Thursday, February 26, 2009

Unleashing My Inner Donkey

This is kind of a lame post, just a link to a 2p2 thread, but it illustrates "poor game selection" on my part most definitely:

I Am An Idiot

Sweet Revenge

A couple of months ago a friend of mine found himself on business in San Diego. I decided to fly down and join him for a few days, him tooling away on whatever it is he works on during the day and me playing at Ocean's 11 in Oceanside. Well, that trip didn't go so well. I don't want to...well, OK, I'll go to the tape:

8-Dec 8/16 Limit Ocean's 11 -122
8-Dec 20/40 Limit Ocean's 11 -1473
9-Dec 20/40 Limit Ocean's 11 177
9-Dec 8/16 Limit Ocean's 11 -214
9-Dec 20/40 Limit Ocean's 11 -55
10-Dec 4/8 Limit Ocean's 11 -20
10-Dec 8/16 Limit Ocean's 11 73
10-Dec 4/8 Omaha Ocean's 11 -33
10-Dec 20/40 Limit Ocean's 11 -197
10-Dec 40/80 Limit Ocean's 11 -374

Basically, I took a $2000 dollar loss playing with a bunch of donkeys over the course of 3 days, as low as 4/8 and as high as 40/80. Why am I bringing this up, you ask?

I again find myself in sunny San Diego, with more experience under my belt and a hankering for revenge (again also because a good friend is here on business). I arrived yesterday morning and made a bee line for Oceanside, a fat clip of 100s in my pocket and revenge on my mind. I showed up around 2pm, and was seated in a new must move 20/40 at 3:15 (the availability of games in San Jose really is preposterous). The game was awesome, but I still managed to lose some money in the first 75 minutes. Then my prayers were answered, as Ocean's 11 called down the 40 list. Stuck a paltry 250, I chose a random seat and promptly draw the big blind first. Nobody raises, and I behold the 82o, which I elect to check.


I bet, and get two callers.


Ouch. Not great. I bet, and get two more callers. And, drum roll please.....


I check and fold to a bet from the UTG player. This could be a long day.

In my 3rd hand, from the button, I have occasion to 3-bet AQ of clubs and see a flop about 3 handed. This hand is boring because I flop a gut shot, call one bet, then am forced to lay down on the turn, only to watch a river Ten give my now folded hand the nuts. More misery ensues, as I flop a flush draw and miss, then see a flop of JTT with AJ...only problem is the other guy has JT (that was actually pretty cheap, as he made expert slow play and raised the turn, at which point I exited stage right like the ninja that I am).

So I call for more chips, and take stock of the situation. I'm in $3300 already for the day, and only have about $1800 in front of me. Really, not a good start at all, as I've been playing for less than 2 hours. Then I take a look around me and pause for a minute to evaluate each player at the table. I had been so concerned with my chips and playing my hands that I hadn't really taken the time to process the reads I'd developed over my first 15 hands. Then the next hand drove home what I was dealing with.

UTG calls, MP calls, and Seat 5 raises it up. Two more cold calls, then "Robert Paulson" 3-bangs the SB on my immediate right. It occurs to me that this guy has been raising a ton, and I watch this hand intently....I fold the BB, and every body else calls, for a 6 handed 3-bet pot:

Jc 5s 6h

Robert Paulson bets, and it's capped by the time it gets back to him. He calls, and 4 players see the turn


This time Paulson checks and calls only one bet for the right to see the river, 4 handed. The pot is huge....21 big bets.


Paulson donks!!! Two other players fold, but the previous aggressor calls. Paulson rolls...A9. Of clubs. And it's good....To recap....3-bets from the small blind in a 6 handed pot, 4 bets on the flop where he has....Ace high....back door clubs....and...nothing else. Then another call on the turn with...complete air. Then a donk into 3 opponents on the river. I bunker down, and my fortunes turn on the following sequence of hands:

Paulson raises the SB again. I have K9o and make the call (honestly I could 3-bet him if everyone else would fold. He's literally playing about 90/70/3) and we see a flop 5 ways.


In my memory of this hand I hold the King of clubs. This may or may not have been true, but anyway, I call a bet at 13:1 from "Grumpy" in seat 5 (so named because, well, he was grumpy, and he was a dwarf). Remaining in the hand are Robert Paulson and "UTG Old White Dude".


Ah ha, victory is mine! Paulson checks, I check, UTG Old White Dude checks, and Grumpy bets. Paulson folds (probably because he possesses only a 6-high runner runner straight draw) and I raise. UTG Old White Dude now goes into the tank and eventually calls, and Grumpy actually comments that he must be on a club draw. I kinda think that might be bullshit, because in a game this wild and crazy a club draw would be a turbo call, but whatever. It's the most likely thing....


Shit, clubs got there. I check, and UTG Old White Dude bets in rhythm. Grumpy folds angrily, and I call. UTG Old White Dude says "Nice call, I missed" and tables QT for....Queen high. I roll my pair of kings triumphantly, and Grumpy looks like he's gonna be sick. He claims two pair...The player next to him confirms....I set to stackin'. To recap, I was drawing dead on the turn in a 13 big bet pot and proceeded to scoop it.

A few hands later I raise As Kc on the button and see a flop like 6 ways (at one point in this game I noted that 7 consecutive hands went off 5 or more handed for at least 2 bets) of:

8c 6c 4s

Someone donks (in this game, there was no check/raising, as it was just expected that the preflop raiser would raise with why not bet-3-bet), and I just call on the button, along with a few others.


Huh, now I have a 4-flush to the king. I call again.


3 players check to me. I bet. One player calls, and MHIG.

The very next hand I call 55 in the cutoff, only to see the aforementioned Old White Dude raise on the button next to me. Everyone calls (7 ways this time) and the flop peels off ever so gently


(You know how the dealer deals off three cards in a pile, then picks them up and flips them over in a stack so you can only see one card first, then spreads them? Well there is nothing more beautiful than seeing that first card spike your set)


I have flopped a boat. What to do what to do....I quickly remember that the pot is already massive (7 big bets) and that I can't possibly risk the button checking behind. So when the first 5 players check to me, I donk for two reasons. One, I just stated. The other is that while my hand is awesome, anybody with a pocket pair above 5s has 4 outs (the two kings, and the two cards that spike his set). While its pretty unlikely that anybody in this game would ever elect to limp with a pocket pair of any size, it's possible. Hopefully I'll just get raised by a King and get to go batshit crazy right here, right now. Old White Guy pops it, and...everybody else folds. Alas....I 3-bet and he calls me down, showing Aces.

Shortly there after I 3-bet Grumpy with pocket jacks in the big blind. He caps it, and we see a flop of:


There are, again, 6 people in there, for 4 bets. I check, and it checks past Grumpy, and for a minute I panic. Bah! Panic? Never fear.....the high jack bets, and Paulson check/raises from the small blind. I 3-bet. Grumpy takes 3 to the face, and the other two both call. The turn and river stay below paint (4 and T I think). Score another one for the good guys.

A few hands later I 3-bet Grumpy again. And again we're 5 ways....That's what I have to stress here. Every single pot in this game was massive, preflop. 10 bets minimum, often 20, were going in before the flop even saw the light of day. It was like I was in a drunken 6/12 game on Friday night at Artichoke Joes. Anyway:


And Grumpy raises me. Somehow everyone else folds, and I call, planning to call down or maybe donk the river because like I said the pot's freaking huge. But wait, there's more!


Guess what hand I have. I check/raise him ("Pocket Jacks again?" he asks) and fill up on the river 7. He calls me down, and I drag another with my Jacks full.

At this point I pause to take stock of my stack. I've basically spent the last 90 minutes adding chips to it, with virtually nothing going wrong (sure, I lost to T2ss with my 99 on a board of 563ss-7h-Td with Paulson putting in action on every street, but I hardly noticed). I've been folding marginal hand preflop (suited connectors and the like, stuff you have to see the flop for cheap with, then manage to draw for cheap with, only to maybe win on the river...ain't nothin' cheap in this game) and have been running good in that department as well (once I flopped an open ended straight flush draw, except my hand was in the muck. Missed everything). I count it up, and realize that I have $7,200 on the table. After a few minutes of reflection, I decide that:

1. This is the loosest, most action packed game I have ever played in, at any level.

2. It is not worth staying another 2 hours, with an expectation of only ~$200-$300, to try to win more, when I could easily drop most of what I'd won. Poker players often talk about crossing the "threshhold of pain", past which further losses don't sting any more. I had passed this boundary the other way. Winning more wasn't gonna make me any happier than the clam I was currently emulating.

So I racked up and went back to the hotel, clicking my heals on the way out the door. Life is, at present, beautiful.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Goals Update

So my goals for this month were:

Play 22/28 days
Average 7 hours per playing day
Total hours: 154
20/40 hours: 100
30/60 hours: 20
40/80 hours: 34

So far this month, with 4 days remaining, I have played 140 hours in 19 days. I need to put in 14 hours in 3 days to reach the benchmarks I set.

Sadly, I haven't played nearly enough 30/60 or 40/80. Specifically, zero hours of 30/60 and 5.5 hours of 40/80. I have no hope to reach either of those milestones, which doesn't bother me too much. However, I do need to figure out why I didn't prioritize those goals throughout the month.

Today's session was a short (2.5 hour) roller coaster from which I left up $330 after being stuck $900 at the 2 hour mark. Sweet victory :)

Testing, Testing...1...2...uh....3?

Bonus points for the first person to identify the qoute.

I'm trying out a new app on my phone, so bear with me if this post isn't a gem. So far, so good.

Last week I found myself at Garden City when the 40/80 broke and Ted managed to spread a 20/40, half kill, HO game...with overs. If you don't know what some (or any) of that means....don't worry about it :)

So I post behind in the last hand of an Omaha 8 round. Omaha 8 is just like holdem, with two "small" changes. First, you get 4 cards and must use exactly 2 to make your hand. Second, the low hand (where A2345 is the nut) takes half the pot.

I am dealt Ks Jc 3d 2s and see a flop of:

Ts 5c 4h

For 2 bets about 5 ways. In a kill (30/60) pot. This is pretty good, as I have a straight draw to a good low. Honestly, in Omaha when I post in, flopping anything at all is a major achievement.

Anyway the flop checks around and we see a turn of:

Ts 5c 4h 7s

That's a fun card (as are most Omaha turns). Somebody now bets, and I call. Now there's a raise behind me, the bettor calls only, and I don't like my hand one bit. But...I call and note that the As would be one ball buster of a river. Wait for it....

Ace of Spades.

The astute reader will now note that my motley collection of weak ass draws has suddenly morphed into what Omaha players call "Nut Nut". I have the best possible high hand, along with the aforementioned A2345 low. This pot is all mine.

I heart the Omaha.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Does Buddha Have the Nuts?

In response to my last post:

Blogger Dave said...

Just to make this crystal clear, in your hierarchy of deities, Zeus > Jesus? Please also rank the following deities:

- Buddha
- Poseidon
- Mohammed
- The Flying Spaghetti Monster
- Cal Ripken

February 19, 2009 9:29 AM

So without further adieu, I give you my complete, expert, rankings of these 7 deities, with heavy weight given to their expected poker potential.

7. Jesus - Honestly, what does this guy have going for him? I know he disappeared for like 20 years even in his own holy text, and perhaps he spent that time traveling the world looking for juicy home games, but I sincerely doubt it. His commandments, such as "Thou Shalt Not Lie" and "Thou Shalt Not Covet" suggest that he was a calling station. Sorry Jesus, but you just don't have much game.

6. Mohammed - This is a default ranking. I don't know a freakin' thing about Mohammed beyond what I picked up from Malcolm X. If Mohammed had the foresight to send, say, Samuel L. Jackson, in his stead, then perhaps he could have cracked the top 5.

5. Poseidon - I once tried to play cards in a hot tub. It was practically impossible. They stick together something fierce and you're always dropping them off whatever ghetto-ass object you've got floating in the middle pretending to be a table. Poseidon just couldn't put in enough hours to hone his skills.

4. Buddha - Now we're getting up to the deities that actually have some game. Buddha, while unassuming in appearance, has one quality that would allow him to crush mid-stakes limit hold'em. He is, without a doubt, completely and utterly tiltless. Beat after beat could rain down on this guy, and he'd just keep on smiling that dopey grin. Couple that with the fact that every Asian guy at the table would soft-play him and you've got yourself a potential long-term winner on your hands.

3. The Flying Spaghetti Monster - You'd think that a completely nonsensical glob of pasta, lacking a brain, limbs, and even a mouth, that was created in just this past decade, couldn't possibly hold his own in a group of this standing. You'd be wrong, though. TFSM strength lies exactly in the qualities one might think were his weaknesses. Nobody has a clue what cards he holds, and he's not afraid to throw the book out the window and make plays based on his gut instinct alone. While he's not exactly fundamentally sound, he'll always keep you guessing, and could snap off your bluff with king high at any time. In other words, he's the WTK of this group.

2. Cal Ripken - The consumate professional. This guy shows up day after day, grinding out a small edge in countless hands, hour after hour, week after week, year after year. I mean, have you ever done anything, other than breathing, 2632 times in a row? This guy will eventually have all the chips. If I'm picking up teams and Cal Ripken is in the room, my first question is "Is Cal available?" My second question is, "What game are we playing?"

1. Zeus - Honestly, this competition wasn't really fair from the beginning. Zeus is a freaking bad ass. He spends his days prowling around Mount Olympus, smoting mortals with thunderbolts and pumping iron, and his nights drinking wine and hosting orgies. He knows what you have and what you intend to do with it, and you best not forget it.

That about wraps it up. If anyone has suggestions for further posts, feel free to suggest them in the comments section.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

A New Poker Term?

So most people are familiar with the term Jesus Seat, right? The Jesus Seat is the seat with direct position on the biggest fish at the table. For example, if the worst player in the game is in seat 5, the Jesus Seat is seat 6. If there are multiple mega-fish at the table, there can be multiple Jesus (Jeezi?) Seats. The idea is that loose bad players acting right before you do is a very good thing. If someone plays more pots, and you ALWAYS have position on him, your average position is better. I think I coined a new term today in an email. Here's what happened.

Mario, about whom I've written before, was called to the 40/80 game and took his seat. My friend was squarely seated in the 8 seat, which happened to be (non-coincidentally) the Jesus Seat. The player in seat 7 was truly terrible. The open seat, however, was number 9. Now the guy in 7 was bad, but probably only about as bad as Mario. So my friend faced a choice. He could:

1. Be content with the 8 seat. Mario will either end up in 9 (undesirable and highly probable), or perhaps someone would seat change to 9 and Mario would end up somewhere else.

2. Slide into the 9 seat. Mario will either end up in the 8 (very desirable, as now the two biggest fish would be on my friend's immediate right), or someone else will snag the 8 (everyone has priority over Mario...he ends up in whatever seat is left), effectively stealing the Jesus Seat.

Here is what I said in the email:

"The problem with sliding left is that another good player might snag your Jesus seat. If you can guarantee mario gets it, you've upgraded to a Zeus seat and get a thunder stick and bad ass hat."

So, my new term, is the Zeus Seat. You can transform a Jesus Seat into a Zeus Seat if:

1. You currently have the Jesus Seat.
2. The incoming player is the new biggest fish.
3. The empty seat is on your left.
4. You successfully slide into it and the new player sits in your old seat.

Tommy Angelo, eat your heart out :)

Monday, February 16, 2009

Not Much To Report

I don't really have a whole lot of interest to talk about, sadly. I've actually only played 1 of the last 3 days (I took Valentine's Day off, and also ended up taking today off). It's curious how this career change has changed the way I operate on a day to day basis. I used to have no trouble at all "doing stuff" that required a computer. For example, I'm considering going to New Orleans for a wedding, and I need to look into:

1. Flights
2. Where to stay
3. If I can play poker there

All of these just require a little tooling on the internet, but I haven't made time to do them in the past 3 weeks. Today I'm working on getting as many of those types of things done as possible, which I think has been good for me.

One good story that is related to my last post...On Friday night my 20/40 game got short handed, specifically down to 5 people. The woman whose turn it was for the big blind refused to take it, and I was about to throw out my four chips when I realized "wait a second...." and asked if the other 3 players were willing to play four handed. None of them were, so I said I wasn't taking the blind for obvious reasons. So we broke the game and the 5 of us drew for 2 seat, and I deftly drew the 2 of clubs and ended up 3rd on the list. After 15 minutes of waiting (during which time 6 20/40 players entered the high stakes area and Rhea gave me shit for 14 minutes about not sucking it up and playing short handed), I got a seat and played my 7 free hands (you can enter a game without posting if your game breaks), which in actuality cost me $100, then went home.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

A Brief Update and an Old Story

The last two days have been pretty trying, but successful. Yesterday I played so bad for a few hours early in the day that I punished myself by taking a break and staying until 10:15pm. I played for almost 11 hours and happened to break even right at the end. After about the 7th hour, though, I did manage to make the best of it and had a lot of fun. The night ended with me making Aces Full in the 40/80 game, which actually gave me that "rush" that I used to get all the time but now seldom feel. Today I let myself off the hook early, playing 5 hours and posting an ~$860 dollar win. Basically I rivered a full house against a flopped straight (when you flop two pair in the big blind, what exactly else can you do) and rivered a straight in a blind steal against my old buddy JS. Those two pots accounted for more than the total I won I think, and also offset the straight flush I was shown in my second hand of the day while holding the Queen High Nut On the Turn Straight. Alas....

So far for the month I have played 73.5 hours on 10 out of 12 days. Still on pace to make the goals.

Now, an old story that I found as a note in my facebook profile. This is from late May 2008, when I was still working at Oracle and was living alone in Redwood City.

While playing poker at Garden City:

Floor man to 6 of us: "I have 5 seats at the other two tables. Do you guys want to draw or keep playing"

Me, clearly first: "I'd like to keep playing"

The leader of the idiots: "Let's draw"

Other two idiots + other two decent players: "Mumble mumble"

Me, while posting my small blind: "Let's play"

Idiot B: "I'll play or you guys just take the seats and I'll go home"

Leader of Idiots: "I guess we're drawing"

Floor man: "OK, we'll draw. Idiot B, you might as well draw"

Idiot B: "OK"

Me, down 3 racks (red chip game): "I know how this is going to go"

Idiot B now proceeds to draw the 3. I wait patiently for my moment, because I just know it is coming. 3 others draw higher cards, then the leader of the idiots draws the 3, an even lower card. I announce "Here it comes" and deftly draw the 2. I spend 30 minutes on the list. The table is nearly riotous with laughter.

While walking my dog.

This morning I was walking my dog and this woman comes up to me and tells me "that's disgusting and against the law here! you must not be from here, I can tell"

I have had a run in with this woman before when I was, admittedly, letting my dog do his business in the bushes in front of her apartment complex. She yelled at me from inside and threatened to call the police. At the moment I am on the wood chips in front of my building, which has 16 units and at least 12 dogs that I can think of off the top of my head. Our landlord's personalized license plate on her BMW is "PAWSUP" and she personally owns 2 dogs and fosters others in need. If you took a poll of my landlord and every other resident in the building, not a single person would say my dog can't do his business (the solid part of which I'm going to pick up with the bag in my right hand) there, including the 9 year old kid.

Anyway, we continue. I'm taking no liberties with the translation other than perhaps some omissions.

Jesse: "You can't be serious"

Lady: "That's against the law, you can't do that"

Jesse: "You're wrong or lying"

Lady, stunned a bit: "You have to take him to the park. You think he's happy here?"

Jesse: "You're insane"

At this point I unfurl my dogs leash ever so slightly and allow him to walk toward the lady. I do this purposely. She is on the sidewalk, he is on the wood chips, and this distinction is never broken.

Lady: "Don't threaten me"

Jesse: "I did not threaten you"

Lady: "Get him away from me right now"

Jesse: "Get away from me right now"

Lady: "Stop threatening me"

Jesse: "This is not threatening. You'll know when I threaten you"

Lady: "You must not be from here that's why you don't know the law. I'm going to call the police and they're going to come down on you"

Jesse: clearly should have said something but his dog, as if on cue, started to take a dump (he had merely been relieving his bladder earlier)

Lady, making the universal "call me" gesture and turning down the sidewalk towards her building: "That's disgusting. You can't do that! Wilma, call"

Jesse, confirming there is nobody standing over there who's name could be Wilma: "You're insane"

Lady, walking away pushing her shopping cart (she's not homeless though...i know this much from our previous encounter): "You're not from here. You must be from Ohio...or Russia"

Jesse loses it and waves the bag of **** he just picked up: "Where do you live? I can put this on your porch if you like"

Lady: "They're going to get you"

Jesse: "I hope I don't see you at night, because that would be bad"

Lady now walks away. I throw the **** in the dumpster, collect my wits, and take my dog on his daily walk route, which happens to coincide with where the lady is walking. We are on the other side of the street, and she is walking very, very slowly, so we quickly pass her. On the way back she yells something at me that I cannot remember do to an apparent rage black out.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

This Game is All Skill

The last three days have been good. Sunday and Monday I played at Bay 101, and today I changed things up and hung out with the Garden City crowd. I put in 21.5 hours of 20/40 and won handily all three days (~600, ~900, and ~400). Monday, specifically, was a humorous day, as I was reminded that as much as you study and concentrate and focus and try to play well, sometimes you simply get lucky.

Hand 1:

Pete is running like ass. When he picks up for the day he'll be down 2.5 racks in under 2 hours of play. Every other hand he's in the pot betting and raising only to get shown some monster on the I figured why not put a wicked beat on him, am I right?

Folds to Pete and he raises. At the time I thought he was in middle position, but in actuality he was pretty darn close to the button (perhaps two seats over in the hi jack). The button cold calls, the small blind follows suit, and I behold red fives and chuck in one more bet from the big blind. Pete notes that someone who had cards left did in fact fold, which is positive.

4 players, 8 small bets


As far as flops for pocket fives go, this one ain't bad. I elect to "check and see" after the small blind checks. Pete bets, and both the button and small blind call him. Not the time to get frisky, in my opinion, so I just call and see what develops.

4 players, 6 big bets

422-A (with all four suits on board)

Kaplowy! The small blind checks and I check, planning to fold. Pete bets, and for some reason I just know to a moral certainty that he has an Ace. I can't always put my finger on where reads like this come from, but when I get them they are almost always right. The button folds, but the small blind calls and I...suddenly realize there are 8 big bets in the pot. How many outs do I have? Well, the 5s sure look good...that'd be 5s full, for the 3rd nut (behind AA and 22). And the 3s...those are pretty darn good too, making a wheel (5 high straight). So let's see here, that's 6 outs, 6 outs wins about 1/8th of the time, which means there should be 7 bets in the pot....and my implied odds on the river are surely positive.....well gee willikers I guess I have a call. After spending 15 seconds doing this math, which I'm sure Pete can tell is not an act, I call.

3 players, 9 big bets


Sadly, since I spent 15 seconds figuring out if I needed to call, I haven't really decided what to do when I nut the sucker. The small blind checks, and I hastily decide to check, aiming for a soul crushing check/raise. Pete checks behind like the ninja that he is, and I fastroll my 5s. He folds his ace face up (he later admits to have had A7....theres the whole "I thought he was in middle position but actually he was in late position" thing that I foreshadowed a while ago coming back to bite me in the ass) and I have never been more disappointed to suck out. In hind sight, I can't really fault the check/raise play. Had Pete had a "real" ace he'd have bet, but given that he had the second worst kicker possible (he only beats A6), his check is pretty obvious. Alas....

A while later I have changed tables, taking advantage of my insider information that Hank will be picking up in an orbit or two. I post behind the button and find a real beaut when nobody raises in front of me....73 of hearts. I of course check and we see the flop 6 ways. It is:

Q78 with one heart

Hank donks, Crazy Russian Guy (CRG) calls, I call, somebody else calls, I don't really know. Lots of bets go in but there is no raise.

K of hearts

Well gee, I have a heart draw and a pair. Hank checks, CRG bets, I call, and I think Hank is the only other caller. The pot is now "kinda" big, maybe 8-9 big bets.

9 of hearts

Yahtzee! Runner runner flush. Now's the funny part. Hank checks, and CRG bets again. I think for like maybe 2 or 3 tenths of a second and then raise it. I figure I'm getting one more bet here, and I'd rather it come from CRG than Hank. Besides, Hank probably has air, or some close cousin of air. But wait....Hank goes into the tank. He's thinking. The gears are turning, and I see a little waft of smoke coming out of his left ear. Hank knows I'm good enough to pop this river with just two pair. Hell, maybe even one pair. CRG is awful, and I posted in...I can have any two cards preflop. The pot is big, I could be making a play! He calls two cold! Aiyah!!!! Now CRG starts talking, saying "two pair no good?" and the like. My mind is screaming "of course two pair is no fucking good you idiot" but my mouth manages to stay shut. As he's calling I say "No, Hank has a straight I think...I have a shitty little flush" and table my garbage hand. I drag the now sizable pot, with CRG flashing Q7o for a flopped two pair. Were he not retarded, Hank would have dragged this (admittedly much smaller) pot with his rivered straight (65). Bad beating of good friend #2 for the day, and it's not yet 3pm.

A while later, after Hank picks up, I find the mighty Q3 offsuit in the big blind. There has been a limp, a raise, and 4 cold calls to me. That's right, I'm getting 13:1 with only one player left to act behind me. I call....


The small blind checks, I check, limper checks, the preflop raiser (PFR) bets, some people call, I raise, he 3-bets, some more calls, I cap, some more bets go in. The

The turn and river bring neither a pair on board, nor a straight into being, nor a flush, nor really anything interesting at all. I get called on the river by only PFR, who shows AQs before mucking in disgust. The guy on my right (who actually isn't playing, but is sitting next to his girlfriend who is playing by literally pulling up a 10th chair to the table) declares "This game is all skill" while I'm stacking the 2 rack pot.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Why This Game is Beatable

Two hands from yesterday can illustrate specifically why this game is beatable.

Hand 1:

Two players limp and I raise 77 in the small blind. Most players would not raise in this spot, but doing so has huge advantages over calling:

1. You have an equity advantage over the ranges of the limpers. Specifically, it is very unlikely that either of them has a pair larger than your sevens, since they declined to raise.

2. You could fold out the big blind, who probably has 1 and maybe has 2 over cards to your pair. This puts dead money in the pot, which is always nice.

3. You take control of the hand. Even when playing WOOPs (Way Out Of Position), being in the betting lead usually makes things easier.

4. Everyone assumes you have a monster, because to raise the small blind, they'd need a monster. In short, you're going to get more folds this way, even though the pot is bigger, which is backwards.

Back to the hand....the big blind and both limpers call, so we see the flop 4 ways for 8 small bets:

643 with two hearts (I have the 7 of hearts)

This is about as good as it gets without flopping a set. I bet (as I would virtually always here, unless the flop had 3 broadway cards or something), and the big blind raises. The limpers fold, and I 3-bet. So far I figure he has something like a 6, a pair and a straight draw, or even a heart draw or just two naked overs. In short, I'm still way ahead. Then he caps. I go into my memory banks and come up empty; I basically don't know this guy. Ok, I call. Most likely he's got something pretty good here. We're now heads up, for 8 big bets (suddenly a large pot).

643-2 with still just two hearts

Now that's a very bad card for obvious reasons. A 5 was a very large part of his range and it just got there. I check, he bets, and I think for a minute. The pot is laying me 5:1 on a calldown (there are 9 bets, 10 if he bets the river, and I have to put in 2 to see the show down). He could still be making some weird sort of play here, and I have an overpair and a gutshot. I elect to grit my teeth and call down.

643-2-4 and the hearts don't come in

I check and call. He sheepishly says "you win" and rolls A3o for two pair, 4s and 3s. I roll my hand and drag the 480 dollar pot.

What did my opponent do wrong here? Yeesh, where to begin. First of all, even playing A3o from the big blind when the small blind raises is a horrible idea. You're dominated by practically my entire range (by basically any pair and any ace, which is a huge portion of what I'm raising), and to boot you have terrible post flop position (2nd to act of 4, and first to act after the player who's in the betting lead). Without expert post flop play, and perhaps even with it, this hand is surely a loser.

Next...on the flop you have basically a bluff catcher. Admittedly getting 9:1 on the flop it'd be hard/bad to lay this down, but here comes our old friend position. Are you really getting 9:1? What if one of the limpers raises? What if I then 3-bet? Things are not always what they seem. He elects to raise, which honestly might be the best play, so kudos for him. He clears out the limpers and if I do in fact have Ace-High he's setting himself up to take down the pot on the turn. Then....

I 3-bet. I basically put my hand faceup on the table and declare "I can beat a pair of 6s". My opponent is undeterred, and elects to cap. With a strong draw, such as 65 (for top pair and an open ended straight draw) or maybe something like T8 of hearts (two overs and a heart draw), this would make sense. It's pretty clear now that I'm not folding, but with a cap here he can elect to see the river for free most of the time. This isn't what he's this point, he's left the reservation. I call.

The turn is a scary card, making any hand holding a 5 the virtual nuts (75 is the actual nuts). Perhaps this changed my opponents mind, and convinced him to try to bet once more. If that's the case, then again good for him; he adapted during the hand when a scary card fell and took one more shot at a swollen heads up pot. I have the feeling, however, that he "Put me on Ace King" and decided to just go batshit. When he bets, I think for a second for calling, which may have convinced him I was weak (although the flop action basically puts a cap on how "weak" I can actually be). I do in fact have practically the worst hand I can possibly have, and part of what I was thinking about was the fact that he should know this....he should know 77 is about as bad of a "made" hand as I can have. So if he's betting, he should be able to beat it most of the time. I call.

At this point, the hand should be over from his point of view. My turn call commits me to showdown. There are now 10 big bets in the pot, and on the river if he bets I'm going to be getting 11:1 on my money to see what he has and possibly drag the pot. His pair of 3s is a bluff catcher now. If I check the river, I will call him with everything that beats him (pairs) and fold everything that doesn't (ace high....busted flush draws...etc). The river 4 is basically inconsequential (although it does actually pull me ahead of a couple of two pair hands that aren't out of the question for him to be holding). He stabs one last time, undoubtedly having no idea why he's betting. Does he think I'll call with a worse hand? No. Does he think I'll fold a better one? No. He simply thinks "I have the best hand he has Ace King I bet" and bets. I call, and he looks like an idiot after spewing off 4 big bets pots flop with a pair of 3s.

Hand 2:

Again I'm in the small blind, and this time about 4 players limp. I raise KJ of diamonds, mainly because it rates to have a large equity advantage over the ranges of the limpers. Everybody calls, and lets say it's 6 handed for 12 small bets:

T44 with two diamonds.

A fantastic flop again. I have two overs, a second nut flush draw, and a back door straight draw. Unless somebody has a 4, I am a prohibitive favorite in this hand 6 ways (meaning I probably have something like 50% equity). I bet, and 3 players call.

T44-Q, now two hearts and two diamonds

I bet, one player folds, the worst player at the table says "I don't know what I have yet" and I believe him (he's been playing hands blind) and checks his cards. "Wow, I have a Queen!" he says. I tend to believe him, as he's really that bad. Now a late position player raises.....

I say to him "found a heart draw eh?" and he looks away. I'm never folding here and call him pretty quickly, as I have 15 outs to a monster (I have an open ended straight draw and still a flush draw). I note that he actually might have that heart draw, since he did look away. The crazy fish folds his hand, showing it to the other half of the table. There is general disbelief, as this guy takes most of his hands to show down. He actually had a queen.

T44-Q-6 of spades. I have made squadush.

I check. My opponent quickly checks behind and I announce "King High". My opponent looks ill as I table my hand. He courtesy shows J9 of hearts, for basically the same draw I had (flush draw, open ended straight draw). The table erupts in general amazement. Not only did I raise KJ from the small blind, but the calling station mega-fish threw away top pair on the turn after playing the hand blind and my opponent forgot to follow through on his bluff because he didn't take the size of the pot into consideration.

Let's review....

My opponent's call with J9s from late position preflop is completely sane.

His call on the flop, getting 15:1 closing the action is not great, but honestly isn't awful, either. He has two back door draws, which are worth about 3 outs, which on the surface makes a call seem break even. However, the board is already paired and another flush draw is present. These two things substantially weaken his chances, as he can make one of his hands and still lose a good percentage of the time.

On the turn the pot has gotten big again...8 big bets specifically. I fire the 9th into the pot, and the blind fish puts in the 10th. This pot is "protected" at this point by the fish, who just announced he has a Queen (top pair). My opponent elects to raise anyway, with Jack-high. This is terrible, not because it can't get me off the hand, but because the fish is going to show down basically any pair (this fish was playing 95% of his hands and was the reason I was in the game). I call him, which is bad, but then he gets a gift from the gods. The fish folds!!! "Sweet mercy I can win this pot" should be all he's thinking. "This 13 bet pot in which I hold Jack High is mine for the taking!" The river bricks off and I check....and he checks it right back. Perhaps the check is defensible, but honestly were he planning to check in that situation the turn raise is ridiculous. This is one of those situations in limit where you either need to call one bet and fold when you miss, or put in the full 3 to try to a fold. He did neither, and simply managed to transfer a huge pot from the fish to me, for which I was quite greatful :)

Weekly Goals Update

This week went pretty well:

Days played: 5/7
Hours played: 36.25
Hours per day: 7.25
40/80 hours: 2
30/60 hours: 0
Amount won: 1700
Amount lost in 40/80: 1300
Trips to the gym: 2.5

With the exception of time spent and results achieved above 20/40, I think I did pretty well. Yesterday I spent 90 minutes in the softest 40/80 game I've seen in weeks (with the possible exception of the other 40/80 table that was running at the same time) and lost $1500 by basically getting cold-decked (as an example...when you have AJs and the other guy has QQ in a 6 handed pot, a Jack-high flop is not the one you want. When you have KQs and he has AQo and you're in the betting lead, a Queen on the turn is in fact not the card you want to see).

Yesterday was a marathon, as I was playing at Bay 101 from 11:15 until almost 10pm. For the second time this week I ripped a big loss from the jaws of a massive one, turning a $3000 downer into a $1300 one. It's amazing how good I feel driving home after doing that, perhaps even better than had I simply won $1700 and been done with it.

Tomorrow I set my sites on the Neal game at Bay 101. Today is a day of rest, while I try to get over the cold Chris flew over from DC.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Are You Ready For a War?!

While trying to decide what to title this post, I came up with a lot of ideas. There's the one I went with, which is from Braveheart where Mel Gibson gives one of his pep talks. I could have gone with "Bad things, man...Bad things", which comes from one of the funniest commercial series of all time. Ok really I just wanted to link to that....anyway....

Yesterday was a pretty bad day. I bought in for a record amount (8 racks...that's $4000), and towards the end found myself sitting at a table with a bunch of regulars, including Yodaman, JS, Bolly, and Tom B. At this point I was stuck 5 racks through a parade of 2 outters, missed flush draws, and general awfulness, but was determined to win some of my money back (and play until after traffic ended). As is usually the case, JS decided to through out the "Round of Live Straddles" idea. For those unfamiliar with the live straddle, it works like this....You post a double big blind on your under the gun hand (when you are immediately to the left of the big blind), which acts as a blind raise with one caveat....You get to act last on the preflop betting round. This is obviously a horrible thing to do unless you hate money, but if the entire table agrees to one round it can be a fun way to liven up the game.

So anyway, JS is talking to everyone and for once it actually looks like there is hope (I've never been at a table where this has actually happened....Pete was once, and so was one other friend of mine). JS talks to everyone and says "Does anyone object?" and basically nobody says anything and almost all of us say "Yeah sure, one round would be fun". So Yodaman starts it, and JS promptly flops a set of kings and wins like $300 from Bolly. Then Bolly straddles it and nothing interesting happens. Then it's my turn, and I post up my $40 and behold the 9 and the 7 offsuit before my now non-virgin staddling eyes. Of course it gets capped (strategically speaking, a straddle basically acts as a huge blind, which makes people try to raise even more preflop) and I call the two more bets, flop nothing, and fold, losing $80 that I would not have lost.

While the hand is playing out, Tom B (whom I think I've written about before) gets up and walks to the chip station for racks. He brings them back, and suddenly the table realizes he is leaving (it will be his turn to straddle in 3 more hands). Immediately there is concern. JS is like "But Tom, you agreed" and he's like "No I didn't" and it's obvious that he's just being a fucking prick. JS tries to reason with him, but to no avail. At this point the guy on my left, whom I've only seen like twice, decides that since Tom is leaving, he's not going to straddle. I am stunned and furious. I tell him "Oh come on, we can still do it" but no dice.

So now I turn to Tom and say "Tom, are you sure you want to do this?" The off-duty floorman looks at me knowingly from his position on the rail. Tom basically says nothing. "Tom, really are you sure you want to do this? There are 6 people at this table who aren't going to be very happy about this." You see, Tom had chosen a particularly bad group of people to piss off. Between me, Yodaman, and JS alone he had probably 80 hours a week of 20/40 player to worry about. Tom says he has to go.

The time has come to declare war.

"Tom, you really should stay. I'm going to sit on your left for the next month." This is out of bounds; tapping the glass at this level is something you should never, ever do. Tom looks at me confused. "Well alright then, Tom. I'm here every day. See you tomorrow." Tom leaves, I table change and win back 1300 of the 2600 I'm stuck over the next 90 minutes.

Fast forward to today....

I wake up nice and early and get myself to Bay 101 at 9:45. Tom B and I get seats back to back at the same 20/40 table. I instantly put my name on the seat change list and within 30 minutes managed to change to his immediately left. The Gods are with me today, as in the 30 minutes it took me to get situated in the jesus seat I've already flopped top set and top two pair against Tom, bludgeoning him mercilessly. On the third hand in a row that I've raised him preflop (twice just to two bets when he limped, but this time to 3 bets after he'd raised), I declare "All day, Tom. All...Freakin....Day". Sadly I lose this hand, but whatever. From the Jesus seat the money starts to pour in, and Tom has already bought a 2nd rack of chips. It folds to him on the button and he raises. I 3-bet AQdd and he calls. The flop is 3 diamonds and I bet/3-bet him. He calls the turn, but on the river the board reads something like:


And he raises my bet. I 3-bet him before he knows what happened and he calls saying "flush good". I respond "nut" and table my hand while fast grabbing my chips (not his...don't ever fast grab your opponents chips, even if you truly do hate them). At this point I comment to Pete via text message the "visceral hate is apparently good for focus and run like jesusing".

Over the course of the next 3 hours Tom and I change seats 3 times a piece. Each time he changes to get to my left, I change to the next available seat to get on his left. Each time he changes, I scratch his name off the seat change list (something that technically you're supposed to do, but nobody ever really does). I run like jesus the whole time, eventually accumulating a stack of $3300. I am forced to keep this stack in an unconventional formation, however, due to the need to keep moving it around the table. This further irks the table, as I now have ten towers stacked over 60 chips tall that I can barely see over to look at my cards. I don't really care.

Eventually Tom B disappears for two orbits, and when he comes back he talks to Sophorna (the floor lady) and moves to the 40/80 game. I half-shout over to Sophorna to put me up for 40. She says "Seat open" and I say "Lock it up!". Tom B can hardly believe his eyes. 4 hands later I'm unsheathing my chips at the 40 table and say to Tom "A promise is a promise". I watch Tom blow through another rack at the 40 game (at this level, a rack is $1000) before it eventually converts back down to a 20/40 table since there aren't enough players.

At 4:10pm, I leave after 6 hours of play, up a comfortable $1500 for the day, content that I won the war. To quote a very wise man...."You don't fuck with the Jesus!" (Ok, I just wanted to post that too).

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Mr. 18 Racks is Back!

Last week I had the pleasure of sitting on the left of a man who had the most chips I have ever seen on a poker table (and the most money I've ever seen on a 20/40 table). When he colored up to 500 dollar chips, he had about $6600 (13+ racks). At his peak he had the 12 purples, plus about $3000 more, for a total of around $9000, or 18 racks. I texted this information to my friends who demanded pictures of the 18 racks....I didn't take any, because as I said, he colored 12 of them up. Anyway, this guy was awfully bad, at least preflop. Post flop he was somewhat logical, but tended to call down too much and show aggression when he was obviously beat. Today, while working out at Oracle, I got a text from Hank informing me that "Mr 18 Racks is Back. Of course I have him on my right".

It should be noted that in general I assume that anyone who is sitting at a table with more than about 6 racks has either been playing too long, plays way too many hands, or both. It's pretty reliable.

I arrived at Bay 101 today around 11:30 and sure enough, there was Hank, iso-raising the bejesus out of Mr. 18 racks, who, as previously, was looking mighty sleepy. Rumor has it last time he played for 3 days straight. Today, it looked as if he'd at least been going all night. I bided my time patiently in a different (and also excellent) 20/40 game, but as I soon as I saw Hank walking over for racks I put in for a table change. By 3:15 I had the Jesus seat myself, immediately to the left of this mega-fish. And boy did it pay out....Some hands:

I see a free flop in the big blind with 98o. 6 of us see the beautiful board of:

567 with two hearts

18 racks bets, I raise, two players call, 18 racks 3 bets, I cap it, and the two other players call. I pray silently for a black deuce.

2 of spades

18 racks checks, I bet, and the two heart draws both call. 18 racks now check/raises and I visibly lick my chops while 3-betting. The two heart draws call again, one actually declaring "Give me a heart one time dealer!" while putting 80 more dollars into this redonkulous pot. This time I actually call out for "Black paint please dealer"

K of clubs

My hand is still the nuts, and Mr. 18 racks pays me off with his pocket 7s. Admittedly he played this hand pretty well, as he had 10 outs at the nuts so check/raising the turn 4 ways, even if I show him my hand, was basically neutral EV.

A while later I see a flop with 87 of clubs for two bets about 6 ways (kicking ass/flopping like god in 6 handed pots really is how you make money sometimes). The board comes down:

Tc 6h 4c

I raise/cap the thing against Mr. 18 racks (I've got a double gutter and a club draw....any 9 or 5 gives me the nuts, and all the clubs make me happy, too). The turn is a gorgeous red 9, giving me the stone cold nuts. He does the weirdo check/raise thing again (which works really well for me when I have the nuts, as he's basically check/raising the entire table for me), and again a few people call. The board pairs the 6 on the river, but I am safe as he and another opponent both show T9 for top two pair (the other probably had my club draw dominated....nothing like good clean living to help you win a $1000 pot).

Finally, towards the end of the day, I limp in with 86 of diamonds and a raise happens once more. The flop is:

Ad 5d 2s

Just one bet goes in (Mr 18 racks doing the betting), and one of my opponents tells the dealer to put out the 4 of diamonds. I look at him, quizzically.


Mr. 18 racks bets (Ac 4s...ah yes, Ace Four off suit just made a straight) and I raise. The aforementioned opponent looks perplexed, hems and haws, and declares that he is folding 53, for two pair. The preflop raiser calls again (he probably has like red kings), and Mr. 18 racks somehow calls again. The river...


The opponent who just folded is pretty upset, and I can't really blame him. Mr. 18 racks pays me off and I drag yet another monster because he absolutely cannot read hands to save his life and continues to bet when he's obviously crushed.

Playing with this guy was amazing. He was literally falling asleep, at the table, almost every hand. Someone (usually the dealer, but often me) had to wake him up when he got cards, either by saying "Sir, your action" or "Aces, Wake Up!" or simply pounding the table in front of him. I actually got him a cup of coffee around 5pm without prompting, for which I was thanked profusely. More than once he gave new meaning to the phrase "wake up with a real hand", as he'd try to fold his big blind, only to be stopped by the dealer, and proceed to flop trip 3s with his T3 off suit.

I closed the day with a $1700 win. I've already won twice as much this month as all of January :)


All of a sudden it's been over a week since my last post...I thought I'd gotten to the point that I could avoid that, but I guess I was wrong. I do have an excuse, though, at least for the last few days. Danielle's dad, my friend Chris, and his girlfriend Abby were all at my apartment for the weekend/superbowl festivities. We ate, drank, and were generally merry, and blogging was the furthest thing from my mind. Seriously, did you see that freaking catch? Did you see it?

So back on to the pokers....January finished out poorly, but not nearly so poorly as it looked like it might on the 20th. Neal's donation to the cause, coupled with the rest of last week's play, allowed me to book a win for the month of about $1500 (250 of which came in admittedly -EV games of black jack and sports betting). This is my first "bad" month, in that it's the first one in which, honestly, I didn't cover my living expenses. This isn't a real problem, but it's served as a reminder that things aren't always going to go as smoothly as they did in November.

Actual results from January:

2-Jan 5-200 S Limit Bay 101 -73
2-Jan 20/40 Limit Bay 101 1381
3-Jan 20/40 Limit Bay 101 574
5-Jan 40/80 Limit Bay 101 496
5-Jan 20/40 Limit Bay 101 -281
5-Jan 40/80 Limit Bay 101 -1780
6-Jan 20/40 Limit Bay 101 -1467
7-Jan 20/40 Limit Garden City -153
8-Jan 20/40 Limit Garden City -379
9-Jan 30/60 Limit Bellagio -659
9-Jan 15/30 Limit Bellagio -47
9-Jan 10/20 Limit Mirage 4
9-Jan 4/8 Horse Mirage 6
9-Jan 10/20 Limit Wynn -85
10-Jan Sports Bet Wynn 60
11-Jan Black Jack Imperial Palace 205
11-Jan 3/6 Mixed IP Imperial Palace -60
12-Jan 30/60 Limit Bellagio -1489
13-Jan 20/40 Limit Bay 101 1367
14-Jan 20/40 Limit Bay 101 168
14-Jan 40/80 Limit Bay 101 -381
15-Jan 20/40 Limit Garden City 23
15-Jan 20/40 Limit Bay 101 -280
15-Jan 40/80 Limit Bay 101 -207
15-Jan 20/40 Limit Bay 101 547
16-Jan 20/40 Limit Bay 101 -768
17-Jan 20/40 Limit Garden City -431
17-Jan 20/40 Limit Garden City 580
19-Jan 20/40 Limit Bay 101 29
20-Jan 20/40 Limit Bay 101 -168
21-Jan 20/40 Limit Bay 101 1249
25-Jan 20/40 Limit Bay 101 3504
26-Jan 20/40 Limit Bay 101 289
27-Jan 30/60 Limit Oaks -1420
28-Jan 6/12 Limit Ajs -1
28-Jan 30/60 Limit Ajs 432
28-Jan 40/80 Limit Garden City -86
28-Jan 20/40 Limit Garden City -50
29-Jan 20/40 Limit Bay 101 1435
30-Jan 4/8 Omaha Bay 101 -54
30-Jan 20/40 Limit Bay 101 -521

My 20/40 results in particular, however, continued to be strong. For the month I played 110 hours and posted a $6700 win. Basically, if you take the time to look through that chart (which I don't expect many to do), I got crushed at 30/60 and 40/80, and that's about the long and short of it.

My poker-related February goals, which I'm going to write down here to keep me tuned into them, are as follows:

Play 22/28 days
Average 7 hours per playing day
Total hours: 154
20/40 hours: 100
30/60 hours: 20
40/80 hours: 34

I'm off to a bad start, as it's already the 3rd and I've taken one day off and only played 5.5 hours yesterday. I also have a less concrete goal of "reading and posting more on 2p2", but I'm not going to quantify that as I don't want it to turn into work.

My non-poker-related goals for the month really revolve around working out. I joined the Oracle gym,and my goal is to make it there at least 12 times (3 times a week) this month. Again so far, bad start, as I'm standing pat on zero. I also need to open my Sep-IRA, and take a hard look at my insurance to make sure I have enough.

And finally, a little bit about yesterday. I went to lunch yesterday with 3 fellow 2p2ers, at the Faultline Brewery in Sunnyvale. We talked shop, made fun of bad players, and in general had a good time. At the end, however, I lost credit card roulette for the check, so not only did I miss 2 hours of playing, but I spent almost 2 hours of wages on the endeavor. Hopefully next time I'll run better. Then Pete, Hank and I went to Bay 101, where we were greated with the longest 20/40 list I've seen in some time. I whooped Hank's ass at Ms. Pacman, and then he gave up and went home. Pete and I drove to Garden City, where I promptly laid a proper whoopin' on everybody for 2 racks in 5.5 hours. February is already lookin' up :)