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playing poker and teaching science: April 2010

playing poker and teaching science

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Location: Indiana, United States

I'm a middle school science teacher, wrestling coach, poker player, scuba diver, aikido black belt, amateur writer, and student of life. In the past I have tried to give back a little by volunteering at a children's home in Belmopan, Belize, Central America. I also love Frosted Flakes. I have taken a year sabbatical from my teaching position in order to sail the Caribbean. Does that sound crazy to you?

Monday, April 19, 2010

Call the floor...

What do you do when a dealer makes a mistake?

Last Saturday evening I was sitting in the Lumier Casino poker room in St. Louis playing in a $1/$3 NLHE game while the Cardinals entered the 20th inning tied 1-1. I was playing well but had taken a $80 beat when top pair top kicker was beaten by donkey-calls-third-pair-bottom-kicker
-and-then-pairs-his-donkey-kicker guy.

I was one off the button when I was dealt two black kings. The action came around to me and I raised to four times the big blind, which had become the standard raise, and got two callers at the opposite end of the table. One caller had a big stack and had been catching good cards and the other was a solid player with a medium stack.

The flop was 10, 4, 2 rainbow and the action came around to me as both players checked. I picked up some chips, pointed at the pot as I counted how much was on the table, and the dealer said, "Check."

I said, "No. I'm going to bet. I was just counting the pot."

"Any hand movement means "check."

"I really don't think that's accurate."


The floor came over immediately. The dealer accurately explained what happened, and he said, "The dealer said it's a check."

What do I do here? I can continue to argue, likely to no avail, or I can play the hand out. There's more than $50 on the table and no draws, but I have two opponents and don't want the hand to go too much farther.

I don't have much choice but to acquiesce.

At this point the situation becomes moot because she turns over a queen, it's checked to me, I bet, and everyone folds. If she had turned an ace I may have lost the pot due to a poor decision and I don't know that I could have been as cordial.

I raked in the pot, tipped the dealer, and said, "You're just doing your job."

I thought she had handled it very well. She did not argue with me but called the floor and explained what happened. She made a mistake, the floor made a mistake, but fortunately it didn't cost me anything.

I did discuss it with the poker room manager afterwards and he agreed with me that I should have been allowed to bet as there was no action behind me and the dealer's called "check" was easily correctable.

That, and the fact that there were some very poor players there that night, resulting in a little cash in my pocket, made me feel good about the evening.

On a side note, I saw a MASTERFUL play by a young loose player with a big stack as he played a huge pot against the other big stack at the table. He induced a call while he was holding quad nines when his set hit the case nine ON THE TURN. He drew the big stack into a $105 call on the turn and then another $330 on the river.

Watching world-class plays by no-name players is always fun.

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Look

There’s not much better in poker than the look on an opponents face when he turns his cards up proudly showing what he thinks is a winning hand, only to be shown the REAL winner. There is a nice example of it when Tom “Drrrrrr” Dwan was beat by trip deuces during high stakes poker last season.

I had that happen twice at the Daytona Dog Track and Poker Room during spring break, and both times was being bet into with an obvious winner. It was a nice exercise in emotion control as a second five came on the turn to a board of J45 while I was holding pocket jacks. Mr. Two Pair turned fives over fours while I improved to jacks over fives. He bet big, I raised all-in for the last of my stack, he called and smiled as he TOSSED his hand toward me.

He was apoplectic when I turned over my two jacks. It was hysterical.

The other hand I was drawn into a winner when trip threes checked the flop and I caught a third five to turn fives over threes to his threes over fives. Boat over boat is a huge money maker, and those two wins put me ahead more than two and one half buy-ins for my three sessions playing last week.

Can't wait to see "The Look" again!

Friday, April 09, 2010

Last day :-(

It's the last day of vacation and it couldn't have been better. We had fantastic weather, saw the space shuttle launch, and I even played some poker.

The players at the Daytona dog track haven't improved and if I come back next year it looks like the state is going to raise the buy-in limits. Cha-ching!

Monday, April 05, 2010

The Launch

I had an amazing experience today. I was able to witness, in person, one of the last remaining space shuttle launches. At 6:21 this morning, the orbiter Discovery rocketed skyward in an incredible display of light and sound!

Yes... we had to get up at 4 a.m. to make it to a suitable place to view the launch, but it was worth it!

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Spring Break

Who knew that a penthouse costs the same as most of the other rooms? What a great view!