What if (almost) everyone at the table was Asian?

I'm always into playing in exotic locations. So, I was thrilled to hear that Cebu City, The Philippines – where I'm visiting – has poker!

When I went over last night to the Waterfront Cebu City Hotel & Casino, they were spreading 10peso/20 peso no-limit Hold'em and 25 peso/50 peso no-limit Hold'em. I joined the 25 peso/50 peso no-limit game - that's about $.50/$1 US - and bought in for $100, or 4100 pesos.

I was the only Caucasian at the table [PC Q. Am I allowed to say that? :-].  As you might imagine, the action was off the charts. It was great to watch the hands play. I say 'watch,' as I was playing super tight - no limping cheap here. Players were raising weak hands to $20, just for the thrill. I was the only person at the table who seemed to appreciate that ideally 're-buy' is not something you say every several minutes. Probably the best, was a re-buy of 50,000 peso - more than $1000 - to continue playing on our 'small' table.

Players were OVER-calling their entire multi-thousand peso stacks with losing top pair, top kicker hands, on boards that supported full houses and flushes. One player lost about $600, playing an off-suit 3, 7 -- the flop was 4, 5, 6 and another player of almost equal stack had a more reasonable 7, 8 hand. The winner flopped the higher straight that won the hand.

Of equal interest was the hand where a player called a $400 turn bet (the bettor held the nut hand; a straight) and rivered a medium flush to win about $900. This might have made sense, except when the ultimate winner made the call, he had about $7 invested in the pot and there was no assurance that if he made his hand it would be good (I guess it never entered his mind that two flushes are better than his Queen-high flush draw).

It became commonplace to hear people re-buy for several hundred dollars, at a table where the big blind was less than one dollar. I don't have enough experience to tell you it's always true, but based on my session I have to say: If you want 'action, action and more action,' come to Asia! 

Given the size of pots at this table, it's just a postscript to note: I lost my $100 playing two hands (I played about four hands in 3 hrs.).

1. Holding pocket Queens, I limped and then re-raised all-in (about $95). This lost me half my chips to a  short-stacked player holding 10, Jack off-suit, who felt he should call my massive raise and won with a straight. [Don't look for more rationale than his interest in action - he had about $2 invested in the pot when he called and everyone else had folded].
2.  I lost the rest of my chips going all-in pre-flop with pocket Jacks. A player with a King flopped trips.

So it goes.....Hours of entertainment and for-me, no re-buys.

- E. Mark the "e-Shark" Gross