Losing Money by Not Playing Poker???
This never occurred to me before. I've played poker for years, since I was 16, I'm 30 now, but only in the last 18 months become a student of the NLHE game and truly learned its ins and outs. Read books. Practiced. A lot. Watched High Stakes Poker. A lot.
My hero on that show is Sammy Farha. What balls. I would say my play style is between that and Matusow (the two loosest players, some would say worst, on the show). Talk, bluff, raise, reraise, reload, etc. Action players. Any 2 cards. Etc.,
So, the litmus test for my live poker skills was a 5 day trip to Vegas last week. This was my first time playing in a casino (I've played 1-2NLHE on the internet and in home games).
I went to the MGM and asked for 1-2 NLHE, and was told there was a 30min wait but no wait for 2-5 NLHE. So I took the opportunity, expecting to lose some cash for an education in live poker.
Much to my surprise, the table was filled with tight weak players. There were no true gamblers there. So I started gambling, and pushing people around. Just having fun, seeing how the table would react to overtly agressive play. I was drinking and talking up a storm. Everyone else was quiet except one redsox fan who I bantered with about baseball.
Again, much to my suprise, the chips started piling up. I was reraising every 3 hands, and people were folding. I went all in for $400 on a $200 pot with nothing but the second nut flush draw, hoping for a TP TK fold, he called, river was a club, I doubled up. I got a ton of action from that point on. I gambled, I won. I played tight, I won. It was one of those trips.
Basically, similar scenarios played out over the next 5 days. The only time I busted out was in $65 tourneys and when I went all in with my $400 buy in into a raised pot with top two pair on the flop and homeboy called with a set of queens. Hey nice hand man, reload, aggro, aggro, collect chips, leave with $1000.
The last day at the 2-5 NLHE game I was playing with some professionals. One guy said he had quit his job about a year ago and just hung around busting tourists for a living. The other guy, about 55 years old, he had on two gold watches, a fishing hat, and some big old sunglasses. Said NADA all night, excpet muttered under his breath when he would raise the pot preflop and I would reraise him, and he would fold. I did this mostly with AQ offsuit and other gambling hands like that. Yes, I showed these hands a lot to get some action, and action I got on my made hands.
I also had some great folds, but those are boring, right? Well, just one. I had A6 of hearts, raised preflop with 1 caller and the flop comes A 10 J rainbow. I bet out half the pot, he calls. Next card, is a black low card, I check. He checks. River is a black jack. I bet out half the pot again, he reraises for most of my chips (he has a ton) I think for a bit and show him the Ace. The says "Thats Huge" and I instafold. He curses and shows AJ for a boat.
Last hand, I'm up about $300 on a $400 buy in. I get K2 of clubs on the button. This is one of my favorite hands. Out loud, I actually say "you gotta be kidding me" bercause I HAVE TO play this hand. I actually was not going to play, was already stacking my winnings into the chip tray but the dealer delt me in anyway. Bless his heart.
I raise to 25 and kinda hope everyone folds cause I have dinner reservations in 5 minutes, but Mr. Professional Poker to my right is not about to let me get away with another steal. He reraises me another 50 and I call. Lets gamble baby.
Flop is Ks Jc 2h
I bet out the pot and hope to take it down right there and goto dinner.
He calls. So, hes got a Big King at the least, right? Maybe set of Johnnies?
I'm probably ahead and feel comfortable I have the best hand.
Turn is another Jack, a red one. Wow, I'm either way ahead or way behind now. At this point I start to get a little bit concerned. The pot is massive and my hand improved to two pair but now my 2 is no good, and any king beats me. Deciding to FORCE MYSELF to bet out, I bet out half the $450 pot, which is leaving me pot committed. He calls
Oh no, this is gonna be baaad.
River is 8s.
I go all in.
He calls with Ace Queen and says good hand when I show a King.
Wow. He misplayed that hand pretty badly if you ask me. He though I misplayed it. Probably some of both. The guy across the table called me "crazy kid" and someone else muttered "kamikaze poker." Hahaha.
"Mr Pro" must have thought my "kidding me" comment then raise 5x BB was some sort of bluff-tell? How could he call there? I guess hes "the pro" who doesn't have to work.
Did I donk my chips into my own wallet on this one??? Hahaha.
Well, I did really well over the trip and basically paid for the trip with my winnings, at least most of it. The Lobster tasting with wine pairing at Nobhill probably came out of my wallet, and let me tell you, it was worth every penny.
So I live in NYC and have nowhere to play live here. The internet doesnt really appeal to me as you can't tell who is drinking, who is tired and yawning, who is steaming and who is raising without looking at their cards (uh that last one was me).
Am I losing money by not playing more poker? The income from my "regular job" (you would laugh if you knew what it was) combined with my lack of expenses, gives me at least 5 figures of disposable income every year that I would be fine losing or winning with. I squander it anyway. I have tons of extra time. Mostly I play music and video games in my spare time but poker could actually act as a second income, IF I had somewhere to play.
Is this worth pursuing? I DON"T want to turn pro. I love my work and I love playing poker as an outlet, and I would HATE to HAVE TO win to meet expenses - also, it would change the way I play, diminishing my agression. I said I would be fine losing but in truth I hate losing at games more than anything in the wolrd, and if I ever started losing regularly, or ran bad for a few months or a year I think it would be easy for me to walk away for a while and go back and study. I am addicted to winning, that goes for any game I play in life, the money is just the recepit from the poker table that shows you played well.
Tournaments, not for me. Cash games, yes. But is the internet worth the hassle? I think I have a huge edge playing live vs online, as I am a very perceptive person with tells
, facial ticks, and betting mannerisms. Also, the games seem tougher online. Driving 2 hrs every weekend to AC or Foxwoods? Maybe if I had a poker buddy but right now I am flying solo.
Man, I love this game so much I can't even concentrate on work right now (Vegas hangover). I really, really want to continue playing on a regular basis, but can't quite convince myself that its the right thing to do (and if my trip won't convince me, what will?????)
Thanks guys, sorry for making you read so much!