Thursday, December 31, 2009

End o' year stats

I lied and played a session tonight and basically bricked out.

My end of the year stats are as follows:

198 cashes in 1326 tourneys with 34 final tables and an ending ROI of 96.65%.

Here's to another successful year in 2010!

Boring New Year's Eve

I took the car in to get its 15k mile tune-up and when I made the appointment the guy told me that they would drive me home so I could wait comfortably until they finished it. Of course when I actually got there they were like, "well the shuttle just left and we think we can finish it pretty quick so why don't you just wait?"

If they had said this when I made the appointment I would have brought my laptop and been fine. Sine they didn't, all I got to do was read the paper and wait, and wait, and wait... for 4 fricking hours!! Argh, it was definitely aggravating but what else could I do? Anyhoo, errands are done, and I was thinking of actually playing tonight, but I realize that I just don't have the mojo. So instead I'll just lock up a positive year and a positive month and start the new year off fresh.

As far as big new year's plans - come on, let's face it, I am a big poker playing dork who doesn't get out much so my plans include me, my remote, and my dog Chula. My wife is on call tonight so she will likely deliver the first baby of the new year, so I'll probably just try and steal her coolness by living vicariously through her.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Random Thoughts

I finished reading The Professor, The Banker, and the Suicide King which is a book about Andy Beal, a biliionaire banker, who basically decides that he wants to play super high stakes heads up limit poker against some of the best poker players around. He had so much money that the poker players were required to pool their money together and play him as a conglomerate - it helped them in many respects because they could rotate players in and pounce on him when he got tired. I really enjoyed the book because it delved much more into the mindsets and backgrounds of the players rather than getting into strategy (which I deal with on a daily basis through playing and through pokerpwnage). I have also played with, and even busted, the author of the book which made it an added plus. Reading about the amount of risk these players were willing to take was both a little mind boggling and also made me realize that if I really want to move up and make tons of cash I am probably going to have to delve more and more into cash games.

On the poker front, I put in a session this afternoon and felt that I played pretty exceptional poker in the one tourney I got semi-deep in. My 3-bet bluffs were working, my postflop play was taking pots down, everything felt spot on... but then I took 2 bad beats late with KK and poof I was out in 39th. It was somewhat fitting because some of the newer guys on the vent channel I use to "talk poker" have been bemoaning their luck and whining about bad beats lately. I can't say that I no longer get upset or frustrated when I take bad beats now, but I do feel like I have a much healthier mindset about them now then I ever have before. All I can do is play my best and let the luck work itself out.

I decided to take tonight off because I wanted to watch my Badgers play and I was pleasantly surprised to see them pretty much manhandle U of Miami. Tomorrow I am off to my first pt appointment for my knee but I am hoping to get in a session tomorrow night.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Last workweek of the year

So the family has come and gone. We had a good Christmas even though it was too quick and somewhat of a whirlwind and now it is quickly back into the same old routine. Especially since my routine is heavy on finding reasons not to play. I took today off after waking up early, doing an hour coaching session, and then taking a nap and waking up in time to watch Monday Night football.

I am planning on actually working tomorrow and then I have my first pt appointment for my knee on Wednesday and have to take the car in for its 15k mile maintenance on Thursday.

Other than that I should be getting back into the same old same old of grinding, playing some live games, and just trying to enjoy life as best as I can.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

We aren't celebrating until Sunday (so we can do our x-mas shopping for each other tomorrow) but I hope everyone else is having a great day today.

Sounds like we are going to spend the day playing games, watching movies, taking walks, and cooking (well more like I will be cooking, but I like to cook and don't have to clean when I cook for my wife's family) tri-tip, twice baked potatoes, salad, and probably brownies and ice cream for dessert. Good thing the sticking to a diet resolution doesn't have to start until next year.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Blue table time!

I played an afternoon session today that didn't go so well, so when it ended around 4:40 I decided that I would take the dog for a walk, eat some dinner and then crank up a later nightly session (I usually start my nightly session at 5 p.m.).

So I did just that and then played bad/took some bad beats early on so I decided to unregister for the later tourneys that I was going to play and just stick with the two tourneys I was left in. Well 6-7 hours later and I made the money in both tourneys and ended up winning the $30 rebuy on Tilt (when they seat you at the final table on tilt the software puts you at a blue table - hence the title of this post) for just over $7k which brings me back out of the hole for December and should mean my 4th consecutive winning month in a row. It also brings my yearly ROI to 99.4% and brings my bankroll up to the highest I have ever had it, so it definitely was a good way to end the night.

I need to clean the house and yard tomorrow and then I am making a dinner for my wife and her best friend from work tomorrow night and then I have family coming in on Christmas eve, so I will not be playing any poker for the rest of this week. So in case I don't post again, I wish all of my readers (yes all 4 of you) a merry christmas.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Tying up some loose ends

It is rainy and drizzly here so I didn't want to clean the floors only to have them get muddied up again + I might as well wait until right before my family comes on Thursday to start cleaning = all I did clean up wise today was vacuum and clean the dishes.

I did mail off our X-mas cards, put in an evening session and watched the Survivor finale so I did get some stuff done.

I also have been added to the pokercurious list of blogs so I might pick up some more traffic that way. We'll see.

I plan on playing a full session tomorrow and then will be off for a while as my wife's best friend is coming over Wednesday night and I am making dinner and then my wife's family comes for X-mas on Thursday.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Downtime

So my wife finally had a couple of days off and I've just been relaxing and spending time with her. I bought our christmas tree, did some errands, made and addressed x-mas cards, watched our dvr'ed Dexter and Survivor, and even better I still managed to make some money even when I wasn't playing because the guy who I help to stake and my "protege" (the student who I am coaching) both won tons o'cash and I get a percentage of that so yee haw that's a nice bonus too.

While I am talking about my protege, I have to say that he really impresses me. Of the 3 students I chose, only one really took full advantage of what I have to offer and the best part is that he is the youngest student I chose (he's still in college) and was playing the smallest stakes when we began. Not only did he pay attention when we had our 1 on 1 coaching sessions, but he also used and continues to use full advantage of the group of poker guys who I talk with on a ventrilo server. I talk with some great poker minds on a daily basis and not only do we have the ability to talk over poker hands and situations but we also very frequently get into some pretty in depth poker theory. So I just don't see how someone can not improve just sitting and listening to us and joining in on our conversations. He was the only one to do this, and it is no surprise to me that he has increased his average buy-in from $1-2 tourneys to now at probably around $15 and he has increased his nominal bankroll to well over $10k in these last 2 months. So yeah, it feels good to know that I was a part in making that happen.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Full Session No Results

I put in a full session today and basically broke even. I made it to the final two tables of 2 different tourneys but just couldn't get it done. I was (and still am) a little bit upset at myself because I semi-bluffed in one of the tourneys when I had a big stack in a spot that I just didn't need to waste chips and my opponent likely had me crushed. I feel like I rarely make those kinds of mistakes anymore so it was definitely frustrating to do so.

I do feel good that I finally put in a 50+ tourney week so I did get some volume in. Charmian has been working nights the last two weeks and she finally has some time off this weekend so I will play an afternoon session and then take Fri. night and Sat. off and maybe just play the later tourneys this Sunday (if at all).

The WSOP schedule is already out for next June and I am already starting to formulate my plan. I think I am basically just going to do exactly what I did last year and try to get a $30k roll together and play as many of the $1k-$2500 WSOP events as possible as well as mix in some of the side tourneys at the Venetian/Caesars etc. Once I put the ad up on PTP I will link it here for anyone who is interested in investing in me.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Small little score

I played the $109 PLO/8 tourney on stars as a filler tourney and took it down for like $2500. Nice to have a positive day. I also got 2 hours of coaching in which went well I think (I hope). So all in all I call it a good day.

Monday, December 14, 2009

First full day in a long time

I played two sessions today for a full day of probably over 10 hours of playing and just couldn't finish how I wanted to. The best I did was make the final table bubble of one tourney... Always a little frustrating to play that long and play pretty well and not get rewarded. I realize the last couple of months I have gotten a big score early in the month which has made things very easy. This month I have started slowly which means I need to dig myself out of a hole before I can feel better. And at the buy-in levels I am at now it is also pretty easy for that hole to get pretty big, pretty fast, so hopefully things turn around again soon.

I have also picked up a couple of coaching hours through pokerpwnage, so that should be a nice way for me to earn some side money each month.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Back to the Grind

I played my live game on Friday night and won the small tourney that was held and online I have been playing basically one session a day. It has been rainy and dreary here so other than taking Chula for a walk every day I haven't been getting out that much.

Charmian is stuck in the midst of working the night shift and was on call today so I haven't seen much of her. She was actually off yesterday but since she was working nights all last week her sleep schedule was all screwy so she couldn't get to sleep until like 7 in the morning and slept until 3 pm - and then had to wake up for work at 5am today so she basically woke up to go back to bed.

Anyhoo, she is on nights again this week which makes it hard for me to do anything other than hide in the garage during the day while she sleeps so that I don't wake her up.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Year in Review/Goals

This time of year is always a time to review how the year went and refocus on goals.

My goals for this year were to:

1) I want to maintain an ROI of at least 50%
2) I want to profit 100 k playing poker
3) I want to play at least 2500 tourneys (doubling my volume this year - and basically guaranteeing a 100k year if I can get close to a 50% ROI)
4) I want to continue garnering more exposure in the pokerworld which will hopefully lead to more moneymaking opportunities (sponsorships, writing deals, etc.), and
5) I want to get back in shape.

I have close to a 100% ROI for the year, I made close to 100k, I made a WSOP final table and through my pokerpwnage work I feel that I am gaining more exposure so I feel happy with goals 1,2, and 4.

I will end up playing about 1300 tourneys for the year which is just 1/2 of my volume goal so I failed there pretty miserably. And I am in the worst shape of my life so that was likewise a fail.

I also took on a couple of students and I feel like I have helped them make strides in their poker game. All in all I feel like I had a very good year, and feel very fortunate for the success I had. I continue to struggle with the volume/not wanting to make poker a grind balance but I do feel good about the fact that the vast majority of time that I play I am in a good mental place and thus play at a high level and with relatively few mistakes.

My goals for next year will be exactly the same as they were this year - the only difference is that I want to focus on getting back into shape as my primary goal.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Playing some again

I have put in two afternoon sessions the last two days and feel like I am playing well/fine just missing out on the big hands you need to win late in tourneys. So I will continue to play sporadically the rest of this month and continue to play my home cash games as well.

I also went for my follow-up appointment with my knee and it looks like I basically have lost a lot of cartilage in the knee. My options are physical therapy, some weird lubricating shot, and lastly surgery. I have decided to start with the pt and then just go from there. We'll see what happens.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Couple of pics



Thanksgiving was good. I am a family guy and I got to spend time with almost all of my family (one week in L.A. with my dad's side of the family and one week in Santa Barbara with my wife's family) so I am a happy camper.

I didn't take as many pictures as I would like but here are some of us with Chula on a Santa Barbara beach hike.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Home Again

After a two week jaunt visiting family in L.A. and Santa Barbara I am back home and exhausted from the 6+ hr drive today. I will try and post a recap later.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

I am almost embarrassed to post it...

I decided to play an afternoon session today and I won one of the 7 tourneys I entered for just over $7k. I am obviously running just insanely good lately - whenever I play (which is rarely) I win. I realize the downswing will happen, but riding the upswing sure is nice.

Maybe Belichick's a poker player

On Monday Night Football this week, Coach Bill Belichick's Patriots went for it on 4th and 2 to go with a 6 point lead from their own 28 yard line with just over 2 minutes to play and the Colts left with only one timeout.

For those that don't know football, the situation basically boils down to this. If the Patriots gain 2 or more yards they win the game because the Colts will not be able to stop the clock. If the Patriots don't gain the 2 yards, the Colts get the ball back and only have to go 28 yards to try and get a touchdown to win the game in those last 2 minutes.

The other option for Belichick to have chosen is to punt the ball in which case he guarantees that the Colts will get the ball but they most likely will have to go closer to 60 yards in those last 2 minutes to score a touchdown rather than 30.

For Belichick the decision to go for it blew up in his face. The Patriots failed to convert, the Colts got the ball back and proceeded to score the winning touchdown in dramatic fashion. And the football commentators immediately gave him hell saying it was a retarded decision to go for it and they should have punted.

But according to this nytimes blog Belichick's decision mathematically was correct. The calculation used by this blogger is very similar to EV (expected value) calculations that poker players make all the time. According to the blogger, the EV of going for it was .79 and the EV for punting was .70. So going for it increased the Patriots' chances of winning by around 9%. If this were a poker decision, going for it would expect to gain you more chips and it would be an easy conclusion that going for it was the best play.

A common mantra in the poker world is to "stop being results oriented." A player's natural instinct after losing a big pot or getting busted from a tournament is to go back over the hand and figure out a way that he could have played the hand differently so that the bad outcome would not have happened. E.g. "If I had folded that AQ preflop instead of shoving my last 15 BBs I would not have run into AK and would still have chips left to play." But after playing thousands and thousands of hands, poker players finally begin to understand that as long as you keep making decisions which gain you chips in the long run, then you can shake off the times where those plays lose you chips in the short term on that specific hand.

I think the football world is being results oriented in criticizing Belichick's decision. If his team had converted the 4th down I don't think this controversy is even created. If anything, Belichick would be lauded for being ballsy. Is it common for coaches to go for it on 4th down in that spot? No. Does that mean it was the wrong decision? No.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

I got my lazy ass out today

So I finally got myself out and going early today and went on a 1 1/2 hour bikeride. It was a beautiful fall day and it felt good to be out by the river but man I am out of shape. So it definitely was a good thing to get out and moving. If I actually remember I will try and take the camera with me tomorrow so I can take some photos.

Still just chillin'

I still haven't played an online tourney since I won that UB tourney 2 weeks ago. I just haven't felt the mojo to play, so I'm not going to until I do. So I cleaned the gutters, played some live poker today with my poker group and enjoyed watching one of my online buddies take down the 70k on pokerstars when I got home.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Wheee?

So I played in a cash game again last night. It was (for me) just a $20 tourney and there were 40 people who showed up. I ended up running like god late and chopped it when we got down to 3 players for like $270. But I feel a little bad about it because for me, I am just playing for fun, but for a lot of these guys $200 is more than they make on a daily basis so I would almost rather just break even or even lose a little bit than make money since the reason I am playing is more just to shoot the shit and get out of the house than anything else.

Anyhoo, I still haven't got the urge to get back to work online but I did finally vacuum and tidy up the house today and put in a little bit of a ghost session with one of my students so I feel I accomplished at least a little bit.

Tomorrow I play in another cash game and then I am planning on just taking everyday day by day.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Trying to find some motivation

I really haven't done anything since last Wednesday when I won the Sniper tourney on UB. I want to get the house cleaned up but haven't; I want to get back in shape but haven't exercised; I want to stockpile more money for my poker bankroll but haven't played...

It would be one thing if I was out living it up everyday and having a blast, but I am not even doing that. Instead I spend my days surfing the web, watching tv, and reading. And while it is always nice to veg out for a day or two it gets pretty boring when it goes on for a week... yet I still can't find the oomph to actually do anything.

The good thing this week is that my live home game group has 3 games this week, so I got to play last night, and will play again tonight and Friday night in a live setting with a good group of players where I always have fun.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

I is bored!

So there is no way that I will be able to not play the rest of this month just because I would be way too bored. So the plan at this point is to get myself and the house back in shape and then play poker whenever I want. I am planning on playing quite a bit of homegames these next couple of weeks since I have no pressure on making money the rest of this month. But just sitting at home and not playing and watching my friends play is not very thrilling so the sit on my profits and not play plan is out.

Friday, November 06, 2009

I is Famous!

I got mentioned in the weekly roundup article on P5s. I am pretty sure when I signed up for pocket5s they asked where you were from, so I entered my birthplace, Nigeria, as my answer. So I am now the number #1 ranked (and only) player from Nigeria - in fact I am the #1 ranked player for the entire continent of Africa. The Nigerian Nightmare is back!!

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Wheeeeeeeeeee

Not an FTOPs victory but I chopped the $215 sniper tourney on UB for $21k which is my biggest online score of the year. Always feels good to take down such a nice score. I'm sure I'll take tomorrow off and then I'll have the battle of making myself play or just being a lazy bastard. Not such a bad battle to have tho.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

FTOPS

FullTilt's quarterly series of tourneys begins today and for the first time I actually have a bankroll where I can play the majority of the events on my own dime. I have taken a long enough break where I feel excited to play again, so hopefully I can pop off a big score at some point during this series.

Monday, November 02, 2009

First day back = sucky sucky long time

I got a full day in playing and a full session in coaching as well so that felt good. I only cashed one of the twelve tourneys I played, but I feel like I played well. The next three weeks should be pretty full in terms of playing so hopefully I can get on a hot streak quickly rather than having to dig myself out of a hole.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Should start working again for reals soon

I actually played a couple of small sessions this week and it felt good to get back to playing. The coaching is going well I think even if it is start and stop, but the students all seem like good players as well as good guys so they are a nice addition to the group of guys who I speak with whenever I am playing.

Charmian is off today and tomorrow and then she starts a tough rotation Sunday night. She has been on a relatively easy rotation these last 8 weeks so it has been nice to actually see her and spend time with her - and it will be weird going back to seeing her basically just for a brief period of time before she needs to go to bed. But at least she has a week vacation in the middle of this upcoming rotation to give her some relief.

I plan on playing a full session for the first time in a long time this Sunday and then to just try and put my nose to the grindstone and play/coach as much as I can the first 3 weeks of November before I go on another vacation.

I also played some tennis yesterday for the first time in a long time and it felt to just get out and run around a bit - my knee also held up which was nice too.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Off to a stop and go start with the coaching

I started coaching last week and I think it is going well. My students all have a decent grasp of the game but they all also are capable of picking up a few tricks from my bag o' tricks. The stop and start aspect of the coaching is due to friends visiting and dinners planned. Charmian's friend from med school came this weekend with her fiance so we spent the weekend out and about in the greater Sacramento area. We took them to the bike path on the river where we often walk Chula, we then drove to the natural waterslides hike, ate some good meals, went to the farmer's market and then biked around Davis and just had a good time hanging out and being active this weekend. Tomorrow we are hosting a dinner for some of the 4th year medical students who are applying to the Davis residency program that Charmian is in and then this weekend is Charmian's last weekend off for a while. So I will be coaching a couple of days this week and then get back into both playing and finishing off my 1-on-1 coaching stuff the following week(s).

The only other semi-news is that we are having one of those horrid run-around situations with a tv-stand that we bought online. When we bought it we were assured that it would be delivered by tomorrow. Turns out that the stand has not been shipped, that we were never given an update on it, and that we had to be proactive and put on hold a ton of times just to find that out. Meh - the frustration with situations like this is always high but in the end the stand will finally arrive.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Back to work tomorrow

Even though I retardedly forgot that most poker players who would want my coaching are either in school or have fulltime jobs, I was pleasantly surprised to get a good number of qualified and enthusiastic applicants. In fact the applicants were so good that I wasn't able to whittle the field down to 2 or 3. Instead I settled on 6 applicants who for whatever reason jumped out at me. Since I am not going to be playing at all the rest of this month, I feel like I will be able to give all of them quality one-on-one as well as group instruction. I also feel like this will be a good way for me to get excited about playing again. It has been nice to be lazy, but after awhile it just gets boring. I am that phase right now so I am excited to get back at it tomorrow.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Stepping back into the coaching pool

Instead of concentrating on putting in a ton of volume for the rest of this month, I have decided that I will step back into the coaching pool. I am looking to take on 2-3 students. If you don't know who I am - I am a professional MTT player and instructor on PokerPwnage.com with over a 133% ROI over my last 3000 tourneys.

Here's what I am offering:

My coaching will begin on Mon. Oct. 19. From the 19th-21 and the 26th-31st (I have friends visiting from the 22-25th) I will focus on ghosting/shadowing your sessions and making suggestions on your play. I am estimating that this will be pretty time intensive and will be anywhere from 4-8 hrs/day, so this should end up being anywhere from 30-50 hours of very focused, basically one-on-one coaching. Once November rolls around I will start playing again and you will be able to ghost me and ask any questions that you may have about my play - if I have free screen space I will also pull any of your tables up and give you my input. I am also part of a pretty tight knit group of great poker minds and talk with them on a daily basis - I will bring you into this group which will allow you to ask not only me but other great players whatever questions regarding hands or poker theory that you may have.

My requirements:

You must have a HUD.
You must have a working microphone so that we can talk with each other over ventrilo.

My cut:

You will pay me 33% of your net profits from when we start until the end of November. You will pay me 15% of your net profits for each of the following 3 months from December through the end of February. Payments are due on the 1st of each month - i.e. I expect payments on Dec. 1, Jan. 1, Feb. 1, and March 1 for this deal. If you don't profit, you don't pay me a dime. However, to make sure I do not get shafted by someone who I have never met and will possibly never meet, I am going to require a $250 deposit. Any profit you make will be deducted from this deposit and if you end up actually losing money over these next 5 months I will return your entire deposit to you.

How to apply:

Send me an e-mail to chardrian@hotmail.com and tell me why I should pick you. Include your screennames on all of the sites you play. I will pick my students on or before Sunday Oct. 18th so make sure to apply before then.

To Reno and Back

I went to Reno on Thursday for an extended weekend to play in some of the Fall Pot of Gold tourneys. I figured $45/nt to go and play some live poker and meet some people from an online staking site that I use was worth a 2 hour drive.

The tourneys were only averaging about 75 players for the $300+ buyin tourneys which was a little too small for my liking but I did win the $340 tourney on Friday for about $6k so the trip was profitable.

The casino itself was actually really nice. The room was huge, and the resort had a driving range, a bowling alley, and plenty of restaurants. The only bummer was that it was sort of an old style casino in that everywhere you went it stank of old cigarette smoke - there are actually quite a few non-smoking casinos in Vegas now that I really like and all of the poker rooms there are non-smoking. Whereas here the tournament was just played out on the casino floor so I was stuck in a blue fog the whole weekend.

Anyhoo, I am now back and with a profitable month I am of course feeling lazy again, so I am contemplating how much I actually want to play the rest of this month. I think I am going to focus on getting back in shape and keeping our house looking purty and will keep poker on the back burner. Maybe I'll even take on a student or two... We'll see.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Dinner with yo-yoers

I am finally used to getting weird looks and lots of questions when people find out that I am a professional poker player, but I will admit I found it a little humorous when one of my step-brother's cohorts was agog at my profession considering that he is currently "on tour" as a yo-yo player.

Anyhoo, they were in town doing their demos, and I met up with them last night and figured they probably hadn't had a real home cooked meal for a while, so I invited them over and made some roast chicken, mashed potatoes, garlic bread, salad, and fresh baked cookies for dessert. So I think I am now a hit with yo-yoers.

Besides getting my ego stroked it was also nice to shoot the shit with my step-brother since I do not see him very often. I think I will finally get back to actually working and playing some cards tomorrow.

Busy Weekend


We had a great time in wine country this weekend (we went to a town called forestville right on the russian river) kayaking, biking, and just relaxing at the beach and in the hot tub.

My step-brother Kent also welcomed his first child so I am an uncle again.

And my other step-brother, Mark, unexpectedly showed up in Sacramento yesterday in the midst of a yo-yo tour so I hung put with him a bit last night and am having him and his crew over for dinner tonight.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Delayed weekend post

Last weekend my family from L.A. and my cousin and her family from San Fran came for the weekend. We went and played at the river one day and then the next day we drove up into the mountains and hiked to these natural waterslides. I am a big family guy, so as always I had a blast just hanging out and having fun.





Pokerwise, I haven't played since last Friday (when they came into town) basically because I just haven't felt like it. We leave for a belated anniversary trip to wine country this weekend and then I am thinking of going to Reno next week to play some live poker at a casino that is having a series of tourneys in October.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Reflection

I am taking today off and just sort of evaluating where I am, where I want to be, and what I need to do to accomplish my goals. And to do all of that I always think it is good to look back and see where you have been.

It is hard for me to believe that I have now been playing professionally for over 2 years. When I started with my 30k bankroll I had dreams that I would consistently be making $10k+ every month, that my bankroll would steadily increase and that I could then move up in limits and my ROI would stay the same and then I would be consistently making $20k+ every month. That this cycle would just continue until I was a bazillionaire and life would be eeeeeeeeasy.

Instead I have found that I generally take 2 or 3 small steps back before taking one giant step forward that is big enough to jump over those backward movements. That the "consistent" 10k months are a pipe dream - I generally have one losing month for every 2 winning months.

If I had kept a bankroll graph it would be the spikiest thing ever. I have gone from 30k, down to less than 25k, back up to over 30k, up to 40k, back down to 30k, back to 40, up to 50, back to 40, up to 50, up to 60, back down to 40, back up to 60, back down to 40, then as recently as mid August I was back down to 32k and since then I have built it back up to where it currently stands at 68k.

I have learned that between downswings, monthly withdrawals, and laziness leading to low volume, growing or even maintaining my bankroll is HARD! So although I never thought I would still only be halfway to my goal of a 100k bankroll two years after I started this, I am not really upset with myself.

Here's what I am proud of:

I have kept my tilt in control and have not spewed off my bankroll playing in cash games over my head when I am in the midst of downswings hoping to chase my losses.

I have practiced good Bankroll Management and have looked for backing when I need it so that I can play in games that I know I am +EV in and give me the best shot of making huge money but I just can't afford to play on my own dime at the moment.

I have made and exceeded the monthly withdrawals that my wife and I have agreed upon and have still been able to (gradually) increase my bankroll.

I made a WSOP final table.

I have become an instructor on an up and coming poker instructional site.

I have not donked off my roll.

This is what I still need to work on:

volume, volume, and more volume. I am a lazy mofo. The more I play, the more I make - and yet I still find ways not to play. I can't help but think that if I had put in the volume I am capable of, that my bankroll would already be at the 100k point.

If I can continue to grow and play as well as I have these last two years AND I actually put in some significant volume I believe that my next two years can be even better than these last two. Here's to making that happen...

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Double Final Table

I won a small $55 6 max on stars and then got 5th in the $75k nightly tourney on Fulltilt.

I feel like I played pretty flawlessly all night long and it was maybe the first time that I have ever made 2 final tables in one night. It still hurt to lose in 5th in the 75k when 1st place is like $25k but, I know it will happen one of these nights and I feel very very strong about my game again.

Monday, September 21, 2009

No more WCOOP

I was backed to play the Main Event today which was a $5k buy-in and after 13 long hours I made the money. I feel like I played really well in all of the events I entered, but this was the only one I cashed in the whole series. It wasn't a huge payout since I had so little of myself, but it did feel good to play so well. I am obviously disappointed that after so many hours of playing today I barely made any money, but these are the days where I need to remember that I easily could be multiple thousands of dollars in the hole rather than a little bit positive for the day.

Tomorrow I have an appointment to have my knee looked at, and next weekend my family from LA and San Fran are coming to visit us.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Bah Final Table Bubble

I got 12th in the 50k on Tilt today which was frustrating because I had to play so patiently just to get that far and then for it all to come to naught blows goats. I know I got down to extremely short stacked at one point in the tourney (like maybe 3 BBs) after getting coolered so I was really happy to have made such a big comeback...

But of course that makes it all the more frustrating when you get it in good as like a 70% favorite and lose when you are down to just 15 players. Oh well.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Nothing earth shattering to report

I played a full session yesterday and ended my cashless streak which was nice. I got deep in a couple of tourneys and gave myself every opportunity to take them down, but it just wasn't meant to be.

I also played the $1k WCOOP event and made an aggressive (maybe overly so?) move against a guy who had been raising 25% of hands from middle position. I shipped it in over his raise with 25 BBs w/9Ts and one of the players to my left woke up with AA - gg me. I am still somewhat on the fence with the play. 25 BBs is a big enough stack that I don't need to risk it all in that spot, but I also think that unless my opps wake up with TT or JJ+ I am not going to get called - so it's going to work a lot.

I have also been staked to play in the $5k WCOOP main event this Sunday and I am looking forward to that.

On the non-poker front, charmian left her phone on top of our car earlier this week and it was eaten by the freeway when it fell off so we went and got her a new fancy phone today. Her sister comes in this Friday for the weekend so I will play tomorrow, Friday aft., and then take Fri. night and all of Saturday off.

Hopefully a few final tables will start coming my way again soon.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Stupid Sunday

Sundays are either extremely frustrating or extremely satisfying. Today was a frustrating day. It was the first day in a long long time that I failed to cash in any of the tourneys I entered. I played well but just couldn't win the crucial late races. But I was probably due for an 0fer day so that's ok.

At least it was a good football weekend. Both the Badgers and Packers won in good, close games.

I am also getting bored of not playing, so I think I will probably be getting back into playing some decent volume this week again.

We'll see...

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Day Off

I took the day off to spend some time with Charmian and to finally get to all the outside chores I have been putting off. The back patio is now clean, the yard raked and mowed, the side of the house is cleared of the weeds and crap and I put down some of that cocoa mulch (mmmm smells good), and I planted some flowers and mint (mojitos here we come).

I still want to clean the gutters, but I will wait to do that until after the leaves have fallen since that will happen soon enough. Other than that I just need to clean a bit more inside and the house will finally be back in some semblance of shape. Charmian should be home soon and then we are off to the river to walk Chula.

I am not sure when I will get back to playing fulltime again but it is nice to not have to feel that I NEED to play.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Out... of... shape (gasp)!

I went for like just a 30 minute bikeride today and almost collapsed, so it is time to get my rear back in gear. I plan to go out every other day until I can ride without being winded for an hour. I am surprised at how pathetically out of shape I really am.

My knee is also still bothering me so I am making an appointment tomorrow - at this point I feel like surgery is probably likely for me because rest/ice has done nothing and it has been a long time that it has been bothering me now.

Pokerwise I played a night session today and played great again but took a few bad beats in spots where I really needed hands to hold up so the results were obviously lacking. As long as I can keep getting people to put the money in bad against me, the odds will run back in my favor again.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Taking things super slowly

As is often the case after I get a 5 figure score, I am getting back into the swing of things super slowly. I have played half days yesterday and today just because I don't have the mojo to keep grinding. I feel like I am still playing really well, I just don't feel the need or pressure to play anymore than 1 session a day.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

10 Years!!

On a beautiful September day in 1996 you, on the spur of the moment, suggested we bike from your mom's house in Santa Barbara to my dad's house in L.A. We were young and stupid - me in my flip flops and bike with no ballbearings and only half of a seat and you in your do-rag, hemp necklace, and eco-warrior hairy legs, and neither of us with helmets - but god it was fun to be young and stupid. It was on that day that I reeled you in "for keeps."

For the next three years we lived with your mom while we finished school at UCSB, spent a year living with the girls at Lodge in South Africa, and spent a summer in Ecuador. Finishing our undergrad education might have been our priority back then, but the most important lesson we learned was that we made a really good match, and even with all of the retarded small fights we got into, we still knew that we wanted to spend the rest of our lives together.



Although you had given up your vegetarianism in South Africa, you still had enough eco-warrior in you that your save the world ideals and strong passion for travel meant that the Peace Corps was your dream job after graduating from UCSB. Since I didn't really care what I did as long as I was with you, I decided to hitch along for the ride. With a little help from Peace Corps policy (which dictates that for a couple to be placed together, they must be married) we decided to get married sooner rather than later. And so, on September 5, 1999 about 3 years after our 120 mile bike ride, we were married in front of family and friends in a beautiful park in Montecito.

The Peace Corps might have been the impetus (or kick in the pants as Chingui would have said) to get us married, but Chula has been the measuring stick for our marriage.

Bought for 5 quetzales, she was given to us in a costal, and arrived at our home with a belly bloated full of lombrices and a skinny little body full of fleas. We literally scared the shit out of her when we took her out of the bag, and after bathing her, deparasiting her, and then failing miserably when we tried to take her for a walk and she just hunkered down, you asked me "is she ever going to love us?" It became pretty obvious, pretty soon, that the answer was yes and she has been our constant companion ever since.

She loved us even after I took her stitches out too early.

She loved playing with her chucho in arms, Pachak. She was the only dog in Tejutla allowed on the bus and she joined us on our adventures vaccinating animals, building greenhouses, starting goat projects, climbing Tajumulco, or just hanging out in the backyard.







She was adopted along with us by the Munoz family (even eating off the table) and was there for our tearful good-bye.



And then she joined us for our next chapter when we both went to professional school in Madison. She got to experience the leaves fall in autumn, the snow in winter, the sun and fun in summer, getting in good graces with my mom, trying on your scrubs from med school, and joining me on my lunch breaks from my first "real job" as an AAG.







To top off a decade of moving, she came with us on our trek back West. Camping in Colorado and Utah, our new house in Sacramento, and on those precious moments when you have time off, walks to the American river.




With the crazy hours you are working and the stress you are under it has to be hard to stop and reflect, so I am hoping this gives you the chance to reminisce about how vast, varied, and wonderful our last ten years together have been. From undergrads working at Dr. Frawley's and Lucky's, to Peace Corps volunteers, to professional students, to lawyer, to poker player to doctor. From Santa Barbara, to Guatemala, to Madison, to Sacramento - living with your mom, living with my mom, buying our first home. From the incredible highs of going to Guate, getting accepted to medical school, winning your scholarship, winning enough money from poker to put the down on a house, to the incredible lows of leaving our newfound family and friends in Guate, losing Chula, the deaths of Tita and Grandpa, and hitting the rockbottom of residency hell. At this stage of our lives we are in somewhat of a grind, so it is easy to forget that we have experienced more in these ten years than many people experience in their lives.

With less than two years of grinding to go, we will soon enough be facing the stresses and excitement of new adventures. Where will we end up two years from now? Where will we end up five years from now? Are kids, a new dog, a new house, a new job in our future? I am anxious, nervous, and excited to find out what the answers to those questions will be but I am reassured that with you by my side, wherever we end up and whatever we end up doing, I'll be just fine.

Happy Anniversary Charmiancita! I love you very much and am so looking forward to our next ten years together.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Don't know whether to wheee or sigh

I got 2nd in the $50k on Tilt for almost $14k, but I took a very bad beat heads up for the win when I had QQ versus my opponents 77 and he rivered the 7. So right now I am frustrated about the 8-9k that I lost on that one hand, but I am sure I will get over it.

Today is my wife's b-day and tomorrow is our 10th anniversary so I am going to take the rest of tonight and tomorrow off and clean the house, make her a nice meal. I'll be back at it this weekend.

Back at it

I took a couple of days off and started back up again today with the WCOOP starting today. I made two deep runs out of just 11 tourneys that I played today, and ended in 8th and 10th which is once again encouraging because it shows how well I am playing, but discouraging because I just can't break through. Tomorrow is another day...

Monday, August 31, 2009

Preparing for the WCOOP

I had a decent Sunday making a final table on the $50 rebuy on Stars. I also stayed up late railing one of my best poker friends as he took down the 750k on FullTilt for a nice 6 figure score. So I am taking today off, cleaning up the house, buying some groceries and getting ready for my next month.

August actually ended up decently. I got my 200 tourneys in and I made a decent profit. September should be a good volume month for me as well so I should get my 200 tourneys in once again. If I can get that one decent score, I could get my bankroll back up to the highest it has ever been.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

What Makes a Player Top-Tier?

I have been thinking a lot lately on self-analysis and focusing on what I need to do to become a better, more profitable player. Tournament play is a very results oriented business and the internet ranking systems and idolization that follows from it make this pervasive focus on results even more stringent. While I wouldn't mind my internet dong getting sucked a little, I have come to realize and accept that my lack of volume means it just ain't gonna happen for me. However, I also realize that just because I don't have the same results as high volume players does not mean that I am not as high a caliber of player as they are.

I think in general there are three categories of players out there:

1) our lovable, needable, idiots - these are players who are either playing for fun, or are new to the game, or perhaps are prone to tilt. They make obvious mistakes and play hands suboptimally.

2) second-tier, break-even to proficient players - these are players who have obtained firm grasp on the fundamentals of the game. They understand how to make accurate guesstimations of their opponent's ranges based on position, stack sizes, and previous play. They understand push/fold poker and know how their hand plays against their opp's ranges. They understand fold equity, and know how to steal and resteal. They might make some minor errors or "spewy" plays, but their mistakes tend to be on the aggressive side. Many of the top-ranked players are actually in this category and can make quite a bit of money based on sheer volume alone (i.e. there are guys out there with just a 10% ROI who are making $100k/year because through sheer volume they are playing in $1 million worth of tourney entries).

3) the top-tier, first rate, cream of the crop players - these are players who know the game really well. They quickly recognize stack sizes, position, hand values, and know their opponents' tendencies. They make no errors when it comes to push/fold, restealing, 3-betting light, or calling shoves. They think at least one move ahead and understand how to size their bets so that they can control the size of the pot and know what they will do in response to any possible move an opponent may make. They do not let prior bad beats affect them and can focus on each hand as it comes.

So what's the difference between a top-tier and a 2nd-tier player? The difference between being a top-tier player and and 2nd-tier player is not just playing mistake free poker. The biggest difference is that top-tier players ADJUST their play based on what their opponents are doing. 2nd-tier players often develop a "style" of play that works for them and then just stick to it. For example, late in a tourney a 2nd-tier player in the BB might 3-bet a button raise as a total bluff because he knows that in general a player on the button late in the tournament will try and steal the blinds by raising. However, if this particular button has only attempted to steal the blinds once out of the last 15 attempts, then this 3-bet which generally would be a great play suddenly becomes spew. A top-tier player recognizes that, a 2nd-tier player does not.

Because top-tier players adjust their game depending on how their opponents are playing, they also know how to and will use every single possible play available to them if the situation is correct. Thus while a 2nd-tier player might say that you should "never open-limp hands late in a tourney" or that "you should never minraise," a top-tier player understands that if the situation is right an open-limp or a minraise might actually be the best play.

So what do you need to do to become a top-tier player? I don't think I am quite there yet, so I can't tell you for sure, but I think the first step is to check your ego at the door and determine where you currently stand. If you're a beginning player, you need to play a lot, ask a lot of questions, and just learn the basics. You need to give yourself the time to become a proficient 2nd-tier player. This is a lengthy time commitment - it takes time to truly understand stack sizes, position, hand values, hand ranges, fold equity, aggression, steals, resteals, etc. Once you do reach this level, the next step is to again drop your ego and realize that you can get even better. Not only do you need to play mistake-free poker but you then need to expand your game so that you are playing not just your cards, your position, and your stacksizes, but you are also playing your player as well. I hope to be there soon.

Day off

Another deep run on Thursday and another stupid mistake late (I ended up getting 14th) left me frustrated at myself so I took that night off and didn't play today either. I feel like I am on the precipice of being an elite player if I can just stop making those stupid mistakes late. Playing mistake free poker + getting some run g00t = extra monies. Making mistakes late = added frustration, lost equity, and wet pillows from crying myself to sleep (ok maybe not that bad).

I did go to my home game tonight which I always enjoy (even though I still get frustrated when I lose there too). They are having another one tomorrow night, so I haven't decided if I'm going to play online or take another day off and play live tomorrow night again. Either way I will be playing a full session on Sunday and will get my 200 tourneys in this month.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Tantalizingly Close

I have made deep deep runs in lots and lots of big weeknight tourneys and I am just fizzling out before the big money. I have a new ergonomic birthday chair and will just keep plugging away and at some point it will all fall into place again.

One of my buddies won the UB Sunday tourney for over $40k this weekend and although I feel great for him I also obviously want one of this big scores for me again. I haven't had a 5 figure online score since April so I feel that I am due and with the three close calls I have had the last 2 nights, I want it even more.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Happy Birthday?

Meh - not really. I totally muffed an opportunity for a really big night when I checked the "call any bet" box w/AQs in the 50/50 on Tilt when I should have folded. I then proceeded to lose every race possible after that and instead of easily making the final table (I had twice the average chip stack needed to make the final table at one point) I went out in 11th.

Other than that one mistake, I am playing super well though. I made the money in 4 of the 8 tourneys I played tonight and I had a shot to go deep in all of them. I made the final table in the $30 rebuy as well so I did show a bit of profit for the night. But wow, I will be kicking myself for a while over the missed opportunity in the 50/50 tonight where 1st place was over 11k and 11th was just $700.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Ready for the weekend

I keep getting very deep in some of the smaller buy-in PokerStars tourneys but not deep enough. In the last 4 days I have come in right around 30th place in 4 tourneys on Stars that have over 1400 entries. 30th place is right around $100, 1st place is between $6k and $10k. So getting deep is great, but it ends up being just a waste of time. I know if I keep plugging away I will finally break through - but I still get frustrated waiting for it to happen.

The funny thing is that all of my friends who I speak with daily believe that I am actually really lucky, that I run better than most. Whereas I tend to dwell on how unlucky I am, how I never win races late, how I always get sucked out on late, blah blah meow chow.

Anyhoo, I need to go to San Francisco tomorrow night to help my cousin out and visit with her fam (and my younger sister) so I am going to take tomorrow and Saturday off and then come back raring to go on Sunday. One big Sunday and all my frustrations suddenly dissolve...

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Still grinding

I played some of my best poker today. I folded AA twice postflop correctly, I stayed patient when I needed to and made aggressive moves when I needed to. And even though I cashed 3 of the 12 tourneys I played today, I ended up losing money for the day. I am so due for a score on PoekrStars it is crazy. As long as I keep playing like I have been, it will come.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Standard Sunday

Woke up, played 12 tourneys in 8 hours, cashed 3 of them, lost money, played well. That's pretty much how most of my days go, and thus how most of my blogs go. I made this comment on an internet wunderkid's blog yesterday (he is another pro on pokerpwnage who I have only met in passing a couple of times in real life but he seems like a decent kid and I like living vicariously through him):

Being young and untethered by commitments should be a panacea. One reason why I love reading your blog is that I think (usually) you realize this. I was amazed at how many of the internet wunderkids who I saw and met in Vegas this year seem to totally miss that point. They were surrounded by friends, had shittons of money, and had the opportunity to delve into a million off the table experiences. But from what I saw, the vast majority of them went straight from the live tables back to their rooms so they could continue grinding on the online felts. What a waste. Ten years from now you aren't going to remember whether you made 70k or 120k in 2009, but you will remember what experiences you had. Poker should be your tool for letting you experience life to its fullest - too many of your compatriots are making poker THE experience and that's a shame.

And even though I am now old and in many respects, tethered, a lot of this still holds true for me as well. I need to try and keep that perspective and use poker to help me obtain what I want out of life, but I need to make sure not to make it my life. And with that, I am going to go hang out with the wife.

Friday, August 14, 2009

wheeeeeeee

After money bubbling the FTOPS (again) and whining up a storm to Adil, I took down the $20 rebuy on FT for $8k.

wheeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

Off to do a quick shopping trip and then a home game tonight.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Looking to break through

Today was my only positive day of the week. For a whopping $105, which really doesn't help offset the multiple -$1000+ days I've had this week. I actually won a small tourney on Fulltilt today and got 11th in the Sniper on UB so I still feel real good about my game, but I really need a big score. I have been letting the frustration get to me a bit, so I am taking tomorrow night off and we'll go from there.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Midst of a downswing

It's tough because I am playing so well, but just not holding or running well. Of the 7 tourneys I played this afternoon, I took two horrible beats, one bad beat, one cooler (a hand where I can't fold but run into a bigger hand - in this case I had AK and my opp had AA), and couldn't win a race in the other 3. The hard part with downswings is that the only way to get out of them is to keep playing and win, but as I continue to play and take bad beats I get increasingly frustrated. I am really really pleased with my overall play tho, so hopefully I'll get the score I am looking for soon.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Shouldnt have played today

I took a ton of bad beats early and then basically just went into a "screw it" mentality where I just raised a ton of pots and c-bet everytime postflop. The good thing is that I realized that I have probably been a bit too passive lately because a lot of times I was able to just out agg people postflop. The bad thing is that I was in a "screw it" mentality so I didn't make laydowns that I normally would.

Anyhoo, tomorrow I should play a full schedule.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Soulcrushed

I got 184th place when 162 pay in the biggest FTOPs event that I am going to play this series which was a $1060 buyin. I played pretty stellar (made one small mistake when I had a big stack) and then lost a huge pot late in the tourney when I was a 55% favorite with JJ versus AQ. It's always just such a deflating feeling to play that well for that long and you can't help but get your hopes up that maybe this will be that one glorious tourney where everything falls in place, only to lose when you need it the most.

Meh - it's the life I've chosen. Tomorrow is another day.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Another break-even day

I am tired and more than a little frustrated to have played so well on a long Sunday and have nothing to show for it. I made the final 2 tables of the $20 rebuy on Tilt without ever getting it in bad (which is rare - usually to get that deep you need at least one suckout) only to get slowrolled when I had AK versus some internet kid's AA (slowrolling means he hit the timebank button to make me think he had a hard decision to make when he actually has the best hand possible, just to try and piss me off). I also made the money in 2 of the Sunday majors and am playing really well, I just need the run good to hit me square in the face so that I can get a top 3 score in a really big tourney. I am supposed to play a $1k buy-in tomorrow, but if I am not feeling the mojo, I won't play it.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Break Even Day

LOL I lost exactly $7 on the day. I lost a big hand late to a retard in the Sniper but battled my way back to the Final Table and then lost a race to finish in 8th. I feel really reallllllly good about my game right now. I am not spewing at all and just running really poorly when it matters the most - I feel like I easily could have made the money in over half of my tourneys today if I just raced better. Tomorrow I am playing an afternoon session and then taking the night off.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

FTOPs and Grinding

So I am now officially back to the grind. I am going to play a full session tonight and then will just keep on grinding. Today starts off FTOPs which is a series of bigger buy-in tourneys on FullTilt which happens either 3 or 4 times a year. Due to a series of cashouts prior to the WSOP and investments in other players, my online bankroll is down to a level where I don't want to take the whole risk of playing $200+ tourneys on my own dime, so I have reluctantly put up a BAP on PTP so that I can still play these events but don't have to absorb all the risk. It has just sold out, so I will play the first FTOPs event tonight.

Other than that, life quickly has gotten back to normal after a nice long vacation. Wake up, surf the internets, walk the dog, try and do some sort of exercise, shower, play online poker, rinse and repeat.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Not a bad first day back

I got 3rd place in the Sniper tourney on UB and almost made another final table on Full Tilt in the $30 rebuy, so my first day back was profitable which is always nice. I feel like I played really well and stayed patient and focused which is usually my downfall when I get back to playing after a break.

Tomorrow I am probably going to get some errands done and then play a home game tomorrow night, so I'll be back to the grind on Wednesday.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Back Home Take 2

So I just got back from a week in Hawaii with my wife and my family on my dad's side (my dad, step-mom and their 2 kids, my sister, her husband and their 4 kids, and a random cousin thrown in for good measure). We rented a 5 bedroom house in Kauai for the 13 of us (6 adults, 3 under 9 yr olds, 3 adolescent girls, and one soon to be freshman at UT) and had a blast. The place was right on the ocean and had an incredible view of the Princeville coast and its own pool and jacuzzi. We snorkeled, kayaked, went on a catamaran, did the luau thing, and just hung out and had a good time. Even though I've been on a long break, it still felt good to just relax and not have to worry about doing anything.

Now that we're back, Charmian is back to the grueling hours and I need to get back and put some volume in or I won't have a bankroll to play off of. I will be very upset with myself if I don't get in my 200 tourneys this month. As always, the hard part for me in getting back is just getting my mindset back so that the bad beats don't send me into a tailspin.

On the health front, my left knee continues to be screwed up so I will probably make another appointment to see the doc since the sports I like to play (basketball, volleyball, tennis) all require quick movements and jumping and I can't do either right now. I also want to lose like 10 pounds since vacationing has meant eating a ton of junk. The next two months should be pretty poker intensive so hopefully that will mean more regular updates here.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Finally back home

I decided to stay a little longer in Santa Barbara and just got back home tonight. I had fun and tried to stay active playing basketball with my "old fart" game which is a longstanding game that I started playing when I was in college and is just a really good group of guys who play every Mon, Wed, and Fri on their lunch break. I played every day but there is something wrong with my left knee so I can't run, jump, or cut as well as I would like to. For the majority of the time I just hung out with my in-laws, which I know seems weird to most people, but I get along well with all of them so it really is nice just to hang out, relax, and be taken care of. The only detriment is that I always gain weight when I am there.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Still being lazy

July is basically going to just end up being a no volume month for me, and I am ok with that. I am heading off to Santa Barbara on Tuesday and will stay for about a week and then the following Friday we are going to Hawaii for a week, so I don't foresee me playing much the rest of this month. Once August rolls around though I should be raring to go and will get back to trying to get as much volume in as I can.

Lately I have been playing in this weekly home game which has been fun, and I will continue to keep playing in that as it is just a nice way to play with a good group of people and get out from staring at a computer screen all day.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Not feeling the mojo

I just haven't been having the desire to play, so I haven't been. I will probably play sporadically this week as I have a home game tomorrow and on Friday and on Wednesday I need to take Chula back to the vet to see how she is progressing. Next week we are off to Santa Barbara for a long weekend (for me at least) and then we are off to Hawaii the following week.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

A little live play

There is a cardroom just a couple minutes away from my house which I had not been to until this weekend. I have a bad tendency to spew when I play cash - especially when I play live and this weekend I lived up to that tendency. A couple of the guys from my new homegame invited me to play so I went and had a good time even though I came home a loser. It is a weird game because it is 1-3 NL but you can only buy-in for $200. They also take a rake of $4 from every pot so it is hard to beat the rake - but the play is really really bad. A lot of limpers and a lot of people who can't fold preflop. I would actually be even for my games played there if I just didn't bluff. As it is I am down 4 buyins because I made 2 huge bluffs (1 one ok the other was just bad) and because I lost 2 races. One lesson learned is that a minraise postflop at this establishment = the nuts. I might continue to keep playing there as an excursion to actually see people face to face but I am not sure how juicy the game is since the rake is so hard to beat.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

First full day

Today was my first full day back and it went ok. I won a small $55 6 max tourney on PokerStars which gave me a small profit for the day. It's a little weird playing online again and I find myself getting more antsy/bored than I was when I play live. But the more I play, the more I will get back into the swing of things again.

Tomorrow I am going to go play at a cardroom that is just down the street from my house. If it goes well, that could definitely become a weekly excursion for me.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Hiatus Over

Ok, so it has been nice to just be a couch potato but it's time to get back to work.

A whole bunch of just stupid everyday costs that always seem to pop up have popped up again as well so making some money would be a good thing. The latest cost was our 1994 pickup failing its smog test and needing to pay like $800 to get some stupid part. The emissions from the car are actually really low but it failed some fuel evaporation test. I am not a car person, so I have no idea, but the whole thing just seems like a big racket to me. And although we usually don't need 2 cars, today proved that sometimes we do when I went to go play in my live poker game and Charmian called me frantically saying she needed the car to check on some patient at a hospital she needs to drive to.

Anyhoo - I should pick up the pick-up tomorrow and then get at least an evening session in.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Just chillin'

So I have written a check to all of my backers except for the three who have not yet responded to my messages. I am a little surprised at just how wiped out I felt from Vegas especially since I came home early, took a weekend off, and wasn't there that long. Last night I was invited to play in a lowstakes homegame which was just fun. No pressure, a good varied group of players, and actually talking with people face to face is a good thing. I still haven't gotten around to cleaning the house up or to getting back to the grind, but at some point soon I will get so bored that it will happen.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Back home

I only had 3 more events that I was scheduled to play and none of them were that intriguing to me and they were spread out with the first one starting this Wednesday, so I decided to pack it in and head home. I had a profitable WSOP and it feels good to be home.

I started writing the first batch of what is going to be close to 40 checks to pay off my stakers today and once I get all of their info, I will send the rest of this week. This week I plan on just relaxing, cleaning the house up a bit, and getting all of my paperwork in order. I will get back to the online grind when I feel like getting back to it.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Quick exit

Quick exit for me. I got there a little late and by the time I got to the entrance doors the mob from the $1.5k event were on their first break so I had to swim upstream against that crowd and missed probably the first 6-7 hands that were dealt. No big deal, I sit down and first hand I am in the BB and indariva raises my blind. I look down to see AQ and 3 bet him. Flop comes rags, I bet, he raises, I call. Turn is a K, and I have to decide if he is bluffing or has me crushed since close to half my stack is out there and I would be calling 4k more. I fold and am left with 11k ish.

I then 3 bet another guy w/99 and his AJ outflops me, but I lose just 4k on the hand.

I win the blinds from Negreanu with TQs and chip back to maybe 9k.

David Baker raised from EP and got 3 bet from the guy next to him. I wake up with 77 in the BB and have to decide if I want to go with it there or fold. I fold (correctly to Baker's AA) and the pokergods deviously grin on me when the board comes 689T.

Last hand I only hand about 6-7k left and I get AJ and lost to 66. Oh well. Gl Chris. I am going home.

Should be a fun day.

Today will very likely be my last WSOP event for the year so I am going to do my best to make it a good day and have some fun as well. My wife will be excited because her favorite player, Daniel Negreanu, is going to be seated directly to my left (although there will be the dealer between us). Shannon Shorr is also a well known pro, and the guy in seat 5 is an icon at parttimepoker.com which is the site where I arranged my backing for this Series.

Seat 1: Daniel Negreanu - 14700
Seat 2: Shawn McBride - 32700
Seat 3: David Baker - 72100
Seat 4: Simen Sagstuen - 58400
Seat 5: Chris Tryba - 17300
Seat 6: Rob Breeden - 21100
Seat 7: Shannon Shorr - 16900
Seat 8: Erle Mankin - 23300
Seat 9: Adrian Dresel-Velasquez - 16300

Made it to day 2 of the $2k Limit Event

I start tomorrow with 16k with blinds at 500/1000 so I need some run good early if I want to cash.

I played pretty well today. Again, I am surprised that I am still in it with how unlucky/poorly I actually ran. QQ ran into KK, KK ran into AA, I took two other bad beats when I was way ahead pre, and yet I still somehow have chips. It will probably take somewhere around 2 hours to make the money tomorrow and with just 16 BBs, I need some good mojo.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Playing well again

Today the suckout gods decided to hit my opponents. I somehow made it to the dinner break with just over 20 BBs even though my QQ lost to 99, my AK lost to AT, my A8 lost to JJ on an 882 flop, my TcQc lost to 4c5c on an Ac2c3c flop, and my AK lost to JJ. First hand back from the dinner break and the same kid who busted me at my final table busted me again when I ran into his AA when I had A4s.

Yesterday I ended up getting pretty schnookered with my neighbors downstairs from me, which was fun, and the night before I finally met up with Jerry from Pokerpwnage and had a real good meal. So all in all I am happy.

I am playing the $2k Limit event tomorrow and if that doesn't go well, then the $1.5k on Saturday.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Another early exit

I didn't even make it to level 2 today. But I played fine so I am not upset. I iso raised AJo against a short stack and ran into AA from one of the blinds. Oh well. My next event will be on Thursday.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Ruh Roh

I made a bad bluff today in the $2k and I went out with a decent stack right before the dinner break.

I feel like I made mistakes throughout the whole hand - I should have raised pre instead of flatted; I should have given up when he called my raise on the flop; I never should have tried to take the pot down on the turn; I acted way too fast. A lot of it comes from the fact that I don't mind losing as much anymore as long as I lose well and I felt like I lost poorly today, which I don't like. In the end, I am probably being a little hard on myself - I was correct that my opp was weak pre; my play would have worked against any other hand, etc. But in the end, I should have played my hand better, conserved chips, and at least given myself a better shot at getting deeper.

Tomorrow I am playing the $1500 event, and vow to take my time with every decision so that I will not make a mistake.

Back in Vegas

I had a really nice relaxing weekend in Santa Barbara. My wife's family always treat us like royalty when we go down there - meals made for us, dishes done for us, etc. We did some urban hiking to see the fire damage, I played some tennis while Charmian did some shopping, saw The Hangover, and even got to have a nice lunch with my sister and her family and my L.A. family who were on the way up to drop off my niece for soccer camp.

I am playing the $2k event today and plan on just plugging away this week.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Fun Night

So the radmins from FTR, which is the forum where I first started really learning about poker more in depth, arrived yesterday for their yearly weekend of debauchery. Even though I have been on the site for over 4 years now, I had yet to meet them, so it was cool to finally hang out with them.

We basically just chilled out, drank a little but in their suite with a group of ftr guys, went and had some dinner and then played some drunken 1/3 NL cash. I am not a cash game player at all, so all I really wanted to do was not lose everything. I ended up making my cabfare home which just made the night that much better. I also hit the perfect level of buzzedness where I had no problems falling asleep last night but also feel perfectly fine today.

Today I am planning on just hanging out again, hopefully having some dinner with the ftr guys again and then coming back here and go to bed since I leave super early for Santa Barbara tomorrow morning.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Quickest finish

Out very early in the Venetian. AK
I am hoping to hang out with the FTR guys tonight and then just bum around tomorrow, maybe play some online and then just relax this weekend with my wife and her fam in Santa Barbara.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Back to it.

I came in like 190th out of 600ish today. Picked up a nice stack early and then my AA were cracked by JJ to bring me down to like a 12k stack. Blinds at 200/400 I raised to 1100 from the HJ w/TQo and both blinds called. Flop comes Th7h2x and it checks to me. I bet out 2300 and get c/raised all-in by the SB. He had been playing pretty ABC poker, but the way stacks were I felt he was easily making a move with a draw or a mid pair, so the only hands I was really worried about were a set, JJ, or TK/AT. I felt he would have re-raised pre w/QQ+. So we got it all-in and he had JJ and even though the turn gave me 8 more outs with another heart giving me the Q hi flush draw, I bricked the river and that was that.

Tomorrow I play the Venetian and then I'm off until next Monday where I will be playing the next WSOP event.

I is famous!

So the rumors of being able to watch me play at a final table are true. If you have access to ESPN360.com, you can watch me play. Click on Schedule/Replay/and it's the Saturday June 6, 3 pm EST WSOP $2000 nlhe event. You need to forward to about the 1 hr 56 minute mark to watch the coverage of my final table. I am the guy in the Fat Albert t-shirt and the brown UCSB hat.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Day Off

I had a really good day today. Two of my bentrilo buddies picked me up this morning and we volunteered at a homeless shelter in the Vegas ghetto where we helped serve lunch. It just took an hour but it felt good to get out and actually help out a bit. We then headed back to golfer's house, played some RockBand and then headed off to play some golf. Golfer was a onetime golf pro and I have not played golf since highschool, so we were obviously a good match. It was fun just to get out and whack the ball though. Tonight, I went to Target and bought an alarm clock which I think will make it easier for me to get a good night's sleep. Tomorrow I am going to go deposit my check, and then head off to the RIO to play the $1500 PL Holdem event.

I am surprising my wife by flying to Santa Barbara and meeting her there this weekend. I told her I wouldn't be able to come because there are too many good events this weekend, so it should be a nice surprise. I think it will give me a nice break from Vegas as well and will let me recharge the batteries and end the month raring to go.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

WSOP Event #11 Recap

** Warning ** This post is going to be long and have a lot of poker hands in it. **Warning**

I will try and recap as best as I can, but to be honest after three days of play and little sleep in between a lot of the hands that I played have been merged/forgotten. All of the WSOP this year start with 3x your buy-in in chips. So I started day 1 with 6k in chips and very early on chipped up. I was paid off w/AA, flopped a set of 88 against AK on a K8x flop, and picked up a flush on the river against what I am imagining was either a set or two pair against Court Harrington within the first two hours. So I was quickly up to somewhere around 20k in chips when I had my first table move.

My next table had Michael Craig, a FullTilt pro, seated two to my right. I know his game pretty well since I have played with him quite a bit online. I quickly bled chips away at this table due to bad beats and lost races - my 55 lost to 44 and TT lost to TKs all-in pre against short stacks, so I was pretty quickly down to like 10k in chips with blinds at 200/400 when I finally won a flip against Michael Craig when my JJ held against his AK all-in pre. Bill Gazes, another well known FullTilt pro, was then moved to our table and after basically just maintaining my stack I was able to almost double through him when my 88 won a race against his TJ all-in pre.

My last table move of the day placed me directly to the right of Tom McEvoy who won the Main Event 20ish years ago and is a pro for PokerStars - he also recently won the Tournament of Champions. We never really got involved in many hands. I must say that all of these pros/higher profile players were all extremely approachable and seemed like decent guys - guys who almost anyone would enjoy having a drink with and just shooting the shit. My big hand at the new table was fairly soon after I had been moved to the table when the button who had about an even stack with me raised and I was dealt TJs in the BB. I am guessing blinds were at 400/800 and both of us were probably right around 25k in chips. He raised to like 2500 and I reraised to somewhere around 8k with the thought that I would often take the pot down right there, or I could shove almost any flop if he called as a bluff. Instead, he put me all-in but I was getting right around 2:1 on my money (probably a little better) and since he had me covered he could easily be using his stack to try and bully me so I really thought that my hand had over the 33% equity it needed to justify a call. I called, he had 66, and I won that race which propelled me to my ending stack that night of somewhere around 65k.

Day 2 began with just over 200 players and 171 got paid. I got a very fortunate table draw because I was the chip leader so I was able to bully the table quite a bit, especially as we got nearer and nearer to the money bubble. When there were only 177 players left I was able to force a guy with about 25k in chips to fold QQ preflop when I had AJ just by using my stack as a weapon. After he reraised me, I put him all-in and he wasn't willing to take the risk of busting out with only 6 players. So by the time we hit the money and our table got broken up I was probably up to about 100k in chips.

My next table was very very chip rich, the player immediately to my left is an internet wonderkid named benba who had me outchipped and he used his stack very very aggressively - which meant if I wasn't willing to play a marginal hand against him, it was better just to open-fold. I chipped up a bit against him when he 3 bet me and I 4-bet jammed him with AQ. He then got involved with another very aggressive German guy named Olav directly to my right in a huge pot where Olav got sick of benba's 3 betting and just jammed with QKs only to have benba turn over AA. Unfortunately for benba (and fortunately for me) the flop came 3 diamonds and Olav flopped his flush. Soon thereafter I won a big pot when I hit a set of 9s against another good internet kid who either had a big pair or trip Qs on a 9QxxQ board. I then won a couple of nice medium sized pots and just maintained a decent stack for the next couple of hours. By the time we were playing the last couple of levels we were down to like 36 players and had been playing for over 10 hours. I had made two marginal calls against shorter stacks and run into better hands so my stack was down to about 200k when another good young internet player who had been playing very tight openshoved for 15 BBs. There was quite a bit of drama in the hand because Olav did not hear the all-in declared and no chips were pushed forward so when it folded to him he raised a small amount and was forced to keep those chips in the pot even though he did not know that there was an all-in player in front of him. He folded but was pissed and began arguing vociferously with the floor and basically telling the dealer she was a stupid old cow. Meanwhile, I wake up with AJs and had a really really tough decision. I know that if I can put the all-in on a range of hands like A8s+/any pair/QK/some suited broadways that my AJ is ahead and should call. However, he had been tight, so if his range was more like AT+/88+ then I should fold. I took quite a while and ended up calling. Hand wise it ended up being a bad call as he flipped over AQ but I think I ranged him well. Results wise it was a great call when I binked a J on the turn. That was basically it for that night and we played down to 25 players. At 3 am we bagged our chips and were told to come back the next day at noon. I ended the night with just over 400k with blinds starting the next day at 8k/16k.

We only had about 7 hours to sleep that night (since it took another two hours to drive there and back, shower, and eat) but I was pretty amped up and nervous so I only slept like 4 hours. I finally realized that I would not be able to get back to sleep so I just woke up, and continued what had been my daily routine the past two days - I went for a 20 minute jog, ate a bagel and some fruit, took my shower, and headed off for the final day. I was tired, but I knew that the adrenaline would pull me through, and it did.

There were enough short stacks to start day 3 that players dropped pretty fast. And pretty easly on I should have been one of them. The button opened raised and I woke up with 99 in the BB. I reraised which was about 1/3 of my stack so when he 4 bet me I couldn't fold and was not a happy camper when he turned over QQ. The late suckout karma came through for me though as a 9 was the first wheel card on the flop. That hand propelled me to 800k and gave me enough chips to lose a bad beat against a shortstacks 79 when I had AK and then win a race with AQ versus another short stacks 88. Before we knew it, we were down to 10 players and off to the big lights of a tv final table.

I guess the final table was televised on ESPN360.com and from what some people have told me, I had quite a few people railing me and cheering me on. I have been asked if I was nervous but I really wasn't. The whole thing was sort of surreal. I knew that it was a big deal, but for whatever reason it didn't stress me out at all. I was really focused on just playing good poker and letting the results happen. Somewhat early on at the final table I picked up 88 in the cutoff and the very aggressive kid who had come into the table as the chip leader raised from early position. Blinds were 15/30k and he raised to 80k. I had just under a million chips and decided to take a flop with him in position as I felt I could outplay him postflop. The flop was 2x8cTc and he checked to me. He had bled quite a few chips and I knew he was waiting for a good spot to get some back, so I decided to bet small because I felt it was likely that he would check/raise me. He complied and reraised my 100k ish bet to 275k. I was then left with the decision of whether just to call or shove all-in. A call had the advantage of allowing him to keep spewing if he was bluffing, but if he wasn't bluffing and had the T or an overpair or a flush draw, then I could very well lose value by calling because he would call a shove on the flop with those hands but might fold them if a club, a non-club or overcard came on the turn depending on what he had. Anyhoo, I decided to shove and he folded so I think it is pretty clear he was bluffing and the better result would hav been to call, but that doesn't mean my decision at the time was wrong. I maintained that stack for a while but then was coolered when a short stack woke up with KK when I had TT and that took me down to a stack where really all I could do was wait to reshove on what I thought were light raises or fold. I never got that opportunity and the blinds increased so I was then forced into a push/fold stack with 20 BBs because 4 of the 5 other players at the table had about the same stack as I did and I was not willing to raise/fold at that point. On my 3rd openshove I was finally called with TT when I had QK and I wasn't able to win that last race and out I went in 6th place.

Other than 2 marginal calls (which really weren't that bad) I think I played the tourney pretty mistake free so I am very happy with my result and my play. I had to get very lucky to make the final table (two suckouts late in the tourney) but I also had to withstand quite a few bad beats (AK lost to 79, 55 lost to 44, TT lost to TK) and lost races along the way as well. So I feel the luck factor evened itself out (although I did get lucky when I needed it most), but I also made some really good plays.

The aftermath is just a really nice boost to my bankroll and confidence. It is also a nice boost to my reputation on parttimepoker which is the site I used to get my financial staking. I know from my previous big score that it takes me a couple of days to settle back down, so even though I was exhausted last night I still only got about 6 hours of sleep. So I just was super lazy today and surfed the web, I am watching the Lakers game now, and will get a better night's sleep tonight. Tomorrow I am planning on playing an event at the Venetian because I just don't have it in me to grind 3 more days in the $2500 WSOP event which starts tomorrow.

I would like to give a big thanks to Adil, christaborg, and scgolfer for railing me the whole way yesterday. And although Adil might have enjoyed himself a little too much on Friday night he gets an even bigger shout out for railing me from Friday night all the way to the end. Quite a few of the posters from flopturnriver and parttimepoker also came by to rail me at the final table and I really do appreciate that as well. Lastly I heard I had quite a contingency following my progress online - the reason I even bother with this blog is for you guys so I hope I put on a good showing.