Weekly Column

I don't want my statement of support of Monkey to get pushed down too far so please scroll down to the next item for that.

Anyway, I'm bummed, won't be joining the boys for the GCPC. Actually, I might be traveling tomorrow, if the storm turns. Yesterday's field being close to 600 is overwhelming a bit-in a really good way. I would have been there today if things had gone a little bit better.

I decided if I had a big score at the Harrahs weekly I'd come down for either the Thursday or Friday event, Gustave permiting of course. I cashed, but busted out in 8th when I commited a series of mistakes on one hand. It was a paltry pay day too as only 57 players played. I added another underpair catching a set to beat an overpair to my tally, I think I'm still on the losing end of that one 30-2 (it happening to me vs. me doing it to someone else) in a tournament. The two times that's happened I've cashed so, I had a good feeling when my 99 improved to a set vs. JJ.

The hand that busted me was another blind vs. blind hand. J4 offsuit. I catch second pair. I bet the KJ7 flop. He calls. Ace hits the turn. He bets to me what feels like an overbet for little under half my chips (which was a middle to big stack). I stew. I go over the range of hands he'd have and just didn't feel he could have limped into a pot with an A. Maybe a weak one. So, I decided he had to have a king. But AK was nearly impossible so how did his hand get better. I got a serious weak read from him on the flop bet as if he was just calling for the heck of it. Was he now making a play. I had also seen him fold to over-the-top shoves three times at the final table, and I'd be leaving him plenty of chips left to fold. I worked up my courage and went with my flop read and shoved.

He thought. And thought. And thought. And thought. Just when it looked like he was about to fold, somebody called clock on him. Then he looked up and decided he'd think for most of the minute. With about 10 seconds left he threw his chips in with some reservation. My thoughts through this process was he had a King with a cr**y kicker. I thought he was going to lay down. Then, as his deliberation went longer and longer, I wondered if he was going to make one hell of a call with a jack and a better kicker. If so, I was thoroughly outplayed. He turns over A9.

Head scratcher there. Must have thought I had two pair, J7 or something(?). He hadn't seen me play anything but winners so I guess I made the right move on the right guy but on the wrong card. I also must assume he thought I was posturing at the flop and didn't connect.

Just as a fare-thee-well present, the dealer throws two river cards out giving me a third jack with the sixth card. Table reacts like I had sucked out. I did a double take as I had already started walking away when the fifth card bricked. Wha-huh?

There was one guy at the final table who I played with for an hour before going into it. He had accumalated a huge stack and just sat on it. He told me they always chop at 6. As the final table went a couple of rounds the blinds and antes were finally catching even him. I had a clear plan of shocking and tilting the dude, when we got to 6 handed by telling him that I wasn't chopping at all. I was playing for it all. That's part of the rationale behind shoving on the dude, I was going for the win, and I trusted my flop read.

One of the myriad mistakes was I didn't have to make that move then. Another was ignoring the information on the turn that his hand had improved. I had convinced myself he wasn't the type to call my flop bet with air, but in review he probably did so because he had A high, thought that might be good, and was simply tired of the final table pushing on him. The odd thing is, the A hits, which is what he wants and he doesn't instacall my shove. Maybe it shocked him. I don't know. Ultimately as Gene succintly put it, I went out with J4 and he'd never lose with that hand. Totally was in a place where I could have just given the guy a walk or laid it down. I'm of mixed minds because he almost folded but still too many negatives for playing the hand the way I did. Maybe just shove the flop and take the blinds, limps and antes. Easy to say in hindsight. Also, just made two crazy fourth pair calls on guys a round before. After calling two bets from a guy, I knew had nothing he said, "Pair of twos," and I said "pair of fours" and he looked like he was going to vomit. "I should just go home now."

Another interesting hand was earlier in the tournament when a big stack fairly new to the table, makes a bigger than normal raise from the button on an unopened pot. I look down to AJsuited in the blind. I couldn't see his chips, I ask what he's got. A ton. Oh. I really didn't know what to do with the hand. I probably only had 6x his bet so thought about shoving, but I didn't feel good there. It didn't feel like a pure steal. Of the range of hands I put him on, there were only a smattering that I had a clear edge on. I think a fold would have been fine there. Instead I chose call. If I hit the flop I go for it. If not, I'll try a steal (thought about shoving no matter what came) and see what happens. Bricks. I bet. He shoves. I fold. Yeah. That's a poorly played hand.

I enjoyed discussing the hands with Parfait during the break. He had a good showing despite getting the cold deck a couple of times. I think he made it to to less than 30 left. I don't know if we came to a conclusion with the AJ. Push or fold. Maybe fold if my gut was telling me something was off. Definitely, not call, bet, fold.

Went to boomtown for the completion of the daily double. Took a typical boomtown beat. 8 limpers around to me in the big blind, I got KK. I put in just under half my stack. Guy with a stack almost equal to mine calls. Flop is QJx. I put the rest in. He calls VERY deliberately. I turn over my kings hoping he's got KQ, maybe AQ. He looks at my hand and doesn't turn his over, kind of looks up like he's thinking and then shows QJ for two pair. Nice preflop call for half your chips sir with QJ, I think. What I say is "Good hand! Good luck."

Will be heading out of town if the storm tracks for Gustave continue. Gene is pretty confident they are going to Texas. The national media is trying to bolster sales for plywood stores and Walmart. I hope he's right. He told me to use WeatherUnderground to track the storm instead of the weather channel. Nonetheless, I'm acting like chicken little (is that right?) and cleaning out the fridge and freezer and making preparations.

Good luck everybody. Hope the storms miss the Gulf Coast completely. Maybe they can crash into each other and die, even if that's not the way weather works.

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