Thursday, September 12, 2019

What Would You Do? - Final Part

And now for the big reveal. Thanks for the comments I received. Years ago, I used to post a decent number of hand analysis posts, but I've gotten away from that over the years. so, without any further delay ...

#1
I bought into a $1/$2 NL game with $200. I often buy in for that amount while I am sizing up the table. Most people at the table have apparently been there for some time of have stacks around $500. The table captain is a somewhat large man with an accent that sound Jamaican to me. I had played at the same table with him at for a short time at Bally's in the past 24 hours. He was aggressive and a tad cocky. In the first orbit or two he had raised several times and blown people off hands. My thought was to trap him the first chance I got.

That chance came pretty quickly. I was in early position and looked down at A-Qos. I decided limp in to hide the strength of my hand. The villain, as expected, raised to $15. Everyone else folded, and I called. The flop provided a dry board of rag-Ace-rag. I decided to check. The villain then bet $30 - about a pot-sized bet. What would you do?

I usually am able to not let players get under my skin, but this villain did, for some reason. Something about his cockiness from the earlier time he played at my table and hearing his b.s. again just made me want to stick him good -- either felt him or make him back down. I can't really explain it -- maybe just the old competitive juices flowing from my younger days of playing sports. Looking back, I probably should have just called his $30 flop bet and then maybe looked to check raise all in after he bet after the turn. Instead, I monkey shoved my stack all in after his $30 post-flop bet. He thought for a short time and then called.

The result: I did not automatically reveal my cards after the turn and river. I was hoping to see the villain turn over something like A-J or A-10 since he did not insta-call my monkey shove. The villain then turned over his cards -- A-K! Crap - I know this guy had been betting with weak hands before. Of course, when he actually picks up a hand ... Ahhh, you know how that is. Having been felted by THAT guy, I just decided to pick up and leave and head toward Bally's.

#2
The two villains that are important to this hand are on the button and in early position. They each had stacks bigger than mine - maybe $400-$500.I was in late position with my customary $200 initial buy in. I lost a hand in my first orbit when I looked down to see the The Dreaded Pocket Kings! I raised to $15 and got two callers. The flop brought, of course, u see, an Ace. I placed a continuation bet . One player folded. The other called. I ended up losing about $40 to a villain who had A-J. Unfortunate. A few hands later, I was dealt A-Qos. The guy who beat me with A-J earlier raised to $15. I called. The button also called. Approximately $47 in the pot.The flop was rag-Q-rag with two spades. I either had one or no spades. I bet $25 and was called by the button. The guy who earlier had A-J raised to $60. What would you do?

In this hand, I felt like I was trapped. I had $135 left and the pot was already $157. I was feeling pretty confident that I was ahead of the initial raiser who had  re-raised me after my flop bet. I had no idea what the button might have had. If either had a spade draw, I wasn't going to play the hand like a wuss and have to make a decision after the turn in case a spade came. I wish I had isolated one player and didn't like it that there were two players in the hand. Using this information and then factoring in that this was likely my last poker session of the trip (and I was up for the trip, u see), I once again decided to monkey shove my remaining stack -- $135. The button thought for a short time and called. The player in early position waited a few seconds and announced that he was all in. The button tanked for a few minutes and then called.

The result: Neither player immediately turned over his cards. The turn paired the board, meaning that I had Queens Up with the top kicker. I was feeling pretty good until the river brought the third spade. At that point, I thought one of the two completed the flush. Surprisingly, neither did. However, my hopes of winning the hand were shattered when the button turned over his hand: A-A! The initial raiser mucked his cards so we have no idea what he had. I had put him on Queen-King earlier. I guess it is possible that he had K-K. I do not believe that he was bluffing or semi-bluffing. The button had him covered, so he immediately left the table. I, on the other hand, stayed a few minutes to watch the player  on the button stack his chips. He won a nice pot of around $1,150. I stayed at PH to give a Kitty Glitter  slot machine one last try, then headed back to the Orleans to get a little sleep before my morning flight home.

Thanks to all who read this and a special thanks to those who also commented on the blog or on Twitter.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

What Would You Do? - Part II


Thanks to everyone who responded to my question in the blog comments and those who responded on Twitter (Iron Mike Sharpe, Jim Hathaway and Jason Simon) to my tweet announcing the post

On my five night trip to Las Vegas, I played many hands of poker. So many, in fact, that quasi-professional VP button masher Pete P Peters texted me while in Las Vegas and chided me about the amount of poker I was playing this trip. Well ... he was generally correct. I love playing poker live and, at home, have to drive at 90 miles to get to the nearest legal poker room and more like 120 miles to get to a decent one. With this in mind, I try to get in as much bang for the buck as I can while in Las Vegas. Unfortunately, my memory isn't great and I rarely write down hand details. However, theses two hand stood out for a few reasons.

I generally feel pretty confident in my decisions, but in both cases, I had just entered into the game and, frankly, was probably not prepared to be making big decisions about my stack yet. The games were in Planet Hollywood, where I usually win. However, I seldom feel really comfortable in that poker room for some reason.

Anyway, here is what I was thinking and what I did.

#1
I bought into a $1/$2 NL game with $200. I often buy in for that amount while I am sizing up the table. Most people at the table have apparently been there for some time of have stacks around $500. The table captain is a somewhat large man with an accent that sound Jamaican to me. I had played at the same table with him at for a short time at Bally's in the past 24 hours. He was aggressive and a tad cocky. In the first orbit or two he had raised several times and blown people off hands. My thought was to trap him the first chance I got.

That chance came pretty quickly. I was in early position and looked down at A-Qos. I decided limp in to hide the strength of my hand. The villain, as expected, raised to $15. Everyone else folded, and I called. The flop provided a dry board of rag-Ace-rag. I decided to check. The villain then bet $30 - about a pot-sized bet. What would you do?

I usually am able to not let players get under my skin, but this villain did, for some reason. Something about his cockiness from the earlier time he played at my table and hearing his b.s. again just made me want to stick him good -- either felt him or make him back down. I can't really explain it -- maybe just the old competitive juices flowing from my younger days of playing sports. Looking back, I probably should have just called his $30 flop bet and then maybe looked to check raise all in after he bet after the turn. Instead, I monkey shoved my stack all in after his $30 post-flop bet. He thought for a short time and then called.

So ... what do you think he had and how did the hand turn out?

#2
The two villains that are important to this hand are on the button and in early position. They each had stacks bigger than mine - maybe $400-$500.I was in late position with my customary $200 initial buy in. I lost a hand in my first orbit when I looked down to see the The Dreaded Pocket Kings! I raised to $15 and got two callers. The flop brought, of course, u see, an Ace. I placed a continuation bet . One player folded. The other called. I ended up losing about $40 to a villain who had A-J. Unfortunate. A few hands later, I was dealt A-Qos. The guy who beat me with A-J earlier raised to $15. I called. The button also called. Approximately $47 in the pot.The flop was rag-Q-rag with two spades. I either had one or no spades. I bet $25 and was called by the button. The guy who earlier had A-J raised to $60. What would you do?

In this hand, I felt like I was trapped. I had $135 left and the pot was already $157. I was feeling pretty confident that I was ahead of the initial raiser who had  re-raised me after my flop bet. I had no idea what the button might have had. If either had a spade draw, I wasn't going to play the hand like a wuss and have to make a decision after the turn in case a spade came. I wish I had isolated one player and didn't like it that there were two players in the hand. Using this information and then factoring in that this was likely my last poker session of the trip (and I was up for the trip, u see), I once again decided to monkey shove my remaining stack -- $135. The button thought for a short time and called. The player in early position waited a few seconds and announced that he was all in. The button tanked for a few minutes and then called.

So ... what do you think the initial raiser had? How about the button? And -- how did the hand turn out?

I'll give a day or so for responses (I'm heading to Chicago for a funeral Wednesday morning) before I let you know the results of these hands.

Thanks for reading!

Monday, September 09, 2019

What Would You Do?


On Friday, I returned home after spending five nights in Las Vegas. I am interested in reading what some others think about a couple of hands that I played at the Planet Hollywood poker room. I'm "borrowing" the title of this post from poker friend The Poker Meister, who used to make these kind of posts in the past.

#1
I bought into a $1/$2 NL game with $200. I often buy in for that amount while I am sizing up the table. Most people at the table have apparently been there for some time of have stacks around $500. The table captain is a somewhat large man with an accent that sound Jamaican to me. I had played at the same table with him at for a short time at Bally's in the past 24 hours. He was aggressive and a tad cocky. In the first orbit or two he had raised several times and blown people off hands. My thought was to trap him the first chance I got.

That chance came pretty quickly. I was in early position and looked down at A-Qos. I decided limp in to hide the strength of my hand. The villain, as expected, raised to $15. Everyone else folded, and I called. The flop provided a dry board of rag-Ace-rag. I decided to check. The villain then bet $30 - about a pot-sized bet. What would you do?

#2
It was my last night in Las Vegas. I was comfortably ahead on the trip and sought to play one or two more sessions of poker and give the Kitty Glitter machine that had been so good to me previously one last try. There were openings in poker, so Kitty Glitter would just have to wait.

The two villains that are important to this hand are on the button and in early position. They each had stacks bigger than mine - maybe $400-$500.I was in late position with my customary $200 initial buy in. I lost a hand in my first orbit when I looked down to see the The Dreaded Pocket Kings! I raised to $15 and got two callers. The flop brought, of course, u see, an Ace. I placed a continuation bet . One player folded. The other called. I ended up losing about $40 to a villain who had A-J. Unfortunate. A few hands later, I was dealt A-Qos. The guy who beat me with A-J earlier raised to $15. I called. The button also called. Approximately $47 in the pot.The flop was rag-Q-rag with two spades. I either had one or no spades. I bet $25 and was called by the button. The guy who earlier had A-J raised to $60. What would you do?

I will allow some time for people to respond, then will tell you what my moves were.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Ready for Las Vegas!


August is always one of, if not the, most challenging months at work for me. On August 19, the first day of fall class signified the beginning of the end for me -- my 38th year in higher education and my 26th year at my current school. It has been one long and tiring but enjoyable road. I am looking forward to retirement next July.

I customarily take a trip each September after our rush period is over. Many years ago, I used to go fishing in Canada with some of my wife's relatives. After my brother, thundering36, returned home from Australia in 2000, we took many trips to Las Vegas and almost always went around Labor Day -- which also happens to be right around thundering's birthday. Last September I visited him in Australia, but this year I am back to making my September trip to Las Vegas.

Luke Johnston appears to have some interest in having a night of mixed games somewhere next week. Chris Abramski sounds up for it. A night at Sam's Town also sounds good to me. Outside of these ideas, I do not have any plans set in stone. Hit me up if you want to get together for some poker or a meal. Cash me outside - how bout dah?

I must say that I am looking forward to this trip more than usual. For whatever reason, I used to get a bit anxious before Las Vegas trips. Now, with my new attitude at work (beginning to let go, not letting things bother me), I am feeling really ready to head out.

66 hours and counting ...

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, August 06, 2019

When You Get Screwed With at Work


Work
In my last post, I spoke about how last Thursday I celebrated 25 years with my current employer. While not always perfect, my school has overall been a great place to work. However, sometimes pin headed administrators make stupid decisions or treat workers with a lack of respect. Both happened in a meeting on, of all days, my 25th anniversary.

My unit had been scheduled for a meeting with four administrators and the head of Human Resources. What essentially happened is that we were sandbagged with a plan that showed a lack of understanding of how we operate and our work flow. Worse yet, the manner in which things were presented was pretty disrespectful, considering many of us are long-term employees. We all ended up being pretty upset after the meeting. Not a great thing to do with long-time employees who could potentially contribute to fund raising efforts after they retire.

Poker
My poker heater continued for two days this past week, then came to a crashing halt on the weekend. On Thursday night, I had a comp night at Par-A-Dice Casino in East Peoria, IL. After work on Thursday, I headed to the boat, checked into the hotel, and made a small profit before their poker room closed at midnight. On Friday, I had a good afternoon and early evening session and drove home that evening with a smile on my face. There is nothing like the feeling of continuing a poker heater! However, things were soon to end.

On Sunday, I decided to head to Harrah's Joliet, where I have had good success over the years and over the past few weeks. Well, the streak ended when I made a reckless play. I originally raised with A-K and got three two callers. The flop came Ace high with two diamonds. I made a pot sized bet and had two callers. The turn was another diamond. I was unfamiliar with the players and made a regrettable move - pushing all in with one pair and the nut flush draw. The first player went in the tank for some time and decided to call. The other player then also called, and I knew that I'd better hope for a river diamond. It didn't come. It turned out that the first caller had a middle flush and the second caller flopped a set. Bad thinking, bad timing lightning!

My second bullet was doing okay until I got rivered on a flush when I flopped a straight, missed a flush for a huge pot, and then finally got called when I pushed all in with top pair and was called by a guy who had a nut flush draw, which he hit on the turn. Bah!

But ... I had a great time while on the heater and saw the sockroll start to become a tad thicker. I can't wait for my next session!

Las Vegas
I am still tentatively scheduled for a Las Vegas trip Sept 1-6, staying at Gold Coast and then Orleans or Flamingo. But that work situation I mentioned? It actually leaves my trip up in the air for now. I doubt I will have a problem if I still want to go.

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, July 28, 2019

A Little Ketchup

It is amazing how fast time seems to fly by sometimes. It has been 3 1/2 weeks since I last posted here. Back during the poker boom, posting every day or at least every few days was the usual routine. Now, life seems to intrude more and more. Over time, I have posted less and less about poker and more about life in general. This blog was always an outlet for what I was feeling. It has always been like an old friend. With that, a little bit of an update.

Poker
After my horrendous poker luck experiences on my June Las Vegas trip, I did get back to more regular poker. Poker buddy Nick was able to meet me and play some poker at the Par-A-Dice riverboat casino in East Peoria, IL. Although I did not have a great day, it was fun seeing Nick stomp the competition. After tightening up my game and getting a few minor victories, I took a huge psychological loss when, at Par-A-Dice at a later date, I lost a $700 pot when, with about $400 behind, I  raised to $15 with A-A in the big blind and was called only by the button, who had limped in. He had a stack of about $350. The flop was 10c-7d-3c. I led out for $25. The villain then raised to $80. What? For whatever reason, I didn't get the vibe that he hit a set. If he did, why not flat call or raise a little to build a pot? Two pair , given the board, seemed unlikely. I began to think that he had either something like A-10 or an overpair like J-J. I had seen this guy raise big preflop previously with things like A-Q. I decided to shove! He was in for $95 and had about $250 behind. He went into the tank, confirming in my mind that he did not have a set. I knew I was ahead one way or another. He took some time and I was tempted to call the clock. Finally, he decided to call. The turn -- the Ace of Clubs! He turned over his hand -- 7c-6c! He called off all his chips with middle pair and a 7-high flush draw. I was hoping that the river would pair the board and give me the win, but it was a rag. I lost about $350 on that hand after working to build my $200 buy-in to $400. I felt pretty discouraged and ended up shoving with a big pair several hands later and lost to two pair.

So ... what do you think? Was I foolish to push all in given the circumstances I described? Would you have bet a different amount? Even if I had and I hit a set of Aces on the turn, could I have folded if the villain went all in? I seriously doubt that!

In the past couple of weeks, I have had winning sessions at Blue Chip Casino (Michigan City, IN),  Harrah's Joliet and again at Harrah's Joliet last night, when I had a great night. The poker gods gave me some cards and I sucked out on a big hand. Poker is fun again!

Work
I do not have an exact date set for my retirement yet, but it will be in July 2020, so I am already under the one year left mark. This coming Thursday, I celebrate 25 years at my current place of employment. Geez - how time flies. I'm bringing in some food for my colleagues to celebrate. A colleague just retired on Wednesday, and I will be moving into her office sometime in the next six weeks. It is a huge corner office that is nearly identical to the big office I had to give up when I ended my tenure as head of the department. I could just stay in my current office, but what the heck - I want the big place!

Automobiles
I had been looking at some cars to replace my Mustang that finally petered out, and was considering the 2018 version -- red Mustang convertible, or a 2016 BMW convertible -- a different metallic orange color. I decided to pass on both. For now, I will continue to drive our trusty 2005 Grand Caravan -- rust, dents, scrapes and all!

Softball
I don't think I have even mentioned softball this season, but I play on a senior league team. I haven't been mentioning softball because I was having a truly crappy season at bat. We had a round robin first round last Wednesday. I only went 1-3 in the first game but went 3-3 in the second. My team won a tie breaker and won the right to play the top seed in the other division. My division is the "recreational" division and the other is the "competitive." We are due to be slaughtered Monday night. I have heard that we will be spotted 10 runs. If that is true, we will likely get two per inning for the first five innings. In previous iterations of the league, the bottom teams were spotted five runs over five innings. It won't really matter as we will get killed. My usual position is short left field (unusual outfield configuration). I will probably get lots of business Monday night.

Las Vegas
I currently have plane and hotel reservations to go to Las Vegas Sept 1-6. I'm probably about 80% sure that I am going. I have traditionally taken a trip there in September. Perhaps I will celebrate thundering36's  birthday with a juicy piece of meat at Gordon Ramsay's STEAK.

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, July 03, 2019

What It's Like to be Falsely Accused of Improper Conduct

This is a post I wrote last September, but never published. It was written during the Kavanaugh Supreme Court hearings. I actually wrote more than one version of the post but ultimately decided not to publish it to make sure that there was no way it could possibly cause me any trouble with my job. Well, things have changed. My plan to retire in July 2020 was accepted by my school's board of trustees. And, much to my delight, I found out today that the woman who is the subject of this post is now no longer employed by the  school. I will happily buy some donuts for my co-workers Monday morning to celebrate.

With this as some background information, I now present the post I wrote last September.

Disclaimer: I am in no way suggesting that Brett Kavanaugh is innocent (or guilty) of the actions of which he is being accused. I have no direct information on which to make an informed opinion at this time. I also in no way wish to minimize the pain that women who have been sexually assaulted have had to suffer. I only wish to present a true event that reaffirms the need to not just believe (or disbelieve) a story based only on a person's gender without some type of substantial evidence.

I have worked nearly my entire adult life in higher education, often in administrative positions that involved supervisory responsibility. As I near retirement, I consciously decided to no longer take on an administrative role, but instead to enjoy my last months before I move on. Although there are many gratifying aspects of being a supervisor responsible for the effort of an area or department, I and others who have done so will likely tell you about the most challenging part of the job: personnel management.

Now I have to tell you, when it comes to work behavior, I am not exactly a company guy. I am not afraid to speak my mind to administration, I am brutally honest, I rebel against things I think are stupid or unreasonable, I relish in being a non-conformist. But aside from this, I am pretty much a boy scout when it comes to unsavory behavior. People who know me know this.

I was recently head of my department for a five year period. I supervised several professional employees, most of whom were heavily covered and supported by unions. Disciplinary processes and procedures for one union were extensive and specific. The good thing about that: good employees were amply protected. The bad thing: poor employees were also amply protected.

One employee in my area was just a poor employee. When I began my term, I had many things to fix. One of these was this employee's job description, which was poorly written and allowed her to essentially manipulate things so that she did little work while being paid for full-time employment. Once her job description was amended, she continued to exhibit poor work habits. She hid in her office and sometimes refused to do work she was obligated to do. She had no problem lying to cover things up. I had to discipline her under the union progressive discipline guidelines. And then things started to happen.

It began with emails to me that read along the lines of "lightning, you frighten me so sometimes. You are usually so nice to people, but you have been scaring me. I would like to resolve this issue." When her emails were getting her nowhere, she decided to up the ante after being disciplined for not doing her assigned work and lying about it. She went to Human Resources and told them that I has slapped her on her ass! Human Resources, of course, had to investigate this claim. And until the day I die, I will not forget the day that the director said "lightning, I need to ask you this: Did you slap this employee on her rear end?" And I had to say " No, I absolutely did not do this nor have ever touched this employee in any way, shape, or form." Very uncomfortable and somewhat humiliating. 

Now fortunately for me, HR had dealt with this employee previously and knew of her manipulative and lying ways. So the director chose an interesting way to deal with this: she told the employee that if this was true, the employee, now that she alleged this, had to go all the way with this and lodge a formal complaint that would be investigated. The employee then asked for paid time off to write this up and was given, from the head of HR, a complete paid day off to write up her complaint! I was told that my employee would not be in the next day so that she could be paid to stay home and write up her lies against me!

Well guess what? The employee took the day off, came back to work the day after, and informed HR that she decided not to follow through with her complaint. Looking back, I wish my life had not been so full of complicated work issues and family issues that I didn't have the time nor the energy to possibly seek some sanction against the employee. And I had to keep in mind that she was still in my area and I would be responsible for supervising her after her false claim, which was personally extremely difficult. And in dealing with this, I had to just go on with my job and without everyone, save one person in the department that the employee confided in, knowing what had happened.

I grew up a religious person and spent my life trying to do the right things. Dealing with my anger over this has not been easy. When horrendous things were happening at work and things in my personal life became very challenging, I just seethed over this. It is several years in the past now, but not forgotten.

I fear for the future when I hear biased politicians, talking heads and commentators of the day espousing themes like "men are bad" and "women should always be believed." Has a significant percentage of our population really gotten that stupid and rigid? Hey thundering 36 -- is that spare room in Australia still available? You might get a boarder.

Thanks for reading.