I made a nice recovery the past few days. Considering how bad it was a few days ago, an up week is definitely a confidence boost. 43K hands in a week is just absurd. Up 4 days in a row now! Normally, that would be a "yawn," but I'll take what I can get. I was up 9 buy-ins yesterday, which is a pretty good day. What's weird was that I went thru a long stretch where I felt like I was getting playmastered by everyone. It just felt like I kept putting money in the pot, only to have it taken away. Anyway, still trying to figure out what spots I should be more aggressive and what spots I should avoid putting myself in.
The weather seems pretty nice, so I think we're going to grill outside. Nothing like a nice piece of dead animal and a glass of wine to make everything all right.
I think I play with shorter stacks reasonably well, so I've also been experimenting with the shallow tables (may buy-in is 40 big blinds). To be honest, I've found it difficult to remember which tables are shallow and I always end up making suboptimal raise sizes and 3bet sizes. It hasn't helped that I run like ass at those tables. I think I could adjust the 20 big blind strategy I used to use against the short stackers and play the shallow tables effectively, but so far, all it does is aggravate me. Anyway, I usually try not to evaluate anything until I have 100K hands, but I may have to lay low for a little while. Some of the payers on there look so bad that I just can't help myself tho.
I took the night off from playing last night. I had been playing a ton of hands since I came back and was feeling a little burnt out. So I just spent some time with the family. This month was just exhausting - the Disney trip (which is a butt-load of work for a vacation), tons of grinding, the break-even month which is mentally exhausting, and busy with friends every weekend.
G had accidentally left his blanket at Animal Kingdom, and we were lucky enough to get it back to us yesterday. I guess when you run a family resort, the housekeeping staff know not to throw away anything left in the room. Now that this has a happy ending... when we had gotten home and he realized he left his blanket at Disney, he just burst out crying. Now no decent parent *enjoys* watching his kid cry, but for some reason, inside, I just burst out laughing. I needed all of my restraint to still look concerned on the outside as I'm just dying inside. The look of concern on his face, that suddenly turned to a full screaming cry was just too much. Don't get me wrong - he's my oldest and I love him dearly. Being a relatively unemotional guy, I just find some displays extreme emotion pretty funny. Call me cold-hearted bastard.
Anyway, I thought we were going to have a "welcome home" party for his blanket, but I'm not sure what happened to that... I should go ask the boss.
I'm finally watching the final round of the Masters that I had taped but completely forgot about. Not sure if it's because I hadn't watched golf in a while, but that was one of the more exciting final rounds I've ever seen - there were moments where it looked like any one of 4 or 5 players could have won it. Ending a little anti-climactic tho. GG Phil.
Remember a while back I mentioned that I hate to lose? So I've been playing like a maniac - I took a week off and I still hit 100K hands this month. I also had another winning session yesterday and am up a decent amount today, but I just played so poorly it was pretty disappointing. Hopefully I got that out of my system.
Basically, I lost over $700 with my J9s vs NxtWrldChamp's KK on a 65356 board (one diamond). Yeah! Not sure if the novice poker players realize this, but I didn't even have ONE PAIR, and I lost 180 big blinds. It's really only a decent hand, if we're playing razz (where lowest hand wins). Doh! Consider it a late wedding gift, NWC. Altho I suspect it'll go toward some golf equipment.
At first, I was pretty aggravated, as most people would have been. But now that I've had a few hours and a good meal inside me, I it's actually pretty funny how bad that was. So later, it occurs to me that you want to create a reckless image - without actually being reckless. It's sort of like those guys who light 3bet you all day, but mostly only get it in with the nuts. Exploitable? Sure! But they probably sleep pretty well at night (as long as people don't catch on). All joking aside, you need good balance. I think I'm balanced now on my river bluff shoves. Check.
So in the LOL department, someone sent me an email asking me if I wanted to be a coach at a new training site. Umm... are people paying money nowadays to learn how to be a rakeback pro? If so, I'm your guy! I'm flattered, but I have no interest in coaching. (later post).
Only 3 more days left in April!
WHAT'S FOR DINNER?
So what was this dinner that soothed the savage beast? Skirt steak's proably one of the most underrated cuts of "steak." You rarely see it in steak houses, and people generally seem to use it mainly for fajitas. But it's got great flavor. I definitely think it's better than sirloin - not as good as ribeye LDO. Anyway, just what the doctor ordered to cheer me up from my poker doldrums. Now if I can only get lucky with that hottie nurse who brought it to me...
So I was emailing another regular about the games, and I think some of the causes for my lackluster results are:
* The games a little tougher - this will always be true as time goes on.
* I had to transition from FR to 6max, and there are a TON of differences (at least compared to how I used to play). This has led me to spew more than usual and play suboptimally.
* The 6max regs have adjusted since I started playing. Also, I do think there are groups of people who share reads (and maybe databases), so if you have any weaknesses, it gets exposed quickly. I suppose this is also true in full ring, but I think the more short-handed you play, the more your weaknesses become apparent.
* I've been running bad, especially against fish. When you start losing money to the weakest players, it's going to be pretty hard to have a good month.
But I have no doubt I can be a good player, so I'm going to start with a positive mental attitude, a few fewer tables so I can focus more, and see where that goes. Yesterday, I "only" played 5.6K hands on fewer tables and made 3K (even tho I was 3buy-ins under ev), so hopefully that's a good sign.
I was going to enter the FTOPS #9, but late registration closed, just as I was about to hit the "Register" button. Pretty much sums up how my month is going. This is going to sound familiar, but I need to make 12K to avoid having my worst month in over a year. Not looking good, but you never know.
WHAT WAS FOR DINNER?
We and two dozen couples we know have an informal dinner club where we get together at someone's house (almost) every month and have a pot-luck dinner. Saturday, the hosts decided to just have the meal catered so it was nice treat. To be honest tho, we must know some good cooks, because I think the quality of the pot luck is at least as good. I thought I would have a longer trip report, but that is all. Lame - just like my poker game.
I was thinking back to the "Good Ol' Days of Poker" - 17 months ago(!) when I had like 25 winning sessions in a row. And I didn't know nearly as much about playing online poker as I do now. So of course, I'm saying to myself, "wha happa?" I think a small part of it was that the games got a little tougher. Obviously, I was lucky then and not so lucky now (I hope). But this current stretch I'm on is super puzzling.
I think this is the type of situation that has the potential to feed on itself - that is, bad run causes bad play which loses more money. I'm definitely not tilting, but I think I may be trying a little too hard to be "creative." Maybe. I suppose this is the type of self-doubt which people going through bad runs usually go through.
Just to see how badly I was getting outplayed, I decided to look in my "vs Players" tab in my HEM and see how I was doing against some of the regulars in the games. To my surprise, I have been making more money than I thought off of some of the tougher players in the game, even tho I haven't been making any money overall. Obviously, I have a small sample size and whether you're up on someone is just a function of how you did in a handful of big pots. But the quality of names on my "friends" list is about the same as the quality of players on my "enemies" list. Looking further down the list, people who I thought were pwning me are not actually owning me. So that makes me feel a little better. It would be alarming for my poker game if most people on my "friends" list were fish and most people on my "enemies" list were regulars. So maybe I'm losing money to the unknowns? I'll probably do a more statistical analysis when I have more hands.
Anyway, I told myself I'm going to start making money again - consistently. It all starts with a positive mental attitude.
WHAT'S FOR DINNER?
We have friends coming over soon for dinner, so trip report from yesterday tomorrow. Today's dinner will be yesterday's tomorrow.
So yesterday I had one of those FML days where I dropped 12 buy-ins in 3K hands. Actually, it was probably closer to 20 "buy-ins" because most of it was at the 5/10 shallow games (40BB buy-in). This would obviously be my worst stretch ever. I don't think I've ever ran/played that poorly before. I've since made almost half of it back, but I'm a little confused as to what's going on with poker. I'm actually down for the month (flat with rakeback). I'm obviously not the money printing machine I used to be.
As such, I'm glad that we have a dinner party to go to tonight - a night off from poker is probably just what the doctor ordered. Trip report tomorrow.
Short post today because I need a break.
In honor of taco and tequila night yesterday... (btw, I'm blaming the tequilla for my run-bad)
A wife sends her husband to the local market for cheese. The husband goes to the market and sees this huge wheel of cheese rolling down the street so he picks it up and takes it home to his wife. His wife asks him, "what the hell kind of cheese is this?!?" "Nacho cheese," the man replies. She says, "Nacho cheese? How do you know this is nacho cheese?" The man replies, "there was a black man running behind me saying 'that's nacho cheese! that's nacho cheese!"
[ ] politically correct
[x] racist ban
[x] apologies to offended readers
[x] joke still makes me chuckle after several decades
A Mexican buddy of mine organized a tequilla and taco night at a local restaurant. It's a pretty authentic place - they make their own corn tortillas and the first taco listed on the menu was tripe (beef intestine), so this wasn't your local Taco Bell. When I got home, I was in no condition to play yesterday.
But, I made 3K in 2K hands earlier in the day, so it was still a productive work day. One of the problems I'm having with playing full ring and 6max at the same time is that I'm having trouble switching between the nittiness of full ring and the aggression in 6max. I'm pretty sure I spewed off a few buy-ins in full ring because I had a 6max mindet to the game. So to help those who may be starting to play both games, I have decided to write a guideline as to how to differentiate between the two games. Part I below is a summary of what various preflop calls mean.
Since many of you guys either play full ring OR 6max but not both, I thought I would share with you my simplified observations of what it means when people call bets in FR vs 6max:
In Full Ring:
* villain calls flop bet = top pair +
* villain calls flop & turn bet = any 2 pair +
* villain calls flop, turn & river bets = set +
* villain calls flop & turn bets & raises river bet = nuts and on occasion only the second nuts. Ironically, the better the odds you get, the MORE likely you should be to fold the second nuts. If you get better than 2 to 1 odds on a call, this is never anything but the stone cold nuts. Third nuts is always a turbo fold.
* villain calls flop bet = almost entire range
* villain calls flop & turn bet = any pair or hand that has 4 or more outs to beat top pair
* villain calls flop, turn & river bet = third pair +
* villain calls flop & turn bets & raises river bet = missed draw or third pair from above turned into a bluff. Ironically, the better the player, the worse their range of holdings for this play. A recent hand between two of the better high stakes players posted in the forums. The shove occurred on the turn but the concepts are the same.
Hopefully this will increase your win rate by at least 0.5ptbb.
BTW, for the poker noobs out there, this is a level post. Sort of.
For those of you who don't know, a Rakeback Pro is someone who can't make any money at poker, but makes money off of the rake kickback you get from the poker sites. I suppose it's better than losing money...
So yesterday I was down 5 buy-ins. Went 0 for 3 in flips, decided it was a good idea to try and bluff a fish off of top pair no kicker, and the highlight of my evening was when I tried to 3 barrel bluff a nitty reg off of TOP SET!!! at 5/10. Email me for coaching.
Considering my bluff frequency, I obviously need to work on picking better spots. The fish didn't look like a calling station, but it was not great considering he minraised me on the flop (he minraised a lot). And I thought the nitty reg was more likely to have top pair, and an overcard fell on the turn. Bye bye one thousand seven hundred dollars. Mrs. Fly and I will miss you dearly.
Just to cheer me up, I thought I would post an example of my luckboxing from the other day. Here's something you don't see every day - the rare double free-roll (where we both have the same hand, but either one of us can scoop the entire pot on the river). Even with this type of extreme luckboxing, I'm still down in EV for the month.
Yesterday, I was a little tired from the weekend grinding so I decided to take the night off from playing. Instead, I signed up for Leggo poker and watched like 7-8 videos. Pretty masochistic - I know. I still haven't done a CardRunners review yet, but since this is more recent, I'll start with Leggo. I still don't understand how the sites can charge $30 a month to watch unlimited videos. Videos are so much more informative than books (unless you are a true beginner). That pricing is so bizarre, but I won't really get into it, so as not to rock the boat.
I think I've probably seen almost 100 videos across the four major sites (still haven't tried Bluefire yet). I have fairly low standards for a video. All I want is to see at least one thing different - whether it's how a hand is played, or a thought process or just anything. In general, I would say 50% are not worth watching (actually this number is probably waaay higher, except I don't watch videos that are lowly rated or those made by break-even players). I think 40-45% is fairly "standard," in that people play mostly ABC poker, with an occasional interesting play. What separates the better videos in this category is how well the thought process is explained. And I would say only 5-10% of videos are just outstanding for fresh content.
So yesterday at Leggo, I saw THREE videos that were "fresh" - at least to me. The main reason I signed up was to check out BoyWonder's video. He's been crushing mid/high stakes for the past year or so. After watching his first video, it's clear to me he's put a lot of work into thinking about the game. He's fairly regimented in his routine and thinks through all the different options on every street before making a bet. Then I saw the only Nutsinho video on the site. He's done very well in the higher stakes games. It was interesting to see two different successful approaches to the game in back to back videos. To be honest, if I didn't already know he was a great player, I would have guessed he lost money at the games from the way he plays. But having a great "feel" for the game is pretty hard to measure. Finally, I saw OldJude's first video. Some of his plays seemed a little spewy, but his video is probably the best example I've seen of someone imposing a metagame at the table. He's not concerned with playing each hand optimally, but he's willing to do things that may be a little -ev to get the game flow more in his favor. Not sure if this is ground-breaking, but as a mass multitabling grinder, one of the things I had been thinking about lately is that I'm not paying attention to my image as much as I should. So maybe *I* found this more interesting than some of you would.
Another 7.5K hands and up 1.5K. Seems like a decent day, but my good "friend" Whale generously gave 1K to me on a hand. So less the free money, it was only a +500 day. But thanks to my grinding the last 3 days, I'm #14 on my rake race. What vacation?
Unfortunately, I'm not making any money. I'm flat this month and on another 60+K hand break-even stretch. I suppose it's good that I can make a little bit of money (with rakeback) when I'm playing and running like ass. But the scary thought is, maybe I'm running GOOD and I'm still breaking even. You just never know. I seem to be losing a lot of money in the smaller pots, but I'll need some more hands to figure out what's wrong. I'm back in that familiar situation again - I need to make 10K in the next 10 days to avoid having my worst month in over a year. This seems very do-able, but the way I'm going, you never know.
Here's a hand I would like to call "Not Today Buddy." So villain is 30/11 (a fish) and he seemed pretty aggressive postflop - he rarely folds the flop and had already raised the turn on me once before. It's very rare that I would 3bet the turn for VALUE with A high and no fold equity. Who am I kidding?!? It's never happened before.
But I felt like I had a good read on this player, so I went with it. If I give him the top 31% of hands less 66+ for example (I presume he would raise these and not limp pre), I'm a 73%-27% favorite according to PokerStove. Normally, the betting would tell me something about his hand, but I was pretty sure he would play pretty much his entire range the same way (except for any solid made hands - lol). That's what makes him a fish. Otherwise, I would be praying that my 6 outs are good. Obviously the turn is an easy fold vs a regular.
Full Tilt No-Limit Hold'em, $4.00 BB (7 handed) - Full-Tilt Converter Tool from FlopTurnRiver.com
BB ($386) UTG ($269.50)
Button ($400) Hero (SB) ($400)
Preflop: Hero is SB with K♠, A♦
UTG calls $4, 4 folds, Hero bets $16, 1 fold, UTG calls $12
What the poker gods giveth, the poker gods taketh away. 10+K hands. Down 5 buy-ins. A night of gutwrenching agony. Yes - I've been a life-long Yankee fan (later post). Awaiting hate comments from Bostonians...
On the bright side, I had my first cash in a multi-table tournament for 2010. I placed 115th in the 2,102 person $1million guarantee, and took in $1261 (which means I made $726). Sort of a bummer, because I won a few flips and QJ > KJ. I would have hoped with that much run-good, I would have gone deeper. I made even less, because I pissed away another $378 to enter two other MTTs. But Hey! I'm not complaining! When you haven't had your cherry popped, you're happy to get anything. Anything. Or maybe not...
But getting back to the cash games, I'll obviously need some more hands to evaluate my progress. I have been a little spewy lately, but I don't think that's the primary cause of my struggles. It may be just variance, but when "variance" goes on too long, you have to look for other causes. The games play a little differently every month, so you always have to be readjusting.
Lately, I've been thinking about where my edge is in poker. As you know, I think about poker in a game theory context. So for me to make money in the long run, I need to be able to say, "vs these types of players, I do ___, ___, ___ better." It's hard for poker to be lucrative if you don't do anything better than your peers. Poker is a negative sum game, and if you are not better than the other regs, you are just relying on the kindness of fish. To be honest, so far, I've been focusing more on getting to parity with the better regs - especially postflop. I think preflop is somewhat solid, but I'm always looking to add new hands into the mix. My biggest focuses now are adding more suited cards to the mix pre and thinking more about bet-sizing pre and post.
My first session back felt like more of the same - I was down 4 buy-ins after a few hours. But I ended up 3 buy-ins. It doesn't sound like much, but any reasonably up day is a moral victory at this point.
WHAT'S FOR DINNER
Our first dinner back, and we had something simple. Mrs. Fly usually spends like 30-45 minutes making dinner. But this is probably one of the easiest meals for her to prepare. Pasta sauce freezes pretty well, so she makes a huge batch of her sauce and freezes it in plastic containers, and whenever she doesn't feel like "cooking," she heats up the sauce and throws some pasta in boiling water, and presto! a quick meal.
It's Mrs. Fly's sausage bolognese sauce. I have a "rule" in the house where I don't want to see any pasta in my bowl/plate. That is, there has to be enough sauce to cover all the pasta. I see little bits of uncovered pasta around the edges, but I'll let it go this time, since we had a tiring week.
DoubleFly's Law of Pasta:
when the amount of sauce > pasta then it's a meal
when the amount of pasta > sauce then it's a side dish
So on our fourth or fifth date, Mrs. Fly offers to make me dinner. I show up super hungry and she makes her pasta with white clam sauce. Mrs. Fly looooves pasta - like I think she can eat it just tossed in some herbs and oil. I don't think I had ever seen so few clams on such a huge pile of pasta before. So I'm sitting there eating it and eventually I realize she may be serving dinner Italian style - where there's a pasta course and then the entree. After I convince myself that this must be the case, I happily scarf down the pasta and eagerly await the next course. There was no next course.
I suppose I could have lied about about it and told her I had a great meal, but I decided that if I'm going to have a long term relationship with this woman, I need to tell her about DoubleFly's Law of Pasta, and more importantly:
DoubleFly's Law of Dead Animal
it's not a meal unless there is at least 8 ozs of dead animal
So that monstrosity was my abbreviated second week of April. Didn't play well, but ran pretty badly, but it was only 10K hands, so whatever. I'm looking forward to a fresh start.
I only fell to #22 in my rake race after taking a week off from playing, so I'm pretty sure I'll hit my goal of being in the top 15 this month. For those of you who don't remember, usually, #17 or 18 is where the rake race payout falls from $1,000 to $600. That $400 isn't a big deal, but that's one of the minor ways I motivate myself to play more hands. When I'm feeling like I can put in a huge volume month, I tell myself I'll try and get into the top 10 or 12, but most months, I try and get into the top 15. It's not much different than going into one of those "monthly minumum number of hands" prop bets on 2+2. Well, except you only GET money and never have to PAY money. But the rake race is enough to give me a little motivation to grind a few extra hands.
Looking at the rake race has also been helpful in getting to know who some of the major 6max grinders are. I still don't have a great idea who the good regs are. Reminds me of a funny incident when I played 6 max almost 2 years ago. I estimated who the fish were by who my HUD had as the biggest losers. Well a month later, I made virtually no money because my table selection involved looking for 4 of the top 10 regulars in the game (because they apparently had some bad sessions in my limited sample), including Dr. Giggy who is a mid/high stakes coach on one of the better training sites. Ah... funny noob moments. Tip: Don't do that.
Mrs. Fly is giving me a pass Sunday to play in one of the big weekly online tournaments, so I'm looking forward to that. It's been a while since my last tournament, so my ranges might be a little rusty, but I would have to get reasonably deep in the tourney for it to matter, so I'll wing it when the time comes. I didn't realize the big weekly tournament had a $1million+ prize pool - just a few months ago, I thought it was only $750K. First place is $184K+. What is mind-numbing to me is that 10th place is only $10K (there will be over 2,000 entrants). It just really annoys me that the payout disparity is so skewed - it makes playing tourney for a living really difficult, because the more skewed the payout structure, the longer you can go without a decent cash. Altho I suppose it can overly reward luckboxes such as myself.
I'm baaack! But it's late, so normal posts start tomorrow.
It's really nice to be home. Vacations are overrated when you play poker for a living. It's not like I need to get away from anything - I'm home all day. I sleep as long as I want, go wherever I want and do whatever I want. Going on vacation is just work - sleeping in a new bed, walking around all day trying to catch the sights, eating crappy food, spending a ton of money you don't have to, etc. What's the point?
As previously mentioned, G seemed to have a pretty good time, even tho we didn't do anything. I guess he just wanted some attention and to feel special. Personally, I think he liked the idea of telling his buddies he went to Disney World for spring break. Even tho he's only 6, he's a bit of a poser. I figure we have a few years to get that out of him becomes he becomes a menace to society later on.
Mrs. Fly reminded me that when we get home I have to lose some weight. I am reminded of this on the plane as I'm trying to type on my 15" laptop and I can barely see the screen because I don't have enough space between the seat in front of me and my enormous gut on the tray table. I guess this is the 21st century version of "you know you're fat when you can't see your toes."
While we were waiting at the airport, G wanted some McNuggets. I got on line and I found the Holy Grail of fast food... the McRib sandwich. I have no idea why they don't have the McRib in the Northeast - I think it's easily the best sandwich at McDonald's. I wasn't really hungry, but I got two - one for the airport and one for "dinner" on the plane ride. Diet you say?!? Well, that's why I ONLY got TWO!!! Get off my back, Mrs. Fly!
I didn't get to watch many videos in Florida, so my reviews of DeucesCracked will probably be delayed another few weeks. Oh well. I can't wait to get back into the grind. I feel like a long pent-up boomswitch awaits me. As sick as this is, I really want to play as soon as I get home, even tho I will have been up 12 hours and walking / flying / driving all day. That sounds like a recipe for spewage. But Mrs. Fly told me not to play, after I drove 30 miles with no headlights on. When you're tired, you're tired.
I did three wire transfers the past three weeks and they all got returned to Full Tilt. Apparently, my bank, which rhymes with "piece of crap-face," started not accepting bank wires any more. After all the business I gave them. Nice. Now I don't feel so bad about losing a bunch of their money my last month.
G's favorite things to do at Disney:
* Play with friends at pool
* Play with his lego Space Police
* Play Need for Speed on itouch
If he hadn't been such a doofus and left all his DS games at home, Nintendo DSi would have also been up there. You might have noticed that NONE of the above have anything to do with Disney!!!
Today we went to Animal Kingdom, and the first attraction we went to (a 3D movie) starring characters from one of his favorite movies from when he was 4(!!!) scared the crap out of him and he didn't want to go on any more rides. Then his mysterious eye allergy that appeared a week ago was aggravated by all the Animal Kingdom flora. If anyone knows how to get sand out of a 6 year old boy's vag, please send me an email.
So I spent 4.5K for what? Things were so much better in the old days when beating your kid wasn't a frowned upon practice. Oh well. At least Mrs. Fly and I got to spend some time alone with G. We spend so much time with D at home (because he needs more of our attention) that we don't get to do as many things with G. And he seems pretty happy we got him a double sided light saber (becuase apparently the 9 other lightsabers he has at home is not adequate). Overall, I think *he* had a good time, and I think Mrs. Fly had a good time chatting with her friend, so it was good.
Tomorrow's our last (half) day, and we finally get to see D. We miss the little guy. I'm sure this is the last family vacation without D, and I'm glad we didn't have a super-great time without him (lest we be tempted to leave him at home again). Can't wait to hear "da-lo" tomorrow.
I've probably come to Disney every 3-5 years. But I think this is the first time I stayed at a Disney property. So this is also the first time I didn't rent a car. The bus system is pretty reasonable. But being stuck having to eat at all the Disney restaurants really blows. It's been a while since I've had so many meh meals in a row. We signed up for one of the dining plans so it's costing us like $100 a day for MEH food (not including another $40 a day for wine + tip). I guess Mrs. Fly is a keeper. Tbh tho, I think I probably just do the meal plan again, just for the convenience - some of the lines are shorter and you can just charge all extras to your room.
The Animal Kingdom villas are reasonable value. The animals outside your room is pretty cool, but basically it's the same 5 ox and 5 giraffes every day. They are also not around in the mornings, so if you're gone all day, you would never see the animals.
The only things that annoy me about the property is that the walk from your room to the lobby can be looong. The hotel is basically absurdly long and you can only exit thru the lobby in the center. Also, the hotel is eco-friendly, which I thought was cool. But I did not realize this meant the rooms were dark (because eco-friendly lighting = dim lighting). I feel like a bat. Otherwise, it's decent value.
We are back again at the hotel, because even after spending $400 on park entry fees for the first 3 days and only going on 8 rides total (all but 2 of which were uber lame), my son still wants to just hang out at the hotel pool. I suppose that's a big thumbs up to the hotel pool and water slide. Oh well - at least he's having fun.
Some friends of ours also came to Disney for spring break. Their daughter is in G's class. Coincidentally, we also bumped into the best friends of friends of ours on the Animal Kingdom bus. Small world.
I get a text at 7:30am this morning from the other family to meet in the lobby in 10 minutes. Being guests of a Disney hotel, we get access to one of the parks an hour earlier than everyone else. Let me tell you how the Flys vacation...
Mrs. Fly, G and I were sound asleep. We left D behind because that little bugger gets up at 6:30 every morning. The square peg does not fit in the round hole. Let this be a lesson to you D!
Anyway, we just met up with them at the theme park. This is their first time in Disney, so they have the eager-beaver syndrome, where they want to get to the park 30 minutes before it opens. The park's not going anywhere!
We're very fortunate that G has some poultry issues and doesn't want to go on any of the "good" rides (bok bok). Skipping all the rides most people want to go on saves us an unbelievable amount of time.
I have no idea why I thought I'd have all this free time during our vacation to watch poker videos, read, write good blog posts, etc. Maybe because I figured we'd be waiting in lines all day. But we're just walking all over the place and we're busy from the moment we get up to when we go to bed. Maybe I'll lose some weight affter all.
I'm not an emotional person. In high school, one of my nicknames was Spock, because I was so logical and unemotional. I was also unofficially selected as "most likely to get emotional" (a joke obviously).
But I started feeling a little guilty/sad about leaving the little guy behind. He's such a happy kid - whenever I come down, D basically gives me the rock star treatment. He's so happy to see me - he let's out a huge smile and yells out "da-lo!" (which is how he says "daddy"). Then he runs over in his spastic way and gives me a big hug.
But he loves his aunt and grandma, so I'm glad he wasn't upset when I left him. I told Mrs. Fly if he gets hysterical, one of us will have to fly back early, and she gave me the "whatchootalkinabout Willis?" look. All right buddy, looks like you're on your own for a few days.
We had taken G on the plane several times before, but it's been about three years since the last time, so I don't think he remembers. We got a window seat, so it's nice watching a kid's reaction to something new. He got tired of it after 5 minutes and went back to watching the Avatar (Last Airbender) I put on for him on his itouch. I remember staring outside the plane window for like an hour the first time I took a plane. Apparently I was a simpleton - some would say I still am.
We spent most of the day getting ready for our trip. When you have kids, vacations are a lot of work. Not only do you have to pack your stuff, you also have to pack everything your kids may need (which ends up being more than your own stuff). This time around, we're splitting up the kids so we had even more things to consider.
Since we've had kids, we haven't travelled much. It seems like every "family" vacation we've had have been disasters, so the week-long vacations start getting further and further apart. We had been mostly going on 1-3 day trips in the area. Now that G is six and a half and we're leaving D behind, I'm hoping that this one will be more enjoyable. Not holding my breath tho. Series of trip reports to follow.
But the timing's pretty good because I could probably use a break from poker. The downs of the poker grind don't affect me, but considering I went thru a 120K hand break-even, a small boom and now a 30K hand breakeven, maybe a little time off is good.
Obviously, I'm going to try and enjoy Orlando with my family, but my plan for some of the down time during my vacation is just to watch some poker videos on my itouch and reviewing some of my preformance stats in my Hold Em Manager. I find that pretty relaxing and entertaining. I suppose a good test of whether you *really* enjoy poker is whether you're still interested in it when things aren't going well. I've already started thinking about future adjustments and am looking forward to getting back. So for now, it's a YES!
Oddly, I take more interest in poker when things go poorly than when they go well. It's probably related to how I keep wanting to play when I'm down. I'm a good loser, but I hate to lose.
WHAT'S FOR DINNER?
Mrs. Fly makes a pretty good meatloaf. It may be hard to believe, but I actually do try not to eat "too much" red meat. Seriously. So as good as Mrs. Fly's meatloaf is, it feels a little wasteful to use up a serving of red meat on meatloaf. I suppose my trinity of beef dishes is probably (not in any order): 1) steak, 2) beef bourguignon/pot roast/braised short ribs and 3) corned beef /pastrami. When you can hire Charlie's Angels, you're really not going to be happy seeing Inspector Clouseau at your door.
To commemorate how I've been playing and running lately, I decided to dedicate this blog post to... CRAP.
DoubleFly's Law of Crap:
House by Water + Living in Sparsely Populated Area + Huge Lawn + Local Geese = Tons of Crap
We have some friends coming coming over for a BBQ today. I just spent a part of my Saturday afternoon picking up goose crap off of my back lawn. The bag was like like 3 POUNDS! I don't know if you've seen goose crap, but it's the size of a Cheeto. Think about how many Cheetos it takes to make 3 POUNDS! This is one of those things you never think about when you move out to the suburbs and buy a house. All we thought about when we bought the house was that the view and setting were awesome (later post). Unfortunately, the local geese think the same thing.
I'm pretty sure if someone told my parents that their eldest would be regularly picking up crap off a lawn, we never would have immigrated here. The previous owners had a owl statue that was supposed to scare them away. Apparently we were supposed to move the owl around every so often so the geese think it's a real owl. The owl blew over one day in the wind and we forgot about it for a few weeks. Well, the geese figured out what we did and came back permanently to take vengeance craps all over the lawn.
Someone mentioned that a golf course superintendent buddy of his sprays the course with some grape extract to repel the geese. He suggested using grape Kool-Aid because it has the same active ingredient but is much cheaper. So I sprayed my lawn with the grape Kool-Aid. Apparently, the local geese love Kool-Aid, because they came back with some friends. If this was a cartoon, they would have knocked on our door and said "Hey Fly, got any more Kool-Aid?"
I realize people who own dogs in cities pick up animal poo all the time, but at least (most) dog owners actually *like* their dog. You may be saying to yourself, "Don't you have two sons? Sons = free pooper scoopers." Yeah, I suppose Mrs. Fly and I could sit on our adirondack chairs in the patio sipping our glasses of wine while we supervise our kids cleaning-up the poo. As bad a parent as I can be, I'm not having my kids pick up goose crap.
We hear having wolf decoys on the lawn is pretty effective, so that's what we're going to try next. We'll see - but I'm not holding my breath. I'm pretty sure that between the geese and the squirrel in my attic (later post), I'll be like Bill Murray in Caddyshack. If the wolves don't work, it's going to get personal. And rather than try to shoo them away, I'll be looking at some nice goose dinners. I never really got why Bill Murray became so crazy at the end of the movie, but I think I'm beginning to understand..
Lately, I think I've been playing better, but losing money. Until I see results, it's pretty hard to ascertain how much better I'm playing (if at all). I'm basically on another 30K hand breakeven stretch, so things have been frustrating. But that's a pretty small sample.
I wish there was an objective way of measuring how bad you're running because I've played long enough to know I'm running poorly. But I've always been a numbers person, so I would like to get an idea of how poorly. If anyone knows of any analysis software, let me know!
On the bright side, I grilled myself a prime ribeye for dinner because Mrs. Fly was busy marinating some short ribs to grill tomorrow.
I've been playing a few shallow 6max tables (where the max buy-in is 40 big blinds, instead of the usual 100) and I think I'm about to break my first mouse. The play there is just bizarre - someone just floated me two streets with one overcard, didn't bet the river, and won the river showdown. Really?
Another frustrating hand below. It wouldn't be that unusual, except the guy was playing like 40% of his hands and had an aggression factor of 1.0 (so basically loose passive) over like 100 hands.
Another meh week. At least I didn't lose money! Nothing really to say, other than playing 6 max is really magnifying some of the leaks I have. Pretty much a monkey can play the early positions correctly, but there are a lot more interesting spots in the later positions.
Yesterday I alluded to what I think are bet sizing errors vs fish. I generally keep all my bet sizes the same - slightly more than half pot on the flop, and roughly 2/3 on the turn and river. I have software that types in the bet amounts for me, so it minimizes the number of keyboard click I have to make. Also, I don't give off any bet sizing tells. But in seeing how often I get floated by fish with all kinds of crap, I think I really need to bomb "more" streets (both for value and as a bluff). This will make it more profitable for me in the long run. I also need to reconsider my bet sizing vs regulars in FR and 6max, but I'll have to think it over some more. Picking a few extra blinds on a street bet is basically the difference between a 2ptbb winner and a 3+ptbb winner. I'll probably mull this over some more while I'm on vacation.
I made several cashouts via bank wire two weeks ago, and it still hasn't hit my checking account yet. The wires used to take a day or two, but some of the payment processors have been having some "issues" - the Dept of Justice (legally/illegally?) seized their funds. The next few months should be pretty interesting for the future of online gambling. Legislation to curb the flow of funds for online gambling should go into effect June 1. In the mean time, there are several pieces of legislation aimed at legalizing online gambling. Needless to say, playing poker for a living is going to suck if I can't get my money out.
I've been pretty smart of keeping a minimal amount of funds online. But it's always annoying when you can't get access to your money.
So yesterday I had one of those sessions I like to call RBP (raped by fish). Pretty much the fish had their way me... hitting their sets (even tho they play like 40% of their hands, most of which aren't pairs), hitting their gutshots, hitting rivers - pretty much every way you can get hosed by a bad player, I got hosed. To be honest, in my attempt to be "more aggressive," I also spewed off a few buy-ins. I don't mind that. So the net result was what over 7K hands, I lost 3K. My showdown winnings were barely positive, which is bad for a nut-peddler like myself. On the bright side, I did realize I was doing something poorly regarding bet sizing against bad players (later post).
But these things happen. Even when you get your money in good, you may only be a 2 to 1 favorite or so. There are tons of decisions you need to make where your decision may come down to just a few percent edge. So over the course of dozens of these flips and decisions per session, there will be days when luck does not smile on you. Dealing with it is all a part of playing poker. All you can do is continue to make good decisions, and over the LOOOONG RUN, things will even out.
If you think about it, some of the most popular games in casinos are games with less than a few percent edge vs non-simian players (blackjack, craps, baccarat, single 0 roulette, high takes slots, etc). I think the casinos do all right for themselves by letting the odds and the law of large numbers work for them. Sure, some nights, people are going to walk away winners. But over the long run, tons and tons of a few percent edge *might* add to up to something tangible...
There are tons of situations in poker where the difference between a optimal and suboptimal decision is just a few percent. Identifying all these situations as they happen is all part of becoming a better player. And most importantly, no matter how bad things get, make sure you can continue to think clearly and not tilt to erode the edges you've created for yourself.
I played a short session today and made most of it back. Luck it evens out... eventually.
I had a request for more "poker" posts. I may not have any for another week or two - I've been in a haze for the last week or so. But I haven't forgotten. I have a few stats/HEM analysis pieces in mind.
Yesterday was another frustrating day of poker. I played 8.5K hands in 11 hours (this is fewer hands/hour than normal because I was watching the Duke-Butler game I had recorded) and made a whopping $150. Flipping burgers for a living is looking better and better. Sometimes, breaking even is a great result. But yesterday, I felt like I was have every other pot stolen from me. Not a good feeling.
So in my post session review, a few things became obvious to me. When I'm not focusing at the task at hand, I get into a mindless grinding rut where I basically play hit or miss poker. This is bad when you're playing full ring, but horrific when you play 6max because people barrel you all the time. As a result, my winnings at non-showdown took a nosedive. I think part of this was me not hitting as many flops, but I can definitely improve. I think I may need to put a "PLAY EVERY HAND" sign above my monitor.
I had some errands to run today, so I didn't get enough sleep. I think I'll take the day off from poker to finish up my taxes and maybe get a haircut. I hear it's hot in Florida right now, and as you may have guessed, I don't do too well in the heat. I'm pretty sure I'm the sweatiest guy I know. But I sure do well in the winter. Well actually, no - I sweat in the winter too.
A Rodney Dangerfield classic...
My doctor was giving me a complete physical. He said he wanted a urine sample, a stool sample, and a semen sample. So I left my underwear and went home.
In case you can't get enough of dirty underwear...
A girl takes her clothes to a Chinese Laundry. When she gets her clothes back she notices one of her pair of underwear is still dirty. She puts a note on it and sends it back to the Laundry saying "More soap on panty, signed Nancy"
The Chinese guy sends it back with a note that says "More Soap on hiney, signed Chiney"
Less than one week before we leave for Orlando, and I think I'm going to have a hard time hitting 80K hands this month. So far I only have 11K. It's been pretty hard getting in playing time. It seems like we're always having people over a few times a week. This week my second cousin from the motherland is visiting the US, so we're having her over for a BBQ. I have never met her before, so it should be interesting. Then Saturday, we're having the former Mario Batali protege over for another BBQ - Mrs. Fly Strikes Back! Well, probably not - I think we're just grilling mass quantities of dead animal.
Under my brilliant supervision today, D fell down face first into the driveway. Nothing serious, but we're basically hoping that we don't get a visit from Social Services any time soon. Between the scrapes on his face, me calling him Baby Hitler & Snot Boy, and us leaving him with my sister while we go off to vacation isn't really painting a good picture. Perhaps I should make a video called "How Not to be a Parent." Actually, I'm an awesome dad. Seriously. Really.
WHAT'S FOR DINNER?
Well, last week, I finally got the the king crab leg dinner I asked for in my March 4 post. I think I would have gotten it sooner, had I not called out Mrs. Fly on it in my blog. Oops. I'm glad I didn't ask her to go into the kitchen and make me a pie.
I took a picture, but since we were too lazy to put it on a plate, it didn't look very appetizing. But you all know what king crab legs look like. We tried grilling them this time - it's pretty hard to go wrong with crab legs. I actually prefer crab legs to lobster now - the meat is a lot more tender and flavorful. I think it also has to do with the fact that we had a lobster glut last fall so it was like $5.99 a pound for a good month and we ODed on lobster. Sometimes, too much of a good thing is bad.
We had a nice drive to Philly - mostly because D was being cooperative in the back. I'm generally a pretty quiet person, but Mrs. Fly and I usually chat about random stuff the whole time for most of our long car rides - getting caught up on minor local gossip (the major gossip would have been discussed *that* day), talking about shows we're watching, talking about plans we have for the coming weeks, etc. The family Easter event was pretty non-eventful, but we had free-flowing brunch cocktails, so all was good.
Mrs. Fly and I don't drink a lot - but we do drink frequently. We'll usually have a glass or two of wine a day. Oddly, most of my good friends don't drink AT ALL. [In before all the reader "WTF?!?"s.] But these are not those friends. My typical limit before I start feeling the effects of alcohol is roughly a bottle of wine. After a bottle, I start getting dehydrated and my head doesn't feel quite right. I'm pretty sure I had two bottles that day - brunch mimosas, afternoon wine and cheese, dinner champagne and wine, and after dinner wine back at their house. Thank god for my substantial mass to distribute all that alcohol.
The big news was that while we were there, they got an almost-asking-price offer on their house. The house had only been on the market a month. Mrs. Fly attempted to take credit for it because she rearranged their living room the last time we were over. But as many of you know, I'm the biggest luckbox on Full Tilt, so clearly it was my mere presence that allowed them to get such a fantastic offer. I am badly in need of a haircut, so I will be selling locks of my hair for any of you who need to change their poker (or life) doomswitch. Call now for a special introductory offer.
We got home six hours later than expected because they talked us into taking us out for dinner. As you all probably could have guessed, it took an incredible amount of arm twisting to get me to stay for free good food. The trip back sucked ass because we had like 1.5 hours of traffic, which I assume was all due to Easter. But at least we're home!
Yes, I know - this was tl; dr. (too long; didn't read)
WHAT'S FOR DINNER?
The first night, we had dinner at an *authentic* szechuan restaurant. Normally, I don't mind spicy food once in a while. I can probably eat way spicier than the average person, but I prefer not to. It is my generally philosophy of eating that when you have good ingredients and good cooking technique, why would you smother it with something that's going to mask all that great flavor? Anyway, this is the second time I've been to this restaurant, and I just can't believe how mouth-numbing that szechuan peppercorn oil is. I like Chinese food as much as the next guy, but I just don't understand how an entire culture can eat like that. Of course Mrs. Fly loved it because she's kind of freaky that way. I know of no individual that can eat as spicy as Mrs. Fly. I've seen her ingest almost 300,000 scoville units and not show any effect. Well, except when she smiles and says "woo!" afterwards. She scares me some times.
I'm away so I thought I would answer more viewer mail:
Q: How would one go about getting into day trading/proprietary trading?
A: Proprietary trading is when you try to make money with your employer's assets (usually with a bank or hedge fund). Basically, you need to get good grades (from college or business school), go thru the interview process, move up the trading ranks, etc. Since most of you are playing online poker instead of going to class, this *may* not be for you.
Day trading is something anyone can do if they have an investment account. It's called "day" trading because people generally do multiple trades a day. Unless you have an extremely strong interest and aptitude in the financial markets, I would not recommend this route. Investing in financial securities could be a part of anyone's overall investment portfolio, but I prefer people invest with a longer time horizon. There are numerous reasons for this:
* As previously mentioned, trading is basically is a zero sum game (and in the case of stocks, "zero sum" with respect to the benchmark). Most studies show that the typical market participant can not beat the "average" - but this should be obvious because it is a zero sum game with costs. For example, if you look at most large cap mutual funds, they can not beat the S&P (or whatever their benchmark is). If it looks like there are a lot that outperform, it's only because of survivorship bias - the ones that suck will disappear. So unless you have a strong interest in the markets, you're better off just investing in the indexes.
* In a zero sum environment, you need to ask yourself, what am I bringing to the game that's better than my competitors? You have to understand that the big boys in the market actually get to talk to people IN the company (or government) on a regular basis and generally have better resources than you. They have traders who watch the news tickers, economic announcements, and other timely market-moving data 24 hours a day. They even write most of the reseach reports you may be looking at. So right off the bat, you're at a disadvantage. Where's your edge?
* Most people who day trade use some form of technical analysis as the basis of their frequent trading. I can tell you that for 99+% of you, this will be useless. Does it really make sense to you that you're going to find the key to financial outperformance in a book? Because the the millions of other market participants don't know about this magical book? Whether it's Elliot wave, stochastics, candlesticks, etc. - you can't make money off of it alone. Most large institutions either have people or hire people who datamine financial pricing data using super-sophisticated methods. I even knew a couple of brilliant guys who got certified (yes - there are courses and exams you take) and it made them squat. Almost all of the several dozen people I've worked with over the years knew technical analysis - but most only watched it because they knew that all the noobs would be watching it.
That having been said, most of you are winning regulars at poker and are therefore good at weighing odds and making decisions, so I'm not trying to discourage you. In the next few weeks, I'll post some suggestions for people who are interested in the markets. Not sure what my suggestions are yet, so I need to mull it over.
G gets out early from school today because of Good Friday. So being the devout Catholics that we are, to commemorate this holy occasion, we're going to engage in the pagan ritual of coloring Easter eggs. I guess Mrs. Fly must have great memories of coloring Easter eggs when she was a kid because we seem to do it every year. I remember coloring eggs a few times when I was younger, but I always thought it was kind of lame because the colors all started bleeding on the egg. And there were always a few arian eggs that either refused to accept color or did it begrudgingly.
Remember that lame tray that you pop out of the cardboard packaging, that you put all the finished colored eggs on? And when you take a step back to admire your handiwork, you then realize the eggs look like they were made from some Jerry's kid convention and you just wasted an hour of your day? And to top it all off, you're stuck with like a dozen boiled eggs you have to eat afterwards. Where's Cool Hand Luke when you need him?
I think G enjoys it, so I guess that's all that matters. It'll be a little more interesting this year because D will be in the mix. Pretty sure we'll need at least 3x the number of paper towels as last year. [later that day] Mrs. Fly invited a few of the neighborhood kids over for the egg coloring, so it looks like we won't have any leftovers! It sure kicks ass being married to the most popular mom in the neighborhood.
We're coloring the eggs on a Friday because we're driving to Philly to spend the weekend with some friends of ours. They are moving overseas for a number of years. It'll be sad to see them go, but apparently it's a great opportunity for him to advance in his company. So after I say a few weeks back that I've never been to a country club for anything other than weddings, we're invited to yet another country club for some Easter event. They supposedly put on quite a spread. I'm so happy I decided to take my food mulligan! Full trip report when I get back.
I have a long-overdue "What's For Dinner?," but I'll save that for when I get back.
After running like ass for almost a month, it sure feels good to break out. I ended the month with +8K and +4K sessions to make $18K in just over 110K hands. Obviously, 18k is not a good month normally, but considering I was basically flat thru the first 3 weeks of the month, I'll gladly take it.
My win rate of 1.24ptbb is pretty disappointing. Fortunately, I did better in the higher stakes. It seems like soooo long ago when I was practicing 1/2 - I can't believe I played 36K hands at small stakes last month. My 6 max win rate was 2.3ptbb, which is pretty good considering I was breakeven the first week or two. All-in-all, not a great month but I think I'm making solid progress.
Since I was so close to having a losing month, I thought I would talk about the odds of having a down month for a poker grinder. The tables on the left summarize the probability of having a down month for various win rates and standard deviations (both in ptbb). The table on the top is over 125K hands a month and the table on the bottom is over 50K hands a month. Note that these probabilities are not the same as the odds of going through a 125K or 50K break-even stretch.
For example, if you are a 2.0ptbb winner at full ring with a 32ptbb std dev, then you will be down 8.1% of months - roughly one month in 12. Also, if you were a 3.0ptbb winner and you just had two down months playing 50K hands each, then you may need to revisit your assumption that you are a 3ptbb winner. I suppose it's almost a chicken & egg situation.
Obviously, this is all theoretical, and has the usual caveats of statistical analysis. Win rates are dynamic, as the games play differently every month. We're also assuming that as a 2/4 player, you're not taking shots at 5/10 or even worse, 25/50+. And if you tilt like I just got on the other end of your see saw, then this analysis is not for you. As I alluded to in one my early posts, the notion that poker income is completely unstable is false, if you have a good enough win rate and put in enough hands. Thank you, Law of Large Numbers.
You've probably guessed this was coming... but I'm going to have to take a mulligan on the weight this month and half of next month until I get back from vacation. Imagine that! Fatty's been eating gourmet meals all month and hasn't done anything about his weight! I could explain, but it's just going to sound like "bleah bleah bleah excuse, bleah bleah excuse, bleah excuse." So I'll just save myself the embarrassment.
It's like when you're standing on the championship tees (when in fact you should be driving from the ladies' tees) and you just hook a golf shot so badly that it not only goes over the out-of-bounds fence, it goes past the two lane road besides it, past 100 feet of someone's front yard and and hits the head of the dog sleeping on the porch. The dog is startled, looks at the golf ball in front of him and says "WTF?!?" It's just best not to say anything, just let your friends laugh at you, pick up another ball and move on.
I still want to get to 225 by the end of the year. That' still only a pound a week, and fairly doable. Shoot. I can lose 5lbs after a decent bowel movement. I'm hoping my ankle feels a little better in a few weeks so I can start working out.
BTW, apologies to those who have left comments on my blog the past week or so. I changed some settings on my blog and I didn't realize I had comments.
Chris Rock is one of my favorite stand-up comedians:
People are starving all over the world, what do you mean, "Red meat will kill you"? Don't eat no red meat? No, don't eat no green meat! If you're one of the chosen few people in the world lucky enough to get your hands on a steak, bite the s**t out of it!