Thursday, October 31, 2013

I Absolutely Hate Pocket 9's

Monday night I had another local game.  Early in the game I could not get anything going.  I played a lot of hands trying to catch something, the hands I didn't play when somebody would raise would hit, but everything else turned to crap on the flop. 

I had to add on shortly before break and went into super tight mode.  It was getting close to the bubble and I caught AA to double me up.  When we got to the bubble me and 1 other player were the short stacks.  He doubled up 3 times on his BB as he would be all but out of chips and have to go all in.  I doubled a couple of times as the blind would approach me and I would have to push with the best hand I could get each round.  Another player got short and I tried to take them out with an A rag hand while I was in the BB and he was short stack.  He had 10 2 diamonds and got there with a pair of 2's.  The next hand I had A rag and went all in against another short stack.  He had 9 2 and caught a pair of 2's.  The very next hand I had A rag again.  I barely had the BB covered so he called me and took me out with a 9 7.  I was bubble boy. 

The game ended a few hands later.  There's always next week.

I didn't play any online poker Monday or Tuesday and considered not playing last night.  The kids wanted to watch The Hulk, so I drug out the laptop while we sat to watch the movie.  I late registered for a few games and got to work.  I made it to the bubble of the first tournament and got pocket 9's in the BB.  The SB raised all in so I called.  He had K3o and caught a K of course to make me the bubble boy.  Same thing exact same hand on the bubble of the next tournament.  Out as bubble boy.  I went all in with complete crap on the other table as I was peeved.  He had 99 and it held.  F 99.

I switched to 5.00 6 max sng's and played 4 of those.  I won 2 of them and was even for the night.  I loaded up quite a few 2.00 6 max sng's and lost in most of them.  I finally went to heads up sng's and played a few of them.  I ended up breaking even for the night.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

What Do I Need?

A lot of things in my life have me stressed right now.  I have been reading a book called Hike Your Own Hike lately and it's pointing out why I have been unhappy for so long.  Don't get me wrong, there are things that make me happy, but there are also things that drag me down. 

I have done a lot to improve my situation so that I can be happy.  I have lived below my means for quite a few years so I could get my debt paid off.  That in turn is supposed to allow me some freedom to not get trapped in the same grind that I have been in for years.  My debt is paid off now and I have successfully started saving money.  Unfortunately, I am very successful at spending money. 

I have looked at our budget over and over again and we could easily live on half our salary.  I am not liking the path that my career is taking me on.  I feel that I need change.  I have done the same thing for so long, I am worried that whatever I do I will not like.  I shouldn't be like that.  I did like what I was doing when I first moved back to Kansas.  Everything changed and I was pulled back into what I had been doing before I moved back.  Now I'm swamped with no chance of ever getting caught up and that will eventually lead to the end of my job.  It's not if, it's when.  There's no comfort in knowing that everything that I do is unappreciated because there is something else not getting done.

There are other forms of work around, some that pay better, some that pay worse.  I'm really not worried about the pay any longer.  I want to find something where I won't dread going to work.

Now that I have kids I use that as an excuse that I need to continue making money.  We all have so much we could live without.  Sometimes I feel trapped from all the crap I have.  It would take me a year to sell it all off.  I could live off that for over a year.  Maybe that's what I need to do.

I have thought a lot about it and can't come up with an answer.  I'm too exhausted to think too hard about it. 

Maybe I'll sell my boat, camper, and everything I don't need.  Give the rest of what I don't need to Goodwill and take off to hike the Appalachian Trail.  My Mom and Dad would hate it.  My wife says to go for it.  I want to do it while I still can.  I'd hate to leave my wife and kids for 6-7 months, but maybe it would change my perception in life and help me to be a better parent, husband, son, etc. 

I'm getting closer to making that decision.  The thought has been in my head for a few years now.  I think we could swing it financially.  I could give up on my career path that I have taken and not feel bad.  Maybe I could go back to school and work part time jobs when I get back so I could get into something I would enjoy more.  Maybe I don't need school for that. 

I am going to continue to ponder the idea. 

Monday, October 28, 2013

Got in Some Live Play This Weekend

Friday night I went to a local out of town game.  It was rebuy night, where there is unlimited rebuys for the first 2 hours.  There ended up being 30 buy ins for 25.00.  I started out playing with an open range while the blinds were low.  I couldn't catch anything so I tightened up to wait on hands.  A couple of players at the table said that I should try to bluff as it was getting to the 2nd hour and I still had not won a pot.

I told them that I was still o.k.  I am patient and will wait on a hand to play.  With about 8 minutes left in the rebuy period I had half my starting stack.  I figured I would open up my range again and call down any straight or flush draw.  If I catch I could possibly double up and if not I could rebuy for a better stack.  I got a 4 5 off suit and called a small raise to see the flop.  The flop came out 7 3 2 rainbow.  Two players in the hand were betting and I called it down to find my 6 on the river.  I had tripled up and was able to coast into the break.

After break I got AQ and raised it up.  The table aggressor called.  A 3 7 came on the flop.  Aggressor is know for loving the low cards so I couldn't rule any cards out of his range.  I led out a hefty bet and he called.  K fell on the turn.  I led out another large bet.  He went into the tank and said that he has A3 but put me on AK.  He finally folded.  The very next hand I got AK and raised.  I was called by the chip leader at the table.  An ace hit on the flop and I bet through the river.  He had a smaller ace as I had expected.  I now had a dominating stack.

From that point I stole a few blinds but did not get much action.  We finally moved to the final table.

At the final table I played fairly tight until I got AK.  The short stack at the table went all in so I called.  He had a pocket pair and doubled up.  The very next hand I looked down and had AA.  The same guy raised so I 3 bet.  He went all in and I called.  He had AK this time and was knocked out.

From there I couldn't find a hand I wanted to play until we were 3 handed.  One of the other 2 had just been raised all in and he called with a 5 9 off suit to double up.  I had QQ and he called my bb.  I went all in and he called as I had hoped.  He had A9o.  The flop brought a 9 and the turn brought another 9.  I had him covered with around 6 bb's left over.  I couldn't find a playable hand the next few rotations and the blinds went up again.  I was sitting with a little over 2 bb's now.  I waited for them to be in the blinds and went all in, in the dark.  I got a caller and when I flipped over my cards I saw I had 7 2o.  He turned over 10 7o.  I caught a 2 but he found a 10 to take me out.

Third place was worth 125.00 so I was able to come home with some money.

On Saturday we went to Wichita to do some Halloween costume shopping.  On the way home I convinced my wife to let me swing into the Kansas Star Casino to play some free slot play that was on my card.  She said o.k. so I stopped in for a few quick spins.  I thought I had 15.00 on the card but it turned out they had given me 35.00.  I ran through the slot play and did not hit anything so I put 10.00 more into the machine.  Right as I was getting to the end of it, I got some free spins and ended up winning 60.00 on the free spins.  I cashed out being up 50.00 on that stop.

On Sunday, we had lunch at my brother and sister in law's after church.  We sat around there watching some football for most of the afternoon.  Finally around 3:30 I decided I was going to slip home and play some Sunday tournaments.  I had 1 good run in the 11.00 Sunday game.  Everything else was a bust.  I made it to the final 4 tables in the 11.00 game when I got JJ.  I only had 10 bb's left so I went all in from UTG.  BB had QQ and knocked me out.  I won just enough to cover the rest of my buy in's for the day.  I was actually still down some after that cash.  I played some 6 man sng's and some heads up sng's, but could not get ahead for the day.  I finally gave up when I realized I had been tilty for some time and wasn't going to make a profit.  It wasn't my night.

I heard this weekend that the Kansas Star is going to start having tounaments on Sunday's in November.  It will be a deep stack event with 120.00 buy in.  My next couple weekends are booked, but if I find some free time in November or December I will try this one out.  I think it will draw quite a crowd. 

I have my next local game tonight.  We'll see if I can't increase my live bankroll a little more.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Playing Poker With No Plan of Attack

I used to always have a plan of attack when I played poker.  I would want to play so many hands per day or so many tournaments or certain tournaments.  I would go into a tournament ready to play tight and aggressive. 

Lately, I have been playing without a plan.  If I feel a need to play a certain game I get in and play.  There are some exceptions.  I try to stay away from games that are outside my bankroll limits.  There have been a couple times recently that I have gotten in a few of those too.  I try to stay away from those because if I ever do start playing with a large roll I will want to be able to maintain it.  My role now could be replaced a few times and it wouldn't hurt anything.

The point I was making is that playing the games I feel that I can beat at the time I am playing seems to be working.  There are times where I feel I can do well at SNG's over sitting for a long time at a tournament.  Sometimes I feel that a short run at NL cash is what the doctor ordered.  When I get into a game my only plan is to do what it takes to win.  If I can play aggressive I will.  If I need to sit low and stay out of several other aggressor's way I will.  I try to figure out the table dynamic, to figure out how I will play.

It doesn't always work out, but I have been doing better than I do with a plan.  I'm definately not an expert.  This just seems to work better for me.  After playing for many years I am finally making money online.  That has a lot to do with some of you other bloggers helping me out. 

It's fall now and this is usually where I start to crank up the online poker.  I have been playing steadily for the last year though so it's just another season now.  It still makes me excited about sitting all bundles up on the couch with my laptop wondering if this is going to be the day that I annihalate a whole large field of other players. 

This fall I think I am going to venture outside my normal realm and start playing more live games.  Being so close to Oklahoma I have several casino's within a 4-5 hour drive that have some pretty decent tournaments or series.  I also have the opportunity to play at several local games so I will take advantage of that. 

In the near future my weekends are booked for family time.  After that I may start planning a couple trips to some casino's.  For now I will start playing the local games more frequently.

Next spring, I do plan to start to do more things outside of poker again.  I will be fishing tournaments next year.  I will also chase storms in the spring.  If all goes well any free weekend I have, we will be camping at the lake.  This year has been about poker.  Next year poker will have a backseat to the rest of life.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Crab Legs and Gulf Coast Shrimp

There was nothing major to report in my weekend of poker.  I didn't hit any final tables.  I played a lot of tournaments on Saturday.  It seemed like distractions played a major role in me not doing well.  There was too much going on around me and I kept jumping up from the computer to take care of something.  I would blind down and come back to push and pray. 

SNG's were my savior this weekend.  I think I came close to breaking even thanks to 6 man hyper turbo's.  Thankfully I caught fire on those Saturday evening.  I was hoping to cover part of my buy ins for the tournaments and ended up winning more than that.  They were not so good to me on Sunday, the little bit that I played.  I played on America's Cardroom a little bit on Sunday and won my way into a 33.00 tournament.  I made a dumb call with 66 and lost a chunk out my stack when the loose aggressive cannon in the big blind raised all in with QQ.  I started to build again when I ran AK into AQ.  His flopped straight sent me to the rail.

After church, I cooked up some crab legs and gulf coast shrimp.  The boys ate about 3/4 of the 2 pound box of crab legs.  My oldest is getting pretty good at cracking them and getting the meat out.  My younger boy was reaping the reward.  He didn't have to crack any, but ate a ton.

During Sunday school my daughter said DADA for the first time followed by BABA.  It felt pretty good, but I went ahead and corrected her.  I said MAMA BABA.  It's not going to be long before she starts walking.

My kids got me talked into playing some Boarderlands 2 as they couldn't get past a certain spot.  I jumped on and realized they are getting better than me at the game.  Almost!

Sometime soon I am thinking about taking a poker trip to Oklahoma.  I may go down to play in part of a series, or I may just go down to play some daily donkaments and cash games for a weekend. 

We have a game tonight, so I may start talking with some of the other players to see if any of them are interested in a weekend trip.  With my lack of poker play in Vegas, I feel like I need to hit the felt.  A couple good tournaments would make me feel a little better.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Finding My Groove

Yesterday I had mentioned that I was registering late for tournaments.  Last night I had a little more time to play and mixed it up.  I late registered for 3 tournaments and started at the beginning on 3 tournaments.  I had about the same results 2 final tables, 2 other cashes, and 2 close but not cashes. 

I won the same tournament that I took 2nd in the night before.  I entered this one as it began both nights.  Looking at my results I realized I am min cashing the games that I late register in.  Although I have had a couple good runs in the nightly guarantees and lost in the final few tables the last 2 nights in at least 1 of the games. 

If the registration period is only an hour I will not late register.  If it is 3 1/2 hours I will.  By that point I am close to min cashing and with some luck can make a deep run. 

With the new tournament structures I have avoided the 5.50 tournaments.  Although a rebuy event like the one above is essentially a 6.20 buy in as I do my initial rebuy and add on.  If I see a 5.50 game that I cannot pass up, I will register. 

I will play this tournament quite a bit and try to find some similar tournament structures, as this one seems to treat me well.  There were only 38 runners, a 1 hour late registration, and 10 minute blind levels.

There seems to be a lot better tournament selection throughout the evening.  There are a couple games I have been playing and not cashing in the last couple nights that I think are beatable.  I will give them a few more tries and if I don't start cashing once in a while I will find alternatives.

I do need to stick with tournaments.  I have dabbled in heads up sng's and NL cash.  I lose more than I win in those.  If I don't have time for tournaments, I may play a few games, but I won't load up 6 tables at a time.  They will be treated as a training exercise as they both help to prepare me for tournament play.  I feel that I have a pretty good edge when I reach the final table with top 5 in chips. 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Late Registering for Tournaments

The flu season started at our house the night before last.  I took yesterday off to stay home with my son and daughter after I had a dentist appointment to fill a couple cavity's.  My wife took the morning shift. 

It was a rough afternoon trying to keep a baby intertained and a sick kid happy.  Once school got out, I picked up my other son.  He said he was happy he finally got a day without his little brother.  I guess his little brother hangs with him during recess every day. 

In the evening my sick son and daughter both fell asleep.  I took that as a sign that I could get a little poker in.  I registered for 5 tournaments, most of them were late registrations as the registration period on a lot of games is now 2 to 3 1/2 hours.  I'd rather late register and take my chances than sit through 3 1/2 hours of re entry play, where at some point I will get beat by some idiot who doesn't mind playing any hand and rebuying over and over again.

I had a fairly deep run in the nightly 250.00 guarantee.  I got busted in the first hand of the nightly 500.00 guarantee when I got KK and an ace hit on the flop after I went all in and was called.  I made the final table in another smaller tournament but was busted in 9th when my AK met up with 99.  I went into the final table in 2nd to last place so I was looking to make a move anyway.  I lost another game that I made it close to the money. 

On the last game I had open I had made the final table 5th in chips.  It was only paying top 5 but had a good payout as it was a rebuy game.  We were all deep stacked when we reached the money and I had increased to 3rd in chips.  By the time the 5th place person went out I was short stack.  The pay jump from 4th to 3rd was quite a bit more than 5th to 4th so I was going to play tight trying to get 3rd. 

I started catching some hands and figuring out how to get some pots of the big stack to stay alive.  4th place finally went out giving 2nd place a good chip lead over myself.  I knew it was going to be a hard fought battle if I wanted to move up further.  I played against the big stack and caught him bluffing a couple of times.  I stayed away from 2nd in chips because he usually had the hand.  Finally 2nd in chips took a large chunk off of chip stack shortening his stack below mine.  The next hand I had QQ.  He went all in and I called taking him out.  The very 1st hand of heads up I got AK.  He called the blind and I raised.  He went all in.  He had J8 suited and hit a J on the flop.  I had invested 2.10 in the game to make 50.00, plus I had some min cashes in most of the other games. 

I have been playing 1.00 and 2.00 tournaments since I have been late registering.  If I keep posting decent results, I will add back in 5.00 tournaments.   

Tuesday, October 15, 2013


At the beginning of October Carbon Poker changed their VIP structure again.  I was playing at the tier right below Carbon, I think it was water, and finally getting 19% cash back on my VIP points.  I wasn't going to sustain that level of play, so it's not a huge deal to me.  There are 3 tiers now.  You can reach the 1st tier with 500 VIP's earned in the month.  This is probably where I will be for quite a while.  The first tier is 10% cash back on VIP's.  You can cash in 1000 VIP points for 10.00. 

On top of their VIP structure change, they changed a ton of their tournaments.  They now offer a great selection of evening tournaments with long blind levels.  Almost all of their tournaments have a guarantee now.  Some of the guarantees are pointless as a $25.00 guarantee on a 1.00 game is not attractive.  Most of those are going to have way more than 25 players anyway. 

There are several evening games that I have played so far.  There is a 1.10 500.00 guaranteed with 15 minute blind levels, a 2.20 750.00 guaranteed with 15 minute blind levels and a 5.50 1500.00 guaranteed with 15 minute blind levels.  They have a massively long re-entry period of 3 and a half hours.  It builds the pot but allows the donks to get deep in the tournament.  I have registered late in these and start with 5000 chips.  The chip leader is usually around 100,000 chips by this point and I get called down with any hand I decide to play until I at least double up.

There's quite a few games with 10 minute blind levels as well.  I haven't played a ton yet, but what I have seen so far looks like an improvement.

I finally cashed out some of my bankroll on September 28th.  The check was at my house on October 14th.  That was way quicker than I had expected. 

I had a couple final tables this weekend on the new games.  I outright won 1 of the smaller games for a 50.00 profit and finished the others shortly after making the final table.  I also won a 33.00 ticket in a 2.20 game.  I tried hard to go out 1 before the ticket to take the 31.00 cash.  I doubled up twice with horrible hands and got the ticket. 

I have been playing quite a few heads up SNG's if I get knocked out of the tournaments early.  I have been doing o.k. in those and usually make enough over an hour or 2 to cover my tournaments entry's and increase my VIP points.

I'm back in grind mode.  I tell myself not to play until late in the evening when the kids go to bed, but I want to get in some of the juicy games I see going on earlier.  Plus, I don't want to stay up the whole night in order to play the longer blind level games that I do better in.  Maybe I can start a little earlier a couple nights a week to give myself a better chance.  Especially on the weeks I have plans on the weekends.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Las Vegas Recap

It has been crazy since I got back from Las Vegas.  My wife left for Blackhawk, Colorado the day after I got back so I was in charge of the 3 kids for the week.  Work was crazy trying to get everything caught back up from taking time off.

My Las Vegas experience was fun as usual.  I had some issues this trip that I have never had to deal with before.  The most important being that I could not access my money for the first 3 days.  That put a halt on most any gambling.

I arrived at the airport with 25.00 in my pocket.  I had left the rest in my account expecting to access it as I needed it.  I didn't want to have that much cash sitting around.

I won a little bit on the slot machines pretty quick after getting set up in my room.  Then we went to eat at Circus Circus where I had enough comps to pay for my buffet.  I was doing good.  I had been to Las Vegas for several hours and hadn't even made a withdrawal yet.  Finally after 9:00 I went to make a withdrawal of 300.00.  After midnight I went to make a second withdrawal of 300.00.  It said I had exceeded my daily withdrawal amount.  I thought that was strange since it was now a new day.  I thought maybe it hadn't reset yet so I went to bed and got up the next morning to try it again.  Same thing.

I had some money left from the night before so I decided I would deal with it later since we were heading to The D for a poker tournament.  I finished a few places out of the money there after my KK failed to hold up to AA for a majority of my stack.  My next move was to find a spot to shove before the blinds ate up the rest of my stack.  I got A9o and ran into AK. 

We ate at Flavor's.  The guy ahead of us said that he could get 1 of us in for all you can eat and all you can drink if we gave him 10.00.  That was a substantial savings so I jumped on that since I was short on cash.

We hung around Harrah's for quite a while after that.  I tried my luck at some 4 spot Keno.  No Luck.  I eventually spent the last of my money on slots.

It was time to call the bank.  They said that since I had made a withdrawal after 9 there it was after midnight Eastern.  It also said that I had made a 2nd withdrawal when it said that I had exceeded my limit.  I convinced the guy to increase my withdrawal limit for the day so I could get some money out to go play poker that evening.  He said he would do it.  It was a little embarrassing when we got to Bally's and I could not make a withdrawal.  It did let me get out 100.00.  Enough to play some poker. 

It was tough to play short stacked.  I saw some opportunities that I would have liked to have tried a bet, but I didn't want to lose what little money I had.  I was about out of chips when I got an AK.  In my head I thought I have to play this to the end whether I hit or not.  The other guy put me all in on the flop.  I think he had QQ.  I hit an ace on the river to stay alive.  I got a double up with AA shortly after that.  After a couple hours of play I was ready to head back to the hotel.  I was getting really tired.  I cashed out with 10.00 less than I had started.

It was a fun walk back to the bus station.  There were all kinds of people wandering the strip.

The next day I called the bank again.  They said they had frozen my bank account to see what had happened with the withdrawal where I hadn't gotten any money.  Great! I thought, another day without poker.  I paid for lunch with my Credit card so I could get some cash to play around with.

We went all over that day checking out different sections of the strip and downtown, drinking along the way.  When we got downtown they started gating everything off.  We went to walk out of Freemont casino and were told we needed to have a wrist band.  I was o.k. with that.  Then we got outside and it was all kinds of crazy.  It took us 30 minutes to try to get to another casino through the gates where they were wanding everyone.  We didn't get through so we went back into the Freemont. 

We asked one of the Hundreds of Police officer's there what the deal was.  He said it's First Friday.  Must be a big party day downtown.  It wasn't my cup of tea.  We got out of there as quickly as we could.  Drinking + Law Enforcement = All kinds of me going to jail.  I was getting an attitude pretty quick.  They were walking around acting all pissed off and it was affecting my good time.  It was time to go.

When we got back to the hotel I was able to withdraw some money.  I had been without for too long.  I blew that over the course of the night.  The next day I was able to withdraw again.  We were sticking around the Riviera that day so no poker again.  Over the course of the day I went through that money as well and was able to withdraw again after 9:00.  I played late into the evening with that and was able to bring it home.

When we first arrived we were disappointed to see that the Riviera had taken out their poker room.  Part of our quest for the rest of the week was to see where we are going to start staying.  We really liked the location and layout of Harrah's. 

Next time I go out I will have cash in pocket, and will play a lot more poker.  I think I am going to try to make it out during the WSOP next year.