Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The Pursuit of Happiness

That's really what it's all about, isn't it?  The pursuit of happiness?  My life has devolved into what one could kindly describe as a train wreck.  You see, it turns out that my lady and I pretty much spent the last 2 years (or 5, or 8 really) just "waiting" for things to get better.  Once she finishes school and gets a job. Once he's not at Oracle anymore.  Once he's playing poker for a living.  Once he moves back in. Once he isn't propping grave.  Once she gets the fancy job.  Once we move to SoCal.  Once he gives up propping altogether.  Once he gets a prop job.  Once she buys the house.  Once the house is "finished".  Once she finishes the garage, or the solar, or buys the fancy car.  Once he stops drinking.  Once this sports thing works out.  Once he quits poker.  Once he gets a job.  Once things are settled.

Well guess wait.  What we were waiting for finally all happened and we broke up within three months.  A big part of it is that we both had this belief that at some point "in the future" we would "find fulfillment".  If you've seen True Detective one of his best monologues is on this subject.  Nothing is ever fulfilled.  Nothing is ever finished.  Not til the very end.  He has another great one where he explains why human beings are a mistake of evolution, how we were not intended to develop these big brains and that we are a dead end waiting for destruction and should all just stop breeding. I used to think that I could look forward to the future and that it was something worth waiting for, worth planning for, worth working towards.  She has often espoused to me the theory of two marshmallows, that you must always trade two marshmallows tomorrow for one today.  That makes sense, in and of itself, but there is a big problem with that.

Two of my friends have got me listening to The Power of Now.  Large chunks of it are super duper cheesy but the core teaching is extremely simple and extremely powerful.  The past and the future simply do not exist, yet we spend 99.9% of our mental time and energy obsessing over them.  Every single event that ever has or ever will happen in your life, my life, and the history of the universe will happen RIGHT FUCKING NOW.  Imagine there were no human beings on Earth except you and you were able to converse with the birds and the trees.  If you asked them "what time is it" they would be extremely confused and simply say "it is now" and continue on their merry ways.  Time is a construct of the human mind.  The human mind needs time in order to survive, and therefore forces us to obsess over it compulsively.  Think about it.  How much of your day do you spend thinking about the past or planning for the future?  The book (audio book in my case) goes on to make some other very grandiose claims (all suffering is rooted in the past or present.  we can dis-identify with our mind and simply "watch it") which I'm still working to digest, but the simple basic claim that you should spend as much of your mental energy as possible focusing on NOW is irrefutably correct.  When have you ever been truly present for a moment, giving it 100% of your attention, and felt stress, anxiety, or regret about anything at all?   It is why people thrill seek.  It is why addicts use.  It is why you can "lose time" when you're working on something you truly enjoy.  It is a big part of why (at least for me) sex is relaxing and comforting.  Anytime you devote 100% of your mind and energy to the present moment it is nearly impossible to feel anything other than a sense of being and aliveness.  Even if you are solving a very difficult problem (for which you are using your mind), such as "jesus christ I drove to the wrong airport" (which I just did) if you concentrate fully on the present moment, the truths of that moment and let your brain work creatively to solve the problems you will find that you do not feel pain, stress, anxiety, anger, or virtually any other negative emotion.  You just...are.

And that's the key point I think.  The world is a pretty fucking awesome place, and if you spend your time and energy just experiencing it instead of worrying about past mistakes or future plans the potential gains to be reaped are simply astronomical.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Just a Story

I haven't told a stream of consciousness rant/story in a while so here we go.  The last time I played at The World Famous I was in a game that was just beautiful.  This guy played 15 hands straight mostly raising and then just snap quit mid-orbit.  That's fine, I had these other beauties to play with.  Here are the hands where I did the exact same crazy thing and felt like a complete champion.

I open the CO with the ace and the queen and the small blind three bets.  He gets me heads up (or should I say I get him headsup?  It's not clear) and we go to the flop.  To be clear he is a bad  NL player trying to adjust and is quite snug here.

AJJ

And he checks.  That's right, AJJ and he checks.  So I bet.  And he calls.  Now wait for it.

4

He checks and I snap check behind him.  That's right.

6

He angrily half-smoke bets and I almost don't even go through with the raise plan because I mean what am I hoping to beat here AceTen but whatever I raise and he hems and haws and eventually calls and...we chop.  Lol.  About 4 hands later.

The small blind, a not super awesome Asian woman, knocks her chicken wings and coors light (that's right) on the floor.  I proceed to open the King and the Jack and it folds to her and she...three bets me.  I say to the dealer "she three bet me with her food on the floor" and he nods sheepishly and I say "OK, I guess there's no stopping now" and call.

KT3cc

And she checks.  That's right, she checks.  So I bet and as she's calling I say to Sam "I'm gonna do the same thing buddy" and he looks at me like "wut" and I just smile.

X

The turn is a small card that doesn't make a flush and she checks and I turbo check back.

J

Aiyah!  She checks again.  I bet, she calls and cannot believe her misfortune with the ace and the king.  This is how these people play;  this is why I don't think I should play 60 or 1/2 anymore.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Rough Stats

I spent some time looking over my stats for the last, well like 15 months.  I don't have that many hours but it's just not pretty.  In 2013 I played 740 hours of LHE and won 232 bets.  That's not bad, I suppose.  I mean it's not great, but it's something that can happen.  The problem is that I broke even.  So far this year it's more of the same.  I've played 43 hours, won 67 bets and am up about 1300.  So over all that's:

783 hours.  +299 bets.  +$1300

Obviously my results in the 1/2 were horrible.  Looking over it the 60 wasn't that great either.  What this has made me think about is the simple fact that I never really got that good at poker.  I mean sure in the GRAND SCHEME of things I am great at the limit hold them, but when you get right down to it I am not as good as the players who are going to be crushing the 1/2 and white chips games for the next few years.  And even those guys I honestly don't know how much they are going to make.  People just don't make huge glaring mistakes over and over and over again in those games.  In order to have a win rate that doesn't demand a 1200 bet bankroll you have to play just so freaking good.  You need to start with solid GTO understanding, an then you have to make substantial exploitative adjustments vs most of the players in the game.  In effect you have to show a profit against people like me.  And I'm not saying that's impossible to do, but it's not exactly easy.  I had the same problem when I stepped up to real games online.  My wr/hand basically was a straight line down from big to slightly negative as the number of players in the game dropped.  Basically I never really learned how to play in aggressive, wide range situations.  This was my own fault, but it was also the poker player's curse.  My goal was always to put myself in the best game possible, to try to win as much money as I could.  And you know what?  That worked super well for most of my career.  But I was usually not challenged at the table, and if I was I spent my of my career just looking for a better spot.  Short term this is obviously the right thing to do.  Long term in today's ecosystem?  If you take that approach you're gonna get stuck around 40/80, or maybe even below.  Those games just aren't as good as they used to be most of the time.

So what am I saying?  I guess I'm saying I didn't work hard enough and the game sort of passed me by.  Do I feel bad about that?  Sure.  But am I happy I'm out?  Definitely.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Only in SoCal

It's been.  Well, it's been the longest time ever.  I haven't been playing much; just a few hours here and there mostly on the weekends.  And it's gone kind of good actually, but I don't know I'm up against the same things I was always up against.  It takes like an hour to get into a game and once I do get into one it's full of jerkelfaces and the money somehow bothers me more now than it used to (even though I'm effectively infinitely rolled now) so I end up playing so small it's maybe not even worth it in fact it can't be to play for 3 hours when you add an hour on each end and 60 miles of driving and well yeah.

But you know what I saw today?  I saw some crazy shit.  First of all on my way to the gym at lunch I saw a Cleveland Browns vanity plate.  Definitely a life time first for me.  But that's not what I want to talk about.  When I got to the gym which is at a mall I saw, and I am not making this up, a woman cleaning the fire hydrant in the middle of the outdoor mall.  She wasn't doing maintenance.  She wasn't testing it or anything like that.  She had a rag and she was wiping it down, making sure it looks nice for all the good little money spenders going out to spend their pay checks.

For some reason it just made me want to cry.  I mean, really....is that where I live?  A place where we need clean fire hydrants?  Someone is paid to dust off the fire hydrant so that when I walk past it on my way to the gym it, what, shines a little brighter?   It just honestly made me feel truly awful.  I don't know what else to say about it.

PS -  I don't know who is out there still clicking on ads, but Google shipped me my third $100 (American) payment.  Not bad for 750 posts that's like....40 cents a post or something!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Anybody out there?

I realize I've probably lost most of the people out there who were even close to dedicated readers, and I deserve that.  What have I been making, 1 or 2 posts a month for the past half year or so?  But if anybody is still reading, here is what's been going on with me.  I actually played poker last weekend with Johhny Baseball, and you know what?  It was kind of fun.  We meant to play together, but I walked into an 8 handed 1/2 game and just couldn't resist.  I sat for a while, realized I probably should resist (I failed to value bet KQ hi unimproved out of position vs simon on the turn in a three way pot) and eventually we ended up playing the world's worst 40/80 game.  He then moved to 20, I moved to 60, blah blah blah...the point is that I actually enjoyed playing because I didn't HAVE to be there.  It's the whole Tom Sawyer thing, honestly.  I don't have to go, so i kind of want to.  I found myself wishing I could go back and put in a few hours this weekend.  Part of it is that I really want to play because poker makes me feel sort of special.  As a poker player I was nothing amazing.  And as a software engineer I'm not really either.  But now that that's what I mean I do kind of need a hobby, and poker seems to be a possible option.  The other thing, and this is weird, is that I still find myself in that constant quest for edge.  I have this job, and that's fine, and it pays me X dollars every two weeks and that's all well and good but how am I going to get AHEAD is what's constantly going through my mind.  That's not very healthy;  the whole point of having a job and doing index fund investing is that you don't have to worry about that sort of thing, but I find myself wondering how I can make a little more money here, a little more money there, etc.  It's just weird.

A hand of poker.

A super lag opens the HJ and I 3-bet the cutoff with A6cc.  The button was telegraphing a fold but even if he hadn't been this was a slam dunk three bet;  this guy had show K2s and 96s for a open and a three bet from much earlier.  So tall jeff takes three to the dome in the small blind with a preposterous narrow range (or so I assume) and the hand plays out with me just not thinking about things.

A85cc

The all check and I bet.  Jeff raises, the maniac clears out, and I just call.  Mistake 1.  On this board his c/r range is so narrow (I think it's exactly ATs, AJ and AQ and I suppose a few flush draw combos maybe some time) that I can actually be folding a ton of hands on the turn.  So what I think I should probably do is fast play everything big (AK, AQ, AAA, 888, 555....still a crushing value range since he can't have most of it) and ALSO fast play my flush draws for a free card.  OK but I don't do that I just call.  Turn

A85cc-5

He bets and I do the only thing that makes sense at this point, I call.  But here's the catch.

A85cc-5-6

He bets and I raise and he....open folds AJ.  So what does that tell you I'm not doing enough against him?