Monday, February 09, 2004

The Michigan Poker Blogger Crossover Game

It'll be good to have Royal in the next one, perhaps when Soaring Eagle reopens their poker room.

In any case, the MPBCG I featured BG and LordGeznikor, along with the famous Gil, known to one and all as the other half of "Dan and Gil's Magical Mystical Musical Variety Hour," although if he's actually known as that to anybody anywhere in the universe, then that person is on drugs, because I made that up.

BG's big reason for inviting us, he said, was that he wanted to test his mettle against someone else who cares how good his game is. As it happens, I do care how my game is, because I happen to be a newly-minted poker pro.

There ended up being two tables, one of seven and one (ours) of six. As luck would have it, BG, Gil, and I all ended up on the same table, along with one player who was OK but was getting drunk, one person who had a clue about the game, but it sucks to be fifth-best at the table, and one player who seemed to be brand-new. I'd assign them the nicknames "Drunkie," "Clue-boy," and "Newbie," but it's irrelevant. Clue-boy goes out early, and Newbie isn't far behind, but I think before Newbie goes out my first big hand happens.

I'm not that impressed with my play early on. I had some nice cards -- KK, TT, JJ, AK -- but I fail to extract a lot of chips from the other players with them. And when I am in on a marginal hand, I generally lose, so by the time the first big hand happens I'm only about even.

The big hand is the one BG alluded to on his site. The blinds are 10 and 20 at this point. If I'm about even (1000), BG probably has about 1400. BG is, I believe, the big blind. Newbie and Gil might or might not have called the big blind, I don't recall, but I looked down at QQ and made it 200 to go. (QQ is a great hand but there are eight cards which can easily make someone a better hand, so what I really want is to get headsup with someone -- although I'd be OK with taking the blinds.) BG decides to be that someone, raising it to 600. If anybody else was in the hand, they're gone now, and it comes back to me. There are only three hands that he could have that I'd be worried about. If he had AA or KK, I'm screwed, and if he had AK I'm only a slight favorite. Anything else, and I'm a big favorite. So I go all-in. (Even a call would pot-commit me, truly.) Now BG goes into the tank for a bit. He says he doesn't believe I've got the bullets, and calls me.

He then flips over KT♥. I catch a Q on the flop, and he's toast.

I don't like his call here. If he thought I was trying to steal the blinds, his making it 600 might have been a good move, but he definitely should have folded to my all-in. He said he had me on QQ or JJ after I went all-in, too, and if he believed that then the call was even worse -- he was dominated, and only a K would save him. He can feel good about his read of my hand, but he made a bad call.

In no-limit, you usually only get one mistake, and BG is out on the next hand, followed quickly by Newbie, and they combine the tables for the "final table." (The top three were in the money, but 10/13 of it went to first.)

This ends up going very quickly, as we double the blinds -- already 25 and 50 -- every time someone goes out. I double up (nearly) on my second Big Hand:

I have AA, and make a decent raise preflop out of the small blind ... let's say to 200. One caller. Flop is (let's say) J62. No help to anyone there, so I put in 400. Called, and I'm concerned but figure my opponent has a big jack so I'm not really that concerned. Turn is a 4, still no help, so I bet 600, and the other guy goes all-in (for a raise of about 150). Obviously I call, and he flips over J2, for two pair. Now I need some serious help, but somehow the poker gods were smiling on me, because the river is a 4, pairing the board, and now my two pair beats his two pair.

I've now got a pretty monstrous chip lead, but Gil puts the next few people out, so he amasses a pretty nice stack himself. I double up the player who ends up being third, and then double up Gil (which really hurts, and makes him the chip leader). Then I put Drunkie out on another lucky hand that leaves him muttering. (Actually, I think his name was Justin, and I believe he is the "other" good player that BG occasionally mentions from his home game.)

Three-handed takes a while, even though the player who ends up being third is in danger of being blinded out. I believe the third Big Hand takes place with, umm, "Thirdie" still in the game.

I attempt to limp in with 89♣, but Gil makes it two bets (800, I think). I reluctantly call. Thirdie, I believe, folds his small blind. The flop is (say) 479, and Gil goes all-in. Now it's my turn to go into the tank. Gil is a solid player, but no-limit isn't his game either, and so the most likely thing for him to have is A9. In my attempt now to reconstruct what I was thinking at the time, I come up with two reasons for my call: First, I was OK with Gil winning the tournament, because I'd get my shot at that money on another day. Second, y'know, hey, what the fuck. I call, and Gil shows 33 -- he went all-in on an underpair believing I wouldn't make a marginal call. The turn and river offer neither of us extra help, and I double up, and am again the chip leader.

When I put Thirdie out (more lucky catches, I think), Gil and I are heads up with me having a big chip lead. I double him up, take some blinds back, and finally when I raise a hand, he reraises all-in, which isn't much so I call. He's the favorite, but I catch, and the tournament is over.

I chuckled a lot on the way home -- I knew about half the field tonight was going to be weak, but I expected that either Gil or I would make a fatal mistake that would put one of us out early. I wouldn't have picked Gil and I to take first and second even if we were the best players in the room, which -- well, maybe we were, I don't know. But tournaments, especially no-limit tournaments, include a large luck factor. I would have picked BG to place higher, too. Justin (Drunkie) said when he sat down something to the effect of "Wow, I have to sit with the ringers," and as it happened, we were.

I'm curious if we get invited back.