Victoria, BC and How Greed Cost Me a Poker Tournament

by Lou on August 18, 2005

Deirdre and I arrived in Victoria, BC on Monday for a week’s vacation and are staying at the Empress Hotel, a landmark in downtown Victoria, right on the inner harbor and conveniently located to everything. Victoria, like all Canadian cities, impresses with it’s cleanness, the hanging baskets of flowers on almost every lamppost, and even though downtown is full of life, and people, with office workers walking, tourists sightseeing, musicians playing on street corners, the city is fastidious in a way that American cities never are.

We hoofed it up to Craigdarroch Castle yesterday, a Victorian mansion built between 1887 and 1890 for Robert Dunsmuir, a coal baron who built his “bonanza castle”– a term used to describe massive homes built by those who became wealthy during the industrial transformation of North America – on the city’s highest hill. Nice place, five stories tall with a pipe organ built right into the main stairwell on a landing between the first and second floors.

The Empress, where we’re staying, is a quirky place. It’s hosted presidents and royalty alike, but we’re up in a smaller garret room on the top floor. The hotel has hallways that seemingly lead nowhere, restaurants reachable only by descending a flight of stairs from another restaurant or by exiting the hotel itself and entering from another door down the street. Although it’s a terrific place to stay, it is quirky in the way that only the British upper class seems capable of achieving, and in many ways makes you think you’re staying at Hogwarts.

We’ve been to the Roots store, and shopped all along the main downtown streets, and today we’re renting a car to drive “up-island” as they say, and see what awaits us in the outer reaches of Victoria and beyond. Tomorrow we’ll go to the Butchart Gardens, a place we visited when our cruise ship stopped in Victoria, but well worth another trip.

Oh, yeah. Some poker content too. I played in the Royal Vegas Poker “Play the Experts” tournament last night and finished sixth, a testimony to my own greed and stupidity. I had a nice chip lead throughout much of the event, but lost a lot of my chips when I failed to really price out an opponent who called and made a flush when four cards of one suit appeared on the board.

I held a pocket pair of kings, flopped a set and was heads up against Brite1, who also had a large stack of chips. I made a pot size raise on a two-suited flop and was called. When Brite1 checked into a third suited card, I knew there was no flush. I wanted all of Brite1’s chips, so my bet on the turn was smaller than it should have been – I should have moved all-in, but I was greedy – and was called. My goal was to put Brite1 all in on the river – in retrospect, that was something I should have done on the flop or the turn – but a fourth suited card fell, we both checked, and I lost.
After that hand I went from being chip leader to an also ran and was eliminated about 15 minutes later. While you can’t win ‘em all, I should have won that one but for the fact that I was seduced by my own greed. It’s a lesson I’ve learned before, but I suppose it’s one I have to learn again.

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