Bloggers were dropping from the game at a surprisingly fast rate. Enough so, that the vacant spot from the Trooper to my right, was filled after only 1 ½ orbits. I feel awful that I can’t remember the name of the good guy that joined us.
(So many names and so little brains! I apologize profusely for this)
I was continuing on, despite the frequency with which the 9-3o kept getting dealt to me. I took down a very small pot with air, when I just made the read that I was up against C.C.’s missed draw. I continued my 'smallball' bets to the river and got him to let whatever he was holding go. My gut was saying he was on a flush draw. It wasn’t much of a pot, but it did help me get through some more junk hands. A 10-minute break was announced and I needed it bad. I had to get myself out of the gutter I was in. I went into the Men’s room and splashed cold water on my face. I wanted to get a little fired up and move forward in the game. When I saw my face in the mirror, all I could see was dejection and frustration. I actually tried to wash it off. (heh) That never works does it?
Despite getting comped cocktails as we played, I went to the bar and grabbed a Scotch. There was no one there and I wanted a little downtime to re-group myself. The best way for me to change things around was to go back there with a positive and slightly more aggressive demeanor. So that’s all I thought about. I was going to look at whatever cards I was dealt and see nothing but good cards. The 8-2o was going to be pocket 10’s. The 9-3o became K-K. If I could convince myself and pay attention to my reads on others, I’d be able to grab a few of the pots now that the blinds and antes were worth something. See my reads were generally right on the money. The hands I stayed in on and folded, were either shown down or shown by the player with the hand. I got to see that I was behind or beat. In the few hands I took the pot down, there was either a muck instantly or a showing of the cards followed by some laughter about a steal attempt. If I could keep this going for me, it was going to take luck to knock me out.
As the tables started filling up again I found Pebbles, wished her luck and went back to take my seat. I was really happy she was still playing, but worried about the size of her stack too. I walked back to my table, all the while convincing myself that I was getting good cards. As I took my seat, RR said something like, “Now the Blinds and Antes are worth stealing.” I added up the chips in play on the first deal and thought he was right. There was enough value in the hand pre-flop, that a move here and there would probably add nicely to my dwindling little stack. After an orbit or two, I still couldn’t catch a hand. Then we lost RR. I wasn’t even totally paying attention, so I don’t know how the hand went at all. I’m not even sure where his stack went from earlier. He never appeared short in chips to me but then again, everyone looks like they have a bunch of chips when you’re the shorty at the table. Tragedy then made a min. raise from the button. I saw a pair of tens and pushed. That got rid of the initial caller and Tragedy. That worked out well! I was holding the 8s-2s and would have been in a desperate race had I been called. The button moved to sweet-sweet-Pablo next. It was folded around to me and I saw pocket Q’s. I pushed again. Maudie is a good player for sure. Normally, I think she would have read me as desperate and made the call with any two cards. Maybe the earlier hug helped her decide to let go of whatever she was holding? I don’t know. I flipped up my pair of Queen’s to reveal the 9c-5c. This was now the second best hand I’d held in 3 ½ hours of poker and second only to that suited K-10 I held in the earlier hand with Maudie. Think about that ! The 9c-5c was the second highest hand I’d been dealt the entire time. This is a good time to ask yourself, what would your body language look like? Would you still be playing considering the players at this level?
I had a small amount of wiggle room now, but very small. The junk just kept coming. As I sat UTG +1, I found a pocket pair. My first real pocket pair! They were 3’s. It sounds stupid I know, but after all of the hands I couldn’t play, I felt like this was my best chance to get something going. If I lose it here, I lost with the best hand I’d had in almost 4 hours. I can live with that decision. I counted my stack without touching it, then I counted the chips already in play. I took a look at everyone at the table and really focused on Pablo. He had already sweated his cards, and I felt like he had a little swagger in his posture. Of the players at the table, I put him as the one who would probably call. I pushed and watched for everyone’s reaction. (In particular, Pablo’s) It folded around to him, first stage complete, perfect ! Then he tanked. Now I felt even better. I really thought that he was considering calling with any two cards. If I’m getting into that kind of race, I’ll take my chances with the 3’s for sure. He stared up to find me staring right back at him. Then his cards went into the muck. No double up, just the blinds and antes again. Still, they were chips and they were headed to the right stack.
I took a walk and if you know me at all, you’ll know that it was “my” walk. I am best known for tournament play because of these walks. I took my head count, chip stack summaries and then a quick review of who the players were, that were still in. There were some dominant chip stacks and some great players still remaining. There were very few players with stacks the size of mine. All of this information put together meant only one thing, I needed to get going. With the size of my stack and the cards not being kind to me, I would have to make a move and get a caller, (or callers) if I was going to have any chance of continuing on. There was no more time for patience. One double up would get me over the hump. Or one more orbit of nothing and my stack would be too small to scare anyone off if I needed to. Easy, brain dead poker this desperation. (you know I hated it, and I know it showed ! )
I sat down and had to fold in middle position. It was then folded around to me while I was on the button. I was dealt my first ace of the event and I held the Ah-3h, for the second best hand of the event for me. This was my chance. Poker Peaker definitely had the chips to call and I could make it look like another desperate attempt to steal from the button. If he and Maudie fold, I still get chips. If either reads it as a steal, I get the race I need to be in. Not perfect but I had to look at it as a win-win. I pushed, Maudie folded and Peaker called instantly. That made me pause and hang my head. I figured I was up against at least a stronger ace. To my surprise, I was ahead in the hand. He held 9-J off-suit and said, “No man, you’re OK.” I’d gotten my money in while being close to a 60/40 favorite. The flop came 8-Q-10 with one heart, to which Peaker announced, “That’s not a bad flop.” No kidding! He’d made a straight and I now needed runner-runner and they never came. I was out in 35th. or 36th. place. Al joined me at the bar shortly after, followed by Pebbles soon there after. In the family last longer, I got my butt kicked again. (lol)
The eventual winner ended up being Joaquin “The Rooster” Ochoa. I was very happy for him and a pretty sad for Otis, who ended up losing the epic head’s up battle. Both great guys and obviously, two great players. After conversations with them both over the weekend, I can’t tell you how much I look forward to doing it again.
(*** Side note *** Today is a great day to read Otis. I highly recommend you do.)
I’m disappointed in my lack of play and how the event panned out for me. But at the same time, I wonder how many players could have made it that far with one ace and one pocket pair being dealt to them the entire event. I guess I’ll consider it another lesson in life. I think I’ll say that my glass was definitely ½ full for the day. If I could’ve gotten more out of the cards I was dealt, I’m not at the level as of yet to understand how. I did what I could, with what I was dealt, with all the skill I had at the time. I don’t think I can ask for anymore than that from myself.
Coming up tomorrow: ‘Kilts’ the luck of “The Tao” and paying for this trip….
My sincerest thanks for dropping by….