Sunday, March 30, 2014

Poker?? I Don't Even KNOW Her!

Well, this weekend it was time for the grand annual Hold 'Em poker tournament put on by the organizers of what I used to call "the doctor game." This was because so many participants were doctors.  It was in contrast to another game known as the "stoner game." I called it thusly for obvious reasons.  Since I'm not in that circle anymore, there is just one game, so forget I said anything about it.

Anyhow, it's a day-long game that offers a pretty hefty payout.  Two years ago, I won it.  Last year, I did not.  In addition, it was absolutely no fun.  There were more than a few "serious" players present, so table conversation was at a minimum.  The mood was grim and competitive.  It was a drag.  I made it clear that I wasn't interested in attending if it was like the previous year.  After all, if I'm gonna pay $200, I want to have a little fun in the process.

This year was quite different.  It was a smaller group, people were much friendlier and, at times, it was very lively.  I didn't win again, but I did finish 5th out of 16.  If it wasn't for one little nasty 4, the results would have been much different.  Bill knocked me out.  He had my number all day.  But I managed to knock a few guys out and that's always fun.  You know what's really fun?  Getting a straight flush.  Here is a dramatic recreation of my cards:
Although big hands are exhilarating, it's often very tough to get people to bet into you, i.e. enticing them to part with their money.  I only won a little bit on this hand, because it was just one other person and me.  But this is the first straight flush I've even gotten in competition.  I've gotten four of a kind, also known as quads, many times.  When you have that, it's really hard to get people to bet, because everybody pretty much knows what you have, so once again, the payout can be minimal.

This particular tournament had three phases: singles, doubles and tournament proper.  Singles are generally rapid fire.  You can play two hands a minute if you feel so inclined.  I like to slow things down a little.  Doubles is this really wacky configuration where you have a partner, but only one of you can play the hand at a time.  So if your teammate is a shameless and aggressive bluffer and your play is tighter, you can drive each other nuts.  But it's pretty useful to harmonize styles.  The tournament proper is just one of those big-table affairs.  We started with eight guys each on two tables.  And if you don't bust out, it continues for hours.  A lot of people aren't in shape for that kind of time commitment and end up making very wacky bets that end their evenings.  You can always tell who they are, because they go all-in on every hand.  Or bet heavy with junk hands and then play them poorly.  Like I said, I played the tournament well.  I chased a few things, but nothing that got me into any trouble.  I put together my nice straight flush.  I made it to the final table, won more hands, knocked guys out and busted out around midnight.  It was really not bad.  The company was pleasant and the chairs were comfortable.   

No comments: