Saturday, June 14, 2008

3rd Annual Munds Park Golf and Poker Bash

Rob, Ryan, Adam, Curtis, Marty, and I all went up to Munds Park just outside of Flagstaff for our annual golf and poker weekend. This time we left on Thursday night and were planning on coming back Saturday morning so we can all be back for Father's Day on Sunday.

I decided to drive by myself since I didn't want to try and squeeze into Adam's Corolla. I told Rob and Adam to meet me at the Cliff Castle Casino, 30 minutes south of Munds Park. I arrived at the casino at 8:30 PM and sat immediately in a 3-6 hold'em game. Since there were only two tables running in the entire room, I didn't think I would be hard to find, even though my back was to the entrance.

The game was juicy as there was lots of raising with mediocre hands and lots of chasing straights and flushes. I wish I knew how to crack these types of games, though, because I never seem to win at them. It was tortuous raising up Ace-King or Ace-Queen and having to check the flop against 3-5 other players after I missed. Then to stick it to me even more, at least 5 times after I folded, the cards I needed came on the river. The best hand I had all night was two pair with a flush draw on the turn. I missed the flush on the river, only to find out my two pair was beat by a higher two pair of Queens and fives.

Around 9:15 PM my phone starts going crazy. It's Rob and Adam trying to call me. The reception is shitty and the voice mail I get sounds like they are calling from their car with the wind blowing through the windows. They say they looked for me in the casino and couldn't find me. I have some doubt that they even came into the casino because how friggin hard is it to find a 6'4" white guy between two tables of poker in an indian casino! And why didn't they try to call my phone while they were looking for me in the casino?

Since all they were going to do when they got to Munds Park was sit around and drink, I was in no hurry to get there. Plus I was stuck $80 and wanted to win my money back. It turned out to be another bad decision as I dropped another $50 and left down $130.

Friday was golf day. Rob is not a big fan of golf and prefers to play scrambles even though he's a decent player. We decided to split up the 6 of us into two threesomes and play for $10 a man in a scramble format. It was Marty, Curtis, and I versus Rob, Ryan, and Adam.

I broke one of the cardinal rules of betting on golf when setting up this bet. If you are going to bet, you have to trust that players you are playing against are going to respect the rules of the game. Since Rob and Ryan do not take the game seriously at all, and there were going to be many adult beverages involved on the course, I did not have a good feeling going into the day.

I told Marty and Curtis that the most important thing for us was to avoid making any bogeys. Marty is about a 24 handicap, and Curtis about a 18. I am currently about a 9. We started off well and birdied the first par 5. The second par 5 was a bit of a disaster.

I hit a great drive that gave us 200 yards to the green. Marty and Curtis did not come close to the green. I hit my hybrid and it started right at the pin. Halfway there, my slice kicked in or the wind kicked up, I'm not sure, but the ball headed towards the right hand side of the green. It curled further right and it looked like I was a little short and to the right of the bunker.

We drove up and could not find my ball. It should have been right out in the open. I even called Adam back from ahead of us to ask him if he'd seen it. He confirmed that it was short and right. We still could not find it. So we had to go back to Curtis' ball that was 100 yards short of the green and had a tree in our way. We managed to make a par after I made a 10 foot putt. Adam had come back again to find out what happened. We told him we made par, and then we found my missing ball right where it should have been. So that cost us a stroke.

My team was ahead by one or two shots most of the day. Marty and Curtis were hitting some good shots and I picked us up when it was needed. We could have been looking a lot better, but I had left 3 different putts about 4 inches short that were for birdie or eagle.

Suddenly after finishing 15 Rob tells us that they are 4 under par. We were 3 under and in shock that we were behind. I had not seen them celebrate any big putts in front of us so I was a bit skeptical. Curtis outright accused them of cheating.

Now that we are one behind, we decide to watch them like a hawk. Number 16 is a par 3 and none of them hit the green. They played their second shot from behind the green and hit a bad chip. We then watched all of them miss their par putts. Bogey and we are tied.

Marty steps up and hits a slice into the bunker. Curtis hits his standard hook way to the left. It's up to me to save the day. I hit a 6 iron and land it on the left side of the green about 40 feet from the pin. Curtis putts his ball past the hole and off the green. Marty leaves his 6 feet short. I putt my ball to 3 feet and we make the par. We are still tied.

Seventeen is a par 4 with a lake on the left of the fairway, and a drainage creek on the right. Ryan, Adam, and Rob are out in the fairway and it looks like they hit their approach shot on the green. Marty is first off the tee for us and hits his ball into the creek on the right. Curtis then hooks his drive into the lake. The pressure is on again. I hit a solid drive but it started down the left side very close to the lake. I thought I had hit a bit of a hook, but luckily it started to fade a little and took a nice hop to the right and ended up in the middle of the fairway, 100 yards from the pin.

This time I decide to hit first and stick my wedge to 5 feet away above the hole. When we get to the green, Adam tells us that they birdied the hole so we are one back. No problem as we have three trys from 5 feet to tie again. Marty misses right, Curtis misses left, and I miss left. Fuck!

Adam, Ryan, and Rob par 18 and Marty manages to hit his shot closest on the green. We have 20 feet with a 2 foot left to right break to tie. None of us hit the putt and the bad guys win. Curtis swore he wasn't going to pay. I was just going to wait until later in the night when the booze kicked in to see if I could gather any more information. Worst case, it's only $10 and it's not worth arguing over.

After golf it was time for a steak dinner and relaxing on the porch. Next was a $20 per man freezeout in poker. I was surprised they wanted to play a tournament after last year's took so long. This time I made sure it would be over quickly. $1000 in starting chips and 5-10 starting blinds.

The very first hand I pick up Ace-King in the small blind. Everyone limped to me and I raised to 100. Adam and Curtis called. The flop is 7-7-2. I fire 300 figuring no one has a piece of that and don't bother calling with your over cards. Adam folds like he's supposed to but Curtis raises to 500. The raise was for the wrong amount but why should I call more than I have to? The turn is another low card. I check and Curtis bets another 200. I have to fold. Curtis later tells me he had absolutely nothing on this hand. Pretty ballsy bluff and I have lost half my stack.

Curtis continues to rack up a big chip lead in the first level. I sit back and wait patiently for a decent hand. Meanwhile I have to play sheriff all the time to move the game along because everyone is so drunk that can't remember to shuffle, post blinds, or move the button. It's not quite as bad as last year where Robert was so blitzed that he could not even deal, but it seems to be going in that direction.

A little while later, Adam goes out and no one wants him to quit, so we decide to allow rebuys for the next level. Robert busts out next and wants to pass out on the couch so he does not fork out another $20.

The blinds are up to 50-100 and Ryan busts out. He starts begging to rebuy and I say no, since we are already past the established deadline. I said if I had known we were going to continue with the rebuys I would have pushed all in a long time ago hoping to double up or rebuy. We agree that Ryan can rebuy if I can take an Add On for another $1000 in chips. My add on was much needed since I was down to $700 and now I had some room to work.

Adam went bust again and then Marty started to win a couple of pots. Then Ryan took a couple of pots from Curtis and suddenly everything was starting to even up.

I played Jack-Nine on the button and flop came J-10-9. Curtis bet and I moved all in. Curtis called with pocket 6's. I had him drawing to two outs and he was crippled. I whispered to Ryan that Curtis was going to be the next one out. Sure enough a couple of hands later, I raised the button with Ace-2 and Curtis pushed all in from the Big Blind. I called and Curtis turned over King-Jack. My Ace high held up and Curtis was out.

Now it's 3 handed and only two make the money. Marty was down to 5-6 big blinds. Ryan and I both had comfortable stacks. Curtis was now a little bitter that I had knocked him out and was trying to help Marty, his brother, come back. He told him to move all in when he had the button but he folded. Ryan and I traded some chips for a couple of hands while Marty paid the blinds. Then he finally moved in and Ryan called to beat him.

It's heads up between me and Ryan. Second place would get $40 so we would both win our money back. We were playing for $140 for first place. Ryan was not interested in making a deal. Curtis in his quest to show me how much poker he knows, convinced Ryan to let him help him against me. I was not happy about it, but if it kept Curtis in the game helping us with the shuffling while Adam dealt, then I guess it's not all bad.

There were 9000 chips in play and the blinds were 200-400. It should have probably been an all in fest, but I wanted to play smaller pots. Once I built up to a 2-1 chip lead, I moved all in with Ace-King and he called with pocket 6's. His pair held up and now I was down 2-1 in chips. I chipped away again and took the lead. This time I push all in with Ace-Queen and he calls with pocket 9's. His nines hold up and he wins again. So I guess I can't count on being lucky here.

I start to win a couple of small pots when I pick up pocket 5's. I raise the button and he just calls. The flop Q-5-4. Ryan checks and I check behind, hoping to trap him. The turn is a 3 and he bets. I think about raising, but I want to get all my stack in the pot and I don't want to scare him off, so I just call. The river is an ugly 2, putting a 4 card straight on the board. He easily could have an Ace. He bets again. I think about just calling, but I won't have much left if I am beat. I ask him if he hit the Queen, and he smiles a little. I read his reaction as weak, so I move all in. Ryan quickly folds and I rake the pot.

It takes a few seconds before Curtis realizes that Ryan has folded. "What are you doing!, screamed Curtis. "You had a straight!" Apparently Ryan had Ace-King. Once he missed the flop, his mind went into I am bluffing mode and forgot what his cards were. After I finally raised him, he just gave up. I guess that's lucky on my part, I don't know.

Now I have a slight chip lead and I pick up King-Queen on the button. I am going to raise, but I over hear Curtis telling Ryan that he needs to raise. I don't want to give up my hand, so I just call waiting to see how much Ryan will raise. Ryan surprises me and knocks the table for a check. The flop has 3 low cards and Ryan checks. Now I figure he had big cards that missed so maybe I can take this pot down. I bet and he calls. The turn is a beautiful Queen. Ryan checks again and I bet all in. Ryan calls quickly and turns over pocket Aces. Fuck! Curtis thinks I am drawing dead, but I remind him that I can hit another Queen or another King. I pull out my shiny luckbox and Adam deals me a King and I crack Ryan's Aces with two pair!

Ryan had less than a big blind after this hand and I eliminated him on the next hand. So I almost won back all the money I lost in the casino from the previous night.

Since Curtis was so quick to defend his poker skills and degrade mine, I wanted his feedback. I told him that I was going to Las Vegas for the World Series and I asked him for an evaluation of my game.

Curtis thinks that I need to be much more aggressive. He then explained how he bluffed me out on the first hand when I had the Ace-King. He claims that if I am still in the hand on the turn or river that I always have something. That I never run big bluffs.

We talked poker for the next hour with Ryan as well and it was a good discussion. I explained to Curtis that I play differently against serious opponents versus our drunken games and that I don't think it's worth the risk of running big bluffs in our game since there are so many players who will call with anything. Curtis did admit that I think about poker more than anyone else he knows, so he might be a little off on his strategy.

I know that against my friends that they play way too loose at the beginning and way too tight when the blinds get high. When I am playing seriously, I always play tight in the beginning and aggressive with a shorter stack at the end. Usually it works as most of the time I get all my money in with the best hand. The downside is that sometimes I do not pick up enough chips in the early rounds to survive a suck out in the later rounds. I guess I would say that I agree with Curtis on his assessment of my play a little bit. He just doesn't know how much I bluff because I never show my cards.

No comments: