Saturday, November 27, 2004

You've Taken Your First Steps Into a Larger World

I'm sitting here relaxed and happy. Trudy is busy gnawing on her kong in the next room, and there's a nice pile of cash on the desk next to me. Yep -- daddy won a poker tournament tonight, so he's on a bit of a high right now.

A few weeks back, David let me know that his friend Jason was organizing a tournament. $25 buy-in no-limit Texas Hold-'Em. I was in, because I want the practice for Vegas. Plus, when I win big at Vegas, it'll impress Wayne Newton (I threw that one in for you, Aaron).

So now, I'm going to bore all you non-poker players with tales of how I outlasted 16 players and walked away the big winner.

Two Rules

Going in, I set two rules for myself:

  1. Play only premium hands; and
  2. There's no such thing as "pot committed".

And there but for the Grace of God I went.

The First Turning Point

I opened the game by stealing blinds. I sat at the tight table early, and no one made a bet larger than $25 - we each started with $1000 in chips. So I stared betting $50 - $75 and the other players just handed me all sorts of money. The funny part is I caught NO flops at any time. Not one.

But they started figuring out that I was playing with them, so I started having to fold. My stack started dwindling down, until I caught a pair of fives. I decided to switch gears and play it slow, so I limped into the flop - K-5-8 rainbow. I checked, hoping someone would open betting, and Dan, sitting next to me planted his foot right in the trap. He raised. I reraised. He went all-in and I followed suit. He showed KTo, and unfortunately for him, the King he caught on the River only gave me a Full House. One down.

That Flashing? That's the Tilt Sign Over My Head

Neil was short-stacked. I wanted his chips. I caught a QTo and limped in again, figuring he was more likely to call if I played it slow. The flop? AQ7 rainbow. Neil pushed in his stack and I stepped into the tank. I had second pair. Did he have the ace? Probably, but if he's clever, he went all-in figuring I would figure him on the ace. But maybe he knows this is what I'll think, and he does have the ace. So yes, I sounded like Daffy Duck just before he pulled the trigger and blew his beak to the back of his head. So I called. And then doubled Neil up when he showed the ace.

I went on a nice losing streak then, catching NO cards for awhile, so my stack looked a little anemic when I moved to the final table.

The Worm Turns

I went from a big, snarling mean dog to a yappy little mutt within about 20 minutes, and the blinds were starting to sting. Fortunately, the poker gods smiled on me and I was looking at KJh in the big blind. Play it smooth, said the little voice in my head, so I checked and hoped my head wouldn't explode when the flop came up K-J-4. Being a good student, I recently read my Brunson, so I checked, keeping two callers in the pot. The turn? A Jack. Angels sang from on high, and I hoped my hand wasn't shaking as I threw in a modest bet to start the action. Dave (not my brother, who was already out) went all-in, so I had him figured for a straight draw - he hadn't raised the pot yet. All aboard! shouted the little steamboat conductor in my head. The other caller folded, and Dave showed his QT, meaning I just doubled up (and had the satisfaction of taking out the dude who had taken out my brother a little while back).

Don't Play a Player

Thom had a slight edge on me, and there were only four players left. One more player out and I was in the money. I looked at my cards, and saw a pair of sixes staring back at me. I raised the pot and Thom called. The flop showed A75 rainbow, and Thom moved all in. I crawled back into the tank for a good think: Thom had been playing many, many bluffs all night, and he was showing signs that he wanted the game to end - meaning he was playing reckless. I knew he didn't have a pair - he tried limping into the flop (slow play wasn't in his vocabulary), and I didn't figure him on the ace, so he had to have KQ or QJ. I called, and sure enough, he showed QJ. After getting no help from the turn and river, I had a comfortable chip lead, and Thom was all but out.


Thom finally handed me all his chips, and it was down to Mike and I. I was dealt A2c in the small blind and raised, with Mike calling. The flop was A72, so I bet $1000, forcing Mike all in. He had ATo, and after he drew dead on the turn and river, I was counting my cash.

I drove David (my brother) to Dairy Queen and bought him dinner, then dropped him off so he could play in the second game. I needed to head home and get some sleep, plus Trudy was probably eager to get out.

In any case, it's nice to know the lessons I learned at the boat and in various other games and tournaments have been paying off. And it just means I'm feeling that much better about my odds on taking other degenerate gamblers' money away in a couple of weeks.


Anonymous said...

Holy winner, batman (wait, I'M batman...)
Somebody has his tournament on. I'm proud of you, bud. Feels good to be a winner, don't it?

Anonymous said...

Oh, yeah, that was me posting before.

Anonymous said...

So, what's the deal? How many people did you beat? Can you retire now? When do you hit the tour? Do you have to now report this on your taxes? Do you have a Tux yet to play in at Vegas? Which Bond do you pretend to be while you play? All for now. Congrats on the big win. Remeber 1800BetsOff, but I guess you don't have a problem when you win. Aaron

Tooloftheman said...

I wish I could have made it. The death flu (much like the MAN) was keeping me down. We are but a week and a half from the beauty of Vegas. I shall wait until we are there before I commence kicking your ass.

Brian said...

Man. So many comments . . .

Well, first - thanks Otis! Winning definitely beats the hell out of the alternative.

Aaron - I beat 16 people in the tournament; I personally eliminated four players. And no - I don't have a problem; I can walk away anytime. Really! Taxes? What are those? And finally, there's only one Bond - Sean Connery - the rest are second-rate imitators.

Marty - Sorry you couldn't make it. And I'm also looking forward to Vegas next week. Plus, I've been saying for awhile that I can definitely use a good ass kicking, so that will work.

Farrell said...

so when are you buying me lunch??