Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Having Too Much Fun To Care

Ian: Okay, who are you guys?
Pip: My name's Pip.
Ian: The band. The band name.
Pip: Sorry about that.
Ian: He doesn't wear a helmet, does he?

Results wise, poker has not been kind. Playing wise, it has been a good week. In the live game last Friday I was making some really good reads on the other players, but was not getting any cards to play. When I did play a hand, I was usually drawing very thin or had my opponent dominated pre-flop, only to be way behind on the flop. But I was in too good a mood to be bothered by the loosing hands and was just enjoying myself.

I decided to try to get back into some SNG’s and increase the level slightly – but I was cursed again and lost to a bit of a beat which put me to less than the big blind, and then suffered a similar beat to end that tournament, which was probably the last hand I will get to play this year.

After some horror sessions in the live game front, I managed to pull back to a decent profit on the year, which was an increase on last year’s profit by a mere $14. It’s funny, the graph of each year of profit by session shows some very similar trends through the year. Must be a reason for it and I’ll try to find that out as I do my review.

Next year the goal is to keep proper records for online play as I do for live play, so I can get a true indication of where I am headed poker wise. In 2007 I managed to catch a few milestones and build a decent bank roll, including making more withdrawals than all previous years put together. I had moved up in limits to the point where I am very comfortable at the higher levels now, and am looking at moving up again in the first half of next year if things go well.

Poker will be harder to come by in 2008 after the baby arrives, as is to be expected. It may mean that I will just be substituting live games for more online games so I don’t have to leave the house. We’ll see what happens, but obviously the priorities will change slightly.

How old does the kid have to be before I can start teaching them five card draw?

Monday, December 10, 2007

2007 Winding Down

Jimmy Johnston: Right here. Editorial says this fight is good as murder, and everybody associated with it should be hauled into court and prosecuted afterwards. They say the paper's getting all sorts of letters from people saying you're their inspiration - like you saved their lives or something. If you ask me, it's a lotta crap... but if I'm gonna promote this fight, I'm not getting hung out to dry if something happens to you.
Joe Gould: Ah, you're all heart.
Jimmy Johnston: My heart's for my family, Joe, my brains and my balls are for business and this is business. You got me?
Joe Gould: Gotcha.
”Cinderella Man”

I didn’t play any live poker this week due to other commitments, and online poker wasn’t that much fun as I had two sessions where a pair was a rarity. Lost less than a buy in though, so that was about as good a result as I could have hoped for all things considered. 95% of the hands went like this – other player makes pre-flop raise, I call with 98s or similar junk – flop comes with no straight or flush draw for me and no pair, other player bets and I fold. Once I tried to represent something, the other player re-raised me all-in so maybe that one was bad timing, but the pattern more or less repeated itself for a few hours before I finally reached the felt. It was weird, things were going so bad but I didn’t fell like standing up with $20 left in front of me, and I was kind of relieved when it was gone because that meant it was over.

Been watching some of this season of High Stakes Poker – I like to wait until the season is finished before I start watching. Looks ok, but I think they are starting to try to hard to make the action hard and fast.

Saw an episode of the Phil Laak and Antonio Esfandari “I bet you” this week for the first time. In my opinion, they try too hard for the show. It would be better if this was done more as a series in hindsight, instead of trying to churn out 30 minutes worth each week. If they took the time to say record all their prop betting over the course of a year, and then make a series out of that, it would be much better. Sure, that requires patience and they want to strike now while the iron is hot, but that’s what you end up with. I’ll still watch just to see if it improves, but I am not holding high hopes.

I have maybe one game left in 2007 before I close the books, and it looks like it will be a slight increase on profit compared to 2006. Considering the first 3 games of the year I barely won a hand, it was a good year. Online was even better, and I feel like I made some real inroads into increasing the bank roll and joining bigger games. I touched $2K for the first time which was great, and I’ve withdrawn nearly double that in the year. Poker has paid for a lot of things and made life easier, which was well needed. Hopefully the good run and good reads continue.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

It's A Home Run!

Barry: Of all the bathroom stalls, in all the correction facilities in all the world, he walks into mine.
Nelson Biederman IV: Haven't you heard the news Barry?
Barry: The news? Oh yeah. Barry finally pitches, Pisces catches, home team wins.
"Let's Go To Prison"

Free time has been of a premium of late, but it all has been for the better as the last week has been one of the best weeks financially of my life.

First of all, I am making a career change for the better. I was offered a new job in a senior role which was a healthy increase in pay – which was the motivating factor to be honest, as when Little Ed joins us things will be very tight. My current employer gave me some huge compliments, and in time after speaking to numerous levels of management came back with a counter offer to get me to stay. While the new job had some great opportunities, the current job is with a massive company that is about to get even bigger thanks to one of Australia's biggest takeovers in history. So there is a bit of security and a chance to move up in a round about way, so even though more money was on offer at the other place, I made the decision to stay. Until the other place offered even more money, then it was a forgone conclusion and I'm off for a new job just before Christmas.

Last time I moved house, I also changed jobs at the same time. It's happened again by the looks of it. The new job will be closer to home (not that that was an issue before) and some real opportunities in the future for networking in a new industry. And I might get my own office again.

After performing my general handyman duties around the house, and playing nice to my increasingly pregnant Distraction, I had arranged to take leave for poker playing privileges that night at one of the monthly home games that we play. I like this place because all the people are good people and it's a fun game. Historically I think I have only ever left in the red once, maybe twice, so I do quite well there also.

We started with 12 players, which is a lot but not so bad. I prefer 5-7 players, but it's a friendly game so why not. We had 2 new players to the game, a friend of the host and his girlfriend. This would be the first female at this game, despite the vast majority of the players being married. I have no problem with it at all, it's just never happened at this game before. I would think any female looking to play in this environment would be pretty confident in themselves and in their skills, so it would pay to be wary of them.

They knew how to play, just not how to play well. I didn't get to take any of their chips, but saw a few times where they were calling big bets with very vulnerable hands and unfortunately they both ended their night down a few buy ins. I say unfortunately because I always like to see new faces at the games, and hope that they enjoy themselves enough to come again. They seemed like nice people and I hope some bad results first up doesn't scare them off.

As for myself, I managed to pull in a few pots and when you have 12 runners in a loose and friendly game, you tend to get a few callers for your bets and the pots tend to grow. Without hitting any monsters I managed to chip up and up and never really put a foot wrong. I had some hands look good on the flop and then look bad on the turn, so I dumped them. Had a few draws that came and a few other hands that held up. I can't recall any bluffs or steals, and very few bad beats – either with me as the perp or victim.

One of my favourite hands is 63o for some reason. Another player at the game also has this as his favourite hand, so we make comment on it from time to time. Through the evening I told him that if he and I were in a pot and the flop came 663 and I had 63, I would chop it with him. Then that morphed into anytime the two of us are heads up in a pot and one of us has 63, then it's a chop no matter what. It worked later on when he had 63h and the flop was all hearts, so we chopped. It's a nice deal and we'll keep it going for the foreseeable future.

As the drinks kept flowing (I was driving so stayed off the juice) the pots got bigger as those down tried to regain their losses. One such player made a $20 opening bet on a Q77 flop. I had K7, and checked his stack to see there was only $15 left after that bet. So I raised to get it heads up and save any would be draws from the mix. But a spanner in my plan as the only player at the table with a stack to rival mine, who re-raised my $40 to $80. Of course, everyone else folded and I was in a spot. I had a fair idea that he was not bluffing – I was up against Q7 or A7, but there is always that chance that he had a weaker 7 or something else. As it was heads up, I just flipped over my 7 to see what his reaction was. He was not phased by it at all and didn't even flinch. In his drunken state, he would never have been able to pull off that acting job and now I was certain I was beaten. He then looked at his cards and flipped over an Ace. Ok – he has seen I have a seven, wasn't scared and then flipped over an ace. He must have A7 and I thought about gambling it up but I was well in front and thought it best not to ruin a good night. Just to make sure, he flipped over the 7 as well and I got away with that one – still expensive, but could have been a lot worse.

The other get out of jail moment was with 44 limped in to see a flop of K84 rainbow. There is a bet out from the pre-flop raiser and just I called. Turn comes an ace, which I figure is good for me as if he had AK then there is no way he is folding. He bets out, I look at him and say that he didn't like that ace, so I made a raise. He re-raised and as soon as his chips hit the pot I moved all in. He had maybe another $130 in front of him that he had worked hard to build up. He looked concerned, as I have a tight image and he figured I wasn't on a bluff, and I was also on a roll this night so I could have been hitting anything. I let him know that I could beat AK…and he said he could too.

And this is where the work comes in…I am now severely beat and all in, and in some way have to convince a guy to fold a set. Since I have the fours, he must have a set of 8's, kings or aces. Kings or aces would have called in an instant, so he must have pocket 8's. I tell him as much, and he flips over his hand. I didn't flinch, and said he has a real decision on his hand, and in general kept talking confidently saying how well he has played tonight and how he has built his stack up. I've already seen his hand obviously so I know where I am in this pot. I say jokingly "If I offer a chop, does that mean I've only got the fours?" and he responds with "I don't know, but I'd take it". Really? I said ok and we chopped it up…and I reveal my fours and even he had to congratulate me on that job talking him out of calling. No doubt he would have called eventually, but it was a credit to him that he even considered folding as he didn't have the nuts and I honestly believed when I made the bet that I was in front, so he read me correctly even though I misread him. In the end he made the wrong decision, but I believe the decision making process was along the right lines. He took the chop to save making a mistake either way and you can't blame him for that.

When it came to 6.30am, the host had already been in bed for 3 hours as those left kept playing. I was just over $500 in front, my best night ever by some margin, and we had reached the agreed time to shut up shop. But then the host came back, and after a good nights rest he was ready for some more, coffee in hand. So we played for another hour, then an hour after that. I flopped some big hands and got paid off, much smaller amounts than it was earlier in the night, and then when all was said and done, I was over 12 buy-ins in front, which is well past my previous best.