Thursday, November 10, 2011
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
I’m about half way through my second glass of wine on a Tuesday evening and was just asked when I’m going to update my blog… how about now?
So, it’s been 5 months. What have I been up to? Well, I went to the
When I got back shit needed to get done. I worked on my deck for a week (yah, yah, still have to do railing, fuck that – always next year), and a buddy visited for a week, and things weren’t going very well (break even) so when I got a random call from my old boss when I was at Walmart buying golf balls at 2pm on a Wednesday I became a bit intrigued.
I told him I needed to think about it for a bit and then a couple of days later he called me back. One of his proposals peaked my interest and we pursued it. I’m back to work. My job is a lot different than it once was, and I’m still adjusting to it. I work downtown and ride the bus an hour each way, which isn’t bad for me because I just read and I love to read.
Weird thing about it all is that when I got off the phone with him I was going to start in one week (actually took longer) and my first thought was, “I’m done. Time for a break. A much needed break.” I didn’t think about the game for about a week, but as mentioned things took longer than expected and I decided I needed some cash. I logged on, played 50 hands and was stuck a grand. 50 hands later I was still stuck a grand but said fuck it. I haven’t played since. That was sometime around August 20th give or take a few days. I have barely thought about the game at all since then and am definitely on an extended hiatus. I’m going to pursue some other interests for a little while and come back to the game when it feels right. Not sure when that will be.
I have more to say about this, and now that I’ve started talking I want to say more, but I will save that for a later date. Anyways, I felt I owed my readers a little something after all this time. I miss you guys, and gals… I know how the ladies like Buck! YAH BABY!
Sunday, April 6, 2008
It’s been a little over 4 months since I quit my job and embarked on my pro poker odyssey. To say it hasn’t been everything that I had hoped it would be would be an understatement of immense proportions and I feel like venting.
When I started this journey I did not really expect to get rich or be hugely successful, although deep down inside I did hope that it would happen, but I expected to do better than I had while working. Prior to quitting my job I had a plethora of excuses for my lackluster poker results: not enough time, forced to play when tired, not enough self analysis, and, of course, bad luck. In theory quitting allowed me to remedy all of these problems except bad luck. Let’s see how I’m doing so far.
Not Enough Time
Although I have no job somehow I still seem quite busy. I have more than doubled the number of hands I average per month prior to quitting my job, from ~10k per month to ~23k per month, but I am still not playing as many as I thought I would play, which is 30k per month. Why is that?
One answer is that playing poker is not that easy. Eight hours in an office is not the same as eight hours of poker on the internet when measured with respect to intensity of concentration. Another answer is that I’m lazy. I can’t ignore the simplicity of that argument. Regardless of the reason, the reality is that I am not playing as much as I probably should. At least I’m spending that time studying the game and analyzing my own play though right?
Not Enough Self Analysis
I had planned on reviewing hands everyday for at least an hour to find small things that I am doing wrong and try and remedy them and improve my play and thus improve my results. It didn’t happen. I started off killing the game and one universal poker truth is that when you are winning you feel as if you are doing everything right and nothing wrong so why would you analyze anything?
Of course that’s a horrible way of looking at things and I thought I knew better, but obviously I was wrong. Also, I can easily give you some excuses, like spending time learning tagalog instead of studying poker, but all of that is side stepping the issue that this is what I’ve always wanted to do and I’m not doing it as well as I would like. One of the few things I can really control is the amount of focus and dedication I have and analyzing my game is important. I am working on this very hard right now actually, but find it difficult to get meaningful answers. I still believe it’s the right path for me to improve my results though.
Forced to Play When Tired
I’m not forced to play when I’m tired, and this is important, and I don’t. Yay, me!
The perennial poker excuse, out of mine, or anyone else’s control. It’s comforting to blame bad results on bad luck and good results on good play. Let’s take a look at my luck so far.
At the start I ran really hot and things looked good. I knew I was running above average but it was nice to get a good start. Things tapered off in December and I was a little flat. Then January was an Everest; I ran really hot at the start and really poor in the end. February continued the downward trend and tapered off at the end and that continued into March. March was rocky, and I lost money, but after the landslide it doesn’t seem too bad.
The landslide was the worst run I’ve ever been on. In fact, I’m still in the landslide since my results are still far below the Everest summit. I have been hovering ever since. Let’s dig deeper.
My main game is 10/20. I have played 74, 000 hands of 10/20 and am averaging 0.7 BB/100 hands. I expect, and hope, to make 1.5 BB/100, but am content with 0.7 BB/100. If I play 25,000 hands per month that will be 175 BB’s which is $3,500. I would also make about $2,500 from rakeback for $6,000 per month. I’d be fine with that.
I also like to play 15/30. Most of my play is at Eurobet, and the player pool is somewhat small. Most of the time the 15 isn’t very good but I cherry pick it and avoid those games. Occasionally the games are quite good and I constantly keep my eyes open for any opportunity where the 15 game is at least as good as the 10 and then I sit 15. So far I have played 22,500 hands of 15/30 and am averaging 0.09 BB/100. Yah, so I’ve made $588. Just to put that in perspective for you, the last two times I’ve played 15/30 I won over $2,000 one day and lost over $1,400 the next, so in reality I’m breaking even totally at 15/30. I should also mention that in 858 hands of 15/30 head’s up play I have lost $3,300. I am not playing 15/30 head’s up anymore.
A few times I decided to “take shots” at 20/40. I think that was in December after running good in November. 1,897 hands and -$4,373. The shots did not hit their intended target.
Overall, I have played 103,000 hands and have won $5,185. If you do the math it works out to $1,200 a month, not quite what I was hoping for. As an aside, these are only my online results. I have done very well live in a very short amount of time. They also don’t include rakeback, which is what I am really living off of at the moment. I get almost 10 cents per hand played which works out to $2,300 per month in rakeback income. Combined with my poker winnings I am netting $3,500 per month. This is less than what I made working, but is close. It’s enough for me to survive, without any savings, and that means it is perilous. As you can tell by this blog entry it is also weighing on me.
So have I been unlucky? I’m definitely doing poorly whenever I play higher which sucks. It also sucks because the 15/30 games have consistently been softer then the 10/20 games I play everyday. If I ran at 0.7 BB/100 in 15/30 I would have an extra $4,725 in my pocket – that’s a little unlucky. In 858 hands of HU 15/30 I’ve lost $3,300 – that’s a little unlucky. I lost a bunch in 20/40 – I’m willing to admit that maybe I wasn’t a favorite in those specific games (I doubt it though). Still overall, I think I am unlucky in my results so far. C’est la vie.
I started this venture hoping for financial freedom as well as life freedom. I do have life freedom, and I love it, but financially it has been stressful. I’m going to continue to persevere and hope things work out. I like my life. I like what I’m doing. I like the freedom that I have. I am lucky.
Sunday, March 23, 2008
As some of you may already be aware my mom ended up in a hospital in Mexico while attending my cousin's wedding. My mom, dad and sister went down there and shortly after arriving mom was not feeling well but they wrote it off as her having a cold or something else benign. After a few more days they realized that it was not something minor and off to the hospital she went. She was diagnosed with congestive heart failure, which, from what I read online, is when your heart is congested and your body is not getting the supply of blood that it requires. Your lungs begin to not function properly and accumulate fluid. This is what happened to my mom, she basically couldn't breath.
Fortunately my family is very conservative and took travel insurance and after a battle with the insurance company my sister managed to secure payment for hospital services rendered and for a medical escort for my mom back to Canada. It took a few days to arrange but a nurse flew out from Toronto with a supply of oxygen and then my mom was given a first class ride home escorted by the nurse and the oxygen supply. I guess that's one way to get into first class.
She was met in Edmonton by an ambulance and taken to the Royal Alexander hospital for observation. She spent three or four days in emergency before she finally got a bed. At least our health care is free though eh? Fuck Klein and fuck PC's and fuck our failing health care system. She arrived Wednesday and was released on the following Wednesday with the diagnoses of "a combination of factors resulting in atrial fibulation", which I translate to "we don't know what happened but we are doctors so it is required for us to appear to look smart so we are going to give you a vague non-conclusive answer. Go team!"
She's fine now, which is why I don't mind joking a little about it but to be honest it scared the crap out of me. When they told me why she was in the hospital the analogy they used was, "It's what grandpa had." "When he died?" "Yah."
While this was going on a friend of mine in Grande Prairie died of a massive heart attack. He was an older gentleman, I'm guessing 60'ish but I'm not really sure. He was a poker acquaintance of mine and as I mentioned in my original blog post I basically started my poker odyssey in the Grande Prairie game so he was influential in my development as a player as well as being an all around great guy. I never knew his real name, he was known simply as Guppy and he was known and liked by everyone. His poker game was fundamentally horrible while artistically beautiful. Watching him play helped me shed my weak tight mind set and opened my mind to the possibility of other styles of play that may be winning. Even today I am over dogmatic in my approach to poker, but when I think of Guppy my views soften slightly. But, more than poker, Guppy was a great guy with great stories. He was everything in excess, including personality and I enjoyed every minute of time I spent at the tables with him. RIP Guppy, you will be missed.
I've played a little poker during the past few weeks since my last blog, but I don't really feel like writing about it. Maybe later.
Wednesday, March 5, 2008
Tuesday, March 4, 2008
Last week there was a pretty good tournament at the Cash Casino. I didn't play in it because of the bad run I've been on - I didn't feel like putting $800 into a tournament. If I was flush with cash that would have probably had been different. But, a friend of mine was in town to play and of course, during tournament time the cash games are always good so I went down to the Elbow to play $15-30 a few times (Wed, Fri, Sat... I already wrote about Wed).
So Friday I'm playing in $15 and have been playing pretty snug and winning some nice pots. Everything has aligned itself so that I have a pretty snug image since I've been getting an easy distribution of hands (83, 83, 92, AK, 82, etc) so I haven't been in many pots and when I've had to showdown a hand it's always been a pretty good hand. This image set up a nice play for me though.
It's a kill pot, which I've explained in the past, and the killer is two to my right. Everyone folds to him and he checks his option. The next player folds and it's on me in the cut-off. I have Q8o and pop it. Through the night the button has kind of been staying out of my way when I've gotten involved so I thought there was a good chance that he would fold, instead he put his last $55 into the pot and the SB also called. SB is a really good player, but is much too loose pre-flop in my opinion. He is quite agressive post-flop and is also has good imagination. The killer also calls, but he sucks. So we see the flop 4 ways with $15 in the side pot and $235 in the main pot.
The flop is JJ4 rainbow and it's checked to me so I fire a $30 bet. SB check raises pretty fast and the killer folds his hand. What to do? Well, in reality, with my hand and the fact that the side pot was really small and their was no way for me to win the main pot with a bluff I probably should have checked through on the flop and then given up on the turn if I didn't improve. In hindsight, as I write this, that seems like the best move to make. But, I bet, and was faced with a raise by an imaginative player. It felt like he probably didn't have anything and if he did at most he had something like 55 or 66. Now, he may have a Jack, but odds are against. He would play a Jack, or any pair this way (except big pairs) and would also make this check raise with an ace and also with some bluffs. Well, shit... now I don't want to give up getting 3.5-1 in this side pot. I can reraise now, which is what I do a lot of in these spots, but this time I took a different route. I just called his check raise.
The turn was a blank. In reality, I was probably going to bluff raise every card on the turn except for a Q or 8 and possibly a 4 or J, so most of the deck is a blank in my eyes. That was my plan when I called the flop so this card didn't change anything for me and when my opponent bet out $60 I popped him to $120. He thought for a few moments and folded. The button who was all in says, "Well, you must have me beat." "I doubt it," I reply calmly and turn over my Q8. He turns over ATs and wins the main with ace-high. The tricky player I beat was quiet, which is hard for him, and looked very solemn. I have rarely seen someone look so dejected and taken aback and I was giddy with excitement.
Fast forward to Saturday night and I'm in another juicy game but have been card dead for a while when I pick up 45s on the button. Now, this is not a good hand, but I would definitely like to play it in a multi-way pot from the button. Everyone folds to middle position (rare in this game) who raises the pot and this opponent is the same one from the above hand. A late position player cold calls and this guy is the big fish in the game. It folds to me and I kind of say F.it and decide to gambool and call. Now, I give people shit for these momentarily lapses in judgement so it's hypocritical of me to play this hand in this spot for two bets, but I'm ok with being a hypocrite. I freely admit this call is a mistake, so I don't feel bad criticizing my friends for making it. Both blinds call and we see the flop 5 ways.
The flop is A3x (can't remember the last card but it might have been a 9). The blinds check to my buddy who bets and the donkey calls. I'm getting 12-1 with my beautiful gutshot that no one in their right mind will put me on so it's an easy call for me (actually, I call pretty liberally with my gutshots. Some of you have experience with this tendency of mine.) Both blinds fold so we go to the turn three ways.
The turn is a 5 and my buddy bets again and donkey calls again. Now, I have a pair to go along with my gutshot but there is little chance that my pair is good. What the pair does do for me is to make my draw a lot stronger which means I now have a lot more equity in this pot. There is no way for me to fold in this spot so my choices are to call or raise. I insta-raise. My tricky opponent calls my raise with a speech and the donkey deliberates and folds. Having a tight image is nice.
I mentioned my opponents speech. What he was saying was, "I guess I have to pay you off. I guess I have to pay you off." He said a few other things along this line as well, but in reality what he was saying is, "I want to showdown please don't bet." I don't remember what the river was but he checked and I fired out a bet at which point my opponent disgustingly mucked pocket kings face up. Booyaa! I quietly slid my cards face down into the muck and stacked the chips. I expect to play against this opponent many times in the future and it is profitable for me to keep him in the dark.
These type of situations don't come up very often in 10 handed games, but they are very profitable when they do.