Monday, April 28, 2008

Beat the Queen

Last Saturday night, my friend Kim decided to host a poker tournament at a friend’s house. Kim is the one who won the WSOP Main Event seat at the Super Bowl Celebrity Poker Tournament that I played in a couple of months ago.

The flyer was pretty funny because they had photo shopped her face into the Queen of Hearts. $20 buy in with free food and drinks. How can I not play?

The structure was a joke, but it’s what I have come to expect from a tournament put together by Jeff. They always want to get it done quick so they can squeeze in another one. There never is another one. 17 of us started with 1000 in chips and the blinds started at 25-50. Ten minute levels. Yes that’s right, 10 minute levels in a live tournament.

Jeff asked me to be a full time dealer to try and move the game along. I think I started UTG+2, and we were in the third level at 100-200 before I had paid the blinds twice. That’s 18 hands in 30 minutes.

Who cares! The food was good and the drinks were free.

Somewhere in the 3rd level, I found pocket fives in early position. Since everyone seemed to be averse to playing for a raise preflop, I raised to 600. I think I started with a little less than 2000. The big stack on my left was the only one to make the call.

I dealt out the flop and it was Q-Q-5. I checked, slow playing my full house. She decided to bet more than half my remaining stack. I moved all in and she called with Ace high. That brought my stack up over 4000.

Since there were only 17,000 chips in play, the eliminations were coming fast. I did not have any hands to play for a while so I was blinded down a bit until we consolidated the table.

For some reason, Jeff decided to consolidate when we had 11 players. The blinds were 400-800 and I was down to 1000 chips. I was lucky enough to have the button, but I was not real interested in being patient since my butt was sore from the metal folding chair and I did not figure I would have much of a chance to win.

So with one early caller and 8-7 offsuit, I decided to put it all in. The big blind called and the limper called and I have a chance to triple up. The flop was 8 high and the turn brought another 8. Both of the other players checked it down and I more than tripled up.

A couple of hands later, I moved all in with Ace Queen and was called by Ace-10. My hand held up and suddenly I had a little room to breathe. The other players started busting at a furious pace and before I knew it, there were four players left and I was the chip leader.

By this time the blinds were 500-1000. This is where my sit and go experience really paid off. That plus an absolute sick run of cards. I think I moved all in 7 of the next 10 hands. Most were won uncontested, and I think I busted one player who decided to make a stand. It looked ridiculous to the other players, but it seemed every hand I was dealt had an Ace or a pocket pair.

We finally made it down to heads up and I had 15,500 in chips and Rob had 1,500. Rob was ready to just give me the first place check, but I convinced him to play it out. (Why I’m so honest, I don’t know). I put him all in and he won. Then he rivered a set of 7’s to win another pot. I was still catching good cards and putting him all in whenever I could, so he was not getting much traction.

I thought I had him beat again, but this time he made a flush on the river and now he had 6000 to my 11,000. Here is the final hand.

I post 1000 in the big blind and Rob posts 500 on the button. He completes the blind and I decide to see a flop with Jack Ten offsuit. The flop is J-7-5 rainbow. I decide to try and slow play my top pair and check the flop. Rob checks behind me.

The turn is a Queen, so now the board is J-7-5-Q. I bet 1,000 and Rob moves all in. Fuck! Did my slow play just bite me in the Ass? Looking back on it, I should have folded. Rob was quiet and not trying to talk me into a call. There’s really nothing I beat except a total bluff. Probably due to my brain being frazzled from doing all the dealing, I called.

Rob said, “How big is your Queen?”

I reply, “I have a Jack”

“Good, I have Jacks and 7’s”, says Rob.

He slowplayed by checking his two pair through on the flop. So now I need a ten.

The river is a Queen to make the board J-7-5-Q-Q. Now Rob has the chip lead. Wait a second! I now have two pair with a 10 kicker and Rob has two pair with the 7 kicker. I win!!!!!!

All Rob could talk about the rest of the night was how lucky I was on the last hand. He keeps forgetting about the times he got lucky to stay alive, but that’s usually how poker players think. You never remember the hands you get lucky on, but you can describe in explicit detail, the bad beats you have taken in your life.

Besides netting $120 in profit, there may be an ancillary benefit from this win. I have told Kim that I am willing to pay $8,000 for her WSOP Main Event seat. She claims that she is not allowed to sell it since the sponsor is buying her in directly. I’m sure there is a way around this once you get to Las Vegas.

This win should be another clue that I am serious about more poker game and that I have a much better chance of making her some money in the tournament than she does playing on her own.

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