Monday, October 15, 2007

Long Sunday

It's 10:45 PM on Sunday night. Over 12 hours have passed since football began this morning but I'm still going waiting to play poker at the Bellagio.

Seated near me at 5/10 no limit are comedians Michael Ian Black and Michael Showalter.

Part of me wants to go sit at their table. The logic here is if I can't win money from these guys then I need to leave poker and get back into comedy. But I don't sit with them because I'm not properly funded to play 5/10. I have a formula and I'm sticking to it. Even if my opponents would be Michael Ian Black and Michael Showalter. And so I play 2/5.

My artistic side knows I should sit down with them just for the blog. A few years ago I got into a shouting match with a woman at Ian Black, Showalter and David Wains show Stella in NYC. The problem was this shouting match occurred in the middle of my comedy set. It didn't exactly help with creating laughter but I did find it mildly entertaining.

Tonight however we're not here for entertainment. We're at work. So I don't sit down with the Michaels. Because I'm a robot baby.

The last time I had a conversation with Michael Ian Black was sometime in 2002 or 2003 on the set of that NBC show Ed. I'm in the Screen Actors Guild and I took advantage of my union status with a few days of SAG extra work. A couple of these days were spent working on the bowling alley set of Ed.

Everyone in show business thinks it's embarrassing to do extra work

Everyone outside the business thinks doing extra work is like getting paid to go hang out in the Universal Studios cafeteria.

They're both right.

I usually had a great time. Eating buffet style for hours. Reading The New York Times cover to cover. Drinking cold soda. Writing jokes into my Palm Pilot. And getting paid. The only possible improvement for my afternoon would be the addition of a laptop with the ability to access internet poker.

But who has the time? I don't. I barely have time to do the scenes on set because I've also brought my cell phone along to return all those phone calls I've been putting off making for weeks. And today I can get paid for making them.

The real humor comes when I'm knee deep in tasks and suddenly get called out to set (the bowling alley) by the director (the red haired dude from Thirty Something) and I'm all annoyed because I'm in the middle of 3 things.

"Can you tell them to wait a minute?"

I don't actually ask but the answer is clearly no. They've got Hall and Oates set up waiting to play music during an Ed dream montage. They need me to bowl in the alley next to them while Hall and Oates play.

I'm getting paid to bowl next to Hall and Oates.

The happy ending occurs in a week when a check for 150 bucks arrives in the mail because of how I spent these hours hanging out with a bunch of freaks who think they are actors but are just in the wrong place.

Extra work is a great way to make extra money. But it's not a great way to advance your career. Do it for the cash. Don't do it because you think you are going to make connections. A little public service announcement from your friend Robert.

(Disclaimer: Although it's fair for me to say I did meet John Travolta impersonator Brian Travolta while doing extra work so I can't say I didn't make any connections.)

11:13 PM. Minus 20 Ace queen. Flush hits on the turn. In case I had any doubt about where I stood the guy across the table from me says "I guess that's a decent card. I guess I'm all in." I guess that's an easy fold.

11:23 PM. I win 20 bucks with 9,6 suited. More importantly, I break a two hour streak going back to yesterday's session of not winning a hand.

11:41 PM. My starting 300 is down to 255 so I reload for 100 more. With 355 on table I call 20 preflop with king 10 suited. Dust clears a minute or two later on a king high board and I'm up to 511.

11:50 PM. Bleeding along. Minus 20 with pocket 7's. Fold suited connectors a couple times to excessive preflop raises. Not looking to randomly gambling.

12:08 AM. Fold ace 10 off under the gun. When I'm not running well it makes sense to me to tighten up like this. Like the last thing I need to do is flop an ace and play a big pot with ace 10. When I'm running well it's different but there's no need to force anything here.

12:22 AM. There's a guy to my right with around two grand on the table. He's playing alot of pots and always raises when he enters. I can't wait to get into one with him since he always continue bets on the flop.

12:47 AM. Over an hour since my last pot won. I'm still up 60 bucks from my high of 111. Not bad to only drop 51 dollars in an hour where I win no pots. This right here is the glamor of what I do. The glory if you will.

12:57 AM. 77 minutes. I'm up 53 after paying blinds.

1:14 AM. 94 minutes of no pots won. Breathe. Breathe in the air.

1:20 AM. Just hit 100 minute mark. I wonder if anyone at the table has any clue that I haven't won a hand in 100 minutes. Probably not. You notice more who is winning that who isn't. Sure you notice who is losing. But you don't always notice the guys that are sitting there folding for hours. To call my style of play this session tight might not even be strong enough of a descriptive statement. Tight? I'm folding ace 10.

1:25 AM. Minus 20 with ace jack suited. On the bright side people at least I saw a flop!

1:32 AM. At the 112 mark I pick up pocket jacks in the small blind. There it is. For those of you playing along at home I'm "down" to being "up" 14 dollars in this session at the start of this hand. I've been sitting here folding like a robot. Not doing anything too fancy. Sometimes I do. But at the moment I'm just trying to earn. To grind.

Loose guy in late position raises to 20 in front of me.

Guy behind him on button calls.

Me and my jacks probably have both of them beat but I prefer to call from the small blind out of position.

Flop is 2,4,5. Two clubs. It could be scary but it's more likely good news.

Preflop raiser bets 60. Button calls.

I still think I'm ahead of the preflop raiser.

And the guy next to him wouldn't just call if he was strong. His call screams "I am on a draw."

No time to mess around. I trust my read and come over the top making it 300.

Initial raiser thinks long and hard about it and I'm sort of confused. One of us should be crushing the other. This pause has got to be good news right? If I was beat he would have already called. The fact that he is taking time gives me hope. But then he suddenly calls for the rest of his 230 chips. Oh well. Guess we're gonna race.

The button who has already invested 60 on the flop starts chatting me up asking if I want the action from his flush draw. I don't speak because I am genuinely indifferent. If they both have flush draws then I want them both to call. But otherwise depending on his cards I might prefer to be heads up. So it's easy to remain silent.

However the player who has just called his all in for $230 starts telling this guy that he should fold because Mr. 230 says he has a bigger flush draw. They're both really not supposed to be talking in a multiway pot and the main reason it bugged me is I could tell the 230 guy was trying to talk the 3rd player into folding (with his flush draw threat). At that moment I would have bet money that the $230 guy did NOT have a flush draw. So if he can get a flush draw to fold he's doing himself a big favor. It works. The 3rd player eventually folds. Although he didn't have a flush draw but rather king,3 for the open ended straight draw.

The original raiser has 3,4. He seems like he's gambling but he's getting a good deal calling the 230. We're basically 50/50 to win(I'm 51-47%) and he's getting more than 2 to 1 from the pot.

If my jacks hold up I will have approximately $716 shoved towards me in chips.

Despite no cards for the past two hours I will be up over $400.

The flip side is if he draws out on me I'm suddenly down almost $300.

One big hand.

After all this waiting.

I'm ready for it. But it's also sort of the type of gambling I've been avoiding lately. However it works for me for two reasons. One, there was a good chance my flop raise would get everyone to fold. And two I am favored and getting great value on my 230 when I raised my opponent all in with my jacks. And that is why we play the game.

Where is all this leading? My opponent hits his draw and takes the pot.

Twice actually. First he hits an ace on the turn for the straight. And as if that never happened, a 4 comes on the river giving him trip 4's as well.

Pick your poison.

How do I spin it? Good for me for being ahead on the flop, getting my chips in with the best of it.

1:43 AM. It's official. I haven't won a pot in over 2 hours. Combine this with the 100 minutes that ended Friday night and I've been sure seeing some dry times lately.

1:50 AM. I break the streak and win a pot. I am now "up" to being "down" 267.

2:00 AM. I call 20 and win pot with queen 9 suited. Then lose 20 with 8's. Leaves me down 208. Not terrible.

2:12 AM. I'm only down 135 after I turn two pair take down pot with jack nine. Funniest part of this hand is the two loose guys to my right seriously discussing how I need to be looked up. I've won my second pot in 2.5 hours. I've been folding 90% of the hands. I need to be looked up.


Don't trust the guy who folds every hand.

Who knows? Maybe I've been folding aces. Cause you can't trust me. You need to look me up.

It's moments like these that make me feel like I'm in Mensa.

2:16 AM. Minus 20 with ace king suited against the loose guy. Damn I wanted to hit that flop. Missing that flop was like hitting into a double play. I had the ace king suited. The crowd was pumped and then the flop came out like 2,7,9. Just completely took the air out of the stadium.

2:19 AM. Not sure about this one. A small stack to my right with only 110 in chips raises preflop to 50 in a straddled hand. He's pretty tight so it is very likely he has a big pair. The best case scenario for me is probably ace king. I look down at pocket jacks.

If I was in late position I could just call here and see what flop brings. Maybe save 60 bucks if an ace comes. But I don't want to call and start a party behind me where suddenly everyone is calling 50 preflop because of the awesome odds. I also don't want to call and have someone reraise behind me to force out any other callers. So my decision is to raise to 110. This should force out everyone behind me. And then we can race. It's costing me an extra 60 I could save on the flop. But it's gaining me heads up access with my jacks.

Now looking back on the hand obviously if I knew he had aces I would have just folded. But I didn't. And he did. And I gave away $110.

2:39 AM Down 270. I get pocket kings but they don't look as good when an ace comes on flop. This time it's a multiway pot so I let it go. Pocket kings are the most amazing ace magnets.

2:53 AM. Two more hands till the blinds. I might be leaving soon.

2:54 AM. I pick up pocket 9's under the gun. Amazing how often I seem to get a big hand under the gun when I'm about to leave. My 9's flop a set. I get called down by top pair. 20 on flop. 40 on turn. 100 on river. I'm suddenly only down $112. I decide to stay one more orbit to give myself 10 more hands in case there's a rush that's about to happen.

3:08 AM. Minus 20 with queen 10 suited. Down 139.

3:10 AM. I fold under the gun and leave the casino. I'd be up almost $600 if I had won that all in at 1:32 AM. Losing that hand, combined with the cold two hours drought makes losing only 139 tonight an absolute joy. I mean that. I appreciate that the loss wasn't more.


Check Raise Chin said...

So Rob, after playing tight for the last few sessions, do you see any difference in the # of winning sessions between playing tight and playing loose? or is about the same?

I mean are you just grinding it out or trying a different type of play to see which best suits you?

Robert said...

I try to play based on how the game is going on around me. Lately those circumstances have encouraged tighter play. However if the opportunity presents itself I do have fun playing looser.