Finally, I met the blogfather.
He's a bit shorter than I had envisioned--if added a drink holder to his head he'd be a very convenient companion.
Somehow I dragged Iggy off Party Poker (bonus code:Iggy) to make the hour drive from Cinci to the Belterra boat, one of the nicer card rooms I've seen.
In addition, Amarillo Slim was in the house, promoting his new book and playing in the tournament as its main attraction. I walked up to his table to watch the man in action and immediately saw him push all in pre-flop with a short stack. His AQ was called by a big stacked A9 and all looked good until the turn and river brought running 9s. He just tipped his cap and got up. Later in the evening (figured that was not great timing) I got him to sign my Red Sox cap.
I had gotten there fairly early at around 6:00, and Iggy had warned me that the room would be packed with a tournament and that they were not particular good at setting up the no limit game I wanted to play. Fortunately, he was only half right as the tournament had already winnowed down to 30+ from 80+ in two hours (psycho blind structure), and they quickly set up a second and--I am told this is very unusual--third 2-5 400 NL. Iggy did not arrive until 10:00 and I got some significant card time in before his arrival.
Anyway, my table selection turned out to be pretty awful. My NL table was quite and featured absolutely no alcohol on the table. Each is usually a bad sign. There were only two obvious fish (I started to wonder if I was the third) and some pretty tight play from the get go.
For shits and giggles however, there was on my right was a real impressive character who impressed me with his tales of his 20k month profit, his normal play at the 10-25NL at the Bellagio (don't know if that's actually spread but I'll take his word for it), and, upon hearing that I was in from New York, how he had played several times in Queens as--I kid you not--the "only white guy" at a mob game hosted by John Gotti. I asked him how he found himself at such a lowly 2-5 game. He assured me that I was sitting at "the biggest game in Ohio." I somehow avoided the temptation to point out that we were in Indiana. You can't make this shit up.
First two orbits saw me roller coaster as my AK continuation bet ran into a set of 10s which cost me about 125 but I regained in when my hilton sisters got all in preflop against a short stack slick.
Then began a series of confrontations with one of the fish, who, after looking at my Red Sox cap and asking me if I were a Red Sox fan couldn't resist recapping the Yankees comeback against the Royals. I'll call him Corn-fed. I didn't realize Corn-fed was a fish until my real hand with him. 6th position I opened for 15 with T9 spades. In the button, he raised me to 40. The table folded around and I called. Flop was 872 with two hearts. I led out 75 and, after some thought, he called me but looked visibly unhappy. I put him on an middle overpair. Turn came a king and I decided to push him off his hand, putting him all in for about 185. I'll warrant my play might have been questionable, but a) my read more than dead on and b) at this point, I didn't realize how bad a player he was. He hemmed for a while and called me with 83 of hearts. Turns out I actually had 14 outs but none of them hit so I doubled the donkey up.
There was some quick redemption when an orbit later again in 6th position with a 10 raise UTG (the minimum starting raise for the table) and 3 callers I called with Q8 spades. It folded around to Corn-fed who called with the button. Flop was 853 with two clubs. UTG opened with 20 and against we had 3 callers. I wasn't sure where this hand was going but figured I had the odds for a call with top pair, decent kicker. Corn-fed called as well. The turn came an 8 and the board checked around to me. If that was not the card I wanted, I don't know what was. I made it 100 to chase out the flush draws. Corn-fed then came over the top for 100 more.
After the board folded around to me I had a think. Corn-fed had just shown the ability to play 83 so I seriously considered the possibility. Nevertheless, I only had 220 more behind and didn't really see how I could fold. I also didn't see how I could call, so I pushed over the top and Corn-fed, after further fruitful reflection, called the 120 more. The river was a blank and Corn-fed's aces did not catch up to my trips. That's right, he limped preflop against 4 callers and smooth called the same 4 on the flop. Only with a paired board did it occur to him to bet his cards.
I continued to tread water at the table, at one point dropping to 100, buying in for 300 more and getting up to 700. When Iggy showed, I was stuck about 200, by the time he joined me, it was closer to 400. It took him about an hour and a half to get a seat, and he was at another (better) table when a seat opened on my right. He had already built up above 500 when I asked if he would like to join me. Notwithstanding the rules that required him to transfer only 400 (putting the balance in his pocket), Iggy graciously agreed to join me although even at that point it was clear that he was making a significant table downgrade.
Iggy changed my luck a bit I guess, as while he was there I flopped the nuts or a monster about 4 times. The first 3 times I tried to play them slow and no one paid me off more that 50. Finally, I figured that my table read any slow play by me as strength so when I got my next chance (it was a good run) with a flopped ace-high flush , I played them like I was either bluffing or protecting against a draw. One player called a 40 flop bet, a 75 turn bet and a 150 river bet, declaring before the river bet "I just don't see what you could have." After about 3 minutes of thinking and a call, I was happy to fill him in.
Iggy made a great lay down against me. Pre-flop, in the cutoff, Iggy opened for 25. With the button, I looked down to see bullets. After getting sliced up by the Bracelet, I am through with screwing around with Bloggers. I made it 75 to go and the table folded around to the dwarf housewife, who called.
The flop was a queen high board with two hearts. Iggy checked and, though seriously worried about the hilton sisters, I made it 100 to go. Iggy's inner monologue became outer as he reviewed the possibilities. When he said "the only thing I'm worried about is the overpair", I was dying for raise. I knew he had Mrs. Slick. How could he lay it down? He did, and he showed me he did.
I was basically back to even (at one point up 1 dollar) when our table really thinned out, leaving us with a bunch of giant stacks and no one to carve up. Iggy suggested we join his friend George at the 3-6 limit game and I was happy for the opportunity to blow off some steam with some low limit. I got up stuck 55, which was a pretty nice rebound from where I was at.
And it got better.
At 3-6, with my first hand in the cutoff, I faced 5 limpers with 67 suited. Monster! Raise. Flop was 2 4 8. Check-check-check-bet-me--RAISE. Fold-fold-fold-call.
Turn was a ten. Check-Bet.
River was a 5. Check-Bet, flip over the gutshot river suckout. Scoop, watch my new neighbor pack up and leave.
As I moved over to the empty seat on Iggy's left, the man declares a straddle. "Restraddle!"
And we were off. The table was tilting quickly. I sucked out on Iggy a few times, and got paid off by others when I actually had the goods. Highlight came when Iggy did not straddle UTG, but bet naturally. I had KK and 3 bet Iggy. He capped.
Flop was a decidedly unlovely AQJ. Iggy bet out, and with a sigh, I called.
Turn was a rag and I called one more bet.
River was a seven and Iggy strangely checked. Suspicious, I flipped over my cowboys. Easy bonus points if you can guess what losing hand Iggy had.
At the end of the night, I was down $5. Best $5 dollars I've spent in a long time. Had a blast, met an icon.
Here now in south east Ohio, last stop until returning to the city tomorrow. See the flop...