Thursday, August 23, 2012

This week in Poker

Variance ate me alive this week, resulting in a negative swing in the bankroll. In all cases but one, I got my money in ahead. In the last case I was about a 5-1 dog getting 4-1 and reluctantly made the a call on the river (in Omaha, if you call the flop, you are often calling the turn).

So, to recap: Poker sucks, first losing session of Omaha ever, week long tilt.

Oh, and this small thing happened: A federal judge in New York ruled that poker isn’t gambling under federal law because it’s primarily a game of skill.

Holy pocket aces! Ok, in the grand scheme of online poker, this is really not relevant. BUT, it does mean that home games can not be prosecuted, nor can running games be considered racketeering. Which is semi-significant.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Do You Validate?

I have finally put enough time between me and my last MTT to discuss it. Four table MTT and due to a poor showing the previous week in a 3 table MTT, I vow to play perfect.

We are down to 3 tables, the level is 200/400/50 and I am in the SB with $14k in chips. ( M=14, Q is around 1.)

EP standard player raises to $1200 UtG. Folds around to me and I have QQ. I make what I consider a standard raise here to $3k. Villain moves in for $8k.

I thought only briefly about this, thoughts of building a stack in my head. My two choices:

FOLD and have $11k left. (A very weak play here in my opinion)
CALL off $5k more to win the pot of $17k or so. (This would put me at $23k and very comfortable.)

Is this an easy of a choice as I made it? More importantly, would you RAISE there with QQ vs. and UtG raiser with $9k?

I call and he tables AK, which hits an ACE and takes 65% of my stack... BUT, I am not out yet... I build it back up. By the time we are down to two tables, I am back at $14k, but the levels are now 500/1000/100. I Call a short stack all-in with TT, only to see that she flopped a flush draw. Turn = boom and I am again now at $8-9k and hanging on.

I grind back up to about $12.5k and finally get KK, but in EP. I cant really fool around and make it $3k to go. The BB is the only caller. But that $3k call + $500 SB + antes will take me to $17k if I take it down on the flop. Not great but not bad.

The flop is 8d9h9d and the BB CHECKS. Can emphasize this enough. He CHECKS. I have only $9500 behind and bet $4500. He then ASKS what I have behind and I state, just $5k. He then CHECK-RAISES me all-in on a OESD. WTF? GREAT for me as I am going to double to... Oh wait, TURN is a TEN and his 67 sends me home. He might of even had 6d7d but I didnt even care to make sure, as I am NEVER folding KK to a single BB caller when I am short-stacked and the flop is 899.

So, frustration and despair results. But overall was happy with my play. Still, second guessing, could I have just CALLED with QQ? (No I still dont think so).

Friday, August 10, 2012

Forced to post

I dont want to post! I played solid early level poker last week, running $10k to $15k and then. TRAGEDY.

Lost to a 3 outer on river, KQ outflops my AJ, two middle pair hands go astray and finally a steal attempt runs into QQ. Not a great end to a fine start.

So I did not want to post. Instead I have been studying some poker play video, concentrating on knowing when to see a turn card and subsequent actions, and just as I think I can still avoid posting...


PokerStars Closes Deal With DOJ
"and repay players outside the U.S. within 90 days, as was specified in the agreement last week."

RLY? Merry F'xmas to me then!

But of course, the fine print: "The remission process is still up in the air at this time." Which means, the DOJ is involved in some way.

Friday, August 03, 2012

wat I lernd tooday

"You want to manage the size of the pot to the predicted strength of your hand on the river. In other words: grow the pot with value hands (where you will tend to have a pretty strong hand on the river naturally), and with hands that will make strong hands on the river with some frequency (decent draws). This is sometimes misinterpreted as aggression? Turn missed draws into bluffs some % of the time. Try pot-control with hands of medium or mediocre strength."

"Playing game theory optimal/equilibrium strategies is "playing defense." Estimating your opponents' strategies and trying to exploit them is "playing offense." The first important fact here is that playing defense ignores your opponents. You only want to play defensively when an opponent is exploiting your play."

Hand Tactics should include situational awareness. (position, image, stacks, opponents) and often come into view pre-flop.

Thursday, August 02, 2012

uh, wah?

To quote professor Farnsowrth, "Good News Everyone!" It seems that Pokerstars becomes the GG PS

Although, until a final public statement is made by both PS and DoJ that the full bankroll (not just DEPOSITS) are being returned, I'll continue to hope not assume.

Thursday, July 19, 2012


Ok, so I like Omaha, so shoot me. Last night, I sat down at the weekly low level donk Omaha table and due to a lack of practice and a guy misplaying a hand which resulted in me deciding to call off the remainder of my stack with bottom set, I started $250 after the first hand. But as with Omaha, correct play almost always profits over time.

Despite its reputation as an action game, there are fewer suckouts in Omaha and you really do have a better chance utilizing the math because there are fewer "races".

I do have a tricky question though. Game loosens up and guy opens for $10. Stacks are from $200-$500 ish. Caller. Caller, next guy POTS to $45 pre-flop. This would be the biggest pre-flop of the night. Everyone is CALLING NOW with their speculative hands. Gets around to me and I have JdJhAs7s and I expcet this to be a 6 way pot ($275 pot). If I call here to see a flop, am I playing this hand profitaby knowing I either have to flop TOP SET or a nut flush draw to even continue the hand?

btw: I DID call and flopped nothing of the kind and folded.

I ended up grinding it back up to a marginal profit of about $100, but the game really loosens up at 10pm or so. I should have stayed for the most profitable hours, but I was tired and I play poorly when I am tired.

I also caught some grief for the term "Re-Pot" from one player, who wanted to know why I could just say "Pot" again. This is the stupidest thing I ever heard, as clearly communicating intent at the table avoid future issues.

Here's another weird thing. Lousy loose player sits down and starts spewing. I have JJxx and the flop is J32 rainbow. Someone bets $10, calls around to me and I POT. On this board, EVERYONE KNOWS what I have?! Folds around to spewer, who CALLS! turn is a 7, I pot he folds. Here is the fun part.
He says (to the table, not me) "I know you have Jacks here".
And I reply "Then why did you call?"
Spewer: "If you dont know why, then you dont understand Omaha".

Even with (2233), he is looking for a 2 outer for $135 call (see comments). This is what happens after 10pm at low stakes Omaha.

I swear the play is consistently bad through the night, but late-night its a fountain of mistakes.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

What the WSOP means to me

I just finished a 4 day junket of Vegas and all things WSOP.
Here now is what the WSOP means to me:

It means sitting for 2 hours at a time, interrupted only by waiting in line to pee and eating a protein bar.

It means passing various TV pros in the hallway all utilizing the "I'm on a cell call" ply to avoid you bothering them. (Most don't even talk into the phone to drive the illusion home.)

It means being constantly reminded that we don't have online poker and thus could not practice a 2700 person field in any way, shape or form.

It means watching tweets of all your poker associates, secretly hoping you got deeper than them in a given event.

It means watching a guy play badly, then tilt while lamenting his bad luck after amassing chips all day on coin flips.

It means shivering at the table, while outside its a balmy 105.

It means purchasing WSOP swag, only to have to answer questions about how you did for years down the road.

It means walking by countless people on cell phones loudly telling their buddy their bad beat story.

It means getting it in good, but not good enough. And getting it in often, but not often enough.

It means taking the walk of shame away from the table despite getting through 80% of the field.

It means winning the blinds with KK, then the next hand a player across the table with TT breaks 2 players. It's a game of epic clashes. If you avoid thme, you dwindle away. If you find them, you had better get it in.

It means promises of LOW-stakes Omaha cash games that will never see the light of day.

It means lots of Deep Stacks tournaments that are deep stacked for 4 hours... then all hell breaks loose.

It means spotting the pros at the table, and memorizing their ranges and facial expressions... followed quickly by a table break.

It means $1 for a tiny cup of water.

It means politely correcting the dealers.

It means that 90% of the us could use more practice.

It means $15 cab rides to anything just to get away from poker for an hour.

Until next year...

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Playing with FIRE

I went to the local card room with a few hundred and a goal. Play like a maniac. I went up $100, then quickly down $200. But in the end, it was an old-fashioned simple hand that FELTED me.

8 handed and distracted table, I raise to $10 from MP with AT. 2 Callers, the cutoff and button.

Flop is AcKd7c. I check. He bets $30. I figure he actually has either a King or a flush draw. I call and intend to act on a non-club.

The Turn is another 7 and I figure I am good now. I want him to pay to draw and bet pot (about $100). He goes all-in and I am stuck since I only have $40 behind at this point and he could simple have a club draw.

Turns out he had 7c4c and made a LP call hoping to get a good flop. And he did.

I could have gotten away in different situations, but wanting to maximize action prior to my trip cost me a buy-in.

It's not so hard to put him on EITHER a K or a 7 here, but with the preflop raise, I convinced myself he had a KcXc. I was so sure that I went broke.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Practice where you can practice

With two weeks until Event 43, I actually fired up a SHOOTOUT on Live Poker (not for $). Play varies WILDLY, but tables are 6 max for many decisions. I got rivered 5 times in a row then actually made a mistake on a river call. After that, went on a tear winning three straight SnGs.

I'll have to twitter something to activate the account again, and sit at the local game playing uber aggro to stimulate some brain cells.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

MTT league cash

Amazing what difference an attitude and 1 hand holding up can make in a Tourney. It's the monthly league and I need a top 10 finish (30 runners).

I have about $8200 of my original $10k and have not won a hand yet. I am also in a different mindset: Don't play uber conservative like you usually do. Why? Because I was sick of finishing out of the money.

I get KK in early position and I limp, knowing full well what that means. I do this for 2 reasons here:

1. I want to get value out of KK here. I cant afford to win 300 chips with this hand.
2. The player on the button is a LAG who will call big raises and put in raises with position.

I take the risk and if no one raises and I get 3-5 callers, I just have to muck the KK and lose $200 in chips.

The player to my left, who is playing SUICIDAL AGGRO (he has Weird Al tickets for tonight) raises. Ok, good.
The player across from me moves all-in for $7000.
The Button makes what I can only consider an INSANE CALL. CALL, mind you (he has about $8200 also, so he leaves $1200 behind?!)

Comes back around to me. Now in a 3 table MTT with two all-ins in front of me, there are many situations (especially in level 2) that this is an EASY FOLD.
Instead I move all-in also. The player on my left, who decides he cant pass up 3-1 or bust, calls.

Can you guess the hands? Probably not because the play her is SO BAD by two players...

I limp with KK. Player to left Raises, so he has a hand. In this case AQ. ok so far.

Player across moves all-in with QQ. I get this, SORTA. He has just $7k sure, but he has way over 20 BB here and if he does shut the hand down, he picks up like $800 in chips. He must be thinking that he wants the rest of the table to fold and the limper (me to fold) and get heads up with the AGGRO loose players with QQ. I get that, but if the Raise is to $700 or so, you make it $7k, there are lots of bad scenarios for you... But at least I UNDERSTAND the decision.

Button calls $7k (of his $8200) with 77. WTF? In what poker world is this a wining play? RAISE, All-IN, 77!!! He little fold equity vs. the first raiser who has made it as obvious as possible that these are the situations he WANTS. Seems likely your "call" will be more attractive and now you have 77 vs. a BIGGER HAND plus a third hand of ATC which he can SAFELY assume 1 of which is > 7 !!!

Despite all this stupidity and usually an easy fold, I call. Why is this a fold usually? Because KK against 3 hands is going to be a favorite, but at 50% at best (in this case 49%). And its LEVEL 2.

Why did I call. Because I set up this situation. I limped for action and that was my plan for the hand. I was not going to sit around and wait for a perfect situation this tournament, only getting my money in ahead, hoping they all hold up. I was fed up. I walked into the room knowing I would make this call today and sure enough it came up.

The board plays out bricks and suddenly I have over $30k and go on to finish 3rd. I COULD have won. I made zero mistakes and had just gotten the chip lead when I ran top-top into a flopped straight. The river call of $25k (1/2 my stack) was ill advised and it eventually forced me to take a race against 33, which I lost.

Monday, April 23, 2012

What a year has done

Last year, I won my league outright and started strong this league year. But as I play only 2-3 a month now, I find myself making mistakes that seems to be from lack of experience. Not stupid mind you, but if you do something wrong over the course of a MTT and you fix it for the next one, that is learning. If you make a mistake and then a month later make another mistake, you are trapped in a feedback loop that is too large to be helpful.

$200 live MTT:

Level is 300/600/75 and I still have about $18k of my starting $20k. Despite my best efforts, I had to lay down a number of hands (correctly in all cases). So now, its costing me $1500/round for an M of 12. UTG opens and I call in the BB with Jh9h. I am just defending my BB more than anything here, BUT the player who opened is not a stealer.

Flop comes down 9 high with 2 diamonds. He bets out $5k into a $2500 pot and I mistakenly hatch a plan. I am going to go with this hand hoping I am ahead but also bluff all-in if the 3rd diamond falls. So I call and when the 2d comes on the turn, I move in. He SNAP calls with TTd.

Would I SNAP call there? No, I am thinking it through. But enough about his TINY mistake. My large mistake comes from playing stupid 1/2 cash games and not a daily MTT. My gosh what a difference playtimes makes.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Homegame software

Anyone used this?

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Poker and NFL spring

Not to make an X Spring reference, but wow. After losing online poker to legal madness, the NFL decides to trump poker for most interesting off-season.

Payton CUT and goes to Denver.
Denver sends Tebow to the JETS (the most pious to the most heinous locker room.)
Bounty-gate results in serious (record setting?) suspensions
Redskins mortgage their future (three first-round draft picks and a second-round pick!) to move up 4 spots in the draft in the biggest trade since Hershel Walker (the first/last time Jerry Jones was effective).
After making the playoffs for the first time in over a decade, the Lions lose just ONE free-agent.

I have heard again and again that FullTilt purchase will close on date [insert plausible but random date here]. And that payback of monies could (cough) follow. no details, not ever.

I think the online poker industry needs to do something crazy to get attention. Seems to me that the PPA has all but thrown in the towel. Posting (aggregating others) news video is not what I need a PPA for. Asking members to post to Facebook seems to be the remaining call-to-arms. Sigh... A sad state of affairs over there.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Found an excellent paper in my desk

As my skills rust, and news regarding any online poker look like they are in the 2012 range, its always fun to find good skill reminder notes. Here is an excellent list I put together after a session online, which I recently reflected on:

Preface: Position > Cards > Chips > Position. Old news.

1. Stop calling to just see flops. You cant play poker to just hit flops. Well you can, but its "flop-trap" poker and it only works in low-limit cash games. If you want to win tournaments, you need to win hands.

2. To win hands, you need to play hands. RAISE with your decent hands from LP because your cards and position will be ahead of their RANGE. This forces opponents to play larger pots when you have the edge. Assuming you remember #1 above! We tend to get out of this solid habit because of "early round" syndrome.

3. River bets are telling.

Honorable mention (mostly because I NEVER do this): Don't play Ax when deep from OOP after a limper. Statistics show that nothing good will happen here.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

WSOP schedule out

Say what you want about the % of juice in the WSOP MTTs, you have to give them credit for evolution. Not just the demise of the November 9, but adding additional events (including a HO), and twice daily Deep-stack cash MTTs to compete with Venetian. It's a cornucopia of poker regardless of the days you are there.

May 27 through July 16, 2012 at the Rio, so rumors about Caesars will have to wait another year.

I'll admit though, I wanted to see MORE shootout events. This year, there is just event 14 (@ $1500).

Monday, January 30, 2012


I am still shocked and dismayed at the online poker state of affairs.

First off:
While the statement from the AGCC did not mention anything regarding the buyout of Full Tilt Poker by French investment group Groupe Bernard Tapie, it is still believed that GBT will acquire the online poker brand and assets from the US Department of Justice in exchange for one $80 million payment. Upon transfer, the US DOJ will drop all charges and civil complaints against the Full Tilt name. It is still unknown whether or not players will ever be reimbursed for their confiscated accounts, though many are still hopeful that once the takeover is finalized, the new owners will make their best effort to pay back some or all that is owed to the disgruntled US players. HA!

Does this mean I can write $6k off on my taxes as theft?

Online casinos continue to operate in Europe. I dont think its surprising to see them, nor do I see any chance of a Casino Online being shut down.

By the way, my favorite game show of all time is "Happy Family Plan", a Japanese show I saw in Hawaii (thus the translation). There was a roulette expert who could simply through hundreds of hours of practice, get the little ball to drop in green-zero every time. No mechanical assistance, just expert timing. Amazing. Online roulette is probably safer. Roulette Rules

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

SOPA is an act of Terrorism

Terrorism - "the use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, especially for political purposes. "

SOPA (in a nutshell) - allow holders of copyright to enact and enforce injunctions against ALL PARTIES involved in a alleged violation. ED: In old school terms, this would have consisted of: The Newspaper, Radio (and TV), Drivers of trucks who distribute the newspapers, Stores than sells the newspaper, Manufacturers of radios, Newspaper editors and publishers, Journalists, Disenchanted youth, and the bloody ROADS that the trucks drive on to distribute the newspapers.

Why?: Because incumbent and long established companies wish to stave off the tide of inevitable change.

Copyright - Created on or after January 1, 1978, life of the author plus 70 years. Except for Disney.

Why would we pass a law that allows record companies to engage in terrorism?

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Better Finish

Set myself up great in this weekends MTT by going for the throat when I was ahead instead of playing it safe. Accumulated more chips with the same hands in this way and and was in the top 3 in chip going to the final table. With 8 left though, lost a huge race. Stack of $20k moves in pre-flpo again (3rd time in last 10 hands). Folded to me in the BB with $45k and I look at QQ. Easy call. Villain shows AK and a King takes nearly half my stack. I never really got it going again after that, having to resort to stealing with marginal (and awful) hands to keep ahead of the $1k/$2k/400 blinds. At $5k a round, I was eventually picked off in 6th place, when a QT steal ran into AQ... held by the same villain. But happy with my play, so what can I say?

Monday, January 09, 2012

League night goes awry

Playing in my regular 3 table MTT and starting on time creates a short handed table. I play better short handed and ground my chips up about 50% by the first break. But by now, we are 9 handed and its back to looking for opportunities. I really had a dry spell and with 15 or so players left, was at like $13k. As we fell to 8 and 7 handed and the blinds continue to creep up (putting my M around 15), I started getting more aggressive preflop for antes and blinds. I had a couple of stellar opportunities with People limping when their M is around 10, which makes it great on the button (or in the blind) to put someone to the test. Its especially lucrative when the limper induces a late position call. Now suddenly, they have to put in 10k more to cover a 800-1k limp and when they fold, you pick up $2500 in chips! And of course, you do this with ANY TWO. In my case K5o. But alas, its interesting how the fates play you. I find myself in the exact same position a few rounds later, but this time I have QQ. I take the same time to think as I did with K5o, trying to duplicate my actions. But when I put the chips in, I get the insta-call from the trickster KK. He had suspected larceny, so he limped with KK hoping to induce me to do it again. May I would, maybe not, but with an M of 15 and their being antes+blinds+KK limper+LP Caller = $4200 in chips and me with like $15k, its way too much to pass up with QQ here with 13 players left. Even if he has AK, I am happy moving in with QQ here. But 7 handed, I am not expecting to run QQ into limping KK. Who would really? So, disappointing finish, but happy with the play.

Next week I may have to MISS due to a daughter's birthday, which would set back my efforts to finish in-the-money in both leagues. I am clearly on a slide in league 2 and need a strong finish.