New York City
I woke up super early this morning. It was still dark as the sun on the verge of making an appearance. I wrote for a couple of hours before I headed outside and jogged two miles. It was unusually warm for this time of year in the city. A Phish show from Halloween 1998 in Vegas blasted on my iPod as I sweated out all the intoxicants that I had ingested the night before... and the days and weeks before. It was the first real workout since I returned from Europe. And it was the first time I actually pushed myself and ran flat out since the car accident this summer in Las Vegas.
After two miles I was hurting, but it was a good hurt. It boggles the mind that you subject yourself to physical pain now in order to improve your physical health later. I tried to translate that into poker terms. I guess all that inner turmoil you experience at the tables eventually leads to something special. Take solace in all the bad beats and ass kickings and swollen testicles and labias from two outers and bruised and bloody fists from punching walls after another devastating suckout. At some point, it will all even out, right?
But, every day.... every session... you get an equal chance to do something special. Make something happen. That's why you play tournaments? Maybe today will be the day that you'll get a little extra lucky and the poker gods will shine down their warmth and compassion unto you. And your opponents will continuously make bad calls with second-best hands or make bad folds when you're totally bluffing with air. Or you get sent packing after losing a race. Losing coinflips after coinflips can suck the life out of many a man's soul.
I have been playing a steady stream of online poker the last couple of weeks. The results at the cash game tables have been positive, but I know that it's all about the long haul. I'm grinding out small wins. I'm hitting and running. Back to basics. ABC poker. Nothing too fancy. I sit and wait for my opponents to make mistakes. And I see so many.
I have been searching for the fish and hunting them down for the kill. I'm cold-blooded in that way. No remorse. It's not my problem that you suck at poker, or have misguided goals, or you're simply a degenerate gambler who doesn't know when to say stop.
Sometimes I don't see my favorite tagged players for weeks at a time and I wonder if they will ever reload. Most of them are Americans and I wonder if they'll ever find a easy way to reload.
Man, I miss the orgiastic days of pre-UIEGA Party Poker when you could reload your account in a matter of minutes via Neteller or other funding options. You can fleece the fish for every cent in their accounts and then lick your chops as they sit out and wait for their reload to be approved. And if they got wind of me following them around, I would switch over to my secret Empire Poker screen name and continue the pillaging.
Alas, in these days of uncertainty, those profitable opportunities are few and far between. This isn't 2006 when everyone in poker was making money. Times have changed and only those who are able to adapt to the current and future environment will be the victors. Everyone else will be roadkill.
Where do you go when the lights go out? When the fish go busto, they seem to disappear for good. That's why I immediately jump into the fight when I see one floating around.
Tony Holden is one of my favorite writers. Lucky for me, we happen to work in similar circles so I often get to run into him while I'm covering the poker tournament circuit. My last encounter with the author of Big Deal was at the Vic casino. Holden was playing in the PokerStars.com EPT London. He had a tough draw with Thor Hansen, the godfather of Scandi poker, to his immediate left. We spoke for a bit before the event began and Holden has a new book coming out. Unfortunately, his run at the EPT London was a brief one when he busted early after he had his Aces brutally cracked by Queens.
Holden reminded me about his Tuesday Night Game which was yesterday. He hosted the event over at PokerStars. Due to the time difference, the tournament was in the middle of the afternoon. I finished the second draft of my column for Bluff and was ready to celebrate with a pharmaceutical cocktail. My assignment was complete and it was time to relax, have fun, and party it up.
The Tuesday Night Game featured a ton of British players. This installment had 70 players with the top 7 getting paid prize money. The last time that I played, Change100 made the final table.
I had delicious background music blasting. My brother got me the latest live release from the Grateful Dead which was recorded during several performances at the pyramids in Egpyt during September 1978.
For the first hour of the tournament, I managed to stay in the top 10 in chips. I got most of my chips when I missed a straight flush with Qc-9c but managed to win the pot when I turned a pair of Queens against a guy who overplayed his small pair.
Then I lost some chips just before the break. I doubled up a short stack when my A-K lost to K-Q to a running straight. Damn RiverStars strikes again.
At the first break, there were 45 players left. I had 2.6K and was 15/45 with Tony Holden not too far behind in 19th place.
Change100 bit the dust in 44th place. She made a move and ran into Aces. I headed past the 3K mark and was 10th with 40 to go. Then I got crippled when got caught with my hand in the cookie jar.
I busted out soon after. Ugly hand. My 5-2 suited lost to 3-2 off suit. A trey on the flop ended my run. I was eliminated in 29th place. But I had a blast playing with Tony Holden and his crew. Good times.
I was multi-tabling during Tony Holden's tournament and played cash games on Full Tilt. I found a fish playing 10/20 LHE shorthanded and went in for the kill. Talk about a wild game with more fluctuations and volatility that the Russian stock market. The biggest pot I won all day came down to a kicker. I had top pair with K-J on a Jack-high rainbowed board which was better than my opponent's J-10.
I also won another decent sized pot when my Qs-Js took out Big Slick. Action was three-bet three-way preflop. The flop was Ks-Jh-9s and I had plenty of outs (could I really spike a gutshot straight flush?) while my opponents did not have any redraws. I missed my straight and flush draws, but I backdoored trips when a Jack fell on the river. It was good enough to win and my opponent with A-K wasn't thrilled with my hand selection.
In the immortal words of Thom Yorke, "The big fish eat the little ones. Not my problem, give me some."
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