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The trial is still underway, but thanks to the Judge's schedule, it was a half-day today.

An interesting thing happens when I'm uber-busy...I sorta get on a roll and can't stop. For instance, after a long day of trial and trial prep last week, I went home and proceeded to do laundry and clean my apartment. On most days, I get home and I'm a waste. Wifey Kim actually does the laundry (I do the cooking), but my laundry will sit folded in a hamper for a good 3 days before I can get off my ass and put it away. But not after a long day that capped off a long week. It was like I was set to Productive Mode and nothing was going to slow me down.

This weekend was a good example. I had to go out to Connecticut for wifey Kim's friend who has a new 6-month-old girl. We stayed the night on Saturday, took an early 9:30am train back to NY, and arrived in NY around 11:15. I then headed straight to the office, where I awaited the Big Bossman. We had to prepare for the upcoming week of trial. Long story short, I was there until almost 6pm, and then headed directly to a poker club for a Heads Up Tournament.

I've played in a lot of poker tournaments, but its a rare thing to get to play a HU tournament live. Fortunately, I love HU play and I love live play, so the combo wasn't too difficult. I already knew good HU poker strategy from the old Heads Up Challenges, a series of loose tournaments I had set up in years past online. Maybe I should start up a new one. Lord knows there are worse ways to learn poker strategy than challenges. If nothing else, they force me to play a specific game with real purpose.

When I arrived, I was one of the earliest arrivees, so I found a corner, put down the 3 bags (I was carrying things from the CT overnight trip, Kim's stuff since she was heading directly to a pool, and items I needed for trial). Since it was clear that the game wouldn't kick off for a while, I did some more work while I waited. I also chatted lightly with the players who did arrive, specifically spending the most time with Sean, a regular from the former Thursday-night Wall Street Game. When the game finally got started and we each picked our opponents, Sean and I were left with the 2 guys who were showing up over 30 mins late. That was sorta fine by me though. It meant I could finish some work and the delay in our start time meant I wouldn't have to wait too long if I finish the round quickly.

I should add something though. Before the tournament, I called my buddy, who was the TD, for a favor. I had to be on a conference call at 7:30 with Bossman and one of my experts. There wasn't a chance in hell I'd miss it, so I said either my matchup gets a break at 7:30 no matter what or I was out. Obviously, the day job comes first. Since my bud was running the show though and HU tourneys are weird beasts, he was able to accomodate.

So while Sean and I are shooting the shit and chatting, I'm also staring at the clock, worried about this match starting. I was hoping to be done by 7:30, but it was already getting pretty late.

Finally, the two competitors showed up. One guy had long brown surfer's hair, almost like James Franco in Pineapple Express. The other guy had tightly cut hair and a full beard. They looked like a couple of surfers washed ashore. I wouldn't've been surprised if one or both of them were stoned. They were definitely hung over.

The draw was completed and I was matched up with the Bearded Guy. In an epic battle of beards, we both came out swinging. In one hand, I bet the river when playing the board (KKQQJ) and he raised. I called because by then, I knew he was re-raising with squat. I was very much in tune to his game, but that's not to say it was easy. I started out folding a lot. At the time, I had shit cards and I didn't want to step in it. I was also establishing an image while the blinds are cheap. But I have to give him credit. He was playing a smart, aggressive game.

With starting stacks of 2,500, I was probably down to 1,400 or less when 7:30 rolled around. My phone ringed and I stood up immediately. I already cleared it with the Bearded Guy before the match began, so he expected it. I grabbed my briefcase, entered the hall and found a stairwell. I then had a 15-20 min conference call with my boss and expert. As soon as it was done, I was back into the club. It was time for some stress free poker, and I was ready to light this fiyah!

Inside, all of the HU matches were moved to the lower room. I headed there and Beard and I got back into it. That break really changed things. There was a definite momentum shift and the timing was right. The blinds doubled every 10 mins in the first round, so it doesn't take long for the stacks to get short, and that's where I shine. I just attacked his stacks with lots of raising. I don't even remember the final hand, because the hand didn't really matter. It was probably a coin toss.

The next match was against a guy I used to babysit. Yes, babysit. My little brother had friends on every block around us, so when I was probably 12-13 and my little bro and his friends were 8-9, I started watching his friends and their younger bros. Poker or babysitting; either way, I get paid.

I used our history to my benefit in the match. I knew the Kid, now a law student ironically, since he was young and it's amazing how personalities seem to take hold very young. I literally played using 'reads' from 15+ years ago. I just knew how this Kid was, so I knew how he'd react to certain situations. He was doing well, gathering chips, but I bluff raised him big when a scare card came and the momentum shifted.

I won another big hand when I called down some big bets with second pair, dousche kicker. To be frank, I read him like a book on that hand. I think he realized it too, because he already looked defeated.

He was very short at 3k (5k starting stacks) and blinds of 200/400 when he doubled up, A5 v. KT. But after that, with blinds getting so high, I just laid on the pressure, much like my first win. It all finally snapped when I called one of his all-ins with K7. He had 87, and I took down the round.

The final round was a doozy. I'll state this: it wasn't my finest hour. The guy I played against looked like he'd be a fun-time, sloppy player, but I was dead wrong. He played a smart aggressive game. I screwed myself when I slowplayed AA, getting him to be the whole way. He flopped bottom pair with T3o (pair of 3s), turned another three and then I raised him on the river. He just called fearing a full house, but as it turned out, I had just screwed myself. But then again, I was trying to maximize value, and if that 5 outter hadn't come, I'd've probably still taken down a bigger pot than I should've against bottom pair.

After that, he just went uber aggressive and I went uber card dead. I fought back when I could, and was down to about 6k (starting stacks of 20k) with blinds of 400/800 before I started with opportune all-in pushes to pick up chips. I was playing shit cards, but I had to given the escalating blinds. HU poker is all about the ebb and flow and right now, I was pushing it hard. It was practically inevitable, then, that he'd start fighting back. After I made a standard raise, my opponent re-raised all-in. I snap-called with KQd. He showed K7o. On the turn, I hit a flush with the 7d. Suddenly, I was in the lead...

But here's the ugly part. Thinking I had him on the ropes, I got into a very odd hand. With T5o, I raised preflop and got a call. I was obviously hoping for a fold. The blinds were probably 800/1600. The flop was 853 with two hearts. He bet and I called. He then immediately announced "all-in blind." Then the turn came out, Ace of Clubs.

What the fuck?! I was trying to figure out the play. I finally settled on the thought that he was playing the flush draw. All I had was a pair of 5s, but I had beaten him on earlier hands with K2 over his Q2 on a 2xxxx board in a hotly contested hand. The push was meant to push me out. I looked up and then I saw it, a smirk. He looked like he was trying to emit confidence. "I call."

He showed 8Xh, for top pair on the flop, with the flush draw. FUCK! Turn was a blank, river was a...offsuit 5. I WIN!

My opponent was obviously upset, so I did my best to be gracious. We got to talking and that's when I realized how well he was playing. He was trying to induce my call. Once I hesitated on the turn, he knew he was ahead (or so he says, but let's assume he was telling the truth). So he knew he wanted a call. That's why he made the smirk. And I bought it hook, line and sinker.

Well, I guess I just got paid to take a lesson. Works for me. Meanwhile, the other semi-final round hadn't even started. It was between two of the guys who work in the room, one of which was the TD, my bud. Knowing my situation, he suggested some possibilities and we finally settled on the following. I chopped 1st and 2nd money. My opponent in the last round chopped 3rd and 4th money. The two remaining guys will play for the other side of the respective chops.

$550 profit. Ka-ching!

It's amazing how the heavy work hours and poker success seem to come hand in hand. Sometimes, it feels like some force is giving me luck when I need it. I feel more keyed in, too. I've been on a roll, and I hope to ride it out a long time. And to do that, I need to keep playing live poker. CHOO CHOO!

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 2:27 PM,


At 10:07 AM, Blogger Dawn Summers said...

Wow...nice...what was the buy-in?

At 2:05 PM, Blogger Jordan said...

$150 buy-in, $130+20.

At 11:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wish they did live heads-up games around here, the casino's in my area have only just started No-limit, everything was pot-limit for a while!


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