Southeastern US Poker

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The BIG 3-OHHHHH!!!!

The Big 3-OOHHH!!
Once again, I celebrated my birthday at the always accommodating Horseshoe-Bossier City. This year was a special year for me as it was my 30th. (I still feel like I’m 24ish.) As I take an inventory of my life at 30, I see that I am very blessed. I’m married to a wonderfully beautiful and incredible wife. I’ve got a miraculously healthy 3 year old baby boy. My wife and I are both healthy, physically and spiritually, and we’re financially stable despite a tumultuous year in real-estate in 2008.

I haven’t been to a casino in a long while, nor have I been playing much online. It got too big for a while and I decided to pull the plug on it. I still get my fix from time to time online, but the serious study of the game and the dependence on the extra income I’ve cut out. (The income has been sorely missed.) There is no more 18 tabling for me and I’ve forgotten more about poker than most average people will ever learn. I’m down to 2 or 3 tables and only playing once every 2 to 3 weeks or so. My bb/100 has skyrocketed though, so that is one positive. Oh, and despite my best efforts in the 2nd half of 2008, I spent all of my bankroll on paying down my wife’s car, vacations and other miscellaneous crap.

We arrived at the HSBC a few minutes before 7pm and had to rush to check in and unload our bags in order to join our friends at Sushiko at the Louisiana Boardwalk. The LA Boardwalk is in walking distance of the HSBC, but unfortunately, Sushiko is at the other end of this massive outdoor mall, so we drove. The food was good but it took 2 hrs to get it. We ordered a “Boat,” which consisted of an assortment of Sashimi (raw fish), Nigirisushi (raw fish over rice) and 2 Norimaki (rolls.) My wife and her friend were expecting more rolls, but they obviously weren’t listening to the waitress when she said twice that the “Boat” only contained 2 rolls. The “Boat” is an actual 2’x 8” wooden boat that docks in the middle of your table. They have “Ships” also, but the “boat” handily served 4. The food was an A-, Service was a B and the Environment was a solid A, less a 15 point deduction for our long wait. Overall, I’d count the experience as a good one B+ after a curve bonus due to the fact that I had good friends around me to carry the 2 hour delay.

When we finally returned to the HSBC around 10pm everyone made a break for their favorite money pits. Several fell victim to the one armed bandits, others decided to try their luck at craps. Of the 4 couples that celebrated my birthday at the HSBC, only 1 couple came away a winner at the craps tables. As for me, I wisely made my way down to my favorite sweet-spot, the exquisite HSBC poker room. I’ve been to 3 rooms in Tunica, 5 in Biloxi, 2 in Vicksburg and the El Dorado poker room across the river in Shreveport and IMO the HSBC’s room is at the top of the list. It's a bit smaller than the others, but it’s always clean, the dealers are well trained, polite and professional; there are flatties everywhere; the service is great and you can get seated exceptionally fast at your game of choice. On this night, I was put on the list for the $1/3 NL game and immediately agreed to sit at a $4/8 limit game. Within 10 minutes my name was called and I was playing America’s new favorite game, the unlimited version of Texas Hold Thems.

I tried an old game of spot the sucker and it was just like riding a bike. The loud mouth at the end of the table was telling everyone that “He doesn’t want none of this!” He proceeded to turn over a rivered gut-shot ftw. He was playing every hand and betting hard and talking big when he had it or else he was keeping quiet and betting small when he didn’t. Luckily, 2 very capable regulars got up and left the table soon after I sat down, they were replaced by 2 rednecks wearing matching Stihl hats. The 2 new additions quickly proved very profitable for me as I proceeded to bust the loud-mouth and one of the rednecks in successive hands. I could say that it was my egggggspurt poker playing and mental prowess that allowed me to take their money, but the truth is that I flopped 2 consecutive flushes with suited connectors in late position and they both blew up in turn on the flop. I only had to sweat the bare ace against the loud mouth and the redneck blew up w/ top pair top kicker from the blinds in a multi-way limped pot. About the time that I got my tiny mound of chips stacked and a text message out to Mr_Taterhead about how EZ poker is, my wife walked up to tell me that she’s done gambling and that she’s ready for me to come upstairs. “WOWIE, WOWIE, WOWIE!!! Sorry boys, I hate to hit-n-run, but when the wife says she’s ready, it’s time to gogogogogoogogo!!” I quickly cashed in my $350 win and headed upstairs to cash in my favorite birthday present of all time!

We rejoined Mr_Taterhead and our other pals the next morning for a late breakfast at the HSBC’s ever enjoyable buffet. With full bellies the guys headed back into the casino for a try at winning some of our money back from the craps tables. The other wives took what little money was left from the destruction that was the night before and tried to throw that away at the LA Boardwalk mall. My wife had latched on like a Michael Vick pit-bull to a large bite of my prior night’s poker winnings, I'm sure that the GAP appreciated it. I gave most of the red-necks money back to the casino, and then luckily my wife called and said that they were all done shopping. If the truth be told, I left there with what I came with and my wife was all the richer for my good fortune at poker. AH, the good life!

It's time to start winning again!!

So, I’ve been really lax in posting into my blog lately. Mostly due to a downswing that reaches back into February. So I’m going to give a continued effort to focus on the mental aspect of my game that I can voice out on this blog page. I’ve been listening to the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People on audio book and feel that blogging with a point of talking through my frustrations and working out plans to improve my game will be a “Quadrant 2” activity for my poker game. Here it goes:

I’ve been on quite a loller coaster lately. My game’s a joke and I’m pushing every small edge that peeks around the corner. I’m auto-piloting WAY too much and making standard plays and decisions rather than thinking every hand out. 18 tabling is the main cause of my auto piloting problem at FR.

I’ve jumped from FR to 6max in an attempt to shake myself out of this rut, but have found that 6max is a much different game than FR. Fortunately for me, Stoxpoker only makes 6max NLHE videos, and I’ve been able to watch vid after vid to amp up my 6max game. (By saying that they only make 6max vids, I’m implying that they make absolutely no FR vids. They do also make HU vids, a few PLO vids and some other random vids, but overall, they aren’t very diversified.) In fact, I think that most of my problems w/ my FR game have originated from watching too many 6max vids and incorrectly applying the amped up aggression of 6max strategies to the FR tables. If you want evidence of why I think this; my last $1k+ month was in January when I joined Stoxpoker. I don’t think that Stox is bad by any means. I think that I’ve misapplied the strategies provided.

Since I know the problem now, how do I fix it????

1. I can stop watching the Stox 6max vids.
Not very sensible since I’ve got a paid year of membership and Stox is still a great resource for learning.

2. I can learn to crush 6max.
I think this is a little more viable to rounding out my overall poker game.

I’ve been playing 6max for most of the month now and am having pretty, much positive results. I’m thoroughly enjoying the aggression, and I think I’m running something like 24/17ish which is a great break from the monotony of FR’s 15/12. I’ve been playing 6max 50NL, and have had varied results. I think in order to fully learn the game and have some success I’ll need to humble myself and drop down to 25NL for a while. 10k hands should do it, and then I can return to my normal stakes.

Crush 6max, 25NL for 10k hands then move back up to 6max 50NL

I came to this conclusion after watching Thac and Pokey’s vids on 2p2. They dropped down stakes to make their videos and thoroughly crushed the games. This reminded me that I once too was crushing 25NL and I thought that this would be a great way to rebuild my confidence and would help me to get back on track to winning ways.

Wish me luck!!

PS – Congrats to SirWatts on his WPT Bellagio Cup IV win!

June, my worst month ever!

June was my absolute, worst month ever. I played <4k hands online this month and was just under break even.

I made 3 trips to the casino where I lost ($480) net. I actually won 2 of 3 trips, but the losing trip was ($700) LOL, Q3s is the nutz!! I blew up on a bluff/value bet w/ bottom pair. I knew the guy was on a flush draw and that my pair of 3s was the best hand on the turn. I stuffed $154 into the $200 pot and the guy calls after agonizing for 2 or 3 minutes. He actually had a gut-shot and 2 overs to go with his FD, but he accidentally hit a pair of 4s on the river to crush my measily pair of 3s. Edmond says that I've got some kind of LaKong disease or something. Geez...

I lost ($250) at PLO. This was rather demoralizing since I ran so hot at PLO in May. I guess that I'm not as good of a PLO player as I thought I was.

It was definitely my worst month ever, I lost ($827)ish.

July goals:
Clear the GS bonus that I bought on June 2nd. Already cleared! Woo Hoo!!
Knock the auto-pilot switch off with my FR game.
Learn how to play 6max.
Make some good investments.
Finish my imperial campaign on Rome Total War so that I can focus on playing and learning poker again because losing at poker suckz!

May Results/ June Goals

Meh, swingiest month ever for me. Took my biggest downswing to date, but fortunately I did learn how to luckbox PLO.

click to enlarge the image
click to enlarge the image

May Goals:
Go to the new Ameristar room: Fail
Make platinum star: Fail

I nearly quit playing FR NLHE after this 11 buyin downswing (or more depending on where you measure it from.) I started watching Ribbo's vids on PLO and played a serious amount of it. I made a trip to the Horseshoe Bossier City and will hopefully be writing about it very soon. I really like PLO and think that it will soon become my primary game.

June goals:
Buy the Goldstar bonus and clear it on Stars
Visit the Ameristar room
Make money
Enjoy playing poker

April - a Goot month

I took a trip to the Horseshoe Bossier City this month, once again I was unsuccessful in bluffing the live donkeys. I've gotta quit trying to do that. One guy called me down on the river w/ pocket 3s when I tried to rep a flush that had gotten there on the turn. It seemed like an easy laydown for him to me, but he had a feeling that he was good.

I also got set over set and the bad thing was that I knew it too! I still paid off the $120 on the river because "you can't fold sets." The guy couldn't have played his set any more obviously. A huge pfr from the blinds into a multiway, limped pot. A donkey calls so I feel obligated to call w/ my 4s and stack the donk. The flop comes A Q 4 and the big preflop raiser from the blinds checks his hand. The donk checks, my radar shows bogies approaching but I make the obligatory bet of $50 into the $75 pot to see if the blind raiser is trapping. Sure enough he calls and the donkey folds. (This was not going how I intended it.) I check behind on the turn and on the river he pushes out $120 which I call since I can't fold a set. He shows me a set of Queens and I'm kicking myself for being a 2+2 bot! At least I saved $60 by not pushing on the river. (sigh)

On a happier note!
Other than that, my month went really well. I stuck my hand into the HU universe and played ~1k hands of HU 50NL this month, netting me $220. I can't say that I'm very good at HU, I think that mostly I ran goot. I did find that HU on UB is very effective in collecting the RAISE points that determine how fast you earn your deposit bonus. You only get RAISE points when you put money into the pot, therefore at FR you get points infrequently.

I also made the move to FR 100NL this month on Pokerstars as I indicated in my previous blog post. I was a month or so behind pace on this based on my December and early January estimates, but I'm there now and loving it. I was very surprised to see some of the 50NL regs that I had been battling also playing at the 100NL games. Seems that a dozen or so of us made the move together.

Speaking of the players that moved up: Props to Learning Curve on 2p2 for 2 solid months in a row which has allowed her to make the move to 100NL. She battled the micros for a long time and has really been a student of the game. She's an awesome cheerleader and motivator on the forums and I am uber excited about her success as a player!

PLO, once again, seemed evasive this month. I definitely feel that PLO will be the next big poker game to infatuate the masses. I'm trying to learn it but the price of learning seems expensive and when I consider the opportunity costs of not playing FR NLHE I just can't make myself play PLO that much.

Here are my results for April and goals for May:

Apr Goals:
Earn Gold Star Bonus Forgone for Platinum bonus in May
Maintain Silver Star on PS Even better, I made GS again
Focus on earning my dep bonus + rakeback at UB Did okay w/ this, HU FTW on this bonus
Reduce the number of tables that I'm playing so that I can focus on BB/100 (making 1.3BB/100 sucked last month) 6.4 BB/100 FTW!!
Post a positive month. A++++

click to enlarge the image

($245.00) Live Ring
$135.00 Bonus
$6.00 Rakeback
$5.00 SNG
($69.58) PLO
220.40 HU 50NL
1,160.61 Online FR
$1,212.43, $23.36/hr

May Goals:
Make Platinum Star and buy the bonus
Play at the new poker room at the Ameristar Vicksburg opening Memorial Day weekend!
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