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Friday night, SJ and I decided that the Wives have plenty of wine and were willing to bank roll us to get us out of the house so they could do their “chick thing” what ever that may be.

Blondie cracks off a few fat bills for SJ and my Wife says, (and I quote) “take what ever is in my wallet and take my ATM card, just bring me a receipt”. I know her PIN number and where she keeps the big bills in her wallet, and couldn’t get from her purse to the car fast enough.

First stop, Black Sheep Inn, Cameron Park.
$3/6 Limit table.
Table one is full and there is a wait. We stick around for a few and they finally open the second table with 7 players. We get into a good mix with some great cards and the people on the table are calling you down with bottom pair… it can’t get any better. Or can it? Nope, an orbit later and 3 people take off. Short handed, we play for about another orbit or so and then ask ourselves, why are we paying a rake every 4th hand. This is silly.

Motor down the dill to the Rancho Belagio, which is closed because there aren’t any players. Imagine that, no players on a Friday night at a time when you can hustle up a card game in a Starbucks… that’s how popular this game is right now, and if you can’t keep a table running, there is something intrinsically wrong.

2 Miles down the road is another card room, so we mob over there. They open a table with 10 players when we get seated. I get on a fantastic rush of cards playing $3/6 (Hagar’s favorite game) and SJ is burning through chips like it’s his job…. I triple up in about 45 minutes and we start to lose players. One by one we were down to 6 players and a house player. Paying blinds another time or two and we lose another player. SNAP! Another short handed table.

Call the Derby looking to get on the $12/24 table and the list is 7 deep.
Putting our heads together trying to figure out what to do, we both decide that we want to play a decent limit game or no limit. Capitol is down the way, the $9/18 table gets a call to check out the list. 6 players on the list. What’s close? Reno? Very tempting. Cache Creek? Even more tempting. No limit, drunks, stuck out in the middle of nowhere burning the midnight oil on a poker table. Opportunity knocks.

I got a full tank of gas, a half a pack of smokes, and I’m wound up tighter than a top looking for a game.
We hit I-5 with wide open throttle and rolled into Cache Creek and arrived at about 1:30. First stop was to take a leak, and then get on the list for the poker room. We get on the list and about 10 minutes later get seated.

Full table, calling stations that have been up all night and are looking to double up before the nights over and the sun rises. Loose, sloppy play with people betting into over cards and flushes. SJ and I were either on or off. When I had two cards he didn’t, when he hit his flop, I got none of it. So it was only about every 5th or so hand that we were in a pot together. There were a few that we tangled on but it wasn’t anything huge. I played into him when I had a hand as I would expect him to do with me.

A few people shuffled on and off the table while we were on it and it seems as though all they left behind were chips. We put in about a 5 hour session there of power poker. Dragging huge pots with nut hands and people calling you down to see what you have. At one point, I’m telling the guy next to me, “I got aces, I’d be careful about betting into me” and what does he do? Looks at the board, to see that I there is an ace out there, and slides $40 in chips in front of him.
“I still have my aces, and 40 doesn’t scare me, let’s make it 80 to go”
Turn, board pair….
“Danger sign”
He leads out with 40
I make it 200.
He slow plays it and says “I call… I got a great hand”
River, junk…
He checks…
“no checkie, no goooo…. 100”
“Aces up”
“nice pot” he says.
“Nice pot? Nice pot? It’s your pot! Hey Thanks! You built it for me!”

Next hand, on the button, hole cards, 7/2o
Flop, A/K/5
Fold, fold, fold, check, I bet 40 and he calls.
Turn, rag.
He checks to me, I tell him my A/K is good and bet 60
He folds.
I show him my 2.
He is madder red hot mad. Throwing his cards, giving me the hairy eyeball, going on an on about how his cards suck, blah blah blah. I go back to my ultra tight game. (IF I have such a thing)

SJ gets into a tangle with a guy who has been drinking since about noon. Continues to bet into him with a flopped flush on the board. This guy bets out, SJ raises, turn junk, this guy bets, SJ raises, he reraises him, SJ starts laughing out loud telling him across the table is absolute hysterics, “I wish you had more chips… hahahahaha… ALL IN!”
He calls, for about another 300 or so. Drunk since noon turns over J/6 and proudly says “I made the flush on flop”
Now SJ can’t stop laughing and is actually getting people’s attention off on other tables and turns over his A/10 to make the nut flush, still laughing out loud while saying “Send it!... Give me my pot.. hahahaha!!!!”

Now we have two people at the table that are absolutely bitter. They shuffle off and of course new Trout and Bass come and sit.
We play for a while longer and roll out of there cashing out nice stacks. SJ ended up with a rack of green and some change, I did a little less than he did.

We motor down I-5 and hit some truck stop greasy spoon and grab some grub and come up with our next master plan. Capitol $9/18, fist thing in the morning… Nothing says poker like Saturday morning at the Capitol.

We rolled in there and sat down, again at a semi short handed table and got very little action. SJ took down a few pots, I took down two while we were there for the 2 or 3 hours. It was worth our while being that we both doubled up on the buy in while we were there, but looking across the table, we are still thinking about how silly the action is at CC and wish that place was closer.

We roll out of there, head back to my place and call it a night. (or morning at this point, 10:30)
Get home, step over the pile of wine bottles in the garage and mosey into bed with the Wifey.
Blondie and SJ crashed in the guest room and everyone got some sleep for a few hours. Turns out that they went to bed long about the time we were hitting the capitol on our rush of the night.

So, when you are out looking for a game, and keep getting short tabled, don’t get discouraged. There’s a NL table out there somewhere, you just have to find it…..
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