It Was The Best of ป๊อกเด้ง ไฮโล Times

ป๊อกเด้ง ไฮโล

Sharing is caring!

With pounding heart and heavy head (or was that pounding head and heavy heart?), I awoke on Friday morning wishing I’d stop finding such juicy games, because they were costing me too much money. Eager to forget about the bloodbath of the night before, I slinked over to the Bike for the Nooner Headhunter Limit Hold’em tourney.

I really liked this format. Along with your entry fee and juice, each player pays an extra five dollars to serve as a “bounty” on their heads, and receives an orange plastic disc as a marker for the bounty. For each player you bust out, you receive their bounty disc, each one being worth $5 to you once you are knocked out. The locals and dealers call the discs “pizzas”, because they’re close to the size of a small Dominoe’s #17. Note to the Bike: Do they really have to be so big? Anyway, this tourney was run by Reuben, another of the Bike’s crack team of tourney directors.

Seated next to a nice young local fella named Tom, who was a pleasure to play with. Also at the table were ESCAR-goers Scott and Steve Pearce, and a bunch of nutbar locals. I played extremely tightly the first 3 levels, but the locals were rammin’ and jammin’ with all sorts of cheese. Couldn’t find a hand for the first 2 hours with which to increase my stack size, but managed to rob enough to keep the stack from dwindling too far down. Survived 3 all-ins, one of which I rivered a third 2 to piss somebody off something fierce.

Interesting hand: I’m in the BB with Presto. Scott raised from the cutoff, I 3 bet. He calls. Flop is K-4-x, 2 spades. I bet. He calls. We check down the turn and river. He has 6-4 of spades. Lots of laughter about the big ringer ESCAR-goers playing such powerhouses.

When they combine to two tables, foldem and Jan Pearce are added to our ป๊อกเด้ง ไฮโล table. Foldem is running on fumes, with a very small stack, but dodges bullets left and right, even surviving the two times that I had him all in, the rat. I manage to survive and make it to the final table with a small-to-medium stack, along with fellow ESCAR-goers foldem, Jan, Ron The Happy Raiser, Andrew “Andrew” Prock, and ADB Oz. Also at the table is Pleasant Local Tom, and the most annoying man I’ve ever played with. He’s an Asian guy with a Wallace Shawn-type spitting lisp, and he never shuts up. Let me be clear: He. Never. Shuts. Up. Talks about hands that happened twenty minutes ago. Talks about hands that happened 2 years ago. Talks about what he had for breakfast. You get the idea. I wanted to choke the life out of him. And that doesn’t happen to me very often.

ESCARGOT Golden Moment Number Three:

A controversy erupts right before play starts. 10th place pays $40, which is what 11th through 18th paid, and 9th place pays $80. Reuben informs the table that a player has asked if $40 could be taken off the top and given to 10th place, so 9th and 10th would pay the same, and so 10th would get at least a small premium for actually making it to the final table. A vote is called for. Everyone votes yes. Except for me, who, in typical polite Canadian fashion, abstained (actually, I just said I’d go with the flow). And except for Prock, who has a large stack and says, no way. The ESCARGOT contingent just shrugs its’ collective shoulders. The locals, specifically The Most Annoying Man I’ve Every Played With (heretofore known as TMAMIEPW), who not coincidentally is the short stack, is livid. Bad blood is spewing from his venomous, spit-lisp-soaked lips. He’s pissed, and makes sure Prock knows it. Prock, to put it delicately, makes it apparent he doesn’t give a poop what TMAMIEPW thinks. I love LA.

So, you know what’s gonna happen, right?

Well, you were close.

About 5 hands in, a pre-flop raising war breaks out between Prock and Foldem, who by now has Prock slightly outchipped. Knowing what I know about these two guys, there is no way in hell that either would get involved with the other big stack unless they had a big hand. I think they went 5 or 6 bets pre-flop.

Flop comes J-9-3, suits unimportant.

The rest of the money goes in. Prock shows a set of 9’s. Foldem has Siegfried and Roy.

Turn: Rag

River: One of Foldem’s two outs, a third queen. The classic suck/resuck.

Prock, who now looks whiter than Michael Jackson, stands up, dazed and confused, and wanders off to collect his forty dollars.

I score big comedy points the rest of the weekend doing my impression of Prock leaving the table and stammering, wandering aimlessly, not sure what to do next.

Soon down to 6 players. I’m 3rd biggest stack. Foldem has a king’s ransom in chips, and ADB Oz has about twice mine. TMAMIEPW, Jan Pearce and Pleasant Local Tom have shorter stacks than I. Pleasant Local Tom asks for a deal. Foldem, who has entered the Southern California Annual TARGET Satellite (SCATS) and is being blinded off in that tourney for the past 40 minutes, is anxious to move on. He offers $200 off the top to be haggled over by the remaining five. Everyone agrees. Except me. Now I’m the bad guy. I just thought it was a little too early for a deal, as I was playing well and wanted at least 1 more bustout (and probably 2) before making one. Fortunately, no one threatened my life, and we played on.

So, you know what’s gonna happen, right?

This time, you were right.

I was next out, as that Mike “ADB Oz” Osborne killed me in two straight hands.

First Hand: I’m on the button, folded to me, I have A9s, and about 8 small bets left. I rai. Oz rerai. I ponder, and feel he has a hand. I fold. (Oz later confided that he had pocket tens.)

Very Next Hand: I’m in the cutoff, and rai with KhQh. Oz rerai. I think. Mostly what I’m thinking is what a prick this Oz character is. I look down to my puny stack, and shove it in. Oz shows A9o. No improvement, IGHN. I collect $160, plus $25 for bounties, plus $5 last longers from Pizzaman, Mickdog, and The Happy Raiser. I lose yet another $5 LL to Foldem. It is becoming clear that you must win the darn tournament to collect a last longer bet from Foldem.

Media Advisory: Andrew Prock and I have been asked to appear on a poster advising the dangers of refusing deals in the Bike’s Nooner tournaments.

So I sweat the final table for a while, grabbing a couple Michelobs for myself and Oz’s brother Darrel, The Mini Oz (if you’ve seen the Oz brothers, there’s nothing mini about either of them….). Not long after my exit, Pleasant Local Tom and Jan Pearce are busted out, leaving Oz, Foldem, and TMAMIEPW. Foldem has a stack the size of the Yankees payroll, followed by TMAMIEPW, and Oz is holding on for dear life. TMAMIEPW has not disappointed, he continues to yap incessantly. Oz looks as if he’d like to squish the guy’s head like a pimple, but wisely restrains himself.

Finally, Oz makes a stand with KQo, tossing his last few chips in. TMAMIEPW calls and shows down A8o. Board comes J-T-8 rainbow. Oz stands up. Turn is a rag. Oz pushes his chair in. River is an ace. Oz begins to dejectedly walk away. Dealer pushes pot to TMAMIEPW and begins to muck board.

“WHOA!! WAIT!!” I yell. Oz has a straight, which I point out to the dealer. 3 players, a tourney director, a dealer, and about 15 spectators are watching, and no one sees it. I have visions of Oz coming back to win the tournament, and giving me half of his prize money. Visions? More like hallucinations. But anyway, Oz thanks me profusely, and plays on, but alas, only lasted about another 5 hands. Foldem and TMAMIEPW make a deal for the rest. While I’m not unhappy with my 6th place finish, it sure grates on me watching TMAMIEPW laughing it up while taking home 2nd place money plus. Grrrr.

Anybody noticed that Foldem is having a Phil-Ivey-2002-WSOP kind of weekend?

It ain’t over yet. Foldem sprints to the SCATS satellite, where his stack has blinded down to about half of its’ original size. He then proceeds to get to three handed, where a deal is made, and he gets the seat. Unreal. Great poker, Peter, well done.

A quick meal of some greasy fast food chicken with Mickdog, and it’s off to the ESCARGOT Limit Hold’em tournament. As the Chinese New Year celebrations have come and gone, the tournament is now held in its’ rightful location: a private banquet room. I wistfully long for a loud dragon parade to storm through the room and tilt the entire field, but alas, it is not to be.

Once again, I felt I played pretty well. Managed to limp through the first few rounds without winning any major pots, but not losing any, either. At my opening table, amongst others, are Dan Goldman, John Reeves, Fern Chamberlain, Dan Loncarcic, and MrBob. MrBob has been getting hit pretty hard with the deck, and that, combined with his very strong play, has allowed him to dominate the table somewhat. Others who have been moved to the table at various times are Russ (Crazy Like A) Fox, David Huberman, Kirk Oshiro, and my nemesis, Mike Osborne.

I go card dead for a while, and short stacked, I have to start gambling a bit. Two huge suckouts of note keep me in it. Suckout #1: I go all in with 22, MrBob has AK, king on flop, 2 on river. Much Michelob-fueled fist pumping ensues. Suckout #2: Kirk rai, I rerai all-in from button with ATo. He calls. He has KK. Flop no help, turn and river are both aces. More fist pumping. (Side note to both Kirk and Bob: Sorry if my, um, enthusiasm was a little over the top.)

Later, now desperately short stacked, I open-rai with A9s from mid position, Russ Fox rerai from BB, which would put me all in. Russ has a (not necessarily deserved) reputation for being the rock’s rock. After thinking for a while, I opt for survival, and fold. Russ later tells me he had an ace, too, and that his kicker was an ace. I’m still not sure if I believe him. A few hands later, I bust out with my last 3 or 4 chips, and can’t even recall the hands, so it wasn’t anything special. I finish 13th, just out of the money again. Only this time, I lose ALL my last longer bets. How can you finish 13th out of 70, and lose 5 last longers?

Apparently, I need to seek out weaker players with whom to make these wagers.

I move to the main card room and get into a 6/12 HE game. Seated on my right is Tricia the Beautiful and Talented Prop, and we have a nice chat, during which we discover we have some mutual friends. After she is moved to another table, I realize my head’s just not in the game, so I cash out-40 and go watch the last few hands of the LHE tourney. They’re down to three: Ron The Happy Raiser, Russ Fox, and, of course, Foldem, who must be having the best weekend of his life. Ron finishes third, and Russ knocks out Foldem to take the title.

I go back to watch a few minutes of the 1/2 PL mixed game, which is a very happy place populated by all well-oiled ESCAR-goers. Ploink, Jerrod, Steve BIA, and others are having a ball, with chips flying. Beth, who is seated in a 10/20 game across the aisle, says that Foldem has extended an open invitation to his suite for beers. Now I’ve found my game, best intentions to get some sleep be damned. So, at 1:30 am, I head across to the Extremely Limited.

On hand in Foldem’s suite are Scott, Sabyl, Foldem, and The Happy Raiser. Stumbling in shortly after I arrive are Jerrod and Ploink. A Chinese Poker tournament breaks out, which I decide to only observe. Foldem and I trade lies and stories over several beers. Believe it or not, the funniest stories that came out of that conversation were about bowling. He also invites me to his house to a barbecue this summer. I am drunk enough to accept, and say I’ll get on a plane and be there. I may just do it, too.

I stagger upstairs to my room, careful not to wake Mickdog. I find out the next day he’s been sleeping with earplugs, and wouldn’t wake up to a nuclear blast. As I enter the bathroom to brush my beer-soaked teeth, I notice a peculiar form of wildlife on the toilet seat lid. It looks like a cross between a millipede, a silverfish, and a cockroach. The last thing I recall doing before sleep is squishing it with some toilet paper, and muttering, “Die, pig!”