Posts tagged casino
Posts tagged casino
The month of March finally comes to a close for me with a much needed 36 hour vacation. I wrapped up on Saturday what has been to date the most profitable month of my career. Sadly my run good had its limits as I failed to cash in the $365 WSOP Circuit event on March 30. Despite a bad beat in the later rounds of the tournament, my spirits are high and things seem to be moving in the right direction.
The first ever WSOP Circuit event at Foxwoods brought in a larger crowd than the other tournament series on the calendar. The first event with its two day 1 flights managed 800 entries, a number that I haven’t seen since 2009 when the WPT prelims were pulling in the high 700s regularly. I opted to play in the first Saturday event, a $365 NLHE 2 day event. With only 388 runners I was a little disappointed at the turnout. The early explosion of entries gave me some hope that a regional poker boom was sparking for this series but it proved not to be the case. Still, $25,668 for first place is not an amount I was turning my nose up at.
Sadly, I wasn’t able to get enough momentum to build towards any first place ambitions. My stack stayed relatively stagnant for most of the tournament. I was hovering around the starting stack of 10K for the first 10 levels. I found a double up just before dinner break to pull myself up above the 20K mark for the first time all tournament. Our UTG villain was opening light since we reached level 3 and put in a 2500 open at the 500/1000 level with a 100 ante. I woke up with AK in the CO and jammed for 9125 total which was then tank-called by UTG with QJs. The board ran XJAAX and I finally made some progress in the right direction. My glory was short lived as we came back from dinner break. One pre-flop raise that missed the board coupled with a few orbits of no cards I found myself back down to 11K at the 600/1200 level with a 200 ante. My swan song hand came with only a few minutes left in the level. UTG opens for 3K and gets called by a new to the table big stack that had somewhere around 120K in chips. I looked down at AA on the button and did my best fist pump jam for 11.2K. Our UTG villain calls leaving himself only about 14K more behind and the big stack shoves all in. UTG calls with 99, big stack villain tables TT, and the board runs out T8XXT. I walked over to a buddy a few tables down to fork over my $50 for a now lost last longer bet. I did my part, the hand just didn’t hold, and I certainly wasn’t about to let that misfortune dampen what had already been a terrific month.
My March went very well, which makes my very first 200 hour report quite enjoyable. All of the numbers listed below are for cash game results only.
Days played: 21
Total hours played: 200
Average session length: Approximately 9 hours 30 minutes
Number of winning sessions: 18
Number of losing sessions: 3
Longest winning streak: 14
Longest losing streak: 1
Biggest winning session: $701 playing 2/3NL at the Bicycle Casino in Bell Gardens, CA
Biggest losing session: -$346 playing 2/3NL at the Bicycle Casino in Bell Gardens, CA
Overall results: +$3,772
Hourly win rate: $18.91
Having made some modifications to my approach to better suit a live low stakes no limit holdem game I’m very happy with the early returns. The month started off rough with only $107 in profit over the first 67 hours of play for a $1.60 hourly rate. It ended on a 14 session winning streak where I ran at a $27.18 win rate over 133 hours. With that said there is still a lot of work to do before I can put my feet up and relax. I’m still severely under bank rolled, only having 1 month of bills set aside and a bankroll not quite big enough yet to meet the 20 buy in rule (20 buy ins at 100BBs for whatever stakes game you are playing). Throughout the now 15 months I have been grinding again for a living I have never had more than 2 months of bill money set aside so having only 1 month prepared for isn’t a cause of much concern. I also realize that it’s too early to say for certain that these results will be the new standard. March’s results are nice but 200 hours is a tiny sample size. I need to put a few of these kinds of months together.
I do think there is room for improvement. I played fewer hours than I was planning on initially due to my travel arrangements from LA to Boston plus a stomach bug kept me out of action on a few days before my flight. With a clear calendar in April I think an extra couple of days can easily be tacked on. Plus there were a few spots where I did get myself into some trouble, nothing serious and I was able to correct the mistake in later hands on the session but I did not play as solidly as I could have. I’m looking forward to putting together a solid April. I’m working on a list of goals for the month for the next blog post. I should be done with those before next weekend. Once I have them down, I’ll post them.
It’s been a busy month of March for me. Between traveling and settling back into my life on the east coast I’ve been running at a break neck pace. March is nearly over and I’m fast approaching my first full report of the year (which I will do at the 200 hour mark). Now that I have a few moments to relax it seems like a good time to do a quick update and get my bearings.
March has been a very hot month for me but not without its difficulties. Due to a few sick days I didn’t get quite the number of visits I wanted to at the Bicycle Casino before I hopped a plane back to the east coast. I only managed 12 sessions between March 1 and March 17. Those 12 sessions were still good for 114 hours of grinding and a nice $580 cash bonus from the Bike’s rakeback promotion this month. Total for the month I have logged 18 sessions with 3 more planned before the April showers begin quenching the thirst for a new month. I’ve had 15 winning sessions and only 3 losing days over a 168 hour stretch. During this time I’m up just under $3,000.
There is still a lot on my plate before the closing bell tolls for March. I’m hoping to put in the final 32 hours in those three cash game sessions and cap off a 200 hour month. This becomes especially important because today marks the start of the first ever WSOP Circuit event at Foxwoods. I’ve got my sights set on some very lucrative cash games, not to mention a chance for a Circuit Title. Saturday March 30, is my chance. I will be playing in the $365 ring event that day. I’m feeling very good about this event. My game has been sharp these past few weeks, I’ve got a renewed focus, I think I can really do some damage in this event. Win lose or draw, I’m just going to go out there and perform, may the cards fall where they will.
Next blog will be a full report on the previous 200 hours of play. Maybe I’ll toss in a brag post about winning the WSOP ring over the weekend.
A belated welcome to 2013 all, since you’re reading this the world did not in fact reach extinction just yet and we get to back to our daily musings until the sun does in fact blow up and eat us. In the meantime, might as well go on a road trip. That’s been my mentality anyway. I’ve embarked on a journey across the country to play poker and to force myself out of my little bubble. Our plan was to head from Boston, MA on January 5 and reach Los Angeles, CA no later than January 12. SPOILER ALERT; we made it across in one piece and I’ve spent most of the down time of the trip playing poker, because really, what else is there for a grinder to do?
The first leg of the journey brought us to southern Illinois, about an hour’s drive from St. Louis, MO. After a 24 hour journey our trio of travelers and their faithful canine companion took a few days to rest and get back some semblance of humanity. A few days of showering and sleeping later, I mentioned that there was a solid casino in St. Louis that I wanted to check out. Thankfully my travel partners were all gung ho to head anywhere they could find a Wi-Fi connection so we hit the road and made our way to the Hollywood Casino in St. Louis.
I will say, thus far on my trip this was probably the nicest poker room I’ve seen. At time of writing I’ve spent some time at the Commerce Casino as well as the Bicycle Casino in California, but I’ll save those gems for a later post. Once my fellow travelers found a café with internet and power outlets abound, I made my way over to the poker room. It was smaller than most places I’ve been, but still looked like it comfortably had 40 tables. There wasn’t a ton of game selection but for a low stakes grinder like myself, I’m pretty easy to please. Sure enough they had my normal game, a 1/2NL Holdem table with a min buy of $60 and a max of $300, just like I play at Foxwoods. It felt good to get into some action, though not much happened in terms of financial success. I lost $7 after 4 hours of play, so more or less a break even day. What was more important about the stop was that I felt a little more comfortable. I’m very much in my element when I’m in a poker room. Every place you go has its own bells and whistles to it but in the end it’s all the same game and this place more than most made me feel right at home. It was classy looking having recently been remodeled. The felt was new, the chips felt similar to those that I have spent the better part of 15 months shipping into pots, and the décor made me feel like I was perfectly in my element. As I mentioned, not much happened on the felt that was worth noting, but I enjoyed the experience all the same.
We left Illinois the next day and found ourselves in Valencia California 30 hours and 1800 miles later. I was really excited to check out the casinos in the LA area, having heard plenty about them through legendary word of mouth stories and a little of my own personal recon through the magic of the internet. Sadly thus far it hasn’t lived up to the hype for me, but that’s another blog topic right there so I’m going to sign off and head back to the Commerce to grind some cash while the LAPC rumbles along.
Right from the day we are able to talk and really understand how to communicate with others, we are placed into school to help develop these skills. Most of us will spend the next phase of our lives working from learning our colors and how to read and write all the way to graduation day in high school. Even a more select few will then head to the next glorious step of education, college. Up until this point there was always a goal laid out for us by the path we were on. During those early grade school days the goal was to get good grades and learn these skills you will need in daily life. In middle school it was time to get ready for the high school grind. You start doing more homework, more elaborate projects, learning more advanced thinking skills. Then in high school, “You need to get good grades to get yourself into a great college.” College is really the first place where you start to see any ambiguity. That “what now” feeling starts to set in and the solution does not come from simply graduating.
My college experience is not one for the books by any means. I did a lot of personal development during my four year stint in academia’s last major phase. College for me wasn’t really about grades or academic development. I needed a wakeup call to what the real world was like. I needed to be shown that my safe and sheltered world that I had grown up in was slowly deteriorating. The greatest lessons I learned in college all revolved around how to deal with change and learning how to cope with the simple fact that I’m not a child anymore. I needed to learn how to be self-reliant and sustain my own existence rather than continue to lean on others to do the dirty work. It was during those days and those trials that I started to wonder why exactly I was doing the things I had been consumed by for so long. For the most part, my life to this point has been lived for other people and according to someone else’s standards. Whether that influence was my parents pushing me to finish college or my then girlfriend asking me to come to her dorm because she didn’t want to spend the night by herself I got very little personal enjoyment out of my life.
I’m not trying to make this sound like I was a slave to other people’s wills by any stretch. At any point, I could have just simply said no, said that I wanted to do something else. Back then I just simply didn’t have the guts to tell people that. I didn’t want to feel like I was letting people down. It was during this time that I really started gravitating towards poker, really taking the craft of being a professional poker player seriously. That was the first real schism that I would drive between myself and the other influences in my life. Poker has really changed my life a great deal since 2009. That was the first year I started going to the casino to grind 4/8 Limit Holdem and started to play more seriously online. I felt achieved staying up until 6AM making the final table of the Midnight Madness on Full Tilt. I ran around my parents’ house when I finally took down my first tournament, a $5.50 Knockout tournament. My confidence grew as I had a few weeks over the summer grinding the micros where I had $1,000 profits, a huge milestone at the time. I had a sense of purpose to what I was doing, I was competing. I was matching my wits against countless others, and I was winning.
In the aftermath of college I now find myself in a somewhat enviable position with a whole new list of circumstances and constraints. I have bet on my own ability to generate an income. I have focused all of my talents and energies on becoming a professional poker player as well as an entrepreneur. The goal ultimately is to be my own boss and to choose my own path and purpose. For the first time in my life, there is nothing stopping me. I don’t have to worry about going to class in the morning, I don’t have to make time for other people, I have no one that I am responsible for in this life except myself. Now let’s see what I can do.
I’m going to go all out from this point on. I have chosen my own path, chosen the fight that seems most worthwhile to me. I intend on treating this much like college. This is my modern day education, my real world training. If you really feel like this is something you can do, this is an arena that you belong in, then now is the time to prove it. I have a roughly five year time table where this is it. If by the time I turn 30 years old I have not achieved at least some of my goals, then I will have no choice but to move onto the next phase of life. But until that day comes I’m going to put everything I have into my work, into becoming the best I can possibly be. No more excuses, it’s time to go to work.
Spending a lot of time in the casino you tend to see the same types of people. There are the guy who’re doing the same thing you are, putting in hours upon hours at the tables. You’ll see the “after work crowd” who like to come to the casino to get drunk during happy hour rather than head to the bar across the street from the office. My personal favorite is the couple. Yes the couple, usually consisting of a guy who is very into poker and a woman who is very into her man. Together they make for endless entertainment, and just to illustrate my point I brought some examples with me to share.
Couple number one is more or less the cookie cutter example of what you’ll see. The guy is taking poker seriously. He may not be the best, but he watches poker on TV so he thinks he can handle the casino environment. He’s decked out in his finest “cool clothes.” It could be a button down shirt with some graphics on it, could be his most baller T-shirt, the point is he’s peacocking for the night. His significant other however is less than enthused about the entire process. To her poker is just some silly game that’s played in a casino. It’s all just gambling anyway. She sits behind her man and pulls out either her iPhone or iPad and starts playing games and texting friends.
An example of this couple sat down at one of my tables a few weeks ago. Long story short, the gentleman got his money in on the flop with QQ on a 6d5s3s flop. The board ran blank on the turn and a 6 on the river at which point his opponent tabled his 6s4s to win the hand. The guy just chuckled to himself and mucked his hand. Afterwards he turned to his girlfriend and asked her for more money, which made me chuckle a bit. He must have gotten some kind of look from his girl because when he turned back to the table he said, “OK guys, can you please explain to my girl what just happened and why I need to reload? She doesn’t understand poker. She doesn’t understand how unlucky I just got and how I did all I could.” No one took the bait. I seriously doubt the ride home that night was very much fun for him. If you’re going to call out your soul mate at the table, you might want to bring separate cars.
Couple number two is a younger couple. Neither of them is all that experienced at a casino and they are here sharing the moment together. Neither one really wants to wander far from the other because they are so unsure of their surroundings. As a result, they have no concept of personal space with each other. There was one such couple at one of my tables and they were sitting directly to my right. The guy was playing, the girl was watching on the rail. Normally this isn’t really a problem but this woman had three things working against her that pissed me off.
1) She decided to sit directly in between my chair and her boyfriend’s so every time I pushed my chair back to get up from the table it would bang into her chair.
2) After the first time I banged into her chair I looked over at her, she was one of those girls who wasn’t attractive but had that “hot bitch” attitude because she had a man.
3) She kept bouncing her hoof up and down next to me and poking her boyfriend with it.
I was on the tail end of my session anyway so I left without saying anything.
Bottom line, I don’t understand how either the guy or the girl can be enjoying themselves. Guys, at some point it’s ok to have a life outside your relationship. Ladies, your man is considering this “quality time” so don’t be shocked when you want to do something the next day and he says, “We just spent all day yesterday together.” Not all couples are like this either. There are the occasional couples they get it right, and each play poker, at different tables, on different sides of the room, and reconvene 4 hours later to get some food together and talk about their luck. Eh, whatever works I suppose.