Thursday, February 07, 2008

Playing The Player

No limit at the Wynn. New guy sits down. Decked out in Pokerstars gear.

Wow I enjoy that look. Like regardless of whether he's wearing it to be funny, or he really means it, either way it's my kind of humor. Thank you sir.

He's a modelish looking European dude. He puts on his sunglasses and immediately starts raising. This gentleman took down some pots at first but if someone's raising over 25% of the hands, I've gotta party with them.

The other notable thing about this guy was his exhibiting "table-captain-know-it-all" behavior. For example, a new player sits down and posts his blind before his chips arrive. This new player folds preflop to a raise and at the end of the hand our dealer politely informs our villain that he will be owed 5 dollars from this new player who still doesn't have any chips yet.

What I want to hear our villain say is "Gotcha" or "Okay" or "Thank you."

What I actually heard our villain say was a defensive "I know."

You know?

Hey the dealer wasn't being smart. The dealer wasn't teaching you anything. He was just being polite. Doing his job. Keeping the game right.

"I know."

Stu Ungar used to say how he needed to find things to hate about his opponents. That this hatred made it easier for him to take their money. Maybe that's what was going on for me here because for some reason his "I know" just struck the wrong chord with me.

I soon find myself in a 4 way hand with him. I'm to his left. As usual he raised preflop so when he fires out the continuation bet, I don't necessarily fear him.

I decide to reraise his bet 3x. He postures. He stares. He poses. He folds.

He tells me I had a set. I must be that strong. What else could I be holding that I'd have the nerve to raise him?

I go the other way with it and tell him the truth. "I had a pair."

We get into another pot together. This time with a 3rd player who has raised preflop from the button. Me and the Pokerstars guy both call.

The flop misses us both and we check to the preflop raiser. I'm ready to fold but the raiser checks.

Turn hits me. We check to the raiser again. I'm giving him another chance to bet. He doesn't and checks again.

After a harmless looking river card arrives I finally bet. Not much. 15 or 20 bucks. I can't remember. I really didn't think I'd get called.

Preflop raiser folds. We're back to the Pokerstars guy. He thinks for a minute. And I'm thinking along with him. What I think he's thinking is that I have something mild. Something like a pair. And he's thinking that I will lay it down if he bets big enough. And he might be right. But he needs to bet before I can answer that part.

He finally says "raise" and shoves out an incomplete stack. Dealer counts it out for me. 70 dollars.


I'm probably calling. I think he's stealing from me.

On the other hand, being able to fold in a spot like this is how I survive in Vegas.

But then he clinches it for me. He opens his mouth.

"You are priced in" he tells me.


"Yeah you're probably right" I say and toss 70 bucks out there.

Against most players I fold. Against him I call.

He mucks and I win the pot without showing my cards.

But this was only the middle act. The headliner was a few hands later.

The same Pokerstars dude is involved again when his Pokerstars wife comes over. She is standing behind Pokerstars and telling him softly about how she just got felted at the neighboring table. She says she lost 400 bucks when her aces got cracked by a set.

At the exact same time as she's telling this story, a guy at our table who hasn't played a hand in over an hour has raised preflop and then bets again when an ace comes on the flop. It's fair to put him on ace king.

But Pokerstars doesn't fold. He calls this tight player's flop bet. While his wife continues to explain her bad beat story.

The three of them repeat the scene on the turn. The tight player bets. Pokerstars calls. Wife continues to share how she got unlucky.

After dealer turns over the river, Pokerstars acts first and pushes the rest of his chips all in. He has a couple of hundred left. Tight player doesn't know what to do.

Inside of my head I'm shouting "Please call!" It's not that I want to see Pokerstars lose. No. I won't profit from that and if anything, his losing his chips will mean that I won't be able to win them from him later.

However I do want to see the call just to confirm that I was right. Because what looks REALLY OBVIOUS to me at this moment is that Pokerstars is on some serious tilt.

Understandably the tight player doesn't want to call off the big bet with only top pair here. And under normal circumstances I wouldn't blame him. But not here. Not now. Not with this guy's wife standing behind him.

Eventually the tight player reluctantly calls.

Pokerstars immediately mucks his cards, gets up and leaves the table with his significant other.

If I were playing against Pokerstars on the internet, I'd have no idea that he was wearing sunglasses.

I'd have no idea he had on his Pokerstars outfit.

I'd have no idea that his wife was standing directly behind him, putting him on further tilt with each passing word.

All of these are huge advantages to playing poker live.

Although I should be fair and acknowledge that if I were playing poker on the internet, I wouldn't have to shower or get dressed.

I could just spend all day in my underwear.

And occasionally put on my Full Tilt Poker jersey.

The same one that I'm too embarrassed to ever wear out in public.

Well, that is unless they were paying me.


Check Raise Chin said...

Online players are overrated!!

Most online players who play live play very what I the point of silliness!


jusdealem said...

Those reasons are why I love live play too. Good post. :)