This past Saturday my wife was hosting of one of the many types of sales parties designed to draw in people, have them eat a little food and swill a little wine, then order a bunch of crap. No sir, for me the party meant that it was time to get out of Dodge. Fortunately, I had gotten an e-mail from online poker buddy gadzooks64
, saying that she was having a poker tournament in her home that night. Although zooks lives just over 100 miles away, it seemed like the time was right. Not wanting to make the 200+ mile round trip just to possibly donk out of her tournament early, I decided to leave a few hours early and play some $1/2 NL Hold Em at the Par-A-Dice riverboat casino in Peoria, IL, which was on the way to zook's house.
My history at Par-A-Dice was not pretty. In fact, I do not belive that I have ever finished ahead in the few times I have played there. But ... what the heck, it was time to write a new chapter in that tired old book.
Finding a parking space was at first difficult since the casino was having the final night of a huge promotion that included a car giveaway. The place was packed. However, I successfully waded through the crowd and got to the poker room right before a new $1/3 NL table was to open. I didn't even know they sometimes spread $1/3 there. Anyway, I recognized a few of the locals (it feels like sometimes I am the only "visitor" playing there), was ready for play, and got down to business. If only the cards cooperated. In 1 1/2 hours of play I got exactly one decent starting hand, A-K, and missed the flop, as did all of the speculative hands I played. I pissed away a little mobney via blinds and missed shots, but essentially got and did nothing. Blah.
I got to zooks' house just as the tournament was about to start: 14 runners (I think) with one rebuy available through the first four levels. I caught a nut flush on the river and was able to extract a decent amount of chips out of one player. Then the big hand hit. I had position and limped in with K-9, a hand I often play due to my previous affiliation with the now-defunct K9 Poker Tour. The flop was King high and I bet and got a caller. The turn was a 9, giving me top two. A flush draw was also on the board. The other guy in the hand made a huge raise. Knowing that I had the protection of a rebuy, I shoved and was called. Unfortunately, my opponent had flopped a set and took all my chips. Rebuy!
Using my supreme roach skills, I stuck around and stuck around until we got to the final table. Now, in the past my luck at zooks' home tournamanets had been terrible. I played in two or three, and in the last two I suffered horrible suckouts. This time things would be different, though. It was time for lightning36 to show he could suck out with the best! I pushed all in after a flop (with K-9 again!) with second pair only to find that I was behind top pair. However, a 9 on the turn and a King on the river gave me a boat. Yowsa! Later on, I went up against zooks, whose huge stack started dwindling, and hit a lucky four-flush on the river. I finished the tournament in third place, which certainly was not too bad considering I had been a short stack ninja for much of the tournament.
As I drove back home, I heard the siren's call from Par-A-Dice all the way out on I-74, turned off at the exit, and decided to give the poker room there one last try. There were several $1/2 NL games going, and my first table quickly broke up, moving me to a table with lots of loose action. I felted one guy who decided to call my $100 bet (top two) with a flush draw and gutshot straight draw. I pushed all in after the turn and he called. I thought I was dead when the river hit the low end of the straight draw, but I guess the guy's straight draw was a gutshot, so kudos (and mobney) to me. A bunch of other nondescript hands followed, and I finally left so that I could get home before the sun came up. Most importantly, I finally won at Par-A-Dice!
So ... my bad streak at one poker room came to an end and I was in the money in a tournament that I should not have cashed in except for luck. Not a bad night ... and certainly better than listening to the chatter generated from the sales party my wife was hosting. Yowsa!