Sunday, December 30, 2012

And We're Back

The 16 days of Christmas have officially ended, and this morning I found myself sitting down in the Commerce 60 for the first time in weeks. As I was lamenting my decision to play, seeing people fold hands and in general being concerned the game wasn't very good, this happened

I open KQss UTG and the blinds defend.


They check I bet they call.


The SB donks and the BB tanks a bit and calls. I have no reads and consider calling (I almost always have 6 outs) but opt to fold cause IMR....this is actually almost the worst hand I ever have (KJs is) so whatever. I fold.


SB bets, BB tank calls. SB taps out and shows ATdd. BB has 75. Of hearts!!! He flopped a straight flush draw on a 9 high board and decided to just let me turn over ace high if I wanted to. And the SB? money in poker everyone solid.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Fun Hands

Here are some sorta fun hands from the last two days.  They are mostly simply, but I enjoyed them.

Hand 1

MP opens and I 3 bet kings in the small blind.  The big blind folds, head up.


I bet and he snap raises.  I call.  The turn is a card with pips on it and I check/call.  The river is another card with pips on it and I bet to fold if raised.  He gets very agitated, asks if I have the ace, then eventually calls and mucks when he sees my hand.  This is how you beat live players.

Hand 2

A bunch of people are in the pot and there is a raise.  The button calls, and I 3-bet kings from the small blind.  We see the flop about 5 ways or so.  It is


I bet, there is a call or two, and the button calls.  I prepare to hit the jackpot.


I check, it checks to the button, he bets, I call, one other player calls.


We check to the button, he bets, I fold, the other player folds, and the button shows ATo for the two clean shots at one out for me to win $29k.  Merry Christmas indeed that would have been.

Hand 3

There is some action and I raise with AQ and someone calls behind me.  The board runs out A93r-Ar-2 and I bet every street, getting two calls on the flop, one on the turn (whilst other people are declaring "one more ace" and "bring the clipboard"), on the river.  As I'm about to table my hand the most lovable regular of all time declares "I got him with the South African" and looks at the South African man for approval of his play of the 54.   I scan the board quickly and declare "NO!!!! Not the South African!" while showing the triple aces.  He tables the 54 and takes the money.  A good laugh is had by all.

Hand 4

The fish who got me barred from the bike opens, another weak player calls and I call on the button with KJo because they are terrible the blinds are not great and I have the button and perhaps some ego issues.  I mean really, if I can't play this hand profitably from the button against these guys with these ranges, I should look for another line of work.  Maybe.


That's pretty good.  What's better is that all 4 of them check, so I bet, and most of them call.  At this point I start thinking about how swell it would be to bonk a king now that I have the opener reverse dominated.


I cringe because the South African is in the pot and he could be holding the South African but after the three checks I bet again.  He folds (blessedly) and the opener and the most lovable regular of all time both call again.  Time to make gin!


And he donks.  The most lovable regular of all time folds, I raise, and he...three bets!  I remove my headphones and go into the tank.  Deeeeeep, into the tank.  Then I realize that absolutely no hand makes any sense whatsoever, but from that draw the wrong conclusion.  I just got 3-bet on the river and hold only the 7th nuts.  Raising again is out of the question.  But that's exactly what I do.  He just calls and shows me the triple 6s for the extreme expert slow play.

Monday, December 17, 2012

These Things Are Actually Happening

Danielle is downstairs right now cheering her head off for the Niners to keep pummeling the Patriots.  The score on her TV is 31-3.  I don't know how on Earth she managed not to find out what happened in the game (it went final about 26 hours ago), or why she would ever root for the team that stands between her Packers and a first round bye.  I simply don't have answers to these questions, but I'm about to go watch the score tie up at 31 all.

I received a check today for two cents from my health care provider.  That's right, due to the affordable health care act they have to refund any money they don't spend out of a certain percentage of all the premiums they take in.  So the federal government passed a law to make my health insurance cheaper, and because of that 4 sheets of paper and a stamp were used to send me a check for two cents. Seriously.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Bad Week

Really nothing good has happened to me in the last week or so.  The culmination was a 15 minute stretch this afternoon where I got a bad news phone call, bad news email, and cursed at and poked in the face by the very same fish who got me barred from the bike several months ago.  I started this post thinking I was going to write this big long thing about all the crap that's been going on that has been bothering me, but honestly I just don't feel like it.  I haven't looked at two plus two in three days, though, and I figured if I didn't put something up here people might actually start to get a little worried (that's so arrogant, isn't it?  like you guys don't have better things to worry about than whether or not I generate content on the internet).  Anyway, I'm alive but bad things keep happening and I'm starting to think it's not all an accident.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

You Know What?

As a society we are losing some cool shit. Technology is great don't get me wrong, but sometimes it washes away something that really shouldn't have died, that didn't have to go away but simply faded into Bolivian (God bless you Iron Mike). Lots of (mostly crazy) old men will swear to you that there was nothing better than listening to baseball on the radio. AC has moves us off our porches in the summertime. Nobody has a pen pal in the 4th grade anymore (I wonder what Justin from Toronto is up to these days). And...I miss albums.

That's right, I miss that experience of just listening to an album again and again, in order, so many times that the songs just meld together and you know every word every riff every transition every everything. SMASH by the offspring? Fantastic album, but listening to the songs one at a time at random just doesn't do it justice. You've gotta let it breath, let it build, until by the end it's impossible not to sing (or yell) along. I haven't played August and Everything After start to finish in maybe 15 years but I still know what song "is next" anytime I hear one of the 11 tracks. And let's not start on something like a 7 track DMB live album that you almost can't listen to track by track; it's just not the same.

So you know what I did? I bought the Fun. album and am rockin' it start to finish once or twice a day. And it is awesome. So remember that just because technology has offered you a new way to do something doesn't mean you have to comply. Sometimes things don't change for decades because they are just swell as is.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Random Musings

So like I said that last post didn't really go as far/well as I'd hoped.  The basic idea that I was trying to make is that a lot of times you see these live pros (and I'm one of them) whose play doesn't really seem to be that driven by game theory.  Yet somehow they win, and that sort of offends the super duper math freak guys.  It's like there are tools and methods that we don't use, so therefore we shouldn't be allowed to win.  And that's just not the case.  Of course I think about game theory when I play, but in a lot of spots and against a lot of opponents (the vast majority of both for me lately, with my push top to play against super soft opposition) it simply doesn't apply and all the further I need to go is "will he fold a lot here" and if the answer is no I simply don't need to ever be bluffing.  I'm still not sure if that makes much sense, but it's close to what I meant to say in the last post.

So now for some random musings.

For the first time in a while I actually read (most of) Peter King's Monday Morning Quarterback.  Good lord that guy pecks out a lot of words, but he used some of them to talk about Charlie Batch, and to be honest I just simply cannot get enough of that guy.  Maybe it's because all I have to compare him to is a rapist and a guy who looks like a chipmunk and broke his ribs when he tripped, but I find it impossible not to love Charlie Batch with ever fiber of my being.  He has been a backup QB in Pittsburgh for A DECADE!  That is nearly unheard of in the NFL, and to boot all he does is show up and play one or two games every one or two years and rattle off simply impossible wins.  They beat Baltimore this week, in what had to be one of the biggest regular season wins in Steeler's history.  The Ravens had won 137 straight (ok, ok...15) games at home, and hadn't lost a division game since sometime in 2010.  Sure sure, they were missing Ray Ray and were a little banged up, but not like the Steelers.  That game should have been over midway through the second quarter, but you just can never count Charlie Batch out of anything.  When he was crying on the sidelines after the game, hugging Ben, I actually teared up myself.  That man is a god damned American hero, and he is unequivocally the best 3rd string quarterback in the history of the NFL.  I will hear no argument.

Next musing...have you ever had a terrible realization about yourself when driving in the car spawned by a death match between two competing songs on the radio?  You're flipping through the dial and a song you kind of like, even thought maybe you really liked, is on one station, and some new catchy song that you shouldn't really like that much at all because doing so brings into question your very manhood is on another and well...bam....the wrong song wins?  That's been happening to me a lot lately.  I'm not going to tell you which songs were involved because as I said my manhood would be brought into question, but it's been bad.  Very bad.

Danielle and I played some open faced chinese poker last night, and it was a lot of fun.  And yes, we took the rules straight out of that article.  If you're looking for a fun two player card game for your and your spouse, honestly give it a shot.  It's super hard, you'll both be awful at it, and there's enough luck that she'll probably beat you.

I guess that's about it.  I continued to light the felt of the tables I sat at actually on fire from the friction of all the chips being pushed in my direction today, so that was nice, and my fantasy football team has pulled to 7-6 and has an outside shot of making the playoffs, even though Antonio Gates is a worthless piece of crap.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

A Reconciliation of Sorts

I had a sort of epiphany, or at least an "aha! moment", in the shower recently after reading this thread on 2p2.  For those of you who can't go to gambling sites, here's the original post:

60-120 at Commerce, 5 handed late night game. Villain (UTG) is a good Asian TAG, I think he is a pro, might be a poster here, but I don't know who. We don't have a lot of history except a few 40 sessions we played before. I never saw him capping HU OOP before and don't know what his range looks like in this spot. Also, FWIW, I think he hates me. 

He opens, I 3! red sevens next in, blinds fold, he 4 bets and I call
Flop 8J3hhs and I call his c-bet
Turn is another low heart (below 7) he bets quickly and I call quickly, as well
River is the fourth heart, low card again (no straights possible), he now checks.

As an aside the author of the post only played in the game because I told him it was awesome on my way out, and he promptly won a used Toyota Camry, but that's neither here nor their.  The point is that this spot is a super simple one for thinking about the difference between a strategy based on game theory vs one based solely on exploitation, and how you can endeavor to reconcile the differences between them.  Whole books have been written on this subject, but here is my rough take on it, using the river decision on this hand as an example.

I'll probably botch this up pretty badly, but I'll try to wave my hands (vigorously, as my old professor used to's important when hand waving at details to do so with great vigor) enough that it sort of is at least factually accurate.  Suppose we arrive at this river decision, with our opponent finally releasing the initiative on a 4 flush board, and suppose we are endeavoring to use a strategy based entirely on game theory.  What should we do?  Well first we need to know what our range is, then we need to know what his range is, then we need an idea of how he will respond with the various holdings of his range, then we need to take into account the size of the pot and make sure we fire off the right number of value bets (that are still profitable) and bluffs (roughly one bluff for every N value bets, where N is the number of bets in the pot), and after that we're still not even close.  We also have to take into account what hands he's screw playing with, and how often it's for value vs a stone cold bluff, and then figure out how we will respond with the various holdings in our betting range, making sure we don't fold too much (lest he have a "bluff 100% profitably" spot), and also that we have some re-bluffs (probably just from hands that were bluffing in the first place) to balance any remaining value combos (at this point probably just the ace of trump) we have left to three bet.  And you know what, I've probably left a bunch of important stuff out, but you get the idea.  This shit is hard.

Now what if we were just going to try to have a simple exploitative strategy?  Basically all we'd have to do in that case is decide what hands he's going to call with and value bet anything that beats more than half of that range.  Obviously there is a little more to it, since you can't ignore the possibility of a check/raise (so you maybe want to value bet a little more tightly), but that's basically it.  Obviously having a good read on your opponent will help you tremendously here.  Does he have a check/raise range at all?  Is the ace of trump or king of trump in it?  Questions like that are super important in determining how wide you can value bet.

Notice I haven't said anything about bluffing at all, right?  Here's why.  In a vacuum (meaning just for this hand against this guy), your decision on weather or not to bluff can simply be based on weather or not you think your opponent will fold more than 1 in N times (where again N is the pot size) after he checks.  You don't really have to worry (too much) here about how many value bets you have and if you're bluffing at the right frequency or not, because you're playing live 60/120 in a casino you frequent maybe once a month or less.  All you really need to do is decide if you're getting a fold more than one in eight times when you fire the river.  If you think you are, the correct exploitative thing to do is just bet 100% of your range.  If you think you aren't, then you shouldn't bluff with ANYTHING, and all your bets should be for value.  And that's really all there is to it.  Now I'm not saying this is the correct way to play, but it's a methodology that will probably take you pretty far in live mid stakes games.

I thought this post was going to end up being better, but I guess I'm tired and hungry and stressed out from watching Charlie Batch (the man is an American Hero) save the Steeler's season from the bonfire.  Hopefully it at least made a little sense.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Achievement Unlocked

Things are getting all slippy and squirrely on me again, since I didn't take my proscribed day off this week.  I figured I took 3 days off over Thanksgiving and that sort of counted, and when I woke up Wednesday I just felt like going into play so I did exactly what I wasn't supposed to do, which was drive in and play for 4.5 hours then come straight home for tacos with Danielle and her Dad.  For the record, they were delicious.  But the upshot is I haven't had a day to myself in the house for over two weeks and that wasn't the way it was supposed to be, Thanksgiving or not.  And the effects have been tangible.  I'm cranky, tired, just generally a bit upset, even though I've done nothing but win all month long, which is sort of the point of the post.

I crossed the 1000 bet line for the year yesterday, and that was a stated goal that I wrote down...somewhere.  It's a pretty arbitrary number, but winning a thousand bets in a year just kind of feels, I dunno, cool, you know?  So I did that, and although I'm nowhere close to a high water mark dollar wise, I'm pleased with the way things are going.  I've settled into a little bit of a routine, and I'm going to make sure I take a day off this week (which sadly won't be a very relaxing day, but probably spent dealing with the 800 pound gorilla in the room most of you call "Christmas"), and going to try the overnight plan again to see if I can make it work a little better (last time I just couldn't sleep and it was basically a disaster).  I've played over 1880 hours, despite my substantially slowed pace for this month (my lowest total for the year), and should finish up right around 2000.  The bounty is still on for the big games at Commerce, and it comes off January 1st.  In the meantime I'm just kind of cruising.