Monday, November 12, 2007

My Aussie Millions Adventure

My Aussie Millions adventure happened so serendipitously, it’s like it was meant to be. Like Sonny and Cher. Only without the divorce part. Or the skiing into trees. That wouldn’t really be serendipitous. Anyhoo…

*insert flashback waves here*

I’ve never been the greatest poker player. But I love the game. The competition, the camaraderie, the challenge.

When Al teamed up with FullTilt Poker to give bloggers a chance to win their way into the Aussie Millions, I knew it was probably my only chance at a major tourney. My biggest problem was trying to play the BBToo events. My early morning starts at my corporate job (and my general love of sleep) coupled with a killer cold in early November put me out of commission for many of the tournaments. But buoyed by the idea that even a blind squirrel can occasionally find a nut, I entered a few, and by the luck of Jebus, I finally won one!

The hand that won me the game went something like this:

Limp with 45o, get quads, get paid off.

Many people have questioned the pre-flop limp with 45 offsuit UTG. But what can I say? Women’s intuition, suckahs, women’s intuition.

Of course, that only won me into the big game. I was worried. How could I beat the field full of poker blogging elite? I figured my only way to win was to lucksack it, so lucksack it I did.

When, late in the game, I was dealt 45o UTG. I knew it was my time. We were 3 handed, and I had my opponents both slightly out-chipped. I raised and they both called. The flop came 2,3,6 rainbow. All the money went in, and my opponents showed KK and AA.

It’s good to be lucky.

The 45o was officially renamed “the tart”. Well, my opponents tried to call it “that f’ing b--ch”, but I’m calling it “the tart”.

So with my lucksack packed, Banky and I boarded the plane to Australia.

Banky had 3 big agenda items for Australia:
1. Eat some kangaroo
2. Climb into a eucalyptus tree and hang with koalas
3. Dress in drag and lip synch to Abba in the outback.

Banky's kind of weird that way. Makes me love him more.

I only had one agenda item – take the fooker down!

I was extremely intimidated playing the event.

At my first table I had one pro I knew (Gus Hansen – hubba hubba), and a bunch of internet people that I had never heard of. They don’t typically play the $2 +$0.15 heads-up SNGs on FullTilt like I do. But apparently they are pretty big in teh interweb poker. I nursed my stack for awhile until I pushed in with, AKc, got called by AA and KK, and caught a flush. Wheeeeeeeee! I never heard a Dane swear so much in my life.

Honestly, I can’t remember much from the rest of the hands that lead up to the final table. I do, however, remember seeing a lot of head shaking and hearing the phrases “on the f-ing river” and “caught a 2 outer!” over and over. *shrug*

By the time I made it to the final table, I was ready for a nap. Poker is hard!

My final table featured hometown favourite Joe Hachem, Phil Ivey, Allen Cunningham and some other dudes. I was surprised when they all showed up decked in hats and shirts from various poker sites. I tracked down a FullTilt rep and asked what was up…

Tart: Um. Hi. So. No one approached me to wear a FullTilt hat or anything.
FullTilt Marketing Lackey: Ahhhh…yeah. About that. *looks around skittishly* We’ve, uh, watched your play, Tart. And uh, we at FullTilt want to promote poker as a game of skill.
Tart: Yeah?
FTML: Um. Right. And we think it’s best if we associate ourselves with skillful players.
Tart: Sweet! I’m a 2XL. Can I get a hockey jersey with “TART” on the back?
FTML: *cough*

Needless to say, the hockey jersey didn’t arrive before filming started. I guess it takes awhile to get them personalized.

When final table play started, I was pretty nervous. I had Cunningham on my left, Ivey on my right, and Joe right across the table from me. For the first hour, I couldn’t play to save my life. My hands were constantly shaking, every time I raised I got re-raised and folded. It was brutal. And that’s when I realized that I was actually trying to outplay these guys. How stupid! That’s not how I won my way here, that’s not how I survived the days leading up to the final table…I made my way here by relying on my natural gift – lucksackery!

But I was so intimidated. Could I really donk-it-up here, on TV, against Ivey, Cunningham, Hachem and the dudes? The only way to find that answer was through alcohol, and lots of it. So I ordered up a round of tequila shots. For reasons unbeknownst to me no one else partook. In my neck of the woods, we call those people wusses.

Now that I was feeling libatious, I loosened up. I don’t think Cunningham liked it when I called him Doogie Howser. I guess that’s what made him call my all-in. How was he to know I flopped a full house with J6? Anway, who goes all in with a straight and expects it to hold up, Doogie?

Some other dudes went out, and it was down to me, Phil, and Joe. Now Joe, I wasn’t worried about. I’ve watched him on TV many times and no one, and I mean no one, gets sucked out on more than Joe Hachem. If it got down to me and Joe heads-up, I was sure I could squeeze out at least a 6 outer in him. But Phil was trickier, he kept avoiding me. And no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t tilt him. I tried calling him Tiger. I tried asking him for golf tips. I even tried imitating him at the table. All I got were sore eyeballs, and a dwindling stack.

Here’s where my uber-luck kicked in. Joe and Phil got into a big pot with A 8 8 on the flop. When the dust cleared, Joe with his quads 8s had knocked out Phil with his Aces full.

I congratulated Joe

Tart: Whoa nice suckout, Joe!
Joe: Roight.

I offered to chop the money with him, and shockingly, he declined. So we went into battle. I knew I needed to reach into my reserves – so I ordered another round of tequila shots. Joe declined. I advised him that the buggery might not be so painful if he imbibed, but he chose not to take my advice.

Heads-up lasted 2 hours, and it was the most painful 2 hours of Joe’s life. He would whittle me down and I’d suck-out to double up. He spent a lot of time pacing back and forth, hiding his eyes from the flops, and wincing as my cards magically turned into boats, flushes, and straights before his eyes.

The crowd was growing hostile. Banky took off his “I’m with Tart” t-shirt and started waving an Australian flag, lest he be mauled by frenzied Australians.

Finally, it came down to the last hand. Joe, sick of trying to outplay me post flop (because really, how can you outplay a lucksack?), pushed all-in. I looked down at two black Aces. The poker player in me leaped with joy. But then the lucksack in me filled with dread.

I’d made it this far by coming from behind. I’d sucked out my way to this, the pinnacle of my poker career. I’d be going against everything that had worked for me thusfar. But I had the best hand in poker. Pocket Rockets…the hand you wish for every time you peel back the corners of your hole cards, the hand that makes your heart do a little jig when there’s been a raise before you, the hand that you can legitimately say was the favourite pre-flop. I couldn’t NOT play these cards, could I?

I can only blame the tequila.

I called Joe’s all-in.

He showed KingJack.

Flop – Jack, Jack, Jack.

The crowd goes wild.

Ace on the turn.

The crowd groaned. Joe began to sweat through his dress shirt and khakis. Banky started to giggle. Could this be it? Could this be the suck-out of all suck-outs?

2 on the river.

Joe Hachem wins the Aussie Millions, and I take second. No sponsorship. No title. But I do console myself with a whole chunk of second place dough.

Banky comes over and gives me a hug. Joe, being the consummate gentleman, shakes my hand. The Aussies in the audience quietly put away the Tart effigy they were about to light afire. I’m actually a little relieved I didn’t win – had an Ace fallen on that river, I’m not sure I would have made it out of the casino alive.

After getting my cheque, Banky and I quickly exit the Crown Casino, put on our high heels and head for the outback.

*end flashback waves*

And so ends my Aussie Millions adventure. I didn’t win enough to quit my day job. But I did win enough to fix up the house, get Banky a sweet Jacuzzi, and take a trip to Europe.

Life is pretty sweet these days.

Although I’m still waiting for my FullTilt hockey jersey.


yestbay said...

A wondrous tale, wonderfully told. Deserving of serious consideration for the entry prize.

Or at the absolute least, a hockey jersey.

BamBam said...

"After getting my cheque, Banky and I quickly exit the Crown Casino, put on our high heels and head for the outback."

Now you know we'll all be expecting some form of Abba presentation in December....Right?

Good work P/T. It was sooooo good, I now hope it's U 'n' ME going. Kat's going to have to win one of those damn BBToo events to join us.