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Thursday, June 5, 2014

The Economics Side of Poker Rearing its Ugly Head this Summer

First...let's get the personal out of the way. Today my daughter used her potty for the first time. And I wasn't home to witness it. Today, my beloved Rangers, after rocketing out to a 2-0 lead, ended up losing Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final 3-2 to the LA Kings. That sucked. I took the day off from poker catch up on some personal well as to clear my head of the frustration that I've been experiencing pretty much the entire time I've been out here. Ate sushi at Kaizen that was amazing. Dropped off the laundry to be I'm on my last clean pair of boxers! And grabbed a couple hours out at the pool, until I was ordered out of the water when someone's child dropped a deuce in the pool. 

As for poker? It's been a very brutal trip. My cash game sessions have been almost carbon copies of each other. Buy in for $300. Run that up to 600-800'ish....then witness the insane beats. Suck outs. People playing ridiculous hands and getting ridiculous flops to go with them. Bluffs that don't work. Hero calls that are sometimes good, sometimes not...and the ones that ARE good, tending to get beat anyway on the river. I think it all kind of reached its apex of absurdity when...near the end of my session...and after being in for 4 buyins...totaling $1200...but was on a bit of a nice comeback, and had $550 sitting in front of me (now stuck just $650) I look down at KK under the gun. Now, if you've been even slightly following my know that I have been faring incredibly bad with both pocket kings AND aces. In of this writing, I am 1 for 10 with aces...and 3 for 15 with kings. 

So in this 1/2 game...I raise with my $12. I get one call, then another...then 'The Sun' raises it to $35. I had nicknamed this guy 'the sun' because...well, he was really fat, sporting gigantic man boobs, was wearing a bright yellow shirt...and had a bright sunburned face. He was also wearing super dark glasses..which I always love. He also was one of those guys who liked to bet with both hands. I hate that also. It comes back to me. Deciding I am willing to ditch my kings if I see an ace on the flop...or maybe even if I convince myself he has AA and I just don't feel like risking going back to being stuck $1200; I flat his re-raise. I also get two others to join it had basically become a 5/10 table over the previous three hours.

Here comes the flop: Kd-Qd-4h. Wow! I might actually finally win a hand with KK. A decent one to boot. I check. Two other checks. 'The Sun' bets $75. Folds around to me. I raise to $180. I was pretty sure he had either AK but most likely AA since I had KK. The other two folded....and he doesn't even hesitate before shoving all in for $350 or so. Of course I called. I said..."Well, I guess you must have aces....I call." He sees my hand and kind of groans...but here comes a jack on the turn....followed by a m.f.'ing 10 for the straight. I'd honestly rather he'd have hit an ace. I turned to look at the guy next to me...a nice guy from Williston, North Dakota...the place where my family owns 670 acres of oil land...who I'd gotten pretty chummy with, and who had witnessed some of my horrendous beats already that of them to him...when I flopped a straight, to his set...which paired up on the river for a nice $250 hit.  He just looked at me, shook his head and said "dude...I can honestly say I've never seen anyone take as many horrible beats as you've taken tonight. I think you must be cursed."  

Yeah. I agree. Every cash session I play seems to go like that. Or...I will play and win 100 hands with average pots of $10-$20 ...but then I will go and lose one for $300-$ end up with an amazing winning percentage of like 80%....but while still showing a loss overall. It's incredibly frustrating. 

In tournament play? It's astounding that I can play 11 or 12 levels every damn tournament this trip (except ONE)...where I have made EVERY dinner break, and have just ONE cash to show for it. The most disappointing bustout had to have been the one yesterday. It was the $1100 Mid-States Poker Tour-sponsored event..that ended up having close to 900 entries over two days. Now...I was to the understanding that the MSPT tourney was on June 11th. Since, well...that was how it was reported on their own site. It wasn't the only disappointment I would have. 

When I sat down...I posted my $200 to play the hand...and immediately was pulled into a hand...with a raise of $500...two calls and I have 89h. Never folding that. The flop comes 67Q...with one heart. Nice. Original raiser bets 800. One person calls. I decide to just call. The turn brings the 6 of me a flush and straight draw now. The guy bets 800 again. Feels pretty weak. Next guy calls again. I decide to attempt to take it down right there. I raise to 2200. The first guy calls. The next though....Josh Riechard...a good player who has won one event on the MSPT tour and cashed some others I think, too...raised it to 5000. WTF? Shit. I could easily be drawing dead already. But I'm contemplating bumping it to 8800 to see if I can 3-bet my way to a win to start the tourney. But as I go to my stack...I notice I seem to be missing a 5k chip.

I ask the dealer if  I was supposed to get 20k. No. Everyone got 15k. What? I know for a fact that all of the MSPT events start with 20k in chips. WTF? Well, I certainly can't make that play now...I'd be committing half my stack...more actually. So I fold. Then the guy next to me was rubbing up against me,  and I snapped on him to move. Then I look down at my next hand...33...and call a raise to 600 (100/200) behind another caller. That's when Zal Irani...who runs better than any poker player I've ever seen in my life, makes it 2200. SHIT! I can't call that! But the two OMRG's had no problem calling it.

I announce my disgust at folding and suggest that I will most likely flop quads. The flop comes Q-J-7. Someone at the end of the table says "Well, you didn't flop quads!" I reply,"No..I didn't...I didn't flop anything!"

That's when the idiot old guy in the two seats starts chastising me for talking about my hand. "Huh? I'm talking about my hand by saying 'I didn't flop anything?' Give me a break!"

"Well, its a big hand! There's lot of chips in there...and you shouldn't be talking at all!"

Now I was pissed. I started chirping back at him...I was already agitated from the first hand...then discovering the missing chips...the guy invading my personal space...and now he's talking nonsense. Holy shit. Well, he commits chip suicide. Having called the raise with KQ...and flopping top pair...he decides to go all in after Zal Irani brazenly dropped 20k in chips in the middle on his C-bet...which, throughout the day....he would do a lot. Prior to my arriving, he had managed to magically accumulate about 30k in chips already. Well...when the hands were turned  over, most of us were shocked to see that the geezer was actually ahead...with his KQ leading Zal's AK. No big deal  a ten would hit the river...eliminating the  not-so-OMRG. Have a nice day...fucker.

I then wander over to the area where the MSPT guys are hanging out...and ask them what the deal is with not having 20k in starting chips. Then came that awesome alibi that all of us serious poker players have come to call the 'Go To' excuse when then tournament directors don't feel like telling us the truth: "We couldn't get the structure approved in time by gaming so we had to use Venetian's structure." Yeah...okay. Right. Sure. Whatever. 

I'm sorry...I'm gonna have to take a 15 minute intermission to go trim my it has reached that length where it is driving me crazy...and the only way to stop playing with it like a person with a nervous to trim the damn thing. BRB....

Okay I'm back. I'm not wanting to get too wrapped up in this one tourney...but it was a big one...with a lot of good players, and an eventual first place of $165k or so...which would have been real nice to take home. Most of the shitty players got busted from our table early...with the exception of this woman...who never said a word, and who always had this panic-stricken look on her face whenever she was in a hand. But her M.O. was mostly to raise so much that no one wanted to even bother with it. I mean,...when someone sits there for 7 or 8 orbits folding...then raises 5x...what are you REALLY gonna call her with? Aces or Kings pretty much right? Okay, maybe jacks or queens. Maybe. She was awful. Or someone would raise behind her....and she would ship. One such time...I had raised to 1200 with the blinds at 250/500 with KJc...and she goes all in for 14k.

It folds around to me...and I'm like..."Whoaaaa...okay okay....I guess I can't call with KJ...sheesh! Do you ever think about maybe just re-raising sometimes?"

"Well, I can't...I'm so short-stacked." of those. Love the players who think they are short stacked when they have 28 big blinds. She played that way all day. And one of the really fucked up my momentum, as well as my stack.

Before that occurred, I managed to finally eradicate the table of 'the pest' who was living in the 1-seat. He was one of those incessant min-raisers with hands of all varieties. He had managed a few glorious suckouts as well as a few not-so-impressive give aways. He was admittedly a good player...just really fucking annoying. He had raised my big blind for the umpteenth time when I looked down at JJ. I re-raised him...and after tanking for awhile...smirking at me...and tanking some more...he grabs a stack of orange 5k chips and dumps them in the middle, essentially putting me all in. Fuck!

In big tourneys like this...there is always going to be those players who have decided you are one of those players that they can make fold by putting that ultimate amount of pressure on you to fold. And if you consistently let them do it....they will continue to do it all damn day. So you can either allow them to do it...or you can finally take a stand. And I was in the midst of trying to decide what to do...when I was holding my cards on their side...bouncing them up and down...pondering...when all of a sudden this dealer, who is at least 65 and likely 70 years old...whigs out. WTF????

He starts crowing at me about showing my cards to the players next to me...neither of which are making any attempt whatsoever to see my cards. "What are you talking about? There is NO ACTION pending! He has put me all in! What do you think is going to happen? One of them might advise me? One of them might flash a sign to him to let him know what I he can change his mind about putting me all in? Are you kidding right now?" He calls the floor...who comes over, has the situation explained to him...tells the dealer there is nothing there to penalize me for...and that I haven't done anything wrong. I called.

He turns over AQ. Ugh. Two overs. Flop comes Q-10-K. Oh boy. Turn is no help...but I river a nine...yes! Double up. Big double up! And on the very next hand...with a guy raising...and that same pest re-raising...I go ALL IN...why? Because in  the early stages of the tourney....I had shared with the table the horrendous luck I'd been having with KK..and told them if I got it...and anyone had raised behind was ALL GOING for those who had been paying attention...they KNEW what I had. Everyone folded except for the pest...who had QQ....and who wouldn't crack my kings. I was on my way...I thought. 

I would win a few more decent pots...and was now up to 70k which was more than double the average. Cruising! Then Zal raised UTG...which he did a lot. I called in the big blind with 99. The flop came 775. He bets out 4000. I raise to 10,000. He flats. Hmmm. The turn is an 8. Now he checks. I bet 17,000...which now I realize was way too much. I'd like to have been able to play that hand over...but there were two spades on the board and I was convinced he had suited paint. Well he does one of his moves where he grabs all his orange chips and quickly drops them out there. In my head I'm certain I'm ahead. But I've worked my ass off to get back to a good spot. And if I am wrong...I'm out. I didn't need to take that risk in that situation. So I folded. And wasn't happy about it. He later told me he had 88...had turned a boat. Maybe he did. Maybe he didn't.  Later, after dinner break, I would have the exact scenario...calling his raise with 99...calling his bet on a Q-3-5 flop...then turning a nine...checking, him checking...then checking a meaningless river card...having him bet 5k...and folding to my raise. It was pretty weird. 

So...the biggest hand of the tourney...besides the one that whacked me. As stated, I was 1 for 9 with aces coming into the tourney. But still...who doesn't want to look down at aces? No one...that's the right answer. So I have recovered from that hand with Zal...where he knocked me down to 35k....and I climbed back up to 51k. Here comes a raise from utg. Then a call. And I look down at two red aces. Heyyyyy-yo!!!! I raised from 1700...and a 4600. Zal calls my re-raise. And this is where the lady makes the stupidest play...going all in...for 12k...with fucking 7's. Yeah. A raise...a the player who has ONLY SHOWN TOP FIVE HANDS whenever he re-raises (me!) and a guy FLATTING my re-raise...who is the table chipleader...and she thinks 7's are the hand to ship with. Un-fucking-real!

Oh...but wait...after she goes all in....Josh Reichard...RERAISES!!!!! To 24k! Holy shit! Well...I don't know too many people who want to play aces five-handed. Fortunately the first raiser and caller both folded. Now what? Hmmm. I want a clean double up. Josh has me covered. But at the same time...I'd rather get it down to heads win a massive pot well over 50k. But, if he has KK which he MUST have to make that play...then maybe I should just flat his 24k...see what Zal does (likely folds) and then if the flop plays out right....which it did...coming 3-4-5....he would likely put me all in with KK. 

It was a tough decision, but ultimately I decided to try and get it heads up with the lady. So I moved all in. Zal quickly folded. Josh started pondering...and asked me.." got two aces over there?" And I respectfully responded..."You must have two kings, eh?" He nodded. Now what sucked for me here, is that Josh is a good enough player to lay down kings there. That is a rare breed...and is one of the reason why players with AA get cracked so often by players with KK. Because no one folds kings....even when it is SO obvious that the other player has aces. But he did. He folded them. Great fold. 

I told you the flop.  Leaving her needing a six for a straight...which as bad as I was running with aces...I was certain was coming. But it didn't. What came instead...was a GD seven on the river. Everyone just looked at me...shaking their heads. I am pretty sure I was just rolling my the bad times with AA continued. Yes...I made a tiny little profit on the hand...getting a bit of Josh's money...but she was now over there sitting on 50k...which should have been in my stack...sending me to dinner break with over 100k...instead of 57k. It was pretty deflating.

How did I lose? Came back from dinner...fluctuated for 3 levels between 55k and 80k. It was a very active table...and a table that saw a lot of bad beats and nasty suckouts. That lady kept playing her horrible style of poker and managed to stay around 40k. I noticed on the returning players that she didn't make it back. Big shock.

In level 11...with about 15 minutes before the Level of Doom this trip...LEVEL 12...was to arrive....I pick up AK. This guy in the 9-seat, who had arrived sometime either before or after dinner break...was in a wheel chair, and was missing a leg, and resembled somewhat, Shawn Rice. He claimed to know of me...but I had no clue who he was. He would call a couple of raises with some shit like J5 and quickly was on my list of people to loathe. Well..he would knock me out. He raised with AQ....I decided to play AK conservatively instead of like every internet player on the planet..and smooth call. He wasn't big on folding to 3-bets anyway...and AK is such a tough hand to play if you 3-bet with it only to miss. 

Well...two others called, and when the flop came A-J-4 I was liking my decision to not reraise, as I now had the element of surprise and strength on my side. He led out for 4k. I raised to 9500. The other two folded. Now he just sat looking at me...his big lips and droopy eyes sizing me up...I seriously doubt I showed him anything that led him to think I was bluffing. But he was just one of these guys who thinks dropping a big heaping handful of orange chips is going to make the other guy always fold. So after about 3 minutes of staring at me and doing the slow blink....he re-raises me. I waste little time pushing all in on him. He shrugs and calls. I see AQ and am immediately pumped. Then I turn a king giving me two pair...and before my brain can even calculate what the fuck just happened...a ten hits the river and it hits me. Oh my god...motherfucker just rivered a straight. No fucking way.....NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!! Son of a bitch...not again! Shit! SHIT! SHIT!!!!!!!!! Another river! Another Level 11/12 bustout. Another jackass getting rewarded by the deck. Would I double up to 140k and into the likely chip lead? Naw! Why would that happen? Why? My summer isn't going that way. Instead I was on my way to the parking lot get in my car....turn on the engine...and just sit there. 

All of you poker players know that feeling. I've had 5 or 6 guys text me or Facebook me telling me they are having the exact same summer I'm having. Which certainly doesn't make me any happier knowing others are suffering. I mean I know misery likes company and all...but I don't wish runs like this on anyone. But yeah...there is some solace in knowing that guys who are outstanding players are experiencing the same bullshit I am. Because you can start to really doubt your ability after awhile. I haven't been doing that...maybe that sets in when I'm going out of every tourney in early levels. But I  KNOW I've been playing well all summer. In yesterday's tourney...I played one of the best hands of my career I think...doing something I'm not sure I'd ever done...and against a Euro..which is almost fucking impossible.

I raised UTG with AQd. Limey called me. No one else did. The flop brought zilch. I bet out close to the pot. The guy called. Ugh. The turn was equally unsatisfying...but in looking at it, I didn't think it could have helped him I bet again. He tanks. Then puts out an amount of chips that I thought constituted a raise...and I had already decided that if he played back at me...which Euros like to do...a LOT..and especially on the turn after flatting the flop bet...that I was going to hammer him back and make him HAVE to go all in or fold. Well I was starting to put out my re-raise amount when the dealer put the river card out.

"Whoa!!! What are you doing!??? He raised me!" he didn't. He just called. Huh? Oh...shit. must have worked out beautifully for me, with him now knowing that I was about to re-pop him if he DID raise had to plant the seed in his head that I had a monster hand. Well...the river brought yet another rag...but there was no flush or straight out there...if he had me...he  had me the whole way and was just milking me. I shipped all in. Then had to work on my blood pressure and everything else. He sat there staring at me for what felt like hours. My stomach was about to fall out of my ass! Then finally...he folded. And I exhaled...looked at a couple guys on my end of the table...and kind of did a 'wheeewww' expression that a couple of them smiled at. I was pretty proud of I am not one to pull that move very often.

But anyway. I was out. And sitting out there in the parking lot, talking to my wife on the phone...her trying to calm me down. Reminding me that I haven't booked her and Carley's flight yet to San Francisco next Saturday...which I finally did this morning.  That week in Lake Tahoe is going to be much-needed for me, I know that for fact. Regardless of whether I hit anything in the next week or not. Taking today off was a must. And I am truthfully really ready to get back after it tomorrow...for the $600 tourney with a 200k guarantee. Two tomorrow, then one Friday...which I hope to NOT have to play, obviously. 


I know this blog is painfully long...for a change. I haven't been writing much lately, and I've been painfully brief this summer. But I can't just put that subject line up there and not explain what in the hell that means. I mean there are a LOT of things I would like to discuss/write this traitorous prick Bowe Bergdahl. Like the couple of incredibly rude, snotty, stupid waitresses I've  encountered this summer at Venetian. Like the discovery of the most amazing plate of food from the Grand Luxe I've ever placed in my mouth...the Idaho Mountain Stream Trout encrusted with almonds and served on a bed of heavenly I don't know what. I have only eaten the Gnocchi Bianco there the past couple of it too is phenomenal..but that Trout? Oh my god!!!! I'd love to talk about the double standard rule-enforcement policy again being displayed by the boys over at the WSOP. Guys like me get banned for a couple years for supposedly 'threatening a guy with physical violence' (you all remember, right?) but Jeff Lisandro and Brandon Cantu literally get into a FISTFIGHT in the hallways of Rio and did they get 86'd? Um...come on, really? Hell no! Not even a one-day ban. Simply had the fight broken up by security and told to leave for the night. Then there is the story of another well-known player tearing up his cards after losing a big hand...and not even getting a one-round penalty! Earlier this year...a player at a circuit event did the same exact thing...and was permanently 86'd from that casino. It's fucking comical. But am I bitter? Pffft. Whatever! I am literally beyond even caring anymore. When the absence of fairness or consistency is so blatantly obvious to anyone who pays attention to what's going on in am I expected to remain emboldened to prove myself innocent? It doesn't matter whether I'm guilty or innocent...or anyone else like me who has been banned for their actions. Bottom line: If you are someone they don't WANT to have to 86...then they won't ever 86 them. If you are someone they could give two shits about...then you WILL be 86'd. Period. Let me move on to the subject line up there...I think you will find it pretty interesting.


TO BE CONTINUED when I wake up on Thursday morning.....

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