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playing poker and teaching science: SNG fun
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Location: Indiana, United States

I'm a middle school science teacher, wrestling coach, poker player, scuba diver, aikido black belt, amateur writer, and student of life. In the past I have tried to give back a little by volunteering at a children's home in Belmopan, Belize, Central America. I also love Frosted Flakes. I have taken a year sabbatical from my teaching position in order to sail the Caribbean. Does that sound crazy to you?

Friday, January 07, 2005

SNG fun

I had a unique experience playing a one-table sit-and-go (SNG) on UltimateBet last night, made even more fun by the fact that I was the eventual winner. I like the play on UB and have used it a lot when I feel like playing but not like risking any real money. They have a $1 + $.10 SNG that I play for fun but none were available last night so I sat at $5 table.

The play at UB has been very solid lately and this table was no exception as there were still EIGHT players sitting when the blind reached 100/200! Eight! Not like at Party/Empire where you might be heads up with the blinds still at 15/30! So needless to say it quickly turned into an all-in fest.

I was sitting on the second highest pile of chips and so my strategy was to wait out some of the smaller stacks so I folded my way to the top five fairly quickly as three players went all-in three hands in a row with the best hand, not theirs, winning each time.

Once we hit five players, all with fairly even stacks, the fireworks began!

Two hands in a row I took a beating with good hands. Ace/jack and then ace/queen both lost to small pairs to cripple me down to a short stack only slightly larger than the blind. Under the gun plus one I am dealt snowmen (88) [love the poker lingo] and push all-in. I get two callers. Gulp. I’m out. But no! An eight come on the flop with an ace and I triple up as ace/king puts ace/queen out of the contest. Down to four.

I also learned what the pro player (Johnny Moss?) meant when he said the only thing better than winning a hand at poker was losing a hand. The ups and downs in this game were very exciting and win or lose I had received at least $5 worth of entertainment. When I mentioned that at the table there were a couple of sad sack responses. Doesn’t anyone have fun any more?

Four handed play is a great place to be if you know what you are doing in a SNG and have been observing the players. Everyone wants to make the money and nobody wants to be on the bubble, so I always push all-in when I have an ace are able to cover any callers I might get. They will fold anything that is not a premium hand and I steal a lot of blinds. If I have a medium/high chip stack with four players to go, I almost always make the top two (with the stupid play exception noted below!).

This tactic worked time and time again, but the leading chip stack began to get passed back and forth as the blinds went to 300/600 and the all-in with the LOSING hand before the flop won five times (count ‘em, five times!) In a row!

Finally, QQ held up against ace/10 and we were down to three. I raised the blinds with KJ and hit a jack on the turn to put out 10 10 to make it heads up. By now the blinds were 400/800 so it was a crap shoot when I flopped two pair to my opponent’s pair of queens to win the game.

Poker is so much fun.

I am entered in a 30 player, $30 NLHE tournament at a house in Indianapolis Sunday morning. I’ll post my results.

Thanks for reading.

**Stupid play note** I was down to the final four players in a SNG when I was dealt pocket queens. The small stack went all in front of me, naturally I called, then the second largest stack went all-in behind me. Did I fold? NO! I called! Why? I don’t know! Just call me bubble boy. Live and learn.***

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