Monday, July 28, 2008

Jazz, Thai, and Poker

Another summer weekend goes by with me wiped out on Monday.

Friday - Beaches Jazz Festival. Yes, Toronto has beaches. No, you really don't want to swim in them. But the area known as "The Beach(es)" is a nice place to walk around. Lots of bars, restaurants, funky stores, people-watching, boardwalk, etc.. Every year they hold a weekend jazz festival and close off Queen St. so the thousands of attendees can walk around. It's crowded, busy, and usually a good time.

But you know what they were SEVERELY lacking this year? Jazz.

Swing, Blues, Soul, Reggae, South-American pan flutes, "jazzed up" classic rock and pop, and more blues-based rock... but where was the jazz to be found? Oh, there it is! In the form of Big Band and the Crooner-style (think Sinatra, Bennett, etc.)... and some Amy Winehouse (Rehab of course). Come ON people! Where's my Coltrane? Getz? Gillespie? Ella? Satchmo? Peterson? One interesting acid-jazz-fusion version of Drive Time, and a big-bandy Don't Get Around Much Anymore doesn't make the quota! It used to be that every corner had a small band playing JAZZ at the JAZZ festival, they weren't always good, but at least they were playing the music the fest was named after! Now it's a bunch of bands that don't recognize the defining lines between musical forms of a similar era. I'd be less perturbed if they just renamed the thing to the "Beaches Music Festival".

Saturday was me sleeping in most of the day, then not getting dressed, then rushing to get out of the house to a friend's birthday dinner at a Thai place in a largely Italian suburb. I love my city and it's surrounding area. Dinner was decent, if a bit bland for Thai (basil chicken was good though, which would explain why it was the first thing finished). The night would have been the usual affair with this group except for one major announcement from a buddy. I won't reveal it here since you never know who's reading, but it could certainly have repercussions among some people in that group.

Sunday - Poker! Went to the regular home game (3rd in a row, a new record for me). This is a pretty soft affair to be honest. I came in 2nd, making 3 straight final tables, 1 win, and this cash in 3 visits. 2nd place put me back on top of the TOC leaderboard with only 1 or 2 more games to go, so my seat is safe.

The first hand of the tournament (rebuys for first 4 levels) saw me with 64s. I told everyone I had aces and they should just fold. One other guy says, "you too?" Flop brings A2x. We have around 4 or 5 guys see the flop. It checks around to me and I bet my aces to get one call (the "you too?" guy, who was last game's winner), I put him on Ax. Turn brings a 5, giving me a 6-high inside draw. He checks, I check. River is a beautiful 3, he bets, I raise enough to keep him in, and he thinks before calling. I show my straight and he flips his jackace. Everyone has a good laugh at my aces.

The next hand I find AKo, raise it preflop to no callers and show.

I give away some chips, get some back with a turned boat that nobody gives me action on, give away most of the rest when I decide my OESD against two all-ins is worth it (I was in much better shape than expected as they both had TP, no kicker), and then triple up with AJo. The next hand I push with A6s into AK that has me covered and rebuy.

I think I had another rebuy, but can't remember why...

Soon I see 66 and get in against the host, who is a decent player but hasn't really improved over the years I've played with him. Flop comes A59 rainbow and he bets a little over 1/2 the pot. I say "that's some bullshit 'I have AJ and want a call' bet, but I'm dealing and dirty." I called. Turn comes 7 giving me an inside draw. He goes all-in and I'm pot-committed in a rebuy so I call. He flips over 55 for the set and is amazed I'm still in with 66. I peel off the 8 on the river for my perfect-perfect straight and he throws up a little in his mouth.

I was my table's chipleader after the rebuy period ended, but the 2nd table had been more active than us and I would have sat 3rd or 4th there. It didn't take long before we merged to a final table and once again we were staring at some monster stacks sitting down with us. Perfect.

I doubled up against the biggest calling station in the game (and chipleader of course). I then took down one of my original tablemates with QQ vs his AQ on a brick of a flop (he just couldn't let go of one of the best hands he'd seen that day), and doubled up again against the same calling station. We were at the bubble of 4 pretty quickly and that held for a good 35 or 40 minutes. The bubble burst by the chipleader taking the 2nd place chipstack out (great). Then my QT rivered a T to beat the shortie's KQ.

HU was a mess. I had enough chips to make a move or two, but the chip differential was huge. I think I was able to take the blinds twice, once when he folded to my raise and once when he mucked his SB. I seriously wondered if this guy had ever made it HU before, constantly asking "am I big or small?" when he got the button, and min-raising all day. Knowing he'd call just about any raise or all-in from me, I couldn't push with 42o, 83o, T4o, etc.. I mucked a QT that I though might be good when he actually raised preflop, and finally decided J9 was good for a push... he called and showed JT. Neither of us improved and I was done in 2nd place.

I was upset the whole way home that I didn't have one decent HU hand to go to war with and instead let my stack dwindle. I was also upset with my J9 push when I redid the math and realized I could have held on a couple more hands. Ah well, 2nd ain't terrible, and I'm still feared there, but not for my starting hands.

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