Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Monday Night

The NFL is done, perhaps until 2012. The season ended on a nice, balanced note as the Green Bay Packers, longtime favorites of both casual fans and “wiseguys” realized the potential they had been hinting at for 2½ seasons. My partner & I made an 11.5-1 bet on the Pack to win the Super Bowl a couple months ago, then hedged half of it before the big game so we could watch it stress-free. The Super Bowl was one of those “great games” which wasn’t really a great game, in large part because it was the Super Bowl. This is a subject for another time – I believe it’s impossible for the Super Bowl to ever match the excitement of a spirited playoff, or even regular season game.

The possibility is very real that we will not be able to watch (or bet on) an NFL game until 2012. It seems around 50/50 that we will not. This is another subject for another time. The sticking point is this 18-game schedule, which is pretty obviously a horrible idea for everyone involved – players, fans, and even the owners themselves (who would indirectly suffer from the degradation of the great league). That's for another time though. Tonight we are playing poker.

I have reached a crossroads in my poker career. This is about the 900th time I’ve said something to that effect, but I really do believe that in two weeks I will have decided where I am going with poker long-term. It has gotten difficult enough that I can’t half-ass it anymore. It is time to shit or get off the pot. Go all-in or fold. Do or die. Move it or lose it. Grip it or flip it. Hit the hole or cut it back. Puff or pass. Boot or rally.



Tonight is 6-max FTOPS, I have no mouse, and I am playing at the house of my friends Ben & Michal yet I am still going to attempt to diarize this version of the 1k Monday.

Our cast includes Amit “amak316” Makhija to our left, pmahoney22 to his left, S_Dot111 to his left, longtime tourney grinder kwob20 to his left, and some guy named curiousg87 to my right. Only one I haven't heard of is curiousg, who's quickly revealed as a fish.

Amak raises UTG SB calls I fold JTo in BB.

Raise T9s on button they fold.

UTG raises 3x I 3x reraise with JdJs he calls. Flop A75 two diamonds ck ck. Turn 2d ck ck. River As he bets half pot I call he has A4s. This is pretty bad poker on his part IMO.

Ben AKA the Wolf serves up a bowl of squash soup. Delicious!

Kwob raises CO calls I fold K5s on button.

As this is 6-max I am going to refer to the positions as follows:

1st - UTG

2nd - Hijack

3rd - Cutoff

Button - Button

Small blind - SB

Big blind - BB

Amak raises UTG again I fold JTo in BB.

CO raises I call with KQo on button. Amak calls in SB. Flop KKJr checked to me I bet 121 into 200 both call. Turn A curious bets 300 into 563 I call Amak makes it 925 curious calls I fold right away. River 5 amak bets 2000 curious shoves for 2100 more amak ends up calling with QT which I think is a pretty obvious fold but hey this Amak guy knows what he’s doing. Curious has AA, amak crippled.



Next hand curious raises 3x I reraise 3x with QJo he calls. Flop T9x two of my suit he checks I bet half pot he folds.

Fold A6s UTG.

Curious raises 3x in SB I defend BB with 96s. Flop J97 he check-folds to my bet.

Curious raises button I fold KTo in SB.



Mahoney raises 3x I fold A3s in BB.

Wolfy serves up a Moose Drool. Delicious! I got him going on this beer a few weeks ago and now he’s addicted. Natural nourishment for a wolf.

Amak busts and is replaced by another reg, NovaSky.

Mahoney raises SDot calls curious calls I call in BB with AsTs. Flop a scary T86 all clubs checked around. Turn offsuit 5 curious bets out 280 into 480 I min-raise which is something I like to do in these sort of scary situations others fold curious calls. River 8 he checks I decide to check he has JcT so I win on the kicker.

Kwob raises 3x on the button I fold A3o in BB.

Wolfy serves up a salad with tomatoes, avocado, & kalamata olives. Delicious!

Curious has already siphoned off half the double stack he had after stacking Amak.



Raise ATo from the cutoff they fold. Now raising 2.5x instead of 3x.

Mahoney limps (he limp-raised T7s not long ago) I check T6dd in BB. Flop 8c7d6c I check he bets half pot I call. Turn 9 I deliberate and check he checks. River 6 I bet 2/3 pot he folds.

Nova raises UTG fish (curious, he will be known as “fish” from now on) calls in SB I call with 44 in BB. Flop T72 fish checks I check Nova bets 2/3 pot fish folds I fold.

Lot of jack-four offsuits here. No worries.

So I played the FTOPS $322 Rush this afternoon. I wound up entering three times and cashed two of them. On the bubble I played a huge pot against FTP pro Michael Tureniec where I had AQ on a board of AT7Q with two flush draws against his TT. The river was a queen, I busted him, vaulted into a top 5 stack, claimed his $200 bounty, and marched into the money. Three hours later I am playing a different tournament and he has a massive chip lead under a different entry with 27 players left in that Rush tourney.



Fold K5s cutoff.

Nova raises UTG I fold A9o in BB.

The Pitt Panthers played on Big Monday tonight. I DVRed it and will attempt to watch tomorrow or later tonight (though I have really been fiending to watch more Wire Season II). Another unexpectedly good season for them but I’m not really feeling it from this team for some reason.

Curious raises 3x in SB I call with 32s in BB. Flop K93 he bets pretty hard I call. Turn 9 he checks I bet quite weakly he then makes a 3x raise. I thought quite a while and ended up folding.

NovaSky gets moved and replaced by a jersey called mrvogt.

Raise 98o button they fold.



Fold A8o HJ.

Curious raises I 3-bet tens he calls unsurprisingly. Flop is 853 two spades I’m happy to get it in here against him he checks and folds.

Fold T2s button have yet to do anything out of line.

Raise KQo HJ vogt calls SB Private ATM calls. Flop A63 SB checks I check vogt checks. Turn 3 everyone checks. River 7 I bet 999 into 680 they both fold.

A player named Private ATM who I have seen in the high stakes MTTs min-raises UTG. I am going to reraise this on the button but the short-stacked fish calls and I decide to just fold my 86s.

Moved to a new table. Reg named berkey11 who made a deep run in last year’s WSOP main event is on my right. High-volume reg NEONPILS99 is on my left.



There are a lot of things I can do in the fall if there is no NFL season. The obvious move is to get really into college football (since I’m likely going to need a source of income anyways and college is much easier to beat than the pros). But then I was thinking about all other stuff I could do with an entire weekend sans football - I could volunteer, take road trips, learn to knit, learn to cook, go for ultra-runs, read books for eight hours straight...

UTG raises berkey calls I call with KQo next to act PILS calls on button. Flop Ad7h6d checked around. Turn Qd checked to PILS he bets 40% pot others fold I call. River x check check I outkick his Q5s.



Michal serves up a spicy chicken enchilada. Delicious!

Raise 44 they fold.

Jeopardy is on in the background. Who doesn’t like Jeopardy? Works well with DVR too cause they pack the commercials in at the end.

UTG min-raises I call with 55 on button. PILS calls in SB. Flop Q97 with a flush draw checked to me I check. Turn Qc PILS fires we fold.

Raise AJ on the button they fold.



UTG (who has been raising frequently) min-raises on a short stack I fold KTo HJ.

Raise AK they fold.

In case I forget to mention it later, I recently started watching The Wire Season II, two years after I finished the first season. I’m pretty sure The Wire is not just the greatest television show, but the finest form of entertainment ever created. I waited two years because The Wire is so good I want to savor it as long as possible. The day I finish Season V will be a very sad day, so I want to put it off as long as possible.

I am three episodes into Season II and amazingly, this season has matched the intensity of the first. I say amazingly because a) the show is disjointed because it continues to focus on Avon's crew even though they have little to do with the new case and characters down on the docks (though I suspect they will tie together eventually) and b) Lt. Daniels has only seen a few minutes of screen time thus far (again, I expect this to change).

Fold K9o button that may be too tight but the guys to my left have been pretty frisky and K9o is not the sort of ammunition I want to go to war with.

Berkey raises HJ I fold A5o cutoff.

Fold K4s HJ.

Fold 74s UTG.

HJ raises SB calls I fold A2s in BB.

I watched Mad Men Season One before getting to The Wire. Mad Men was excellent though I must admit it probably would have been better if I was a little more culturally literate to 1960.



You would think a professional poker player who hardly ever plays poker would have a lot of free time on his hands, yet I feel like I always have a dozen things to do these days. Between writing the book (more on this in a second), playing and designing board games (this is my newest fantasy career…I am really starting to look into the possibility of designing board games for a living), girlfriend (probably going to have to put out a fire mentioning girlfriend after board games), snowboarding, beer, battling the beerbelly, scraping snow off the car, the Pitt Panthers, The Wire, softball (just three weeks away!), coed softball, Bailey the dog, shoveling snow, SURVIVOR: Redemption Island, March Madness, Atlas Shrugged, the Dominion costume party, and a potential road trip through the southwest, it's going to be a busy couple months.

Berkey min-raises UTG I flat next to act with aces the small blind makes a pot-committing squeeze berkey folds I ship he has A9s and actually flops a flush draw but misses.

PeachyMer takes that cadaver’s space.

Raise 44 PILS calls on button. Flop 862 two spades I check he bets 465 into 1280 I fold. Any thoughts on this hand?

Michal serves up Rocky Road milkshakes. Extremely delicious!

Raise AKs on the button BB defends. Flop J84 two of wrong suit he fires into me I fold.

Raise 22 UTG berkey calls in BB. Flop K32 rainbow he checks. I think about checking this one back cause he’s so likely to have nothing here but end up betting as its hard to disguise your monster later on boards like this. He folds.



Fold A2o on the button.

Sportscenter showing NBA highlights. Sigh. February.

UTG raises I just call with AK since I’ve been so nitty – it makes more sense to try to get this in on a backraise than to just 3-bet and call off. With the way I’ve been playing I felt like 3-betting would just isolate to solid pairs and he would dump most everything else or flat a few of them. Of course everyone knows I flatted the aces earlier so they might be afraid to squeeze in this spot. Flop comes 764 he checks. He probably has nothing and I can take it with a bet but I decide checking is better cause an ace or king could come off and then I could win a nice kicker battle. Turn is the worst card in the deck, the queen, he checks and I check. He bets pretty big on a 6 river and I fold.



Raise AA UTG berkey calls in BB. Flop K52 he check-folds.

Raise 76o in SB PILS folds BB.

Raise 77 to 683 the SB reraises to 1680 I think for quite a while and then shove for 8k he folds.

Next hand raise QTo PILS calls flop is T84 rainbow I check he bets a little more than 1/3 pot I raise a little less than 3x that and then he clicks it back to ~3300 with 6200 behind. My first instinct is to shove; I think and then end up calling thinking that will slow him down if he’s on a move but when I check the 8 turn he instantly jams. I use all my time bank and fold.

Two hands later PILS mins UTG I shove for 5600 in the BB with AQs he folds.

Two hands later the big stack opens I make a small reraise with A7o on the button he folds.



Raise TT they fold.

Raise 85s on button Peachy shoves me in I fold obv.

Next hand raise A7o they fold.

Berkey limps I check 54 in BB. Flop K54 he bets I min raise he folds.



What do you do with A5s folded to you in the SB here? I feel like a lot of players just shove the whole thing…I really don’t know what’s best…depends on image but the BB russbuster was actually brand new to the table…he had a big stack…I wound up opening for a little less than 2.5x. He folded.

So I’ve written one chapter of my book. Probably translates to about 20 pages in a typical paperback. I’m confident I will be able to finish the book by the end of the year.

Raise K8s in SB this time he ships me in.

Just saw a commercial for that new Adam Sandler movie “Just Go With It.” Wikipedia describes its plot as the following:

Danny (Adam Sandler) is a successful plastic surgeon who pretends to be unhappily married to get women. When he finally meets a girl (Brooklyn Decker) he believes to be the woman of his dreams, he doesn't use his method on her, but she soon finds the wedding band he uses. Afraid of telling her the truth, he tells her he's getting a divorce, to which she requests to meet his soon-to-be ex. He asks his office manager Katherine (Jennifer Aniston) to pose as his wife in order to prove his story, but one lie turns into another that brings Katherine's children into his scheme, resulting in a trip to Hawaii that will change all their lives.

Though it’s not written, I think we can assume that Sandler ends up falling for Aniston and her kids. Then they hook up. Then there’s some sort of misunderstanding where Aniston thinks Sandler still wants to get with Decker. Finally Sandler makes an impassioned speech where he convinces Aniston that he is a changed man, no longer a douche, and that he is genuinely in love with her.

Now, apart from the obvious ridiculousness of this situation - the less glamourous love interest is JENNIFER ANISTON - the amazing thing here is that Adam Sandler actually made a movie where he played a comedian disenchanted from making terrible schlop movies like “Just Go With It” - and he still makes those sort of movies himself!

Berkey raises to 800 UTG I shove for 7800 next to act he ends up calling with KQo and losing to my AQo.

Next hand I raise 65cc UTG berkey calls in BB. Flop is As7c2c he checks I bet small he folds.

Next hand Peachy raises the button berkey makes a small reraise out of the SB I am in the BB with A4s and go into the time bank thinking about what to do end up folding Peachy shoves and berkey folds.



Raise Q4s in SB russbuster shoves once again.

Raise KJ they fold.

Raise KQo UTG russbuster makes like the smallest reraise ever next to act on a short stack I end up folding.

Peachy mins on the button I defend BB with 87o flop K93 I check and fold.

Raise 96o in SB this time russbuster lets me have it.

Raise T8s next hand on button this time russbuster 3-bets tiny on his short stack and I fold.

Raise Q4s next hand they fold.

Fold 87o on the button.

Raise 44. BB defends. Flop Q98 check check. Turn J he breathes on the pot I fold.

Next hand raise AK UTG berkey defends. Flop QQT with two of a bad suit he checks I check it back. Turn 3rd of that suit and low he fires big I fold.

UTG mins to 1k berkey calls I shove QQ in the SB for 11k UTG has AA and I cry “come on, after all that?” but the virtual door card is a queen and I double up.

Raise Q9s Peachy makes a large shove from the BB I fold.



Berkey raises. He’s got a stack but everyone else behind me doesn’t so I fold 22.

Raise J9s they fold.

CO opens to 1200, Berkey makes it 3125 and I joyfully ship AQo in SB for 22k. They fold.

Same situation comes up where Berkey raises and this time I have threes and fold.

Button mins I defend with A8s. Flop J83 two clubs (I have hearts) check-check. Turn 7 I bet half pot he calls. River Q check check I can’t call a bet here but I beat his 53s when he checks.

Berkey mins UTG I call in 2nd with tens which is sort of a trap as the stacks behind me have been shoving like crazy. The short stacks fold and the BB calls.

Flop 975r berkey bets 1700 into 4300 I call and BB calls also. I am confident I have the best hand and then a queen hits. Now berkey fires 5k into 9500 and I slowly call. BB folds. River an amazing ten. Berkey checks and I shove for slightly more than pot. He tanks FOREVER and finally folds. Could have used that 20k.

Next hand raise AT UTG and SB calls. Board of 874J3 is checked to the river where he bets and I fold.

Peachy busts and is replaced by Jon “PearlJammer” Turner.



Berkey mins UTG I fold A3s.

Berkey limps the button I bludgeon a little less than 4x from the SB with QTs he calls. Flop is 876 which hits his range harder than Clay Matthews hits quarterbacks, so I check/fold.

Raise A8o button. I am minraising now as are many of the others. They fold.



170 left 144 get paid.

Quick scan of the leaderboard reveals jersey-laden Klausen atop – he’s also down to four in that Rush FTOPS along with Tureniec. I’ve studied Klausen a bit and think he plays wonderfully.

Berkey limps button I limp K4s in SB russbuster checks his option. Flop A87 checked to berkey he wins it with a bet.

30 bigs and the bubble approaching. This is crunch time. Probably going to play real tight here opening few pots to preserve this stack so I’m not touch and go on the bubble.

Raise A9o on the button BB quickly and hugely shoves I fold.

Very next hand raise A9o again and russbuster 3-bets. 160 left, 144 get paid. Tank & fold.

Very next hand raise JJ all fold.

PearlJammer raises and I call with A9s in BB. He has been quiet. Board of K98QT is checked to the river where he bets half pot and I fold. So here I go talking about playing tight and I have lost a quarter of my chips playing ace-nine.

Berkey limps the button (he is open-limping if he chooses to play now) I fold K6o in SB.



150 left

In succession:

Berkey limps I fold JTo on button.

Fold A7o CO.

Fold 22 HJ.

Fold K9s UTG.

Hand-for-hand. Waiting for my friend w00t4d0nks who has less chips than me!

Doesn’t last long and we are in the money! GnightMoon with 3 cashes out of 4 tourneys played today, not bad! But that’s not how you make money playing poker tournaments.

Jon raises I fold 86s in BB.

Next hand fold 85o in SB.

Next hand a short stack who has been almost as quiet as me opens and berkey weirdly calls. I fold 33 with 15k.



Shove ATo in SB russbuster calls with K6o in BB and wins. GoodnightMoon. Might be a bit late for The Wire but worst case I’ll put on a little Panther basketball and wake up tomorrow in a winter wonderland.


Anonymous Jeremiah said...

Love the Cousineau pic..."But that’s not how you make money playing poker tournaments." hah

But the naked Alex Trebec...I'm sorry but naked mustachioed men frighten me.

7:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Berkey limps I check 54 in BB. Flop K54 he bets I min raise he folds."

This is the only hand I don't like.. I'd rather just call and then lead out turn less than half pot to make it look like a blocker.

9:22 AM  
Blogger GnightMoon said...

I'm in position on this hand.

11:17 AM  
Blogger Amit said...

Hey stumbled across this blog, very cool with all the pictures etc. I agree that against almost anyone my hand is a fold, but Ive played a ton of 10-20nl and 25-50nl with curiousg and hes a crazy crazy person that strongly overvalues hands. I still dont expect to win that often vs him but with the price I felt I couldnt fold to a guy ive seen dust off so many buyins in absurd spots. Nice playing with you! Against most I dont even raise the turn and play a huge pot there actually just opponent specific ~Amit

12:16 PM  
Blogger Spencetron said...

Roadtrip through the Southwest? By car or bike?

5:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ahh didn't see he was sb.. it's not bad as the minraise looks kind of bluffy but I still prefer to just smooth call and see if he bets into you again on the turn. Quite a few people float flops with air in these situations.

9:34 PM  
Anonymous Seth said...

Against pils with the 44, I think I like check folding the least. I think I check call most of the time vs him as he tends to raise cbets on these flops with overs, overs+gutties, etc. I think you should be shoving 22 in the HJ with your stack. Even with bubble considerations this is still a go IMO. Email me if you'd like to discuss more.

2:42 AM  
Blogger jamalik said...

when you end up in san diego after your road trip, let me know. i can show you what's up

9:55 AM  
Blogger jamalik said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

9:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

fish or cut bait

7:31 PM  
Blogger John said...

Nobody has mentioned the AK hand - I will give it a shot, with the caveat that I'm an idiot and am probably being results oriented.

Here goes - it seems like you are hoping for the perfect situation to get your entire stack in and then it never comes and you wind up losing a pot that you could have won pre or on the flop.

Pre - You had 3-bet at least once earlier, and also mentioned that everybody already saw you flat with aces. His raise was UTG, so isn't it fairly unlikely somebody will 3 bet a UTG raiser and your call after you had shown down the aces flat earlier? It just seems unlikely that somebody is going to 3-bet bluff both of you there.

Once the flop blanks and he checks, you check hoping for another perfect situation of outkicking somebody? He's giving up on the pot, now is the time to just take it.

Once the queen hits, the remainder of the hand pretty much plays itself, but the Q never should have hit in the first place.

9:25 PM  
Blogger Edmund said...

I am very envious of you that you are only on the Wire Season 2. I long ago finished all the seasons, and yes, I agree that it is something above just the best television show ever; perhaps there are a few more descriptions you will see fit after finishing. Honestly, it gets so much better. Obviously I won't spoil a single plot point or line for you, but any kind of stress you're feeling in life, any vacillating or concern wondering about your future would subside greatly if you knew just how important it is that you haven't ever seen seasons 3-5, but will indeed watch them. It's a fine position to be in.

11:24 AM  
Blogger Edmund said...

Season 2 is a bit of enigma, as it takes a break from the underlying storyline of seasons 1+3, and focuses on well, white people. It's often overlooked as a season, but I enjoyed it greatly, even though it is fairly dark and enigmatic.

Please devote an entire post to the Wire when you get to Season 4, it is banana sandwich.

I thoroughly enjoy your football and entertainment related posts. Really, if you chose to write more about television, films, and literature (such as the books you mention reading but only seem to discuss in passing), it would be much welcomed.

11:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Keep writing. I personally liked your blog on wide receivers much more than poker notes, but maybe because I didn't have to work so hard figuring out the shorthand. AJ

11:07 PM  
Blogger TheGraveWolf said...

Enjoyed the report live and in cyberspace Moon. What are you up to next Monday? =)

Best pic was definitely Alex T.

12:58 PM  
Anonymous Taylor said...

The girlfriend had no illusions about where she stood ;).

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