Thursday, November 02, 2006

What the river?

My last visit to the JPPA room was about 3 weeks ago, Friday night. The next evening was the final for the Vegas Cup series, over at Duke, so I wanted a bit of last minute practice. I had gone by Duke the week before for one of the last Vegas Cup qualifying games to earn some more points to start with, but had been knocked out in both tournaments near the bubble and got nothing. I still had a measley 38 points from my earlier wins at Pleasure. Checking the web page, the point leader was still Kuroda-san, with 300+ points. I'd be going in to the final with a short stack - not quite chip-and-chair, since a few folks had only 5 or 10 points from a single win somewhere along the line. But still not much room to manuever.

So a nice relaxing Everest Cup game at the JPPA room was in order. Besides, if I managed to win it I could get another ipod nano, one to give to the girlfriend to help encourage her that my evenings out playing poker, returning late at night smelling of beer and cigarrettes, had some sort of upside for her.

We had 32 players, and I held on to take 4th place. No hands memorable enough to last three weeks in my sieve-like memory, but I wasn't getting much in terms of hands and had to struggle to stay in the game for most of the evening. I was pleased I lasted as long as I did.

Since I made it deep into the game, there wasn't much time left afterwards for playing in the live games, but I sat in for a few rounds. It was a dealer's choice game, and as I sat down one of the guys chose "nines-wild pot-limit Omaha hi-lo". Sick, stupid game. A round of that was enough. Next, the guy to my right chose... Fuck the River!

I had introduced Fuck The River to the JPPA a couple months ago out of curiosity, during the dealers-choice live game. I had never played it, and neither had they, though they liked the sound of the name. I chose pot-limit at random and it stuck. We had a ball. Japanese speakers can have a hard time with the F sound in "fuck", so there were a lot of delighted and outraged cries of "huck!" or "huck za ribaa!!" as those last three cards came down. Shin was playing and seemed intrigued at the wrinkle and suggested we do a FTR tournament some night. That hasn't happened yet (that I know of) but I sure hope I'm around for it.

(Limit FTR would probably be a lot more "reasonable". Pot-limit gets pretty crazy.)

We only had time for a round and a half of FTR (of course I also chose FTR when it got to my choice!) before we disbanded and headed home. Good times.

I woke up at my normal 6:30am the next morning, as I usually do. C elected to sleep in, as she usually does. So I figured I needed a bit more practice for the Vegas Cup later that day. I fired up an 18-player SNG on FullTilt, and doodled around in that for an hour and some. I won it. I was more surprised than pleased, though the $72 boost to my pitiful bankroll was welcome. But somehow unsatisfying, since there had been no feeling of effort involved. I had got okay but not great cards, got lucky once or twice, and made the obvious actions.

"Maybe I'm just getting better at this game?" I considered. "Nah."

Decided this was enough poker until the evening. At lunch, I reminded C of my plans for the evening. "Tonight is the Vegas Cup - I don't have many chips but will go give it a shot."

"How many do you start with?"

"38. Most have 50 or 60 - the leader has about 300."

"Heee... Do you think you can win?"

I shrugged. "Probably not. I'll try anyhow."

She gave me the standard "ganbatte ne," (do your best). C likes Vegas about as much as I do, but she's a slots, shows, dining, and blackjack girl. Poker has never appealed to her, except for the video kind. But I like it, so she puts up with my little hobby, even if it puts me in front of my computer in the evenings instead of on the couch with her in front of the tv. Occasionally I bring home a new ipod or win $400 in a Caesar's tournament or something that suggests it's not a complete waste of time, too. So if I want to spend my Saturday night out at a bar trying to win a trip for two to Vegas, she's willing to let me go take a shot at it.

If I really wanted to impress her, I'd buy her a Dyson vacuum cleaner with poker winnings. I balk at the idea, though, because deep down I would feel like a sexist shmuck for buying her something to do the housework with. But she really wants one. I swear!

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