The Unrepentant Individual

...just hanging around until Dec 21, 2012

January 18, 2006

No Bad Beats!

As I mentioned yesterday, our company does a poker tournament each time we have a sales meeting. It’s an unofficial event that I coordinate, and we’ve now had 4 tournaments. In typical fashion, I’ve found myself always able to progress late into these tournaments, but watching chips slowly dwindle until I am forced all-in on a mediocre hand. Somehow I typically end up starting with the best hand when going all-in, but find myself knocked out anyway.

Until last night. I finally won one! It’s about a $30 buy-in, and we had 19 players, so my take was $225. Not bad for a night. For once, I didn’t catch any bad beats. In fact, I managed to watch luck fall in my favor once or twice!

The night really started for me about 15 hands in. I held AJo, raised, and quickly found myself heads-up against a fairly difficult player. He’s particularly difficult in that he’ll call on absolutely nothing, and he’ll bet on the feeling of weakness in his opponent. But I had position on him. The flop comes 10-6-8, two spades. He checks to me, I bet a decent amount, he calls. Turn is a queen (non-spade). He checks to me, but based on his call on the flop, I’m not prepared to bet into him again on high-card. He’s too unpredictable for that, and I don’t want to watch him come over the top, so I check right behind him. River is the 9 of spades, making me a straight (8 to queen), but leaving a flush possibility open. He leads out betting $5000 in chips (half the initial stack) into me. I really don’t figure him for the spades, so I call. He has two pair, I have the straight, I win a nice pot. This really started my night off, because I now had enough chips to play a little bit more aggressively.

Throughout the night, I later found myself winning small pots, usually without seeing a hand to a showdown, slowly increasing my stack. This is how I prefer to play, because I’d almost rather win blinds and wait for a great opportunity than risk large amounts of chips on any marginal hands, so things were going well.

A hand comes around, I’m dealt QsJs in late position. I raise a decent amount, one player (the big blind) calls. Flop comes A-8-8 rainbow. The big blind moves all-in. Now I’m confused, because he either has an ace and I’m in trouble, or he’s trying to steal the pot. And to call this bet is a large amount of my chips. I really think this one through, and I don’t think he’s got an ace or 8, and I’ve got enough chips in the pot to care about this one. I call. He’s got pocket 5’s. Classic race situation, because a queen or jack wins the pot for me, catching nothing loses the pot, and if I lose this pot, I’m nearly dead in the tourney. Turn is a 7. River is a 7. Meaning the best hand is the board, (two pair w/ ace kicker), and we split the pot. Bullet successfully dodged.

A short while later, I’m in the big blind, and the same player raises pre-flop. Everyone folds around to me, and I look at my hand. Pocket kings. I nearly soil myself, and immediately move all-in. He calls so quickly I have to think he’s got pocket aces. But alas, he turns over A-T suited. My hand holds up, and I’m starting to build a big stack in front of me.

About 5 hands later, I’m again in the big blind. The player I had just beat had won some hands in between to replenish his chips, but he and another player (small blind) call the blind. I look down at my cards, and see pocket aces. I try not to get wide-eyed and start shaking uncontrollably, and raise the pot $20,000 (big blind was $8000 at this point in the tourney). He calls, leaving him with about $10,500 in front of him. Before the flop is dealt I tell him I’m putting him all in blind after the flop, but at that point he has no choice but to call. Truthfully, I have no recollection of his cards or what came up on the board, except to know that I survived it and built a commanding chip lead over the rest of the table.

We’re down now to four players. The very next hand, our VP, who had watched his own chips dwindle, decides to go all-in (for $19K) before the flop without even seeing cards. I think he knew it was time to either make a big move or go bust, and he chose that. I had plenty of chips, so I called with A7o. Then the big blind goes all-in (another $13K to me). At that point, I’m pot-committed, and call the bet, to see him turn over A4o. Feeling better, I watch as the flop comes with an Ace, followed by high cards on the turn and river. We knocked out the VP (which is always nice!), but ended up splitting the pot, as our kickers had been beaten by the board. Down to three.

Third-place guy gets knocked out on a full-house. I’m now in a good (about 2-1) chip lead over 2nd place. He’s one of the sales guys who I discuss poker with on a regular basis, and have played with on many occasions. He comments on the fact that we’ve never actually gotten to play heads-up in this sort of situation before, despite the number of times we’ve played poker. We’re both looking forward to a long, protracted battle between two poker aficionadoes.

Too bad it only lasted one hand!

I’m dealt 5-8 in the big blind, he simply calls the blind ($10K). I check my crap hand, and we’re off to see a flop. Flop comes Q-6-7, giving me an open-ended straight draw. I bet $15K into him, which he calls and moves all-in. There’s $50K in the pot now plus his raise of $41K. So I’ve got to call $41K on the hopes of either catching a pair or some other out to beat him, or making my straight. I know I’ve got odds about 2:1 against making the straight by the river, plus a few other miracle outs, and I call. He turns over a jack and a seven, giving him a made pair. At this point, an 8, 9, or 4 wins me the pot with my straight. Turn is a 4, I got the straight, and it’s all over.

My god, that felt damn good. Especially after organizing tournament after tournament, only to get knocked out usually just into or just out of the money. All of a sudden I felt like I played well enough to win, my cards held up well enough to win (a true rarity), and I have six months of gloating until the next time we all do this.

Posted By: Brad Warbiany @ 11:26 pm || Permalink || Comments (2) || Trackback URL || Categories: Uncategorized


  1. Oh Brad, You are so funny!

    Comment by Lucy Stern — January 20, 2006 @ 9:03 am
  2. Good job, Brad. Having won a tournament in Vegas at Circus Circus last September, I know that winning a tournament is a combination of luck and skill. The hand where you had the straight with the flush draw out there was a combination of both. His bet could have signalled that he had the flush, but most likely he would have gone all in if he had bought the flush. You read him right, and since reading players is one of the most important poker skills, you can chalk that hand up to skill. The hand where the other guy had pocket 5’s and you had Q-J was more luck than anything else. Although I agree it was a race situation and you had plenty of outs, he was the favorite to win the pot. When the second 7 came on the river, that would qualify as a miracle card and a bad beat for your opponent. But you just can’t win without luck.

    In the tournament I won, we were down to 5 or 6 players and I was in the big blind. It took all my chips to see the blind and I was dealt 9-2 off. Yuck, I thought I was dead. But the flop came up with both a 9 and a deuce, and my two pair held up. I then won the next four pots in a row, and I was on my way. Poker skills are crucial, but without Lady Luck on your side, there’s no way you win a tournament. I’ve had pocket rockets and cowboys cracked often enough to know that. And if it was all about skill, Phil Hellmuth and Daniel Negranu would win every tournament.


    Comment by Arizona Lawyer — January 24, 2006 @ 4:01 pm

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