Sunday, December 27, 2009

WPBT - Saturday (in which Mrs Chako loses the tournament and her virginity)

When we last left our heroine, she was busy spreading the love amongst her gal pals, kissing her guy pals, reveling in hair metal covers, and donking off a few chips to her annoyingly chipper husband and a barely awake Drizz at the GVR. Sleep did not come easy to her . . . was she overtired? Overstimulated? Or just too excited about the possibilities of winning the golden hammer on Saturday . . . we rejoin Mrs Chako as she recounts Saturday at the WPBT . . .

Waking up without the assistance of an alarm clock before 9 am in Vegas is breaking a rule, I am sure. Like rule 27a (I think 27b is "being up at 9 am in Vegas is acceptable if you have not yet gone to sleep from the previous night"). DrChako joined me in my early morning waking foolishness and we actually got up and got dressed to head over to the tourney.

Mrs Chako Goes to the Tourney

Given the outcome, I could just shorten this to, I lost. But that's not very literary, so I'll give you the extended recap.

The Dr and I grabbed some quick lunch, and ran into others like PokerPeaker and Falstaff and Stb on their way to the tourney, and they joined us in the food court. I think I ate maybe a quarter of my wrap, as my lack of sleep was doing a number on my stomach. I managed to goose BamBam (paybacks are hell) on the way into the tourney, as well, which was a good start to the day.

I started the tourney off on a good note; Waffles was a peach and brought me two new sci-fi books from a series he thought we'd enjoy. Given that I may grow old and die before George R.R. Martin completes the last book in the Song of Ice and Fire series (which I've had to re-read THREE times to catch myself back up, waiting for book 5), I'm happy to have a new something to read when I get some down time. Thanks, Waffles - I owe you one!

I was actually excited about the possibility of moneying . . . either in the tourney, or the last longer challenge. I'd never final tabled (having only played twice), but I'm slow and steady (like the tortoise) and I figured with some skill, luck, and patience, I could make it deep. I also figured I'd serve our last longer team (I've Kissed One of These Girls) of myself, CK and F-Train well, by helping balance out our total team position. I figured with those two, I had a pretty good chance of taking some money home.

Unfortunately, my history of lasting (and outlasting my hubby and friends) was not to be matched. I had a great starting table with old friends and new, but had to watch both Drizz and Pebbles get busted out early, no thanks to Derek who apparently had pocket aces in his sleeve to play whenever he felt malicious and like the playing field was a little too fat. The man had them no less than 3 times while I was there, which wasn't long.

I couldn't pull it out. I lost most of my chips to LJ . . . once when she did not heed the betting of the most notoriously tight woman on the table . . . with two clubs out there, amidst an A and a K (both of which I had in my hole cards), she hung in with her 93 of clubs to hit the flush on the river, which took about half my remaining stack. (I think CK says "crubs always get there" . . . I should have listened) The blind structure took a stab at me, and with a pretty small "M", I found myself with pocket 7s and went all in. It was LJ, in the blind, who said . . . "Well, ok" and called with her AQ offsuit. If we only played this game to the turn, I would be SO in the money. But there is apparently a fifth card. Most of you call it the river. I'm just going to call it the F-me card. Ace hit the river, and all said their goodbyes to me.

Mrs Chako Loses the Tourney

I stood up to go deliver the bad news to Dr Chako, when I noticed Peaker stand up too. I was torn between being pissed that I hadn't outlasted Peaker (not that he's a bad player, I'm just competitive, even with friends), and being pissed that my husband had outlasted me and had a decent-sized stack! The ego was bruised, and I headed out of the tournament room, unsure of my plans for the rest of the day (I've never had to plan this much down time).

Peaker and I were commiserating, and were joined by Drizz, who'd been consoling himself with some games and some drinks. Pebbles passed by, and we shared the camaraderie of decent players who didn't do as well as we wanted or were capable of doing. We chatted and pondered our next move. Food? Poker? Food? Poker? I kinda wanted to do the MGM and get some food. Drizz was flexible, and Peaker was leaning food. Drizz, after a pondering longer, finally convinced himself he wanted to stay and play Caesar's; I was still disenchanted after losing, and thought maybe food and a little distance from Caesars would make me happier, so Peaker and I decided to make our way in the direction of the MGM, in search of food and potentially a poker game.

We debated about the route and the best way to get where we wanted to go. I was still disenchanted, a little tired, and I suggested cab. Peaker, the athlete he is, subliminally suggested that I was a pussy for wanting to take the cab (I know you didn't SAY those words, but I felt it), so he suggested we take the monorail. That seemed perfectly logical to me, and seemed to involve little effort, particularly given that I was wearing high-heels. Except he insisted on taking stairs through all the casinos instead of escalators, because that is how guys who climb mountains do it. So by the time we reached the monorail, I'd had a full days exercise.

Now here is where, if you don't want your image of me tarnished, you must stop reading. I did something illegal. Peaker used his monorail pass . . . and I just slipped through the turnstile behind him. Yep. Just like that. Criminal. Ah, if you only knew the depths of my depravity . . . monorail turnstile hopping is just a stepping stone to big time criminal activity, I am sure.

We discussed our plans and preferences along the way, and more than once, Peaker suggested I should try a $1/$2 NL game at the MGM. The first time he mentioned it, I figured he was just tossing around ideas. But it continued to come up in the conversation. After much debating about what we wanted to do, we made a plan, which included an early dinner at the MGM buffet, followed by a definitive plan to play poker at MGM when we finished. Again, over the buffet, he brought up the idea again of me playing $1/$2 NL.

Now those of you who know me know I am conservative. And "NL" does not imply conservatism at all. A tournament is different - you've committed your money, and the rest is strategy. But in a NL cash game, every decision has a real cash impact that is unpredictable. Plus, my only experience watching NL of any real consequence has been with my husband. I don't play like my husband, I don't like playing WITH my husband, and I certainly can't stand his level of variability in my bankroll. Had my husband asked me to play, the answer, 99 times out of 100, would be a resounding "NO". We learned our lesson about the wisdom of learning a sport with your husband as a teacher when we experimented with him giving me golf lessons. If you want to solidify the possibility of divorce, have your spouse teach you to golf. 'nuff said.

But here is where either Peaker is very convincing, or I am weak. Or both. We were discussing the logic over dinner, and he pointed out some good things. With the right table, if you played only premium hands, the blind structure allowed you to sit through quite a few hands with no substantial investment, even compared to $2/4 or $3/6 limit. If you got a tight table, there wasn't a lot of raising or craziness, and you could just play good strategy. He convinced me that we had similar playing styles, and that he was comfortable, and he was sure I could be comfortable too. As I sat there picking at my food, watching his lean runner frame eating a pile of mashed potatoes, I tried to think of a good reason not to try it. I was having a tough time coming up with good reasons, and when I looked up, he smiled hopefully at me. It was the smile that did it. Its always the smile.

Mrs Chako Loses Her Virginity

We headed over to the poker room and asked to be seated. He even offered to sit at my table with me, and there happened to be two seats immediately available at a $1/$2 NL table. He has described the table accurately in his recap; it was a pleasant, relatively predictable table, without unwarranted aggression or ridiculousness. Most of the players had been at the table for a while, and by the time we called it a night, there were still a few familiar faces at the table. We had Grandma Poker, with her red hand-embroidered poker sweatshirt (kill me if I ever wear one of those), old conservative guy, Russian/Eastern European guy who liked to put his chips in a specific tower when he went all in, the narcolepsy queen/chatty-Kathy doll who spent the whole time chatting Peaker's ear off, when her meds were working, and then a few rotating characters here and there, including my hubby and Blinders, who managed to stir up some global warming controversy or something which put some folks on political tilt, until he lost a big pot and decided to pack it up.

If I am only results-oriented, I would deem this a failure. I only bought in for $100, but I lost it, plus part of another buy in over the course of the 9 hours I played. But, much like losing your real virginity, if you are only results-oriented, you'll be sadly disappointed and likely decide you're never doing that again because it was painful, awkward, and potentially humiliating. Instead, you should focus on the experience for what it is, take it as learning experience, and be happy you lost it with someone you care about.

So after 9 hours at the table (8 with my pseudo-coach Peaker, until he gave it up and went to bed, and my husband joined the table for another hour before I finally needed sleep), I'm considering adding $1/$2 NL to my regular repertoire of games.

First, it was great to be at a table with a good friend. We spent time chatting with each other, our friendly table mates, and texting back and forth, sharing the potential opportunities that abounded amongst our WPBT brethren. We were also close enough to the edge of the room that we were in a prime place to say hi to other bloggers as they joined us in the poker room or passed through the MGM on the way to some other activity.

Second, it was great to be at a table with someone you're comfortable sharing information with (after the hands were dead, of course) who does have similarities in playing styles. For my own learning, I could watch how he played out certain hands and certain positions, could follow up with him later, or could learn what our opponents would call down with. When I was in a pot with him, I learned to be much more attuned to the range of hands he could have against me, and learned which ones I could push, and which ones I had to get out of. We rarely tangled together, as we'd learned to figure out when we were strong and when we were weak. Peaker is actually pretty good at putting others on hands, and correctly called a couple of folks hands, which is always a fun party trick to watch, but also helps me develop that kind of skill.

Third, I also got the benefit of listening to him deconstruct hands with Chatty Kathy, who'd been at the table even longer than the two of us. He thinks she was just a nice person and a little medicated (true), but I also think she was thinking she scored when the cutest guy at the table sat next to her (I would like to clarify that a. even though he could hold his own at most tables, the competition was a little scarce, and b. I had my eye on you, bitch). So she ended up being a teaching experience in and of herself as she played some of her cards a little more aggressively, knowing the playing styles of the others, and shared that with Peaker. She loved AQ, so when she was raising, I was always assessing whether I was stronger than the AQ after the flop.

Finally, I paid more attention to my own play and position in this game, because you don't have the luxury of the bet being limited, and was happy with my decision-making, if not the end results. I generally got out before losing a lot when I was beat, and on the few hands where I was strong, I was happy with my play. I had a couple of tough decision points where I ended up laying down: one where I would have ended up losing a lot; one, where I actually would have won a big pot when my flush draw hit, but squeezed between the big blind and the button, who had both hit trip 9s (I correctly assumed at least one of them had, and was assuming based on the other cards on the table, that at least one of them already had the boat, which neither got), I think I made a good decision that even though I had a straight draw and a flush draw, I didn't want to be drawing to a paired board.

Overall, I was really happy that Peaker was convincing and that I ended up trying a new experience. He is a gentleman at the table and a patient, encouraging "coach" who doesn't try to overteach. He plays solid, uses position, makes decent assessments of his opponents' relative strengths, and was fun to watch, especially when he flopped a set against 2 pair and a smaller set on the flop and raked a monster pot. He helped me analyze my own hands and my own play, without judging or discouraging me. And endurance. The man has endurance. Eight hours at the same table, with Chatty Kathy in his right ear. I bow to your endurance, my friend. Oh. And he's adorable. I might have mentioned that, say, last year. Maybe once or twice or 20 times since then. So let's not discount the fact that I got to sit across from him the whole time. Even when the play sucked, the view was good.

I'm not ready to sit in the midst of my husband, F-Train, CK, and Katkin yet. I've developed a comfort level, but I'm not crazy yet. But next time Peaker asks, I'm definitely game to sit at another $1/$2 NL table with him.

Thanks, "coach," for rescuing my Saturday, and introducing me to a new experience - I'll never forget my first time.

(Ok, I know this is LAST year's picture, but I didn't take a new one this year, and this is a really cute one . . . and he's hugging me . . . take that, Chatty-Kathy)

Respectfully submitted,

The Wife


BWoP said...

I'd love to sit with you at a $1/$2 NL game some day. The one thing Peaker can't teach you is the power of being a female at a poker table :-)

The Wife said...

You're on, CK. You're right, he can't teach that. I'm sure that the power of TWO of us at the same table could be dangerous . . .

DrChako said...

I refuse to sit at that table. I'd be too distracted thinking of you petting each others hair.