Wednesday, February 17, 2010
The Poker Report
I don't write about it much, but I play a lot of poker. I started playing about two and a half years ago in the Rivoli's basement with my neighbors and their friends and their friends and so on. At the beginning, I was fantastically lucky (because I didn't know any better), then terrible for a long time (once I'd learned all the rules). Over the last three or four months, I've done really well. There are up to five games a week (usually only about three) and I've ended up either winning or splitting the pot almost each week. If I recall correctly, I've only been out of the money two weeks in the last four months. Since Saturday, I've done quite well: I took second on Saturday, fourth on Sunday (I knocked out five people and lost to some freakish luck) and second again last night. There were 19 players and the take for that was $95 - half of $190. What made it special is that there was one hand where I landed four aces. It's the first time I've ever done that. What's even better is that I knocked somebody out with it. Usually, when you have these really good hands, it's tough to get anyone to play. Earlier in the evening, I scared everybody away from my full house with a tiny bet. But my opponent took the bait and soon she was sitting on the sidelines, watching the action. I knocked out three others over the course of the evening. There are some people who are good table company. They have funny stories or weird things to say or whatnot. If you take their money and knock them out, you feel just a little bit bad. There was a guy at the table last night who wasn't one of those people. He was either quite dumb or mildly retarded or both. He seemed to have no short-term memory. He would ask what the blinds were every single hand. I'm not kidding. Every. Single. Hand. It was like playing cards with a goldfish. He also never knew when it was his turn, so he'd just drop chips on the table whenever he felt like it. After more than an hour of this nonsense, I started to get a little cranky at his dumbness. I tried to figure out a way to get rid of him. His style was completely reckless, but he managed to win big over the course of the evening. He also lost big, too. His biggest hit came when he walked into my pocket tens. I won the hand, 15,000 of his chips and knocked out the Rivoli's manager. But this guy was still in the game and he recovered somewhat over the next half hour or so. Yet he never knew what or where the blinds were or when it was his turn to bet. When guys annoy me like that, I try like hell to knock them out. In the past, this has always resulted in disaster. I generally lose everything. But I didn't rush things along and finally chose the right moment and knocked him out with three kings. It was really sweet. After that, all I had to do was wait for Angelique to knock out Kevin Bucket and then split the pot with her. She knocked me out on Sunday with some impressive luck. Last night, she was just as lucky, winning a series of really daft all-in bets. I could have continued on and tried for an undisputed win, but I've tried that as well once or twice and lived to regret it. I'm just fine with second place. Since the beginning of the year, I've had one first and about six second place finishes. I'm starting to feel like I can play the game reasonably well, so I just thought I'd mention it.