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Vacuuming WHILE playing poker

So why the title of this post? I was actually vacuuming while playing poker the other day. First of all let me just say that I am a lazy ass and hate to do stupid chores when I would love to be doing something else. I think we work way too damn much as a society. Most people work a standard 9 to 5 (most times more) with an average commute time in a large city of around 30 min. You get home, unwind a bit, and then have to make yourself some dinner. By that time it's around 7:00-7:30 and you have about 2-3 hours to yourself. I'm a teacher so on many nights I'm grading papers while watching random television. On the weekends a variety of stuff usually has to get done: grocery shopping, cleaning, laundry, etc. Throw kids in the mix (which I don't have) and you have no time to do the things you want to. Due to all this nonsense I try to eliminate as much of this crap out of my life as possible. I bought a townhouse so that I wouldn't have to mow the lawn or shovel any snow. I try to keep my meal preparation at 20 min or less. I even bought some shakes this summer with all the essential vitamins and other nutrients for those times when I don't feel like making a damn thing and need something quick.

So I found one of the greatest inventions I’ve ever used…the ROOMBA. The Roomba is a robotic vacuum cleaner. You charge that bad boy up and hit clean and it takes over and it does a damn good job. Some MIT students developed it based on some mine sweeping program and it runs a pattern to clean the entire floor. When it’s done it returns to the charging station by itself for later use...yeah that’s right…it charges itself, amazing! This is a bachelor’s dream. It’s very satisfying to be making money while you’re getting chores done.

The robot’s name is Tony…after Tony Danza from Who’s the Boss? My girlfriend dropped some dirt from a plant the other day and I said “Tony will get that” She said “Who the hell is Tony?” Damn I love that thing.

Tourney Time!! Input on last hand

I haven't played any tournies in awhile because I really don't have the 5-6 hours of time it takes to dedicate to playing one during the week. I got home from work the other night and took a nice hour and a half nap and was refreshed and ready to go for some tournaments. I entered the 25K on Stars, 24K on FTP, and 30K on Bodog. As always I busted out of the Stars with some cold ass cards and barely made the money in the other two so the night was pretty uneventful. I don't know how the hell I made the money in the Bodog tourney. After the first 2 hours I was in the top 15 in chips when the following hands happened.

blinds 100/200

MP 2000 shoves
HJ 5000 calls He had been playing very loose
Hero BB 15000 AK shove

MP KQo HJ AJo board 10 J 9 2 A

few hands later I have QQ and get it all in vs 6000 stack who has AK
Q 10 3 J 4

I was down to 4000 and managed to build my stack back up with some crafty resteals and taking advantage of my position.

Blinds 150/300
I'm UTG with AA and raise to 900, MP rr to 2900, button goes all in for 4500.
I called and the MP called. I shoved a 10 9 8 flop which was right around a 3/4 pot bet. MP folds, Button has QQ and the next two cards are a 7 and 6 for the split. At this point I started laughing to myself...what can you do?

I'm not bitching...just thought it was crazy. Again I built my stack up and was just in the money when my bustout hand happened. This is the hand I would like some input on.

Blinds 600/1200 ante 125

MP with 2000 shoves
loose button 30,000 calls I thought his range was very wide.
SB tag 40,000 completes for 1400 more into a 7000 pot. I assumed this player would isolate with JJ+ and AQ+ so I figured he had a med pair or KQ type of hand.

I had KJo with 20,000 in the BB. My image at the time was very good. I had made some resteals and position plays with marginal hands and garbage but no one saw any of them. The only hands I had shown were the ones above and some other premiums. I hate KJ but thought I could get both the button and SB to fold with a decent raise. I decided not to shove because I thought that would look like a blatant steal or AK and a med pair might make the call. I made a raise to 9000. The button folded and the SB called for 7000 more which really surprised me. I figured if anyone would call it would be the button.

The flop was 10 2 5. The SB checked and I shoved for a little less than 1/2 pot bet. I thought for sure the SB had a med pair or AQ/AK after calling the first time around and just calling my raise. I felt he would fold his med pair and even if he did call I had outs but he turned over JJ. Definitely much stronger than I assumed...I would have expected a rr preflop but whatever. The SB was never going to get away from JJ but I want to know if my logic with this hand is correct? I even feel I should have done this with a much wider range than KJ.

Off to play some Halo 3...I'm like a little kid.

Know your opponent

I'm not even sure many people read my damn blog....especially with all these higher profile people now joining :) Badgerpro, AJunglen the list keeps growing

Oh well, maybe my last goal (#4) will finally be accomplished and I can enter their little community...lol

The title I chose was know your opponent which should be an obvious thing but it's been important for me in the past few days. Some people suggest that before sitting in and playing you should watch a few orbits to see the general play of the players. This is an extremely good idea but sometimes I notice the % of players seeing the flop and I want to get in quick and sap the money from the fish before someone else does. One of the biggest things to know about players is if they're capable of folding? I had two similar hands recently where the type of player dictated whether my play worked or not.

I had just sat down at the table and was in mp with A10s. I raised and the BB called. The flop came 793. BB checks and I bet 2/3, BB called. The turn was a J. The BB checked and I bet 2/3 again, BB called. I assumed that he had a med pair type hand and I could bet him off of that or a draw like 68s. The river was K, BB checks and I bet 2/3 again. He'd shown weakness on all streets and I thought the king was a great card for me as I've been representing a big pair and AK got there too. I didn't assume he had a set or 2 pair because I figured he would raise somewhere along the way or bet the river. He called with A9o. After a few more orbits it was obvious that this guy was calling down with TP on the flop every time and even 2nd or 3rd pair. My note on him is now "Do not bluff"

A similar hand happened another day after I had been watching a few orbits and noticed that this particular player was prone to folding to bets on multiple streets. The villain was in the BB again and cold called. Flop 952r turn J river K My betting was relatively the same with AQo and he mucked showing Queens on the river. I don't bet all 3 streets that frequently but thought it was correct with the board texture in these instances and definitely correct in the second case because of my opponent.

I've consciously made it a rule for myself that if I don't recognize any of the players at the table, to watch a couple of orbits even if the game is super juicy.

Goal Update
I've been somewhat busy lately with things like parent's night and some other random teaching meetings. Lately when I play it's been for 2-3 hours a night...not any time for tournies...although I have donked away at some low buyins.

I've been playing 1/2 and 2/4. I hit my goal to play 2/4 but the 1/2 games have been so damn easy that I've probably played more hours of that level. I'm very near my goal to move to 3/6 but have changed my requirements slightly. I was going to move up to 3/6 when I hit $6000 but am now going to make it $7200. I'm going to give myself a 2 buyin cushion in case I were to drop that right away (which can be common).

For the new readers, I realize 10 buyins is not much for a level and most people suggest anywhere from 40-100 but this is not my total bankroll - it's just for this particular site. My original goal was to be at 3/6 by the end of the year and I'll most likely be there by the end of the month so my goals may need adjusting....hmmmmm

The Zone

I heard Negreanu on tv the other day talking about being in a poker zone which got me thinking to how much "the poker zone" is very similar to the feeling in sports. Any time I hear that phrase I think of Jordan when he hit 6 threes in one half in the NBA finals as he shrugs to the scorer's table like "I don't know what's going on".

My experience with the "zone" is basketball related. It's an almost euphoric feeling...as if you can do no wrong. When you're in the zone you feel like you can kick the ball in. The hoop feels as big as a pool. It's a great feeling. When you're not in the zone and shots aren't falling you start looking elsewhere for explanations. You start to analyze your mechanics, am I not following through, feet set properly - you hang your head after shots as if nothing is going your way.

The same feeling can be true for poker. I've had times where I feel every decision I'm making is the correct one. You're read on players is spot on and you put players on the correct hand ranges. It's a definite rush. When things aren't going well you start looking at mechanics...hand selection, bet sizes, raising too much?, etc.

So the question is "How do you get in the zone?" It's not something that you can turn off and on when you want it . It just kind of happens. The key is to make sure your prepared so that it will happen. In basketball this means all those years of practice and shooting in the driveway set yourself up to experience this great feeling. In poker this means continually studying the game using books, forums, videos, and other players. If you're prepared it will come.

Goal update
I haven't been playing as much as I'd like to lately since I'm getting into the swing of things at school. I was taking a beat down for a week. I was losing many hands where I was a 70-80% favorite and was getting sucked out on the river...it happens. I've had a decent past few days winning around $1000 and have hit my mark for moving up to 2/4. Next is to get to $6000 to move up to 3/6.

Back to life, back to reality

I started school last week so poker has taken a back seat for a little while. I was waking up between 10-11 most of the summer so getting up at 5:45 and working all day has been draining. I know...waaaa...poor me gets the summer off. I tried playing a little last Thursday but it is very difficult to make good decisions when you're drained. I spewed about $800 in cash games that night...half of the losses resulting from me being stupid. This weekend I camped and went to a Dave Matthews concert with some friends so I've had a little poker hiatus. DMB is ok but his fans are crazy, my girlfriend being one of them...I just don't get it.

I wanted to get my poker goals in writing.

1. Make 30-40K a year playing poker
I obviously would like to make much more but I'm trying to make realistic goals. Now that school has started most of this would have to come from cash games during the week. It's very difficult to play tournies during the week because I can't play for 5-6 hrs and go to bed past midnight because the next day would be difficult. I played basketball in college and coached at my school but I quit coaching last year (bunch of different reasons). The stipend wasn't huge but every little bit helps so I'd like to cover that with poker playing so I don't feel so bad about quitting. I constantly get asked why I'm not coaching anymore.

2. Move up to at least 3/6 6 max by the end of the year
I already think I can play at that level but I'd like to take the conservative approach with my bankroll. I'm currently playing 1/2 and have a system for moving up. When I get to 10 buyins with the money in my account I'll move up. For example: When I get to $4000 I'll go to 2/4. I was at $3800 a couple of weeks ago but have spewed a bunch of it away. I had been playing great but my confidence led me to opening up more hands than I should have been and not paying attention to my opponents. It's amazing how little things can affect the way you play.

This is a simple way to move up but it suits me. I could probably win a lot more money if I only played cash but they get monotonous. I need a goal to motivate me to play. That's why bonuswhoring worked so well. There was always a goal to reach...hands played, hours, etc. I have the same problem in video games. I can't play the games that never end like World of Warcraft. It's the satisfaction of beating the game that keeps me going (By the way, Bioshock for 360 is pretty damn cool so far). That's why I enjoy playing tournaments so much more. There's satisfaction in saying you placed X out of 1000 people.

3. Have a decent score on Stars
I mentioned before that for some reason I've always just donked around on Stars. My list of tournaments played and results is laughable for Stars. I'm still not sure which tournaments I should be entering but I'll look at that soon. I actually don't have much money in Stars anymore so I may have to start low.

4. Find a mentor/coach/poker friends
This will probably be the hardest goal to attain. I'm happy with my results but I really think a mentor/coach would really help my game reach the next level. The problem is finding one. I'm sure most of the top players get constant requests from people and that has to be annoying. I'm not going to be a f-ing nat bothering someone to help me out. I also realize that there is probably no incentive for them to help me. I would be more than happy to give a percentage of my winnings if the situation is right.

These are my current goals and I'll fill you in on their progress. #1 is more of a yearly goal as the others are by the end of the year.
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