Sunday, 14 March 2010

Hand History - Part 6

Summer holidays were long - three months in total, from the end of June right through to the last gasps of September. Being a man of leisure, I spent much of this time playing poker. Near the end of June I deposited on Full Tilt Poker, a modest sum of $150. I mainly played low stakes cash (25NL) and MTTs with small buy ins.

I didn't too well at either. With the MTTs I must admit I was rather unlucky. In a $5 Six-Max MTT I bubbled with Kings against Ace King (top prize was over $200). Worse still I was sitting on the stairs while playing as my connection was having trouble, so it was a doubly inconvenient and frustrating experience. As for my 25NL experience, I falled into the 'any two' trap again. If someone raises to $0.75 and you're in the big blind with 69o, you should call, yes? Not only do you have a good chance of making a straight, but it will be a really disguised one too. And hey, if you hit a pair it may well be good. And if you don't... outplay your opponent!

Well, alas 69o does not have a good chance of hitting a straight. And if you hit a pair you are unlikely to get paid off if you are beat. And I simply wasn't good enough to outplay my opponent.

It's worth pointing out at this stage, lest this account seem too depressing, that I was slowly creeping up the stakes and raising my comfort level, even if I wasn't neccessarily making any money. If this all seems a bit one step forward one step back, I assure the reader that it was really all four steps forward and three steps back.

On the first day of August I wrote a little bit of self-education on my poker game - reminding myself that tight is right. I was down around $100 (£50, or four buyins) and sort of realised I hadn't been playing in a logically sound way. I don't remember much about my playing in August - there were no major successes or heavy losses. It was a little socially poisonous though, something which got worse in Septemeber, where once again I got all excited about bankrolling. I had around $100 on Ladbrokes poker, and a few dollars on some other sites, and promised myself to keep extra-tight records.

All rather pointless as you can guess. The trouble with all these bankroll projects is that there was no real concrete aim to them. I was bankrolling for the sake of it. I wasn't trying to improve my game and I wasn't really trying to make money. I was just playing within a completely arbitrary framework. Of course, I didn't really realise it at the time.

I was still playing too loose. When I came to Warwick for a few days in early September, it was even noted how I was 'calling more' preflop. Alas, I had fallen back to the loose logic of 'any-two'. I lost around £70 over the course of three days, which felt like a lot at the time.

My Full Tilt roll had been dwindling fairly consistently too. I just wasn't winning anything! I did play a little 25/50 H.O.R.S.E., something which I mentioned briefly on my old blog.

Once I settled back at Warwick for good I was back in the company of all my poker-playing friends. And we did indeed play a lot of poker. Though I enjoyed the freedom to play (it wasn't always easy to play at home: connection, family et cetera) I continued to suffer a string of fairly depressing results, both live and online. On one visit to Stanleys I got knocked out fairly early. As it was a Sunday afternoon tourney and started early, it was still light outside as I walked home in the heavy, sticky rain, wondering how I had got myself into such a situation.

The most nostalgic and symbolic episode of this period was the computer room sessions. Alex's friend Dave was a PhD physicist, as well as being a regular at our poker games. While the physics computer room was open to all during working hours, thanks to Dave we were able to access them out-of-hours. From this ability stemmed all-night online poker sessions, including plenty of tournaments on Ladbrokes. We occasionally ordered from pizza hut, having them deliver to the place under the bridge by the physics labs, where one of us would pick it up. We would usually go home at around 6am in the fresh, cool morning air. For me this soon became the walk of shame - the long walk down the physics concourse and the twenty minute crawl home gave us time to mull over our losses like the desperate gamblers we were.

Near the beginning of term I broke up with my then girlfriend, also at Warwick. If I haven't mentioned her before it's because this is meant to be about poker, and not a chance for self-indulgent recollections about other personal malaise. But I mention it now because it fitted into the general theme of uuuurgh that became Year 2 Term 1 which, as you are about to see, was probably the single most decadent, and the break-up marked the dividing line between Sebastian Evans the civlized, reluctant gambler and Sebastian Evans the lazy degenerate.

I didn't go to all my lectures, I didn't keep in touch with old friends and I maintained frosty relations with her. I was nervous, unhealthy, tired, smart-alecky and vapid. My poker game had become even looser and, to make matters worse, I was playing a lot. I often got knocked out of PokerSoc which due to blindingly obviously unneccessary bluffs and staying up fairly late playing low stakes tournaments on Ladbrokes. Sometimes, desperately, I tried to play while simultaneously study - a formula which never works and don't pretend it does. We had a very poor, overloaded little internet connection which often caused the online poker rooms to hang.

I also played on Stars a bit, where I was in a rush to clear a bonus. I was playing $5 STT after $5 STT to accumulate enough VPPs. My understanding of variance was still fairly poor, and on one occasion where I played 4-tables at a time (for the first time in my life) I was genuinly surpirsed that I failed to cash in any of them. WHAT ARE THE ODDS. OH MY GOD.

I was losing consistently in DKSOP too, and though I was never told, suspect people must have noticed how badly I was playing. We did have some fun, big games though. There was a 25p/50p Dealer's Choice game with Felix. I ended up losing my £25 buy in an Omaha hand. A3 on an AA3 board versus an Ace with two fullhouse redraws one of which, the Jack, hit.

We also hosted our first MTT. Eleven people showed up, putting forward £10 a piece. I went out with TT versus AA. He had 4-bet preflop and I came over the top for not a lot more. My justification for putting so much value on a pair of tens was... "I put him on Ace King".

We once hosted a £5 rebuy. It attracted 5 players, Mike Alex and I along with two non-DKSOPers. Annoyingly enough, it was the two non-DKSOPers who walked away with all the cash: £100 for 1st prize and £45 for second. Thus the average buy in had been a hefty £29!

We regularly held cash games, which were very popular with the Indian contingent of the University of Warwick PokerSoc. They were noisy and loved betting 'pot'. They also loved smoking it, so it transpired, but that's another matter.

On one such visit we were playing 5p/10p with fairly deep stacks. I flopped a set of sixes versus one of my opponents kings, an overpair to the board. We managed to get it all in. However, it had been so long since I had won a pot that I asked whether it was OK to run it twice, despite my being a 92% favourite. I won both runs.

You'll be revieved to know that things came to a head in December, though not after getting slightly worse first. For four nights in a row in Decemeber I saw the Ladbrokes 5am server refresh. That is to say, I was busy playing on Ladbrokes for four 5ams in a row.

As it was winter, this essentially meant I got up when the sun was already going down - a very depressing state of affairs.

Fortunately, some sense was soon talked in to me, and over the next two years never again would the decadence of this term be matched. I have covered this period with distinctly negative hues. It wasn't that bad really. To be honest, for all the moments of despair, I quite enjoyed it. In its own way it was a fun and relaxing existence. It's not something I hope to repeat, but at least it's a period I learnt something from.

If any DKSOPer reading this has any further anecdotes about this period please post them under comments. You can even post as anonymous if you're really ashamed!

For the record, there were no official 'seasons' during this term either, hence my not posting any season results.


mykul said...

yes true it was fun in some ways and I really learnt a lot too.

Though if it's the saucy details you're after, well more decadent admissions, I guess my 'waking up for the simpsons' isn't bad. (for non humans, simpsons starts at 6pm) this meant going to bed around 8.30am when people go to work and the birds have been singing for 4 hours, which I did several nights. And yes, that is 9.5 hours sleep. I had to sleep that long as I eat so much stodge and sugar during the day so felt very weak in the morning, and would often stay awake thinking 'ok this has to stop, tomorrow I will do this this and this... I missed most of my lectures and *did* pretend that I was doing work while playing. I stayed in our house most of the day, which was in a dark and gloomy neighbourhood, and although we did get a lot better at poker and actually had some major cashes, it was pretty much the most depressing year of my life. But things were soon to get better...

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