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Okla-Home-a (OKC Trip Report Pt. 2)

I woke up Saturday morning when I heard the door creak. I'm a lousy sleeper, so it doesn't take much to awake me, and huge GCox (in fact, everyone was so tall, I felt like an Iggy) was peaking his head into the room, clearly a precursor to waking me up. He said something, and I let him know I was half-awake. Once he left, I threw on the same clothes as the day before and packed everything up. I entered the living room where Skidoo was still fast asleep on the recliner and other people were milling about. Over the next 30 minutes, we all got up and loaded up G's truck. I prepared to hop back in the car with Trip and Surflexus when I heard them discussing who was going to drive. Trip apparently didn't want to drive and Surf didn't seem to mind, but didn't seem thrilled either. "I'll drive," I volunteered.

When I talk about NY and my lack of a car, most people take it to mean that I think cars are some form of crazy super futuristic technology beyond this humble man or otherwise some mystical beast, like a dragon-headed unicorn. In reality, I grew up in the suburbs of NYC and always drove since I was 16. In fact, I consider myself a very good driver. Once I convinced them of this (it didn't take that much convincing, likely because they were both exhausted), we hit the road. Truthfully, a brick on the gas and some duct tape on the steering wheel could've made the drive. Straight, straight, straight, turn, straight, straight, straight. And I mean barely any curves on the road. I guess that's what happens when everyone owns acres of square cropland.

During the drive, Surf and I discussed all sorts of things. We are an interesting pair, too. Surf might only be 42 (I'm 27), but he's a grandfather. GRANDFATHER. I flew to OKC to hang out with a grandfather. Admittedly, I'm laying it on thick. No one would ever see Surf and think, "Hey Grandpa, when does the nursing home expect you back?", but the point is, it is not as though on its face we'd be two peas in a pod. But two peas we were. I suppose poker, writing, and even moreso, our values allow disparate lives to actuall get along pretty well. In fact, I've spent many an awkward drive with all sorts of people, but Surf is not on that list.

Notice how I didn't mention Trip? That's because during all of this, he was lying in a fetal position sucking his thumb in the back seat. Any port in a storm.

When we arrived in Casa del GCox, his wife and daughter were pulling into the driveway. We helped them unload a bounty of groceries and I dropped my bag into his daughter's room, where I would be staying with Trip. I chose the second pink fuzzy bed, as Trip was already napping on the other one. I changed into my poker gear, including my standard $uperman shirt. Meanwhile, Mrs. GCox was cooking up all sorts of breakfast concoctions, my favorite of which were the sausage on biscuits. That and a couple of mini donuts helped me feel human again, and I resolved to stick with water until I had fully recuperated.

I forgot to mention it earlier, but the night before, after returning from the bar, someone suggested a group shot. They poured me Soco, and I, being fairly drunk already, reluctantly agreed. As soon as I took the shot, my Spidey sense began tingling. Or was it my vomit sense. The Soco wasn't the usual stuff, but rather a 100 proof version, 10% more alcohol than regular Soco. Super Soco triggered my I'm-Going-to-Die reflex, and my throat closed up. I got up and started to move to the front door, as we were on the covered patio. Trip, meanwhile, was slowly stumbling up the stairs. I pushed him forward and told him to step aside. "Gotta puke?" he asked as I moved past him. I think I said, "Yup," as I made way for the bathroom. I didn't actually puke. Instead, I spit into the sink and stared into the mirror as I attempted to get control of myself. Feeling better, I returned to the crowd, but that, my friends, was my last drink for the night. I've said it before and I'll say it again (especially since it relates to poker as much as drinking), "A man has got to know his limits."

So, with that hangover dissipated, I did my best not to overeat. Maudie was coming over with some Southern BBQ and I couldn't wait. Mrs. GCox, after cooking, went over to the Karaoke machine at the request of some fellow bloggers and began belting out some amazing country and classic rock tunes. The GCoxes actually host karaoke shows on weekends, and I knew she was going to be good, but when I was in the other room, I could swear I was actually hearing Carly Simon (one of my favorites) or some random country act (of which I know nothing). G sang a duet as well, and I was impressed. Even LilCox got in there. It was like hanging out with the Partridges without the future of drug dependence.

Let me add that Mrs. and Lil GCox are both wonderful people. Skidoo's post hits it right on the nose. I was so comfortable, it felt like I was at my own house...except for the fact that I was wearing pants. So constricting. But still, I felt so welcomed and at ease in their home. We literally just hung out while we waited for everyone to arrive. I even gave in and did some karaoke when G started rapping Nothin' But a G-Thang, a Snoop & Dre classic that essentially was the absurd soundtrack for my Jewish suburban upbringing. That's when I learned that I love signing karaoke. I should also give some karaoke credit to Surf and Skidoo, two guys with very different karaoke styles. Surf would get up there and sing like a man with a purpose. Skiddo would stumble to the mike and before anyone knows it, start singing one random song after another in a almost trance-like, possessed-entertainer manner. Both were highly entertaining.

Maudie came by with Gracie and F-Train and most importantly, delicious succulint slow-cooked meat products, that I gorged myself with over the next hour or so. Finally, four of GCox's local friends arrived and we were ready for the tournament.

The tournament was a $40 buy-in (5k in chips), $20 single rebuy or addon (2.5k) with 30 minute levels. I rearranged the chip denominations and stacks before the tournament to add to the ease in play, mostly because I'm a controlling douschebag, but overall it worked out extremely well. When we "drew" for seats using Tournament Director software, I ended up on Table 2 with F-Train, Yestbay1 (who, I neglected to mention, arrived at GCox's house a little after the BBQ), and all four of G's local friends. On one hand, I was disappointed I wasn't with the majority of poker bloggers. On the other, I expected G's local friends to be easier competition. In fact, the blogger table all took the rebuy immediately, and no one at our table took it until the add-on period.

I started the tournament loose because of the low blinds and deep stacks. I believe I won a bunch of early pots and began my table chat, all friendly but with my usual snarky, sarcastic blend. No one minded, and we were having a good time. I noticed that a lot of pots were either between all locals or all bloggers. To be fair, the all blogger hands were really between F-Train and I, as Yestbay remained relatively quiet and tight early on. In fact, F-Train was my only concern in the beginning of the tournament (and for a looooooooong time thereafter), as he knows my play pretty well and, from what I could see, had no problem getting into my head and deciphering what some of my plays meant.

I chipped up but eventually got knocked back down when I flopped a K-high flop with AK against F-Train's KK. He bet preflop and I chose to call in position. The turn was a blank and he checked. Something seemed suspicious so I checked as well. He bet reasonably small on the river and I called it down, still suspicious but willing to pay the price. Even though I lost that hand, I was proud of my seemingly uncharacteristic restraint. It was all in the read though.

After the first three levels, we had a 15 minute break. When I stood up, I noticed that I stunk. I wasn't sure if anyone else noticed, but it occurred to me that I had not showered since Thursday night and I had spent hours on a plane and more hours playing poker. I took a speed showed during those 15 minutes and came out refreshed.

Returning to the poker game, I began to chip up once again. My banter continued and I noticed Mrs. Cox in the abutting open kitchen smirking at some of my lines. I looked over and said, "I just got started. You stay put and you'll hear my witty poker banter for hours." "I was thinking of asking if you ever quieted down." "I chat when I'm winning. If I start losing, it'll get a lot quieter in here."

At some point, LilCox came to the table and watched some of the action. She was waiting for a friend to pick her up to go to the movies. I thought it a bit odd that a 12 year old girl would be sitting watching poker played by a bunch of random degenerates in her house, but it was all perfectly natural. That kid is such an obviously good person (I won't limit it to being a good 'kid') and so open and friendly that I was just amazed. By the end of the trip, she practically felt like a kid sister, and I sincerely wish her the best of luck as she grows up. I can't see her being anything other than a success in life. I guess having great parents help.

By the second break, I was the table chipleader after doubling through someone (F-Train?) and amassing some nicely sized pots. I joked to the second chipleader F-Train that he had spent such time and effort steadily building his stack, whereas I'd been bumbling around and still caught up and took the lead. From there I went on a tear, knocking out several players. But first, I got two players to go all-in against my AA. The matchup was AA vs. AQ vs. A2, and by the river, we all had a Broadway straight. Curses! Still, I busted one of those players eventually and a few more and we were down to one table.

At this point, there were 9 people left, and I was in about 4th position. By the first break, it was clear that there were two chipleaders (Skidoo, who had joined our table earlier, and Kat), the second teir (F-Train and me), and the shortstacks (Surf and Yestbay). I did what little I could with my lack of cards and escalating blinds. By now, we had probably been playing 4-5 hours worth of poker. Surf went out next and we were down to 5. Yestbay doubled up on a suckout, and then went uber aggressive. From there, he suddenly leaped into third, and I did my best to outlast F-Train and make the money. Luckily, Yest busted F, and I won back my $60. After being manhandled by the table and Skidoo's aggression particularly, I eventually called Skidoo's all-in with A7h. He had 88. It was a stupid call, but based upon my short stack and his ruthless aggression. I busted and joined the rest of the crew who were mulling about and playing a 1/2 NL cash game. Eventually, Skidoo busted in 3rd and Yest in 2nd, leaving Kat the winner.

I should take some time to mention some of the conversations I was having before the poker game started. I haven't mentioned him yet, but Oklahoma-native OSU joined the party somewhere between BBQ and poker. Interesting guy, that OSU. I kid you not, with his baseball cap on, he looks just like Eric Lindgren. The face is near identical. His play is pretty damn good too, although we only got to share some time at the cash game.

So, before the poker tournament, Yest, OSU, and I were chatting about strategy with maybe a couple of other bloggers. It had occurred to me during the trip that I had a slew of great poker players around me. I always believed that bloggers were naturally better than most players. After all, we are largely obsessed and we critically think and process the game when we write. However, I also had a particular small group of bloggers who I jokingly deemed the HighOnPoker Poker Role Models. These were the guys who consistently cashed or had big scores. At Okie Vegas, my admiration for players grew, though. I mean, just consider the line-up.

Surf had won a freaking tournament at Tunica two days before. I had seen him in action, and he plays smart poker. I can say this for most of the crew, but it definitely applies to Surf: this guy knows what he's doing. Skidoo has won the two tournaments I've taken him to in NYC and has an amazingly aggressive live tournament game that sincerely impressed me. F-Train is a fucking machine. He knows the game moreso than most if not all of the players at Okie Vegas, and he plays it like he means it. I suppose its hard to quantify it in words, but I can explain it best by saying that I didn't want him at my table. I never want him at my table. In the room, sure. At my table, no thanks. Kat likes to think that she has trouble with the game, but it just isn't true. She has a good feel for the rhythm of poker, something that I think is crucial, and seemed to make all of her plays at the right time. Trip and GCox, well, they are donkeys. Haha. Nah, really, I've played with them so much, they are like an afterthought. I know they know what they are doing. And for the most part, I echo those sentiments with most of the players. OSU and I were able to discuss theoretical plays before the game. Yestbay played a great Harrington-on-Holdem-esque game to win 2nd place. Maudie, well, she was tilting by the time I got to the cash game, but I know what she has in her. Gracie...did I play any poker with Gracie?

The point is, this is a formidable group of players to be against, and a great group of players to be with, as part of our poker blogging community, as much about the social aspects as it is about improving our games through group interaction.

After the tournament, I sat down for some cash games. I ended up losing about $100 fairly quickly on loose play. I had begun drinking and soon karaokeing, singing Dre Day, Nothin' But a G-Thang with GCox for the second time for our new expanded audience, What I Got from Sublime and Ring of Fire from Johnny Cash. That was all split up throughout the night as I took poker breaks. I also slowly feasted on the spread layed out by Mrs. GCox, including her funny-named sausage balls. They were the best balls I've tasted since that short stint in prison.

They had really good meatballs in prison. What were you thinking? Sicko.

At the cash game, I switched to drinking rum and cokes, the official mixed drink of HighOnPoker. I also tried my best to be patient, something I woefully lacked. Eventually, between karaoke and socializing, the game temporarily broke. When we resumed, it was shorthanded, and I eventually had my one big hand against Skidoo.

I was having fun with weird preflop raises, grabbing a $10 chip and two $2, holding them above my $2 BB, and then dropping only the $2, for a min raise of $4 total ($2 more). I did this again with A5h and got called by OSU and Skidoo. The flop was 556, with two spades. I believe that Either Skidoo or I bet out a small $6 or 8 bet. All of us called. The turn was a red Ace, giving me a boat. Skidoo bet out $25. I hemmed and hawed before calling. OSU liked his odds and called behind me. The river was inconsequential. Skidoo bet out $64, all-in. I hemmed and hawed again, to try and dupe OSU into overcalling. It didn't work. I called, OSU folded, and Skidoo showed his 5 for three of a kind. His other card was no match for my Ace full house, and I took down the pot. This brought me up $134. The game broke shortly after and I cashed out up $120 exactly for the trip. I probably didn't even spend that much.

We all hung out and took group photos. It was getting late and I had to be at the airport at 6am. By 2am, the house was quieting down and most of us were exhausted. I hit the sack after having a long conversation with G and Mrs. G about what a great group of people attending Okie Vegas, and what excellent hosts they were. It was like reminiscing with old friends.

Back in Lil'G's room, I packed up my bag and prepared everything for an easy wake-up and go. I hit the sack with my cell phone alarm set for 5:40. I awoke naturally at 5:30 and got dressed in the dark. G was at my door in no time and we hit the road.

From there it was just a flight to Chicago and a flight to NYC. Nothing terribly exciting. I went to bed at 11pm on Sunday, an hour or two earlier than usual. OKV took a lot out of me, but it was all worth it.

So, thanks to GCox, Mrs. GCox, LilGCox, and all of the bloggers who came to Okie Vegas. I had a great time, and I look forward to future opportunities to hang with this group.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 5:21 PM,

7 Comments:

At 2:45 PM, Blogger meanhappyguy said...

Nice write-up, wish I could have been there. Saving up for Vegas next summer???

 
At 3:16 PM, Blogger 23skidoo said...

Well done sir, especially the parts where you compliment my play....$ well spent. ;)

 
At 4:22 AM, Blogger DP said...

Nice that you had a good time

 
At 12:38 PM, Blogger yestbay said...

Nice report, Jordan! I enjoyed meeting you and hope we can do it again sometime. And thanks for the compliments on my play. I am indeed a follower of Harrington-style tourney play, and I'm glad it worked for me in this one.

 
At 8:51 PM, Blogger F-Train said...

Well, moneychanger, we tangled again and you got the best of it this time. Watch out tho - I know where you live...

 
At 9:50 AM, Blogger katitude said...

Jordan, it was pretty damn awesome to be able to hang out with you again. And ty yet again for the poker confidence boost - I surely needed it.

 
At 4:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where in OK were you guys? I grew up in OKC my whole life. Sounds like a great time. Plus what you described sounded like good Oklahoma people

 

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