Sunday, March 27, 2005

Rinse. Lather. Repeat.

Once is an occurance. Twice is a coincidence. Three times? I'm sensing a trend.

It would seem I must endure the trials of Job in this poker journey. It further seems that absorbing those tribulations will lead to redemption.

For the third straight weekend, I got stuck a couple hundred bucks. Went out of the $20 MTT on Friday night thanks to my absurd belief that getting my money in while a 93% favorite would result in doubling up. Nope, AA is no good against AQo. There's nothing quite like that feeling. I look forward to playing those tournaments. I expect to play a while. Going out in 45 minutes because of a vicious beat...well, let's just say I was no fun to hang out with for a half-hour.

Folded up the poker tent for the rest of the evening, but was back at it first thing in morning in the $11 re-buy. Lasted into the third hour but never managed a servicable stack. Also lost a chunk again with AA, this time to pocket tens. That hand sucks.

Next up, the $20 MTT. Out in 20 minutes. Rivered flush.

Moved on to actual life for the remainder of the afternoon, but came back for the $10 MTT. Warmed up for it by dropping $80 playing $2/$4. Just unbelievable bullshit. The prime example: I raise with KQs and get 4 callers. Flop is KQ6. I bet and raise for all I'm worth and with the river to come, I'm heads up. River is a 6. I bet and am raised. I call and he shows 62s. He never had a flush draw.

So now I'm going into this tourney playing pissed off poker. Which means aggressive poker. Which means I make another final table. Barely and briefly, but I was there. Ninth place finish out of 1600. Not too shabby. And made back all the money I'd lost.

The proof of my agressive play was in the middle rounds. I stole with impunity. I spent 90 minutes with a solid, tight player on my left. And I took his blinds a lot. One time, I raised four hands in a row from the blinds and late position. Didn't get a call. My stats show I won 46 pots without showdown. Again, I managed all this while making dinner. Jambalaya with spicy smoked sausage courtesy of Emeril. BAM!

I never had a big, comfortable stack. But one hand defined the night. We were down to 20. On the two-table bubble. I was 16th in chips and hoped I wouldn't have a tough decision, so I could pick up the extra $40 for getting to the final 18. As is natural at that stage, the table was extremely tight. Any pre-flop raise would take it. Several times, it was folded all the way around. Twice while I was in the BB. That tight, solid player I mentioned earlier? He was second in chips. And now on my immediate right. His positioning was very advantageous to me throughout the night. To him, apparently, as well, since he won the whole enchilada. Congrats to you, sir.

Eventually, I got pocket 9s in the SB. UTG pushes all-in. He was easily the loosest player at the table. I'd seen him make big raises with marginal hands previously. Yet, a call was risky. Because of the stage, it would be unusual for players to push without premium cards. That was my thinking. But also, it's reasonable to think a smart player could take advantage of the tightness. I didn't think he was playing garbage, but I thought I had at least a coin flip.

So I called.

He showed A6s. Well, alright. My 9s held up (BAM!) and that pretty much pushed me to the final table. I was the shortest stack when I arrived and pushed early (I had only 5x the BB) with KJs. I was called by 99 (not so bad) and AA (bad). No miracles and my day was done (though not quite).

The tale of the tape reads three straight weekends of getting my ass/bankroll kicked and being saved, in the end, by 4th, 12th and 9th place finishes in that Saturday night $10 MTT. I think I like that tourney.

So now there's a need to decompress, to wind down after 4+ stressful hours. And I'm pretty drunk. The Red Hook ESBs are lined up on the kitchen counter like a dorm room's window sill. In this morning's carnage, I counted 9. My training for Vegas continues. Starting to stretch myself out.

Anyway, the early morning hours beckon. No way I can stay up/lucid long enough to play another MTT. Don't really feel like risking a cash game in my state. I KNOW!

I'll make some popcorn. And play .02/.04 Omaha.

Oh man, what a blast! I've done some recent, though minimal, study on the game. I can kinda discern a good starting hand. And I'm much better at reading the board. I love the changing nature of the hand. I'm on the nut flush draw! Now I have top two pair! Let the record show I won 59 cents. That's nearly 15 BBs.



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