Thursday, January 11, 2007

...and ever since then...

This post again excerpted from an email to Jorgen, as I've been too lazy/indifferent lately to be into the poker blog.

Remember that thing I said at the end of my last post about paying a penance of 5 or 10% of your bankroll for reporting on a win?? Well, I've dicked off about 1/3 of my bankroll in the last week, dropping $300 at the casino on the 6th, and going broke at and Full Tilt for about $100 on Monday. I haven't played since then, as I'm waiting for the last $230 of my online bankroll from Mansion to hit my bank account. But not playing has been good, as I was starting to really burn from all the BS cards as of late. I watched some Poker After Dark on Tuesday, then yesterday spent some time working w/MP3s and cleaning them up for the new iPod. I also found my stop loss point for live 1/2 NL, as I *hated* losing $300 at the casino on Saturday, and hated myself for letting it happen. $200 I would have been fine with, but $300 was too much. So I've found my least for now.

Saturday was sick. I lost $80 in a 3/6 game in about a half hour, while I was waiting for my 1/2 NL seat. It was some of the ugliest limit I've seen, as there were draw-outs on almost every single hand. So I sat down at the 1/2 table with my 2nd hundred and got all in w/top 2 on the flop right into a flopped flush. I was hoping to push out flush draws, but not much I could do about a flopped flush. So I was into my THIRD hundred within an hour. I eventually doubled through the same guy when my three jacks with an ace was better than his three jacks. I was deathly afraid that he had J 10 and had turned a full house in the limped pot, but I had to call with top trips, top kicker when he put me all-in. But I figured if it wasn't good, then maybe I shouldn't be there anyway.

So from there with a little more than $200 in front of me I got up as high as $365 or so three or four different times, and I should've known when I couldn't get any higher than that that I should cut bait and run, but I was too stubborn. I ended up losing all of it within an hour in about 4 hands when my flopped two pair got turned by a better two pair for about $75, my pocket pair of 10s on the button got beat by QJ for about another $75 when I thought the SB was making a stand with a $50 river bet as his blinds had been getting stolen and he was vocally upset about it. He told me I was good because of the K on the turn, but his flopped pair of Qs was good. Then I raised $15 or $20 preflop w/AQ and got a couple callers. I flopped an ace, and bet $20 when it was checked to me. This asian guy (same guy in the SB that beat my 10s w/JQ), raises me to $75. I went into the tank for a LONG time, and eventually put him all-in for another $75 because of the ridiculous size of the raise and because I figured he had me pegged as a weak player that would give up anything but a supreme hand. But he beat me into the pot and showed a flopped set of 5s. Sick. I could rant and rant about the style of play of asian players, the way they play with reckless abandon and are impossible to read, but it won't do any good. And I know its a stereotype, but its not negative. I just struggle against them as they can throw out $75 with nothing or with the nuts and you never know which it is. I just can't believe you can call a $15 raise w/55 on a regular basis and be a profitable player. So that left me with about $40, and after missing some flops I eventually got it all-in with my last $18 w/AJo. Ironically enough, asian guy and the same other guy from the AQ hand called, I flopped an ace, and when asian guy bet the other dude out of the hand he showed that he had flopped a set of 3s. Did it to me again. Just blows my mind. He basically got the last $275 of my stack, which self-tilts me so much I can't even talk about it.

So, that was easily the worst session I've ever had, monetarily, and in regards to self reflection. It showed some promise when I worked my way back from down $280 to up about $65, but I just played those three hands against that asian dude like I'd never played the game before. Monday online was just ugly. It was pure variance, as I wasn't getting cards and missing flops when I did, but when I'd actually make a hand that should've been good it just couldn't hold up. I'd flop the other card on a paired flop and come up against a bigger pocket pair, or once I flopped three kings w/K 10 limped on the button, it was bet and called all around, and then someone with pocket 2s turns a 2 and fills up to throttle me for most of my stack in a .25/.50 game. Of course when you're not seeing cards the not great hands start to look better and you overplay them, but I file that all under variance. But I won't deny there started to be a little bit of indifference, hence me taking a break here for a few days.

So I'm kind of in rebuilding mode again. The closer it gets to the Circuit Event, the less I wanna play in it, as I'd rather build an unbreakable bankroll before I take a shot like that. Plus, I don't know that I'm even playing very good poker right now, as I'm not shout it to the rooftops proud of anything I've done recently. Anyway, I'll get some money back in Full Tilt and when I my Mansion money gets back to me and see if I can get things turned around. Plus, we've got Monday off for MLK day, so I will be getting up with the little lady when she goes to work and putting in at least 8 hours or $200 at the casino. No matter what, I will be much more careful, because it seems like whenever I'm taking a shot in a big pot, following my read, or making a hand that should win lately, I'm losing in a big, big way. I will be *extremely* focused on Monday. Anyway, if I can turn things around, get the bankroll deep enough, and get to feeling better about my game in the next couple weeks, I may still drive a couple hours down the road and take a shot at some of the $60 sats, but probably won't peel off $300 and front for a real tourney.

That's about all as of late. I'm still hanging in there with around $900, but a $475 loss in the last couple weeks certainly isn't a step in the right direction.

I've got a little bit of game theory to discuss if I become a little less indifferent about blogging anytime soon, but we'll just have to see!

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

My Week as a Poker Pro

Go ahead and laugh. Its OK. The title of this post is definitely in jest.

Like I said in my last post, I had 11 days off over the holidays, and was going to be playing a LOT of poker, and probably not doing a lot of posting. But I do want to sum it up so that I can kind of remember it.

I got significant time in on 6 days. If I was at home I was playing online, and then I also made a few trips out to the casino where where I played for about 4 hours last Tuesday, 5 on Friday, and then capped it off with a 10 1/2 hour session yesterday (a new record!). It started off with the cards absolutely torturing me early last week, but I persevered and managed to eek out a solid 3 figure win for the whole chunk of time. The hourly rate was probably not pretty, but hey...a win is a win.

Tuesday the 26th I went out to the local casino for their Tuesday morning tourney at 10. As expected for the day after Christmas, it was filled to the brim. I got there around 8:30 and I was lucky to get one of the last few seats in the room at a 3/6 table in order to get my line pass for the tourney. Little did I know how abysmal the day would be. I won one decent pot in the limit game when my AK flopped an ace and I got one bet from pocket queens on every street. After that I eventually got a seat at a 1/2 table where the action was loose and wild and I didn't have any cards worth getting mixed up in that with. The tourney started, and not too long I pick up QQ, which I raised up around 4xBB preflop in EP. I got a caller in the big blind, and we saw a junky flop with two spades. I went all-in here as my opponent was on a short stack and I figured if he had a hand worthy of calling preflop, it may be just as worthy of calling now, plus he had committed around half of his chips to the pot already. Well, the big blind had been in my 1/2 game and claimed he was there all night and just decided to play the tourney but was ready to leave. Well, I believe him, but that doesn't mean I was happy. He called and showed 10 3 of spades, having paired his 3 and with the flush draw. I think it was a 3 on the river that doubled him up. I managed to exact revenge on him by doubling up off him later when I had him dominated and held up, but then shortly after the first break I was ousted when a dude who had me barely covered pushed with A8o, I called w/AKs, and I couldn't survive. Somewhere around 66th out of 114. On to a 1/2 NL table where I believe it was partway through the 2nd or 3rd orbit when I flopped top two pair w/AJ, raised a $15 bet and call to $45, only to be re-raised all-in by a gutshot straight and flush draw. I called, and he hit his gutshot on the river. Now shortly after 12:00, I had planned on staying until about 3, but I decided that it was not my day to win and cut bait $165 down to go exchange and play with the iPod my wife had given me for Christmas. It was more of the same when I got home that afternoon as I lost about $30 online. So, day one of my personal pokerpalooza was in the books with some gnarly variance and a significant loss.

As I recall, Wednesday I basically spun my wheels and broke pretty much even. The cards continued to chuckle in my face, but I saw glimmers of breaking the variance, just enough to keep me even.

Thursday was a good day...then a bad day. I placed 7th out of 55 in a $10 MTT on Mansion, which is a nice enough accomplishment, but I invested 2 1/2 hours in an MTT when I could've won the same amount of money getting 2nd in a SNG. Oh well, the takeaway of making a MTT FT and getting 7th is actually a good enough accomplishment for me to overlook the monetary circumstances. I also discovered the beauty of Full Tilt SNGs on Thursday. I may be completely wrong on this, but I swear since I last played there in August or September, the structure has changed. It seems that there is actually -gasp- PLAY IN A SNG?? The blinds go up every 5 minutes, which is fast, but there's so many levels in them its ridiculous. Its the most beautifully structured SNG I've ever seen. And I'd like to think that as a result, I'm torching them. People aren't realizing that there's plenty of play in them and they don't need to get it all in within 3 levels like on some sites. As a result, they get in with junky hands, and I'm taking their chips. I played I think three $5 ones on Thursday morning, getting 1st or 2nd in 2 of them. By Thursday afternoon, I had given a shot to the $10 ones, finding no difference in my abilities to cash in 3 of those. Anyway, by 2:00 on Thursday I had made about $100 for my first winning day of my time off. But then I made the mistake of killing about a half hour at a Mansion .25/.50 table while waiting to meet my wife and friend for dinner and lost a buy-in when I tried to snap off this dude on mega-tilt. Turns out he had KK, the other guy in the hand had picked up trips, and my pocket pair of 9s came in dead last. So that pissed me off that I couldn't just not play stupid for 30 f'ing minutes. It was still a winning day, but it didn't feel like it.

Friday found me up with the wife early with intentions to go to the casino, but dinking around at Mansion until about 11. I can't remember how I did, but I don't remember being pissed, so I must've either won or broke even. Maybe I lost like $15. I don't know. Anyway, I finally ventured out to the casino around noon, and needed to be out of there by 5. I was probably as high as $160 on my $100 buy-in, and I was as low as $25 or so, but in the end I won $20, for a whopping $4/hr win rate. The most noteworthy hand of the day was when I decided I was going all the way with my pocket 8s. I still have a hard time playing pocket pairs in a cash game and am trying to refine my strategy on them, but all I know I was irritated when I would call small raises w/them sometimes and miss and fold to raises sometimes and hit. Today I had folded and hit twice, one of which would've been an extremely healthy pot headed my way. So in this particular hand a raise to $10 had been made in early position. It got to me 5 seats later, and I made it $25 to go with my 8s, which would leave the initial raiser with about another $30 behind and pot committed if he called. He put on a great show being pissed about it, with a "well, I've got 30 more since you're probably going to get me all in anyways" and when I called the routine broke as he says, straight-faced, "Well I've got the best you can have" and I was a slight dog to his AA. That statement heavily coated with sarcasm, of course. Only this time, the good guys win with an 8 on the flop...and an 8 on the turn. DQB! That was it for this guy as he had previously bet his QQ all the way through a hand, only to have it cracked by a guy with A2 hitting a 2 on the turn and an A on the river. Sick. So I'd have liked to win more than $20, but as is the running theme...a win is a win.

Saturday I was up early with a hangover, after celebrating my recent promotion on Friday night, but I got to feeling better with a $10 SNG win. I took a break for some time with the wifey, but found myself back at the grind later that afternoon. This is where it got good. After a bubble performance in a FT SNG, I nabbed another 2nd and kept myself ahead for the sitting. I was robbed HUGE, twice, by the same guy in that cash, but that's the way it goes, and it showed some resolve in me to still have a good performance. I just have to mention them, though, because I can't imagine more pivotal suckouts in a SNG. With about 6 left and me with 4k of the 13,500 I have KK and pump it up preflop. The flop comes Q-high, not dangerous, and he, in 2nd place, pushes his last 2k. I call and am WAY ahead of his Q 10. He spikes a 10 on the river and doubles up to chip lead. Now instead of me having over 6k in chips, a man down, and rolling the field, we end up 4 and 3 handed for over 20 minutes with equal chip stacks and all-ins surviving. Finally me and this guy get heads-up and I methodically work the chiplead away from him just waiting to end it. He goes all in, and I call w/KQ. He's got JQ, spikes a J, and leaves me with 600-some in chips, which doesn't last long. Ridiculous, but hey...that's how it goes. Anyway, the real damage on Saturday was done at Mansion, where I ran my $50 .25/.50 buy-in to $175 before cashing out. The big hand here was when I called a raise w/66 and flopped a set, busting aces for his $75 stack. I have to mention, I did pick up quads again for an extra kick in the junk. The difference between this hand and the live hand was that this guy's raises weren't credible since he was raising in position like clockwork and it was just a matter of time before he got snapped off (boy who cried wolf), and we didn't get all the money in until after the flop when I had hit my set and he was drawing to 2 outs. So Saturday was a good online day, and I was now headed in the right direction on tha intraweb.

Sunday I didn't play as the wife and I were running around town getting ready for our new year's party that we had volunteered to host the previous day, but I moved some money around and bought into, taking advantage of their 75% reload bonus. I was $41 short of the max due to some confusion on cashing out of Mansion, but I'll be able to earn just north of $75 of bonus, so that works.

Monday was spent cleaning up after the party and taking down Christmas decorations and additional cleaning, but I managed to work in a $10 SNG at, where I took 2nd for a $30 win (should have gotten 1st again but made a mistake), and also unlocked another $10 of my initial deposit bonus. The same initial deposit bonus that I thought had expired after 30 days. But no...I'm working off the last of that bonus (like $20) AND the reload bonus. Merry Christmas to me. In the end I just netted $15, as I wasted $13 in a cash game winning 1 hand out of 60, and for a whopping $1.50. So that's not great, but...say it with me...a win is a win.

So that brings us to yesterday. I hadn't decided whether or not to take this extra day off (I planned to carry over at least 5, but ended up with a scraggler), but when things went so poorly at the casino on the 26th, that sealed the deal. I had to try again. Back out to the casino yesterday morning at 8, where it was slightly less busy than the week before. I got in a new 1/2 game very quickly and immediately started losing. Overpair to a flush, straight to a flush, straight to a flush again. An orbit in I was digging into my pocket and had another $70 into the game. But I eventually picked up a couple decent hands and cashed out of the game down just $25, plus another $30 for the tourney. The tourney, yet again, was merely a blip on the radar. I had a pretty decent first hour which saw me slightly more than double my 1500 starting stack, but I got a little too big for my britches on a couple hands and leaked away some chips, ending the hour with 2300, and blinds to be at 100/200. I then proceeded to not see a hand worth playing until I picked up 66 and with blinds at 150/300, put in my last 900 to an obvious AK raise. There were no aces or kings on the board, but I got counterfeited by a higher two pair. Thanks for that, tubby annoying dealer. After a short wait, I found myself at a 1/2 table grinding away again. I picked up a nice hand early when I called a medium sized raise w/JJ, called a c-bet on the 9-high, paired flop, and got a 3rd Jack on the turn for a full house. We checked the turn, and he fired out $20 on the river. I stewed for a while, and raised him to $40, making it look like a feeler, and he eventually called and mucked to my full house. I remained some form of up, although never as much as a whole buy-in, until our table got broken in favor of a different game, and I got put at another 1/2 table. Here, the guy in the 10 seat was dragging a big pot over to the $300 in chips already in front of him, and the guy to my right in the 7 seat also had $300-400 in his stack. Couple that with a couple of fellows with that clueless look in their eye at the other end of the table, and I was happy to be where I was. I got to winning in fairly short order thanks to some play and some cards, and at about 3:00 I played the biggest pot of my life...and lost. I had managed to work my buy-in to a bit South of $250 when I picked up JJ. I just called, as I like to do if I can with a pocket pair, be it right or wrong. The 10 seat and his now $700 in chips raises it to like $15. It folds around to me and I call. The flop comes x K 10. I check, and the 10 seat bets $25. Based on his betting, I'm putting him on AK, KK, or a low pocket pair. The preflop bet is about right for AK, but very big for KK. The flop bet is a bit big for either hand if this guy wants action, but he's seen me call $15, so maybe he thinks I'm good for $25. Mostly it feels like he wants me out. The turn comes down Q, I check again, and this guy fires $100 into the pot. I know if I call here, all my money is very very likely getting in no matter what. I have now decided this guy either has KK and I'm about to get brow-beaten, is on a complete bluff, or is on a low PP and REALLY wants me out of this hand. I put in the 20 reds and the river is another Q. I check yet again and he puts me all-in. Its a little under $100 left. I don't have another buy-in. I'm thinking about folding and having chips to play with, but if I've come this far a fold is downright retarded. And then the guy stares at me. I know this guy has a ton of chips in front of him, but I've also seen him stumble his way into most of them. On the one hand, he's a luckbox. On the other...he's a luckbox. But what he is *not* is a good poker player. At this point I added the overbetting and the stare to equal weakness, and I called. KK, for the nut full house. BUSTO. But after a quick self examination, I determined I wasn't tilted. I went with my read. I thought it was a good read. It wasn't. NH, sir. That's gonna happen sometimes. The story has some merit from here, but the short version is that I knew there was money to be won at that table, so high on determination, not tilt, I tapped into my checking account for another buy-in. Three hours later, I walked out with $525. A hundred back to my checking account, the two hundred that I brought, and $225 in profit. I'd love to say I got my $250 back from that guy, but I didn't. He was good at protecting his stack...and he was a luckbox all the way to the bank. He cashed out for around $1k about 1/2 hour before I left. But I was barely paying attention as I was taking someone's stack at the time. Nice guy though. I didn't hate him...just his cards. After taking the wife out to dinner, my B&M profits for 20 hours of play over the last 11 days came to a whopping $55. say it with me...a win is a win.

So, in the end, my main goals were accomplished. I was in the black for my time off, and it was enough to get me up around the $1400 mark and rounding my losses up and taking into account the withdrawls from my bankroll, I can safely declare myself a winning player. For some that's not a big deal, but for a guy who was stuck more than he should have ever allowed himself to be stuck for 2 years, its a huge monkey off my back. I can now focus on what the game can do for me, as opposed to what it has taken from me, and that allows in a giant change to the mental standpoint from which you approach the game.

Of course now that I dare speak of my good fortune, I will be struck down by the poker gods and required to pay a penance of no less than 5% of my bankroll. But its worth it for the story, right?

Yeah...I don't think so either.