Thursday, October 30, 2008

[x] 10th post of the month

I posted a goal on 2 plus 2 that I would manage to write 10 blog entries this month. Here is the tenth. My other goals from that thread are meeting with mixed results (I managed to play enough hours, post enough hands on 2p2 and entries here, but failed to work out enough or achieve full disclosure on my poker playing career).

The last two days of poker have gone quite well, with me taking home about 2000 dollars in chips over 13 or so hours of play. Here are the actual results:

29-Oct 20/40 Limit Bay 101 551
29-Oct 40/80 Limit Bay 101 464
30-Oct 6/12 Limit Bay 101 -12
30-Oct 20/40 Limit Bay 101 975

I played some 40/80 yesterday because a new super fish was in town and put his name on the list. I shamelessly followed him when he changed 20/40 tables, and as soon as he asked the floor person to put him up for 40, I walked over and put my name right behind him. The 40/80 game works differently than the 20/40. Heres how:

At 20/40, there are between 2 and 4 tables and you can change from one to another if you like. The floor(wo)man will manage the situation, and you just have to ask for a change; when one becomes available, you'll be asked if you want to move. The only catch is that if you accept the move, you must do so instantly (no more hands at your current table) and you have to post to enter the game at the new table.

At 40/80 there are usually 2 tables, one being the "Main Game" and the other being the "Must Move". All new players start in the "Must Move" game. When someone leaves it, he is replaced from the wait list. When someone leaves the "Main Game", he is replaced from the most senior member of the "Must Move" game, who is then replaced from the wait list.

These differences may seem trivial, but I assure you they are not. If you see 2 of your favorite fish in the 40/80 game, you can't just get to their table. If they are in the "Main Game" it could take several hours before you could play with them. If they are in the "Must Move" and you are 6th on the wait list, by the time you get there they will likely have been moved to the "Main Game". The only way to ensure that you get to play with your favorite fish is therefore to sign up right after them; that way, you can follow them through both games.

Anyway, my 40/80 shot was pretty uneventful. I only played for 30 minutes, won a few pots, made two bad mistakes, and picked up my chips when it went 4 handed. I won 5 big bets, which was nice, but I realized I had been playing a bit scared and decided to cut out while I was still ahead. In general yesterday I feel that I played pretty bad, with a few specific hands where I was just a bit too passive. For example, on a flop of 543 and while holding pocket 6s, I simply checked and called a bet on the flop. And on a board of J86-6-2 while holding J8 (it was soooooted...and I was on the button), my favorite lag-fish check/raised/4-bet the flop and I merely called him down on the turn and river. The pot was 3 handed on the turn, and I should have popped it one more time because of the player in the middle who was still drawing (there were 2 hearts on board). Instead I wimped out and called Tom down, only to be shown KJ (which my hand beats).

Today, on the other hand, I played like a rock-star, making only one mistake I can think of (and that involved calling a river bet with trip aces, so how bad can it be) and in general owning people. To wit...I have Q5 of clubs in the big blind and bet out on a flop of QJ3 with one club. I am raised and elect to call only, heads up. I call only because the player is very laggy and will barrel off relentlessly in an effort to get me to fold. The turn is the Ace of clubs, and I check and call him again (the 4th club almost made me change my plan, but I stuck to just calling him down). The river was another ace, and I just checked and called again. My opponent showed 9-Ten for...Ten high...four to a straight though.

I won a grand and called it a night early, as it was time to come home to carve my pumpkin. In closing, I give you this. All Philly fans are lunatics.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Yet again, a week....

This time I have an actual excuse though. I have come down with a pretty nasty cold and am taking a bonus day off as I write this. As usual, I got sick slowly over the course of the past 5 days, reaching a new misery peak this morning, while Danielle rushed through all the symptoms of the cold in about 24 hours and basically has made a full recovery. She then has the gall to blame me for getting her sick (which is probably true, but still). The only hope for some sort of evolutionary advantage for my gene pool here is that this pattern would hold for more serious (fatal) diseases. A bit morbid, but we all like to feel that our genes are worth something....Perhaps I have the ability to struggle along with a fatal cancer for years when the average person would succumb in a matter of months. /Tangent.

The last week of poker saw a couple of milestones pass, which were very much related. Here goes.

The Massive Downswing

Here are some results. If you have children, now would be a good time to ask them to leave the room:

22-Oct 20/40 Limit Garden City -689
22-Oct 1-3 Spread Limit Garden City -140
24-Oct 20/40 Limit Bay 101 -2471
25-Oct 6/12 Limit Bay 101 47
25-Oct 20/40 Limit Bay 101 -1390
27-Oct 6/12 Limit Bay 101 17
27-Oct 20/40 Limit Bay 101 290

In my mind I had this plugged in as a 5000 dollar down swing at live 20/40, but looking at it now it would appear I rounded up all 3 times and, boom, just like that, I made 400 bucks! It's kind of like when you rack up your chips at the end of the session and you realize there are 21 chips in each stack instead of 20. Boom, free money!

The astute blog follower will note that Friday marked the end of my second "6 week" trial period. Curiously, it was also day of maximum destruction to my bankroll, as I posted a 5 rack loss in a session filled with brutal two-outters, cold decks, and missed draws. I also think I made some mistakes and paid off a little light in some situations, but I'm not really sure it had anything to do with being stuck; I think the mistakes were systematic in my game, just something to work on, not a tilt-issue. Anyway, on Friday I didn't feel I was ready to make a decision on my future, as I was understandably a little bit upset. Saturday went no better, so I picked up shop early (only played about 3 hours) and decided to lose myself in sports (world series, PSU v OSU, and the Steelers Giants games were all on in the next 24 hours).

The Recovery

Yesterday I played an 11.5 hour marathon session, losing first 1700 dollars, then recovering to get myself up to a 300 dollar win for the day. In that session I avoided going on tilt, maintained my awareness of seat selection and table selection, and eventually found myself in one of the best live 20/40 games I've seen in a long time. I stuck out an extra 4 hours of play past when I wanted to go home, and for once actually logged a 1500 dollar upswing for my efforts (it helped that my big pairs not only held up, but did so by flopping sets).

This recovery was not so much financial as mental. I went through a pretty bad patch and am still excited to be doing this. I still want to play, and I still believe I'm good enough to win a ton of money doing it. I've always disagreed with the statement of "that which does not kill you makes you stronger", but so far in poker it's turning out to be pretty darn accurate.

The Decision

I am 12 weeks into this shot, and I am now officially reporting that I am a professional poker player. I have no intention of searching for work any time soon, and am simply going to keep on playing. I've learned a ton in the past 12 weeks, but I still have a long way to go. I don't think I'm yet ready to move up to 40/80, as I still have substantial leaks in my game that need to be addressed. Specifically, I need to slow things down while I'm playing and make sure I make good decisions based on all the information I have. Most of what I need to learn isn't even technical poker stuff; it's how to deal with personalities, how to separate myself from the losses but still relish the wins, etc etc. But the direction is now set; I'm going to try to make this work, long term.

Financially Speaking

Before the big hit I took at the end of last week, I could proudly say I was making more money playing poker than I had been writing code for Oracle. This is no longer true, but it's still pretty close. Since I started my shot I have shown a net profit of about $19,000 at the tables (including some odd side bets and the like). This is more than enough for my incredibly un-ballah life style, even when you factor in the fact that I've probably lost about half that much in the stock market since my shot started (I actually have a mutual fund that has lost 63% of it's value since I purchased it 18 months ago. That's just incredible). Plus the market went up 8% today, so I've got that going for me, which is nice.

And Finally, some hands

Here are some hands from Garden City last week. Enjoy.

I bet/call-down from the turn with Ace-High because I am awesome.
I play bad with top pair no kicker in a tiny pot.
I put in nine million bets with an under pair.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

All of a sudden it's been a week

So tonight I'm on my way home from Bay 101 and I'm thinking "Man, I really should write something for my blog, it's been like 3 or 4 days". Turns out it's been a week, and my sense of time passing is about as corrupted as I suspected. Alas. Here are my results since October 15th:

15-Oct 20/40 Limit Bay 101 1062
16-Oct 20/40 Limit Bay 101 -851
17-Oct 20/40 Limit Bay 101 -20
18-Oct 8/16 Limit Bay 101 104
18-Oct 20/40 Limit Bay 101 -474
19-Oct 6/12 Limit Ajs 50
19-Oct SNG Ajs -20
20-Oct 6/12 Limit Bay 101 -14
20-Oct 20/40 Limit Bay 101 160
21-Oct 20/40 Limit Bay 101 981

Basically, I haven't been doing that great the last week, but have managed to keep my head above water. I've taken some pretty serious beats/chops, such as this hand where I flop a set of aces and proceed to lose 300 dollars, and this one where I flop the stone cold nuts, put in four thousand bets, only to get rivered out of half of it on the river.

Today I did something I wasn't terribly proud of yet could absolutely not resist. I'd been playing at a table for a while and losing pretty badly. Against a very aggressive player I'd turned a flush heads up, only to put 5 bets in drawing dead against his nut flush. Anyway, I eventually table change and find the most delightful species of fish there is; the super loose passive. This guy played over 90% of his hands preflop. 2 bets? 63 suited? Call. Folded to me on the button? I have King Jack off? Call. He was incredibly awful. When I sat down he had about 5 racks (2500) in front of him, and I could tell he was going to bleed it all off over the next few hours (the prop told me, while he was away, that he'd started with more than that even). I hunkered down and slowly but surely he lost all his money. Then he got up, asked the dealer to hold his seat, and disappeared. The rule of thumb is that you get 20 minutes before they sell your seat. This guy apparently called the floor man, from the road, to inform him that he was going to the bank and would be back soon. 35 minutes later he sits down with a fresh 5 hundo and puts in for a table change.

Here is the moment where I go super asshole. I put in for a table change right behind him. Now, I wasn't even the first guy to do it (funny shirt guy beat me to it), but I still felt bad. After losing his new rack of chips, this mega fish is changed to table 35, and I get a change 2 minutes after him. Miraculously the seat that is becoming available is on his immediate left, and I almost fall down over myself walking over to put chips in it (as a rule of thumb, once you have your chips down, the seat is yours. if you're a new player and you don't yet have chips down, often the players at the table will jockey for position, playing an odd dance of musical chairs). To my astonishment not a soul objects, and I get 2 more hours of time in the Jesus seat. I own the guy repeatedly, he buys another 500, then eventually goes busto. I practically follow him to the cage, waiting only long enough for him to clear out so he won't see me (he had like 3 blue chips to change) and the entire table just laughs at the situation. One guy, who is actually pretty sharp if not much of a poker player, says "So that's what it meant when you followed me over there last week?!"

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

[x] Streak Snapped

Today I lost money playing Texas Hold 'Em poker. This is notable only because it had not happened in approximately 17 days. I could say that the heater is over, except that I only lost 25 dollars, so honestly who would I be kidding? Two orbits before I left, I reached the UTG+1 position with a stack of 1001 dollars and was planning to leave if I didn't play a hand. I did however play and lose a small pot, so I played two more orbits, lost all the way down to stuck 350, but had an Ace-King take down a big one right before I left to reach the -25 number.

Today's session did provide lot's of blog material, so without further adieu, here we go. My first interesting hand was a blind steal gone wrong. In it I folded the turn when I could have had as many as 13 outs (open-ended with a pair), but alternatively was drawing dead or close to it against many hands. If I had it to do over, I'd call the turn and fold the river UI.

Today I saw some of the worst play I can remember in my games. Perhaps I'm just getting better and noticing awful play, but I find it hard to believe I could have ever missed these shenanigans. First:

The Absurdly Passive

1. Player limps. Maniac raises. I 3-bet pocket jacks in the small blind. Player calls, maniac caps. Someone else is in the pot too....flop comes down A97. I check and call one bet from the maniac and there are 3 of us left. Turn is an 8. Wow, I say, I have to call another bet. But it checks through. River is like a 4 and I value bet. Player calls, and maniac calls. I roll my Jacks like they're the nuts. Player shows pocket kings, and then the supposed maniac rolls AQ to drag the pot. To recap, the player's line pocket kings was:

Preflop: Call, call, call
Flop: Call
Turn: Check
River: Call

2. Same player limps in. Maniac calls, some other people call, I don't really remember, and I raise pocket 9s. Like four of us to the flop or something, and the cards come off JQ8. I bet and get raised by this player. I call (I have a gut shot). The turn and river are both below 8, and neither puts a flush on board. The player checks both big streets and rolls AQ for "a freaking monster".

3. I open raise AJ from UTG+1. Next guy in flats it, and so do like 4 other people. The flop is King high, I bet and get raised by him. He gets me heads up, and I for some reason decide to peel one (perhaps it's cause I'm getting 15:1). Darn, it's a Jack. I check and call one bet. River is a brick and he checks behind, then fast rolls Aces. I laugh out loud, realize I'm being a jerk, and say something about "way to suck everyone else in". Flatting two bets with aces in early position is probably the stupidest thing you could do preflop, particularly at a table with a known maniac left to act. Next....

Rusty Devastates Me, but does so in a nice way

So I mentioned Rusty a few posts ago, regarding the Wine Table. He's the nicest guy you'd ever want to meet, but just not so good at the pokers. He was back tonight, and played these three hands against me:

1. I 3-bet the maniac (he's not really a maniac....just a preflop maniac...I suppose I should explain about him. He played at the table with me for 5 hours and probably drank 8 beers. He sings, dances, and does ridiculous things like declaring a raise with "I have decided that, upon inspecting my cards, I shall increase the wager to two times the minimum". He also had 4.5 racks in front of him at one point. Tough game) with AKo. Rusty calls in position, and the maniac calls. The flop comes down A67 with two hearts. I bet, Rusty calls (the Maniac folds at some point...flop or turn, it doesn't really matter). The turn brings the Ace of Hearts and I bet. Rusty calls again. Note that I have trip aces with a black king as a kicker. The river is a 4th heart, and I bet. Rusty turbo raises, and I expose my hand to him and ask if he has the Queen of hearts. He is so nice that he shows me his hand, Queen-Jack off, with the Queen of hearts. Replay that hand once in your mind, and tell me just exactly what he was intending when he called that flop bet.

2. I get a free play in the big blind with pocket 5s. The flop comes off 236 and I bet. Rusty calls from his UTG position. Turn is an Ace and I bet again. He again just calls. River is an Ace and check. He bets and I fold. He shows me A5. He had a 3 outter and he hit two of them.

3. I have changed seats and now have direct position on Rusty. He limps in and I raise red Queens. The flop comes 523 rainbow and he bets. I raise, and the 2 or 3 other people that were in the pot for some reason clear out. The turn is a 4 and Rusty just bets out. Doesn't even bother to check/raise me or anything. Just bets out. I show him my hand as I fold it and he shows me again the monstrous A5 off. Next:

I Develop a Case of Floppy Nut-Itus.

The maniac open raises and two people cold call his bet. I have 98 of hearts one off the button and pull out my "one cold-call per 6 hours" card (as suggested by SSHE). The hand goes off 6 ways (both blinds call) and I flop the stone-cold nuts (T76 with two spades). An older white man in the small blind donks, some people call, I raise, he 3s, I cap, and we're still at least 4 and I think actually 5 handed. The turn is a sexy Ace of redness and I still have all the symptoms of a full-blown case of Floppy Nut-Itus. It's about to check to me when the loose-passive who can't read hands worth a damn donks right into me. I turbo raise and the old white gentleman actually says "Why would you bet into him like that?" while cold-calling my raise. He then declares "Pair the board". The maniac calls (lol, flush draw) and the donker calls. The river is a Queen (blessedly red) and I bet once more, collecting a call from the old man (Ten-Seven) and the donker (Ace-Seven). I drag the pot, two racks worth of chips, and am still stacking as I play my next two hands. Then:

I check/raise Ed off the freaking table

Ed is a nice kid. Seldom tilts, doesn't berate bad players, and in general plays pretty darn well. At a table full of him, I wouldn't bother to sit down. I'd also venture to say that I've only been to Bay 101 once or twice in the last two months and not seen him. He's So anyway, on to the hand in which I basically owned his soul. Ed is 3 seats to my left and has been basically minding his own business (I played all 9.25 hours today at the same table) for the last two orbits since he got into the game. I've been picking up decent cards and to him it probably looks like I'm lagging it up a bit. So I open-raise Ace-Jack off from 4 seats off the button, the next two fold, and Ed....drastically and obviously looks left. He looks left so obviously at the remaining players that my gaze must follow. And what do I see? 3 guys (the button, small and big blind) with their cards in their hands, telegraphing folds. Ed 3-bets. The riff-raff all folds and I almost cap it...instead, I just call and say "Ed, don't make it so obvious you need them all to fold."

The flop comes down 834 with two spades (and I don't have even a 3rd). In other words, I flop complete air. I check, Ed bets, and I formulate my plan. You see, it's pretty obvious Ed is weak. He wouldn't have looked left so much if he had a real 3-betting hand; namely, a decent pocket pair or a better ace than me. Sure he could have like 7s or 6s or something, or maybe even 9s or tens, but I doubt it. I think he has squat. I call, planning to bust a move on the turn which is:

834-3 three spades now.

Blarg. I'd have preferred a non-spade, as now he'll be able to call my check/raise with more hands in his range. Nevertheless, my read is still that I have the best hand, so I must continue. I check. Ed thinks, and for a second I think he might not bet. In fact, I'm almost sure he's going to che...but no, Ed bets. I check/raise in rhythm and Ed goes into the tank. He thinks for long enough that I'm sure he doesn't have the ace of spades. Then he thinks for long enough that I know he doesn't even have a spade. He finally does call though, and I'm a bit concerned.....maybe that pocket 6s thought was right after all.


Yikes. If I was right about Ed having a weak ace, he just caught up. I check, and so does he. I roll my Ace-Jack like it's the nuts, and he rolls...Ace-Seven. Of diamonds. He gives me a funny look and I merely shrug in return. The dealer chops up the pot, and Ed doesn't pay his blinds again. 5 hands later he racks up, walks to the corner of the room and eats his dinner, returning to the 20/40 game 2 hours later as I'm racking up my own chips. Then:

I simply play good

A maniac (a different one this time...this guy is a true blue betting and bluffing machine) open raises in the cutoff. He could have damn near any two cards, and I turbo-call him with J8 off. The flop peels off:

QJ5 and I check/raise him. This is standard play in a blind-steal situation. The pot is being contested only two handed, and any pair is a very strong holding. He only calls my check/raise, and the turn brings a Ten. I am about to bet, but then have a moment of clarity. Against a normal player, I should bet, making sure he folds his naked Ace or King which now has a bunch of outs (or at least pays to draw with it). Against this guy....I check. He can't have my jack beat, as he'd have 3-bet the flop if that were the case. He bets, and I call. The river is some very low card, and I again check with what I'm certain is the best hand. He again bets, and I beat him into the pot with a call. He tosses the dealer his cards, face down and says "nice call". I win the pot uncontested. Finally:

I make a royal flush

The hand wasn't even that interesting. I completed the small blind with the Ten of spades and 6 of clubs in my hand. We saw a flop 6 ways of KQJ all spades, and I checked and called the bet of one player. On the turn, however, the Ace of spades rolled off the deck. I checked, and my opponent checked it right back. The river was the Queen of diamonds, so I felt a glimmer of hope for some action. I bet, and he just called, and I got to declare "Royal Flush!" and turn over my hand. It was great fun, even it was just a 6 big bet pot (fully two of which were mine).

And finally, for posterity....Here are some pictures taken at the table yesterday by Hammerin' Hank. Note that my brass rat is prominently displayed, and that I have over 2800 dollars in chips in front of me :)

Sunday, October 12, 2008

11 days without a loss

Here are my last two days:

10-Oct 20/40 Limit Bay 101 56
11-Oct 20/40 Limit Bay 101 1468

Both days were long (8.5 and 7 hours, respectively), and relatively boring. On the 10th my heatering ways continued at first, as I struck out to a +1500 start. Then I started to lose, things got worse, and I started to tilt a little, and I then I ran even worse, and then all of a sudden I was stuck 200 bucks. I played a bit more, won back to +500, then played a couple of hands like a complete idiot and left when Danielle called me to inform me that the dogs had gotten into a fight (both dogs sustained only minor injuries, but I can imagine it was pretty scary; Danielle had to use a chair to separate them). The final nail in my coffin on the 10th happened on this hand:

Marco (old white guy who plays higher, isn't that good and is sometimes spastic), raises one limper. I 3-bang AKo, the big blind (a horrific loose passive donkey on a huge heater) takes 2 to the face, the limper calls, and Marco...caps. Marco's physical image gets the best of me here; old white guys don't cap light in 4 handed pots, usually. We all call and off we go:

Q93 rainbow

The first two players check to Marco, who...checks. I decide "IT'S A TARP!!!" and check behind. Mistake number 1. A bet is mandatory in a pot of this size.

6, completing the rainbow

BB donks saying "I guess my hand is good". He has a nine. I know he has a nine, or perhaps something like pocket Tens. Both players fold in between. I raise. He looks at me (he doesn't know me from Adam, and doesn't know the only hand left in my range is AK), and says "you slow playing queens over there?" He almost folds. I will him to fold with my brain. But he doesn't fold, he calls, because as I said he's a donkey on a heater.

River 2

He checks, I bet (mistake number 2). He of course calls and I table Ace high. He tables 98 of clubs for one pair, and is very, very proud of himself. He says "if you bet the flop I fold" and I laugh at the absurdity of it. Folding a pair that not only might be the best hand but has 5 outs to make a very strong hand getting 17:1 would be a substantially worse play than open-raising 72o under the gun in a 9 handed game. The problem is, he's probably telling the truth. Wow did I make a mess of that one.

My session yesterday, Saturday the 11th, was pretty uneventful. I made two mistakes early on (missing a value bet on the river when my nut flush draw turned into a pair of aces...I tried to check and call, but my opponent checked behind...this was an obvious bet, but a small mistake...and failing to 3-bet from the small blind in a steal situation, allowing the big blind to come into the pot and win it with 2 pair, fives and sixes....this is completely inexcusable), but didn't let them get to me and had great cooperation from the deck. In the end I booked an almost 3 rack win, then stupidly left all my cash in my lock-box, even though I'm planning to go play for a few hours at the Oaks today before my softball game....time to hit the ATM....


I also did this, which was probably the worst/best suck out of my entire life. And to close out the post, I haven't had a losing day of poker in my last 11 attempts, and won over 5K this week alone. Life is beautiful.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

More like the world, bud...

Today was my day off from poker, and I spent it doing a lot of stuff I didn't really want to do. I woke up at 11am and decided that today would be the day I finally tried to buy some stock, because I felt the sky was about done falling. Let's just say that was a stupid idea, as I lost 5% between 11:30 and the 1pm market close. Alas. I talked to my friend Tony, who works in the "money industry" and asked him "So the United States was over-valued by 40%? Really?" and his response was "More like the world, bud".

Then I decided to book my flight home for Christmas. I had everything looked up on Expedia and was settled on a flight. I clicked on it, and got this back:

Your price has changed

Please be aware
We're sorry, the price of this flight has changed from $525.00 to $2,317.00

flight $2,267.99 + $49.01 taxes & fees = $2,317.00
5:50 am Depart San Francisco (SFO)
Arrive Pittsburgh (PIT) 2:56 pm
Tue 23-Dec
Duration: 6hr 6mn
United United 1184 / United 7510 operated by /UNITED EXPRESS/SHUTTLE AMERICA7510

Connect in Denver (Denver Intl.)

6:00 am Depart Pittsburgh (PIT)
Arrive San Francisco (SFO) 10:47 am
Mon 29-Dec
Duration: 7hr 47mn
United United 1154 / 885

Connect in Chicago (ORD)

Preview seat availability Pick a different flight Accept price and continue

It wasn't even a stale search....I had just researched, found the flight I wanted, and clicked on "Choose this Flight". The whole process took maybe 15 seconds. So I called my friend Chris who is an expert at this sort of thing and he found me a decent flight home for less than I was gonna pay for that one in the first place. Thanks Chris!

All of a sudden it was 3pm, and I hadn't even worked out or watched my Netflix. As usual, TV won the battle and I watched possibly the worst movie of all time. Yeesh. I mean, there is no redemption at the end here, none whatsoever. He just...goes to sleep? So by this point I've spent 90 minutes booking a flight, lost 500 dollars on a stock I bought 4 hours ago, and wasted 2 hours of my life. Next time I take a day off, I think I'll try coding something....

Yesterday's session, about which I just realized I have not yet reported, was another matter entirely. I won just over 4 racks and called it quits after 5 hours, and my assault was quickly reported on the two plus two mid stakes low content thread. Every hour or so somebody would ask me about "that big black guy" that was playing in my game last night, and I got to retell the story of doing a shot with Lamont Jordan.

In the evening I went with Danielle to play some 4/8 O8 at Artichoke Joe's on their Lightning Poker Table and managed to win over 100 dollars while drinking beer playing a game in which I barely know the rules. It's completely random, though, and had I known what I was doing it would have been closer to 200.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Starring "Orange Shirt Guy" and "Seven Duey!", with a special appearance by...LaMont Jordan

So I got seated yesterday around 1:30pm at a very good 20/40 table (my sessions have been starting later and later, something I'm going to remedy today). One of my favorite donators, "Orange Shirt Guy" was at my table and everything was going smoothly for a while. Orange shirt guy is an interesting villain, in that he has some leaks that are not standard for my game. While he cold-calls too much preflop, is way too loose on the flop (he will peel the flop with virtually any two cards in many situations), and often slow-plays his monsters (it's usually better to just go to war with them right away, especially against an aggressive opponent such as myself), he also has a tendency to bluff/spew multiple bets on the big streets. He will make hopeless bluffs, either as donks or check/raises, and will also hand-read horribly. As an example, he once check/raised myself and another opponent on the river after 2 bets had gone in on the turn (and I had bet/3-bet the flop) and the final board was:


With the final five giving him a queen high flush. It should have been pretty obvious that I had a full house there (never mind the fact that I was actually holding pocket 5s for quads), and his decision to check/raise was monumentally bad. First of all, if neither of us had it, the river was going to check through (he was first to act of 3) and he'd win the minimum. If one of us did have it, the check/raise would cost him 3 bets instead of the 2 he'd lose by betting out. Just an example....

So I'm playing with Orange Shirt guy and two other very bad players, when suddenly (against his character) Orange Shirt guy changes tables. I look to the table where he's gone and see one other confirmed MegaFish ("Seven Duey", so named for his penchant for raising 72 in any position and barreling off with it until the river) and notice a very buff, large black man who my gut has alerted me probably isn't a rock-star at this game (Any time I see someone who looks like an athlete at the table I assume he's not very good. Any time I see someone white or black I've never seen before, I assume such as well. So this guy had 2 strikes going in). I decide to eat my Bay 101 Cobb Classic Salad, then change to the table. I get called once but have just posted my big blind (it's a bad idea to change right after posting, as you have to post into your new game, and thus basically pay the blinds twice in a row), so I roll it, and get the seat about an hour after Orange Shirt Guy has left my game. I get a seat on buff black guys immediate left and shortly realize that I forgot my seat-belt.

The game is off the chain. Completely, 100 percent, with-out-a-doubt, off it. Seven Duey is in rare form, raising 50% of his hands pre-flop. Orange shirt guy is on his immediate left, cold-calling with practically any two suited, plus showing up with stuff like 87 offsuite after paying 3 bets preflop (trust me this is preposterously awful). A regular who is usually pretty tight, if straightforward, goes on tilt and spews 2 big bets to me on a Jack high flop with QJ (for one pair...I hold KJ and look him up after the action goes: he bets, I raise, he 3-bets, I cap because buff black guy is still padding the pot, he calls and smoke bets the turn....I call him down and MHIG). Then there is Buff Black Guy himself, who looks like he could actually break me in half with a small flick of his pinky. At first he was playing alright, just calling way too many hands and the like. After a while, though, he just went nuts. At one point he raised 8 hands in a row preflop, and bet most of them on multiple post-flop streets. I was in "The Jesus Seat", as it is known in the poker world, on his immediate left (I had actually slid over one seat to the right, toward the blinds, which is rare for me, to keep nary a chair between us...something in my gut just told me to play with this man). He offered me a drink, and at this point I still didn't know who he was (his drink of choice, curiously, was red wine with a shot of Grey Goose "to spice it up a bit, you know"). I'll note that in the 3 hours I played with him, he only had 2. Then there were the pots:

I 3-bet him with A9 suited. 7 of us see the flop of AQ9 with two hearts (I have spades). He bets, I raise, he 3-bets and I turbo-cap. 5 of us see the turn, which brings a small diamond, putting now four red cards on board. He bets into me again, and I turbo-raise. Seven Duey and Orange Shirt guy both take one off for 80 bucks, and I say to myself "just one time dealer. one time". She obliges, rolling the deuce of clubs. Seven Duey yelps in pain, Orange Shirt Guy shakes his head, and Buff Black Guy doesn't know what to do. I bet and they all fold.

I 3-bet him with AJo. The flop comes down QT4 all diamonds and I call one bet because there is a 3rd player in the pot (probably Seven Duey). The turn is a K, giving me the ace high straight but keeping the number of diamonds on board at 3 (I have zero). He bets, I raise, Seven Duey surrenders, he 3-bets....I clam up and just call. He could, you know, have a flush. River is the 9 of diamonds and he checks. My entire body screams "Bet you dummy, bet. He has no diamond and just might pay you" but I can't bring myself to do it. I check behind, and he rolls KT of clubs for two pair. MHIG.

Anyway, some I start to hear some murmmering, and eventually piece it together that Buff Black Guy is actually LaMont Jordan. He explains to someone that he got hurt this week and only had 5 carries. He explains how they're staying on the west coast because they have San Diego this week. He answers "I can't really talk about that....just look at the injury report" when asked if he's going to play next week. He is not pretending. He is actually LaMont Jordan. As a final gesture of good will, he offers to buy the table a shot. 7 players refuse, but I, no, I cannot. LaMont Jordan buys me a shot of Grey Goose and toasts "to poker". Right before hand he asked me my name and I said "Jesse". We shook hand with a "Nice to meet you, I'm LaMont". Then he played off his blinds, getting dealt pocket Aces on what was to be his final hand (turns out he played two more while stacking his chips) and won a monstrous pot (lunatics get paid well when they have the goods). He tried to have the floor call him a cab, but someone actually offered to give him a ride, which he accepted, and then he was gone.

I left up 1500, over half of which could be directly attributed to him. He was a very nice guy, and great for the game. If I ever see him again, I'll table change immediately. The funniest part was that nobody else really seemed to know who he was, and if they did, they didn't seem to much care. He went virtually unnoticed for hours.

Only one good part of the story has been left out....shoot me an email or PM on 2p2 and I will gladly share it with you :)

Monday, October 6, 2008

The heat goes on

I have not had a day of losing poker since Friday, September 26th. Since that day I have won over 7000 dollars. After a long stretch of not winning much and breaking even for dozens and dozens of hours, it feels great to be back to winning some serious cash. Today I posted a 550 dollar win in 7 hours at Bay 101, even though this happened. I've never seen a player like this guy before (we call him "The Hippy" because he has long red hair). He usually will tell you exactly what he has, and he will usually be telling the truth. The last two times I've played with him, however, he's been on a sort of "perma-heater", winning racks and racks of chips with stuff like 73s and 85 off. It's kind of tough to take, as he's a pretty arrogant guy who really likes to hear himself talk. I make do though....

Friday night was a very interesting session indeed. I ended up being at Bay 101 for almost 14 hours, taking a long lunch break in the middle of the day to justify playing so long. Also, around 7pm, a friendly regular named Rusty (who is a member of AORBS) took it upon himself to order 2 bottles of wine for the table. Shortly thereafter 2 more were produced, and I am told that the table consumed, all told, 8 bottles (I was told this today by the bearded man himself...I left the table somewhere around bottle 6 because it honestly wasn't a very good game). After starting off stuck 2200, I eventually made it all the way back to +500, then proceeded to dust off an entire rack in my last orbit on three coolers and cash out +87 dollars on poker for the day. I did, however, lose 300 dollars playing Red/Black (before the cards or dealt one of you takes red, the other black. whichever color "wins the flop" is the winner). This guy is a regular who thinks he's hot shit, when in actually he's just a LAG (loose aggressive player) who tends to go on tilt. Anyway he kind of challenged me to it and we did it once for 100 bucks, and I lost humorously (I picked red, but we then both forgot I did so, and ended up flipping to the other sides 10 seconds later), and then I lost two more times (once on the next hand, where I was dealt pocket aces and scooped a 600 doller pot), and once about 20 minutes later when I was feeling lucky. Needless to say he won all 3 and I was sad :(

I guess that about wraps it up, but a closing note: Since my shot started on August 1st, my win-rate for live 20/40 is 70 dollars per hour.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Session Report

Today was a good day. I played 7.5 hours at Bay 101 from 11:30am to 7pm and won 711 dollars. I ran pretty well, but did take a couple of coolers, such as....

I limp 97 of diamonds and we take a flop 6 handed. It is KQJ with two diamonds. The player on my right bets and I just call. Turn is a 5th diamond and I raise the guy. He looks at me and says "got lucky?" and calls. River Q and he check/raises me. I call like an idiot and he shows me Queens full of Jacks. Four big bets didn't really need to be lost there....

A few other interesting things happen. I watched a hand where the action went like this:

Player A raises, player be 3-bets preflop. Player A calls.

A93 with two clubs

Player A checks and calls.

Q of clubs

Player A checks, Player B bets, Player A raises, Player B 3-bets, player A calls.

9 of hearts

Player A checks, Player B bets, Player A raises, Player B 3-bets, Player A 4-bets, Player B cannot believe it but just calls. Player A shows 99 for quads. Player B shows QQ for a full boat. I'm just glad it wasn't me :)

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Time for Plan B

First of all, to get the logistics out of the way, here's what's gone down since my last post:

26-Sep 20/40 Limit Bay 101 90
26-Sep 40/80 Limit Bay 101 -1605
26-Sep 20/40 Limit Bay 101 -1547
27-Sep 20/40 Limit Bay 101 472
8/16 Limit Bay 101 27
29-Sep 20/40 Limit Bay 101 882
29-Sep 15/30 Limit Ajs 405
29-Sep 6/12 Limit Ajs 266
30-Sep 20/40 Limit Bay 101 2278
1-Oct 8/16 Limit Bay 101 -40
1-Oct 20/40 Limit Bay 101 2022

Right before my last entry I had posted back to back losses, so the morning of September 27th found me at the tail end of a 4200 dollar downswing. This was, to say the last, not much fun. However, I just kept trying to "play through it" (much like a baseball player is told to play through a batting slump....not much, however, like the times in college where I encouraged my tired or hung-over friends to "drink through it"), and lo and behold I've won over 5K in the last 3 days.

Here are a couple of hands from today's monster heater (which ended with me cashing out for a 2000 dollar win, but saw a high-water mark of +2800. Having 38 stacks of chips on the table is a pretty fun thing to have happen). In hand 1 I flop a monster hand and am unsure how to proceed on the turn due to the fact that over half the table is still in the pot. In hand 2, I don't know if I should check/raise to trap a couple of bad players in the pot, or donk bet to try to blast them out of it.

I've settled back into a routine the last week or so now, waking up sometime between 8 (ok, 9 really) and 10, working out, relaxing a bit, and then heading down to bay 101 for six to eight hours of play, getting home sometime after traffic clears around 7pm. I really like the schedule, and caught myself thinking yesterday about how hard it would be to go back to having a real job. It's looking more and more like this is going to stick. My win rate at live 20/40 is now a more than adequate $52.43/hour, and I'm showing almost no signs of burning out. I haven't yet suffered a serious down-swing, but I did basically break even for about 4 weeks and got through it just fine.

So today's humorous story involves a 2p2er I play with fairly often. He's a really nice guy who is always laughing and joking at the table, doing his best to project an image that says "I'm just here to gamble a little guys nothing to see here" instead of the true "I'm going to take all your money eventually" mentality that is going on in his head. Anyway....

I open raise Ace-Nine off from just a wee bit too far from the button (perhaps I was in the lowjack, 3 seats before the button). Someone folds, but the cutoff and button both call two cold. As the button is over-cold-calling, my friend says "Uh oh. Time for Plan B!" I realize now that this story doesn't actually seem that funny, but at the time, with the table dynamic that he and I create, it made me almost laugh out loud. Basically he's pointing out that my goal was to play a small pot, with position, against one or both of the blinds. Now I'm playing a bigish pot, out of position, and probably don't have as much of a hand as I'd like to for this unfavorable outcome. Anyway, I proceed to flop top-two pair and value-bet all three streets, getting called down by a naked Ace-Five that never even made a second pair. I say "Plan B is just easier" and we both have a good chuckle. 2 hours later my friend cashes out 5 racks of chips, saying he has to take his daughter to her softball game. After he left a few people asked me about him, things such as "How much was he in for?" and "He's very patient, isn't he". It would appear that they're starting to catch on to him....never mind that I cashed out for 6.5 racks later that day, and today posted another 6 racker. To my knowledge he and I have taken somewhere around $7,000 out of that game in the last 36 hours :)