Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Multiple Updates

Farewell Online Poker

Let's backtrack up to this decision.  Last week I was able to get out of the house. I spent money, played some slots, played some video poker, played a few tournaments at Sam's Town and cashed in a couple of them, and had fun getting out for the first time in several months. It was so enjoyable that when I tried to return back to online, whatever small appeal that it may have had previously, was gone. Because of that, because of getting out to Sam's Town definitely stoked the fire for live play, and because of the fact that my disability is increasing because of the widower's benefit that came through, I have decided that I will be getting out of the house more  and I will be restricting my poker to live play only.

Longtime readers of this blog will recall that I have tried to do this a few times in the past, but then again that was before the increase in the disability and let's face it, although I did try previously with just a few buyins here and there I always had to return to online. This is not to say that I am going to have an overabundance of money each month, only a few hundred dollars which I will explain the financial situation in the next paragraph, but I will be getting back into the free Nevada Poker Bar League again and playing that a couple of times a week in which they have a fairly significant freeroll every 6 to 8 weeks or so, and playing tournaments at Sam's Town maybe a half a dozen times a month and if I happen to cash in them I will be playing more of them.

No matter how you look at it even though I don't get around very well I will be getting out more and I think that is more healthy for me. Yes, I may have to stop and rest every block that I walk, and just to get from the bus stop to get across the street I may have to stop and catch my breath a couple of times, but at least I will be out there socializing with other human beings and to me this can only be good for me not only psychologically speaking but who knows maybe physically as well, that remains to be seen.

Financial Update

As stated earlier beginning November 3rd my disability will be going from $829 to $1,425 an increase of $596. I will not be able to enjoy that entire amount because I found out that with the increase in income my medical expenses will be increasing by approximately $234 per month. That $1,425 will actually be $1,291 because the first $134 will be taken out to pay for my Medicare Part B premium. My prescriptions will be going from $8 to $47 each so it is what it is. I will be increasing my food budget slightly,  increasing my credit card payments by a small amount, and I will be buying a monthly bus pass from now on because I also found out I can never drive an automobile again. In order to get a license in the state of Nevada you have to have vision of 20/40 in at least one eye and I have 20/60 in one eye and 20/200 in the other.  Anyway here's the rundown of the finances as they will be.

($455) Rent & Dish/Wifi
($171) Bills
($260) Meds/Walmart
($45) Monthly Transportation
($60) Misc
$300 left over/monthly

I'm  thinking of discontinuing one of the inhalers that my pulmonologist has me on because it only increase my breathing capacity by 5% over the span of three months and quite frankly $50 a pop per month is not worth it for 5%. If I do so that $300 will increase to $350 left over except once every few months I have to get my rescue inhaler. With my new Part C insurance that is taking effect in November I have to find a new pulmonologist because my current one is not part of the network. This does not exactly  break my heart because I was considering  finding a new anyway. However, I digress. As you can see with $300 a month left over and transportation already taken care of except for those instances where I decide you utilize Lyft to get me home from Sam's Town or some midway point that would leave me definitely 6 tournaments a month that I could play at Sam's Town. You have to figure that I am going to spend a few dollars at my league games if for nothing else than to have a drink while I'm there.

On a good note the increased medical expenses will not take place in November and they might not even take place in December but nothing is sure that latter point, but at least for November I am going to have a decent amount of extra money for myself and I am going to utilize that specifically.  for November I should have about $600 left over and I am getting a new prescription of eyeglasses and also buying myself a new Galaxy J3 cell phone. I'm going to meet up with a friend of mine who I have chatted with for a couple of years that lives here in Vegas but we have never met in person yet and we are planning on grabbing some dinner and a movie together so that should be enjoyable as well.

Disability Update

I received an update form from Social Security asking if my medical situation has remained the same, improved, or gotten worse since October of 2015. My health situation has gotten worse, but these update forms are always a little nerve-wracking because disability companies and Social Security has a habit at times of not taking all available information and making snap decisions without all the facts. I've got a friend of mine sometime back had a good portion of their disability taken away, but it was because the disability company they are involved with had only talked to one or two of their doctors and not all of them. They were able to get it straightened out, but it took nearly two months in the process. If that happens to me I'm going to be homeless and sleeping outside because I don't have any money in reserve to get me through a few months of the process like that. I did a little Google search and according to Social Security only 2.5% of those update forms get referred for a full I think they called it a CDR review and considering that I am going to be 50 years old very soon and they can see the doctors that I'm seeing and because quite frankly they been paying for it I don't think I have too much to be worried about but let's all keep our fingers crossed that they don't do something stupid.

I'm always a person that likes to prepare himself for the worst-case eventualities and I talked to my buddy and roommate ManInBlack about the whole thing. I had asked him, if God forbid the worst case scenario were to happen and I ended up getting my disability discontinued for awhile and ended up having to lose my spot in the house and sleep outsidefor a while if he could stash some of my stuff in his room. Things that I wouldn't carry around in a backpack like files, extra clothing, pillows and blankets, that sort of thing.

I told my bestie and roommate ManInBlack about what was happening and what the situation could result in and I did so because I wanted to ask him a favor that if that did in fact become my reality if I could stash some things of mine in his room that I would not be able to carry around with me on a daily basis in a backpack. My thought was my files and extra clothes that I would not be able to take with me, blankets, pillows, that sort of thing and fully expected for him to tell me that he would be willing to do this. However, instead he looked at me and he said to me,

"You know if anything like that were to happen there's no way I'm going to let you sleep outside. I would lend you the $400 a month rent that you need for however long it took until things got straightened out."

You could have knocked me over with a feather. Never before in my life has somebody offered to potentially help me in such a way. I was almost speechless, could barely utter the words thank you, and damn near had a tear come to my eye that's how I moved I was. I still can't believe that if that situation were to happene that somebody would be willing to do that for me. I don't even feel I'm worth such generosity, but let me tell you something ladies and gentlemen, that is one hell of a friend.

Medical Update

As for the medical part unfortunately the fact of the matter is I have gotten worse since October of 2015. Since that time my breathing capacity has gotten worse and last appointment with the pulmonologist I was only at 67% of capacity.  I also need to see a heart doctor because I am experiencing a lot of heart palpitations at various times with intermittent PVCs, preventricular contractions. I could just be laying down ready to go to sleep and the inside of my chest feels like it's shuddering and in addition any exertion is racing my heart in what's called tachycardia so a cardiologist is going to be in my somewhat near future. Of course if you put me on a medication that will be an additional $50 a month and which case I'm definitely just continue in that one and they are just to even things out.

I saw a back surgeon and he told me that yes I am going to need back surgery in the future, but we're not going to do it now. He also told me I have to lose a lot of weight before I could have any type of surgery, but I have what is called grade 1 anterolisthesis of the vertebrae L5 on S1.  What it means is my L5 vertebrae is slowly slipping. When the surgeon took one look at the MRI, even though it's 14 months old, he told me straight out you cannot walk very far and you cannot stand for very long at all. I didn't even have to tell him he told me what I was going through.

I also have a bulging disc on vertebra L4 through L5.  which means A spinal disorder in which a bone (vertebra) slips forward onto the bone below it and I have a grade 1 spondylolisthesis of L5 on S1 resulting in moderate to severe bilateral neuralforaminal stenosis which means severe foraminal narrowing, or stenosis, occurs when the foraminal canal — the space next to the vertebrae that allows the nerve roots to exit the spinal canal — narrows due to age or another spine condition that has protruded into the empty space of the canal. Gee...... thrilling.  Along with arthritis in my knees and shoulders and a torn right shoulder, the surgeon told me that I have arthritis in that lower back and one of the vertebrae is pressing against the nerve. Man I'm telling you this guy was nothing but a barrel of laughs with his medical report, but as I have said many times in the past and it may be an overused expression, but it is what it is and all I can do is try to deal with anything that comes my way. I refuse to surrender, I refuse to give up, and I refuse to let anything keep me down permanently. 

After talking with some cousins on Facebook it turns out that early-onset arthritis apparently is something that runs in the family. The body may be giving me fits but my mind is still ultra sharp and I think poker has a ton to do with it as a matter of fact I think I read one place that poker players have a lower incidence of dementia and Alzheimer's but I can't swear to that. However if true it does make all the sense in the world and the fact that my mind is as sharp as it is is something I am extraordinarily thankful for.

Well that's a wrap up for now. I'm going to be starting my league games this upcoming Thursday and I will start playing Sam's Town on Wednesday the 4th unless I need to rest up from activities on the 3rd. The fact of the matter is when I go out for a day or two sometimes I need to rest and relax for the next couple of days this is why only playing half a dozen tournaments a month is not any great hardship to me because it's not surprising if my body won't allow me to play more than that. Maybe it will maybe it won't, but we will see what there is to see. I'm actually looking forward to getting out and about again and dealing with real people again in-person socializing.  I mean we as human beings we are social creatures and being locked up in my room for the last couple of years was not healthy, but it was the only real choice I had considering the money available. That's all for now.  I will definitely update you sometime in the beginning to middle of November I would imagine so until then take care everyone and I'll see you at the tables.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Ready For October

Overall my cash game experiment was a success. I played them online for over a month and in excess of 25,000 hands and ended up making in the neighborhood of $70 or $80 in earnings, but with massive massive swings sometimes 5 buyins in a single session. As usual, and this was no surprise, I find the cash games very boring at times and have to have a tournament also being played in order to even remotely stay focused on these cash games. I know it doesn't make a whole hell of a lot of sense, but if I have a tournament going it makes playing the cash games at least bearable because without the tournament going, quite frankly, they practically would put me right to sleep.

I did prove to myself that returning to my style of play would lead to earnings. The earn rate that I made in those 25,000 hands of so was not huge, but with the fluctuations of variance it would go high then it would come down, go high, come down, go high, come down, and you need 100,000 hands to find out what your true earn rate is if for no other reason so the earn rate numbers aren't going up and down by factors of god-knows-what with every session.  I don't care for No Limit cash games, as I stated in the previous paragraph they bore me to tears, but the fact of the matter is that if I am able to earn money from doing it then it's something that I need to do because by not doing it, it's going to take me longer to get to my next goal.

I guess we should touch on that. My current goal is an account balance of $1,200. If I can obtain that then I will withdraw $600 and go see what some live play offers thus keeping $600 online which is 100 buyins for the $3 deepstack rebuys, and/or 60 buyins for the $10NL cash games, and/or 30 buyins for the $20NL cash games.  Pick one or all of the above because they all apply. Withdrawing $600 and heading out for live play will give me the opportunity, now that Autumn is here and the cooler weather is starting to come back and I actually can get out of this house again, the opportunity for some tournaments at the Golden Nugget, maybe at tournament at Aria, some $3/$6 limit Hold'em games at various places around town or just hanging out downtown or on the Strip or whatever I want to do on any particular day.

Now for some big personal news that is going to change my life for the better in a financial way. According to the lady that I talked to at Social Security, my disability payment will be increasing beginning in November by $596 going from $829 a month to $1,425 per month. This is a huge increase for me and while I know that $600 to most people per month is absolutely nothing, to me it's immense. I am getting this because I'm qualifying for the widowers disability benefit because my wife was permanently disabled as I am and we were married for over 10 years when she passed away. The lady at Social Security told me that if I had turned 50 three months later than I do at the end of October, I would not qualify for this.

Now, this does not automatically mean I actually have $600 extra per month. Because I'm on disability as you might imagine I get certain help from the state of Nevada considering I'm only getting $829 a month and I do believe that that assistance will go bye bye. The major issue as you might suspect is medical. Right now the state of Nevada pays the Social Security Premium of about$145 a month for me. Also the co-pays for my prescriptions will go from $8.25 to about $45 a month each, but the lady at Social Security told me there may be another program to check into where I perhaps could still get assistance on the medical stuff, but even if I can't, I estimate that this will be an increase of approximately $300 a month net clear and for that I am extraordinary grateful. It turns out that my late wife left me an inheritance that she never even know about it, but I'd give up every penny in the world if I could have her back in my life again. One day we will meet again.

So I have been basically taking some time off to end September and will be picking it up again starting October 1st. I ended up making a little over $100 since my return to WSOP on what admittedly was sporadic play so I'm pretty happy about it. I am doing one more final deposit on to WSOP on the 3rd of September and after that money that I want to put towards poker will be kept offline.  I am planning on putting $80 on so that I'm essentially starting October with $350 which should be more than enough for the $10NL tables and a few of the $3 deepstack rebuys each day, but I'm making a personal rule that I have to have a bankroll above $300 to play the tournaments. The key to tournament play will obviously be earnings from the cash games. Hopefully when tournaments are going bad cash games will be going good and when cash games are going bad tournaments will be going good so that for the most part I am showing steady increases.

I will not be going out anywhere socially in October because of a lack of extra available money which as I related to you should change starting in November, but this will give me the opportunity for some serious grinding. Getting started with the 9 a.m. tournament and a couple of tables of the cash games I plan on playing from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. at least as far as cash games go. I think 12 hours is plenty. If I go beyond 9 p.m. it's either because I'm either on very juicy cash tables or I'm still holding my own in the 7:30 p.m. $800 guaranteed tournament.

That's basically all of it in a nutshell gentle readers. Still two more days off from poker and then back to the serious grind beginning on Sunday. That's going to wrap this one up for now. Sorry I went so long in between entries, but I wanted to find out just what was going to happen with the cash games before reporting in on it. I will try to bring more entries and updates during the month of October as to how things are going. Until next time take care everyone and I'll see you at the tables.

Bankroll:  $350
Goal:  $1200
Progress:  29%

Friday, August 18, 2017

Home Again To Stay

I am back home again online poker speaking. I withdrew $160 to bitcoin which I am waiting to hit my checking account on Tuesday and I am back on WSOP again. I have come home and never to leave it for a different site again. Somebody from Twitter  who's  privacy I shall protect, offered me a PayPal loan so that I could get some money on WSOP and I have to wait till Tuesday and to this person I just want to say thank you so very much.

I just could not stand ACR anymore, but one thing I did do was make me appreciate WSOP all the more on a variety of levels the least of which would be deposits and withdrawals to say nothing about the game play nor availability and circumstances. All day and night long on Tuesday they never got one table of $10NL full ring going and they only had two tables of $5NL full ring going and never could get a third one started. Oh they had plenty of 6-max, but their full ring games were non-existent unless you wanted to play $25 or $50 tables. Their tournaments with the amount of people they pay out are freaking ridiculous.  When you compare the two sites and a $350 guaranteed prize pool on WSOP is paying more up top than a $500 guaranteed on ACR there's absolutely no question where I want to be back at. I am back on WSOP to stay. The fact that I mentioned anything or even had any knowledge about the cash tables being available and not available that obviously deserves an explanation.

This goes back to the fact that I recently purchased a new HP Stream laptop through my Fingerhut credit. As I was cleaning out the photos I had on my old laptop which I now use as a backup just in case anything were to go wrong, I came across a screenshot I had taken and although I didn't look at the precise date it must have been back in December 2015 or January or February 2016. The screenshot showed earnings of about $165 at $10NL on WSOP in 10,000 to 12,000 hands. I went back and looked at the posts that I wrote during that period of time and came across these these little gems.

"15,692 hands played and total profits at the $10NL tables of $274.62"  

"that brought me to over $308 in earnings at $10NL and thus I have now earned over 3000 big blinds at this level"

"the last 8 sessions I show earnings of $213 covering 13331 hands in a mix of $10NL and $20NL"

"table earnings at the cash games in total was $355.17"

Why after those two months did my cash game results go down the sewer. What was I doing back then that I stopped doing or that I changed??  What was different between then and almost every attempt since then. It doesn't make sense so I went into a deep deep think-tank about it and I realized what had happened was I had received multiple points of advice about playing cash games and although I was doing quite well, since cash games was not my primary forte, I went with what I felt were the thoughts and opinions of my more learned peers and I started doing things that went completely against what I felt I should be doing a not be doing and the results over the next nearly 18 months more disastrous. I won't get into details because I know people at WSOP read my blog and I will be back at those $10 tables again, but suffice it to say it involves completely opening up my range, building up parts with draw instead of playing it cool taking free card and calling certain hands raises with certain hands that completely goes against my instinct such as AXs lower than ATs.  For whatever reason, and I may just chalk it up to pure temporary insanity  with a bit of longevity to it, I continued on with this from February 2016 and for whatever reason never realizing that the changes in my game because of the advice I got and took was what put my cash game completely into the sewer.  

Don't even ask me why I never made this connection before, don't ask me why that sporadically for the next nearly 18 months every attempt at cash games was a freaking disaster and I never put two and two together before now, don't even ask me these questions because I don't know the answer. The only guess I have is that I guess maybe I'm just somebody that needs to see something in front of me before it clicks. I guess I just never thought about it and part of that reason was probably because of a lack of hand reviews on my part which should be something you're always doing when losing to find out why you lost and I have not done that much. The bottom line is the advice that I was given was dead wrong and my style of play is what works for me. It would probably be considered quite unorthodox by many of my readers who are regular cash game players and so be it. Their style of play works for them and mine works for me. The question was what would happen if I try some cash games going back to my old ways.

Before I left ACR I tried some of the cash games and I was an overall winner and about 3,000 hands believe it or not. Yeah yeah I know it's a small sample size, but it's the first time I've been in overall winner in 3000 hands and 18 months. Even though I and took a small loss at $10NL, but the primary reason for that was a few big pairs that got cracked but more importantly having Queens full of jacks against an opponent in who had flopped quads and that cost me over a full buyin, but overall going back to my style of play did turn a profit. 

I left ACR with $160 because of probably some foolishness on my part. I was hoping to build that amount up a little bit so I played a session of $0.40/$0.80 Stud8 and never saw so many draws in my life not come to fruition and I ended up dropping about 50 bucks. That was slightly painful but I decided I was taking that $160, and getting the hell out of Dodge, and going back home where I belong on WSOP. Once the money hits my account on Tuesday I will pay back my $75 loan put the rest of that transfer on WSOP and essentially even though it's not on there now I essentially started the evening of Wednesday August 16th with $150 online. It is a far cry from the thousand dollars that I had planned on waiting for, but I am glad that I did it. Being back on WSOP I am more convinced than ever I can turn this year around to a half decent profit considering the first seven and a half months have provided ($6.20) in total losses combining online and live play and $21.26 in those stupid Bitcoin fees which I will never have to worry about dealing with again. Some people may say that I never should have left WSOP in the first place, but the fact of the matter is sometimes you never know just how good you have things until you venture somewhere else.

So , I'm back home on WSOP, yada, yada, yada, but what to do now.  The minimum cost for the tournaments for me would be $6 a pop not exactly a great idea to do with only $150 which cannot be replaced until the very earliest October and I have no desire to go the next month-and-a-half watching TV and maybe playing some games on my phone on a daily basis with nothing else to do. This has to be protected. It's like John jawanda said about a big stack in a tournament it should be nurtured and treasured and protected or something along those lines that's not an exact quote, but the same thing can be said about my miniscule $150 bankroll. A plan is most definitely needed.

The smallest non-turbo non satellite tournaments now available at WSOP are the $3 deepstack rebuys which cost me $6 each so I can't play those just yet. Going back to my old style of play in cash games to be quite frankly I don't have the nerve to take $157 and risk playing $10NL without proving myself step by step so that's out. Sng's I'm not interested in because the only NLH  SNGs that seemed to go off with regularity are turbo so forget that and the other option is PLO8 SNGs which only have 8 minute blinds and do not go off enough to make it worth my while so that's out. So, what does that leave me. I hate the thought of even uttering these words, but that leaves me starting out grinding $2NL cash games. Yeah, you read that right, $2NL cash games.......... 

To be continued..........