Sunday, February 18, 2007

Valentine Validation
Ahhhh...Valentine's Day. The original "Hallmark Holiday." A day for lovers to express their undying devotion in the form of chocolate and greeting cards. Its also the day when, as my dad once told me
"You better come home with flowers....or don't come home at all"
Funny, dad never said anything about poker.

This year's V-day was a little different than years past. Dinner was out from the word go thanks to my daughter's dance lessons, so the possibility of playing that night's FTOPS event was never in question. Although, I have to admit it was fun pinning the blame on explain, a quick seque if i may.

About a month before Valentine's Day, I was as I am every night, playing on Full Tilt, when hoy pops onto the IM

Hoy: hey man, jump in this FTOPS sng sat with me
ME: i don't know, im kinda tired
Hoy: c'mon it'll be fun...its O8B
ME: ugh...u know I hate O8B
Hoy: you'll be cool if u do....

Now, I should point out that I was not a big fan of O8B at the time, and hoy frequently uses the peer pressure large part because he knows it irks me. But, i figured what the heck, and signed on. About ten minutes in he adds

Hoy: oh, btw, its on Valentine's day....that's not a problem is it?

Greeeeeeaaaaaattt. So now I'm in a satellite that if I win I get into a Wednesday night tourney that's sure to go late AND as an added bonus--there's a pretty good chance the wife will be none-too-pleased.

Well, needless to say, I did in fact win the satellite seat. I'm also happy to report that my wife handled it like a pro...

ME: Uh...honey. I..uh....won a seat into one of those FTOPS tourneys last night.
Mrs.JECIIMD: That's great honey.
ME: Yeah....uh....there is one glitch tho.
Mrs.JECIIMD: Oh...(growing suspicious)
ME: It's on Valentine's Day.
Mrs.JECIIMD: Oh.....(pause for guilt inducing hug)...That's ok..(kiss)...
I don't need some Hallmark Holiday to know how much
you love me. (another kiss)
And then, the kicker a'la Adrian from Rocky II...
"Win" pressure.

The passing weeks did little to improve my enthusiasm. My game was on life support, as was my bankroll. Thanks to a UIGA-induced reluctance to keep any significant amount of funding online, as well as a frustrating stretch of non-cashes, I found myself in the days leading up to FTOPS#6 playing in a myriad of low-stakes sng's and...sigh...full tilt point satellites. It was a true low-point in my young online "career."

When the day finally arrived, a snowstorm closed the dance dinner was back on the table. And for a brief moment, I actually considered skipping the tourney in favor of a late reservation. Like I said, I was in a bad frame of mind when I sat down to play....and found Toto Leonidas sitting to my immediate right.

Now anybody who watches poker as much as I do knows that Toto's a dangerous, aggressive pro. And though I'd never seen him play anything but NLH, I figured I was in trouble. Two thoughts immediately popped into my head:
(1) At least he's to my right
(2) Maybe I won't miss tonight's episode of "Lost" after all.
I realized that the table was giving a lot of respect to Toto pretty early the random donkage was kept to a minimum. Noone wanted to mess with him unless they had the goods, so i was able to play a fairly textbook style (yes, i've read some on it) throughout the first hour or two. I even won a few hands off him in the early rounds, building confidence and accumulating chips. He too managed to build a big stack early, but I used my position effectively to chip away some. Eventually, he took a few beats and I found myself with a fairly decent stack....which i tried to donk off in an ill-advised fit of bounty hunting....and soon he was gone.

That's when it got really fun.

[to be continued...]

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