Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Times They Are a Changin'

A lot of you are somewhat in the loop as to what's been going on with me of late (even more so than what I've posted on here). I've spent the last week getting my sea legs on Full Tilt Poker, seeing if there is any conceivable way I could stomach something that I once thought was unthinkable. With about 70% of precincts reporting the result is becoming fairly certain; I seem to be able to play poker exclusively online. I haven't played a live hand since 6/22 (sorry Mom and Dad, that's the reason I haven't called....I haven't been wasting 90+ minutes of my life a day driving through LA traffic), and I'm actually starting to like it. So here's the basic 12 step program to turning your brick and mortar poker lifestyle into one of pointing and clicking.

Step 1 - Decimate (or at least half-istate) Bankroll

These part really is easy. All you have to do is enter a few WSOP events, step foot inside the Bellagio, fail to play enough drunken craps, black jack, and bowling to keep up with your losses, and then run bad at commerce once you come home.

Step 2 - Get a Pep Talk From Babar

In order to do this you need to know Babar and be a person he at least somewhat respects, or pay the stated rate of $100/hour for his wisdom. In this pep talk you receive some great wisdom which is actually common sense but coming from someone as accomplished as Babar borders on a proclamation from a higher power. You will not mess with you iPhone when you play live. You will watch 6-10 DC videos per month. You will not post bad beats of any form via any media for one month. You will not open a thread in 2p2 and think to yourself "Meh I have no idea" and simply close the thread without responding. You will take breaks when feel tilty. You will become involved in the SSHE forum on 2p2. This pep talk will energize you to rededicate yourself to your craft .

Step 3 - Lose 6 Racks in Two Days

With your fresh dedication to playing well, playing rested, and focusing your attention on the game, you must incinerate 6 racks in less than 15 hours of play. Again, this is easy.

Step 4 - Lose Hope

Your bankroll was in trouble before. You had already declared that you were not dipping into your investments to further fund this shot, and this last round of beatings has you looking at access to about $10K in liquid money spread basically all to hell (online, in a pair of bank accounts, in my sock drawer, pending debts). If you bust it, you've promised yourself you'll quit, and things couldn't look bleaker. Playing at Commerce is just such a hassle. It takes forever to get there, sometimes you have to wait for a game, sometimes your game grinds to a halt, and the people are such douchebags you find yourself lobbying for tilt prevention at least five times more frequently than you did in the Bay Area. Once last week you left your apartment at 11am and did not get home until 9pm and managed to log only 6.5 hours of play! If you're going to continue to play on a short roll, you'll have to grind as many hours as humanly possible so that your life expenses can't catch up to you and eat what's left. And grinding 50 hours a week at Commerce might just kill you.

Step 5 - Consider Taking Staking

I actually asked around quite a bit trying to work out some sort of staking deal for 20/40. The basic deal I wanted was for someone to buy half my action at 15-20% discount of what it was worth. I don't want to get into the numbers, but for some reason nobody wants to put that trade on, which is a little puzzling to me. If I win $40/hour at 20/40, it would seem to me that paying $16/hour for the right to 50% of my action over a reasonable time frame (several hundred hours) is a decidedly +EV thing to do (with admittedly pretty high variance obviously). Meh, nobody wanted to do it and I wasn't even really sure it was the right thing to do anyway so.

Step 6 - Consider Playing Online Exclusively

This step was actually performed in concert with step 5. Honestly it's not that big of a stretch for me to make at least "getting by" money on Full Tilt. 4 tabling 3/6 results in playing 400-500 hands per hour, and if you can win just 1 big bet per hundred, after rakeback you're pulling in $40-$50/hour. Skillwise this is probably at the upper bound of what I'm currently capable, but it's definitely not a stretch. The real problem is actually doing it for 5+ hours a day. Can I play 2000 hand days? Sure. Can I play 6 of them a week? Time will tell. I have several months to figure it out, since without the threat of losing 10 more racks in a 20/40 game I actually have enough money to support my "food and rent" habit for several months comfortably.

Step 7 - Play a Ton Online. Get Blown Up

The first two days of my endeavor went like this.

Step 8 - Never Surrender

Since then, however, it has gone like this.

Step 9 - Talk to Babar Again

This happened just yesterday and he set me straight on a few things. First of all, I'd been playing primarily 2/4 and mixing in some 1/2 games from time to time. He pointed out that this is insane, and that I should basically just be game selecting from the 2/4 and 3/6 games. So I'm doing that. I'd been avoiding the 3/6 games because my numbers in them didn't look so hot, but realistically I can beat those games and playing 1/2 is just a waste of time (at 500 hands an hour I think you could make something like $17/hour). Second of all he conveyed his opinion that taking staking was a horrible idea, based on the information he had about my situation (which is to say the last rather unique...what other professional poker players just decide that the lion's share of his net worth is untouchable).

Step 10 - Assess Your Life

At first sitting around my apartment for 12 hours every day and pecking away at a computer screen seemed impossible. Then I lost 200 bets and it seemed even harder than that. But the last several days have seen some marked improvements. I'm not getting killed, which is good. I'm learning how to control my tilt, which is critical. I'm learning what things to pay attention to and what things I can kind of let slip away (4 tabling 6max online lets you see literally 10-12 times as many hands as you would live. You simply have to miss things). I reset my HUD to show me some more valuable things. And I'm actually enjoying the solitude and relaxation of my apartment. If I'm a little on tilt I take my dogs for a walk or watch Sportscenter for 20 minutes. That's way more relaxing than walking around Commerce.

Step 11 - Give it the Old College Try

As I said in (10), my life seems to not suck, so I'm going to give this a try. In two weeks I may be batshit insane, but there are those who might argue such a state an improvement over my attitude of the last month. So here it is for the world to see....I am moving my operation online. No more hour+ commutes, no more poo flingers at Commerce, no more $5K downswings. Just me, my mouse, and my boxer shorts.

Step 12 - Profit

At least that's the plan. I'll keep you posted on this last part.

What Does He Have?

I played this hand online today and think it presents a fairly interesting puzzle. Villain seems to be a fish over 100 hands (something like 50 vpip, 10 pfr) and my notes on him do nothing to dissuade me from this belief. Note that he is posted into the hand in the CO. And the kicker....I believe he may have made a defensible, if not downright correct, play on every street. So have at it, win the respect of the tens of dozens of people who read this blog!

Full Tilt Poker $3/$6 Limit Hold'em - 6 players
The Official 2+2 Hand Converter Powered By

CO posts a big blind (1 SB)

Pre Flop: (3 SB) Hero is UTG with Q Q
Hero raises, 1 fold, CO calls, 2 folds, BB calls

Flop: (7 SB) Q A K (3 players)
BB checks, Hero bets, CO raises, BB folds, Hero 3-bets, CO caps!, Hero calls

Turn: (7.5 BB) 6 (2 players)
Hero bets, CO calls

River: (9.5 BB) K (2 players)
Hero bets, CO raises, Hero calls

Monday, June 28, 2010

This Pleases Me

Full Tilt Poker $2/$4 Limit Hold'em - 5 players - View hand 775843
The Official Hand History Converter

Pre Flop: (1.5 SB) Hero is UTG with Q of clubs K of diamonds
Hero raises, CO calls, 2 folds, BB calls

Flop: (6.5 SB) 6 of clubs 9 of diamonds T of hearts (3 players)
BB checks,
Hero bets, CO raises, BB folds, Hero calls

Turn: (5.25 BB) 3 of hearts (2 players)
Hero checks,
CO bets, Hero calls

River: (7.25 BB) 3 of clubs (2 players)
Hero checks,
CO bets, Hero calls

Final Pot: 9.25 BB
Hero shows Q of clubs K of diamonds (a pair of Threes)
CO shows J of spades Q of spades (a pair of Threes)

Hero wins 9 BB
(Rake: $1.00)

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Another Humorous Graph

This is today's graph. I think I might have been on tilt for the last 100 or so hands, but I'm very confident that I was playing well (for me) the rest of the day. I guess this type of shit is just normal for online players, but honestly it's pretty ridiculous. The most frustrating part, as you can imagine, is that I could have just stopped playing for the day halfway through and allowed myself at least a few hours of peace and happiness. Instead I soldiered on, sending 100 bets back into space from whence I'd gathered them.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

EZ Game

This is going fantastically well. Almost every hand here is $2/$4. That's right, I've lost almost $600 in two days playing a game where you can't bet more than $4 at a time. The first 2000 or so hands (after which I was miraculously even) were yesterday, the rest of the piss poor failed abortion has happened so far today.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A Lack of Motivation to Write

I have a whole bunch of stuff that I'd really like to just magically have up on here, but I don't really have the motivation to write it all out in the glory that it deserves. So I'm going to do what I usually do in a situation like this and just make a bulleted list of some interesting true facts:

1. Since the day I left for Vegas my spreadsheet is showing losses of $11,200. It's not quite as bad as that, since I had some staking for the events I played and actually posted some small wins in Vegas playing "not poker" (bowling, craps, a home game that definitely was not poker, and black jack I am so awesome), but it is decidedly not good. Actually now that I mention it that home game was freaking awesome. I ran hot like the sun in deuce to seven triple draw and was up something like 150 going into the last hand of the night, which ontherail15 declared would be a $55 PLO flip (we had been doing dealer's choice all night and when it came to Robbie one orbit he only had $14 in front of him so he declared "$14 PLO flips" as his "game") which I promptly won by making broadway with a nut flush backup plan.

2. I am losing weight at a positively unthinkable pace. Today I weighed in at 168.2 pounds, almost 12 below my starting weight of 180 and about 2/3rds of the way to my target weight of 162, only 34 days into the 90 day challenge. So I'm probably not going to lose any money on that one, which is nice.

3. Babar took time out of his life to have a 45 minute talk with my a few nights ago, in which we first talked some strat and then he gave me some advice/action items that he thinks would help me improve the mental side of my poker game. I really wanted to write a whole post about this conversation because it really was eye opening and fantastic but as I said I just don't have the motivation. One of Babar's tasks, however, was not to post any bad beats for a month. So sorry if that's what you were reading for. The long and short of it here is that Babar is super duper awesome.

4. The devastation of my actual live bankroll (as you're all aware I was playing a little short as it was) has me launching a plan to play online exclusively for 3-4 days, and, after I see how that goes (mostly if I don't go batshit insane), I may continue on the online track indefinitely. Between losing $11K in like 2 weeks and just the general douchebaggery of these people (a guy actually said to me "You're a moron at Commerce and you're a moron here" after I asked to see both hands at showdown of a pot which I was whip-sawwed out of by a weirdo turn screw play), I just don't see myself wanting to put in the effort to get to the casino much longer. Yesterday, for example, I ended up spending 2.5 hours commuting and waiting for games. This is just unacceptable. So today I played 2000 hands online and....broke even. But at one point I was stuck 90 bets so it's not all bad.

4.1. Again I want to stress that when I say I'm playing "short" I'm not actually playing with all the money I have. I've decided I'm not willing to wake up when I'm 30 with no money, so a fair portion (like 90% actually at the moment) has been declared untouchable. If I busto the other 10% we'll see how my resolve holds up, but for now the plan is regrow a 20/40 bankroll playing 3/6 online. LOL I know it's ridiculous but hey so is a guy with a Master's in CS from MIT playing poker for a living right?

5. I had a fifth topic but then I went back to write that 4.1 thingie and well looks like it wasn't that important because I have absolutely no idea what words were supposed to go here. So I guess that's that.

6. Just thought of one more thing....USA, USA, USA!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

When Do You Not Throw Cards?

There's this degenerate Asian lady in my game with whom I've played before who is by any conceivable definition of the word a rightious bitch. She's constantly cussing out the dealer, throwing cards, and in general just a miserable human being. A few hours ago she threw her KJo at the dealer after getting shown AA on a KJ8-Q-T board and said "That only card! How many time?!" First of all you can't racist ban me, it's my blog. Second of all, let's see here, any ace, ten, queen, or eight ships the pot to THE GUY WITH ACES and you're throwing your cards at the dealer? You had 70% equity in a 6 bet pot stfu you have no clue what it is to run bad. If you did you'd have been in the 8/16 game years ago.

So she limps MP and I raise her with A9cc in the HJ. The CO folds but we are in a 3 blind situation because the button left inexplicably (come to think of that if he'd just taken a hand none of this would have happened) and the blond heater girl calls OTB and both big blinds come along and boom 5 way pot with ace nine here I come! But it's sooted, so I've got that going for me, which is nice.


To war! They all check and I bet. Blond girl raises and one of the blinds calls and Asian degen lady calls. Topsies topsies topsies I 3-bet they all call. Blond girl almost certainly has a pair and a draw here, maybe as good as 97. Hand reading on the other 2 is hopeless but I mean top pear let's go nuts. 22 small bets now in the pot.


Moment of truth, somebody usually has JT....two checks I bet they all call. Wow. Blond girl has one pair of 9s for sure now.


For once a brick. Blind and Asian degen lady check and I fire. I probably am best, and blond girl will call me with her 9. She does, the blind folds and Asian degen lady....tanks. Fuck. Somehow some way this dispicable human has a queen in her hand. My hand looks like friggin' aces, she's not overcalling with a 9 here. 5 seconds. 10. She calls. I table my hand and she says "what is that?! I almost muck my hand" and tables QTo. There is a general bruhaha but bless her running good heart a flicker of comprehension flashes across the blond girls face. It appears she may not be incapable of learning.

So here's the point. VERY NEXT hand Asian degen lady opens UTG and I 3 ball me some jacks. Everyone else folds, she calls, and calls the flop of


Then check raises me rightously when an Ace hits the turn. I fold and she actually flashes it to me and I just laugh it off. Next hand.....

Folds to the button and Asian degen lady says "We Chop!" from the big blind. The button raises, the small blind folds, and Asian degen lady, swear to God scouts honor cross my heart and hope to die, flings her cards at the dealer and mutters something like "Every hand deuce!"

I cannot control myself. I laugh heartily, dare I say nearly uncontrollably, and she realizes I'm laughing at her. She looks right at me and says very aggressively "What so funny?"

I pull it together and ask simply "When, exactly, do you not throw your cards?"

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Saturday Night Madness

As I type this I'm playing a rare Saturday night session at Commerce (my better half has already commenced Father's Day activities and since I live 2500 miles from my father I've got nothing going on). Some strange stuff is happening. On my way in from the car a black cat literally darted across my path 10 feet in front of me. You can't make this stuff up. And now this vaguely foreign blond girl has run over the table for a 4+ rack win after declaring "You can request all the setups you want it's gonna be like this all night" while dragging a 10 bet pot in which I had to fold black AA on the turn 997dd-8d to her 3 bet. Trust me I had four outs tops, probably 2. So she's blowing up the table, coloring up to whites every 5 minutes, and acting like it's supposed to happen (she apparently won 5 racks yesterday), and I realize she's actually reasonably tight. Like, she's limping 97s UTG and calling two bets with 88 but by Commerce preflop standards these are extremely minor infractions. So 9 rack heater is officially like a 4 sigma event here. I suppose it's good she's obviously gonna be hooked for life and we always need new specimans for the aquarium but it'd be great if she could do her thing without taking my fun tickets.

So two more funny things happened....well three. First Phillies Cap Guy gets EPICLY slowrolled. Like he gets c/r'ed on the turn and makes a speech about "just can't fold can you" and calls, then let's the river check through after the other guy checks. The board is like KT7hh-8h-6c and he tables KhJs which admittedly is a pretty big hand I'd have likely fastrolled also. The other guy sits there for I'm not even kidding 15-30 seconds before tabling 97ss and hilarity does ensue. PCG o's royally pissed off for this heinous slow roll, as he should be. The other guy just keeps saying "have to make sure I have straight". Come on....that's not a hard one to see there sir. You mean to say you were check raising the turn on your pair of 7s alone. So moving along....

I see a free flop in the big blind 4-5 ways with Ad4h and the board falls


Yeah right I hear ya how am I gonna get in trouble with this one? I mean I have I've got like the 8th one card nut flush draw and half the table is in the pot. So obviously it checks around and I spike my 1-outter to lose $80.


I bet cause I mean folding the 6 of hearts sure would be swell and I have a pair of ones now. PCG calls. Keep in mind that it's pretty likely nobody has the Ace of hearts here, as they'd have bet the flop.


I bet because I'm retarded. PCG is super weak/foldy and he is never paying me off with less than an ace. But there's only one ace left how bad can it be? He calls and I say "I have an ace" and table my cheeseball. He, the victim of our last slow roll, now stares at my hand for 5 seconds before tabling his Ac9h. It wasn't really that bad because the instant he looked at my hand I knew I was fucked, but I just found it funny that I managed to spike a one outter to lose $80. Every other card in the deck results in me putting zero dollars into the pot.

So we play some more and I get aces and raise and PCG calls the bets in the SB and the limper calls and we flop


Bing. Blang. Blaow. They both call my bet.


Glory! They both check, I bet. PCG breaks his stack and JUST begins to move toward the pot and the limper practically wets himself trying to raise. Fucking retard. PCG pulls back his chips and contemplates before folding what he later says was ATo. Limper now raises and I courtesy tank for 4 seconds before 3 betting him (this is a silly LHE spot as I'm completely unbalanced....I have zero bluffs in my range. The reason for this is that he is unbalanced also, with his range basically starting at J8 and going only up). He pays me off and I guess I won't miss the $40 he cost me but I mean come on.

Friday, June 18, 2010

More Semantics

And I qoute:

"You're an asshole I don't want your apology"

"Don't talk to me anymore you have no class"

"Lets talk outside and see who has class"

This is actually my table....


A guy at the next table at Commerce is currently arguing with the floorman about an altercation with a female customer in seat 9. I didn't catch the whole thing, but his basic defense platform seems to be:

"Yes I said bitch, but I did not call her a stupid bitch"

He is wearing a Lakers Jersey and appears to be about 50 years old. It is unclear if he is refuting calling the woman a bitch, or merely denying to have preceded the word with with "stupid." Either way it appears to have worked, as he's still in the game. Life is all about semantics.

They Missed Me

Back at Commerce today for only the second time since before Vegas and we are back to basics. This is just bad beat venting so feel free to skip it if that's not your cup o' tea.

Hand 0

Table alpha fish raises flop and barrels turn and river with K6o on a 992-7-K board. He has no flush draw, no showdown value and apparently zero fold equity as the beta fish calls him down with 82s. Neither was in the blinds. This type of fish on fish crime often goes un-investigated by the authorities because let's be honest, there are no victims here. Only defendents.

Hand 1

I open raise AQs and the alpha fish cold calls next in. 5 ways board runs out AK7-3-T and I can't make myself fold to the river raise at 10+:1. QJ takes it, and to be clear my AQ flops an ace and loses to QJ. Plug that into stove.....

Hand 2

Nothing special here. I open QJs in the LJ, button calls alpha fish defends KT8cc-Qr-5r and the alpha fish c/r the river. It's so incomprehensible I pay it off again. AJ good.

Hand 3

This is the centerpiece of our 90 minute ordeal. I open KJ of red and again find a 5 way pot. Yahoo. The flop:


I bet anyway and lose two players. Only beta fish and the button call. The turn pairs the 8 and they both call again. To the river.


That's right, 4 to the straight flush. I check, beta fish checks and button bets. I fold, beta fish tank calls and the button shows AKo, no club. Beta fish shows KTo, no club, to drag the pot. I folded the winner.

Hand 4

I open aces UTG and only the blinds call. JT4dd and the SB donk/3s. I cap (BB has not relinquished his chip shovel yet) and bet the Tr turn, collecting 2 more calls. River Jack ldo SB donks BB folds and I fold after he flashes KJ out of mercy.

Hand 5

I'm not making this up, I open aces in EP and get a 5 way pot. QT7-4 and beta fish raises the turn (I'm in seat 9, he in 1, so he cold called first in). River does not pair the board in the 13 bet pot (alpha fish ate two on the turn) and I fold. Beta shows Q4 sooted.

Hand 6

A limp a raise I 3bet AA. Again this is NINETY minutes....Maybe sixty dealt hands. 4-5 ways I don't even know the dude on my left insta-calls 3 cold.

655-9-J no flush

Raiser donks the flop I raise and dude calls. Turn I bet dude raises initial raiser eats 2 with his obvious KK-QQ I call. River we both pay again 99 good sir.


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

And Now For Some Omaha

Danielle and I went to Commerce this weekend on the premise that she'd get to see where it is that I go every day and get worked into an enraged fury of anger and hatred while eating free food and maybe playing some Omaha. I sat in the 20/40 game after giving her the grand tour and promptly played like a wild man for 60 minutes or so while she waited for and obtained a seat in the 4/8 full kill omaha eight or better game. I was in virtually every other pot, taking and dishing out horrendous beats left and right. I made quads to crack aces. I had my aces cracked by J5s. When the dust settled and Danielle came over to sweat me and Quantum Hoops I was up a couple hundred bucks and definitely ready for some dinner. So we ate and I lost some chips and started giving into the fact that I have, for the second time in like 2 weeks, a pretty shitty cold and decided after she left that the game wasn't so good and getting Quantum Hoops infected was a pretty cock move so I'll just go hang out with Danielle in the Omaha game and have a little fun before I go home. So I racked up my 2 big bet win (humongous) and headed over to the "main room" which makes the top section look like a the Utopian Society from Gattaca. A new game was called and Danielle was a little concerned that I might not get a seat since there were like 20 names on the list and I was something like 18th, but I assured her everything was fine and sure enough the game barely even went and almost broke 5 hands after we started.

This game was freaking ridiculous. It's a 4/8 game played with $1 chips, but it's a full kill game with the kill being triggered any time someone scoops a pot with, I think, more than $40 dollars in it (basically anytime somebody scoops). Most of the pots were 6 or 7 way, and that's with Danielle and I sitting there nitting it up like a couple of old ladies with new grandchildren. Now in fairness Danielle is actually less of a nit than I am in the Omaha 8 or better, I think because she has more confidence in her abilities to play the game well than I do. Who is actually better at the game is an open question, but who thinks they are better is not, and I'll just leave it at that. Usually 4 or more people would be putting in action on the big streets, and really it was just "let's see who can make the nuts" poker the entire night. So in the game where 3 rack pots were completely commonplace I found occasion to play a pair of hilarious hands. First, in a kill pot, I am dealt:

Ac 2c Th Td

Under the gun. Now a quick course in Omaha 8 or better for the people who read this and don't know the rules (Mom, Dad, listen up). The betting and hand rankings are just like Texas Hold 'Em, and there are only three differences. First, you get four cards. Second, you have to use exactly two of them to make the best hand, combined with three from the board. So in Texas Hold 'Em if four clubs come on board and you only have one in your hand, you still have a flush. In Omaha you need to have two in your hand (which is easier since you have four cards but still). And finally, the "low hand" gets half the pot, where the best low is A2345, for which again you must use exactly two cards from your hand and three from the board. OK, so there we go. Anyway, I have the monstrosity of a hand shown above and I raise it up. Somehow the pot only goes off 4 ways (I think maybe only 6 people were dealt in...that was probably the problem) and I flop:

Tc 8c 4c

That's right. I have a made nut flush, the nut low draw, and top set. It is virtually impossible for me to lose this hand, unless my low is counterfeitted in which case I'll lose half the pot. So I bet and two people fold and....Danielle calls. Sweet merciful baby Jesus these people are dying to get their chips into the pot just flinging them in left and right and I flop this nuclear bomb of a hand and I get $8 from Danielle on the flop? The turn is like a 6h and she folds and I just have to show the beast a low whistle comes from the guy on the other side of the table who later made a racist comment but hey it's Commerce whatchagonnado?

So a bit later Danielle get's must moved and despite me being next on the list I somehow play for like an hour by myself which tilts me so hard I actually walk back over to the 20/40 section, lock up a seat, come back for my chips, pick them up, then as I'm walking away get called to move and come back and sit with Danielle and never show up for my seat which probably pissed Archie off pretty bad but I did text Quantum Hoops but he apparently didn't get it for like 10 minutes because his phone is from 1993. In the interim I did manage to win a pot that went down like this:

Four players limp (this was actually Danielle's last hand at the table and she folded the CO) and I limp along with AQ73 badugi (four different suits) on the button. SB raises and we see the flop seven (7) ways. It is:


The SB bets, UTG raises, I 3bet, SB calls two more, UTG caps, and I call. In hold'em I have the nuts. In Omaha I am now in call-down mode. The turn is pleasant:


Giving me the nut low draw and ensuring that I can show down. I call a bet and so does the SB.


Victory is mine. UTG bets again and I just call, hoping SB will put one more bet into the pot hopelessly but also concerned that he might have me quartered (the same low) because I mean he did raise preflop and has called like 15 bets here he should probably have SOMETHING. UTG tables his hand and says, I shit you not, "Three queens 6-low send it!" and I peer across the table to see his hand is something like QT64 and am just in shock. I table my hand and say "I think I scoop it" and he is decidedly not amused.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Full Disclosure

After that last post I ran AA into QJo on a AT4-K board and lost the "full" 7 big bets, getting me stuck almost 2 racks. Since then I have won it all back and a more, so life is not so bad ATM. These people are just so bad....the 3 biggest fish in my game have left and it's still incredible.

Back to Business as Usual

Yesterday I booked a 2+ rack in the HG 20/40, finally getting the monkey off my back. I had been 0 for 11 leaving that casino a winner, but yesterday I actually made some draws, flopped some sets, and in general was not eviscerated.

I'm back today for more and things are back to usual. In 15 minutes sitting in the prop tournament game I have basically been blown out of every single pot I've entered. It's hard not to think they're just fucking with me. One is even whispering to another every 5 minutes, I'm pretty sure about me. But poker-wise....

I raise my BB with AK 3 ways and get back raised. The 3rd player folds and the flop comes 7-high. I just fold and the guy smirks and I mean I dunno. Online I call down but live he has AA or KK so much it seems just like bad moon risin'.

I open KTo OTB and the sb calls. He check raises the flop of AKQcc and I mean what else can I do but fold the brick turn? Paying off would be horrendous.

I open 77 OTB, the SB wants to 3 bet but the BB 3bets out of turn so we both call and sorta wonder wtf just happened. The flop is 955 and I raise/fold against the BB. She pretty obviously has it, unless again she somehow knows I'm capable of folding AND have one of the 4 hands I might do it with.

KJo I open the HJ and the co poster calls. He raises the T63hh flop, I peel and have no choice but to fold the 2h turn. I have no heart(s).

I find J7o in SB 4 ways and I bet all 3 streets of a J42cc-Tr-Qr. 2 players call the flop and turn, and the BB calla the river and shows me KQcc.

So I think all's right in the world again.

Monday, June 14, 2010

True Statements About the WSOP

So I treated this little excursion to the WSOP mostly as a learning experience, although I did try to only put myself in poker situations in which I thought I stood to be a favorite. Here are some random observations that I made throughout the week.

The fields for the two full ring LHE events are soft, but not exceedingly so. There are fish sprinkled around, and even some big ones strewn throughout the tournament, but as Professor Ben said to me while wolfing down a container of $13 California Rolls "It's not like a good 20/40 table or anything." I'd say that's a pretty accurate assessment. Lots of big name pros enter these events because they draw a (relatively) small field and are (again relatively) cheap. Tom Dwan looks at this thing and says "For only $2K I have a 1 in 500 chance of winning a bracelet? Sign me up!" Ivey entered at least one (and I think got blinded off lol), and Helmuth and Jennifer Harmon were both in at least one. And all the limit hold 'em specialists come out for the events (people like yours truly, as well as more accomplished pros BigBadBabar). Basically the average table has some fish, as well as some players who are better than every single opponent I have ever faced in the Commerce 20. Now how much of an edge those players have over someone like me is up for debate and really depends on the composition of the table. If me, DeathDonkey, and Babar all sat down and played with the 6 worst limit hold'em players you have ever seen, the three of us are basically equivalent. Their vast experience and awesomeness can't really help them much vs. me because there are so many chips being flung into pot. Sure position matters and all that jazz, but we can't seat change in the tournament so basically you play the seat you get and hope it's not too awful. My seat in event 18 was a very high variance one, with Bill Chen's Personal Spew Monkey and Bill Chen seated to my left, but at least I had position on most of the fish (and Lex Veldhuis).

So in all I think I had an edge in both events I played, but a pretty small one. Someone I trust suggested that a "good" player had a 50% edge in the full ring events, and that an "excellent" player probably had something like at 70% edge. These numbers seem extremely high to me, but perhaps I don't quite meet his minimum standard for "good". Given that he said this and looking at the lineups I faced, I'd be comfortable saying that I had something like a 25% edge in the tournaments.

Time for some quick math. Assuming that 25% edge in the $2K event gives me an expected win of $500 (if I keep all my own action, which I did not). Let's also assume my 20/40 win rate is $40/hour. We can all do simple math amongst friends here, if I spend less than 12.5 hours on the tournament it is worth my time to play in it. Ah, but there are great complications with the world series. I have to drive to Las Vegas, which costs both money and time (which is money). I have to stay somewhere, and I have to spend some hours unable to get into my "home" game and instead play in the Bellagio which basically just tilts the living shit out of me (maybe more on that later but after playing in the Bellagio for two days I found myself actually missing Commerce which, well, just freaking wow). You can fill in just about any reasonable numbers you want for any of these costs and basically it's really not worth playing in the tournament. But like I said, it was a great experience and I do think I had an edge so you live and learn I guess.

The payout structure for these things is completely absurd. You can look it up here if you want, but the guy who came in tenth (10th!) of the 473 people who started event 18 won $12,561, or a win of about 5 times his buy in. Like, seriously? This guy played poker for the better part of 3 days and he wins $10K? If he'd just sat down with $2000 in a 30/60 game he'd probably have won more than that, given how well he had to run just to not get knocked out! The winner, on the other hand, took home a cool $201K. Basically cashing is for the birds, which is what everyone says, and you should be playing every tournament to make the final table to give yourself a shot at the real money, which is usually doled out to the top 3 finishers.

Vegas is a very hard place to stay focused. I had lots of friends around and fun things were always presenting themselves. I managed to be well rested for both of my events, but I can't say much past that. All in all I have to say my experience was a negative one, and I'm not sure I'll go back next year unless I've become some sort of out of hand bigshot.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Event 18 Recap and a Variety of Various Things

I don't have the slightest idea of where this post is going to go, but it's probably not going to be a very happy and positive one because I just turned a 20 bet win into a 35 bet loss in the Commerce 20/40 and am absurdly hungry. It took the Commerce poo-flingers all of about 3 hours to make me remember why exactly it is that I hate them so very, very much, with one gem of a conversation going like this:

Seat 1: "Dealer, how much longer are you here?"
Dealer: "Not long"
Seat 1: "How long is that?"
Dealer: "3 minutes"
Seat 1: "In that case, I call time."

Seat 1 now stares blankly forward for 30 seconds while the action is on him. Seat 9, an aspiring professional who is just beyond awful finally asks what's going on and Seat 1 declares "I called time" and continues to sit there. 15 or 20 seconds later he finally raises and eventually wins a pot that is about half as big as it should have been because both he and seat 9 are terrible. Anyway, over the course of my last 4 hours in the casino all manner of atrocities were committed against me, such as Q2hh limping UTG and cracking my aces up, AK running into KK on a board of 974-K-A, and AT repeatedly flopping top-top (or topsies as ontherail15 told me is the currently correct term) when there was practically zero chance I was winning after the flop action but hey there's 12 bets out there I guess I call the turn oh look 14:1 closing the action on the river heads up I call oh I see you have queens very nice hand sir. Anyway, back to some event 18 details. First of all, here are the results. A guy from my table came in second place, the one who thought he recognized me from Commerce and I said well that must be it but is actually from Michigan so I really dunno what's going on there but good for him he was basically a super nice guy who actually wished me well on my way to busto-land. And also here are some pictures of me looking super thoughtful and probably paying off a check/raise like a slot machine (I really wish I knew what hand these were taken during).

As I said before my table was a hilarious mix of extremely good and extremely bad players. Bill Chen and Alexander Veldhuis led the way in terms of "name pros", ensuring that we always had some people around railing the table, and Brent Courson (2nd place guy) and I did our best to play solid lag-taggy poker. The other 6 players were pretty much terrible, committing all manor of heinous sins such as open limping 87o under the gun, 3-betting 54s, cold-calling the small blind first in with Q4s, peeling the flop with complete air, and basically doing almost everything wrong that most of my 20/40 opponents do. To be honest after event 12 I was a little concerned that the field was not as soft as I'd have liked, but event 18 did more than enough to dissuade me from that preposterous notion. The table maniac, sadly, was on my immediate left, and on his left sat Bill Chen who quickly showed that he had absolutely no qualms about getting his chips into the pot behind this retard. In one hilarious hand I opened the button with 99, was 3 bet and 4 bet, raised the K87 flop, bet the 5 turn, and also bet the like jack river purely for value and Bill called me all the way down with the 66 he capped with. I mean OK I guess the hand is kind of standard but I didn't even consider not betting the river which is what makes it kind of funny. Basically the maniac's plan was to bet and raise every pot he was in at least until the point it was obvious that he was completely crushed, at which point he'd just call down because lol limit hold'em. Like I told Pete on the phone "So the flop is 976 and the maniac and Bill are going to raise and 3 bet behind me because on that board it is impossible for them to have less than a gut shot or 2 overs" and he just kind of laughed but scout's honor it was true! So anyway I wrote down a bunch of hands to discuss them with some other people but here are some of the choice beats I took.

The first two hands went horrible (we started play 5 handed and didn't get above 6 for about 30 minutes), with me opening the SB with A3s and getting to showdown against the maniac's AK on a 974hh-Kr-Kr board, then opening the button with A2ss, getting 3-bet, flopping a pair of twos and eventually getting shown A4cc on a T72r-Xc-Yc board for the stone cold nutter-butters. Dude actually declared "nuts" as he tabled his hand and I'm just like "Well this is going great already". So I lost 8 bets on the first two hands and don't know if I ever even got above those 5200 chips again the entire tournament. Realize at this point I wasn't sure the guy was a maniac but let's be honest he sure looked the part (kind of like an 80's porn star who's gained about 35 pounds), but within 30 minutes I saw him triple-barrel 54s after 3-betting preflop ("I'll just outplay him post flop") on a board with like 15 face cards in it where he again back-doored a flush, raise 32s like 3 seats from the button, and bet the turn and river with K6 of diamonds after the guy who 3-bet him preflop checked back on the flop obviously just to show down (and he did showdown, and his Ace high was good, and yes that means the maniac raised the King Six sooted). Next Bill Chen got in on the action, cold-calling my raise of 1 or 2 limpers with QTo on the button. He raised me on the 984r flop and I almost laughed out loud at the preposterousness of ever conceiving of folding any hand I had in my range except KQ or KJ. The turn was a beautiful ace (I have Ace-King by the way) and I got off the check/raise, but river jack no problem here you go Bill enjoy the chips. Next up I 3-bet a late position open from the button with AcTh and see the board run out AJ8cc-5c-Ts. Of course my opponent had K9 of clubs and I lost the absolute maximum (7 big bets I river raise is probably pretty thin but I have the ace of clubs and the jack is on board how many flushes can he really have Ax(KQc) seems pretty freaking likely to me but I guess I should fold to the 3-bet). Next I unremarkably run AQ ui into AK ui on like a 9-high board, then get floated by K6o on a Q95r board to see a King fall on the turn. The guy didn't even raise, he just checked and called, then checked the river and I checked back to see his gorgeous holding. This is the same guy whom I later 3-bet with 88 and who took the check/call, check/call, check/show the nuts on a J74r-3-A board with QQ, and also cold-called the small blind first in with the glorious Q4dd and managed to flop a hand with 51% equity against my so-called topsies or TPTK or top-top as it were and donk it, then pay two bets on the turn, the only street where I had any edge, the re-donk the river when he made his "five of the same" or "flush". Some other terrible stuff happened to me, mostly at the hands of the maniac. He opened J9cc UTG and I defended QTo in a 4 way pot and the flop was Q87cc and I got 4 bets in 3 ways with him the afore-mentioned terrible player. Only one bet went in on the turn and I managed to fold the river club and see all four of their clubs, the jack the nine the ten and the king in total. Just wow guys, wow, solid effort. The Death Blow is also dealt by the maniac, with me raising a couple of limpers (I told you this game was fantastic) in the CO and him insta-coldcalling the button with 75o and flopping K75. We put 4 bets in (bare minimum honestly I almost raised the turn) and the board ran out K75-7-3 and he declared "7s full" on the river and I'm just like "Not 5s full? Sevens full?" and he shows me his gem and really all I can muster is "I guess it's just not my day." I had a few chips left at this point and managed to lose all but 125 of them to the afore-mentioned mega-fish when his J9 cracked my QQ (again he donked the flop, again I waited until the turn to raise, and again he donked the river of the JT7-X-9 board and again I cried). A few hands later I was all in blind and my opponent made top two pair and that was the end of that.

Honestly I'm not really sure what I learned from all this, at least not yet, but I'll write more about that tomorrow.

Leaving Las Vegas

I'll be posting a more in depth recap of my experience in event 18, but for now I just want everyone to know I did not cash and lasted about 50 minutes longer than I did in event 12 (we started with 6K chips instead of 4.5 this time though, so I was actually bludgeoned more effectively this time). My table was a hilarious mix of rockstar pros (Lex Veldhuis and two-time bracelet winner Bill Chen), young limit holdem specialists (me and this white guy named Brent who plays the Commerce 60), ridiculous loose passive calling stations, and Bill Chen's personal spew-monkey who made, in 4 hours, a 2-card 3-high flush, 2-card 5-high flush, 2-card 6-high flush, and 1-card 4-high flush, all from "not the blinds" for multiple bets preflop (as the aggressor on every street in 3 of the 4 cases).

After busting out I played some bellagio 15 and decided to come home a day early, and am already situated in the Commerce 20 hoping to get back into some sort of groove. Thanks to everyone who wished me well and gave their support to my slightly misguided quest for glory.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

There Really is No Justice

I'm back in my room now about to catch some Zs. I finished the day stuck less than $2K, which given that I lost $1800 in the first 90 minutes is pretty good. But am I really not adjusting to the Bellagio games? I NEVER win when I play here and while the sample is still piddling it's certainly getting old.

So I was back in the 30/60 and....I really don't want to relive my session so let's just sketch in an outline. 3 ways we see the river and player A open mucks. Player B bets, and I ask Player A not to do that. He doesn't understand why I am upset and says "I missed my draw. It's my turn. I acted in turn. I can do whatever I want on my turn". I pay off the JThh that just cracked my 66 (which I 3-bet preflop) on a 432hdd board) and we deal the next hand. Player A receives QQ, I receive JJ, and the board comes down 9-high. There really is no justice.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Back to 15/30

So I took a 90 minute break to watch Strasburg systematically destroy the Pirates, even placing a $20 wager at +175 on my Buccos to win the game straight up. Score is 4-2 Nats heading to the top of the 9th, so using that ticket to wrap up my spent chewing gum is probably better than getting up to find a tissue. This guy is apparently for real; he struck out 14 in 7 innings, getting every starter at least once. I think they said he set the franchise record for Ks in a game!

Anyway, back in the poker room I've stepped down to 15/30, virtually eliminating any chance of getting even for the day, but also taking -$4K out of play. Basically I've punched out from the creekbed, don't have enough club in my bag to get to the green, and am hoping to get up and down for bogey. I actually expect I'll win a rack or two, since that's part of the deal when you move down. You win big enough that if you'd just stayed at the higher level you'd have won it all back, but since you wimped out you're still 4 (or 5 for some of the guys I've met this trip) figures under. Hey I didn't make the rules I just follow 'em.

I Need To Vent

I honestly wonder what the sick part of me that continues to play the Bellagio 30 game is thinking. I'm just not allowed to win, and yet right now I'm sitting in the game and not planning to get up for hours. It's not that I'm outmatched, but just this feeling of inevitability that I'm going to blow 2 racks should be enough to keep me in the 15. I guess it's a little bit of ego right now; I don't want to play down and I don't want people to think I'm scared of the 30, but honestly that's almost true and it might be affecting my play.

This guy opens UTG at a full ten handed table and I 3-bet TT from like the CO. Honestly I think this is almost close, but apparently my read is grossly off. The board runs out 863cc-7c and he just insta-donks the turn. I shrug and call him down and see T9o. How did I not know that guy opens T9o 7 seats from the button? IMR WTF? The very next hand I get 3 bets in preflop 5 ways and flop JT9hh with JJ. The turn is a small heart and two guys keep calling. The river Q is a disaster, but I bet hoping against hope to get action from 2 pair. Nope, AK called 3 cold preflop, but at least I folded to the his raise and the subsequent call (from 2 pair lol wow you idiot).

So I'll keep fighting the good fight, but honestly wonder if maybe I should step down to 15, pride be damned.

WSOP Update

It's hard to believe I haven't posted since this whole thing started, but here's an update. I busted out of event 12 rather unceremoniously, after running well for the first (and least important) level. My table only had 2 real fish, one of whom literally learned how to play by watching us not coldcall next in with 76o, open limp A3s, or play 3 hands out of every 4. By level 3 he was isolating HJ open raises with pocket 5s, and in general not making a disgrace of limit hold em. Obviously this was a great disappointment, but whatchagonnado?

I'll try to make some small posts over the next few days to catch up. Here we go.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Big Day IMO

Event 12 starts at 5pm Vegas Time today, or in about 4 hours. Sadly I am already awake, which is a little unfortunate and makes me an extreme outlier in the house I'm staying in. Last night at about 1:30am two of our party were at the Bellagio playing 15/30, and four more left in two cars to head over there and look for action/fun. I stayed behind and went to sleep because I usually am in bed by 12 and even though tonight's action is scheduled to run until 2:40am I was afraid I wouldn't be able to sleep until 1pm no matter how late I stayed up so here we are. I might try to take a nap in a few hours, but more realistically I'll try to read some LHE tournament strategy, play some hands online and in general chillax until 3 something when I'll head over to the Rio and enjoy the lead up to my first WSOP entrance. Actually I might go shopping for a man purse too now that I think about it. I really need one of those, appearance non-withstanding they are super helpful, or perhaps I'll just press my laptop bag into service. I did manage to draw what looks like a good seat from a geographic point of view, specifically table 307 seat 2 in the Amazon Blue section. My table is in the corner of the tournament area next to two walkways, so I will have easy access to get in/out and have an end seat which I like anyway.

So this post was delayed by ontherail waking up and taking me to Target, where he purchased ladder ball, a soccer ball, hdmi cable, and some ping pong balls. Big win.

Anyway I've kind of lost my train of thought but today's the day wish me luck.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

WSOP 2010

Last year I basically skipped the giant poker meetup that is the WSOP in Las Vegas, for a variety of mostly valid reasons. I was still getting my feet under me, playing tournaments of any kind just wasn't (and still really isn't) my thing, and ponying up a couple thousand dollars to enter even a limit hold 'em event for the right to skip out on playing in very profitable cash games just didn't seem like the thing to do. Up until a few days ago I was planning to do the same this year, mostly for the same reasons, but two nights ago I had a look at the schedule and gave it a good think and decided it was silly for me not to enter at least one of the events. I can drive to Vegas in a few hours now, and therefore have my own personal car when I get there, I have way more friends that will be in town now (one group of which has rented a house with space to stay), and I'm a bit more comfortable with the sums of money involved. And so I've decided that I'll be driving to Las Vegas tomorrow to play in event 12, the $1500 full ring limit hold 'em event that kicks off at 5pm on Friday. The current plan is to also play event 18, the $2000 full ring limit hold 'em event that starts Wednesday at noon, but that is a little more tentative. If things go well (which just probabilistically is extremely unlikely) I'll be in Las Vegas for the entire duration, something like 8-9 days. If I bust out on the first day of event 12, I'll come home for a couple nights in between and decide if I really want to drive back out there for the second event.

I'm very excited and extremely nervous about the whole thing. I feel like I'm probably biting off more than I can chew (even though I am likely to take some staking), but the prospect of being away from home for over a week is just not something I really want to do. I've never been in Vegas for more than 3 nights in a row I don't think, and signing up for triple that is a little scary. Staying at a house off the strip with friends should certainly help extend my shelf life, but I'm concerned that I just won't be able to make it. And obviously the most likely outcome is that I don't cash in either event (they only pay the top 10%), which will basically mean I'll have spent 2-6 days traveling and playing to lose a couple thousand dollars when I could have been grinding out wins in the Commerce 20. But damn it, this is the world series and if I'm to take myself seriously as a professional poker player I need to show up and throw my hat in the ring. So ready or not, here I come.