Saturday, April 17, 2010

Losing Ugly

My friends, I am home on my couch, humbled and impoverished. Today we played the SSC poker game, a $50 buy-in and a $5 scratch ticket, the latter to be given to the player who knocked you out (about which more later).

The first part of the day went reasonably well. I was doing my thing, stealing blinds when I had the benefit of position and decent cards, and shoving when the deck suited me.

In this way I had doubled my stack and got three scratchers in my pocket, and made it to the final table. And, more delicious than the trifle that Josie served me yesterday at our home game, she was already out of the game, having been bounced unceremoniously (read all about it at her blog). At the final table I had 9400 in chips where the blinds were 200-400.
I had nothing but time, against a field who did not particularly frighten me.

But I had two major problems: It was ninety fucking degrees in that room, and the smoke was so thick I think I'm once again addicted to nicotine. Being a private club, anyone could smoke anything they wanted to, and brother they did. It was literally hazy in there, with thick, acrid blue smoke. I was sweating out of places I personally have not seen since I was twelve. And I...


sorry, bra commercial on TV


anyway, I grew impatient. Did I think that it would clear the smoke? Did I think it would cool the room? No. But I wasn't thinking. So I started in on my best Tom Dwan impersonation, raising every flop. And since I was adhering to my "3X BB" rule, it was an expensive course of action. I won some, I lost some, but I was, in truth, playing poorly.

Based on comments of my tablemates, I had the reputation of "raising with everything." What I should have done was tighten down. What I should have done was show a little bit of patience and let some of the fishies still in the game weed themselves out of the game.

What I did instead was, with a board of 7-8-9 go all in with 7-10. And really, how often does that end well?

When I bluff, I almost never do it out of the blue, with absolutely nothing. Actually this board and my hand was a perfect opportunity to bluff - bottom pair and an open-ended straight draw. I figured on ten outs, so I wasn't anything less than 60:40 against. So like Buckaroo Bonzai I shove, and was insta-called by the guy that Josie calls "Cancer Al." Cancer Al is a great guy but his poker skills are nothing over pedestrian. He calls a lot pre-flop and can easily be bullied off a hand. I figured on a quick fold, but it was not to be. He snap-called with pocket sevens. Damn, there went two of my outs. So all I had was eight outs; 60:40 turned into 70:30 with a quickness.

Sure enough, I lost, and though I had more than he did, what I was left with was: 100 chips. One white chip. Literally, a chip and a chair. I put it in and quadded up - a few hands later I put my 400 in and quinted up. Now I had 2000 in chips: still shortstacked but not on life support.

The next hand I was UTG so I looked at each card as I got it. The first card was a six. My inner monologue was PRAYING for the other card to be anything but another six. Because at that stage of the game, I was desperate to fold.

But of course, I hit my six for pocket sixes. And I couldn't fold, not with five big blinds left. In it went.

I got called with JQ, and of course there was a queen right in the door - signalling my demise.


However, someone was smiling upon me, and I "earned" my buy-in back with two scratchy winners - a $50 and a $10. I lost the extra tenner at Josie's house, playing heads-up with her, so I was out only some gasoline, three quarts of sweat, and however much it's going to take to clean the smoke out of my clothes.

One goddamn hand was the difference between success and failure. Listen, do me a favor: the next time that I want to shove with bottom pair and a draw, slap me hard across the face. Not you, Josie.


  1. Yeah Al's a nice guy, not a crappy poker player, yet I bet he won.

  2. Not a crappy poker player? Do you mean that Jo? I don't have a lot of nice things to say about his play, other than the fact that he's fun to play with and to talk to...

  3. LOL - I was trying to say...he's a crappy poker player, yet I bet he won!


  4. Tough luck but at least you lasted longer that someone.................Not mentioning any names.

  5. LOLLLLLLLLLLLLL That Coop is a funny guy.