Archive Jul 2009: nath

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everyone's a hustler

This day gave me a hard reminder of why I don't like this city: Everyone is always trying to take your money.

It started with a simple taxi ride from Bill's Gamblin' Hall & Saloon to the Palms. My shaved-head (and possibly bald) driver started telling me I looked like a guy who could use a topless massage and a handjob, or some such.

Well, despite my ignominious exit from the Main Event, I did manage to both get a massage and find time to jerk off the day before, so he was obviously clueless about me and just trying to rack up a sale. Even though I had no interest, he kept persisting, and I knew I had to put up with this for the duration of the cab ride, so I started laughing it off and thinking about it, before finally asking him, "So how much do they pay you for bringing me there?"

"Twenty bucks."

Not bad, I suppose, but I know the game... it's not my thing.

Later that day I went for a walk down the Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood Casino-- just a chance to browse windows, see what was around, see what people were like. Some guy at a kiosk sees me on my iPhone and calls after me. "Sir!"

I should just keep walking, but I decide to stop and indulge him. He asks me if that's an iPhone, yeah obviously it is, and he wants to show me this gadget-- a mobile charger or some such. I'm not buying, and he's painfully obviously sticking to script. "Look, you can see it charges--" he says, pointing to the battery icon, except that I've jailbroken my phone, so the battery is a number, and not an icon, and he doesn't know what to say to that. So I get to the point:

"How much is it?"

He comes back with "Do you trust me?"

Do I trust you? You hassled me in a mall to sell me something. Our relationship is based on the opposite of trust. Are you kidding? Are you for real here?

Instead, I come back with, "I trust you to tell me how much money you want for that."

"Well, it's normally $60, but I work commission and get off at 7--" oh, save it-- "And I can give it to you for $39.99."

"Nope." And I start walking again, knowing this was the ending all along, but still finding satisfaction in making it so. I mean, I'm exact with my money and my business dealings when I'm with friends-- I'm not gonna start throwing it away on any random yahoo who sees fit to accost me.

It doesn't stop when you make more money or become famous, either. The hustlers just try to get a bigger piece of it. They just become craftier. You've got to be sharp to stay on top of your money-- and that's one skill that just plain comes from experience with people. A friend gave me a valuable piece of advice around the new year: "Most people are friendly, but most people aren't trustworthy." Knowing how to separate the two and evaluate them independently is valuable indeed.

On that note, I'm getting out of here soon. Back home, back to my friends there. I love my friends here, too, but I haven't gotten to see much of them, I'm out of the main event, and every minute I'm in this city, I'm burning money.

In with a flash of thunder and out just as quickly

Sometime on Wednesday I was still uncertain as to whether or not I would play in the Main Event, then decided to move some shares. I sold more than enough and flew in last night, registered and played today.

Here is a brief trip report of the disaster.

My table was pretty insane, and I got in the thick of it early. Leo told me to "play patient and play good and don't let these clown motherfuckers get to you." Well, I tried, but I frequently found situations that called for impatience.

After an orbit or two around, I open 77 UTG to 275 (remember, 50/100 blinds, 30k starting stacks). I get two calls and the guy on the button (bad-LAG) makes it 1325. I expect him to be squeezing here a lot because he's already done it once or twice, and the table is playing with happy feet. I make it 4125 thinking I should win the pot, like, all the time here. The callers fold, the button tanks for a while then finally calls.

The flop is AT9 and I bet 5750. He thinks for a minute then frustratedly gives up the hand. I breathe a sigh of relief he's an "afraid of the ace" player and not a "I'll raise the ace because he probably doesn't have it" player. I have over 35k at this point. It would be my high point.

Botch a hand later. Open Td8d to 300 two off the button and the button, a middle-aged very LAG Swede (who seems to work it well) calls. Flop is 522 with two diamonds; I bet 400 and he makes it 1050. I really think he's kinda full of shit here, suspecting I don't have it and trying to make a move, but I also know 3-betting this board is dangerous unless I'm prepared to really lose my mind and 5-bet all in. So I call planning to re-evaluate.

Turn is the 9s. I check, he bets 2300. I think for a while, faced with a dilemma. He knows I probably don't have much, but I know he doesn't, either. I maybe should just give it up, but I decide to take a shot at it and raise to 6600. He calls quickly. The river is the Ac and I decide to give up because I feel I can't rep a hand, but in retrospect firing a value-looking bet there might have been the best play, represent nines full or AdXd (where the X is big). He bets 7700 and I fold and he shows me a 7h. I'm sure he had the best hand, and I'm also sure I should have either kept the pot very small from the get-go, or been prepared to fire off another big barrel. It's my only real mistake this tournament, but it's a sizable one, and I never quite recover.

Oh, here's another fun 4-bet hand: I open to 300 in MP with AsKd. Button 3 down makes it 900 and the bad-LAG cold calls from the BB. I make it 3250. They both call with puzzled expressions. Flop is 542 two hearts. Check, check, button bets 6000. BB calls, and I consider jamming (because I always have 10 outs, and I have fold equity since a jam is like 18k more), but I puss out and fold. Turn is a 9; check, 10k, shove for 18k total, call. BB has QQ and button has 99. River is Ah and I sit there and think that if I jam the flop 99 folds but QQ calls and I could have over 50k. Oh, well. It might have been the right play, it might not have. That's the sick thing about deep-stack tournaments; you try to play them safely and cautiously enough to maintain an edge, but sometimes a crazy spot arises and you just have to gamble. (The first time one came up, I did; the second and third times, I lost heart. No wonder I'm sitting here writing this instead of playing.)

I got some of those chips back in the first level. I flopped a set with 33 on the button vs. the Swede in the BB and got him to call two streets before I bet too much on a dangerous river (Ts9x3s flop, Jx turn, As river, I open button to 300, flop bet 450 c/c, turn 1100 c/c, river he open mucks QJ to my 3k bet). Later, right before first break, Swede opens UTG to 350, I think. Gets at least two calls; I call from SB with AsQs and I think BB calls as well. Anyway we're 5 to a Q22 flop, and when Swede checks the next to act bets 800. I call, lead 2k on a 6d turn (putting two diamonds out), he calls and folds river 8d when I bet 4k. Again, probably too big a bet; again, unnecessary scare cards on the river kill my action.

So I get to the first break with 29375. And this is the point where I basically stop winning pots.

Next big pot: Open KsTs in EP to 550. Guy three seats down (same one from the AQ hand) calls and the next to act (very loose amateur) calls as well. Flop is 432 two spades. I lead 900; amateur calls. Turn is Td. I bet 1800 and he makes it 4k. Sigh. Obviously I'm beaten here and obviously I'm getting great odds to see the river; I check and fold to the 6c river when he bets 11k.

I raise a couple more pots and nothing doing. Down to about 20k when two on my right limps and I make it 750 with AhKh. Next to act (who just doubled AQ > the Swede's AJ) makes it 2100 to go. Suspicious? Who, me? Not at this table, where 3-betting is pretty common practice. I put in his 11k total and he calls with KK. I flop J98 with two hearts but no get-there for me.

Down to 9k now. Drift down to 8300 when UTG opens to 600, two down calls, and I have QQ in the BB. Any normal reraise size seems stupid to me (and I think would be obvious to them), and I'm not folding, so I shove. I maybe coulda called and just gotten the money in on the flop, or maybe even raised less-- Lord knows people aren't folding to 3-bets at this table. Anyway, they both think about it before folding.

Later in the orbit , two on my right limps and I pick up AA and make it 750. Button (the amateur) calls and the limper calls. I bet 2k on the QJT flop and the button calls. Turn is a 5 and if I had more than 7500 left in a 6250 pot I would have probably given it up but I just check/jam and lose to AK. And that's it.

Felt good about my play coming in, but after I took those early hits I went into a bit of a shell. I stopped trying to run over the table because it was clear that everyone came to gamble, and I just never got the hands I needed. Another World Series gone by.

I don't know if I'm going to stay or go. I need to play online this week, and it would be good to do that and hang out with the boys, but I'd also just as soon return to Houston, back to my house, and back to my life.

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