Indian Cab Driver: How long you lived in Brooklyn buddy?
Me: About seven and a half years.
ICD: You like it?
Me: Yeah it's pretty nice.
ICD: You own your apartment or you rent?
Me: Rent. I don't have enough money to buy.
ICD: Come on! White guy like you?
Me: Nah, it's too expensive.
ICD: What do you do for a living?
Me: I work for an investment company.
ICD: No money? Please. White guy working for an investment company! You should buy an apartment.
Me: Um, you can just drop me at this corner. Thanks.
Monday, February 25, 2008
Indian Cab Driver: How long you lived in Brooklyn buddy?
Sunday, February 17, 2008
For the last week I've been writing lots of "session notes". I generally hate reading them when written by other people absent some nice piece of insight gleamed from the session. Judging from the lack of comments to my session notes, you generally hate reading them too. No more of that then.
I've obviously become hooked on razz again, even though right now I'm playing break-even razz. I'm not sure if the problem is: (1) I'm not executing sound razz strategy properly; (2) my sample size is too small and I'm in a bit of a bad run of cards; or (3) Sklansky's methods as outlined in Sklansky on Razz are too tight for today's online game. The only answer for now is to keep plugging away and see if my results improve.
I may also need to learn how to be more aggressive in the later stages of tournaments and to selectively gamble here and there. The limits in the nightly 2k guarantee go up quickly. There really isn't much time to fold 20 or 30 hands in a row unless you're sitting on a monster stack.
Saturday, February 16, 2008
Well, I finally cashed in the 2k razz tourney on my fourth try. There are roughly 100 runners each night. Previous efforts saw me finish (in this order) 60th, 24th and 19th. Tonight I was on fire. With 27 remaining, I was in first place (12 pay). Then the card death and the bricks began. My final hand, limits were 800/1600 and I had only 4500 left after starting 2-4-5 on the previous hand and catching 3 bricks in a row. I was the bring-in with 3-A / 6 against a deuce, a 3, an ace and a 6. No question about it -- it was go time. My hand was very live and three of my nine pair cards were out. The ace completed, the other 6 raised, I 3-bet. The ace folded and we were heads-up, with me as a 3-to-2 favorite and ready to commit the rest of my stack on 4th. Of course, a jack for me against a 9 for him. After we got the rest of it in, he showed 4-5 / 6-9. I caught a deuce on fifth against his 7 to retake the EV lead 3-A / 6-J-2 against 4-5 / 6-9-7 (55/45) but I wouldn't be writing the post if I got there. I wound up finishing 11th, cashing for a very disappointing 2x buy-in.
I am taking this thing down one of these nights.
Friday, February 15, 2008
I wasn't going to play any more tonight, but then I spotted Waffles at a table so of course I had to sit down. We were later joined by Poker Enthusiast. I had a break-even session (within one big bet to either side):
For this session, I think I can say that I just wasn't getting much in the way of playable hands. Folded one pot on the river after starting 4 to a 7 and finishing with a 9-7 that was most likely no good. I might have called there... it was close. Those marginal decisions are what really make razz a tough game.
It was a night where lots of little things went against me:
1. I brought it in 16 times in 100 hands at a full table. Average would be 12 times. That hurt my bottom line slightly.
2. 6 times that I brought it in, nobody completed so I got a useless free 4th street. Subtracting 6 times from "Saw Fourth Street" means that I actually saw fourth street 22 times, slightly higher than yesterday (18). That's sort of irrelevant, except...
3. The total wins on 3rd/4th yesterday (5) was the same as today. It's true that I won more of those hands on fourth today than yesterday (slightly bigger pots), but I also put more money in on third today. The net was lower. That hurt my bottom line slightly.
4. I saw fifth street the same number of times (12) both days.
5. I got fewer folds on fifth tonight, meaning I had to go to sixth more frequently.
6. Last night, I was 6 for 6 when seeing sixth street. Tonight I was 4 for 9. I lost 3 pots at showdown and had to fold on 6th twice out of fear that I was drawing dead. Losing pots after they've gotten to the big streets really hurt the bottom line, especially if it goes to showdown. Tonight I was an ugly 1 for 4. I lost with a 6-5-4-3 to a 6-5-4-2, a ten (in my defense, this was against the bring-in who defended with a king and I just couldn't believe that he drew into such a good board while I drew so crappy), and a 7-6 (started 6-5-4-3 here) that lost to a 6-5 who caught running perfect cards on 6th and 7h. Average pot size was 11 big bets. If I win even one of those pots, it swings the session from a small loser to a small winner.
A frustrating game, but a nice change from holdem and far preferable to stud.
Thursday, February 14, 2008
Not super profitable, but a win is a win. I never did sit down for another FTOPS satellite, choosing instead to focus on re-reading Sklansky on Poker and playing some low limit cash games. As of this writing, surflexus is in 11th place of 176 remaining, with 64 cashing. Good luck to him!
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
I was excited to play the Mookie tonight - I got my buyin courtesy of some dumbass in a $1/$2 razz game who bet into me on the river when he was clearly board-locked. Things started out well in the tournament, until I did something I try never to do - steal raise with a dominated hand (junky aces, kings and queens) - and paid the price when I flopped top pair and felt obligated to call a shorty's check-push. He flopped top two meaning I was drawing almost dead.
Stayed alive for a few levels after that by using my stack as a weapon, but eventually I went out when I flopped trip aces from the big blind in an unraised pot and the case ace was out there with a bigger kicker. I had only 9 big blinds at the time and pot size was 4 big blinds, so I'm not really sure how I was going to get away from it.
Afterwards I went back to the $1/$2 razz game and got *raised* on seventh by someone I had board-locked (and it wasn't even close). On a different hand a guy completed the bring-in with a ten door card into 2 low cards behind him (one of them me, and I happened to be sitting on a 3-card 7). I don't know where these people come from, but I hope they never leave. I know it's only $1/$2, but some of these players couldn't buy a clue if they were given $20 and dropped off in front of the Clue Store.
Every donkey has his day though. After those two hands I had someone jamming with a four-card 8 on 5th against an obvious made 8 and a four-card 7 (me). According to twodimes, he had all of 8% equity -- seems like a good time to jam. Of course he got there. I didn't mind the action, although the hand cost me $18; just would have been nice if he didn't get there (even if it went to the other guy!).
Then I lost starting 4-5 / 2-3 when I made a 6 on the river and my opponent made a better 6 on the river after starting A-3 / 2-6. That one was a flip the whole way -- not much you can do but shrug. At least I didn't raise him on the river, precisely because I feared a better 6 based on the action on earlier streets (but no way am I throwing away a 6 in these donkey-infested games).
In the end what started out as a solid winning session turned into a solid loser, wiping out the tourney buy-in that I won before the Mookie, but I think I'm starting to get back in touch with my game. Now some results would be nice.
Sunday, February 10, 2008
AKA, a lesson in satellite strategy.
Today, I played an $8+$0.70 Tier I token 2-table satellite. I successfully finished in the top 5 to win the token. On to the $24+$2 Tier II token 2-table satellite. At the final table, with 8 people remaining (5 tokens and a cash booby prize for 6th), the following hand went down. The game is NLHE, by the way.
Seat 1: (6,381) <---- chip leader
Seat 2: (660)
Seat 4: (4,454)
Seat 5: (1,430)
Seat 6: (2,514)
Seat 7: (2,252)
Seat 8: (6,264) <---- just barely not chip leader
Seat 9: (3,045)
Blinds are 60/120.
Now, before I get to the action, I should say that I generally consider 6k chips to be the "safe zone" in these token satellites. If you manage to chip up to 6k, you pretty much don't have to play another hand. This is because there's no difference between 5th place and 1st place. Each gets the same token. With 18 players starting with 1500 chips each, doubling twice to 6k in chips puts you slightly above par when there are 5 players remaining. If the chips wind up evenly distributed towards the bubble and the satellite goes on for a long time (I had one that lasted 90 minutes), you might be in trouble. But generally 6k is the magic number. Click the "sit out next hand" button at that point. Anyway...
Seat 1 (6,381) raises to 360.
SB in Seat 8 (6,264) calls 300.
Flop comes J-8-7, two clubs.
Seat 8 bets 840.
Seat 1 raises to 6,021 and is all-in.
Seat 8 calls 5,064 and is all-in.
Seat 1 shows Qs Qh.
Seat 8 shows Ad As.
No help on the turn or river for Seat 1, and seat 1 is crippled down to 117 chips, going out in 8th on the next hand. At a time when he/she could have folded his/her way to the token (2 short stacks, 3 medium stacks makes this pretty likely).
Anyway, I wound up winning the token, which I put into my second attempt at qualifying for FTOPS #14 (Razz). 10 runners, 2 $322 satellite packages up for grabs. We get down to 3-handed, and I manage to river a 6 in a big pot. After that hand, the stack sizes were:
Seat 1: (2,309)
Seat 3: (4,555)
Seat 5: (8,136) <---- me
Notice that I have over half the chips in play. I say to Drizzle "pretty sure I don't have to play another hand". 6 minutes later, the stack sizes are:
Seat 1: (4,978)
Seat 3: (2,286)
Seat 5: (7,736)
I haven't played a hand and still have over half the chips. They swapped chips in one big hand that went to the river, but I'm still sitting pretty. Then it all goes to hell when I'm dealt A-5 / 3. Seat 3, the short stack, brings it in for 75, showing a 7, and I complete to 250. Seat 1 folds an ace (good for me that one of the other aces is dead), and Seat 3 calls. Fourth street comes A-5 / 3-8 against x-x / 7-9 and now I'm stuck. I have to go all the way to the river with this hand and I shouldn't even be playing. I CAN FOLD MY WAY TO THE FTOPS ENTRY. They cannot. With limits of 250/500/40, they can trade chips back and forth but eventually one of them is going to bust. In 5 minutes limits are going up to 300/600/50. Even if I lose another 400 chips in that time, I'll still have 12 big bets. At this point in the tournament that's huge.
You know how this ends. Those that don't learn from history's mistakes -- the Tier II token SNG -- are doomed to repeat them. I can't catch a 2, 4, 6, or 7 to save my life (according to Sklansky I had a 73% chance to do so), and he winds up calling all the way and making a 9-7 against my 9-8. Now all 3 stacks are relatively the same size, I have to play again, and I start catching bricks. I made a really bad play on 5th street in one hand (putting in a raise, showing a bad one and holding a hidden pair, when there was no way the other guy was going to fold) and start sliding down in chips. The big blow to me came when I started 4-A / 8, completed and got raised on 3rd by a deuce. Boards on 5th are:
x-x / 2-8-A
4-A / 8-J-5
This was a big decision point for me, because if he didn't pair on that ace I'm in trouble. I probably needed to fold here. I thought long about it, wound up calling, pairing on 6th and pairing on 7th. He made an 8-7-6, so any 2, 3, 6, or 7 would have won me the pot. Once again, I can't catch one freaking card.
I wound up doubling once from there, and then getting all my chips in on a 50/50 hand with A-6 / 5 versus 3-6 / 4. I wound up on the wrong side of the equation -- was four to a 6 on 5th street and went pair, pair -- and went out in 3rd place. A $46 booby prize, but no FTOPS entry for me. All because I decided to play A-5 / 3 when I had over half the chips in play. Totally fucking stupid.
Thanks to Drizz, Falstaff, Mary and of course CK for sweating me at the end. Sorry I played like such a fucking dumbass. I am pretty mad at myself for making such a rookie mistake.
Addendum: After the razz event, I played another $8.70 SNG to restart the process of working up to the $75. Once I hit 6k in chips, I did not play another hand. I chipped down to 5k but won the first token.
Saturday, February 09, 2008
I decided to play a satellite to FTOPS #14 (Razz) tonight and it went about as awfully as a tournament can go. There were 8 entrants. 8! Satellite prize to 1st, cash to 2nd and 3rd. All I had to was outlast 5 people.
Well, I went out 8th in 30 minutes. The RNG really fucked me, to wit:
5-8 / 6 versus x-x / T (he reraised me on third and I just called). Boards come
5-8 / 6-K-T-K
x-x / T-8-5-6
That's a fold, as at best I'm drawing at a hand he already has made.
5-2 / 2 versus x-x / A. Boards come
5-2 / 2-3-9-3 / 3
x-x / A-5-Q-7 / x
That's a fold. Can't even beat a queen here.
4-A / 3 versus x-x / A (he reraised me on third and I just called). Boards come
4-A / 3-6-T-T / Q
x-x / A-9-6-5 / x
That's a fold. Too easily beat by a 9.
2-A / 5 versus x-x / 7 (I limped, he completed, I reraised heads up). Boards come
2-A / 5-5-8-7 / 2
3-4 / 7-T-6-A / 6
That's a loser.
3-7 / 2 versus x-x / 7 and x-x / 3 (also two other 2s were dead). Boards come
3-7 / 2-9
x-x / 7-5
x-x / 3-2
It's two bets to me on fourth and I have to fold. One guy had A-6-7-5; the other had 8-4-3-2.
5-6 / 3 versus x-x / A (he completed, I raised). Boards come
5-6 / 3-A-A-T / Q
x-x / A-8-5-6 / x
He bet the river and I have to fold as it's unlikely a ten is good.
The final hand: I'm all-in with 2-T / 6, called by 7-J / A. Boards come
2-T / 6-5-7-5 / 2
7-J / A-8-4-3 / 3
And I'm out. Talk about frustrating. ARGH.
Thursday, February 07, 2008
The Problem: You are playing in a 7-handed limit holdem game, and limp from under the gun with 99. The player on your immediate left, who has been a bit spewy since you sat down, raises. Action folds to the small blind, on whom you have no read at all, who makes it three bets, folding the big blind. Do you call?
Analysis: First of all, put aside the discussion of whether, first to act, you should have limped or raised. I think a good argument can be made for raising, but that's a different post.
Next, look at the players involved. There is a very good chance you are ahead of the LAG on your left, and you have position on the small blind, so this isn't the worst spot for your 9s. However, in the absence of any other knowledge about a player, I find a good general rule is that if someone is 3-betting or capping out of the small blind against two other players, they have a solid hand -- generally TT-AA and maybe AK. Thus there's a strong likelihood that your 9s are behind, and unless you hit a set, playing them after the flop against two people is going to be very, very difficult. This would have me leaning towards a fold if the odds aren't there to chase a set. Are they?
Small bets currently in the pot: 7, plus we can assume one from the LAG, means 8.
Small bets to us to call: 2
Effective pot odds currently: 4 to 1 (BIG bets)
Odds of flopping a set: 7.5 to 1
This means, after the flop, we have to earn another 3.5 BIG bets when we hit a set just to break even on the call. Also worth nothing that the small blind will probably lead at the pot on the flop. The most likely scenario goes flop: bet, call, call (1 big bet), turn: bet, raise, fold, call (2 big bets), river: check, bet, call (1 big bet) for a total of 4 extra big bets after the flop when flopping a set. Meaning, you earn a total of 8 big bets on your 7.5 to 1 draw -- and of course, this assumes you don't get outdrawn by anyone.
Overall, that makes the pre-flop call *extremely* marginal. If it were only raised once preflop (that is, the small blind just called the raise), you would be getting 5 to 1 effective odds on your one SMALL bet, meaning that you would only have to collect 2.5 SMALL bets to break even on the call. That's an easy call.
When it's two bets back to you, however, and you're facing the task of playing against an unknown in the small blind AND a LAG behind you, I think the better play is probably to dump your 9s.
(Ok, I can't resist. "Do you see why?")
Wednesday, February 06, 2008
My blogroll has been updated -- I trimmed some of the dead flesh and added links to everyone who asked. It will probably be a year before it's updated again, because I suck that way.
Last night I stayed up later than usual to watch the greatest Waffles-tilt moment of all time. Seems somebody was goaded into an ill-conceived bet on Buddy Dank Radio and almost had to pay up, saved only at the last moment by a monumental collapse by Waffles, on par with the 2004 Yankees or the 2008 Patriots. He had to win the tournament to collect, and had a 6-1 chip lead entering heads-up play, only to choke and finish second. It was as if the universe said to itself, "Wait a minute. I can't let Waffles win! It's in the contract -- Waffles is never supposed to win!" Thank God the universe woke up and noticed in time. What would I read if Waffles actually won something? He'd become totally boring.
Note to Waffles: next time you have a high open pair in heads-up Stud Hi/Lo, don't check to your opponent! You did it at least twice last night, on multiple streets both times, and it probably cost you your coveted photo. Maybe CK will send you some sort of consolation prize, but I doubt you'll ever catch her making a bet like that again. You really blew it man.
Monday, February 04, 2008
Ten thoughts on the Super Bowl:
1. It was hard for me to get motivated for this game. I was stuck with a choice between rooting against 19-0, and rooting against the "other" New York team winning the game. In the end, rooting against 19-0 won out, because how insufferable would Boston fans become if they were to win the World Series, the Super Bowl, and (potentially) the NBA championship all in the same year? Thankfully, the world will never know. Also, rooting against 19-0 was the same as rooting in favor of Dawn Summers' salty tears, and if there's one thing I'm in favor of, it's making Dawn cry.
2. Looking at my game notes, what struck me right away was that the Giants completed four third downs on their opening drive (3rd and 6, 3rd and 6, 3rd and inches, 3rd and 7), getting stopped only on 3rd and 10 from the New England 18. Credit the New England defense for making some adjustments, because after that opening drive, it looked like it might be a long night for them.
3. Similarly, the NE tackling on that opening drive was embarassing. Two entries:
"6:38pm. 1st and 10 at NE 48, Jacobs gets 8 off left tackle. Meriweather should be ashamed to get run over like that."
"6:39pm. 3rd and inches, wow Bradshaw churning like a shady Wall Street broker bilking grandma out of a few hundred thousand. Ty Warren trying to tackle him with one arm. Uh, no."
4. How was the announcing by Buck and Aikman? As deplorably bad as expected? At this point, I have selective deafness when it comes to Aikman, and everything that comes out of Buck's mouth sounds like an adult in a "Peanuts" animated special (punctuated by the occasional "Slamma-lamma-ding-dong!"). I would have asked CK, except by the time I thought to do it, she was already four shots deep. And sweating.
5. A couple of uncharacteristic coaching decisions by Beli-chick really changed this one. First, going for it on 4th and 13 from the NY 31, and second, punting on 4th and 2 from the NY 44. Reconcile those two decisions, and you can have a job on FOX announcing football games. Maybe replace Tiki on NBC after he kills himself tonight.
6. A word about the careerbuilder.com ads. First, a beating heart rips itself out of a woman's chest, sprouts legs, marches into her boss's office and holds up an "I QUIT" sign. Second, Jiminy Cricket is eaten by a spider. Really? This was the best you could do, careerbuilder.com? Those ads were only effective due to the fact that they were REALLY FUCKING CREEPY. I'm not sure if that's exactly the brand recognition I'd be seeking for my product.
7. I really wanted Tom Petty to sing "And I'm free. Free Baaaaaaallin'." Similarly, I really wanted this game to be on NBC, and for Tiki Barber to be assigned to the Giants' locker room after the game. How sweet would that have been? Maybe they could have at least had him do some sort of sideline interview (erm, I mean luxury box interview) with Jeremy Shockey. Did anyone else laugh mercilessly when FOX showed Jeremy Shockey sitting all by his lonesome in his box? Anyone? No? Nobody? Really? Neither did I.
8. FOX showed about three times as many sideline shots of Beli-chick as they did of Coughlin. Coughlin needs to get a better PR man, because seriously - if no-nonsense, grumpy Beli-chick is getting more press time than he is, Coughlin may as well just kill himself now.
9. The Giants seemed to get all the breaks - most notably, when Bradshaw fumbled, Wood fell on it, and yet somehow Bradshaw flipped him over and ripped the ball out of his hands before the officials determined possession. There was also Amani Toomer punching Samuel(?) in the face before hauling in an ugly throw from Eli. Also, do I need to even mention the velcro on David Tyree's helmet?
10. I guess I was wrong when I said that the coin toss was the only thing the Giants would win all day. It happens. Once in a while.
Friday, February 01, 2008
Just a bit o' pimpin' today:
ScurvyDog wrote a very thoughtful follow-up to my last post on cheating. He's always been one of my favorite reads, though like many of us old-timers (myself included), his posting frequency has diminished significantly from what it once was.
An old college friend of mine has started up (for the third time?) his website again. He's an insightful fellow, even if he does lives in Williamsburg, so feel free to check out his Adolescent Love Poetry.
By the way, if you're not linked over there on the right, and you'd like to be, by all means leave me a comment and I'll link you up. I'm pretty bad about updating those links, so now's your chance.