Thursday, January 28, 2010

Package Delivery

So I thought I had it figured out. I had put Bennie down for his afternoon nap, I had poured myself a cup of coffee, 10 tables up and running, feeling good, playing well, everything was the way it should be. I wasn't worried about Ben waking up because even if he did, it's not like he'll be in any trouble if I don't rush in to him immediately; I could easily afford a few minutes of waiting for the blinds to come around on all tables.

What I hadn't figured in was the fact that a delivery guy rang the doorbell while I was playing said 10 tables. What do I do then? Well, fold all the trash hands (including not set-mining 33 OTB) and sit out on all tables where I'm not involved in a hand is the first easy step. But then there was this hand:

$1/$2 No Limit Hold'em Cash Game, 6 Players
Poker Tools by Stoxpoker - Hand Details
Replay This Hand With Audio
SB: $257.80 (128.9 bb)
BB: $388.85 (194.4 bb)
Hero (CO): $219.23 (109.6 bb)
MP: $484.21 (242.1 bb)
BTN: $345.55 (172.8 bb)
UTG: $204.30 (102.2 bb)
Pre-Flop: Hero is CO with Q of hearts A of diamonds
UTG raises to $6, MP raises to $10, Hero calls $10, 3 folds, UTG calls $4

Flop: ($33) 9 of clubs K of spades A of clubs (3 players)

Here is where the doorbell rang (reasoning behind not "4-betting" AQ preflop to isolate the bad 3-bettor can be given on request, for now just assume it was the right play)

UTG checks, MP bets $31.35,

Okay, what the hell do I do now? Both UTG and MP have taken their sweet time with their decisions and now the guy at the door rings the bell again. Goddammit! Okay, I'll minraise. That should confuse them enough to give me a couple of extra seconds to run down and take care of the package.

Hero raises to $62.70, UTG folds, MP calls $31.35

Turn: ($158.40) 9 of diamonds (2 players)
MP checks,

Here I come rushing and panting up the stairs again, and enter the workroom just in time to see that I have three seconds left in the timebank. Bet or check? With no time to ponder what the action was, ranges etc, I just opt to check before my hand gets automucked.

Hero checks

River: ($158.40) 5 of spades (2 players)
MP checks,

Uh, okay. My kicker is no longer in play. Can I valuebet? What calls? Can he have a king? Will he call a small bet with a king? Let's see.

Hero bets $50

Results: Package was received, pot won and Bennie had woken up from the doorbell.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Paternity Leave

Sometimes it's hard not to think that maybe Pangloss (surely you know your Voltaire?) was on to something; it can sure seem like all is for the best in the best of all possible worlds. Or, to adopt a more modern perspective, from the movie The Ladies Man: Things will randomly work out.

And they have. Again.

The plan, before Benjamin was even born, was for Lori to be on maternity leave until December 31st, and me to be off from then until summer. This plan was somewhat upset by the fact that Lori was laid off as the company she was working for was downsizing. However, if she had to lose her job, the timing for when it happened couldn't possibly have been any better. As she had already - that is, before they announced the cuts - declared her intention to be on maternity leave, she was still entitled to the same reimbursement as had she kept her job. In practise, she actually kept her job until her maternity leave ran out, at which point her 4 weeks notice started ticking (which was December 31st until January 31st). And since she had never intended to keep that job indefinitely anyway - she's a teacher at heart, and teachers want to teach, not program automatic tests for cell phones - looking for new jobs right at the start of the spring semester wasn't all bad.

Searching for a job was a little tough, but to keep a long story short(ish), she - yesterday - scored a job at the school she used to teach. She left because of, uh, irreconcilable differences with her boss. That boss was later "relocated" (as far as I know, to a different company - you get the idea) and Lori was, at least a little bit, beating herself up over not sticking it out since she loved the job but not the principal. But now, alas, they have a new principal. And Lori's back.

Things will randomly work out.

And so here I am, at home with Bennie. He takes two naps in the day, during which my plan is to get some poker played. Since I'm playing at less than an optimal time of day at Party Poker, game selection can be a little bit of a problem at the midstakes, so instead of spending a third of the narrow window of time I have to play waiting for good tables to pop up, I decided to cash out a significant amount of money and simply move back down to 200NL where even in the mornings it's easy to find 8 juicy tables. I think my bottom line works out better for it, even if my e-penis shrinks a little bit because I'm no longer playing 600NL. But when the choice is between 8 tables of juicy and readily available 200NL tables or two-to-three juicy 600NL tables, I opt for the former.

"But FP, couldn't you sit at the 600NL tables and just fill up your open slots with 200NL?"

I've tried that. It doesn't work for me. I really hate mixing stakes. Hate it hate it hate it.

So no.


I'm trying to come up with a realistic way in which my life could be better right now. I'm not sure I can. So, Dr. Pangloss: I think you may have a point.


But not everyone is as well off as me. I hope you will join me in donating to the Haiti victims. One of the best inventions I've seen lately is the LiveSaver Bottle. If you're curious, check out the TED talk where the inventor demonstrates it. You can of course donate via PokerStars or FullTilt, but on top of that, getting these bottles onto the island is probably a really good idea. And getting the word out about them and increasing the production of them will ultimately come in handy for other disaster areas in both the present and the future.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Potential Psychology Study

A lot of new players in online poker are unaware of the fact that the poker sites expose all cards at showdown, by ways of writing the data in a hand history file. Therefore, every player at the table can in theory check what you had, if the hand went to showdown. Many of us get this automatically displayed by Hold'emManager or PokerTracker.

For those who are unaware of this fact, it may seem like a reasonable of the game to try some free "advertising" by lying about what they had when they lost a big hand. It's amusing for most players around the table, of course, but they often persist. (On a related note, I find that calling them on it - exposing their lie - is a big mistake; it very often shames them into leaving the table and you probably want to keep inexperienced players around.)

There is a pattern in these lies that I'm fascinated by, and it's that the hand they almost always pretend they had is pocket kings. Not aces, mind you, but KK. Why? Why specifically kings? What does this say about the human psyche? "I'm going to make something up; I'll pretend I had the second biggest hand." Are they too scared to go for the Big Lie?

Thursday, January 14, 2010

I feel so unwanted.

Although my application wasn't technically rejected, I guess four months of not getting an answer is as good as a "no." Last I heard they were waiting for their QA team to report back. Although, in fairness, I'm not sure video poker coaching is an activity I would really have been able to find the time for, so perhaps I should see it as a blessing in disguise.

Without further ado, here is the video (published here in three parts as it's ~25 minutes long) I sent as my application. I figured it would be a shame if it just died alone on my harddrive.

In case someone happens to read this post a minute after I posted it, the third video might not be available yet; YouTube is still processing it at the time of writing.