Thursday, October 31, 2013

More Sunday night recap

Happy Halloween!  Some observations and tales of hands I was not involved with:

I saw a LAG call $70 on the flop and $132 on the river with nothing more than a Jack high flush draw - and get there on the good player.  This was the same guy who doubled me within my first 5 hands with an overpair to his supposed AQ / Qx.  Some fish will never learn...

So as he's stacking his chips, he grabs a rack and starts to pack up his $700+ winnings.  I start talking to him - the whole table is quite quiet except for me and the guy who's in a daze about losing $250 on a naked non-nut flush draw on the river.  He tells us he has to go to work and I tell him that he can't just leave after winning a big pot.  I tell him he needs to stay and try to win my $500 (at the time) stack!  I told him, "You know, you ought to stay - we're going to talk about you when you leave!" (because of his horrendous call on the turn for the chips).  I try everything I can to convince him to stay and he stops packing after a bit of banter and says that he has to go call his wife.  Obviously, I'm in total agreement - go... take your time... just come back and play some more!

He comes back and sits back down; he forgot to take out the $200 out of his pocket from when he started packing up, which was fine by me... I wasn't going to remind him.  I tried engaging him in chatter - I find out that he works for Home Depot, a bit of his life story, etc.  Nice guy, but HUGE gambler.  Now, when I tell you it was a Tale of Two Cities with this guy, I mean it.  It was like a whole new person sitting down with his fresh $500 stack.  He went from a 50 VPIP to around a 15 VPIP.  He was no longer calling raises.  No longer limping into pots.  He was limp / folding.  It was funny how much he tightened up.  I guess he hit his pressure point where the money became meaningful.


There was a new waitress on staff Sunday.  To say she was awful was being kind.  I've never seen anything like her.  This poor guy - the one I described above, though in a separate hand against the same villain - ordered a sandwich 5-10 minutes prior to her arriving with the order.  He's in the midst of a hand and the villain has just carved out a check raise followed by a $150 bet on the turn.  I've found that when the villain is really active like that, he has the goods more often then not; i.e. he's not a bluffer, just a LAGgy pre-flop player.  Anyway, dude is crumbling from the pressure, deciding what to do and this waitress keeps saying "excuse me," and "sir, I have your order."  Waitress wants attention NOW!  She's the only thing going on in the room.  Dude is trying to keep in the zone and mostly ignoring her.  I in fact try to placate the situation by telling the waitress to just sit tight.  She's having none of that - "sir... excuse me sir...  I need you to sign..."  Finally, she breaks his concentration and gets his attention.  She puts his sandwich in front of him, on the rail - not even bothering to get a portable table.  This poor guy is in the middle of a hand and she just hands him the plate!  WTF?  Terrible terrible terrible form.  He ends up folding but wow - this waitress just about won every award there is to win for worst waitress award.


A quick shout out to my buddy Ed who chopped first place money for the $330 Sunday tourney.  Nice score!  I would love to get into tourney action, as my [former] co-blogger Josh has played a lot lately as well, and has done quite well.  I just can't logically wrap my head around playing for all those hours only to be coolered or sucked out on and nothing to show for it.  Cash, you can rebuy when you have a fish at your table.  Tourneys - not so quickly; the fish can move on while you're on the sideline.  I hate tourneys, but the money is oh so appealing!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Sunday night recap and a What Would You Do?

At this point in my 1/2 career, I'm still astounded by players paying off a full buy in on anything where they don't have "significant" equity.  Certainly, it's rarity to see top pair pay off a buy in, but that was my 5th hand into the session:

Dealt KK UTG.  Deciding how much to raise, I see 2 loose limpers throw in $2 ahead of me.  Assessing the situation, and calling to the dealer's attention that I had yet made my move, I raised to $13-14 UTG open.  Normal raise for this spot is $11, but I felt I could get away with a bit larger because these guys were sure to call.  Both called, as did the guy to my right in the BB and we see a flop of 3 3 Q - 2 clubs.  I lead for $30 into the $52 pot, expecting to see the LAG(s) with the random 3 raise it up.  No such activity - one LAG flats and the table folds.  $122 in the pot.

Turn is a blank 9(?) and I lead for $70.  Snap call from LAG.

River is another blank.  I auto shove for my final $105.  He thinks for a second and calls.  He pays off my overpair and my session is off to a nice start.

I see a lot of players slow down the turn and only get half stacks in the middle by the river in this spot.  With a paired board, Q high, what should I really be afraid of?  He can have random 3's but he's shown that he'll bet hard when he has what he believes to be the goods.  He pot controls (or tries to) the non-goods showdown worthy hands.  Therefore I get an early double up.

Mix of hands in between, one of which I'll point out:

KJdd BB.  Limpers in multiple spots and tightish straightforward player raises to $8-11 or something.  Small raise.  1 caller on BTN and I call my BB.  1 other caller (LAG) and we see a K 8 3 rainbow flop.  Out of position, I check and it checks through.  Turn is a 4.  I lead turn for $20 and get called by original raiser and LAG - BTN folds.  River is a blank.  I check and LAG fires $35.  Original raiser tanks for a bit and finally just calls.

What do you do there?

I'm 100% positive I'm ahead of LAG.  What do you make of original raiser's call?  I suppose I should call given the amount of money vs. the pot, but I want to make the right decision and not just call based on the pots odds.  I really felt like original raiser is pot controlling KQ, maybe even AK.  Stupidly, I muck and am shown bluff (LAG) vs. QQ (original raiser).  Stupid me.


Final hand of interest:
Background is a curmudgeon (old man) sits down with a chip on his shoulder.  Buys in for $300 and is treading water.  I raise 9 9 to $15 from mid position against 2 limpers.  Folds to curmudgeon who calls.  Limpers fold.  Before the flop is laid out, he tells me he "checks dark."  We see a good flop of 3 7 T.  Backdoor straight draw + likely good pair.  I lead for $15 again, not sure why he's checking dark, but I want over cards to draw on me.  He c/rs me to $30 and, surprised, I call.  Turn is a J and he leads for $100 red.  I tank fold my turned gutter - 99% positive he's got JJ, QQ, KK, AA.  He's proud of himself and giving me the "F U" look - he ain't gonna take my punk ass bullshit.

7 hands later, UTG straddle $5:
I limp my 6 6 from UTG+2, 2 callers ahead of me and SB (tightish straightforward from above QQ hand) bumps it to $33 with $370 behind.  Curmudgeon calls ($350 behind) and I think for a bit.  ~10-1 implied but this is an awfully expensive call for speculating on sets.  Given curmudgeon now has a perceived history with me, I call thinking I'm ABSOLUTELY going to stack him if I hit.  I'm getting even nicer insurance if the 2 limpers come along, but they fold.  We see a beauty flop: 6 9 J rainbow.  Original raiser checks, curmudgeon leads for $60 and I try to assess original raiser.  Pretty sure that he's folding no matter what I do, I raise to $200.  Curmudgeon insta-monkey shoves his remaining $290 and I snap him off.  I flip over my 6 6 and he is totally and completely miffed.  He roots for a K which doesn't get there - board runs blank, Ace - and his buy in is gone plus the money from our earlier mix up.  I can see the steam coming out of his ears - oh man!  He flicks my cards, pounds on the table, and walks away muttering all sorts of stuff.

It's always comical when you stack a guy like this.  You only hope that he thinks it's a pissing contest and buys back in immediately, determined to "teach a lesson."  I didn't say a single word to him, but alas, he stormed off.  Oh well.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

A neat graphic about the popularity of baby names

I thought this was a neat animated GIF which shows the popularity of female names by year & state:

Update:  You know what... I forgot to give credit to The Atlantic for providing the research / image.  Sorry for the oversight.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Incident at Maryland Live!

I got a rare Sunday night session in this past weekend.  My general playing style is to be unassuming, almost aloof.  I am certainly a talker at the table, but I try to pretend like I don't know what I'm doing.  Moreover, I try to avoid confrontations - both physical and verbal.  I'm not afraid, but I just feel like there's no point in putting myself out there - getting into a fight over some nonsense.  I'm able to think past the pissing contest and consider where it will lead and what good will result.  Therefore, whenever another player starts to get rowdy, I try to distance myself and placate the person or ignore it.

Sometimes, try as I may, I can't ignore a situation and need to take action in order to stop it from bubbling up to an actual physical altercation.  Sunday was one such example where I was forced to call on "impartial help," the poker room management.  Let me explain:

A 30's man at my table was becoming progressively inebriated.  He was talking a lot of garbage at the table, calling the table "dickheads," and "assholes," becoming increasingly belligerent.  The table had more-or-less discussed it on one of the inebriated man's breaks - and opted to not bring management into the picture as he was both good for the game and not quite overstepping his boundaries.  He was, in effect, a drunk guy, talking up a storm.

Prior to the point when the following happened, he had twice angle shot, acting to bet and/or call, while extending his hand and chips beyond his cards to get a reaction from players (myself included), just to pull back the bet when he saw the reaction - the very definition of an angle shoot (or in layman's terms, a soft form of cheating the game).  Each time, the floor ruled against the aggrieved, as the dealers moved on to the next hand too rapidly for the aggrieved to complain.  Again, the table dealt with this behavior as he was good for the game.

As the night continued, the drunk man became more and more unmanageable, leading him to threaten me in particular after winning a pot.  After going on a tirade about "crack and hookers," he started telling me how he's tougher than me and "he's going to kick my ass," and that he'll "see me outside."    Of note, I did not feed into this behavior nor respond to it in kind, though he continued, increasingly louder.  The reality for me is that I'm with the table at this point; he's great for the game and he's going to dump money.  However, after 25-30 seconds of his harangue, I opted to call the floor.  He probably threatened me 5 different times and ways in addition to his offensive profanities.  I had had enough with this idiot.

The floor manager responded fairly quickly and began to assess the problem.  Allowing hands to continue, he pulled each of us aside and listened to our story.  Of course, drunk guy failed to mention that he threatened me, but my story included that key tidbit.  I was offered a seat at the new table, but was determined to get drunkey out of the casino.  I stated my intentions exactly the way I wanted - "I want him out of the casino."  The floor manager had to speak with his supervisor to get permission to take that action, and eventually apparently had him removed.

A few orbits afterwards, I decided I would end my session.  I wasn't in the right mindset, and was thinking about what would happen en route to my car.  Again, I don't want to get into some stupid fight where things could escalate.  This guy was a country boy from Ohio, a real tough guy who felt the need to let everyone know he's somewhat of a big deal.  We're not talking about a hulking guy, but this guy outweighs me by 30-40 lbs. and has a few inches on me.  He probably knows how to bar brawl better than I remember the 5 years of Tae Kwon Doe that I took years ago.

I had a somewhat lengthy conversation with the floor manager, discussing his lack of immediate action, which, in all fairness, was claimed due in part to him trying to get the whole story.  As a sidebar, since action was not taken immediately, the manager was allowing both the offender and me to be dealt into hands while trying to figure out what was going on.  The manager did not canvas the table nor the dealer until I became very vocal about wanting the man removed - and only got the table's story after stating to me that in effect, it's my word versus the drunk man's.  The drunk man claimed he did not threaten me at all.  The table jumped in to my defense and told the manager that yes - indeed, the man did threaten me multiple times, including talking about drugs, hookers, and a plethora of curse words.  4 different people, including the dealer, told the manager about the threats.

Feeling comfortable with leaving to go home, as I was told they "escorted him out," I went downstairs to cash out my chips, only to find this man waiting outside of the poker room by the blackjack tables, checking his phone, unescorted.  I can only presume he was waiting for me.

I'm not quite sure how seriously Maryland Live! takes their security, but when I went back to ask management about his "escort out," management (and this time it was the manager who claims to be the poker room supervisor) claimed "yes, we had him escorted out... out of the poker room."  His words were: "I do not think he is a threat."  I can't remember the other exact words of the conversation I had with management, but in this one manager's opinion (who by the way never became directly involved, nor came over to the table, but heard it all third or fourth hand from his floor manager), the inebriated individual was "determined not to be a problem."

To me, this is a huge fail on the part of the poker room management.
  1. Do they take verbal threats seriously?  What about offensive language?  In my opinion, this guy was out of control and threatening my safety.  Does the poker room think it's a joke?
  2. Should this drunk be allowed to roam the casino to harass other patrons?  What is the point of kicking the guy out of the poker room?  Does that reduce my risk of danger when he can be waiting right outside of the room for me to leave?
  3. Why would the management not be completely truthful?  When they tell me they had him escorted out, when they really mean "escorted out of the poker room?"  An escort out of the poker room does nothing to protect the customer, as the dude was waiting outside for my exit.  Don't tell me he's gone and then let me get blindsided in the parking lot.
  4. How is the manager assessing a threat?  Is he looking him in the eye and making him promise to cause no more trouble?  To me, that's laughable.  The dude is drunk, he's making threats of violence, and he's talking about crack.  86 him from the casino!
Security is not a joke, and I feel that the poker room management needs to be trained to understand that fact.  As recently has late July, a lady was robbed at knife-point in the parking lot.  They are undoubtedly aware of that.  Why would the poker room tolerate this kind of behavior - and look at my grievances as a mere inconvenience to them?

Prior to this incident, I have been very happy with Maryland Live!  I thought the poker room was set up in an extremely player-friendly manner.  The casino is convenient to get to from my home, the dealers are friendly, and the atmosphere (last night excluded) is wonderful.  I think the poker room is a model which other poker rooms can strive to be.  However, if the casino is not taking security seriously, this is not the right place for anyone, no matter the positive the casino has to offer.  The simple fact is that they need to adequately protect their customers.

Addendum: I sent an email to the poker room manager and cc:ed the casino manager and investment group who owns the casino.  I got a fairly quick response, and was invited to call the poker room manager.  We spoke briefly - it was explained that this is not the normal procedure, and that the supervisor on duty failed at performing his duties.  The manager offered me a free buffet for my wife & me (which I declined, feeling like if I accepted, it would cheapen the whole argument I made) as an apology, which I felt was very nice.  As for dealing with the situation, I believe the manager spoke with the supervisor and other floor managers to set them straight as far as proper procedure and process.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Tilting and a recap

I never really thought of myself as a tilter, but I suppose I am.  Tilting comes in all forms - and I guess we're all prone to it, but never want to acknowledge it.  My form of tilt comes in two forms: entitlement and watching others' unbelievably poor play.

I started out winning the very first pot I played - limping T8o from late position and flopping 8 8 3 - two spades.  I led, got a caller.  Called a $25 bet on the offsuit K turn from the BB who thought he could rep 8's - figuring that I raise here, I likely blow him off of his hand.  River comes a T and he leads for $40(?) and I raise all in.  He fold rather quickly, leading me to believe that he either floated the flop or was drawing spades.  Good start to the night.

Bit later, I get 74o in the BB and check my option.  Flop comes a beautiful 3 5 6 - two hearts.  I immediately lead for $15 into the world of limpers and get called by the guy to my left.  Turn is an 8, giving the board 2 hearts and 2 diamonds, and I lead again, for $35.  He calls.  River: 9 diamonds and I lead for $50.  He flats and shows the nut straight: T7o - I get runner runnered by a gutter turned open ended.  There goes my nice start.  Just pisses me off that I put $50 in bad there, but I can't see myself ever checking the 4 straight; there's so much he can have that doesn't include the nut straight there...  Perhaps I should re-adjust thought?  Bet less?

Few orbits later, I limp T9o (this table was continually limping monsters, looking to limp / raise which inevitably no one ever did (raise to allow the limp / raise, that is).  I usually don't limp so frequently, but it was worth it getting involved with guys trying to "slow play" their AA, AK, etc.  So we see a flop of Q T 9 - rainbow.  Tight tight BB leads for $10 into $12 and gets called by a terrible player - black woman who was clearly out of her element.  I opt to raise to $35 because she's always calling with a J, and I think most of the players there are going to do so as well (see tilt #2 - poor play; do they really think I'm going to pay off a 4 straight board????).  Tight BB folds and woman calls once again into the limp pot.  Anyway, we see a 4 on the turn, putting 2 hearts - you see where I'm going with this?  She checks to me and I lead for $50(?).  She snaps it.  River is a third random heart and she checks.  I check through and am shown AhKh for the runner runner flush, once again from a gutter.  At least I didn't put out a big bet on the river.

I fish $100 out of my pocket to top up; in the hole for $100 now.  I would go on to become the angst of the table - I was virtually the only one raising in an otherwise passive table, and the 3 curmudgeonly older gentlemen were more than happy to stick with their small pocket pairs through my overcard raises and cbets.  I don't know why, but it took me awhile to figure out that they'll call me down extremely light just because they're stations.

Anyway, the last hand of note involved a $5 straddled pot where I raise AJo from late position - first in - to $15.  Folds to the UTG straddler who insta-calls.  Let me give a little description of this guy: 30-40 years old, dark sunglasses; looks like a brown-haired, fatter version of Andrew Brokos.
A picture of the incredible Andrew Brokos, for reference
Clearly fancies himself a serious poker player.  Trying to make moves, play tough, look tough.  Flop comes T 8 3 - 2 clubs.  Checks to me and I cbet $20.  He calls.  Check through blank turn / river and he shows T6o.  LOLWUT?  I think this tilt is a mix of entitlement and bad play tilt.  Villain clearly thinks he's the man and knows what he's doing, but yet gets $20 of value from a stupid hand that he chooses to defend his straddle?  I just don't get it - calling $15 with T6?  I shouldn't expect to win with AJ, but show me T9, JT, something reasonable to call 7.5BBs.  Shame on me for cbetting a blank flop.  Hope you make money with that, dude.

Regardless, I came out of a 4 session slump with a solid W last night.  I just need to continue my run.  I have a running bet with a buddy of mine, where whichever of us has the higher earn rate for the year gets a free dinner from the other.  I'm rooting for him to come in a penny per hour under where I end the year, though his last night's session really boosted up his earn rate.  Hopefully, free dinner at Prime Rib!

P.S. I've been playing a bit of PLO online lately.  I'm loving the game.  I did a bit of analysis on my hand histories, though, and found that I'm a huge loser at the game (huge being relative to the stakes I'm playing).  If I want to get better, I had better read about the game; I'm discovering that I have a vague idea of what hands I should be playing, but no solid footing for certain.  I started reading Pot Limit Omaha by Jeff Hwang and have found it's tremendously helpful.

2 quick examples:

  • I wasn't aware that the particular cards I want to enter into a pot are top gappers rather than bottom gappers: 5 7 8 9 plays far better because of nut value than 5 6 7 9 or 6 7 8 T.  I'd imagine this was a huge leak to me because I was continually drawing to suck ends of draws.  There are other components: suited Ace with 3 straight cards, suited Ace with offsuit pairs, etc.  Point is: you want to be drawing to the nuts whenever you get involved in a pot, unless you have reason to otherwise do so.
  • I wasn't aware that unimprovable nut hands should proceed carefully - like flopped straights.  If I have a hand like A 4 5 6 and the board flops 2 3 5, I should not be intending to get it all in on the flop.  I have an hand that can't improve, and only set myself up for getting freerolled by the same 4 6 with a 7 and/or 8.  Backdoor draws are important there too; I'd be less cautious if my hand were double suited and the board had one of each suit, for example.

At any rate, if you get the motivation, my dear readers, come join me on Seals with Clubs.  If you let me know, I can work something out to throw you a few chips to get you started.  If nothing else, there's a few ways you can earn free chips: Seals has hourly freerolls where you can win a few chips to get you entry into some of the cash games, and there's a few websites which offer free bitcoins for inputting codes - one particular one I've been playing around in is Daily Bitcoins.  We're talking micro bitcoins here, but still, you can build up a minimal roll if you put in a little time clicking.

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