Monday, August 23, 2004

A great present.

Kathy: You guys are brothers?
Mitch: Well, it's a long story...
Sam: My dad boned his mom.
Mitch: Okay, so it's a short story.
"Dirty Work"

What a fantastic birthday I had - and it involved poker! How awesome is that? Well I have a lot to talk about so lets get straight into it.

Friday nights are cool. Because both Serena and I (I've decided to stop calling her "girlfriend" exclusively on this blog as I ma sick of typing it) are both knackered after a week of work, and we usually relax in front of the TV with a few drinks come Friday night. I decided to get a little poker in while I could, even though the distractions were there. Luckily, the "distraction" was falling asleep on the couch.

Playing the single table tourny for 1 BBP entry at Poker Pages, I was going well and got down to heads up against one other player, with me having about 1/4 of the chips. It went back and forth, I was as high as $12K (out of $15K on the table) and as low as $1K. It was really quite fun and though I can't remember who the opponent was, they were very nice and seemed to be enjoying it too. Funny, because of so many idiots in online poker (more about that later) I will remember this game because the other player was really nice and made it more fun. Eventually it comes down to a $7K all in from me, and I get beaten by pocket 10's. Can't even remember what I had, probably A8 or something. Damn those pocket pairs, this is no longer a joke. I am seriously annoyed at that aspect of the game - but at least I won 3 cents and have finally added something to my bankroll instead of taking it away.

This table wasted enough time to be finished by the time the big tournament was about to start. I was armed with my new found strategy (see "Limpin' aint easy") and set out to concur. I was on the loosing end early and was down to $5K - but man did I fight. I managed to claw my way back to $12K - and there was a lot of pot stealing early. A small pre-flop raise of $500 with AT in late position was enough to scare off the 5 callers. I don't mind that - I mean, it isn't a killer hand and there is a chance I could pocket more, but I'd rather win a small pot than nearly win a large one. My raise's were getting way too much respect, but I was happy with that for now. After a few table re-shuffles, I end up sitting across from one of the Internet's many idiots. He wasn't swearing or anything, just being stupid. As soon as the first card was dealt, he started with genius like "I'm going to beat you all down" and the like. I don't like posting in the chat box, not because it distracts me but because I am too worried that it will distract me, and that is what distracts me. Does any of that make sense? But I posted back anyway "Maybe we should just leave quietly now before he gets really scary", and I had a bit of a laugh with another player who was also getting sick of this guy. Immediately, the idiot says back "Pipe down son.". That was his only response to anything anybody else ever said. "Pipe down son". So anyway, he is constantly telling us how good he is, and he even puts his $11K all-in a few times. He brags in the chat that he had nothing and bluffed us all because he is so great and we should pipe down. This happens about 3 times, then in early position he does it again. Even though his stack is just bigger than mine, I call him. He had something like 89 suited, and I had the cowboys. A King on the flop and it is all over. As I look at his stack of $120, I immediately type back "PIPE DOWN SON, PIPE DOWN!" He never replies. The next hand he is all in with the blinds and I take him out. The rest of the table now worships me, and I have a grin on my face from ear to ear. I even saved the chat log and will now read it from time to time when I feel I need a pick up.

The tournament marches on and I win some pots, loose some and the night goes long. The $100 free roll on Aloha starts and I now have to divide my attention between the two. It's ok though, as I blind steal and double up early on at Aloha. A must for this tournament.

Back to Poker Pages, the numbers are slowly getting smaller. We were down to the top 80 out of the 600 starters, and I remember that the one time I have been here before everybody starts folding everything. We all know this is common for all tournaments - everybody tightens right up when it gets close to the paying positions. I can't hardly remember a hand, but the number seemed to be going down a hell of a lot quicker than normal. But before I knew it, Serena woke up and came over the the computer. Oh no, this can't be good. We are getting close to the money and now the distraction awakes. This can't be good.

But it was! I had not noticed, but the clock had ticked to 00:03, and it was now the 21st of August. It was Heafy's 24th birthday, and I was starting it by playing poker! That lifted my spirits again and before I knew it I had limped into the top 27, the paying places. Woo hoo! I posted in the chat box that it was my birthday and everyone should go easy on me! When I had a blind steal, everyone considered that my first present. That was good enough for me. The average stack was $70K, and I was down to $25K, blinds up over $4K. I managed a few steals and even took a chunk off the chip leader, and I got back to over $180K by winning a coin-flip. When I got AK suited, I made a $50K raise and was re-raised by chip leader. I thought he must have a strong hand but was still trying to scare me off. I go all-in, he calls and shows a pocket pair of 5's. I think his advantage at this stage is something like 56% - but I seem to loose to pocket pair 100% of the time. Of course I loose again when he gets a full house and I have rags. I bow out in 13th and collect 16.5 cents worth of points. But I was very happy with the way I played, and my new strategy is sure to stay with me now. Also this meant I could concentrate on Aloha.

Things at Aloha were going well, but I was really aware of the evil pocket pairs waiting to snuff me out. I am playing very solidly, and my nearly-aggressive play seems to be working. The blinds get very high very quickly here, and I am able to win 1-2 pots per orbit. The numbers get lower and lower, and I start busting a few people out but mostly just sit back and watch the big stack bust all the little ones. Again, it comes down to the final two tables, and I am about 2/3 of the average stack. My best finish ever is 8th, in which I won $5 by limping into the final table. Tonight I hope I can better than and when I see a flop of (A 9 2) and I am holding A9 I feel confident to raise the minimum (which is 1/4 my stack). Then it happened. The connection dropped. I am angry. I am very angry. I check some other sites out and they all work fine - so it is the card room this time. I log out and try to get back in 3 times until I can do something. Reading the chat box though, everybody else (naturally) is also having trouble getting back in. Online help from Aloha says that nothing is wrong at their end, it must be our connections. Yeah right, it must be all our connections. This happened a farther 4 times for the tournament. I guess it was good that everyone was kept out not just me, but every time I came back in my stack was smaller. I have to continue with this other distraction, and the fact that it is 1 am on my birthday, and try to win some money. When the flop on one hand gives me bottom set, I hold my breath and go all-in (about double the big blind plus change), and get one caller. My set beats their two pair and we are onto the final table with me in 5th position!

The final table is great, but we have a tournament break straight away. I know I am assured at least $3, but my goal is to beat the $5 I scored for 8th. As each player is knocked out, I keep Serena posted on what my minimum win is. Every time someone goes all-in I let her now. About this time, there is nothing on TV so she is watching the Olympics, the women's 500m time trial cycling. With each new rider they get faster and faster, and the second last rider, a Chinese woman, was on world record pace at the half way mark, but finished just outside it in Olympic record time. The last to ride was Australian Anna Meares. She raced around in beat the world record by 0.1 of a second to claim gold - suffice to say it was very exciting from our end, and it was great to be watching it live.

Back to the poker, without me doing anything it is down to 8 (yes, I am guaranteed at least $5). Again, I can't remember the hands here but one player is dominating, named "rg301", he is chip leader by far and playing very aggressively. I am dealt pocket kings in middle position, and with $26K I think all-in is the way to go. I get one caller and I win with a full house. Hey, pocket kings against A7o or something like that, I think i was justified. I manage a few more small wins and go from 5th to 3rd, then 2nd behind rg301. It comes down to the last four and it looks like this:

Rg301 - $82K
Dreamscape (me) - $72K
Leland - $7K
TheTrashman - $1.2K

The blinds are $4000 - $8000, so it is only a matter of time (hopefully?) before the other two drop out and we go heads up. I manage a few steals and get the lead on $77K. There is one hand here I do remember very clearly. In the big blind now, I am dealt Th7c and limp in with only Rg301 calling from the small blind. The flop is (Ts 7d Qd), I have small two pair, and make a minimum raise which he calls. I am noticing that rg301 is calling everything it seems. The turn is a beautiful (7h) and I have made my full house. Not wanting to scare him off, I make the minimum raise again and he calls. I think he is on a flush draw and I want to give him every chance to make it. The river hits the digital felt and it shows (2d), I could not have asked for more. Again, I make the minimum raise (which, mind you is still $8K or so) and rg301 re-raises over the top of me about $35K. I could not have asked for a better result. I knew my hand was not the nuts, but it was damn close. There is no way this uber aggressive player would not go all in if he had made his hand before the river. I know he has made his flush, and I go back at him with all-in. He pauses, then calls and shows (Ad 6d), an ace high straight and I leap off my seat in triumph. I am very happy with the way I played that and knocked him out with my boat. The table now has me at $158K, and the other two are below $4K. One of them wins one showdown, but then looses the rest and in a matter of minutes I have knocked out all three of the last players and sit triumphantly alone at the table.

I stand with my arms raised high, waiting to be applauded. Some people have imaginary friends, I have an imaginary audience. Serena is surprised more than pleased I think, and I already begin to enjoy my birthday! I pocketed 16.5 cents from Poker Pages to bring that total to 25 cents, and then this tournament win takes me to $28 US (about $38.69 Australian), clearly my best result yet. I avoided loosing out to pocket pairs, which was a bonus too. Because of this, and my first ever tournament win, I have up-graded myself from Algae to Plankton. I'm still small time, but baby I am on my way! My birthday rocked! I think I really have learned a lot though (thanks a lot to my loyal readers too), and I was not panicking when it came to the final table. I was very solid and still enjoyed the natural high from the win (and who doesn't)! There is plenty more to speak about the happening of my birthday and the live game we tried out, but I will save all of that for another time and for now bask in the glory of my win.

Just enough time here to point you through to another great blog in
Sloe Times. His style of blogging seems similar to mine - that being a stream of consciousness instead of trying to write an essay each time. That's what I prefer, as it sounds more like a conversation than a written account of thoughts and occurrences. It is worth your time to go over it for a read and see what you think.

Couldn't see "Hell Boy" on the weekend, so we saw "Euro Trip" instead. There are a few laughs in there, but mostly it is so-so. Sure, nudity abounds but you can only get so much out of that. Matt Damon has a cool and very un-expected cameo. I love cameos, and one day I will put my top ten in here for my own enjoyment. For now, good luck to everyone in the MMPBT (currently running or recently finished I think) and next post I will update you all more on the happenings of my 24th!

Yep, I'm a player now.

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