Thursday, February 03, 2005

Blinds and Kings were my undoing

I placed a respectable, but out-of the-money, 39th out of 151 entrants in the World Poker Blogger Tour tourney last night, 21 slots away from any winnings. But I had fun.

Sometime in Hour 1 the Big Blind went all-in with about $2k worth of chips after I raised with pocket Ks. He had a pair of 9s. I got burnt by the “maldito rio” when another 9 surfaced on the river and Sinatra sang in my head, “Kings don’t mean a thing…” It took me a moment to realize that I wasn’t out of the game, but still had a meager $350 stack left.

My luck, she decided to turn at this point, and I was dealt suited AJ, AQ, and an unsuited Big Slick in close succession. Called each time on all three all-ins, I tripled my stack in about 15 minutes back to where it had been before being crippled by the 9s. Someone commented at this point that if I succeeded in doubling up a couple more times I would have gone from last place to chip leader in five hands.

But my luck, she decided to go out for a drink and the cards stopped coming. I finished Hour 1 with around $2,900 in chips. Sometime before getting stripped of my stack and recovering I had been dealt the infamous Poker blogger hammer while in mid-position. Everyone in front of me having folded, I threw out a triple the BB raise, about $600 in chips I think at that point. And everyone folded. And of course I showed my cards and crowed. And everyone congratulated me.

Iggy would have been proud.

My stack yo-yoed up-`n-down in Hour 2. I picked up a few hands, but lost more, and the blinds continued to increase. At some point I was moved to a new table, which also threw me off my stride. Probably like most players I play better the longer I stay at the same table. You tend to pick up the rhythm of the table and the other player’s betting patterns.

Someone once said that it’s never the hand that you go out on that’s beaten you, but usually several hands before. I think the game changer for me was when I called in late position with a suited K7, and one other player called. The flop showed a rainbow 77J, and I went all-in with my set. After a few moments my opponent called and flipped over a Q7. So he also had the set with a weaker kicker and I thought I was on my way to doubling my $1,600 in chips if I could avoid the Q. As it turned out, the board paired the J on the turn, and we ended up chopping the pot with a board full house.

Chopping’s better than losing, of course, but missing that pot really took the wind out of my sails, as it had been the best hand I had seen in the past 45 minutes. And the pitiless blinds kept eroding my stack.

About five minutes before the close of Hour 2 and the start of the next break I was in mid-position again when The Hammer reappeared in my hand. Everyone in front of me folded again and I raised to $800 with half my remaining stack. I thought I had the blinds stolen as I watched a succession of folds until the BB re-raised. Calling him would put me all-in with my remaining $835 of chips.

At this point ricoM is faced with a decision. I have a 7 deuce off-suit, the well-known “worse starting hand in poker” and the chances are better than good that whatever Mr. BB has it’s more powerful than what I have. On the other hand, letting the $800 I’ve already committed to the pot go leaves me with a pitiful short stack and I’m then going to need a series of monster hands and successive all-ins to survive much longer.

And, after all, it’s pre-flop, where Spring is in the air and anything seems possible. And it is The Hammer, and it is a poker blogger tourney. As someone who regularly plays the blogger tables had said earlier, “Welcome to my world, where 7 and 2s on the flop are more feared than As and Ks.”

I call.

I flip my Hammer, getting a laugh from the table, and the BB shows what I had lost with much earlier in the tourney, a pair of Kings. The poker gods, being the whimsical characters they are, give my opponent a scare and me some hope when the flop shows a 7. Another 7, or a deuce, and avoiding a K would make me a winner, but the turn and river bring no joy and I’m out in position 39.

“Good try,” someone notes in the chat box. And you know what? I’m satisfied, loose crazy move that it was. You’re usually only one card away from winning, and I was.

Less chat than I expected in this tourney, maybe because there seemed to be less bloggers and more readers this time around. Or maybe I was just at the wrong tables. Many of the heavyweight bloggers whose names I recognized finished early. One-armed Iggy went out very early at place 102, maybe due to his game being off from his recent operation. Again, I didn’t get to play at a table with him, something I’ve always wanted to do, but maybe next time. If Fast Eddie was in this one, he was under a new handle I didn’t recognize. Wil Wheaton didn’t play this time either as far as I could tell. I think life has been getting in the way of Wil over the past few days. He has a sick Maine Coon, btw, and Bear and I are beaming “get well” thoughts to Sketch in California as I write this.

One chat conversation that did annoy me happened during Hour 2, where a player complained when another player re-raised him and forced him to fold. In the subsequent play, #2 won the pot and knocked an all-in out. Player #1 apparently had the strongest hand and would have won the pot if he had stayed in, and went into the usual whine about “How could you raise like that with that hand?” #2 politely noted his thinking, which just infuriated #1 more. “Bad move,” he said. “Okay,” said #2.

“You know,” I wrote in the chat box, “I think I’d rather win than be right.”

“Thank you, rico,” Player #2 replied.

The $22 buy-in shrunk my stake by half, but I’ve been playing off my winnings from the last blogger tourney in October for the past three months, and I’m okay with that. At one point I was up to $150, but variance, bad beats, and bad play when I tried to force hands have taken their toll. I was planning on hitting a live tourney this Saturday with a $50 buy-in, but I think I’m going to drop some more change into PokerStars instead.

“You need some socialization past Bear and Kittenish,” says Peg, but you know, I have a pretty active social life, even though it’s with people I never see.

1 comment:

Human Head said...

Great playing with you last night, albeit not for long. Thanks to the WPBT I have discovered another great blog and have some more archives to work my way through..