Saturday, October 30, 2010

Luck Vs Skill

It's Friday night when I start this post, and I just got back from the Peppermill with a small loss at the $1/$2 game. I did a Running Log of the session that I will publish later.

This was my 5th losing session in a row, and I'm 2-8 in my last 10 sessions (9 NL and 1 Limit).

If you think this will be a post about me whining and complaining about "Running Bad", guess again. The term "Running Bad" is not part of my vocabulary.  Ups and Downs are part of the game of Poker. I've been though various cold streaks in the few years that I've been playing. Learning to deal with them is part of the game. I definitely haven't play Perfect Poker in my last 10 sessions, but my Luck Factor is certainly on the Negative side.

Poker has always had the Luck vs Skill debate. Here is my saying about this topic: "The Skill in Poker is winning more when Luck is good, and losing less when Luck is bad."

The total for my eight losing sessions is -$1137, which averages out to -$142.13. The largest was -$236. My two winning sessions were $187 and $824 for a total of $1011. So my "Running Bad" streak of 2-8 means that I've lost $126 overall, or $12.60 per session.

I think that would qualify as "losing less when Luck is bad."

Monday, October 25, 2010

18 Days Later

Well, I've been in Reno for 18 days now.

However, most of my time has been working. I've been at work six days a week, starting at 7:30am, and leaving the Post Office between 5:30 - 7:00pm. That doesn't leave much time for other activities. So I'm only able to only play poker for 2 - 4 hours after work, at that's if I even feel like going out and getting off the couch.

I'm trying to have an actual Poker Bankroll, and not just a pile of Cash like I had in Cleveland. And that means that I need to have some Bankroll Management. "The Plan" is when my Bankroll is under $2k to just play $1/$2 NL (or $1/$3 NL). Between $2k and $3k, I'll mix in some Limit ($3/$6 or $4/$8) and Tournaments. Over $3k, I can mix in some occasional bigger games ($2/$5 NL or $15/$30 Limit), as well as some Pit action. Right now, my 'Roll is in the $1500 range, so I'm grinding away at $1/$2 NL.

And "grinding" is the key word. So far, this town is full of passive players and Super Nits. I'm not sure if it's always this way, or just because we're going into the "Off-Season" for tourists. I've been winning or losing a small amount each time. It seems like I've been the Action Guy at the table for about half of my sessions. I'm sure the players in my Home Game find that hard to believe.

My worst session was on Friday night at the Peppermill. The table was very tight passive, but my cards sucked. Every time I had any hand, everyone folded. But when I was stabbing at the Pot, I would get three callers. Plus, I was tired from work, and it wasn't helping my state of mind. I only lost $236 in 2.5 hours. But then, I went into the Pit, and tilted off $200 in a Video Poker machine. Time to climb back "On the Wagon" after falling off of it.

My best session was on Saturday, the following night, at Atlantis. There's that saying about "Finding the Sucker at the Table". Well, I found one, and I won $824 in four hours. That my second best session ever, behind my $876 session at Nautica back in July, and it was my best $1/$3 session.

The Blog hasn't been very active because the action hasn't been very interesting. There really have been very few hands that are worthy of "Hand Of The Day" status, and some of those were part of my Marathon session. Since I'm only playing 2-3 hours on most nights, I haven't bothered doing the Running Logs. I'm not playing in tournaments right now, due to my Bankroll Management plan. Plus, my long work hours are making me miss most of the "Shuffle Up & Deals".

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Live Blog #1 - The Reno Marathon

(Before you start reading this, let the dog outside, take a quick visit to the bathroom, and grab a snack along with a cool, refreshing beverage. This is loooong post.)

9:00am $300 - The first table of the day (Sunday 10/17) is $2/$3 NL, and is starting with eight players. Most are buying in with $200 or $300. The Old Guy on my Left has $50. The $100 drawing for the 9am people will be given away as $50, $30, & $20 by vote of the Table.

9:30 $331 - Table is still 8-handed, and playing calm, as expected. I'm playing fairly tight, and observing. I won three small pots. Most notably, I had KK in the BB on a Straddle ($6), and raised to $16. Only the Straddle called, and I won it on the Flop.

10:00 $303 - Table is now full (9-handed). Cards kinda suck for me. I even missed out on the $100 promo. But half of this table is Super Nits, so I think it's time to "Step On The Gas" a bit (in late position, of course).

10:30 $222 - Well, so much for that idea. Super Nits are getting some cards, and mine still suck. Time to go back to waiting for opportunities.

10:40 $300 - I limp in Mid with Js Td. Button (an Old Lady) raises to $8. I call. The player on my Left back-raises to $23. He just recently sat down, but seems to be a bit of an Action Guy. Button calls, and so do I.
Flop Jh 8h 3c. I check. Action Guy bets $25. Button calls. This seems like a good spot to check-raise, so I instantly raise to $75. Action Guy thinks for a bit, and folds. Button calls quickly, which I don't like.
Turn [Jh 8h 3c] Qs. I hate that card, but I gotta follow through with it. I go All-In for $127. She says, "Well, I've come this far," and calls. The River is [Jh 8h 3c Qs] Th. I now have Two Pair, but she quickly shows AQh for the Nut Flush. REBUY!

11:00 $271 - I'm really getting frustrated. Every time I'm in a pot, someone is either leading into me, or check-raising me. Plus, trying to type this Live Blog isn't helping.

11:15 - This isn't working. The small screen of the iPhone, and the fact that I've already rebought for $300 isn't helping my mood, which is borderline Tilt right now.

I'll keep the Running Log going on the side, and posting it later. It's easier to jot down notes in shorthand, than to do full entries on the fly. If I had a laptop next to me, then maybe I could do it live.

11:30 $329 - Starting to turn the corner. I won a few small pots. Most notably, The UTG min-raised ($6). A few players called. I'm on the Button with KJo, and 3-Bet to $36. All folded.

12:00 $238 - Well, I guess my "rush" is over. I don't think I won a pot. My biggest loss was calling a shortshack's All In for $36 with 22. The shortstack had ATh, flopped a Ten, and rivered Trip Tens.

12:30 $375 - I raise ($11) in the Hyjack with A2o. Only the Button calls, and he's an Old Guy who's shortstacked. The Flop is A J 2. I check my Two Pair, and he bets $15. I just call. The Turn is [A J 2] 4. I check. He bets $15 again, and I check-raise to $40. He goes All-In for not much more, and I call. The River is [A J 2 4] 5. I show my Two Pair, and he shows J5.

I also won the last two pots with KJo and QJo. I raised to my standard $11 preflop, got one caller, and took it down on the Flop.

1:00 $402 - I limp UTG+2 with QJd. Five players see a Flop of A Q J. I lead out for $11. The J5 guy calls. As it turns out, he's a world class calling station, and he's still milking the shortstack while rebuying for $100 each time. The Turn is [A Q J] 6. I bet $20, and he calls. The River is [A Q J 6] 7. I bet $30. He goes to fold, then thinks for a while, and then folds. I guess I should have bet $25.

2:00 $449 - I took a break, and headed to the Buffet. On my return hand, I get dealt 43d in the Hyjack. Six players see a Flop of Ks Kd 2h. Everyone checks. Turn [Ks Kd 2h] 5h. The SB bet $15. He's a Super Nit, and obviously has a K. I'm the only caller with my Open-Ender. River [Ks Kd 2h 5h] As. He bets $15 again. I raise to $50 with the Wheel, and he calls. I say, "Straight," and he gets that "How do you have a Straight?" look on his face. He didn't show his hand.

2:30 $382 - Half of this table is still here from 9am. I played a few hands and chased a bit, but nothing good happened.

3:00 $600 - Back to even. I won two pots against someone trying to make something happen. I just Check & Called him down, and won both pots. In another pot, I raised UTG+1 with KJo. 14 players called (well, maybe 6). The Flop was A K x. I bet $30, and they all folded.

I spoke too soon about everyone sticking around. There have been some big changes. Most notably, a Regular has sit on my direct Left. He's an Action Guy who likes to play big pots, and is straddling my BB every time. I will need to adjust.

3:30 $610 - I played a few pots, but nothing newsworthy.

4:00 $412 - UTG+2 raised to $10. He's a 50's guy, and new to the table. 3-4 players called. I'm the SB with Jh Jd, and 3-Bet to $60. The new guy goes All-In for $154. It folds around to me. I'm not happy about this, but I gotta call. I'm getting pot odds of $94 to win around $250. Naturally, he has AA. The Good News is that I hit my first Set of the Day on the Flop. The Bad News is that he does too. A J x on the Flop. I hate wasting Sets.

4:30 $502 - I won a few small pots, although one should have been much larger. UTG raised to $10, and I called with 54o in the Cutoff. Four players see a Flop of Ah 3h 2c. It checked around to me. I didn't want to give a free card here and get a bad Turn card to kill my action (like a 5, a 4, or a Heart), so I bet $25 with my Straight. Everyone folded.

5:00 $317 - Wheels have come off the Bus. I limped UTG with KK, but nobody raised. I ended up folding on the Turn. I don't know why I just limped. That play is great for Tournaments, but rarely works in Cash games.
I called an $11 raise in Mid position with 54c. Five players see a Flop of A 6 2. The raiser checks. I decide to stab at my Gutshot for $35. Only the Cutoff calls. The Turn is [A 6 2] 2. I bet $50. He tanks for a bit, and reluctantly calls. I'm sure he's got a weak Ace. The Turn [A 6 2 2] 7. I bet $60 with my 5-high. He thinks for a bit, and says Call. I say, "5-high", and he shows AK. He said that he thought I had a 2. Why would I ever have a 2 here? I read him as weak. And to him, AK was weak here. Fuckin' Super Nit.

5:30 $211 - The Downward Spiral continues in various hands. Most notably, I limp in a straddle pot in the BB with A2c. Six players see a Flop of Qc 8c 2s. I lead out for $11, forgetting that it's a Straddle and the pot is much larger. The Straddler, who's the Action Guy on my Left that I mentioned earlier, raised to $30. It folds around to the SB, and he calls. He's a 70's Asian gentleman in a Rascal, and he's extremely loose and active. I just call the raise with my Pair + Nut Flush Draw.
Turn [Qc 8c 2s] 7h. The SB goes All-In for $57. I insta-call the All-In, hoping that the Action Guy will get scared off (He's got some "Game", and he thinks I'm on the Tight side of the spectrum.) He goes into deep thought mode for about a minute, and reluctantly folds his hand face-up, Q8o for Top Two Pair.
River [Qc 8c 2s 7h] As. I miss my Flush, but I did hit Two Pair. The Old Loose guy says "Two Pair." I show my cards, assuming that my hand is best. But he shows A8o for a higher Two Pair. (Yes, he shoved on the Turn with just Middle Pair. Did I mention that he was Loose?) The Action Guy is befuddled by this action, and is pissed that he folded the best hand on the Turn. (Although he would have lost on the River).

The very next hand, I get As Ac in the SB, and I just limp. I'm hoping that Action Guy will snap in the BB. And he does raise to $13. But only the UTG called the extra $10, so I don't squeeze. I'm willing to take the Flop 3-handed in order to trap someone. Flop is Q-high, and all three players check. I bet on the Turn, and they fold. Action Guy said he had AK. Guess I should have squeezed.

6:00 $435 - Today's roller coaster continues. I'm actually falling behind on my note taking, and missing hands. The big hand that started the comeback was me raising UTG+1 with AJh. Five players saw the Flop of A J 2. I bet $20, and only the Fuckin' Super Nit from before called. I bet $30 on the Turn, and $50 on the River. He just called the whole way with A2. I did win $100 on the hand, but still... Fuckin' Super Nit.

6:30 $458 - We're getting shorthanded, as is the other $2/$3 table. So they combine them at our table, and we're eight handed. I limp in EP with Qc Js. Five players see the Flop of Qh Tc 4c. The Old Loose Guy bets $15. I raise to $40 in order to isolate. The Fuckin' Super Nit cold calls, but the Old Loose Guy folds. The Flush hit the Turn, and we end up checking it down. He called my raise with Ac Th (Middle Pair), which surprised me. I mention that my "5-High" from earlier seems to be paying off, and he agrees. Maybe there is a lesson for me to learn here...

7:00 $509 - OK, I've been here way too long. But I'm almost back to even, so I'm gonna grind it out until I get to $601 or 9pm. I'm also getting hungry, and my iPhone battery is getting very low.

7:30 $415 - The Action Guy is having as good of a day as I am. He goes busto, rebuys for $300, and Straddles for $10 instead of his usual $6. There is the usual Limpage (I can't understand why nobody ever raises a Straddle pot.) Of course, I'm the BB and I look down at Js Jd. I decide to limp and try to trap the Action Guy who just rebought, especially since the AA hand earlier went so well. But he checks his option this time. Flop is 8c 6c 3h. Since this is such a wonderful Flop of Jacks, I bet $30. It folds around to the Old Loose Guy. He calls, and has only $41 left. Turn [8c 6c 3h] Kc. He checks, and so do I. River [8c 6c 3h Kc] Th. He goes All-In for the $41. I think about it for a while, remember back to the A8 hand from earlier. I make the crying call, hoping that he hit his Ten. Of course, he has 9h 7d for the Straight.

After this pathetic hand, my cards go very quiet. That seems to happen often to me after I donk off a bunch of chips.

8:00 $436 - I only played one hand. I made my standard raise to $11 in the Hyjack with A6o. Three players saw the Flop of K 6 3. I bet $20, and they both fold.

8:30 $401 - Still card dead. A different player straddles. Four players limp in. I'm the Button with T9o, and I 3-Bet to $25 because I love to punish Straddlers. Only the BB called. He's the Old Loose Guy who switch seats, and is now on the Left of Action Guy. Oh, and he's got $19 left in his stack. The Flop is A K x. He checks. I hate this situation, but I gotta bet the $19, and pray that he folds his little pocket pair. But, as you can guess, he called with ATo.

Later, a limp pot got checked on the Flop and Turn. My TT hit the 2-outer on the River. I bet $11, and got one caller.

9:00pm $509 - Old Loose Guy raises to $20 UTG, which is a big raise for him. It folds to me in the SB, and I call with QTd. Not the best call out of position, but I'm losing and leaving soon. The Flop is Qs Tc 6c. I check my Top Two Pair. He bets $60. This overbet means an Overpair. I don't see any reason to slowplay, so I check-raise to $125. He calls quickly. Turn [Qs Tc 6c] Js. I go All-In for my remaining $209. He goes to fold, and then looks at the pot, and then looks back at his hand. After close to two minutes, he finally folds. AGGGHHHH!!!

This hand is a great example of my unique ability to win the minimum with my Monster hands. It's not that I screw up in the hand; I just seem to choose the wrong action for what my opponent has. It doesn't matter if I play it aggressively like this hand, or passively like the AA hand when the Action Guy had AK. In hindsight, I can always see what I should have bet, but that doesn't mean squat while I'm in the moment. Here is another example of my wonderful ability.

So I finish this 12-hour session down almost $100. I go grab a burger, and head home.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Comming Soon ... Live Blogging

Since I moved out to Reno, it would be nice to have a Reno cell number, rather than a Cleveland cell number. I was unable to do this online, so I went up to the Verizon store to switch my number. As it turns out, they couldn't do it either. After they did some research, they discovered the problem. Since I was originally an Alltel customer (Alltel was gobbled up by Verizon about a year ago), my Alltel phone can't have a Reno area code. But... I could get a new phone with the Reno number, and of course a new 2-Year contract.

After a few choice words by me, I left the store very unsatisfied. However, I did realize something during the conversation. Yes, I will have to sign a new 2-Year contract, but there is no reason that I have to sign with Verizon.

So about an hour after I walked out of the Verizon store, I walked out of an AT&T store with a new iPhone 4. Why an iPhone? For the past year or so, I have always had two devices with me, my cell phone and an iTouch. So it made sense to merge them into one device. (On a side note, if you've never tried an iTouch, I highly recommend it. It's one of the coolest devices ever. It's basically an iPhone without the phone.)

Since I now have Web access anytime I want, what can I do with it? Well, one of my features on this blog has been the Running Logs, where I jot down notes and various hands from my session, and write them up later. So I figure, let's cut out the middle step, and just write it up live at the table.

I'm gonna try the first one on Sunday at around 9am PDT, or noon EDT, from the Atlantis. (One of their promotions to get morning games going is all players in the room at 9am have the chance to win $100. Last Sunday, there were two players, and they chopped the money.) I'll play whatever game they get started, which will probably be $2/$3 NL. I'll hopefully play for 4-6 hours, and watch the Browns get pummeled by the Steelers on one of the TVs in the room.

We'll see if this works or not. It may be a one time thing, or I may start doing it once a week or so.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Hand Of The Day #57

$4/$8 Limit - Peppermill - 10/9/10

One player limps in. I'm UTG+2 and raise ($8) with AQh. Three players cold call. The BB and UTG also call. Six players see the Flop of As Jh 6s. I bet ($4). Two players call. The Button raises ($8). It folds to me. With this Flop, the Button could be raising with anything from just an Ace to a Flush Draw to a Set or Two Pair. If I just call, then the two player between us will call. So I 3-Bet ($12) to try to isolate with the Button. Plus, if he 4-Bets, then I know that I'm probably behind. The two players fold, and the Button calls.

Turn [As Jh 6s] Tc. Well, that changes nothing, so I bet ($8), and the Button calls.

River [As Jh 6s Tc] 3s. I don't like that card. But I'm still likely to have the best hand, so I bet ($8). After all, it's Limit. It's not like I'm gonna lose my stack. The Button just calls. I show my AQh. He shows A4c.

Why is he still in this hand with just A4? I can understand his raise on the Flop. But when I put in the 3rd Bet, he should know that he's behind. And then when the Flush gets there, then what hand could he beat? I understand that Pot Odds in Limit Poker dictate that you need to call on the River, even when you're behind. But if you're bloating up the pot by raising and calling the whole way, then you will be a losing player.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Sometimes One Hand Is All It Takes

After having a Sunday morning breakfast at their buffet, I walked into the Poker Room at the Atlantis, and sat down in the only game they have running. It's a $2/$3 NL game, and I was the fifth player. I could tell right away that this was gonna be a rough session. I had to keep making laydowns. For example. I get the K-high Flush on the River, and bet. The old geezer on my Right instantly check-raised, and said "RAISE" very loud and aggressively. It was rather obvious that he wasn't doing that with the Q-high Flush. In another hand, I raised in late position with 54h. The Flop was Q84. The SB lead out, and I called. The Turn was [Q84] 4. Again the SB bet, and I just called with the plan of raising the River. However, the River was [Q84 4] Q. The SB start to grab some more chips. I tell him don't bother betting, and I fold my hand face up. He said he had AQ.

At 11am, they had a $70 Bounty Tournament. I haven't played a tourney yet in Reno, so I signed up for it. Plus, I'm hoping my luck will change. But it didn't. I had no cards to play, and blinded out. I finished 8th out of 11 players.

Since I live five minutes away, I just went home for a while, and came back around 4:30. I sat down at the only game with an open seat, which was the same $2/$3 game. I bought in for $300. A few of the players from earlier were still here. Unfortunately, my Luck was still here. My stack started to dwindle, until I won a big pot with AA against an old geezer with a big stack. A bit later, I have JT with a Flop of 9 8 x. I bet the Flop, and the same old geezer calls. The Turn was a [98x] K. I fire again, and he calls. I miss the River, and I fire again. Even though my bets are about the same size as the AA hand, he still calls me down with just a 9.

After this, I add on to my stack, and go really card dead. I slowly bled down, and it was getting late. I decide to leave at a certain time. In my final hand, we're playing shorthanded (7 players), and I limp with T9o. The Flop is 865. I bet out $11 with a Gutshot and two Overs. The SB and Button call. The Turn was [865] 7. The BB bet $22. I just call with my six-card Straight, hoping to not scare off the Button. Not only was the Button not scared, she raised to $50, and the SB called. I shipped in my remaining stack of around $175. Both players thought about it for a bit, and called. They both have a 9, and I triple up.

So after a day of horrible, frustrating, ridiculous cards, I head home up $25 for the day.

On Monday, I walk into the Peppermill Poker Room around 1pm. I sit down in the only game with an open seat, $4/$8 Limit. Once again, I could quickly tell this was gonna be a rough session. I was only at the table for 1.75 hours, and I never had a chance. When I had KK, there was an A on the Flop. I kept getting out kicked, or I had Top Pair against a old geezer who limped in with an Overpair. Even my final hand, I ran into a flopped Set of Threes.

Just like the day before, I head home for a while, and came back at 6pm. I sat down in the $1/$2 game, and my luck improved dramatically. I won a few pots, and was up around $150 when the 6:30 tournament started. I didn't play in the tourney, but almost everyone else did. We only had three players left, but we kept playing. It didn't take long for me to bust one of the players when I hit Two Pair on the Turn with J5o.

So for the first time ever, I played Heads-Up Cash in a casino. It was against an older Eastern European gentleman named Sol (short for Salomon). Earlier in the day, he had lost $1500 in the $20/$40 Limit game, and was at the $1/$2 just blowing off steam. He had a big stack, and was the Action Guy earlier. But in the Heads-Up, he played relatively friendly, with the preflop raises in the $5-$7 range. Even though we were both over $450, I was happy to play Small-Ball.

Usually in Heads-Up, whoever gets the best cards usually wins the match. And he kicked my ass. Every time I had a Hand, he folded. Every time he had a Hand, I had something to call him down. He won all the big pots, and I won all the small pots. Even when I started grinding back, I lost another big pot. I ended up losing around $200 to him. For example, in one of our last hands, I flopped a Set of Tens. He's calling the whole way, and raised on the River when he hit his Gutshot.

After about 45 minutes of Heads-Up, a third player sat down. And then a fourth. Eventually the table filled up, but I was still not winning, especially against Sol. He just had my number on this night.

Later on, I had around $200 left in my stack. I called a preflop raise of $12 with 3h 3d in the SB. Four players saw a Flop of 5c 3c 3s. I check my Quads. The preflop raiser goes All-In for $95 (yeah, that's a slight overbet). The player next to him calls quickly. He's an older gentleman who recently sat down, and bought in for around $500. (In Reno, it's common for rooms to allow a player to buy-in equal to the largest stack at the table. I don't like this rule, but that's another post for another day.) I think for a bit, look over my stack, and go All-In for another $93. The old guy thinks for a while, and finally tosses a $100 bill into the pot. As the dealer gathers up the chips for the Side Pot, I show my Quads. The other players don't show their hands, and I win a sweet pot. I also won $50 from the Peppermill for a High Hand Bonus.

So after another day of horrible, frustrating, ridiculous cards, I head home up $36 for the day.

Yeah, I think I'm gonna make it in this town.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Saturday Night At The 'Mill

7:55 $200 - I walk into the Peppermill after my first day of delivering mail in Reno. I've heard the $4/$8 Omaha-8 game goes on Saturdays. There is one table running, and I put my name on the List (4th spot). They're opening a second $4/$8 Hold'em table, so I sit down while waiting for a seat in the Omaha-8 game. The Hold'em table is playing with a Half Kill ($6/$12). There's an older Asian gentleman on my Right who is obsessed with my Chief Wahoo card protector. He kept grabbing it, and talking about it when I sat down.

8:30 $173 - Now 3rd on the List. The only hand that I won was was with J9o in the Cutoff. As it turns out, the older Asian dude is the Action Guy at this table. (The Dealers call him Uncle Bill.) He's playing 80% of the hands, and doing a lot of betting along with some raising. Right after he raised a hand in early position, I tried to isolate with 88. But other players still called three bets. That's the second time this week that I've tried that play, and they both failed miserably. I probably should wait 'til I start playing in bigger Limit games.

9:00 $243 - 2nd on the List. I managed to win a couple of small pots, but I didn't write them down (not sure why). This table is playing super loose, both Preflop and on the Flop. Even with someone raising, they are still cold calling. If I can get a hand or two to holdup, then it could be a good session.

9:35 $316 - I won a sweet pot with AQh that will be future Hand Of The Day to demonstrate the play at this table.

My seat at the Omaha-8 table is open, so I cash in my profit and buy-in for my standard of $200. This table also has a Half Kill to $6/$12. However, the Blinds are only $2/$2 with $4 to play. So I will be folding the Blinds much more than I normally do.

10:00 $310 - This table is playing rather normal. Some are playing tight, and others are playing 9-Card Bingo. I scooped two pots. The first was with Kings Full when the Low missed. The second was when I raised Preflop with Ad Kh Js 2s. Three players saw the Flop of Jd 5c 4c. Both the Flush and Low missed, and my Top Pair was good.

10:30 $416 - I'm having a very good night. Most of the pots that I've won have been scoops. One of them was when I raised with Ah Ad 5s 3d, and got two callers. All I had on the Flop was the AA and a Low Draw, but I fired the whole way. An A on the River gave me a Set of A and a 5 3 Low for the scoop.
Another hand was with As Qh 5d 4s in the SB. The Flop was Ks Qs Jc. I bet all three streets with just the Flush Draw. I hit my Flush on the River for the Nuts, and one of the old guys started whining because he flopped the Straight. Maybe he should have raised at some point, rather than just calling.

11:10 $436 - I'm the SB with As 9s 9d 8c. The Board was 7s 6s 2d Th Ad. I bet out on all three streets, and got two caller with only a Low. In another hand, I was one of three players who had a Wheel with 4 2. Fortunately, there was another player who flopped Trip Kings, and didn't fill up.

Even though "They" say you shouldn't get up from a winning session, I did get up, and headed home. With the expenses of the last week, plus gambling in the Pit with my Road Crew, I'm a little low on Cash right now. So winning $352 in four hours of $4/$8 Limit Poker will help out with that.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Home Sweet Home

We arrived at the apartment complex about 2pm. After signing around 37 forms in the Office, we started to unload the U-Haul, which took about an hour. It was kinda difficult for two reasons. First, my apartment is on the second floor, so everything had to be dragged up the stairs, including dressers and couches. Second was the elevation of Reno was making it difficult to catch our breath.

Our next stop was to drop off the U-Haul, and head over to the Peppermill. I received an offer in the mail for Two Free Nights in a suite during weekdays, or a regular room on weekends. So I got the suite for my Road Crew, and it's a posh room. It's got a jacuzzi and TV in the bathroom.

After dropping them off, I headed home to do a touch of unpacking, since I will be sleeping in my own bed. I also grabbed a shower, and some clean cloths.

I headed back to the Peppermill to have some dinner with my uncle, and then off to the Poker Room to play some poker. The games they had tonight were $1/$2 NL, $2/$4 Limit, $4/$8 Limit, and $15/$30 Limit. Since I'm in Reno, I figured that I might as well start playing Limit, so I sat down at a new $4/$8 table. We started short handed, and the table filled up within 30 minutes.

One guy at the other end of the table looks like he was "Separated At Birth" from Andy from Deadliest Catch. And he was in Stone Cold Maniac mode tonight. He was raising about half the hands, along with betting and raising on the Flop. And, as usually happens when I'm at the table, he was hitting everything. I think he had five Full Houses and a Quads while I was there. Fortunately, he was on the other end of the table from me.

Unfortunately, I had a horrible session. I had very few playable hands. And when they hit something, someone else had a better hand. I even had a Set vs Set cooler, which was my second this week. I flopped a Set of Fours, and his JJ hit the Turn. The Turn and River were both 3-Bet. My first Set vs Set was in Council Bluffs. My 55 vs an old geezer's 99 on the Flop. The Flop was checked. I bet the Turn, and he put out what was a big raise for him. I thought I might be behind, but he only had around $85 total, and I'm not folding a Set for $85 in a $1/$3 game when he might have Top Two Pair. I even called out his hand before he showed it.

One of the problems with Limit Poker is when you have bad cards, there's nothing you can do about it. In No Limit, you can do some small bluffs to maintain you stack, or even hit one hand and crack someone's AA for a double up.

After I left the casino, I headed to Wal-Mart to do a little grocery shopping. My apartment complex is right behind a mega-shopping area, including a Super Wal-Mart that's Open 24 Hours.

On Thursday, I took Doug Poker to the airport. (My uncle heads back on Saturday morning.) I then began the process of becoming a Nevada resident. I switched my car insurance, and then headed to the DMV to get my license and license plates. Reno & Sparks makes for a good sized metropolitan area, but they have only one DMV for this area.  The place is mamoth, but so were the lines. It's also more expensive then Ohio. It ended up costing me almost $300 to get everything done, with most of that going to the plates. But Nevada doesn't have a State Income Tax, so they have to get their money somehow.

I also went to the Main Post Office to get a new a new ID badge, and find out where I'll be working. As I suspected, my station is on the northern edge of town, and it's the farthest one from my apartment. Fortunately, my drive to work is all highway. It's also a smaller station, and seems to be all Mounted delivery and CBUs (Cluster Box Units) with little or no walking.

The last of my errands was to go get a new TV, since I didn't lug the old one across the country. I wanted to keep it in the $400 range, and ended up with a Samsung 32".

I'm not getting TV & Internet installed until Friday, so I decided to sleep at the Free Suite in the Peppermill with my uncle. So we had some dinner, and then I went to the Poker Room, and sat down at the only $1/$2 table. (But there was two tables of $20/$40 Limit.) But I'm having trouble adjusting to the time change, and I was falling asleep at the table. I didn't even make it two hours before I gave up, and went to bed up $87.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Have You Ever Used a $500 Chip For A Card Protector?

On Sunday, we finished loading up the U-Haul and hit the road at 11:30. After we got checked into the motel, headed up the road to the Horseshoe Hammond, and ate dinner in the Buffet, I got a seat in a $1/$2 table about 5:15 local time. Within an hour, I ran into a nasty cooler for my first buy-in. I had K9 on a KK5 T 5 board against 55. Ouch.

After that I went really card dead and was slowly bleeding chips, which always seems to happen right after I get in a hole. As we're getting close to leaving, I was down to $135 of the $500 that I brought, and got a double up. I limped with 88. The Flop of Q66 was checked around. The beautiful 8 came on the Turn. The SB bet $20. I figured he had a 6, since the Trips always seem to be in the Blinds. So I raised to $50, and he called. I went All-In for $83 on the River. He was surprised when I said Eights Full.

I won a couple more pots before we left, and finished down $132, which isn't bad considering I had $500 on the table. Everyone else left Hammond down a little.

On Tuesday, we got to the Horseshoe Council Bluffs at 3:00 local time. After checking in, I went with my uncle to do some gambling. He doesn't play poker, but he does play Craps and other table games. We found a $5 Craps table, but it was ice cold. I end up dropping $195, but my uncle bet more aggressively and lost $350. We then headed over to a 3-Card Poker table. I bought in for $250. I lost the first four hands when the Dealer got Pair, A-high, Pair, and Flush. I immediately got up, and left the table. I've ran into to many Hot Dealers this year to lose the entire buy-in.

I left my my uncle in the Pit, and headed over to the Poker Room. It's a nice room with around 25 tables. However, they were only using two of them, a $1/$3 NL and a $3/$6 Limit. Even in the evening, they only got a second $1/$3 game started, but it was never full.

The Poker Room had a couple of unusual rules. First, the max buy-in for the $1/$3 is $200. Second, they have the NL straddle from UTG, just like Greektown used to have. Third, they use yellow $.50 chips. This is because the max rake at the $1/$3 is $5.50, and $4.50 for the $3/$6.

After waiting for a bit on the list for both games, I finally got a seat at the $1/$3 table. There were a few players with some large stacks, and few young "Internet Geeks" at the the table. I decided to buy-in for the minimum of $100, and short stack.

Shortly after I sat down, a guy sits down on my direct Left, and buys in with two Black $100 chips, and starts using a purple $500 chip for a card protector. It was very obvious he's a regular in this room. He's been at the casino since late last night, and had just come from playing a long session of Craps that went very, very well. As soon as he sat down, I assumed that he would start throwing money around, and I was not wrong. He was definitely Action Guy at this table. He even got some of the Nits to play more hands than they normally would.

Because he was on my direct Left, I went into Super Nit mode. I didn't try to gamble with him. I simply was very patient and waited for a hand. It got even worse for me when the seat on his Left was taken by a "Local Pro". Fortunately, I did manage to get a couple of hands before I left the table up $201.

Because my seat sucked at the $1/$3 table, I put my name on the List for the $3/$6 game. One of my Road Crew, DougPoker, was at the table, and I wanted to play some hands against him. But he had some horrible luck, and busted out. I ended up taking his seat. I was only there an hour because I got really tired. I had some good hands, and some annoying ones. I ended up $26 when I went back to the room.

On Tuesday, we put on the miles. 958 to be exact. It was a rough day. We'll be pulling into Reno sometime this afternoon.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Rants & Raves: That's Not Real Poker

How many times have you either heard or even said the phrase, "That's not Real Poker!" Everyone says it, and everyone's heard it about their Poker game of choice.

Cash players say about Tournaments, "That's not Real Poker. It's all preflop, and it's for players who can't play Poker."

Tournament players say about Cash games, "That's not Real Poker. It's a full of players throwing money around, and playing Bingo."

No Limit players say about Limit Poker, "That's not Real Poker. Nobody ever folds, and you can't bluff."

Limit players say about No Limit, "That's not Real Poker. You just shove you're chip into the middle, and flip a coin."

That's also what everyone says about Pot Limit Omaha.

So I think we need to come up with a definition for "Real Poker". When you need to define something, the best place to start is a dictionary.

According to the Merriam Webster dictionary, Poker is "Any of several card games in which a player bets that the value of his or her hand is greater than that of the hands held by others, in which each subsequent player must either equal or raise the bet or drop out, and in which the player holding the highest hand at the end of the betting wins the pot".

What sticks out to me about that definition is the phrase "several card games". The game of "Poker" actually describes many different games. Rummy is the same way, with at least 2438 different versions of Rummy.

So if there are so many versions of Poker, then which one is "Real Poker"? Here is the definition that I've come up with:

Real Poker is the game that I play and enjoy. The other games that I don't play, or even like, are not Real Poker.

So let's not be so judgmental about Poker game that we don't play, just because we don't like or understand them. If you want to become a better Poker player, then many Pros say you should step out of Comfort Bubble, and try some of the different games. You may not like them all, but that doesn't mean that they're not "Real Poker".

Saturday, October 2, 2010

The Great Exodus

The Countdown is almost over.

The cupboards are bare. The boxes are all packed (well, almost all packed). The reservations are made. And today is my last day of work in the State of Ohio.

Tomorrow morning around 10am, we will load up the U-Haul, hop on to I-80 right around the corner, and head West towards Reno. It will be a 3-man crew for this road trip. I was hoping for a fourth, but it just didn't materialize. So we'll be driving the U-Haul and my Prius, with the 3rd riding Shotgun in one of the vehicles.

The first stop on the Great Exodus will be at the Horseshoe Hammond, just outside of Chicago, which is about 304 miles away. For whatever strange reason, there is no hotel at this Horseshoe, so we'll be stay at a place four miles away, and right off the highway.

On Monday, October 4, we will get back on to I-80, fight Chicago traffic, and head 478 miles West to the Horseshoe Council Bluffs on the Iowa / Nebraska border.

Tuesday, October 5, we hit the road, and put on the miles. The next stop is Reno, but that's 1455 miles away. I figured we'd do 2/3 of that (941 miles), and stop at a hotel in Salt Lake City near the airport.

Hopefully, we'll be getting up bright and early on Wednesday, October 6, and drive the 516 miles to Reno. We should get there late in the afternoon, unload the U-haul, and head over to the Peppermill. They sent me an offer for Two Free Nights, so I booked it for my Road Crew. After we get them checked in, it's off to the Poker Room for a few hours before I got to sleep in my new bedroom.

I'm not sure how much Blogging will be done during the trip. I might have time to post an update or two along the way. I may also just do some Twitter-like updates with my cell phone. Either way, I do have a Rants & Raves scheduled for Tuesday.