The Thanksgiving weekend provided me with the chance to play live poker not just once, but twice as a friend of mine, Bass, had his annual Blackjack & Poker tournaments, and then on the following evening I was hosting the second Cream City Poker League circuit event at my place. Bass likes to refer to his "casino" as the Bases Bay Casino. I have yet to come up with a name of my "casino/poker room", so if anyone has suggestions please leave it in your comments...and yes, I'm serious.
I haven't played live poker in over a month. With the way my work schedule has had me shuffling I just haven't had time or the opportunity, so I was really looking forward to some action. Bass had his blackjack tournament first, and of the 30+ players I took 9th. Unfortunately, Bass was paying 8 players in the blackjack tournament...Doh! We ended up having about 40 players for the Texas Hold 'em portion of the evening. The tournament started at 8:30pm. I did very well early in the tournament, catching some big hands and getting paid for them, too. I made the final table, and I was probably 3rd in chips when we started the final table. I didn't get very many hands at the final table, though. I had enough chips and got just enough hands to keep me floating until we got to 4-handed play, and then I started to get short stacked. I managed to pick up a couple of pots, and eventually I was able to get heads up with Tim. Tim had a fantastic run at the final table, and even though we played 4-handed for what seemed like an hour, Tim propmptly knocked out Tesch (4th), Adam (3rd), and myself (2nd) all in about 10 minutes. The tournament wrapped up around 2:40am, so it was very long tournament, but it was a good time. Tim's final hand (A6) of two pair, Aces and Sixes, beat my hand, pocket Fives, in a classic race situation. Nice job, Tim!
The following evening I was participating in the second event of the Cream City Poker League (CCPL). I missed the first event while I was in London, so I was itching to play. I was almost too eager as I found myself down 750 chips out of the 2000 chips with which we started when I got a little over involved with 4th pair on a board of 5-6-8-3-K. Oops! I was able to double up a little later though when I the following hand played out between myself and Anne:
Me: 2-2 Anne: A-7 blinds 25/50 (3rd level) Me: approx 1450 chips Anne: approx 1600
I limped with my 2s, Anne limped along with me, and the blinds both called. The flop was: 7d-6c-2c, giving me the bottom set. The blinds checked, and so did I. Anne bet 150, the blinds folded, and I decided to call. Even though there was a potential flush draw out there, I don't always mind giving a card when I've got a set since there are so many outs to a full house or better, too. Well, the turn was almost a perfect card for me: 7c! This gave me the full house (2-2-2-7-7), and if Anne was playing the flush draw she just hit it on the turn. I checked again, and Anne bet 250. I would only have about 1000 left if I just called, so I decided to move all in for the remainder of my stack. Anne called with her trip 7s-Ace kicker, and I was fortunate to dodge any Aces, Sixes, or the remaining Seven to win the hand.
Play would continue through the evening. I wasn't doing a good job of keeping track of hands like I normally do since I was doing shots of cold Southern Comfort more often than needed when Adam decided that I should be doing them every time I voluntarily played a hand. We were all having a good time. I do remember the Pizza Delivery phone call prank that we played on Jim, the father of one of the players at the game. That was awesome! Very well done! I also remember seeing quad Kings during play (sorry, Igs) that was pretty impressive. Eventually, play got down to heads up play between myself and Ken. Ken got pocket Jacks when I got pocket 6s to double him up once, and then right after that I got pocket 6s again when Ken got Ace-King, and he hit the necessary card to eliminate me in second place...again! Two second place finishes in two days isn't bad.
There was one hand I did want to go over that I thought was kind of interesting. It took place between Jeff and one of the newcomers to the CCPL, Melissa. It was interesting in the way it played out and I had the opportunity to talk with Jeff about it during a break.
Jeff: KK Melissa: JJ blinds 10/15 (1st level) Jeff: approx 2000 chips Melissa: about same
These are two very big hands for seven-handed play. We started the tournament with 7 players at our table and that hadn't change here yet. Jeff raised preflop, and if I remember correctly, Melissa just called. The flop hit the board 9-x-y (I remember it was 9-high). Jeff bet, and Melissa called. The turn was either a 7 or 8. Jeff bet again, and Melissa called. The river put a T (10) out there, and now Jeff checked. Melissa bet, but her bet was only 150. With all the action up to this point the pot was about 700 or 800 chips. Jeff called, and showed his pair of Kings to Melissa's pair of Jacks. I commented at the time that the river check was interesting by Jeff. After discussing it with Jeff and thinking about it some more, I guess it wasn't the river check that was interesting as much as it was that the pot didn't get a lot larger earlier than it did. Had it been me with a 9-high flop, I probably would have done some more raising with the Jacks at the flop, which I think would have led to both players getting it all in on the flop or turn. However, once the whole board was put out, I guess the thing to keep in mind (and Jeff mentioned this, too) is that he only had a pair of Kings. The board did have at least one potential straight, and depending on what you put your opponent on for a hand, if they were playing connectors and had hit the flop, there was a decent chance that two pair could have been in play there, too. By checking you give yourself the opportunity to throw it away if the river bet is too much, but you can still call if your opponent value bets the river like what ended up happening. The other thing to keep in mind was that this was the first level of the tournament, and with the blinds as small as they are in relation to the starting stacks you've got room to maneuver and it's not necessary to get over involved in a pot where the whole board is showing if you only have a pair. One pair with the whole board showing isn't exactly a monster hand. Preflop, obviously it's a lot different, but that wasn't the case here. Anyway, I thought the hand was interesting and thought it merited some discussion here.