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Stop the Ride!

Stop the ride!

I've yelled these words a few times in my life. Not because I didn't like the "ride", but because it all got a little dizzying. The first such occurence was at the Super Ex in Ottawa. I was riding the Yo-Yo...

The Yo-Yo was one of those "swing" rides. You sit in a swing, the base tilts and turns, and fun is had by all. There were, however, a few things dreadfully wrong:

  1. The ride was going way too fast.

  2. The ride was lasting way too long.

  3. The carnie running the ride had a mic and kept singing the following over and over and over:

    Don't look at it...
    Ride it!
    Ride it, ride it, ride it!
    It's the Yo-Yo!

It took all of 5 minutes before the vomit started flying from the mouths of various children on the ride. I was fine myself but found myself mortified by the thought of accidentally getting hit with a fresh batch of corn chowder from the kid next to me. And so, on each revolution of the Yo-Yo, I would yell "Stop the ride!" as I flew by the oblivious, American-Idol-Wannabe carnie.

Years later, I also found myself yelling "Stop the ride!" yet again, this time on a Tilt-a-Whirl while on vacation in Prince Edward Island.

My dad, my brother and I had managed to scrape together about 6 hours worth of free-ride coupons for the Tilt-a-Whirl at the local fair. We finally made it to the deserted fairgrounds on a cold, blustery afternoon, free ride tickets clenched in hand.

We handed over all our tickets to the carnie and he told us that he'd keep the ride going until we wanted off. All three of us piled into one of the carts, its red paint faded after years of neglect. With a low rumble and a high pitched metal-on-metal screech, the mighty Tilt-a-Whirl started up.

Up and down, round and round - our cart continued to spin its way along the ride's rusty rails. After the first five minutes, we were bored so my dad asked the carnie to speed it up. Another five minutes passed, another request to speed it up. As the world outside started to blur, we caught occasional glances of the carnie contentedly smoking a cigarette, all the while watching us and waiting for the inevitable.

And then, fifteen minutes in, it happened. My brother said he was going to throw up. "Stop the ride!"

All three of us, father and two sons, felt sick the rest of the day. Still, what a ride!

All this to say that poker is the Yo-Yo. Poker is the Tilt-a-Whirl. Poker is every ride at every park. Fun in small bouts, boring in longer stretches, awesome at the best of times, and retchingly awful at worst of times. Last night, I took another spin at River Belle's $20 NL tables, looking to clear another solid chunk of the $125 bonus promised to me.

Low rumble...I'm up $5 after making a few blind steals and hitting TPTK.

High-pitched screech...Up another $5 when I represent a flush on the river.

Tilt...All in pre-flop with my cowboys only to find myself facing AA yet again (9th time in the past two months...and counting...). I lose my entire $25 stack at the table and find myself down $15 overall.

Yee-haw!...Three limpers, I also limp in CO with 55. Maniac on the button min-raises and five of us see the flop. 8 5 8! I slow-play and check-call to the river. Queen of diamonds hits on the river completing any and all flush draws. I turn to my wife and say "Here we go!". Just like clockwork, BB pushes all-in, UTG pushes all-in, and I push as well, knowing full well that I've just won the biggest pot of my life. Up $35.

Stop the ride...Hit trips on a flop of J 9 9 with my 97s - I got to see a free flop from the BB. UTG bets $1, MP calls $1, button calls $1, I make it $3 more to go - MP and button call. Turn is a blank and I bet $10, trying to get MP to call all-in with his last $6 while also forcing the button to fold. MP pushes, button calls. River is another blank. I check...my spidey sense is tingling. Button also checks and turns over 98o and takes the pot with his trip nines, higher kicker.

I actually continued playing at this point, confident that I was still playing solid poker. I found myself changing up my game a little, stealing the blinds by making occasional raises with some marginal holdings in order to guarantee some action when I finally did pick up a hand.

Unfortunately, my big hands did not hold up when they came. My cowboys got cracked both times that I played them to the tune of $30 lost. My queens got bitch slapped, my jacks got kicked squaw in the nuts, and my rockets failed to show up.

All told, I still managed to end my day up about $18 with another 160 raked hands cleared. Another 125 raked hands or so and the deposit bonus is mine!

As is usually the case, I'll jump back on that ride again tonight.

Sure...there'll be ups, downs, spins, carnies singing...

I may get dizzy, I may feel like throwing up...

But it's the best ride in town and I've got a fistful of free-ride coupons.


Nick Christy said...

Great Post!!! I generally stay away from the rides but aim more towards the spend $30 playing our games and you win a free movie poster, yipeee... not sure what that says about my game, maybe my reward is not at the level it should be?

Klopzi said...

I think it says that you play a sounder game than me...

Given the choice between stumbling off a ride in a puddle of my own vomit or winning a free poster, I'd take the poster anyday.