Monday, June 20, 2005

Jenny's World Poker Tour

I saw it on the way to my folks house. My brother was driving as I looked out to the billboard that simply said: Poker Lessons 2pm Daily at the Excaliber. Sounded like fun. As always, my parents were so happy to see us. I told my Mom about the poker lesson and she said that she would bring me the next day.

We arrived at Excaliber a little early. My mom headed straight away to the slots. She asked to be excused. I headed towards the table where the Poker Lesson was held. I felt more comfortable knowing that most of the newbies, like me, were women. There was a sheet of paper that outlined Poker Etiquette. Here's the gist:
1) Act your turn - show a basic regard for propriety.
2) Don't throw your chips in the pot - otherwise known as "slashing the pot"
3) Make your bet in one motion - no "string bets" - mainly placing your call then adding a raise.
4) Make decisions in a timely manner - don't take too long to make your next move.
5) Keep your cards on the table and cover your cards when you get them.
6) Turn all of your cards face up at the showdown, avoid delays.
7) Don't discuss your cards while in play.
8) You must play with the money you came into the table with.
9) Most importantly, tip your dealer when you win the pot.

I played a few games with the other newbies for a little while and won $10 - not bad for a 1-3 table. (The lowest one on the strip!)

That night, my friend David from New York (visiting his Mom in Vegas) called and said, "Let's gamble!" We walked around a bit and ended up at the Imperial Palace. I wanted to play poker so we headed upstairs. Once there, I had no clue what to do. I called my Dad, he said to give my name to the lady behind the desk and that he'd be there in 15 minutes. What a guy!

I promptly announced who I am and the lady behind the desk exclaimed, "Aw, he's your Dad! He's so nice!!" Yup, that's him. She put my name on a list and within a few minutes David and I sat at the same table.

Let me give the cliftnote version: For someone so green and made so many (non-intentional) mistakes in betting, I was freakin' lucky!! For instance: One of my hands, I had a Jack and Queen suited. I stayed around for the flop, since we were on a $2-4 bid table, I though, eh, why not. The flop came out with A-10-4... Well, well, well, I though, this was interesting. Might as well stick around through the Turn and River cards. Come the bets for the River and someone raised it to $8. I was taking my time... Calculating my odds... not really, but I wanted to seem like I was.

I asked the Dealer for my option, he said to call was $8. I forgot that I had the big blind at $4... so all I had to bet was another $4 to call. I don't know what I was thinking I counted out $8 in chips and placed it in front of me. The Dealer announces, "She raised to $12." Well, the shock look on my face (I didn't mean to raise, damn it!!) was enough to let the other folks in play call my raise.

Well.. the River comes out: A King! Here's my second mistake. The Dealer sort of points at me, meaning what do you want to do.. Check or Raise. What does a newbie like me do? I throw my cards face up toward him. The gentleman next to me and faster than a speeding bullet, immediately covers my card. I turned beet red. I was about to raise, instead, I did a very shy check. Everyone else checked. Thank God. We all threw in are cards... they were at awe - I had both a straight AND a flush. It was my first big win at a poker table!!!

They started shoving all the chips (about $50) to me. Not bad after starting with $4 bet. As I was stacking my chips, I'm glad nobody saw my hands were shaking. I was really excited to win.

The next draw gave me a 5 and an 8. The additional chips gave me the confidence to stick around for the flop, so I did. There was another 8. That gave me pair. Might as well stick around since there was no Ace or Face cards on the flop... and everyone was mysteriously checking. The Turn came out and then the River Card: a 5. Well, two pairs is worth something. Suddenly this old man a few seats away raises to $12. He's been loosing and I challenged him and called his raise. He didn't think anyone would do it and when it came to revealing our cards, the closest two me was an Ace high, the old man was bluffing with a 2-4. I felt bad for him, but damn! It was good to win again!!

And... it didn't stop. I had pocket Jacks (J-J) and a freakin Full House the next two cards... as soon as I raised, the whole table would fold. I didn't show anyone what I had. On the fifth game, I drew like a 5-7 and raised it just for kicks, everyone folded. All in all, I walked away with over $120.

It was exhilarating!! I love poker. As I stacked my winnings into a wooden tray, I was a brat and announced to the table. "It's my first time playing Poker. I went to the lesson at Excaliber!" I gave my best Cheshire Cat grin. Boy, if looks could kill.


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