Sunday, January 22, 2006

Good news, bad news, ski traffic and a wet cell phone

So my final stats from SnG week were good, 10/13 cashed, and Friday night was the kicker. I played a 30-person MTT on Hollywood Poker for the first time. $5.50, sure, and I wanted a longer tournament to try. I have played a couple MTTs, but I've never come close to cashing, either because someone sucked out on me or I failed to suck out on them.
I was the short stack with the usual aggressive blind structure you find on these Internet tournaments with five people left, and five get paid, so I was in "survival" mode, hoping to outlast the other short stack. Sure enough, he went all in with Q,8 and got knocked to the canvas.
A newfound freedom from worrying about getting paid or not, coupled with my first run of the cards for the night (J,J and A,8 both won races) left me as the chip leader. The other three quickly fell, and after a long heads-up battle that ended when the dude got the higher flush than me (three clubs on the board, can you believe that, heads up?) and I collected $45.
Not a ton of money, but for me, it's a very nice night and the cherry to me clearing more than $80 just from playing SnGs for the week.
I went to bed at 9:30 p.m., which is like most people going to bed at 5:30 p.m., but I had a ski excursion planned for Saturday, and I wanted to be somewhat fresh for Saturday night's big live tournament, which, of course, was the main reason for playing all those SnGs.
The alarm went off at 5:15 a.m., which, of course, was quickly snapped off by me, in the hopes of not waking the J-man, our seven-month old ball of feist. I made it to the Park N Ride near Denver to meet my brother and was met by chaos. It was 7 a.m., and already, cranky drivers wrapped in fleece and goofy hats were jostling for the last few spots in four Park N Rides. Last month, my brother and I met at 7 a.m. and were greeted by empty lots and little traffic, but I should have considered that there was a record snowfall going on this year, the Broncos were playing Sunday and it was supposed to be a beautiful day. I checked the third Park N Ride in the group of four and finally told a group of four Denver yuppies, parked in the middle of the road, to get out of the way (only I wasn't that nice about it) and I scooted up the road just in the hopes of turning around. I pulled into the final Park N Ride and was preparing to turn around when I saw Red. Brake. Lights. I dashed over there and turned on my blinker, no doubt frustrating the seven cards ahead of me and already past paradise. The car pulled out. Thank you Jesus.
By the time we got to the ski resort, it was 11:30 a.m.
All that for four hours of skiing.
So, finally, a bit wrung out but happy after a good day, I showered at my brothers, grabbed a quick snack of chili cheese nachos and went to the guy's house, where, thankfully, a lot of my old poker buddies were waiting for me (our weekly game has broken up after he moved to Denver a month ago).
I was struck at how wild our table was. One girl won a huge hand with 10,10 with J,K,A on the board. The other guy had 8,8.
That, of course, handicapped me a bit, since they were calling every damn bet I made because, hey, they had lower pair, right. So bluffing was out. And normally, I'm a tight, fairly conservative player until the blinds force me to shift gears, so this plays right into my hands. All I would need is a few good hands and I was golden.
I'm still waiting.
I did get A,A early but no callers to my 3X raise, and I had A,K one other time, and that, dear reader, in six hours of play, was the extent of my hands. I did manage to double up late with Q,8 and a Q on the board and a drunk guy called me with a straight draw, and an inside one at that, and that prompted a trip to the bathroom.
Where I promptly dropped my new cell phone in the toliet.
I immeaditely took it out (clean water, at least) and shook it and took the battery out, and after much cell phone love, it works fine. It didn't look good for a while there but was able to pull through.
Thank you, again, Jesus.
I got knocked out in 7th place out of 30, two slots from the money, because my short stack wasn't going to hold up and I went all in with A,8 and some guy called me with A,K. Ah well. I didn't want to stay up to 3 a.m. anyway.
This did expose what I consider to be a hole in my game, and that is I need cards to win. I'm much improved in the sense that I don't need monsters to win, anymore, but I do need a normal run of good hands, and I can usually cash, especially against a weak field, as the SnGs demonstrates. But I am rather helpless if I don't get that normal run, if I get, say, 9,4, as I did all fucking night long. I can bluff with the best of them, and I did, but that only takes me so far.
Is that true for everyone? I'm not sure. I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on this topic. For me, weak hands are like fighting in Braveheart with a plastic sword.
Or one of those cool Jedi toy light sabers.

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