Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Post Number 200!

Eddie Flemming: So, you want to talk to her alone?
Jordy Warsaw: Yeah.
Eddie Flemming: All right. But, you bring her in to the station right away and don't let her out of your sight. She's the only moving body we got left.
Jordy Warsaw: Of course. Don't worry about it, I'm a professional.
Eddie Flemming: Yeah, well girls like that got a knack for turning professionals into amateurs.
"15 Minutes"

Poker is a weird game sometimes. Hell, poker is a weird game at the best of times. I had a weekend where I am forced to sit back and think that this Goddess we refer to as “Variance” sure has a wicked sense of humour. I played brilliantly and lost, then played like a donkey and won. Here is how it went…

Firstly, we had our second Western Sydney Poker Championship on Saturday night, and thanks to several late cancellations, we had 32 runners which is pretty decent anyways. Starting stacks were T4000 with 30 minute levels so there would be plenty of time to play any way you wanted. We started with four tables too, so there was never more than 8 per table on the night which keeps things moving a bit.

Last time I finished 5th out of 27 for a grand profit of $2, since I did not collect one of the $5 bounties on everyone’s head. I could really use a win here as I have been an a loosing streak of late and some good results would be most welcome.

On the very first hand I fold my small blind to some raising, and in the end Aces get cracked by K6 which flopped two pair. Even though this looked like an ominous start, this would be the only time all night I saw Aces get cracked.

I won my first pot with A3o, on a board of T259 – so I had a gut shot draw that I bet out because there was no action yet. I have one player considering a call (with 2 to act behind him) and I say to the player next to act “Don’t worry, I’ll show”. A little gamesmanship perhaps? Anyways, it gets folded around to me and I flash just the ace and then muck the three. This would also be my only bluff for the entire night.

I get to see a flop for cheap with 44 and hit the set with a very low board. A player goes all-in in front of me and I have to call – he has AKo and no draw from here. I collect his black chip (that is what we use to define a bounty), and I’m feeling a little better.

There is much action at the other tables – it seems people like to bluff with half their stack. When that gets called, they go into push or fold mode with 20 big bets in front of them. Interesting tactics. I thought starting with 40 Big bets and long levels would be ok, but one or two people disagreed. Perhaps coincidently these people were the ones out within the first level or two.

I can’t remember the hand where I busted another player, but I do remember I had the nuts and he went all in on the turn which I called and obviously won. I had a healthy stack as we moved to three tables.

I was fortunate enough to draw the seat to the left of the massive chip leader, which is much better than sitting to his right. However, the whole time we were at this table I did not win a pot. We eventually got down to two tables and then the final 8 as we consolidated to a final table. I hadn’t suffered any beats as yet and I hadn’t given any out. On one or two occasions where I could have considered a call I folded to have my opponent show a monster, so I’m feeling pretty good but at the final table I was the short stack. I had plenty of chips and time to spare, but the short stack none the less.

8th goes pretty quickly, but seventh took a hell of a long time. Blinds were only at 400/800 and I count down my stack in front of me – I have just above T9000 and we’re nearly getting to that magical ten big blind stack that we all dread.

I have two all-ins that are not called and I win some blinds and raises, and I feel more comfortable.

In the BB I am dealt ATo and decide that with one caller and the small blind (chip leader, very loose aggressive) I’ll just see the flop and do with it what I want.

The flop comes ATT and I have to check, hoping that someone has an ace, a ten or a straight draw. There are no further bets and I insta-check the turn as well as everyone else. The river draws another rag and I’m just concerned about how much I can get out of the other two players – who are in 1st and 2nd chip position. I put out a T2000 bet and get only one caller, no raise. It was a smallish pot, but I guess I got about as much out of it as I could have. I’m no longer the smallest stack but I have a long way to go to be the chip leader or in the money which is top five.

In the small blind I get TT. There is a raise from middle position and the button (chip leader) calls as do I. The flop is QT5 rainbow, and I consider my hand good but I check it to let somebody else do the betting for me as the pre flop raiser and the chip leader rarely let a flop go without betting at it. Middle position has seen enough already and pushes all in. The chip leader is thinking about it for quite a while, and I have already made my decision to call expecting to see AA or KK, and hopefully not QQ. Chip leader folds and I instantly call. He has me covered by about T3000 or so. He shows AQo which was about as good as I could hope for.

The turn is a 5, filling my boat. The river is a Queen, filling his. Can’t really blame him for going all-in there with TPTK, and I don’t think I could have played it differently to survive. Just one of those things were the cards didn’t fall my way.

I curse my luck and after the bubble bursts a few hands later, I nominate myself as the official final table dealer. I decided to deal because firstly I still wanted to be involved in the final table and secondly I didn’t want to get into the wild side cash games.

First and second made a deal and played it out for the remainder of the cash. 1st place went to a guy I invited to the game, so I guess we can count on him coming back. Second place, a decent player as well, had not knocked out one player in the entire tournament (as apposed to first who had more than ten scalps).

It was a good tournament, I really enjoyed it and thought we made some improvements from the last time and have now got it down to just about right. 40BB seems enough to me with the 30 minute blinds, and the final hand was played out after 5 ½ hours which is pretty long for a 32 man tourny. I didn’t play one hand in the cash games because I was in the frame of mind that I could not afford to loose – so I just hung around for an hour or two as a rail bird and talking shit with the last six or so guys left.

Last night, I won a $5 SNG for the first time in what seems like ages. I lost half my stack early when I caught a bad beat, and then I was forced to suck out on the same guy three times in order to win it. Firstly was A8s vs AJs – my 8 hit the river. Second was Q7 vs 66 on a 89T board. He bet out less than 50% of the pot and I push all-in. He made the call and I hit a Queen I think for the win on the turn. I may have had a flush draw also. The last one was on the final hand where I had a handy chip lead – 10K vs 3K or thereabouts. I always look at this position as a chance to knock him out because I can double him up and still be in front. I am dealt 88 and raise it which he calls. The flop is AJx. Again he bets what I consider too little and I push thinking he did not have the ace and I might be able to convince him I do – I had a tight table image, or at least I thought so. He thought about it and called with J4h. The river again brought me an eight and I finally took it out.

Each time I was the aggressor though, so at least I wasn’t calling with the worst hand. Yeah, does that work to excuse it? I figure I’m still way ahead in the Poker Variance ledger, and I have plenty more of these due to come to me to make up for the horrid treatment of the last few months.

by the way, check on this cool story from ESPN's Page 2. I just enjoyed reading it, if not just for the MJ references.

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