Birdi's and bloggers
I had been doing terrifically well in the blogger's WSOP satellite Sunday night at Paradise Poker. I signed up at the last minute (actually while driving down Atlanta's famous Peachtree Street) while on my way to Giovanna's birthday party.
Doug and his wife Carolina organized it -- we took up the top floor of this great place called Birdi's right off of Decatur Square. They invited some of Giovanna's Italian ex-pat friends and, working off of Italian time, we started a little later than the 7 p.m. time on the invite.
I don't know why I thought I could do this, but I thought ok, I can just go there at 7 p.m., eat dinner and be back at 9 p.m. by the time the tourney starts.
Wrong. I was in the middle of my second Sapporo when I looked at my cell phone and it was three minutes 'til 9.
I unloaded my kitty AWACS, found a corner with a power outlet and went to work.
Mark and I were placed at the same table in the 69-player tournament, which cost $30 and paid $1,500 to the winner -- enough for a WSOP buy-in.
Birdi's couldn't have been a better setting for a satellite with a dream buy-in on the line. The place had a lady acting as a DJ, the food was good, I was with friends.
But it also showed the disconnect poker can have with your friends. When the food was served, everyone was eating at a large table in one corner of the room, I was off to the side munching on a steak and a salad at a small table in the other.
My plan was to be as aggressive as possible. It's a freezeout, so winning is the only thing that matters. (There was extra money from the tournament, so it ended up paying cash to three more places).
After interviewing EPT Grand Final winner Jeff Williams last week, I decided to try a hyper-aggressive style -- I played four SNGs on Full Tilt and Poker Stars at the same time -- and won three of them.
"Loose call," I told Greg, a fellow reporter as I called a raise in late position with 66.
I flopped a set. The EP raiser is all in and I'm trying to type in "Can you beat a set?" but on Paradise you cannot type anything in when someone is all-in. I just call and immediately double-up.
Mark tells me via IM that people were mentioning how aggressive kurokitty is.
I doubled up again and built myself up to 7,000 in chips, third place.
Things were good for a while, but the party started to break up and we all had to file out of the restaurant. I had the computer on the whole time, trying to make decisions.
After Giovanna hugged me goodbye, I found myself outside facing a raise from early. I had AKs in late position and I thought- I want to knock someone out if possible.
The raiser had 99 and we went all the way to the river with him in the lead.
"K!!!!!!!" I yelled out with Doug next to me when it came on the river.
Only thing was, it completed the other guy's flush.
The next few hands I played must have been unusual to people at the table, since instead of raising I was just calling with hands I wanted to play. That's because I was driving over to Doug's house at the time. It's impossible to type in a bet amount while driving. I was lucky to just call.
A bigger stack then put me all in after I weakly called pre-flop. I called with 99 and my pair held up against his AJs to win the hand.
I got low, down to 1,000 but built my way back up to about 4,600. The blinds were 100/200 with a 50 ante.
Atticus, Doug's poker cat, kept on coming by, grazing my leg as if to say, "Play the K2o I've given you."
No way, cat.
Finally, at Doug's house, I get AK. It's folded around to me in the cutoff, so I raise it. But not just raise it. I'm all-in. I'm a little tired at this point (from having four hours of sleep the night before in New Orleans).
Will Wonka in the big blind calls with AA.
So I bounce out in 17th. I can't tell you how disgusted I was to bounce out in this manner, but I really didn't win the races that you need to win in order to win a tourney.
As I drive home, Mark has gone on an unbelievable run. He was third at the time with 13,000 chips. Now he has 54,000. I am so tired that I go to bed after midnight. I thought he would be a lock for sure.
It turns out that later he places second. Way to go!! Most of the tourney's longtime chip leaders bounced out of the money.
I had expected stiffer competition but the tournament really wasn't filled with fearsome players. The 50x buy-in first prize made it a worthy tournament to play in, if you go by T.J. Cloutier standards. It'll be great to see if more of these tournaments happen as the weeks lead up to WSOP. Maybe a weekly blogger WSOP tourney?