Thursday, October 14, 2004

A Big Fat Report About Nothing

I chatted with Iggy last night, and he decried the lack of recent posts by me. So, onay, here's a post.

The main reason there haven't been posts is that nothing of consequence has been happening. Well, okay, that's not wholly true, but nothing of serious poker consequence has been happening.

I started a new job this week. I'm doing something I did in the early 1990s, working the overnight at a local hotel, which doesn't pay great but it has other advantages. The main one is that it's the overnight shift, when there are a couple of hours of downtime between, say, 2:00 and 4:00, where there's little enough to do that I might as well play poker. I'm training at a hotel in Holland for now, because they haven't fired yet the person I'm replacing here in Grandville, but I expect the hotels to be similar in at least this respect: There's WiFi in the lobby. This should mean that if I enable a cheap laptop with WiFi (anyone want to donate one?) I can play a few hundred hands of poker on an average weeknight. Not a bad way to go.

The other interesting thing is that the schedule is odd enough that it lets me do some other things. It's seven days on, seven days off, generally with ten-hour days, to add up to 70 hours per two weeks. It's the "seven days off" that's the most interesting to me. About the second thing I thought of when I was told that was, "Cool, I can go to Vegas without taking time off of work!"

But, still, the money isn't great, so it's my hope that I can continue to pull enough money out of playing poker to pay the bills that the hotel doesn't pay. My employer understands this; the managers of both of their hotels interviewed me, and we ended up spending as much time talking poker as talking the job. In fact, when they called to offer me the job, it was "come out to our poker game tonight, and we'll figure out when we want to get you started." Their game was a $20 buyin tournament with about 8 guys, none of whom were really players. I got sucked out on and went out in the middle of the pack, Cactus Dave played super-tight and went out third, and Gil (whom I borrowed $20 from to play) won the whole shabang. This brings up an interesting question: If you borrow money to play cards, and lose it to the person whom you loaned it from, do you still owe him the money?

My streak of losing sessions at the casino is up to five, as Gil and I went to Manistee on Saturday. Gil did worse than me, but I still didn't win. Not all of these five losers are me playing my "A" game and losing; I was experimenting with a strategy where I see more flops and better put people on hands. (I think I've talked before in my blog that in live play, even at lower limits, people pay enough atention that they realize that when I play my "A" game I play very few hands, and so I don't get action on the hands I do play, unless I'm up against another big hand. So I win small pots and lose big pots.) In any case, my experimenting with strategy changes yielded poor results, and I lost.

I'm not truly surprised by that. I've been trying to emulate the best player I've played against regularly, but I haven't sat down to talk with him about his game. He's actually from Grand Rapids as well, but I don't know how to reach him locally, and lately Gil and I mostly haven't gone to the casino where he plays. I don't know whether he'll talk to me about his game, but I think he can be helpful. In any case, when I'm trying to fiddle with my game, my results should be expected to be mostly down until I get it right. And it's not right, yet.

PartyPoker has mostly been a slow slog of $1/$2, not really playing many hands, truly, single- or double-tabling, eking (or "eeking" in Iggy-speak) out small wins in most cases. Spurred on my Cactus Dave's example, I've played a couple of one- and two-table sit-and-gos, but pretty much broken even. And this morning I didn't really feel like playing Holdem, so I'm sitting a bit of 50¢/$1 7-card Stud, which I'm finding profitable even if I don't have much of a handle on advanced Stud strategy. (Before people jump down my throat about jumping around in games: The tournaments and Stud play do not comprise serious attempts to increase my bankroll. I'll stick to $1/$2 for that, until I'm in the $500 range. This play is more like (bad example) Lance Armstrong deciding to pedal along that path by the river because it happens to be a nice evening.)

Speaking of Cactus Dave, it's been interesting to watch him play this last week, as he's had one of those poker epiphanies (pokerpiphanies?). He deposited at DoylesRoom, because they've got games as low as 2¢/4¢, and tournaments with buyins as low as 4¢+1¢. Most of DoylesRoom's tournaments, though, are either of the "Speed" (4-minute rounds) or "Turbo" (1-minute rounds) varieties, and even their most leisurely multitables have 12-minute rounds. So Dave has had to adjust greatly from his normal style, which has been called "tighter than a nun's cunt" by someone who probably didn't go to Catholic school. DoylesRoom is giving him fits on his dialup connection, so he's lately moved his play back to PartyPoker. That aggressive strategy he was forced to learn at DoylesRoom has been paying off big at the $5 sit-n-go's at PartyPoker, although by my observation his judgment is still a little off about when to back off (and when not to). Still, it's kind of neat to watch somebody's game go through such a rapid metamorphosis that also happens to be successful. Best of luck, Cactus Dave!


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