Monday, June 13, 2005

Tournament of Champions

I love poker. Despite her flaws. Despite how often I say poker sucks. Gave back about a third of my weekend profit yesterday, but I enjoyed every gosh darn second of it. Almost as much as I enjoyed "Madagascar," which I'd highly recommend for everyone, not just those with kids. Damn it was funny. For those of you with the kinder, the movie checks in at about 80 minutes, so the youngsters can manage to withstand it. AJ did, anyway, and it was his first movie theater experience which held his rapt attention.

So, back to the virtual felt. I failed to cash in a pair of $30 two-table SnGs. But I played fine. I made a concerted effort to tighten up--go back to basics--in response to my weeks-long drought and found it served me quite well. I went out of both tourneys losing to players holding shit cards. Did it bug me? Surprisingly, no. Because those fuckers are gonna make me rich, bitch!

And they also taught me a lesson. Here's the scene:

Level 2 and I get dealt 99 on the button. There's a raise to 90 (blinds at 15/30) in MP, a guy who has doubled up already by chasing and catching his flush draw, and I bump it to 200. He calls. Flop is J73 rainbow and he checks. I bet 3/4 of the pot and he calls. What is he playing? My first thought is AK or AQ. Fits with the pre-flop betting pattern. Fits with a check-call. Other possibilites based on the pre-flop are AJ--which I discount based on his post-flop action--or an under-pair to the Jack. In the case of tens or eights, I figured he'd lead out, feeler-style. So, no. A set? Possible, but I don't get the sense he's the patient/tricky type. JT? Quite possible.

Reasonable, yes? So, a deuce hits the turn and he checks again. The pot is just over 1100 and that's what I have left, so, sticking with my first (best?) read of AK or AQ, I push.

He calls with J5 sOOOOOOOOOOOted.

Which, naturally, never entered my mind. But...and here's the rub...IT SHOULD!

These are not world class players. The check-call is entirely symptomatic of some sort of hand, even one I couldn't possibly believe someone would be playing. Probably could have checked it down and saved my chips for a better spot. I'm giving these donkeys too much credit, which leads me away from potential hands they are holding. Better yet, when I DO get a monster, they'll pay me off. So why force it?

I also dropped $51 into the Crazy $11 Re-Buy. Lost my first 3000 chips with AA--all-in on the turn--to a runner-runner straight flush (QsJs). The only thing that pissed me off about that was everyone with the "nh" "vnh" "whoa" comments. HE NEVER HAD THE POT ODDS TO CALL MY BETS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! IT'S NOT A VNH, IT'S A LUCKY FUCKING DRAW!!!!!!!!!!!

Whew. But I didn't say anything.

I finished 121st out of over 1200. 99 got paid. Was pretty short the whole way. sigh. I wish I could be the big stack in these things more often, be the one waiting to pick off the push minkeys when the blinds demand it. Instead, I am the push monkey. Made a nice surge in the second hour, but ended up frigid in the third and holding just 11x the BB when Hour Four commenced. In the CO and down to 7x the BB, I pushed over the top of a short-stack all-in with AQs.

"Uh oh," is what I said when the button--who had me covered--threw his stack in, as well. 99 for the short stack; KK for the button. Au revoir.

Still, I'm heartened. Didn't feel as lost or as desperate as I've felt recently. Had a handle on my game, on the play. And there are plenty of donkeys out there still. You don't need to make any "plays" to beat them.


I'm taking my self-administered advice about keeping my poker game simple and transferring it to the remaining three (I think) trip reports. Nuts and bolts, baby.

Before we continue, if you need a refresher:

Thursday: Part I
Thursday: Part II
Friday: Part I
Friday: Part II

If one's biggest problem when waking up in Vegas is tiredness, I would count that as lucky. Such was my good fortune on Saturday. Despite the late night debauchery, I was about as fresh as could be expected. Gimme a jolt of joe and I'll be ready to go.

I did have some concerns about The Poker Geek, however. I vaguely recalled his shadowy figure coming into the room some time after I crashed. I now saw that he wasted no time in hitting the sack. Sprawled across the other bed, he was fully clothed. Shoes included.

I shoved him awake (G-Rob unavailable for the traditional kicking) and he said he'd meet me downstairs in a few. Face scrubbed, deodorant applied and I'm off to Seattle's Almost Mediocre for some coffee. Ran into Maudie and BadBlood, none of us talking all that much. Too much effort. The Sundance Kid soon arrived as well as The Rooster. The first group headed for the cab stand, the second waited with me for the The Geek, who finally emerged dressed to the nines for The Cure Aladdin Classic.

The ride over was uneventful, except for the part where Joaquin disparaged the great Michael Owen. I gave him a severe beating for that, but so skilled am I in the art of ass-whuppin, I didn't leave a mark.

Headed straight for the bar upon our arrival, where I saw a really cool guy in a hideous Chelsea shirt, prompting my first chorus of "You'll Never Walk Alone.'' There may have been others. I don't know. The bar would become my home away from homne soon enough, since I made no impact whatsoever in the tourney.

My starting table:

Seat 1: G-Rob, looking a little rumpled. Claimed his pipes were backed up. Repeatedly.
Seat 2: Austin John, who graciously lent me a quarter later for a newspaper and took on the role of table aggressor early.
Seat 3: Mr. Subliminal, final table participant and winner of Bust-Out Orator of the Universe
Seat 4: Marty! I forgot Marty! It's what happens when I write without notes. Don't take it personally, man. Just 'cause I remembered G-Rob had to take a crap and forgot you.
Seat 5: Yours very truly. I'm a folding machine. Today's hand of the day is 97o.
Seat 6: fhwrdh, great to see again and catch up with Full Tilt's Golden Boy
Seat 7: Felicia, uh oh
Seat 8: Alan, who is Geek (checked his fantasy baseball stats during the HORPSE game at the Nugget later in the day) and Proud (didn't try to hide it).
Seat 9: Bobby Bracelet, uh oh
Seat 10: flipchipro, the life of the party. Couldn't get him to stop talking

There weren't going to be any easy tables in this shootout, but I'll put ours up against anyone's for difficulty quotient. And we were easily the most subdued table, probably owing to the lack of Dropped Hammers.

G-Rob got bounced with AA against 66 when the case six flopped (I had folded A6o), so he was able to retire to his "office" without having an "accident." Felicia's Big Slick rivered flipchip's Hiltons. I generally didn't get involved. At the break, our table broke and I was sent from the frying pan into the fire, i.e. a table featuring Otis, Hank and ScurvyDog. There were others, but I was only there briefly and have no notes. Sorry. I love you all. Promise.

I had T1400 with blinds at 200/400. I had gotten a break with the table change as I was slated to be the BB before mine broke and sat now in MP. Still, I folded until my BB. Scurvy pushed on the button and I looked down to see nines. No choice. Call. He had jacks. I picked up outs on the turn, making me open-ended, but no Sound of a Suckout this day. Scurvy earned my plentiful bounty of the genius "Homeboy," and I'm glad to see he's digging it. So much so that he's gonna quit his job!

Carpe diem, my brother. And godspeed.

At that point, I started wearing a path in the Aladdin shag betwen the tourney room and the bar. Yes kids, It's Bloody Mary Time, It's Bloody Mary Time, It is a drink so fine, It's Bloody Mary Time.

Got to sit a bit with fhwrdh--who graciously comped my first--and see where life was headed. I also took the opportunity to further weasel my way into an invite to the Infamous Home Game. Watched The Geek play video blackjack, plied with SoCo shots from some dude in a Chelsea jersey. Sweated the final few tables, constantly reminding CJ of his huge chip lead, much to his increasing annoyance. I think he frittered a chunk of it away just to get me to shut up.

In fact, down to about 12 players, there were no big stacks; even steven.

Congrats to Billy Legend, of course, as well as all the final table participants, including Tsunami Hitchiker and Hank's buddy, giving LA 30% of the last 10. We've got the numbers, people. You don't want none. The New York Times calls it "Flooding the Zone," sending massive numbers of talented people to chase a big story. That's us. Only we're after pots.

Scared? Yeah I know. Now that everyone knows what I look like, it's harder to be intimidating.

Many thanks to CJ for hooking us all up. Much appreciated, sir.

Next: Ole, Ole, Ole-Ole, $45 shots of tequila, Booger Elvis and Instead of playing HORPSE, I should set my money--or myself--on fire.


At 3:17 PM, Blogger Human Head said...

I have to get that book, it sounds really goot, and I'm out of good reading material. Yet another great piece of the trip, my friend.

At 6:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

nice cure crackback. :)

was a pleasure to hang out and talk smoking and other incidentals.

At 9:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh, i see how it is. I have to deal with a silly nickname, but i lose out on the linkage... that's not quite fair.

At 5:58 AM, Blogger ScurvyDog said...

Wait, I'm quitting my job now? Cool.

The odd thing is that Homeboy really reminded me a lot of my other favorite book in the world, Suttree by Cormac McCarthy. And I'm really not sure why. Except they both kick a lot of ass.

Thanks again for the bounty. I'll never curse pocket jacks again. Until, you know, the next time I'm dealt them and simultaneously think Woohoo/Crap.

At 9:46 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

How old is AJ again?

Wyatt is two but I'm skeptical on how long he can sit still during a movie that doesn't involve Thomas the Tank Engine or nursery rhymes being repeated.

At 9:32 PM, Blogger StudioGlyphic said...

LA rules. :)


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