In these last few days before I head off to Vegas for the WSOP I'm planning to take it easy, play a few smallish buy in tournaments and not do any serious playing. At least that was my plan until I saw someone who clearly didn't belong playing $50/$100.
I know I've mentioned the pokerstars VIP system before, but to briefly refresh your memory (since it pertains to this story) there are 6 levels: Bronzestar, Silverstar, Goldstar, Platinumstar, Supernova and Supernova Elite. About a year ago they started allowing players to display their VIP level for everyone to see. You don't have to show your level and maybe only 30%-40% of players choose to do so.
When you open an account you are instantly Bronzestar. You can't be any lower. If I started from scratch it would take me about 2 hours to earn silverstar status. So if I see someone who is bronzestar it means they played less in the last month than I did in the last two hours.
I've played against at least a hundred if not a few hundred bronze star players who have advertised the fact that they are bronzestar. Not one of them has been any good at all and most are absolutely terrible players (at least by my standards). Usually they show up at the $10/$20 games with $150 lose it in a few minutes and quit. I make it a point to never leave a game with a bronze star player in it until they go broke or leave. To date that has never taken longer than 90 minutes. I'd never seen a bronze star player play above $15/$30 until this week.
Today I saw a bronze star playing $50/$100 and he had FIVE GRAND in front of him! I was in a state of drooling shock. I got the seat just to his left which was perfect because it meant I'd be acting after him in the vast majority of situations which would give me the best chance of getting his money.
I bought in for $3,000 and was prepared to go a few thousand deeper if I needed to. A few hands in, I got dealt AJ in the big blind. The first player to act (who is a regular $100/$200 player and was the only tough spot in the game) raised to $100, another player 3 bet to $150, bronzestar called from the small blind and I called from the big blind with AJ.
The flop came down AJ6! BINGO! TOP TWO! The preflop 3 bettor, bronzestar and I got four bets each in on the flop. I was almost 100% that the 3 bettor had AK and had no clue what the bronzestar had. I bet the turn (which was a Q) and they both called. I bet the river (which was a beautiful deuce) and they both called. The 3 bettor flipped up AK and the bronzestar had JT! Only a total goof would think JT had any chance of winning that pot vs two opponents.
I dragged the $1,800 pot and then something else good happened. The 3 bettor starting bitching about the fact that I called his three bet before the flop! He started talking about how online players all suck and went on and on about how bad I was playing. This was a clear indication that this guy didn't have a clue either.
A little later I saw a hand where another player in the game raised under the gun with 84s and got called by the bronzestar who had 92! It became crystal clear in the first 5 minutes that I had three clowns to my right and they were the best kind of players to play against. They all did a lot of calling, but not much raising. Mr. Bronzestar in particular was seeing about 65% of the flops regardless of the action in front of him. If he bet it meant he hit it. If he raised look out. But other wise he just check called to the river and paid you off with anything ace high or better not matter what the board looked like.
To top it off I was getting cards! I've been in a lot of great games where I thought "man if I could get any kind of cards I'd make a fortune!" I wasn't exactly getting aces every hand, but I was getting my share of face cards and pairs and for the most part my good hands were holding up. I took a few bad beats but nothing that made me want to jump out the window.
When the smoke cleared an hour later and two of the three clowns (including Mr. Bronzestar) beat it, I was up $4,500!
I think this might be the best game I've ever been in in terms of what I could make long term if I could play those players for those stakes every day. I suspect that my long term hourly rate in that game would be on the order of $400-$500 an hour.
I made note of Mr. Bronzestar's username and you can be sure if I see him again I'll clear my schedule and play until I keel over as long as he's in the game!