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Tuna Binge

Man, I am terrible at dieting. I broke my online poker diet. After busting relatively early in the nightly PLO tourney (bad play by me), I took some time away from the computer and then returned to use a $75 token I won in a token frenzy. I jumped into a 45-person SNG, and by the time I started to second-guess myself, the tourney started. A few hours later, I busted ITM in 5th place for a $186 payday, which at the very least buys me a week plus of the PLO tourney. I may have to expand my diet to include the token frenzy and these $75 45-person SNGs as a dietary supplement. A man cannot live on Omaha alone.

But this post was intended to tell you about my good fortune at the Tuna Club this weekend. After my golf lesson Sunday morning, I returned home to an empty apartment. Wifey Kim was at her friend's pool working on her tan, so I decided to fall back on the ole reliable Tuna Club for their Sunday $150 tournament. I played it a few weeks ago, when we barely got 6 players. We had arranged to reduce the buy-in, since there were few enough of us to agree to such a thing, and in the end, I chopped for essentially 2nd place. This time, though, there was a tad more players.

I arrived at 3pm. I had intended to show up fashionably late, but I just can't wait for poker and sitting around my apartment got me antsy. I headed uptown by subway, got off at a stop or two early and took a nice walk to the club. When I arrived, it was just 3pm and there were only two other players, a chick I later learned was named Dawn (not the IHO Dawn), and one guy. W was there as well, running the show, but she couldn't play because of pending plans in the early evening. After sitting down, W came around and handed each of us a 500 chip. "This is for showing up on time." Apparently, W came up with an idea to get players to arrive early. She sent out a text message stating that all players who arrive by 3pm get an extra 500 to their 3,500 stack (actually, 4,500 after you pay the $10 dealer toke option for an extra 1000). That's a sweet incentive, and I guess I was just lucky I got there on time. I don't receive the text messages because they come daily, and I just don't need a daily update on my cell phone.

About one minute later, another player arrived and asked for his 500 chip. To W's credit, she replied, "It's 3:02, buddy. You are late. No 500 chip for you."

Even with the incentive, it was at least 3:30 when the game got off, with 6 players and a bunch of dead stacks being blinded off. The buy-in was $130 + 20 (fee) + 10 (dealer toke for 1,000 extra chips). If a player busted in the first hour and a dead stack was still available, the player could re-register for the full $160 (the dealer toke is a must, value-wise). By the time the re-register period was over, we actually added a few stacks to the table after players busted, and we had 13 paying customers.

I didn't keep notes on hands, so I don't have a lot of specifics, but I do have a few. In general, this tourney exemplified the importance of being tuned into your table. When I am tuned in, everything is easier. I can see things that others probably don't and, more importantly, I can follow my reads with confidence.

The table make-up, to start, included two new players to the club, both sitting on my immediate left. The first guy to my left was a Caucasian guy, probably in his mid- to late-20s, with a clean cut appearance. He wore a baseball cap and t-shirt. He seemed a tad uncomfortable in the environment, which I hoped to use to my benefit. To his left (and two to my left) was his buddy, who seemed a bit more comfortable in the room, but still felt off. He was a semi-fat (more than chubby, less than obese) Asian guy who looked like he must be a computer programmer. He just looked sloppy. He had headphones around his neck and a ball cap on, with a slack jawed look on his face. I can't stand that look, people who act as though their jaw is too heavy to keep their maw shut. Frankly, he looked like a Mongoloid. True to his look, he played pretty tight.

In a fairly early hand, I called a small raise from an Aggro Guy along with just about everyone else at the table. I was merely playing positiong, since I was on the button with K6h. The flop came down KQJ, with two suited cards. When it checked to me, I bet out a reasonable sum, maybe 400 into the 600+ pot. I felt if I overbet here, people would assume I was merely playing position, so I wanted it to appear like a value bet. The only caller I got was the Caucasian Newbie on my immediate left. The turn was a blank and I bet out 800, trying to make it clear to the newbie that I would be willing to double my bet again if he was stupid enough to call light. He called again, and I started to become slightly concerned that I was facing a stronger King. The river was another blank and he bet out 1000 quickly. I was ready to fold my hand, but something stopped me. I ran through the hand again in my head. It just didn't feel right. I knew the kid felt like he had something to prove. If he had a monster, he would've check-raised the turn or probably given me another chance to bet at it on the river and check-raise me there. Why bet out immediately? His toss also seemed very aggressive. Strong means weak, I thought. I still took my time. I finally settled on a busted draw. It made perfect sense. Call down, hoping to hit, and then raise the river when you realize its the only way you are going to win. Remember, 1000 was no small bet, since I only started with 5,000 chips (3,500 + 1,000 toke + 500 bonus for arriving on time). I called and he showed JTo for third pair and a busted low draw. That's how I knew I was on my game.

Of course, from there, I ended up having to fold for a long time. It was all due to the Aggro Guy in the 10 seat. I have to give him a lot of respect because he was playing a beautiful game, raising preflop a ton and keeping the pressure on, regardless of his cards. Part of me tried to remind myself that he may've actually been on a hot run of cards. It was probably the only lesson I retained from Zen and the Art of Poker: At times, your opponent actually will run that good. On those occassions, don't fool yourself into thinking that he must be bluffing. Don't fight against the flow of the game. Rather, wait it out until it is your time to be ultra-aggressive. Of course, this is all paraphrased. The lesson to be learned is to not give in to the frustration of a player who is betting a lot.

Of course, I did have to put Aggro in his place, re-raising preflop a couple of times with literally nothing (56o, etc.), to which Aggro folded after his initial raise. In those instances, I was in the blind, so I just felt the need to let him know that I was not a soft spot to be attacked.

I used another lesson I recently picked up from reading. I am on the verge of completing Matusow's biography, Checkraising the Devil, and something he wrote about his infamous banter with Greg Raymer at the 2004 World Series Main Event really bothered me when I first read it. Matusow said that his problem with Raymer, initially, was that they were the two skilled players at the table, and there is an unspoken code amongst pros that you don't go after each other when there are fish around. That didn't sit right with me at the time because I don't believe in taking it easy on anyone, but once it was Aggro and I with the big stacks, I started to understand Matusow's point. I didn't have to, nor did I want to, play against him. There were much softer spots.

To my immediate right was the guy who showed up 2 minutes late. He is a Caucasiang guy with a shaved, but stubbly head and face. He wore something akin to a fedora which would look douschey on most people, but worked for him. I could tell he was closer to the usual underground poker club player, willing to gamble it up.

After my iniital surge, I was getting blinded down pretty quickly, and I was near a starting stack (or maybe even less) when I was finally dealt a strong (and my only, I think) strong pocket pair of the day, QQ. Fedora had raised preflop and I re-raised. He called. The flop was all unders and he checked. I bet big and he called. The turn was another under and he checked. I bet all-in. He called. I think he hit top pair or something. Whatever the case, my QQ was good and I took down the pot, doubling up in the process.

I continued playing tuned-in poker as we lost players. By the time we were four-handed, it was me, Aggro Guy, the Slack-Jawed Asian and Dawn, who had re-registered way late in the festivities, but made a nice comeback with some well-timed double-ups. Aggro and I were the chip leaders, and he had the heavy lead. S-J Asian asked about a deal and Aggro and I ignored him. It was not going to happen, given our stack sizes. S-J Asian was out next by Dawn and suddenly, I was the shortstack. There was about 60,000 out there, and I had maybe 15,000 - 16,000. Then Aggro said, "Wanna chop?"

I know my math. We agreed to an even chop, and I took $563 for my troubles, a $400+ profit. I have to cut out of here now, so I'll leave it at that. Thanks for reading.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 10:33 PM,


At 2:46 PM, Blogger 1Queens Up1 said...

Catching up on posts. Nice cash there dude. I ended up reading all of Moneymaker's book on the flight home (yeah probably would have served me better on the flight to Vegas, I know).

Take it easy man and good luck at the tables.


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