Tuesday, April 20, 2010

A Bit of Poker, A Lot of Trivia

Last weekend was my annual migration to Stevens Point, WI for the World's Largest Trivia Contest. This contest has run for 41 years, and I've played for the last 18 or 20, the last 12 or 14 on the same team. Each year the contest draws over 400 teams and about 12,000 players, making it a true community event, benefitting the college's radio station.

The contest runs 54 hours, straight, making it an act of durability, too, though I'm no longer up to the challenge of that long a sleepless stretch. In recent years I get about 12 hours of sleep through the madness. And there's only two 40-minute breaks, one each at 6pm on Saturday or Sunday, when the scores are read manually and there's a bit of a break from the questions.

So while we were breaking on Sunday eve, I took that chance to fire up Stars and see if the recent doomswitching was in effect. I started up three SNGs, and... ran well! In the first one, I got the chips all in early with Q-Q against A-K and K-Q (?!?), and the board brought rags until the river, which was the case Q. The early triple-up led to a second-place finish, and I pocketed a third in another. And in the third, I doubled up in about the third level in one of those "it's never this easy" hands.

It went like this: Blinds were 25/50 and it was folded to me in middle position, where I made it 150 behind pocket fives. Action was folded around to the button, who smooth-called. The flop came a heavenly 7-5-5, giving me quads. I checked, the button jammed -- on a bluff with K-Q, no less -- and I snap-called for the easy double-up. From there I went on to take the thing down, giving me a win, place and show in 40 minutes and three turbo SNGs played.

If it were only always that easy, right? Unfortunately the trivia went not quite as well, as our perennial top-10 team stumbled its way to a 16th-place finish, out of the trophies for the second time in three years after a run of eight straight in the hardware.

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