Thursday, September 29, 2005

A Night at the Tank's

Lately, the decision whether or not to play live poker has come at the last minute.  In a previous post I wrote about how my excitement level for playing has diminished and why I thought that was a good thing.  Last night, the same thing happened.  I’d known about a local G-Vegas $20 tourney for a few days but had not committed to playing.  Forty-five minutes beforehand, I got approval from the Mrs to go and decided to play.

Frank the Tank was our host and this tourney would have G-Vegas legends G-Rob, The Axeman, Otit (not Otis), and The Mark in attendence, so I really had no choice.  We had 12 players, a starting stack of T1550 and a suprisingly decent structure.  I was more enthusiastic about seeing the crew than playing, and again, that turned out to be a good thing.


Initially though, good things were hard to come by.  Playing at a 6-handed table, I was getting next to nothing in the way of cards.  The player to my left had been dealt AA three times in about ten hands and built an early lead when he eliminated another player who had QQ.  Oddly, they both flopped sets.

G-Rob played his A-game early on, taking advantage of other’s weaknesses and was the table chip leader after the first break.  We would condense to one table at 8 players and I was struggling to survive.  I hadn’t been above the starting chip count at any point in the first hour.

Whittled down to T500 and with the blinds at T100/200, I found pocket 5’s UTG and did what everyone with half a poker brain would have done – push.  Much to my surprise, I got called by the second shortest stack.  Further still to my surprise, G-Rob on the BB re-raised the caller all-in.  I figured I was behind.

I was.

The original caller had A7s, but G-Rob had pocket J’s.  The flop came TT9, and with a 3 on the turn, I was reduced to 2 outs.

Rather than tell you what the river was, I’ll let you the reader figure it out.  G-Rob won the side pot.


I brought my T1500 to the final table and was thankful to be at a full table.  As a short stack, I’d get to see more hands per blind and I could hopefully do something, anything, to get some chips.

Get some chips…what a concept.  I did not find a single situation in which I had a shot to do so.  Rather, the table chip leader went on a run.  First, G-Rob bluffed off all of his chips to the chip leader.  I certainly can’t criticize the play, against most players, he would have pulled it off.  The flop was A22 and G-Rob check raised the flop, bet the turn hard, and went all in the river.  He was called down by someone holding A4.

When the chip leader wasn’t calling people down, he was putting them all-in with pocket K’s and pocket A’s.  To this point, the pocket 5’s I had earlier was my best starting hand.

Oscillating between T1100 and T1400 for a while, all of a sudden I realized something.

I was in the money.


We were three handed, I had fewer chips than I started the tournament with, and I wasn’t even the short stack.  Crazy.

Otit, who was the short stack, finally pushed with a hand.  The big stack folded and I found pocket 5’s again in the big blind.  I called and won the race against QJ.  It was at this point that I found myself above the starting chip stack for the very first time.  Still, I liked my chances.


Outchipped 9-to-1, there wasn’t much strategy involved.  My opposition really didn’t know how to play a big stack head to head.  Rather than constantly putting me all-in, he’d limp in the small blind and let me see a flop.

Five or six hands later, he was only leading 2-1 and things were looking up.

Unlike the hand with G-Rob earlier, I got all my chips in with the lead.  I had pocket 8’s and the chip leader who limp-reraised with ATo called my over-the-top all-in.

The flop was kind, as was the turn.

Alas, the Ace on the river ended my comeback and I was relegated to 2nd place.  I certainly couldn’t complain however, this was certainly one of the most unusual tourney I’d ever played in.


Oddly, today will be the first Thursday in ages where I won’t either attend or host a home game.  I’m less excited to play, but playing better as a result.  I’m still not sure what that means, eventually I may figure it out.

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