Monday, September 19, 2016

Only 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

Saturday, September 17, 2016

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 11,000, I couldn't fold for 5,000 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 16,300 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 22,000 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 the river gave me 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 17,000 chips while the other guy had A-4 with 6,000 chips.  I ended up with Broadway and took it down.  Too bad there were no bounties!  Up to 64,000 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 71,000 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 40,000 in chips.

I saw a flop with Q-8 versus three short stacks.  One guy was all-in.  The flop was K-Q-6 and my bet on the flop made the other two guys fold.  The all-in guy flipped over A-5.  My pair of queens won and I had 58,000 chips.  Before the second break I was down to 53,000 in chips.  We went on break with 47 players remaining.

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

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 Live 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.

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 10,000 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 2,000.  Only seat 9 called who had started the hand with 8,500 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

Down to the Wire

Live 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 A-A or K-K and seat 4 has Q-Q.  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

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Labour Day Weekend

You might think Gee, doesn't this Ace guy know how to spell Labor Day properly!  The answer resides with our neighbor to the north.  I got a chance to spend a fun three-day weekend with my lady in Canada.  We flew to Buffalo, rented a car, and then drove to Niagara Falls and Toronto.  Here is a photo summary: