Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Eventually, You Will See Everything

But unless you have seen this, you are not there yet.  Casino employee opens UTG and bluetooth 3bets the small blind.  Headsup to the flop they go.


The action goes bet raise 3 bet call.  Bluetooth says something to the effect of "don't try that shit on me" or similar.  On the turn we see


Bluetooth bombs away and casino employee fires in the raise because why on Earth wouldn't he, you know?  Bluetooth tanks for a minute then says "I just calls" and peels off the 8 chips.


Bluetooth checks, casino employee snap bets and bluetooth goes into the tank.  All the other players at the table have been talking about the jackpot for two streets, but it's obvious we will be lucky to have one piece of it here.  Eventually bluetooth calls and the showdown ensues

Casino Employee:  "King high"
Bluetooth:  "I knew you had nothing.  I knew it.  I was sure you were fucking around, I knew it" I am the greatest player in the history of the texas hold 'em I made $1.2M last year this money doesn't mean shit to me.

Then he mucks his hand while flashing a queen of clubs and casino employee wins the pot.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

He Doesn't Look OK to Me

So I roll up to Commerce at 7:45 am and what do I see?  A 100/200 game going that actually looks pretty reasonable.  There's this one Asian guy I've never seen before (he probably plays alright, except he's super friendly with the guy who's obviously a spot), the GOAT candidate who plays for three or four days straight, and then of course the spot the Asian kid is friendly with.  But you know I'm not really feeling it and I tell Gary as much, I'm not gonna play, I'll just sit in this all star game they've got going over here in the 40/80 section.  So I do that and of course I get punished.  In my first lap I lose $1100, getting shown all manner of absurd shit, with young Jeff (as opposed to tall Jeff) actually singing some tune with the lyrics "Chip burner...come on and see".  Eventually my AA can't hold up vs the 77 on the TT9 board (drawing dead) and  I decide that I'm going in.  Perhaps not a great idea, but at this point I just don't ever want to sit in the 40...it actually hurts me.  And the game is 8 handed and seems pretty much beautiful (like I said, 3 spots and 5 pros all of whom have been up all night) so I sit and immediately punish the GOAT candidate for something like $3000 in the first four hands or so, calling down with the 88 on some disgusting KTJ7 board (rivered the 8 ball, side pocket, still just called), making top boat, yada yada yada blah blah blah.  So I play like an hour, the real spot quits (he said he was down a truly huge number), and I am on top of my game enough to actually already be locked up in the 40 whilst he's taking his last night.  1000 monkeys with 1000 typewriters would eventually compose a king jame's bible right?  Anyway....back in the other 40/80 all star game (and it truly becomes an all star cast when the main attraction from the other table jumps ship to my game and Tommy Kramer actually flips me the bird) things are going along swell except we just can't get any hands out of the deck.  It's so...painfully...slow.  Then it happens....

Four players limp the sb completes and I raise it up with the KJdd in the big blind.  They all call, the flop comes down Qh 7d 3c and all five of us check (like I said...good game).  I proceed to turn gin

Qh 7d 3c - Td

And bet after the small blind checks.  All four of them call.  Nothing like betting a draw for straight value on the turn welcome to commerce ladies and gentleman.  To the river...

Qh 7d 3c - Td - 5d

Bing!  The sb checks I bet and UTG raises me.  Everyone else folds and I steel myself for what needs to be done...the old river 3-bet/fold line.  Actually I do this while the button is in the tank, so my action when it gets to me is very much in rhythm.  As is his four bet, and my ensuing fold.  I mean, I have to fold that hand, right?  He checked the flop after the preflop aggressor checked, so he can't have the queen of diamonds in his hand.  The ten of diamonds is on the board, and I have the king and the jack in the pocket.  And to top it all off my hand looks like EXACTLY what it is, a flush (unless he's dumb enough to think I'm dumb enough to check a set on the flop, and given that he was sleeping between hands I suppose this is possible).  Actually as I'm typing this up I'm re-convincing myself that the fold was actually still correct, even though I shipped my hand to the muck he courtesy flashed me....98dd.  That's right, the 9 and the 8 of diamonds.  17 to 1, closing the action, Jesse hero folds the second nuts and gets shown....the 4th nuts.  Aiyah.  Somehow, someway, I actually shrugged it off and played pretty well the rest of the hour or so until they started the 60.  And holy shit was it an amazing game.

Cliff's notes....I met, I believe, unguarded, who seemed like a very nice fellow, I called four cold on the button with KK (at showdown the 65 year old capper produced AA, shouted "Ship it" in my ear, then asked "you raise me with that shit?"), ran the JJ into the AA, and generally felt like I was in every other pot.  But the best part was listening to 8 mile (who has never uttered back to back sarcasm free sentences in his life) constantly goofing unguarded (who looks like he'd be right at home in the stata center) at every possible opportunity.

8 Mile:  "So you think this game is tougher than the stars 30/60?"
unguarded:  "for real?"
8 Mile:  "yeah"
unguarded:  "oh...no, not even close"
8 Mile:  "...."

It was just hilarious.  Eventually unguarded wanted to watch some UFC fights that were supposedly on TV, and he reserved a TV and got the right channel and everything but for some reason they were just showing moto-cross racing.  He's tilting his balls off trying to figure out why the fight's not on, and I tell him that at least he's gotten to watch some good dirt bike racing.  Then when he finally figures out that he's got the wrong channel 8 Mile says "wait wait wait I got a bet down on the dirt bikes!"  Eventually we get the right channel on and the fight coming up is some 42 year old russian guy vs a 29 year old american in the light heavy weight division.  8 Mile has the line for us within seconds and places a $50 wager to win 200 on the old russian.  14 seconds into the fight the young guy lands a stiff cross and the ruskie is flailing backwards with glass in his eyes just trying not to get his life ended.  4 seconds after that the young kid has him in what to me looks like a pretty serious choke hold.

8 Mile:  Shit.
unguarded:  No he's OK, he doesn't have the neck just the chin.
Jesse:  He doesn't look OK to me.
8 Mile:  The man says he's OK....

The russian taps out in what we soon find out to be the fastest submission in UFC light heavy weight history.

8 Mile:  I gotta do some research for the next fight.  At least red black that shit.  Somethin.

Eventually I quit the game, up a fair bit and after giving Dos a spot on the epic 1/2 (two pots and one 30 hours in pro...he showed up and at last check was stepping on throats winning all the money).  I probably should have played but the 60 was just so...good.  I eventually quit because I caught myself monitoring fluctuations in my stack too closely and that meant it was time to go.  My favorite hand of the session.

I open on the button with the A2o, unguarded insta-3 bets the sb and 8 Mile takes two cold in the BB.  The hand plays out with simply lighting speed.


Unguarded bets 8 mile calls I call.


Unguarded checks, 8 mile bets, I snap call, unguarded snap calls.


Unguarded checks, 8 mile bets, I snap call going for an over call from unguarded,  which I get immediately.  8 Mile mutters something and turns over his KQ, I show my hand which is admittedly pretty tough to see the strength of, unguarded turns over the A3 for his half of the chop while grunting something and I grunt back and he declares "What are you doing!?" and I win.  Fun pot, I probably am supposed to fold the turn but getting 7:1 is pretty compelling especially when I just get to win 2 more bets when I bing 'em.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Zoo Stacking

I've started "zoo stacking" my chips, which simply means buying so many and keeping them in such disarray that it's very difficult to count how many of them are there.  I know several live players who espouse this method (and online ones who actually have pieces of post-it note on their screens to prevent seeing their own stack size) and it seems to work pretty well.  You don't spend time mentally taking note of how much you're up or down (or how much you've won or lost since your high or low point...a big one a lot of people hurt themselves with) and that's a really good thing.  Of course you can still tell if you're buried or scorching the earth, but you still don't spend that much time thinking about or torturing yourself over the fact that even though you're up $2200 you've lost $1200 in the last hour or whatever.  Must move games cause a problem for this, since you have to rack up your chips to move, but in general at the bike it seems to work pretty well.  I am trying to do everything I can to avoid stress, and this is one of the small changes I'm making.  Now some funny hands....

Hand 1

Fishy player limps and I raise it up with T9dd.  The big blind defends, fishy player back raises and I decide he and the big blind taken together are bad enough and wide enough that I need a capping range here in position, and if I have a capping range T9s most certainly should be in it so I cap it up.  The board comes down very, very badly.

744r no diamonds

And I do another weird thing and check back.  That's pretty incongruous I know, I'm supposed to be bombing away here convincing them I have kings or something, but honestly I don't think either of them are going to fold for one bet, and I have the ten high no pair no draw so I just check it back and hope it goes bet/raise in front of me on the turn but....

9h putting two hearts

The big blind checks and is clearly done with the hand.  The fishy player bets and I just call (normally I'd raise here, but the live tell was just so unbelievable there was no need her hand was going into the muck to a moral certainty).  We see the river.


The fishy player bets and I make what I think is probably not a great call but the hand is such a circus show I decide I can't go folding pretty much the best thing I ever have and get shown...QJhh.  Whoopsie Daisy!

Hand 2

Same fishy player is the primary villain.  This hand isn't that interesting except it sets up hand 3 nicely.  Fishy player raises whale calls I 3 bet the KK we see a flop about 4 ways I dunno.  It's J94r and I bet and they all call.  The turn comes an 8 of spades, putting a flush draw along with straightening the board out quite a bit.  The big blind checks and fishy player donks into me.  Now remember, he raised on the preflop, checked and called, and now is donking this scary looking card.  The whale calls and I don't even hesitate for a quarter of a second and raise it up.  Am I making the FSDR?  I am not yet sure, but this guy doesn't have shit right?  Right.  River comes a red deuce or something and they check and I go with my gut and bet and the fishy player...folds.  So yeah, he didn't have anything (the whale paid off with a just wow pocket tens).

Hand 3

I am racked up and planning for this to be my last hand, then realize that I'll be getting must moved very shortly and should probably stay around for that but may still quit and as I'm trying to decide I get the wired pair of 9s in the pocket.  I raise it up and start pleading with the table that it's my last hand, just let me take it down, no harm no foul, blah blah blah and of course get called by the button (who is incidentally the un-named folder in the last two hands she was special also) and then the fishy player calls in the small blind 3 ways


I bet, only the fishy player calls.


And he donks.  lol que?  I go into the tank for a minute and think about the hand and my range and what not and realize that actually 99 is pretty far down here (I'd actually have been open limping pairs much smaller than that the game was that good), but I do still have a good bit of unpaired pocket pictures type hands that I'd toss and then I replay hand 2 in my head and squeeze off a call.


He bets I snap call (I mean, it's not like I was drawing) and he shows me the 84s (no flush draw) for...well...just a good old fashioned head-scratcher.  But his play honestly isn't that horrible when you think about it given that in his mind he should never ever fold his hand (when in fact he is behind 95% of the time if I bet the turn) and I am almost certainly not going to raise him given the obvious straight on board.  And I almost folded the winner!  So yeah, strange hand, but he put me in a tough spot, I sorta luckily did the right thing, and then he got bailed out.  Now our last hand, a good old fashioned bad beat.

Hand 4

I decide to post my blind after hand 3 because it's obvious some people are going to be leaving and I'll basically get to play two laps for the price of one here, and pick up the mighty 95o.  EP opens, EP2 calls, the woman who has played every single hand I have posted here and not done a single interesting thing plays this hand also, the fishy player calls, we're 5 ways.


Glory!  I check 'em and EP bets em and they all call and I raise 'em and they all call again.  Maybe the lady who has folded every hand folded I dunno, there are at least 4 of us and it's obvious EP has UI high cards because he'd 3 bet any one pair hand here.  The turn comes a beautiful


And I...check 'em.  I'm not sure if that's correct, but this way I have a chance to trap the whole field (still 4 strong) for two bets, where as if I continue to bet some things could go wrong.  First of all I might not get raised...and second of all if I do I'll probably just get 3 bets into the pot from one guy instead of 6 from three guys.  Now that could actually be better given the size of the pot, but I go for the fancy play here and sure enough EP bets but then EP2....raises!  That's just weird, right?  He shouldn't have a big ace (he'd have 3 bet preflop and even if he did it should be obvious he's up against a big one also) so his most likely hands are slow played monster (flobaset and flobastraight), and freshly minted aces up.  Honestly I've gone from fist-pimp check/raising the field to thinking I'm boned pretty badly.  The fishy player folds, I decide to call and EP calls.  River....


We show down three ways and EP2 has the AQ ball for the third place hand on the turn (EP had AK) and Jesse feels just in general a little dispirited, you know?

Monday, January 21, 2013

It Flows Through Me. Like a River

A while ago I was texting back and forth with Reno Dan.  I have maybe seen him once in the last four years, he's not really from Reno he just goes there a lot, not a whole lot of reason to it.  But I said something to him to which he responded "Lol let the hate FLOW" to which I responded "It does.  It flows through me like a river.  It moves me along.  It does not hurt me" and he thought that was hilarious.  And that's kind of how I felt Friday and Saturday as I lost so much that I actually needed to borrow money (from the South African) to sit in the 60 at Commerce (piss poor box management on my part).  Like, I don't really know what to say I lost 80 bets in something like 7 hours, including a 2h37 minute stretch in the 40 where I didn't win a single pot. Remember I don't chop in that game, either.  No walk in the big blind, no raise and take it down, not a single pot for over 150 minutes.  Pretty stunning.  During that time I probably started to play some hands kind of bad;  I made a fold that seemed obvious that was in fact awful...I missed a good spot to turn a pair into a bluff.  Simple stuff like that.  But I think the problem was that the hate was not flowing through me...it was drowning me.   I have only played 1.5 of the last 4 days (I had to abort Saturday  it was that bad), and now I'm reading to ride along the river again.  But before I do, to share another text conversation:

Me:  "If that man was having a heart attack, I'd try to figure out how to slow down the paramedics"
D:  "If he was having a heart attack I would breath faster in an attempt to reduce his available oxygen"
Me:  "You win"

But enough of this poker shit, on to the business of the day and the fact that while Ray Lewis is a murderer (and at least I will never forget), one of only two possible situations where I can root for him to win a game occurred yesterday, namely playing against Tom Brady in the playoffs (I usually can't even root for the Ravens to beat the Pats in the regular season, unless the Steeler's fate has already been sealed).  The other scenario would be if they had a playoff game against the Raiders, but that's not something we are likely to see in the next decade.  Anyway...the stats that got thrown around for the pats before and after the game were stupefying.  Under Billy they have never lost to the same team twice in a season.  Think about that....not one time.  Admittedly the Jets Fins and Bills are fucking terrible, but they all get a shot at that EVERY YEAR, and occasionally get third game in the playoffs.  The pats pretty much ALWAYS play a first place schedule, so they routinely have rematches in the playoffs.  And they've never lost both games?  Ever?  And the other stat, and this one boggles my mind even more, before yesterday the pats were 67-0 (!) at home when leading at halftime under billy or brady or both or something I don't care.  SIXTY SEVEN AND OH!  This isn't one of those "up by 10" or "with a lead in the 4th quarter" or something.  This counts 14-13 leads at the half, and they'd never lost.

You know what these two stats say to me?  Fucking bunch of cheaters, that's what.  What advantages would the whole spygate operation really afford a team?  Second half (or second game, or playoff) adjustments, that's what.  So big stunner there, a team that got caught flagrantly breaking the rules a few years back (oh and by the way brady started 10-0 in the playoffs, and since then he is 7-7) used to win a bunch of games.  This just backs it up even more, everything they did was fake, it doesn't count, we might as well forget it happened.  Sure sure sure even without all that stuff they'd probably still be the best team since 2000, but you know what, I don't care.  I hate those fuckers, always will, and this just gives me an excuse.  I mean really, did you see Brady doing his best (admittedly pathetic) Ty Cobb impersonation out there?  So sad.  But you know what, I'm pretty sure I'm not going to have to worry about this anymore.  The armor is cracking.  They're fucking up more and more.  Sure they ran a fake fake punt to get the Ravens to burn a time out, and sure they converted a 4th and 2 with Brady pretending he couldn't hear the play call (did you see how fast he had his hands back in his little pack warmer thing?  Literally the ball carrier hadn't crossed the line of scrimmage yet), but they screwed up some too.  End of the first half?  A 7 year old knows to call the time out there.  Brady preferred to take it into the locker room I guess.  And that tipped ball that for the first time in the last 200 actually landed in the hands of a defender (I can't back this up, but I am sure, just absolutely sure that Tom Brady has the lowest rate of deflected passes turning into interceptions in the history of the NFL)?  They're done.  You heard it here first, they're done.  Maybe I'm just being optimistic, hoping against hope, but man it'd be swell.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Sorry I Blew You Off

To the player who approached me last night and wanted to share stories from a past lifetime spent playing with the Alabaman, I am sorry I sort of blew you off.  I was in a very special place at that moment and should have given you more attention and respect than I did.  So for that I'm quite sorry, and I would love to hear everything you have to say about the man.  He truly, truly fascinates me.

Things have been going OK, although I keep turning big wins into small ones and small ones into losses, and that's just getting kind of old.  Like yesterday it was obvious the bike game was going to fall apart very soon and I decided to stay til the bitter end.  For my efforts I got buttoned and sprayed off close to 2 racks in the last hour before walking out at 2:30pm (that's right...the game broke at 2:30pm).  Meanwhile the day before the game was just kicking and strong and the 20 was also good but for some reason I walked out the door around 4pm.  I just seem to be making bad decisions regarding these sorts of things;  maybe I'm being results oriented, but at a minimum the decision to leave Tuesday was poor.  Perhaps I need to take more time off at the tables.  I did that last night just after I accidentally blew my follower off and it got me out of the special place and into a reasonably good mood where I was able to joke with Mama about the fact that "un-organic sprays too many chemicals".  See, she calls me un-organic....too much chemical.  And I played this silly pot against this mixed game player where the board was like T87hh and he raise capped the flop (I had three bet my own big blind three ways) and after the SB checked the rainbow queen turn to me I just "donked" right into him again, figuring he had a flush draw or pair and straight draw or some other such non-sense.  He just called, the sb called, then on the river 8 ball (side pocket will it do ya) the sb checked and I bet and he raised all in for 7 more chips and the SB folded and I just shipped my hand to the muck getting like literally 40:1.  Spray spray spray spray...fold.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Ray Lewis

Last week a friend of mine asked, rather humorously and astutely, "have they all forgotten that Ray Lewis did murder?"  He has a pretty valid point.  I know this is going to sound like I'm just a Steeler's homer and people who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones (what with Ben raping the girl and all), but seriously, has everyone forgotten that Ray Ray pretty much killed two guys?  I mean....really? Let me google that for you....

Obviously he was never convicted of doing the deed, but a little bit of reading through the links on those pages makes it pretty obvious to me that he was at a minimum present and involved when those guys got killed.  The facts are astonishing.  First of all the limo driver changed his story midway through the trial.  I'm not exactly sure what he changed it to, but I do know what he changed it from;  "Ray Lewis stabbed those dudes!"  Curious.  Eye witnesses saw Ray Ray's limo speed away, and one claims to have seen a garbage bag of some sort thrown out of it into a dumpster.  I don't think the contents of that bag were ever found.  And Ray Ray?  He "lost" the clothing he was wearing that night.  Just up and lost it, you know, can't find it, as if that's something that happens on a routine basis.  I've probably lost like 4 items of clothing in my life, and never an entire outfit that I'd have worn to a Super Bowl party at a night club.  Oh, and the day before?  He and his two friends (more on them in a minute) went to a sporting goods store, and the friends purchased...knives.

So what exactly happened?  Ray Ray plead guilty to obstruction of justice.  In a DOUBLE HOMICIDE.  Then he testified against his two compadres, who somehow beat the rap.  I have no idea how that went down exactly, but as far as I'm concerned Ray Lewis is a murderer and we shouldn't forget that.

Staying Out of the Way

I seem to be unable to learn this simple concept, so perhaps writing it down here will finally make it stick.  The value of a day off is only reaped for one to three days after it is taken, and the marginal value of taking N days off back to back decreases drastically as N increases.  That was a really nerdy way of saying that the best thing to do is to take exactly one day off basically every three (or at most four) days.  This week I played all five days and the result was pretty obvious.  I ended up going home early both Thursday and Friday, logging the type of clipped days I am aiming to avoid.  I did this because "I had taken a lot of time off recently" and felt that I should have been charged up to play a full week.  I was wrong, and I needed to take Wednesday or Thursday off.  It's that simple.  While the rage tilt I suffered yesterday probably wasn't that bad financially (although I did make that atrocious fold), emotionally it was pretty devastating.  I just can't end up feeling like that.  Last year I told my horse that the most important part of being a full time professional was keeping yourself "ready for action" at all times.  Basically if you ever arrive at the casino compromised in any way, be it from lack of sleep or an illness or stress from some other facet of your life or even the beginning stages of burnout, the effect on your bottom line will likely snowball out of control.  Every little thing that goes wrong will bother you more, and every effort you make to recover will not work as well as it usually does, and pretty soon you'll be playing pretty fucking far off your A game.  And that's not the only positive feedback loop you'll encounter.  If you fall into a pattern of not being ready for action, your results will suffer, too.  And when your results suffer you'll incur more emotional and mental pain, and you'll feel pressured to play even more to "catch up" to where you "should be".  And obviously those things will serve simply to keep you compromised, and pretty soon you'll have spent 6 weeks on raging tilt and won .3 bets per hour over 300 hours and be wondering what the fuck went wrong.  I'll tell you what went wrong;  you didn't take care of your shit, of yourself.  You got in your own fucking way, that's what you did.  Doing this is hard enough with all the other people trying to stand in your way, with your opponents more and more actually trying to hold onto their dollars and at the same time becoming seemingly bigger and bigger douche bags, with your responsibilities to others and the compromises you have made with them to keep your life bordering on something that could be considered normal, and with the day to day struggle of simply getting yourself into good games time and again.

So that's what I did this week, I got in my own way.  But at least I have realized it and can do my best not to let it happen again.  It will...it always will.  But hopefully less often, and less severely, and eventually maybe hopefully not at all.  Because it never has to be that way, not ever really.  If you just show up at the casino ready for action, at or very near your very best, things tend to go well.  Little things tend not to bother you.  You don't make little mistakes, which in turn then don't bother you more.  You don't feel that stress, that tightenging, in your back and head and stomach, and if you do you can usually take just a little break and manage to get it under control.  If the game is bonkers good you can stay for a few extra hours without hurting yourself too badly.  Or, and this is important, you can remain self-aware enough to realize doing so would hurt you too badly and you can simply...stand...up.  I heard this somewhere (Tommy Angelo probably) and it's absolutely true.  Anybody can walk away;  the hard part is standing up.  It's so true it hurts, and the core of the matter is simple (and this is definitely from Tommy).  Not only do you have to show up at your very best, but you need to be at (or close to) your very best the whole way through your session.  Because the hardest daily decision you have to make is when to quit, and if you get past a certain point of pain or damage to your decision making machinery you'll fuck that one up, too, and then you'll just be feeding all those bad positive feedback loops I talked about in the first rambling paragraph.  So that's about that.

Friday, January 11, 2013


For the first time in a while today I stone cold tilted.  I arrived at the bike kind of late (I wasn't even going to go, but I got scouting that the game was certifiably amazing and it in fact was even better than the lineup my birdie reported) and immediately lost a rack and a half (after turning a 20 bet win into an even money proposition at my previous stop in the last hour or so).  The person who currently resides in the number one position on my ray gun list (this is the list of people that, were I to have a ray gun that vaporized humans and the ability to use it with zero consequences, would be vaporized with zero consequences) was in the game, and of course he won $4k.  Yesterday after I put an admittedly silly beat on him he said to me, and I quote "I love it when I can get the fish to do exactly what I want them to do".  The hand in question was me flopping top pair king kicker and the second nut flush draw vs his (claimed) top set and putting in a lot of action.  Whoop de fucking do.  The point is that this guy is a world class piece of shit.  He complained to my boss about me when I worked there because he was stuck a bunch (rare for him...he is protected from on high) and it makes him feel like a big man to threaten the livlihood of others.  He always is dropping names, pretending like he matters, saying things like "I almost pitched for the Dodgers" and "I made 1.2 million last year, there is no possible way this money means anything to me" and "I actually throw a lot of hands away, I just try and show all the bad ones so people think I'm loosey goosey" (and then immediately power-limping the ten and the four double suited).  Some of the people on my ray gun list would cause me a little bit of remorse;  I'd feel bad for vaporizing them out of existence.  Not this guy.  I'd sleep like a fucking baby that night.

So yeah, maybe I am turning into an awful person, I dunno, but I've been holding it under control lately but today it just got away from me.  When you lose 60 bets straight I guess that happens sometimes.  When you seat change to this asshole's left and the VERY FIRST HAND YOU'RE DEALT he opens the HJ with QJo and you three bet the CO with KTs and the board runs out T98-5-4 and he looks at you like you're a retarded monkey for ever considering giving him that much action don't you know when he donks the flop he has the straight (never mind that you never raised, rather you just call call called your way to defeat).  When he opens the button with JJ and you have AT and the flop comes T73 maybe you get a little frustrated.  You know, that happens I guess, but it hadn't been happening to me for a while.  I played pretty bad, definitely gave a few river bets away, folded a hand I never should have folded (I didn't see a possible straight, decided the guy couldn't have two pair, and for the first time in literally years laid down a made two card flush on the turn assuming I had less than the 20% equity I needed to call down) and in general did all the wrong things.  I managed to quit at 4pm (only 3 hours into the bike ordeal) which I suppose is better than most players do but isn't really good enough for me.  Then I got to spend an hour driving home, which was of course fucking horrible as usual but what are you going to do why would you ever consider living less than 35 miles from the casino that'd be ridiculous right?  There couldn't possible be anywhere respectable to live within 35 miles...no chance.  Oh and I think I have the flu or at least a cold and yes I got a flu shot.  62% effective I hear.  Seriously.

So now I'll tell you a fun story.  The game is off the rails, UTG raises, the most lovable regular of all time calls, the Alabaman calls, blah blah blah, the big blind three bets, blah blah blah, 7 ways for three bets.


BB bets, some calls, a raise from the button, BB 3 bets and only the Alabaman who runs like Jesus in track shoes calls.  The button caps it, turn we go.


BB donks, the Alabaman of course call, the button raises it up one more time, the big blind calls all in for four chips, the Alabaman calls, 8 chips on the side.


All in player is still all in, Alabaman checks, button fires, Alabaman check/raises and....the big blind turns over his set of queens.  Seeing this, the button now turns over the ten and six (double sooted) for what has now become 3rd and 4th pair.  The Alabaman sits patiently, since the button hasn't called his bet.  The button realizes what has happened, surveys then scene,. including the opened set of queens, and decides to CALL THE LAST BET.  The Alabaman turns over the KJ for the stone butters (why wouldn't he take that pot off two of the biggest fish in the game?  He had 4.4 percent equity on the flop for crying out loud!) and...I mean really.  That happened.  These people...they beat me today.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year!

First of all, I would like to report, rather proudly, that nobody collected on the bounty.  It's officially off now, so if you see me sitting in a big game don't walk up to me and ask for a Benjamin because you're not gonna get it.  I'm not exactly planning to play biggish anytime soon, but I'm comfortable allowing myself the option again.  So there's that.

I sat down this morning during the rose parade (Danielle watches the pre-game, the pre-pre-game, and the entire broadcast...admittedly this year I was mildly interested since I spent Friday applying hand swirled circles of palm fir to roughly 3 square feet of deer butt on the nurses float, which got a fair bit of air time, but IMR, it's tough to pay attention to the whole 4 hours) and did my yearly stats work.  It's funny how that goes, but I'm always in a hurry to get it done when things have gone well and don't really want to look at it when they haven't.  Along these lines, and I'm kind of  making a hard decision here, for the first time I'm not really practicing full disclosure on this blog.  I realize that my honesty and openness are a big part of the reason some people read, but it's gotten to the point that I just don't really want to talk about everything that's going on.  That said, the results for the year were pretty darn good.  I made far more money than I'd hoped to make when all the columns were tallied up, with quite a bit of it coming from what I'd call "side ventures".  Some of them aren't really that (9 weeks of paychecks from the Bike), while some of them decidedly are (wsop backing).  I currently have a few other irons in various fires, some of which will probably prove rather profitable, and I'm finding these little side endeavors are helping keep me sane.  They're fun, even if they don't always pan out.

On to the yearly stats that I am willing to share...I logged a total of 1984 hours of limit hold 'em (and 16 of other games, putting the yearly total at almost exactly 2000), with my lowest outputs coming in November and December (Hawaii, Christmas).  I had three losing months (and one break even month), which I'm guessing is probably about right, or perhaps even low given how wide a range of stakes I was playing throughout the middle part of the year (obviously mixing games makes it way easier to have a losing month, as your results in just a few hours of a very large game could ensure a monthly loser).  I collected almost exactly 1100 bets playing LHE, for a win rate of just over half a bet per hour.  After my initial destructication of the big games at commerce, I finished out on a mid sized downer in them, dropping almost $30k straight (150 bets) in the 1/2 alone.  Had I managed to avoid that (and some more loses playing even bigger), my year would have been promoted from merely excellent to supremely fantastic.  But it is what it is, and I absolutely can't complain.

I was thinking the other day about things in general, and I've probably said this before but it bears repeating.  At the beginning of my poker career I basically went off half (or even quarter) cocked, foolishly thinking I could replace a software developer income playing 20/40.  It's maybe not as bad as all that, as the Bay Area games in 2007-2009 were just simply stunning and I won almost $50/hour in them through the end of 2009, but I wasn't even close to ready to do what I was attempting and of course it eventually did catch up with me.  I ran bad, I lost motivation, I didn't log enough hours, I played bad, and I didn't win any money for a very long time.  At that point I was foolishly chasing a dream, forgoing present and future financial success in a stubborn pursuit of some intangible, and as it turns out very ill-defined, goal.  Now things have changed dramatically.  My software pedigree has continued to degrade over the 4.5 years I've been out of the game, to the point that if I wanted to get back in now I'd likely have to start at a start up making less than half what other engineers with my background command.  Meanwhile I've gotten extremely effective at making this poker thing actually work.  Obviously I've gotten a lot better at the game itself, but that's only a small part of my suite of improvements.  I tilt less.  I look at my options more, and have the bankroll to play big and the ego management to play small.  I can play longer sessions now, if I have to.  I have these side projects.

As an aside...I have started to believe that once you reach a certain level of skill in this game, it doesn't make sense to try to get much better.  There are lots of players who are much better than me at LHE, but I don't think they earn proportionally that much more money than I do.  I'm not saying I've stopped studying the game entirely, but I have made a push to spend more of my "free time" on these other endeavors, trying to find ways to make money through other means.  These goes back to something Pete used to say, that it makes sense in life to have multiple streams of income.  I think it's more profitable for me to look at developing other streams of income than trying to eek another 10% out of my win rate.  Maybe that's short sighted, and maybe I really should try to become some sort of GTO master so I can sit in the 300/600 games with Juice and capture my share of the whale's $2000/hour losses, but I don't think so.  Those games are drying up, always have been and (mostly) always will be.  It's probably better for me to spend some time and effort on projects that can (or could) make me some money than keeping a dedicated 6 figure bankroll around to play 3/6 four times a month.

Back to what I was trying to say....The point is that now instead of sacrificing financial gain and stability in the name of chasing this "dream" or whatever, I'm actually sort of boxed into the dream itself now and would take quite a hit financially if I altered course.  Obviously I'm pulling these numbers out of thin air, but I'm guessing that if I decided right now that I wanted to go back to software instead of playing poker, I'd miss out on six figures of income in the next 24 months.  In a way, I've become more like a lot of poker friends, ones who don't really have very good fall back plans.  I used to say I was happy to be me, to have my degrees to fall back on, and that the whole poker thing was in fact predicated on the safety net they provided.  But at the time I always realized that that very safety net was in a way holding me back.  I didn't have that killer instinct, I didn't have to succeed, I wasn't committed, like you read about.  I was just coasting along, and for a while the results were pretty pathetic.  Looking back I'm not really sure how or why I kept going though that time, but I did and now I'm here and the train is on the tracks just humming along and I sorta feel like I'm entitled to keep going, to keep winning, to keep playing a freaking game and pretending it's a job.  Because despite the fact that I feel like what I do isn't actually very hard, I've gotten very, very good at it.  I'd guess that most people feel that way once they've "mastered" a skill that would bewilder the vast majority of the population.

So I guess what I'm saying is pretty simple;  2012 went really well.  I learned a lot, I made a lot of money, and despite how much I've bitched on here I can't really complain about much of anything.  And I see no real reason to change course, other than the changes I discussed a few months ago (and practiced to good effect) like reducing my total hours slightly, taking mid-week days off, and occasionally spending the night up north.  I'm going to keep playing poker, and at least for the time being feel more confident that's what I want to do than I have in quite some time.