Thursday, December 15, 2005

Bay 101: Misery, Misery Everywhere!

So Wade and I went down to Bay 101 last night and I finally got to play in a cardroom. I played $2-$4 about 3.5 hours, started out up $20-$30, went down to -$80 about 2.5 hours in, but ended up -$13 thanks to some big pairs and a set that actually held up. Considering making up the sixty bucks at the end of the night, I feel like it was a win (my stop-loss was $120 -- if I lost that, I was leaving).

I ended up getting there around 7 pm and got our names on the board -- I was at a table within 15 minutes. Sadly, Wade arrived 10 minutes later than that and had to wait much longer to get a seat in $3-$6. The game was very, very loose with big hands being cracked all the time (just like online). Unlike online though, it was relatively passive game (rarely did people raise preflop, or raise a bet after the flop). We had a wide variety of players -- notables include:

  • The red-faced drunk guy on my immediate left who was hemorrhaging money and very tilted. In fact, he was dropping the f-bomb left and right and abusing the dealers under his breath whenever he lost a pot he 'should' have won. Which was pretty much every pot. Then, after rebuying for $20 about 4 times, it was obvious he ran out of money and didn't want to leave so he nursed his last $15 by tightening up, taking smoke breaks, and working for about an hour to switch tables.
  • The old guy sitting to the left of the dealer who was relatively solid but tended to chase draws and never raised pre-flop. He also showed a general tendancy to get out of my way when I bet. I figured out the not raising part on my one attempt to bluff: four players in (blinds, old guy UTG, and me w/ 97c in late position) and flop came JQQ rainbow (one club). Blinds both checked quickly, so I took at a shot at it and the old guy called. He checked dark and I fired again on the turn -- call, another dark check for the river. I fired again, thinking it likely he was on a draw (he often folded on the river). He picked up his cards with the "I'm gonna fold grip", then tossed $4 in like it was a crying call... He flipped over... KK? What? He also had a friend a few seats down who was relatively poor and called too much.
  • Young loudmouth to the left of the old guy -- the table was quite quiet but this guy made a habit of telling everyone about everything -- like why he folded, or how lucky he was to hit a straight with 23o, 23s, and 62s, or that he got AA and KK. Honestly, the guy was obviously young and happy to be playing, but he clearly annoyed some people (not as much as the drunk guy though).
  • A few statues that said, very, very little and just wallowed in the misery of $2-$4.
  • A middle-aged Italian guy who had wraparound mirror shades and was trying to be very intimidating. He was the only guy who raised and re-raised it seemed, but it was clear he was quite new because kept showing down questionable hands after capping the flop (a pair of sixes, second pair, with a 10 kicker?). 94o that he rivered into two pair? But, he took down a number of big pots and was definitely ahead on the night.
  • A young college guy (probably barely 21 or had a fake ID) with shades. Likely he played online a lot and occasionally live. He seemed to know what he was doing, although he made some amateur moves like getting a little heated about a perceived inference that he didn't know what he was doing, or on one river where a third club hit a paired board he told the guy to his left: "I don't think you have two clubs -- I bet." Yeah, like I was suprised he had a full house.
  • A parade of other guys that came through, bought in short, won a few hands, but ultimately got down to the felt.
All in all, the experience was definitely worth the $13. By the end I felt much more comfortable being there, buying in, etc. Don't get me wrong -- it was obvious I never played at a card room before and was rather nervous (I generally felt like an idiot when I bought in and cashed out). But an important thing for me was to demonstrate to myself that I can beat the game (well, maybe not with $4 coming out of every pot) and that I won't suddenly lose all my money if I go.

Lets see, a few other things. Most of the dealers were competent but pretty boring -- with the exception of the second dealer, the only woman, who responded to my constant smile (nerves, I think) and started a conversation with me. Honestly, though, she was the only dealer that tried to lighten the oppressive, miserable feeling that hovered over the table the whole time. I saw her on the way out and told her that she was the best dealer (I could help but be reminded of Linda at Poker Works). I almost went back and gave her a couple more bucks, but I held back in case she thought I was stalking her :) Probably should have though. It was only after I sat through the other dealers that I realized how nice it is to have someone who is happy.

About the misery. Ultimately, even with the joys of pulling pots, most people were downright miserable. Honestly, a big part of it was that nobody was friends with anyone else, most people were stuck (a factor of the huge rake), and everybody was trying to win (i.e. not there to simply gamble). Big difference from the Wednesday games. Poker is an odd game in that people go out of their way to sit around and NOT have fun the majority of the time. It really isn't that fun because most people lose money and their attitude permeates the table. Just looking around the table, I can only think of one or two people who won a decent amount on the session (the gregarious young guy was the main one I can think of) and the rest were pretty big losers.

I don't think I could ever play at a place like Bay 101 every day -- be a horrible way to live my life. But Wade and I talked about going back maybe once a month, getting at the same $3-$6 table, and livening it up a bit. I think an Artichoke Joe's tourney is in our future too, maybe this Sunday.

With the slower rate of hands, I really got an idea where my leaks are. I'm doing a separate post for that so I can get my ideas in order. So, it really was a worthwhile trip.

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