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Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes

Its a sad day at High on Poker. Recently, I had no choice but to face the facts and break off a relationship that became a liability. When we first met, everything was fun and new. It was an experience, and every time I saw her, my heart would beat just a little bit faster. But over time, I've come to realize that the passion cannot last, especially in the face of this past year.

Yes, I'm ending my relationship with that horrid bitch that has given me nothing in these last few months. I've thought about it before, but whenever I was ready to pack it in, she'd convince me by showing an ounce of kindness. I won't be fooled any more.

To make things a bit easier, I've met someone else. She's easier to get along with, puts out more, and has been more consistent than that old hag could ever be. We don't get to see each other as often, but with the breakup, that will likely change.

With that said, I officially announce my decision to break up with Online Poker (you didn't think I was talking about someone else, did you?! For shame!). It's been a good run. She was always around to talk with, hold my hand and keep me company. I'm not ex-communicating, like I did with a past ex-girlfriend when the breakup was so hard. No, I plan on spending some time with the Ole Bitch here and there, especially when we are hanging out with mutual friends at our favorite places like the Mookie, the Hoy, and the WWdn's. I might even stop by solo sometimes to play a tournament, or meet up with fellow bloggers for a cash game table. But overall, it's over.

No longer will I play daily online. No longer will I treat online poker like it is a money-maker. No longer will I be shackled by the idea that winning online equates my skills as a player. Nay! For in this last year, I am actually negative for the year online. NEGATIVE! Now, its minuscule, for sure. I'm only down about $250 for hours and hours of play. But overall for the year, I'm up over $3000 (a large margin over my $1800 goal), and it's all live.

I feel like I'm giving up in certain ways. I may have to look over my notes and determine what games online are my big losers and what games are my big winners. Offhand, I'll guess that NLHE and PLO (including O8) are probably my biggest losers. Mixed games like Razz are probably the winners. Maybe I'll focus more on non NL and PL games. But realistically, I might just have to walk for the most part (I'll always have some money online for the blogger events).

The cost, in money and time, is just not worth it. Now, I'm as self-destructive as the next guy, and probably a tad moreso, but there has to come a point where reality sets in. Why have my results been so much better live? I have my theories, mentioned several times here, but I also have to admit that turning my back on online poker scares me a bit. What if I've just been suffering an undue amount of negative variance online? What if I've been getting an undue amount of positive variance (i.e., good luck) live? Maybe stopping online will cause a shift, and I'll find myself suffering live. But, well, maybe not. They are different sorts of games, and I may be better suited to live play.

Time will tell how this will all wash out. I'm the first to admit that I've threatened to cut down online for a while to little success. But perhaps now that I have the information in front of me, it will be a lot better.

So, um, now that that is out of the way, wanna talk about some recent live action? I decided to head to Salami Club in NYC last night. Wifey Kim's friend was coming into the city and they were having dinner and drinks together. I could've joined, but I figured she'd be better off without me, and I love me some live poker.

The $50+10 tournament kicked off at 7:45 or so. I played decently, but eventually was short due to the fast structure. I pushed A4o into AKo and that was all she wrote.

During the first round, a familiar face entered the poker room. Dawn from I Had Outs is such a freakin' degenerate. It's good to have her company. We chatted for a bit, but I was moved to the other table before my demise.

When I busted, I decided to "rage solo," one of my new favorite phrases, which incidentally seemed to originate with Otis from Up for Poker. Salami actually has a small kitchen with a chef that makes some of the best pasta around. That said, I needed to get some air, so I hit the streets to find some grub.

I made my way over to Peanut Butter & Company, an order-at-the-counter restaurant that specializes in an eclectic variety of peanut butter sandwiches. I got the lunch box special, a generic PB&J (crunchy, strawberry, white bread) and grabbed a seat in the back. I ate while I listened to my iPod. My goal was to calm down (I wasn't too upset over the loss, but I could use a cool-down period), recoup, and return to Salami for the super loose 1/2 NLHE game. My recent string of live wins padded my live bankroll to the point where I was finally ready to play the high-variance game.

Dawn made it to the top 4 or 5. She was busted on a suckout her AK losing to A4, oddly similar to my exit hand, except for the opposite hand losing. When she was done, she joined the cash game, already in progress. I was up almost $200 already.

I don't remember many major hands. I got paid off nicely with AA once. A player on my immediate right was playing fairly looseley. Most of the table was, actually. He raised to $15 in EP/MP, and I decided to raise it up to either win it uncontested with AA, or, considering the table, get one caller only. I bump it to $55, an uncharacteristically high bet for me thus far. I was playing what passes as tight for the table, so I fully expected all players to fold.

In mid-late position, an old guy who made some truly donktastic calls during the tournament (calling an all-in with KJo post flop after missing the board...and then rivering a Jack), called me. When it got back to the pony-tailed gentleman on my right, he called as well. We now had a $150+ pot and I held AA. The flop was Q9x, offsuit. I was in late position, and the old loose guy was first. He only had 51 in front of him, and he pushed. Pony-tail hesitated a second and then called. I pushed all-in, hoping that if I was behind the old loose guy, I'd still get paid off to the tune of $200+ from Pony-tail. He hemmed and hawed (a popular saying for HoP, apparently), and said, "Do I want to take a chance at cracking Aces?" "You think he has Aces?" I asked. I knew he meant me, but I wanted to throw him off of my trail. "No, you do." I raised my eyebrows in mock surprise. "I fold."

The hand is dealt out and by the river, the old guy tables his cards and says, "I have two pair." My heart sank. I saw his A9, and looked at the board. Q9xTT. His two-pair were 9s and Ts. I tabled my AA, "You were right, sir," to Pony-tail, "I have Aces." "I know," was his gruff reply.

It was an odd table. Earlier in the tournament, the Pony-tail guy laid down a rivered two-pair, Aces and 6s, against a straight and a better two pair. When he folded, I said, "Nice fold." He looked at me and said, "No it wasn't. Anyone would've folded there." We then argued the point of how stupid some players are, but I resolved myself with the fact that Pony-tail was not one for compliments, even if they were sincere.

My suspicion was confirmed at the cash game. Pony-tail made what I considered another good play and I said, "Nice hand." He argued with me again. A hand after he left, a Moroccan-looking player who was VERY loose (that's saying a lot for this game), made a big bet preflop, made another big bet post-flop, and finally took down the pot on the turn with a huge bet. He got a lot of action, and the board, 57x9, wouldn't suggest that he, as a preflop raiser, would've hit hard. So, I was sincere when I announced, "Nice hand, sir." I'm not trying to kiss up or anything. I just like how he played it. If he had a monster, he got a lot of action. If he had nothing, he won the pot without showdown.

When I said, "Nice hand," I heard him grumble that I didn't even know what he was holding. I leaned over to Dawn, in the seat to my immediate left, and said, "No one can take a compliment around here." I then went on to explain my interactions with Pony-tail. Moroccan heard me yapping and called across the table. "What are you saying over there?" I responded, "I was just saying how no one here can take a compliment. I told the guy on my right "nice hand" a couple of times and each time he argued with me. I say the same thing to you and you tell me I don't know what you had." "I had the straight. I wanted to call." "I don't really care what you had. I liked how you played it either way, if you had it or you didn't." He backed off, "I didn't mean to be rude." "Nah, it's okay," because truly it was. "Now I know not to compliment anyone anymore. In fact, I take it back. Bad hand, sir. Bad hand!"

By now, the entire table was listening. It was clear that we turned an odd situation into a comically odd one. After that, I caught myself saying "nice hand" to a player, at which point I announced, "Um, wait, I take that back. No nice hand for you!" When I took down a hand later, and Asian kid smiled and said "Nice hand." I responded, "Piss off!" We all laughed as I told someone on the other side of the table to "Stuff it" as they complimented another play.

Yes, I have the most fun at the table when everyone is having fun. I seem to be more profitable too. A little while later, I won a whopper of a hand with Ace-high. I held A9o, and decided to raise it from MP/LP. I got a few callers, and the flop was KTx. It checked around to me and I bet out a large amount. I had found that I was earning a tight table image, and large bets from me sent most players running. All but one player, an older astute man, folded.

The turn was a second club, and I decided to fire another huge bullet at the pot. I believe I bet $12 preflop and got 4+ callers, and bet $45 on the flop. On the turn, I decided to bet $90, confident in the fact that I was playing with profits and would need to lay some pressure to scare off my opponent. He called, and was all-in for just about the $90 bet. Doh! The river was a blank and I sheepishly announced, "I have an Ace." I flipped the Ace over only. The table grumbled and a few players across the way complained, "You have to show both to win." It was at this point that I saw my opponent checking his cards, hoping that they would change. It looked like I was ahead, so I flipped my 9 to show Ace-high. He tabled JQc, for an open ended straight draw on the flop, and a flush draw as well on the turn. He held Q-high by the river, and I won a monster pot.

I promised myself I'd be leaving at 11:30pm, since I don't want to be in the room for the peak robbery-police raid shift (not that it happens often, but I think leaving early is great advice provided by SoxLover). Dawn was going to stick it out.

I called wifey Kim on my way home. She was heading back from drinks with the girls, and I was walking on sunshine. The train ride was smooth and soon I was at home, placing my poker bankroll back in its not-so-hiding place.

Live poker, gotta love it!

Quick update, I ran some numbers according to my spreadsheet. Individually, it looked like I was a net winner across the board in online poker. NLHE, LHE, LO8, PLO, SNGs, and MTTs, to name a few. I must have made an error somewhere in my Excel spreadsheet. That, or I lost most of my money playing Chinese poker and other weird variations that I didn't do the math on. Whatever the case, I think my mind is fairly made up. Online poker will become a blogger-gathering affair. The rest will be live.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 11:56 AM,

19 Comments:

At 12:17 PM, Blogger Karol said...

I prefer the live experience by a lot and with online poker getting harder to play all the time, I think it's the best way to go.

 
At 12:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can understand your reasoning for changing over to live poker in favor over online. Just be sure to avoid KGB's and risk all that bankroll for a big shot at a tourney in Vegas!

Here in Colorado, it's hard to find a live game and the casino's are buried in deep snow up in the mountains.

It's good to hear about live poker instead of the old virtual chips. Live game skills are going to be more important than online skills in the long run anyway. You can only take your game so far online. Online hides so much of the reads that you can make. Reading "live" players is an acquired art form.

GL at the real tables. Just avoid the raids. The boys down at the local jail don't take too kindly to lawyers.

 
At 2:02 PM, Blogger SirFWALGMan said...

I think playing live is a hell of alot of fun and thnk you will do well. The typical players at live 1/2 games are worse than the ones online at the levels you play so you should do well. Good luck and I hope you do well as you progress up the ladder.

 
At 2:45 PM, Blogger GrayCalx said...

Well, its too bad to see you leave and lose a blog that I liked. I enjoyed reading your posts while you made them. See you in the afterlife. Ba-leted.

 
At 2:51 PM, Blogger HUC said...

Gray, don't bid me adieu just yet. I ain't going anywhere. The blog stays. I get more high off of live poker than online anyway, and I think my trip reports are some of my best posts. So, HoP stays. The focus and content might change a bit, but overall, I'll keep posting, ideally at the same consistency as usual, about once a weekday.

 
At 2:53 PM, Blogger HighOnPoker said...

In case you haven't figured it out, HUC is me signed up under my Heads-Up Challenge screenname.

 
At 2:58 PM, Anonymous ZowieZ said...

I'm also playing a lot more live than online these days, and enjoying better results. There still are some nice benefits of online play though, such as finding a PLO game and low buy-in tourneys. But for cash games -- live play has worked out better for me.

Don't drop the p-blog! Good luck in the New Year!

 
At 3:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congrats on a very nice week 15 in the Pick'em league. And thanks for making poker enjoyable while we're at your table.

 
At 3:42 PM, Blogger HighOnPoker said...

Meanhappy, are you mocking me? I'm so out of contention for the Pick'em league, I figured I'd just drop the damn thing. What can ya do!? I'm just happy we paid the buy-in at the beginning.

Zowie, its good to see someone with a similar situation. All your points about online is very accurate. You can find lower buy-ins and more variety. Those are the reasons I'll keep some money online. I've already withdrew about 1/2 of my remaining online bankroll after several recent withdrawals, though.

 
At 3:47 PM, Blogger jjok said...

Turn and face the stranger!

Ch Ch Changes........


Good luck with the change.....

 
At 4:30 PM, Blogger GrayCalx said...

Ahh excellent, glad to hear then.

 
At 9:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good luck, man.

Live poker roolz.

 
At 1:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

huge pots aren't normally won with AA, sir...

anyway, GL, you know how I feel about live and online poker.

 
At 6:20 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

sup man... been a long time since we were heads up in that PSO freeroll earlier in the year... i've been out of the game, off in thailand for the past 6 months... but now im back and getting the blog up and running again (albeit on a new webpage)... i was wondering if you were still interested in linksharing... if you are, leave me a comment and let me know

 
At 9:14 AM, Blogger HighOnPoker said...

DP, huge pots aren't usually won with AA if AA is played wrong. I think you need to reevaluate your assessment of poker, because if you still believe that live poker and online poker are not at all different, then you are either arguing for the sake of arguing, or you are lying to yourself. Especially coming from someone who claims that they would be profitable at $2000 max buy-ins but can't seem to win at $25 max buy-ins. Would you say those games are exactly the same too? I'm all for debate, but this one is just ignorance.

 
At 10:39 AM, Blogger Dawn Summers said...

I can't believe you didn't mention your best line of the night - that the money was for your grandma's operation. On her boobs.
haahahhahahahaha

 
At 11:17 AM, Blogger HighOnPoker said...

Dawn, I actually stole that line from another blog. I like my witty table banter, so when I lost a hand, I said to one of the crafty Asian players, "You know, that money was for my grandmother's operation." They chuckled at the stupid comment as I paused. "Now she'll never be able to get that boob job." Thanks folks. It killed em in Poughkeepsie! Don't forget to tip your waiters. Yaddle-doodle!

 
At 1:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bill Frist is applauding your decision.

I actually prefer live poker myself but have a hard time finding a good game.

Thanks for the comments. They were really funny. And also thanks for the advice on NL versus limit.

 
At 6:32 PM, Blogger Veneno said...

I'm with ya Jordan. Live play has been soo much more profitable for me.

I think it will be a bigger part of my activitie in 2007. Thanks to HighPlains, I have a regular home cash game to attend on Thursday nights and a low-limit tourney on Sundays.

I don't have the legal issues that you face. One of the best live poker casino's in the world, Commerce, is about 10 minutes away from my residence. And that is just one of the many places I can play live.

I look forward to seeing how this change impacts your poker experience. Hope to see you in Vegas for the WSOP.

Best wishes!!

 

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