Thursday, January 22, 2009

Things Gettin’ Weird Down by the River

'River's Edge'Anybody remember that movie River’s Edge? From the mid-80s. Had Keanu Reeves, Crispin Glover, Donovan’s daughter? I think Dennis Hopper was running around being loony in there somewhere, too.

I remember how when it came out the film caused a minor stir for its unflinching portrayal of American youth as a disaffected “teenage wasteland” only interested in selfish pursuits. You know, getting high, getting laid, and/or getting away with whatever they could.

If I remember correctly, the story was based on a true event in which some high school cretin murdered his girlfriend, then after a few days was showing his friends the body and the friends did nothing about it.

Although it has been a couple of decades since I’ve seen it, my memory of the film is that it did a decent job highlighting the strange, complex web of peer pressure and hormones that could produce such an odd, disturbing scenario. I recall some observers at the time wanting to describe the film as a commentary on the breakdown of society, a clear signal that our culture was experiencing a most grievous moral decline. Which I suppose it was. But what’s new? Doesn’t every age produce similar commentaries about itself?

Speaking of morbid fascination, I have discovered lately that I have what is probably an unhealthy fixation on the weird, eccentric, and/or outright bizarre choices some of my opponents are making on the river during our limit hold’em games. We’re talking $0.50/$1.00, so I know I shouldn’t be surprised by unpredictable, irresponsible behavior in my opponents. I also know there are surely better things to be doing with my time than puzzling over some of these decisions I have witnessed, as doing so is probably about as useful, ultimately, as trying to figure out what exactly is going on in yr average teenager’s head. (Now that I think about it, perhaps some of these players are teens, for all I know.)

But bear with me. Let me show you a couple of hands. I just have to tell somebody.

In the first one, a player two to my left -- GoatBoy -- had gradually allowed his stack to dwindle all of the way down to just $2.05 thanks to a lot of passive calling on flops and turns and meek folds on rivers. Meanwhile, the player sitting in between us (to my immediate left) was also of the passive variety. This one -- whom we’ll call BeardedLdy -- was doing a lot of obvious chasing of inside straight draws and/or with overcards, and occasionally was getting there so as to preserve her stack.

Here’s the hand (RSS readers will have to click through to view):

That’s right, folks. With pot odds of 81-to-1, the BeardedLdy decided it was best to let it go rather than risk that nickel.

Okay, just one more. I’m involved this time. The player of note here we’ll call TheDwarf. After a few dozen hands with the guy, he’d shown he was a loose-passive type who was more than willing to call down with king-high. He’d also done a bit of chirping in the chat box, commenting on others’ play in a fashion that signaled pretty clearly that what he lacked in stature he also lacked in brains.

I’m in the big blind and TheDwarf is on the button, limping in as usual:

I should have raised preflop, actually. And while that Qh on the turn might’ve bothered me more against some opponents, I was fairly sure TheDwarf was sitting over there with K-6 or something like it, and that check-raising was the way to go.

My favorite part of the hand, though, was after our cards were revealed.

TheDwarf said, “neededgthe10”
Shamus collected $8.60 from pot
TheDwarf said, “:(”

Yeah, that ten would have helped. Sure.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

That last hand, I tried to come up with a witty comment but my brain shut down.

1/22/2009 1:01 PM  
Blogger Frisco Del Rosario said...


Surely your dwarf friend is at the office now, regaling his mates with stories of bad beats and suckouts.

I like to play sit-and-go events for the smallest buy-ins. I'm rarely surprised to see one or more players knocked out on the first hand, often risking their tournament lives on hands which are, preflop, made of dreams and starlight.

This morning, on the first hand, I was second to speak when UTG shoved in all 1,500 chips. All folded to the button, who called the 1,500. Their hands, respectively, were A5 offsuit and A6 offsuit.

1/22/2009 1:20 PM  
Blogger Irongirl01 said...

I surely remember the Rivers Edge. I'm a major Keanu fan (hes been my actor crush for years) and thats the first movie that brought him to my attention. Ione Skye is Donovan's daughter formerly married to one of the Beastie Boys.

1/22/2009 2:18 PM  
Anonymous Everest poker bonus said...

Your domain name is really funny :)

1/22/2009 4:28 PM  
Blogger Short-Stacked Shamus said...

Erwin: I know what you mean.

Frisco: In fact, before we were done the Dwarf did make a few remarks about the fact that he just kept getting unlucky goshdarnit.

IG: Now that you mention it, I guess River's was the first I'd ever heard of Keanu as well. (He's good, but C. Glover is crazy good.) Didn't Ione Skye turn up in an ep. of Arrested Development, too?

Everest: Funny ha-ha or funny in the head? Never mind -- same diff. :)

1/22/2009 5:12 PM  
Blogger Greylocks said...

The biggest pot-odds fold I ever saw on any street - but this happend on the river - was in a 2/5 NLHE game at the Mirage. The pot was over $700. The Hero had a stack of reds left ($100) after some wild betting. He took one chip off the top, set it aside, and pushed the rest in. His opponent raised to cover the last $5. Hero folded, said he was saving the last chip to tip the parking valet.

It was obvious he was just taking a shot at the pot, but still...

1/22/2009 9:10 PM  

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