Supernova and then not much else

Apologies for the drought in blog entries. I did indeed make Supernova on Feb 28th. Pretty awesome. Lost money doing it: Not awesome. Well technically I still won money from rakeback / bonuses. The last 2 days of the month were absolutely brutal. Dropped $2500 very quickly. Serious ski jump graphs. I can’t wait to run good for a month now. :)

My plan was to earn 10k VPPs the first 3 days of March and then enjoy my friends company for a long weekend. Well, I basically hadn’t taken a day off since Christmas so I skipped the first 3 days of March. Craig, Chris and Art showed up for the weekend, and we gambled pretty much non-stop, I mean – except for when we were drinking. lol. Craig arrived one night early and we hit O’Shea’s for some Blackjack. Apparently Harrah’s has decided that the recession means players should get screwed so Blackjack no longer pays 3:2, it’s now 6:5. Serious LAMENESS. But to make up for lost money, we got beads instead. Here’s Craig modeling with a super ninja pose, and all of us heading out for the 2nd day. Someone looks a bit tired. :)


As usual after a little warm up blackjack, Art headed straight for the Pussycat Dolls Blackjack tables in Caesar’s. $25 per hand minimum. Craig joined in and soon all 4 of us were at the table. The dealer was pretty good. In the end we actually got her to show us the next card coming off the single deck. That’s always a plus. Of course, she made up for it in tips, and I’m not certain it really helped in the 2 or 3 times we saw it. Afterwards we wondered if perhaps they are allowed to do this to gain more in tips, have people stay longer, etc. But I doubt it.

The other interesting game we played was Blackjack Switch. You get two hands and can switch the top 2 cards. Great advantage to the player so of course they changed the rules: Blackjack only pays even money (ok, no biggie) AND all bets are a push if the dealer busts and has 22. This rule sucks. However, the dealers deal Blackjack 95% of their shift and as we found out most of them don’t remember this new rule and actually pay out when they bust whether they have 22 or not. Advantage player! Between the four of us in a few hours we took several thousand off the casino. Not bad at all.

Craig was going to stay a couple extra days, but his wife called and she went into early labor (a month+ early!). They tried to stop it, but no avail – he was on the first flight out the next morning, and baby arrived about 16 hours after he got home. Crazy! Congrats Craig and Shauna!!!

Ok, so they leave and I’m exhausted, so I don’t play poker for a few more days. This trend continues for a few more days and suddenly it’s March 22nd and I’ve only played 13k hands. To make things even a bit harder I dropped from 200NL to 100NL to work on my post flop game more. My preflop game is doing very well, but I was losing too much money post flop especially when I’m out of position. This is harder because I earn VPPs slower. Instead of about 1 every 2 hands, now it’s 1 every 3 hands. So I have barely over 4k VPPs in March. Time to get my ass in gear.

The good news is that I’m crushing the games so far this month. Winning actually makes it harder to put in long sessions. So I’m hoping to make this week a bigger week in terms of playing. In either case, it’s looking like I’ll just need to earn about 100k VPPs per month for the rest of the year. Vacation? I don’t think so. :)  My other option is to just put in a lot of volume and work on my game, and then go for Supernova Elite next year. But that decision is a ways off yet. Still have plenty of time.


the chase is on…

February is almost over. Where did it go? Oh right, I remember – poker. And lots of it. I’ve played every single day this month. That’s 140 hours and 150k hands (with 18 hours and 20k hands to go in the next 3 days). Wow. Lately I’ve been earning 10k VPPs every 3 days. I’ve started to prefer to play in the mornings, so I’ve altered my sleep schedule to be up a little earlier (like 8-9am). That way by noon I’ve got half my play in for the day.

The past few days have been brutal. I didn’t have the motivation to finish my required 3333 VPPs one day, and finished about 1100 short. So that meant a long day the next day to catch back up. Today until about 1pm I was dealing with our 1 year home warranty work. It wasn’t much but I couldn’t play at all, so I had to crank it out this afternoon and evening. To add to that I decided to return my 2 24” monitors I had bought so I am not able to play as many tables as easily. That will be resolved shortly when my 2nd 30” arrives. :)

In any case, I finished today and crossed the 90k VPP line and purchased my last “Stellar” reward. Stellar rewards are basically free money during the first 90k VPPs ($1000 in total) spaced out in $10, $50, and $100 increments. Next goal is what took all of last year: Supernova. I’ll be there by 9pm on Feb 28th. My plan is to then crank for a few more days until March 4th when Craig, Art, and Chris come to town to live it up Vegas style. I hope to get like 2 hours a day of play in but somehow that will likely not be realistic…unless I don’t sleep at all for four days straight.

Once they leave, I’ll need to earn 3k VPPs per day EVERY day for the rest of the year. Obviously I’ll be earning more than that on some days so I get weekends and holidays, but that’s what it will take to reach Supernova Elite. Sounds crazy. I may well be by the finish line.

In other good news, I’ve been breakeven for my last 50k hands, which is a definite improvement over the learning curve landslide that happened in the end of January and first half of February. Since SNE is worth well over $100k, being breakeven in play is just fine (although I’d obviously like to be winning in play too). But for Year 1 of SNE, breakeven would be perfectly ok with me.


Supernova again (so soon?)

Apologies for the drought in blog entries. It’s been an exciting last 7 weeks. It all started when I had asked someone online a few questions about their desk. (It’s a Biomorph desk and costs about $2500.) I’m still considering buying one since I sit here about 6-8 hours a day. The current non-ergo one isn’t going to last much longer. In any case, a lot of people on the online forums are just jerks if you haven’t been around as long as they have. However, this guy answered my detailed list of questions and then some. I sent him a thank you and said if he ever needed scripting/coding help to let me know.

As a few of you know, I continue to use my coding skills to write scripts that make playing poker easier. I obviously never have the scripts play my hands as that’s against the rules. However, things like joining waitlists, sitting down, buying in, clicking the timebank button, etc. are all allowed and make playing much simpler. I’ve made a little money from this by adjusting the scripts for others preferences and setting it up on their system. Anyway, back to the story…

About a month later, I get an email from this guy saying he’d like some scripting help. So I help him out, and we start chatting a lot. It turns out he’s trying to earn 4M VPPs this year, which is pretty sick as it would be the all time record. However, that’s like 12 hours a day with ~30 days off in the entire year. Insanity. Anyway, it turns out he’s a great player and coach. I finished up with my old coach and was looking for the next level up. There was a lot of scripting work I could do to help him speed up his playing, making sure he was always on 24 tables, etc. In return he would teach me to shortstack. Shortstacking is when you buy in for the minimum amount at the table (usually 20 big blinds). While many people think this eliminates all postflop play, it doesn’t (just ask my ski slope red line). So we wrote up a contract and signed it.

At the end of December when I had surgery and was trying to get Supernova, I was also spending a significant amount of time writing scripts for my new coach (Kevin). There were a few days where I put in 15-16 hour days. He was going to the Bahamas on Jan 3rd and I wanted to make sure he was completely up and running by then. I pretty much finished. I continue to do small updates and optimizations, but things are running smooth. In less than a month, I had already spent 100+ hours writing scripts for him. It’s making a huge difference though. Instead of playing 13 hours a day, it’s more like 10 hours a day now. And that matters, since he’s also on chemo right now. Did I mention the insane part?

So back to me. My plan as of now is to get Supernova Elite (1M VPPs). In essence the first goal is to just become breakeven at shortstacking and get lots of VPPs (since these are like money anyway). If I can breakeven (or even be a slight loser) and earn Supernova Elite, I will crush my earning goals for the year. SNE is worth well over $100k. But that means I have to break even at least. :)

Learning a new style of play is always difficult, so I dropped back to a single table and started on Jan 7th. It took a while to get back up to 6 tables, and then 9, and finally 12 by the end of January. But I made it. And this is what it looked like (green line is actual, orange line is what I should have made according to odds):

Jan As you can see, starting out, things went pretty well, and then I found the Olympic ski jump. Then I basically broke even for a long time and found another ski jump. I hate ending the month like that. I did manage to earn 19k VPPs in January (which isn’t bad considering I earned most of them in the last week).

So I’ve continued to learn and get coached and have been running bad a little too often for my liking. My best day looked like this:


which was unfortunately followed the next day with this:

Feb9 And that pretty much sucked. Part of the way into February I actually had a 4k VPP day, which is incredible as last year that would have taken at least 2 days, and now it only took about 8 hours. So SNE is becoming reachable. The downside is that I am BEHIND for the year because I didn’t really start going full speed until February. So my goal is to be Supernova by the end of February (yes, this took my all of last year lol). At the end of February I’ll be behind by roughly 61.6k VPPs. Then it’s time to crank out the VPPs in March. I will likely be shooting to earn 100k VPPs from March-November and not work at all in December. My goal is to get my work schedule to a 5 day week where I put in a good 6 hours with 18 tables. This should be enough to get my to SNE once I’m caught up.

And life always wants to make things a bit harder…I’m sick now, have friends coming in early March, and plan on starting P90X after my friends are gone. So in roughly 3.5 months I should be ripped, healthy, and well on my way to SNE. (Oh yeah, and hopefully not broke.)


Supernova FTW

Finally!!! I made it. The surgery certainly made this a bit more challenging. Not to mention I’m doing other poker related work that needs to be finished up before Jan 4th, so I’ve been pretty busy. I’m ending the year with 100,001 VPPs. I purchased my $800 bonus, and now have glorious red status stars instead of the boring platinum color which I’ve had for a long time. WOO HOO!!!image

In December, I earned 28,691.39 VPPs. Whew. That’s 168,730 hands in 153.18 hours. Whew. The hardest part is that I have been running badly. I think out of the 7 times I got all-in preflop today with pair over pair, I lost 6 of them. Ugh. You definitely see more of this when you play more hands, but lately the odds are running a little short for me lately. Hopefully 2010 will be better!


longest day this year

I’m pretty sure today was the longest day I’ve played. After the surgery, I’m trying to do a little catch up. I was easily making 1000 VPPs per day, but missing a few days messed that up. However, today I put in a whopping 9.96 hours, earning 2275 VPPs by playing 12419 hands of poker. Not bad for a guy with three stab wounds in his abdomen. The bad news…I basically lost 7.5 buy-ins doing so.

However, I finally broke under 10k VPPs to go!!! WOO HOO!!! 9686 left. I will make this. And hopefully I’ll still profit in December too. lol

Merry Christmas to everyone. Have a safe and happy holiday!!!


Appendectomy appendix

Or should I call this the API EPI (as in Appendix Epilogue). Well, the last few days have been quite interesting. On Thursday, I had a normal day, played a lot of poker to get my 1000+ per day VPPs as I’m still on pace for Supernova. I went for a 2.3 mile run during the day – it was like 60 degrees here – very nice. The internet connection went out around 11:30pm so I was watching a few poker videos I had downloaded. Around 1:30am, my stomach felt upset, and I decided to go to bed.

However, I couldn’t fall asleep because it kept hurting. I spent the next 4 hours trying to lay in any possible position I could, walking around the house, wishing I could throw up, and moaning in pain. I finally decided to call the nurse hotline. They said either go in now, or wait a few hours and if it still hurts, then go in. So off to the ER I went.

The ER is only about 3 miles away, but it felt like a cross country road trip to get there. No one else was in the waiting room, and I signed in right away. About ten minutes of waiting and a nurse with a New York accent came out to get me. I walked back and I was feeling worse. She was taking vitals and I asked if I could have a cold rag because I felt like I was going to pass out. She said something like “let me just get these done and then we’ll get you what you need”. Yep, that was her mistake. About 20 seconds later I announced “I’m going to pass out”, my eyes rolled back and I started to pass out. The nurse started rubbing my chest saying “stay with me” with her New York accent dead center in my face. Apparently another nurse walked in, looked at the heart rate monitor and said “Is that his pulse?” Now, I’m no medical professional, but I can only hope she meant that rhetorically given she was looking at a pulse monitor machine.

I’ve passed out a few times before in my life and frankly, it’s not that bad. Actually it’s pretty fantastic. When you wake up 15 seconds later, you feel as if you’ve had a complete night’s sleep. After not having slept in 24 hours at this point, I was all about feeling like I had slept.

Try as they might, I passed out anyway (thankfully – imagine that feeling you get right before you puke – sweaty, icky…now imagine if you just kept feeling that way instead of just throwing up…yeah, I thought you’d want to throw up too. :) ), was transferred to a gurney, and when I awoke, there were 8 people around me (both doctors and nurses). One was shaving spots on my chest for an EKG, others were applying wires, putting in an IV, and attaching me to oxygen and another heart rate monitor.

Apparently my pulse had dropped from 109 or so to 43 when I passed out. Wowsers. I was hooked up to monitors and one of them would beep anytime my pulse dropped below 50. So basically I’d start to fall asleep and this thing would buzz and wake me back up. They eventually lowered the alarm to 40 but that was as low as they would put it.

The nurse then came in and gave me drugs. I don’t know about you but I’m not really a fan of doctors, dentists, hospitals, drugs…you name it. I’ve never had any hardcore drugs…until now. She told me what she was giving me, one was for nausea. I said I wasn’t nauseous, and she said “you will be with the morphine”. She said the morphine would tense me up for a little and then make my body feel heavy. In it went, and sure enough…tense for about 15 seconds, and then it literally felt as if every square inch of my body was being pressed into the bed by elephants. Forceful elephants at that. I couldn’t lift my head off the bed. Very interesting sensation.

The other thing I had to do was drink about a liter of cranberry juice mixed with something that would show up in the CAT scan I was scheduled for in about an hour. It tasted fine and was easy to do. Off to the CAT scan. She did two test runs and then said she was going to inject Iodine. Time for more strange sensations. She said this one would feel cold and then I’d feel warm all over. She got the first part right. And I suppose I did feel warm all over, but primarily I just felt like I was peeing all over myself. I’d have bet money on it. But after the scan, I was indeed still dry. Whew. I mean, come on, passing out and peeing yourself in one day…that’s just overkill.

Back down to the room to wait I went. We waited quite a while, and I tried to stand up to use the bathroom (which at this point is a plastic container). Ever try to pee laying down – it’s not as easy as it sounds. However, standing up, I almost passed out again. Made it back into the bed with about 3 seconds to spare as the alarm started blaring and my pulse once again dropped to the 40’s.

Finally the doctor comes in. “Well, it’s not your appendix.” My thoughts went something like this “Fantastic – no surgery. Wait. Shit. Is it something worse?” He basically said it was a virus and that was that. Ok. However, I hear him out on the phone using my name talking to the radiologist. Ten minutes later he comes in and says “Actually, something didn’t feel right so I took another look and it’s definitely swollen, so it needs to come out.” WHOA! Gee thanks for making sure before you tell me. I hope this isn’t a frequent occurrence for him.

They call the surgeon and I wait. Transfer person (read: dumb blond who yells on her cell phone and has no regard for caring of patients) comes to get me and moves me to the OR waiting area. Well, after I was taken to the wrong place on her first try. Like, duh. The nurse comes in, asks me to sign papers, then comes back and has me sign them again as they had the wrong doctor doing my surgery. (I sure hope whoever does the surgery does the RIGHT surgery. Sheesh.) Finally the surgeon arrives, talks to me for 5 seconds, and then into the operating room I go. In goes the general anesthetic, and I am out. No memory until…

I feel two nurses holding me down and all I want to do is turn over because my neck is killing me. Apparently I had a death grip on one of them. I slowly come to and get some ice chips. The nurse is basically trying to get me out of the hospital as fast as possible which I thought was a bit strange. As it turns out I was right. I was supposed to be checked by another doctor before I left who called me at home and is filing an investigation and taking it to the CEO.

So I head home – quite the painful bumpy road. Getting the prescription filled is even more complicated as it’s not completely filled out. Back to the hospital – the nurse says she can’t do anything, then just writes in the prescription. Back to the pharmacy and obviously they won’t accept it (breaking the law if they did). Back to the hospital to have a “discussion” with the nurse which ends with the nurse finally giving up the doctor’s cell phone and then back to the pharmacy to get it filled. Enjoy your job while you have one Mrs. Nurse. It won’t be long.

Back home and I’m doing okay, except my neck and shoulders have a ton of pain which doesn’t make sense to me. Oh, and it burns when I pee. Things they didn’t tell me: You’ll have a catheter in during the surgery; and we blow air into your stomach to inflate it so we can see the appendix better. This air will sometimes irritate the nerves and cause pain in your neck and shoulders. Gee, that’s great to know…a little late though.

Oh, and did I mention that I have an awkward looking half shaven chest with what appears to be 3 stab wounds? I was going to post the pic…but thought I’d just describe it in case you are eating lunch. I’ll have to make up a pretty good story to explain this one the next time I’m on a beach somewhere.


Down to the wire

Well, it’s been a brutal week. My graph is full of spikes. As soon as I win a buy-in, I proceed to lose it back. Last night, literally seconds apart. AA vs. KK all-in preflop and my Aces hold (first time all day unfortunately). On another table, I have 88 and the flop is 478. We get it all in on the flop and he of course has 56, and the board doesn’t pair. I ended up basically breakeven for the day, but it was pretty wearing. I played almost 10k hands and knocked off 1472 VPPs, which puts me back on my 1k/day pace (less than 15k left to go!!!).


Less than 25k to go!!!

I just officially passed under 25,000 VPPs to go. WOO HOO!!!


November report

Well, my first month of 50NL is over. And I’m up almost 21 buy-ins at the new limit!!! It started out with about a 20k hand breakeven stretch, which definitely doesn’t help motivate me to play. After that I gained momentum and had a steady climb for the entire month, which was great. This month actually pulled me out of the negative cash game hole I’d been in for the year. Finally. (Most of my winnings were from tourneys in the early part of the year.)

Here’s the graph of my month. If you look closely, you’ll see a lot of stretches that are breakeven followed by some fast climbs, only to breakeven again for a while. Variance definitely has some to do with this, but me not winning enough in hands that don’t go to showdown is also a culprit. I’m working on it.


In other news, I decided about ten days ago to go for Supernova. This entails earning 100,000 VPPs (player points). At the limit I’m playing, I earn one about every 5-6 hands I play. Thankfully I have already earned about 65k when I started. It’s basically a 1k a day grind from here to the end of the year, which is currently taking 6-8 hours per day. Every day. I’ve been pushing a little the last week to give myself a few days off (oh gee, like Christmas and New Years maybe :) ). As of right now, I have 25,572 left to earn.

My first day of December really sucked. In the first 30 minutes of play, I ran JJ into KK twice on boards with undercards. Then I flopped two sets, but my opponents both turned straights, then KK vs. QQ all in and Q hits the river, then KK into AA. Yuck. You can see I held it together for the most part after that, but it was a depressing day. Nothing like finishing a great month and then losing big to start the month, especially when I’m having to put in so many hours. This is the downside of Supernova – you can’t stop playing when you normally would. However, my second day of the month started great. I was up more than I had lost after my first two hours, but lost some of it back through the rest of the day. That felt much better.


Because I’m putting in so much volume (basically 18 tabling a lot of the day), I won’t be able to focus on improving my game as much as I have been, however, when January arrives, I’m going right back to fewer tables and getting better so I can move up in limits again. Or at least get my red line to breakeven all the time instead of being a ski slope. :)

Back to the tables…


what my day looks like

I figured I’d post a pic of what I look at when I play for those of you who don’t play poker. The left monitor is my 30” and the right is a 24” turned on its side (although the whole monitor is obviously not shown here). And yes, I was actually sitting at all of these tables when I took the pic. :)