Thursday, September 20, 2007

I Run Goot!

Wow this is post number 200. I wish I could say I was a better writer now than when I started. I know I am a better poker player even if my bankroll doesn't quite reflect it. I read some of my old posts sometimes and chuckle at what I thought were the right plays back then.

Now on to the new poker content.

I am on quite the heater in the Wednesday Game at Greg’s. I have been playing in this weekly game for 14 months and have played 31 tournaments. After updating my stats with my second place finish last night, I have a Return On Investment of 35% on Wednesdays. I have also been running pretty good online as well.

Two nights ago in a quick 20 minute session I busted my opponent’s pocket Aces twice. My total poker bankroll is $825 which is up from the $564 at the beginning of the month. Just in time to really pump it up in Vegas this weekend right?

Last night’s game was a lot of fun. Medical Kory made a triumphant return and he brought his friend Vince with him as well. That gave us 7 players. With Craig and Kory both showing up they caused everyone else to gambool and helped generate 6 additional rebuys. The total pot available was $260.

Early on Craig was catching a huge rush of cards. Not only was he catching good cards, but his opponents were also catching good cards, just not quite as good. That is the perfect storm to build a huge chip stack.

My situation was the exact opposite. I had absolute crap for the first 45 minutes. I won one hand when I raised KQ in early position. Vince called and everyone else folded, because they knew I was playing tight. The flop was 10-9-X and I followed up with a continuation bet. Vince was going to fold, but then started thinking about the clock and how long he would have until the rebuy period was over. I made sure to mention that he had plenty of time left and he eventually folded. So it was 45 minutes in and the only hand I had won with was a bluff.

Of course the next hand I had 9-10 suited under the gun and decided to get frisky and try again. This time I only raised 2x the blind to make it look like I had a really good hand. I had 4 callers. I flopped an open ended straight draw but there were two hearts on board and I had clubs. I checked and hoped to get there cheap. Somebody only bet 200 and I had the odds to call so I did along with everyone else. The turn brought a possible flush on the board. I check folded and gave back some of my winnings.

My stack had whittled down to about 2500 and I picked up 10’s in early position. There was about 3 minutes left in the rebuy period. If I rebuy, I get 3000 in chips, so at this level I am not afraid to go broke. Craig and Kory had been raising every pot so I limped in expecting Craig or Kory to hold form and then I would come over the top. Sure enough Craig, raised and I got to move in against his pocket Kings. Nice timing there Poker Bully. I could not trip up and I was busted. I rebought in for another $20 and stacked my 3 peach colored $1,000 chips.

Greg had acquired a pretty large stack by this time and proceeded to bust two players at once with his pocket Jacks against KQ and QT. It definitely looked like it was going to be Greg or Craig’s night.

I still was not getting any cards, but I just kept hanging around while everyone else took turns busting to Craig or Greg. Finally I survived until it was 4 handed with Devin, Craig, and Greg. Devin and I each had a decent amount of chips, but we were still dwarfed by Greg and Craig. Then something beautiful happened.

When watching the final table of the biggest poker tournaments, I often wonder how an uninvolved player keeps from cheering when somebody else goes out and he moves up the money ladder a substantial amount. Everyone on TV celebrates like a jack ass when they win a hand that does nothing immediately for their bankroll, but you never see the celebration when someone else is eliminated. I don’t get it. Both celebrations are rude, but being rude does not seem to stop anyone.

The two chip leaders, Greg and Craig, got involved in a big hand. Greg turned a well disguised straight and was letting Craig bet into him. On the river, Craig hit two pair and went all in. Greg called and took a huge chunk of Craig’s chips. Greg celebrated quite loudly while I happily shared with Devin that we were both now back in the tournament hunt for 2nd place.

Craig still had as many chips as I did, but it gave Devin and I hope. Now the blinds were 200-400 and I started to play more aggressively pre-flop. Devin had a sizable lead on me, but I still had a little room to maneuver before it was all in or fold time. I think I had around 5,000 left.

On the button I picked up pocket 8’s and raised to 1000. Devin then went all in. Even though he had me covered, by a decent amount, I had the feeling that Devin was getting impatient and that this may be one of his shove it all in and double up or go home moments. The question for me was did I want to take a coin flip now or wait until I am the one putting the pressure on someone else? Thinking about it now, since Devin had me covered and was in decent shape, he should have a pretty good hand. I called and he turned over AK. Amazingly my hand held up and now I had a decent stack to work with of about 9,000.

After a few more hands, Craig raised all in from under the gun for about 5000. I picked up AQ in the big blind and called. Craig tabled K-5 suited. I had ribbed Craig earlier in the night about how he always builds a huge stack early and then goes a little crazy and loses it back. Sometimes he catches himself before he goes all the way to broke, but tonight there was no stopping him.

In a cruel twist of fate, he flopped a 5 and I thought I was going to give the monster new life. Luckily an Ace came on the turn and the river was a blank so I added a nice chunk to my stack and then there were only 3 left.

With 3 left and 2nd place paying at least $72 we all tightened up. The blinds had gone up to 400-800. Devin only had about 4-5x the blind left and was managing to survive for a few rounds. A lot of hands were won preflop or on the flop with small bets.

There was one interesting hand when I picked up A-8 on the button. Normally that’s a raise, but I decided to just call and keep the pot small. There was a good chance that Devin would fold in the small blind for a half a bet anyway and Greg was not raising very often. I flopped an Ace against Greg, but the board was all spades and I did not have one. Greg checked and I bet 1000. Greg called and I figure he’s trying for the flush. Greg has me covered by a lot, but he also knows that if he doubles me up, I will take the chip lead. The turn was another spade putting 4 spades on the board. Greg checked again. What should I do?

The pot is now 3800 and I want it. I could check it through, but then I figure I am facing a big bet on the river from Greg. If I bet a normal amount of ½ the pot about 2000 and Greg raises me, then I can’t call and I lose another 2000. I decide to bet small. It looks like I want a call and if Greg calls or raises, I am done with the hand. My plan works perfectly and Greg folds his Ace, because he does not have any spades as well.

Finally Devin gets desperate and pushes all in. I call with pocket 5’s and Devin tables pocket 4’s. My hand holds up and I am in 2nd Place!.

Greg and I count up our chips and I have just under 20k and he has just over 26k. Since the blinds were still 400-800 and it looked like it would last a long time, we decided to make a deal. I took $110 and Greg took $150.

Tomorrow it's back to Las Vegas with Bill and my friend Christian from New York. I am going to try and bring my digital recorder with me to help me remember some hands. I will make sure this trip to take my time with my decisions and make sure I remember to watch for tells.

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