Monday, February 21, 2011

Wedding in Cali for the weekend, back to the grind tonight

Haven't played a hand since Thursday morning because I flew 7 hours across country to go to a friends wedding nearly San Francisco. The weekend was awesome despite the lousy weather, and it was great to catch up with a bunch of good friends from college as well as some new friends that I've made through the groom.

I expect Duke to be no. 1 in the polls after the crazy week of college basketball, but really as long as we're in the top 3 I'm happy since we're setting ourselves up to get a 1 seed. Having a 1 seed is a huge advantage in the tournament and I think as long as Duke can go the rest of the regular season with only 1 more loss we should be able to pull one down.

Finally I dowloaded a pretty cool app for my iphone that has some very neat picture editing functions. Here is a photo I took with it yesterday when I was checking out the Golden Gate Bridge:

fwiw it's a definite must do tourist attraction if you're there. It's one of those heavily-hyped things that actually lives up to it's reputation. The views are amazing, the bridge is awesome, and it feels very authentic to the city.

I'm going to try and update more this week with my attempts to salvage a reasonable month.


Monday, February 14, 2011

Shellshocked, the podcast, vegas, duke basketball, and more...

Lot of stuff to try and cover since the last serious update. I still need to post pictures of the honeymoon and wedding, but that stuff has gotten delayed because the wife is doing a medicine rotation right now which means I barely ever see her. Most days she works +12 hours, except for twice a week when she works more like 24-30. So it really sucks, especially to spend your first valentines day as a married couple apart. Not that I'm a huge fan of the holiday, but I'd still rather have her around for it. oh well.

I've had a lot of confidence issues relating to poker over the last few months. In general going back to last summer I've only had one really good month (November). I've made money most months, but my results haven't been great and I've yet to get on a strong run over the coure of a few days let alone a week. Relating to that I've been doing a lot of studying and thinking about my game. Because of that I've definitely made some stylistic and theoretical changes in how I view and play. I think they are positive changes, but as a result I'm finding myself often in spots I'm less familiar with as well as experiencing a lot of variance due to poor decisions on my part. I've actually had to fight tilt for the first time in a long time. The most recent example would be last week. I spent the first 3 days of the week grinding low stakes rush trying to get my confidence back. Even though I didn't post a lot of positive results I felt good about my play and was ready to get back into my games for the weekend. On Thursday, Friday, and Saturday I posted reasonable wins, and for the first time in a long time I was feeling confident about my game and like I was making progress.

Then came saturday night, and the wheels came off. It started when I was planning to go to bed but then decided to put in a quick couple hour session because the games looked really good. I was right and there was a lot of action and loose recreational players playing. But right off the back nothing was working for me and I dropped $5,000 in about 45 min. The culminating hand was when I flopped top set a 5/10 FR table over 200bbs deep and end up betting 80% of pot on the turn instead of overbet shoving for %115 of pot. Doing that convinced the rec player in the hand to come along with his nut flush draw which he hit on the river shipping him the over $4k pot. The villain was definitely not getting correct odds to draw on the turn so I guess I make sklansky bucks, but there is no reason for me to not ship the turn there. The fact is that the pot is probably worth more than my equity if he calls it off with a flush+straight draw so I need to do everything I can to convince him to fold on the spot. as well as making sure that lower sets don't get away from the last $400 on the river if the flush or straight comes in and he gets scared.

It wasn't a huge mistake, and it shouldn't be a reason for tilt. But this year I can't win at 5/10 and 3/6 so far and it just set me off. I decided at some point I was just going to grind and win my money back. But nothing ever got going my way. I was definitely making mistakes and sitting in games where my edge wasn't huge enough to justify my time and frustration. I was trying to make fancy plays to win every pot, and making tilt calls when I should have been folding. To that effect I was also running horribly in every big pot. flopping trips when people flopped boats, turning straights when people turned full houses, flopping top pair+flush draws when people had sets. If I was playing my A game and focused I think I would have lost maybe $3k or a little more. Instead I lost $7k and was just totally devastated by it. I finally quit when I induced a 5bet bluff/call it off from an idiot rakeback grinder who had A6s against my QQ and he spiked the A and I had just had enough. I was really upset after that and just felt lost. My head was pounding, I took a cold shower and then just kind of rambled and bitched for about an hour to the wife. To her credit she listened to most of it and tried to be supportive. Lately she's been suggesting that I find an organization to volunteer for or a part time job just to get me away from poker for awhile. She thinks that I'm getting too wrapped up in my results and that the game is starting to make me unhappy. I think it's a fair point, but I'm not quite ready to give up a large portion of my grinding time unless it is something I'm really excited for. I am considering volunteering at the animal shelter that we donated to for our wedding so I'll update if that goes through.

To summarize poker has been a bitch. I'm definitely not playing my A game enough, and I'm finding myself frustrated often. At the same time I still think I have an edge in the games and I can recover by focusing and continuing to work on my game. I'm still up for the year and in the end I'm just an extremely lucky and blessed person to be able to make a very good living playing a game at home in my spare time. It's a lot of work and stress at times, but I really shouldn't complain when you consider the many other potential jobs or situations I could find myself in.

The second topic I wanted to bring up is the podcast that a friend and I have started recording. It is still in its infancy so we're not releasing it yet and probably won't be for a few months. We've tentatively titled it Superbox which is a reference to my friends superbowl party snackbox. (The snackbox is a cardboard box covered in foil filled with various junk food not limited to be but including cheetos, lucky charms, gummi bears, powdered donuts, doritos, pretzels, popcorn, and whatnot. It's both wonderful and slightly gross. Dip in the ladel, fill a bowl with random delicious crap and enjoy while watching the premiere american television event.) But back to the podcast. We're essentially trying to do humorous conversation and observation about topics in the news or in our lives. It's really rough around the edges right now and we're brainstorming for direction, topics, segments, and trying to figure out how to polish our on air chatting. My friend definitely has a leg up in the process as he did some radio and DJ'ing in high school and college and taught a high school class in radio. Hopefully things will progress and at somepoint in the next few months I'll link it to the blog.

A good friend from the duke baseball team is getting married this weekend in Cali. Two weeks ago he had a bachelor party in vegas. Most of the weekend was typical drunken festivities, but the highlight was definitely a big gambling run for the bachelor at the Bellagio. It started when about 6 of us decided to chip in and throw some cash on black at a roulette table hoping to double up and take the money to the craps table. If we lost we figured we'd just scrap the gambling for the afternoon. So we threw the cash down and started a might ducks style slow clap for good luck.

By the time the ball is about to drop we've probably got 30 people watching us all around the casino. We hit on black and erupt into a huge cheer. Everyone is hugging and high fiving random strangers. Immediately somebody yells to let it ride but we decide instead to take it to the craps table and see if we can go big. Most of the guys ended up losing for the afternoon (I broke even) but the bachelor kept hitting on random bets around the table. He was afraid he was going to eventually give it all back so every time he made a green chip he started giving it to me to pocket to cash out when he finally finished up. By the time we decided to quit he was up $650 for his most profitable afternoon of gambling ever, and I'm guessing that covered most of his cost for the weekend. Nice to see a bachelor hit the good variance at his own bachelor party.

Last topic of conversation is Duke basketball. I'll keep it brief but I'm starting to feel better and better about our team despite our two tough losses midseason. Everyone is starting to find their stride and adapt to their roles, and even though I doubt Irving is going to be back I think we're going to be a force in the tournament. Hopefully we can run the table and get a 1 seed and if we do I'll take our chances against anyone to win it all. The comeback win against UNC was huge, and hopefully we learned somethings from the first half that we can take advantage of in gameplanning for the rematch in Chapel Hill. I think that game is going to basically be a pick'em because that team just keeps getting better and they always play well in front of their home crowd.

That's all I got for now. I'm hoping that writing the blog will get me motivated to start a heavy grind night. Hopefully I can put in a bunch of hands and get things turned around for the month.