6/12 Limit Hold’em at Oaks Cardroom in Emeryville, CA.
It has been described as ‘the most ghetto cardroom in North America’ and I can see why. One of the first times I was there, a guy on an adjacent table flashed a gun and was swiftly pounced on by six security guys. That was at a No Limit table though. There is no such drama in the Limit section - after the gun incident, the middle aged lady next to me soon went back to her sudoko in between hands.
Today the game is pretty average and I’m killing time whilst waiting for my seat at the 15/30 table. The lineup is something like this:
-Jovial middle aged white guy who looks slightly uneasy in casual clothing. I christen him ‘Mr Friday Night Poker’ He’s the home game with business buddies kind of guy. He watches the World Poker Tour and dreams of being Phil Hellmuth. He can’t beat 3/6 but insists on playing 6/12 'to beat the rake'. I get double pleasure from taking money from this guy.
-An elderly black man (EBM) who knows how to mix it up. He probably has too much gamble in him to make him a long term winner but he’s hitting a few hands and getting paid. Mr Friday Night Poker is of the opinion that this EBM is playing too many hands from early position. He lets him know that he would not be choosing to play some of those hands, implying he is a better player. This is highly debatable.
-A couple of SAGs (sick Asian gamblers) these guys like to play hands and are looking for any excuse to get into the pot, they are the kind of guys who feel ill if they aren’t gambling on something. After a while, one of them is away from the table for about twenty minutes. When the dealer queries this with the floorman they put a call out for him and he soon comes back from playing the machines in the bar. The two SAGs know each other and if they are the only two left in the hand they ‘softplay’ by turning their hands face up and just checking it down to the river. This really fucking annoys me but there is nothing I can do about it.
-An old lady who is the most loose-passive player I’ve ever seen. She goes call, call, call and fold on the river pretty much every hand. When she does actually hit her hand she does this thing where she tilts her head to the side and then smiles a little. However this tell is completely unnecessary because you know when she does something other than call or fold then she’s hit her hand anyway. She is playing most hands so quickly goes through sixty bucks and then buys in for another sixty and then repeats this ad naseum.
Soon after I sit down at the table Mr Friday Night Poker gives her sixty bucks and I assume they know each other. Maybe she is his mum? However after several wisecracks about trying to win back his money it is clear that this is not the case. Mr Friday Night Poker has given a degenerate gambling old lady sixty bucks for no reason.
Mr Friday Night Poker is a dick.
There is another guy who I can’t get a read on. He’s a nondescript middle-aged white guy wearing a T-Shirt with a strange slogan and a trucker cap. He doesn’t seem to be playing too many hands or doing anything stupid. In this game that makes him very +ev. After a while we finally play a hand together and on the flop I notice him looking at me to try and get a read from my reaction. In the 6/12 game at The Oaks this is VERY ADVANCED PLAY! I meet his glare and try to convey with my facial expression the following information –
‘OK, I know you are good in this game and so am I, so why don’t we just stay out the way of each other and carve up all this dead money sitting here at the table and both make a small but tidy profit. Look at that guy drooling in seat three, wouldn’t you rather be playing pots with him than me? Seriously. PS I like your T-Shirt’.
It probably just looked like I had something in my eye.
Soon I get the call to go to the 15/30 game. I rack my chips and move across the room. As I take my seat I tell the dealer I don’t want to ‘post’ and survey the lineup as I wait for my first hand. These are the men that I will be trying to make money from over the next few hours. I must destroy them.