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The Lower Half

Playing poker over the long term is largely like riding an emotional rollercoaster. There are times when you are the highest you've ever been, flush with cash, confident in your abilities, and looking forward to the next day. There are other times, when you are in the lowest depths of the ride, where nothing works, your play suffers and your bankroll seems to slip through your fingers.

For a while, I had been riding the downslope, concerned, as per usual, about what it all meant. The first few months of 2008 were brutal, the result of a variety of things that are not worth discussing here. However, over the last few weeks, the sun has peaked through the clouds, and I have seem to reach that lovely area of contentment that is the key to a happy life.

It reminds me of something my father once told me. In the 90s, growing up in a predominantly reformed Jewish suburbs, I naturally fell right in line with the poor working class grunge music scene. It spoke to my soul like no other music at the time, specifically to my teenage angst, spurred by a variety of things. It was in one of my darker moments when my father shared this pearl of wisdom on our front porch. Life is 10% happy and 10% sad. It's what you do with the other 80% that counts.

Contentment. That's the other 80%, if you can accept the fact that life isn't always sunshine and puppy dogs or rain clouds and dead puppy dogs.

And contentment isn't such a bad place. At least not for my poker game.

This weekend kicked off with an odd HORSE Kill game at the Wall Street Game, Thursday night. I made a slight comeback from my low point of -$180, eventually leaving down $86. We were playing 3/6 limit, with an odd Kill variation. In Hold'em, two wins in a row changed the game to .50/1 PL with a forced min-raise to the kill player (i.e., whoever won the two hands in a row). In Omaha 8 or Better, a scooped pot of $60 or more led to a similar PL kill. In the stud games (Razz, Stud and Stud 8), the kill was a more traditional doubling of the bets. The result were some crazy hands with $12 raises and re-raises leading to huge pots.

I wish I remembers individual hands, but I do not. I do remember once again letting the frustrating nature of limit non-hold'em games get to me. This was right after I lost my first stack due to a probably foolish call of ~$60 into a ~$150 pot when all I could get is a low draw and I knew my opponent had the nut high hand. Ironically, it was a kill pot in O8, meaning that we were playing pot limit. I had a good draw to a low with A24 in my hand and 37xx on the board, so I bet out $25, hoping to shut down the action and take down the pot. To my surprise, a new player to the WSG raised all-in after me for about $60. All players folded, and I was stuck with a tough situation.

I immediately assumed that my opponent had the nut flush. It made perfect sense since he waited until the third heart was dealt before making his aggressive play. Therefore, I could comfortably assume that I was only playing for the low. Now, I had to do the math to determine if I had the odds to call, even though I was playing for half of the pot.

With my A24x on the 37xx board, I counted 21 outs, which in hindsight should have been reduced to 20 outs, assuming that my opponent did have the nut flush, and therefore an Ace. My outs to the low were as follows: two Ace, three 2s, three 4s, four 5s, four 6s, and four 8s (20 total). I knew 8 out of the 52 cards (4 in my hand and 4 on the board), so there were roughly 20 out of 44 unknown cards that helped me, almost a 50% chance of hitting on the river. The pot was $150 or so but since I was only playing for half the pot, it was effectively $75 or so. Paying $60 or so to win $75 on a near coin toss isn't horrible, but in reality, I hadn't considered the fact that my opponent may have had A2. In fact, he did have A2, reducing my clean outs significantly (only 4 cards would award me a superior low, the two remaining Aces and the two remaining 2s). Even a quarter would give me most of my final call back, since that would make the pot approximately $210 and my 1/4 would be a little over $50 for my $60 river call. But, as it turned out, none of my outs came, and I was near felted. After buying back in, I took a break to try some GTA IV, which seems just like its predecessors, which is to say, amazing. After cooling off a bit, I returned to the game, where I lost some more before mounting a late game comeback. In the end, most of my losses can be attributed to the aforementioned hand.

On Friday, wifey Kim and I headed to Long Island for Roose's annual July 4th BBQ. We got drunk, as per usual, and overate largely due to my goal to eat one of everything, no small feat at a Roose BBQ. After my fill of chicken, and burgers, and hot dogs, and skirt steak, and about 8 other dishes, wifey Kim and I made our way back to my family's Long Island house, where we slept like vagrants on the floor of the living room. My older brother had called dibs on the guest room and there was insufficient room in what used to be my little brother's room (who, incidentally, had moved into my room). After an oddly decent night's sleep on the floor, we headed back to NYC on Saturday, where wifey Kim and I had a little date night.

Sunday was relegated to poker, though, thanks in part to wifey Kim's errands in advance of our trip to an antisemetic wedding in Colorado next week. While she was out, I was playing a $12, 2k Guarantee tournament at Bodog, eventually busting in 6th out of 172 players for a little over $100. I was also loading up on tokens, one of which I converted to a little bit of cash in a 6-seater SNG. There were more SNGs, but nothing particularly exciting to report.

I'm back to contentment, happy about my game and about the opportunities available to me. My online bankroll is no longer paltry, even though I still maintain the fact that online poker is the ham sandwich to live poker's filet mignon. To that end, I may make a solo trip to AC this Saturday if the planets align.

That's it for me for today. I may try out the Hoy's new shootout format tonight, which I believe is still shorthanded (or so I hope).

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 11:43 AM,


At 6:59 PM, Blogger Entichrist Bloggar said...

The other 80% of life should be labeled fear of death and self-loathing


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