Poker & Lifestyle Blog
It's kind of interesting to go back and read something you've written or said that's in the past to see how your thoughts meshed with what followed. I maybe alone in this regard but i kind of like listening to some sports or other podcast where people make predictions and listening after the fact. Its kind of funny to see how in tune people were with their opinions about future events. I guess this blog is kind of one of those situations. I had planned on finishing this pre-WSOP, then planned on finishing it pre-Main Event, so as you read this you maybe have to hop in a time portal like Bill and Ted did and take a ride with me through these different junctures of my life.
(Pre WSOP Adam)
Super stoked about this year's WSOP. Every year heading into this i always tell myself i'm going to play more tournaments but it never really happens as i end up getting engulfed by cash games and get sucked into all the social trappings of having so many friends in town and so many compelling things to do like music festivals like EDC, which i didn't make it to last year but will be a decision i'll have to make this year...EDC or get to bed earlier and keep a tournament routine for those days. Each of the last two WSOP i've played like six or seven tournaments each year, Main Event included, with one min-cash in a $1500 for my efforts which is pretty dispiriting. Every time i play these tournaments and bust out i'm just like 'wow what a waste of time, could have just played cash games during all those hours i spent playing tournaments or went to that concert.' Then of course when i play cash games and see some civilian clip a tournament or someone who i've played in cash games with i always get real jelly and am like "Man i wonder what would have happened had i played those tournaments instead?" Your imagination gets real optimistic after the fact. Ideally, i'd like to play like 10-12 tournaments this WSOP and still intake a steady diet of cash games.
(Pre-Main Event Adam)
So that's what i wrote pre-WSOP, i dragged this blog out so long I never got around to it finishing it promptly and after getting here in time for the first tournament, here i am on the 26th of June and my tournament record this summer is 0-5-1 leading up to the main event. Luckily my inability to fall asleep one night ended my losing streak of poker tournaments as i walked down to unregister from the tournament, winning $1500 for my decision, and adding a 1 to end of my ledger which at that point was like 0-3 before i unregged making it 0-3-1. If boxing and other sports can have a draw, then surely a game comprised of actual draws should have an outcome of a draw right? Leading up to the Main Event i've once again got some pretty uninspiring volume and results. I guess old habits die hard as i got wrapped up in cash and getting to bed and waking up around noon has proved difficult for me. Patience is definitely a strong suit for me, i never give up in these tournaments, or anything for that matter, and somehow i've yet to make a dinner break, or even win a pot more than 3k which is pretty wild. Normally this just sounds like laziness only playing that many tournaments in three plus weeks but for myself its actually rooted in something that goes beyond ambition and is more clinical in nature. I've tried to play 3-4 more tournaments to date but the same problem recurs, i go to bed around 3-4am, i roll around in bed unable to fall asleep and its 8am or later, and just like that i decide that i don't want to play a tournament on like 2-4 hours of sleep so i end up not playing. Its super maddening, one of the main reasons i come out here is to play tournaments, i've always had issues falling asleep when i have pressure to wake up the next morning. My inability to fall asleep has had a fairly negative impact on my life, it prices me out of a lot of activities i'd like to do with real life people (those outside the poker world who do things pre-2pm), it caused me to miss my sister's wedding which is the embarrassing thing i've ever done. I stayed the night at my parents the night before, went to bed at like 3am (had to wake up around noon i think) i was still awake around 8am and apparently my Mom came down and told me to get up and i told her i was getting up and that everything was cool and the gang. I absolutely don't remember that conversation at all. Surprisingly they never went downstairs to check on my status again before they left and next thing i know i'm waking up to phone calls like a few minutes before it starts. Given i was isolated downstairs with no windows or connection to world outside my REM in addition to the fact i've got a prolific history of being a slow starter and late sleeper i'm shocked they didn't come down again before they left, i'm sure like most people they got super busy and forgot i suppose. I'd guess probably around 20 or so nights a year it takes me longer than 3 hours to fall asleep. I finally went to see a sleep professional after my recent debacles this WSOP in Vegas which followed my sisters wedding. He diagnosed me with Psycho-Physiological Insomnia. I told him how many nights i'd lie around and roll in bed for hours and hours. He told me that although its counter-intuitive, that its prudent to get out of bed and that you must do so if you haven't fell asleep in like 30-40 minutes. Ideally u go to another room and do something else until you get tired and then you go to bed again. He also said it's bad to just lie in bed for extended periods of time before going to bed watching tv, reading, surfing the internet, etc. You want your mind and body to associate going to sleep with lying in bed and doing other things in bed like those i mentioned confuses that relationship. Hopefully this can help others with similar issues.
(Post-Main Event Adam)
So i end up finishing the WSOP at 1-5-1 thanks to my 492nd place finish in the Main Event. I've played the Main Event 3 or 4 times without cashing, was really exciting to go deep and cash. At the same time all the more frustrating to bust out with like a 40-50 big blind stack with pocket kings to pocket aces in most prestigious tournament in poker, a tournament with a great 2-hour level structure and so much history and money to play for. At that stage in the game you have so many people following your progress and hoping for great things to come that its so deflating when the all the air gets sucked out and you bust. I was so pumped when i got dealt Kings on the button.... was then so sad when everyone folded to the cutoff..... then so happy when this young buck raised from the cutoff. That's all she wrote for me in the main, couldn't hit my 2-out shout.
Here's a few interesting hands that stood out since my previous blog.
So i'm playing $10-$20 at the Wynn, the game breaks and i move to the $5-$10 game which is short-handed. Game gets down to me and this 35-year-old dude from San Francisco and we play heads up for a few hours. He was playing fairly passive but loose preflop. Match is going fairly well, I upped my pre-flop raising size given he was calling so much out of big blind, never 3-betting and folding so much postflop, raising my pre-flop raise size amounts to extra money for me when someone plays like that, think i was making it $50-$60, as opposed to a more normal $20-$30 open. Brad Booth wanders into the upper stoop area at the Wynn where our game is around 6am and asks if he can join. I'd rather play HU obviously but i feel its bad form to object, it makes the guy your playing potentially feel like prey. Had i been stuck it would feel more appropriate to ask for it to continue heads-up but i wasn't gonna cause any friction to make it 3-handed unless SF did. So within a few hands, Booth asks to kick it up to $10-$20, we didn't object. A few hands later, Booth asks to kick it up to $20-$40, we didn't object. He may have even asked for $40-$80 even. Strangely enough, during talking with Booth during the game he asks me a funny question, "So you flush right?" I respond... 'Probably not by most people's definition of flush, no...no i'm not.' I'm also keenly aware of where a question like that leads to and it never behooves you to answer yes to that question. You're way better off having people think you have less money than you have then the inverse, i can think of so many reasons where that is the case, especially when it concerns your interactions with strangers or those you barely know or just met. Then he starts asking about getting staked for the upcoming WSOP tournaments and cash games. I don't know much about his situation other than knowing he's lost a bundle on the Ultimate Bet scam apparently, which he talked about a ton, but i guess we have a little different philosophy on money management. If i was asking for a stake i probably wouldn't turn a $5-$10 game into a $20-$40 game in three blinks, i'd probably just grind it out at appropriate limits and not elevate a game to where i have like 60 big blinds or less, turning the game into way more of a preflop gamblefest.
So it's $10-$20-$40 NL 3-handed, Brad Booth and dude from SF, I have 6s5s, Booth opens $140 on his button straddle, sb calls, i call in big blind. Flop is 6h5h2d, SF checks, I lead for $300, BB makes it $1200, sb cold calls $1200, i jam (have everyone covered, like a 6k effective bet with SF, BB has around 4k behind) Booth folds, SF calls rather quickly with 87o, we run it twice i win both. Not a super interesting hand really, just the one hand that stands out from that short-handed match with Brad Booth. I think Booth said he had Kings.
JJ Commerce (a short stack late night reg) opens to $50 at where else but the Commerce, i make it $150 with AdKd from late position, asian reg guy whose name eludes me makes it $600, a guy who also plays the bigger fixed limit games at times, we like 6k+ deep, i call, JJ folds. Flop is 963dd, he bets $700 i call, turn 5o he bets $900, i jam $4350, he tanks and tanks and folds. Raise calling flop would have been extremely reasonable here i just kind of figured in a weird way i had a better chance getting him to fold his hand on the turn then on the flop while also potentially making more money off another barrel which is somewhat counter-intuitive as someone gets more committed in the hand and you have less to leverage with less money behind. I just kind of had the feeling if he had an overpair and i raised, he'd be the type to play the "i put you on a flush draw or lower pocket pair game" and go with it whereas if i flat and raise over a turn bet, it looks way more likely i have a set or something that turned more than one pair. That may sound kind of wack but it made sense to me in the moment. I thought i had little fold equity to get him to fold overpairs with a raise on flop, perhaps that isn't so but i liked the potential of my hand better flatting then raising overall, i definitely feel like that board is way better for my range than his and he will realize that.
In a $10-$20 game at the Wynn. There's a few civilians in the game, one of which as shown the tendency to bet pretty much any time he flops a pair even in multiway pots not even last to act, but especially when checked to. He open limps late position as does the button and i raise AJo out of the blinds to $140. PairBettor calls, other folds and we see the flop heads up. Flop is 962r. I check, PairBettor bets $250, with about $900 behind. I check raise him all-in as i think he often is playing the AK, AQ game here with me putting me on those hands that missed, and likely assumes when i check i'm done with the hand unimproved, so he can bluff or bet his pairs for "protection". I think it's a pretty good spot to jam because he's shown the tendency to just bet any pair often and once i check raise him i think he's folding pretty much anything but top pair and surprisingly sometimes fish even fold like a T9 here and just precisely put you on trapping overpairs and they give themselves a big pat on the back. I often like checking hands like this to stacks like these and players like these, often your c-bet will get little credit and you get floated by any draw or pair and it becomes much harder to win the pot, especially vs a stack like this whereas once you check raise you give them them the opportunity to bet air they'd fold to a c-bet or bet pairs for protection that fold to a c-r but would always call a bet, and often on a flop like this they are going to check back or bet smaller with stronger hands as well. Just another example which touches on my earlier blog post that mentions how paying close attention is so important. Had i been jacking around on my IPad, i may not have noticed how liberally this guy was betting post-flop and i may have just check folded flop or bet flop got called and not been in as advantageous of a position.
Playing in a $10-$25 NL game at a casino i'd like to keep a mystery, it's a 5k min buy-in game comprised mostly of characters i've played extensively with in the Kansas City and Wichita area (hint), all except an Ole Boy from Arkansas i'll anonymously name Johnny. Now, Johnny has shown himself to be a bit of an adventuresome type thus far, he bet called or check called (understand there's a fairly big difference there) AK on like a K98 T 4hhh board on the river for a large bet over like 4k and his hand was actually good, giving him that positive reinforcement you love to see when people make calls that are going to be losers like 95% of the time. So Johnny's feeling himself and a few hours and about seven High Life's later, his chips keep getting closer to the ceiling. There was a hand where on a four heart board where he called an all-in on the river and shockingly lost to the Ah, Ole boy unfortunately had the Kh and his neighbors heard about how much of a cooler that hand was. Life's Hard. A few High Life's and curious plays later it becomes evident that Johnny's chips have a pretty short shelf life on them. At this point in the night, the game had turned to a $10-$25 $50 on the button straddle game. Given Ole Boy's play and a few other civilians play, this game was really good and was playing pretty big. So i get dealt red Kings UTG after the blinds call $50, i decided to jack it up pretty big and make it like $350, before this hand happened Ole Boy had mentioned he was going all-in as cards were being dealt (he'd lost a decent hand previously) i thought about limping in given his comment but decided to raise anyway as i can't really be so sure he was going to follow through or even raise. In any event, Ole Boy calls as does my friend Brian, a good friend of mine whose a very tough player. The flop comes 9d4d2d. Oftentimes i'd bet here but sometimes with a hand like red aces or red kings i'll check here as i'm not too concerned about my hand getting outdrawn and i'll often check boards like this with pairs without a diamond or overcards i'd raise without a diamond. If it gets bet, my hand can potentially play well as a c-r or even a check call depending on who bets and what i decide. After i check, not too surprisingly Ole Boy bets 1k. Now my friend Brian raises to 3k. I'm ~10k deep at this point, Brian and Ole Boy cover me. I'm somewhat concerned Brian may have me given he's raised a guy that's pretty much never going to fold to him, although at the same time given this player tendencies, i know Brian has every reason to believe that he can expand his raising range for value against a guy like this given that Ole Boy may or may not know which state he's in not to mention that even in top form, this is a guy whose a very raw and inexperienced poker player. Another potential problem with this is some of those value hands i would like to put Brian on like AdQx, AdTx, AdJx, QQ, JJ, TT, he may 3b with preflop to get me out of the hand and to isolate Ole Boy to himself, but that being said i did come in for a very large raise UTG after a few calls from the blinds, and i think Brian definitely flats a decent % of the time even with a hand as strong as QQ potentially, as it would be a disaster to 3bet fold your way out of this pot with a hand with great value when he could ensure having position on all of us postflop in a deep game. I also believe Brian is going to raise Ole Boy with any Ad hand a very high percentage of the time. I also feel like Brian presumes that after i check this board in this situation that he is disregarding my attendance in the hand to a decent extent and is proceeding with the all but inevitable likelihood that this pot is going to be played just between he and Ole Boy, which will often be a correct assumption, especially if he raises Ole Boy's bet. All of this puts me in a precarious position. Given that i thought this was a very good chance to double through Ole Boy who likely was gonna go bust any minute, and that i was doing fine vs Brian's entire range here, i decided folding wasn't an option. Even against hands that Brian can have which have me beat like sets and flopped flushes i have pretty reasonable equity, 11 outs vs a set, 7 outs vs any flush except the exacto Ace high flush, and as i mentioned previously i think there's hands Brian can be raising Ole Boy for value that i'm ahead of or flipping with like overpairs, Ad with overs, Ad with a pair, etc. I ended up shoving which probably isn't the best play given it makes it more likely to push out Ole Boy and i'm never getting Brian to fold any better hands really and he likely won't call with any worse hands (Brian ended up flopping the exacto Ace High flush the one hand i have no equity against...cool) but that said this guy was so wild and "ready to go" that getting the money in on the flop and getting called by a worse hand by Ole Boy wasn't that far of a stretch of reality either the way he was trending. Normally when i read statements like the one i just made I am like, ok this kid wants to justify a play with an outcome that isn't very likely to happen and is overstating an element of the story to justify it but a few hands later Ole Boy called and open, then got 3b by Brian, and then 4b off like an 8k stack for a huge overbet with A9o and my friend Brian called and held with 88. I wasn't really playing around or exaggerating that this guy was teetering on the high wire, had he flopped anything reasonable in that hand vs me when i had KK, he would have sent it in as he was way too many Zima's in to think clearly.
Upcoming blog: Songs I'm Feeling & an Update Power Rating of TV Series i've been watching like Boardwalk Empire, Breaking Bad, Etc, Plus more Poker Stories
So i'm playing 10-20 NL at the Bellagio on the opening week of March Madness. I always wanted to check out Vegas during the opening week of March Madness as i've heard its quite the crowd scene. The 10-20 feeder game i'm in is somewhat average when Brian Rast shows up, he seems to always pop in at my 10-20 when i'm playing. Cools. Fortunately, a few of these French guys randomly show up at like 1am. One of them mentions something about PLO, and Rast is like "I'm down". Then a negotiation of stakes takes place, and Rast mentions something like 100-200 20k buy-in, then they like decide to raise him and are like lets make it 200-400 100k buy-in. Rast is like "Uhhh ok yeah sure whatever lets just get the game started and we will go from there." A few minutes later Rast pulls out a 100k in chips to let the guys know he's not full of hot air. One of the French guys involved in the negotiations was railing his friends and he went to the casino cage to get 100k. I was thinking like man, unreal, must be fun to have elite PLO skills and a bankroll to play that big & bink the timing lottery of something like this which just happens organically at your 10-20 table while you're essentially just dicking around on Tuesday night. I get moved to the main game as does Rast, and as it turns out the game doesn't happen, which isn't too surprising although Rast, who i'm sure has seen many of these situations play out a lot, thought that it was actually quite likely the game was going to happen despite people's tendency to talk a big game but not follow through. Right as the excitement of this big PLO game not happening began to quell, none other than Dan Bilzerian shows up. I've heard quite a bit of Dan Bilzerian, i follow him on twitter and i've heard many stories. From all accounts, the guy is a man of action on and off the felt. That being said, i'm always leery of stories i hear second hand, so i assumed 70 percent of what i heard was accurate as far as scale and extent of the tales go, i totally believed that the guy was an animal though i just assumed each story had a decent bit of built in exaggeration for effect. He rolls up the top stoop of the Bellagio high-limit side and does a stop and chat with Rast and Matt Marafioti (ADZ on stars) and a few others at my table. Those who know him kinda make a "Hey we will make it 10-handed for you" jokes and sure enough he decides to sit in and play despite not really intending on playing 10-20 from what i remember, perhaps he heard about the PLO game and surfaced. He sits down and within a few minutes produces like ten or more 10k banded stacks of cash. Between he and Rast there's like a quarter of a million at the table. Definitely gave me an inferiority complex about my measly 8k stack at the time. After a few rounds of play it becomes evident Blitz is gambling quite a bit and has some serious waggle to his game. Within a few orbits the game turns to 10-20-40 predictably. Here's a few hands that i stand out to me.
Throughout the game Blitz is betting 1k with this guy at the table on the flop being black or red dominant. I wasn't paying super close attention but at some point, he tossed the guy he was playing with an extra 1k chip, i think it was perhaps for the guy being honest in a spot where he could have taken advantage of him perhaps, it also could have been something else as well but i just saw him toss the guy an extra 1k chip and he was like 'wow i guess i'll take a free 1k' or something and then Blitz tosses two other 1k chips across the table for no apparent reason other than just to make it rain i suppose. It was kind of like being at a strip club minus all the women and cleavage. Andre, a super nice kid and regular in these high stakes games who goes by like IKA something online, felt kinda dirty about taking the money and tossed it back, but then Blitz promptly tossed it back to him. I've played a lot of poker but have never seen a guy just shower 1k chips or anything near that on guys at the table for funsies effectively. If i was super busto or devoid of any pride at that point i would have done my best Wally voice and been like "Wow Blitz that's so cool you just made it rain 1k chips" or something to that effective perhaps mentioning how i just missed the 1k chip landing in front of me by a few inches and i feel like he definitely would have made me not feel left out and dropped another rain drop.
Blitz makes it 80 from utg, a few people call, i make it like 400 with black kings out of the big blind, i have around 13k at this point. It gets back to Blitz, he makes it 2400, I make it 4500, he calls. Flop is Tc 7s 4c, pot now has like 9k in it, i bet 3k, he hems and haws and thinks for awhile and is like 'Well i guess this is a fold?" and turns over 8h3h face up. Had i known that Blitz could potentially have that wide of a garbage range in a 5b pot where he's put in like a third of my stack, i probably would have checked or bet like 1k to $1500, i really feel like there's a super good chance if i check he plays the AK game and ships and maybe even does that over like a super small 1k bet. If he has anything that's calling my 3k bet he's prolly gonna bet flop himself if i check or call or raise my smaller bet anyway so i feel like betting smaller just is a way better overplay in hindsight knowing how wide his range can be in a 5b pot. In a hand like this betting for protection is somewhat moot because if he has anything that can end up beating me like a gutter or flush draw or open-ended or a pair that can turn two pair he's calling most flop bet sizes of 3k or less anyhow. The pot is also so big preflop, i can easily get my money in by betting 1k on flop and inducing him to raise or float super wide and then decide on my sizing on the turn. I just think he has too much testosterone to let me win the pot by betting 1k into 9k, but when i bet 3k i allow him to do the right thing with his air. A 3k bet is still small given the pot size, and would be appropriate in a lot of situations, but i just think betting even smaller is even better since he's such a pervert. If he flops any pair, any straight draw or flush draw, he's calling my small bet of 3k likely anyhow, so i mine as well bet an even smaller amount to get peels from air or even something like KJ, QJ, AQ, AJ etc, that can find folds to a 3k bet when i have only 6k behind.
I make it 140 on button when its 10-20-40 with AcQc, Blitz makes it ~800 from the bb, i call. Qs7h4c, he bets 900 i call. Turn is the 7c, pairing board and giving me a nut flush draw, he checks, i check. River is a 9h, he leads out for ~2500, i call, he has 99. Fine with how i played that, just didn't work out, could have bet the turn but i think i induce bluffs and potentially value bets from worse on river from him and probably expand his calling range on river perhaps too than if i bet turn, i also give him some chance to hit a pair and pay me off on river. I'm not sure he calls turn with 99s he probably peels i suppose but i also don't think i'm getting 3 streets from him too often when he checks turn with that type of hand, and he's also quite capable to put in a huge raise if i bet turn, putting me in a tough spot since the guy has a colossal sack.
I open JJ to 120 when its 10-20 utg. Blitz calls as do 3 others by the time it gets to this French guy who had been playing 10-20 like every night for the past few days. Super cool dude but he was definitely a civilian and wasn't the type to fly all the way to Vegas to muck hands for amounts of money that are nominal to a man of his affluence. He 3 bets to 800 from big blind. I have around 8k at this time and call, Blitz and two others call. Flop is Kh Jh 4c. The French aristocrat leads out for 3k, its on me with like around 7500. I contemplate calling or shoving and decide to ship it in. Blitz tanks forever and eventually folds and asks around if he should have peeled or not. French dude calls with QQ. Turn brings another club and Blitz goes nuts because he would have turned a backdoor club draw with his pair of Jacks and says i would have tripled up had i called flop.
I'm at the feeder game playing 4-handed with a very aggressive younger kid to my left. I open JdTd on the button to 60 and he makes it 200, i call. Flop is Kc 6d 4d, he checks i check. Turn is Ah, he leads for 300, i make it 800, he calls. River is a 9c, he checks i jam for around 2500, he tanks for a good bit and folds.
Have to classify this possibly as my WPOY (Worst Play of Year) hand of 2012 probably. It's not only a hand i believe i butchered but it hammers home a pretty important lesson i need to starting abiding by and not just saying i will which is paying real close attention to the game. I used to be super attentive back in the day when i was starting out and playing on a shorter roll, there also wasn't twitter and smartphones with facebook and NBA league pass and texting wasn't as big of a part of my lifestyle as it is now. All those thing absolutely cut into my winrate to some degree, perhaps even to a decent degree ashamedly. This hand is an absolute example of that. It's a 4-handed 5-10 NL uncapped game at Wynn, there's a young good solid reg, a 50-year old i've never played with but recognize as a semi-reg to full blown Vegas reg, and there's an Indian guy who was the straw that stirred the drink. I had just seen him call like a 1k bet on the river on a like a 789Jx board with pockets aces a few minutes before this hand. He opens to 40, the 50-year-old reg calls, and i reraise with AK to 200. Indian guy predictably calls, who has like 3k, and it gets to the older reg, who now reraises to 800! I'm like what, the play definitely caught me off guard. I have around 3k at this point like 45 minutes into the session, and the guy's stack is south of 2200 to start the hand. I basically just made a demographic read and folded based on the fact that he's an older guy and a reg, that combination usually leads me to believe he's probably way more likely to be a nit than otherwise. He also has no reason to believe i'm out of line as its early in our session and older guys in this spot rarely do heroic moves preflop, especially a backraise, and often slowplay hands like AK, JJ, QQ (and sometimes AA & KK) because well people like this generally are overly passive and trappy preflop. I go through some of my show the bluff antics i'm known to do and he says he had AJ and he reached to his cards near the muck and revealed a J. He said by the time it got back to him there was a lot of money in the pot so he decided to make a play. I made two big mistakes here. For one, i didn't take near as much time to consider all the aspects at play, and secondly, i was jacking around on my phone at the time so i had no idea what his actions were like during the hand leading up to my raise. Had i been paying close attention to the game i probably would have noticed that after the fish raised, he called rather quickly without giving much thought to re-raising, deciding to slowplay, etc. If i was paying close attention, it's very likely i would have seen that, which makes my ship a rather trivial one. As far as taking time is concerned, i would have realized that it's a pretty bizarre play to just call a fishes raise on the button, especially in a 4-handed game when there's only two people behind you, not to mention that neither of those two behind him have given him no inclination to slowplay to induce a squeeze, which is super optimistic anyhow. Of course, older guys like this do sometimes do the over elaborate slowplays which make little sense which is why they are who they are, but all things considered, if he happens to have AA or KK 4-handed then God bless him. I gotta go all the way! Super embarrassing gaffe on my part. I get super scared when older dudes start shoveling in money, and often give them too much credit, although i do think that their ranges are pretty tight in these spot for the most part.
Have a ton more stuff to write about, most of it being sports, but i don't want this blog to be so long so i'll break it up and do a sports and other stuff blog in a week or two.