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99 Problems, But the Mook Ain't One

So, guess who won the Mookie last night? This guy!

Its been a helluva week at High on Poker. On Tuesday, I went out for drinks and a bit of karaoke with some of my friends to celebrate my birthday. Thanks to those who attended, particularly since it was a school night. I got home at a reasonable hour, but I was well sloshed on Coronas and tequilas.

The next day was like a fog for me. The hangover stuck around all day, but I trudged my way through the day, including a Court appearance back on Long Island, with the goal of making it to Friday, when I get on a plane and get my ass to Vegas.

Before then, though, I have my firm's holiday party today, I just got news on my raise for the new year (thankfully, when the economy stinks, people keep suing), and I need to put some final touches on my packing.

All that said, with my busy week running wild, I still found time to play in the Mookie last night. I was hoping for a smaller field because of the upcoming blogger festivities. I signed on, tried to register, but was denied. I tried again, and then realized why I was getting booted. I was broke. Well, $1 and change, broke. What's a man to do in a situation like this? Find a friend of course.

That's right! You all have 23Skidoo to blame for my rousing success. With a half hour until the event, I hunted him down in the Daily Double B (where he eventually cashed before losing to a suckout). I entered the "room" and typed, "Hi everybody!" to a handful of strangers. One guy laughed and said, "hi." Skidoo, thankfully, saw my comment and jumped in with a hello. I followed it up, "Anyone care to lend me $10 to play the Mookie?!" To the room, I wanted it to appear like I was another begging troller. I naturally assumed Skidoo would get the joke. He did, as he replied, "I just used my last $11 to play this." I IM'ed separately, "Really?" "No." "Can I actually borrow $10?" And so it was done.

Ironically, I thought the Mook was going to end very early for me. Wifey Kim and I were watching Top Chef while the tourney started. I didn't like having my attention split, since I would be leaving wifey Kim for a weekend and wanted to give her due time. Still, the Mook had already started and knowing wifey Kim, she'd be snoozing in no time.

In an early hand, I was dealt A8d. I decided to call a preflop raise, thinking that I was making a mistake with my suited Ace, since I could easily be facing a superior Ace, like AJ-AK. The flop was actually AXX with two diamonds. It checked to me and I checked as well. The LP player, who probably raised preflop, bet out a small sum. The out of position player surprisingly raised, if not all-in, than fairly close. I considered folding, but realized that my flush draw had to be good, leaving me with at least 9 potential outs with two cards to come. Admittedly, I thought busting wouldn't be too big of a deal, particularly since it was early and I'd rather double up or go home early than duke it out and lose on the bubble or thereabouts. I over-pushed and the LP player grumbled about not wanting to fold before he folded. The OOP player showed KQd, and I was pretty much a lock to win from there. The LP guy claims he was on a baby flush draw as well, so in fact, I had the best hand the entire time.

I took another large pot off of someone. I don't remember the details, but whatever the case, my stack was healthy at 8,000 or so when I decided to turn my attention to wifey Kim.

My biggest problem with blogger tournaments is the fact that I like to spend evenings with wifey Kim. She usually falls asleep much earlier than I do, albeit after the blogger tourneys tend to start. So, at times I've been known to join a tourney and sit out at some point while hanging with wifey Kim. Last night was one of those nights. From somewhere around 10:20 to about 10:45, I sat out, ocassionally checking the screen for monster hands. When wifey Kim's eyes fell for the three-count*, I grabbed the computer and got back to work.

From there on out, I just played smart poker. It didn't hurt that I was hitting cards. In fact, one of my biggest moments came when my underpair (preflop) turned a set to bust a player. "Nice catch," the player said. "Lucky me," I replied. My intention was to look like a luckbox. The very next hand, I raised with crap cards, got called, bet the flop, got called, bet the turn, and took down the pot. I have a feeling my opponent folded because of how lucky I had been getting. Luck is scarier than skill in a single tournament.

I was fairly relentless, raising and attacking blinds. I was largely inspired by Gus Hansen's Every Hand Revealed, which may be part of my bounty for the Blogger Tourney in Vegas. The book is so good that I would consider it a great gift to whomever busts's the best book I've read about poker since my top 3: Super/System, Skalansky's Theory of Poker, and Caro's Book of Poker Tells.

At the final table, I just focused on the ladder principle, inching my way up. NumbBono had amassed a lot of chips, while I went in the other direction, going from top 2 or 3 at the start of the final table to bottom half in no time. I just concentrated on picking my spots, winning about a pot an orbit, uncontested, to keep from being blinded off. All the while, a player from an earlier table followed me over to act incredulous that I knocked him out in 10th with 33. Here is a brief synopsis of the hand:

I made a standard raise with 33. He pushed all-in with AKo. If I were to call, I'd be getting 2:1 odds. I believe the preflop raise was 2400 (blinds of 400/800 with some ante), he pushed for 4.5k or so more, and the pot was about 9k (my 2.4k, his 4.5k, 1.2k in blinds, and however much more for the antes). There may've been an early limper too. Whatever the case, I thought my call was pretty academic, especially since it would leave me with at least 9k behind, which was reasonable, given the fact that there were at least 3 or more other players in that range with only 10 players left. I called, hoping he didn't have a higher pocket pair. The way I saw it, if he had a higher pocket pair, I was in a lot of trouble. Let's assume 80/20. If he had overcards, I had a coin toss, 50/50. I thought it equally likely that he had both, so it was a 50% chance that I would have a 20% chance of winning, and a 50% chance that I had a 50% chance of winning. The average was around 33% and that was what I was getting. I also considered the fact that I was going for the win and if I lost, I'd still be in the hunt. In the end, an academic call.

My opponent kept questioning it ("call an all-in with 33?" "keep playing like that...") after he busted, so I started ragging on him. "Wah." "Do you want a tissue?" I love that line. He returned, "I wasn't criticizing your play." I think he also called me a dick. Whatever, dude. When you sit there and go over the hand after busting, incredulous that you lost to 33, it sounds like a complaint. I finally stated, "You don't have a clue. Sit down with the hand history and a calculator and get back to me." In hindsight, I hope I wasn't too harsh. I should've taken a page from my childhood role model's playbook and pitied the fool.

It was down to the bubble before I knew it, and frankly, I was still just treading water. The bubble burst and I was still treading water. Two more players busted and I was mostly treading water, accumulating chips while I could and otherwise hoping others bust first. NumbBono, meanwhile, was getting oral from Lady Luck, because he knocked out just about everyone at the final table, several times with the worst hand when all the money was put in, leaving us heads up. I had 30k or so, having chipped up a bit by stealing a ton when we were down to 5 or so. He had 125k or so. I realized that it would be an uphill battle, but decided to really focus. A little while before this, Miami Don made a comment in the chat box akin to, "Jordan really wants the profile," referring to the profile Mookie does of all winners. Well, Don should know, because he took my last chance at a profile by beating me the last (and only other) time I was heads-up for the Mookie title. He was right, too. I wanted that damn profile more than the money. It had eluded me and has become sorta a holy grail to my poker game.

Frankly, I had a good feeling about the tourney from the get go, but I've had that feeling many times before. As the game progressed, I started to sheild myself from possible disappointment by putting the idea of winning to the back of my mind. I may've joked about it in an IM to Skidoo or InstantTragedy, but I didn't really think it was going to happen. I tend to crash and burn in these things.

Heads-up, though, I basically shut out all the IMs, turned off Howard Stern, which I was listening to in the background, and just player poker. I focused and began chipping away at Bono's stack. It was past 1:15, so I think we were both fairly tired. I was hoping to take advantage of the situation, though. I figured that Bono must feel invincible after his run of suckouts and huge stack, so I hoped to catch him a bit over-eager. It worked, twice, when I called all-ins with Ace-rage only to find that Bono had King-rag each time. Of course, before the first double up, Bono wittled me down to about 15k. The second time, I was up to about 25k (he had wittled me down again after the first double up). If either of those near-coin-tosses fell his way, you'd be reading about my near miss, but I was fortunate and was able to get some momentum behind me.

When I'm on my HU game, I like to think I'm a pretty tough force to reckon with. I felt the ebb and flow of the game, and seemingly knew when to bluff and steal pots. Within a lot of work, I made it to even, and then started to open up a small lead. I'll give credit where it is due, though; NumbBono did not make it easy for me.

You'll have to check out Mookie for the final hand. I don't really remember it. I think we were about even in chips. I had Bono covered by 4.5k or so, which was nothing, as we both had ~70k+. [NOTE: I originally wrote a brief synopsis as I remembered it, but in hindsight, I think I was WAY off. The following is my edited recount of the hand, which is still suspect.] I think the hand was another lucksack moment for me, even if it took a lot of hard work to get there. There was some action preflop when I had 88. The flop was K32. I think I checked and called a bet. I wanted to control pot size. Bono could be on anything, and I didn't want to run into a King. The turn was an 8. That was all I needed. We got into a raising war and ended up all-in. He showed KTo and I took down the pot.

After that, I thought I was on easy street. Of course, Bono doubles up once or twice and he is back to over 10k. Final hand, though, was clearly an Awfukit moment, because I pushed with Q6 and Bono called with 84 or something. He flopped an 8, I flopped a 6, but the river was another 6, sending him packing.

Ironically, it didn't send me packing. Instead, I sat there for a bit and then realized how late it was. I was chatting with Skidoo at the time and then was my birthday by a little over an hour. What an odd coincidence to finally win on my special day!

I headed to bed, hopped up on poker adrenaline, and eventually fell asleep. Tonight, I have the pleasure of heading to the holiday party and then returning home, likely tipsy, to pack. Tomorrow's flight is at 8am, and a quick review of HopStop (the best resource for subway travel in NYC), my best option to the airport is a 1 hour subway ride. Knowing me, I'll want to be at the airport 90 minutes early, meaning I need to be on a 5:30am train. Lemon! It's going to be a long weekend.

Until next time, make mine poker!

*This is no euphemism. I actually have a system whereby I will watch wifey Kim's eyes and mentally count to three. If her eyes remain closed for the duration, I deem her asleep and can turn off the Hills or whatever else. At times, she'll wake up and feign, "I was up, I was just resting my eyes." That's why I have the three count. Now, I just tell her I gave her to three and she relents. Thank god, too. The Hills sucks.

posted by Jordan @ 10:39 AM,


At 1:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The profile is the one reason why I don't want to win the Mookie.

At 2:27 PM, Blogger Schaubs said...

Confused by Bacon's comment...

Anyway - Congrats dude!!!

Oh and a big ol' HAPPY BIRTHDAY as well.

Enjoy your time Vegas, wish I could be there to buy your many rumbo's.

I'll see ya next year in NY or LV sooner or later.

At 3:15 PM, Blogger STeelerJosh said...


Happy B'day and congrats on taking down The Mookie.

At 5:01 PM, Blogger BamBam said...

Happy Birthday, have fun this weekend and Congrats again.

Love the three count and feign, "I was just resting my eyes." from the wifey! She and Peb's must have had the exact same trainer!

At 5:28 PM, Blogger Lucypher said...

Conrats on the Mookie Win! Enjoy Vegas, too! I am completely bummed that I am not able to make it this year.

At 6:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congrats on the big win, good luck in Vegas this weekend. I'll email you the profile questions later today.

At 6:12 PM, Blogger Littleacornman said...

Well done on the win.Nice write up.Oh and happy birthday!

At 6:24 PM, Blogger DuggleBogey said...

Happy Jordan Day!

At 11:10 AM, Blogger 23skidoo said...

Way to go buddy! Glad to be of service, though I could have sworn we agreed on a 50/50 swap....

At 12:12 PM, Blogger SirFWALGMan said...

I am relegated to "LP guy". Jesus. Fucker. Good job man! Glad you won.


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