Go Cocks!

After a business meeting nearby, I stopped by the Harrah’s Cherokee poker room for a little $2/5 cash game action last night. Being a Monday, traffic was very light, with three or four $1/2 tables running and only one $2/5 table. Still, I can only play at one table at a time, so…

On the first hand, following an under-the-gun straddle to $10, I folded J9o. The player two seats to my left raised to $35. He looked to be in his mid-late 60s and was wearing a University of South Carolina Gamecocks logo-ed golf shirt. Since that’s my alma mater and the best place in the world for teaching children to yell GO COCKS!” all day long with impunity, for purposes of this blog, I’ll call him “Gamecocks.” Gamecocks had a big stack of chips, in the $2,500-3,000 range.

There were two calls, then UTG peeks at his cards and says out loud, “Wow!” Before the hand started he had mentioned that the last time he straddled he woke up with pocket jacks. Is his “Wow!” exclamation a ruse to set up a steal?

He 3-bet to $150, and also had a deep stack that looked like at least $2,000.

Gamecocks called. The next guy called. The last guy, cantankerous, self-proclaimed poker pro from Louisiana, tanked a bit and also called from the small blind. Throughout the rest of the session, he bitched and disagreed loudly about everything. You’ve probably seen a version of him somewhere, wearing ear buds to listen to music while he plays, then pulling one side out and asking the dealer to repeat the bet sizes or confirm an all-in declaration or something else as if the entire poker world revolves around himself. For purposes of this blog, I’ll call him “Ragin’ Cajun.” His stack was about the same as Gamecocks’.

With $600 in the pot already, the flop was J♣5♣4♠. Ragin’ Cajun announced a bet of $400, tossing out a single purple chip (worth $500). The straddler called, then Gamecocks says “I’m all-in!” without pushing any chips forward. The next player folded, then Ragin’ Cajun pulls out an earbud asks the dealer what happened and how much is it?

Gamecocks says he has “two- to three-thousand” and Ragin’ Cajun says “no it ain’t three thousand.” Two or three other players start verbally estimating Gamecocks’ chip total. Rather than neat stacks of 20 chips each, Gamecocks’ stacks are taller and uneven and numerous. With hands shaking, he starts slowly making groups of four green chips each ($100). While this is going on, half the table is verbally guessing at the total and Ragin’ Cajun is chirping away in disagreement with everything being said. The poor dealer, an overly polite woman with alligator arms, is trying to reach Gamecocks’ chips to count them, but he’s in seat 8 on the end of the table and doesn’t push them out far enough for her to reach. Every time she asks him to push his chips out further, he slides one stack an inch or two towards the center.

It seems to take a full five minutes for the dealer to finish counting Gamecocks’ chips, for a total of approx. $2,500. Everybody else declares their estimates to have been correct, except Ragin’ Cajun who insists that no one was right. OMFG.

Then, as if the total never mattered anyway, Ragin’ Cajun just shrugs and calls. Now there’s $6,000 in the pot.

The UTG straddler goes into the tank, as if he hasn’t already had time to think about his decision. He keeps staring at his cards, muttering “I can’t believe I’m going to fold this.”

Meanwhile, I’m feeling the rapid approach of my 60th birthday and I’m not quite 59 1/2 yet. I only have 3-4 hours to play poker, and don’t want to spend all of it watching a single hand no matter how interesting it gets. It’s like watching a YouTube video with entitled OMG Watch This Amazing Bad Beat and it’s 12 minutes long and you know what’s going to happen because you can read and you watch it anyway. You’ve seen it , right? Two players are all-in, and one of them is going to win a huge pot. The other will lose. I don’t have a dog in this hunt. Organize your chips fellas. Help the dealer. Make a damn decision!

UTG finally folds, sending KK face-up into the muck.

Gamecocks shows JJ, for top set. The turn is the 4♦ to complete a full house. followed by the river 4♣. Ragin’ Cajun looks like he’s going to puke, stares at his cards for a few seconds, and tables A♣Q♣ for a useless flush on the river. Recalling his hesitation at calling the pre-flop 3-bet, I chuckle inside at his punting over $2,600 with Fucking Ace Queen (FAQ).

Several minutes later, Gamecocks has finished stacking his chips and sending a chip runner to color up three trays worth and is ready to look at his next hand. Ragin’ Cajun has returned from the cashier cage with another 4,000 or so in chips.

Cherokee! So good to be back…

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