Tuesday, March 31, 2009

March Results and April Goals

So March didn't finish up as well as I'd hoped it would. A few days ago I was looking at easily making my hours goal and possibly posting a second 5 figure month in a row. After coming down with a nasty head cold, taking a day off, and getting slobberknocked in my last two sessions, the numbers were a lot more "in range". Here goes:

Hours played above 15/30: 160.25
Dollars won: ~$6900

I failed to get my hours in, and I failed to take enough days off. For this month, I'm going to try again:

24 days of poker
7 hours per day

Today was just miserable. I managed to get stuck over 3 racks in my first 90 minutes at Garden City, and eventually was down 2300 before a little bit of luck towards the end let me leave down only 3 figures for the day. Early in the session a guy I've never seen before flopped 3 double digit outters against me in a row. Like so:

I raise QQ and he cold calls with Q9dd. The flop is KJ4 with two diamonds. He donks the flop and I raise and he 3-bets and I just know he has a diamond draw but I only call. The turn is a Ten, so he gets there, and I just call him down (note that I'm open ended there, too). Then a few hands later I have AK and and he calls again with T8dd. This time he flops the best hand with a monster redraw on the 8-high board with two diamonds. Someone else flops a better 8, though, so I only spend $40 figuring this one out. Shortly after that I raise black 9s and he again calls with two diamonds, this time 5-high. He flops an open-ended straight flush draw (and of course the board is all below my 9s) and again makes the straight so I have to pay him off. Then I got asshole carded like so:

I raise AQ with the ace of diamonds and get 3-bet by a young pro-ish taggy guy. He's good enough to 3-bet with some pretty low pairs. A 3rd guy comes along, and I almost actually cap preflop but decide against it. Big fail on my part, there....The flop comes King high with two diamonds and I call one time getting like 11:1 or something preposterous like that. The turn pairs the King and he bets again and again we both call, the other guy because he has two cards, me because I now have 4-diamonds. The river is the 9 of diamonds, which would be great if he didn't have pocket nines. $80 later, my hand hits the muck.

So in closing, I can't really complain about the month and am looking forward to a fresh start for April.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

He's On Fire!!!!

Everybody remember NBA Jam, where if you made two shots in a row you were "heating up" and once you made three you were "On Fire"? Well I'm officially En Fuego right now. I took Thursday "off" to take care of some stuff around my apartment and get my oil changed (my car was a last minute relief pitcher on our trip to LA last weekend, so bonus 1000 miles). So I drove up to San Bruno, dropped my car off at Melody Toyota, gave them the coupon they emailed me, and diligently walked over to Artichoke Joe's. After 30 minutes of 6/12 I was up about $300, and 60 minutes of 15/30 netted me another rack of $5 chips, for an off day profit of just under $800. Nice hand indeed.

Yesterday I played at Bay 101 at one of the most epic 20/40 tables I have ever seen. There were 3 solid players and 6 awful ones. I played this hand, which ends by me 3-betting the flop, getting capped, turning two pair, leading out and getting called down in multiple spots all the way to river and dragging a nearly 2 rack pot. In another hand in which the same villain open raised and another 6 players called two bets cold, I called with T7o in the big blind and watched the flop come down:


That's right, I have the nuts. Some action went in on the flop, and by the turn I still had the nuts and bet again. The river brough an Ace, keeping my nuts intact, and the crazy asian lag (mentioned in the two plus two post) went 5 bets with me with Aces up. I probably go 4+ bets on a big street every 6 weeks or so. Yesterday, I did it 3 times in 45 minutes. Another crazy asian guy went 6 bets with me on the river when he made Aces full of Eights (against my nut Aces full of Kings), and I managed to get 4 bets in on the turn with 33 on a KK3-8 board (after also getting in 4 bets on the flop). Fortunately the river was neither an Ace, King, nor Eight and my full house held up. All in all, it was a good day. At one point I was up over 4 racks, but finished the day up only 2.5 thanks to virtual parade of 2 outters that rained down on my over the last 60 minutes.

Today was more of the same. I went to Garden City and the following sequence took place:

4 limpers to me on the button and I raise AT of clubs. Everyone calls. The flop is something like 875 with two clubs, and I managed to get it capped 5 ways. The turn is a Ten, giving me top pair, which is pretty far from good at this point, and the guy with 96 (for the flopped straight) check/raises the table. 10 big bets go in from 5 players. The river is a beautiful Jack of Clubs, and 3 players call me. As I'm attempting to get the avalanche of chips I've just acquired under control, I peek down to find a nice pair of ones in the hole. I raise and get some callers (fewer than usual...perhaps only 3), then flop top set. Someone bets, someone calls, I raise, and they both call. The turn is no help to either of them (although a straight is now possible) and they both call again. The river pairs the 9 on board, giving me aces full, and the flop donker donks again. The poor sap caught in between calls, and I of course raise with my second nut (only quad nines can beat me and he ain't got that...trip nines sure, but not quads), and get called. I still have probably $500 in chips strewn in front of me, which the dealer now more than doubles. I finish the day up a healthy 3 racks, confident again in my opinion that I am some varietal of awesome (either awesomely good, or, more likley, just awesomely lucky).

I have 3 days left in the month and need about 18 hour to reach the goal I set for myself 4 weeks ago. Normally this wouldn't be a problem, but I've got a bit of a cold and have been cutting my sessions short because of it.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Random Stuff

I haven't been in the mood to write lately. Last night I tried to type something out, then realized that anything I said was going to be not interesting and promptly gave up. The last few days just haven't been much fun.....

I spent the weekend in LA visiting Danielle's family and, specifically, attending her great-grandmother's 95th birthday party. The woman still has two volunteer positions (and siblings) and drives on the freeway. Pretty incredible, if you ask me. Because of her Danielle is convinced she needs $4,000,000 before she can retire. It's tough when you enter things into the calculator like "I want to retire at age 65" and "I plan to live to be 115."

Since my return Sunday night, however, poker has been one giant KITN after another. Sunday night I played about 3 hours at Bay 101 and lost 700. Monday I went to the Oaks to attempt to play 30/60, found myself in an awesome game for about 2 hours, during which I lost a rack of $10 chips, then eventually ended up 7 handed in the worst mid stakes lineup I've ever seen (with Mitch L and bdaddy from TwoPlusTwo, one other guy Mitch didn't seem to think was retarded, and a regular who cashed deep in the shooting star last week). The game promptly broke, as 4 of us are sitting there looking at each other like "Um, yeah, so...."

I did manage to get bluffed off the best hand by a tilt-monkey in 15/30. To wit....

I limp 97ss in EP. The last three hands have been 5, 7, and 5 handed for 2, 1, and 1 bets respectively.

Some how I end up heads up against the lowjack. He's white, disheveled, maybe 40 years old....


Not bad. I check to raise. He checks to check.

Q, putting up two spades (you'll note I also have 2 apades)

I bet to 3-bet. He raises to raise. I 3-bet to own his soul. He calls.


Christage. I check and fold, as my hand has been reduced to a pair of 9s, no kicker. I don't even beat T9, not to mention all the Queens this guy has, or AA, KK, JJ, or TT. He tables 55. I cry.

Then yesterday at Bay 101 I played horribly, got bluffed off the winner like 15 times, got stuck 3 racks, and then somehow went on a heater in the last 45 minutes to leave up 200. God Damn miracle if you ask me. Today was more ball busting, with me breaking even for 7.5 hours, then promtply losing 2 racks in 90 minutes to go home a big loser. When you run bad, you start to play bad, and when I play bad, I get frustrated. When I get frustrated, I get angry, and when I'm angry, I end up questioning every betting decision I make, even the super simple ones. I go on this weird form of tilt where I look for reasons to fold the best hand, which is just stupid. Yesterday I think I actually quelled my insano-monkey tilt, even after the following hand:

Pete open raises in late position. I 3-bet red jacks. RU the floorman calls from the big blind and Pete caps. I know Pete caps light here, both for deception and value, as he has RU crushed. The flop is:

Ts 7c 5c

RU checks, Pete bets, I raise, RU calls, Pete calls.


You'll note this is the worst card in the deck. RU donk bets, Pete calls, and I fold like an idiot. The hand goes to showdown, with one more bet on the river, and Pete shows Ac Qd for...Ace-High. And the win. I was beside myself after this one, but managed to pull it together and start playing "good" again. I think it was a pretty important day in my poker career, as I managed to untilt, something that in the past has been really hard for me to do.

I also probably have some new readers, as I've been listed on two blog rolls in the last week. First, I'm on the Slice of MIT blogroll. I bet I don't stand out too much at all there....and second, Tommy Angelo has linked me from his blog (I managed to have lunch with the man last week, and have to say, he's one cool dude). So to anyone reading for the first time, nice to meet you.

Finally, I have a shout out to make. My friend Gregor, whom I met at MIT, works for Terrafugia. To make a long story, they built a flying car (more specifically, a street legal airplane) that just completed it's first test flight this month. Anybody with an engineering bone in their body has to take a look at this thing; It's awesome :)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Thank You For the Action, Sir

Whenever you take a bad beat, where your opponent drew out on you with incorrect (or impossibly incorrect) odds, it's best to say to yourself (or even sometimes out loud) "Thank you for the action, sir". Today, I had such a hand.

I'm playing 30/60 at The Oaks and see a flop from the big blind with KQo. 4 players had limped, and the small blind had completed. This is kind of close to a raise actually, but that's not really the point. The point is that the flop came down:

Q32 rainbow

In terms of flopping 1 pair, that's about as good as they come. The small blind checks and I bet, expecting to get maybe one call or something like that, but hoping to get raised by a worse queen. Instead, 3 of my 5 opponents push the call button. Instantly my "set radar" starts to go off. I mean, there are only 2 queens left in the deck. What on earth are these people drawing at? Something like two cards 4-6 makes sense, but otherwise....what on Earth do they have? Usually I'd get raised by top pair....I'm a bit confused, but short on time, as the dealer is burning and turning:

Q32-7 of the fourth suit

The small blind checks and I have no recourse but to bet. One guy does fold, but another opponent calls, and the small blind calls again. Now I'm totally confused. This makes no sense.


Ouch. The small blind checks. He's an old man without a tricky bone in his body, so I'm thinking I'm safe by him. The ace is a terrible card, but I realize that if I check and the guy behind me bets, I'm gonna have to call anyway (he's laggy and bluffy and all sorts of crazy). So I bet, probably incorrectly. The laggy bluffy guy calls, saying "I should raise you" and then the small blind....calls. Now at this point I know I'm beat and practically fast-fold my hand, but the small blind tables his cards before I have the chance:


I fold. Bluffy guy tables:


All I can muster is "Thank you for the action, sirs"

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Omaha Buttons

So is everyone familiar with "Overs Buttons"? For those who aren't, the idea is as follows. Suppose the biggest limit hold 'em game your casino offers is 20/40. They just can't spread anything higher, as they don't have enough interest. They do, however, have some people that want to play higher than that. Just not enough for a full game. What to do what to do? Offer "Overs Buttons". Everyone at the table has the option of having such a button. If any betting round, other than preflop, starts with only players with buttons, the stakes increase (by either 50 or 100 percent). In the case of Garden City, if no 40/80 game is going, overs are allowed in the 20/40 game, and when they "kick in" the game goes to 30/60. I won't go into the strategy of play with overs buttons here. The point of this post is to propose a new home game with....

Omaha Buttons

The idea is a simple extension (bastardization?) of Overs Buttons. If any street, other than preflop, starts with only players who have Omaha Buttons, everyone is dealt two more cards and the game changes to Omaha High (perhaps you could even try Omaha Hi-Lo, but I'll leave that as an exercise to the reader).

"But wait" said the astute reader. "This is such a great idea, everyone will want an Omaha Button. Then you'll just be playing this weird game where everyone gets 2 more cards after the flop. That's lame!"

Never fear, dear reader. In your 8-handed home game, simply make only 4 buttons available. Draw for them at the start, then obey the following rule. Any time a hand is shown down, if the loser has an Omaha Button and the winner does not, the winner has the option of taking the loser's Omaha Button. This also ensures that at some point in the evening a river fold will be made with the following commentary:

"Well, I think this is pretty close, but I didn't want to give up my Omaha Button, so I'll let you have it."

Pete points out that you could have any number of buttons introduced into the game. 6th Street Buttons, for example, would be a fantastic idea. Next time you spread a home game, give it a try. I bet you won't be disapointed :)

Monday, March 16, 2009

Insert Title Here

I'm not even sure what I'm going to write about, so it was pretty hard to come up with much of a title. Here we go....

As has been previously noted, I seem to not post as much when I'm running bad. This past week has sort of been like that, with me basically treading water since March 6th. Some days I'm up, some days I'm down. If I win at 40, I lose at 20, or vice versa. I really haven't had a big win or loss since early in the month. But some interesting stuff has happened.

Goals Update

So far this month I have played 14 out of 16 days for a total of 91 hours. Those who excel at "division" will note that I'm about 7 hours behind my 7 hours a day goal. That's not looking good.

But I Have a Royal Flush

A few days ago at Bay 101 I played the following hand:

I open raise QT of spades in early position. Tom B 3-bets me from a few seats over, and Hung cold-calls on the button. The big blind also calls, so we're 4 handed for 12 small bets total after I call. We see a flop of:

Ks Js 8h

I have an open-ended straight flush draw (OESFD) and am elated in general. I check after the big blind checks, knowing that Tom B and Hung are far more likely to put in 2 bets than zero here....but they both check! Curses, foiled again!


Well gosh gee willikers, now that I've missed, I kinda want to just check and call. Tom B bets, Hung calls, the BB calls, and I also call.


Eureeka! I have a royal flush. I bet the thing, on the off chance that one of my opponents also has something worth raising, but sadly, everyone folds. I show my hand and drag the pot (which does have 10 big bets in it, so it's not like it's tiny or anything). Tom B claims he had KQ, to which I reply "No, you didn't". I mean, it's just not possible. Checking top pair on the flop, then folding trips on the river for one bet? I mean, if he wants to lie and claim a nice fold, say something like pocket queens. KQ is just impossible.

The Big Game

While playing 40/80 at table 38 (usually reserved for the 80/160 game), I took this picture from my seat. I thought it was cool.

I guess that's all I've got for now. Sorry for being so boring.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

I'd Rather Be Lucky Than Good

My father was my baseball coach for 10 years. While it looked promising for a couple, once it became clear that I had finished growing at the age of 13, the baseball career was basically called off. He did, however, teach me quite a bit, including the fact that on any single given day, it is often far better to be lucky than good.

Monday and Tuesday of this week were rough ones. Monday saw me get 6.5 racks deep in the Bay 101 20/40 game (I was also down 400 or so from 10 minutes of 5-handed 40/80...for the life of me I don't know why I sat in that game) and reach a peak "stuckedness" of $2400. Thems, as they say, the breaks. I fought onward, playing for a nearly epic level 11 hours, eventually finishing the day stuck just a shade over $1000. I try not to play super long sessions just to "get even", because I know that doesn't really work. But given that my main objective is to play enough hours, I objectively evaluated the situation and decided to play a long day. And it happened to work out.

Tuesday was more of the same. I spent the first half of the day at Bay 101, leaving down about $300 when I had finally had enough (two good winning friends were in my game, and that was because the other two 20/40s didn't look any better). My intel suggested open seating at Garden City, and my "chips up to chips down" time up 21 minutes has to be close to a record. I proceeded to get my ass kicked for a few hours, then again fought back nobly to post a small loss for the day.

That brings us to today, which I again decided to spend, as Pete implied via text message, "Banging Bay's sister" (I'm serious....this is actually how he asked if I was playing at Garden City). Yet again the only tool at my disposal early in the session seemed to be a shovel, and I dug myself in pretty deep, blowing almost 2 racks in the first 75 minutes. I kept getting check/raised on the turn and river, to the point that I was visably flustered. It had happened about 3 times in row, and I'd folded all 3 hands. A tight female Asian prop tried it once more, on a board of:


Where the Ace was a second club. I happened to have Q8 in this hand, in the blind, and had taken the betting lead on the flop. When she check/raised the turn I actually pulled off my head phones, stood up, and declared to no one in particular "Do I have 'Raise Me' written on my forehead?" Then I called "Time....this is happening so much I guess I should try to figure out why." I then called her down to see KT of clubs and dragged a nice pot. The tight female Asian prop was none too pleased to be the one who finally got caught.

At some point, the following hand happened, which I've posted on two plus two if anyone is interested in comments:

Live 20/40 with some lags and 2 players running at like 90% vpip. No joke it's awesome.

I open A J UTG+2 at a full table.

The CO 3-bets me. He has owned me today and I am running awful. For example, he 3-bet me with the AK and I had the AQ and the A did flop. He also cold-called the 44 when I opened the KJ and the K74-J did proceed to fall. I'm telling you this because it's possible he's feeling a little over-confident. By local standards, though, he's not retarded.

Awful loose passive 90% vpip button calls 3 cold like it ain't no thang (it isn't for her). Awful loose spastic SB calls 3 cold also as if it is not a "thang". The SB once triple donked 77 on a board of 923hh-5-Q. Actually scratch that, the first bet wasn't a donk cause he back-capped preflop....anyway....

BB folds and I cap for value. All call.

17 small bets, 4 ways.

T 6 2

Sb donks (see above regarding spasisicity and donking). I call. CO raises, button folds, SB calls, I call

11.5 big bets, 3 ways

T 6 2 2

SB checks, I check, CO bets, SB folds, I call

T 6 2 2 T

I donk in rhythm because Qantas never crashed IMO. I'm planning to fold to a raise obviously.....

The result of this hand, which isn't in the thread on two plus two, is that the CO basically turbo mucked, saying "nice catch". Shortly thereafter, he looked as if he'd perhaps eaten some bad sushi. Maybe I gave something away on 6th street, I'm not sure. Truth be told, I'm not sure what he folded. Folding an ace is almost inconceivable. But not having at least ace high...that's pretty inconceivable too after the action he put in. I just figured since I wasn't gonna fold for one bet, I might as well bet and see what happened. I'm pretty sure I'll get railed on two plus two for being an idiot on that one, but I'd rather be lucky than good.

Eventually I gave up on the "overs game" (with all 9 players holding an overs button) and moved to a short handed 20 with one of my most favorite fish. Despite having 7 bodies at the table, the game was close to breaking. The usually nittery and deuche baggery of "I don't want to play short" and blah blah blah continued, until two players actually requested our game be broken and merged with the 3rd table. While we were playing 6 handed! My favorite fish and I both protested and for once reason prevailed. A few hands later they broke the 3rd table and merged them with us....

Then it happened. I raised 88 in the lo-jack and got 3-bet by a better than average regular in the hi-jack. Two more players called, and we saw a flop of:


Ouch. We all checked to him and he bet. One other player called, and I called, closing the action at 16:1.


No help. We all checked to him, he bet again, and this time the other player folded. 9 big bets in the pot. I go into the tank, think for a while, and eventually decided I have to grit my teeth and call again. As soon as I do, the guy (he's sitting right next to me) gives off some sort of emotional tell that he is not happy that I just called again. I can't quite put my finger on it, but something definitely happened. I take this all in quickly in the 2 seconds before the dealer burns and turns the final card:


Given the tell I just picked up on the last street, I resolve that I have to call the river. I apply my (perhaps incorrect) concept from earlier that if I'm going to call, I might as well bet. I'd stand to get an extra bet from ace high some of the time, and honestly he should be betting EVERYTHING that beats me (so there is no place where betting costs me a bet I wouldn't have had to pay). Also, he can't really expect me to fold, so he'll likely check back anything (which ain't much) that I beat. So, I bet.

He is visibly struck. He looks at the board and mumbles something about pocket 8s. He says "I'll pay you off" and calls. I table my hand. He is disgusted. He picks up his cards, looks at them where I can see them, then throws them face down on the table. Two other players also see the cards and are as stunned as I am. He just folded pocket Queens, the winning hand. The dealer did not see the cards and has already stuffed them into the muck. He looks at the board again, and at my hand, and still says to the onlookers (now telling him he folded the winner) that I have a straight. I of course have no such thing.

The guy realized his mistake, eventually, and made no attempt to call the floor or anything. He was actually very polite about it, and didn't even really get upset. I stacked up the chips and tried to keep my mouth shut, again remembering that it's better to be lucky than good.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Tournament Madness

Bay 101 is currently gripped in what I can only call "Tournament Madness". Basically, everybody is trying to win a tournament so he can play in a bigger tournament, and in that tournament sometimes the hope is still just to play in yet another bigger tournament. It's freaking nuts. Last week I even caught myself thinking I was going to enter one of these things before I realized:

1. I suck at No Limit Tournaments
2. Even if I was good, I could make more money playing 20/40

So today I took my first trip to the Oaks since before the Super Bowl, hoping to avoid the madness. No luck! Tournament fever has struck even here.

I roll up at 12:40 and am told that "we don't have a game yet" regarding the 30/60 that supposedly goes every day at 1pm. I am, however, 3rd up for 15/30.

15 minutes later I have a seat, and 5 minutes after that we play two orbits 3 handed at a 10 seat table. Apparently the 1pm tournament, in which you can win entry into something that leads to the ME, is about to go. There are literally hundreds of people milling around, and my entire 15/30 table save one guy (literally....one...freaking...guy) gets up.

We struggle through and are back to ten handed (which is way too many...why oh why can't we have 6 max live tables?) fairly quickly. I confer with the floor man, asking "So, what are the odds of the 30 going in the next 3 hours." He responds with a simple "not good." So I'm destined to play a day of 15/30. As a consolation, I get to do this:

I limp Q9cc way too early after an UTG limper (never you mind that I am UTG+1). It goes 4 ways, me last with both blinds. Awesome result for a questionable decision. Q9 suited is kind of my favorite new hand that I've decided I'm going to play way too often. The problem is that I raise QT suited, so I reason "Surely I can at least play Q9 suited. It's SOOOOOTED!" Anyway, the flop is:

8c 6h 5d

The astute observer will note that I have flopped a gut shot, backdoor flush draw, and two over cards (one of which, the 9, cannot possibly be good). Sb check, bb bets, utg calls, I call, sb calls. This is my second mistake of the hand so far, as I'm pretty sure I should fold here. But wait, there's more!


In one fell swoop, I am double gutted (any 7 or Ten makes me a straight) with a queen high flush draw. They all check to me and I play the 3rd street in a row wrong by betting. Taking a free card here has to be the right play, as with 3 opponents there is no way I'm ever winning without making something. However, if two players call, my 15 outter is basically breaking even. Sb folds, bb calls slowly, and...UTG raises??!! I call, visibly astonished. The 23 yo white kid in seat 7 actually laughs out loud at my misfortune. BB calls.

Wait for it.....


That's right. Straight. Friggin'. Flush. UTG bets again and the blind squirrel that is me finds a nut: I raise. Woo hoo, I got one street out of four correct! BB goes into the tank...and calls? Dear god please let UTG have enough to pop me back just one more time. Alas he calls only. I table the goods and am shown 43cc by UTG, which you'll note had an open ender and flush draw as well, for a sum total of three (3) clean outs (those being the non-club deuces). BB had...Christ I have no idea. What on Earth could he have had?

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Another Beautiful Break Even Day

So I decided to let my rush at Garden City play out, and think it's safe to declare the thing dead. Today was one of those days where, while walking to the cage, you simply cannot believe you have as many chips as you do. Going through the bad beats, one at a time, it just seems impossible that you have any chips, let alone nearly as many as you started with. And away...we go....

Shortly after sitting down I find myself a nice pair of ones in the hole. I raise, and we see the flop about 4 ways for 3 bets:



I bet, and two of them call, plus one guy is all in.


Top set! Yahoo? I bet, and two of them call again.


I bet, and one of them raises. Other guy folds, and I muck. QTo good sir.

A few hands later, a huge fish open raises in late position and I 3-bet AQo. He calls only and we're heads up:


I bet and he calls.


I bet and he raises. I 3-bet to put him all in, he calls and shows TT. OK, so that one wasn't really a bad beat, but I didn't HAVE to catch TPTK on the turn, right?

So by now I've determined that I have at least one looney toon on my hands at the table. I limp in with 33 and he raises in late position. 5 of us see the flop of:

JT4 with two hearts (I have the 3 of hearts)

It checks to him and he bets. I raise because I have read his soul. Everyone else folds, but he 3-bets. Perhaps my soul read was incorrect? I call.

JT4-T with 3 hearts now

Well soul read or not, we're showing this puppy down now. I've got a slew of outs and there are 9 big bets in the pot after he bets.


I play the board....I check, he bets, I fold, and he shows his hand to his neighbor. I invoke "show one show all" and he proudly displays 76 of diamonds. He says something about "That won't work again any time soon" and I say "It didn't work there either, man. I can't call you playing the board". Another player says "Pocket 3s?" and I just shake my head up and down and rest it in my hand.

Time for some more Aces...This time I manage to get it only 3 ways preflop, and overs buttons kick in after the flop (the stakes are now up to 30/60). Actually, I don't really remember this board, but I do know that one of my opponents went running spades to make a flush and that I was not too thrilled about it. Now the real chaos kicks off:

I am in the big blind and find 76o. Not a gem by any means, but certainly worth a call in a 5 handed pot, getting 9:1 with almost no chance of more bets going in. The flop is:

952 with two spades

It's checked to an early position player who bets. I call, kind of concerned about the flush draw out there but still unwilling to lay down a gut shot at this price. 4 of us call, so we've got 7 big bets in the pot and find a gorgeous


Sweet sassy molassy, I've done it again! I check and the guy bets again. Some fishy lady calls, and I do the checkin' an' raisin' routine. They both call, and we've now got 13 big bets out there, to go along nicely with my nut hand.


Great card, I say. Sure I don't have the nuts anymore but...wha?! You raise? I call! QJo good m'aam. Quickly now, we can't fall behind....

This one is pretty standard. I raise 99 and see the flop about 5 ways. I flop top set on a board of:


Awesomeness. 2 bets go in 3 ways and this pot is getting big.


Still good. 1 bet goes in, and I still have two opponents.


Kenny (the guy who still owes me $100 that I'll never see because he took McCain straight up on election night, then welched on the bet 30 minutes later when he realized the Vegas line was like 5:1 or something preposterous like that) donks, and I just fold. My other opponent actually calls, and they chop it up with JT and AT respectively.

I haven't had aces in an hour or so, so I figure now would be a nice time to get them cracked again. I manage to limit the betting to 4 ways, and see a flop of:


That is what one might call a "dry" flop, in that it doesn't really present much in the way of "draws". I bet and get two callers. Overs kick in and the board comes heart, heart. On the river my lone remaining opponent raises me all in for 3 more chips. He has A9 of hearts, which on the flop was dead to running hearts or running 9s. He says "I was getting ready to go home" to which I respond, literally "Yeah, Yeah, Yeah". I will now note that this is the same looney toon from the pocket 3s hand above.

I've saved the best for last. Against my now favorite villain who just runner runnered the flush against my aces and got bailed out by the board while trying to triple-barrel bluff 7-high a few hours ago, I again walk into a mine field. He raises and is promptly 3-bet (for some reason I am no-where near the Jesus seat, and in retrospect this concerns me) by another player who can be described only as mildy psychotic post flop. Another player calls 3 cold and I find T9s in the big blind. Meh, I call. It's probably a fold, but against these 3 guys it can't be wrong to jump into the pot. Here it comes:

935 with two spades (I have clubs)

I check and call one bet. For some reason (perhaps it was the preflop 3-bet) my spidey sense is tingling. I smell an over pair! The preflop raiser, the looney and myself remain in a 7.5 big bet pot.


Top two. Gin. Now watch what I do here, cause this is awesome. I donk (because 3 bets is more than 2). Looney calls, and the preflop raiser raises. I 3-bet, and looney looks really pissed off. He then calls, and I place him firmly on a flush draw. Preflop raiser folds saying "I know what he's got". Never mind that his over pair has 8 outs to beat my hand, and at least 5 or 6 to win total even if the other guy turned the nut flush draw face up, or that he is getting 15.5:1. He knows that I've got and it's time to fold his hand. I won't even tell you what card hit on the river, but rest assured I only put in one bet, showed down, and lost. To a flush.

Somehow, after all this chaos and destruction, after 6.5 hours of play I stumbled to the cage with $1817, less than 200 below my starting total of 4 racks. For the life of me I can't remember where I won it all.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Back to My Roots

So far this month I've played 5 out of 6 days and posted 4 big wins. Today and Wednesday I spent at Garden City, mainly to avoid the zoo that Bay 101 has become leading up the Shooting Star tournament (there is a big tournament every day where they give out seats to either the $1,000 buy in events next week, or the main $10,000 event on March 16th). Garden City has been kind to me. Wednesday I played a marathon 10+ hour session and posted an $800 win, and today I played for 5 hours and won almost 4 racks.

Today didn't look like it was going to go very well. I showed up at Bay 101 around 10:45 to find a 20/40 list longer than my...well, you get the picture. It was long. Pete and I shoot the bull for 5 minutes, then decide to ask Steve, the main floor man, how long he thinks it'll be until the "top section" can claim another table. He tells us "probably an hour". And with that piece of news we're off to Garden City in our respective vehicles.

Immediately after our arrival Garden City is able to open a second 20/40 table. Pete and I take seats, tread water for a bit, then I take all of his money on a QJ4 flop where I happen to have the Queen and the Jack. Then Ted, the floor man, makes some noise about starting a 40/80 game. This is preposterous. He's got 5 names on the 20/40 list and 8 on the 40/80. The rub is that 6 of the 40/80 listees are currently playing in the 20/40 games. You do the math....Pete and I tell him as much, and he eventually decides to just start a 3rd 20/40 (which ensures that the 40/80 game will not be successful on this day at Garden City). So around 12:30, 75 minutes after opening the 2nd 20/40, Ted again calls down a 40/80, which eventually gets off the ground 7 handed, with Pete and I manning two of the seats. The game isn't very good and there are a couple of mega-fish seated in the 20s, so after winning, then losing, then barreling off some more chips, then winning a pot to get back to almost even, I drop back down to 20/40. 15 minutues later, Pete shows up at my table again. We play for a while, some new people come in, and again the game just isn't very good. I opt for one more table change and.....

In my first hand I post in the hi-jack and am dealt the 8 of clubs and the 3 of spades. This is a monstrous holding when it folds to me, worthy of a raise (as would any two cards). The cutoff cold calls and the big blind takes a look at a flop of:

Jc Tc 4c

Well then, I have a flush draw. Time to fire some bullets. I bet, and only the big blind calls.


I bet once more, and again he calls.


Yeesh, I bet again, he calls, and I declare "8-high" while tabling the beast. He rolls T6s for a veritable monster, and says "I'm surprised you even showed that hand". I smile, only.

The very next hand....Two limps and I raise 88. I get one cold call and the big blind comes along....then UTG 3-bets it. This is almost always Aces or Kings or some other monstrous holding. Players do this because they want to make sure they get lots of action with their big pocket pairs. The problem is that if you only do it with monsters, you give up so much info that it can't possibly be worth it. Anyway....we all call, and I behold the most beautiful flop of:

872 with two hearts

UTG bets right away and I raise right away. Everyone else folds, and he 3-bets. I 4-bet, and he 5-bets. I 6-bet and he calls.

4 (not a heart)

He donks. I raise. He calls.

Q (also not a heart)

He donks once more. For a moment I fear pocket Queens, then realize he only has 10 chips left. He can't even 3-bet me. I raise for the 6th time this hand. He raises me back for his last 2 chips. I calls and fast-roll my hand out of courtesy, and he mucks. To re-cap, thats 8.75 big bets he put into the pot ($350) when I knew pretty much exactly what he had from the moment he put in the 60th dollar preflop. Where do they find these people?

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

A View from the Asylum

Today I played for about 8 hours at Bay 101 and was bludgeoned repeatedly with various blunt objects. At first I convinced myself I was going to write about how my AA and QQ got cracked by J4s and Q8, then how this idiot beat my AJ with QT on a board of AT4-J-K while putting in 3 bets on the flop, another on the turn, then, after I check/called the river saying "Chop?" while tabling the stone nuts. Then I thought maybe the hand where the board made a straight after I flopped top set of 8s, only to find my opponent sitting on QJ for the runner runner nut would make the cut. But no, for this entry I found something truly special.

It's a full 20/40 game and I just won my post-in hand with 53o. An older Asian female regular (let's call her Queenie) raised preflop and the hand went off 7 ways. I basically had to call, then proceeded to flop an open-ender and get there on the river. While I'm stacking the chips and someone is commenting on "53 off suit, eh?" forgetting the fact that I was getting 13:1 preflop, I am dealth pocket tens. I raise 'em, because I've heard they are a decent hand, after limper A and Queenie stumble into the pot. A quick read on Queenie; she doesn't fold. Really ever. She shows down like any pair, all the time, and can be retardedly aggressive at times. How she plays depends greatly on how many dozen hours she's been at the table straight. Limper A is just a dude.

In order to give you the full effect, I will tell this story from the point of view of the big blind...and away we go.

"Hmmm, that punk kid is raising again. I've played with him a lot and don't like him one bit. Always stealing my blinds, burning chips. He's a real action player that one though, good for the game. With him here maybe I can get even. Let's see, what have we got here....Holy shit, an Ace and a Six. Offsuit no less! You can make even more flushes when your cards aren't suited. EZ call. OK, both the other players called, so there are what, 4 or 2 of us in here? Sounds right"

9c 7c 4h

"Well I have nothing, but he only has Ace-King so he'll fold that for sure if I put some pressure on him. I check"

Dude and Queenie check. Jesse bets.

"Perfect, now I can raise him to see where I'm at. He'll probably just call and I can bet him off his Ace-King on the turn"

Dude folds. Queenie calls two bets cold, like the champ that she is. Jesse turbo 3-bets.

"Well, I guess I better call. There are like, a lot of chips out there and I have a draw to one pair here. All I gotta do is hit that Ace..."

A of Spades

"Perfect, I have him crushed! But he probably won't bet, cause he never bets the turn. Plus, he's gotta figure I just put 3-bets in with a naked ace and no draw. I better bet"

Queenie calls. Jesse shakes his head in disbelief and calls.

"Alright, now, what do I want to see on this river? Heck I have no idea...."

2 of spades

"Alright, I better bet again"

Jesse calls, mostly out of curiousity honestly.

"Haha, sucker! My ace is good! Man I play so good but just run so bad. This dealer kills me every time....hopefully this kid'll stick around for a while so I can get even"

Sunday, March 1, 2009

February Results and March Goals

My trip to San Diego has delayed this post substantially. Also, this blog has become a lot more "public" in the past month, with several regular players from my 20/40 game asking me about it. Specifically, WTK found the blog and apparently read the post about him, aloud, to the 40/80 table. While I'm sure this was a hoot for everyone in the game, for me it's kind of a problem. I always new that there was a chance some of the people I've written about would find the blog, and while that in and of itself doesn't bother me, I am mildly concerned about regulars in my game knowing I'm a full-time professional. For a brief time I considered stopping the blog (no fun). Then I decided that maybe I just should only tell stories, and somehow cleanse it of any indication that I'm a pro (lunacy). Then I thought I just shouldn't put my results on it (blah). Finally, I've just decided that from now on people's real names aren't going to be used (did that originally but stopped for some reason). So, here we go:

My February results were stellar, thanks to a massive heater that can best be shown in grahpical form

In short, with just a few days to go in the month it was looking to be anohter ho-hum below average result. Then I played 9 hours of 40/80 in San Diego over the course of 2 days and won a rack per hour, tripling my profit for the month (See my previous post for details of the first day....the second day went even better, with me winning just a shade over $5000. You know you're running good when you have the best day of your life two days in a row).

20/40 and Above Hours: 154
40/80 Hours: 16.5
30/60 Hours: 0

Net win: ~12,900

My goals for march are similar:

Play 24 days out of 31, and record 7 hours per day, for a total of 168 hours.

I've decided not to force myself to play higher this month if I don't want to, as that was such a disaster last month (Goal-wise.....I got less than 1/3rd of the hours I wanted to above 20/40. The results were excellent). Hopefully I'll make it up to The Oaks a couple of times, and I'll be spending some more time in the 40/80 games in San Jose.

Now, for my irritating poker story of the day. I arrived at Bay 101 around 10:10am to find the most gigantic cluster fuck in the history of San Jose poker. There were 11 tournament tables going, and they were still early in the rebuy and "alternate" period. What this means is the following. If you bust out of the tournament, you have the option to rebuy. If you chose not to (or have already done so once), an alternate is called who gets to take your place in the tournament. So what this means is that while they started the tournament with 110 players at 10am, at 11am they still had....110 people playing. The number of tables in use was not going down, and consequently my position of 23 on the 20/40 list was not looking too promising. I actually got into my car after calling Dominic (the nice floor man at Garden City) and turned on the car, but decided to stick it out. I got a 40/80 seat around 11:15, and was promptly treated to the following exchange:

Good Poker Player (GPP): "You on break?"
Awful Poker Player (APP): "No, I'm out. I got bluffed by an amateur"

Me, silently....This oughta be good.

GPP: "What happened?"
APP: "On a one card straight board, he went all in with just a set. He won the hand"
GPP: "So you had the idiot end?"
APP: "....????.....I just had the one card"
GPP: "OK, so what happened?"
APP: "So the flop is 986 and I have a seven...."
GPP: "Wait, what's your other card?"
APP: "King Seven"
GPP: "So you're like in the blind or something"
APP: "It was like 7 ways, limped. It was soooooted"
GPP: Rolls eyes. "OK, so 986....what happened?"
APP: "Somebody bet the flop and we called"
GPP: "We?"
APP: "4 or 5 of us, I'm not sure. So the turn is a 5"
GPP: "....????...."
APP: "And the guy bets again, and I just call"
GPP: "You should have raised"
APP: "I didn't want to lose anybody"
GPP: "OK, so then what?"
APP: "The river is a ten, and the guy bets again, and I just call. And this amateur goes all in with just a set. Pocket 5s. Horribly play on his part"
GPP: "So the other guy called and you had to fold?"
APP: "No, we both folded"
GPP: "????"
APP: "He's gotta figure one of us has the straight, right?"

At this point I put on my head phones, as it's more idiocy than I can bear. The guy continues to talk about it for 10 minutes, then eventually follows me to a new 20/40, where he tells the entire story to the table again. It's everything in me not to tell him what I think of his play. I mean, sweet Jesus. Flat calling on the turn with the stone cold nuts? Under-repping your hand to trap? Then complaining that the amateur bluffed you off the god damn nuts? LOL...Maybe I should try playing some of these things....