With Friday work scheduled for eastern Iowa, I had the perfect excuse to head over to Cedar Rapids for the IMOP home game Thursday night. Since I'm not playing in the home game winter tournament series, I had a couple of hours to kill early evening, so I swung by the Meadows ATM for a quick session on the way out of town.
My session was short, but eventful. Early on, I got the Grump and managed to give away $200 semi-bluffing with my OESD that whiffed. But I rallied with a weird hand. Guy who was short-stacked with $40 was in EP, and pushed, a move he had made a few times, obviously looking for a double-up. A terrible ET flat-called with about $250 more behind (he was easily $1K into the game according to the guy sitting next to me). I find AsQd on the button, and I figure I am way ahead of these two guys' ranges. I decided to raise, hoping to drive out ET and get heads up with short-stack guy with ET's dead money giving me a nice overlay. ET thinks a bit, then suddenly pushes! Aaaiiiyyyaaahhh! I think a bit, then decide to trust my read, so I call. Flop is three spades, giving me the nut flush draw, the turn adds a small card to give me a wheel draw, and the river totally blanks. I turn up my Ace-high, short-stack shows KK for the main pot, and ET shows ... KQ offsuit! Donkey Kong! Ship. It.
Despite misplaying Yaks horribly, I found myself with $325 profit around 7:30 pm. With the home tourney starting at 8:00 pm, I assumed the cash game would start no later than 9:30 pm (given the degenerates in the game), so I booked the win and hit the road for the two-hour drive. On my way out, IMOP pledge Mr. Chow stopped to say hello; he was in Des Moines for business, and was planning to play the Meadows tourney (predictably, he was out in under 30 minutes).
Fast forward two hours, and I was stopping off at a Cedar Rapids grocery store that has a nice wine and beer section. I picked up some special request beer for the guys, a bottle of wine for me, and some kettle chips (my snack food weakness). That's when I saw it—a nice bottle of premium saké. Impulse buy!
Santa Claus was hosting the game, which was convenient for me, as he was also providing Wynn-quality room and board for me. All the usual suspects were present, and the cash game got going upon my arrival. There really weren't a lot of hands of note, but there were a ton of laughs. If this game was any indication, Vegas' poker rooms will have more hilarity than they can handle three weeks from now! I personally played about as poorly as possible, running AK into Bonnie's AA (when did he start playing those cards?), and later running my AK into Bonnie's K3o on a J-J-3 flop (that's the Bonnie we all know and love!). I also managed to win and lose a couple of big pots against Santa, but I didn't mind since I was playing off Santa's home game account. Fortunately, I rallied at the end so I didn't completely bankrupt Santa's poker roll.
Now, I'm not one to drink at the poker table. I might have one or two drinks toward the end of a session, but usually I am booze-free. Even during IMOP most of my sessions are spent drinking green tea or diet soda. But for some reason, the IMOP home game brings out my inner degenerate. After some wine early, I soon switched over to saké, drinking it straight from an over-sized lowball glass. The saké was quite tasty, but had some unexpected effects, such as rearranging the space-time contiuum to eliminate the period from 1:30 to 3:30 am. Saké also causes flop death and chip stack erosion. Thankfully, Mrs. Claus had a tasty eggs and sausage breakfast waiting for me, which proved a great antidote for the residual saké tremors. So, new rule for IMOP-V:
"Friends don't let friends drink saké"