Rally Time

I have had enough losing. It stings. It’s not profitable. And it is counter-productive to everything I am trying to accomplish in life.

Wednesday night I had another losing session at Bellagio. I had played $4-8 and $10-20 limit. I didn’t find much success in either game. My recent trend of losing from ahead was not erased by moving up games. It was amplified. My favorite loss of the night was somehow losing J-J to J-10 on an A-K-K-3 board when the other player rivered a flush.

I drove home in a funk. I was mad at myself for another losing session. I was trying to run through the hands in my head and figure out where I could have played better.

I woke up still thinking about last night’s losing session. As I do first thing every morning I went through my social media (feel free to following me on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram) to check out the latest news and photos. It was on Twitter that I saw this:

philhellmuth_tweet

The best player in the world had lost $21,000 and I was upset about a few hundred bucks? I decided the only thing I could do was stay positive and play through the losses.

I would make a couple of small changes — game selection and site. Instead of driving down to the Strip or to the Orleans to grind out low-limit hold’em I would switch to no limit. I also decided to play closer to home, option for the much shorter drive to Green Valley Ranch.

The change paid off in immediate results. I only played 2:21 this afternoon, but I profited $210. It was great to finally break that seven-session losing streak.

Current Bankroll: $1,043

Here We Go

In November for the first time in my life I was laid off from a job. Even though I saw it coming, it’s still something that doesn’t really hit you until it happens. When you’ve worked steadily for the past 26 years it is a sudden shock to be without a regular paycheck.

But I am embracing this opportunity. I have been working for the wrong reasons anyway. I was working for a paycheck. I was making just enough money to live. Only that is not living.

Every business in America is basically a pyramid scheme. The top guy (i.e. the owner) makes all the money while everybody else makes a lot less. I’ve worked for three different millionaires and a Fortune 500 company in my lifetime. The only person that made any real money in those companies were the owner or the president (often the same person).

Dream-Job-SignThe only way to ever make any real money is to work for yourself. So that is what I am doing now.

I am resisting the temptation to go back to any job that will tell me what time I have to come to work, what time I get to go home and how many vacation days I am allowed. That is just not for me.

Do I have a firm plan in place? No. I don’t want one. That is part of the adventure. I know I can deal a little poker at various tournaments. I definitely can play poker 24 hours a day in the beautiful city. I have an apparel business I work part-time out of my garage. I want to get more involved in selling stuff on eBay and Amazon. I want to get back to volunteering.

Is it a little scary? Sure. I have a mortgage. I have bills. I have health insurance. I have a beautiful new baby on the way July 28, 2014. But I refuse to cave into the fear. I know I can do this. I know how much revenue I need to make each month or over the course of a year. My retirement is now controlled by me through a brokerage house.

Doyle Brunson, The Godfather of Poker.
Doyle Brunson, The Godfather of Poker.

I played poker for seven hours last night. Playing $4-$8 at Bellagio I started the year off with a losing night. But somewhere in my past I read something that Doyle Brunson, The Godfather of Poker, wrote about winning poker players. He said (and I am sure I am paraphrasing) don’t measure your success by the day, the week or the month. Winning poker players only measure success by the year.

So I started out a $164 loser yesterday. But those seven hours were more enjoyable than any hour I have ever had at a job.

Good luck to all of us in 2014.

Previous bankroll: $1,000
New bankroll: $836

Five Things You Don’t Know About Las Vegas

I love everything about Las Vegas. The Strip, the casinos, the weather, the scenery, the tourist traps, the dives, the traffic. This is where I wanted to live for last 10 years in Kansas City. It’s where I have lived for the past 3 1/2 years.

A popular setting for movies (The Hangover, Vegas Vacation, Oceans 11, Mars Attacks) and television shows (Vega$, Las Vegas, CSI Las Vegas), many of the tourists who come to Las Vegas think they “know” Las Vegas.

Here’s five things you don’t know about Las Vegas:

1. Las Vegas is small. When you are flying in or driving in to Vegas at night and see all the lights, Las Vegas seems huge.The metro area boasts more than 1.9 million people according to the 2010 U.S. Census. That makes Las Vegas a little smaller than Cleveland and Kansas City, a little bigger than Indianapolis and Nashville.

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2. The Bellagio is not in Las Vegas. Nor is Mandalay Bay, MGM, Aria or The Mirage. The Strip is not part of Las Vegas, but rather part of three unincorporated towns — Paradise, Winchester and Enterprise, Nevada. Paradise, Nevada, is actually the largest unincorporated town in the United States with a population over 200,000 people.

3. It’s a desert out here. All of Las Vegas, as well as parts of Utah, Arizona and California lie within the borders of the Mojave Desert. It may be hot in Las Vegas, but the Mojave Desert’s hottest spot is Death Valley, Calif. The hottest temperature ever recorded in the World happened in Death Valley, when it reached 134F in 1913. (thanks, Wikipedia).

4. We are kind of popular. Las Vegas boasts one of the 10 busiest airports in the United States. The city attracts more than 30 million tourists a year, and a lot of them fly to get here.

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5. The oldest casino in Las Vegas is the Golden Gate. Located downtown on Fremont Street and opened in 1906, the Golden Gate (then Hotel Nevada) is the oldest casino still in operation in Las Vegas. The casino operated before gambling was prohibited (1909-1931). When legalized gambling was restarted in 1931, the Golden Gate brought the tables and slots back out of storage. (source: Golden Gate Casino).

Now come on out for a visit. What happen here, stays here.

 

2013 Poker Gets Off To Rough Start

So my hopes of getting the 2013 poker season off on the right start took a bit of a hit opening weekend. I managed to dump a few c-notes on the tourists at both Bellagio and Monte Carlo.

I started the afternoon off Bellagio. One of my favorite floor people in all of Las Vegas runs the middle limits there, and I had not been in for a visit in awhile. On the fence on what I should play I decided to jump into a 10-20 limit must move game. Took a seat with my five stacks of nickels ($5 chips) and never got going in the right direction.

I came in as the big blind and got to see my first hand (7-9o) for a check. Sure enough the flop was 8-10-2 rainbow. I went check-call, check-call, check-check to the river with my up and down straight draw only to have my 10 high hand lose to a jack high hand. Ugh! One hand in and I’m down $40.

Within two hours I had dumped $400. There was a little bad play in there and certainly some bad luck. Lost a few bets with K-K to a 10-5c on a J high board. Flopped a flush with 4-3h out of of a check in the big blind. Flop was A-K-J hearts. Lost to a A-Qo when the turn and river went K-K.

I did see my buddy Devo (pro poker player Bryan Devonshire) playing 20-40 Omaha upstairs at Bellagio and got to exchange a few pleasantries. That was the highlight of the night.

After my friend Ben Devlin joined me at Bellagio I took my final $98 from the table and we made our way by tram to Monte Carlo. This is what you do when you are a middling grinder. You look for games with tourists that you can beat. And you go to places you wouldn’t normally go to play poker.

MonteCarloPokerRoom
The card room at the Monte Carlo casino.

I like the room at Monte Carlo. You can tell the staff is trying to make poker a good experience there, even if Monte Carlo is probably no better than the 12th choice of most Strip tourists. I should have gone to a no limit game, but after my $400 beating at Bellagio, the 2-6 spread limit game with Ben seemed like a better choice.

At first it was. Flopped top pair, rivered the nut flush against a guy playing 10-5 (payback for the Bellagio guy) for a decent pot. Raised max with A-K. Got two callers. Flopped a king high rainbow. They both folded. I was up $50 over my original $100 buyin the first 15 minutes at the table. I was felted 90 minutes later. That’s poker.

It did put a bit of a damper on the start of my 2013 poker season. But the year is long. I’ll bounce back.