Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Investing Followup

I got a ton of feedback on that last post, so I figured I should write some sort of follow up. First of all I'd like to thank Justin for pointing out Fidelity's zero cost ETFs; the more I think about it, the more I realize that those really are a game changer. One of the main principals of my last post (which Coach pointed out I didn't emphasize enough) was that you have to keep costs down. Investing is like poker; you're fighting for a pretty small edge over time, and doing things the wrong way can really erode that small edge if you're not careful. I suggested using ETFs because they have lower expense ratios and if you plan to hold them for an extended period of time (several years) and buy in large enough chunks (more than $5K) those lower ratios more than offset the transaction fees you'll incur. But what if you only have $5K total, or even less? Any attempt to build a balanced portfolio will get you eaten alive by transactions fees if you use my strategy, and mutual funds tend to have a minimum initial investment. You'd be forced to do what I suggested and start off with something like IVV and add another vehicle when you had more money available. With these zero cost ETFs, that's not the case at all. You could balance a portfolio of literally only $1000 or so by buying just a few shares of each ETF all without incurring any transaction fees. That's a big deal, because it completely eliminates the barrier to entry for personal investing. A long time ago mutual funds certainly lowered that barrier, providing easy access to balanced portfolios for middle class folk. But zero cost ETFs wipe out the entire thing. With them you could literally invest your $800 Bar Mitzvah proceeds in a balanced fashion and start learning without taking the slightest hint of the worst of it. That's really cool.

Another piece of feedback I got was that I personally was very heavily invested in stocks, specifically domestic equities, and that it's possible such an allocation doesn't fit the risk profile I'm willing to deal with. I thought about that for a while, and while it's perhaps slightly true, I think I'm comfortable with my current allocation at the moment. My reasons are that if I lost 40% of my net worth (again) it wouldn't really affect my day to day life; basically I understand that I'm incurring more risk in search of a higher long term return and am OK with that. Also my current "plan" is for the vast majority of my investments to be extremely long term, which is another nod towards "heavy stocks." And finally I fundamentally believe the United States and world economies are going to recover over the next few years, and I'd hate to miss out on that growth phase. This last part is far and away the least compelling of the reasons, but it's true none the less.

Coach chimed in with a few points, one of which was that I needed to stress more that keeping costs down should be priority 2 (right behind actually getting started investing in the first place). He also introduced me to the value premium, which I'm ashamed to say I'd never heard of. As I'm doing a little more research, I'm finding that it's basically a fundamental truth (or at least belief among those who know these sorts of things, which is how a lot of the fundamental truisms of limit hold 'em are defined incidentally) that value stocks out perform growth stocks. How did I miss that memo? There are some dissenting opinions, but really they seem to be based on the argument that "yeah sure it's been true for the last 30 years but that's just a coincidence" and offer absolutely zero evidence that growth stocks could actually flip the trend. In short, nobody is saying growth stocks are better, and there are some fundamental and seemingly valid reasons that value stocks could be. Coach also chimed in with some other good points that gmail seems to have swallowed. Literally the message is completely gone; I have no clue what happened to it. I don't delete email so I'm very confused as to what's going on, but when I find a copy of it I'll probably talk some more about it.

This combined feedback has me re-thinking a couple of my very basic investing decisions. First of all, using Fidelity instead of ETrade looks like a no-brainer. And second, my decision to buy "blend" ETFs instead of just straight up value ones is questionable at best. It's hard for me to envision moving operations to Fidelity (given that I just rolled a 401K away from them) and perhaps I'll just wait for ETrade to get the memo and start offering zero cost ETFs of their own.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Investing For Dummies

I had a conversation with a good friend recently during which I realized that he basically had no idea how to even begin interacting with the stock market. The people who read this blog are definitely spread across the entire spectrum in terms of investing acumen, with a few being professionals in the financial industry and others likely to have never owned a single investment vehicle in their entire lives, with the possible exception of their 401Ks. This post is aimed at the second group, as I'm somewhere in the middle (extremely far from either end actually) and seem to get by just fine with just ETrade. So here are my ground rules:

0. Before you invest on your own, contribute however much your company will match to your 401K. This is free money, yada yada yada, just do it. Also you should have a Roth IRA that you put the allowed $5K into every year, because "Roth money is the best money". If you're unclear on either of these points, let me Google that for you.

1. Keep it simple. If your "plan" gets extremely complicated or your portfolio gets jumbled, you're likely to either throw up your hands and lose interest or end up making a bunch of trades to try to fix it. Neither is a particularly good result. So above all else when you're just getting started, keep it simple. The best way to keep it simple is to own as few things as you possibly can.

2. Use ETFs. They trade like stocks and are low cost, and if you buy in large enough chunks the transaction fees (which are fixed) should be more than offset by the lowered expense ratios. Most of the ETF's I own have expense ratios around .1% for domestic equities and .25% or so for foreign stocks (mutual funds that strive to mimic the same indices often have fees 3 to 5 times higher).

3. Pick an asset allocation and track it in a spreadsheet, updating the numbers once every few months (or if you have a job that actually ensures that the amount of money you have consistently grows, whenever it is that you have money you'd like to get invested in the market). Investing yourself isn't as easy as turning on your 401K and letting it go; you have to actually click "buy" and decide how much and when. Having this sheet showing how you're doing against your desired allocation will make it easy to decide what to buy. Don't get bent out of shape if you're off your desired allocation either, so long as you're somewhere in the right zip code.

4. My current "desired" allocation is 30% large cap domestic equities, 15% medium, 15% small, 20% "Europe and Asia", 10% emerging markets, and 10% bonds. This is spread across all my accounts (which I'm currently condensing from 3 down to 2 by rolling my old Oracle 401K into my Roth IRA) and is pretty much a basic allocation plan for someone who is young, has many years of earning ahead of him (debatable in my case I realize) and is not specifically saving for anything except "retirement". If you get out of whack by more than 1/3rd (so your 15% investment falls below 10% or above 20%) you should consider trying to "fix it", but again don't get too worried about it.

5. When you have some money that you'd like to invest, pick a vehicle and get started. With ETFs you pay a fixed cost each time you make a transaction, so in general this first step can be either expensive or leave you owning like only 1 or 2 things. That's ok; having a poorly balanced portfolio is better than not having one. If you only buy say two things to get started, then 6 months later or whatever you can add a 3rd, then a 4th, and eventually you'll have yourself something reasonable that works for you. My rule of thumb is never to buy less than $5,000 worth of an ETF, and ideally to shoot for twice that. The last year or so has been trying, however, and I haven't really bought anything during that time. This 401K rollover has me touching my money for the first time since mid 2009 actually (other than selling some stuff that one time to not busto myself while I worked at HG).

6. When I actually buy the investment vehicle I find it useful to use ETrade's limit order interface. Basically I decide what I'm going to buy, look at the current price and set my price something like .5-1% lower than the current ask. So yesterday I bought something that was trading at 114.80 and put in the bid at 114. It filled this morning when the market dipped and I at least feel like I got a decent price.

7. I currently only own six (6) things. I have done this by picking index ETFs that fall in the "blend" category. The link explains basically that there are three types of funds; value, growth, and blend. If you don't have a ton of money and want to keep things simple, it's easiest just to buy blends, which are hybrid of value and growth. Anyway, the things I own are:

In essence a domestic large cap, mid cap, and small cap, a "world stock", an emerging markets, and a bond fun. That's it. If you want to own individual stocks that's great; this post wasn't really aimed at you. If you just want to get yourself going with the stock market, these steps should help you get started.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Big Hands

I actually played a bunch online today, and all three of these hands occurred. Just thought they were fun.

Full Tilt Poker $2/$4 Limit Hold'em - 6 players
The Official 2+2 Hand Converter Powered By

Pre Flop: (1.5 SB) Hero is CO with A K
UTG raises, 1 fold, Hero 3-bets, 3 folds, UTG calls

Flop: (7.5 SB) T J 5 (2 players)
UTG bets, Hero raises, UTG calls

Turn: (5.75 BB) K (2 players)
UTG checks, Hero bets, UTG calls

River: (7.75 BB) Q (2 players)
UTG checks, Hero bets, UTG calls

Final Pot: 9.75 BB
UTG mucks J Q
Hero shows A K (a Royal Flush)
Hero wins 9.5 BB
(Rake: $1.00)

Full Tilt Poker $2/$4 Limit Hold'em - 6 players
The Official 2+2 Hand Converter Powered By

Pre Flop: (1.5 SB) Hero is SB with 2 A
UTG calls, MP calls, 2 folds, Hero calls, BB checks

Flop: (4 SB) A A A (4 players)
Hero bets, BB calls, UTG folds, MP folds

Turn: (3 BB) 8 (2 players)
Hero bets, BB folds

Final Pot: 3 BB
Hero wins 3 BB

Full Tilt Poker $2/$4 Limit Hold'em - 8 players
The Official 2+2 Hand Converter Powered By

Pre Flop: (1.5 SB) Hero is BB with Q T
2 folds, MP1 raises, 3 folds, SB calls, Hero calls

Flop: (6 SB) J 8 6 (3 players)
SB checks, Hero checks, MP1 checks

Turn: (3 BB) 9 (3 players)
SB bets, Hero raises, MP1 folds, SB folds

Final Pot: 5 BB
Hero wins 4.75 BB
(Rake: $1.00)

Friday, September 24, 2010

Coach Weighs In

I send email back and forth with a pretty large group of people discussing hands. Specifically there is a group from up north that to this day still shares several hands a month for open discussion in an effort to improve and keep our brains fresh about this silly game we all play. Coach is a recent addition to this group, and he recently emailed out a hand in which he basically wondered if there was any reasonable chance his aces were ever good on the river once he got check/raised. The general consensus was "no but you can't fold" which is dumb if you think about it, but I pointed out that hands like that shouldn't really affect his bottom line that much, since they should be rare. His response, via email, was this:

What I'm finding truly absurd is the number of times I can find myself in 3-bet pots and lose with overpairs, two pairs, and trips:

I open KJo probably a spot or two earlier than I normally would because of a conversation with Pete in which he said essentially, "Wat? I open KJo from anywhere." Of course, I don't play like Pete, so maybe that's my problem. Nit prop cold calls. Also notable is that nit prop is playing like tilty running bad short stacking nit prop these days. Old white guy who check/calls a set of kings because he thinks his opponent has a straight on J97/K board 3-bets. 2 players take 3 to the face. Nit prop and I call.

Flop: KJ4r, I c/r, nit prop takes two to the face, OWG calls, everyone calls.

Turn: 9, I bet, nit prop calls all-in, OWG calls.

River: 8, I bet, OWG calls. With AA of course. Thanks for the one bet side pot Mr. Overpair. Yeah, I know, I have no right to complain about nit props's QT, but isn't nit prop supposed to fold QT when I open MP1?

I open KsJd BN, DC, Asian guy who plays OK but can certainly spazz, 3-bets his post, my dream opponent Raj eats 3 in one of the blinds (the small, I think), and I call.

Flop: KJh4h

DC bets, Raj raises, I love a good fastplay and 3-bet, DC caps, we all call.

Turn: 7s

DC bets, Raj calls, I love a good fast play and raise, DC calls, Raj calls.

River: Ah

DC doiiiiinks, Raj calls, I lol fold because if he doesn't have AK or AA I feel like I can get you a steak dinner too, except I didn't really say that, which is good, because he actually had KhQh. And Raj put in his claim with AK.

Raj open limps UTG, crazy Asian Mickey raises UTG+1. Guy who looks like Kurt Vonnegut and plays about 80/3/0.2/58WTSD calls. Guy who just came from the 40 and likes calling my UTG raises with KJ calls. Asian guy with a round head and sunglasses who thinks it's cool to roll his four chips into the pot while looking at the TV calls. I'm working on names still, sorry. Jessie calls. SB calls. I don't know the SB. I call with the 4h and the 2h. Raj calls. Wall of text etc. etc. blah blah.

Flop [16 SB]: JsTs4c

SB checks, I check, UTG checks, Mickey checks, Vonnegut checks, 40 guy checks, Round Head bets, Jessie folds, SB folds, I call (feel free to flame me for this peel), Raj calls, Mickey calls, Vonnegut calls.

Turn [10.5 BB]: 4d

I check, Raj checks, Mickey checks, Vonnegut checks, RH bets, I raise, two folds, Vonnegut tank calls because it's tough to maintain a 58% WTSD if you fold the turn much, RH calls.

River [16.5 BB]: As

I bet, Vonnegut snap calls, RH calls with 9s6s because I frequently show up with a full house or a bigger flush there. Good turn bet, too. Vonnegut has an ace. Probably like Ace-Eight IMO.

That's right, I'm *that* guy complaining about my KJo losing to AA, my KJo losing to KQs and AK, and my 42s losing to, well, anything. Ah well.... at least recognizing the absurdity of my complaining might be a good thing. :-P (also, I somehow managed to win 9 big bets over the hour and a half or so over which this happened, so...)

I was entertained, at a minimum.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

In Which I Will Attempt to Ramble

I got to thinking this morning about why it is that I haven't been enjoying posting on my blog lately. I'm not really exactly sure the reason, but for a while there it started to feel a bit like work. I promised myself when I started that I wouldn't let that happen, and that if it ever did I would take some time off and avoid posting just to keep it active. I'm not sure if I kept to that even, but I did realize that something I haven't done for a while is write an extremely long rambling post about yesterday's session. So here goes.

I showed up at Hawaiian Gardens to play bright and early and got seated in the only 20/40 game immediately a little before noon. Originally the game wasn't very good, and I even considered moving to Commerce, but something told me to give it a little longer (probably the fact that traffic wasn't going to get gnarly for another 45 minutes or so). Sure enough, the must move game filled with fishes of every color and variety imaginable, and my game slowly started to improve as the few other people with a vague understanding of mathematics were replaced by people who treat preflop limping just like the antes in stud. So we're humming along and eventually not one but two must move games have been started and the place is just rockin'. I look down through the ranks (they daisy chain the games and manage two separate must move lists, so the players are literally ranked like 1 through 18 in the order in which they are going to show up in your game, so if you know everyone's initials you can get a good sense of how your game is going to look in a few hours) and there is yet more cannon fodder on the way and I hunker down for a long session in which a slew of reasonably interesting things happened.

First we had super duper drunk guy (SDDG). This guy showed up at my game almost unable to walk, ordering doubles as fast as the waitress could bring them. He was obviously not playing very well and did have 4 racks at his disposal, but he slowed down the game so much it was almost not worth having him around. As an aside I will restate my theory of the goodness of games:

We've all heard of schooling, whereby fish basically protect themselves by committing errors together throughout the hand. If one player calls you down with fours when you have kings or some such hand, he made some extremely bad errors throughout the hand from an FTOP POV because the pot was fairly small and he was getting no where near the price he needed to draw at his 2 outs. But just like fish in an actual school gaining protection from predators in the wild, fish at your table actually protect each other with their horrible calls. Replay the hand with your kings, but instead of one guy calling you all the way down with 54o on a board of Q84-2-J, imagine there are three other guys in the pot with JT, 65, A3. All 5 of you put 2 bets in preflop, and then one more on the flop. That's 7.5 big bets, and heck lets say everyone even calls the turn, making the pot going into the river about a rack, or 12.5 big bets. All of a sudden if you river Jack into another 4 or a 5 the guy with 54 is going to be winning a 15+ big bet pot. In fact if any of them manage to river you (as they are all drawing live with between 4 and 7 outs I think) their calls will basically have been correct throughout the entire hand; nobody will have even made a mistake after the preflop cold call!

There is another, more subtle, way in which fish protect each other. They slow down the game. In any turn based game it is a simple fact that only one person can be doing something stupid at any given instant. That's just the nature of the beast. As more and more bad players get into the game and make more and more bad decisions the game tends to slow down. In general the right thing to do in a hand of full ring limit hold 'em is to fold it preflop. Bad players tend not to do this, and then get themselves into situations post flop like the one I described above and the number of hands per hour that the dealer throws out of the deck plummets. As I described in one of my recent posts every hand you take is worth a certain amount of money (if you win), but for bad players the opposite is true. The faster the button spins around the table, the more they lose! I was in a Commerce 20/40 game last week that dealt 16 hands in 17 minutes, with a dealer change, and I was ecstatic about the situation. But the game wasn't really that good. As we added a few bad players sure enough the pace slowed significantly.

SDDG was probably costing us 3 hands an hour all by himself, that that lone was enough for me to want him off the table. Every time the action was on him preflop he was either holding his drink (and had to put it down), looking for his drink and wondering why he was not holding it, or ordering a new drink from the waitress. He was barely able to grasp his cards, and the chips were well beyond him. To his credit he did take to a strategy of simply declaring his action, then sticking an entire stack of chips in the pot and extracting the ones he did not need while the people behind him acted. After some plain old silly hands he eventually racked up to leave, and half the table tried to get him to stay since allowing him to get into his car was basically serving as an accomplice to manslaughter. I didn't have the nerve to actually talk to security or call the police, but I probably should have. Once SDDG left the table a regular told a story of him passing out at the bar (in the same casino no less) last week and having to be taken away in an ambulance. Why is this man still being served drinks if you are Hawaiian Gardens management? The world will never know....

So things aren't going so well, to be honest, and I find myself stuck nearly two racks with my usual hour of departure rapidly approaching. After my usual merry-go-rounding about the table I have situated myself in seat 7 (my favorite at the table) with arguably the worst player I have ever seen in seat 6. She is truly a beautiful specimen, playing literally 95/0 preflop (she never, ever raises and really only folds when distracted or it's 3 bet in front of her) and generally calling all the way to the river with basically anything, at which point she shows a propensity to bet/fold. As an example, in a 5 way pot the flop came J62 and she called a bet, the turn brought a king and all 5 of us checked, and the river was some card (I think a 7) and all 4 opponents checked to her on the button. She fired a bet instantly, and only the player who had bet the flop (20 rack heater guy, more on him later) called her. She showed A4 for complete air. In another hand I played headsup she c/c, c/c, bet/fold a 994-T-Q board against me (I had AQ and had value bet the turn). She was doing ridiculous stuff like this almost constantly, and eventually most of the people at the table figured it out. Being that insane, however, did get her "paid" off on her big hands, but the problem was that she never really put in any action til the river, or sometimes the turn. Like if she flopped top pair she'd just call along with it, then raise the turn or donk the river or something silly. So she'd get to showdown and win the hand, but just...well, she was truly special. Eventually she colored up her chips and I was kind of sad that this meant she was leaving (the hour was after 9), but instead she just handed white chip after white chip directly to me over the next 3 hours and I'd exchange them for stacks of red, to the point that I eventually ended up with $1000 in white.

Anyway things weren't looking so good until the sloth came over to give me a sweat. He had been playing some 300 NL and decided to call it a night, but stopped in to say hello on his way out. Now I must stress that the sloth is a known monster sweat. Mike L once declared that his sweating powers were so strong that he merely had to be in the same room and everything Mike touched would turn to gold. So I'm sitting in the 7 seat and pick up the mighty T6o in the small blind, half the table limps, so I sling in two chips to take a flop. The big blind (SDDG) raises, and everyone calls so I call (perhaps this call even worse than the first but neither is that bad "closing" the action getting 9:1) and we see a flop 5 ways.


Aiyah, time to get busy. I check, SDDG bets, two people call and I put in the raise. Nobody pops me back and at this point I start wondering what turn card exactly I'm looking for when boom:


That's a great card. It should miss SDDG's AK, and anybody who had JT already had me smoked (but that shouldn't be a concern cause they didn't raise the flop bet) and I fire a bet and get like 2 calls (SDDG mucks). Again I start hunting for safe rivers and can't really find many when bang:


The dealer finds the best card in the deck for me. I bet and get called by psycho Asian guy (who on the evening has cracked my JJ with T8o on a flop of KJ8, and also my KK with 92s which he cold called with on the button in what turned into an $800 pot) saying "just in case" and MHIG. The power of the sloth is simply not to be questioned. He sticks around for another orbit but I find nothing as powerful as the T6o and can't get into a pot to unleash his magic.

At this point it's like 7 or 8 o'clock and I'm starting to think that maybe I shouldn't be planning to go home anytime soon, what with this lady on my right on a mission to lose 5 racks in the next 5 hours. I literally have never seen her get up from the table with chips (admittedly only 4 or 5 data points) and am pretty sure she has what would be diagnosed as a serious gambling problem. My heart goes out to her, sort of, but she's gonna lose the chips and it's certainly not my job to stop her. Besides, the ring on her finger is probably worth about 50K, so how bad off can she be? So I talk to Danielle and she gives me the OK for a late shift (not really approval, more just acknowledges that I'm going to do it....if you're in a relationship you know the drill and where the lines are and what you have to do to cross them. This line is very faint, practically non-existent) and I continue to tread water for a bit, unable to gain any traction.

20 rack heater guy has come back to our table at this point, and is laying waste to all in his path, including the lady on my right. He's the only one that can beat her in a pot, toileting her (flush over flush) with 83s (yes she had a smaller one), flopping KQ7-9-8 and getting like 5 bets from her 98 with his KQ (against anyone else she'd have JT to a moral certainty), and in general just making a mockery of the entire situation. Earlier in the day I'd talked jokingly to 20 rack heater guy about how well he did yesterday and he responded "You didn't even see the half of it." He went on to explain that after he destroyed our game yesterday he went home, ran 5 miles, came back, destroyed it again, then went to the bike and won "even more". This morning he was back and won another 3 racks or so, at which point this conversation happened and I asked "so what, you've won like $10,000 since yesterday morning" and he replied "Not quite.....but 7 easy." After that he won 3 more racks, picked up, went for his run, and was now back in our game (after moving though the must move chain) sitting on 5 racks. Roughly speaking he has won 20 racks in 5 sessions of 20/40 over the past 36 hours. I am not making this up; it happened. So next time you lose 10 racks in 12 hours or something ridiculous I want you to remember that as bad as it seems, it can get even worse, because 20 rack heater guy serves as an existence proof of a "20 rack downer guy" out there walking around like a freaking time bomb.

Things move on and I slowly get myself out of the hole and eventually let Danielle know that it's going to be a truly late night, one in which I don't come home until after she goes to bed. This is a line that is not to be crossed lightly, but she is very understanding and allows me to go about my business after I explain the cadre of people I'm dealing with, with emphasis on the woman on my right. At about 9pm it looks like the woman is going to bust out, but then she goes on a sick rush (and eventually does the coloring up of 3 racks to whites) and at 9:30 Danielle gets the official memo that I'm in it for the long haul. We say goodnight at about 10:20, with me winning my UTG hand before taking a lap off and getting back into the black for the day.

Most players would quit at this point, 10+ hours in and slightly up after being stuck all day, but the game was too good to leave, and for some reason I was curiously alert and feeling great. So I came back from my phone call and got into a text conversation with the big potato, who had arrived recently and was sitting in one of the worst 40/80 games I have ever seen (4-5 house players, most of whom definitely know what they're doing, and a few customers I didn't know but assumed were at the very least not megafish). I explain to him that I'm trying to emulate the desirable qualities of the successful players I know, such as occasionally playing 12+ hour sessions when extremely profitable situations present themselves. He declares that he used to be good at that, but now is strictly a deadbeat hit n run artist. He also gives me a headsup on a fresh face in the 1 hole at my table as a 40 grinder who he's never seen play 20 before (obviously because the 40 game is horrendous) who I'll call Billy. So Billy seems like a nice guy, young kid who apparently used to play online (I should introduce myself and actually I wouldn't be surprised if you're reading this so hello) who endears himself to me immediately by busting Fred's balls with incredible obstinence and vigor. Basically Fred got mad about losing a pot and flung his cards kinda too hard at the dealer and asked the usual "when's your push" etc etc and Billy asked him "Why do you blame the dealer?" He was very calm, very polite, but just wouldn't let it go, saying "It's not his fault, there is nothing he can do. He doesn't even shuffle the cards" and Fred eventually told him to stop lecturing him and to be quiet. Billy would not stop, however, and eventually managed to get Fred to call the floor over during a hand (which I won) and when floor arrived said simply "Fred would like to speak with you." It was absolutely hilarious, watching a 60 year old man who fancies himself a big swinging dick get flustered, flip his shit, and in general just soul crushed by a kid who probably gets carded every time he walks near a casino (as an aside Pete got carded at Bay 101 on his way back from the bathroom to the biggest game in the room and was forcibly pushed in the stomach by security preventing him from getting to his seat. Pete was old enough to drink in the mid 90s and plays at Bay 101 almost every day. Management assured him there would be disciplinary action). Sure this douchebaggery is part of the reason I hate these casinos, but it's not going to stop so I might as well enjoy it when something truly funny happens. Upon hearing the report the big potato assures me that Billy picked up that little trick from him personally. A gentleman and a scholar that big potato is.

Not much else interesting happens the rest of the night, other than Fred selectively not chopping in a small blind on the button situation (I'm not gonna forget that Fred, even though you stood up for me when the insane guy tried to angle shoot me and declare that he hadn't checked even though he'd clearly wrapped the table and said "go" after I checked behind and fire a bet into the pot retardedly with ace high, some day you're going to be on my right and it's going to fold to me and I'm going to have aces and....ok well no that's really not going to happen, but still super dick move sir) and me going on a little rush and finishing the night up a little over two racks. I eventually developed a splitting headache (as apparently 13 hours in a casino can do to you) and left, despite the afore mentioned angle shooting guy having chips in the 5 seat and super awful lady still holding on to $200 in the 6 hole. Enough was enough, and I felt I had earned my Marathon 20/40 Session Merit Badge (perhaps I will buy a sash on which to display it) and dropped my money in my box and headed home. As a kicker, the 22 east bound was closed and I didn't get to sleep until almost 2am, a truly legendary performance by my standards.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Up and Running

My new computer is up and running and, so far, I have to say it's a breath of fresh air. Like, the thing actually works, for one thing. Applications don't randomly freeze up (for lack of resources or just in protest for being forced to work under inhumane conditions in general), my extra monitor just works 100% of the time (last time I had to hack the registry to get my Dell to even support it's native resolution), and startup time clocks in at well under the old 5 minute standard. Also i kinda like Windows 7, which is a little embarrassing. So I've got that going for me, which is nice.

Believe it or not, despite this snafu I still have a shot to make Ironman gold status this month. I need to get 200 points (have $200 raked out of pots where I was dealt in) every day until September 30th, which honestly is something I should be doing anyway, so I'm going to give it a go. My current plan is to re-dedicate myself to the Internet, reading two plus two and watching videos each morning and logging a few hundred hands every evening. I say this every few months but hopefully this time I can actually do it.

Weight loss has basically stuck so far, as I have been lifting weights and as of yet have only gained a single pound since the contest closed over a month ago. I haven't started the 100 pushups challenge, but it's coming. The Aquathon was a qualified success, with our team raising $17K and I personally accounting for about 10% of that. Thanks again to everyone who donated. And just Sunday I went surfing for the first time which was exceptionally fun and surprisingly easy. My wetsuit kept me warm, there were no injuries, and I stood up on my very first wave.

Really the only bad thing that's happened to me in the past week was a brutal fantasy football loss last night at the hands of Hakeem Knicks and Malcolm Floyds garbage touchdowns. Our commissioner is a noted lockbox, and even our flexing of his hometown QB couldn't contain him (we get 6 QB flexes on the year). But the Steelers are 2-0 and life is in general beautiful.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Hilarious Hand

First of all I realize my last post seemed kind of harsh. I mean maybe the guy really is sick or something. But I just can't abide by anyone tapping the glass, even a fish. He's been berating the fish for bad plays non-stop, and spent 4 minutes yelling at his wife to get a coconut cream pie and make sure she propped it up correctly in the front seat so it was flat. Currently he's napping between hands, and his level of nittery has saved me 3 big bets is soul read folds (he had KK both times).

So anyway 2 players limp and the preflop psychopath on the button raises. Obviously I'm in the SB and I 3 bet AQo. The bb and both limpers take 2 per dome button caps 5 ways for 20 small bets we go.

Ad 8s 7s

And I donk. Super non-standard but the button is so random he might check anything back there and the pot is huge flop is drawy why not fire and put them all in a horrible spot?

All 4 fold at 21:1 and I drag it. Pretty sure that's a lifetime first for me.

Homeopathic Douchebags

So I sit down in a zombie 20-40 game at Commerce with several players who have clearly been at it "all night". Never you mind that it's freaking 1:30 in the afternoon; trivialities such as this do not concern me. So we are slogging along, each hand taking forever because 3 players are moving as if they've been doused with molasses and then cryogenically frozen, when I realize seat 5 (HD from here on) is writing results of every single hand in a little notebook. The conversion turns to him explaining how he once won the jackpot, and how his wife hired an accountant, faking losses, and his exploits playing "most of the NL events" at the WSOP. He goes on to explain how his life has changed, what with having children and being diagnosed with some rare heart condition that Abe Lincoln also had.

It is at this point that he declares that the only reason he survived was his lifestyle. He doesn't drink, doesn't smoke, no drugs, not even caffeine and is in fact a "homeopathic doctor". He goes on and on explaining his miraculous survival and when asked "you're a doctor too?" responds with "well, maybe this will be my job now." Now the narrative, dare I say monologue, continues, interrupted only by his cold calling preflop, and check calling down top pair, then writing the victory in his notebook, to expound upon his time spent playing 100/200 and watching movies all day since "once I study the players it's easy."

Now I can deal with a fair bit of douche baggery, but this guy has a strong trifecta. He drastically overrates his abilities, feels the need to impress everyone, and manages to discuss the possibility of making a living at this in front of his marks, just not acceptable.

So after this all transpires we play the following hand. UTG raises and 2-3 people call, then HD calls in the CO. I sling in 4 chips at like 9 or 11 to 1 with the 53 colored (all reds baby) and we flop:


And in fine fashion every last one of us checks. Note that I have "a piece" of this one.


I bet. Why not? Nobody has a pair, I get value from lone clubs, maybe someone folds the winner, it's good. One call and HD calls. At this point I am basically done with the hand unless I spike some help.


And that is most definitely not help. I check, the random fish checks and HD fires a bet. I fold and random fish turbo calls.

HD: No club you got it
RF: I have club, muck it
HD shows Q9ss: I want to see what you called me with
RF shows T8o one club
HD now sets about the 'splainin'.

"I knew I had the best hand on the turn, I knew it"

Me, unable to resist: "You couldn't have been that sure, you didn't raise"

HD: "Once he called he was committed. He was gonna see the river for 8 more"

This is exactly the type of thinking that provides like half my winrate and I smiled and nodded understandingly, adding a "you're right" for good measure.

Now let's think about this atrocity for a minute. He eats two preflop with Q9s. Honestly, this can't be awful if you play well post-flop, and he THINKS he does so it's not really too bad. He checks the flop, fine. Then he doesn't raise the turn with the obvious stone nuts, after successfully diagnosing that he has them! OK that's terrible. But the river...the river is just terrible. Is he bluffing? Obviously not...and yet he knew the moment he was called he'd lost.

Carry on homeopathic douchebag. I've got all day :)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

This One Was Painful

So I'm at HG lamenting the fact that I'm even here when the following combination of terrible luck and idiotic play strikes. I literally am racking my chips to drive to Commerce, as the game is nothing special and none of my favorites are anywhere to be found. A I receive my UTG hand, though, one of them miraculously appears and posts in the CO. I pause; can I leave a game with this man in it? Surely I should at least play another lap.

So I take my big blind and suddenly my tight not great table sees 4 players limp and a nitty prop declare "against my better judgement" before raising the SB. I call with QTo (honestly very debatable, given the props range and likely play on the flop) and off to the races we go.


And here I commit my first serious sin, raising the prop. Horrible. His bet alone on this board against 5 players means I am beat 100% (ergo the preflop fold argument). And none of them will fold. Sure enough 3 players call and the prop 3 bets. I call, cursing myself for getting into this mess, and the EP player declares "cap it up"

Now look at the flop closely....what does he have? There's no draw in sight, and my set radar is sounding at DefCon 2. Everyone calls and it's on me closing the action at 31:1. That's right. Thirty one to one. So I call and rationalize that he COULD have T7 or 75. Now here comes the pain.


What do I aim for? The jugular obviously. The prop and I check, EP bets, the other two fish call, the prop calls, and I cannot resist. I raise. They all call, 26 large bets in the pot.

The river brings a 2 and we have produced the rare board on which 3 queens is the immortal nuts (that's the lowest hand that can be the nuts, try it out). I bet, only EP calls while saying "set of tens set of queens good" (neither of which I can possibly have, ever) and I cringe as he shows his set of sevens. The coup de grace (sp?) is delivered by the fish who just posted two hands ago, is the only reason I'm not walking to my car already, and personally shoveled $200 into the pot before folding. "I knew he had a set. I don't know what he was doing raising that turn. All those raises on the flop, you know somebody has a set".

Curiously I took this all pretty well. Yeah I fucked up, but it was a ridiculous situation and few players would have done much better. I'll get 'em next time, and besides the game is awesome now.

Table Change!

Online players probably won't find this every interesting, because they can sit at as many tables as they want simultaneously, and even many live players don't have much use for it. At Hawaiian Gardens, for example, as soon as you step foot into the top section to play limit hold 'em the act of table changing ceases to exist as an option. All the 20/40 and 40/80 games are structured in a must move chain; you're in the game you're in, and that's that. Commerce is also employs a must move system, but they don't daisy chain the games all the way up; if there are, say, four games, one of them will serve as a must move to the other three, which are all of equal status main games. In a situation like this (or the blissful community of Bay 101 20/40, where generally three main games are running from before lunch until well after dinner) a savvy live player will have the opportunity to request table changes to better his position for any reason he sees fit. I'm not going to go into the reasons for table changing (your friend is at the other table, there are weaker players at the other table, your image is shot, the guy on your left smells) or the method by which they are requested and offered (this is the single best reason to tip the floor I have yet found). I want to focus simply on the math of the table change, which I spent some effort thinking about yesterday for the first time in a while (at Bay 101 table changing was a key maneuver in my arsenal, but these days I find little use for it).

First the logistics. When you change tables, as a rule of thumb you are supposed to leave your current table "immediately" and must post to enter the game to which you're changing. Now a lot of players take great pains to play as many of their "free" hand as possible after being granted a table change, and others don't even understand that they are supposed to leave right away. "I'm going to play until my blind" they say, and scratch their heads pensively when Archie tells them "Just one more hand I have a player waiting." But for my little exercise I'm going to assume you leave instantly, or at least know exactly how many hands you're going to miss, and have an idea of the button position in the other game (which is sorta of silly since people may even change seats before you get their, rendering your knowledge useless). So here are the principles at play.

Limit Hold 'Em is a struggle for the blinds in which position is vital. Even very bad players wouldn't lose if they got the button every hand, and good players win from every position except the blinds. In theory any player could be taught to win from every position but the blinds by simply playing only aces. Would he win enough to offset his loses in the blinds? Of course not. But he would still win. For a talented live player who wins 1 big bet per hour at an averagely good table (this will come into play later), I'm going to postulate where that win comes from each hour by position:

UTG = .1
UTG+1 = .2
UTG+2 = .3
LJ = .3
HJ = .4
CO = .5
OTB = .6
SB = -.4
BB = -1.0

In truth this is way over simplified, but the numbers probably aren't off by much, and happen to add up to 1 which is really my only constraint. If anybody has access to a bunch of their HEM data and would like to back me up, I'd appreciate it, although you'd have to have a really big win rate per 100 hands to match up with this. Anyway, let's also assume that in each hour you play 4 orbits (36 hands, again an estimate but an extremely reasonable one) and so that each hand is worth 1/4th of the money I showed above. That is for 20/40:

UTG = $1
UTG+1 = $2
UTG+2 = $3
LJ = $3
HJ = $4
CO = $5
OTB = $6
SB = -$4
BB = $10

And therefore each lap you win $10, or .25 big bets. But that's really not the whole story, as I alluded to a little while back. Your win rate is not constant. Otherwise you'd never bother with changing tables in the first place, right? So let us assume that you're considering moving to a "juicy" table from your "just average" one, where you win rate rates to be substantially higher, say 1.25 big bets, or $50 per hour. In truth I believe that the disparities you see are often greater than this, but without knowing which seat you're going to get at the new table it would be hard to make such a claim. Anyway, by now you should probably be able to see where I'm going with this. Suppose you are offered such a table change that is going to cost you 4 "free hands" (UTG - LJ) worth $9. Suppose also that you "know" which seat is going to be yours at the new table and you're going to be able to post your big blind at about the same time you would have at your current table This simplifies things, as in a sense you literally just sit out 4 free hands. You could get to post your big blind sooner, which would make up for some of your losses, or have to wait interminably while your new table mates play musical chairs in excruciating linear fashion. I once waited almost 2 entire orbits to get into a game because of seat changes and the ensuing wait to post in reasonable position. Anyway, as you can see from just this exercise, which it looks like I'm going to abort a little short of where I'd hoped, it will be almost an hour before you make any money on your table change, since you gave up $9 at the old table and are only expecting to win about $10 more per hour at the new game.

And here's the kicker. You can never be sure how long your seat or your game is going to remain good or bad. So many times in my life I have table changed only to see that either by bad luck or opponents tendencies (Indian Jay at Bay 101 refuses to play with me; I once table changed to his game simply to piss off French Fry and JS because I knew he'd change away and they'd have to follow him) my old game looking great (often because I got replaced by a terrible player) and my new game looking not so hot. So here are my cliff's notes:

Giving up free hands is like giving up free money. Missing especially any late position hands is extremely bad. Never accept a table change that costs you more than 2-3 hands without extenuating circumstance. For example, if Neal is at Bay 101 and you get offered a chance to sit at his game, you should probably be willing to give up an entire orbit so long as you have at least 3-4 hours to play. He's not going anywhere anytime soon, and his table could be way better than yours for quite some time. My general strategy at Commerce is to ask for a table change a few hands before my blind when I'm planning to take a break for an entire lap. That way if I get the change any time in the next 15 minutes or so I'm good to go without giving up any free hands.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Lack of Progress

My car still needs maintenance and repairs, and my busted ass computer is still sitting on my desk (I did at least but a 1 TB external hard drive today, which is sort of like driving to your local All State office while your house is burning down) However, the Steelers somehow won their game, and Petyon Manning lifted the dead weight that is my fantasy team onto his shoulders and carried it to victory all by himself. I also own Legadu Nannee in both leagues (way to go Dad) and am predicting simul-titles this year.

I'm about to enter one of the softest games I can recall seeing (I mean maybe it could be better, but there is seriously not another player in the game I wouldn't gladly sit with 8 of) and am hoping that tonight my machine magically just starts working. Stranger things have happened.

How 'bout them steelers though, amirite? 0-4 is off the table, and about that I could not be happier. I predict they will be 3-2 entering week 7.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Disaster Strikes

My hard drive crapped out last night. It had some problems, seemed to recover, but now can't even boot. Therefore I have no laptop on my trip to the NorthLands, and blog production will likely shift to small "twitter like" posts made from my phone, like this one.

In other news I have crossed the "Tall-Grande" demarcation line with this mornings Starbucks purchase. I have a few rules in my life regarding this sort of thing. Only get "Tall" (small) iced coffees, no double doubles at In 'N Out, only one bloody mary at Kilowatt, etc. Nothing exceptional seemed to happen when I crossed the line, but I bet Mason and Dixon said the same thing at first.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

People are Dumb

Myself included honestly. First off, here are some hilarious 3/6 full ring hands I played the other day:

Full Tilt Poker $3/$6 Limit Hold'em - 9 players
The Official 2+2 Hand Converter Powered By

Pre Flop: (1.5 SB) Hero is BB with 7 8
1 fold, UTG+1 calls, 2 folds, MP2 raises, 1 fold, BTN calls, 1 fold, Hero calls, UTG+1 calls

Flop: (8.5 SB) 7 5 6 (4 players)
Hero bets, UTG+1 calls, MP2 raises, BTN 3-bets, Hero caps!, UTG+1 calls, MP2 calls, BTN calls

Turn: (12.25 BB) K (4 players)
Hero bets, UTG+1 calls, MP2 calls, BTN raises, Hero calls, UTG+1 calls, MP2 calls

River: (20.25 BB) Q (4 players)
Hero bets, UTG+1 folds, MP2 calls, BTN raises, Hero calls, MP2 calls

Final Pot: 26.25 BB
Hero shows 7 8 (a flush, King high)
MP2 mucks K 9
BTN shows 9 8 (a straight, Nine high)
Hero wins 25.75 BB
(Rake: $3.00)

Full Tilt Poker $3/$6 Limit Hold'em - 8 players
The Official 2+2 Hand Converter Powered By

Pre Flop: (1.5 SB) Hero is CO with 5 4
UTG calls, UTG+1 calls, MP1 calls, 1 fold, Hero raises, 1 fold, SB calls, BB 3-bets, UTG calls, UTG+1 calls, MP1 calls, Hero caps!, SB calls, BB calls, UTG calls, UTG+1 calls, MP1 calls

Flop: (24 SB) 3 7 K (6 players)
SB checks, BB bets, UTG calls, UTG+1 calls, MP1 calls, Hero calls, SB folds

Turn: (14.5 BB) 6 (5 players)
BB bets, UTG folds, UTG+1 calls, MP1 calls, Hero raises, BB 3-bets, UTG+1 calls, MP1 folds, Hero caps!, BB calls, UTG+1 calls

River: (27.5 BB) A (3 players)
BB checks, MP2 says "huge pot!!!", UTG+1 checks, Hero bets, BB calls, UTG+1 folds, Hero says "if you build it they will come"
Final Pot: 29.5 BB
Hero shows 5 4 (a straight, Seven high)
BB mucks K K
Hero wins 29 BB
(Rake: $3.00)

I'm pretty sure I made a few mistakes in here somewhere. Like, can donk/cap, donk/call, donk/call every really be the correct line for any hand ever? And well hand 2 pretty much played itself once I decided to raise and cap preflop with 5-high. Sure was nice to drag those two. Also, as an update Ironman is going very well this month, with me getting 200+ points (the maximum amount that helps you) all 7 days so far. With a start like this it's going to be tough even for me to miss gold, and I might even have a chance to hit iron.

And in closing, my car was smashed into for the second time this summer while parked at my complex. The last time was right before I left for Vegas, and by "right before" I mean "while I was sitting inside it putting on my sunglasses with the engine running but in park". This time I went out to walk the dogs last night and saw my car and said "Huh, I don't remember parking that crooked, it'd be really hard to do that from a right turn there that's odd" and then walked the dogs around, then came back and noticed the entire back driver's side panel had been smashed in. No note, no nothing, and all I could say for certain is that it had happened sometime in the last 36 hour period. Now Danielle and I have one "garage" spot which she's been using the last two weeks, and I've been parking out in the wild with the mentally disabled people (I don't know, maybe the mentally disabled people also park in the garage, which is really just a covered spot with no door, but with assigned parking only one of them is allowed to park next to us) and for some reason decided to park in the horizontal spot near our front door where my car got backed into last time. I don't know why I did this, maybe deep down I simply couldn't believe that people were dumb enough to not even look behind them when backing out of a parking space and therefore smash into a car that was 25 feet away, maybe I just wasn't thinking, maybe all the other spots were taken, I really don't know. All I know is that in 6 months of living down here a 15 year old kid has basically thrown his skateboard at my car (I don't even know how he fucking did this, and I really don't understand how it left as much damage as it did), and two idiots have backed into it while it's parked. In 3 years of owning the car in San Francisco nothing even remotely this idiotic happened. Sure I got hit by a drunk guy who promptly attempted to drive away and me and "dude in the the other car" had to chase him to a gas station, but honestly I was more OK with that. This is just infuriating. Danielle suggested I complain to the front office and my response was "What complaint should I make? You're letting too many stupid assholes live here?" I mean seriously, what can they do?

Thank you all for listening to my rant. When somebody smashes into my car next month I'll try to handle it a little bit better.

Friday, September 3, 2010

More From Pete

Shortly after I woke up two days ago Pete and I exchanged this conversation:

Pete: (Wife) says that under no circumstances am I to play the 200/400. Apparently being in-between houses and owing 1.5 mil in mortgage loans to the bank makes this an "unnecessary risk". Nit.

Jesse: Counter with 150/300 IMO.

Pete: 3 pusher, 4 pusher, 5 pusher in the first 15 minutes. 8 racks/hr at this rate.

Pete: Dealer had small hands, admittedly.

I have struggled mightily the last two days, I fear playing bad and paying off too much. I got raised by an uber-nit on a turn of 832-3 three ways and was unable to avoid paying him off. Now admittedly the board held two flush draws (which actually doesn't matter for this guy, he was the type to consistently call down with over pairs) and I happened to be holding pocket jacks, but I still should have known there was a zero percent chance he was bluffing. It was just so hard to put him on a 3, though. The river even re-paired the 8 and I still didn't fold. He had 22 obviously. I also drew obviously dead once when another massive nit put in action on a J74sss flop after raising preflop, and I didn't have the good sense to fold my Ks until the river. I laughed afterwards saying that I should have folded the instant he bet the flop, to which he replied "You know if I bet the flop I have Ace Jack with the ace of spades minimum." The sick part is he was telling the truth. He'd have checked like AK with a spade there, and couldn't have AA because he limp/reraises it 100% of the time from early position. I guess my hope was that he had black queens and I had 12 outs? But somebody else raised and I called and yeesh it was just a disaster and I was drawing so thin but the pot was huge as per usual. Then I built a massive pot for KK for the 5th time in 3 days and he immediately flopped a flush from the SB in a 6 way 3 bet pot and promptly donked. Like the dummy that I am I lit $160 on fire to see said flush with just topsies even 3 betting the flop (obviously the turn and river were complete blanks, so the final board red like KQ7sss-3c-2h).

I dunno, there are just situations where they cannot, under any circumstances, be bluffing and I have to be better at recognizing them and just getting the fuck out of dodge. I left after 8 hours yesterday dead even, but should easily have been up at least 5 or 6 bets because of silly mistakes like this.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Jesse Hits the Jackpot; Hilarity Does Not Ensue

I guess I spoiled all the drama right there in the title. Yesterday afternoon at 12:48pm I turned over the winning hand that qualified for the HG bad beat jackpot. The action went down like this.

Some people limped, including the 7 seat, and I raised from the 9 hole with QQ. This was like my second orbit at the table, and I honestly didn't even have much of a read on seat 7 yet, other than typical stereotyping things that seem to be biting me in the ass lately. So we saw the flop either 4 or 5 way, I honestly can't even remember because I didn't need to do my "re-assess the situation and make sure all your shit is in order right after you see the flop" routine because there was a queen on the board. Specifically:


They all checked, I bet, and seat 7 raised. For some reason I decided to just call and raise him on the turn. I'm not sure why I did this, but at the time it just felt right. Arguments for it are that I have enough hand to 4-bet many turns if he has a monster (pretty much any two pair is possible, although A2 would obviously be the most likely because of the action and my holding most of the queens, along with maybe a set of twos), I'll probably win $20 more from silly naked aces (that still have a chance to make two pair on the turn), and I might even win $20 extra from any hands that are completely FOS. So actually now that I think about it I kind of like the just call unless his line with 22 would be to call a 3 and c/r the turn, but not bet/3bet if I just call. Anyway....we saw the turn heads up.


He bet, I raised, and he tanked a bit and 3-bet. At this point the jackpot murmers started around the table, and I went into the tank for what was a legitimate decision. If I chose to 4 bet, I was straight up risking 2 bets to win 1; if he 5 bet I would be quite confident he had 22, but I would never be able to fold (partially because full house duh and partially because even if he has 22 I have 1 out to hit the jackpot). But really? 22? Wouldn't the guy play A2 just like this? Isn't there at least a chance? There is exactly 1 combination of 22 left, and like a million A2s (and by a million I guess I mean, what, 6?) so surely I can 4 bet here. He cannot have AA really under any circumstances (he'd limped after another limper in pretty late position) and I can't even put Q2 past him, so I 4 bet.

The amount of Hollywooding he did before 5 betting was just enough to convince me that he the quads to a near certainty. I called pretty quickly, saving the excruciating (and yes perhaps impossible) task of attempting to fold a full house for the river since like I said I could still hit the jackpot. One time dealer.


He bet, I raised, he slammed his hand down on the table and just called (which I took to mean he thought his A2 had just been sucked out on in the heat of the moment which is preposterous now that I think about it) and I said "I hope you have it" and turned over my queens. He quickly produced the pocket deuces, and we shared an extremely awkward high five as the table erupted. He then looked at the clock and started cursing and yelling saying he thought it was already after one o'clock.

Until that moment I honestly wasn't sure how much money I was getting; the "big one" is only available during certain hours of the day, the odd hours as it turns out, and the time was 12:48pm (the hand was dealt at 12:47 according to the cameras which is what counts). Had we been in "big one" territory my share would have been a cool $20K of the entire $100K (winning hand gets 20%, loser 60, rest of the table splits 20). Since we weren't, I had to look over to the 1990s style LED display to see if the "little one" had grown past its initial $10K, which it does seemingly at random if it goes long without being hit (as an aside the SoCal rooms must really make a ton of money on the jackpot, as I'm sure there is no way they are seeding it with all the money they take off the tables). Alas, the number read only $10K, which meant all of a sudden I was disappointed about getting a free 4 racks dumped into my stack.

The table had a grand celebration but quickly realized "What's the table share? $285?" and interest died down pretty quickly. My opponent was getting 6 large,which is definitely enough to get excited about, and my $2K ensured that I wouldn't post a large losing day but not much else. Our driver's licenses were collected and we were paid some ridiculous length of time later (it was over 90 minutes before I had my money) during which time our game struggled not to grind to a halt as several people lobbied waiting for their shares or got up from the game and simply sat in the top section patiently (or not). Eventually we did all get paid, but all in all I'd declare the entire situation a train wreck. For $100K we will sit around and wait as long as you want, probably even order drinks and have a rocking good time. For $10K, just give the table share guys their money straight away; most of them were still stuck anyway!

At that point I was up about a rack for the day, and ended up leaving 7 hours later stuck two in the game, so my total win for the day was about $1000. That's a good day, but honestly way below what you were expecting when you read the title, right?