Sunday, October 08, 2006

Stevob19 in a Cruel Test

In what had to be one of the wildest Holdem Affair events Stevob19 came through to take home the honors. Poker can be a cruel, cruel game. Tonight the poker gods were messing with us big time. I’m not just talking about bad beats but the kind of hands where someone is ahead on the flop only to be totally dominated on the turn and then hit his 2 or 3 outer on the river to take the hand. You can be cruising along at the final table with what looks like an insurmountable chip lead and the next thing you know you are watching from the rail wondering what happened. That was the action tonight.

KennyJ37 went into the final table with a solid chip lead but by hand 22 we were down to seven and ThePokerWolf had taken the lead. When we hit the money table over 50 hands later Wolf was still sitting comfortably and Stevob19 and VegasSno were the short stacks. But who ended up in the heads up match? Why Stevob19 and VegasSno, of course. Stevob19 claimed the honors and VegasSno earned second place. KennyJ37 took down the third place money. ThePokerWolf had to settle for fourth and newcomer Bella13 proudly claimed her fifth place money.

It seemed like there were several stories of cruel, if not bad, beats tonight. I’ll pass on just one to save my poor readers the anguish but give you an idea of how the tables were falling this evening. This one occurred early in the second hour. Glenso was battling to stay alive when he found himself all-in before the flop against ThePokerWolf. Glenso held QJs and Wolf turned over AK. Oops, Glenso was in big trouble. But the poker gods smiled on him and flopped QJx for two pair. Glenso was alive and looking to double up. The turn was another brick sent only to tease Glenso as the smile on those poker demons faces turned to laughter when the Ts hit the river giving ThePokerWolf the straight and Glenso his walking papers. Yes, I know, that is technically not a bad beat but it was cruelty of the highest order. That is what this night was like.

We had 36 players this week and we were down to 20 by the first hour break. I was still in the action but 20th place was the best I could muster. Here is your leader board.
Agro = 6535
burldog44 = 6175
KennyJ37 = 5665
Big Lar8 = 4280
Bella13 = 4140
Hazy Cat = 3065
VegasSno = 2720
ThePokerWolf = 2610
Stevob19 = 2490
Glenso = 2240

And twentieth place it was for me as I busted out very early in the second hour this week. It was a tough table for several of the regulars as Big Lar8, Agro, even Jennifear failed to survive the next hour to make it to the final table. Here is your final table seated just short of the second hour break.
KennyJ37 = 13785
ThePokerWolf = 7180
VegasSno = 6590
Goodtime Chas = 6550
Johnfitz52 = 6495
Hazy Cat = 4340
Bella13 = 4075
Stevob19 = 2590
burldog44 = 2095
Marti = 300

At first glance it looks like Marti is going to be the first one to fall from the final table but anyone who knows Marti knows that she can play the short stack better than just about anyone else in the Holdem Affair. On the very first hand it was bella13 and burldog44 all-in when the flop came 7c 9d 7s. Burldog44 held 9h 5h and had hit top pair. That was good enough for the push but Bella13 was sleeping in the corner with As Ad and trapped our favorite puppy. Burldog44 was our first victim on this final table.

Stevob19 started out in 8th place with a mediocre stack but wasted no time in making his presence known. He won the next two hands including doubling up off Johnfitz52 to climb back into the action.

Hand 4 and we have Marti making her stand from the big blind holding Ks Jc. Hazy Cat went after our hostess with a miserable 2d 4s from the small blind. When the flop came 9d 2c 4d we knew it was time for Marti to watch from the rail. What a flop.

Hand 21 and Goodtime Chas opened for 1250 only to see ThePokerWolf call. The flop came Ac 4c Jh, Wolf checked raised Chas and they were all-in for the turn. Goodtime Chas turned over As 5s for top pair but ThePokerWolf showed pocket aces for the win. Goodtime Chas was gone in 8th place.

VegasSno pulled down a nice pot and then Bella followed with her own pot. Just four hands later, we saw Hazy Cat open for 1225 and Stevob19 push in response from the big blind. So Hazy, is this a re-steal? You’ve seen Stevob19 make this play before. That just might have occurred to Hazy Cat because he made the call holding Kd Tc. Oops, Stevob19 turned over pocket kings. The mouser was dominated and in big trouble. The board didn’t bring enough help for Hazy Cat and he was gone in 7th place.

Bubble time. Who is going home penniless tonight? As is so often the case at bubble time the play tightened up considerably. Several players attempted to push the action but they just traded blinds for the next 30 hands. The battle was on and Bella doubled up through Stevob19 on hand 53. But it was hand 69, forty-three hands after Hazy Cat but the dust, Johnfitz52 pushed his 2380 chips from the small blind when all folded to him. ThePokerWolf was the big blind, and he made the call holding Kc Qd. Johnfitz turned over Qs 8s. The table matched up the queen but both held that and it was the king in ThePokerWolf hand that sent johnfitz52 off to the lounge without any money.

We now had our money table. ThePokerWolf held the lead with 17335, KennyJ37 was a close second. Stevob19 was a ways back in third with VegasSno close on his heels. Newcomer Bella13 was our short stack with 5435.

Bella made her stand on hand 75. A smooth call gave her a cheap flop heads up with VegasSno. The flop was 9d Qh 5d. Vegas pushed immediately taking Bella all-in with her call. Bella held Kd Qs for top pair, Vegas had pushed the flush draw holding just Jd 4d. It wasn’t looking good for VegasSno until the turn hit him hard with the 2d. Vegas hit his flush and our beautiful lady was gone in 5th place.

By hand 80 the field was very tight with less than 6000 chips separating first from fourth. It truly was anyone’s game to win and with the antes 75 and the blinds 300/600 there was still room to play. This wasn’t shaping up to be an all-in luck fest. VegasSno slipped a bit only to double up through KennyJ37 on hand 84 to get back into the mix. That put Kenny in a short position. Then hand 89 the blinds went up to 400/800. Kenny pushed the small blind steal only to have Stevob19 look him up. Kenny had pushed with “any two”, Js 4d. Stevob19 had him dominated with Ac Jh. But what did I say earlier about poker being a cruel game? The flop missed them both but the turn hit Kenny in the one live card he held. Double up time for Kenny and now Stevob19 was our short stack.

Hand 92 and Stevob19 took a run at the pot only to have VegasSno re-steal with an all-in. Steve was getting even shorter. Hand 98 and his Ad Jc went up against ThePokerWolf with Ah Th. That was good for a double up and he was back ion the game and Wolf was now hurting. Are you getting the idea that any one of these four could win at this stage? I just love these kinds of final tables.

Hand 104 and ThePokerWolf is down to only 7215. Stevob19 opened UTG for 3200 and the Wolf chose this time to make his stand. Ah 2s is good enough he said. Stevob19 called with pocket threes and hoped for the best. No aces showed up this hand and ThePokerWolf was sent to his den in 4th place.

That vaulted Steve into the chip lead. Steveob19 then started to pressure, but VegasSno and KennyJ37 showed they were up to the test. The field tightened over the next 10 hands. But pressure is a key ingredient if you are going to win the Holdem Affair. Hand 114 and Kenny pushed holding just 4s 8s. Stevob19 made the call with Ad 6h. The flop brought the As for Steve but the turn was the 9s to give Kenny the flush draw. It looked for a second that those fickle poker gods were going to laughing at us again. But the Jh came bobbing down the river and KennyJ37 was our third place finisher.

Stevob19 had survived the money table war to get heads up with VegasSno and a 2.5:1 chip lead. That was just too much for VegasSno to overcome and it was just six hands later when Vegas pushed with Ac 6s only to have Stevob19 turn over big slick. The flop was 9h 7s 8d and Vegas had the straight draw. It looked for a moment that he just might double up after all. But those mean poker fates were just messing with his head. No straight for Vegas and Stevob19, a final table regular, had posted his first Holdem Affair victory.

What a great final table. I just wish I could have been sitting closer than the rail to get in on that action. See you all soon.

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