Monday, August 18, 2008

Sundays and.... Cats?

I have finally started playing a bunch of poker again the last few days with FTOPS running. It hasn't gone especially well though, but at the same time I guess it hasn't gone that poorly either. The stakes I'm playing are sort of all over the place, from big FTOPS tournaments to high stakes PLO shots to midstakes PLO grinding and some mid-high NL Holdem cash. I just play whatever looks fun or whichever games look good and try to luckbox some buyins. I know I've lost each of the last 3 days but I couldn't really say how much, nor do I especially seem to care, other than to know that there were no really ugly numbers. I feel like my play has been a bit weak at times but overall pretty reasonable, however I think some of the high stakes shots have hurt my focus when I'm grinding smaller stakes. Right now I don't really feel like talking about anything too serious poker related though, and instead I'm going to tell you about kitties. Before reading on please refer to this xkcd comic as an explanation of the inane ramblings that will follow:

So a few weeks before I went to Vegas for 7 weeks or whatever it was this summer my roommates adopted two kittens. They were tiny and adorable and they quickly grew fond of their uncle Mike (who could blame them), as I did of them. I've never been a big pet person, but as I didn't have to do most of the work in taking care of them and they were unbearably cute it was actually pretty fun to have them around. There was a grey kitten who got named Clementine, and her brother was a black kitty named Clover, because they just weren't cute enough on their own so you must use alliteration in naming them I guess. I've always said that the main problem with kittens is they grow up and become cats, and unfortunately while I was in Vegas I missed out on much of the fun times while they were still kittens. So when I finally get back here after Vegas they are of course much bigger, and therefore much bigger trouble makers. Generally when I want to get something done on the computer I have to close my bedroom door to keep them out, or else they will try to type for me, or they will climb all over my room and kick stuff everywhere, or my personal favourite is when they climb my chair and I turn quickly or rock in it or whatever which knocks them off balance, and their first instinct is to dig their claws into whatever is closest to stop their fall. Unfortunately this is usually my back. Now that being said they are still super adorable when they get tired of running around like crazy breaking stuff. However, I no longer feel their cute little alliterative names are as appropriate, so I now prefer to call them by the simple descriptive "grey cat" and "black cat". Actually I have no idea why I do that I just get bored of real names like everyone.

So moving back towards the realm of poker somewhat, I was grinding Sunday tournaments as usual today and things were not going well. I was busting out of everything quickly and pretty short stacked in the few I had open. The kitties weren't too crazy today though so I left my door open so they could come hang and maybe pick up a few tips for their home game. I was relatively short stacked in the FTOPS main event when grey cat came in and cuddled up on my lap. I immediately got dealt KK and doubled up, and then on the very next hand I got dealt KK again and doubled once more, after which I exclaimed "Grey cat are lucky cat!". I continued to build my stack while grey cat rested, but eventually she ran off again and everything went to shit and all I could manage was a couple min cashes. I was also down a bunch from short stacking some big PLO and 50/100 NL cash games, but now that I had screen space open I noticed a rare 50/100 PLO game running on Cake. I had never seen such a thing but it quickly became apparent the game was very good so I decided to buy-in short and try to run it up. I quickly succeeded in running my 2K buy-in up to 11K under the watchful eye of grey cat, but when she left I donked it back down to 1K. However grey cat later returned and decided to nap on my desk:

At this point I went on a big heater and ran my stack all the way back up to $22.5K by the end of the session to save my day (unfortunately I kept playing some other tables after grey cat awoke and left and I lost a few grand back). So that is the story of my Sunday. I leave you with a picture of black cat.


Monday, August 11, 2008

Here, there, and everywhere

I imagine that title will apply to the content of this blog entry as well as it does to what I've been doing the last week or so. I still haven't played a whole lot of poker since Bellagio, though I finally put in the typical huge Sunday session today. Before I get into that though I have to give a shoutout to Joe Atanas for winning the first annual Olympafalloza or some such spelling last weekend. Basically, a bunch of my university buddies got together in Brantford and played a series of sporting events to determine an overall champion. While it became clear that the poker:sports ratio in my life has gotten a bit high which was apparent in my performance, Joe was solid throughout. And of course there were celebrations afterwards, the whole thing was a great idea and lots of fun.

So then I took care of a few odd tasks this week, while also just being lazy and relaxing in general. Surprisingly there wasn't all that much playing poker involved though. I did my "well" on 2+2 which took a decent amount of time but I think turned out pretty well and hopefully some people learned a lot from it. It definitely seemed like a great way to give back to the forums where I learned so much. So while I wasn't playing much I was definitely back to reading and thinking and poker all the time, not that I ever really take much of a break from that. Then this weekend was Steve Paul-Ambrose's wedding in Picton, near Kingston. First however, another aside.

Meeting Steve and through him Aaron and Mike (PacMann and timex) was probably a key point in my development as a player. While posting on forums was great, I had never really had friends at/above my level to bounce ideas and hands off of all the time. It quickly became a routine for us to get together on Sundays and grind our tournaments in the same room, and that was so much more fun than grinding in my room by myself, and much more educational. I think we all learned so much from each other and were such talented people to begin with that the group having great success was inevitable, though I'm sure none of us could have imagined how quickly and to what extent it would come. Anyways, the point is that Steve luckboxing a donkament and being such a friendly guy to meet complete strangers like me and timex probably changed our lives as much as it changed his. In short, stevepa is the fucking man.

So back on topic, Steve and his wife Nathalie were high school sweethearts in Kingston and went to Waterloo together. Both are super nice, intelligent, talented and caring people who completely deserve each other. I couldn't be happier for them. The wedding was really nice and a lot of fun. The venue was perfect and thankfully the rain held off. Aaron delivered a hilarious speech after we had been needling him for about an hour straight about how he couldn't possibly compete with the previous speeches. He came through huge though and knocked it out of the park, and even the one mistake he made was accidental comedic gold and had us in tears. Steve had way more moves on the dance floor than anyone could have predicted :P. Aaron and Mike were both groomsmen and since I hadn't seen them much all summer I suggested we hang out Saturday night and watch the UFC card, and then grind Sundays together like the good ol days. So I drove back to Waterloo with them Saturday morning and I've been hanging at Aaron's place here since. The UFC card was very good and Sundays weren't bad either.

OK so on to some poker. I played the full noon to 9pm Sunday schedule today and had a pretty good day. I went deep in a bunch of tournaments as I was running exceptionally well all day in the early-mid stages, just winning every race whether I got it in ahead or behind. Unfortunately I lost a few key hands deep and missed out on the really big scores. I had a 21st place finish in the OnGame big deal and 22nd in the 2pm huge $100 rebuy on Stars. I won a WCOOP main event satellite which paid the $5200 seat for my biggest win of the day. I also cashed the $200 rebuy on Stars and I think I had one other small cash as well. All-in-all my cashes must have added up to around $10K, so I made a nice little profit on the day. I'm definitely planning to play a lot more FTOPS events this week, but I have softball games a few nights so I'll likely end up missing a few. I may end up playing a bunch of PLO cash instead to keep my hours more flexible. Speaking of PLO I took one brief shot at 200/400 this week when I was bored and felt like gambling. I ran my 8K buyin up to 30K pretty quickly winning a flip against Gus to double to around 15K and then getting him in drawing dead to double again. Still not planning to play that game much though at least until I get a bunch more hands in grinding midstakes.

My next live events will be WSOP Europe and EPT London, which both take place in London from late September to early October. I've got all my flights and hotel booked now and I'm looking forward to it. As much as I would love to do EPT Barcelona again, WCOOP (World Championship of Online Poker on PokerStars) is so big this year that I think it makes more sense to relax at home and just concentrate on online during that period. London should be a lot of fun though as I'm playing the 10K PLO (5K pound), and 20K NLHE main event (10K pound) of WSOP Europe, and then the 10K EPT London main event, and possibly even the 40K buy-in high roller event after that. I may play a few more live events this fall than I did last year but I still don't feel like I want to be following the circuit and traveling all the time, especially during the summer when it's so nice here anyways. Shortly after that is WPT Niagara, my home event so to speak, and then I'll probably do Festa al Lago at Bellagio after that since they seem to like me there now :-).

Well I think that's about enough for now, I should get a little sleep. The only other thing I can say is I'm looking forward to some epic trip reports from the TwoRags guys that made it down to Fresno to visit Kyle at his casino this weekend.


Monday, August 04, 2008

Well..... I played some poker today

I didn't get back home until around 2:30 so I missed most of the eurodonkaments, but I played most of the usual later Sunday tournaments on Stars and Full Tilt. It was my first real poker session since the WPT win but I feel like my play was still pretty solid. I only managed a couple min-cashes but that's hardly an atypical Sunday result. I did get a little bit bored at times today, but again I don't think that's really all that uncommon when I'm playing a long session and things aren't going great. Basically, I don't think the prospect of winning *only* 30K for first is boring to me now or anything like that. However, one of my goals post WSOP was always going to be to play a lot more cash games. In particular, I want to to play a lot of 5/10 and 10/20 PLO now that I can play on all the European sites again and get really good at that game, since I feel like there's a lot more money there right now and it's a new and exciting challenge. However, FTOPS is starting on Wednesday so that will undoubtedly sucker me back into the world of donkaments.

It seems like life is starting to move back towards normal now. Having seen timex win and talked to Steve about his win I had some idea what to expect, and it seems like the 2 weeks or so when things are pretty hectic before it dies back down a bit is fairly standard. It's been a great two weeks though, that's for sure. Doing interviews, signing autographs, and having 7-figures in my bank account before I turn 25.... 4 years ago I figured I'd probably be a moderately successful mathematician writing papers that half a dozen people in the world might ever read, and the only people asking for my signature would be students looking to drop my class. Being a poker player you quickly learn to just roll with whatever comes your way, and you become pretty desensitized to the value of money since you're constantly winning and losing so much of it. Even as I write this paragraph about how crazy this has been, it's clear to me that I still really lack the perspective to truly appreciate it. I can only imagine how I'll look back at this whole thing in 5 or 10 years when I probably won't be playing poker anymore and laugh.

In other news I am doing a "The Well" thread on the 2+2 MTT Community Forum this week. It's basically just a thread where people can ask me whatever the hell they want and hopefully I will respond with something that is fairly intelligent and everyone will learn something. Bed time,