"You Gotta Protect Your Aces"

Jumping back and forth in time to write these blog posts sometimes creates some interesting surprises for me.  When I went back to listen to my voice notes so I could write this here post, I discovered an incident I had completely forgotten about. It was eerily familiar to an incident that had occurred over a month later—one that I’d just written up a few days earlier.  It’s a sad commentary on the state of my memory these days that even when the story I told hereactually took place, I didn’t flash back to this earlier incident which took place in the very same poker room just as my trip was getting under way.

In fact, this session took place the day after I played Colossus (see hereand here).  And this was the day that I found out that Colossus had broken Vegas poker.  Because of the ripple effect of all the folks playing Colossus, most of the Vegas poker rooms were packed and had huge waiting lists to get into a cash game. Not expecting this to happen, I had decided to forego a tournament on this Saturday, and regretted it once I saw how busy all the cash games were.  Although my original plan was to spread my poker business over a couple of rooms, once I got into a game at MGM, I decided to stay put for fear of having to wait forever if I moved on.

So it was middle-afternoon when I got into my usual 1/2 game.  My first seat was one of the corner seats that I hate (difficult for me to see from there) so after just a few hands I moved to seat 1 when that player left.  I folded my first hand in the new seat and then found myself holding two Aces.  I hadn’t played a hand or put any money in a pot to that point, so I still had my entire $200 in front of me.  A player limped and I made it $10.  An older guy with a baseball cap (worn the right way) who had over $400 in front of him made it $30.  There was a clueless guy who came to the table short who called.  I say he was clueless because it seemed like a hand or two earlier he didn’t seem to know what the big blind was—not how much it was, but what it meant to be the big blind.  Perhaps he just didn’t realize it was his blind.  But he had a short stack, like $47, He took my old seat.  I guess he came from another table because otherwise he was well under the minimum $100 buy-in.

I put another $100 out.  Baseball cap guy announced, “I call—all-in.”  Damn. He wasn’t angle-shooting, he just messed up.  Of course the dealer told him that since the first thing he said was “I call,” he couldn’t go all-in.  Clueless guy put his last few chips in and we saw a flop of 10-10-9.  I immediately put out the rest of my chips and the big stack snap-called.  The last two cards were low and he showed pocket Queens.  The clueless guy had King-Queen. It was a pretty nice pot. After I stacked and counted my chips, I had $437 in front of me. 

Baseball cap guy felt the need to defend his play.  “Anybody would have done that, right?”  I guess he was talking to me, I didn’t say anything.  He turned to the guy sitting between us, who he had been playing with for some time—and also happened to be a former poker dealer I’ve played with several times before and who has dealt to me in another room and who knew that I wrote for Ante Up. “You would have done that, right?”  The ex-dealer is a real loose player but he didn’t answer the guy either.

I dunno, I think he maybe could have found a fold there.  He didn’t have any read on me, but this was the first hand he’d seen me play (out of maybe 6, tops) and I not only raised, I four-bet him.  How many hands am I doing that with?  I think Queens was an easy lay-down after I put out half my stack before the flop.  Maybe I’m doing that with Ace-King and then he’s got a coin flip for (potentially) $200?  Not sure I agree that “anybody” would have done that.  But I was happy he did.

Within a relatively short period of time, baseball cap guy ended up losing his entire stack, rebought, and then started bleeding more chips.  His stack was less than $100, and he started playing blind.  Not always but he’d decided at the last minute to play his hand blind.  Sometimes he’d look at one card, other times he’d just decided to call bets—or make bets himself—without looking at his cards.  Depending on his stack, he’d sometimes shove blind, but mostly he’d play normal—except that he wouldn’t look at his cards.  Eventually, before deciding to stack off on the turn or the river, he might look.

He kept winning.  In fact, it seemed that whenever he didn’t look, he’d win, but then he’d have enough chips to play with for real, so he’d look at his cards, and then lose.  He started celebrating when he’d win if he had played blind (and it seemed like he could only win if playing blind), pounding the table with glee, getting out of his seat, whooping it up if he won a hand—doing a little dance, congratulating himself on his win.  Now, because of his short stack, he wasn’t winning much, and it was obvious that he was celebrating more because he was amazed that he kept winning this way than because of the amount of money he was stacking.

There was this young guy at the table, obvious grinder type.  Hadn’t said a word the entire time I’d been there.  And he lost to baseball cap guy and doubled him up.  It wasn’t much, and I didn’t note the hand, but I’m pretty sure the grinder had a big hand and the guy playing blind totally sucked out on him.  And so he got up and did his dance, and was all excited, and started yelling gleefully to a guy at the other end of the table, “Did it again…that’s what, 5 times in a row I won playing blind?  Isn’t that great?  That’s awesome! I should play blind all the time!” 

Yeah, it was annoying.  And to some degree he was rubbing it in….but again, it was more because of how he won than that he was celebrating a big victory.  And he surely wasn’t bragging about his brilliant play, he knew how damn lucky he was.  He was basically celebrating his dumb luck, like a guy who was dealt three blackjacks in a row at the BJ table might.

But the young grinder didn’t appreciate losing to him, not at all.  And so, for the first time since I’d gotten to the table, he said something.  He said to the older guy, “Shut the f*** up.”

The older guy was taken aback, and the grinder continued.  “You’re an old man.  Show some class.  Don’t rub it in.”  The old guy didn’t really respond, I think he was shocked.  But the kid continued to grumble about the guy’s behavior, and threw in a few more f-bombs to express his disgust.

I have to admit, the kid had a valid point.  But you know, you can’t tell another player to shut the f*** up.  Meanwhile, as soon as the first f-bomb came out of his mouth, the dealer warned him to watch his language.  He ignored her.  The dealer threatened to call the floor, but the kid couldn’t stop himself, he kept grumbling about the guy’s behavior and kept using foul language to do so.  He seemed surprised that he was the one being warned.  He pointed out to the dealer that it was the other guy who was engaging inappropriate behavior—celebrating his wins excessively. The dealer kind of indicated that both of them were out of line and warned the older guy about excessive celebrating.  She kept saying to the kid, “calm down” and “you can’t talk to another player that way.” But when the kid wouldn’t shut up, the dealer did indeed call the floor, who happened to be the shift manager.  All the older guy would say was, “Hey I haven’t used any bad language.”

I was kind of surprise what happened next.  The kid was in a hand when the manager showed up and got the story from the dealer. Then, the manager said to the kid, “Go ahead and finish this hand and then you’re going to cash out for the day.”

Wow, that was a quick hook.  I would have expected the manager to speak to both players individually and warn them about their behavior.  I personally think that just hearing that again from the manager—along with some time lapse—would have done it. I also thought he might have just told the kid he had to change tables to get away from the guy who had pissed him off.  But no, he just kicked him out for the day without even listening to him.

This didn’t exactly please the kid.  He pointed to the other guy and said his behavior was obnoxious.  The manager didn’t care, and when the guy resisted leaving, the manager said, “Look, right now, you’re only being asked to leave for the day.  Let’s not escalate this.”

The kid took the hint that he could possibly be banned for longer than the day, and very reluctantly picked up his chips.  He did say to the manager, “This is ridiculous, you kicking me out. You know how much I make for this casino every day?  Thousands of dollars.”  Hmm….trying to figure out how a guy who plays 1/2 NLH makes a casino that kind of money.

Anyway, he was very upset but he left without further incident.  I have to say, I didn’t think it was necessary to kick him out.  Move him to another table, yes.  Give him a “final warning,” sure.

I wonder if the fact that the waiting lists were so long had something to do with it?  Perhaps with a full board of players waiting for his spot, it was easier to just kick out the malcontent and give someone else his seat.  I dunno, I thought it was a bit extreme.

The older guy left not long after and was replaced by a guy in a white sweat suit. He was very friendly, talking to everyone, decent guy.  And a luckbox.  He played a lot of hands and seemed to hit many of them.  But I didn’t see anything that made him look like a maniac, he just seemed to be lucky. The clueless guy busted out by shove-bluffing air into a guy who had the nut flush.  He was replaced by a guy who was even more clueless.  Seriously, this guy looked like he’d never seen a deck of cards before.

So by now I was down to around $330.  Sweat suit guy had over $400.  The new clueless guy had bought in for $100 and somehow still had about $45 left.  And I got pocket Aces again.  I opened for $8.  The guy in the white sweat suit made it $37.  New clueless guy called.  He left about $7 behind so obviously he should have gone all-in, but as I said, he was clueless.  Back to me, and I put another $120 on top of the $8 already in front of me.  Does that seem like the right size bet?

Sweat suit guy asked for a count and then called.  Clueless guy put in his last few chips.  The flop was horrific: King-Jack-King.  I checked.  Sweat suit guy bet $100.  Back to me. I tanked.

That flop sure looked good for his range, right?  I mean, I figure he’s got JJ+, or Ace-King.  The only hand I can put him on that I beat is pocket Queens.  Reluctantly, I folded.

Since he was heads up with the clueless guy, he had to show his hand, which was of course, pocket Jacks.  Clueless guy had Ace-rag and figured out that he shouldn’t be playing poker and left.

Well, at least I made a good fold.  The guy asked me what I had and of course I said nothing.  But he knew what I had.  “Why didn’t you shove (pre-flop)?  You shove, I’m gone.  You gotta protect your Aces.”

I wanted to say nothing but I did let these words escape my lips:  “Is that a good way to get value?”  He repeated himself.  “You gotta protect your Aces.  You shove, I’m gone, I’m not calling a shove. But you only raised, what, $100? You know Jacks have been good to me.  That’s why I called.”

Well, sir, you never told me that you had Jacks or that they’ve always been good to you.  I didn’t know.  But if that’s the case, why wouldn’t you have called a shove?

He harped on it for awhile.  After the fifth or sixth time he asked me, “Why didn’t you shove?” I finally said to him, “I’m sorry, I didn’t realize you were that bad a player.”  Yes, I said that.  Of course, I said it in a joking way, at least I tried to.  He shut up but he didn’t seem upset.  Unfortunately, I may have gotten him to rethink his play.  I should have kept my mouth shut.

So apparently the purpose of poker is to protect your Aces, not extract as much money from your opponents as possible.

Later, he called a raise of mine and said, “You’re gonna hate me even more if I hit this time.”  I said to him, “I couldn’t hate you any more than I already do.”  Again, I made it clear it was all in good fun.

Remember how I started this post.  This situation was strangely similar to the one that happened at least a month later where the guy told me I should have bet more (or shoved) when I raised him on the turn with a full house.  But I swear, I didn’t think of this “protect your Aces” guy at the time.  And when I wrote that other post, I didn’t recall this story at all.  Otherwise I might have combined them.

Anyway, I played on, nothing too exciting happened after that, and booked a small win.  And apparently, totally forgot about “protecting my Aces” within a short period of time.

But now that I remember, I plan on open-shoving my entire stack whenever I get them again.

I mean, you gotta protect your Aces, right?

Thinking of hiring this Lady Cop to protect my Aces!
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"You Gotta Protect Your Aces"
"You Gotta Protect Your Aces"
Reviewed by just4u
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Rating : 4.5