Random thoughts about my interests which include (in no particular order) poker, finance & investing, politics, football and whatever else I happen to see that piques my interest

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Its in the Cards

It must be going around. I see Josie had a nice score this weekend and though mine took a lot longer session to achieve, it also was a good bit larger score so it all works out in the end.

This is the city, St Petersburg Florida. Friday was a warm day in St Pete, the kind of day the Chamber of Commerce uses to attract more visitors. We were working the night shift out of Derby Lane. There was an 8pm tournament my wife wanted to play in as she had done well in it before. The buy in was only $50 with a $47 rebuy/addon. We got there about an hour before the tourney. I wasn't sure if I wanted to play in the tourney or not so I decided to join the 4-8 Omaha hi/lo game and see how that went. If I was doing well when the tourney rolled around I would probably keep playing omaha or some hold em while the wife played the tourney.

Fortunately Omaha was not kind to me. Every good hand got crapped on when the flop came and I got a fair number of good hands. Had the goods a few times by the turn only to get killed on the river. Before I knew it I was down 75 bucks in 45 minutes. I decided enough was enough and went to try my hand at the tourney.

The tourney started much like the Omaha game ended. Early on I got into a hand in an unraised pot from the big blind with J9. Flop was 9 high and I put out a bet only to get called by the guy to my left who had played every hand so far. He had already played some crappy connectors into a couple of bad beats on some other players. I was hoping it wasn't my turn. Turn was an 8 which made a straight and brought a possible flush to the board. I bet again and he called again. River was another 9. Unfortunately it was a club putting both a straight and flush possibility on the board. I checked wondering what kind of bet I'd be facing next but he checked too. Then flipped over Q9 to out kick me for the pot.

After that though, I was the one doing the outkicking. I went at it a few times with better hands than some people who overvalued Ace 3 against my Ace 10 and King 9 against my King Queen when we both flopped top pair. I was up over 2 grand on my 4000 starting stack when I got JJ in the big blind. 4 limpers to me but I made a healthy raise and 3 of them dropped out. Unfortunately one limper decided to call. Flop had an ugly Ace with a 9 and 6. I wondered if he was playing ace rag but put in a 2/3 pot bet and he gave me a disgusted look and folded. Table was playing pretty passive loose with a lot of pre flop calling and showing down some weak hands so I got a little more aggressive and pushed some hands in position. By the time we broke I was up over 10 grand and near the leader at my table. I was undecided whether to take the add on then but remembered an article I read which suggested if the add on was for more than 1/3 your stack you should do it. 4K against the 10,600 I was holding added up to me making a reluctant add on. Didn't want to spend another 47 bucks on top of what I had already put in today but my wife said she had already rebought herself and I probably should as well. So I did.
Let me break in here with 2 other hands I forgot. First one I caught pocket queens in early position. I made a standard raise and guy across the table jams all in for about half my stack. I didn't put him on AA or KK (I could be wrong of course) and called him. Flop is a Q and turn is another for quads and good night Irene to him. Only person I busted the whole tourney. Other one was ugly. I checked in the big blind with J2 of diamonds with 5 limpers. Flop was nice, J hearts, 4 clubs & 2 of spades. I put a pot sized bet out as I knew I was vulnerable. Lady across the table was a real calling station though she generally played good cards, she would stay with just about any pair. She pushed all in for about 3K, about 750 more than my bet. I was sitting at 11 at the time and was sure she only had a jack. Guy to my right calls her all in and I can't reraise him because of her all in bet size so I have to call. Turn is 8 of hearts. I push in and the guy to my right folds. Lady flips over QJ of hearts, about what I expected but didn't like the hearts with the 2 on the board. River is of course a heart and I lose. The lady then gets on a heater and whacks a few people before I was moved off the table. She ended up busting 14th, about 50 places later than she should have. Ok end of break

Good thing I did as the cards went pretty blank after the break. I got a few chips busting a short stack when my pocket 3s flopped a set against AK. I was surprised he didn't make a big preflop raise but I guess he didn't want to commit himself preflop which he would have done with any substantial raise. Thing is I probably dump the pair if he does push unless a couple of others call and when the flop came A34 he was a cooked goose. He wasn't too happy. After that more deadness. Another table was broken taking us down from the original 7 to 4. Soon after that I was moved to my wife's old table (she got knocked out shortly after the break was over) but my bad card run kept going.

I didn't want to wait until I got too short stacked to do anything but I was getting junk. Best hand was A10 suited. I raised and the guy to my left pushed all in. We had about the same stack size and he had been playing tight. I figured him for either AK or a pocket pair between KK and 88. Most of those hands I am a dog to a big dog so I tossed it. Only other hand I tried anything on was reraised by another guy at the end of the table. He had been playing a fair amount of hands but since I was on a pure steal I tossed that. Before I know it my 14 K is down to 8K and the blinds are heating up. With blinds at 3oo 600 and a 50 ante I pick up AJ in the big blind. Folded to the button who raises to 2k. I push all in and she calls with 77. Flop had a jack and I double up and am back in business again.

I picked up a couple of small pots but still wasn't getting much. Blinds kept going up and we are up to 800-1600 with a 200 ante. I'm sitting at 19K in the big blind when the guy 2 seats to my left raises to 4k. Not a big raise for the blind level but he has raised my blind 3 of the last 4 times and I had already seen him suckout a huge pot against another guy when he made Broadway with KQ and cracked a guys set of aces so I didn't give him credence for huge hand but I look at my hand and see 10-8 of spades. Flop is J53 all spades. Can you say BINGO? I check and he checks behind me. Turn is a queen of clubs and I bet 6K. He pushes all in and I can't say call fast enough. "You got a flush?" he asks as he turns over KK, no spades. "Why yes I do" as I start stacking up a big chunk of his chips. Thank you very much.

Now I'm sitting at 40K in chips which is about twice the average stack. Our table breaks soon after and we're down to 2 tables. I keep it tight, make a couple of position raises to take down some blinds until I get AA. Kid to my right calls preflop then calls my raise. Flop is J43 rainbow and he makes a bet. I figure he has crap but caught part of the flop. Hoping he puts me on AK I push back and he eventually folds his 4-2 power hand. I show him the aces to set up my next confrontation with him cuz I'm sure we'll meet again as much as he is playing. Next hour is pretty blah and so are my hands. We get down to one table and I'm average stacked at about 50K. Top 7 are in the money so I am working my ass off to get there now.

Couple of shorties get knocked out and we're on the bubble. I'm down a bit from raising AK and dumping it after the flop and turn were no help and my opponents were both staying in. I'm grinding it and get AA again. A couple of people limp but fold to my button raise unfortunately. Finally a guy gets knocked out when he runs JJ into KK and we are in the money. I'm close to the shortest stack now but not getting much. Chips start flying around the table and the guy in seat 1 is flying the most. He takes a hit then eliminates 2 guys first when his AJ out draws 88 then his KK beats AQ.

We get down to 4 and its the guy in seat 1 with the biggest stack, gal next to me in seat 4 with a decent stack, the 4-2 kid in seat 10 with about 70 K and I'm bringing up the rear with 30K. I'm looking at $512 for 4th place and thats fine by me. We play a few hands and I'm now with a little over 20K with A7 in the big blind. The kid and big stack fold and the gal next to me raises me all in. I got no choice here and I call. I figure her for a small pair or a decent ace but she has Q-10. Not bad though it seems I lose these a lot. Not this time as a 7 flops and an Ace turns. I double up to a little over 50K. Then it gets surreal. Two hands later on the button I fold and the kid raises to 30K (blinds are 3k-6k with a 600 ante). Big stack reraises all in and he calls with A9. I guess he felt some pressure since I doubled up and wanted to get some more chips. Unfortunately the big stack has 66 and it holds up. Yes up to 3rd! Very next hand the gal next to me pushes all in with QQ and big stack calls with AK sooted. Flops a king and she's gone.

I've got no illusions trailing 50K to 400K but I'm hoping to get close to even and then split the 1st and 2nd money. But no. First hand I get 10-8 of spades again and big stack pushes in. I call but he has A-10 and gets an ace. No flush for me though it's close, and I'm out second. $1170 and I'll take that any day. I look at my watch and its 2:45am.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Winning isn't everything.....

it's much more important than that.

So when last I posted I had just made $100 for sitting next to the luckiest poker player in Florida. Hitting Quad queens and winning $500 didn't make him the luckiest guy yet. Later on he did more. The poker room was running a new promotion after midnight. Each person who hit quads or better got paid off. The first guy got $50, the next $100 right up to $500. Didn't have to be the best for a half hour or anything, just needed to catch the hand.

Well Mr Luck certainly earned his name then. 2 guys had already won that promotion when he calls a raise in the small blind. Flop comes out K Q 10, all clubs. This guy pushes all in immediately. Everyone had the good sense to fold after that. He flips over his cards and there for all to see is AJ of clubs. Yup the man flops a royal. He went all in just to force everyone out as he didn't want to take someone else's chipstack away from them. So he wins $150 for the hand plus another $250 since he hit a royal and all royals get paid 250. So in the space of a little over 2 hours, Mr Lucky has won $900 from promotions at the poker room. He was also up about 300 from chips won from his opponents. He wasn't only lucky with promotions, he also played pretty aggressively with some pretty shall we say marginal holdings that hit big.

While he was doing this I was playing my normal tight self though a bit more aggressive than usual. Most of the players seemed to be pretty loose. I was surprised at some of the raises. But that's how it goes, some tables are really tight and some really loose. This one was pretty loose. I got some hands that somehow held up, hit a couple of nice draws, and some people just didn't believe me when I bet. So I had to prove it to them. And got some more chips. Before I knew it I was up about $300. A little later on I raised on the button with QQ. Flop is A-8-5 rainbow. Everyone checks and I make a 2/3 pot bet. Fold, fold, fold. Guy to my left said he had A rag so I showed him my queens. Surprised him a lot but since I had only shown down big hands he put me on a big ace. Which was just what I had hoped he would.

I then got into a pot with Mr Lucky on my right and a short stack on my left. Short stack raises to $8, Mr Lucky calls and I look at KK in my hand. I thought about pushing then and there but wanted to make sure the short stack stayed in the hand, tho I thought he would call a reraise, but I was also a little concerned with Mr Lucky. I knew he could be playing just about anything and he would probably call a reraise with any ace. So I wanted to see the flop and see if I was up against an ace.

Flop comes down 8 5 2. Short stack pushes in the rest of the way for about $25 and Mr Lucky calls him. I'm wondering if he played some crap like 8 5 so I just call. Turn and river are garbage. He checks both times and I bet him out. He folds and the short stack flips over JJ. He is unthrilled by my KK and I take down another $100 or so putting me over 400. The wife does well in the tourney but bubbles off the money at the end. They all put money into the pot when they reached the bubble so that the bubble boy (or girl in this case) got their buy in back. She was really unlucky too as her KK got cracked by QQ. She comes by my table and goggles at my Hellmuthian towers of chips. I was being my meticulous (anal) self and creating a pyramid of 2 and 5 dollar chips. She couldn't see the 25s as they were out in front of my other chips. She tells me her story and says she is too tired to play anymore. It is 2 am after all. So we go to cash out. I fill one rack with chips and then start handing her some stacks to help me carry them to the cashier. Then she sees the 25s. Damn. I cash out for $462. Not too shabby for a $60 buy in. Best night of non tourney poker I ever had.

Saturday I refereed a couple of games. The wife slept most of the afternoon away while I reffed. After I got home and showered I was starved as I hadn't had anything to eat since about 10 am and it was now after 6:30. I am never hungry while I referee and usually it takes an hour or so afterwards for my appetite to come back but once it does, I'll eat leaded paint chips for dinner. So we hit a local mexican place and fill up on enchiladas and such. It was just what the doctor ordered as far as my stomach was concerned. I asked my wife what she wanted to do. We had talked about going to see that new movie Red earlier in the day. She turns to me and says "You know what I want to do." I say "Poker again?" and she just nods. So we end up hitting the tables again. I did manage to play omaha this time. It was not nearly as profitable a night though I did end up plus about $40. Well actually I broke even, the $40 went to the wife when she got a bit low on the 1-1 no limit table. Still a fun night though we were out even later this time.

We woke up Sunday morning and decided we were now a bit too old to spend 2 nights in a row out until the wee hours. Still it was a good weekend all in all, in fact a very good weekend. We even had the boys over to dinner tonight for steaks. A tasty way to finish up the weekend. I was planning on getting to bed early tonight as I could use a good night's sleep now but of course, the poker gods are still in a giving mood it seems. I got into a tourney with about 350 players at 9 pm. Figured to play for an hour or so if I was lucky and get to bed. It was only a $3 buying but the winner gets over 700 clams. It's a little after midnight now and there are 19 left. I am sitting 9th now. Well I was 9th. I just ran 8-8 into aces and it's good night Irene. Still I made $27 which beats a stick in the eye. Sharp or dull. So good night all, gotta get some sleep before I turn into a pumpkin. Stay lucky you nuts.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Back In The Game

I have been very remiss lately in not making any new posts. I apologize to my many readers, all 5 or 10 of you and countless others who depend on me for entertainment. In my own defense I have been pretty busy over the past month and a half or so and when I'm taking some down time, blog posting has not been on the top of my list. I need to do a bit better than that.

So what have I been doing that's so important you ask? Actually what I've mostly been doing with my free time is refereeing football. I have been a local football referee for the past 8 years doing everything from little kids up through high school. Even did some semi pro ball one year which I enjoyed but had to take a break from for my own knee health. This year has been a busier year for me than any previous year. I have had JV and Varsity high school games every week except last week along with youth games every Saturday since the end of August.

When I haven't been refereeing I just haven't had much desire to go online a lot. When I have gone online it's mostly been to look things up and do a little mindless goofing off. I haven't even done much poker online. I was running so badly for so long it took a lot of my desire to play though last week I did have some success mostly playing Omaha Hi Lo which is my favorite game. Made 2 nice cashes last week and since then I have hardly played.

When I last wrote we had just taken my daughter to college. The house has just been myself, my wife, and the dog since then. I know my wife misses our little girl quite a bit and they talk on the phone quite often. The girl has been home twice since school started, once my sister in law went out to Orlando and picked her up and more recently my wife picked her up and brought her back. Every year my wife takes a few days off and goes to Universal Studios with some friends from work and spends a couple of days in Orlando. They go to Halloween Horror Nights and visit all the haunted houses, drink, and do girl type things. This time the daughter joined them and they all came back home for the weekend. She visited with some friends, had some fun etc. I had football on Thursday and Friday nights that week. Saturday I had a bunch of kids games to do so I didn't see too much of the little girl. She is doing well in school and really enjoying herself. She and her roommates are all getting along well and she's been making other friends etc.

OMG what in the hell happened to Tom Brady? I just saw an ad on the NFL network for an interview with him and I finally saw his hair. WTF. This is gotta be Giselle's influence. Of course if I were married to her she could do whatever she wanted with my hair too. Still, Tom you're a pro football player, multiple time Super Bowl champ. Try to look the part. Peyton Manning is probably laughing every time he sees your hair.

Ok station break over. So that Sunday the wife asked if I wanted to go with her and bring the girl back to school. Since I hadn't seen her that much I decided to go rather than rest after Saturday's exertions and so I drove back to Orlando. They both talked me into stopping at Wal Mart near the school and getting the girl a crock pot since I had all this extra cash from refereeing (youth games pay us right after the games, high school games get paid off at end of season) so they were able to talk me into it. Besides we're not talking one of these programmable pots, just a standard crock pot. So I figure to spend 20 or 30 bucks max. Or so I thought.

We actually find a nice big crockpot for $18. Cool, daddy gets out cheap. Then my wife starts food shopping. I forgot about the mother effect. You see guys, mothers equate food with love. Remember how your mom always tried to feed you. Every time they say "Eat this" they're really saying "I love you". So my wife decides to spread a little love around. She picks her up a pork loin, some cereal, some other things the girl thinks she needs and by the time we get to checkout, I'm in for 81 bucks. WHAT? I was only there to buy her a crock pot. Did someone reverse the price tag on the crock pot? Yeah right.

So I left Orlando a lot poorer than I arrived, especially after you factor in the lunch tab for all of us, but hey I only have one daughter and I won't be on the hook for her every need (I hope). I did get a bit of revenge last week as the boys joined us for dinner one night. I had mentioned to my oldest son about his sister's 81 dollar crockpot and somehow the conversation got to what all the kids were like when they were young. We talked about how my middle child was a scorekeeper when they were younger. If one kid got something he kept track of it so he made sure he got his. Well as the talk went my oldest son turns to my wife and says "What about my sister's 81 dollar crockpot?" I cracked up. Of course I got a dirty look from my wife. And of course I enjoyed it.

This week the public schools in the county were all off on Friday so I had to work a JV game on Wednesday night and a Varsity game on Thursday night. Which meant I was a little tired and sore when I went to work yesterday. I called up the wife and asked her what she wanted to do after work last night. I figured I'd take her out to dinner and maybe a movie since we hadn't been to one in a while. She decided she wanted to play in a poker tourney at Derby Lane. Since I am usually reffing on Friday nights, this sounded like a good deal to me. I figured to play some Omaha while she played in the tourney as I wasn't in a tourney mood last night.

We get there a little before 8 and she signs up for the tourney. I check the registration desk and no Omaha game. There is always an Omaha game on Fridays, often lasting past midnight, but not last night. There was an interest list with 7 or 8 people listed so I signed up for that. While I was waiting I asked the guy to put me on a 1-1 no limit holdem table. I used to play $2 or 2-4 limit holdem but came to hate that more and more as you can't bet anyone off of a draw or make them pay enough not to draw at it. With the no limit, you can bet enough to make it unprofitable but still get called often times. If they hit you lose but if not you can take a nice chunk off them.

You know when you've been in a bad streak and your luck finally turns. Well it turned for me last night. It started when I called a $4 raise with A-9 suited. The guy who raised had raised before with A-6 and K-J so I felt I was at least 50-50 with him. 3 of us saw the flop of A 8 J. The original raiser bets $6. I call as does the other guy. Turn is a bingo 9. I was all set to put a big bet out when the original guy bets $12. I remembered how he checked the turn the two times he hadn't hit so I just called instead of reraising him. River is a K which I don't particularly like. I am afraid he may have started with bigger hand like AK now and he has me beaten. He surprises me by checking so I check back. I was really surprised when turns over 8-8 for a flopped set. I lost about 1/3 of my stack on the hand but it could have been so much worse if I had reraised or pushed the river.

After that a series of hands develop and I start making a run. I get a couple of draws to actually hit and make a good call with top pair low kicker against 2nd pair. Then the guy to my right gets into it with the guy on my left. The guy on my left was talking about leaving with his profits but didn't. I took some chips from him and then he gets AK and raises. the guy to my left calls. Flop is Q K Q. Guy to my left bets, guy to my right raises, left goes all in and gets called. Guy to my right has QQ for flopped quads. Turn and river are a blank and an Ace so he makes four queens with an ace kicker. The poker room is paying out $500 for the high hand among all the holdem tables every half an hour. This guy is now leading with about 15 minutes left. It actually holds up and he gets $500. He then picks a card from a set of cards and the seat that card corresponds to gets $100. Well he picks a 7 for seat 7 which is where yours truly is sitting. So from being down a bit I am not up about $150 for the day and its not over yet. All I want to make sure is to not give it all away later.

I guess I better quit now as I have to get ready to referee. I'll post again tonight or tomorrow and finish it all up. It might even have a happy ending.