I haven't been writing much lately, probably because I've been getting bored and just felt like I had nothing to interesting to talk about. Well, the best cure for that, as far as I can tell, is a 9 hour session with Neal. Many of you probably remember my previous post about the man, the myth, the legend that is Neal. Well yesterday he was in rare form.
I showed up at Bay 101 at 10:30am and promptly dusted off ~2 racks in an excellent 20/40 game. Neal walked in and a new game was promptly started around him. Bolly beat me to the table change list, but I was 2nd up to take my shots at the White Whale. Around noon I got my seat, stuck $900, and was astonished to find the Jesus Seat vacant. The player who was currently all in apparently had asked for the seat, but he lost the pot and wandered off, steaming about something or other and mumbling "Gut shot....". I couldn't give this chance up, so I promptly posted my big blind like 3 seats left of the big blind, before anybody could lay claim to my seat. Once I had a hand, I was bunkered down for the long haul.
And what a long haul it was. The thing about The Neal Game is that basically everyone except the most seasoned players goes completely batshit crazy. Neal is an obnoxious SOB, and that alone is enough to put many players on a form of soft tilt. Combined with the attitude that "I've gotta gamble it up with him" and "If everyone else can play that trash, so can I" pretty soon you've got yourself 8 handed raised pots 3 times an orbit. A dash of "Jesse in the Jesus Seat" and "JS the lag is two seats left of that" and all of a sudden the game is just off the chain nuts. Players who normally play well (or at least straight forward and non-awfully) start calling two cold with Q8s and A7o.
So we're muddling along, with basically everyone winning except Neal and I. He eventually gets into the game for 7 racks, and I'm not far behind him after I make my 3rd buy of the day. At my peak I was stuck about 2300, but dedicated to play through and not let his antics get to me (fwiw, I think I did an excellent job). In hour 6 I saw one of the most improbable poker events of my life: consequetive straight flushes in heads up pots.
A tight regular and Neal go 5 bets preflop (the cap is 4, mind you, but it's heads up), with Neal putting in the last raise. The board on the turn reads:
And Neal gets to bet/3-bet the sucker. He bets the river, fast grabs his chips back after getting called, proudly displayes 53hh for the steel wheel 5 high straight flush, and procedes to call JS a fag for good measure (even though JS wasn't even in the hand).
On the very next hand....JS open raises from very early, and Bolly 3-bets him. Somehow Neal actually folds, and the flop goes off heads up. I forget the board, but on the turn Bolly has an 8-high straight flush, which he eventually displays proudly. JS comments on his 3-bet with 7-high, and is met only by Neal's astute "Shut up you faggot." JS's girlfriend giggles in such a way that seems to say....well, I don't know what it said. But she did actually laugh.
So we're all continuing down our path of mutually assured destruction, one hand after another with everyone flinging their own feces back and forth and me just trying not to get too much of it on myself. Then I start to win....first a little, then a lot. Then the following super stupendously awesome hand happens:
Bolly limps in the AntiChrist seat, Neal limps, and I raise A8 sooooooted. 2 other players call and we see the flop 5 ways:
K84 with two hearts
It checks to Neal who bets, and I raise quickly and in rhythm. Everyone mucks back to Bolly, who calls two cold like it's nothin'. Neal 3-bets and I call only since I have, you know, second pair. Bolly takes one more on the chin and we see a turn of
A of hearts
Aiyah. Now the pot is huge (~10 big bets) and I have Aces up. Bolly checks and Neal bets. I think for a minute about this predicament...sure Bolly probably has a flush, but I mean, it's freakin' NEAL. Bolly left the reservation a while back, and he could have damn near anything. And did I mention I have Aces up? Folding is not an option, but raising would be suicidal, so I just call. Bolly turbo-raises and Neal calls. Now I am 100 percent sure Bolly has a flush (aside: A young pro at the 40/80 game said as I was showing down my Kings full the other day "He has Kings there 112% of the time. He always has at least 2, and 12% of the time he has a 3rd one"), but since Neal only called I'm priced in to my 4 outter. Had he 3-bet, I'd have made "the read" and done "the math" and "folded" without a second thought. Here's where this shit gets funny....
Players have been dark betting today (that's betting a street before the dealer exposes it). For some reason, it's just the hip thing to do. On one hand JS managed to dark bet every street with TT on a board of J83-4-4 and get paid off the full 2.5 big bets post flop by Neal (who flopped second pair of 8s). Bolly's been in on the act, too, and so has Neal. So, returning to our hand, remember, the board reads:
And Neal went batshit on the flop and Bolly has a flush with p=1. As the dealer is about to burn and turn Bolly dark bets the river...and Neal dark raises! As the dealer is cutting off the river card Neal is actually putting 16 chips into the pot...and then we see a gorgeous, beautiful, life-giving black Ace hit the felt. Before Bolly even knows what's happened I declare "3-bets" and pick up as many chips as I can with one hand and just put them in a stack in front of me without even counting them (they're coming back). Bolly folds his flush face up and Neal calls, fast-rolling the previous nut Queen High flush. My aces full is of course good and I drag in the monstrosity of a pot. For the next 5 minutes, JS and Neal discuss the various pros and cons of him not 3-betting the nuts on the turn and instead opting to dark raise the river. Neal is sure I would have called anyway. JS is sure (and right) that I wouldn't have. All I'm sure of is that I got out of dodge up $250 and happy as a clam.