Monday, February 27, 2012

A Sunday of Poker

Poker is a ridiculous game where you make people pay for their mistakes.  Or, in my case, where people make me pay for their mistakes.

I love the game and have been playing for a good number of years starting somewhere around the whole Moneymaker thing.  However, I did not start playing poker because of Moneymaker - I didn't even know who he was at the time.  I started because a buddy asked me if I wanted to go up to one of the Indian Casino's in New York with him for an afternoon of poker and I thought it sounded like fun so I agreed.

Confession:  I had never played poker before this afternoon in my life.  In fact, I knew nothing of the game other than it was a card game and it was going to be for money.  My buddy actually had to explain the rules to me on the way to the casino and go over the hand rankings as well.  So, in a 45 minute drive from Erie Pa to Irving NY I was taught that a flush beats a straight and that a high card generally is a pretty crappy way to end the hand.  He briefed me on the rankings and then hammered me over the head with them on the way up by asking me questions and forcing me to answer.  I did not know that this was going to be the humble beginnings of one of the most powerful addictions that I would ever have in my life.  Fucking poker man.

The casino, which really I don't like calling it a casino because it was more like a gutted Sam's Club filled with Slot machines and two poker tables at the entrance.  There was also a Poker Room at the back of the casino that we never ventured to because we thought it was real high stakes full of black and green chips but the reality of the situation is that they were just running tournaments in that room and we were naive and gullible.

The game was 2/4 limit and was full of the usual cast of old people being bored and passing chips around. My first session I lost $4 and was hooked.  I played about 3 or 4 more sessions and lost money each time when Matt asked me to go again.  I told him that I would but this would be the last time if I didn't find a way to win. Loved the game but didn't like parting with the money every couple of weeks.  Luckily for us the casino had just implemented a new game that they were spreading that was taking the world by storm - No Limit.

No Limit Hold'em.  The Cadillac of Poker. Oh, and what a Cadillac it was.  This lovely little box in the road offered the greatest poker game to get someone like me hooked.  It was small buy-in and low blinds and to this day I really wish I could find another place to spread the exact game because it was just so much damned fun (and high variance by nature).  The blinds were 1 and 1 and the buy-in was $40.  $40 was the Min and the Max and everyone at the table played so bad, myself included.  I love looking back on it now and realizing how bad I was compared to where i am now (which, is only slightly better). Raises to $3 were the norm and if there was a $5 or $6 raise that meant that someone had a big hand!  I seriously miss that game.  Whenever I finally have a home game this is my decided format except I'll allow $20-40 buy-ins heh.

So, with this new format I started winning. Some of it by pure luck and some of it because I happened to suck just a little bit less than the other people at the table.  I had a ton of misconceptions about the game and it just so happen that I ran well when the No Limit game popped up.  Running well is really an understatement because for at least 3 months I won between 1-3 buy-ins every single time I went to the casino.  And this brings us to present day.

I am now paying for the sins of my past.  I was unfortunate enough to run really well when I started playing which helped forge this addiction and love so deep that I will probably play until I'm your typical old degenerate local (I'm getting there).

From the first year I played poker I won overall.  When it was a 1/1 $40 buy-in I won (and crushed it).  When it became a 1/2 $100 buy-in I kept winning.  When I stepped up to the 5/5 $200 buy-in game I continued to win.  Won in Vegas, won online and won at the local Indian Casino's.  I loved it.
Then the wheels feel off and I was an overall loser in 2010 and a defeated player in 2011.  Two years of not showing a profit after winning for the previous 6 years (or however many it really was.  I'm too lazy to look up the year that Moneymaker won to be able to give an accurate count).

I lose in every way imaginable and I tend to lose when I'm in a big pot.  Big draws have failed to get there and sets are just teases of potential power that can be brought down at the whim of a turn or river.  I need to re-evaluate my game and figure out if I'm just playing my big draws too hard and too fast because over the last few sessions I have lost with every single big draw I have had.  And, in reality, it has not just been the last few sessions - it's been over the course of the last two years.

I know this sounds like the typical drivel of a losing player, but with my success from the beginning until then I cannot find it in me to believe that I was just running way above expectation for all those years.

My last few sessions have included the following.
Top pair Open ended royal draw - All in on flop and lost.
Open ended with flush draw and overs - all in on flop and lost.
Top pair top kicker and nut flush draw - All in on Flop or Turn and lost (3 times)

And those are just the draws - Opponents have been "getting there" like crazy against me.
I had a few in my last poker blog post and I posted a bunch of hands on AVP where one guy murdered me in 3 huge hands because he found a way to get there every time.

The funny thing is I intended doing a good write up of yesterdays two poker sessions with Rob from RobVegasPoker and ended up with mostly back story.

So, just a brief quickie.
1st casino was pretty boring and card dead.  I had Ak once and AJ 3 times.  My last two hands were QQ and KK.
QQ was in the big blind and I raised big after a small raise and a bunch of tag alongs.  Everyone folded.  Next hand KK - there was a raise and I made it $20.  Flop Q high and I make it $40.  Turn Ace and we essentially get all in and his AQ got there on the turn ending all of my hopes of a successful session.
I 100% fully blame Rob for this hand as he must have found a way to transfer his bad luck with KK to me (though, if that means future good luck for him then tits to that!).

Casino #2 saw me winning some hands early and building a little bit of a stack.  Making some really good plays/calls and building my stack even further.
Then I find myself in a situation that sucks the chips out of me.
Here was the big hand of the night (negative).
There was a $4 straddle and 2 callers and I make it $20 to go with AsJs.  One caller and we see a flop.
JxTsXx - I bet out $40 and he calls.
Turn 2s giving me nut flush draw to go with my TpTk.  On the flop when I bet it took him a long time before finally calling so I figure'd maybe he had a pair and a straight draw or just a straight draw, maybe a J with a weak kicker and thought I was bluffing.
So, when I turned the nut flush draw to go with my pair I pushed which put him into another long drawn out thought process.  Finally he decides to call and I turn over my AJ and he turns over flopped Top 2 TJ (what was he thinking about waiting to call so long on both streets?).
The 8 of diamonds ruins all of my hope of cashing out +$500 on the night and I'm annoyed that another session ends up with a big loss for me (not a big loss as in I finished down, but a big loss as in there went all my profits when I had a good hand with the big draw and my opponent of course out flopped me and stayed ahead the whole time.).
Should I not be looking to get my money in?  I'm just not sure how to play the hand much differently when I bloated the pot pre flop and saw a good Flop and Turn for what I had.  Maybe I'm looking at it wrong and I should have checked the turn to see what he was going to do?

Whine Whine bitch bitch.

At least the meal at Le Burger Brassier was fantastic again. Treated Rob to a burger on comp and next time he's in town he'll treat me using comps from elsewhere.  My burger came out Medium like I like it, was delicious as always and Rob said his burger was fantastic as well.  He appears to like his still bleeding with a strong, but slowing, heart beat still going so that he can taste the life being sucked out of the burger and transferred into his body.  Maybe that's how he stays so young?


  1. Great post, allow me to commiserate with you on the runbad. Moreso for me, at least you had a decent showing last nite, at least when I left that was the case. Again impressed you remember so many hands, I remember almost nothing about the poker last nite, being too distracted by the two lovely ladies to my right, more about them will be heard from on my own blog soon, you can be sure of that!

    If a burger doesn't "moo" when you bite into it, it isn't rare enough, every burger lover knows that.

    Thanks for the great rare burger and I will return the favor next time.

    Poker would be so much more fun if you could just win all the time, wouldn't it? Sigh.

    1. I don't mind losing - it's part of the game.
      It's the consistency in which I'm not winning the big pots that is bugging me. Like everything else, in time, it will turn around.

      One of the reasons why I didn't have a lot of hands to post from yesterday (and I'm blaming it all on a boring session with no hands) is because the conversation was a great distraction with a little bit of poker around it.

      Fun tables are a rarity any more. It's almost always 10 people, 5 with sun glasses, 4-6 with hats or hoodies and 5+ with headphones or something.
      Heck, even the 80 year old guys are wearing headphones and not focusing on the game any more.
      Shit, the funny looking guy who sat beside you who was wearing the ONE GLOVE yesterday never paid attention to the game. Stared at his phone the whole time doing gawd knows what and listening to Pandora radio - once in a while looking at his cards and limping until his stack was gone. WTF was that about?

    2. Was that the old guy who kept his leg blocking my chair so I couldn't get in or out so I had to say "excuse me" five times to get back into my seat? Yikes, what a wacko.

      Just remembered one hand from the nite session when I had the dreaded KK and that lady to your left 3 bet me. I meekly called PF and then folded to her bet on the flop when I didn't hit my set.I didn't show you the hand at the time. But I figured if this woman 3 bet PF she probably had Aces, and also, I was already bleeding lots of chips and was damn tired of it. And with me and pocket Kings.....If she only had Queens she would have turned or rivered her 2 outer.

      Was I too wimpy there (now that you know I had Kings?)

      As for MOJO's idea of switching games, it's a good idea but I refuse to switch to Video Blackjack.

    3. I know you and Kings have a rocky relationship and putting her on AA is so specific.
      I'm a big fan of getting my money in with KK and letting the dealer sort out the mess.
      However, with that said, I can't remember the last time I actually had the opportunity to follow through on that.
      I do not know what her range is for re-raising - most people only do it with AA or KK, some people go with QQ, JJ and AK as well. Everyone is different.
      You played the hand the way you thought was right based on the abusive history you have with it, I'm just saying I'm the type that would have put in another bet/pushed. Or called and then Pushed any flop (you were first to act right?).

    4. And I forgot i didn't type this - Yes, that was the guy who was essentially taking up your seat as well when you left and then didn't hear you as you were 7 inches from his head and trying to get your spot back.

    5. I was first, raised to $10 PF, she made it $30, I called. Then I checked the flop, no Ace or King, she bet out and I just folded like a cheap suit. I think if I had Queens I would have led at or at least called her. It's those damn cowboys that I see in my nightmares.

  2. I hope my run-bad is just ending rather than beginning.

    I remember running white hot at the beginning of my poker career and winning about $400 at the Excalibur $2-$6 spread game one night. I remember thinking "Wow -- this was easy. Now if I can just do this every night ..." Muhahahahahaha -- what a naive chump I was!

    Have you ever played at the Luxor? I have not played there for years, but the buy-in used to only be $50, I think. It was definitely kamikaze poker.

    1. When I first moved to Vegas I had played at the Luxor occasionally - I remember cracking a ladies pocket aces with my Favorite Poker hand. She made a weak raise to $10 and I made it $45, she called.
      Flop comes out 222 and we manage to get all in. Her AA was not happy to see my 72, not one bit.

      the Luxor game used to be a $50 max buy in, but you could rebuy for an additional $50 as soon as you were down to $49 so a lot of people used to ask them to bring $100 and "tip" the runner a buck.

      Looking at my handy dandy AVP (formerly VPN) app, the Luxor is now $50-300 buy in.

      I could always do small $50-60 buy-ins (depending on casino) and short stack myself - but I love when the whole table only has that much as well - different feel and different game.

  3. When I run bad, I switch games. Instead of NL, I'll play Omaha 8 with a half-kill, or switch to limit for a while. Sometimes, I give up ca$h games and just play tournaments. Sometimes you get in a rut and I think it changes things up and then back to your normal game. Just my 2 cents.

    1. I think this is a great idea.
      Maybe I'll play a few days of limit or make my way to the Orleans or Boulder for some Omahahaha games.

      I'd like to play more tournaments and get better at that particular style of game, and after my long days are up in 2 months maybe I will do just that.

      I'm no Moneymaker so I might as well develop some sort of skill at the tournament game.

      Thanks for the insight/idea.

  4. Grrouchie, looking at those hands....they are good hands but one pair does not an all in make. Now I know you had draws up the wazoo (ouch!) but if I'm in a mode when I can't hit anything to save my life I tend to not put it all on a draw. Sometimes when you whiff you just keep seems to come in waves. Anyway just my 2 cents.

    Also, last paragraph made me literally laugh out loud. God I have friends like that who eat their red meat bloody. But the steady heart beat and Rob sucking the life out of the cow to stay young...well done sir!

    1. I admit, I might be overplaying them slightly - That is something I hope to correct in the near future.

      And I'm glad you liked my description of the burger. I envision a world where such things happen and perhaps Stephen King or someone similar has written about that exact same scenario!

    2. Josie is right, that was great imagery about my rare burger. I know I don't look it but I'm actually 97 years old.

    3. I new that I sensed something was amiss about you!

  5. yo yo yo, FBoy in teh house, v nice blog post, always interesting to read how people got into teh pokerz


    KK hand
    when the ace turned how did the action go?
    were u in position? did he donk it/you raise and he 3ball all in?
    if you barreled turn and he raised:
    ?also what sort of player is he?
    i guess he was the original raise and called your 3bet
    ---if so what do you put him on thats going ai ott that you beat?
    what is his raise/call range preflop that would spaz on a QxxA board that you beat?

    if in position you could check back for pot control:
    -1 an A is a scare card and if he was Qx he will likely fold to your
    -2 he may lead river or be more inclined to c/c not putting u on Ax there fore getting 2streets of value instead of just the flop

    who called? was it a cold call or the original raiser?
    i guess u are oop coz u say u bet out?
    hand sounds standard unless it was a loltbc 2x pot shove
    unlucky and ul about the slowroll, fucking liveplayers have no idea "he obv flopped top set even tho i haz blocker n im a retard"

    the squeeze prelop in a limped pot is obv going to make stacks a lot shallower
    therefore with tptk and nfd is about as standard a stack off as can b
    -i personally wouldnt be squeezing the AJs oop in this spot unless at a retard fishy table
    also if oop always 3bet a little larger than when you are in positon which i assume u already do

    gl FBoy

    1. KK hand - I was OOP - BB or SB or somewhere close to the button.
      He called my 3bet (he originally opened for $6 I believe on the button) and then Called on a Q high flop.
      So, when the A hit I lead out again instead of acting weak and checking so he could steal the pot from me with any random holdings. I was not happy about the A and I know that AQ is definitely in his range, but I'll take that lump I guess.

  6. btw "who called...." this is about the AJs hand

    1. AJs hand, he called all bets, and took quite a while thinking about his decision before he did it on the flop and the turn.
      I read him as weak with how long it took him to call my flop bet, so when I also picked up the nut flush draw I thought a push was good, if he was as weak as I thought he'd fold and if not I had outs to get there.