Oh, Baby, Feels So GOOD
I go home yesterday, my dad stops over the house, we install two outlets in the garage and attach a new spring to the garage door (a quote my brother, if no one else, will appreciate, from my dad, as he's attaching the spring--"Come on, you GODDAM SON OF A BITCH!". And I sound just like him when I'm pissed off, and I'm sure the menfolk of my family have spoken thus back to our days in north-central Poland.
Anyway, we get that done and it's 7PM and what am I going to do the rest of the night? I throw some laundry on. I load the dishwasher. I vaccum the den. I sit at the computer and muse a bit.
What the hell. I want to go, so I'll go. I'm at loose ends tonight, I have nothing going on. I'm gonna go play some poker.
I drive to the bar I mentioned in a previous post, the North Park Clubhouse, which is a horking big place with a big dining area, an elevated bar, a section filled with video games, another with pool tables and dartboards, and a banquet area in the back. That's where I head, to play in the 9:30 free poker tournament.
The previous tournament is still going on, and there are scores of people milling around. I walk up to the guy who appears to be in charge, and he gives me a form to fill out and voila, I'm registered. I see a guy I know from our beach volleyball league, see a bunch of guys wearing baseball caps and Steeler jerseys and a few guys in button-down shirts who are invariably accompanied by their girlfriends. A good mix of people, college kids and grandmothers, everyone having a good time.
I grab a beer--it tastes good. The 6:30 tournament ends, and the table assignments are doled out for the next one. They have these circular poker toppers on top of the usual banquet tables, and it's a bit cramped, but not too bad. Doug (the guy running things) gets through the instructions he's required to read (no gambling, no side bets, no real money on the table, etc). The most important rules come at the end--you get extra chips when you order a beer, or order food, or if you're a regular player, or or or...it looks like some players already have me outchipped about three-to-one. No matter. I'm Mean Gene.
I think we started with 7 tables, about 50 people. The very first hand I'm dealt K-10, I limp, miss the flop, toss it. It feels GOOOOOOD. Chips in front of me, cards sliding along the felt, a beer at my elbow. I vaguely feel like I'm doing something I shouldn't on a school night...and that feels GOOOOOD.
I muck it up a bit, and then I'm dealt AK suited. I raise, and the lady to my left calls, and she's want to do. The flop is 7-8-9, with none of them my suit. Like a CHAMP I bet $800, and she folds. Mean Gene wins a pot. Yeahhhh...
I lose a bit with A-7 when the flop comes 7-4-2 and my bet gets 2 callers. Overcards on the turn and river make all 3 of us check it down, and my opponents turn over pocket eights and tens. I might've played those cards differently. The play is loose and passive, meaning my tight and aggressive stance should do well.
Thing is, the blinds go up every ten minutes and I gotta get some chips. Well...why not order a beer! I do just that and get handed a black $1000 chip. Bingo! I guzzle it down as I get moved to a table where the guy to my right has about $20K just in black chips. He seems pretty lit, which explains some of his stack, and I figure maybe he just gorged himself until he felt his stack was sufficient to bully the table. At any rate, he's involved in 3 all-ins in a row and loses them all. It doesn't make a dent in his stack. He actually folds a hand and I look down at AJ. I raise, 2 callers. The flop comes K-J-5, ehh. I check, the lady to my left checks, the guy across from me tosses in his last $2K with a dejected look on his face. I don't think he has a king so I call, but so does the lady. Crap. We check it down, and me and the dude both turn over AJ to chop the pot. I figured I was hosed, so I'm pleased to wet my beak a little.
Time to order another beer...I mean, build my stack. Here I learn something--if you tip the waitress well, you might get a wee bit more for that beer. I also luck out when a guy gets knocked out and I don't have to pay the little blind. The blinds are like $600-$1200 when I get moved back to my original table. There's a kid to my right in a Pitt baseball cap who apparently plays often and seems to have a clue. He's raising about every other hand, winning the blinds, but I can't get a hand to play. On one hand its folded to me in the little blind and I'm holding 2-5 of hearts. I raise it big, but the lady in the BB calls. Crap.
Until the flop comes all hearts. I have about the teeniest flush imaginable, but a flush is a flush, and I put my remaining $3500 in the pot. She folds. The next hand I'm dealt pocket jacks, I raise after an early call, and win another tidy pot. I'm up to about $15K, not great when the blinds are $1-$2K, but we're down to 2 tables now and if I can double up I'll show these folks what the word "bastard" means.
Tis not meant to be. I get zilcho through the blinds, and I deal myself pocket nines. The kid in the Pitt hat raises, and I go all-in. He calls, flips over K-10, and we have a classic race situation. Which I lose when I flop him a king. You're gonna lose hands like that, of course--but it sucks double when you're actually the one flipping the cards over.
I take it like a man, really, no hysterics, no cheap shots. I tap the table, say good hand, and quaff the last 4 ounces of my beer. It's nigh of midnight, and I have to get to bed. Finished about 12th or so, which is good for nothing.
But I had a good time. Great time. I did some casual market research at the tables-- no one knew what "The Hammer" is; no one had ever heard of "Mean Gene"; and when a woman mentioned that her son had seen Chris Ferguson during a trip to Vegas the oohs and ahhs were at Ben Roethlisberger-like levels. The NPC is gonna have these events on Tuesdays as well as Wednesdays, so I'll definitely be back. Also found out that a fire hall nearby has $40 tournaments Sunday nights and other little ring games and whatnot, so that's now on my radar.
So, as I said before, it's not check-raising Chau Giang at the Bellagio, but it's action. It's poker. It's fun. I just need to remember to come early next time with a big 'ol appetite and an AlCan'tHang-esqe thirst so I'm not short-stacked from the get-go.