Wednesday, June 02, 2010


I enjoy reading Wil Wheaton's blog, even though he rarely writes about poker anymore. (He was for a year or so a member of Team Poker Stars, which is every bit as cool as being one of the main characters on Star Trek.) On Monday he posted an outrageous painting that includes him in a clown sweater, mounted on a shrieking unicorn pegasus kitten, about to spear sci-fi writer John Scalzi, who is depicted as an Orc with an axe. Yeah, you kind of have to see it to appreciate it.

Accompanying this magnificent piece of art, he wrote, "I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, "I will never again in my life see something this epic, so I may as well pluck my eyes out with a spork right now.""

Well, I almost did the spork thing right on the spot. But I'm glad I didn't, because a mere 24 hours later, it turns out that I lived to see something even more epic (or, as my friend Cardgrrl likes to say, "epicer"): One of my $10 PokerStars HORSE sit-and-go tournaments ended with the longest heads-up battle I've ever seen in one of these things--and I won it.

The entire tournament took 1 hour, 46 minutes; the heads-up portion was 36 minutes of that. That might not seem like much, but I'm confident it's the longest I've ever had to fight for the #1 finish. Because hands go so much faster when there are only two players, the heads-up duel actually featured the majority of the whole tournament's hands: 115 out of 206, to be exact. It started in Omaha, and lasted through razz, stud, stud/8, and finally finished in hold'em. As long as the Wil Wheaton thing started me on a Star Trek theme, I'll say that the fight felt like I was Frank Gorshin in "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield," with a madman at my throat for all eternity.

Below you can see how the chip stacks fluctuated. We started off about as close to even as possible: His 6038 to my 5962, with blinds of only 75/150, so we were about 40 big blinds deep.

By my count, the chip lead changed hands 17 times. I survived six all-ins with calls; he survived two, but not the third.

Can any word but epic really do this justice? I think not.

As usual, I can't animate (at least not easily) the razz and stud hands for you, but I made a Flash movie out of the hold'em portion, which was the last 22 hands. I think it gives you a flavor of our different styles. He was on the maniacal side, so I tended to concede a lot of small pots, and make my chips back by playing off my tighter image and stealing when it looked like he didn't like his situation on later streets, and by him paying off my big hands more than I paid off his. I.e., he won more pots, but I tended to win the bigger ones.

The Mighty Deuce-Four makes a couple of appearances, as you'll see.

Overall I was pretty darn pleased with myself. I played about as well as I know how to do, didn't panic or get impatient, picked spots well. Yes, I got lucky to be bailed out of bad situations a couple of times, but not obviously any more than he did.

I definitely earned that $40 uptick the hard way.

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