Monday, January 23, 2006

Damn the torpedoes

The only thing sicker than playing online poker is watching online poker. Yet last night, in one of those onanistic moments of virtual poker sex, I tuned in to the final table action for the big Sunday tournament on Stars. Figured if I can't make a final table, I can at least observe one. Or, in the words of Chauncey Gardner, "I just like to watch."

Found it compelling because of the play of a guy with the screen name JKDanmark, who I can only assume is Danish, given the name and his hometown of Bjrkerenhimerstadtenfrogen. Or something like that.

What made the Danish Destroyer so fascinating was his off-the-hook, balls-to-the-wall aggression. He started the final table (working from memory here), third or fourth in chips, but soon acquired a slight chip lead with the most fearless play I've ever seen. It seemed as if he pushed every third hand or so, consequences and cash bedamned. Rarely did anyone look him up, and when they did, they often paid -- even when he was holding less than stellar cards. He doubled up some smaller stacks here and there, but ran that table like a big mack-daddy playa. Nothing slowed this guy down. Lose a chunk of chips? Push. Projectile vomit some smelly smorgasbord? Keep pushing, baby.

By the time the reached 6, the inevitable deal-making balloons began to float. There seemed to be some consensus to let my Google uncle, Poker Stars moderator Lee "Poker" Jones, figure it out save one -- Cheese Danish. He sat silently, unwilling (or unable) to join the negotiations. There were more entreaties for a save when they got down to four and then three, but the Deaf and Dumb Dane refused to participate. When they reached heads-up after some Swedish meatball went down in flames, JK briefly lost the chip lead by a bit when his top pair(?) lost to a straight. He soon rectified that when he called a quarter of his stack (1.2-million chips) on an A-2-x flop and then called the all-in bet on the turned 3, crippling his opponent (holding A-2) with 5-4. It ended a few hands later, netting JK a cool $162K.

For me, watching that final-table action was time well spent. You have to be willing to die in this game if you want to live. And, as JK showed me, with a little luck and a ton of aggression, attempted suicide is indeed painless.


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