Friday, February 25, 2011

LAPC Report

So I've been in Los Angeles playing live tournaments and cash games. So far I'm about even in cash games playing mostly $10/$20nl w/ some $100/$200 mix games. I'm gonna post something about live cash games and how they differ from their online counterparts in a future post (from my perspective anyways).

For tournaments I played a $1k, $5k, and a $1k super satellite to the $10k WPT main event. So far nothing to show for it but I did make it to day 2 of the $10k main event w/ a stack of 43,600 w/ the avg. being around 40k. They got about 650 entrants and 1st is about $1.6 mil. I had a pretty tough table draw today w/ Erick Lindgren, Brett Richey (DatMoose), Chris Moorman (Moorman1), good Euro player, and Joe De'Niro (Robert's supposedly estranged son but also a pretty good poker player) so I'm happy w/ my chip position. I think I'm supposed to make day 2 of almost all $10k+ events because of the deep structures (barring some coolers) since it benefits good cash game players used to playing deep so I'm not getting too excited.

2 of the guys on the table (edog and datmoose) were both in my 3dime fantasy football league that I've blogged about in the past so it was fun talking about how I crushed them we just reminisced about the past couple of years (but yeah I did crush them both). Funny how the 3dime league was the highest and most expensive league I was in but it was one of the smallest for them. Both guys were in $5k-$10k buyin leagues w/ crazy side action...not just one but several. They're obviously more baller than me.

Anyway Brett paid me what he owed me but accidentally gave me an extra flag ($5k chip). I immediately knew he overpaid me and gave it back to him. The crazy part was I asked if he would've noticed, because he was carrying a lot of high denomination chips w/ him (cuz again, he's baller) and he said he would've, but he would not have accused me of taking it and just would've thought he dropped it somewhere. Damn, opportunity missed....jk.

Also I got an online transfer from somebody for a decent amount (over $1k) the other day and they didn't know they xferred it to me by mistake but I returned it.

If there's ever a time for karma to rear it's head for somebody, it's least that's what I'm hoping for this tournament.

I have pieces of a few guys and all of them made it to day 2 as well (I probably mentioned this but I have run well when taking pieces of guys).

The only downer on the day was going out to sushi w/ Joe Tehan, Jon Turner, and a couple of others and losing credit card it was sushi which meant it was expensive. (Again karma I hope).

Anyway I'm going to get plenty of rest for day 2 of the LAPC main event so I will cut this short (vs. my usual blog posts).

I did write an article recently about my 1st big score and how I reacted w/ the boon to my bankroll and I think it's a decent read for those interested...

Thursday, February 17, 2011

A day in the life

As per request from a fellow tweeter (or twitterer, not sure what the proper term is), I'm going to talk about a typical but busy day for me. That day also happens to be today. Today was busier than usual for me because I'm leaving for a wedding in Santa Barbara this weekend then heading to Los Angeles for the tail end of the LAPC where I pursue my adventures in live tournaments (plus live cash games). I will be updating my progress on my trip include all my tournament runs on twitter for those interested. You can find the link to the right for those interested. (I always say there's better things to do than follow twitter but I guess millions of people think differently...tbh I've become more active on twitter so I guess I'm falling for that twitter bug).

Anyway I woke up at 8am today (gasps from all the new generation of poker players, some thinking that's when they go to bed) to see my kid off to school. I've talked about this before but I like to take care of my family duties before anything else and that includes poker. The last thing I want my daughter to see is her father immersed in the world of is just a means of providing a good life for my family and myself. I want to show my kid that poker is just a job and I want be the best dad that I can be, especially in her eyes. Naturally the next thing I do is head straight back to bed for a couple more hours of sleep. I'm one of those people that needs 8hrs+ of sleep or I'll be cranky all day. Somehow my wife loves talking to me while I'm snoozing even though she realizes this. I guess the trade off of having somebody "listening" to her is worth me being cranky all day. Women.

So I woke up again at 11am, do a little prep work for the podcast I cohost w/ Jeremiah Smith called "Cash Plays". I also drink my French Vanilla Slimfast for lunch. Losing weight is hard. We interviewed Greg "FBT" Mueller about his recent appearance on Poker After Dark. Greg and I actually go back a long ways. When I started playing poker for a living 13 years ago in Vancouver, Canada I tangled w/ him often in the limit hold'em games around town (yeah, the dark ages of poker, before nl hold'em became popular, before online poker was introduced). I knew then that he would become big time in poker because of his loud personality but more because of how sick good he was at poker. We also interviewed Jared Tendler, a poker mental game coach. Also we did our hand 2 hand combat where we break down a hand or two from cash games. Anyway for those interested the podcast will be available on PokerRoad and Cardrunners next Tuesday.

Then I spent the next two hours coaching a student, actually my only student currently. I've been hesitant to jump into coaching for a few reasons, mostly because I can't match my hrly coaching vs. playing. I'm coaching this particular person because she's a good friend of a good friend (and I am getting paid). I've been mulling getting into coaching on the side and will announce it here if I do decide to do it.

After this it's time for dinner and my wife, kid, and I head off to Hot 'N' Juicy Crawfish for dinner. We invite a friend of my wife's and her 2 kids and order a few lbs of juicy crawfish and crab. I shy away from the crawfish...just seems like too much work for too little sucking the juices out of the heads doesn't sound appealing to me. I order 2 lbs of snow crab legs, medium spice, 1lb in garlic butter flavor and 1lb in hot'n'juicy flavor.

I come home and see how my bets in sports did. I have a guy that has been a handicapper for years and has a winning track record so I bet his plays. He put out Nashville -115 and Edmonton +115 and both won (dingX2). I bet relatively small compared to what I make in poker so even if I run bad here I don't lose much (compared to my poker bankroll). This is the mini degeneracy in me..but very mini...and again I actually expect to come out ahead in the long run.

I decide to put in a session of online poker. After winning $1800 last night playing $5/$10 at the Venetian (thank you pocket Aces and old man gone wild syndrome) I decide to test my mettle vs. the virtual world tonight. I hop into some $3/$6 and $5/$10 nl 6max games on FTP and run pretty good and win $2200 in about an hr (only if I can sustain this hrly). Graph of my session tonight...

Now I have a couple of more things left to do for the day. I need to finish up my next video for Cardrunners. I will probably use the footage from tonight's play and just add my commentary for a nice polished product and ship it to my bosses at CR. Believe it or not but making a poker video is quite a lot of work..not just from my end but from the editing department and management before they put out the final product. So I thank you guys that put in the time and effort to put out the final product.

After this I will go through all my mail and bills and make sure everything is up to date. I had a personal assistant before that handled all of this but it didn't quite work out. I'm on the lookout for a PA actually so if anybody knows of a good one for a reasonable price, feel free to let me know.

Things that I didn't do today that I wish I had include getting in a workout, watching a poker video, doing some poker analysis, or reading something about poker theory/concepts, doing that Pokernews article Kristy asked me for (postponed til tomorrow), and spending some time w/ my kid...after all I'll be gone for a couple of weeks and away from my kid.

Realistically my days aren't this busy (eg the podcast is once every 2 weeks, along w/ making a video for CR) but having to leave town for a couple of weeks, and being the procrastinator I am, today just turned out to be a very busy but productive day.

So is my life baller? Probably not, but hey, my family is taken care of and I'm enjoying my life and really, that's all that counts.

Finally a shout out to my buddies Adam Friedman who got 2nd in the $1k FTOPS 10 game mix for $38k (but seriously, how did you not win it after having a 6-1 chip lead hu??!!) and Jaymes Rosenthal (you need to come to CR from that other training site) for taking down the recent Venetian Deep Stack tournament for $15k and a trophy...both occurred today. Hopefully I can make my own magic happen next week in Los Angeles.

Oh, here is my setup/grind station as requested @PokerLawyer ;) A few months old (there's a football game on tv) and a lot cleaner than it is right now.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Happy Happy Joy Joy

So the big news in the world of online poker is this million dollar bet that happened recently. Apparently a high stakes player offered $900k to his friends' $300k that he can run 70 miles in 24 hrs. You can read about it from the friend's perspective here...

It's actually a very good read and would recommend everybody spend a few mins reading it. Anyway the guy ran 70 miles in 24 hrs and won $300k.

In the piece, Haseeb (the friend/roommate), a high stakes nl hu specialist, says there are many people at every level of poker that are so deeply unhappy. I want to cover that statement and just say that I disagree. There is a chance he is just conveying it based on personal experiences (he had gotten hacked for a good amount of money after having a bad downswing).

It is possible at really high stakes and nosebleeds ($25/50+) that a higher % of players take poker more seriously because of the amount of money being passed around that mood swings happen more frequently than lower stakes which may lead to unhappiness. I'm not the person to answer that definitely because I haven't really played that high online. I do see and read about Phil Galfond, Durrrr, Stinger, and others and they don't seem unhappy but I guess I can't say for sure because I don't know them personally. If I had to bet I would say they are happy though.

At lower stakes I think as a whole, professional poker players are not unhappy. Just like any field, there will be people that love their jobs and people that hate their jobs. Last summer I got to meet some of the guys I play vs. on a daily basis online and even though almost all of them were in their early to mid twenties (sign of the times), they all seemed outgoing and happy w/ their lives. Granted most of them are winning players and have more money than most at the same age. Here are the kids I met last summer...

From a personal standpoint I am a happy person and have always been, and I've been playing poker professionally for well over a decade. I've been on numerous downswings and have experienced the really high highs and the really low lows yet I've always been a positive and happy person. Heck I'm in the midst of a 6 week downswing right now (this entire year) and I'm ok w/ it and happy w/ life in general.

Pretty much all my poker playing friends are content and not unhappy (w/ the exception of one). Heck one's getting married in a week and probably couldn't be happier. Also if you read Doublefly's blog at

a fellow grinder w/ a family, his life seems fulfilled and happy (awesome poker blog for those that don't know...really check it out if you can).

I guess the common trend here is that we all seem to have a balanced life where poker doesn't encompass our lives. I'm not saying go get married and you'll be happy (heck 50% of married people eventually get unhappy and end up getting divorced) but I think if your entire life is poker there is a greater likelihood that you may end up unhappy.

Besides family, pursue other goals and interests outside of poker, make new friends and hang out w/ old friends, read books, watch tv and movies, play video games, work out, whatever it takes to create some semblance of balance in your life if you're a poker player. Just don't overdo it and put poker in the backburner where you fall behind the new generation of players. If you can learn to balance your game, you can learn to balance your life. What I'm saying is simple advice but I do see young guys where poker is their entire lives and whether they're happy or not idk but I think the chance that you end up unhappy goes up if you don't have balance in your life, so for everybody out there...go get a life!

If for some reason you are a professional poker player and generally unhappy then poker might not be right for you. Maybe it's your personality and you're generally unhappy then go see a doctor or a shrink, but if poker is the cause I'd recommend pursuing another career. I think it's better for a myriad of reasons to be happy doing something where you don't make much money vs. being unhappy doing something where you make a lot of money. Sometimes happiness is tied into how much money you make and have, and I get that, but this is really simple what makes you happy.

Finally my wife and I got invited to a couple of Chinese New Year's gala's/celebrations reserved for the high rollers (mostly asian) at the Venetian and the Wynn last weekend (my friend is a high stakes baccarat player and got us invites). Besides throwing an extravagant dinner w/ famous Chinese singers singing (flown in from Asia), they have a drawing where the top prize is a $200+k car. The 1st night the car was a Bentley, the 2nd night a convertible Ferrari. They gave away 20-30 prizes including 10 cars as the top 10 prizes and the rest being cash (from $2k to $20k) each night. (Me next to the Ferrari...too bad it's not mine).

When they drew for the 2nd prize at the Venetian, which was a BMW 750i, they called out last name Chan (half the crowd ooh'ed and ahh'ed because it was mostly a Chinese crowd), 1st name John.....yep, you guessed it...freaking Johnny Chan walked up and accepted the keys to his brand new BMW. I guess he plays high stakes baccarat from time to time. We didn't get to partake in the drawings because they were reserved for the high rollers. As for my friend he didn't win anything, but don't feel bad for him, he won a Lamborghini 2 years ago which he turned in for cash $160k. Maybe that's how you get happy.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Road Bump

So I started off the new year w/ a major goal in mind...achieving sne. Well that didn't last long. After 2 weeks and being ahead of pace I decided to give up that goal for a couple of reasons. The main reason is that I didn't think being tied to one poker site for the entire year is beneficial for my long term earnings. I enjoy playing different games and stakes across Stars and FTP. Also I keep hearing about how soft the games are on different sites so I want to check those sites out. Also living in Vegas, I have been playing more live and have really been enjoying it (not to mention the games are softer). Another reason I gave up sne is that I can't stand Stars software!! It really started bothering me multitabling 15-18 tables after a couple of weeks. I know everybody has a preference and I prefer FTP is what it is I guess.

I started the year grinding $2/$4 nl on stars w/ the intent of building my roll on there and moving up stakes. I started adding in some plo along the way w/ a little bit of success. Everything was going ok until I had a nightmare session. Well here is a snapshot of my HEM for the past 3 weeks...I'll let you figure out where that nightmarish session is...

I seem to have 2-3 of these sessions annually and hopefully this will be my lone one this year. I know I ran incredibly bad during this session but I contributed to the destruction by playing past my bedtime and playing while my focus was wavering. I've talked to a couple of guys and have mentioned my results suck when I play past 2am. This isn't because the games are tougher after that time, but because I'm usually tired and not in a 100% state of mind to play my A game. I preach playing one's A game all the time and I'm susceptible to falling off that path because I'm human like everybody else but damn it I should know better!! I do a better job than most when it comes to consistency but I still need to work on some things, notably quitting at 2am or quitting when tired (this should apply to just about everybody, except for maybe the times a game is so good that even playing tired is +ev).

Here is the graph of my night...Doh!!

Even w/ that bad session the month wasn't all that bad and I'll be doing a January wrap up next time (thanks live poker, rakeback, and staking!).