Gulf Coast Poker Championship and Lessons Learned part three

Speaking of the Captain when I sat next to him (sarcasm coming... I loved him on my left and loved it even better when Monkey and Guy Turner--an aggressive Biloxi player--sat to his left), I couldn't help but think back to the No limit Texas Hold'em 10k seat he won at the IP. Ironic that Monkey would join us because I thought about copying what he did at the IP. It was a tale of two days at the IP.

The night before the final table when we were down to two tables and then 10 handed Monkey was sitting next to the Captain and had him legitimately flustered. This is something you can only apply in live poker because this is no online poker strategy. Monkey had enjoyed the red snappers and at one point was playing with Captain Tom's nipples. Try doing that playing online poker. And yes, you did just read that. Monkey, of course, was doing it in a fashion that had Tom laughing along with him on the outside but still off-kilter a bit on the inside. In fact, Captain Tom was really gracious about things.

When we got to nine. They put it up for vote to finish that night or come back the next day. I was firmly in the "that night" camp but Tom and a couple of others were wisely proponents of coming back the next day. Everything changed. The night before I thought Monkey, GCP blogger Reid Gilbert, and myself were the most dangerous players at the table (regardless of stack size). We were all in the groove so to speak.

The next day, Tom was composed (so too Mohammed Moeini—who had another good tournament series at the GCPS), Monkey was missing his high octane banter and subtle table intimidation and I thought the dynamics were completely different. Felt like the break really helped the players that would get down to the final three. Tom in my opinion went from an underdog to a favorite. And he was a different player as he won that final table.

Anyway, thinking back to what had him off his game, I felt like playfully needling him and forcing him out of the headphones and iPad cocoon he was in. Monkey was really effective doing that but I decided not to. Maybe at a final table I would, but I didn't really see the point early on.

For one I respect Captain Tom as a player. I’ve learned by playing with him and he’s been nice enough to me, so why go after him. No need to generate ill will for a guy that’s paid his dues. I really find it unsavory when kids try to go after the big names like Phil Hellmuth because a TV camera is on them. Yes, you can needle anybody, especially Phil, but focus on the poker tournament. In my opinion, you don’t need to needle Phil to beat him.

Sure, all bets would be off if Phil insults the kid first or if the guy came after me, but Tom’s never done so, and was purposely secluding himself. So, why do something similar.

I picked my battles with other players at the table and I don't know if Tom avoided me or not, or if it was coincidental with the cards but we didn't play too many pots together. When we did I got the best of it but Tom didn't lose much to me. He’d stick for one bet but was giving me credit on the second barell.

This was after we had a couple of hands hit showdown where we checked it down and I thought it painted a picture of me playing one way. He probably doesn't even remember playing with me in the past, but I'll tell myself he knew not to mix it up when there were easier spots at the table.

To be continued...

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