Monday, October 19, 2009

Lucky Jersey

I've written at length in the past of a regular home game I play in. Just a dude having people over, nothing fancy, but there's a trophy with the winners' names inscribed on the base (an extra level had to be added last season), and a ToC at the end of the year. Last year saw me take down 3 regular games and the ToC with relative ease, and turn a very tidy profit for a $20 rebuy that averaged around 11 players. Especially considering I only played in 5 or 6 games (and one of the non-wins was a 2nd place)

This year has been less successful. I've seen 2nd place, but it was in a game with only 6 people, so we went with winner-take-all. Turnout has been down, and I once again missed a bunch of games to start the season. In short - no cashes at all so far.

Until Sunday.

A bachelor party the previous night had made my attendance at the game tentative, but after half an hour of semi-conscious internal debate, I opted to get out of bed and head out. After all, this was the penultimate game of the season, and I needed the points if I wanted a shot at the ToC.

A couple tournaments ago, I realized what had changed in my game - my wardrobe. See, after a couple games last year, I opted to come as full douchebag to the games. Full Tilt hockey jersey, Bodog cap, and sunglasses indoors. I figured looking like a complete poseur would be beneficial to me. Most of the guys got the joke, but even so, I won that first game. So I wore the outfit to every subsequent game and met with much success.

This year? I opted to dress normally, figuring the joke had run its course. No success. Last game, I wore just the cap, but achieved nothing. So this time the jersey came out, but the cap was replaced with my relatively new Maple Leafs hat (which is obviously the cause of them sucking so much this season). I informed everyone there of the reasoning behind the jersey, and by the end of the game was asked not to wear it next time, having systematically destroyed the other players.

The makeup of this game has changed over the years. Many of the regulars from last year cycle in and out, with newer guys showing up more frequently. This round had a complete newcomer (to this game, but not poker), and a few guys who had been there once or twice before, mixed with a few of us old guard. Of the 4 newish players, it didn't take long to figure them out.

The returning champ from last time isn't a particularly good player. He's aggressive, but often loose as hell. I stacked him twice during the rebuy period and knocked him out in 4th or 5th place, usually with 2nd pair or TP with a mediocre kicker beating his shitty ones.

The older guy was very by the book. Not Vegas-regular-rock style, but not hard to get a read on, and he was able to fold to pressure when he wasn't holding a strong hand. This came in handy a couple times.

The guy next to me was there for fun. He had some game, but played a pretty wide range of starting hands and wouldn't get off top pair if you pushed him. He essentially blinded out and went down to the hammer from the chipleader (not me).

And the last new guy was your typical younger player who takes the game too seriously. He was overly-tight and prone to complaining about his "bad luck" and the terrible play of those around him. He had one solid outburst when QTo beat him about what terrible hands the guy (mr. won't get off TP) played. The response of "complain all you want, who has more chips?" was the perfect riposte and shut him up for the rest of the game.

The rest I knew well from before, and had beaten them all at some point.

The game lacked any stellar hands of note. I had pairs that held, and those that lost. I turned a straight or two to beat A-high callers. My stack fluctuated, and when it got short, my all-ins held up. I generally let the defending champ and one of the other veterans of the game keep the attention on them and their large stacks while I stayed around the average, using my table image (tight, calm, usually with a playable hand) work for me to stay ahead of the blinds. I knew that as long as I stayed away from being short, the "champ" would implode and the chipleader would be a ripe target.

I stacked the defending champ with KQ vs his Q7o (JQJ board). And after we each did our share of KO's, it was me and the chipleader, who had become less intimidating as he gave away some of his chips in attempts to bully and they got laundered by the fish to me. By the time we were HU, his lead was far from secure.

A couple hands went his way, and then I stepped up the aggression. I let him bet into me before re-raising him out of pots. Then I played a hand weakly to induce his retaliation re-raise. It worked like a charm with him going all-in. I quickly called with top pair and a draw vs his bluff. I took it down, but he had me covered by a couple blinds. A bit more back and forth kept him alive before I found the ducks. A cheap flop of A2x sooooted was seen, and he pushed his air into my bottom set, and that was all she wrote.

The only hand that came off as odd was a KO of the host by me. I was dealing and held AJd. He got all-in on the 3-way flop of two diamonds. The brick turn got me betting out and scaring out the older guy, leaving us HU. He flipped over Kx for nothing, and I flipped over the two burn cards in front of me... which were AJo. I stopped for a second and cocked my head. "Those aren't my cards... OH! THESE are my cards!" as I flipped over my hole cards DIRECTLY IN FRONT OF ME. The table found it all quite amusing that both my cards and the burns were AJ. My A-high held, the old guy congratulated my bet to get him out, and I happily raked in the chips.

All-in-all, the win catapulted me to 4th in the standings, which makes me a lock for the ToC. The money covered either the weekend's entertainment expenses (a club known to the Eh-Vegasers of a couple years ago) or my poker buy-ins for the home game for this season. Either way, it was break-even poker!

Also, it continues the trend of me recreating a groove. Poker is becoming fun again as I'm once again finding my game and profiting from it.


Memphis MOJO said...

Congrats and GL in the ToC.

Dawn Summers said...

Ooh, we should both dress like douchebags for the wpbt! I bet we end up heads up for the hamemr trophy and then you'll have to let me win because it'd be the polite thing to do. #lovecanadians

BamBam said...

Although I personally could never picture you as a the douchebag at any table, congrats and welcome back!


diverjoules said...

Congratulations on the win. Let us know how the ToC goes.