Friday, April 6, 2007

Chicago and the beginnings of April

From Friday until Tuesday, I was in Chicago primarily for my grandfather's 80th birthday. He had a nice catered party at my aunt Sherrie's house in Lake Forest, Illinois. I saw some relatives and family friends that apparently I had met when I was a baby. I must be getting senile because for the life of me I couldn't remember most of them. Unfortunately, my grandmother's Alzheimers has gotten really bad and now she can't walk and is confined to a wheelchair. It was quite disturbing to see how drastic of a change there was since the last time I saw her in July of 2006. It was semi-noticable at that point in time but at least she was able to move about and you could have a conversation with her. I am just hoping I will be able to see her again.

So enough depression. I got back and played at Hawaiian Gardens on Wednesday and Thursday as I said I would in the last post. Wednesday sucked. I was at a table and I got almost no hands. Literally, I think my best starting hand was JJ once and AK twice and once I got AK allin preflop with 6 2 and lost. Now for those of you who know me, know that I can't stand people who bitch about not getting cards so I won't give you the song and dance but there were a few other factors that contributed to my losing session. The table I was at was decent. For the first half of the time there were two juicy actions guys there and the rest were tight grinders so all I had to do was aim for the juicies and stay out of big pots with the nuthuts (translation: pussies who play the nuts only). Well, the first big pot i played worked out badly. I was in the cutoff and there were two new players who posted the BB, 1 SB, and one regular BB before the hand started. One player limped in front of me and I had AsQc. Now there is essentially $45 in dead money in there as only 1 of those $10 players chose to be in this pot so I raised for value/isolation to $65 and the BB called as well as the limper. I really wanted heads up but at least I had position with a very playable hand. The flop came down Kc Qd 5s. Both players checked to me. Now generally I would continuation bet here but for some reason I just felt as though a King was floating out there. And if I was seeing ghosts and they had something like 99 and 77 then seeing a free card was probably not too detrimental . Point being, I really didn't want to bet myself out of this $220 pot . So we all checked. The turn brought the Jd. Not really the best card in the world because something like QJ, 9 10, or A 10 just outran me but it did give me an obvious gutshot to the broadway nuts. BB checked and the other player in the pot bet out $100. Now I was unhappy about this as I was getting 3:1 which is a pretty good price for second pair, top kicker, overcard, and nut gutshot. The problem is I had no idea where this guy was. My pansy check and lack of continuation bet put me in the dark. I reluctantly called and the BB folded. The pot is now $420 and the river brough the Ah. As soon as that card came off, I didn't like it. The villain bets out $200 into the $420 pot and again I was getting 3:1 to call with top and 3rd pair. I made a horrible crying call and he turns over the Ad10d for the nuts on the turn with the royal flush nut redraw. If i make a standard CB on the flop WITH THE BEST HAND at that point he most likely would not have called with his gutshot. So again, bad flop check.

That was the only "interesting" hand that night. The rest of the time was spent trying to steal pots against the nuthuts with incredulous disappointment. As I mentioned earlier the best starting hand i got was JJ and I saw guys routinely limping in with AA, KK, QQ, etc... One nuthut limped in with QQs three times in one hour and KK twice that night. Every time he either went to the flop in an unraised pot or limp/reraised someone. One guy limped with KK and AA and made a river set on both of them. When he made the KKK set he didnt bet it because he was afraid his opponent in the hand made a ridiculous straight. I remembered that so when I got into a hand with him on a K J 10 6 A board he called me on the river with his AA. Of course, I had nothing.

The moral of the story is that once the juicies got busted we were eternally stuck 7 handed as all 4 of the $500 games that were running were short and I couldn't change tables. I was stuck with all tighties, I was stuck, and I wasn't making any hands. An absolutely horrible situation. Numerous things can be said here. I could and should have ended the bleeding once the juices got busted. Took whatever I had left and got up and went to a $300 game for a while until I could have gotten into a $500. I could/should have done something to get out of that game. Its not as if I was building an image because I wasn't winning any decent sized pots and turning over a loose holding. Every decent to big sized pot I was in I was leading in the betting and getting called and my opponent turning over some ridiculous monster. So by all logic I had a good hand and was getting coolered. At least it could have appeared that way in the minds of the others at the table. So even if I hit a big hand there would be no guarantee that I would get paid off unless someone else had a monster. I was losing against the worst types of opponents with no real "redraw" on winning it back. Take note: Your opponents are the most important factor in the game outside of yourself. The cards are irrelevent.

Thursday, on the other hand, was entirely my fault. I again met Rick at Hawaiian Gardens. He said he didn't like it the first time but he suggested we go back there. I knew he couldn't stay away from the action. I was playing great for the first 2 hours or so. Then this kind of arrogant cat sits down and just goes haywire. Making pretty aggressive and what i consider quite bad moves. Reraising big preflop with AJ and AQ. The problem is, he was hitting like a brickhouse. He would raise big preflop with 8 10. The flop would come J 9 x, someone would lead strong into him. He would reraise and the lead bettor would go all in and the villain calls and hits the Q on the river. Stuff like that makes you go insance. I don't believe in fate or any bullshit like that ESPECIALLY when it comes to poker but its a bit dizzying when a guy plays extra fast with marginal hands and hits. He was there for maybe an hour and he went from $500 to $2500 easily. He hit a gutshot on me and took $400. I learned he is generally a $300 table player and it showed with his lack of regard for his own chip safety. I definetly admire and try to model myself after the aggressive unpredictable type of player but this guy was aggressive but predictable. I could nail him down to his hand most of the time (the gutshot was an obvious exception). One hand he limped UTG and I was in late position with 10 10 and I raised it to $45 and the SB called and he made it $145. I called because I knew he had a big Ace and the SB called as well. The flop comes A Q J and he goes all in for $1200. Both of us fold and he shows the AQ and triumphantly says "I knew I had the best hand". Good fucking read, Sherlock. The best part is I think he meant preflop and on the flop. I was licking my chops for this guy the whole time but as soon as he hit about $2500 his asshole tightened up to nothing an he didnt play a hand for another 45 minutes until he got up and left. Another commonality among players. Lots of them tighten up so much when they become a big stack because they are afraid of booking a loss especially when they have such an advantage. Logically it would make sense to keep pressing when you have that advantage so as to make the most out of it. In fact, Barry Greenstein mentions something to this effect in ACE ON THE RIVER. He says to be a winning player it is absolutely essential to keep your opponents on the run, don't let up when you reach an advantageous position. Since I have a huge gay crush on Greenstein and I really agree with almost all of his logical arguments I also subscribe to this philosophy. It got me into trouble on Thursday though.

After the lucky $300 player went on his mad streak, the table got really actiony and I was able to score big and in the next 3-4 hours I was up to a nice $2200 stack after two buyins. So I was sitting on a $1200 profit. I was planning on leaving about 30 minutes after I counted. I felt comfortable about the table and I wasn't scared of anyone. In that 30 minutes, I lost about $1300 making three marginal calls. One to a slowplayed AA, the second to a runner runner backdoor straight vs my top pair and lastly losing $500+ by calling with top and 3rd pair vs top set in an oddly played hand. This put me on a bit of tilt and from there on out i was playing a bit looser than my standards and not getting very much luck. For instance, I bet with 6c7c on a board of 6 4 9d 3d and got called and the offsuit 5 came on the river giving me the straight. I bet $100 and a tighty on the table raised me to $200. The pot was only about $300 so I was a bit annoyed that I got 2nd nutted to his nuts but I called anyway as I felt that there might have been some chance he had a set, two pair, or we were chopping but no he had 7 8 of course. I guess I can take a little pride in the fact that someone has to make weird hands or play them weirdly in order to get paid off by me. But I ended up going broke and leaving -$1000 instead of +$1200. Very disconcerting. I can't tell if there needs to be some happy medium between Greenstein's approach and the semi-ratholing approach of many people I know who leave when they get up $1000 or some other predetermined number. Obviously, the tilting was of major importance as well.

I'll probably be going to Commerce tonight. So maybe that will be a little better for me. Also, i talked to Greg and we are interested in renting a house for June in Vegas for the WSOP. Ideally, I would like to find 3-4 guys to get a 3-4 bedroom house. He said he would be back from Hawaii May 29th or so and could go straight to vegas if need be. He will be there for 6weeks shooting for his lead role in Dante's Cove.

On a brigher note, I just got back from the dentist's office and I got the cute little dental hygenist's number. I think she's Mexican so I know Arnulfo is happy. :)

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