Monday, January 29, 2007

London UK card room info needed

I am going to London again. Last time I was there, I found gutshot up on clerkenwell, but there was an EPT event an no ring games at all.

This time, I want to atleast play a low stakes game of omaha or hold'em. Does anyone have any advice/locations. And do I need to apply for a membership in advance? (I am going in 10 days)

I found this post on some site...
There are a number of places you can play poker in London in Central London. Probably the best known are:
The Gutshot, 44 - 48 Clerkenwell Road, EC1
The Vic, 150 - 162 Edgware Road, W2 2DT
The Sportsman, Old Quebec Street London W1
The Western, 620 Western Avenue, W3 0TE

The smallest buyin would be the £10 freezeout at The Western on a Friday night.

Event #1 WPBT

So, I take down a big hand by cracking Aces with A4o. Why? The player with AA give me a free card on the flop to make a gutshot with a 3. The turn is a 3 and he goes broke.

Immediately I am moved to another table and within one rotation I get my first and only AA of the night. A player comes in for about 3xBB and I pop it double + a blind for a total of 7xBB. All fold back to our player who calls with position. The flop is KJT. Dangerous? Yes. But what do I expect to be against here. I put in a pot size bet, and he goes all in. I have him covered and even if I lose, I have a slighter larger than average stack. I am 4th place right now, but taking down this hand would surely make me the chip leader.

I figure him for AK or KQ and call. He has KJ. Surprised? I was. But is that really that unlikely. His call of my challenge could be any big Ace, a pair of Queens, AQ (in which case I was totally stupid if that is in my realm of possible hands) and KQ is more likely than AK here. KQ is a very likely holding as it would be TP AND a st8 draw. As is AQ. I would call the KQ as a favorite and would pay off the perfect flop for AQ. I did not see KJ coming.

So, I soldier on, but go card dead. I actually make the bubble by out folding 3 other players (so I'll get some points). I was battling GCOX for 30th for a while. After my defeat, I went to go watch the Simpsons. Aftwardwards I check back and its down to the final 3. And one of them is GCOX!!! OMG. (Never give up, never surrender.)

Saturday, January 27, 2007

I'm worth...

"I'm worth a million dollars in prizes" -Iggy Pop

Last night I hosted a NLHE SnG and I got away with one.

I am so card dead, that frustration sets in. Starting with 500 chips, I never got above 600, and spent most of my evening at 450.

At one point, I am so frustrated I am looking for something to play and get dealt the hammer. Now, considering my last 10 hands had a 6 in them, this was a monster. I decided I would avoid the "curse of the hammer" and play it. I raised the 3xBB and got a call from the EP limper. The flop is AKQ. That is trouble. He checks, I bet over 1/2 the pot, he calls. Turn is a blank and he check, again I bet and he calls. UGH....

My strategy with the hammer is always the same. If you are first to raise pre-flop, play it like AK. If you are not first to raise and are re-raising or raising limpers, play it like AA.

So when the river came, knowing damn well I had a long night of watching poker in my own basement instead of playing, I pushed all in. He folded.

A bad fold? not by a longshot. How do you call that bet with anything but 2pr or better. Even A-rag is dead here.

Then, I showed the hammer as is customary.

I felt bad. I made a blogger play on non-bloggers and felt obligated to show. I didn't have to. I could have left it a mystery. Why did I show? I am not really sure.

That was my highest chips stack of the night, but I soon found myself back at 450. When there were 8 left, I had about 450. Same with 7,6,5, and with 4 left, I still have 450 at the bubble.

What amazed me is that I continued on life support. Why was kinda simple. Everyone was playing a tactical game and no one was trying to isolate and kill off the short stacks. And I certainly are not going to bring it up. Suddenly 4th goes out and I have... counting.... 450 chips. I am going to cash?

As if by magic, I get JJ (at this point, far and away my best hand of the night) and it holds up against something like 77. Then, the very next hand, I get the hiltons and poor Rich raises it up with JJ. Now I am 2nd.

I battle my way to chip lead by about 20% and my final opponent is restless. He goes all-in 2 hands in a row, both times I fold 52s. (The happened earlier in the game with 3 left, both time he had AK). But when he does it a THIRD time in a row, I can not give him credit for a monster. And I have 77. I count and posture, but I call and he shows the 45s. The 7 comes on the turn, but that is bad since my set now gives him the OESD outs. But the river is a King and I take down the SnG.

When you are not dealing with a big field, never concern yourself with chips. Concern yourself with chips and AGGRESSION. Since the table was not aggressive, I was able to lay low even when my M was 6 and wait for my spots. At one point I had a mear 271 chips left.

If you do have chips in an SnG, you need to ATTACK THE SHORT STACKS. If you dont, you leave them "hanging around" (as they say in the NFL) and they are one big play from ruining your Sunday.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

The Age of Discovery

My game is off as my concentration is off. I am playing hap-hazardly and I need to get a handle on that. But despite playing pretty good yesterday (or so I thought) I went out early. I made what I thought was a well timed bluff (and was wrong), folded when I was theoretically behind and would have split, then lost when I flopped middle pair on a flop of 532. I had A3. He went all in with the HAMMER and I called. Of course, the hammer went on to win. Who can be mad about that? (the night before I once again ran my 1/2 stack JJ into AA).

I need to work on EARLY level chip accumulation without ruining my later round game.

oh yeah, and in other news...

I really should of realized this a while ago, but it seems that with technology and services like google alerts or technorati that I can attrack alot of attention...

So, here are some amazing new stories (that probably are not true, since I am simply making them up)...

NOVELL buys BMC Software (ohh, that's a big one. and incredibly doubtful.)

Bank of America sued by Bank of America (cant possibly be true, but the bots will love it)

Pfizer to lay off 10,000, close five sites (oops, that is true. Take that Michigan)

Manning's thumb confirmed broken!!! (who knows for sure really?)

I'll give you a hit count later...

Thursday, January 18, 2007

The worst Kings

In level two, I have lost every hand so far. More accurately, folded pre-flop so often I am going crazy.

Utg limps, another limper, I see KK in cutoff and make it 3x.

Button and blinds fold, limpers call.

Flop is J72 rainbow.
1/2 pot bet
I push.
Both call?

Utg has QQ?! Wtf?
Mpos limp caller had 22

It seems SO obvious, but despite the total donkey QQ play, where did I blow it?

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Nip it!

I am tilty like an old school pinball machine.

Good Idea: emulating your poker heros
Bad Idea: Using Hellmuth and Madasow

So after play the Hellmuth part all week, I pull a classic and firey crash in burn in the WWdN. I go from chip leader with 20 left to OUT 14th. HOW?

In 2-4th place I get involved defending my blind with AQs. I call what I hope is a button steal. We both check the raggedy flop and I try the steal on the turn and am reraised all in. I have Ace high and fold. Now I am 8 of 16 and still OK, but tilty.

I flop top two on an all diamond board. I push, and get TWO callers, overpair (bad call) and nut flush (easy call). The blow up is complete.

In a 3 table MTT, I play good enough to be the chip leader and blow it that badly? Man, I need to see a doctor.


Its level 2 and I am playing the Hoy, watching the game with the sound off, and occasionally watching Poker After Dark via the internet. After all, its level 2. I had to shut off the poker as I was dealt AA, KK and now QQ in level 2. Both AA and KK did not get called and won small pots. I have about 1500 or so and Someone raises it up to 100 (3.5x). I make it 300 to go with my QQ and it folds around to the original raiser. After a very brief pause, its all in.

Easy fold? Actually it was very tough. I have the 4th best starting hand. There are about 21 players in the tournament? There are 3 out? So, if I fold, I have 1100 left. Plenty of play. But I am in a tough field and would be in the latter half of the pack. Still, I think I can get away here.

Yet, something is nagging me. Maybe its the law of pairs. (Despite the odds of being dealt a pocket pair, 50% of the time you are, someone else at a full table is also. Not scientific, but often true. -Mrs. Columbo) In which case, I am against AA, KK? Well, why not JJ or less? I mean, why does he want me to fold so badly for 600 chips? And who is this guy anyway? I don't remember him.

So my thinking starts to clear. Like the fog dissipating, I see through the mist right into his soul (disclaimer: online soul not redeemable, no cash value). He has AK.

Now I have a NEW decision to make. Do I want to race AK, (assuming I am right) for all my chips, as a slight favorite. I chew through about 20 seconds on my time bank (this is why I like Stars, the time bank. That and Triple Draw) thinking about this.

In the end, for a reason I am not sure is correct, I decide I am not going to lay down as a favorite. I call, him shows AK and there is an Ace in the door, and the turn, and by the time the river card is dealt, the sound is back on the TV.

Monday, January 08, 2007

WPBT event #1 banner

This guy cant even spell P-O-K-E-R

Yes, I was dissapointed last night. I am playing in a "Poker After Dark" satellite on Full Tilt and its a 2 table winner take all NLHE tournament. I am playing perfect poker and with 8 left I am tied for 4th in chips, my M>20 and the chip leader does not have more than twice my chips (my SnG final table equivalent of "Q") so I am in great shape.

I am playing excellent pressure poker, making pot size reraises on hands I am playing to put opponents to the test.

Then some $d!fa@#%#

With 8 people left, its folded around to the button. He is a marginal player, who takes too many chances. He has gotten lucky on a couple of occasions. He button raises 3x to 300, which is just under 10% of his stack. (He has 3400 and I have 3350, the chip leader has but 4200). I have KK and I reraise him to 1300 which is over a third of half his stack. Not 5%, not 10%, but almost 40%. Now if he calls, the pot size is 2600, which POT COMMITS us. Yet he CALLS with pocket twos.

Other than flopping a set, what is his expected outcome here? I am not re-raising to 1300 on a steal of 300. I must have something. Does he think its AK? can you call 40% of your stack on ducks? Even if I did have AK, he calls 40% on a race when if I have any pair, he is a 4-1 dog?

So the flop comes without an Ace and disconnected (very KK friendly) and I push all-in. There is NO WAY he can be ahead here without a set, and he would have had to have it on the flop. So I am 7+ to 1 favorite, and I am not going to let him see a turn or river without his stack going in. Remember, this pays the top spot only and this hand puts me in the chip lead.

But he flops the duck set and in my mind, the Hellmuth scene from TV plays in my head. "This guy cant even spell poker". But in the end, its nothing more than a bad beat. I played an excellent satellite and moved in at the right time. So be it. Dissapointed though.

Sunday, January 07, 2007


Are you watching POKER AFTER DARK? I was NOT, as my local affiliates of NBC suck ass. We'd rather waste the time wtih INFOMERCIALS. Thanks.

But I have started watching via the web site (viva l'internet!) and I have this observation...

It is SO nice to see poker on TV that isn't WPT all-in hold'em. Did you see in the very first 10 minutes Annie Duke and Gus Hanson play the OESD vs. the nut flush draw? Neither wanted to make the pot big on the flop. Why?

Memorize the following statement (and Mamuth will back me up on this)


There are many reasons why this is good and I could post lines and lines explaining it. But in a nutshell:

You are looking to TRAP in deep stack NLHE
You wish to control the pot size and win a hand quickly if your outs are limited

More tournaments to play in!

Do you listen to the best poker podcast on the internet? It's not just the home of the Columbo One Minute Mystery (tm), its also the home of the ANTE-UP POKER SERIES. (see link at right or click here

Here is an excerpt from their recent announcement:

AIPS 2! That's right, our very successful poker tournament series is back! Most Ante-Uppers wanted something that lasted awhile, and they wanted us to start the second series right away. So what better way to accomplish this than to have a monthly tournament that begins in January and ends in December? That's right, a yearlong AIPS!!! It returns to Full Tilt poker and the entries will be $5, though the Main Event will be more (TBD).

Come on and join in!

Saturday, January 06, 2007

World Poker Blogger Tour 2007 Event #1

I (Full Tilt) have created your private tournament as you requested in your e-mail below and it is open for registration at this time. In order to locate your tournament, click the "Private" tab in the tournament lobby.Tournament #11178930

Name/Title: WPBT 07 event #1
Buyin: $24 or token
Game: NLHE (deep stack)
Limit: NL
Password: wpbt+(hammer)
Date: Sunday 1/28
Time: 9 pm EST

Friday, January 05, 2007

The Dangers of Outsourcing (Redux)

The latest in the saga was that my own bank was "trying" to call me, but could not. The reason? well, no matter how many times I TOLD them my number, they still insisted on calling the number I set up the account with TWELVE YEARS ago. A number that no longer exists.

And best of all, I seem unable to GET it changed. Hilarious.

After getting past that, we had yet another 3 way call with the bank and Bill Me Later. I was assured (mostly by the bank) that this was now resolved. But my favorite part was this comment from the nice Bill Me Later rep: "Give us up to 30 days to make the correction."
To which my heated response was "Do I get credit for the 60 days I ALREADY waited?"
She puts me on hold for a long time and when she returns says, "I escalated this to management, you only need to wait 15 days". I still cry with laugher when I remember it.

I am crossing my virtual fingers.

An apple a day

How hard is it to run a doctor's office? Harder than brain surgery apparently. For example, the ability for a patient to actually meet a doctor at a predetermined time is apparently impossible.

And if the doctor works in two different offices, the office staffs are forbidden to exchange the tiniest of details. Such as who you are.

I am especially impressed by the steadfast anti-paperless-office position the offices take. Not only is everything paper, but the forms themselves have extra information to make them longer. Such as these back-to-back questions:
Date of birth?
Math is hard.

But above all is the complete lack of concern in regards to any of the above. How can the Domestic medical community hope to survive vs. Cheaper and better run looming competition?Don't believe its coming? Isn't that what Detroit said in the 70s when discussing Japanese cars? Ha.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

The Dangers of Outsourcing

Lend me your eyes for a few moments and let me spin you a tale of woes. Let’s set the stage. It’s the 1960s and movies like Rollerball entertain us and scare us by painting a picture of global corporations rewriting morality and controlling the masses through unseen power. But the oppressed masses raise a champion (as the always do) and he proves once again that a person can raise above the limitation artificially placed on them and become incredibly good at something, no matter how stupid and pointless it is. (in that case, a sport combining the pointlessness of rollerderby with the attraction of a demoltion derby.)

I wish this tale was so black and white. No, in this tale, I am Harry Tuttle (Brazil) who due to an innocent clerical error (in this case of his own doing), exposes the inefficiencies caused by poorly run efficiency efforts.

In this case it started innocent enough. I ran out of checks. I had three bills left to pay and was going on a trip. I decided to pay them via electronic online bill pay. Now I have always embraced the new ways. I used online banking for SEVEN years now. Far longer than the average person. And in all that time, I never made a mistake. As a gambler would say, “I was due”. And on that fateful day, I did the unthinkable and unforgivable. I made a human error. I transposed a digit.
Well, imaging my surprise when the statement came and it showed I made no payment. Yet, when I pulled up the bank records, I had made a payment. Hmmm. Ok, this should be simple to sort out…

Except there are layers of bureaucracy, caused not just by outsourcing, but by the layers upon layers of distance between business functions and the customer being "served".

First off, in this day and age, good luck trying to reach a human being before your tolerance for technology reaches a new low as you navigate the "call avoidence" systems of the world. And if you do eventually reach a human, who in turn will ask you to REPEAT all information submitted to the automated system, they in turn will then transfer you to a call queue anyway.

Now that being said...
My bank has gone through some mergers and has emerged with a new name. In their efforts to either control costs, unify platforms or simply not being competent enough to do it themselves (who is the CIO?), they outsourced the online bill pay process. This company, generically branded Bill Pay, sent my payment to for some computer equipment I bought on credit using “6 months same as cash”. That is not run through, who is really just and over glorified shipping warehouse and web site, but through a third party generically branded Bill Me Later.

None of this seems far fetched. But here is where it starts to get nasty. Newegg absolves themselves of responsibility for the actions of Bill Me Later and apparently their agreement states that they never allow customers to contact Bill Me Later directly. (note: I assume this based on trying multiple avenues to attempt to gather contact information.) After MONTHS of trying to resolve this with Bill Me Later (via their advanced communication method known as FAX), and them insisting on a specific piece of paper that I can not possible have, I contacted my bank. Now the bank wants to help me, but seems unable. They don’t release the paper that Bill Me Later wants outside of the bank, and can not allow the customer to talk with their Online Bill Pay department directly. So a phone representative, who is polite and powerless, continue to “translate” customer speak to “bureaucracy speak” ™ as I listen to inoffensive hold music.

At one point, I am on the most pointless conference call in the history of conference calls, with the powerless rep and the bank and the pointless rep at Bill Me Later (a company, the believes that by not allowing you to talk to anyone but a rep, that you will believe they are based somewhere in the civilized world, which I highly doubt). I am trying to convey that I simple need the digit fixed and the payment applied, but it was as if I was talking to two animatrons at the Disneyworld Hall of Presidents.

It’s at this point that I see the problem. The bank outsourced not just their costs, but their control. They no longer control the vendors, much less the situation, and thus become unable to service a customer need (even when the customer is them). on the other hand, outsourced their ability to resolve a customer issue in regards to billing and thus has created a permanent liability. i.e., each time a customer deals with and their outsourced credit bank, they risk losing that customer for life.

So does this tale have a happy ending? I ask you, “How could it?” Even if this gets corrected and the bank manages to cajole the vendor into fixing the errant digit, did they really create a happy ending or are they simple just addressing their own shortcomings at my expense?

Sigh. Welcome to the 21st century.


So here in the land of camping and vanquished Rose Bowl teams, some of the locals got together and put together an online Detroit poker league. Little do they know I play 3 nights a week with some of the best online tournament competition in the US. ( Yes, I mean the Bloggers… )

Dear Columbo, You finished the tournament in 1st place.

Congratulations! Thank you for participating.

Oh yes, and there was one occasion where I called an all-in with just 2 pair on the flop and it held up against? The nut flush draw, what else?

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Confessions of a Lions fan

Confessions of a Lions fan

So here we are again. All but forgotten. But the Lions went out with a bang Sunday, signaling the decline of the over-hyped “America’s Team” the Dallas Cowboys and the first “turned-corner” of the Matt Millen regime since the finishing of Ford Field.

Despite being in an almost insurmountable minority, I support Matt Millen. When he first came to the Lions, he inherited an unsalvageable infrastructure. He set out to replace it, and left a wake of destruction in his path. And has had little to show for it. Matt started by bringing in the wrong players (Bill “hands of stone” from the Packers stands out) and followed it up by bringing in the wrong coaches. And then to seal the deal, brought the wrong drafting philosophy. And it all blew up in his face, culminated this year in a 3-13 record and probably the worst GM record over 5 years since the Buccaneers were an expansion team.

Its ironic, that based on all of the above, I see the break in the clouds. So, if you are a football fan and can stand some non-poker content, here now is why the Lions will be a good team to bet on in 2007. (and remember, you heard it here first).

* When your team is bad, and you want it to be good, you draft defense. (Argue all you want, this is reality). The Lions went against that mandate for years. Then Coach Rod Marinelli came to town. And he drafted Ernie Simms. With Leinart on the board. This guy understands what it takes to fix a team.
* Early meetings with Coach were Night/Day different from previous coaches. Not so much in the message, but for its lack of sales. Mooch and Morningweig (whatever) spent a lot of time with the media explaining and selling the vision. The first time I met coach, he reminded us he did not have time for us. Now that is a coach. And he is firmly in charge.
*He wanted his son-in-law to be the defensive coordinator but was denied access by the Bucs until this year. Expect that change VERY shortly. Henderson did not even understand the Tampa-two.
*The Lions are going to flip some WELL RESPECTED assistant coaches. Why? Because this is the Rod and Martz show. They know what they want. They don’t have time to argue with “well respected assistants”.
*Think briefly about the defensive line you will likely face as a Lions opponent in ’07:
Gaines Adams, Cory Redding, Shawn Rogers, James Hall.
Um, good luck.
*“The Lions need talent at every position”. It just isn’t true. The Lions lack blockbuster starters. They used Sunday to pencil in Stanley Wilson as the starting corner in 07. Bly, Kennedy and Bullocks with him in the secondary. But the linebacker core has underperformed for years now! Bailey and Lenon will need to compete just to remain on the team next year.

* Expect the Lions to sign a FE backer when Rod’s son-in-law comes over. I’m sure he has someone in mind as he is a linebackers coach currently.
* On offense, the line is paramount, as is a 3rd/4th receiver. For this reason alone, I bet Mike Williams is granted one more year to “get it”. Expect the signing of a “Martz type 4th receiver” and the resigning of Furrey. As for the offensive line which boasts just 2 starters, expect THREE new faces.
* In talking with players towards the end of the season, most believed they had a top-notch head coach, liked the complex Martz system and secretly admitted that a couple of players were not “on board” yet. (see above) Matt Millen will personally work on Rogers. The players believe now by and large, and Sunday proved it. They went far from mailing it in. They beat a playoff team (albeit a poor one). This team wants to win, Kitna is a blood and guts QB (and Harrington will not even make the Miami roster next year) Kitna is the type of QB that the Lions needed. One that will get dirty and in your face.

Ok, so now it all looks rosy, right? Well, just one problem. The Lions have no running game. No offensive guards, no right takle, and probably no running back. I don’t expect Kevin Jones to play again. (Do you?). IF the Lions can run the ball in pre-season, take them seriously.

This will be the most important off-season for the Lions in decades. Do it right, improve drastically. Blow it, and the entire thing will come apart.

The ULTIMATE irony. Picture 3 years from now the Lions playing for the NFC championship with Millen still in charge. And if that day comes, and if there is any justice in the world, all the Detroit sportswriters will be fired. Mostly for what we already know, they have no idea what they are talking about. (according to “sources”, Matt Millen has been fired every year he’s been here.)