Archive for August, 2011

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August 2011 Gambling Results

August 31, 2011

Ugh. What a gross month. I topped it off with another miserable live session. In the interest of keeping my 9 month winning streak alive, I’m deciding to take tonight off, barely in the black.

I’m feeling a little depressed lately and middling gambling results aren’t helping out my mood much. Not only did I barely show a profit this month, but I had a pretty disastrous month financially as well. I moved into a new place and, long story short, my bankroll is about $1600 short right now. I took over a lease for someone and trusted them to pay the rent and deposit for me and for whatever reason, he couldn’t pay it (even though I handed him cash) and now owes me around $1500 (and another person owes me $120 for Kanye West & Jay-Z tickets). Oh, and Full Tilt still owes me $1600. Also, I blew my August budget by about $400 (the cost of moving and having no furniture). A frustrating situation under any circumstance, but exponentially more so since my month of September is built around jumping up in stakes. I requested five days off (that I normally work) this upcoming month to play juicy $8-$16 games and I’m playing a $300 No Limit tournament at Muckleshoot on September 9th. Fortunately, I have a backer… which is nice if I lose money, but kind of sucks if I win. Either way, the backing situation makes it a lot safer to play higher limits when half my bankroll is not in my possession.

I don’t know how I feel about my play this past month. I beat up the $8-$16 game both times I played it and I finally held my own at the $3-$6 level, but I couldn’t beat $4-$8 to save my life… a game I’ve been CRUSHING for two months straight. Perhaps it’s just variance, but I think my biggest leak nowadays is dealing with Run Bad, and on multiple occasions I turned somewhat bad sessions into disastrous ones. Or maybe I’m just burned out. If there’s one thing I’m sure of, it’s that I do NOT have fun playing poker when I’m losing. That’s not a good trait for someone that’s hoping to play this game for a living someday. It’s not always peaches and cream… and I know that… but still.

Perhaps I need to approach my every day game like I’m playing $8-$16 because when I was playing that higher limit, my starting requirements were much tighter and I really felt like I played mostly mistake free poker. God only knows I’m not above a $4-$8 game so there’s no reason to start playing like I am. I kind of feel like I’m falling into the same trap I’ve been stuck in before: I can play weaker hands because I’m better than these people. While the second part of that statement may be true, the first part isn’t. I think it’s time to hit the books again and get my mind right because there’s no reason I should be consistently losing at $4-$8, even for just a month.

To add to my depression, my day job has me at my wit’s end. It pays my bills, but I can’t say it’s even remotely what I want to be doing with my time. I have no interest in the food service industry, but my hourly income would be pretty hard to match elsewhere. I enjoy writing, but there’s not much money in that, especially when you barely have a foot in the door. Other than that, I have no idea what else I want to do. Except play poker… which is why this past month has been so discouraging. After two months where I brought in $4400 gambling, my bankroll was rising rapidly and I was more than a third of the way to the point where I feel I could quit my job. Now… I’m looking at this $3000 I have and realize my date with destiny is so much further away than I want it to be.

August Results (YTD in parentheses):

Overall Gambling: +$191 (+$4261.36)
Poker: +$295 (+$4418.36)
Live: +$355 (+$4543.30)
House Games: -$60 (+$298.70)
Pit: -$89 (-$55)
Sports Betting: -$10 (-$122)
Other Bets: -$5 (+$20)

$3-$6: +$41 (-$505)
$4-$8: -$903 (+$1321)
$8-$16: +$643 (+$643)
NL: $0 (+$503)

Live Tournaments: +$367 (+$1536)

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Check-Raise: Mid August Report

August 17, 2011

I’m depressed today. I haven’t been having a great month gambling and I really compounded my problems this morning. I did something I never do. I play Blackjack with Match Play coupons (free money), but I never gamble in the pit. Today, I showed up 30 minutes early for the morning tournament at Chips and decided to sit down at Ultimate Texas Hold Em. I’ve played it a couple times before, with minor success, and it appeals to my poker side since a sound preflop strategy in this game seems profitable. Max bet AQ preflop and 2x bet Q9 on Q high flop and lose to KJ on the river. Ugh. Max bet AJ preflop and lose to J5. Really? Max bet A4 preflop and 2x bet top pair on the flop (playing two hands) and dealer turns over a set. I can’t count how many times the dealer flipped his first card and only one card in the hole could beat me and he had it today.

All in all, -$190 in the pit. Then I run bad in the live game and my final straw is losing with AQ to KK on a AT83K board in a 20 BB pot after check-raising the flop and leading the turn. I even had the sense to check the river because I felt like he had KK or QQ and since I have AQ, I just felt it was KK most of the time. “I knew I needed that King.” Yeah, no shit moron. Nothing like losing big pots to two-outers on the river. Good day all.

So it’s August 17th and I’m showing a $55 profit gambling this month. Considering that I’m destined to have some losing months, even at the peak of poker greatness, I shouldn’t be too stressed out… but this month is a bit different since I’ve had to pull from my gambling bankroll for the first time since I’ve had one (again) because I’ve been moving this month and have basically no furniture. To put things in perspective, I keep a monthly budget and I’m $25 away from going over with two weeks to go… and I budgeted HIGH. I won’t know exactly how much I’ve pulled from my bankroll until the end of the month, but I do know now is NOT the time to be breaking even.

People often tell me that gambling for a living isn’t as rosy as it sounds. That’s making a lot of sense to me right now. I’m not having a losing month (yet), but even breaking even seems like a colossal waste of time, especially when you’re the hours leader at Chips Casino for two months running. I’m working 5 days a week at my day job–which is more than I want to–and I’m still putting in about 30-35 hours a week at the tables. Which means I’m basically doing nothing else with my life. I haven’t made a non-poker update on this blog in over a month. I didn’t even bother to review the new Harry Potter movie. I haven’t even seen Captain America or the new Planet Of The Apes. What kind of movie buff am I? All I do is work, play softball, and gamble. I have no social life. I can’t even imagine what I’d do if there was a girl out there that wanted to date me. After taking a beating this morning, today is the first day in probably a couple months that I’ve actually taken some time out to just lounge around. Hell, I’ve been living in this new house for over two weeks now and I’ve only unpacked and sorted the bare essentials.

I’ll probably be back at the tables later tonight, but right now a break–even a small one–feels really good.

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Check-Raise: Moving Up To $8-$16

August 6, 2011

I’ve been bankrolled for $8-$16 for a while now, but due to my day job and location, I haven’t had a chance to move up in stakes… until last night.

Side note: I sat in the $4-$8 game for 20 minutes waiting for my $8-$16 seat and cracked it for +$233 (that’s a $706/hr win rate! lol)… and that includes calling a raise HU from the BB with AdKh against my friend and check-raising him on AhTh5d3h turn and getting 3-bet by 8h2h (uhhh… nh Matt, you weirdo) and paying off on river (-$44). Turned top set with QQ in huge multiway pot. Flopped top set of 9s on 94343 board–sorry, we’re not chopping. Turned nut flush vs. 2nd nut flush against my friend. Sick run. Also folded As8s first hand against a raise and would’ve flopped nut flush vs. set on unpaired, 3-spade board (also against my friend). With one cold-call in front of me, I would maybe call in that spot in my normal games, but being the first hand I got dealt at a new casino, I had no idea how the table was playing yet. Folding seems best.

Even though I’ve played as high as $20-$40 online regularly (way back), it’s always a little rattling moving up to a new limit and playing in a new casino. I definitely sat down w/ the intentions of playing much tighter than I would in my typical $4-$8 until I got a really good feel for the table. For a while, I didn’t think there was any real weak spots at the table, but 3 of the players were $20-$40 regulars and started playing like the game was beneath them, spewing chips. I was willing to give higher stakes players the benefit of the doubt, and even though there were a couple people in the game I thought played good, by the end of the night, I felt like I might be the best player in the game.

I finished +$187 and I got pretty unlucky in 3 pots.

My first pot I play, I pick up AA UTG and raise. 5-ways to J53 rainbow flop. I bet, 2 callers. Q on turn. I bet, two calls. T on river. I check-call HU and lose to JT. Not a good welcome to my new limit, but I felt like I read the situation perfectly.

I have Qd3d in BB. Several limpers, the spewiest $20-$40 player raises, I call from BB in 6-way pot. First limper (JT from previous hand) 3-bets, everyone calls, original raiser caps. I get trapped for 4 bets with my weak hand in a huge pot. Flop comes KdJcTd. Gin draw! I check-raise the field. Turn is 7d. I bet and get 3 callers. River is another diamond. I check-call and lose to the 3-bettors red Aces. Groan, but nh sir.

Same villain limps in 3rd position, folds to SB, he completes, I look down at AsJs and raise. Both call. Flop comes AAT. I bet, thinking I’m never getting action here. My nemesis raises, I 3-bet, he caps. I check-call turn and river and he shows AT. Yay! I can’t beat this dude.

Another weird pot: I raise a couple limpers with 99 and we see a J84, two heart flop 4-ways. It checks to me in last position, I bet and the SB raises me. Everyone else folds. This player hasn’t been particularly aggressive, but there’s a reasonable chance my hand is good and I have the 9h. Since my opponent isn’t all that aggressive and I plan on calling, I decide to make it 3-bets and get to the river for “free.” He just calls and checks to me when a small heart turns. I check behind. River gives me a 9-high flush and he checks again. I don’t see how my hand is ever not good here, so even though I obviously have good showdown value here, I think a value bet is in order. I’m rather shocked when he calls and shows two red Kings. Whoops.

I flopped a set of 3s in a raised pot from the BB but didn’t get a huge amount of action. I lead into the field on the flop, hoping to 3-bet the OG raiser, but I just get a couple callers and the preflop raiser pays me off through the river for a single bet on every street. Oh well.

Another decent pot, I limp in OTB with one limper holding 9d8d. 4-ways to 644, one diamond flop. I bet when it gets checked to me trying to pick up the pot… and the SB calls… I’ve already pegged him as a tricky, trappy player. Throughout the session, he flopped trips out of position at least 8 times and got away with a turn check-raise 75% of the time. Turn brings the Td, giving me the flush draw. He checks to me and I check back (betting isn’t bad against a passive, predictable player, but I’d already seen this guy’s movie several times) River is Ad. He checks to me again, I bet, he raises, I 3-bet and he calls with K4 and tables it in disgust. Odd line on the river and nice try sir.

And here’s the only reason I finished up. I’m stuck about $100 at this point and haven’t had a playable hand in forever. Two people limp in front of me and I begrudgingly limp with KJo from MP. My friend immediately punishes my first weak limp of the night by raising from the next seat, the $20-$40 spewer 3-bets w/out looking, my friend caps and we see the flop 7-ways in capped pot. Board comes QT9r and gets capped 4-ways w/out me ever betting or raising. SB leads into me on turn, I raise, my friend (the flop capper) folds and I clear the field, he 3-bets, I cap. I’m starting to think we have the same hand. I’m still the nuts on the river, he disappointingly checks to me, I bet, he raises, I 3-bet almost sure we’re chopping and he finally figures it out and calls. He doesn’t show and I’m good for about a $550ish pot. Question preflop decision-making on my part, the hand played itself postflop, and I was lucky to get 7 BBs on the turn and river before my opponent figured out I wasn’t playing. Huge pot, but not really expert play from me. Just luck.

I was happy with my play overall. I won that one big pot that saved my session and got unlucky in most of the other big pots I played. Most importantly, I didn’t feel outmatched at the table and came out of the session thinking I should be able to beat that game on a regular basis. Time to move on up!

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July 2011 Gambling Results

August 1, 2011

Maybe Black Friday was the best thing that could happen to me. For the second straight month, I killed the live small stakes games and turned a profit of $1500+. I certainly wasn’t turning that kind of profit online.

It’s been an interesting month for me. My cover is blown. I’m no longer a decent player that ventures into the casino a couple times a month. I play several times a week for many hours and when you crush a game consistently over a couple months people take notice. I think I’ve been a somewhat respected player for a long time, but this past month things elevated to a new level. Here are some of the things people have said about me:

“You’re the last person I wanted to see walk in right now.”

Opponent: “I have to raise.”
Other Player: “Yeah, but you’re raising the wrong guy.”

“Normally, I would call, but I’m not playing against you.”

“As far as I can see, this kid is the chalk. If I had to put my money on anyone, it’d be him.”

“Best player in the county.”

Ok… I can admit, it’s nice to hear things like that and quite an ego-boost, but there’s also a downside. I definitely don’t want to hear people saying, “normally I would call.” If people are adjusting when I’m in the game that’s never a good thing for my bottom line. I want them to gamble with me, not tighten up.

Also, as good as my results have been the past two months, I still have some severe leaks in my game. I don’t play a ton of $3-$6, but I’m starting to think I shouldn’t play it at all. I’m -1.65 BB/HR over 55 hours the past 3+ months in that game. I mostly play that game on Wednesdays to kill time between tournaments. Aside from the harsher affect of the rake and tipping on my win rate, the day game seems to play much tighter and passive than the night games… which means if I get stuck it’s much harder to get even and I can play a lot less hands profitably. It’s just not my kind of game.

Playing tons of hours over the past couple months has helped my steam factor quite a bit. In the past, I could start to tilt if I was down $50-$60 to start a session… but now, I understand the concept of a “it’s all one long session.” Many nights over the past two months, I’ve been stuck $200-$300 at some point only to show a profit by the end of the night. If the game is good, the variance is going to be a lot greater, but so is your chances of turning things around. If you’re stuck in a tight game with little action, you might as well go home. I’ve learned to take my beats in stride because the money comes back eventually.

Even so, I haven’t completely freed myself of the Tilt Monster. For the second straight month I had a 85+ big bet downswing in the final week, turning a spectacular month into a merely good one. I use the word downswing loosely, however, because I can’t blame it all on bad luck. During my past four sessions, I was mostly playing poorly. I’ve gotten used to my aces being cracked, losing to flushes and straights on the rivers, but when you’re continually losing to 2-5 outers on the turn and river, while missing your big combo draws all in the same session, it can be incredibly frustrating… and when I’m frustrated, I don’t play good poker. Frustration probably cost me about $400 over the past four days. It’s a leak that needs to be addressed, because like it can turn a great month into a good one, it can turn a winning month into a losing one.

Future Plans

With a decent bankroll built up, I’m looking at playing some bigger events. I’ll be playing the $300 NL event at Muckleshoot on Friday, September 9th, and I’m planning on going to The Fall Poker Round-Up in Pendleton, Oregon at the Wildhorse Casino in November. At the moment, I’ll be playing the first six events, but that’s subject to change based on how well I do the next three months and how much backing I can get.

July Results:

Overall Gambling: +$1791
Overall Poker: +$1875
Live: +$1568
House Games: +$307
Pit: -$84
$3-$6: -$40 over 22.66 hours
$4-$8: +$834 over 103.08 hours
NL: +$465 over 6.83 hours
Tournaments: +$418 (13 tournaments, 6 cashes, 2 1sts)

YTD Overall: +$4756.80