Monday, May 15, 2006

American Cancer Society Home Game

My wife and I got an invite from Shelly to a home NL re-buy tournament. The hosts were having a poker tournament to raise money for the American Cancer Society. Instead of getting pledges and donations and what not they had this re-buy tourney and donated 25% to the ACS. I thought it was a GREAT idea and told her my wife and I would be there.

We secured babysitting and looked forward to the night getting here. Those of you out there with multiple children may know that nights out with just the wife get fewer and farther between. Maybe all of you with one child have no trouble but we have three children ages 4 and under. Let me tell you, there’s not a stampede of people wanting to rush over and watch our kids. It’s not that they aren’t well behaved because they are very well behaved kids. It’s just that there are three of them ages four and under. That says it all. We’re lucky to have lots of family in the area willing to take on the task from time to time. We planned to go to dinner in the area prior to going to the tournament. We went to a Mexican restaurant that was pretty good but couldn’t match up with the fact that I just got to actually talk to my wife without being interrupted 10,000 times every two minutes.

My wife was a little nervous because she rarely plays poker. She hears me talk about it way too much (I say “hears” because I think she rarely listens) and understands the basics. She knows her hand and how strong it potentially is but needs a little slower pace than the one we found for other facets of the game. She enjoys the home games that are more casual and laid back. I thought this one might lean a little toward the casual conservative side being it had the charity aspect. I was wrong….sorry honey. The tourney was full of poker playing junkies of various types. The conversation was mostly poker and I was enjoying myself.

I was glad to see Shelly was there already when we arrived close to 7pm (Thanks Shelly!). For some reason I thought we were supposed to start at 7pm and didn’t want a ton of down time before getting started. I was wrong and we were SUPPOSED to start at 7:30pm. You know how that goes with home tournaments. There were 13 total by the time we started and I drew the table of 6, which I loved. I also was glad my wife was at the same table and seated just to the left of Shelly. In a home tourney like this one it’s impossible to completely split all facets of friends/family/etc to different tables so it was just a straight random assignment. I appreciated Shelly’s help to my wife with regards to action being on her and the comments to her about girl’s sticking together and what not. I think it helped make her more comfortable. THANKS Shel!

I bought my wife and I both in for the initial buy-in plus the re-buy right off the bat so we each started with T3000. You had to drop below T1500 to re-buy so my plan was to see how the table was playing but take chances with hands during the re-buy period and look to flop a monster. I think my starting table was the better table to be at for me as I hoped to control most of the action and was fairly successful at picking up many of the orphan pots as a result. The other table ended up with more overall chips due to more re-buys overall and I think there were more playing more aggressively over there. I think I mixed my game up decently and my chip stack was in flux for the first four levels. I twice made the mistake of betting into the nuts (or close to it) twice with draws that wouldn’t have been good even if they got there so there were a couple of times I put dead money into the pot but overall the pots I picked up along the way more than made up for those couple of times. One pot was against Shelly when I raised pre-flop with suited J 10 and she called (maybe one other caller). The flop came K Q Q and I bet into her. She smooth called and warning sirens should have been going off in my head. I don’t even remember what the turn or river brought but I can tell you it wasn’t an Ace or a 9 and that’s a good thing because Shelly had K Q and called my turn bet before raising all-in to my river bet and I had to muck. Another hand I called Shelly’s pre-flop raise with K K and the flop was 10 high. I figured she had one of three hands: Aces, Queens, or Jacks with the outside chance of A K which was more unlikely since I had two Kings and we were 6 handed. She bet out on the flop and I called. There were two spades on the flop and the King of spades hit the turn. She bet into me (correct me if I’m remembering wrong Shelly) and I raised to put her all-in which wasn’t that much more. I figured even if she had the flush I had 9 outs to pair the board. She had Jacks with the Jack of spades. No spade on the river and she re-bought. The guy to my left Mike was getting tired of folding to my bets when it checked to me on the flop. He started saying out loud in an aggravated tone, “I know you don’t have anything” as he folded. I raised another pot with J 10 and the guy on my right called from the big blind. The flop came 10 high rainbow and he pushed all-in almost instantly. He was short stacked and we were still in the re-buy period. I called thinking he either had a set or was getting tired of me taking pots away from him when he checked to me. He turned over 10 5o and wasn’t thrilled with my J 10 which held up. He said he planned when he called on pushing if a 10 hit thinking I had over cards and admitted he shouldn’t have even been in the hand.

The thing was there were times I was taking the pot with nothing when it checked to me. There were times I was taking the pot with middle pair when it was checked to me. There were times I was taking the pot with top pair or better when it was checked to me. The thing was it kept checking to me. Or at least it felt like it was checked to me a lot. Another example: The guy on my right raised pre-flop and I called with 10 9s. The flop came K 9 4 and he checked to me. I bet roughly the pot and he mucked his pocket queens face-up mumbling how he hates queens because every time he has them Aces and Kings hit the board. Newsflash!!!! We were 6 handed (Maybe 5 handed at that point)! Bet and see if you can see where you’re at in the hand. I’m going to bet middle pair every time in that spot and sometimes with nothing depending on who’s in the hand and my read on them.

I made the final table with a healthy chip stack but the blinds were increasing rapidly. We lost a couple and were down to six. I had raised a couple of times and had to fold to a lot of action either pre-flop or post-flop that missed me. I lost a chunk of my stack when I was dealt KK in the big blind. UTG raised all-in with a short stack and was called in one spot before I re-raised all-in and the caller folded. UTG didn’t want to flip his cards and had 9 3o. He hit a four card straight on the river and dented my stack. I had about 8X the BB due to losing when I raised and was re-raised by a shorter stack all in. It wasn’t that much more to call with my pocket sixes so I did and I lost to A Q when an Ace came along on the flop. I folded A Qo to a raise and a re-raise all-in by a bigger stack than mine. I was dealt A9s it was raised enough to put me all in. I thought for a few moments. The blind level buzzer went off so blinds and antes were going up. I was going to be in the big blind. I said this might be a horrible call and then called! It was a horrible call. He had A Jo and had me dominated. We both caught an Ace and no clubs or 9 came and I went out 6th.

I had a great time and hope to play with that group again. My wife had been sleeping on the couch for the hour or two before I got knocked out. I’m going to go out on a limb and say no one else in that house had kids as conversations turned to how late everyone was going to sleep in the next morning. We always know how late we will sleep in. It’s roughly the same everyday. 6 A.M. when the kids get up. Sometimes it’s as early as 5 and by the grace of God as late as 7 (rarely). Of course it was Mother’s Day which meant I didn’t lay there and roll over when I heard the kids expecting my wife to take care of them. I handled it. Here’s hoping I make the money at the next one. You can guarantee I’ll be playing to win!

Baz Out