Another $50 tourney: My first MTT win

I just got back, so I’m pretty beat. I’ll be posting a re-cap tomorrow or later this weekend. There were 32 people, I took first and won $450. I got very lucky at the Final Table. I think I ultimately won it with aggression. Ironically, I’m thinking more about hands that I misplayed than anything else.

This is going to be a long re-cap. Right when I got home from the tourney, I wrote a one-line description of all the hands I thought were significant. There are something like 30 lines. Here we go:

Early on in the first level (25/25), I got AA. I raised to 100 and everyone folded. I was bummed, but it was good to see the bullets. I hadn’t seen them in a while.

Not much else happened at my first table. I stole the blinds one other time, but mostly just sat back and enjoyed the show. We had three people eliminated in the first two levels. That’s pretty crazy considering we all started with 160 Big Blinds. I guess these people were in a hurry to get somewhere.

At my second table, I was lucky enough to have some very tight players on my left. Typically, I prefer tight on my left, loose on my right. That way, I’m less worried about someone coming over the top of a raise, or even calling it. I can also steal blinds pretty liberally. Also, I get position on loose players and that means I get to collect their chips by isolating them and making them pay for playing crummy hands.

After I’d been at the second table for about 45 minutes, I picked up AA UTG+1. The blinds were 150/300 and I raised it to 800 because it just felt right. A guy in late position moved in for about 3000 more (I knew he had a hand because he is ultra-tight) and the small blind started debating whether to call his all-in. I should’ve done some acting to get him to call, but I kind of thought he’d call on his own. Unfortunately, he folded and my AA beat the all-in player’s AK… the other guy folded AK also.

A bit later, I had KJo in late-middle position. I looked down at my cards, figured they were good enough to raise (because I’d been raising and taking it with Q2o, J5o, and junk like that for a while) and started counting out chips. The BB said, “Hey! Wait a minute! This is my blind here!” Unfortunately, I didn’t realize he’d look at his cards. I said, “I know, but I gotta’ do it.” and raised to 3x the BB. It got to him, he said some more stuff about it being his blind, then he moved in. Unfortunately, I basically had to call his all-in, but I wasn’t happy about it. I knew he had AA. If I’d realized he had looked at his cards before his initial speech, I would’ve just mucked. This hand cost me quite a few chips. C’iest la vie.

A few hands later, I had QQ in the BB. UTG raised it to 2.5x BB, everyone folded to me, I did my best to sound peeved (I was acting like I was still steaming from the KJo vs. AA hand) and said, “Alright, I’m all-in.” He called quickly and showed AQo. My QQ held up and I was right back in it.

About four hands later, I was on the button with TT and made a standard raise. The guy who previously had AA and made the speech called. The flop came down A8x and he checked to me. Now, this is the guy from a previous tournament who’d told me that he had a tell on me that indicated when I had a strong hand. What he didn’t know was that he’d gotten that tell on a hand where I was bluffing with Ace-high on a flop of KQx. I’m pretty sure this “tell” happens regardless of the strength of my hand, just because I’m playing a pot. Anyway, he checked to me and I could tell he was “getting a read” on me. I realized that the “tell” was happening, so I bet half the pot with my TT and made sure that his read would lead him to think I flopped a monster (I wanted him to put me on AK). He said he new what I had and folded. I think he even said I had an Ace. I told him I’d tell him later. Later, I did tell him I had TT and that I thought his tell on me didn’t actually tell him anything. That’s ok because he’s the type of player who will look for other reasons to fold big hands against me.

The blinds went up to 1K/2K-100. I was on the button with the mighty Q2o and decided to steal the blinds. Unfortunately, I was still stuck on the previous level (400/800) where my standard raise from the button had been 2000. I announced a raise to 2000 and immediately realized that was only a min-raise. Oops. The SB called, the BB folded. The flop came down KTx. The SB bet out, I thought for a while and folded. I told him I had AQ, but hated that flop. He said he had a weak King. I don’t know if he was lying, but I’m pretty sure he could beat Ace high and I didn’t want to pay a lot to find out how much he really liked his hand.

It wasn’t much longer and we combined for the final table. I had been card dead for a while and didn’t have too many chips. I didn’t play any hands before the end of the 1K/2K-100 level. The next level was 700/1400-100. Everyone folded to me and I moved in on the button with K7o. I think I had something like 4000 chips. The SB called, then the BB called and I knew I was in trouble. The SB had KTo, the BB had 54o. The SB won the hand and I stood up to leave, only to be told I still had chips. How many? 1400 chips, or exactly the BB. I folded two hands, but had to pay the 100 ante, so I was down to 1200.

Next hand, I posted the 100 ante, leaving me with 1100 chips. I looked down to see 74s, which was pretty close to the ideal crummy hand for me. I figured it was suited, and semi-connected, so I called all-in for my last 1100 chips. I then began goading everyone into calling: “Come on guys! Everyone get in there and quintuple me up! I need some chips!” I got two callers. The flop came down something like K4x. The BB checked, the button moved in and everyone else folded. Turns out the button only had Ace high and my pair of fours, seven kicker held up. I now had about 3600 chips. Next hand, I got KJo and moved in. I gave the same speech and got two callers. I also did a little acting and made my hand shake as I put the chips in. I figured maybe someone would be perceptive and make a crack about it, possibly inducing everyone else to fold for fear that I had AA. As it turns out, I had no such luck and I got two callers. This time, I made Kings up and tripled up. All of a sudden, I had about 12.5K chips and I was right back in it. That’s when the carnage began.

Two hands later, I was in the SB. MP1 made a standard raise and it was folded to me. I looked down to see QQ and moved in. He thought for a long time and eventually folded, saying he had AK. I think this was a terrible fold considering 1) I’d been moving in with junk and 2) It only cost him something like 8K more to call into something like a 18K pot. Against my range of hands, his AK was certainly getting odds to call. Nevertheless, I was glad he folded. The dealer ran the cards and he would’ve flopped a King, but lost on the river when I hit a set of Queens. I said, “I’m still glad you folded. I’d rather win 20K one-hundred percent of the time than get knocked out 50% of the time.” I was up to almost 20K and closing on the chip lead. This was the same guy who’d doubled me up at the previous table when I had QQ in the BB and he had AQ UTG. I think maybe that hand was on his mind when he folded. If I’m in his situation with AK, it’s an insta-call.

From here on out, I won’t talk much about bet sizes relative to the blinds and such. It just didn’t matter because everyone was basically short-stacked or extremely short-stacked. It was going to come down to catching cards and playing aggressively.

Now that I had some chips, it was time to start stealing blinds. We’d been at the final table for a few orbits and I had a pretty good idea who was just trying to survive and eke into the money and who was unlikely to play a pot if he wasn’t first in. I went after these people virtually every orbit. I was raising mostly with junk, but I occasionally caught a hand like KJo, although it didn’t matter because people rarely even called my raise, much less made a play at me. One of those blinds steals was with AA, unfortunately. The table was so tight, I just never got action on my raises. That was bad for AA, but good for my overall final table experience.

I busted the guy on my left when I made a standard raise from the button with KTs. He moved in with 99, I called and spiked a King to knock him out.

It turns out the guys to my right were really in to messing with my blinds. The guy on my right made a standard raise one time and I laid down A7o (I thought that was a big mistake after I did it). I figured I’d give him one pass, but I was moving in if he tried it again. Next orbit, he completed the SB, I raised with junk, he folded. Next orbit, he made his raise again, I moved in and he folded. A few orbits later, he limped from the SB, I moved in, he called and he showed 85o. My Ace high took it down and I busted him.

A few hands later, the new guy to my right (formerly two to my right) completed the SB and I moved in. He immediately folded. I was determined to make sure they knew that my BB wasn’t just there for the taking. You were going to have to beat me out of a pot to get it. A few hands later, the same guy made a standard raise from the SB into my BB and I called with KJo. I thought about moving in, but didn’t see any reason to go crazy. I’d already shown I don’t mess around in the blinds and since I knew he knew that, I thought he might actually have a hand. The flop came down T95, giving me a gutshot straight draw and two overs, but he moved in and I thought about it and folded my KJo face-up. He showed 53s for bottom pair, crummy kicker. I had a really hard time figuring out why he would play this hand against my blind like that. I hadn’t been giving up my blind, so he had to knew we’d be seeing a flop. There were a lot of hands I could’ve had that crushed him there (I definitely would’ve called with A9, AT, KT, JT, T9 and hands like that).

We were now four-handed and I got 66 UTG. I made a standard raise and got called by the button. Flop came down 996 and I fainted. Actually, I remained calm and bet out about half the pot. He quickly mucked. I was immediately disgusted with my line. Why bet out? This guy hadn’t been showing much aggression anyway. I should’ve checked to let him catch something on the turn. Big mistake.

About six or seven hands later, I was in the SB. The button, who’d become short-stacked, but not extremely short-stacked, moved in for about 20K. I peeked down to find AA and started thinking about how I could extract maximum value. I decided to play it nice and slowly, so I asked how much the raise was (even though I already knew), counted out the chips from my stack and eventually said, “I call.” I was hoping to induce the guy to my left to call or move in, but it didn’t work. Regardless, I busted the guy with QTo and we were now 3-handed. I had the chip lead and no fear whatsoever.

Next hand, I was on the button and the BB was extremely short-stacked. I’d been picking on him for a while as it was obvious he was folding his way up the money ladder. I asked him how much he had, he counted it out and I made a raise to about that amount. In retrospect, this was a poor play because I wasn’t paying attention to the not-so-small stack in the SB. If I was in the SB, I would’ve realized the button was picking on the BB, but wasn’t all that strong. Indeed, I only had K4s. The SB called my raise and the BB folded. The flop came down T94 w/ two diamonds. The SB checked and I moved in for about twice the pot with my bottom pair, King kicker. He shrugged and said, “I guess I call.” He had KQ of diamonds. That left him with a gutshot straight flush draw and an overcard (Queen). He was a slight favorite. I couldn’t figure out why he’d check/call all-in there, but that’s how he played it (I would’ve just moved in with it in his position). The board didn’t help him and my fours won and knocked him out.

We were down to heads-up and I had a monster chip lead (something like 9:1 or 10:1). I basically just went completely aggro until I busted him. I offered him a chop based on chip count (we each take second place money and divide the remainder of the prize pool proportionally by chip count), but he didn’t take it. Actually, when I first offered it, he said, “I dunno’. Let’s play one more hand.” The dealer dealt, I moved in, he folded and I said, “Ok, you wanna’ chop?” He decided, “Nah, I just wanna’ play it out.” I said ok and busted him two hands later. Actually, I doubled him up first. Then, the next hand, I had 84o, moved in from the button and he called with Q9o. I spiked an 8 on the flop to end the tourney.

So, that’s a re-cap of my first MTT win. It’s strange how little I really remember about the final table. I don’t remember many actual bet sizes, I don’t remember a lot of the hands I stole with. It just happened very quickly. I think the entire final table took less than an hour. It was crazy to come back from being short-stacked with less than the BB to running over the table on my way to a win. It’s also crazy that the hand that turned it around was 74s. The jury is still out, but that might be my new favorite trash hand.


Another crummy $50 tournament

I’m pretty frustrated, so this would be pretty short even if there weren’t too many hands to report. Let’s see… I basically stole a lot of pots early and was barely keeping afloat for about the first 80 minutes. We started with 4K chips and I never made it to 5K, but hung pretty well around 4K. Blinds were 100/200. I was dealt JTo in the CO. UTG+1 limped (he’d been limping with some junk, so I knew he wasn’t super strong). I limped (that’s a little loose for me, but this table was playing pretty tight. The button raised it to 400, the blinds folded, UTG+1 called, I called. 3 people to the flop and the pot is 1500. Flop comes down Q99 rainbow. UTG+1 checks, I check, button checks (the button’s min-raise, check makes me a little suspicious, but I’m glad to be getting a free shot at an open-ended straight draw). Turn is the 8d, putting 2 diamonds on the board and making my Queen-high straight. UTG+1 bets 300, I raise to 800, button moves in for 3400 total, UTG+1 re-raises all-in (I think it’s another thousand or so; he has about as many chips as I do). When UTG+1 moved in, he gave a little speech, a big shrug and said something like, “Well, I guess I’m gonna’ go all-in.” I’m obviously thinking my straight’s no good. I thought for a while and folded my JTo face-up. Button turned over KQc (two-pair, Queens and nines), UTG+1 showed JTo for the same straight I had. The river was a Q and the button doubled-up with a full house, Queens full of nines.

I was pretty sure sommeone had a boat with all that betting, but I turned out to be wrong. What’s interesting is that if I called off all my chips, I would’ve been playing for half the pot and possibly only half the side-pot. Later, I’m going to crunch some numbers to see what the proper play would’ve been if I could see everyone’s cards. I think it was a marginally bad laydown, but given the action, I was convinced I was beat. I should note that this is the third tourney I’ve played with this group, and I’ve probably played about 10 hours total. My best hand so far was the straight I folded. I’m pretty sure I have not flopped a set. So, I’ve been running pretty badly.

That covers the first 80 minutes. A little later, I got moved to a new table. I continued stealing blinds and getting crummy cards. I got my first pocket pair when I picked up AA in the SB. Everyone folded to me, I raised the minimum (blinds were 300/600 and I raised to 1200). BB studied me for a long time and finally folded.

A few hands later, I changed tables again. We were down to two tables and 19 people. After about 15 minutes, I picked up my second pocket pair, 66, and made a standard raise from middle position. Everyone folded and I took the blnds.

The blinds went up to 400/800 a few hands later. I folded for a while, then picked up AKs in middle position. I moved in for my last 3200 and everyone folded. I was up to 4400. I flipped up the AKs to show I wasn’t messing around. The table was relatively tight and I wanted to make sure no one called my next all-in with AJ or 44 or something. I knew I’d have to be stealing a lot to stay in it and I didn’t want much resistance.

Next hand, I had A3o and folded.

We’ve got one more hand before we go to 500/1000 w/ a 100 ante.

Next hand, I was in UTG+1 and got ATs. UTG folded, I moved in for my last 4400. Guy two seats to my left looks down and I can immediately tell he has something. He says “I hate this hand”, thinks for a few seconds and calls. Everyone else folds. I said, “You got Ace, Queen?” He flipped over AKo. It held up and I was out.

So, to sum up, my best hand of the night (of the last three tournaments) was a straight, which I folded. I had two pocket pairs all night: AA took the BB, 66 stole the blinds. That’s it.

I guess the encouraging thing was that I paid my entry fee with the money I won playing in the cash game last Friday night. Could be worse, I guess. In all, I felt I played very well. I was card-dead all night, but I managed to steal some blinds and tread water for a long time. This was probably the worst I’ve run of the three tournaments and that’s really saying something. I busted 19/36 on the last hand of the 400/800 level. The last two tourneys, I’ve busted during the next level (500/100 w/ 100 ante).

PS This is my 700th post. Swell.


$50 poker tourney

I played in a $50 poker tournament tonight. There weren’t many memorable hands, but the one that busted me was very memorable. No, it wasn’t a bad beat. I simply donked off my last chips. Here’s what happened:

There are 13 players left of 40 entrants. We’re 7-handed and I’m in the cutoff (CO). Blinds are 500/1000 with a 100 ante. I have right at 7000 chips. The table is playing pretty tight. Both the button and the Small Blind (SB) have been playing very tight. The Big Blind (BB) is one of the chip leaders, but I think it’s mostly because he’d been catching cards (the players at the table were talking about that). My table image is pretty tight.

I’m going to raise to 2500 with a decent Ace, any pair, any two big cards, any two suited connectors from 87s on up. Everyone folds to me and I look down at A2s (two spades) and make my raise to 2500. Everyone folds to the BB who looks at me, counts my chips, then calls. Pot is now 6200.

The flop is J85 with two spades. The BB bets out 2000. I have 4500 left, I figure the best he can have is a Jack, which leaves me with 9 outs to the flush and 3 outs for an Ace (assuming he doesn’t have AJ, in which case I assume he would’ve moved in on me before the flop). 12 outs means I’m about 48% to catch a winner by the river. Right now, there’s 8200 in the pot, so I’m definitely getting odds to call here getting 4.1:1 on my money. Of course, calling will leave me with a measly 2500 chips and I’d be pot committed. I decide to raise all-in, which means I’m betting 4500 to win 8800 plus his call of 2500 more. I’m betting 4500 to win 11300, which is almost 3:1 (assuming he calls). He calls.

He turns over 89o (9 of spades), which means I’m actually 42.5% to win because he has one of my outs. I flip over my A2… And realize I’m not suited after all. I actually had the Ace of spades and the 2 of clubs. I was actually 16.9% to win and his hand held up. I’m not entirely sure why he called with 9-high getting no implied odds, but like I said, he was catching cards.

So, I totally misplayed the hand and busted out after playing 4.5 hours of very solid poker. Here are the mistakes I made on the hand:

  • If I’m going to play A2s in this spot, I need to raise all-in pre-flop.
  • I misread my hand (I’ve never done that before)*

*I think I misread my hand in part because we were using cards with the “jumbo” index. I should’ve made sure to get a good look at the suit on both cards before I played. That’s no excuse, but it’s a lesson learned.

So, I was stupid and I busted 13th. Other than that, made a nice bluff early by playing position. It was a small pot, but I had Jack high and won the pot. I made a good laydown with AK in the SB early when UTG+1 open-raised 2x BB, the button re-raised to 24x BB; button later told me he had KK. I won a race (AK vs. 44). Made a nice button steal when 3 people limped and I raised to 5x BB with KTo. I had AA and KK, both in early position and neither got any action when I put in small raises. My best hand all night was a pair of Aces (that includes any hand where I saw the flop, turn and/or river).

I played well until that last hand. I should not have busted with A2o. My live tourney performance has been terrible lately. I’m definitely starting to doubt myself.

Afterthought: It’s been two days since the tournament. I was thinking about this hand again today at lunch and I realize why it was such a big mistake to raise to only 2500 rather than moving all-in (for about 7000) before the flop: My raise to 2500 made the pot 4700 (1500 blinds, 700 antes, 2500 for my bet) and the BB only had to call 1500. That means he was getting over 3:1 odds on his call and he was one of the chipleaders at that point in the tournament. 1500 chips was nothing relative to his stack, and calling with 89o wasn’t a mistake according to Sklansky’s Fundamental Theorem of Poker.

Against any other player at the table, I think my 2500 raise would’ve been the proper play. Everyone else was playing tight, solid poker and not gambling it up. My raise would’ve been about the standard raise at the table and most players had been respecting that raise amount unless they really had a hand. I was prepared to let the hand go for a big re-raise (the pot would’ve been 8700 and I would’ve had to call 4500, so I would’ve been getting less than 2:1 facing a re-raise from a hand which would certainly have my hand dominated) and to re-evaluate the hand after the flop if I got called.

I didn’t take enough into account before I made my play. I should’ve seen who was in the BB and adjusted my play accordingly.


$115 tournament at the Horseshoe in Shreveport

Well, I decided to play the $115 tournament and it was definitely the correct decision. It started a little earlier than I would’ve liked (10 am), but the structure was excellent. We started with T$1500 in chips, played 30-minute levels, and the blinds started at $5/10. There was a lot of room for play. The levels were as follows: $5/10, $10/20, $15/30, $25/50, $50/100, $100/200, $100/200 $25 ante… and that’s all I got to see.

Here are the highlights for me:

Fourth hand, I limp on the button with QJo. I think four of us saw the flop, which was Q9x with 2 clubs. Everyone checked to me and I bet the pot. The BB called, everyone else folded. Turn is a non-club Jack. BB check to me, I bet the pot, he calls. River is an offsuit 7. BB checks to me, I make a small value-bet, he check-raises me to 3 times my bet, I think for a while, figure him for two smaller pair (I thought he had J7o) and call getting pretty good odds. He turns over 77 for a rivered set that beat my top two pair.

Then I won a few small pots with top pair, good kicker. Lost one small pot on a pseudo-bluff with KTs.

A bit later, I get KK in the hijack. Blinds were $10/20, I raised to $80, the BB re-raises to $160, I pop it up to $660, he calls. Flop came down something like 998 with two clubs. He checks to me, I bet $1000 to put him all in (he had about $960 left), he looks disgusted and calls with AA. His AA held up, I was down to just over $300 in chips. I had put him on QQ or maybe JJ–he didn’t even have enough left in front of him to make a pot-size bet on the flop and I figured he would want to get all the chips in with AA before the flop since he would have to play the hand out of position. Obviously, it was unlikely he had KK since I had the other two. If he had re-raised me all-in before the flop, I think I might’ve actually folded the hand…

I whittled down to $200-something and then got 54o on the button. It was folded to me, so I raised to 3x the BB (both blinds were playing relatively tight/conservative and I hadn’t opened a pot in a while). Both blinds called. The flop was something like KTxr. We checked around. Turn was a Q. We checked around. River was an A. They checked to me, I moved in, they both folded. SB told me he had 88, BB didn’t show.

Next time I got A7o. Three or four people limped, flop came down 694r with two diamonds. Everyone checked around. Turn was 8d, putting a three flush and possible straight on the board. Small blind checked, I moved in, everyone folded to the SB who called. He turned over T7h for a turned straight. I hit the nut flush on the river and doubled up.

Next time I had the BB, I got 23c. The button limped, SB called, I checked my option. Flopped came down 235 with two spades,. I checked, the button bet the pot, I check-raised all-in, he called with ATo. Bottom two pair held up and I doubled up to a little over $800 in chips.

A bit later, I took down a small pot with KQs. I raised before the flop, got called by the BB, checked the flop behind the BB, bet the turn and took it down.

The ellipses denotes much time passing with nothing special happening. I got moved to different, much tougher table at the $50/100 level. One of my first hands at the new level, I picked up A8c in late position. I made a standard raise and everyone folded to the BB, who called. This hand was interesting because I felt like the BB was a pretty good player. After he called, I protected my cards and just looked over at the guy to see his reaction to the flop. Then, he looked over at me to see my reaction to the flop. At first, he seemed like he wasn’t going to look away until I did, but since he had to act first, he eventually looked at the board, checked, and looked back at me. I was going to bet regardless of what happened, but when I looked at the board, I saw that it had come down 998, giving me 8’s and 9’s with an A kicker. I bet about half my stack, he thought for quite a while and folded what I think must’ve been AQ or AJ. I feel like I could’ve moved him off the hand even if I didn’t hit the flop and I’m glad he folded since he had at least 5 outs. In a cash game, I want a call; in a tournament, I just want the pot.

After that hand, I was up to around $2400 in chips.

Then, I started melting away. I didn’t play another pot until the blinds got to $100/200 with a $25 ante (I’d say it was over an hour, maybe an hour and a half) the blinds went up to $100/200 and I just couldn’t pick up a good hand or find a good spot to make a move.

I was down to about $850 chips when I moved in with A9o in the SB (best hand I’d gotten since moving to this table). There were 3 limpers and no one had shown real strength. I was actually pretty sure there was a reasonable chance my A9 was good here (there were several players limping often with medium-strength and worse hands). Of course, the BB woke up with AKo and moved in immediately. UTG folded reluctantly (he said he folded TT or JJ, I think) and I couldn’t get lucky. I’ve thought a lot about the play and I’m pretty satisfied with it. I was getting just about 2:1 on my all-in and BB’s call meant I was getting about 3:1 as a 2:1 dog.

All in all, I think I played very well, but just couldn’t pick up a big hand… ‘cept for KK, which ran into AA. I lasted 3.5 hours and finished 20/55.


Poker tourney cancelled

I found out on Friday afternoon that Saturday’s poker tournament was cancelled. I was pretty disappointed because I’m confident I could’ve won it. I’ve also been doing reasonably well online lately, although my bankroll hasn’t been growing. I’ve been using cash games and SNGs to fund tournaments. I’ve moneyed in a few recently (some with fields over 1300), but haven’t made the big bucks yet. It seems like the necessary strategy is to play correctly and make the money and then hope luck carries me to the final table. Usually, I bust out on a coin flip, a risk I wouldn’t normally take but, by that time in the tournament, being blinded off is a big threat.

I played some low-stakes No Limit this weekend and did pretty well. I just lost $25 bucks and I’m still up over $30 for the weekend. The $25 went to two bad beats: KQ lost to KJ (I flopped an open-ended straight draw and made top pair on the river; he had two pair) and AA lost to AKs (that last one was all-in before the flop and he made a straight with a AQJTx board). But that’s poker.

Interviewing visit redux

About seven or eight weeks ago, a friend from Florida came out to interview with my company. He’s coming back out this weekend for another go-round. I’m looking forward to having some company and I hope things work out well for him.


I cleaned my apartment tonight for the first time in, ummm, too long. I’d been piece-mealing it for months, but hadn’t done a real thorough job until tonight. I just couldn’t take it anymore. The biggest pain? The new towels I bought several weeks ago apparently leave piles of lint every-freakin’-where. I probably could’ve made a new towel with all the lint I cleaned up.

Tylenol PM is kickin’ and that means I’m gonna’ start gettin’ loopy pretty soon. I’m going to get in bed before that happens so I don’t wake up in the grass downstairs tomorrow.


Vegas: Day 3 report

There’s bad and good to report from today. I’ll get right to it. I played two sessions of $2/$4 Limit Hold ‘Em at Aladdin. I lost 73 bucks in about 4 hours or -4.5 BB/hour. I just seemed to get crap cards and any time I got a good hand, someone drew out on me. Good example: I had AKs, raise before the flop and get 2 callers. Flop comes AKx, giving me top two pair. I bet and one player calls. Next card is a J. I bet, get raised, call. Next card is a blank. I check, he checks. He turns over JJ for a set of Jacks to beat my two pair. Normally, I wouldn’t mind “the best hand winning” if he’d ever shown it was the best hand. More importantly, I was better than 10-to-1 to win the hand after the flop. That was the worst one, but that stuff happened a few times and I got terrible cards (I literally won 5 pots in 4 hours. And I’m not talking big pots with showdown. I’m talking any pot at all.)

Now the good: I played another session of $2/$4 tonight and made $50 bucks in 2.25 hours or +5.55 BB/hour. It’s not a very long session, but I played very well and seemed to be making good decision. My table image was key as they saw me as very tight/very aggressive. Ironically, the hand I remember most was one where I folded. I had AA in early position and raised with 2 callers. The flop is 885. I bet, get raised, then re-raised and I fold. Obviously, I was beat, but I knew I had to be beat by some crappy cards. I was glad my ego didn’t take over and get me married to the hand. I laid it down and eventually saw both other players turn over an 8 (89 and 8J). I was 75% to win the hand before the flop.

So, I lost 73 this morning, won 50 tonight for a 23 dollar loss today. Overall, that puts me at 194 down, overall.

I doubt I’ll gamble any more tomorrow, but if I do, it’ll be something like throwing a 25 dollar chip on the BlackJack table and letting it ride till I either lose it or break even for my trip. That sounds like a fun way to end things.


Bad news and good news about acting

Well, the bad news is as follows: Because I’ve scheduled a trip to Florida for the week of April 19th, I can’t start taking acting classes until October (at least not at the studio I trained at a couple summers ago). As it turns out, that’s the first week of the new semester and they’re going 4 hours a night, 4 nights a week, so I can’t make up that time. The next session starts some time in October, so I just have to wait until then. Some more bad news is the cost. The course is a 4-semester course that, in total, costs about $20,000. That’s a lot of cheddar.

The good news is as follows: Because this is an accredited school offering a 2-year AA, some of the courses–required by state law–are general education courses, which I’ll probably be able to transfer from my transcript at Florida. If they work with me, I think I can knock a full semester off of the total time, so it’ll only be 3 semesters and hopefully about $15,000. Also, the dollar amount is the total cost of the program including books, lab fees, tax and everything else. So, it’s a bit steep, but at least I won’t be shelling out all kinds of money and then trying to figure out where I’ll get the money for my books and whatnot.

All in all, I’m really excited about starting classes in October and it actually works out well because I’ll have significantly more financial freedom by then. The bummer is that I have to wait a full 6 months before I can start training and I feel like I’m ready to get at it now. I’m going in next week to learn more about the program and I’ll spend this week trying to figure out if their price is competitive or outrageous and if it’s the right thing for me.

Memory lane runs through the May ’02 archive on my blog

Today, I spent some time reading over the May ’02 entries from my blog and I was floored at where I was then versus where I am now. As I read over the entries, I could almost literally see myself shunning the idea of being an engineer forever and gravitating towards something in the arts. At the time, it was music that I felt would carry me, but I gradually began to think about acting. Since, I’ve decided that music, although I love it and couldn’t be without it, is probably not something I could realistically do professionally. But acting is something I think I can actually do and do very well. It was really fascinating to read what I wrote back then, and having immediate access to my thoughts from almost two years ago is plenty of motivation to keep using this blog.

It may be boring, but it’s useful for me and that’s all I ever intended it to be.


Fun time is over

This past week felt very much like an unofficial vacation of sorts. I went to California, spent most of my time wandering around, finding stuff to do, got to sit first class on the plane on the way out there and didn’t have to go into work on Friday. Of course, with down time comes the inevitable return to normalcy that I’ve been dreading since Thursday evening when I got back home. Luckily, I’ve been enjoying my work, so going in tomorrow morning won’t be entirely painful. It’s Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and how those days will eventually bleed into weeks that concerns me. For now, I’ll just keep tryin’ to tough it out.

A friendly visit

A good friend of mine is coming to Texas to visit for a few days. She’s staying with other friends out in Ft. Worth, but it sounds like I’ll get to hang out with her on Tuesday evening after work. It’ll be nice to see someone from home, especially someone with whom I’ve been friends for a long time. Phone calls from friends and family are good reminders of home, but there’s nothing like a familiar face to keep me from getting too homesick.

Acting time

I’ve begun looking into taking acting lessons and, more specifically, earning a degree (probably an AA) in acting for the camera. As I get closer to making a decision on a studio and nailing down dates, I find myself hoping that “Hollywood” isn’t as superficial as it appears to be. I mean, I’m no ugly duckling, but I’m certainly not a “looker” either and it seems like physical appearance is a trait placed high atop the list of attributes that are reviewed when doling out work to wanna be actors. I’ve sort of decided that that is simply out of my control and I’ll have to focus on becoming good at the things I can control over the next couple years. For now, I’ll just continue trying to figure out where I’ll train.


Another Friday’s almost here

I guess I’m pretty excited about the weekend, but I can’t stop thinking about what my life could look like twenty years from now. Yes, I have a good job, working for and with good people, making good money, but I’m scared to death that I’ll still be working this same job when I’m forty or fifty or even sixty. I imagine there are people who picture themselves moving up the corporate ladder, making more and more money, managing other people and eventually running things in a big company. I bet some people dream of making it that big, but I don’t want any part of it.

So, I guess the question is What do I want a part of? and I don’t know the answer. Obviously, I’d like to delve further into acting, so I think that’s the thing I want a part of for now. If I start this summer, I’ll have an AA in two years and because Texas is a “right to work” state, I might even be able to get work while I’m still working full-time. For now, my priority is knocking out my student loan debt and I figure that should be taken care of about the same time I finish the AA in acting. I figure if I pay off that debt, get the AA and spend some time trying to get commercials and small roles in indie films while saving up money from my full-time job, I should be able to ensure some financial stability and independence via my savings account.

All I know is that I have a lot of respect for those who’ve chosen to make a career out of engineering or even business in general, but I just can’t picture myself in that sort of setting any time but the near future. But for now, the near future’s all I have and I intend to make it a bright one.


Gratuitous necessities

So, I spent a little money today… but, when I heard about the Atari 10-in-1 system, I had to have it. It’s an Atari joystick that takes four AA batteries and plugs into a component video input in a TV. It has 10 games inside including Centipede, Missile Command, Breakout and Asteroids. The one discouraging thing about it is that the box says, “A blast from your parents’ past!” That means I’m old and I guess I should be a parent with kids old enough to play Atari games.

I also bought Lost in Translation. When I first saw this movie, I was convinced it would get a few Oscar nominations and I’m not surprised to see that it’s up for four awards. I also wasn’t surprised when it won three Golden Globes including best actor. I think Bill Murray has a good shot at nabbing the Oscar for Best Actor as well.

Finally, I bought The Simpsons: The Complete Third Season. This one, I’ve been meaning to buy for a while and just hadn’t gotten around to it. The Simpsons is definitely one of the best sitcoms of all time, animated or otherwise.