When I walked up to table 16 at the Oaks on Friday night there were a few new faces and as I listened to 3 of them argue with the dealer about the rules for a given situation I could tell that they have no clue what the hell they were doing. One of them was Mr. Yahoo. He was about 50, mentioned that he was a lawyer and appeared to have a fat stack of hundreds in his wallet. Next to him were two other guys who were drinking straight whiskey. Before I'd even played a single hand I knew it was going to be a great game.
The first hour was slow for me, but I was winning a little bit thanks to getting AA in a straddled pot and getting a little action. I'd seen Mr. Yahoo stack off for $300 preflop with AJ and also noticed that if he had top pair or even second pair he was calling all action post flop. I knew if I could make a hand I'd take him down.
About 90 minutes into the session I got my chance. He raised to $25 under the gun and I made it $65 to go with JJ. Then button cold called the $65! Shit! This guy seemed like a reasonable player and the only hands that made sense to smooth call in that spot were AA or KK. I was so sure that's what he had that I was planning to check fold the flop barring a miracle. Mr. Yahoo called and the flop came down J 9 2! YES! Top set! The button had about $500 behind and Mr. Yahoo had $700. If I was going to get it all from either of them I'd need to start building a pot, but I wanted to put out a bet that said "I'm unsure." I bet out $80...and the button folded! NOOOOOOO! I was shocked. Then Mr. Yahoo folded! NOOOOOOO! One of the problems with top set is it's really hard for someone else to have top pair. If I wasn't so sure the button had a big pair I might have checked. On such a dry board with a whack job who could fire with total air on the turn in the pot, I probably should have checked. Drat!
Around that time I noticed that Russel Westbrook (the NBA player) who was in town to play the Warriors was playing $15/$30 at the table next to me. I'd heard about him coming in to play at the Oaks in the past, but this was the first time I'd seen him. Oddly enough people were gathered around a TV near him watching the end of the Cavs/Celtics games and didn't seem to notice that he was sitting right under the TV! He's taller in person that I expected!
Pictured here: The Best Photo Ever Taken of Russel Westbrook
If you zoom in you can see him in the background in a blue sweatshirt under those two Chinese lanterns. I thought about putting my name up for the game he was in, but he quickly moved over to $30/$60 where there were 6 guys who play that game every day and have been very tough players for 10+ years. Limit hold'em cash games are much more formulaic and the biggest mistake you'll find these guys making is calling a raise with KJ when they should have KQ or better to call. If it had been Lebron or Kobe I would have tried to play, but I decided to stick with the more profitable situation of trying to get Mr. Yahoo's money.
After 3 hours I was winning a little bit when the hand I started this post with came up. It had been killing me that I couldn't make a hand against Mr. Yahoo. He was just spewing all over the place! To recap I had Q6 $600 deep on a Q 8 5 6 board, called $100 from Mr. Yahoo on the turn, then there was a check raise all in for $320 and Yahoo went in for $1000. When I hit that 2 pair I was all set to stack off for $700 with Mr. Yahoo and beat one pair of queens. But I was 90% sure the guy who went to $320 had a set. So I was in a spot where I'd have to call $600, in the hopes winning the side pot. My 1 second snap reaction was that it was going to be a big enough side pot, but after doing some math I figured out the side pot would be a little less than $800, meaning I'd be risking $600 to net $200 which sucked. If I could win the whole pot, I'd net about $1,300, but I knew that wasn't happening so I just had to suck it up and fold. Mr. $320 had a set of 5's a took a huge pot off Mr. Yahoo who didn't show.
Now I was back to even. :(
A couple hands later I got black 77 in the small blind. Mr. Yahoo raised to $20 vs one call, and we took the flop 3 way. The flop came down K 6 2 all clubs giving me a weak club draw and better than 2nd pair. Mr. Yahoo bet out $45 as I thought he'd do with anything after his preflop raise. I thought about raising, but by this point he only had $200 more behind and I thought he might bluff it off on the turn. The turn was the Q of spades and as expected he shoved for $200. Calling off $200 on the turn on a 3 of a suit board with two paints against a pre-flop raiser is absolutely stupid in almost any spot. But not in this one! I called, he said "You've got me." The river was the 8 of clubs making me a flush, I showed my hand, he excitedly flipped over Q2 of hearts thinking that I just had a pair of 7's. Then he saw that I had the winner and he totally lost his shit. He didn't say anything to me, but he started giving the dealer a hard time and was kind of in and out of his seat just buck, buck, bucking around like a chicken saying "Come on!" instead of "buck, buck."
He pulled out another $100 from his wallet and when the action got to him he just chucked it in the pot. I think if he'd had chips he would have raised, but the dealer read this as a call and he didn't object. I was on the button with 72 of spades. I had $2 already in there from the blinds and called another $3 hoping to get lucky. I flopped a flush! Still clucking and bucking, Mr. Yahoo fired out $20 and I just called. On the turn she shoved his last $75 and I snap called! He turned over T9 which I think made 2nd pair. When he saw that I had 72 and had flopped a flush the clucking and bucking intensified and he stormed off. I didn't get the huge stack from him, but it was still pretty sweet to send him packing.
Now that he was gone I set my sights on a new target. There was a 20 something Asian woman in seat 7 who seemed a little green. On one hand I got dealt 44 on the button and called a raise to $20 from a third player. Ms. Green called in the big blind and we took the flop 3 ways. The board ran out A 6 4 giving me bottom set. They both checked to me and I decided to check it back. The turn paired the A and Ms. Green bet out $30. I figured if she had an ace, I could put in a huge raise on the river and get called, and if she was bluffing or betting lite, I didn't want to scare her off. I just called. The river was a third A! AHHHHHHHH! Now if she had any pair I was cooked. She bet out $80. I thought she could have something like KQ and just be firing away so I called. I said "I can only beat a bluff and rolled over my hand." She mucked! About 2 second after her cards hit the muck she said she had JJ! She'd misread the situation thinking that I had a full house and not realized that she had a better full house.
On the very next hand I stuck it to her again. I came in for a raise with J9 with the J of spades and she called along with two other players. The flop came down K Q 4, all spades and I bet out $60. Ms. Green popped it to $160! Getting check raised when you're sitting on jack high isn't ideal, but I had the #2 flush draw and a gut shot, I was getting 3 to 1 on my money, and I thought I might be able to win the pot without making my hand. The turn was an off suit 3 and she checked. Now I could rule out a made flush and she had the perfect sized stack for me to take a shot at it. I put her all in for $275 with $400 in the pot and after about 30 seconds she folded.
We'd been playing short handed for a while finally so many people got up that we were down to 4 players being dealt in. We called over the floorman to draw for seats in the other game that was going, but while he was coming over and talking to us I got involved in one last hand. I raised to $20 with Q9 and got called by the big blind. The flop came down A Q 5 with two diamonds, my opponent checked, I bet $25 and he called. The turn was a 9 making me two pair and my opponent check called $45. The river was the 2 of diamonds bringing home the flush draw and my opponent bet out $120 into the $180 pot. Yikes! This was a biggish bet, but I remembered an earlier hand where this guy had put in a big check raise on the flop with a flush draw. I figured him to be the type of guy who would push a draw if he had one and there was always the chance he could think he was betting for value with a hand worse than mine. I called him very quickly and he folded his hand face down before I even showed my cards.
I decided to call it a night and not move to the new table. In the end I won $979 over 3.5 hours!
After 11.5 hours I'm up $1,179 for the project.