Ima gonna ramble a bit here.
I assume some of you are here for the first time checking up the guy that won the WPBT WSOP Qualifier III. Well, that’s me. After self-destructing in WPBT WSOP Qualifier II after having a chip lead so massive it would have taken an idiot to lose (said idiot did), I kept my composure throughout and pulled out a win over The Fat Guy. Bad Blood came in third and Catching the Antichrist (Spaceman) was fourth. I am usually in Spaceman’s position at a final table; the short stack, trying to survive one more position to move up in the money. I play conservatively early in tournaments in an attempt to make the money. If I don’t suffer any bad beats, I usually do pretty well. Sometimes, the cards hit me in the face and I do very well. One of my goals is to ramp up my aggression (selectively) (another is to reduce my use of parentheses) in an attempt to be a force once we get down to the end. I feel this strategy has paid off in the last two blogger tourneys and I hope my finishes are not anomalies but a harbinger of better things to come.
I have always been reluctant to give substantive advice in my blog. Honestly, what qualifications do I have? I routinely do very well in our home games but that is probably due more to recognition and familiarity of others’ weaknesses rather than any particular strength of mine. I understand that the recognition of patterns in others is a skill, but my knowledge is unique to those I have played with for a year now and may not translate into another’s game. I am a winner online for 2005 but still behind since I first started in late 2003. I have kept the stakes small with the occasional stab upwards to ensure I can continue to play this fascinating game. Any advice I give is likely to be psychological. So much study is put into starting hand requirements and betting strategy, I feel the poker player’s mind is being ignored. Perhaps this is intended by the current crop of teachers. Give a man tools but don’t teach him to think and you can take all his money and then his tools too. The game is primarily mechanical at certain levels but if you don’t think correctly, you are not going to run the machine correctly.
The blog was started as an ego device and as a tool for forcing me to write more. It is full of bad beat stories and “Ain’t I great?” moments like most of them are. I would aspire to write more like many of the writers I read. Pauly and Grubby amaze me with their ability to spin a tale. The Up for Poker Boys make me cringe with recognition of their days gone by as I see myself in their antics. Bad Blood offers advice and talks about things that interest me. The twins offer me a perspective on poker I can’t experience due to gender, but make it understandable for us cavemen. Maudie is a joy to read and lends Midwestern good sense and manners to any situation. Iggy works to keep me informed, scanning the world for items of interest and adding his take on the world of poker and scantily clad women. Al, I want to go out drinking with. As I have said before, he is the reason I started blogging as his was the first I stumbled across. It was hilarious and refreshing and led me to all the others. I will hire the designated driver so I don’t have to be the responsible one. While drinking with the Fat Guy deep in the heart of Texas, I want to discuss serious issues such as the growing threat of China as a potential military and current economic foe (or are they an ally?), Lonesome Dove, and why Shiner costs more in Texas, fifty miles from the brewery, than in South Carolina at the Food Lion? This one, I just learn A LOT from, and he's just giving it away. Every blog listed on the right is visited every day I am online. They are there because I learn from them, or they have been nice to me in comments, or they are just damn funny. Better yet are the links I get from them. I often speak of the “beauty of chance bounty.” This is the joyful discovery of something interesting you were not seeking. A random click on another’s blog roll will often take me to a place unexpected but insightful. What more could a man ask for?
I won a tournament last night. Yippee! More importantly, I played cards with people who could be considered friends in the world of keyboard contact. I was willing to donate $30 for the chance that I or another would qualify for the WSOP. A loss would have stung, but less so due to the lofty goal the organizers had. Now, I need to take the next step. I want to go to Vegas. I need to go to Vegas. I have a few obstacles I am working on. Rest assured, somebody is playing in the WSOP with that $1500. I will do everything I can to make sure it is me.
I drove into the town of Saluda this morning for a family court case. On the way out, I stopped by Travis Park Cemetery. William Barret Travis and James Butler Bonham were born in present day Saluda County and I assume the cemetery is named for William. I have relatives I never met buried there and I stopped by to see them. My Granddaddy got tired of farming dirt in Saluda and moved to Florence in 1927 to work for the railroad. My Dad came along in ’29 and never has been much for tracking down living relatives. A few years ago, we started taking cemetery trips though Saluda and Edgefield Counties, looking at the graves of relatives of varying degrees. A left turn here, a right there, and the next thing you know, I am staring at headstones off a dirt track in the middle of a cotton field, well maintained with little iron markers denoting service in the CSA (that’s big in this part of the Country). Travis and Bonham are not here. They were burned in Texas with the rest of the Alamo defenders. Travis entered Texas illegally and lied about a few other things while he was there. Probably a bit of a scalawag (he was an attorney you know), Travis was the commander at the Alamo after Bowie took ill and resolved to defend the indefensible over the counsel of those more prudent. Bonham attempted to raise more troops but was unable to muster much as few wanted to confront Santa Anna in such a –EV situation. There is no cause to diminish their bravery, just their judgment. On a trip to the Alamo a few years ago, I felt the need to apologize for South Carolina sending those two out west and getting all those men killed. Of course, Texas may not be the same place it is today if the two hard-heads had stayed at home. Those boys wanted to fight somebody and probably would have ended up starting the big war a few years early if they had remained.
Again, I feel the need to apologize for South Carolina invading Texas with headstrong, unruly young men. There were three of us at the final table and that meant bad news for the rest of the states. Fortunately for me, Bad Blood and Otis are transplants so they don’t know the history of South Carolinians sabotaging each other. We stayed out of each other’s way long enough to knock out most of the table until it was Blood, TFG, and me. I remember very few hands other than rivering a straight to beat TFG’s 77 and that I had 55 on my final hand. TFG was hyper aggressive, as he should have been, and it took me a minute to adjust. After last week’s experience, I knew enough to get away from the table for a minute. I was able to get up, run to the kitchen, grab a beer, and think for a heartbeat before I got timed out of the next hand. From there on in, I just waited until I was almost positive I was ahead and pushed back. I hate being bullied and usually respond with a shove right back. I was able to wait last night, though, until I was confident my shove was going to give pause. I really did not expect a call to my re-raise on the last hand but was happy to see I was ahead. Luck counts and I had it in droves.
After the last hand, I felt as Jim Valvano must have after the 1983 NCAA Championship win over Houston. Everyone has seen him running around the court looking for somebody to hug. Everybody else had already partnered up and it took Jimmy a while. I basked in everyone’s gracious comments for about thirty seconds before rushing upstairs to tell the Wife we had to go to Vegas. She was asleep and woke this morning not sure if it was all a dream. By the time I got back to the screen, the tournament had shut down. I e-mailed a few poker buddies and thought about calling a few more but decided it was too late. I ended up leaning back in my chair, trying to reflect on what had just happened. I was wore out but jacked up and knew I wouldn’t get any sleep before my court appearance. So I did what any of you would do. I jumped back on the 2-4 bad beat tables at Party. Junkie.
Good game all. Stop by anytime.