Wednesday, January 05, 2011

30k Gigowatts of Poker

After getting down to heads-up in the nightly 30k guaranteed, $27.50 buyin tournament on pokerstars exactly six days ago, and then winning the tournament outright this past Sunday night, I decided to take another stab at it on Monday night even though I was probably a bit more tired than I would have liked to have been in order to have a real shot at making another deep run. Even though without a doubt one of the huge improvements to my overall game as compared to, say, four or five years ago is that I basically never even try to run a big mtt anymore if I know I am too tired to have a real go at it, in this case I figured I would make an exception given the extreme success I've had in this thing of late, and the fact that my extended vacation from work was just coming to a close. I registered, a bit late as per usual, and decided to give it the old college try.

And try I did. Although things started slow for me as per usual, around the second hour I won a couple of big pots in succession and before I knew it, I was in the top 100 on the leaderboard less than two hours in once again. I did not drop out of the top 100 as we crossed from 400 players left, down to 300, and then 200, and when the money bubble burst last night at 198 players remaining, I was solidly in position in 67th place for the top third of the remaining field. I could feel the swell coming, and I swear I knew already at that point that I was going to final table this tournament again.

I rode this optimism for another hour or so, watching the field dwindle to 150, 120, and then eventually 100 players left by around 11:30pm ET, and all the while I just kept on betting and raising, winning a number of pots without a showdown, and showing the hammer three separate times on preflop steals or resteals to really get my image juicing. Then I was dealt AK and got re-reraised allin preflop by the button who had A5o, who I'm sure was shocked as shit when I flipped up big slick on the time he finally got sick of me showing the alleged worst hand in poker after reraising people preflop and on the flop to keep adding to my stack. Then I held in a big pot allin preflop with KK against AQ, and before I knew it, there I was in the top 20 in chips as we crossed the final 100 players left in what I am beginning to think of lately as my tournament. 11:30pm passed, it was quiet as a mouse in my house, and I won a couple more pots with without a doubt the scariest image of anyone left in this tournament, and with 96 players remaining at around 11:35, I was in 16th place with just over 67,000 chips. I just knew I was final tabling again, I could feel it calling to me and it had my name written all over it.

And then the lights went off.

Not figuratively; literally. The lights in my family room started to flicker, one light on the ceiling in particular, but all of them really, and as I sat there dumbly starting at them -- not a totally unheard-of phenomenon given the way my house is wired -- maybe five seconds went by, and then everything went dark. The TV went off, shutting down a perfectly great episode of Seinfeld in the process ("What's this, this salty discharge coming out of my eyes?" Jerry asks Lori Loughlin amazedly in this one, still one of the classic all-time lines in one of television's greatest-ever sitcoms), and all the lights in my family room went dark, as dark as I have ever seen my house get. A fuse, I figured, and so I went to grab the flashlight and make the ghost-walk into the utility room in the basement to turn whatever had blown back on and make it all right. But when I got down there, there were no fuses blown at all -- everything was sitting in its normal "On" position -- and so I quizzically made the walk back upstairs to the first floor, and that was when I noticed how truly black it was. I mean, we've lost power in my house before, but for some reason it had never seemed quite this dark, or quite this quiet. And as I walked by the front door, that's when it hit me: I wasn't the only house who's power had gone out.

Every house in my entire neighborhood was dark as night (literally). The street lights were all off. The perpetual spotlights in the houses, including my own, were all extinguished. As I again stared dumbly out the front door trying to make sense of it all, I saw two neighbors with flashlights walking around the interior of their own houses, and that's when I realized that something bad enough had happened with the power grid in my area that I was not likely to see a return of our power anytime particularly soon. After quickly ascertaining that I could see the bright lights of New York City off in the distance from my upstairs window, so I knew we weren't dealing with a 2003-style blackout all over again, I figured what the hey, I guess I'll just go back to the pc and finish out final tabling the 30k in the dark and the cold, why the hike not.

Only, when I got back to my laptop and tried to sign back in after having timed out and probably missing the last two or three hands during my darkened trek to the basement, the cold, harsh reality hit me: my modem was also out. There I was, with the screen frozen on the poker table as of the moment the lights went out, with the leaderboard still open in the background showing me as 16th of 96 runners remaining, only there were also those pesky few new windows opened up informing me that the connection had been severed, and that pokerstars had failed multiple times to re-establish a connection. Dammit. I sat there in awed silence for a few more minutes, trying in vain to think of some solution that would enable me to fulfill what was clearly my destiny to final table the 30k for a third time in six days, and then when that failed to generate any creative solutions since I have no usable wireless connections in my house that are not tied to a power source of some kind, just waiting in vain while hoping against hope that this thing that had somehow shut down the power for as far as the eye could see in my neck of the woods, would more or less instantaneously be repaired and I could resume my rightful quest.

But alas such was not meant to be on this night. After going upstairs and calming down my daughters who had woken up disturbingly to find both their clock and their two nightlights dark, and trying to wait out my baby who had also awoken in his room with all the commotion, I dialed up the local electricity company, who informed me they were already aware of the outage and had technicians on the scene. While I took that as good news, I knew something capable of shutting down power in an entire neighborhood or more was not going to be fixed right away, so I did the only logical thing I could think of given the hour and the situation: I went to sleep.

At 1:17am I awoke with a start, when the light in my bathroom suddenly turned on and my clock started flashing wildly and showing the inevitable 12:00am, along with the restarted hum of the boiler, the heater and the various other whirrings and buzzes that you never realize just how much you hear omnipresently until they all disappear at once for a while. After determining that I was not dreaming, I leapt out of bed and quickly ran downstairs just on the off chance that my ginormous stack still had some life left in it, after being blinded down straight through from 11:35pm for a full hour and 42 minutes. Pokerstars took an extra second or two to load back up, and I had to restart my wireless router to get the whole internet connection back live again, and when I did, I quickly re-opened the tournament lobby to find myself....

Blinded out in 28th place. With now 22 players remaining, I must have put up quite a battle, perservering from 96 remaining all the way down over more than 100 minutes to 28 left, but I just missed any opportunity to try to get back in and actually see a flop and stop the pure donating. Of course, given the payout structures in these events, and given that the buyin for the 30k is just $27.50, I had only won something like $130 for my efforts, which is obviously a far cry from the 5k available to the winner on this night, but as I said it was just not meant to be. Obviously, any time you win five buyins in any mtt, it has to be considered a success in macro terms, but of course given the history here I was and still am beside myself to have missed out on another opportunity, in particular given all the work I had put in getting myself to the point I was at in this thing when my neighborhood lost all power.

So if you check out last night's 8pm ET 30k guaranteed tournament leaderboard on pokerstars, yes you'll see good old hoyazo out in 28th place, my third deep run in this event in less than a week. But don't think I'm pleased about that performance, and it's not just because I didn't win. This time, I got close enough to start to feel the fire burning once again, but then the rug was pulled out from under me and I wasn't even given a chance to defend my title. Sigh.

Suddenly, somehow, I feel like I am owed another deep run in this thing again. 30k guaranteed tonight, anyone?

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Blogger The Poker Meister said...

Dude. Go to Starbucks. They have free wifi. Calm the kids, calm the wife, and take a drive.

2:28 AM  
Blogger Lucki Duck said...

Now THATS a bad beat story!

Sorry man, that sucks.

3:01 AM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

Seriously? Go to Starbucks? At midnight? And leave my wife and kids and baby at home in the abject darkness with no power, walking around with flashlights and candles and such? I am guessing you are not married, because that's not the way it generally works in my family.

Maybe when I'm deep late in the FTOPS ME or playing for a WSOP ME seat or something. But I am thinking that would actually cause me more grief at home than even first prize in this tournament would benefit me. And when I ended up getting sucked out on in 28th place anyways and winning $130 while my wife dealt with crying kids for 2 hours in the dark? This gives a whole new meaning to "negative EV".

5:29 AM  
Blogger Fred aka TwoBlackAces said...

Nice start to the New Year Hoy, congrats!

I have actually had this happen to me on multiple occasions. If you happen to have an Iphone, check into an application call MyWi. You need to 'jailbreak' your Iphone first, it's a fairly simple process (google will get you many blogs detailing the process), and the beauty of this app, is that it turns your Iphone into a 'hot spot'. You can then connect to the internet from your laptop. I have used it for over a year, and has come in handy many times, not to mention when I'm out an about.

- Fred

12:30 AM  
Blogger The Poker Meister said...

Wow Hoy, just wow! Yeah! Go to SBUX at midnight, after clearing with the wife, and settling the kids down. They're supposed to be sleeping anyway; it's midnight. For the record, I have 3 kids & am married... after asking my wife, she'd be fine with me leaving *AFTER* getting the kids settled down.

2:13 AM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

I am going to marry your wife.

2:36 AM  

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