Sunday, April 24, 2005

Eight in the afternoon

Time for another live poker (NLTHE) tournament in the nearby city.

In the words of The Iggmeister, an überpost:

I leave around lunchtime by train and get there an hour and a half before the tournament starts, so I wander around. At a square there are some market stalls, and one of them sells jewelry. I'd kinda like a poker or gambling themed ring or ear-thingy (I have a piercing there that hasnt closed) but don't find any there. What I do find is a copy of The One Ring, to be worn on a leather cord around the neck. Gold plated bronze. I get one. A lucky charm to go with my lucky HappyPants that I wore two weeks ago when I won that tournament.

In my pocket I also have (for luck?) a coin I found in a little "collection" I have. A 1968 Kennedy half dollar. A large coin I might do knuckle rolls with instead of with a poker chip. Everybody has chips, many can do tricks, but not everybody have a big piece of silver to play with.

And speaking of rings, and of poker: How to make a coin ring

After a McDonalds meal, off to the place where the tournament will be held. On to the poker!

This time, it's a rebuy+addon tournament, instead of freezeout as earlier. There are twentysix entrants, six places paid. Some faces I recognize, and there's even one female player.

The playing starts. I'm careful and don't do much, only minor ups and downs in my stack. Getting a bit low. I flop an open-ended straight draw and go all-in, and get one caller who commits his whole stack. He has a (low) pair. Oops, maybe this wasn't such a good play after all... But it's my time to be a river rat, the eight I needed comes on the river and I get a lot of chips, he has to make a rebuy.

After the three first rounds, where you can make a rebuy, there is one addon opportunity. All started off with 1000 in chips. I have 1800 now so I'll make the addon to get 2800.

More play. If I remember it correctly, here's what happens. I get AA, American Airlines, pocket rockets. Only raise (substantially but not heavily), gets called by one (same guy that I river-straighted), the flop comes with low cards. He checks, I say "all-in". He ponders and ponders and then calls. He turns over a pocket pair of sixes and it's oh so sweet to turn over the Aces. No help from the turn or the river and he's OUT.

It's now after the rebuys and addons that the playing really starts. Only two out of the twentysix have opted not to continue after losing all their chips.

One minor move I made was to raise under the gun pre-flop when it seems like noone is going to make a big play, managed to steal quite some blinds with that. Hey, I'm getting the hang of all this poker terminology!

I have quite a stack now, 4-5000 sometimes, and according to the projection on the wall from The Tournament Director (a good piece of software for managing a poker tournament with four to many-many-lots players) there is 64000 in circulation. I pull of a bigger intimidation move: I very visibly look at another player's (across the table from me) stack, one of the shortstacked guys, and make as if I'm counting it (which I am). He notices it, and mentions it! "So, do you have intentions of getting my chips," he asks. (Well, duh!?) "Yup." Smile confidently, turn to look at the rests of the players and their chips. "And those, and those, and those." Talk about table image.

I'm moved to another table to keep them balanced. When doing that, I inadvertently make another sweet move that carries my table image over to the new table immediately. You see, when moving my stack(s), I have to make two trips! I don't fail to mention that. "Sorry for the minor delay, fellas, hadda make two trips to move all my chips."

What's all this talk about "moves" then? Well, I know how to play poker - the rules of the game - and so does the other players. A full house, threes full of sevens, beats three big aces. Four deuces beats five spades.

So you can't just play the cards, you have to play the stacks and the players too.

As when I showed my flopped king-high straight even after noone called. Then they'll associate me with strong hands ("Ooh, that guy gets good cards." or "He only plays great hands.") So when I play aggressively with second-rate hands, they'll be less inclined to stand up to me.

I also try to alternate my appearance so that I hopefully don't give away any tells. Mix it up a lot, so I don't for example subconsciously protect my cards with a chip only at those times when I'm going to play. If I'm going to fold, why not count my chips as if I'm going to bet them? Or doing just so when I really am going to call/raise? Depending on what the situation requires. Do I want the opponents to waste their chips, do I want a bet?

And being meek when raising or going all-in with The Nuts. But I don't go for the "acting like a beginner" style. You know, asking lots of questions and being uncertain about how and when to act.

It's nice to be the chip leader :-D

Now let me tell you about how I got knocked out.

As always in no-limit games, there are one or two hands that make or break you.
First one. I have King-8 on hand and flop a pair of eights. There are two diamonds on the table. A guy goes all-in and I call (I have more chips than him). For now I have him beat, because he has "just" a flush draw, with two diamonds on hand. Turn is no help, but a diamond comes on the river. But it was only half my stack...

Second one. I get snowmen, 88, pocket pair of eights. I raise, same guy as before goes all-in, I call. As I suspected, he has nothing, JQ on hand. The flop, no help for him. The turn, no help for him. The river... A Queen.

And I'm out at thirteenth place out of twentysix. Being sucked out on the river makes it easier to bear.

This was an afternoon and early evening of eight. The eight-high straight that boosted me up. The pairs of eights where I lost. It's karma coming back to bite me in the ***, see! An Ace can be worth 1, and there's seven cards in Texas Hold-em (seven plus one = eight, see!?) out of which you make a five-card hand. Cut an eight in half and you get a 3 (five plus three = eight, see?!). Divide eight and you get four (four plus four = eight see!?!?). It all adds up! It all comes together!

With conspiracy theorist greetings, this is Martin signing off.

Wookies don't live on Endor

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