Sunday, May 14, 2006
My friend Jim of the "Nice Table Games" hosted a tourney last night - NL holdem, $20 buy in with rebuys the first hour and one optional addon. 25% of the proceeds went to sponsor Jim and his wife in the American Cancer Society walk-n-ride marathon event.
Baz and his wife made it out to the game, and it was nice to finally meet Bob's better half :) We had a starting field of 13 or 14 people, and Jim purchased some software that managed the seat selection, prize pool, and blind timers. That was much nicer than dealing with egg timers all night.
Early on, I thought things were going well. I found myself raising preflop when I should, which shouldn't be a big deal, but I've spent the last year of my life playing weak-tight in tourneys with this particular crowd (for reasons unbeknownst to me). I was pleasantly surprised to see that I'd broken out of that shell, without even really thinking about it. I flopped a monster hand against Baz when my KQ flopped a boat of with KQQ. Baz bet it the whole way, much to my puzzlement, and when his river bet put me nearly all in and I pushed, he folded. (What'd ya have, Baz? I'm thinking a K?)
I was beating Mike (to my right) out of a lot of small pots. My pair of 5's rivered the ass end of a straight in a mostly checked-down pot, and I raised his bet on the end (which he called). Pocket 10's held up against his smaller pocket pair. I outkicked him in another pot, A8 vs A6. It didn't stop Mike from playing in pots with me, though.
Things started to go south when I hit AA for the second hand in a row. (The first hand, everyone folded to my preflop raise). The second time around, I raised it up again (4x BB was about the standard for the table, except for Dan the Man, who preferred raises in the 8-10x range). Mike called, and we saw a flop of A-x-x, 2 hearts. He pushed all in on the short stack, and I called. He turned over 10-7 hearts for the flush draw. At least the poker gods were quick with their delivery; the turn was a third heart, giving Mike the flush, and the river failed to pair the board, so I lost a chunk of change.
Next up was my JJ. I raised and found a caller in Baz. The board came undercards. I bet, he called. The turn brought a K. Based on the smooth-call preflop, I really didn't put Baz on a King. I bet, he called again. The river came a blank, and by now most of my chips are in the pot. I bet, he raised me all in, and I called. Turns out, I was right - there was no reason to fear one K in Baz's hand, because he held two of them. I was dead the entire way. Rebuy!
I made it to the final table of 8, but even with a handful of double-up's, the blinds were so big that my stack never grew about 10xBB. The final twist of the knife was when I pushed from the big blind preflop with 33 after Ed had raised 3x. (I had about 6x in my stack, total). He'd raised 4 of my previous big blinds at that table, and I had folded all of them. I decided to make my stand with 33, and it turns out I pushed into his pocket Aces. Nice play, Shel. No help onboard, and I went home a frustrated girl.
I had a frog of tears in my through as I drove home, and it wasn't because I got knocked out of the tourney. I thought I played well - better than I've played in a year or more. But the reflection off my windshield as I drove through the rain told tales of recent past that rang bitterly true. This game I play has mirrored my life, and I'm disappointed in how I've played.
I've played a weak-tight game for the past year or so, and it's no coincidence that it's been a very unhappy year in my personal life. I'd lost my confidence at the poker table, fearing that any move was liable to backfire anyway, so why bother. I'd limp and watch, wishing and wishing and wishing that my hands would hold up. I'd bleed away chips, lose in another tournament, and then wonder, why me? Even the monster hands betrayed me. Aces looked so beautiful when they did come around, but the board would dessimate them and I'd wish and wish and wish that they'd hold up anyway, because the just looked so right. I couldn't let them go, and would lose more me each time I held on for too long.
I've played the cards of my former relationship with Randy the same way. I don't think that playing any other way would have changed the outcome; I think we were destined to lose this game, as much as I wished otherwise. However, if I'd have played my cards and not tried to manufacture luck out of wishes, I might have been able to see the inevitable sooner and fold my hand. As it stands, I've bled away so much of myself and so much time that any realistic hope of ever getting married and having kids is dim at best. (I'm no spring chicken...)
Maybe that's just not in the cards for me. I'll take whatever the universe has in store for me and make the best of it. It's just ironic how life never seems to turn out the way you expect that it would.