Wednesday seemed like a normal day. We were up and about, deciding where to go. The thought of a tournament seemed like a good idea but which one was somewhat the question. A question that could be answered on the road, er walk.
We headed across the street from the castle to New York New York and over to the Monte Carlo. The plan was to take the tram to the Bellagio and figure out what to do. I had to show Cor THE poker room in Vegas. I really wanted to sit down and play. It hurt to stand outside explaining Bobby's Room and the higher limit area. But my friend wasn't comfortable playing 4/8 so all we could do was watch the half dozen tables clacking their chips around.
I had to get out so I suggested we go across the street to Ballys for the 11 (or was it noon) tournament. I knew they had a tourney around this time so it seemed like a great idea. I like Ballys. I can't quite put my finger on it but there is something about the place that feels good. I know it isn't that long ass walkway/escalator thing out front. I HATE THAT! But inside it feels good. Same with Paris. I will probably miss Ballys if/when they tear it down. Once we finally got inside, we headed over to the poker area. Yeah, poker area. Any place that doesn't have walls is a poker area. I quickly inquired about the tournament and whether they had spots available. We were told yes and to head to the cage. At the cage I handed over $50 to enter the tournament. Just after I did this, I hear it wasn't the no limit tourney I was expecting, but Crazy Pineapple. I had no problem with this but I kinda felt bad about my friend. I am positive he had no idea how to play. I quickly tried to explain it is like no limit with a bit of Omaha but simply told him to play like it was no limit. I left it up to him as to whether he wanted to play or not. I was happy he decided to give it a whirl. I guess he truly wanted to play some kind of tournament.
The game started with 26 players. Top 4 would pay out. We were given 1500 in chips to start and blinds of 25/50. I was able to quickly deduce my table as being not that tough. There was one old guy who knew what he was doing. Then there were the two guys who truly had no clue how to play Hold Em, let alone Crazy Pineapple. I took my time waiting a couple hands before doing anything. I acted with A K hearts, J diamonds. I raised 3.25x the blinds. I got two callers, one the old guy who had already scooped some pots and one of the clueless. Flop came out and totally missed me. There were two of a suit out there. I made my continuation bet and was called by the old guy. Hmm.... Turn is another miss. I bet again. He calls after thinking a bit. I like that. River doesn't put the flush out there. I know the only way to win is to bet. But I have like 650 behind me. I bet 400. I thought this out quickly and came to this conclusion: An all in bet looks like an attempt to buy it. If I get raised, I can bail and fight back with a good hand. But a 400 bet looks like I have decided I might get him to call if he has anything. I put him on the flush draw (where he won his other pots) and figured he missed it. Needless to say, I was relieved when he folded.
That is basically all I played before the first break. Cards weren't coming my way but that wasn't a big deal to me at this time. I had a decent stack to work with until I caught something. One entertaining moment was one of the clueless guys. He called down a couple of hands just to fold on the river. He bled chips. One guy who started the tourney late came in and cracked his aces. The loser got so pissed that he flinged the cards at the guy. The winner looked at him and flung his own cards back at him! I was stunned at first but then smiled when I when I looked at the winner. I liked his retaliation. Only idiots get pissed when their aces get cracked. It happens. If you are scared then go to the Castle and play cards.
I don't believe I won another big pot after that. Maybe another small one before I got moved to the same table as my friend Cor. We were down to 2 tables now. Once I sat down I saw Cor make a great call and take down a pot. His pot odds were there and more importantly, he probably had the best hand at the time. He did and was stacking chips. At this time I was happy to point out the Brewers were pounding the Reds. An omen?
Suddenly they took us down to the final table. I was kinda surprised as I didn't notice a bunch of people had busted out. We started the final with 9. I looked around and it appeared I was the short stack, if not at least one of them. The old guy had a healthy stack as did a Braves hat guy. But the true talk of the table had to be California flag shirt. Cal flag shirt had been making some interesting calls along the way and winning pots. I would soon have my own showdown with him. But for now I needed a hand to double up on.
We lost a couple players when my friend Cor goes out on a bad beat with Cal flag shirt. His J J got beat by a straight on the river. Cal flag took out two players on that move where he simply got lucky to beat the other dude's set of 5s. We are down to 5 players when I suggest a save of $50. The old guy who still has a decent stack agrees right away. But the other 3 don't say a word. I am shocked as one guy has less than me and the other barely much more. No one says anything and a save isn't going to happen. Screw them. I am still needing to double up.
Then my opportunity came. I made my move in late position with a pair of nines down. I pushed and was called by a slightly bigger stack that had 3 3. I double up. A couple hands later I double up again with K K vs. 9 9. Sweet. Suddenly I am the chip leader. We lose the other two and I am in the money. Old guy is the short stack. I probably have Cal flag shirt by 3-2. Old guy is blinded down and forced to play a couple hands that he keeps on winning. Damn. Get busted out already.
I then make a big mistake. I see a flop from the BB with A Q 3. The flop is Q J 6. Cal flag shirt makes a big bet. Old guy is already all in. I look at him and ask why he isn't calling it down. I think about whether he is trying to steal the pot or not. I think he may have a J at best. What I didn't recognize was why he was making the bet. It never occurred to me that he may have a monster. So I push he all in, which he quickly calls. He turns over his set of jacks. Damn. I give up a good lead. Old man soon busts out and I have second place, but my stack is pitiful. Blinds are up and I have basically two hands to play. End result: second place.
I won over $300 so that ain't bad. Gave the dealers a tip and walked away happy with my success at Crazy Pineapple. I declare myself the Crazy Pineapple Champion of Great Milwaukee. Afterall, who can question that?
Now where is that Pai Gow table?
Coming up: A final night and day in the Excalibur.