The Return of Av8tion - Poker as an Income Stream

Av8tion

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For those of you who know, I am a cargo pilot who has played poker at mid-stakes for the past decade or so on and off. I moved to Houston at the end of 2017 and have been blissfully ignorant of the Houston poker scene until now, usually flying over to Vegas in order to play. From my initial observations about Texas poker, I have concluded the following:

  • The general level of skill in the state is extremely low compared to Vegas
  • The stakes play 1-2 levels higher in Texas than it does in Vegas (1/3NL here = 2/5 in Vegas, 2/5 = 5/10 etc.)

For these reasons, I have decided to play poker full-time on my days off as a second revenue stream and post updates in this thread. I feel if the journey is well-documented, it will encourage me to stick with it. Also, if I have to explain a stupid decision to hundreds of people online, it will prevent me from doing stupid shit in the first place.

Here's where we will be starting off:
  • I am beginning with a bankroll of $10,000 playing 1/3NL at the local cardroom down the street. I may also choose to play different games as they become available.
  • I will be supplementing the bankroll with my main income stream at the rate of $1,000 per month. This will help offset any major downswings and allow me to shift up to higher games when I feel it is to my advantage to do so.
  • I will most likely be mixing in week-long Vegas trips every other month or so depending on my work schedule. The next confirmed trip is October 3-7th for the beginning of the WSOP.
  • After every session, I will provide details about profit-loss and time played along with any general comments I may have about the day's action. Hand discussions will not be a part of this thread. As necessary, I will be making separate posts for those.
That's about it for the introduction! Here's to hopefully a long and prosperous thread!
 

Highli99

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Good luck! The streams I see in Texas are pretty crazy. Not nitty like vegas. But you can’t always trust streams. Good luck!
 

Av8tion

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Update #1

Played the first Houston poker session yesterday. Tuesdays is their Omaha-Only night, so I'll be taking Tuesdays off from now on because it's not my game. I introduced myself to the staff and created my account there. They were very friendly and walked me through how everything worked. I sat for 1.5 hours at their 1/3 PLO must-move table, playing tight and aggressively betting my made hands to keep draws out. All my pots were won without showdown, and I avoided any of the river-bingo multiway all-ins.

I am leaving a few minutes after posting this message to hopefully get a full session of 1/3NL in tonight.

Starting Bankroll: $10,000

Location: The Hangar, Humble TX

Stakes: 1/3 PLO

Time: 1.5 Hours

Buyins: $500

Cashouts: $819

Result: $319

Ending Bankroll: $10,319

207068739_492917721782740_6380943758018989258_n[1].jpg
 

Darson

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I'm following with interest as you're local! It may be useful to know what your expenses are for playing in these poker rooms. Do they charge membership fees, hourly fees etc? I would subtract that from your bankroll as the cost of playing is a factor - it may not be large but it's there.
 

Rhodeman77

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Following! Looking forward to updates and getting an inside view of how these TX card room really play. The streams seem so crazy that the game shouldn’t be sustainable.
 

Anthony Martino

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Congrats on making the jump and great luck on your journey

I've heard amazing things about games in Texas.

Also, how is PLO "river-bingo multiway allins"?

I assume you mean everyone getting stacks in pre? Would be hard for it to be bingo if it happens on the river
 

Dodger

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Update #1

Played the first Houston poker session yesterday. Tuesdays is their Omaha-Only night, so I'll be taking Tuesdays off from now on because it's not my game. I introduced myself to the staff and created my account there. They were very friendly and walked me through how everything worked. I sat for 1.5 hours at their 1/3 PLO must-move table, playing tight and aggressively betting my made hands to keep draws out. All my pots were won without showdown, and I avoided any of the river-bingo multiway all-ins.

I am leaving a few minutes after posting this message to hopefully get a full session of 1/3NL in tonight.

Starting Bankroll: $10,000

Location: The Hangar, Humble TX

Stakes: 1/3 PLO

Time: 1.5 Hours

Buyins: $500

Cashouts: $819

Result: $319

Ending Bankroll: $10,319

View attachment 729694

Thanks for sharing. Following along and rooting for you. Love this update format, and look forward to more.
 

Av8tion

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Update #2

Today's night of the week starts with a $20 rebuy/addon tournament which I foolishly played in. Sunk $50 into it ($10 entry fee to the room for the day, one buyin and the addon) and didn't last much past the addon break. This doesn't seem like a +EV play for me, so in the future I'm gonna avoid it and come in later when the cash games start up.

Bought into the first 1/3 game to open up and played for 3 hours total according to the seat rental bill at the end. For the record, all fees and such for getting in and playing are built into the "Buyins" column of my daily report. If the table I was at is any indication of how the games are normally run in this room, I should be able to make a steady income here. Players here are crazy, undisciplined, and will play ridiculous ranges while holding on to any pair they hit on the flop as if they just flopped a royal.

As such, I sat back into my usual style of playing tight while aggressively betting my made hands since most of these players overvalue 2nd-3rd-4th pair on the board. I plan to bluff less and fastplay more of my made hands due to the above-mentioned calling station haven.

No real notable hands for the night... all but one of my pots that I won were taken down without a showdown. The only time I flipped over cards was when I snapped off a short stack with ATs on a ten-high flop.

All in all, a decent first night of hold'em... I'm planning to be there at the open tomorrow for their half-price rake special.

Starting Bankroll: $10,319

Location: The Hangar, Humble TX

Stakes: 1/3 NLHE

Time: 3 Hours

Buyins: $750

Cashouts: $1,025

Result: $275

Ending Bankroll: $10,594

20210630_204010.jpg
 
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Av8tion

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Congrats on making the jump and great luck on your journey

I've heard amazing things about games in Texas.

Also, how is PLO "river-bingo multiway allins"?

I assume you mean everyone getting stacks in pre? Would be hard for it to be bingo if it happens on the river
Surprised you've never heard of the term river bingo... it refers to a type of poker game where no skill is involved, and a handful of people put the money in preflop or after the flop with seemingly random cards to "see what happens" on the river.... hence river bingo.

Most commonly associated with 2-4 limit hold'em and 1-2 1-3 PLO games where the fold button is nowhere in sight.

While in theory such games can be beaten, it is far simpler to play the 1-3 NLHE game and get 3 streets of value out of someone who calls you down with 4th pair...
 

Anthony Martino

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Surprised you've never heard of the term river bingo... it refers to a type of poker game where no skill is involved, and a handful of people put the money in preflop or after the flop with seemingly random cards to "see what happens" on the river.... hence river bingo.

Most commonly associated with 2-4 limit hold'em and 1-2 1-3 PLO games where the fold button is nowhere in sight.

While in theory such games can be beaten, it is far simpler to play the 1-3 NLHE game and get 3 streets of value out of someone who calls you down with 4th pair...

I call it preflop BINGO since there is a 1/2 PLO with mandatory $5 button straddle and unlimited restraddles where guys buyin for $200-400 and try to get stacks in before the flop
 

Mr_Y3RAC

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Following as well! Go crush them:tup:

And always remember, there is no right way to play jiggities!
 

JMC9389

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Surprised you've never heard of the term river bingo... it refers to a type of poker game where no skill is involved, and a handful of people put the money in preflop or after the flop with seemingly random cards to "see what happens" on the river.... hence river bingo.

Most commonly associated with 2-4 limit hold'em and 1-2 1-3 PLO games where the fold button is nowhere in sight.

While in theory such games can be beaten, it is far simpler to play the 1-3 NLHE game and get 3 streets of value out of someone who calls you down with 4th pair...
I gotta get myself to Texas.....these NJ games are so tight and sweaty.
 

Av8tion

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Update #3

It's the first of the month, so we start with a $1,000 addition to the bankroll from my normal funds. Today's special at The Hangar is half-price table fees for those who show up early. I arrived right after it opened and had a seat at the main game.

This game got big and it got big fast. This 1-3 game eventually ended up with nearly everyone having a 1k or higher stack with the two big stacks having over 4k. This is where we play a little good news / bad news for all the followers:

The bad news: I was epicly card dead and folded every hand I was dealt for nearly 2 hours.

The good news: With this focus on playing for a living and reminding myself that everything I do has a purpose and will have to be explained to all of you, the gawking rabble, I maintained the discipline needed to fold every hand I was dealt for 2 hours straight. It was also nice to see that even when I played a hand, I still got action even though I would come in for a big raise every time.

Most of tonight's profit came from two hands. A-A I won on the flop for a $400 pot, and I won an all-in with K-K against J-J for about 600. Other than that, the strategy of value-betting made hands, playing tight, and not bluffing seems to be a fairly good combination for the sorts of games I have been running into... play 1-2 hands an hour and rake in pots while avoiding needlessly giving away money.

Speaking of needlessly giving away money, every dealer change begins with a $10 double-board PLO bomb pot. I decided today and going forward that I would sit these out, and I have a feeling that it is a very +EV play to do so, since there is no skill whatsoever in that.

Tomorrow I've got a game night with a Hell Let Loose unit I run, so if I play it won't be until later on in the evening, so I'll have plenty of time to get a good night sleep and prepare for tomorrow's game.

Starting Bankroll: $11,594

Location: The Hangar, Humble TX

Stakes: 1/3 NLHE

Time: 4.5 Hours

Buyins: $900

Cashouts: $1,140

Result: $240

Ending Bankroll: $11,834

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khp

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Why add $1000 monthly?

If you lose $500 but add $1000 a month, your bankroll will eventually be large enough to move to higher stakes.

Why not just say you’re willing to fire x $5k bullets at this and top up if your bankroll ever dips to $5k?
 

Av8tion

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Why add $1000 monthly?

If you lose $500 but add $1000 a month, your bankroll will eventually be large enough to move to higher stakes.

Why not just say you’re willing to fire x $5k bullets at this and top up if your bankroll ever dips to $5k?
I already play in 5-10 NL games in Vegas and even played some 10-20 this last time... the idea is to grow the bankroll as fast as possible. I'm not trying to "climb the ladder" or anything like that. I can already beat the higher games, I'm just looking to supplement my income stream. If I get a big paycheck or have extra cash in a given month, I'll be adding that into the bankroll as well.
 

Av8tion

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You had me at double board PLO bomb pots
Unfortunately for you this place only plays PLO like 2 nights a week, otherwise it's this $1-$3 NLHE which is honestly plays like a mix between 2-5 and 5-10 depending on the night and stack sizes. For example, most hands tonight were either 1-3-6 or 1-3-6-12 with button straddles or the occasional UTG straddle and button restraddle
 
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Av8tion

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A few random notes before I head back tonight....

It didn't take too long to distinguish between the good players and the donators... and even most of the good players are still really dodgy in their opening hand selection and should be exploitable with a more premium starting hand selection.

Players around here universally over-value single-pair hands, especially non-top pair hands on the flop. To them, having K-7 on a T-7-3 flop may as well be a royal flush, and they're willing to put all the money in with it... so bluffing is mostly out of the question. I'll limit my betting actions to made hands and strong draws that I want to build the pot with.

They have a $50 monthly membership structure which will save me a lot of rake fees in the long run, so tomorrow night there will be a small initial investment that should pay itself off by the end of the month... after all I only need to go 5 times a month to break even. Also, they have a rewards card thingy that kinda works like those stamp cards that Subway used to have... every hour you play, you get a stamp on your card that is worth a free half hour of table rental. Exploiting that by sitting long sessions on half-rake night and redeeming them on normal nights should help to add to my hourly rate by a small amount. Sometimes less rake is better!

Many of the players seem to be willing to throw money around for fun. The before-mentioned PLO bomb pots aside, I was able to get the 7-2 game started at the table last night for a couple hours, which always makes things exciting and loosens up the action a little. Honestly, the action didn't really need loosening but it does help to hide my ultra-tight table image to suggest a game like that...

The way the play is around here, my edge is in NLHE cash games... so I'll be staying away from tournaments and Omaha nights because the structure doesn't really seem beatable long-term. If played correctly with enough bankroll padding for variance, the 1-3 game can be an ATM machine if the play continues as it has this first week, especially with some of the donators that are brought in by the small-buyin tournaments who barely know how to play poker but seem willing to throw out a couple hundred a night at the 1-3 table after they bust.

Lastly, since I live 10-15 minutes from the room, I have the ability to analyze the table, and if there are too many good regs at the table and too few donators I can just cash out and come back later in the night or the next day. That's what I did last night... I was ready to make it an all-nighter when all of a sudden the two worst players at the table left along with about $5k... replaced by a couple randoms with 100-200 each. The big stacks were the good reg players, and there were a lot of them... cashout time!

This process of study, game selection, fee optimization, and self-analysis should help to seal off the holes in my game while maximizing my hourly rate from this game. I'm looking forward to seeing what we've got in store tonight since it will be the first weekend game I've experienced here. Hopefully the alcohol will flow and the purse strings will open!
 

BNM

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Interesting thread. At some point, I’d be interested in getting an hourly rate for your winnings. So, your entire time commitment, divided by your current net gain/loss, as a running total. Willing?
 

Av8tion

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Interesting thread. At some point, I’d be interested in getting an hourly rate for your winnings. So, your entire time commitment, divided by your current net gain/loss, as a running total. Willing?
Already part of my excel sheet on my computer. I wasn't planning to add it to the daily updates until I had 100 hours played... otherwise the sample size would be too low for an accurate idea of my true hourly. For the record, it is currently at $92.67/hr
 
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