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, September 14, 2014

Back to the asylum

Just to prove I'm not really crazy, I decided to visit the Hard Rock last night for a little more torture NL Holdem action.  I was immediately seated at a 1-1 no limit table.  At least I didn't have to wait long for a playable hand.  3rd hand I'm in the small blind and get AK off.  There were 5 limpers so I raised to $6.  Everyone called including the big blind.  Flop completely missed and I check folded to a bet and raise.  That was the story of my night every time I got AK (at least 4 times).  Raise, bunch of callers, whiff the flop, someone bets, someone raises, I fold.  Felt like every other flop had an A or K or both but not when I held those cards.  Or AQ or AJ.  I didn't get either of those very often but they also failed to improve.

In less than an hour I'm down almost $50 and wondering how bad this session will go.  But then things turned around.  I picked off a bluff when I flopped a pair of jacks and called the guy in seat 1 when he tried to steal the pot on the river.  This got much of my losses back.  From there I just held even for awhile and watched the action.  I kept my range pretty tight which set me apart from most of the rest of the table.  I won a couple of small pots with JJ (got that 4 times, outside of 1 hand, the best pocket pair I saw all night) when the flops were low.  Then came the key hands.

Lady to my right in late position limps in with about 6 others.  Flop was AK2 all diamonds.  Everyone checks and she bets out about 6 bucks.  Guy in seat 7 calls.  Turn is another K.  She bets $10 and he calls her again.  River is a black 3.  Seat 7 leads out for $25.  She raises him all in for another $60 or so.  He has her covered by about $50 and calls her.  He flips over K2 for the boat.  She shocks the table by flipping over AA for the bigger boat.  No one could believe she held AA on that hand.  Well played madam.  I made sure I when I tangled with her I had the goods or at least could represent them.  And the poor guy in seat 7.  It wasn't the last time he took the worst of a big hand.

A few hands later I was dealt QQ in the big blind.  There were 5 limpers including the guy in seat 7.  I raised to $7 from the small blind and all but one called.  Not ideal but for the only time that night, I had a pocket pair that hit.  And it hit HARD.  Flop was AQQ with 2 diamonds. Now how do I get big value out of this.   I checked the flop and so did everyone else.  Ok, not ideal either.  Turn was an 8  unfortunately not a diamond.  I led out for $10 and got 2 callers.  River is a 5, also not a diamond damnit.  I decided to try a weak play and see if someone would make a move.  So I bet $7.  Seat 7 raises all in for another $30.  Seat 1 regretfully folds.  I immediately call and flip over the Queens for flopped quads.  It was unfortunate there were no bonuses for big hands outside of royals there.  It was also very unfortunate the K of diamonds didn't hit the flop or river.  I'd have lost the hand to Seat 1 and his royal flush draw but would have won around 25K for the bad beat jackpot.  I wouldn't have minded losing with quads that time.  But it was not to be.  If any other diamond had hit the turn or river, Seat 1 said I'd have cleaned him out too as he would have pushed in.  I waited a little later to do that to him.  I didn't see what seat 7 held but I think it was either AK or AJ.

I got Seat 1 a little later.  I was dealt Q8 of diamonds in the small blind and checked from the small blind along with 5 limpers.  Flop was Q 10 3 with 2 spades.  I bet out 5 bucks and 2 callers then Seat 1 raised to 12.  I thought for a bit and put him on a small 2 pair, a flush draw, or possibly a Q 10.  I was the only caller of the raise.  Turn was an Ace of diamonds.  Now I have the queens plus the flush draw.  He only bet out 10 and I felt priced in.  River was the 8 of clubs giving me 2 pair.  I didn't like the feeling that this guy might have a bigger 2 pair so I checked.  He pushed all in for $24.  He had lost a chunk of chips a few hands earlier on a semi bluff and that factored into my thinking.  I took a couple of minutes to work through the hand.  Based on the fact he didn't bet the turn very hard, I really didn't put him on Q-10 because if I had that in that setting, I would have tried to take it down on the turn to prevent the flush draws - both diamonds and spades - that were there on the turn.  So I figured either the small 2 pair or the busted draw and eventually called.  I was right as he had 10-6 of spades for a small pair and flush draw. 

That hand put me up about $120 for the day.  Wait a minute, I actually am having a positive session?  Maybe I should quit now.  But I didn't.  I got a lot of cards that I folded, played a few hands that were unsuccessful, then got JJ in the small blind.  Only 2 limpers at the point so I raised to $5 and got 2 callers.  Flop was sweet, 8-4-2 with 2 spades.  I led out for $10 and the guy in seat 8 pushes back for $30.  Now I have to think hard.  The guy had just lost a hand a few minutes before when he flopped 2 pair and let the guy in seat 1 stay in the hand on the turn and then he rivered a small flush to beat him.  That definitely figured into my thinking.  I took maybe 3 minutes thinking about the hand and in the end I decided he either had a small pair, a set, or maybe a flush draw.  I really thought it might be a case of him thinking I had AK or AQ and he felt he could push me off the hand as I flopped nothing.  But something inside me said he had 44 or 22 and feared a flush draw this time.  Eventually I folded.  I was debating fold or put him all in for another $60 on top.  If I'm wrong I lose almost all my profits and maybe that weighed into my decision.  No maybe, it did a little bit.  What do you guys think?  I never saw his hand so I don't know if he stole it or I avoided a big trap. 

The poker gods apparently decided I blew that hand.  I didn't get anything much for the next hour or 2.  I folded a lot but the few times I did play I missed everything and my stack dwindled to about a 40 buck profit.  I was in the big blind in an unraised pot with 3-5 off.  As the dealer spreads the cards I'm thinking  "Ace, deuce, four".  He listened.  Ace of clubs, 2-4 of diamonds.  I lead out for $6.  Seat 7 again pushes all in for around $55.  He had taken another beating on a hand when he raised with AA, got 2 callers, bet out on a KJx flop and lost to seat 1 who called with KJ.  So I figured he had a hand and didn't want the flush draw to hit.  Everyone else folds, I call and when an 8 and a Jack, non diamond, hit the flop and turn I flip over the 3-5 for the wheel straight.  Guy is stunned and that's it for him tonight.  He went through $400 and lost every big hand he was in.  Some times this game is just a bitch and tonight he was the fire hydrant.    

The PQ texted me that it was time for dinner not much later so I packed up a nice $110 win and headed out.  My daughter and her pal who was in town for the day met us so we dined at the Rise deli and bakery.  We had some tasty food, I went for the chicken pot pie.  It was HUGE.  It tasted delicious and smelled like victory.

Now it's time for me to get my fantasy teams together.  I have Adrian Peterson on two of them.  Guess I better sub him out today.  Hopefully not for the rest of the season.  Have a great Sunday everyone and Go Bucs. 

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Defining Insanity

The definition of insanity they say is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.  In that vein I decided I would visit Derby Lane again last Saturday and take on another tournament.  I got there just in time for the 6pm tourney but only 15 people were in it and I hate playing tourneys that shorthanded.  So I decided I would play some NL holdem for a while and play in the 8pm tourney which is usually much better attended. 

Boy the results were very similar to my last NL foray the week before.  In less than an hour I was down about $85.  Living proof that yes, I am insane.  I worked hard on it and made my way back.  Got AA and raised to get 3 callers.  Flop was jack high and with my shortened stack I decided to push all in then rather than wait.  2 folds and the 3rd guy hemmed and hawed but eventually called my push with QJ.  He did not improve and that started my comeback.  Eventually I got myself up to -$20 by the time they called the 8pm tourney and I called it quits.

The tourney went much like the previous one.  Struggling to keep a stack together.  Not getting much in the way of hands.  I did manage to take out a shortie when he pushed his A8 into my AQ.  Otherwise it was back and forth keeping my head above water and never getting up to an average stack after the first break.  I was sitting to the right of a fairly aggressive guy and hoping to take a shot on him.  I did push him off a hand with a pure bluff but he probably had nothing either.  Then we got into a blind vs blind hand when I flopped top pair.  He called my 2/3 pot bet on the flop.  The flop had 2 hearts on it which worried me some as I'd seen he liked to play suited cards, especially connectors.  The turn gave me 2 pairs but also put a 3rd heart on the board.  I made a little less than half pot bet and he raised me up.  I thought long and hard about this hand.  What I ended up coming down to was I doubted he called my flop bet without a flush draw.  So I dumped the 2 pair.  Not sure if it was the right play tho later he told me he had the flush. 

A little while later he was gone.  He was in the big blind.  Under the gun raised and the lady next tom him with a pretty big stack called.  Another caller in late position.  I dump my crap hand but guy to my left pushes all in over the top.  UTG has been pretty loose but he immediately folds however the lady to his left goes all in as well.  She was loose early but tightened up a lot after getting a decent stack.  The other guy in the hand dumps his hand after thinking a while.  The lady turns over pocket 10s which surprised me a bit while the guy to my left had AK suited.  I was really surprised the lady went in with 10s at that point.  She had plenty of chips to afford losing the original call but was risking almost her whole stack on the push.  AK did not improve and my neighbor was out.  He was truly surprised she called him with 10s and it turns out the UTG player folded JJ that hand.  The other caller said he had AQ.  UTG said when she called him he put her on a bigger pair than JJ so his fold was easy.  He was surprised she only held 10s as well. 

Otherwise, nothing to remarkable to report.  I actually thought I played ok but there was nothing memorable.  I was 7th in chips when we got to the final table and was looking for opportunities to double up.  The cards I probably should have played a bit looser on the final table I think but there were a couple of people pushing hands and I tried not to run afoul of them.  Eventually we got down to 6 left with 5 getting paid.  Yours truly was 6th.  I pushed in with 9-9 and the lady from my previous table calls with JJ.  She had played maybe 1 hand since we got to the final table.  I did not improve and went out on the bubble.  We had a deal to pay $20 each to the bubble boy (or girl) so I made a few bucks out of the tourney.  All told for the night I lost maybe $10.  Not bad for an entire evening pitching cards till about 1:30am.  Wish the tourney results had been better but I'm still getting into the tournament groove.

By the way, I hope some of you Vegas regulars can give me some tips on when and where the best tourneys are there.  I'm looking for relatively inexpensive tourneys, under $150, that have a good turnout.  I hate tourneys with 2 or 3 tables.  Also tourneys with a decent blind structure would be nice.  I expect to put in a fair amount of time playing craps, some NL holdem and maybe a little limit Omaha 8, some tourneys, and monkey mashing some sweet VP buttons for fun.  Plus the requisite visits to Hash House, the Peppermill, and a few other places.  Anyone got an opinion on the Binions steakhouse? I was thinking of dinner there one night.  I've heard the views are pretty nice and the food ain't bad either. 

The week hasn't been a complete bust.  I'm sure some of you remember me mentioning a while back I won an Ipad online in a trivia quiz.  Well both me and the PQ have struck again.  Late last week I took down a $200 gift card to Amazon and a couple of days ago the PQ struck for a $350 card.  Ka Ching.  And since she won so much, she stopped asking what I was gonna get her with my card.  That's a win for both of us.  Of course it didn't stop our daughter Betty Crocker from asking what we both were gonna get her.  Have I mentioned how much I miss having the house to just the PQ and me?  Ah well, all too soon she'll marry a Buccaneer or Ray player and leave her family in the dust. 

Well time to wrap up this missive.  I gotta make a reservation for a room for one more night.  We got 5 nights comped already but we're spending another night there as well.  Think I found a good deal.  Also need a shower as the PQ is coming to fetch me soon and we're gonna hit the Hard Rock tonight.  Poker for me and VP for her.  Hopefully I'll be there late enough to catch the PPV Mayweather fight tonight as they will be showing it in the poker room as well.  I hope everyone has a great weekend and I'll try to post tomorrow to update you on my latest round of insanity. 

Friday, September 5, 2014

It's back again

Yes it's that other special time of year, it's the beginning of the NFL season.  I've been looking forward to this for awhile.  So far I have 4 fantasy teams going this year and I like the looks of 3 of them.  We won't talk about the 4th one, at least not today.  In about 40 minutes it's kickoff time and I plan to be comfortably ensconced in my recliner with a Magic Hat #9 in my hand. 

I really haven't been doing too much since celebrating my birthday a month and half ago.  We celebrated our daughter's 22nd birthday last month.  Yes my baby is 22, now I feel old.  What am I saying, I've been feeling old for a good while.  Tomorrow is my middle child's birthday.  He'll be 28 this year.  Holy cow.  Now I know I'm over the hill.  As one of my teachers used to say, I've got one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel.  But enough of this maudlin bullshit. 

Outside of all these birthdays, the PQ and I have been planning our next Vegas trip in November.  Its supposed to be in celebration of our 30th anniversary but c'mon now, do we really need a special reason to go to Vegas?  We've got 5 nights comped at the Flamingo but it looks like we'll have to actually spend a little money for 1 more night's lodging.

To prepare for Vegas I've started getting back into the poker swing.  I took a bit of a break as I was running pretty bad for a while.  I decided to play a tourney a few weeks ago and though I was a bit rusty, I played ok.  Ended up going out 13th when they paid top 7.  I was short most of the time and felt good about my play all in all. 

Last weekend I decided to get in some more practice.  Saturday I was over at the Hard Rock.  While the PQ was mashing the sweet VP machines very successfully, I was getting my ass handed to me playing 1/2 NL.  I started ok.  Not great hands but stayed patient and made one guy with trips pay to see my straight.  Then the wheels fell off.  Good flops getting crushed by bad rivers.  Twice I flopped two pair only to lose to river flushes.  And I wasn't giving them bargain odds to draw to them either.  On the other hand, none of my draws were hitting.  Which was costing me money too. 

After a few hours I was down $150 and contemplating calling it a day.  Some days you got it and some days you ain't got it.  But I decided to try and grind a bit more and see if I could change my luck.  And luckily I did.  I'm not saying I made money but I ended up down about $50.  Which is a victory from where I was at.  I didn't think I played badly but I was unlucky a few times.  I do have to pay a little more attention to bet sizing sometimes.  That cost me on one hand and prevented me from winning more on another.

Labor Day I thought would be a nice day to play another tourney.  So I headed over to Derby Lane for their 1 pm tourney.  Spent a couple of hours folding cards.  it was garbage hand after garbage hand and yet as soon as I try to steal a pot, I get called then reraised.  Oops.  So much for that.  I did manage to win a pot with a 9-2 when a 2 hit the turn and at the first break my 12K starting stack was down to about 10.  At that time I had been dealt exactly one pocket pair - 3's that of course did not improve on the flop. 

But I held tight to my chips and just stayed out of trouble.  Channeled my inner Mojo and waited out the cards.  As the blinds climbed I got down to around 12 big blinds when I woke up with pocket 9s.  Loose guy to my right had already put in a raise so I pushed all in over him.  Everyone else folds and the loose guy thinks a second and dumps it too.  Then I start to make something happen.  I bust a short stack and take some chips off a large one when I flop 2 pair.  Then I get a walk when I raise with AJ which gets me up to an average stack.  That lasted all of 1 hand.  The very next hand I get QQ.  This is the last hand before the 2nd break.  Raise again.  5 callers.  Yuck.  Flop has a king and I give it up to a bet by one of the callers.  So I'm a bit below average at the 2nd break. 

Come back from the break and they move this really big stack in a few seats on my right.  He has no qualms calling raises with at the very least speculative hands.   This costs him a chunk of chips when the guy sitting just to my right raises all in and he calls with J8.  Guy to my right has QQ and takes a big chunk off the guy.  He's still the table big stack but he's not huge and you would think he'd be a little leery of this guy now since he has enough chips to really take a piece out of him.  And you'd be wrong. 

First the guy across the table puts in a raise to 4K in early position which big stack calls.  I wake up with KK and push all in for about 18K.  Folds back to the original raiser who calls for a large part of his stack.  Surprisingly the big stack folded.  He only had about 90K so I was a bit surprised he folded but he must have had something like 7-2 off based on the rest of his play.  I flip over my cards and the other guy flips AQ.  He doesn't improve and I'm off the mat though still a little below average. 

Then the big hand happens.  We're down to around 22 people and a guy across the table pushes all in for around 12K.  The big stack calls but then the guy to my right who is sitting on about 60K pushes all in.  Now this is about two thirds of his stack but the guy isn't fazed and calls anyway.  He's already busted a couple of other guys while holding some pretty marginal cards.  Guy to my right flips over AK, guy across the table has AQ, and the big stack flips over 10-7 suited.  Flop is A J 8 and the guy to my right is happy as he's looking at a huge double up.  Turn is a 2.  River is a 9 and the guy to my right starts to celebrate till he sees he just got sucked out on.  The big stack is now the ginormous stack as he wipes these guys out. 

Our table gets broken and I'm moved to a new table.  Mr Enormous stack is moved to the same table.  I don't mind because I think I can get a chunk off him if I get a chance.  But blinds keep moving up and I'm short, maybe 18th out of 19.  I'm in late position and push all in with 77 but the lady in the small blind calls me with JJ.  Amazingly I suck out a river 7 and I'm still in.  Even though I doubled up I'm not even an average stack.  Mr big stack keeps calling bets with some weak holdings but now he isn't catching cards and is giving away chips.  Just not to me. 

I get AA in late position and make a raise but am called by the JJ lady in the big blind.  I noticed she is also playing some pretty ragged hands.  Flop is J 4 2 and she checks to me.  I push all in for about 25K and she thinks a minute and calls.  She has 4-8 suited and seems surprised to see me with aces.  She does not improve and now I am almost comfortable.  I at least have an average stack around 75K.

Lady across from me gets all in with another guy and Mr not so big stack.  She wins knocking out the one guy and taking another chunk from the big stack.  She's up to about 100K and he probably now has 150K.  I'm looking for a chance to hit him up.  But instead she tangles with the guy again pushing bets at him on the flop and turn only to fold on the river when he pushes all in on her.  Now she's down to about 60K.  She's in the small blind when I get AA again.  Blinds are 2500/5000 so my 75K isn't an amount I can sit on.  Mr Big stack has already bet so I raise him up to 30K.  I'm really hoping he tries to push back.  Instead I get called by the gal in the small stack and he folds.  I'm ok with that.  Flop is queen high with 2 clubs.  I decide to not fool around here and push all in which puts her all in if she calls.  She does with 89 of clubs.  Really?  You call half your stack away with those 2 cards when I have not shown down one bad hand?  Then you call the rest of your stack away?  Of course she rivers a club and there goes most of my chips.  I'm soon out in 14th.  Not sure if I should have played that differently or not but I didn't feel I played poorly in the tourney.  I got really lucky one time and really unlucky another but all in all I was satisfied with my play if not my results.

So that's what I've been doing.  I'd like to play in the Senior tournament at Derby Lane this Saturday but we'll be celebrating my son's birthday so that's out.  That's ok as a couple of weeks from now they're all going to Disney World but I won't be going so I'll have some more chances to pitch some cards.  I see the Packers had no answer for Seattle tonite.  I'm not overly surprised.  Hope y'all are doing well and I hope some of you will be in Vegas in November.