Poker Related Ramblings over the weekend...

What an experience this weekend has been for me at the tables. I took my first shot at a "bigger game" on Saturday. I read several poker blogs, some are listed on my "blogs of note," others not. One of the bloggers who I read regularly, Tanya, is putting together a series of small, private WSOP satellites. She was kind enough to allow the "drunken donk" to participate in her first event. I'm generally not easily rattled, as I sport nerves of steal - don't even need to add alcohol for that. However, going into this match, I was nervous as hell. I suspect the monitors of everyone on my table were shaking from my nervousness (I shared this with a few of the CheckRayz regulars, and had a few responses to this, which I will both feature and comment on this week in the "mailbag". There were some big names (at least to me) in this event and definitely some heavy hitters.

The first pot I got involved with, I had AKo UTG. So of course, I know that I'd like to raise with this hand preflop (4th or 5th hand played, blinds 10/20 all stacks around 1500). But nervous as all hell, and telling myself to correctly raise, I make "the right decision" and limp. Randers, sitting to my right, also limps, Qdog completes in the small, and Bill checks on the big. 4 deep on the six seater and we see floppage of 6-K-10, with the king and ten suited to my ace of hearts. Blinds check to me, I open with a bet of T-50, just over half the pot. Randers raises me an additional 90, making it T-140. Action folds to me, and I bump it up to T-300. Randers calls. Pot contains 680 tourney bux and the turn brings a 5 of hearts, putting the flush on the board. Nerves of rubber at this point, I incorrectly check. I'm not going to get a read if I don't bet and I'm sending Randers a blank check to bluff into me, so of course I check, go figure. Randers fires off a 480 bet to me, which I can't bring myself to call. I fold, he shows KQo, neither of which were hearted and takes down the pot.

This of course, discourages me... and I begin questioning my every move or lack of move. Blinds begin increasing, causing my stack to be shorter and shorter. Blinds at 25/50, I'm sitting with 395 chips and knowing damn well I need to make a move. Nerves calmed a bit, and I'm ready to play ball. Few hands into it, I'm dealt 9's in the SB. Obie shoots out a raise to 250 and action folds around to me. This is a good opportunity to make my move, I figure, as a coin toss is fine with me in the red zone. Though, it should be noted, I'd prefer to be the opener in this matter. I raise him to allin. He makes the easy call, flips over tens to my nines. Obie's nines hold up and its nh and gg... I bounced out in 16th place (out of 20).

As I had said over and over, I was very nervous pregame, and my nerves got the best of me while playing, specifically early on. I now know what to expect and can say I played in a very tough game, one in which I'd never previously experienced. Nerves aside, I know where I stand and what I need to do to improve. That being said, I'm not saying I can "win"... but surely, a focused beer guy can compete. I do plan on participating in another one of Tanya's thirty planned private WSOP Satellite events, should she have an opening and choose to have me back. The price of tuition can be steep, but I'm committed to continuing my evlolution as a poker playa and will do what it takes.

Unfortunately... or fortunately (however you look at it) Sharky held his 15K Guaranteed Satellite freeroll via his sharp looking Online Shark poker site at Titan Poker. I say unfortunately only because I had something to prove in that tourney and was soooooooo on a mission. Sharky might have the "toothless (plus one) aggression" but the Beer Guy was straight up "Ruthless Aggression" in this tourney, mowing down damn near anyone in his way. From hour one break on, I was either on the "lead lap" or dictating the pace, sitting first in chip stack. Final table comes around, which was certainly a tough, tight, smart and aggressive final table from a field of 581. The field is down to the final four, with three seats up for grabs. I'm sitting second in chip count (M over 20), both the third and fourth stacks were in the Orange zone. Chip leader, to my left calls cleanly, button (shortest stack) folds. SB completes and I check it, holding 7-8 suited to hearts. Flop comes 9-6-K, with the nine and six both being hearts. The only way this flop is more perfect is if the king was either hearted, or was a 5 or ten of hearts. Although, a perfect flop rarely gives one any action.

Short stack fires off an all-in bet at me. Quickly crunching the numbers, any heart is an out (9 unseen), additionally any ten or five is an out as well (3 each, careful to not double count ten and five of hearts). So, I'm sitting on 15 outs most likely. Its possible though that he has a draw to the flush, but I'm willing to take this chance. Rough math tells me I'm in a freeroll situation, with odds of hitting being at about 54% with two cards to come (.85:1 against). I make the call, SB turns over a set of nines. I can't hit the broad side of not just the barn... but any barn for that matter, as none of my 15 cards hit the board, thus I am shot down.

Short stacked, I make a respectable push, just exiting the red zone. I misplayed a SB-BB special though, even asking for the right to rewind to pre-flop, which was politely declined. Few hands later, I check the BB, and push allin on the turn on a semi-bluff when no one was showing any real interest in staking claims to the pot. However, I ran into top pair and yer drunken hero was sent home all alone after last call. Great tourney, no less and some phenominal final table work by all.

News and commentary tommorrow... enjoy the rest of the weekend.