Monday, March 20, 2006

Blonde Bash

Well, that didn't quite go as I'd hoped.

Not that I had a bad time, but I was severely annoyed with myself for how I played.

My recent lack of NLH and live play combined with a bout of something approaching stage fright saw me manage to exit a freezout twice before the break.

Confused? Let me explain.

Due to the large number of runners, and limited size of The Cincinatti Club, the field was split into two flights. Afternoon, and evening. As a double-chance freezout it was 3000 chips to start, with another 3000 to be taken at any time in the first three levels.

The survivors from both flights would battle for the prizes in a late night session. At least, that was the plan.

As one of the afternoon players, I made it into Glasgow with Teacake and Patman around 12.45. They headed straight to the club, while I detoured to the pub for a hearty lunch to line my stomach.

When battle commenced I found myself on a table where I wasn't familiar with anyone except the dealer, and even then only by reputation. Tight End is a very nice guy, and kept the action moving well.

Unfortunately, he also dealt me a succession of the trashiest cards imaginable. Which in retrospect may have been a good thing, since it at least kept me out of trouble for a while.

Whenever this happens, I usually console myself with the thought that a tight table image should have larcenous advantages as the blinds become worth stealing.

So, when I looked down at my first decent hand of the afternoon - JJ under the gun - I wondered whether I'd get any action.

I certainly did. A re-raise from a mid position player. Hmmm. Given my lack of activity, the only hands I could see that could reraise me were ones I was either a massive dog to, or a slight favourite over. Out of position, and needing to put a sizeable chunk in just to see a flop, a fold seemed prudent.

The raiser claimed later to have had AK.

The next hand of note, which backed up my feeling about my image, saw me make a raise with AQ. One of the guys at the opposite end of the table made an ostentatious fold, saying 'you've either got Aces or Kings'.

The flop came Q high, which was a welcome sight, and my bet took it down. The ostentatious folder later told me he had Jacks and was convinced I had a bigger pair.

I wasn't taking notes, but I'm pretty sure that was the only two hands I played until my elimination. With level three making the blinds significant, my stack was diminishing so I took the extra chips.

Almost immediately I got into a confrontation with a newcomer to the table, seated directly to my right.

Facing his pre-flop raise, I looked down at TT. I contemplated a reraise, but not having much information on him I decided to see a flop.

The 5 high flop looked very nice to a pair of tens, so when he made a standard continuation bet, I was quite happy to reraise. Only for him to push all-in.

By now I was pretty much pot committed, and didn't have much choice but to call knowing I needed a miracle. Sure enough, he showed QQ and with no help for me I was on the rail two hands before the break.

Really I was pretty disappointed with myself, since I hadn't made a move all afternoon. Maybe it's not being familiar with anyone on the table, or maybe it was lack of match practice, but either way I was paralysed for most of the session, and just let it pass me by.

Whilst loitering at the bar, I heard a suggestion made that there might be a rebuy opportunity. The situation being that several late cancellations from the evening flight had left an imbalance in the numbers.

And so it was, that the afternoon evictees were offered the chance to buy back in to flight two.

From a competitive point of view, I felt pretty bad about this, but seeing as it was primarily a social event, I didn't feel TOO bad about taking the opportunity.

I did find a pen, and amended my 'Div' nametag with a Zee Justin suffix in recognition of my second chance. Just a little poker humour.

Taking my seat for flight two, I found myself on something of a TV table, with Blonde Poker deputy supremo Tikay across from me, forum moderator (and dealer from flight one) Tight End to my left, and no less a poker luminary than reigning Blonde Poker champion and Late Night Poker legend Simon 'Aces' Trumper directly to my right.

Bloody hell! Still, that's the fun of the forum. Getting the chance to observe better poker players at close quarters.

I'd given myself a bit of a shake by now, and tried to get a bit more LAGish, albeit opportunities were somewhat limited as there were raises coming from all directions.

The first chance I got to open raise was with A8s. Not a hand I particularly liked, but I was consciously trying to be a bit more active.

So, I wasn't too chuffed to pick up a mid-position caller, and even less chuffed when Tikay moved all-in from the blinds.

Not having taken the second chance yet, I would have been inclined to call if I was heads up with Tikay, but I was more concerned about the caller.

So, it was a pretty easy fold. When the caller also folded, Tikay showed 22, and the caller said he'd folded AQ.

Which made my fold look eminently sensible. As Tight End pointed out, it was a very nice squeeze play.

My only other hands of note on the TV table got me involved with Tikay and Aces.

A TT pre-flop raise picked up a call from Tikay in the blinds. The Ace high flop wasn't entirely welcome, but when Tikay checked to me, a decent bet took it down.

He seemed to think the flop was to my liking, presumably having me on a big ace.

Later, on my BB, it was folded around to Aces in the SB who completed.

At which point I looked down to see AK. A nice hand to be sure, but after some consideration not one I wanted to play through against Aces.

The blinds by now were diminishing my stack, so a standard raise would pretty much commit me to the pot. Slow playing didn't appeal to me, so the only option was to push. An overbet, but the only sensible bet in my mind.

Aces obviously didn't have much of a hand as he folded fairly quickly.

If I'd had more chips to play with, I'd have liked to play a flop against him, just for the experience, but having already donked out once, I didn't want to give myself the opportunity to do it again!

Almost immediately our table was broken and at my new table I was seated directly to the left of fellow TPTer Rod Paradise, with The Sheriff to my left. I didn't last long.

After Rod had open limped from MP, I found myself looking at 66. Rod's more than a little loose, so his hand range here is so big it's hardly worth contemplating.

Again, I was in a situation where a sensible raise commits me, and with only four other players to get through, I decided to lump them all-in.

A pretty transparent bet, but one that needs a decent hand to call.

Unfortunately The Sheriff was holding JJ, and after some contemplation re-raised all-in, prompting folds from the blinds, and Rod.

An ace high flop brought a wail of anguish from Rod, who had apparently limped, then folded, AQ!

No help for me and I was out (again!).

It was pretty obvious the tournament was going to last well into the wee small hours, and I wasn't really in the mood for Sit-N-Go's or cash games, so I took the chance to chat to a few of the visitors, including the very personable Rivercard, and the delightful Chili Pepper whose personality is equally as nice as her legs!

Unfortunately the place was so jammed a lot of the Blonde hierarchy were run off their feet keeping the action going, and I didn't get the chance to say as many hellos as I'd have liked.

So, I wimped out and headed home early enough to catch a late bus, leaving Rod and Teacake to make the final table - with Teacake making a very respectable third in an extremely tough field, including outlasting WSOP bracelet holder Brian Wilson.

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