Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Unleash the Wrath

I realized today that paper towels work much better as toilet paper than toilet paper works as a paper towel.

I have decided to install a ratings system for my blog.  This decision has arisen as the result of my hatred for self-censorship (as I'm sure many of my friends - and haphazard acquaintances - can attest to) and desire to allow anyone to access my blog.  If you want to read it you are more than welcome to, but be forewarned: if there are topics you don't want to read about, don't read them.  Once I have warned you of said topics I release myself from all responsibility and you are not entitled to judge me for them.

Consider it evidence that the court deems impermissible.  And besides, I take it on myself to not judge others as I wish they would not judge me, or at least aside from the massive tools that deserve vehement judgement.  "Do not judge, and you will not be judged.  Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned.  Forgive, and you will be forgiven." (Luke 6:37).  Leave it to the half-jew, half-christian to break out some scripture.

If Google circles had taken off, none of this would be necessary.

The following content will currently dictate a rating of FA (For Forgiving Audiences Only):

S: This blog may contain un-Saintly material that could be found offensive to the viewer.  This will apply mostly to those few people in my life that still have a completely uncorrupted view of me (thank you Grams and Gramps...and don't worry, I am still a saint).  This really doesn't mean anything particularly vulgar or sadistic, but I do drink.

L: Quite simply, Language.  I somehow managed to go my entire first blog without a single word of profanity, and I find that quite remarkable given my everyday vernacular.  This may be that for some reason while attempting to display literacy my brain subconsciously substitutes my typical F-bombs, F-bombs, and more F-bombs with words that border on social acceptability...I'm not entirely sure.  Either way, I want to put this in there just in case my brain does at some point revert to normalcy.  I had a really easy chance to just drop the F-bomb in here Will Ferrell in Anchorman style, but as you can see I'm better than that.  Still not doing it.

M: A majority of people will have no problem with this one, as the M stands for Money, but it might as well stand for Mom.  Mom, if you see the M, stop reading, I know you can't stand to hear about my money situation or the variability of income in poker (even if my income is extremely stable...when I'm working).

P: Because I have a wide variety of people reading this blog, I find it appropriate to warn those of you who will find a blog that emphasizes Poker very heavily as occassionally some of my blogs will just bore the crap out of you.  Poker is, of course, my job, and it being such, I will often find it interesting to write specifically about.  I know that doesn't mean you'll necessarily find it interesting.  What is the opponents range here when he 3-bet jams the JT3 two-suit flop after I min-raised his c-bet?  Exactly.  (It's almost entirely strong wraps + flush draws or A-high flush draws + pairs or sets and a small percentage of spewy two pairs or...)  (Exactly)

J: Lastly, my favorite letter of all, Jealousy :p.  If viewing the letter J, the blog may provoke massive amounts of jealousy and perhaps even (but hopefully not) resentment of me and my life.  This, in no small part, is for the benefit of 40-year old Brandon, who, looking back 15 years from now, will almost certainly look at these blogs with a myriad of emotions, no doubt dominated by jealousy.  My life right now is allowing me to do some pretty exceptional things, see some really incredible places, and meet an extremely diverse and remarkable group of people.  I love it, and I hope you do too.

And now we bring ourselves to the title of this blog, Unleash the WRATH...which happily, is another acronym.  We are, of course, assuming that the above is the natural acronym SLMPJ, with which I will not even attempt to create at least pneumonic scheme as we might the planets (but seriously, why couldn't you just remember the goddamn planets, was I the only 5-year-old who studied and made notes about the planets - Mom, you can verify).

I find it very important to make goals in poker as it has always helped me in maintaining motivation and the ability to see things in the long-term...a HUUUUUGELY important thing in poker.  The problem with poker is that in order to make realistic monetary goals, we really have to set them from a long-term perspective but at the same time, you always want things to achieve something in the short-term, and just playing a certain number of hands or a certain number of hours often doesn't feel like much of an accomplishment.  As such, I have decided to make a couple forms of goals for my two months in Australia.  Firstly, and most simply, I aim to play at least 40 hours a week and a total of 75,000 hands a month (I play about 500/hour when I an running full tables).  But for my monetary goals, I have decided to create a five-tier system, hencetoforth known as WRATH.

If you find it awkward to read about the amount of money I (potentially) make, feel free to skip beyond this acronym, although your need to know what it stands for will surely forever haunt you.  If you think its awkward but find yourself reading on in morbid curiositiy, I hope that you will find the latter completely satisfied and that it overrides the squirming and nervous sweating of the former.

If you notice an asterisk after a word you find confusing and would like to know what the meaning of it is, scroll down to the Layman's Appendix at the bottom.  If you are a poker player and are scrolling down to the bottom, for shame.

W: Worst Case Scenario: $5000.  If I broke even over the course of these two months at the tables, I should make about $5,000 off of rakeback*.  I finished Spain on a very long breakeven** stretch (for me) of about 50,000 hands but found that I was very often playing my B- and C-games as a result of frustration and horrendous game selection.  I just don't think I could ever play 150,000 hands and breakeven, let alone lose money (although I have just now jinxed myself).  $5,000 will at least cover most of the costs of Australia and I will make it out of here alive.

R: Reasonable Assumption: $10,000.  This would translate to a simple 3bb/100*** winrate if I can get in 150,000 hands at .5/1****.  Even if I didn't game-select at all or the games went to shit I should still be able to win 3b/100 in PLO cash against a bunch of regs.

A: Aspirations: $15,000.  I don't really like the use of the word aspirations here, but it is at least semi-synonomous with goals...I just find the connontation too positive.  6bb/100 would be decently below my lifetime winrate at .5/1 and 1/2 PLO cash, which has been around 8-12bb/100.  6bb/100, however, was about the winrate I was sustaining over the last month and a half of my time in Spain and I feel like this is my most realistic goal...although I don't want to use the word goal, because that betrays my 5-tier system.  But I need another word besides aspirations...

T: Tremendous (Great Success!): $25,000.  For me to achieve this I would need to get off to a great start at .5/1 PLO and maintain it while I start to mix the 1/2 tables back in.  1/2 has a tendency to tilt me and that coupled with my somewhat deficient bankroll will likely make it difficult for me to work a lot of tables in quickly.  I could see myself making about $7k in February and making $10k+ in March pretty reasonably, but it will be tough for me to make much more than that in February unless I get off to a real hot start.

H: Hopes and Dreams: $50,000+.  These are, quite literally, hopes and dreams.  I don't doubt for a minute that I have the ability to make this kind of money in terms of pure skill, but it takes a very big bankroll to be able to play the stakes required, and I just don't have the money right now.  But we can always hope ;)...maybe I'll play a Sunday MTT***** session or two and bink one.

So there you have a rundown of what my hopes and expectations are for the upcoming two months here in Australia, at least from a poker standpoint.  I'll post again real soon to update on how amazing this place is...because it is truly amazing.  I ran around our apartment like a little girl for 15 minutes when we first walked in.  Excuse the sexism.  A little girl who had just gotten a brand new pony with a massive pink ribbon on top (that hadn't been shot by Ben Stiller).

And as usual, I leave you with a song, inspired by the title...and that last word should be Dada if it wasn't cut off in an unbelievable way.

And a little sneak peak of the beach that's a 10 minute walk away:


The Layman's Appendix:

*Rakeback: Poker sites take rake from all real money tournaments and cash games ran on their site.  In tournaments, this typically starts with 10% of the tournament's buy-in ($10 buy-in + $1 rake appears as an $11 tournament).  For cash games, this typically is 5% of the pot up to $3, once the pot is greater than a certain amount, usually around $2.  All sites give some sort of rakeback to players, which is a percentage of the rake they have given to the site returned to them at a later date.  This is typically around 25-40% of the rake you have paid, and can be higher if you are a very high volume player.  So if I receive $2500 in rakeback in a month, I have usually paid the website about $5000 over the course of the month (33% rakeback(don't worry, this is accounted for in my winnings, but it is gross to think about(right number of parentheses))).

**Breakeven: This means that I am totalling a net-zero off of the other players I am at the table with, between them and rake taken, prior to receiving rakeback.

***bb/100: Big blinds per 100 hands.  All games (cash games and tournaments alike) require the posting of blinds****** or antes by the players in order to incentivize playing hands.  The size of the blinds and antes determines what stakes you are playing (or in the case of tournaments, what blind level you are at).  Cash game players judge their win-rate based on the number of big blinds they win for every 100 hands they play.

****.5/1: These numbers represents the blinds for the games being played.  In this case, the small blind is $0.50 and the big blind is $1.

*****Sunday MTT: MTT stands for Multi-table tournaments, meaning a tournament that has multiple tables worth of players and (almost always) plays down to a single winner.  Sundays are notoriously the best days to play, as they bring out the most recreational (and thus bad) players.

******Blinds: Money put into the pot prior to the dealing of the hand, typically by the two players to the direct left of the dealer.  The player one to the left of the dealer posts a small blind, normally 1/2 of the big blind, who sits directly to his left.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

I Can't Sleep

I never realized how overwhelming it would be to start a blog on here.  There are so many decisions to make.  What do I want my font to be for the title?  This is the first impression you see of me...what impression am I even trying to make?

In typical fashion, I have done about 1/3 of the blog design setup and postponed the rest for a later date.  1/3 might be a generous estimate.  Considering it took me 6 months to fully decorate my rooms in the last two places I lived in, I wouldn't hold my breath.  Side note, for some reason using the word decorate brings to mind imagery of unicorns and glitter.  I did not decorate my rooms with unicorns and glitter.  Mostly just ponies and Hello Kitty.  Unicorns aren't real!

I have always enjoyed writing.  Some of you have gotten a glimpse of what my blogs are like back from the PartTimePoker days but in typical fashion, I haven't posted on there in a year and a half.  Inspired by my good friend Youngman Brown's blog, I have decided it is time to once again pick up the pen, and share with the world my awe-inspiring thoughts.

Plug time!  For all of my many readers out there who enjoy reading blogs of people they don't know but have a great sense of humor and writing style, I suggest you check out his blog.  My personal favorite post: http://www.youngmanbrown.com/2012/01/how-to-e-mail-professor.html.

So we'll consider this post a brief re-introduction into the random musings of my mind.  I don't know how much I'll post on here, but I hope that I can keep this up at least a couple times a month.  Aim low, and you will rarely be disappointed.  What I will say is that I like to be a very open and honest person and I will try to exemplify that with this blog.  I am often embarrassed by the choices I make but never ashamed...ok, rarely ashamed.

Two nights ago I went to see an Avicii concert in Madison, WI.  We went to bed at around 3 am, I can't be sure as to what time it was as I was preoccupied with stuffing a calzone into my face, and that apparently precludes me from obtaining time awareness.  Side note, I wanted to find a way to turn time into a word ending in "-al", like season into "seasonal," but couldn't come up with anything.  If you think of a good one, let me know.

You'd think after a night full of dancing and heavy drinking I would get a good nights sleep.  You'd be mistaken.  I woke up at 8 am ready to shoot out of bed, excited about the night before and experiencing my body's now-standard reaction to heavy drinking, launching into attack mode a full three hours before I ever normally see daylight.  I left for Vegas later on that day (i.e. yesterday) and arrived in Vegas around 10 in time to get in a quick workout, eat a quick brownie, and go back and talk about our (my and Eric's) upcoming plans for Australia.  You see, in 3 days now, Eric I leave for Australia to live in Byron Bay for 2 months and I...am...giddy.  So we ended up talking until like 6 am and then throwing on Louis C.K.'s "Hilarious"...which lived up to its title and then some.  I had never been much of a fan as I'd only seen him in his TV show but it turns out the guy is legitimately a comic genius.  Finally, 7 am rolls around and its time to pass out.  5 hours of drunken sleep the night before, up until 7 am the night after, you have to assume a good night's sleep is in the cards.  You'd be mistaken.  I woke up at 10 am and was too excited thinking about Australia and other plans.  And thus the title of this blog, "I Can't Sleep."

I recently saw the movie Hanna (which turned out to be a pretty interesting movie and had a great soundtrack by the Chemical Brothers) and in it they define music as "Music; a combination of sounds with a view to beauty of form and expression of emotion."  With this in mind:

So this turned out to be a bit rambling, but such is often the case when you log on just knowing you want to write but really have no idea what you plan on talking about.  In future posts, I will try to use more coherent themes.  I've always been a don't-care-much-for-editing, first-or-second-draft kind of guy, so you can expect more of the same.

Until next time.