Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Cruise Report: Day 3 No-Limit Tourney.

Day three was going to prove to be one the most fun filled days of the whole trip. After another battle with a fabric challenged robe and a room service breakfast I headed down to take my seat in the $100 No-Limit tournament. This was the second of three tournaments being played on the ship and all PSO cruise winners were fortunate enough to have PSO pay our entry fees into this event.

I drew table 14 seat 2 and was given my allotment of starting chips as the field of 120 filled in the surrounding tables. The first thing I noticed after being seated was that all the tables were now 9 seated instead of 10. This helped to alleviate some of the crowding problems we had been experiencing but more changes were going to be needed to cure it. After winning two of the first three hands played, uncontested, I knew this was going to be a long drawn out process as no one wanted to get involved early. By the time we had completed our first orbit the tournament director was stopping play on our table and splitting us up. As our table was the closest to the entrance of the room I guess it made sense to split us up but nobody had been busted out and our table was full.

I was moved to a table against one of the walls and found myself seated in position 6 to the immediate left of a WPT winner. I didn't know it at the time, I'm not even sure if the episode had aired yet but I had taped it and watched it when I returned home. She looked unassuming and aside from the large rocks adorning several of her fingers her appearance was that of a quiet unassuming girl. I am of course referring to Isabelle Mercier. One of the dealers asked her if she was still "attached to that casino in Paris" but nobody else seemed to recognize her or throw any special attention her way. She also looked younger in person than on TV but she has an unmistakable taste in clothing and she performed ad nauseum the same chip tricks as she did in the Ladies Night edition of the WPT. I saw her later in the week with who I am assuming was her mother, and she was wearing this hot pink fur coat thing with fuzzy pink boots. She definitely appears to have a wild side that wasn't evident in the room.

Aside from the player in seat 9 everyone had about the same size chip stacks, well everyone but the 8 seat who had lost a big one to 9. After a few orbits and some loud shouting from other tables as players were eliminated on big hands I began to get a read on my table mates. Most came across as Rocks, including Mercier. On an interesting side note the 8 seat was also from Kansas. I never would have thought I would run into somebody from Kansas, much less someone who only lived about 20 minutes away from me. We struck up conversation and along with the lady in between us we were having a good time chatting in between hands.

As time went by it was becoming easy to steal blinds and if I was met with any resistance I knew I was beat. I managed to hold my own and at the first, and I believe only, break I had more than doubled by starting stack and we were down about half the field. There was no record kept of placings so no one ever knew what position they were in or how many players were left. There was also no structure to breaks. They made it clear they didn't want to have any if possible and the 16 min blind increases were moving the tournament along.

I believe about 5 members of the PSO team were still in it including myself. I wasn't the biggest stack left from our group but I wasn't the shortest either so I felt pretty good about my standing at the time. Upon our return to the tables things began to heat up and the short stacks began falling. Isabelle was trying to put some pressure on a few players at this point but she was running into real hands and was eliminated. After we had lost a few more players I was joined by fellow PSO'er David. He was down quite a bit but doing a good job of holding on. I didn't want to be the one to eliminate him but as fate would have it I took out the only PSO'er left besides myself.

I continued on for a little while but in order to tell you about the hand that I was eliminated on, I have to tell you about this hand first. I was not involved in this hand and the 8 seat raised it from early position. It folded around to the 3 seat who reraised. The 8 seat was still occupied by my fellow Kansan and as he was now short stacked so he rereaisd all-in. The 3 seat called and they showed their hands. The 3 seat had A's and the 8 held 8's. Kansas was dominated but an 8 came on the turn and he doubled up. The 3 seat went into tilt mode and made it very evident that he was peeved.

Fast forward two hands and I'm on the button. I'm chatting with Kansas (mistake one) and when the action gets to me I look around the table in front of me. I don't see any cards on the table so I go for the blind steal (mistake two). I normally make a standard 3 BB raise but since I only had about 6 x the BB at this point I went all in knowing the blinds would fold. They did and I looked to the dealer to push my chips towards me. Instead the 3 seat chimes in "You really stepped in it this time." He pushes his chips in and tosses a pair of A's onto the felt. I know this guy was on tilt and I swear his hands had to be concealing his cards when I looked around the table. At any rate I only held a Kh4h and I got no help from the board. I was eliminated when there were 4 tables still in play so I finished somewhere in between 27th and 36th. This was my first "live" tournament and considering these were card players I believe I did very well. It was a stupid mental mistake that ended my run and I know that sometimes it only takes one mistake, in my case I committed two in one hand.

Later in the night I returned to the card room and along with the rest of the PSO crew we managed to get a 4/8 table started by ourselves. This was a good time but I dropped about $27 by the time we broke up. I then moved back to my stomping grounds in the 2/4 arena and began what would be a journey into stupidity.

At around 9 that night we had assembled a cast of characters that was ripe for the shenanigans that would soon ensue. We managed to band together for the rest of the cruise and spent several late nights playing and closing the cardroom at 3am. The table of foolishness consisted of myself, DuggleBogey, Krager, The "Prosecutor" (a prosecutor from San Diego), and Ray (a former NFL Wide Receiver). Others joined us on various nights but we were the core group. It all started innocently enough, we were playing serious poker and Duggle had just taken down a decent pot. The difference this time was that he held the "hammer" and showed it. Now I know the hammer has gotten quite a bit of "face time" in the blogs recently and I was out of the loop when all this was going on. I don't have a comment on it but in this case it served a very good purpose. It broke the ice. A few hands later the board comes 772. We talk about Duggle's 72 and guess what he was holding. That's right, 72 yet again. At this point we all joined in the craziness and nothing and no one got any respect for the rest of the night. We were no longer playing poker, we were playing cards. It was now a social event and I've never had more fun losing $85 in my life. If they hadn't kicked us out I'm sure dawn would have come with us still slinging chips and any 72o that came our way.