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IHO: September to Remember

My my. I must admit that I am definitely a bit results-oriented, even though I do not lament results when they suffer from bad luck. But since I was a young kid, exterior signs of success were very important to me. As a young artist (who has since developed into a dormant art tinkerer), I did not understand the point of my art unless someone aside from myself could verify the artyness. At school, nothing made me happier than receiving a grade, mostly because I was able to skate through school (including law school) with minimal studying and great (later turning to good) results.

It is with that same need for an exterior validation that I was ecstatic to win the I Had Outs September to Remember tournament (September to Remember being a name that I have added to the otherwise simply named I Had Outs September tournament).

I had made my way over to Dawn's apartment via a couple of subways and arrived a scant 10 minutes before the scheduled 8pm start time. I decided to grab a chicken roll from the nearby pizza place and stumbled upon the ubiquitous CK and her friend Jesse as they headed to the elevators. On the way up, we made light conversation, as I played down my recent $400 Wall Street Game loss. Upstairs, we entered Dawn's apartment to see Fisch and two or three other guys watching the latest WSOP on ESPN. I grabbed a spot and had some dinner as we waited for the other players to arrive.

As with 99% of home games, most players arrive 30+ minutes late. I killed time by heavy-lifting and manual labor under the supervision of foreman Dawn. I also made a mental note to arrive at 9pm next time. Man, I'm such a sucker for manual labor.

Surprisingly, right before kick-off, a slew of players entered the apartment. By then CK had already set up the chips, and the players were already circling for seats. There were to be three partially-filled tables in total, the Smoker's Table on the balconey, the Main Table, and the Kid's Table, named affectionately after the cheesy folding table with mismatched chairs that always got the worst piece of the challah (Jewish holidays) or turkey (for you non-Jews) at family holiday dinners. The Kid's Table was actually a good-quality folding poker table set up in the living room. Its largest shortcoming is the seats, most of which are couches that are slightly too low for comfortable poker. That said, in New York City (including the outter boroughs like Dawn's Brooklyn apartment...yuck, outter boroughs), space and chairs are always limited, and the Kid's Table was the perfect solution to space and seating woes.

By the time I pulled my seat card (Ten of clubs), the Kid's Table was already mostly full. There were a decent amount of players at the Tournament that I didn't know well, but they didn't sit at the Kid's Table. I basically took the 1s, an actual chair (score!), as no one pulled the black Ace during seat drawings. To my left was 2-7 Triple Alceste, "the Human Stick Figure" F-Train, Kearns of KJ-Technique (at least I think that's who he was, as I didn't get introduced formally), Mary of Bacon-kini fame, Degenerate Impressario CK, and mild-mannered Jesse. If you are keeping score, that was 8 people, including me. There was an ninth player, Gus, but he chose to move to the Smoker's Table once we realized that the amount of players per table were lopsided.

For a split second, I volunteered to move first. The Smokers are a fun group, and the breeze and air was cool outside. I also didn't much feel like playing against the same people I see almost weekly at a slew of home games. On the other hand, I had played with the Smokers before, and my game suffered as a result. In my experience, the group can be very aggressive, which actually mirrors my own style in some ways. This can cause some high variance play, something that is terrible for tournaments. It can also cause me to tighten up, which I tried last time, but I felt more confident with the devils I knew, and let Gus take the outdoor spot.

Within two hands, I was glad for my decision. In the second hand, I was dealt 89s in EP. The blinds were 25/50 with 3k starting stacks. Jesse, UTG (I think) raised to 150. I called. The rest of the table folded around to the BB, CK, who called as well. If this is wrong, the only adjustment was that CK was the SB, Jesse was the BB, I limped UTG and then after CK called, Jesse raised 3x the BB, getting calls from CK and me. Regardles, the flop was J88 and CK checked. Jesse checked. I bet out 400 or so. Jesse called. The turn was a blank. Jesse checked and I raised 1200 or something similar into the pot. He raised and I called. The river was a blank and Jesse pushed all-in. I thought for a bit before calling. He asked, "Do you have the eight?" I figured he was about to ask about my kicker, but after I said yes and tabled my 89s, he showed KK. REBUY! I had already doubled up.

From there, the game was fairly relaxed for me. I played a decent amount of pots for cheap. I didn't have any amazing starting hands, but I didn't need them either. F-Train was working hard collecting chips, giving them back, and collecting them again. In fact, I noticed that F-Train and I were mirroring our Okie-Vegas tourney, except that our roles were reversed. We were even in reverse seat position, with me two to his right rather than the opposite. Not too surprisingly, we didn't get into many hands against each other, mostly because I know better. F-Train is not to be fucked with.

I also saved myself from a prop bet from hell. I can be a bit snarky. For those of you who haven't seen the term much, defines it as "Rudely sarcastic or disrespectful." I wouldn't go so far as to say I'm disrespectful, because it is all tongue-in-cheek snarkiness, but sometimes I catch myself overdoing it. Whatever the case, CK asked me why I was so "snarky" (mocking my own words...), and I promised not to make a snarky comment the rest of the night. Talks of a prop bet started, but I had already mentally made about 13 snarky comments within that 2 minute time frame, so I knew I would be bound to lose. We made it a gentlemen's bet, i.e., no money was involved, which is ironic because CK and I are degenerates who would bet on most anything and neither of us should be classified as "gentlemen." I think I broke my snark-silence about 15 minutes later, when I made some comment about the Main Table being a bunch of folding losers. Shame on me.

I don't remember many other memorable hands. Right before the first break, I was dealt TT in the BB. F-Train led out with a bet and was raised by Kearns. By the time it got to me, I reluctantly folded. After F-Train folded, I showed my cards and Kearns showed JJ. In reality, laying down TT out of position facing a raise and re-raise was not too difficult, but I was glad that my decision was validated. I had another interesting hand with Kearns a little later (or was it before?). I had AKc in MP or maybe LP with Kearns in a blind. I raised it up, I think F-Train may've called, and Kearns pushed all-in. My raise was something like 1200, with blinds of 200/400. I thought for a long while, but I couldn't get a read off of Kearns. I thought he looked confident overall, but I made the crying call, since I had him so outstacked. The call was 3000 or 4000 more, and if I lost, I'd still be the table chipleader or thereabouts. He was playing well, so it'd be nice to bust him too. He showed AKd. By the turn, he had a flush draw, but the river missed him and we chopped it up. He told me it was a nice call, and I told him it was a great raise. I'm still not sure about my call, but the results were good enough.

I never rebought and by the end of the 2-hour rebuy period, I had busted Jesse again and had a stack of 14.5k. We all took a break and I chatted out on the balconey with some of the players. LJ was playing at the Main Table, and we made small talk outside.

She asked, "Are you the chipleader at your table?"
I responded, "Yep. Doing alright. How is it going for you?"
"Okay." I sensed she was not entirely pleased by the tone of her voice.
"Well, did you rebuy?"
"Do you have more chips than your starting stack? I mean, you must, otherwise you'd be short." I was trying to encourage her. After all, I like LJ, as I do most of the blogging community and NY bloggers in particular.
"I have about 19k."
"19k?" I was shocked. I was definitely chip leader at my table, but LJ's stack blew me away. When I last saw LJ's stack a while ago, she was nowhere near 19k. That, and she played it off like she was, well, just doing, "Okay".
"Damn," I continued, "looks like you got the chiplead." I was rightly impressed. Even though the game is played at the Crackhouse, the competition is a lot tougher than one might think.

After a while, the Smoker's Table broke up and three players took the three seats to my immediate right. I had effectively moved to the 1s, and Elena had the 10s. We chatted for a bit. She was upset about her shortstack and position relative to the uber-aggro Jordan, but she put on a clinic and chipped up steadily over the next few orbits. Granted, she didn't get near my stack, but my stack did have a prohibitive lead and according to Elena, the Smoker's Table was actually quite tame without a lot of rebuys.

After some time, we got to the final table. LJ still had the chiplead, with me nipping at her heels. In the first hand, I tangled with Ron, Karol's brother, and took his stack in a donktastic manner. Ron raised to 1000 or maybe 1400 with blinds of 200/400. I was in the BB with 78o. I eyed his stack and saw that he had 4k behind. I called, hoping to flop something and stack him. I also thought that Ron was loose aggressive, so I thought I could get all of his chips if I flopped a pair. The flop was J8x, and I checked. Ron insta-pushed, I called, and he showed KJ for top pair. My preflop read was correct, but he hit his pair also. The turn was a 7, and he was knocked out.

I don't remember much else for a while. I was mostly card dead, and folded away. Eventually, we were down to 6, with me, LJ, CK, Shy, Gus, and Kearns. I think Kearns went out next and Gus shortly after. Shy busted in fourth, and it was me, LJ and CK. I was still in second behind LJ at this point, and I was hoping we could get rid of CK and work out a chop. CK, however, had other ideas in mind, and slowly added to her stack. For the most part, I played conservatively.

By then, the blinds were up to 300/600 or maybe 400/800, and since there were only three of us, most hands were taken down preflop with a 3x bet (2400). With this in mind, I was delighted to see KK on the button, and opted to min-bet to get some action. I raised to 1600 (let's assume 400/800 blinds), and LJ, in the SB, announced a raise, 4000 more. I hemmed and hawed, trying to look like I was agonizing over the decision. The thought crossed my mind that LJ might have AA. After all, she exuded a lot of confidence when she re-raised. However, we were three-handed, and I am known for being full of shit, so I decided to put my fear of Bullets behind me. I raised 10k on top.

These were some big numbers. Realistically, we probably both had around 30 to 40k. I wanted to push all-in, but I thought it looked too eager. 10k on top was a nice round number, and to my delight, LJ took the opportunity to push all-in. I called instantly. She showed 44 and my KK held up. She didn't realize how deep my stack was, so by the time I was paid off, she looked like she was in desperate shape.

Like CK, LJ was not going to give up easily and battled back to a respectable stack. In fact, over time, I started bleeding chips because I didn't want to double up either of these femme sharks, and I wasn't getting cards worth dick. I raised with A7o once, but CK re-raised and I had to let it go. I was not looking to pay off anyone.

Finally, CK raised in a hand, I called with some random cards (I really have no idea now), and LJ called. The flop was Q-high, rainbow, and it checked around. On the turn, another spade, I checked and one of the girls bet. I folded. By the river, a third spade fell and LJ ended up all-in (CK barely had her covered). CK had rivered the flush and LJ lost with her flopped top-pair. LJ was a bit upset at her play, and I know how she feels. I had made the same 44 vs. KK move at the Wall Street Game not too long ago (in that instance, I rivered a 4 for a suckout) and have repeatedly caught myself making bad calls late in games. It can be very disheartening. Still, I didn't fault her too bad for slowplaying top-pair. It was hard to get any action between the three of us, so it made sense for her to try to milk some action, as long as she was cautious. I guarantee that she gets away from the hand if an Ace falls, but how could she expect that the preflop raise from CK meant T8s, for runner runner flush.

After LJ busted, CK and I counted our chips. To my amazement, I was still in the lead with about 56k to her 46k. We busted out the ole calculator and did an equitable chop, netting me $370 in profit.

After the game, CK, LJ and I shared a car service into NYC. The girls were dropped off first at a new underground poker room. A+ in Degeneracy, girls! I, on the other hand, returned home, where my wife was sleeping in bed. I sat in the living room for a bit, unwinding and flipping around the channels looking for anything to numb my mind before bed. The poker adrenaline was still pumping hard, but TV was a wasteland, so I joined wifey Kim in bed with my iPod to keep me company as I attempted to doze.

Thanks to Dawn and Karol for hosting the game. I needed that win to get me over the $1000 in losses at Nice Look and the Wall Street Game. Not too long ago, Dawn wrote about the $400 loss and said this: "I've very rarely seen Jordan lose money when playing live poker..." That means a lot, especially since I think its fairly true. I may be a lot of things at the poker table. I'm sociable, I'm snarky, I'm often wacky and unpredictable, but I'm also winning. Too bad there is no money in being a home game, low buy-in tournament specialist. But its nice for building the 'roll.

I don't see much poker on the near horizon. This is a busy week with the Jewish holidays on Wednesday night through Friday night, and the Lord don't take kindly to gamblin' (I should know; the Lord and me are tight). Luckily, the Lord has nothing against online poker.

I'll be heading to AC in October. My main man Dave Roose was there a few weeks ago with his new wife. He called me from AC longing for a guys' trip. It has been way to long, so we are booked for mid-October. Other than that, we go back again for a Very Degenerate X-Mas. Otherwise, its all homegames.

Until next time, make mine poker!

***** This post sponsored by the fine folks at the GNUF poker room. *****

posted by Jordan @ 1:50 PM,


At 5:59 PM, Blogger ckbluffer said...

10-8 is quickly becoming my new favorite hand.

Way better than A-J.

And it was sooted!!

If you recall, I almost C-bet on the flop, but I had a feeling one of you was slow-playing something big, so I opted to check instead.

(I wasn't particularly thrilled that this was the first "family" pot three handed after a raise . . . with my *monster* 10-high)

At 7:05 PM, Blogger KJ said...

I had another interesting hand with Kearns a little later (or was it before?). I had AKc in MP or maybe LP with Kearns in a blind. I raised it up, I think F-Train may've called, and Kearns pushed all-in. My raise was something like 1200, with blinds of 200/400. I thought for a long while, but I couldn't get a read off of Kearns.

From your raise, I put you on a big hand JJ/AQ or even QQ. You had at least 3times my stack. I thought that re-raise all-in was the only way to scare you away. I even tried to talk you out of the hand. (btw u almost fold). At the end, you did the right thing. A diamond on the river would have not done justice to your call. Good job!


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