Monday, April 22, 2013

Eaten by the Fish

Saturday was just one of those days.  At least, that's the story I'm sticking to.  I refuse to believe I am as bad a player as the results would suggest. 
After a losing session Friday night at Showboat, I rolled over to Borgata Saturday around noon, and immediately got a seat.  About 10 minutes in, some dude that resembled Johnny Depp from Fear and Loathing (Sunglasses and Hawaiian shirt and all) sat down with his girlfriend.  The dude didn't know how to post, and made a huge production of it.  His girlfriend sat silently (apparently, at least smart enough to know that anything she said would target her as an even bigger fish).  They both bought in for $100.  Within a hand or two, it was readily evident just how bad they both were.  Hunter lost his first $100 when he called flop, turn and a $55 river bet on a T 9 K 2 T board with . . . a 9.  He reloaded and lost his second $100 about 20 minutes later when he again called down with middle pair.  His girlfriend, for her part, lost a quick $100 and reloaded as well.  I was just foaming at the mouth waiting to get into a hand with either.  I ended up getting into a hand with both.  Neither ended well for me.
My first hand was against the girl.  She limped and I raised to $10 with AQ.  She called.  Heads up to the flop of 337.  She checked, I bet, she called.  Turn blanked.  She checked, I bet, she called.  River blanks.  She checks.  Now, I know she was calling down light with everything.  Still, she had put $60 into the pot already.  There were no draws.  She could have a mid-sized pocket pair.  But, something just didn't smell right.  I checked back, and she tabled J3.  Good times.
Later, it was Hunter's time to best me.  I raised to $12 preflop with KJ and Hunter calls.  The flop was A Q 7 with two spades.  I bet, Hunter called.  Seems familiar.  Turn is a T hearts.  Broadway.  I bet, Hunter calls.  River is a spade.  I bet, Hunter calls and tables T2 spades for the flush.  Yes, he played T2 heads up for $12 pre-flop.  Well, I guess they were suited.
I played 2 hours without winning a hand.  Several of my losses were big hands.  This screencap of my notepad reflects my contemporaneous suffering:

Of the hands above, the Cowboys was the most interesting.  As indicated in the notes, I raised to $12 preflop and got calls from two limpers, one of whom was a solid player.   The flop was 8 T 9 with two diamonds.  He donks out for $15, and I re-raised to $45.  He shoves $165 on top.  My gut told me he had a monster draw.  I really felt like I was ahead . . . at least for the moment.  Ultimately, I folded.  He showed his flopped straight.
I reloaded twice -- a sign that I felt I was not playing bad poker, but rather, just getting unlucky.  I had just topped off again (in for $500) when I finally dragged my first pot:
I'm sitting on $289 or so, and looked down at QQ in the hijack.  A woman raises to $10 from early position and gets a call from a solid player.  While I'm thinking about how much to raise, the button slides $10 forward and calls out of turn.  Interesting.  Given the two calls and his inclination to enter the hand, I decide to repop to $55.  The button is the only caller.  Again, interesting.  He was inclined to only call $10 in position; then he decides to just call $55 with two people behind.  And, I did not think he was a particularly bad player from what I had seen.

The flop comes down K 7 2.   Yes, it's fun playing QQ post flop out of position.  I opt to check, and button checks back.
Turn is a 5.  I check again.  I figure I'm either way ahead or way behind, so I want to keep the pot as small as possible.  Button bets out $50.  I insta-call, trying to look unafraid. 
River blanks and Button bets out $100.   There's $330 in the pot, and I'm getting 3/1 for a call.  I fairly confidently rule out AA or KKK, as I have to assume this player would have four-bet preflop with that strong a hand (particularly with two players yet to act).  AK might make sense.  But, even here, is he calling $55 preflop hoping to hit his hand?   In the end, I make the call, and he tables TT.  Nice to get a little bit back . . .
I ended cash play for the weekend down $435.  Not the weekend I was hoping for.
Saturday night, I decided to spare my ego any more destruction, and opted to play the 7:00 at the Showboat.  It got 150 runners (factoring in rebuys), which is about par for the course.   I played well, and built a decent stack.  With blinds at $2,000/$4,000 and around 50 players left, I looked down at 99.   After one limper, it folds around to the woman on the cut-off.  She raises to $24,000.  Pretty big raise from that position.  I read her as not wanting much action.  The way this tournament works, you really need to run deep to make any real cash.  I don't want to play 7 hours to win $100.  I want to be busting out or chopping.  I opt to shove my 99.  The woman calls and tables AQ. 
Flop is KJ 4. 
Turn is a 9.  Set.  Nice!  She's down to 4 outs.
River is . . . of course . . . a T.
A fine finish to a brutal weekend!


Saturday, April 20, 2013

Hello Again $1/2 NL

It's Saturday morning.  I'm grabbing coffee at the Club Lounge at the Sheraton AC before heading over to Borgata to grind some cash for the afternoon.

Last night, I rolled into AC around 7:30.  I briefly thought about playing the Revel 8:00pm.  But Matt Harvey was dueling Stephen Strasburg on the TV at Tun Tavern.  Poker could wait a bit.

Eventually, I ended up at Showboat and sat down for some $1/2 NL.  I hadn't played cash since Bally's Vegas a few months back.  But it's like riding a bike, right?  (I assume, if forced, I could still ride a bike...).  I was card dead from the get-go, but I managed to steal some hands to keep my stack even.  A few were simple continuation bets . . . One hand, I opened to $10 with 89 off.  I got two callers.  Flop came out fairly dry.  The dude next to me donks out for $18.  I raised to $56 and it folded around.  Fun game.

Yet, in the end, you still sort of need SOME cards to bank a profit.  I had none, and my stack started to dwindle.  Then I tortured AK from the button.  It folded around and I limped big slick against the big blind.  Flop came out K59.  I checked, and he bet.  I called.  Turn was a 5.  I checked, he bet, I called.  River was an A.  I checked, he bet, I called, he showed 75, I flashed my hand to small blind who offered, "you should raise with AK," I thanked him for his advice...

Only one hand really bothered me all night.  I don't recall the specifics of the board, but I had limped from early position with J8 spades (like any good poker player would).  Flop came out all hearts, and gave me a double gutter.  It checked around.  The turn was a T, giving me the straight.  I led out for $12 or so and got called in two spots - idiot 1, and idiot 2.  River put a higher straight on the board.  Hero, undeterred, led for $25.  Idiot 1 called.  Idiot 2, who was new to the table, raises to $65.  Hmmm.  With idiot 1 behind me, and with a flush and better straight on the board, I fold.  Idiot 1 calls.  Idiot 1 tables the 67th nuts, a/k/a top pair.  Idiot 2 shows two pair.  I get up and grab a beer...

Today is another day.


Thursday, April 11, 2013

Confession Time

Here it goes:  My name is not Pete P. Peters. 
In fact, my first name ain't even Pete.  My real name is somewhat unusual.  The kind of name that, upon introduction, often prompts a quizzical "Huh?" or a "say that again?" or a "there must be a story behind that . . ."  Alas, there is no story.  Just a gift that has kept on giving for 40 years.  Perhaps my parents thought too hard.  Whatever.  I'm over it.
However, some time ago, I stopped giving my real name during various quasi-social interactions, such as waiting for a table at a restaurant, or when placing an order at Starbucks.  "Pete" is just much easier.  Especially early in the morning.
Now, anyone who's been a regular at a local coffee shop knows that the so-called "baristas" take pride in learning your drink order and memorizing your name.  I suppose this passes as grade-A customer service.  For me, however, it's proven problematic over the years.  Several years ago, I'd frequent the local Starbucks on the way to work in the morning.  My usual drink at the time was a non-fat vanilla latte, and my name was Pete.  After a few weeks, the baristas would see me waiting in line and get my drink started.  By the time I hit the register to pay, there would be a non-fat vanilla latte waiting for Pete.  Except, some days I didn't want a non-fat vanilla latte.  And, quite often, I would forget that I was "Pete."  As a result, at times, I'd be forced to drink a beverage I didn't really want; and, I'd look like a goddamn jackass as I stood there, staring into space as the barista looked at me, repeatedly calling, "non-fat vanilla latte for Pete . . . non-fat vanilla latte for Pete . . ."  Some days, it sucked being Pete.
Things finally came to a head after a year or so.  I was hanging out with friends at a bar in Bethesda, Maryland, on a Friday night when I ran into one of the baristas from Starbucks.  This early-twenty-something girl comes over and starts talking to me.  I had no idea who she was.  I didn't recognize her outside of her element.  If I were in Vegas, I would have assumed she was a hooker.  But as soon as she called me "Pete," the proverbial light bulb went off.  We then had an awkward 10 minute conversation, all the while my friends were laughing their asses off behind my back, wondering why this chick is calling me Pete, and assuming she had me confused with someone else the entire time.  
Following our encounter, I made my own coffee in the morning and drank it in the car from a travel mug that inevitably leaked all over my shirt.  I started going to the Quartarmaine Roasters across the street. On occasion, I even went without coffee until I got to work.  But, I never went back to that Starbucks again.  Pete had blown it for me.  That fucker. 
Fortunately, however, I recently found another Starbucks close by.  I started going there regularly about 3 months ago.  These days, my order is a medium coffee and a turkey bacon sandwich.  When I walk up to the counter, I'm usually greeted with a "hey Pete, what's up?"  I pay with my credit card, which, incidentally, was not issued to any guy named Pete.  This, however, has yet to raise an eyebrow.  Some days, I wish I could order a latte and a sausage and egg sandwich; but the baristas are always on the ball, and my order is usually in before I even reach the register.  Pete is a creature of habit.  Soon, he'll have to find a third Starbucks in the area.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Still Breathing

As indicated by the title, I'm still alive.  Just busy.  And doing nothing worth writing about.

This past Saturday afternoon, I drove down to Baltimore, booked a room for the night, and bought tickets to the Saturday & Sunday O's/Twins games. 

While at the Yard that evening, at 11:45 pm, I got an email from a client trying to schedule a conference call Monday morning on a topic I wasn't quite prepared for.  Initially, I thought about just getting up early Monday morning to get ready.  But, after some consideration, I decided to do the responsible thing.  So, Sunday morning, rather than an early jog through Fells Point/Canton followed by a ballgame on a sunny, 65 degree day, I got in the car and headed back to D.C. to spend the day in the office.  Things have not slowed down since. 
Anyway, as the job is the primary thing that keeps me from sleeping in airports or convention center closets, I shouldn't (and won't) complain . . . 
And, in brighter news, the Braves (one of my four "favorite" teams for 2013) are in D.C. this weekend, and the weather should be good.  Perhaps this weekend my email won't blow up in the middle of the night.  Or, maybe I'll just shut it off.
In closing, How 'bout that Matt Harvey!!!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

This Morning's Swift Kick to the Balls

Baseball's opening week has just now started to erase the memory of the debacle that was the 2012 New York Jets.  Who could possibly ruin my new-found happiness?  Why, Woody Johnson, of course . . .
Yes, sir.  I arrived to work this morning to find the invoice for 2013 season tickets waiting in my inbox.  I mean, come on, man.  If you are going to put a shitty product on the field, and then force me to spend $500 on preseason tickets which are as worthless as the paper they're written on (literally - the past two years they could not be sold for more than the ebay/stubhub transaction costs), and charge me another $250 just to park my car for the season, all on top of the cost of admission to eight regular season homes games where I will "enjoy" a team scoring 13 points a game, then at least give me a few months to overcome my profound hatred and ill-will before you hit me up again for more cash.
Well, on the bright side, at least I still own the PSLs we were all forced to purchase when the new stadium opened.  I mean, hell - I own the license for my seats!!!  How awesome is that?   Plus, it's an "investment" which can be sold on the open market if and when I ever decide that I've had enough of this shitshow.  An investment that is currently worth 1/8th of the purchase price . . .

Monday, April 1, 2013

I Just Couldn't Resist

First things first -- Happy Opening Day!  This might be my favorite day of the year.  Seriously.  I ordered the Comcast Extra Innings Package first thing this morning, and have MLB.Com set up and running in the office:


I made the trip to Harrah's this weekend.  I arrived Friday around 6:00 pm and checked in to the Waterfront Tower with a sweet view of the bay. 

I grabbed a quick dinner, donked a bit of VP, and headed over to Revel for the 8:00 pm. $10,000 guarantee.  $15,000 starting stacks, 20 minute levels and 148 runners.  Not bad for a Friday night.
Things got off to a good start, winning the first 5 hands played.  Hand # 4 was a seemingly irrelevant hand at the time; but it set up a massive hand 20 minutes later.  Blinds are $25/$50.  The player in early position -- a regular at the weekend tournaments; morbidly obese; semi retarded-looking mouthbreather -- opens to $200.  Middle position calls.  I look down at AK off and decide to flat.  Flop comes down 8 high rainbow.  It checks around.  Turn blanks.  It checks to me in position, and I bet $275.  Mouthbreather calls, and middle position folds.  River is a T.  No draws come in.  It checks to me, and I bet $500.  Mouthbreather calls and tables AJ.  My AK takes the pot, and I hear him say to the guy next to him, "I knew he had shit . . ."
Fast forward 20 minutes.  Blinds $50/$100.  Mushmouth opens to $300.  Middle position calls.  I'm in position, and look down at Cowboys.  I repop to $1,800.  Mouthbreather fourbets to $3,800.  I jam.  He calls and tables JJ.  Pocket KK's hold.   Pretty poorly played hand on his part.  It's the second level.  I just 5-bet shoved.  I mean, is JJ ever ahead of anything but a bluff in that spot?  Now, I can't be sure, but I think my double-barrel with Ace high the previous level may have  gotten me the double-up on this hand.  
I steadily build my stack the first three levels, and hit the break with $44,000:

During Level 4, the wheels fell off.

Shortly after the the break, a hand occurred between a young guy in the seven seat and the older Asian in the one seat.  Old Asian has young guy covered about 2-1.  They reach the river and the seven seat shoves.  Old Asian asks him if "he has a pair."  Seven responds, "yes, I have a pair."  Old Asian clarifies, "do you have two pair?"  I'm fucken bored of this charade already.  Seven repeats, "I have a pair."  Old Asian calls with top pair, decent kicker.  Seven shows two pair.  Old Asian actually appears upset, and starts calling Seven a liar. 
Fast forward a few minutes, and Old Asian and I get involved.  I'm sitting on $44,000.  Old Asian has about $19,000.  He limps in from early position, and I raise to $800 with AQ.   Asian calls.
FLOP (pot $2,050):  A 6 2
Old Asian checks.  I bet $1,400.  Old Asian raises to $6,500.  I call.  While I don't like being check-raised, my thought is that Old Asian is trying to blow me off A-high.  I'm confident my hand is good.
TURN (pot $15,050).  T
Old Asian shoves $11,000.
One of two things is possible.  Old Asian is tilting.  Or, Old Asian limp called with Ace-trash and flopped two pair (of course, a random set of 22 or 66 is also possible, but discounted as I don't think Villain would have check-raised the flop with that strong a holding given the dry board). 
I'm getting about 2.3 for a call.  If I'm wrong, I'll still have an above-average stack.  If I'm right, I'll have a HUGE stack for Level 4.  I'm leaning towards a call, even though I really have a feeling he limp-called with A6.  As I'm thinking, Old Asian stands up and says, "OK.  Time to play craps."  Seriously?  He's giving me the fucken speech now?  I say out loud: "great . . . he's giving the speech.  He clearly has two-pair."  Out of the corner of my eye, I see the kid next to me - a dealer at Borgata and a solid player -- shaking is head (indicating no).  Now, I'm still not sure whether this influenced me or not.  But I call.  Old Asian shows A6.  River blanks, and I'm down to $26,000.
This hand really bothered me.  A6 made so much sense, against this Villain and in this spot (i.e., a lose villain, who just called an all in with less than TPTK, and was visible on tilt - very easy for him to make a bad limp-call with a weak ace).  And the speech!!  I knew what it meant (unless the old guy was trying to level me), and I ignored it.  I got what I deserved.
About five hands later, I look down at AJ and open to $800.  An older gentlemen in late position calls.  He has about $16,000 chips.  Flop comes out A 4 8 all hearts.  I lead for $1,200.  Villain tanks.  He genuinely seems to be considering this call.  He ultimately makes it.  I put him on a draw.  Turn is a black Jack, giving me aces up.  I bet a little less than the pot.  Villain again calls.  River blanks, I check hoping to induce a bluff.  Villain shoves; I snap call; villain shows KQ hearts for the flopped nutz.  Um, good read P3.  Two brutal hands in 10 minutes and my stack is decimated.
I ended up bringing my stack back from $10,000 to $22,000, slowly, over the course of four levels.  But, after the third break, blinds were $2,000/$4,000 and I didn't have much room to play around.  I ended up shoving AT against JJ and didn't improve.  Then, to finish my collapse, I shoved A6 suited against AJ and saw the board run out blank.  Finished 43 at around 12:30 am.
Revel Poker is really starting to kick some ass.  The tournaments are doing well, and, Saturday evening, they had the second most cash tables running (behind only Borgata).  The room is beautiful, and the waitresses and female dealers are even hotter.   Revel is my favorite room on the east coast at the moment.