Sunday, September 25, 2016

A Different Perspective

No poker content today.  As a matter of fact, I didn't even plan to write a post this weekendBut, it's the twists and turns of everyday life that shape us and in this case made me put words on (digital) paper.

This past Saturday evening I spent with my buddies watching college football.  Most of our group lives in nice buildings.  But Saturday night felt a little bit different.  The host lives (rents) in one of the newer and nicer buildings in Arlington.  It's a luxurious high-rise building where all the residents and their guests receive complementary valet parking.  From the valet parking, to the lobby, to the amenities, and the actual apartment, it was all very impressive.

Driving home Saturday night, I thought how I need to work harder, look to advance my career, and keep improving overall.

On Sunday, I went to drop-off my old sofa that I sold to a family who recently moved to the area from South America.  I helped them carry the sofa up a flight of stairs and into the apartment. They are a blue-collar family with two children (5 and 13). Understandably, they live in a building that is older and the apartment itself has seen many residents come and go over the years. 

Driving home Sunday evening, I thought how I'm doing pretty good overall, have a good white-collar career, and to stay the course.

It is interesting how a single day can bring a completely different perspective to the same topic.

Monday, September 19, 2016

If You Could Only Pick One Hobby

The idea for today's post came from Tim aka Trooper97 on YouTube (click here for his video channel).  He lives in Las Vegas and enjoys makes videos and playing poker.  He was asked what would his answer be if he had to pick between only playing poker or just making videos.  His answer was making videos.

I'll tweak the question a little bit.  First of all, we'll focus on having to choose between hobbies.  Secondly, you can't pick a hobby that you and your significant other (if you have one) enjoy doing together.  And third of all, you can't pick two hobbies in the same category (like two sports).  In other words, you have to pick between two hobbies that are just yours, very different, and take place away from home.

A good example would be a guy who likes to fish and play poker but his lady doesn't like either activity.  A bad example would be a lady that likes to play tennis and go to museums but her man also enjoys both activities.  Leave a comment below if you have a similar example.

I asked myself: If I could only choose to play one, would it be golf or poker?

Golf Pros: being outside, getting some exercise, playing with my guy friends, competitive, playing different courses, scenery, etc.

Golf Cons: weather can get in the way, slow pace of play, can't play all year round, frustration when the wheels fall off, can't played if injured, etc.

Poker Pros: indoors away from the weather, competitive, play at night an option, can play with a physical injury, chance of winning a promotion, etc.

Poker Cons: sitting for many hours, sitting next to unhealthy/rude  players, frustration when sucked out on, negative public perception, etc.

The answer comes down to which one do I enjoy more and which one would I miss more.

I would choose golf.

A wonderful memory

Friday, September 16, 2016

Poker Tournament: Part 2

I reentered the tournament for another $75.  Reentry ended after level 9.  When it was all said and done, there were 180 players.  18 got paid and the top prize was $3,000.

This time around, I ended up at a table in seat 8.  The deck was cold.  The blinds and antes were moving up quickly.  I tired to steal few times but got caught.  I was down to 7.2k in chips when I went for it again.

It folded around to me in the cut-off.  I  had 10,6 and made it 2100.  The button, who I expected to fold, moved all-in.  With the pot around 11k, I couldn't fold for 5k more.

I flipped over my hand and he showed A,10.  I was hoping he had two high cards (no 10) or a low pocket pair.  I needed a lot of help.  Flop came down J,7,Q,9.  An 8 on the river would have chopped it.  A king wouldn't have been good because it would have given him a higher straight.  The river was a 6!  I couldn't believe it.  Finally, I caught a break.  I was up to 16.3k in chips.

Few hands later, a small stack moved all-in and I was the only caller in the big blind.  He had 4,4 but they were no match for my Q,Q.  Up to 22k in chips.

It folded around to seat 7 who was in the cut-off.  He went all-in for 15k in chips.  I had A,9 and thought he was stealing.  I was the only caller.  He flipped over A,8.  The flop was all high cards but on the river I caught a flush.  Up to 40k in chips after that hand.

I had A,J in the big blind and don't remember how the action went.  It was three way to the flop with two short stacks being all-in.  One guy had 3,3 and 17k chips while the other guy had A,4 with 6k chips.  I ended up with broadway and took it down.  Too bad there were no bounties!  Up to 64k in chips after that flip.

I was dealt 9,9 on the button and everyone folded to my bet.  Then, I had A,9 and saw the flop with three other players.  6,8,2 was an unimpressive flop.  9 on the turn allowed me to bet and take it down.  Up to 71k in chips.

The blinds and antes kept moving up and eating into my stack.  I had A,Q and bet pre-flop.  Two callers.  The flop was king high.  I tried to represent a king but it backfired after an opponent moved all-in.  Down to 40k in chips.

I saw a flop with Q,8 versus three other short stacks.  One guy was all-in.  The flop was K,Q,6 and my bet got the other two players to fold.  The all-in guy flipped over A,5.  I won and had 58k in chips.  Before the second break I was at 53k in chips.

We went on break with 47 players left.

After the break, I was card dead.  The blinds and antes consumed almost half of my stack after the break.  We were down to 34 players when seat 4 moved all-in.  Seat 5 called.  I looked down at A,J.  It was a tough spot.  I was down to 10 big blinds.  It's not ideal to have a player before you call an all-in.

I was ready to flip for my tournament life.  Seat 4 showed 5,5 and the big stack in seat 5 had A,K.  The board ran out 6,K,2,Q.  I needed a 10 on the river for a straight.  Unfortunately, I didn't get lucky again.

I was out.  I thought about my call there.  I think it was a mistake.  I could have waited for a spot to move all-in first or a spot where it was heads up.  But, all that would have depended on getting another decent hand. 

Overall, I noticed I was a little bit rusty.  The 20 minute levels were the driving force behind the overall quality of the tournament.  We all knew, when we signed up, that it was a fast paced shootout.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Poker Tournament: Part 1

It's been a year and a half since I've played in a live poker tournament. Tournaments are my favorite form of poker or I should say, well structured tournaments are my favorite.  Prior to playing only NL $1/$2 for the past 18 months, I mostly played tournaments.

I was looking at the MDL website and noticed that they run a $75 buy-in tournament with 15,000 chips and $10,000 guaranteed.  The levels are short (20 min) and the antes kick-in quickly; but I wanted to give it a shot.  I've been reading/watching a lot of tournament poker summaries and kind of missed the action.

I got there a little bit late due to traffic and got assigned a table and seat 3.  They were almost done with level 1 when I sat down.

Here we go!

Tournaments are the hare and cash games are the tortoise of the poker race.  Cash games require a lot of patience.  It can be quite boring sitting there for hours while the blinds go round and round.  In the first hour of the tournament, I saw plenty of action and several bad plays. It's a $75 buy-in after all.

I noted that seat 9 made some very (bad) questionable plays.  He won a decent pot coming from behind.  He gave those chips right back in a spot where it was obvious he was beat.

I had lost several small pots up until level 4.  Sitting on 10k chips, I was deal K,J.  Four of us put in 600 each to see the flop.  Flop came down K,7,3 rainbow and I bet 2k.  Only seat 9 called who had started the hand with 8.5k in chips.  Turn was a blank and I shoved.  He called with K,9.  The river was a 9!

I put him on a weaker king but it didn't work out.  Few hands later, I was out.

I decided to fire one more bullet and reenter the tournament for another $75.  Stay tuned for part 2.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Poker Hand: Down to the Wire

MDL was running a promotion where every 20 minutes the high hand won $500.  I have never won a high hand promo.  The session was not going well.  I'm down to about $100 after starting with $200.  But then, a crazy hand went down.

I'm dealt 9,9 on the button.  UTG+1 makes it $20.  Seat 4 calls and I call.  Strong bet in early position, I'm already putting UTG+1 on a big hand.

Flop comes down 2,9,J!  I'm already licking my chops.  I'm hoping UTG+1 has AA or KK and seat 4 has QQ.  UTG+1 wastes no time and announces all-in.  I guess he doesn't want us catching a flush on him.  To my surprise, seat 4 is all-in as well and both players cover me.  I'm all-in too.

After I speak, seat 4 says that UTG+1 and I need help.  I couldn't believe it.  Am I in a nightmare, I thought.  He flips over J,J!  I drop my head and mutter to myself, indeed a nightmare.  The dealer puts out the last two cards.  I look up and realize my nightmare has turned into a joyous miracle!  The turn had brought the 9!  Quads, the hand became the new high hand in the room.  The dealer put my hand and my opponent's hand next to the community cards.  He called the floor to verify the high hand.

Seat 2 had KK.  I went from worst pre-flop to second after the flop to first after the turn.  I won the pot and with ten minutes to go had the best high hand.  Catching a one outer was hard, now it was time to see if quad nines with a jack kicker could pull-off another miracle.

Whenever there is a new high hand in the room, the dealer calls the floor to that table.  The floor radios back to the poker room front desk.  Then, the new high hand is announced over the intercom.  And seconds later, the new high hand shows up on TVs around the poker room.  In my mind, I didn't want to hear anyone speak over the intercom for the next ten minutes.

Each minute seemed to drag on and on.  Interestingly enough, two players at my table got into an argument.  It got to a point where they were louder than the intercom.  The lady on the intercom spoke with four minutes to go but it was about a tournament.  The two guys had decided that today was not the day for one of them to be the bigger man.  The arguing continued and the dealer called the floor.  They kept yelling as the floor was approaching.

With 40 seconds to go, the intercom lady was back and said something.  I couldn't understand a word she said because the two non-gentlemen were spewing profanities at each other.  They were getting ready to confirm the time they would meet outside for a fistfight.  The floor took over the situation and moved one of them to a different table.

I really didn't care about the argument they were having.  I was glued to the TV screen waiting to see if a new high hand emerged onto the board.  I watched the last few seconds tick-off the clock unsure if I had won.  Another round of the high hand promo started and I finally knew that I was the winner!

It didn't take long for everyone at the table to start congratulating me, including the dealer.  I got the $500 prize in chips pretty quickly.  I tipped the dealer $35 on top of the $10 I gave him for winning the pot.

It was down to the wire but I finally won a high hand promo!

A memorable blurry photo

Friday, September 2, 2016

Outsmarting Myself

No poker content today.  This post is about me outsmarting myself.  I have two examples to share.

First example happened when I received a great deal on cable TV.  I'm not sure how I got the deal, due to an error probably.  I called Comcast and the lady offered me an internet and cable package.  It was just your basic package.  I ended up getting internet, cable with HD, and several premium channels including the Golf Channel and the NFL Network for a ridiculously low price of $66 per month.

Few months later, I was going to Europe for four weeks and decided to suspend my cable service for a month.  Comcast let me do this for a $10 fee.  Here I was feeling like a genius.  Not only am I paying a great rate for cable but I'm also going to save over $50 while I'm out of town.

Once I got back, I called Comcast to reconnect my service.  Wouldn't you know it, the representative looked over my account and caught the initial error.  He said they could reinstate the internet and cable service without HD and the premium channels for $80 per month.  I only had myself to blame for messing up a great deal.

Second example was even more painful.  I had decided to move out of my apartment at the end of my lease.  Unfortunately, my lease was ending during a three week period I was going to be out of town.  So instead of giving the leasing office my move-out notice, I decided to go month to month.  The goal was to move-out end of May instead of April.

The catch was that the difference in rent would be $300 more during the one month to month lease.  I really didn't have any better options so this was acceptable.  After I got back in town, I decided to stay in the same building but move to a different apartment.

When it was time to pay the May rent online, the system only asked me to pay the same amount as I was paying during my lease.  The $300 had been forgotten!

I ended up moving into a new apartment mid June.  I paid for half the month in the old apartment and the rest in the new apartment.  The leasing office was kind enough to offer me a refund for the time when the apartment rents overlapped.  

On the last day of June, I called them to ask for how much should I make the check.  The lady said to subtract $105 (that I over paid) from the monthly rent amount.  I, being the smart guy that I am, told her that I overpaid $135 and that should be the correct number to deduct.  She said she would get back to me.  Here I was feeling like a genius.  Not only did I not get charged $300, but I was also going to get back an extra $30.

I ended up going to the leasing office on the first day of July. The leasing agent and the accountant met with me.  They said that they sat down with the property manager and looked over my account.  I was supposed to get back $135 BUT they discovered that I was incorrectly undercharged on my month to month rent by $300!  I went from getting a refund to owing them money.

Once again, I outsmarted myself.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Fun in the Sun

Today's post is about an afternoon round of golf.  Well, to be exact, it was only 9 holes of golf.

On a sunny day in August, I got a chance to sneak out of work early with the plan to play 18 holes of golf.  My buddy and I met at the course and paid for 18 holes on the E.P. Blue Course.  Unfortunately, a bunch of DMV (DC/MD/VA) residents had the same idea.  The Blue Course was backed up so we told the starter that we are going to play the short, 9 hole, White Course.

Off we went.  On the first hole, a 156 yard par 3, I hit a decent 7 iron but it was off the green.  I chipped on but left myself a 20 foot putt.  Wouldn't you know it, I rolled it in!

I only hit 4 bad shots during the whole round.  One of them came on the second hole, a par 4.  Off the tee, I hit it right off the fairway and into a cluster of trees.  Luckily, the golf gods were with me and I found the ball.  I had an opening and chipped it back onto the fairway.  I managed a bogey.

I got a bit unlucky on the third hole.  I hit an iron that bounced left off the fairway and into some thick grass.  My second shot was either going to be a wrist breaker or a weak 15 to 20 yard punch-out.  Gladly for me, it was the latter.  Another bogey.

The fourth hole, as Donald Trump would say, was a disaster.  I hit a solid tee shot.  The second shot bounced away from the green.  I was 15 yards from the flag, chipping up the hill, and trying to avoid the bunker behind the green.  I managed to duff my first chip, got on the green with the second chip, and then two putted.  Essentially, it took me two shots to move the ball 270 yards and four more shots to reach the cup from 15 yards away.

The next two holes were par threes.  I managed to par the 174 yard hole after hitting the green and bogey the 191 yard hole.  No complaints there.

The seventh hole was a 355 yard par 4.  I hit a nice drive down the middle.  I also hit a great 9 iron into the wind and onto the green.  I had an 8 foot putt for birdie (see photo).  It was a slightly down the hill, right to left putt.  My read was correct and I got the birdie!

On the eighth hole, I hit a good drive.  My approach shot got me onto the green but I was 50 feet away from the pin.  It was an uphill putt but I managed to two putt for a par.

The last hole was a short par 4.  I hit my 3 wood left off the fairway.  My second shot was 6 feet right off the front edge of the green.  The flag was in the front so I had a tricky short chip.  Fortunately, I got the ball to bounce as intended and it rolled close to the pin.  I one putted for par.  I recorded a 37 on a par 33.  A +4 finish while having some fun in the sun.