Monday, February 28, 2005

Poker Night

Sam: How the hell is everyone?

Sam's brain: Dude, there's no one here.

Sam: Oh yeah. Where is everyone?

Sam's brain: They don't read this, because you never post.

Sam: Damn. I guess I should post if I expect people to give a shit or two, huh?

Sam's brain: Duh. Sometimes I think I should just kick your ass, but then there's the whole leg thing working against me...

----End irritating conversation between Sam and his brain----

Hello to the two to four happy humans that read this. In fact, if you're reading this, you probably need to do something else. But since you're here, I'll attempt to entertain you with some kernel of information about me and my world.

A few months ago, my friends and I discovered poker. By discovered I mean, we all realized that we watched this on TV, mesmerized by it for some damn reason. (Sheep! We're all sheep!) So we decided that we'd give it a go with no money at stake. We played on and off for a few weeks, and fun was had by all. The six of us decided to hold a regular poker night, alternating between two of our houses.

The original six:


Since the inception of "Thursday Poker Night," four of the original six have taken the "gold" - Gretchen, Justin, Leslie, and myself. Joe, despite finishing in the top spot the first time we played, has yet to finish higher than second on a Thursday night. Josh has not yet had tasted victory, but he's improved quite a bit as of late. Our friends Gordon and Stacie have joined our "poker troupe," and Gordon has been fortunate enough to pull out a single Thursday night victory, while Stacie's finished as high as second.

Near the end of 2004, we began playing for small stakes - a $5.00/person buy-in, with 100% payout to the winner. This week, we reached a milestone - 10 players, 2 tables! Our friends Phil and Crystal joined us, and my father was in town to take Stacie's spot, who wasn't feeling well this week. We started out with two tables of five players each. The tables broke out as follows:

Table 1:

Table 2:
Tom (my dad)

We decided to play until four people (from any table) were eliminated, then the final six would converge on Table 1, randomize seating, and continue until one person was left.

Table 1 was particularly interesting, with four of the five participants having tasted victory in our Thursday games. It lived up to the hype, with a lot of chips being passed around in the early going. However, the shoe finally dropped, with Leslie bowing out first overall (10th place). Gordon would be eliminated next from Table 1, finishing in 8th place.

Table 2 only held one Thursday winner (myself - who owns the most Thursday wins, incidentally), so it would appear to be a lopsided table. Nothing could be closer to the truth, but it wasn't my chip stack that was on the upswing. Josh took nearly every pot in the early going, eliminating Phil (9th place) and Joe (7th Place). My dad and I took a few small pots, but our stacks paled in comparison to the commanding lead Josh had taken.

After four eliminations, the top six looked like this (listed big stack to small stack):

1. Josh
2. Justin
3. Crystal
4. Tom
5. Gretchen
6. Sam

It looked to be curtains for the home team, as myself, my wife, and my dad were bringing up the rear, but Justin lost a large amount of chips to Crystal, and found himself the short stack. One all-in later, and he landed in 6th place. At this point, Josh and Crystal each had stacks twice the size of myself, Gretchen, and Tom put together. I vaulted to 4th place in the standings with a timely all-in with less than twenty total chips in front of me (Thanks, Crystal!). Gretchen, on the short stack, went all-in and my dad called. She flipped pocket aces, and he flipped queen/five. Unfortunately, the community cards were not kind. Ace, Two, Four was the flop. A three came on the turn, and a nine on the river. My dad had made the straight, and Gretchen was done, finishing in 5th place.

Once again, I was on the short stack. However, I was able to take a sizeable pot from Josh and Crystal, and put myself 3rd in chips. My dad, getting tired and having no chips to speak of, tossed his chips all-in. Josh eliminated him, putting him in 4th place.

The next 30 minutes were bizarre. I was fortunate enough to double my chips, putting me in second, with Crystal in third. Then Crystal would double up through Josh, gaining the chip lead, and putting me in third. Rinse, repeat for a half hour. Finally, with Josh having regained the lead, Crystal in second, and me in third, Crystal put all her chips in. She had the lead, with a pair in the pocket, but Josh flopped a higher pair (I'm sorry, but the actual pair rank escapes me). Josh's hand held up, and Crystal had finished third.

There we were, Josh with a 2-to-1 advantage, and the blinds getting really big. I proceeded to go into attack mode, using earlier tight play to my advantage. We swapped chips around, and I closed the gap (not without some close calls). Then it happened. I had ace/nine. Josh decided that I should play for all of my chips. I ask him to count his chips. As he is counting his higher denominations, I make my call. He flips king/queen. I pocket pair, so I'm ahead. Thankfully, my nines get paired, and my hand holds up. I have now taken a commanding chip lead - such that he has approximately 200 chips post-blind. One hand later, I am the champion, and pocket 50 dollars.

However, this post isn't about my victory, although it was sweet. It is about the game - our game. It's a group of six to ten friends getting together and playing cards. As I've mentioned, I play the Magic: The Gathering card game and have for years. I've won tournaments against friends and total strangers before. But nothing compares to "Poker Night."

I believe that that's why I keep coming back.


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