Tuesday, September 2, 2008
The 15 Hour Poker Marathon
So last night we played cards from 8pm until 11am this morning, pausing only for breakfast and to move the game to Brooklyn at around 6am due to parking issues. Ive never played for that long before, and it was certainly an eye opening experience. I think I can play my "A game" for about 8-9 hours at a time. After that, it becomes difficult to maintain focus on the game and your opponents, but that didnt stop me from continuing to play. We started as 8 players, but once it got really late there were only 4 of us left standing. Everyone else had busted out or gone to bed.
This was the longest session Ive played in, but poker games that last for days without the participants pausing for rest are not unheard of. Stu Unger, the legendary gin and poker player who won the Main Event at the World Series 3 times in his career, once played in a game for 3 days straight, slept in a chair in a corner for 6 hours, then woke up and played for another 2 days in a row. Kids, dont try this at home.
Im trying to remember some exciting hands, but at this point its all a huge blur. I dont remember making any huge bluffs or hero calls, just regular poker, with a pickaxe and a shovel. I do recall one hand where I was unable to make a big laydown. It was about 5 am, just before we moved the game to Brooklyn, and I picked up A-K of spades. The player to my right, a loose agressive player who was first to act, made it $8 to go. Liking big slick against his range of raising hands, which included questionable hands like A-9, pocket 5s, and crap like Q-7 suited. I immediately made it $18, everyone folded but the raiser who called and we took the flop 2 handed. The flop came A-10-6 with two spades. He checked, and liking what I saw, I led out with $30 into a $39 pot. At this point, I was hoping he might try to bluff me, thinking I had made a continuation bet. But surprisingly he just called. The turn was a red King.
At this point, I had the top two pair and nut flush draw. I wasnt going anywhere, and actually was trying to size up how much of my opponents stack I could get him to commit to the sizable pot. After checking his hole cards, my opponent moved all in for about $160 into a $99 pot. This was certainly a surprising development, and for the life of me I could not put my opponent on a hand. The best explanation I could come up with was K-10 or A-10, as it was clear from the way he had put all his chips in the pot this was not a bluff. If he had held A-A, K-K, or 10-10, I think he would have put in a 3rd bet before the flop. I called pretty sure that I had the best hand, and if he had a set of 10s, maybe my flush would come or I could hit another Ace or King to fill up.
My opponent flipped over Q-J for the nut straight, and the board blanked and I doubled him up. Luckily, I was sitting on about $550 at that point and could afford it, but it signaled the end of a nice streak I had been on and forced me to play a bit better. At least, until we took the game back to Brooklyn an hour later, where I got all my chips in bad in a variety of situations and left stuck and exhausted shortly after 11am. Stu, I dont know how you did it.