Saturday, September 16, 2006

I hope I'm that good at 80

I played $3/$6 LHE live at Valhalla today and more than doubled my buyin, which is always a good thing.

Also good was meeting Violet. When I first sat down at the table I noticed that she had the biggest pile of chips in front of her, at least $200. She also used two Mahjongg tiles as a card protector. She was in seat 4, I was in seat 9, so to talk to each other I had to shout all the way across the table. That turned out to not be much of a problem since she was 80 years old and a little hard of hearing anyway.

I waited almost a entire orbit before I played my first hand, and while I was waiting, I watched everyone play, including her. Unlike many of the ladies that play at Valhalla, she wasn't playing every hand or anything near. She wasn't playing like a rock either. She was kidding around with the two guys to her right and playing a decent game of poker as far as I could see.

That was just first impressions. "Decent" is an understatement. She started playing Mahjongg at nine, "I've played Mahjongg for over seventy years." She claimed to be a Holdem beginner, coming from years of Omaha and Pan. I suppose if I had been playing Omaha for 20 years I might consider just 4 years of Holdem as "beginner".

Several times, she called out someone's hand just before they turned it over for showdown, and hit a bullseye every time. It was like she had X-Ray vision.

Besides showing down winners on the river (on the Button with 6s 5s for a baby flush with 4 callers), she also made some of the most amazing laydowns I have ever seen. Let me tell you about one. The guy in seat 1 was also very senior and playing just about every hand and hitting amazing lucky. He never bluffed. If he bet or called, he had something. In this hand, Violet was in the BB and called preflop. Four saw the flop of J J 9. Checked to Seat 1 who bet, Violet called. Turn made it J J 9 8. Violet checked, Seat 1 bet, 2 callers, then Violet raised. Lots of comments around the table about the lady making the check/raise. She just shrugged. Seat 1 called, the 2 players between called also. The river made it J J 9 8 3, no flush possible. To my surprise, Violet checked. Seat 1 came out betting, got a caller, and Violet, last to act, said, "I think you rivered me," and folded her QT face up. Seat 1 turned over J3 for the full boat! How in god's name she put that guy on J3 I do not know. When I stuttered out my amazement, she just shrugged and said, "I knew he had a Jack, but when he bet on the river, I knew he had a fullhouse."

She also took a another bad beat from the same Seat 1. Five limpers, including Seat 1, saw a flop of 8 8 7. Checked all around. Turn made it 8 8 7 T. Checked to Seat 1 who bet, Violet and one more called. River made it 8 8 7 T T. Violet came out betting and Seat 1 raised. She called and as she turned over 87 she said, "I shouldn't have slowplayed it." Sure enough, Seat 1 had T5o.

She got her revenge, though. She was getting ready to change tables, but stayed for one more hand, which she raised preflop. The flop was K T 5 with two diamonds. Checked to the raiser, she bet, got 3 callers, including Seat 1. Turn made it K T 5 8. Checked to Seat 1, who came out betting. One caller in between, then Violet raised. Everyone called. River made it K T 5 8 8. Checked to Seat 1 again, who bet, in-between folded, Violet raised, the other player folded, leaving Seat 1, who called. Seat 1 showed 85o for the fullhouse ... but Violet tabled KK for the better boat. Nice pot. She decided to stay at the table and continued to win her share.

Remember my first impression of "decent"? By the time I left, I was in awe. I hope I am that sharp when I'm 80. She played a very shrewd and impressive game of poker. When I told her what a great game I thought she played, she shrugged and said, "I'm from New York ..." Well, I suppose that explains everything!


Anonymous said...

An amazing read yes, but I still don't like folding the nut straight for just one bet with 13 big bets in the pot.

I'm also going to try and make a move on her at some point in time. There is not a lot of this you can do at limit, but here is an example of where it might work.

Great blog article. I am looking forward to many more.

Minnesota Mike

phatchat said...

I agree with you. Folding on the river when there is a big pot, even without a show or declaration, is going to paint a target on your back.