A Momentary Northwoods Diversion
I snuck back up to the old home country for a couple of days here recently, trying to give my brain a short bit of down time before the grind otherwise known as the WSOP begins. I planned on doing a lot of shopping, a little fishing, maybe a round of golf, maybe a casino visit.
I managed to do a ton of needed shopping on Friday, but the Northwoods weather wasn't too cooperative, so I got in no fishing and only one round of golf. I did get in live poker play twice, though, since my sister and her husband both wanted to go to the casinos, so we made a project of it on Friday night and again on Saturday.
While both me and my brother-in-law Brad had a down night in the $1/2 NL game at Lake of the Torches, the highlight of the night had to be the rinky-dink way the single table in action (on a Friday night, no less) was being run. What follows is a hilarious lesson in small-time poker:
We had reserved our seats for when the game began and were therefore playing soon after 4pm, when the game started up. No one busted out until after 5:00, and that was a kid who claimed to play a ton at low stakes on Stars, but was about the opposite of what I expected him to be. He must have limped in 30 times pre-flop, and to the best of my memory never made a pre-flop raise, but never failed to call if someone raised behind him. He eventually put himself in a position to get his aces cracked, and thus departed. His seat was filled by another of the game's regulars, who in total probably occupied seven of the ten seats.
Then I busted anther one of the regulars, despite being down myself, and another player from the lengthy waiting list came in on the third of three calls for the open seat, bought $150 in chips, dropped them by the open ten seat and went off to the dinner buffet without playing a single hand. And the floor allowed this, despite a waiting list of six or seven names and only the single table in play.
An hour later the guy still hadn't returned and the majority opinion, including mine, was, "What the fuck?"
Eventually the guy did show, spouting some cockamamie about the situation, at which time the floor guy, a native with a bad attitude at the best of times who had an extra bad attitude this night (because he had not been chosen to be the new room supervisor), announced to the complainers that he wasn't going to listen to anyone's complaints, because that was now the new room supervisor's job. Poor new supervisor Debbie is gonna have a fun time with this assclown on staff.
But amid the grumbling, I said, quite loudly, so the whole room could hear: "What kind of bullshit is this? It's the floor's job to listen to complaints -- besides making change and assigning seats, that's basically why he's here."
I got an icy look for that one from said assclown. Ah, well.
The next day Brad and Holly wanted to go up to Watersmeet, Michigan, the home of the fabled Nimrods in the ESPN high-school football series and commercial. The UP is rugged country but quite beautiful, if still a bit barren this very late spring. We went up there because they were running the first of what they promise will be monthly $100+15 buy-in freezeouts, which is relatively high stakes for the area. (They run a quarterly $300+30, too.) The room supervisor happened to be an old Flambeau hand who remembered me from my last visit to that room some months before, and not only was he glad for all of us to be there, he even arranged with the big boss on duty for me to be allowed to take a photo or two of the Watersmeet layout. The disintegrating situation in Flambeau was among the topics of conversation by everyone in sight. Lots of bad crap going on at Lake of the Torches, the type of bad crap that brings S.W.A.T. teams authorized by the Department of the Interior and the Bureau of Indian Affairs. And when I say buzz, I mean it; at least a third of the players in Watersmeet were people I recognized as regulars from the Flambeau game.
In total, despite a nice layout and friendly staff, Watersmeet drew only 25 players for this event. It's what happens for a smaller, new tourney that gives it its first go just before Memorial Day. It may also be an one of a thousand small indicators of what is likely to be a tough summer for the region's touristy economy. They'll still do somewhat better in the summer and should likely approach the 40-player cap for these things, since the casino has a very nice four-table room.
We started play at about 12:15 with 7,500 in chips each, and for the first hour I went nowhere, slipping down to about 5,000 at one point. I chipped up a tiny bit, then halfway through Hour 2 pulled off an all-in, check-raise semi-bluff against a couple of the table's steadier players, who -- thank heavens -- bought my push and let me take down a pot up to almost 12,000 at that point. Then I came over the top of my brother-in-law's late-position raise when I found 10-10 in the small blind, only to get an all-in push over the top of me from the big blind. Brad went away -- he had only 5-5 -- and I was getting better than 4:1 and was definitely priced in against the guy's range, despite having only about 3,000 behind. The big blind showed A-K and my tens held up, and I was suddenly over 20,000 in chips, and in the hunt.
By the time we consolidated into a final table of ten I'd chipped up to 33,000 and had taken a very thin lead, though the stacks were tight enough and the blinds high enough that it was really anyone's game. I made a jump up to about 60,000 after a couple of big pots, the second of which found me with K-K, where I re-raised one of the event's better players out of the pot. (He had A-Q, though a shorty called with 10-10 and went bye-bye.)
I was pretty sure I'd make the top four and cash in the thing at this point. My brother-in-law was on fumes, though, but correctly made a last stand before becoming Broomcorn's Uncle, the fate which befell the eventual fifth-place bubbler, an old guy who had been solid early but turned weak-tight as the bubble approached. I busted him when my A-3 held against his all-in-with-his-big-blind K-10. My brother-in-law went out in seventh or eighth, and he was happy enough with that performance, it seemed, despite not cashing.
Problem was, I had dropped a few chips in the meantime from my high-water mark, and had roughly just a fourth of the chips in play when the bubble burst, so when a chop was offered for the cash portion of the prize money -- a $330 seat to the quarterly $15K was an added bonus for the winner -- I figured what the hell. It was a straight 40:30:20:10 split on the prize money, so I grabbed the $540 in chop cash and tried for the seat. I eventually went out in third, as 5:30 approached, though I'd have given the seat to Brad if I'd won it anyway.
And that's how my unplanned poker weekend went. The single round of golf was played through a series of popcorn showers, and I struggled to an 87 (from the men's tees, at least) on a shortish course near Tomahawk. At least I chipped one in for a birdie on a short par five.
Now it's back to work for a hard few days, including preparation for my mad-dash drive to Vegas over the Memorial Day weekend. I'll see some of you there, I'd guess, including a handful of you folks I've never met in person before. It'll be a busy seven weeks, won't it?
Pssst.... All this, of course, is an alternate post. I had written a lengthy, lengthy post on another topic, and just couldn't quite talk myself into publishing that one before I headed north. Perhaps I will soon. Then again, perhaps not.