Friday, August 12, 2005

Cashing at The Mark's

The river dragon has come, souls wash away...

I had heard of the game at "The Mark's" via my UpForPoker cohorts in crime. G-Rob and Otis had been there and wrote about their experiences, but for me, it seemed like that game may be out of my league.

I don't know what my league is, but whenever Otis spins a tale about beautiful women smoking cigars, well I'm pretty much relegated to TripleA ball.

My first two visits to the State Park home for wayward Hummers were extremely uneventful. Two tournaments, two out of the money finishes. The first one was a bit embarrassing. First, I bluff off all my chips into the Nuts. Nice way to make your debut at The Show, swinging and missing at ball four.

The second visit, while better than the first, had similar results. After busting the Mark's brother with my set of 3's and building some chips, I called what I thought was an all-in bluff holding top pair. Being right in your read is no solace when your opponent hits their inside straight draw on the turn. IGHN.


They say the third time is the charm. Perhaps. All I know is that I usually get stuck after attempt number two, then I get a vasectomy.


Nine players bought in for $40 this Friday. Three of the players were wives of G-Vegas home game regulars. Mrs_Blood, Mrs_ChefShep and Mrs_TheMark looked to make a name for the female contigent of the poker nation down here in the Upstate.

Otis made a rare live game appearance outside his own home after his parents agreed to tend to the lil' Otis, who happens to mercifully look like Mrs_Otis.

The first hand I played was a minor confrontation with Mr. Pokerstars himself. I called a small preflop raise on the button with QTc. The flop was nine-high but had two clubs.

Or so I thought.

Otis bet out on the flop and I flat called. I've got position and I'm in the big leagues now. Too bad my pants are on backwards. There aren't two clubs on the board, the nine is actually a spade.

When the turn brings a second club and Otis checks, I feel somewhat vindicated and take a free card. Nobody has noticed that my pants are on backwards yet. The count is 0-2 though and I can't hit a curveball.

The river brings a ten. I've got top pair. I call Otis' bet and he's pretty much dismayed at how poorly I've managed to play this hand and still win. It was like getting hit by a pitch in the buttocks. My on-base-percentage is perfect, but I still can't hit any offspeed junk.


Otis met his demise at the river. Mrs_TheMark, queen of 5th street took him out on what shall be known as The First 3-outer.

Otis was playing AK. Nice hand. Especially on a K-high flop. Unfortunately, Mrs_TheMark called each of his bets - including a check-raise on the turn.

The river brought a J.

By this time the pot was so huge Otis had no recourse but to go all-in. Mrs_TheMark had no recourse but to call. She showed down KJ. Otis pleaded for her not to have KJ, but it was in fact what she had.


We had only 4 players left and the top 3 paid. I was decently stacked but the payout structure for the $360 prize pool was $260, $80 and $20. I had to play to win.

So when I was in the big blind, facing a minimum raise from Mrs_TheMark, it was not without hesitation that I came over the top all-in. I held QQ and I knew it was the best hand. So much so, that I didn't care if she folded or called.

The Queen of 5th street took a while, but she called holding AJ. I was hoping for AQ, but it really didn't matter; I was a huge favorite here.

The ragged flop didn't scare me at all. Neither did the brick on the turn. I'm loathe to say anything nowadays because I'm a master at self-fulfilling prophecies. Perhaps I thought about it too strongly though.

The ace on the river crippled me.

The Second 3-outer.

Souls washed away....


The very next hand gave me pocket 6's. I was facing a min-raise and a call from the Shep Spouse Combo. Nonetheless, I pushed. I wasn't surprised when both called. I was, however, very surprised to more than triple up against AQ and AJ. Back in the game.


I eliminated Mrs_ShefChep when she was shortstacked and I held a couple of cards with paint on them. She called reluctantly with 94o and didn't hit. I actually caught runner-runner Q's for a dominating victory.

After a few steals, I suddenly found myself chip leader. With 40,500 in play, I held 16,000.


Mrs_Blood and I got a neighbor to babysit. It was late and we don't like to impose unnecessarily. Had I been by myself, I may have played the tourney out to its conclusion.

Instead, I made an offer nobody could refuse. Three players were left with approximately equal chip stacks. I offered a three way split for $120 each.

The deal was instantly accepted and I was finally a winner at The Marks.


We dealt one final hand for prosperity's sake. I caught 97o. ChefShep was dealt 75s. The River Dragon was dealt QQ.

The Earth has spoken and taken them to their graves.

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