Monday, August 27, 2007

Surround Yourself With Good People

Joe Miller: Now, explain it to me like I'm a four-year-old.

The bad results continue to flow in, but at least it was a little different this week. Yes, there was still the horrible beats that saw huge pots get pushed the other way, but they were far more infrequent. The lost pots this time around were more my fault than anyone else's – folding a weak pair to a bluff, miss timing a bluff myself and generally not making good calls or bets when needed. I still didn't get much luck, but I contributed more to the downfall this time so at least there is something I can build on.

The only problem is, I am still in the position where one bad night will wipe out the live bankroll. Not very good timing but I am sure things will turn around.

We had a little blow up during the game, where one player went all in and then was instantly called by another with the nuts – but he was holding some chips in his hand and not on the table, but they were visible - blah blah blah. Neither player wanted to yield and it just turned into a yelling match, and I was lucky enough to be seated between the two of them. While it would be a waste of time to give my opinion of events here of what happened and what should have happened, I think home games can sometimes turn this way when some of the wrong elements come into play, and that was really disappointing.

The reason we all meet in a friend's garage is to play poker. There is no doubt that I would not know anyone of these guys if not for poker, but now I consider the host more than just a poker buddy. I know I could rely on him for anything I asked, and vice versa. Disagreements like this shouldn't happen amongst friends, but we all know that when money and ego is involved – and both always are in poker – then people tend to change their actions a little.

On this occasion, it had the chance to ruin the game for everyone when neither player wanted to yield their position for whatever reason. What was a good sign was nearly every other player offered to pay the difference just to keep the game going and get the next hand dealt. I think that is the best thing that could happen and shows that the majority of the table wasn't concerned with the money at stake, they just wanted to play some more poker amongst friends. What more could you ask for?

Monday, August 20, 2007

Still Drowning

Elaine Dickinson: There's no reason to become alarmed, and we hope you'll enjoy the rest of your flight. By the way, is there anyone on board who knows how to fly a plane?

Poker has been up and down of late. I had a good session which was followed by a grinding session that ended with a horrific beat. Thankfully the good session was bigger than the horrific beat and a small profit was gained.

I have taken a likening to Backgammon, though only on the free game side of things. I started of great in that too, but I know enough to know that I know nothing about backgammon and there is much more to the game than the throw of the dice. However it didn't seem like it when the opponent rolls 4 doubles in a row to finish off the game to beat me by 1 pip. But I guess that is the equivalent of a backgammon bad beat story, huh?

In the home game on Friday night, I was way up early and then spent the rest of the night folding and showing down with the second best had to end the night well down yet again. When the chip stacks were high, I made a few calls that I was pretty sure I was beat, but had to look. On a board of 666Ax, I had to call the final bet with an Ace even though my opponent was far too excited to have anything less than the 6 in his hand. I made another few calls in similar circumstances before some more bad beats came my way and all of a sudden you are looking at your fourth buy in.

The bad calls cost me my first buy in, all the others were also lost to bad calls – just that they were not my bad calls. I can't remember the last time one particular player didn't hit their draw after calling me all-in. But that is the way it goes sometimes. 3 terrible sessions in a row though, and the bankroll is looking very light, almost to the point of broke.

Funny occurrence in the game though. I have TT in middle position, and call a $2 bet. Every player calls it, and then the big blind makes a non-sense raise to $4 for whatever reason, but he does this often. There are a few calls in front of me and I decided that nobody else has a pair, or at least a big one, so I can take it right here for maybe a $20 profit, I'm happy with that. I re-raised to $40. I got one caller, one of the guys who has been hitting everything no matter what he has held the last few weeks (including the 666 hand above). The flop is 9 high, and I bet out just $20 hoping he tries to go back over the top of me, but he just calls. The turn is a Q, so now I check because he could very easily called with AQ suited, or even KQ suited (sounds ridiculous, but it's the truth.). I am pretty sure he has AK, but don't want to risk any more. If he wants to shove it all in I will call, but otherwise lets leave the pot as it is. He checks behind me, the river comes J and the process is repeated. He slams down AK and I show my one pair of tens.

Now I made a tidy profit in that hand without it every improving, and it was most of the reason why I was up early. But his comments afterwards showed what was happening in the game. He couldn't believe his AK didn't hit, and that it lost. He couldn't believe how unlucky he was that he lost that hand. Ok – so it is a coin flip pre flop, but I'd like to think I can lay down AK for a 40 bet re-raise. Even so, when it misses I am not calling 20 bets on the flop. One of the other players tried to explain to him that he didn't get unlucky – he just didn't get lucky. But he got lucky so often that he now came to expect it, and that was what was happening for a few weeks now. I thought it said a lot.

I know there is an upswing just around the corner, I just hope I last long enough to greet it.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The Most Important Poker On Film Blog Post Ever

Dale Putley: Jack, look at this.
Jack Lawrence: It's money. I remember it from when I was single.
"Father's Day"

Last week was the single worst week of my poker playing career, and then some. I never looked like winning a pot, I played well and lost every time and felt like there was nothing I could do about it and went into tilt. I increased the limits, increased the tables, and lost still. I lost 25% of my bankroll. At the same time, at least it was only 25% and it could have been worse. It would have been worse, had I really cared about it.

After my 5th buy in went south at the home game, I had reached my stop-loss limit for the second week in a row. I was leaving an hour earlier than the last time, and to be honest I was lucky it lasted that long. I knew I would go home and go straight online just like I did last time, and I hoped the fortunes I had last time would also be reflected.

Usually when I come home, the Distraction wakes long enough to mutter some sentence like "How did you go?" and then falls asleep before I have even answered. I was ready for it and eyed the computer to get fired up and start winning some money back.

"Turn on the light" she said.

At 4am? Instantly, I knew what would be coming next. She handed me a little plastic rod and a piece of paper. The plastic rod was a pregnancy test, and the paper was the instructions for it. Right before me, parallel blue lines indicated what we hoped they would.

Ever since a drive to a poker room in January where I had a bit of a chat with a good friend about life and everything else. He is a bit older than me with three kids, but just as big a poker tragic as myself. He asked if the Distraction and I wanted kids, and I said of course we do, but we are really far in debt and can't afford it right now. And he said some words that I will never forget for as long as I live.

"You can wait and get your finances sorted out and that's great and all, but at the end of the day you can not give those 10 years back to your kids".

He is a big believer in Karma, and that everything will work itself out. It might be struggle street for a while, but things will work out in the end. That seems to work for me 99% of the time, things work out and you go with the flow. It all made sense to me.

That night I had a really good night, my best this year so far results wise and we called it quits early. I got home, woke up the wife and told her that even though we planned to start trying after we had a few more debts paid off, I don't want to wait.

After a few weeks, the Distraction had a doctors appointment and found out some of her immunisations were not up to date, and falling pregnant now while not really risky was not preferred. So she had a few needles and we were forced to wait. Once the recommended time was up, we became a slave to her body's natural cycle.

You know how in highschool you spent 99% of your time chasing tail? Well, this was like the exact opposite of that. It's a tough job, but some ones got to do it and it's probably for the best that it's me.

After our first month of properly trying, ovulation kits and all, we have "Little Ed" on the way, due April 2nd. We've already decided not to know the sex before birth and then we will name it when the two of us get a moment alone with "Little Ed".

My buddy from the drive in January is over the moon, and I've printed out all the emails we have been trading since I told him for The Distraction and to keep for prosperity.

It is just a tragedy that we have to wait so long, but both of us are over the moon and can't wait for "Little Ed" to join us, even though we are very very early on in the pregnancy.

Since then I have made a big withdrawal from the poker bankroll, and with the rest of it have started making some better plays and better results. All the poker losses just don't seem that important now, and the single worst poker night in my life was also the greatest so far. I'm sure it will be trumped come the new year.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Bad Poker, Bad!

Droz: We need kegs. Multiple, cold and domestic.
"PCU Pit Party"

In back to back weeks, I have had the worst results of my poker playing career. The most recent wasn't even close, as all night I was lucky to hit a pair at the best of times. It started with getting big pairs cracked back to back real early on and then went down hill from there. There were no real bad beats until I was already 4 buy-ins down, it was just poor starting hands that never hit, draws that never came and ok hands that got out-flopped. I won 7 hands in an 8 hour session, and 3 of them were bluffs – none of them on big hands either.

There is nothing more I can say about it really, even my friend sitting next to me couldn't believe how bad it was. After loosing 5 buy-ins, I ran back through everything in my head and I thought I had played only one hand wrong all night – when I thought I had hit a straight but I had mistaken an 9 in my hole cards for a 8. Besides that, I played very well but just had no chances at any pots.

And it continued online, except the money lost was bigger and there were plenty of bad beats. KK lost 4 out of 5 times, the final was against T9 on a ten high flop – 9 came on the turn. This was against a player who previously made a horrible call against two others who were already all-in. He had a Jack high flush draw up against a flopped set and an Ace high flush draw, and he hit a runner-runner flush for a 4-buy in pot.

It is frustrating again to see when I get "lucky" which seems increasingly rare, I save $20. When the player to my left or right gets lucky, they make $600.

But poker is not everything, and some drastic changes are in the mix. More on this later and I apologize for not writing more but there are some pressing matters that need attention and I will elaborate on this in a future post. Rest assured, it will be documented here in the coming weeks.