The table was as loose as always, and using this stategy, my stack dropped to $20 after paying blinds and up to $40 after winning hands. I played very few hands (A6s, AKo, A7s, K9s), and stayed in after the flop with fewer still (A6s on a flush draw, AKo when the king hit). Two hands played, two hands won in the first 2½ hours, still about $30 in front of me.
At about two hours, we got a dealer change, and the saddest, gloomiest person I've ever seen wordlessly sat down with his tray and began to deal very, very slowly. He was an old asian guy, never made eye contact with anyone, and burned and turned the cards very deliberately. Unlike most dealers, he didn't act to move the game along, and pretty much left it up to the table to decide who won each hand and what rules to enforce. The guy to my right (José? that name'll work) raised his $1 bet to $3 after the flop (you're only allowed a $1 raise), but nobody complained, so it played. The woman two to my right showed her cards to José; fortunately, they then both folded.
At one point, the guy two to my left (Howard? That's a fitting name) won a pot with Ah, only showing one card. As the dealer motioned to him that he could grab the chips (!! -- normally the dealer pushes you your chips), I asked to see the guy's other card. He obliged, showing me his Jd, and then got berated by the dealer for literally three minutes (until this point, I didn't know the dealer could speak), who, in a very hard to understand accent, told him that in the big games, not showing both cards would be considered folding, and he'd lose the pot. The four of us at our end of the table (including the guy who got chewed out) had great fun for the next 20 minutes talking about getting backroomed for not showing both cards, sleeping with the fished for pointing out mistakes to the dealer, or for getting your arm cut off and beat with it for letting the player at the other end of the table know the he shorted the pot by a buck. Goofy, goofy atmosphere, but I stuck with my strategy.
Six hands later, a guy at the other end of the table (I'll call him Greg, for no good reason) who had sat down with $100 shortly after I arrived, was obviously down to about $50. Greg was a "play anything" kind of guy, but he won a three-way pot with a 4-on the board flush, showing his winning King and mucking his other card. José (who was now all in for $2 total) tossed his losing cards in face-up, and Howard showed me his pair of Queens and mucked them. Wordlessly, the dealer gave Greg the side pot and José the $9 main pot. We're all looking at each other -- why is the dealer giving the all-in garbage player part of the pot? The flush wins. Greg's oblivious, and just taked the much larger side pot. José takes his newly "won" chips, decides that now would be a good time to go, and leaves.
Howard and I conclude that because Greg face-down mucked half his hand, the sad-sack dealer followed through on his threat and called his hand dead, but because Howard mucked his hand, too, the side pot still went to Greg. José "won" because he was the only player still in.
Blinds and the aforementioned A7s folded post flop brought me down to $19, and it's getting to 11:00; time to get going. One more orbit, and if I get anything, I'm gonna play it super aggressive to take advantage of the tight table image I've cultivated the last three hours. On the button I get 76o. That's not the hand to do that with. Fold.
Next hand, I'm one off the button: Pair of tens. Bingo. Family pot around to me, and I raise. Most of the table calls. Seven players. J-6-8 rainbow. The jack's scary, but if I bet hard, I'm pretty sure I can scare off most players. The blinds check, next player checks, Greg bets $1, a couple callers, a fold, I raise to $2, the button folds, the blinds call.
The turn's a 9. I've got an open-end straight draw now, too. Checks to Greg, he bets, folds up to me, and I raise. More folds, and Greg and I are heads up.
The river's a king. It doesn't scare me, I'm representing power cards already, and that make it look like I might have hit a set of kings or paired up with big slick. Greg reaches for his chips, and I grab four of mine. He bets, I raise, he hesitates. He looks at his cards. It's a big pot -- it's a mistake for him to fold here, just based on the pot odds, but I've made it seem like it's a mistake for him to call here, too, if I really do have power cards.
He thinks about it, then calls. I show my pair of tens. He shows J4o, for a pair of Jacks. I'm down to $5.
The next hand, I get dealt A3o, and announce to the table that I'm on tilt. I raise when it comes to me, and get a table full of callers. Flop is 2-3-4 rainbow. With A3o, you can't ask for a much better flop. I'm soon all in, the turn's an 8, the river's an A, and I lose to Greg again, this time holding A4o.
Good times, though. It's amazing how few people leave the table with any chips whatsoever. And even more amazing how few people leave the table ahead.