Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Sean Is A Better Poker Player Than Me...

Good morning everyone.  Don't look now, but you're about to read an actual poker post...  For those of you who haven't been reading Bikini Hill & 6th since its inception (which is pretty much everyone), the original plan was to write about poker once a week.  If you look over to my links on the right side of this page, most of those writers originally started out with true poker blogs...  Due to the "perfect storm" of a VERY EARLY Memorial Day poker tournament and the first cards of the 2013 World Series of Poker being pitched today, you get to read about some Texas Hold 'Em...  :)

So I innocently left work after my Sunday night shift (very early on Monday morning) and went to the grocery store.  After I returned home and turned my phone on, I had a call and a text waiting for me.  For those of you who don't know, if I'm not using my Droid, I usually have it turned off because it has a nasty habit of calling people if I leave it on while it's in my pocket.  Keeping it off also saves the battery, so there ya go...  Anyway, it seems that some of my friends and coworkers had decided to play some poker after I had left work, and wanted to know if I'd be interested in playing........  HMMMMMM???  I texted back that I would be there in about twenty minutes, after taking a quick shower.  After getting out of my five minute shower, I got a phone call - "are you coming or what?!..."  :)

As I walked into the house, I heard a lot of commotion..., and DICE???  It seems that three of the people who were about to play cards were warming up by laying down what turned out to be more than twice the amount of the tournament buy-in on a lucky roll of the dice - can you say Phil Ivey???  :)  For an impromptu poker tournament, it turned out to be very organized:  7 players; 100 in tournament chips; 30-minute rounds; a doubling blind structure starting with blinds of 1 and 2 (2/4, 4/8, 8/16...);  First place would take everything, but the final two could make a deal.

I had never played against anyone at this table, and I hadn't played poker since my December trip to Las Vegas, so this was going to be an interesting start to my weekend (my Sunday night shift being my "Friday").  The first major hand occurred when a misread (or misclaimed) straight shoved on a scary (?) board against pocket aces (player to my right).  I put the '?' after 'scary' because this hand brings up some interesting poker points.  The shove came post-flop (obviously), and the player who claimed to have the straight (which never came) said that he was surprised that aces called him there.  Of course aces would be vulnerable to a straight, a set, two pairs, etc... in this situation, but some players just don't ever lay down pocket aces...  This was the question being pondered by my friend with the busted draw as he finished in 7th place.

My hands during this tournament were either premium hands (about a half-dozen), or they were garbage.  My first hand of note came about midway through the first round when I had pocket queens.  I got cute and limped in this situation, which was not a good idea.  To this point, people had been playing pretty loose holdings, and I didn't want to run everyone off (which was my reasoning at this juncture)...  Well, the board came out with a low straight draw and a flush draw.  I made a bet of five after the action was checked to me, and had a single caller.  The turn brought both a possible straight and flush, but I bet out five again after being checked to, and was again called.  On a seemingly innocuous river (a non-flush nine), my opponent suddenly bet out.  Hmmmm...  To this point, my opponent's play in the tournament could best be described as "super-apologetic" (I dare you to find that player type in your poker books and magazines).  I took this to mean that he had NO IDEA what he was doing, OR that he had a REALLY GOOD IDEA about how to play.  I only had twelve chips invested in the hand, and it was still very early (the tournament started at 5:15 a.m., so it was REALLY EARLY), so I proceeded to fold after asking, "that NINE hit you?"  MANY TIMES I have seen people bet a "blank" on the river after slow-playing a good hand, but my read was wrong in this case.  My friend showed a pair smaller than the nine, and just a pair, so my queens would have won there - live and learn...

The next big hand of note in this tournament involved my friend Sean and the player to my right.  Sean is the only person that I spoke with about making this blog entry, so his is the only name that I'm using other than "my friend," which will be every other player...  :)  Anyway, for a tournament with 100 in chips, 50 going in from each player on the river constitutes a big hand...  The board on this hand (still in the 1/2 round I believe) had a queen on the flop, and played out with two other cards which would make a king-high straight possible.  I know this because after the player on my right bet 20, Sean raised him to 50..., and was CALLED..., by the nut (no possible flush) king-high straight...  When I saw the winning hand, I remember remarking, "just the nut straight" (I think I dealt this hand), but no one at the table (including myself) commented on the fact that the winning hand ONLY CALLED here...  I think that Sean went ahead and showed a big queen at the end of this hand, and in hindsight, it probably would have been better for me if the winning hand WOULD HAVE raised here, just in case Sean would have called...

As the chips flew back and forth (and back to Sean) throughout the rest of this round and into the second round: I RAISED my pocket queens this time, checked around a king-high flop, and then made a small bet on the turn and took the pot; I limped with AK and WHIFFED; limped with pocket 7's, turned a set and checked heads-up, saw a third flush card on the turn, and a FOURTH flush card on the river, and took the small pot at showdown (Sean was away from the table for this hand and shouldn't be entitled to this information, so SHHHHH....); and my hand of note during the early second round came when I raised my A Q to 20, got TWO callers (so much respect), and AGAIN whiffed the flop, which I had to fold to a bet (both hands went to showdown, and I was behind as 1 of the 2 weaker hands that called me preflop paired up).  Also during this round, my "super-apologetic" friend busted out, as did another friend with a unique playing style.  'Unique playing style' would make a preflop raise to 11 for example, and then bet 4 (the minimum) after the flop (this tactic was utilized more than once).

So now we're down to 4 players, and we're in round 3, with blinds of 4 and 8, when I see pocket aces.  I believe that there was a single limper, and my raise to 25 got no action (pocket aces - you win a small pot or lose a big pot with them, so the saying goes...).  The majority of the chips at the table were now in the stacks of Sean and the player to my right as Nike busted out in 4th place.  Nike (true to his name) had been running back and forth across the room between our table and another table ('casino' would be way too strong a word, but it was a fun predawn Memorial Day party)...  :)  Nike played a lot like me, except that he got bigger pieces (SOME PIECE) of the flops that he saw, so his stack-size fluctuated more than mine.

At this point, I suggested that we give 3rd place their buy-in back (I was a DISTANT THIRD at the time, but it was worth a shot)...  :)  Sean shot this down, and I don't blame him, considering the stack that he had at the time.  As play continued, I might (??) have won another hand, but in the late tournament style that I'm "famous" for (ask my brother about the Sahara tournaments that I cashed in...), I just hoped that one of these stacks would knock the other off, unless I got a premium hand of course...  Well, as luck would have it, Sean did knock out the player to my right, and we were now heads-up.  Of course I immediately suggested that we give second place their buy-in back, and I could see that Sean was seriously considering it when his wife came over and gave him a hug, which had me thinking, "DON'T BREAK HIS TRAIN OF THOUGHT KATE!"  :)  Sean did agree to give second place their entry back, on the condition that I tell everyone that Sean is a better poker player than me, in the event that he won...  I agreed to this of course, because how could I argue that Sean wasn't the better player, if he won?  This also brings up some good poker points (yes, I'm going to keep you in suspense as to how the tournament ended, unless you already read the title of this post of course)...  The first point is that the agreement to give second their buy-in back wasn't a bad move on Sean's part, and in all honesty, if I did start mounting a comeback, I would have suggested that we give second place more, in case I won the whole thing.  Here the reason why:  I have seen SEVERAL tournaments where the chip-leader refused to make a "chop-agreement," and then got BURNED because their stack disappeared.  When play got down to heads-up, Sean was ahead of me about 650 to 50:  if I double-up once, it's now 600 to 100; another double-up, and it's 500 to 200;  and with one more double-up, I'm now ahead 400 to 300 (it can happen that fast, and I've seen it, SEVERAL TIMES)...  Second, Sean is a good poker player (saying that he's "better than me" doesn't necessarily mean much)...  :)  As a friend, I wouldn't worry about Sean sitting at a poker table in Las Vegas (he's never played at one before).  In our post-tournament discussion, Sean pointed out how he was sure to sit to my left, giving him position on me (the opportunity to act after me in each hand).  Sean also noted that he saw how I wanted more action on one of the hands that I won.  This gets to something that I'm going to address in future posts that I do about working at Harper's:  I feel like I've earned a Doctorate in people watching during the past year, and Sean pays attention too...

Okay, enough stalling...  So on the VERY FIRST HAND of heads-up, I look down at 10-7 in the big blind.  I call Sean's small preflop raise, and the flop comes J-7-x.  What are the odds that your opponent hits a flop?  As you ponder that question, I ended up shoving my pair of 7's, and Sean calls before flipping over J 8 - what are the odds?...  :)  The turn was a Jack (I'm now drawing dead), and the river was an 8 (and now I'm buried)...

At this point, let me note that Sean was the person who hired me after my disappointing move to the desert last summer, and that he's one of the people that I'll come back to, BEGGING FOR A JOB if I can't find something in Austin (oh, I would HATE that commute)...  Let me also wish Sean good luck on his surgery today (he has a torn tendon in his arm, the kind that's going to require a "Ray Lewis-type brace" - Sean's words, and all of us football fans can IMMEDIATELY picture it).  Let me also say that Sean has a custom poker set that Kate bought for him in Las Vegas, and all that it's missing is a good deck of cards.  Well, someone that I know has two authentic decks of plastic poker cards that they used while training to be a poker dealer in Las Vegas, and would probably give one of them up for someone who is having surgery today, so the question is, "red or blue Sean?"  ;)

As I said, the World Series of Poker starts today.  The WSOP will run until July 15th (except for the "November Nine"), and you can follow along at  Card Player's site is also another excellent poker site for keeping up with what's happening in the poker world.  If you want people to root for, a couple of fellow bloggers (again, links on the right) are competing in the WSOP this summer.  Pete Moffatt (Lucki Duck) will be playing in Event 7, and Dave Smith (Memphis MOJO) will be playing in Event 26 if you want to track their progress during those events - good luck guys!  I actually just received my t-shirt in the mail yesterday from one of Pete's blogs (#1SportsPicks), and I will be wearing it to work tonight, in the spirit of supporting his efforts (and because the material is light - it's hot in San Marcos, America now)...  :)  Also today, San Marcos bids farewell to Alyssa (yes, THAT Alyssa)...  We wish her the very best of luck on her move to Abilene (some people will do ANYTHING to get into the blog)...  ;)

Have a great day and I will see you again on Friday!  Oh..., and Sean is a better poker player than me...  :)



  1. Thanks for the shout out Coach :)

  2. You're welcome guys - now that I've done the hard part, all that you have to do is go sit in a chair and make a lot of money... ;)