Monday, September 08, 2008

The Eagle Has Landed

Dr. Bill Harford: Are you sure of that?
Alice Harford: Am I sure? Only as sure as I am that the reality of one night, let alone that of a whole lifetime, can ever be the whole truth.
Dr. Bill Harford: And no dream is ever just a dream.
”Eyes Wide Shut”

Crazy times I tell you. I have played poker, won and lost, over the past few weeks. But the most important thing is I have ended the employment search with a job I can do well, in an industry I have wanted to be in for some time, with one of the biggest companies in Australia – so I was pretty happy with that outcome.

Which means the Distractions and I have left Sydney for permanent residence in Melbourne. At the moment, this means moving back in to my parents house – and while financially this is a pretty good deal, with a 5 month old baby I would prefer if we had a place of our own very quickly. But we’ll see how all that pans out.

I had one final home game session in Sydney last week – one where I made sure I had a driver to and from the game, so I could have a few drinks and enjoy myself for the last time at the venue without having to worry about driving home drunk. I’m glad I made the arrangements, because I ended up drinking nearly double what I have ever drank before in one sitting. I was feeling ok – slurred speech to be sure, but mental faculties pretty much intact – until I put down the last drink at 7.30am and got up to leave. Man, that can hit you all at once can’t it? The end result was 2 ½ days of recovery when we should have been packing, something the Distraction is yet to forgive me for.

But back to the poker at hand – I was in the mood to gamble and saw my first 3 buy ins go south before I had anything to brag about. I got myself in a few favourable situations, got lucky once, and managed to eek out a profit despite giving away some money towards the end in deals.
One hand of interest was calling an average raise preflop with JTs. Flop comes Jack high and the shortstack ($25) bets out $10. I figure if I call $10, I am essentially committing to call $15 next card because that is the only move he has left. He won’t fold and I doubt he’ll check it down. Top pair, weak kicker isn’t a great hand by any stretch of the imagination, but I thought about it some and figured if I am going to call $3-4 preflop with JT, why would I muck it when it hit? This kind of flop is really something that should interest JT – it would defeat the purpose to throw it away now, wouldn’t it?

I was pretty much doing this thinking out loud, and decided that since I was first to act on the turn, I could call now and throw it all in then to see what happens for the short stack. I am convinced now without the alcoholic haze that I played the hand wrong, but that is what happened. The turn was a useless 2, 3 or 4 – something low like that. I don’t know what I was waiting for, but threw my chips in straight away – in my mind, they were already in the pot anyways. Then the short stack has to think about calling – and this is when I realise my hand is good. He starts talking crap saying he thinks I’ve hit a set, and then he says he has Queens. I use what I think is one of the best bluffs you can ever use at the poker table – be honest. “You’ve got Queens? Wow – queens are good, you should call!”. Of course, he doesn’t have queens but was just testing the waters. Eventually he calls with a lower pocket pair that has missed. Brock on the river and I had a nice pot that gave me some chips to play with.

It was one of those hands where I think we both played the hand very poorly, but it seemed interesting to me none the less. Hey, I could tell you about all the great hands I play all the time, but where is the variety in that? Who wants to hear about perfect play all the time?
I was keen to gamble, like I said, and was very active in prop bets on the night – always taking the worst of the bet and trying to get better odds for it. When another player had a $5 bet on a game of rugby on the TV, I bought 20% of his action for $1 just to be involved. Because hey, why the hell not?

The biggest pot I gave away was three way all-in where I had JsJc vs Ako vs AhTh – the flop was 9h4h4s I think, or something similar. As it was getting late, I had worked up to back to near even and we were offering chops left and right, a 3-way chop was offered by one of the other guys. I said I was in front so I should get a benefit first, but someone else claimed even though I was in front, AhTh was favourite. I don’t think that is right, but I didn’t run the odds then and I haven’t had a chance to since as yet. Anyway, I took $5 out of the pot (over $150) and then we chopped it. I was being overly nice, but I knew that and was happy to keep the game going. We rabbit hunted anyway and the turn card was a heart – but it was the jack of hearts meaning I had a full house and would have both opponents drawing dead. But anyway, you live with the choices you make.

After everyone else had to leave early for a variety or reasons, the host and I hung around to make the most of my leave pass before I turned into a pumpkin. We played heads up (which I won convincingly, somehow) and then a bit of backgammon (which I also won, through sheer skill and determination). I’ve never enjoyed heads up much, but it seemed a fitting end to my Sydney poker playing experiences. I left the game in front for the session and more than content on the poker playing front for the week.

I am not sure when I will next get to play a game, but I have been dabbling in online poker since then in small burst – nothing special to report on.

Being in Melbourne does have it’s advantages besides the better poker room at Crown Casino. It also allows me regular access to AFL games, and in particularly the current finals series. Since being in Melbourne I have been to two Hawthorn games already – the second being their Qualifying final win over the Bulldogs last Friday night. I won’t be attending the Preliminary final in 2 weeks because my grandparents will be up to visit the small distraction, and so family comes first in this kind of thing. Truth be told, I’m looking forward to that anyway, so it isn’t a loss really.

I have been able to reverse fortunes somewhat in my sports betting stakes of late. I have decided to quit the multis and instead just concentrate on winning one bet at a time. I’ve gone 3 for 3 since that decision, and accompanied with the decision to increase the betting size slightly things have taken a turn for the better on that front. Having said that, I fully expect the streak to come to a screaming halt now that I have mentioned it.

Last thing before I leave for today, have a quick look at this site below – it tracks online poker players in all the major rooms, and will show the replay of the crazy high stakes hands from the rooms. Check it out at Have some fun with that, I did mucking around on that site.

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