Your old buddy Karl was in Vegas for March Madness playing some cash games. I bet on sports a bit, but I can do that with a bookie that lives down the street from me and get better deals than I get in Vegas, so I was really just there for the cash games. The best cash games you will ever play are at places with big sports books during March Madness.
The cash games start to get good early during the NCAA tournament because the gamblers are all in town and they’ve got money riding on games before noon. Most of these idiots aren’t there to watch the games, they just want to bet on them and they want all the action they can get so they sit down at a poker table to play some cards while they watch the games and hope that their six-team parlay comes in.
This is great for a few reasons:
- Sports bettors are mostly idiots, especially dumbasses who are relying on a six-team parlay to make their trip a success. Anyone who takes a six-team parlay has no mathematical aptitude and can’t possibly calculate simple things like pot odds or their odds of hitting a draw. These are very good people to play poker with.
- Most folks who are in town for March Madness are there to gamble it up. Even good players come to Vegas during the tournament to gamble it up and they don’t play very well.
- The environment is infectious. A couple guys ordering drinks and making stupid side bets can get the whole table to go nuts and pay for old Karl’s new orthotics.
- Many of these fools have never played in a casino before. Tourists who don’t understand how blinds work are about as easy as it gets. The old “It’s your turn, put $10 in the pot” works on beginners every time. Then four guys call their accidental raise and I get to back raise with nothing and chase them all away.
I also got the chance to show two bluffs in one hand. That kind of opportunity doesn’t come along very often, so Karl is gonna tell you all about it.
I was playing at Planet Hollywood about three in the afternoon on Saturday, and everybody at my table was watching the ball games more than the poker games. We were playing $1-3 no-limit and one idiot had run his stack up to about $2,300, which was about $2,300 more than he should have had with the way he was playing. He was also knocking back tequila shots and Coronas just as fast as they could bring them to him.
He was betting on every game, but we could only see two games on the TV, so I was giving him occasional updates from my phone. I knew an opportunity would come up where I could use the fact that he was looking to me for sports scores, so I kept it up. About an hour into the session he was sweating a game pretty hard on some stupid parlay he thought was going to make him rich.
He raised it up from one off the gun, typical since he was raising almost every hand. I looked down at a pair of fives in middle position. He had raised it up to $25, which might be a little too big to call usually, but dummy was trying to give his chips away and I had about a thousand in front of me that was going to turn into two thousand if I flopped a set, so I figured it was worth it.
A couple other mental midgets behind me called, probably with junk aces and queen-ten type hands. These guys were all completely lost, the game was unbelievable.
The flop came 3-4-6 rainbow. Not exactly the flop I was looking for, but a straight draw and a pair ain’t so bad. Dummy bet out $50, which meant I could narrow his range down to any two cards and possibly only one card. If this guy looked down at his hand and saw a business card from a timeshare salesman and the old maid he would raise it up and bet the flop. I raised it to $120 to get the riff raff out of there and the other dummies folded.
He called, which narrowed down his range to at least one card above a jack or a flopped pair. With an over pair or better, he would have shoved all-in for $2,000. The turn was an ace, he checked and I bet $150. I normally don’t bluff the calling station, but I had a plan here.
As he was thinking about making the call, I checked the game on my phone. Xavier was losing, which was bad for him. It would ruin a six team parlay for him and the game was almost over. We were buddies since I was giving him sports scores, so we had a little conversation.
“Good news/bad news, buddy” I said “I have a set, so you aren’t winning this hand, but Xavier is up seven with less than a minute left so your parlay is good.”
“Really?” he said “Awesome. You can have the pot bud, that parlay is gonna pay for my trip and then some!” and he tossed his hand on the table face up, the three and four of clubs.
After the dealer mucked his hand I tossed my hand face up on the table as well.
“Only bad news now, buddy,” I said “I was bluffin’ ya and that Xavier game?”
I looked back down at my phone and gave him the news.
“Xavier just lost.” I said “You’re screwed.”
“What the hell?” he said, like his best friend in the world had just kicked his dog.
“Yeah, sorry about that, I wanted a few extra bucks to bet on some games myself so I needed a fold there,” I said. “Who do you like in the Baylor game tonight?”