Monday, July 30, 2007

Hangin’ with the cool kids

I’m not Mr. Fun. I don’t do lots of fun shit.

Sitting on the bed in my drawers typing this... that’s fun to me.

But Saturday night, I had normal-people fun. It was Yancey Arias’s charity poker tournament at a rented house in Malibu, right on the beach. (I’ve been living in California 13 years and had never set foot in Malibu. Had no reason to. Now I see what the fuss is about.)

This was a ball. There were a few familiar actors in the game – Donnie Wahlberg, Danny Masterson, Anthony Denison (remember “Crime Story”?), Victoria Pratt (“Cleo 2525”!) – plus a few professional poker players (Annie Duke, Sean Sheikhan, a couple others). There was a local TV anchorman, even a couple of cops... just a cool group of people.

The deejay was killing all night long (favorite mix: “I’d Rather Be With You” into “Footsteps in the Dark” into “I Keep Forgettin’ ” into “Yearning For Your Love”); plenty of food and drink; ridiculously good-looking women everywhere you looked.

Toward the end of the evening, as I smoked a tasty Nat Sherman cigarettello and watched a full moon rise over the pounding Pacific tide, I figured this is how the hip folks must live every day.

As for the tournament... out of about 50 players, I finished in the high teens, just before they went down to two tables. I was reasonably satisfied with myself.

I’d like to discuss one hand from the first hour. If you’re not a card player, this won’t mean much. But for those of you who are, here it is:

Everyone started with $1,000 in chips (and we could rebuy). This particular hand, I got dealt ace-king (A-K) – Big Slick. A woman to my right raised the pot pre-flop. I called the raise. I could’ve re-raised her, but something told me to play it slow. A risky choice, but that’s what I did.

Flop comes ace-garbage-garbage. I couldn’t have hoped for a better flop. The woman to my right bets at it. Hmmm..., I think. Is there any way in hell she was holding, like, A-6... and just flopped two pairs? You think of all kinds of nightmare scenarios in the midst of a hand. At least I do.

I could’ve found out where I stood by raising her. But I didn’t. I just called.

The turn comes a king. Holy crap! Now I’m holding the top two pair and feeling pretty good about life. Especially when the woman checks. So then I bet.

She calls!

Now, it was early in the game so I didn’t know what kind of a player she was. But this was a head-scratcher. Could she be sitting on three-of-a-kind, and she just trapped my dumb ass? Maybe my first hunch was correct; she’d flopped aces-up and wanted to see what I’d do on the turn. Why else would she have called?

River card: another king! I am now holding kings full of aces... the second nuts. And I was damn certain she wasn’t holding the one hand that could beat me (A-A). Anyway, the woman pushes all her chips into the pot. She goes all-in!

I call without hesitation and show the world my full house.

Amazingly, when my opponent revealed her hand (actually, I think the dealer exposed it after another player asked to see it), she was holding 7-7.

A pair of sevens!

She was right to raise with those pre-flop (in a tournament). She was right to bet out post-flop. But when I called that bet – with an ace on the board – she should’ve been suspicious. Hell, she was suspicious; she checked the turn. Why, then, did she call me?

Yes, I camouflaged my ace fairly nicely... but what did she think I was betting with? There were so many ways for her to lose that hand. If I had an ace or a king – forget both – she was dead. If I had 8-8 or higher in the pocket, she was dead. Maybe she put me on a pocket pair and figured she could chase me away at the river with her all-in move (representing an A or K).

Anyhow, I doubled my stack, collected some attaboys for how I’d played the hand, and rode that confidence through the next couple of hours.

And then Annie Duke got moved to my table. She was betting so aggressively, I and the other amateurs just reeked of timidity. And as the blinds and antes grew, I soon got swept aside.

But hey... I’ll be ready for her next year.


S.O.L. said...

Atta boy, David. I so wanted to go and was in town until Friday but I was feeling a cold coming (and it laid me out for the weekend) and so I decided it best to skip the game and avoid making a roomful of high rollers sick.

I have an answer to why your opponent played her hand the way she did. Well, of course, she MIGHT have thought you were bluffing. But more likely in my experience she was violating my number two rule about poker and my number one rule about life -- PAY ATTENTION!

That's why when you sit at a table, you have an automatic advantage. Half the players, even good ones aren't watching the action or the players, in other words, they ain't paying attention. The great players are gifted in this way.

Good run though. You defended your title ably.

And thanks for the shout out. I noticed my hits tripled today and I didn't know why until I saw you'd mentioned my blog. You have powers!

Had to put down my writing and put up a blog entry today, though. :-D

Anonymous said...

sigh....Donnie Wahlberg!

I helped him become so rich circa 89/90..babysitting money just burned through my preteen hands!

Unknown said...

Nice job hitting the top's hard to repeat.

Your call instead of a raise pre-flop was a good move. Especially since it was only the first hour of the don't wanna go to the wall with bigslick that early. What if she had moved in on you or re-re raised you? Nightmare scenerios running through your head?

Then, after the flop, you could do no wrong (and she could do no right). Was the woman a news anchor? Just a guess.

May all your pots be monsters,


The MC04 said...

Bro, MC04 here. You did the right thing by not re-raising. I was in a hand this weekend in cash game with Shannon Elizabeth and she raised pre flop next to me. Action went all the way around big blind calls, I'm under the gun with AK off suit Instead of calling like I should have I re raised. Duh. She pushes all in. BB calls. I commited a quarter of my stack and to call commits all my chips. I knew she was ahead. But I also new my hand was doing okay pre flop. Well it took me about 2 minutes to call which felt like a life time. I called she turns over the bad news, and she confirmed the hand I put her on. Pocket QQ's.
I couldnt have recieved the worst news yet. The Flop, Turn, and river came nothing but rags. LOL.

Had I just called her, I would have seen the flop. She would have bet and I would have folded.

Expensive lesson but I will just call from now with slick if some one raises before me.

Hey By the way. "CANE"? A complete rip off of our show disguising it's self as a suger cane business family. No Shame- LOL. But they do an honorable job in their acting. But just shameless in the attempt to have that show on the air.

Later bro,=)