Raise or Fold:  A Year of Risky Business

Writing and playing poker as if they were activities worth doing well.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Las Vegas Report

Wish the news were better...

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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Meetup: Rhumbar at Mirage Hotel

For those of you brave souls who may find yourselves in Las Vegas on Friday evening, August 28th: please join me and other poker types at 7pm in the Rhumbar at the Mirage. Specialty cocktails, comfy outdoor seating, and poker-blog-chat… who could ask for anything more?

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Bellagio Visit

Well, I went and played at the Bellagio for the first time yesterday. Once again, my experience was contrary to that of many people whose reports I have followed with interest.

To my surprise, the staff was welcoming, friendly, polite, and seemed eager to get me seated and comfortable. I started out at 2/5, where things did not go well. It was one of those days where I zigged when I should have zagged, the cards utterly failed to cooperate, and I missed out on a couple of big pots just from lack of timely aggression. I then stepped down to 1/2, and things didn't go particularly well there either. I didn't play as well as I should have, but even if I had, I doubt I would have done much better. It was a no-traction kind of session.

My 1/2 table backed up to Bobby's Room, which held in its crystalline embrace Phil Ivey, David Benyamine, and Bobby Baldwin (and his lithesome young blonde companion). The three of them were apparently taking turns munching on a fourth player, a fellow in a black t-shirt whom one of the dealers said was a Frenchman with more money than he knew what to do with. Supposedly the night before he'd thrown a giant hissy-fit tantrum at one point in the evening, chucking things across the room and cursing. This was apparently insufficiently bad behavior to get him eighty-sixed. One wonders how deep a person's pockets have to be to make such behavior tolerable. (I did hear a fellow guarding the door tell an inquirer that the minimum buy-in for the room was $100K). When Mr. T-Shirt left, Ivey and Benyamine sat around playing Chinese poker, no doubt for house-sized sums of money. Benyamine looked better than I've ever seen him: he's lost a lot of weight and he was well-groomed and rested-seeming.

All in all, despite the poker results, my visit to the Bellagio room was pleasant enough, and I would certainly not object to playing there again.

It's now time to return to my regularly scheduled agenda of actually making money playing poker. This latest series of losing cash sessions is not enjoyable and must cease prontissimo.

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Sunday, August 23, 2009


My goodness, you go for nearly a week without posting and then, when you finally do sit down to write something, you're completely paralyzed by how much catching up you have to do!

I've been feeling too stingy and stubborn to pay for the internet connection at Harrah's. So rather than sum up every day like a sensible human being, I kept putting it off, and now I'm sitting in the (arctic) food court at the Venetian, trying to make up for lost time.

First there were nearly 200 emails to read.
Then, almost 500 RSS feeds.
Plus the photos I had to get off my camera, on to my computer, and then file and edit.

Blog post? Oh please. If I had anything interesting to say when I first sat down, it's long since evaporated. So I'll give you the very quick, rough rundown instead. (The good news is that starting tomorrow I'll be AT the Venetian for four days, which should make it much more convenient for me to stay current.)

I had a lovely birthday in Las Vegas, which included a winning session of 2/5 at the V and a delicious dinner with Rakewell at Tao Bistro. I had a fun and modestly profitable venture at the 4/8 HORSE game on Wednesday night. I took an absolute bath at the 2/5 game at the Wynn (not because the competition was especially tough, but because I was on the losing end of a couple of monster pots... it happens). On Friday, I squeaked out a small win at the MGM's 2/5. Contrary to all the reports of extreme softness I had been receiving, my table was 3/4ths rocky regulars and pros. There was one classic Crasian, and a few obvious touristy young men who quickly dumped their money to the table and were replaced by others. Alas, I wasn't able to skim off much of that bounty.

Saturday, I played in Harrah's 1pm Megastack tournament. We only had 14 runners, which made for a smallish prize pool, which only paid 2. The structure is excellent, and my only complaint about the way the room runs the game is that they don't have a dedicated clock for it. Three other scheduled tournaments overlapped with mine, which probably diluted both the entrant numbers and the staff attention. If you find yourself looking for a nice, slow tournament with lots of play for the money (despite a steep juice), please check this game out. It's not currently getting big fields, and I would hate for Harrah's to give up on it for lack for participation. I will certainly play it again before I leave Vegas.

The tournament went just over 8 hours. We agreed to pay 4th place his money back, and for 3rd to get double his money, which further attenuated the prize. It ended with faithful reader Tarpie and me going heads-up! After a short tussle, I was fortunate enough to win. I was delighted to share in the glory with a familiar face. Well played, my friend.

I think this evening I'll head over to Caesars to see if they have a 2/5 game going. It's been nice to have a slow, quiet start to my day ~ and I'm definitely convinced now that that I don't want to go so long without breaking out the computer for some quality internet time. Promise I'll be more frequent going forward!

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View From My Room At Harrah's

Can you spot the five cardrooms spreading 2/5?

Monday, August 17, 2009

Day 365: Not Finished Yet

Okay, so this is a little embarrassing.

You start a blog out with A Grand Plan. You state it in public. You do a pretty good job of keeping people informed on your progress.

And then, at the very end, you change the plan.

Boooooo. I call shenanigans! On myself.

Life, and the experience life brings (or leaves in its wake), has a way of interfering with the best laid plans. To wit:
  • My book is not done. Not even close. In fact, the extensive outline that I've been working from has come to seem less and less like the book I want to write. Accordingly, I'm having to reconsider it from the ground up. I fully intend to keep writing, and I definitely think I have a good book to bring forth, but it's not going to be the one I initially thought it would be.

  • I have distinctly NOT succeeded in leading as well-balanced life as I'd intended.

  • My poker results are inconclusive. While I have made a decent profit in the past year, I don't have enough information to make a decision about whether I can survive as a professional. I'm inclined to think I can, but I don't know for sure, and I've determined that I'm unlikely to know for sure in a reasonable timeframe.
So, what to do? what to do?

I'm flying to Las Vegas tonight. I'll be there for 3.5 weeks. I have arbitrarily decided that I will let this short period of time serve as the tie-breaker in my decision-making process. If I make a decent, livable income at the tables on this trip, I'll keep going. If I don't, I'll start looking for a job. You know, actual salaried, every-other-week-a-paycheck, health-benefit-conferring employment.

You say there's a recession on? No kidding. Thank god I live in Washington, DC, where employment opportunities are less awful than in most of the rest of the country. (And nothing stops me from continuing to play poker on the side while I diligently look for work.)

No matter what the outcome of this last lagniappe, this baker's dozenth month of poker, I will never EVER regret having given the past year to my experiment. It has been challenging, fun, heart-breaking, educational, rewarding, and deeply, deeply interesting. I have made wonderful new friends, achieved personal bests, and come to treasure my city and my friends all the more. It has been a spectacular adventure.

I was sitting at Starbucks the other day, having a coffee and catching up on my spreadsheet, as is my wont. The man at the table next to mine leaned over and made a comment about the svelteness of my MacBook Air. We had a brief conversation, during which he asked me: "Are you a lawyer?" I laughed. And then the following sentence emerged unprompted from my mouth for the first time: "Actually, I play poker for a living." And as I said it, it seemed true.

We shall see.

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Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Teakettle Room

I returned from the poker room at dawn's early light last weekend to Harrah's Marina Bayview Tower Room 16073. I was exhausted and ready to crash.

Not so fast, Cardgrrl!

Although I was yearning to fall into the arms of of Morpheus, my tender ears were assaulted with this. It was really loud, louder than the recording suggests.

At first, the front desk would not even consider moving me to another room at that hour. I asked, please, if I might speak to a supervisor. No supervisor was forthcoming, but lo-and-behold, another ~ and blissfully much quieter ~ room was found for me right away. I packed and moved in 10 minutes flat.

This is why legitimate complaints are worth pursuing, politely of course.


Saturday, August 15, 2009


When I was a kid, nothing made me squirm more than my parents complaining to "The Management" when something wasn't right or as promised. It mortified me.

It still makes me uncomfortable, but I have become much more willing to request an accommodation if things are not as advertised. I will ask a hotel to put me in a different room if there is a problem with the one I'm in. I am capable of being quite persistent in the matter of being delivered what I was promised at the time of purchase.

A little over a month ago I traded in my original iPhone for a new model 3GS. I noticed right away that my new phone's low-light imaging was meaningfully WORSE than the old one, despite having been advertised as offering an improvement in this area. So today, I went back to the Apple Store and explained the problem. The nice young man at the Genius Bar simply swapped out my SMS card and popped it into a brand new phone. A few minutes later I was on my way. Marvelous customer service. (The store was also chockfull of people; my Apple stock is grateful.)

I have since tested the camera in the new phone. It is still NOT an improvement on the old one, in my opinion. My guess is that they simply tweaked the algorithm for the chip, so it now automatically generates a more contrasty, more saturated image (which marketing tests probably show most people find more pleasing in most circumstances under which snaps are taken). They are clearly also using a different compression algorithm, which I think preserves edge details less well. However, this phone is considerably less "noisy" in low light images than my first 3GS. With a few tweaks in imaging software, I can produce a reasonably pleasing result that ought to serve my casual snapshot needs adequately.

There is at least one other meaningful improvement: the screen backlight has a significantly less yellow cast than the previous one. My first model also had an idiosyncrasy that, about one time in every six or seven attempts, resulted in the screen appearing very dimmed when I turned it on. Let's hope that this new one doesn't exhibit the same problem.

Is there a poker lesson in this? Perhaps. To the extent that I have trained myself to have a word with the floor if I find a dealer doing something egregious, or if I want a table change, I think learning to speak up for oneself (POLITELY!) rather than suffering in silence is a valuable professional skill.

For your viewing pleasure, a detail of the iron tree-grate near the Apple Store on Bethesda Row, taken of course with the new phone:


Friday, August 14, 2009

I know I said no more bad beat stories...

But this is the way I've been running in big tournaments online lately.

tourney bustout

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Thursday, August 13, 2009

Give The Bottle The Boot

I was reminded by this article in the Washington Post that I've been meaning to write a non-poker-related rant on the subject of bottled water in casinos ~ and for that matter everywhere ~ for some time now.

Those of you who want only poker content may cease reading right now.

I have long found it absurd that people will actually pay money for water in a plastic or glass bottle. Seriously? Here in the USA we have an extremely safe and reliable source of water in public systems throughout the country. If you don't particularly like the taste of your municipality's tap water, you can buy an inexpensive filtration system and render it entirely palatable in a matter of seconds.

An awful lot of fancy-pants bottled water is just plain or slightly doctored tap water with a snazzy label on non-biodegradable packaging, anyway. Why pay for that?

In a casino, they will give you bottled water for free (okay, you'll tip the waitress a buck if you're a decent human being). Does the low cost make the scenario any more acceptable?


There's just no excuse for bottled water in a country with a good public utility infrastructure. The resources that go into packaging and distributing bottled water are a complete waste of energy at every stage of the process. Manufacturing the bottles takes energy. Transporting the bottles takes energy. Disposing of or recycling the bottles takes energy. The whole chain is rife with waste and pollution.

At the Venetian in Las Vegas they proudly serve Fiji Water. Now, I will not argue the point that Fiji Water is delightfully refreshing. It is probably the nicest still bottled water there is. And it is absolutely execrable from an ecological point of view.

Think about it: they are shipping artesian water from an island in the South Pacific to the desert of Las Vegas. How can this be anything but obscene? Each bottle of that water must have a carbon footprint a mile wide. If you go to Fiji Green you'll see that the company itself acknowledges that it will have to work overtime to compensate for its negative impact on the environment. (And Fiji Water is probably one of the more responsible vendors of its ilk.) But honestly, no amount of carbon offsets makes this product sensible.

Please folks, consider filling up your own washable, reusable sports bottle with tap water. Don't participate in the ludicrousness that is the bottled-water industry. You'll save money and do one less thing to contribute to the degradation of our ecosystem.

(And while you're at it, ask for your casino beverage in a glass instead of a plastic cup. As far as I know, Las Vegas has no city-mandated recycling requirement or governmental recycling services for businesses or residents. All that plastic is headed straight for an incinerator or a landfill.)

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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Unclear On The Concept

The 2/5 game was wild on Saturday night, the wildest I’d ever seen at Harrah’s. It was playing deep, too; there was probably more than 20K on the table. It was Action Central: in the four hours I played on the main game (after being shifted from the must-move table, well up), there were maybe two contested pots worth less than $200. The average pot was closer to $400. Chips were sloshing from one end of the table to another.

After awhile I realized I didn’t have the stomach for this table anymore. I was just not willing to get it all in to the middle and rebuy, rebuy, rebuy the way it would be required to profit at this particular game. Despite previous oaths to the contrary, I decided to take my small loss for 2/5 and step down to 1/2.

As it turns out, this was a wise move. (In fact, previous stats to the contrary, I broke even at 2/5 but made a profit at 1/2 on this trip.) In the wee hours of the morning, my new table was stocked with the tired, stupid, and clueless, and it quickly became apparent that I was going to clean up here. I had the run of the joint until a young man sat down to my left and started to horn in on my action.

He had a nice line of patter. He was friendly and chatty, and it soon became apparent that his “Aw, shucks” routine was pure bullshit. He knew exactly what he was doing. It also turned out that he had recently moved to DC and was looking for games in my area. I immediately determined to tell him nothing. It was also clear that he quickly identified me as the only other person in our game who posed a threat, and he did his best to disarm me with charm. (As if.)

There was one other person at the table who obviously featured himself as a superior player. He had a few extra chips in front of him, and had evidently been prospering until my arrival. (Really, a blind wombat ought to have been successful at this table.) Shortly after BS-Boy sat down, he tangled with Superior Player.

I regret that I cannot reconstruct the action in the hand with any precision. Honestly, I wasn’t paying that much attention until the flop, when the heads-up dialog began. There was a big bet from SP.

BS-Boy: I raise. (He makes a bet that will require SP to be all-in if he calls. The board has two hearts, a queen, no straight possibilities.)

SP: Your two pair is no good, sir.

BS-Boy: I don’t have two pair.

SP: You make that bet with a draw? You have a flush draw?

BS-Boy: I have a flush draw, but not the one you think.

SP: Really, you are on a flush draw?

BS-Boy: I will show you if you fold.

SP: I call.

The board is run out with blanks. BS-Boy turns over the AQ of clubs, for top pair, top kicker. SP mucks angrily.

SP, indignantly, in high dudgeon, and with apparent total sincerity: You lied to me, sir! You said you were on a flush draw. You did not have a flush draw. You looked me straight in the face and lied! You have no integrity. The money means nothing to me, I have plenty of money, but I find your behavior deplorable.

BS-Boy: (Says nothing, is clearly boggled.)

Me: You are at a poker table. People often do not tell the truth.

SP: But he gave me his word! He has no integrity!

Me: This is poker. You know… bluffing…

SP: Is that how your parents raised you? I feel sorry for you that you were brought up without any morals. I do not wish to play with people like you two.

SP storms off.

Me, BS-Boy, Dealer, and indeed whole table: ??????

A few moments later it dawns on me… “two pair no good.” Oh, really? And yet somehow TPTK managed to take down the pot. (My best guess is that SP was on the nut heart flush draw himself.) The ridiculous thing is I think he was genuinely incensed at having been fibbed to, without even remembering his own bit of misdirection. It’s pretty clear that in fact BS-Boy was the more honest of the two liars (he had the nut club flush draw pre-flop)!

Oh, and the next time someone impugns my parents’ child-rearing skills or ethics, I will inform him or her that they are this very moment looking down upon the defamer from heaven and recommending to God immediate dispatch to Hades upon demise. No one disses my parents, dammit!

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Let's Go To The Tape

In the middle of the chip-shipping insanity that was Saturday night’s 2/5 game, there was an incident that brought together several important lessons about playing live poker.

The hand went down between an average even-tempered player (ETP) and a Crasian* who had been up and down like a yo-yo with ADD, rebuying multiple times. The Crasian was playing any two pre-flop and then betting aggressively if he caught any piece of the board. ETP had been picking his spots and building a nice stack, remaining polite and calm in the wake of a couple of horrendous beats. Again, I can’t remember the exact nature of the action. But the upshot of the matter was that there was tremendous action on a very wet board, with the likelihood of a broadway straight being very high.

The hand went to showdown. ETP announced, “I have an ace,” and flashed it. There was an ace on the board, giving him top pair. The Crasian threw his hand on the table face up. He had paired the river card, which was a ten. He also had a jack. To the inattentive, it might have looked as if he had made a straight, but he had not.

The dealer started pushing the pot to the Crasian, and ETP mucked his hand. Another player and I looked at each other with a questioning glance.

I spoke up. “Why is the pair of tens getting the pot? ETP had a pair of aces.” The other player chimed in to say he had seen the ace as well.

All hell broke loose. Crasian was busily stacking the chips.

ETP says he showed his hand. Dealer didn’t see it, and says it wasn’t properly tabled. Both I and the other player allow as how we didn’t register ETP’s second card.

Everyone at the table suggests that, for the good of the game, it would be sportsmanlike to chop the pot, since there is no doubt that in fact ETP had the winning hand. Crasian starts yelling defensively about how he was cheated out of some other pot at some other game in some other casino and refuses to consider it.

ETP calls the floor and asks them to go to surveillance tape. At this point everyone at the table realizes that he’s doomed. There’s no way the tape is going to have captured him flashing the Ace. Unsurprisingly, the floor comes back and says the pot result stands.

Crasian, who clearly knew he was beat, manages to win the pot on a technicality along with the disrespect of everyone at the table. It will probably cost him money in the long run.

Lessons from this event:
  1. Table your hand.

  2. Read your hand, your opponent's hand, and the board carefully and accurately.

  3. Do not let go of your hand until the pot is awarded correctly.

  4. Do not expect the surveillance tape to capture the action with enough detail to make up for failures of observation by people actually at the table or for your own mistakes.

  5. Don’t be a douchebag.

*I feel a cringe of embarrassment using this stereotyping term, except for the fact that it is exceedingly accurate in describing a small subset of poker players.

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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

August Trip to AC

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Friday, August 7, 2009

Security Problem

At the time of my last Full Tilt session, it appeared that my account had much less in it than I expected. I went to try and top it up, and was locked out.

I have now sent the documents requested of me by Full Tilt security. It will be interesting to see whether they unfreeze my account in a timely fashion, AND whether they determine that my account may have been hacked.

I've recently had a spate of serious inconveniences online. You may not see as many hands an hour when you play live, but at least there are living, breathing human beings to deal with, and a management you can speak with face-to-face when you need to.


Poker Laughs (4): I laughed, I cried

One of the players in my A League turned me on to these two videos.

The first will teach you how to play pocket jacks.

The second is a litany of bad beats that will be sadly familiar to most of us.

You will be unsurprised to learn that the language is NSFW.

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Wednesday, August 5, 2009

AC Warm-Up

I can't participate in my usual bus junket to AC this month because it's scheduled right before I head to Las Vegas, and that's just too much of a muchness. (How, for example, would I properly perform the Last Minute Laundry Ritual?)

So instead, I'm heading up this weekend, for a three night stay starting Saturday. I'm not particularly thrilled at the prospect of driving with all the summer traffic, but I also wanted to catch at least some of the Saturday night action. I'll be interested to see how busy things are the rest of my stay; I'm assuming it won't be super-juicy, but I would think it'll be livelier than the equivalent days of the week in winter.

I may branch out a bit and play somewhere other than Harrah's at least part of the time, if only for variety's sake. It's comfortable to hang out where everybody (well, regulars and staff, anyway) knows your name… but it might be interesting to go where I'm less of a known quantity for a change.

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Tuesday, August 4, 2009


Good day; bad day.

I had a very good day on the personal front yesterday.

You remember what it's like when you have a giant, painful, unsightly pimple right near your lip? It hurts, it looks bad, it gets more and more bothersome day by day. You know you could have avoided it if you had skipped the fried chicken or exfoliated more assiduously or just plain not had normal teenage hormones or SOMETHING. You try to ignore it, you cover it up with make-up, your nice friends tell you "It's not that bad, really!" but you know better. You can't bear to look at yourself in the mirror, you start turning down social invitations, and the pain near your lip makes talking or kissing miserable. This stupid little zit is messing up your life. It starts to feel like an enormous zit, a zit the size of the Matterhorn. You are irrationally afraid it will somehow infect your brain and kill you.

And then one day, finally, you've had enough. You are sick of thinking about that thing and of trying to not think about it. You apply hot compresses to the pimple. You perform the operation. The zit gives up the little solid pillar of hardened matter at its core, the pus flows, and maybe a bit of blood. The distended flesh and irritated nerves of the surrounding area on your face feel immediate relief. And the healing begins almost instantly. In a little while, all trace of it will be gone and not only will no one else take note of it, but you'll barely remember it was ever there yourself.

Yesterday, I popped a big metaphorical zit in my life (the healing has already begun). The relief was extensive. I was in a very upbeat mood. What better time to go play poker, right?

But I also had a bad day yesterday, and it was my own damn fault.

I was on happy tilt. I was also on only about four and a half hours of sleep. As I drove to the Ikea game, I asked myself: "Is this wise? You're kinda tired." But I was also floating on the confidence engendered by eight consecutive winning sessions. "It's okay, self, I won't stay long."

Meh. It wasn't that I played terribly. I didn't, I played okay. But I got stuck early, and then lost my buy-in and then another top-up, and then I got felted. I think I made one dubious decision (that early loss), but other than that my reads were good ~ the cards just didn't fall my way.

Nonetheless: I SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN PLAYING. I was not capable of bringing my A game. And even if my B game was "good enough" for the circumstances, I should be practicing the discipline of only playing when I can do my best.

I made a series of unprofessional choices: I didn't make the correct decision in deciding to play in the first place. Nor did I make the correct decision to leave after I realized that I was going to want to dig myself out, but I was really too tired to make a marathon night of it. I could have saved a buy-in by acknowledging that and picking up and going. Had I been well-rested, I could easily have rebought yet again and stayed and ground it all back and more. But I wasn't, and I knew it, so I should have left earlier and taken the more modest loss.

Being a professional poker player is not just about the decisions you make at the table. It's also about the choices you make on your way to the table and in leaving the table and away from the table. My tweet to the contrary, being a pro is not a hat you put on while you're on the baize, it's an identity that has to inform your entire life.

Am I playing at being a poker player? Or am I really a pro?

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Monday, August 3, 2009

Money Inversion

It's a truism in poker that, while you are playing, you must not think of your chips in terms of their monetary value. As you make a re-raise, there should be no part of your mind mentally flashing subtitles that read "Okay, that's a month's worth of groceries, right there!" At the table, chips are weapons and tools and score-keepers, and that's it.

It's only when you cash out that you can think about the utility of money away from the table. If there is profit, some portion of it goes to build your bankroll (everyone handles this differently), and the remainder, if any, enters your life as part of your everyday resources.

And here's where it gets weird.

One of the standard ways of referring to your poker bankroll, is to account for it in terms of buy-ins. So if you usually play 2/5, and you have a bankroll of 40 buy-ins, that works out to 20K. For 1/2, a 40 buy-in bankroll (depending on where you play), could be from 8-12K.

As I get better at divorcing chips from their money equivalency as I play, I find a strange kind of reverse osmosis taking place away from the felt. To wit: I now frequently catch myself thinking of everyday life expenses in terms of buy-ins. Roundtrip airfare to Las Vegas? Less than a buy-in at 2/5. My rent: a little over two buy-ins.

For smaller sums, I end up thinking in terms of an average pot-size at different stakes. That little Pandora bead I covet, or the cute flat sandals: a modest pot at 1/2. The comfy trousers I bought yesterday: a typical 2/5 pot.

Apparently I now live in Pokerland, where the currency comes in pot-sized and buy-in denominations. I find myself doing this mental exchange-rate exercise more and more frequently these days. Describing it, I realize that it probably sounds like a really weird way of thinking to most people, and it is yet another way that my life continues to diverge substantially from the mainstream.


Sunday, August 2, 2009

Like A Bad Penny…

I keep coming back!

I have booked my airfare, and I will be in Las Vegas from August 18th through September 10th. It's not quite a month, but close enough. Unlike my last stay, I'm not renting a condo, but will be hotel-hopping from place to place according to what kind of deals I can get. Twelve of the nights are already booked at the Venetian, which I'm getting for the ridiculous rate of $30 a night. Who could resist THAT?

The plan for the visit is mostly to play 2/5, with the occasional good structure, modest buy-in tournament thrown into the mix. This trip will be something of a litmus test for me. Can I really pay the bills and have something left over at a non-WSOP time ~ during one of Las Vegas's low seasons?

We shall see.

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Where are the softest games?

If you visit the Brick & Mortar or Las Vegas Lifestyle forums on 2+2, or check out AllVegasPoker, you will find numerous threads of the following generic form:
Hey Guys, I'm going to Vegas/AC/Tunica/LA and I'm wondering where the softest 1/2 cash games are. Thanks!
The standard reply you see on the forums is:
Dude! All live poker is ridiculously soft compared to the internet. I crush whenever I play in a casino. But the action at [insert casino name here] is always especially donkalicious!
Honestly, whenever I see posts like this, I want to respond: "It's always softest wherever I'm playing. Y'all c'mon down!"

Because, seriously, think about it.
  1. Do you actually believe that there's a consistent answer as to where the softest games are? Are you so inexperienced that you don't understand that game complexion changes from hour to hour and day to day? That the sharks move to where the fish congregate and then away again; that the fish school in one place rather than another depending on a whole host of transient circumstances?

  2. The fact that you're asking the question betokens a certain naivété about the game, and an experienced player will be happy to have you sitting at his or her favorite happy hunting ground.

  3. On the other hand, if they look at your posting history, and you ~ despite the question ~ DO seem to have a clue, then why on earth would a player who's found a (temporarily) soft spot invite you to come and dilute his or her profit potential?
As for the standard, "Live poker is teh EZ, anyone who profits at 25NL online can crush!!!11!!1"... sure, whatevs. Except that live plays differently from online, and a lot of successful online players are lousy at adjusting. They get bored playing only 30 hands an hour and wind up spewing. They don't understand the importance of social interaction in keeping the table friendly and chase away the fish. They forget they're not home alone in their underwear and are giant tellboxes. Or ~ to be frank ~ they come with so many arrogant preconceptions about the abilities of live players that they completely fail to notice when someone at the table has their number and outplays them. Ooops!

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