Monday, June 13, 2005

Great Golf and Bad Poker

Our annual Tucson golf getaway started on Friday when I left work early to play with Billy at Whirlwind at 11:40 AM. Whirlwind is not in Tucson, but in the town of Maricopa which is on the way out of town to get to Tucson.

Billy and I were going to play golf alone, but at the last minute we were joined by Adam and his brother Mark. Mark was in town from Austin and said he was a 5 handicap. I have played with Adam before and he can usually break 100. Mark piped in immediately and said he wanted to bet on the round. He suggested $5 a hole using a best ball format. He would take Adam and Bill and I would be a team. This was a really stupid bet on Mark's part. He's never seen us play, and he is playing a golf course for the first time. I on the other hand have played the course at least 50 times since I bought a membership in 2004. So being the greedy bastards that we are, we immediately accepted the bet.

By the end of the round, I had shot a 74 and Billy had shot an 86. We won 16 holes, tied 1, and lost 1. It was a blood bath. I also had a $50 bet on match play and $50 on stroke play with Billy. I won those easily and even won a $50 press on the last hole when I made par after hitting my tee shot in the desert.

We cleaned up and headed down to Tucson. We stayed at the Loews Ventana Canyon Hotel on the first night. As I mentioned before, this is my favorite place to play golf in Arizona. You are right at the base of the Catalina mountains and have some spectacular views of Tucson and of the mountains. Once we arrived and checked in, we started having a few cocktails. Drinking continued over dinner and we finally got back and I was ready to play some poker.

Since our rooms were not big enough to hold an 8 player game, we got permission from the hotel to play out by the pool. It was a beautiful calm night and there was just enough light from the hotel to see the cards. The game was 1-2 Pot Limit Hold'em.

Now out of the eight players there were maybe 3 including me, that have studied the game at all. The rest of them, only know what they have seen on TV. What drives me nuts about these games is that they are so passive. Absolutely, under no circumstances does anyone raise before the flop. They are all pathologically afraid that if they raise everyone will fold. There is usually no raising after the flop either. As an example, Christian decides to show me his pocket jacks before the flop. He's in late position and there are only a couple of limpers in front of him. The flop came 9-2-3. Jon bets $2 and the other guys fold so it's to Chris. Chris is asking me what he should do? What the fuck? Bet the pot fuck face. Make Jon pay for his draw. It was plain as day that he was betting on a draw. But Christian chickens out and just calls. Now a Queen comes on the turn. Jon checks and Christian checks again because now he is afraid of the over card. The last card is an Ace. Now Christian is fucked because it looks like the draw got there and now there are 2 overcards. Jon bet the pot and Christian folded.

All night there were weak tight plays like this. Obviously this is bad strategy for them, because it lets the other players in cheap and they can catch a miracle and beat their pocket pair. It also hurts my game, because then I have no idea what anyone has. Players could have any 2 cards because no one has put them to a test the whole hand.

After thinking about it a while, the right strategy to crush this game is to limp with big drawing hands, and to raise relentlessly with high pocket pairs in late position. To my dismay, I was not getting any decent starting cards, and getting very bored. It sucks when you are stuck dealing the cards and moving the game along, and don't get to play any hands because you are playing tight. I heard Jon Juanda say in a interview that the difference between Pot Limit and No Limit is that large pocket pairs are devalued because you cannot bet enough to protect your hand in Pot limit. I would agree in a game with decent players, but in this case, even a small raise was enough to chase most players out.

Just for fun on one hand I played 2-7 offsuit "the hammer" for a raise. Since I had not played a hand in 20 minutes, everyone folded except for Rolf on my left. He called. I knew this was bad news because no matter how much I bet from now on, he's going to stay in the hand. Not because he's ahead, but because he knows nothing abut the game. Sure enough we make it to the river after a couple more attempts to bluff him out and he shows down bottom pair to win the pot.

A little later, he was in another pot that came down to the river. There was around $20 in the pot. Someone bet $2 and he calls it down with.......................10 high. If you have 10 high and someone bets in this pot, please fold. Or better yet, grow a dick and raise! The best part, is that he got lucky later on a big pot when he and another player had 3 Queens. When the turned over the hands, they were ready to chop until I saw that Rolf had paired his other card, the 3 with the board. Hello Full House!

The next day we played the Canyon Course at Ventana. Once again I played some of the best golf of my life. I shot a 73 with 6 birdies. At one point in the round I had 4 in a row. Billy was really pissed because he shot a 78 which was his best round in a year and a half and he still lost $100.

We played poker again at night and it was pretty much the same thing. I had no cards all night. I did play position a couple of times where I'd limp in late and wait for the flop. If no one bet at the flop, I would bet around 1/2 the pot and take it down. Even when I had nothing, I knew they didn't have anything either and they were not going to call a bet.

We stayed up late trying to finish off the beer and the scotch. This made getting up the next morning a bear for some of us. Our tee time this morning was 8:30. Robert made it to the first tee, but after one hole he had to go off into the desert and take a shit. He used a golf towel to wipe his ass. About 3 holes later we started making fun of him because you could see skid marks forming on his shorts. On the next hole we came up to the green and there was something stuffed into the cup on the green. We pulled the flag out and found Robert's dirty underwear. James used his putter and wedge like salad tongs and left it in the desert for the rattlesnakes. Apparently Robert called it a day after that and went back to the hotel.

Meanwhile Billy was playing great golf again trying to get even. After 6 holes I was still playing fantastic and was at even par. However, I was 2 strokes behind because Billy was 2 under. I really fucked myself on 10 when I hit my first tee shot into the desert and then had to retee up another one. This one I yanked into the driving range and had to take a drop. I made triple bogey which I thought had put me out of the running.

I managed to get back on track and then made back to back birdies on 15 and 16 to pull even in the day's match. My joy was shortlived after I pulled my approach on 17 into the one place I could not afford to go. I short sided myself in the bunker on the left and to top it off, I had a buried lie. So after leaving it in the bunker the first try, I blasted out and then missed the putt for bogey. I almost got lucky when on 18, Billy hit a horrid tee shot that looked like it went straight into the desert 50 yards in front of the tee. After looking worriedly for a few seconds, Billy spotted his ball in the fairway. I guess it trickled down the hill from the tee box and out of the desert. His hole didn't go much better, but I could only manage bogey so I only made up one stroke. Losing the match on Sunday, gave Billy $100 back so I only ended up $100 on the trip in golf bets.

After we added up the scores I was good for a 78 and the best weekend of golf I have ever played. Billy finished with a 76 which is the best he has played in years. It felt like we were Tom Watson and Jack Nicklaus dueling down the final holes of a major. At least that's what we'll tell our friends.


used-callaway-girl said...

Can U help me with my backswing? :-)


get a tee time here
golf course tee times see you on the first hold ;-)


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