Sunday, December 30, 2012

And We're Back

The 16 days of Christmas have officially ended, and this morning I found myself sitting down in the Commerce 60 for the first time in weeks. As I was lamenting my decision to play, seeing people fold hands and in general being concerned the game wasn't very good, this happened

I open KQss UTG and the blinds defend.


They check I bet they call.


The SB donks and the BB tanks a bit and calls. I have no reads and consider calling (I almost always have 6 outs) but opt to fold cause IMR....this is actually almost the worst hand I ever have (KJs is) so whatever. I fold.


SB bets, BB tank calls. SB taps out and shows ATdd. BB has 75. Of hearts!!! He flopped a straight flush draw on a 9 high board and decided to just let me turn over ace high if I wanted to. And the SB? money in poker everyone solid.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Fun Hands

Here are some sorta fun hands from the last two days.  They are mostly simply, but I enjoyed them.

Hand 1

MP opens and I 3 bet kings in the small blind.  The big blind folds, head up.


I bet and he snap raises.  I call.  The turn is a card with pips on it and I check/call.  The river is another card with pips on it and I bet to fold if raised.  He gets very agitated, asks if I have the ace, then eventually calls and mucks when he sees my hand.  This is how you beat live players.

Hand 2

A bunch of people are in the pot and there is a raise.  The button calls, and I 3-bet kings from the small blind.  We see the flop about 5 ways or so.  It is


I bet, there is a call or two, and the button calls.  I prepare to hit the jackpot.


I check, it checks to the button, he bets, I call, one other player calls.


We check to the button, he bets, I fold, the other player folds, and the button shows ATo for the two clean shots at one out for me to win $29k.  Merry Christmas indeed that would have been.

Hand 3

There is some action and I raise with AQ and someone calls behind me.  The board runs out A93r-Ar-2 and I bet every street, getting two calls on the flop, one on the turn (whilst other people are declaring "one more ace" and "bring the clipboard"), on the river.  As I'm about to table my hand the most lovable regular of all time declares "I got him with the South African" and looks at the South African man for approval of his play of the 54.   I scan the board quickly and declare "NO!!!! Not the South African!" while showing the triple aces.  He tables the 54 and takes the money.  A good laugh is had by all.

Hand 4

The fish who got me barred from the bike opens, another weak player calls and I call on the button with KJo because they are terrible the blinds are not great and I have the button and perhaps some ego issues.  I mean really, if I can't play this hand profitably from the button against these guys with these ranges, I should look for another line of work.  Maybe.


That's pretty good.  What's better is that all 4 of them check, so I bet, and most of them call.  At this point I start thinking about how swell it would be to bonk a king now that I have the opener reverse dominated.


I cringe because the South African is in the pot and he could be holding the South African but after the three checks I bet again.  He folds (blessedly) and the opener and the most lovable regular of all time both call again.  Time to make gin!


And he donks.  The most lovable regular of all time folds, I raise, and he...three bets!  I remove my headphones and go into the tank.  Deeeeeep, into the tank.  Then I realize that absolutely no hand makes any sense whatsoever, but from that draw the wrong conclusion.  I just got 3-bet on the river and hold only the 7th nuts.  Raising again is out of the question.  But that's exactly what I do.  He just calls and shows me the triple 6s for the extreme expert slow play.

Monday, December 17, 2012

These Things Are Actually Happening

Danielle is downstairs right now cheering her head off for the Niners to keep pummeling the Patriots.  The score on her TV is 31-3.  I don't know how on Earth she managed not to find out what happened in the game (it went final about 26 hours ago), or why she would ever root for the team that stands between her Packers and a first round bye.  I simply don't have answers to these questions, but I'm about to go watch the score tie up at 31 all.

I received a check today for two cents from my health care provider.  That's right, due to the affordable health care act they have to refund any money they don't spend out of a certain percentage of all the premiums they take in.  So the federal government passed a law to make my health insurance cheaper, and because of that 4 sheets of paper and a stamp were used to send me a check for two cents. Seriously.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Bad Week

Really nothing good has happened to me in the last week or so.  The culmination was a 15 minute stretch this afternoon where I got a bad news phone call, bad news email, and cursed at and poked in the face by the very same fish who got me barred from the bike several months ago.  I started this post thinking I was going to write this big long thing about all the crap that's been going on that has been bothering me, but honestly I just don't feel like it.  I haven't looked at two plus two in three days, though, and I figured if I didn't put something up here people might actually start to get a little worried (that's so arrogant, isn't it?  like you guys don't have better things to worry about than whether or not I generate content on the internet).  Anyway, I'm alive but bad things keep happening and I'm starting to think it's not all an accident.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

You Know What?

As a society we are losing some cool shit. Technology is great don't get me wrong, but sometimes it washes away something that really shouldn't have died, that didn't have to go away but simply faded into Bolivian (God bless you Iron Mike). Lots of (mostly crazy) old men will swear to you that there was nothing better than listening to baseball on the radio. AC has moves us off our porches in the summertime. Nobody has a pen pal in the 4th grade anymore (I wonder what Justin from Toronto is up to these days). And...I miss albums.

That's right, I miss that experience of just listening to an album again and again, in order, so many times that the songs just meld together and you know every word every riff every transition every everything. SMASH by the offspring? Fantastic album, but listening to the songs one at a time at random just doesn't do it justice. You've gotta let it breath, let it build, until by the end it's impossible not to sing (or yell) along. I haven't played August and Everything After start to finish in maybe 15 years but I still know what song "is next" anytime I hear one of the 11 tracks. And let's not start on something like a 7 track DMB live album that you almost can't listen to track by track; it's just not the same.

So you know what I did? I bought the Fun. album and am rockin' it start to finish once or twice a day. And it is awesome. So remember that just because technology has offered you a new way to do something doesn't mean you have to comply. Sometimes things don't change for decades because they are just swell as is.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Random Musings

So like I said that last post didn't really go as far/well as I'd hoped.  The basic idea that I was trying to make is that a lot of times you see these live pros (and I'm one of them) whose play doesn't really seem to be that driven by game theory.  Yet somehow they win, and that sort of offends the super duper math freak guys.  It's like there are tools and methods that we don't use, so therefore we shouldn't be allowed to win.  And that's just not the case.  Of course I think about game theory when I play, but in a lot of spots and against a lot of opponents (the vast majority of both for me lately, with my push top to play against super soft opposition) it simply doesn't apply and all the further I need to go is "will he fold a lot here" and if the answer is no I simply don't need to ever be bluffing.  I'm still not sure if that makes much sense, but it's close to what I meant to say in the last post.

So now for some random musings.

For the first time in a while I actually read (most of) Peter King's Monday Morning Quarterback.  Good lord that guy pecks out a lot of words, but he used some of them to talk about Charlie Batch, and to be honest I just simply cannot get enough of that guy.  Maybe it's because all I have to compare him to is a rapist and a guy who looks like a chipmunk and broke his ribs when he tripped, but I find it impossible not to love Charlie Batch with ever fiber of my being.  He has been a backup QB in Pittsburgh for A DECADE!  That is nearly unheard of in the NFL, and to boot all he does is show up and play one or two games every one or two years and rattle off simply impossible wins.  They beat Baltimore this week, in what had to be one of the biggest regular season wins in Steeler's history.  The Ravens had won 137 straight (ok, ok...15) games at home, and hadn't lost a division game since sometime in 2010.  Sure sure, they were missing Ray Ray and were a little banged up, but not like the Steelers.  That game should have been over midway through the second quarter, but you just can never count Charlie Batch out of anything.  When he was crying on the sidelines after the game, hugging Ben, I actually teared up myself.  That man is a god damned American hero, and he is unequivocally the best 3rd string quarterback in the history of the NFL.  I will hear no argument.

Next musing...have you ever had a terrible realization about yourself when driving in the car spawned by a death match between two competing songs on the radio?  You're flipping through the dial and a song you kind of like, even thought maybe you really liked, is on one station, and some new catchy song that you shouldn't really like that much at all because doing so brings into question your very manhood is on another and well...bam....the wrong song wins?  That's been happening to me a lot lately.  I'm not going to tell you which songs were involved because as I said my manhood would be brought into question, but it's been bad.  Very bad.

Danielle and I played some open faced chinese poker last night, and it was a lot of fun.  And yes, we took the rules straight out of that article.  If you're looking for a fun two player card game for your and your spouse, honestly give it a shot.  It's super hard, you'll both be awful at it, and there's enough luck that she'll probably beat you.

I guess that's about it.  I continued to light the felt of the tables I sat at actually on fire from the friction of all the chips being pushed in my direction today, so that was nice, and my fantasy football team has pulled to 7-6 and has an outside shot of making the playoffs, even though Antonio Gates is a worthless piece of crap.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

A Reconciliation of Sorts

I had a sort of epiphany, or at least an "aha! moment", in the shower recently after reading this thread on 2p2.  For those of you who can't go to gambling sites, here's the original post:

60-120 at Commerce, 5 handed late night game. Villain (UTG) is a good Asian TAG, I think he is a pro, might be a poster here, but I don't know who. We don't have a lot of history except a few 40 sessions we played before. I never saw him capping HU OOP before and don't know what his range looks like in this spot. Also, FWIW, I think he hates me. 

He opens, I 3! red sevens next in, blinds fold, he 4 bets and I call
Flop 8J3hhs and I call his c-bet
Turn is another low heart (below 7) he bets quickly and I call quickly, as well
River is the fourth heart, low card again (no straights possible), he now checks.

As an aside the author of the post only played in the game because I told him it was awesome on my way out, and he promptly won a used Toyota Camry, but that's neither here nor their.  The point is that this spot is a super simple one for thinking about the difference between a strategy based on game theory vs one based solely on exploitation, and how you can endeavor to reconcile the differences between them.  Whole books have been written on this subject, but here is my rough take on it, using the river decision on this hand as an example.

I'll probably botch this up pretty badly, but I'll try to wave my hands (vigorously, as my old professor used to's important when hand waving at details to do so with great vigor) enough that it sort of is at least factually accurate.  Suppose we arrive at this river decision, with our opponent finally releasing the initiative on a 4 flush board, and suppose we are endeavoring to use a strategy based entirely on game theory.  What should we do?  Well first we need to know what our range is, then we need to know what his range is, then we need an idea of how he will respond with the various holdings of his range, then we need to take into account the size of the pot and make sure we fire off the right number of value bets (that are still profitable) and bluffs (roughly one bluff for every N value bets, where N is the number of bets in the pot), and after that we're still not even close.  We also have to take into account what hands he's screw playing with, and how often it's for value vs a stone cold bluff, and then figure out how we will respond with the various holdings in our betting range, making sure we don't fold too much (lest he have a "bluff 100% profitably" spot), and also that we have some re-bluffs (probably just from hands that were bluffing in the first place) to balance any remaining value combos (at this point probably just the ace of trump) we have left to three bet.  And you know what, I've probably left a bunch of important stuff out, but you get the idea.  This shit is hard.

Now what if we were just going to try to have a simple exploitative strategy?  Basically all we'd have to do in that case is decide what hands he's going to call with and value bet anything that beats more than half of that range.  Obviously there is a little more to it, since you can't ignore the possibility of a check/raise (so you maybe want to value bet a little more tightly), but that's basically it.  Obviously having a good read on your opponent will help you tremendously here.  Does he have a check/raise range at all?  Is the ace of trump or king of trump in it?  Questions like that are super important in determining how wide you can value bet.

Notice I haven't said anything about bluffing at all, right?  Here's why.  In a vacuum (meaning just for this hand against this guy), your decision on weather or not to bluff can simply be based on weather or not you think your opponent will fold more than 1 in N times (where again N is the pot size) after he checks.  You don't really have to worry (too much) here about how many value bets you have and if you're bluffing at the right frequency or not, because you're playing live 60/120 in a casino you frequent maybe once a month or less.  All you really need to do is decide if you're getting a fold more than one in eight times when you fire the river.  If you think you are, the correct exploitative thing to do is just bet 100% of your range.  If you think you aren't, then you shouldn't bluff with ANYTHING, and all your bets should be for value.  And that's really all there is to it.  Now I'm not saying this is the correct way to play, but it's a methodology that will probably take you pretty far in live mid stakes games.

I thought this post was going to end up being better, but I guess I'm tired and hungry and stressed out from watching Charlie Batch (the man is an American Hero) save the Steeler's season from the bonfire.  Hopefully it at least made a little sense.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Achievement Unlocked

Things are getting all slippy and squirrely on me again, since I didn't take my proscribed day off this week.  I figured I took 3 days off over Thanksgiving and that sort of counted, and when I woke up Wednesday I just felt like going into play so I did exactly what I wasn't supposed to do, which was drive in and play for 4.5 hours then come straight home for tacos with Danielle and her Dad.  For the record, they were delicious.  But the upshot is I haven't had a day to myself in the house for over two weeks and that wasn't the way it was supposed to be, Thanksgiving or not.  And the effects have been tangible.  I'm cranky, tired, just generally a bit upset, even though I've done nothing but win all month long, which is sort of the point of the post.

I crossed the 1000 bet line for the year yesterday, and that was a stated goal that I wrote down...somewhere.  It's a pretty arbitrary number, but winning a thousand bets in a year just kind of feels, I dunno, cool, you know?  So I did that, and although I'm nowhere close to a high water mark dollar wise, I'm pleased with the way things are going.  I've settled into a little bit of a routine, and I'm going to make sure I take a day off this week (which sadly won't be a very relaxing day, but probably spent dealing with the 800 pound gorilla in the room most of you call "Christmas"), and going to try the overnight plan again to see if I can make it work a little better (last time I just couldn't sleep and it was basically a disaster).  I've played over 1880 hours, despite my substantially slowed pace for this month (my lowest total for the year), and should finish up right around 2000.  The bounty is still on for the big games at Commerce, and it comes off January 1st.  In the meantime I'm just kind of cruising.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Well Allow Me to Retort

So I'm just going to go ahead and respond to this comment in a brand new post, since it sort of seems like I have enough to say.  Here's the comment:

1)Are you sure you aren't playing at a 3-6 game?
2)So you are playing against the LA's tightest 3-bettor. So how do you barrel the 2nd time on the turn, given your behind her range? [you are ahead AQx, AJs (18 hands)],[you are chopping with AKx (12 hands)], and behind [JJ, QQ, KK AA? (24 hands)]

First of all no, I'm not playing in a 3-6 game but sometimes it definitely feels like it.  The CO in the hand is definitely a special player even in a special game.  Second of all there are a few good reasons to bet the turn.  First of all I assume you're suggesting that I check and call instead, but there really isn't a good reason to do that.  If I get raised here (which is almost never going to happen) I can just ship my hand to muck immediately, as I'll be drawing dead or very close to it, so it costs me the same bet and I forfeit very little (if any) river equity.  Also in a spot like this I don't have a screw play range (and my bad opponents probably assume that), so checking turns my hand almost face up.  Another reason is that all kinds of good things still happen if I bet.  AQ and AJ have 3 outs to win and 4 more to chop;  folding them out is just nice.  I could have a mis-read on a preflop range.  Someone could fold a small pair (it happens).  The button could have the full 6 outs quite easily (with the JTs) and I definitely want that hand to fold.  And even I didn't know that the CO wouldn't raise a hand as strong as the wired pair of jacks here even once post flop.

Also your combo counting is wrong.  I have an ace and a king, which drops the AA and KK combos from 6 to 3.  Obviously it also reduces the AQ combos from 16 to 12, but you get the idea.  She never has AA or KK here once she doesn't raise the flop, and I assumed she couldn't have the QQ either and would have discounted JJ substantially and TT a little.  So all of a sudden it feels like I have them obliterated.

How It's Done

This old school white pro sits in my game and immediately posts UTG + 1 eight handed. In fairness the out button is to his right but still it's amazingly rare to see something like that these days. Anyway he folds some hands, then on his button I open the HJ and the CO 3-bets. She's perhaps the tightest 3-bettor in Southern California, and literally is holding AJs, 99+ here at the widest. He instantly calls 3 cold (not even a smidgeon of hesitation) the blinds fold I cap (I have the AK here and cap because it'll be so so easy to play now) and they call.


They call


They both call again. This is the point where I'm boned, as the CO now has me beat or tied 100% of the time. So I prepare to c/f the river.


I check CO checks and he now bets! I fold and the CO calls. He shows the 98hh for the title belt, and the CO shows her JJ for sympathy. He is champion.

This hand is a perfect example of why LHE is basically a joke. He calls 3 cold vs a winning pro and a range that has him boned to like literally 15% equity or so, flops a stone cold two outter (a decent flop honestly), peels off $120 drawing all but dead (and only has that privilege because the CO is so so awful) then gets to value bet the river with the nuts. Seems reasonable.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

I'm Actually Enjoying This

I've sort of taken my own advice on ego management the last week or so (combined with my self imposed bounty on big games at commerce) and the results have been swell.  Basically I'm playing a little smaller, but focusing on making sure I'm in very good games as much as possible.  The combined effect has been that I tend to make fewer mistakes (since my opponents are putting me to fewer difficult decisions), I'm harder to tilt/frustrate (since going off for a large number of bets barely registers financially), and I've therefore been able to just sort of relax and enjoy the view for a little while.  And you know what, I really like playing in good games.  Some players get bored so quickly and really want to be testing their wits and playing in tough spots all the time.  And I'm OK with that, too, but what it really comes down to is that I liked playing in the bingo style Garden City 20/40 game from 2008.  Now that game (and casino) no longer exists, and perhaps won't ever again, but I can do my best to find the closest approximation down here, even if it does mean stepping down to yellow chips from time to time.

Tomorrow I'll crack the 1800 hours of limit hold 'em for the year line, and despite the added days off and everything I'm still going to get pretty close to 2000 by January 1st.  And that's sort of OK, I think.  This focus on lower stress hours really is helping, at least so far as I can tell.  I've never really thought about it from that perspective before, but it makes sense.  Just like pitchers being faced with high stress and low stress innings, it doesn't really make sense for me to ignore the fact that playing 6 hours of the bike 40/80 is simply easier than playing 4 hours of commerce 1/2.  That sentence was poorly (maybe even illegally) constructed, but you get the idea.  I'm at least not super stressed out, which is a good thing to be with the holidays rolling around.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

An Interesting Stat

I suppose I brought this on myself, what with my talk of the "run good ratio" or whatever I did after I crushed that 2/4 game, but here it is:  Since about July 28th or so of this year, I have broken even bets wise but am stuck something like $16k.  So much for running good.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Gotta Do It

I thought I was past doing something like this but apparently I'm not. Today I sneaked my way into the 1/2 even though my heart just wasn't in it. The game was literally 1 spot and 8 pros, but I played anyway just because I could. I was 13th up and getting in was a miracle. I tried to quit soon after, but the spot went on frenzy and couldn't. So I played less than 2 hours, lost two racks, and was tops the 7th best player in the game. My confidence was at an all time low. I was making silly plays for no good reason. I just needed to quit; I was expecting to lose every pot and that's about what happened.

So I'm posting a bounty; for the rest of 2012 if you see me playing higher than 60 at Commerce you win $100. You can only collect once, but there is no limit on how many people can get paid. It's not that the game is that bad (although it often is), but it's just that bad for me. It's in my head, and when I play it and lose it drives me bonkers. So I'm done with it until least.

Monday, November 12, 2012

So Far...

The new schedule is showing mixed results.  I took Thursday completely off, and that was good.  I got a lot of stuff done, I actually put down some key strokes on the book, and in general had a pretty good relaxing time.  Then Friday night I decided to give the old "stay at Commerce" plan a try, and it was pretty much a complete failure.  Apparently it's super hard to actually sleep upstairs there;  I can think of several reasons why, and a few of my friends confirmed that they've never been able to do it either.  My plan was to just quit the game whenever, go directly to bed, then be playing again 9 hours later.  What a disaster.  I absolutely couldn't sleep, which isn't at all surprising given what I already know about myself.  So instead of getting a quick turn around and a nice relaxing experience, I ended up super stressed out and exhausted the entire next day.  To boot Saturday was a train wreck of a day on the floor, and I just couldn't get myself into a good game to save my life.  I ended up quitting at 3:30pm or so and felt like I'd been hit by a bus.  Then Danielle and I went out for Indian food and I promptly came down with either food poisoning for a very timely case of the "about 36 hour" stomach flu, because from 9pm Saturday night until this morning I was just a mess.  But I woke up today and felt pretty much fine, and the Steelers are on in 15 minutes so I let myself work one of the half days I just swore I was going to try to avoid.  So yeah, like I said, mixed results so far to say the least, but getting sick and having once or twice a year MNF game I have to watch can be blamed for at least some of the badness.

I also still can't win a pot at Commerce to save my life.  The total depth of the downswing is something like $30k, which I guess isn't all that bad, but the length of the break even stretch is now past 800 hours.  Basically I haven't won a dollar since the day I played the 200/400 game and won all the money.  Obviously this is pretty miserable, and it's part of the reason I'm trying to change the way I do business.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

And...We're Back

In case you missed the memo (and it was intentionally not well distributed for probably nitty security concerns) Danielle and I just spent 9 nights on the Big Island in Hawaii.  It was my first real vacation since our American Southwest Trip, which stunningly ended nearly 3.5 years ago.  Looking back on that trip, and comparing it to this one, it's kind of amazing to see how much I have changed.  At that time I was not even a year into my professional poker career, and was just brimming with confidence, energy, and a positive outlook that bordered on madness.  I had basically never lost (that trip almost exactly marked the beginning of my "18 months of despair" or whatever you'd call that year and a half where I basically didn't win any money) and things just couldn't be rosier.  Fast forward to today and my attitude has changed dramatically.  I guess I could say more about that, but it'd be really hard and I'm planning to write a lot of words today so I think I'll save the effort.  Suffice it to say that how you're going to feel on a vacation of this magnitude has a lot to do with who you are as a person and how your outlook on life currently tilts.  I'll write more about the trip later, although I'm not sure if I have a 10  part trip report complete with pictures in me this time.  Danielle will really want me to do that....but man it's a lot of work.  The cliffs are "snorkeled with manta rays and dolphins, hiked a lot including 3 miles to see actively flowing lava, took a bus to 14k feet to look at the stars, and ate and drank a lot of good food and coffee"

I always feel like I'm "way behind" on the blog but when I sit down to write one of these "lots of little updates" posts it ends up passionless and feels like I'm just putting a checklist up on the internet.  It still makes me feel good though, so here we go.

The recent initiative of trying a new schedule failed miserably.  I wasn't able to get enough sleep, and the games were frequently not good enough to justify it.  I also had a very difficult time getting out of the casino before traffic, and when I did I arrived home too tired to much of anything.  I've thought long and hard on the matter, and there are only two more things I can really try.  First, I could switch to a grave (or bordering on grave) schedule.  But that'd just be fucking awful, and I don't see any way I'll be able to coerce my body into following that plan without a clock to punch (as I had at Garden City, may she rest in piece, long live Casino Matrix).  The only reason I even considered it, and this is just so sick I'm hesitant to even say it but whatever, is to prove to Danielle that I could.  You see, upon this last initiative failing she basically told me she was sure I'd never be able to do it and wasn't surprised in the slightest when I failed.  That cut me like a knife, to be honest.  I mean, she's entitled to her opinion, and she happened to be right on this one, but that's just not something I really needed to hear, you know?  I probably shouldn't have let it bother me as much as I did, but that's something we all probably wish we could do at least a couple of times per week.  So yeah, part of me wants to go on the grave schedule just for the sake of "doing hard things" and to prove that I am in charge of me and I will do whatever I need to do to make this work.  But that's ridiculous, and would amount to little more than cutting off my nose to spite my own face, so I'm not going to try it.  At least not yet.  Instead....

I'm going to give up on the "day in day out" pattern I've been following for quite some time now.  I've actually gone out of my way to treat poker "just like a job," in order to make sure I was taking it seriously and such.  But you know what?  I'm past that.  I've been at this for over four years and as was pointed out on 2p2 I'm not "dead, broke, or insane so that probably puts me in the top few percent of all live pros."  I can do this on my own terms.  Death Donkey gave me some advice a while back saying that the whole reason he got into poker was exactly because it WASN'T just like a job, or at least didn't have to be.  And that advice has been echoed back to me again and again from lots and lots of people through lots and lots of forums, and you know what, I'm going to give it a try.  Today was my second day using the new plan, and boy oh boy was it tough not to just drive into the casino and start playing.  In fact, I'm not even in the clear yet, but think I have enough stuff to keep myself busy long enough that I'll be able to not go in.  This realization in and of itself is both extremely promising (I really want to go play...I want to go do my job) and very scary (in that as I've seen poker just eats away at you if you let it).  The new stated plan that I'm going to try out for the rest of the year goes roughly as follows.  I'm going to play far fewer days, and occasionally (once every week or two) spend a night at commerce.  On those overnight trips I'm going to grind my balls off, playing something like 24 out of 34 hours, and on the days I do play I'm going to shoot for at least eight hours of playing time, and attempt to play more like nine or even ten plus.  These changes in aggregate will result in me logging fewer total hours, but not dramatically so.  I'll probably drop from the grueling 2000+/year pace I'm on now down to something more manageable in the 1600 range.  And what's important is that I'll generate lots and lots of these entire days off (like the one I'm taking now) which (and the actually important part) I can use to pursue and develop some other talents/hobbies/interests.  What are those other interests going to be?  I'm not sure yet, but they'll be focused on developing friendships, staying fit and active, and advancing some intellectual pursuits that could add fulfillment to my life.  We're talking about softball, surfing, bowling, the gym, basketball, who knows maybe coaching/teaching, and (and this is pretty scary to put down on paper here) starting to collect all my stories and experiences quote my 8th grade wood shop teacher "something back there that possibly could resemble the very beginnings of" a book.  Yeah, that's right, a freaking book.  People starting telling me I should try to write one a year into my poker career, and you know what I'm going to give it a shot and see where it goes.  Will it ever get published and incarnated in actual honest to goodness holdable book form?  Probably not, but that's not really important.  Could it maybe be an e-book that people would buy for their kindles?  Maybe.  It is almost 2013 after all.  Who buys real books?  Anyway, that's the plan.  Haters gonna hate, but that's what I've got.

I suppose that's about it for now.  The old diet plan 2.0 obviously didn't pan out exactly as I'd hoped.  I started the thing at 172 pounds and got down to 164, so it wasn't a complete disaster or anything (I didn't actually gain weight at any point) but it also wasn't a blazing success.  Somehow someway I didn't gain weight in Hawaii (I feel like I gained 10 pounds), and I suppose that was because of all the hiking we did (in the entire trip I laid down on the beach exactly twice).  The new policies above should allow me to maintain a good level of fitness, and for now I'm just going to be content not to gain any weight (remember at the beginning of the first weight loss bet I was 180 pounds!).  And I played 9 hours yesterday and torched off another $3000, which went nicely with the $22k I lost last month at the tables (I'm pretty sure that was my worst month ever).  It was absurd, really, just hand after hand of unbelievable beats.  5 way capped pot flop an open ender can't get there.  AdQc vs 65dd the board is I swear to you Q83ddd-Ar.  Seriously, that happened and no I did not bink the river.  A9 loses to K7 on AK9-7-K (I get 3 bets in on the turn and ZERO go in on the river lol you fucking fish how are you not broke).  AJ can't beat KJ on an ace high flop.  Blah blah blah.  I guess that's part of the reason I wanted to go back today to play, and that's the real rub of the poker lifestyle.  If you win, you enjoyed it and you want to go back and get some more.  If you lost, you're a bit upset and want to back and win it back.  Maybe this is the beginnings of how a gambling problem starts?  Maybe?  I dunno.  Anyway, I'm not playing today, and life is going to be a little different going forward.

Oh and in closing....Google just issued me my second check for earnings on the blog.  In the four years or whatever this thing has been live I have earned $234.  That's like 30 cents per post!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Gratuitous Bad Beat

I open KK, lady 3-bets, the table lag fish calls the BB I cap 3 ways. This exact thing happened 2 laps ago and I got to demolish the lady's KK with my AA.


I bet they call


I bet she raises he tank calls I 3-bet she calls he now wakes up and 4-bets I can only call she folds lol


Now remember, he call/back capped the turn and called 2 cold preflop. He can't just have a naked 6. A turn line that absurd is almost certainly a full house, hopefully 99. So I raise him anyway, he 3-bets and I fail to fold. He shows me 96o for the stone cold one outter in a 22 bet pot.

And I wonder how I lost $12k playing 60 the last two days.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Bert and Ernie

There is this adorable Asian server at the Bike named "Sumporn." She is probably 50 something but obviously you can never be sure. She also happens to be the best the Bike has....anyway, back in the day she nick named Dos and Sailboats Bert and Ernie, and then there was discussion about who else was which sesame street character. Was MikeL the cookie monster or snufalupagus? Was I Oscar the Grouch? Somehow she decided I was in fact Big Bird and calls me that to this day. Just now we had this conversation

SP: how are you, big bird?

Me: oh, I'm ok I guess. How are you?

SP: that's good. They can't kill big bird...he always comes back, he's always OK.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Post on 2p2

I just posted this on 2p2 and figured I'd share it here as well

1. LOL Jets 

2. The steelers did everything they could to let that game get completely out of hand and eventually lose, but the bungles simply would not allow it.

3. The following story is not for the weak of stomach

Commerce 40 game is just amazing like it always is and I am buried as usual. A decent player raises up front, three players call, and I make smoov on the button with the King and the jack double soooted. The books, they say you should not play this hand for two bets, but I disagreed at the moment because my ego told me I was good enough to play the hand super duper well and beat my opponents for some sklansky bucks since most of them are actually mentally handicapped. Some of the blinds call, I don't know, the flop comes off 6-7 handed. I think one guy was dealt out probably cause that's pretty low.


Great flop for my hand, right? The PFR fires a bet, two players call, and I make the peeling motion. I mean what could possibly go wrong here, right? The PFR just has me dominated drawing at 3 outs (or zero) like half the time, and two commerce 40 players just made SMOOOOV on the 772 flop they could NEVER have the triple sevens here no not a chance. One of the blinds call, I guess the other 1-2 players folded but we are 5 ways to the turn.

772r - KING BALL!

Thank you kindly for the one time dealer the blind checks the PFR checks and now spewmaster number 704 bets more than in rhythm. I'm not sure exactly what I mean by that, but he wasn't just in rhythm, he was more than in rhythm. He was....extremely in rhythm. Spewmaster 705 folds, but then spewmaster 706 (that's me) decides he needs to RAIZEITUPBABY OH YEAH TOP PEAR! thinking "hey there are two players behind me big pot gotta protect the merchandise" which of course is completely idiotic they are both drawing stone dead or at two outs about 94.3% of the time. Oh yes I remember now, the small blind went all in like two streets ago, probably on the preflop, that's why I wasn't sure how many people were in this abortion. Anyway, the big blind and the pfr fold and obviously number 704 fires in the three bet just as fast as humanly possible. I mean we're talking greasy fast catch the chicken and scream YO ADRIANNE fast here. Suddenly the last two brain cells in my head actually begin to fire and I realize that I have seen this movie before, and even though the guy appears to be on a kamikaze mission (he has only 7 chips or so left) I make the EXPERT lay down. I mean really, how could he ever not have the triple sevens here, right? Right. So he turns over his hand and it is in fact the triple sevens and the all in player waits patiently for the river which is


before mucking his hand and that's pretty much how I roll.

Ask a Silly Question

Actually it's not a silly question at all.  I just kind of liked that title.  Here is a (series of) question(s) I received (first on 2p2, and then via email at my request) and my rambling response to it.  I hope it makes for good reading.

Hi Jesse,

Thanks for the responses on my forum thread.  Just curious, did you ask me to email you because my thread topic isn't fit for discussion on the forum?  Or just that you would like to keep your thoughts on this matter private?

I found your blog a few weeks ago.  Your posts are fascinating, thanks for sharing your experiences with the poker community.  In particular, I was surprised by how candid you were with your actual poker results, that's definitely something I wasn't expecting from poker players.  Whenever I talk to one of the regulars while playing at Commerce, I would never ask them outright what their hourly win rate is, I just ask them what they think is a good win rate, and usually I would just get some vague response.

Have you ever done day parting for your live results?  Parse your results by each day of the week and see which days are more profitable than others?  Weekends are definitely better than weekdays, but I am interested to find out which weekdays are better and which we should avoid.  I have done that for my own results but I have no where near enough hours for that result to be meaningful.

I just didn't really feel like typing up what I think for all to hear, I guess.  Also I don't really read 2p2 anywhere but my phone, so typing a long response is...tough.  (Edit:  turns out this wasn't true as I'm putting the entire thing up on the old blog)

I used to be a lot more candid that I am now.  I'm not sure why I did that, but it was probably ego.  If you'll notice I haven't really been giving any sort of aggregate results for over a year now, and it'd be difficult to parse together exactly how I've been doing.  Like, there is a massive range of results I could have for the year given the info on my blog.  At least I think.

If I were you (or I guess if I were everybody) there would never be any discussion whatsoever at the poker table suggesting that ANYBODY ever won in the games I play.  You really don't ever want the fish realizing there are winners and losers and which they are and all that.  You really want them to think everyone is there just to gamble.  It's just not in the best interest of the game for them to be thinking about anything other than the fact that last time they were stuck this much they managed to win it all back.

I have never made any attempt to separate out my results by day of the week, and I don't think doing so would/could ever be productive.  You'd need literally tens of thousands of hours in the game you were trying to sort out, and you'd need them to be in the same "conditions" or whatever.  that's the dirty little secret about live results...the conditions of the games change so quickly that your results are ALWAYS meaningless.  No matter what.  My results are meaningless.  The fact that I beat up the Bay 101 and Garden City games 4 years ago doesn't matter at all, in the slightest.  The 20 game at commerce is always changing.  New pros come in, new pros go bust.  They work different schedules, they go on vacation.  Whales arrive, they drop to 8/16 (a lot of that recently) and in general even a sample of 1000 hours is just laughably small, so it's completely impossible to ever generate anything meaningful.  All we can do is speculate on which days or schedules TEND to be the best.  You simply can't take something that is as inherently noisy as LHE results and then add another degree of randomness (who's in the game) or two (how you're playing) and except to generate an output that is actually a signal of something.

The only thing you could do in this regard that might prove helpful is keep some sort of journal or database of your own rankings of the game conditions you see at various times of the day/week.  Every two hours look around and give a numerical ranking, or even keep a journal.  Even this would be tough in the 40s, as the case at 4pm is often "wow the main games are great" and "wow the must move is horrendous".  But it's...something.

Now that I have rambled almost without end, I'll try to answer the questions from your post on 2p2, inline I suppose

First time poster. Please let me know if there is a more appropriate forum for this thread, thanks. I have been playing a bit in the Commerce 20 and would like to ask the Commerce regulars some questions regarding realistic win rates in the current state of the game.

From what I have read from various corners of the poker world, and gathering from conversations with some long time commerce regulars, it sounds like that as recently as a few years ago, the realistic win rate for a good Commerce 20 player is about 1BB/hr ($40/hr) while the top players can attain roughly 1.4BB/hr ($56/hr). 

I wasn't around for this, mostly, but I have had conversations with several people that indicate more than 1 bet per hour was doable in the 20s as recently as maybe 3 years ago.  I specifically spoke with someone I respect (and you would also) about the LA games, and in 2008 he suggested that the 20 could be beaten for $60/hour, the 40 $90/hour.  I'm sure if I asked him again he'd drop those numbers substantially.

But according to these same players and blogs such as JesseTakesAShot, it sounds like those win rates may no longer be possible in today's games. If that is the case, what should a good player shoot for as a realistic win rate in today's games? 0.6BB/hr for a good player and 1BB/hr for the top players?

This is actually pretty inline with what I think is doable for a "big hours" guy in the commerce 20.  Note that I feel it's a pretty important distinction that you are attempting to be a "big hours" kind of guy.  By playing 1500+ hours/year you inherently put yourself in worse spots.  You have to pass on good quits sometimes.  You have to sit in bad games sometimes because you just got there for the day and I mean really what else are you going to do?  Throughout my career I have seen lots of players report big win rates over seemingly large samples (myself included).  Most of them eventually hit a 300 bet downer, or 500 hour break even stretch (or both) that brings their win rate back down to Earth.  But if you're talented, are willing to put in the hours, and don't go on any serious form of tilt, I do believe that .7 to 1 is still doable.

What about the difference in the win rate for 2 similarly skilled players, but one of them playing mostly during daytime on weekdays while the other player mostly play during weekends and week nights? I would expect the weekends and week nights player to attain a higher win rate than the weekday daytime player, but how big of a difference in win rate should these 2 players expect to get?

I have no idea on this one, and could only speculate based on the experiences I have seen reported from other players.  I do know of specifically two 20/40 grinders who have chose to completely avoid playing before about 2pm (and one before 8pm), and both report that the quality of the games is just unbelievable in the wee hours of the night.  This makes sense, and lines up with what everyone seems to think/report.  I for one have found that the commerce 40s are just amazing on Saturday and sunday afternoons.  Just yesterday, for example, there were FIVE 40 games running at 2pm and they were all fantastic.

What about the modern win rate in the Commerce 40? I have never played in the Commerce 40 before, but I would imagine that a Commerce 20 1BB/hr player should be able to win somewhere between 0.2 to 0.8 BB/hr in the Commerce 40 game. If this Commerce 20 player play in the 40 and ends up winning 0.5BB/hr while experiencing 2x+ variance/swing, there is really no point, other than a desire to play against tougher opponents. A Commerce 20 break even player would probably get destroyed in the 40 game, but what about a Commerce 20 0.5BB/hr player? What win rate should a Commerce 20 player achieve in the 20, and for how long a period of time, before even thinking about taking a shot at the 40?

This is something I have just recently spent a lot of time and energy pondering, and while the establishment will probably pull my card for saying it, I think you could sadly be pretty much spot on.  I just added up my last 4 months of commerce 40 results and roughed it all in, and the results are just the most depressing thing pretty much ever.  I've only got 500 or so hours of commerce 40 lifetime (seriously....most of my readers would have probably booked the over 2000) and I am stuck about 10k (or losing about 5/8ths of a bet per hour).  That's correct...I am a limit hold em professional in the los angeles area and I am a lifetime loser in the commerce 40 game.  That's just...amazing.  Not that I've played 500 hours and lost....that's not that hard to do.  But merely that I have actually dumped money (I've lost way more than the rake) into that game.  So I'm pretty biased obviously when it comes to this specific question, regarding the win rates between the 20 and the 40 games at that casino in particular, but obviously from my extremely small sample size you should just never ever consider playing the 40 and just play the 20 for the rest of time.  Or jump straight to the 60, where my results have been more like 1.5 bets per hour over 350 or so hours.  But I've spoken to several people I respect on the matter, and there is at least some support for the idea that it could be more profitable to beat the snot out of the yellow chips games than to let your pride get in the way and force yourself to play as much 40 or higher as possible.  For example, I am buried $25k in the 1/2 game since June 28th.  That's not...good.  It's also meaningless.  Whatever, it's 125 bets, you can lose that in 500 hands theoretically.  No matter how anyone feels about it, I'm confident that it's at a minimum correct (financially) for most players to CONSIDER playing the 20/40 games, which to be honest I almost never do anymore.


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Worst

I could just be the worst.  I don't know....I mean, I know I'm not actually bad at poker, but lately it feels like I've just been making these awful mistakes hand in and hand out.  My decision making machinery just breaks down and I do something borderline idiotic and then I end up stressing out and berating myself over it for the rest of the session (or day or week) and it's just bad news.  I thought I was going to write a big long post about it but I just don't have the energy right now, mainly because I played 1/2 for 13.5 hours straight yesterday.  It was a grueling session, and honestly the game wasn't even that good until the very end (at which point it had become amazing, but the hour grew late and I swore I wasn't going to over night ever again and I managed to walk out of the casino at midnight).  We lit up the reason for playing like a Christmas tree, which I guess was good, but I just played so bad for so much of the session.  I made bad peels, which often turned into bad call downs.  I made bad folds (on every street).  I attempted silly bluffs.  It's as if I just wasn't thinking, you know?  Anyway, I took half the day off today to catch up on life, and am hoping to be re-energized for the rest of the week.  A single hand to demonstrate why I could be the worst.

A tagfish opens up front and the spot calls the SB.  I just call in the big blind with KQo, mainly because I feel the tagfish's EP range is tight enough that I am not missing much, if any, value by not three betting.  Also my hand should be easier to play without initiative, since my read on her is that she'll bet every single flop vs the two of us.  So we see a board:


And I begin to play horribly.  The SB checks, I check, she bets, the sb calls and I...just call.  This is probably fine, but notice how small I've let the pot get.  I have KQo, one of my opponents has literally an almost random (or perhaps even weaker) hand, and I have flopped a pretty reasonable board.  Yet we are taking a turn 3 ways and there are only 4.5 bets in the pot.


Total brick, changes absolutely nothing.  The  spot checks and I...check.  Don't get me wrong, that's almost certainly correct, except that my read on her range and betting tendencies here is the following....The only hand I beat is KJo, and she will check back QQ or weaker.  Now I don't know if this read was correct, but it's the one I had, and therefore I probably needed to fire the old turn donk at her.  Assuming she is pair heavy preflop (and I think she has everything down to like 55, so that's 42 combos of pocket pairs that I beat, that she'd have fired once, that I think will check back now) letting this turn check through (when I have the sb destroyed) is horrendous.  But donking never even occurred to me.  For some reason I was in "gee how will I lose this hand" mode and when she bet and the spot called I...folded.  I literally folded my hand.  It's preposterous, isn't it?  I mean sure if my read is correct it's somewhat close.  If I only ever beat the KJ AND the spot pretty much always has a naked Q or J (which hurts my equity really badly when she has something like A9s) then the fold is almost defensible.  Almost.  It's still bad, but not crazy bad.  But that's the thing, your read is never perfect in a spot like this.  I don't have tons of hours with her, and she's a high stakes tagfish who does unpredictable things.  What if she does fire the QQ and JJ here?  Or the 44.  What if she has the K9s on the preflop?  What about 87hh?  These are the things I forgot about (or more accurately dismissed as impossible instead of simply discounting) and therefore when the river came the old Jack ball and it checked through and her K9cc dragged the pot I was just sick to my stomach.  I had let the pot get pretty small, and once that happened I started looking for ways OUT of the hand instead of how I could win it.  LHE is all about being optimistic (NLHE is about being pessimistic, I think, at least once the money is in), and I simply failed this hand plain and simply.

There have been others.  I laid down AA on the turn for two bets and was wrong.  I made some horrible peels and call downs when I simply didn't have the equity to continue.  I just haven't, I suppose. 

Saturday, October 13, 2012

A Lesson in Ego Management

It feels like this happened a hundred years ago, but I can clearly remember having a conversation with Pete about the need for a full time pro to balance short term and long term career goals.  In the short term it was always important to make sure you got your hours in, won your dollars, and continued to "make a living" "plying your craft" or whatever.  For the long term, however, it was more important to make sure you were always getting better, because that was the only way to grow your earning power.  As a recreational player it didn't really matter much to Pete if he won or lost.  He didn't worry about seat changing and table changing as much as I did; if he was in a less than ideal spot, he just played it out, made some adjustments, and learned from it.  I, on the other hand, spent a lot of time and effort hopping from seat to seat and game to game always trying to put myself in a spot where I could make the most money.  This was great for the short term, but my long term development was obviously stunted.  I didn't learn how to play in tough games (or seats) as quickly as I otherwise would have.  You see examples of this all the time, players attempting to strike a balance between the short and long term, and what it often comes down to is the simple fact that you're only going to spend so many hours a week on poker.  Sure you can grind out a few more here and there (but doing so risks burnout, which is obviously not a good long term thing), or you can put in a few more by doing the things (be it playing or studying) that you enjoy more and stress you less.  But in general, there are only so many productive hours a player has in a week.  So for example right now should I spend 10 hours (or 20?  30?) learning how to play stud?  Honestly for my long term development that would probably be a great thing to do.  It would re-engage me in poker a bit, and could turn out to be super profitable.  Am I going to do that?  I doubt it.  Anyway....

Today I sort of relearned some of this stuff, but in a different light.  For the first time in probably a year or more I passed on an open 40/80 seat (in a new game) to continue playing 20/40.  Then I passed on a 60/120 seat.  Then I passed on the same 40/80 seat a second time.  And then I started a 4 handed 1/2 games with one of the biggest whales you'll ever find.  It must have looked preposterous to the other players in the room, but I'm pretty sure I did the right thing, balancing short and long term needs as best I could.  The 20/40 game I was in was absolutely amazing, and I was actually enjoying playing it.  The players were terrible, but they were FAST at being terrible, and that was just swell.  And of course I was running extremely well, and it's always fun to sit in a game you're just destroying pretty much regardless of the situation.  So by choosing to stay in the 20 game for an extra hour or so, I was achieving the long term goal of enjoying poker and not pushing the burnout button.  There was also the matter of the game being STUPENDOUS and my honest belief that I stood to win more (or at least about the same) per hour (with far lower variance) in at as in my other options.  As an aside here...holy crap was this game amazing.  I logged a bunch of 20 hours, as you all know, and I rarely ran into a horse of this color.  A friend of mine who usually plays 40 came in while I was doing this, saw how good the 20 games were, and ended up passing on the 40 himself.  He shared his experience in a text, which roughly mirrored my own;  "I think I lost one showdown all day."  And that's really what it comes down to in games like just know what they have, it's like you can see their freaking cards.  Anyway, I was just cruising along playing 20/40 with the entire 40 game and half the players in the 60 wondering what on Earth I was doing.  They kept yelling over to me, asking me why I didn't play, and eventually I told them I was broke and they let it go at that.  The game slowly got worse (a few players went bust, a few went off tilt, blah blah blah) and then...the whale walked in and it was time to go.  Long term mental health and happiness be damned, I had to get my ass up and fire up the 1/2 game 4 handed with two players who are probably "better" than me (you've gotta be careful when you say stuff like that, but at a minimum they were tough opposition and neither they nor I stood to profit much, if any given the time charge, from the other).

And I got  punished.  Severely.  Before the first time pot I was buried almost $5000, which is clearly not a good development for any time frame.  But you see, here it comes again, the balancing act between the short term and the long.  In the immediate present, spraying off that much money feels awful and of course really sucks.  But in the long term, the really long term, it doesn't matter at all.  I'm past the point where that money (the actual dollars) matters.  It doesn't.  The stress of losing, the pain of it all, (and for me more often the pain of making mistakes and realizing it) matters for the long term because the body and mind can only endure and recover from so much stress so many times, but the actual act of dollars leaving my pockets?  Not gonna seem like a very big at all 6 months from now.  Today the story has a reasonably happy ending;  I got to win some pots and got out of there five hours later up a few bets (boy it felt like I should have won $10k, if I just could have dodged a few of the really nasty the same time if I don't make the five in a row in the monster pot I would have remained buried under the Earth all day).  

So what's the moral here?  I'm not exactly sure, but it's something like this.  It's hard enough to balance your short and long term goals in poker (or any other aspect of life, or even life itself) without letting your ego get in the way.  If you're in a situation you enjoy and think is helping you meet some (any) of your goals, don't let what other people think of it, or you, or your choices, affect your decision of how to proceed.  If someone you truly respects who truly understands your situation thinks you're making a mistake, then by all means hear him or her out and consider the counsel you receive.  But in all honesty the list of people who meet those two tough requirements for most of us is extremely short.  I can think of maybe three people that are sort of on it for me, but none of them really quite have the pull that would be required for me to do something drastic.  We all have to make our own decisions, we all have to balance our short and long term goals, and how we do it, how we find that balance (along with lady luck and our own natural abilities) determines the course of our lives.  It applies every where, not just poker.  It's ok to take the (relaxing) path of least resistance some of the time.  But eventually if you want to get someplace better you're going to have to walk uphill.  You just need to make sure that you're willing to spend the effort to do that, and that you do it on your own terms, and you should be just fine.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Generally Discouraged

As could perhaps have been predicted (or at least was accurately predicted by Danielle, which really pissed me off) the morning schedule didn't stick.  The first three days simply did not go well, and to be honest it's not that hard to figure out why.  Firstly (and most importantly) that time of day sometimes just isn't a good one to be trying to play poker.  You can find some of the best games you'll ever see, for sure, but that's the exception, not the rule.  More likely you'll spend hours (literally hours...on day one I was on the 20/40 board for 3.5) on lists, or there won't be games, or there will be games but they'll stink.  And that last part is kind of the kicker....If the game is somehow strong and amazing, nobody quits it and you can't get in.  And if it's kind of not that great, then sure you can have a seat.  On day one I played over four hours of 60/120 that I would have NEVER played under almost any other circumstances.  The game wasn't very good, and on top of that it's texture (this is another problem I ran into frequently) was poor for me.  To this day I am most comfortable in full ring situations with fish making extremely passive mistakes.  The games you find at this time aren't usually like that (although I suppose some of the 20s are) as a rule, and instead tend to be full of people spewing their brains out with reckless aggression.  Now I'm not saying I can't play and win in those games, but they simply aren't my best bet.  And there were other day there were a pair of 40/80 games and I had to deal with ours almost breaking.  And there are still argumentative assholes.  I don't know why I thought there wouldn't be.  And on top of all that stuff it just...sucked.  One day I still ended up sitting in some traffic....5:40am, pitch dark outside and somehow I am literally stopped on the 5.  And quitting the games at 3pm just wasn't very easy or practical.  So...yeah, I called it off only three days in.  It could also have had something to do with losing every single time I sat, but I think I was able to objectively assess that at least some of that losing was because I wasn't in good spots.

So that has me a little discouraged.  I honestly believed that schedule might help me deal with the growing discontent I've been feeling lately.  Maybe I was just being naive, or maybe I needed to believe that SOMETHING, anything, could help.  It doesn't really matter why, all that matters it that I thought I had a shot and the whole thing was just a complete failure inside of three days.  So now what, then?  In order to take such a drastic measure as attempting to sleep from 8:30pm to 5am, I had to be in a pretty rough spot to begin with, right?  Things weren't going well...and honestly they weren't.  So that means I can't just keep doing what I'm doing, right?  Well probably not, I suppose.  The only real change I have made in the days since is that I'm simply not bothering to fight my way in during traffic.  I've been starting my day at the bike more often than not, but that's just really been a complete mess.  Most days I've been playing the new promotion, which is called simply "30/60 triple draw with the employees) and that's been treating me pretty well.  But the game just dies sometime in the afternoon (today we busted all the fish by 2:15 and I headed over to LA's friendliest) and honestly it's just not worth even going over there if there isn't some chance I'll get to spend the entire shift in the same building.  So tomorrow I'm not even going, just heading straight to commerce to see what's there to see, I guess.

It's not that things are miserable...they aren't.  I just find myself, for the first time in a while, completely disinterested.  I'm not really having fun, I'm definitely not winning any money, and therefore I'm having a hard time putting up with the assholes I find around me day in an day out.  So I guess I have to change something, but that something isn't very obvious.  There is no where else to play, really, unless I want to consider the Hustler.  But that's just SO FAR away and the game is only 25 and you have no table changing options and yeesh I dunno.  I've also found myself very tired deep down tired, can feel your brain isn't really working tired, if you know what I mean, and that can't be helping.  So yeah, things aren't great in general.  A lot of this could be running stone flat for 500 hours (that's a long time to make no money), but I sense something a little deeper at work.  I sense that maybe I could be truly tiring of this, that playing 40 at commerce might just not be something I'm willing to do.  And if that's the case....well...I don't really want to dive into that can of worms just yet.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

[ ] Enough

40/80 Texas at 6:45am is a strange beast. I open the 98dd in the HJ and the small blind speech calls. He's a fish but every call requires a speech at this time of day apparently. DL Danny (famous overnight smash every draw on every turn Danny) slow calls the big blind. I turn to the player next to me and say "Danny didn't three bet he must have a BIG hand" and then forget I said it.


Danny donk/3 and my brain just shuts down. I have the nuts who cares, right? I just call and raise the turn


He 3s in his take forever theatrics are important way and I just snap 4 bet. He tank 5-bets and I decide to just call, forgetting what I knew preflop.


He tanks so long I eventually decide he wants to c/r 98ss, then thinks better of it and bets. I call meekly and get shown JJ. In addition to this hand he has screw/play/folded the turn vs me HU twice so far...think about that. I've been here 70 minute we've had 2 setups and the game stalled once.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Good and Bad

$5 bill man went bust but KMS ordered Coors Lights 4 and 5 at 7:58am. He is now warning Diamond Joe that the wagon may be slowing down and he could be back on it later this week so Joe should drink with him while he has the chance.

Early Schedule

I am now on the leave the house at 5:30am schedule. Day one has been a pretty big fail, since I've played so far 90 minutes of short poor 60/120. However, there are two bright spots. Firstly, KMS is off the wagon and just ordered his 3rd $2 Coors Light (happy hour runs until 8am, apparently). And secondly, a man just bought in for $600 with, and I am not kidding here, $5 bills. In all my days playing live poker I do not think I have ever seen such a thing, and according to Pete's theory (the larger the instrument of buy in the better the player) I should be in for a real treat.

Monday, September 24, 2012

What We Have Here...

Is a failure to communicate.  Or at least that's what I think must be causing most of the stuff I'm seeing at the Bike on a day to day basis.  First of all I did play Saturday, and I was justly smoted in the Commerce 60, dusting off 2 racks over the course of 6 hours in just one of the most magical unicorn and pixie dust filled games of the modern poker era.  Nobody any good whatsoever in the game, several world class fish you could build the entire thing around, and I simply couldn't win a pot.  I won't bore you with the details, but I think I lost hands with 70+ percent equity on the river in pots of over 20 bets at least three times, and well it was just sort of silly.  But that was Saturday and I was at Commerce because why would the bike have a game on Saturday, what with like 8 employees on the payroll to support the thing and them giving everyone who walks in the door $15/hour?  No reason.  Playing on Saturday?  Inconceivable!  But that's not really what I want to talk about, how there isn't a game a lot of the time for really no good reason.  No, what I want to talk about is how they've managed to pull that off by walking you through today.

I rolled up way too early, like 9:45am, but I had some things to take care of (I'm trying to get HEM working, check my hours, read my book, blah blah blah) so it was OK if I had to wait but holy cow there is the alpha fish so me the 10am prop (the guy who has exactly my old job) him and this guy whose job is to play poker at the bike (he's not a prop...he's not a host....I don't know what he is, but he is employed by the casino) fire up the game.  The actual host comes in, then we pick up another super live one and bang we're off and running.  I forget the complete lineup when it happens, but it's something like me, two of these "people who work here but do whatever they want", and 6 other customers filling the 9 seats when a guy who should always always always get a seat instantly walks in and...doesn't get a seat.  He's super live.  He's super flighty.  And he wants to play.  And neither of them get up.  Not only don't they get up, one of them lobbies for 10 hands straight, leaving his chips on the table, giving me the impression he's quit but actually is just talking to the prop (who did dutifully give up a seat in an amazing game).  The other one is actually stuck for the first time I can probably ever remember (9 times out of 10 she just dings us for $1000, then gets up to fold for 5 hours straight in the NL game), and the prop actually talks to me about it, asking if it was always like this.  Yup, I tell him, some things never change.  Then, 30 minutes later when the flighty fish has guess fucking what driven to commerce, she locks up a 20/40 seat but, at the suggestion of the other one, LEAVES HER CHIPS on our table so "the guy in the 20 won't come over right away because they need to get that game going".  As an aside, the 20/40 game is now being run "by the corporation" which means the 40/80 props (and there are like 4 or 5 of them) not only don't play it, but actually seemingly go out of their way to sabotage it by starting 30/60 mix games to draw players out of it.  So now they are trying to sneak another 30 something white pro (who won't play 20) into the game ahead of this 20/40 player (who as it turns out is also a 30 something white pro but at the time he could have been anybody) in a spot early (both should be behind the fish guy who's probably lost a rack at Commerce by now) and it's just...ridiculous.  A player quits, the prop gets back in, and then the two live ones bust out on the same hand and I have just had enough and snap spite quit.  If they want to fuck things up that badly, I'm sure as shit not going to try and fight them.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Are You A Wizard?

Tight by local standards reg opens, whale calls, Villain calls SB, I call BB four ways.


Check check opener bets whale folds villain peels not closing the action with me behind. I fold.


Check check.


Villain bets opener calls villain shows Kc4d to win. Next....

Whale limps EP villain raises HJ CO calls button 3 bets BB calls whale calls villain caps five ways.


Two checks villain bets co folds button raises two folds villain three bets button calls.


Villain bets button calls


Same action. Villain shows 86cc for the win. The game we are playing is 60/120 and villain is, by all other accounts, a winning young white professional. I mean, you have to be fucking kidding me, right? This guy won online? This guy is in the Medium Bob and 8-mile plan of support a family from the east coast by playing here? Really? Even if you could convince me that his plays are correct (and you can't you just can't) doing that shit would have to lead to 1000 big bet swings, right? Yet there he sits, check raising 3rd pair 4 ways and Donking 43 from the SB into a 6 way raised pot on Q42 and winning while I lose 60 bets running into his kings every single fucking hand.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Somehow Winning

I have this little google docs (I guess google drive now) sheet where I periodically do an inventory of my net worth.  I'm not really sure why I started doing it other than I wanted to get some satisfaction out of watching it go up.  I fired it up today and did some rudimentary math and lo and behold it's actually higher than it's ever been, despite my not making any money for several months straight now.  So right there it bang it was worth it to keep the sheet, because now I feel good about myself, even though all the gains were derived from passive investments (the market has gone nowhere but up since like July) and a horse running like the very wind itself once more.  I'm really glad I held onto that guy....I've gotten a fair bit of advice along the way from a wide array of people (some I respect...some I don't really...some who know what they're talking about...some who don't) saying that I should have cut the whole thing off.  The advice got loudest during a particularly rough patch, but heeding it would have just been plain silly.  There were growing pains, which were completely foreseeable, and now that we're on the other side of them I've earned the right to keep making money.  So that's just what I'm going to do :)

Today's session at the bike got cut short because, as is the local custom, the game basically broke at 2:30pm.  When I walked in 2 pros and the host were playing 3 handed...I joined them, and we eventually added a regular and another host to bring the game up to 6 max.  We eventually filled to 9 handed, but only briefly, and spent most of the day playing 7 way or so.  The whale came in, dropped his 2 racks, and quit all within what felt like about 15 minutes.  Some other people got buried, I managed to win, blah blah blah.  Here are some fun hands, pretty much all vs the same player....this guy is an old school pro who used to win a bunch but I think has the new state of limit hold 'em.

Hand 1

I open the button and he 3-bets his own big blind.  Right off the bat this is pretty much bad news vs me.  I mean, I have a super wide range (obviously) so three betting a balanced and superior one is probably fine, but he almost certainly doesn't do that.  And there really is no need whatsoever, since HUHU vs him I'm still betting every single flop (since he has that 3 betting range, his calling range is just retardedly weak and even my piece of shit range almost always is ahead on most boards).  He does 3 bet a lot of hands here, though, as you'll see.  The board comes down something like:


And he just barrels off.  Fires every street, then declares dejectedly "ace high" on the river.  As I turn over the mighty 97o and he makes some comment about how lucky I am and I just smile and drag the chips.  If you saw this hand played out online you'd probably think "oh yeah jesse missed some value there" but that's not really the case here.  He doesn't know what he's doing...he's not value betting and trying to get called down by queen high.  He's just...betting.  And so I'm just going to go ahead and let him do that, hopefully for many weeks to come.

Hand 2

The exact same thing happens, except he has KJ and I start with a pair of 4s and the board runs out QT3-7-8.  He bets every street after 3 betting his big blind, I call every street and produce the winner.  He again is frustrated...this one makes a little more sense, as he probably has the nut low of his range by the river and therefore should just be barreling off relentlessly, but see the pattern.

Hand 3

Here's the magnum opus for the day.  I raise some limpers with queens and we see a flop 5 ways.  He's in the blinds somewhere, I'm not sure which one, doesn't matter really except if he's the small well that's even worse.  The flop comes


And only he calls my bet.  I'm loving life, right up until the turn comes:


And he check/raises me.  Obviously I'm never folding top set, but he's pretty much supposed to have exactly jack ten here and me boned right smartly.  I call down on the river 7 and he shows me...K4 of diamonds.  King.  Four.  Diamonds.  The table just erupts in laughter as I let his hand fester in the middle of the table for a minute, trying to see if I somehow grossly misread the board and his hand is more than the bottom pair (nice kicker though) it appears to be before I table my rock (nothing beats rock).

So yeah, things went pretty much OK except for the whole only playing for four hours...the word on the street is that a big game is going to break out at commerce tomorrow, and it's going to take everything in me not to show up at 9am with bells on trying to take the beating of a life time.....but maybe just maybe I can do it.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Fool Me Once....

For the second time in a row I failed today to secure a seat in the "whale" 1/2 game.  I had advanced scouting;  at 7pm last night I was aware that he was coming in at around 9am (which means between 8:50 and 10).  So I woke up at 6:30 in the morning (yes, SIX THIRTY), took care of the dogs (because Danielle is on an overnight work trip where they will kayak and ride dune buggies...fucking dune buggies!) and left for the casino at 7:10.  I arrived at 8:30.  I am not kidding, 8:30.  And when I got there there was a 1/2 HT game going, one which I believe I would have been happy to play in, my rudimentary deuce skills non-withstanding.  There were white pros, asian pros, and at least 3 players I marked as marks, and so I listed for the game.  But what happened?  As soon as the players saw myself and one other young pro they converted the game to straight hold 'em, since it was obvious the whale was coming.  And guess what...a fish quit.  And I got a seat.  So I took it....heck, the game was still pretty good.  Except there was a problem.  As soon as I filled the empty seat (which by the way cleared a 20 name board) a board developed, and it was obvious there were 5 or 6 people waiting around for the whale to come in.  There plan was to start a must move with him, and the thing was he'd be close to last to what did I do?  I quit, right at 9.  I took my shot....and I missed.  They all rolled, even some who should have been clueless, and again there was no board.  If that state continued the minute the whale walked in he'd just sit in the main game and we'd all I sat again, since after all the game was pretty good and SOMEBODY had to fill the seat.  But there was a problem...the fishes wanted to play triple draw, and since that game was gone they were all not long for the world.   So as the whale walked in and the must move formed, they were all quitting my game.  First one, then two, then the final (there were actually four to start) and all of a sudden I was in the worst LHE game I have seen since the 2p2 meetup where Pete received a hand drawn "missed straddle" button from the dealer.  So I waited for someone else to quit so I wasn't fucking Medium Bob (I really like that guy...I hope he doesn't think I'm a gigantic douche), then snap quit and the bike.

I learned a few things, finally, from this experience.  My problem is that I've been trying to walk both lines, as it were, attempting to angle the system with class and dignity.  And the thing is you just can't do that.  You can't try to squirm your way into the good game AND pretend like you're following all the rules and doing nothing wrong.  You either have to sink as low as possible, OR you have to stand on your principles and just sit in the main game.  Otherwise you'll look like a douche AND get shut out, which is exactly what I've done the last two times I've tried to navigate this cluster fuck.  So I'm done with it....I'm not messing around with any of that mess any more.  It's just not worth the effort and stress and 80 minute mid traffic commutes and $10K's not worth any of it, especially when the games, honestly, aren't even that good.  They are filled with REAL professionals, people who kicked ass and took names online, people who are decidedly better at limit hold 'em than I am, and a small smattering of fish.  And at this level even the fish have teeth, they really do.  Sure some of them are "whales" or whatever, but honestly I play with guys worse than even the worst of them day in and day out in the 40 and 60 games.  And that's the thing...those games aren't THAT much smaller than 1/2.  If we were talking about playing white chip, 2/4 or even 3/6, where a "small" win rate of .4 bets per hour would map out to $400k/year, that'd be different.  But we're not...we're just talking about 1/2, and we're usually talking about sitting in a game with 4 experts, 2 tagfish, 1 whale, and 1 beta fish.  On top of that even getting into that state is a stone cold nightmare....I have failed to even achieve it twice in a row because I just don't have the stomach for the level of douchebaggery that is truly required.

So I'm done with all that shit, unless a bird nest just falls into my lap.  I'm going to play 40 and 60 for a while, the way I did the rest of the year and just absolutely killed it.  This career isn't about seeing whose cock is the longest;  it's about winning money and playing a game for a living.  Since the multiple 1/2 games have been wrecking the 60 at Commerce, this probably means I'm going back to the Bike for a while...I already have 13 hours for the month, which means I basically have to finish the 40 out as I'm effectively getting like $23/hour the rest of the way.  And you know what...I LIKE playing there.  I LIKE that there is only one game and that EVERYONE knows my name and that the game is good and that I don't have to have my head on a swivel or basically ever call for chips.  I actually enjoy playing there...nobody throws his cards at the dealer, nobody calls me a piece of shit (happened yesterday at commerce) and there is no reason whatsoever I can't make $10k/month playing there day in and day out.  On top of that I can sleep in, work out, miss traffic, and generally maybe, just maybe, go back to feeling like a human being with some shred of dignity.  So that's the plan...wish me luck.  I'll still consider the Commerce 60 as an option, but I'm not working my days around a white whale.