Blonde Girl in a Mans World

High Stakes live poker games bring an array of characters; there's the university student who bought in with his entire college tuition, the Vegas pro, who after each hand writes in his little notebook, the short stack player who keeps on min buying, pushing pre-flop and losing, the wild card player, a casino wale, who can take out a for more than my net worth. He may or may not have a poker hand ranking card in front of him and then there's me.

I'm 5'5, 115lb, 25 year old, blonde and a woman.

Last week I was playing in a 10-20NL game at the Bellagio. It was 4 a.m and I was up a little. I'm a player who likes to make a certain amount of money and then leave, unless the game is really good. I had reached that amount of money, when the pit announced there was a seat for me at the main game. I racked my chips ready to go to bed, when a player at my table made a comment about how good the main game was.

I asked him 'seriously?' because I was ready to go home. The entire table chimed in on what a great game it was, and jokingly offered to take a piece of me at the main game.

So I took my seat at the main game.

I knew I was tired and if I was going to play in this game with this major wild card player, I would have to call down huge bluffs with mediocre hands. Which means I really need to be on top of my reads, I couldn't be tired. So I took a half hour break to do some cardio and have something to eat and mentally prepare for the game.

When I returned to the table, the Vegas pro was in a 16k hand against the wild card. The board was KcQh3d the Vegas pro was all-in with top two against the wild card who had King rag. While the pro scooped the pot, I over heard the wild card say to his buddy sweating him, 'I had top pair, what could I do?' This was going to be a good game!

The wild card chatted me up a bit before him and I got in a very interesting hand. It's 5 am in a Vegas poker room, you know the guys at my table are all single because what wife puts up with their man playing poker all night on a weekday?!

I am the small blind in seat 9, wild card is the cut off in seat 7. Three players limp, I complete with A6 off, BB check, we're five handed to a flop. Flop comes down A-7-6 two spades. I check, Vegas pro in mid position bets $100, wild card calls, I check raises to $400. The Pro folds and the wild card asks me 'do you want me to call, I have a big draw?'

' Yes' I said trying to sound confident. Honestly I was quite happy to take the draw heavy board down right here.

'Okay, then' he says as he calls.

The turn comes the ten of clubs, I'm gathering my chips for another big bet, and the wild card moans, 'ahh- you don't want to do that'.

'You're telling me you have 8-9?' I asked in a smug manner betting out $700

The wild card contemplated folding, and then threw in a call.

River is the 9 of spades, grrrrrrr. Not much I can do here but check. He told me on the flop he had a draw, and now every draw has got there. I check.

'All-in' says the wild card.

I knew going into this game that I was going to be faced with these types of decisions. Somehow at $2400 pot just turned into $12,000.

There's really no way I can call this bet but I don't want him to know this, and him and I have a bit of a repertoire going on that I hope to exploit.

'Do you want to take that bet back?' I asked

'Tell you what', he says 'I'll pull my bet back and we chop the pot. Or you can call the all-in bet'.

Did I say grrrr before cause now I'm feeling capital 'GRRRRR'.

His willingness to chop the pot, makes me feel sick to my stomach. Why would he give me that option, unless my two pair is good.

The player to my right jokes, 'Do you want to use a Life-Line?'

Yes, Meredith, I'll use my Call-a-Friend, please.

If I take the chop I make $100. If I call, I risk losing my remaining 5k, if I call and he's bluffing I rake in almost 12 grand.

Now I'm regretting telling him to call on the flop, I could have won a small pot on the flop, but instead here I am, facing this gigantic bet.

Really I can't put him on a hand I can beat.

"Alright,' you can hear the anguish in my voice 'chop it up'.

The dealer says she need to reward the pot to someone. The wild card says 'give me your hand, we'll muck them together,'

The dealer pushes the pot to the Wild card he mucks our cards face down, and divides the pot up.

Table talk immediately begins, mostly telling me I made a bad decision. They reasoned that if the Wild Card had had a straight or a flush he would have shown me how nice he was being, by exposing his winning hand.

I was alright with the hole situation, I still made money is how I looked at it.

Later that night, I met wild card away from the table and he told me he did have the flush. He gave me some line about how he wanted to take everyone else's money at the table but he didn't want to take mine.

I believe him.

What those other players don't understand is being a female in a males world, changes the game a bit. And in this particular case I think being a woman gave me a get-out-of-jail free card.

Next time I'm in that situation though, I'll be the one to muck the cards, so that I can sneak a peak, just to be sure.