The set-up: slot hoki
26 players in a hotel conference room.
$50 buy-in with no rebuy.
Four tables covered in Green table cloths.
A couple cases of beer
$100T in chips
50 minute levels beginning at $1/$2 with a ten minute break at each increase
Top five finishers get paid.
The room was largely full of unknowns to me. I knew Teddy “Tight” Ballgame, the Rankster, Emerald City Derrick, Greenwood Phil, Tatwood, G-Rob, and slot hoki . The other 18 players were wild cards. I sized them up one by one, judging each card-holding book by its cover.
I got set the Diamond Table with this motley crew:
Seat One: Brad A-hat (not short for asshat, by the way)
Seat Two: David the Mute
Seat Three: Danny C-Gar
Seat Four: Otis (Otis LOVES drawing this seat by the way)
Seat Five: G-Rob
Seat Six: Mr. I’m going to get creamed by BadBlood’s quads so soon that I didn’t have time to properly introduce myself.
Seat Seven: BadBlood
Seat Eight: Stevie Broomcorn
I already knew BadBlood was the table favorite. I knew G-Rob would be loose, even though I told him to play tight. I figured Brad A-Hat and David the Mute for solid players and the rest of the guys to be middle of the road to poor. My pre-game predictions had BadBloood, Brad A-Hat, and me leaving the table alive.
I was wrong.
Memorable Hand #1–
During the first level, I’d done my best to establish myself as a tight player. I’d done everything I could, including proclaiming “TIGHT!” every time I raised (times that were very few and far between). I was within seconds of breaking out the old “tight as a 16-year old cheerleader” line when I looked down and saw pocket jacks.
I barely had the words out of my mouth when G-Rob announced, “Raise.”
Maybe he hadn’t heard me. See, I had said, “Raise.” By that I meant, “Get the hell out of my way, because I’m tight, see, and when I raise I have a hand that will make yours look like a kid who pissed his pants at recess. Move over.”
Before I could get a read on G-Rob’s re-raise, Brad A-Hat had called. I pondered the hand for a couple of seconds and simply called. I put G-Rob on a big ace (likely AK) and Brad A-Hat on tens.
The flop was as ugly as it could be. Three hearts (I didn’t have a heart) and an ace. I thought for a moment about betting out and trying to scare off the competition, but it was early and I hated the hearts and an overcard.
I checked, G-Rob bet, A-hat called, I folded.
The turn was a blank and the river brought another heart.
G-Rob turned up A8o. A-hat turned up A9o. A-hat’s nine was a heart and he raked the pot.
To review: G-Rob re-raised with a naked ace and A-Hat called a re-raise with a naked ace.
I thought about turning to G-Rob and asking him if he remembered me telling him to play tight, but decided to wait for another time.
Later, G-Rob forced David the Mute (a man who in an earlier hand didn’t re-raise on the river with the stone cold nuts) to lay down a hand and later claimed to be holding 37o. I still don’t believe it.
Memorable Hand #2–
One thing that’s not all that fun is to establish yourself as a rock then immediately find pocket aces. That’s what I did.
I wasn’t entirely sure how to make the most of the hand and immediately cursed myself for a raise that seemed too small the minute my chips hit the felt. I double cursed myself when I got two callers, Brad A-Hat and Danny C-Gar.
The flop was ragged as hell and ten-high. I loved the flop until A-Hat announced he was all in. C-Gar folded and it was to me. If I called him and lost I would be nearly out of chips.
I went in the tank and thought. First, A-Hat established early on that he was happy to almost play Any Two Cards. It had served him well on a couple of hands but in recent minutes he’d been floundering and was running out of chips. Second, an all-in bet seemed a little excessive if he’d flopped a set of tens. That left two possible hands as far as I was concerned. I fgured he either had AT or had flopped a ragged two-pair.
I returned from the tank, counted out more than 2/3 of my stack and called.
A-Hat turned up K6o for a king-high stone-cold, risking his tourament life bluff that ran smack dab into my two aces…which held up beautifully.
BadBlood started laughing at me for taking so long to call with aces.
I reiterated, “Tight,” but in my head I was thinking…caliente.
Memorable Hand #3–
I knew it would happen eventually, although I had been purposefully avoiding it. I got into a hand with BadBlood.
Not too long after my pocket aces, I found snowmen, 88, in middle position. I raised (altough not very big, as I recall) and BadBlood cold-called.
The flop: JJT.
I believe I checked the flop, fearing that BadBlood might’ve cold-called with AJ or AT on the button. He checked as well. The turn was a blank. The river, another jack.
At this point, I don’t figure BB for a ten, jack, or big pair anymore. He woud’ve made me pay for that. So, there I sat with jacks full of eights. It’s not a hand I’m willing to risk my tourney on, but I start to think it’s good and bet it. BB called and turned over pocket nines, the only hand I didn’t consider that could’ve beat me.
He said he’d put me on a big ace. I couldn’t tell if my eights scared him or confirmed what he probably believed all along: I was playing too tight for my own good. If my preflop raise had been a little bigger and I had been aggressive on the flop, I think I could’ve won the hand.
With that, I went into the second break with nearly the same amount of starting chips I had to start the touramament.