Yes, I’m behind. And there’s no Day 4 because I took Wednesday off. So here we are.
The day off (it wasn’t a proper day off, as I did do some studying, but no playing) was nice. Emily and I had brunch at a cafe in the nearby town of Val-David. When we ordered, the server was friendly and patient with my limited French. I commented to Emily that she seemed to understand that my French was poor and be helping me along with simple words and phrasing, which I prefer to the approach more common in Montreal where people just start speaking English. It seems like out in the mountains many people still have learned English but are far less comfortable with it.
Anyway, just to prove me wrong, within minutes of my saying that the server returned to the table and said something long and complicated very quickly. I told her, “Sorry, my French is not great”, by which I meant only that I needed her to rephrase and speak more slowly, but she responded with, “Ah, OK, I am not so good in English but I will try.” And then she apologized that she’d forgotten to put our order in and it would still be a little while. Of course we were understanding, but probably she was nervous which was why she’d started speaking quickly.
Elsewhere, people were somewhat less friendly about it. I went with Emily to help her get a season pass for the regional park, and was prepared to conduct the entire transaction in broken French, translating for Emily when necessary. The woman switched to English when she saw me doing that, but she was kind of grudging about it, and made a comment at some point that, “It’s very hard for me, in English.” Which, again, I didn’t have any expectation that she speak English, only that she be patient with my French.
The grocery store is where I’m at my most comfortable, partly because not much speaking is required but also because I’ve got my routine down. Yes, I need a sac plastique. No, I don’t have a carte Métro. I’m sure it’s obvious that I’m not a fluent speaker, but it’s a perfectly fluid transaction. So after doing all of that in French, the woman looks at me over the rim of her glasses and says, “Thank you” in English like she’s caught me in some dirty secret.
There’s a nice bike path that runs through town called “Le P’tit Train Du Nord”, built on what used to be a railway. It’s very well maintained and quite popular in the summer. We got a few smiles while out on the trail but it was surprising how many people would pointedly avoid eye contact or even just stare without smiling when you gave them a little wave or head nod. So maybe it wasn’t the English, maybe the Quebecois just aren’t a friendly people (that would certainly accord with stereotypes I’ve encountered in the States).
PokerStars has gotten a lot of criticism since Amaya took over (including from Talal Shakerchi). I think much of it is well-deserved and they are mostly full of shit when they try to sell changes that are obviously designed to increase rake as being “good for the game”. That said, their shift towards Progressive Knock-Out Tournaments does seem to be good for the game (if also good for Stars’ bottom line). These events routinely get way bigger fields than comparable Freezeouts at the same buy-in level. And at least for now, people play them badly.
I found myself in a rough spot early on, after cold four-betting Kings and getting a nightmare flop:
PokerStars – 300/600 Ante 75 NL – Holdem – 9 players
Hand converted by PokerTracker 4: http://www.pokertracker.com
UTG+1: 88.29 BB (VPIP: 25.32, PFR: 17.39, 3Bet Preflop: 6.25, Hands: 237)
MP: 64.14 BB (VPIP: 23.91, PFR: 13.04, 3Bet Preflop: 6.67, Hands: 92)
MP+1: 75.05 BB (VPIP: 20.87, PFR: 16.67, 3Bet Preflop: 10.53, Hands: 207)
MP+2: 74.09 BB (VPIP: 20.65, PFR: 15.22, 3Bet Preflop: 6.82, Hands: 92)
CO: 86.02 BB (VPIP: 21.59, PFR: 14.77, 3Bet Preflop: 9.30, Hands: 88)
BTN: 85.29 BB (VPIP: 21.74, PFR: 13.04, 3Bet Preflop: 4.88, Hands: 92)
SB: 90.07 BB (VPIP: 20.52, PFR: 14.66, 3Bet Preflop: 7.43, Hands: 888)
Hero (BB): 78.3 BB
UTG: 109.01 BB (VPIP: 16.16, PFR: 10.20, 3Bet Preflop: 7.14, Hands: 99)
9 players post ante of 0.13 BB, SB posts SB 0.5 BB, Hero posts BB 1 BB
Pre Flop: (pot: 2.62 BB) Hero has Kh Kd
fold, UTG+1 raises to 2 BB, fold, fold, fold, fold, BTN raises to 5.94 BB, fold, Hero raises to 18.52 BB, fold, BTN calls 12.57 BB
Flop : (40.66 BB, 2 players) Jc Qh 5s
Hero checks, BTN checks
Turn : (40.66 BB, 2 players) Qd
Hero bets 12.2 BB, BTN calls 12.2 BB
River : (65.06 BB, 2 players) 8d
Hero checks, BTN bets 54.45 BB and is all-in, fold
BTN wins 65.06 BB
I may have overreacted to seeing a Q and a J on the flop, because CREV still thinks I should get the money in (a result that is, admittedly, sensitive to the assumption that Villain has a lot of AK in his range). I do, after all, have only a pot and a half in my stack upon seeing the flop. CREV also thinks flop is a mix but mostly a bet. Again, there’s a lot of equity to be denied to AK. It’s important to keep in mind that even with my blockers, there are 8 ways to have AK and only 6 ways for Villain to flop a set (I’m comfortable assuming he never has 55).