Friday, September 29, 2006

Stud hand FROM HELL

I am not a GREAT stud player, but I understand the basic premise. EXTRACTION. This is a game of punishing players for thinking that they might be ahead, when in fact, they are behind. I am in a field of 72 and I am in the top 12 the entire tournament. But with 24 or so left, this happens.

I am dealt (KK)7. After I bet, I get a call from (xx)K. Now, I HAVE to think he has a pocket pair here and not the case K. But get this. On 4th street, he is dealt a seemingly dead 7. Another player FOLDED a 7 and there is only one left other than this.

So, I have (KK)79 and he has (xx)K7. I HAVE to assume that he has a pocket pair like QQ or JJ or TT here because he thinks he is ahead, but not recklessly like with AA.

On 5th street, my alarm goes off and I go to check-call mode. BUT HOW CAN I BE BEHIND? And am I an idiot for going into check-call when I think I should be ahead?

He turns over the case King AND the case 7 for Kings up. I never improved and he takes what I considered my pot.

2/3 of my stack gone and the next hand I run my short stack QQx into what turns out to be AAx and just like that I went out.

BUT, I THINK I played well. ???

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

The trouble with reading players

There are too many variables for me to be reading players with only 2 years experience. So, I have come up with a set of metrics that I am going to try in an attempt to reduce the amount of information I have to process prior to a final table.

Here is want I want to know about each player:

1. What does his preflop raise mean? Better than avg hand? First into pot? speculative hand pot builder? LAG?

2. Post-Flop, what does a weak lead mean from him? And If I am out of position, what does a smooth call typically mean from him? Is a weak lead weak, or does he play backwards? Does he smooth call to attempt to play pots away or is a smooth call a big hand?

3. What is his correlation between VP$IP and Showdown %??? When he bets, is he going to war?

Monday, September 25, 2006

fun with armchair psychology

Today's lessons is Stocastic Reasonance. This painful concept/theory postulates the idea that more noise does not disguise patterns, but rather makes them more identifiable.

In effect, if you sit at the poker table with little or no regard to how much you are moving, gesturing, talking, etc. the added noise makes it EASIER to pick up tells from you. This seems counterintuitive, as does the opposite postulate that no noise has the same effect.

In order to best disguise our tells, we should keep "noise" to a minimum, but not eliminate it altogether.

Now, go wash your brain out.

WPBT event

In case you don't read the WPBT calendar, the next event (PLO8) is at Full Tilt on October 1st at 9pm. $20+2. Password is, of course, known to you all. Bloggers only, please. (I am working on a banner right now)

The world is full of choices

I have recently made some very bad ones:

1. I missed "Bash at the Boathouse" because I was already committed to other plans. This "other plan" turned out to be spending 2 days in the pouring rain in the middle of friggin' nowhere with a bunch of people (most of which I do not know) being rustic and eating organic foods. WTF?! Chance of repeating said mistake: ZERO %
(The F-Train photos say it all )
Cut me a small amount of slack here as we thought this "other plan" was a very kid friendly event. Pouring rain in October is rarely kid friendly.

2. I lost a buy-in last night when I lost control of my patience and on a ragged flop of 872, pushed a guy with TT. After a pause, he took all my money with KK. But HOW did it happen? Simple. I am not THINKING at the table, just playing. I am going to fix that once and for all. I have an idea I am going to try. I am going to call out (at my screen or write it down), everytime someone else does something, why I think they did it. It will force me to return to poker as a thinking game and not a game of mechanical choices.

3. Add one more thing to the list of things that drives me crazy: People who load napkins into napkin holders backwards. Are there really people that need to be TRAINED that one way the napkin comes out and one way it does not!?

4. I really want to throw some props to the crew that runs ABC's LOST. The summer clue hunt (or whatever they called it) did a nice job of letting some of the bigger fans (I am just a tag-along poser) learn the purpose of the number sequence and why the island and initiative exists. Add that to the knowledge that Abrams was a big fan of "The Prisoner" (available at netflix, you will not regret it) and you understand the last episode of season 2 in complete clarity. I like the moral question posed though. If you could save the world, but had to murder 1/3 of the people to do it, could you?

Friday, September 22, 2006

I Guess That's Why They Call It the Blues

My game is painful to watch right now. Like Steve Martin in The Jerk trying to keep rhythm with a blues song painful. Why? Why oh Why?

Rhetorical really. I know the answer. I am playing MECHANICALLY. I am so emotionally detached during play, that I marginalize decisions.

Last night I played in the Ante-Up event and had TPTK on a board of like K622. Someone puts me all in and I am sure he did not play 32. But he did play K6. But there is some bad jojo coming my way too. With my remaining stack I push with 99 and on a board of Q32, somehow get called by TT. Good call? Sure, but it was my short stack that probably enticed it as much as someone reading me as “tilting”, which I did not.

After getting knocked out, instead of watching, I played a HORSE SnG and finished 2nd. I should stick to HORSE as I have a good understanding of where I am at in less volatile games. It never ceases to amaze me that no matter how tight I play 7Stud, I get a caller when I do play a hand. Um, thanks?

Then I watched Phil Helmuth and Mike the Mouth get knocked out of day 1 of the WSOP and Daniel almost tilt in frustration. I guess it happens to everyone.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

I want to eet sum frozen yogurt

Distractions in life = distractions in game. Too many things in my head when I sit down at the table. I notice that my results are shifting also. More of the "out early or in the money" type results. Not the usual for me. Why? I think its because I am simplifying my decisions because I am distracted. Not good.

I am watching cartoons (I LOVE cartoons, always have), football, reality TV (amazing race, survivor, heck even Gene Simmons), building a PC WHILE playing poker on it. Way too much at once.

Tonight, I am going to play in the Ante-up! game. I intend to CONCENTRATE. Like Paul Phillips on Ritalin concentration.

Still, you can't help but notice that momentum of poker is slowing (this is not a bad thing, dont yell at me!) as the sites are expanding game types. And the WCOOP at Stars (and each site has some sort of equivalent) just dont interest me. I like the challenge of the (20 table MTT). Who wants 100 tables? Not me.

One last scary comment: The more random the deck, the LESS realistic it is. When you play poker at a physical table with cards, they are shuffled in a way that is limited by the laws of physics and time. An electronic deck can be truly random. Like it or not, its DIFFERENT and thus behaves DIFFERENTLY. It's not "rigged", but it IS different.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Right or Wrong pre-flop

I don't care how many people lecture me or cry foul. There is no RIGHT or WRONG pre-flop, only CONSEQUENCES.

If I decide to play J8o from late position and crack KK, I did not make a RIGHT OR WRONG decision pre-flop. I simply decided to accept the consequences of seeing that flop. What I do from THAT POINT can be right or wrong, sure. If I miss the flop and don't let it go, again its my fault. But accepting the consequences and seeing a flop, there is nothing WRONG about it.

And for those players out there who don't understand this, let me make it even more clear. What kind of player pushes all in with KK on a board of QT98 and 3 hearts just because I could not possibly have J8 in LP??? The one busting out of the tournament...

What's worse is the guy at the same table who does this 20 hands later, despite watching it happen to this poor sod.

PokerStars Tournament No Limit Hold'em
Buy-In: $4.00/$0.40
180 players
Total Prize Pool: $720.00

Dear Columbo,

You finished the tournament in 3rd place.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Who Are You? (who who, who who)

Once in a great while, I lift the veil of the secrecy off my life and post something that is not poker related. Well, today is one of those far off days. Please forgive this glimpse into my personal psyche. Avert your eyes for your own safety.

The List of Things I currently can not remain silent about due to fact that I have had it up to here (holds hand above head) with them:

1. Bands that do "chill-out" versions of 80s songs. Electronic chill-out is for relaxing, not recycling Michael Jackson songs.

2. That left side door that is always locked despite the fact that it is a perfectly good door just like the one on the right! Is it too hard to unlock BOTH doors? What is it, a LATCH? How hard is that?

3. People who attend an event and bitch about how it was not as good as they would have liked it, despite their complete lack of experience in throwing any similar event. Applaud the effort for Pete's sake.

4. Digital Rights Management. Granted, this is a technology specific complaint, but how can ANY good come of this? A VCR is ok but a better VCR is not? WTF? And this "right to use" crap. I love that if I buy a DVD or piece of software and it becomes damaged, I am OBLIGATED to REPLACE IT through a second purchase of the SAME THING I ALREADY BOUGHT!!! Even this guy who wrote poker inspector is playing hardball with my license code because I lost 4 hard drives in 3 years (IS THAT REALLY THAT FAR FETCHED?!?!) so in his infinite wisdom has requested that I REPURCHASE the program. WTF? Like I crafted a story in order to rip the guy off for $30?! In the immortal words of Jerry Seinfeld, "Who are these people"?

5. Foreign Call Centers. Not sure I can say anything here that is not obvious. But still, let me state it has to do with the remote location not the ethnicity. If your call center is not a part of your business, nor is it in close contact and proximity of your business, the customer service is GOING TO BE POOR. There is no way that people half way around the world can properly troubleshoot my DSL line, nor can they competently escalate due to the fact that they are by all indications and labels, a COST REDUCTION CENTER. AND, There are few things in life more annoying than those automated call avoidance systems that one needs to navigate through for NO APPARENT REASON. One of the few things that IS more annoying is having to navigate through a call center technician, who has access to a vast array of knowledge bases and FAQs, and have no actual chance in hell of actually helping me but has been trained to exhaust all possible (and apparently INPROBABLE) avenues before admitting that someone with a TECHNICAL UNDERSTANDING of the product they sell is necessary.

6. Purchasing something at Best Buy. I wait in line LONGER than at the grocer? How is that even possible? Could I even design a store that could properly lend itself further towards actually feeling like waiting for a ride at cedar point?

Well, I could go on all day, but then I would become #7...

could not lay a hand down

Despite it being early in the tournament, despite knowing that my opponent had pocket Kings, I just could not bring myself to lay my hand down. I had a dismal showing in my first "Mookie" tournament and I have to hang my head in shame going out on the first hand I played.

No matter how good I am, I can't read the future well enough to lay down AA pre-flop.
A King on the flop and its off to watch TV.

Friday, September 08, 2006

The proverbial drawing board

Here is one of the great tidbits I got from a book recently:

When stacks are shallow, play strong draws strong. Weaks draws are let go.
When stacks are DEEP, play strong draws weak and weak draws strong.

Let that last part sink in a second.

Now, why?

Well, Deep stack NL is about TRAPPING. Your strong draw implied odds go up with each caller who "hangs around". Even in a tournamnet where survival counts, this is a risk worth taking. When the draw is weak, (much like in situations where you have a hand unlikely to improve) you need to bet to win. And weak bets do not win pots, strong bets do.


And Daniel's analysis of the guy playing TT is a must listen. Its in this weeks edition of the Ante-Up! podcast.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

weekend recap

ok, so for once there is not much to report about poker. But after a 3 days weekend featuring camping with the family, here are some interesting tidbits:

1. Horseshoes may look stupid... and it is. Simply watching someone throw, emulating it, and adjusting to the weight, was enough to beat a guy who had his own horseshoe pit. I even hit a ringer. Gez, worse than darts.

2. Lord Admiral has signed off. Permanently. :(

3. The Columbo One Minute Mystery has moved. Here is the home page for ANTE-UP!:
and here is the podcast:

4. A successful fishing trip means your hands smell like fish for atleast 4 hours. It doesn't matter how long you wash them.

5. I read the new NO LIMIT book by Skalansky/Miller. Very late at night, with no one around, in the eerie quiet of the woods, Skalansky made some sense. Then the next morning, I again found the "contradictions" in the book he is famous for. Despite this, I found it a VERY informative read.

6. I think this article is geared towards intermediate players who are willing to concentrate for long periods of time at a table to get better. I have it bookmarked.

7. No matter how much I read, I still find no evidence that one should do anything in the first two levels of a tournament without 2 pair or better post-flop.

8. I played golf for the first time in YEARS. Amazingly, I borrowed a 5 Wood that was actually metal. It made a beautiful "ting" sound when I hit the ball. As a matter of fact, I hit better drives than I EVER did when I played regularly. What is in these metal clubs anyway, magic?