Monday, January 06, 2020

First Poker Sessions of 2020 and When Shit Starts Getting Real: Preparing My House For Sale

Welcome to 2020! Like many people, I have high hopes for the new year in life -- and in poker. However, along with the hopes will come some days of reckoning, one way or another.

What better way to start the new year than to log in a session of $1/2 NL poker, right? The three most recent casinos where I have played poker (Par-A-Dice, Harrah's Joliet and Grand Victoria) all have decent bad beat jackpots. Grand Victoria's is currently $266K (Aces full of Kings beaten), Harrah's Joliet is $220K (quad 8's beaten, current room share is $200), and Par-A-Dice is somewhere around $136K (quads beaten). From a driving standpoint, the closest, in order, are Par-A-Dice, Harrah's, then Grand Victoria. I decided to start 2020 at the closest casino, Par-A-Dice.

I cannot say that I started out 2020 okay. I can, however, say that the start was very good! There were some really poor players at the table. I got fortunate right away and flopped a straight, winning a nice pot. Several hands later, I was in the small blind with The Grump: 2-4(os). I think that I had been spewing too much in 2019, so I have tried to cut down on my fishing expeditions. However, how could I possibly not complete for a measly dollar with The Grump in a hand full of limpers? I completed. The flop was 8-2-4 with two Spades. Bingo! There were several checks, and then one player made a substantial bet. He had a little over $100 left and, from what I had observed in the few orbits I played, he seemed really frustrated. It was unlikely that he flopped a set of 2's or 4's, and it didn't make sense to me that he would make a big bet with a set of 8's. I was guessing that he was on a flush draw and almost sure that I was ahead, so I jammed all in. He decided to call. the turn and river were bricks and I announced that I had two pair. He mucked. Bingo again!

For once (it seemed), I was actually catching cards and was not getting my hands counterfeited on the river. I did play one hand exceptionally poorly and lost over $100 on it when I was likely bluffed, but outside of that, I was cruising all afternoon and was up more than two buy-ins when I decided to quit as I had to work the next day. The fact that the poor players all left and were replaced by more competent players helped make the decision to leave easy. I was basically about two cards away from having a monster session, but seeing as how the poker gods were nicer than usual to me, I was not about to whine. Great poker start to 2020!

After working January 2 and 3, I headed back to Par-A-Dice for another daytime session. As much as thing went right two days before, things went wrong that day. Par-A-Dice is full of no fold em players, and I was run down more than once. I was down about $100 most of the session, then had a big decision to make at the end. A tricky and good player whom I've written about before, Ho, was in a hand with me. I was on the button with A-8os and called a $10 raise. Ho also called, so there were three of us in the hand. The flop was 8-J-rag. I flopped second pair. The initial raiser and Ho both checked, so I raised $15. The initial raiser folded and Ho called. Ho said "be careful."

Now a word about Ho. He will play ATC and is aggressive. He is tricky, and you never know if he has you beat or not. I know how to play against him and have had much success. He rarely gets in hands with me - he avoids me like the plague as his perception of me is that I am mostly an OMC. I have used this to my advantage more than once.

The turn was an Ace, giving me two pair. Ho checked and I put out a $40 bet. Ho tanked and then announced "all in." I was guessing that Ho had either A-J and I was crushed, or he that he figured that he could bluff me off of a one pair hand. My gut was telling me that he had A-J, but I decided to call. He showed A-J and felted me. Meh. I had lost a buy in and just was not feeling it that day, so I left to get dinner and watch the NFL playoffs.

Preparing My House For Sale
Having lived in my current house for over ten years and having accumulated not only my family's junk but junk from my late mother's house and my late mother-in-law's house, I am not looking forward to getting the house ready to be put on the market, hopefully by this spring. I rented a dumpster earlier last year to get rid of some nasty furniture, but my wife patiently waited until the new year started to begin selling off furniture and starting on prettying up the house. She sold a bookcase yesterday and had our painter over Friday morning to give us an estimate. He is actually supposed to begin painting part of our basement this week!

I have only lived in two houses since 1994 and am not quite as invested in the house as my wife. I negotiated buying the house and later refinancing, but I let my wife do whatever she wanted with it. Regardless of what happens, I will retire in the middle to the end of July. I am frankly not concerned if the house will not be ready or be sold by that time as I will be struggling with other transitions. Since our plan is to move to the Phoenix area and I have never lived outside of Illinois, I find that this move across the country has great potential for raising my anxiety level the rest of 2020. I also realize, however, that it is necessary for my wife to push me on getting the house ready or there will be no way anything much would happen until later in the year.

Almost three years ago as the executor for my mom's estate, I was left with the nasty task of cleaning out her house and the 50 years of accumulated junk within. I took some time off work and spent several nights sleeping in the house while being surrounded by garbage. I had to keep focused on making progress with each trip up to her house, and when the day came when it looked like we got nearer to putting it up on the market, I felt like a tremendous burden had been lifted from me. I know that I just need to get myself in the proper mindset, but doing this while transitioning out of 38 years of professional work with 26 at my current job has been a struggle so far. Now with my retirement being just over six months away, I need to step things up a bit.

I have been having fun thinking about some job possibilities - maybe some type of spring training job with the White Sox, Cubs, or other cactus league team, or maybe one of the Phoenix professional sports teams. Working in a casino would be interesting, as would volunteer work in the southwest. Once I have a chance to take a break, I will need to find something to be my anchor. I am looking forward to this. In the meantime, I am just counting the days until it is time to say goodbye to my current job. The days have been going by slowly. I'm sure things will start feeling different as the time gets closer.

Thanks for reading!