Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Post Mortem

I'm back from Atlantic City.  And I'm exhausted.  I played more poker this trip than in any other three day stretch. Ever.  Sunday, I put in a 7.5 hour session, beginning early evening.  Monday I spent 11 hours playing the Borgata Deepstack.  And, yesterday, I played a solid 11 hours of cash at Harrah's, divided into a five hour afternoon session, and a six hours post dinner.  The results were less than stellar; but I found the grind more enjoyable than ever.

The midweek cash scene at Harrah's was interesting.   Harrah's is currently running a $250 an hour high hand promo.  They are also giving a $15 food voucher for 5 hours of play.  This led to some fairly crappy games during the day.  Yesterday afternoon, at one point, there were six $2/4 limit tables running, and two short-handed $1/2 games.  The focus was clearly on flopping quads.  I was shocked by the amount of times people asked to be "swipped" in and out of Bravo to see where their hours stood, and how focused people were on getting a free $15 food voucher.  In any event, until late afternoon, the games were barely worth playing.  I sat down at 2:00 yesterday, and the table felt like a scene from Cocoon.  I was the only person under 60; and the only person who did not play at that table every day.  The prevailing discussion focused heavily on food; and, more particularly, what the Diamond Lounge was serving that day, and who they ate with.  And what the Diamond Lounge served the day before; and who they ate with the day before.  And so on and so forth.  

The evening games were a bit better; but still full of regular grinders.  Just younger.  That said, the tables were actually fairly fun.  

I started Sunday's session out fairly card dead for 4 hours or so.  But I found myself down less that $100.  Then I caught some cards. And got pounded.  AJ flopped top pair and had to fold to a turned straight;  Then AA lost to Q6 on a turned two-pair (yes, he called $12 with Q6); KK to flopped set of 4's (saved some money as an A hit the flop, and my flop bet got raised); JJ to a flopped Q.  Ultimately lost $335.

Monday I walked over to Borgata for the 11:00 am Deepstack.  $120 buy-in, 25,000 chips; 25 minute levels.  I spent an hour between noon and 1:00 outside on work calls, but based on the structure, not much damage was done.  I never seemed to get much going and was short-stacked most of the day.  About 6 hours in, I shoved JJ against KK and rivered a J to stay alive.  After that, I did just enough to get by.  Like a cockroach, they could not get rid of me.  Long story short, I lasted 11.5 hours until level 21 at 10,000/20,000/4,000 when I was forced to shove my A 5 and hit AT.  Out 12th out of 220. Fairly unsatisfying score.  Tournament poker seems largely to depend on not doing anything dumb; looking for good spots; and getting lucky.  It's largely 9 hours of boredom followed by an hour or two of excitement.  As one guy commented when we were down to the final two tables: "come on, guys; this is the fun part. We've spent 10 hours listening to people's dumb stories. Now let's play some poker..."  He seemed spot on to me.  I left Borgata at nearly midnight convinced it will be some time before I play another tournament.

Yesterday it was back to cash at Harrah's.  I dug myself a hole in the first session before digging myself out and pulling a small $15 profit.  During the evening session, I dug a $200 hole.  The guy to my immediate right snapped off two of my premium hands, both times with Q2.  Yes, Sunday it was Q6 that cracked my AA.  Last night, Q2.  The first time he cracked my KK with Q2 on a Q29 flop.  Fortunately, I checked the turn and saved a bit of cash. A short while later, he snapped off my JJ with Q2 when a queen hit the flop.  I lost the minimum there, obviously, given the circumstances.  But the fact that he was openly reveling in how he was dominating me with the hand made me want to punch him in the throat.  Ultimately, however, I dug out of the hole and booked a $200 win.

I had one interesting hand during the evening:

I'm 6 hours in, and sitting on about $400.  Crazy table next to us breaks, and we get one of their players.  twenty-ish black kid; sunglasses.  Tatted up.  He had been loud and animated at the other table. So much so he caught my attention numerous times throughout the night.  He's sitting on about $500 when he comes over.  Kid raises to $15 about 4 hands in at the table.  Action comes to me after one caller.  I look down at A(d) K(d).  Having finally gotten my stack back to even (I was in for $400), and the hour getting late, I opt to flat and see a fairly cheap flop.  We get two other callers.  

Flop comes out A(h) 7(d) 3(d).  Bingo.  Kid bets about $50 (things were starting to get hazy at this point in the night, due to it being past 3:00 am and my Corona count running high).   After a fold, I raise to $180.  Folds back to kid who starts flipping out, but eventually calls.  Turn blanks; he checks to me, and I shove $200 more.  Now, he's REALLY flipping out. Stands up; starts yelling about what type of game I'm playing; whether I'm on the draw; why I'm playing so crazy, etc.   My thoughts on the hand where that (a) I was most likely ahead with my Ace given his pre flop raise and the flop; and the redraw to the nutz is always nice; and this kid seemed kind of nuts, so I thought I could induce him to play back at me.  Not really my style to play so aggro and get a $400 stack in the middle with top pair (especially risking 6 hours of work to get my stack back to even); but this seemed to me to be the spot to stick it in.  Ultimately, the kid actually called the $200 on the turn; the river was a 4 of hearts, so my draw misses; kid tables AK for a chop.  Wow.  Pretty gutsy call. Doubt I could have made it if the roles were reversed and I was getting pressured.

Anyway, I quit the game at 4:30 am, had trouble sleeping knowing I had to be up relatively early to drive back to DC, and know I'm exhausted and trying to prepare for tonight's fantasy football draft.  It was a short, but fun, few days from the office.  And I'm already thinking about playing again this weekend.

Friday, August 19, 2016

I Gots Plans (Part Deux)!

I was suppose to be flying out to Vegas Sunday for a week of debauchery.  But, who was I kidding?  An entire WEEK off?  Fat chance.  I cancelled, called an audible, and opted for a safer option.
Assuming I can get a settlement executed today, I'm planning on taking off Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, and heading to AC for some pokerz.  This, however, is no small assumption since we've been "negotiating" this agreement since June 2nd and have required no fewer than 6 extensions thus far.  And I put negotiating  in quotes, because I'm not sure that's a fair assessment of the process to date.  It's more like my client makes crazy demands; the other side makes some concessions; my client says "FUCK YOU" and reverts back to original; other side makes greater concessions; my client says "FUCK YOU" . . . and so on and so forth.  Monday night, the eve of the most recent deadline to get a deal finalized, my client pulled the nuclear option (yeah, it was a fun evening for P3, who loves communicating absurd demands at 10:00 pm); the other side shockingly gave in. So, after extending the deadline to today, it appears we have an agreement; but I'll believe it when the releases are signed...  Until then, I'm still considering my plans for next week tentative.
So, assuming we get signatures today, I'm planning on heading out to Columbia, MD Saturday night for Andy Grammar, Train and cold outdoor beverages.  Yes, I know I'm gay . . .  Then, Sunday, I'm making the drive up to AC.  I'm 500 tier credits from Diamond, so I'll knock that out this trip.  I'm planning on playing mainly poker, and saving my sweet, sweet "roll" for my trip to MGM Labor Day, where I'll need to grind out 32,000 more tier credits to hit Platinum again.  Yes, Diamond and Platinum --- liquid degeneracy still flows through my veins.    Borgata is running a deepstack series at 11:00 am during the week, with buy-ins less than $150; so I'll prolly play that during the day Monday and Tuesday, and then grind cash at Harrah's at night (with some smattering of the Devil's game mixed in).  I've locked down reservations at Harrah's for the Jets home game weekends through mid-October already, so I can sacrifice my ADP at this point and not have to worry about grinding cash through the machines.  I'm looking forward to a serious three days of dem pokerz.  I'm hoping the weeknight action is decent at Harrah's . . .   

Monday, August 15, 2016

Let's Get Ready to Duel!

It's August 15th. Just a few more weeks until another season of football is upon us.  In preparation, I'm trying to come up with a strategy to make another run at striking lightning in the weekly $100,000 top prize $5 Fanduel NFL Contest.   I came close last season.  On January 4th, I came in 16th out of 287,356, nabbing a solid $4,400 for my crisp $5 entry fee.  I scored 181 points.  187 took down the $100 grand.  A mere TD from glory.  I've been waiting nearly a year for another shot.
Over the past three years, NCAA Football has actually been by bread and butter.  I've cashed three contests for first place --- a 150 person tourney for $700, and twice, I hit the 1,489 entry ($2 contest) for $1,000+.  Sadly, this year, Fanduel has done away with college contests as part of its effort to navigate the legal / regulatory systems.  So, my 2016 season will focus on Sundays.
My plan is the stick to the $5 contest ($100,000 for first), and fire off a max of 25 entries per week.  Worst-case-disaster-bankroll over the regular season would be $2,000.  I'm going to start the season with $500, however, as I should at least hit some small wins every week to keep the account funded.  I'll be locking down some initial week one entries this weekend.  BRING IT!   

Monday, August 8, 2016

Closing Out Summer

I just got back from a quick 2 day trip to Boulder to see two of my favorite people. The trip started out rocky when I arrived at Avis at DIA and found the line out the door.  After an hour and a half wait, I final got a car.  I pulled out of the car lot and was immediately flagged over by another motorist.  I pulled over, and found out that the car I was given had a flat tire.  I turned around and returned to Avis.  After waiting 15 minutes for someone to check me back in, I returned to the office where the customer service representative filled out an incident/accident report.  Huh?  There was no accident (other than choosing Avis).  This was, according to the rep, standard practice.  Also, I was advised Avis may "try to charge me for the tire."  Um.  Good luck with that, Avis.
In any event, I made it to Boulder mid-afternoon and had a fun two days with this crew:

It's hard to believe it's August.  Summer is soon coming to a close.  I was hoping to take another full week's vacation; but, uncertainty about some court deadlines made it difficult.  Instead, I'm just going to take a few days here and there.  I am, however, making one last trip to Vegas Labor Day weekend.  It will be a quick trip -- arriving late Friday night and returning early Monday morning.  Heading out with my buddy MK for what will likely be a strong three nights of gambling, filets and debauchery.  Of course, I have 168,000 MLIFE points, and am determined to earn the last 32,000 to re-up Platinum for 2017, particularly given Borgata's recent announcement that it is joining MLIFE in 2017.  That, along with MGM National Harbor will provide two quality MLIFE choices on the east coast. 
In the meantime, I plan to spend a few weekends hanging out with friends near the Mansion and catching a few shows. OAR is playing in Columbia, Maryland this Saturday; and Train (my guilty pleasure) plays the following Saturday.  I've got a room locked down at a hotel stumbling distance from the venue for both shows.  There is little else I enjoy more than cold beers and live music on a summer weekend.
And now, back to the grind . . .

Wednesday, July 27, 2016


  • Company owns a two-room warehouse from which it runs its operations. 
  • Warehouse has a single entrance in the front, which leads directly into a lone hallway which dissects the building. 
  • On the left side of the hallway is the door to Room 1; on the right side, the door to Room 2.
  •  Company employs 8 workers who at any given time are divided equally between the two rooms.  Employees in one room are generally unaware of happenings in the other room.
  • On January 1st, the only people in the building are the 8 workers.
  • Later that day, a man enters the building through the front door.  He never leaves.  He's found strangled in the hallway at 5:00.
  • All eight workers are interviewed by police; none claim ever to have seen the man.
  • Prosecutor rules death a homicide; brings murder charges against all 8 workers.  No other charges are filed.  Each employee is tried separately. 
  •  Man's family brings civil suit against the company.
1.    What result would you anticipate from the criminal trials?
2.     What result would you expect from the civil trial?

Monday, July 25, 2016

Sick Days, Jackpots and Double-Ups

Follows is the trip report from the weekend, including my quest to grind 2,500 tier points and some poker content:

I took off for AC Friday at 6:30 am, rolled in to Harrah's by 10:00, and found a spot at one of the four hundred hand VP machines. The quest for 2,500 Tier Credits was afoot.  I started playing the 2 cent game at max pay ($10 a hand).  I was down $400 within 20 minutes.   The variance was pretty insane.   I realized that I could mash 10 hands per minute (the top end of my anticipated range), which meant I could reduce the bet to $5 per hand and still reach 2,500 within a fairly reasonable 8 to 10 hours.  So . . .

I reduced my bet and played a solid 7 hours, running fairly well.  I switched back and forth between Double Double Bonus and Deuces Wild.  I flopped trip deuces 5 times on DW, and trip Aces 3 times on DDB.   I also hit 16 Royals, which paid off $40 each.  By 5:00, when I took a quick break to grab my first beer of the day and to charge my phone, I was down $800 and had earned 1,800 TC's.   After reducing my bet, I had only lost $400 over 6.5 hours.  I'll take it . . .

After the break, I got dealt trip Aces for a 4th time.  It ran out like this:

Whiffed (this was, in fact, one of three times I struck out with monster flops . . . I also missed with trip deuces on DW and four-to-the-royal).

A few minutes later, however, the aces came through:

This was the type of hand I needed to have any hope of actually finishing this grind in the black.  I took a second break shortly thereafter, up $1,000 and with 1,950 TC's

When I returned, I went back to $10 a hand, trying to wrap it up as quickly as possible.   Variance hit again.  It was like the machine knew when I upped my bet and just punished me.   I dropped $450 and took off for dinner with 2,350 TC's and holding a $550 profit.

After dinner and more adult beverages, I finish the job just after 10:00 pm, hitting 2,500 TC's and $650 in the black.  So, had it not been for the Jackpot, the endeavor would have cost $1,100.  
Exhausted; I set out for one last beverage before calling it a night. 
I began Saturday where I had left off.  Mashing.  I earned another 1,000 tier credits, raising my total to just over 14,000 for the year, at a cost of $600.  So, my late afternoon, I was basically even for the trip.  I headed out for the 15 minute walk to Borgata for dinner at Bobby Flay's.  Shockingly, it looked like this:

After dinner, I walked back to Harrah's and finally got into a poker game.  It was 8:00.  It took a short time to assess the table - two nitty Harrah's regulars, two maniacs, and a couple of "club kids."  The maniacs had the game playing somewhat beyond my comfort level, raising and betting nearly every hand with any hand.  I hate these types of game because of the variance.  When it comes to poker, I don't like to gamble.  I leave that to the sweet, sweet VP. Anyway, it became apparent that the main offender was the "gentlemen" in seat 1.  When I sat down, he had an $800 to $1000 stack.  He wore a "wife beater" and was drinking both a Heineken and a shot.  He quickly busted a kid's KK with 84, having called a $20 pre-flop raise.  Based on the kid's angry comments while he was rebuying, this was not the first such hand Seat 1 had played to similar results.
Anyway, the second maniac (who was a Seven Star) who was seated to my immediate right in the three seat left the game after about 20 minutes, leaving only the 1 Seat to pump up the game.  Shortly thereafter, "Frank," one of the degenerate regulars, opened to $22.  It folded to me, and I looked down at AA.  I re-raised to $60, and Frank folded his JJ face up.  I was in the game . . .
A little while later, I got into a hand with seat 2, an older, semi-reg (a diamond member, from out of town, but who I had seen before).  There were several limpers, including Seat 2.  I had AJ in position and raised to $12.  Only Seat 2 called.  The flop was A(s) A(x) 6(s).  I bet $15; seat two flat called.  The turn was the 8(s).  I bet $40. Seat two shoved approximately $180 on top.  At this point, I had seen Seat 2 play one big prior hand.  He had turned Queens-full against Seat 1 and shoved.  I noticed how heavily he was breathing during the hand.  I suspected he had a monster.  Seat 1 called, and was shown the bad news.  Fast forward to my hand.  66 or 88 is possible; but not sure he's shoving his boat when I'm doing all the work on the hand.  Spades or a bluff too.  I look him over and notice the breathing . . .  Same as last time.  Yeah; I've got trip aces and a decent kicker.  I know he does not have a bigger ace.  I don't see what I'm beating given Seat 2's tight play.  His breathing makes this a fairly easy fold.  I actually flashed the ace while mucking.  He showed KJ spades.  I live to look for a better spot.
Shortly thereafter, I find it.  I'm on the button.  Seat 1 does what seat 1 does, and opens to $10 (still sitting on a monster stack0.  It folds to me.  I looked down at AA.  I have approximately $230 behind.  Normally, I'd three bet here.  But, to the extent Seat 1 has been inclined to give up on a hand, it's been when he faces aggression.  With only the blinds behind me (both of whom were tight), I opt to flat and try and trap.  But, surprisingly, the young woman in the BB (sitting on approximately $100) comes along.  Flop is Q(c) K(c) 4(x).  Surprisingly, the girl leads to $23.  Maniac calls and I just call.  My gut tells me the girl flopped top two.  However, I figure if I can get all in against Seat 1, I can still take the side pot to minimize the losses if my read is correct and I'm beat.  The turn blanks and the girl shoved.  Seat one again just calls.  Given stack sizes, I decide to shove, figuring Seat one will have to come along.  I do; and he does.  River is an A giving me trips.  I didn't need it.  Girl had Q6; maniac just mucked; I double my starting stack.
I was able to take a few more hundred off Seat 1 over the course of the evening.  One hand, I had JT and maniac and I saw the board run out A 9 T J K.  I had check called the flop; and check called the turn which gave me two pair (even though I hated it).  I checked the river and Maniac checks his hole cards.  Then he bets $150.  I had played the hand very passive.  I figure he figures he can bluff me off the hand.  Also, his peak at his hole cards was interesting.  I usually don't engage in table talk during hands.  But here I made an exception: "Sir, did you really need to look to see if you had the Queen?"  He smiled awkwardly.  I called.  He mucked.
An hour or so later, I got into a decent sized pot with a tight Asian regular (yes, tight Asians do, apparently, exist)  and Maniac (shocking).  By this point, Maniac had lost his entire $800 to $1000 and had rebought for $200 two more times.  He had his stack back up to $400 or so at this point.  I limp in early position with 77, maniac calls and tight Asian raised to $10.  Call.  Call.  Flop is 7 9 T (rainbow).  I check. Maniac checks.  Asian bets out.  He has about $150 behind.  I opt to flat.  Maniac comes along.  Turn is a 2.  Check. Check.  Asian  checks.  River is a 6.  I check.  Maniac checks. Asian shoves.  I feel like my set is good here.  I don't think Asian raised a hand with an 8 in his range.  And, while Maniac plays any two cards, his line does not have an 8 in it either.  So, I make a pretty easy call.  And Asian flips A(c) 8(c) for the win.  Clearly, I could have played my set differently.  But, under the circumstances, and particularly given Asian's starting stack size, I decided to play it slow with my finger on the fold button. However, as mentioned, based on the way the hand played out, I really did not put an 8 in anyone's hand, so I called down.  Shit happens.
I later took another $100+ off Maniac with KK.  Again, I flatted his open raise.  He started the hand with $200 or so and I figured I could get it all.  He bet the flop, and I just called.  He bet the turn, and had about $130-$140 left.  I figured if I shoved he would not get away from his hand.  So, I did.  Sadly, he actually found the fold button.  I think by this point he had maxed out his ATM limit (when he later busted again, he never came back . . .).  I should have flatted once more . . .
By midnight, my stack was close to $800.  I was getting tired.  And the table composition had changed over.  I had no real reads on anybody.  Also, the Corona Light's were starting to catch up to me.  I looked down at AJ diamonds and raised to $12.  The table showed the utmost respect for my bet, and I was called by only 5 players.  The flop was 885.  Out of position, I could have given up.  I should have given up.  But, that flop looked about as good as it gets for a decent Ace.  So, I fired $50.  Fold.  Fold.  Fold.  Fold.  RE-RAISE ALL IN.  FUCK!!!  There's one in every crowd . . .
I packed it in shortly thereafter, booking a $425 profit:  

I thought about gambooooling a bit more Sunday morning when I woke up.  Ultimately, however, I decided to finish the trip on the winning side for once, and just took off for home. All-in-all, a successful weekend.  Diamond status is all but wrapped up for 2017.  And hopefully my $35,000+ coin in raised my ADP enough to earn comped weekends during fall football season.  My next trip is tentatively booked for Wednesday through Monday or Labor Day Weekend; although I'm hopeful I'll be able to get a few more sessions of $1/2 in before then.
And now . . . back to the real grind.
P.S.  I'm curious what people's thoughts are on an appropriate tip for the hand pay?  I've only hit a couple, and am never sure what is customary under the circumstance.  Thanks.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Plans. (which i never do)

Tomorrow is the day I attempt to grind 2,500 Caesars tier credits. Why?  Because I want to . . .

Yesterday, I did some rough calculations to try to estimate how long this will take.  Running $25,000 coin-in doesn't sound too difficult.  But, apparently, it's a lot of play.  The key will be how many hands of 100-hand VP I can play in a minute.  Typically, I draw and, unless I'm dealt a particularly "interesting hand," e.g., trips or 4 to a straight flush/royal, I'll zip through the 100 hands on turbo, which does not take long.  I'm estimating I can get through between 5 and 10 hands a minute.  That's a wide range.  At $5 a hand, which is my normal comfort level, I'd need to play 5,000 hands to hit the number.  Assuming the number is more like 6 hands a minute (10 seconds a hand), it would take 14 hours to reach 2,500 credits.  But that's 14 hours of non-stop, focused, grinding.  In reality, and factoring in the impact of delicious beer, the number would likely be more like 18 hours. And, that assumes I have non-stop access to one of the four hundred hand machines at Harrah's
So, I think I'm adjusting the plan and will attempt to play $10 a hand.  This, of course, will increase the variance.  If I run bad, I could dig a deep hole . . . quickly.  Failure is an option. 
I also have to decide what game to play.  Given I'll be increasing my sweet, sweet unit, I think I'll start with Jacks or Better and take the 2-1 return on two-pair, while sacrificing the potential for a big score with quads.  Depending how it goes, perhaps I'll switch over to DDB, which is normally my game of choice.  Maybe mix in some DW . . .
Frankly, if I start out terribly and am running far below expected EV by the 1,000 TC mark, I may shut it down (and collect the 1,000 bonus) and head to the $1/2 tables.  In my head, I'm targeting $2,000 to $2,500 as max pain to reach $25,000 coin in.  Of course, I'd like to lose far less.  Hell, I'd like to WIN; but we all know that's not going to happen unless I hit some stupid good hands.  I'm confident I could grind at $5 a hand and keep the losses within this range; but I'm not sure what impact raising the bet to $10 will have.
To be continued . . .