3rd Annual Birthday Poker Tourney
Today was my third annual birthday poker tournament
Just in case you ever decide to host a poker tourney with a group of family members who have no clue what they are doing nor desire to learn, let me do my annual public service announcement and warn you not to attempt it. You think losing to the clowns on Party Poker who would catch their one out on the river time and time again was bad, you have no idea.
I would think that in the third year of this event, some poker knowledge would have caught on, but alas if anything people's skills are degrading. I might as well make it limit tournament next year, because no one bets more than the minimum anyway. It doesn't matter how many times I say you have to bet at least $x or, you can call or raise, no matter what they are going to bet/call the minimum.
The whole end of a round of betting thing is still a challenge for most of them. It goes: player A bets, B calls, C calls, D calls, ... (notice there are no folds or raises), back to to A, who checks, and then B checks, and then I yell at them and tell them to stop.
On the plus side, by brother was able to make it for the first time. He actually knows what he is doing so there was someone else to experience my pain. Although he mostly just sat back and laughed. At first. Until he was victimized by their schooling fish attack.
Also my wife has graduated to the more or less knows what she is doing level of player. She still needs a cheat sheet to figure out what hand she has and what beats what, but she at least knows when to fold and when to bet/raise. I think she actually raised a few times. Of course her superior skill was actually a detriment to her as she ran into the inevitable bad beat by an opponent who didn't know what hand he had.
So back to the game. Things weren't looking so great for me at first. I foolishly thought that since everyone would only bet and call the minimum that when I played a hand for a raise, and bet after hitting a flop that people would fold. While they would ooh and ahh about the size of my bet, it didn't induce nearly enough folds, and one of them would end up sucking out on me.
I wasn't the only one though. My wife flopped two pair in one hand, and did a good job of betting/raising to the river when her father decided to bet. She puts in a big raise, and after thinking about it he calls. She's proud of her two pair, until he turns over his cards and we see that he picked up a second pair on the river to beat her. He called up until the river with bottom pair. I'm not sure that he knew he had two pair, or if he did if he thought he was ahead. I'm fairly certain that he would have called no matter what the bet was, or what was in his hand. Or maybe that's his game plan. To convince us that he has no clue what he is doing so that he gets paid off with his big hands. Whatever he was doing it worked because my wife wasn't the only victim of his luck. And now she was on tilt.
The two best hands of the tourney came shortly after that. I was short stacked and frustrated, and ready to go out so I could become the dealer to speed the game along. I had A6o, and raised. Everyone called. The flop was AKJ and I lead out for a reasonably large bet, considering no one had bet more than the minimum yet. Nearly everyone called. I think I got a few people to fold. The turn was a rag, and I made an even bigger bet, thinking that the only times I had bet big so far today I showed a monster hand, so maybe they would pick up on that and fold. No luck, as I got four or five callers. I don't recall what was on the river, but I checked, figuring they would all follow suit and I could save some chips for the next hand. It checked around to Uncle Jim, who bet nearly all of his remaining chips. I called knowing I was probably beat, but I figured I wasn't going to win anyway so I might as well put myself out of my misery. There were a few other callers, and we turned over the cards. I had the only ace, and took down a huge pot. Jim had a jack, some one else had a straight draw, and someone else had nothing.
A few hands later I had wired twos, and limped into a family pot. The flop was AJ2, and it was checked to my wife, who bet $T100, which was more than 3x the minimum bet at the time. Aunt Char, and my mom called. I moved all in. My Dad called. My mother in law called. Uncle Jim was already all in in the blinds. My wife also called while amazingly Aunt Char and my mom folded. My mother in law had pocket tens, My wife had Ax, my dad had a straight draw and uncle Jim had a Jack. None of them improved and I knocked out four players in one hand and took a massive chip lead with my set of twos. Even if I hadn't won that hand, it would have been the best hand in the history of my birthday tournaments because it knocked out four players in the third blind level and guaranteed that the pace of the game would pick up.
Aunt Char and my Mom were the next to fall, victims of raising blinds and playing too many hands. Three handed, my brother started building up a nice stack after being almost all-in from the blinds, when the amazing luck of my father in law kicked in again. He was short-stacked and against the ropes, but we couldn't knock him out. Whenever we would get him all-in he would hit some miracle card on the river to stay alive. Ultimately my brother was taken down as my father in law hit hand after hand. He stayed around to see the heads up battle despite the start of the Memphis/Ohio State game because he couldn't believe the luck of my father in law and he thought it was funny as my massive chip lead slowly bled away.
Heads up, I had about a 10-1 chip lead, yet still lost. Without getting into too many bad beat stories, lets just say getting all in with three of a kind on the flop is great right up until he hits a runner runner flush. Fun. We agreed to chop, with whoever had the chip lead taking first after half an hour. He had almost knocked me out by then. I was starting to make a comeback, but it still didn't look good. Still a second place finish in that minefield is pretty good. Maybe next year I'll think twice about hosting the fourth annual birthday poker tourney.