Tuesday, June 16, 2009

2009 WSOP, Day 20: Stranger in a Strange Land

Believe it or not“I thought you had the flush.” So said the player sitting to my left to the one on my right. I’d folded preflop, and had watched the hand play out on either side of me.

“I thought you had the flush,” said the player on my right, for whom the river card -- a third heart -- had made him a Broadway straight. “Until you just called.” They shared a chuckle.

“Yeah, well, he checked quad aces,” I interjected, pointing to the now vacant chair across the table. Both laughed. “That’s true!”

I’m not planning to bore you too much with meticulous details of my excursions to the low fixed limit tables this summer. But I will talk a little about this one particular hand I saw in which, believe it or not, a fellow did in fact check quad aces.

On my day off yesterday I was back playing again and had a longer session than usual (about three hours) from which I came away a small winner. Again, skill-wise, I faced a fairly narrow range of players -- mostly not too savvy -- although there was one player who’d routinely raise on the come. In fact, just routinely raising distinguished him from the rest of the passive pack. That guy actually limp-reraised me once preflop -- probably with ace-king (he ended up folding on the river to another player). So there was some occasionally interesting stuff going on.

For the most part, though, it was the usual limp-in-with-any-two folks taking up most of the seats around the table. For much of the time there was a beer-drinking, vacationing couple at the other end, the man in a tank top and outlandish cowboy hat. A dealer actually asked him at one point if he was chewing tobacco -- not allowed -- and his response was “Not right now.”

Like most of the others, he and his wife played every hand and would generally only bet with top pair or better, and always call with any unpaired ace or lower pair. Watched one hand in which the flop came down 10-7-4 rainbow and from middle position his wife checked-called the guy on my right. Check-called again after a jack came on the turn. Then when a deuce came on the end she bet out.

“The hammer,” I thought. Had to be. It was. My neighbor called to see it, then tossed his ace-ten to the dealer face up.

There was one older gentleman there for the first part of the session for whom English was not his native language, although he spoke so softly I never could quite pick up his accent. Always had to be told what to do when the action was on him, and generally would only check or call -- never raise, and rarely fold. Seemed to make more hands and drag more pots than the odds would dictate.

I’d been in one hand with him in which I held two black kings, and he called me down to the river when the board ultimately showed something awful like J-10-8-6-9 with a bunch of diamonds in there. I checked the end, and instead of checking behind he actually mucked -- not for any reason other than not knowing he could have seen a showdown.

So in the hand I alluded to earlier, the flop had come AhAd3d, scaring away all but two of the many players who’d limped in to see it. The player in Seat 1 had bet, and our non-native speaking gentleman had called. The turn was the As, provoking a reaction from some of those out of the hand. Seat 1 bet again, and again the older fellow called.

The river was the 8c. Seat 1 checked this time, and the old guy looked confused, then tapped the table as if imitating his opponent. The first player turned over Q-3 offsuit. “Queen-high,” said the dealer. That’s when the gentleman turned over his hand -- AcTc.

“Nice hand!” came the chorus from the other side of the table. No criticisms, just praise. In fact, no indications that anything strange had happened at all.

I guess, really, nothing strange had happened. Truthfully, I’m the oddball here for thinking otherwise. The old fellow departed soon after.

Will be back at the Rio this afternoon for Event No. 34, another of the $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em tourneys for which there will probably be another huge, 2,000-plus player field. Don’t expect to see anyone to check quad aces today, although there will certainly be some strange plays to report. Follow along over at PokerNews.

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Anonymous Big D said...

Great post - beautifully written :)

6/16/2009 5:24 PM  

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