Monday, August 25, 2008

Running like God on a Scooter

To quote 2p2er Big Bad Babar, I am running like "God on a Scooter". For those of you unfamiliar with poker speak, "running good" means that the deck has been dropping onto the felt in your favor and you've been winning your share of pots or more. It is possible to play very well but still lose, and vice versa. The last three days I feel like I've been playing OK (I've made some mistakes, even more than usual perhaps, but I think I'm actually getting better at identifying my mistakes), but have in fact been running like God on a Scooter. To wit:

Saturday, 8/23

I decide to give Garden City one last chance and rewarded for my loyalty. In addition to flopping or turning two pair after a free look from the big blind no less than 3 times, the following hands occur:

First hand of truly hilarious awesomeness:

One player limps and a bad, straight-forward and unimaginative player with whom I have played many hours raises. He will play his hand almost face up post flop, checking and calling with unimproved high cards but betting and raising with sets and over-pairs. This is basically good strategy, but for some reason I just always seem to know exactly what this guy has, as well as what he intends to do with it. The small blind calls, and I look down to find J3 of clubs. Normally I require 1 more limper to play a hand of this caliber (that is to say...none), but the limper and the small are both also terribly predictable and I make a loose call.

4 handed we see a flop for 8 small bets

A45 of three suites with one club

The astute reader will notice that while I have actually flopped "nothing", I do have some chance of winning the hand. I have a gutshot at a 5-high straight (only a 2 will make it), and a back door club draw. A rule of thumb is that a back door flush draw is worth 1.5 outs, and my gut shot give me four more, so I put my hand at about 5-6 outs. Anyway, we all check to the raiser who of course bets his hand. The small blind folds. I look left and try to see if the other player has a raising look about him, see no such thing, and call. He confirms my suspicions and just calls, so we see the turn card with me having gotten 10:1 on my money (My hand needs only 9:1 straight away to continue. When you factor in my tremendous implied odds I could call this getting as little as 6 or 7 to 1 I think).

3 handed we see the turn for 5.5 big bets, and it brings....

A glorious 2

I now have basically the nuts (36 beats me, but neither of these guys can possibly have that hand. They are bad, but they both contributed to the pot voluntarily. For all intents and purposes, I have the nuts and my opponents are probably drawing dead). Here's where I opt to take a life....The safe and standard play here is to donk-bet. There is a chance if I check that my two opponents will follow suite and no money will go in. Also, the third player in the hand is stuck between myself and the raiser, so a donk bet would get one bet from him for sure, where as a check/raise will ask him for two, which he likely cannot pay. Nonetheless I tap the felt, indicating that I would not like to wager at this point. The next player checks (as expected) and the third player, whom I always seem to have a perfect read on, bets. I unleash my raise as slowly as I can, and much to my surprise the player in the middle calls fairly quickly. I glance at the board and realize that a flush draw has materialized, and take note that I should probably check any heart river. The original raiser is very upset, but calls anyway.

We see the river 3 handed, for 11.5 big bets and...

It's a blank. I bet, the man in the middle folds muttering "frush draw" or something in accented English (I'm not a racist, I swear, but that's honestly what he said. I call 'em like I see 'em), and the pre-flop raiser calls like he has no other choice. I table my hand (which, remember folks, is Jack-Trey SOOOTED) and he visibly shocked. For the rest of my session he can't stop talking about it, and he completely stops trying to steal my blinds (which is a fantastic benefit, given that he's in the cutoff for my big blind). 2 hours later, on my way back from the cage to say good bye to a friend, he is repeating the story for the 7th time to the floor man. "He called two bets with J3! JACK TREY!!!"

Second hand of truly hilarious awesomeness:

This one is not nearly as good (few are) but is worth noting because it proves that I run like God on a Scooter. I end up in a 3-handed capped pot with pocket Kings, and the flop comes down all baby cards (nothing even above an 8 I think). The gentleman who is out of position (and who did the capping preflop) bets into me and I raise. The blind folds, and he 3-bets me. I tank for a second and decide against capping, as by now I honestly have to worry about aces but have to show my hand down because the pot already has like 400 dollars in it (40% of which used to be mine a few minutes ago). The turn brings an Ace (actually the best card in the deck I think, since it's pretty hard to believe he'd cap preflop out of position then bet/3-bet with AK) and he checks. I cannot hide my surprise, then compose myself, and then fire a bet. He calls. The river is a King, giving me a set that can only be beaten by pocket Aces. Now he bets!!!! This is the strangest line I think I have ever seen, and I raise, convincing myself that he may just have the worst played AK I have ever seen. He mucks his hand face up instantly, showing two red Queens that I was ahead of the entire time.

Third hand of truly hilarious awesomeness:

I raise a limper preflop with sexy red Aces and we see a flop 3 ways for 2 bets each.

QT2 with two hearts

I bet, a player check/raises me, another player takes 2 to the face, I 3-bet, the first raiser calls only and the other player calls 1 more bet. Got it? We've got about 8 big bets in the pot and it's 3 handed.

J (not a heart)

The both check to me and I bet. The first player calls all in, and the second player raises...I count down the pot and get 11.5 bets, decide that I have somewhere between 3 and 6 outs (leaning towards the high end...4 four the gut shot straight and 2 to make top set) and reluctantly peel off a call.

K (not a heart).

For some odd reason he bets into me and I raise with my nuts. He calls and disgustedly shows a set of 2s after I table my aces and say "Sometimes they hold up". He declares "You got real lucky there". Then the all in player reveals his hand: Pocket Kings!!! I actually only had 2 outs, since he was holding two and nullified the other 2 (by making a straight if I hit my set). I did get really lucky there, but I'd play the hand the same way 100 times in a row :)

Final Result

After 4 hours of play, I waddle to the cage carrying 3305 American Dollars worth of chips, only 1000 of which I purchased. I am happy.

Sunday 8/24

For this session I went back to Bay 101. I didn't get there until almost 5:30, as I had to take Tyson in for his shots at 3:30pm. I was very tired, only played 3 hours and 15 minutes, and cashed out up 644 dollars. I remember flopping a few sets.....or something.

Monday 8/25

Today I played about 4 hours at Bay 101 and again posted about a 500 dollar win (I lost 50 bucks at 6/12, then played solid 20/40 and again ran like white hot lightening). Three hands from today's session can be found on 2p2

Hand 1
Hand 2
Hand 3

I'm going on an actual vacation starting Wednesday, so there will likely be another lull in posts, but I promise to get back to it the moment I return. Also, I still owe everyone some stories from Reno, including how I lost 400 dollars to a stripper in a 1/2 NL game, then Steve won it all back from her once I went to sleep.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Session Report, 8/22

Yesterday I played just a shade under 5 hours at Bay 101. I first drove to Garden City to see the effect of the construction work they'd just done (they replaced the floors) and while the room was much louder (hard to believe I know...but that happens when you replace carpet with tile), it felt much cleaner. Now whether or not it was actually cleaner is up for debate, but whatever.

I get there and for the second time in 3 trips I have the following interaction with Ted, the short fat floor man.

Jesse: "Hi Ted, JMS checking in for 20/40"
Ted: "OK"
Jesse: "Can you put me up for 6/12 and 8/16 as well"
Ted: "Hold on I'm gonna start a game" (last time it was "You'll have a seat very soon").
Ted does not put Jesse on the 6 or 8 lists.
Jesse walks to main desk and puts self on said lists.

Last time it took fifty (that's five zero) minutes for me to get a 20 seat after Ted the floor man REFUSED to put me on wait lists I was asking for. This time his premise was that he was going to start another game. I look around. There are no tables. None. Not a single freaking table is available for the game. I look at the list. There are 11 names, 4 of which are call-ins who have not checked in and on which I am in 9th place somehow (despite having called in 40 minutes ago...this is a bad sign, as it means there's no movement on the list...probably because they have one game only).

My poker-only friend LV (I have never seen her outside of Bay 101 or Garden City) and I have a little bitch session about how Garden City now sucks and how we should call Bay 101. LV is a solid winner in the games we play, and is a breath of fresh air in that environment I can assure you. Then I call Bay 101 and put both our names on the list. 10 minutes later she leaves, and 5 minutes after that I am called for the 6/12 game (no thanks to you, Ted, you big fat idiot you). I again check the 20 list and see it's as dismal as before, then note that the "biggest fish in the sea" has moved from the 20 game up to the 40. I pass on my 6/12 seat, get in my car, and beat LV to Bay 101 because she apparently drives like a Grannie.

I roll up to Bay 101 around 3:15 and check in for the list. I am about 18th, but there are four games going and some call-ins ahead of me that have not checked in. I find 2p2er Jack (the names have been changed to protect the innocent) and we talk shop, having just met last night in the 20 game (actually we met when I sent him a PM on 2p2 after he had described himself in the mid stakes low content thread and I realized I'd played with him). Then I get a beef taco, which is the only way to fly at Bay 101, and devastate it in about 47 seconds. Then LV shows up (WTF???) and we again commence to bitch about Garden City.

Suddenly we realize the tournament is down to the final 4, so we head over to railbird that thing. Another 2p2er (let's call him Joe) has made the final four, but is short stacked. I call Jack over and we triple his cheering section (one other player is cheering for him, as he has 10% of Joe's action from a deal they struck at an earlier table in this shoot out tournament when they were heads up). I can't really even get to a position where I can see all 4 player's actions, let alone the board cards or the stack sizes, so I quickly loose interest. Joe ends up coming in third and pocketing a cool 6K+ (nice hit Joe, nice hit) and then Jack, myself, and LV are all called for the 20 game in quick succession around 4:15.

Not much interesting happened in the session, although I spent the second half of it on Jack's right, which always makes it more interesting (I like to have the best player at the table on my left, as I figure I'm not getting any money out of him anyway so he might as well have position). I managed to post a win of 538 dollars, down from a peek of about 1000 because of the following three hands:

I open AQo and notice guy on my left had been fumbling for chips. He makes a speech "I guess I call" and I'm already a little concerned. We see a flop about 5 handed and of course it has an ace in it. The final board is about:


He calls me down, I table what should be a nut monster....but wait! He rolls AK and scoops the pot. Wow, sir, wow. Thanks for saving me that 60 bucks.

Next hand of interest....

Myself and Jack have posted a pair of big blinds, and the game is only 6 handed at the moment. An average player open-raises, and an older white gentleman who puts in WAY too much action with his hands calls the two bets cold (as an example, he three-bet the river and paid off a 4-bet with the nut flush on a paired board...not one but BOTH of his opponents had full houses). I hold QJ of diamonds and call one more bet, and Jack calls as well.

QXX two hearts

I check, Jack checks, Preflop raiser bets, action-man calls, I now raise, jack folds, both other players call.

Q black

I bet, action-man now raises, and I go into the tank. Normally this is an easy call down, but against action-man I'm trying to see if I can find a raise. Eventually I decide he's pretty tight preflop and thus my kicker isn't very good with my Queen (he could have a J or a T, but most likely has a K or perhaps even an Ace if he holds a Queen). He could also have a full boat by flopping one of the little sets, so I just call.

X heart (3 hearts now).

Ah blessed heart I say. Thank you (unless he had a heart draw, in which case I'm very sad). I check and try to look suspicious. He confirms my suspiciousness and says "I check, I think you have hearts waitin' in the weeds over there". I roll my hand with low expectations. He turns over KQ to drag the pot. I own you sir.

Next ownage here....

One player limps. I've played with him before and don't regard him as good. He is short stacked to start the hand. I raise A9 both spades somewhere in the middle/late and we take a flop 3 or 4 handed. To make a long story short this limper calls me all-in on the river when a flush draw comes in on a board of:


His AT beats my A9, as both of the Xs were below 9.

These three hands were pretty frustrating, but in two of them my opponents allowed me to get away from my hand as cheaply as possible by playing incredibly passively.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Week 3 Results

A much cheerier outlook for week 3, Saturday the 16th until just now, Friday the 22nd. I didn't keep records of how long I played 2/4 limit (that's right) and 4/8 Omaha High/Low Split (again, that's correct) in Reno because I was really just playing for fun. I did lose money in the games and will count the losses in my totals, but won't be reporting the hours. This is what happens when you drink for 12+ hours straight for 3 days in a row....

Total winnings: 2640
Total hours: 19.5 (this does not count 6+ hours of messing around in small reno games with my buddies)

My plan was to play a lot of serious poker in reno, but after I won 6 racks in my first 6 hours in the 20/40 game, I decided to call that off and actually take a vacation. I donked off 400 dollars in a 1/2 NL game (I successfully called down with AQ unimproved out of position, only to be shown A9 that rivered a 9...then flopped a set and got it all in on the turn and was shown a flush...I got tricky on that one, but would have lost my whole stack anyway I'd played it).

The only "disappointment" of this week was that I did not hit my hours goal of 40. That was a conscious decision, however, and I'm glad I made it. I came back from Reno fully charged and put in 13 hours of live 20/40 yesterday and today (result: +~300).

The Reno trip made me realize that one of the biggest perks of this lifestyle is the ability to spend times with friends, either locally or by traveling. I basically took 5 days of my life to go hang out and drink with my buddies and was none the worse off for it. I actually considered extending my stay past when they all left, but thought it better to get "back to work" at Bay 101.

Week 2 Results

I realized I never posted my week 2 results (I'm going to try and get caught up here but separate the posts logically). Here goes:

Week 2 of my trial run, from Saturday the 9th to Friday the 15th:

Total winnings = -123 dollars
Total hours played = 49.25
Unsuccessful 40/80 shots = 1 (total lost = 1856 in about 4 hours)

So in short, I continued to run well at 20/40 (about +1800 in a little under 40 hours), but got obliterated in the 40 game (and lost a little bit in some other smaller games) to round out a basically break even week. Bleh.

During the end of week 2 I definitely had a few days where I didn't want to drive to the casino to play poker. I forced myself to play though, and didn't take any days off, because I knew I was goingn to Reno for 5 days and wanted to be able to make the most of it with a clean conscious. More on that to follow...but the lesson was that I can't just mindlessly play hours. I need at least my B game in order for it to be worth carrying on in a session.

I am a Terrible Blogger

So last Saturday morning I left for Reno and just returned on Wednesday afternoon. I was in Reno to hang out with some friends from college (one of whom lives there, 3 of whom were in town from the east coast, and two of whom rode up from the Bay Area with me). I learned a few things.

In Reno, it is 1994. All the people act as if it is 1994, the music is at least 10 years old, and the buildings and decorations follow suite. If you ever need to get back to 1994, just go to Reno. In keeping with the spirit of 1994 (a fine year in which I reached my peak as a competitive swimmer, scoring a silver medal at the Eastern Zones Swimming Championships with a 30.42 in the 50 yard breast stroke), I chose not to turn on my lap top for 5 days.

Stories from Reno are going to be sprinkled throughout my next few posts, but first the business of the matter. I planned to put in some heavy hours in the Peppermill 20/40 game during the trip (by the way, if you're going to Reno and need a hotel, the 'Mill is your best bet), but ended up only playing about 6 hours. The reason, you ask? After six hours I was up 2800 dollars and decided the rest of the trip would serve as an actual vacation. The game itself was superbly soft, with much less aggression than I'm used to. That combined with me running like God basically left everyone to assume I was a complete maniac, which by local standards I suppose was almost true.

After deductions for various other gambling losses (I dropped 400 bucks in the 1/2 NL game), food, beverages, and strip club expenditures, I returned to the Bay Area up a healthy 4 racks. Yahoo!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Where to they find these people

Yesterday I rolled up to Bay 101 around 1:15 pm and promptly got a seat in a 6/12 game (there is often open seating in that game at this time of day). After exactly 4 minutes I was called for the 20/40 game, and was seated with "MegaFish", a quiet Indian gentleman who is just absolutely awful at Texas Hold 'Em. He does stuff like putting in 6 bets on the flop with an over pair (of 6s mind you...the board was 244) against a prop player who 3-bet preflop. 6 bets here is a little much, just trust me.

Anyway, I play for about 30 minutes with MegaFish and he's just launching his money into the pot left and right. He kills a rack while I'm there, buys another, asks for a table change, then looses another rack, then just walks away. I am sad to see him go, but also am up almost 600 bucks in 30 minutes cause I flopped a few good hands, so I can't much complain. MegaFish paid me off once on all three streets on a board of AK4-T-3 when I had 3-bet him preflop with AK. What did he have, you ask? KJ. That's not what I'd call a "good" pay off.

So I play for 15 more minutes then realize something....MegaFish didn't leave the casino. He's at the 40/80 table! And there are open seats! "Lock it up!!!!!". This is my moment, my shot, my one opportunity. I play off my blinds at the 20 game, take a deep breath, and schlep my chips over to the 40/80 game where I get a seat just two to the left of MegaFish (being on his left is good. He enters many, many pots, and if I'm on his left I have position on him 8/9ths of the time).

The first few orbits are pretty unsuccessful. If anything I find the game to be more passive than I'm used to (typically a 40/80 would be more aggressive than 20/40), and I proceed to air ball 3 planned check/raises. I also play a hand very passively against an 80/160 player who is slumming it when I defend my big blind against his early position raise. I have AJo and the flop comes AKJ with two diamonds. This flop is not nearly as good as it looks, because if I get much action here I'm probably behind. I check/raise him on the flop anyway and he just calls. The turn is another jack and I lead into him with my "bottom full house". He raises me. I tank for a minute and decide he has one of the following hands:

AA - 1 available
KK - 3 available
AK - 6 available
AQ - 8 available
AJ - 2 available

So I'm splitting against 2 combos, a head of 14 and only behind 4. However, if I 3-bet this turn he's probably going to play almost perfectly against me (I think he probably thinks I'm scared money, as he knows I don't play 40 usually). I elect not to raise and call only. The river is a brick and he beats me into the pot with a bet (before I can even check). So I just call, and he shows me AQ and MHIG. I may have missed a bet, but it's possible he'd have folded to a turn 3-bet (i almost certainly would have against me).

By this point MegaFish has been moved to the main game and I'm about even (unlike the 20/40 games, where you can table change whenever you want, the 40/80 games are strung together in a "must move" format. When a seat in the Main Game opens, a player is moved to it from the Must Move Game, and that seat is filled from the wait list). I am 3 spots behind him and decide to wait it out. Nothing interesting happens (other than the aforementioned missing of check/raises), and eventually I get to the main game.

Then the world ends.

MegaFish is 2 seats to my left, which is not ideal. It's a Main Game so very few seat changes open up, and basically I'm stuck where I am. No big deal. I play a few pots and am generally holding my own. There is one other bad player at the table, and one prop that I'm not very afraid of and have played a lot. Things are going OK, and MegaFish is still playing horribly. By this point I have been called for 20/40 two more times (I listed myself so I could eventually move back down), but "rolled it" (put my name on the bottom of the list each time). I am called a 3rd time, just as I've posted my big blind, and again decide to roll it.

I find AQ off and raise one limper. The aggressive asian lady on my left 3-bets, and MegaFish calls 3 cold to the chin like it ain't no thang. We see a flop 4 or 5 handed (I honestly don't remember) and the board is:

Q97 rainbow

This is it. I'm gonna win this pot and call it a successful shot. I bet, 3 players call, including MegaFish.

3 two spades now

I bet, preflop raiser again calls, and mega fish calls, 4th player drops.

River spade

I bet, preflop raiser folds, MegaFish calls all in for his last 3 chips and rolls A4 both spades for the nut flush. On the flop he had...air. Nothing. Bubkus. He was drawing at either running fours or running spades. He drags the 12+ big bet pot (12*80 = $960) and I am devastated.

Two hands later....

There is a raise and some callers and I opt to fold K2 off from the big blind. It's a trouble hand, and really shouldn't be played even getting 9:1 preflop. Some would argue you can play any two cards here, but K2 is the type of hand where you have horrific RIO problems. Anyway I watch the flop come down Q22 and am about ready to end it all.

Three hands later.

The dealer pitches me my second card and it hits me squarely in the knuckle and flips right over, face up. In this situation the dealer will simply deal me an extra card after he finishes dealing and collect my card and use it as "the burn" card. This way the same flop comes down as if he had not dealt and the hand is minimally affected (if two cards are exposed it's a misdeal). Anyway, he pitches me a second card and...

An early position player raises. I look down to find a pair of ladies in the hole and of course make it 3 bets. MegaFish takes 3 to the chin once more (to give you an idea of how bad this is, I have NEVER done it. There, I said it), and the old tighty white guy in the big blind caps it (crap). We all call the cap (that's all we can do) and the flop comes 9-high. I bet, MegaFish raises me (awesome) everyone else folds (super awesome) and I 3-bet him. He calls. The turn is a blank and I bet and he calls. He raises me when a Ten comes off on the river and proudly displays T9o for the winning hand.

My stack, just moments ago in fine shape, contains only 600 of my original 2100 dollars. I am called for 20/40 and say "lock it up", ducking my tail between my legs.

I play 2 hours of 20/40 and recoup a large portion of my losses by winning another 653 dollars. For the day, despite the devastation at 40/80, I leave only stuck 250 dollars. I have made it my goal to play as much poker with MegaFish as humanly possible in the next two days. Also, I'm no longer scared of the 40 game, as even the "good" players were making many mistakes that I could identify. I think I'm ready for it, but need a few days to get my confidence back.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Strange Lines at Ridgemont High

Yesterday I played a 6 hour session at Bay 101 (I also played 6/12 for 45 minutes, but basically just missed two flush draws, won a small pot with TPTK and lost 50 bucks).

The session started off....poorly. Within 2 hours I was stuck more than two racks and had to employ the Phil Helmuth Chip Mess Strategy (I can't find the youtube clip, but in one WSOP event Phil Helmuth refused to stack his chips and just played with them in a pile in front of him for about 30 minutes until some guy finally complained enough. I do this sometimes at the table so I can't know how much I'm stuck). After my 2nd table change (all the games are bad, and two known 2p2 regulars just sat down at one table) I actually purchase a 4th rack and ask the guy "wait, let me do it" and just dump the whole thing on top of my pile (I buy two racks to start, then buy in 1 rack increments).

Sadly, even the chip mess cannot save me. I have such gems as:

K8s in the big blind. I get 5 bets in on the flop against one guy who is suicide all-inning (he is out of chips). The board, coincidentally, contains a King, and two unrelated lower cards. Turn is also of no use, my opponent then cries "Deuce!" while already out of his chair, the dealer obliges, puts out a red 2, and my opponent rolls K2s to win the pot.


I have AA and of course raise. Like 4 people take the flop and I am eventually rivered when the board pairs the 7 and somebody shows me T7s which she limped UTG.

In general I just am missing flops and losing bets, etc etc. Finally one game looks good and I table change to it like a Ninja. I am in for the change on the board, but the floor-lady is going to not call me until after I post my big blind, which is bad (you have to post at the new table, so posting twice in a row is very bad from a "math" and "expectation" point of view). I ask her if I can move, she says yes, I go and post in behind the button while 2/3rds of my chips are still on the other table. Before I can finish moving all my chips I almost felt a woman with AK ui (Ace King Unimproved). She has 78 pair no draw, with which she put in 40 bucks on the turn. I skedaddle back to my table and grab some more chips, but when I return find A4 both clubs and two limpers already in the pot. I call, two more calls, and away we go to a flop of:

QJ3 (all clubs).

I attempt to remain calm and pray to the Action Gods for...well, what else? Action. One of the blinds bets out and I decide this is a good sign. I simply call the bet (a raise here will fold out hands that might call, but a flat call might get someone else to raise) and am happy to see the button raise. The blind now 3-bets. Again I call. The button caps it. I call once more. Do realize here that I hold the best possible hand.

Turn brings and off-suite 6, and I still have the absolute stone cold nuts. The blind bets again, and for the 4th time I simply call. The button raises, and then I realize (bah!) that the blind is now all in for only 5 more chips. It's go time baby! I 3-bet. The button raises again. I am completely bewildered, as my line screams "I HAVE THE NUTS RIGHT HERE! THE NUTS! YOU CAN'T WIN!!!!" The dealer says "cap it" and I am confused; the betting cap usually goes away when two players are heads up (as either one could simply opt to call and not raise again) and ask "there's a cap heads up?" and am informed that since the round started with a 3rd player involved there is still a cap. Oops, just cost myself 40 bucks.

Turn brings a red card that does not pair the board. I now donk bet (you can't very well check/raise the river when you just asked if you could put in a 5th bet on 4th street), the button looks confused and calls only. I drag the monster pot. Button claims he had a straight flush draw, and the blind shows K5 for the second nut flush. I am thrilled. My line for the hand is:

Call, Call, Call
Call, 3-bet, Call

And then this two hand sequence occurs:

Hand 1:

Fred, a guy I think plays full time or at the very least plays a ton of mid stakes hold 'em, open raises on the button. I 3-bet pocket 4s in the small blind because if you're going to play there, you have to 3-bet to force out the big blind and take control of the action. I can do this with a hand as weak as pocket 4s because Fred's range is very, very wide (I would raise in his position with probably 40% of all hands). The flop is:

A89 (two hearts)

I bet and Fred calls.

Turn is a 2

I bet and Fred calls again.

At this point I'm almost positive Fred has a heart draw of some sort. He could have a pair, but almost certainly not an Ace because he'd have raised at some point along the way.

The river pairs the 8 and I decide to check and hope Fred will stab at the pot (so I can call and hopefully collect 40 more dollars). Fred declines, and I say "Pair" and table my 44. He shakes his head like he can't understand how I could put in that much action with a pair of fours and mucks his hand.

1 orbit later

A new player at the table raises UTG. It folds to Fred in the small blind, and he hems, haws, hems some more, then eventually calls. I look at my cards, find T7 off and say "Fred, look what you just made me do", clearly referencing the hand where I 3-bet pocket 4s, and call getting 5:1 closing the action to see 3 cards.

AT6 is the flop.

Fred and I check, UTG dutifully bets (he'd bet 100% of his range here...or should) and Fred...calls. I say "Fred, you're making me do it again!" and I call.


Yahtzee. Fred checks, I check, UTG is not an idiot and can read hands so he checks. Damn it.


That's fine I say, my hand is still the nuts. UTG may not be an idiot, but he'd have to have bet an Ace on the turn, so my full house is good.

Fred Donks! I can't believe it and simply call. UTG turbo-mucks his cards and Fred shakes his head and says "you win, you win" and I don't table my hand (he has to act first since I called him...he must either table his hand or muck). He tables black 9s for a final hand of...Ace and Tens with a 9 kicker. I show my ten and again he shakes his head. My opinion of Fred has dropped substantially in this hand. Again to recap my line, it was:


Final result for the day was a loss of about 75 dollars, as I managed to fight my way all the way back to down 25 bucks at live 20/40. Yesterday's total was actually a win of 355. I've played a lot of hours the last two days to win 280 dollars, but sometimes that happens.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

[x] Epic

Monday was my longest day as professional. Stay with me on this one.


I get a seat in the Garden City 8/16 game. It turns out Garden City is doing flooring construction on half the room, and consequently there are fewer tables all crowded together at the half of the room I usually don't play in. To make a long story short, it sucks, but I'm already there and first up for 20/40, so I play.

I watch 3 hands. Seat 6 is a confirmed lunatic.

I post in and find KTo in bad position (first to act after the button). Maniac raises and I 3-bet with one other player in the pot. The flop is:


I bet, maniac calls, other player raises, I 3-bet, maniac folds, other player calls.


I bet he calls


I bet he calls and shows K7. He rivered me for half the pot, as we both have 8s full of Kings.

Very next hand.

I raise red Jacks in the cutoff and like 6 people see the flop of 922

Somebody bets right into me and I raise. The pot is heads up on the turn but is kind of big.


I now have 2s full of Jacks. He bets into me again, and again I raise. He calls.


He bets into me a final time and I want to vomit. I light 16 dollars on fire as he rolls Q9 off, for 9s full of 2s (I have 2s full of jacks...his hand wins). Two hands, two full houses, 1/2 of one pot. After 35 minutes of this garbage I get called for 20/40 and somehow manage to have won 80 dollars. I really don't know how that happened.


My table is the middle of the most crowded part of the floor and I'm not happy about it. It's just an awful place to play, nothing like the usual sedate mid-stakes area where we usually get sheltered. I play for 1 hour and loose 300 dollars, mostly because I'm an idiot:

A bad player limps in the High jack and I raise KK in the cutoff. Button and small blind fold. A good winning player* 3-bets from the big blind. Bad player calls, I cap it, and away we go.

Good player's range here is probably TT+ and AK. He usually would be even tighter than this, but he surely knows I could be isolating the terrible player who open limped in late position.


Great flop I say. They check to me and I bet. They both call.

J (still no flush draw)

That's an awful, awful card. Good player checks, bad player donks. I tank, and idiotically decide to call (this gets worse). The good player then raises in rhythm (I've shown weakness by tanking but don't realize this), and the bad player calls. I have a brain anuyerism (sp?) and fold, the river bricks off, and the good player shows QQ to scoop the pot. My (flawed) logic...I don't even want to get into it. I needed to raise the turn to charge his AK to draw, but by tanking I invited him to take a shot. I folded because I figured one of them had me beat for sure. Fail. So I call Bay 101 and drive on over.

Note: The problem here is that I turbo folded my hand and didn't "slow down" to think about it on the turn. I am prone to doing that and need to fix it. In this case a careful analysis would have allowed me to realize that while I would be burning 2 bets a good portion of the time if I went to show down, I did have enough equity to make the calls (and it wasn't very close). Better still would have been to raise the turn, but that decision is probably less awful.

* Note that when I say "good player" the term is very relative. To the average reader a game filled with 8 of this player would be a shark tank. To some people I know from two plus two, 8 of him in a game would constitute grounds to order a beer and commence the feeding frenzy. To me, he is merely a solid opponent, well above the average skill-level I encounter. A table filled with him would not be worth sitting in, but I doubt I'd lose more than the rake.


I play 5 hands of live 6/12 and manage to win 37 dollars. Again I don't recall how.


I am seated in the 20 game, change tables like 4 times, and eventually find myself in "the best" game which isn't even that good. Fortunately I flop a nut straight and two sets and manage to leave up 1050 dollars after 3.5 hours. No interesting hands really happened except these two gems:

First hand I post in with 92 off. I get a free look and flop a pair of 9s. I raise the lunatic when he bets, but he 3-bets and I just call. Turn is a blessed deuce and I raise him again and get TWO callers (they both had flush draws). River blanks off and I drag a monster.

Much later...Lunatic live 40s it, gets raised by another aggressive player, and I cap it with AQ of diamonds. The flop goes off 4 handed:


I bet and get two calls, one from the maniac and one from a late position guy who took 4 bets to the face preflop. Preflop 3-better folds getting 19:1 closing the action. lol.


I bet and only maniac calls.


I bet and maniac CHECK RAISES ALL IN FOR 3 MORE CHIPS. Let's think about this. First of all, going for a check/raise is always risky. Your opponent must bet, then actually pay off the raise. Second of all, in this case he's only getting 3 more chips instead of the full 8 for his risk. Just awful. I call the 15 bucks in the massive pot and he rolls

T6 off

Just. Wow.


In my car on the way home I resolve to play more tonight (I have to get home soon to take care of Tyson). I get home, have some dinner, take him for a walk, and head straight back to Bay 101.


They open a new table and I get a seat after 5 minutes of live 6/12 in which I lose only 8 dollars in posted blinds. I play for 6 hours and lose about a rack of chips. The player on my right, who is truly awful, owns my soul by making 3 flushes in 3 tries against my top pair, set, and two pair, and also finds AA against my KQs (flop was JT2 so I paid him to draw and of course missed), AQ against my AJ, and TT against my 88. It was one of those sessions where you just know you're a huge favorite at the table the but cards simply will not cooperate.


On the way home I realize I had an absolute blast. My table for the night session at bay 101 was a ton of fun (a "state competitor" gymnast and I talked about the Olympics, Charles the "big black dude" was just an animated and fun guy, and "awful dude on my left" was very friendly). I got to work on my "i'm going back to school" story for everyone, and even though I lost 500 dollars left quite happy.

Result for the day: meh, something like +300....i'll figure it out eventually.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Shot Taken, Nothing Interesting Happens

Today's session was played at Bay 101. The sum result of 5.5 hours of live 20/40 was a win of 143 dollars. I yet again put in too much action with hands that could not possibly win and probably should have saved 3 or 4 bets. I did however have the following humorous hand occur:

I open raise QTo from the cutoff. The big blind calls and we see a flop of:

Q94 two hearts.

He checks, I bet he calls.


He checks, I bet, he raises, I think and decide to call down.


He bets, I call, he looks at his hand like it's the nuts then says "whoops" and shows J8. He thought he had J9 and lit 80 dollars on fire because of it. Whoops indeed sir, whoops indeed.

Ballin A Little Higher

A few hours into my session they were advertising open seating in the 40/80 game and I decided to give it a shot. Two players at the game were known to me as "not so great" and it was only 8 handed, so away we went. I bought in for $2000 (holy crap) in $10 chips and played for 45 minutes. Nothing very interesting happened other than a guy freezing me up with a donk bet on the turn that I fell for (I called him down and checked behind when the worst card in the deck, the A of spades that completed a flush draw, hit on the river and he checked. I had KK, he had Q7 for top pair before the Ace). I left the game up a whopping 7 dollars and went back to 20/40, where I proceeded to win back what I'd lost in the first 2.5 hours.

Net result for the day: +150

First Week Summary

Two More Sessions

I played 4.5 hours Friday morning at Garden City and posted a small loser. The games were not as good as usual, and that is probably because I clocked in at 10am. I'll keep this in mind.

After going out with friends in the evening, I played some late night poker at Artichoke Joe's on the way back from San Francisco. This was a bad idea, not because I played poorly (I did not), but because I stayed up too late and ended up feeling like crap the next day. I remedied the situation by sleeping until almost 2pm.

Yesterday (the first day of week 2), I played for 5 hours at Garden City. My session was cut short because of the aforementioned feeling like crap and not getting started until almost 5pm. I did manage to win over a rack of chips at the 20/40 game after my customary loss at 8/16 while waiting for a game.

First Week Totals

My first week "as a professional" ended late Friday night. The results so far are quite promising; I manged to play 42.25 hours of live 20/40 and was on a sick heater most of the time. I also played a some 6/12 and 8/16 while waiting for seats, and played a bit of 15/30 at Artichoke Joe's on Friday night. I finished the week up 4288, and even had a 3000 dollar down swing stuck in the middle. The astute reader will note that I basically broke even after my first two sessions, a phenomenon that is fairly common in this game; grind, grind, grind, grind, huge win, grind, grind, grind.

What Did I Learn So Far?

There are a couple of things I need to work on if I'm going to make this stick. Some are technical points, while others are of a "softer" variety.

1. I give too much action with hands that obviously can't win. For example, last night I raised AKo from the blinds and bet/3-bet a flop of KQJ. What exactly am I hoping to accomplish with putting in that last raise? My goose has been cooked and I obviously need to improve to win. I also have a hard time laying down over-pairs on the river that are obviously beat. If I can save a few bets in these situations my win-rate would increase substantially. However, I need to make sure I'm doing it in the right spots, as laying down even one winner in a large pot would be a catastrophe.

2. Project a less serious image. I like to talk about and analyze hands, and forcing myself not to do so at the table is a constant battle. I'm doing the best I can, but I need to do better. Yesterday I caught myself telling a man that I'd have gotten him to fold his pocket 7s on a board of TQ8-4-2 had their not been a 3rd player in the pot (I had KJ for an open ended straight draw). Me saying this is lunacy; I should never offer this sort of information. It's better for your opponents to, as much as possible, think you're just there to gamble with them and are not giving any thought to the way in which you're flinging chips into the pot.

3. Control tilt. I went on tilt once this week and coincidentally it was during my biggest downer. I must get better at recognizing when tilt is creeping in and either overcoming it or quitting my game.

4. Post more hands. After I play a hand I convince myself that I either played it right or made a mistake. Instead of doing this I should write down the hand and post it on Two Plus Two. That's the only way I'm going to get better.

5. Post on Two Plus Two more. I realized that the main reason I was posting so much before was that I was at work and would rather post than code. Now I don't have the 8 hours of drudgery every day and am finding myself doing more fun things (like playing poker, watching movies, exercising, or writing my blog) instead of spending time reading, discussing, and learning.

One Fun Hand

I had just moved to a new table and had posted my big blind behind the button (new players must "post in", and it is customary to do it either as your natural big blind or in the position right behind the button). Garden City and Bay 101 also allow you to post between the button and small blind, which is what I usually do and therefore am not as comfortable with playing having posted behind. It folds to a player I don't know from Adam two positions in front of me who open raises. The next player folds and I look down to find T7 offsuite. This hand is pretty terrible, but folding is basically out of the question; I have position and it's only going to cost me 1 bet to see the flop. Then I remember something; if you're going to play in this situation, it's better to raise and hopefully limit the field to heads up and create dead money from the blinds. So I raise. Then the small blind makes it 4 bets for a cap, and the original raiser and myself sheepishly call. The small blind doesn't look like the kind of player who would cap light, so I'm thinking he has exactly QQ, KK, AA or AK (but most likely KK or AA).

The small blind does not disappoint me and smoke bets the flop as the cards come out. This means he has AA or KK. The player between us calls and then I look at the flop; 874r. I now look at the pot; 14 small bets. I call, because I have a pair and two of those will win this sucker.

The small blind smokes the turn, which is a 9, for a board of 874-9 and still not a flush draw in sight. I would now offer 10:1 odds that he has KK or AA, and 15:1 if you'd let me include QQ. This time the player between folds, and I check the pot; 8.5 big bets. I hollywood for a bit, knowing full well this is a turbo-call (I have a pair and an open-ended straight draw), for a whopping 13 outs (nearly 1/3rd of the deck). I call and the small blind smokes the river....


That'll do pig, that'll do. I raise him in rhythm and am astonished when he folds KK face up (not that he turned it face up...that he folded it). I make a note that this man can be bluff-raised in huge pots and drag the chips. Welcome to the table, sir!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Out of Clever Titles

Today's session was played at Bay 101 (I had been alternating, but decided to back to back the Bay today because I wanted to avoid it on Friday as the lists are usually longer than my...well, you get the idea). I got a seat at 12:30 and had a great 6.5 hour session.

And they don't even know....

My first interesting hand goes down like this:

A bad player limps UTG and I raise KT of hearts next in. I am 3-bet by a good player, two more players call the two bets (the blinds I think), and the 3-better says "Cap it!" to the UTG player upon whom the action currently sits. He caps it all in (he is out of chips for exactly the 4-bets), I of course call, and we see the flop 5 handed for 4 bets each.

K72 two diamonds

It is checked to me, I bet, everyone calls. This is great...the 3-better didn't raise!

T of spades

Wow, how I have two pair. If I wasn't good before, I sure am now. I bet, and one player calls.

T of clubs

Runner runner boat. Well done dealer, well done. I bet, last player folds. The all in player turns over his cards to reveal AQ both clubs. I have to laugh for a second....had he raised preflop, like he was supposed to, I'd have never entered the pot in the first place. Ooops.

10K on Display

This guy sits down at my 20/40 table and pull a brick of hundreds out of his pants and starts counting them in plain view, right at the table. He counts them at least twice, and still has them on display during the next hand. Eventually he bands them up and puts them in his jeans. It was at least 7 or 8 thousand, probably more like 10, and I decide he's just being an ass. Then they call him for the 80/160 game and it all becomes clear. 8K is a totally reasonable amount to have on hand for that game.

I Ruin a Life

Recently a player at our table went on a very sick heater. He won 3 pots in a row at one point and probably something like 8 out of 14. While this was happening "Angry Man" has been saying stuff like "what a marginal hand" and "you don't know how marginal your hand was" and "how does stupid play like that get rewarded" and "i bet he thinks he's a good player". All this while Mr. Heater is still at the table! Mr. Heater is a bad player and I want him to stick around, but shortly afterwards he racks up his 3500 dollar stack and walks to the cage. Afterwards, Angry Man can't stop talking about him, saying "when you play like that you'll lose 19 out of 20 times" and keeps calling him stupid. I say "I don't get it. You think he's a bad player and is going to lose, so you berate him and call him stupid until he leaves the table? That's your strategy?" Two people at the table back me up, and Angry Man (honestly) says "I didn't say he was stupid, I said that was a stupid play" and sincerely thinks there is a difference. Whatever. He has tapped the glass and must be punished.

I am dealt KQ offsuit and open the pot for a raise after a limper. Angry man calls, so does another player, and the pot goes off about 5 handed.

K95 two hearts hit the board

This is already a large pot and "large pot tactics" come into play. Large pot tactics dictate that you have to do everything you can to get your opponents to fold live hands (hands that have outs) against you. Anyway, I bet the flop and I think everyone calls.

The turn is a small heart. I don't remember what it was exactly sadly, but I am not too happy to see it. However, the fact that nobody raised the flop means that I'm probably safe from a flush. I bet, two players behind me (including Angry Man) call, and a fourth player, who just got called for the 80/160 game, raises while saying in accented English "Going to 80/160". The action is on me and I think long and hard, then realize my decision is simple; 80/160 man has only 5 chips left, not even a full bet. I 3-bet the turn with 1 pair. The player on my left looks at me funny and calls, and Angry Man peels off two more bets and calls. Then the river:

K59-x-9 with three hearts

I bet. Lady on my left folds. Angry Man looks furious and folds. 80/160 man says "full how?" and I say with pride "Two pair!" and table my hand. He mucks in disgust. Angry Man claims I'm "very lucky" and I say "why's that?" He says "the river saved you, I already had two pair" and then proceeds to take a walk for 10 minutes.

Let's think about this. Sadly I have forgotten the turn card, but it was below 9. He either:'

1. Is lying. This is most likely.
2. Called two bets cold preflop with like 7 high (or K5) and neglected to ever raise with 2 pair in a massive pot. Therefore, he is an idiot.

Hard to say which is true, but man that was sweet. I don't think I've ever 3-bet the turn with 1 pair, shown it down, and had it been good.

The Bison Appears

2p2er BisonBison appears at the tail end of my session. He sweats me for two hands where I win a small pot and then flop a set of kings in a pot that was capped preflop. He is a good sweat indeed.

Final session result: +1495 in 6.5 hours of play.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Back on the Horse

Somehow I woke up this morning before 9am feeling incredibly refreshed (7 hours of sleep is well under quota for me). After a quick workout and finishing "Batman Begins" from NetFlix, it was off to Bay 101 to redeem myself for last night's catastrophe.

I got an 8/16 seat at 12:40 and promptly lost 120 dollars in 30 minutes. I won't really go into much detail because it's not that interesting, but man those people played bad. Sadly, their hands were just better than mine. The prime example is the man who checked the flop holding QJo in late position. The flop contained a Queen, and nary a King nor Ace could be seen. Yet he did in fact check behind, allowing his four opponents to draw for free. Of course I had Q5 from the big blind here and bet it like it was the nuts on the turn and river. This shit doesn't happen at 20.

So at 1:10 they call me for my 20/40 seat (It's always fun when you're at a lower table and they call you for a bigger game. The bigger the gap the better. I was once playing 3/6 and got called for a 20 seat and two people basically fell out of their chairs) and I head right on over. I am seated next to a 2+2 friend and I managed to learn a good bit just from watching him play (if you're reading this Pete*) thanks. He basically gives off an "I don't know what I'm doing I'm just here to gamble" air with every motion and every word out of his mouth. It helped that he managed to table 43 off suit where he runner-runnered the nut 5-high straight, but I think he definitely was getting more action because of his image.

Anyway, Pete* eventually leaves and the biggest fish changes tables, so what do I do? I follow him over to Table 37 and proceed to commit the most heinous hit 'n run of my life. In 20 minutes the following happens:

1. Indian Dude open raises, a cold-call, I find 76 suited and am about to muck it, but the aforementioned terrible fish behind me has already called, so I decide to call. The rule of thumb for a hand like this is that you want at least 5 handed action from players who go too far with their hands and good position. This qualifies. Anyway I flop Yahtzee with a 7-high straight and get paid through the nose.

2. I get a free look from the big blind and flop another 7-high straight (this time with 75 suited). I am paid handsomely again. Note the importance here of having bad players at your table. Sometimes these monsters don't get paid off; today, they did.

3. I raise AK and the flop is KKA. One of my opponents sees the river and then has to buy more chips after the hand muttering "made a full house on the turn....", indicating he too had quite a strong hand.

4. I raise QQ and the super fish pays me off on two streets on a board of A75-2-K. He has 79 off.

5. I look left and see that 2 of the remaining 3 players are telegraphing folds, so I open raise K9s. The button also folds, but Indian Dude calls from the SB. BB folds, not a bad result I say. Flop comes down 832 with two hearts. Gin I say, he can't call two bets here. I bet and he calls the first one. 4 of hearts falls. Uh-oh I say, a normal opponent might have something here. I bet, he calls again. River 6 of hearts. I have officially nothing and check. He checks behind and I smell a glimmer of hope (my hand is probably like 25% to win against two random cards off the top of the deck, but whatever). I table my king-high, and he says "no good" and tables 95 off suite for...a straight. He says "You cracked my aces with 76, I had to get back at you". NH sir...that's a solid strategy there.

* Remember, the names have been changed to protect the innocent.

At this point I've run 960 some odd dollars up to 2300 in front of me and have a mighty mountain of chips. I decide for my own well being that it's time to head home and take the night off (I was due to take tomorrow off entirely, but instead think I'm just going take the next 24 hours off).

Session results: 2.5 hours of live 20/40 (30 minutes of 8/16), +1372 in 20/40, -120 in 8/16. My life time win rate for live 20/40 is almost exactly 41 dollars per hour.

The Honeymoon Ends

Last night I got my first real taste of what undoubtedly stops many professional poker careers from really taking flight; variance and, to a small extent I admit, tilt. I spent the first half of my day taking my dog to the vet. As it turns out, Tyson has arthritis and bone spurs in both elbows and is going to at least be on medication for the rest of his life. If things don't improve, he'll eventually need surgery that will be expensive and possibly not even fix the problem. He's still a pretty happy dog though, as you can see on the left.

Now on the harsh reality of my poker session. I sat down at the Garden City 20 game just after 5pm, and by 5:20 had lost my first rack of chips ($500). Things continued to go from bad to worse, and I feel like this hand illustrates truly what was going on. In it I basically gave up on the river, not betting my Ace high, and my opponent tabled an identical hand for half the pot. How he called me on the turn is beyond me. In another hand I raised on the button with KJ of spades, and we saw a flop like 6 handed. The player on my immediate right bet the flop, I raised because the flop was T22 with one spade, and one other player called. They both checked to me on the turn, which was a J, so I gladly bet. Again they both checked the river, which was a K, and I bet, and they both called. The UTG opponent rolled 52 for an incredibly horribly played set of twos and I had to table change.

The next table went little better. I will spare you the gory details, but on at least 1 occasion I made a very bad call down where I should have been able to save at least 80 dollars, and on one occasion, after realizing I had been playing aggressively, I played a hand too passively and probably cost myself 40 dollars (although not nearly so much "in the long run" as the play was pretty close to sound). Down down 3 racks ($1500), I stood up and left after 3.5 hours of punishment at 8:30.

But wait, there's more

So a normal person, after a beating like that, would simply go home, have a beer, and get some sleep. I decided that a 45 minute break would be enough to put me back on track, so I called over the Bay 101 and put my name on the list. By 9:30 I was in a game, and by 10:15 I was up 700, hitting every flop perfectly, including raising with AQ and seeing the board run out AAK-A-4 (yes that's quad Aces) and then being dealt AA on the very next hand (my opponent comments "that's 6 aces in two hands!").

Being a rational mathematical person, however, I did not get up to protect my win. A few months ago I would have called it quits, on the grounds that an 800 dollar loss is quite manageable and I should leave on a high note. Instead, I soldiered on, and found myself at a fantastic table. The player on my immediate right was playing every single pot (I counted. 20 straight pots he entered. He was getting to the river at least half the time) and I hadn't even had to change seats to get the spot. After getting check/raised on the turn 3 times in a row while in the betting lead, this shit happened:

3 limps and bad player on my right raises. I call red 6s on the button (some would argue for a re-raise here, but isolating this player was impossible, as others at the table were also playing very fast and loose. I can profitably play this hand from the button for 2 bets in a 6 or 7 handed pot, so I cold-called). Here comes the pain.

6 players, 12 small bets ($240)

458 two hearts (remember I have the 6 of hearts, which helps a lot).

Checked to the player on my right who bets. I call only, as I don't think raising is really going to narrow the field and this player is very passive. His raise preflop and bet into 5 opponents means he is very likely to hold a big pair. I, however, have 6 outs against this big pair and the pot is laying me almost twice the price I need to draw. An early position player now raises, two players fold, and a middle position player 3-bets. Player on my right calls....there are now 21 bets in the pot (12 preflop, and 9 more already here) and I'm being asked to put 2 more in. Without the 6 of hearts I would fold, but with it both my "set" outs are clean and I figure I have to continue. Unless someone flopped a straight I really can continue. So I call, the EP player caps it (yikes) and we all call

4 players, 14 big bets ($560)

458-7 still just two hearts

This is what I refer to as "gin". EP player bets, MP player raises, terrible player on my right finally folds, and I go into the tank for a second. Ready for this logic?

1. They both had big hands on the flop, as one of them capped it and the other ran a check/3-bet line that indicates a monster. Therefore neither of them can hold 96 (the current nuts). This is pretty obvious, as they simply couldn't put in that kind of action on the flop with that hand unless it was suited in hearts.

2. I hold the 6 of hearts. Therefore, nobody can be free-rolling me. What I mean by this is that it is impossible for anyone to have a flush draw AND a straight, as that would require specifically holding the 6 of hearts.

Therefore, I 3-bet what I am convinced is currently at least tied as the best hand. The EP player calls rather disgustedly and I'm excited. He almost certainly has a set or a heart draw and I'm tied up with the MP player. The EP player has probably 20-25% equity in this situation (a flush draw would have 8 outs, a set would have 10 outs) so even if MP has a straight as well I'm in good shape.

3 players, 26 big bets ($1040)

River comes...Q of hearts. EP bets, we both call, and EP tables 78 of hearts for a flush. On the turn he held top-two pair and a flush draw, giving him 11 outs (the 8 hearts I did not hold, plus 3 outs to make a full house...MP held 68, taking out one of those) out of 42 unknown cards, giving him 27% equity. EZ game right?

I leave Bay 101 down 419 dollars (remember I was up 700 at one point) and am pretty upset with myself. I feel like I might have tilted on a few occasions and should have been able to recognize that I was tired (it had been a long and stressful day) and wasn't playing optimally. However, I'd convinced myself that even my B game had a positive expectation in that game, and therefore I stayed a bit too long.

I'm considering implementing a stop loss for myself, a point at which I can't play any more for the day. The reason for this would simply be that beyond a certain loss point I'm not capable of playing my best poker and should just pack it in. More details to follow.

Session result: -1958

Monday, August 4, 2008

KQ good Sir

So my 6 hour session today wasn't actually very interesting. I played through 3 tables at Bay 101, and went from up 1100 to down 500 and eventually finishing with my first small loser. The only interesting hand I can think of was:

My Soul is Read Again

I limp T8s after one limper (I fail. I should raise or fold). Good player raises, and we go off 5 ways. My image is that of a lunatic because I have been getting dealt JJ or better every other hand for an hour.

The flop is 995 two of my suite and I check raise the guy. He calls and we're heads up on the turn (everyone else folded to his bet). I bet the blank and he calls. I bet the blank river and he calls again. I table my hand like it's the nuts (I have Ten high) and he looks at it for way too long (he doesn't want to show what he just called me with if he doesn't have to) then tables KQo for no pair, no draw, no nothing. I am stunned, but it's a lesson learned; your image is important. Next time I'll just continue to fast-play my set of nines against him. His comment; "against anyone else I fold, but him...I don't trust him." Nice.

Technical Details

I managed to open a safe deposit box at Bay 101 today, without much effort really. Basically they give you a key and all you need to produce to get at your box is the key, your ID, and your box number. I left some cash in the box, so now I don't need to carry cash around when I head to Bay 101. Good deal. The only bad part is that they require a 100 dollar deposit which you only lose if you lose the key to your box; this isn't really bad I guess. I plan to open one at Garden City tomorrow.

Sorry for the lack of entertainment value, but my session just wasn't that interesting. Hopefully I'll have some more interesting stuff to say tomorrow.

Final result: -263

The Cannon Makes an Appearance

Yesterday's session was played at Garden City (careful, the home page plays irritating music) from about 2pm to 10pm. Of technical note, here are one and two hands of interest.

The highlight was getting to play for a bit with "The Cannon". The Cannon is a rare breed of player who is always happy, whether winning or losing. She forces the entire table to have fun along with her; she's just a delight to sit with. Also, she's what we would call an "action player", one who is not afraid to fire some chips into the pot. Needless to say, when The Cannon makes an appearance I am first up for a table change. Yesterday all her shots were hitting the mark, however, and she did successfully hit and run the table.

The Cannon can read souls

The Cannon live 40s it, next player in who is an irritating jerk** calls two cold (which is awful no matter what cards he holds), next guy in 3-bets, I think someone calls, I don't really know....

Flop is 579. Irritating jerk bets, a few calls.


Irritating jerk bets, only The Cannon calls.


Irritating jerk bets, only The Cannon calls. Jerk says "Nice call, you win" but holds onto his cards. He has to show first, as he was called. He tables 64 for...6-high. The Cannon tables Q4 for....Q-high, and drags the rather large pot. The table erupts in laughter, led on by myself and a railbird standing up and bowing repeatedly to The Cannon as I proclaim her ability to read souls.

**Previous hand against irritating Jerk...I am in the BB and get a free look with K4. Flop is J84. I call one time. Turn K. I check/raise him. He is livid, as if check raising is not allowed. River J, he jumps out of his chair and tells me that's what I get for check/raising. I tell him, verbatim, "There is no reason to be a prick about it". He mutters in accented English "Check/Raise...." I say "It's just a game man, no reason to be an asshole about it". He asks why I'm "all worked up" and I point out that he's the one who's not in his chair.

The Cannon Calls her Shot

The Cannon 3-bets prefop and the pot ends up going off for 4 bets 5-handed. 3 bets go in on the turn at least 4 handed, so the pot is getting close to a month's rent for me (probably upwards of 25 bets are in there...960 bucks). While calling 2 more bets cold on the turn The Cannon declares to the dealer "3 of spades!" At this point the board reads:

AQ8-4 with two spades

The river is the 3...of hearts. Checks to The Cannon who bets. She is called twice and graciously tables 52 of spades for a 5 high straight. The railbird and I again stand and bow repeatedly, as I proclaim her the Babe Ruth of the Garden City 20 game.

I miss

This was was lol funny. I change seats and post a big blind between the button and small blind (allowed in Garden City). UTG limps, one or two more limps, someone raises, a cold-call or two, and I call with J4 both spades for one more bet. Some other calls, I don't really know, and now UTG limp-reraises (which usually means he has a monster) and it gets capped. Now I say to myself "self, calling two more bets with J4 suited really isn't that good of an idea here...but the pot is...let's see....7 handed. I think I have to call here. Good for him, he got me to put in 3 bets instead of zero with my garbage hand"

Pot goes off 7 handed for 4 bets each. Lo and behold I do flop a spade draw on a board of 862. I check/3-bet the sucker and we see the turn 4 handed. The pot now has 800 American Dollars in it, and we have not yet seen even 4th street. The turn brings...A JACK! Hmmm, I say to myself "self, your hand is not yet winning, but you do have 14 outs and the pot is 4 handed. you must bet" and so I bet. They all call. The river brings a beautiful 4. I bet, UTG calls, I table my hand and say "I missed", indicating that I did in facxt miss my spade draw. UTG flashes Aces in disgust. A late position player informs me that he had a bigger spade draw, and that I was in fact drawing almost completely dead on the flop. Today I am the pigeon.

Final results: +327. Not a heater, but still over 40 bucks an hour :)

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Heater Fantastique

As planned I spent Saturday afternoon at the Land of Dolphin Chips, although I ended up only playing 20/40 for about 4 hours. I called and put my name on the list before getting in my car (as usual) and was told there were about "10 or 12" names on the list and two games going. When I showed up, 25 minutes later, I was 13th on the list. How exactly does that work? Anyway, it took 30 minutes to get a 6/12 seat...after 30 minutes of 6/12 (I did win 17 dollars) I was first up on the 8/16 list and decided not to post my blind and just wait for that seat. 30 minutes later I was called for 20/40, still atop the 8/16 list (basically not a single 8/16 player got up for half an hour). Wasting time waiting for a seat is something I need to minimize, and yesterday it took almost 2 hours from when I left my apartment until I was actually playing my main game. Frustrating. On to the pokers....

I don't have a single hand from my four hour session worth posting on Two Plus Two, but can regal you with some humorous hands and table banter.

The Table Nazi

Seat 5 is engaged in a pot with Seats 1 and 2. On the river Seat 1 bets, Seat 2 folds, and Seat 5 calls. Seat 1 tables his hand, and as Seat 5 is mucking (his hand can't win) Seat 1 decides to invoke IWTSTH, which in my experience is probably the simplest way to tilt an opponent and should be eliminated from Texas Hold 'Em. Basically, Seat 1 has the right to ask to see Seat 5's hand. The point of the rule is to ensure that Seat 1 and Seat 5 were not colluding against Seat 2, betting and raising to knock him out of the hand and divide up his money "in the parking lot". I can assure you no such shenanigans were taking place here, and I also assure that Seat 2 did not know the reason the rule exists. Seat 2 is not a very good player, and honestly doesn't understand what he just did. Therefore, I must protect him.

Seat 5, glaring at Seat 2: "You're showing yours the rest of the time I'm here"
Seat 2: "I just wanted to see if I was right."
Seat 5: "If you can't figure out what I have by the way I play you shouldn't be at the table"
Seat 2: "Well I can't, I guess I'll leave"

Seat 2 starts "fake racking" his chips (a term I just made up), like he's actually going to leave. It's not clear to me at the moment if he's actually going to leave or not. Seat 5 has broken the cardinal rule; he has tapped the glass. For this I decide he must be punished.

Seat 3 chimes in: "You leaving?"
Seat 2: "Yup, the table Nazi says I have to go, I'm not good enough"

This is the pivotal moment in our saga. To this point the table had been an excellent one, with everyone in a great "gambling" mood. The happier people are, the more willing they are to gamble it up (most of the the other extreme is the "guy on tilt"....but it is hard, nay, I say, nearly impossible, to have a whole table on tilt, while it is quite easy to have a whole table loose it's mind and happily toss chips into the pot seemingly at random). I cannot allow this great table to go sour; I do this shit for a living now, amirite?

Seat 5: "I'm not a Nazi. I'm actually a pacifist"
Jesse: "Now that's clearly not true"

The table erupts in laughter (all except Seat 5 of course) and I have saved the day. The table shows it's appreciation by giving me 2.5 racks of chips before I table change.

Betting out of Turn

Shortly thereafter the following two hand sequence ensues. I limp in with 44 and see the flop for one bet 5 or 6 handed. I flop a set and am going to bet, but as I'm reaching for chips the guy behind me bets out of turn. I say "OK, I check" and assume his bet will stand. Someone calls his bet, then Seat 2 says "That bet can't count, he acted out of turn". The dealer enforces this rule and I feel like a douche for not knowing it (I even try to bet, but am told I already checked. I stare daggers at Seat 2 for a minute, but as I stated, he's a fish, and fish must be tolerated). I bet the next two streets and get called down only by the guy who wanted to bet in the first place, and while tabling my hand I say "Please don't bet out of turn sir". MHIG, and Seat 2 says "it worked out" and I say "No, actually it cost me about 100 dollars". But really it is my fault, I got greedy and tried to take advantage of a guy betting out of turn (obviously I was going to check/raise the whole table).

Very next hand, I open raise AT of spades. I get 3-bet by Mr Out of turn and we take the flop like 4 handed (again including Seat 2. I'm telling you he's a walking, talking, ATM). The Gods have not gone blind on this day and I am rewarded with not one, not two, but three big fat spades on the flop. I bet/3-bet and eventually drag a 500 dollar pot. Some days you're the pigeon, some days you're the statue. Today was my second stint in a row as pigeon.

1000 to 1

Some people see a flop of QQQ after 3 or 4 bets went in preflop. This is a curious situation, and an early position limper (who called all the bets obviously) check/raises the flop. He is the worst player at the table and it's not close. The two players who went to war (Seat 2 of aforementioned glory and another) look confused. Turn is a 7. EP guy bets again and again they both call. River 7, for a final board of QQQ77. EP guy bets one more time, and after a long time both players call. EP guy shows 77, for runner runner quads! This is a 987:1 shot. The Table Nazi invokes IWTSTH on Seat 2 (obviously) and he shows JJ. The other player flashes Aces and mucks.

The Heater Takes Shape

I am now seated next to the table Nazi and he has informed me he does not chop. I usually chop because it saves money (the house drop is high enough that even a vastly superior opponent is unlikely to profit in the long run by playing heads up....when you chop both blinds just get their money back and the next hand is dealt), but with the Nazi on my left I have to play against him, so I have just informed the player on my right that "I'm going to play today". Anyway, it folds to him and he calls and I just check with A4. The final board is 44Q-A-2 and my hand is quite, quite good. I then flop a set of Kings on a 3-heart board (I have no heart) and an aggressive player puts in 5 big bets with a set of 2's. Upon showdown he tables his hand like it's the nuts and I'm like "" and table my top set to drag another monster. I change tables, run bad a little, then do this on back to back hands against the same opponent:

I 3-bet middle position, he takes 3 bets to the face and the flop happens 4 handed (the original raiser didn't cap).

983r (the r means flush draw)

Checked to me and I bet, villain raises, one fold, original raiser calls, I 3-bet, they both call. I'm thinking I need to dodge a lot of stuff here. Nobody has KK or AA because nobody capped preflop, but my opponent might be waiting til the big street to raise a set. He could also have a straight draw (he's loose enough) and I know the original raiser has AK or AQ.


Wow, best card in the deck I say. I bet, they both call. Set is now out of the question and my opponent has a straight draw, pocket Tens, or pocket Jacks. The preflop raiser is still waiting on his Ace.


Wow, best card in the deck again. I bet, villain tanks and calls, preflop raiser flashes AK and mucks. I table my ladies, he shows jacks in frustration.

Very. Next. Hand.

I limp 56 clubs. We see the flop 6 handed for 1 bet.

Kc 7h 8h

I bet my straight draw, villain and one other call.


I bet my straight draw, villain calls.


I have 6 high, so I bet. Villain tanks for 30 seconds, then folds. I decide not to show my hand and end his life. A few hands later I win another monster with KK and decide to call it a day early and take Joe up on dinner and beers in San Francisco. Final talley:

+17 at 6/12
+2016 at 20/40

I can break even for the next 3 weeks and still be doing fine.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Two Hands and some Commentary

First, the hands. Here are two somewhat interesting ones I played last night.

Hand 1

Hand 2

Next, I realized I'm going to need to do a better job of "savoring" my wins. Last night I walked out of the casino with the largest win of my life and was only happy about it for a couple of hours. I didn't even sleep well last night (probably because of the 3 beers I drank at the home game...drinking never helps me sleep curiously) and woke up after only 7 hours (a pittance for me). I'm going to need to figure out my sleeping schedule if I want this to work, and I'm going to have to try and savor the high points, because low points will come.

Today I'm off to the Land of Dolphin Chips to try my luck. The plan calls for an 8 hour session or so, but I reserve the right to extend it if I'm playing well and the game is good (and let's be honest, at 9pm on Saturday night, the game at Bay 101 is going to be sickly good).

This must be a good sign, right?

So I've come up with a few ideas that should improve this thing. First, I'm going to try to split out the hard core poker speak in order to minimize confusion and vocabularial (new word) difficulties among my non-poker related friends. Second, I've decided that for future reference, all names will be changed/not-used to protect the innocent (which in many cases will be me, for berating someone for doing something really stupid). So here goes.


Today was my last day at Oracle. To be honest I haven't really had anything useful to do for a couple of weeks now, and accordingly I left right after lunch at about 12:30 pm. It was a little scary, walking away from a place that I'd spent more time than, for example, MIT's actual campus (I did the math and don't think it's close), but just a little. A DHL envelope was sitting on my door mat, which upon inspection graciously produced my last paycheck (for one day's pay and 96 hours of accrued vacation). I just handed my badge to the security guy in the 300 building and said "it's my last day" and walked away. Kind of anti-climactic....


After some discussions with Joe about possible dinner/celebratory plans, I decided I was going to go play at Bay 101. I called to put my name on the list, but was told I was "about 20th or so". I quickly called Garden City, was told "we have two games and open seats" and thus banged a right out of my apartment to head to 280 south. Good call.

Poker Time

I arrived at Garden City just after 2pm and instantly got a seat. To make a long story very, very short, I was up 500, then stuck 400, then eventually booked my largest win ever, just over 2000 dollars. Just smitten with myself, I decided to leave after 6 hours (around 8pm) to go to a friendly small buy in home game (that plays exclusively No Limit and is about half Omaha). In the home game I managed to lose 20 dollars (100 big blinds) because I don't seem to understand that the second nut flush is not a very good hand in Omaha (this happened twice). The set over set confrontation did not help (I'll let you guess which set I had), but the kicker was the following hand.

I am in late position with pocket aces. I of course raise preflop and as per usual get like 3 callers. The flop is K78 with two spades, and roughly speaking a guy goes all in. I call, and he turns over A6, both spades, for a nut flush draw. The turn is a 9, the river a Ten (no spades though), and the host declares (before I even realize what happened) "Straight wins". My opponent says, and I shit you not, "Who made a straight?".

Poker Details

I had just change tables for the second time, and then the seat to my left opened up. I decided not to take it, then changed my mind after the floor man put chips down in it. I slid over and put the rack of chips to my right. A nice Asian woman I've played with before sat down, and I proceeded to decimate her. In 2+ hours she raised preflop exactly 3 times, including her very first hand in which she posted (where I had basically stolen her cards). In 2+ hours I 3-bet preflop exactly 3 times, including her very first hand in which she posted (where I had basically stolen her cards). The hands where:

I hold KK and flop a set. She calls down with I think QQ (but does not show)

I hold AK and flop an Ace. She has QQ again.

I hold QQ and she holds AK. My hand wins unimproved.

Many, many bets went in on many many streets in each of these hands. Then the ultimate lol moment happened....I was eating my hamburger during this hand and only saw the river action, but here she sits.

Bad passive guy has been betting and bets the river. Asian Lady calls. Bad passive guy looks upset. The board is:


His hand is A2. The astute reader will note that he has the ever-illusive "3 pair", which seldom is good for much of anything in Texas Hold 'Em (I've heard in Omaha it's a passable alternative to bottom set, but what do I know). Asian Lady folds her hand. And specifically, I mean she tosses her hand forward, face down, about 8 inches. The dealer grabs the A2, as she's supposed do, flips it over, and puts it on top of the Asian Lady's hand. Suddenly Asian Lady realizes something and says, in her broken English "Wait!" For some unknown reason the dealer just sits there, frozen (the hands are dead, a winner has been declared. the ship has sailed, the votes are all in, yada, yada) and allows Asian Lady to extract her cards from the 4 under the dealer's left hand. She produces the mighty A8, which the astute reader will note defeats A2 on the aforementioned board (She has Aces and Sixes with an Eight kicker. Her opponent has Aces and Sixes with a 3 kicker). The floor man is summoned, much ruckus ensues, and he rules correctly; Asian Lady mucked her hand, then the dealer killed it, and she can't win the pot. About 300 dollars out there, and I feel pretty bad for her at the moment, but somehow less bad about taking all her chips in the previous three hands (because I, correctly, reason that if she's that un-observant she's going to give her chips to someone. It might as well be me).

To wrap up, I proceed to flop like 15 sets in a row and eventually waddle to the cage with 6 racks of chips. While I 'only' profited 2009 dollars on the session, I actually feel like a full million bucks. Sometimes it's an EZ game. Hand posts on 2p2 will follow tomorrow, but for now I must retire.

Friday, August 1, 2008

I play bad

Didn't think this hand was too awful, but apparently I was wrong.