Friday, January 12, 2007

A tournament win at the Salami club(Slicing off a hunk of salami)

I cut myself a piece of the salami last night. Ok, a good sized hunk of salami. All it took was a little patience and a spoonful of luck.

Darko, Matt and Wendy were all going to the club last night to play cash but I had to be up early again for work so cash play until the late hours of the night was out. I was walking home at about 7PM, when all of a sudden, like a flash of lightning, the ‘urge’ hit me. It started out like an itch but started to grow until my legs were too heavy to walk. Every step I took took me farther from Salami. As if I was being controlled by another entity, my hand went up and flagged down a cab which whisked me away to Houston street.

I arrived at the club at 7:15, the first one there. Jeff was there, setting the place up. I considered, briefly, going outside to get some dinner, but I was really jonesing for one of Ricardo’s famous egg omelet sandwiches (the best I’ve ever had, by far), so I hung out and waited for other people to arrive. By 7:30, we only had 6 but then they arrived in thick bunches. We finally ended up with 19 players and ended up with a total of 29 buyins by the end of the 2nd level.

For the first time that I can remember at the club, I wasn’t forced to buyin again. Even though Marie was my dealer, and she has dealt me some awful beats in the past (3rd 8 on the river anybody?), she was actually showing me love this time around! In the first blind level, I limped in UTG with JhTh, desperately hoping that no one would raise. Amazingly, no one did and the flop was a disappointing 778 with no hearts. I checked and someone made a small bet of 100, I believe. I called, thinking about my two overcards and inside straight draw, and two other players called. The turn was a beautiful 9. I slowplayed, hoping someone would bet and Al, the old man at the end of the table, moved all in. This was the first level, mind you, and with re-buys allowed for two levels, crazy plays were expected. The other guy folded and I called. Al said, “Hmmm, good call” and showed his Ad3d bluff. I had the nuts, of course, and the table was shocked to see such a good hand. Bam! Just like that I more than doubled up and I was happy to have a real stack. I made one awful pay in the second blind round when I was in late position with Jh9h and everyone folded all the way around to me. I raised to 700 with 50/100 blinds and I hoped to steal but the small blind called. This guy, who would eventually go on to win the whole tourney, was playing a bit loose so I didn’t know what he had. The flop missed me totally with low cards and he checked. I checked. The turn missed me with another low card. He checked, I checked (mistake here. I should have fired another bullet). The river was a King. He made a move to his chips but then checked. I considered betting again but I didn’t. Another huge mistake as betting was my only chance of winning the pot. He showed Qd8d (?!?) and I had to fold. Grrr…. Other than that, things were going smoothly. I had about 3500 in chips when the 3rd blind level hit. No more rebuys. Now was the time to start playing some poker. Late in the 3rd round, I got 66 in late position. My nemesis with the Q8 was UTG and raised 3X the big blind. I put him on Ace-middle or KQ, KJ. Everyone folded to me and I figured that a big raise would push him off his hand. Even if he called me, I figured, I would be a slight favorite to win. I moved all in. He promptly called with QQ. Ouch! A huge miscalculation on my part. Luckily, Marie flopped a 6 for me which held up and I doubled through the big stack in the tourney. Yay! I basically sat on my stack until the final table hit.

At the final table, I got seated in the first seat and was happy to see I was 3rd stack at the table. The button was dealt and I was the big blind. I looked down to see a beautiful looking AsKs. People get skittish on the first hand at a new table and it folded all round to the button who was second short stack at the table. He moved all in. I insta-called and he had Qd3d. I won and felted the first player, adding his chips to my stack. The button moved around and I folded away until I was big blind again. I looked down and saw…AsKs. Huh? Two big blinds in a row and I get the same two cards? This time, the short stack at the table to my left moves all in. Again I call when everyone folds to me and I win when his K9 can’t stand up to my flopped Ace. Sweet! I sit tight, folding all the junk I get and waiting for a monster I can play. I got 99 on the button at one point, but that hand saw a raise and a re-raise pre-flop and I threw it away. The winning hand turned out to be an all-in QT who hit his ten on the river. The re-raiser had 88! Oh well, I still dodged a bullet. Eventually, the two big stacks at the table, my nemesis and Tommy Lee, started taking out the small stack and we were down to 5 players. The 5th player was very short stacked and we all made a deal to take $20 from the 3 payout slots and make a $60 fourth place prize. If I could outlast the short stack, I would at least get my money back. The 5th place guy busted out shortly afterwards when my nemesis took him out with A6 and I was happy to be in the money. The two big stacks dwarfed me and the 4th place guy who were nearly even when an unexpected turn of events occurred. My nemesis raised pre-flop only to get called by Tommy Lee. Me and the short stack got out of the way with the two big stacks tangling. Could they take each other out? One could only hope. The flop was 379 and my nemesis led out with 2000. Tommy Lee raised to 5000 and my nemesis called! Me and the short stack gave each other hopeful looks that we would make it into the money by sheer luck. The turn was an Ace. My nemesis checked. Tommy Lee moved all in. Me and the short stack visibly whispered prayers, our lips moving in unison. My nemesis called! Nemesis turned over T9, for flopped top pair. Tommy Lee called out, “top two” and turned over 97! Tommy Lee barely outchipped my nemesis so I was looking to make some cash! Instead, a very very very cruel Ten hit the board! Wow! My nemesis get a very lucky card but that still leaves Tommy Lee with 875 in chips. However, with blinds at 400/800, he doesn’t stand to last long. Tommy Lee moves all in blind UTG on the next hand. He’s got 88 which flops a set! He triples up. He moves all in blind again in the big blind. He’s got AQ which stands up! He moves all in blind one more time and no one contests. Wow! All of a sudden, he’s 2nd stack at the table again. Crap. I look down on the button at Ah7h and Tommy Lee folds. I figure here’s my chance to at least steal some blinds. I move all in and my nemesis folds. The other short stack, who’s also trying to survive, agonizes a call and finally makes it, probably thinking that if I took these blinds I would have a good lead on him. He’s got Kh6h. My Ace flops and he’s out of the tourney. I now have about the same stack, maybe slightly more than Tommy Lee. I immediately call for a chop. My nemesis is amenable but not sure how much to chop and I ask Tommy Lee to negotiate. He does, very well, convincing my nemesis to give up $200 from his pot to give to Tommy and me and we would split 50/50. My share ended up at $335!

I’m very happy about it. When I left, Wendy hadn’t gotten there yet and Darko and Matt had just sat down. I left the club with my winnings and headed home to sleep. Darko sent me an email this morning that he got felted on a heartbreaking hand. He had A9 and the flop was AA9. He eventually was all in vs. an opponent who had AQ, but a Queen came on the river! Yeesh. Salami is ruthless.

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