That was a hella good finish to the 4th season of Wall Street Poker. It was down to the wire and it took a flurry of 4 tourneys at the very end to declare a winner. Wendy, who is consistently in contention, slipped up a bit last night to drop off, leaving Stephen, Jordan, Brian, Mary and Scott St. G. as possible winners.
Evite.com made things a bit interesting when they completely fucked up the invites and wiped out people's responses from Sunday night. In addition, some of the settings I had set, like the all important restriction on the number of players, were cleared from the invites. The end result is that people ended up re-booking themselves and for more players than I had seats for!!! Oy vey, what a pain in the tuchus. I apologized, and still do, profusely to all of the people who thought they had signed up but couldn't play (I mean you Darko!).
Play was tense Monday night at the first tourney because there was a lot riding on the outcome. I managed to be able to take a seat in the first tourney and promptly tightened up like a clam. Every bet was re-raised, etc, etc, boo-hoo. Then Adam A. felted me on two straight hands. The first, I made a straight with J8 on a 9TQA2 board and lost when Adam min-raised a small amount and I was forced to call to see his KJ. Brian admonished me about calling the min-raise but I had bet the minimum so the min-raise felt like a tweak of the pot with two pair and I had the second nut straight! Yes, there was a flush on board (the river made it) but I didn't feel it. The next hand, I get KK in the BB. It limps all around to me and I make a substantial raise, about 4X the BB. It folds to Adam who pushes all in on me and I call without hesitating, only to see him turn over AA. Mary apologizes to ADAM(!!!) because she doesn't think the Aces stand a chance, but that only works on other people. I'm no King magnet. So I lost on Kings, what else is new?
But there was plenty of other action too. The jockeying was intense because big wins in these tournaments meant some of the aformentioned players might have a chance of being crowned Season 4 champion. It was in this environment that Scott seemed to be steaming after pushing all in with A7 preflop after having lost half his stack on the previous hand. Mary hesitated in the big blind. She pondered and squirmed and she had a look of pain on her face. The look said, "I know I'm ahead if I call but I also know I'm going to lose anyway". She finally had to call when a bit of logic creeped back into her brain. She showed QQ and the table was stunned into silence that she really had thought about it for so long. But poker lost when an Ace flopped and Mary didn't improve. She got up to leave, knowing her season wasn't going to end in victory but she had one more blind left. No comeback story here though.
Meanwhile, Brian was calmly padding his stack and when the dust settled after the night was over, Brian had placed 2nd and 3rd in the two tourneys, vaulting himself juuuust over Stephen P. as the Season 4 leader. Mary had placed 3rd and 5th, which wasn't quite enough to do the trick and put her in contention. Brian had no intention of playing the next day, so his very very slim lead over Stephen looked to be good as Stephen wasn't scheduled to play either. But something funny happened...
We had a bunch of dropouts for today's tourneys including, might I add, an incredibly weak excuse from The Slayer who complained that traffic was bad around the U.N. so he wouldn't be able to get to me. Mind you, this was 10 minutes before we were scheduled to start the tourney. I reminded him of this marvelous invention that was guaranteed to get around traffic; The Subway. But he would have none of it, making further excuses that he was tired. What could I do? Anywho, since there were now open seats, Stephen P. secured himself a position. Jordan, who was also in contention, made an appearance as well. Jordan won the first tournament, giving him an actual chance of winning the season. Stephen P. didn't show up until the second tourney, setting up a tense showdown. Incidentally, I placed second in the first tourney on the strength of poorly played pocket Aces on my part that got saved. I was in the small blind and I only completed the bet against Abbie and the flop came a bunch of rags. I checked my strong pair and Abbie checked behind. The turn came a 7 and I bet out because of a flushing board. Abbie immediately re-raised me a significant amount. Every fiber of my being told me to fold. That I was behind to two pair, but the devil started whispering in my ear. "You can afford to call". "You can still catch up". I went into the tank but finally called. An Ace spiked on the river and I put Abbie all in for about 1/5 of the pot. She called with middle two pair (what else with the BB?) and my set of Aces was good. I played that like shiite.
So, after the first tourney was done, very early as it turns out, there was some mad calculations done to see who needed to place where to win. Jordan, it seems, needed another 1st place win to have any chance of winning the season. Stephen, to pull ahead of Brian and even a Jordan 1st place win, only needed to place 4th or above on a full table, which we had with a few last minute additions. Jordan sweetened the pot by placing a $10 side bounty on Stephen! About two hands in, I got 99 and flopped a 9. I bet out a moderate amount and got CK to call me. The turn was a Kc that made both a flush AND a straight draw. Oh, crap. Luckily, when I checked, CK checked too. I was certain that she was trapping with a draw she had just made. An easy read considering the Kc made every possible draw! But the case 9 fell on the river. I bet out a smallish amount and CK went over the top all in. "Uh, I call. Dems be Quads, bitches!" Carol was flabbergasted. She had the nut flush but was down to her last 50 chips. She promptly went all-in 4X in a row and doubled or tripled through every one! Sitting on a half-size stack now, she started playing again but finally got felted on a forgotten hand.
In the meantime, Jordan and Stephen weren't playing anything. Jordan started loosening up when his chipstack started to dwindle but Stephen was a rock, making just enough to keep himself afloat. I went through a long stretch of absolutely no cards at all (Quad 9's suck your karma). Jordan ended up busting out in 7th, promptly ending the bounty on Stephen! :-) I ended up bubbling after racing and losing 33 with a stack getting shorter and shorter. Stephen, in the meantime, not only hung in there with guts and determination, he won the tourney!!! Therefore, Stephen P. is crowned the new Wall Street Poker Season 4 champion!!! Congrats! It couldn't happen to a nicer guy and a fiercer competitor. Plus, he's getting married this weekend and he needs all the money he can get. As was said to him around the table, "This is tha last money you'll be making that will actually be yours!".
A cash game broke out afterwards with CK, Darko, Wendy, myself, Paulie, David R and Abbie. I got a monster hand that I'll be pleased with for a long time. I'm UTG with JsTs and I decide to play like Wendy. Raise the suited connectors and hope you hit. We're playing 1/1 NL so I decide to make it $5 to juice the pot. I get two one and the flop comes...are you ready for it? How about QsKsAs!!! That's right, yours truly, after years of live play, finally flopped his first mythical Royal Flush, and a Spade Royal no less. Nothing to do here except hope they catch up, right? I check and CK, also in the hand, checks. The turn is an Ad. I check, hoping CK has an Ace, or perhaps a boat. She checks. Oh darnit all. The river is a rag, but I can't check again, right? I bet out $10. CK squeezes out 10 and nearly falls out of her seat in shock to see how beaten she is. Incidentally, she DID have a middle Ace and I have to give her huge props on not betting that puppy when it hit on the turn. In this particular case, my having represented and Ace or a high pair by raising pre-flop actually worked against me. Still, even though I didn't get paid, there is hardly a better feeling in the world than flopping the best possible hand in poker!
The rest of the game was fun and tense, with many fine players trading barbs and jabs. Wendy, in her aggressive fashion, started carving out a nice stack for herself. I held myself above water until about 30 minutes before we were going to leave. I ended up felting David R. on a puzzling hand that I'm going to chalk up to his being tired. I had 88 and I limped UTG. No one raised (or maybe there was a small raise) and the flop was 8d9d3c. I bet about $9 on my second nut set and David raises 15 on top. It folds to me and I do a little Hollywood. I really am trying to figure out what he has. Does he have the set of 9's I fear, or does he have the flush draw. Or does he have an overpair? Any of those make sense, or the smaller set, but I've obviously not worried about that. Finally, after deciding he had the flush draw, I ask him if he'll run business if I push. "I'll have to see what you have" is the answer. I decide then and there to make a conscious effort to get all his chips in so I raise $30 on top. This, I hope, will make it look like I'm trying to represent a big hand. Sure enough, he pushes all in on top of that for $50 more. I call and show my set. He has...Q90?!? Huh? He had runner-runner possibilites but they were uber-remote. Still, I'm a nice guy and I offered to run it 3X for him, which he promptly agreed to. But none of them came and David more than doubled me up. Sorry Dave. Hope you at least got good sleep tonight!
It's been a fun season and next season promises to be even better. We're going to a longer 6 month format and, as a result of the extra length, we'll be able to offer more cash games (NL and mixed Limit) as well as more nights of one tourny and cash and even some long format tourneys. Also, the long awaited HORSE tourney will make it's appearance sometime before the end of the year. Perhaps that will be my sendoff to Vegas?