Monday, March 09, 2009

Monday Night

I’ve been oddly content recently. I say oddly because things haven’t been going particularly well financially or romantically and traditionally those two areas have determined my well-being. I spent a lot of the day thinking about why I’m presently feeling okay about things and came up with some different ideas:

Mostly I just feel like I am learning to control my brain. I have power and confidence that I can do things simply if I want to, that I can get through difficult situations merely by trying, that the only person I want to be is me, that even if life is a bitch I can deal with that bitch and put her in her place. Some of this attitude has come from running, which I will surely blog about some time in the future, some of it has come from getting older, and some of it has come from the Queens of the Stone Age.

In March I have been listening to the Queens almost exclusively. Right now it’s “Songs For The Deaf” which was their commercial breakthrough but arguably their worst album. The Queens are immensely powerful and talented musicians but not household names because they haven’t spawned many radio-friendly singles. Their music is uncompromising, often rather heavy but almost always fun. Queens of the Stone Age really capture the cocksure attitude of a band that knows how good it is without everyone in the world knowing it, and perhaps it is in part the lack of superstardom that allows them to make great, stubborn, unique, dynamic music. Really it shouldn’t be acknowledgment, women, trophies that determine happiness, it should be living how you want to live, doing what you want to do, and following the Golden Rule.

I’ve also been listening to Kris Kristofferson’s “To Beat The Devil” a lot recently after a Shaniac recommendation which deals with this sort of stuff I’ve been mentally chewing on.

The center of this life thesis is that life is not perfect or even all that good necessarily...I should not expect happiness. When something bad happens it is no big deal and I can get over it pretty quickly. When something good happens it is just icing on the cake. This surely sounds melancholy and pessimistic but the key is that (at least right now) my average day is not unpleasant. It is not filled with joy and probably never will be but I try to fill the day with activities that I enjoy and make me feel good while avoiding “the people who don’t listen to the things you are saying” and not wasting time on “the things that they complain about [that] are things they could be changing.”


Limp 65s second position. Only the BB comes along. Flop J86 BB checks I bet the minimum 20 he folds.

Fold A5s UTG next hand.

Fold A6o in BB to a 3x raise and a call.

Fold JTo on the button to a middle position raise.


A tight player raises the button and I fold K8s in the BB.

Same player raises the next hand, I call with red sevens in the SB. Flop comes AJ3 all hearts I check-fold to a biggish bet.

TheFatFISH raises to 90 from the cutoff and I decide to make it 270 on the button with Ts6s. As this happens I am remembering that FISH is also known as AndyMcLeod on Stars, a very good and aggressive young kid from Australia. I have watched McLeod on Stars and always marveled at his uncanny ability to have the best hand over and over in marginal situations while playing very loose and aggressive. He calls and the flop comes As5h3d. He checks I throw out 330 and he calls. I have a feeling I am being floated here. The turn is the 4c. I was likely going to double-barrel here but this card would make it hard for me to bet if I actually had AK and I picked up a draw so I check. River is an interesting ten of hearts and he fires 750. I can only beat a float or something like 77 that is trying to get me off a higher pair. I finally decide to call which is really questionable and he wins with ace-jack…I think reraising the T6s was a mistake against a McLeod-type player. I would have been much better off making this play against a less decorated more standard player.


So this hand comes up…I see this sort of hand a lot from tournament players who are almost certainly better at their craft than I am and can never believe it. I have a cash-game background and believe that playing hands like this is akin to lighting money on fire…yet again, I stress that I see players who are better than me at tournaments do this kind of stuff all the time:

Dealt to GnightMoon [5h 6c]
mman_status folds
yahoo33 folds
kidwhowon has 15 seconds left to act
kidwhowon folds
Rick W_88 folds
Aaron_Hacker folds
Bbuddy4brkfst folds
POCKET FIVE has 15 seconds left to act
POCKET FIVE raises to 120
TheFatFISH has 15 seconds left to act
TheFatFISH raises to 429
GnightMoon folds
POCKET FIVE has 15 seconds left to act
POCKET FIVE calls 309
*** FLOP *** [8s 7d 6h]
TheFatFISH has 15 seconds left to act
TheFatFISH bets 600
POCKET FIVE raises to 1,590
TheFatFISH has 15 seconds left to act
TheFatFISH has requested TIME
TheFatFISH raises to 6,441, and is all in
POCKET FIVE calls 2,476, and is all in
TheFatFISH shows [8c Ac]
POCKET FIVE shows [Qd Qc]
Uncalled bet of 2,375 returned to TheFatFISH
*** TURN *** [8s 7d 6h] [Kc]
*** RIVER *** [8s 7d 6h Kc] [7c]
TheFatFISH shows two pair, Eights and Sevens
POCKET FIVE shows two pair, Queens and Sevens
POCKET FIVE wins the pot (9,030) with two pair, Queens and Sevens

UTG limps FISH limps button I complete the SB with A5o. Flop Ac9sTd checked to FISH who bets 110. I call, others fold. Turn 5d I check FISH bets 240 I make it 760 which looks either strong or bluffy and leaves him room to push if he wants. He folds.

Next hand UTG limps I get QQ on button and make a 4x raise. SB flats it and so does UTG. Flop Th4d7d checked to me I bet moderate and both fold…I have no idea what I do if it gets raised, probably flat it and see what happens on the turn.

Next hand POCKET FIVE raises 3x, FISH calls and I call with 75 clubs. The small blind calls and then the BB raises huge…everyone folds. I am always afraid of calling raises with these hands because of the frequency of someone squeezing it behind. I watch players like Daniel Negreanu and Adam Friedman flat everything in sight and it seems they hardly ever get squeezed out of pots yet seemingly every time I try to get in there it gets pumped huge.

Fold Q9s UTG.


POCKET FIVE raises the button and I defend with JTo. Flop K55 check check, turn 8 I check-fold.

Raise TT on the button blinds fold.

Next hand POCKET FIVE raises again, FISH calls again and I call again with 88…now the SB squeezes it huge and then the BB shoves in having everyone covered and everyone folds.

Next hand UTG raises and I fold AJo in LP.

Raise KTs EP everyone folds.


Everyone folds to me in the SB where I have Qs6s. I open for 3x and the BB who has been super tight calls. Flop 9s7s3h already I have some options I elect to make a standard bet and the BB calls. The turn is the Td giving me a dumb-end gutshot along with the flush draw. I really have no idea what to do here with 800 in the pot and 3400 left in my stack. Someone please teach me how to play, I am like a 4 year-old trying to learn to swim. I just feel so helpless, that ten on the turn is like an arrow pointed right down the middle of his range, yet I think and bet 540 which gets jammed of course and now I have to fold my draw. I guess a check-call or fearless check-raise would have been better, seems that way now anyways.

Fold JTo on the button behind a raise and a call.

POCKET FIVE raises and I call from the cutoff with KsJs. Flop KhJc5c he bets big I think and just call. Turn 8h he checks I bet half the pot leaving fold equity but he instafolds…I just don’t know what is going on the last month, it seems like every time I want someone to jam they instantly fold, and most of the time I want them to fold they don’t…on paper it would appear I am getting owned. But I am varying my play, sometimes playing big hands fast and bad hands fast, big hands slow and bad hands tricky…I want to believe this is the kind of “variance” most people don’t really talk about or understand, the variance of running into hands when you make moves and running into garbage when you flop monsters.

Raise 87 of spades MP the button calls. Flop Jc7d4c I check he bets about half the pot I call. Turn 5c check-check river Ks check-check and I win over A8s. I feel like a tougher player would have won this pot off me. I can be a real spew artist with my checking and calling.


The hijack (raising an average amount) raises and gets called by the button (playing an average amount of hands). I have ATo in the BB and an awkward stack…again I have that feeling of breathing underwater…I end up calling which is my usual non-aggressive spewy conservative in-between play that appears to be the wrong way to play tournaments. Flop 9d8s6d everyone checks. Turn 7s I check, the preflop raiser Aaron_Hacker bets half the pot, button folds and I call. River 6h I check and he bets 3000 into the 1340 pot. Honestly I think this is just about always a fold, and a pretty easy fold at that. I don’t think this is just conservative cash-game Moon talking, this is common sense in poker, you should never be calling in a spot like this. I did call a wild shove last night with TT on a board of 76589 after potting the river and the guy was playing the board…but that was against a fish and I may have folded against a regular.

Folds to me in the SB I 3x it with A8s and this time the BB folds.

Congrats to Amber for getting into the PA program she has been fiending for! I've been fired up about this for days. I have this great faith that good things will happen to good people eventually if they stick with it long enough.

On a related note, congrats to Adam Friedman for winning the Midwest Regional Poker Championships today AGAIN for about $100k. It's funny, Adam has uncanny talent in tournaments but prefers cash games...I have no talent for tournaments but keep getting seduced by their siren song...Adam loves bitching about bad beats and I hate it...yet somehow we share similar interests and life philosophies.

Raise KK from the cutoff and the button (the guy that beat me in the Q6 pot) calls. Blinds fold. Flop 5c5h2c I bet 320 he makes it 1040 I shove for 3300 he calls with 77 I double up.


POCKETFIVE raises I call with 87s. Flop K33 he checks and so do I. Turn 2 he fires big I fold.

Fold 98s UTG…I have gotten away from UTG steals a bit recently, they don’t get much respect anymore and you are just asking to play pots out of position…I am not a good enough player to play many pots out of position.

Cutoff raises with a decent-sized stack as usual I take the conservative route and just call in the BB with 88. Flop Js9s2 I check-fold as usual.

Guy limps I have JTo in the cutoff and actually just muck it…worried about the short-stacked blinds shoving if I limp or raise…a little worried about the limp itself.


FISH raises the button on a short stack I fold K4s in SB. The BB jams with TT, FISH calls with 99 and the BB wins; FISH is eliminated the next hand but sadly SCTrojans takes his place with a big stack.

POCKETFIVE raises, I call with 44 and the guy behind me jams for a huge amount more. We both fold. I swear I almost always flat the big pair here but it seems like whenever I do that no one squeezes it behind – they only do it when I am weak lately it seems like…is this getting owned or the kind of variance I was talking about earlier?

Raise ATo the BB calls. Board of JcTs7sKc5c is checked all the way down I win vs pocket fours.


Big stack raises early I call with 88. Flop QdTh2d he bets small only about a third of the pot which is confusing cause he has just been betting big every time. I have no idea what he has or what to do so I take the Moon default route FOLD.

Fold K8s from the cutoff, had some guys to my left I felt were itching to jam.

Fold 75s EP.

Fold K6o button.

Trojans who is already taking control of the table raises early and I fold A6s, then open-fold 63s and A6o the next two hands in early position.


UTG who has been jamming a lot jams for 1800. Folds to me in the BB where I have A6s and temptation but I do fold.

Really getting a lot of junk and successfully folding myself into the “big blinds and antes worth gambling for” stage of the tournament.

Raise AJo EP everyone folds.

The cutoff limps, the button limps, Trojans limps and I raise A3s to 1000 in the BB. All fold.

Trojans raises the button, I make a smallish reraise from the SB with jacks and he instafolds – classic spot where I “could” be making a move and a lot of players will make wild 4-bets against…but Trojans has seen me fold every time he has opened so he throws his hand away quickly.

1Mastermind who seems to get deep in a lot of big tournaments including this one sits down to my left with an average stack.


I have 6700, average is 7700. Put on Ill Communication from the Beastie Boys, one of only about 15-20 hip hop albums I own.

Raise the first hand after the break MP with J9s, everyone folds.

Raise QQ UTG, POCKETFIVE calls in the SB. Flop QJ9 two clubs he bets out half the pot, I think about just shoving it in but instead make it 2444 with 4100 behind, he shoves I call, he has me covered, he has 99 and turns a 9, no kidding. I did do a premature fist pump when I saw his hand which as we all know is something a pro should never do with cards to come. Anyways I hardly reacted when it happened, I really feel like I am learning to handle shit like this as a pro, as a man. It will be interesting to see how I react when something really bad happens – honestly nothing truly terrible has ever happened to me. And truly terrible things do happen every day to good people. Bitching or even thinking about bad beats is narcissistic, repellent and counterintuitive.


Anonymous GmorningSun said...

Your post came off as very phony to me. I call Bull Shit your happy, content, good things are the icing on the cake yadda yadda yadda!

Your on track with the what the key to happiness on this life is, but your not there yet. I really think you need a family, get a wife and have some children, ASAP! Nothing in this world better and nothing will make you want to live more then seeing your child's face light up when they see you, watching them grow, watching them learn. That my friend is what I think you are missing!

That fold against Aaron Hacker was terrible. Stop playing small suited connectors out of position and vs. raises. Tough beat on the QQ - 99, I would of fist pumped too and it wouldn't of fazed me either ;)

$10K challenge will be here soon Tommy BOY!!!!!!!

6:39 AM  
Blogger Kwicky said...

A few observations good sir. I think you should incorporate a few more lead outs into your game instead of check/folding. Some spots I noticed that I would have bet out were the red sevens in the 30/60 level, the 88 in the 50/100 level, and probably the 88 in the 80/160 level. Also, I would have liked a check/jam with the Q6s on the turn. I suppose if you wanted to continue playing your nitty style, check/folding would have been the next best play, but bet/folding was by far the worst play in my opinion. As for calling raises and having to fold to re-raises - I think it's part variance, as you suggested, but also getting outplayed. A lot of players are doing that with hands that are flips with your hands, obviously. That said, I don't think there is much you can do about it, except to start flat calling raises with big pairs and start trapping people more preflop. You mentioned that you always try to mix up your play, but I rarely read how you fast played a big hand. I would like to see more lead outs from you, both with very strong hands, mediocre hands, and nothing (obviously all situational). Also, at 40/80 I think I would have squeezed with that A,T instead of calling and then being out of position for the rest of the hand with such a mediocre hand. 50/100 I would have thrown out a one-time attempted steal on the flop when checked to - what do you have to lose? Oh yeah, and I think I would have thought about calling that 9BB UTG shove with my A6s in the BB you aren't at risk for your tournament, and you will only be 2:1 dog at worst a lot of the time. All in all I think that you should just take a few more chances to get ahold of some chips and play some poker! :)

1:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dude i'm not even half way through this yet and you are making tons of mistakes. You are missing spots where you should be 3betting preflop and missing alot of other spots where you should be betting when your opponents show weakness. Looks to me like you need to play some smaller tournaments besides the 1k monday and try to get back on your game, cuz right now you are playing like a b1tch

3:43 PM  
Blogger Seth said...

I would love to see this format in a cash game session of yours. I don't think you played like a bitch, just not as aggressive as it takes....Think more masterj.....

7:51 PM  
Blogger 81trucolors said...

"To Beat The Devil" is an incredible song. Never heard it before so thanks.

9:43 AM  
Blogger Ryan Wanger said...

For this hand: "Raise ATo the BB calls. Board of JcTs7sKc5c is checked all the way down I win vs pocket fours."

Why didn't you bet this flop? Is checking here routine for you?

After checking down all the way to the river, is a small value bet out of the question? It looks to him like you have absolutely missed, and the only hand you really worry about is a K (possibly a jack) - though in both cases, it seems more likely that he'd value bet at you rather than check again because you could easily call with a worse hand that you might not bet.

12:12 PM  
Blogger TheGraveWolf said...

I have no problem with a check in position on the flop with middle pair (the ATo) on a double draw heavy board. But I do agree that a river value bet is not out of the question.

1:56 PM  

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