Thursday, May 31, 2007

who loves money? (i do, i do!)

It's that time again... Time for the donkye-fest know as the
2007 World Series of Poker

Are you going?
Are you just going to play the NLHE $1500?

Reckless at the Mookie

Last night I played in the Mookie. I always fare poorly in the Mookie, and I am never sure why. First hand I get JJ on an Ace flop and then another similar hand and I am down to 750 (start with 1500). Its level 1!!

So, I start to TAG my way back. I make it to about 1500, never higher. Now there are like 50 left and I still have about 1500. Once my Q approaches .5, I expond the philosophy of seeking volitility to catch up. And that I did. I would get in drawing situations and instead of pushing to pressure a fold, I would entice the opponent to put my all-in on the come. Or, I would go all-in on any hit flop.

Now there are 32 left (31 get points, 7 cash) and I and in 32nd place. I double up on a flush draw and now am 3rd from last. I go on a mini-rush, push-monkeying my way up the ladder as players were folding pre-flop to my aggr-mania. Despite getting AA,KK and QQ in the BB, all three were folded around to me and I took the dissapointing "walks".

Again, I double up and now climb to the middle of the pack. I continue agression, pushing players off of hands post flop despite having nothing but a gut-shot. Pre-flop, I am re-raising or raising big with any hand I decide to play. I tried really hard to protray a maniac image, but either I would get moved or players who knew me better would not fall for the "image reset".

As the blinds grew, my aggr-steals pushed me as high as 3rd place. Then, I went totally card dead, getting long runs of hands with a duck in them.

Here is the final scenario:
13 players left, 7 cash... I am 8th... blinds are high enough that everyone but the chip leader has an M of 9-11... First into the pot is often an all-in bet, that is not called.

And I get AKo in the BB. Now, with the BB and the antes, 10% of my stack is in already.

QUESTION: Is there ANY situation where you fold this hand???

Question 2: you are psychic and can see your opponents cards... or at least know what you are dealing with.

UTG raise (big pair not AA or KK), Button goes all in. (PAIR not AA or KK)
They both have about the same stack size as you... (they are in 7th and 9th currently) Do you push KNOWING that the UTG will call and it will be JJ vs. 66 vs. your AK???

If I win this hand, I cash... If I lose it, I am out...

Wednesday, May 30, 2007


What is the WPBT?

World Poker Blogger Tour

How do I become a member?

Have a poker blog for longer than 1 post!

What are the benefits of being a member?

Precious few! BUT, the WPBT holds a monthly poker event and maintains a leaderboard for those events. And best of all, two of the events (one summer, one winter) are held live in Las Vegas. There is ZERO cost to membership other than the occasional (for some very occasional, you know who you are) post! Once a member, always a member.

What is going on in Vegas?

You need to read a past trip reports from attendees to do it justice.

What's going on at the Summer Vegas WPBT POKER-WISE then?

Well, Falstaff and I are going to play the $250 HORSE at Binions on Friday. (Please join us!) Friday night is mixed game chaos at the MGM card corral. The summer event on Saturday is a private NLHE tournament at the Orleans.

Where can I get more information?

Not sure there is any! But try the links at the right to the WPBT leaderboard, which can take you to the WPBT online events calendar (featuring the weekly events The Mookie and The Hoy at Full Tilt). There is also the "Battle of the Bloggers" leadboard maintained by AlCan'tHang. The rest you pick up as you go. Like a MMORPG only for poker bloggers.

Can I make any money being a blogger?
Are you kidding? Bloggers make tens of dollars every year!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Traveler's Dilemma

Read this:

Now think about no limit poker. IF this article is correct, players will always bet the wrong amount at all but the higest level of competition. And even then they might.

What does this mean?

I means that betting the "correct" amount can be enough to outplay our field. Wow. I was hard on myself last night in the Hoy because I bet POT everytime I hit top pair in an effort to avoid variance and players catching up. But do I need to except the fact that I did not maximize my return?

Seven Random Things about Columbo

I have seen some threads, but missed the challenge post. As usual, I'll guess at the mission and wing it. If someone tagged me, I would not necessarily know it. Consider this a preemptive strike.

Seven Random Things about Columbo:

1. I have been strip searched at the border. The story is an actually quite a long one, that I was committed to the written word for a magazine article. I dont plan on typing it again.

2. I have a published, big box board game (Link at right) called "Bootleggers". It's surprisingly good.

3. I was a poser. That's right. I would trek down from suburbia, leaving the confines of my upper middle class home to go to the city and see the Dead Kennedy's.

4. I did stand-up comedy for nearly 10 years. And I got paid to do it. Really. Hello? Is this thing on?

5. I love a good cartoon. Not just the adult stuff either. If its witty and original, I'll watch it. I have an extensive collection of the old Mel Blanc classics.

6. I was once suspended from college for a week for exploiting a backdoor on the mainframe that moved all my jobs to the top of the queue. The queue that I called the "wait of death". I guess that somewhere, in a government warehouse, in an FBI filing cabinet, is my "permanent record" that consists primarily of this list.

7. I don't really believe in luck. Varience, sure. Not luck. "Right place, right time?" No, not really. Just varience.

out-smarted myself

Player in MP raises to 4xBB. Cutoff calls, button calls. I look down at 33 in the SB.

BUT, the BB had his hands over his cards and the UtG says "raise". Action returns to me and I am looking at a pot with two raises, out of position, with a baby pair. I can no longer call and look for a set, I have to fold. There may be a made all-in rush after the re-raise at low limits.

Not ony did the players all CALL, the set would have hit and held up...

What did the RE-RAISER have? AJs. No wonder I did not want to leave the table.

Theory: low limit and paired boards

Theory: good players make alot of money on paired boards at low limits.


1. Low Limit players put on blinders that the board pairing can negatively affect them. On a board of QQ3, the QJ will ALWAYS pay off the KQ or AQ. Always. (Lots of kicker problems at low limits)

2. Players will bet into made boats and not slow down if they have a straight or flush!

3. Players will call big bets with overcards when heads up, assuming that their opponent is bluffing or has a lesser 2 pair.

4. Players will play any card with an Ace and yet still bet when the ace hits on a dangerous board. (Never mind the kicker issues!)

5. There is no long term +EV to bluffing at the low limits, but there is a +EV to being perceived as loose. Players will continue to repeat the mistakes above over and over again!

Paired boards are fun! BUT, remember. When you bet into a paired board, the resulting information you get from your opponents reaction is LESS accurate. Why? Because he may play back at you THINKING he has the better hand.

The Hoy lets me down 5 times.

I was down to under 800 chips, but battled back for 3 hours to BUBBLE the hoy at 6th. A heartbreaker as I was in 3rd with 8 left. I played ok, but never got "lucky". Its funny, but I won everyhand where I got in ahead, and lost every hand where I got in behind. No suckouts, no beats. Is that the perfect formula for a bubble? All races resulted in the pair winning also. RIGGED.

I got my money in behind 5 times and lost them all...

Flop-Trap Poker

Ok, here is the "jist" of my trip to Vegas.

One night down $120, next night up $160. So, I ended up $40. But why the wild fluxuations? I played JUST flop-trap poker.

What is Flop-Trap Poker? (aka small-ball)

You see as many flops as possible, draw with odds, and make big pots for big hands (and try to keep pots small otherwise).

PROS: takes advantage of other player mistakes. Can win big pots with minimal risk. Works well at low limits.

CONS: Time dependant (it takes as long as it takes). May fold otherwise winning draw hands to maniac players. Works well at low limits.

So on my trip, I hit all the CONS the first night. draws to non-but flushes were folded to 3 all ins, for example. On the second night, I made the flops and players kept betting into pots with second best hands.

I missed a huge opportunity passing on 89s from the SB for a 3xBB raise. Or did I? Isn't it -EV to call a 3xBB raise with a drawing hand which is unsuited and out of position, even if there are 3 other players???? Is it??? hmmm????

Monday, May 28, 2007

Stud 7 was last night

I was in last, then in 4th, then out. The fall from 4th was so anti-climactic. I went card dead, then had Aces up beaten TWICE. Go figure.

Results are posted (link at right) and the next event is the WPBT summer classic (or online make-up event at the SAME time).

Friday, May 25, 2007

Vegas Baby, Yeah!

I will do a trip recap later, but in the meantime...

Despite repetition, my favorite things to do in vegas:

1. Get drunk at the german beer hall(across from hard rock)

2. The MGM card room is the best. Play some "flop-trap" poker.

3. Lounge around at the Casa Fuete cigar cafe (have a mojito) in the forum shops.

4. The two person showers in the ceasar hotel rooms.

5. Did I mention that Dicks Last Resort (the shame of Chicago) AND Trader Vics (tiki drinks served in a carved out pinapple!) are opening this year?

6. Sushi is awesome

7. Gam-boooooling with bloggers at a 1-2 table.

8. Texting blog entires from vegas (with no spel checin!)

9. Walking the strip in the heat

10. Sitting by a pool for 8 freaking hours having drinks, meals and service poolside. Frequent dips should not be missed.

11. Elvis Sightings.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Losing, but not sucking

put raiser on mid pair, put him all in with 99. He calls with 55.

Put raiser on AJ/AT, put him all in with AQ, he calls with AJ.

Put raiser on steal with two paint cards, put him all in with 88, calls with KJo.

what do all these hands have in common? They knocked me out of tournaments last night...

even Raise it up with AA, caller with AT, SPLIT! not my night, yet I played well and read well. Oh well. Live poker game tomorrow. Hope the bad luck is drained out now...

Mookie Kryptonite

What is it with me and my arch-nemesis, the wednesday night mookie? I had 3 playable hands in the first 50. I finally doubled up to average on hand 55 or so. Again, card dead for a LONG time and we get to the point where I cant just sit around. I raise in MP with 8d5d just to steal and the button and BB call my 3xBB raise. The flop is 753 rainbow and I like this flop. I bet half the pot, the button folds and the BB pushes. I have a Q of .9 going into the hand and now I am down to .5 if I fold. It looks like and over pair, but it could also be an AK bluff. I make the call, because I just dont see have less than a starting stack size after the first break already occurred. He shows his set of 3s and IGHN.

Oh, I KNOW this is a bad call. But I still dont think you can blame me for making it.

I played SIX hands the entire tournament.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Columbo in Vegas, one night only

That's right, I have a business layover and just wanted to know if anyone will be playing this Saturday night at the low limit tables. I LOVE that late night Ceasar's tournament at 11pm. Do they run it on weekends?

Tournament Strategy Question

Note: the following is not a TACTICS question, but a STRATEGY question.

Let me set the stage...

There are around 24 people left in the Hoy. I have had a below average stack size ALL NIGHT. I keep seeing flops with 78 or 9T and missing by a mile, but this time I flop 59K rainbow and have a gutshot. The ahead player badly underbets the pot, I am guessing because he had a big flop like a set and did not want to chase everyone out. But the 6 comes on the turn and I have the nuts. This time I met a bet to insure a healthy pot and he calls. The pot is now huge, and he is screwed. He somehow escapes the value bet on the river, marking the turn call as a BAD mistake.

I am now at 12k in chips and the average is $7500. I am third in chips, the leader has $20k. There are now 20 left. When this happens...

Blinds are 100/200 with 50 ante

I am in the BB with JJ. Folded around to button (stack size $4500 and the loser of the above hand) who makes is $1000 to go. SB. raises all-in to $5500.

Now, I have a 20% overlay in the button, because if I call here, I dont see how he calls. So, I feel he is going to fold. I also am assuming based on play that the range of hands for the SB here is as low as AJ. (I put him on AQ/AK).

If I THINK its a race, and I THINK the button will fold, do I call this?

Well, I did. The Button DOES fold and the SB turns over AQs. KNOWING THAT, do you like the result?

I LOST the race, and eventually lost back-to-back races to Iggy to put me out 12th.

Did I screw up royally, or was I looking to get where I wanted to be, which was in the money (pays 6 places) and just run into some bad luck?

Sunday, May 13, 2007

slow week

Not much to say after quick exits from the WWdN and the Mookie this week, in the latter again running KK into AA on a J high flop. In the WWdN I ran TPTK Jack into QQ. I used to beat myself up over these things, but I have come to realize that when you are starting with 1500 in chips and there are 100 players, ending level 1 at 1600 can only make TJ Cloutier smile. The rest of us are disappointed. I just find it difficult to fold away and over pair or TPTK in the early levels once I have 1/3 of my stack committed. I got away once, but now with 900-1000 chips, you need to be very aggressive. I became a self declared push-monkey and ironically did quite well.

I was running on the treadmill when my jukebox decided to shuffle up this song.

Forgotten songs of the 80s: Peek-a-Boo, Siouxsie & The Banshees. Here is a band that was formed when Sioxsie Sue, William Broad (Billy Idol) and others went to a Sex Pistols concert and realized "anyone can put together a band". Many years later, after a decent but not a financial blockbuster career, they produced this unique and catchy toon for the MTV generation. The song was sung over the instrumental track being played backwards, after the band played the song backwards. The end results is thus forward, but with an eerie not-quite-right feel to it. It only hit #53 at the time of release, but is considered a new wave classic.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Tournament Strategy in Motion

I said I would do this, and here it is. A detailed Synopsis of my cash last night. You already saw hand #1... Now a look at the rest of the important hands:

II. I am short-stacked with 1/2 the starting stack size. (I bled a bit after hand #1). I now have an opportunity to pick up 500 chips simple with a push and the hope that I am not running into KK or AA. But the upside is to increase my stack size by a third. And it works.

III. I now finally get a big hand in KK and put in a re-raise preflop which is called by Hoyazo. Trouble? The flop is very friendly for a big pair and Hoyazo pushes. I am actually suspicious based on this and assume my KK is good. I did not count on running into AA. NOTE: This is almost the exact same scenario as in hand one, only this time I CALL the bet. And I am WRONG again.

But this time... I hit my 12-1 shot.

Here is a hammer raise. This will be one of the SEVEN hammers I get over the course of the tournament.

IV. The next hand is a weird case where I was the first raise into the pot and was called by a dominating hand out of position. When the flop hits me hard, the AK is flying into trouble fast. Based on the flop and my weaker stack, he thinks I have victim written on my face and pushes me all-in. Needless to say, I call and for the first time, have a decent stack size.

V. Here is a hand where AA limps from EP looking for a raise to allow him to re-raise. Another player limps and instead of what I would normally do with the hammer, I simply check. (I want to play this like I hit the flop.) Expecting to bluff, the flop rains down like a box of hammers hitting me HARD. AA cracked and I double up.

VI (x3). As the tournament rages on, I have an Q of about 1.5 and I make some blind steals with hands like AQ. Nothing to write home about...

But I am also playing INSANELY tight if I am not first in. For Example, I FOLD AQs on the button to a raise (full table), I fold 88 UtG (16 players left now), and fold 22 to a short stack all-in from UTG because I am only in Mid position.

I am also not defending my blinds. A by product of this is that I am keenly aware that with 16 left, people are watching each other. I believe that people think that they can steal from me. I think Miami Don tries just that. He is first in from the cut-off and pushes all in. He has about 25% of my stack. I have A7. In the past 3 rotations I folded to every push and I am worried about the table running over me. I decide I need to show that I will make this call to the others at my table. I call and Don is aghast. He cant believe I called an all-in with A7o. But reasons are reasons. Plus, I think he WAS making a move with any Ace. I knew it would be a close decision.

VII. When there are 14 people left, even though you are 7 handed, don't get into kicker problems... This was a much more difficult decision than its looks like here, because he is better every street and I am calling...

VIII (x3). Continuing with the theme of being overly tight with 12 left, I would take call raises with AK, but fold if I missed the flop. Which happened all 3 times. Why? Because it was the GIANT stack at the table betting. But I could win a big pot if I hit it.

I just never hit a flop with AK late in the tournament.

IX. 12 left, 6 handed and I tangle with TAG Iggy. He is capable of some complex moves, especially sensing and raising into weakness...

from the SB he makes a min raise, which I call with 74o.
The flop is 7J8 with 2 hearts. He bets, I call.
turn is a 6d. He bets, I call.
River is a 4s (so no flush) and he pushes all in.

IF you believe he might have had a OESD, that is one of the cards that makes the hand.

I go into the tank, but eventually fold.

I would like to list this as a great decisions, but in actuality, no decisions on my part occurred. I folded out of a hand on the bubble (2 left to cash) and 3 players got all in. Lucky for me, the biggest stack won and just like that I cashed. Having made really only 9 decisions the entire tournament.

X. Turns out the difference between 6th and 4th was that someone did not pick up on a potential mistake I made. I saw a flop from the SB with JT and the flop was Jh2hAs. checks all around and the turn is the 4s. Now I bet and the other player folds. I am willing to bet that many of you would have put me on the J. You probably could push me off of this hand...

IX. Then end. 4 handed and I defend my BB with 2dT2 against the UTG min raise. The flop comes 238 rainbow and if I think he has two big cards, I might try something here. Noticing that I am also the short stack now, I decide to try and steal it with bottom pair and push. He calls with QQ and IGHN 4th.

So there it is, a Hoy in 9 decisions. In order to win, I probably would have had to make 9 more. Most of the hard ones are at the end...

Monday, May 07, 2007

the big dilema

Mondays at the Hoy (17511686), Table 6 - FIRST HAND!!!

The button is in seat #9
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to columbo [Jc Js]
sellthekids folds
ScottMc folds
UpForPoker folds
columbo raises to 60
hoyazo folds
TFG folds
tasit folds
Mike_Maloney raises to 150
PirateLawyer folds
columbo calls 90 (danger? reraise...)

*** FLOP *** [3c 5d 4d]
Mike_Maloney bets 275 (almost POT)
columbo has 15 seconds left to act
columbo raises to 888 (Big raise)
Mike_Maloney: hmm
Mike_Maloney has 15 seconds left to act
Mike_Maloney raises to 2,850, and is all in


'Poker is a game of luck' argument

Everyone who plays poker more than one time understands what is meant by this statement. But when it comes to carving out exemptions for the Online Gambling Act based on SKILL, it seems the wrong battle is being fought.

I dont understand why anyone would try to label poker as a game of skill when money is being wagered. I just dont get that. Its like arguing the non-existence of God with a catholic priest. You can make all the arguments you want, but you cant "win".

I believe a better way to address the issue politically is to carve out exemptions where money is wagered amongst players instead of against the house.

This makes 3 important distinctions:
1. The provider (online poker site) is providing a SERVICE (poker) for which they take a FEE (rake). (This makes is similar to an online RPG world, which is a multi-BILLION dollar business now)

2. This scenario is far easier to regulate (just ask any telecommunications company forced to pay Gore's Internet tax). Fees are a percentage of taxation. Companies would have to pay that transaction fee for US players. No execptions.

3. The fears of money laundering are diminished (but not entirely mitigated) while making many voters happy.

Obviously, the compromise bill would have to artificially cap the amount you could deposit in a single year (the "I lost my house" protection act argument), but that is a small price to pay to re-open the doors to online poker.

Most important of all, it avoids trying to "win an argument of opinions" and instead steers everyone towards a "dont ask dont tell" scenario where we dont have to determine if "pokrt is a skill" for everyone to be happy.

WPBT updates!

Ok, originally we had the Spring Classic penciled in for July. Adjusting
for the June dates, the events come as follows:

MAY - STUD 7 (5/27)
JULY- HORSE (most probably 7/22 or 7/29)

The STUD 7 will be held on May 27th at 9pm EST. (I added the event to the
WPBT calendar biggestron hosts. My apologies for not doing this for event

Byron has been very busy with his new job, but the link on the right takes you right to the standings and is up to date!

NOTE: If you can not attend the spring classic event, there will be a
make-up event on Full Tilt only for players who do not travel to Vegas for
the gathering. This way, you could still gather points if you are unable to
(Note: PLEASE do not sign up for both.)

I will try to schedule them at the same time!

I am really struggling...

To get to the next level. I THINK I know what I need to do, which is concentrate on observation of opponents so that when I get in a hand, I am no longer just playing a math game. I need to translate my opponent's actions to "what he is thinking and why", which in turn should allow me to make better moves...

Knowing I need to do this, however, has not been enough. The long stretches of non-action often conflicts with this focus...

Friday, May 04, 2007

we got the beat

Played in the riverchasers last night and had a hand in level 1 that would have made hoy smile.

Utg raises to 4xBB
Middle Position caller
Get to me in the SB with AA.
I make a slightly less than pot size bet meant to get ONE of them to fold. About 25% of my stack.
MP folds

What do you read that the UTG has?
I read KK (maybe QQ) and he is afraid of an ACE flop.

The flop comes down J high

Now, I want his entire stack, BUT I want him to:
a) think he is ahead
b) think that I am going to call if he goes all in.

So, I make a continuation bet to make it look like I have a hand like... AJo!!!!

Sure enough, he pushes and I call and take down...

Oops. King on the turn. IGHN.

Dissapointed? yes and no. I REALLY enjoyed a hand where I felt like I played it perfectly and manipulated opponents to do what I wanted.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

its been quite a week

Where do I start?!

A trip to Silicon Valley on work revealed that my new HQ is a scant 10 minutes from the Bay101 card room. I did NOT get a chance to get there my first visit to San Jose, but I intend to on the next trip. Expect a trip report...

The NFL draft took place this weekend and I am already sick of hearing about Randy Moss. Again. The LIONS continued into year 5 of their 2 year plan to

A: Install the West Coast Office
B: Get two dangerous receivers on the field
C: Be a tough team
D: Win more than 8 lousy games.

They have completely scrapped step A, as it turns out that A and C are not compatible. As for B, it took 4 draft picks to get two receivers. If first you dont succeed, pick again...

After a difficult couple of weeks struggling with weak play and poor finishes, I final tabled the HOY last night. I lost two big hands and was down to 859 chips and was VERY TILT-Y. I pushed three or four times and doubled up twice to get back to 3000 and a stacking stack size. From there, the chips slowly drifted my way as I hid in the wake of the Goat, who was the monster chip leader, two to my left. I played in pots he didn't and rode the wake up to the final table. At the end, it was him and I, and he had a big lead. I closed the gap and then my QQ ran into his AA on a ragged board and it was over. 2nd place. But, a good finish.

IF I really want to improve my game, I will do what HOYAZO does and go back and analyze my hands from last night and see why I did well instead of donk'n. But this morning, I have to get to work and the kids computer is busted and the lawn is not cut (continue infinitim).