Tuesday, June 25, 2013


We have a rule of thumb in our house that Jurassic Park was the first good movie ever made.  It's not really as harsh as all that, but we have found that movies predating it simply don't end up being that enjoyable for us.  It could be because they really weren't as good (the Big Chill....seriously we didn't even finish it, sorry Mom), or it could just be that we can't really relate to things that happened before 1993 or so because we weren't functioning humans yet.  We are currently halfway through "And the Band Played On" and so far really like it, and our last title was "Unforgiven" which we both really did enjoy (for the record, 1992 and 1993 respectively).   The main reason we liked Unforgiven was that it was just very simple.  It didn't ask very much of the viewer;  there wasn't any nuance, no dialogue that was purposefully annoyingly soft, no plot twists really.  It was just a story.  Some assholes rough up a hooker, a reward is offered, and some tough sons of bitches go to get themselves the money.  Many die, spectacularly, and a resolution is reached.  No cliff hangers, no opening for the sequel, no wondering what was in the box....Clint just wins, simple as that.  We liked it.

Sometimes poker sessions are like that and sometimes they aren't.  Sometimes you have a plot twist every other hand (like yesterday when I was in the Commerce 40 and they just bludgeoned me as usual), and sometimes you stay right on the script and the hero simply wins.  I have heard the debate about if poker would be more enjoyable, for a pro, if there was more or less variance.  The argument breaks down as you approach the limit either way obviously, and books have suggested that hold 'em replaced stud because it has the right ratio of variance to skill (more variance), while draw games can't really catch on because they push the envelope too far (pros can't survive, their edge is too low for the money they risk; their skill advantage isn't as large, in short).  And I think the answer is that sometimes you really just want a nice boring day, and sometimes a roller coaster is fun.  I dunno, I guess I don't have much to say on this so here is a fun hand.

Mr. 40 month win streak (could be 45 now?  he told me he beat the Hustler TWENTY FIVE FIFTY GAME for 22k in May.  Think about that one) opens in the middle the button calls the small blind calls and I call with J7cc in the big blind and declare "dealer, I am thinking of a turn card!"  He of course takes the bait and jabs back "you're going to have to get there first" and I announce my intention to "peel one off and bink it"


Purrrrrfecto.  We check, he bets, we all call.  "here it comes" I declare.


Bink.  Sb checks, I check, he bets, they both call, Jack Ryan the prop declares "right about now is where we should see the raise from you" I raise, and then...crap.  He goes into the tank.  This is a protected pot obviously, and there is a flush draw, but he's not tanking with much of anything here other than god damn monsters.  I file this information away as he decides to just make smoov and the other two players call.   The pot is now hudge and I proceed to double bink


I mean, what am I gonna do but bet?  We are four ways!  I bet and Mr 45 months puts in the raise confirming what I already feared namely that he HAS IT.  They both fold and I tank for a second and decide he has either 66 or 88 and just call (as I'm chopping with that range...yes he could have 87s except I can see one of every suite of those cards so zero combos left, JJ makes no sense because of the tell on the turn, and no chance he doesn't three bet a straight on the turn so it really is just expert smoov call with the boat on the turn).  He shows me the 66 and I drag the money.

45 minutes later I have lost 2 racks and just can't figure out how it happened.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

I Finally Got Him

JD always owns my soul.  He just destroys me, day in and day out, and this is very frustrating because...well, for a lot of reasons.  Obviously losing is frustrating, but this guy is also pretty borderline crazy (like, actually, to the point it makes me uncomfortable sometimes to play with him) and plays like a stone cold animal sporadically.  He has a history of looking like a genius against me when really his idiotic bluff just so happened to run into the one or two hands I can't call down with.  To wit

I raise in late position an idiot calls behind me and he calls the bb.  The flop?


And he just donks right out.  Fire away...I raise because I have a pair of 8s in the hole and want the idiot to give up, then I'll just call JD down no matter what happens.  But the idiot calls instantly (he's a new idiot to me...seems super loose and passive so far) and JD of course three bets and the captain r truth of it (it always takes 2) comes into play.  I call, idiot calls, turn is a 5 and I just give up because I literally have 50 some combos of tens, all 9 sets, and 24 overpairs here it's OK to fold 88 or 99 when even the "bluffs" he has are supposed to have 8s and 9s in them (so they are reduced further) AND the idiot behind me is supposed to have a 10 some of the time and well you know how this goes idiot calls river pairs the 3 JD fires gets called and turns over J9o and the idiot scoops with the Q7s.  That's just the way it goes with JD.

But not today lol.  Today he did something silly like he always does (open complete the small blind, then act shocked when I don't raise the big blind which will happen yeesh I don't know a lot of the time).  Normally what would happen here is that since I have the 32o I will flop a pair and pay him off on all three streets.  And we start off just like that


That's literally the flop, the canonical dry board not a single possible draw in site and of course I call.

But then we depart from the script!  Instead of me calling and calling and getting shown how expertly he played his AA or whatever, we walk down one of the alternate endings.  I turn a 3, giving me bottom two pair.  I raise him and to this point we stay right on script;  he 3 bets.  I four bet, and he just calls.  We are still on track for the alternate ending of him making two pair on the river or me getting counterfeited but...it doesn't happen!  He checks and calls the river 6 and I just...win.  We are playing 4 handed and the other two players make a big scene, one saying "you're so lucky he didn't raise preflop!" and the other saying "I guess he put you on a draw!"  It was pretty hilarious.

Friday, June 14, 2013

All That Said...

This is a funny one really.  I drove up to play today for a few hours and was deciding where to go  mid commute (an old, tiresome, and unsafe practice) which involved making four phone calls, two to each casino.  The funny part is pretty simple.  Here are the transcripts of my two calls to Commerce:

Call 1

Me:  "What limit hold 'em games do you have running?"
Anonymous Useful Floor:  "I have a 20/40, a 40/80, and a 1/2 hold 'em"
Me:  "How many handed is the 1/2?"
AUF:  "Looks like...seven handed"

15 minutes later I call back to see if the 1/2 still looks like I can get in.

Call 2

Marcel:  "Yo baby what's happenin'?"
Me:  "Hi Marcel, It's ARC.  What limit hold 'em games do you have running?"
Marcel:  "I have no games at all"
Me:  "None?"
Marcel:  "not a one!"

So obviously I drove to Commerce got a seat in the 1/2 and asked Marcel specifically to list me for the 20 and the 40.  I'm not sure why exactly he hates me.  In fact I'm surprised he even recognized my initials.  Perhaps it was...you know what, it's me telling him he made an awful ruling last week when he made an awful ruling.  I guess that's it.  But I mean...really?

Thursday, June 13, 2013


As you can probably tell from reading this blog, my interest in poker is at an all time low.  I haven't been playing as much as I used to (which honestly could be for the best I play more than almost all the pros I know...but not more than the super successful ones I guess) and that's been for a number of reasons.  The main two, however, are that I just haven't been enjoying it even when I'm winning, and the games are just getting so much worse all the time.  Like yes, there are still good games all over the place.  But not like there used to be even a year or two ago (and even then it was acknowledged that things were getting worse).  I've been playing the 25/50 at Hustler, and even it has started to show signs of weakness.  Some Commerce white guy pros (and BB who is an honorary white dude) have started making it their home, they never have 3 games and sometimes can't even get 2, and I mean for crying out loud it's 25/50.  The commerce 40s?  Grim as usual.  I recently quit a 1/2 and talked to the south african and MikeL on the way out, who were playing in one of the worst 40 games I have ever seen.  Mike looked at my chips, looked at the MUST MOVE 1/2 game I had quit and said "that game is better than this one" and I agreed wholeheartedly.  So yeah I mean there have been some big decent games, but I just don't have the stomach or nerve for that right now, and it's not like I can just play blind steals with DosXX and Juice and pretend like I'm not at a disadvantage.

Some of this is just a lack of bodies in the summertime.  WSOP, family responsibilities, whatever.  But some of it is more than that.  Without the internet creating new players, the mid stakes games just don't get the new blood they need.  You can only rake $250/hour off the table for so long before people start to go broke, and without new blood the only ones who remain are the small winners who run OK.  And while the games are still just fine, it really doesn't make sense to play 40/80 for a living if you can only make $30-$40 per hour doing it (and keep in mind that is 1 bet per 100, or more).  I've known this for a long time, but the way of live poker is that you really just need to be crushing the games you are in (always be the best or second best player) to justify it.  If you're eeking out half a bet per hour or even less (which is undoubtedly the upper end of what I could do in the 1/2 and 2/4 games) the swings are just monstrous and can last for literally a year.  So I mean, I dunno.  2012 was my most profitable year ever, but at the same time a huge chunk of that came from one staking agreement and 1 day of 1/2 kicked to 2/4 (literally 40% of my years profits came from those two things).  I ended the year feeling like I had "succeeded" at poker, and yet that gave me the strange feeling that I wanted to maybe move on.  At the same time, I know there is more work I could do;  I know that I am capable of turning myself into a soul crusher if I want to.  The thing is I just don't want it.

So I guess what I'm saying is that I'm kind of thinking it could be time to consider moving on, but am not really sure what I'd do next.  Don't sound the death bells yet, but they could toll at any time for my poker career.  I realize this probably comes as a shock to many people out there, who have just been reading my blog and haven't really been here on the ground as it were to see what playing poker everyday has done to me.  To be honest, if I had this whole thing to do over again, I'd probably have listened to all the warnings, kept it a hobby and not given up on my software career.  I always said I could take 2 or 3 years off and it wouldn't be a problem.  But 5?  Five is probably going to be a problem if I want to jump back in the pool.  So for now I guess I'll do enough to tread water, keep my sanity, and wait for a flash of inspiration.  Which I've sort of already been doing for a while now anyway I suppose.....they usually do come, if you're the right amount of patient :)

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Workout Number 13 - Champion

Saturday 6/8
24h Fitness

500 warmup

Total Yards:  4300
Total Yards To Date:  46112

So I finished.  Danielle even came to the gym and watched the last 65 yards or so and clapped when I finished.  She got some weird looks from all the other people in the pool area (none of whom, by the way, can swim a lick, ever...like even the ones who look like they should be fast turn out to be way way slower than I am) but that doesn't matter.  I made it.  Thanks to everyone who donated, and thanks to Elizabeth for giving me the idea to do this (also congratulations are in order there, she finished her race unscathed despite three flat tires).

In terms of lessons learned or a sense of accomplishment, I don't really have a whole lot to say, which I guess says quite a bit in and of itself.  Of the 13 times I put myself in the pool, I remember enjoying myself on only two or three occasions.  The rest of it just felt like work that I had to rush through to get back to my real life.  And I mean maybe that's the biggest lesson, that I'm not making enough time for myself to do the things I want to be doing, and my life has turned into one big rush after another.

Some technical things didn't go very well which made the swim harder (the community pool being meters, for example....that's a fair bit more challenging, even though it did mean I didn't have to swim as far as I thought I did), but overall it just wasn't that difficult.  It was simply a matter of forcing myself to commit the time and mental tedium to do it.  When I did the weight loss bet I got the sense that I was "achieving "or "producing" at close to my maximum level of output.  Maybe that wasn't the case, but it sure felt that way, and I lost 18 pounds in 90 days and you can't really argue with that being an unqualified success.  But with this challenge here I felt that the hardest part was fitting it into my life, and that had it REALLY mattered, had I really needed to swim as far as possible in 7 days, if life changing money had been on the line, for example, I literally could have swum four or five times further than I actually did.  I mean, when you get right down to it I was in the pool swimming for something like 15 hours over the course of 7 days.  I did nothing but low intensity yard eating sets, and that's the only reason I was able to rack up the 26 miles.  There were plenty of times in high school that I spent more than 15 hours a week either at practice or warming up for a meet, and that was just sort of the way of things;  there was no challenge other than trying to get faster.  So I guess that's maybe why I don't feel any grand sense of accomplishment;  what I did was in the grand scope of things pretty tough, but nowhere near where near the limits of my present self (and light years behind the limits of my best former self).

All that said, I did raise some money for charity, and that's great, and I am in a lot better shape than when I started, and that is also swell.  My shoulders neck and back and knee and hip and elbows and even my left ankle are all kind of sore, but they'll be fine in a day or so, and I'll probably work some swimming into my workout routine going forward.

Game off!

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Workout Number 12

Saturday 6/8
Community Pool

500 warmup

Total Yards:  2952.76
Total Yards To Date:  41811.88
Yards in 26.2 Miles:  46112
Yards Remaining:  46112-41812 = 4300

It is Saturday so the community pool will be crawling with kids as soon as the sun comes up (which in June is around 10-11am lol....I always thought Danielle's dad was kidding about "June Gloom" but he's really spot on) so I'll need to finish the workout at 24h Fitness.  4300 is more than I wanted for the last swim, but given I knocked out 7500 straight in that pool on Day 1 (in retrospect that's mind boggling) it should present no problem if I bring food with me.

I'm hesitant to write about lessons learned before I actually complete the swim, but I do have some things in mind that I'll say once it's in the bag.  One thing that I will say is that I've realized the end is going to just be the most depressing anticlimactic thing ever.  I'm just going to be cruising along swimming 100 yard free styles and all of a sudden I'll coast into the all and it'll just be...over.  Nobody will cheer.  Nobody will clap or shake my hand.  Nobody will even know.  The other 5 to 10 people in the pool area won't even turn their heads.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Workouts 10 and 11

I swam twice today in the community pool, once in the early morning and once in the early afternoon, for a total of 4500 meters (3000 and 1500)

Total Yards:  4921.26
Total Yards To Date:  38859.12

That leaves me with just a touch over 7k yards to swim tomorrow.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Workout Number 9

Thursday 6/6
Community Pool

Total Yards:  3280.84
Total Yards To Date:  33937.84

Just a touch over 12K to go and I have two days to cover it.  The plan is four simple 3k workouts.  As an aside I actually played some poker today and booked a nice win in the 1/2 at commerce.  It was surprisingly pleasant despite the complete 3 ring circus with people making fools of themselves trying to play with Eagle.

Workout Number 8

Community Pool

400 warmup

Total Yards:  2952.75
Total Yards To Date:  30657

Less than 16k to go.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Workout Number 7

This really is just awful.  I'm doing the kinds of things my swim coach growing up just absolutely would not stand for that lots of other coaches put their kids through;  low intensity yardage eating sets.  It just...sucks.  Anyway.

Wednesday 6/5
1:30 to 2:45pm
24h Fitness

500 warmup
3300 yards of crap (4x300, maybe 8x200, then some 100s)

Total Yards:  3800
Total Yards To Date:  23904.25+3800 = 27704.25
Yard Remaining = you figure it out like 18k or so.

Workout Number 6

Wednesday 6/5
Community pool


Total Yards:  2734.03
Total Yards To Date:  21170.22 + 2734.03 = 23904.25
Total Yards Remaining 46112-23904.25 = 22207.75

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Workout Number 5

You can barely call it that.  I got down to the bottom of the hill and realized "crap I am hungry".  I swam 1000 meters before calling it and heading back up to eat.  I was only planning to swim 2000 or so anyway, but....not great.

4:20pm - 4:40pm
1000  warmup

Total Yards:   1093.67
Total Yards To Date:  21170.22

Thank Goodness

So for the first time today I brought my phone down to the pool to use for splits.  As I was slogging through the first set of 200s I was appalled at just how slowly I was going.  On day one I started off with a set of these on 3:15, and had no trouble completing them in 2:40-2:45 (which gave me 30 seconds of rest, which was great).  Today I was coming in north of 3:00, even creeping up to 3:15, and had to put the set on 3:30.  Of course I felt slow, but I didn't feel THAT slow.  By the end of the workout an idea was well formed in my head;  what if the community pool is the second (only second) 25 meter pool you've ever seen in your entire life?

Well guess what...that fucker is 82 feet long!  I went down there with a 12 foot tape measure and walked it off and there is to quote a wise man "NOOOO doubt about it".  So I've swum 11,500 meters, not yards, in that pool.  Carry the one that's....

12576.55 yards

For an addition 1076.55 to my bottom line.

Total Yards To Date:  20076.55

This discovery could save me.

Workout Number 4

Tuesday 6/4
Community Pool

500 warmup

Total Yards:  5100
Total Yards To Date:  19000

Monday, June 3, 2013

Workout Number 3

Community Pool


Total Yards:  2400
Total Yards To Date:  13900

Swimming Update

Workout 1

Sunday 6/2
3:30pm -5:45pm
24h Fitness in Orange

500 warmup
10x200 on 3:15 (or so)
20x150 on 2:30 (or so)
15x100 (we struggle)
500 cool down

Total Yards:  7500

Workout 2

Monday 6/3
Community Pool (no clock)

500 warmup

Total Yards:  4000
Total Yard To Date:  11500

For the record there are 1760 yards in a mile, so I am trying to swim 46112 yards.   Yesterday's swim went very well;  today's, not really so much.  I have some shoulder issues and knee issues already, but from a pure effort point of view as I suspected this isn't going to be terribly difficult.  It's the time, mental exertion, and actually the biggest problem I'm having so far is getting hungry.  Both workouts have ended because I was hungry and needed to stop or risk my stomach cramping up.  All that said my previous statement applies;  it's pretty obvious that I should be able to pull this off.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Today? We Swim!

The plan for counting is actually to use change; one penny is 50 yards and I'll have two piles at the end of my lane.  What could go wrong?  My gym got it's pool back up and running (what a disaster that was....one day I just drove there and boom no pool...i'm standing on the deck in my gear looking at yellow caution tape) so I will get lane lines and a clock and won't be in the sun for the afternoon jaunt, so that's a start.

I'm hoping to put in two long sessions today and get a good head start on things, but already there are issues.  Last night was another wedding, this one local, that involved the hora.  I ended up being one of the guys lifting the bride up in the air on a chair, and while she was basically as light as a feather my triceps are definitely sore.  I also got less than 6 hours of sleep, and in general have gotten enough sleep (by my own measure) one night in the last nine.  And there is an "open house" today for the wedding at 1pm and if I go (and I really should go) I'm going to start the week in the hole or at best on pace.  I'm pretty sure I can't let that happen, though, so I may skip it.

Elizabeth is already riding South towards us, and ideally I'd like to finish before she arrives.  They stormed out of the cow palace at 6am, so already I feel like I'm "losing" :)