Same ol’, Same ol’

Not much going on. I’ll give a quick summary:

First, I finally bought a new car. I had been driving a 98 Pontiac Grand Am for almost 5 years. It had 115,000 miles on it and I hated it with a furious passion. It was formerly a Mary Kay car. I bought a new (2005) Infiniti G35 and I couldn’t be happier with it. I described the difference to a friend as follows: “It’s not even like I upgraded. It’s like I moved to a different planet!”

Second, I’ve been playing a lot of poker lately. Essentially, I’ve been breaking even for a couple weeks. Before that, I had a pretty nasty losing streak at $2/$4 Hold ‘Em, so I backed off for a while. That streak came after a big fat winning streak at the same stakes. I’ve been playing tons of smaller stakes tournaments lately (max $10 buy-in) and doing ok. I’ve moneyed a couple times and played some good poker. The highlight was the other night when I played a $3 + re-buys satellite to a WSOP qualifier. The prize was a $650 seat and the top 4 got paid. I finished 6th… but only because my internet connection went out for 20 minutes. I’m convinced I would’ve made the money about 90% of the time… I lost about half my stack while disconnected (blinds were pretty high) and I was dealt KK once while gone.

I’ve also been reading Harington on Hold ’em, by Dan Harrington and Bill Robertie. It’s definitely the best book on NL Hold ‘Em that I’ve read and it could be tied for best tournament poker book I’ve read. I’m trying to let the info sink in because…

I am playing in a $45 buy-in tournament with 37 other players next weekend. First place pays over $700 and the top 5 places get paid. Last time I played with this group, it was an 17-person $50 buy-in tournament and I finished second and made about $200 bucks. I hadn’t played at all in six months before that tournament and I’m much better now. I just hope luck is on my side. If it is, I’m confident I can win it.

Time for sleep!


Vegas: Day 2 report

Not too much to tell so far. I lost 28 bucks in a Hold ‘Em tournament and made 55 dollars at the 5-dollar blackjack tables.

The only notable hand in the tournament (again, the structure was almost silly) was when I was dealt KQ in the big blind. 3 or 4 callers and the flop came K45. I bet, three calls. Turn is a rag. I bet, get 2 calls. River is a rag. I bet, get one call. I lost to a set of fours. Now, why the lady never raised when she flopped a set and the turn and river didn’t fill any draws, I’ll never know. Anyway, that hand took most of my stack and I just kinda’ wasted away after that.

Played blackjack at Bellagio and lost 40 bucks in about 15 minutes. Basically, the dealer just kept busting everyone up. I had a blackjack… and it was a push. She got 20’s and 21’s like they were going out of style.

Played in the $1-$2 NL Hold ‘Em game at Aladdin. I thought games like that only existed in fairytales. Turns out they’re real as can be. Problem was that luck was frowning on me. I bought in for 60 bucks. About the second hand, I got TT, but the lady to my right raised it to $20 (yes, this is a $1-$2 blind game with a max buy-in of $100) and since I hadn’t seen her play yet, I figured I better fold. Couple hands later, I get 55 and she does the same thing. Again, I fold. A few hands later, I get KK UTG. I make my standard raise to $6. I get two or three callers. Flop comes ten-high rainbow. I bet $10, guy goes all-in (for about $35 more), everyone folds to me and I quickly call. Turn is an A, river is a blank. He turns over ATo for Aces-up to beat my KK. I’m down to 15 or 20 bucks.

I fold for a while till I get AJo. Lady to my right makes it $10 and I call. Flop is K-high, she puts me all-in, I fold. I buy another $40 in chips. Several hands later, I get AKo. I make my standard raise, get re-raised to about $20 and then there’s a caller. I move in and both call. Flop is 835 rainbow. The original re-raiser checks, the cold-caller moves in quickly and the other player folds. Turn is a K, river is a blank. Cold-caller turns over 33 for a set of threes to beat my Kings with an Ace kicker. $100 gone.

So, why was I saying this was such a great game? Because it was. I only wish I had about $1000 sitting around for me to play in that game. I think I could turn it into $2000 in about 6 hours, assuming luck didn’t continue to frown on me. Having a guy hit a 5-outter on me on the turn stinks. Having AK, getting called by a 33 that holds is frustrating, but at least I was the dog to begin with. Whether he should’ve been calling 10x the BB with 33 is another story altogether.

I guess I should mention that all of these people were very loose and sometimes aggressive. I rarely saw a premium hand shown down, even when there was a lot of action. Also, I think at least two of the people at the table were off-duty dealers for the casino. I’m not sure how that works.

So, the bright side to everything: These people were so easy to read it was scary. When 33 hit his set, and moved in, I was certain he had a set. Earlier in the evening, when a guy made the nut flush on the river, I knew it immediately. When the guy to my left had a big fat pair, I knew it before he even bet. I did get my money in as about an 80% favorite and if I’d won that hand, I would have doubled-up my buy-in. So, about 80% of the time I turn my $60 into $120 in about 15 minutes. From there, I’m pretty sure I would’ve just run over the table.

I’m actually considering trying again tomorrow, but I need to take time to cool off first and evaluate it. After all, I did lose $100 tonight, regardless of all that odds talk and gibberish.

Trip summary: Lost $58 yesterday, lost $113, down $171 overall.