Monday, September 23, 2013

Project Flying Panther - Recap and Stats

As I mentioned previously I played 78 hours over Project Flying Panther and won $1,369. I'd give myself a C+ for the effort. It could have been much better but it also could have been worse.

Here is a more detailed breakdown of my results.

-$1796 in 4.75 hours of $40/$80
-$330 in 6 hours of tournaments
-$284 in 2 hours of $2/$3/$5 NL
-$184 in 5.75 hours of $20/$40
+$152 in 6 hours of $200 Max
+$468 in 1.5 hours of $30/$60
+$3,307 in 52 hours of $15/$30

If I'd cut out all the other shit and just played $15/$30 and kept the same hourly rate I would have won $4,961 for the project.

Over the 78 hours I played roughly 2,730 hands (an estimate based on a somewhat conservative 35 hands an hour).

Of those hands 2,520 would have been in cash games and if I had to ball park it I'd say I won one in every 8 hands. That means I won about 314 pots, paid about $1,609 ($4 per pot + $40 in tournament rake) in rake to the house and tipped $314 dollars.

Over 3 months I played 2,730 hands. This is a shockingly low number to me as I used to play 3,000 hands in a day almost every day when I was an online pro. I once played 1,200 hands in an hour and have played 7,000 hands in a day. $1,369 would have been a great result for a day, but not so much for 78 hours. Also if I had done this online the rake would have been about $800, I would have tipped $0 and I would have earned about $400 in bonuses, so it would have been more like a $3,000 day.

The big question is was it worth it to take on some backers and play some bigger games? I'm not actually sure. I got a sense of the larger games at he Oaks which is valuable. I posted some solid results at $15/$30 which is promising. And I scratched the itch I was having to play a little bigger. On the downside I probably could have made much more money crushing the $6/$12 and banking $25-$30 an hour which is what I'm going to do for the next few months.

I'm still thinking about the 2014 WSOP and how I can get out there for one or two $1,500 events. I think my best bet is to just grind it out, play within my bankroll, and be patient. There is only so much progress that I can make in 8 hours a week. That has been one of the toughest things about getting back to poker - not having tons and tons of time to devote to it.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

PFP Session #21 - Holy Shit I Can See This Guy's Cards!

Earlier this week I'd been playing $15/$30 at The Oaks for about 3 hours and was up around $400 when a new player sat down on my right. He bought in for $1,000 and I could see he had another two grand at least in his roll. He was a well dressed man in his 50's.

He started losing right away, not playing all that poorly, but in a slightly loose very straightforward way. When he had about $600 in front of him he put his chips into 3 stacks of 20 and a dozen of stacks of 5 chips. I noticed right away that all of a sudden I could see his card when the peeled them up to look at them because his chip stack was no longer blocking my view. Most players bend up the corner of the cards and shield them with their hands, but he was bending up the short edge of the cards parallel to the edge of the table and we were in seats 6 (me) and 5 (him) which is a part of the table without much curvature.

There have been times in the past when I've played against people who haven't been great at protecting their cards. Usually it's been a case of being able to see one of an opponents cards every couple of hands which doesn't help all that much. There are so many times where one of you have garbage or your opponent does and/or the other players spoil the party.

Not this time! This was 9 out of 10 hands I could see both cards (the difference between one and both cards is astronomical - knowing for certain that an opponent missed completely is very powerful), for a while we were playing 6 handed and this guy was playing fairly loose. There were 5 big hands where this came into play.

Big Hand #1. The Villain raised AK off suit, both red, under the gun and I three bet him with 22. This was a risk. If anyone else came in I could be in a tough spot, but heads up I had a hand where I could beat him if neither of us improved, and get away without losing a single chip if he hit. Happily everyone folded and the flop came down Q 9 7 with two hearts. He checked I bet and he called. The turn was the 10 of hearts. I was all set to fire again when he bet into me! WHOA! Normally this would be an instafold, but I knew I had him so even though I had shit, I raised him. He called. The river came out an ace! ACK! We both checked, he showed his hand and I threw mine in face down.

Big Hand #2. The Villain raised with AJ after a couple of limpers and I called with A7 of hearts on the button. Why would I call him when I was dominated? I decided the value of acting behind him knowing what he has was worth so much that I should get in there anytime I had anything at all playable, even if I was dominated. The flop came down 7 high! Ah ha! The Villain bet, I popped it, we lost everyone else and he called. The turn was a K which might have slowed me down normally, but not this time. I bet and he called. The river was an ace and he fired out! Bang! I hit him with a raise again and he called.

Big hand #3. Everyone folded to The Villain who raised from the button with 44 and I had J2 in the small blind. I called as did the big blind. The flop came down Q 9 7 and I check raised him, thinking that he wouldn't call me all the way down with an under pair. The turn was a K and he mucked after I bet. This was a hand I never would have played or won, without seeing his cards.

Big Hand #4. The Villain raised with KJ of clubs and I called with KT of diamonds in the small blind. I don't know if folding because I'm dominated or three betting to isolate would have been better. I think calling is probably the worst of the three, but these are not considerations I have run across many times, and in the heat of the moment I called. The big blind folded anyway and the flop came down ace high. I check raised, fully expecting to drag the pot immediately, but my opponent called. The turn was a small card and I bet out. He raised me! WHOA! I have never been so surprised to be raised in my life. I feel like I almost said "WHAT THE FUCK!" out loud. I knew he was on a pure bluff, but at the same time he had me beat!!! The only thing to do was three bet and hope that I didn't get hero called down by a better king high! Happily after he thought for a second he mucked it.

By this time I think he noticed that I'd been doing some funky shit. Not mentioned here are a few other hands where he hit and not only did I not give him good action, he got zero action. It's not often that you see a guy three bet, check the flop heads up and then fold the turn, but I did that at least once. I could feel his frustration.

Big Hand #5. On this hand he had 88 and I three bet him with A9. By the end of the hand there was a K two Q's and a J on the board and he called me all the way down. I decided it was time to pump the brakes a little.

There were other hands with a varying number of other players involved that I've forgotten where I was able to save $15 here or $30 there when he hit big. "Oh you've got the ace of spades? I guess I won't draw to a king high spade draw. Is that a set? No reason to do anything with this top pair I have"

This went on for 2+ hours! The whole time I was thinking "I'm never leaving this game. Never. If this guy stays I'll play straight through until morning and all the next day." Eventually he moved to a different seat and the party was over.

 I didn't see his hand every time because 5 or 6 time I forgot to look! It's just not a habit  look over at your opponent's cards as the cards were coming out. It also took a great deal more mental energy to keep track of what he had - suit and rank of two cards - and what I had and still play at normal speed.

Did anyone else notice me looking? I don't think so, as I had sunglasses on the whole time and was carful to look with my eyes not my head.

The bad news is I lost a little during that 2 hours ACK! I missed a bunch of big draws and otherwise had some neutral to poor results against the other players.

The good news is I played for another 30 minutes after he moved and ran hot! Hot Hot Hot! I had 99 in a pot that was 7 way for two bets preflop and hit a 9 on the flop and made quads on the river!. Since I'd been doing some goofy shit for the past few hours I did not get credit for a made hand. It was 3 bets on the flop 5 way, 2 bets on the turn 4 way and 1 bet on the river 3 way. That hand put me up $600 and after 5 and a half hours I was ready to pack it in.

I almost left right then, but I was still stacking chips from that pot and decided to toss out the big blind and play one more round. After folding a few hand I picked up 87 of spades, flopped a flush draw, pushed it, hit it, and got paid. That put me up to +$900.

On my last hand before leaving I picked up AA and The Villain picked up something. We went to war, I won, and a few other people got dragged down with him. That pot put me up $1,251 on the night and back in black for The Project.

I'm too fucking tired to write about it, but I can also tell you that today I played Session #22 - The Final Session in Project Flying Panther - and won another $460!


After 78 hours I booked a $1,369 win for The Project. Backers look out for an e-mail from me this weekend and I'll share some final thoughts and some stats in one more post on Sunday.

Fly Panther Fly!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

PFP Sessions #19-21: The Good, The Bad, and the Holy Shit I Can See This Guy's Cards

Again apologies to my backers for my poor track record on reporting!

Session #19 - The Good

Coming in to session #19 I was stuck $538 and I got that back in a hurry. I was in a great game and I got great cards, it was as simple as that. The big hand of the night came when I posted behind the button after missing the blinds. Another player posted as well and there were two limpers when the action got to me. I popped it with A8 of hearts and we took the flop 6 handed.

The flop came down three small hearts giving me the nuts! Zing! Better yet when I bet there was a raise and two callers. Rather than reraise I decided to wait for the turn since the raiser would be first to act on the next betting round. Like clockwork he came out betting and another player raised in front of me! Now I was faced with another decision. I decided to just call and hopefully keep both players in the pot.

The river came out another small card and the turn raiser bet, I raised, he reraised, since I still had the best possible hand I hit it again and he called showing a jack high flush.

I made 3 or 4 straights to go along with that flush and generally cruised to a win of $1,090.

Session #20 - The Bad

Coming off four winning sessions in a row, and playing on a Friday I was feeling good about my chances. But when I looked at the $15/$30 it was all regulars so I decided to sit in the $200 Max game and I got my ass kicked in short order.

I lost $200 on a hand where I flopped bottom two vs a straight on a Q J 9 board. I called an all in of $150 on the turn (which was a blank) after getting raised on the flop. I'm not sure how I feel about that one.

I lost another about $325 on a hand where I had A8 suited, the board was  6 7 9 (with one of my suit), someone bet $95, I went all in for $290, I got snap called by J9 and missed. I love this play - I was 44% to win after he called and I'm surprised he did.

On another hand I made it $15 from the button with KQ, the big blind made it $40, I called, the flop came down 8 5 3, he bet $30 and I called. The turn was another 3, he bet $40, I made it $150 and he called. The river was a brick, we both checked and he showed me 87. That was another $220 out the door. I felt like that $40 on the turn was weak and I'm glad I went after it. Normally this type of play is gold for me as I have a tight image, but I'd only been at the table for under an hour and never played with most of the players so I had the image of a guy getting he ass handed to him.

After 2 hours I left losing $904 for the session.

Session #21 - Holy Shit I Can See This Guy's Cards

I started writing this up, but I really shouldn't be rushed since it's not an every day story. I found myself sitting next to a guy who was regularly flashing his cards and it led to some unusual situations. Look out for it tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

You Know You've Made It When

Usually I get somewhere around 50-100 page views on my posts (the big exception being that 5,000 people have read my post about open faced Chinese Poker) and I've written over 800 of them since the summer of 2006. I just got a comment about how I misused you're and your. This is the first time the grammar police have called me out! I have arrived!

PFP Sessions #17 and #18 - It's Good To Have a Plan

I had a half day at work on Friday and was in a game at the Oaks at 2:00 in the afternoon. I sat down at $200 Max with $400 in front of me and there were some fireworks about 15 minutes in.

It was a two hand sequence against the same opponent that went down almost perfectly. On the first hand there was an $8 live straddle. With two callers in front of me I called with 54 of spades on the button. The small blind called, the straddle made it $20 and we took the flop 5 way.

The flop came down 8 6 4 with one spade, the small blind fired out $70 into the $100 pot, and everyone folded to me. We both had a little more than $400 in front of us, and I had bottom pair with a gut shot and a back door flush draw. More importantly I could say with a high degree of confidence that the vast majority of the hands my opponent was likely to have couldn't call a big raise. If he had a set or two pair, he'd likely go for a check raise and with a big pocket pair he probably would have raised preflop. It felt like he had an 8 and I didn't think he's stack off with an 8.

I made it $200 to go, he thought for 20 seconds and mucked.

On the very next hand there were several limpers in front of me and I took a flyer with 52 of spades. It's hard to defend that play, but basically I've found so many good spots to bluff at the $200 Max that I'm playing very loose in position. Also I lost my mind for 1/2 a second and threw in the the $4 to call.

Anyway we took the flop 6 way, and the flop came down 6 4 3 with two spades! Zingo Zongo! Flopping a straight with a straight flush draw as back up requires gibberish exclamations.

It was checked to me and thinking that if I wanted to win a big pot I needed to build it on the flop, I bet $10. The button (the villain in the previous hand) called as did the big blind. The turn was a red Q, I bet out $20 and the button raise to $60. "Holy Christ I have him right where I want him!" I thought. I made it $120 which may have been a little lite, but he called without thinking much about it.

The river was another red Q and I wasn't sure what to do. What I probably should have done was, put my opponent on a Q and bet $200 which would have just barely gotten him all in. Instead I had a complex series of thoughts go racing through my head. I figured that if I checked I might get a bet from a missed draw, I'd certainly get a bet from a Q and I might save some money if by some chance I was up against a full house. With that in mind, when he bet $95 I just called and took down the pot. Unfortunately I rolled my hand over as soon as I called and my opponent didn't show. It was a very nice pot, but I played it like kind of a pussy and I'm not happy about that.

When my name got called for $15/$30 I walked over to table $18 with $439 in profit from $200 Max. My good luck continued over there and I ran it up to a total profit of over $1,200 for the session, before giving much of it back during a long card dead stretch. In the end I booked a $540 win for the day.

On Sunday I made my way back. The combo of 1st of the month (when people get paid) and a holiday weekend did not disappoint. I sat down in one of two $15/$30 games and I only recognized one player, and he's someone I'm always happy to play against.

There was one guy who was the worst of the group. He bought in for $300 and when he blew through that I figured he'd be done or pull out another $100 or something. Instead he pulled out another $1,000 and went to work blasting it off as fast as possible. I didn't make many hands, but when I did I won big pots. This caused me to bounce around between even and +$500 for the entire session.

One big hand came up toward the end of the day. I got dealt 22 and was the second caller. After a couple of other calls the button raised, the big blind 3 bet it and the button capped it. We took the flop 7 way for $60 each. The flop was A T 2 giving me bottom set and it checked around. ACK! The turn was a 7, I bet and 5 people called me! The river was a Q. It was checked to me, the small blind check raised and the big blind three bet it! Super ACK! I was 98% sure I was up against KJ so I let it go and sure enough the big blind took it down with KJ.

I was sad to see that one slip away and I ended the day with a modest $140 profit.

After 65 hours I'm losing $528 for the project. One nice win and I'll be back in black. I'm going to try to squeeze 5 sessions and 20 hours in to the last 11 days of The Project which ends September 14th (Play on the 14th will count). This week I'll be in action Wednesday and Friday night. I expect all of these sessions to be at The Oaks and maybe one of them will involve a shot at $30/$60 if conditions look good.

My WSOP 2023 Plans and Missions

After four and a half years working for StubHub I wrapped up my time there in March. I've been at the poker tables 3-4 days a week since...