Wednesday, February 8, 2012
In Which I Offer Humble Thanks to the Poker Gods
So this morning early I entered an 18-person tourney on BCP. It was an el-cheapo one, a buck or two to get in; as a rule I don't play for any money to speak of after, say, 2AM or so. First place was 7 or 8 buy-ins, I think.
When Full Tilt was king I played plenty of nickel-dime tourneys like these. The play wasn't great, of course - lots of beginners and idiots in buck-deuce land - but when I wanted to stoke my ego and run through the field like fire it was worth it to play ABC poker and win way, way more than I lost.
But dear God and sonny Jesus, the play in the shallow end of the pool at BCP is the worst I've ever seen. Here's an example: I raised 3X mid-position with AsKs. Guy in seat 2 snaps. Flop comes AA6. I check, he bets small, I call. Turn is K; I bet out about 3/4 of the pot, hoping he catches and doesn't think I had an ace. He calls with almost no thought. Riv is a J. I'm a little nervous now; this was early on in the doings and I hadn't seen his play - plus he was kind of playing like he was on a draw. But would he snap a 3X pre-flop bet, and call my big-ish turn bet with Q10? I thought no, so I bet pretty good, about half of my stack, which was about 2/3 of his. He calls without even thinking - and what do you think he had?
Seriously! Who stays in a hand with two aces on the board, and two other face cards, with a pair of fours!! He loses just about his whole stack with a hand that is guaranteed to be a loser! It was everything I could do to keep my yap shut - and I NEVER gloat on a win, or, Buddha forbid, tell someone he's a fish. Bad business and worse manners. But my God - I damn near doubled up on this guy who was holding a hand that had damn little value pre-flop and precisely zero value post. Think about it: how early in your poker education did you learn the lesson of low pocket pairs? It's not like it's subtle stuff: stick around if you can do so cheaply, fold down if you don't catch. Thirteen words!
I hope that dude either learns how to play poker or gets out of the game. Until then, though, I hope I play him again.
But the reason for the title of this post, and the reason why I offer supplications and thanks to the Bards of the Cards, was this: No fewer than four times during final-table time, I went in with WAY the best of it, got completely schmucked on the flop, and sucked back out on the turn or the riv. AJ vs KJ: he flops a K-high straight, river comes a K to make my A-high straight. JJ vs. 66 - he flops his set, I turn mine. Crushing disappointment turned to relief and/or joy, time after time after time. It was, in a word, remarkable.
At the end of things I was heads-up with a decent enough player, but his deal was that he bet with nothing, and checked when he hit. It didn't cost me too much to find that out, but find out I did. Last hand I had Q2 - he was button and raised. I called, more to send a message than anything else. Flop came JJ2. He bets out. Now I know that he would rather eat a bug than bet a set, so I was pretty sure that my ducks were good. I shove, he calls, and the Crafty Southpaw walks away with a 4AM victory. $14.40 baby!
So thanks to the deities in charge of poker, of all games of skill, and all games of chance. Thanks to the gods of cards, and of luck, and those who steer idiots my way. Hell, thanks to the gods of those dudes' gods. I won't forget your magnificent mercy. This I swear.