I remember the night my future wife finally came around to my way of thinking. After nine months of aborted courtship, fantastically stupid college promiscuity, and an unfortunate period of facial hair growth, I’d given up on the concept that she may someday be my bride. I’d given up to the point that I’d started drinking Jagermeister from the bottom of the bottle and hanging out at The Blue Note more than my apartment.

Then, one night, we found each other at The Note and inexplicably she kissed me.

Through a fog of surprise, waning Jagermeister intoxication, and painful dance music, I remember thinking, “Now all you have to do is not screw this up.”

Last night as the WPBT tourney worked its way down to sbo 50 players, I remember thinking much the same thing.

Like I always do, I’d started playing before the tournament. Just to refamiliarize myself with the interface, I played a $20 SNG. After suffering a rather ugly beat on the second hand of the tournment, I never again rose above my starting stack of chips. What makes it all the more odd is that by some masseuse’s stroke of fate, I found myself heads-up with about 500 chips to my opponent’s 12K+. The circumstances of my unexplained rise to the money notwithstanding, the deficit I had to make up seemed overhwelming. So, imagine my surprise when I started playing some amazing heads-up play (by my standard) and found myself with a 3-1 chip lead.

That would be a pretty amazing story, I think, if I hadn’t fucked it up and ended up losing the heads up match (I think it went on for half an hour).

Nonetheless, I left the little SNG thinking, “I’m playing well.”

I rarely will admit that to myself, even if it’s true. But, frankly, I was playing a good game last night.

The WPBT

Ever since my second WPBT win, I’ve not gone into a sanctioned event with my A-game. The online tournies have fallen at times when I was rather distracted and the live Holiday Classic…well, you already know that story.

But last night, I felt my game. Anyone who plays poker just knows it. The have their game on.

I looked around to see that my brother, Dr. Jeff, had bought in, as had a non-blogging buddy who said while he was not a blogger, he was more than a reader.

“I’m a commenter,” he typed in chat.

It was like a Mt. Otis garage game with more than 150 people.

As the tournament started, I started feeling a deep sense for when my hands were good and when they weren’t. I know that’s how I should feel all the time. But, frankly, I haven’t been feeling my game recently. Last night, I was.

On one particular hand, I raised either 2x or 3x the BB UTG with AK. I got a caller and when the flop came down KJ8, I bet out about the size of the pot. My opponent raised all in.

I called for time and thought. He might’ve called my raise with KJ, but I made him for a better player than that. He was in middle position and I don’t know many decent players who would call an UTG raise in middle position with KJ. I thought for a moment he might have jacks, but I figured he would’ve re-raised pre-flop if he did. That left me with the only possible hand he could hold that would beat me: pocket eights.

As the seconds ticked away on my time clock, I checked my chips and discovered if I lost the hand, I’d be left with only 900 chips. I don’t like playing from behind if I don’t have to. I could lay down the TPTK and still have a decent playable stack. At the same time, I wasn’t playing to sneak into the money. I wanted to win.

Pocket eights…did he have it? If he had pocket eights and put me on an king, I thought, he just would’ve cold-called my bet, let me bet into him on the turn, then pushed all in. Maybe not. Maybe if he had the eights he put me on exactly on AK and wanted all my chips right there.

After working through the scenarios in my head, I realized I just couldn’t lay the hand down. If he had the eights, he had the eights. I called, he showed AJ for second pair, and never improved.