So now that I'm a Bay Area resident, our pokering pal Bayne hooked me up with the local poker tourney down here. He was even a sweetheart enough to wait outside for me and usher me in, though I guess I could have found it on my own, given the hoardes of cars.
It was pretty well-structured with incentives to get their early and buy the add ons, so you kind of have to plan to pay for them. DrChako agreed to stake me for half in exchange for half, if any, of my winnings. But I made myself promise that I had to play the chips I had - no rebuys during the unlimited rebuy period.
I played conservative and well, but with no major takedowns. I raised with pocket kings and the big blind called me, and the flop went 10-10-x. Big blind bet, I raised, he went all in. I was sick, thinking he had A-10 buried or something, but called anyway. Needed to make a move. He had pocket Qs and I doubled up.
I had pocket 10s and raised, and got called. The board showed an A-K-X on the flop . . . but I bet into it anyway, trying to choke down some bile. The caller hemmed and hawed and finally laid down, to my relief. Didn't want to see paint there.
My only real "move" which I'm proud of was having KJ suited (diamonds) and calling a min raise. Flop came out Q-10-x, two diamonds. I check, raiser bets, I call. Turn comes and its nothing. I bet, he min raises, I call. River is nothing. I bet a small bet (two bigs). He looks at me, and then mucks. My busted straight, busted flush draw and a couple paltry chips takes it. Whew. This table must be starting to believe I only play with something.
Unfortunately, I went card dead about the same time the blinds went up and an ante was announced for the next round, as we were getting down to just the last couple tables. I was in the small blind with K8 and had an M of about 4.5, if I did my math right. I decided to try to steal the big blind . . . from Bayne. Except he woke up with A-x, and decided he needed to go big or go home too . . . and had just a little more than me. Ace high took down a board of nothing, and I was done. Can't complain about the play.
The dynamic at the table was interesting though. It was a friendly table for the most part, all chatty and stuff, and I do my best to foster that kind of environment. There were a few moments though where you start to realize people take themselves a little too seriously.
Like when someone dropped the F-bomb. Tony, a nice older gentleman to my left, says "hey, there's a lady present here." Which lead to a huge debate about equality and women's rights and such and how if I wanted equal rights, then I'd just have to hear a few F-bombs. I tried to defend Tony and said "maybe it needs to not be based on my sex but rather on whether ANYONE at the table might be offended." They were still grumbling about it, and that's when I told them there are only a few situations where I expect that word to be used, and only as a verb, and that didn't seem to be on the agenda for the evening. That got a few chuckles and got the table to quiet down.
There was another table dynamic that was chipping away at the fun aspect, and maybe I'm just not hard core enough to appreciate it. One of the players, Ron, was a bit of a party pooper. He had an interest in keeping the play going, but his way of going about it was chafing me like a bad pair of panties in tight jeans in August in Georgia. He was mad because one guy, who I thought said "another 800" which would have made the bet 1200, wasn't clear in his denominations on the raise, and then took too long to explain it. At the end of the discussion, he was sitting with 3 bets in front of him, which was a consistent raise amount from the table - at some point you gotta roll with it when its clear there wasn't any misguided intent. He would get frustrated with how people dealt, if someone forgot to deal to the naked chip stack in the 1 seat, etc. He got pissy with me once because I did not see his check motion when I was dealing. He didn't speak or tap the felt loud enough for me to hear - nothing seemed to please him.
What pleased him even less was another player. James had apparently hurt his back, but decided to take some muscle relaxers and come play anyway. He was knocking back a few Heinekens and being social, so a few times he had to be reminded to play. When it was his turn to deal, he was slow, because he had limited range of motion. This inflamed Ron to no end. He sat to my right, silently stewing the whole time. Making snide comments to the guy to his right.
So here is my observation. If this were the world series of poker and we bought in for $10,000 and were playing with a bunch of pros, I could totally understand how pace of play is absolutely critical and expected and you shouldn't be sitting at the table if you can't live up to that expectation. You have professional dealers there to help you along in that regard.
But this is a home game. With real money at stake. But nonetheless, a home game, where you put a few $20s down to play, have some food and drink, meet some people, and polish your tournament skills. Out of courtesy, you should observe normal rules and try your best to keep your head in the game and keep the pace of play going. But am I wrong to think this can be accomplished with a friendly "hey James, your turn" now and then, without the glowering and the snide commentary which puts the little rain cloud over the whole table? We're not pros, people. If we were, maybe we shouldn't be sitting in some guys living room on folding chairs eating his cheese dip and playing like our mortgage depended upon these chips.
Ron made it to the final table, and busted out with one of the low prizes. Not at all out of character, he grabbed his envelope and left without so much as a wave.
Maybe he had to rush home and change the stick up his ass.