Sunday, July 30, 2006

Today's the big moving day, and because of a lag getting services switched, I'll be without internet access for a couple days. So you people who are used to getting email responses within 0.4 seconds will have to either wait or actually call me on the phone. Hopefully I'll be able to remember how to work my vocal chords while my preferred method of communication is out of service.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

I played like a desperate addict last weekend, logging 21.5 hours online over three days. It was very profitable overall--including my most profitable day at NL yet, as well as my most profitable day so far in 2006--but ultimately my hourly rate was actually somewhat depressed from the previous month and a half or so. That's not suprising, as ultimately hours 5-8 of a session will not be anywhere near as good as hours 1-4 on average simply because one isn't going to be nearly as sharp or focused. I've been very good so far this year at maintaining short sessions, but have gotten away from that lately. Note to self: carpal-tunnel is not worth a few extra bucks and tons of added stress!

On the home-buying front, it looks as though everything is going to go as planned. I close on Thursday, 7/27, at 10am, and then will spend the weekend moving.

The house-buying really came together in a hurry. It was just two months ago that I finally decided to make the leap and buy a home. I spent the first week of June juggling different agents, then the second week of June looking at a jillion houses. I then spent mid-June to mid-July in negotiations over a house, intermittently running off to look at new houses that would pop up on the market. Finally on July 13 we came to a deal. There was a brief scare when my lender bailed, but I found a competent one at the last second, and so voila, here I am on the verge of home ownership.

With luck, the housing market won't crash as much as all the doomsayers have been predicting.

Friday, July 21, 2006

So last night started off kinda badly. A few reallllly donktastic hands at 1000NL had me in a deep hole. Sour and depressed, I plodded on and eventually found myself at a 600NL table with an all-time all-star. I'm talking about the Babe Ruth of donkeys. It really is funny how people (like me) spend so much time working on and developing their games, when most of the profit comes in the form of playing very easy hands that a retarded monkey could play against very bad opponents who quite possibly are retarded monkeys.

Babe Ruth was on my immediate left and was raising and reraising practically every hand, often by massively overbetting the pot. Looking at his pokertracker stats afterwards, he was about 80/60. Needless to say, he was making my life a little tough at first, but then I managed to get in three hands against him in rather quick succession.

Hand #1:

Party Poker No-Limit Hold'em, $6 BB (6 handed) Hand History Converter Tool from (Format: HTML)

MP ($455.55)
CO ($271.40)
Button ($1119)
SB ($1936.96)
Hero ($362.50)
UTG ($2171.40)

Preflop: Hero is BB with Ks, Ad.

UTG raises to $150, 4 folds, Hero raises to $362.50 (All-In), UTG calls $212.50.

Flop: ($725) Qh, 3c, 7d (2 players, 1 all-in)

Turn: ($725) 3d (2 players, 1 all-in)

River: ($725) 6s (2 players, 1 all-in)

Final Pot: $725
Hero has Ks Ad (one pair, threes).
UTG has Ah 9h (one pair, threes).
Outcome: Hero wins $725.

Hand #2:

Party Poker No-Limit Hold'em, $6 BB (5 handed) Hand History Converter Tool from (Format: HTML)

UTG ($342.40)
MP ($958)
Button ($1576.21)
Hero ($811)
BB ($2924)

Preflop: Hero is SB with Th, Td. Hero posts a blind of $3.
3 folds, Hero (poster) completes, BB raises to $805, Hero raises to $811 (All-In), BB calls $6.

Flop: ($1620) Js, 2c, 8s (2 players, 1 all-in)

Turn: ($1620) 6h (2 players, 1 all-in)

River: ($1620) 5s (2 players, 1 all-in)

Final Pot: $1620
BB has Tc Ah (high card, ace).
Hero has Th Td (one pair, tens).
Outcome: Hero wins $1620.

Hand #3:

Party Poker No-Limit Hold'em, $6 BB (5 handed) Hand History Converter Tool from (Format: HTML)

UTG ($468.40)
MP ($980)
Button ($1489.21)
Hero ($1663)
BB ($2147.80)

Preflop: Hero is SB with As, Kh. Hero posts a blind of $3.
1 fold, MP raises to $21, 1 fold, Hero raises to $72, BB raises to $300, MP folds, Hero raises to $1663 (All-In), BB calls $1363.

Flop: ($3345) 7d, 6h, 9c (2 players, 1 all-in)

Turn: ($3345) 6s (2 players, 1 all-in)

River: ($3345) 2d (2 players, 1 all-in)

Final Pot: $3345
BB has Kc Qs (one pair, sixes).
Hero has As Kh (one pair, sixes).
Outcome: Hero wins $3345.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Ah, yes, so that's why I hated tournaments. Play good for hours, beat 80+% of the field, then suffer a bad beat or two and bingo bango busto, all that time and effort is wasted with no return.

I played in both the Stars and Full Tilt WSOP tournaments and got nowhere. And since I was on such a tournament kick, I played in Party's million guaranteed and Stars' Sunday second-chance tourney. No interesting hands in any of those four and nothing really to say other than that I misplayed a few hands overall and got unlucky one time too many in each tourney.

5 hours and about $1300 down the drain. And for some reason, I'm still considering one of the $1500 NL events in the WSOP. Someone crack me over the head with a shovel or something.

Thankfully, I did do very well in cash games today. Between cash games and tournies I logged 9.5 hours of play, all online. My brain is fried. So fried, it actually helped me dig my way out of a hole the last hour. Here's a hand I played on auto-pilot daze during that last, uber-profitable hour (on pokerroom so I have no hand history; you'll just have to take my word for it):

I'm multitabling and have just sat in the only $600NL game going on pokerroom, to go along with my mess of $400NL tables. I post my big blind. One limper and then the button raises. I see I have pocket fours and so I call. Only then do I realize that the button didn't just do a standard raise, he had gone all in for nearly $450! Seriously, $3 SB, $6 BB, $6 limp, so $15 in the pot, and he made it about $450 to go. And me, acting quickly with 6 tables going, I call almost instantly without a second thought. I wonder what they all must have thought when they see my 44 and how quickly and casually I called an all-in with them.

But anyways, I'm slapping my forehead and groaning, but my groans turn to cheers as the board comes Q-high and my opponent shows unimproved AK. Woohoo! That's how to play poker!

Now if only I could win my coin flips in a tournament setting.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

What is this sickness? I hate tournaments. I hate playing them. I hate having to wake up for them. I hate busting out after hours and hours of play with no reward to show for my time spent. I always do badly.

Yet, here I am registering for the $500+35 Full Tilt super-mega-satellite into the WSOP main event where the top 100 finishers all get seats. And here I am considering playing in the two remaining $1500 no-limit events. Heck, even the $1500 limit shoot-out event is looking appealing for some perverse reason.

What's wrong with me? Someone talk me out of this stupidity. I have better uses for my money.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Last week managed to be my best week since switching to NL, and, without actually looking it up, probably my second best week of the year. I didn't even have any huge days. I just didn't have any losing days, consistently doing "pretty good" every day. Now if only every week could be like that.

The WSOP has finally intruded upon my little bubble of isolation. I had a piece of my friend Stacy in the women's event, where she fought her way all the way to 17th place, thus requiring me to make the drive out to the madness at the Rio to cheer her on. She busted playing correctly, getting all her chips in as greater than a 3:1 favorite against the big stack, and in fact would have been the big stack herself had her hand held up.

Other friends of mine in town have been going on an on about how juicy the live 5/10 NL games have been, and so I fully expect to try my hand at them some time this week. I was hoping to have built my way up to 10/20 NL by the time the main event was going on, but that's looking less and less likely. Although from what I've heard, many of the 5/10 games are playing as big as a more typical 10/20 game, so perhaps I'm not missing out on much.

I had an interesting live hand this past week. Somewhat interesting in itself, but also interesting in that I think it shows just how far my NL game has come.

Three-handed live 2/5 NL. Effective stacks are $400. Suits don't matter. Button has been raising his button nearly every single time, although post-flop has been somewhat conservative.

Preflop: Button raises to $15. I call in the SB with T9o. BB folds.

Flop ($35): A 9 2, rainbow. I check. Button bets $20. I call.

Turn ($75): (A 9 2) 5. I check. Button thinks for a second and checks.

River ($75): (A 9 2 5) 3. I bet $25. Button thinks for about 30 seconds and then raises to $85.

What does he have? What should I do?

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Today is the one year anniversary of my moving to Las Vegas. Boy does time fly when you're having fun.

One year ago today I flew in from Austin, TX and stayed my very first night in familiar digs--the Tropicana Motel 6, near the MGM, the same motel I'd stayed at for many of my frequent Vegas trips as about the only guest who who wasn't paying by the hour. The next day I saw my apartment for the very first time, and that second night was spent, where else, but at the Bellagio playing poker until 7am.

Now here it is a year later, and I still live in the same apartment, still play poker for a living, and I still love living here. Yet much has changed. That very first night I was in Vegas, I walked across the street from the Motel 6 to play a couple hours of 6/12 at the MGM. Today, the MGM can barely get a 4/8 game going on many nights, as a result of the continued slow and inexorable advance of no-limit as the most popular game. That second night at the Bellagio was spent playing 30/60. I would then move on to the 80/160 game, and even play the 100/200 game at the Commerce in LA. Yet, I've evolved along with the poker rooms, and now recognize NL as the choicest game.

Also very different is my schedule. Mostly an internet player in Austin, I came to Vegas with the intention of playing more live. That I did, almost the point of neglecting online play altogether. This led to bigger winning months (it takes a lot of online 15/30 hands to equal a good extended run at live 80/160), but also to bigger losing months--heck, losing months at all (one reaches the long run much, much slower while playing live). My first 8 months or so were spent as 75%-live/25%-online limit player. But now, I've relearned the real value of online play, and am a 90%-online/10%-live no-limit player.

Also changing was my diet.

And finally, this apartment I'm in isn't going to be around much longer, as I'm in the process of buying a house. Yes, the guy who moved to Vegas so he could play live at the Bellagio every night has for the most part given up live play but has fallen in love with the city enough to make it a more permanent home.

I look back on the first five or so months I lived here with very mixed emotions. On one hand I'm kind of sad. Those first months were spent living a completely carefree existence, doing what I love. Wake up in the late afternoon, eat, play poker, eat, play poker, eat, go to bed an hour or two after sunrise. Practically every night was a winning night. I was living a blissfully unaware and simple, dream existence. For those five months I was completely engaged, completely happy and, above all, successful. (Of course, that was before I was harshly reminded of how cruel poker could be.)

On the other hand, I hardly recognize that guy who spent five months gorging himself on nothing but poker and food. Poker is no longer the basis for my existence. Rather, it is now a means to an end. An interesting, thought-provoking, and enjoyable means it is, but still just a means to an end. And that end is profit, plain and simple. Likewise, the copious amounts of free food available--the comped buffets replete with row after row of tantalizing desserts--no longer appeals to me as much. Thanks to saving those buffets only for more special occasions, my slowly softening and expanding body of those early months has now completely reversed its course.

Now my life is much more diverse, with a regular exercise routine, and a much reduced poker playing schedule. Also in the works are a variety of possible investments completely unrelated to poker.

But enough rambling. Here's hoping that the next year is as exciting as this past year has been.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

The WSOP is in town and you know what? I don't care. I'm not sure why that is, but it doesn't matter to me at all. I've never been a fan of tournaments, definitely not ones that begin at the crack of noon. And with my recent switch to NL over limit, I don't feel like I have a game that's developed enough for me to be really competitive in any events. I probably could have been competitive when I was at my peak at limit, but that was 6+ months ago, before I got bored then frustrated then stopped playing it altogether. My NL game is still very raw, having only played it regularly for a month and a half now. And so despite my new year's stated goals of playing more tournaments this year, my reaction to that idea now is just "bleh."

On the bright side, despite being a relative newbie to NL, I've done very well. June was my first full month playing only NL and I did much, much better than I could have possibly anticipated. Interestingly, I only won 11 out of the 16 days I played, which is a much lower rate than when I only played NL sparingly. Of course, it's the bottom line that matters, and since my winning days have been for the most part large, and my losing days have been, except for one exception, very small, the bottom line is excellent. But I will have to make sure I don't go on autopilot as much as I did when I was playing limit. NL is a game where one or two mistakes can really kill an otherwise good session.

In other news, the house hunting is going well enough. Every time I feel I'm close to a decision, another house or two pops up that completely sends me back to square one. I actually put an offer in on a house two weeks ago, but it wasn't accepted. Although I was willing to come back with a higher offer, other possible homes have entered the picture, leaving me with a decision to make out of about five places. As usual, every place has its pros and its cons, and life would be perfect if I could pick and choose different parts of each house and put it all together, but alas that's not gonna happen. And if I want to keep my August 1 move date, I'd better make a decision soon. Hopefully within about one week I'll have made my choice, and with a little luck have even gotten the ball rolling on actually buying my chosen home.

So yeah, between online NL and all this house-buying stuff, the WSOP is just in the way. But I should be able to make it out there to play in a few live cash games in the evenings. After all, there probably isn't a more profitable time of year to be a poker player.