Wednesday, December 01, 2004


Such is the sound of my heart sinking as variance toys with me.

Rough night last night. Squeezed in three $10 single-table SnGs, with only a third-place finish to show for it. Upon careful analysis, it seems I played pretty well, except for a couple notable mistakes. The details:

First tourney, I barely get warmed up before I'm out in 9th after seeing only 4 flops. It was an inauspiscious beginning as I folded K3o on the first hand only to see two cowboys on the flop.

I get into my first hand--the last of Level 1--with KhQc on the button. Folded to me and I make a 3x raise which is called by both blinds. Flop comes 2cAsTs . Checked to me. I throw out a 75 bet trying to take it down and am raised by the SB. I fold.

Couple hands later, I get AdJd. Two limpers. I minimum raise. Get two callers, including the SB from the previous hand (foreshadowing). Flop is a nice 9dAhKd. I bet out T100 and am called by (let's call him my nemesis). Flop is 10s, so I have top pair and 12 outs, if needed. This time, my T100 bet is raised. I call the 100. River is a rag. I check. He bets. I fold and he flashes Big Slick.

I go out a short time later when I flop a straight and lose to a rivered flush. Which bears mentioning. There were more flushes last night than at halftime of the Super Bowl. Unbelievable.

Second tourney was a bit more eventful. Worked my way up to T1200 early on with pocket 4s and Big Slick. Then took a big hit with KK. Down to 5-handed. Folded to me and I raise 4x the blinds on the button. A big bet, but trying to get out any ace. Because, well, I always lose with this hand. Sure enough, BB calls and two aces on the flop. I throw out a 200 bet to see what's what--hoping I'm up against QQ and am raised. I fold and--AGAIN!!!!--am flashed Big Slick. Maybe time to call it a night. Maybe time to just minimum raise those cowboys. Now short-stacked I'm forced in in the BB with K6o, catch nothing against and ace and out in 5th.

I'm not too discouraged, though, because I feel like I've just gotten the worst of it. Not like I've just been giving away my chips, though a couple agressive bets have lost me some. And things immediately brightened.

Second hand of the third tourney, I get QJo on the button. I limp and get a Jack high flop. Checked to me and I bet out, getting two callers. Turn and river are rags and I bet both reasonably hard, though not as hard as I would have bet them had I a few hands to get a read on the guys who call me all the way down. Both with Ax. No pairs. Picked up about 600 chips and I'm liking this table.

Very next hand, I get AA. Make it 60 to go, two limpers and button (he of Ax the previous hand) calls. Flop is Kxx. checked to me and I bet 300, hoping there's a king out there. There is. Button has it and re-raises all-in. I call and am up to T2300 only 3 hands in.

Lot of folding follows as the cards decide I've had enough for now. And a funny thing happens. After four players go to showdown, I pull up the hand history to see what they were playing. As I attempt to close it, I accidentally hit the raise button. I have Q7o. But, as luck would have it, I'm on the button and nobody's in the hand yet. BB calls. Flop misses me completely, but BB checks. I throw out 100 and induce a fold. Clearly, thing's will be going right for me on this table as long as I don't screw it up (foreshadowing).

I now also am led to believe that I have the table respect that comes from a) folding a lot b) showing down only the best cards and/or c) having by far the big stack. So I start stealing. And it works to perfection. The problem: I can't get any action the couple times I get premum cards.

So, I limp in with KQo one from the button. Flop is Qd5c2h . Checked to my right who bets 200. I call. Everybody else folds. Turn is a 10, the second club. My right goes all-in. I go into the tank. No pre-flop raise, so I discount AK (considering my night, probably not the best idea). Could have caught a set at some point, though 10s seems unlikely. I decide I'm ahead and call. He shows 77. I get a superfluous Q on the river and I'm steamrolling this crew.

I fold and steal until we're 5-handed when I catch a straight on the turn. I lose T600 when I put short stack all-in and he makes a boat on the river.

I slowly get all of that back and we're down to 3 when I completely blow it. SB minimum raises my BB. I call with AsKc. Flop is raggedy to say the least: 4d7h2h. SB throws out 500 and I fold. Actually, I WISH that's what happened. I called it. Why? I'm not entirely sure. I think the fact he bet half his stack signalled to me he was trying to steal it. It's not out of the realm of possibility he was playing overcards like me. He'd done it previously. And maybe that's the problem. I talked myself INTO the hand, instead of talking myself OUT of it. Find a reason to fold, dummy.

Whew, glad we hashed that out. So I don't have to mention he went all-in on the turn, which didn't improve me and I called that one, too. River is no help and his Js7s doubles him up.

I think over-confidence might have hurt me here, too. I was feeling pretty bullet-proof. Perhaps "terrifically dense" would be a better way to put it.

So, now I'm the short stack and (stop me if you've heard this one before), go out a few hands later with top pair crushed by a rivered flush. But I deserved it.

Dinner out with the (extended) family tonight so I probably get to marinate in that play for another day before heading back to the tables.

On the non-poker front, A's ace Tim Hudson and his agent are making petulant demands and setting deadlines for his contract extension (he'll be a free agent after the upcoming season). Huddy is pretty much 1a. on my list of all-time Oakland A's players (just behind Dave Stewart) and the one player who personifies the A's return to contention after many dark years in the '90s.

Basically, the A's owners are gonna have to pony up some dough to keep him, an act they've not shown much affinity for in the past. If form holds, Huddy's departure will rank right up there on the disappointment scale with the McGwire trade. I won't, however, wish him ill will and pancreatic parasites like I have certain other former Athletics with the initials Jason Giambi.


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