Friday, November 11, 2005

Too Much Poker

I've been quiet this week because I overdosed on poker last Saturday, and haven't felt like playing or talking poker for a while. It'll wear off in another few days, I'm sure.

Saturday my girlfriend's sister and brother-in-law had been planning to come over and visit and see the new apartment, bringing along their two very cute but dangerously destructive kids. Apprehension, oh yes, I had it. I mean, I just signed myself into debt for the next 35 years to buy a nice apartment in a new, fancy building, and here come three year old and a seven year old very physical japanese boys with permissive parents to come check the place out. Would you be worried?

I got a reprieve when they called up the night before to raincheck because of the older son's soccer game. Whew. My apartment can survive in its largely pristine state for another week! Suddenly my afternoon was free, though. I had already been planning to go hit the JPPA card room in the evening for the last Tony G game, while my GF and her family went out for dinner, so I go clearance from the girl to head over there early and catch the 2pm limit holdem tourney as well.

I haven't played much limit holdem lately, since reading Harrington on Holdem, Vol 1 - predictably, I've been playing no limit tourneys and SNGs for the last several weeks, and was mostly on no limit side games even before that. "Limit holdem... limit holdem... lessee... how did that go?" were my thoughts on the train ride up to Ueno. Ah screw it, I decided. We'll just see how it goes.

It went well enough. I couldn't use a lot of the concepts in HoH, but it wasn't hard to play tight, wait for good hands, raise and check-raise when I got them. A couple times I tried a "continuation bet" after a flop that hadn't hit me and still got some laydowns from other players. That worked a lot better than I was expecting, since I could only make a single bet. Guess it was just the attitude displayed by firing off a bet in early position after raising pre-flop as well that scared folks off. Good results from such a cheap bet. I think I finished around 10th of 21 people.

The TV in the poker room was on for most of the time, which had me wondering - usually the TV is set to show a copy of the PC display that they run the tournament timer software on. Later on in the afternoon I found out why - they had a weekend special of the "Kin no A-Sama" show that had sent Satoh Tomao to the WSOP, and eventually she showed up and they had a brief recap of her trip and results. I was hoping they would replay this segment on the regular show on Thursday night, but no such luck. I'll see if I can get a copy of the show from the JPPA and make it available on BitTorrent for the benefit of her new fans in North America.

Players started packing into the room as evening approached, getting ready for the 6pm No Limit game with Tony G. There are one or two other native english speakers who come to the JPPA games sometimes - one of them, Steve, had apparently busted out Tony G in the Friday night game, so was hoping for another shot at him in the Saturday game so he could win that free trip to Vegas in December. Saturday evening games are usually pretty well attended, so we had another full house - 50 players, all five tables in use, and a couple of spectators as well. Luckily it is late in the year - I don't think the air conditioning could handle that many people if it were summer.

Tony and the folks from PokerNews showed up right at 6pm, the starting time, and we sat down and got right into it. Again the 5s on each table was reserved for Tony, who would rotate between the tables every level or two, or PokerNews players who would fill the Tony-seat at the other tables. I drew Table 3 again, which had been a player-killer on Thursday but was less volatile on Saturday. We heard raised voices and cries from Table 1 every now and there, where Tony had started, and when he made it to Table 2 we could see a big and growing stack of chips. "This is just a normal amount for a good player," he cheerfully responded whenever someone commented on it.

And then he was moved to our Table 3. I don't remember much of the action, but we all survived and even took a chunk of Tony's stack. Tony seemed a bit surprised when players were aggressive with their raises and reraises - maybe the first two tables had been more passive. Tony was two spots to my right so I followed his action most hands. The only hand I even slightly got into with him he raised a small amount, then I reraised a large amount and he folded. It was easy, I had cowboys. Shortly after he rotated out to Table 4, with me still wondering if I had overbet and if he would remember it if we ended up on the same table again later.

I did actually end up at the table with him again. I did pretty well for the next hour, taking down pots, getting the occasional good hand, and making the occasional bluff to steal a pot. When 50 people got down to about 20, they compressed us down to two tables, and they placed me right to Tony's left. He had a pretty decent stack, but so had I. We went through an orbit or two, with me mostly folding, as was Tony. He seemed frustrated at not having more chips, and not getting any cards, which I filed away for future use. A few hands later, he checked his hole cards and announced, "Twenty-five thousand, all-in!" and nudged them towards the center.

I looked down and found A-T of clubs.

I thought about it for five or ten seconds, then called. Tony flipped over Ace of hearts, Jack of clubs. Oops. He hit a Jack on the flop and though it looked for a second I might make my club draw, it didn't pan out.

It turned out I had him covered, but just barely, so I became the super short stack and hung in there for another two orbits or so and then faded away.

At the time, I thought it was going to be a closer race, Ac-Tc versus Ah-Jc. Getting home, I checked a couple of the online odds calculators and found I was about 25% to win, and 10% to chop. Ouch.

I still don't feel too badly about my call - I had the feeling that Tony was getting frustrated and would have pushed with Ace and a lower kicker, or maybe KQ-KJ, to pick up the blinds and antes and show some force at the table. But then again, maybe his show of frustration was supposed to make me think that. Ah well.

Anyhow, I retired to the side game as they finished up. Tony got busted in 5th place or so, and still had his special option of rebuying to get in there again, but considering that the original buyin was 5000 in chips, and the blinds at the time were 4000-8000, he declined to have another go at it.

I don't know if anyone got to bust him twice and win the Vegas trip. Steve had his shot, but musta got mixed up about who was supposed to bust who and got knocked out early.

I stumbled home at 10:30pm, having played poker for nine hours straight. Man, even my overnight sessions in Vegas were only 6-7 hours. That's a lot of goddamn poker for a guy like me. Even a week later I am not feeling the urge, but let's see what happens over the weekend, shall we?

No comments: