We pulled up to the double-wide trailer in rural Lafayette County and there were a half dozen pickup trucks parked nearby. I pulled my little Saturn off the gravel road and onto the grass. There didn't seem to be assigned parking spaces.
When Mr. Steal, Artillery and I walked in, there were a dozen people already inside. Mr. Steal asked if had time to go buy some dip, to which 7 people responded, "I got some you could use." The bulges under their bottom limps were unmistakable.
Doublewides, pickup trucks and chewing tobacco. There's no such thing as stereotypes. Oh, did I mention the hard-core porn on the TV?
We started at about 7:30pm and about an hour later we were down to six. All 15 players started with T1000 with blinds at 25/50, going up every half hour. The average stack size was T2500. Take me out of the equation, and their average stack was T2995. If you do a little quick math, you'll find I was down to T225.
Oh, and blinds were at 100/200. Oh, and I was UTG.
I suppose you could say I was a little desperate. If Felicia were there, she'd be berating me for being afraid to die and letting myself get blinded away. But why start here... let's step back a bit.
I had played with a few of these guys 2 weeks ago, and in two 8-person $10 SNG's, I won first and second place, for a profit of $70. Maybe they thought I was a ringer.
Two weeks later, I'm back and the pot is now $150. $110 goes to the winner, $30 to second and $10 to third. If you haven't come to win, you shouldn't be playing.
I know I can play with these guys. There's little if any fancy play. I can't remember seeing many, if any, check-raises. There wasn't a whole lot of slow-playing. These guys played their hands if they were good, or occasionally threw a stone-cold bluff. There wasn't much else. However, the blind structure mandated I adjust my rock-like tendencies.
I folded around the first two orbits with bad hand after bad hand. By that time, a guy at the table had announced he wants to see every flop because if you fold rags and they hit, you lose money. I filed that away.
I get AQs and raise to T150 (3xBB). Mr. Any Two Cards folds, but the next guy calls. The flop is all undercards and I bet out T200. My opponent calls, and I'm worried. I've got myself seriously shortstacked because I thought he'd fold. The turn is another blank and I push. He folds. Phew...
A few hands later, I raise to 3xBB with AJs. Mr. Any Two Cards goes all in. I think he might be trying to make a move on the ringer, but then I think through it. If he's paired, it's either a coin flip or I'm way behind big pairs. If he's AQ or AK, I'm dominated.
I'm in good shape stack-wise and decide to fold. It wasn't worth it at that time. He did get called however, and his AQ caught the nut straight on the river. Good laydown.
I'm in pretty good shape when a short stack goes all-in in front of me. I've got A9s and I call. He flips Crabs and I never improve. It was the start of the slide.
A few hands later, the same guy moves all-in. I look down at Crabs myself and I decided to call. He had gotten pretty short again. It's called behind me. We check down to find out the all-in guy had Speed Limit and tripped on the flop. Ugh.
Next, it's one of my favorite hands, Pocket 10's. I raise to T300 from the BB of T100. I get two callers behind me. The flop comes J-x-x. I bet another T300 to see where I'm at. The next player hems and haws before calling. I wonder if he's on a flush draw. The other guy folds. The turn is another blank. I put the guy all in. He calls with QJs. I get no help, he doubles through me and I'm hurting.
Two orbits later and I'm at T225. What the hell happened? I can beat these guys. I know it.
So we're back where I started. UTG. I tell them that if I like the first card, I'm pushing without looking at the second. The first card was a 7 of spades. Not quite what I'm looking for. I figure I'll fold and play the BB blind. The second card comes and it's the 7 of clubs. Hmmmm... JACKPOT?
I push and get three callers. Not quite what I was hoping, but when your all-in raises just T25, you're gonna get called!
The flop comes and the first card off is the 7 of hearts. I couldn't believe my luck. The next two were the Q and J of spades. Hmmm... straight draw, flush draw. Not what I was hoping to see. They check around.
The turn is a J, and suddenly my boat is nearly unbeatable. They check again. The river is a blank, and I pull the main pot my way telling them they can fight over a side pot if they want to bet. I'm not sure they believed me. It's a check around and I flip my 7's.
I'm back in the game! And I turn to the guy behind me and say, "Get ready to watch the greatest comeback ever."
Of course T900 doesn't get you far when the blinds are 200/100. I'm forced to fold my BB hand, so I'm down to T700. That's when I see Presto in the SB. There are three callers in front of me and I push all-in. Remarkably, I get just one caller, and he flip A9s.
I knew it would be a coin flip, I'm just glad it was only one player. The flop, however, disappointed. It's K-9-3 rainbow. That's just great, I'm now looking at a 2 outer. The turn is a blank. The dealer was sitting at the other end of the table with two people watching the cards come. When they erupt at the river, I knew lady luck was on my side. The 5 comes, and I'm up to T1800.
Now things are really looking up!
I hadn't mentioned, but Mr. Steal made it to the final 9 before busting out on a stone-cold bluff to Artillery. The machine gun had a HUGE stack. He'd only been playing poker for about a month, and it wasn't very good poker. But he had won a little money last time we played and he was doing very well tonight.
Then he started calling people down with A-high and the stack kept dwindling. By the time I got up to T1800, there were 5 left and I was getting close to Artillery's stack.
The blinds are up to 200/400 when I look down at Rockets. It's about time I started seeing some premium hands. Thankfully, it was raised in front of me. That's what I like to see when I've got American Airlines. I pushed all-in and my opponent was forced to call just T1000 more. He had it to call... he had a big stack.
When he flipped KTo, I knew I was way ahead. The first card off the flop was the A of spades. Unfortunately, the third card was a Q. Suddenly, he had two chances at 4 outs... the Jacks for the nut straight. It never came, and I was up to T4200. I was in third place out of 5... and I was in line to get my money back. I never would have imagined.
Then it happened. The two shorter stacks found themselves out of the game, and we were down to three. I caught some hands here and there and managed my stack very well. I was never the big stack, but I was never the short stack either. Somehow, the other two guys were going back and forth without me.
Opponent #1 was a young guy who played pretty solid poker. Opponent #2 was an older guy prone to outbursts (he's the one I sucked out with trip 5's earlier).
We got down to two when the young guy made an ill-advised all-in from the SB. He had just 76o. The old guy called quickly and showed KJs. The hand held up and I was now up to $30 in winnings. Who woulda thunk?
He got me down to about T2400 with 400/800 blinds when I found QJo. I pushed all-in and he called me with A5o. Hmmm... not what I was hoping for. But when the flop came Q-3-2, I was way ahead. He needed an A or a 4 that never came.
After a few hands, he was leading me T9200 to T5800 when someone suggested a split. I said the old guy had me at 2-to-1 and if I got closer, maybe we'd split. That's when we took a 5 minute break before blinds jumped to 800/1600.
When we started again, I decided to be a little more aggressive and started pushing him around. It only took a few hands before I had a slight chip advantage. Since he never suggested a split, I decided I wouldn't either.
Then the hand came.
I called out of the SB with Qd6h. The old guy checked and we saw of flop of Kd-Jd-9c. He checked and I checked behind him. The turn is the 6 of diamonds and suddenly, I've got bottom pair, a flush draw and an inside straight draw. I push all-in and he calls me with 9d3c.
I decided to push figuring the 6 could only have helped me. I honestly thought he'd fold. In fact, I was more than a little disappointed because he was a 2-to-1 favorite and if I lost, I'd have less than the BB left in front of me.
The card came, and it was a T. It took me a minute, but that's when I realized I had the straight and it was over. From the felt to $110. It was hard to believe.
I guess if all stereotypes were true, someone would have been heading to their gun rack to take out this Yankee ringer. Instead, I walked out of there with another notch on my belt.
I hope they invite me back again and again.