My So-Called Poker Career

Journal Entries

Movin' on up

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

I've been trying to make the transition over to no-limit, lately. I played NL my last session in Vegas and put in some sessions at the local casino the last couple of times I've been up visiting my folks. Overall, I feel like my NL game is decent, although there are a few adjustments I've been having to make. I'm still trying to put more emphasis on playing odds than trying to play by feel which means I'm doing a lot more math at the table than I had to do during the limit games. I think the steepest learning curve for me right now is learning what amounts to bet to achieve desired outcomes. During my last session, I found myself betting too heavy with strong hands, which probably cost me a few bets in the end. I haven't quite figured out which game I prefer, but it is nice to be trying something different. The ability to protect a hand is a big plus, however, risking my entire stack on a single hand can be a little unnerving.

Home game tonight, we'll see how things go.

The Homegame

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

For those who don’t know, I started hosting an occasional poker game at my place in San Diego which quickly turned into a weekly affair. It also caused the transformation of my house into a true bachelor pad with the conversion of a spare bedroom into the ‘poker room,’ complete with cardroom themed décor, a [personally built] poker table, and beer fridge. The game went on regularly for over two years and is one of the things I still really miss about San Diego.

Being in town last week, I made the request to get the old gang together for a game and Dave willingly obliged. Pretty average session for me. Game went into pissing contest mode for a while so I just sat back and let a couple of the other guys duke it out. Bingo, anyone?

I did make one horrible play on what should have been an auto lay down hand. I’m in middle position and pick up pocket 10’s. Dale (who’d been making large raises on a lot of hands), on my right raised to $3. I bumped it up to $6 in hopes of closing out the rest of the table right there. Don, on the button, goes all-in for another $18 or so. Of course, my first instinct was AA or KK and that whoever was going to call this was going to be in a tough spot. And, I assumed that someone was going to call which would make it easier to lay down my hand. Imagine my surprise when everyone folded. In fact, I was so surprised that no one called that I talked myself into believing that Don was just making a move to pick up chips and completely ignored my original analysis that took into account him pushing all-in against a raise and re-raise (yeah, I was playing well at that point in the night). So, naturally I call and am shown what I already know.

Lesson: Always listen to that first instinct…

The Answer is, 'no'

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Well, that was short lived. The poker career has come to terms, unfortunately. I’m now at a point, financially, where I can’t risk the money needed to play cards. While I don’t doubt my abilities, I simply don’t have the needed cushion to absorb a bad run of cards, right now. It was good while it lasted, however, and I’m glad I took a shot. In the end, it didn’t cost me money to do and I feel like playing on a regular basis really helped to improve my game, especially my hand reading skills.

From here out, I’ll continue to play casually (looking forward to returning to the regular homegame in San Diego) and will keep updating this blog with tales from the felt.

How To Make $173 Disappear Over Four Hours

Sunday, February 24, 2008

I thought it would be an interesting exercise to record all of my played hands for a session and document and graph out the results. Naturally, I happened to do this for one of the worst runs I've had out here to date. This was on a $4/$8 table with half kill at Red Rock on 2/24/08. You'll note over the course of four hours I only played 20 hands out of the blinds. I know it's all pre-flop info, but if you have any feedback, I'd be happy to hear it.

Living and Dying by the Sword

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Finally had a decent session tonight where I was playing well and making solid hands. My hand reading has improved with all the time I’ve been putting in and I also managed to pick up on a solid tell, tonight. Again, I sat at a table with the regular who had his mucked hand returned to play in the Worst…Dealer…Ever entry. Every time we’d get to the river and he wanted to take a stab at the pot with no hand, he’d put his bet out farther than normal and then start to turn his hand up. I watched as he did this five or six times and whenever he was raised he’d instantly fold his hand. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to capitalize on it during this session, but I certainly will in the future.

In general, the poker career is suffering. Over the past couple of weeks, I fell victim to the double-edged sword of the grinder. I had a lot of people come through town during that time leading to a very limited number of poker sessions. That time away from the felt meant that I wasn’t making money playing and was instead spending money since there was a lot of ‘going out’ involved. Not that I would take playing over the amazing times I had during those weeks, but it does serve as a reminder as to the drawbacks of relying on a pastime for a paycheck.

I Play Good

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Had an interesting session while the guys were in town for Mark’s bachelor party. It was getting to be late in the night and Kurt, Aaron and a couple other guys were sitting at a $1/2 NL game over at Harrah’s. Tired but bored, I decided to kill some time and sit with them. On the fourth or fifth hand I was dealt, I looked down to find Q-Jd in middle position, so I bumped it up to $10 or so. Had 3-4 callers to the flop which came out: K-10-6 with one diamond and two spades. I think I bet out $20 and dropped two callers. Asian guy in late position called, leaving us head’s up. Turn put a 2nd diamond on board giving me another set of outs and so I bet out another $25 and was raised to $50 by the guy in late position. Given the number of outs, I went ahead and called. River came the ace of diamonds, so I went all-in with my last ~$40. Guy calls and I say, “I caught my flush” as I turn over my cards to find the Jack of diamonds and the queen of hearts. Oops. “Uh, I guess I have a straight.” Cards speak, hand is good and I’m doubled up.

About two or three orbits later, I look down to find Ad-Kh under the gun, so again I raise to $10. Three people come along for the ride, including the guy from the first hand. Flop comes out As-6h-8h. Figuring I have the best hand, with a draw to the 2nd nut flush, I lead out with a pot sized bet. First caller drops and the Asian guy calls. Turn comes the 9h and I lead out with $35. Other guy makes it $70, total. I make what is probably a –EV call and throw $35 into the pot. River comes out the 5h, putting four to a straight flush on board, but making my backdoor draw. I check and the other guy checks behind me. I turn over my cards, “I just have the King…” Curiously, when my cards are exposed, it turns out I have the ace of hearts. Heh. Fortunately, the guy didn’t have the seven of hearts and my 2nd misread hand of the session was good.

As the pot was being sent my way, the other guy looks over at me, “you very lucky!”

Better lucky than good!

How to Leave a Table

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Dave H. will like this one…

I’ve been grinding out the last five and a half hours on a $3/$6 table over at TI and look down to see the remaining three stacks of blue and some change before me. Fatigue has set in and I’m ready to wrap up my lackluster shift so I decide to throw caution to the wind and straddle my last hand to at least finish with some sense of entertainment value. Five callers limp in and, without looking at my cards, I bump it to 3 bets; “no point in straddling if you don’t raise!” Everyone calls and we’re 16 bets to the flop.

Curiosity gets the best of me and I peek down to see what I’m working with; 10h-4d, awesome. Flop comes out 10s-6d-4s and no one is more surprised than me, so I lead out laughing. Player to my right raises and a woman at the far end of the table calls. I make it three bets to go and he 4 bets it! The woman calls both raises and I just call the final raise, saying, “I’m on a draw.”

Turn is the King of spades, which makes me a little nervous, so I check. Guy next to me says, “oh no, I’m not betting your hand.” Checks all the way around. River is the deuce of diamonds and, given the turn action, I figure my hand is still good so I lead out again. I get called in two places. First guy had a pair of sixes and the woman didn’t show her cards. “See,” I said, “I was on a full house draw.” Two pair good!

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