Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Et tu, Brute?

A rough time tonight in Caesars Palace for yours truly.

I hadn't been there since May 4th. Now I know why.

What can I say? It was wonderfully humbling. It built character.

I entered the poker room at 7:15pm and it was real quiet. There were only 6 cash game tables in use. I've seen bigger card games going on in bars where you're not supposed to play poker. There were a bunch of dealers standing around in the corner waiting to deal to tables full of players that didn't exist.

Now in Caesars defense it was a Tuesday night. And Tuesday might be the slowest time of the week here in Vegas. If it's not Tuesday then it's Wednesday, with Monday and Thursday both still connected to the weekend.

But what do I know? The line to PURE was still a display of complete insanity tonight. I'm not sure what party was going on inside but it looked more like New Years Eve than a Tuesday night. The weekend never really ends here.

The poker room was quiet but still had a bunch of NBA players in the back corner playing poker and hanging out. I tried to take a peak but didn't recognize too many of the guys. I think I saw Antoine Walker with chips in front of him. I'm pretty sure I didn't see any referees.

I should also mention that it rained in Vegas during Tuesday afternoon. I think I may have cried tears of joy. My metaphor for the rain was it felt "just like a sunny day. " It brought the temperature down to the 80's. The humidity was also weird to feel.

I guess I gotta say two things here.

1- Yes I know I'm discussing the weather and for that I apologize.

2- The Summer in Vegas has been a scarring experience.

The ups and downs of poker are one thing. Living in 115 degree heat has been very tough mentally and physically. My wife and I can't even go outside for a walk on most days. The casinos are too cold. And outside is too hot. This might become a reason in the future that we can't live permanently in Vegas.

This topic came up a few weeks ago and I suggested that we move to Egg Harbor, New Jersey.
This way I could play regularly at the Borgata. But Howard P. says Egg Harbor is "a bunch of farmers." I'm not exactly sure why that's a bad thing. I'm from Brooklyn. I don't really know farmers.

Most importantly I haven't bothered to look to see if "The Egg Harbor Year" is available as a blog title. If our government would just legalize deposits for internet poker then I could have the freedom to live anywhere in this great country.

How's that for a reason to legalize it? Freedom.

Okay. Now that I got all the small talk out of the way- Have I mentioned lately how hard poker is?

Tonight I went hours without hitting a hand. When that happens the game gets real difficult. It almost becomes a comedy sketch anytime I'm in a hand. When you haven't won a pot in few hours everyone is looking to play with you. If you listen carefully you can hear the laughter each time I raise.

Everyone at the table knows I have ace king. Just like we all know the flop is coming out 2,2,9.

If I bet the flop I'm getting check raised.

And if the flop just so happens to come out ace, ace, king, well then you can bet your bottom dollar that this time I have pocket 9's,

There were a few sequences where I thought to myself "Just don't get killed."

I also reminded myself that it's fine to fold for an hour. Or two.

I lost money on the evening because my draws let me down. I basically treaded water winning a few pots calling down aggressive players. But I gave all those chips back chasing my draws.

Chasing draws is a big part of my game. I do only expect to hit 1 out 3. But hitting 1 out of 3 is good enough for me to make a profit.

The 1 out of 3 thing is interesting because it's kind of like a good baseball hitter with a 333 batting average.

And so if I chase 6 draws in an evening where I'm 33% to win then I should win 2 of these hands.

But some nights even Derek Jeter goes 0 for 6.

(It would be great to check with the Elias Sports Bureau to find out if Derek Jeter has ever actually gone 0 for 6. When you play as many games as he has it almost seems like a mathematical probability. Then again he doesn't usually bat 6 times in a game. Most of his games are probably only 5 at bats. So the sample group of Jeter having 6 at bats games just got alot smaller.)

(Then again, the way I'm running tonight I'm probably gonna lose any more "bets" I make. So the fact that I think Derek Jeter HAS gone 0 for 6 in a game means it is probably not a fact. Although I can still hope it makes me feel better about not hitting my draws.)

One more word on draws: It's not usually good poker to chase. However I'm into chasing draws at cash games because most of the time the price I'm being charged is reasonable for what I can potentially win.

Like if I'm sitting at a table with 500 bucks and some other guy with 500 bucks makes it 15 to go, I'm very likely to call with any playable hand. I win entire stacks doing this.

But of course when my draws don't hit, each time it's suddenly another 50 or 100 bucks down the drain. Every third hand when they hit I'm a genius. And the other 2 hands when they miss I'm just trying to lose as little as possible. But when they don't hit at all it's trouble.

Overall I didn't play my best game tonight. I wouldn't say that I was on tilt. But there were a couple of times where I had the best hand and I don't think I made enough money with my cards. I think I was a little tight. A little gun shy. A little scared that somehow I was going up against the nuts.

The experience did make me rethink the timeless question(s):

Are there unlucky seats? Unlucky tables? Unlucky nights? Unlucky Casinos?

Alot of gamblers believe in luck.

Yet luck might also be able to be proven mathematically.

Over billions of hands of poker luck should even out. But in just one night of play anything can happen. And the randomness of having winners and losers in a given evening seems much more likely than possibility of everyone breaking perfectly even.

Perfect math should actually create a more random distribution of winners and losers. (In places where skill is not involved). Just because the guy next to you got pocket aces doesn't mean he won't be the next person at the table to get them again.

Thus there will be sessions with only bad cards where the key will be for me to lose as little as possible. There will be sessions where the deck hits me in the face and my only job is to see how much money I can take from the other players. And in between there will be plenty of "medium sessions" with lots of close tough decisions. It will be these sessions where perhaps skill matters the most.

But I mainly asked the question(s) above regarding luck because tonight in the middle of my session I wrote a note to myself that I already knew how the evening was going to end. I just had the feeling I was sitting at an unlucky table. And I've been through this story before. We all know it means I should probably just leave. Just like there are nights when I know I'm taking the other players chips. Tonight my antennae told me that it was my turn to lose chips.

Why not use the antennae I've attached my head?

Instead I'm sitting there watching my chips disintegrate. Just vanish into plain air.

I kept thinking to myself "Uh. Robert. If you leave now you'll still have X dollars."

My X was dropping by around 50 dollars an hour. If I was a stock, you'd sell. There weren't any real disasters. I never went all in. But hour after hour I bled.

My ace kings never hit. My pairs never held up. And whenever I made some sort of hand on the know. Someone drew out. It happens.

Yet I stayed at the table because there were a couple of poor players. I also stayed because I thought that as long as I wasn't on tilt, the cards had to turn around. I guess you could even argue I didn't stay long enough. Since I chose to exit with a manageable $295 loss.

I left at that point because I couldn't stomach losing 5 at a table I deemed "unlucky."

But why did I stay as long as I did?

I tried to give myself the chance to fight back.

I've read that in the big game Gus Hansen has been down over a million and come back to being even on multiple occasions. So asking me to win back a few hundred dollars isn't exactly unreasonable.

So the question remains.: As long as I'm not on tilt. And as long as there are poor players at the table. Should I stay at a table where I've been losing money?

I'm scared to say yes. Mainly because I don't want to become superstitious like that.

However if it continues to happen. ..

If I continue to have a foreshadowing feeling in my veins on losing nights...

Well then you can be damn sure at some point I'll adapt my superstitions.

I'll start avoiding black cats. I won't walk under ladders.

And most of all I'll stay away from Caesars Palace.


Amrita said...

Who ever decided that black cats are bad luck was a racist.

Check Raise Chin said...

Ups and downs. Part of the gig.

Keep on the straight and narrow and the chips will come!

Berg said...


Derek Jeter's line score from May 4, 2007 against the Seattle Mariners:

Jeter, SS 6 0 0 0 0 0 1 7 .330

Robert said...

Thanks for finding that.

Jeter even left 7 men on base.

Who knew that was possible for him?

I would have loved to read his blog that night.

And of course since he's Derek Jeter he goes 3 for 4 with 2 RBI's the next day.

From the May 5, 2007 box score.

D Jeter SS 4 0 3 2 0 0 1 .345

Dr. Needle said...

Several clarifying points here:
1) It is true that south Jersey is all old farmers. What I was trying to explain to you was that it is a cultural wasteland- nothing to do and AC is the gambling armpit of the nation. Two years there - much like purgatory. Trust me on this. Then again at least it's not 115*.
2) I have already sent you my thoughts on luck so I will not state them again but sometimes that 800 math SAT brain of yours is too logical. Every cell in your body told you to leave and you ignored it. That intuition you always talk about. I blame your friend Willy for this. Didn't he come out and ruin the good mojo I had delivered to you?

Check Raise Chin said...

AC is the gambling armpit of the nation???

I thought that was Reno.

dave said...

There is a good story about Ted Forrest on Cardplayer.

He was stuck like 20k or something at the Bike. And told himself he wasnt leaving until he was unstuck. And this is when he was playing lower limits.

He played something like 70 straight hours until he unstuck himself.

Moral of the story is sometimes you just have to fight through it.

ckbluffer said...

There were times that I've played 30+ hours at a table and the dynamic never changed. Grind, grind, grind, good hand, grind, bleed, grind, bleed, suckout, grind. I'm starting to think that if a table isn't running good after a couple of hours, it's time to move to another table / another location. You have plenty of options out there in Sin City. Take advantage of them! One of the days that I was out there for the WSOP, I went from the Rio to Bellagio to the Wynn before I found a table worth fighting for.

Check Raise Chin said...

Hey Rob at least you're this guy Brian Townsend...Sorry Rob I'm two timing you on poker

I am currently on my largest downswing of my life. It very depressing and today the total hit 3 million dollars. It began the last two days of live play when I lost 1.8 million dollars and has continued online by losing another 1.2 million. I have been getting destroyed by pretty much everyone I play. I think overall I have played pretty well in this downswing besides one night where I was very tired. I have almost completely busted my FTP account and may have to wire more money which would be very depressing. If this happens I will probably take a few weeks off poker to cool off. This downswing is made easier by the fact that I had a big upswing before but still its not fun to lose 3 million dollars. Often when I am in a downswing I need to rework my game but I think I have been playing well. I know things will turn around as this has happened to me a million times before just not on the same scale.

As a side note I have been doing very well in the Omaha 8 games. When I first began playing them I thought I wouldn't have a lot of success but I have really hit the ground running. I hope that I am not just running hot and that this success continues. I do feel that I have a good idea of my equity in hands. I will have to see how I do in the next few months. But now I feel comfortable playing NLH, PLO, limit holdem, razz, and O8.

Willy's World said...

Go get your shinebox Howard.