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Old 09-11-2008, 03:31 PM   #1
Proofrock
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The Well: Proofrock

Quote:
A stranger is being shown around a village that he has just become part of. He is shown a well, and his guide says, "On any day except Thursday, you can shout any question down that well, and you'll be told the answer." The man seems pretty impressed, and so he shouts down: "Why not on Thursday?" The voice from in the well shouts back: "Because, on Thursday, its your day in the well."
Fire away.
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Old 09-11-2008, 03:37 PM   #2
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Re: The Well: Proofrock

Who's the guy in the avatar?
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Old 09-11-2008, 03:40 PM   #3
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Re: The Well: Proofrock

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Who's the guy in the avatar?
T.S. Eliot, Nobel-prize winning poet. he's the author of my favorite poem, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.
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Old 09-11-2008, 03:45 PM   #4
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Re: The Well: Proofrock

poker story

which limits do you play?

screenname?

favorite alcoholic drink?

favorite non alcoholic drink?
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Old 09-11-2008, 03:48 PM   #5
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Re: The Well: Proofrock

are you planning on playing in wsop 09?

if yes, how do you plan to travel to vegas?

what was your BA?

why are you going to grad skool?
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Old 09-11-2008, 03:53 PM   #6
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Re: The Well: Proofrock

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Originally Posted by vitti View Post
poker story
Will post in a second. Will definitely be tl;dr because I ramble a lot.

Quote:
which limits do you play?
Mostly $2/4 FR NLHE. I also play $1/2NL (full ring and 6-max), $3/6 and $5/10 full ring, but $2/4 is the game I most commonly play.

I'm also dabbling in PLO (I'm a total donk), heads up nl ($0.5/1 and $1/2), O/8, limit hold'em and razz, but I wouldn't say I'm particularly strong in any of those games.

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screenname?
I go by Proofrock on Stars, Prufrockstar on Tilt. I used to go by Prufrockstar on UB as well but I've stopped playing there.

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favorite alcoholic drink?
Don't drink.

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favorite non alcoholic drink?
Reed's Spice Cider Brew.
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Old 09-11-2008, 03:54 PM   #7
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Re: The Well: Proofrock

Obama or McCain?

What state (geographically speaking) do you live in?

Do you do drugs?

Blonde or Brunette (Redhead doesn't count)?
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Old 09-11-2008, 03:57 PM   #8
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Re: My poker story

My way tl;dr poker story. Honestly, it's not that interesting and you can probably skip to the cliffs notes at the end without missing much. Anyway, here goes:


As far as I can recall had a fascination (read: obsession) with games, but I preferred strategy games like chess or go to those where random chance played any part. Add to that a natural aversion to gambling and poker held no appeal for me … until grad school.

I went to Cornell in Fall 2003 to get a Ph.D. in physics. When there was no chess scene to be found I decided to accept an invitation to a weekly $10 buy-in, $0.05/$.10 no-limit hold’em game that a bunch of other grad students played. I’d never played a poker variation with community cards and this changed my whole view of poker, from a game full of reading people and gut feelings to one requiring considerable logic and strategy. Unfortunately I was also a total fish – your perfect fish who would call preflop, call on the flop and turn and then always fold to a sizeable river bet. The only time I remember being ahead when I got all-in was when my Q 6 rivered a flush vs. somebody’s nines full and as I started raking the chips they had to explain to me that a full house was better than a flush. "Seriously? But a flush is all one suit and a full house is just 3-of-a-kind and two-pair. A flush beats both of those!"

So four weeks and $100 later I made an investment in Super System which transformed my game overnight. “What, you mean you should fold a lot preflop? You should play aggressively when you do enter a pot?” Within a month I had won back all of my losses and was hooked on the game. The Cornell poker club sponsored a $40 buy-in tournament shortly after I started winning, and having recently discovered how much better at poker I was than anybody else I entered. I dominated the field making expert plays like calling off my stack with TPWK on the turn and hitting the river, or 3-betting 55 UTG+1 only to flop a set and stack QQ. Unfortunately, it just wasn’t my tournament to win, because I got into this sick cooler 3-handed: I had Qs4s and checked my big blind. The flop was KKQ. SB bet ˝ pot, so I minraised him obviously. He minraised back, so I min-4bet and he called. The turn was a blank, and he check/called a 1/5th pot bet. The river was another blank and I shoved 1/6th pot only to have the fish look me up with Q8. Even though I only took third in the tournament, the $600 gave me the bankroll I needed to get started.

For the next year I played in home games, $5-$20 buy-in tournaments or cash games, and I did okay. I made my first deposit online into Empire poker in December 2004. I deposited $50 and lost it all within 2 hours playing $25 NL. So I deposited another $50 and using a revolutionary style of “raising only AA/KK, limping everything else and stacking people when I flopped TPTK+” I ran that up to $1400, moving quickly from $25 NL - $200 NL as soon as I had 2 buy-ins for a give level (aggressive BR management ftw).

It was always a struggle between playing poker and going to school. Routinely I would play online, spend too much time playing and then withdraw everything to focus on class, then deposit again a few months later. I wouldn’t say I have an addiction to gambling – I don’t even like gambling to be honest – but I do get hooked on games and need to force myself not to play them sometimes. Even as I’m writing this it’s taking extra effort not to fire up Mario Kart …
Anyway, Cornell Fiji started up a $0.5/$1 uncapped game where I met some other good poker players and was first introduced to 2p2. I had mixed results there and at Turning Stone (I remember calling a friend feeling sick to my stomach after I lost $300 playing $1/2 $100 max buy-in NL, losing on some coolers / suckouts and wondering “how could I ever let this happen? That’s SO MUCH MONEY TO LOSE PLAYING A STUPID GAME.”). As far as I can tell throughout that time I was a marginal winner, both live and online, but too loose/passive preflop and a little clueless post. Twoplustwo obviously helped improve my game a ton, despite giving me a case of MUBS for the first two months I lurked.

Dear Lord I ramble a lot – is anybody still reading?

Grad school was sucking my soul. I had gone to undergrad for physics because I had a scholarship and I was good at it. I continued to grad school mostly because I had a physics degree and was good at it (although I briefly flirted with the idea of staying at the University of Iowa and studying the Hebrew Bible with one of my religion profs, which is probably sort of funny given that I know next to nothing about Judaism), not to mention I got into a good school. However, in grad school if you’re not passionate about the subject or motivated enough to really want to do research into a certain field, you will be miserable. I was miserable, but in a dull, slowly losing any passion for life kind of way, not an acute, “I need to get out of this now” kind of way.

I eventually realized I needed to force myself to do something else, so in 2006 I took a teaching position at the Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar (for those of you who don’t know, Qatar is a tiny country in the Middle East bordering Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf). Before I left I decided I should leave graduate school with something, so I deleted all of my poker and game software from my computer, blocked my access to 2p2, and spent 2 months solidly working on a meaningless particle physics masters thesis. To be honest, I did good work during that time – even if the project was worthless and nobody will ever find it remotely interesting (including myself and my advisor) it’s certainly worth something to start over from scratch and in two months redo the last two years of research, write and defend a masters thesis in experimental particle physics. It’s something I hope never to do again.

Before leaving for Qatar in August 2006 I deposited $500 on Stars, intending that to be my entertainment/poker money for when I’d be living overseas. Starting with 6-max $50NL and $20 SNGs I took a shot at $100nl when my roll got to $1k. I moved over to playing 6-max cash games on UB and took a shot at $200nl when my roll got to $2k. I ran good and by mid-October 200nl was my home. I decided to invest a few hundred in winning my way into the 2007 PCA, which I did basically on my first shot ($80 sat -> $650 sat, won on my first try). By the time that tournament came around I was playing 6-max $400nl and $600nl games with a comfortable 15 buy-in bankroll, believing I was a better player than I actually was (a recurring theme).

I had run exceedingly hot to get to where I was. I was playing an insane 12k hands per month on as many as 4 tables at the same time! In that time I had never lost more than 1-2 buy-ins in a session. In February I was completely blind-sided by dropping about $3k one afternoon 4-tabling $400nl. Keep in mind that my salary as a TA at that point was about $2,000 / month and it was absolutely devastating to me mentally that I could lose so much in an afternoon. I felt sick for a week, and my inner-nit immediately took over as I dropped back to $1/2, ego bruised and fearless spirit cowed.

Part of the reason I had gone to Qatar was to escape relationships and force myself to be single, since I’d been dating people more or less constantly for the last 10 of my life. A Muslim country with a 2 to 1 male to female ratio seemed like the perfect place for that. So, obviously I feel in love immediately with another TA and followed her back to the States for her first year of medical school.

Living in a small town in northern Idaho, I took the opportunity to play poker professionally for a year. I used the cash from a WSOP seat I had won on Stars to provide a bankroll cushion for my new profession and split my time between grinding $1/2 and playing MTTs. The light 3-betting in the 6-max games was frustrating me, I wasn’t adapting well, and didn’t like the extra variance that came with it now that I was depending on the income, so I made the move back over to full-ring. I mostly 6-tabled winning at a marginal rate of about 3 PTBB/100.

In the Fall of 2007 I decided I wanted to win a trip to Australia so I started playing satellites to the Aussie Millions on FTP. The PCA and WSOP seats had been easy to win (first attempt for both) so I was shocked when I couldn’t win a seat. I had two near misses, and the second one was by far the most important near miss of my career.

We were 4-handed, with top place getting a seat, second was $6k, 3rd $2k and 4th $1k. I’m on the Button with 99. The CO raised. My stack was too big for me to want to shove, too small for me to want to call, and the other players were pretty active so I just folded. Immediately after I folded I realized my game was in need of serious help. I had become way too nitty. I was playing on nitty autopilot in the cash games, nitty autopilot in the tournaments, and the fact that I’d been losing / breaking even just made my play worse. I took second in the above tournament and used some of the winnings to buy a Cardrunners membership.

It took me about 4-videos (Jman’s, one of aba’s, and the first two cts videos) to completely revolutionize my game. It was the same effect reading super system had on me when I first got started. I realized that my preflop game needed some tweaking that made a major impact on the kinds of spots I got into postflop. This in itself was good, but more important was the following: in every hand they played they were putting the other players on ranges and playing accordingly. I know it’s so obviously simple to anybody who even glances at these boards, but while auto-piloting the months I had basically be defaulting to first level “what are my cards” thinking and only occasionally making stands. After watching these videos I started thinking in terms of “I think Villain has a hand like {insert range here}. If I raise I expect them to fold {x hands}, call with {y hands}, and reraise {z hands}. I’m going to CB, fold to a raise and if I get called I’ll second barrel any ace, J or spade turn …” or “I think he has a better hand but will almost always fold if I raise here.” FWIW, I was always okay at postflop play, but everything just kind of clicked together in November after watching those cardrunners videos. I started making more plays based on what I thought my opponents had instead of just based on what cards I held. That’s not to say I get out of line a lot – I don’t really get out of line much, but just enough to add a boost to my winrate and make it (hopefully) harder to play against. Now I play anywhere from $1/2 - $5/10, mostly at $2/4 (although I’ve been playing a lot of $1/2 the last couple weeks).

This Summer I played a few live tournaments, cashing in the LAPT Costa Rica event (lost a crucial coinflip with 32 left, just in the money) and playing in my first WSOP Main Event – overall I think I played well but busted halfway through day 2. I like playing tournaments on occasion, but more often than not they just frustrate me when I play only tournaments.

Last month I got married, moved to Seattle, and enrolled in a graduate applied math program. It was fun being a professional gambler for a year, but it’s not really what I want from my life. I’ve never been particularly motivated by money, which is probably more of a detriment than a positive in the poker world. I still don’t know what I want to do with my life, but I can say playing poker as a profession isn’t it. I don’t plan to quit playing, but as soon as the school year starts up I’m going to be focused on teaching physics and studying math first, and playing poker will revert to a lucrative hobby.

I started playing poker because I love games and I wanted to see how other people played when there was something meaningful on the line – if you lose a game of chess it’s no big deal, but if you make a mistake in a poker hand it can cost you something real. I loved the challenge of trying to figure out what other people had, trying to out-think or out-play them, in a situation where I expected they would be as serious about it as I was. It turns out a lot of people aren’t, which is great for making money because it makes the games more profitable but makes the game less alluring to me now than it was then. 9-tabling a game you’re pretty familiar with, exploiting the bad players and trading punches with the good players becomes pretty repetitive (as does anything I suppose). Since I’ve been relying on the income it’s been harder to really take pleasure in playing poker the way I used to.

I’m actually already enjoying poker more now that I’m officially retired. I’m taking the opportunity to learn Stud and Omaha games, which I never really did seriously last year because it was so much more profitable for me to 9-table $2/4nl. PLO is extremely frustrating and stud/8 is confusing and complicated, meaning they’ll probably be my games of choice in the coming months until I figure out how to win at those games.


Cliffs notes:

I started playing poker in physics grad school. I sucked, bought Super System, got better, built a roll playing small live games and exercising poor bankroll management online. Two years ago I got a masters degree and then moved to the Middle East to teach physics, which is where I really started to get serious about poker. I moved from $50nl - $600nl, then back to $200nl for 10 months once I realized I wasn’t as good as I thought I was. I moved back to the U.S. and went pro in August 2007, playing full ring nl cash games and MTTs. I never put in serious volume but enough to live comfortably. November 2007 I realized I was playing bad, got a cardrunners membership and everything suddenly clicked. I still think I’m a better player than I am, but I know I’m better than I was. I just got married, moved to Seattle, and will be going back to grad school in applied math starting this month while my wife goes to medical school. I officially retired from professional poker playing at the beginning of this month and am enjoying playing as much poker as I want to without the burden of having to.
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Old 09-11-2008, 04:01 PM   #9
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Re: The Well: Proofrock

will read the tl;dr post in a sec

what do you think of me - and of my play?
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Old 09-11-2008, 04:01 PM   #10
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Re: The Well: Proofrock

How many tables do u play at once? Do you like Stars or Tilt better and why?
What is your goal in life?
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Old 09-11-2008, 04:04 PM   #11
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Re: The Well: Proofrock

Quote:
Originally Posted by BT2 View Post
are you planning on playing in wsop 09?
We'll see. It's quite possible, especially if people would be willing to back me.

Quote:
if yes, how do you plan to travel to vegas?
Probably fly. Possibly drive. I'll make that decision a little closer to the date.

Quote:
what was your BA?
B.S. from the University of Iowa, 2003.
Double major in physics and mathematics.
Minor in religious studies.

M.S. from Cornell University, 2006.
Thesis in experimental particle physics.

Quote:
why are you going to grad skool?
I wish I knew ... mostly so I start doing something else aside from playing poker. I'm interested in teaching college level physics and mathematics, and I really enjoy working on applied mathematics problems. This should give me the opportunity to teach and work on interesting problems, and if not I'll at least be more qualified that I currently am for jobs that would be interesting to me.
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Old 09-11-2008, 04:05 PM   #12
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Re: My poker story

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Originally Posted by Proofrock View Post
I officially retired from professional poker playing at the beginning of this month and am enjoying playing as much poker as I want to without the burden of having to.
booooooooooooo!
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Old 09-11-2008, 04:07 PM   #13
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Re: The Well: Proofrock

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Levy View Post
Obama or McCain?
I don't usually get into politics, but I will say: I have no party affiliation a will vote for whomever's platform I think is best. Typically I lean democratic. In this election I'm far more excited about Obama than McCain.

Quote:
What state (geographically speaking) do you live in?
Just moved to the state of Washington. Last year I lived in Idaho. The year before that I lived in Qatar. The year before that, New York.

Quote:
Do you do drugs?
Nope.

Quote:
Blonde or Brunette (Redhead doesn't count)?
Brunette, with just a few shades of grey starting to make their way in.
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Old 09-11-2008, 04:09 PM   #14
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Re: My poker story

Quote:
Originally Posted by BT2 View Post
booooooooooooo!
I've already put in as many hands this month as I did in all of June-August, so take that FWIW ...
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Old 09-11-2008, 04:09 PM   #15
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Re: The Well: Proofrock

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Originally Posted by Proofrock View Post

Nope.
never?
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Old 09-11-2008, 04:16 PM   #16
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Re: The Well: Proofrock

Quote:
Originally Posted by 321FoldIt View Post
How many tables do u play at once?
Depends. Sometimes 1-2, sometimes 16. I feel best playing between 6-8 tables, though.

Quote:
Do you like Stars or Tilt better and why?
They both have strengths. I love the customer service at Stars, as well as the professionalism they exhibit, their willingness to incorporate player feedback, and what they do for poker as a game (EPT, LAPT, APPT, etc.).

Full Tilt ... I don't like it as much as Stars, but there are a few things I do like about it:
-Rakeback (but the Stars VIP program is basically rakeback anyway),
-Color-coded notes makes table selection tons easier for me.
-Limited datamining is great for table selection as well.

Aside from those points, I'd have no reason to pick Full Tilt over Stars except for occasional tournaments. I used to like the soft games at UB, but too many drawbacks to playing there to justify it.

Quote:
What is your goal in life?
If I knew that I'd probably spend less time on 2p2 ...
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Old 09-11-2008, 04:17 PM   #17
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Re: The Well: Proofrock

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never?
Nope.
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Old 09-11-2008, 04:19 PM   #18
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Re: The Well: Proofrock

Quote:
Originally Posted by vitti View Post
will read the tl;dr post in a sec

what do you think of me - and of my play?
Have we played together that much? PM me your SN and I'll give you my feedback if I have a significant sample with you.
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Old 09-11-2008, 04:21 PM   #19
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Re: The Well: Proofrock

would you die for your wife?
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Old 09-11-2008, 04:22 PM   #20
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Re: The Well: Proofrock

do you like me?
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Old 09-11-2008, 04:22 PM   #21
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Re: The Well: Proofrock

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Originally Posted by Proofrock View Post
Have we played together that much? PM me your SN and I'll give you my feedback if I have a significant sample with you.
hmm HM says it's much less than i thought

cause i remember your name and even the notes a lil bit

screenname: vittinator btw
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Old 09-11-2008, 04:25 PM   #22
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Re: The Well: Proofrock

if given the opportunity, would you become a vampire?
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Old 09-11-2008, 04:36 PM   #23
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Re: The Well: Proofrock

do you watch tv? what are your favorite shows?
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Old 09-11-2008, 04:38 PM   #24
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Re: The Well: Proofrock

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if given the opportunity, would you become a vampire?
this made me lol. DONT GO BACK TO SCHOOL! I went to grad school myself because I didnt know what else to do and I like solving applied math problems. Its now 5 years later and I'm miserable while dragging my feet to finish (ie posting on 2p2).

Anyway, thoughts on what happens if the Higgs doesnt show up in the LHC? Or do you hate physics so much now you dont care
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Old 09-11-2008, 04:39 PM   #25
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Re: The Well: Proofrock

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hmm HM says it's much less than i thought

cause i remember your name and even the notes a lil bit

screenname: vittinator btw
I'm interested in what notes you have on me .

I have to say, I only have something like 400 hands in my db with you and nothing particular stands out. I remember there was one hand where I smooth-called your raise w/AK, I think to keep a bad player in the pot, and then just checked down on a KJ9Qx board where I felt like a total nit . Overall it looks like you're up $16 on me, so way to go!

So yeah, I have nothing much to say about your game -- sorry . Generally, I don't get too involved in battling with TAG regulars like yourself. I do it as much as I need to, but I don't exactly look for spots to get into pots with you because I don't see a ton of value in it.
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