Who was slow playing whom?

I have two poker stories from last night. One of which is an actual poker story, the other is an “it’s not about poker, but really, it is all about poker” story.

I played in a weekly event at one of the local taverns last night. For reasons unrelated to this post and story, I will not be playing there for quite a long time due to the piss-pour way the event is run. Nuff said there. That’s not to say that the play was not interesting. One hand in particular was a “double slow play” of sorts.

I am sitting on the button, action folds to me and I see queens. Blinds are T500/1000 at this time. The small blind has my roughly 8500 chips covered, and the big blind has 2500 on top of his posted big blind. I limp, hoping for a raise from the BB, that doesn‘t come. Flop comes J-10-3. Small blind checks, big blind pushes all-in. I think for a while, going through the motions of counting my outs, hoping that the older gentleman would reraise me when I weakly called, as he was an aggressive player. He calls cleanly. Turn gives me my set of queens. He checks, I bet slightly, as I want to drag him into the pot. He comes over top of me pushing all-in. I’m smelling a semi-bluff, as I found it possible, but unlikely he was holding a straight, specifically ace king, he could be holding 9-8, maybe K-10, but more than likely he is playing either a pair or two pair, though he could be “betting the ace.” Either way, I am calling, and have chance to redraw on the river IF I am behind.

He proudly flips over AK suited from the small blind. And such a brilliant slow play it was. I too flip over my slow play attempt, showing QQ. He laughs and tells me I am drawing dead. I remind him the queen of hearts has not been seen yet, and I have three outs each with jacks, tens and threes, so I am not dead, nor as bad off as he may believe, but I am in fact behind significantly (77%-22%, underdog to be exact). My three hits on the river. I was dead but not buried. We laugh about slow playing each other and found it rather amusing.

That was amusing to me, but not nearly as amusing as the events that unfolded later in the evening. I head to the “local” watering hole (read: stumbling distance from my house). I was not ready to call it an evening, so I walk literally a block to said establishment. Its there I run into “bartender” who is doing what his Poker Pub nickname suggests.

“Bartender” points me to a gentleman at the other end of the bar, who he says will make a great addition to our weekly game. He suggests we go over there and he gives me an introduction. So, I go over and say hello. We “talk shop” for a little bit, regarding this weekly tournament when this rather intoxicated older gentleman “seems” to interrupt. I say, “Seemed” because things were not exactly how they appeared to be.

This older guy was immediately “familiar” to me. The minute he opened his mouth, I knew who he “was.” I did not know his name, though I did not really care to know it either. But I do recall the name I “gave” him once upon a time when last our paths crossed.

Official Poker Pub Flashback:

“I see what he's doing. He comes here thinking he can buy it. I don't think he realizes that the reason IIIIIIII play limit is so that I CAN'T be bluffed out of pots." He re-raises, we end up capped seven deep. Flop (A-5-7) cap, turn cap (2), river (K comes) cap. My AQ loses out to K2 --- shit you not. Despite my showing the AQ down, with top pair mind ya, he tells the entire table, "I told ya this bum was trying to steal. He's not gonna steal shit from me." - “Waldorf” tells the entire table when proudly showing down his King two, which he runner runnered against my “bluffing” hand of ace queen.

I now also recall the man seated on the other side of the dealer from him, which was directly across from me (during the poker pub flashback). I was introduced by “bartender” to this person initially. As I said, things were not how they seemed.

“Waldorf” comes up to me, and “interrupts,” calling me “shit talker” (apparently in reference to my invite I extended to his friend to what I believe will be the biggest and best tournament in my town). He continues, asking me if I want to “gamble.” I tell Waldorf I have no interest in gambling. He throws two dollar bills on the table and tells me he will bet me $200 that the serial numbers on his right hand beat the ones on his left hand. I politely decline. He makes some racist remarks to me, attempting to challenge my ego. No dice. The person I am talking to suggests to him that he mind his own business and “go back to where he came from.” The guy is trying to act as if he is on my side.

Twenty ego-insulting attempts later, Waldorf challenges me, telling me that he is sure that he’s gambled more money in the last year than I have in my entire lifetime. I tell him that I am sure he has, and asks him if he saved his receipts from his losses for his accountant. He makes some more attempts at insulting my ego and me (still I do not think he remembers me from the casino), and tries to get me to bet with him. Of course, I carry little if any cash on me, so even if I wanted to gamble, I would not be able to.

Waldorf goes on to inform me of how a man is defined by how much cash he carries. The other person starts in asking me how much I have in the bank. I’m still not giving a straight answer, and doing the little pamper Waldorf’s ego trick while at the same time slapping him in the back of the head with the same commentary. He goes totally nuts when he tells me the conversation is over once I said that I carry no cash. It is obvious that he is a gambler and I am not. I inform him that I could never “out gamble” a man of his status and that even an idiot with a stated bankroll similar to his could very easily become fortunate over an apparently broke, “non gambler” such as myself. Then I shut my mouth, because according to him, the conversation was over when I stated I was “cash broke.”

He went absolutely nuts. I knew he would though. He needed for everyone in that bar to know he was “a gambler.” He had the uncontrollable urge to show ME he was. I did not feel I needed to show him anything. I was and perhaps still am slow playing the hell out of him though.
Turns out, he is one of the bigger homebuilders in my town. He built my parent’s home, as a matter of fact. He is a “whale” from a bankroll standpoint. Combined with his need to show people “who he is “ it stands to reason he probably did lose more money last year gambling than I’ve played for in my lifetime. That was a bet however; that I was not confident he would be able to prove one way or the other anyways. Besides, it did not really matter to me anyways how much he has won or lost for his career.

What does matter is that this person may make it down to our weekly game. Eventually, he and I will end up going to the casino at the same time, because he will not be able to resist. And what will matter at that time is how much money he loses to me then. He will not have any of his buddies helping him on that table when the time comes. He has a far deeper bankroll than I do, and money means less to him than it does to me. The difference is though, my ego is not the least bit engaged. I do not need to prove anything to anyone. He does…