Friday, September 20, 2019

Call the circus. We’ve found their missing clown

I read an article recently (and apologies for not posting a link as I just can't find it again) that better players tend to feel unluckier than worse players. The main gist was that anyone paying the wrong price to hit is essentially a worse player, with better players knowing the merits of folding when a play becomes unprofitable. As with all things in poker it's the long term profitability of a play that should be considered, rather than the short term outcome. But worse players will pay unprofitable prices to hit draws and will mathematically make those draws a fixed percentage of times, making them the "luckier" player, albeit that they will lose money over the long term if they make the same play every time.

Whilst I certainly don't consider myself a "better" player I probably fall into the unluckier category. I know this is all in my head but it always seems to be me on the bad side of another player's unprofitable play. Or maybe that we're all programmed to remember the negatives over the positives as, in evolutionary terms, a negative result is a far worse outcome than the reflective positive would be on the flip side. An example would be wild berries - it's far better to be cautious over strange food as a positive result only temporarily staves off hunger whereas a negative result could potentially be fatal. But anyway - I'm rambling.

I'm new to the table and have only just ordered my first beer when the players directly to my right and left get into an all in situation. The player on my right flips over a 4 high flush draw on the turn and the player to my left already has a full house. No idea of the preflop action but it's an early indication of the "any two will do" attitude that the player on my right possesses.

It's my first time in the blinds and I look down at Kd-Jd and I call a raise from MP and we're 4 way to a flop (the other callers are the button on my right and the BB on my left. Flop is K-J-2 with 2 hearts. I'm going to check raise this but the preflop aggressor elects to check although the button throws out a half pot raise. I raise and the only caller is the button. Blank on the turn and I bet enough to put the button all in - he snap calls. Fuck. Has he got a flopped set? River is a queen but not a heart. He turns over 10-9 off (no hearts) for a rivered inside straight. Errr - ok. So you've got your whole stack in with 4 outs? Clown.

I get some money back from a different player when I flop a set of 8s to beat his pocket queens but I just can't seem to pick up a hand against the clown on my right. He's playing virtually every hand and really doesn't seem to know what he's doing. Which is great for the table as he's donating chips left, right and centre. But unfortunately non back to me.

About an hour in to my session now and the clown has switched seats (I have showered today so I'm not taking it personally!) and he limps UTG. There's another couple of limps and I look down at J-J. This is the session immediately after my epiphany over how to play Jacks (detailed here I raise to $25 and the clown is the only caller. It's a 7-2-9 board and the clown donk leads for $30. He only has $50 or so behind so I shove and he snap calls. Blank turn and river and he turns over 7-2 off for a flopped two pair. Utter clown. 

I'm in the blinds holding 6-6 and we're 4 or 5 ways to a flop of 6s-Jc-4s. I lead out and our clown is the only caller. Turn is 9c and I bet again which is called. The river looks safe as it's the ace of clubs - the front door flush draw has missed so again I lead out. Clown snap calls and I turn over my cards. He announces he has the nuts and turns over Kc-5c. So not only has he called with K high on the flop he's not reraised me on the river with the nuts. 

He also gets lucky in another hand I'm not involved in - he limps UTG then calls a raise preflop. Flop is K-2–3 and he check shoves holding Q-4 to go runner runner 5-A and hit a straight against K-K. 

So it's a major disappointment when he leaves, having dropped at least 3 buy ins whilst I'd been sat down but undoubtedly more over the course of his session. 

As soon as he's gone the table starts to talk about him and how he'd basically play any two cards and wouldn't fold if he'd connected slightly with the flop. I'm annoyed that I've not been able to catch a break against him and all that I comment on his play is "I think someone should call the circus as we've found their missing clown". 

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Shower the horse, I’m done

I was driving with the cost centres a few months ago when the youngest asked "Dad, why is she singing about showering a horse?"

Err - ok. I see your mother's batshit lunatic gene is not recessive as originally thought. I obviously don't say this to him - although he knows what genes are I really don't want to have to explain the phrase batshit lunatic.

"What do you mean?" I replied. "On the radio - the words are shower the horse I'm done" he responded. I listened to the song and it's by Anne-Marie and the words are actually "Ciao, adios I'm done" which I explain to my son. But I've since found out it's a common mistake and it's often misheard

The song is a break up song - sung by a wronged girlfriend to a cheating partner who has had enough and decides to end their relationship. And that's where I am at the moment.

If you think I'm going to get all deep and emotional on you please don't worry - I'm as deep as a puddle and am quite happy being that way. It's nothing to do with an interpersonal relationship but I'm starting to know what the singer means. It's my relationship with Las Vegas - and it's an abusive one.

Like all abusive relationships it started out like a fairytale - she dazzled me with bright lights, plied me with free alcohol and seduced me with her promises of wealth gained from hours at the poker tables. 

But as our relationship has progressed I've started to feel like I'm being controlled - she sends me e-mails asking when I'm coming back, she tempts me in with low room rates then tacks on numerous fees at the last minute. Resort fees are going nowhere but up, then to add insult to injury restaurants and bars are now starting to add on concession fees - so I'm paying an inflated price, then being charged a fee to pay an inflated price because we're in Vegas. And finally we come to the pièce de résistance - the reverse guaranteed poker tournament where all entry fees above a certain amount are retained by the casino. What sort of money obsessed organisation would think up such a perverse structure? I'm talking about poker's worst enemy - no other than Sheldon Adelson. I can think of no worse individual for anyone to give money to - he constantly lobbies to restrict online gambling, not for any altruistic or moral reasons but in order to protect his own bricks and mortar casino empire. As an aside he's also a very vocal critic of the 420 movement - not my cup of tea personally but if that floats your boat it's another reason to refuse to frequent his establishments. 

I'm almost stuck in this relationship for the next year or so due to work commitments but at some stage I will have had enough - when I do it will be a case of ciao, adios I'm done. 

But she won't care, I'd be surprised if she even noticed. There will always be another one coming along to fill my place so there will be zero reaction - I would get the same reaction if I offered to shower the horse. But then I’d look like a batshit lunatic and I’m sure that I’m not the carrier of that gene. 

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Haggis hunting and Scottish long necked sheep

There's only 2 real occasions each year that I'm officially off work - whilst I get plenty of time between meeting clients or having any real work to do I'm nearly always on call to answer e-mails or phone calls. I've been sat on beaches or at airports with a phone and laptop in hand numerous times but there are 2 weeks per year that I barely even carry a phone. One is the week after Christmas, the other is my week (sometimes longer but usually around a week) away with my cost centres (children for those that aren't familiar with the phrase - both pre-teenage boys). For the last few years we've always visited family in Scotland but this time we had an extra passenger with us - the new Mrs AC. Whilst I've been seeing new Mrs AC for nearly a year it can often be a couple of weeks between our paths crossing and it's the first time we've spent an extended amount of time together. So the boys know exactly what they want to do whilst away and Mrs AC is visiting the area for the first time.

Now Mrs AC is very bright, but at her own admission she's not worldly wise and is quite easily fooled. She's a city girl and was quite shocked at the ruralness of our location whilst we were away. There are farm fields at the end of the garden of the cottage we've rented and I'm pretty sure it was her first time in the countryside so we (the boys and I) decided to tease her with some countryside facts. Well, by facts I mean stuff that we make up.

Now for years the boys have known about haggis. It's a Scottish "delicacy" consisting of sheep's offal with oatmeal traditionally encased within a sheep's stomach. But since we've been coming to this part of the world we've always pretended that haggis are animals that live in the area and whenever we go out walking or biking in the countryside we refer to it as "haggis hunting".

So on our first day away my eldest cost centre said we should walk the dog through some woods and go haggis hunting. Mrs AC asked what we were talking about and we proceeded to tell her about these little animals living in the woods called haggises. Whilst they live in the woods they are notoriously hard to find but farmers put traps for them and that's why you can find haggis meat at the local butcher. We described them as looking like miniature ewoks and to get the meat they have to shave them before mincing them up in a big block - she hasn't doubted a word we've said and I'm pretty sure she's convinced we're going to see some so she's quite disappointed that after 2 days she's not actually seen one. I tell her not to worry as it's pretty rare to actually see one. When we're in the supermarket she sees haggis being sold so there's no reason for her to believe that we're only teasing her.

Half way through our trip and we're driving next to a farm and they've got sheep, cows and, quite rare for the area, alpacas (or maybe llamas but the rest of this story that's irrelevant). "Why have those sheep got really long necks?" enquires Mrs AC. Without a moment's hesitation the oldest cost centre answers. "They're a special breed of Scottish long necked sheep. It's useful when it snows a lot so the sheep can keep their heads above the snow so the farmer knows where they are". I've laughed so much that I've almost driven the car into a hedge but Mrs AC seems convinced. I may have told him this story years ago and I'm surprised he even remembers it.

So now we're nearly at the end of our trip and there's some nature program on the TV as we're cooking dinner - something about the Andes and they just happen to be showing alpacas which Mrs AC can see and gives the cost centres a friendly ribbing for teasing her to which the youngest cost centre replies "we were only joking - there's no such thing as Scottish long necked sheep. But haggises are real - we definitely haven't made those up to confuse you".

Writing this up from the Eurostar train between London and Paris. Back working this week but we're having a quick tour around a couple of European cities without the cost centres who are now back to school - it's Mrs AC's first trip over to Europe so I've promised to show her some culture. She's going to need some guide books though as I'm not sure how much of that I can deliver on my own!

If anyone wants to make up some "facts" about Paris or Amsterdam please comment below and I'll see if I can get Mrs AC to believe them.

Normal poker based drunken idiocy will resume shortly!