Friday at The Big O

Posted by in Poker

I grew up in the sweet suburbs of Houston, where life was quiet, peaceful, and boring. There were no clubs, no concerts, few shops, few restaurants. To actually go do something, you had to drive in to Houston, which was techincally only a five minute drive away, but the good stuff was going to require an hour in the car. Want to catch the 7pm show at Fitzgerald’s? We’ll leave at 5:30. Oilers play at noon? Be ready at 10. When you grow up that way, you never think about it. It’s just how it is. It’s the people who think different that are weird.

And then, the move to Austin, where a 15-minute drive is considered to be the maximum reasonable time one can spend getting from point A to point B. Anything more is simply out of the question. My first months here, I couldn’t believe these insane people who literally lived within a 30-mile radius, never seeing a need to venture out. But one of the great things about Austin is how the soul of the city seeps into your own, matching your rhythms until your perception of everyday events like driving to the store changes dramatically. It’s why even though 90% of the population grew up somewhere else, the vast majority of us refuse to drive like we did. I love my family very much, but those who live nearby insist on living in the far Northern suburbs of Austin [and never venturing past the river], so even though we techincally live in same town, we only see each other on holidays. Every time I leave my Aunt’s house, she gives me a hug and tells me I’m welcome back anytime; telling me to bring friends and bribing me with use of the boat to make the trip a bit easer. And when it’s one of those beautiful summer days that can best be enjoyed tooling around Lake Travis in my uncle’s boat, I’ll gladly suck it up and make the hour and a half drive out. But I’m spending the night.

Thursday Scott asked me if I wanted to join him Friday night at Mookie’s, for the tournament season opener at the Big O. Normally, the response would be a “No”, because while I wasn’t really sure where Mookie lived, I knew it was up north and, hey, that’s more than a 15 minute drive. But the ice had finally begun to thaw and after having been confined to the house thanks to BLIZZARD 2007! the idea of getting out of the house was appealing. Add to that the chance to meet the Mook himself, and Scott saying he’d drive, and I was in. Though Scott will tell you it took a little convincing…

[12:58] williamscottmcmillan: FRIDAY SORRY
[12:58] thisisnotapril: doesn’t he live out in BFE North Austin?
[13:00] thisisnotapril: yea, cause you driving makes me feel real safe and secure!
[13:00] thisisnotapril: fine
[13:00] thisisnotapril: i’ll go
[13:00] thisisnotapril: just to shut you up
[13:04] williamscottmcmillan: GOOD. YOU ARE ON THE LIST

Friday night, after telling me to “bundle up, cause I think we’re going just south of the North Pole”, Scott picked me up an hour before the 7pm tourney start time and we began the trek. As we walked down my driveway, he said to me “Do you know where we’re going?” I replied that no, I didn’t, that I assumed Mookie lived in Pflugerville, the immediate northern blink-and-you-might-miss-it suburb of Austin, which, while a good 30 minutes away in light traffic, can be easily accessed via Mopac. He informed me that no, in fact, Mookie lived in Leander, which is not so easy to get to, and does not qualify for “Austin suburb” status as it is a fully functioning city of its own, and… well, let’s just say that on our drive there, I got to point out the turn I would take to get to my aunt and uncle’s lake house.

But if you’re going to be stuck in Friday 6pm cold and rainy traffic, Scott’s a good one to be with. The man has some of the best stories you’ll ever hear. Over there is where the hooker ran a home game and gave blowjobs in the bathroom, right there is where so-and-so’s game got robbed, etc. etc. I must get new batteries for my digital recorder so I can interview him the way grandchildren interview their war-hero grandfathers. Only instead of “Tell me about Iwo Jima”; it’ll be “Tell me about the time you pissed off the dwarf dealer at Circus Circus”.

An hour and a half later, we arrived at Mookie’s, me $1 richer for taking the over in the estimated arrival time prop bet. Mookie has a beautiful home, cute kids, and a dog I’m adding to my list of “Dogs I Would Steal [if i did that sort of thing and didn’t already have a pretty awesome dog already]”. He’s also got a very nice tournament set up, complete with excellent structure. I took no notes, so you only get to hear about the hands that stick out in my mind.

  • There was the near double-up when I flopped a set of 5s and rivered a boat when the board paired Aces. Not that the boat was needed, but they’re pretty and I like them. Not as pretty as Scott’s Royal Flush, but I got action and he didn’t.
  • Short-stacked, Mookie pushed all-in, got no callers, and proudly showed the hammer.
  • Coming to the final table, the majority of us were on life support, making pushing all-in the only option. Picking up the blinds and antes would net you a 15,000 pot, so I pushed every time it was folded to me and I had a picture in my hand. Lot of reluctance to call, which let me build up my stack and stay alive. Did finally get one call when I had pocket tens, and was up against AJ. He flopped a Jack while I flopped a set, and avoided the straight outs. Gave me a little more breathing room, but the M was still low.
  • Down to 4 players, I find Aces and get all-in versus Scott. He flips over AQ and this time I do not dodge the straight outs. King on the river doubles him up and cripples me. Next hand I’m all in with T8 suited (aka The Mook) against AQ and again drown in the river, finishing 4th.

Thanks to me, Scott was still going strong and finished in 2nd place shortly thereafter. We headed home, this trip much quicker by virtue of the fact that it was 2:30 in the morning. We had a lot of fun, and I love the league tournament concept, but I’m going to need to locate a wormhole in order to regularly make the tournaments. Or buy a helicopter.

Thanks for having us Mookie. πŸ™‚