An apology

Friday, January 30th, 2004, 2:45 pm

I probably shouldn’t have threatened legal action against PokerSavvy, especially as they’re the first publication to mention my Presidential campaign. Mind you, they didn’t endorse me, which was disappointing, but they may be waiting to see how I do in South Carolina before they make their decision.

Some strange play at the tables recently. I said yesterday that I’m on a killer rush, but I did take one on the chin the other night. I was heads-up with a guy in an SNG and, to be honest, I was tired. It was way past my bedtime, we’d been mano-e-mano for about 20 hands, and it was still a dead heat–he had 4010, I had 3990. He kept raising and re-raising me and I just couldn’t get a hand to put this guy down. I was really cold-decked, and it’s hard to call an all-in re-raise with 9-2.

But you can’t let yourself be bossed, so I took a stand. The blinds were 200-400 and he raised from the big blind to 800. I had J-4 offsuit, and I decided now was the time to smack him. I hadn’t re-raised much, so I made the bet $1900. When he called I about yakked, and when the flop came Q-8-5 I reached for the bucket. I only had about $1500 and I had little choice but to go all-in. He called, and I typed “gg” and accepted my fate as 2 rags appeared. Sure enough the window popped up announcing I’d finished in 2nd place.

Then I looked at his hand. K-6 offsuit. He’d called my $1900 re-raise with nothing. NOTHING. He called my all-in with NOTHING. How the hell did he do that? Why the hell did he do that? Did he see weakness in my re-raise? How? Did he think his king was, well, king? I finally came to this conclusion–he was as tired as me, he wanted to go to bed, and he decided this was gonna be the last hand of the night. He got lucky, I didn’t. I hope that’s what happened, for my own peace of mind.

Then the next night I’m playing another SNG and the first hand I’m dealt pocket 10s one off the button. Five players toss in $15, and I decide to raise and hopefully win it right here. I push it to $125, fold, fold, fold…and the guy UTG, who bet $15 to start, goes all-in. Wha? And then the NEXT guy goes all-in.

Now, at this point I’m a-scratchin’ my head. What do these jokers have? What hand is worth only $15 to start but worth $800 after a raise? What about the 2nd guy? He has to show the best hand because he called the all-in. I’m thinking maybe AK, maybe KQ, KJ. I’m sure I’m up against overcards at least. But, maybe one of them has a lower pair, maybe they’re willing to roll the dice here.

I thought back to Howard Lederer’s diary of the 2003 WSOP, he tells Humberto Brenes, “I just hope I get my money in the pot with the best hand”. I took those words to heart. I knew I had the best hand. If I had the best hand, and folded, I was making a mistake. I went all-in.

A queen and a jack on the flop and I winced. Rags the rest of the way. I turn over my tens, and find I’m up against…A-9 and A-8. These wackos went all-in with an ace and medium kicker. How the hell did the guy call an all-in with A-8? No idea, and I didn’t care. I gobbled up the chips and rode them to a disappointing 3rd place finish. Made a bad call and got outkicked for 2/3 my stack.

Last night I got home from volleyball and beer and sat down for a quick game. The hand is dealt and the guy in 2nd position goes all-in. The guy next to him goes all-in. I’m holding 10-4, I fold. Two more folds, and then another all-in call. And another. And another. First hand, five guys all-in. I type, “Lots of guys are sleepy, I guess.”

The cards come out, and then everyone shows their hands. The first all-in held pocket 10s. The next guy had K-9. Huh? The third guy had KK. OK. The fourth had AQ. The last guy, and the guy who won because he made 2 pair, had A-7 offsuit. I ask you, would you call holding A-7 if four players ahead of you went all-in? I didn’t think so.

He ended up winning the game against me. I just couldn’t get a hand to play, even though I stole enough to go from $1800 to $4500. But he beat me down to $2000 and knocked me out when I held 4-7 and made a pair and he had 10-7 and made 2 pair. Oh well.

A big week coming up for poker fans, the WPT tournament before the Super Bowl, and the Bicycle Club tournament on Wednesday. They’ve been advertising that the new season was “Coming Soon”, and I’m glad it’s finally arrived. Saw some familar faces during the preview–Chip Jett, T.J. Cloutier. Chip Jett…I can’t beat a guy named Chip Jett. Not one who looks like he does. I mean, if I was dealt AK suited, and the board showed QJ10 of my suit, and we both went all-in, I have this feeling in my gut that the dealer would shrug and push the chips Jett’s way.

“Wait,” I’d tell the dealer. “I won. I have a royal flush.”

The dealer would shake his head. “I’m sorry, you’re playing Chip Jett. No one as uncool as you can beat him.”

I’d fight hard to keep my lower lip from trembling. “My mom says I’m cool.”

The dealer, still shaking his head. “You mother is mistaken, sir. Blinds, please.”

Iggy linked an article that quoted Clonie Gowan as saying, “What is going through the players’ minds? It’s complicated. It’s a learning process.” If I ever sit at a table with Ms. Gowen I hope she can’t read MY mind, because I’ll probably get slapped with yet another restraining order. If you go to you’ll see a pop-up add for their tournament and I believe Ms. Gowen is the woman cavorting on the beach in a black bikini. That, dear readers, is an unfair advantage.

Iggy also links to an article about Phil Hellmuth, busy bragging on himself in England. I didn’t know until I read the excellent blog LionTales that Phil shows up late for just about EVERY tournament he plays in. I don’t quite get this–does he really think that people will be intimidated by this? He’s a strange one, this Hellmuth, and I promise I will be posting about him very soon.

But one thing I’ll post right now–if I ever find myself at a table where Phil pulls his “slept in” stunt, every chance I get I’m going all-in on him if I have him covered. I mean, if he had to pay one blind and I was up just a wee bit, how delicious it would be to have him raise and come back at him with an all-in. I’m sure he’d be livid, he’d cry, bitch, moan. I’d do it every chance I got. Don’t care if he eventually took my stack–I’d want to bring on a full-bore pout.

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