Sunday, August 8, 2010

Christmas in Arizona??

So we're watching the Cowboys/Bengals preseason game, and my wife asks to look up when the Dallas Cowboys are playing Arizona..Good news, they are playing Arizona....IN ARIZONA!! Which is 4 or 5 hr drive from Vegas...But here's the bad news...the GAME IS ON CHRISTMAS DAY!!! Now, for the kicker, my wife still wants us to make the drive to Arizona to watch the Cowboys. On the's doable...1) My wife's kids are with their dad on Christmas, 2) The game falls on a Saturday, which is my day off 3) It's an NFL with my wife's favorite team.

But do we really want to spend Christmas Day in Arizona! It never occurred to me before, but I never gave it serious thought for the simple fact that I don't feel like driving home after the game, and the fact that I have to work on Sunday...Plus, I don't think my 4-year old daughter needs to be in a football stadium surrounded by drunks spewing profanity left and right...Don't get me wrong, someday we would love to see a football game live...

So yes, on the surface checking out the Cowboy/Cardinal game is a great idea, but it would seem weird to spend Christmas Day sitting with a bunch of obnoxious football fans...


Oakland (-114) (Cahill) over Texas (Lewis)

RESULT: Oakland 3, Texas 2

Texas had a 2-0 lead going to the 7th, but the Athletics scored 2 in the 7th and 1 in the 8th for the victory

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Poker and Sports Betting

I'm sitting here on a unusual muggy Saturday night in Las Vegas, thinking about what to blog about....watching the Nationals/Dodgers game (game is tied 2-2 top of 7th). I'm a little under the weather..not sure why. I think I forgot to wash my hands throughly after my shift at work. I always make it a point to wash my hands when I get off work..When you handle chips, cards, and money all get all kinds of germs sticking to your hands..not something you want everyday.

Not much poker playing lately. Last Saturday morning and played 1-2 No Limit at Planet Hollywood. I was at the perfect table. We had two drunks with a ton of chips, spewing their chips to everyone at the table....everyone except It was one of those sessions where if I was in a pot with these drunks they always had the nuts...and bluffing their money to everyone else..I couldn't catch a break...200 bucks later..I was done for the day.

The session was a bit of a wake up call for me. Although I know I'm a very good cash game player, I just don't have the proper bankroll to handle the swings you'll encounter in cash games. So I decided to eat a piece of humble pie and go back to playing limit poker exclusively mixed in tournaments. When I first started played I built my bankroll playing 3-6 through 10-20 Limit poker, and has tremendous success. Even when the "poker boom" was in full force, I was reluctant to move to no limit because I was having success in limit. Circumstances caused me to shift my attention to no limit cash games...The no limit genre was swallowing up all the limit games to the point where all the good limit game dried up. The Mirage 6-12 and the Bellagio 8-16 disappeared replaced by the no limit monster...It sucked, but had to accept the change or be left behind. I actually adjusted well to no limit, and won most of my sessions, but lately the losses have been bigger and psychological part of the game was waning on me...For the first time in the 11 years I've played poker...I lost confidence in my game. I began to ask myself questions...AM I still good? Will I ever beat the game again? Should I give it up?

I think stepping back and reanalyzing the games I'm playing and going back to limit will hopefully give me the confidence back.

In the meantime, I've been having success betting sports...beisbol has been very good to me. Someday, I'd like to bet sports and play poker for a living. It's baby steps I've been taking..It proper money management and looking for the value picks that has been the key to my success. You can't always bet Verlander, Carpenter, and Lincecum because the sports betting marketplace is giving you no value. I've learned to treat sports betting like day make calculated risk based on information you gathered...then watched how it comes's a beautiful thing to a successful sports bettor...

To my friends who don't gamble...I'm not reckless with my kids are taking care of and my bills are paid, but this is something I like to do and I'm good at it...

Till my next blog...follow your dreams....dont let anyone say you can't do something...

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Orleans Friday Night No Limit Tournament

I started playing poker semi-seriously in 2001 when I moved to Vegas. I was still in the Air Force and at the time I was making more money playing than in the Air Force, so poker became more than recreation...I started treating it as a profession. So from 2001-2004, as I was still in the Air Force, I was also a semi professional poker player.

Before the poker boom which sprung up poker rooms all over Vegas, The Orleans Friday Night No Limit tournament and The Mirage Tuesday Night No Limit were the signature events in the city. It wasn't unusual to see the same people play every week. Some of them have gone to play bigger tournaments and even win WSOP bracelets (Scott Fischman, being a prime example)

As for me, I played those tournaments nearly every week, and did very well...I've won the Orleans Friday night 3 times and the Mirage twice, with my biggest score being over 5K at the Mirage. I've also had numerous cashes.

I gained a lot of respect from the local poker pros and even had some of them want to stake me, but at the time I turned all request down. At the time, I didn't believe in staking. I figured if I can't make it on my own, I shouldn't be playing poker. Plus, I didn't want to share the prize pool if I did make a cash. Basically, I was working for me and only me!!

Fast forward 6 years later, after getting into a relationship and having a daughter, my poker playing diminished. I would occasionally play tournaments but not at the volume I did earlier in my career. But now, I'm started to get back into it, cause I've come to realize...this is why you got out of the Air Force...

So I feel I'm slowly back and last night, I went to play the Orleans Friday Night Tournament and got back into the groove. My strength in tournament poker is I know how to accumulate chips, my aggression, and I know how to play position. I was able to steal and take a lot of pots by simply betting in position. My biggest weakness in tournament is my aggression sometimes gets me in to trouble, because I sometimes use my aggression at the wrong times -- called meltdowns! LAst night, I had one of those meltdown when I made a bad call for all my chips in a situation where I knew better.

Even with my bad call in the end, I felt it was the only mistake i made...I think if I start playing that tournament more often, I will get the results I had six years ago...I need too....

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Vacation done!

After a great vacation, it's back to the grind. During my time in San Diego, I did alot of thinking and I need to take the bulls by the horns and take chances...not just in poker, but life in general. It's time to step up my game in all facets of my life..

This journal will be the roadmap to my journey....

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Pursuit to $10,000 (6 Jun 2010)

Played 4 sessions of 1-2 NL and it was one of those weeks where I know I played well, but I was cold decked so badly that ended up being a losing week. In two keys hands I lost my entire buy in.

Hand 1: Aliante Station..

I only played at Aliante because my wife was playing the bounty tournament, and I was bored sitting in the sports book, so I bought in their 1-2 game. Unlike their sister properties that offer 1-2 NL (Santa Fe, Red Rock, and Green Valley) that I’ve played in which are normally pretty tough, the Aliante NL is actually pretty good game probably cause the game gets a lot of the bounty tournament players chasing their buy ins. The game I was in was typical passive preflop and post flop. The players won’t call big bets unless they have the nuts, but are willing to chase their draws all the way to the river. Because of the passiveness, you can easily manipulate the pot by betting small on your draws. If they have a hand, they’ll tell you right away, but at the same time, they fold if they hit nothing…even a small bet like 5 or 10 bucks.

So I raise in first position with Pocket 10 to 7 bucks. I have no problem making baby raises out of position…I get called in 4 sports. One with 200 who just rebought and another with over 300. I had 225...Big blind called as well. Flop comes 10 K 4 with two spades. I bet 15...called by two players…Big blind folds..river is 7 hearts, which also puts two hearts on the board….I bet 30...Thi s is the only mistake I think I made…I probably should have bet more, but I never afraid of people out drawing me. I’m willing to bet enough to call trying to maximize the pot….The first races all in…the second players calls….Of course I move all in….second guy calls….River is a 9 looks innocent enough. First guy turns over K7 for two pair..second guy had 86 spades and rivers a STRAIGH’T!!!! BUSTO!!!! Thinking it over later, I think I was destined to lose my entire stack cause I don’t think the 86 spades” player would fold to any bet . NICE HAND, and I head back to the sports book!

HAND 2: Planet Hollywood.

This is hand was just a “COOLER”!!. There’s a straddle…it’s folded to me in the small blind, I have 160 in front and complete with 10 9 offsuit. Big blind completes…We take the flop 3-handed…flop comes Q J 8 with two spades!! BINGO!! FLOPPED THE NUTS! I decided to bet the flop…I bet 10...In coordinated boards like that I bet the flop 85 percent of the time. The only way I check is if the players are extremely aggressive. In this case, neither player were aggressive…..The straddler is the only caller….River is a 6 hearts. I bet 20...Staddler raises to 60. With only 130 behind, I was sure he had two pair and was 100 percent sure he would call an all in…so I go all in…he instant calls…I show my straight…Straddler has Pocket 8’s for a flopped set!!..I play for the board not to pairs….6 on the river..board pairs…BUSTO AGAIN!! CHIPS!!!!!

In those two hands I lost 400 bucks, and although I had a great session at Rio (doubling my buy in) and Planet Hollywood (Pre Cooler hand)…I ended up a net loss..Overall I was happy with my play, but sometimes the deck goes extremely cold, but when you get knocked down, you have to dust yourself fall and go at it again. I’m looking to play cash games at least twice this week. Hopefully. I won’t be cold decked…I have to play my game and the money will come

PURSUIT TO $10,000: +$99

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Renewing my Pursuit to $10,000

At the beginning of the year, I decided on an ambitious journey to make $10,000 playing poker in one year. Now, you may be saying that $10,000 isn’t much especially since I live in Las Vegas and the abundance of poker games are at my disposal 24 hrs/7days a week. But you have to take into account that I have a job and family I’m responsible for…These obligations take up a lot of my free time, so finding time to play poker is tough…
The first two months, I was trying to play poker..mainly online with the occasional trip to the casino and I was doing well, but I began to lag again. The last part of Feburary I didn’t play any poker….just couldn’t find the time either to play live or online.

Then in March, I started the P90x program (Home Fitness Program), which I became consumed with…Working out 6 times a week, I became obsessed with fitness, nutrition, losing weight, and all that good stuff associated with health that poker too a bad seat…Didn’t read a poker book, Didn’t read the poker forums, didn’t do anything poker.

Then a funny thing happened, my wife played a Ceasars Palace Ladies Event and finished 6th!!! She over a $1,000, and it made me think…I can play this game. I needed to get the passion of poker that my wife had.

There’s another reason why I’ve decided to renew this journey to $10,000! I’ve been boggled in my life..doing the same thing over and over, day after day..I needed something to pursue….something to accomplish…I needed a goal!! I don’t think its about winning $10,000, it’s about the journey. I want to see if I can do it! I want to see if I can see something through…I’ve done it with P90x, now it’s time to do with my passion….poker!

So in the coming weeks, you’ll be my passenger to my journey. I’ll tell you the highs and lows, the wins and the losts, and emotions of it all!!

So here we go….I started this journey playing cash games the past two weeks and I’m up $343! Hopefully…I’ll get to $10,000 sooner than later.

Monday, February 1, 2010

My Pursuit to $10,000 (Days 21-31 --Nothing but Sit and Gos and donking off at Aliante

Days 21-31 (Sit and Gos, then Donking off to the Locals)

Had a remarkable run in the Sit and Gos…cashing in 10 of the 14 I played, which included 5 consecutive cashes. I’m playing very well. On the other side of the ledger, I lost 130 dollars playing 2-4 Limit at Aliante Station. It’s so funny. I actually went to watch a basketball game, I peeked at the poker room and saw an open seat…and unfortunately I took. I played so fucking bad…I was playing too many hands and playing them badly. I guess when you get your aces cracked twice, you tend to play worst..Oh well..

Didn’t play any poker from last Wednesday till Sunday as I attended my mother’s retirement party. So this week, I’ll be trying to catch up. Hopefully, my good fortune will continue.

After One month, I’m up about $100 during this pursuit. I’m not discouraged or lost confidence…I’ve been playing very low stakes…I see this as a marathon, not a sprint. If I just cut off donking money off, I’ll get on track. I’m still extremely confident I’ll hit my $10,000 goal.


Live Tournaments -- $-175
Live Cash Games -- $137
Online Cash Games --$-14.55
Online Sit and Gos -- $157.50
Online Tournaments -- $-13.20

Thursday, January 21, 2010

My Pursuit to $10,000 (Days 19-21 --Nothing but Sit and Gos and one tournament)

My Pursuit to $10,000 (Days 19-21 --Nothing but Sit and Gos and one tournament)

Days 19-21 (Sit and Go Madness)

In the past 3 days, I played 14 Sit and Gos and cashed in 7 of them (which includes 2 wins). I’ve also had 3 tournaments where I finished 4th, just out of the money….I’ve busted playing very aggressively, so I’m happy with my overall performance. During this time, I’ve grinded out a profit, but it should have been more, but I’ve ran into some bad luck which is expected in these type of tournaments. Two in particular stand out…with 4 players left, the chip leader and I played a huge pot where I had Queens and he had Aces, and busted. The other one I had JJ and got in preflop against a loose-aggressive (extremely player) who had 65 suited and hit runner runner 5’s on turn and river to bust me….geez!! Oh well….

I played one multi-table tournament..a $2.20 with one rebuy/one add on..this tournament attracts of loose play….you can pretty much figure out your opponents hand ranges at this level by their bet size…they don’t understand the bet size vs. stack size ratio. They’ll either bet too much or not enough and you can pretty narrow what they have by watching this. I was able to build my stack with over 50K, but some unnecessary risks and ill-timed bets/raises were my doomed, and I busted out 8 out of the money…Oh well..Despite coming close to cashing I don’t regret how I played that tournament…Some nights it’s like that.

I’m heading for Georgia next week to visit my mom, who’s having a retirement party. Until then, I’ll probably play mainly Sit and Gos..I may slip in a couple of cash games sessions (Omaha Hi Lo)


Live Tournaments -- $-175
Live Cash Games -- $267
Online Cash Games --$-14.55
Online Sit and Gos -- $66.70
Online Tournaments -- $-13.20

TOTAL: $130.95

Saturday, January 16, 2010

My Pursuit to $10,000 (Days 12-15)

Day 12 (Nothing But Sit and Gos -- SNGs)

Played 4 Sit and Gos and won 2 of them.

For those who don’t know, Sit and Gos (or SNG) are in the broadest terms are tournaments that starts when they get a certain amount of people who want to play..they can be 2 or 3 table tournaments…180 players….etc. But generally SNGs are 1 table tournaments. The general strategy is to play tight early and become more aggressive as the blinds and antes increase. If you read the bios of the online professional poker players, many of them got their start playing Sit and Gos…It’s a cheap and easy way to build your bankroll when you have a limited budget. If played right, these SNGs are very profitable. For me, I love SNGs…whenever my bankroll starts to deplete, I just play a SNGs and I’m able to build my bankroll.

Day 14 (Horrible Cash Game Session)

One the biggest Mistakes a poker player can do is to play when you are not mentally prepared. You should be able to sit at a poker table at the beginning of a session, and be sharp at all times, because one mistake could cost you a lot of money…and on this partically day…I didn’t play my best…wasn’t mentally prepared, and it cost me dearly.

Our work was conducting a training class…I got off at 6PM and my class started at 8PM…so how to kill poker of course…and I broke one of my cardinal rules…DON’T PLAY RIGHT AFTER WORK!!! I’ve been dealing all day and I lost a lot of my patience…I was playing too many hands and calling off my money WAY TOO MUCH!! The mortal sin in No Limit Cash Games is CALLING OFF YOUR MONEY!!! I pride myself to always play at an optimal level every time I sit at a poker table, but that night..I was the biggest donkey! It was sad…By the time 8PM rolled around I had lost $173 without batting an eye…

Lesson Learned (Hopefully) -- going to get myself mentally prepared before I play poker..

Day 15 (SNGs and Multi-Table tournaments)

Played 2 Sit and Gos -- Won 1. I’m also playing a multi-table’s a $2.20 (1 rebuy and 1 Addon)…Didn’t do to well in the multi-table tournament….Really couldn’t get anything going. Got my stack up to 18,000, but made a bonehead play and couldn’t recover…oh well..there’s always the next one.


Live Tournaments -- $-175
Live Cash Games -- $267
Online Cash Games --$-23.65
Online Sit and Gos -- $37.70
Online Tournaments -- $-6.60

TOTAL: $99.45

Saturday, January 9, 2010

My Pursuit to $10,000 (Days 7-9)


Played 6 hrs online cash game .10/.25 NL. It was by the far the longest session I’ve played in a long time. There are two things I noticed about playing these micro limit cash games. First, the games are extremely tight. You’d figure with the limits this low, the play would be looser, but it’s a total opposite. That doesn’t mean the game is tough to beat….you just have to be willing to take small profits until you catch that one big hand, which brings me to the second thing I noticed…The second thing I notice is players bluff too much. Generally, you don’t need to bluff that much in cash games to consistently beat it. In my opinion beating the No Limit Cash games is about getting maximum value for your hands based the range of hands you put your opponent on.
My Session started very badly. I was down a ton at first. I started playing too many hands and making unnecessary plays trying to get my money back. Finally, I went back to the fundamentals and was able to cut my losses.
One thing I found very annoying at these levels are players who buy in for the bare minimum of 5 bucks and waiting for the hand to double up, once they do..they leave the gets very frustrating cause this throw you off. It becomes showdown poker…post flop play becomes obsolete against these players….Some moron will go all in you think it’s only 5 bucks, and I’ll call with a marginal hand. Gotta start thinking in terms of stack to Blind ratio when I make calls instead of the monetary value. It’s a leak in my game I fixed by playing games where there is a 50 Big Blind minimum…where you can play post flop poker.
So I ended the night down $29 which is a lot in a .10/.25 game, but it could have been worst

HAND OF THE DAY -- Jan 7th

Blinds are .10/.25

Folded around to the Hijack position ($25) who raises to $ player ($35) reraises to $3. I’m in the small blind ($44) with pocket 7’s.

Normally I would fold this hand, but this situation is different. The reraise is indicative of a very strong hand. I’m sitting with a Mid pocket pair with two players in the pot with a significant amount of money in front of them. If I’m able to flop a set, I have the potential to win a big pot, and my hand will be very disguised cause if a seven shows up on the flop, they’ll never think I’m calling a raise and a re-raise with a seven in my hand. All these factors told me the risk vs. reward leans to my favor…so I call the 3 dollar raise. To my surprise the initial raise folds, so it’s me against the re-raiser to the flop.

The flop comes 3, 7, 4.…BINGO I flop top set on a very dry board. So the question is the best way to play hand to get maximum value. I could lead out, hoping I get raised. Generally speaking when I flop a set, I like to lead, but only if there are multiple players in the pot cause I’m one of them will give me action. In this case it’s just me against one guy…if I has AK or AQ….he might fold, then I wouldn’t get that value for my hand. What about checking? Since the re-raiser show strength he’s probably gonna bet into most flops and since a 7-High Board looks harmless, he’ll probably bet. After looking at all factors, I decided checking is the best option.

The re-raise bets $4.50 into a $7.25 pot…Now should I call or raise here. This is one is an easy one…Raise!! Now, you may ask why don’t you just call to milk more money out of him? Because a raise here will look like I have a pair of 8’s or 9’s and if he has a big pair, he’ll probably go all in and I’ll be able to get his entire stack!! So I raise the minimum….the re-raisers goes all in, I call..He has Two Kings and I’m able to take his entire stack when the board didn’t help him.

The point is when you flop a big hand, you have to figure out the best possible way to get maximum value for your hands….

DAY 8 and 9

Drove up to Mesquite to play in the annual Eureka Mesquite Poker Open, hosted by Linda Johnson (holder of 1 World Series of Poker Braclet), and Jan Fisher (Noted author and ambassador)
The night before the tournament I decided to play 1-3 NO Limit Cash game. I bought in for $200 and was able to win a couple of big pots to grow my stack to a $600 profit..eventually cashing out with a $440 profit in 3 hours…Not to shabby. I was able to get most of my money from two hands. When I flopp two pair in the big blind against someone who was overplaying top pair, and my biggest pot when this donkey gave me all his money when I flopped top set with pocket Kings. The game was juicy because we had 3 morons in our tables raising every pot to $25 and playing dark (not looking at their hands) to the river. All you had to do was wait for a hand and pounce on these idiots. Like I’ve said in an earlier blog it usually takes one bad player to make a game….in this game there were 3 of them…and they helped fatten up my wallet!!!


I just won a big hand with two pair, so I was up nearly $200 bucks when these hand came up…Donkey (who’s stuck around $1,000 at this point) raises his customer $25, I’m next to act and I have pocket Kings. I decided to try and isolate him, so I re-raise to $75...folded around to the donkey who instant calls….

The Flop comes K, 9, J with two diamonds….BINGO!!! TOP SET!!!

Donkey Checks. I decided to go all in! You may ask again why don’t you milk this moron for more money. Since this donkey called my initial raise, I put him on a pair. My hope is it would be a pair of 9’s or Jacks, therefore he would double me up! In addition with a flush draw and high-end straight out there, he was going to cal with a range of hands cause his donkey had rebuying a couple times, if he hit any of that board he was going to call to try to get his money back.

He thinks for a second and calls, and says, “Do you have a set?” I nodded and show my set of Kings…he has Ace-King for Top pair, top kicker…OUCH!! And course I win a monster pot!!!!

This is a perfect example determining how to get maximum value from my hand against my opponent’s potential range of hands…CHA CHING!!!!

As for the tournament itself…well, let just say it wasn’t my night. I busted out in the 3rd level when some goes all in with a straight draw against my Pocket Kings and hits their draw…Oh well…it was a very profitable poker weekend in Mesquite..can’t complain at all….


Live Tournaments $-175
Live Cash games: $440
Online Cash games: $-23.65
Online Sit and Gos: $10.30


Wednesday, January 6, 2010

My Pursuit to $10,000 (Day 6)


Played for two hrs...Played Micro No Limit and 1 Sit and go. Was down right away in the cash game as I made a bad call with pocket 9’s with one overcard on the board, but I was able to grind out a nice profit, thanks to a really bad player who paid off my full house. It only makes one bad player to make a good game...Then a bubbled the Sit and go going out with Pocket 9’s..

Stats for Jan 6:

Online Cash games: $13.65
Sit and Go - $3.40


Live Tournaments: $-65
Live Cash Games: 0
Online Cash Games: $6.65
Online Sit and Go’s $10.10

TOTAL: $-48.25

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

My Pursuit to $10,000 (Day 5)

Follow me..why don’t ya....

As the calendar turned from 2009 to 2010, New Years Resolutions are in abundances. Everyone makes them, and for the first few weeks people are trying to lose weight, save money, be a better father (mother), or get a better job…

But the problem with new years resolutions is people dont’ set goals for them. For example: People want to lose weight, but how much?? People want to save money, but how much. People want to be a better parents, but how? People want a better job, but what kind of job?

To me, in order to follow goals, they have to be palpable. You have to see the progress everyday. You have to be able to see if you going towards your ultimate goal or going away from it.

So, I’ve decided to use this blog to try to accomplish my new resolution of making money playing poker...MY PURSUIT TO $10,000!!

Here’s how I’m going to track it. Every time I play poker I’ll track my wins/losses, dividing them by tournaments, cash games, and online and live. Hopefully, this will help me with my pursuit. I’m starting with a very small bankroll, so I’ll try to literally build from the ground up...hopefully, when I’m writting this blog on Dec 31th, I’ll be way over $10,000!!

Wish me luck!!

So here is what I’ve done so far as of 5 Jan 10:

Live tournament: -$65
Live Cash Game: 0
Online cash game -$7
Online Sit and Go:$13.50
Total: -$58.50