Thursday, November 10, 2005

Not another poker version of me

Mom is here for a visit - if the last two days have been any indication, her trip will consist of rising early, tidying up my apartment, and cooking healthy dinners for me. I love my mom. We drive to work, and she gets the car while I'm working. I'm not sure what she does besides visit the library and Whole Foods supermarket to stock our fridge with colorful foods I've never tried. I've seen flower shops with less greenery than the inside of my fridge.

And really, if she's driving the car to Tijuana to smuggle drugs, I prefer blissful ignorance. But it would make for a funny story.

Over the last two evenings, I've taught her a few holdem concepts. She said she wanted to play in the games I host, so tonight's the night for that. She's a morning person, on east coast time, so I suspect she'll be at the table for two hours tops before calling it a night. I just hope the other guys are better behaved than normal.

Enter the Bluffraise

I moneyed again in the Tustin Sunday homegame tourney, third out of the last four. No wins yet, but I'm playing reasonably well. I went out with a whimper, instead of a bang. Lost a big hand, shortstack in chips, and could not find anything decent to steal with. I knew I needed something decent because of the presence of Gamblin' Jesse on my left. I eventually shoved with Q8-suited, and his K7o beat me. Fourth place out of sixteen will do.

This was the same Jesse that took a huge hand off of me in my first visit to Quagmire's homegame, a $20 buy-in, 25/50 cent blind affair.

It was a maniac game. Raises preflop with face-rag suited, or nothing. Reraises and steal-raises with nothing. You'd think it was deep-stack poker, but you'd be wrong.

I was rock-tight, owing to the most raise-happy person at the Maniac Table on my immediate right. We played our own version of raise-fold poker. He raised, I folded. Time and time and time again. I have since dubbed him "KingReraise".

I had built my twenty into $69, despite running into trip aces, when I finally had a BB unraised. I checked blind. Flop was 9-6-3, two clubs. KingReraise bet $1, and I finally looked at my cards. Those naughty Hiltons, queens. I raised to $3.50, then Jesse reraised to $10. And King called!

I was concerned, but felt I needed to make a big enough raise to get the draws out. I had a good feeling I wasn't up against a set. Two pair, maybe... they do like playing 69. So I pushed, $58 more over the top of Jesse's $10. He thought a long time, and called. King folded his OESD, 54off. Jesse tabled J9o, no clubs. One of my queens was a club. The turn was another 9, and the $140+ pot was pushed his way when I didn't see another lady on the river.

I cooled off quickly, dropped another buy-in when a few flops missed me, then turned my third twenty into $30 as the night ended. What an odd experience that table was, and sooo different from my own, relatively passive game! It's not that they were great poker players, but their style was TOUGH to adapt to.

Action-packed Endgame

Two Sundays ago, we had an interesting end to a new twist on our Sunday tourney. In honor of the WSOP episodes being televised, we played a WSOP event of our own. $20 buy-in freezeout, 10K in chips to start, with blinds & antes that followed the WSOP Main Event schedule. Well, except for their 2 hour blind levels. I decided to shorten ours to 20 minute each to make sure we finished before dawn. Antes in the Main Event start on level 4. Ours don't normally start until level 7, mainly to get the low denomination chips out of there.

At the final table, my chips weren't scaring anybody. I didn't have many. But I stuck around, and doubled with kings and aces right when I needed to. I backed into the money when MightyThor's all-in reraise was called by Sam with TPTK. Top two chipleaders fighting over an action flop: Q-J-7. Thor was #2 in chips, and showed AT to Sam's AQ. A head-scratcher right there, but I wasn't about to say anything. That's why I call him the MightyThor - the man loves to raise big and bring the thunder down. No help to him on the turn or river, and he bubbled in 5th.

Just into the money (4 paid outta 17), I proceeded to go nuts with my short stack. I pushed with 94o, 98-suited and AJo before I got caught with my hand in the cookie jar. The AJ hand set events in motion. I pushed from the SB into Albert's BB, and Al showed his QJo while considering his action. Russ, who was railbirding by now, said he'd call in a second. I was silently rooting for a call, but Albert laid it down.

The very next hand, I went all-in with K6o, and Al called instantaneously from his SB. Oops, the jig is up. KQ for him. But the first card off the deck is a six, and no help for Al! Tilt! Tilt! Tilt!!!

I like Albert, and I respect his poker game, but it is just SO MUCH FUN to put him on tilt. After reading the Tiltboys take on "implied tilt odds", it's just too tempting not to gamble a little with Albert in the hopes that he goes on tilt.

That night, he was on tilt for the rest of the night. Luckily for him, that wasn't long.

Big fat doubleup for me, and if I'm no longer short.

I had the wherewithal to avoid a nice trap set by Miguel. Two hands after my suckout, I'm in the BB with K8o. Miggy completes his SB, and I rap the felt. The flop missed me: J-9-2, all spades, though I did have a bitchin' 8-high flush draw. Miggy checked, I bet two-thirds of the pot. He called, and I began to wonder if my spade was higher than his spade.

Turn was a brick, and we checked it through. River was a brick, and I have king-high. We checked it, and Miggy shows me pocket aces, with the ace of spades. He didn't think I had the flush, he was trapping me. And after all my maniac play, I settled down after one stab at it, and lost less than I probably should have. Go me.

Two hands after that, I've got the button and two black nines. Oh good, another apparent steal from me, and I've got a legit hand this time. I bumped it up normally, and Sam, the chipleader, pushed from the BB. I insta-called, and I liked what I saw: Sam's A7-diamonds. The flop disagreed, pairing Sammy's ace. No help for me, and I was done. We did the math, and he had me covered by only 6K or so. Had my hand held, I would've had a huge chiplead against a crippled Sam, and tired-looking Albert and Miggy.

That was the last hand played. They decided to chop evenly right after, even though Sam had way more chips. Sam got the extra dollar and the credit for the win. I was feeling pretty sharp, even though it was past 2am. I wouldn't have offered them the same courtesy.

All in all, the antes were an important factor, and it was really fun to get all push-happy after I snuck into the money. I was thiiiis close to doing some real damage, and the ride sure was fun.


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