Catch Up

Going to pour a lot of things into this one.

For the first time in a while I'm not at the WSOP even for a piece of it.  It sucks and at the same time I think the year off gives some great perspective.  Like many, or dare I say most, I ran terrible at last years WSOP.  I won't bore you with the bad beats or cooler but there were plenty.  I think my experience leached into my play and outlook on poker for the months that followed in a negative way.

Lets be clear, I didn't go not because I didn't want to and not because I wasn't planning on it.  I wanted to go and I thought I was going, but life kind of happened.  I'll get to that.  It's been nice, well let me clarify, it's been educational to experience it from afar via social media and have a new perspective on the crushing pain some of the players are dealing with.  I recently wrote this to a friend:

"Yeah it's just voluntary torture most of the time.  Pretty sicko.  After last summer I'm glad to have taken this series off. 

Twitter and facebook have two incredible emotions during the series.

The beginning of it all these poker heroes have so much optimism and excitement its like a collective euphoria pulsing on social media.  By the middle most are lost causes, desolate, depressed, tilted and chasing losses, and there is just a sense of drudgery that fills their posts.  They seem to be playing out the string.  Flailing in rough waters or quietly sinking, either way most are drowning.  We can brag about not being desk jockeys but clocking into the cashier's cage with buy-in money in hand at the Rio is probably worse when the cards have deserted you then sitting in a cubicle between two people you hate.  The man pays you at the job, but when poker is off kilter you pay the man.  And some days you just know it's coming.  It's only a matter of when.  Run bad every summer and you'll owe a million or ten in no time.  I ran so awful last year that I'm almost glad not to be there.  Especially when the tweets started pouring in with stories like your buddies below.

Then just when you start wondering who is going to do something horrible to themselves to alleviate the misery, the Main Event arrives and everybody that has a seat, or especially those that won one, are a bundle of optimism renewed.  That same early summer feeling is palpable even hundreds of miles away, only its even more intense.  It's like a flash mob gold rush wrapped into one.  The energy, that heady euphoric anticipation is back, and just like that even the most crestfallen is swept up into the most wonderful time of the year. Day one of the Main Event is Christmas day for degenerates.  A single receipt representing one giant gift wrapped package of hope.  The big old summer saver, the poker lottery, nothing better then taking on thousands of players who have zero chance of making the final table, and you have fate in your corner.  Or so you think.  The crash is faster this time and by day two, day three, its the same old shame and sadness, the big box was empty.  What remains is only the thunderous bludgeoning of thousands by bad beats and coolers, pockets emptied, bankrolls broken, and spirits massacred.  It's an awful tragic life poker players live.  

All that being said I'm literally booking my plane ticket for next year in a matter of minutes."

 Turns out I decided to blog first before I book the ticket, but I am going to book it tonight.  Yeah, so I wrote that real recently like an hour ago.

Why didn't I go to the WSOP?  About two months ago my pregnant wife got hit by a truck on I-10.  She and the (future) baby are fine it seems.  The truck driver jumped out of the cab with a crow bar to right his bumper and probably to intimidate her (it worked).  It was a good prop to have when he accused her of being up to something.  I guess he was insinuating by saying "I know what you are up to lady" that a little pregnant girl was pulling out in front of a truck so she could sue him.  Yeah, don't think my special education teacher wife is up to that kind of nonsense on an Interstate while pregnant, I don't think she would even want to pull in front of a bumper car much less a death truck. 

Anyway, he scared her enough and apparently rolled over the cop so that no ticket was issued.  The accident? Despite drifting into her lane and almost spinning her to her death he got no ticket.  She's probably only alive because luckily enough his bumper punctured the car and the two vehicles locked together and she didn't do a few 360s during rush hour at 70 mph.  How is it a guy rear ends somebody and there is no ticket.  Needless to say the police officer has not filed the report as recently as two months later and we still don't have the truck driver's insurance company.  

The car was more than damaged enough for it to be over 75% of its blue book value.  In Louisiana the insurance company has to total you out when that happens.  Doesn't mean they have to tell you in a timely fashion they will.  So minus a 1k deductible and some money going to the value of the car, I had to buy a new one.  Not a good time to go the WSOP when on the market.  By the way, State Farm called to tell me twice that they were repairing the car.  I toodle about in a rental expecting that.  Then I missed a call from the guy in their Totaled division, and despite calling him back never got a message or another call from him.  I write it off as a mistake because of the two other State Farm calls telling me everything was copacetic   Two days later Enterprise called to tell me the rental had been pulled because my car was totaled.  Uhh, excuse me.  When I finally got through to and confronted the schmuck on the phone that couldn't be bothered to call me back or leave a detailed message.  He said State Farm policy to notify a customer is simply to have the rental car company notify you.  For the record others in State Farm have told me otherwise.

As much as I hated that dispshit, I hate most car salesmen worse.  Shopped for a week.  Every place I went the pressure was immense.  Including Honda of Slidell which is owned by Time Dealer of the Year  xxx.  Turns out xxx lives in Denver and has never even met the sales manager.  I did write a nasty letter of complaint that I'm sending to one of his offices in Denver because the local guy doesn't even have the owners email address and has never even talked to him.  Obviously, entering that place was a bit like going to china a few decades back and instead of Mao's mug on banners everywhere there was this disconnected Coloradian's smug Dealer of the Year face looking benevolently down on us unwashed masses about to be baited and switched.  Yeah.  Probably had the worst experience there.  The cherry on top was highlighted by when the sales manager called to try assuage me and said something to the effect of because your experience was so bad I'll offer you X on the car.  That's so sweet, you must really care.  But nice job reading the file, because yeah, that's was a worse deal then the one I walked away from.  Don't think so chump.

Luckily enough my friend was selling a car for a reasonable price.  Didn't even negotiate with him.  Far better deal than what any dealer was offering.  Add in four new tires and we were good to go.

During my blog silence we also went to a hidden beach in Florida with my inlaws.  Every year we go there it gets more crowded.  Used to be just us on the beach.  Little slip of paradise.  Four of five years later it appears the secret is out.  

Took a day trip to Disney from there (yeah, not on the pan handle) and met up with Brian Heptinstall and his wife.  Brian used to be a poker reporter, most commonly seen at the Beau, and one time worked for PokerPages.  Now he's a chef at Disney.  Life has a lot of strange turns. My kids loved their day there, but I fear the taste didn't slake the thirst for the theme park it only created a bigger thirst.  

It was great sharing dinner with Brian and his wife Kristen.  Big thanks for the hook up he got us too.

Also hosted my first yard sale with my parents in town.  Two highlights:  an articulate professorial looking woman stole a book on cannabalism (cost like $1).  Maybe she was too embarrassed to buy it?  And some of the items my wife said would never sell sold.  The giant 1980s Old school big screen TV my friend dropped off at my house that didn't have working sound (he should be a car salesmen... the no sound wasn't in the pitch).  Also, you know some big screens you can't look at from too wide an angle or you can't see the picture.  Well, with his I couldn't figure out what angle it was exactly that allowed you to see the picture at all.  I never found one.  I recaptured exactly 10% of my money on that one but I was alerting everybody to its soundlessness and other defects..  

I've been running pretty good at poker at Harrahs in the tournaments and the cash games.  Tournaments especially, my radar has been sicko at putting people on hands.  I got a lot of acclaim at my table for making a call with just pocket deuces on the river.  That's nice, but I didn't feel like it was hero call even though it was for half my stack.  Just seemed right and I've been listening to my gut and willing to take the punches when I'm wrong.

Right now, it's a good zone to be in.  For example, I had King rag against a player.  Flop came out and he bet, think there was an ace on the board.  I immediately knew he didn't have it.  Rather then raise him there.  I thought I might call, get a bet on another street and then bluff him off the hand.  Turn was a brick and I checked.  He checked.  Immediately, I thought I don't want to see a king.  Sure enough a king hit.  I didn't want it because now I couldn't fire him off the hand.  So what if I paired my King.  I knew the hand was lost because if I bet he was calling.  So we checked and he turned over a biggish King which is what I knew he had.  Though I lost the hand, and maybe should have fired the river (you could argue the Ace could have scared him enough) or back at him on the flop, I was still happy that I knew where I was at all times.

Chopped a tournament four ways, and overcame this brutal but interesting mishap.  My table was playing snug early, and I just kept scooping pots.  I'd miss flops or cbet, check raise or raise and my opponents would have to fold.  It was fun.  I never had anything except the one or two times I was called.  I kept chipping up without showdowns.  Then this hand happened, blinds are 50-100 and almost the entire table limps, I'm in the small blind.  It's early but I've already accumulated a stack of 500 chips, in fact, that stack was taller then my greens.  Without looking I pushed two of the onto the felt thinking I was joining the limpfest with the stellar 5 3 offsuit.  As soon as I saw what I did I couldn't hide my disappointment. 

WTF!  What to do.  Now I'm hoping they are taking me for an angle shooter who was merely acting like he did it by mistake.  Okay, what does an angle shooter look like here.  I racked my mind.  Panicked I came up blank.  I don't know what an angle shooter does there?  Oh, he acts really weak when strong.  Yeah.  I didn't do that.  I acted somewhat strong when REALLY weak.  

None of the table had the stones to call and basically were conceding the hand to me, and conversing about it when the button jumped in as though the other lawyers had made their case for somebody to call.  Oh... nards.

Flop came 223 two diamonds.  Uh, don't think it comes too much better for 53 offsuit in this spot.  I fire three pinks out and get called.  Hmmmm.  Time to shut down?

Jack on the turn.  I check.  He checks.

Ace on the river.  Ugh.  In my head I'm thinking weak suited ace on the button.  I check he bets three pinks.  Here I didn't play well.  Pot was close to 7500 and it's 1500 to call.  I would have still above starting stack... but this guy is never bluffing here.  Minimum he has is a weirdly played Jack or a hand like 7s (though I don't see him betting), so in truth the minimum he has is an ace.  I call.  He has Ax of diamonds and wasn't going anywhere at any point.  Somehow I rebound from that fiasco to chop the tournament any way.

Cash I've won two out of three sessions but dusted off some buy-ins in the one loss.  I overstayed my time and at a point I felt I had peaked and didn't leave.  That sucked because this guy who kept pipping me, and had about 1400 in profits in front of him, would also lament every  hand he didn't play and inevitably hit.  Yeah, sucks to be you winning every big pot, when you could also be winning every small pot.  That actually helped me get out of my seat and go home.

Anyway.  That's it for now.  Plenty more I wanted to write about and just forgot.  I should blog more.


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