Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Retirement - The end of an era

Today I regretfully have to say that the time has come for me to retire from the world of poker. After months and months of debating I have come to the conclusion that I must give up the game that I love so much. I feel that where I am in life right now I must focus on the other areas where I am needed. This is not a joke or a publicity stunt, this is truly one of the saddest days of my life. At this point I have only told my wife I was going to retire, but I have not told anyone the reasons.

I would be a liar if I didn't say money was a factor. This year I have had one of the worst losing sessions of my life. After just seven months I stopped counting my losses once they hit over a thousand dollars. Every poker player has these bad streaks or times where they go broke and I expect them to come now and then. For those people who don't know me or don't know about my gambling let me explain, this money has always come from extra money I have on the side. I have never dipped into my savings, never borrowed from friends, used credit cards or not paid a bill because I lost the money gambling. I am very responsible with my money management. Go ahead and make your argument about gambling and I will talk to you about it, but today I want to focus on this decision I have struggled with.

Responsibilities is something I cannot afford to take lightly now. I recently just got married and my wife has always supported me playing poker. Since day one she has been by my side and always been my one and only fan. She has never asked me to quit, she's only asked how I was feeling and not to be so hard on myself. In my heart I feel a responsibility to be the financial supporter of our family and to put equal time into being at home. I also have an obligation to other family members that cannot take care of themselves and who's health is not getting better.

I had a dream and a goal and that is why I started this blog. I wanted to be a professional poker player or least make a good living from poker. Ever since I played no limit texas hold'em I have played at the lowest stakes offered in the casinos. I have on occasion took big chances, but many times not successful enough to stay there. I have always struggled to advance my game and move my game to another level. The emotional struggle has always been there, wanting to be something so bad but not been able to get any better. I do not have the time and energy to put into getting better so I have been stuck at the lower level games. Then you reach a point where you think that your dream was just dream and something you can never reach. I had that moment months ago time and time again.

This decision has been one of the hardest I have ever had to make. I had to struggle with balancing my new life at work and home. I also had to decide how much I was going to cut back on poker. Playing poker is normally "frowned upon", like gambling or drinking in today's society. However, it is not illegal and widely accessible to anyone over the legal age limit. It became an addiction of mine. I played all the time and when I wasn't playing it I was watching it or reading about it. I became a ten times better poker "fan" then I was a poker player. I have decided to cut it cold turkey all together. If I tried to just cut back a little I know the "itch" would become too great and take over. After this 2010 World Series of Poker season I will stop playing, blogging, watching, and reading about poker.

In conclusion I would like to say thank you for the supporters and fellow poker players who have been there with me from the beginning. I will now need that same support to help me stay away from the game and focus on the areas and responsibilities of my life that need me now.

Thank you!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Getting Off the Rollercoaster

I'm back from my poker vacation. It started off bad with a hundred dollar loss at Hustler, I don't even remember the details. Then I went to Palm Springs and played at Spa Resort Casino. I played in a $40 no limit tournament. Sixteen people showed up. My first table everyone was playing so quiet and by the book. After not catching any cards the first 2 levels I picked up pocket 7's in the small blind just as the blinds went up. As usual there were a few limpers, so I shoved all -in, with about 15 blinds. The whole table gave me a crazy stare, I even got a "It's too early to be doing that kid". Well the big blind had Pocket Ten's and called. The door card was a seven and I was good. Well close to the end of that round I got 10-9 in the big blind. There was a raise and 2 callers, so I called being chip leader. Well the flop came 10-9-rag with two spades. I checked, initial raiser bet who got raised, the fourth person (didn't have enough to call the second raise) went all-in. I went all-in also and got called by the other 2. My thinking was that I'm chip leader, and it wouldn't destroy me by calling. With me having top pair the chances that I'm against a big set is small. I think I got maybe two over pairs, and maybe A-10. Well a four way pot, and I was ahead against 2 kings, A-k of spades and something I forgot like a weak pair of tens. I help up and busted 3 people in one hand, making the final table come together at 11 people. In this format they guaranteed a $1,000 prize pool and 5 places paid. I was chip leader going into the final table( never thought I say that). Well the money bubble busted in the funniest way I have ever seen. He was the blind and was forced all-in, there was a raise and 2 callers he just mucked and walked out the poker room. After that it wasn't too funny as I got 5th place when I made the mistake of flopping top pair with 6 big blinds left as short handed usually is at these tournaments. I won $65. (Don't think they kept to their $1,000 guarantee)

Then after this tiny win, I was inspired to hit the cash games again at Hustler. It was Thanksgiving day, I put in 2 four hour sessions for a profit of $160, the games were so alive it was strange on a holiday. Then on a trip back to Palm Springs, I dusted off my old limit poker skills and played 3-6 limit. The table was great I was right in the middle of four tourist and four palm springs retirees who you could tell well regulars. I made $120 there in about 2 hours, I had to quit cause I ordered a drink that gave me a bad headache.

So the years grand total ( not a grand like I expected ) comes out to $555 profit. A little over halfway of my goal, but not a disappointing year at all. At my peak I was up over $1400, and my low was about $200. I never was in the negative and I never gave up.

My next post will be about my poker year in general outside of the cash, with my 2009 wrap-up.

Friday, August 14, 2009

The 2009 World Series of Poker

It's been awhile since I updated. It's hard to write stuff when you keep losing, more about that later. I made 2 trips this year to the WSOP. I first went out for the $40K HORSE event and at the same time Champions Invitational. So randomly after watching a movie in L.A. I decided to go to Vegas with my old roomate. We get there at 9 in the morning and head over to the Rio. Doyle Brunson and Mike Carol were having a poker seminar. It was nice had good topics and I got a free book and got to ask Doyle questions. I also got to watch the $40K event final 5 players play. I even got my face on the ESPN broadcast.
My next trip was for the Main Event. I went for 6 days, because my hotel was comped and I could get off work. I got to see the not so great Poker Palooza. I did get a chance to play Jonny Loden thinks with Phil Laak and Antonio Esfandiri. I got to meet last years winner Peter Eastgate. Funny story Eastgate and Raymer had autograph signing right next to each other, no one was in like for Eastgate and Raymer was a 15 minute wait. I also ran into an old friend of mine who was playing in the main event. He made all the way to day 3, and I got to sweat him on the rail each day. Phil Ivey made the November Nine this year!
Now the whole week I was there I only lost $100. This is because of the big session I had at Imperial Palace for $300. Then I got a dumb tip to head over to the Ventitian and play. I way over played A-K while having top set, I lost 200$ to a straight. Then I went back to Imperial Palace and lost $200.
I have not had any winning sessions in a while. I put another $100 into Full Tilt to get a bonus, thats not working so well. I add up my year total to +$350. I know a win is good but I'm not happy at all with the results. I had about a thousand dollar downswing in a few months. My yearly goal was to make $1000. Now with 5 months to go I have to win a lot more. I definitly can contribute some losses to bad playing but I can also say I have got hit with bad luck.
I am not giving up, but I am just taking a break, I got a few other things besides poker that are taking away my concentration. Later.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Randomness

I played at Hustler and lost $110. The table was tuff I went in twice with the best hand every time but lost each time. I played 3-6 limit poker at Morongo, big mistake I know, lost $60. I also put $50 onto Full Tilt Poker, its all but almost gone, I'm going to claim it as a lost right now.

Year total: +775

The California State Poker Championship

I played in the day two of the $220, California State Poker Championship. I sat my first table with 3,000 chips. Two hours into the tournament everyone at my table was just exchanging chips. I had 2,800 when my table finally busted and I was moved to a new table right before the break. At my table was pro Paul Darden. My very first hand at the new table I got K-Q under the gun (UTG). I limped and the first behind me made it 350 total. One caller and then me I called the 250 more. The flop came Q-10-4 I bet $650, and the initial raised enough for me to go all-in. I tanked.

If I fold I will have $1800 and the blinds after the break is 100-200. I was already short stack at the table. All I could think he had was A-Q, or making a move on me before a break. Well I called with a bad feeling. I was right because he called, showing pocket tens. I didn't even make it to the break. 

I lost a 20$ last longer bet with a friend and then I went to the cash games and made $85.

Year total: +995.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Back to the Commerce

At the Commerce again, this time to register for the $220 poker tournament. Today was day 1a and tomorrow is day 1b. I will be playing 2b and it should get a field over 900 players. After i registered I played in the $40 cash game. I just played tight solid poker for a while because I was up just a little bit but mostly won all my money from one big hand. It plays itself pretty simple but its a good story. I had pocket Aces in the big blind. An aggressive middle position player made it $10, I min raised to $20 and we were heads up to the flop. The flop was 7-7-A. I have the second nuts and no way am I folding. I check and he did exactly what I thought. He grabbed a random amount of chips in a stack, it came to be $26. I think for 20 seconds and call. Now this player usually moves in dark after this move when he got a pair or better. He really looked like he was going to but he just bet $20 when the turn came out. I called. The river was usually to me and I can't even tell you what it was. I bet $20 and he just calls which is weird to me cause he had another $20 behind and I could only put him on a 7. Well he shows right away Ace-Jack even tho I am first to act. This is where I decide to be tricky I turn over my hand but my cards are one on top of the other. I show the Ace and then really quickly snap the other Ace out from behind and the whole table goes "Wow". I was actually mad I didn't get all his money on that hand. I cashed out shortly after for a profit of $160.

Year total +1150. 

Wish me luck in the tournament.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

I went down to Commerce Casino with a friend to play in the satellite they have for the upcoming California State Poker Championship. I played one $40 satellite. I got with when I had second pair and open ended straight draw on the turn but ran into Aces and didn't improve. My friend got second in one. After that we moved to the cash games. I played in the $40 game. I lost my first buy-in really fast ( one hand) and then I re-bought. I lost my second buy-in on this hand:

I had 5-6 off suit in the big blind. The button makes it $5 to go. I call and the flop comes 5-J-6, and since there is 3 other players I bet $8 hoping to get someone to raise or since there is no flush draws yet get weaker draws out. The button min raises to $10. I make it $40, leaving myself about $12 behind. The button just calls. Well only having $12 left I can't fold unless a Jack comes out but really I don't think I'll fold. Well the turn is a 5 and I act like Im just going all-in because I'm committed. I get a call and as I am about to turn over my cards the dealer turns over the river and a Queen comes out. YEP, the button had Q-Q!! Later the guy was involved in a hand where he said "Oh, if I called those would have been my chips too a player". I quickly said "All those chips should be mine so don't even start to complain. 

I thought I could outplay the table and bought back in. I was right I outplayed the players, but not the cards. I always got my money in good but was outdrawn again. Down $160 I did what any other poker player would do, I bought into a higher limit game to try and make my money back. I went to the $100 table and worked up to $140 before that game got busted and I was moved to a new table. I chipped away to about $100 again and was dealt Qc-Jc. I call the $3 and some makes it $20, and I call along with 2 others, one person makes it $100 and again 2 caller. I tank for a little bit. If I call the pot is $400 and If I win I would be up for the night. I know my cards are not the best pre-flop for sure. My other opponents didn't re-raise the $100 meaning they don't have a great hand. One player is All-in too so If the two lives stacks battle after the flop it is most likely one will move in on the flop. I think I am against 2 other players and I have a good hand to crack a big pair. I call which I know now is a bad call, but I was tired and desperate. The flop comes Jack high which I like. The 100$ bettor goes all-in the other folds. The turn is a Queen and I like even more. The river is a blank and Im first to act and I show still unsure. The next guy who went all-in after the flop has KK, but the third player has QQ. 

So I lose $260 all thanks to Q-Q. I am going to play the $220 tournament on May 16th. There will be a $200,000 guarantee and a field of about 2,000 players. 

Year total $990.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Every Streak Comes to an End

I knew it would happen, I finally lost. I played at Hustler in the 100$ max game. Got no cards better then 88 or A7 in about 3 hours at one table. I lost 70$ then asked for a table change. I went to the new table and added on $60 for $90 total buy-in and that was gone in about 2 hours. I played bad, but my cards were even worse. I lost $160. I also think that Hustler raised the rake of the game, now it is $4+1  nine handed.

Year Total : +1250