Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Suggestion Number 2: The House

This one probably isn't going to pan out all that interestingly, but here goes. In late April Danielle and I moved into a house. Specifically, we moved into a SoCal family approved house that it has been Danielle's goal to purchase for several years now. And interestingly, I have zero financial interest in the house. That's right, I'm still living life as a tenant, although admittedly paying well below market rate for my current situation. As an aside, that's the tautology that was used to convince me that I couldn't actually argue against the house purchase (aside from the fact that to be honest it wouldn't make sense to); I'm paying about the same rent to live in a nice house instead of a cramped 2 bedroom apartment in a complex I could not stand (and yes I liked our apartment up north just fine...for some reason the complex we lived in down here just didn't do it for me....maybe it was living on the first floor for the first time, or the people constantly smashing into my parked car...who knows). Objectively my life is better, so what argument could I make? Moving right along...a lot of people find it weird that Danielle and I have completely split finances nearly a decade into our relationship. I don't. I find a lot of the financial decisions that a lot of people make to be extremely weird, though, so maybe I'm the weirdo. I do play poker for a living, so right off the bat my views about money and risk are way the fuck out in left field compared to most human beings who don't work on wall street. For example I've had not one but two conversations recently with poker players who live down here that were centered around the fact that their bankrolls had shrunk and they can't replenish from family finances basically because their wives do not approve. This is probably because way back when they started playing poker their rolls were generated out of some funny money (a bonus, a Christmas gift, something of that nature) and since then the money has been behind a funny wall and the wives haven't had to worry about it. But recent circumstances, be it a downswing or using funds from the roll to cover some expenses, leaving them kind of up the creek without a paddle. Danielle and I would never be in a situation like this; even if we do get married, we will have 3 distinct pockets of money, and the "ours" will be far and away the smallest. Maybe I'm not committed, like you read about, on this, but that's just the way it is and I'm fine (in fact more than fine) with it. What was I supposed to be talking about? Oh yeah, the house.

I've decided I don't want to put up pictures because I don't know anything about what metadata would be in them and don't really want the exact location of the house out there for everyone in the world to know. This is probably kind of silly but whatever it's my silliness so that's the way it is.

I like the house a lot actually. My only real problems with it are that it's really far from the LA casinos and not situated in a place where it's easy to walk the dogs. My understanding of owning dogs in a house from my days in Pennsylvania was that dogs just did their business in the yard. Apparently that's not really the way you roll out here in the land of fruits and nuts, so we're walking them way freaking down a hill to this little public field/park space and well I mean it's fine and all but I hate it when something I like ever feels like a chore and from time to time when I'm down there at 11pm trying to convince Clint to poop well to be honest it sorta does. And as for being far from stuff, well it just kind DosEquis and I had a discussion yesterday about how far I live from him (he invited me to go house partying for Halloween) and I said 50 miles and he said 40 and we looked it up and it was like exactly 50. I mean, that's just REALLY far away from something, and when that something is "the place where two of my co-workers who should be good friends often hang out". Like growing up I lived 25 miles from downtown Pittsburgh and we NEVER went there. 50 miles across LA traffic is just...epic. But yeah, in general I like the house, and I'm learning lots of stuff. First of all, everything is super expensive. Furniture, painting, carpeting....fortunately Danielle basically paid for almost all of that because you know it is HER house and everything (I paid for half the fridge actually, which mind you was super expensive, and I did point out that most tenants don't have to buy their own fridge) but things come up. And landscaping...holy shit I'm about to go on a rant so get ready for it. We got a letter from the HOA basically stating that we need to get our shit in order because we are apparently the red necks with two cars on cement blocks in this part of the world. OK so they give us a week to get landscaping done which is just fucking preposterous, am I right? A week? Seriously? Danielle starts meeting with guys and they are coming like every morning at like 8am and sometimes they are just standing outside waiting for her when I leave for work (that one was pretty funny I'm like "who the fuck are you" and he's like "I am the Mexican guy who wants to plant shrubs in your yard" and I'm like "I'm going to leave now" and he's like "....") and she's getting estimates. The guys you know have some good ideas and stuff, and the whole operation is going to be pretty pricey but you know that's the cost of doing business in Orange County where everything is coated in platinum. And then it happens; Danielle gets a bid on the work for...drum roll please....thirty eight thousand dollars. Not pesos or yuans or whatever; American dollars. This was one of those moments where I had to face the cold hard truth that I no longer live on the same planet on which I was born. I live on a planet where a guy can come to your house, spend 45 minutes walking around your yard that isn't big enough to play catch in, and with a straight face and in all seriousness suggest that you pay him THIRTY EIGHT THOUSAND DOLLARS for him to make it look nice. And this man....he's not insane. He's an upstanding businessman. He does good work, he makes good money, and likely has put several children through absurdly over priced private schools using this exact same model. And do you know why? Because people here are fucking insane and some of them sit there when he says "thirty eight thousand dollars" and think to themselves "well we really do need a 4th palm tree over there I'm pretty sure that's what will make my life complete" and HIRE HIM.

I just spent 5 minutes trying to figure out how to end this post and to be honest I think there's just nothing that can be said after that. So have a good weekend.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

We Interrupt Your Regularly Scheduled Programming

To bring you this breaking news announcement....Yesterday I posted the biggest win (dollar wise) of my poker career. I shipped a $6800 win in the 40/80 game, and even stuck around for almost 4 hours after my shift ended to round out the last few racks. It was top to bottom just a fantastic day, the kind of win that makes you remember why you're doing this.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Suggestion Number 1; Other Games

This is the first suggestion I received, so I'm going to write about it and see if it turns out to be interesting:

What non-LHE games have you picked up since you moved to LA? What was your motivation for playing them? Rate how good you are on a scale of 1-10 at each of them. Favorite? Least favorite?

To be honest, I have been completely remiss in attempting to learn other games, mainly because they simply don't exist out here. In my current situation I often have occasion to play a few hands of random other games with other casino employees (meaning mostly other professional poker players) and I haven't really been too gung ho to do that. But the total list of games I have played is pretty staggering:

Stud 8
Omaha 8
Stud Hi
Deuce to Seven Triple Draw
Badonci (invented my MikeL and I)
Chinese Poker

The list goes on and on and on. Like I said, most of the games have been played short handed with other professionals, and we usually pick one based on how we're feeling and tend to go through phases. For example we used to play a ton of deuce, but got bored and started playing Razzdugi, and are currently in a phase of Chinese (13 card) poker. From a practical point of view I have put almost no effort into improving at any game other than deuce (for which I read some posts, listened to some Death Donkey podcasts, and watched a few videos), and even that has kind of trailed off for now. If I was interested in playing NL I could probably get myself into games more often than I do, but I simply find the game unfathomably boring and slow. The small games I see, however, tend to be filled with just awful players who simply don't understand one or two very basic things, the primary one being that if the blinds are 2-3 and somebody raises to 20, calling with pocket 4s is probably not a good idea when you have $130 in your stack. And that weakness pretty much sums up how I play the $100-$300 buyin (2-3 blind) no limit game. I call plenty of small raises in position (when people raise to like $9, or some such, and get 3 callers) with hands that make monsters, and make larger than standard raises with my premium starting hands. That's about it. I know lots of players who have played lots of nl, and they generally concur that everyone is terrible and that good thinking players can get a lot of bang for their bankroll buck. Many of the props I see basically serve as an existence proof that the games are super soft; there is no way these guys are beating the 20/40 game, so they must be hiding out in the nl games turning a small profit.

Wow OK so that basically turned into me pontificating on nl cash games. To answer your question I am reasonably ok at them (I'm sure I could beat the small games) but hate them. I also really don't like stud games because they have no flow (mentioned previously), also suffer from being slow, and require me to pay lots of attention. I do however find Razzdugi to be a very fun 3 handed game, and in general like the draw games quite a bit (deuce more than badugi) because I think they are actually somewhat rich in (at least to me) interesting decisions and are just plain fun. You get FIVE CARDS and can draw as many as you want THREE TIMES! It's Also there's lots more room for creative bluffing, etc. Or maybe it's just all shiny and new to me so I like it, I dunno. While I enjoy these games a lot more than nl, I'm confident I'd have a very easy time putting myself into profitable nl spots while I could have a hard time getting into a deuce game where I wasn't one of the worst players, simply because so many bad players play nl, but anytime a deuce game goes professional seem to flock to it. So I guess I'm not going to answer your question rating myself from 1 to 10 because I'm not really sure what the scale would be based on, but I will say that I'd love to play draw games 40 hours a week but would probably lose my ass, and I'd hate to play nl 40 hours a week but could probably grind out a small profit.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Taking Suggestions

I just received a 2p2 PM (to which, BTW, I am severely allergic) from a friend offering suggestions as to things I should blog about. His ideas were:

1. What non-LHE games have you picked up since you moved to LA? What was your motivation for playing them? Rate how good you are on a scale of 1-10 at each of them. Favorite? Least favorite?

2. Describe your new house. Likes? Dislikes? Pics?

I think both are good, and I'm opening up the floor (or comments section in this case) for more requests. What do you want me to write about? It can be informative, funny, or really anything you want. I'm listening.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Blogging is Getting Hard

Like, I just don't feel like I have that much to talk about these days. I do the same thing, over and over and over again, and some days I win and some days I lose but on the whole not that much interesting happens. I have the sense that I may be playing kind of badly, at least on occasion, but that's probably because I'm actually trying to make some drastic adjustments to some of the unique characters I deal with on a day to day basis. For one thing today I tried to work on playing hands out of rhythm when the situation dictated it. MikeL impressed this on me one day when we were playing Stud Eight....I said something to the effect of "there's a lot of donking in this game" and he said "it's not donking...there is no flow" He probably said it a little more elegantly than that, but the point was made. So there are some guys I play with who tend to have monstrous pre flop ranges, and this ends up creating a lot of big multiway pots against people who basically don't have anything. These guys are animals preflop, but they aren't idiots; they aren't going to cbet the 76o they just 3 bet on the QT4 flop after 4 people check to them; they're going to take a free card and see if they can catch a straight draw, pair, or some other conceivable reason to make it to showdown. So you end up doing a lot of shit that just feels flat dumb. I've been calling way more hands in the small blind when these guys raise in late position (I try to keep them on my right, so this comes up again and again) and then have to realize that they aren't going to bet the flop nearly as often as I'm accustomed to, since they have so many shitty hands in their ranges. So like 3 times yesterday I found myself donking in a 5 way pot from the small blind with a hand that normally shouldn't have even taken a flop.

I've seen some hilarious stuff the last few days, but I just don't have the engery/desire to blog about it. My KJ chopped with 72 on an AAJ flop, where my opponent c/3-bet the flop. This same guy immediately challenged me to step outside when I laughed at his assertion that I should never have called him down with "that hand" after he "make(s) that play" which IMR how the fuck am I not supposed to laugh hysterically that's high comedy the only reason I called him down instead of re-raising wasn't the fear of an ace (which is like zero) but the fear that he'd stop barreling off and I wouldn't collect the full value. When the final board read AAJ-A-J I also started to laugh out loud. Maybe I should laugh less.

Today is a freelance day, and I think I'm going to head to commerce since that's the only place that will have any games at this early hour. So once more into the breach with me.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Aquathon Vidoes

Our esteemed captain Mike recently emailed me the links the videos of our Aquathon swims. If anyone is interested in tuning in, here they are:

I personally haven't watched any of them because I spent enough time watching swimming races to last a lifetime already, but what the heck.

Today was a goodish day, except for me folding the best hand like 3 times in pots of noteworthy size. Maybe. We'll never know about two of them :)

Monday, October 10, 2011

Weird Run Here

So I kept up my solid pace of late today, spraying off almost 3 racks in the 20/40 (most of it on shift no less), and winning about 3 in the 40. The last week+ has just been bizarre in that regard. Playing 20 or 30 I'm on a $6K downer, but every time I sit in the 40 I just cannot lose a pot. Today in 2.5 hours I won almost 5 racks in the 40, which was swell. The problem was I lost 2 racks in the 20 before that, then a bit more in the 20 after it, then decided to play overtime in the 40 and dusted off another rack and half in 45 minutes, then drove to Commerce and lost some more. It was just...strange. I can't really complain, as I've definitely winning dollars, but if I'd only played 40/80 on shift the last week or so it would have been a heater for the ages.

I remember a long time ago I had a 200 hour stretch of poker where I was up 200 bets but even in dollars. This is kind of the opposite; in my last 53 hours I've actually lost 3 bets but am up $5K. Neat.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Another Clock Management Rant

Except this time, for a change of pace, I'm going to rail on the announcers. I have NFL Sunday Ticket now (it was free for new direct tv customers this year) and it has completely changed the way Danielle and I watch football. She wasn't around this morning so I watched the 10am Steeler's game by my lonesome, which normally would have been pretty boring and irritating; not so with Sunday Ticket. I was keeping track of 3 or 4 games using my TV, laptop, and iPad, all the while also watching the red zone channel that basically shows everything interesting that ever happens. But none of that is the point. Neither is the fact that the Steelers eviscerated the Titans, playing a man whose nickname is "fat" and who was out of football 6 days ago at LEFT TACKLE for the ENTIRE GAME, a quarterback who was walked with a notable limp on and off the field, and missing 2/3rds of their starting defensive line, a former defensive poy, a pro bowl guard, their starting running back, third down back and like 3 other guys I've probably forgotten to mention. Yes that sure was sweet, but it's not the point. Here's the point....

I switched to watching Raiders Texas because the game was (1) still on, (2) still in question, (3) an afc matchup, and (4) had serious fantasy football implications for my team. The situation was as follows; Oakland had the ball up 5 points with less than 3 minutes to go. They had to snap the ball with about 2:50 on the clock, specifically, to run their 2nd down play. They threw a deep incomplete pass, which stopped the clock, and the announcers immediately railed on them for such a bad decision. In fact, they talked about the fact that Houston wouldn't have gotten the ball back until just inside the 2 minute warning had they not done something so stupid until...Houston got the ball back just inside the 2 minute warning. You see, when you snap the ball at 2:50, if you run it into the pile you're going to have to snap it again...just before the 2 minute warning. But if you throw a deep incomplete pass that takes about just 6-7 seconds, then run the ball into the pile again with the clock reading 2:43, it turns out you can punt the ball....right at the 2 minute warning. Throwing the deep ball didn't cost them anything time wise, and gave them a chance to win the game outright, and the announcers couldn't wrap their heads around it.

So as much as it pains me to say this, well done Raiders. You actually managed the clock correctly there.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


A lot of ridiculously stupid shit happened to me last night, and I only have like 10 minutes to write about it, so here goes. I went to Hawaiian Gardens around 4:30 and got seated immediately in a pretty good 30 game that pretty quickly transformed to pretty amazing. The main mark was a player I'd seen before who apparently had binked a middling 5 figure score on poker starts and gotten it cashed out like 2 weeks before black friday. She was very friendly and took her (many) beats extremely well, and ended up losing like $4K on the day (or so she said), and had apparently done all the right reading regarding player poker as a pro. She asked me about playing 40/80 and used the world bankroll and variance to describe the game, which caused me to almost laugh out loud. I mean really, this was one of the worst players I have ever seen, and she's explaining to me how she needs a bigger bankroll to make the jump from 30 to 40, AT THE TABLE. From any sort of winning seasoned pro such talk would be completely unacceptable, but from her it was just....well...tilting. Here is this freaking idiot who apparently has been playing as a professional for several months now, convincing herself I suppose that she's just running bad, talking about bankroll requirements at the table. The levels of ignorance involved were simply stunning. She did things like open limp 74o, then donk/3 the T54hhh flop (she did have the 7 of hearts), then check the river when her flush came in. She bet 44 on an A65-J-6 board with a player all in, after a war had broken out on the flop and 4 players saw the river. She just was...awful.

(24 hour pause during which I forget most of the stuff that happened Tuesday night)

I don't really remember where the train fell completely off the track, but I was puttering along within a few bets of even for the better part of 2.5 hours before it did. Perhaps it was when the button got screwed up and I didn't say anything (it was to my advantage and I've got a new policy in place of not speaking makes me feel kind of (ok really) douchey but hey money is money). Perhaps it was when I played A9o (admittedly a tough hand to play well) worse than you could ever imagine, folding the winner on the river in a 12 bet pot (something I seem to do a lot these days). But the coup de grace happened after the aforementioned player answered her phone for the second time and told her kids "mommy will be home very soon", took her big blind, won a huge pot and...racked up. This alone obviously proves she just doesn't get it, and it put me in a spot to take the last lap to both avoid following the fish to the cage (a standard courtesy that should be extended more frequently) and enjoy a small blind on the button orbit. And I of course got blown up, running QQ into KK (fortunately he played awful and I only lost 5 bets total on like a 9 high board) and getting set over setted thanks to having the aforementioned small blind on the button. So I left an orbit later something like 30 bets under water, wondering if anyone else had the license plate.

The rest of this week has just been kind of silly; in my after hours overtime I literally have lost something like $4K in four days (playing no higher than 30), turning what should have been a nice little heater into just a meh week of winning small. If I just played like all those expert live pros who lock up 5 bet wins as early as 1 hour into their sessions, I could have done something special....

Sunday, October 2, 2011

September Post Mortem

Did I spell that correctly? Meh, I hope so. September was a straight forward, boring, and profitable month. I managed to grind out 186 hours of play (including all games played, not just limit hold 'em) and posted a $7200 win at the tables, despite losing about $11K on two of the worst days of my career (one one shift, one off), and enjoyed one of the two months of the year when bi-weekly pay check earners get a third check. It really is silly to think about the amount of money I'm trying to win each month vs the amount I have at risk on a given day, especially now that I'm becoming more and more convinced that I personally am not capable of the 1 big bet per hour gold standard. There are just so many things working against me, like not being able to game select for a good portion of my week, being prone to playing tired when I can game select, and in general games just getting tougher and tougher. I dunno, it's just...tough.

I'm hoping to stick to my plan more diligently over the coming weeks, playing mostly if not all 20/40 (or perhaps some 25 or 30 if I make a field trip here and there) to keep those big losing days of my books. This Saturday was a success in that regard, with me logging a 6.5 hour session of Commerce 20/40. The only problem was that I lost 2 racks basically on my way out the door in the final 90 minutes of what was otherwise a pretty good session. I think I even made some pretty egregious errors (a few river calls that were just 39 dollar losers, a couple of preflop plays that ended up going poorly for me, a few call downs where really the guy just has to have it, etc). So October is off to a little bit of a rough start, but that's fine.

I was kind of hoping this post would go somewhere interesting, but it just sort of didn't. Tomorrow I'm back on shift for another week, and I still think my 1800 hour and 100,000 dollar goals are within reach.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Hand of the Day

Actually it's from yesterday but that's not important. Game is commerce 20/40 and the UTG raiser is playing super tight, showing off to his friend how it's right to fold KJo to an UTG raise because "you see she had ace the long run I'd lose to her 8 out of 10 times." Never mind that I folded KQo the same hand...anyway, he's playing tight and the SB is a drunk Asian lady who spews like it's her job. And so....

UTG raises, SB calls, I call only with AQo. Meh...I should 3 bet but this is more fun.


We check he bets we call.


SB donks....immediately I sense she has airball, likely a turned diamond draw. Under no circumstances can she have trips, or top pair or...well, yeah she has air 100%. But what should I do about it? I tank and get a strong, strong tell that UTG does not like his hand. The pot is small and I decide raising is silly; he's gonna golf anyway. So I call, and he tanks and gives a speech about "cannot beat 9, cannot beat 5...I fold"


She bets I snap call and she says "I miss...I miss but 8" and rolls Q8ss. UTG declares "I folded pocket 8s!"

I mean really....