Thursday, June 28, 2007

I'm not addicted to poker...

I'm addicted to winning.

I've started playing poker online again; we've often found ourselves watching poker on TV, and that got me interested again. Moreover, watching the pros - who are often sponsored by this poker outfit or that - gave me the idea I'd try out Full Tilt, since many pros are sponsored by them.

And I've liked what I've seen. I used to play on PokerStars a lot, mainly because I had several friends that did as well - though we never did hook up to play. But PokerStars had tournaments that were too infrequent for me; it was often an hour-long wait before the next sit-n-go (SNG) tournament would begin.

Full Tilt has SNGs going constantly. They're usually 90 players; as soon as one tournament fills, another comes open for registration.

(I should add I don't play for money. I play for fake money; if it were real, I'd have an extra $50,000 or so right now. But I'd rather have a lot of fake money than a lot less real money.)

I've had some moderate success, taking second in two tournaments, winning one and making a few more final tables (one of which happened Weds. morning, as you can see in the pic above). I busted out of that tournament pretty quickly, since I had to get ready for work and I didn't have a very big stack of chips to begin with. Still, my "winnings" covered the cost of entering the tournament, and there was a little left over.

My one win was pretty memorable. I made it to the final table and outlasted all but one opponent. I got a run of great cards and took a pretty big lead; my opponent rallied nicely, however, and my lead shrunk just as quickly. (Be warned, we'll get a little jargonish here. If you get lost, try here.)

On what turned out to be the last hand, I was dealt J-5 offsuit. Not great, but enough to try to play with. The flop, of all possible things, comes J-J-J. Four of a kind - a hand outranked only by a straight flush and a royal flush. Sensing I might scare my opponent off with a bet, I checked.

My opponent, apparently, was dealt a pair, giving him/her a full house. He/she followed with a minimum bet, which I raised (I had not check-raised at all until now). If I remember right, my opponent re-raised, at which point I forced him/her all-in. There was no way to beat me, so I knew I had it won.

I've had a few decent runs since then. I was all set to go tonight, signed up for a SNG which cost $2K to buy into. I stayed in the first hand (which I usually don't, given the propensity of clowns who tend to go all-in), and sure enough someone went all-in. Giving their betting pattern I was convinced I had the best hand.

And I did, all the way until the river - when he got the card that gave him a low straight, beating my pair of queens.

Not the way I wanted to begin the night.

But I'm addicted to winning. I signed up for the next SNG, which was moderately more successful (27th place).


P.J. said...

I wouldn't mind actually getting into some online poker. But I'd want to be able to get into some games with some friends and just have a good time. maybe we can get a group of journo late-night guys who want to play once every couple of weeks. ;)

Brian said...

That would be sweet, dude. If you're organizing, keep me in the loop.

If that meant I'm supposed to be organizing, well... :)