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This is the second part of my recent visit to The Bike. Be sure to catch part 1 here.
The main thing I want to tell you is that the game was really, really fun. As different as night and day from my last game at the Bike. Now I know some of this is just luck of the draw, and it might not be entirely due to the lack of masks and the lack of the plexiglass (and also that one or two players were drinking beer). Maybe I just got a really bad table last time and a really good one this time. But I feel certain that the lack of masks and plexi had a lot to do with it. Everyone was laughing and talking and having a good time (no more than two players wore masks at my table the entire time I was there).
I was having a good time too. And then the table got really, really good. Sadly, I don’t mean that in the sense that the game was great poker wise, or that I was able to win a shitload of money. I’ll get to my poker hands later. I mean the table became a total blast. Because of one bloke who joined it.
Let’s just call this fellow “Hugh” because his real name is not Hugh. I first noticed him when he was at a nearby table. It was hard not to notice him. He was loud and he was ridiculously talkative. I couldn’t really hear what he was saying, I was just hearing him talk a lot, it seemed like he never shut up. And he had a rather annoying voice. It was high and squeaky, and it seemed strained. He sounded like maybe he’d had throat surgery or perhaps had damaged vocal cords. From a distance, it was kind of painful to hear.
So when I saw that he was table-changing to our game, and in fact was going to sit on the seat to my immediate right (that I had just vacated so I could see the cards better), I was not happy. Hearing this guy talk with that strained voice up close and personal, right next to me? I figured my fun was over.
I was wrong. This guy had me laughing almost non-stop the entire time he was there. Somehow, when he was right next to me, his voice was a lot less annoying. And when I could hear what he was actually saying, it turned out that he was funny as hell. The guy had an English accent and said he was from London. Never did figure out if he was visiting from there or he was now living in Southern California. One thing for sure I can tell you, he was losing money hand over fist.
I guess you could call Hugh a human ATM. I can’t count how many times he got felted and bought more chips. At various times, while he was complaining about his luck and his results this day (almost always in an entertaining manner), he claimed to be down $900, $1,200, $1,300, $1,000. The figure he said increased and decreased even though he was steadily losing. He used his losses as an excuse for some wild play. When faced with a tough call, he would say, “Well, I’m already out $800 today….I call.” This would be a situation where it was obvious he didn’t have a chance to win the pot.
One of the first pots he played when he arrived, he had raised, there was a three-bet all-in, and he was covered. So he had to risk all his chips to call (it was around $200 I think). He agonized for a long time, kept talking about how much he was losing, and finally called. I don’t think they showed until the board was filled, and the other guy had pocket Aces. Hugh showed his pocket 9’s in disgust. It was pretty easy to figure out why poor Hugh was losing!
He was telling us, however, how much better our table was than the one he had just left. “The biggest pot over there was $23. I’d win a pot and it’d be $15.” He repeated this several times.
A few hands after the pocket 9’s, (and after he bought more chips) a virtually identical situation happened. Hugh called all-in preflop and this time he lost to pocket Kings. What did he have? Pocket 9’s again! He said, “Damn 9’s again. I had to call.” Then he whined about getting pocket 9’s. I didn’t have the heart to tell him that about 10 minutes before he showed up, I had pocket 9’s and flopped quads (I’ll get back to that).
He was muttering about those damn 9’s all through the next deal. I think this hand he folded preflop, and of course there was a 9 on the flop. He bitched mightily about that. “There’s the 9, there it is. Where was it last hand?” And for a while, almost every flop thereafter had a 9 on it! Everyone in a pot against him would comment on the 9 and joke that he finally had his set of 9’s. As far as I could tell, he never was dealt another 9 the rest of the day, but it was sure a fun running gag. Especially later when there were two 9’s on the board. And when he folded to a bet (yes, he did sometimes fold) he said, “There, I’m folding my quad 9’s.”
As I said, at first he was mostly bitching about how much money he was losing. But then he started telling us that he had been divorced three times. So when he got annoyed at something or someone (can’t remember what), he said, “That’s just like my ex-wife.” I asked, “Which one?” He said, “All of them.”
Then he faced a big bet on the river on a board that had four spades. He claimed to have two pair and didn’t know whether to call or not. I’m pretty sure everyone at the table knew the guy who was all-in had a spade. Hugh probably did too but he just couldn’t get away from his two pair. He tanked, but he was hardly quiet. “He’s got a spade, doesn’t he have a spade? Do you have a spade? Just tell me if you have a spade. I’ve got two pair.” Then, he actually flipped over his hand. He did indeed have two pair. But no spade. At this point, the dealer called the floor, I’m not sure why. The floor came over immediately but did not warn him not to show his hand, since it was heads up and the other guy was all in, there was really no problem with him exposing his hand. He did warn the guy…..he said he would have to start the clock if he didn’t make a decision soon. But it was all in good fun and the floorperson left before Hugh acted.
Hugh kept talking and I don’t think anyone really minded that he was holding up the game, we were enjoying his act. Finally he said, “I’m out $1,200, I’m divorced three times……F*ck me sideways.” A few seconds later he repeated the exact same thing (although he might have changed the amount he was out—but he never changed the number of times he was divorced) And after a few more seconds, he said, “I call.” Of course the other guy had a spade.
Now, however much he had lost, he was starting to run out of money. He telephoned a friend and tried to get him to give him some cash. His only solution was if he could find someone who had Venmo, who would give him $500 if his buddy sent $500 to that someone’s Venmo account. No one was willing to do that, understandably. Somehow though, Hugh lasted at the table past the time I left, so I dunno what happened or how he kept playing.
Now with all this crazy action, with Hugh being a human ATM machine, you must be thinking I cleaned up at this game. Sadly, that is not the case. By the time Hugh got to the table, I was mostly card dead, and whenever I did get cards worth playing, he was either away from the table or had folded preflop (it did happen) The whole time I never got into a hand with him. And as should be obvious by now, there was no way to bluff this guy. To get money out of him, you actually had to have a value hand of some kind. And the other players at the table, when they played against him, were pretty solid and always showed up with a hand. It was quite frustrating, but at least I was laughing the whole time.
In fact, there were only two hands I played that are worth talking about. And both happened before Hugh showed up. I had been playing some hands without much success, but I was actually getting some cards to play. I was down to about $250 from my $300 buy-in (remember, the game is 2/3). Under the gun, with Ace-Jack of clubs, I open to $15. I only had one caller. The flop was just awesome, 8-6-5, all clubs. Yahtzee! Of course I did think about the straight flush possibility, but that’s worrying about monsters under the bed, right?
I checked. Fortunately (or so I thought), the other guy bet. But he bet big. You would think a reasonable bet there would be $20-$25, right? But he overbet the pot and put out $75 or $80. I didn’t bother asking for a count. He had over $400 so I was covered. Just seeing the stack he bet, I realized that I couldn’t really raise there without shoving. I mean any raise I could make would have me committed, and besides, I wanted to get it all in. So of course I did indeed shove.
He snap called. I asked, “You have a straight flush?” No. He said, “I have a set.” We didn’t show but I believed him. And groaned when the turn was another 8. I don’t remember the river but it didn’t matter, I was drawing dead. I re-bought another $300. He had flopped a set of 6’s and on the turn had the full house.
Any other way I could have played that? I mean, I guess I could have just called, but then, even after the board pairs on the turn, am I really going to fold the nut flush?
A little while later I was dealt pocket 9’s and called $20. It was three-way. Talk about good flops. How does Jack-9-9 sound? The preflop raiser bet $30 and of course I just called. The last guy went all in—but it was for only $24. The turn was a 10. Unfortunately he checked. I checked behind. In hindsight, I should have bet. If he was on a draw, he’d call something, but if he missed on the river he wouldn’t. As I’ve often said, you don’t get a lot of practice playing monsters.
The river was another Jack. Well now, my first thought was, oh if only he had pocket Jacks! That would mean the Bad Beat Jackpot, with me having the losing hand. That would be one pot I’d love to lose. I dunno what the amount of the jackpot was, but it’s typically between $10K and $40K, something like that. Of course, my opponent had not played the hand like he had pocket Jacks and had flopped a boat. He checked. I put out a bet of $75. He tanked for a long, long time. Finally he said, “Well, if you’re bluffing……” He was really agonizing about calling, but he finally just folded. Damn. I decided to show my hand because how can you not show quads when you get them? He was startled. He said he folded a straight. Then he said something odd. He said he would have called if he had a Jack. No kidding! The second nuts? Of course he’d call. But that damn paired Jack killed my action. With only one pair on the board, no way is he folding a straight. Two pair made it a lot easier.
What about the all-in guy? Well, he mucked his cards as soon as the other guy folded so he didn’t have pocket Jacks either. We talked about the possibility of the BBJ for a few minutes, I won a fairly small pot, and that was that.
And as I said, I didn’t get much to play after that; won a few small pots. I left down $320. But it was nice to have fun playing poker again. Can I say the entire difference in the fun quotient of this game was due to the lack of masks and plexiglass (and the fact that I was dying of thirst the entire time)? Certainly not. But it didn’t hurt.