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Post WSOP Reflections/Sleep Issues/Live Poker Stories

September 19, 2012 2 comments

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, 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.

Hand 1
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.

Hand 2
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.

Hand 3
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.

Hand 4
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 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


Tony2pr September 21, 2012 Quote

You sound like a huge NIT.

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