The Poker Game of Life

Poker and scotch on the rocks. Below are my reflections on life and poker. My journey from $4-8 as a past time to $30-60 for serious money and my life experiences in between.

Location: seattle, Washington, United States

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

My first royal flush

The first royal flush of my poker career. My father who played for a living for 30 plus years has hit 7 royals. Isn't that amazing, only 7 in a career where you play everyday.

And yes that's my screen name and yes I wish I was in a $30/60 game. hehe, $20/40 was softer than $30/60 yesterday.

Oh and to answer a few questions in advance.

1.) Yup, if I see your stats and you're a pigeon limping in with weak hands I'm raising from late position with very marginal hands to isolate you. :)

2.) Yup I'm putting in as many bets as I can with 2nd nut straight and a flush draw. If you're not I think you should sign up for my poker lessons.

Send the chips!

***** Hand History for Game 2280016655 *****
$20/$40 Hold'em - Tuesday, June 28, 23:53:17 EDT 2005
Table Table 52085 (Real Money)
Seat 5 is the button
Total number of players : 10
Seat 1: GrouchoMarx ( $480 )
Seat 2: RedWolf83 ( $1047 )
Seat 3: RanPhen ( $1449 )
Seat 4: alo10b3 ( $1097 )
Seat 5: Kayber2 ( $1454 )
Seat 6: CWALDOB ( $716 )
Seat 7: JOVENUTO ( $397 )
Seat 8: LmRLmR ( $793 )
Seat 9: betumup ( $1881.5 )
Seat 10: fishieface ( $3183.61 )
CWALDOB posts small blind [$10].
JOVENUTO posts big blind [$20].
** Dealing down cards **
Dealt to Kayber2 [ Qd Td ]
>You have options at Table 48771 Table!.
LmRLmR folds.
betumup calls [$20].
fishieface folds.
GrouchoMarx folds.
RedWolf83 folds.
RanPhen folds.
alo10b3 folds.
Kayber2 raises [$40].
CWALDOB calls [$30].
betumup calls [$20].
** Dealing Flop ** [ Jd, Qc, 9c ]
CWALDOB checks.
betumup checks.
Kayber2 bets [$20].
CWALDOB calls [$20].
betumup calls [$20].
** Dealing Turn ** [ Kd ]
CWALDOB checks.
betumup checks.
Kayber2 bets [$40].
>You have options at Table 48771 Table!.
CWALDOB calls [$40].
betumup raises [$80].
>You have options at Table 48771 Table!.
Kayber2 raises [$80].
CWALDOB calls [$80].
betumup calls [$40].
>You have options at Table 48751 Table!.
** Dealing River ** [ Ad ]
>You have options at Table 48771 Table!.
CWALDOB checks.
betumup checks.
Kayber2 bets [$40].
CWALDOB folds.
betumup calls [$40].
Kayber2 shows [ Qd, Td ] Royal Flush.
betumup doesn't show [ Qs, Th ] a straight, ten to ace.
Kayber2 wins $637 from the main pot with Royal Flush.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

You're not a real poker player..

Until you've called a player down with Ace something high and the person you called beat you with Ace something higher.

It happens to me on occassion and I just smile and say, "Oh you got Ace queen high that's way way the best hand" as I quietly muck my Ace Jack. The other players at the table look at you in amazement like "How can he have all my chips and make that ace high call."

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Your commitment to your hand...

Ever notice that some player's are ridiculously in love with their poker hands even when they shouldn't be? Do you also notice that some people are ridiculously in love with their significant others when once again they shouldn't be? Today I was playing too many hours of poker (like always) and the thought came to mind that loving your hand and loving your wife/husband/girl/whatever are highly related.

For example, say player Mike raises with AA and the flop is JT9 all diamond and Mike doesn't have the A of diamond. There's 4 way action and everyone raises like crazy on the flop. Mike should get out the hand obviously but he's in love with AA and stays in there like a fool and wastes his time, money, and life.

It's the same with love. Don't you know plenty of people who are so in love with somebody who treats them badly. Yet they still continue to stay in this bizarro relationship because there was a point in time when everything was great. When they used to hangout all the time, walk around the park, go out to eat. You know that time....before the flop.

There's also those players who are too quick to give up on their hand. Say player Phil has AK and the flop comes JT2, he bets immediately gets raised and there are a few callers making it a big pot. Some players mistakenly give this pot up when they actually have four queens for the nuts and if they're getting 11 to 1 they should absolutely call. Whether or not the A or K are real outs is debatable and not the point of my thought.

At any rate this player is comparable to the guy or gal who gives up on their relationships way too easily. They had something great at the beginning and even though they have a shot at something beautiful they give it up because everything isn't perfect. (By the way if you don't think the stone cold nut hand in poker is one of the most beautiful things you've ever seen you need to stop reading and jump in the game RIGHT NOW!) :) So they break up with the other person when in fact if they were smart and really sat down and thought about it they should give it a shot and try and reconcile.

Gimme that queeeeeen on the turn. (By the way the turn is when I turn 27 in Sept)

Side the biggest pot in awhile today, $1,737 but still lost for the day.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Absolutely Beautiful

If my poker prowess ever excels to the level that Robert Horry (aka Big Shot Bob) plays basketball I will be a happy man. His game tonight was absolutely amazing.

Now don't get me wrong, I want to be the Michael Jordan of poker. But if that doesn't ever happen I hope I can excel under pressure, that's the most beautiful part of any game. Stepping it up under extreme pressure.

Horry does all the little things to win. Dives for that loose ball, rebounds hard, scrambles, sits the bench with no complaints and it works.

It's the same in poker. Understanding the basic math principles, studying your opponents, reading books to understand other opinions, and putting in the dirty work to become successful.

Friday, June 17, 2005

poker lessons / passion

Just got done with George's poker lessons. I actually had a great time teaching the class. Sometimes I forget how much love I actually have for the game. I've really noticed that in order to be successful at anything you have to have a real passion for it. When I was working at Xbox the vice presidents there were so passionate about their product it actually made you excited and happy to work. That's probably why they got where they are.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

What a rush

Lately I've been playing in a few tournaments each day in both limit and no limit since tournaments are definitely a weaker part of my game. Today I won a limit tourney for the first time (The 2nd one I played in). There were 50 people total and first was worth $1,500 and 2nd worth $1,000. Pretty significant difference in money between first and second.

So it's heads up with about 30k each in chips and 400-800 blinds. Pretty small blinds (chip stacks were about 37x the big bet if I remember correctly) so we got to play heads up for a really really long time. He got me down to 10k in chips and my buddy Ian was watching and says, "Beat this fucker". I just gritted my teeth and played my best poker, caught a few hands and hey I won first!

What a rush. I mean the difference was only $500 but man that felt great. It was way better than winning a thousand dollar hand in $30-60. Ok, ok, not waaaaay better but at least a little better. I think it's something just about winning that makes you feel this crazy rush. Way better than any drug or alcoholic beverage (even scotch). :)

In the matrix

I call the world of online poker "The Matrix" because nothing is exactly real. I see roughly twice as many hands per hour and I have no clue who I'm really playing against. The funniest thing about playing online poker is that people are ridiculously rude. I had some guy call me a "f**kin' idiot" because I sucked out on him. Besides one "almost fight" that happened to me at a casino I've never experienced so many rude people in "the real world". I'd bet my bankroll 95% of the rude crowd is skinny little geeks who wouldn't have the nerve to even look at me wrong in public.

What can you do though? The online game is huge and I need the money. Besides I can fly and dodge bullets in the Matrix nowadays anyway.

Bring it on Agent Smith.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Value betting on the river

Lately I've been thinking a lot about value betting on the river. Conventional old school wisdom says that you should only bet the river when you are likely to get called by a hand that is worse. That means if you think your opponent is going to call you down with mid pair no kicker that you should bet mid pair with a strong kicker. Sounds funny but those extra bets add up.

The problem that I've been debating is whether or not the fact that your opponent knows you only bet the river for value negates the value that you gain from this bet. For example, if your opponent knows that you only bet the end with a strong hand but that you'll bet the flop and turn on bluffs does he become correct to call you on the flop and turn with a weak hand and fold if you bet the river?

Therefore I'm a proponent that on occassion you should bet the river on a pure bluff as well. Not that I haven't been doing this but I just started really formalizing my thought process on this topic recently.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Part 2

Well we'll never know since he mucked it. I can't see him playing any hand that strongly except QQ or JJ (that's a bit much for JJ I think). My stats are somewhere along the 15% playing hands, raising about 11% so you can't really put me on anything too weirdo except if you think i'm on tilt.

Which I wasn't. :)

Thursday, June 09, 2005

What a move

These weirdos on Party Poker continue to try funny things w/ obviously bullshit hands in the $30-60 game. Listen to this hand and see if you can guess what the guy was doing.

Preflop: I raise Mid position with KK, immediate left reraises and everyone else folds. I 3 bet and my immediate left caps.

Flop is small and we cap again.

Turn is an A, I bet and she raises. In my mind the A is irrelevant, would she really cap the flop with AK high? Not this chick, she's not that weird. :) At any rate either she's got KK, AA or QQ and I'm going to pay off.

River is a K and here's where I make my mistake. I check raise the river and she folds.

What the hell was I thinking. Either she had me beat or she didn't. If she had AA she's going to reraise and I lose another $60 for a total of $120 mistake. If she had QQ she folds and it's so unlikely she has anything else then Mars would be the size of the moon seen from earth. (Oh wait that's happening but anyway).

What do you guys think?

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

A new blog

One of my closest buddies and a really strong player has a new blog called Solving the Poker Puzzle. I highly recommend it. The quote about the girl is particularly funny. :) A strong woman player is a dangerous thing.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Running good

Well it's been 3 weeks since I graudated to $30-60 and things are going swimmingly for me (but not so well for the fish!). :) I'm now playing in 2 tables at once, my friend is recommending 4 but I want to take that one step at a time. At any rate I'm actually finding it a great game. There's about 2 pigeons per table (sometimes just a few mediocre players and no one awful) but that seems to be all I need. It's a simple "isolate and pound it to them" with tricks needed only for extra bets.

My friend MJ the owner of the Party Poker Strategy Guide has a great idea that I'm going to promote. If you sign up to play poker at one of the sites which we promote I'm willing to help teach you how I play poker. I know I know...what a shameless sell job. It is what it is though an extra way to make money on the side. If you want personalized lessons please let me know and we'll arrange something. I'll share hand histories, etc so you can see the results for yourself.

Good luck!

Thursday, June 02, 2005

A professional laydown

While playing at Party Poker today in the $30-60 I ended up in the same game as a really tough player, my buddy Ian. Ian's tough to the point where I ask him advice on my own game. Anyhow, he made a very impressive laydown today, here it is as well as our thoughts behind the play.

Ian raises from early position w/ QQ
I reraise from late position with KK
Ian caps and it's heads up. I'm pretty sure he's got anywhere from JJ-AA to AK.

Flop: 10, 4, 2 rainbow
The flow is just what both of us hoped for. Whoever had the better hand preflop still probably has the better hand. Although a set of tens is a potential hand.
Ian bets and I smooth call. I smooth call hoping to get more action from his hand on the turn where I intend to raise him. Maybe I can get him to think I'm making a move on him with AK suited or something.

Turn is a 7
He bets and I raise. He smooth calls.

River is a 4.
Ian checks, I bet and he hesitates for a long time and finally mucks his hand. After we chat and discuss the hand. He felt that it was possible for me to make a move w/ a weaker hand than QQ, and that it was possible I had JJ. However he felt that if I had JJ I wouldn't bet the end because he called my turn raise and clearly anyhand that calls a raise on the turn beats JJ. We both know each other to be really tough. He said that it was possible for me to raise the turn and try to get him to fold but then I would check the river. The river is clearly just a value bet. He was dead on with this read. What was interesting about the hand is that if he came back over the top of me on the turn I would have to put him on either a set of 10s, AA or maaaaaybe KK. No other hand really gets played that strongly on the turn.

So he made a great laydown with QQ. What is really funny is that I would've laid down KK if he popped me again. But I will admit that would take some serious nuts.