April 24, 2005

What a weekend

Normally, a weekend isn't that big of a deal for me -- I work retail, so I usually have to work either Saturday or Sunday (if not both), and I did have to work yesterday, and a 1-9 shift at that. Normally, that's not an enviable shift, but I actually switched with someone to get it. I'm not crazy -- I just knew that I wouldn't up to be at work at 9 on Saturday.

Especially after playing a midnight poker game. I'm in a free Texas Hold'Em league here in Indy, and there's a pub down south that hold games Friday night, one of them at midnight. Normally, I can't play the midnight game, not only because I'd come home to Meagan REALLY late, but because I'd be REALLY smoky, and Meagan doesn't like that. But Friday night, Meagan was in Nashville, enjoying Rites of Spring, and I was at The Mirage, enjoying some free poker.

(If you don't like poker, skip the next paragraph)

I actually didn't get that many good hands. Sometimes I didn't catch even when I did. In the first game I played (which was actually the second that night), I'd been blinded to about 3000 chips (we start with 5000), and the larger stacks at my table were around 15,000. There were eight people at the table, and I was in the small blind with Aces -- good ol' pocket rockets. Four people called the big blind, and I went all in. Everyone folded to nice little ol' lady (who had actually won the first game of the night) who was the tall stack at the table. She called and showed K-Q of spades. I flipped over my aces (both red), and she started to count her chips to match my bet. The first card in the flop was the ace of clubs, and I had my set. I though I was sitting pretty until the ten of spades and five of spades came out, giving her both straight and flush draws, with two cards to catch either and beat me. The turn was a blank, but the river came up a spade and she had her flush. But for me, it was the prettiest card in the deck. It was the Ace of Spades and I had quad Aces for the second time in two weeks. I was ecstatic, but went out a few rounds later after the same woman hit another flush (this time with 4 cards on the board) and beat my set of 2's.

So I got something to eat and a Killian's cause I had another hour or so until the next game, and started to read Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, after picking up a very, very nice leather bound edition of the entire five-book trilogy from the store. It was hard to eat through all the laughing that I did -- it's quite possibly one of the funniest books I've read, and I'm only 60 pages into it.

Here was the coolest part of the night. I won the midnight tournament.

(One more poker paragraph)

I'd been to a lot of final tables lately, but still hadn't won, which was ok with me cause I've been playing for only a month. But this was my night, even though I'd lost a good amount of chips about halfway, I finally started to catch cards on the board, even if I was just in the blind with 9-10, I'd catch a couple tens on the board and double up. When we made the final table, I had about 16,000 chips (which was about average) and hit pocket tens in the small blind. The chip leader, a big ol' bald guy who got second in the second game and leads the state in points for the month, bet 16,000 chips, which I called, and I'm all-in again. He's got K-Q suited, and I knew it was pretty much a coin flip. Flop came Jack, Ace, three, none in his suit, giving him a straight draw, but I've still got the better hand, though now if I trip up, he gets the straight. Turns comes another Jack, which at first looked alarmingly like a queen. So now he needs a King, Queen, or Ten to knock me out. Flop comes a three, and I had three pair to his none, and had around 40,000 in chips putting me second at the table. I caught great hands the rest of the way -- I called an all-in with Ace five (he was severely short-stacked and I was already the big blind). He had pocket queens, but I sucked him out with an Ace on the river. I caught pairs by calling all-ins until there were only two of us -- the guy I'd been sitting next to all night. He had had the chip lead for a while after brilliantly playing quad 7's early in the game (three 7's came on the board, but he checked until he had two people go all-in, both with full houses, before he showed the last 7 and got a HUGE pot). Most of the time, he caught a good hand and I didn't, or vice versa, so we basically traded blinds until he went all in. I had 10-9 suited and figured I might as well call (My stack had grown to about twice his by then), and did. He'd try to bluff with 10-5 off suit, so as long as he didn't get a five, I'd won. I caught my nine on the flop and knocked him out, winning the tourney.

I stayed composed until I got to the car, at which time I screamed, whooped and hollered all at once. I called Meagan and left a message on her phone (it was 2:30 by then, but I had to at least leave a message). Then I went home and watched TV until I fell asleep. But while I was watching TV, I realized that this was probably the worst time to win a tourney, because I had no one to share it with other than the people I'd just beaten. When I won, I'd thought it was better than watching the VU women's basketball team beat UT in Memphis, but after I got home, I figured out that part of what made it so special was celebrating with the rest of the band, whereas now I had Fred and Eliot, who were more concerned about their water dish than pocket tens.

So it was a great week-end. I won a poker tourney, started a great book, and found out something important. No matter what success you reach, it's only as fulfilling as the people with whom you can celebrate it. Meagan come home tonight, and hopefully when she does, and I get back from my game, we'll have another win to celebrate, but if not, it'll just be good to see her and tell her all this in person. That'll make it one of the best weekends ever.


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