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Tunica...this is a long one...

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  • Tunica...this is a long one...

    A trip report ... Where to begin ... This has been the most amazing 5 days. It seemed from the beginning that some benevelent guiding force was watching over me, like my own Poker Guardian Angel (PGA). To tell the whole story, I guess I need to start with a flashback, like they do in the movies.

    (begin flashback)

    On July 12, I played in the first in a series of charity poker tournaments (check out the details at

    They videotaped the final table and are trying to sell the series to TV. Anyway, out of 180 entrants, I made the final table of 10 with the second shortest stack, and ended up in 6th place. Part of my non-money prize package were 3 AirTran upgrade coupons. (I also ended up dealing to the final four of this tourney, which is a whole other story.) If it ever gets aired, I will be seen getting to "shuffle up and deal".

    (end flashback)

    I had tried to arrange to carpool to Tunica with some other locals who were going, but I have to be in Columbus, Ohio, July 31 through August 4 on other business and most folks were staying longer. I ended up booking a flight about a week beforehand and it turned out AirTran had the lowest fare. Hmm...remember those upgrade coupons in the flashback?

    So I get to the airport on Sunday and ask the AirTran lady if there are any seats available "up front". Her first response was "I think we are overbooked", but then after punching around on her computer, she said those 3 magic words: "Window or aisle?" Thank you PGA!

    So I'm flying in to Tunica on a couple of Bloody Marys (I had to drink fast, as it is only a one hour flight!) and the wonderful Zipman has arranged for a limo to pick us up and take us to the hotel. Richie Rich, TheHazyOne, Marisa and I were so engrossed in our poker conversation that we never saw the Zips waving to us from their car.

    Checkin was uneventful and I was so anxious to get to the poker room that I dropped my stuff in my room and headed out. (This is
    where my PGA must have been taking a nap.) Several hours and $500 later, I decided to call it a night.

    Monday morning I woke up unable to breathe from the smoke. I had landed in a smoking room although having requested non-smoking. So I went down to the desk and told them I needed to move. At first the lady said they didn't have any non-smoking rooms available, but then after punching around on her computer, she said she had put me on the list for a non-smoking room and I should come back after 3pm.

    Then it was over to the 'Shoe for the Zipman Invitational #1. A little time to catch up with the old PSO'ers and meet some new, then it was time to play some cards. Apparently I was still a little too eager and busted out somewhere around 25th out of about 40. (Time to wake up now, PGA!) I don't remember any hands, but it was Ken Ivy, (kivy1102) a fellow Atlanta player, who busted me.

    The $65 single table satellites were starting up, so I decided to try one of those. I ended up at a sat with Sailor Moe on my left. We were still in when down to 3 players, but I was short-stacked and got all in with both Moe & the other guy. It sure pays to be PSO as Moe provided me some protection by betting the other guy out of the pot. I don't even remember the cards, but I won the pot & player #3 claimed he would have had the win if he had stayed in.

    A few hands later Moe took him out and we were heads up. Moe had about a 2-to-1 chip lead, so we made a deal to split the $500 2 for 1 (getting me $165) and to play on for the extra $50 (winner would tip the dealer). This worked well for me as I was only still alive thanks to Moe! He eventually won it, of course.

    I felt good enough about my game to try another $65 sat. I found a table with 9 unknown players and took the last seat. 5 of these guys were in a 'longest lasting' pool for $20 each and they asked if I wanted in. "Sure" I said & threw in my twenty. After about a half hour, there were only 2 of us left in the pool, so I asked the other remaining player if he wanted to chop the pool. He agreed and we each pocketed $60. (I should have held out, as I ended up heads up against another player and would have taken the whole side pool.) Anywho, I thought I had this other guy and was going to take the win, but got caught with my hand in the cookie jar when he caught KK. He took the whole thing as we had made no deal.

    About this time I remembered I was supposed to change rooms, so I headed back to the 'Strike and inquired at the desk. After punching around on her computer a while, the lady gave me a new key & room number, but said nothing else. I trotted up to my old
    room, packed up my stuff, and went to my new room. When I opened the door, I almost fainted...there was a living room with tv, wet bar, mini fridge, powder room and a separate bedroom with king size bed, sofa, tv, a huge jacuzzi tub, and huge bathroom! Woohoo! Way to go, PGA! I had heard of such rooms, but had never seen one for myself. Tempted as I was to just stay in my room, I decided to go back down and play some more (am I a poker junkie or what???).

    I ground out a few bucks playing $4-8 Omaha/8 and $3-6 Holdem in the Goldstrike Poker room and decided to go up and take a swim in
    my jacuzzi tub -- man that thing was awesome!

    Up Tuesday and off to the 'Shoe for Zip's #2. We had about 50 players for this one and it would pay 5 places. I played better today and made it to the final table, although short-stacked as usual. When we got down to 7, we made a deal to pay 6th & 7th places their buy-in back. I guess I figured this was a license to get stupid. (Bill, get my asshat ready...)

    We were down to 6 and I was in the middle. On my right was 'Coach', a local who paid the extra $15 to play. For the last 15
    minutes he had been bitchin' about how this tournament was taking too long, how tired he was and how he was ready to go home.
    Blinds were 500 & 1000 and he limped in. I looked down to find Aces. There was still action behind me and I should have pushed
    all in, but decided to get 'cute' and try to send Coach home. I just put in a single raise, making it 2k to go. All fold to Coach, who called.

    Flop came J-8-x; coach checked, and I checked behind him. Turn was another J - Uh Oh. I started trash talkin - "Hey Coach, you got a jack?" He says "I don't got a jack", but he pushes all in, so I beat him into the pot. He shows T9o, so all he has is an open ended straight DRAW. I flop my aces and start praying for no Q or 8. My PGA must have been out to lunch, because the river was a Q, he had me outchipped, and I was done in 6th place. I never slow play -- I don't know why I thought I could get away with it here. If I had pushed all-in pre-flop, he would have folded, but once he had flopped the open-ended, he wasn't going anywhere. Bill, pass me my asshat. ops:

    Marisa came by hunting for a room and I told her she was welcome to crash in my suite, no charge - there's plenty of room!

    After dinner I was walking by the poker pit and heard them calling for players for a $45 satellite. The payout would be a $300 tournament entry chip plus $50 cash. The structure is the same as for the $65 sat, but you only get 200 TC to start (instead of 300). I decided to give it a go.

    I made a bad play fairly early...had raised pre-flop with AQ suited and a late position player came over the top for another 100. I should have laid it down, but instead called the raise. The flop missed me and he moved all in. I mucked my hand, but was left
    with only about 100. Turns out he had pocket tens.

    I puckered up, determined to only play premium hands, and watched the rest of the table fight it out. I came back and ended up
    heads up against the player 2 seats to my right. He seemed fairly solid and I had not detected any deceptive play from him all game. We were about equal in chips, so I proposed a "buy-in back" for 2nd place. He agreed and off we went.

    When he had the button/SB, he would often just call the BB. This tendency let me see many flops with hands I would not otherwise
    play. If I came over the top after he limped, he would usually lay down his hand. He never played back at me (the limp-reraise).
    Using this info, I was able to grind away at his stack, and finally won the sat!

    I pocketed $50 & sold the chip for $300. So after buying in, ($45) paying off my opponent, ($45) and toking the dealer, ($20) I
    was up $240! This would cover the $225 buy-in for Thursday's tourney and still leave me with $15! Woohoo!

    Wednesday and time for the 3rd & final Zipman event. Marisa insisted on paying my buy-in despite my potests, so I'm on a freeroll!

    I don't remember much, but I made the final table of 9, where we cut a deal to pay 6th-9th their $65 back (once again, licensing me
    for stupidity...pass the asshat). I was short-stacked and was on the BB, which was 400. Kivy1102 raised to 1600 and all folded to
    me. I only had about 1700 left after the blind and wondered if he was on a steal. I had 69 diamonds, 'Big Lick' and thought, "what the hell, I'll chase him down with my rags". I pushed all-in, he called of course, and showed AJ. My rags lived up to their raggedness, and I was out in 9th place. (OK Ken, that's 2 I owe you.)

    I played some $4-8 Omaha/8 at the Goldstrike, then moved over to the $5/10 Holdem table, where I was rebuilding the stack I lost
    playing O8. Vernon (a.k.a. "Hunter") came in and sat down to play. He had just arrived and planned to play the $225 NLHE event the next day, but another player at our table said it had already sold out! There was talk about some additional tourney seats being made available the next day. (Moneymaker was at another table playing $5/10 Pot Limit while I was there, with lots of railbirds watching.) When I got even, I cashed out and went up to Indy Bob & Rudie's party.

    Party was much fun, but I'm telling no tales..."what happens in IndyBob's party, stays in IndyBob's party". :wink:

    Later on I wandered back down to the poker room where Vernon told me that 30 minutes after I left, he hit the bad beat jackpot at my table (my PGA must have been at the party).

    Thursday came and I was starting the $225 NLHE tourney in the back room at the 'Strike. This was a great deal, as it was quiet &
    away from the smoke. Plus I had Wildfire on my left, the only PSO'er at my table. The early play was slow; there were a couple of
    players at our table who were building big stacks. Fours were hot - pocket 4s cracked aces with a set; another player made quad 4s
    with his pocket pair. I played 4s once and made a set to win.

    On the first break, we got the word that the final count was 652 players and 27 would get paid...1st was just over $37k and 27th was just under $1500.

    After a couple of hours, they had our entire table move over to the poker pit at the 'Shoe, with the same seats. No memorable
    events to report, except Wildfire got crippled when his AK fell and on the next hand I had AA and put in a standard pre-flop raise. He threw in his last 275 with JJ and was done. I felt bad : putting out another PSO'er, especially since we had been having a good time chatting all day.

    On I went, playing my usual tight game. I got moved around and players came and went. Then came the hand that was key to the
    whole day. I believe we were down to 8 or 9 tables. I was UTG and had AKo. Blinds were 300-600, so I made it 2K to go. Fold, fold, fold, then a player came over the top & made it 4K. All fold to me and I start thinking. I ask how much he has left - the raise was about two-thirds of his stack. I have more than him, but only by about 500. Then a short-stack calls for the clock on me. I have 2 minutes.

    20/20 hindsight #1: I should have folded right here. AK is a drawing hand and offsuit it isn't that strong, especially when I must be up against a pocket pair.

    I didn't want to give him credit for AA or KK, since he didn't just push all-in. Why? Well, stupid, for exactly this suck me in. The clock was my stupid response was to call his raise. My flawed thinking was "let's see if I can hit something on the flop."

    20/20 hindsight #2: I could have let the clock expire, killing my hand, which would have the same effect as folding, but save me
    the decision.

    20/20 hindsight #3: Once I made this call, I was pot committed, so if I wasn't going to fold, I should have pushed all-in, saving me from any more hard decisions, and forcing my opponent to make a tough one.

    Flop was J-J-2. Hard to imagine a worse flop for my hand.

    20/20 hindsight #4: I could have moved all-in here, trying to represent something like AJ and just made trips. If all my money is
    going into the pot anyway, I should get it in first.

    Since I'm still in my stupid phase, I CHECK! Other guy moves all in, and I start to think again. I feel like I'm pot committed. Is he trying to represent a pair when all he has is something like AK, AQ, etc? Short stack calls for the clock again...I've got 120 seconds...

    20/20 hindsight #5: I could still have gotten away from this hand and had about 2500 left. I've got nothing but 2 overcards to the
    board and, at best, 6 outs to make a hand.

    Well, "stupid is as stupid does"...under the time pressure of the clock, I make the worst possible decision...I CALL. My opponent
    shows KK and my outs are cut in half. The are 3 cards in the deck that can save me...I was sucked in like a dust bunny into a hoover...there's over 12k in the pot...the turn is a blank.

    I'm thinking "next hand I'm going to be all-in on the BB". Everything starts moving in slow motion like in the movies...then my
    favorite dealer in the whole world burns and turns the river card...the ACE OF SPADES! :!: My PGA is working overtime!

    Just like that I'm back in and my opponent is out. I'm shaking like a leaf and can hardly stack my chips. I apologize to my opponent for the bad beat (I later also apologized for my outburst...he was very kind and understanding and said he would have reacted the same way.)

    I really feel that the time pressure of the clock is what caused me to make these bad decisions and hope that I would have reasoned
    out the correct play (folding to the pre-flop raise) without the extra pressure.

    Soon after, I hear we are down to 6, then 5 tables...then my table gets busted and we are down to 4 tables of 9 (only 36 players
    left!). I'm the last female left and all the big names who played (Chris Moneymaker, Clonie Gowan) are already gone - I never
    landed at the same table with a "name" player all day. I'm at the same table with Vernon/"Hunter", who confirms that he did not
    renew his PSO membership, so is not eligible for the Live Tour seat.

    At 6:15, Johnny sends us on a dinner break with orders to be
    back at 7:30. I have no appetite...9 more people have to go before the money...did I mention that back home they call me "Bubbles"
    because I bust out of so many tourneys just out of the money?

    Thank the Poker Gods for PSO!! Over dinner, I had Zipman, Wildbill, Oildoe, & Wildfire (and I'm sure others whom I've forgotten -
    sorry!) giving me support & encouragement. I also find out for sure that I'm the last PSO'er in the tourney, so I've already won a
    seat in the Live Tour Final! This is all so overwhelming! My break flies by and I rush back to my seat.

    My strategy was simple...unless its AA or KK, its going into the muck. I don't know what I would have done if I saw QQ or JJ, but
    luckily, (?) I got nothing but garbage hands after the dinner break. I saw AKo once when UTG, but I mucked it without a second thought.


    A player (not PSO) that I know from games around Atlanta is at my table and has enough chips to coast into the money. Then he
    pushes all in UTG, only to get called by the BB. He had JJ and the BB had KK (and more chips) and he's out in 29th place. (He was
    still kicking himself for this when I saw him the next morning.)

    28 players left!

    Now we are playing hand for hand until the bubble is determined. I started to lose it. I'm not usually such a GIRL, but nerves were getting the best of me. Then I hear Tom Hanks in my head saying "There's no crying!" I look to the rail and there
    are all the PSO'ers cheering me on. Zeroth & Bugman36 with especially big smiles on their faces and thumbs up. My table doesn't
    see a flop during this time. The cards go out, fold, fold, fold, someone raises, everyone folds, and we hold until the other tables finish the hand.

    Finally, the bubble bursts and we are down to 27!!!!! I'm in the money!!!!

    We hold here as we are rearranged to 3 tables of 9. The wave of relief washes over me...and I hear 26...25...24...23...they're dropping like flies now and my stack is being eaten up by blinds & antes, but I'm still not seeing any playable hands. Any ace or pair and I've got to make a move...


    2 hands before the big blind takes me out I see pocket 8s and push my stack into the was just barely more than a call.

    Someone's got kings and my game is over - 20th place! That's good for $1493! (19th thru 27th all got the same.) This is my first money finish in a public tourney!!!!!

    I collect my payout & head for the rail. It's PSO hugs all around! Having the PSO crew there cheering me on was the ultimate! I
    can't imagine doing this without all their support! Many thanks to all the PSO members cheering me on!! I won't attempt to name
    them all here as I can't possibly remember them all, but you are all wonderful!

    I wandered around in a fog for a while...(drinking martinis) and complete strangers would stop me to ask how I did and congratulate
    me. For the first time ever, I didn't want to sit down and play poker any more. All month I had been bitchin' about having to leave the next day for a business trip to Ohio, but now I have to admit it was probably a good thing.


    I've been pecking this trip report out on my PDA in the evenings over the past week. During the days when sitting in meetings or
    training sessions, I found my mind drifting back to the events in Tunica. (I've played no poker, live or online, for the last week.) It seems like a dream...did all this really happen?

    I think I've cleared my head enough to get back into the game, so I'll be seeing you all later at the tables...and as I told Zipman, "I'll be in Tunica in January if I have to hitchhike from Atlanta!" so I hope to see you all there! 8)


  • #2
    WOOHOOO!! awesome report. I loved the dustbunny/hoover reference. May I use that sometime??

    YOU ROCK!!


    • #3
      Big thanks to Ranger Rick!

      And how rude of me!! I meant to give Ranger Rick a HUGE THANK YOU for taking me to the airport on Friday morning when I left Tunica! I was still in a daze from the tourney that day and my trip report just put me into a flashback.

      Rick, you are awesome - thank you!!



      • #4

        Awesome report! Many congratulations on your great finish in the Thursday tourney. I wish I could have been there... Next time!


        • #5
          Great report ... and congrats on the finish.

          I agree that the whole trip turned into a blur for me. I played every holdem event and don't remember hardly a thing. Oh well...

          You are so welcome for the ride. I was happy I could accomodate ya.

          Oh and anyone who is going in January might want to make their reservations NOW. They are already booking...

          I am in on the 4th.. so anyone needing a ride... let me know... and any single females needing a room.... well you know... lol



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