There's a poker story in here that needs to be set up just a touch, before it can start. So here's a little history that leads up to what I want to say.
Pebbles and I were fairly avid supporters of our local bar poker scene here in Bedrock. With help form my pal DonK, we could always find the best place, with the best people and typically, the better players in town to play with. DonK always kept up to date with the local scene. If we'd grown tired or board with our current game, location or just the play in general, DonK was always there to let us know about where he'd sniffed out some "real" play going on.
Just for the memories of all the local's that read here, don't you really miss the old "Red Hot" game? I know we do.
We slowly migrated from location to location and from game to game, strictly because of how the play would develop after just a few months at the same location. What always seemed to happen was, the players we were trying to avoid in the first place by moving, would eventually catch up to us. The vast majority of these players, are "ass-hats" that we had no issues with decimating at the tables. But then we would have to listen to their "T.V." analysis about how stupid we were and how "we know nothing about poker and just get lucky." (despite it being the 19th. straight game one of us had taken out this same player in 5 orbits or less) This my friends, this gets old incredibly fast. Another important factor is, if you always play with the fishies, you'll always be a fishy yourself at the next level. We wanted to grow our game and be as competitive as we could at all times. The "Downtown game" lead us to a desire to leave poker in Bedrock for good. The core group of us, (although we weren't actually a group then, more like the early migration folks at the time) were all dilligent poker players who had knowledge and a love to study the game. This constantly lead to us tossing out words like "The Hammer!" or "TuckFard Nutz!" or the occasional confession of playing "Dolly" or "The Brunson" as it's better known. We were doing this in jest because the vast majority of the players we were up against at the time, didn't have a clue what they were doing. We could see a cheap flop every hand, no matter what we held. If you hit "The Hammer" hard on the flop, you could make chips like they were going out of style, because one of the players at the table, was holding "big slick" and loved their hand. What happened though, was these students of the game that we were playing against didn't learn poker. OH-NO ! The learned to play "The Hammer" because they'd seen it win huge.
One day DonK sends me an E-Mail telling me about a home game with really good players starting up. He wanted to know if Peb's and I would be interested? I told him that, "if I can find a regular game that has good play and ends up in good friends, we're in whatever the buy-in is." We showed up in the basement of a house of a couple we didn't yet know, and they made us feel at home. To make matters worse, the host was not un-familiar to me. It was funny because, I could tell he did not recognize me at all. Someday, I'll tell you all about my second place finish in the big "Red Hot" game a few years back. I know exactly when the host remembered who I was, as I could see the light switch turn on the moment he realized where we'd met before. The host's are Carson and Suzy_Q. They hold the games at "Carsino Royale" and have a great set up to do so. We left the bar games, downtown games and most other assorted poker in town for good. This is how Pebbles and Bam-Bam became TuckFards. We are now and always shall be, proud to call ourselves Tuck's. When we were asked about joining a team format poker challenge to represent the Tuckfards, we jumped at the chance.
And that leads us up to The goose, the gambler and the shaking man's throat ..
Pebbles and I were playing for "Team TuckFard" yesterday in a N.L.H.E. table elimination event. 9 players at a table play down to the winner, and you get points for your team based on where you finish the game. (There's a good re-cap by Carson on everyone else's results HERE ) Our team is kicking some butt as I expected. There are some solid players in the Tuck's core group. We all got to know a little bit about each other in the local 200 plus player, local bar scene tourney's. It seemed like 7 or 8 of us, always made up the final table. Put any 5 of us on a team and we'll take our chances with most. Add to that, the fact that we have another 13 - 15 we put in as subs at any given time, with almost no loss in ability, it makes us a formidable team going in.
Anywho.... at my table, I ended up in the #4 spot of only 8 players. The dealer was a known "Downtown Donkey." He was gone in 3 orbits. The 2 spot was an unknown to me but, he showed solid play with some skill for about an hour, before getting crushed by the nut flush while he was holding the 2nd. nut flush. The 3 spot was still in the game and had won a huge race when his 7-7 improved against K-K, once all the money got into the center of the table. The 5 spot was unfortunately holding, the K-K. The 6 spot was still in and had shown nothing but great poker reads and instinct. The 7 spot simply put, was the worst poker player I have ever seen. He didn't last too long but way longer than he should have. He doubled up once miss-reading his cards. He thought he had a flush because, and I quote, "they're all red right?" His two pair was just a little bit better than the other players at the time. That leaves us the 8 spot. After losing the last hand with the great play in the 7 spot, it took exactly two hands for him to exact his revenge. We were now down to four players at the table. We all maintained our position relative to one another, but we gathered around one end of the table for ease of play.
The three spot was "the shaking man's throat." He was directly to my right and had a quiver of some kind when he was excited and nervous. Not the good cards excited, the "I hope I get away with this" kind of excited. it was good to have him on my right. He became my ATM of sorts, because he liked to make moves into pots. I see what I want to see and, I would go over the top. He'd innevitably fold, and then get more and more frustrated at, "not being able to beat (you)me" over and over again. He managed to hang around courtesy of the nice folks in spots 6 an 2. Every time I'd crippled him, they'd go after him with crap and lose. He was doubled and tripled up, several times. The 8 spot became 'the Goose." If you put him to the test, his lips had a quiver, reminiscent of how a goose or duck works it's beak, to get that long lake grass down it's gullet. If confident and poised, his entire body remained motionless and still. Our player in the 6 spot was "the gambler." He loved to see flops, loved to bet them hard if his hand was marginal, and he really loved to talk about poker and it's going's on in the world. He definately knew how to hold 'em, not when to fold'em. I made him walk away, when the dealing was done. We we're at three.
I'd made a huge read mistake early. Big enough that it cost me just under 1/2 of my starting stack. I was fortunate enough to put my pride aside and let the hand go, once I realized I was beat. Going into three handed, I was a massive short stack and in some difficulty. We had been told to go on break. I met up with the others and told Carson and Nutzy that, "I need to be an animal now. I hope you guy's will be OK with me ending up 3rd." As always, they understood and told me to do whatever I had to. If I move up, great! If not, Great! That made me feel a little better and motivated the heck out of me. Now, (although I told them way earlier, I had to play for 3rd. spot based on my chips stack) I really wanted at least 2nd. to please them and be a good team player. So it became myself, the goose and shakey, in that order.
There was something going on with the goose. He had shifted gears in a huge way and was raising every single pot pre-flop. Either shakey or myself, would almost always be in a hand with him despite his raises. He once raised my BB by 6x and then started his little, "get the grass down" lip thing-a-ma-bob. I looked down at the Hilton's and pushed all-in. As expected, he folded. Then shakey made a raise of 6x the goose' BB. I see K-K and go over the top again. They both folded. Nothing eventful happened after that, for some time. It became a blind crop circle of sorts, as the blinds were never really put into anyone's stack. The BB stack just moved from player to player. I could tell it was going to have to come down to a "big hand" vs "big hand" situation, in order to get to second. That made my decision easy. I would steal and steal and steal, until I got caught. If I had air when I did get caught, I could just walk away and the chips I'd made earlier would pay for this one mis-step. So off I went. I decided on changing my raise pattern between 2x and
5x the BB's. (I was hoping I'd only get caught at the 2x raises !) With this strategy, I became the second high chip stack. It was then carson had come over, (after winning his game might I add!) and i wanted to ask his opinion on something. I leaned over towards him and said, "somebody's losing his patience!" He meandered around a little and then we met eye to eye again. His look told me one thing, "good read." I shifted gears again. I'll sit back and wait for "it" to happen. Carson actually ended up sitting down to deal for our table. We were the last one left and it was getting late. Having a dealer would allow us not only more play, but more hands at each blind level.
The goose was definately losing it. Every push he made, one of us had an answer for. Then the "it" happened. Shakey folded and I decided to limp into goose' BB, while holding 8c-Jc. Goose just knocked the table and we saw a flop of Jd-2d-Js. I checked and watched the goose intently. A little quiver while the goose thought and thought and thought. Then finally, he announced all in. My instant call and the look on his face, said it all. I was ahead. He had hit the duece and neither the turn or river had anything for him. I'd taken out my second player and more importantly, I made second place points for the team, even with my short stack.
Head's up went on and on. I could gain a little ground on shakey, but never enough to take the chip lead. We actually played pretty good poker. A few cleaverly disguised hands by both of us and the chips did exchange hands a little bit here and there. Then came my A-3 of hearts. I got a free ride in my BB and wanted to see where it got me. The flop came 3c-As-Jc. Shakey put out a bet of 100,000 into a pot that now held 75,000 with the blinds being at 25,000/50,000. My mistake here was, I slow played. I just called based on my read that he had air. The 8c came on the turn and I noticed the neck thing as shakey put out another 100,000. In my mind, I knew I had him. I called again instead of firing. Mistake #2. The river was the Qc and our boy shakey fired out another 100,000 bet. I needed to think and talk out the hand, with him listening. I decided to start with the straight. I told him that it would be brutal if I just let him hit his 9-10. He flinched. I moved to the flush and said something like, "If I were you, I sure wouldn't want the baby end of that club flush." He started to quiver hard. I then said, "wouldn't it be sick to have the 9-10 of clubs? That would be just sick improving that much after chasing a straight." He went dead still and stared at the board. I thought I had him right there. "I raise" I said. I'm all in." It took him almost 4 minutes to make the decision to call. He had the baby flush but said he, "couldn't lay it down, even though he thought he was beat." Good call by shakey, and mistake #3 by Bam-Bam.
I know the kids are happy that I got second place points, but that game should have been mine. If I had only played my game at the end, instead of playing games like I did.
My sincerest thanks for dropping by....