Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Poker For Fun And... Fun

A while back a friend of mine moved to an apartment building over a sports bar. He's not much of a sports fan, but they also happen to host a weekly game in a local bar poker league, and he does play some recreational poker. His weekly tweets about the game piqued my dormant poker bug and a couple months ago I finally dragged myself up there to toss some free chips around.

I returned weekly. I peeked at the other venues they played at, and considered joining in the Sunday Poker Stars home game they host (but seeing as my online roll is limited, that was unlikely). Turns out I was having fun playing with nothing really on the line.

The added incentives of points and final tournaments and champions games for WSOP trips didn't hurt either.

So I showed up for 7 of the 8 possible weeks I could have played, and picked up enough points for two entries into their main event, made 3 final tables, and have generally had a good time. Then they went and gave me a 3rd entry from a random draw of people who had hit one of the nightly bonus hands (I hit a flush early once and got credit only because everyone had forgotten it had been added that week as a bonus hand).

Entries are simple enough - they're running 6 day 1's, and I could enter 3 of them. If I made the final 8 in any of them, the remaining were forfeit, as day 2 starts with a fresh rack.

I played in the first of them last night, and now don't have to play the other two, having very undeservedly made the final 8.

It was my second straight week of fairly terrible poker.

The structure, as would be expected, is terrible. Designed to get everyone (around 40 players on any given night) out in five hours. 8-handed tables and 15 minute levels means one's range expands, and one's aggression increases. The mix of players, from absolute donkeys with gills to players who have WPT and WSOP cashes under their belts also means you have to be at least somewhat aware of who you're up against and what they are or aren't capable of.

I played weak, passive poker while being distracted by the Leafs-Bruins game playing above me, knowing I had two more entries in my pocket. Truly a fantastic mix.

I overcalled and overbet early on, blowing 25% of my starting stack by the first break. A bit of luck helped in the second hour of play, where my 9Tc saw a 7JK rainbow flop, giving me the ol' double gutshot straight draw. A pot-sized bet from my left thinned out the crowd, but wasn't enough to get me away. The 8o on the turn was perfect. It checked around to me, and I bet 2/3 of the pot, leaving me with a pittance behind. Left of me tanked and tanked before folding (I had him on a call for sure), and the 3rd player in our hand verbally called, thinking I had bet 1/10th of what I actually had (500 instead of 5000). When informed of my actual bet, he was obviously unhappy but bound. The river T wasn't something that pleased me, but I pushed in my last few chips, which were called by Mr. Can't-see-across-the-table with his pair of kings. I got a nice double-up plus some to let me breathe. The original bettor revealed he had folded two pair, which shocked me and gave me a ton of info on him.

I was able to take a few blinds and antes, and chip up a bit more. Then I gave all my winnings away on a bad call (2nd pair vs two pair) when I didn't believe the dealer's all-in (the dealers are also players, and are generally a higher caliber). Back to push-or-fold mode for me.

A couple hands later I got it back with AQ beating AJ, and then another AJ going down to my KK a hand after that.

Then I gave most of it away when my QJ ran into KJ with Jxx on the flop and a short stack pushing against me. I didn't like the call, but I needed the chips and could barely survive the loss. But we were down to sixteen players, and the numbers were dropping fast.

I did a lot of folding when I couldn't afford to. Wishing I had enough chips to scare someone out instead of getting an insta-call from the blinds. I lucked out and scared off the SB to my BB with a push to her limp that she really should have called. Some fishhooks got no calls and I pulled in blinds and antes. More players fell. With two left to the end I once again shoved my BB into the SB's limp and she called. My KJ caught a J on the flop that held and she was crippled while I had nearly tripled up. Someone on the other table went out. I returned the favour a hand later, calling from the SB to her less-than-the-BB all-in on the button. A check-down between me and the BB saw me win back my call in the side pot and triple her up.

Two hands later, the other table saw the final elimination and there was much applause and hand-shaking.

The organizer of this league astutely noted that I should have been gone hours before. The dealer we'd had for most of the game was amazed I'd come back so many times. I wholeheartedly agreed with their assessments. I was just happy that my evenings had cleared up this week.

Day 2 comes next week. Day 3 the day after with the final 16. The winner gets a trip to Vegas and a $1000 WSOP buy-in. If I have any aspirations to spending a few days in the sweltering Vegas heat this summer, I have to play much better. But if I don't? The summer session is playing for a shot at the LAPT in Panama City.

1 comment:

KenP said...

Congrats on not having long-term memory loss. :)