Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Big Long Talks and Big Honking News

So the mental health day ended much better than I thought it would.  Turns out there was absolutely nothing wrong with my car's brakes;  I left it with the dude for 3.5 hours and when I called him he honestly said they couldn't find anything wrong.  This is an astonishing result, for two reasons...first of all, there should be something wrong since the light went off.  Second of all even if there wasn't I've have expected him to fabricate a problem.  He tried to up-sale me on a few things, specifically a "rear brake tightening" that sounded like bullshit, but I passed and for the first time in the recorded history of human events someone left their car at a mechanic for three hours and spent zero dollars.  Weird.

Then there is the latest update on the full tilt and stars saga, which seems to be "holy shit they freaking did it!"  That's right, according to some very, very reputable sources (PPA, ESPN, WSJ) a deal has officially been reached.  I am not very good at reading the fine print, but all of it is available on the ESPN article in pdf form if anybody is interested.  To me it sounds like there is going to be a whole lot of left pocket right pocket accounting, the upshot of which will be that if you lived in the United States on April 14th, 2011 and have a balance on Full Tilt Poker, you're going to need to make some sort of application through the DOJ to get your funds back, theoretically in full.  In return for filling this giant pot of money, Poker Stars seems to be avoiding, completely, prosecution for flagrantly flaunting the laws of the United States of America, and gaining control of Full Tilt's full array of patents and software (which have to be worth hundreds of millions of dollars, given the eventual likelihood of legalization of internet poker stateside).  What does the government get out of it?  Well in theory they are making a lot of their citizens very happy, which should be enough.  But on top of that, this whole "application to the DOJ" thing seems like it's going to result in an awful lot of people owing an awful lot of taxes.  I should be fine, since I basically never made any money online until the last 3 months before Black Friday anyway, but there are going to be accounts that owe way more in taxes than they even have in them.  If I were one of those guys, I'd seriously consider whether or not I ever wanted to claim ownership of my money.  To quote JoeTall, "money fell from the sky" today.

I also just had a random and long talk with DosEquis, over skype of all things, where he explained to me that he has spent the last six weeks devoting himself to becoming, basically, a day trader.  He has done a ton of reading and even traded on a paper account for several weeks (in Mexico...I'm not sure why he went to Mexico to do this) and seems extremely committed to the idea of this being the direction his life is going to go next.  I'm not sure how I feel about the details of what he's planning to do, but good for him is my basic synopsis.  He's the second person I've played a ton with the last year or so who's trying to get completely out of the game (apparently MikeL is going back to school, getting a Master's in psychology).  The theme is pretty interesting...a lot of people in the poker world are either gung ho and getting more into it, trying to play bigger and bigger, or in the process of burning out and coming up with an exit strategy.  And that's where it's kind of weird for me.  I definitely don't have any sort of specific exit strategy, although my education background would likely afford me ample enough opportunities for at least another few years.   Most other people who are in poker seem to be in it because at some point they didn't really have another option (be it right after school, or later on once their earning power got so high it didn't really make sense to stop), and I'm kind of afraid I might be going through that right now.  My earning power is now higher than it could be, at least in the short (2-3 year) term for any career I could choose to pursue.....instead of sacrificing money in order to play a game for a living, I'm now in the situation that quitting the game would actually be pretty expensive.  And that's kind of scary.  It used to be that I could have a "whatever happens happens" attitude towards the entire poker ecosystem as a whole.  If the games died, it'd be OK.  I may have had to go get a job, but it wasn't like I'd really get hurt.  Now I have a truly vested interest in the health of the Commerce top section, and that is just kind of weird.  Like, am I really going to turn into one of those 45 or 50 year old grinders who have been playing poker all their lives?  I certainly hope not....but I don't have a plan to turn into anything else, and it's not just going to happen on it's own.

So yeah...constant questions, where is my life going, what am I doing, blah blah blah.  I guess a lot of people go through this when they turn 30, so I shouldn't be alarmed or anything.  And I do suppose it's good to think about it and talk to other people and get their perspectives, but when it comes down to it I need to make sure I'm not just letting inertia rule my life and that I am looking actively for other opportunities and ways to make things...better.

In Which I Go Off

I'm probably about to go off.  I'm not completely sure, and it definitely won't be for the entire post, but I am almost certainly going to tell a bunch of stories and will likely very agitated during them.  So here we go, probably in roughly reverse order.

I am home "sick" today because yesterday was such a disaster (more on that next) that I decided I absolutely had to take a mental health day.  So I'm trying to relax, but really what I'm doing is catching up on all the life minutiae that I just no longer seem to be able to control.  Laundry.  Office is a complete mess (so much so that it has two separate entries on the to do list, one that would indicate "acceptable" and another for "above and beyond").  Super scary exclamation point warning light came on in my car last week (I finally checked the manual last night and it said "pull over and call the dealership" so driving hundreds of miles on it probably wasn't the best thing to do...I tried to take it to Midas but as usual I waited until the last minute and they were just jammed, so it's at the place down the street that up-sold me on tires a few months back getting a look see.  they gave me a ride home, and as the guy was pulling away I realized I didn't have my keys.  fortunately I had also two wrongs make a right left something unlocked on accident...anyway that's going to be bad).  Work on my speech for Chris's wedding.  Actually RSVP to the other weddings.  Try to buy wedding gifts (lot of wedding stuff here).  Try to get my new SEP IRA linked to my other accounts.  LOL Boxs is actually on the list.  Grocery shopping.  You know, just all manner of that "stuff" that I guess most people do on a day to day basis but that I just haven't really been keeping up with.  Anyway, so it's already 2pm and I guess I'm going to make some good progress but, now let's go back to yesterday.

I started the day at Commerce being shut out of the 60.  I got there at 9:10am and was third up.  15 minutes later, I'm not even kidding, there were 7 names on the board.  Kim didn't get into the main game until I quit it at 2:30pm.  Why did I quit it?  For the sake of doing something tricky, obviously, for which I was max punished.  The next 4 players to move into my game from the must move were some form of winning professional, so I decided that even though my game was good and I had a good seat, I'd probably want to bail in an hour or two anyway and therefore should take the opportunity to snake into the now forming 4th 40/80 game (I had listed myself right after a super fish walked in at 2:15pm).  Jack calls down the game, but by the time it can form there are two seats in game 3!  So I play til my blinds in the 60, during which time someone already claims my seat (and moves his chips into my spot!) and they move Kim over from the must move into the empty spot.  So I can't change my mind, and that sorta pisses me off but whatever.  I get into the game with my super fishy "friend," who truth be told is a real asshole, but everyone is leaving and I only get to spend like 90 minutes with him in the game (which isn't even that good) before getting moved to one of the two main games.  During this time I lose two racks with all manner of stupid shit happening, bringing the losses right to the edge of what I'm truly comfortable with for the day, around $4000.  By truly comfortable I mean a number that doesn't really cause me much stress.  That number used to be $800.  Then it was $2000.  Now it's really something like $3500 or so.  Anyway, now I'm in a very mediocre main game (the other game is better but I'm 3rd up to change) and am just about to quit when I get word that the bike 40 is out of control and I should consider heading over.  So of course I do, and of course I get punished for another 2.5 racks in just under 3 hours of the just the most amazing texas hold 'em game you could ever want to see.  The whole time, however, I was playing bad.  I wasn't making river folds that you just have to make, I wasn't thinking through my actions, I was coming in a few pips too loose preflop, things just weren't going very well.  I was aware of it, but I kept telling myself I could compensate, I could come out of it, and that the game was so good it didn't matter.

I can't believe I still do that stuff, 4 years in.  I literally should have just stayed put in the 60 and if the game got bad, just quit.  But I didn't.  I tried to get tricky, things went poorly, and since I'd been ignoring my own mental well being for close to two weeks my tilt armor was dangerously low and boom, max punishment AND the feeling that you could have prevented it AND were playing bad and it just sucks.  So that's where I am now....on the couch, wishing I hadn't played since Friday.

I was going to tell some stories about people getting wires crossed (thinking they are value betting when they are actually bluffing because I mean really what the fuck are you doing man) or Mr. Lee saying to me "if you call me mosquito, I fuck you" at the table (this one was kind of funny, because I got to call the floor man over and elegantly explain what had happened, asking if it was ok, during which I managed to say the phrase "fuck you" to, but not really to, Mr. Lee at least five times) but I just don't have the energy.  Day off, August starts fresh tomorrow, adios.

More Online Poker News

Unlike the last one, this seems pretty legit.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Long Week

It has been an incredibly long week.  Come to think of it, the thing might not even be over yet, as there is some chance I'll end up playing tomorrow, but boy could I use a day off.  The stats on the monster so far are:

Colds Defeated:  1
Butt in Seat Hours Played:  52
Bets Won:  133
Dollars Won:  ~$15k
Bad Commute Percentage:  75

You see, I kind of got into a rhythm of getting to Commerce as early as possible and making sure I got a seat in the 60 game.  The thing tends to fill up pretty quickly if it has run over night (which was happening regularly) and it's possible to spend literally several hours first up on the list if you show up at the wrong time.  So by Friday I was walking in the door BEFORE 9am, which is just ridiculous if you think about it for more than a few seconds.  Nine in the morning?  To walk into the casino?  That's just absurd.  Under ideal conditions (ie, after 8pm on weekdays), the drive is 35 minutes.  More realistically it's 45, and some days this week I barely sneaked in under an hour.  But it worked out.  Yesterday alone I logged 11 hours of 60/120 play (and that's accounting for breaks).  Today I took it kind of easy, playing for just 6 hours.

I learned some stuff, too, which is always fun.  I have a new rule, one that is kind of an old rule to most pros but that I would have done well to listen to the last few weeks.  It's often best to sit in the second biggest game in the room.  The corollary for Commerce is that if they are starting a 1/2 game, and you don't see a (very) compelling reason to go sit in it, you're probably better off staying in the 60.  I got tricked once this week, and ended up hating my situation and dropping back down to 40 wishing I'd never left the 60 to sit in a mediocre 1/2 game.  The next day...I didn't fall for it.  They fired up the game and two pros jumped from the 60 and the fish...didn't follow them.  Bang, amazing 60 game for the next 5 hours.   So far my results in that game have just been stupefying, to the point that I'm having trouble explaining them even to myself.  Obviously most of it is flat out running good, but I feel like there could be some other things going on as well.  It's a time game, and therefore seems to get out a lot more hands.  It's a 2/3 blind structure, which I'm pretty sure is fantastic for me.  I've started taking part in collection pots, which I think is saving me like $5/hour or something.  And most importantly, I suppose I've been game selecting for when it's good, and just playing the 40 when it's not.  I thought about this concept recently when I was working on the Run Good Ratio post, and it's kind of an oddity.  Most players have a game they ALWAYS play, meaning if a seat opens at that level they auto-sit.  For me that used to be 20.  Now it's 40.  At that level, you're not game selecting in the slightest.  You've come to the Casino for the day and you're going to play.  Sure, at a place like Commerce you do have some freedom to move around, but in the mornings for me that's often not the case.  It could be 5 or 6 hours after I arrive before there are even two main games.  But if you're selectively playing a bigger game (like the 60, or 1/2 or even white chips) you could actually, on average, be in better games, bet for bet, than when you sit in your "always play" stakes.  There are some other things to consider;  Is game quality correlated across stakes?  Could it actually be negatively correlated, meaning that a bad 60 game means the 40 games tend to be better?  And what about what's becoming my favorite trick, sitting in a mediocre 60 waiting for the correct moment to list myself for 40, right after 2 or 3 juicy names go on the board.  How does that affect things?  Should I really be considering playing 20/40 from time to time if the 40s stink, or should I just go home?  All of this stuff is very interesting, and it makes playing a day at Commerce much more stressful than a day at, say, The Bike or HG.  There you just show up and play.  At Commerce your head literally needs to be on a swivel, and there are times that you're listed for literally three games you're not currently playing and end up with multiple seats at once.  Just today, for example, it was my turn to must move out of the 40 game just as the 60 was firing up.  I tried to explain to the floor man that he should let me play my free lap in the game I was in, but he looked at me like I had two heads.  Of course I was in the small blind when he told me, so I played my button and sadly picked up a hand, which caused me to miss my cutoff for entry (the high jack) into the must move game.  So I told the dealer that I'd wait, then locked up seat 6 in the 60, drew for the button, pulled UTG, folded my free hand, took an out button, then walked back to the 40 and patiently played my free lap.  I mean...that's a fair bit of effort and angling just to make sure you don't get screwed out of a free lap (notice I didn't even get any advantage...I played my button exactly in the must move game and just took the CO through UTG in the main).

Things so far this year have just been fantastic;  quitting the bike job and subsequently getting barred was literally the best combination of things that could have ever happened.  Yesterday pushed me over 800 bets won for the year, and I haven't exactly been playing small.  If I hadn't torched off $30K over 3 successive 2/4 and 1/2 sessions...well, we won't talk about that.  As it stands right now I've already made more money that I would have deemed a successful year on January 1st, and I've done it without taking in THAT much prop or promotion pay.  It's kind of weird, but also amazingly satisfying, when periods of hard work actually line up with periods of financial success.  It feels fantastic.

Wow...that isn't where I was intending to go with this post at all.  But I guess it was kind of good.  Before I wrap up, I went on a bit of a rant here, and spilled some perhaps useful wisdom about scheduling your life as a poker player.  If 2p2 is blocked for you...meh too bad I'm not copying and pasting the whole thing you shouldn't let the man tell you what to do.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Full Tilt Update

Obviously your guess is as good as mine as to the validity of this information, but someone is reporting that Stars has completed the acquisition of Full Tilt.


Joe Tall did not denounce the report as obviously false on 2p2; he didn't endorse it either, but there is some chance it's legit.

Thursday, July 26, 2012


I am currently seated with a true blue maniac. He has raised at every possible opportunity for over 2 laps now. Our hand of the day finds him opening the CO. I 3 bet OTB with A7o, the blinds clear out he 4s I 5 bet he 6 bets and I fail to 7 bet.


He bets every street and I call every time. He then mucks without showing his hand. I think I played this hand poorly, and probably should have gone at least 10-12 bets preflop.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


I really do need them. I'm sitting at commerce in a fine 60/120. Really it's just a fine game, bonafide fish in 8-9, a laggy pro in 1, me in 2, a bad prop in 3, and regular players (with big unbalanced leaks) in 3-7. But they just started a 40 and it's amazing and as I write this the seat 8 fish racked his $4000 win and now I want to change games.

I realize now that what I liked about HG and the Bike more than anything was the lack of choices. There was one game, you played it. That was it. I really do miss that.

Monday, July 23, 2012


I don't know how this keeps happening.  It used to be rare for me to go 3 days without an entry, and now every time I turn around my last post is a week old.  Anyway, here's what's been going on with me.  Last week, after a simply torrid streak in which I won something like 300 bets in about 6 days of 40 and 60, I torched of 7 racks playing 1/2 in two days.  That hurt, badly, but I learned a good bit about myself at least the second day.  I came in planning to just take it easy, happy that the whale (who by the way the day before went AWOL for 90 minutes, then came back as they were moving him to my game and demanded a 2/4 game be created FML) wasn't coming in.  But then boom another super fishy guy wanted action and the 1/2 was forming and I just had to sit and the X man just tortured me every hand and boom...I lost 3 racks AND 2 of the 3 fish quit and I just had to get out of there.  But I didn't go home...no, I instead played 60 for 6 hours (the day before I had quit the 1/2 to play 60 also) and managed to do so very well for the entire session.  It was pretty comforting to realize I could move down to a game that, while still quite large, afforded me almost zero chance of getting even and still play well.  Like...I dunno, you just don't see many people do that.

Anyway, after that obliteration I took 3 days off to go water skiing in Yuma.  On the last day, as Danielle and her father were looking for a place to leave the spare key that we somehow had for the house we didn't get to stay in, her truck reported it was 115 degrees.  That's right...one hundred and fifteen.  I personally do not believe it is healthy to subject one's self to such absurd conditions, but I am alone in this camp.  The water in the lake/river we were playing around on also was just retardedly hot, often feeling hot to the touch despite the triple digit air temperatures.  It was just...disgusting.

Now I'm back in the saddle, but somehow I have come down with a cold/flu/respiratory infection of some sort and just made a complete mess of today.  I started off at commerce in the 60, but then made an ill advised trip to the bike (yes, lol, I actually have played there twice now this month) to try and start a must move 40 with two whales who were shut out of the main game.  Obviously this didn't happen AND the commerce 1/2 started within minutes of me walking out the door, so I am, in a word, the worst.  Hopefully the rest of the week will go more smoothly, but honestly I see no reason to believe the trend will be upward.

Monday, July 16, 2012

I Break Games

First of all a comment on my RGR;  sadly, it can be negative, and that could mean that you're either up bets and down dollars (running bad) or up dollars and down bets (running good).  In other words in that case it is rather poorly defined.  And my personal RGR for the year is currently 1.38 (I was surprised by this, as my average stakes played number came in at just a hair under 50/100).  Objectively this makes sense, though, since I have run good and spend almost all my time playing 40 or 60.

So here is what went down at the end of my session today.  The 1/2 was breaking because the reasons to play weren't playing any more, but it was 6:30pm and traffic was just FUBAR so I decided to play 40 for a bit.  There were four games and no board, shouldn't be a problem, right?  Wrong.  First I asked "do you have seats" and was told "yes" so I picked up my chips.  Turns out that was a flat lie, there was no seat, I was first up.  Fine, I waited 10 minutes, got a seat, then realized that they were playing the "move these guys slowly" game with players at my table.  I actually declared to my opponents while waiting to take my blind and eating my chicken and steamed veggies that I might not even post because I thought this game would be a "fart in the wind" inside of 10 minutes.  But I fell for it...they slow moved one guy slowly enough that I posted my blind RIGHT BEFORE they gave him his racks and I literally got to play exactly my big blind and small blind before the game, which keep in mind I had to wait to get into, broke.  Seriously, I didn't even play my button.  And these night time chip runners wonder why I don't tip them...they really do.  So I was somehow third up of 4 with broken game status (not sure how some idiot got behind me) and traffic was still boned so I waited 20 minutes shooting the shit with Dale before playing 2 laps and calling it a day.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Run Good Ratio

First of all week one of weight loss 2.0 is going swimmingly.  I started at 172.0 on Monday and tipped in at 168.6 this morning.  Obviously the first few pounds are the easiest, but I anticipate I'll need the head start a month or two from now when I'm struggling to get past 162 or so.  Anyway, on the point of the post.

Why is it that you do your best thinking in the shower?  It seems like you always hear about people having great ideas in there.  I took a short one today after a swim at our community pool and came up with a  new poker statistic, one that you can calculate for both live and online poker, and could even be included in something like HEM.  This isn't ground breaking stuff, but it was a pretty fun idea for a 4 minute rinse off shower that didn't involve shampoo.  Ladies and gentleman, I present now for your critique, "Run Good Ratio", a statistic that takes the unending frustrating of getting destructicated every time you move up and boils it down to just a single, lonely, number.

Here is how you calculate RGR in just a few easy steps;  I'll run through it for an example live Commerce grinder over the course of just 100 hours (to make the math easy).  Let's suppose his results are as follows:

20/40 - 20 hours, +40 bets

40/80 - 50 hours, +30 bets

60/120 - 30 hours, -10 bets

First we need to calculate his bets per hour, which is obviously .6 (since he won 60 bets in 100 hours). Next we need to calculate his total winnings, in dollars.  That's $1600 + $2400 - $1200, for $2800.  Easy so far, right?  Another number we'll need is his dollars won per hour, which in this case is obviously $28.   After that, the next number we want to have is his "average stake played", which is calculated as:

( (20*20) + (40*50) + (60*30) ) / 100 =  (400+2000+1800)/100 = 42

This means that on average he played stakes of 42/84, which intuitively makes sense since he played a lot of 40 and a little more 60 than 20.  We're almost there now.  Using his average staked played (of 42) and his big bets per hour (of .6) we can calculate his "running average dollars per hour" rather easily (remember I have to multiply by two to convert the 42 to a big bet):

42 * 2 * .6 = $50.4/hour

And if anybody is still following along he can probably figure out what I'm going to do next.  I did, after all, use the word ratio to name my statistic and haven't yet shown you a fraction.  RGR then is defined simply as actual dollars earned per hour over "running average dollars per hour".  In the case of our example grinder the number works out to:

28/50.4 = .555

In short, he did better when he played smaller than his average stakes, and worse when he played higher, and therefore posted an RGR of (substantially) less than one.  Obviously "running average" would equate to an RGR of exactly one, but that's really true given that bigger games are probably tougher and actual win rates should be lower in them.  But the general idea is pretty simple;  a small number means a failed shot, while a larger one means you brought the luck box with you to the big game.  I suspect that many live grinders will have RGRs substantially below one, due to some combination of survivorship bias and the peter principle (those who make it tended to run hot originally, when they were presumably playing smaller, and many tend to promote themselves up to their own level of incompetence).  I don't have time to calculate mine for the year right now, but I have a feeling it's between 1.5 and 2.0.  Lifetime, though...who knows.  And I'm not really sure how useful it is in either the short or long ish term;  it seems most useful for like a one year (or season) sample size.  Any way, that's my new stat.  If you followed along, good for you.  If not, try again :)

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Constraint Satisfaction

So I'm sitting at home after calling it quits less than three hours into my session today due to...chest pains.  That's right, I was playing 40 and started to feel this tightness and cramping in my chest, right over my heart.  I've encountered this before, but in the past it has always just gone away after a reasonably short length of time.  Today that was just not the case.  It was at least stagnant and not getting worse, right up until a moment of stress occurred in my life.  I got asked if I wanted to take the 60 seat as I was being check/raised in a CO vs Button heads up situation.  The board was of course


And I of course had 77.  The pain just spiked through my entire chest and it was just...awful.  I actually ended up hero folding the river 9, which is obviously a super fancy exploitable play in a heads up re-steal situation, but sometimes you just sorta have to.  So anyway I played 60, it didn't get better, and I came home.  So now I'm sitting on the couch having an internal dialogue with myself about how low I can set the AC (it's 94 outside), how often I have to walk Clint (he's crapped wet gooey crap in the garage 3 times in the last 15 hours), and if I should actually fire up the internet poker and play a few hands.  But first, I'll tell you the thoughts I had yesterday.

Life is all about constraint satisfaction.  It's a pretty basic AI concept that you'll go over in any introductory course on the subject, and like most of the concepts in such a course it really can have an impact on the way you think about problems in the world.  I won't really go into the details of any of the other concepts here (search, genetic algorithms, minimax, near miss learning), but after some thought I've realized that the happiness level you can achieve in your life is most likely linked to the number of constraints you have to satisfy on a daily basis.  The topic of discussion was the fact that I wanted to leave for the day but couldn't justify it because traffic was already into the "end of the world defcon 2" stage.  I told Danielle that I wished I lived somewhere where I could leave the casino between 3:15 and 7:15, but that I didn't and therefore I could not.  She replied that where we live wasn't the only problem, and she was correct, at which I point I simply explained that the departure time constraint was simply one I had to satisfy every day.  As an aside, it kind of works out like this....yes I could just leave and incur an additional 30 minutes of traffic on my way home.  The problems with that solution are numerous;  I hate sitting in traffic, so that has a cost.  I'm way more likely to get into an accident in traffic, so that has a cost.  And I could just sit and play an extra N minutes and only lose N-30 minutes of my life, so in effect my win rate is boosted some odd percentage points during that time.  The discussion kind of got me thinking....

The basic way that I live my life is to try and minimize the number of constraints that I have to satisfy. In short, all I do is try to avoid commitments, because those are simply constraints that I'm eventually going to have to satisfy.  I don't like to have a plan, and I trust my ability to get myself out of situations (or enjoy days off, whichever you prefer), on the fly without a firm schedule or set of commitments.  Having to satisfy constraints causes me stress (and maybe chest pain?) and therefore I really try hard to avoid them.  Danielle is the complete and polar opposite.  It seems that in many situations she actually endeavors to add constraints to her life, because she gets a sense of accomplishment from satisfying them.  She likes to plan every last detail, and doesn't really do contingency plans.  My entire life is one giant contingency plan!  I'm not saying who's right and who's wrong, because it could be different for each person, but it seems to me that the fewer things that you HAVE to do in your life, the more time and energy you'll have for the things you simply WANT to do. And obviously for a profession like mine having fewer constraints to satisfy will lead to making more money.  If you HAVE to be home by 10pm, that's a constraint.  Most of the time it won't be a problem, but when the whale is sitting 2/4 and you have the seat, all of a sudden satisfying it could cost thousands of dollars.  If you need 8 hours of sleep per night, that's a big constraint.  If you can't sit in a game with Squeaky because you just can't bring yourself to deal with that POS, that's a constraint.  Mortgage payment of $3000/month?  Constraint.  Can't sit in the same game as one of your horses?  Constraint.  All of these add up, and the most successful (and probably happiest) professional players seem to have very  few constraints in their lives.

Obviously some constraints simply can't be avoided, but I challenge you to think about your life from a constraint satisfaction point of view and see if there are any simple simplifications you can make to improve the way you do business.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Yay Poker

Today was my first real day back on the grind, and I had another session that seemed to show that some where out there some higher power is watching over me.  A big loss today, or even over the next week or so, really wouldn't have been good for me.  I put some of the proceeds from that huge win into the market, and I dusted off a fair bit on WSOP pieces and my horses haven't been doing very well and then I torched off the $17k and well honestly things were getting a little interesting from a "cash on hand" point of view.  I still have some markers to collect (one that will be super easy, one that basically may have been stolen yeesh that's another story) but long story short after 2.5 weeks off a big win was just what the doctor ordered.

I played 40 for the first four hours of the day, screwing the pooch mightily by passing on a decent then very good 60 game.  Somehow I managed to win a very small number (still a large loser in that game lifetime) before getting into a must move 60 game.  I won a bunch, lost some back, then won a good bit back, then got moved to the main game at like 6:30pm.  At this point I was up something like $4k for the day and was planning just to play my free lap or maybe two and then take off.  But the game was amazing and the 7pm collection happened and I just decided to stay a little longer to let the five south turn from orange to green and then boom....I got to win like 4 huge pots in a row (and take a bad beat in another hilarious one) and go home up $9k.  It went sorta like this....

I open 99, it gets raised and capped behind me, the button calls 4 cold the big blind comes along and we see a flop 5 ways


That's right....check check bet call raise 3-bet I cap call 3 cold fold call call.  Got that?  Doesn't matter, 17 more bets went in, making 37 small ones total and a 4 way pot.


And the big blind, who had check/3 bet the flop "donks" right into us.  At this point I should explain a few (obvious) things here.  I opened this pot, then check/cold-capped.  The guy who 3-bet absolutely isn't messing around (he has an over-pair) and the woman who called four cold pre then raised the flop also has something strong.  And I know all of that....

So I raise the turn, the two players behind me turbo-call 2 bets each (seriously?  I guess they have KK and AA this is AWESOME) and the big blind goes into the tank.  At first I'm happy he's in the tank, then I realize he's been in way too long and is probably going to come out shooting and BOOM he does it, 3 bets no problem.  I cringe and decide there are many combos that make sense (JJ and QT could all play this way so far) and just call.  I then declare "nice hollywood sir" which gets a laugh out of Mr. Lee.  Anyway, the river bricks off like a 5 or something he bets I call the other two players both fold and he shows...JTo.  That's right, the man has freaking jack ten.  In the face of utterly relentless aggression thus far, preflop 3 bets, caps, and calling 4 bets, and flop raises and check/cold-caps, he decided to put the 3 bet in on the flop with one pair (last place, drawing almost stone dead) then on the turn with top pair (useless) and an OESD (the other two players had all four queens, so he actually only had four outs and I was dodging only 6 card in the entire deck).  Chalk up another proof of the "somebody usually has jack ten" theorem, which states "somebody usually has jack ten."

A few hands later I got to take a 5 way flop for 3 bets with AA OTB and literally call the turn card in my head and just get it....the board was QT7r and I said to myself "four of clubs please" and bang, the four of clubs just fell off the deck completing the badugi and Mr. Lee was all proud of himself for check calling three times with AQ.

Next I made a sick read but failed to use it to win $120 bonus dollars.  Hello Kitty opened, a woman (the button from the 99 hand) called, someone else called, and I defended my big blind with A7o (I used to fold stuff like this, but with Hello Kitty opening doing so would be going full retard I think).  Blah blah blah, four ways flop K73dd I have the ace of diamonds.  Hello Kitty bets, the woman calls, a fold, I call.  Turn ace ball I check Hello Kitty bets the other woman raises and I 3-bet.  Hello Kitty folds and then I get the bad news as my remaining opponent four bets.  That's not great...I call, but don't take the right amount of time to hand read but just know that the pot has suddenly gotten huge and then boom the river is a seven and I check because why wouldn't I check and she bets and then I realize she has to have exactly 33.  AA and KK make no sense from the preflop cold-call, and after that I beat everything (even if she has lost her mind with K7s or another A7 or whatever), but honestly 33 is exactly what she has.  But for some reason I don't raise, I just call and immediately feel like an idiot as she shows me 33.  Whoops.

The last hand was pretty amazing also.  I had KK, blah blah blah, 5 or 6 way pot or something absurd after I 3-bet my own big blind, flop 866 I get raised the Jack Ten Idiot calls two cold I 3 bet we're still four ways (decent game that 60 min bet texas) and the turn comes an Ace.  I bet which is probably not correct, the UTG raises folds (seriously, he raised UTG, called a bet then two more on the flop, then folds the ace turn...what did he have?!) and then the flop raiser raises (he has a 6 100% of the time) and the JTI 3 bets!  I snap fold and the flop raiser gets all sad and calls.  JTI now smokes the river and the dealer get all confused but we clear it up and she put out a 3 and now the flop raiser goes into his old "see if I can get him to show me his hand so I can make this hero fold" routine.  JTI declares "I won't show you my hand unless you put one chip in" and so the flop raiser grabs one chip and puts it into the pot, and JTI shows 64dd which of course isn't good the flop raiser has J6s.  The flop raiser now pushes 5 chips back to JTI and the dealer pushes him the entire pot, despite the fact that he NEVER CALLED the last bet.

Somehow I ended up being the one to explain to Jack what happened and he got it correct;  despite the fact that the flop raiser was obviously trying to angle to save 5 chips, he was going to call the bet if he had to.  He had THREE OF A KIND!  So 15 minutes later eventually we got it squared away and I used the entire ordeal as an excuse to book the 75 bet win and call it a day.

Round 2

Ding.  Ding.  Ding.

But Jesse, Round 2 of what?  You can't just lead into a post that vaguely and expect us to know exactly what you're talking about.  We're just blog followers, not stalkers!

Oh, right.

Over the last 2 years I've slowly but surely been gaining back the weight I lost in my prop bet with avoidthe9to5 (who, despite getting smoked like a fine cheese those 3 months did go on to lose over 60 pounds the following year).  The numbers aren't that bad, but they aren't great either.  I started the bet at 180 pounds, and over the course of 90 days whittled myself down over 10%, to under 162 pounds.  For a while I was doing fine, staying in the low 160s, but eventually there was some...creep.  I've still been getting comments, as recently as last weekend in Vegas from BubbleMint, that I look to have lost weight, but I've decided that enough is enough.  I weighed myself this morning at 172.0 pounds, and am declaring my intentions for everyone to read.  I'm going to lose 16 pounds in 16 weeks, dropping all the way down to 156 pounds (for those curious, that gets my 5'7" frame just barely inside the "normal" range on most BMI Charts...not that those are the gospel or anything, but at the same time it shows that I'm not doing anything preposterous or dangerous here).

Why am I doing this again?  Well, to be honest it was a very rewarding experience the last time around.  At the end (and even during it) I felt great about myself, both for how I looked and for simply doing something hard for once.  And I believe it's good for me to be carrying around less weight, and while it may seem sort of like a yo yo diet I did keep basically half the weight off for 2 years, which isn't half bad.  So anyway, here we go.  I'll keep everyone posted on the progress, but honest prediction is that it's going to very well for the first three to five weeks (during which I bet I'll lose five to eight pounds no problem) then become very, very difficult.  I haven't been that light since about freshman year of high school, and I had to accidentally lose a fair bit of weight being stupid (as most 14 year old boys are) to get there even then.  But like I said, it's not like I'm trying to actually be skinny or anything here, so I give myself at least a reasonable chance of success.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Not Dead Yet

I have returned from 3 weekend extravaganza in one piece and in basically working condition.  Since Wednesday June 20th I have played serious poker in the LA area exactly 3 times (I did log a few hours at the Bellagio, but that just barely counts).  To put it in perspective, for the weeks leading up to that I think played something like 22 days in a row.  I had a great time with all my friends, and am a little worried I'll have some trouble getting back into the swing of things, but am excited to try.

I guess that's it....