Aces Full of It: Heartland Break or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Club 52

I bet I’ll be using this picture a lot…

Before October 4th, 2015 it was my full intention to write all about my experience at Event #2 of the Heartland Poker Tour.  However, less than 80 people entered, I only outlasted around fifty of them and did not reach the second break.  Frankly, I believe what happened after the event was far more interesting, so I’ll be covering that as well as the event itself.

Part One: A Demon on my Left

I would describe Event #2, compared to other live events I’ve participated in, as…ordinary.  Late registration present for the first two hours or four blind levels, and no one seemed to be a pro or anything.  The only real differences were 30-minute blinds instead of 20, and the entry being $165 instead of $50 or $85 or something.

But even as ordinary tournaments go, it was still a poor experience due to basically one player, who sat down on my direct left a couple of levels in.  I forget what I had in the first hand we tangoed in, but what I do know is I bet every street, he called every street, and I had his hi card beat until the river.

I can’t possibly hold saying this in at this point.  I apologize if this is you, but it’s better that you learn the truth now than you continue to delude yourself.  If you call preflop, call the flop with hi card, and call the turn with hi card, you are a donktastic moron.

This is number 2 on my list of Poker Plays That Break My Brain That They Even Exist, number 1 being a preflop all in shove in the opening stages of a tournament.  If you’re being bet into and you don’t have shit, you don’t just…just CALL!  This guy didn’t even have a straight or flush draw, oh no.

The only way that you can win a pot in that scenario that does not rely on bullshit amounts of luck is to bluff, and if you’re being bet into, that means you freaking raise, dammit.  And if you take pleasure in winning under such circumstances as he did, you need to take a long, hard look at your life and who you are as a person.

I did manage to recover from the tilt he put me on there, but it wasn’t enough for him.  Later on, I shoved preflop and he called with junk…and hit 4 cards on the board for a straight to beat me.  Again, I forget what I had.  And this was after at least one more humiliating beat at his hands.

I forget if it was more than 3 total, my memory tends to get fuzzy when I’m going through something traumatic.  Regardless, he’d been playing outrageously and beating me enough times for me to quip upon my exit, “Man, you’ve been busting my balls for the whole tournament!”

Fortunately it was taken in good stride and nobody called me out on behavior or anything, which I honestly half-expected to happen given how little I’ve ever been able to get away with the slightest display of hostile emotion in my life.  An ignominious end to an unexpectedly ignominious tournament.

Part Two: The Maxima Busts Out

I’m going to be totally honest here: I drive a crap car.  I mean a really crap car.  If you’ve ever heard that radio commercial for “Napa know how” that says “Who cares if it’s technically old enough to vote and the windows are powered by the strength of your arm?”  That is my car.

“I’m sorry…Justin…I’m not gonna make it!” (Image:

It was not even born in this millenium, and technically it has power windows in the front, but they’re both broken and I’d much sooner get something else than have them fixed.  I lost the front grill in a minor hydroplaning fender bender when I was in college (well, it was minor for the other guy.)  Just about the only real perk I get is that even traffic light cameras take one look at it and go, “Hell, I’m not going to bother sending that guy a ticket!  He wouldn’t even be able to pay up!”

If you’ve yet to see where this is going, I don’t think I have help for you.  Right in front of God and everyone who drove on that southbound stretch of Interstate 95 between roughly 6 and 8 PM, a road particularly infamous for collisions, much like I-4 (which incidentally is the only other interstate running through Florida as far as I’m aware.  Yeah…get me out of this crazy state!) the little Maxima that could and had since ’97 didn’t.  I still remember my thought process.  It went something like:

Okay, slowed down a bit to let him by me, let’s get back up to speed…

Huh, the accelerator isn’t accelerating.  That’s funny, why are the battery and airbag lights on?  Usually it’s just the parking brake light, and that’s because the light is on the fritz, I don’t have the parking brake on!

Wait, was the battery light also on the fritz?  I can’t remember…

Okay, still not speeding up.  I think I’d better put on the brakes before ‘ol Grandaddy Laws of Physics gets around to it, I might not end up in a good place otherwise.


Such a fine mess you got yourself into! (Image:

To cut a long, painful story not as long, I didn’t get home until I had to go to sleep that day.  And I had work in the morning.

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