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I Own Salami

Expect a big Dancing with the Stars Live blog post preview this upcoming weekend, followed by a live blog of the show and sometime next week a post show wrap up post. Or maybe not.

I am god here!

-Jobe Smith, Lawnmower Man

After spending a year about even in online poker, I really started to doubt myself. I felt that playing solely live might actually cause me to face a cold truth. If my live "hot streak" turned cold, what would that mean for my game? Am I actually a player who can make serious money at this game, or will I forever be a small fish?

And sometimes, you feel the exact opposite. This is me today. I kick ass.

Two in a row, people. It was just a week ago when I chopped 1st and 2nd place with 23Skidoo at Salami. If you don't count the $20 SNG at Roose's home game weeks ago, I am actually on a five win streak in live tournaments, having won every tournament I have played this year (while sober...another qualifying comment that removes Roose's game from my win/loss consideration). I had been feeling a bit bad about not playing this week, so I decided that come hell or high water, I was playing tonight. When I want a game on tap, there is only one place to go: the Salami Club for their $50+10 7:30pm tournament.

I came home after work and changed into my poker gear. Let's play fill in the blank: I wore my ____________ t-shirt, along with my optional (but preferred) cargo pants. I was using the cargo pants to replace my usual poker backpack, that I carry with me everywhere. That meant that I had to find a place for my ___________ and case (right ankle pocket), two identical ____________ (left ankle pocket), and bandanna (coat pocket). I stopped at Peanut Butter & Co. and ordered my usual lunch box special. I took it to go and I rushed to the game while listening to my ______. I even had my special poker wallet (right diagonal thigh pocket) with $360 of my bankroll, $60 for the tournament and $300 for the 1/2 cash game.

The British chick at the last tournament I played was actually dealing at my starting table, and I had a moment when I feared she would work the deck to make sure I got crap cards. From our last confrontation, it was clear she didn't hold me in high esteem. This gut feeling is really not justified, but this game is one that is played for money, so I still kept an eye on her hands to make sure she wasn't a mechanic (a term for someone who knows how to work the deck). I didn't see anything that concerned me.

I felt like GCox to start off the tournament. I was entirely card dead, and didn't feel the need to push the action at the very loose aggressive table. I folded for the first 15 minute level and most of the second 15 minute level. I finally was dealt my first semi-playable hand, KQo in SB, and a loose player that resembled PokerWolf (in looks, but not play) raised from 100 to 400. A player called in MP/LP and I decided to see a flop. As soon as I called, the BB, another loose player named Pat re-raised. FauxWolf called, and MP/LP folded. I thought for a moment and then mucked. The flop was AJx, so I was glad I folded. One of the players bet out strong and I would've folded on the flop. However, I also felt that my preflop call was just stupid.

In the very next hand, I am on the button with T3o. Anyone paying attention would peg me for a tight player. There were about three or four limpers when it got to me, and the blinds had just gone up to 100/200. I had about 1,200-1,400 left from my starting stack of 2k, because I had been folding so consistently and I decided to push all in. Here is my reasoning: At this loose table, the loose players are raising with good cards; the tight players are raising too to get value from the loose players. This meant that no one had hands they were willing to go to war with. I had less than 10x the BB, so I was in limp or fold mode. By pushing, the worst case scenario is that TT-AA would call, but I already eliminated those hands. Any unpaired cards, like AJo were not that far ahead of me, and I could probably make smaller pairs fold. Hell, if I was watching me, I would put me on AA-QQ, so I felt confident when I pushed all-in. All players folded and I showed my T3o. As soon as I did it, I felt like I may have made a mistake. However, I always feel that when you show, you control your opponents' perceptions. I had been card dead, and I figured that if I hit a monster hand soon, I'd get paid off. For the more advanced players, I'd play it the opposite way, pushing with more trash, because to them, the thought would be, "He showed crap cards, so he's trying to set me up for a monster hand."

Later, a good player (and employee of the room) told me that I was steaming when I pushed with T3o. I laughed it off and told him that I don't tilt. He said, No, you were steaming though. I left it at that, because I didn't have to convince him. However, my play was made because the conditions are right. All that said, his comments taught me that (a) he was an observant player and (b) I had to beware of the image of steaming when I'm making these opportunistic plays. Always be learning.

A little while later, there was an all-in confrontation and the shortstack won. When they were working out the chips, the loser had less than 200 left. I also noticed, however, that the chips given were wrong. The loser should have had 50 more than he had. I quietly pointed it out to the Brit chick dealer, and it took me three times to explain the problem. I kinda felt like a jerk because I wasn't in the hand, but the dealer made a mistake and I was able to show her the error. After I did it, though, I wondered if it was worth it. I gained nothing from the correction and outed myself as a player who was paying attention.

Somewhere in there, I pushed a couple of more times since I couldn't get my stack above 10x the BB. I pushed with AQs and everyone folded. I later pushed with 34s. In situations like this, I'll easily fold A6s and play 34s, because 34s is much less likely to be dominated. After all, A6s is dominated by any Ax from A7 to AK. 34s can still be dominated by a pocket pair (55 and above), but most other times, I would face two unpaired cards for a weighted coin toss. Of course, in all of these situations, its all about timing. I made sure that the loose players were out of the hand already and I had position. I also had a sizeable stack, closer to 10x the BB than 5x the BB, so I had leverage to force players to fold marginal hands.

I should probably add that in the entire tournament, I never received AA, KK, QQ, or JJ. I received 99 once, and TT once, but no other pocket pairs. I only received AK once, AQ once, but no other Ax above A6. Yet I was still able to win.

My table broke and I was sent to a new table at 200/400/25 blinds/antes, with a measly 1300-1400. I folded until I could get a feel for the table. A big black guy that looked like a Britney Spears bodyguard sat behind a wall of chips. Other players were stacked as well. I watched as those two players played way too aggressively. I folded until I had to make a move due to escalating blinds and the toll the antes were taking. I finally made my move with J7s, but the bodyguard called with K7o. I was dominated but fairly calm and willing to lose if that was the way it was going. The flop had two spades and I said, "There's two. One more." The turn was another spade and I said matter-of-factly, "There it is." After that, I had some room to breath, but not much. I pushed all-in a couple of times in strategic situations, but otherwise, kept out of the way.

We get down to the final table and I have about 6-7k in chips. The blinds are fairly high at 300/600/50 and then 400/800/75, so I am still sort of desperate for chips. I am about 6th or 7th in chips out of the 9 players left, but there was a huge gap between this hand and top 5 stacks. The payouts were (from 5th to 1st), $115, $155, $365, $440 and $1225 (or thereabouts).

In one of the first hands at the table, I'm faced with a situation I faced fairly recently at the Lawyers' Game. I am dealt TT in the LP, my best hand of the night. There was a smart looking aggressive player at the table wearing a Red Shirt that kinda reminded me of a bespectacled Alan Cunningham. So, Red Shirt raises from 600 to 1800 in EP. I'm thinking about pushing, but the guy on my right beats me to it for over 10k in chips. I feared JJ to AA, but I also considered AQ and AK as a definite possibility.

My initial reaction was to fold. After all, I am facing an all-in from a player with enough chips that he doesn't have to go all-in, and Red Shirt is still waiting to act after I make my move (and he raised from EP). If the Pusher doesn't have me beat, Red might. TT is a good hand, but shrinks pretty quickly at the prospect of facing JJ to AA.

With all this in mind, I decided to take my time. I turned to the Pusher and said, "What should I do?" My expression was pained and I meant it too. He didn't respond, but honestly, I wasn't reading him for a tell. I was more curious about Red, for some reason. I played the hand through my mind and my first impression (JJ-AA) changed. AK was screaming at me in my head. I take some more time, but ulitmately, I only have 6500, and with all the money in the pot (1800 from MP, 400 from antes, 1200 from the blinds, and then another 6500 to match my stack from the all-in guy), TT is pretty good. The more I think of it, the more I think Pusher might have AK or AQ. I put myself in his shoes and come up with this logic: We will probably fold to his over aggressive all-in; if he is facing a caller, the possibility of AA or KK is remote compared to under Aces, or under pairs, so he's probably at a coin toss at worst. I also considered that if I doubled up, I'd be in great shape, so now might be the time to make my move. With this in mind, I finally called. Red Shirt folded.

The Pusher showed AQo and I tabled my TT. By the river, I hit quads, and I finally had a sizeable stack over 15k. I knew I could fold into the money. I stayed tight, hoping that my opposition would take each other out. I made one move, raising with a mediocre hand, but Red Shirt came over the top and I decided to specifically keep away from him. I took some more chips by calling a super short stack's all-in from the BB along with four other players. We checked it down and my Q9d won when I paired my 9 (there was a Jack and King on the board as well).

Other players busted and we entered the money. Fifth place was taken out after he pushed all-in with a tiny stack and the last remaining Chick at the table and I checked it down. The Chick was a decent, fairly tight bettor, but loose called when she was in the blinds. In one hand, she called down Red Shirt when she paired the 6 of her 67o on a ragged flop. Red Shirt checked it down with her from there, and showed pocket 4s. This is all in the way of background. I can't recall her betting out, but I'm sure she did at some point.

We were down to 4 players and the Chick was in the SB against my K7s BB. The other players folded, and the Chick called the 1000 BB (500/1000/100). I raised to 3k, expecting her to fold. She called.

The flop was Q86, with two spades. She bet 1000, so I call the small bet. I have probably 15k right now. The turn is a 3s, and I've hit my flush. I'm in great shape. She bets 1000, and I look like I am going to call, but reach back to my chips and coyly raise to 2000. I'm overacting for sure, but there was a sizable audience so I felt like making it a spectacle. I also knew that I couldn't repeat how I was acting since the audience would be wise to it (as would the other players). So I guess I hammed it up, looking like I was perplexed as I raised. The river was a blank and she bets 2k, never looking at me. I never really thought about what she had in the hand, honestly. I was playing my cards, and once I hit, I was trying to extract as much as possible. I didn't put her on a big hand because of her weak bets, but in hindsight, she never bet so she probably had something. I also thought that she felt like I was full of shit. I started the tournament quiet, but as my stack grew, so did my mouth, so people tend to think I'm a bullshitter, especially certain females. I stared quizzically at the 2k and then I slowly say, 4k on top. I put out the money trying to make it look big and scary. She calls with apathy. I show my hand and she shows 66 for a set. I guess I kinda got lucky, but really, she priced me in, and then I extracted a good amount of chips. She definitely didn't have me on the flush.

From there, I sat back. We got down to three after the short stack pushed and the Chick and I called from the blinds. We checked it down and her pocket 9s took down the pot.

Three-handed, I counted out that I had about 23k, a decent stack, but not even a third of the 92k in play. And then Red Shirt screwed himself. It is the first three-way hand, and I post the SB. The chick folds and as soon as she does, Red starts asking how much money is left in the prize pool for the first 3 places. It's $2030 and he says, "$700 or so apiece. Do you wanna chop?" At this point an employee on the sidelines suggests that we finish the hand in play and then we can discuss a chop. My cards are crap, and he is offering me a great deal. "Hold on one second. We can work this out." I turn to the chick, "Is an even chop cool with you?" She turns with her usual apathy, "Yeah. I guess." "Done," I announce. I stand up. "We all agree. Congratulations." (Keep them happy and reinforce their "smart" move.) We move to get the money and the game ended. The deal squeezed me some extra dough and I was glad for the result. Shweet. The final amount was $620 each, the rest of which we donated to the dealers as a tip, approximately $56 per person. I was glad to tip them, because I was feeling high on poker. I didn't consider the cash game for a minute. I was heading home winner.

I am proud. I played extremely well and won enough money to pad my bankroll a sizable amount. I made 10x my buy-in in about 3.5 hours.

I am a machine. And I am high on poker. I have a new reinforced confidence, and I hope that I can keep this going for as long as possible.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 11:27 PM,


At 10:27 PM, Blogger Dave said...

Ride the wave of success Jordan! Grats to you on your tournament finish. Quite a comeback indeed.

At 12:13 AM, Blogger TripJax said...

Remind me not to play against you live anytime soon...

Nice job bitch.

At 10:39 PM, Blogger GaryC said...

Congrats Bro. It sounds like you were running that table. Damn nice job.


At 2:26 PM, Blogger GrayCalx said...

A Lawnmower man quote? Bravo man... bravo.

At 6:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

congrats man


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