Monday, March 8, 2010

Big Ass Update

A ton of stuff has happened since last Friday, so I'll try to recount the important parts as quickly and humorously as possible. First of all, I reached out to a bunch of people asking for advice (some directly, and some through a combination of this blog and a post on 2p2 asking about standard deviation which people added up to realize I was trying to figure out if I was rolled for 40/80) and was unilaterally told I was insane to continue trying to prop that game with $14K. According to everyone who knew anything I was nuts to even consider it. That coupled with what I'd written about not being comfortable in the game (thanks again to mike for taking my soft criticism so...softly) led basically everyone (and I mean everyone....Pete, Calli, Doug, Wacky, HowMany, Hank, Babar, probably a few more that got lost in the deluge of advice) to advice me to get the fuck out of dodge. My simulations basically said the same thing, that attempting to prop that game with that amount of money was basically asking for busto. So what did I do? You're gonna love this shit....

I have an old friend who has discussed staking me in the past. He was interested in my life as professional poker player and perhaps funding me to take a shot at bigger games. It had crossed my mind to take a stake, but not seriously though until this friend suggested it again over G-chat. I ran the numbers again and found that if I were to take a stake keeping the prop job became simply "risky" and not borderline psycho. So my staker and I worked out a deal based on what limited information we had. The main property we were missing was my WR in the 40/80 game. So long as it was non-negative things were kosher, but honestly there's no evidence that that's even the case. I brashly headed to my shift Saturday and promptly lost $4000. The parade of beats was ceaseless and without mercy. I actually started the session off well, breaking even in the 20 and at one point being up nearly a rack in the 40. But it was not to be. I lost every pot in every imaginable way. I iso-raised a guy with K7 suited. He had K2 suited and made a flush on the turn. I lost to the wheel in a 3-bet pot on a flop of AKT. I flopped an over-pair of 8s in the big blind and could not make it hold up, even after bet/3-betting the flop. I raised with A4 of diamonds in the cutoff, saw the 432 flop four ways (that's right....everyone left called) and was happy until the BB put in the cap. I turned a 4th diamond (a jack) and, against his mighty 32 suited held a mind-boggling 20 outs on the turn (9 diamonds, 3 more 5s, 2 4s, 3 aces, and 3 more jacks) in what was now an $800 pot. I raised with red jacks and saw a flop of AK5 all clubs. I raised with black queens and saw a flop of AK9 all hearts. A man posted under the gun and got to showdown; he did not win. The next hand I raised with QQ, he defended his big blind, and flopped fours up. After I raised the T42-7 turn, then bet the river and got slow-rolled by the mighty four deuey, my fellow prop could only muster the word "wow".

And so I drove home, past numb, wondering what exactly I was going to do. My backer and I had built in a contingency that I could quit at any time. This was born of necessity more than anything else. Him forcing me to play in a game I decided I wanted to quit was clearly a terrible idea. But could I quit now? If I did quit all those p(busto) calculations were just stupid, since I wasn't going to follow them out to their logical conclusion. I would have needed to do some weird sort of like integral thing where I summed all the possible outcomes and then decided what course of action I'd take from there and so forth. I shot him and email and we talked in the morning, quickly agreeing that me continuing to play in that game was suicide. The last time I dropped 4 racks I took 3.5 days off to refresh my head (admittedly going to Commerce and lighting 3 racks on fire in the 20), and it was barely enough. Returning to the scene of the crime 16 hours after this loss seemed a horrendous idea. So I quit. My backer assured me that he wanted me to do the best thing for me and that that was most important. If I wanted to continue the stake to give him a chance to get back to even he'd appreciate it, but I wasn't required to and our friendship wasn't on the line. Neither of us had appropriately weighed the possibility of me quitting so soon. In theory a 4 rack loss is a rare event, particularly in a 4 or 5 hour session. Even generous standard deviation numbers put the hourly value at around a single rack. To lose more than a standard deviation more than one should for 4 hours in a row....well, you get the idea. I propped at Garden City for 2 months and never had a 4 rack loss. My backer and I have entered a secondary agreement, aimed at me giving him a chance to get his money back while taking a little bit of the edge off my variance. Briefly speaking, while I was propping I basically was buying insurance form him. Now that I'm going to play on my own he's paying me for a percentage of my action.

The next day I drove to Hawaiian Gardens and gave Bob the news. He was not surprised, and tried to be kind, but it was impossible for him to mask his belief that I simply wasn't good enough to prop his 40/80 game. While this fact might be true, he seemed sure of it, and the sureness left a bad taste in my mouth. It was hard to believe that a man who's been playing poker since the mid 60s (IMR....40 some odd years) was seeing something novel, but I got the sense that he was. He half-heartedly offered me a 20/40 prop position, first saying he'd love to keep me on but didn't have any spots, then later saying he had a prop quitting next week. I stopped him before he could even offer the position fully, saying that I wasn't even sure I wanted it and that surely Bob had better people to fill it.

So what now? Well in a sick and silly sort of way, I'm back exactly where I started. I'm grossly underfunded, with the change that this time I'm smart enough to know it. Seriously, had I blown through $10K right out of the shoot last August I'd have been back behind a desk by Thanksgiving. I don't really know anybody personally in the poker community, at least not well. I have a few acquaintances, but am looking forward to rebuilding a group of real friends. I'm way too freaking far from the casino. And I'm excited to try something "new", to go back to playing poker in a way that's fun instead of showing up and playing in crappy games as a prop. So to quote Babar, here we go:

shot # 2: jesse's angry now.

For the next 8 weeks I'll be showing up at Commerce in the early afternoon 5-6 days a week to play 5-6 hour 20/40 sessions. I won't play anything above 20/40, and I'll only bring $2K with me to the casino. If I lose it, I'll be sad and go home. I'll eat the free food and try to meet some people and try to have fun playing poker again. In the mornings I'll work out, post on two plus two, watch Deuces Cracked videos, and play several hundred hands of 6-max online. And hopefully I'll start winning and having fun again. In closing, I leave you with this, which is just a post I made in the 2p2 MSLHE low content thread, that I'll past here in case you don't want to follow the link or 2p2 is banned at your place of employment.


Commerce 20-40 tightest nit at the table opens lowjack. CO and button call obviously. I call with QJdd in BB. CO is one of those 35 yo balding white guys with sunglasses who clearly thinks he is the best player at the table. He is vaptaining and capable of el bluffo and has FPS out the wazoo. He is a lag by table standards.


I check and LJ checks disgustedly. It checks through.


I check and LJ still checks his pair. He has one with p=1. CO bets and button folds. CO declares "one down". I pause and confirm that LJ is mucking the nuts. He is. I call.

River baby spade which is awesome cause CO can't have THAT flush. I check he bets I say "I'm either gonna look real dumb or real smart here" and call. He turbo mucks and I declare "smart one time". I slide my cards to the dealer with a $1 tip on them which he grabs before weakly mucking the hand. As this happens co says "what, pocket 7s or something".

9 months of pain and hate and tilt and rage bubble over. I cannot stop myself.

"no, queen high"
laughs "haha queen high I don't think so"

like a ninja my hand shoots to the muck and grabs the two cards that only I know are mine. I flip them over and declare:

"really. Queen high"

CO and LJ proceed directly to tilt. They do not pass go, nor do they collect $200. I feel a tangible weight lift off my shoulders.


timilon said...

2k for 20-40 session seems like recipe for playing scared... BUT that might be good if it tightens you up a bit. If you want to play more hands, see more flops, make more $, move to NL (hate to beat the dead horse). But if you insist on staying w/L, now thinly capitalized, me thinks you'd better start playing tighter (earn some "Sklansky bucks"). Wishing the best! (When you have time, please explain reluctance to try NL.)

jesse8888 said...

My reluctance to try NL is based on perceived opportunity cost and a desire to prove to myself that I can still beat limit games. I'm far from an expert and want to focus on getting closer.

timilon said...

Thanks, Jesse. Someday you may find that NL's even more beatable, and perception of oppty cost was actually reversed. Anyway, extensive L backgroud should serve you well if/when you ever make the transition.