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.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

40 BB in 4 hours

I'm pretty much a God of 6/12 limit Hold'em. Actually not, but I did go on a pretty amazing rush tonight at the Argosy. I bought into the 6/12 game around 8:30 for $300. When the game broke at 12:30 I had exactly $800. So, in four hours I made $500 or a little over 40 BB. I felt like I played pretty well the whole time and actually made a few technically correct folds where my hand would have come in and missed a couple big draws. So, imagine where I could have been if absolutely everything had hit. Two good examples of the above would be when I folded pockets 4's on a flop of something like KT9 rainbow and the turn was another 4; Or the hand in which I limped with Ac4c and the flop came K35 with two clubs, I made a textbook free card raise on the flop and got a free look at the river, but didn't hit my 14.5 outer. Other than that, I basically just hit a good overall run of cards, hit a few really big hands and had a lot of solid hands that held up.

After the 6/12 game broke up I was still feeling kinda froggy even though I was tired, so I sat 10/20 for about an hour, but left that game stuck $27. The game wasn't very good and I wasn't running as well as I had been earlier, and it got down to about 6-handed and I just said the hell with it and quit. I probably could have beaten that 10/20 game under the right conditions, but I'm proud that I knew I wasn't at my best and went ahead and quit as a result. I've always prided myself on knowing when to walk away, I think it's one of my better qualities at the poker table.

Anyhow, I still left the Argosy up over $475 on the night, so it was a very good night for me.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

I Have a Gambling Problem

Just thought everyone should know. My gambling problem is certainly not as bad as what some people suffer from, but I certainly believe that I have a bit of a problem. I've found a game (Poker) where I can gamble with a positive expectation, yet I still find myself gambling on other things, some of which are pretty -EV. On top of that, I'm about the worst prop bettor in the world. I've lost a pretty nice chunk of change at golf the last two summers and there's almost certainly an element of pressure effecting my golf game, yet I can't stop betting on golf now because it just wouldn't be the same without action. Same goes for major sporting events, they're so much more exciting when you got a little action on them that it's hard not to bet, yet I'm sure I've lost money betting on sports. Then, I go and make ridiculous wagers, like betting my friend $10 that the Dodgers will finish this season with a better record than the my defense, this bet was made during spring training, but it was still a dumbass bet...I also took a the Reds to win less than like 72 games about 30 games into the season when they already had a winning record. Of course, unlike other years, they haven't collapsed this year and will almost certainly cover that over/under.

Last night though puts into a nutshell my propensity for gambling without an edge. After writing my fuck Bodog post I went on there I decided to gamble it up in their casino with the $39 I had left on there that I couldn't withdraw anyway because of the bonus thing. Well, I ran my $39 up to a high of like $120 or something playing 3-card poker (and probably cleared the whole bonus) then proceeded to lose it all. Now, $39 isn't a huge number, nor is $120, but the facts are these. I've always prided myself on being able to quit while I'm ahead. I'd tripled my money, $100 still means something to me, I would probably have been able to withdraw by that point because I'd wagered enough, yet I didn't walk away, I just gambled it all away. Now, granted I lost like 8-10 hands in a row and I'm not sure I trust the randomness of the online deck over the casino deck as the dealer was getting way better hands on the whole than he seems to at the casino, but the bottom line is that I played a -EV game and didn't quit while I was ahead and that was really, really stupid.

I looked up the house edge in 3-card poker tonight and it isn't pretty. Overall, the house has about a 3.5% edge in the game. That's not huge by casino standards, but it's not exactly good either. By contrast, assuming good strategy, the house edge in blackjack is less than 1%. I think that seeing the cold hard numbers like that may help me to dodge that game for the most part and maybe only play it if I have some money I want to gamble with and I'm ready to set and keep a limit and a walk point. I don't think I'll ever be able to keep away entirely from -EV games, but I do think that seeing the numbers makes me realize that I'm basically pissing money away by playing them and I need to stick to gambling on things I can win at. Like poker.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Bodog Owes Me a Grand

I'm a little behind on being pissed off about this, but I feel I still have a right to be. As some of you may know, about a month ago Bodog had a line up offering 40-1 odds that one person would not win 2 bracelets at this year's WSOP. Acting on the tip of an FCPer I moved some money over to the site and put $25 on the bet hoping to parlay it into a $1000. I wasn't sure about the EV of the wager, but I'm a gambler at heart and 40-1 were great odds on something that had happened several times in the past. Well, a day or so later, I got an email saying that the bet had been cancelled because it was "an obvious error." Now, I don't bet sports and props a ton, but it didn't seem like an obvious error to me at the time. In fact, I wasn't really sure I wasn't just throwing away 25 bucks. After bitching to Bodog over it, I ended up getting $25 in bonus money put in my account (which of course I have to clear before I can withdraw). So far at this year's WSOP, not one, but 2 people have already won multiple bracelets. Having not really found out about this until tonight, I'm just now starting to steam over the $1k that could have been mine. That's basically half of my current bankroll and it really stings.

On top of the above, I tried to withdraw $25 from the site the other day and they only let me withdraw $20 because of the bonus bs. Now, this pissed me off because I should have more than $25 in non-bonus money on their site. I deposited $50 originally and I'd only spent $16 entering a poker tournament. By my No Knowledge University math, that leaves me with more than $25 non-bonus dollars. I truly wouldn't be quite as pissed at Bodog if they'd just let me withdraw the money I originally deposited and be done with their site forever, but because of this bonus crap I now have money that I put on Bodog that I can't withdraw. Add in the way Bodog treated it's ME qualifiers with the party fiasco and I've decided that I will never again deposit money on that site. I may try to make a couple of bets with the money still on there and see if I can find a way to screw them, but after my money on there runs out I'm done.

Fuck Bodog, Fuck it right in the Ass. While their at it, have some huge dude fuck Calvin Ayre right up his ass.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Where Do We Go Now

My blog is currently almost completely about poker. It's probably pretty damn boring. I think I'm gonna start trying to throw some other stuff in there from time to time. Maybe I can actually come up with some interesting things to blog about down the road. For now, a little more poker though.

I've realized a couple things about my game the last few days. I'm not very good NL cash games. For whatever reason I have a hard time adjusting and seem to end up playing too tight and probably too passively. I played 1/3 NL at the Casino on Friday night and could never get anything going. In my defense I never really picked up much in the way of hands (I think my best hand all night was two pair), but I also didn't exactly play great. I got a little frustrated and made some bad calls. Most notably when one of my two pair hands lost to a straight and I call $50 on the river with 4 cards to a straight on board after having been check/raised on the turn and knowing that I was beat. Anyway, I didn't play terribly or anything, just didn't catch many hands and played kinda weak/tight and passive.

In contrast to the above I realize that I'm still capable of playing limit. I played a little 6/12 before the NL seat opened up and while I actually lost money in the game, I went back over the hands in my head and realized that I made very few mistakes, no major costly ones and the only ones I made were due to rust.

I've also realized that I still have a solid, winning MTT and SnG game. I made what I thought was a questionable play on the bubble of one of the last MTT's I played and I was really starting to doubt myself, until I posted the hand on FCP and immediately 2 people said they'd do the same thing I did. Obviously I'm not a complete moron.

For now I'm going to continue to enforce my personal hiatus from limit hold'em online for the rest of the month. I'll play SnG's and MTTs until then. In August I'll probably start back to playing 2/4 6-max and maybe a little 3/6 or 5/10 full if I see a good game and I'm feeling froggy. I'll make this my regular game for a few months and a minmum of 20k hands and see how it goes. If I can rebuild some decent money, maybe I'll move up in 6 months again. If I continue to get Fridays off I'm going to make the Argosy 6/12 game my "regular game." It's a bit out of my roll right now but not by a ton (I have more than 200 BBs overall), and the game is sufficiently juicy that I should be able to make money at it. I've been feeling a little tired of online poker lately, so maybe if I start playing live once a week it will rejuvenate. It can also give me great experience for when I eventually qualify for the ME in '07.

I was thinking about playing and ME satellite or two this year, but I'm simply not ready, so I'll have to watch today's big Sats from the sidelines. The Satellite buy-in is more than I should be spending right now and my job situation doesn't make me think that 2 weeks off will be an easy thing to get. Besides that, I just don't have complete confidence in my game right now.

My plan for the next 6 months is to follow the formula I stated above and see if I can regain my game. I will of course continue to play MTTs whenever I can, and if I again get frustrated with LHE, I'll read books and teach myself Omaha and O8. At the end of 6 months I'll re-assess where I am poker-wise, but no matter where that is, it'll probably be time to branch out to the Omaha variants if I haven't already done so. Just to be clear, the end of 6 months will be from here on out known at January 31, '07.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

An update on the here and now

I haven't played much poker in the last month or so mostly because I simply haven't felt like it and partly because I've been working alot and haven't had a ton of time. I sat down and figured up my June MTT results the other night: I played 18 MTT's and cashed only 3 times, however 2 were final tables, so I ended up ahead for the month. I spent $501 on buyins and won $737 so my net MTT profit for the month was $236, a 47% ROI, for whatever that number is worth in such a small sample. One thing I've noticed about my overall tournament game is that when I do cash in a tournament I tend to go pretty deep, either final table or final couple of tables. I think that's a very good thing for long term success, though it may cause more variance and I also need to start making it to the final 3 a little more often if I'm gonna win serious money at MTT's.

I actually played a few Tourneys on Tuesday night (my night off) and cashed in only one (a Stars 180-man SnG for just a small profit). So my overall night was a loser in MTTs. I had one Party Tourney where I made a very questionable play on the bubble that probably cost me at least 70 bucks also. After busting out of the 40k I was playing a $33 MTT on Party and we were 3 away from the money. I was shortstacked, but not so shortstacked that I was in any danger of not cashing if I just played super-tight. All I really had to do was fold a few more hands, wait for a couple people to go broke then try to find a hand to gamble with afterward. Instead, it folded to me on the button and I jammed with A3o. The small blind woke up with 66 and it was GG me. I really don't feel like there's any excuse for the play. I think that my position in the tourney dictates that I play for the cash there and try to gamble after the bubble passes. It's not like the blinds were shorter stacks than me and I could push them around or anything. Anyhow, that's one of those mistakes that are costly, but you can't dwell on them, just learn for next time.

In cash games, I've decided to take an extended break from online limit hold'em. I'm gonna follow Jordan's advice and take a shot at NL. There's so much money to be made in NL that I really have very little to lose by trying to get better at that game and build my bankroll up that way. Low limit hold'em got me to where I am today, but it's becoming a tougher and tougher way to build a bankroll. As you get to 3/6 and beyond the games online become more difficult to beat and the effect of the rake is pretty big. I may or may not be able to beat those games right now. I certainly believe that long-term I'm capable of getting there. I'm smart enough that I'm capable of showing good results at any endeavor that requires use of the brain. However, I'd like to build my bankroll up and take a real shot at 5/10 and 10/20 where the effect of the rake isn't so pronounced. Besides, right now, ther'es probably more bad players and hence more money to be made in NL. So I've decided to take a real run at NL cash game and see what I can do.

I'm playing .25/.50 right now with fairly marginal results. I'm trying to perfect a strategy that sits somewhere between playing really LAG and playing really tight. I'm trying to work on things like position and implied odds. I think my biggest weakness right now is getting away from hands when I know I'm beat. Last night for instance I had a hand where I raised with AA and got called by a player in MP. The flop came J63 and I bet $3 into a pot of about $4.50, the villain raised it to $9 and I re-raised the pot which was to something like $31. To begin with, my re-raise may be somewhat questionable, but I do think raising here may be ok to find out where I really am. At any rate, the villain moved all-in for another $30 and I said to myself, "he just told me he has a set," yet somehow I still talked myself into calling and he showed 66. I really believe I should have gotten away from that hand, yet somehow it's sometimes hard to convince myself that I'm not getting pushed around, especially when the opponents are faceless.

Anyhow, I'm going to continue to work on my NL game and see how that goes. Right now I'm starting to wonder if I'm one of those people who will always be able to beat low stakes online and acquit myself decently in tournaments, but not go much further. Maybe my poker future will go no higher than 2/4 online and juicy live games (which can range easily as high as 10/20 and even higher sometimes) and mid-stakes MTT's and SnGs. I'm fairly certain I'm an above average MTT player. I'm fairly certain that I'm a good enough limit hold'em player to beat bad players, but I think the next 6 months to a year will tell me alot about whether I'm capable of hacking it against decent to good players in LHE and diversifying myself to where I'm capable of beating NL cash games, and other forms of poker that I've yet to really delve into.