Tales from the Hard Rock, Vol. 4: Calling time at the poker table

poker 25x25Few things set me off when I’m in the poker room.

I’m a grinder, a patient man.

For hours on end, I can sit at the table, read my opponents, play only playable hands and know exactly when to hold ‘em and when to fold ‘em.  That’s just how I learned to play the game.  It’s done me well over the years.

But something happened not long ago that put me on tilt more than ever before.

Hard Rock guitar

Please allow me to explain.

It was just another random night after work, a few drinks in the gullet and a little extra cash in the wallet.

I had been at the table a while, not long, but long enough to get a feel for my opponents.

One guy sitting about three seats to my left, who I could not directly get a look at, had been bluffing like a madman… and it was working for him.  He was taking down pot after pot, more so than anyone else because a) he had a healthy stack of chips and b) the other relatively conservative players at the table didn’t want to call him for the aggressive stakes he was betting.

I soon learned that he had won a couple thousand dollars on the slots earlier that evening, meaning he was playing with the house’s money… and acting like it.

I was waiting for my turn to strike.

My time came about thirty minutes later.  I decided to stay in a hand for minimal cost with low suited connectors, a dangerous hand to play because someone could always have the higher flush.  Once your flush hits, it’s tough to get out of the hand.

That’s exactly what happened.

I got to see the flop and turn for relatively cheap but when the river came and my flush hit, I was left asking myself if it would be good enough.  I bet a small amount to test the waters.  The big-stack bluffer immediately came back strong, tripling my wager and representing a much larger flush.  He had been bluffing pots for a while but he had also played this hand as if he had the flush, certainly one that would have beaten mine with only a nine high.  A call here would have been the perfect time to stop this guy’s bullying, something the Dolphins locker room has been unable to accomplish lately, but was it the right call?

I sat there, trying to recollect the hand, and how he had played it.  What did this guy have?  Did he have that higher club?

poker table group

That’s when it happened.

A pipsqueak, just to the right of him but still to my left, called time.

For those of you who don’t know, there are unwritten rules and etiquette at the poker table.  Each player is allowed a set amount of time to make his decision to play or fold his hand.  There’s no time clock, no set rules.  It’s just common courtesy to keep play moving which I had been doing.  I was just taking my time trying to recollect the hand.  By no means was there any major delay.

The dealer acknowledged the time call.

I looked at them both, in amazement.  I had been at the table less than an hour and most certainly was not holding up the game.  I never do.  In fact, in all my days (or rather nights) at the casino, I don’t know that I’ve ever heard anyone call time on anybody.  It’s like calling a charge in pick-up basketball.  You just don’t do it.

poker dealer ace

Until this asshole did.

I looked at him incensed.  My blood was boiling, my concentration no longer on the hand.  I commented, rather angrily, that he hadn’t even played a hand since I sat down at the table, which he hadn’t, and he wasn’t even in this hand.  To no avail.  There was over $150 already in the pot with another $60 or so for me to call my low club flush, not great pot odds plus the majority of my stack if I was unsure.  The rookie dealer said nothing, leery about making eye contact with me.  A more experienced dealer probably would have handled the situation better.

I folded.  The bettor turned over another bluff.  He didn’t have the flush.  I would have won the hand.

Now I have no idea whether those two were in cahoots but I was livid.  I continued barking at the guy who called time while the bluffer to both our lefts continued to rake in chips.  You’d think, if anything the time-caller would have wanted bluff boy to LOSE the pot since he was the biggest stack at the table.

So, as always, what’s the moral of the story?  What are we to learn from this?

Focus is imperative to any long-term success at the poker table.  I knew the bluffer had money to burn but he played his hand perfectly, at least to my recollection.  Perhaps next time I’ll make that call and hopefully there won’t be some jackass at the table trying to antagonize me into doing or not doing so.

And if there is, I’ll just have to manage.

Playing poker at the casino is certainly thrilling, but so is playing online at places like Titan Bet. And for more Tales from the Hard Rock and other such ill-advised poker tips, visit here and here.

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31 Replies to “Tales from the Hard Rock, Vol. 4: Calling time at the poker table”

  1. Pingback: Tales from the Hard Rock, Vol. 4: Calling time at the poker table - BallHyped Blog Network, Betting | BallHyped Sports Blogs

  2. Bummer. That win could have been a LOT of Steak & Shakes!
    Ill want to hear more about this one SC. Good post. Great writing. Yr always a winner to me.

  3. M…

    This happened a while back but I did let it get to me.

    Let’s just say after that guy called time on me, fucking up the hand and my concentration, I wanted to wait outside the casino for him.

  4. Chris

    This new WSOP format is so convoluted that you are simply lost, to now explain the appeal of the game and watching it as an event .

    Left you a response concerning the piece on Incognito . Let me know if you concur with my statement ?

    The Knicks and Nets are and will be no better than their records reflect at present . I will be pleasantly surprised if either manages to hit a .575 or better (47 games won) in terms of their end of season records in terms based on their current play .

    The chances of the Rays retaining David Price or do you believe he will be playing elsewhere next season ?

    tophatal …………..

  5. Chris

    A mayoral change in St Pete or otherwise, won’t make a difference , if no one is prepared to go on record and say a new venue for the Rays will be paid for , especially when the county and city are still facing severe financial woes . Have you heard Stuart Sternberg say upfront that the Rays would be prepared in part to fund a new venue that is likely to cost in excess of $500 million ? Bill Foster hasn’t showed the acumen needed to even get an initiative off the ground much less an mayoral opponent or from anyone within the city council or county commission .

    They’re all living in ” cloud cuckoo land” on this issue , because absolutely no one , is prepared to actually speak truthfully on the matter . They are dealing in a great deal of rhetoric and platitudes . Not unlike most politicians and greedy @##ed owners within sports in general .

  6. Retain your focus young paduwan grinder…

    you still had the right read and you still had the chance to play should you have felt the cajones to do so. If not then fold and call it another learning experience.

    We have a neighborly game each month and one guy is better than average at reading people and not cards. He too bluffs frequently and wins but nothing creates a bigger smile than taking one from him.

    You gotta start with the right read…

  7. I’m not at concerned about the Nets, Al, than I am the Knicks. Actually, I’m not concerned about the Knicks either. They’re just not that good and in my mind, not that much of a threat.

    The Nets have enough talent and enough depth to at lease contend. They’ll just need the season to figure out how to gel. Not to mention Kidd needs some time to become comfortable at the helm.

    As to David Price’s future, we both know he’s coming up on a huge salary. If they can find the right deal, I’m sure they’ll pull the trigger. I know they like the guy and I don’t know if it’ll happen before the season starts or afterward but if this team can’t find a way to afford a way to keep him, then he’s as good as gone.

    Speaking of mayors, Tampa’s has already said the change will be a benefit towards moving the team. We’ll see if there’s any truth to that.

    And here’s hoping the Magic land one of those young college players.

  8. Tree…

    I had talked myself into taking the guy down then finally got the chance and didn’t get it done.

    I just thought people might like to read about my losing hands and not just my winning ones.

  9. Timely post as I’m going to Lost Wages this weekend for the first time in about four years.

    I’ll make sure to get my Zen on if some dingbat tries to rush my hand thanks to your post.

    I’m more of a blackjack guy but even that can get tough when you get a novice that does dumb shit instead of toeing the line that the odds dictate. I tend to stop at the gift shop and buy a handful of those cheat sheet cards that tell you what the odds say to do and ever-so-politely drop one on the clown taking the dealers bust cards.

    If that doesn’t work, I leave the table.

    Hopefully that’s not the way it goes down. I’m looking to make a withdrawal, not a deposit…Well…at the tables anyway.

  10. Chris

    It looks as if Jason Kidd wants to be his own man, because he has definitely not been listening to Lawrence Frank , the most experienced member of a coaching staff that lacks a great deal of inexperience .

    Other than Frank, there is not another coach on the staff with in-depth NBA coaching experience. Never mind the fact that the Nets simply play no defense , much like the Knicks themselves .

    Still can’t believe that the Knicks , can’t rid themselves of Amare` and his ridiculous contract . $20 plus million for a guy with his stats for this season ? Are you kidding me ? And New York Knicks’ fans believe that they’re legitimate contenders for the NBA title ?

    You suggested that you do not believe that the NFL have screwed up by way of their own in-house research and findings on concussions and other neurological disorders by comparison of the Dolphins’ handling of the Incognito mess ? Both situations were and have been grossly mishandled by the parties concerned . They (Dolphins) did nothing , in terms of reprimanding the player for his sexual misconduct concerning a female patron at a private golf club . In the case of the league they redacted a great deal of their research that came to the same conclusion as research that was conducted by world renowned hospitals and places of academia such as Johns Hopkins , Harvard Medical School , Yale School of Medicine & Neuroscience , UCLA , Stanford as well by NIMH , and the AAN . It was one of the reasons , a settlement came about in the civil suit , where the league and union were the defendants in the case brought by 4300 retired NFL veteran players in US Federal Court .

    The Rays are reluctant to commit to any player long-term other than Evan Longoria , whom , they see as the face of the franchise . Yet in all honesty , over the course of this past season would you say Longoria was the team’s best player in the regular or postseason ?

    As to the stadium issue , it will only take center-stage the moment the city commission relent and say the Rays’ ownership that they will not force the franchise to honor the existing lease (2025 expiration) without some sort of compromise . How is it , that the idiots on both sides of the issue , cannot figure that out ? Even the fans themselves don’t know what the hell is going on , but yet everyone has an opinion without truly being informed . Like I said, who will actually pay for a new venue if there is no intent being shown by the Rays’ organization ?

    Stuart Sternberg and his partners would rather the city and country pay for a new ballpark , because the franchise and the partners themselves can’t come up with the financing privately . All this from guy (Sternberg) with a background in finance and commodities’ brokerage ? Damn !

    tophatal …………….

  11. Chris,

    Don’t use that jerk off as an excuse. If your skin is that thin, wear an extra covering. If you called and won, you wudda forgot about it.

  12. adding. That’s tough love in the gaming arena.

    ESPN influences the betting rank and file. Many recreational bettors rely on their shot taking scoops as gospel. Some east coast bookmakers are offering their players full access to all of Bristol’s programming………….gratis.

  13. WSOP winner? It’s becoming a ‘kids’ game. Why you never heard of some of these youngsters? The last six winners were under the age of 25. Many learned on the internet and have soared.

  14. Chris

    Life after the NFL hasn’t been so good for Sam Hurd then ?

    Courtesy of NFL.com

    Sam Hurd receives 15-year sentence for drug-distribution role

    DALLAS — Former NFL wide receiver Sam Hurd was sentenced Wednesday to 15 years in prison for his role in starting a drug-distribution scheme while playing for the Chicago Bears, completing a steep downfall that ended his football career and left his future in tatters.

    Hurd, 28, received the punishment in a federal courtroom in Dallas after pleading guilty in April to one count of trying to buy and distribute large amounts of cocaine and marijuana. The charge carried a minimum 10-year sentence and a maximum of life.

    Authorities say that while NFL teammates and friends knew him as a hardworking wide receiver and married father, Hurd was fashioning a separate identity as a wannabe drug kingpin with a focus on “high-end deals” and a need for large amounts of drugs.

    U.S. District Judge Jorge Solis gave Hurd a much shorter sentence than the 27 to 34 years recommended by federal sentencing guidelines. Solis noted that the case against Hurd centered on a “lot of agreements” to buy and sell marijuana and cocaine, rather than physical transactions of drugs.

    But, the judge said, “You didn’t just start nickel and diming it.”

    Hurd stood before him in orange jail scrubs after a rambling, emotional 30-minute plea for mercy. Behind him in the gallery were more than a dozen family members and friends.

    “You had everything going for you,” Solis told Hurd, adding that he thought the case was a “tragedy.”

    Federal inmates are typically not eligible for parole and required to serve at least 85 percent of their sentences.

    Hurd’s December 2011 arrest outside a suburban Chicago steakhouse came after he tried to buy a kilogram of cocaine in what turned out to be a sting. According to a federal complaint, Hurd told an undercover agent that he wanted 5 to 10 kilograms of cocaine and 1,000 pounds of marijuana per week to distribute in the Chicago area. He claimed he was already distributing 4 kilograms a week, according to the complaint. A kilogram is about 2.2 pounds.

    At the time, Hurd was a wide receiver with stints for the Bears and Dallas Cowboys who had played most of his five seasons on special teams. He was in the first year of a three-year contract reportedly worth more than $5 million.

    The Bears soon cut him. Hurd was released on bail and returned to Texas, where he grew up, but soon fell into trouble again, according to court documents. He allegedly tried to buy more cocaine and marijuana through a cousin, Jesse Tyrone Chavful, and failed two drug tests. That led a magistrate judge in August 2012 to revoke his bail and order him returned to jail.


    Click on link to read in full.

    Where’s Nino Brown when you need him ?

    Great game between the Thunder and Clippers , with Chris Paul showing what a real difference maker he can be .

    Another Nets’ loss and we can see that Jason Kidd remains out of his depth as an NBA head coach .

    Manny Pacquiao says he’ll contemplate retirement should he lose his next fight . At this stage of his career , his mother-in-law could beat his ##s .

    So the noles’ Jameis Winston is now the subject of a sexual assault allegation and incident that took place back in 2012 ? How is it that , now after a year, this all comes to light concerning the player , program and law enforcement ? According to the police spokesperson Winston is a person of interest . The victim’s description of her assailant is said to be ‘sketchy’ , but she claims it was the noles’ quarterback who did in fact sexually assault her , after an alleged night of drinking at a party . Oh my, the things that happen on and off a college campus . I think that this is more to do with quite possibly tainting this kid’s chances of the Heisman .


    On the mound , but only briefly …………..

    tophatal ………

  15. TIME?!?!?! By some douche canoe that was not even playing the hand?!?!?

    Definitely moved right into your dome… rent free. Sounds like they may have been working together.

  16. Your Gators are coming to the vacation paradise of Columbia S Carolina this weekend. Just how many SEC games in a row will Florida lose?

  17. Bleed…

    Have a blast in Vegas, baby, Vegas.

    Blackjack was actually one of the first card games I learned how to play but I ran into a bad string at the local casino so I pretty much have stopped playing.

    First of all, my local Hard Rock, unless it’s an off night, has $15 minimum tables. I’ve never been a fan of that denomination.

    The last six or so times I’ve sat down at a table, I’ve lost a C-Note in a matter of ten to fifteen minutes, not exactly my idea of a good time.

    Maybe I’ll warm up to the game once again but as long as I’m able to sit in the poker room for hours and generally come out ahead, why would I bother?

  18. Al…

    If you were an NBA GM, would you take Amare and his contract off the Knicks hands? What for?

    I do think Longoria is the Rays’ best player. I don’t think there’s any question about that. But if they tie up that much money annually in both him and Price, that doesn’t leave much for anyone else. Keep in mind, that younger, up-and-coming pitching staff will also eventually want to get paid, along with guys like Zobrist and the like.

  19. Bets…

    You’re 100% right. Usually I’m pretty calm and collected at the poker table but I had never run into that before.

    Trust me, I only blame myself for that misplay.

    Doesn’t mean I still didn’t want to kick his ass though.

  20. Al…

    I’ll have my take on Barnes’ Tweet up shortly so stay tuned.

    And I have to say, I know we’ve talked about this but I’m quite surprised the Nets took a chance on a rookie head coach, even if it is one of the best point guards ever to play the game.

    It’s not very often that rookie head coaches win titles, even less often one year out of retirement. I do think they’ll be fine for most of the season. There’s too much talent not to be. But come playoff time, they may be in trouble.

    Jury’s still out on Winston but this can’t be a good distraction for that FSU team when they’re trying to accomplish something special.

    And oh yes, you can bet I’ll be tuned to that Broncos-Chiefs game as will most of the nation.

  21. Han…

    I tried to see if they were but I couldn’t tell. It really made no sense for that guy to call time.

    And did you say something about Gator football? Don’t remind me. This weekend could get ugly.

  22. Well, after spending a good 16 hours at the tables over Friday and Saturday I left Vegas down $300.

    Stopped at state line for breakfast and ended up $800 ahead all told. Had to work for every hand in Vegas ($10 min tables) played the $5 table at state line and everything fell like it was supposed to…even after being joined by a few So Cal locals who knew how to play and didn’t take the dealers bust cards. Thank God for Buffalo Bills!

    Going back in two weeks, I hope I don’t give it all back.

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