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Archive for January, 2010

I had a spare hour this morning, a rarity that will become even more rare when my mother-in-law goes home in a couple weeks.  So I called Lucky Chances, and played 3/5 no limit for a little while.  Since I started playing again at the beginning of the year, I’ve had four short sessions (<2 hours) including the Vegas trip.  And I’ve lost in three of them, and those three are my biggest losses this year.

I’m wondering if there is something to this.

Today I played for less than an hour, and played well.  My only mistake was repeatedly underbetting on the turn with made hands against draws (a recurring theme).  But I really was on top of things, winning pots with hands and semi bluffs, pushing my stack with A high on the flop without fear, reading the board and the players well.

Then things turned, and a string of 4 draws hit against my made hands in quick succession.  One guy first rivered a flush with 2c5c, same guy hit a two outer on the river to make a full house and ruin my flopped trips just two hands later.  My betting wasn’t perfect, but still.  A rock called my big bet with QQ on a 4,5,7 flop.  The 8 on the turn shut me down, and sure enough he showed 66 at the end.  There was another one as well.

Poor hand descriptions notwithstanding, I can’t help but feel, like any problem gambler, that this game would be easy, given enough time and patience–and money.  Tommy once likened the chips in your pocket to firewood when camping, it creates a comfort zone, and you can never have too much.  Guys that play  like the guy who kept sucking out on me played will always end up losing, and will rarely quit before its too late.  You just need to be able to wait them out, and continue to play your optimal game.  Having only a couple buy ins with you and only an hour or two to play makes that impossible.

I was faced with a decision before things turned against me today.  On a 789 flop with one diamond I bet out with 10d Qd.  I was raised by an Asian guy who really could have had anything.  We’d both started with $300 – $400, and his raise was big, so at that point it was all in or nothing.  Was I thinking about pot equity plus fold equity against a made hand?  No.  I was thinking that I didn’t have much money with me, and if I lost the hand I would be done.  Not optimal.

So now the recurrent conundrum: do I shut it down until I can play regularly with 20K behind, or do I keep dabbling from time to time to stay in touch?

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Up until about 4 years ago I never drank any coffee beverage of any kind.  Then I went to work with a guy who was addicted to Starbucks Lattes.  Every afternoon, same thing: Grande Nonfat Latte. He is a Liverpool supporter, I should have questioned his judgment from the start.

Alas, eventually I joined him.  Now I am hooked.  Mind you: its only in my head.  They don’t taste THAT good, and its not like the caffeine does anything.  But now I go through 1-2 a day on a regular basis, just out of habit.

I particularly like “Iced Coffee,” or more specifically beverages that call themselves iced coffee that taste like milkshakes.  Just that it sucks when you find out there is a reason it tastes like a milkshake.  I was into the McDonalds Iced Coffee for a while (particularly since you can get it in the drive-through when the kiddies are asleep in the back, making it more convenient that Starbucks or Seattle’s Best, my preference),  until it dawned on me that the reason it was so creamy good was that it was made from cream.  Something like 6 parts cream, 3 parts sugar, .5 parts coffee, and .5 parts secret sauce.  And I have high cholesterol to begin with.

So a couple weeks ago I discover Burger King’s “Mocha Joe Iced Coffee.”  Yummy!  I mean, genuinely yummy, not “yummy for coffee” yummy.  And what’s more, BK doesn’t say anything about “made with cream.”  Nope!  Just coffee with a little chocolate syrup.  Or at least that’s how they make you feel.

I decided to check the ingredients.  Oops.


Total Fat 10g                                    15% Daily Value
Saturated Fat  6g                            30% Daily Value
Cholesterol 40mg                             13% Daily Value
Sodium 290mg                                 12% Daily Value
Total Carbohydrate 66g                 22% Daily Value

Oh, and throw in 63g of sugar, for good measure.

And I was going through TWO of these a day!  Yuck!

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Having dinner at Mon Ami Gabi at Paris.  Sitting outside on the patio, across the street from Bellagio.  On about the third glass of wine, watching the Bellagio Fountains perform to Bocelli’s Con Te Patiro.

Brilliant.

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Not much to report.  Ended up down because of a last afternoon session, just an hour at Bellagio before going to the airport, an hour that saw my sets losing to draws in two of three consecutive hands.  So it goes.

Before that I was never +/- more than a few hundred bucks, which was the plan.  Observations:

-Best Hand: 2/5 NL the first night, Bellagio.  Called a decent size re-raise behind two callers from the BB with 44 (questionable, but the first raise was a min raise by someone who’d been doing the same thing consistently).  Effective stacks about $400 – $500.  Flop was tame, something like 992.  Checked to the re-rasier, who overbet the pot.  Folded to me.  I looked at him and sensed weakness.  He did not look like he wanted to be called.  He had this tell–difficult to describe, sometimes players who are weak seem to sit with their mouths open while they slowly tilt their heads down, or make an effort to look away.  I know this because I used to do it myself.  In my head I’m thinking “OK, I may be right, but better to fold, be patient, wait for a better spot.”  Alas, my hands took control of my brain and pushed all my chips in.  When he called quickly, I thought I was dead, but as it turned out I was right, and two more blanks won me a big pot.  Table got a kick out of that one.

-Worst hands: the aforementioned sets.  Happened two other times during the trip as well.  In at least two of these spots I underbet (or didn’t raise) on draw-heavy flops.

-Crappy old habits: Quickly got up $500 during an afternoon session at Ceasars.  Rather than getting more aggressive or shutting it down altogether, I got loose and passive, calling moderate bets with moderate hands, and bled it all back.  Fear of losing one’s winnings often ends up causing the loss.

-The value of aggression: One night at Bellagio I played next to a pimp.  A genuine pimp.  They told me so when he left.  And he had two members of his stable sitting behind him.  I think they were Russian.  He wasn’t great, but he just bet and bet and bet big, lost his stack once, but eventually walked away a big winner after a relatively short period.  When a great player plays like that…unbeatable.

-The Bellagio – Ballys stroll is still all that.

-I really can play this game, if I put it all together.

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I’ll write up the Vegas trip later, though not all that much to write up.  But I did want to mention a blurb I read in one of the poker mags about the biggest single session in online poker history.  Some college kid took some high roller for 4.8 million dollars in one session.  FOUR POINT EIGHT MILLION DOLLARS!  And he hasn’t GRADUATED!

For what its worth: my biggest night ever, the one that still makes me feel all warm and fuzzy when I think about it, was precisely .002875 percent of $4.8 million.

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I speak of the older one.  The younger one is cool too, but unlikely to do the following:

The older one was just overheard singing “Carvel” by John Frusciante (Red Hot Chili Peppers), completely at random and totally unprompted.  And its been weeks since she heard the cd with me in the car.  She’s 4.

Off to Vegas tomorrow…

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