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Wamboozled By A 12-Year-Old Poker Phenom!



For the record, this is not a poker blog, so I'm not going to break it down for you hand by hand, but with that said, it's time for the Jake's Hold'em For Habitat World Series report:

The atmosphere was light and Lyle came up before it all started and mentioned that he had read my blog and that "we serve more than hamburgers". Oppps. I should have known better. Or course maybe I did know better because Jake's portions are huge and usually after a big meal you are more likely to want to take a nap than play card games with percentages and odds running in your head. I'm sure the portions are extra big served up to the players on the weekly Monday night games who eat there prior to playing. There's a reason Lyle wins a lot.

The usual suspects were in attendance: old men, middle-aged men, and young men with hats and sunglasses. Oh yeah, there were a few women and one 12-year-old boy named Isaac. Technically, I don't think this was considered gambling since the money went to charity and the prizes were donated. Prior to playing you signed in and were given a name tag with a star sticker for every previous tournament you had won. Some players had loads of stickers, and they stared into the eyes of the players with fewer stars trying to create fear. Before play had started I walked up to Isaac and his one-star (the same as myself) and stated "you are the only player here I fear". I was honest.

We started with four tables of about seven players at each. The table I was at positioned me between Leslie James (of Rock 98.3) and Isaac the 12-year-old. I would have much preferred to sit between the young guys in sunglasses and aged veterans. Seriously.

Play was fairly conservative and our table had a fair bits of ups and downs for the players. I caught a few nice pots and my chip stack increased to a decent lead. I held back a bit and really let the other players take themselves out with bad calls. Isaac and Leslie were down in chips early on, and I started to fear them less since I know started to understand there style of play.

About an hour in, we had eliminated most of our table and we consolidated with the other tables into two tables. Leslie went with me to one table and Isaac went to the other. The table I moved to, had a massive pot in play and I saw one player had a massive chip stack. At this point I needed to observe the new players and see how they played. One guy at the table I had played with the previous night and I could tell he was good. After a few players busted out, I moved all-in against him with a strong hand and doubled-up. My chip stack was solid and we now were combined into the final table.

It was soon becoming a case of the haves and the have-nots. Pretty quickly a couple players busted out and I saw that I needed to make a few moves as the blinds were getting pretty spendy. Leslie who had survived a bunch of desperation all-ins moved ahead of me in chips and that signaled that something needed to be done. I had a decent hand with king high and raised pre-flop. She called and on the flop I hit two pair. I went all-in and she called, showing two pair as well (but a better two pair). It was looking grim until I hit a full house on the river.

At that point I rebounded nicely and was able to start picking away at the remaining players. My chip stack got bigger and bigger and I was well ahead. I'm not sure how it happened, but soon enough there were three of us left: Leslie, Isaac and myself. Isaac had accumulated a decent amount of chips and I wanted to put a move on him. I hand a decent hand with an ace and pushed all-in with Isaac in the big blind. I thought I might steal the blinds, but he called showing an ace as well with a better second card. It was a riches to rags moment as I gave away about 90% of my chips.

The next hand I was all-in on the blinds and busted out in third place. Leslie quickly went down in the next hand with little chance against Isaac's massive chip stack. Yes, the 12-year-old won the tournament (including the two nights and dinners on the coast). Amazing. I could go back and second-guess some of my moves at the end, but overall I was very happy with how I played. I took home a laser printer as a prize, but that 1st place custom hat from Jake's looked SO PRETTY!

Lyle took a bunch of photos (since he had plenty of time after busting out earlier) and I'm sure they'll be up on Diner Life soon [up on the site now - BTW Lyle, USE YOUR FLASH!!!]. Overall, it was a blast and I'll have to return again soon. I need some more experience playing with 12-year-olds so I can write a book. I don't think there's one out on the market for that subject in poker.

Posted by monkeyinabox ::: |


Lyle said:

Actually, the camera usually does quite well without the flash. In this case, however, I think part of the problem was my hands were shaking and that blurred the pictures. Not sure if a flash would have helped there.

Anyway, I enjoyed the tourney also. But would have been much happier to have been on that final table with you. I firmly believe that that one hand would have gotten me far enough but.....such is life.

Congratulations Big Guy on your Third Place finish.

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