Monday, November 26, 2012

Well Allow Me to Retort

So I'm just going to go ahead and respond to this comment in a brand new post, since it sort of seems like I have enough to say.  Here's the comment:

1)Are you sure you aren't playing at a 3-6 game?
2)So you are playing against the LA's tightest 3-bettor. So how do you barrel the 2nd time on the turn, given your behind her range? [you are ahead AQx, AJs (18 hands)],[you are chopping with AKx (12 hands)], and behind [JJ, QQ, KK AA? (24 hands)]

First of all no, I'm not playing in a 3-6 game but sometimes it definitely feels like it.  The CO in the hand is definitely a special player even in a special game.  Second of all there are a few good reasons to bet the turn.  First of all I assume you're suggesting that I check and call instead, but there really isn't a good reason to do that.  If I get raised here (which is almost never going to happen) I can just ship my hand to muck immediately, as I'll be drawing dead or very close to it, so it costs me the same bet and I forfeit very little (if any) river equity.  Also in a spot like this I don't have a screw play range (and my bad opponents probably assume that), so checking turns my hand almost face up.  Another reason is that all kinds of good things still happen if I bet.  AQ and AJ have 3 outs to win and 4 more to chop;  folding them out is just nice.  I could have a mis-read on a preflop range.  Someone could fold a small pair (it happens).  The button could have the full 6 outs quite easily (with the JTs) and I definitely want that hand to fold.  And even I didn't know that the CO wouldn't raise a hand as strong as the wired pair of jacks here even once post flop.

Also your combo counting is wrong.  I have an ace and a king, which drops the AA and KK combos from 6 to 3.  Obviously it also reduces the AQ combos from 16 to 12, but you get the idea.  She never has AA or KK here once she doesn't raise the flop, and I assumed she couldn't have the QQ either and would have discounted JJ substantially and TT a little.  So all of a sudden it feels like I have them obliterated.

How It's Done

This old school white pro sits in my game and immediately posts UTG + 1 eight handed. In fairness the out button is to his right but still it's amazingly rare to see something like that these days. Anyway he folds some hands, then on his button I open the HJ and the CO 3-bets. She's perhaps the tightest 3-bettor in Southern California, and literally is holding AJs, 99+ here at the widest. He instantly calls 3 cold (not even a smidgeon of hesitation) the blinds fold I cap (I have the AK here and cap because it'll be so so easy to play now) and they call.


They call


They both call again. This is the point where I'm boned, as the CO now has me beat or tied 100% of the time. So I prepare to c/f the river.


I check CO checks and he now bets! I fold and the CO calls. He shows the 98hh for the title belt, and the CO shows her JJ for sympathy. He is champion.

This hand is a perfect example of why LHE is basically a joke. He calls 3 cold vs a winning pro and a range that has him boned to like literally 15% equity or so, flops a stone cold two outter (a decent flop honestly), peels off $120 drawing all but dead (and only has that privilege because the CO is so so awful) then gets to value bet the river with the nuts. Seems reasonable.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

I'm Actually Enjoying This

I've sort of taken my own advice on ego management the last week or so (combined with my self imposed bounty on big games at commerce) and the results have been swell.  Basically I'm playing a little smaller, but focusing on making sure I'm in very good games as much as possible.  The combined effect has been that I tend to make fewer mistakes (since my opponents are putting me to fewer difficult decisions), I'm harder to tilt/frustrate (since going off for a large number of bets barely registers financially), and I've therefore been able to just sort of relax and enjoy the view for a little while.  And you know what, I really like playing in good games.  Some players get bored so quickly and really want to be testing their wits and playing in tough spots all the time.  And I'm OK with that, too, but what it really comes down to is that I liked playing in the bingo style Garden City 20/40 game from 2008.  Now that game (and casino) no longer exists, and perhaps won't ever again, but I can do my best to find the closest approximation down here, even if it does mean stepping down to yellow chips from time to time.

Tomorrow I'll crack the 1800 hours of limit hold 'em for the year line, and despite the added days off and everything I'm still going to get pretty close to 2000 by January 1st.  And that's sort of OK, I think.  This focus on lower stress hours really is helping, at least so far as I can tell.  I've never really thought about it from that perspective before, but it makes sense.  Just like pitchers being faced with high stress and low stress innings, it doesn't really make sense for me to ignore the fact that playing 6 hours of the bike 40/80 is simply easier than playing 4 hours of commerce 1/2.  That sentence was poorly (maybe even illegally) constructed, but you get the idea.  I'm at least not super stressed out, which is a good thing to be with the holidays rolling around.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

An Interesting Stat

I suppose I brought this on myself, what with my talk of the "run good ratio" or whatever I did after I crushed that 2/4 game, but here it is:  Since about July 28th or so of this year, I have broken even bets wise but am stuck something like $16k.  So much for running good.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Gotta Do It

I thought I was past doing something like this but apparently I'm not. Today I sneaked my way into the 1/2 even though my heart just wasn't in it. The game was literally 1 spot and 8 pros, but I played anyway just because I could. I was 13th up and getting in was a miracle. I tried to quit soon after, but the spot went on frenzy and couldn't. So I played less than 2 hours, lost two racks, and was tops the 7th best player in the game. My confidence was at an all time low. I was making silly plays for no good reason. I just needed to quit; I was expecting to lose every pot and that's about what happened.

So I'm posting a bounty; for the rest of 2012 if you see me playing higher than 60 at Commerce you win $100. You can only collect once, but there is no limit on how many people can get paid. It's not that the game is that bad (although it often is), but it's just that bad for me. It's in my head, and when I play it and lose it drives me bonkers. So I'm done with it until least.

Monday, November 12, 2012

So Far...

The new schedule is showing mixed results.  I took Thursday completely off, and that was good.  I got a lot of stuff done, I actually put down some key strokes on the book, and in general had a pretty good relaxing time.  Then Friday night I decided to give the old "stay at Commerce" plan a try, and it was pretty much a complete failure.  Apparently it's super hard to actually sleep upstairs there;  I can think of several reasons why, and a few of my friends confirmed that they've never been able to do it either.  My plan was to just quit the game whenever, go directly to bed, then be playing again 9 hours later.  What a disaster.  I absolutely couldn't sleep, which isn't at all surprising given what I already know about myself.  So instead of getting a quick turn around and a nice relaxing experience, I ended up super stressed out and exhausted the entire next day.  To boot Saturday was a train wreck of a day on the floor, and I just couldn't get myself into a good game to save my life.  I ended up quitting at 3:30pm or so and felt like I'd been hit by a bus.  Then Danielle and I went out for Indian food and I promptly came down with either food poisoning for a very timely case of the "about 36 hour" stomach flu, because from 9pm Saturday night until this morning I was just a mess.  But I woke up today and felt pretty much fine, and the Steelers are on in 15 minutes so I let myself work one of the half days I just swore I was going to try to avoid.  So yeah, like I said, mixed results so far to say the least, but getting sick and having once or twice a year MNF game I have to watch can be blamed for at least some of the badness.

I also still can't win a pot at Commerce to save my life.  The total depth of the downswing is something like $30k, which I guess isn't all that bad, but the length of the break even stretch is now past 800 hours.  Basically I haven't won a dollar since the day I played the 200/400 game and won all the money.  Obviously this is pretty miserable, and it's part of the reason I'm trying to change the way I do business.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

And...We're Back

In case you missed the memo (and it was intentionally not well distributed for probably nitty security concerns) Danielle and I just spent 9 nights on the Big Island in Hawaii.  It was my first real vacation since our American Southwest Trip, which stunningly ended nearly 3.5 years ago.  Looking back on that trip, and comparing it to this one, it's kind of amazing to see how much I have changed.  At that time I was not even a year into my professional poker career, and was just brimming with confidence, energy, and a positive outlook that bordered on madness.  I had basically never lost (that trip almost exactly marked the beginning of my "18 months of despair" or whatever you'd call that year and a half where I basically didn't win any money) and things just couldn't be rosier.  Fast forward to today and my attitude has changed dramatically.  I guess I could say more about that, but it'd be really hard and I'm planning to write a lot of words today so I think I'll save the effort.  Suffice it to say that how you're going to feel on a vacation of this magnitude has a lot to do with who you are as a person and how your outlook on life currently tilts.  I'll write more about the trip later, although I'm not sure if I have a 10  part trip report complete with pictures in me this time.  Danielle will really want me to do that....but man it's a lot of work.  The cliffs are "snorkeled with manta rays and dolphins, hiked a lot including 3 miles to see actively flowing lava, took a bus to 14k feet to look at the stars, and ate and drank a lot of good food and coffee"

I always feel like I'm "way behind" on the blog but when I sit down to write one of these "lots of little updates" posts it ends up passionless and feels like I'm just putting a checklist up on the internet.  It still makes me feel good though, so here we go.

The recent initiative of trying a new schedule failed miserably.  I wasn't able to get enough sleep, and the games were frequently not good enough to justify it.  I also had a very difficult time getting out of the casino before traffic, and when I did I arrived home too tired to much of anything.  I've thought long and hard on the matter, and there are only two more things I can really try.  First, I could switch to a grave (or bordering on grave) schedule.  But that'd just be fucking awful, and I don't see any way I'll be able to coerce my body into following that plan without a clock to punch (as I had at Garden City, may she rest in piece, long live Casino Matrix).  The only reason I even considered it, and this is just so sick I'm hesitant to even say it but whatever, is to prove to Danielle that I could.  You see, upon this last initiative failing she basically told me she was sure I'd never be able to do it and wasn't surprised in the slightest when I failed.  That cut me like a knife, to be honest.  I mean, she's entitled to her opinion, and she happened to be right on this one, but that's just not something I really needed to hear, you know?  I probably shouldn't have let it bother me as much as I did, but that's something we all probably wish we could do at least a couple of times per week.  So yeah, part of me wants to go on the grave schedule just for the sake of "doing hard things" and to prove that I am in charge of me and I will do whatever I need to do to make this work.  But that's ridiculous, and would amount to little more than cutting off my nose to spite my own face, so I'm not going to try it.  At least not yet.  Instead....

I'm going to give up on the "day in day out" pattern I've been following for quite some time now.  I've actually gone out of my way to treat poker "just like a job," in order to make sure I was taking it seriously and such.  But you know what?  I'm past that.  I've been at this for over four years and as was pointed out on 2p2 I'm not "dead, broke, or insane so that probably puts me in the top few percent of all live pros."  I can do this on my own terms.  Death Donkey gave me some advice a while back saying that the whole reason he got into poker was exactly because it WASN'T just like a job, or at least didn't have to be.  And that advice has been echoed back to me again and again from lots and lots of people through lots and lots of forums, and you know what, I'm going to give it a try.  Today was my second day using the new plan, and boy oh boy was it tough not to just drive into the casino and start playing.  In fact, I'm not even in the clear yet, but think I have enough stuff to keep myself busy long enough that I'll be able to not go in.  This realization in and of itself is both extremely promising (I really want to go play...I want to go do my job) and very scary (in that as I've seen poker just eats away at you if you let it).  The new stated plan that I'm going to try out for the rest of the year goes roughly as follows.  I'm going to play far fewer days, and occasionally (once every week or two) spend a night at commerce.  On those overnight trips I'm going to grind my balls off, playing something like 24 out of 34 hours, and on the days I do play I'm going to shoot for at least eight hours of playing time, and attempt to play more like nine or even ten plus.  These changes in aggregate will result in me logging fewer total hours, but not dramatically so.  I'll probably drop from the grueling 2000+/year pace I'm on now down to something more manageable in the 1600 range.  And what's important is that I'll generate lots and lots of these entire days off (like the one I'm taking now) which (and the actually important part) I can use to pursue and develop some other talents/hobbies/interests.  What are those other interests going to be?  I'm not sure yet, but they'll be focused on developing friendships, staying fit and active, and advancing some intellectual pursuits that could add fulfillment to my life.  We're talking about softball, surfing, bowling, the gym, basketball, who knows maybe coaching/teaching, and (and this is pretty scary to put down on paper here) starting to collect all my stories and experiences quote my 8th grade wood shop teacher "something back there that possibly could resemble the very beginnings of" a book.  Yeah, that's right, a freaking book.  People starting telling me I should try to write one a year into my poker career, and you know what I'm going to give it a shot and see where it goes.  Will it ever get published and incarnated in actual honest to goodness holdable book form?  Probably not, but that's not really important.  Could it maybe be an e-book that people would buy for their kindles?  Maybe.  It is almost 2013 after all.  Who buys real books?  Anyway, that's the plan.  Haters gonna hate, but that's what I've got.

I suppose that's about it for now.  The old diet plan 2.0 obviously didn't pan out exactly as I'd hoped.  I started the thing at 172 pounds and got down to 164, so it wasn't a complete disaster or anything (I didn't actually gain weight at any point) but it also wasn't a blazing success.  Somehow someway I didn't gain weight in Hawaii (I feel like I gained 10 pounds), and I suppose that was because of all the hiking we did (in the entire trip I laid down on the beach exactly twice).  The new policies above should allow me to maintain a good level of fitness, and for now I'm just going to be content not to gain any weight (remember at the beginning of the first weight loss bet I was 180 pounds!).  And I played 9 hours yesterday and torched off another $3000, which went nicely with the $22k I lost last month at the tables (I'm pretty sure that was my worst month ever).  It was absurd, really, just hand after hand of unbelievable beats.  5 way capped pot flop an open ender can't get there.  AdQc vs 65dd the board is I swear to you Q83ddd-Ar.  Seriously, that happened and no I did not bink the river.  A9 loses to K7 on AK9-7-K (I get 3 bets in on the turn and ZERO go in on the river lol you fucking fish how are you not broke).  AJ can't beat KJ on an ace high flop.  Blah blah blah.  I guess that's part of the reason I wanted to go back today to play, and that's the real rub of the poker lifestyle.  If you win, you enjoyed it and you want to go back and get some more.  If you lost, you're a bit upset and want to back and win it back.  Maybe this is the beginnings of how a gambling problem starts?  Maybe?  I dunno.  Anyway, I'm not playing today, and life is going to be a little different going forward.

Oh and in closing....Google just issued me my second check for earnings on the blog.  In the four years or whatever this thing has been live I have earned $234.  That's like 30 cents per post!