Last night was the monthly tiki lounge poker game. We had about 17 signups, which is perfect. It’s a low $30 buy in freezout and the blinds are such that the first 5 rounds are low blinds. Mrs. Columbo had won last months event and was again feeling the pre-show jitters. She snapped at me twice at dinner and I knew she was worried. She had it backwards… we should have been worried. I was at the 1 table with 9 players. I had BIG hands early, so I tried to take control of the table. I ran my 350 in chips up to 450 pretty quickly, but then had the table wrestled away from me by a LAG. Mark could come into the pots pretty cheap in levels 3,4 and 5, so he would. And man was he hitting flops. Every hand seemed to be a blessing for him. Even his 52o flopped 2 pair. Even a flush board did not scare him as it seems he could not lose. On a flop of Q66, I had the Q and invariably, Mark had the 6.
During level 5, I tried to take control of the table back. I had 93o on the button, but raised it up to make a move. The blinds called as did Mark. The flop was Q rag rag and when it came around to me, I bet it out. Everyone folded but the BB. He did not look happy though. When the turn was a rag, I figured maybe I could even get him to fold a Q5. I bet out and he called. Oops, he must have had Q and a decent kicker. I let the hand go at this point and later told me he had AQ for TPTK. I bluffed off 100 chips there. And I would have gotten away with it to, if it hadn’t been for you meddling Queens and your Ace dog. Rooby, rooby, roo!!!
So now instead of being the table captain at the break, I am short on chips (well below my starting 350 now) and Mark is the table captain. Mrs. Columbo is VERY frustrated by Mark’s play. She hates LAGs and she is venting. When I told her not to tilt, she bit my head off and reminded my in a stern and intimidating voice that she knows better. But you can’t fault Mark for his play. The levels are cheap and he was accumulating chips at a much faster rate than should have been possible.
After the break, the blind acceleration starts. I doubled up once, but then lose when my A9s on the button (with first in vigorish) lost to he BB again who had something like KT and hit the board. I was the 3rd player out. I did not have to wait longer than 5 minutes to pick up a side game.
I introduced the other two knock-outs to “triple play shootout” that I learned at PSO (pokershcoolonline.com). It’s a 3 handed SnG. When it’s a short handed table, sometimes I play and sound like Jean-Robert Bellande (http://www.pokerpages.com/articles/profiles/jeanrobertbellande.htm), jawing and talking and reading hands and faces out loud. I do it in fun, and with a lot of laughing. But when I am in this persona, I often am the favorite. It seems I never play better than when I am talking. When I hit a hand, it’s like I can do no wrong. When I miss a hand, it looks like a great laydown. I dodge AA and KK when others have them, but seems to get my TT paid off every time.
This night was no exception. I won the triple shootout by getting Rich pot committed with a big hand, then grinding Greg away. Twice I had gone for the knockout punch and doubled him up, so it took quite a while and quite a hand to finally take him down.
Meanwhile at the main table, #4 “Big E” gets knocked out and the last 3 are in the money. It’s Pat (who kept raising Mrs. Columbo’s blinds), Anya “the missile” (so named because she will fire out at any pot post flop with a ½ bet) and Mrs. Columbo!!
As I hear it, when the blinds started doubling, Mark needed to stop playing so many pots because of the cost of missing the flops. Well, miss the flops he did. But now when he missed the flops, he had chips committed and wanted to keep table control. He lost it quickly though. Even the best of players needs to be reminded to change gears according to the table dynamic. I failed to do it and was out, and Mark failed to adjust and he was out.
When only 1 person was standing, it was Mrs. Columbo holding up the fishbowl of money! (We use a cheap plastic fishbowl to hold the money). She was SO proud. TWO in a row!! She was so confident, she went right out and started playing real money SnGs on Party Poker to try and save her lost bank roll and redeem herself in our contest (see previous posts). She finished 4th, 1st, 2nd, 4th, 1st and 1st. [If you are keeping score, her bankroll is all the way back to its starting $50 and I had better get off my butt. I have been at $125 for a while, because I have been entertaining myself on the “mini steps”. (I am at step 3/5).]
In the second SnG, I won an Oscar for my scene that I call “Columbo’s think tank”. I am very talkative, and I have KK on the button. I put in a tiny raise and get 2 callers. Anya “the missile” calmly says “KK” from the rail. (little does she know she is 100% right). The flop is KTx and Scott “The chair” bets out from the SB. The other player folds and I start talking about what he could have. I call. The turn is a blank, and “the chair” bets out again. I go into the tank. I start talking about AT and KQ. I start talking about my “worst case scenario” a set of tens. I talk about his lack of reraise before the flop saying he does not have AK. I talk about what hands are good here. Then, I talk about how suspicious I am. I raise “to see how confident he is”. I don’t think Scott noticed that he passed the pot committed point here. But we both knew at this point he had the K and he was not going away. The river was a blank and he bets. I raise him all in and he calls and flips TP. He was left with 35 chips. At the end, it was the Doctor and myself. We had a blast talking about hands as we played them. I think at first the Doc was confused about how I always seemed to escape his big hands. Then, he starting asking. I explained to him about betting ½ the pot post flop often as it disguises your strength, but it sometimes enough to pick up the pot with nothing. We talked about “small ball” and how you try to play pots that never get larger than 50% of your entire stack. We had a blast playing and talking strategy. In the end, I had too many chips for him to make up the deficit and took down the second SnG. Most fun playing heads up since playing Mrs. Columbo at the campsites.
Since the SnGs were VERY low buying, winning both just covered my main event buy-in. But, it was very fun and I feel much more in my element when I am at a short handed table, can talk a lot, and take control of the table.
For the next game in a month, I am going to build a table and have a tiki room trophy for players to loft up for a picture to post on the web site. She has an uphill battle to tie Randy’s record of 3 wins in a row, but if anyone can do it, it’s Mrs. Columbo.