Archive for the 'Poker' Category

Jul 20 2009

Cornucopia Post

Published by under Personal,Poker

I’m gonna try and stuff this full of some of the things I’ve been neglecting to post lately. Summer has been busy and I just haven’t been taking the time to update this like I wanted to. Well, shutup and take what I give you.

The kids have been super busy.

Avery and Zoe are doing swimming lessons right now. I think they are enjoying that but it’s hard to tell when you ask Amy about how Zoe refuses to get in the water every day but also refuses to leave cause she wants to swim.

Clayton just finished up his baseball season which I was helping out with cause, well, they really need as much help as they can get. I am also still gonna post the video of Clayton get his black belt, but I’m gonna throw the excuse that Amy’s laptop has been acting up lately. That, and well, between her and TJ, it’s hard to get access to it.

TJ hasn’t done a whole lot extra this summer but he’s been more helpful lately. Even offering to mow the lawn, which I’m totally cool with. We also moved him to the basement this summer which he’s been stoked about. Hopefully it won’t be a temporary solution but we’ll have to address winter as it gets like 40 degrees down there in the summer. I’m ok with that, but Amy seems to think Child Services might not be so keen on it.

Sadie keeps getting bigger and has been teasing us with her walking now for weeks. She just hasn’t built up the confidence to try it without holding some one’s fingers. Personally, I think she’s just being a baby about the whole situation.

I’ll be frank and just tell you that poker has been absorbing much of my free time. Last month, I was all kicking ass and taking names. I had my first $3k month ever and, even though I’m being staked and only getting half of that, I was pretty pumped about the success none the less. This month has been a huge kick to the crotch as far as poker goes, so hopefully I can turn it around and at least have a break even month at the end. For the first time ever, I’ve been putting in more hands than I ever have, have been really motivated to play and could even seriously consider doing this full time if I ever get to the point of playing high enough to sustain a comfortable living from it.

That’s a pretty big pipe to stuff a dream into but that brings me to the next part. There have been changes at work that have pretty much brought it back to the soul sucking source of income most people cope with and pretend to be happy. I’m not gonna lie and say that hasn’t been a big driving force for my poker playing, but I am gonna lie and say that if I ever do get to that point in my poker career that I don’t need a “day job”, that I’ll miss it terribly.

Word press is telling me I’ve eclipsed 500 words and I hate wordy blog posts when other people post them, so I’ll try and wrap this up here. I really do miss posting here and while I have been pretty active on my twitter account, I really want to get back to making more posts here. I don’t always come through with my intentions, but I’ll make an honest attempt. The road to hell is paved with good intentions. I don’t really know what that means, but I’m sure it really says something important about my blog.

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Jun 23 2009

Reading Souls

Published by under Poker

For those of you who don’t care, this post is gonna be pretty poker heavy. You’ve been warned. But really, who wouldn’t care?

I think I’ve been playing pretty well lately even though I haven’t been getting particularly lucky. For those of you who are going to criticize me for bet sizing, I’m going to defend it by saying I was trying to get thin value as I didn’t think he had much of a hand. How good of a hand could he have had if I had top set? Any way, he hit his 4 outer and I actually thought, could he have AT here? I quickly dismissed that as a small part of his holdings and figured if he had that, then his poor play will put me in a good position to get the money back. It didn’t happen, but this isn’t the hand I wanted to dwell on. Not that I want to dwell on any hand, but you know what I mean.

I had been playing about break even for an hour and there was this really loose players at one of my tables. He’s got a 400bb stack and talking smack with another player who really seems like he’s getting tilty. Any way, the loose player has position on me and in a previous hand got me to fold KK when he was betting strong on an Ace high flop. I called a flop bet and folded the turn to a big turn bet. Since he had been really aggressive and trying to control the table, I decided to give him some rope next time I had KK (yeah, I had a few hands).

There have been a few times where I filter my hands in HEM and see this option to filter limp/raised hands. As a rule, I don’t limp/raise just cause, well, I don’t open limp much at all. But it got me thinking if there were spots where this would be good. I can’t think of a spot better than this. I have a big hand that I would like to play a big pot with. I have a loose, aggressive player to my left who likes to see flops and past him are a bunch of players getting into verbal altercations with the loose player. This has some seriously nice potential if it works out. I decided to limp with intentions of raising if the loose player raised and we got another caller in between. Well, I got half of that plan. The loose player decides to raise to 11x. Unfortunately that healthy raise kinda cleared out the field. I decided to change my plan and since I only had 110bbs to start the hand, I called instead. I didn’t want to chase him off and my hand looks really weak. I think he will try and get me to fold in a lot of spots. So what happens? Fortune smiles down on me, but not one of those “give an old friend a hug” type smiles. No, it was more of a “Look at this fool that I’m going to plant my boot firmly into his balls” kinda smiles.

Yep, there I am staring at yet another Ace high flops. Well, at least I have a back door flush draw. I can have my time at PLO to thank for this small glimmer of hope since PLO is the type of game where you try and find any backdoor draw and jump into the pool of razor blades hoping to come out unscathed. Back to the hand though. I figured I would check and see what he does. He bet small so I figured maybe he was just taking a stab with any pair. I knew I couldn’t raise and not get called by a better hand, so I just called. Come one backdoor draw. Nope. An 8. Sigh. Well, I checked again. Now he fires 33 into like 40. I tanked pretty hard here. Can this dude really hit a hand each time? Yes we know they can. But then I thought a bit more logically. He definitely could have an Ace but I think he could also have garbage just trying to bully me out. The small flop bet was kinda weird, but again, I can’t raise and just get it in as he folds pretty much every non ace or flush draw.

I end up deciding I’m going down with the ship and call. He fires another 55 on the river which was about half pot and was most of my remaining stack. It was a shitty card to bring the flush too. That couldn’t have hit on the turn? FFS. Any way, the plan was to call down once I called the turn, so I pretty much wince and snap call. He showed down 9To. Whew. This was one of the toughest call downs I’ve had to make in a while, cause truth be told, people have been just handing me money at the table lately.

Games are dead? Far from it. They’ve just changed and you have to change to figure out how to get the value out of them in another way. Some may not care for my colorful recap of the hand, so if you want to see how it went, you can check it out.

A little while later at the same table, I played this hand. This was a completely different type of hand. Didn’t really have much of a read on the guy but I’ll go through what I was thinking a bit. Preflop, I make a raise, get called by the cutoff and see a flop that gives me top pair. I continuation bet as normal and get minraised. I’ve been seeing a lot of minraising lately, and it seems to mean different things for different people. I can’t give up on the odds I’m getting, so I call but mostly, I just want to see how he treats the turn. Turn is a king which isn’t a great card but I doubt it changes our hands much but he checks it back. The flop was pretty dry which makes it really hard to put him on many draws, but his play seems to be really odd. River is a 2 blank which, again, I don’t think changes the hand much at all, but he fires again. I tank forever but the hands I’m really worried about, I think either bet the turn or check behind the river which is QJ and AJ type hands. I end up calling since I can’t put him on a hand. Turns out I made a good call. At this point, he rants about how he can’t bluff. I almost told him I woulda folded to a turn bet, which I was totally going to, but decided not to try and improve him game any.

I think the same player made a river bluff on me a few hands later, but that was to be my last hand at the table so didn’t make another miracle call with 99 on a KQxxx board. I think that would have totally put that guy on tilt had I done it correctly, but I was leaving the table and wouldn’t get any tilt value from it.

So yeah, I still ended up having a good night at the table. My month isn’t looking too bad either. Any guesses how life’s going then? Well, I’m trying to concentrate on the good things right now, so I won’t get into that. I guess I just need to play tons more poker and let my worries wash away as I shower myself balla style in 100s. Ok, not really, but it’s a nice thought.

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Jun 18 2009

The Fundamental Theorem of Poker (and Life)

Published by under Personal,Poker

No, I’m not talking about that Fundamental Theorem of Poker. The one I’m referring to is the fundamental theorem of poker and life (FTPL) which dictates you can either run good in poker or in life and never both at the same time. You can, however, run terrible at both, but that isn’t what this post is about. To expand on this though, it’s when things are going well for you in life, your poker takes a big dump down the porcelain super highway, and when life throws you a big ol’ bag of fail is when you run more robusto than ever.

As some of you know, I recently got an opportunity to play at the 100s again by some one who was willing to stake me. Over the first 6 weeks or so, I was basically break even and up a bit counting rake back. This month, however, I have done pretty well considering I’m still not running terribly well (I still can’t seem to win my share of AA vs KK hands). Despite that, I think I’m playing well and getting a lot of value out of people.

What I didn’t count on is the impending life busto coming my way. No, Amy and I aren’t getting a divorce (in spite of all the wife chat posts). In fact family stuff is all pretty good (other than a bunch of crabby kids that are having trouble adjusting to less sleep during the summer). But every thing around us seems to be going to pot.

Take Monday, for instance. If you follow my twitter, you probably already heard this tale. I came home intending to play some poker as Amy had taken the kids to TKD so I could have some time. I walk into the kitchen only to find a box of ice cream melting on the table. Yes, the FTPL dictates that this had to be a box of ice cream to allow for maximum fail. So I spend a few minutes cleaning that up.

I go in to try and sit down and possibly get a few hands in. Since I’ve been playing well and doing well, I was pretty motivated to play. I pick up my new hoodie that the wife got me and see something white attached to the inside. Yep, you guessed it. Security tag. (still looking for a better solution than me cutting the thing off, if any one has one, BTW).

Sigh.

Well, nothing I can really do about that right now. I mean I really want to get some hands in right? But… um… what’s that under my laptop? Ugh, yep a crayon stuck under my extremely hot running laptop. So yeah, I spent another 10 minutes scraping wax off my laptop and the desk.

At this point, I can see the type of day that is coming. I decide not to tempt fate not thinking clearly about the FTPL and ignored my want to play. Terrible decision on my part since I missed tons of obvious value in hind site, but my judgement was clouded by the recent events.

As the evening moved on, a monsoon moved into the area. Now, let me share with you a few important details. We have a promonade roof over our kitchen. Over the last week, the surrounding trees had dropped what seemed to be a snow storm of seeds over the last week. So about half an hour into the downpour, we get some dripping coming in from the ceiling of our kitchen roof. I, knowing full well it was those seeds that created a damn under our railing on the roof, go up there with a shovel to remove the drifts of seeds. I was fortunate enough to find a soft spot in our roof signifying to me the need to replace said roof.

A look at the recent forecast of rain over the next 4 days was going to make this difficult.

Actually, this event is what is allowing me time to make this post. I took today and tomorrow off to repair the roof and am currently waiting for the latest shower to pass to start removing at least the railing.

But to get back to the monsoon. It lasted for like 2 days causing all kinds of havoc locally. The downpours forced manhole covers to be removed from the sewer drains. Flooding in local rivers and even the local bowling alley’s roof collapsed closing it for the summer for repairs.

Obviously a bad string of events. I did break down and resign to the fact that I could do little else and should get some hand in on poker Monday evening. How did I do? I ran pretty f’n good. In fact, this week since saturday, I haven’t had a losing day. Monday, I only played a few hundred hands but made $305/hr. Ok, small sample and I only played like 55 minutes. But still, since Saturday, I’ve played 6 hours, 3100 hands and have been going at a clip of $139/hr. Not too bad and would be awesome if I was putting in more time.

So yeah. That pretty much sums it up. Everything is falling apart around me, but as long as I get time to put in at the tables, I’ll die a rich man. Cause this shit is obviously going to kill me at present pace.

In case you want to see the first 20k hands of my stake, you can find a chart here. I think you can see at which point life went down the crapper. Oh, and if you see me at the tables, you best ask me how life is going before you post your blinds.

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Apr 15 2009

An Hour of Your Life You Will Definitely Want Back

Published by under Poker

Last night, after a lot of trial and error, I got camstudio setup to do some screen capturing. Some one had asked me to take some video of me playing. This isn’t instructional, it’s to evaluate my play so I didn’t talk much in it. Despite being a bit nervous at exposing my play to criticism, it was kinda fun once it was done. I will probably do this again and I will try and talk a bit more (and get a better microphone than the built in one on the deck of my laptop) to make it at least slightly more interesting.

So here it is in all it’s glory. 50 minutes of me complaining about all the short stackers at the full ring 25′s on full tilt.

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Feb 01 2009

20k or Bust!

Published by under Poker

In late December, I had goals of hitting 20k hands for the month of January. I was playing 6 tables and had 4 days off from work to start out and was trying to clear a bonus.

20k or bust, and both nearly happened.

By the 4th of January, I had almost 8k hands played so I was well on my way. I did end up getting sick and missed 5 days shortly there after which put me a bit behind schedule. That, plus the fact that I had a working BR of around 2600 starting the month (600 of that was deposited for the bonus I was clearing), I decided to take shots back at 100nl. Unfortunately, I ran poorly and consequently tilted off a couple stacks due to frustration. By the time I cleared my bonus, I was down $1000 for the month. Running bad and playing bad are a disastrous combination for the BR.

I actually wasn’t running superbad until the last couple thousand hands. Check the chart out.

results_graph_jan09

So once I cashed out the bonus deposit (plus a bit extra to make the wife happy), I ended up having a BR of just over a grand spread between 3 sites. I haven’t been that low since the first year I started out.

The biggest demotivator was that I was only bankrolled for the 25s and I really didn’t have the motivation to move down to those stakes. I ended up taking a couple of days off, but I have been working on changing the way I play so much lately, that I really wanted to play. I didn’t want to quit playing poker.

I had 3 options. Quitting, which due to my newly found motivation to play, didn’t really sit in my mind long. Moving down, which only really required swallowing some pride and ego an a worry that I could take the bets seriously. There were a lot of cases where I would say, “well, it’s only $5 to call on the river” without taking into consideration that it was actually a 20 big blind bet. The last option was to seek out a stake. While I think I could have found some one who would be willing to do this even if it was just some one doing me a favor. The bad part of this, is that I wouldn’t want to give up a significant amount of my profits to some one else (not that I need the money) and I wouldn’t want to think I was giving a friend a raw deal. The other reason I was thinking against this was that I wasn’t terribly confident in my play lately due to my poor results through most of January.

Ok, so that really just left sucking up my ego and, obviously, adjusting some of my play so that I didn’t keep leaking money even at the micro stakes. What I really needed was some coaching to pick up a lot of general play adjustments that I could use some help on. But I couldn’t really couldn’t afford that since my BR was now basically decimated. I decided to do the next best thing and started watching videos from players I could learn from. I started out watching some of the free videos at Leggo and continued watching the member videos they have there. I think it has helped a lot.

One of the goals I would like to have is turn my non-showdown hands (the red line in the chart above) into profitable hands at 100nl and lower. So I’ve been working on my aggression. I went from a 16/11 player to something more like a 25/21 player and the videos I’ve watched have done wonders in helping me make that adjustment. I don’t have any charts of my hands since I decided to move back to cake due to most of my BR being at cake at the moment, but I believe if I did, it would show that I am in fact profitable wiht my non-showdown hands.

I’m still making adjustments to my game and intent to keep watching videos when I’m not playing. I think what I’ve learned in the last 2 weeks has been more than I’ve learned at poker in the last 18 months though. Mostly a lot of misapplied concepts that I have a better understanding of now. Plus being more aggressive allows you to get more action. Sometimes that’s good, sometimes that’s bad. As long as I can run reasonably well, it will be good in the long run.

I cleared my bonus on the 16th which is what the chart above shows. After that point I moved down to the 25s (20s at cake since they don’t run a .25 big blind game) and have done well since. I played almost 6000 hands the last couple of weeks and made over $170 back. My month ended with 19570 and ended up only $680 in the red for the month counting bonuses.

19k hands is by far, the most hands I’ve ever played in a month and I don’t expect that to be a standard. My previous high for a month was around the 10k mark. I am, however, going to try and maintain around 15k hands a month and until I have a reason, will probably split my time between cake and full tilt so I can play some of the monthly freerolls they have for earning points. I don’t like playing freerolls, but when you are building a bankroll back, you have to do what you can to get money.

I’m going to try and play as many hands as I can reasonably work in as I hate playing this low. At cake, I’m probably $400 short of moving up right now, and full tilt, I might move up a bit quicker once I have the bankroll to play the 50s at cake. If you are playing that level at either of those sites, I’m sure I’ll be seeing you at the tables.

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Dec 07 2008

Self Gifting

Published by under Personal,Poker

Let’s roll back about 4 months ago. I was still playing quite a bit of poker and didn’t have a lot of intentions to stop. Then my laptop broke, I got more responsibilities at work and, of course, there was the birth of cinco. It was difficult to find the time, motivation and a computer to keep up my hobby. Fast forward to a month ago, I had flip flopped and didn’t have a lot of intentions to start playing. A least, not playing with the frequency I had been. Sure, I had been logging in and playing the occasional tourney, but wasn’t putting in thousands of hands a week or month. I probably had 1000 hands between August and October total.

With a few grand tied up in my poker sites and no intention of using it, I decided it might be nice to get some personal upgrades for me and the family. We initially ended up getting a new TV to replace the 27″ tube that we bought more than several years ago with a tax return. We didn’t get anything super great, but I think it was a decent deal.

New TV

It’s a 1080p 42″ Vizio LCD that we got for $700. Now if only my cable company had more HD channels without paying a premium.

The other thing I wanted to do was to get a computer for myself so I could quit dragging my work laptop around. At first, I was looking for just best value I could get in a 15″ monitor. The front runner in that configuration was an Acer. Then fate intervened right when I was about to pull the trigger on that by taking aim at the lifeblood of our family and killed the family vehicle. Our minivan is the only vehicle we have that fits our whole family, and it wasn’t a cheap repair. That’s a frustrating post for another day, though. Basically, I was now stuck in a spot where I knew some extra money would go a long way. How was I gonna do this?

Me: <dials on my cell phone>
Me: Hello, poker?
Me: Yeah, I know we haven’t talked in a while.
Me: I was just busy is all, but hey I’d like to get back together again.
Me: Yeah, I could use some extra money again and we had a good history. You wanna give it a shot?
Me: Ok, cool. Thanks

Changing my usage of my laptop certainly changed my requirements. Like a beam of sun breaking through the clouds directing me to my poker slaying sword, I got led to a gaming laptop from MSI. It arrived friday and while I haven’t played any poker on it yet, I did get it set up and it seems like it will fit nicely.

New Laptop

It’s a 17″ laptop that supports 1680 x 1050 (good enough for 4 tabling), has a core 2 duo 2.1 ghz proc, 3 GB ram and 512 dedicated vram. When I read reviews, it also talked about “fun pack” that came with it but wasn’t clear what exactly was in it from the place I ordered it. Friday I was pleasantly surprised to see that consisted of a mouse, headset, backpack and a copy of Halo 2. As I said, it was geared as a gaming laptop. All this packaged up for $700, seemed like a good deal and right now, feels to be every bit of that.

I know that neither of these items is particularly balla (see baller). Hey, I’m a married 30 something father of 5 with a day job. If there is anything in my life that could be construed as balla, please point it out to me.

Hello poker my old friend. Looks like we are back together again.

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