Friday, August 27, 2010

The Prodigal Poker Player

If there's anyone out there who still checks in on this blog, my apologies for the hiatus. Figured I would update this thing. I've been meaning to do so for awhile.

Where do I start? I guess I'll pick up where I left off. My last post was in March of 09. At that time, my senior year of college was winding down. It was a pretty hectic time. I search endlessly for job opportunities throughout the course of the year. I had no luck. Historically speaking, last year was one of the most economically trying times that our nation (and the world) has ever experienced. It was not a good time to find a job. I kept hearing from everyone that it was arguably the most worst job market, ever.

It’s funny how things happen, though. To combat the lack of jobs that year, Duke started a graduate program in conjunction with Fuqua, our business school. Time-out for a second… Let’s not kid ourselves, Duke created the program because it was a $$$ making opportunity. Can’t blame them, though. But I digress, back to the story… so I decided that I would apply for the program. It was titled, “Masters in Management Studies: the Foundations of Business.” They promised jobs, more attractive resume, etc etc. A good portion of my friends decided to go for it, as well. My thought process was, “Can I really put up with the stale city of Durham for another year?” The answer was no, but I justified it because being with my friends would make it easier. Super senior? I guess I’d have to be “that guy.”

It was May of 09. I graduated on a Sunday and was filling out my Fuqua application on Monday. On that fateful Monday, I was procrastinating on the internet. I came across a website for resume writing tips. Part of the application process was to submit a resume. After reading up on resume writing, I realized that my resume was pretty rookie. I decided that I would remodel it. After putting the finishing touches on the resume, I figured that it would be good idea to apply for some jobs (just in case I didn’t get accepted to Fuqua.) I posted my resume on all of the major job search websites and applied for some jobs here and there. A few hours after posting it, I got a phone call.

It was a headhunter. He was recruiting to fill a position at a small hedge fund in New York City. He said that they wanted an athlete from a top tier university. At first I was skeptical about pursuing job. My mind was set on attending Fuqua in the fall. My close friend, Tony, had just graduated with his MBA from Fuqua, and he was helping me through the application process. In my previous blog post (circa March 2009), him and I went to Mardi Gras together. I told Tony about the job prospects. Tony took a job with a major investment bank in NYC and was planning a move to the city, himself. He said to go for the job, because if I got it, we could find an apartment together. I thought about it for a full day. Fuqua or real world? I wanted the job. Five rounds of interviews later, I got it.

Work started in July. We moved into our apartment in August. A lot has happened since last August. There are so many stories that I don’t even know where to start. Being that one obnoxious Phillies fan in NY during this past year’s World Series. Stumbling into P Diddy’s 40th birthday party on a random Wednesday. Rooftop daytime parties at my apartment. Catching a glimpse of Obama and his entourage when I bumped into him while taking a run. Riding the roller coaster of the finance world. The journey for success. The fear of failure. These thoughts pretty much sum up my first year as an “adult.” That doesn’t quite cover all of my talking points over the past year, but I am writing over a public forum. It’s nothing incriminating, but let’s just say I wouldn’t want my mother to read it. I would love to share some of the stories but I’ll save them for conversation material over a beer or two, or three.

On the poker front, I have retired. I didn’t have the time, energy or focus that it takes to be a winning player. I only have a few hours of free time on weekdays and I’m usually all over the place on weekends. Poker just didn’t fit into my schedule. I could be making a comeback in the near future, though, so beware of any new, unknown LAGtards you might see sitting at your table.

I did not edit this so please excuse any grammatical errors. I don’t know when I will post again. Until then, may your health be good and chip stacks continue to grow.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Forgot About the Blog

Damn, forgot I had a blog. The last five months have contained some of the most memorable experiences of my life. The Phillies winning the World Series. The Eagles staging a late season comeback only to fall short in the NFC Championship. A trip to Mardi Gras. And most recently, a spring break in Cabo. Among it all, alot of partying in between. Just a few of the highlights.

Cabo was ridiculous. It was the perfect balance between pure relaxation and partying. There were ten of us total. We rented a villa. The villa was half way up a large hill overlooking the beach. the beach was a beautiful sight. There were all sorts of random rock formations in the ocean and on the beach. We had an infinity pool with an elevated jacuzzi attached to it. From top to bottom, the villa was perfect. At night, we would go to a night spot and set up shop at a private table/area. We all had an incredible time with many laughs and great memories. Needless to say, the trip will hold a special place in my heart as one of the best overall experiences I've ever had.

Mardi Gras was quite interesting, as well. A close friend and I got in on Thursday. A Harrah's Casino was conveniently located directly across the street from our hotel. Our orginal plan was to hit up Harrah's on Thursday night and hit it hard the next three nights as our return flight was scheduled for 6:40am on Monday. We got a solid pregame in, then headed towards Harrah's. Immediately upon exiting our hotel, we were greeted with a parade passing through. A few dancers from the ensuing parade took it upon themselves to start dancing with my friend and I. We earned some beads, which were necessary apparel for Mardi Gras. Feeling the adrenaline from the parade, we scratch the Harrah's idea. It was a great night. Later on, check that.. Much later on, we found ourselves at Harrah's taking souls from random tourists at the poker tables. To make a long story short, we ended up missing our scheduled flight home due to an outrageous chain of events. I would love to dive into details, but I'll save that for another day.

Poker has been going well. I started to make good strides in my game, but have gotten rusty as of late since I haven't had too much time to play. My heads up game was really coming along. I have moved back to six max for the time being and feel quite confident in those games given my improved hand reading skills and sharpened ability to adjust to opponent specific tendencies. the games are pretty tough these days, but even some of the regs make occasional questionable plays. But I guess we all do once in a while.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Fall Break, Home, Party, Phillies, Little Poker

Friday marked the start of Fall Break. It was basically an extended weekend and Im heading back to Durham tonight. Its always fun to come home. This past weekend I explored Manayunk, Philadelphia for the first time. Its a prime party town on the outskirts of the city. I had always heard good things about it from friends. Its mainly a bunch of people in their 20's just looking to have a good time. My kind of people. Im glad I had the opportunity to check this place out because its definitely a place I would consider moving to after graduation.

Philadelphia has been waiting for a championship for 25 years. We are very passionate about our sports. At the same time, Philadelphia fans are notorious for their mood swings based on performance. We're desperate for a championship, so you cant blame us. This year is different, though. The Phillies are up 3-1 on the Dodgers in the NLCS. We're just one game away from our first World Series appearance since 1993.

On the poker side of things, low volume is the key phrase here. Not saying thats a good thing, either. Its tough to stay on the grind with so much going on while Im on break. This is probably a double-edged sword, but I usually never sacrifice a fun night out for a thousand hands of poker. Poker will be around forever and is available 24/7. Going out and having a good time is something that is limited, so I want to take advantage of my youth. In any event, Ive managed to log a mere 1000 hands since Friday and have picked up 3 BIs in the process.

$1/$2 Pot Limit Omaha Hi

UTG ZBTHorton ($343.55)
CO dusk2dawn75 ($389.65)
BTN Hero ($200.00)
SB xxCar-Haulerxx ($94.75)
BB FredFonk ($290.95)

Pre-flop: ($3, 5 players) Hero is BTN

ZBTHorton raises to $7, dusk2dawn75 calls $7, Hero raises to $31, 2 folds, ZBTHorton folds, dusk2dawn75 calls $24

ZB is a competent LAG player who tends to play too many hands. Dusk is your standard LAP player and is not competent. If ZB is opening a wide range, a squeeze in position is profitable. As it turns out, Im playing a large pot heads up in position against the donk, which is an ideal situation, especially given that he could have any four.

Flop: ($72, 2 players)
dusk2dawn75 checks, Hero checks

This is where things get tricky. While the face value of my hand looks pretty good, Im not thrilled to get it in the middle here. The hands that Im most likely to get it in against on the flop are JT, T6, and 65, all of which are possible holdings for Dusk, who could have any four as far as Im concerned. I check it back because Im not afraid of any turn and deception. The check is good for deception because most people put you on AAxx after a three bet and a flop check. If I turn a heart or pair the board, Im confident with my hand.

Turn: ($72, 2 players)
dusk2dawn75 bets $36, Hero calls $36

No sense in raising because Im either way ahead or way behind.

River: ($144, 2 players)
dusk2dawn75 bets $72, Hero goes all-in $133, dusk2dawn75 calls $61

River the nuts. Easy shove.

Final Pot: $410
dusk2dawn75 shows:
Hero shows:

Hero wins $407 ( won +$207 )
dusk2dawn75 lost -$200.00
ZBTHorton lost -$7.00

The flop check proved to pay dividends as this type of opponent is most likely getting the second nuts in on the flop. As evident by his line, he probably thought I had AAxx and tried getting a light call down.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

PLO is fun for everyone

I logged 2100 hand tonight and picked up two BIs. After reviewing my play, I was happy to see that my decisions were +EV when the money went in. However, my review also suggested I have much room for improvement. The games were unbelievably good tonight. One of the aspects of PLO I love the most is that good games are always running during the daytime.

I watched and took notes on Greg Brooks' only PLO video on Leggo. Ive watched many PLO vids by now and I must say that his vid was one of the best Ive seen across any of the sites. His commentary and analysis was excellent, but the most beneficial aspect of his vid was his session review. In the past, I simply reviewed my equity in PTO by checking my equity and pot odds in certain spots. Greg showed how to analyze various holdings through PTO. It can be done by checking "Winning %," then my on to "Open in Browser." From there you can plug in various holdings to analyze your equity versus your opponets range, rather than just his immediate holding. In hold 'em, we use Pokerstove for such analysis, but there is no such program for PLO. Im very happy that I discovered this because it will be huge building block towards achieving my goals. More PLO vids Greg! Maybe Martin can pass the word along since hes ballin it up as a guest pro over there.

I would post some hands, but for some reason none of the converters are working for me tonight.

Monday, October 6, 2008

New Challenge

Adding PLO into my arsenal has made poker much more fun. Poker feels new and exciting again. In lieu of this I want to start a new challenge which will motivate me to blog regularly. I will start at 200PLO. The final destination will be 1kPLO. While 1kPLO will be my final destination, there are many short term goals along the way. My short term goals, which will ultimately help me achieve my long term goal, will consist of watching and taking notes on five videos a week, play my A game, be an active contributor in 2p2's omaha forum, and analyze my play after each session. Hopefully I can befriend some other PLO regulars. Getting hooked up with UF2B was paramount to my development as a NL player. Ill use this blog to chronicle my progress though the PLO stakes and to analyze large or interesting pots. Along with blogging about my progress and hand analysis, Ill write about any poker related thoughts and observations.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


At the start of September, I decided to fully commit to learning PLO. I am having fun playing poker. I personally feel that the edges in the current NL games are few and far between. While the occasional fish pops up here and there at the NL table, they seem to be instinctively flocking to today's PLO games. With all of the training sites available, everyone is good at NL. A few months back, Taylor Caby decided to grind out a bunch of hands at 5-10. He couldnt get over how tough the games were. Heres a guy who crushed the biggest games just a few years ago, and now hes having a rough time with 5-10. Granted, my perspective should be taken with a grain of salt. I cant remember the last time I played on a Friday or Saturday night - the most profitable times of the week. Although the variance is high at PLO, it is also high in NL. Anytime you're getting TT, AQ in preflop for 100bb, its a high variance game. Even the HU NL games are getting ridiculous these days. Game selection is key in HU. When there are 10-15 other HU regulars waiting for a game, its tough to game select. PLO is fun and also very interesting. There are so many unique situations. Not too many people know how to play this game optimally. As PLO has become more popular over the last year or so, it reminds me of former trend seen in the poker world. The poker boom. Everyone flocked to NLHE. This was a time period when Andrew Wiggins was beating up on the 10-20 games... enough said. Back to the point at hand, PLO is starting to boom - just like NLHE did several years back. No one knows how to play the game. Best of all, gamblers love it. Its safe to say that PLO yields significantly more action than NL. If you were a compulsive gambler (aka recreational gambler) putting money on an online poker site and you were a bad player, would you prefer more or less action? While NL may be the more popular game at the moment and said recreational gambler may feel more "comfortable" playing NL, he ultimately has no clue what hes doing. Whether he has no clue what hes doing at NL or PLO, I think hell have more fun at PLO. These are just my observations. History tends to repeat itself, and as PLO gains popularity, more fish will make the shift. Even if they dont make the shift, the games are quite profitable as it stands.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Oh yeah, I have a blog

I guess the title says it all. The past few months have been pretty hectic. I finished up summer school near the end of June. We had a great time and I came through with an A and a B+ in my two courses, so Im pleased with that. I came home to a good situation. My buddies and I rented a house at the shore (Sea Isle City) for the entire summer. I go down from Fri-Mon while playing poker, working out, wrestling, and studying for the LSAT during the week. This summer has been awesome, but words dont really do it justice. I have some pretty crazy memories from this summer that will last a lifetime. Its not over yet, though. My friends have a going away party planned for me on Fri, which unfortunately, is my last night.

I havent been too enthusiastic about poker in recent months. After a harsh downswing in June followed by an extended period of break even poker, I decided to drop down to 1-2. Things are going well there and Ill probably hang around at that limit until I get settled in at school. School starts Monday, a week from today. Pretty crazy. Im living in a house with 6 other guys and it should be a non-stop party for the most part, which is a double edged sword. In any event, Im looking forward to it. Ill try to make a habit of updating this thing bc I enjoy writing and I think its healthy for my game.