Sunday, August 05, 2007

This afternoon, I checked out the Chicago Charitable Game held in Tinley Park (my hometown) with my friends Armando and Patrick. It was a fantastic prospect to play some poker without having to drive an hour to do so. We met up at Olympic Star (a local Greek restaurant, aka diner) for some pre-poker fuel (I had the pizza burger) then headed over to the Tinley VFW hall for the event. There was a NLHE early bird tournament at 2pm, and we had pre-registered for it.

There were 50 people in the tournament - not bad, considering that the CCG boys were in the south 'burbs as a sort of "test market," and didn't advertise the event. I met Bert, one of the owners, who seemed hopeful to be holding regular games out in my neck of the woods. He mentioned the possibility of an upcoming game in Homer Glen, which would be even sweeter, as I could probably walk there. (I'm only slightly exaggerating).

The buy-in was $20 for 1,500 chips or $40 for 3,000, and an extra 1,000 chips if you either pre-registered online or paid another $10 to be donated to the charity.

I started with the 4,000 max chips, and blinds started at 25/50. Those chips go fast with 12 minute rounds, though, particularly when you don't see any playable hands. It looks like these fast tournaments require some gambling up front to have any chance to go deep. Still, playing only 2 hands the entire time (both all-in's after I was down below 6xBB), I survived almost half the field. I think I busted around 30th. Pat and Armando busted just before I did.

While I have no notable hand recaps, I can say that I was very pleased with how CCG ran the event. I've never attended any similar events (going on the assumption that the Rockford charitable games are similar), but I was impressed and will definitely play another CCG event next time one rolls through town. They used computers to display the timer/blinds/etc, and were very good with explaining the rules and keeping everybody informed of blind increases and such. The 3 dealers I had were good (faster than I had expected), and the table setup and chip distribution was easy to follow and went smoothly. I have no complaints. It was very well run, and Bert was very outgoing in talking to all of the players and showed interest in building the games in the south suburbs.

Thumbs up for Chicago Charitable Games. I'll definitely play with them again.

They had SnG's and cash games going as well, but I did not partake in those, opting instead to head over to Majestic Star. There's something about knowing that even if I lose, at least I'm earning a free sandwich that draws me to the boats. Free diet cokes don't hurt either (except for the cancer I'm sure they're giving me). If I wasn't on such a tight bankroll, I'd have stayed at the CCG games, but knowing that I'm still just a buy-in from bust, I wanted to head out to play against a crowd I'm more comfortable with. Next time, CCG, I promise.

Majestic ended up treating me well, though I thought I was going to be writing another grinder post. I blew over half of my stack on my first hand in the big blind - 45 of clubs, flopped the open ended straight flush draw and a pair of 5's. Turned 2 pair, but of course that made the straight for my opponent, who held pocket 8's. He min-raised me and I called, hoping at least for a club on the river. It didn't hit, nor did my straight, but I bet into him anyway and he flat called, thinking I had the nuts. (Seriously? I just sat down. Why does everybody think I have the nuts all the time? There's a big belief out there that girls only bet when they have a big hand. I need to exploit that more than I do).

Rebuy! Partially, anyway. Over the next 6 hours, I got my money back plus a little. It was slow going though. I had my little penguin statue with me (I use him as a card capper), and at one point, after folding for an insane amount of time, I picked the penguin up and turned him to face me and said, "Penguin, you are not helping me!" I had just folded my button, 95 of spades. Sure enough, the flop came 9-9-5, two hearts. The flush draw got there, and another guy had 9-2 and rivered a full house. I probably would have tripled up (as the one guy busted on the hand).

I will never, ever scold the penguin again!

Around 10pm, my table broke and I got moved to a full game. Normally, I'd just leave instead of changing tables, as to not mess with any juju, but I decided to stay (mainly because it was only 10pm, and my original plan was to leave between 11p and midnight). A couple hands in, I get AA and win a good sized pot. A few hands later, QQ wins me a couple bets preflop and on the flop. Not 20 minutes went by, and I was up another $100.

Then, the patented all-in-blind guy sat down. 5 hands in a row, he went all in blind. One poor soul with AA called him. Blind-pusher had 45 of spades. Flop came a 6. Turn came an 8. River came a 7. AA went home. When he finally quit pushing all in every hand, he became just your garden variety bully, raising preflop to $30 (the blinds are $1/$2), raising everybody's bets...

Sure, some people look at that guy and drool - and maybe if I had a bigger bankroll cushion right now, I would too. But it was late (I didn't sleep well last night and I didn't want to be sleepy driving home), and I was up a buy-in and a half. I decided to let the rest of the table try and knock off the maniac.

I chipped up and headed to the cage.

All in all, it was a very good day - except for the half hour or so I spent in a bit of terror. I have a weather reporting program on my Blackberry that sends me text messages when there are severe weather alerts. I have it set to alert me for my current GPS location, as well as for my home. A few hours in at Majestic, I got a message that there was a tornado warning in my neighborhood (home - the casino is about an hour from my house). Shit. I didn't realize it was supposed to storm today. Normally, I love storms. I've long said that someday, just once in my life, I want to spend a season chasing storms through the midwest. I'm usually the one standing out on my driveway seeking a glimpse of a funnel cloud - not the one afraid of storms.

But there's something different when the storm is threatening your home and you aren't at home to defend against it. It's not like I can stop mother nature, but I wasn't there to get the cats downstairs. I wasn't there to... I don't know, go down with the ship. I felt panicked and very worried - which is absolutely not like me, which made me fear the worst even more so.

I called my mom to tell her to turn on the TV (because the same funnel cloud that was spotted one town over from me was headed towards her town). I also told her to call me if there was any reported damage or tornado touchdowns.

It was a long half hour as my Blackberry continued to update the warning text.

Thankfully, the storm finally dissipated, though it was thought at the time that the funnel actually did touch down. I'll have to read the news tomorrow and see.

When I moved into this house last summer, I had no idea I was getting even closer to tornado alley. I've grown up with tornadoes, living on the outskirts of tornado alley my entire life - though it appears I've been just south of the real danger. I only moved 7 miles north of my old house, but in 4 years at my old house, the tornado sirens (meaning, funnel cloud spotted nearby) only went off twice.

They've gone off 4 times already this year at the new house.

Oy! Once upon a time, I'd have found that exciting, but it's a lot more worrisome when your name is on the mortgage! (Now I know a little bit of how my mom felt when she'd stand at the front door of my childhood home yelling for me to get in out of the rain and down in the basement... then my dad and I would come trudging in. hehehe - I think I got part of my storm chasing nature from him!)

I'd still like to catch a glimpse of a funnel cloud someday. I've been close, but not quite... though I think I'd rather see it someplace away from home!

I'm having deja vu, like I've written this in a post before. Probably last time the sirens went off....

Anyway, have a good night, all. I'm off to catch some zzz's.


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