Sunday, December 09, 2007

Winning at Golf, Losing at Poker

Last night I was out at a Christmas Party for my friend, Jason. I was alone because my wife and I did not want to pay for a babysitter for 2 nights in a row. After the party I decided to make the most of my hall pass and go play 3-6 hold'em at the Gila River.

I have been running extremely bad in live limit poker over the last few sessions. I hate to be the guy complaining about how bad everyone else plays so I won't do it here. All I can say is I have a big swing of good luck coming my way and I would not want to be my opponent at the table when it finally hits.

I thought last night might be the night as I quickly made $60 in profit when I flopped trip Queens with AQ and hit the nut flush with KQ suited. Unfortunately I did not win another hand the rest of the night.

The coup de grace was playing 8-4 in the big blind. The flop comes down perfect with 5-6-7 and two diamonds. The ancient old man on my right in the small blind leads out. He only bets when he has something and a lot of the time he won't bet a great hand because he's afraid of an even better one.

I raise trying to protect my hand because there was still a couple of other players behind me. One of them calls and the old man reraises me. I had not seen him reraise anyone in 2 hours! I don't think he was pushing a flush draw, so he either has a higher straight, a lower straight, or 3 of a kind. Since I have one of the cards needed for the higher straight, I think I am still ahead, so I raise again. Now the loose caller folds and the old man calls.

The turn is a meaningless diamond. He checks. Since I don't put him on a flush draw, I figure it's safe to bet. He just calls. The river is another diamond, putting four on the board. He checks again and I check my cards to make sure I don't have a diamond. I don't so I check behind. He turns over a pair of 7's giving him a set and I am ready to stack the chips. Wait! One of his 7's is a diamond and he wins the pot.

I finished the night down $100 and left in a really sour mood.

Today was match #3 of the golf challenge with Bill. Since PCC was hosting a tournament, we decided to check out Arizona Country Club. We also wanted to see their new clubhouse since that's all we seem to talk about at Phoenix CC. The clubhouse was as nice as expected and the golf course was very pretty as well. It's not quite in as good as shape as our course and it's not nearly as difficult. It was a pleasant change of pace, however.

I felt pretty good about my game today, but my putter was letting me down. Bill was playing awful again, but this time his putter was working and he was getting up and down from everywhere. We both shot 41 on the front nine.

This was a good example of how things were going. On the par 5 10th hole, I hit my drive into the right rough. Bill went further right with his 2 iron. Bill's next shot hit a tree solidly and went further right into a greenside bunker for a different hole. He then hit out of the bunker and it hit the roof of the snack bar and ricochets back into the right rough.

I hit 5 iron to lay up and hit a 7 iron to the middle of the green. Bill hitting his 5th shot from 180 yards goes over the flag and just off the green about 15 feet away. I miss my birdie putt and tap in for par. Bill sinks his putt from off the green for 6 and I only pick up one stroke.

I manage to build a one stroke lead going to 17. Bill was a long way from the green and hit a banana ball that went right into the front bunker. Because of the trajectory of the shot, his ball plugged into the side of the bunker. I had hit a good drive, but my swing path was a little steep on my 9 iron approach and leave it a yard short of the green. Bill leaves his first sand save attempt in the bunker. His next shot was a good one, but it trickled 8 feet by the hole.

I hit my birdie putt from off the green and left it just an inch short. I tapped in for par and waited for Bill to make another miracle putt. He did not let me down and he managed to make the putt with a 2 foot break for bogey. Now he is only two down going into 18.

I stand up on the Par 5 18th hole tee box and hit my best drive of the day. 250 yards with a slight fade. Bill hits 2 iron and it is flaring to the right again. It looks like it went out of bounds. I even said, "It's over" out loud. Bill hit a provisional which was over corrected to the left. We drive up to where Bill's first ball would have landed and once again, he lucks out and we find the ball one foot from a brick fence that kept his ball in bounds. His second lucky break is that he would have to stand on a huge drainage grate to hit the ball, so he gets a free drop away from the wall. He smacks his second shot up the fairway and now he's in good position for his approach.

I only have 240 yards left to reach the green in two. I had told Bill earlier that I was going to try and reach every par 5 in two if given the opportunity. I took the head cover off the 3 metal, but as I looked at my options with that club, none of them looked any good. If I aim at the pin, I have to clear two sets of bunkers and make the shot stop on what looks like a short amount of green. If I aim to the fat part of the green on the left, there is a large eucalyptus tree hanging over the fairway that could catch my ball.

I put the head cover back on, and take 5 iron, trying to lay up short of all the trouble. I hit a crappy shot that starts to slice low and to the right. I end up stymied behind a small pine tree. Meanwhile, Bill hit his approach to 8 feet for birdie. If he makes his putt and I make bogey he will pull out another miraculous tie.

I punch out from behind the tree to the grass just left of the green. I have kind of a tough lie for my 4th shot with the ball below my feet and I am pitching to an elevated green. I hit an ok shot and leave myself 25 feet for par.

Standing over the putt, I really wanted to make it. I did not want to try and baby something up there. I over accelerated through the ball and ran the ball 9 feet by the pin. Another horrible putt and this one may cost me the match! I said a few choice curse words and tried to compose myself. Luckily my come back putt was straight and a little up hill. I made a good stroke and somehow I willed it into the hole for bogey.

Bill still had a chance for the tie. He lined up and pulled it to the left. Bill's well of miracles had finally run dry. I had to shoot a 39 on the back to beat him in spite of how bad he played. Now the match stands 2.5 to .5 with me in the lead.

No comments: