Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Not Another Poker Diary

Well folks, times are tough out there. For me. Your life is probably all roses and kittens and tiny little bunnies with big eyes and floppy ears. And from the bottom of my heart, let me just say, up yours. I may not be technically "employed" at the moment, but hey, that's just a word. Ask me if I have a steady income stream. Ask me!

Well, yes and no. I have an income stream, but it is anything but steady. Welcome to the wonderful world of online poker. And I know what you're thinking: I'm an absolute idiot. And I agree. For it is in this world that Unfairness and Swift Kicks to the Balls meet, forge offspring of pure evil such as 10 9 suited, and watch lovingly as their child proceeds to wreck my KK. I don't wish this infuriating life on anyone. Unless, of course, you place first in a 10 dollar rebuy tournament with $70K guaranteed. But that's not going to happen.

If it isn't clear, I just entered into that tournament, and I will be documenting my successes and failures, hopefully illuminating just how fantastic I am at this poker thing and just how much I get screwed.

3:07 pm: I have roughly 1,600 in chips and blinds are 10/20. I am in middle position in this hand with AK offsuit. First and second position just limped in, so there is now 70 in the pot. The action folds to me, and I push all in.

This is an insane overbet that basically screams I HAVE BIG SLICK! WHO WANTS TO TRY THEIR LUCK? I don't usually employ this technique but I find that in the rebuy period in small buy-in tournies such as these, I can snag an idiot and double up quickly. Lo and behold, the big blind calls and shows me KQ!

Lo and behold, the flop comes Q T T. I am screwed. Blanks fall on the turn and river, and I am forced into an early rebuy. Oh, the joy that this game can bring! Adding to my misery is the knowledge that the idiot who just sucked out on me is a redneck from Pinson, Alabama with a picture of his dog as his avatar. Hooray.

3:18 pm: Some numbers on this tournament: There are a little over 2,000 entrants, and the rebuy period lasts a solid 90 minutes as opposed to the typical 60. So having $70K guaranteed in the tournament means that the host is expecting 5,000 or more rebuys and add-ons. They've already gotten one from me!

3:21 pm: A lot of players show aggression at an online poker table that borders on idiocy. And when you have a tournament for 10 measley dollars PLUS the safety net of a rebuy period, you can rest assured that the donkeys will come out in full force. With a whopping 7 callers in on my big blind hand of pocket 8s, I chose to check instead of to raise. My intention here is to flop a third 8, and if I don't I can get out of the way. Any raise I put out preflop will only sweeten the pot for all of these callers. The flop came A 4 5, no good for me. I got out of there quickly.

3:24 pm: I am hit with AQ offsuit in the small blind. A couple people limp in, including my redneck friend, and the button(or the "dealer," who is currently one seat to my right) moves all in for about 1,400. After some deliberation, I choose to push my 1,500 chips into the mix as well. Everyone folds to the redneck from Alabama, who calls instantly. The initial raiser shows 58 of clubs(a typical hand at this stage, which is downright hilarious), and redneck shows AT of hearts. The flop comes K 2 T(of course) and redneck spikes a third ten on the turn. Now needing a Jack to give me a straight, I whiff as a harmless 3 falls on the river. 4,500 more chips to redneck, and I rebuy again.

3:30 pm: Even though I've been a favorite in my two big hands and lost them both, I'm really not too upset. Despite the fact that I had redneck dominated in both of our encounters, the fact is that all the money went in before the flop. He had 5 chances to better my hand, which he did. A much more economical option is to see the flop and adjust your play accordingly. Having 2 remaining cards instead of 5 makes a huge difference. But again, the rebuy period is a different animal. I will continue to stick to my "push and pray" technique when I think I have the best hand. Most of the time, that's exactly the case. Eventually the odds will work in my favor. I think.

3:42 pm: A woman from Valparaiso just informed the table that she and her now-deceased husband used to ride horses together. This is vital information, and I have recorded it on my player notes.

3:49 pm: The cards, as they say, are cold. For me, not for redneck. He has 12,300 in chips. Yay.

3:51: For those who don't know, I am now living with my lovely girlfriend in Chicago; Hyde Park, to be specific. For the most part, this hasn't been too big of a change in the lifestyle department, except for one area: television. With the miracle of DVR, I am familiar with lots of programming that I might not know existed otherwise. This can be a good thing or a bad thing.


Ugly Betty

Jon and Kate Plus 8

Samantha Who?

Ellen DeGeneres


Sex and the City

Gossip Girl

Oprah Winfrey

4:00 pm: We're an hour into the tournament, and I have some major work left to do before the break in 30 minutes. I have 3,195(I doubled up with AQ as I was writing about TV), but the average chip stack is 5,796. Still lots of time, but I need to do work.

4:04 pm: Pocket 8s again. Let's see if I can hit my set.....nope. Redneck had AA as well. I'm down to 2,300. Got worked over on that one.

4:15 pm: Ok, this is just getting ridiculous. I pushed my 2,200 in preflop with 99. Redneck, of course, calls. Below is an image of the hand.

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4:26 pm: I allowed myself one final rebuy, and I've worked my stack up to 2,600. Pitiful, but something. 4 minutes until the break.

4:30 pm: Break time! I have exactly 6,000 in chips, and I have an immense amount of work to do. There are about 1,200 players remaining, and around 300 or so will likely make the money. Now that the rebuy period is over, players will calm down slightly and tighten up. Play won't nearly be as loose from here on out. The first 90 minutes was loose as Madonna, and now it'll merely be loose as Jennifer Aniston. All in all, there were 2,106 players, 4,821 rebuys(87 by me), and 956 add-ons for a total pot of $78,830. The winner receives almost 13K. It's go time!

4:42 pm: My JJ yields a third Jack on the flop, and I take down a nice pot. We're up to 7,200.

4:43 pm: I'm watching PTI right now, and I've noticed something. As the weeks, months, and years have gone by, I've found myself liking Tony Kornheiser less and less. He's a grouchy old man. He still has his moments and I certainly don't hate him, but he irks me slighty more than Jay Mariotti and far less than Skip Bayless.

5:02 pm: Dustin Pedroia, your 2008 AL MVP! Rumor has it this race would have been different had Carlos Quentin not broken his hand by roiding out on a wall. Go White Sox!

5:05 pm: Ryan Dempster just got resigned. 4 years, $52M to pitch for the Cubs. Solid pitcher, great clubhouse presence, durable arm. I approve the signing. On a related note, it's pretty incredible just how much a foul tip can change the course of a postseason campaign. Bases loaded, full count, 2 outs James Loney batting in a 2-0 game. Dempster throws a sick splitter and Loney JUST catches a piece to stay alive. Then he blasts a grand slam to center, silences every bat, player, and fan in Wrigley Field and the Dodgers cruise to a sweep. After 162 games, the season is decided by a foul tip. Lunacy.

5:09 pm: Poker update: I have 6,000 and the blinds are really starting to jump. Something needs to happen soon.

5:12 pm: Pre-flop all in pays off! Sweet. See below.

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5:21 pm: Tourney update - 709 players left, 306 places paid. I have a little over 10,000 in chips, average stack is about 19,000. Do work, son!

5:42 pm: It just got interesting! Fantastic double up here with rockets. I'm up to 22,000. See below.

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5:44 pm: 2 minutes later, 2 hands later. I finally have enough chips to score my first KO of the tournament, with AK prevailing over AT. The money went in preflop. I now am up to over 30,000 in chips.

5:58 pm: And just like that, it's all over. I reraised a super aggressive player all in with AQ, and he showed JJ, which made me very scared. I completely missed the flop, turn, and river, and that does it. Nose Knows, out in 423rd place.

In retrospect, it's pretty inane to push everything in the pot preflop with AQ. My opponent raised an astronomical amount relative to the blinds, and when he did that previously, he showed QJ. I made a decision and it turned out to be the wrong one. So, good comeback all for naught. See you next time!

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