Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Records (and players) were made to be broken

But before we get into that, we'll discuss why I'm getting crushed in the tourneys. Wendy said it perfectly last night; I'm playing too many hands. Granted, those hands are things like AK suited, AQ suited and pocket Jacks. Last night was too much though. When I had my premium hands, I would raise to juice the pot and the flop would miss me completely. When I limped, hoping to catch and trap, the flop missed me completely. When I stabbed at the pot on a bluff, I got re-raised. When I made a read, it was wrong. Basically, nothing worked for me. So I'm on a slide in tourneys. I'm going to shift my strategy though, and dammit and I'm going to get back to the good tourney player I used to be.

Congrats, though, to David, who demolished the second tourney (due in equal parts to skill and a devestating grouping of suckouts). Congrats also to Paul and Eric, new players and friends who chopped the first tourney. Congrats also to Wendy (though she won't admit it), who is playing solid tournament poker and putting another challenge together to win Season 4. She's in second place and she never seems to place less than 5th. Who's going to stop The Hurricane?

Ok, on to the big topic of this post. After the tournaments were over, we had 5 players who wanted to stay for cash, with Darko and John H. coming off the street to fill out a 7 handed table. Play started very aggressively. Even though stakes were $.50/$1, it played much closer to $1/$2. John H., who arrived drunk and proceeded to polish off a 24Oz. bottle of Budweiser while he was playing, set the tone by making consistent button raises of 3X the pot. He got challenged a few times by Wendy and Myself and we would inevitably end up losing.

A typical scenario for me:
AhKc in the SB. Limps all around and John H., on the button, makes it $6 to go. I call along with 2 others. Flop QT7. I bet out $15, get one folder and John H. raises to $50. I fold.

Another hand:
AJ on the buttong. Limps around to John H. who again makes it $6 to go. I call along with one other. Flop is Q74. Check around to me. I bet $10 and everyone folds to John, who calls. Turn is a K. John bets out $20. I call, not putting him on anything. River is a 2. He checks and I bet out $35. He reluctantly calls. What does he have? T4!!! His flopped bottom pair wins.

I'm getting frustrated at this point because John is completely outplaying me and I can't seem to get a read on him. Forget about waiting to get good cards to crack him. Those haven't been coming all night. So I switch gears and try to sit tight. Two hands later, Brian doubles through John. Then Brian doubles Cheryl. And then Wendy. Not all in a row mind you, but Brian is starting to build a very impressive stack. In fact, he's closing in on the record for most profit ($377.50) when he gets engaged in a hand with David. I forget the preflop action (I want to say that Brian raised to $20 on the button and David called), but the flop was 995. David checked and Brian might have bet out a moderate amount. David called. The turn was a 3. David looked at the board and the pot. The pot had about $65-$70 at this point. David must have had about $250 behind him. Brian easily covered that. David said, "All in", leaning back in his chair. Brian insta-called and David's face got a look of pain on it. David flipped up 53 for a crappy two pair, but that would have beaten any Ace high Brian had. But Brian flipped over A9 for flopped trips and the best kicker. He felted David in one shot and broke through the profit record without a glance behind him.

Then it was Cheryl's turn. Cheryl and Brian got into some preflop action and the board flopped JT rag with two hearts. Cheryl and Brian both bet it hard, but when the third rag heart came on the turn, Cheryl pushed all in for about $100. Brian called quickly, turning up QJo. Cheryl had AT with the Ace of Hearts but couldn't improve on the river. It was a stunning call, considering the board had flushed up on the turn and Brian's top pair only had a Queen kicker attached to it. There were dozens of hands Cheryl could have had to beat him. He explained sheepishly that he had thought he had top two pair and was a little embarrassed when he finally showed down. But it was good enough to take down the pot and Cheryl was a bit disappointed that he strong move hadn't worked this time.

In the midst of Brian busting players and building a record stack, John H. was getting progressively sillier. He was very fidgety and went over to my computer to turn up the Itunes volume when a song he liked came on. Then he flopped down in his seat, put on his IPod on full volume and was happily playing air guitar in very broad motions. He seeemed happily drunk but he was making a bit of a spectacle of himself. I kept my feelings to myself because he wasn't disrupting the game too badly and we generally like John. Wendy was babbling about "trying something new" because nothing had been working for her. John commented that maybe she should "try shutting up, because that's something new too". He was smiling and the comment didn't seem to be made maliciously but it put me on my guard. Then he made a comment about someone's mother. Again, it was non-specific and not made maliciously, but I feel, as the host, that it's my duty to try to have everyone enjoy their experience and I can see how a comment like that might be offensive. Darko and I shared a look about it and I felt I had to give a warning. So I did and John protested his innocence. He hadn't meant anything by it and he couldn't believe I could get in his grill about it. We left it at that and kept playing. I didn't want to say anything unless it got out of hand. Then it did. John flicked a $.25 piece over to Wendy, trying to knock down her stack. But he missed badly and the chip went airborne. It flew over the rail and hit the back wall of the living room, rolling behind the couch with a loud crunch. That put me over the edge. I admonished John more harshly this time, letting him know that this wasn't a "fucking card room" but the place where I lived. I was hoping to give the impression that he should treat the players, and my property, with more respect. Fortunately, I don't have to tell anyone else this message because it's self-evident, but something wasn't getting through. A few minutes later, with a stack of about $160, John H. pushed in what might or might not have been a bluff against Darko. Darko called and John just mucked his hand and angrily walked out of the apartment. We called out to him that he outchipped Darko and still had quite a bit of money on the table, but he muttered for us to keep it and let the door slam on his way out.

It's unfortunate that we had to have this experience because I've never had to ban a player yet from our table. I don't mind drinking at the table but I *do* mind rudeness and belligerence. Rule 1 at Wall Street Poker is that this is a fun league. No one is here to win rent money and no one is going to win/lose in amounts that are life changing. We pride ourselves on educating each other so that we can all improve our play and we're friendly because there's no reason to be anything other. We've been fortunate enough to recruit player after player who have been wonderful in all these regards. They're nice, gracious and damn good players. I'm sure that we will continue in this tradition and I apologize to anyone who might have been hurt at all by this incident. I'm a very accomodating person, by nature, so if anyone has any complaints about any part of the game and how the league is setup or the persons within it, please bring it to my attention privately and I'll try to work on a solution that benefits everyone.

Ok, having said that, back to the poker...

It was about 2AM and Brian made a good suggestion. How about we play H.O.R.S.E? We only had 4 players for it, but the decision was made to go ahead with it for the sake of education. We would do two rounds each of each of the games (it turned into 3 rounds by the end of the night). Wendy and I were sitting on short stacks while Darko had about $300 and Brian had a ridiculous amount (to be divulged at the end of this post). Well, my limit skills seem intact, because I was able to build $80 into $226 in 2 hours playing $1/$2 limit! It was fun playing the different games, though it takes some getting used to. Plus, we're not completely familiar with all the betting rules, but we made it up as we went along. Brian and Wendy were busy making side prop bets on the color of the Hold'Em flops and we were all trying to figure out how play Stud Eight! Fun stuff. The night broke up at 4AM(!) and I fell asleep instantly afterwards, exhausted and frustrated and content and nervous and happy. An eventful night.

So for those who want to know, Brian DEMOLISHED the cash profit record by more than doubling it! The previous record ot $377.50 is now at (are you ready for this?) $766!!!! At a, excuse my french, FUCKING SHORT-HANDED $.50/$1 Game!!!!!!!

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