Last week at Weight Watchers the gentleman sitting next to me looked over at me and asked me if I played poker. I was a bit taken aback. Maybe he thinks since it is so popular these days, most young men (yeah, well he’s older than me so I might look like a young man to him… give me a break) would be playing poker.
Whatever his reasoning, of course I do. He told me that he placed 5th in a tournament over at a bowling alley down the street the night before. He told me where, and when it starts and said I should stop by. So I did, tonight.
It started about 7pm, and the sign-up sheets were on the table. There was one table nearly full, one about half full and 3 tables with a few names on them. I chose one of the ones with just a few names, put my name down, and went up to the bar to get a diet coke. As we were sitting down I ended up sitting between two ladies who play a number of games in the area. Down at the other end of the tables a girl was getting some pointers on how to play the game. It was her first time. "Dead money" was the phrase going through my head.
There really wasn’t any money involved. It was free to enter, and the prizes were gift-cards that could be used in the bowling alley. It’s actually quite a bit more than a bowling alley with a gaming area with skee-ball and games that issue tickets, a small sports bar (where the tournament was held), and then of course bowling lanes.
First hand I had a pair of 6’s. Blinds were 100/200, so I min-bet up to 400. I had a few callers and it was a decent size pot. The flop came 832. It was checked to me, and I bet another 200, and promptly mentally cursed myself for under-betting the pot. Heck, I had no idea what the pot was. Never really did all night. There were about 4 callers. Turn came another 8. I bet 500 this time, and only the girl whose first time it was called me. River came a 2. I figured if she called me on the turn she’d call just about anything so I checked. She checked as well, which was good for me. She had 29, for the full house 2’s over 8’s. I had 2-pair 8’s and 6’s. Oh well. I looked down at my stack and figure that was probably a pretty good dent in it. We started with 5000, and that was 1100 of it. Not drastic.
The next hand I had 44. Limped in, flop had a Q in it. Checked around. Turn came K. I checked and someone to my left bet so I folded. Meh.
Twice when I was in the big blinds it was limped to me and I made 2 pair. One time I made a full-house with 6’s and 3’s. Another time I made a flush when I was in the big blind. Speaking of flushes 4 times tonight I hit my flush. Insane luck (remember you’re only supposed to hit it 35% of the time if you have 4 cards of the same suit on the flop). I was betting them on the flop trying to get a free card, and it was working pretty nice. Then I was hitting it.
Turns out I won.. first place. There were about 20-some people, I guess. I was very lucky, and made my luck count. That’s what you’re supposed to do, right? I had a lot of easy decisions. Most of the time my hand was lousy like 9-3, or 10-5, or 4-2. I had a 4-2 suited that I folded to an all-in pre-flop (would have made the flush on that hand, too.) Or it was nice, like AJ (2-3 times) one AK that lost (of course), KJ twice. Then we got short-handed and I played Ace-rag a couple times. Split the pot once with A-2. First prize was a $30 gift card to the bowling alley. Take the family out to eat in the little sportsbar there, mebbe. Teresa laughed when I told her it was a dinner… maybe she hasn’t been inside there.
It was very interesting… my first live play. I almost never knew how much was in the pot. Never based my bet decision based upon the pot. Didn’t really ‘read’ anyone. Most of the time everything was going so fast it was tough just follow who was dealer (oh, we dealt it ourselves.. 2 decks passed around until the final 5). Towards the end the chips going around were a bit of a blur and I know I pushed in too many chips at least twice. I ended up winning them all anyway, right? What’s a chip here or there.