited in my first hand after shutting my water off was ENORMOUSLY important to my psyche.

Two other items of interest from last night.

A young (early 20's) club kid was falling asleep at the table in between hands.

It was hard to tell what drug he was on or if this was just the result of his having a lack of sleep. Either way after 10 minutes he woke up and bet 30 bucks. Just sort of threw the chips out there sloppily.

If what he was doing was playing a character then he's a genius because everyone (including myself) was dying to play with him.

And of course despite the raise to 30 he got a couple of callers.

Flops comes 2,4,9 and young club kid bets out. Guy to my right (with pocket 8's) raises him all in. Club kid calls.

The unsuspected ending: Club kid turns over pocket 2's and shows the table his set.

Guy to my right starts mumbling about the kid having 2's and raising preflop to 30 with them.

I didn't witness enough of the kid's play to know if the whole falling asleep thing was a con or he just got lucky on the one hand he played. But either way I gotta say "Nice hand club kid."

The other item worth sharing watching the dude to my left in action. And I ain't talking poker.

We chatted a little bit and this gentleman was a nice guy who lives in Vegas. Basically what he explained to me was that when he goes on dates with women in Vegas, he has them meet him at the poker room or the sports book.

This way he can buy them their first drink or two and it only costs him the $1 tip per drink!

Another genius. I'm surrounded by them.

Talk about positive expected value.

And right as I was about to leave the table I got to see him at work.

He had barely responded to a text message when he suddenly popped his head up and said to the waitress "Two Malibu and pineapples please."

I guess the eagle had landed.

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