Monday, October 27, 2014

There's No Crying in Poker...

I wonder how many people cry after losing a poker tournament? I finished 12th for the MS charity tournament, missing the final table by two hairs. I got it in with JJ when this guy who was claiming that he had to leave, called my shove with A3. He rivered a gutshot on me and that was all she wrote. Then there's that feeling again, the shock of knowing that all your hopes and poker glory dreams are dashed, at least for that day. It feels like someone just opened up your chest and ripped your still beating heart out of you. I ran into the bathroom afterwards just to squeeze a few tears out. I wanted to win so badly, it's just so disheartening to conjure up so much concentration and analyze for 7+ hours and then have it all end, seemingly out of your control.

But I did have fun. I made a huge laydown with QQ vs KK. In what I think was literally the first hand after the break, blinds were 300/600 I made it 1800 to go, a youngerish, somewhat inexperienced kid raised to 4800, I called. I had about 15k left after the call. Flop was 752. I check called a flop bet of 3k. Turn was a 4, I checked and he shoved. After a few seconds of thinking I folded, he showed the table KK. I know for a fact that ten years ago, I would've called him.

When I was moved to the next table, I was dealt AA. Blinds were 500/1k. I raised 4k UTG and a pretty fishy player to my direct left (who am I kidding, they were all fish!) calls. Flop is J23. I bet the rest of my stack for about 9k. He calls me with A9. After my double up, I overhear Goumba Johnny, a comedian who was one of the special guests, tell one of the guys "He called him 'cause he was Asian, not because he's good at poker!" HAHAHAHA!!!

My other fun hand was when we were down to two tables. I noticed the big blind in this hand forgot to post his blind and was about to fold his cards. Not a few seconds later, I KNOW that Mr. Bernard Lee, a semi-celeb pro who was a special guest for this tourney, noticed this, too. He double checked his cards, paused again, then raised to 13k, barely more than the minimum raise to 12k, the blinds were 3/6k. This reeked of a steal to me, and I looked down at A7. I knew my image was pretty rock solid, so I figured at best Bernard was going to make a crying call. I shoved with A7 for about 40k, pretty sure it was the best hand. He instamucked and didn't even ask for a count.

Howie Schwab, Matt Matros, and Victor Ramdin were also special guests, but I didn't get to play with Matt or Victor. Howie was at my table and we tried out best to stump him with some sports trivia. That was pretty funny.

After my exit, it was off to AC. If it was any consolation, one of the dealers approached me after my bust and shook my hand, saying that he liked the way I played and was rooting for me to win the tournament. That's flattering and I thought it was very kind of him to say.

Sasha and Elon had played the tourney with me, unfortunately they busted a little bit earlier. Sasha had elected to come to AC, and we were off. The poker action was a little light again at the Borgata, I played only a few hours before my must-move game broke, up a couple hundred. I decided to run in and get a fresh start Sunday with a full night's rest.

When I got downstairs to the poker room around 130pm, there was no $20/40! First time I'd seen that all year. I played some $10/20 with Sasha when finally around 3pm, I helped start a short $20/40 game. I lost a big hand early where I capped with TT against 3 players. Flop was J22. Turn was a 6, river was a T. The 3 bettor in this hand had JJ, he 5 bet the river and I made a crying call.

We ended up playing 4 handed for most of the night. Eventually, I ended up playing heads up with this guy JD for a while. He's known for being a little psycho. Frequently raising and 3 betting with speculative hands. I'd say his Vp$IP would be somewhere in the 60-70's. Shorthanded, it was near 100%, I'm not kidding.

So heads up I lost a big hand where I raised my button with 44. He 3 bet me and I called. Flop was AQ4. We 4 bet the flop, I raise the turn when a Q hits, and he donks when another Q hits the river. I folded. Gross.

I'm stuck $1700 at this point, but I finally start to win a few hands, when Walter sits down. This Vietnamese guy who was sitting out decides to join us, and now we're suddenly 4 handed. I know that Walter can be a bit bonkers shorthanded, and I was a bit uncertain who I wanted to my left, JD or Walter, so I elected to just stay put. The Vietnamese guy was surprisingly pretty solid, but I liked my chances.

Literally, in the next 5 hands I'd crush Walter and JD. Since I knew neither one respected my turn raises, they were in trouble. First hand, I raised 55 OTB, Walter 3!, and JD's along for the ride. Flop was 533. Bingo! Walter overplayed his hand after I 4 bet the turn. He didn't win.

Next hand, I raised Q9 suited, flop hit Q93. I whack JD when the river is a J, and JD had J9.

Next hand, I defended my big blind with 7d8d, preflop was capped. Flop was Td9d2x. Turn was 2d, They both called my check raise, JD folded the river and Walter calls me again. I win.

Next hand, I 3 bet JD with A9o, Walter was along for the ride. Flop is AQ9. I 3 bet this flop and both of them called me down. More money.

Next hand, I raised JTo, Walter and JD call. Flop was KJ6. Walter donks, JD called, I called. Turn is a J. Walter called my turn raise and river bet.

So in 5 hands I won $1900. That actually put me in the black for this session and I was heading home. Can't remember a span where I won 5 hands in a row like that.

Stupid tournaments.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Another Shot

I'm heading to Harrison, NY to play in another tournament for a satellite into the WSOP ME this Saturday. It's for charity, but I love these tournies because the players tend to be superbad. I just need my cards to hold up. Supposedly this tourney will be attended by Paul Darden and Matt Matros. Andy Bloch and some other poker celebrities have attended this event in years past, but I'll worry about them if and/or when they cross my path. They're going to have to worry about the 20 minute levels, the escalating blinds, and gut-wrenching races/suckouts just like the rest of us. Should be fun.

Speaking of poker celebs, Ted Forrest had sat down at my $20/40 game this weekend. I didn't get to sit with him long as I picked up shortly thereafter. I think he may have been the most decorated player to ever sit at a $20/40 table in Atlantic City. He's got 6 WSOP titles. He made what I think is one of the most impressive call downs in televised poker.

Rumor has it that he's not as well rolled as he'd like to be so perhaps he might be seen around our tables a bit more often.

So this most recent weekend, I gave away $1500 in the first hour that I sat down. We were short handed, and I was playing against Gene (the former Yankees GM), Walter (the only guy I've seen in recent memory that 3bets a turn with just top pair), this older lady, Mary, with the biggest diamond I've ever seen on her finger, and a very passive player (not a good trait for poker) who never said a word. So after playing raise and fold poker for about an hour and half, my cards started to stabilize and made it to the main game. Variance is a bitch.

It was the lightest weekend action-wise at Borg that I'd seen in a while, which is to be expected since business tends to slow down during the colder months. Come the wee hours of Sunday morning, $40/80 and $20/40 were the only games in the high limit room. I ended up playing a 4 handed death match with Marco, quiet passive guy from before, and this kid Kevin who raised every hand from the cut off and button. Despite his relative maniacal aggression, he played very well post flop. I ended up being stuck only 10 big bets for the night, which isn't a bad loss considering I was in for $2k.

I played Sunday afternoon and managed to finish up $11 for the trip. Hey that's better than being stuck, right? Hell yeah.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Bob Loblaw...

I forgot to report the previous week where Sasha headed down to AC with me. I was up $1500 in 45 minutes Saturday night. Did I get up? Of course not! I knew that since I had Sasha in tow I wouldn't be able to leave right away Sunday morning, so I resigned myself to playing a few more hours. I'm not solely blaming my not getting up on waiting for him, although I feel bad since he doesn't come down very often and I know he wants to play, but yeah I did get greedy, so you know what happened. Anyway, to make a long story short I was only up about $650 for the trip. A win's a win, right?

Columbus Day weekend proved to be much better. I only played about 6 hours and won $1300. After a terrible commute home (I wanted to blow up the BQE), I enjoyed spending the rest of my Sunday and Monday off with Kelly. I forgot how great it feels to have two consecutive days off...

What else is new? I've taken on a dual role in my company as now I'm the IT administrator in addition to servicing accounts, so I've been rather busy at work as of late.

Just caught the season opener of TWD. I forgot how exciting the show can be when stuff actually happens vs the lulls that sometimes plague the show.

I'm halfway through book 5 of the A Song of Ice and Fire series, A Dance with Dragons. I was hoping that I could synchronize the ending of this book with the start of the next season of Game of Thrones.

I've retooled my roller skates in an attempt to get into better shape. I hate running, but always enjoyed skating. I even got a stick and some Scotch 88's to whack around. I've been watching my carb load, or at least trying not to indulge too much on the food front. Although I did go bonkers on Saturday by eating a full meal from Taco Bell plus an order of lamb and rice from the halal cart.  "I'm working out, I'm eating right, I'm living well..." Well, kinda, I guess.

Monday, September 29, 2014

3 Hands

I had a pretty uneventful weekend at the poker table. Only played about 10 hours total between Saturday night and Sunday afternoon. I was up about 23 big bets. It beats being stuck! Maybe I'm just getting greedy because whenever I don't win at least $1k I feel kinda meh.

I managed to fold trip fives on an 8556 board after Lam 3 bet the turn. I was pretty sure he had either 88 or 66 since he's not 3 betting with an overpair nor did I think he had a straight because he raised preflop. I can't remember the last time I mucked trips on the turn, if ever.

Then in another hand, Korean Phil, tried to get away with one against me:
He raised from the cutoff. Vinoy called and I defended with 97o. Flop was K85. We both called his flop bet. Turn was a 10. Phil bet again, Vin folded and I called. River was a Q. We both checked, and I made the mistake of opening up first because I saw that Phil was reluctant to show and I just wanted to move on, totally prepared for him to show a winner. The Borgata rule is that the last aggressor (Phil) is supposed to show first.

The dealer then mucked my hand and pushed him the pot. Vin and myself called out that Phil had to show his cards as per the Borgata rule, and Phil tried to make the argument that my hand was dead because the dealer mucked them. He finally relented, and turned over 69 for a chop. What a dick.

And here's my hero call of the weekend: I defended a raise with black 77 in the big blind against the cutoff after the small blind called, too. You can make an argument for 3 betting here, but I know that the small blind wasn't folding, so I elected to see a flop. The villain was Vinoy from the previous hand that I mentioned but this occurred at the must move table. Flop was ATJ all spades. The turn was a 3, the river was another ace. I was about to muck the river to his bet, but then I asked myself if he would play a naked king of spades this way, I was convinced that he didn't have a jack or a ten because he would have been scared that I may have had an ace. He either had an ace, a flush, a boat, or nothing. I called the river and he mucked.

In other news, I'm really eager to get my hands on an MSI GTX 970 video card. It basically doubles the performance of my current MSI GTX 760 (ITX) but I think I'll wait til I see a Black Friday deal and maybe snag it for less than $300. My current setup pretty much lets me play everything on high with very little dipping lower than 40-50 FPS which I can live with.

A recent Scott Lucas review has given me reason to see Guardians of the Galaxy. I also want to see the New Kevin Smith flick, Tusk,

I'm on the verge of finishing book 4 of A Song of Ice and Fire, A Feast for Crows. It was tough getting through the first 20 or so chapters, but the plot and intrigue of its ever evolving complexity has got me yearning for more. I'll start book 5 next week. Season 5 of Game of Thrones can't come soon enough!

On the video game front, I'm playing an old school JRPG, Grandia, on my PSPgo, dipping in and out of XCOM: Enemy Within, and becoming a Virtual Tennis world champion on my Nvidia Shield tablet.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Another Tourney Loss...

So I finished somewhere around the bubble in the Borgata "deepest" stack tourney where you start off with 40k in chips. I got my money in with AQ preflop vs the raiser's J9 and he flopped a 9.

The emotional toll from a tournament loss is so deflating for me. I told Kelly, that shortly after my bust from my first Borgata Open event since 2005, I felt like crying. I had spent so much energy focusing on every hand, combined with my sheer desire to win this damned thing, I was crushed by the disappointment of playing 10 hours with nothing to show for it. This tournament offered tremendous value. It was only $200+30, that's like 1 hand at $20/40 haha. We're saving for an apartment, had we taken this one down, we could've been looking to buy sooner than later. I knew this thing was winnable, but I just couldn't catch a break. 

I suffered a crippling blow that had me short stacked for the rest of my tourney life when I got it all in with KK vs AT and an ace on the river cost me half my stack. Had I won that hand, I would've had over 250k and sitting pretty. Same old story, I guess :(

Fortunately, there were cash games to help cauterize the wounds. I won a quick $800 in a few hours just moments after busting form the tourney. Then I won another $900 the next day after a rocky start where I had KK, QQ, AK, AA, QQ, AA, then QQ again go down in flames in the same session, but I was still able to grind out a decent profit. 

But the true highlight of my latter session was that I got to witness this kid, Jesse, play superbad. He's a few years younger than me. He's pretty arrogant and has this chatterbox syndrome where I think he needs to hear his own voice. I have to contain myself from laughing everytime I hear him defend one of his awful calls.

Here's a hand:

He pops it UTG with Q9s under the gun. It folds around to me and I 3-bet with KK. Flop is something like J54. He raises me on the turn when an 8 hits and I 3 bet again. He raises me on the river when a 10 hits. So anyway, another player at the table commented on the hand and asked "Wow, how did you even get to the river?" to which Jesse replied. "I'm getting 11.5 -1, of course, I'm calling." 11.5-1 for a runner runner draw? Ok, I guess maybe he thought he had live cards. But please spare me from your bullshit math that doesn't even make sense. You called because you wanted to float the flop and try to make a move on me. Don't defend your bad play with vacuous bullshit.

So I watched him raise UTG with 43s. He gets 3 bet and calls down on a flop of KQ3 and shows down his winner. Then he proceeded to make a bunch of bad river calls with ace high. I love watching players that consider themselves good, fall apart. 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Tourney Player.

I've decided to take a shot at one of the Borgata events this week. It's the $230 "Deepest" stack tourney with a $50k guaranteed prize pool. I didn't think I could pass this opportunity up since it offers a great structure for what amounts to be the lowest buy-in I've seen in years. If I don't play this tourney, when will I play? I'm finally over the scarring I took when my KK were cracked at the WSOPME satellite last month in the Hamptons. And if I bounce out of the tourney I can make myself feel better by jumping right into a cash game afterwards.

Not much news on the cash game front from this most recent weekend. I won ~$300 in a short session. The list for games was so long, I sat in my old $10/20 game for 3 hours before finally getting into $20/40. So after a few hours and dusting off 2 racks, I was stuck for about $1400 when I got a rush of cards: 83s, 83s, (back to back in the small and big blind). K9o, QJo, and 54o, haha which netted me about $1700 in a about an hour finally putting me in the black. 

Had my cards mucked for only the second time ever. I had raised with two black tens, the crazy fish guy in the big blind called. Young Jo was sitting to my left when he had asked me a question about when I renewed my black card, taking my eyes of my cards. Next thing I know, my cards were gone. Ugh, I'm just annoyed because I tend to take great care in protecting my cards. It didn't help that I was sitting in the 6 seat, one of my least favorite positions for that reason. Cards are often erroneously mucked from directly across the dealer. 

Hopefully, I'll be blogging about a great win next week!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Tourney Players...

The Borgata Poker Open series was taking place this recent weekend and that always brings with it a lot of tournament players that like to take shots at cash games. This is a good thing for me.

Many tournament players stick out like a sore thumb at the cash game tables, especially when they try their hand at limit games. Because they're coming from mostly no-limit backgrounds, they tend to bring with them their absurd rituals and humorous naivete to the cash games.

For example, I saw a record number of under the gun posters this weekend. In most limit games, a new player must post a big blind in their seated position or wait until their big blind comes around. I almost always post in the cutoff (the position just behind the button) when I enter a new game. This is because I can avoid posting the small blind on the very next hand if I were to wait for my natural big blind. Also, I benefit from having the second-best position post flop. Anyway, I saw 3 players over the weekend post right under the gun instead of waiting one hand to at least post their natural blinds or wait for the button to pass so that they could post behind like I usually do. To post under the gun is simply setting money on fire. At $20/40, that's $20 for your post, + $20 for the big blind next hand + $10 for the small blind next hand = $50 gone in 3 hands and you may not even see a flop!

 The typical tourney player that came to our games this weekend reminded me of carnies. I can spot them wearing their full tournament-mode regalia which usually consists of a hoodie that says something like "World Series of Poker" or some other branded tournament series. They may be wearing dark sunglasses and headphones accompanied by their complete despondency or charming aloofness. I felt like they should be juggling while riding a unicycle or something. One uber-tourneyfish managed to rack up $4k at our table and I chuckled while he took a picture of it to show off to his friends on Facebook. Phil overheard him say that "Limit is my game." This after limping with AK suited and never raising, then playing 62 of spades under the gun. Umm, yeah. He's a limit hold'em specialist for sure. He would later complain to the floor because he didn't approve of the "must-move table" concept that's utilized by virtually every poker room. He said that he was comfortable with the players with whom he was playing and didn't want that comfort level disrupted. So he took a break and waited an hour to get back into the same must move game. So I decided to take a break, too, and followed him right back into the game. What a coincidence it was that we took a break at the same time!

Unfortunately, by night's end, I was stuck $700. I just couldn't catch this guy and he decided to leave when our table got short. But I won ~$800 on Sunday in a 3 hour session. So kinda even. Oh well.

But I did see something I never saw before. Here's the hand:

Ahmed raises and this guy Mike defends his big blind. Flop hits Ten high. The board runs out. Mike calls the river and Ahmed instamucks. Mike shows J4 of diamonds. Ahmed is shocked in disbelief because he mucked a winner. He had assumed that Mike had a pair or maybe ace high (I'm assuming Ahmed had K or Q high) and quickly threw away his cards. Obviously, Mike's call was pretty horrendous. The only hand Mike could have beaten would've been 9 high or worse since a ten had hit the board. But it had the effect of "bluffing"Ahmed because he instamucked based on the assumption that Mike had something better, I don't think Mike was this clever and had intended it this way. I think it's a simply a matter of Mike being a major degen and thought that maybe jack high was good (had he thought about it, he would've realized how terrible his river call was). Anyway, this is the first "bluff call" I've ever seen. Just when you think you've seen it all...