Thursday, July 13, 2006

Cystic Fibrosis Charity Tournament

Good God it's hot outside. I know this because my truck battery died when I tried to leave work to go to the tournament. Luckily there were a few hearty souls left in the office and I keep jumper cables in the back of my truck. So after sweating my balls off, jumping my truck I made it to Barcelona.

I was very impressed. Jeff had filled the bar and there were 108 entries in the tournament. They way he was talking about it a couple of weeks ago, it sounded like it was going to be a big bust. Jeff tried to do it up right by hiring dealers and getting out the fancy blind tracker clock on a tv screen. The only flaw is that he did not hire a tournament director to rebalance tables and keep track of the bustouts. Overall he did a good job. I mean I can't expect it to run perfectly since he's never played in a real tournament before.

We started with 1000 in chips and 10-20 blinds. Rebuys were $100 for 1000 chips and there would be an add on for an additional $100 for 1000 chips at the end of the 6th level. The add on would be silly since the blinds would be 200-400 by that time.

I knew a couple of people at my starting table. Jeff, who's house we have had previous tournaments at, and Brian who says he's given up playing poker (but used to play in the big mixed games at Casino Arizona). The others all looked like novices. My strategy was going to be to play solid and never bluff. Bet big with top pair good kicker and punish any draws. Hope I get off to a good start.

My first hand in the small blind I picked up a 5-Q and completed. I flopped an open ended straight draw. It was checked through 4 players. The turn paired the Ten on the board and I led out for 50. Everyone folded. Ok I may have to bluff a little bit. :-)

A few hands later, I picked up A-10 offsuit in the big blind. There were 4 limpers so I did not feel the need to raise and build a big pot, so I checked my option. The flop was K-10-6. For some inexplicable reason I decided to bet to see where I was at. The semi-clueless girl on my left called and everyone else folded. The turn was another King. Now I am thinking that I am good, because there is a good chance she could have called with a pair of tens or a pair of 6's. Since there's another King on the board, the chances are less that she has the third one. Anyways, I still am not interested in playing a big pot, so I check. She bets 200 and I call. The river was a brick. I check again and she bets 300. This doesn't look too good. I call anyways and she turns over King-5 for trips and rakes the pot. I love it when I donk off 1/2 my stack calling down middle pair.

In the mean time, Brian was amassing a boat load of chips. Once by bluffing a big pot with 2-7 offsuit. He loved showing that one down. Then he took all of my chips and then some from the trip kings girl. Brian was bluffing into her big on the flop and the turn. By the turn, Brian had an inside wheel draw. The river completed his straight and he moved all in. The trip kings girl made a brilliant (sarcasm here) call with Ace high and Jack kicker. So Brian was a donkey in trying to bluff a calling station twice and I don't know what the hell the girl was thinking.

The blinds were starting to get big and I was starting to move all in to stay alive. I did it a couple of times at my original table before I got moved.

My new table had a big stack on my left. One of the guys from my previous table had moved with me and knew I was pushing all in a lot and was starting to tell the rest of the table about it. In the mean time, my pregnant wife is getting tired and I am going to need her to get home. She is the only one with a car that will start.

So it's folded to me and I look at 9-7 offsuit. I move all in. Somebody calls me and I spike a 9 on the turn and double up. A couple of hands later, I have J-10 and I move in again. This time the big stack calls me with........wait for it........8-9 suited. I blurt out, "Man you can call me with that hand all night!" He didn't look too happy when I said that. My Jack high holds up and now I am out of "all in" range.

We finally hit the break and I switch cars with my wife. I jump start the truck again and send her on her way. She was a real trooper tonight. She bought me a great plate of appetizer, hung out at the table with me for a while, and even stood on the rail until the break. Unbeknowst to me, she even went to Pep Boys and got my battery replaced for me. Best wife ever.

When I get back from the break, I am moved again and this time my friend Paul from the country club is across the table from me. He is an older gentleman who I have played with in Jeff's tournaments before. He had asked me about the rebuy strategy before the event, so he knew that I had some poker knowledge. Well the blinds were up to 200-400 and I had about 3600 in chips.

First hand at the new table I get 7-7 in early position. I raise all in. Fold, fold, fold, fold, until it gets to Paul. He goes into the tank for a little while. Since he is thinking about it, I figure I am a coin flip with overcards. He finally calls for all his chips with..........5-6 suited. I'll lose this one for sure. Somehow my 7's hold up against Paul's monster and now I have the second biggest stack at the table.

I tighten up a little and just play solid poker. I win a couple pots and I notice something. Everyone in this tournament seems to play really conservative. Usually these are big calling station fests. For some reason, when the blinds went up, nobody wanted to go broke. Now I could have went crazy and started raising every other hand, but I played a bit conservative and just picked my spots.

Players were busting out left and right as the blinds were going up. Eventually we got down to 5 handed. Nobody was coming to rebalance the tables, so I took charge and told everyone to grab their chips and find a new seat on their own.

Eventually I made it my final table. This table was really serious. Everyone seemed really grumpy. The guy on my left was really drunk and had no idea what he was doing. The guy on my right looked like Mark Wahlburg. I think the blinds were 800-1600 by now and I was still around 7-8 big blinds. I moved in a couple of times and won the blinds. I busted a short stack with a pair of Kings. Before long I was a slight chip leader at my table with two tables left in the tournament.

I am on the small blind. Under the gun raises 3x the blind. A decent player moves all in. He has about 1/3 of my stack. Everyone folds to me and lo and behold I have pocket rockets. I briefly consider just calling the raise to try and trap the remaining player. Then I decide, that idiots have been calling me all night so I might as well get it in now. Maybe he has KK or QQ. I shove and the under the gun player calls for all his chips.

The under the gun player turns over King-Jack offsuit and the first all in player turns over
Kh Qh. The flop is A-9-2 rainbow. For a brief moment I think I am unbeatable. Then another heart comes on the turn. Ok there's a flush draw, but I am going to fill up dammit. The river breaks my heart and the heart flush steals my 30k pot. The good news is, that I won back enough in the side pot, to only lose 3500 in the hand. So I still had around 13,000.

The blinds went up to 1000-2000. I had King 4 in the big blind. There was one limper. The small blind did not have enough chips to complete the bet. The flop came down K-Q-6. I thought about checking it down. That's what you usually do to eliminate a player. However I wanted the money in the side pot and I had top pair. No sense in waiting for an Ace to kill my hand. I bet 2000. The other player with chips moves all in quickly.

I don't even think about it and I call. What an idiot. What the hell else is this guy going to move in with? I think a part of me just wanted to go home. He turns over KQ for two pair. The all in turns over K-7. We all had the Kings. I go busto in 8th place.

First place is a new plasma 36" tv. I got a basket of cd's, DVD's, and a portable DVD player. I also got a 200 poker chip set with a case. A pretty good cash. Is it wrong if I try and sell all this stuff on eBay and reinvest it into my poker bankroll?

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