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


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.

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.


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


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


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.


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.


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


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.