Sunday, July 26, 2009

Today was poker day

It’s late. Late-ish. A little after midnight. Not too late to hit the 0100 jamfest in the PLO micros, but I think I’ll pass tonight. I’ve had a pretty full day at the tables already, and it’s been positive. No need to push my luck.

A few days ago, Phil, one of the guys from the home game I played in (until the ticker thing) called and invited me to a BBQ at his house up the canyon. Will there be a poker game? Yes. The BBQ starts at 1400 and poker will commence around 1800. Perfect, except for a slight snag: there was an Old-timers tourney at Poker Academy that I already committed to for Saturday, and it starts at 1600. I told him I’d get out to his place as soon as it was over. He said, “See you about 1700.”

“Fuck you, Phil.” He knows I like him. “Thanks for inviting me but you’re still a fuckhead.”

Poker Academy isn’t what it used to be. Mind you, a good game can still be had, but there is an influx of people who are there purely for entertainment. Now, while this mirrors the real world, meaning where actual money is on the tables, I believe in the early days of the software some of us had the notion that the membership had higher goals, namely to master NLHE with the help of equally serious students of the game, and then go out and kick some ass. Now, for some, it’s just a video game, and for others, a chat room. Still, there are enough good players left who are willing to help newbies along if they are so inclined, and enough good players, many better than I, to offer a challenge for growth. The Old-Timers, as one might guess, are such a group.

I believe this is the third year for this tourney, which is a bit funny since PA has only been around since 2005. In early 2006, PA changed the format of the ranking system, along with making several improvements to the program, and the upgrade was called 2.5. Old-timers are folks from the 2.0 days. The designation “Old-timers” is even more humorous when one considers that the initiator of the annual tourney is now 15 years old. That’s right, he started when he was eleven.

We only had twelve starters, which is a bit disappointing, yet it was great to play with some folks whom I don’t often get a chance to go up against. A lot of them are primarily tourney players or play at hours I am normally elsewhere. And since I don’t play many tourneys (this may be the second or third this year), I was at a disadvantage. I spent most of the tourney just watching in amazement, yet making mental notes the whole way.

I played a tight game, for again, I was out of my element. The fourth hand in I lost a sizeable pot with and underfull but got it back a few hands later when I 3-bet in late position with pocket 8s. I knew that hands had a value in tourneys that they don’t have in ring, so I raised and c-bet pairs bigger than sevens on dry boards. It worked. A flopped boat didn’t hurt either, and before the second level had ended, I had doubled up.

After spinning my wheels for several levels, I made another run, hitting top pair on the flop or middle pair with a flush draw, and at these later levels, aggression pays extra dividends. Still, with five players left, and even though I was the chip leader, I knew I was in a precarious position, for I had no real end game strategy. I’d need a little help. I started to blind off at an alarming rate and was soon in the middle of the pack. And calling an all-in with A4c (maybe for you CK) didn’t help when I ran into a set of sixes on the flop. The shortest stack became the chip leader and I was now back to barely more than my initial chips. Two hand later I had doubled up when my A8o raise went uncontested and another A8o rivered an Ace. Five hands later I flopped the nut flush.

When the play became three-handed I was once again the short stack, with Galak, by far the more experienced tourney player, with the chip lead. And I got lucky: his A7 against A4. River was a 4.; his A8d against my KJoff, and a King on the flop. And it wasn’t too many hands later that Lobo43 and I were heads up.

Now, here’s where it gets interesting. I have almost a 2:1 chip advantage over Lobo when we get HU. For the first few hands Lobo and I are swapping chips like lovers swap spit, but he is a bit more aggressive than me and he’s chipping away, eventually just 1500 chips behind. The door at the top of the basement door opens and DW calls out, “He’s back!” I know what this means. The guy who is camping out around the corner is paying us a visit, the second one today. I may attempt to put pen to paper on this slice of our life in the next few days, but for now, let me just say that I was now in a pickle. She came down the stairs. “Will you handle him?”

No self-respecting Man of the House is going to say, “No, Honey, I’m heads-up in this tournament. You take care of it.” Instead, I said, “Shit! Here, sit down and just hit fold unless you have a good hand.” While DW does not play poker, and has not used this software, over the last three years she has heard enough of my stories that she could probably hold her own against any newbie. And if she happened to bust out, well then, I could use it as an excuse; or if she took down the whole thing, then her laughter and smile would mean more than winning a WSOP bracelet. Well, maybe a circuit ring.

I was done with the camper in three hands: K7off and 4s6d twice. DW said, “I let Lobo sweat it a bit before folding.” Good woman. I sat back down to AQo, a pair of fives, Ac2h, all winning the blinds, and the coup de grace:

Poker Academy Online #68,110,965, T#367
No Limit Texas Holdem ($300/$600 NL)
Table PA Reunion Tourney 2009 #2
July 25, 2009 - 18:00:52 (PDT)

1} bastin $9,860 8h Ah
2) Lobo43 * $8,140 8s Kc

Lobo43 posts small blind $300
bastin posts big blind $600
Lobo43 raises $1,200
bastin raises $3,600

He tanks. Throughout the tourney he has been talking about having to go to a concert. It is his speech. He mentions it again and...

Lobo43 raises $2,740 (all-in)
bastin calls $2,740
bastin shows 8h Ah
Lobo43 shows 8s Kc

FLOP: Th Ad Qs

TURN: Th Ad Qs Qd

On the turn I typed into the chat "J."

RIVER: Th Ad Qs Qd Ac

bastin wins $16,280 with a Full House, Aces over Queens

I wholly expected the death knell.” C’est le poker,” as the PA baby flush chasers say. Perhaps DW expected the same, for when I emerged from my dungeon within two minutes after her departure, she expressed dismay.

I usually don’t high-five, especially with my spouse. Soooo unromantic. But that smile…

It is much later now. The jamfest is most likely wearing down. Tomorrow, dear friends, I will give you the home game.


Memphis MOJO said...

Nice job. Sounds like you played great.

DW helped, too. Letting the clock tick down gave you more time to return. Smart lady (but we already knew that).

Crash said...

It was with warm pride that I read you won. Odd, because I have never even met you. I remember you writing that you won in the old days because you were a quick study, but then the real talent showed up. You ARE the real talent, man. And the joy shared with your DW over winning semi-play money: A priceless image.

bastinptc said...

Thx guys.