Monday, March 09, 2015

Big Hand in a tournament...

Still working hard on the project I mentioned a few months back ago, and unfortunately that has curtailed my "pokering" and my blogging a little bit.  I am a little behind where I wanted to be, as the project is tough sledding at times.  Regardless, I somewhat see the finish line so pushing hard to get there.

I have taken on another student, that I'm doing some poker coaching with and I think he's going really benefit to a few tweaks to his game.  Very impressed with some of the skills he already has, and he naturally does some things better then many other players.  As a result, I will be back at Harrahs a little more often then I have been recently.

Also, wanted to give a quick shout out to Kenny Milam who met with the Table Games supervisor at Harrahs on Wednesday to discuss tweaking some of their promotions and tournaments.  I had planned to sit in on that and talk about some other things but fortunately, I was deep in a tournament.  From what Kenny told me there are some bright opportunities ahead for tournament players in advance of the Circuit Event in March.  When things get more formalized we'll have them on the front page.  Also, I'll let you guys know how things go when I get a chance to speak to the Man behind the scene too.

Anyway, Wednesday's poker tournament as mentioned went well this week.  I wish I could attribute it to purely skill but I played a massive hand that propelled me to a heads up chop with Anthony "Binger" Bellao.  Btw, Binger played exceptional all tournament long. Considering, I had position on him for the final two tables with a monster stack and he just kept chipping up, it's hard not to be very impressed with how he played.

Okay, back to the hand, as I promised a couple of people that I would blog about it after it happened.  It was pretty crazy even for the Harrahs Donkley.  I had managed to chip up, maybe to table chip leader (or at least second in chips) when I looked at 6-3 o/s in the small blind.  There were exactly three limpers to me all with big stacks and I had the feeling the big blind was just going to check.  I don't like playing garbage, out of position even when the price is super cheap, but I had chips to spare and I think I'm reasonably good at not getting trapped post flop.  Plus, the possible upside in that spot is so huge, hard to pass up.

Meaning I'm looking for very specific flops and thinking I can maybe felt one of the big stacks in that hand.  The tables were unbalanced as most of the chips were on our table, so with these stacks in play, I think calling was correct.  When the big blind checked behind, it came one of those specific flops.  754 two diamonds.  Gulp in a good way.

I considered betting, not liking the two diamonds on a five way board, but also understanding anybody with a diamond draw in this tournament isn't going anywhere.  Maybe I could get some raggy hands to put chips in play before I flipped with the flush draw that was likely out there.  Several of my opponents weren't above doing just that.  I also thought this flop would miss most people (kind of wrong on that regard).



So, we blinds went check-check.  An aggressive player made a pot size bet.  The next player called.  Okay, might have to shove here but not quite a big enough pot to do...  I'm thinking to myself, when I see the third biggest stack at the table is considering shoving.  I turn to the big blind and say this pot is going to be huge.

He does shove.

I consider can anybody have 8-6 here?  It's possible but not likely, and I'm never folding second nuts on this board in this spot.  I reshove.  The big blind folds.  The next player shoves and the next player shoves.

Oh... somebody has to have 8-6.  Four way all-in always has the nuts, right?

I ask who's got the nuts?  Nobody responds and then I quickly table my 6-3 thinking I'm up against everything and will have to dodge the deck.  Surely, sets or two pairs, and a flush draw, maybe 9-6.  Not even sure I'm over 50% to win this hand with that kind of action against most hands.

Yeah, let's say there is two pair, bottom set, and the nut flush draw, I'm only 41% (thanks poker calculator).

Nope, everybody is disappointed to see my hand, then they start turning over their hands, flush draw, flush draw, flush draw.  Everybody had two diamonds.  I had to dodge five cards in the deck to potentially drag a monster potten.

Somehow, I'm actually almost 70% to win.  Wow.

Yum.  Normally, in those sure spots you never get out clean, but sure enough after it went brick brick, I had almost a quarter of chips in play with a little over two tables left.  Actually, the turn wasn't totally dry, it dropped a three, which meant a six on the river would give us a four way chop.  You can't help but consider that worst case scenario in those spots.  Fortunately, it paired the board (which most times in that spot would be a very bad thing).

Um... yeah, no way we aren't making top five at that point, even in that turbo tournament.  So that was fun.

Alright, til next time...


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Guest Post: Mississippi Grind A Review

So my buddy, Eric, who used to blog on www.gulfcoastpoker.net has (for the most part) traded the poker circuit for the film festival circuit.  He graciously reviewed Mississippi Grind for us after seeing it at Sundance.  Spoiler alert, kid can write.  It's one thing for somebody outside "the life" to review a movie about poker and gambling and it's another thing entirely for somebody from within to give their opinion.  Here's his review of the movie that hits close to home for a lot us literally and figuratively.

MISSISSIPPI GRIND movie review
by Eric Johnson
Ben Mendelsohn and Ryan Reynolds give stellar performances as gamblers on a road trip down the Mississippi.

Some guys just can’t stop. It’s in their DNA. Faced with even less-than-mediocre prospects against the option to stand pat in a good spot, the gamble gets the best of them. It’s the action that separates them from the squares and in Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck’s MISSISSIPPI GRIND, it’s what separates Ben Mendelsohn from a stable life. Ultimately, it’s this pitch-perfect performance by Mendelsohn as a middle-aged degenerate that separates and elevates the film, allowing it to become a vital entry into the canon of gambling-centric films.

We meet Mendelsohn’s Gerry, fittingly, in a casino, having bought into a low-stakes poker tournament, where the usual grinder mumbling is interrupted by a new tablemate, a quick-talking, top-shelf drinking guy named Curtis, played charismatically by Ryan Reynolds. Curtis is everything Gerry isn’t – young, good-looking, confident – the natural born winner, and Gerry is drawn to him, perhaps projecting a younger, alternate-universe version of himself. Cut to hours later and we see the contrast, as Reynolds, a quick exit from the tournament notwithstanding, is trending positive, while Mendelsohn can’t help but fixate on his tough-beat bustout, despite cashing deep. Mendelsohn here and throughout perfectly nails the nature of poker players, and gamblers in general, for the vast majority of whom there will never be a success big enough, for whom second place is the first loser, as they’re left to spin a tale of woe of how close they came.

Gerry is always on the come, be it poker, sports betting, the dogs or the ponies – it’s his defining trait and it’s to Mendelsohn’s immense credit as an actor that he takes sad-sack Gerry and infuses him with such a charismatic desperation that we further pot-commit ourselves into his belief that the elusive big score is just on the horizon. We need him to make good and get there, just this once.

Gerry and Curtis team up, with plans to drive from Iowa down the Mississippi, hitting up the casinos, riverboats and cash games along the way, the destination a high-stakes cash game in New Orleans. For Gerry, it’s a chance to make good on some bad decisions he’s leaving behind. For Curtis, well, we’re not quite sure. He’s an out-of-towner and his motive for staking Gerry as they travel south is murky.

The film finds its best footing in this stretch, as Gerry and Curtis work the games, build a bankroll and we learn more about their respective histories. The filmmakers are careful to take their time – this is indeed a film about grinders – and never romanticize the lifestyle. Instead, we confront the lives of men on the road, constantly hustling, always moving on, an impermanence that mirrors the river they follow. We see the loneliness, the longing and the paths less traveled. Nuanced and anchored by deft touches in the details and a strong supporting turns by Sienna Miller and especially Robin Weigert, our feel for these men and the lives they’ve touched, and sometimes broken, only serves to invest us further in their quest.

Through it all Mendelsohn’s Gerry is our hope, our heart and our soul, mankind’s best and worst natures bundled in one, always battling for control of what comes out of his pocket and his mouth. It’s as accurate and riveting a portrayal of the misguided dreams and stark realities of a gambling lifestyle as you will find. By the time they hit New Orleans you desperately hope that Gerry can indeed fade the river.


Reviewed at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival.

Monday, February 02, 2015

Super Bowl Thoughts


Once you get competent at poker, it taints your perception of sports to some degree.  As you grow as a poker player dealing with the element of chance you learn to not be results oriented.   You focus on making the right play-- the one that is most profitable, most often. The individual result of the play to some degree is irrelevant.  This kind of thinking doesn't translate to talking heads and/or evaluations of sports figures.  

Instead we have to suffer knee jerk reactions, overreactions, and hyperbole.  One play goes different and the majority of people have completely different world-views.

Here's an example, last night a Patriot defender made a great play to intercept the ball and here's what the talking points are:

1.  Tom Brady is the greatest quarterback ever.
2.  Tom Brady can play into his 40s
3.  The Patriots are one of the all time great dynasties
4.  Bill Belichek (autocorrect wanted to fix Blichek to bellyache, kind of funny cause he always looks like he has one) is the greatest coach ever.
5.  Pete Carroll made a TERRIBLE, maybe the worst ever, play call and cost his team the game, his legacy is forever tainted.

However, let's say the pass were caught for a touchdown, or maybe fell incomplete, and the Seahawks punch it in on a later down.  Here's what our world would look like:

1.  Tom Brady is one Super Bowl loss away from tieing Jim Kelly for most all time.
2.  Tom Brady is over the hill, last night was a passing of the torch.
3.  The Seahawks could be on their way to be the greatest dynasty ever.
3b.  Russell Wilson could be on his way to winning an absurd amount of Superbowls.  His desire to get six might be fulfilled.
4.  Belichek made a pair of TERRIBLE decisions, maybe two of the worst ever, and cost his team the game.  He should have called a timeout to give Brady a chance to go on a drive and probably should have let the Seahawks score as soon as possible to get the ball back, cause he'd only need a field goal to force overtime.  His legacy is forever tainted.
5.  Pete Carroll's may be the greatest coach ever.  Back to back superbowls and college national championships.  What a genius.

Everybody blindly believes the first five, and they'll always believe them because the results support that.

Here's the truth.  Yes, Pete Carroll probably made a bad play call.  (Even worse was how they botched things and seemed indecisive).  That said, hardly the worst play call ever.  Yeah, I probably run it, but actually his thinking was kind of right.  If he passed it, against New England's loaded up run defense he'd have three shots to win the game.  Run it on the next play and then call timeout if Lynch didn't score.  Then run it on fourth down.  How many times in 100 does the throw get picked?  1, 2, maybe 3?

Otherwise, you run it against their run defense, and then have to call timeout.  Which means on third down if you want two shots to win it, probably you have to throw it (with possibly the same result) or at least bootleg Russell, against a defense more prepared for that.  Possibly if you run it again, you get stopped on third down and you don't even get another play.  Would you rather have three chances to win it or two?

To some degree hard to argue with the talking heads, just give it to Lynch.  He'll get you the yard.  

Humorously, if he didn't, the same guys would be attacking Caroll for only getting off two plays instead of three.

Now, let's examine the conclusions, does the result really matter?
1.  Tom Brady is the greatest quarterback ever.  Win or lose he's in the conversation.  As Roy Williams once said after winning his first national championship, "I'm not a better coach today, then I was yesterday."  Tom Brady is a great quarterback period.  If he never won a superbowl he'd still be a great quarterback.  Yeah, four times ties him with Montana but also with Bradshaw, nobody thinks Terry Bradshaw is one of the three greatest quarterbacks ever.  
2.  Tom Brady can play into his 40s.  Possibly but unlikely.  If he stays healthy, maybe.  Football players seem to hit a cliff in regards to performance when wear and tear just brutalizes them at some point.  Obviously winning or losing this game changes nothing in regard to that--except for the reaction.  Lose and cue the retirement questions--just ask Peyton Manning.  He will only get worse, it's just a matter of when and how quickly.
3.  The Patriots are one of the all time great dynasties.  True, but that was true win or lose.  As for Seattle if they stay intact, who knows.
4.  Bill Belichek greatest coach ever.  Win or lose, he's in the conversation.  People point to him getting it done in free agency era as the ultimate proof of him being the greatest, but everybody has advantages and disadvantages in different eras.  That's not definitive of anything but his era.  Nor does it rule out the fact, a guy in a different era might be just as good in free agency as Belichek. We don't know.  He's great though, and maybe the greatest.
5.  Pete Caroll's legacy should never be questioned.  Win or lose.  Guy just wins, he's got multiple championships.  Plus he's a pimp.



Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Long Overdue

Sorry folks, been behind on blogging a good bit.  Wanted to get a quick one up but have been slammed time wise.  Previously, I referenced some health things my family has been dealing with, some have asked about them so I feel I should revisit it.  Btw, thanks for the support and nice notes some of you have sent even though I was a little vague about things.

1.  Me.  All good so far.  Need a follow up visit soon, but had two little polyps removed both benign.  Hopefully, they were responsible for my abnormal blood-work and I should be all good.

2.  My oldest son.  Looks like we turned a corner.  Appears that we've identified the problem and it's relatively harmless.  Felt like last year he was perpetually sick.  Since we've started up a treatment plan it's been effective.  At this point we think it was just a case of allergies manifesting in some weird ways and some atypical blood work when he might have been fighting two or three things at once.  His white blood cell was off the charts, but has returned to normal meaning we can stop googling Leukemia symptoms.

3.  My daughter.  She's had some weird episodes of dizziness/vertigo, since we thought we were in the clear with her.  Can be a wide range of problems.  We were referred to an ENT, who referred us to a neurologist.  Some of the possibilities are scary, some may be relatively benign.  At this point not trying not to worry about it until/unless we have too, but probably lots of test and appointments still in our short term future.

Literally felt like I spent more time in a doctor's office, Emergency room, or aftercare then anywhere else last year.  With all the big stuff going on, those kids couldn't stay healthy with flu, stomach viruses, bronchitits and you name it charging through our household every week or so.  Hoping 2015 is much, much different.  Regardless, in total things, have turned out pretty good for us and now we just can focus on my daughter.


Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Christmas Retail Bliss...

Thought I hit the jackpot today...

Did an online pickup, selected wrong store by accident but it's only five minutes further away, when I arrive it's a little slice of heaven in the retail hell of xmas shopping.  Literally no customers to be seen, a row of friendly uniformed cashiers in front of their empty lines smiling desperate to ring somebody up.  Twilight zone?  What's going on here.  Mental note... shop here.

Course with an online pickup I have to go to the return line.  I decide to pick up the item from the shelves to save them the trip.  When I get back.  One lady in front of me, not bad, but she has a loaded cart of stuff.  Darn.  Wait, no she's done, that's not her stuff... this will be so painless.

She's taking her receipt and leaving, I start to sidestep the cart, then I hear, "Excuse me honey,"  and a large lady with an armful of stuff brushes me aside, steps in front of me and drops the merchandise into the cart "holding" her place in line.  Uh...  alright.  Whatever, it's Dec 23rd and I didn't expect it to be this painless.  Can't be that long right.

She, exchanges one item.  Is a process.  I'm getting anxious, get a really bad feeling, even worse then the one when I saw her neck tatoo.  I look to the open line next to me with a friendly cashier smiling and bored.  Maybe she'll just buy her stuff over there now that's she's done exchanging. Especially now that two more people, the only other two people in the store have lined up behind me to exchange an item as well.  Nope, instead she buys two of her 40 items and asks "How much is that?  Okay, I'll pay for it."

Sweet, she's not getting the rest of that crap...  "Okay, ring this up," she holds up a scooter,  "How much is that?"  She must be missing the big lighted price on the register in front of her.  "17 Dolla?  Okay, I'll pay for that now."  She pays with a wad of bills and change.  Repeat this process at least five times, and the cashier has to take two phone calls during it.  Uhh... what.

Finally shes done.  I see a pair of jeans still in her cart.  She's out of bills though.  "Oops, I forgot this," she says...  Any guesses what she asks next?  "How much is that."  Takes out a debit card.  "Okay, I'll pay for it."  After a failed processing of her card, cashier says, "You entered the wrong pin number."

Lady responds, "I know I got cash on this."
"You entered the wrong pin number,"
"I KNOW there is money on this."
"Yes, but it says you entered the wrong pin number,"
"Uh-uh, there's money on this... I ain't got time for all this."
"Maybe try reentering your pin number?"  This cashier is a saint.
"I GOT money on this."

Ugh...  Finally she comprehends she just fatkeyed her pin.  Gets it right on only the second try, now time to move along.  Na, not that easy.  She does my pet peeve when ladies with huge purses don't move down the line to let the next person complete their transaction, even though the counter stretches for days and instead squats in front of the register buckling and unbuckling every pocket of the purse.

Then one final look at the last of her five receipts she hasn't squirreled away, "Uh, hell no... (Oh..no) this scooter is $17 you charged me 21."
Cashier says "That's the receipt for your jeans."
"No, it's the scooter."
"See where it says blue jeans 21 dollars, that's for your 21 dollar blue jeans,"
"...  ...  Scooter.."
"And see that, it's the last four digit of your debit card, you only paid for one item with your debit card... the jeans. Everything else were cash transactions."

A long, long pause "Oh."

More buckling and unbuckling to retrieve the scooter receipt, some head shaking, somehow she's getting screwed over, she finds it, it still says $17, then a glance back at me, like I'm on her side.  I'm wondering if there is any daylight left.  I entered the store at 10 am.  She sees all her receipts are accurate (long time to do this).  More head shaking.  Some more buckling of that monster purse, some shuffling of things, still blocking the counter with her purse and cart.  Finally, she's done and about to leave.  Then, she turns and angrily says, "I'm going to need some gift receipts."

Let's just say that process is as painful as you'd imagine it to be.  I'm wondering when the dentist is going to pull up and start drilling on my teeth as that and the onset of kidney stones is the only way this is going to get worse.

Meanwhile, another cashier had come behind the counter and stood doing nothing for at least half this process, just staring at us.  I looked at her helplessly a couple of times and stonefaced she didn't flinch to help.  As soon, as it's my turn, that cashier says to the man behind me, and says she can help him.  Was she not on the clock for the last 20 minutes or something?

No matter...  I say to my girl, "I bought this online, here's the printout, I saved you a trip and pulled it from the shelf myself.  There's the confirmation number, I already paid for it and just want to pick it up."  I give her my ID and the card I used to pay for it.  Cashier looks at me like I have two heads, hits some buttons then just walks away ...without a word.  A minute later, the other lady stops what she's doing, looks at me and says, "Hold up,"  and walks away too.  I nod at the man at the other register, he's in the fourth level of hell too, I think we are commiserating, then he looks at me with disgust like this is all my fault.

10 minutes later, after the people behind me glaring through my head like I'm the worlds biggest schlub (I know, I feel your pain), all of us looking helplessly at the army of cashiers not doing anything at the rest of the store, the returns cashier shows back up with the exact same item I brought to the register.  "Oh, I tried to save you a trip." I say pointing to what I picked up.  I'm saying it loud enough so the mob behind me knows it's not my fault.

I could not have said a worse thing based on the look we gave me.  All that patience she showed for the last lady completely gone,  "Sir, WE have to pick it up," she says dismissively  "...Okay," I think.   She hands me the one she picked up.  Yep, it's identical.  Starts clicking on the register.  Opens the draw closes it.  Shakes her head clicks on the keys again.  Opens the drawer closes it again.  Keeps glaring at me.  Shakes head again, more key clicking.  I wonder if she's booking a flight or writing a blog post?  She prints out a receipt, I start to hold my hand out, the end is near, she tears it out and then throws into the trash. She walks over to the other register.  Her friend reappears with the exact same item and hands it to her.  There are three on the counter now.  "No, I got it," she says.  The second cashier looks at me like I sent her off on the goose chase shakes her head.

 The other guy who just wanted to get the TV he had already paid for security clamp taken off, looks at me as though I murdered his family.  I glance at the mob behind me, and think to myself I should have drawn up a will, I got young kids.  Can't be putting that off.

Meanwhile my lady, clicks some keys, opens the drawer of another register, looks at some receipts she pulled at absently.  Walks back to me and the now long line behind us, who I'm pretty sure are fashioning shanks out of the shopping carts, looks at me with a vacant stare, like noticing I'm still there, taps the box in my hand like I'm an idiot, "You paid for this right?"  I point to everything I handed her, she shakes her head at my state of being a moron, "What do you need, then?"

"I don't know, do I need anything?"

"You got your item... you can go."

 

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Life and Poker, running good and playing bad.

As poker players we learn to accept our fate somewhat.  We get it all in on the flop, see our opponents hands, and know what chance we have to win the pot.  In some ways, waiting for the next two cards to come is the most exciting part of poker.  It can also be the most agonizing, especially on the money bubble, or at the edge of a big money jump.  Do we need a miracle?  Do we have to worry about half the deck improving our opponent?  It's out of our hands.  The deck, or fate, is predetermined, nothing is going to change the order of the cards as they hit the table.  All we can do is wait.

To me, those moments, where the fate of my tournament life is out of my control is not only exhilarating but also  a teaching moment.  There are times in life, where there are things that are not in your control.  All you can do is wait.  What's done is done and what will be will be.  Nothing you can do in the meantime can change things.  When you become a parent, these times magnify in intensity, especially when it comes to your health or your child's health.

When pregnant with our third child we discovered a heart issue the doctors picked up on a sonogram and verified in subsequent tests.  In a quirk of nature sometimes this particular condition could heal itself as the child develops.  Sometimes they don't.  We had our son early so that if things didn't improve we could get him the medical attention he needed.  After birth all we could do was wait for the next two cards to come. What would the tests say.  Essentially it was a flip.   We prayed, our friends and family prayed for us, and we couldn't be happier.  Maybe prayer helped.  Maybe it didn't.  I know on a card table it can change the order of the deck, but maybe in life it can.  We won.  He's been healthy and vibrant ever since.    

Still, even if this most dramatic of life events, playing poker, on some level helped me control my emotions, when all we could do was wait.  Instead of a dealer revealing fate, a doctor would do some tests and show us the results.  On the flip side there's no exhiliration at all, only agony.  However, as a poker player that waiting, that moment before the reveal can be marginally more tolerable.  Half your stack is at risk, if you lose it, you lose it and you play with less chips.  If my son has a condition, regroup and deal with it, we are still in the game it's just a setback.

The last couple of months, I've had some similar scary personal events.  Again, fate is out of my hands.  Medical tests and results would reveal if my family would have to deal with some unfortunate things.  A couple of times they'd have scary consequences.  So far, we've gone ~two for two.

We aren't quite out of the woods on one but things look good for my son.  He's been sick on and off for a while, they did some tests and he had a sky high white blood cell count.  Google it and there is a very scary word that comes up for kids starts with a L.  Some follow up testing and a massive drop in the white cell count suggest that we are out of the woods on the really scary L word,  However, we still aren't quite clear on why he can't stay well but our big fears have been relieved.

The second one other was far less threatening than an on call doctor suggested to us.  In that case our daughter, already sick couldn't move her neck without crying.  The concern of course is meningitis and the on call doctor sent us to Children's hospital to get evaluated.  She essentially told me that regardless of the fact that our daughter lacked other important symptoms we had to go.

By the way, the doctor delivered this grim news in a condescending, you are a bad parent to even question this, kind of way.  Whoops.  Alright, this may be serious?

The irony is the doctor that looked her over five hours later when we finally got seen said in almost the exact same condescending tone that she didn't have meningitis, as though he questioned why we even brought her.  He delivered what was good news in a I couldn't be bothered kind of way as he told us she lacked the other symptoms (you know the ones I mentioned to the on call doctor) to worry about it.  Like we wasted his time.  Can't win with these guys.  Did he really think we wanted to spend five hours in a children's hospital waiting room, thinking our three year old might need a spinal tap and other painful prodding?  That's how we wanted to spend our Sunday night?   In some ways, poker is a metaphor, and tool for navigating life, and in some ways it falls short.  Sitting at children's hospital hearing screaming, crying children, and seeing sick kids doesn't have a parallel, especially when you have a little one on your lap who possible has to undergo a lot of pain.  

Now, we have one more flip to go.  If I had to pick two to go our way and one not to, I'd pick the first two.  The good news is, this is probably the least likely to be scary for us, so we are going into this one as a big favorite.  There's a small chance it could be bad, but we are running good this month.

Now, enough of the vaguaries of my family's health.  Just needed to get that off my chest a little bit, and I know I've hinted to some friends about these things so there's the update.    

Now, to the MSPT in Baton Rouge.  That was a bit of a roller coaster personally.

Won some satties playing great.  At one point in the span of an orbit I made a killer call with just a pair of twos, and then later I open folded kings.  Jacks bet, Aces raised and I got a stone cold read of massive strength.  Not queens strength, probably not the other two kings strength but aces.  I peeled my cards back in a way that I hoped the dealer would see what I was doing.  Then I mucked.  Flop came qq9.  Jacks checked.  Aces bet.  Jacks folded and Aces showed his hand.  That was sweet.

Then I played a mega on Friday trying to earn another Main Event ticket.  Two from the money, I misread a hand.  Literally thought I had Q9.  In battle of the blinds.  I got it in on the turn on an AQ10...Q board.  My opponent called and showed QJ... Coolered.  I then turned over 9... 8.  Wow.  Plenty of chances to get away from the hand had I read it right.  Think all those drives back and forth to Baton Rouge caught up to me.

I considered not playing Friday and just coming back Saturday.  Haven't made a mistake like that in a long time.  The early restart on Sunday made me reconsider it, and I played Flight A friday night.

That started off poorly, when in the big blind, I literally misread my very first hand and thought I flopped two pair.  This time I checked before the turn, and saw I just had top pair no kicker.  Luckily I scooped the pot when my kings were better than the pocket queens of David Weinstein.  Instead of steadying me again, I think it kind of tilted me.

A steady diet of getting pipped by kickers of flopping pair and flush or combo draws in the blinds but not getting there quickly had me at almost half my starting stack.  Then I played a hand as badly as I ever did.  I thought I had been playing way too passively with my hands and decided I was going to ramp up the aggression.  One of my favorite disguised hands to play is low suited connectors because I think I don't go nuts when I hit the flush and can get away from it when beat, or get paid when not. Also, my image was fairly tight, I had people concede the blinds to me when I raised AA and KK earlier (yeah, that didn't help my tilt either) and I showed.  So, if I hit them I knew I might get paid.

I got called by four or five players and promptly flopped a flush.  I c-bet and got called.  Board KQx.  Not putting the caller on AK (felt he was the type to reraise pre especially with his big stack).  Maybe AQ or KQ.  Thought he might push back with bottom set.  Possibly he had a bigger baby flush or even nut flush.  On turn, another queen fell and I bet.  He raised.  Here he has a full house or maybe a semi-bluff with just the A high draw.  I was pretty sure he had exactly KQ.  Still I hoped he had the far less likely hand I could beat and called.

 Remember when I said I was normally good about not going crazy with a baby flush.  Yeah, at this point I find the fold button, not on this day.  Then when I called, before the river even fell I was mad at myself for calling.  On the river, I was kind of trapped.  I knew if he had A high draw I could only get paid by checking and calling his bluff.  If he had me beat I was going to pay him off.  When I checked, I got a strong read of strength on his shove, and even though I had put most of my chips in the pot, I could have found a fold even then.  No, titled Bill just called off.

Ugh.

Hard to believe I can play hands so well a couple of days before and then play so badly a couple of days later.  Despite being tired there's no excuse for it.  Pretty grim to have to show that hand on a table full of players that I respect and then take my walk of shame.

Oh well, on to the next one.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Post Main Event

Hard to believe I haven't posted since the Main Event.

Wanted to talk about my bust out hand, a couple of audacious bluffs I pulled off, some giant folds and the thrill of heading into to day 3 with a shot at making a run, with most of the field already out of it.  Except...  I'm not going to right now.  I will though I promise.

Currently, I'm working on a couple of writing projects, so blogging has been kind of a dreaded activity.  I find I can only do so much writing without feeling burnt.  The blog (and the website) has suffered as a result, and to some degree poker is also on the back burner.

Still, I've been following it and popping up for some tournaments locally here and there.

I was excited that my partner in crime at GCP Gene D had another deep run at the IP.  He got no love from WSOP.com despite being a past Casino Champion there.  The storyline they went with, a good one no doubt in his tournament write up, was Austin Buchanan aka SkinnyDonk trying to get his ring.  He's cashed 26 times or so and no jewelry.  Equally significant to us locals was Gene's quest for gold.  Everybody has to give him credit for his perfomance, he nursed a short stack into the money, onto the final table and was probably just one double up from a possible top two finish before bowing out fourth.

I also enjoyed Tai Cao's deep run, I think also fourth, in another event.  Got to know Tai a little bit since meeting him in Las Vegas during the world series.  I also shared a final table with him after I taught the WSOP Academy in a nightly.  Real laid back guy who will probably win a ring sooner rather than later.  

As for me, I've made a lot of deep runs recently with nothing to show for it.  That's the frustrating part of tournament poker, I guess.  Feel like a pot or a hand away every time.  Even the weeklies I play in, I can't escape some gruesome hand and get busted.  The current trend is somebody calling off most of their chips with QJ and getting there.  Twice in my last tournament.  Maybe that's my nemesis hand.

Did have one weird hand history.  During an Aces cracked promotion at Harrahs, I somehow lost the minimum with them against pocket kings.  He flopped a set and boated up on the river. I thought the board pairing the low card might have been good for me because when he raised me on the turn I thought he had at least two pair.  So, I lose the pot and they go off to get me my hundred dollars in chips .

The dealer didn't ask if they were in play, and right before I looked at my hand I thought about saying something.  She was attending to something so I said to myself no big deal I'll wait a hand before mentioning it.  Then I spied Queens.  Lol.  Long story short I get my reduced stack in preflop against Morgan B who has Kings.  Not good.  I make a set on the river and double up just as they drop my $100 chip on the table.  I told her the only good news in that suckout was that I didn't have the extra $100 in play.  Though, as I drove home I thought about it, I might have found the fold against her had I had more money.   She plays fairly conservative.  I don't know.   Anyway, more to come soon,