Thursday, June 28, 2012


Well it finally happened.  Like, it was bound to sooner or later to be honest.  I wasn't going to blog about it, but doing so and closing out my books on the issue really helps me put the whole experience behind me, so here we go.  I got obliterated in the white chip game yesterday.  The actual loss only ended up being 43 bets, but halfway through the 13 hour marathon session I was up almost that much, so in truth I think the trip down was around 75 bets (what would normally be a 6 racker in a 4 chip 8 chip game).  All the typically bad stuff had to happen, and eventually at just before 2am I had to quit the game because I decided my play had deteriorated to the point that I was at best a small winner in the game, even though there was still an absolute whale and another fish that I've seen entire 40/80 games built around in the game.  My ability to focus was shot (I'd been at the casino for almost 18 hours at that point), and regardless of stakes any time you go on a trip down the ladder like that you really do just need to quit.  My table image was completely shot, and I wasn't taking time to make the best possible decisions in hands, and my ability to make my pet "lol live pro" soul read folds had been almost completely neutralized.  As usual with some or even most of the hands you just end up in the most retarded spots you possibly can range-wise (I made three crying calls with river full houses and guess what lost all three...stuff like 99 vs TT on a 444 flop, you know the drill), and with others you just get sucked out on violently (4 way 3 bet pot, I have AA, board reads K22 and I get to put in 3 bets against 44, river 4 she just donks right out...JJ vs Q9 on QQJ-A-A).  I mean, it's a combination of anything.  You get 3-bet by J7s and get to cap with with AQo 3 ways and can't win, same guy flops a nut flush against your over pair, blah blah blah.

Lots of weird stuff happened throughout the 8 hours I lost the 75 bets.  This guy who never ever sits above 1/2 sat, and everyone was shocked, and his aces got cracked on like the 3rd hand and he lobbied for 45 minutes like he always does and bitched and moaned and tapped the glass and eventually booked a $4k win playing like a complete tool shed (slow playing full houses, missing tons of value).  This long time high stakes pro went on stone cold monologue tilt after I 3-bet her with K8s saying stuff like "I have plenty of chips to burn, you want to burn chips, we'll burn chips together" and then proceeded to play every hand for 30 minutes straight.  To quote a wise man "the wheels were off the bus" but it didn't matter, when I stopped out at 2am she had $60k in front of her, our fortunes after her rant differing by some preposterous fraction of my entire net worth.  To be clear, I 3-bet the K8s because I had seen her iso 3-bet the whale, from the SB no less, with 98o.  Nine.  Eight.  Off.  OOP.  So I mean really, at that point all bets are void (a quick poker cruncher run shows K8s has 48.5% equity vs a 43% 3-betting range, which is the point at which it auto-includes the 98o...and that would be for cold-capping the freaking this cause I just 3-bet her which had to be correct).  I've realized something about these high stakes regulars;  there is no joking with them, no busting their chops, no trying to be one of the guys.  They believe they are the cool kids and anybody who hasn't paid his dues is going to get no respect what so ever.  In short, they do everything they can to make sure you know they feel superior to you.  It's pretty tough to adjust to at first, and my natural inclination to make small talk and be friendly really gets me into trouble once in a while.  Like, I can't really describe it accurately, but there are just a few of them who will never ever ever give you credit for saying anything funny or interesting whatsoever, and always treat you like a social outcast.  Honestly the lengths to which they go to make you look like a little kid or whatever are pretty laughable and transparent.  Whatever, it's fine, that's the way they want to do business that's fine with me.

So yeah, that about sums it up.  I played 27 hours in two days and am not sure how I feel about the result.  Like of course if I'd stayed til 2am and booked even a $5k win, or played all night or whatever, I'd be happier about it.  It was actually pretty sad that I had to stop out, but it is what it is.  Honestly if you quit every time you went on a 75 bet down tick for the rest of your life you probably wouldn't really be costing yourself much if any money.  So that's what I did.  I'm taking today off for mental health purposes, which is a shame since I'm supposed to leave for Vegas tomorrow for ANOTHER bachelor party (with basically the same group of guys from last weekend), but it's fine really.  I'm pooped and just won't play well if I go in today, so a day with the dogs it is.  The whole thing is weird, in exactly the same way as the original massive win was.  It doesn't really matter.  Objectively, it just doesn't change the way I'm supposed to do business.  Now subjectively it certainly changes the way I feel, and could have an effect on my confidence and therefore game selection decisions in the future, but honestly it just doesn't actually matter.  It's hard to believe I can say that, but it's true, which is why the longer I go past the event the closer to normal I'm feeling.  Which I guess speaks volumes about how far I've come.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


Well, not really, but it's always good to have goals and I hit some milestones on the way to two of mine recently.  Yesterday I logged my 1000th hour of the year, which puts me on pace to crush not only my goal of 1800, but also my all time season record.  And in somewhat more important (although decidedly less controllable) news, I am currently bouncing around the plus 600 bet line for the year.  That's just swell, honestly.  I don't have any illusions of being a bet per hour winner, at least not given how many hours I play, and my stated (I suppose privately) goal for the year is to win 1000 bets.  I've probably mentioned this before, but I just don't think an entire bet per hour is possible in the current environment unless you are extremely picky about what games you sit in (and therefore don't grind anywhere near the hours I'm planning to put in).  The rake is just so high, and the truly great games just move so slowly, that I don't really think you can do it.  I suppose a dedicated 20/40 (or even 40/80) grinder who consistently played in the overnight commerce games could probably pull it off, but honestly we will never know because even if somebody does it for 3000 hours straight that honestly wouldn't mean very much about anything (their actual win rate being that high in the past, or their win rate being that high in the future).  So like I said I'm super happy to win like half to three quarters of a bet per hour.

And I guess that's about it.  I'm going out of town for the (long weekend) and feel like I could use the rest.  I haven't taken a day off since May 28th!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day!

I've made it a habit the last few years of sending a simple "Happy Father's Day" text to all my friends who are proud papas.  The trouble is it's getting pretty difficult to remember everyone;  I'm sure I missed a few, so hopefully this will catch them.  Happy Father's Day everyone!

Today was one of those days that makes you want to come back tomorrow.  I played for 6.5 hours in amazing games, bad stuff happened all around me (the 3rd 40 got started DOA, then fired up for 20 minutes, then broke.  the second 60 started, which promptly broke the second 40, 20 minutes after I'd moved from the second 40 to the first.  then the second 60 broke, so they restarted the second 40.  which then broke again), but just not to me.  If I had ace king I turned a king, and if I was beat I lost the minimum.  It was grand.

I put another notch in my oh-fer belt taking pieces of friends in the WSOP, with howmany failing to cash the $10k HORSE event.  He actually headed in to day two 12th of 152 remaining players or something pretty impressive, but in these limit events the blinds go up and up and up and pretty soon you have 3 times a starting stack but only 15 bets and that's often all she wrote.  I did enjoy reading about the stud eight hand where danny negs made a 9 high flush and a 76 and got scoopie doo'ed...I'm not sure why it just seems like he has probably run pretty good in his life, except that time Gus Hansen dinged him for like $300k in one hand on high stakes poker (google it).

The next three weeks are pretty ugly for me schedule wise, with an east coast trip for a bachelor party, then theoretically a 4 day weekend in vegas (for another bachelor party) followed immediately by another 4 day weekend in vegas (for the two plus two meetup).  We'll see how long I'm actually out there for those two events, but I wouldn't want to disappoint leo doc by not basking in his hospitality :)

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Tax Loophole

I think I just figured out something pretty cool.  If it's actually accurate, I'm both shocked nobody has ever told me about it before and annoyed that I didn't come up with it sooner, especially since I basically already did it once a few years ago.  Here's the basic idea.

There are two classes of retirement accounts available to most Americans.  Both classes allow for tax free growth of assets, and the rules on when you can withdraw the money vary a little from one specific account to the next, but they'are all pretty much the same with one major distinction.  In the first type, you fund the account with post tax dollars.  A Roth IRA is an example of this type of account.  If your income is low enough (which has never been a problem for me in the past lol) you can contribute $5K/year into the thing.  Many years from now when you withdraw the money it won't be taxed, since you already paid your share before you ever put it in the account.  The second type of account is funded with "pre tax" dollars.  A 401k is an example of this type, and most people with real jobs know how these work.  You make contributions throughout the year that come directly off your paycheck, BEFORE your taxes are calculated.  So if you make $50K, but contribute $5K to the 401K, your taxable income at the end of the year is only $45K.

This is all well and good, and a lot of people discuss which one is better for you based on a couple of obvious parameters (if you think taxes are going to go up or down, and if you think your income will be higher or lower than it is now in retirement).  But what a lot of people don't know is that if you have both types of accounts you can choose (with some restrictions) exactly which year you "roll over" the balance from the second type (pre tax money) to the first (post tax money).  By doing so, you get to control what year you pay the taxes in.  I actually already did this once back in 2010, when I basically made no money whatsoever and had $30K or something sitting in my old Oracle 401K account.  I rolled it over into my roth and paid taxes at an extremely low rate (since the rollover was like 75% of my income or something ridiculous).  At the time I kind of just thought that was a one time thing and yay good for me, but recently I realized it doesn't have to be.  As a self employed person I am eligible to open and contribute to a SEP IRA;  this account is basically a replacement for the fact that I don't have access to my employer's 401k.  I can contribute up to 25% of my net income (up to I believe $50K), which will come off my taxable income (except for self employment tax, which I still have to pay on it, I think) and therefore reduce my tax liability.

At this point anybody who is still following along (and I can't fault you if you're not) has to be saying "so what, Jesse?  It doesn't really matter that much which year you pay the taxes in, does it?"   For a normal person, that would be true.  But for a professional poker player with an extremely variable income, it most certainly is not.  If you are a cash game pro for 10 years you are bound to have good years, great ones, and terrible ones.  If you take care to contribute as much as you can to the SEP in the boon years, then rollover the balance in lean years (you can do the rollover any year you make less than $100K), your tax savings could be quite large.  If you take into account the possibility of a large tournament score shooting your income into the middling 6 figures, or quitting cards to "go back to school" and having a near zero income year, they could be flat out massive.  But even without those two events (which are both extremely unlikely for yours truly), it's still worth doing.  Suppose you play the mid stakes games around LA and have a good year where you post $120K, then follow it up with a $40K clunker.  If you contributed 25% of the $120k to a SEP, you'd avoid paying taxes "from" $120K down to $90K.  Then in the next year when you rolled it over, the taxes would be incurred "from" $40k up to $70k.  Obviously the more extreme the swings in income, the more useful this trick is, but the basic idea is sound.  I even asked my tax guy, and he said it's a great idea.  So there you have it, tax advice for the professional grinder.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

There is No Theme

Lot of stuff going on, none of it actually that important.  Yesterday I posted what I think was the biggest loss of my life, playing 1/2 with this super fishy and perhaps high on more than life lady who couldn't stay in her seat for more than 5 hands in a row.  Blah blah blah, couldn't win a hand, lost 2 or 3 racks, then she evaporated (after lobbying 2 laps, coming back to the table in the CO, waiting til her blinds, playing the big and small, then missing all her free hands and lobbying 3 more laps after that) and I played 60 for a bit and got dusted off also and  when it was all over I was missing $8K.  I went home feeling completely fine about it, which was just sorta weird.  Contrast that with today, where I played 60 and won a bunch, then played 40 and immediately won I don't even know how much like 4 or 5 racks, then checked traffic at 2:15 hoping to take an early out mental health day (I mean really, who wouldn't go home up $7K the day after the biggest loss of his life?  what sane person wouldn't give himself that piece of mind?) but the five was already closed so I stayed and torched off every penny I was up in the 40.  I still went home up quite a bit (like $2k or something) but it felt way way worse than the previous day when I'd actually lost a ton.  So that's the way poker fucks with you, or at least one of the ways, which is just weird.  I mean, I know it's just me being stupid, but I can't make the feeling not happen.  Strange.

I'm spraying off chunks left and right taking pieces of people in the WSOP.  Some all of them are one offs (10% of numbnuts in the $5k LHE, 1/3rd of a buddy in the $1500 FR LHE) and some of them are package deals (10% of allstart over the entire series), but they all have something in common; zero cashes.  Alas, I'm hoping allstart can get the magic luck box rolling, otherwise when all is said and done it's not gonna look very pretty.  Of course he could just run super deep in the main event and that'd make everything awesome, but I'd rather be free-rolling at that point if at all possible.

There was more I wanted to say...oh yeah, I've made some stunningly terrible decisions and mistakes in the past 48 hours, but it looks like I'll get away with them pretty much scott free.  One involves loaning money, which is often a horrible idea but as DosEquis told me yesterday "you're never going to get somebody totally buried in a game if you don't take chances like that from time to time" and well I took a chance and it worked out.  The other was deciding to pay attention to the radio while hanging up my phone in traffic and rear ending a highlander this morning.  Nothing serious, I almost got stopped, I have insurance obviously, but jeeze what a dumbass thing to do.  I haven't been in many traffic accidents that were my fault in life, and was doing great for like 5 years running and I'm just pissed off at myself for not paying more attention.  Like, to be honest it's shocking I hadn't done it sooner or been smashed into myself by now given how much time I spend driving around in high traffic situations, but sucked.

And in closing...I is unbarred!  That's right, I just got the word yesterday that I'm officially welcome back at the Bike.  I don't know if I'll go back or not, but it's at least nice to have the option.  So that's about that, I suppose.  A special shout out and good luck to Death Donkey, who went out of his way to send me a super duper long email about my successful white chip shot and what it meant and how I should handle it, and therefore was rewarded by a stroke from the run good stick and a final table in the LHE shootout.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Fantastic Beat With Bonus Foiled Angle Shot Coverage

This one was just priceless.

I'm playing 40 at Commerce, and I don't remember the pre-flop action but think I got in a 3 bet and saw a flop 4 or 5 ways with jacks.  I could be wrong, but there were some players and I had jacks and the board fell


Being that I was siting in the commerce 40, the first thoughts that were going through my mind were how I was going to manage to lose this pot.  It seemed rather difficult, even for me in that game on such a board, but where there is a will there is most certainly a way.  Nothing interesting happened on the flop, which is a tell tale sign that something horrible is going to happen on a later street.  I bet and three players called, one of the blinds, an early position player (who may or may not have raised preflop, I can't remember now), and a late position idiot.


OK, so I've gone from the stone nuts on a rainbow board to the third nuts on a board with a flush draw.  This isn't too bad.  The EP player bets into me, the late position guy folds, and I raise it right up.  The blind calls two cold, and right there I know it's coming.  This guy is a super fishy Asian that the 60 routinely gets built around, and he's just going to crush me, I can feel it.  While I'm worried about him destructicating my jacks the EP player has gone into the tank.  I gather my wits long enough to study him and attempt to divine if he is hollywooding or genuinely considering his action.  I decide it's a hollywood job for sure and that I'm pretty much fucked.  Then he 3 bets.  I just call, which is completely ridiculous in retrospect.  I mean really, the guy is supposed to show up with 97 here and just donk the turn like that right into me?  He's not going to go for the old check 'em and raise 'em plan there with the stone Bo Na Fee Days nuts?  Come on Jesse, get your fucking act together.  Dude has two pair or a set or something and even if he does have the ol' nine seven ball you have TOP SET and there is a dude drawing behind you.  But I don't cap it because I play bad and we see a river.


And the dude in the blind goes into the tank.  He goes in for so long it's just flat weird, and I become 100% sure he's made his hand.  Something in the back of my mind tells me that has to be the case, that I've seen this movie before, but the salient details escape me.  What is he trying to accomplish?  Finally he he taps his hand up and down with 8 chips in it and in the same instant the EP player checks and before I know what has happened he has released those chips and sprayed them into the pot.  The dealer is stunned and before I can say anything the EP player calls the bet!  At this point it all becomes clear as day; he was trying to see if the EP player would bet for him so he could check/raise both of us, but he got foiled and then went for the tried and true angle shot "late bet."  He tried to argue that he'd just been tapping his chips up and down and I just laugh at him while asking the dealer to call the floor.  She looks at me funny and says "I thought he checked" and I have to chuckle at her also.  I second my request for a floor ruling and the EP guy explains "yeah that was weird, I thought he had checked" and I respond "It's not weird at all, it's an obvious angle" and the offender eventually says "fine fine fine no bet" and takes back his chips.  At this point I check back my top set and he rolls the A7o for "five in a row," then proceeds to needle me saying "I knew you had a set."  I congratulate him on a fine effort and we move onto the next hand.  And in closing, the astute reader will notice that the EP player did not have a 7 in his hand and therefore had something like 88 or 68 or whatever and was drawing stone dead or to one out vs me, and I just took a beat where had something like 93% equity 3 ways on the flop, then had to defend against an angle shooting attempt at flat cheating on the river.  2/4 run good non-withstanding, poker is still hard.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Full Disclosure

I hemmed and hawed about actually putting this story up here, but I don't really think anything bad can come of it and if so I'll just take it down so here we go....the full details of how Tuesday went down.  As I said I spent Monday playing 1/2 all day in a pretty amazing game that started with three spots, then dropped to two, and eventually got back up to four or so.  I won, which was swell, although I did lose an entire rack of chips during my courtesy lap, played while the main spot was racking.  I was only in that game because a floor man had the foresight to put me on the board even though I never even asked him to.  In short, I got super lucky.  Fast forward to Tuesday....

I rolled into Commerce around 10:25am and couldn't believe my eyes.  The 1/2 was already running, but it was only 6 handed, the whale was in seat 9, and seat 1 was open!  I locked the seat and went to get some bullets;  when I came back the last few seats were filling, with this lady trying to figure out how to steal the one hole from me (just not gonna happen).  By 10:35 we were 9 handed with a half dozen names on the board, and to be perfectly frank seat 9 was the only reason to be in the game.  The other 8 players were a mixture of high stakes regs (3), 40 grinders (2) taking shots, and east coast visitors (3) who are there more and more these days since Black Friday and play (good) anywhere from 60 on up.  But I had the best seat, and when the live one is as live as this one, you only need one to keep a game alive.  So gamble we did, and I got to run like the very wind itself once again, dragging pot after pot after pot an getting up over three racks before seat 9 ran out of money (I'm not sure how much he dusted off, but it was at least as much as I'd won, probably more).

This is where shit started to get interesting.  He told us he'd be coming back, but any declaration like that is always tenuous.  We played on, taking turns lobbying.  Two or so players gave up their seats, unwilling to wait and spotting greener pastures in other areas of the room.  I was determined to play through as long as possible, given that I had the best seat (were it not for that I definitely would have given up...Kim even asked me, twice, what on Earth I was doing staying in game...and that's saying something).  Eventually the phone calls started, and it became clear that the man of the hour was having, or perhaps simply always had, some funding issues.  Negotiations took place through the table captain's phone, and it was agreed that seat 9 would return with not one but two large cashier's checks and gamble would resume, post haste.

After 2.25 hours of excruciating play (during which I think I held my own and managed to lose only a little), the man of the hour returned....and immediately demanded that we kick the game up to 2/4.  We played a few hands, and the table captain tried to talk him down, then to compromise on 150/300, but he wasn't having it.  He was the spot, he knew he was the spot, and he was stuck $10K or whatever and he knew he could get whatever he wanted.  So a dealer was called and it looked like it all might fall apart, but only one player was really objecting and then I realized that if I didn't object they'd just convert the game straight away and I'd get to keep my seat.  To boot I was on the button!  So when the floor called for objections there was just one lone voice and bang, I was playing 2/4.  While we changed out the quarters (they play the 1/2 with a mixture of $25 and $100 chips for some reason, I'm not really sure why) to all $100s (again, why not just use $50 chips?  For the record I actually really liked the two chip four chip structure, it really keeps the game moving along at an amazing clip) I had an internal dialogue regarding piecing out my action.  I could probably do it easily, as I could think of quite a few people who would take small pieces and one or two who might just whole sale take half of it.  But I decided, probably irrationally, to keep all of it for myself.  This was my spot, I'd found it, and I was up like $13k in the last day in a half.  If I just dusted all of that off, nothing was really going to change in my life.  That's the whole point of having a bankroll and playing "within" it;  so long as the money you could lose doesn't change your ability to play the games you want to play, you really should just take shots pretty aggressively.  I was super bad about this for close to three years of my poker career, and it's just not happening anymore.  So I fired away.

To be honest I don't remember a whole lot of hands from the session.  I assumed my image would be "scared money" and that people might try to run me over, but that didn't really happen, probably because my image also quickly became "tight is right no set no bet" as I kept showing up with monsters.  I was playing pretty snug preflop, especially given the seat I had, but truth be told my starting hand distribution was just sort of polarized.  Almost everything I got dealt was a slam dunk.  I folded a few hands that I'd have probably had the nerve to play at smaller stakes, but on the whole I think I did pretty well.  I missed a few river value bets, but nothing horrendous.  For example, I checked back AK on an ace high board after a regular in the game called two bets cold three times on the flop and turn and the flush came in.  That's gotta be OK.  A few other times I probably should have fired a bet, but it was thin and I was trying to keep myself in a good mental state so I didn't have to quit the game.  And it worked beautifully.  I took breaks when I needed to, I did the Tommy Angelo stuff, and found myself relatively OK despite the monstrous stakes.  I had some stress related physical symptoms (I got a headache, my stomach tightened up, my hands shook a little), but I managed them with great aplomb.

Eventually things got pretty frantic.  It became clear that the spot was going to leave soon, and a few people quit the game, either because they got even or lost interest or went broke, and the game refused to fill probably because everyone who thought about sitting had a friend in the game who warned him we were about to break.  There were only two winners in the game (myself and one other guy) and everyone was loosening up drastically trying to make a run at the last of the spot's money.  Obviously this is just another form of tilt, and I was surprised to see it at this level.  I played the game again today (won $3000, not interesting) and saw the exact same effect, with people calling bets (either limps or raises) with hands that just have no business being in the pot.  Anyway, at 7:08pm (apparently) I tweeted that Pandora had selected Bohemian Rhapsody as the next song in my daily musical voyage.  That song has a special place in my heart, and for some reason every time it comes on good things seem to happen to me (or at a minimum nothing bad happens).  So we played a hand...I folded it.  Then I picked up kings.  The spot limped in, I raised, and all six players at the table managed to see the flop for 2 bets.  I paused the music and took out my headphones, because that's what I do when I'm trying to play good....


All hell breaks loose.  I don't even remember the action, all I know is that I passed on both 2 and 4 betting because it was obvious (once from a telegraph, and once because it just was) the raises were going to go in anyway.  I believe four of us made it to the turn, and somewhere along the way I realized that I was going against my own superstition and turned my music back on.  Bang...


And this is where I sort of failed at hand reading.  The guy who cold called preflop then raise/capped the flop almost certainly had to have a draw.  And if he did manage to have something like QT or JT, he's going to take a free card here.  So I think I'm supposed to donk into him, because if I check and he does bet, I'm probably behind, and obviously he might not bet.  My hand is WAY under-repped at this point, all I've done is raise preflop then call a bunch of bets on the flop (I think 1/2/1...the first time I was literally waiting to raise a "safe" turn to try and protect my hand) and well...I check and am not really sure if I'll even raise and he bets.  The SB calls, which seals the deal I have to put in the raise.  Even if he showed me a flush my money isn't going in that badly, and there has to be a chance I still have him beat.  So I raise and he three bets immediately.  Great.  The small blind calls and I call and....


A beautiful, pristine, wonderful, board pair.  Somehow the small blind donks and I just raise right away and...they both fold.  Pretty sick fold by the sb, I actually suspect he had ace four with the ace of hearts but I just don't know.  He claimed to have the nut flush after the hand but that's just impossible to believe, given that he passed on two chances to raise the turn.

Anyway while all this madness was happening seat 9 had racked up his chips and decided to quit!  We didn't play another hand (they converted the game to HT), and I stacked up what was a nearly ten thousand dollar pot.  When all was said and done I realized I had over $42k in front of me.  That's right...forty two thousand.  I realize it'd probably bad form to even put this blog post up, and in the future I'll keep my exploits at the higher stakes games to a minimum, but this was just too much and as a first time I had to share it.  I started the day with $9k in front of me and ended up with over twice as much as I spent on my car!  I walked to the cage just stunned, completely stupefied.  The cashier asked me, twice, if I was OK, if I needed a verification of the count, and I eventually just had to respond "No, everything is fine.  I know I don't look it, but I'm very, very happy.  With everything."  I left all the money in my player's bank, drove home, and immediately called Pete because who else is going to listen to this sick brag better than him?

And that was that.  Yesterday I played 40 pretty much all day (with a brief stint in the 60) and it was business as usual, with me loosing 3 racks, winning them all back, then losing 2.5 of them in the last 60 minutes.  But today I got in at 10:30 and the game was running again and I simply couldn't resist.  I didn't have nearly as good of a seat, but I played for 5 hours anyway, running at first like the very wind itself then getting punched in the gut over and over (AQ < 73o on A77-Q, KT <  J7s on KT4, 99 < KJs on QT9, AA < QQ on 984sss-3r-Q, KQ < J5s on KJ3).  The reason to be there was leaving soon, but to be honest I thought I was playing as well or better than most everyone in the game (there were two players not showing any signs of tilt, but everyone else was definitely letting it get to them).  I decided to quit anyway probably an hour or so before the game broke, up as I said about $3000 (from a peak of over 12).

So here's the thing...I'm not really sure what all of this means.  Like, it's one thing to take selective shots at a game like that, but to play in it regularly?  I don't think I currently have the stomach for it, and I'm not sure if I ever will.  I've spoken to several people who have said that playing really any higher than like 1/2 is just a very stressful and terrifying existence, and I can see why.  At 1/2 you're going to be able to keep your losses pretty manageable.  In fact setting a stop loss of like $7500 (three racks) would be completely reasonable.  Honestly not much good every happens after you lose that much anyway.  But at a game like 2/4 (which would always be threatening to kick up to 3/6) that's not really gonna work;  the numbers are just going to get huge.  And it's not like the games go regularly, so your results in them are going to simply dominate all your other results for the month (or quarter, or year).  At the same time I've spoken to other people who say that playing super big is a good way to get really good.  You learn to focus, you learn to pay attention, hand basically figure out how to play your best, and then everything else feels easier when you play smaller.  Lots of people have told me about such an effect when moving down, and I can see it already.  The 40/80 I played yesterday was just...easier.  But at the same time, I still probably made a couple of plays at game speed that after the fact I can easily say weren't correct.  Anyway...

So what am I going to do moving forward?  I honestly don't know.  For the short term I plan to just pick my spots and be willing to sit in "the big one."  Am I going to have trouble grinding  hours in the 40, where I just lose and lose and lose and lose and lose?  Maybe.  Am I going to continue to list myself for 20/40 games?  Probably.  One thing is for sure, though....things aren't going to be the same.  My perspective has changed dramatically, and I'm walking with a little bounce in my step.  Booking a win of that magnitude, one that's singlehandedly larger than any downswing you've ever had, just does wonders for your confidence.  And it makes you (re)realize that your day to day results in games that you're super duper comfortably rolled for simply don't matter.  At the same time I've heard lots of stories of players booking wins like this and then just blowing themselves up, playing too high for too long without regard for game quality and the like.  That's definitely not something I'm going to do.  I hope :)

In closing....if you're reading this and feel that anything I've put up is inappropriate for any reasonable reason, please contact me directly via whatever method you can.  I've pulled posts in the past because people I respect have advised me to, and it's possible that'll happen with this one, too.  Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Word is Going to Get Out

I thought about just not mentioning anything on my blog about what just happened to me, but word is going to spread because it's not like it's a secret or anything so here goes.  I guess first I should say what happened yesterday....I didn't even list myself for 1/2, then they started a game and the floor came over and asked if I wanted a seat.  I asked him to lock one, then hesitated, then saw who was in the game and at the hinting of Kim's "The answer is yes, dip shit" (she may not have said the dip shit part but if so it was a glaring omission on her part) and ran back to the game and managed to get a seat.  I was treated to a poo flinging contest for the ages and managed to book a pretty large win, even in terms of bets (and simply huge in the scope of my career numbers in terms of dollars).  Fast forward to today...I show up at 10:30 and the 1/2 is just firing up 6 handed.  I lock the best seat, get chips, and spend 2 hours winning another 3 racks.  Then I wait patiently in a craptastic game for the reason to be there to get back there, and sure enough he eventually is there again and immediately demands we kick the game up to 2/4.  There is one objection, but that is all.  So that is how it came to pass that I played almost five hours of 200/400 LHE today.  How I won 67 bets is another matter entirely, but it still did in fact happen.  

So there you have it...over the last two days, playing basically higher than I have ever played and then twice as high as that, I have won 125 bets. 

Saturday, June 2, 2012

The Commerce 40 Personified

Two Asians face off for a battle of free card fancy play champions. Seat 1 opens EP and seat 3 cold calls first in. The BB calls but doesn't get far. To the flop


BB checks S1 checks S3 bets. BB calls S1 c/r. S3 3-bets BB folds S1 4-bets. S3 grabs 8 chips but drops 4 off on the way in and just calls.


S1 bets S3 raises again S1 3-bets and S3 finally surrenders. At this point the BB declares "I had Queen!" to which I respond "that's probably good"


S1 bets. S3 calls. S1 shows K9dd and loses to K6ss.

Friday, June 1, 2012

I Play So Bad

Today was another long day at Commerce;  they are all just getting so very long.  Like, I left the house before 8am, hit the gym, and was on the floor by 9:30 (traffic is usually light on Friday mornings), but didn't have a seat for almost an hour.  That was the longest I've been shut out to start a day in quite some time, and it was just sorta...shitty.  Eventually I got, a 20/40 seat, hit n ran them in one orbit for nearly a rack, and then the 60 started.  I had my choice of the 40 or the 60, but didn't like the 40 lineup and gambled the must move they were about to start would be better by taking the 60 (which also lokked bad) for 20 minutes.  I was correct on both counts, jumped out of the 60 and got myself like 8th up to move out of the second 40 game which was rather juicy.  Then the 60 almost broke, some fish found their way in, and I manged to list myself and be first up, and I got a seat after only 75 minutes of 40/80.  And then I played 7.5 hours of 60, and then I drove home.  Total time away from the house, 13 hours and 15 minutes....that's a long ass day by almost anyone standards except perhaps Danielle.

I don't really want to stay as long as I do, but I have little incentive to come home early as traffic is routinely awful until 7:30 (and on Fridays like today was still brutal at 8:30), but it is sort of good, I suppose, to be logging heavy hitter hours for once.  I have cut way back on the coffee (one cup per day, and it can't be starbucks) and it seems to be helping my sleep and therefore my concentration and all that good stuff.  So for now I guess whatever I'll play 13 hour days.  But to the point of this post, namely that I still play so very very bad so very very often.  Hands....

Hand 1

I open the cutoff and a lagfish regular 3 bets me on the button.  He recently cold called in this exact spot with A9o.  He does things like opening Q3s in the HJ, betting the flop, getting 3 calls, then checking third to act when he turns trip threes.  He also loves him some free cards, and will 3 bet any flop in position with basically any holding that needs a free card.  Like, he got me recently with A8o on like a JT3 board, runner runnered a one card 8 high flush, and raised his hands in the air declaring "I am champion" as he collected my river bet.  In short he is just flat fucking awful.  The small blind calls...he's very bad, but my read on him is that he needs some semblance of a hand to call 3 cold from the small blind.  Fail fail fail.


SB checks, I check, button bets and SB raises....I tank and believe it not fold my hand.  The button calls, the turn and river are a 4 and an 8, and the river checks through.  They chop it up with A3o (button) and A6s (sb).  LOL way to go Jesse, way to go.  I just need to grit my teeth and call there, right?  I dunno, it seemed like a pretty good fold at the time.

Hand 2

I open the SB with A6s and the BB just calls (he's the button from the last hand).  We flop


I bet and he calls.


I check, and he hollywoods for a full 10 seconds before firing his bet into the pot.  I should actually fold WHILE he's hollywooding now that I think about it, but for some reason I actually fall for it (god I suck) and call both streets (not improving on the river) to be shown Q7o

Hand 3

A super laggy regular (who routinely plays higher) opens like the far jack, I 3 bet 77 in the HJ, and both blinds calls (one is a whale, the other a laggy regular).  The opener just calls and we flop


The blinds check and the opener just donks.  Now here's the problem...I don't think about my action for more than 2 seconds before making a decision.  I don't try to reduce his holdings (he didn't cap preflop so he probably doesn't have a super premium hand, but he could have 99 or TT or something...he'd likely slow play or at least c/r 88, he almost certainly doesn't have a 5).  I just...fold.  Seriously, I folded my hand.  Like, what on Earth am I thinking there?  I didn't consider that there were 13 small bets in the pot already.  I just put him on an 8 and laid down my walkin' sticks.  Now in fairness I have the only hand in my entire range that I would fold in this position (I don't think I'd have 3 bet him with 66 preflop even) so in a way I just got super, duper unlucky, but still.  Folding here is bad, as we will see in a minute.  One of the blinds call, the turn is a card and the river repairs the board and it goes check check.  The opener shows, and wins with....AK.  That's right, he has ace fucking king.  Like, really?  He opts not to cap preflop in a 4 way pot with two guys so far behind they  can't see...well, I don't know where I was going with that but they are way the fuck behind.  Then he gets a mediocre flop and decides to...value donk ace high, I guess?  That's his plan?  Fuck.

Hand 4

Same villain as the opener last hands limps up front (for what it's worth whatever modicum of respect I had for his skills previously was incinerated this evening) and I raise it with the 99.  We see a flop 5 ways (what an amazing game) and I get a good one


I bet and 3 people call me.  This is one of those "bleh" spots in good LHE games where you're going to have to bet the turn and it's just going to be ugly because lets be honest there aren't many very good cards that can roll off here.  Anyway the king ball hits and one player checks and he just donks right into me again.  Hand 3 is still fresh in my mind so like a dummy I call, then call a blankish river and get shown the K5s.  Blarg.

Hand 5

CO opens SB 3 bets I cold cap QQ 3 ways


I bet CO raises SB cold calls and I just...stop.  I do not 3 bet.  Why do I not 3 bet?  I don't know.  But I don't.  Turn jack and obviously it checks through because that's what it does when you don't 3 bet oop, river is a card I bet and get one call and win a pot that is missing quite a few chips.

So yeah, that was my day, playing not great (and in fairness some of these were tricky spots but I should get them right or at least think about my actions longer than I did in some cases) but somehow winning a little.  That's poker.  I also did make some super slick plays though, which I had all but forgotten about until just now (3 come to mind), so I suppose I shouldn't be too hard on myself.

1/2 With Squeaky

I've had lots of stuff to blog about but haven't been able to make the time. Philly was nice (wedding) but apparently is the hottest place on Earth. We saw Valley Forge Tuesday and it was 93 and humid; not the weather you want for walking around and seeing cannon and redoubts and the like. I must have stunk so bad on the flight home....

So I closed out the month Wed-Thurs, and to be honest have been playing pretty big on average, bigger than I've intended to be anyway. Wednesday I sat 60 all day, and yesterday I played 1/2 for 2.5 hours (I was first up for 3.5 hours before that). Somehow I played with Squeaky and won 3 racks, which is just unbelievable. That win allowed me to close out May in the black by a few thousand, which is pretty sad given I had a $10k day and $7k one in the past 2 weeks. The commerce 40/80 hole is now close to 400 bets deep.

I've played 390 hours in two months though, so that's good. And I solved the "waiting for luggage" problem. Quickly...suppose you're waiting for N bags. What is the expected percentage of bags that will be offloaded when you have all of yours? Well...if N is 1 obviously it's 50 (or .50 you get it). As I was waiting for our 3 bags Tuesday night I realized as N increases your wait time goes up a ton. Eventually I figured out it's this

1 minus the integral from zero to one of x^N

Think about it. It's kind of neat. Ok I'm on my phone spraying off $6000 in the 60 somehow gotta focus.