Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Musings from Spirit Airlines Flights

So I’m on my flight home to Pittsburgh for the holidays and I only have one book so I figured I’d try and write something. I should have brought two I guess, but whatever. I haven’t actually read a book for pleasure in years (I honestly can’t think of reading one in Laguna Beach). I guess it’s because I’ve let Netflix/Hulu/Amazon take over that aspect of my life; the list of shows I’ve watched in the last 3.5 years is quite simply mind boggling and horrifying. But back to the point….I’m trying out Spirit Airlines which quite frankly hasn’t been that bad. Sure I paid $6 for a coke and a water, but honestly I’m OK with that. There was TONS of space in the bins because they really only let you bring on a personal item (I have my man purse, which is way more than I need). And boarding took like no time at all because nobody was tryign to bring all their luggage for a week long trip in roll aboards. My middle seat is empty so I guess I cannot speak to the lack of legroom but honestly it doesn’t seem worse than usual. And actually it appears that the plane is devoid of exceptionally large humans, an effect that I suppose could actually make it better for everyone else? I mean probably not….but people don’t look too crammed.

The thing I can’t really abide is there is no option to pay for internet. I’d pay a lot. I’ve proven how much I will pay time and again by paying every single time. $30? A bargain! But they don’t even have it, which doesn’t seem to fit with their model of nickle and dime you for everything. Like, how can sattellite internet at $20/pop not be a profit source? I get that I can’t stream 17 episodes of the shield, I get that I really do. But like….my village could be BURNING and my troops are awaiting my orders and 14 people have probably nudged me in words with friends.

So I’m writing because I don’t want to run out of book! It’s proven to be a great book so far; a detective/pyschological thriller almost as old as me. But I can’t waste it! That should give you a decent look into the inner workings of jesse8888 (who by the way has sort of morphed his online presence to “da yung jeeze” thanks to someone once calling me jeese a million years ago). God bless dat young jeezey. As an aside, wow way to go Google somehow every doc I’ve ever had access to is saved and ready to go on this $200 flipbook that weighs about 17 ounces without me preloading a word. Should I actually destroy 2/3rds of those documents? Absolutely. Was it enlightening to read the journal entries from January 2014, 2 months before Danielle and I broke up? Absofuckinglutely. Wow...I was MISERABLE. I was ANGRY. I was HATEFUL. I was….wow. Just wow. Definitely not reading the shit I wrote after the breakup, that’s for damn sure. We’re going to go with those were just a therapeutic exercise.

As I’d guess most people reading this know I’ve had a bit of a weird two years (fuck, 4 years...8?). I quit my job at EMC (now Dell) in early 2016, with the plan of just playing poker for a while and seeing where things took me and probably eventually moving and getting back into software. At the end of my tenure at EMC I was actually morphing into a combination scrum master/engineer. I’m well suited to the task of scrum mastering, honestly. But none of you really care about that, right? Shit I never really understood why anyone cared about any of this blog, but to this day I get people wishing me well, telling me they read (or even reread) the entire thing. I guess I had flashes of interestingness? Honestly the reason the whole thing stopped is that I sort of felt the need to stop being completely honest, and the blunt honesty was my best guess as to why it was popular. Like, I realized that people in the real world were gonna read it and the whole sports betting thing made me and I guess more specifically Danielle extremely uncomfortable. Man you should have seen the fit she pitched when sailboats stopped in for goodness I don’t even remember what. He laughed about it and said “so you’re not allowed to have friends over” and i just kind of um...went to my room and cried? She treated me like a disabled child. Lol anyway.

20 months on the lamb and I’m not so sure that return to software is imminent. Last time 6 weeks turned into 5 years, right? So if I was planning for a year, carry the one….I have over a decade to fuck off! Laguna Beach has been fantastic. Sure I go out drinking too much, but that’s kind of the point, right? I’ve met some women (not going to go into how that’s going presently because that seems like something I’d want to ask her about posting and honestly I have plenty of other stuff to write about). I’ve made some friends. I don’t go to the beach itself enough, but just SEEING the ocean is amazing. I’m too out of shape to surf; heck I’m probably too out of shape to ski but we’re going to find out about that in a few weeks. And actually things there are getting better (I’m down 10 pounds from Vegas). Not quickly, slowly, but as my friend Victoria says to me like once every few months “if you want to get out of a hole, the first thing you need to do is stop digging”. Several years ago I got pretty into weight lifting (I was processing a lot of rage, I think) and I got quite strong and gained a bunch of good weight. Then I stopped pushing the plates and continued eating and drinking like a workout fiend and well….yeah. How do you gain 35 pounds in 3 years? 1 pound a month! In theory that’s less than running a 100 calorie/day surplus.

Somehow I accidentally started following Pete’s advice from years and years ago, which was to make sure you have multiple streams of income. I had a job for a while; most people have a job and that’s really all they have in terms of making money. During that time I picked up two rental properties in Pittsburgh (with a big assist from my dad). The management company I’m using is possibly the least competent entity I have ever actually paid money to, but it comforts me to know that I at least have those buildings. I’ve of course been doing sports for at least 5 years now. 2016 was a phenmonal year in that regard. 2017 has been about 40% as bad as that one was good (changes are probably coming down the pipeline in that regard). Of course if the superbowl goes my way and Tommy doesn’t teach me a lesson about respect after I got down something like 20k at ATL +4 +100 (something like 30 cents better than the close I think), the year looks just kind of meh. But as it is it looks like a damn dumpster fire. So I don’t really know if that’s going to continue, the guy I work with at first was just getting sick of my bitching, but in our most recent communication he stated pretty plainly that he needed to figure out what was up and take a good hard look at things. Honestly I wouldn’t miss it one bit lol. The running around, the people taking shots at you, the occassionaly getting stiffed, the wear and tear on friendships (I lost my “acting best friend” over a petty sports square up earlier this year), the endless spreadsheets and accounting. I dunno. I liked writing because it usually gave me energy, but right now I feel like it’s giving me some fresh perspective on things. Maybe I do need to just shut down or clam way up on sports. Who knows. Moving on….

Here’s maybe where I’ll get to the meat of an actual blog post! This year I’m on pace to play about 1400 hours of limit hold ‘em (in 2016 I played a slightly smaller number). That’s nowhere near a fulltime job, and I’m sure is much lower than all of my posted totals during my 5 year “shot” (I had a year where I played 1900 butt in seat hours). But I actually am enjoying it the vast majority of the time. I’m driving 45 to 60 minutes each way, and there are days when I quit after 3 hours (either because I’m losing or because the game prospects are less than amazing). And there are 11 hour days also (probably more of them than there ever were before).

And this year I am going to post my best result by a vast, vast margin. I am winning at a frankly impossible rate. Going all the way back to the middle of 2016, it is something like a 2200 hour heater of over 2 bets per hour. For my five year shot I believe my total number over all medium to large stakes LHE games was like .7 bets per hour. Point. Seven. I’m winning close to 3 times as much. At .7 bets per hour when you’re mixing stakes the downswings can be truly brutal. At 2 bets per hour when you’re basically always playing the same you pracically can’t have losing months. It’s been….amazing. Wonderful. Fucking great. Fucking amazingly wonderfully fucking great.

Obviously I’m running hot, and obviously I haven’t solved limit hold’em or anything like that. I get it. But I’m doing SO many things SO much better. I’m quitting bad games, camping out in good ones. I’m playing the majority (all?) of my hours in smaller (softer) games with a huge home field advantage. I think I’ve gotten much better in terms of my true “A” game, my standard “B” game, and avoiding playing hours really any worse than that. Like I said, obviously there has to be some rungood involved here, but you don’t just triple your winrate over a nearly 100k hand sample on run good. I mean OK, maybe you do. But from a bayesian point of view (maybe I’m using that wrong) it’s pretty likely that conditions have improved, or more accurately the conditions I’m putting myself into are vastly better. On the technical side I have truly embraced my inner lagbox and just fire away relentlessly. At every step of my career there as been someone in my ecosystem who was just unimaginably laggy to the point couldn’t believe he/she could possibly win. And yet the evidence pointed to he/she winning. I don’t think I’ve gotten to WTK or Kim levels, but I’m probably closer to them than the 2008 version of myself. And big shocker, playing that way when you’re super duper hyper dyper over rolled for your games is really fucking fun. It’s cool to go on 100 bet rushes, it really is. It’s fun. I’m having fun playing cards, people!

Everyone has been sounding the death knell for limit hold ‘em in LA since I fucking got here. And maybe they’re right, maybe there are fewer games and fewer people making a living off of it. The rake has just gone up and up and up and up (I pay $7 in most of the pots I take down, if I don’t tip) and I firmly believe that has forced a bunch of breakeven or even slightly winning players to go broke or simply give up. The games that we’re left with sure SEEM to be pretty freaking good on a pretty regular basis. That said I’ve logged probably 90% of my hours at the same freaking table, so maybe I’m just talking out of my ass and as soon as that game dries up I’m going to in for a 3000 hour break even stretch. But from where I’m a sittin’, everything appears to be fine.
(Trip home happens….5 days later)

The only people who can afford to play fulltime are strong winners and those who can afford to be huge losers. And most of the strong winners seem to have promoted themselves to white chip games or draw games and stuff like that; not a lot of people slumming it at the 25/50 table trying to make a living, and those that are typically have huge leaks and are pretty easy to exploit. But the key really is just to never play on tilt, and I probably do that better than almost anyone else in the game. Even if it appears that I’m tilting, and I probably am, it’s nowhere near the demolition tilt other people go on after the simplest of beats. A hand….

Super easy to play against guy either limps or raises the HJ, I raise with 65cc in the CO, dude who takes himself way too seriously and is very bad raises the button, it gets capped, one of the blinds is in, I don’t fucking remember that’s not important


Infinity bets go in. In this case infinity is 4 (not 10, which was infinity in AP infinity is just 4)


Infinity more bets go in. Again, 4. The blind finally folds 44 when facing two cold which should have been folded several decisions ago obviously…..


I get raised for the 15th time, 3 bet, am rage called by his aces, and extend my arms with a shit eating “it’s a boy” grin on my face as the dealer ships me the 5 pusher.

What’s important isn’t so much that I won a $1500 pot that should have been half that size (that’s not not important, but it’s just a little you know less important). The main thing to realize here is that not one but two of my opponents advanced directly to full-fledged, demolition, banana, poo-flinging tilt. The guy who folded the pocking 4s was beside himself for 30 minutes, playing every hand until the eliminator (the turn...which determines if you pick up a draw and can see the river or are eliminated) at a minimum. The guy who raised me 2 to 3 times more than necessary with the aces...his day was done. He couldn’t believe how a “good player” like me could “go that far” with 65cc. You see, you only get aces once every 4 or 5 hours, and those were his and I basically stuck them up his ass. And he wouldn’t let me forget it, which obviously means he wouldn’t forget it himself, which means 50 hands later when I three street value towned him with like ace jack high he could do nothing but shake his head and lament his misfortune.

And that’s kind of the point of being a lag box. I’ve been saying things like this for years:

“You have to bet that river….it makes you harder to play against”

And you know what? It’s true. I’m hard to play against. And I run like the very wind itself. Just ask that guy….he probably told the story at the Christmas dinner table. He probably had a nightmare about that hand lol.


Pokershaman said...

I don't think I have what it takes to 3! with s00ted 65, which, in a nutshell, is why I am not a pro any more.

You are such a luckbox. Here's a hand I played the other night to illustrate why:

Winning Poker Network (Yatahay) - $0.02/$0.04 (6 max) - Holdem - 4 players
Hand converted by PokerTracker 4:

SB: 43.25 BB (VPIP: 66.32, PFR: 28.79, 3Bet Preflop: 19.54, Hands: 699)
Hero (BB): 100 BB
CO: 8.25 BB (VPIP: 75.00, PFR: 18.75, 3Bet Preflop: 0.00, Hands: 16)
BTN: 19.25 BB (VPIP: 37.01, PFR: 18.24, 3Bet Preflop: 5.41, Hands: 945)

SB posts SB 0.25 BB, Hero posts BB 0.5 BB

Pre Flop: (pot: 0.75 BB) Hero has 5c 5d

fold, BTN raises to 1 BB, SB calls 0.75 BB, Hero calls 0.5 BB

Flop : (3 BB, 3 players) 9c 5h Js

SB checks, Hero checks, BTN bets 0.5 BB, SB calls 0.5 BB, Hero raises to 1 BB, BTN raises to 1.5 BB, fold, Hero raises to 2 BB, BTN calls 0.5 BB

Turn : (7.5 BB, 2 players) 3c

Hero bets 1 BB, BTN calls 1 BB

River : (9.5 BB, 2 players) 3d

Hero bets 1 BB, BTN raises to 2 BB, Hero raises to 3 BB, BTN raises to 4 BB, Hero calls 1 BB

Hero shows 5c 5d (Full House, Fives full of Threes)
(Pre 20%, Flop 89%, Turn 95%)

BTN shows Ks Kd (Two Pair, Kings and Threes)
(Pre 80%, Flop 11%, Turn 5%)

Hero wins 17.25 BB
Rake paid 0.25 BB

Why are you the luckbox? Because you got two players to go on insane, poo-flinging monkey-tilt, whereas in my case the villain rage-quit immediately.

Ace said...

1400 hours! I'm closer to 140 haha. 2 posts per year, I can compete with that!

Tony Bigcharles said...

never played 25-50 but as high as that sounds to a $1-2 NL player, i would think the rake could easily be beat even at $10 a hand.

Jesse Smithnosky said...

1. People in live poker games do not rage quit when they get manhandled. They go on tilt and usually end up staying longer. That's not luck that's just the way live games work.

2. I originally was posting 5 to 10 times a month (unreal now that I think about it). I'm probably going to try to have at least a few posts a month this year if I can manage it.

3. I mean, in theory any rake "can be beat" if your opponents play badly enough. But run some variance sims on people who win $20/hour in a 25/50 game (with something like a $600 standard deviation), then drop it to $15/hour and see how much worse they get. And yes, eventually the rake will be $10/hand.

Ace said...

Writing one post per week is not easy but reading blogs is still fun. Vlogs kind of took over but I think they will slowly decline in popularity.

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