Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Defended Champion

It's been far too long since I've written about poker here. That's largely because I've been stinking up the joint online with my play. Luckily, these seems to still indicate that I should be playing live.

Last night, I did. My regular home game series had their 2009 ToC last night, after around 4 or 5 reschedules to get as many of the top-9 in as possible. We managed 8 runners. The number of winners in the last season was smaller than previous years due to one one guy taking down the first two games, and the host winning three games himself. I won one, a newbie won another, and the rest of the ToC was made up of top money earners who garnered numerous 2nd and 3rd place finishes.

In short, numbers were down a bit this season, but those that did play, had some skill.

But I, of course, had to play, having won last year's ToC and needing to remind these guys WHY I was the champ.

Rebuy for the first 4 levels, as usual. First hand was KJs, which I took down with a J on the board. Next hand? A couple black aces. I managed to lure the host into shipping me his stack and I was off to a fine start.

I got a bit cocky a few times and gifted chips to people with cards that should never have seen a limp, let alone a bet or flop. After a couple rebuys and the break looming, I decided I had to play the ultimate in strategy - "What would that guy over there do?"

There's a regular at these games who plays decently enough, but is often the butt of our jokes because he gets so ridiculously emotional and eventually develops an Eeyore-like sense of self-pity. So my strategy becomes - do whatever he does. If he folds, I fold. If he calls, I call. He raises? I raise. He goes all-in? I go all-in.

I doubled through him.


I won a few more small pots by following his lead, and saved myself some chips by folding when he folded even though I had hands I'd normally risk seeing a flop with.

When the rebuy period ended, I was sitting in the middle of the pack and dropped the strategy that had worked thus far - ie.- I was now playing my game again, now that the ridiculous period was over.

Two hands are what kept me going in this section.

The first was nearly disastrous for me. N was playing, and also happened to be my ride. He was incredibly short-stacked and eventually went all-in UTG. I was on his left and looked down at K6s, 7-handed. I said, "I have a dilemma. If I call and win, I'm not getting a ride home. But this hand is bad enough that I could call to double him up to keep my ride around." So I called.

Then 3 more people called.

A6x on the flop. Q turn. 6 river. Trips for me. I cursed a bit under my breath. N had A4 for top pair, and he had everyone beat... but me. I took the whole pot, N stood up, shook my hand, and wished me luck in winning cab fare. Then he left.

It took about 20 minutes for everyone to clue in - "Wait, he REALLY was your ride?"


"So you have to cab it home?"


"Don't you live downtown?" (we were 41.7km, or about 26 miles away, in another city)

"Yup. It's not a cheap fare."



We kept playing. I had a stack now. I knew I could win my taxi driver's pay.

The next hand that came saw me looking down at AKh with a limp in front of me. I min-raised. Me+2 went all-in for another min-raise. The SB opted to call, the BB folded, and the original limper got out of the way.

The main pot was set, the side was dry.

One heart on the flop, 6-high. Check. Check.

Qh on turn. I bet around 1/2 the pot. SB thinks, thinks, thinks... and goes all-in over top, for an amount that I had to call. I call. A pittance left behind. Cards come over.

SB has a 6, I have a flush draw, original all-in has pocket tens. I ask for the heart... and it hits. TT is PISSED because he's the tightest player at the table and hadn't played a hand in ages. Guess what? When you wait for that playable hand to the point where your chipstack can't scare a smurf, you're going to lose more than you win.

I'd knocked out two more guys and we were down to 4 and the bubble.

And man, did these guys hang on to that bubble. Shorties doubling up more than a few times. One was my fault, as he'd gone all-in for exactly the BB, and I, in the SB, had missed that it was an all-in and not a limp. So I folded. The bubble would have popped had I called.

Eventually though, the host went down. Then I took out the 3rd place guy with some mediocre hand that was better than his mediocre hand.

I was at last heads-up with the guy I'd wanted to beat the whole game. He was aggressive at times, but mostly not as good as he thought. He was the newbie who'd won a game earlier in the season. I didn't like his game then either, and knocked him out the next game I saw him in.

This time, he'd managed to amass a stack during the rebuy period. Much of it from me. One or two decent pots in the second half of the game gave him chips. Which he proceeded to do nothing with. Other than the occasional blinds, or "have-to" call of an all-in, he sat back and donated. This was trend that continued when we got heads-up. Any aggression from me was met with a fold. Regardless of position, board texture, or bet size. This made it really easy to throw away cards when he'd play back.

Eventually, he let me in cheap and I saw trips on the flop. I slowplayed him, got him all-in, and then discovered we were chopping the pot as he'd flopped the same trips I had. Sigh.

A few hands later though, I saw 66, and decided it was good enough to go to war with him. His A4o caught nothing at all, while I had a flush on the river to drive home my victory with authority.

Cab fare won, and I remain the ONLY ToC champion on that trophy.

To top it off? The first guy out had stuck around to watch Team Canada take apart Norway in hockey, and happens to live a few blocks away from me. So I got a ride home after all.


BWoP said...

Nice job Astin :-)

BamBam said...

Remind me to talk to you about that one line.

No I won't say it here! You just do your job and remind me, I'll take it from there.


OH.... nice win too!


Dead serial..... W/V = "cably"
Soooooo humourous..... YES with 2 U's!