Thursday, August 20, 2009

TI Treasure Trove

Decided to try Treasure Island as have heard that this room has lots of action. They spread a $1/$3 no limit game instead of the traditional $1/$2. Doesn't sound like much of a difference, but it does increase the average opening raise somewhat. When I got there only one table was going. Got in the action in about 15 minutes and was not disappointed. The game was actually loose/fairly aggressive with lots of chips in the center pre-flop. Most players were playing relatively deep (majority were sitting on stacks around the $300 max buy) which is how I love to play since I know if I can get my stack in the center I will be doubling through them should I win the hand. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to pick up many stackable hands (suited connectors and small pairs) and when I did I completely missed the flop. I did see one of my opponents pull of a move I would have liked to have done. He took the 75s in diamonds, flopped two pair to the raiser, and got all his chips in on the flop to the raiser's over pair. The board did not counterfeit him nor did his opponent catch a miracle to make a set and he stacked him with those beautiful little cards.

Anyway, the only hand worth mentioning came during one of the many straddles that were being put on for $6. I was in late-middle position, with an open limper directly to my right. With $19 in the pot (the $1 small blind, the $3 big blind, the $6 live straddle, and the $6 limper) I decided to make a play for the pot with KQ0 and raised it up to $25 to go. I got called by the small blind who was a loose British lad, the loose kid who put the straddle on called, and the limper who was a local folded. I had seen him fold pre-flop prior to a large raise and that was part of my plan going in when I made the play. I thought for sure the plan had back fired with an ace and a jack came down on the flop. With position on both players they checked to me. I bet out $60 as continuation bet thinking I am either going to get called or check raised with those two big cards out there. But I still felt it would be hard for them to put me on a hand that did not hit that flop and I needed to represent a hand like AK since there was so much money out there. Thankfully, both players folded to my raise and I took down the pot with nothing more than a gutshot straight draw. I was playing 4 outs but at least they were to the nuts as the board was a rainbow. Now that is the true definition of a semi-bluff. After a couple of calling stations busted from the table I decided I really didn't want to tangle with the loose aggro's that were left. Taking a small win I headed over to The Mirage where I checked out the games. Long Island Mike was along with me for the TI adventure and he pulled a nice pot from the Brit when his top pair, top kicker was good enough. He bet throughout the hand, got called on every round, and when he showed down big slick, the Brit mucked. There were draws to Broadway on the board by the river and I thought for sure it would have taken at least 2 pair to win that hand. My guess is the Brit had a pair and picked up a straight draw on the turn but the river never got there. LI only had about $80 on the river when he moved in and I suspect the Brit had a hand like KJ where he picked up an open ended straight draw with the queen that fell on the turn as the flop contained a king and a ten and felt like the price was right to make a crying call as the pot contained well over $300.

After surveying the action at Mirage, we decided to grab a couple beers, recap the action, and just chat about his newly acquired diamond status. It was a quick session for me and I should have probably sat in a game at Mirage, but I really wanted to share in the reflected glory of Mike's nice sized take for the day which was over $300. It doesn't sound like much when read the stories about the stakes some people play for, but for us it is substantial. If either of us could average a daily take of $300 we'd be living pretty sweet and would be able to move up to $2/$5
no limit rather quickly. Alas, neither of us are on this kind of clip yet.

I'd like to try this game again soon, but in the meantime I'd like to grind my bankroll up some. I'm paying my bills out of my bank account right now and I am hoping this is the last month I'll be doing so. I am almost at the point where my cash on hand is enough to finance my play with the remainder of my bankroll safely tucked away in my bank account. I play so much better when I know I have several buy ins on me if things don't go well early in a session.

Hours Played This Session: 2.25
Take: $64
$ Per Hour: $28.44

Month to Date: $501.00
Year to Date: $352
Hourly Rate Year to Date: $4.97
Total Hours Played Year to Date:70.83
Sessions Played Year to Date: 15
Win/Loss Record by Session: 8/7 53.33% win rate

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Thought of the Week 8/15 - 8/21: Am I Compulsive?


Good Question and one that I've been thinking about for some time now. According to the definition of compulsive is:


Psychology. a person whose behavior is governed by a compulsion.

Ok, that wasn't too insightful, let's try this again by delving into the meaning of compulsion:


Psychology. a strong, usually irresistible impulse to perform an act, esp. one that is irrational or contrary to one's will.

Good, now we're getting somewhere. Some might say that my need to make a living by playing poker would be good a representation of the psychological definition of compulsion. But honestly that's not what's on my mind today as I sit down to write this column. And maybe, just maybe, the fact that I am not considering what I do for a living, though it is highly irrational and most likely contrary to at least the good will of my life when I talk about my compulsive behaviors might sum it up.

Ahh, but I digress. If you stumbled upon my last thought of the week (albeit it was two weeks ago - so much for the title of the column) you will see that I am working on self actualization and becoming a better human being and all that kind of stuff. And believe you me, I need to be working on living a better life. And that's what got me to thinking about being compulsive. See, ever since I got here to Vegas, I have kind of let myself slip into some very bad and destructive habits. Especially with my consumption of alcohol. And my consumption became compulsive, much like it did when I lived in Orlando, FL for 9 months. I moved down there right after I finished my undergrad degree and I really fell off the deep end. Moving away from home a second time and reaching the same result made me realize that I have this self destruct gene hiding somewhere in me. And when my life lacks structure, that demon likes to slowly poke his head out and go on to consume my life. I honestly think I don't have a drinking problem, but I'm sure 99.99% of problem drinkers feel that way. I think my problem stems back to feelings of self worth and symptoms of depression. Things I really don't want to delve into here and now, I just reference them for the basis why I repeatedly have self destructed. And if that is one form of compulsion, then I figured there must be a flip side to it as well.

I go through these spurts in life where I just degen it up for a period of time and then I totally flip the script and start living life the way I really feel it should be lived. I've entered that period in my life once again. As I sit here and write this today, I have achieved my daily goals for the past 3 days of working out. Sounds silly and simple but believe me when you go from drinking almost every day to putting the stuff down, not thinking about, and having most of your waking thoughts consumed by planning your training sessions it's like I've gone through an exorcism of sorts. I make it sound more dramatic than what it actually is, but I'm a writer so deal with it. I need to use imagery every now and then God damnit. Anyway, I'm like totally addicted to working out now. I went through this stage about 2 years back when I signed on to manage a small gym in Bellmawr, NJ and went on to get into maybe the best shape of my life. Rebecca deserves that guy back in her life, so I am going to use my compulsion for good not evil and hopefully with the support and backing of my friends I'll be able to walk the line.

An added bonus is I feel so much better about myself and it will reflect in my play. When you build self confidence, it transcends the gym. I know I will begin to trust my reads more and have the follow through to make a risky play when I believe it is the right time to do so. Also, being in better shape with help with my stamina and mental focus. In essence, this should help my career. At the very least, in a couple of months I'll be able to sit by the pool and look good while doing so.

Oh, did I mention I weighed in at 195.8 lbs yesterday. I should be at 165 lbs for my height and build. Guess I got a lot of work to do. I'll keep you up to date on my progress and I am now accountable to all of you that read this. Feel free to kick me in the ass when I slack and slap me on the back when the boy done good.

Power Poker

Or, this should be more aptly titled, "Find Two Good Cards and Push Pre-Flop Against Weak Opponents." Honestly, my play was not more complicated than that. I only won 3 hands this session. Long Island Mike and I decided to meet up and play an evening session together. Originally I wanted MGM as I haven't played there since making my return to poker but he convinced me that we should play Bally's. I like playing the Harrah's rooms in general since they award 28 tier credit points plus the industry standard of $1 an hour towards food and beverage. LI is almost at diamond card status so I will be mooching off him from here on out as I will be his sidekick when he goes into the diamond club lounge. I like the idea of getting free beverages and munchies courtesy of Caesar's Entertainment or whatever Harrah's is calling itself this year.

When we get to Bally's 3 tables of $1/$2 NL are going and LI puts on his radar and finds what he thinks is the best of the 3 tables that just also so happens to have two empty seats in it. In the first hand I play after folding for about 4 orbits straight, I actually decide to get cheeky and I make a small $7 raise under the gun with KJs in diamonds. While being out of position, I really like big suited cards in NL. KJ is a hand I actually hate, but I feel like if I get the multi-way pot that I suspect I will I can turn it into a moneymaker with the right flop. I get 4 callers and the flop comes down ace high with two diamonds. I really like this flop since I am sure one of my opponents will have spiked the ace. I make a continuation bet of $15 (with the hope of disguising my hand should a diamond fall on the turn) and get called in one spot. A beautiful diamond falls on the turn and with the ace of diamonds out I am holding the nuts. First to act I bet out $30 really believing my opponent can not put me on the diamond draw. I guess between the the diamonds being out there along with a probable shitty kicker to go with his ace he decided he was beat and mucked. My really tight image I'm sure didn't help either. I decided to bet out as oppose to check the flush on the turn because I watch too many players make that play, they get checked behind, and then have to bet out on the river and then their opponent releases his hand. I like to set up the hand so that when an opponent looks back on it he can't figure out where he was supposed to get away from it. Didn't happen this time, but I'm pretty sure it's the better of the two plays since you can disguise your hand by betting the whole way. Against a timid player this also makes for a good semi-bluff on the flop because now you are betting with an additional 9 outs. If the flush card comes, you can bet a decent size (say half the pot) and get that weak player to fold.

In the second hand, I am again UTG and look down at AKs in clubs. This time I raise to $12 and a drunk lady two seats to my left who has been spewing chips all night from what I gathered (she recently sat back down after being away from the table for half an hour presumably in her hotel room or at an ATM getting more cash) re-raised me to about $50 to go which set her all in. This folds out all the other players and I make the call. She tables KQo and I have the best of it going to the flop. Neither of us improve our hands and I take down a decent pot. I'm feeling pretty good about the line up we have at the table and about an hour later I pick up wired kings again in early position. I raise to $12 and it gets folded around to a late position player who makes it $40 to go. This player has been really loose with his chips and not willing to release a hand. I have him slightly covered if I were to call the $40 and decide to move all in for an additional $240 on top of his raise. He tanks for about a minute and calls. I immediately table my kings knowing they are good right now as he would have called immediately with rockets. The flop comes down gin for me with a beautiful king of hearts on the flop to go with a jack and a rag to make a rainbow. The turn is an ace and I am pretty sure he is holding AK or pocket queens at this point. I have him drawing dead to a ten with queens and with AK dead to one of the two aces left in the deck. The river brings a heart dropping ace and when he lets out a cheer and pumps his fist I truly believe I just got runner-runnered to a bigger boat. However, he still hasn't turned his hole cards over yet and the dealer pushed my hand forward to show kings full of aces. At this point, my opponent's face was priceless as it went expressionless. He never showed his hand as he mucked and the monster pot was sent my way. I can only guess that he had that big chick after all for a moment believed that his trip aces were good forgetting that they made me a boat. For once can I have a hand where I don't have to sweat the two outers getting there on me. Anyway, for the rest of the session I got back to folding which I am getting really good at and only playing some suited aces and pocket pairs which never improved after the flop.

This was my first night session and we didn't get started till 10:40 pm. It took me almost an hour to get to Bally's as all of Vegas seems to be under construction at the same time. Great planning by the city fathers or the Clark County jackasses. How about only doing a couple of projects at a time so that those of us in the know can still navigate around the city without sitting in traffic for hours and putting ourselves on tilt before the first brutal beat even registers at the table. I'm going to push Mike for MGM. It's a great room and I can get there without really experiencing any major traffic or construction problems.

Hours Played This Session: 2.83
Take: $284
$ Per Hour: $100.35

Month to Date: $437
Year to Date: $288
Hourly Rate Year to Date: $4.20
Total Hours Played Year to Date: 68.58
Sessions Played Year to Date: 14
Win/Loss Record by Session: 7/7 50.00% win rate

Monday, August 10, 2009

A Table Change That Made All The Difference

So my plan was to cash in some Wynn chips I had lying around and then head down to MGM Grand to play $1/$2 NL. After cashing the chips, I decided to cruise The Strip down. I really love riding along The Strip and being surrounded by all the sights and sounds. However, with all the construction going on it turned out to be a bad idea. My buddy Long Island Mike plays a session around noon at Harrah's. At this point, it was a little after 2 pm so I decided to make a detour and stop at Harrah's to see if he wanted to get some lunch. When I got there I found him in his usual $1/$2 NL game and sat down behind him to shoot the shit and see how he had been. It had been about a week since we played together so I figured he would have some decent stories to tell me. He still needed to play about 90 minutes to qualify for his daily bonus and since I was in no rush I just sweated him and we caught up. His game broke right around the time he made his hours so after cashing out we decided to slide across the street to The Mirage to eat at BLT Burger. Each of us enjoyed the Black Angus half pounders we got, but I still say the best angus burgers in town belong to Burger Bar at Mandalay Bay. I've had burgers now at Strip Burger at The Fashion Show Mall, Le Burger Brasserie at Paris, and of course the aforementioned BLT Burger at The Mirage. There's just something about Burger Bar's burgers that are just aces in my book.

With our stomachs full we set out for poker glory by checking out The Mirage Poker Room. I've only played here once way back when I was out to Vegas on a vacation but I have always loved the room. Something about the history behind it, knowing I am sitting in the same room that the classic players used to frequent daily to relieve millionaires and home town heros alike of their bankrolls. There were four tables going, each with 8 - 9 players at each table. Long Island Mike is a table selection swami and after surveying the scene he settled on the table he wanted to play at. Instead, though, the floor woman sat us one table over since there were to seats available and we wanted to play together. Right off the bat Mikey loses about half his stack. After about 30 minutes of play, he makes the choice to get a seat change to the table he originally liked. I hang on at our original table but soon after he leaves I find myself reaching in my pocket to reload. I just couldn't hit a flop with pretty good hands, like AKs and AQs. I got my fair share of small pocket pairs but failed to flop any sets. I thought it was going to be one of those sessions. Finally, I was able to get a table change to Mike's table. However, the floorman did me no favors. Another table had broken about 10 minutes after I had went to the desk to ask for the table change. The floor, instead of honoring my request first, starts seating players from the broken game in the three other games that were going. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I should get first dibs on a seat in the game I requested and then the players from the broken game should fill in the remaining seats at the tables. I made a comment to Mike when I sat down that the floor man didn't give me the time of day because I didn't tip him. The dealer took offense to this but I still stand firm in my belief. The bigger rooms just don't tend to care as much about taking care of the players, with the exception of The Wynn and possibly The Venetian, but I haven't played there enough to know, just what I've heard. Places like Bellagio for instance could give a fuck about low limit players. Hell, they don't even take your player's card there and on top of it, if you do play long enough and request a $15 paper food comp, you are expected to tip $5 for it. WTF? So I am netting $10. Ok, that's not necessarily bad if I've only played 5 hours (I'd be getting $2/hr which is above industry standard,) but it rubs me the wrong way that I need to pay off the floor to get one.

But I digress. I reload once again upon sitting down at the new table I am into the game for about $360 (a little over $200 in front of me and stuck $160.) I pick up AK on the button but an Asian player who has just reloaded for $200 has made it $15 to go from middle position. I take some time and consider what I should do. I could three bet but the way I've been running I decide to cold call the $15. A loose/aggressive African American player in the blind calls and an early position limper closes the action with his call. The flop comes down ace high. The blind and early limper check to the raiser and he fires $25. I re-pop it to $75, making it 3x the Asian guy's bet. I figure this should get the limpers out and I'll get to play him heads up in position with what is most likely the best hand. I am praying I have him dominated with something like AQ or AJ. To my surprise he shoves over me. I insta-call because I am not going to out think myself. If he flopped a set of aces, well then it was just unlucky that the case ace fell. As I always do, I instantly turn my hand over and wait for his reaction. He meekly turns over wired queens and his two outer never gets there. Sweet! I stack him and with the other $30 in the pot I am now ahead for the session. Maybe this is a sign of things to come.

The very next hand I pick up AQs in hearts in the cut off. This time an older gentleman raises preflop from middle position and I flat call along with a couple others. The flop comes down queen high. Gin! Top pair, top kicker. It gets checked around to me. I get the size of the pot which is $40 and only get called by older gentleman. This makes me wonder as he doesn't seem like the kind of guy to call a large bet with only a draw. To go with the queen there was a jack on board. The turn brought a blank and he checked again to me. Tommy Angelo's words were ringing in my ear when he says if someone plays passively against you assume they are weak until you get further notice. I made a 2/3 pot size bet on the turn and got check raised shoved. I think that is what he meant by further notice. I muck my hand face up (something I really gotta stop doing) and this induces the old man to reveal his hole cards to me (that is one upside I've found to mucking your hand face up, those that are so proud of their hole cards will show you what they held.) I was looking at aces which I felt was the case, or he flopped a set of jacks or queens. In any event I knew I was beat and I think it was a pretty good fold, since the pot was only laying me about 3 - 1 to make that call. I could be drawing dead or at the very best to 2 outs which is a 22 -1 shot (if he specifically kings I would have had 5 outs with 2 queens and 3 aces left in the deck for a 8.20 - 1 situation which is still the worst of it.)

So I gave away about $90 in that hand, but I felt like I was playing really well and this line up was definitely much better than the one at the previos table. It always a good sign when limpers are willing to call fairly large preflop raises with hands that do not work well for stacking opponents post flop. There were way too many hands to go over or even accuarately remember so I will conclude with two hands that I believe are the best played hands of my fledling career thus far. To give you some background information, I am seated in seat 10 to the right of the dealer and to my left in seat 1 was the loose/aggressive African American player. This guy was one hell of a player. He played like how I imagined Doyle Bruson played when he was a Texas rounder in the 60s and 70s. He had a mountain of chips in front of him, anywhere $600 to $800 at any given time. He was the type of player that gave action to get action. He was paying for the big pots he played by picking up lots of small and medium sized ones all the time. He probably played about 70% of his hands and raised approximately 80% of the hands he played. I immediately had a ton of respect for the guy because I've always wished I could play that style. However, you have to be true to yourself and since I am relatively tight I used that image to beat him out of the follow two pots. Both times I had position on him which I think is the lesson to be learned from this. Tommy Angelo, an author I mention often because he has such great insight into the game, has stated that his bread and butter in poker comes from the last three seats: the button, the cut off, and the hijack seats.

The action happened so fast in the first hand that I do not remember all the particulars. Suffice it to say it was raised preflop and I am on the button with AhKd. The flop comes down all middle cards with two hearts. This is the type of flop that could have possibly hit him, especially with suited connectors or a small to middle pocket pair. He leads out for $45. After some deliberation a thought came to mind. Being that I held the trump ace for the heart draw, I decided to call his bet and if any heart, king, or ace fell on the turn I was going to push no matter what. I figured this gave me 13 cards to push with on the turn. A heart fell and to my surprise he checked to me. I pushed my stack in and after tanking for a few minutes he released his hand. Beautiful. Now I know this guy respects my game and I can get him to lay down some hands.

On the second hand, I raise on the button with wired 7s to $18 (I meant to make it $13 but somehow an extra nickel got in there.) Seat #1 calls my raise and we take the flop heads up. He checks to me and I bet out $35 a flop that comes king high. I was trying to represent the king, but unfortunately he came along. I was really hoping to spike one of my 7s so that I could suck out on him if he actually held a king. The turn brought an ace and I immediately fired out $60. Hell, I figured if he didn't believe I had a king, maybe he'll believe I had an ace. I did raise preflop and the hands I have shown to this point have all been premiums. He lays down the hand and I honestly believe I won two fairly large pots without the best hand. Hopefully I am starting to get the hang of this no limit stuff. Only time will tell, but I do feel like I am improving and that's my focus along with grinding out enough cash to pay the bills.

Hours Played This Session: 4.17
Take: $153
$ Per Hour: $36.70

Month to Date: $153
Year to Date: $4
Hourly Rate Year to Date: $0.06
Total Hours Played Year to Date: 65.75
Sessions Played Year to Date: 13
Win/Loss Record by Session: 6/7 46.15% win rate

Thursday, August 6, 2009

The DMV and Taking Chinners

In my attempt to get myself right I've been working on getting everything away from the felt straightened out so that I can focus while I'm playing. That meant getting my smog check done yesterday and then sitting at the DMV for 3 hours. We all have DMV stories and they all suck. However, I still can't help but share mine. At the Nevada DMV in Henderson, I'm sure like DMV's all around the country, you must first go to the "Information Desk" to tell them why you have graced them with your presence and to insure you have all necessary documentation prior to taking up the time of one of the clerks. So after my 15 minutes in line waiting I finally get to see an information specialist. I always try to be kind to anyone working a shitty job because from what I can tell people take out their frustrations on these people regularly. With that in mind I get to the desk and proceed to explain that I am here to register my car (which I just had shipped here from Jersey, wink wink) and that I need to change the address on my license. I show him that I've done my homework and that I've compiled all required documentation to make this a smooth and hopefully effortless experience. He is a nice guy and seems pleased I'm not a jackass who hasn't come unprepared. He does however inquire if I've had my VIN inspection completed yet. Well, no I have not but I was told that the inspection happens here. He replies that indeed it does but I will have to go back out to my car and take it around the corner to the place where the inspection happens. He does kindly provide me with my ticket which is G463. They are only on G325 at this point so I figure I have time to kill. The bitch of the matter is I got lucky when I got there and found a parking spot which is no simple task. The DMV has about 200 spots and about 400 people are in the building at any given time. I get the test done rather quickly and proceed to drive around for a half hour until another spot opens up. I get back in the building and they are on G375. Hey great, I've made pretty much no progress.

Fast forward an hour and I am about 25 spots away from getting this taken care of when I finally believe there truly is a God...and he hates me. The fire alarm goes off. I am sitting in a chair about 5 feet from the exit and I proceed not to move until told to do so. Hell, I'm a gambling man and I place the odds at about 100 - 1 that this is a real fire. After a couple of minutes one of the clerks yells at us, "The fire alarm is going off. What is wrong with you people! You have to get out of the building!" What's wrong with us? We've been waiting here for 2 hours while you see 4 people an hour at your station. I don't see any smoke or flames my ass wasn't going anywhere until yours did. We proceed to make it outside and across the street where I bake in the 109 degree sun for 15 minutes until they determine it was a false alarm. We get back inside and I finally get my shit squared away and pay the state $155. The whole DMV system is enough to put the most even keel person on tilt. I commented to wifey via text that I am surprised you don't hear about people going postal at DMV's and shooting the places up. It sucks all the way down the line. You have to wait forever, you have to pay way too much, and then you take it out on the people that work there. Or, if you work there, you deal with the same shit day and day out for however many years until you retire. It's enough to drive anyone insane. Anyway, I'm legit now so no fear of getting pulled over with my unregistered vehicle with Jersey tags on it anymore.

Wifey has been getting toothaches and went to the dentist today. He told her she needed to get a root canal. This is her second one. WTF? He is going to fit her in today and the out of pocket expense is $500. Again, WTF? He works at a hospital for Christ sake, she should have the best insurance around. I hope she isn't in too much pain afterwards because we have a comped room at Bally's tonight. Hopefully a little proseco and time away from the cat will work wonders for her. Actually, I just hope she can eat tonight because I want Maggiano's lobster ravioli. Chinner after chinner around here. No poker this week, Chuck and family get into town on Tuesday so I have to make sure everything here is in order. Can't let the real world think we actually live like this.

Have a great weekend everyone and I'll get back to my exploits soon. Talk to you then

Monday, August 3, 2009

Thought Of The Week 8/1 - 8/7: Living Right


When you do something for a living like play poker, it opens up many avenues for you in your spare time since you are your own boss. Like yesterday, instead of playing on Sunday during the football offseason (something I should be doing since I won't be playing Sundays once the NFL kicks off) I decided to head down to the M Resort, sit at their draft beer bar, and drink while watching the Phils and playing video poker. Fortunately I won a little cash while drinking for free and unfortunately the Phils lost. However, I know to video poker to be a leak. It's something I should only partake in after I have consistently proved I can win money week in week out playing hold'em. I knew this was not "living right" and it's something I am going to be working on from this point forward. Rebecca deserves better from me. Getting tuned up once in a while is ok, doing it on a frequent basis like I have been for quite a while is not. In the following I am going to detail the things I feel like I should be doing off the felt so that when I do sit down and go to war everything else in my life has been taken care of. I keep telling myself I am capable of living the life of my dreams, meaning achieving success at poker while getting in great shape and maintaining an awesome relationship. I have 3 Cantonese symbols on my right lat which are supposed to represent my mantra on life. They state desire, devotion, and discipline. Desire represents that thirst you can't quench. It used to be for me becoming the best possible soccer player I could be. I had this mindset that if I wasn't training, someone else was, and when we met on the field he would get the better of me. So I trained constantly. In the offseason in high school, I would come home, change, and head directly outside to train with the ball until my mother would call me in for dinner. Nowadays, poker has taken over, though lately I have not been training the way I did when I was working on my soccer skills. Every morning that I wake up I need to be reading chapters in books or articles and forums on the internet to help me to improve my game each day. If I do that, I know I will be able to consistently beat the tourists for a real profit and I will be able to beat the locals a majority of the time as well. This leads me into devotion. Devotion to me means each action I take has to point me in the direction of success. So I need to keep reading and taking notes. I need to discuss hands with my friends from back home and the compatriots I am meeting out here who are also trying to do this for a living. Devotion is the burning desire in action. Finally, discipline means keeping on that path and not going astray. Discipline is what I have been lacking for quite some time now. It also means playing enough hours to make a living, playing at the right times (read: a night,) and playing in good games and getting out of bad ones so that I maximize the time I have available to me.

Off the felt there are many things I want to accomplish to better my quality of life.
  • First, I need to quit boozing. Period. It's ruining my health. Once I put the bottle down, I need to pick the weights up and start hitting the gym on a regularly scheduled basis. As my health improves, I know my stamina will increase giving me an edge in late night sessions when others' concentration will start to slack. Hand in hand with this is eating right. Right now I eat like shit. This needs to change. I will start eating lean meats and fresh veggies.

  • I need to go to church every Sunday morning. Whether or not I believe in God has yet to be determined. However, I do enjoy the lessons and teachings of the Bible. I do not necessarily agree with the Catholic Church's societal views. However, I can mentally separate the two. Besides, going to church makes me feel good and I know somewhere my grandfather is watching me and it will make him proud as well.

  • I need to complete my final project for my master's degree. This is something I am going to strive to do this week. No more putting it off. No more when I speak to my folks will I have to skirt the issue. Completing this program and graduating with honors will make my parents so proud. Even if I am discouraged with working in sports after my experience with the Camden Riversharks minor league baseball team, completing this degree to the best of my ability and graduating with honors is something no one can take from me. I want that piece of paper on my wall.
I think this is a good start to getting back on the right track. I will focus on these 3 things off the felt and I know by doing so everything in my life will get better. I'm going to keep in mind what I used to tell my patrons at the gym when they were working on losing weight or gaining muscle. Focus on progress, not perfection. I plan on making some progress this week. I'll keep you posted.