Thursday, October 20, 2016

Three Orbits of Poker

I've had two losing session at the tables recently.  They were not full buy-in losses.  I was hoping to not make it three in a row.

The game was $1/$2 on the (cursed) second floor of the MDL poker room.  I was in seat 5 (one of my favorite) with $200.  I typically wait to post but this time I ended up playing my first hand UTG accidentally.

The very first hand, I was dealt 6,6.  A woman in seat 8 called.  A guy in a dress shirt, in seat 9, bet $12.  A black gentleman, in seat 10, called and so did I and the lady.  The flop comes down 6,5,10.  I'm first to act and check.  There are plenty of draws out there and I'm not ready to build a pot yet.  The lady checks and seat 9 bets $28. The three of us call.

Turn is a 3 and I don't like it.  It checks to seat 10 who bets $55.  Only I call.  The river brings the fourth heart...Q.  Now, I am thinking that maybe I could try and represent the A♥ but that would require a big bet.  I just check and let destiny take over.  Seat 10 also checks.  I flip over my sixes and he folds; he had no heart! Right out of the gate my stack almost doubles.

Dress shirt guy played several hands in position and typically raised pre-flop.  He had $400+ on the table.  On the third orbit, I get dealt 10,10 in the BB.  There was one caller and then seat 9 bet $10.  It folds to me and I raise to $28.  Only he calls.  The flop is 3,4,8.  I bet $25 and he raises to $55.  It's starting to smell like a big pocket pair or a pure bluff.  I call and the turn is a Q.  He leads out for $75.  This is where I should have let it go.  Is he really barreling just because he's in position.  I call and the river is a 9.  If I check, I think he's going to bet.  I put out a blocker bet of $75.  He calls and flips over 3,4 for the win.

Not in a million years would I have put him on that hand.  If I thought he had a big pocket pair, why didn't I fold to his bet on the flop.  JJ-AA crushes me.  The only hand that I beat is 9,9 or a bluff.  I realized I made a big mistake right then and there.  I stood up, picked up my $100+ chips, and went for a walk.  I got some food and then went back to find another poker table.

At what point in the hand would you have raised the white flag?

Sunday, October 9, 2016


As I mentioned in the previous post, last Saturday I went to the second to last Major League Baseball regular season game.  As a sports fan, I've been to many sporting events including NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, PGA Tour, MLS, NCAA sports, and international soccer and basketball.

The two professional sports that I had not seen in person were NASCAR and tennis.  That list got a little bit shorter after last Sunday.  My coworker had some extra, decently priced, NASCAR tickets for the race at the Dover International Speedway.

I don't follow auto racing regularly but I do watch it from time to time on TV.  I did manage to get three of my friends to tag along for the two hour car ride and check out the race.

First thing we noticed when the race started was the noise.  It is very loud!  We expected this and brought earplugs.  Many of the fans there were wearing noise-reducing race scanner headphones that allow them to listen to the communication on the track between drivers and their teams.

As my friend pointed out, "This was the loudest sport with the quietest fans."  The cars make a lot of noise but the fans sit silently watching the action and listening to their headphones unless something interesting happens.

All the drivers were men except the #10 car that was driven by Danica Patrick. One of the interesting events happened when Jamie McMurry's car blew an engine.  Watching the pit stops and restarts was fun.  I placed two winning "sucker's bets" on NFL inside the Dover Downs casino.  State law only allows parlays.

Overall, it was a fun experience but I don't think I'll be going to another race anytime soon.

I leave you with few photos from NASCAR Sunday.

Let's Go Racing Boys (and Danica)!
#1 Blows an Engine
Pit Stop

Heading Home Across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

October Baseball

The title of this post might be a little bit misleading.  When you hear the words October baseball, you probably think of playoff baseball.  But since the MLB playoffs haven't started, I think the title is appropriate.

Late last week, I got on the computer and out of curiosity pulled up the Washington Nationals regular season schedule.  They had one weekend series left at home and it was against the Miami Marlins.  We couldn't make it to the Friday game.  I was attending another sporting event on Sunday.  Saturday, October 1 at 4 PM, would be our only chance.

I found cheap tickets ($17 each) online with good seats but was wondering why were they so cheap.  A little bit of research revealed that rain was a likely possibility during the game.  I was a little bit more optimistic when I read that the chance of rain by 4 PM was only 50%.  Being a poker player, I made the hero call and hoped the weatherman was bluffing.

Worst case scenario: If it was raining 30 minutes before the game, we wouldn't go and take a loss on the tickets.

Best case scenario: The rain would stop by 2 PM.  The rest of the day would be overcast but with no rain.  And the Nats would win while hitting a home run or two.

Lucky for us, the best case scenario happened!  Nats won 2-1 and Trea Turner hit a home run in the bottom of the fifth inning.  Our seats were in section 101 right above the Marlins bullpen. 

Here are some photos from the game.  One is a screenshot from an video of the home run.

Overcast but Pleasant

Home Run Nats!

Great Spot to Watch Relief Pitchers Warm-Up

Saturday, October 1, 2016

A Poker Question

My last post drifted away from the topics we typically cover.  Let's get back to poker!

There was a $500 high hand promo going on every 20 minutes.  The high hand at the time was quad kings.  I was seated in a $1/$2 game but wasn't involved in the following hand.

With 5 minutes until the end of the high hand round, seat 6 bet pre-flop and seat 4 called.  The flop was Q,9,4 and both players checked.  The turn was Q♠, seat 6 slowly checked and seat 4 checked also.  The river was a king, seat 6 took his time and then bet.  Seat 4 called.

With 3 minutes left until the end of the high hand round, seat 6 flipped over Q,Q for quads!  He said that there was way too much time left on the clock for him to wait it out.  Since the current high hand was quad kings, all he could do was wait for the start of a new promo round and hope quad queens didn't get beat.  

Several players at the table commented.  Some said that they would have tried to milk the clock.  Others, including me, responded by saying that there was too much time left for the move to work without the floor nullifying the hand.

I'm curious what the readers think or what would they have done in this situation?

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, 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 an older building 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.