Friday, March 27, 2009

new update

Ok so my quest hasn't exactly gone to plan.

Actually, March has been pretty much the exact fucking opposite of what I planned out to do.

I had some updates up here earlier in the month but took them down when I abandoned my quest mid month in an angry fit of self-loathing embarrassed rage.

If anyone is following along on, my month probably looks pathetic. I wouldn't know though since I subscribe to the "ignorance is bliss" frame of mind, and hence, ignore all my results.

All I know is that I'm getting my ass handed to me day after day.

Its actually pretty remarkable, especially considering the content of my last post. I literally haven't posted a losing month in my history of poker playing. I've come close, but never have I actually lost money throughout a month. And up to this point, I hadn't really even tried that hard to avoid it, it just sort of happened naturally.

So of course, the only mother fucking month I actually try to make money - I lose.

So what went wrong?

Well for one, I clearly overestimated my ability to 16 or even 12 table 200NL. This isn't to say that I can't do it profitably, but most likely only marginally. And with marginal wins, comes the increased probability of big losses.

Now these losses were probably a combination of the standard two things that go wrong when any poker player is losing.

1. Bad Luck
2. Bad Play

Its an unavoidable cycle. Eventually you will just run into a sickening run of cards where your aces get cracked 40 times in a row and you begin to lose your mind. In the back of your head you understand math and probability but there is a portion of your mind that is pure instinct and monkey brained that wants to take a shit on everything bad that happens to it and throw it at people. The more you play, the more you can contain this monkey, but every so often (especially when 16 tabling) the beats become unbearable and the instinct monkey appears in all its glory to destroy your remaining bankroll.

Smart players just stop when they see him appear. And to be honest, for the past year I don't remember even seeing him once. But with 16 tables and aces losing 40 times in a row, it was just something my brain wasn't ready to deal with.

Of course this is all theory. In reality I could just be a marginal break even poker player who's finally seeing the other side of variance. I hate to even consider this, especially after my boasting in my last post, but after approximately 100k hands of losing, there aren't that many other conclusions that can be drawn.

So what to do from here?

Well, I need to retool my game and get back to the basics. Really think about every decision (sigh) and actually "work" (fuck). I was in love with the idea of passively winning thousands a day, but I guess nothing is that easy.

I managed to 4 table last night for about 8 hours and actually felt very good about my overall game and really felt in control of every table I was at. Its a slow rebuilding process but its the only way back to glory.

So umm.. April will be different?

Oh and thanks to all the support I got through comments, emails and IM's. Poker is a tough gig sometimes because people generally don't give two shits when you lose, and losing is something you never get used to. Its nice to have support.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

I'm back... Ignorance is bliss


I'm not dead.

I've just been lost.

Lost in my own mind.

I've still been playing poker - but it just doesn't do it for me anymore.

I still play, but I don't like it.

I feel sort of trapped because I can still make about 40x more per hour playing poker than I can doing anything else on the planet. At least for now. I'm making efforts (mostly mentally) to switch my focus from poker to more meaningful things. I mean there isn't an activity on earth that has less social value than playing poker.

I'm basically taking money from people who are dumber than me.

What a noble pursuit.

I'm a pretty pessimistic and negative person by nature. I generally strive for perfection in everything I do, and when I inevitably fail due to the difficulty in obtaining it, it only perpetuates my negativity and pessimism. I often rationalize my pessimism by saying its just a realistic point of view, which is true, but that mindset also stunts your growth as a person and inhibits your experiences. There is something to be said for being in tune and realistic with your limitations, but there is also something to be said for being ignorant to them.

Being ignorant to your limitations tends to lead to great things. You can see it everywhere. We all know a friend who is probably in the lowest 10% of intellect yet constantly gets chicks. Ignorant confidence is a gift. From my perspective I can never be confident because I'm always overly aware of all the realistic negative outcomes. It makes sense that if you are too dumb to think about the outcome, you will just act without fear. I think sports are the absolute example of this. Rarely do you find a super intellectual person dominating a sport. They overthink things which ends up taking too long to make a decision. Dumb people act by instinct. They just act and react. No thought necessary.

Lately I've been playing "no thought poker".

I've played so many hands that I really don't have to "think" about 99% of decisions. The 1% are interesting, but in the grand scheme of things I've started to realize that they are too insignificant to worry about. They aren't worth my time.

Part of the reason I don't have to think about 99% of decisions is because I've moved down to 200nl and started to 16 table. After beating 200NL+ for years I have infinite confidence that I will never lose. While it does stunt my growth as a poker player I'm not overly concerned because I don't consider poker being a huge part of my future. And by 16 tabling I can make equal amounts of cash to 6 tabling 400-600nl, without the extra stress, higher variance and more difficult decisions.

While no thought poker is easy and stress free, it is also extremely boring. Its basically data entry with the difference being no data entry worker makes $150/hour. So I think I can manage to rationalize it that way. Whenever I start to think about how boring or unfulfilling my life is, I think about someone doing the equivalent in intellectual stimulation that I am (data entry, call center, etc) for 10% of the pay, and then slap my self in the face. I can't afford to become jaded. I'm lucky to have found poker and lucky that I'm smart enough to win.

I hadn't updated my blog in about 5 months. In my time off I didn't play nearly as much poker as I should have. In fact, some months I didn't play at all. I just had no drive and was consumed by the meaningless of my life and actions. While these feelings haven't exactly gone away, they are curtailed a bit as I've weighed my alternate opportunities. As sad as it is, Poker will always be a part of my life. I mean, I do enjoy it occasionally, especially live and with friends. It can be a fun, challenging, exciting game but in reality I have automated 99% of it in my mind which sort of sucks the fun out of it. But I do need to continue to take advantage of it because it may not be here forever.

So, since I took a shit load of time off, my bankroll started to run dry and its time for a solid refill. I always want to do some sort of monthly challenge but I can never find the motivation to do it. I've said it before, but here we go again:

"This time will be different"

I've recently discovered a site that tracks cash game data.

For March I want to be the #1 winner on stars 200NL. I really have no idea if I can do this, but at this point I'm going to remain ignorantly confident that I can. I'm not even going to bother figuring out how much I would have to win each day to do it. I'm just going to play a lot every day and see what happens. The thing about pacing yourself is that it leads to discouragement when you fall behind. You set a pace, then if you don't maintain it, you lose confidence, lose drive and quit altogether. Dumb confident people just do things without planning, and yes, sometimes they succeed and sometimes they fail, but they rarely give up. This time I don't want to give up.

I don't know how many people still check this blog (or are still reading this giant post) but I hope that making my results public will drive me to succeed. So I'll be making semi-frequent updates as to my status. I will not give up this time, and frankly I need the cash, so its a two birds with one stone scenario.

I'll be playing on pokerstars with the name "Pushbot1000"

If you are a 200NL player on stars, prepare to be seeing me a lot more.

And to everyone who is struggling with decisions or motivation in life due to lack of confidence, I hope I can inspire some of you that it is possible to achieve with intelligent rationalization of your goals. Ignorant confidence isn't needed.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Sickness Inc.

These days, poker rarely excites me.

Oh, I get upset still - my anger emotion is still very much in tact. But when I win its like - meh - that was just supposed to happen. Nothing out of the ordinary.

The problem then becomes boredom. I've talked about this before, but a lot of the times to keep myself in the grind and avoiding boredom, I do stupid -EV shit. Shit that I would never recommend doing in a vacuum, but in order to keep my sanity and enthusiasm up I must.

Most of the time it is little things like calling a 2 barrell down with ace high, or calling a 3 bet in position with a suited connector, things that are marginal in the first place. But sometimes I can't help but reaching into my bag of spew, and dump a buyin or two.

Case in point:

Seat 5: tokenblak ( $820.20 USD )
Seat 3: LadySwan_ ( $485.00 USD )
Seat 1: xBORMANx ( $97.90 USD )
Seat 6: spancpot ( $115.82 USD )
Seat 2: Lunixxxx ( $496.00 USD )
Seat 4: adgsfh ( $77.00 USD )
tokenblak posts small blind [$2.00 USD].
spancpot posts big blind [$4.00 USD].
** Dealing down cards **
Dealt to tokenblak [ 4s 7s ]
xBORMANx folds
Lunixxxx raises [$14.00 USD]
adgsfh folds
tokenblak raises [$50.00 USD]
spancpot folds
Lunixxxx raises [$118.00 USD]
tokenblak raises [$768.20 USD]
Lunixxxx calls [$364.00 USD]
** Dealing Flop ** [ 7d, Ah, 3d ]
** Dealing Turn ** [ Ks ]
** Dealing River ** [ 2d ]
Lunixxxx shows [Ad, Ac ]
tokenblak shows [4s, 7s ]
Lunixxxx wins $994.00 USD from main pot

Seat 1: tokenblak ( $412.00 USD )
Seat 5: minraiseking ( $490.50 USD )
Seat 2: vvvvvnh ( $596.10 USD )
Seat 6: SuperTight5 ( $1109.00 USD )
Seat 3: ReteDaPesca ( $406.00 USD )
Seat 4: BluffingNuts ( $400.00 USD )
vvvvvnh posts small blind [$2.00 USD].
ReteDaPesca posts big blind [$4.00 USD].
** Dealing down cards **
Dealt to tokenblak [ Qs 5s ]
minraiseking folds
SuperTight5 raises [$14.00 USD]
tokenblak raises [$42.00 USD]
vvvvvnh folds
ReteDaPesca folds
SuperTight5 raises [$97.00 USD]
tokenblak calls [$69.00 USD]
** Dealing Flop ** [ Js, 7s, 7c ]
SuperTight5 bets [$122.00 USD]
tokenblak raises [$301.00 USD]
SuperTight5 calls [$179.00 USD]
** Dealing Turn ** [ 2h ]
** Dealing River ** [ 3s ]
SuperTight5 shows [Jd, Jh ]
tokenblak doesn't show [Qs, 5s ]

Seat 5: jaiden2101 ( $387.03 USD )
Seat 6: pdtspa ( $400.00 USD )
Seat 1: tokenblak ( $473.00 USD )
Seat 3: OMGCAPSLOCK ( $448.60 USD )
Seat 2: Lunixxxx ( $394.00 USD )
Seat 4: DoesK27apply ( $400.00 USD )
tokenblak posts small blind [$2.00 USD].
Lunixxxx posts big blind [$4.00 USD].
** Dealing down cards **
Dealt to tokenblak [ 7c 8c ]
DoesK27apply folds
jaiden2101 folds
pdtspa raises [$12.00 USD]
tokenblak raises [$50.00 USD]
Lunixxxx folds
pdtspa raises [$98.00 USD]
tokenblak raises [$421.00 USD]
pdtspa calls [$290.00 USD]
** Dealing Flop ** [ 7s, Td, 5d ]
** Dealing Turn ** [ 6h ]
** Dealing River ** [ 2h ]
pdtspa shows [Kd, Kc ]
tokenblak shows [7c, 8c ]
pdtspa wins $801.00 USD from main pot

You know, I could probably justify these somehow but, honestly, look at them. No justification ever will explain them. But I will tell you, they are damn fun when you win. And isn't that what poker is all about - fun?

But somedays the fun just comes to you. You could be sitting there, minding your own business, trying to ignore your 6 tables as you surf the latest fantasy football stats, when a donk so supreme joins your tables, you just can't avoid having fun.

Last week such an event happened. Its rare to find a player this bad. I mean we've all seen our fair share of donks, calling down with 2nd pair and never folding preflop, but generally when they get stacked they leave the table. Not this guy. Somehow, someway he had a virtually endless bankroll. Party Poker recently added this feature than when clicked, your stack is automatically reloaded to full once it drops below the maximum buyin. It was amazing to see this guy get stacked again and again just to have his stack auto-rebuy in time for the next hand.

My first big score vs him went something like this:

Seat 6: hrthestrup ( $733.70 USD )
Seat 5: tokenblak ( $1307.70 USD )
Seat 3: schmarrer_ ( $1909.40 USD )
Seat 2: LAMANI1 ( $851.70 USD )
Seat 4: Zavadil ( $400.00 USD )
Seat 1: davidross ( $407.40 USD )
davidross posts small blind [$2.00 USD].
LAMANI1 posts big blind [$4.00 USD].
** Dealing down cards **
Dealt to tokenblak [ As Ah ]
schmarrer_ folds
Zavadil folds
tokenblak raises [$14.00 USD]
hrthestrup folds
davidross folds
LAMANI1 raises [$40.00 USD]
tokenblak raises [$126.00 USD]
LAMANI1 calls [$96.00 USD]
** Dealing Flop ** [ 8h, 9h, 9c ]
LAMANI1 bets [$250.00 USD]
tokenblak raises [$1167.70 USD]
LAMANI1 calls [$461.70 USD]
** Dealing Turn ** [ 8s ]
** Dealing River ** [ 5c ]
LAMANI1 shows [Jh, Td ]
tokenblak shows [As, Ah ]
tokenblak wins $456.00 USD from main pot
tokenblak wins $1702.40 USD from main pot

As soon as he snap called my reraise preflop I knew it could be an epic pot. My poker playing friend was over and I even predicted so. Sure enough, he donks out HUGE on the flop and since I know he probably isn't folding I just push now. I have to admit the turn scared the shit out of me since thats exactly what he would do with like 78 but I manage to dodge a 7 or Q and I win a 2 buyin pot.

After I won this pot I did a small little jig around the room but I kept it pretty subdued.

This set the stage for the most INSANE HAND OF MY POKER CAREER.

The table was playing super fast, with everyone eager to get a piece of this donks endless roll. Notice the stack sizes of all the players at the table for this next hand:

Seat 6: hrthestrup ( $1092.70 USD )
Seat 5: tokenblak ( $2174.90 USD )
Seat 3: schmarrer_ ( $2727.20 USD )
Seat 2: LAMANI1 ( $458.00 USD ) <- the donk
Seat 4: Zavadil ( $430.10 USD )
Seat 1: davidross ( $789.40 USD )
davidross posts small blind [$2.00 USD].
LAMANI1 posts big blind [$4.00 USD].

Alright STOP. Just notice that I have over 2k at the table, as does another player. I've never played 5 buyins deep ever in my life.

** Dealing down cards **
Dealt to tokenblak [ 3c 4c ]
schmarrer_ raises [$14.00 USD]
Zavadil folds
tokenblak calls [$14.00 USD]
hrthestrup folds
davidross folds
LAMANI1 calls [$10.00 USD]
** Dealing Flop ** [ 4d, Jh, 4h ]

Jackpot flop. Now lets call to trap LAMANI1 into doing something stupid.

LAMANI1 checks
schmarrer_ bets [$34.00 USD]
tokenblak calls [$34.00 USD]
LAMANI1 raises [$134.00 USD]

Sweet, another stack for me!

schmarrer_ raises [$2679.20 USD]




I mean seriously what the fuck is this guy doing? I've watched this guy take stack after stack off the donk and hes been playing very good. Did he seriously just raise me 5 buyins???? Did he even see me in the hand?? Does he put me on a 4??? Wow I have 15 seconds to make this decision??? Fuck you party!

Now I probably wouldn't have even posted this hand as my "craziest hand ever" if I didn't call right?



tokenblak calls [$2126.90 USD]
LAMANI1 calls [$310.00 USD]
** Dealing Turn ** [ 9d ]
** Dealing River ** [ Kc ]
LAMANI1 shows [9h, 4s ]
schmarrer_ shows [Ah, Ac ]
tokenblak shows [3c, 4c ]
schmarrer_ wins $552.30 USD from main pot
tokenblak wins $3433.80 USD from main pot
LAMANI1 wins $1373.00 USD from main pot

Wow, sucks to be you buddy. Way to loose 5+ buyins in one hand! Looking back its pretty clear he didn't even consider my stack when he shoved in here. He did it so fast he probably just saw the donks check raise along with my smooth call on the flop (probably also assuming I would never slowplay this deep) and just shoved in for fun with his aces (aka nuts vs the donk). It kind of sucks that the donk woke up with trips here and split some of the pot (sucks even more that we didn't chop it which should happen 40% of the time) but I still walked away with $1250 from one hand. I'm pretty sure I've won more in one hand before but never in this ridiculous of a situation.

Here's to fun in poker - a rare sighting these days!

Edit - Oh and how about those Pats? You like that guaranteed win? They don't come around often so I hope you cashed in like I did +$500!

Monday, September 08, 2008

Back The Truck Up

Here is a gambling 101 moment for you.

Tom Brady went down for the season last night. Yes, as a Pats fan this is obviously the worst possible thing that could ever happen. However, like poker, in testing times, you must maintain a calm thought process and avoid tilt. You cannot be a winning poker player if you can't bounce back from devastating loses. The same is true in New England.

The Patriots play at the Jets next Sunday. With no Brady injury this line is easily New England -14. Currently, without Brady the line is Jets -1. This is a serious over adjustment. As sick as Brady is, no chance he is worth 15 points. Everyone across North America right now is inexplicably high on the Jets right now. OOOHH BRETT FARVE!!! I agree they are a better team than last year but they were 4-12 last year, it's not hard to improve on that.

I'll say it right here. Put any starting QB in the league in a Jets or GB uniform and you will get the same result Farve gets. Hes washed up (was never that good?). Did anyone even watch the Jets / Dolphins game yesterday? They almost lost! Pennington had that Miami offense unstopably moving down the field on the final drive for the win, threw a bad pass from the 10 yard line and game over. Farve is destined to regress back to his pre 2006 season stats. In the game yesterday, 4th and 13 Farve is chased out of the pocket, and then slings up an air ball to a guy who is triple covered. Miraculously he catches the ball for the TD and Farve looks like a genius. Throw that up vs the Patriots? Int.

Sure Cassell is a complete wildcard, but we still have Belichick and in Belichick I trust. This happened to the Pats in 2001 when Bledsoe got injured for the season and they won the Superbowl. Belichick is the master of the adjustment. And if you don't think the Pats are going to be fired up to beat a division rival with something to prove you are insane. Look what the Pats did with motivation last year - 18-1. This team thrives on motivation. They are a team of solid veterans who want nothing else than to win. I guarantee they now want to prove to the league that they can still win without Brady.

Pats +1 @ Jets. What a joke. Back the truck up on this one. It will be close, but no chance they lose.


Pats Homer

Oh and as a side note, I've started a seperate fantasy football blog since I didn't want to clutter this site up with football shite.

Dee's Fantasy Nuts

Hopefully it is enjoyable.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Dear Party Poker

Heres my email I just sent to party:


So I stopped playing at party for a month or so. You guys noticed, thats nice, its nice to feel appreciated. You offered me a sizable deposit bonus. Also nice. I thought, hey, why let a few minor things like the software crashing every hour and lack of any meaningful loyalty program get in the way of a free $500 deposit bonus. So I deposited, and have been getting back to playing a bit on party. Its win win. You guys get my long term rake, I get your bonus.

But then I remembered why I left party in the first place.

I went to join some tables today to play, and in the meantime was checking out my bonus status. $500 bonus still active, party points to clear - 3000, expires SEPT 4, 2008.

If my math is correct, I have to play 5454 "raked" hands at 2/4NL to get to 3000 base party points. Since I fold 80% of my hands this means I have to play in the neighborhood of 25,000 hands in order to clear your bonus. On top of this you put a ridiculous 2 week expiry date on the bonus. Tell me, exactly how many of your customers play in the neighborhood of 50k hands a month? Probably a very small percentage I'd imagine. Not to mention you are trying to "win me back" which should involve some sort of easing me back in. I'm not going to automatically start playing on your site and putting in 25k hands in 2 weeks just to clear a bonus.

Now I've realized what you have done. You basically duped me into joining your horrible site by offering me a bonus that can never be cleared. Congratulations, you've lost me again, probably for good now.

I realize you probably don't care and probably won't even read this email but I really think if there's even a chance that someone there at party is actually listening to their customers, it could go a long way. I mean, there are about 10 things that a monkey could realize is wrong with your site, yet you seem intent on staying the same as you've been since 2004. I mean you don't even properly order the button when heads up. How basic can you get for "the worlds largest poker room"? But I digress, no one is listening. I'm just one semi consistent user who is leaving your site, who cares? My bonus will go uncleared and you will have done your job by getting me to deposit.

I wish you luck in all future endeavors.



I imagine absolutley nothing will come of this. Whoever reads it (if anyone even bothers to) will immediately delete it as if it never happened. Thats the party way. Ignore all problems until everyone leaves your god awful site.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

September Goals and Football Gibbrish

The last 3 months have basically been a write off. I've been playing lower stakes, and playing less which can only lead to failure. I'm not really sure what caused my lack of play but I do know I am back now.

My goals for September are pretty much standard for what a full time poker player should be playing.

Goal 1: Play 4 hours a day, which equates to 2000 hands each day playing 5 tables on party.
Goal 2: Goes hand in hand with goal 1 - play 40k hands.
Goal 3: Maintain a +5ptbb/100 winrate

These are not lavish unreasonable goals but basically I just need to get back on track. March and April of this year were banner months for me and there was no reason I should have let off. I was days away from taking a shot at 5/10 and now I have barely been playing 2/4. Even if I achieve my goals this month I won't be able to take a shot, but I will be primed to do so if I continue through October. Baby steps here.

In other news, I'm ridiculously psyched for this upcoming NFL season. To be honest I hadn't thought much about football since the disaster that was 18-1, but I'm definitely ready to be hurt again. The Pats look good again this year, although not nearly as good as last year. I still think they are probably Superbowl favorites, but its unlikely they will be nearly as dominant. Last year their defense was a little inflated due to every opponent having to play from behind. This year, their defense will be exposed. Their secondary and linebackers are a joke. With the exception of first round draft Jarod Mayo and Adalius Thomas at LB, they have virtually no unstable positions. Vrabel, Bruschi and Harrison are way past their primes. Rodney Harrison is especially a joke. Last year he spent more time hitting players after the play then during. He also choked hard on the infamous "helmet catch" that basically cost them the superbowl. I'm expecting them to get torched deep a lot. They did just pick up Deltha O'Neil at cb, and guys like Merriweather, Sanders and Andrews have had a year to improve and move up the depth chart, but I'm still not too confident. If the offense starts struggling, you may see some ugly 30 pt games put up on this defense.

But the offense likely won't struggle. They are essentially exactly the same team they were last year. They still have Moss, Welker, Maroney, Watson, Faulk, their entire pro-bowl offensive line and of course Brady. They did lose Stallworth, but he was an extremely small part of what they did last year. Gaffeney can easily fill his shoes. They also got Sammy Moris back, who last year had some dominant games at backup RB before getting injured. The only question mark is health. Welker has had some rib problems, and Brady missed every preseason game with undisclosed "foot" issues, but both say they will be playing the opener vs KC, so I'm not too worried, yet. If Brady goes down you can count on them missing the playoffs.

I also finally got in a meaningful fantasy league, something I had wanted to do for years but most of my friends weren't into football enough to do so. Our league has 12 people in it. I randomed first pick overall and of course picked Brady. In hindsight this was kind of a bad pick even though he is head and shoulders better than any #2 QB you can think of. The problem it left me with was not being able to grab a RB untill last pick of round 2. At this point essentially every decent starting RB was gone and I was left with the decision between Edgerin James, Thomas Jones, and Brandon Jacobs. I really hate James and feel that he is completely washed up and from watching the Giants last year in the playoffs it seems they have too many options at RB to take Jacobs as a starting RB, so I took Thomas Jones. He should have a solid year as the #1 back in the Jets offense. I think the Jets are actually going to be half decent this year, probably ending around 9-7.

My team looks like this:

QB: Brady
WR: Marques Colston
WR: Nate Burleson
WR: Chris Chambers
RB: Thomas Jones
RB: Michael Turner
TE: Benjamin Watson
Flex: Jonathan Stewart
BN: Chris Johnson
BN: Chris Perry
BN: Kurt Warner
BN: Isaac Bruce
BN: Antwaan Randle El
K: Mike Negent
Def: Baltimore

Now on paper there are definitely better teams in the league. But there is no team in the league with more potential for greatness than mine. Marques Colston is a stud and is going to put up huge numbers this year (which is also a contract year for him). Nate Burlesson looks like a wtf pick for #2 WR but if you look at Seattles depth chart, their other WR's Bobby Engram and Deion Branch are out for 5+ weeks each, so Burlesson becomes far and away Hasslebecks #1 option. For #3 WR I have a few interesting choices. I have Chambers penciled in at the moment but I really feel that Isassc Bruce has one last year in him - especially playing for Mike Martz in San Fran. Also Anwaan Randle El is expected to be a strong #2 in Washington behind the aging and small Santana Moss.

My RBs are the position with the most potential. My two starters, Jones and Turner are definitely not the strongest in the league, but with both being starting #1's I think they will get a lot of touches. My three backups, Jonathan Stewart, Chris Johson and Chris Perry all have massive upsides. The first two, Stewart and Johnson will start the year at backup in Carolina and Tennessee, but both are first round draft picks and are expected to get a lot of touches and possibly take over the starting role. No chance I'm trading them. Chris Perry, a guy I had never heard of till last week just got the starting job in Cinicinatti after they cut Rudi Johnson. Now I'm sure he will split carries with Kenny Watson but I'm definitely going to keep my eye out on him to see what develops. The best part is I got Perry and Johnson in the 4th and 3rd last rounds, which are absolute steals.

The last 3, Kurt Warner, "random kicker" and Baltimore defense I'm happy with. I think I picked up Warner in the 5th last round, which is pretty suprising. I know its easy to hate on ol' Kurt but if you look at his numbers last year, 3400 yards, 27 TD 17 INT and considering he didn't even play the whole season, you can't deny he is a solid QB and probably should be a starter in a 12 man leauge. He has 2 pro bowl WR's and the Cardinals have just named him the starting QB for the season over Matt Lienart, who looks like he'll never be starting in the NFL at this point. I imagine some one who drafted a piece of shit like Farve, Hasselbeck or McNabb will be begging me for Warner later on. And for some reason I got Baltimore defense. I originally had Tennesse defense but someone ended up dropping Baltimore to free agents and I snapped them up.

So heres to a great NFL season where the Pats go 14-2 and I win my fantasy league.

Oh and poker, I should get to work on that.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Every decision counts

Money is won and lost in the microcosms of poker. Making mistakes preflop and on the flop seem small in an absolute sense - after all whats another $3 to see the flop or another $8 to see the turn. But those mistakes not only add up, they also create a multiplier effect which inflate your losses on later streets. This is why a lot of instructors tell new players to the game to learn how to play preflop first. By making correct plays preflop, you eliminate a lot of late street difficulties by virtue of them never existing in the first place. But flop play is a lot harder to teach because there are so many variables. This is why you have so many marginal break even "regulars" at small stakes. They learn what cards to play preflop and get that magical "18/15" ratio. But since postflop can't be bottled and taught, they can't go any further.

Some examples of early round decisions getting bad players into trouble:

Seat 3: OkeyDonKy ( $548.90 USD )
Seat 5: tokenblak ( $400.00 USD )
Seat 6: maniac_054 ( $85.00 USD )
Seat 4: robin3596 ( $373.16 USD )
Seat 2: CheckUrNUTZ ( $400.00 USD )
maniac_054 posts small blind [$2.00 USD].
CheckUrNUTZ posts big blind [$4.00 USD].
** Dealing down cards **
Dealt to tokenblak [ 2s As ]
OkeyDonKy folds
robin3596 calls [$4.00 USD]
tokenblak raises [$18.00 USD]
maniac_054 folds
CheckUrNUTZ folds
robin3596 calls [$14.00 USD]
** Dealing Flop ** [ 2h, 3c, 6s ]
robin3596 checks
tokenblak bets [$29.00 USD]
robin3596 calls [$29.00 USD]
** Dealing Turn ** [ Ad ]
robin3596 checks
tokenblak bets [$65.00 USD]
robin3596 calls [$65.00 USD]
** Dealing River ** [ Tc ]
robin3596 checks
tokenblak bets [$155.00 USD]
robin3596 calls [$155.00 USD]
tokenblak shows [2s, As ]
robin3596 doesn't show [6d, 3d ]

Can you count the mistakes this player "robin3596" made?

First, he limped with 63s, definitely a mistake - easy fold. By even playing this hand, out of position in a raised pot he is destined to lose money in the long run.

Second he hits gin on the flop and decides to slowplay. This is not the time to slowplay a hand like this. From his persepctive it is possible that I have a big hand myself and am ripe to pay him off (not this time but often) with a big pair. He should have raised for value and protection. Instead he got drawn out on and it ended up costing him $270.

Seat 1: turbostanz ( $400.00 USD )
Seat 2: trappedu23 ( $682.90 USD )
Seat 5: FinnStarr ( $989.30 USD )
Seat 6: johnyq4 ( $407.80 USD )
Seat 4: tokenblak ( $400.00 USD )
Seat 3: IshootmyWad ( $400.00 USD )
IshootmyWad posts small blind [$2.00 USD].
tokenblak posts big blind [$4.00 USD].
** Dealing down cards **
Dealt to tokenblak [ 5s Qc ]
FinnStarr folds
johnyq4 calls [$4.00 USD]
turbostanz folds
trappedu23 folds
IshootmyWad folds
tokenblak checks
** Dealing Flop ** [ 3h, 5c, Qh ]
tokenblak bets [$8.00 USD]
johnyq4 raises [$16.00 USD]
tokenblak raises [$58.00 USD]
johnyq4 calls [$50.00 USD]
** Dealing Turn ** [ Ks ]
tokenblak bets [$125.00 USD]
johnyq4 raises [$337.80 USD]
tokenblak calls [$205.00 USD]
** Dealing River ** [ Jd ]
tokenblak shows [5s, Qc ]
johnyq4 shows [9h, Th ]
johnyq4 wins $7.80 USD from main pot
johnyq4 wins $799.00 USD from main pot

Aside from the fact this player won this pot, he definitely played it almost as incorrectly as possible, maximizing long term losses.

First he limps with 9hTh from utg+1. Again, I'm not the hugest fan of limping ever, especially from early position with a bunch of agressive players behind him, but I can see why he did it. IMO its still raise/fold here preflop.

Second, he makes a classic fish mistake of minraising a flop with a draw. This almost has no purpose other than to inflate a pot in which you are most likely an underdog in. Remember flush draws, while pretty, are only a 35% shot to win. Now obviously you can't immediately put me on 2 pair when I bet out at this flop, and it is true I will fold every now and then to your min raise, it is still a very innefficient method to achieving what you want me to do - which is fold.

His third mistake was to simply call the rather large reraise I make. For whatever information he was looking for with his minraise here - he got it. I love my hand and realistically most people are never reraising this big from the blinds without a monster. I mean I could have any 2 pair or set combination. Once he calls this bet he is really setting himself up for disaster.

Now on the turn he picks up a gutshot to go along with his flush draw and he decides to push over my bet. I mean my line is so strong that is so unlikely that I'm running a complete bluff, and therefore am very unlikely to be folding. But you see what has happened. By calling my big reraise on the flop he has committed himself to bluffing at this pot if he wants to win it, and since the pot is so big, he is now bluffing his whole stack to do so. Not to mention bluffing into an extremely strong line that is highly unlikely to fold. It worked out for him this time as he had 12 outs and hit, but 75% of the time it will cost him his stack. Had he simply either called on the flop or possibly raised larger he could have saved a lot of money (equity).

One more.

Seat 2: Pipati4Ever ( $637.10 USD )
Seat 3: tokenblak ( $996.50 USD )
Seat 5: dickestoast ( $602.30 USD )
Seat 6: Poh___ ( $80 USD )
Seat 1: KaYiCHi ( $208 USD )
Seat 4: gotshrimp ( $197.70 USD )
gotshrimp posts small blind [$2 USD].
dickestoast posts big blind [$4 USD].
** Dealing down cards **
Dealt to tokenblak [ Tc Qs ]
Poh___ folds
KaYiCHi folds
Pipati4Ever folds
tokenblak raises [$12 USD]
gotshrimp calls [$10 USD]
dickestoast folds
** Dealing Flop ** [ Qc, 6c, Td ]
gotshrimp checks
tokenblak bets [$21 USD]
gotshrimp raises [$42 USD]
tokenblak is all-In [$963.50 USD]
gotshrimp is all-In [$143.70 USD]
** Dealing Turn ** [ 3h ]
** Dealing River ** [ 6d ]
gotshrimp shows [ Jc, 4c ]a pair of Sixes.
tokenblak shows [ Tc, Qs ]two pairs, Queens and Tens.

This hand is similar. For whatever reason, this player decides to call my raise out of position with J4s. Then he decides to check min raise his flush draw on the flop. Again, this does have a % chance of working as I won't always have a pair to play back with, but the check min raise has basically the lowest chance of getting your opponent to fold, which is what you definitely want when you are out of position with only a J high flush draw. Here his check min raise got im into big trouble as it compelled him to call my push with his draw, all because he inflated the pot by calling preflop and raising the flop.

And heres one last one that isn't all that similar but there is an important lesson involved.

Seat 1: koomiss ( $400.00 USD )
Seat 2: Pipati4Ever ( $442.00 USD )
Seat 4: onkelpmx ( $274.80 USD )
Seat 5: unexplicable ( $406.00 USD )
Seat 3: tokenblak ( $400.00 USD )
Pipati4Ever posts small blind [$2.00 USD].
tokenblak posts big blind [$4.00 USD].
** Dealing down cards **
Dealt to tokenblak [ 6d 3d ]
onkelpmx folds
unexplicable folds
koomiss folds
Pipati4Ever raises [$10.00 USD]
tokenblak calls [$8.00 USD]
** Dealing Flop ** [ 5d, 4s, 6s ]
Pipati4Ever bets [$16.00 USD]
tokenblak raises [$58.00 USD]
Pipati4Ever calls [$42.00 USD]
** Dealing Turn ** [ Jc ]
Pipati4Ever bets [$75.00 USD]
tokenblak calls [$75.00 USD]
** Dealing River ** [ 5s ]
Pipati4Ever bets [$255.00 USD]
tokenblak calls [$255.00 USD]
Pipati4Ever shows [7h, 4h ]
tokenblak shows [6d, 3d ]

Shameless brag: this was my first hand at the table, no reads.

The reason I made this call was this. By him calling the flop and betting the turn like he did on a complete blank (no reason for him to have a jack) he is basically representing (or trying to) a pair that is now protecting itself from the draws on board. Once he pushes the river when the flush arrives, what he is representing changes. Not only does he have to be concerned with me having the flush, his line also makes no sense for a flush draw himself. Sure he could have spazzed out with a pair higher than a 6, but more often than not his hand has no showdown value at all, and a pair of 6's is good.

Before making any move in poker, always ask yourself - "Why am I doing this?" And not just to the big decisions. Take time out after every marginal preflop and flop decision and analyze not only why you did your action, but also what other actions were available and what their potential consequences may be.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Back from the dead

Hey Friends,

I've been really burnt out from poker lately obv haven't been playing much. I've also been working on some side projects that are far more interesting than grinding.

Short post today but I should finally be back in the grind from here on in since I'm running hilariously short on cash. I really need to stay away from 1/2 I think. I can't stand nutpeddling for 4 hours straight - which seems to be only way to play 1/2 since no one ever stacks off light. For some reason at 2/4 tag regs love to stack off with gutshots. I miss their aggression.

In the mean time, if you are bored at work or whatever and are looking for a neat browser / text / NFL based MMORPG, then check Goal Line Blitz out. You start off as a level 1 football player, your choice of position. You join teams along side other real players and team owners. You design your player by picking attributes and skill points. The games are simulated based on what you choose. All in all a pretty neat concept that I feel has massive potential.

Love it when this happens.

***** Hand History for Game 7321194132 *****
$400.00 USD NL Texas Hold'em - Saturday, August 23, 07:17:24 ET 2008
Table Table 164481 (Real Money)
Seat 6 is the button
Seat 1: kasimir10_1 ( $378.34 USD )
Seat 2: FinnStarr ( $726.40 USD )
Seat 3: FrankyFix ( $400.00 USD )
Seat 5: RiverRatBust ( $937.76 USD )
Seat 4: tokenblak ( $445.73 USD )
Seat 6: pushing72o ( $436.00 USD )
kasimir10_1 posts small blind [$2.00 USD].
FinnStarr posts big blind [$4.00 USD].
** Dealing down cards **
Dealt to tokenblak [ Jd Td ]
FrankyFix folds
tokenblak raises [$14.00 USD]
RiverRatBust folds
pushing72o raises [$48.00 USD]
kasimir10_1 calls [$46.00 USD]
FinnStarr folds
tokenblak calls [$34.00 USD]
** Dealing Flop ** [ Kh, Qs, Ac ]
kasimir10_1 checks
tokenblak checks
pushing72o checks
** Dealing Turn ** [ 9s ]
kasimir10_1 bets [$330.34 USD]
tokenblak raises [$397.73 USD]
pushing72o folds
** Dealing River ** [ Qc ]
kasimir10_1 shows [Ad, Jh ]
tokenblak shows [Jd, Td ]
tokenblak wins $67.39 USD from main pot
tokenblak wins $805.68 USD from main pot

Sunday, July 20, 2008

I think I can, I think I can

You know, as shitty as downswings get, they really do test your character. I'd like to think a lesser man would give completely into his emotions, and while there has been a lot of that for me, I think that I maintained my composure as best I could and kept playing through. Its not over yet and I'm still busto but I think I've at least rationalized my fears about my future. I may have also learned that I simply can't play long sessions without losing my entire mind. All I need is 2 daily 2-4 hour sessions with a solid break inbetween to reflect and unwind - no need to run marathons every day - regardless of how tempting it is when losing.

So to sum up my past 2 weeks, heres a garff. Most of this is $200NL with some $400NL and even $100NL sprinkled in. In fact the reason I even stayed alive here was mostly due to some back to back monster +15 buyin sessions at $100NL.

Hopefully it truly is "over" since 70k breakeven is by far my longest stretch.

Monday, July 14, 2008

A cry for help

I'm in a really dark place right now, hence the lack of posts.

Since I've gotten back from dropping $325345345134 in Vegas I haven't won a god damn dime online.

I had a sick april and may and now I'm paying for it.

I really don't know what to do to be honest. For almost 3 years I've made easy steady income off poker without even trying or putting in "real" hours. Now I can't get out of this break even stretch and I my bankroll can't sustain my expenses anymore.

I really fucked myself.

Why did I buy a fucking house?

I've been in downswings and breakeven stretches before but none this long. And the longer it goes, the less confident I am in my game.

I played today, won $1200 quickly and wanted to quit - so I did - except for one table where I was deep stacked against a serious fish with a massive stack of his own.

-$2k later I'm writing this post.

I hate taking days off when I'm down a million dollars but I think today has to stop. I'm not anywhere near the right state of mind.

The problem is I don't see myself getting in the right state of mind anytime soon.

Fuck me.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Epic post

I've been playing a shit ton the past 2 weeks since I've got back from Vegas that I haven't had time to do much else. As a reference point the most hands I've played in a month is something like 30k. In 9 days I've managed to play 38k hands. Its funny how having no money will do that.

But I sort of forgot I left all the readers of this blog at a cliffhanger with my last post - eluding to the best part of my trip.

Here we go.

It was the last day I was in Vegas and I had just busted out of the $2k event as I had described. I was pretty upset and grinding 5/10 for another 10 hours (100 hands) for some reason didn't appeal to me. My friend and I were both feeling the pain of live poker and we decided to give it up and just go out clubbing.

So we shower up (not together) and get dressed to the nines (button up shirt!) and we decide to take advantage of the "free drink" policy at casinos and play some poker until we are mashed - then presumably go to 'da club. I've been to some of the "hot" LV clubs and wasn't impressed - not that I'm ever really impressed by clubs anyways. We decide to head to our old stompin' grounds where a few years ago we spent every waking moment for 3 weeks - MGM grand.

Walking through the casino half buzzed, I feel a rush of energy. There is something about familiarity with a casino that makes you feel good. Now my original plan was to donk it up at 1/2, throwing buyins around like I'm mother-fuckin Hugh Hefner but there was about a 14 person waiting list, so we just sat down at the first available 2/5 game. The stakes of my drunken domination had just doubled+$100.

First few hands I'm 3 betting everyone - taking down a bunch of pots with cbets and shit, throwing all the regular nits off guard. Everyone is pretty nitty and not drunk - so I contrasted well. There were two exceptions however. One being a young kid from LA who was drinking and not that good at the pokers but an all right guy to talk to, and another being an old man with a clear drinking problem - ordering double grand marnier's throughout the night. Old drinking man was directly to my right and was the primary source of the nights entertainment.

You know how they say that even though people expect to lose to the house in a casino but they still play because its entertainment they are paying for? Well thats how I felt tonight for the first time. I wasn't overly concerned with the money I lost because I had already lost a boatload and was just dying to get back online and playing. For the first time in Vegas I was having fun playing poker - imagine that.

When I sat down old drunk man was sitting on about $80. I reraised his open raise with 76s and he pushed. I obviously snap called and hit a flush to take what I assumed to be his last $80. He must have rebought to about $500 though soon after - probably when noticing that I was here to gambool (gambool passes spell check?). I was playing up my image well, slopily stacking chips and haphazardly throwing them into the pot when betting. At this point I wasn't very drunk - only about 4-5 beers but no one had to know.

A few hands later I pick up KK in the blind with 23423 limpers facing me I popped up big to like $50. Obviously almost everyone calls. Flop comes KTx and I obviously cbet. Oldest nittiest man on the planet raises me and I snap move all in. He calls. As soon as he says call I say "I win" lolz. As the dealer deals the turn and river blanks I say "pair of kings" and show one king. He nods to my statement (one pair goot?) but then I flip over the other king. This sends him into a rage. Now it wasn't really my intention to rile him or anything - I was just playing around. In hindsight it was kind of a dick move but I thought everyone was chillin. Little did I realize that I was playing with the worlds biggest life nit of all time. Throughout the night he would constantly complain about any minor "improper" event that happened at the table. I told him to be kind to the fish at the table or they will leave - refering to me.

So I'm dubbed up and feelin good despite the negative energy coming from old man nit. I think I end up donking away a few hundred here and there with missed draws and 2nd best hands then I do something actually stupid.

There are a few limpers and old drunken man raises to $15 (3xbb) which is his standard raise for some reason despite the limpers. I try to isolate him by reraising with 88 to about $60. One guy calls the 2 raises cold then old drunk man reraises again to like $200. At this point what I should have done was fold. What I did do was misread the fuck out of the situation. For some reason I thought that old drunk man had limped along with the other players, then after seeing me raise he decided to reraise. If that had actually been the action I would have no problem getting it all in with 88 there since it is highly unlikely he would limp anything that beats 88 after a bunch of people had already limped. But I forgot that he had made a raise. Small details like this matter - but they are hard to remember while drinking apparantly. So I snap go all in and he obviously has KK and I lose.

That hurt. Rebuy.

I'm still in a good mood though despite the loss and now all the table nits are chomping at the bit to get my action. This one nit to my left is a young asian kid who is audibly upset that he can't pick up a hand. I play a neat pot where I raise with 67 hearts, get one caller (the LA kid). The flop is something like KJ8 with 2 clubs. He check calls my flop bet. Turn is like a 2 and it goes check check. River pairs my 6 and he bets. I call pretty quickly and he has nothing. "Its hard to make a pair" I says. LA Kid is not amused.

However LA kid was pretty funny. All night long he had been bragging about hooking up with some strippers last night at the club and was texting one of them all night. He was planning for her to come meet him at the MGM to his hotel room for some out of club fun. He kept asking my friend and I if she should bring some friends for us since he has a suite. He then tells us that its $2500 each. I wasn't ever considering it anyways but $2500 is so lol, and even more lol that he was bragging about it. No strippers ever showed up.

I'm basically seeing the flop with any 2 reasonable cards and trying to outplay people. It generally doesn't work since no one gives me credit, and it starts to annoy me that people are taking turns beating me with superiour cards. At this point old drunk man has ammassed something like a $3k stack courtesty of random donations from me as well as a few other stacks he's taken from others. Its pretty funny since he can barely drink his drink without getting poker chips in it - literally. Since the cupholders are below the table level he kept dropping chips in his drink. I guess eventually he got sick of taking the chips out that he just left them in there while drinking. Wierd dude.

One hand I have T5 of clubs and call a raise - as does everyone else. Flop has 3 cards with 2 of them being clubs, so I bet when checked to me. Nitty young guy calls me and everyone else folds. Turn brings my flush and I decide to check. He checks behind. River is a low card so the board is something like KJ862 with 3 clubs. I quickly check ot him since he probably has a king since he called my flop bet and will probably try to value bet it after I've checked twice. He does and I quickly and sloppily pop it up to $375. He snap calls me with some garbage and I say "I has a frush". I win and he quickly leaves the table. Its funny because he had been waiting a few hours to get in a pot with me and he leaves right after.

Now comes the climax of the night. I had a respectable stack up to this point - somewhere around $800. I've been straddling all night and had done it again this hand. For some reason every single person at the table folds except the big blind (old drunk man) who limps in. I haven't even looked at my cards yet and I raise it to $30. He snap calls obviously and then blindly donks out like $25 before the flop comes. The flop is K82 with 2 spades. It is then I look at my cards and of course I have QQ. I decide to raise the flop since he blind bet it and he snap calls. Once again, before the turn is dealt he donks out like $50 this time. The turn brings my set - Q of spades also bringing the flush. I knew he wouldn't be randomly donking out with a flush draw on the turn so I was sure I had the best hand. Now heres the best part. Simply the best thing I've ever done live. As soon as I said the words "raise" he INSTANTLY says "CALL!". I hadn't even said how much I was raising to or put out any chips yet, but since I said raise and he said call his call is binding to whatever amount I want to bet. Since I had the nuts I lol'd and went all in for like $700 into a $100 pot. He had to call. River is nothing and he shows his K6 or whatever for top pair. I sort of feel bad but hes a dumbass who took my stack earlier from me not paying attention, so were even in my eyes. He still has like $1k at this point but hes pretty upset.

That is by far the funniest stupidest thing anyone has ever done to me in a live poker game.

The night ended on a shitty note though. Simliar situation, old drunk man raises and I reraise him with KTs. Once again he blind bets the flop. Flop comes down A63 rainbow. I raise him a bit since hes going to miss that flop so often, yet he snap calls. The turn brings an 8, and he check calls my big bet of like $200. At this point I really don't know what to put him on. His blind donk bets are fucking with my now pretty drunken mind. All I knew was that he couldn't be that strong, maybe something like AT. River brings a 9 so its A9863 rainbowish. He checks and I snap go all in for a huge overbet. He obviously snap calls me with A3 and now I'm the one who is pissed.

You know how you get irrationaly angry when you are drinking and something shitty happens? Thats what happened to me. I pretty much lost my mind. The next few hands I was so tilted, I was just literally throwing chips into the pot. One pot my friend cbet the flop and I just snap threw my entire stack into the middle like a giant baby. I left shortly therafter.

Bad ending to an other wise awesome and hilarious night. Oh we didn't end up going clubbing since by the time we were done it was like 5am and was too drunk and too pissed off to do anything but sleep and get the fuck out of this shit hole of a city.

So drinking while playing poker - I'd give it a 9/10 especially if you are willing to lose a bit. Your image is hilarious and you can't beat fucking with the minds of local nits.

But next time I'll probably do it at 1/2 so I don't end up dropping a grand needlessly.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Incoming Huge Posts

Ok so heres the official Vegas Trip Report.

I'll try to do this without crying.

The first day was promising. Within an hour of getting to Vegas we were at the Rio sitting at a 2/5 game. The Rio is where all the WSOP events are being held this year and the place is absolutely packed. There are probably something like 250 tables - all full - with most of them being used for donkaments.

The first few hours I basically dwindle away my stack with a few lost coinflips and some 2 pair vs set hands. Not too much damage though since most of my opponents were short stacked. There was one hand where I had AK and a 70 year old grandma who hadn't made a bet in 3 hours actually reraised me preflop all in. She only had about $100 but I couldn't imagine her doing that with anything AK beat. I obviously call since AK is the nuts online, but she teaches me a thing about live poker - AK is not the nuts. She flips over aces obv and I lose.

I pulled off one sick bluff against a tight nitty older asian woman. She knew what she was doing but she was very straightforward. I raised in early position with 65 of hearts. She calls from the big blind and the flop comes KQ2 rainbow. Great flop for my range and bad for hers. I c-bet the flop, which she quickly calls. Obviously she isn't winning this hand I say to myself. The turn brings a T and a flush draw. She check calls my double barrel rather quickly again. Heres a spot where I double barrel the the sole intention of pushing the river since I know a ton of her range is a shitty pair + a gutshot or flush draw. Without double barreling your river bet will get no credit since you haven't repped strong enough. River brings a meaningless 6 and she checks. Now at this point you are thinking, wow you three barreled a nit - congratulations. But heres the kicker - I only had about a 1/2 pot bet left, usually not enough to get anyone off any pair. But I knew she was decent enough to realize that I'm repping a monster hand here and that its unlikely I would bluff with just a 1/2 pot bet, so I did it and she thought for a bit and folded. Obviously I have to turn my hand over and show the bluff. The table oo's and aah's and from then in I started making money. I later busted her by flopping trips and having her overplay her Queens.

So I made some money there, and winning pots here, and eventually got my stack up to about $1500. Then something really gay happens.

I had pulled a "bluff" on this older russian dude earlier where I 3 barreled him with 77 on a KQ7xx board. After he called the flop and turn I pushed the river and he took hours to finally fold. I showed 1 seven and he got upset. A few hands later he raises and I pick up QQ. I look over at his stack and see like $100 in front of him. I do a mini raise to $45 assuming he will just go all in preflop. He just calls. The flop is 89T and he checks. I bet what I figure to be his remaining chips - $60 and he calls. Then the turn brings an ace and he immediately goes all in. It is then I see that he was playing with 4 - $100 chips under his stack of $5 chips. Very gay. My obvious first instinct is to fold since he just overbet the fuck out of the pot, but for shits and giggles I decide to play with him a bit. Because he was all in I turn over my hand to get his reaction. I'm not even sure if he realized what I was doing. He says "oooh nice". At this point his buddy who had been sort of watching and sitting beside him says to him "oh you still have outs though". Then the guy I was playing with tells his buddy to shut up because the hand is still live. I - being the genius that I am - determine that this leak of information was an actual mistake and figure I have the best hand. I call the stupid overbet and he snaps over AJ for a pair of aces. I lose the pot and am pissed.

To be honest I really don't know what the fuck happened. Was the friend angle shooting me? They were pretty old and seemed clueless so I doubt it. Maybe he was talking to me? Or maybe he was just a retard and his retard talk got me. After that I played a bit more but then left the table when he did.

I moved to another table where I chipped up but didn't do much. I eventually got my stack up to around $2000 which put me back up to about +$1000 for the day. I was fairly happy with that. The new table happened to be beside another table in which Shannon Elizabeth was playing at. That was neat.

There was one other neat hand which was purely a live benefit. I raised a limper in position with QQ. This young kid with an extremely angry persona calls my raise and check calls the flop of J82 with 2 clubs. The turn brings another J and at this point I didn't have much read on him so I just checked behind. The river brings a sick Qc giving me top boat and also completing the flush and he leads huge into me, like $300. I obviously go all in for like $400 more and he eventually folds. I imagine he didn't have much but I did my cool live trick of showing 1 card to him - a queen indicating that I pushed with just 1 pair. He called me a donkey for a while and wouldn't ever fold to me again so I definitely recommend that trick if you are playing live.

The next day I decided to fuck 2/5 since it was boring as fuck and play some 5/10. I had never been to the Wynn so we decided to play there. The Wynn is basically the Bellagio on the inside since it was designed by the same guy - Steve Wynn. The poker room is quite nice, about 30 tables and serviced by the absolute hottest waitresses in Vegas.

So I sit down at one of the two 5/10 games going on. My table seems pretty loose, with some decent younger guys who know whats up but nothing too intimidating. I immediately go on an early rush doubling up without ever even showing down a hand. I had a few bluffs and a few solid hands but I know everyone is definitely suspicious of me. Eventually after winning a pretty nice pot off the biggest fish at the table, its folded to me on the button and I raise to $30 with 64s. The biggest fish at the table is in the big blind and he immediately raises me to $110.

1. I know he is a fish and a pretty aggressive one at that. He constantly turns his hands into bluffs and never really bets what I would consider to be the correct amounts. He also is like Jaime Gold in that he can bluff but can't value bet his semi-strong hands when he actually makes a hand.
2. I just won a $3-400 pot off him.
3. I have position.

So I call.

The flop is 743. I has a pair and a gutshot. He snap fires out $200. I take my time and call. Turn is an 8. Nothing has changed in my mind. He again snap fires out $400. I take more time and call - basically slow playing since I know he has jack shit. Turn pairs the 8 so its 74388. I has the nuts. He snap pushes all in without a thought and I snap call. He mucked his hand - I win. He was super pissed after this.

Now online I do this 3 times an hour, but live its a lot different. If I was wrong I would have looked retarded. Its definitely the best live calldown I've ever made. And definitely helped with my confidence as well as my image.

So at this point I was up $2500 and feeling good. Then I just ended up pissing away my stack with random ill timed bluffs and some bad setups. One hand I lost $1200 on with a set of Queens on a AQ5 all spades flop. He flopped the frush and I couldn't get away. I also tried pulling a 4 bet preflop bluff against a fellow tag. I raised early and for some reason he raises to $200 preflop from the blinds with no one else in the pot. I smell bullshit and repop to $600. We are both still deep so I know hes not going to fuck around with air here. He thinks for a bit then pushes (wtf) for $2000 more. I have 67s and I fold agonizingly. He definitely had AK and I hate him for pushing. Honestly in the 2 days (20 hours of table play) I was there I didn't see anyone 4 bet preflop. I guess he just beat me to the punch. So I end up dwindling back down to the starting spot of $1500 and leave the table.

Later that night we goto Ceasers. Their room is decent but has the worlds ugliest waitresses. I play for about 5 hours and win probably 2 pots. Annoyance starts to set in, especially while playing at the fishiest 5/10 game that would rival a 0.10/0.25 game online. While I was there one horrible southern "good ole boy" dropped at least 8k. I know because when I got there he had at least $8k in bills stacked in front of him and he left with nothing. Obviously I can't get a fucking hand (since he doesn't fold) and the table nits devour him. It is at this point I'm starting to swear off live poker.

I wonder if anyone is still reading this.

The next day I decide to enter the $2k no limit holdem donkament going on at the rio. I figure, why not take a shot? I'm only here once and I hear the fields are super soft.

So the tournament starts at noon. I get there at 11:55 and I'm the first one at the table. You start with 4k in tournament chips and the blinds are 25/50 with 1 hour blind levels. Clearly this tournament structure sucks balls and its going to degenerate into a pushbot fest within 2 hours, but what did I expect. My table starts to fill up and what do you know but 2 of TV's best are sitting at my table. In the 10 seat - former WSOP champ Scotty Nguyen and in the 3 seat, his Vietnamese partner in crime - Men "The Master" Nguyen.

Now I've lost about every ounce of respect for any named TV pro since I started playing cash games and learned the real game, but sitting at their table was still a little intimidating. I'm not even experienced in MTT's, let alone live MTT's and here are 2 guys that play more events than 99% of the field. But I know they are donkament pros, so they can't be that good. It was also wierd since our table was right along the rail and was a main attraction in the room for the railbirds. Tons of media were roaming around taking pictures and video of our table. Was a little unnerving. However I still held my own.

I raised in EP with KQo and "The Master" calls in the big blind.
Flop is JTx with 2 hearts and he check calls my cbet.
Turn brings a low heart that brings the flush.
Check Check.
River brings another heart and he bets out.
I check my hole cards, yep my Q is a heart - I cawl.

"Good call" he sighs. Turning up AQo for nothing.

Yep donkament pro. As much as I thought playing with "pros" wouldn't effect me, calling one of the "worlds best" bluffs did feel pretty good.

I do nothing for the next hour or two because I miss a bunch of flops and am pretty card dead. And since the blinds are moving up my stack goes from 80bb to 40bb, to 20bb pretty fuckin quick. I get moved from table to table as others bust out, biding my time waiting for a hand to play. Even though I'm down to 20bb, I still plan on playing post flop since a lot of other people are in the same spot. I plan on raising to 2.5bb and cbetting, hoping to take down some pots. It works ok, didn't get to do it much though.

I get moved to another table where I meet up with my nemesis from an earlier cash game I played at the Rio (young angry dude). Hes probably the worst player I've ever seen in real life - paying any price to see the flop and calling any bet with any piece of it. I saw him call (just call) off more than half his stack with a gutshot, and obviously hitting on the turn . I mean just bad. I fold and fold for more hours, stealing a few pots here and there but nothing significant. Eventually I'm down to about 15bb and my nemesis once again limps UTG. About 5 more people limp and I'm in the BB. I immediately want to push, and luckily I look down to AK. I push and nemesis snap calls me. He has JQ. Nice call sir. The flop has a Q on it and I want to shit my pants for wasting my time with a fucking skilless donkament. But the river K saves me and I'm back up to 35bb.

Time goes by, I hover around average chips for a few hours (they have tournament info screens all over letting you know blind levels, how many people left and average chip stack). After one break I get back and pick up AKs in early position. I raise, someone calls and then one of the tightest nits reraises me. Now in a cash game I essentially don't fold AKs for even 150bbs so why I considered folding for 25 was a bit puzzling but I did. I thought and thought and then said fuck it, I has AKs with 25bbs. He calls and has TT. Off to the races lol1!


I slam my fist in triumph. Back up to 50bbs baby!



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What a shitty tease. I ended up in 500th place out of 1400 entrants. 6-7 hours of wasted life and -$2k down the drain. Ah well at least I gave it a shot. I'll live and the final table was minimum $75k or something so it could have been sweet. There just isn't that much skill to be had in these. Learn your hand equities, learn push/fold poker and learn how to run good. The separation between average joe online poker and the "tv pros" is probably zero.

So I go back to my hotel room and cry. Then I watch the Celtics pull off a hilarious comeback in game 4 which I had them on the Moneyline at +280 which cheered me up.

Now this post has become officially too long and there is one more event I have to talk about - the best part of my Vegas trip - so I'll start a new post tomorrow. Hopefully you enjoyed those brave souls who read the entire thing.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Ban live poker imo

I'm probably never going to attempt to seriously play live poker ever again.

Us online players are spoiled. We see a ridiculous amount of hands per hour. And if you haven't played live poker in a while it will definitely test the limits your patience.

In case you can't tell by the immediate tone of this post - my trip didn't go so good.

The thing about live poker is - even if you have sick patience, it doesn't matter since you will end up not playing a hand for 2-3 hours at a time and when you do eventually lift up your now asleep arm to make a bet, everyone will insta-fold.

The poker that we have come to know and love that we play on-line is simply not the same game as live.

There are few things more annoying on the planet than being card dead in a live poker game. This is especially true if you are like me and have the knowledge and discipline to prevent myself from playing marginal hands out of boredom. You fold 45 hands in a row (1.5 hours real time) finally pick up KQo but old man river has raised for the first time in his life from UTG and you just have to fold. You take solace in the fact that a weaker minded player would call there, but that isn't much of a consolation. You came to Vegas to pwn noobs, not to fold for hours straight.

The problem is a combination of things really. One - every game is full ring. Even I can't handle full ring online, so its not a shock that I don't enjoy it live either. I don't like playing a limited number of hands, I don't like the idea that limping some hands is +EV, I don't like folding KJ UTG.

The second problem is a bit more complex. Because the game is painfully slow, everyone obviously makes their own adjustments. Most adjustments people make include folding less. This makes sense because the game is fucking boring, and so is folding. Most hands get to showdown and because of this, bluffing is much less profitable live than it is online. Online players realize that another hand is quickly coming, so folding isn't the end of the world as it is live. So the proper adjustment a smart player should make here is to play less hands, bluff less, and value bet the fuck out of people when they make good hands. And in theory this will work - if you have patience and a normal run of cards. However it is extremely difficult to maintain patience, especially when faced with a bad run of cards. Even when you get a great hand, something like KK and you finally get involved in a pot - its going to be extremely difficult to lay that hand down if you suspect you are beat.

So after playing a few days I decided that live poker is really not worth my time. I ended up playing about 30-35 hours at the tables, which boiled down to about 750-1000 hands. If I played online that would be in range of 30-35k hands. Not to mention online I don't have to pay for a hotel, I don't have to fly anywhere, and I don't have to shower.

Thats not to say I didn't have some interesting hands and spots to discus, but I've decided to put them in a separate post to keep this one from being 534,234 words long.

'Till next time.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Back from England; Off to Vegas

Got back from England 2 days ago.

Going to Vegas today.

Planning on playing a wide variety of cash games starting with 2-5NL to get my feet wet then moving to 5-10 and maybe even some 10-20 if I run good. I'll probably end up joining a random $500-$1000 buyin donkament for fun as well. I'll be staying for a week so I'll have a lot of time to play.

In London I played at their downtown casino. They had a poker room set up but with limited dealers. This meant that for most tables you had to deal for yourself. This was hilarious to me. Being at a casino, playing a table game, dealing for the table. The net result of no dealer was excruciatingly slow play - much worse than regular live play. I made 50 pounds in 2 hours and called it a night after seeing a total of about 20 hands.

So I'll be back online in a week, again.

In the meantime enjoy some friendly comics courtesy of

Don't click at work though due to graphic/hilarious depictions of body parts. My favorite is #23

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Hold Up

Ok so things didn't go as planned.

Basically the day after I decided to take a shot at 5/10 I opened my credit card bill to see a truly rude number so I decided to hold off on the shot until next month. My inner nit cheers with joy.

Additionally I am going to London, England for a week which is notoriously expensive. No real reason, just for vacation.

In other news I've continued my absolute domination online which is weird since usually when I post about running good I insta-lose for a week straight. I ended up with my best month ever, beating my previous best by $2589 which is definitely sick.

The shot is coming, just perhaps a month later.

In other news, here is Fred Astaire in Michael Jackson's "Smooth Criminal". Somehow they figured out these dances match perfectly and it looks so sick.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Goal Achieved - Double or Nothing Time?

So I reached my monetary goal for May.

Pretty much the first time that has ever happened. Probably has something to do with umm playing more? Pretty simple imo.

So I told myself that if I made my monthly goal I'd take a 5 buyin shot at 5/10NL since I won't be devastated now if I lose it. I still want to do it since the potential upside is huge, plus I really feel that I'm playing the best poker of my life. I literally haven't had a losing day since like April 20th.

Pretty sick. Running good is fun.

But running good can also fuck with your confidence. I mean sure I've been doing good but what if the mind and ass-fuck shit storm that jebus has cooked up for me hits me during my 5/10 shot and I never recover. I could totally see myself getting a few KK vs AA situations, brushing it off as variance and proceeding to drop 10-15 buyins at my "new" level and never wake up.

But I think I at least owe it to myself to try. To be honest the competition at 2/4 is pretty weak and I feel that I have my tilt problems under control. I really can't remember the last time I officially "tilted". Other than a few buyins lost throughout the year, 2008 has been essentially tilt free. And at the very least I'll learn something from the better players and about myself as well.

I'm probably the only full time poker player in the past 2-3 years that has literally never taken a big scary shot or even a drunken night of 10/20NL. I've been properly rolled+ for every hand of poker that I've played since I deposited my first $100 and while some people may see that as admirable (people with bankroll management problems) I look at it as a colossal fail. I mean I technically "gamble" for a living, I should start living like a gambler.

And success at 5/10 isn't even out of the question. Hell, bad players win there all the time. I'm sure I'll run into some super sick players but for the beginning I'll try to avoid them as much as possible and just get myself grounded.

And to those that ask, "Hey don't you play 2/4NL? Why not move up to 3/6NL first?" I have this to say.

Fuck you. No one ever got famous playing 3/6NL

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Poker Academy Pro

So I got an email from Poker Academy the other day inviting me to try out their poker training software (Poker Academy Pro 2), evaluate and post my thoughts on it. I remember trying out this program 1.5 years ago coincidentally on recommendation from a comment on the blog as well. I thought it had potential back then but never explored it too much since it was just the trial version.

So what is it?

Well basically its an online poker simulator. The interface looks very similar to your standard online poker site with the action buttons and slider bar at the bottom. And rather than playing against human opponents, this program has set up a bunch of AI bots that play against you with varying degrees of aggression. One of the immediate differences from a regular poker interface that I noticed was a collection of statistics on the right side. Heres a screen shot.

The two most important things to look at are the Hand Evaluator and Advisor windows. They basically tell you your hands strength in an absolute sense (compared to all possible hands) and the advisor uses that information to determine the "correct" move. In this screen shot you see me with air, and the advisor recommends me to check based on my hands absolute strength.

You can play all the different types of Hold'em. Ring games, MTT's, SNG's are all represented as well as the option to play full table, short handed, heads up and even limit poker.

There is also a neat feature that allows you to click your opponents cards allowing you to see them. Or you can go all out and have all your opponents cards exposed. The ability to play vs your opponents with their cards exposed wont necessarily teach you how to play poker, but what it will do is give you a great understanding of what types of hands exist and how infrequently people actually pick up monsters. I ended up playing a whole MTT with my opponents hands exposed and while I obviously won, I really think that it is an important tool in evaluating why you should be betting in certain situations and probably the best feature of the program.

The hand evaluator and advisor do a decent job at recommending certain plays but it is certainly lacking in that "human" aspect of the betting lead and aggression. For example, if you raise KQ and you get one caller and miss the flop, often times it will recommend you to check (since your absolute hand strength is weak) disregarding the fact that you have the betting lead and will take the pot down with a continuation bet very often. Also the AI will tend to lead into you when they connect on the flops when you have the betting lead, making it a misrepresentation of the natural flow of most games.

The problem with ranking your hand based on its absolute hand strength is that it ignores all hand reading ability and just states that if you have x% hand strength facing the bet size you are facing you must do y. This is first level poker and doesn't take into account your opponents hand range at all. For example If the board is 4567 rainbow and your opponent bets big, it doesn't really matter what your hand strength is as long as you can beat a bluff since they are generally representing a straight or nothing. Relative hand strength is what you should be thinking about at all times.

However, this isn't to say there is nothing to be learned from playing the AI. They generally play a very solid, tight game that most beginners should try emulating. They also provide a decent representation of a typical tight/weak abc player (the type that make up the majority of low stakes players) to play against which will help beginners learn how to beat that player type.

Also you can tweak the opponent AI type. From the tightest of tight to aggressive as possible, you can play vs any of your choosing. This is especially useful if you want to experiment with ways to exploit certain player types.

One of my biggest concerns with the program is that it seems to have been designed with tournament play in mind, with ring games as an afterthought. In tournaments it is fairly standard to stack off with top pair or even 2nd pair depending on how deep the stacks are but in cash games it isn't. The AI seems to almost always play for stacks in the cash game when they hit top pair, where this just isn't correct play against most low stakes players. At the low stakes games it is mostly about pot control until you get more familiar with certain player types and their tenancies. The advisor makes the most errors in cash games advising to raise much too often, creating huge pots regardless of position or relative hand strength.

But I'm sort of nitpicking here as overall the software is a great tool for learning especially for players new to the game. Of course there is no substitute for real money play against real players, and obviously the AI is lacking those human qualities that you need to learn how to adjust against - but it is almost definitely a better substitute for learning than playing play money as at least your AI opponents are somewhat responsible with their chips. The ability to see your opponents cards as well as your absolute hand strength are amazing learning tools for beginners. But beyond the low stakes tournaments and cash games I'm not entirely sure how helpful this program would be.

You can download the fully functional demo here and test it out yourself. If you are new to the game or have been struggling to win for a while I highly recommend it as it will surely get you on the right track and at the very least open up your mind to new hold'em experiences.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Bill O'Reilly is calm cool and collected

There are very few people on TV that actually anger me just watching them. Bill O'Reilly is one of them. He may be the most insincere, self absorbed douchebag in the history of the planet. And its way too easy to hate on him, but in case you don't, enjoy this video of him going insane for no apparent reason. I've never seen someone so tightly wound.

I love TV mishaps. - Watch more free videos

Bonus Vid:

This one makes me laugh on so many levels. I've watched it about 10 times and I still keep finding new things to laugh at. The crowd reaction is 10/10. Notice that he actually slams his groin into the bar somehow.

And what the fuck is this event anyways? Looks like the dumbest event in the history of track and field. Previous worst? Walking "races". - Watch more free videos

In poker news I'm happy to report that I've already reached half my monthly goals, which is a good sign for my progress as a human being on earth.

Cue Doomswitch.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

And now for something... completely boner inducing

So heres a new trailer for "The Dark Knight". This movie looks too sick for words. I absolutely loved the first one. Christopher Nolan is incapable of making bad movies (ok not insomnia). With what has been seen from the trailers Heath Ledger seems to have absolutely nailed the Joker character. Combined with the sympathy from his death I predict he is going to make this studio a billion dollars.

I saw Iron-Man last night, and while it was a great movie with some seriously kick ass scenes, I have no doubt in my mind that this movie will blow Iron-Man's impressive box-office results out of the water.

This dead horse wont die

Here was my actual response to the comment left on here a week ago.


I just read your comment on my blog.

First, I want to thank you for the criticism. Most people who read my blogs are friends and would never criticize me. Its nice to have an outsiders point of view.

I'm not sure I could ever come up with a satisfactory answer to your queries. I know I have a problem with laziness, and rather than deal with it head on I suppose I just make light of it. I can see how this would be annoying to someone who actually has drive and motivation in life.

But the crux of the matter for me is basically a lack of motivation to improve. I'm pretty happy as is, and if you want to call that complacency then so be it. I'm not entirely convinced that complacency is a negative thing.

I have no visions of grandeur, nor the desires to impress ANYONE that I meet. In fact I generally go out of my way to make everyone feel good about themselves, usually by diminishing my accomplishments, skills, etc.

I'm happy in life. I've come to my own understanding of happiness. This endless search for improvement and increased wealth/status/items I feel doesn't necessarily lead to increased happiness or wellbeing.

Like I said, I'm not in it to impress anyone or to make anyone feel worse about their situation.

And even with my laid back strategy, I'm still improving, moving up in levels and making more money, so even I consider the future in all of this.

Maybe my whole outlook is flawed. Or maybe its just different. I wouldn't worry about anyone else with the same experience/skill set as me going pro as I know they will probably do a lot better than me in the long run naturally.

This is just my explanation. I assume you still won't approve of it but I do thank you for the comment. It obviously struck a cord with me since I ended up writing a blog post on your comment section. I know I need to be more motivated and I think that the more I hear people tell me this the better I can become at it.


I realize that this is basically the opposite viewpoint of most 20-something intelligent males with a lot of options, but its not one that I've come to without thought or consideration.

Happiness is a funny thing. I don't know a lot of old people but I'm sure if one talked to them there would be a strong consensus that chasing the all mighty dollar led to a lot of wasted life for them. I understand that to most people money and working are just means to an end. But I really feel that many people get lost in their original intentions. They forget what end they are trying to achieve. Yes, money is a means to an end, but if you don't have any "end" in mind, what are you really doing?

I guess what I'm saying is that I really don't understand most peoples insatiable desire to impress other people with their amount of money, job status and other superficial things of such nature. It is the driving force behind all western society. Battling your insecurities by trying to out-do your peers seems to be a colossally inefficient way to live. By this I mean, how efficient you are in achieving your happiness goals. If you derive your happiness from your comparable level of success (as most people seem to do) then you are wasting a lot of resources thinking about other people, when they shouldn't even be in your happiness equation.

I realize its hard to be happy without some sort of basis for comparison. And this is something I am currently struggling with. One side of my brain says, "never be satisfied, always improve" and the other says, "fuck it, be happy". At this point in my life the "fuck it, be happy" side is winning the struggle, and I'm trying to rationalize why. But in all honesty I am worried that it is an elaborate cop-out that will allow me to be lazy.

Or maybe I have it all figured out. Maybe my happiness/work ratio is the most efficient in the history of the world. I'd really like to talk to some old people about this. Because they have had a lot of time to think about what is really important in life. I'm sure when you ask them, money, status, etc will be at the bottom of their list. I suspect family, friends and personal improvement would be at the top of their list. You don't need money for these things but I suspect that some people will never accept that.

And I haven't changed my thoughts on what I said in my previous post. I still need to work a ton more, and I will be, simply because its becoming obvious how inefficient it is not to.