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Old 09-01-2014, 11:10 AM   #1
Nausea in Venice
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Losing it

August 7th, 2014

I have circled the sun for 48 years. My body is ravaged from time, looking 20 years older. And it is time to move on to another realm of work, possibility, adventure, risk.

My memory is the rope which ties the days together. My life a jigsaw puzzle, each day fitting a piece, with the final day completing the whole. Sometimes a memory of a past thought makes me grateful for its arrival. In some ways I was wiser at 22 than I am now. Then I was floating on the currents of an easy river, but as an older man I have turned the boat around and paddle upstream. So many ways to go wrong, but there is always the choice to return to the light of a good path.

Time Line :

18-21 - Love of a woman

21- 25 - Discovery of the spirit, philosophy, meditation.

23 - Awakening Experience

25 - 43 - Dedication to Art

45 - Travels to SE Asia

47- 48 - Meditating and running in Eugene OR

48 - ? - Las Vegas Poker Player

My final month in Eugene. I will miss it. I am running low on cash, and have decided to see if I can make enough money playing poker to support my life. I don't need much, as I have been living monk like for the past 2 years. I am easily amused - simple food, a clean place to sleep, running and exercise, reading, meditating.

Why Poker? The game has had a strong pull on me from the first time I saw it being played at a new years party. I was 11 or 12 years old. 7 or 8 relatives sat around a kitchen table playing cards all night long. I sensed I knew the game, could feel its power and nuances. I stood behind my grandmother, and could see her hole cards. I wanted to play for her, because she was missing so much of what was going on.

Eventually I forgot about the game, until I found it on the internet in the early 2000's. I deposited $100, quickly lost it, but was not discouraged. I read books, then deposited another $100. I was able to run this up to $4000 playing 5/10cent and 10/25 cent NL hold em on Bodog. I won a fifty cent satellite to a bigger satellite, which I won and earned myself a seat in their Sunday 100,000. I placed in the money and won $750. One day I decided to stop playing, pulled all of my money off the site, and moved on to other things.

I played live a few times when charity games were going on, or the occasional stop at a casino. I believe I have won more than lost in live play, but I have no records, so can't be certain about it.

To make money I have worked low paying wage jobs which required as little mental effort as possible. I was always on the lookout for the easiest job possible. The reason is I had and have no interest in 9 to 5 jobs, but could think of no other way to legally get cash. I was able to make money from selling my art work when I was at the height of my productivity, but when I stopped making art I lost that source of income.

The last job I had was in 2011. I have been living on savings since then, and those savings are running out. At 48 I no longer have the desire to work long hours for low pay, doing something which I find uninteresting. I also dislike the social interactions of working wage jobs. I have spent the last 3 years living in solitude, hardly speaking at all. I like it.

And so, how to make money? I remembered my poker days. I know about the US law which has made online poker unprofitable (few players, and all solid pros). Why not move to Las Vegas and play live poker? Yes, why not? I have nothing to lose. The thing that tipped me in favor of the idea was I scored a $4000 hit at a free online poker site in April 2014. It seemed to me a miraculous score. I was wondering how I was going to finish out my lease, my budget showing that I would not have enough cash. Then, boom, $4000 deposited into my bank account due to a 3 hour tournament, in which I risked nothing. Being spiritually inclined, I took this to be an intervention from unseen forces. Seeing the trainwreck of homelessness on the horizon, I was given a chance because of poker. Therefore, poker is going to be my next step.

I am going to need guts, calm nerves, and most of all, FAITH. My bankroll going to Vegas is small - $5000. I will play the $1/2 NL game at the main poker casinos. Wandering from the Bellagio, the Venetian, PH, Aria, Wynn. If I go on a bad run of cards, the roll will be depleted in a hurry. I have to keep faith that what I am doing is the right thing. And if I do lose the $5000, so be it. I won't second guess my decision. I know I have the minimum skill required to succeed at poker, but anyone can go on a long run of coolers to go broke. Will it happen to me? Perhaps. And if it does, it will be onward to the next thing life has in store for me.

I leave on August 30, a plane out of Eugene. My landlord is taking me out to brunch, and then driving me to the airport. I am not kidding when I say I live like a monk. It will be my first restaurant meal in 2 years.
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Old 09-01-2014, 11:20 AM   #2
Nausea in Venice
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Re: Losing it

August 9, 2014

Winning and losing. Games have winners and losers. Some people transfer the analogy to life situations. I don't make the assumption that life, too, is a game, although it certainly is no more real than a game. I have been called a loser. It did not affect me much, other than the initial surprise of the insult. Although the insult may not be based on fact or reality, the intention still stands - an expression of hatred and contempt. And life goes on. At the time I had whittled my ego down to such a small entity that I could easily agree with the assessment - if life were a game, my ego is definitely one of the big losers - low paying job, bad looking, solitary. Yet unknown to everyone except my consciousness, I have a tranquil and content mind, a spirit that is strong and happy, and for most of my life good physical health. I never felt monetarily poor, and have never been in debt. The fact I was solitary and a loser meant that I had no use for money other than for rent and food. There was nobody to impress, which gave me an immense vibe of freedom. If someone takes the mental effort to formulate an insult, then carries it through by spewing it to my face, who is the happy one here? I was so grounded in my own being, he could have spit in my face and flipped me off and none of it would have mattered in the long run. Life moves forward.

Winning and losing. If my ego is in check, if I am seeing things clearly, winning and losing tend to be the same thing - a result. And results matter little. What matters is the effort, the sincerity of purpose. In the Gita it says "The wise man, ever satisfied, has abandoned all external supports. His security is unaffected by the results of his action; even while acting he is only an instrument."

And being beaten, losing, suffering defeat, only hurts if the ego is large and the mind unclear. "Most of us look upon defeat and reverses as weakening us; but every time we are defeated we seem to go deeper into our consciousness to bring out greater resources. In order to grow, we need opposition." The person who insulted me, telling me that I am a loser - he is my teacher, the one who is strengthening my spirit. He tries to defeat me with hatred, and I counter with love. Who will be the victor?

Winning and losing in poker. There will be hands I should win, but will lose, and vice versa. There will be players who make poor decisions against me, and instead of being punished with losing their stack, will walk away with my stack after hitting a 2 outer on the river. Maybe they will gloat about it after, and believe that they played it well. For me, this is the most difficult part of the game - losing when the probability says you are winning there 90% of the time. Betting patterns, math and stats, accurately reading the opponents intentions - these parts of the game I find to be straight forward and easy to perform as long as I remain focused upon the action of the game. But to walk home with pockets empty, a loser for the night, due to statistical improbability - "wtf were the odds of him hitting a 2 outer on the river?! Mother ****er!" Can I keep a single wtf session in correct perspective, not allowing it to bring me down? To be surprised by the insult, but not allowing it to define my reality? Can I make it my teacher, allowing the loss to bring me deeper into my consciousness? If I can, then perhaps I will have a chance to thrive in Las Vegas at the poker tables. To focus not exclusively upon the results of any one session, or even of all sessions. Rather, to focus upon the game, to give sincere effort, and to let the chips be pushed where they may.
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Old 09-01-2014, 11:26 AM   #3
Nausea in Venice
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Re: Losing it

August 12, 2014

Luck. Mysticism. Instinct. These qualities are what attract me to poker. The straight forward mechanics of the game can be learned by anyone of average intelligence. It is the hidden mysticism of the game which can make or break a player. It really isn't confidence, but rather a perception of something which isn't readily noticeable by any of the 5 senses. I can think of examples when I just knew that I was going to hit the card I needed, and more times than not that card arrives. And also the dreaded sense that no matter how many outs I have, or how big a favorite, I will lose the hand.

In my poker experience I can be very streaky, running hot or ice cold. The middle ground does not happen as often. I can sense when I am on these runs, how long they will last, and know when the switch is turned on or off. I have learned to walk away from a game early if I know I am running cold, because in most instances it will not change during the session. And when I am running hot it goes and goes and I can win with any 2 cards and other players recognize it and just tend to give up.

Examples of the mystical :

-- I was 19 years old and bought a 3 number lottery ticket using the numbers of my gf's birthday and my own (596). I had not played a 3 number lottery before, and I decided to try it because I could sense that at that moment in time, the number 596 for me and her was magic. No matter the odds against, I knew 596 was coming in that night. When the drawing was about to begin on tv, I called my sister into the room, so confident in 596 that I was going to call out each number just before being shown on the screen. My sister, obviously, must have thought I was talking out my ass, and was just waiting to rub it in when 596 did not come. However, 596 was the number that night, and my sister had a priceless look of shock on her face.

-- A little while after the lottery hit I went to the local horse track and bet the 5 and 9 horse for a 1/2 combo. I had only been to a track once before with friends, and I still believed 596 was magic. The 5 and 9 horse came into a photo finish, but the 9 came out on top, nullifying the win for me. I could sense that the 596 magic was soon to fade.

-- A few years later I walked into an off bet racing facility, glanced at the tv screen for the next race, had a sense of what the 1/2 combo was going to be, and placed a $2 bet down. The horses came in, giving me a $60 dollar winner for my tiny wager.

I have had numerous experiences in poker games where I knew I was going to win or lose, and acted accordingly. In cases where I could sense the outcome, the odds of the hand hitting took a back seat. It is like watching a train in the distance approaching, and all I have to do is wait until it crosses the intersection.

In an offhand way I can predict future events through seeing an outcome that the senses cannot perceive. No logic of mind is involved, and I thus classify the experience as mystical. It does not happen often, but enough to remind me that there are things in the world which exist that the 5 senses are blind too.

I believe having a shadowed knowledge of this underlying order helps in a game like poker. When deciding whether to put all my chips in the middle after the flop, with 2 cards still to come, one of the things to consider is my feeling for the outcome. Will I get drawn out on, or will my hand hold up? Will my flush draw hit and take down his set? Will my eventual bluff bet on the turn make him fold? I of course also take into consideration the normal aspects of the game, but when having this extra sense to rely upon, I believe gives an advantage over those who are blind to it.
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Old 09-01-2014, 11:30 AM   #4
Nausea in Venice
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Re: Losing it

August 24, 2014

Science or art? Materialism or mysticism? I try to approach life with balance, but I believe the inner sense more than the 5 physical ones. I normally don't judge a person on looks alone, I can sense the energy, the light and darkness, and act accordingly.

Translated to poker, I tend to bypass pedantic hand analysis and favor instead the instinct and power of the inner eye. I am aware of poker players who are excellent at reading an opponent's hand, yet I rarely visualize exact cards, basing the strength on the betting pattern and behavior of the opponent. The internet players who when flopping a monster make an insta check on the flop when being the pre flop raiser, it's so ridiculously transparent - I don't bother guessing what they are holding, I just know to fold and get out of the way.

I have been reading poker books, online blogs, watching vids on youtube to prepare myself for the move to Vegas in less than one week. The feeling of excitement mixed with terror was present today, reminding me of when I was on the cusp of traveling to Thailand. The unknown awaiting - a practice run with death. I tend to think of war at such momentous times, how soldiers might feel on the threshold of a major battle. Life or death, sink or swim.

I plan to live like a monk in Vegas - playing cards, eating cheaply (hopefully avoiding bad eating habits), running/walking/exercise, reading, sleeping. It is no different than how I lived my life in Thailand, or how I am living it now In Eugene. Simplicity comes easy for me and I tend to practice positive habits over negative ones. I rarely drink, don't do drugs, avoid playing casino games with bad odds (all). I do like to sports bet when i feel I have an edge due to information and the mystical eye giving me that push to the betting window.

The plan is to play 1/2 no limit. From what I have read it is difficult to make a living at such small stakes, but the bloggers who write/believe it are the ones who call themselves "ballers", believing it is the only way. How much does a monk need to live on? in Vegas, I am thinking $1200 month, which translates to needing to amass $300 a week in poker chips. Knowing it isn't terribly difficult to win $300 in a single session of 1/2, it seems the main thing is to limit session losses to $200 or less. Over time the $300 offset by $200 losses will slowly add to the bankroll. Running bad at the beginning can derail the whole plan, however. It isn't beyond the realm of possibility to lose 10 consecutive sessions, and how does one's confidence remain positive with such a circumstance? Would I begin to doubt my inner eye? Possibly, but because I believe the entirety of life is a succession of events meant to test faith in the inner eye, I have to remember not to play for the result, but to play for the test.

The goal - not to amass poker chips, but rather, to try my best to amass poker chips. The goal is based on sincerity of effort, not results which are beyond my control. Faith that the inner eye will lead me to where I am supposed to be, and to accept that place with my whole heart. If it means I make it in poker, fine, if it means ending up in the desert somewhere without shelter, that is fine, too.

Faith, Faith, Faith.
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Old 09-01-2014, 12:23 PM   #5
Nausea in Venice
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Re: Losing it

August 31, 2014

Part I

Holy ****, you'd think I am old enough to realize that life can suddenly appear drastically different due to the occurrence, acceptance, and execution of an idea. Realizing I no longer have the appropriate health to work 40 hours a week for an employer, I had the idea that I could earn money playing poker, and that moving to Las Vegas was correct due to the 24/7 poker scene. I arrived yesterday in the late afternoon and took the 108 Paradise bus ($2 fare) a little more than a mile, then walked another mile along a road where cars and their drivers are absolutely stone cold in their relation to pedestrians. As I walked along I had a splendid view of the surrounding mountains and a glorious desert sunset. I was absorbing the 100 degree heat better than expected, while lugging a 25 pound backpack did not make it any easier.

I walked into Bally's Casino and promptly entered an $80 NL Hold em Tournament and promptly busted out due to playing too loose-too fast and making an ill advised river bluff. I did not have a hotel reservation due to it being a Saturday night and with most hotels charging over $200 for a room decided to make it through my first evening in Vegas as a homeless vagabond. I knew I was putting myself through a test of fire, but I also know that I need to harden myself for the upcoming ordeal of playing poker on a daily basis - the bad beats and the bitching regs are going to have to roll off with splendid ease if I want to give myself a chance to succeed.

After busting out of the tournament I sat down at a $1/2 NL table and tried my best to nurse a $300 stack for the entire night. I finally called it quits at 4:00am due to a peculiar stomach issue which I have had happen before when playing poker sessions which last over 6 hours. As far as I can tell it is a backed up gaseous feeling which has to do with not farting when one should fart. The prolonged sitting, the intense focus on hand after hand, the occasional stress of being involved in a big pot, allows the condition to build until I finally have to get up and walk around for an hour while farting the tightness out of my body. I left the table down $90, which I felt was a good accomplishment due to running ice cold with cards, and the fact I could not quit when the gassy tightness began to take hold. I kept telling myself to endure, that I had to pass this first test to prove my worth to the idea, and so I sat hour after hour folding garbage hands.

In one hand I peaked at the first hole card, a 3 of clubs. Intuitively knowing my icy luck with cards was to continue for the entire session, I guessed the second hole card to be a red 9, and upon sliding it into view the 9 of diamonds appeared and I let out a laugh. Shortly after the 3/9 hand Elvis himself rolled up (he was bound to a 3 wheeled scooter) to an open seat and began $5 button straddling and raising every hand. I glanced at him from time to time, my eyes always going to the top of his head to read the word "Elvis" on his ball cap. I liked his flashy sunglasses, sideburns, and his most exquisite collection of large rings which pressed into his chubby fingers. Everyone took turns beating up on Elvis, and he soon had to rebuy. Even I beat him out of a pot, but later would try an ill-timed bluff representing an Ace, but this time the King had a hand and called me down with his pair of aces. Elvis eventually became perturbed with everyone playing a nitty style and he decided to roll to another table hoping for better action.

Noted hands -

Flopped a set of 6's and bet into the pot out of position against one other player. He reraised. Here I am thinking my 666 is good, the flop had 2 spades, also o/e straight draw if he was holding J10. I could go all in, but that did not seem correct. If he is drawing he may call, and knowing how I was running (I got knocked out of the earlier tournament by a guy who hit a gutshot on the river) I did not want a call. My instincts told me he had a made hand, and I felt there was a small chance I might be getting crushed. Analytic players will read the hands of their opponents and think things through in a rational way, but my mind tends to stay clear of words and judges possible outcomes based on merging memory, images, and intuition. I decided to check call him down. This line proved beneficial because he kept his bet sizes small to induce me to call. Had he known I was holding 666 he would have gotten most of my stack, but instead the largest raise was $25 on the river, and when I insta called he showed 999 for a coolered set over set. Having given up ~70 on that hand, I was happy at holding the loss to a relatively small amount, as it could have been much worse.

A fine looking young guy sits down in the 10 seat and proceeds to play with confidence and just the right amount of arrogance due to his high rank in the social scale. Straddles for $5 on the button (just like Elvis would do later in the night, from the same 10 seat) (does button straddling require high social status, excess confidence, or the action gene?) and proceeds to raise his straddled button most times. In one hand raised with QJ offsuit on the button and calls an all in reraise of $100 and hits a miracle card on the river to win the pot. I think "this guy has it all, good looks, money, and a horse shoe up the ass". I decided to play no big pots against this man, if possible. Even with AA or KK to proceed with caution if he was in the hand, as I could sense losing to 8 10 offsuit on the river. Watched him call an all in bet of $150 after the flop with top pair weak kicker, other player turns over AA and the AA held up. I let out a sigh of relief, as I like when justice is served up cold. The guy stands up soon after and chats up an attractive dealer who was on break. Not one prone to envy, I felt happy for his good fortune in life. He played a few more hands and racked up a small win, presumably off to party and make conquest of the Vegas night.

Had KK preflop and bet it on each street against one opponent, going all in on the river. He called with 77. That helped the cause.

- end of noted hands

Main points of strategy for the session - not talking during hands, not showing hands unless required at showdown, and giving due respect to all opponents and keeping myself humble as possible. Did well with all of these, and they helped to keep things smooth emotionally. Had no tilt tendency after the coolered 666 hand due to keeping my ego in check.

I have been reading a couple of blogs written by 2/5 NL pros, and I guess I had come to expect the 1/2 tables to be playing like a 2/5 table - young LAG's raising from position with any two cards, taking down pot after pot with C bets and folds. But my first 1/2 session in Vegas was like all of the other 1/2 games I had played. Lots of limpers with only an occasional preflop raise. I prefer limping to raising because I like to see flops for cheap and win or lose big pots with 2 pair of better. I know the raise strategy is more profit effective, but it does not suit my poker temperament. So I felt right at home in this game, with lots of passivity preflop, and all the big action coming post flop.

So it is 4:00am and I get up feeling pretty ****ty, walk to the men's room and splash water on my face and not really liking the fact that I have to lug around a 25 pound backback while exhausted and my lower back starting to feel vulnerable. I wandered around Bally's casino, passing the slots and the pit games, watching the passing groups of beautiful people partying, gambling, whoring, and boozing. Not being a beautiful person means I do not belong in this environment and so I try my best to remain invisible as I wonder where I am going to go and what I am going to be doing for the next 4 hours. Had the "aha!" moment I was hoping for when I imagined myself slouched in a luxurious sports book chair. When I finally found the Bally's book I was disappointed to find it dark and empty. I did not want to chance sneaking in for a snooze and decided to walk "next door" to the Flamingo and try my luck with their sportsbook. After a 15 minute walk I arrive and am pleased to find the tv monitors on and a few stragglers slouched in chairs. I find an empty row and let out a pleasing sigh as I sink into the soft leather and use my backpack as a foot rest. The volume of the monitors was irrationally loud, or perhaps rational if the idea is to keep out bums like myself looking for a cheap sleep. I pretended to be interested in a Liverpool soccer match, and for the next 3 hours alternately dozed and watched a meaningless game. At one point a security guard passed by and told me not to sleep. I had the peculiar sensation of beginning a slide down a muddy cliff, the distance from respectability to bum being but a short fall. At 6:00am I became chilled from the air conditioning and was happy I had brought along a jacket, put it on and the new found warmth made me covet a debauched sleep like a fine meal or finer woman.

When the soccer match ended I was so exhausted I was unsure if I had the strength to put the backpack on and begin my walk to the place where I had made a reservation, the Holiday Royale. It was only a 1.5 mile walk, but somehow walking the car-drenched streets of Vegas makes a mile seem a whole lot longer. Having no choice but to get up and go, I began the walk to my new home in the desert. I kept my jacket on for the first mile, but by the time I got to the HardRock Hotel I was sweating so I took it off, and now feeling lighter and cooler walked easier and soon found myself at the door of the Holiday Royale. The doors were locked and I had an hour to burn until opening time, so I sat down in a shaded spot on the concrete and lay my head on my backpack. I was surprised to find that laying on cement was not so bad, but maybe it was because being sleep deprived had numbed my nerves down. I half dozed, occasionally pouring water over my head to stay cool.

I noticed a man carrying two bags approach. The way he carried himself reminded me of Bukowski, and the shape of his face resembled that of Peter Dinklage, which was odd because this dude was over 6 feet tall. When he reached the entry drive 20 feet from where I lay he dropped his bags in a way that suggested a victorious finish to a bad ass journey through the desert, but also at having lost something important along the way. He seemed a mirage to me, something out of the ordinary, like some God Figure disguised as a beggar. The story of a zen master encountering an ugly old woman who was his superior occurred to me, and from that point I considered this man to be a sacred desert personage.

He asked me the time, and then sat down next to me. I tried to become alert, but he seemed more out of it than myself, so I did not feel the need to rush into conversation. We conversed in a slow, slurred way, two guys who were tired and thirsty, searching for a place to sleep it off. I pieced together his story - flown in from Seattle the night before. Bloody nose on airplane. A couple planning to get married in Vegas help him on the plane. He bleeds all over them. When plane lands he is taken to hospital. Told his pulse was so low and blood pressure so high he should be a dead man. Is given medicine to reverse course. He somehow escapes hospital and walks for hours through the Las Vegas night. Blacks out and finds himself on the Strip. Morning arrives and he tries to remember where Holiday Royale is. He locates Hardrock Hotel and then luckily finds his goal.

His hair is disheveled, 3 day stubble on face. Dried blood on tshirt to support bloody nose story. A bandaged arm at the elbow joint makes me think of a crack addict and that gruesome scene from Requiem for a Dream. Hospital band on wrist to lend credence to hospital visit. He tells me he is a teacher of English, having taught in Iraq, Thailand, and Houston. And now he is coming to Vegas for a job. "I guess I like the heat", he says. I ask him about Thailand because I traveled there 2 years ago. He tells me about his Thai gf and how she takes her hands off the steering wheel while driving to pray to Buddha. Spent time in Bangkok but did not get a chance to visit Chiang Mai.

The manager of Holiday Royale approaches and asks us what we are doing. She gets the impression that me and Peter Bukowski are friends and have arrived together, two strung out looking bums laying on her entrance way and she handles it with grace and good humor. She unlocks the door and asks us if we need water. "hurray" I think, as I had poured the last of my water over my head 20 minutes ago. She hands each of us cold water bottles and tells us she will be open in 30 minutes. I pour water over my head and then I watch Peter throwing his empty bottle into the trash, having gulped it in one go. Being a distance runner I don't require much water to remain functional, so I take a small sip and conserve the rest for the occasional head douse...
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Old 09-01-2014, 03:10 PM   #6
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Re: Losing it

You write well and seem intelligent, so I find your belief in mysticism puzzling. Should make for an interesting thread though. More counting outs and figuring pot odds, less basing your decisions on feeling lucky/unlucky at that particular moment, and I have little doubt in your ability to at least beat $1/$2. Which sounds like kind of an awful grind especially if 6 hr plus sessions are going to make you physically uncomfortable on a regular basis as you described (I've had some digestive issues myself off and on so I know how much it can suck). Sitting down for long stretches of time isn't great but at least it sounds like you'll be physically active away from the poker tables. Be well and good luck to you, though you'd do better if you didn't take the concept of luck literally as a persistent state one can be in or not, and could recognize it instead as meaningless statistical fluctuations.
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Old 09-02-2014, 04:01 AM   #7
Nausea in Venice
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Re: Losing it

Sept 1, 2014

Part II

When the H.R. office opened I told Buk he could go first due to his rough night, and so I sat myself into a comfortable chair in a shadowy corner and waited patiently for 20 minutes. The manager took a look at Buk and was not shy about telling him what she thought - "my god you look horrible, what happened to you? Your lips are cut and your face is scratched. I'm telling you right now that I want no trouble from you, this is a respectable place and I work hard to keep it that way."

She wasn't exactly giving him the stink eye, but there was a good level of mistrust in her expression. Buk did a good job of retelling his story and I lazily let my mind drift out of the scene. A few people walked in during this time and the manager tended to their needs while Buk filled out what looked to be a lot of paperwork. The manager obviously thought I was with Buk and that I would be staying with him, so she guessed that I did not need to be helped or included in the negotiations. I did not feel the need to correct her because I was feeling pretty good in the chair. I figured I would speak up once the office had cleared out and was empty of foot traffic.

I listened as she grilled Buk about his employment status and seemed skeptical of his answers. I began to wonder if I was going to be treated the same way. ****, I already put down a deposit on my room and have enough cash to pay for several months in advance if she required it, I just wanted to be treated like a regular customer and not some bum coming in off the street, which is what she pegged me and Buk to be. In her defense she kept the tone friendly and respectful and repeatedly stated how many mad people were roaming the streets of Vegas and had to be careful about who was renting rooms.

I have to admit, in just one day I felt a dark and violent energy while wandering around on foot. Traveling blind into Thailand and Indonesia, I mostly felt safe and happy no matter where I wandered off to. But in Vegas the streets on this particular day are filled with a lot of frowning, suspicious passersby, the most unhappiest faces I had ever seen. Contrasted with the beautiful people who are wandering around drunk and doing crazy ****, it all seems weird and unnatural. But this is Vegas, and instead of fighting against the current I decide to accept it all and then let it go just as easily.

---

After getting into my room and unpacking I get a few hours of sleep and wake up in the early afternoon with a wonderful desire to play poker. If I am going to give this a good effort I need to be feeding off this inner fire for the game. I guess you can say I am going to fit right in with the other madmen of Vegas due to my own mad tendencies. I have the ability to focus on a single point for extended periods of time, so long as I am interested in said point. I steep myself in the beauty of the details and the stupendously golden and empty light. I found out a while ago that I need to balance this lens-like focus with calm breathing and meditation. The beautiful logic of my poker experiment is that I can practice breath meditation while sitting at the poker table, thus maintaining the required balance between concentration and relaxation.

I wander to the Venetian under a bare naked sun which is having no mercy upon the parched and pebbly landscape. Cars and more cars and I am reminded of the streets of Chiang Mai, the difference being that the Asian streets are clogged with scooters. America is the Land of the Giants. I get overheated and once again step into Bally's sports book to rest for a bit. Then down the strip where the freaks, clowns and madmen of the world congregate so that all may stare and laugh and maybe even love a little bit. I have no trouble locating the poker room inside the Venetian, but before settling in to play I apply for and receive the Grazie card.

I get called to my table and feel calm and relaxed, although still a bit drowsy from the heat and insufficient sleep. Across from me sits an Asian dude in a hoodie and headphones. To my left an old Portuguese gent who I notice is wearing a pair of gray converse shoes, a mirror copy of a pair of my own. On the other side of the table is a guy who looks like Mickey Appleman. To his left is a young serious fellow with short black hair and rimless glasses. To Mickey's right a middle aged guy in a suit coat with a pretty big stack, and to his right another middle aged guy with a deceptively innocent face.

Around it goes and after a while I see that this is going to be one of those middling sessions where I don't run too hot or cold, so I take my time and look around the room and notice the big chandeliers and the spaciousness of the tables.

Noted hands -

I get AA early on and win a small pot.

I little while later it gets limped around to me in the big blind holding A 10 diamonds, flop comes JQK, two diamonds - monster flop, I put out a small bet of $5, and get min raised by Mickey A. I decide to just call. Turn comes a blank, and I check the nuts, and Mickey bets $10. I reraise to $40, and get called. The flop comes 7 of diamonds, and I still have the nuts. I start counting out a bet of $25 and as I am doing so I look over at Mickey and see him counting out the same amount of chips, indicating he is calling whatever I am betting - a great feeling. I don't bother putting him on any type of hand, all I know is I have the nuts, and he has a hand strong enough to call. I put out $65, which I believe covered the remainder of his smallish stack, and as he calls he says "show me A10", and I do.

Later in the session me and Mickey clash again, I have another bb hand with J7 os and the flop comes 7710. It gets bet every street and I end up calling his $50 river bet and he shows me A7. I happen to look over at him as he is looking over at me, and I nod my head and make a respectful gesture of his play, and I can see a little appreciative smile form on his lips as he nods his thanks. Felt no negative emotional effects from this hand, although my instincts told me I was beat when he bet $50 on the river. I believed the bet small enough to justify a call because he could have been holding a hand like 78 or 76, but probably incorrect to do so due to instincts telling me I have 2nd best hand here.

Was dealt KK utg+1 and utg raises to $15. I reraise to $45. Old Portuguese guy starts talking to me, "why so much?" I have it burnt into my mind that talking during a hand is against the rules so his question floats by like a soft breeze. Then he realizes something and says "ohhhh, you are reraising, I get out of way then." I laugh internally at the idea of betting $45 as the first raiser while everyone else folds and the flop comes with an A. I have position and this makes things easy for me. We both check down to river and I am thinking maybe I should put out a value bet but don't want to have to fold to a reraise so we turn our cards over and we both laugh when we see the cards - KK vs QQ. I realize that a solid aggressive player would have been betting the 2 queens on the turn after my check, and I would have been pressured to fold, which makes me wonder if a C bet on the flop would have been the correct play. But having smallish stacks (~300), do I really want to put out a $65 C bet to see if he is holding an A? I prefer taking the $45 loss here and moving on to the next hand if he bets the turn. Fortunately he was passive with QQ and let it get to a showdown.

- end of noted hands

This was my first real Vegas table session and I wanted to stay focused and follow my game plan of staying humble, not talking when involved in a hand, not showing down cards unless required, and remembering to meditate on my breath and repeating a mantra on occasion to keep nerves in check.

The old guy on my left started to complain about our side of the table being card dead.. "I have been folding hands for the last 3 hours, dealer, please scramble the cards", and "dealer, please get a new deck." On and on it went, and I was happy to not say a word to add fuel to his fire. A guy to the old man's left started talking loudly on his phone, the whole table hearing about his personal problems. I had to laugh knowing these kinds of things were going to be par for the course from now on. All I have to do is keep silent and focus on the game and try not to let the negativity affect my energy. I was able to recall experiences from past jobs where I worked with people who talked all the time, and I thought "this is much easier because I don't have to sit with the same dudes every single day, and I have the choice to get up and leave whenever I'd like, unlike a 9-5 job".

The time went by quickly (4 hour session) and I left later than I had wanted, hoping to get out of the casino with daylight remaining so I could watch the sunset on my walk home. Instead I got to see the Mirage volcano show as I sauntered along the strip, which was pretty impressive.

I bought in for $200 and chipped out at $324, happy that my first session was a gain.

Last edited by Nausea in Venice; 09-02-2014 at 04:19 AM.
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Old 09-02-2014, 01:46 PM   #8
Nausea in Venice
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Re: Losing it

September 2, 2014

I was surprised to have slept for only a short while last night. I've read about people coming to Vegas and experiencing the sleepless phenomenon, and now it is settling upon me. Instead of laying in bed with poker hands floating through the mind, I decided to put my energy to use and got up to write. When I finished it was 6:30am and instead of settling back into bed decided what I needed to do was start my running/exercise routine, which would hopefully help my sleep patterns return to normal.

One reason I chose to stay at the H.R. is because of its proximity to the UNLV track. Las Vegas being pedestrian unfriendly, running along roads clogged with unsympathetic cars is not something I enjoy, so track running, while not my favorite place to put in a run, is much preferable to the salty Vegas streets. The run over to the track took only a few minutes and most of the route was on empty side streets, which put me at ease. As I ran I noted the location of a nearby 7/11 and thought about the ever present 7/11's in Thailand, which saved me on many an occasion. I made a mental note to stop at the 7/11 post run to buy juice.

I put in a short workout of speed runs, 100's and 200's mostly, and then looked around the track to find a suitable place to do pushups and situps. The infield grass is not only a pleasantly soft surface for a work out, but the green is soothing to parched eyes growing accustomed to the glaring spread of dried browns and grays.

Whenever settling in at a new place I try to locate a pull up bar because this is one of my favorite exercises for maintaining upper body strength. I could find nothing suitable at the track, which is not surprising, so I settled into a routine of pushups, situps, and mini dips using the bleacher steps. My mind continued to crave a pull up bar, and in a stunning mystical instant I turned my head toward a corner of the infield and beheld a beautiful pull up bar with a wooden box beneath so that a short person like myself could reach the high bar with ease. I was reminded of a zen story about a master who could make mountains disappear just by thinking them into oblivion. I had never seen a pull up bar at any track I have run at, but there it was and I happily added it to my routine of exercises.

While I was finishing a set of dips on the bleachers an older guy walked over to me and sat down on the steps. I said good morning to him out of habit from living in a small town for the past two years, forgetting that I am now living in a large city where ignoring strangers is normal policy. He nodded and said hello and as I began to walk back to the infield for a set of pullups he started a conversation with me. I returned to the bleacher steps and listened - 60 years old, originally from Joliet, IL, training to run a fast 300 meter, all american football player, recruited by Notre Dame, chose wrestling instead and considered going to Iowa due to Dan Gable, but circumstances compelled him to choose Michigan. Works security on the side for the Super Bowl every year. Also works in politics and the judiciary system. His name is John.

When the conversation ended we both returned to our workouts. As he passed me on the track while I was doing pushups in the grass he called out “only 2 laps to go.” I offered to pace him and we ran along together and he finished pretty strong. I said goodbye and walked to the 7/11. I made note of side street businesses, particularly a pizza place across the street from the H.R.

After showering I walked to a nearby CVS and was surprised to find a decent selection of food items to choose from. I bought a pre-made salad, 6 pack of water, juice, and a few other supplies. The clerks were friendly, which was a contrast to the people wandering around in the streets. I stopped at the pizza place and bought a slice and after eating lunch thought I might need a nap, but my energy was still high so headed off to the Venetian for the daily round of poker.

When arriving at a new place I find myself seeking out pocket zones of comfort. I was already making a dent with finding the short route to the track and finding the awesome pull up bar and feeling good about the nearby shops and markets. As I now started the longish walk to the Venetian I began searching for routes that were not clogged with cars. I wended through back alleys and parking lots and then found a long stretch (3/4 mile?) of desolate paved road, which I named Paradise Road II (paradise for pedestrians!) Finding it was almost as stunning as seeing the pull up bar. I walked along the road in solitude surrounded by the desert heat and silence. All that space was making me feel comfortable and happy. As I walked along I decided it would be cool if I could avoid the zoo called The Strip altogether, and I found quiet roads behind the casinos which led me all the way to the Venetian parking garage and the casino elevator. I could now walk the 2 1/2 miles mostly alone and with light car traffic.
















I was feeling happy when I approached the poker room and added my name to the 1/2 list. I was seated at a newly formed table and immediately recognized I was on a major heater, with many of the hands dealt to me being playable. I was getting pocket pairs, high cards, suited connectors, and just a few 9/3's. Whereas the Bally session was an ice box, this was a desert scorch.

The table had a few tourists, a shameless bluffer, an young Irish grinder, a party animal from Phoenix, and a couple of old fellows. Very first hand everyone limps and an old guy in the BB raises to 12. I call with pocket 5's, no five hits and the BB comes out with a big bet of $65. The party animal to my right goes all in and the BB insta calls. Animal shows 97 spades for flopped 2 pair, and old guy shows AA. Party animal scoops the pot while old guy looks crest fallen.

The first orbit everyone is getting big preflop hands and the raises are big too, which makes someone ask the dealer “is this a 2/5 table?” I am calling some of the big raises because I am getting decent starting hands, but nothing hits yet and my stack is going down and I still feel confident this is going to be a good session.

noted hands -

Dealt 99 and limp. Flop a set and river quads, winning a moderate amount. Made a mistake by checking the river out of position to an aggresvie female tourist. I put her on a straight and thought she would bet, but she checked and I lost value.

Had A9 clubs and turned a club flush draw with two Jacks on the board. I bet $15. Get raised all in by the old guy who had AA cracked in first hand, and called since it was only $35 more. I know this should be a fold, but I was confident that a club was falling on the river. River brings the K of clubs and I show down the nut flush, but old guy shows flopped full house. I did not feel bad and took my read of the club coming to mean that my game was on today.

In big blind with 95 and flop bottom 2 pair, bet out $20 and get called by a tourist who looks hesitant. I put him on top pair and shove on the turn. This was not a logical bet, but the preceding hands dictated an unconventional, bullying type of raise due to my image of winning some pots with moderate hole cards. He reluctantly folds and his wife chides him with “you should have called, you could have hit your draw.”

Limp with 10 2 spades from EP and nobody raises so I see a flop with a 10 for top pair, nut low kicker. I bet $10 and get called by bluffer man (guy was bet/bluffing at any pot that was checked to him, and whenever he was called to the river would muck his hand). Before dealer peels the turn I tell myself “here comes the deuce” and the 2 hits the turn. I bet $20 and am called. River is a blank and I decide to check, knowing that he will bet at the pot. He puts in $35 and I insta call and he mucks when he sees my 2 pair. Tourist guy mutters to wife “10 2?”

7 limpers and it gets to me in the big blind with AK, I make an overbet to $27 and everyone folds.

KK in BB and old guy with a bag of cookies in front of him makes it $7. Party guy in sb makes it $17. I raise to $45. Cookie man folds and party folds and shows me AK. I make a mistake and show him my hand. I did this because we had been talking and I wanted to keep the mood light and fun.

Limp with AQ from mp, considered raising but already have 2 limpers behind and did not want to appear like a bully. Take a flop with 6 players, A and Q on flop for top 2. Party guy bets $7, I raise to $20 and everyone folds. I again show party guy my hand and immediately regret it.

- end of noted hands

I was planning to play my heater for many hours but when two people busted their places were filled with aggressive pros. The pros knew each other and one quickly transferred tables. That meant the lone pro could now take over the table and he proceeded to raise big when in position and making big C bets to induce folds from nits like me. One time he reraises an old guy $125 and when the old guy folds pro throws his cards on the table and shows a J high bluff. The entire table was sucked into his orbit of influence and it became relatively quiet except for the the pro talking it up. He was confident, brash, a bit arrogant, yet his arrogance was well placed due to his superior poker skills. He tried pushing the Irish kid out of a pot with a $70 C bet and the kid tanked and finally pushed all in with top 2 pair. Pro insta calls and shows top pair weak kicker. This confirmed that pro was betting big with moderate hands.

Pro confidently rebought and showed no regret at losing his stack. I decided the pro was simply setting everyone up, next time he bet big he was going to have the goods. I wanted to play no pots with this guy.

I was in the big blind with J10, still on my heater and flopped top pair. I checked and pro bets $20. I know I am probably good here but if I call out of position and check the turn his next bet is going to be $50-70, there is no way he is slowing down. So I fold the best hand and decide to rack up and put an end to my heater after only playing for two hours.

Before leaving my suspicions are confirmed. Pro bets big preflop, is called by an old guy. Pro makes a big C bet and the old guy looks pissed and pushes out a $100 raise, and while the pro thinks about it the old guy says “I am going all in, just to let you know.” I knew the guy's ego was getting the best of him and felt that the pro had a real hand this time. The pro decided to raise all in and the old guy hesitated, but having made his speech refused to back down and called. Pro shows J10 for a flopped straight and old guy, seeming to not care that he is drawing just about dead, defiantly throws down AQ for top top. Classic set up.

I bought in for $200 and cashed out for $320, a small win considering the heater I was on, but I am happy to book another gain.
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Old 09-02-2014, 02:14 PM   #9
Nausea in Venice
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Re: Losing it

Quote:
Originally Posted by EvilSteve View Post
You write well and seem intelligent, so I find your belief in mysticism puzzling. Should make for an interesting thread though. More counting outs and figuring pot odds, less basing your decisions on feeling lucky/unlucky at that particular moment, and I have little doubt in your ability to at least beat $1/$2. Which sounds like kind of an awful grind especially if 6 hr plus sessions are going to make you physically uncomfortable on a regular basis as you described (I've had some digestive issues myself off and on so I know how much it can suck). Sitting down for long stretches of time isn't great but at least it sounds like you'll be physically active away from the poker tables. Be well and good luck to you, though you'd do better if you didn't take the concept of luck literally as a persistent state one can be in or not, and could recognize it instead as meaningless statistical fluctuations.
Thanks for the comment. I understand the statistical side of poker, and well believe the science behind it, which keeps me away from casino gaming. However, I can't deny my experience that life can sometimes appear to be more than meets the eye. The senses are but one way observe the world. To deny intuitive grace is to leave behind some big clues. I try to blend science and intuition into my poker game, and so far the method has worked for me. If it stops working in the future I am confident I can adjust my views, as I don't like having a closed mind.

I plan to sit at the tables for only as long as I feel good. I can go 6-8 hours if needed, but 4-5 should be sufficient for my experiment. I think the long first day - 2 plane rides, lugging a big back pack, a new environment, contributed to not feeling so hot at the poker table. Now that I am getting settled in I should be feeling pretty good at the tables.

Good luck to you!
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Old 09-03-2014, 02:14 AM   #10
Nausea in Venice
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Re: Losing it

Sept. 2, 2014

Got out of bed later than expected, but at least I got some sleep. Walked over to the track at 8:00am for a free form session of pullups and other stuff. The UNLV girls hammer throw team were starting a practice session when I arrived and it was cool to watch 3 large girls whipping a heavy steel ball across the yard.

After showering I walked to the Venetian using my new route and had the sensation that it took a shorter time to arrive than the first two days (maybe because I am becoming acclimated to the heat). The pro from yesterday's session was sitting in the 7 seat when I arrived at my table. Starting out fresh I did not mind his presence, but within 20 minutes he busted two players and the table broke, which was fine with me.

The new table was nothing out of the ordinary, the usual limp fest with an eclectic mix of players. A woman from the UK sat across from me and I enjoyed listening to her strong English accent. The man sitting to my right was wearing a wsop gold bracelet and he told me he won the 2008 seniors event - awesome! Sitting with poker players is not as bad as I was expecting. It has only been three days, so I know there will be times when I will be caught in the cross-hairs of anger, but thus far everyone has been decent about winning and losing.

My session was up and down. Early on I was up $125 and considered leaving, but I was focused and enjoying myself. Toward the end of the session I made a huge blunder and lost $200 in a single hand. I had A9 in a raised 4 way pot and the flop came 569. A guy who had been betting light tossed out a $55 raise. I had been watching him betting with modest cards and decided to make a play at the pot. I knew I probably wasn't good here, but my image was pretty tight so unless he was holding 78 he would probably fold. I went all in and he called with 78 - ughhh!! It stung to ship $200 to the guy because of an error in judgement. I never want to ship my stack with a bluff, it's just not worth the risk.

I bled more chips calling raises and folding and when I was under $100 I added another $200 to my stack. I was running cold and lost more chips and thought about calling it a day. I kept sitting in my seat though, not wanting to get up just yet. By this time the sting of shipping $200 had left me and I started feeling better. It was my first emotional test and I was happy I didn't spew off more chips doing something crazy.

I picked up 55 in mp and limped, and called a $10 raise from the button. One other caller, and the flop comes A 5 8. Two checks and the raiser puts out $35. When it gets to me I reraise to $70 and the raiser pushes all in, he has me covered and he has A8 and my set holds up. I am back to even, stay a while longer and then leave being down $10.

A painful lesson to learn, but the sting will hopefully prevent any further all in clown bluffs.

6 hour session. Bought in for $200, added $200, cashed out for $390.
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Old 09-03-2014, 11:34 AM   #11
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Re: Losing it

I'm interested in hearing more about the timeline from 21-45, especially the awakening experience at 23.

gl with poker
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Old 09-04-2014, 03:19 AM   #12
Nausea in Venice
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Re: Losing it

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I'm interested in hearing more about the timeline from 21-45, especially the awakening experience at 23.

gl with poker
Thanks, I will definitely need some luck in the coming months.

Not sure if I will be describing my earlier years unless they have a connection with present circumstances.
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Old 09-04-2014, 03:25 AM   #13
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Re: Losing it

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nausea in Venice View Post
A painful lesson to learn, but the sting will hopefully prevent any further all in clown bluffs.
that's not a bluff, that's you not knowing what to do with your hand
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Old 09-04-2014, 03:28 AM   #14
Nausea in Venice
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Re: Losing it

September 3, 2014

Long and crazy day. Got out of bed at 5:30am and was at the track by 6:15. UNLV track team was practicing so I ran in the outside lanes and then did my usual exercise routine with the pull up bar.

Walked to the Venetian and arrived before 10:00am so I got to sit with some of the “old man coffee' types. Guy sitting to my right told me it was his birthday and he had an awesome session. A lot of his winnings came from my stack, but I was happy for him. In the last hand before he went to an Omaha table I had AK and flopped a king. He had pocket jacks and had quads by the river I didn't lose much in that hand because he was betting light and giving me a break.

I ended up losing 2 buy ins at the Venetian. I just bled the chips away slowly. At one point I doubled up and got back to even due to a major suckout. I had pocket Jacks and when the flop came low cards got it all in against a guy who flopped a set of 6's. On the river a jack fell to the surprise of everyone at the table. After that hand the chip bleeding started again and I ended up losing my final $100 when I flopped top two pair and lost to a turned straight. Nothing I can do about that but shrug it off and play on.

As I started the walk home I still had the urge to play poker so I decided to walk to the Bellagio and try the 1/3 game. I liked the feel of the room and after a 10 minute wait was seated at a wild table with massive pots on almost every hand. I bought in for $400, giving me one of the deeper stacks. I guessed that there would not be much limping in the 1/3 game, but it ended up being a limp fest just like a 1/2 table.

I was up $100 when something possessed me to take leave of my usual nit style and to actually start playing fearless poker. It felt like I was being graced with a special kind of poker knowledge that in normal circumstances is missing. I loosened up my card range and was raising pre flop when in position, making well timed bluffs at pots, and taking more risky chances than usual. The variance was higher but the reward was also great, and I cashed out for $823 giving me a $23 profit for the full day.

Venetian 1/2 Session - 4 hours, bought in for $400, cashed out for $0

Bellagio 1/3 session - 6 hours, bought in for $400, cashed out for $823
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Old 09-04-2014, 03:31 AM   #15
Nausea in Venice
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Re: Losing it

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that's not a bluff, that's you not knowing what to do with your hand
Noted.
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Old 09-04-2014, 06:47 PM   #16
Nausea in Venice
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Re: Losing it

September 4, 2014

Woke up this morning at 5:30 again, which means my sleep schedule is starting to set. Walked to the track as usual for the exercise routine. The pull up bar has a bumpy metal surface for better grip but my hands are not accustomed to it so my palms are in the process of going from blister to callous.

I mention the morning exercise routine because I believe it helps my poker game. Walking to the Venetaion this morning I had a light step and high energy due to the morning routine, and this translates into a euphoric mental/emotional state. One reason I don't use drugs is because running has always given me a powerful high which lasts 12-24 hours post run. So when I walk into a poker room having exercised a couple of hours prior, I am just beginning to fall into that joyous zone of increased focus and sharp attention. When I sat down at the table today I felt as if I was glowing, and it felt good to just be sitting in the room playing poker.

During the first orbit of play it occurred to me that I should always try to play in this hyper-extended joyful state because everything just seems lighter and easier, with the chances of making good decisions increased due to the heightened sensitivity of body and mind. There comes a point in a poker session when my energy levels drop and I can feel my mind trip into a negative state, almost bordering on paranoia. I have decided that when I recognize that I have fallen into this weakened state, it is time to leave the game and recharge with rest and exercise.

I realize that the rules I make for myself should be used as a guideline only, and to be willing to bend or break them when appropriate. When preparing for my poker adventure last month I made the decision never to show my hand unless it went to showdown, but I am finding that in a live game the dynamics between players sometimes makes showing a hand the right choice. Today I showed two hands because I thought it would help my image, and also to make the game lighter and friendlier, and it did seem to work for both reasons. After I showed the first hand some of the other players began showing theirs, almost as if in a spirit of good sportsmanship. There obviously are times when it isn't appropriate, but each player has to decide when those times are.

Today was a good day because when I can match a glowing mood with a winning poker session, then all seems right in the world. I won a fair amount of hands at showdown, but I also made some plays that allowed me to steal pots that normally I would have lost had I played them in a tighter, ABC style. An example is when I picked up 55 in EP. Normally I would limp and if someone raised I would call and hope to catch a 5 on the flop, and folding when a 5 doesn't come. Today I raised it to 11, and the button was the only caller. The button appeared to be a solid pro by the way he handled himself and the style of his play. So now I am out of position against a pro and as the flop comes I realize his hand range here is wide, and that he is hoping to outplay me after the flop with the help of being in position. I obviously would like a 5 to fall, but when the flop comes all rags, 9 high, with 2 clubs, I decide to check. The button quickly puts out a raise of 15. The quickness of the bet made me think it was a mindless positional bet to take down the pot, and I also thought my 55 may still be good. I decided to call and when the A of clubs came on the turn I took a moment to study the board and realized the pro would know there is a good chance that a tight player like myself would be raising from ep with Ax. Knowing that he knows this, I decide to bet $20 to represent that I hit the A. There are also 3 clubs on the board and I could have been calling his raise with clubs, so he has more to consider than just the A. If he calls I am giving up on the river and folding to anything he bets, and if he reraises I am folding. When I made the bet the pro took a few seconds and then mucked his hand in an irritated way, as if thinking “lucky fish hit the A”.

My session today was opposite of yesterday's. I arrived early, ~10:00am, and in two hours I was up $200. When the table complexion changed with newly added players I decided to rack up and go home. Biggest hand of the short session was me hitting a straight flush on the river with the opponent being all in - good times

2 1/2 hour session at Venetian. Bought in for $200, cashed out $404.

Last edited by Nausea in Venice; 09-04-2014 at 06:54 PM.
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Old 09-06-2014, 12:15 AM   #17
Nausea in Venice
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Re: Losing it

I'm going down
I'm going, down, down, down
Down, down
Yes, I'm going down, yes
I'm going down, down, down
Down, down
Yes, I've got my big feet in the window
Got my head on the ground

Freddie King


September 5, 2014

Out the door at dawn for the morning run at UNLV track. Felt decent enough and put in a good effort. As I am running around in circles I know I have to hit the faded euphoric threshold before stopping. I think the track is closed on the weekends, so I will have to find an alternative place to tread tomorrow.

Walking to the Venetian with my feet forming the habit of the route, allowing the mind to sink into wordless thought. Becoming more comfortable walking about, as if I have a purpose and a reason to be here in this city. I really enjoy playing poker everyday. It is like running, eating, and sex - perform, rest, repeat indefinitely. I am beginning to think poker, for reasons unknown, is hardwired into my psyche, feeding my need for? It is not the money, although cash is an important reward for the effort put forth. Embracing the challenge and competition, a clashing with the fate of the cards. It teaches humility to the proud, and pride to the beaten down. When walking home from a session, the appetite satisfied, I know it is only a matter of a night passing by in sleep before the urge returns, another day another bloody battle.

Arriving again at 10:00am, sitting down feeling high and joyful. Got snagged early with hitting the nut flush on the river, but losing to a boat for ~$70. My mind is in a great place, though - calm, looking at poker as a long series of hands, an ultramarathon with euphoric highs and some damned painful valleys to push through. Expecting the worst from the cards, the players, and the environment, accepting it as the testing of the will and spirit. The focus alert and on edge. Embracing the battles. I don't want to be anywhere but here, playing poker in Vegas.

Since the night at the Bellagio I have been dialed into a poker groove, a mostly fearless flow of energy directed at the cards and opponents. My reads have been solid for the most part, avoiding traps, playing more aggressively than my normal nitty style, raising with a wider range, making plays at pots with good timing. I am unsure how long this flowing grace will last. It feels like a gift to see me through the first rough week in a new, tough environment.

After the $70 flush loss I began chipping up with small pots. My wide range was giving me action and players were making loose calls and trying to bet me out of pots with moderate holdings.

I was proud of a $25 river call holding 88 on a 6Q6610 board. The player who bet had showed prior light betting, and with almost $100 in the pot calling seemed good value. He mucked when I laid down my hand.

Raising to $13 from the button holding QQ, a limper from ep calls. Flop comes rags, he bets out $15. I reraise to $45. He looks perturbed, knowing I have been playing a lot of pots and raising with less than stellar hands. He says “alright, I guess I'm going home early”, and shoves all in for $90 more. I call, he has 99 and QQ wins.

Raising from utg to $11 with AQ, a guy who has lost a couple of medium pots to me pushes his short stack ($45) all in from the button and I call, knowing he might be steaming. He shows 9 10 of spades and AQ holds.

An old reg was at the table, and he loved to talk. On and on he went. “I hate it when players are all serious” he muses, “this should be a fun game with talking”. I get the feeling he does like to talk, but I believe the conversation is a ruse to get players to focus on him rather than the game. He complained about a player at another table for only playing high pocket pairs, all the while he folded away the hours and the only big hand he played was when he held a set of 222 and was shipped a $600 pot, which put a big smile on his face. He was a cool guy but I had to constantly block his words out of my consciousness, reminding me of working in places that played crappy radio stations.

I played 2 1/2 - 3 hours, and would have liked to continue but I decided I just did not want to hear it anymore and racked up a nice winning session.

I made a small wager ($20) on the Seahawks at -5.5, and decided to use that money to treat myself to a carryout Indian lunch. Across the street from the restaurant is the Silver Sevens casino. I decided to stop in and on a lark sat down to a sad 2/4 limit hold em game. Only 4 players, regs who were pushing dollar chips back and forth. One guy pulled out his wallet and placed $7 on the table. I won a couple of hands and was surprised how serious they were over a $10 pot. One player had mastered the Tom Dwan slow motion wrist flick and it just seemed out of place in this game. I quickly lost interest and was looking for a way to get out of the game without seeming like a hit and runner. Fortunately a player busted and I told them I did not want to play 4 handed.

3 hour session at Venetian. Bought in for $200, cashed out $501.

20 minute session at Silver Sevens. Bought in for $100, cashed out $108

$20 wager on Seahawks, cashed for $38.19
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Old 09-07-2014, 03:38 AM   #18
Nausea in Venice
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Re: Losing it

September 6, 2014

A long day of poker. Am happy to be sleeping well at night and rising early for exercise. Arrived at the Venetian at 10:00am and the table wasn't great. One of the regs was complaining after every hand he lost, and overall not much action because everyone was playing solid. I lost 2 buy ins ($400) in 3 hours of play. Did not make any major blunders, just didn't have hands hold up. So it goes.

After a short break I decided to walk to the Bellagio for more poker. I decided to try 2/5 nl for the first time because if I am buying in for $400 in the 1/3 game, why not add an extra $100 and play 2/5. So I bought in for $500 and had a fun time, playing for 7 hours. It was an up and down session and I ended up winning $56. Twice I was up to $1000 and each time got coolered. The competition was more fierce than $1/3, not much limping, with standard raises being $15-20. I enjoyed the tough opponents and the intensity of the heads up play.

Taking a break from poker tomorrow. I survived my first week in Vegas at the poker tables. Did not win much, but happy nonetheless.

3 hour Venetian 1/2 session - bought in for $400, cashed out 0.

7 hour Bellagio 2/5 session - bought in for $500, cashed out for $556
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Old 09-07-2014, 10:29 PM   #19
Nausea in Venice
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Re: Losing it

September 7, 2014

Rest day = No poker. Instead I hung out at a few sports books (Caesar's, Flamingo and Bally's) to watch the 1st week of NFL games. I have to admit I felt the urge to play poker but was happy to have followed through with a day off. Instead I focused on making a few football wagers.

Today I placed $100 straight wagers on :

Bills +7
Niners/Cowboys under 51

and a $100 3 team parlay on :

Titans +9.5, Niners/Cowboys under 56.5, and Broncos -1.5

I won both straight wagers, and will win the parlay if the Broncos (currently winning 24-7 in 3rd qtr) can hold on. 3 for 3 is a good day, and gets my cash flow moving forward after yesterday's poker loss.

I saw the manager of H.R. this morning and asked her about Peter Buk. She told me that he will be staying at the H.R. for a couple of weeks and then will be returning to Iraq to teach English. I hope all goes well for him.

On my walk yesterday to the Venetian I saw my first roadrunner bird. It emerged from a bush and walked alongside me for a few feet. I stopped to observe it, wondering what it was and for some reason "roadrunner" emerged in my mind. I later image searched it to confirm that it indeed was one.

From Wickipedia : Some Pueblo Indian tribes, such as the Hopi, believed that the Roadrunner provided protection against evil spirits. Some Anglo frontier people believed roadrunners led lost people to trails.

Last edited by Nausea in Venice; 09-07-2014 at 10:47 PM.
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Old 09-08-2014, 01:28 AM   #20
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Re: Losing it

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nausea in Venice View Post
Taking a break from poker tomorrow. I survived my first week in Vegas at the poker tables. Did not win much, but happy nonetheless.
I decided to go through your posts to tally up your cash game results (skipping the tourney and sports bets). I might be really bored, anyway...

Quote:
After busting out of the tournament I sat down at a $1/2 NL table and tried my best to nurse a $300 stack for the entire night. I finally called it quits at 4:00am due to a peculiar stomach issue which I have had happen before when playing poker sessions which last over 6 hours... I left the table down $90
-$90, call it 6 hours

Quote:
The time went by quickly (4 hour session)... I bought in for $200 and chipped out at $324, happy that my first session was a gain.
+$124, 4 hr

Quote:
I bought in for $200 and cashed out for $320, a small win considering the heater I was on, but I am happy to book another gain.
+$120, ? hr

Quote:
6 hour session. Bought in for $200, added $200, cashed out for $390.
-$10, 6 hr

Quote:
Venetian 1/2 Session - 4 hours, bought in for $400, cashed out for $0
-$400, 4 hr

Quote:
Bellagio 1/3 session - 6 hours, bought in for $400, cashed out for $823
+$423, 6 hr

Quote:
2 1/2 hour session at Venetian. Bought in for $200, cashed out $404.
+$204, 2.5 hr

Quote:
3 hour session at Venetian. Bought in for $200, cashed out $501.
+$301, 3 hr

Quote:
20 minute session at Silver Sevens. Bought in for $100, cashed out $108
+$8, 0.3 hr

Quote:
3 hour Venetian 1/2 session - bought in for $400, cashed out 0.
-$400, 3 hr

Quote:
7 hour Bellagio 2/5 session - bought in for $500, cashed out for $556
+$56, 7 hr

So I've got you at +336 after 41.8 hours (plus however long the one session I didn't find a time for was so I'll put the total at 45 hours). That comes to $7.46 / hour, of course way too small a sample size for the hourly to mean much but there it is.
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Old 09-08-2014, 09:40 AM   #21
Nausea in Venice
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Posts: 28
Re: Losing it

Quote:
So I've got you at +336 after 41.8 hours (plus however long the one session I didn't find a time for was so I'll put the total at 45 hours). That comes to $7.46 / hour, of course way too small a sample size for the hourly to mean much but there it is.
= Thanks for putting in the effort to tally the hourly rate, Steve. First off, I am happy to have at least won something over the week. Second, $7.46 an hour seems to be the story of my life when it comes to working lol. I guess the difference is I actually enjoy poker, whereas wage jobs were always a drag. If I can keep chipping up slowly I don't mind a low hourly rate as long as it is enough to get by on. Not sure if I am a winning player, though, will just have to see how it goes from week to week.
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Old 09-08-2014, 07:23 PM   #22
Nausea in Venice
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Posts: 28
Re: Losing it

Train Wreck, Louisiana Train Wreck
Engine light in the night
cars speeding all out of sight
better slow down
cause there's gonna be a train wreck,
Louisiana train wreck

If you don't stop you fool,
soon you will be history.
Train wreck, Louisiana train wreck

Not paying any attention
will put you in a new dimension
lighten up on the gas
to avoid the crash
train wreck, Louisiana train wreck

smoke coming out the stack
engine speeding down the track
railroad sign doesn't work
peoples not alert
train wreck, Louisiana train wreck.

Little Freddie King



September 8, 2014

Rain in Las Vegas. I was walking home from the morning poker session when the rains came, heard booming thunder, and then it was pouring. I stopped in at Silver Sevens to collect my sports bets and when I walked to the desk dripping wet the clerk told me to use my winnings to buy an umbrella

I decided to place 2 small wagers on tonight's Giants/Lions game.

$20 - over 46.5
$10 parlay paying 6 to 1 - both teams have to kick at least 2 field goals, and the total points for the 1st quarter over 9.5

I am 4 for 4 in sports bets since arriving in Vegas, so that $10 sucker parlay will most likely break the streak.

Had a solid, fresh session at the Venetian this morning. Arrived ~9:00am, sat at a table full of the regular morning guys, along with a young guy from Michigan who was drinking and getting into a lot of pots. Unlike the last session where I lost 2 buyins in 3 hours, I was getting a lot of playable hands and they were holding up.

Had KK utg and raised to 11, 2 callers, one being Mr Michigan in the BB, who leads out for $15 on a flop of J 8 5. I min raise to $30 and he calls. Turn comes another 8 and he checks. I decide to check. River brings a 5. Michigan bets $55. I take a minute and think about what he could be holding. Maybe he has an 8, but J also seems probable. If this was a reg I might fold here, but not to this guy, so I call and he shows JQ and says "oh I thought I was good here for sure" as I table KK.

Most of my wins did not go to showdown, was getting too much respect. Decided to call it a day after only 2 1/2 hours, as I wanted some silence, too much talking at the table between the regs. I am pretty good about blocking out the distractions/talk, but after a few hours I just need a break from it. From just a week of live play I can discern that some regs talk with the hopes of throwing people off their game. If I allow my focus and concentration to lapse I can easily lose the unifying thread of the table, which could then lead to mistakes and blunders.

Last session a nice guy from Sweden was talking to me quite a bit, and he did not have the sense to let up when I was in hands. I could feel myself losing control of the game and ended up folding hands I normally would play because I was feeling lost due to his constant talking. I am pretty sure he wasn't doing it as an angle shot, but it taught me the importance of 100% focus upon the game, not allowing conversation to pull me out of that sweet spot of centered intensity and focus.

Some players complain about being bored if nobody is talking. I realize that there is a tug of war going on between the talkers and the silent types, but if I know someone is going to get bored from silence, and hence lose his focus, I will have no desire to give him comfort - you want conversation, go to a bar and chat it up, I am here to play poker, not to entertain.

After racking up I walked to the Bellagio to collect a sports wager. I decided to play a bit of $1/3 but after 30 minutes I felt like calling it a day. The table had a lot of action and big pots but I had a bad feeling that I was going to get coolered, so before that train crossed the intersection I left the Bellagio and went walking through a desert rain storm.

During the walk I passed a water spillway that a couple of homeless people had been using for shelter. Today it was a swift moving deluge and all that was left of their camp was an empty shopping cart which they had secured to a fence.

When I was eating lunch at Silver Sevens the thought occurred to me that single poker hands and sessions are but a foot step in a very long race. To allow the result of any of these steps to upset the equilibrium of my mind and emotions will eventually lead to negative consequences. It is best to not get too high with a winning session, nor to get too low from a losing one, remembering that tomorrow I will be coming back for more battles and fun, refreshed and ready to fight.

Venetian 1/2 session - 2 1/2 hours - bought in for $200, cashed out $419

Bellagio 1/3 Session - 30 minutes - bought in for $300, cashed out $323
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Old 09-09-2014, 08:49 PM   #23
Nausea in Venice
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Posts: 28
Re: Losing it

September 9, 2014

Got up later than expected so decided to play poker in the morning and then exercise/run in the afternoon. The weather the past 2 days has been cooler, making the walk to the Venetian easier.

Took a seat at a table that had only 2 regs, and a guy from Michigan playing loose. Was down $100 early then chipped back up when I raised from ep with J 9 spades. Flop comes two jacks and a queen. Rivered a nine and won a $200 pot when opponent with AQ called me down.

Continued to chip up courtesy of Michigan guy who was raising/calling with any two cards.

In BB with 5 7os and call a $7 bet from reg when flop brings a 5. Turn is another 5 and I lead out for $20. Reg makes it $60 and he knows I am holding a 5 so that means he has a boat? Seems unlikely, but his bet indicates it so I fold, showing him the 5. He shows me 99 for a flopped set and a turned full house. He tells me "you are the only person at this table who could fold a 5 there."

I played for 4 hours and called it a day, looking forward to the afternoon run. On the walk home I stopped at Harbor Island Apartments and inquired about rates. Holiday Royale is decent enough for me but it is too expensive for what they offer. Discovered Harbor Island is cheaper, so may be moving there at the end of the week. I remember reading about a double homicide there last year, but the place looks nice enough (I pass through it everyday on my walk to the Venetian) and it is closer to the Strip. I would still have an easy route to UNLV track, just some added distance.

The Venetian is having a Deep Stack tourney series starting in a couple of days. I have been wanting to play in some tournaments but right now I have to build my bankroll in the cash games before I can play tournaments comfortably. I plan to use my Grazie card comps to buy into a tournament. I already have $60 accumulated so it won't be long before I can participate in one of the Venetian tourneys.

Ventian 1/2 session, 4 hours. Bought in for $200. Cashed out $290

Won $20 wager on Giants/Lions over 46.5 - $38.19

Sports betting record this week was 5 wins 1 loss for $358 profit
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Old 09-10-2014, 06:53 PM   #24
Nausea in Venice
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Posts: 28
Re: Losing it

September 10, 2014

Up and down session at Venetian today. Arrived 8:00 am and had to wait 40 minutes for a new table to start. Began playing in a 5 handed game and gave a wicked beat to guy 2 seats to my right. He raised to 8, I reraised with AQ suited on the button to 20. He calls and flop comes QJ7. He bets 15, I raise to 40, and he pushes all in. Good chance AQ is not good here but the guy had been playing loose and he might be betting a draw, so I call and he has AA. I get ready to rebuy when a Q spikes on the turn, and I quickly double my stack even though I don't deserve it.

Later in the session karma made a visit and I lost half of my stack when I flopped a set of 2's and opponent had flopped a set of J's. No complaints, justice was served with cold efficiency.

Venetian 1/2 session - 5 hours. Bought in for $200, cashed out $215
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Old 09-11-2014, 10:24 PM   #25
Nausea in Venice
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Posts: 28
Re: Losing it

September 11, 2014

Lost two buyins today at the Venetian. Not much going my way, lost with AA and my QQ ran into AA. On to the next session....

Ventian 1/2 session - 3 hours - bought in for $400, cashed 0
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