Wednesday, February 13, 2008

A family pot

After one or two missed attempts, my and my dad finally went to the nearest (legal) brick&mortar casino together, to play poker.

One time before, we had booked a "Poker Night" package, where you get a dinner and then the dinner guests with the weekly Poker Night package play a tournament with a trophy prize. That night, us two were the only ones booked, we found out... We got "comped" some branded gifts.

Another night we went there just for dinner and some light lottery (slots and low-stakes table games) with a friend of dad. We didn't rule out the possibility of poker as well, but first they had a poker tournament filling up all the tables and dealers, then when tables opened up it was only high stakes.

But now, finally. I was going south (literally) anyway, to welcome my sister and her family back from a three week vacation in Thailand, and dad suggested we make another attempt. At the casino, they've relocated the poker room (more and better tables) and have more (and lower) blinds and buy-ins. Earlier the lowest was usually the rough equivalent of $6/12. 50/100 crowns. Now they have kinda-sorta $4/4. 20/20 crowns. Yes, small and big blind are the same. No flop, no drop, eh?

I get there, he's already waiting and has put us on the waiting list. The poker room doesn't open in an hour. We get dinner. Fish&chips!

I coach him a little, he has never played (that I know of, hmmm) poker at a casino. "The dealer is there to help you, don't make any rookie mistakes as acting out of turn, tabling your cards too early or misbetting" and such. On our way up to the poker room I also suggest that if there's few or no other players, we should hang back a while. It's no good idea to just shuffle the pot back and forth between us, taking money from each other.

No problem, when we get there, it's already full or filling up. We get seats at each end of the table, seat 3 and 8. I buy in for half the maximum buy-in, dad for a quarter of it (he later fills up to the same as me, when he understands that you have to have a buffer to absorb the normal swings in the stack).

My classification of the other players: To the right of me a good deep-stack, who plays the player and the flop. One-or two rocks, one or two maniacs, one or two willing to slug it out with huge bets and reloading. A good mix.

I hit nearly nothing. But daddy needs a new pair of shoes! Is that how the expression goes? *Google* *Google*. Uhm, no, "baby needs a new pair of shoes. He runs good, and has more than doubled up, with at least a nine for the straight (must be so, even if it didn't go to a showdown after the river) and big bets on all streets with two queens and two kings on the table. His opponent mutters something about "No, not this time, sir" and folds. So he didn't have a king. Aces maybe? Dad must've had the boat.

My hit finally comes. AQ and I raise somewhat substantially, get one caller and... nooo, dad also calls. We aren't going to softplay each other, so butt out.

An ace on the flop, good. I bet and they call again. Another ace on the turn, I bet even more and the other player calls, dad raises.

I go all in. With this board, the other player could be on a straight or flush draw, but probably not holding AK/anything better than AQ. What dad has, I don't know, but it's second best.

He calls?! The river is inconsequential, I show my trip aces and he has... two jacks?

So the only big pot I won, was from my own father. I hope he doesn't change his will. :-)

A while later, he's had enough, and I wait for the button to pass me. I'm up about 375 crowns, he's up 450. $1 is about 6.5 crowns. Good for two amateurs and an hour and a half of play. We have to do it again some time. I think we matched each other well. He had a beige suit and tan shirt on, I had black pants, black jacket and black shirt on. Sunglasses and headwear (also hoodies) are not allowed.

A pity that the only really big pot I won was against him. But he can blame noone but himself. At least there's no reason to suspect collusion or softplaying (and the brush knew that we are family).

We go downstairs to the main casino for some slots before we go home. I get a drink (Rusty Nail) and put a hundred in some machine, baffled by the several people I see playing two machines simultaneously. I semi-randomly select a play. 5 Lines, Bet 1, Spin. It bleeps and beeps and then the screen says something about "11 free games", meaning that it will repeat my first play (5 lines) eleven times. I hit some kind of bonus round, it seems. And there I hit some more wins, and more free games. I let it run its course until it finishes, and by then I'm up 150. And now the big question, where the house wins it back: "Do you want do Gamble?" This I've seen before. Double or Nothing on a coin toss, black or red. Heck no! I press Cash Out, after only one play and the coins start rattling out. Dang, another time I won some at a machine here, an attendant came with the winnings, and some machines give you a ticket, but not this one. I jump up and get a cup and gather it up. Maybe I sneer, smirk and scoff at the full-time slot zombies a little. I go back to where dad is, half a Rusty Nail in one hand, a cup full of coins in the other and a shit-eating grin inbetween them.

And I found another coin left in the coin changing machine. Can't lose, baby!

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