Life Shouldn't Be A Fuckin' Grind

I will never be a poker pro, but my lifetime poker ledger is positive and I think that's something to be proud of.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Putting Things in Perspective

After a tough day of poker on Tuesday in cash games and my rough beat in the 8k guarantee I went down to Winchester KY on Wednesday and played a couple of NL SnGs with friends. In the first I played well and was doing pretty well until I flopped top with 84o out of the BB, I bet it and got a call from the tightest player at the table who was in the SB...the board was 865 with 2 clubs, I believe...I put him on an 8 or a flush draw. The turn was another 8 giving me trips and he checked and I bet out almost the size of the pot, he thought for a while and called and put him on a flush draw. The river was another club and I feared the worst. He checked, and I checked behind figuring that there weren't very many hands in his range I could safely value bet against; he flipped over the 9c7c and took down a big pot. From there I didn't play too badly, but the blinds were getting big and I was forced to move in from the button with J9o, I got called by A9 and was done.

In the 2nd game I won a huge race early with JJ against AK and had a pretty formidable chiplead 3-handed, then I completely blew it. I raised on the button with 33 and the BB re-raised small, I pulled a Matusow blow up and moved in (a huge overbet of the pot) and he of course called me with TT and pwned the hell out of my 2 threes. It was a horrendously played hand and I never recovered. It was at that moment that I realized that poker definitely was not going my way. Not only was I not running very well overall, I was also making egregious errors at key moments. So, I haven't played at all since Wednesday night.

Tonight I was watching this week's WPT episode on my DVR and things really got put into perspective for me. I saw J.C. Tran lose to a 1-outer on the river that literally could have cost him as much as $2M in real money and I realized how insignificant my beat that cost me as much as $2k really was. Bad beats happen at all levels and it really is how we take them that defines us as players. A great player will get up off the mat after a terrible beat and get back into the ring slugging, and that's what I need to do. I took a really bad beat in a tournament on Tuesday night; it may have effected my frame of mind when I was playing the home game on Wednesday, but at any rate I made a huge mistake in that game. That's ok, it happens...I can't be perfect all of the time. I need to get back into the ring and start slugging. I need to persevere at 3/6 6-max. 8k hands is insignificant in 6-max when it comes to variance. I need to find some way to forget about my winrate and concentrate on making good decisions and check back when I've reached like 20k hands and see where I am then. If I'm still only winning marginally, then maybe it will be time to really re-evaluate my skill level, but until then I need to keep on grinding and just keep trying to make good decisions. I need to spend some time after my sessions evaluating some of the hands that I do poorly on and I need to learn from my mistakes, but most of all I need to NEVER give up. I'll play again the next chance that I get and I'll concentrate on nothing but making the best decisions I can.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

I'm on Tilt!

Fuck Kentucky! Stupid-ass moronic liquor laws; I can't even go by beer when I want to drink away a bad beat. Fuck that man! Fuck it!

After cooling down a little bit, I still feel the need to write about things. At the risk of sounding a bit like theredpill here...I don't know what I did to piss off the poker gods, but they sure seem to have it in for me right now. I'm in the midst of a prolonged downswing at 3/6 6-max that has me doubting whether I'm really capable of beating the game. I can call it a bad run or cards as much as I want, but I'm probably making some mistakes too, at any rate, it's really hard on your confidence to be in a two and a half week and almost 6k hand slump. I seem to have no idea how to win anymore. My draws are rarely coming in, I'm not getting paid off on my big hands, I'm going in as the favorite and losing to garbage and paying it off. I'm constantly making 2nd best hands that I end up taking to showdown for too many bets. It's frustrating as hell and after a tough 3/6 session tonight I decided to take a shot at 5/10. Basically, I'd been running so bad at 3/6 I felt like gambling and wanted a change of pace. I played 230 hands one-tabling in a little over 2 hours and I played pretty damn well. I was down early thanks to losing with KK on my very first hand, but I fought my way back and made it up to around $400 (I bought in for $300). Then, I lost a couple hands, then went all the way back to even when I bet unimproved AK all the way after an EP poster had raised first in and I'd 3-bet. The poster called me down and won with K5o having hit a 5 on the turn. That sucked pretty hard, but I didn't really tilt. Then, I picked up AA and got beat down by KQo flopping 2 pair, and turning a full house. After that I lost a bit more and ended the session down $130. I still do feel pretty good about the way I played overall, but that was pretty tought to stomach.

I did have one thing still going for me when I quit the 5/10 session. I was in the money and playing well in the $8k guarantee on FullTilt. I played a great tournament mostly picking up chips without having to showdown or play past the flop and I got down to the last couple tables with about an average stack. I continued to play well and won a race, then with 10 left I was in about 4th. There were 6 at our table I was 2nd to act and raised with ATo to 6k (blinds were 1200/2400, 300 ante), the massive stack in the SB called me and we took a flop heads-up of T62 with 2 clubs. He bet out the size of the pot and I moved in (he'd been playing loose/aggro and I was certain TPTK was the best hand here). He flipped over KdTd and I looked like I was in great shape. Then, the unthinkable happened. The turn was a K and my tourney was over. I finished in 10th place and cashed $123. First place paid out $2600 and I'd have had the chiplead with 124k if I'd won that pot. One of the most frustrating poker experiences of my life.

Then, to put me even more on tilt, I went to buy beer so I could drown my sorrows only to find out that I can't buy it in Ky after hours. Actually, it may be like that most everywhere, I have no clue, but that's absolute bullshit regardless.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

A Couple Quick Thoughts on Progress

I took a look back today at some of my posts from when I first started this blog, and first let me say that I've come a long way as a player and in how I think about poker. But, the important thing to this post is some of the goals I'd set for myself back then. At first glance it would seem that I haven't progressed as far as I had hoped to and in some ways that is the case. It's just about summer and if I were still in school I wouldn't be ready to support myself with poker over the summer as was one of my original goals. In the 10 months or so since I started the blog I've only made it to 3/6 six-max, which doesn't seem like that far, however I do think that I've grown a ton in those 10 months and a couple of major things have kept me from progressing farther in limits.

First is the fact that I've had to cashout quite a bit more than I would have liked to over the past 10 months. If I hadn't had to make all those cashouts I would definitely have the bankroll for 5/10 six-max at this point. Second, I've had a few minor setbacks in playing as much as I should to reach my goals. When I dropped out of law school I had to get a job and working 40 hours a week definitely can cut into your poker time. Then, I realized that Party full-ring was drying up and I really needed to get to where I could beat six-max if I was going to a) make and money and b) be able to move up at some point to higher and higher levels. So, two months ago I bascially started completely over at 2/4 6-max. In that time I've logged 11k hands. In May alone I've logged 5.5k hands, though that number is a bit deceptive since I was 3-tabling and maybe wasn't quite ready for it. But, the bottom line is that I've played a decent number of hands already and I basically started over a couple months ago. If I can keep winning I believe I can log 50k hands in the next 6-8 months and get to a level where I'm beating 5/10 6-max consistently. That has the potential to be fairly lucrative and I believe that 10/20 within 1 full year of playing 6-max is definitely attainable.

In short, I think that progress goals have to be dynamic and almost constantly changing. My goals from last July are no longer really relevant, but my goals from today are. I CAN reach a point within the NEXT 10 months where it makes sense for me to consider going pro. I'm capable of doing that; IF that is I continue to play SH Limit Hold'em. If decide instead to take up a new game like O8 in a few months (once I'm beating 5/10 SH) then my progress goals will have to change again. That is the true nature of poker.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

A Break and a New Vice

Tonight I went out to Grand Victoria Casino for some live poker action. I played 5/10 for about 3 hours and never really managed to get my head in the game the way I needed to. The very first hand I posted and was dealt KsJs, instead of raising like I should have I just checked and saw a flop of Jd7x4d, the BB bet, I raised and we ended up heads-up on the turn which was an 8. He grabbed 2 chips like he was gonna bet, then checked to me. If I'd been properly in the game I would have seen this as a sign that he really like his hand and maybe checked behind with just top pair. Instead, I bet and was immediately raised. I called and the river came the Ad. Thankfully, he checked again and I immediately checked behind, and he showed down T9o for the turned gutshot. UGH, great way to start right? Well, after getting stuck there I did manage to get ahead when I made a straight with KQo, won with Q8s (pair of 8's on the flop held up) and won about the absolute minimum from a pair of Queen's when my AQo sucked out. I raised UTG with AQ and it folded around to the button who deals at another local casino and who I had pegged as a decent player. He 3-bet and we took a flop of AKx heads-up. Action was on me, I bet and he folded and showed QQ, I showed him the Ace out of respect, but really felt kinda crappy about the hand because I hadn't gotten much out of it.

At any rate, at one point I'd made it to +$90, but I wasn't getting many playable hands (the AQ was probably the best hand I saw all night; I had 99 twice and and the KQ and KJ hands, but no other pairs or Aces with decent kickers) and I was starting to get bored. So, I started doing some unorthodox (stupid) shit. For instance, my BB is raised and I call without looking. The flop comes 69J, it checks around. The turn is a complete blank, I check my cards...find 87o and bet out with my straight draw. The original raiser calls me, the river is a blank, I bet again...he thinks for a while, almost lays it down and finally calls....I muck. Eventually, with this and other bad plays I'd gone from up $90 to stuck $100 and I decided to quit. My head was never really in the game, I was pretty bored and I just didn't feel like playing anymore. So, I cashed out half of the $200 I had left and went to play 3-card poker with the $100.

I promptly started losing at 3-card and was almost down to the felt when I finally won a hand or two and then the dealer changed. I was only one left at the table and I told him that if he dealt me a straight flush that first hand he'd get a very nice tip. I looked down at my cards, saw 2 fives and what looked like it might be a third one and immediately, called the ante and set my hand down. The dealer flipped the cards and we found 555. Trips pays 30-1 and I was up for the night. I went on a mini-rush there, then gave some back and cashed out up $280 on 3-card poker in half an hour. I've definitely found a new vice. I love 3-card poker. It's mindless, not hugely -EV and the potential payouts are pretty nice. Just another thing for me to gamble on...Great.

I then proceeded to come home and drop almost $150 on online tournaments and not feel the least bit good about how I played. I've decided therefore that I need a little break. I'm obviously not at the top of my game at the moment and my interest level isn't what it needs to be (I'm getting bored and fucking up) so I need a little time off. I don't know how long this will last, but I'd originally planned to play the 17k on FullTilt tomorrow and I've decided that I won't even play cash games...I'm taking the day completely off. I didn't play Sunday either, and I may try to make the break last thru Thursday or so at the very least. The key is to come back to playing again when I really WANT it, not because I feel like I need to or to satisfy my gambling urges or something.

Saturday, May 13, 2006


After having a couple of bad sessions in a row 3-tabling 3/6 6-max I sat back and analyzed my stats a little bit. I'm getting my ass kicked in the BB. I think I may not be defending enough and with the right hands, but at any rate, my loss rate out of the BB is way higher than it was at 2/4 6-max and I think that may be the source of a good chunk of my recent losses, so I took yesterday off and today I sat down and 2-tabled for an hour. I won a little bit and felt pretty good about my play today. I'll probably continue to 2-table for a while longer until I feel like I can play a little better out of the blinds and do it on auto-pilot. I have a feeling that superior blind play is that piece of the puzzle that I really need to turn into a great player. I can still beat bad players by playing TAG without playing great out of the blinds, but if I can mix in great blind play I can beat higher levels of 6-max for 2 BB or more and that's the ultimate goal.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006


After final-tabling last week's 17k on FullTilt I decided to take a shot at a big buy-in MTT and try to jumpstart a bigger bankroll. I resolved to buy-in to the Super Tuesday on Party, which I did tonight. I played 3 hands total and I didn't last 15 minutes. On the first I open-raised in MP with AJ and got called by the CO, the flop came AKJ rainbow and I bet out half the pot. The villain called. The turn was a blank and I once again bet half the pot and the villain folded and I was up to 5300. Then, the next hand I got AK, open-raised, got re-raised and called. Then the flop came down 3 low cards with 2 spades (I didn't have a spade) and I decided to try to buy it by betting half the pot. That failed as the villain called and I check/folded a blank on the turn. I was down to 3500. I folded a few times, then picked up 77 in the SB. It folded around to the button who opened to about 250 and I re-raised to 700. The BB folded and the button re-raised me. I decided he didn't have an overpair and I moved all in. Of course, he actually did have JJ and it was GG me. Quickest $160 I've ever lost.

That stung, but I'm still planning to play the Stars $11+R 55k guaranteed and the FullTilt 17k guaranteed. I'm also in a $22 MTT on Party and a $1500 buy-in WSOP Qualifier on FullTilt. Hopefully I can pull down some bucks in one of these tonight.

Variance is Weird..

In the week prior to yesterday I'd put in 2500 hands of 3/6 6-max and I was winning at a 4 BB/100 clip. Yesterday I played 1600 hands and I lost about $200 or approximately 33 BB, dropping my winrate down to 2 BB/100. Today I put in just a 1-hour session of 300 hands (that was my plan for the day). I won over $200 erasing all of yesterday's losses and bringing my winrate back up to 2.66 BB/100. Variance is just flat out bizarre.

Tonight I plan to take a shot and buy-in to a Super for the first time. Hopefully, I'll be back to post good results later on.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Back to a Final Table at last

The last couple of months have been frustrating for me in tournaments, as I'd come close to the final table 3 times only to take tough beats at the next to last table missing out on the real money by just a smidgen. Last night though I finally broke through and made a run to the final table in the FullTilt 17k guaranteed. Over 800 players entered and the prize pool was around 20k, with first getting almost 5k and I really had my eyes on that prize the whole way. I felt like I played a very good tournament the entire way. I made moves at the right times and I didn't take any big beats, which is always key.

I don't remember a lot of specific hands, but I do remember one important sequence when we were down to 30 or so players. I had a slightly above average stack, and I tried to steal from the chipleader with 45s, I ended up going all the way to the river as he checked out of the BB, then called my continuation bet on the flop. On the turn I picked up a flush draw and a gutshot and I called his smallish bet, but missed the river and had to fold. This had me down to a stack of about half the average, but I didn't get discouraged. I hung tough and a few hands later I picked up AA in the SB, the CO raised and I re-raised and ended up taking down the pot pre-flop and I had a little more wiggle room. Then, a few hands after that I open-raised with 66 from MP and only the BB called. The flop came 66Q with 2 spades, a gin flop for me. The BB checked and I checked behind hoping the turn would improve her hand. It did...the turn came the Ace of spades and she pushed all her chips to the center of the pot, I insta-called with my quads and beat her AJ. That got me up over 60k and into the top 10 in chips. From there I ran my stack up to 100k pretty quickly with a series of pre-flop raises with decent hands, mostly taking down blinds, and one pretty good sized one where I raised in MP with 77 and the big stack BB re-raised me, I'd raised about 3 in a row and I put him on a re-steal so I shoved all my chips into the center and he folded like a littel girl. I really like the way I played that hand, because it's one of the first times I've really just put a read on a player in a tourney and acted on that read with a somewhat less than optimal hand. Let's face it, I really don't want to get called there with 77.

At any rate, as things got down to 2 tables I started getting some FCPers to the rail and I want to definitely thank all those who watched. Especially HoosierAlum who gave me some great pointers on late tourney play and Actuary who always seems to be there to cheer me on when I get going deep. The end result, was not quite what I'd have liked it to be, but I still feel like I played pretty well. At the final 2 tables with about 10 left, everyone was really refusing to go broke and my chipstack was hovering around 100k. I wasn't really in a position to win if the FT started right then, and I needed chips. 5-handed, it folded around to the SB who jammed for about half of my stack, I had A3o. The blinds/antes were pretty big at this point and the SB couldn't really afford to make a raise without jamming, hence he makes this play with many hands that A3 is ahead. If I want to win I can't be folding Aces in blind battles when it's 5-handed, so I called him. Unfortunately in this instance he had 66 and it held up.

From there, I went pretty card dead. I didn't pick up any hands, but somebody else went bust and the FT started with me as the low man on the totem pole. One guy went broke right away on the first or second hand, then with 8 left and my stack slowly being anted off I picked up the only decent hand I'd see at the final table, AQo in UTG+1. Naturally I shoved all my chips in, the BB called with KJo and my hand held up. Unfortunately, I couldn't pick up anymore hands. The only non garbage hands I got after that were hands like A8 and A9 and by the time the action got to me someone had already raised forcing me to fold. With 7 people left and the antes eating me alive I finally jammed UTG with K2s. Unfortunately I ran into AA and JJ and my tourney was over.

I cashed $630 for my $26 buy-in, which ain't bad considering. Not near as nice as the 5k woulda been, but it was still great to finally be back at the final table. Hopefully this will be the start of a run and not the beginning of another drought.