Wednesday, December 28, 2005

With A Little Help From My Friends

The scene is my work cubicle, sometime on the Tuesday after the Christmas holiday and the all-too-short string of vacation days I’d just exhausted.  The phone rings, and since I can recognize my own home phone number, I answer with a polite “Hello.”  Unsurprisingly, it’s the Mrs. calling to check in.  We exchange a few pleasantries and then she gets down to the reason for calling.  Mrs_All_In is over the house and is indicating that TheMark would like to host a home game this evening.

I’ll confess that my first thoughts were less than enthusiastic.  I’ve been fighting a small head cold, so I was running a bit tired.  I also figured that most of the players were still on vacation and I’d be the only working stiff not drinking and rollicking it up.  Couple that with ideas of playing in Wil’s weekly tournament and I guess you can say I didn’t jump at the chance.

But then I remembered a post from some local donkey I’d read recently.  Something about sharing and spending time with friends.  As Teddy Ballgame so frequently says, “Aw…hell.”

The game was on.


The tourney began with ten players – BadBlood, Mrs_Blood, TheRick, Wolverine, TheMark, Otis, Shep (8-ball) Tiltstein, TripleF (fuck-face-firefighter), Mrs_All_In, and G-Rob.  As has been the norm, I fronted Mrs_Blood’s buy-in and prayed I’d recoup both buy-ins somehow.  Generally I’d have to wait until the post tourney cash game.  Because I suck at tournaments.


I’ve been called a tightbox before.  There are other tight, aggressive players in our bunch, but the label has been stuck to me since before time.  As such, my tourney success has been less than optimal.  Bouncing ideas off of G-Rob for the last year has actually brought some new insights to my game.  He’ll admit to me helping him at times, and I’d certainly be remiss if I didn’t return the sentiment.  For it is true.

Each player has an A-game that is within their style.  But to be successful, you need to develop the parts of your game that don’t come naturally.  My A-game is mainly founded in solid, tight play.  G-Rob’s A-game is on the other side of my spectrum – more aggressive, more willing to take chances, perhaps looser, but still solid.

I generally hate asking for help.  I’d just assume flounder in my own inadequacies than break down and admit I needed any aid.  But if help does come of its own accord, I will absorb it and utilize it as best as I can.

So after one G-Vegas tourney a few months ago, G-Rob did let loose a valuable piece of wisdom in relation to my game.  I’m too tight when I have good position.  I know about position, I’ve even read about lessening starting hand requirements in good position.  But I’ve failed to execute.  G-Rob noticed it, and then told me about it.  You can’t ask for more help than that.  At least I can’t.


Some will say that the best part of stealing is not getting caught.  I say that the best part of stealing is getting caught, then fooling everyone into thinking that what you’ve stolen was actually yours in the first place.


Last night I raised more in position than I have in a while.  On one steal attempt I was called down on a board of 5QQ8T.  I showed down J5 offsuit and won.  Otis wondered aloud where the real BadBlood was who normally showed down quality starting cards.  He was there, but he was in a different gear.  At least for the time being.


Mrs_All_In is a fine player.  She holds her own against G-Vegas’ top players and has one Professional Blogger in the palm of her hand.  Her raises get respect.  Perhaps a bit too much respect.

During one hand, she made a 2.5xBB raise and the table folded.  She showed pocket K’s.  Later, she made the same raise and again, the table folded around.  She showed pocket Aces.

On the very next hand after her pocket Aces, I was dealt the same cards and made the same raise.

I got two callers and ended up winning a much larger pot.

Showing down J5o can do that for you.


The best part of mixing up your game is when players who can normally put you on a hand begin to have trouble.

During last Thursday’s home game, G-Rob put me on the hammer and pocket K’s on two separate occasions.  He was right both times, even though I only had to show down the hammer hand because it had sucked out on Otis’ pocket 9’s with a runner-runner straight.

Last night, G-Rob had more trouble putting me on a hand.  He was wrong every time he guessed.


Since it was nearing midnight, the final four players made a chip-equity based chop.  G-Rob was ITM, as was the Wolverine.  No surprises there.


The tandem of Blood spouses also made the money.  A rarity indeed.  Mrs_Blood got there by some tight play, and some very good short-stacked play near the end.

I got there because I got some help.  Perhaps I should ask for it more when I need it.  Pride can be a foolish thing.

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