Last Tuesday was one of my longer and trying days in recent memory. I started off at Bay 101 because I now play softball on Tuesday nights at Twin Creeks (we are 1-2, and I am the worst hitter on the team. One of the best fielders, but definitely the worst hitter) and basically Bay 101 is between Garden City and the field. At first I was winning and the games were fantastic, but as the lunch crew trickled in the two 20 games deteriorated quickly. All of a sudden they were bad enough that I decided a change of venue was in order, and I drove myself over to Garden City, where I was met by long lists and an old friend. After 30 minutes of hemorrhaging cash in the 8/16 game (Kill pot to 12/24, I take my AQ to war against AK and JJ. The board of course runs out QJ4-Q-7 with the AK making a flush), they called a gentleman for the the 20/40 game. I asked Dominic if he was taking it and he assured me I was first up, so I sat down for another orbit. Who, though, was this person? The one, the only, Stockton Thunder. 15 minutes later I had a seat in the other 20 game, and 10 minutes after that he was already on a 30 minute leave to run to the bank to get some cash (he'd apparently already lost 1 or 2 racks). He did come back, however, with 5 crisp Benjamins, which is when the real fun started.
First, I had to get myself moved over to his table. There was a long list to do so, but somehow I was at the top of it after a few other players passed and one eventually moved. I got the 1 seat, with Thunder in the 4, and things were bumpin' within minutes. Thunder was playing his "C game", which is quite a sight to behold. He is capable of playing downright not awful when he wants to, but apparently he wasn't in the mood on this fine day. Eventually a seat came open and like magic after the dust settled I was in the Jesus seat, on Thunder's immediate left in the 6 hole (after he'd moved to the 5). My friend Jordan, who was playing at another table, walked over and had to physically lift his jaw off the floor after seeing what I had pulled off. He then heard the following exchange:
Floorman: "Thunder, do you want table 26"
Thunder: "Naw, I'll stay here, just because of you" (motions at me)
Thunder: "I like you, not like the rest of these assholes"
Jordan declares me Grand Pooh-Bah of all that is texas hold 'em and the Thunder bashing continues. He's playing every hand and drinking bud lights as fast as the waitress can bring them. On most days I can't really tell he's drunk (the dude is humongous), but this again was not one of most days. Eventually he runs through the $500 (in retrospect it lasted a shockingly long time) and leaves for the bank again, returning promptly 25 minutes later with a new rack of chips. At this point I convince him that playing overs is a good way to get even (I am a horrible person) and he takes a button. Two hands later we play a pot heads up in which I have pocket Kings and he goes to war with something like 85 suited, going off for like 5 or 6 bets post flop with a pair and a gut shot. He does manage to win a few pots, but it just isn't gonna work out today. You can't play as bad as he plays and expect to have chips that often. The centre cannot hold. Then the final nail is driven....
I'm in the big blind, Thunder the small, and Vernon (typically a fish of note but in this game barely worth mentioning) moves all in for his final 7 chips (I think the average number of chips Vernon has on the table is probably something like 20 or 30) in like the low jack. It folds to Thunder, who completes to 8 chips, with 4 more behind. I think for about 2 tenths of a second before realizing I cannot fold no matter what happens and 3-bet dark. At this point Vernon throws one of his typical temper tantrums about how badly he runs (he runs just fine, like everyone else...he plays, however, really, really fucking bad) and I declare "I haven't looked at my cards."
"Oh really?" he responds. "Yes really". At this point the dealer has finished making the side pot and is about to set about running out the board so we can see who's going to win this mess. BR, a regular who plays pretty good and is very friendly declares "Well, turn 'em up fellas!" and I figure I should oblige him. By this point, however, the flop is already on the board and is Q73 rainbow. Vernon doesn't turn up his cards (he never would....it's just not in his nature to have fun) but Thunder turns over a beautiful pair of kings. I laugh, realizing I'm going to need some sort of miracle to drag this $150 dollar pot, and turn my cards over in a flourish. 96. Sooted. Then it happens. Burn...turn.....9. "I have outs!" and the table starts buzzing. Burn....turn....9. Stockton wonders off, not to be seen again.