Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Bash trip report - Part 2

"It's a marathon, not a sprint."

What the fuck does that mean anyways?

I ran track in college but my events were 400m and 4x400m relay, with a mix of 200m dash (more for warm up/loosening up - I did NOT have the speed to compete in collegiate level 200m). So, I was always a sprinter. And that's just my personality. Even at work, I either go all out and work really hard... or I do nothing... like not a damn thing. I've spent a full day reading blogs and doing absolutely nothing productive in the past... but in a crunch time, believe me, I'm good to have in the work force. That's just how I roll. So, when it comes to drinking, most of my friends could attest to the fact that when it comes to drinking I am balls to the wall as well... so, on Saturday, after I completed my Part 1 of the Bash trip report in the cafe, I headed back to the room to shower and get ready for what I figured to be an unbelievable drunken haze.

I got ready and sauntered over to this fine establishment where I would end up spending the next 10+ hrs drinking.

Now, the funny thing about me drinking is that I keep thinking I remember everything... until someone points out something that I don't remember... at which point I realize how drunk I was. But I will say this. I was pretty hammered at certain points but not to the point where I was plastered like I would be when I am with my friends here. I think it was all because I started to listen to the mantra.

"It's not a sprint, it's a marathon."

Once I got to the bar a little before 2pm on Saturday, I decided to kick things off with a beer... and a soco shot with none other than Al. Well, that's when I discovered that the shots you get here are twice as big as the ones I'm used to. Apparently, that's the "Al shot." But hey, whatever. A shot is a shot. I'm not gonna lie though. I was a little disappointed when I downed my shot in one gulp and noticed that Al was just taking a little sip here and there. But that's when he told me that this was not a sprint. And boy, was he right.

During the pub olympics, numerous prop bets were made (Buddy, I fuckin crushed you in pinball! And Evy, great game on the air hockey... I was so close to pwning you). I even played shuffleboard for the first time, which was a blast. CK does a much better job describing what went down but we had numerous pairings... first one being the jew vs non-jew.

(The cross is misleading since I'm not Christian but minor details)

Then, after CK and I noticed that Jordan and Astin (Jew and non-Jew, respectively) were bringing us down, we decided to go the round-eye vs slant-eye round... where we totally pwned them... When CK got a 9 pointer!!! Who says we can't see????

After that is where it gets kinda blurry for me but I don't think I was ever really hammered. I was drunk for sure, but not like falling apart drunk. I know we went to eat pizza across the street or something... wait, no, it was a sub... or a burger... yeah, it was a burger... where Riggs and I were utterly shocked at all the college football scores they were showing with upsets left and right...

And then we went back to the bar and the band was starting to set up... I don't remember the early goings but I do know that towards the end, we had a blast because the band was a good cover band... however, I pulled a lame one and decided to call it a night around 1am or so. It was getting to the point where I was somewhat sobering up and then feeling the fatigue and then realizing I would have to drive home the next day... blah blah blah... god, I feel like such a pussy just writing this. Oh hell. It is what it is.

I had a great time meeting everyone/seeing everyone once again. Getting to spend more time talking to the people I met back in December was definitely good too. I can't wait to see all of you (and those that didn't make it to the bash) in December.

Here are some pictures of Phoenixville:

The breakfast joint right next to the hotel:

Inside the coffee shop I blogged from:

And outside the coffee shop:

Saturday, September 27, 2008

The Bash trip report - Part 1

So here I am doing a quick trip update... I am sitting in this fine cafe in Phoenixville, PA after a great breakfast (pictures to come later) because even though my hotel claims to have an internet connection, the wireless signal is so weak that my laptop just doesn't pick it up. After a great breakfast at Irish Joe's Cafe, I decided to sit here with a cup of coffee and set my fantasy football line up, check the news, and of course... blog. (BaconMary and Alceste just walked in... man, do I feel like a dork). At least I'm not playing online poker right now... though I did seriously consider it...

So, yesterday, I left Richmond around 3:30pm, hoping to make it to Phoenixville, PA, the site of the Bash by like 7:30pm... of course, stupid google maps direction made me take I-95 to I-395... where I got totally lost in the DC area... man, the roads there get so confusing, as does the directions... Anyways, I eventually find my way back on track and when I get to PA, I am thoroughly confused. Now, the directions were surprisingly awesome but the roads here are weird in the sense that a lot of street signs are really hard to see and there would be like two right hand turns (one sharper than the other) so when the directions say to turn right, it's really hard to tell which "right" I'm supposed to go to... having said that, I eventually found my way to the MainStay Inn in Phoenixville, PA where I was staying.

Earlier in the day, my friends, who were trying to decide what to do on a Friday night, were giving me a hard time (good naturedly) about going to a bloggers gathering. One guy asked if we were just gonna stay in our hotel rooms and IM each other with the awesome internet acronyms... LOL, LMAO, WTF, All in, Bad beat!, FU! I thought it was funny.

Well, once I checked in to the hotel, I realized it was way past the time the poker tournament was supposed to start. The poker tournament was at a place that was about 15 minutes away so I was contemplating catching a cab so that I could drink there and not worry about driving back... when I ran into the legendary Bobby Bracelet. We didn't know each other but he heard the lady at the front desk referring to the poker tournament so he asked me if I were here for Al's gathering. Kindly enough, he offered me a ride there which I gratefully accepted.

Once I got to the banquet hall, the tournament was well under way but they still said that I could buy in if I wanted to... strangely enough, even though I am at a poker blogger's gathering, I wasn't in the mood to play in a tournament... actually, I wasn't in much of a mood to play poker. I might be the total opposite of Jordan... live poker is just ok for me... I feel like the game is too slow, it's not like I can get a better read on the players from the way they twitch or anything... I mean the only reads I have on a player always comes from the betting pattern, the size of their bets, etc... which is probably a trait that I have developed over the several hundred thousand hands I've played online. So, in that sense, live poker is too slow for me. Don't get me wrong. There are aspects of live poker I enjoy but it just wasn't high on my list. So, I just bounced from table to table, greeting old friends, putting more faces to the familiar screennames (like Riggs and Vinnay), etc.

I was also giving Jordan a hard time as he was talking into his phone to recap a hand history... saying that you know it's a poker blogger's gathering when someone is trying to recap a hand by either taking notes on the phone or leaving verbal notes on to the phone. It's all in fun though. I do hope to come up with a list of "You know it's a blogger's gathering when..."

It was great to see a lot of people that I've met in the winter gathering. I'm not gonna lie. It's a bit of a bummer that some of the other bloggers that I talk to/drunk text more often (you know who you are) couldn't be here. Whether it's some gay ass birthday trip to San Francisco to meet up with the #1 waffles fan or you just opened a new business or you live in Hawaii, the excuses are rampant. I guess I will just have to wait 2.5 months until the winter gathering. At that point, I am hoping to meet couple of other guys who I talk to/comment on their blog that I haven't met. You also know you who you are.

Oh and one more thing... Despite what Schaubs or Fuel tries to tell you, I am not Ken. I'm kicking both of your asses next time I see you.

Alright I'm out. Drinking commences in less than an hour.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

busy, busy...

I really need to go to bed but I'm gonna get a quick post in. Problem is, my "quick" post is never really quick. There's so much I want to talk about with the economy being what it is and me working in a top 10 bank in the country, I obviously have a lot to say. Political race is heating up, they have the $700B communism package (er, I mean the bail out package), nfl/fantasy football is obviously a fun topic, etc etc. And yet I just haven't had a chance to talk about any of that because I am so busy...

Work has been real good. I was selected to be in the first class of a "rotation program" which would mean starting 1/1, I will be in a new department. This seems to be a pretty big deal with a bunch of people congratulating me for it even though I seem to fail to recognize the significance... or maybe it just hasn't sunk in yet. I know that I am one of the top performing managers in my overall department and I've heard rumors of me being in high demand for some of the departments that's part of this rotation program so that's exciting... I guess... if you get excited by stuff like that. Having said that, there's a perception that I am bailing out on my current group which is definitely not my intent... this was an opportunity too good to pass up but really, doesn't everyone say that. I really hate the perception that I'm bailing but amongst the finance group, our team gets a bad rep in terms of work load... but I'm not gonna complain because I got a lot of compliments/high marks for turning the morale of the team around. I was always good at stuff like that.

So, job is going great which in this economy, it seems like I should be grateful for. But it's keeping me uber busy and so I don't get the chance to post during the day. And now it's past midnight and I need to wake up in 6 hrs so that I could go play ball in the morning. Man... I hate myself every morning.

Seriously though, I have opinions on a lot of things and I want to dump them out here as soon as possible but time has been an issue. Hopefully, I'll get to catch up at some point.

Everyone, have a good weekend. For some of you out there, I guess I will see you at the Bash!!!!!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


So last night was the premiere of Heroes Season 3. I was fairly disappointed with Season 2 and there's MNF on so I debated not watching it but since I don't watch much TV, I figured I should tune into what used to be one of my favorite shows. Don't worry, I am not gonna go into the show and how it was but just giving you a quick glimpse at my mindset going into poker last night.

So, there I am, about to watch Heroes and I decide that I'll need to play some poker to get my 200 points. I started by asking myself, what tables would be best for me to play at if I'm only gonna half ass it and not give it the full attention? Easy. 1-2NL full ring. I could play like a bot, hope to break even and get my 200 points while most of my attention goes to my TV. Sure enough though, suckouts were bound to happen and I drop like couple of buyins early... But, since I wasn't tilting and they were BAD BAD beats which I won't recap, I decided to chase my losses. Next thing I knew, I was up till like midnight chasing my losses. I was down like $400+ and I really wanted to make some of it back up. I got to a point where I was only down a buy-in so I almost quit when I got to this point, thinking I'll post about how bad I've been running.

Note, that the thick line is the actual and the thin line is my $EV. At least I'm getting my money in good. And not tilting. So I figured I'd play few more orbits and call it quits. Good call on my part...


That put me solidly from down a buy in to almost up a buy in. I did end up staying up close to 2am... at least I made back my losses for the session... But come on... look at the graph... I run so bad... waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

Friday, September 19, 2008

Erase 9/18

It's almost as if yesterday didn't happen...

3 tabling .50/1.00 6 max and 1 table of 1-2NL apparently was the secret recipe that the poker gods liked. Plus in hindsight, most of the calls that I got on yesterdays posts are the ones I want... sick beats are the ones I don't want...

Have a good weekend all. I have a friend's wedding to go to tomorrow. I imagine we're gonna get trashed...

The Beats just keep coming (nonpoker)

So I go through my usual morning routine... well, not quite usual because I didn't wake up early enough to go play basketball this morning but I do the usual work routine. I plop myself in my chair, boot up my laptop and the first thing I do? Go to my brokerage site to see what the market is doing. The past few weeks have been super crazy to say the least. Well, I check our company stock and what do you know? It's up 25% from yesterday, 10% above my the weighted dollar cost average of my employee purchase plan shares that I own and yet I can't do a damn thing about it... And believe me, because I put in 15% (max amount allowed) of my paycheck every paycheck into this employee purchase plan (where the employer gives you another 15% on the amount you are contributing), needless to say, I have a lot of eggs in one basket (hey, I'm young enough that if this goes away, it would hurt but it really wouldn't affect me one bit). So, it would be awesome if I can liquidate some of this but no... we are currently in the lockout period so I can't do a damn thing...

And being a CPA AND in the financial reporting department, I would assume that faking ignorance is a bad bad thing... especially since I know that Hugh Duffy, another employee of this fine institution, reads this blog, it would not be good for me to even hint that I would do such a thing. And I obv wouldn't... but man... that's such a bad beat.

This is what it must feel like in prison...

Nothing like losing 10+ buyins in one night. This is freakin awesome. And yes, this is a whine fest of bad beats and set ups. If that's not your thing, then stop reading now. I'm in a foul mood and I'll post whatever the fuck I want to.

Full Tilt p0ker Game #8132310730: Table Reba (deep 6) - $0.50/$1 - No Limit Hold'em - 23:22:58 ET - 2008/09/18
Seat 1: tnrider50 ($209.60)
Seat 2: PHILIVEY9563 ($233.80)
Seat 3: El Feugo ($88.45)
Seat 4: RecessRampage ($131.50)
Seat 5: Scarface0767 ($258.15)
Seat 6: DonKFisH8 ($175.15)
RecessRampage posts the small blind of $0.50
Scarface0767 posts the big blind of $1
The button is in seat #3
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to RecessRampage [Kh Kc]
DonKFisH8 raises to $3.50
tnrider50 folds
PHILIVEY9563 folds
El Feugo folds
RecessRampage raises to $11.50
Scarface0767 folds
DonKFisH8 calls $8
*** FLOP *** [6h 5h 2s]
RecessRampage bets $21
DonKFisH8 raises to $42
RecessRampage raises to $120, and is all in
DonKFisH8 calls $78
RecessRampage shows [Kh Kc]
DonKFisH8 shows [9c 9d]
*** TURN *** [6h 5h 2s] [9h]
*** RIVER *** [6h 5h 2s 9h] [3s]
RecessRampage shows a pair of Kings
DonKFisH8 shows three of a kind, Nines
DonKFisH8 wins the pot ($261) with three of a kind, Nines
RecessRampage adds $100
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot $264 | Rake $3
Board: [6h 5h 2s 9h 3s]
Seat 1: tnrider50 didn't bet (folded)
Seat 2: PHILIVEY9563 didn't bet (folded)
Seat 3: El Feugo (button) didn't bet (folded)
Seat 4: RecessRampage (small blind) showed [Kh Kc] and lost with a pair of Kings
Seat 5: Scarface0767 (big blind) folded before the Flop
Seat 6: DonKFisH8 showed [9c 9d] and won ($261) with three of a kind, Nines

Full Tilt p0ker Game #8132480755: Table Bunn (6 max) - $0.50/$1 - No Limit Hold'em - 23:36:02 ET - 2008/09/18
Seat 1: tony park ($322.55)
Seat 2: joshuaashtondzl ($100)
Seat 3: number143 ($100)
Seat 4: RecessRampage ($128.15)
Seat 5: osemouzel ($146.20)
Seat 6: KR8MONEY ($96)
number143 posts the small blind of $0.50
RecessRampage posts the big blind of $1
The button is in seat #2
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to RecessRampage [As Ah]
osemouzel folds
KR8MONEY folds
tony park folds
joshuaashtondzl raises to $3.50
number143 adds $0.50
number143 folds
RecessRampage raises to $11
joshuaashtondzl raises to $34.50
RecessRampage raises to $128.15, and is all in
joshuaashtondzl calls $65.50, and is all in
RecessRampage shows [As Ah]
joshuaashtondzl shows [Ac Kd]
Uncalled bet of $28.15 returned to RecessRampage
*** FLOP *** [Jd Qc 4d]
*** TURN *** [Jd Qc 4d] [5d]
*** RIVER *** [Jd Qc 4d 5d] [Td]RecessRampage shows a pair of Aces
joshuaashtondzl shows a flush, King high
joshuaashtondzl wins the pot ($197.50) with a flush, King high
RecessRampage adds $71.85
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot $200.50 | Rake $3
Board: [Jd Qc 4d 5d Td]
Seat 1: tony park didn't bet (folded)
Seat 2: joshuaashtondzl (button) showed [Ac Kd] and won ($197.50) with a flush, King high
Seat 3: number143 (small blind) folded before the Flop
Seat 4: RecessRampage (big blind) showed [As Ah] and lost with a pair of Aces
Seat 5: osemouzel didn't bet (folded)
Seat 6: KR8MONEY didn't bet (folded)

This against a guy who's RR% is 10...

Full Tilt p0ker Game #8133123110: Table Jerry (6 max) - $0.50/$1 - No Limit Hold'em - 0:29:26 ET - 2008/09/19
Seat 1: tylercow ($110.85)
Seat 2: Amped Monkey ($124)
Seat 3: powermihau ($170.20)
Seat 4: The Lion ($102.95)
Seat 5: RecessRampage ($114)
Seat 6: Bear10 ($120.35)
tylercow posts the small blind of $0.50
Amped Monkey posts the big blind of $1
The button is in seat #6
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to RecessRampage [As Ks]
powermihau raises to $3.50
The Lion folds
RecessRampage calls $3.50
Bear10 calls $3.50
tylercow has 15 seconds left to act
tylercow raises to $14
Amped Monkey folds
powermihau folds
RecessRampage raises to $50
Bear10 folds
tylercow has 15 seconds left to act
tylercow raises to $110.85, and is all in
RecessRampage calls $60.85
tylercow shows [Kd Kc]
RecessRampage shows [As Ks]
*** FLOP *** [8c 2s Qd]
*** TURN *** [8c 2s Qd] [3d]
*** RIVER *** [8c 2s Qd 3d] [Ts]
tylercow shows a pair of Kings
RecessRampage shows Ace King high
tylercow wins the pot ($226.70) with a pair of Kings
RecessRampage adds $96.85
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot $229.70 | Rake $3
Board: [8c 2s Qd 3d Ts]
Seat 1: tylercow (small blind) showed [Kd Kc] and won ($226.70) with a pair of Kings
Seat 2: Amped Monkey (big blind) folded before the Flop
Seat 3: powermihau folded before the Flop
Seat 4: The Lion didn't bet (folded)
Seat 5: RecessRampage showed [As Ks] and lost with Ace King high
Seat 6: Bear10 (button) folded before the Flop

Full Tilt p0ker Game #8133202577: Table Bunn (6 max) - $0.50/$1 - No Limit Hold'em - 0:36:28 ET - 2008/09/19
Seat 1: Dental Donkey ($124.60)
Seat 4: RecessRampage ($147.60)
Seat 5: sharkflush ($63)
RecessRampage posts the small blind of $0.50
sharkflush posts the big blind of $1
The button is in seat #1
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to RecessRampage [Jd Ac]
Dental Donkey folds
RecessRampage raises to $3
sharkflush calls $2
*** FLOP *** [6c Ts 6s]
Dental Donkey is sitting out
RecessRampage checks
sharkflush checks
*** TURN *** [6c Ts 6s] [Js]
RecessRampage bets $6
sharkflush calls $6
*** RIVER *** [6c Ts 6s Js] [Jh]
RecessRampage bets $138.60, and is all in
sharkflush calls $54, and is all in
Uncalled bet of $84.60 returned to RecessRampage
*** SHOW DOWN ***
RecessRampage shows [Jd Ac] a full house, Jacks full of Sixes
sharkflush shows [6h 6d] four of a kind, Sixes
sharkflush wins the pot ($125) with four of a kind, Sixes
RecessRampage adds $15.40
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot $126 | Rake $1
Board: [6c Ts 6s Js Jh]
Seat 1: Dental Donkey (button) didn't bet (folded)
Seat 4: RecessRampage (small blind) showed [Jd Ac] and lost with a full house, Jacks full of Sixes
Seat 5: sharkflush (big blind) showed [6h 6d] and won ($125) with four of a kind, Sixes

Full Tilt p0ker Game #8133334772: Table Bunn (6 max) - $0.50/$1 - No Limit Hold'em - 0:48:40 ET - 2008/09/19
Seat 1: Dental Donkey ($135.75)
Seat 4: RecessRampage ($113.15)
Seat 6: walako ($35.90)
walako posts the small blind of $0.50
Dental Donkey posts the big blind of $1
The button is in seat #4
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to RecessRampage [Ah Ad]
RecessRampage raises to $3.50
walako raises to $6
Dental Donkey has 15 seconds left to act
Dental Donkey folds
RecessRampage raises to $113.15, and is all in
walako calls $29.90, and is all in
RecessRampage shows [Ah Ad]
walako shows [9d 8d]
Uncalled bet of $77.25 returned to RecessRampage
*** FLOP *** [Tc 9s 9c]
*** TURN *** [Tc 9s 9c] [5d]
*** RIVER *** [Tc 9s 9c 5d] [6c]
RecessRampage shows two pair, Aces and Nines
walako shows three of a kind, Nines
walako wins the pot ($71.80) with three of a kind, Nines
RecessRampage adds $22.75
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot $72.80 | Rake $1
Board: [Tc 9s 9c 5d 6c]
Seat 1: Dental Donkey (big blind) folded before the Flop
Seat 4: RecessRampage (button) showed [Ah Ad] and lost with two pair, Aces and Nines
Seat 6: walako (small blind) showed [9d 8d] and won ($71.80) with three of a kind, Nines

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


Have you guys ever seen a wait list like this?

Playing your opponent's hands

Last night was an interesting night. I was gonna play until I got my daily 200 points but then the fulltilt website was not working so it doesn't show me how many points I have... so, not knowing how many points I had for the day, I just kept playing, just to be on the safe side (in the end, I ended up with 360 points by the time the website was back up). I say interesting because I was on the bad end of a set up quite a few times... but sucked out on almost every single one of them. On my HEM, I believe my $EV was like -$36 but I ended up with +$360. I felt so dirty...

Well, in order to continue with my attempt to watch more vids, I watched a 2-4NL 6 max vid on DeucesCracked by Whitelime... and then I realized why I wasn't making much money there. Watching his play was... jaw dropping to say the least... After watching this vid, I am now convinced... if you are serious about wanting to get better, watching the pros play is a must. I am probably way late on the bandwagon (after all, I never joined CardRunners) but I am now realizing how crazy awesome some of these vids are. It's gonna take time for me to soak in everything that happened on that one hour vid but this hand illustrates the thought process that whitelime has and he uses it to exploit his opponents.

Basically, we all know that we should always be thinking in terms of what the opponent has. And I generally do... the problem is, I don't necessarily think in terms of "if I'm the opponent and I have a range of x, what hands within that range would I be able to do this with?" What do I mean? Let me illustrate:

From the DeucesCracked vid: Lime-Aid Part Deux (episode 1)

6 max 2-4NL deep stack
Whitelime has the villain (who has 200BBs) covered. The villain is a familiar name if any of you play 2-4NL. I'm not saying the villain is really good or anything (though, he is a solid player, I think) but the villain is definitely a regular.

Whitelime to this point was very active. And once again, on the button, he raises with 84s. Villain calls from the SB, BB folds. Heads up pot.

Flop K-J-6 rainbow.

Whitelime cbets and gets checkraised by the SB. At this point, I know that I would instamuck. I mean I was bluffing, I was caught and I am done. But this is why he makes the vids while I watch in awe...

He repops him.

Let me recap this. When the flop comes, the pot is $30. Whitelime bets approx $24 (I think) and gets checkraised to like $90). Keep in mind they both start with $800+. Whitelime, as he discusses his thoughts on the vid, then elects to repop to like $280 or something where basically, the only move that is available for the SB is shove or fold... shove and play a $1600 pot or fold.

And this was his reasoning. On a board like KJ6r, there are only two hands out of the whole range of hands that the villain has where he can shove. 66 or KJ. Why only two? Well, his thought was that KK or JJ would have repopped him preflop. So, with no reraise, the only two hands here that the villain could credibly have is 66 or KJ. The villain again is a fairly solid player so K6 or J6 would not be in his calling range preflop. In a spot like this, whitelime knows that it would be incredibly tough for the villain to 4 bet shove here on the flop and think he has any fold equity so it would be a bad play by him to do it with an OESD. So, basically, the opponent's range is extremely limited on what he can shove with which is why whitelime decided to put him to the test there. Sure enough, the villain folds and whitelime takes down a good sized pot with 84s.

Again, this is where his thought process clearly incorporates playing the opponent's hand. Let's say the opponent has KQ (even though I would think even KQ would have repopped him pre). Or QJ. He checkraises, thinking his top pair is good against a loose button raiser. Except all of a sudden, you're 3 bet on the flop when you already announced that you have at least top pair. That has got to be extremely scary and the question is, are you willing to risk your entire stack with KQ? You have to think that if you call here, if a blank falls, you're gonna be put to the test for your entire stack on the turn. Can you take that pressure? And again, keep in mind, this is 200BBs. Getting stacked with top pair that deep is just very unprofitable in the long run.

Talk about reading the flop texture and the opponent's hands... and this is just one example. Very sick.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Is QT > T9?

I'm not gonna lie. The past few months on the poker front has been brutal for me. It's not so much that I'm losing money as it is more that I'm not making money... uh oh, do I sound like the well known "breakeven" player? Hell, he's probably better off... I mean he's got ad revenues and rake back. I got neither. 2-4NL 6 max has been brutal and there would be days I would make a killing... and then there are days I would lose like 5 buy-ins... that's a lot of money... Couple that with the fact that my entire work paycheck is still going straight to savings/stock market (ie, gone) and I'm using my poker fund to pay for my daily expenses, my account balance is a lot lower than where it was last year. In an effort to turn that around, I decided to start watching some videos on DeucesCracked.com and also, I started playing a lot more 1-2NL FR games instead of 6 max games where I just knew that the additional hands I'm playing was not making up for the difference in the edge that I'm giving up. And then I remembered how ridiculously soft 1-2NL FR games are... especially since the aggro level at 2-4NL 6 max is fresh in my memory.

I think it was Don that pointed this out but these days, the blogs are definitely low on strategy posts... well, it may be that it's not... I currently show 600+ in unread posts so I guess there's a good chance that there are some out there that I'm not seeing... I'll catch up to them though... But anyways, I'm hopefully gonna be back to posting some more strategy posts or at least poker thought posts since I've been getting away from them for some time.

So, last night, I watched Late Night Coaching series on DeucesCracked and the first vid I decided to watch was a 5 star rated vid of a 6 max NL game, coached by Chaostracized. Even though there were a few interesting concepts in it, it was very very elementary for me. I did post something to that effect in the forums there and I was pleasantly surprised when Joe Tall (founder of DeucesCracked) responded to my post with another recommendation. So, I decided to give that a shot as well. It was the Late Night Coaching series by DogIsHead. Once again, it was pretty elementary even though this one did a little bit more of a deep dive into some strategies. After I posted another comment in the forums, I did discover that the Late Night Coaching series is catered for more of an amateur + crowd who is still trying to grasp some concepts and the vids try to answer the questions that maybe some people might be afraid to ask. Let me clarify one point. The vids are great. The concepts covered was not as interesting or new to me as I wanted but that's not a knock on the quality of the analysis or the questions addressed so if any of you are playing .50/1.00 NL or lower (6max) and you want to learn to kill it, I think these vids will be a tremendous help.

Nonetheless, I take all vids seriously so one thing I was interested in was a discussion about QTs. There was a hand where a MP taggish player put in a standard 3.5x raise and the hero (the one that is being coached by DogIsHead) called with QTs. Joe Tall who is also part of the vid discussion asked if he would rather be calling here with a hand like T9s instead of QTs and DogIsHead thought about it, talked about it, and basically concluded that QTs is almost always better than T9s in that instance.

This stuck with me because I can't seem to get it out of my head. My thought (as Joe also described) is this... QTs shares so much more in terms of the hands that you are beaten. In other words, if you hit a Q, what do you do? In other words, I feel like a hand like QTs is worse than T9s against a tag because it's more likely to be dominated. Of course, if you hit your Q, then you beat a hand like JJ or TT which are two more hands that would be beating you if you only had T9. But when you hit your Q, do you call a double barrel? Do you raise the flop? If you raise the flop and you get called, what do you do? I just feel like QT puts you in a far worse spot than T9 is... but maybe that's more indicative of my lack of post flop play. I really don't know. In the example, the hero hits the Q but gets stacked off and the initial raiser has AQ. And I feel like you're more likely to run into situations like that with a hand like QT. Anyone disagree? What am I missing?

I'm gonna write this out to see. Let's say a TAG's MP raising range is any pair, AK, AQ, AJ, maybe ATs, KQ, KJ, QJ, JTs. I think that's fairly normal for a normal TAG's MP range in 6 max. Maybe a little too tight? I don't know. But let's say that's the range. If you have QT, if you hit your Q, you are behind AA-QQ, AQ, KQ, QJ. That's a lot of the range. If you hit the ten (either QT or T9), you are behind AA-TT and the maybe ATs. Of course, you are ahead against JTs with QT but not with T9. But besides that, it's easy to get away from. So the fact that it beats out two more pairs in the raising TAG's range is enough to make QT better than T9? I'm not so sure. What are everyone else's thoughts? Are middle connectors easier to play in position rather than the two broadway one-gappers?

I'm gonna have to think through this one some more. I just wanted to get it down on virtual paper.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

To cbet or not to cbet

If you're the preflop raiser, I am assuming that your initial inclination would be to cbet. If it's not, it definitely should be. However, the question is, how often? The answer is somewhere between all the time to once in a while. The problem with cbetting too often is that these days, a lot of players are starting to play back or float the cbets because so many players do it too often. So, cbetting requires further understanding of the texture of the flop. For example, if you raise preflop with 77 from MP and there are two callers behind you, it's probably not a good idea to bet when the flop comes A-Q-9. Maybe it is, depending on the opponent but given no other information, betting on that flop in this situation I think is a leak because more often than not, the board is likely to have hit one of your opponents.

One school of thought is that if you don't bet, how do you find out where you stand? This is the frequently mentioned "betting for information." And in general, betting for information is a leak. A fellow blogger mentioned that betting for information is worthless because the information obtained is never worth the price you pay to find out. I agree with this statement more and more. Having said that, I'm not advocating that you cbet only when you hit your hand. The idea is you have to understand the texture of the flop and the likelihood of your opponent hitting the board in order to make it profitable. So in other words, in the above example, if I raised with 77 and the board came A-Q-7, I would cbet 100% of the time. If someone is calling a raise, it's very likely that they hit the piece of the board. So, it's very profitable to play it that way. Again, if your thought is that if the opponent is paying attention, they might fold their ace. Perhaps, but keep in mind, you're not just betting when you hit. You're just being a little more selective on when to cbet and when not to.

Another example of when it would be more profitable not to cbet is if you have a big pocket pair but a higher card shows up. You know, your typical raise with KK from the CO, one of the blinds call and the flop comes out A high rainbow. I mean that happens like 80% of the time right? It sure seems like it doesn't it? I know that in the past, if it got checked to me, I would cbet. Sometimes I would take it down, sometimes I wouldn't. The thing is, this is a big leak. Why? Because you're turning your big hand into a big bluff. If you have position, there's no problem checking behind. At that point, you're not trying to hit the K. You're actually enticing the opponent to bet into you. In other words if you cbet on that board with your hand, you don't stand to make a lot of money. You're betting for information and that is it. If you check, then on the later streets, it becomes more likely that the opponent will try to steal this pot away from you. In other words, you go from only winning a small pot when you have the better hand to possibly increasing the pot because the opponent's range will include more hands rather than just the A. Plus, by not cbetting the flop, you keep the pot small so you're saving yourself money on the flop to call the bets on the later streets.

Here are some HHs that I thought I could use to illustrate my thought process on cbetting.

Hand 1: 1-2NL Full ring - both players involved have a full buy-in

*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to RecessRampage [6h 6s]
4 folds
RecessRampage raises to $7 from MP
3 folds
BB calls $5

*** FLOP *** [Ts 8d Ad]
BB checks
RecessRampage bets $10
BB raises to $34
RecessRampage folds
Uncalled bet of $24 returned to BB
BB wins the pot ($33.25)

Even though this contradicts what I said earlier about having a middle pocket pair and not betting out, this is a little different. I have position and since it was checked to me, I felt that the bet here is a must. With 66, you can only win if you bet here. The board is too draw heavy that I felt I will bet out once and try to take it down. Once I get checkraised, I'm obviously done with the hand.

Hand 2: 1-2NL 6 max
both players involved have full stacks

*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to RecessRampage [Ac Jc]
4 folds
RecessRampage raises to $6 from the SB
BB calls $4

*** FLOP *** [4d Td 4s]
RecessRampage checks
BB checks

*** TURN *** [4d Td 4s] [Ts]
RecessRampage checks
BB bets $4
RecessRampage calls $4

*** RIVER *** [4d Td 4s Ts] [6d]
RecessRampage checks
BB checks
*** SHOW DOWN ***
BB shows [Js Qd] two pair, Tens and Fours
RecessRampage shows [Ac Jc] two pair, Tens and Fours
RecessRampage wins the pot ($19) with two pair, Tens and Fours

This was an instance where in a blind v blind battle, I like my hand. And, even after the flop, I like my hand. Ace high is a decent hand in a xxy flop so here, I figured I would let the opponent take control of the pot. Of course, I only got one bluff out of him but again, if I cbet here, if the opponent is good, he could raise, knowing that it's very unlikely that I hit the ten and steal the pot away. Or, he can fold and either one would be ok for the opponent since they both could be argued that it's the right play. So, instead, I tried to give him the rope so he can hang himself. Of course, there are times the opponent shows up with a ten here but you can't fear the less likely instances IMO.

Hand 3: 5-10NL Full ring
RecessRampage ($1,230)
Villain ($505.70)

*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to RecessRampage [6s 6h]
4 folds
Villain calls $10
RecessRampage raises to $45
3 folds
Villain calls $35

*** FLOP *** [3d Tc 9h]
Villain checks
RecessRampage bets $80
Villain raises to $345
RecessRampage has 15 seconds left to act
RecessRampage folds
Uncalled bet of $265 returned to Villain
Villain wins the pot ($262)

This is an instance where I hate my cbet. Since I have position, I am now thinking that maybe I should have just peeled another card to see if a card that would benefit me more would show up. In other words, I want to see an A high flop whenever there is a limper ahead of me and I raise preflop. It's easier to rep the A. On a board like this with a bunch of middle cards, it's more likely to hit my opponent who limped then called my raise.

Hand 4: 5-10NL Full Ring

RecessRampage ($1,231)
Villain 1 ($1,000)
Villain 2 ($1,078)

*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to RecessRampage [Ac Qd]
RecessRampage raises to $35 from UTG
2 folds
Villain 1 calls $35
1 fold
Villain 2 calls $30 from SB
BB folds

*** FLOP *** [4h Qs Qc]
Villain 2 checks
RecessRampage bets $70
Villain 1 folds
Villain 2 has 15 seconds left to act
Villain 2 raises to $210
RecessRampage has 15 seconds left to act
RecessRampage has requested TIME
RecessRampage raises to $520
Villain 2 has 15 seconds left to act
Villain 2 has requested TIME
Villain 2 raises to $1,043, and is all in
RecessRampage calls $523
Villain 2 shows [4d 4s]
RecessRampage shows [Ac Qd]

*** TURN *** [4h Qs Qc] [5s]
*** RIVER *** [4h Qs Qc 5s] [8c]
Villain 2 shows a full house, Fours full of Queens
RecessRampage shows three of a kind, Queens
Villain 2 wins the pot ($2,198) with a full house, Fours full of Queens

I'm not gonna lie... that one hurt. The reason I cbet on this flop is because with two players, I felt that one or both of them could have a pocket pair. On a xxy board, at this level, I thought a middle pocket pair might fight me for this pot so I went ahead and put in what looks like a normal cbet. The big blind almost on cue checkraises me. So I thought about my options here to determine what the best way to make money is. I can call and see if he fires out another bet or I can put in another raise here to see if the BB would overplay his pocket pair. And you know that saying (I don't know the exact quote) where on a xxy board, the 3rd bet is almost never a monster? Well, I figured I'll play along with that quote and put in a 3rd bet on the flop. Of course, after that, when he shoved, I did not like it because I felt that he might have 44. However, folding there would obviously be a mistake since he can easily have KQ or something like that and 44 would be the ONLY hand that beats me. Sure enough, that's what he has and I lose a big pot. But I like the cbet here because it balances out my range in terms of when I cbet, I can be doing it with a complete whiff or I will still cbet with a monster. It would be hard for my opponents to narrow down my range when I cbet.

This post got a lot longer than I intended... I have some more hands but I think this post is long enough so I'll stop here for now. Good luck at the tables!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Checking the turn and calling the river with an overpair

I am in training all week so I don't have any internet access (well, I do but very limited opportunity to be online) and as such, I won't be able to post much... though admittedly, recently, I haven't really been posting much. I've been pretty busy during the day at work and that was usually when I used to blog so hence the decline... It is great that the football season is back... and I mean, how bout them ECU Pirates!? Funny thing is, on Saturday, when I woke up around 11:30am, I thought about actually driving down to Greenville... but then again, I thought, with the hurricane and stuff, I won't bother... too bad cuz I coulda seen them punk WVU live. Pat Who!? I love it. I mean the mountaineers were pwned. And now, ECU is ranked #14. First time that they're in the top 25 since the David Garrard era. That win against WVU was almost as big as the win against Miami back in 1999... I will say the only difference is that in 1999, the game was actually held at NC State because Hurricane Floyd (or Fran... I can't remember) flooded the campus. To say that that was a memorable win is an understatement... anyways... I feel like I need to post some poker related stuff... after all, this is supposed to be a poker blog... I just haven't had a chance to really sit down and think about what to post and such.

So, following is a situation which I thought might illustrate situations where it's probably a good idea not to go too crazy with an overpair.

1-2NL Full Ring
Relevant stacks:

Seat 3: RecessRampage ($245.05)
Seat 8: UTG ($166.80)
Seat 9: UTG+1 ($220.05)

*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to RecessRampage [Qh Qd]
UTG calls $2
UTG+1 calls $2
2 folds
RecessRampage raises to $11 from MP
4 folds
UTG calls $9
UTG+1 calls $9

*** FLOP *** [5s Jd 8h]
UTG checks
UTG+1 checks
RecessRampage bets $25
UTG has 15 seconds left to act
UTG calls $25
UTG+1 folds

So here, pretty standard. I have an overpair, the flop is jack high so I cbet. I get one caller from the UTG who limp called the raise preflop. At this point, I'm putting him on a hand like middle pair, maybe a J, possibly a straight draw and maybe a set.

*** TURN *** [5s Jd 8h] [Kh]
UTG checks
RecessRampage checks

When the K came, I actually wasn't too worried about him hitting a king. I mean there's really only one hand that he could have here that would make sense for him to have a K and that is KJ. Admittedly, above, I mentioned that he could have a straight draw but during the hand, I think I actually felt that he was more likely to have a pocket pair than he would have a straight draw like T9 or 67. I don't really know why, it was kind of a feeling that I had where I felt that this player was more likely to limp/call a raise pre with a pocket pair rather than a connector. Based on that read, I decided that checking here would be ok. With the K hitting, if I bet, I felt that all worse hands would fold (except maybe JT or something, which is only a part of his hand range which includes any pocket pair) and I could be put in an awkward spot if I get checkraised. So, I decided to check behind.

*** RIVER *** [5s Jd 8h Kh] [7d]
UTG has 15 seconds left to act
UTG bets $50
RecessRampage has 15 seconds left to act
RecessRampage calls $50

On the river, I'm not gonna lie. I actually hated that card since it hits another pocket pair that I thought he could have. It also completes a straight draw even though I felt that that was less likely. I really felt that on the flop, it was likely that he either had a set or a middle pair. 7 is right around the spot that would hit also though, if he did float me on the flop with middle pair and the fact that he's betting out the river indicates that he has a hand. The thing is, in this instance, the way I played it, I would have to pretty much call every single time because my hand is so underrepresented. However, this board is actually getting crappier and crappier for my hand so maybe there's a case to be made for folding. But based on the way I played this, there's no way for my opponent to think that I would have an overpair. So, considering that, I made the call. The more and more I think about this hand, I'm just not sure if in the long run I'm losing value here or on the turn.

In this hand though, it turns out I saved some money... of course, that's just results oriented thinking...

*** SHOW DOWN ***
UTG shows [Jc Jh] three of a kind, Jacks
RecessRampage mucks
UTG wins the pot ($183) with three of a kind, Jacks
RecessRampage adds $40.95

Of course, jacks was not a hand that I thought he could have. How he doesn't raise with jacks from UTG is beyond me but, to each their own.

Would you have played it differently? (I'm assuming a lot of you would) Any feedback would be appreciated. Have a nice week. It's very unlikely that I will post anything until the weekend.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Slingblade is my hero...

minus the whole "into cartoons and figurines" part...

What am I talking about?

If you fall into any one of the following categories, you must read the book called "I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell":

a) you have gotten drunk in the past and considered it a good time
b) you have gotten drunk in the past and you don't remember shit
c) you have gotten drunk in the past and you regretted your decision to drink so much the next morning, only to repeat that same process the following night
d) you woke up glad that you are still alive after a night of drunken out-of-controlness
e) you don't have time to read because you're too busy doing another shot of soco

Ok, I'll be honest. I have not read the whole book yet. But oh my god... so far, I am laughing my ass off as I'm reading this book. To say that I can relate is an understatement. If you go to amazon, you can read most of the first chapter "The famous sushi pants story" as he recounts his night where he gets progressively drunk. The part where his description of the two chicks from Long Island changes from "two 30+ year old Jewish women with fake breasts... she is highly not attractive" to "hot girl #2" after few more orders of double vodka is just hilarious. Seriously, go read on Amazon to get a taste of it. I can't do it justice. Again, only if you fall under the above categories... if not, you probably just won't get it.

So far, my favorite quote is "it only takes me one drink to get me wasted. The problem is, I don't know if it's the 13th or the 14th drink."

Cheers to that.

Anyways, he introduces one of his friends in this book as "Slingblade." This guy is like one of those guys who is very highly intellectual (not in a geeky way) but socially challenged... where he basically refuses to accept the social norm and kinda protects himself from being hurt by being extremely unapproachable to women. The author recounts numerous occasions where Slingblade plays wingman except after a few minutes, he gets bored with the girl he's talking to and so he basically becomes very condescending and sarcastic. Since these are tales from college days or a year or two after college, they are typically hitting on younger girls who also happen to be not so bright. Apparently, he became this way after this girl he was totally in love with cheated on him and ever since then, he was incapable of having a meaningful relationship with a woman. The author describes Slingblade's attitude towards women like this:

You know that saying, "Any club that would let me be a member, I wouldn't want to join?" Slingblade assumed that any girl that he liked enough to want to fuck, wouldn't want to fuck him. But any girl who did want to fuck him without first knowing him and respecting him, he automatically thought was a whore... and he refused to sleep with a girl he regarded as a whore. This absurd Catch-22 pretty much guaranteed that Slingblade got no ass. Add in his low tolerance for stupidity and his utter disdain for whorish female behavior, combine it with the fact that many of the girls I hit on fit right into the dumb or slutty categories that he hated and you have a recipe for hilarity.

Seriously, I can totally relate to that statement. I was always a guy that would do "everything but..." For a guy who loves to drink and party and flirt with women, I was never one to sleep around... of course, one can argue that I don't have as many opportunities... couple that with the fact that I get so drunk I can't even see straight might also have something to do with that... but even when I would get a girl in bed, we would pretty much do everything but... I remember showing a text message from this girl... her direct quote on my text was "wish u hadn't left. waking up together wouldn't have been bad..." Of course, my buddy asked what I did after I got that text. I told him I just ignored it, kept driving home and slept in my own bed. He mentioned that if I need someone to close the deal for me, I could call him. And he would. He's definitely a closer. I, on the other hand, pretty much never talked to her after that. Believe me, that wasn't really what got me turned off... I don't know, maybe I'm more interested in the chase. The moment I know that the girl wants me, I become totally uninterested... it's the girls that blow me off that totally turns me on... god, I am sick...

There was another girl that I met in a diner. She was older... like mid 30s maybe? She wanted me. After a couple of dates and a few makeout sessions, I pretty much ended it. It just wasn't doing it for me. She sent me numerous texts asking me why I no longer wanted to see her. I gave her this bullshit story about how I'm moving so I didn't want to get into a relationship... at which point, she responds that she doesn't care and that she wanted to continue seeing me. I believe my text message to her was "I'm sorry." Then one day, out of the blue, I get a drunk text from her. Funny thing is, I had no idea who it was because I deleted her from my contacts list. Eventually, after a few texts back and forth, I figured it out... well, I asked... However, I found out that she is now seeing someone... and all of a sudden, my interest in her was revived... at least only when I'm drunk. Realizing how bad that was, I deleted her from my contacts... again...

Funny thing is, the girl is pretty hot... she's just not quite my type I guess. I don't know why but I need to be intellectually stimulated or else I'm just not sexually attracted... Which is probably why I can relate to Slingblade... Who knew that there were other sickos like me out there. Maybe there's hope for a guy like me...

and for the record, for those of you that read the book, I do not sleep in Batman sheets or wear Superman t-shirts...

Wow, this is surprisingly personal... seriously, I'm an open book...

Hope everyone had a nice Labor Day weekend!!!!