Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Schooling

Somebody on 2p2 asked about the possible effects of a casino opening near Boston on the games at Mohegan and Foxwoods, and then specifically asked if some of the California people could pontificate on player pool mixing and the like since we are the only place really on Earth where you can actually choose WHICH casino you want to play 20/40 at on a given evening.  So here is kind of how it works here:

First of all there are a couple of outliers that I won't really include in the discussion.  Oceans down in Oceanside has 20/40 and 8/16 (so I hear) and a 40 game on Friday nights.  But it's 100 miles from the other LA County Casinos and really shouldn't be counted.  There are the Indian Casinos like Morongo and Pechanga, but again I have no clue what happens there.  There is Crystal Casino in LA which I have never set foot inside, and there is Hollywood Park which apparently has a 40/80 Omaha 8 or better game on the daily but no LHE above like 4/8 on a regular basis.  And there is Normandie which is down the street from the Hustler and apparently stole their 25/50 game for a little while at one point.  I don't think I'm missing anything but I could be....so that leaves us with:

Commerce
Hustler
The Bike
The Gardens (formerly Hawaiian Gardens)

I doubt there are many people who have a higher min hours played among these four casinos than I do (I'm pretty sure I've played 1000+ at all four).  Now that I think about it I don't really know what I'm going to say here.  The player pools mix in various ways, based on a bunch of factors like what stakes are offered where, what times of day the games go, physical location, and who is barred/running good/bad or broke or whatever.  Generally speaking, however, I believe that more games is better for every casino.  Around here we have rampant price (read: rake) fixing, to the point that all the casinos implemented a rake increase on the same day a few months ago (they take a SEVENTH dollar if you see a river), with the exception of Hustler.  Apparently they didn't get the memo but increased the rake the next day.  The jackpots are mostly a joke (Hustler and The Bike don't rob you blind, The Gardens and Commerce do) and only Hustler does anything in the way of rakeback ($5/hour).  I guess my point is that more games and more options for players in general will force some of the idiots running these places (and they really are just stone cold idiots) to maybe not do something intelligent, but at a minimum DO SOMETHING, and as we all know (unless we live in Kansas and in that case GBUEO) mutations are the basis of natural selection.  At a fundamental level we need casinos just trying shit to try and make things better.

But on player pools....I think every case is different.  Hustler was very strong like a year ago, but now I hear they can't get even a third game down most nights (25/50) and that their game which used to break once a month now breaks in the middle of most nights (this could be because they bar players liberally...it could be because I have actually overheard floor men telling other players that "he (Jesse) is bad for the game", not realizing that the reason they are about to spread a third game is that I have been sitting in the same seat for 7 hours and have single handedly buried EVERYONE and not nit-quit and therefore nobody has gotten up from my game since lunch time lol).  They seem to have lost their players to The Gardens, which is weird since those two places are pretty far about but sort makes sense because they are very similar (just one mid stakes game to play, all daisy chained must moves, etc).  The thing that you'll see in common with those two player pools is that most of the members have admitted that they simply cannot stand the toxicity at Commerce.

The Bike over the last few years has really just been kind of an oasis away from Commerce.  We had a nice 40/80 game there for a while, but it never got very strong.  Now they have a 20/40 half kill game that seems to just have its own little ecosystem, run from 10am to 2am everyday, and genreally just be a happy little game.  Again though, most of the players that go there do not play at commerce because....

Commerce is just a fucking circus.  You can play 20/40, 40/80, 1/2, 2/4, just about anything you want and there can literally be a dozen or more games running at once and everyone is a jerk (ok not everyone but really it's ugly).  But there are some people who just accept it....everytime I play there in the 20 game (or even the 40) it just occurs to me that everyone is so....freaking...miserable.  Like, I just don't get it.  At the bike people are gambling and having fun and drinking and in general a good time is had by all.  Less so at Hustler and The Gardens but for pure pound for pound misery commerce simply cannot be beat.

I have no idea what I just said but there is my two cents;  if you build another casino who knows what's going to happen to specific other games, but in general more options for players means more total games which is good.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Goodness Gracious

I never really intended for my blog to die.  It just sort of did....I always promised myself I would never write if it felt like work, and for the last few months simply everything has really felt like work.  At least that's the best way to describe it.  Lots of hilarious stuff has happened that has made me say to myself "self, you should blog about that" but I've just never gotten around to it.  Here then is a long winded and rambling and maybe entertaining update on my life, starting at...the end.

Friday night I somehow ended up playing 1/2 at commerce for 4.5 hours.  I got beat up pretty good (I lost about 40 bets), which was pretty disheartening but I mean whatever....I was in a great game (not a good texture for me but still a great game) in the best seat (I just kind of stole it once Kimbo Slice left and as an aside I think I'm going to Vegas to watch the final table cause I mean NEWWWWWWHOOOOOOUSSSSEEEEEEE is gonna get it done) and whatever.  Then my night started to get bad.  The whale went to the 2/4 game (yes there was a 2/4 going as well) and I tried to hold the game together for a bit, even playing 4 handed with juice, barry greinstein and a pretty big fish, but when the fish busted and a few 2/4 players came down I just left.  So it's almost 1am and I walk outside and it's pouring down rain.  For those of you who live in the regular world you don't understand that here in the zero-th world that is the SoCal bubble this is literally a 1/1000 event.  OK, fine, 40 mile drive at 1am in the rain.  Fine, I can handle this.  Shit, I need gas.  OK, I got this, arco is right over there fine....what the fuck the pump doesn't work?  I entered the wrong number OK fine I drive over to the other one and as I'm putting in the gas I cannot ignore the hissing sound coming from my tire.  Yes I ran over a nail/screw of some sort.  So at 1:30 in the morning with 5k in my car (in fairness it could have been 20) I'm changing a tire at an Arco pump (for the first time in my life...seriously I've never done it before).  I figured it out, drove home without incident on the donut, but what the fuck....stay hot kid.

Moving back slightly...I've played a good bit of poker this year (the LHE stats say 473 hours) and won pretty handily (667 bets, about 17k).  Obviously there are a few commerce 1/2 sessions I wish I could have back, but generally speaking I've just been running like god in the yellow chip games (put in a lot of hours at the Bike, Hustler, and even HG since I finally realized it is 20 minutes closer and if I'm only playing for 3 or 4 hours it really does make sense).  It's weird...on the one hand the money really no longer matters, but for a while I found that losses were hurting me even more.  I think I have that fixed tho, since the commerce 1/2 session didn't bother me at all.  The advantages of playing part time are simply amazing, and combining them with my generally ruthless mentality of trying to get all the money (for example I still seat change...I know lots of part time hobbyists who simply won't bother) has turned me into a fantastic yellow chip bully.  I quit when the game isn't worth it (I don't push for hours), I quit when I'm not having fun, and since I'm single now I can stay for long sessions when the game is amazing and I'm enjoying myself.  My focus is better since I play like 1/4th as much, and in general it's just...better.  Plus I haven't really been bothering to sit in the commerce 40, which is always good for your mental health.  Admittedly of late I've had a hard time sitting in games without a good friend, but that has been an issue for me since day 1 at Bay 101 when I'd intentionally table change to Pete's table. even though I knew it was costing me $10/hour.

What else?  I've closed on a duplex in PA and my dad and I are doing some cosmetic work on one unit and renting it out.  The big potato and I have formed an LLC and are going to buy 2 or 3 more small properties together....by next summer I should have a nice little rental income stream going (most of which will go back into buying more rentals).  Having a job has made this possible, since nobody would ever loan me money as a professional poker player.  So that's good.

I still miss Danielle, like a lot, but that is what it is.  No sane person has told me it would be possible to get over an 11 year relationship in less than 1, so really have another 6 months before I should start being concerned.  It is getting easier, that's for sure.  There are things I really miss, and things that I realize were just preposterous.  What I really miss is the safety and comfort of a relationship, the sense of belonging.  I've always felt like an alien here in SoCal, and living alone at the beach hasn't really gone very far to ameliorate that.  But I press onward.

The gym has gone fantastically.  I have attempted lifting weights before in my life (several times), but never this seriously.  I've gained (get this) 27 pounds since the bottom of the weight loss bet I foolishly entered and weighed in for sometime in July.  Twenty.  Seven.  154 to to 181.  Some of that is water weight (ok actually a lot) but even with rounding error I've put on 15 pounds in 3 months or so, and I think I'm carrying it pretty well.  I've changed my diet a ton, avoiding carbs like the plague, and I am actually taking creatine (the science behind that stuff is actually pretty good....it donates phosphate groups back to your depleted adp (adenozine (sp?) di-phosphate) to turn them back into atp (tri-phosphate) which is what your cells use for, you know, energy) and have protein powder that I use regularly.  I've added 30 pounds to my bench press sets (three sets of eight at 125 when I started has turned into three sets of eight at 155 now) and have made similar gains across the board.  I have a crazy cross fit friend who has advised me to switch away from all machines and use exclusively free weights (or cable machines), which I'm starting today.  I also have been swimming a few times a week, right a stationary bike, and have actually run on the beach about once a week the last three weeks.  So yeah, fitness is definitely a win.

In closing...

I'm playing 40/80 and blah blah blah a huge hand happens with POS Andy driving the action. 5 ways capped on the preflop, 4 or 5 ways three bets on the flop, he fires the turn gets some calls and the river happens and the board is something like

J9347 or something I don't actually know.  The river is a pretty straightening card is the point.  He bets and this guy on my left just raises him in rhythm and it gets back to him and he goes into the tank for a long time like he always does here and eventually the guy starts chirping and shows him...a nine.  That's right, just a card for one pair it's like "hmmm that's weird" and eventually andy folds two queens face up and the guy shows....98 for one pair stone cold bluff in a $2000 40/80 pot.  It was fucking beautiful..

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

We Sing Songs of His Greatness

I still talk hands with friends from time to time, and here is one that got fired off to me from a great player who is currently getting tortured on a day to day basis and therefore questioning everything:

Terrible limps, guy not too tight raises middle, I call Co with k9s, this game is pretty loose and the blinds (one for sure) are both usually coming along. I think it's too loose Pre.  Someone exposes a k9 lol and we go 5 ways to flop with THE sk calling button behind me

Flop KQT two tone, I have none of the suit. Original raise bets I call sk calls, everyone else folds. Turn 3 of flush draw. Checks to me I bet, sk and original raiser call, river offsuit 5 i bet and both call. Besides preflop is there a mistake?

My response was basically along the lines of "i'd think about raising the flop to clean up some outs (maybe get A4o to fold or something like that)" and his response was "yeah I thought about it but it just feels like my equity is so bad vs the raiser which I guess is why pre is a mistake".  I respond with "and the river is pretty thin" and he replies "well yes I know the river is thing...they both called and I was in third place."  I respond "well yes.  when THE sk calls there you lose 100% of the time"  He responds:

I'll give you a cookie if you can guess the hands.

Me:  Ace King and a small flush

Him:  Ten Ten and...a pair of queens.

Me:  These are all rated players.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Playing...So....Good

I've actually played a fair bit of poker the last few weeks;  I've found a well of inner energy and strength that I never seemed to have back when it was a job and back when I had so many other responsibilities in my life.  I've banged out several 10+ hour days (weekends) just no problem; they were super low stress innings, so to speak, and I just seemed so much more able to focus, move past beats, and quite frankly play for the most part just super fucking good.  I come down from emotions even more quickly than I did before.  My brain is constantly scanning for ways to be creative, ways to break from the norm.  I am not ever on "victim tilt" where I say "well I am beat but I have to call" and call and lose.  I'm not auto-piloting any hands, I'm not beaten down.  I'm genuinely happy to be in the card room getting a chance to do something that for some reason still does make me feel kind of like a bad ass.  Part of it is the old Tom Sawyer thing;  anything that you have to do is work and anything that you don't have to do is not work.  Part of it is having only played like 900 hours in the past 18 months and only 200 in the past 12.  I'm recharged, in a sense.  Part of it is not having to worry about anything else, not ever getting to the casino having had to compromise about a single fucking thing.  One day a week or two ago I walked in the door at Commerce BEFORE SUNRISE and sat in the most beautiful 1/2 game you've ever seen.  Back when I was with her that could NEVER have happened because we'd have stayed up late or I'd have felt like I couldn't leave or she'd have demanded we have coffee/breakfast saying it doesn't take long not realizing that sometimes that hour really does let you be in a better game ALL day and if you miss it you not only are in a shit box game but you're mad at her for it, but now that I'm single I pretty much just do whatever the fuck I want whenever the fuck I want and it's in many ways quite simply quite awesome.  Like tonight I've watched 2.5 episodes of orange is the new black, posted on two plus two, and ate pretzels with mustard and cottage cheese for dinner.  Yeah, that happened and you know what?  It was fucking fine.  After I'm done writing this post I'll probably go to bed and the entire process will take like 8 minutes from the moment I stand up.  But back to poker...I've just been letting myself trust my instincts and you know what?  Big shocker after close to 10,000 hours of live play they are usually pretty darn good.

I bumped my well on 2p2 and that's gotten some interesting questions.  I'm up over $1000 in donations for the aquathon, and that's great.  And thanks to Nate Silver I have made a lot of money betting on the world cup the past three days.  I had the USA to win or draw, and Brazil, Uruguay and Colombia all to win.  I'm going to lose a weight loss bet, but it is what it is.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Life Without Poker

It's been over a month since I've played a single hand, and up until just yesterday that was completely fine and seemed to be going great.  But today I find myself with the itch to play, not really because I want to I don't think, but rather because we have a three day weekend here and I'm extremely under-scheduled.  The last few years this weekend found me on the east coast or in Aruba for a wedding, and barring that I'd definitely be visiting a friend or going someplace cool with Danielle because she'd never let an opportunity like this slip away.  And I don't think it's bad that I'm not really doing anything, I just...I dunno, I don't have anything planned for Sunday or Monday and think I'm going to go play.  Just the way it is.

I've apparently turned into an asshat on two plus two, which I blame mostly on posting primarily from my phone but also accept some responsibility for.  I only post on there to maintain friendships with about a small group of close friends, and if I'm going to be stupid about it even that isn't going to work very well so I might as well try a little.

I'm having a business lunch with TylerMes great american poker hero today;  we are going to talk about how it is that he came to buy some rental property and how it might come to pass that he and I might buy some more.  I've wanted to do this for years, and even got so far as to contact an agent in PA and have her send me listings two years ago, but for some reason always let Danielle's "this isn't the right thing to do" speech dissuade me.  I don't have that chirping in my ear now and with Tyler's knowledge of having done it successfully a couple times so far, I'm pretty sure I'm going to end up being a landlord soon, which will be interesting to say the least.  I have a significant percentage of my net worth locked up behind the walls of tax advantaged retirement accounts (not as much as were I to have been listening to Danielle's advice all these years and dropping 10k or whatever I could into a SEP while I was self-employed), but I definitely have enough I can sell to form an LLC with Tyler and buy something.  That's sort of another reason I think I've gotten the itch to play, and it's not good.  I've been falling into my old pattern of thinking the last few days, thinking about striving and where I can get to instead of just enjoying what I have.  Part of me realizes that I have something like 120 days off per year, and that if I spent even half of them playing poker I could log 300-400 hours a year and that would make a non-trivial difference in my income.  But at what cost?  Who knows.  Last week I spent 15 hours on the beach with close to a dozen different friends and you know what?  It was fucking great.  Do I really want to show up at Commerce (or Hustler or GASP the bike) tomorrow at 8am and play poker all day?  I mean....not really.  But could I do it 3 times a month and enjoy it?  Probably.  The enjoy it part is key.  That and being sharp enough to not kid myself about my win rate, which probably means just playing 20/40 or 25/50 or whatever where it almost doesn't matter.

So yeah, that's where I'm at.  I bought a wet suit and a boogie board and a surf board and three beach umbrellas and a TV and a coffee table and a tv stand and some box fans and a swiffer and well I'm just kind of muddying along.  I was doing the online dating thing for a bit, but that's pretty much on hold because it's fucking exhausting and discouraging.  I've watched almost all of Deadwood and it's amazing.  I'm working out almost daily and that's great.  I'm down to 162 pounds, on my way from 167 on April 15th or so to 155 on July 15th or so.  It's not clear that I'm going to make it, but I'll at least get close.  I drink too much coffee but it's fucking amazing and as LeoDoc said "coffee is worth it" even though it raises my blood pressure and sometimes gets me anxious and jittery.  I suppose I never really detailed my full foray into sports betting on here, but that's still kicking around although I've figured out how to make it be a very small amount of effort.  Babar moved to LA which I thought was gonna mean I'd see him all the time but actually means he's traveling a bunch and realistically LA is like two days travel from here;  it's super hard to keep up relationships with anybody in life, let alone someone like him or other poker players who live 50 miles away and don't have schedules.  Johnny Baseball is trying to get me to pick up golf again;  so far we hit a bucket and it was glorious, then my wrist started to hurt which is bad, but we'll play again.

I'm just fucking rambling, I can't imagine anybody cares.  My life is completely different than it was 1 year ago, and that life was very different than it was one year before that.  Things are changing, and I can't really see where I'm going, but most of the time that's just fine.  I have a great job working with great people where I'm challenged and learning on a daily basis, I have good friends, and I live at the fucking beach.  Sure I feel like I miss her, but really what I miss is the comfort and familiarity she provided and the abstract idea of her.  We stayed together on potential for years;  it makes sense that now 2 months removed I mostly think of her in terms of that very same potential (for change and happiness) that drove me forward all that time.  I do miss our pets truly and deeply, and if I break the no-contact rule we have in place it will be to ask to take charge of Tyson for a week or two.  That's all I've got, it's time to go learn about buying property.