Monday, July 10, 2006

Four Dollars

It started last Wednesday.

I played, yet again, at the Spring Hotel with G-Rob until roughly 2am.  Since I was vacation bound on Thursday, we agreed on a late night poker session to tide me over until I got back to town.  I was still pretty wired from playing when I arrived home; for whatever reason, I find it difficult to sleep after a long live session.  In a desperate need to tire my eyes, I figured a $4+.40 token SNG would do the trick.

Easily the tightest SNG I’ve ever played, it took over an hour and a half to win my $24+2 token.  At one point, with 5 left, people kept folding to the big blind.  The proper recourse was to get into steal mode.  With a largely fluctuating but steadily building stack, it took one race heads up for me to win.

Then I went on vacation for four days.  Not to the blogger gathering in Vegas, but to the mountains of North Carolina.  I’m familied-out, if that’s even a possible condition.  But I am.

I arrived home to the friendly confines and saw a HORSE satellite to the $200+16 Sunday tourney and figured that would be the best, if not most fun use of my token.  I played tight and solid.  I was even chip leader at one point with 12 to go.  The top 8 won entries and 9th received an ignominious $72.  I was amazed how with three very short stacks, medium and big sized stacks would go to battle, invariably crippling one of the two combatants.  I folded to the final table and won an entry.

Just prior to the $200+16 event, I received a most welcome phone call from the bar at Sherwood Forest, three time zones away.  The gossamer sounds of Maudi’s voice recounting her WSOP experience would inspire anyone to play solid poker.  Even me.  Between friends, I think she was thankful to avoid any concussive blows to the cranium this trip.  Nonetheless, I felt a wave of nostalgia, wishing I were there with the gang.

I smiled as I hung up and right then at 9:30, me and 126 of my closest Internet HORSE-playing friends began to play.  I hypothesized that the level of competition would be greater.  Three Full Tilt pros came along, at least by way of someone playing with their screen name.  I have suspicions that Carlos Mortensen could be bothered to play a $200 online HORSE tournament during the WSOP.  Aaron Bartley’s and Rafe Furst’s accounts were also active.

The play was by far more aggressive.  And until I was dealt some cards, it wasn’t obvious that the aggression wasn’t warranted.  But when I broke some people with solid hands and got to see what they were playing, I realized that not everyone knew exactly what they were doing.

Amazingly, I made it past the money bubble into the final 16.  This was my first large online tourney cash and I was hoping to do better than just the bottom tier payout.  With 13 players left, we were in the S rotation.  After four cards were dealt, I had another player all-in.  I had JJJ2 and he had KQJ7.  Running AT hurts just as bad in 7-card stud as it does in hold ‘em.  Had my hand held up, I would have been top 5 with 12 left.  Instead I was 11th of 13.

I had to pick a hand to go with and picked the wrong one, running into an A-high flush in Eight or better and not sucking out half with runner-runner low.

But still, it was a $4 to $381 cash that I can’t complain about given my previous month’s crushing down-turn.  Meager to some, but welcome to me.  Back to the grind.

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