Monday, November 28, 2011

2-3 Whack A Mole

I got to work like 25 minutes early today and grabbed a seat in a 7 handed 2-3 nl game. I ended up only playing a single orbit, but did have a revelation. The game is basically whack a mole. Think about it. Your basic goal is to sit there and be patient enough to out wait your opponents. If you succeed, eventually one of them will stick his pointy little head with it's beady little eyes out for a breath of fresh air, and hopefully you'll be waiting for him with aces or a set or some other such monstrosity and just pummel him into submission. That pretty much sums up how I play that game, and about how much I respect the strategy required to beat it. I'm not saying no limit hold 'em isn't a difficult and rich game the way it's intended to be played. But when half the table has like 40 big blind stacks and is willing to call like 20% of their stacks pre-flop with pretty much any describable hand, well, then you've got yourself a hip hoppin' game of 2-3 whack a mole!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Suggestion Number 3

Here was Commissioner Dave the Luckbox's list of suggestions (and no, you can no longer argue, as you successfully traded Adrian Peterson for Drew Brees straight up 1.5 quarters before AP blew out his ankle):

1. The last time you did this, it turned out great, so I'll give you a different challenge: Rate how good the 2012 presidential candidates would be as poker players, without being overtly political. If you can't do that, then rate the Avengers (in the upcoming movie).

2. If you were to create a fantasy poker league, what would it be? How would it work?

3. Watch an episode of the WSOP on ESPN and describe how different it is on TV than real life.

4. Compare LA and SF. (Culture, not traffic.)

5. Where do you see yourself in 10 years? (No, I am not interviewing you for a job.)

6. How did MIT prepare you for a life of poker playing? Did it? If you went somewhere else, do you think you'd be doing something else?

So here we go...first, let's dispense with the politicians. I don't really follow politics, and I'm not saying that in a "it's cool to be disinterested" or a "I don't have time for that" way or anything. I really just...don't. Maybe it's because I find it difficult to get unbiased news, or because I simply don't read that much, or perhaps I just don't care. I wish I was more involved, it's a real shame that someone like me simply stands on the sidelines, but that's the way it is. Moving right along....

I'm pretty sure fantasy poker leagues do exist for specifically the WSOP. My understanding is that you have a draft and everyone just picks players and you score points for cashes, final tables, bracelets, and total dollars won. There are probably bonus points for guys scoring points in multiple games, etc etc. This is the most practical way to do it, and has been used for many other domains, including US Weekly. The obviously problem here is that you don't have "positions" in the same way you do for other fantasy sports. One way to solve that would be to have say 6 NLHE players, 2 stud specials, 2 draw games guys, and a wildcard or something, but that's just not really practical because lots of these guys play lots of different events and it just wouldn't work. A more fun way (and completely impossible) way to do it would be to set up a league at your home casino with your friends. Six of you set up a draft and can select anybody you want on Earth. You keep score by who wins (or loses...that'd be fun also) the most money over the course of each week, playing head to head games just like fantasy football. The problem of course is that tracking results is impossible, so this is just pie in the sky type stuff. Back when online could have done a draft like this using PTR as your source of truth. In fact, that'd actually be close to viable.

OK last one before it's time to watch the Steeler's game (which kicked a half hour ago but damn it I simply cannot watch commercials anymore) and that's describing the difference between playing poker on TV and in my world. I've watched a fair bit of the broadcasts and the differences are practically too many to enumerate. The pace is much slower on TV. That's partially because they are playing NLHE, and partially because it's TV, and partially because of shuffling machines. The banter on TV is just not there. Try watching some of the old high stakes poker episodes (like the one where Hanson quads up on Kid Poker's top boat) to get an idea of how it is in my world. A big hand will happen, and at least half the table will be talking about something completely irrelevant. Everything runs smoothly on TV; the dealer never fucks up, there really aren't any arguments, basically nothing goes wrong. I'd say something like that happens several times per hour in my world. There are no seat changes on TV; in the games I play players come in and out of the game constantly, and there is lots of seat changing. The Oaks 30 game was more like you see on TV the two days a week it was pre-scheduled, with 10 players bunkering down and nobody moving for a few hours. In the course of a 5 hour shift I could change seats up to 4 or 5 times depending on what goes on (or I could stay in the same never know). And the douchebaggery; nobody other than Helmuth is a shit head on TV. Half the people I play with (at least at Commerce) are.

OK that wasn't really everything but it's time for some football.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

More Random Things

It's amazing how quickly time flies by and it's been a week since my last post, even when I have lots of stuff I want to talk about. I just never seem to find the time, and I'm not exactly sure why. I guess I do spend an awful lot of my days trying to play poker, and what little time is left my brain is very tired and I just want to watch Breaking Bad and/or The West Wing with Danielle. Anyway, a few random topics...first I want to address this comment:

No, you don't sound like an arrogant asshole at all. Maybe arrogant, but def not an asshole :) Just kidding... Seriously though, I was more implying in my question about the whole idea of giving up a carreer in software industry to professional (live) poker. I am sure you blogged on this subject somewhere in the past, is there a pointer? Do you find it more rewarding / stable / gives you more freedom / independence etc'? What are the goals withing 5-6 years? I heard some notes of disappointment in this last post (maybe mistakenly), so was wondering how frequently you question the carreer direction that you voluntarily picked.

Just sort of because I think I should. At this point I'd say that I have seen the man behind the curtain and just like in the movie he is simply not as bad ass I thought he'd be. When I started this venture I just assumed that I could play 2000 hours a year and make north of $80/hour playing (either at the 40 or by playing higher) and boom I'd be making $150K a year in no time and maybe I'd move up further and I'd have all the freedom in the world and it'd just be the best thing ever. I now know differently. First of all assuming you'll do something 2000 hours a year and have lots of freedom is just absurd. Second of all, truly making a big bet per hour while logging big hours is very, very difficult. Third of all, it's certainly neither more rewarding nor more stable than any number of other jobs I could find. So why do I do it? Well at this point I feel like I'm entitled to a year or two or some other length of time of "being successful", since it's basically taken me three years to get here. By any metric things are going great; the parade somehow didn't happen last week, but I did crack the $100K profits line for the year (with some fishy accounting, since I have paid some, but not nearly all, of the taxes I owe, but am including all my online profits for the year which were more than wiped out by Black Friday). I'm going to make it to 1800 hours of LHE, and I'm up over 1000 bets so far. And most days I actually enjoy going into work (although the last week or so since I fell off my $1000/day scooter ride I've been saying more and more than I need a vacation...I don't know why it's just been tough to, you know, give a shit) and in general things are just...good. So I guess the answer is that I don't have a 5 or 6 year plan, but for right now I'm going to just enjoy being successful.

I feel like I had other things to say...ah yes, that's it. First of all, my place of employment is going all in this month, paying players $10/hour to sit in the 20/40 game and $20/hour for the 40/80 (with a minimum qualification of 40 hours for the month). If you count me as a friend I would really appreciate it if you could give us a shot, because if this doesn't work I have a feeling we are all going to find ourselves in the pink slip room very shortly. And even if you don't, for shit's sake that's basically rake free poker in the 40 and a nice shot in the arm to anyone's 20/40 hourly so please just come play some poker it'll be good times trust me.

The only other thing I've got is that I figured I'd tell everyone I'm officially in the business of staking people now. I have three ad-hoc agreements with three players I trust very much (both ethically and poker skills wise) that are allowing them to get what they want out of poker (money) while dumping some risk on someone else (me) in exchange for some of their expected winnings. I don't really want to get into the details of the stakes or anything, and they are varying levels of private (from completely private to completely public I guess), and I suppose that really is that. So hopefully they won't blow me up and I'll make some money on them, but if past events are any predictor of future success I could be in for a rough go of it.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thanks Dos

In response to my last blog post Dos left a comment. To be honest I didn't even know he read my blog, but as I'm finding out more and more a lot more people read than I think. Anyway, here's the comment:

You run good at the ***** and bad at Commerce. It's a bit silly and hypocritical to think about things like not playing the Commerce 40 because you get crushed. Remember that whole post about the guy who PMed you down below? It's one long game and I'm sure you're still ahead when looking at your total results. Go play Commerce 40 it's almost invariably a better game.

Finally, your game selection skills are almost so nitty to be detrimental. This is very much related to the driving issue. Sometimes your overall $$/hour would be higher by sitting in a crappy game than driving somewhere else to play and losing an hour or more by driving/parking/waiting to sit in a better game for 3 hours.

And it's pretty much spot on. Regarding the first section, the weird part is that I completely understand that he's completely correct, but that doesn't really change the fact that the Commerce 40 is in my head. It feels like I've played it a lot (which really isn't true, I checked, I have something like 100 hours life time, but that's probably because I've played it for a short time on a lot of days I played at Commerce for a full shift), and every time I sit I catch myself stealing myself mentally for a big loss. This is obviously horrible, and I even asked Mike about it and his advice was "well you can't play in a game where you feel like that, so either don't play it or don't feel like that." I think he's right, but not playing isn't really a viable plan. I've known for a very long time now that if you want to play LHE for a living in the LA area you need to be very comfortable in the Commerce 40. That's just the way it is, and I need to get over a little 200 bet downer grind my way back to being confident in the game. One thing I will say is that I think I have run extremely bad in terms of getting into good games over there, because I can think of a half dozen times where I sat in the must move and it was just awful and I quit and played 20 instead. But that aside, Dos is right that I just need to play the game and stop pretending I've taken a shot at it when I have like 100 hours in it lifetime.

Regarding the game selection nittery, I will cop to being quite selective about what 40 games I sit in off shift, but also offer a few reasons beyond pure nittery that I do it. First of all by the time my shift ends I am usually tired and having trouble concentrating, and taking a break to drive somewhere else is practically something I want and need to do. I'm not really sure how everyone else does it, but I'm a morning person and I function best mentally 30 minutes after I wake up and go downhill from there. Danielle is almost the complete opposite, routinely getting her best work done at 7pm, but that's just not something I can do. Second, I believe Dos and I have a rather different system for evaluating win rate in a given game. It's possible that he's correct and I'm wrong, but when I look at a game with 4 professional and 2 fish I don't see a real profit source. His argument (I think) is that I will break even against the 4 pros and take money from the fish, and that it's still possible that the fish are losing so much money that all 5 (if I sit) pros are winning something like $60/hour. The more I think about it he may be correct on this one, but my third issue interacts with this one in some complicated ways. It's hard to go from from a 9 handed soft game with lots of open limping and 5 way pots to a 6 or 7 handed game with 4 other guys who play super well. You have to completely change your thought process for most hands, thinking about your range and being combative instead of (often) just determining if you're ahead and if not if you have odds to draw. And finally, it's just kind of awkward to stay and play the 20, because it just feels, you know, weird and wimpy. On top of that a few times I've been asked to come back into the 40 game to "help out" and obviously I'm not going to say no but obviously I already chose not to be in that game and going back into it gets me a little out of whack mentally and well it's just not great.

But in general yes Dos you're completely correct and I am very grateful for your opinions. I need to play the Commerce 40 because I've tricked myself into believing that I'm cursed over there and that's just not the case, and I need to be more aggressive in sitting in games with experts, not only because it's probably often correct from a $$$ point of view, but also because doing so will make me a better player in the long term. So in short, thanks :)

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Results So Far This Year

It's funny, I find myself more interested in what my sheets say than in the actual amount of money I have available to me. Someone could be robbing me blind after I cash out and honestly I wouldn't notice, because I have no accounting practices in place mapping the amount of money I win and spend to the amount of money I have. MikeL said it well recently "if you play lots of poker and have lots of money, you're a professional. if you play lots of poker and go broke, you're a fish. it's pretty much that simple." Other people have given the advice to just worry about making good decisions and playing well, and the rest of it will sort itself out. Obviously the right answer and approach is somewhere in the middle.

Anyway, my results for the year so far are pretty interesting and extremely frustrating. I just crossed the 1600 hour line for the year, and over 2/3rds of them have been at my place of employment (obviously some of them before I was employed there, but still you get the idea). That's not all that surprising, I suppose. Nor is it surprising that I've played less than 500 hours of "OT" for the entire year, until you think about the fact that I didn't really have the job for two whole months early in the year, so knock out something like 300 of those hours and all of a sudden, boom. All this schlepping around I do looking for good games and the Saturdays I play and all that for the past 6 months have netted me less than 200 hours of ass in seat poker time. Pathetic. The thing is, I know that's the case, and I know the root problem of it is the driving. Today Danielle went to the drag races with her dad and I had a choice to make around 1pm after the Steelers claimed soul possession of first place in the AFC (OK technically that didn't happen until 4:15 when the Ravens finished shitting the bed in Seattle but whatever allow me my moment of glory). Did I really want to drive to Commerce or HG for a half day? Was it really worth it? I eventually decided that no, I'd take the day off instead. I went to the gym, then ended up watching almost an entire extra football game (the aforementioned Raven's fouling), etc etc. The point is that driving to a casino, be it for the day or after my shift, really just isn't the right thing to do unless you're going to play for a long time. There is just so much effort involved, as evidenced by my records that something that feels like I spend a ton of time on has netted me only 200 hours of bonus table time's the kicker....

Negative dollars :(

That's right, I'm underwater for the sum total of hours I've played away from my place of employment. Sure, the real reason is that freaking commerce 40 game just obliterating me every time I walk in the door (I'm stuck over 200 bets on the year in the game why do you think I play 20 when I go there) and not playing enough volume in other games to have any hope of recovery, but still it's just depressing. All of this really got me thinking about home court advantage and how at this point it's very difficult for me to have it anywhere but at my job. I simply can't get to any other casino on a regular enough schedule to have that intimate "feel" of the game and just knowing what everyone has and what they intend to do it with it. I suppose a good question would be "what are you going to do about this, Jesse" and to be frank I don't really have a good answer. I suppose I'll make sure I'm more implicitly aware of the math of any decision I'm making regarding leaving a casino for another one, but beyond that what can I really do? One thing that seems certain is that it makes almost no sense to drive to Commerce to play the 20 (I learned this at one point but seemed to have forgotten it), when I could just stay after my shift and play. The only reason to head to Commerce is the 40, and since I currently am scared shitless of the game I suppose the answer now is just "less Commerce." So here's hoping I manage to actually implement that, I guess.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Insert Title Here

I've got like three things I want to talk about in this post, so I'm going to write them down in a list so I won't forget to talk about all of them when I invariably go off on a random tangent and also because I like lists. And three just became 4:

1. I took a piece of howmany yesterday in a 3/6 mix game
2. I believe I still have a medical condition
3. Holy shit everyone plays bad
4. Limit hold 'em is a flawed game

First things first, a 300/600 HET game went for some ungodly reason yesterday at my place of employment, and as soon as it did MikeL and I were texting Death Donkey and howmany to alert them to the existence of such superb action. As we're doing this MikeL says absently to the table "anybody want 10% of (him)" and my hand shot instantly into the air. My boss looked at me like I had two heads, since of all the young 40/80 props I have decidedly the least gambool in me (this is something Danielle finds hard to believe, since from her POV I have a dangerously large amount of gambool), but nonetheless I booked the 10% and hoped the game wouldn't get kicked up too big too fast. You see, Mike explained that whenever a game like that goes the stakes have always been reached via compromise and invariably somebody wants to kick it up. One player in particular, he assured me, would ask to kick up the stakes every 2 to 3 hands, and once managed to turn such a 300/600 game into "700/1400 it was just completely absurd". Anyway I took 10% and for my efforts lost....well, quite a bit. Moving right along.

I used to think I had this, but now I am not so sure. Right now my basic symptoms are "my hips really ache whenever I am sitting" which to be honest is a royal pain the ass. This is neither interesting or important, but it does make me sad because I am almost 30 and my body is already showing signs of deterioration. No wonder professional athletes are over the hill at 32; I am a professional ass sitter and I'm starting to have problems in my 20s!

A player in my game who shall remain nameless played both of these hands today, one at 20/40 and the other at 40/80. I'll run the 40 hand first, because it is less atrocious and perhaps more hilarious. It folds to him on the button with me in the big blind, so we see a flop of:


I check/raise him because I have Q9 and he just calls. The turn pairs the queen and he calls. The river brings a third queen, giving me quads with a valid kicker, which isn't really interesting until I bet and he...raises! I pause for a second and then of course 3-bet, thinking that even against this guy we have a shot at the jackpot because what hand other than 55 makes any sense whatsoever? He calls instantly and says "queen is good" and shows me....Aces. You know what, in retrospect he actually didn't play this hand very badly but damn it we have to hit the jackpot eventually....anyway, now to the real beaut.

The game is 20/40 and I open somewhere in the middle. A weak/tight female employee calls behind me and villain calls the big blind. The flop comes:


He checks, I bet, she raises. Let's pause the action right there? What does she have here? Any guesses from the audience? Time's up the answer is a medium pair, most likely 8s or 9s but perhaps as big as tens or maybe 5s. That's what she has, and that's all there is to it, and since I have ATcc I'm going to take one off, miss, and fold quietly. But wait, the big blind has something to say about that plan, and it sounds like he doesn't like it. He 3 bets! I say to myself "huh, this ought to be good I wonder if he knows what she has" and fold quietly, she calls, and we see a turn of:


And it...checks through. Wow, OK. River:


Big blind bets, she calls, and he shows...AK. It's OK, go back and look at the action again if you need to, I'll wait. As she's mucking I turn to the victim and say "what'd you have, like pocket 9s" and she looks at me without a hint of sarcasm and says "No, no, pocket tens" as if to say "learn how to read hands you idiot." I mean, really...this happened.

I just remembered another hand villain played where basically the board came JJ8-A after I had 3-bet him from the small blind with one other player in. To make a long story very short he raised me on the turn with exactly an 8, basically turning his hand into a bluff, which is just so ridiculous I don't even know what to say...anyway, I play with this guy every day and it is glorious.

The last point really isn't that interesting except in that it basically explains why limit hold 'em is so popular and frustrating all at the same time; the game is just silly because you can play a hand "terribly" and only make one ftop mistake the entire way. I was thinking about a hand recently in which I had aces and my opponent held T7s. I raised a limper and he called behind me, the blinds called and we saw a flop 5 ways. I'm not going to do a stove calculation but let's just assume that he has less than 20% equity here and that he's not going to make up for what he's missing with position (while he has the best absolute position his relative position stinks in this case, since I'm going to be driving the action with AA and he's immediately after on a lot of flops its going to be one bet to him with three players having a chance to check/raise...anyway). He flopped a "pear" and then the silliness started to happen. The board is something pretty dry, like maybe KT3r or some such, and I bet and he called. This call is 100% correct from an FTOP perspective, since there are now 11 bets in the pot and he has 5 outs to crack my hand. Now the small blind calls, the big blind folds and the limper check/raises. I 3-bet immediately, putting the 16th and 17th small bets into the pot, giving him immediate odds of 17:2 to call, which he takes gladly. Once again, his call is not a mistake. The small blind abandons ship and the limper calls, leaving us with a 10 big bet pot on the turn, which is a banana, something like a rainbow 5. The limper checks, I bet, and again he calls, this time getting the same 11:1 he received on my initial flop bet for his efforts. The limper hems and haws and eventually calls, and of course we all know what happens because I know what the guy has....he binks two pair on the river, doesn't even raise me, and drags a $600 20/40 pot. Did I make money every time he called a bet? Yes. Did he make a single mistake the entire hand, other than calling preflop (which as discussed is a VERY small mistake, playing a 5 handed pot with a suited two gapper on the button) and not raising the river? Nope. He played the flop and turn perfectly against me. Even putting 3 bets into a 17 bet pot would have been acceptable, given that he would more than make up for the missing little bit of equity in implied odds. So to make a long story short this guy pushed the call button 5 times in this hand and pretty much played it "just fine", which is both extremely frustrating (for me) and extremely good (in that it keeps fish from going broke too quickly).

OK that's all I've got have a great weekend.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Random PM I Received

From time to time I receive PMs on 2p2 that for lack of a better word are pretty random. They come from all sorts of people, most of whom I've never met, with all levels of experience and understanding of poker and what it means to play the game for a living. I have endeavored to respond to all of them (although I have a "chin up soldier" one that is still owed a response) because well that's just what I should do. People have sought out my opinion, and the least I can do is give it. For some reason I've decided to turn this one into a blog post; I'm not really sure why, but as you know I've been looking for more poker related things to write about so maybe this will work out well. Here's the PM:

Hi Jesse,

I thought you'd be an appropriate person to ask this type of question because
1) I respect you as a human being (never met in RL but judging by your posts / blog)
2) I respect your understanding of poker strategy
3) You have lots of live hours logged (I hope you track results)

So the situation is that I started playing live ~6 months ago when I moved to the US. Before that (and before the BF, obv.) I played online - primarily heads up limit, but also FR. I logged some 150K hands of HUHU at 4.5BB/100 - stakes 3/6 through 15/30 and some 100K hands of FR/6 max at 0.7BB/100 - same stakes. I don't play fully pro, just a side income as I have a day job that pays me well. Basically, anything that pays me less than 40-50$/hour is not worth my time.
Now getting closer to the question: I logged 315 hours over last 6 months, it's roughly 50% 20 and 50% 80 game - some in (Casinos deleted for anonymousness's sake). My result was a loss of $29 per hour. I felt like I was running pretty bad over this entire period (like card dead then a bad setup and then card dead again etc'). But I also realize it can be very subjective. I am seriously thinking now that there's a high likelyhood that I am doing something wrongly and should reconsider my game (including the question if I should play live at all - I don't HAVE to play). Based on my online results, I want to think that I don't suck at poker in general. But would you think that my live results sample is significant enough to draw any conclusions now?
315 hours are 12600 hands or so. I absolutely had like 20K breakeven / slightly lose stretches online but live it takes like eternity in wall clock elapsed time. Thoughts ? What kind of longest break even / losing streak did you have in your live carreer?
Sorry if my questions are a little ill formed, but I think you understand my dilemma.

OK, so let's try to take this step by step. First of all I'm glad my online persona comes off as worthy of at least some modicum of respect, and yes obviously I track my results (anybody who doesn't track results, or even thinks that someone like me might not, maybe isn't thinking about things the right way, but that's not important). Moving right along, you played a ton of HUHU hands and absolutely destroyed it. This obviously shows that you have some talent/skill/work ethic and should be completely capable of beating any of the live games I frequent. However you played a lot of full ring and 6max hands and, while you did win, didn't have nearly as good results. Also, all these hands were played when you lived outside the United States, which lead me to believe you played them on lol Party Poker which from my understanding means all your opponents were borderline retarded (not that most of the people I play against are not, but crushing games on Party just isn't the same as grinding out a big WR in the Stars 5/T 6max games). Also remember that .7 bets per 100 equates to win rate of like .25 bets per hour live.

Your basic questions seem to be "am I doing it wrong" and "should I continue to play"? The second question really needs to be answered by you and you alone. Do you enjoy playing? You are in the ranks of "serious recreational player" right now, logging something like 10-15 hours a week (which I assume means you play like maybe twice during the week for a few hours, then once on the weekend for a longer session), and to be honest the choice to continue or hang 'em up should be based on your goals. Is your goal just to have fun? Are you having fun? Or is your goal to make money, and if so, is it worth the stress of losing to try to make that money?

Next, losing $29/hour doesn't really tell me much when your hours are split between 80 and 20 games. How did you do in each game? If you played 300 hours of 20/40 and lost $9,000, I'd tell you that you're almost certainly doing it wrong. I mean, you could just be running bad, but there is strong evidence that you're missing something in addition to perhaps getting a bit unlucky. However, if you actually lost $1000 playing 20/40 and $8000 playing 80, meaning you're stuck something like 75 bets, it's a fair bit more likely that you're just getting unlucky. Your word choice and the information you presented, however, lead me to believe that you're maybe thinking about this the wrong way. If I were you I'd probably stay out of the 80 until you get your sea legs under you and feel comfortable. And if you feel the same comfort level in the 80 as you do in the 20, well then trust me you're doing something wrong because that just simply shouldn't happen. In the 20 you should know what they have, what they intend to do with it, and how to win the most money almost every single time. In the 80 you should be confused about what's going on in a hand way more often. So in short, the answer is as usual "it depends."

One piece of advice I will give, at least for 20, is that you're probably showing down WAY too much and giving opponents credit for ranges that are WAY wider the ones they actually have throughout entire hands (including preflop). If you were playing 5/T huhu online and all of a sudden end up in a live full ring 20 game, this is only going to be natural (it took La Peste a little while to get used to this, but to my knowledge he is now running roughshod over the LA 20 games like a true boss). But without details, I'm sort of just guessing here.

My advice would be to stay out of the 80 and focus on playing 20 and figuring out the differences between online and live play. There are spots where default online lines quite simply are very large mistakes, and if you're not aware of this you are in fact probably doing it wrong at least to some degree. I'd also caution you against assuming you can make $50/hour playing live poker. I think that $40 is almost a pipe dream in most 20/40 games (if you're not game selecting hard core and I assume you're not because you have a life and just play whenever you can play). I've certainly had stretches like you're describing, especially when mixing stakes, so it's possible your results are just noise. However the evidence suggests that you've probably got some leaks, and it would be a good idea to try and review some hands to see if you can plug them.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Random But Hilarious

DosEquis just sent me this and it is glorious. I'm not sure if I actually agree with all of it, but the comedy factor is off the charts.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Time is Money

I just realized something yesterday and am sort of embarrassed by it. In general there are two basic ways to make money; you can use your time, or you can use your money. This sort of glosses over some forms of passive income, but not really because any asset you have that generates passive income (a rental home, a business, etc) could be sold for some price and therefore by not selling it you're just using money to make money once again.

The rub about playing poker for a living is that you have to use both your time and your money in order to make money. You have to grind out big hours if you want to get any where, and you need to have a pretty big bankroll behind you if you want to do so reliably with a small chance of going broke. Put another way, back in 2007 I could make close to $100K a year writing software, and I didn't need a dime in my pocket to do it; all I needed was 2000 hours. In 2011, in order to make close to $100K playing poker, I needed 2000 hours AND by all reasonable measures at least around $50K to start with (trying it with less would be pretty dangerous, although I guess you could).

Like I said, it's kind of embarrassing to me that I'm 3 years into this thing and had never realized this before.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Happy Halloween

So many random things to say, where oh where to begin. Perhaps Halloween...yes, that'll do it. First of all six (6) of us dressed up as MikeL for Halloween and it was truly glorious. He took it extremely well (as we knew he would), and just well it was amazing. Special thanks to Joe Tall for donating a half dozen Deuces Cracked hoodies to the cause, and to DosEquis for, youknow, having the idea. The general consensus was that I nailed it best, using a pair of absurd costume glasses and stuffing an entire pillow into my hoodie to accurately replicate Mike's general girth. I'm going to go ahead and pussy out and not post the pictures because I think doing so could probably earn me a trip to the pink slip room (in our imaginations we have created a special room with a very large dot matrix printer whose only function is to print pink slips), but if you know me well enough to have my email address and want to see them, just fire one off and you'll get to see the good shit. Pete declared the one photo the most ridiculous thing he saw on all of Halloween.

Moving right along....The scooter has definitely broken. I closed out October with a pretty big loss, then was cruising along to put up a good day today when the floor fell out from underneath me. I got locked out of what had to be the best 40/80 game in the known universe for like 4 hours, then finally had a shot to get back in but decided to just not deal with it because I was in an amazing 20 and the 40 was going to get short and shitty soon and they were trying to start a must move and technically I should have helped out but didn't want to play with 4 props 6 handed so yada yada yada. At that moment I was something like a $2000 winner for the day and was off shift. Any sane human would go home, but not no. I played another 90 minutes of 20/40, lost 2 racks, then got into the 40 which wasn't as great as it had been but was still pretty good and dusted off 3 more in 90 more minutes. To quote my boss "you're doing a fine jobs, Jesse." Fine fucking jobs indeed....

So I do manage to get myself out of the game limiting the damage (it was pretty absurd honestly, I was 0/4 in pots where I personally put the cap in preflop) and decide to go through the ordeal of getting to my box (they are doing some construction, blah blah blah, big fucking ordeal, etc etc etc) because you know I've lost like $5K in two days and don't have enough to get through tomorrow. So I go to the main cage, they get a supervisor, he walks over with me through the room with razor blades strewn all over the floor, lets me into the special room and...doesn't have the key. So he goes all the way back and I just kind of sit there for a while which is fine the point of this was that it'd likely take way too long and I wouldn't have time in the morning and I needed to pick my tilted ass up out of the game and traffic was just finally tiring itself out and long story short after like 15 minutes of red tape and walking around an standing around he hands me my box and I snake a pair of big chips out of it in 3 seconds flat and he's like "that's it?" and I'm like "they're small things" and that's that. I guess that wasn't really much of a story and I was going to add something about spending 10 minutes trying to find a functional bathroom but whatever I just don't feel like it now.

OK, what else? Ah yes, the coyotes and the small matter of my retarded dog. God bless Clint, I love him to death, but there is a distinct possibility he is the stupidest dog that I (or any of you) have ever met. I probably already mentioned putting our guys through the rigors of these tests before, but Sunday night I received more damaging evidence that Clint just isn't all there while Tyson could actually be considered a genius. So it's Sunday night, pretty late maybe 11pm or so, and it's time to take the dogs for their night time walk. Now first of all, back before we had Clint this was a super duper easy thing to do. You walked Tyson to a bush, he peed everything he had on it, you walked back inside and that was that. But not Clint, no no no. This guy has to mark like 5 or 6 bushes before he's on empty, and they have to be at least a few hundred feet apart. It's a royal pain in the ass let me tell you. Anyway, I walk out the side door and am about to get the driveway when what do I see for not the first but second time on the street directly in front of my house? Two coyotes trotting along without a care in the world, then heading up the very steep hill immediately across the street. I am not shitting you; Ki, fucking, O tees, 40 feet from our front door. This is California; we live in a community of several hundred homes all worth well into the 6 (and even 7) figures. And we have coyotes running around at night. You cannot make this shit up....anyway, back to the original point. I come back inside kind of shitting myself wondering what to do, and Danielle comes out with me and we generally make a big racket and stuff and then I tell her I got it and she goes back inside kind of irritated that I was pussy about the whole thing but whatever THEY'RE COYOTES they have no rules. So I walk the dogs down the hill and when we get to the bottom I hear it; the distinct yipping of our four legged friends. And how do my two dogs react to this, you might ask? Clint immediately starts making this weird yowling sound and prancing around, then does a play bow, basically saying "Hey Jesse you hear that I can make some new friends they want to play with me can we play them huh can we that'd sure be fun don't you think." I look at him the same way I often look at opponents at the poker table and just wonder how on Earth it was that he survived 3 weeks on the lamb somewhere between Sacramento an Clear Lake. What about Tyson, you ask? I hardly noticed because Clint was acting so ridiculously, but after removing my palms from my face I notice that he is...terrified. His hair is on end, his entire body is tense, and he is above all else making every possible effort not to move. I try to calm him by petting him and he gives me this look that just screams "You fool! The savages are near, we must be very still lest we incur their wrath!" At this point I return my attention to Clint, who has decided to roll over on his back and expose his soft underbelly to the entire world in hopes of drawing the coyotes out for quick and playful wrestling match.