So yesterday was the first SSC game of the year (they take summers off). After some horrific traffic (at 11 fucking 30 on a Saturday) I stopped to pick up Very Josie and managed to be there more or less on time.
I like this game a great deal: the people are all great, the play is convivial and the talent is soft as hell. As I sit here right now thinking of it, the play falls into three categories:
1. The old-timers. Longstanding members and friends of the club who have been coming to that club since 1967, who are playing because, well, where the hell else are they going to be on a Saturday? With their wives? Don't be ridiculous.
They show a fair understanding of the game but chase straights and flushes, have faith in second pairs, and can be finessed off hands with big river bets after the board fucks them out of their straight. If they hit usually their body language will betray that too. In the long history of this game I think an old-timer has won maybe twice. They smoke heavily.
2. The wannabes. These guys are usually younger types, in their 20's or so, who fancy themselves good poker players because they've seen hundreds of hours of World Poker Tour videos. They explain their moves after they've lost and seem more concerned with appearing to be a good player than with winning my money. They bluff more than they should and can be effective bullies if they get a big stack in front of them. They smoke heavily.
3. The talent. A very small group. Two of them are a brother-and-sister duo to whom I refer as "1986-called-they-want-their-haircuts-back." I've seen them both play extraordinarily well, heard tales of big cashes at nearby Foxwoods casino, and have earned my respect in all phases of the game. They smoke heavily.
There are only two others. One is Josie. The other is me. Neither one of us smoke, heavily or otherwise. And of us all, and Josie can back this up, the two of us cash more often than anyone else who has ever sat down at that table. I have two outright wins and a bunch of seconds, both back in the glory days when first place was over $1000.
(Quick funny aside: I took first place in the inaugural tournament, and won $1300. I was so pleased with my skill that I made the grave mistake of calling home and bragging to Tootsie that I'd won. She immediately said "Oh, good - so I'll order those drapes for the living room, they're more or less exactly $1300." D'Oh! Never again.)
As for yesterday, Josie got knocked out right before the pizza break when her pocket aces were cracked by a flopped two pair. I think if you were to ask her, she'd say that she misplayed her hand by not shoving pre-flop but I would disagree with that. For one thing, you never play the same hand the same way 100% of the time; you just don't. For another, the makeup of this table is such that finessing aces can be extraordinarily profitable. As far as I'm concerned, the hand wasn't particularly misplayed - it was just one of those things.
I chipped up pretty quick when two people bet into my Kings. I didn't knock anyone out from them because I wasn't paying attention and didn't notice that the fishcake to my left had maybe two big blinds more than I bet him. He called of course and I'm sure he'd have given me those last crumbs if only I'd asked for them. As mistakes go it was pretty low-impact but someone else got his damn scratcher ($5 scratch card as a knockout bonus).
It was ebb and flow until after pizza time. Maybe an hour after the break I was dealt KhJh and flopped a King and a third heart. I shoved - more of a bluff than anything else - and my opponent went into the tank. He started muttering "did you flop a god damned set?" Ohhhhh shit. I knew then that this dude had AK and that I was crushed. Sure enough, he calls and I said "you got me" before turning my KJ. Indeed he had AK. Turn comes Ah, which gives him two pair but opens up flush and straight possibilities. Now it was his turn to be psychic: "worst card I could possibly draw. You got it." A bit premature, I thought, but indeed the river came a queen and I won a hee-yuge pot. It was an ugly win but as we all know, it's just poker. Besides, he was wearing a Kobe Bryant Lakers jersey so my compassion level was pretty low!
So at that point, there were only three of us left and we decided to chop, and we each took home a quick hundy profit for our trouble. In truth that suits me fine; impatience after hours of play is a hole in my game so I was just as happy to avoid it.
Anyway, there you go. Maybe Jo can write about it from her perspective. As for me it's almost 6 AM and it's just about time for bed.
I'm looking for a cool sign-off, like Wolfie's thanks for listening, or Jo's play smart. I'm thinking of something like "remember: the Holocaust never happened." What do you think?
To soon? Yeah, probably. Well, open for suggestions.