"See, your mom is the steady one. That's okay in small doses. Me... I am the risk taker. That's why I have so many adventures."- Homer SimpsonWow. What a night, eh? I must begin with a quick thanks to Iggy for organizing the event. He did a great job. In a ultra competitve genre/sport/hobby such as poker, it's extremely rare to see a flourishing community come together and support each other... to the extent that I have witnessed over the last few months. Yes, Iggy the poker player always had my respect, but Iggy the person basks in my admiration. He spearheaded the daunting attempt to help mold a community of like minds. I never would have met many of you without his site and his constant dedication to the world of poker and poker bloggers and JKs. I thank you kind sir... for your vision, hard work, your loyalty to your peers, and your friendship. For your efforts, I applaud you.
I would also like to thank the Academy for this award. I am truly humbled and honored. I would like to thank my agent, my lawyer, my drug dealer, my bookie... oh wait! That's from my Oscar acceptance speech... sorry about that. I got caught up in the moment. Where was I? Oh, yeah. Back to poker.
I got to my Mom's apartment around 8:30pm. I can't play at my place with my iBook. I log on and hit the True Poker lobby early. I sat next to Felicia Lee and chatted her up at the bar. I was not as nervous like last time and I was happy to see we had almost 28 players. Then it was time... I turned the cellphone off, took a deep breath and sipped some green tea.
Seat 1: WabonLevel 1: I lost two early pots with Aces... my A-8 and A-J were losers. I won my first hand with K-J when I flopped: J-2-J. I went all-in on the turn when a Q fell. I had $1368, fifth at my table and Grubby was the table chip leader.
Seat 2: Felicia Lee
Seat 3: Liquid Swords
Seat 4: BGAL100
Seat 5: Al Can't Hang
Seat 6: Frobozz (Grubby)
Seat 7: Iggy (nice cleavage)
Seat 8: Pauly
Seat 9: Grubette
Seat 10: Chris Halverson
Level 2: I got 7-7 in the Big Blind. Everyone folded to Iggy (a.k.a McBoobs) in the LB. He bet. I raised. He called. Flop: Q-J-10. Iggy bet $330 and I folded. D'oh! I missed my flop. Then, I bullied Al Can't Hang in the next hand when I got K-3 on the button. The flop: 4h-Kh-Q. I went all in and Al folded. I have $1428. A few hands later I caught AKo, went all in from middle position and everyone folded. The next hand, Grubette got pocket Aces. Sweet.
9:28 pm... the word was out... CNN flashed it across their news ticker... first one knocked out was HDouble! No friggin' way! The blinds went up and I'm in 10th place overall, 3rd at my table with $1613.
Level 3: Blinds 25/50... I got AJ in the big blind and called a raise from Chris, got a shitty flop and lost. The next hand, Iggy McBoobs got booted. His A-K was doomed when he went all in with Grubby's K-10 and the G-man's full house sent the Iggymeister jiggling to the bar. I checked the time 9:32pm. Within four minutes HDouble and Iggy were bounced. Reality set in... I had to get my shit together. I mean, that's like hearing Phil Ivey and Howard Lederer got knocked out early in a tourney. A sobering thought: Anyone could go at any time. But I also realized that the two big dogs were gone. Two less sharks cricling the waters. It was time to start playing tougher.
I stole blinds with a pre-flop raise with K-6 in middle position. I folded K-6 to a Grubby raise. It was kinda crappy to be sitting in between Grubby and Grubette. I felt they were totally playing me. When I played a hand with them, one of them always raised!! I had $1163 in chips, 7th out of 8 at my table and 19th out of 24. Otis was the overall chip leader.
Level 4: Blinds 100/200... at 9:42 pm EST Felicia goes all-in. My K-9 from the big blind lost to Grubby's A-9 and a button raise. I only had $883 left and in next to last place in chips. I needed some help. Fast. Then it happened... the rush.
"I had what alcoholics would say was a moment of clarity..."- Jules from Pulp FictionI'm in 22nd place. Grubby's beating me up and became the table bully. I finally see a good hand. I got AK on the button. Liquid Swords raised and I went all-in. Liquid Swords had one of the bigger stacks at the table. The cards came out so fast that I didn't know what happened. But my AK beat out Liquid's AQ. I doubled up and had $1776. The next hand... AK again! I went all-in pre-flop (I didn't want to fuck around and risk slow playing) and everyone folded. I was happy to show my hand once again. $1926 in chips and I jumped up to 10th out of 23. The next hand... A4s. I called a raise and bailed out after the flop with a lot of face cards. Next hand... A6. I folded to a Grubby raise. He has over $4675 and I was intimidated by him. I had four aces in a row. No complaints. A couple of hands later I got A9 in the blinds. Felicia goes all-in and I fold. UTG I have 5-5. I bring it for a raise. The flop: A-9-2. I bet and Grubby folded. I have $1626. Next hand... A-8. Flop: 9-10-J. I raise, got one caller. The turn: 10. I go all-in and steal the rest of the pot. I have $1816.
Level 5: Blinds 200/400... QJ in the little blind. I flop: J-10-3. I go all-in and Grubette calls me with A-10. I knocked out Grubette and had $3001. I'm 2nd at my table of six and 4th overall out of 20. Whew. Then I got a table change. Grrrrrrr.
Seat 1: Mr. DeckerI had K-10 suited and went heads up with Sean (Q-Q). He flopped a Q and I was doomed. He ended up with a set of Queens. I lost. Next hand: A-A and go all-in. No callers. At least they weren't cracked. I had $2626. On the button, I got Q-10 suited. After I flop a Queen, I went all-in and Mr. Decker folded. I had $3326.
Seat 2: The Fat Guy (Proxy)
Seat 3: Felicia
Seat 4: Stick & Move
Seat 5: Sean from Anisotropy
Seat 6: Rick Blaine
Seat 7: Al Can't Hang
Seat 8: Pauly
Seat 9: Liquid Swords
Seat 10: Maudie
I got the hammer in second position. I typed HAMMER TIME into the chat. Rick laughed. I wondered if anyone believed me? Al Can't Hang called my pre-flop raise. The flop: 3-10-3. I went all-in. Al thought for a bit then folded. Whew! I showed my cards to the table to prove to everyone that I played The Hammer!! I did that for the Penguin! It was a huge pot and bluff for me. I screamed, actually I howled like Howard Dean! My mother was in her bedroom watching American Idol or some other reality crap, and she ran out to investigate my howling and barking sounds.
"What's going on?" she insisted.
"Yo, Mom! I just bluffed with The Hammer!"
"What did you win?"
I was 3rd overall. Then I inflicted a pretty bad beat to Sean. I'm the blind with A-J suited. I raised pre-flop and Sean called: The flop: 10-7-5. I checked, he bet and I raised. He called. The turn: A. I checked, he bet and I raised all-in. He called and had A-10. I was fucked with his 2 pair. I luckily sucked out a J to get a higher two pair. Bad beat after the turn for sure. Sean got knocked out. With $6115, I was the overall chipleader. Time to become the bully and summon the ghost of Stuey Ungar.
Level 5: Blinds 500/1000... 10:09pm... Rick got knocked out with a shortstack and 5-6suited. I think Al sent him packing. For the second tourney in a row, I sat at the same table as Rick. I was hoping to reach the final table with Rick and Ugarte. Mr. Decker was next to get knocked out. His 5-5 was no match for Maudie's 8-8.
10:13pm EST... Felicia goes all-in. No one calls her. I'm still the chip leader. I steal blinds with J5 on the button with a raise.
10:19pm EST... Felicia goes all-in. She steals the blinds.
10:20pm EST... Felicia goes all-in. No one dares to call her. I lost some blinds and realized I slipped to 4th place with 12 players left. I'm so close to making the final table with $5065.
Level 6: I was the little blind with KJ. I went all-in on the flop after: K-4-Q falls. I knocked out Maudie and had $7352.
10:30pm EST... the Final Table seated players. I made it. I achieve my goal. It was now the time to push myself. I wasn't looking to make the money. I wanted to win it all.
The Final Table...
Seat 1: Otis BIn the first or second hand, Boy Genius was knocked out when his J-10s fell to pocket Kings. Liquid Swordswas the next to go when his 5-5 lost to pocket Jacks. I'm 2nd out of 8 remaining players with $7352.
Seat 2: Boy Genius
Seat 3: Felicia
Seat 4: Chris Halverson
Seat 5: Stick & Move
Seat 6: JasonHoldem
Seat 7: Al Can't Hang
Seat 8: Pauly
Seat 9: Liquid Swords
Seat 10: Grubby
Level 7: Blinds 1000/2000.... The levels are coming much quicker and the blinds are going up faster. Time to be aggressive. Al (A-J) got knocked out by Stick & Move (A-Q). Next hand, I found A-K in the little blind. I raised and knocked Jason out with his J-10. I stole some blinds on the button with Q-10 and had a regained the chip lead at $12,598 with 6 players left.
10:35pm EST... Felicia goes all-in. I raised pre-flop and she came back over the top. I wanted to call, but I didn't.
10:37pm EST... Felicia goes all-in.
10:38pm EST... Felicia goes all-in.
I had the chip lead. I could sit back and let other players pick each other off. Or be the one who picks them off. I made a quick decision and decided to make some moves and be the table bully. I raised almost 10 consecutive hands pre-flop. Normally I would not say what I had. But I have a feeling that some of you are going to think I was bullshitting you anyway. So here it goes:
1. (Button)... raised $2000, Otis re-raised all-in I folded.
2. Raised $2000. Steal blinds.
3. Raised $2000. Steal blinds. I reached over $20,000 in chips.
4. (UTG)... raised $2000. Steal blinds.
5. (BB)... everyone folded. I was going to raise.
6. (LB)... raised $2000 vs. Grubby in the big blind. He said, "Grrrrr," and folded.
7. (Button)... raised $2000. Chris called. I lost with low suited cards to his KQ. I still had $20K in chips.
8. I folded and Grubby's K-3 was knocked out by Chris's 9-9. Alas, 5 of us left.
9. (BB) Raised $2000. Everyone folded.
10. (LB) Raised $2000. Lost to A-9 with 8-2. Retarded call. Worst move I made up to that point. $19K left in chips.
11. (Button)... raised $2000. Chris called. His A-J beat my K-9. Lost 40% of my chips.
What did I have? The best hand I had was J-J. I did get 4 aces in that 11 hand span. I blew it with the 8-2. Never should have called.
Level 8: Blinds 2000/4000... Felicia, shortstacked, goes all-in from the blinds. I had a very good hand: A-Q to Felicia's J-5. I won with a flush and knocked her out. I'm 2nd in chips with $12,740.
Bat beat of the night: My K-9 vs. Q-9 (Otis). I started calling him, "D'oh-tis!" after that. He sucked out a Q on the river. I had dwindled my $20K chips to just $7112. I heard rumors that I was on tilt. Not really. Ugarte and Rick can attest to my loose-aggressive style of playing. I should have folded to re-raises in two previous pots. If I was playing live with everyone, I could have made a better decision after watching them bet. Alas, it was online and I had to move onto the next hand. Four of us left.
Worst laydown of the night: Why the fuck did I fold Q-J suited? Probably because I was on tilt after the bad beat. If you don't believe me, I'll email you the hand history. Stick and Move went all-in and I had a bad feeling he had overcards or a medium-pair. I won a hand earlier with Q-J and got scared that my luck was over. Normally, I would have re-raised all-in as well. But I didn't. Stick & Move had A-x and Otis' pocket 7-7 ended up winning. I was irked when a J fell on he flop, so if I stayed in, I would have won, knocked out two guys and had the chance to be heads-up with Chris Halverson. Alas, I was on tilt and made a poor decision. I think if I had more time and was able to see the other players (which is one of my strengths... reading other players) I would have made that call. But I was spooked by the previous bad beat and I punked out. That cost me the win. And I'll be thinking about that bad decision for a long time.
Two hands later, I got J-J and went all-in. Otis called with Q-Q. Yet another Queen fell on the flop and I was knocked out. Finished in 3rd place and won $112. I caught some great cards early, made moves in the middle levels when I had chips, and bullied the table when I had the biggest stack. I played a few too many hands during my raising binge and that cost me. And when I should have went all-in with Q-J, I didn't. Funny how one mistake can cost you a tournament!
Alas, congrats to Otis and Chris for a job well done. It was a pleasure playing with you. Also thanks again to Iggy for setting this up. He rules!!
The Money Winners:Celebration Time
1. $196 - Otis B Dart - Up for Poker
2. $140 - ChrisHal - Chris Halverson
3. $112 - PaulyMcGrupp - Tao of Poker
4. $84 - STICKandMOVE - Stick and Move
5. $28 - FeliciaLee - Felicia
I called my brother and he was watching the last five minutes of WPT: Foxwoods. He was making fun of Phil Hellmuth. I called Jerry and gave him the good news, then called Haley.
"Yo H, I came in third place," I said with an excited voice.
"How much did you win?" she answered in a groggy tone.
"Awesome. You know you still owe me $50. Right?" she quickly responded.
I told her we were going out and to get ready. I got back downtown and we hit the bars just before 2am... stayed out until closing time before heading over to the Manhattan Diner for a late-night meal. I always get cheesecake after a solid winning session. It tasted sweet.
By the way the $112 is going to good use. I will use it towards a buy-in for a WSoP super satellite at Binion's when I go to Las Vegas in April. After I win a seat and make the final table at the WSoP, I get to talk to the ESPN camera crew, and I'll be sure to mention, "Where the fuck is Shana?"
Actually, my second comment will be, "It all started with a simple online poker bloggers tournament called The Iggy Poker Blog Classic..."