Like an Old Pair of Shoes
About 15 years ago, a homeless guy stole my shoes. He didn't exactly "steal" them. What I mean is, I did leave my athletic bag in the grandstand during baseball practice and that is precisely the sort of thing that draws a homeless guy, an orphan bag sitting unattended. These guys spend their time rummaging through garbage cans and the like, so one can't expect them to deny themselves an easily accessible athletic bag, especially one containing some kick-ass Adidas hi-tops.
A week later, again at baseball practice, I noticed the gentleman wearing my shoes. I confronted him, incredulously, and eventually negotiated to buy my shoes back from him for $10. What can I say? I was extremely attached to those shoes.
I'm feeling similarly about poker these days. My game has returned to pretty close to where it was before The Troubles, but I feel like I have to negotiate with Poker Zeus to allow me to slip back into the club. I'm currently barefoot and failing to get any traction at all. I can't build a stack. When I make a play, there's invariably a re-raise. I get a nice hand in position and one of the blinds ends up dominating me. I get KK cracked by KQ when a guy willingly risks his stack on a 4-outer.
As you might guess, I've been able to play a lot over the past couple days. No distractions, but no results. Went 0-3 in cash tourneys last night, failing to make the slightest impression in any of them. However, all the while, I was playing a 400 FPP Round I WSOP satellite on Stars, which eventually ended up with me winning a seat to a Round II this Saturday (two Main Event seats awarded, pool of approximately 600 players, if my calculations are correct).
For those of you scoring at home, that's two satellite wins in the last 9 days. And no cashes otherwise. But hey, it's something.
Part of it is people not knowing how to play satellites. Goodness gracious. Bluffing into empty side pots, big stacks mixing it up with each other near the bubble and medium stacks getting involved in hands they shouldn't. For my part, I sort of ambled along the first hour, picking up a couple pots, but finishing well below par. I doubled up in the midddle of the second hour with JJ and turned into a stealing fool at Level 8. Still, I was below par and sitting about 15 spots off the final seat when I made the play of the day.
With blinds at 300/600, I called a 3x button raise in the BB with J8o. I knew I could out-play this particular guy post-flop, the pot odds are there, and though my M would be around 6 after the call, I had to pick up some chips. I'll take my chances heads-up with this guy. The flop comes QJx with two clubs (I have none) and I check. Normally, this would be the perfect flop for me to bet out on, but I'm certain he's gonna make a play at it. I don't get any information from checking, but hope the size of his bet will tell me something. It did. Standard continuation and I smooth call. I'm pot committed now and am risking my whole tourney to double up, insead of trying to wrest it away right there. The turn is the two of clubs and again I check. That's a good card for me. I'm confident my jacks are good and my play in the hand thus far certainly smells like I called the flop bet on a draw. I plan on pushing at him if he bets here, but he does not. The river is a King and, don't ask me how, I know I'm good. Just one of those things. Malcolm Gladwell can explain it to you. I also know if I check, he'll try to steal it. I do check, muttering to myself, "Here comes the over-bet." He pushes his remaining $8K (pot is just under $6K) and I call so fast I pull my groin. He has 87o. I have an M of 14, comfortably inside the top 10, with 20 to the seat, which I casually folded into.
So, I lost a chunk of change last night, but I did win something. And I felt good about how I went about it. With the way the cards have beeen falling for me lately, I haven't had a great deal of post-flop action, haven't practiced that aspect of my game (and not playing the Crazy Re-Buy very often is another reason). It's been big bet/push pre-flop poker, which is dull and unimaginative. I relished the chance to break out some chops last night and I'd like to thank my adaptive subconscious for helping show me the way. One thing about being alone in the hosue is the lack of distractions. Which is how I could have three tourneys going at once and still feel like I wasn't missing any clues. Glad to know my brain agrees.
I still do want my shoes back, though.