I started going to the Tuesday night poker tournaments at Bar Bleu last night, after Dave talked me into taping the show I had been watching on Tuesday nights. This makes two nights a week spent playing cards in smoky bars. Hope the conservatives are right about secondary smoke not being a big cancer risk...
I made the final table at Bar Bleu, which seems like a bigger deal than it was at Crowbar's much smaller Sunday night tournaments. I wouldn't have thought that they'd be able to fit so many tables in a tiny little basement bar like Bar Bleu, but there it was, eight tables, 64 players, all in a room that couldn't have been bigger than 25' by 30'. I'd never been down there before - it's down a set of stairs from *inside* of a barbecue place called Buelah's, in the storefront where Mario & Luigi's used to be on Garner Street. It has a nice atmosphere, very oldfashioned-jazzy, especially compared with Crowbar's black paint-and-sticky-floor lowest-common-drunk-college-student ambience.
A lot of the same folks from Sunday nights were. I learned the names of a number of them - Jason, who got to the final table next to me, and got knocked out not long after I took a dive. Jackie, who was the last woman surviving in the tournament, and who I knocked out myself not two hands after someone mentioned that the waitresses were rooting for her. The guy who came in second, an intense, thin guy hiding behind a precarious, intimidating tower of white 5,000 chips was the one who ripped my head off at the final table, not five minutes after said final table formed. He got stuck in a blinds-exchange with the other big gun, a bald youngish guy with a goatee in a retro, coarse sports jacket. Finally, the bald guy finally clipped the white-tower guy for good and wrapped up the night.
The blinds schedule is fierce, quick and difficult, and at the moment I was knocked out, the big blind was one-fourth of my previously-respectable 40,000. It's really hard not to go all-in with mediocre hands when you're already that pot-committed by the big blind. I kept looking to get in at some point before being stuck on the big blind, but nothing showed *until* I was on the big. An ace-six off-suit wasn't enough when white-tower-of-intimidation guy made his pair of kings, but I can't complain. I got to the final table on a series of lucky wins made off of higher kickers. I just got antsy once the blinds hit 5000/10000, and jumped blind.
The organizer was talking about a third tournament series starting up later in the season at a pizza place/bar on North Atherton, which means that if you're obsessive enough, or bored enough, you could end up playing three nights a week. Since it's free and all, it's not as if it would be a serious commitment of anything other than personal time.