Well, time sure does fly when you're having fun. Since our last occasion to check in with one another, I have been quite the busy bee. I completed my last big research project in my grad class, leaving just one small assignment due tomorrow. I'm almost done with it so I think I'm in good shape there. I've also taken a math exam, which I will get the grade tonight. And I've actually gotten back on the train in my online lit class. I believe I can't get caught up this week on that class. Fortunately, the teacher doesn't have due dates for the assignments as long as they are done by the end of the semester. So, with a little reading and writing in that class, I'll be in good shape for these last 2 weeks of class. With one paper and one final left, I'm definitely seeing the end as near.
On a related note, I begin what are called clinical studies in the fall at 2 schools. Basically, all prospective teachers are required to spend 35 hours in a junior high and 35 hours in a high school in preparation for a teaching career and before beginning student teaching. I received my assigned schools in the mail last week. I'm getting excited as this next step is definitely going to let me get a better grasp on the whole teaching experience. Apparently, one of the things I'll need to do is assist some of the students who are having difficulty. We'll see how that goes.
NOTE: The rest of this blog entry will be very poker specific. As a disclaimer, if you aren't interested in poker, you may find this boring or difficult to understand.
As I mentioned towards the end of my last entry, I entered a Texas Hold 'Em poker tournament that weekend. In fact, I participate in a "poker league", where a season consists of 9 tournaments. You receive "points" based on how high you finish and how many people you knock out of each tournament. At the end of the season, the person with the most points is the champion of the league. In addition, the winner of each of the 9 tournaments and the one person with the most points who did not win a tourney all get free entry into a tournament with a prize pool collected during the season from everyone's entry fees.
This is my 2nd season in the league. Last year, I did ok, I won one tournament, cashed in 2 or 3 others. I finished in the top 10, which I was pretty happy with since I played very poorly in my first couple of tourneys. So far this year, we've had 2 tourneys headed into this most recent one. I finished very poorly in the first one, 23rd out of 30. Too much bluffing at bad times. In the second one, I did better, finishing in the money, 3rd out of 20. This moved me up from 23rd in the standings to 7th. I had been playing a lot of online tourneys of roughly the same number of people to try and prepare myself better for the league. Unfortunately, with school, I had very few chances to play headed into our 3rd tourney.
There were only 18 players in tourney 3, although the buy-in had been boosted a little bit, making for a nice prize pool. I sat at a table that had very few of the best players, I was please with my draw. I had volunteered to deal, which really took away from my concentration a bit, not sure if I will do that again. So, I didn't play very many hands in the early going. One notable hand, with the blinds at 50/100, one of my very good friends raised to 500 in late position. On the button, I re-raised to 1300 with pocket Jacks. He thought long and hard and finally laid down, telling me later he had AQ. Unfortunately for him, he would bust shortly thereafter, having received AQ 3 times and not winning with any of them.
Shortly after, I picked up pocket Kings (no spades) in late position. There were 2 limpers in ahead of me and I raised to 600. I had one caller. The flop came down Jack high with two spades. Limper checked to me and I bet out 800 into a pot of about 1500. He calls. I was definitely worried about the flush draw at this point. Turn is a spade. Uh-oh. He checks again and I fire another 1200 into the pot. He goes into the tank and ultimately lays down. He tells me later he had the Ace of spades and would have been playing for the draw. With this pot, I move into chip leader position at the table heading into our first break.
One of the biggest hands of the night came a short while later. The hand folded around to me in the small blind, where I look down and see AK of diamonds. With blinds at 100/200, I raise to 800. The guy in the big blind has just slightly less chips than me, we were #1 & #2 at the table. He calls me. The flop comes down QJT rainbow - BINGO, Ace has broadway!!!! I am first to act and trying to figure out how I want to play it. While I'm thinking about it, the other guy in the pot pushes all in out of turn. While he could have been trying to trick me, I think he just made an honest mistake. I insta-call and he turns over QT, for 2 pair. I dodge another Q or T and now have a massive chipstack. I don't really have any other memorable hands until we get to the final table, 9 players.
Going into the final table, I am about 3rd or 4th in chips. Top 4 finishers are getting paid. We have a few short stacks, several of whom get knocked out pretty quickly. I don't play any hands for a very long time, the cards are quite dead and I'm trying to be patient. In fact, by the time we get down to 6 players, I'm still about 4th but the top 3 are way ahead. The rest of us are pretty close. #6 gets knocked out and we are down to 5. The next person out doesn't win any money, the rest do, the dreaded "bubble" position. We played for probably around an hour and a half in this position. At one point, I became the person with the least chips, the "short stack". One of the big stacks raises and I push all in with pocket 9's. He calls and shows AQ. My nines hold up and I am out of short stack position and in pretty good shape.
Next notable hand - I'm in the small blind with K4 of clubs. The flop comes down with a King in it and 2 clubs. I bet out, she calls. Turn is a blank, we both check. The river is a club, giving the flush. I check, she bets, and I push all in. She calls, I win and we are off the bubble, in the money. I stayed out of trouble for a little while and then finally a big hand happens and we are down to 2. When we get heads up, the chip leader has about a 3 1/2 to 1 chip lead on me, leaving me as a pretty big underdog. However, I like to think I'm pretty good at heads up play and think I can win it.
I scrapped around for a while and got short a few times but eventually battled back to make it about even. I look down at ATs. At this point, we both have about 7 big blinds in chips. So I push all in. He thinks for a little bit and calls. He turns over K9, a kind of loose call. My AT holds up and I now have every chip on the table except 1. In fact, other guy has so few chips, he's automatically all in. He doubles up on the first hand, hitting a 3 outer on the river. Second hand, I have him dominated and he hits his off card, doubling up again. He's now up to 4000, but I still have 36,000. He's automatically all in again and rivers me to double up to 8000. I really don't want this to keep going! I'll be damned if he didn't double up again to 16,000. At this point, he doesn't automatically have to go all in. One more double up and we've got a match again. He decides to go all in and I call with K6o. My cards hold up and I finally win!
It was a battle but I finally won out. I was pretty happy with my play, especially once we got heads up. I earned a seat into the freeroll at the end of the year and also took over first place in the league standings. Woohooo!
Until next time.