I showed up at Hawaiian Gardens to play bright and early and got seated in the only 20/40 game immediately a little before noon. Originally the game wasn't very good, and I even considered moving to Commerce, but something told me to give it a little longer (probably the fact that traffic wasn't going to get gnarly for another 45 minutes or so). Sure enough, the must move game filled with fishes of every color and variety imaginable, and my game slowly started to improve as the few other people with a vague understanding of mathematics were replaced by people who treat preflop limping just like the antes in stud. So we're humming along and eventually not one but two must move games have been started and the place is just rockin'. I look down through the ranks (they daisy chain the games and manage two separate must move lists, so the players are literally ranked like 1 through 18 in the order in which they are going to show up in your game, so if you know everyone's initials you can get a good sense of how your game is going to look in a few hours) and there is yet more cannon fodder on the way and I hunker down for a long session in which a slew of reasonably interesting things happened.
First we had super duper drunk guy (SDDG). This guy showed up at my game almost unable to walk, ordering doubles as fast as the waitress could bring them. He was obviously not playing very well and did have 4 racks at his disposal, but he slowed down the game so much it was almost not worth having him around. As an aside I will restate my theory of the goodness of games:
We've all heard of schooling, whereby fish basically protect themselves by committing errors together throughout the hand. If one player calls you down with fours when you have kings or some such hand, he made some extremely bad errors throughout the hand from an FTOP POV because the pot was fairly small and he was getting no where near the price he needed to draw at his 2 outs. But just like fish in an actual school gaining protection from predators in the wild, fish at your table actually protect each other with their horrible calls. Replay the hand with your kings, but instead of one guy calling you all the way down with 54o on a board of Q84-2-J, imagine there are three other guys in the pot with JT, 65, A3. All 5 of you put 2 bets in preflop, and then one more on the flop. That's 7.5 big bets, and heck lets say everyone even calls the turn, making the pot going into the river about a rack, or 12.5 big bets. All of a sudden if you river Jack into another 4 or a 5 the guy with 54 is going to be winning a 15+ big bet pot. In fact if any of them manage to river you (as they are all drawing live with between 4 and 7 outs I think) their calls will basically have been correct throughout the entire hand; nobody will have even made a mistake after the preflop cold call!
There is another, more subtle, way in which fish protect each other. They slow down the game. In any turn based game it is a simple fact that only one person can be doing something stupid at any given instant. That's just the nature of the beast. As more and more bad players get into the game and make more and more bad decisions the game tends to slow down. In general the right thing to do in a hand of full ring limit hold 'em is to fold it preflop. Bad players tend not to do this, and then get themselves into situations post flop like the one I described above and the number of hands per hour that the dealer throws out of the deck plummets. As I described in one of my recent posts every hand you take is worth a certain amount of money (if you win), but for bad players the opposite is true. The faster the button spins around the table, the more they lose! I was in a Commerce 20/40 game last week that dealt 16 hands in 17 minutes, with a dealer change, and I was ecstatic about the situation. But the game wasn't really that good. As we added a few bad players sure enough the pace slowed significantly.
SDDG was probably costing us 3 hands an hour all by himself, that that lone was enough for me to want him off the table. Every time the action was on him preflop he was either holding his drink (and had to put it down), looking for his drink and wondering why he was not holding it, or ordering a new drink from the waitress. He was barely able to grasp his cards, and the chips were well beyond him. To his credit he did take to a strategy of simply declaring his action, then sticking an entire stack of chips in the pot and extracting the ones he did not need while the people behind him acted. After some plain old silly hands he eventually racked up to leave, and half the table tried to get him to stay since allowing him to get into his car was basically serving as an accomplice to manslaughter. I didn't have the nerve to actually talk to security or call the police, but I probably should have. Once SDDG left the table a regular told a story of him passing out at the bar (in the same casino no less) last week and having to be taken away in an ambulance. Why is this man still being served drinks if you are Hawaiian Gardens management? The world will never know....
So things aren't going so well, to be honest, and I find myself stuck nearly two racks with my usual hour of departure rapidly approaching. After my usual merry-go-rounding about the table I have situated myself in seat 7 (my favorite at the table) with arguably the worst player I have ever seen in seat 6. She is truly a beautiful specimen, playing literally 95/0 preflop (she never, ever raises and really only folds when distracted or it's 3 bet in front of her) and generally calling all the way to the river with basically anything, at which point she shows a propensity to bet/fold. As an example, in a 5 way pot the flop came J62 and she called a bet, the turn brought a king and all 5 of us checked, and the river was some card (I think a 7) and all 4 opponents checked to her on the button. She fired a bet instantly, and only the player who had bet the flop (20 rack heater guy, more on him later) called her. She showed A4 for complete air. In another hand I played headsup she c/c, c/c, bet/fold a 994-T-Q board against me (I had AQ and had value bet the turn). She was doing ridiculous stuff like this almost constantly, and eventually most of the people at the table figured it out. Being that insane, however, did get her "paid" off on her big hands, but the problem was that she never really put in any action til the river, or sometimes the turn. Like if she flopped top pair she'd just call along with it, then raise the turn or donk the river or something silly. So she'd get to showdown and win the hand, but just...well, she was truly special. Eventually she colored up her chips and I was kind of sad that this meant she was leaving (the hour was after 9), but instead she just handed white chip after white chip directly to me over the next 3 hours and I'd exchange them for stacks of red, to the point that I eventually ended up with $1000 in white.
Anyway things weren't looking so good until the sloth came over to give me a sweat. He had been playing some 300 NL and decided to call it a night, but stopped in to say hello on his way out. Now I must stress that the sloth is a known monster sweat. Mike L once declared that his sweating powers were so strong that he merely had to be in the same room and everything Mike touched would turn to gold. So I'm sitting in the 7 seat and pick up the mighty T6o in the small blind, half the table limps, so I sling in two chips to take a flop. The big blind (SDDG) raises, and everyone calls so I call (perhaps this call even worse than the first but neither is that bad "closing" the action getting 9:1) and we see a flop 5 ways.
Aiyah, time to get busy. I check, SDDG bets, two people call and I put in the raise. Nobody pops me back and at this point I start wondering what turn card exactly I'm looking for when boom:
That's a great card. It should miss SDDG's AK, and anybody who had JT already had me smoked (but that shouldn't be a concern cause they didn't raise the flop bet) and I fire a bet and get like 2 calls (SDDG mucks). Again I start hunting for safe rivers and can't really find many when bang:
The dealer finds the best card in the deck for me. I bet and get called by psycho Asian guy (who on the evening has cracked my JJ with T8o on a flop of KJ8, and also my KK with 92s which he cold called with on the button in what turned into an $800 pot) saying "just in case" and MHIG. The power of the sloth is simply not to be questioned. He sticks around for another orbit but I find nothing as powerful as the T6o and can't get into a pot to unleash his magic.
At this point it's like 7 or 8 o'clock and I'm starting to think that maybe I shouldn't be planning to go home anytime soon, what with this lady on my right on a mission to lose 5 racks in the next 5 hours. I literally have never seen her get up from the table with chips (admittedly only 4 or 5 data points) and am pretty sure she has what would be diagnosed as a serious gambling problem. My heart goes out to her, sort of, but she's gonna lose the chips and it's certainly not my job to stop her. Besides, the ring on her finger is probably worth about 50K, so how bad off can she be? So I talk to Danielle and she gives me the OK for a late shift (not really approval, more just acknowledges that I'm going to do it....if you're in a relationship you know the drill and where the lines are and what you have to do to cross them. This line is very faint, practically non-existent) and I continue to tread water for a bit, unable to gain any traction.
20 rack heater guy has come back to our table at this point, and is laying waste to all in his path, including the lady on my right. He's the only one that can beat her in a pot, toileting her (flush over flush) with 83s (yes she had a smaller one), flopping KQ7-9-8 and getting like 5 bets from her 98 with his KQ (against anyone else she'd have JT to a moral certainty), and in general just making a mockery of the entire situation. Earlier in the day I'd talked jokingly to 20 rack heater guy about how well he did yesterday and he responded "You didn't even see the half of it." He went on to explain that after he destroyed our game yesterday he went home, ran 5 miles, came back, destroyed it again, then went to the bike and won "even more". This morning he was back and won another 3 racks or so, at which point this conversation happened and I asked "so what, you've won like $10,000 since yesterday morning" and he replied "Not quite.....but 7 easy." After that he won 3 more racks, picked up, went for his run, and was now back in our game (after moving though the must move chain) sitting on 5 racks. Roughly speaking he has won 20 racks in 5 sessions of 20/40 over the past 36 hours. I am not making this up; it happened. So next time you lose 10 racks in 12 hours or something ridiculous I want you to remember that as bad as it seems, it can get even worse, because 20 rack heater guy serves as an existence proof of a "20 rack downer guy" out there walking around like a freaking time bomb.
Things move on and I slowly get myself out of the hole and eventually let Danielle know that it's going to be a truly late night, one in which I don't come home until after she goes to bed. This is a line that is not to be crossed lightly, but she is very understanding and allows me to go about my business after I explain the cadre of people I'm dealing with, with emphasis on the woman on my right. At about 9pm it looks like the woman is going to bust out, but then she goes on a sick rush (and eventually does the coloring up of 3 racks to whites) and at 9:30 Danielle gets the official memo that I'm in it for the long haul. We say goodnight at about 10:20, with me winning my UTG hand before taking a lap off and getting back into the black for the day.
Most players would quit at this point, 10+ hours in and slightly up after being stuck all day, but the game was too good to leave, and for some reason I was curiously alert and feeling great. So I came back from my phone call and got into a text conversation with the big potato, who had arrived recently and was sitting in one of the worst 40/80 games I have ever seen (4-5 house players, most of whom definitely know what they're doing, and a few customers I didn't know but assumed were at the very least not megafish). I explain to him that I'm trying to emulate the desirable qualities of the successful players I know, such as occasionally playing 12+ hour sessions when extremely profitable situations present themselves. He declares that he used to be good at that, but now is strictly a deadbeat hit n run artist. He also gives me a headsup on a fresh face in the 1 hole at my table as a 40 grinder who he's never seen play 20 before (obviously because the 40 game is horrendous) who I'll call Billy. So Billy seems like a nice guy, young kid who apparently used to play online (I should introduce myself and actually I wouldn't be surprised if you're reading this so hello) who endears himself to me immediately by busting Fred's balls with incredible obstinence and vigor. Basically Fred got mad about losing a pot and flung his cards kinda too hard at the dealer and asked the usual "when's your push" etc etc and Billy asked him "Why do you blame the dealer?" He was very calm, very polite, but just wouldn't let it go, saying "It's not his fault, there is nothing he can do. He doesn't even shuffle the cards" and Fred eventually told him to stop lecturing him and to be quiet. Billy would not stop, however, and eventually managed to get Fred to call the floor over during a hand (which I won) and when floor arrived said simply "Fred would like to speak with you." It was absolutely hilarious, watching a 60 year old man who fancies himself a big swinging dick get flustered, flip his shit, and in general just soul crushed by a kid who probably gets carded every time he walks near a casino (as an aside Pete got carded at Bay 101 on his way back from the bathroom to the biggest game in the room and was forcibly pushed in the stomach by security preventing him from getting to his seat. Pete was old enough to drink in the mid 90s and plays at Bay 101 almost every day. Management assured him there would be disciplinary action). Sure this douchebaggery is part of the reason I hate these casinos, but it's not going to stop so I might as well enjoy it when something truly funny happens. Upon hearing the report the big potato assures me that Billy picked up that little trick from him personally. A gentleman and a scholar that big potato is.
Not much else interesting happens the rest of the night, other than Fred selectively not chopping in a small blind on the button situation (I'm not gonna forget that Fred, even though you stood up for me when the insane guy tried to angle shoot me and declare that he hadn't checked even though he'd clearly wrapped the table and said "go" after I checked behind and fire a bet into the pot retardedly with ace high, some day you're going to be on my right and it's going to fold to me and I'm going to have aces and....ok well no that's really not going to happen, but still super dick move sir) and me going on a little rush and finishing the night up a little over two racks. I eventually developed a splitting headache (as apparently 13 hours in a casino can do to you) and left, despite the afore mentioned angle shooting guy having chips in the 5 seat and super awful lady still holding on to $200 in the 6 hole. Enough was enough, and I felt I had earned my Marathon 20/40 Session Merit Badge (perhaps I will buy a sash on which to display it) and dropped my money in my box and headed home. As a kicker, the 22 east bound was closed and I didn't get to sleep until almost 2am, a truly legendary performance by my standards.