Thursday, July 27, 2006

Vegas Trip Report, Part 4: Stop. Hammer Time!

"It's my girlfriend's!" - guy seated on my direct right, after I pointed out to the table that he was listening to N'Sync on his iPod.

After the WPBT tournament at Caesar's I slept a little bit longer than I intended, catching 4 or so hours of (welcome) sleep. Once I awoke I bounded out of bed, got myself together, and headed down to the poker room to see what was shaking.

Despite some murmurs that the Excal might not have been the location of choice for the blogger multitude to descend upon, it seemed that everyone had indeed decided to Storm the Castle. I quickly signed up for a table, and ended up seated to the left of Katkin. No other bloggers were present, though I was seated on the right of a guy wearing an Australian Rugby Union jersey.

"Wa hey! Two Aussies on the same table!" (No, I hadn't started drinking yet)
"Actually, I'm not from there, but I just came back from Sydney," my non-Aussie tablemate responded.
"Oh? What were you there for?"
"Oh, my girlfriend lives there." A pregnant pause followed.
"Well, good luck with that," I muttered, looking at my first two cards.

Katkin and I had a bit of a chat, which was good as I hadn't had the opportunity to speak to him before. He was also an interested onlooker as I proceeded to stack my non-Aussie tablemate when I flopped a set and the jersey wearer couldn't get away from his Kings.

The non-Aussie left the table for a while, but made sure to come back sometime later after hitting the ATM. His poker playing did not improve after the break.

The table wasn't that talkative, though I tried to get them going... to limited success. I did manage to get dealt the Hammer in back-to-back hands. I dumped some chips attempting a pre-flop raise the first time, but took down the pot the second time. Both times I displayed the hand, and Katkin began demanding a new dealer. He was joined a little later when I was dealt AA back-to-back as well.

"Live poker is rigged," someone said (I was drinking at this stage), echoing the mantra of the weekend.

After a while some people started floating away, being replaced by those people who play poker at 2am on a Saturday night - the drunk, the "just off work", and those that prey on the former two groups.

Newly seated to my direct left was a dude in a fantastic suit, who I congratulated on his fashion sense as soon as he sat down. Another new player, who I recognised from Thursday night, also sat down. Katkin floated away after getting a bit of a beating, though I decided to stick around despite throwing chips away when I refused to entertain the possibility I was behind in a hand.

A little later I took another look at my tablemates and realised that the three people on my direct right were all wearing iPods. I decided this wasn't really the table for me, and made a hasty retreat.

This enabled me to immediately sit down at a blogger dominated table. Sliding in on the right of Nickerson and to the left of Penner (making the third time for the weekend) I took stock of my opponents. Nickerson had a formidable stack, apparently contributed heavily by the ever-straddling Joe Speaker. Veneno was there (albeit briefly), as was Smokkee and a returned Katkin. I didn't play too many hands that I recall, though again it was good to chat to all and sundry.

And that is when The Hand occurred. People have already described this, but since I was involved in the hand I'll put in my two cents. I was the SB, Nickerson was the BB, and Speaker was live-straddling (of course). Katkin raised it up from EP, and everyone proceeded to throw their cards away, myself included. Apparently the dealer assumed we were all ducking for cover as he whisked Joe Speaker's cards away, much to Speaker's dismay.

After much expressed disapproval, Joe rescued the two cards before they hit the muck.

"Yep, these are my cards," Speaker stated. And with that he slammed his stack of chips onto the table. "I'm all-in."

Katkin called, and we all craned our necks to have a look at the overturned cards. Katkin showed his KK, natch. Speaker turned over his... 7-2 offsuit. With much hooting and hollering from the crowd, the confused dealer began to deal out the flop.

The flop brought a draw, an OESD, for Speaker. We all began to get loud, dragging people from other tables over to ours, just to enjoy the spectacle. Though my eyes did not stray from the cards on green felt, I have to imagine that Katkin had already begun to shrink in his chair.

Let's be honest. Katkin never had a chance. He never even got to experience hope, as the turn completed Speaker's straight. Every blogger in a 20 metre radius, sans the vanquished, went absolutely apeshit. Absolute bedlam.

Funnily enough, after a show like that no one really had the heart to continue. By unspoken agreement we all chuckled to ourselves, got up from the table, and those lucky enough to still possess chips went and cashed out.

Somewhere some dealer from the Excalibur is still telling that story. And probably will be for quite some time.

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