Well I’m three for three at Creekside and 4 for 5 overall at making it into the money at these local fire company tournaments. Now brace yourself because this will end up being a kind of lengthy entry. Before I get to the poker play it’s self I think it’s important to paint you a picture of the charachters that you will see at these tournaments.
Ray and I actually stood in the middle of the fire hall and gave nicknames to a large number of the familiar and memorable players. Here is the list.
- Jerome Bettis – There is this really old crusty white guy who wears the exact same outfit everytime I see him. He has a pittsburg Steelers floppy barret on his head, Black sweat pants, and a pittsburg steelers sweater on. Six and I first met this guy over a year ago when we played in a charity tournament down near hanover. Six gave him the nickname and so far I have seen him 5 times and the outfit has always been exactly the same.
- Belly Rub – The nickname has nothing to do with this guys appearance. Two weeks ago at the creekside tournament we got down to 18 players and we were standing around waiting to draw for seats. There was this baby faced white guy who was at my one table who in my opinion smoked his cigarrette like a woman. I don’t know how to explain it but he was so feminine about it. I notice the stupidist things about people when I’m trying to spot tells, and this would be a classic example. Anyway I’m standing there waiting for the two 9 player tables to get set up and this guy walks by me and wishes me good luck… but there’s more. I never talked to this guy at all at any point during the tournament. So the good luck isn’t that big of a deal…. but I wasn’t looking at him and he didn’t say it to anyone else so he kind of singled me out. Oh I almost forgot. When he said good luck HE GAVE ME A PAT/RUB ON MY BELLY. wtf. wtf…. wtf. Like I would have been ok with it if he had just taped me on the sholder or chest and said it. Fine what ever. But it was like he went to pat my chest instead hit the upper part of my belly and then did a brushing motion down to my belly button and gently lifted his hand away. That’s just weird… Who does that?
- Weekend Fag – I hate using that word but it’s perfect for this guy. This guy is a tall and thin white guy who wears semi tight jeans and a white button downed shirt with the top 3 or 4 buttons undone to expose his subtle growth of chest hair. The guy kind of looks gay, but not flaming or anything. He actually looks like he would be married with two kids, but everyother weekend “goes out of town on busiiness” and shacks up at a sleazy motel with his latin boy toy miguel who doesn’t understand why the two of them can’t show the world how much they love each other.
- Golf Pro Game – Remember that scene in Rounders where Mike and Worm go to the golf pro game. This guy always dresses like he could be one of the extras in that scene. He always wears a polo with some golf related crap on it. He’s fat but looks like he’d fit in perfectly on the golf course where he’d shoot in the mid to high 80’s but talks about how he once shot a 73 at this course.
- JF Look alike – Jeff Foxworthy look alike is a funny outgoing guy when he busts out early. When he makes it close or into the money he is angry redneck that blames luck for everything that goes wrong. Oh he also looks like Jeff Foxworthy’s stunt double.
- Wilford Brimley – This guy reminds me of a 40 yr old Wilfor Brimley. I’m guessing the majority of it is his beard, but he kind of talks like him, and i’m sure has some other mannerisms that coincide with wilford. On a side note I’ve noticed that Weekend Fag, Belly Rub Wilford Brimley are always talking to each other. I think they all are gay. WB looks like he would be the butch in the relationship while belly rub would be the submisive bitch. Weekend fag is still in the closet so by default he is the butch by virtue of the fact that he dictates to miguel when they do and don’t see each other.
- Small Pope – There is this one guy that looks like my buddy pope from college, but just smaller. I swear it’s like someone took pope and tossed him in the dryer on high heat and just shrunk him a little bit. I don’t think this kid rides the shit out of carrie booth, but one never knows.
- Strip Poker – Every so often you see a hot woman at these things. Then you look harder and realize that while they are attractive they are not drop dead gorgeous like you originally thought. Instead it’s the fact that this place is swarming with men, and some long tooth wives, so by comparison these women are amazing. Well today there was one woman who on first glance took my breath away… ok that’s a bit of poetic licence. On further examination she had a great body but face was only half decent and she was a little only like maybe mid 30’s i’m thinking. Ray and I both agreed that she was probably a striper or recently retired stripper. I can’t quantify my theory but i’m sure i’m right.
- Troll – Dude looks like a troll.
- Just Woke Up – The guy who won last week looks like he just rolled out of bed in time for the tournament. His hari is all matted down and greasy. He has grey baggy sweat pants on. A grey hoodie with a white t-shirt sticking out underneath it. Come on, tuck the t-shirt in and put on a hat and at least try to at least make an attempt not to look like you were running late for your 8:00 English Lit 101 class because the power in your dorm went off and it reset your alarm clock.
- First out – 2 out of 3 tournaments ray has played in has featured the same guy at ray’s starting table getting busted out on one of the first 10 hands. incidentally this guy has a jacked up head. You know those stress reliever heads that are basically rubber ballons shaped like a person’s head and filled with sand? Well you can push and squeeze them and distort them like crazy but they slowly pop back into shape. yeah it’s like someone played with this dudes head but it just never went back. He’s a nice guy just way to aggressive at the beggining of the tournaments.
- Crock Master – The only other guy with a stetson at these things is this guy ray named the crock master. For some reason this guy reminds me of billy bob thorton.
- Trans Am – This guy evidently hops in his time machine and leaves 1982 and travels to the present to play poker games. Back in his own time his slicked back hair and pornstash makes him one of the most desireable men on the block. Plus his kick as Transam drives the women crazy.
- Paulsy – There is this one rally nervous kid who when shufling takes half the stack in his right hand and the other half in his left and just smashes them together until the fit. He came in third at the pennbrook tournament 3 weeks ago and we ended up going through 34 decks of cards in a half hour time period cause he kept bending them. Rocco while watching this asked mace if this kid had paulsy or something. The kid later on just said he gets real nervous while shuffeling.
- Diesel – Remember when Kevin Nash first came into the WWF in the early 90’s… i think, and his name was diesel. Well this guy looks just like that with the pony tail and leather vest, the only difference is that this guy is only 5’10 and not 6’11.
- Need Sleaves – This one guy wears the same blue sleevles shirt too every tournament. I will do the same thing if I ever get biceps so large that normal shirts would not be able to contain my mamoth pythons. Otherwise this is never a good look.
- Sipowitz – This guy looks like sipowitz from NYPD Blue.
- Familiar looking multi national guy – I don’t know if this guy is black or latino or maybe dark skinned italian, but he looks sooooo farmiliar. Like I know there is some showbiz guy that looks just like him but I don’t know the name. Plus this guy looks like I should know him from the area like maybe i went to school with him. It just bugs the shit out of me that I can’t figure out why he looks so familiar.
Ok that’s all the charachters for now, allthough i’m sure there are more. Now it should be mentioned that all of these names are pure supericial labels and that everyone at these things are really nice people for the most part.
So here is how I finished in the money.
For the first hour or so I don’t play any hands except for 88 which I raise to 4x BB and take down the blinds and three callers. So I have just under 1000 (the starting number of chips) when I get K 3 of clubs in the big blind. I see the flop for free which is J J 9 with two clubs. This gives me 4 clubs. I bet the pot and the only person still in the hand calls. I get the 5th club on the turn and I check. She bets out another 200 and I go over the top all in. I know she has trip jacks but I won’t let her draw to a full house. She folds and it turns out she would have missed the full house. Two hands later I raise with A 10 when on the button everyone folds to me. The small blind calls and the big blind goes all in. I put 300 in the pot and now it costs 210 more to call. I call as does the blind. so there is 1530 in the pot. I catch two pair on the flop and river a full house. I check the whole way with the blind but bet 300 on the river. The small blind calls and shows A8 for aces up I have full house, and the big blind had AJ for aces up. I scoop the pot of 2130 and enjoy a chip stack of 2550.
I do nothing until the break and I come back from the break with 2100 chips. I loose 300 in blinds, and then I get AQ off in late position. I raise to 600 (3x BB) and get two callers. The flop is A J 9 with no flush draw. I bet 600 again and get two callers again. The turn is nothing important. And I go all in for my last 600. I get one caller and he has… nothing.. i forget but I’m pretty sure he was drawing dead. This gives me 5100 chips (the blinds both folded preflop) and some confidence. A little while later i’m in the big when the small blind says “I’ll call your 800 and raise you 1200 more” I tell him that’s just a call of the 800 since your not allowed to string bet. He knew what he did and conceded that flop which paired my two. We check down to the river which pairs my 9 giving me two pair. He checks again and eventhough I have two pair I check again. Why didn’t I bet? Because with a straight and flush draw, the only way he would call my river raise is if he had me beat. There was no advantage in raising at this point. So i won with 92 suited. Illllllll stupid string better.
A few hands latter I’m in late position with only the button and blinds left to act. It is 200 – 400 at this point and everyone folds to me. I see K 10 off and decide to steal the blinds. I still have 5100 so betting 1200 (3xBB) is not going to cripple me. The button immediatly goes all in for 200 total. Everyone folds and I have to call 800 to go after 3800. So i’m getting almost 5 to 1 so I have to call eventhough I announce that he has a dominate hand. I show my hand and he shows KK. This is way worse than I imagined. I would have been happy with anything other than AA or KK. When i look at this match up preflop using the cardplayer.com odds calculator i’m only going to win this matchup 10.1% of the time. So based off of pure pot odds giving the percentages this was a bad call on my part. But given the range of hands he was likely to go all in with now that the big blind repreents 1 fifth of his stack I think it was a good call. Plus I have to attempt a steal after being very passive and tight so far at this table.
Flop 10 9 5. Turn 3. River 10. I get three of a kind, knock this guy out on a bad beat and increase my chip stack to 7700. I felt bad at the time but in retrospect we both did the right thing. I was trying to steal the blinds he went all in with the a powerhouse, I got great pot odds to call. It should also be noted that about 20 or 30 hands early when I raised with A4 suited in late position this guy went all in with AK off. my raise was 3xbb and his all in would have been something like 10x BB so i didn’ get good odds at all but it showed he’d be willing to risk everything with AK which in my book means QQ also and maybe less when short stacked.
It should also be noted that even if I had lost that hand I would have still had 3100 chips and finished in the money since I really didn’t risk more than 900 on any one hand until the final table. Still I’m willing to admit i got lucky there.
At this point we were probably down to about 35 people and it didn’t take long for 15 more people to go out from other tables. I got moved to a table with two big stacks and 4 little stacks. I was lucky in the fact that I was able to take out 2 of the little stacks and increas my chips to 8900. I actually nocked out number 19, and number 18 on one hand. I then increased my chip stack to 14,00 before we got to the final table. I told ray I’d be pissed if I ended up in 8th again, but luckly two short stacks went out and I was able to take out the 8th place finisher. I got up to 19,000 in chips but a supper aggressive player to my right ended up knocking 3 people out while the soon to be winner knocked one person out. This left me with 1300 chips in the big blind when the blinds were 8,000 16,000. My k3 suited lost against 55. Even if I had won, I still would need to double up two more times before I could be a factor. What was nice is that in the course of two blinds I went from 7th to 3rd where I got about about an extra $100 over what I would have gotten in 7th if I had gotten impatient and gone all in.
So as of right now I have played 5 of these tournaments and won $985.00 for a total profit of $860.00 once you subtract the $125 in buyins.
Matt G asked me what my strategy is for these tournaments so here it is in the most basic of terms.
- Play tight early and if you do get good starting cards be very aggressive preflop so that you can drive out the really bad hands.
- Don’t try to outplay the weak opponents at the beggining of the tournament. They are too unpredictable so just let the cards decide the hands.
- Once the blinds start to go up and everyone tightens up the terible players will get eliminated because they play too losse and have to risk too much of their chip stacks. This is the time to get aggresive and steal pots as long as the few remaining donkeys aren’t in the hand.
- Be patient and wait for cards if you have a loose table image. If you have just stolen two blinds and you get A7 suited in middle position you might want to fold since people are probably doubting your raises.
- Pick on the short stacks when it gets close to the money. If you get a chance to put a small stack all in who is in a blind or has to act after you, go for it as long as not big aggressive stacks still have to act.
- Once you are down to the final two tables and are in the money sit back and wiat for your spot. If you have good hands push them, but don’t worry about stealing since a lot of plyers will call with marginals hands now that they are in the money. This is also the time that 4 or 5 people go out in the first 15 hands of 2 table play since lot of people just barely scrape into the money, usually with half a blind left to play with. Usually you can go from 18 handed to 9 handed without playing a hand or even paying more than one blind. This is usually an increase of close to $100 in payout.
- Once at the final table let your relative chip stack dictate how you play. If you have people covered try and knock them out by pushing them all in. Don’t call a lot of all ins though unless it’s really cheap. Obviously if you get top 10 hands you have to push no matter what.
That’s it as far as advice goes.
I’m tired and need some sleep.