Sunday, February 27, 2005

For lack of a creative title... The pending title of this post was "It's dry, and it's painful" - a quote from Dusty at last night's Diamond game at Scott's (though in reference to something other than playing poker, the sick bastards). I opted for a more "clean" title, but in my current state of sleep deprivation, couldn't think of anything witty. Sorry, guys and gals.

Last night, a bunch of us Chicago Burb'ians headed out to Scott's recurring Diamond Game. It was a small tourney - 14 players. There's another one in two weeks, but Randy and I will miss it, as we will be in Sin City for that weekend. The usual deal... $50 buy-in, no re-buys, NL Hold'em. 15 minute blinds. T3500 chips to start. We started out with two tables, combining for a final table of 9 when we got down to it.

Randy and I ended up at the same table via our random card draws, and this is how the game started out at Table 2:

(Dealer) Matthew (thanks!)
1. Rodney
2. Shelly (me)
3. Dusty
4. John #1
5. Ed
6. John #2
7. Randy

Read on for the table stories...

The odd thing about this game is that I have hardly any hand notes. Most of my notes are just silly things that happened during the game. There weren't many soul-crushing hands to take down. Our volunteer dealer though was great with the flops (despite being uncannily partial to hearts). Most boards had a nice mix of possibilities - straight and flush possibilities, pairs onboard, good stuff. It was one of those games where I found myself engrossed in every hand, even when I wasn't playing.

My first notation is that I was the first person to swear at the game, dropping the F-bomb on Randy in jest. (I have an awful potty mouth, though I try to keep it clean here!)

Dusty took a lot of pots early. Nice pots, at that. The first big pot of the night was a few hands in at 10/20 blinds. Dusty is raising pre-flop with Ed calling. Flop comes QT9. Dusty continues to bet out, and Ed continues to call. Turn - 10, River - 8. Big bet on the end, called. Dusty turns over his K for the king-high straight over the board. Ed mucks. Nice hand, dog.

I caught quite a few high pocket pairs last night that held up for me. We saw Aces come through our table 4 or 5 times, holding up each time. It's a nice reminder that not all Aces get cracked (a la online poker). I myself saw aces, kings, queens, jacks, and tens - all of which held up for me.

At 20/40 blinds, I look down to see pocket Kings. Ahh, the Cowboys: a hand I really, really like. I don't know why; I generally dislike western movies and country music and things of that nature. I'm not a cowgirl myself. But there's something about looking down at KK that makes a girl feel special. This girl, anyway. I bet my Cowboys down to the river, and they held up for a very nice pot against Dusty's Ladies (QQ).

Ed earns the notation for "first check-raise of the evening." And he check-raised all-in, too. Nice.

At 50/100 blinds, after seeing a board come Rag-2-2-2-Rag, Randy informs us that he had folded The Hammer with the statement, "I folded Quad Twos." Armando very wisely advised Randy, "Don't do that, dude!" I'da loved to see the Hammer turn into quad twos. How sweet that would have been.

Randy lost a sizable chunk of his chip stack in this round to John #2, when John semi-bluffed all-in on the turn with three diamonds on board. Randy had the nut flush draw and an overcard to the board. After much deliberation, he called John's all-in (with proper pot odds), and unfortunately didn't catch. He read John correctly though - he was sure he didn't have a made flush (and even if he did, he was holding 7-high). Unfortunately for Randy, one of John's baby cards hit a pair, and he took a hunk out of Randy's stack.

Randy blazed on the comeback trail though, doubling up in both the 100/200 round, and 200/400 round. Both double-up's were against Rodney (who had amassed an early chip lead).

Dusty too made quite the comeback to make it to the final table. He came back from down to 125 chips, to being not quite shortstacked going into the final table.

Here's what the final table looked like:

(Dealer) Jim (Thanks, Jim!)
1. Kathie (of the Yin Yang games)
2. Randy
3. Ray (of the Forest games)
4. Rodney
5. Steve
6. Shelly (me)
7. Dusty
8. Ed
9. Armando (also of the Yin Yang games)

I brought a comfortable chip stack to the final table. Kathie had brutalized Table 1 and collected a huge percentage of their chips, leaving most of table 1's players on the short stack or close to it. As table 2 joined table 1 for the final table, all of us table 2-er's breathed a sigh of relief that our stacks were in such good shape, relatively speaking.

Dusty took a harsh beating to cripple him, eventually leading to his final table exit. The blows were delivered by Ray. Dusty's holding KJ. Ray goes all in with QQ. Dusty calls. Flop comes a King - Dusty's loving life and Ray's ready to pack it in and head home to his wife and daughters. Turn comes a blank, and the river... a Queen. Ray doubles up and Dusty lies mortally wounded in a pool of disbelief. Welcome to the River, dog!

I was able to win enough pots to keep afloat of the quickly increasing blinds, but I wasn't exactly a healthy stack. Armando caught himself a read on me in one hand. I was in the small blind, if I remember correctly, and I called to see a flop with 7-9 suited after it was folded to me. I flopped a straight with 8-10-J on board. I cautiously checked the flop, and Armando bet 1600 into me (twice the big blind). I smooth-called. Turn came a rag, and I checked. I believe Armando checked this street. River came a third club on board, and I checked. Armando bet, and I raised him. He feared out loud that I'd flushed (I wonder if my sigh of relief that he hadn't was audible), and he called. I turned up my straight to take the pot, and he mucked. His comment alluded to my bizarre play of that hand, and then:

"Check-raising me, too.... you biiiiiiitch!"

He then told me that he thought something was wrong, the way I was checking with one finger tap. It's funny, because as I was checking, I thought to myself, "D'oh - he's going to pick up on this nice gentle check that I'm doing..." Maybe a lesser opponent wouldn't have, but nothing gets past Armando. Nice catch, man - you were right on. Believe me - I'll be watching my checking finger from now on :)

I have no other notes on the game, since as it got to be shorthanded, I was too busy playing to keep notes. Monster chip stacked Kathie and I ended up heads up, and I went on a run of great cards to bring us close to even in chips. Sometimes, it's all about luck. We traded blinds back and forth for a bit, and then I made my move. I held QJ. Raised, Kathie called. Flop comes Q-x-x, two-suited. Turn comes the third card of the suit. I go all in, thinking she's got me covered. Kathie goes into the tank for quite a while. I breathe a sigh of relief, thinking that if she has to think that hard about it, she doesn't have the flush. When she finally comes out of the tank, she calls my all-in with her own (I've got her covered by 1,000 chips or so). She turns up Ax for a gutshot straight draw and an overcard draw. The river is unkind to her, and I win the tournament.

Here are the final standings:

1. Shelly (me) $350
2. Kathie $200
3. Ray $100
4. Rodney
5. Armando
6. Steve
7. Ed
8. Dusty
9. Randy
10. Matt
11. Scott
12. John #1
13. John #2
14. Candice

All in all, it was a really great game. Some very good poker, and I very much enjoyed it.

Following the main game, a table of us decided to do a $5 re-buy tourney. Rob made it out to join us for the second game, though it was quite a spectacle. The kamikaze poker was in full force for the first hour.

I've decided that from now on, at the Diamond game, if I place in the money in the first game, I really should not play the second game. If I don't place in the money, the second game is still iffy but more plausible. Here's why:

Shell-muth made a bit of an appearance at that second game. For some reason, sometimes I just seem to get very cranky and agitated when playing cards. Poor Randy, the saint that he is, often takes the brunt of my rude and - well, bitchy - behavior, as he did last night. (I'm sorry, baby). But - I finally figured out what causes the Shell-muth transformation.

Here's how the second game of many of these tournaments goes: the people that are drinking are usually drunk by this point. The casual poker players are usually tired at this point. These factors lead to very poor table etiquette. For example, the drunk players typically forget to post their blinds, have to be reminded when it is their turn to act, take a ridiculously long time to ponder calls (and you know they aren't calculating pot odds in their heads, so much as just trying to focus their swimming eyeballs on their cards), etc. The tired casual players start folding out of turn, not paying attention to the action, calling out their hands on the flop ("shoot, I just folded a 7!" when the board comes 7-7-3), stuff like that.

And that stuff absolutely gets on my last nerve.

It's worse than a pet peeve. I can't even describe how irreversibly irritable I get when people play what I consider to be sloppy and rude poker. I used to think it was just the insanity of the re-buy's - people going all-in willy nilly. But that's not it. That's entertaining, and can be fun if you're looking to play a crap-shoot lottery style game for a little while. It's not the awful play of cards that occurs in the first hour of a re-buy game. It's the awful play of the players; the horrific table etiquette that becomes so prominent in the late stages of the evening and early morning.

I don't think I can possibly change the fact that those types of things irritate me to no end. What I can change, however, is my exposure to those things. I think the best way to limit my exposure to those sorts of behaviors is to avoid playing in the second late-night game if I know there will be players in the game who typically display those behaviors. It's also pretty hard to play serious poker when I know I've got a wad of winnings in my pocket from the previous game. The second game just kind of takes a back seat. When I bust out in the first game, however, I generally play better in a second game.

Does this make me a poker snob?

So - Scott, Ed, you guys at the Diamond game - I think I'd rather avoid sticking around for a second game unless I know it will be the more serious crowd playing. Of course, you know how hard it is for me to turn down a card game, so... who knows. I could be full of crap!

Thanks to Scott for having us out last night. I had a great time (up until my pocket 8's ran into Scott's pocket Jacks to send me home after contributing $35 to the pot).

And my hugest most heartfelt apologies to Randy for the unnecessary and completely undeserved verbal abuse I subjected him to during my Shell-muth rant. They say we only hurt the ones we love, and I'm so ashamed to lend any truth to that statement. I'm sorry.

That wraps up this month's Diamond Game. One for the history books.

Now I have to decide if I save my $300 winnings for Vegas, or invest it into Party Poker....

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  1. High Plains Drifter said...
    No, that doesn't make you a snob. You are taking the game seriously, and they are unwilling or unable to do the same.

    It reminds me of drinking/not drinking in college. "If the party's too loud, I'm not drunk enough."

    So you can drink along with them, skip the second tourney, or stick with it and consider it an occasion to practice patience - which I figure is a good skill for a poker player to have.
    lilacsky said...
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