Thursday, September 25, 2008

1,000,000 to 1 shot

Yesterday I played for 12.5 hours at Bay 101. Playing so long was a bad idea, but I got it stuck in my head that I was going to take today off (which I'm doing) and decided around 8pm to stick it out for the evening. This ended up costing me about 1500 dollars for a couple of reasons:

1. I ran bad.

2. I made 2 pretty bad mistakes (paying off a loose passive who had to have my second pair beat in a blind steal situation and not recognizing the power of speech against an opponent whose Aces did in fact beat my Tens on a board of that second one it is questionable as to whether or not I can ever lay down an over pair against a LAG, but I didn't have to lead the turn and charge myself the full 3.5 big bets to get to show down).

3. I stubbornly remained at an awful table for over 2 hours, something I almost never do.

As a result of this, and the way I felt afterwards, I am implementing a maximum session length of 10 hours. No matter what at 10 hours I will pick up and go home. I realize this probably isn't the best way to maximize my profits, but it will help me stay sane and we're in a pretty delicate balancing act here, are we not? In the end I lost about 900 dollars yesterday, but had I left after a mere 9 hours would have shipped a 600 dollar win.

So now on to more interesting things. I played this hand and am not sure what kind of feedback I'm going to get on 2p2.

I also lost a sports bet with Pete. He was quite sure the Oakland Raiders had made the Super Bowl recently. I said hog wash, and we settled on the last 7 seasons. Turns out 6 wouldn't have even saved me, as the Raiders played in the Super Bowl after the 2002 season. Ship Pete 1 big bet (I even laid him 2 to 1 because I was so sure). As I was making the bet I went through it in my head: Pats, Colts, Steelers, Pats, Pats, Ravens, Pats. I was sure of it. Turns out the Raven's spot was actually where the Raiders played, and they were a year earlier. Oops. Ni Han, Pete, Ni Han. Just realize this means I'm going to spend the next 2 months trying to get that 40 bucks back.

Now on to the million to 1 shot. I had been taking quite a beating and table changed to more comfortable situation. Shortly after I sit down, this happens:

I get dealt KK in the small blind. Late position guy raises, I flat it because he's almost all in, daring the fishy big blind to enter the pot. I've played with her for probably 50 hours and I'm sure she's never seen me cold call from the small blind against a lone raiser (cause I've never done it), but she calls anyway. Flop comes down like J-high or something and I lead right out. She calls the bet, the raiser raises almost all-in now, and I decide the jig is up and 3-bet. She folds reluctantly, he puts all his chips in and shows pocket 9s. I win, quite happy to have collected the extra 40 dollars from the big blind.

Next hand I am dealt AA on the button and win a sizable pot when two players call me all the way down on a paired board. I roll my aces and everyone is like "Kings then Aces!?!?!" and has a good laugh.

So the dealer pushes me the pot and as I'm stacking it up I look up and the guy I busted last hand has been replaced by a 35-45ish white guy I've played with before who I once saw cash out 18K from the 80/160 game. I think he's fallen on hard times....Anyway I really like the guy and do a little "sit back in my chain in astonishment" thing cause I hadn't noticed he'd sat down in the chair and posted in. This slows my chip stacking. Now it's on me and I peek my cards and see...Pocket Kings! I raise it and this guy and two others come along for a flop of:


They check to me, I bet, some guy check/raises me and I'm like "OK, he doesn't have 66 and that's all he can call a raise make slow play now" Everyone else folds and I finally raise him on the river and he turbo mucks his hand. I flip over my quad kings and the table is in stitches. The pile of chips in front of me is doubled and I get to stacking....

The odds of being dealt pocket Kings or Aces 3 hands in a row is over 1 million to one :)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Good Old Fashioned Session Report

Today I played 6.5 hours of 20/40 at Bay 101. I woke up thinking I might take the day off, puttered around the apartment for 3 hours doing some chores and catching up on stuff, then quickly realized that 8 more hours of that was just not gonna fly, so I went to play. Sadly Danielle called me at 6:30 to inform me that she wasn't going to be able to get home after work, so I had to come home to take care of the dogs, meaning what I meant to be a 9+ hour session was cut short. I've decided that I want to try to play longer sessions, as it's more efficient and will allow me to take more days off.

For the day I lost 400 dollars, which was actually a pretty good result given how it started...I was down over 1400 at one point and was very excited to get out that cheaply. Here are some funny hands.

At first I'm seated with my two plus two friend Pete (again the names have been changed to protect the innocent). Pete plays 20/40 at lunch, seemingly every day. He has a job, yet somehow manages to gamble from about noon to 2 or 3 every day. If I ever decide to go back to work, his employer is one of the first places I'll try....moving on....

A week and a half ago, Pete was the recipient of 300 of my hard earned dollars in the following hand:

Complete lunatic raises UTG. This guy is...well, a complete lunatic. It folds to me in the small blind and I call with pocket 6s. Pete 3-bets, the guy caps, I try to fold but can't bring myself to do it and call.

Q45 is the flop.

I check, Pete bets, the maniac calls, and I call, getting 14:1 closing the action with a pair.


I now have, in my estimation, 6 clean outs. If I spike a 6 it's almost certainly good, and if a 3 rolls off I'll have basically the nuts. To note there are 7.5 big bets in the pot, and there is also still a small chance I have the best hand.

I check, Pete bets, and the maniac raises. His raise means that he has a hand that improves the board. That's it. Any pair will do. The fact that he didn't raise on the flop honestly probably means he has a 2 in his hand, and that's it.

10.5 bets in the pot....I call 2 bets cold.

Pete 3-bets. Maniac caps it.

4 million bets in the pot. I call two more cold again.

River bricks off, I check, Pete checks (???) and the maniac bets. I call, Pete raises, I cry, maniac calls, I fold.

Pete rolls QQ for top set. Maniac rolls A2 for...bottom pair (Ace Kicker!). My calls on the turn were questionable, but I thought Pete and I were like 4 levels above the rim here and that he was capable of playing a lot of hands that way. Of course, they can always just have top set, and I should have remembered that. The place to ditch the hand was for 2 bets cold on the turn the first time...I didn't really have odds to make that call unless my hand was currently winning a decent percentage of the time....the question is how often does Pete show up there with AK? I think a decent bit of the time actually.

So today this horrible loose passive woman limps in early/middle/some position and I decide to raise A7 suited on the button. Pete 3-bangs it from the small blind, the big blind clears out, the woman calls and I call, no doubt looking like a cat with the canary in his mouth. Then:


Pete bets, the woman calls, I raise, Pete calls only (darn, him has only pocket pair), woman calls.


I have the stone cold nuts. Pete checks, she checks, I bet my nuts, and Pete raises me. She folds, I hollywood the appropriate amount (which is to say, very little) and 3-bet. Pete now looks like the aforementioned cat and dutifully calls me. The river produces a 9 and Pete calls my bet...of course MHIG against his AK....afterwards I ask him why he didn't 3-bet the flop and he mumbles something about not discussing strategy at the table :)

Another gem from today:

Funny shirt wearing guy who likes to take strange lines with big pairs (Twice he and I have put in 4 bets on the big streets with single pairs) and obviously wears really weird shirts limps and I raise with AK suited. We take the flop 5 ways and I see a pristine, yet dangerous, board of:

A95 with two hearts

At this point I should note that the order of action is: SB, BB, Funny Shirt guy, Me, Late position cold calling maniac.

Sadly my Ace and King are of the club variety, but I nevertheless bet. 3 players call me (the small blind managed to find a fold, somehow)...The turn is a heart. Two checks and I bet again. Cold calling maniac folds, and so does the BB. Funny shirt guy calls. The river is a brick, for a final board of really no consequence other than the 3 hearts. And funny shirt guy Donk Bets. I am visible struck back in my chair by the absurdity of it. The third heart came and I bet again. I clearly possess an ace, and if he has half a brain he should know I'm going to bet that ace. He also probably knows I can't lay that ace down in a pot of this size on the river if he check/raises me....anyway, as I usually do when I get confused, I call. Funny shirt guy rolls KT of hearts for the stone cold unbeatable nuts. I am confused and muck my hand, then get to thinkin....

1. On the flop, he had perfect position to jam his nut draw. There is no reason to think at that point I yet had an Ace for sure, and had he check/raised me he could have built a large pot when he had excellent equity.

2. His turn/river player is lol bad. To make a long story short, he stop 'n goes the absolute nuts, getting in exactly 2 bets against an aggressive player in a large protected pot.

Previously I had thought funny shirt guy was a tough and solid opponent. Turns out he doesn't have much of a clue :)

And for my final act....

A guy I don't know much about open raises from pretty late position (perhaps the lo-jack? 3 seats before the button) and I defend my blind with 87 of spades. The flop comes down:

K75 with one spade. I have middle pair, a back door straight draw, and a back door flush draw. Heads up against a young Asian dude who open raised in "not early" position, this is a hand I like to call "the freaking nuts". I check raise him and he confirms my hand is the nuts by merely calling the second bet.

The turn is another K, putting two spades on board (K75-K). I bet. He calls. Now I'm a little concerned. He shouldn't have called that bet, and the fact that he did leads me to think he has one of 4 types of hands:

1. A couple of big spades that just picked up a draw (something like AQ-AT). This is ok.

2. A pocket pair he intends to show down between 7s and Qs. This is bad.

3. Something like A7 or A5 he decided to get tricky with preflop. This is sorta bad.

The river blesses me with a 5th spade and I bet. He now raises and I am stunned. I go into the tank and eventually just call the bet. He tables KQo for "the worst played monster I've seen in a long time" and all he can say is "runner runner....I can't beat runner runner....guy keeps bluffing me". I am in shock, and Pete has a hearty chuckle.

Things I have learned

I don't really know how well this is going to come out, but here goes a list of things I have learned over the past 7+ weeks.

1. I can take bad beats well. What I can't take well is making mistakes myself. If I play a hand poorly, it can put me on tilt. If a guy sucks out on me in an 800 dollar pot, I seem to be doing just fine handling it.

2. As in many endeavors, in poker you can enter "the zone". Basically everything becomes easy. You're reading the table well, you're making good plays, and in general you're confident that you're just going to win. You can also get into a "slump", where you just don't feel yourself; you get check/raised on the turn every time you enter a pot, and you're never sure what to do. You always seem to make the wrong decision.

3. It is important to knock yourself out of a slump and to continue playing when you're in the zone. This is because the point here is to make money. The best way to knock yourself out a slump, at least for me it seems, is to order some food and tighten up pre-flop. Play only easy hands to play, and play them straight-forwardly. Try to hand-read and congratulate yourself for your victories.

4. I am not an extremely ethical person. As it turns out, it is easier to see your opponents cards than you might expect; about once a week I'm in a situation where I can see my neighbors hole cards with just a small amount of effort. I, unfortunately, have a hard time not looking. Live and learn....I'll admit that yesterday I saved a ton of money in one hand and won another pot that I would not have entered because I could see my neighbors hole cards. And, what's worse, is that I don't really feel bad about it. I'll probably get flamed for this but whatever...protect your hole ain't hard.

5. It's best to be more calm and quiet than my usual state. When you're playing for 8+ hours in a row, you need to conserve energy and brain power. I used to be quite a talker at the table, but now have found myself saving my speech for times I really am getting bored.

6. Having poker friends is the nuts. I need to make more of them. My trip to Foxwoods with a certain 2p2er was a great experience, if only because I was hanging out with someone who truly, truly got it.

7. When you don't have a job, you don't do shit online. Fantasy football? Too much work. Posting on 2p2? Can't really be bothered. This is a problem that I don't really have a solution for.

8. Exercise is the nuts. Eating well, also the nuts.

9. You can make a decent living playing live 20/40. You don't have to play 40/80. Also, playing 40/80 around here is a pain in the neck because it completely removes game selection. You basically have to sit down and play in whatever game is available, and move to the main game when they tell you to. I changed tables 3 times yesterday at 20/40, moving each time my table looked to be getting a little hard. It was gorgeous. I am going to take another 40/80 shot soon, but for right now 50 dollars an hour at 20/40 is fine by me.

10. It's hard to devote enough time to playing when there is other fun stuff you want to do. I went on vacation 3 times! I tend to spend either Friday or Saturday night out at a bar, and I now don't play Sundays because of the NFL. Crazy stuff.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Reports of my death were mildly exaggerated

Only mildly though. Without the usual apology, here's what's been going on:

10-Sep 20/40 Limit Bay 101 -1405
11-Sep 20/40 Limit Bay 101 1669
12-Sep 6/12 Limit Bay 101 -30
12-Sep 20/40 Limit Bay 101 -2984
13-Sep 20/40 Limit Bay 101 -116
14-Sep 15/30 Limit Ajs 143
14-Sep SNG Ajs -40
17-Sep 20/40 Limit Foxwoods 1147
17-Sep SNG Foxwoods -120
18-Sep 20/40 Limit Foxwoods 325
18-Sep 10/20 Limit Foxwoods -226
22-Sep 6/12 Limit Bay 101 146
22-Sep 20/40 Limit Bay 101 2727

The mathematically inclined reader can quickly deduce that in about the last two weeks I have only won 1200 dollars, and that I won 2900 of those today. Holy moly.

The real reason this post is so delayed is that I wasn't willing to write down my intention, in stone, to continue playing live poker for another 2 months until after I got back from my trip to Boston. The only thing I've really figured out so far is that 6 weeks wasn't long enough to make a decision, so I decided to give myself 8 more. So far it's been going fine, but the 3 vacations (Reno, during which I played, water skiing, during which I didn't, and Boston, during which I did) totaling over 2 weeks of time, coupled with moving to a new apartment really didn't let me get as good of a feel for this as I would have liked.

As you can see, I suffered a massive roller coaster ride over the last 2 weeks. The 3000 dollar loss last Friday (on the last official day of my 6 week shot) was over whelming. I had never lost that much before, and didn't really handle it very well. I learned from it though and got right back on the horse the next day. Shortly after that I took a trip to Boston and played for 2 days at Foxwoods, which greatly increased my confidence. Then just today, on my first full day back in the bay area, I booked my largest single day win ever.

I'll try to write more tomorrow when all my brain cells are back up and running. To anyone left reading, thanks for sticking with me :)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Catching Up Again

I suddenly (ok, not so suddenly) realized that I haven't made a post in almost a week. It turns out my desire to have a blog (which is fairly great) is matched equally by my desire to not write a blog...funny how that works out. Seriously, I'm in the process now of moving to a new apartment and trying to sell a bunch of my furniture while still playing 8 hours a day and it's kind of tough. But as Frond says, people are reading this thing :)

So let's see, what has happened since my last post:

15/30 Limit Ajs 311
6-Sep 20/40 Limit Bay 101 -437
8-Sep 8/16 Limit Bay 101 39
8-Sep 20/40 Limit Bay 101 984
8-Sep 6/12 Limit Ajs -73
8-Sep 15/30 Limit Ajs 172
9-Aug 20/40 Limit Bay 101 1349

I played the 5th at Artichoke Joe's because I needed to take my car in for it's 30K service appointment at Melody Toyota (walking distance from AJs). The plan was to stop in, play a few hours, then continue on to the Oaks (I still have never been there), but the service ended up taking 5 hours (and costing more big bets than I would have liked) because I needed new brakes. That 15/30 game has been a thorn in my side for a while now, but after playing in it for 10+ hours this week I'm convinced I had previously been running a bit bad and wasn't quite ready for it when I started playing it 9 months ago. The game is pretty straight forwardly played, with decent unimaginative players. They don't spew multiple big bets post flop like they do in San Jose, but they can still be exploited. Anyway, booking (albeit modest) wins in that game twice was a nice shot in the arm for my confidence. Only 3 more racks and I'll be break even in it life time....

Week 5 of my shot was an overall loser, thanks mostly to the fact that I didn't get to play much (I was water skiing until late Monday) and that I lost 2400 in my first two sessions upon my return. I'm now well into my final week, which as you can see has gone quite well. I could sit here and pretend there is a chance I'll be looking for a job come Saturday, but to be honest there isn't. I'm going to keep playing, at least for another month or two (the exact duration will be picked Saturday) to see if I continue to enjoy this as much as I have been. 6 weeks, with two vacations, just isn't long enough to get a feel for what this lifestyle really entails. I realize many people pointed that out to me when I started, and all I can say is "you told me so".


I have a nut flush draw in an 8/16 game

And one I didn't post because I know what I did wrong:

Gerry, a good playing prop player at Bay 101 3-bets my high jack open raise from the small blind. This is great because I have pocket Kings. I cap, and Gerry calls. He then meekly calls the flop and turn on a board of J928, and donks the river when a 2 comes off. I call and he says "I was calling anyway" and tables QQ. I win.

Where was my mistake here? Capping pre-flop. I should just call, let him think my hand is weak and range is wide, then raise any flop, getting me to the exact same point in the hand without giving away the fact that I have a MONSTER.

And one that really ticked me off:

This guy is a regular at Bay 101 and I don't like him much. He thinks he's hot stuff, and this time I was playing with him he actually commented on one hand "ace high is good against that guy" when I was betting the turn heads up in a blind steal when I happened to have flopped top pair ace kicker. Basically the guy was telling my opponent to call down because, in his opinion, I always have nothing and am a habitual bluffer. Anyway, I thought this was a little out of bounds (my opponent folded anyway) and was kind of irritated when....

I have AA and raise this guy's big blind. One limper is in the pot, and he calls saying "I'm going to check/raise the turn"


They check to me and I bet. They both call.


They check to me and he says "I'm going to check/raise the turn". I bet. He raises. Other guy folds, I tank. Normally this is a turbo-call down, but with his all his talking I take a moment to try and find a raise. While I'm thinking he says "here, dark bet" and slides 8 chips out to bet the river. It is more than I can take.

"3-bets" I declare. He sits back quickly in his chair, as if struck by a large object, and clutches his chest. I am annoyed and finish my sentence, under my breath "you jackass", which only my half of the table (of which he is not a part) hears. He hollywoods and then calls. River is a brick and I bet and he calls. I table my AA's no good. He flopped a set of 2s. Damn it.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Double Duty

I played two sessions yesterday, both at Bay 101, and decided to take Thursday off to take care of a bunch of stuff that has just been piling up/watch football. The first session was from about 10:30 am until about 4:30 pm, and the second session started around 10:45pm and went until 2:45am. A

In the first session I lost about a rack ($500) and honestly nothing went right. In the second session I posted a nearly 2 rack win and felt a lot better about myself. 10 hours of poker in a single day is pushing it, but breaking it up into two sessions really seemed to help.

Without a huge win tomorrow I'll be posting a loss for week 5, but them's the breaks....

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Catching Up

I've been out of town water skiing at New Melones Lake for the last 6 days with my friend Chris, my ex-girlfriend/friend/possibly future girlfriend again Danielle, and her father, Dan. The trip was fantastic and pictures will be posted eventually. The trip by numbers:

Beers consumed: 108
Shoulders dislocated (Dan's, not mine): 1
Shoulders reduced in the truck ride to the ER, thus avoiding arrival at the ER: 1
Times my friend Chris said "you can't pee there": 2
Times I actually moved: 1
Pounds of Ice used to keep our food cold: ~300
Pairs of my sunglasses Chris lost: 1
Pairs of Chris's sunglasses I dropped in the lake: 1

Back to the pokers....

Before I left last Wednesday I played one last session at Bay 101. For a while it looked like I might actually lose some money, but I ended up posting a ~300 dollar win capped off by the following hand:

I raise AQ both hearts and some people call.

448 with two hearts

It's checked to me and I bet. Two players call maybe.

Heart hits on the turn.

A guy donk bets and I raise him. He 3-bets and I tank. He says "flush good?" and I decide to just call. He bets the blank river and I again just call. He tables KJo with the King of hearts for...king high. Turns out 4 was the most bets I could get out of him anyway, so it worked out well, but wow....he put in 4 bets heads up with a flush draw, one of them on the river!

Final Results for week 4

In just 16 hours of play (over 4 days) I managed to win almost 3800 dollars. As previously stated, I ran like God on a scooter. The last two weeks have been dicey in terms of total hours played, since I took the Reno trip (and opted to sit in my winnings and actually enjoy a vacation) and this water skiing trip. I'm going to get back on the horse and play as many hours as I can over the remaining 10 days of my shot.

Today's Session

Today I crashed my scooter. I played at Bay 101 from about 1:30 until 6:15 and managed to post a 1900 dollar loss. I won exactly 1 pot in my last 2.5 hours of play, and had stuff like this happen:

Bad player limps, I raise QJs. Passive lady with 2000 dollars in front of her calls on the button. JJ3 flops. I bet all three streets, she calls me down only, and on the river shows 33 for a full house that beats my trips. Believe it or not I almost checked the river, as she was THAT passive.

My QQ also ran into KK, my AT was cracked by JT, and various other bad things continued to happen to me until I finally decided I was not going to buy a 5th rack and just left when I got all in on my last hand.

Surprisingly, I don't think I was on tilt at the end of the session and really could have kept playing. I suppose I probably should have, but didn't want the loss to start with a 2 :(