07 January 2006

Birthday Extravaganza Days 1 & 2

A great two days of celebration of me for my birthday extravaganza. Even though my birthday isn't until Tuesday, we embrace the Sri Lankan five-day celebration of one's birthday (or at least I do). My brother and sister-in-law made it here yesterday afternoon after we went to the Georgia Aquarium. The aquarium was great, with two whale sharks (the only ones in captivity in the world), five Buluga whales, and lots more cool stuff. I had some panicky times when I called the service dealing with my Chinese visa. The receptionist said they hadn't received anything from me (supposed to receive on Thursday), so it would have put my trip at risk. I was a little freaked out which spoiled the end of the Aquarium for me, but I ended up OK.

So, my sister-in-law and brother made it, and my wife's brother got here around 7:30 last night. I had asked one neighborhood guy to come by, and he said he would after he flew back from Vegas. Everyone else fell through for the home game: the next-door-neighbor with the absolutely horrible kids acted like a jerk when I called, the down-the-cul-de-sac guy called with a no/working late (his college boys play constantly but won't come by), and a couple of other fell through. I was worried that Rich the neighborhood guy wouldn't show, but he knocked on the door after putting the little guy to bed (see photo above), and we had ourselves a regular short-handed card game. The line-up:
  • 1s: Sister-in-law (SIL), fatigues fairly easily as in normally passes out around 8:00, so I figure we could tire her out. Had forgotten most hand values.
  • 2s: My bride (Sweetness), can be very tough for sure, semi-tight passive but will make good reads and not back down
  • 3s: Rich, the neighborhood guy, plays limit (came back with a positive review of Caesar's Palace room playing $6/12)
  • 4s: My brother (Econ), absolutely loves to play, but is dirt poor eating normally once every other day. Only person in the history of Paul Phillips blog to be banned from posting then reinstated.
  • 5s: Brother-in-law (Clemson), tight/aggressive, plays weekly in live games in G-Vegas, plays mostly NLHE in G-Vegas and limit when we are able to get to Vegas
  • 6s: Birthday Boy (cc), prone to donkified bouts of horrible play, generally solid live in limit but doesn't play much NLHE. On Atkins diet, so eating alot of pepperoni and mixed nuts for snacks
We decided on $0.50 NLHE with a max $20 buy-in. I donked off my first buy-in out of position raising with ATo vs Rich on the button, who had AK and didn't mind the A hitting the board. This was maybe the third hand, which was quite nice. Of course I don't remember much of anything except for my play. SIL was knocked out first, limp/calling her way into oblivion although she took a nice pot from Rich. Clemson was forced to re-buy, and Econ got knocked out by Clemson. There was then a fifteen-minute discussion upstairs between the married couple regarding Econ's focus and how much to re-buy in for, when he returned to produce a max re-buy. Sweetness had a couple of great hands and reads, calling down Econ's Hilton sisters with K4o and a K on the board, then turning a straight with 9T after a flop of 783 and a J on the turn (I had AJs and doubled her up).

I started mixing it up more than usual five-handed in position, cold calling with junk hands waiting for flops to hit. My brother has a fatal flaw that I've had and have seen in lots of players. It's the big-cards-pretend-poker-out-of-position play. It basically goes where you raise, then bet the flop and turn in ever-increasing numbers, pretending to have something and hoping the other guy goes away. I didn't have a tell on him, but I was looking for a hand to make a stand. I called a raise to $3 with 57o, and the flop came 799. I think I checked, he bet $5, I raised $10 more, he thought forever before then going all-in for another $6.75 or so. I quickly called showing bottom pair, and he flipped over AT. He didn't connect, and he was out. It was a brutal play, and I think it was due to fatigue, Guinness, shame in getting picked off, and the money. He agreed today that it was a bad play, but you just can't make that call/all-in for your last $16 or so on that.

Down to four, I again waited for a trap opportunity that came on the button. Clemson was UTG and raised it to $3.75 to go. I had a pile of chips by this time, and I quickly called with 86o. The flop came J86, he bet, I raised, he re-raised all-in, and I called before he had gotten the word "in" out of his mouth. He flipped over QQ, the board didn't pair, and I took his chips. We called it a night at 2:00AM or so after five hours. Rich clocked out at $24.25 for a +$4.25 gain. Sweetness was +$29 for the night, and I had $105 for a profit of $65 including my re-buy.

After the little guy went to sleep for his nap today, we had our Birthday Freeroll Tourney. Rich was out but my two oldest boys (JHC 10 and All-in 7) played, which brought the tourney to seven players. I got prizes which I'll run through. All-in ran over the table like he normally does at the beginning. His fatal flaw is not being able to figure out (or care to figure out) when someone has something, so his dear mom took all his chips on successive hands, sending him back to play Harry Potter on the computer. Everyone had $500 in chips and blinds started at $1/2, so we had a good bit of play for quite awhile until folks started getting their clocks cleaned. Clemson raised all-in and put JHC to the test. He showed his mom his cards, and she quickly said that she would call. Unfortunately, he listened to her and called with 66 to Clemson's QQ. The ladies held up, and JHC was down after treading water for awhile. He doubled through Econ on the next hand, took Econ out later when Econ had raised in front of him with a board of JT9. JHC was holding KQs, which is a fairly nice hand for that flop, and Econ's tens sent him to the rail. Down to three players, JHC made an incredible play vs. Clemson. JHC was first to act with a flop of KQx, Clemson bet and was called, T came on the turn, and again a check/call from JHC. The 9 comes on the river, and JHC moves all-in with his last $800 in chips into a pot of $2,000 or so. Clemson had him covered with another $250 or so in chips, and he squirmed for at least three minutes trying to get a read on this ten-year-old. He finally says, "You've got to have the jack, but I just can't lay this down," and Clemson calls. JHC flips over a Q for second pair, and clemson turns over T9o for two pair, and my boy is sent to the rail in third place. Now, I should probably be arrested for all of this, but I couldn't be prouder of my eldest. I told him before we started, just play your best, that's all I ask. He laid down after losing his first $200 to All-in who had nothing, fought back short stacked fighting off discouragement, built his stack back, got brutalized by his uncle's overpair, doubled back through, made a great play to knock out his uncle and mom, then played back and forth and finally making a brilliant play at a major pot with his last $800. I ended up in second place to Clemson when I raised with my trusted 86o, caught a flop of K97, went all-in for a quick call from 94o, and watched blanks hit. The prize structure was as follows:
  1. Clemson: $25 Border's Gift Card
  2. cc: Saved DVD
  3. JHC: Masters and Commander DVD
  4. Econ: Spiderman I & II DVD's (my four-year old nephew was in tears because his dad got knocked out missing out on winning this prize, so it would have been brutal to pick it before)
  5. Sweetness: Massage book
  6. SIL: Earth photo book
  7. All-in: Born Free DVD
The home game would be ideal with a core group of folks. I think the reasonable, friendly stakes for the home game is the way to go as it allows us to chat it up, table talk, play a bit donkified (which is fairly easy for me), and have some real fun. I need to find the right folks, and I'm not going to go back to people I don't want there. Being a soon-to-be-41-year-old-old-fart, I'm no spring chicken (although I do have a 2001 England World Cup qualifying Beckham do thanks to my Virgin Atlantic hair stylist).

All of that to say a really great time for the weekend. Sweetness and I are about to pass out from being up so late (well, she's actually already slobbering down her chin). I need to book my final itinerary for my trip, which I'll do probably tonight. I'm debating whether to go to Bellagio for 24 hours on my way to LA, but I'll definitely hit Commerce before climbing on my 18-hour flight to Shanghai. It looks like Shanghai for nine days, then Singapore with a potential stop in Thailand.

Special thanks to my brother-in-law for driving two hours to spend 24 hours with me, and my brother and his great wife for coming in from Athens just to focus on me. Both you guys are more and more special to me, even though I'm sure it's a little creepy to have someone 10-12 years older than you hanging around. It couldn't be a better start to my Birthday Extravaganza.

POSTSCRIPT EDIT: And my brother won a three-handed $5 freeroll by somehow miraculously getting a run of incredible cards to knock Clemson and me out. I have totally blocked this particular tourney from my memory, but if I recall it was filled with major suckouts and just horrible, horrible play by Econ and he somehow took the cash! All kidding aside, he is one of the best three-handed SNG players I've ever seen!


Blogger Scott Cunningham said...

Ahem. I seem to remember a certain someone winning a $5 freezeout the next day, too, ya know.

We had a great time. A homegame like that would be a ton of fun. Too bad you live out in the boondocks. (Anywhere is in the boondocks to Athens, I guess, though).

9:37 AM  

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