Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Tourney Player.

I've decided to take a shot at one of the Borgata events this week. It's the $230 "Deepest" stack tourney with a $50k guaranteed prize pool. I didn't think I could pass this opportunity up since it offers a great structure for what amounts to be the lowest buy-in I've seen in years. If I don't play this tourney, when will I play? I'm finally over the scarring I took when my KK were cracked at the WSOPME satellite last month in the Hamptons. And if I bounce out of the tourney I can make myself feel better by jumping right into a cash game afterwards.

Not much news on the cash game front from this most recent weekend. I won ~$300 in a short session. The list for games was so long, I sat in my old $10/20 game for 3 hours before finally getting into $20/40. So after a few hours and dusting off 2 racks, I was stuck for about $1400 when I got a rush of cards: 83s, 83s, (back to back in the small and big blind). K9o, QJo, and 54o, haha which netted me about $1700 in a about an hour finally putting me in the black. 

Had my cards mucked for only the second time ever. I had raised with two black tens, the crazy fish guy in the big blind called. Young Jo was sitting to my left when he had asked me a question about when I renewed my black card, taking my eyes of my cards. Next thing I know, my cards were gone. Ugh, I'm just annoyed because I tend to take great care in protecting my cards. It didn't help that I was sitting in the 6 seat, one of my least favorite positions for that reason. Cards are often erroneously mucked from directly across the dealer. 

Hopefully, I'll be blogging about a great win next week!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Tourney Players...

The Borgata Poker Open series was taking place this recent weekend and that always brings with it a lot of tournament players that like to take shots at cash games. This is a good thing for me.

Many tournament players stick out like a sore thumb at the cash game tables, especially when they try their hand at limit games. Because they're coming from mostly no-limit backgrounds, they tend to bring with them their absurd rituals and humorous naivete to the cash games.

For example, I saw a record number of under the gun posters this weekend. In most limit games, a new player must post a big blind in their seated position or wait until their big blind comes around. I almost always post in the cutoff (the position just behind the button) when I enter a new game. This is because I can avoid posting the small blind on the very next hand if I were to wait for my natural big blind. Also, I benefit from having the second-best position post flop. Anyway, I saw 3 players over the weekend post right under the gun instead of waiting one hand to at least post their natural blinds or wait for the button to pass so that they could post behind like I usually do. To post under the gun is simply setting money on fire. At $20/40, that's $20 for your post, + $20 for the big blind next hand + $10 for the small blind next hand = $50 gone in 3 hands and you may not even see a flop!

 The typical tourney player that came to our games this weekend reminded me of carnies. I can spot them wearing their full tournament-mode regalia which usually consists of a hoodie that says something like "World Series of Poker" or some other branded tournament series. They may be wearing dark sunglasses and headphones accompanied by their complete despondency or charming aloofness. I felt like they should be juggling while riding a unicycle or something. One uber-tourneyfish managed to rack up $4k at our table and I chuckled while he took a picture of it to show off to his friends on Facebook. Phil overheard him say that "Limit is my game." This after limping with AK suited and never raising, then playing 62 of spades under the gun. Umm, yeah. He's a limit hold'em specialist for sure. He would later complain to the floor because he didn't approve of the "must-move table" concept that's utilized by virtually every poker room. He said that he was comfortable with the players with whom he was playing and didn't want that comfort level disrupted. So he took a break and waited an hour to get back into the same must move game. So I decided to take a break, too, and followed him right back into the game. What a coincidence it was that we took a break at the same time!

Unfortunately, by night's end, I was stuck $700. I just couldn't catch this guy and he decided to leave when our table got short. But I won ~$800 on Sunday in a 3 hour session. So kinda even. Oh well.

But I did see something I never saw before. Here's the hand:

Ahmed raises and this guy Mike defends his big blind. Flop hits Ten high. The board runs out. Mike calls the river and Ahmed instamucks. Mike shows J4 of diamonds. Ahmed is shocked in disbelief because he mucked a winner. He had assumed that Mike had a pair or maybe ace high (I'm assuming Ahmed had K or Q high) and quickly threw away his cards. Obviously, Mike's call was pretty horrendous. The only hand Mike could have beaten would've been 9 high or worse since a ten had hit the board. But it had the effect of "bluffing"Ahmed because he instamucked based on the assumption that Mike had something better, I don't think Mike was this clever and had intended it this way. I think it's a simply a matter of Mike being a major degen and thought that maybe jack high was good (had he thought about it, he would've realized how terrible his river call was). Anyway, this is the first "bluff call" I've ever seen. Just when you think you've seen it all...  

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Laboring Weekend

The Borgata was superpacked this Labor Day weekend. On Sunday, it was so crowded all of the restaurants had lines out the door and the buffets had insufferably long waits. I had a particularly bumpy ride at the $20/40 where I found myself up $1600 in less than 2 hours, only to find myself stuck $1800 at my lowest point.

Well, why didn't I get up? I was GOING to get up, but I was moved to the second must move table, and it was pretty juicy. Call me greedy, yes, and as soon as I moved to the game, I picked up two black aces. And then I proceeded to get crushed for the next hour. Next hand 77, next hand KK. Boom that's $500 gone right there. I turned the nut flush, lost to a boat. Ugh. I managed to call it a day around 10 am on Sunday, up a paltry $2. I wasn't very happy.

Determined to grind out a profit, I arrived at the game late Sunday afternoon. Within 2 hours I was stuck $1k. After grabbing a quick bite to eat, I was in for $1600. I wanted to choke myself for not leaving Saturday night, but I can't hop in my DeLorean and change that. Then some time around 9pm my cards started to hold up. Flopped a couple of sets and my big pairs started to win. By 2 am I was up $400 for my session and the trip. 

Here's my hand of the weekend:

I 3 bet with AA, Dan and Han are along for the ride. Han leads a flop of J96, two clubs. I pop him and say, "Queen ten of clubs no good, sir." Dan folds, and Han calls me down. Turn is a 6. Han calls my bet again and the river brings an 8. He checks and I call out "Aces." He shows me QT of clubs. Natch.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Still Pokering...

Big update here: I know I go through these lulls where I fail to update this blog, it's just that so much has been happening as of late it becomes a bit of a daunting task to catch up after I keep putting off writing any entries.

So anyway, what's happened in a month? I took a $4600 nose dive at $20/40 after posting gross back to back losses. We all knew the doomswitch was going to hit some time. Since those headspinning losses I've managed to win about $3k of that back despite taking two weeks off for vacation and celebrating our first wedding anniversary (wow, how time flies).

I played a satellite tournament in the Hamptons for a shot at the WSOP Main Event. With 20 something players left I got my money in with KK and lost to A7. That was a crushing blow because it was the 3rd time I'd played poker in a tournament format in less than a month with disappointing results. It's a wonder how I used to play so many tournaments. The negative impact from losing seems to far outweigh the emotional highs. It's become insufferable for me to spend hours and hours on end of expending energy and concentration on a tournament only to make the right move and lose. I know, I know, small sample size! I've played somewhere around 5 or 6 six tournaments in the last 5+ years. But the competitive nature in me expects to win all the time, and it's infuriating to lose. I'm sure the fact that I've become strictly a cash game player and the instant gratification from them has made me completely inconsolable after a tournament loss. It's not like right after I'm bounced from one tournament I can simply jump into another. At least, you can't do that in a live scenario, without a viable online site to play. I just don't have the time and patience to play them anymore.

So after posting nearly 5 months of winning at $20/40, things have been a bit bumpy. For example, two weeks ago, I went nearly 4 hours without winning a hand, and I'm talking not even the blinds! That's pretty dreadful. August has been much better than July pokerwise, and Labor Day is usually a big weekend at Borgata. Out.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

My Win Streak Is Over...

5 months of winning... Oh, why did it have to end!!!? So I suffered my first loss at $20/40 this weekend. Boo. The sting of a loss is always so painful to me. It annoys me so much, I can't wait to avenge myself the very next weekend. I ran superbad and fell into a couple 4 bet situations on the turn with sets or top two that didn't pair the board. I had AA once, and they lost. I missed open-ended straight and flush draws left and right. I played something like 20 some odd hours and that was after playing a tournament with Sasha and Teddy at the Showboat. I wanted to play with them one more time and take a shot at tournament glory (haha!) before the Showboat closes on August 31st. So I'm stuck $1900. Not a terrible loss, but a loss no less.

We had our little shootout tourney at Sasha's on Friday, where Teddy took it down. He got heads up with Sash, after some painful poker with Sasha's drunk friend Mike. We had to extend the blind levels an extra five minutes since he was taking so long each and every hand. Yours truly busted 6th when I got my money in as a short stack AQ vs my friend Elon's A8 and he binked an 8. It was fun, we'll chalk it up to a learning experience. I call it that because we need to find a good balance with the blind structure that allows for a mix of deep stack play but not so much that we're playing til 4am. We'd like to try and have a game once a month or so.

Back to licking my wounds...

Monday, July 7, 2014

3 Days of Poker

We had a nice fun-filled day of grilling, eating, playing some rounds of "Cards Against Humanity" where Kelly and I enjoyed the 4th with her mom, sister and her boyfriend, and Sasha. I even got to play some heads up poker with Sash where the fish beat me 2 out of 3 games, one was half fixed limit and the other NL.

On Saturday, it was off to AC where I was shocked to have made it down there in record time considering the holiday. I was expecting some gross traffic by the time I hit the parkway late afternoon, early evening. I was shocked to get down there as fast I did. When I arrived at the poker room, I was quickly tantalized by watching the juicy $40/80 game. I recognized only half of the players there, and the ones I did recognize didn't impress me. I was talking to my friend Brendan, and he said the following statement which made me laugh, "If I don't recognize you at the poker table, I'm going to assume you suck," which is true in most cases.

So after a few rounds of $10/20 where I won a couple bucks, I finally got into the $20/40 game. As the night when on, I was up $400 at my highest and stuck $800 at my lowest which seems to be a typical fluctuation state for me, somewhere +/- $1k seems about right to me, haha.

I had decided to experiment this session, where I wanted to devote 100% of my concentration and focus to the game. That meant no tablet, no phone, no music, etc. I was adopting the old Howard Lederer suggestion to not look at your hole cards, and watching my opponents' initial reactions to theirs, then only when it was my turn did I finally look at them. I paid extra attention to the blinds so that I could be given any extra tip off for a no contest stealing situation.

I was able to grab two great reads off this crazy Asian guy who was stiff as a board and doing his best statue impersonation when he tried to bluff me with ace high (I called him down with a pair of deuces) then he tried to bluff me with king high (I called him down with ace high).

The highlight of the session was watching this girl Lua, who works at the Taj, blow off racks after she had over $2k in front of her. And that was only after she had reloaded several times. She would hit the felt right before I had left. It's always amazing to watch someone dump chip after chip in such a short amount of time.

Here's how she lost it. She called $80 to the face with A9 of hearts after I capped with AK. Flop comes K72 and one heart. She calls the flop bet drawing only to runner runner, she picks up back to back hearts.
Yeah, she won that pot, but the rest of them didn't turn out that way.

Me? I won two of the biggest pots of the night and was happy to be up a decent amount. Both of them were gutshot straight draws for $600+ pots.  I was outta there by 11am to fight the 4+ hour long commute home due to the terrible Jersey Shore traffic on the Parkway.

Monday, June 30, 2014

A Short Shift

Had a super busy weekend, I'm pretty exhausted. I'm looking forward to having July 4th fall on a Friday, making this a short work week for me.

Finally took Kelly's mom out for her birthday. We had a great time at the MP Taverna in Roslyn, LI. It's a stark contrast from the bar scene-ish and trendy MP Taverna in Astoria. This place felt more like a traditional restaurant, perhaps more family oriented and geared toward the slower paced life out in the suburbia that is Long Island. The food was great, pretty consistent and on par if not better than the twin menu offered at its sister location. 

Then on Saturday, it was off to lunch with my mom and cousin at Barn Joo in the city. Barn Joo was fun because it offered a unique blend of traditional and modern takes on some Korean dishes. It wasn't just barbecue, the menu was centered around some "Farmer's Meal" combo dishes and bibimbap plates that could be customized according to protein selection. Throw in some fun non-traditional stuff like wings and tacos, and we had a nice sampling of Korean gastropub-style offerings. 

After a brief nap, I was off to AC. I got down there super late and was seated at the poker table around 11pm. Played some 3 handed $20-40 at what was the 2nd must-move table. When I was finally seated at the healthy must-move game, I ran myself up +$2k but I couldn't hold onto it all, after I lost a huge pot to a psycho who rivered a flush against my bottom set. I had to settle for a $1700 win. Like a good poker player, I was in my room and in bed by 7am. Not even 8 hours worth of "work."

Finally saw "Choke" which was based on the novel by Chuck Palahniuk of "Fight Club" fame. It starred Sam Rockwell, who so far has a great track record of playing a weirdo in every movie that I've seen with him. I loved this movie! Basically, it's about a sex addict with mommy problems. Now I'm going to look into as much Chuck Palahniuk as I can. 

Oh and in other poker news, we're hosting a small stakes tourney at Sasha's on 7/11. I'm so looking forward to this since I don't get to play much "recreational" poker. Can't remember the last time I got to throw some chips around with my friends in a casual environment.