Thursday, April 05, 2007

Positive Expected Value

I woke up today at noon. Went to a 430pm movie. It was still the matinee price so the experience can definitely be categorized as +EV.

See how on top of my game I am? I'm even getting the best of it at the movies.

Some of you who read this might not get all my poker lingo. When I write that going to a matinee is "+EV " I'm saying that it has a "positive expected value."

I even had some real good expected value on my time today. I was late to the film and didn't get there till 4:45 PM but luckily for me the movie hadn't started yet. It was still in the previews.

You know what that means?

The time I spent today outside the theater between 430 and 445 PM was all extra! It was like getting a bonus 15 minutes added to my life. While the other losers were all inside the theater watching commercials I was outside doing wonderful things on a beautiful day.

Or to put it another way. You know how they say each cigarette you smoke takes 11 minutes off your life? Well I can go smoke a cigarette right now and I'll still be up 4 minutes on life.

The movie ended around 645 PM. We drove to the bank which I'm not really sure I want to advertise by naming them in this space.

Perhaps using a pseudonym would be a better idea.

So we drove to "Shitibank"so I could save on the withdrawal fees that are extra when I take out money from the ATM on the Strip. It's always at least a 5 buck service charge but I've paid more.

So going to the bank before the strip = +EV.

Back in the day people like me were known as "frugal" and "miserly" and "cheap." Now it's all +EV.

I eventually made it down to play poker at the Palms and the MGM Grand.

I also tried Hooters but they only had one table going (1-2 No Limit) and it was full which was really too bad cause despite only being 1-2 that game looked really good.

The Palms is always good. There's always at least one guy from LA who is dressed well and wants to prove to everyone how much the money doesn't matter to him by raising every hand and then showing his bluffs. Over and over.

And MGM Grand was great. I had never played at the MGM before.

Here's my review:

Alot of tables. Alot of bad players.

What more could a poker guy who has to pay taxes next week ask for?

A few hands from tonight worth remembering:

First time I have the button I get dealt pocket jacks. I raise and get reraised by the big blind.

I know nothing about him. I call.

Flop comes ace, 10, 10. Two spades.

He inexplicably checks.

Uh okay. Sir, if you're trapping me it's gonna work. I'm gonna take a shot at this pot.
I obviously have a hand. I called you preflop. So here goes....I bet around 60% of the pot.

And he folds.

Poof that was easy.

He shows me pocket kings as he mucks to let me know what a good a player he is.

I can't resist and show my jacks.

It feels strange to me as a human being to do this. I don't want to show him up personally. My initial emotional reaction was to chastise myself. But in hindsight it may have helped me. Because overall I played pretty damn tight. Yet I was still able to get alot of action on the few hands I played. Maybe it was because of showing this hand. Maybe they all didn't want to get bluffed.

Later on I limped under the gun with aces. There's no point stealing the blinds from here. I want to win big pots. Not the blinds. I am so ready to lay my aces down on the flop if it looks scary.

I get a few callers and then BINGO, the big blind raises it 5x the big blind. Now I decide to take what's out there. I bump it up 25x. Back in the old west, before the internet, if someone limped under the gun and then reraised it meant he had aces.

That's what I'm telling the table.

It's so obvious.

However that's part of the reason why I don't mind doing the obvious move here. I'm thinking (or hoping) that the good players might think I'm "making a move." And it won't kill the action from bad players. They don't even know that I limped to begin with.

I catch one fish. The BB calls. He's now put 80% of his chips in the pot.

I can't tell you what came out on the flop because it absolutely made no difference to me. The rest of my chips were going into the middle on the flop. He didn't have enough money left for me to worry. If he gets lucky and cracks my aces, then good for him.

So he checks to me and of course I put him all in.


Oh dear.

80% of his chips are in the middle. It was fine to fold to me preflop when I reraised. But if he's gonna call me preflop for 80% of his chips then Dear God he's gotta move in on the flop. Even if he knows I have aces. And he shouldn't even be calling. He should be beating me into the middle since he acted first.

This same guy doubled me up earlier. I flopped a set and he paid me off on the turn with top pair top kicker. Good players can lay down top pair top kicker. Bad players can't.

I shouldn't even call him a bad player.

He wasn't bad. He just doesn't do this all day.

He was on vacation.

And that's the way I won most of money tonight. Two sets. Both times beating top pair. Happened at the Palms too.

One other hand worth mentioning from MGM was me in the big blind picking up two black queens. 5 limpers. The temptation here is to raise. Especially in a tournament. But in a cash game I want to win more than just the blinds. Lets try to hit a set. If an ace or a king comes then oh well I just lost a big blind. Who cares?

But if a queen comes....I can win a stack.

(Notice a trend happening here? Hit a set. Or else don't play a big pot. Can it be that easy at 2/5 no limit?)

The flop was too good. Queen of diamonds, queen of hearts, jack of hearts.

I now have Quads. Please someone have a flush draw.

I check because that's what you do when you flop quads.

Guy behind me bets a little less than the pot. I call. Everyone else folds.

Turn is king of hearts.

Using the power of negative thinking I'm already picturing what it is about to happen:

I'm going to lose with quads to a royal flush.

But at least it will be a good story. How often is it in a two card game like Texas hold em that you're holding quads and not sure that you have the best hand?

The quads held up. Although I do wonder what I would have done if an ace or 10 of hearts came on the river.

I probably would have folded to a big bet. I had very little gamble in me tonight. The way I've been playing lately that is a good thing.

To show you how tight I was: I folded a flush draw when I was getting proper (or at least even) odds to call. Unbelievable. But true. I sat there. I thought about it. I counted up the pot. And then I folded.

I just couldn't find a good reason to call a bet getting even money odds. Why put money in the middle without having an edge? Suddenly it seemed so obvious to just fold and wait for a better opportunity.

Now normally the action side of my personality takes over right there. And the math side of my brain signs off on it being acceptable as long as I'm not getting worse than even odds.

But even odds? 50/50?

Sure. I'll flip you heads or tails for some money.

Lets bet our cars on red or black.

But not tonight.

Making money is a major concern of mine. It's the reason we're living here. That thought occurred to me this past week. This isn't about art. This is purely about money.

I need to be earning a good salary doing this.

If I can't show a healthy profit then it's absurd to be living here.

If I can play like I did tonight 4 times a week then I have a career.


FreeFormCoder said...

rock brother, rock!

Check Raise Chin said...

Tight is right bro.

Don't overthink and try and outplay everybody. You're good enough just to play your game and you'll be counting the chips in no time. These chumps won't know what hit em!

Poker can be easy pleasey