Sunday, March 17, 2013

The Poker Diaries: Where I Need The Needle

Stabby Stabby
Here's what happens when I'm tight with money and trying to play poker: anything. But what happened a day ago was new, in 6+ years of live action. So, well, I'm going to write about it.

The setting is the home game, where we had 20 players for a mixed game. The periods switch from hold'em to Omaha high. Rebuys can happen in the first four periods, and I wind up getting into some major dumbness that leads to using that feature twice. Which means that I now have to finish third or better to even make money from the event. Not good. And the room knows it, with several friends that I've known for years taking a little too much enjoyment in my bleed.

One of the things that we do at the home game is take 10% of the pot and set it aside for a Player of the Year pot. So we need to list out the order of finish, on the room's white board, so that I can track the points later. And my good friends decide to predict my next explosion by... listing me in the first out slot.

Golf clap, gentlemen, golf clap. Extremely effective needle. One that they did not give up, even when knocks out started, by just adding my name in the next available slot. After the first six players who were not me exited, they moved the joke up to 11th place... but by then, I had used it to change gears, tighten up and knuckle down. Instead of trying to win with position and pressure against players that weren't very experienced (especially in Omaha), I used the non-ante format to stay patient, wait for hands, and push only when I could isolate against players I felt strong about.

It kept me alive, but not terribly prosperous. And at final table, the move still didn't happen, beyond blinds steals, until the bubble had nearly burst. I was also able to come back from having a flush draw hit against my top two pair after the flop in Omaha. But finally the patience was borne out, with aces in the big blind (maybe my second pair of the night) against A-J off driving a timely triple up against the chip leader. From there, I was able to grind and chisel it down, and after 6 hours of play, the big pot, and a totally unexpected but extremely welcome payday, was mine. I'm also now the points leader for the player of the year standings now, not that this is terribly relevant this early in the year, but still, better than *not* being the points leader.

And I owe it all to the needle. Which, I am told by both of the guys who did it, won't happen again. Pity, really. Sing me out, Neil...

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