Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Badger Poker...A mountain of chips

Once I got my lungs cleaned out from last night's smoke-a-thon, I decided to give downtown another whirl and headed down to the Have a Nice Day Cafe. Parking sucked because there was both a basketball game and a concert going on. But the air was crisp and I could breathe.

There was no table assignments so I sat down with my friend Cor at one of the new tables. The new tables are quite nice. Cards glide across them like an air hockey table. Slow Bus took a seat as well as PBR (formerly known as Cubs fan). One guy over to my right was a stack pusher. Had played with him a couple of times. Dude on my immediate right was young wearing one of those knit hats that is pulled down to your eyes. There was a really dumb player across from me. Two younger guys and a dude wearing glasses rounded out the table. One bad thing was that they started us out with 11 players. We got jammed in there pretty bad at first.

Slow Bus got off to a good start collecting some chips. But of course, the dumb player started getting lucky and winning pots. What made him dumb? His betting. First, he couldn't understand the concept of raising the minimum of what was bet. This was told to him at least 3 times. Second, there were spot where he underbet the pot or didn't push someone all in where he should have. Plus, he overplayed hands, but I am not complaining about that. I tangled with him once from the big blind. Had A 9 and saw a flop of A Q x. I checked and he bet it. I called. Turn was another Q. I checked as did he. River was a rag. He bet 2000. Underbetting the pot is usually begging for a call, but I don't think the dumb player has a clue about value betting. I was pretty sure he didn't have a Q but was more concerned he had a A with a better kicker. I called and saw his pocket 5s.

I won a nice nice pot when someone went all in for 1100. 3 others called. My K J held up when J of hearts filled the flush. Some dude without a sense of humor then sat down. Surprisingly, we started out with 11 people that did not smoke. First thing the new guy does is pull out a cigarette. I jokingly say "They didn't tell you this was a non-smoking table?". He scowled. I then asked if he was going to do his best Sam Farha impersonation. Apparently this wasn't funny as he replied that he was going to smoke his cigarette. Whatever no sense of humor guy. Thankfully, he didn't last long.

After the break, things started to heat up a bit. The glasses guy was getting frisky and started to push. So was the stack pusher. I had a Lite vitamin during the break so I was ready for battle. I also managed to do my best Dan Harrington impersonation. Now if you don't know who he is, then you don't know poker. Simply put, the guy is very good and has a WSOP championship under his belt. He is a rock. As rock as they come. But he makes his hands pay big. That is what I did. Glasses guy tried to raise the bet to 4000 (I believe that was the bet). Stack pusher on my right went over the top and all in. I looked down and saw two red kings. I looked at stack pusher and tried to figure out what he had. Of course, I am only concerned about pocket rockets. I then thought about how he pushed a couple hands ago with Q Q. Glasses guy had pushed with 10 10 before so I was comfortable knowing that I had the best hand here. I called as did he. He turned over Q Q. The Cowboys doubled me up towards 30k. Feels like a Stenys moment. I have chips somewhat early. Nice.

They break our table up and I get shifted to a real action table. Robin Hood is there (Aggressive Asian- very good player, but always building a stack and giving it to other players) and some young dude with a Quad Graphics shirt are the guys with stacks. The rest of the players aren't donig bad ranging anywhere from about 8k to 15k. No real tiny stacks here. But people were going down like flies. Though attempts were made to keep the table full, someone was getting busted out every 5-10 minutes. And many pots were going to see 3-4 way action with raised bets. I capitalized early at this table. Was in the big blind with 8 9 off. Robin Hood and another call. Flop comes 8 7 7. I bet 2500 and they both call. Hmm...someone has a set. Turn is an 8 for the full house. Now I am wondering how to play this. Do I check or bet? If I check, there is a good chance that Robin Hood does bet. But if I bet, there is a good chance he pushes. I bet 5000. Sure enough, RH pushes all in. The other guy then calls! I pause a bit and then call with my full house. They each flip there cards and have the set of 7s. Amazingly, they are both drawing dead. I rake in a pot of around 75000. I now have a mountain of chips in front of me. Bad part is that Robin Hood still as around 20k himself. He proceeds to build his stack again, raising any checked flop. Pushing on the turn with high pair. He builds it up and then distributes a big chunk to Quad. More players come in and more players go out. We take a break and I still have the mountain of chips in front of me. I haven't really played many hands but make the most of those that I have.

During the break, I meet up with Cor and we head to the bar. They have mini king cans for 3 bucks so I start to guzzle a Heineken. This may have been the fuel I needed. Play resumes as AK Slowplay is put to my left. A guy who beat me at Gametime is across from me. Robin Hood and Quad a still there as well. I am looking to trap Robin Hood and take him out. I would soon get my chance. With blinds 1000/2000, RH raised to 8000. I looked down and saw K K again. I raised it up to 20k knowing he would probably come over the top. Sure enough, he did with big slick, A K off. No help for him and I took his remaining 30k or so. My mountain just got bigger.

But the table was still rather aggressive. This was not a table to try and push around with the big stack as you could get trapped easily. They moved a young lady to the table and she started to beat up on Quad. She played her pair of aces very well, goading him into calling. I found it to be quite funny as she talked him into calling her down.

I took my mountain to a new table again. We were down to 30 some people at this point. The only one I recognize at this table is the Whiny Guy. Maybe I should get a new name for him but not quite yet. I respect his play, but not the whining. There is another guy I have played a couple times with. As I would find out, it is AK Slowplay's brother. Learned that when I knocked him out. I raised the pot up to 20k with A K. He went all in from the cutoff for 51k. I counted my chips out and took a look to try and figure out what he had. I could easily call and not be hurt here. I made the call as I figured at the very least, I had two over cards. My gut feeling is that he had A something. Turns out he had A Q. No help and all the red chips he had were all mine. My mountain is even bigger now. Best part is that I have managed to make every big hand pay off. Haven't played many hands but got paid on the big ones.

Dodged a couple of bullets too. We went down to 20 and Tattoo Talker was at the table. He was small stacked and was going to push on anything soon. I was in the big blind and saw A 4 suited. He went all in from EP for about 50k. Small blind called quickly. That I didn't like. Now I had to think about it. It would only cost me about 20k more, but I didn't want to triple TT up. I knew I had him at this point. I didn't think he had a pair. I was confident he had two face cards. But I didn't know what the guy on my right had. TT even tried to talk it up. I told him I was confident I had him beat but didn't know what the small blind had. I ended up folding. TT had Q J. Small blind had A 7. A jack hit the flop and TT had moved up.

Soon enough we got moved to the final table. I had around 250k in front of me at this point. Blind though were 10000/20000 and moving up. Antes were going at 2000. I got put into the big blind to start. UTG, Darkman, raised to 40k. It was folded around to Twin's Fan Lady. She thought for a couple of minutes and then pushed all in for about 125k. I looked down and saw AK. Now it was my turn to think. What did she have? More importantly, what did Darkman have that he raised up with? I decided that Darkman didn't matter. I focused on her. She didn't like having to make the call and didn't look confident about her push. I put her on a medium pair, maybe J J tops. I felt good with overcards. And every good hand I had this night paid off for me. I called. Darkman folded (he had 6 6). Twin's Fan Lady turned over 10 10. No help on the board and the pot was hers.

Blind and antes were then raised again to 20000/40000 with 5000 antes a couple of hands later. I didn't get much to play after that. Suddenly I felt like I was being blinded away as it became an all in fest. Soon blinds were 25/50k. I figured I had to make an effort to at least capture the antes. From early position, with blinds coming around, I pushed my last 75k in with K 4 off. Broke my rule by pushing in with a less than optimal hand. Of course, two people call because they have aces (second rule broken- everyone pushes with aces at final table so don't push with a ragged king). They turn over A 7 off and A 3 hearts. I like my chances at first because I have clean outs. But I didn't any of the 6 and was done in 7th place when the heart flush was filled.

Not bad, but feel I could have done better. But again, it is something to build on. I think I will go watch Dan Harrington play some more.

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