In Case You Forgot, Pete Carroll Blew This Year's Super Bowl

Pete Carroll doesn’t want me to do this post.

It is my long awaited Super Bowl post, and just mentioning the “big game” will remind you all of what is being referred to as the worst call in the history of sports—the intercepted pass Seattle threw in the final seconds of the game that cost them the championship.  No doubt Pete Carroll would prefer no one ever mention that game again.

But this isn’t a rehash of the game.  Too many words have already been written about it, and this isn’t a football blog.

No, my belated Super Bowl post concerns the poker session I had while watching the game.

This year, I decided to be a total promo whore and find a game in a room that had some kind of special Super Bowl promos.  After exhaustive research, I figured out that the best promo was being offered at the Flamingo.  But, by the time I was getting ready to head over there, I saw that they already had every table in use and had long waiting lists to get into a game.  So no sense in going over there.  By the way, don’t ask me what their promo was, I’ve long since forgotten.

So I settled for the second best big game promo.  That brought me to the Mecca of Vegas poker—the Excalibur.

In case you hadn’t figured it out by the total lack of mentions of the Excalibur poker room before on this blog, I haven’t spent much time playing poker there.  Only twice before, in fact.  Once, when I was playing 2/4 limit, and once for  a really crummy tournament.   So this would be my first time playing NL cash there.

The promo involved cash drawings.  For a few hours before game time, they gave each player a raffle ticket every ½ hour.  Then they gave the players a ticket at the start of every quarter once the game started.  They’d draw 2 tickets after every score, and one at the end of each quarter.  It was something like $50 or $100 each.

I got to the room about ½ hour before game time and got a seat in a 1/2 game right away.  The room was fairly busy—busier than usual, I’m sure—but not packed.  My game was full only most of the first half.  During the second half the game got down to as few as five players and almost broke.

There was one older gentleman at the table whose picture you can probably find by Googling “nit.”  One hand, he called a $10 raise preflop, called bets on the flop, river and turn.  He turned over the nuts. In fact, he had flopped the nut straight, and it had remained the nuts the entire time.  The board never paired, and no flush was possible.  A couple of people said to him, as he pulled in the pot, “You didn’t raise?”  He just said, “no” and shrugged.  Wow.

The one real aggro was the player sitting to my immediate right.  He had a thick Irish brogue.  He liked to raise, and he raised big and usually kept going after the flop.

Early on I had pocket 7’s.  The Irishman raised to $17 in front of me.  The game had been kind of loose and I expected a few callers, so I called.  Four of us saw a flop of 7-6-4, two spades.  It checked to me and I put out $60.  The guy behind me went all-in for $64.  Tough decision, whether to call that $4, but after tanking for about 10 minutes, I did indeed come up with another four bucks.  Everyone else folded.  We didn’t show, and the river was a 6, giving me the boat.  He didn’t show and I took down a nice pot.

The very next hand I raised to $10 with Ace-Jack off.  Four players called.  The flop was Ace-Jack -5, two spades.  The guy who wouldn’t raise when he had flopped the nut straight donked out a $10 bet.  Into a $50 pot?  I made it $40 and no one called.  Easy game.

Then the well went dry for a time and I just lost chips calling raises and missing.   So with Ace-Jack off, I called the Irishman’s $12 bet, as did one other player.   The flop was Jack-high, two diamonds, I called the Irishman’s $24 c-bet, as did the other player.  The turn was a blank and everyone checked.  There was an Ace on the river, and when the Irishman checked, I bet $60 and no one called.

Eventually the dreaded pocket Kings reared their ugly head.  I bet $8, and had two callers.  The flop was 10-9-7, two hearts.  I bet $20, both players called.  The turn was a black 8, one player bet $100, the other guy called.  I was pretty sure my dreaded hand was no good, and I folded.  I don’t recall the betting action after that, but they both had the Jack-high straight.  One of them had actually flopped it.

Against the Irishman I called $8 with Jack-10 of spades.  The flop was King-Queen-10, rainbow.  I called $15.  We both checked the turn, a blank.  An Ace on the river gave me the nuts and the Irishman bet out $20.  I made it $60.  He said, “Damn I knew you were going to call me, but I was hoping you wouldn’t raise.”  Then he shrugged and said, “I know you got it but I have to call.”  He did and showed Ace-King.

Now, I hadn’t recognized any of the dealers there.  I mention that only because it’s not that unusual for me to go into a Vegas poker room I rarely play in and recognize a dealer from another room—either someone who works in more than room (very common) or perhaps someone who had left the room where I knew them from and moved on to this new room.  Most of the dealers were, well, let’s just say, getting on in years.  Finally this blonde woman came to the table, clearly the youngest dealer I had seen all day.  Now the dealers all had name tags, and unlike most rooms, the name tags have both first and last names.  At least I assumed they all did, but I hadn’t noticed it before.

So I was sitting across from the dealer and I suddenly read her name tag.  It said, “Jennifer Gay.”  Hmm….that name rang a bell.  It took me a second to search my memory banks but I soon realized that this was almost definitely the Jennifer Gay who I have seen comment on Tony’sblog in the past.  And who also (sometimes) does her own blog (here).  And who Tony once asked me to find a baby sitter for (here).  And of course, who also is my fellow columnist for Ante Up.  It is actually strange that we’d never met before.

So after a couple of minutes I said to her, “Do you work for Ante Up Magazine?”  She said she did.  “Well, me too, I’m Rob. I cover Vegas. It’s good to finally meet you.”   We chatted a bit about our Ante Up duties.  She told me that the Golden Nugget would be hosting the Ante Up poker tour this summer, which of course, I already knew.  I told her that I had just written a profile of the new Golden Nugget manager for the magazine.

We had a nice chat during her down and she was totally delightful.  At one point I said to her, “I haven’t seen you comment on Tony’s blog in awhile.”  This was the first mention of Tony.  She said she would never comment again.  “There’s no point.  He doesn’t listen. He never takes advice.”  Hmm, I wonder if Tony’s ever heard that before?  And she lamented that she never has time to update her own blog anymore. 

She told some great gossip about some noted poker pros, some very famous, some just notable grinders about town.  But I can’t violate her confidence by repeating it here.  All I will say is that she said Phil Ivey is a really good tipper.  I don’t suppose Phil will mind having that said about him.

Anyway, as I said, our game was short all through the second half of the football game, and I couldn’t get anything going.  No one at my table was ever called for any of the cash drawings.  Our table was about to break when things just came to a standstill as we watched the last few plays of the game. 

Pete Carroll’s pass play cost a couple of people in the room money….had they scored they would have drawn a couple of more tickets.  So the last drawing would be held at the end of the game, just one ticket.  The person running the promo decided that the game ended when the pass was intercepted.  She pulled a ticket and read the number, only to be informed that the game still had about 30 seconds to go.  So we had to wait until the Patriots ran out the clock.  Then she read the number again, and the promo (and Pete Carroll’s reputation) came to an end. 

I cashed out up a little over $100, so I couldn’t complain.  It was a fun little session, I got to see Pete Carroll make a fool out of himself, and I met the wonderful Ms. Gay.  A good day.  As I strolled out into the Vegas evening, all I could hear were the sounds of both happy and sad football fans saying the same thing.  “Why didn’t he give the ball to Lynch?”

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In Case You Forgot, Pete Carroll Blew This Year's Super Bowl
In Case You Forgot, Pete Carroll Blew This Year's Super Bowl
Reviewed by just4u
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