Friday, February 27, 2009

League anyone?!

If anyone wants to play in the next incarnation of the "Tuesday night long-ball" league, email @ for details. Starts Tuesday 3/3 @ 9 PM.

Great WSOP satellite practice.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Thursday Night HA!!!

So the best laid plans... Well, BBT4 was announced and "Riverchasers" moved from Thursday's to Monday. I never miss a BBT event, so I moved HA to Thursdays.

Please join me starting in March and help me get the word out. Its a cheap $10 buy in and I hope to get some regulars. Thursday night HA!

STARTING MARCH 5th... Tournament #81295191 (03/02/09 21:00 ET)
pw: cigar

Hope to see you there!

There are more Omaha donkeys out there than Hold'em, so consider this an investment in Omaha and Post flop Hold'em play.

Long-Ball Kick da Bucket

Last night was the league finale. I started off with the great tournament curse, but wired pairs in level 1. At one point, I had BACK TO BACK QQ. Not one hand saw a flop. I lost a big hand when I tried to push a weak Ace off a hand, and he called. So I played short stack poker for the rest of the evening, and at one point dug out of a hole with a meager 800 chips. Finishing (folding my way) to 5th was good enough to finish in the last money slot for the season (5th).

I have played tournaments with TAG players, we all have. But I find this league really intriguing because they are ALL long-ball players. I dont see elaborate bluffs, FPS, or positional re-steals. Although I do see some EP stealing short handed. But re-stealing is very challenging because so many times the stealer has something decent and calls. And its hard to push players off hands without a big commitment, something that set me back huge in the early weeks of the series. Because of this, I was actually pleased cashing at all considering I never took down a week. (two 2nds, 3rd, 4th, two 5ths and 6th with 18 or so players).

I can do better.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Cry me a River... Cry me a river. I cried a river over you...

BBT4 starts SUNDAY and due to the large grand prize and smaller fields, its one of the best series in all of low-budget poker.

Last year, I finished a disappointing 21st, causing me to go back-to-school on my long-ball game. Lower field sizes benefit disciplined long-ball players, and sometime halfway through BBT3, I disintegrated and despite qualifying for 2 WSOP seat satellites where the field was only 50, I failed to well in either.

When the BBT4 was announced, I was very excited. I played the RIVERCHASERS event last night (will be part of BBT4 starting in a week) and the field has grown up a bit. I saw Lee Childs there and played at the same table as Rizen.

It was this higher level of competition that afforded me a "moment" to realize that my game has grown since last years collapse.
THE HAND: I raise from EP with AQ and get a quick CALL from the player on my left. The rest fold. At this point, I am about 8th in chips, the guy on my left around there also.
NOTE: I was re-reading my Rizen's book lately and a few hands ago knocked him out when I woke up with AK in the BB (he was short stacked by now). So, one of the things that always impressed me was the way he continually narrowed opponents ranges and understood when "my opponents range just got there".
Ok, back to the hand. Instead of my normal c-bet, I make a probe-check. (This is a FPS where you check instead of c-betting if you suspect that your opponent will see this as dangerous and check behind with anything but a pocket pair.) When he checks behind, I can narrow his range to AJ, KQ and similar hands. Maybe even AQ. I rule out AK because of the pre-flop call. The turn is an Ace and I bet 2/3 the pot and he calls. Ok, his probable holding is AJ. The river is... a J. ANY other card and I bet out here. But now "he just got there" and I have to get fancy again and check. I do this so he thinks I will only call a value bet. I dont want to go broke here, but I think I need to call because he has a great chance of bluffing the river here if he has nothing. but he bets more than I would like. I make the crying call and he has AJ. BUT I saved 1/2 my stack because I understood what was happening.

Not a dozen hands later, this same player will come from behind again. I bet with AQ, he re-raises me and I shove. He calls with KQ. The flop has both an Ace and a King, but the turn is a King and IGHN.

I cant tell you how disappointing a night this was, but I "made the right decisions" and have to take some solace in that.

I am bringing the A game starting with the BLOGGER BIG GAME on sunday...

(I contacted FT and asked to move HA! to Thursdays, in effect switching with Riverchasers.)

Monday, February 23, 2009


Here is the game rotation. (i will have to move my new HA game to Thursday...)

Tournament: Brit Blogger Game
When: Sunday's at 16:00ET
Game: NLHE
Buyin: $5+.50
Password: donkament

Tournament: PPI / Riverchasers Tournament
When: Monday's at 22:00ET
Game: Deepstack NLHE
Buyin: $24+2 or token
Password: riverchasers

Tournament: Blogger Skillz Game
When: Tuesday's at 21:30ET
Game: rotation of non-NLHE games
Buyin: $10+1
Password: skillz

Tournament: The Mookie
When: Wednesday's at 22:00ET
Game: Deepstack NLHE
Buyin: $10+1
Password: vegas1

# posted by AlCantHang

So, again, I will be moving my new HA game to THURSDAY...

Friday, February 20, 2009

Thursday Night HA!!!

Ok, I have been thinking about this for a while, and I really enjoy night tournaments. So I am starting a MTT HA on tilt (Pot Limit HE and Omaha) at 9pm EST.

Please join me starting in March and help me get the word out. Its a cheap $10 buy in and I hope to get some regulars.

STARTING MARCH 5th... Tournament #81295191 (03/02/09 21:00 ET)
pw: cigar

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Utility, the WSOPE and the 27k

I have been watching the coverage of the WSOP-E on ESPN and our old pal Scott Fischman made the final table. Scott is the KING of chip utility, playing extremely aggressive and taking volatility to gain the necessary utility he needs to play his style, which invariably involves firing 3 barrels.

So in the 27k yesterday, I decide I am going for utility instead of a standard long-ball approach. Here are my 4 hands:

My first is where AQ doubles up against AJ (all-in with AJ?) $5k in chips
lots of folding TERRIBLE hands and now the avg is $4500
Then my second AQ runs into KK and I am back at $2500
Three hands later, I double up with 88 vs. AK (now back at 5k)
Shortly there after this happens:
I raise utg with AK and two stacks go all-in (one has me covered).

This is similar to my big vegas charity tournament, only if I am playing long-ball here, its an easy laydown. But with my "Fischman" slant, I call and see QQ and 44.

Now, lets check in with the ancient oracle (skalansky). If I KNEW (could see their cards) they had those hands, was this a good call?

Monday, February 16, 2009

TILT Alert

I cant even think straight. I am folding a flush draw because I don't want to get my money in behind, yet the next hand I watch as my AK loses to another AK with a 1 card flush. I may have to walk away for a few days and reset. I just cant continue like this or I am going to have to hurt myself (or a monitor).

Taking a Pounding

It's time to admit defeat? After a week of 8-mixed, I was DOWN 3 buy-ins. That is a first and it cant be just variance. No, that kind of run tells me I am leaking. As I look through the stats and hands, its the NL/PL games that are killing me, but it also seems to drag down my other games. After losing a big PL/NL hand, my limit play goes into the drink. And despite putting up the best numbers in RAZZ and triple-draw, I have noticed that my losing sessions are showing that I've had to fold alot of hands in these rounds and thus don't generate the normal windfall profits where I am used to getting them. Conclusion? My omaha play and stud play is suspect. Sigh. I guess this means that I will be practicing 8-mixed at the lower levels for a while...

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Wild Wild World of Suckouts

Man, yesterday hit a new extreme in variance. Not only did I drop this pot in PLO:

I raise with AA88 2 suited (spades), MP re-raises (I assume with KKQJ or KKQQ), 2 others call?! So I re-POT. MP calls, and FINALLY the interlopers drop leaving a nice 15% overlay in the pot. He shows KKJJ RAINBOW. Set of jack with 2 spades on the flop and I can only watch as 2 red blanks fall on the turn and river. This was the finale of a 3 hour session where I have already lost the other half of my stack in 8-mixed, getting the ass end of everything. I review my play and have a few loose pre-flop calls, but at 6max you cant fold every hand that isn't a perfect starting hand. Other than that, I think I played correctly.

My end of the variance then came later in the evening when I not only misread my opponent (I think the board was JT9 and I had like T8. When he shoves, he could have either a Q or J. One I am behind, the other I am ahead. In the end I make the call and he has the J, but I river the 1 card straight. Then, not a dozen hands later, I CRACK his AA with my 77 after he disguised his Aces well and the flop came 8 high. I felt the pressure would get anything but an overpair to fold. I made a 1 card straight. By the end, my AQ lost to A8 (aprapo) and IGH 4th.

In the Mookie, my AQ simply lost a race with 99. Just that simple.

Some days/nights you just end up with a lot of variance and many races. It will drive you crazy.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Razinfrating double drat

For the first time in a long time, I lost a buy in at a mixed game table. I lost 25% on a Limit hold'em river suckout, and the 75% on a NLHE huge suckout when a guy could not escape TPTK and gets rewarded.

I have noticed something intriguing: If I were to skip the HE games in 8 mixed, my profits would increase by 20%.

Such an interesting stat. I am not a good stud player, because I will often allow a heads-up player to push me off a hand when I have nothing without much of a fight. But that aside, I play mixed games pretty well. Not even PLO is killing me, just the hold'em rounds. And its not on play, its on variance.

My mind is spinning. Why do I try to master HE, when there seems to be less variance in mastering other games? I continue to be a good triple-draw player and I am contemplating this one...

Thursday, February 05, 2009

A not so brief discussion on the Detroit Lions

An ominous title to say the least. Having been a season ticket holder for 12 years now (laugh it up), and having some additional access to information, I could write much more on the topic that I will here. But it will still be significant...

To be honest, lets start with the recent past and let me disclose something. At the end of the 2006 season going into the 2007 draft, I knew Matt Millen was at a crossroad. Did he work on the offensive and defensive lines or continue his "Joey" plans and place an array of talent around John Kitna (Joey was traded for a 7th round pick. Turned out to be a deal).

I made the argument at the time that with a veteran QB and other offensive players over achieving (Furrey), they should work on the Defensive line. After all, this was supposed to be Rod's specialty. I said to draft Gaines Adams second (they took Calvin Johnson) and prepare your opponents to face: Shawn Rogers, Cory Redding, James Hall, and recently signed Dewayne White. The front four would be strong enough to cover up for minor linebacker mistakes and reduce the time to throw, which allows the rookie safeties more margin of error.

Instead, the Lions took Calvin Johnson. But that in of itself did not seal their fate. At the top of the second round, they traded down to take Drew Stanton, leaving Buffalo to take Paul Posluszny. The Lions did this somehow mocking themselves because they entered this draft with Middle Linebacker being arguably their largest need. (Perhaps they had counted on a free agent joining them who later went elsewhere? Who can say?). They then took Francis to replace Hall and Alexander the safety. The rest of the draft was largely irrelevant. Considering they were 3-13, this is a big indictment. The teams largest playmaker Dre' Bly, did not fit into the Tampa 2 mold. I still can stop laughing/shaking my head over that comment. Alienate the one guy who is performing...

If the 2007 off season turned toward the cliff, then the 2008 draft and off season put the petal to the metal as they accelerated towards the chasm. First off, the draft is all 'project type' players. Not one can start the season. Gos, the big left tackle would eventually get in there by end of season (although the coaches seemed to not like him DESPITE picking him), and Dizon (2nd pick) was drafted to play Middle despite having NEVER PLAYED the MIKE. He would notch ZERO starts in 2007. oh, and zero in 2008. Sweet.

Now assuming that is bad, and it is, the free agency was possibly (probably) the worst in NFL league history. Not only did we bring in guys like Brian Kelly who would not be on the roster 16 games later, but the locker room had a revolving door installed. If you went to the games, you had better purchase a program to look up the new players on the line-up each week. By the end of the 2008 season, there were STARTING players on the field that did not start the season with the team. And I am not talking 1 or 2.

So today I get my Season Ticket brochure in the mail. It included a letter of hope (a thinly veiled apology?) and was mailed after the Lions completed their 4 man head office by adding Shack Harris. They come into this 2009 season with 3 picks in the top 33 (including #1 overall) and a TON of cap room. A TON. Why? No one is returning. Heck, Bodden is already gone as of writing this and he was supposed to be an 'answer' at corner last year.

This team has little to build on talent wise, so they took a new approach this year. They built on the management team first. Tom Lewand might not be a well know name, but he knows his operations and Mayhew was an up and coming GM candidate. They add experience and success with Shack. And the head coach choice is a previous successful coordinator, not a position coach. I think the jury is out on Offensive Coordinator Scott Linehan, but Gunter is a coordinator who was dying to be let out of his cage.

Now the Lions has stated since the coup that "you build through the draft". That is true, but with about 30m in free cap, you cant let your money sit idle. You need SO much. Some recommendations:

1. GET A FREAKING MIDDLE LINEBACKER. estimated impact on defense: x2

2. Instead of settling for players on the O-Line, FIX IT. estimated impact on offense: immediate improvement to run game. (see Scott Linehan, who like to run run and then run. and if he cant run, throw to the RB.)

3. Accept the fact that you need to draft another tackle (cough, left tackle, cough) and every defensive player after that you can get your hands on. No 'utility' or 'big play' offensive players in this draft. Enough.

4. Stop trying to "emulate" other programs. (so don't try to be the Cardinals now.)
This #4 had been a staple of previous regimes. Find a team where you like what they do and try to copy it. Utter failure.

It's funny as you look back now on the Millen era and note that Matt never really did anything consistent with what he talked about. For example: "You need some bulldogs (sic) in the hen house", i.e. players that are critical in the locker room. Then he shipped out any player who opened their mouth. Then he would ask where all the leadership was. Or "You can cover up for a journeyman o-lineman, you dont need 5 stars". Ok, but a journeyman would be someone in the old "Tony Semple" mold. Never going to the pro-bowl but always giving his blue-collar 100% and gutting it out. Not Peterman. And certainly not George Foster.

Other mistakes are too obvious and too public to repeat and retread. Time to let it go. "Poof".

So there you have it. Way more Detroit Lions information than you wanted (or needed). Enjoy.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Back in the Saddle

Finished about 100th in the 27k yesterday. Why is that so great? because with 125 left, I suffered back-2-back suckouts to end my run. I played very, very good, logging only 1 unforced error and even that was debatable whether I or not I simply got trapped.

I am hyperaware of my presence in the field now, a feeling I call my "presence factor". I measure my potential impact on the field starting when half the field is eliminated. I use this feeling to determine when to change gears and become temporarily hyperaggressive.

I also have a new axiom for all you Harrington Bots out there. If you really love the Harrington system, simply use the NEXT level of blinds to determine your M. Call it M+1. As for the Q factor, you are much better off understanding your distance from the final table than your rating in comparison to average chip stack. Just my thoughts.

Monday, February 02, 2009

more on mixed games

There are two types of players at the 8-ball mixed games tables. Those who play hold'em and are bored enough to 'entertain themselves' by playing other games and players who know most of the games. I have yet to see a single opponent who could play all the games competently. Now, some of that has to do with the lower levels I am playing so I intend to test the waters higher up. But the Razz and Triple Draw play is atrocious. (Which is awesome, but mind boggling).

Friday I was up 2 buy-ins before giving it all back in the No Limit rounds. Shame on me, but after looking through the hands, I dont feel I played them poorly. Might just be variance. Or it could be me getting sloppy in the no limit games because of the good showing in the limit games. I need to watch that.

I had some interesting thoughts on PLO recently and am fishing for additional opinions. Limit Omaha still tends to be a math game for me, but PLO is like taming a wild tiger. Eventually you are going to get mauled. But here are some of my thoughts on this unwieldy game.

First of all, I play much differently at a 6 table than at a full table. At a full table, I will typically dump most hands with a dangler card. But at a 6 top, I tend to play a bigger range of hands, especially in late position and especially if there are no "POT betters" pre-flop. Post flop, I tend to stick to Freddy Deeb's axiom that "Omaha decisions are made on the flop". In Hold'em, you can often "float" a flop bet and then make a real decision on the turn. I never do this in PLO. I am deciding on that flop if I am willing to see the river. Otherwise, because of the vastly escalating pot size, I am burning money. If I have a good wrap, or a nut draw, or a set these decisions are easier. If I have a made hand with a redraw, again, I need to bet to thin against my redraws being second best. But unless I have 2 pair, I am either betting or check-folding. When my hand looks good, I want to increase the pot size even at the risk of a re-raise. If my hand is weak, I dont want to put any more money in the pot. The only exception I currently have is 2 pair. Here is one of the rare places that I tend to check-call. If the board is not 3 of a suit and cant yet make a straight, I will call a bet in limit. But in PLO, its much more difficult. I additionally want to be in position and I still want the pot size to be sane. And if its not, I have to dump my 4 outer because I cant expect to steal the hand away when a blank comes on the turn like you often can in hold'em.