Saturday, December 05, 2009

One Missed Call

Terry Benedict: You think this is funny?
Danny Ocean: Well, Terry, it sure as shit ain't sad.
"Ocean's 13"
Since the last post I've had two very good sessions at the local casino. The first was just a solid night where there were far too many bad players at the table. I felt at ease enough to play any two cards and see what happened after that on the flop. When the overly aggressive fish tried to bluff all-in, I was there ready with a made hand. Sometimes, that made hand was only top pair, but that was good enough those times.

The best of it was that the fish had more buy ins to bring, and kept putting them on the table. I ended up well enough in front for my best night ever at this venue, and never felt uncomfortable. I also had some massive hands towards the end of the night where the river was very unkind, so it could have been much better still.

Then this past week, a bit of a hot run began for the night. First hand at a new table was pocket kings, which won a nice little pot on a continuation bet. From there, it was limp and hit, limp and hit. Overly aggressive players were prepared to shove with top pair, $160 into a $70 pot and the like, and I was only too happy to call with trips.

It wasn't great play, just hit flops and watched people bluff off their entire stacks. Within 2 hours, I was up about 3 buy ins without having to bluff once.

And it was a good table too. Nice and friendly, donkeys donating and having a laugh. Even the dealers joined in.

Of course, someone has to ruin it. A young guy sits down, and immediately he strikes me as being not too intelligent. He starts telling stories about fights he was in, scars his friends and brothers had. Total douchebag talk from start to finish. Then he even starts insulting the overly nice (and strong) player next to me. Absolutely unwarranted and unprovoked. I was pretty much ignoring him and looked forward to the inevitable chip shifting he would be doing.

On the big blind, I have 44, already well up on the night which is when I tend to get loose and start to call off chips I don't need to. There are a few limps perhaps, then the cut off makes it $12 ($2/$3 blinds). The irritating donkey on the button raises it to $15 with the worst "Oh my God I've got aces! I've got aces!" tells pouring out from his face. The dealer corrects him and makes him raise it to $21. With 44 against AA, I figure it would be stupid to call another $18 out of position and fold. A few others including the original raiser do call. He continues big talking himself - I can just about tell the suits of his aces now, the tells are that loud.

I'm sitting in the 9 seat, so the flop is partially obscured by the dealer when he lays it out. I see a 7, and then a red 4. Damn. I would have hit. The last flop card...the other red 4. Even though the irritating donkey is on the button, he announces all in for about $180 or so, way out of turn.

And I felt sick.

Not only would it has made one hell of a pot for me to drag in, it would have shut him up so good, and it would have been just the sweetest thing. Instead, he drags in a modest pot and thinks he is Doyle Brunson.

Eventually, chip by chip he gets rid of chips to every other player and I didn't see any of it. He annoyed the nice guy to my right enough to force him to move to another table. For the rest of the night, I win some minor pots but otherwise catch a case of the second-bests and give off 2/3 of the profits earned on the night. When I left I was still up a good amount, but couldn't help feeling like I let the biggest fish go free.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Everyone Has A Lesson To Teach

State's Atty. Ilene Nathan: Mr. Little, how does a man rob drug dealers for eight or nine years and live to tell about it?
Omar: Day at a time I suppose?
"The Wire"

What a fascinating night of home game poker. We were playing a SNG with 10 players, which consisted of about 3 who didn't have a clue, 3 who only just had a clue and the rest were at a level I consider myself on. Oh, and one of them was a 9 year old girl. Yeah, she won of course.

What happened? I lost by playing badly, but I think I learnt lessons that will earn me much more money in the future. I gave people far too much credit for what they were doing, what they knew and what they were paying attention to.

Perfect example, raise preflop with TT, get called in 2 places. Flop comes AQ7, I follow up with another bet, get raised and 3rd player re-raises all-in. Ok, I'm done and much. 2nd player calls. They show 99 and K8. Hmm, very interesting.

But the lesson was in aggression, and knowing your opponents. I didn't catch on to what was going on until it was too late. By then, I loose a coin flip to a short stack on the turn (my 88 vs A9) and then loose another coin flip when I was the short stack, and away I go.

Thankfully, we played a cash game afterwards where I won back my buy in, as well as a bit extra for my time. Felt very comfortable in the cash game and tried a few more aggressive moves when the times seemed right. Worked pretty well, I think I might have to add a few weapons to my arsenal, which needs it.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Know When To Run

Prot: Let me tell you something, Mark. You humans, most of you, subscribe to this policy of an eye for an eye, a life for a life, which is known throughout the universe for its... stupidity.

I made my little visit to the local casino - got dealt nothing, did nothing with it, got sucked out on and then decided I should leave with the buy-ins I had still in my pockets remaining where they were. Disciplined, I called it, and decided too that would be my best decision for the night. Not much else to do really.

One buy in went South when I made what I felt like was a great read and a good play at the time - had a loose Asian player call all in drawing to a gut-shot, of which I had one of his cards. Alas, it was his night and not mine, so it came. Pity, because he was giving away chips all night, I just never had the fortune to be in the right spot at any given time.

In the mean time, I did have the chance to read "Take Me To The River" by Peter Alson. It was very readable, but only scratched the surface and felt very forced and unremarkable for the most part. Not the worst poker book I've read, but far from the best.

Got my first Melbourne home game coming this weekend, which should be very interesting. The players include my boss' boss, his boss, and his 9 year old daughter. That will be an interesting one - even if I win, I might just loose. If I do get into a battle with the 9 year old, I must just ask her father what it would be worth to him to have me loose. Nothing like a little fixing to get the bankroll padded, right?

Maybe it's just me, but I think the players at Crown at the minute really don't know how to enjoy themselves. You're allowed to talk, you know? Have a joke even.

One instance, I don't remember the exact details but fair to say a donkey called a large all-in bet with 4th pair, soundly beaten by the four card straight on the board. I say casually to the players to my left, who seem competent, "Wow, brave call I guess." With indignation, she and her friend replay:

"Ah, no - that was a stupid call if you ask me."

Yes. You spotted the fault there, well done you. I guess I'll keep to myself from now on then.

If you can't be winning at the table, at least have fun. When that's taken away, well I already said I walked away.

Friday, October 30, 2009

From The Ashes

Young Doc: No! It can't be; I just sent you back to the future!
Marty McFly: No, I know; you *did* send me back to the future. But I'm back - I'm back *from* the future.
Back to the Future: Part 2
It is amazing how sometimes, the smallest thing can trigger a thought or emotion.

You see, today I was having a small spell of depression for no real good reason. I was sitting in the common area of our office building with 2,000 other employees waiting for a presentation to begin. I thought I would occupy myself by checking my emails on my iPhone. Amongst various "Ask the seller" questions from eBay for products my mother put on my account save her learning how eBay works, was what looked like a random spam email - though it caught my eye. The from name was familiar - it said "Ignatius". The subject line also had a blast from my past on it - "Poker On Film".

Iggy had left a comment on my last post, commending me for keeping this "Old School" blog alive. Truth is Iggy - you misread the date. That date said October 2008, not 2009. I'm sorry for the confusion.

But I felt proud that Iggy read my blog, and called it "Old School". That made me feel like the years I put into it were worth while. I certainly believed that at the time too - but this little comment brought those back to me. So while the modest praise from the Blogfather was miss placed, I vow to return to the poker blogging world from here on - nearly 1 year to the day since my last post.

So - what has happened in the Poker On Film world in the last 12 months?

  • The little distraction is running around the place, and is the highlight of everyday. She's so happy and full of energy. She is learning to speak.
  • The other Distraction - she's 8 weeks away from adding to our family. Child number 2 is due just before Christmas, and we're already running a book on the birthdate (I'm on the 26th, 3 days overdue)
  • My new job is exactly what I needed. And wanted. And now, I'm even been given enough rope to go out and explore ways to expand on my job. Freedom to do as I please, and have the confidence placed in my work and abilities to carry out my new plans. Don't get me wrong, it's not all perfect - but from where I was before, this is paradise.
And poker:
  • Still playing - less frequently than before, but still playing.
So why did I stop? I got busy. I am embarrassed to say I became a stereotype of a poker blogger. I had a loosing session, the biggest of my career, and the first time I dropped over $1,000 in a session. Then, no more posts.

Well, it wasn't exactly like that. I was determined not to go that way. I did type up a post, but then had multiple errors and computer failures, making the task of getting my finished post up. A week delayed turned into a month, turned into 2 months. I got busier. I was enjoying my work, and finding less time to read other poker blogs. Less need to - before, all the other blogs was a chance for me to escape from the drudgery of my job, and indulge in a passion. Poker was my passion. Still is. However, now I didn't need that escape any more. I had a job I enjoyed, visible opportunities to expand, and unmeasurable motivation to make this into a career.

Just as many wrongs came my way in previous employment, I was certainly a contributing factor to them. However, even though it takes two to tango so to speak, I was punished the most. Probably rightly so in the end. After feeling that, I knew it was time to grow up and accept that I had to make things happen. Might be a few years, perhaps even a decade or two, too late, but progress is on the way.

I certainly didn't give up poker though. The games are a little less frequent, online and live. I did re-visit a few poker blogs during this years WSOP...and a few twitter accounts as well that have become all the rage since I left. I was a happy observer of all the poker blogs I used to read daily.

I didn't restart mine though. I didn't feel the need. I didn't feel justified either, as I was playing so little poker myself. But the way Iggy's little comment made me feel...well, this just might be back on the agenda now.

I'm also blogging and twittering on a corporate level now too, so reviving this blog does serve those purposes as well, by reacquainting me the practice and honing a few skills. Well, that's the idea anyway.

And I have reason for it as well. Turns out, one of my bosses at work is a bit of a poker fan. Not a week goes by now where I don't have an offer to visit the local casino for a game. I don't go every week, but the offer is there.

I had one session that reminded me of the old Sydney home games. Fond memories. I shared them with the guys I used to play with. While I missed those times, as I said to my poker buddies I feel more blessed to have been able to have those times in the first place.

The good news, poker wise, is that my proud record of having my biggest winning session being larger than my biggest loosing session, and by some margin. I'm still playing similar limits, a little higher but not by much. Still enjoying it.

A few months ago, after some car troubles I was in need of some repairs to the radio so I would have something to listen to on my way to and from work. In the mean time, I decided to search for some podcasts on poker (featuring an Idol of mine, Dr Pauly no less), and download them to the iPhone (which, I should add, is being paid for by the new job. What a score!) to listen to on the journey. Along the way, I came across Poker Road Radio - and I've been hooked for the past 3 months at least. My car radio still remains unfixed because of that. Two Jacks - love the show. I even got a kick out of PRR when Joe Stapleton read out a comment I left on his account on What a thrill that was for me - I am a vein beast at times. I mean that honestly, I was well chuffed.

So I've made my return to the blogsphere with a bit of a ramble. I will try to keep this revival going on more on topic in future.

I do wish to apologize again to Iggy for leading him astray with my slackness. I would have never started blogging in the first place if I hadn't found his blog in the first place.

But more so - thank you. Leaving that little comment really gave me a pick up. Thank you.