Thursday, December 25, 2003

Christmas at Work

Just wanted to join my fellow bloggers in wishing you all a very safe and merry Christmas. Let us take a moment to remember those that are standing a post during this holiday, domestically and abroad, to ensure that everyone who wishes has the right to celebrate in peace and safety.

It's sort of funny, these holidays. My wife is in Chicago with her family right now, and I'm still here in Wisconsin at work. I'll fly down tomorrow to be with the family for a couple of days, so it'll get quiet here over the weekend. Anyway, my wife is making a big deal about me being alone for the holidays. I never really felt much of a burning drive to HAVE to be with people on Christmas Day. My dad was an airline pilot, so I got real used to Christmas day without Pop around. It wasn't sad, or tragic.. Just a way of life. We celebrated Christmas on the 23rd, or the 27th, or whenever he was home. It's just something I grew up with, and it was no big deal to me. Now, I find myself in the unique position of being the husband who works over Christmas (except I get to come home after work every day). I suppose once I have kids, Christmas will take on a more important meaning to me... At the moment, beyond it's Biblical meaning, it's just a day where everything is closed and I gotta go to work.

Played around a little on Party today. Not a particularly good day for me cards wise. I sat down at a .50/1 table and, like a poor marksman, I kept missing the target. The table I was at was ideal, with 6 people seeing the flop and no preflop raising to speak of. The cards I got though just were all over the dial. I'd pick up a decent starting hand and the flop would completely miss me. I was on a slow bleed of chips for about an hour when I decided to break the boredom my trying another $5+$1 sit and go.

The dry spell followed me there lost puppy style. I made it to the final four and had hands that weren't even worthy of a bluff. I eventually blinded away to about T360 and the big blind, now T300 comes to me. I managed to pull off a baby straight but it was topped by a bigger one and, imagine my surprise, I bow out in 4th.

At least I'm consistent.

I sat back down at a .50/1 table. This one was significantly tighter and I wallowed around without making appreciable progress for about 45 minutes to an hour when everyone just sort of got up off the table and left all at once.. Play was so painfully slow that I busied myself reading emails. I folded my hand and went back to reading, and when I looked again, the table was down to 5 people... It became 4 by the next hand and I bailed also with a $2 profit to find another table.

The last table was great. There was some pre-flop raising here, but now that I have the bankroll to handle the variance, I'm a lot less intimidated by this, and am learning to use it to my advantage. The card draught continued, though, and I started a slow drip of chips to everyone else. At one point I picked up suited connectors, and I shit you not, at LEAST 6 times running, and NONE of them were even remotely close to a hand post flop. This went on for about another hour when FINALLY I started to catch some hands. I was quickly back to my buyin, but not much more. I played for an additional 20 minutes before I had to get ready for work and managed to scratch out a $3 profit.

Total take for the day, -$14.75

Not a completely terrible day, considering the crap for cards I was getting. I was pretty good at reading when I'd been beat and release the hand.

Double and I had a rather interesting discussion on implied odds a few days back, and I really think it's helped a lot with my play, especially pre-flop. I've begun adding suited connectors to my diet of starting hands if I can see them for cheap, and they've been good for a couple of decent pots. I really like the concept of high implied odd hands like middle suited connectors. They don't hit "incredibly" often, but when they do, they're easy to hide the monster and get a lot of value for it. Not many people at the low limits catch on the idea that there could be a monster in a flop that comes 458 rainbow, and if you manage to make a open ended straight draw AND four to the flush, you've got more outs then Kerry Wood.

I do see my game improving as I continue on this little journey. I think what I'm going to do is make the jump to the $1/$2 limit when I hit $300. This is about $100 short of the "optimal" bankroll, and if I fall down to $200, I'll back away from that and get back to the .50/1 until I build back to $400.

I've also found myself wanted to get back to a live game. I got slaughtered the last time I went to play live, but I think that was mostly due to my inexperience. My buyin was also a little thin, but I think I suffered more from terrible play (and a bad run of cards) then from a short stack. I mean, talk about passive/wimpy. I only scraped in one pot in the 4 hours I played. I put on a folding clinic, though! After some more study and practice, though, I think I might be able to at least hold my own at the live game, and I've always enjoyed playing at the table more then at my computer. I still haven't decided yet whether I want to play live and online play with the same bankroll or not. Technically, there should be no difference. A poker bankroll is a poker bankroll... However, the process of transferring money in and out of the online account required pre-planning and can present problems of their own. For this reason, I'm leaning towards just peeling off say $200 and calling it my live game bankroll. I'm concerned about taking a significant percentage of my bankroll out to start a live bankroll, but that argument doesn't hold much water under the "it's all a poker bankroll" theory. One can expect that, if I can scratch out a positive expectation in the .50/1 games, I should be able to do so in the equally loose/passive $2/$4 live games. Bottom line, though, I want to go play again.

I'd like to head out to LA for a day or two to play at some of the card houses out there too, but I don't dare show up there without some decent bank to play with. I'd like to have HDouble drag me around, but I fear he'll be bored to tears at the low limit games I'd be playing at!


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