Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Confessions of a Poker A-Hole

Last night, I went with a few of my compadres to a local establishment for some low-stakes $35 NL freeze-out tourney action. Even with 80 or more players I saw a half-dozen or more people I knew from various games around town. Still, I was hoping to get seated at a table with complete strangers so I could try my newest goof -- "Mr. New-to-Poker-Guy."

Fortunately I got my wish, and my table was perfect. Three players quickly tried to establish themselves as poker bad-asses. Two others couldn't help but call every bet on the face of the the planet and one old miscreant overplayed a ton of hands and quietly insulted anyone who folded to one of his overbets. Seriously, with TC700 in one pot, he bet 2000 with a meek board. The first two players behind him folded, but the third slowly contemplated a call. After folding, the crotchety old fart says, "You stupid son-of-a-bitch. You can't fucking call my hand there. No way. This is too fucking easy!" Don't you just love the cocksuckers you meet at the poker table?

Anyway, as I sat down, I opted to pull my best Ackerman routine. I fumbled my chips and kept them in a disorganized mess in front of me. I acted like I never knew when it was my turn and how much I could bet or when I was supposed to fold. I awkwardly fumbled with my cards, acting like I was trying to mimic the card handling skills I had seen on ESPN. I even feigned frustration at one point and began picking up both cards to my chest and staring at them. I never threw my cards into the muck, instead carefully placing them there as if the cards would break. In short, it was the most fun I've had playing poker all year.

If you find yourself in a similar situation, I would highly suggest you give it a go. Here are a few other techniques you might want to employ:
  • Constantly ask the players around you about the value of the chips.
  • Whenever the blinds increase, always post the old blind amounts when it is your turn. On a similar note, any bet you call you call shortly after a blind increase, undercall the bet with the old blind amount.
  • Always hold onto your cards. After the dealer has asked you for your cards a half dozen times, the other players will start telling you when it is time to fold.
  • Fold pre-flop a ton...and always look like you have no idea what hands you are supposed to play.
  • Never raise pre-flop. Yes, this isn't great tournament strategy, but it completely sets you up as the guy who has no fucking clue what he is doing. Case in point, I was dealt KhQh in middle position. Since most hands had been raised (but never re-raised) by the donkeys and bad-asses at the table, this was the kind of hand you had to protect. Instead I just called and joined five other limpers into the pot. The flop was pure trash (2s-6d-8h). I was the the fourth player to check the hand after almost fake-accidentally folding. With a turn of Ks, I was sure I now had the lead in the hand, only cautiously concerned about the possibility of the flush. I only called a meek bet of $200 after three other players called. After the 3 of spades came on the river, the original bettor led out for $200 in a move that looked suspiciously like a made-flush hoping to get a raise, or possibly even a player trying to represent the made-flush. I called knowing that the additional $200 was going to have minimal impact on my chip stack. My queen kicker was good and the player to my right looked at me like I was an idiot. I continued acting like I had no idea what I was doing and clumsily raked the pot as he grumbled, "Nice hand." As if on cue, he blurted,"You did see the flush there didn't you?" I did my best to look bewildered and said, "Flush?"
  • Look stupid while playing smart. On another hand, I sheepishly called with AQ suited from the small blind and saw a Queen high flop. This was the first time I had had to act first in a pot. I bet roughly half the pot, but in doing so, I grabbed a handful of chips and audibly counted them out one by one behind my cards. When these chips totalled just over the size of the pot, I began taking chips back out of this pile one by one until I was at half the pot. Then I meekly pushed the stack into the center and announced, "I'll raise that." As all the poker bad-asses folded to me, the final player to lay down his cards stared at me and then muttered, "Good bet." I looked at him like I was stunned and asked "Really?" I then sat there until the dealer told me I won the pot and that I could rake the chips.
  • Ask moronic questions to your neighbor like, "how long does this usually last?" When the answer is "about six hours", immediately look at your watch and make a face that implies, "but Jay Leno comes on at 10:30."
  • After moving to my third seat, I looked at one of the players from the first table and asked him, "Why do they keep making me move? Did I do something wrong?"
  • Occasionally say "check", when someone ahead of you has raised.
  • When another player starts shuffling his chips, stare in amazement. Then try to do it yourself, but be sure to spill your chips everywhere.
  • Make yourself look lucky. Holding pocket fours on the button, everyone limped to me. In a perfect raising position I called, again looking meek. Both blinds had meager chip stacks, and I had them covered by at least 4x. The small blind folded but the big blind went all-in fully expecting me to fold. I quickly fidgeted, looked at the dealer and asked "call?" Frustrated, the dealer said, "I can't make that decision for you." I said, "Oh, then can I raise?" Now further frustrated, the dealer said, "No, you can only call." I counted out my chips one by one to make the call and the BB turned over J-2 offsuit. My little pair held up and the BB left the table. I saw him look at a friend and say, "How did I get knocked out by him?" Again I didn't touch the pot. When the dealer informed I had won, I replied, "I did?"
  • Make inane comments. About every third orbit, I waited for a situation where I had folded, yet the flop was trash. Then I would frown or groan. After one ugly flop of 3-6-9 rainbow I cringed and said "Oh!" I then quietly leaned over to the bad-ass next to me and stated, "I would have had two pair." Patronizingly, he smirked, "Well, you shouldn't have folded it then."

Trust me, it's a hoot. But ultimately all good things must come to an end. I was finally moved to a table where a player knew me. At this point I reverted back to my normal asshole self. Soon, one of the bad-asses at my first table was moved to my table. About six hands in, he noticed that I was clearly a different player than the one he had sized up a few hours earlier. "Oh, now you can play", he said. He looked at me like he thought I was a complete jag-off.

He was right.

10 comments:

Ed said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Ed said...

good reading. been waiting all day at the office for something new here or at "that other blog" :)

My fav line...

I did my best to look bewildered and said, "Flush?"

With my luck I would have been beat by the entire table to an inch of my life.

alicia said...

Glad to hear you had a good time, Shane. The grumpy old man who called the guy a stupid son of a bitch I'm pretty sure is a guy that keeps us constantly entertained with his irreverant comments... including his "Grandpa Gone Wild" T-shirt. Hope to see you and the other batfaces back there soon

Tulsa said...

Me giggle so hard.

Thum said...

That was genious. Please teach me how to post entertaining blogs. Mine usually suck.

Anonymous said...

Shane has issues

Anonymous said...

Shane's issues have issues.

Michael Z. said...

I played against a guy just like that last week, down to the stacking of the chips and that guy meade it into the money.

I may have to try it nex time. Sounds like a lot of fun.

Gonz said...

Sweet Christ, that is funny.

Chuck Williams said...

That was pretty damn good... I might have to link this one...