The masochistic adventures of a donkamenteur
So I'm writing two entries at once, I separated them because otherwise it would be so long no-one would ever read it (though I do flirt with that in most of my entries anyway!)
The previous entry was the cynical side of how I've been feeling.
In reality I have been actually running quite well again, and things have been fun.
I have been getting quite a bit of coverage at the Crown tournaments.
Poker is funny that way. It doesn't really matter how much money you win playing cashgames, unless you play nosebleeds, no-one will really know or care who you are, other than the guys you are playing against, who see you in a competitive light anyhow.
But as soon as you book some tournament results that people can see in print - they want to know your story.
I had a 3-page interview in Bluff Australia recently and I have been #1 on the Australian online tournament leaderboard for the past couple of months.
So at tournaments they take photos of me and report on big hands I play and stuff, even though I've never achieved anything live and I don't know any of the other Australian poker celebrities/grinders/regulars/degens because I am from the opposite side of the country to the action (or more astutely, I am from the internet!).
It is fun, and I find the "can online guys crush live events?" thing very interesting myself, so it's pretty cool to be part of.
They interviewed me on camera at the 10K event. I wasn't expecting it and it was a bit weird but it was fun.
I do like being anonymous and not having to wonder if people know who I am or not when I'm playing against them.
No-one in Melbourne ever used to know who I was or have any inclination that I was a good player.
There was this one time that I sat 10/20 and the game was like 7 or 8 handed, and I could tell they were all regulars and knew each other.
I had a bit of a feeling that they were all trying to figure out whether I was the fish or not, and I was playing pretty aggro as usual.
Then my friend Jovan who is the best live player from my city, who absolutely terrorises the Melbourne high stakes games whenever he rolls into town during tournaments - came over and said hi, shook my hand etc.
Within 5 minutes the game broke, as they obviously all figured out that I wasn't the mark they were hoping I was going to turn out to be when they saw a random kid come to the table.
I love stuff like that and I loved being anonymous and I feel really sheepish when people are kind of excited to meet me, but it is cool having a bit of pressure on to have to play well because people expect it.
Anyhow yesterday was the $2700 main event, the last tournament before I go home.
The field was split into two day-ones, with around 400 runners total - so about a million dollar prize pool, 200K for first.
I played the first day so I could head home earlier if I busted out.
Things went ok, and the structure was absolutely amazing.
20K starting stack, one hour levels, no antes until the sixth level... Very slow.
My starting table was suitably soft. I was at one end of the table directly facing probably the greatest Australian boxer of all time, Jeff Fenech!
There were the usual lineup of nits ready for a long day of folding.
I played the role of trying to stir everyone up by playing a lot of hands, not letting people limp, etc.
I got overstraighted in the first orbit (95 vs 9T on 678) but I only lost about 10% of my stack.
The first interesting hand I played came up when a couple of guys limped at 50/100, and I made it 550 to go in late position with that most premium of hands, the Seven-Four of Hearts.
They both called, and the flop came 6h5h4.
They both checked, I bet 1050 and one of the guys, who is apparently married to Australian live pro "Aussie Sarah", and who was visibly tired of my shenanigans, made the call.
Turn came the 9x. He checked, I bet 2700, he thought a few seconds and pushed his half stack allin... so maybe 5500-6000 more to call.
Kind of a sick spot but I felt like he might do it with a hand like TT or something, and even vs a set I have a lot of outs... I dunno, I prefer to take the high-variance side so I called and he turned over close to the best hand he could have for my benefit... A2hh.
Pair of fours too good my friend, better luck next time!
A little later I picked up AKs at 100/200. UTG live donk-nit limped, I raised next to act and the table folded, he called.
Flop rolled out AQ4. He led for 1050 into 1500, I called to re-evaluate.
Turn peeled off a King. He checked pretty quickly, I thought a little while.
Decided that he either had AQ, 44, or was going to fold. I bet 2700, sizing it large because if he raised I was going to fold, and if he called, I had him on the hook bigtime.
He called without much thought and I knew he had AQ, so sick.
River came a blank, he checked and I bet 5400, not wanting to bet so huge that it was blatantly obvious or out of sync with the flow of the hand, but betting as much as I could casually.
He thought for ages, shook his head etc. I knew he was never folding, he was nowhere near good enough.
Eventually he inevitably called, I rolled my hand he said "I knew you had Ace King" I said "I know you have Ace Queen".
He steamed pretty hard for a while after that, then went to the bathroom.
He was about to be UTG again, with me as UTG+1. The dealer had dealt out all of the cards and I had already seen my hand and had my cards outstretched to fold, when he saw he was about to miss the hand so he called out "Ooh Ooh Ooh Ooh!" from behind the dealer to get his attention.
I looked at his cards, his empty seat and then at the dealer, and said "come on man it's a clear fold" while the guy was still in the process of sitting down.
Guy argued vehemenently, and I disagreed.
He said "the rules have changed, you don't need to be sitting in your seat when the last card is dealt, the dealer just needs to have not mucked your hand yet..."
I said "well he only didn't muck your hand because you called out to him from behind and we all sat here waiting for you to come back to get your hand, and that's not right".
He said "look you're wrong, and if you want to play a $3000 tournament you should probably learn the rules first..."
I said "oh **** off don't give me that crap, it's a clear angle shoot and you only got away with it because you know the dealer".
He turned and looked me in the eye all serious and said "what did you just say to me?"
I got pretty pissed off so I held his stare and said "I said **** off, and while we're at it, **** you".
He said "if this wasn't a tournament I would drop you right now", I said "wait how old...
So Thursday was the 10K NLHE event at Crown. Only 26 runners showed up which was disappointing, but the field looked fairly soft and played even softer.
Jimmyhat staked me for the event, which was the first time I've ever been staked in anything.
I think usually I would be a bit uncomfortable playing for someone elses money (especially so much) but seeing as I made him what he is and now he's ballin out of control, I felt ok about it
The lineup was pretty much all the middle aged Aussie pros who have been playing together since the 80s, plus Bond18, myself, and a couple of other people who picked up a random 50K score over the past year or two and that think that means they have now "made it" and deserve to enter themselves in events like this whenever they are on.
It's definitely really interesting playing in a field like that, where all the old guys obviously assume that I'm out of my depth playing for so much money vs such established competitors in the live arena and will probably either "blow up" or be overly intimidated, but where I on the other hand obviously assume that most of them are making so many fundamental mistakes that even if it might take me a while to steel the nerves in those type of events, in the long run I am going to clean up.
Some of these guys are damn good, don't get me wrong. Tino Lechich was one guy who played really really well, it was always hard to put him on a hand but whenever I did end up seeing his cards his line always turned out to have been a good one, and he played very aggressively but controlled.
But some of these guys, my god.
One hand I raised utg at 100/200, after having played maybe 5 hands total during the first 2 hours, and never moved a chip.
Next two guys called no worries, folded around and then the small blind decides that the old Ace Nine offsuit is worth a bash four-handed out of position.
What are you thinking when you call there? "Hopefully I'll overtrips someone else with a 9"?
Flop comes AJThh. SB checks I check my AK cos I'm a nit obviously and I don't want to play for stacks four handed on that board - no-one has been getting that out of line yet as is always the standard in a 10K live event... the other two guys check too.
Turn pairs the A. SB checks I bet 1500 into 2800, the two guys behind me fold and then the SB checkraises his A9o to 4500!
I want to throw up because he's been so nitty thus far and really he should only be CRing fullhouses and straights there unless he's trying to bluff me off KK/QQ, which seems like a pretty terrible idea if that is the bottom of my range... but I can't fold after repping such weakness, so I call.
River pairs the T, so now he can't really have TT, I beat JJ/KQ, AT is split, etc. so I obviously have to get it in, but I don't realise how bad he is yet so when he instashoves I actually say "well I have to call but this hand feels pretty ugly" and then he rolls the good old Ace Nine offsuit and half the guys at the table look at me like wtf planet are you from? I thought internet kids were crazy??? You had the nuts! Are you really that scared??
Another small factor to me not expecting him to bluff or valuebet super light was that he's from my home town, we played together in the State of Origin team, I don't really know him but all I knew about him was that he has had some money finishes in live events and he only plays tournaments, and he'd been really passive so far so I just assumed he was a standard live nit.
I asked him if he was bluffing on the turn or not and he said "corr I dunno Jay, I was just a bit shortstacked and had to make a move at some point!" (he had ~12K at 100/200 no antes...)
Anyway I really didn't see any cards at all for the whole tourney.
One hand I picked up AQdd in the SB and opened, BB (the maniac guy who drunkenly played his HU battle with Fslexcduck for a PLO bracelet in the dark) called.
Flop came A54dd, I bet he called. Turn was a T, I bet he folded. That was the biggest pot I won I think!
The beginning of the end came at 150/300/25. I had about 13K, 2 people openlimped from late position (yes, this tournament featured the pride of Australian poker) and the SB who was some donk from NZ who played every hand limped too.
I made it 1950 with KJs.
The limpers folded, and the SB went into the tank. In the end he just couldn't bring himself to fold two cards before the flop even came out, so he called.
Flop came T84 with a flush draw I didn't have. He thought a bit, stared me down. Started grabbing chips to lead out. Grabbed more, and more. Bet 2100.
I figured, why would this dude ever bet with a hand? If he called preflop cos he thinks I have a wide range, why would he not let me c-bet if he really hit the flop?
So I made it 5400 pretty fast. He thought a while, but shoved, sigh
I said "well I have absolutely nothing but I almost want to call because you can only have a flush draw".
I folded, he showed a ten, and having obviously misheard me said "gee, it must have been close, there was nearly enough in there to call with a flush draw wasn't there?".
Yeah, I folded my last 5K with a flush draw in a 30K pot on the flop, genius. Ffs.
I restole successfully once when the same guy opened the button for 900 (I had A8s) so I had about 6K-6500 left when Tino Lechich opened from the hijack for 800 with a big stack behind him (it's kinda cool seeing old dudes play internet style w/small opens and large ranges), I looked down at KJ and shipped it in.
He called quickly with AQ and the board ran out blank, zzz gg 10K.
It is amazing how often I manage to bust out of live tournaments before I have even dragged a single relevant pot.
I see people flopping sets, or making flushes vs straights, or getting overpair vs overpair, and looking so unfazed when they drag the double up pot like it's just another day in a live tournament. Like they expect it.
And then the same dudes when they ever take a beat, going completely nuts like they cannot believe this would possibly happen.
It is amazing the psychological effect of variance, especially in live tournaments where the sample sizes are so small, but the amounts of money won are SO BIG.
Even coming like 20th in a 10K event, which can easily be done by folding a LOT and getting a few good spots here and there, and *should* be a disappointing finish... can net you 50K and make you a "name" in a fairly small poker network like Australia.
A one thousand hand heater spread over two tournaments dealt out to an otherwise standard, taggy, break even live player can turn him into a "feared player", and cause him to buy into high stakes tournaments for the rest of his life.
It is beautiful and it is grotesque. Tournaments are satan. I love them.
Played the $1100 6-handed tournament at Crown today.
My first table had five unknowns. I raised probably 6 or 7 of the first 10 hands, anything vaguely connected looks good with 200bb vs live players especially if I can cultivate a crazy image.
Still early on, middle aged slobby guy tells me I'm gonna raise him one too many times if I keep it up.
Very next hand fish limps 50 utg, I make it 200 with QQ, 10K behind, slobby guy calls, fish calls.
Flop comes Qc 5c 7x. I bet 400, slob sings something about how he's gonna get me in playful way and quickly calls, fish folds.
Turn comes 3c. I check. He bets 1200 into 1400, which is obviously a massive bet in the context of the first level of a live tournament.
I'm pretty sure he has a flush, I mean, otherwise I wouldn't check obviously. But he's clearly terrible so I call to try and peel the river.
River is the 2 of hearts. I check, he bets 3700.
I'm sure I have to fold.
Playing a lot of live poker in Vegas definitely taught me that my reads are nearly always spot on and I should trust them, and the week off has given me the detachment to be able to do so, so I fold face up cos I don't really like the guy and I want him to feel owned, and he goes nuts.
How can you fold that?!?!?! WTF!!!!!!! etc. Table says go on, show a red card. He shakes his head, shows the Jc and mutters to himself for the next couple of minutes.
Not much happens for a while, then 2 guys limp and I top up the SB with 54s at 50/100.
Flop comes K84, I check and the other 3 all check too.
Turn is a 5, I bet 300 into 400. Folds to the button, he makes it 800.
Weird. I'm so bad at folding normally, and I rarely show cards, but I fold faceup again, and he shows me the obvious 67.
The table thinks I'm a god at this point, some dude who plays 50 vpip but then folds whenever he's behind.
I run up chips despite hiccups and have about 15K when I get moved during the first break.
We come back to our tables and there are only two other guys sitting down, one empty seat and two empty stacks.
I let old Greek dude steal once when I have 32o, but the next hand I have K3s so I repop his open in position.
He calls, and folds to my flop c-bet, around the time a player returns back to one of the empty stacks... and it's Joe Hachem, lol.
Then a second later the other stack is claimed by another one of the few players I know in the event, one of biggest lags in the Crown HSNL games named Jimmy Su, who is the typical cashgame donator but tournament accumulator.
Greek guy opens from the hijack to 600, we have 14K effective stacks.
I call on the cutoff with KJs, old man on button calls too.
Flop comes K65dd. PFR check, I bet 1100 into 1800, button calls, PFR folds.
Turn 3x. I bet 2750, button raises 4K on top quickly and I actually feel a lot less confident than I did about the first two folds but I fold again. Meh
So I'm back to starting stack, which is fine as it's still early, but disappointing and I probably have a bad image now too at my new table.
Empty seat gets filled by the slob I laid down QQQ to. He opens to 600 with 10K behind, I flat AThh on the button. Hachem flats from the BB also.
Flop rolls out Jh 7h 5. GG
Hachem checks, slob quickly checks, I think a little and bet 1200 into 1900.
Hachem tanks forever, counts his chips out like he's gonna make a raise, then a call, etc, trying to guage my reaction all the while.
My ex-gf is on the rail, she never got to see me play poker live while we were together so she has come down to watch me play, and now here I am being toyed with by Joe Hachem (!!!!!) and she is loving it.
I'm pretty indifferent, I mean, there is a live poker coinflip brewing - I'm already wondering what's going to be running in the Olympics when I get home in 30 minutes, so what do I care.
Hachem makes it 3K, slob immediately goes allin for 9K.
I think a few seconds to balance my tell range and put in my remaining 7K or whatever, and Hachem tanks forever before folding, claiming AJ.
Slob rolls 777, sigh. Turn pairs the 5 and I'm done.
I have gotta be getting up there with the old Bond18 in cannot possibly buy a bucket in live event streaks.
I played sick good today though. Like really, truly, seriously sick good.
Jimmyhat is staking me in to the $10K Highroller event on Thursday, and we are playing in the $550 teams event tomorrow as well.
Then there's the $2700 Main Event on the weekend. Please just let me cash in something, ffs.
I won 8K at PLO today, so it was still a good day. Found a whale sitting 10/20 so I sat and stacked him three times, and also won 5 buyins at 2/4.
Playing great since the break, SEABEAST is back.
So after a day or two rest and a lot of sleep I woke up at a good time to play the Sundays (yes that means I woke up at 11pm!)
I really felt in the zone and enthused to play. I think I might have underestimated how good the break has been for me.
This was definitely the Sunday to be in the zone for too, what with 3 FTOPS events and the Party Birthday Million event on in addition to all the usual stuff.
I was so looking forward to playing that I even entered a $22 tournament 45 minutes before the Stars Warmup/Party Million just to get some hands going along with the 150K gtd on Ongame.
2500 runners, with a 50Kish prize pool.
As more and more of the genuinely worthwhile tourneys started appearing on my screen I started increasingly wondering why the hell I had bothered to register for a $22 tournament, but I just never busted as the hours went on.
I felt pretty stupid when I had 15 tournaments running at once on my laptop, overlapping each other and stressing the hell out of me, while I checked the lobby and saw that even though I was deep into the money there were still 80 people left and I was guaranteed like literally $48.
But sure enough, time went on, and I kept accumulating. I really am good at crushing soft fields.
I have a ridiculously good record in midstakes tourneys. Eg. I have 3 wins and a 2nd place in the 50/50, which is just absurd considering it has 1500-2000 players most of the time and I've probably only played it about 80 times.
I'm so suited to soft fields where players spazz out at the start but then turn into huge nits deep in the tournament, as I am very comfortable playing extremely laggy when I have some chips.
I think in high stakes tourneys I am far too willing to bust out to try and create a stack, when in a tougher field the implied odds of getting a stack big enough to open tons is nowhere near as high, so my marginal shoves and resteals are often marginally bad instead of marginally good and I would sometimes be better off just doing the PearlJammer thing and folding until I find the nuts.
In a weaker field however, my edge is so ridiculously huge if I can manage to get a 50bb stack for the bubble and pre final table periods that it is worth playing somewhat recklessly to either get there or bust.
Anyway, I just kept accumulating and accumulating and eventually I wound up utterly destroying the final table.
From 3 handed on I played literally 100% VPIP when I was opening from either button or SB.
They were both utter nits, and it was great fun slowly relieving them of their chips.
So I wound up defeating all 2500 men for $7000, which was a really great confidence boost.
At the same time I was managing to win all my crucial showdowns in the Party Million, and after getting AA vs AK and AA vs JJ, I found myself as the chipleader with 100 left, first place paying $233,000 US.
With 50 left, still the chipleader. Getting pretty damn excited at that point.
Lost KQs vs TT for a decent amount, and a couple of small hands. 2nd in chips with 32 left.
Then an MSNLer I have played 5/10 with who posts a little in the Party Regs Thread won a couple of pots and got his stack roughly equal to mine, and we both msged each other at the exact same time on 2+2 asking if the other person wanted to swap 10%, haha.
Pretty cool, especially since we even both said the exact same % amount and were simultaneously typing the message to each other.
I then got AT allin vs A2 and lost, AQ allin vs A6 and lost, and only had a little over average stack.
The table I was on was playing very aggressively so I pretty much had to wait for hands.
Nothing came for a very long time. I didn't play a single hand for 2 orbits I believe, and I found myself with a little below average with 25 left.
Finally I found a hand, AQ. It folded around to the button who had around 25bb, i had 20.
He opened, I shoved. Sadly the BB (10bb or so) woke up with QQ, and the board blanked out and halved my stack.
Next hand I openshoved the button with Q8 and took it down.
Didn't find anything for the next orbit, found myself with 10bb again next time I had the button and it folded to me.
I openshoved 53o, and Fazi found AJ in the SB and called.
The flop gave me some hope with 42x, but blanked off and I was out in 21st for a measy $4363
However, my horse now had the chiplead with 20 left!
I kept the table open and watched while I played everything else. I cashed in way more stuff than I usually do.
I cashed in the FTOPS HU event, but lost two flips back to back to go from 4500/1500 to busto in the 128-64 round.
I cashed in the FTOPS 1.5M gtd event too, but busted soon after.
I also cashed in tons of other small-medium stuff, but didn't really get anywhere.
But I still had my horse, and thank god, because I would have been gutted to have gone from chipleader with 40 left to busting in 21st if I didn't have someone to sweat.
He played really good, and despite getting restolen on a million times by the same guy (who kept voluntarily showing strong hands when people folded) made it to the final table with about 12bb, which sounds really short but was basically equal 3rd in chips as nearly everyone at the table had 10-15bb, other than two guys with big stacks.
He managed to double up pretty early when T9 beat 88 on Q8xJx, but then with 9 left he opened K4 in SB, BB who had similar stack size called, and they got it in on a flop of K85cc or similar - BB had KT and it blanked out...
Fazi was left with 0.75BB and our dreams were crushed!
Obviously due to antes he had to call allin next hand no matter what the hand, he found J3.
HU with the BB who had two random cards, the board rolled out A245!
Then the river was a devastating 3, wtf
So they split the antes and he had 1.25bb. Next hand he found 76, gotta call allin again.
This time 3 callers, 5-6bb monster pot!
The board comes A76!
But the turn is an 8, and the river a 9! WTF!
Somehow though, he still wins!
So now he has a massive 6bb stack, and openshoves, and everyone folds! Next hand, again! Everyone folds! He's back at 10bb!
So sick. God it was so fun railing. Totally turned what would have been a soulcrushing experience into a really fun one.
In the end after playing really great throughout he finished 3rd, after getting AJ allin vs the chipleaders A6, and coming up short.
So he won $82K, and shipped me a nice $8K.
I've gotta admit, it's always fun when other people win you money.
So I think overall I'm up probably about 35K in 3 days play since my detox, which is absolutely huge given that I've just been playing MTTs/400 PLO.
I feel great about it, and feel good and relaxed about poker again ie. I feel like I can go back to playing only when I...
Sadly I mean like the flu, as opposed to the other kind of sickness.
My throat hurts really badly and I've had no energy the last couple of days
I did manage to log two solid days of play before I got sick, and book some wins.
I came 2nd in the 50K gtd on Stars for $7500, and also came 2nd in a tourney on iPoker for $7000.
At the same time I was on the iPoker final table I was also on final tables in the 109+R on Stars, 50K gtd Rebuy on Ongame, and 15K gtd on FT... but I busted all of them early on, so I felt pretty bummed out afterwards to only make a 7K score out of all of that (though at least the 4Kish from the other final tables paid for my entry fees and meant the scores for each day were pure profit).
Seems like I'm back in form and/or running better hopefully.
I logged some hands at 400 PLO as well, and won 2K or so.
I am still trying to refocus on cashgames, just there are a lot of great tournaments around at the moment.
Really nice to be winning again, but this flu will slow me down for a couple of days.
On Friday night I played in the inaugural State of Origin poker event in Australia - State of Origin is a pretty big concept in Australian sport (Rugby and Australian Rules Football), so they put together a poker version and I was on the West Aussie team.
The format was pretty nice, six six-man shootouts down to one six-man final table and my starting table was really soft, but I just didn't win a relevant pot at all and the structure was pretty fast.
It was a cool idea though, and fun to be on the team. For the record we came 5th out of 6 states, and South Australia won!
I was really hoping to play a lot of poker this week as FTOPS and Victorian Champs are both on still and the friend I've been staying with is going back to uni on Monday, but I feel so run down that I might end up just lying around sleeping instead
I'm leaving for Melbourne in a few hours.
I am going to attempt to detox, not just from poker (though I am not going to play any poker for a week), but also my diet and overall habits.
I'm going to eat lots of organic/vegan food (some fish here and there but close to no meat other than that), I'm going to drink tea instead of coffee, and I'm going to spend as little time as possible on the internet.
Instead I will live at a slow pace, hang out with friends (so many arts and poker minded people move from Perth to Melbourne that I have almost as many friends there as here nowadays) and just generally relax and take stock.
Will be good for me I think, though it sucks to be leaving my bands behind for another couple of weeks.
Had a practice for the band I'm drumming in last night and it went well.
We are called Hospital Beds, and are probably the most accessible sounding of any of the bands I've ever been in, it's indie music written by a punk guy, basically.
I am really torn at the moment, because I want to go to Macau and to other APPT events that are in really interesting places like Seoul and Auckland, but taking time off delays the progress of the bands I'm in.
It's tough. It might seem ironic but I think that if/when I eventually do well in a live event it will make it easier for me to stop wanting to go to them - at the moment it's one of those male pride things where "it's just something I have to do".
I tried to play a bit of poker today. Was heading for a solid win then I got AA allin for 400bb pot on the flop vs KK and he insta spiked a K, and then I got nut flush allin vs ten high flush and he rivered a gutshot straight flush, nh sirs.
My fuse is pretty short atm so I quit, still up a little but *sigh*.
Anyway, I can't wait to get to Melbourne, I'm staying with a friend that I really miss, and Melbourne is just one of the best cities there is or will ever be.
At the same time as the live tourneys are on the FTOPS starts, so after my week off there will be plenty of opportune moments to rediscover some run-good.
See you guys in a week.
Well, it's been fun. Nice knowing you all.
Not really, I am taking a week off though.
Heading to Melbourne on Thursday, staying with non-poker friend, and hoping to play no poker whatsoever.
Then after that the Victorian Champs are on, and I will be staying at Crown and playing in some more live tournaments (I guess I am a masochist).
Depending on how that goes I am probably going to head to Macau for the APT/APPTs in consecutive weekends there after that, especially if I can get backing or sell some pieces.
It is tough at the moment. I am constantly getting messages about coaching or my videos and constantly feeling like I *should* be playing - when in reality I am disgusted and depressed about poker and it's the last thing I want to be thinking about or spending time doing.
I don't know when it became tough to take a couple of days off, but somehow, it did.
Maybe I am suffering from a buildup of guilt at squandering so much money on the road, 5 star hotels, room service, paying for two people...
I don't know, but for whatever reason I constantly feel like I *should* be playing poker, though it's very rarely what I actually want to be doing.
So... yeah, you can probably tell by my tone that 2/4 has been going well.
I won 5 buyins the first day of my banishment. Since then I have played 15K hands, and lost money.
I haven't betrayed my pledge though, at all, and I won't.
The games are much tougher. Sometimes it feels like there are 4 of me on each table.
What happened to the 21/13s or even 18/14s?
I am running so bad, too. I tried to make a video earlier. 4-tabled for an hour and lost seven buyins. Seven!
I don't know if you guys have ever made a poker video that you planned to show to other people, but... you tend to be pretty careful with your decisions and with not tilting, because you're going to have to explain everything... so seven buyins was pretty gross.
I listened back to the recording afterwards and it was so sad hearing my chirpy voice at the start.
"Hi, this is SEABEAST, and this is my latest video for Leggo Poker. Today I'm gonna be playing some $2/4 on Party, should be fun I think!"
Today is my last day in the states, I thought I would superficialise, generalise, and trivialise the whole experience by giving the USA a report card.
Nightlife: 10/10 - It's sick what you can get up to in this country if you have money. Lots of good shows and concerts and stuff, always something to do.
People: 9/10 - Americans are way more laidback and friendly than I expected. Undeserving of bad international reputation imo.
Food: 7/10 - Restaurant wise, very good. Cafe wise, mediocre (you can't just expect to stumble onto something decent whenever you feel hungry like you can in Australian cities). Junk food, way too good (loses points!) - there are like 75 brands/flavours of ice cream, 24 hour donut shops, a CHAIN of 24 hour pancake houses, wtf.
Coffee: 0/10 - No wonder everyone floods their coffee with milk and sugar here. Just awful. Can't imagine there's worse in the entire world, really. Starbucks is better than an F but only with milk added, which is something I rarely do in AU or Europe. Plus the dominance of Starbucks with all their milky sugary over the top creations just means that America will probably never become good at coffee anyway ;[
Girls: 7.5/10 - Better than I expected. If you're into tanned gym/beach type girls then better than 7.5. Actually, if you're into tanned, toned bimbos then Vegas is the stone cold nuts. Girls take better care of themselves than in Australia, but are less naturally attractive (Annette said it so I can too). There is a mythical realm where the best of both world's collide, and that realm is known as Europe.
Service: 5.5/10 - Man. Forced tipping has gotta be the worst thing ever. When we first got in at the Venetian, it seemed like wow, this tipping thing is totally justified - everyone is so friendly and helpful, gotta be worth a dollar here and there. Nope, that's just the Venetian ;[ Overall, service in Australia is much higher quality than the US, and I had pretty much never tipped anyone in my life before this trip.
Vibe: Too varied across cities to give one rating. Less intense a vibe overall than I expected. I guess the way I would sum things up overall is that middle-class Americans are super laidback, intelligent, open-minded etc... so if you don't go to the wrong areas, America is a fun place. But unfortunately due to the rather savage distribution of American wealth there are a lot of Americans that aren't middle class, and there are a lot of wrong places.
Shops: 8/10 - Globalisation kinda spoils things here, but still a lot of good stuff around. Can't think of many great shops I went to that weren't a chain store that they have in every city. Even the op-shops and vintage stores are often branded, and selling the same stuff in the next city along the map. To be fair, a place like Urban Outfitters is as good/better than any non chain-store I can think of, and the department stores are fking huge.
Overall I liked the place more than I expected to.
I feel like I have a pretty good grasp of the West Coast now, but I definitely want to come back and check out the East Coast and get up to Canada.
Am flying out tonight, got a 14 hour flight then a 5 hour layover then another 4 hour flight. Shorter than coming home from Europe!
So I still can't bring myself to go back to NLHE cashgames (last 50K-hand month I had was February) and I have begun the process of figuring out Pot Limit Omaha.
I have been playing 5/10-25/50. I'm up a decent amount but I have ran good at 25/50 and hands get logged so slowly that, despite dedicating myself to the grind and mostly 9 tabling when there are 9 games going, I've still only played 12000 hands.
Thus, it's tough to know where I'm at.
The games play very weakly and boringly. Occasionally cool spots come up, and it's fun having 3 draws at once or super-powerful strong double-suited hands sometimes, but overall I have been surprised - PLO is actually exceptionally boring.
To be fair, 25/50 is a world apart from everything lower as far as I can tell, and I'm sure that at 25/50 and above the game is super complex and interesting.
At midstakes though, you are basically a robot, grinding out more than your fair share of small pots and trying not to lose coinflips.
The games are definitely soft, but...
I was going to say it's not very mentally stimulating, but it's not really that, because you are always calculating stuff.
It's... the game isn't very competitively stimulating.
You can't just completely manhandle people like you can sometimes at Holdem.
You can't run them over, tilt them as easily, call them down as often in a way which exerts total dominance...
So it's just not all that fun. It's much more of a robotic math-grind.
But yeah, I'll slog it out a while, the money is nice so far and I just can't play NL cash anymore for some reason.
Something in my head broke (might have been doing a lot of coaching) and now the thought of playing NL cash seems like such a chore.
Anyway I have been up all night, and now I have to go to Disneyland.
Four winning days in a row! Up a little over 20K playing a bit of everything, mostly Pot-Limit Omaha actually.
I have been practicing PLO after watching Gordo here and there in the house, not for any extended amount of time, but just enough here and there to give me some insight and some things to think about.
I was always very proud that I developed my NLHE game on my own, and I am hesitant to get a PLO coach for the same reason, but we all need food for thought and seeing some of the crazy stuff Gordo does has given me a lot to think about and opened up my thinking to a lot of possibilities.
Feels really great to be accumulating money again anyway, that's for sure!
The other night was the Pokerstars WSOP Party featuring Dita Von Teese.
Went down with Annette and Ed (one of Greg's students) and it seemed like it was gonna be kinda boring at first, although the burlesque dancing was cool and the club was actually not bad.
But then while we were looking over the club from the upper area I noticed my friends Jack (DrFun) and Scott (Mongy) on the floor, two British guys that I met in Vienna and really liked, and instantly the night took a turn for the better.
Drinks started flowing, and I met Andy (Tufat) who I had talked to online a bit, and he introduced me to Bill (Snowbank) who I had always gotten along with on 2+2 and PMed a couple of times (we were probably the 2 biggest winners at Party 1/2 just before the UIGEA, and we both kept turbogrinding small stakes even with six figure rolls, choosing to invest the money in real estate rather than moving up).
They were both really cool and I had some good conversations with people, other guys that were there included Alcohol4Life/Ap0calypse/LucidDream and some others, sigh I'm bad with names
We tried to go bowling at the Rio but apparently it closes at 3am - who knew!
So we just went to the late night sportsbar for beers/food instead.
I have to say overall, the vast majority of poker people I have met both in Europe and America have been super awesome and it has been heartening.
It's easy to dismiss poker as a very one dimensional thing (which it is) but there certainly are a lot of smart and interesting people that are good at it.
Other stuff - around the time of the Main Event Annette and I stayed at the Venetian for 4 nights, just to get away and unwind a little.
Saw Blue Man Group, which I thought was pretty sick, probably 9/10.
Dined at Bouchon, which was excellent but also had a laidback vibe, and Gaylord's Indian Restaurant at the Rio was great as well.
Couple of nights ago we went to a decent Japanese restaurant at MGM (hooked on sashimi at the mo), but then I got into a sour mood from being tired/half drunk and very full and stayed home while everyone else went out and got bottle service at a club.
After I busted the Main Event I was super depressed, but I watched Forgetting Sarah Marshall and that cheered me up.
I'm a bit of a sucker for those newschool comedies - like most of them the second hour was much much worse than the first, but overall it was a fun throwaway flick and it put me in a good mood.
I am probably going to LA this weekend, and then home after that.
I can't wait to get home and get into a healthy and profitable routine.
I will probably spend some time in Melbourne soon and I think I will play the APPTs this year in Macau/Seoul/Sydney/Auckland, but other than that I want to spend a lot of the second half of the year in Perth and hopefully make a bunch of progress with the bands I've been stalling by being away so much.
It will be great to be back home.