Otis' last post was a great idea. So now I'm going to blatantly rip it off. Here's my list:
1. Quads, June 2005
I had just moved from the deadly $2-$6 game to this fresh $4/$8 1/2 Kill game. I was joined by the rest of the G-Vegas crew (Otis, G-Rob, and Bad Blood) and ScurvyDog. The tables was filled out by a few grizzled locals, including an older woman who wouldn't be there too much longer.
The cards are dealt and I look down at the most powerful hand in poker, 72o. I'm UTG and correctly raise. There are, I believe, two or three callers, but none of my fellow bloggers. I was disappointed that no one raised.
The flop comes down 7-7-x. Um... jackpot!!!
I calmly look down at my chips and stack four $1 chips, tossing them into the pot. It actually felt good to not have to bluff with the hand. This time, I get just one caller, the old woman with the impossible-to-believe blonde hair. I begin to pity her, she has no idea what she's up against.
Then it happens.
The dealer peels the next card off the deck and rolls it over. The felt looks like a slot machine, and I'm the one pulling the handle. 7-7-7-x.
Quads. I believe it's just the second time I've ever had quads in a B&M casino. So what do I do? I think you'll all be proud.
I value check my nuts.
To my delight, the "blonde" bets. This is where I wonder if I made a misplay. I simply value call my nuts. I figured I could get more on the river with a smooth call. I think I should have raised.
The river is inconsequential. And I lead out this time. Should I have check-raised here, too? I was really hoping the "blonde" had a legitimate hand and would raise me. How could you possibly put me on a 7? Instead, she simply calls.
Before I even get a chance to show my cards, the "blonde" proudly displays her pocket K's. I would have been proud, too. In fact, if I had been her, I'd have lost a lot more money. How could you not raise me on the river, dammit!?!?
So I calmly flip my HAMMER and lay it down right beside the three 7's on the board. Suddenly, half the table erupts. My fellow bloggers are out of there seats with exclamations of "Hammer!!!!" and "Oh my God!!" I raise my arms in victory.
2. The Legend of the Luckbox, December 2005
The Asian woman is on the button and pushes all in. The solid 30-something guy looks down at his card and also announces all in. He's got her slightly covered. That's when I look down at KQh.
What would you do?
I called, shocking both of my opponents. In fact, I believe I pissed off the Asian woman. She flipped her Big Slick and the other guy flipped pocket J's. Ouch.
I was about 25% before the flop. The J's were in the best shape, favored to win about 42% of the time. But I had them right where I wanted him. Do you know anyone who plays better from behind?
"Well, at least I have outs," I said.
The dealer laid out the flop and it was...
The rail full of bloggers erupted. I was so shocked, I'm not sure I even saw the Q on the turn. The Ace on the river put an extra knife in the back of the Asian woman. She would have won the hand had I folded. Instead, as the shortest stack, she got the third place she said she'd be happy with.
I won. Someway, somehow, I went for 18th alternate to 1st place and $3650.
3. Waiting for Monsters, January 2006
Shortly after my seat change, a new player sat down to my left. It wasn't long before we all recognized he would be our personal ATM.
My turn to make a withdrawal came after the ATM managed to chip himself back up to about $850. This was after his second rebuy, so he had been spreading his money around nicely.
I'm in LP when I look down at KK. It's raised to $50 in front of me. I just call, as does my ATM. I thought about a reraise here, but figured the ATM might call the $50 from the button, but wouldn't call a reraise. It was a calculated risk inviting another player into the pot.
The flop came down K-Q-7, rainbow. I couldn't ask for much better than that. It's checked to me, I value check my mortal nuts and, predictably, the ATM leads out for $100. The other player in the hand folds. I raise it to $200 and, without hesitating, he calls.
The turn is a 9 and it puts two spades on the board. I think for a moment, and push the rest of my chips into the pot. He's got me slightly covered, but it's about a $600 bet. For a moment, JT flashed through my mind. I worried I just bet into the nuts.
The ATM thought, this time, and I knew my hand was good. He considered and considered, before reluctantly calling. I showed my hand and he dropped his head. He didn't, however, show his hand. He was waiting. That worried me because it meant he had outs.
The river was a T of diamonds. My heart sank. I heard Otis sigh. He thought the same thing I did, "That fucker has a J."
Thanksfully, there was no celebration from the ATM. He flashed K8s and mucked. He had top pair and a flush draw. It was a $1700 pot. It was my biggest pot ever. The adrenaline ran through my veins for the next half hour.
4. The $2200 Laydown, June 2007
I'm writing about this so the nightmares stop.
Why don't we touch the hot stove anymore? Is it because our parents told us not to? Of course not. It's because we touched the hot stove anyway and we got burned. Or, in terms some of you may understand better, why don't we sleep with the drunk, loose skank at the end of the bar? It's because we did it once and we'll never forget that burning feeling either.
Pain is the world's greatest teacher. Without pain, we learn nothing. The pain I felt yesterday will stick with me for a long time.
"Live straddle," the dealer called out.
As the cards went around the table, I was telling the story of the last time I straddled and how badly it went.
"As long as I don't get pocket Kings again, I should be okay," I told them. It was a good table. The people liked to talk, and since I really liked to talk, I fit right in.
"I'll raise." The old man to my left made it $20. It was a strange raise considering my straddle already made it $10. Two other players called before it got back around to me. I looked down at pocket Kings.
The flop came down 963 rainbow. I could hardly complain about that flop. I checked. I tell myself now that it was because I was going to check-raise. There couldn't have been any other reason for a check, right?
The tight old man fired out $100 into an $87 pot. If he was playing on Full Tilt, he'd be an animated rock. He had amassed a stack nearly equal to mine after two people bet into his nut flush. Everyone else at the table knew what he had.
As quickly as the old man bet, the next guy in the pot pushed all in for $285. I hadn't really taken the time to assess why the old man made his bet before the push happened. Now I was processing the second move. All the while, I was thinking about my pocket Kings.
It didn't take long for the old man to go all in. He had about $950 in front of him. I had him slightly covered. If I was following my own advice, I was calling. But I stopped. I started to think about the laydown. Sometimes making the right laydown is as important as making the right call.
There was now about $1600 in the pot and needed to call another $675. There was a strong possibility that my Kings were good. It was logical to think the original raiser held TT-QQ. The short stack may have had A9 or been on some kind of straight draw. I was getting better than 2-to-1 on my money.
All I saw in my mind were Aces. Hell, I figured the short stack had probably flopped a set. In my mind, I was beat two ways. I was seeing monsters. Something I thought I was over. It was fear. And poker players shouldn't be guided by fear. They should be guided by information.
I folded. I couldn't believe I was doing it as I was doing it. But it was done. The turn and the river were rags. The old man flipped over pocket jacks and the short stack angrily folded.
I was crushed. I touched the stove and it was hot. I'll never do it again.
"Next time take a chance," Lady Luck later told me. "After all, isn't it called gambling? You shouldn't be worried about losing."
At least I know I'm marrying the right girl.
5. Cashing at the Coushatta, January 2006
I'm an idiot. I know that. With 7 players left in the tournament, it's folded to me on the button when I look down at the HAMMER. I hadn't played it all tourney and this was no time to start. Except I raised from T10000 to T30000. The SB folded. The BB had just T37000 and already had T10000 in the pot. I immediately feared my tactical error would cost me. It's not like he could fold. Except he did. And I showed it. The HAMMER. The crowd buzzed and I loved it.
That small stack was out a few hands later.
When we got down to six, there had been three consecutive walks before the BB got to me. I mentioned that I'd appreciate that trend to continue. "But if it doesn't, I defend my Big Blind with a suckout," I told the table.
It's folded all the way around to the SB and as soon as he put his chip on his cards, I knew he was betting. He always stopped as though he was thinking about betting, but when he folded, he never put his chip on his cards.
He raised me up 4xBB. I looked down a KJo. It was decision time. If I fold here, I'm in 5th or 6th in chips. I almost never call with this hand, and didn't even consider it here. That meant fold or raise, and raising meant pushing.
That's exactly what I did, putting my tournament at stake. I'm not sure what I put him on or what chance I gave myself, but I thought there was a slight chance I was ahead, and, at worst, I figured I was in for a race.
"He raised with 7-2 offsuit earlier," I heard a woman say from the rail. I smiled on the inside, while yelling "FOLD!" to my opponent.
He was in the tank and I considered calling for the clock. "Do you have a bigger pocket pair than me?" he asked. My heart sank. I knew there was no way he was laying down a pair. He called and flipped 6's.
It was time for the Luckbox to make an appearance. However, I was 46% to win the hand pre-flop, and, frankly, that's not nearly far enough behind. So when the flop missed me (8-5-2), I felt much better about my chances. Suddently I'm just 24% and, predictably, I found my J on the turn. The river was a blank and I was in great shape. In fact, I had jumped to 2nd in chips.