Tuesday, December 1, 2009

"Drunkie" and Strangeness in Tunica

On a recent trip to Tunica, I sat on a poker table that epitomized the need to pick a good game. I was in no real condition to play, having worked all morning and driven all day, but I hadn’t played in awhile and had to scratch the itch. I took a seat in a $1-3 No Limit Hold’em game at Harrah’s and built my stack for a couple hours. One by one, the little fish went broke, until I looked around at the grizzled faces of local grinders and it was my turn.

There were a couple of weird hands and bizarre rulings that occurred before I went broke. A couple of younger men sat and one announced that he was teaching his friend to play. Anything said by a stranger at the poker table should be taken with a degree of skepticism, but on the first hand the “newbie” certainly went broke like a first-timer. During the hand, however, despite being warned earlier about speaking English, the men casually refused and the “newbie” chatted in an unidentified Asian language with his partner as he played the hand. The floor manager was called, but no penalty was issued and he lost the pot, so it was quickly forgotten.

The real strangeness occurred on another hand and involved the drunkest member of our table. On the turn, he faced a smallish raise from his only opponent. Our hero, “Drunkie Red Nose,” silently pushed out his remaining chips, a stack of red $5 chips, about three times the bet.

The dealer announced him all-in and counted down the bet.
“Drunkie” didn’t say anything.
His opponent thought for a moment, called, and the dealer counted out the call.
“Drunkie” didn’t say anything.
The dealer pushed all the chips together in the middle and dealt out the river.
“Drunkie” didn’t say anything.
The hands were flipped up: a third nine and good hand for “Drunkie,” but a nine with a better kicker for his opponent.
“Drunkie” didn’t say anything.
The dealer shipped the pot and shuffled the cards.

Now, after all that, “Drunkie” suddenly says he never went all-in. Hmmm…things just got spicy. The dealer, a younger baby-faced type, says it’s really too late to do anything. Yes, by rule, a single oversized chip would just be a call, but given the events and the tall stack of chips pushed out, it was the perfect ruling. The dealer should have shut it down there, but “Drunkie” insisted and the “Floor” was summoned. Amazingly though, the young dealer did such a poor job explaining the situation, and he and the manager obviously had history of some sort, that the ruling was reversed.

After a quick guesstimation, the winner was ordered to cut the approximate surplus from his stack and return it to “Drunkie”! This was an outrageous injustice! “Drunkie” never said one single word until he found out his very good hand was beaten by another slightly better hand. His opponent was so justifiably angry with the ruling that he racked up and left. “Drunkie” actually managed to make things worse, in the manner that only truly drunk people can, by apologizing. He tried to give the money back, but his opponent refused, more angry at floor than the drunken fool earnestly pushing money at him.