A Late Birthday Present

Tuesday, January 4th, 2005, 2:26 pm

Thanks to all those who wished me a happy birthday yesterday, and thanks to all those who didn’t rip me for being a self-centered, whiny brat. Wait…is that how Phil Hellmuth feels all the time? The poor bastard!

Played volleyball last night, played well, but we lost. Went to the bar, had wings, had a few beers, and then we took off early because 2 of my teammates had to get up early, boo hoo. I was beat, actually–five weeks off did not not help my conditioning. But I didn’t mind heading for home, because I planned on playing a cheapie SNG before bed. I only had $13 in my account, meaning I had 2 more tournament shots to make some hay or I’d be retired again. No pressure.

For some reason I can’t get on the $5 NL tables, they fill up too fast, so I’ve been playing PL instead. The problem with pot-limit is that you don’t get the insane all-ins that quickly knock people out, and so the games go on much longer. Well, they do if you survive that long–the last couple I played I got knocked out 8th and 7th, thanks to a 1-outer this one bastard hit and my K-high flush going down to an A-high. But dammit, I was gonna cash in this one, because it was my damn birthday. I could feel it!

I know this is not a news flash, and I know I’m beating a dead horse here, but, my God, so many players at Party are terrible. Just AWFUL. I’m speaking of the low-low bottom feeders, I mean, they don’t seem to have a clue what they’re doing. I’m sitting back watching 2 guys go back and forth re-raising after a raggedy flop until they’re all in. The one guy has Q-10–no pair, straight, or flush draw. The other guy has J-10–again, no pair, straight, or flush draw. I can only think they were trying to outbluff the other, though how you outbluff a guy when he’s already all in escapes me. And they weren’t colluding, either, the Q-10 guy sniping quite a bit when the J-10 guy hit his out on the river. I mean, I can’t lose to THESE guys, right?

Halfway through looked like that was gonna happen. Down to about T650, I raised with AJ in the big blind and had 2 limpers come along. Flop comes J-high and I bet the pot, only to be raised by the next guy and re-raised all-in by the next. I still had about T500, and I figured I had to be beaten by an overpair or something. Well, yes–the first raiser had KK (didn’t raise preflop) and the all-in dude had J-8. Well, had him beat anyway, but now I was down to T500 and looking like I’d be in bed by midnight.

The blinds increased, I had AQ in the little blind, a few limpers limped and I raised the pot. The big blind called and everyone else folded. The flop came 2-3-7, I only had about T250 left, there was about T230 in the pot, so I bet the pot. The other guy calls me. Now, I only have T20 left, so what the hell? Just put me in and lets get this over with. I was already getting ready to switched off the lamp near my desk when the turn came and I put my last few coppers in. The other guy called, of course, and I’m ready to see the bastard turn over the Hammer.

Instead he turns over A-8. I look at his cards a long while, the river turns another deuce, and incredibly, incredibly, I double up. I couldn’t believe it. The guy should’ve just written me a check and saved time.

The tourney continued, I won another nice pot to become chip leader, but I lost nearly half my stack trying to get us down to 3 handed when the AQ that held up that last hand lost out to KJ when a king hit on the flop. I lost a bit more when this one guy re-raised my pot-sized preflop bets, and pretty soon I was down to the felt. When I was dealt pocket 7s under the gun I shoved in my chips and prayed. It didn’t look good when the little blind called, and even worse when the big blind called. But I had a feeling…see, you read blogger posts and articles about “real” players and they talk about a hand and they say they had a “read” on their opponents. You can’t really do that playing low-limit stuff at Party, because if you try to “read” most of you opponents there you’ll be reading See Spot Run. But this time I felt very confident that both my foes had aces with decent kickers, meaning my pair would be the favorite.

I felt quite a bit better when I spiked a 7 on the flop. The other 2 players got all-in, and sure enough, they turned over AK and A-10. I tripled up, going from chip dog to boss hog. The one player I’d just beaten only had about T250 left, and when he went all-in I called with K-10. He turned over QQ, but I hit a king on the flop and I was in the money. Yowza!

But a $4 profit is not going to rebuild my bankroll. I need to start winning these things, and so I rolled up my sleeves and started hammering away at these jokers. I got lucky and got some big cards in my hand and raised heavy to win the blinds, which were big enough now that a big raise meant putting these guys to the test. One thing I remembered from Cloutier and McEvoy’s book about Pot-Limit, when you make a raise, always bet the pot. Don’t give away information with the size of your raise, and get the pot as big as possible as fast as possible so you can protect your hand. And that’s what I did, hitting the “Bet Pot” button over and over again.

Except for the hand where I held K-9 and the flop came 2-9-9. On that one I checked the flop and the turn, the low stack went all-in, and I put the wood to him. I now had a 3-1 chip lead, I had the initiative, and I had the win in my sights.

It helped, however, that I had luck on my side. After stealing one round of blinds, I bet the pot with A-9. He went all-in, and I thought my ace might be good. Uh, no. He had AJ. The flop comes A-Q-J, yuck. But another queen shows on the river, and we end up splitting the pot. The Fates are on my side.

I pretty much had this guy dialed in by now. If I limped, he would immediately re-raise me, so all I had to do was wait for a big hand, limp, and crack him. And so two hands later I’m dealt AA. I limp, he re-raises, and I decide to just call, hoping to end it right here. The flop comes Q-high, he goes all-in, and I call. He turns over Q-7 and he’s in the soup. Things happened kinda fast here, the turn and river cards came up almost instantly, and I at first I only noticed the ace on the river. But the turn card was a queen, meaning the poor bastard spiked his 2-outer only to be liquidated by MY 2-outer. Lady Luck, she be a cruel mistress.

$25 into my account, Happy Birthday indeed. I now have the tinest bit of wiggle room. Nice to win again, it’s been, oh, five months since my last SNG win? When I went on hiatus I was playing $30 SNGs, but winning this was just as much fun. Hey, it’s action, ain’t it?

OK, back to work. I hate foreshadowing what’s coming up, since it puts pressure on me to get stuff done, but I can’t resist it. I have a book review to write, a little poker book commentary/screed, and a book proposal of my own titled “Mean Gene’s Guide for Terrible Players–How to Make Your Money Last a LITTLE BIT Longer”. Oh, and I’ll be writing a short story of Pauly’s online ‘zine, something along the lines of “The Talented Mr. Ripley Plays The World Series of Poker”. Hey, Matt Damon would be PERFECT for that role…

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5 Responses to “A Late Birthday Present”

  1. Human Head Says:

    It’s good to hear a story where lady luck is actually on the side of the good player for once. Well Done, sir.

  2. Poker Nerd Says:

    Nicely done…hopefully you’re headed upward from here on out.

  3. Anonymous Says:

    Way to go Gene! It’s a slow climb from the bottom, but fun to look back on once you’ve accomplished it.

    Also, a belated Happy Birthday!

    – Jason

  4. SirFWALGMan Says:

    Excellent luck and nice aggressive play! Keep it up.

  5. hdouble Says:

    Happy belated 36th Geno. I’m expecting a big year out of the MG, so keep catching those fish.

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