Poker, novel-in-progress, and updates from rainy PDX.

Sunday, May 30, 2004

Well, the results are in. The biggest poker tournament in the world is over. Of course, I can only be talking about the World Series of Portland!

After the real World Series went down on Friday night, 14 of us sat in my brother's garage on Saturday to determine the best poker player in Portland. And the result? Uh, yeah, my brother won.

It was an interesting game all around. I took 7th without ever really getting going. I'll get back to my play in a moment, though. The most interesting hand of the tourney happened at the first table I was sitting at. My brother-in-law (who plays for a living, and whom we'll refer to as D) was up against another player whom we'll call CC. CC learned how to play poker within the last 2 months or so, mostly taught by both my brother and brother-in-law. So far, he's doing really well--making money at the $.50/$1.00 limit games on Party. But D plays for a living; hundreds of hands of $5/$10 on Party every day.

In any case, the details on the preflop action are fuzzy. I can't remember if D led into the pot with the raise, or if he re-raised CC's raise and CC called. In any case, there was some modest raising preflop--nothing too crazy because we were still only on the second level of blinds. The flop comes out 9, T, Q, with two clubs. Again, I don't really remember who was first to act here, but a lot of action came out. We were starting with just under 10,000 chips, and I believe D led with at least a 1,000 chip bet here. CC called and the turn was another club.

At this point, if I didn't have at least a decent 4 flush with pot odds, I'm going to check, call or fold. But D and CC got another 4 or 5,000 chips into the pot. The river was a red A. Now I think I recall that CC was leading the action. He bet, D thought about it for quite a while, then re-raised all in. CC didn't take long to call.

CC turned over KJ clubs for the second nut flush; D turned over AA for a set.

With that hand, one of the two pros in the WSOPortland became the first player to bust!

I would have placed a side bet that D would make it to the money; he won the last live tourney I participated in. But CC took him out first, and it was a tough situation.

With the 9,T,Q flop, CC had hit the nut straight. The next card, a club, gave him a lock with a flush. When that last A gave D a set, well, it's hard to get away from that.

Still, there were 3 clubs on board. D said he didn't put CC on a flush, but I would've probably backed down a bit on the turn, even with AA.

So, back to my play. I took a few small pots early, but I got cut off twice on pretty significant raises by my other brother-in-law, M. Finally I took down a raised pot with AQ after hitting top pair top kicker, but I didn't get any action on the flop.

In the third or fourth blind level, I got AKo and raised pretty aggresively. Kyle, who had already lost most of his chips when he got AA cracked, re-raised all in with his remaining 3,000 chips or so.

Now, I had about 10,000 chips. The blinds were still pretty small, but I read this as a desperation move by Kyle. My raise was significant enough for him to try to steal with a mediocre hand, I figured. Plus, if I called his semi-bluff, I could bust someone out of the tourney and add to my stack at the same time. So I called, and Kyle turned over a baby pair, 55 I think.

Against my AK, he was maybe a 5% favorite. But of course, not a single face card landed on the board and Kyle doubled up. Still, I had 7,000 chips left and was feeling all right about it.

Later, I limped with Ax suited, and bet the pot when I had a 4-flush on the flop. M re-raised me several thousand, and I folded. Later he told me he had flopped a two pair, so that was a good laydown. But by now, I was down to just under 4,000 chips.

It was around this time that we got down to 8 players and re-organized into the final table. I was the second short stack at the table, and in the first two hands, the first short stack busted. It looked like I'd be next, and it turned out I was, but not for a while longer. I did double up first, but I can't even remember what the hand was. After that, I hung around for a while trying to steal here and there, but I got caught trying to take the blinds with K5o. A player re-raised my raise, and I had to push in. He flipped over ATo. Uh-oh. Amazingly, a 5 came out on the flop! The turn didn't help him, but the river was an A, and I was done.

We're going to try to have another tourney in a couple weeks or so, but, of course, we can only have one World Series of Portland each year!

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