Archive Mar 2009: Bond18

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I just had a good idea

I’ve been trying to work on updating and fixing the leaks in my game lately. I feel over the previous six months I got involved with a lot of stuff outside online poker and really stopped working on improving, and considering how quick the pace of the online game moves that’s all you need to fall behind a bit. Some might think going through a downswing has just got in my head (and it has a little) but a few threads in HSMTT and various conversations with friends about strategy have confirmed to me that I have indeed developed some noticeable leaks.

I started talking to friends about doing HH review swaps or paying them for one. Then I thought; why do a few when I could probably do a bunch? Then I realized I could use them all to make a really interesting video series for Pokersavvyplus. So here’s my idea, I’m going to either swap or pay for HH reviews from around 10 players who are close to me that have a game I respect greatly. Once I have them in my procession I’ll put the HH in a replayer, fire up the review, and make videos of my going over the notes and discussing what the reviewer has brought up and why I agree or disagree with him. So far I’ve got a HH review swap agreed to with Sirwatts and Grafyx, have an old review from Seabeast that can be used, and Luckychewy has agreed to do one for me in exchange for a balla ass dinner in Las Vegas. I think this is exactly what I need to get back to speed, feel sharp going into my trip, and is a great opportunity to make some cool Savvy video’s that will showcase a number of smart players great poker minds. Let’s do this shit.

How to have a bad Monday

My Monday got its start at 3am my time, around noon in the States. I accidentally over registered throughout the course of my day, and wound up 22 tabling with over lap everywhere and my computer slowing down because of all the activity, though it was mostly manageable.

Near the end of my day I wound up going very deep in the Titan $250k guaranteed and the Full Tilt Sunday Brawl. First on Titan was 55k, Tilt probably something like 60k, I haven’t checked. At the final two tables on Titan there was a knock on my door. In came a real estate agent from Century 21, the apartment owner, and two people evaluating the apartment. I didn’t mind the interruption, but considering the apartment looks like a fucking grenade went off in here they certainly minded a few things. Also, when they came in I was shirtless, so I threw on the nearest article of clothing which I soon realized had a large stain on it.

What’s wrong with the apartment? It’s generically trashed in the same way most disorganized and lazy male 20 something’s apartments are, clothes strewn everywhere, surfaces cluttered with all kinds of random shit, some food strewn about, used glasses all over the place, tons of dirty dishes piling over the sink, various crap on my floor. There’s towels hanging up on various chairs, an empty milk carton by the couch, a plastic martini glass that fell apart lying on the floor near the coffee table, I could really keep going here. The sink in the bathroom has been clogged for a couple days now, so it’s full of murky water mixed with toothpaste and mouthwash. There’s a hole in the wall in the bathroom where the towel rack connects due to some…reckless behavior in there. Outside on the balcony the tile is stained because we dropped a bottle of olive oil that wound up making any filth it came into contact with stick like hell. I’m also taking care of Leo for a week or two, and there aren’t supposed to be any dogs in here.

When the group of four came in the look on the agents face was fucking priceless. I paid them basically zero attention because I was busy with my poker, and briefly apologized for “The place being a wreck.” A few minutes after they arrived my internet dropped out and I wound up being on the phone for most of their visit trying to get a friend to cover, and my internet fucking never drops out. Christ.

When I finally got back online I had basically blinded out of the Tilt tournament and got to enjoy watching AK being folded to a raise because it couldn’t connect. I wound up having to shove Q4o with like 7 BB’s on the button and got owned. On Titan I came back with a very good stack because I had been so huge, and with 11 left got it in with JJ against the other big stacks AK (and a very short stacks AQ) and off came the K. There was 25% of the chips in play in that pot.

The apartment owner wanted to go into the bedroom but I calmly told him “Don’t go in there, there’s a girl sleeping in there.” He was none too pleased with this statement and his ‘I’m gonna do it anyway’ attitude made me think he’s not used to having people talk to him like that. Then they went outside to the balcony and spoke in a tone I couldn’t hear and afterwards everyone left except the agent. He was actually a very nice guy and told me he plays on Full Tilt and was pretty fascinated by my playing for a living, but he also had to explain to me that the owner wasn’t pleased, particularly about the dog, and there’s no way in hell they believed me that he wasn’t actually living here. I told him I’d have a professional cleaner in within the next couple of days and the place would be much better soon. Still, I got the feeling the owner will probably spaz out no matter how well they spruce up the place, and I certainly won’t be using him as a reference for the next time I get a place. Normal people don’t seem to much care for the average poker player’s method of solving problems; shrugging and then throwing money at them until they go away and acting like nothing is a big deal.

On the plus side, by some miraculous bit of luck I had put my weed away in the cabinet instead of just leaving it on the table as I often do. So there’s that.

Time to throw my life away on the SCOOP

Things are about to wrap up here in Melbourne, I have barely over a week left. In reality my free time in Melbourne ends tomorrow when I start pulling 10-12 hour days of high volume, particularly with the upcoming SCOOP on Pokerstars. I’ll be waking up at about 3:30am every morning to get a work out in then start playing poker at 4:30am, assuming the events are on the same hour the WCOOP ones were, which I believe they are. I’ll be grinding from now until the day I leave.

I woke up at 4pm today and I’ll be pulling an all-nighter to play some of the early Monday tournaments (Sunday for those of you in the States.) Within a couple days my sleep schedule will be so fucked that no real social life will be possible, so this weekend was pretty much my last time hanging out with people in Melbourne. I’m sure I’ll catch up with a few more in the next few days, but the vast majority of my day will be on the tables or at the gym, plus I need to finish my taxes. For those who are curious; living in Australia does not absolve you of financial responsibility to the United States government. So long as you’re a citizen Uncle Sam owns your ass and that pointing pimp is ‘gonna get his’.

I’m looking forward to my trip, but not particularly to the upcoming $25,000 WPT championship I’m locked into. I don’t feel like I’m playing that great lately, and a few strategy threads on 2+2 have made me wonder when I got so behind the times (polite talk for saying I might suck at the pokers.) It’ll likely be a pretty damn tough live tournament, though a few people have told me that they wound up with very soft tables last year. I believe the start bank will be 75,000 at 50/100 blinds though, and let’s just say I’m not the most experienced 750 BB stack player. Leading up to it I’ll keep trying to post more hands and keeping a more active eye on HSMTT and running hands by the friends whose play I respect. I also told Grafyx I’d do a HH review exchange with him and need to get my ass on that, and should likely do it with a few other smart guys. This is the largest buy in I’ve ever played and I have 40% of myself with no make up, so I’d really best not show up and play like a fuck-tard. I wonder if using a hyphen is correct for fuck-tard.

I’ve been keeping up my obsessive fitness regime pretty nicely. I’m playing a lot of tennis and my swing has improved substantially over a few regular matches, closer to what it was back in high school. If anyone who reads this blog plays wants to play tennis in Vegas please let me know. I’ll try to keep the diet pretty tight, but I’m sure to fuck up a few times in a place with restaurants as good and free booze as tempting as Vegas. I’ve also started practicing taking punches in my boxing training, and just a few days of that makes it clear that my trainer could whip the living shit out of me in one round despite being like half my size. I’m going to try and keep training whenever and wherever possible when I’m stationary for long periods of my trip, as experiencing the skill gradient in the sport really fascinates me and it makes for awesome training. Plus it never hurts to know how to punch someone. Speaking of I saw a massive fight when I was out last week, man what the hell are people doing fighting each other in bars when they could be hitting on chicks? Yes I’m aware it could be over a chick, but if you crack onto some dudes girl and he starts getting all touchy about it you just need to be polite and apologize to avoid conflict, no need for people to get all nuts. That said, it was pretty fucking fun watching those eight or so dudes totally trash the place and wreck each other, then keep going out on the street. Ah to be young again.

96 Hours in the life of Bond18

Friday: I wake up at 9:52am and immediately turn on my computer. As always I have to wait a moment for it load up, then click the ‘resolve later’ button when it informs me my copy of ‘Windows’ may not be authentic which it has been doing for about a month now. It’s technically Celina’s computer, so I’m not sure what that’s all about and I’m clearly too lazy to fix it. While the computer finishes loading I go to the bathroom and take my morning piss.

I return a moment later, fire up each poker site that has a tournament starting at 10am, and register for them. I then go to take a shower which results in my sitting out for the first few minutes of the tournaments. I return to the computer in a towel and start playing my tables while registering for every other tournament I can get my hands on that has a buy in of $24 or more and anything close to an interesting prize pool. I’ve been running pretty awful lately (I’ve dropped roughly 7% of my roll which isn’t that big but still annoys me) so to help even out the variance I’m just playing fucking anything. I’m still making a decent amount of final tables, but near all of them wind up being a ninth through seventh instead of third through first.

I eat a protein bar and a glass of water. I would prefer milk but I realize that I don’t have any left in the house. When searching for it I realize I also don’t have anything else particularly edible that can be quickly prepared so I will not be eating during my work day today. I wind up making two final tables, including running deep in one of my last tournaments of the night which keeps me playing fairly late. I get a message from the girl I’m seeing who tells me she wants to go to a ‘Cambodian concert’ tonight with her sister. I don’t know what that it is, but seeing as it’s something totally random and different I’m not going to pass it up.

When I finish playing I run over to ‘Subway’ and eat a foot long roasted chicken sandwich. Then I head off to the gym and work out but have to make it brief as I’m running out of tme. Afterwards I get in my car and make the 40 minute drive down to the South West towards Dandenong. When I get there I have to reintroduce myself to her sister as I’m awful with names and met her some time ago late at night. They are dressed quite nicely and smell heavily of perfume, so I’m not quite sure what to expect. The sister directs me to the event and we park outside. It appears to be some kind of classy restaurant and/or function center.

Inside everyone is dressed rather formally and the place is decked with flowers, lights, and neat table dressings. At 6’1” I am comfortably the tallest person in the room.
“Jesus, it looks like prom in here, except this time I’m wearing more than a speedo” (back story found here: http://www.tworags.com/index.php?ACTION=blogs&todo=view&ID=2385) I remark upon seeing the room.

We take a seat at a table with a group of people we don’t know. Everyone is speaking Cambodian (or as it’s properly known; Khmer, as roughly 95% of Cambodians are Khmer’s.) In a room with a few hundred people there is only three other white guys, and they are about 40 and in a group together with what appears to be their wives. The attendants are all ranges of age, from the elderly to the two five year olds who chase each other around on the dance floor playing tag. In the front of the room there is a band playing Cambodian songs.

Shortly into the evening a couple of performers come out and sing a song that tells a story while the male actor carry’s around a doll posing as a baby. The female half of the couple is dressed traditionally and looks tall and statuesque.
“She’s really pretty don’t you think?” asks my date.
“Yes quite. As soon as she’s done singing I’m gonna go crack on to her, stay here.”
“I hate you!” she exclaims and slaps my leg “But I don’t think she speaks English.”
“Only one way to find out” I taunt her.

I look around the room and curse myself for not having worn a suit as for once I wouldn’t look totally out of place. My date starts explaining the story of the song but I interject with “Stop interrupting, I understand every word. Don’t you know I speak Cambodian?” She hits me again.

Dinner is quite delicious and we get an extra order of quail to enjoy on top of what’s included in the set menu. I haven’t drank more than three beers in the last month, but considering I can’t make much conversation and it’s a party I decide to go to town on Heinekens. One guy across from us is also drinking them heavily and I start chatting to him with the help of a woman in his group who translates for us. Then we clink our beers together several times and shout “Yeeeeeeea!” cause it’s the only thing we’ll both understand.

As soon as dinner finishes the dance floor fills up immediately. After not drinking for so long the five or six beers I’ve had is enough to give me a solid buzz so I leap onto the floor and join them. The first dance involves people sort of slowly walking in a circle to the rhythm while turning their hands in and out. I just fucking go for it and act like I know what I’m doing and people seem cool with the fact that I’m trying. The dances eventually quicken up, including one that has some kind of three step that I have difficulty managing, though everyone assures me I’m dancing quite well (liars!)

When I take a break from the dancing I approach my date’s sister and slam my key down on the table.
“This is for you, my driving is not happening.”

Near the end of all the songs there is a slow dance. While swaying slowly back and forth I remark “You know this is actually the closest thing I’ve ever had to a prom?”
“Really?”
“Yep, I was working my junior year and I streaked it my senior year, so this is pretty much it. Gotta say, I never expected it to be so Cambodian.”

When it all finishes we head back to her place and I start drinking water. It becomes abundantly clear that I will not be driving home tonight.

Saturday: I wake up at 1pm with a mild hang over and no clothes on. I get a text from my personal trainer asking if we’re still on for 2pm. I message back that it’s not going to happen. I take a shower and throw on the same clothes from last night.

We decide to get some ‘Dim Sun’ in Springvale and wind up ordering way too much food. At least getting left over’s means I’ll actually have edible food in my house tomorrow. Downstairs from the restaurant is a market where the Vietnamese shop owners are yelling “BANANA! ONE DORRA! BUY DI!” In a confusing moment of cultural reverse she cracks up hysterically at this and I tell her to “Stop being so racist.” I buy a pack of strawberries and walk around the market munching on them at a leisurely pace.

After the market we head over to Chadstone mall where we decide to see the Clive Owen/Julia Roberts espionage thriller ‘Duplicity’. It’s not starting for another 90 minutes so we go upstairs to the book store where I get a coffee then grab books on Kenya, South East Asia, and Dubai and start reading. I discover the following information:
1. 15% of the adult population in Kenya has AIDS/HIV. God damn.
2. 95% of Cambodians are ‘Khmer’.
3. Pol Pot murdered roughly 1.7 million Cambodians in his attempt at a utopian society in which most of the hatred and persecution was directed at the educated city dwellers.
4. After gaining independence in 1963 Kenya has been under the rule of one corrupt head of state after another, though many of made great measures in improving the infrastructure of the country. However, during the early years of the 21st century Kenya underwent considerable economic struggles and moved backwards, becoming closer to a third world country, particularly after terrorist attacks at the airport and American embassy discouraged tourism.
5. Dubai looks balla as hell.

After my little study session we go to watch the movie which is actually quite good. Not only was the banter and chemistry between Owen and Roberts witty and enjoyable, but the film features support from talented actors Tom Wilkinson and Paul Giamatti. It reminds me of ‘The Thomas Crown Affair’ with Pierce Brosnan and I ask my date if she’s ever seen it. She says she hasn’t and I insist that we watch it later tonight.

Then the best thing ever happens; we go eat Korean BBQ on Victoria Street. God the pork ribs there are fucking awesome, so awesome in fact that I’m certain without a sliver of doubt that my having eaten them means I had a better day than anyone on the planet who did not (yes I’m aware that someone somewhere probably won a lottery or had sex with Scarlet Johansson but trust me, not better.)

When we get back to my place I turn on my old, half broken laptop that has the movie on it. When I fire up ‘Realplayer’ I suddenly realize that the last thing I was watching on it was porn so I slyly turn the computer away for a moment and do my best to close it out without the shoddy laptop falling apart in my hands. I’m 99% sure she doesn’t notice. Then I spend two hours wishing I was as suave as Pierce Brosnan.

Sunday: I wake up at 10:22am and decide it’s not time to get up yet and reset the alarm to 10:52am.

Thirty minutes later I wake up and decide to actually get up this time. I go through the same routine of turning on the computer, clicking ‘resolve later’, taking a piss, and registering for tournaments before showering and showing up late. Again I register for everything I can get my hands on but get distracted doing an enormous amount of writing for most of my day. Yet again I make numerous deep runs which end disappointingly and I lose money on the day.

When I finish I go out for a run because I’ve been lazy the last couple days about working out. I prefer to go running in the park but for the last couple weeks they’ve had the track for the giant race erected and it’s pretty much impossible to do it there so I haven’t bothered as much.

When I get home we have salmon for dinner and decide to get wasted. We open up a bottle of red wine and start drinking it quickly, with her occasionally sculling it. When we’re finished I roll up a clearly too large joint of super weed and smoke the whole thing. A few minutes later I’m totally wrecked and munching on strawberries while I destroy her at Wii bowling and talking trash the whole way to victory. Eventually my inebriation deteriorates my skills and I lose game, resulting in vast harassment and taunting from the other side.

I decide I need to lay down so I turn on a ‘Trainspotting’, crawl into bed, and start drinking water. God, Begby in that movie is such a fucking psycho.

Monday: I wake up at 9:52am and turn on my computer. Here we go again…

Analyzing a nice call by Phil Hellmuth (seriously)

Authors note: I’m not proof reading this one tonight because I’m really tired, so if there’s grammar errors deal with it for now. I’ll probably fix it later.

I figured the ‘(seriously)’ was necessary for the title so people didn’t get blue balls clicking the blog thinking “I can’t wait to see Bond go on some arrogant condescending rant this time!” and getting a serious strategy post, so there you are. Pokersavvyplus member ‘DHM0219’ posted a link in my forum to an article by Phil Hellmuth that also contained video of a hand against JC Tran. Here’s the link:
http://www.philhellmuth.com/phil-hellmuth-poker-blog.html?id=2971

Now if you read the article you’ll be disgusted because Phil discusses the possibility of doing something other than shoving 6400 chips with KQs in early position at 300/600 with 75 antes, including suggesting limping it and folding top pair post flop. With $1575 in the pot let me make it very clear that shoving is the only appropriate play here, as you’ll increase your stack nearly 25% simply by taking it down preflop. However, let’s get on with discussing the strategic merits to the hand in the video.

Tran holds 5c 2h.
Hellmuth 5d 8d.
The blinds are likely 10k/20k as there is 30k in the limped pot to the flop.

Preflop: Hellmuth completes in the SB, Tran checks.
Flop: 8c Ad 4c (Pot 30,000)
Tran checks, Hellmuth bets 15k, Tran checkraises to 30k, Hellmuth quickly calls.
Turn: Ks (Pot 90,000)
Tran bets 35,000, Hellmuth instantly calls.
River: 2c (Pot 160,000)
Tran shoves for 132,000, Hellmuth tank calls.

So why do I like it despite what appears to be a scare card getting there on the river? I’ll try to elaborate best I can. My guess is that Hellmuth would likely explain his call here based on his ‘read’ and not get much more specific than that, though I honestly can’t say. I’d like to break down the hand by eliminating hands from JC Tran’s range street by street.

Preflop: When Hellmuth limps and Tran checks it makes it very unlikely that Tran holds a lot of the range that would check min raise the flop for value, which is mostly sets and two pairs. It’s probably Tran would raise 44/88/AA pre flop, though sometimes he could check the 44 and AA. A8 would sometimes raise as well (I’m not sure what Tran’s heads up game is like, but many players would.)

Flop: Tran has check min raised. I will say that I have never played Tran and know very little of his game, but Hellmuth likely knows that Tran very probably has a polarized range here. The majority of Tran’s range to check min raise is going to be:
A. Big hands, many of which are discounted from preflop but still contains two pair possibilities and just maybe a set.
B. Draws, although it’s a sort of strange way to play one some players elect to take lines like these and check min raise draws, mostly flush draws in this situation. Whether JC plays draws like this often is information Hellmuth would be more privy to than I am.
C. Air, because players like checkraising small on Axx and Kxx boards; normally if a person doesn’t have the top pair or a good draw it’s all that’s needed to get them off the hand.

Turn: Tran bets small on the turn, barely over one third pot. The Ks changes basically zero, and Tran would sometimes bet this size with his draws as a blocker and possibly his air, but it’s likely his big hands bet a little stronger because Tran must think a lot of Hellmuth’s range is draws since he doesn’t expect Hellmuth to complete many aces on the small and if he did he knows Hellmuth will likely call any reasonable sized turn bet with an ace so he might as well bet a little bigger to protect against the draws in his range as well.

River: The 2c scare card hits and Trans jams about 80% pot. Now, if Tran had two pair or even a good top pair that he strangely elected to play this he would at times consider checking the river or betting smaller because it’s a considerable scare card. Tran knows that Hellmuth expects some draws to be part of his range and so by shoving on that card with a two pair type hand he is likely over repping his hand and not going to get called by worse often (not true if that happened this time!) Hellmuth also likely figures that if Tran truly made the flush he might not shove for value because Hellmuth knows that Tran knows it’s a scare card and hard to get paid on unless Hellmuth has a big hand. As such, Hellmuth has either eliminated or discounted most set and two pair combinations from Tran’s range, still believes he’s capable of showing up with air, and discounts flushes a little bit based on the river bet sizing (and it’s possible he thinks Tran wouldn’t check min raise the flop with his flush draws.) Hellmuth is left believing most of Tran’s range is either a very strongly played flush draw and now flush, or air so he makes the call and JC Tran does his best not to burst into tears on camera.

I’d be interested to hear if any of my other Savvy instructors have similar thoughts on the thought process involved in the hand.

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