Friday, April 30, 2004

Posted by Dr Fro 1:46 PM
There is a tournament in the Heights in Houston this Sunday for 75 players at $50 a pop with only 65 signed up so far. Let me know if you want to play. Payout is

(based on 75 players).

1st $1,500
2nd $875
3rd $450
4th $300
5th $190
6th $150
7th $120
8th $90
9th $75

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Posted by Dr Fro 1:43 PM
Anybody want to split the cost of this with me?

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Posted by Dr Fro 9:16 AM
We have talked about "bots" before, but this is pretty amazing.

They are selling software to help you cheat. The online poker sites have the technology to stop it and then WinHoldEm has a way to dupe the online sites.

I have never been a big fan of online poker, but this should convince the rest of you. If you want to play, fine. But do so knowing that it is a losing proposition, analagous to playing blackjack. Don't play for high stakes.

There is a bit of discussion about it on RGP today.

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Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Posted by Johnnymac 12:59 PM
Also - results from the game last night - Champ Canonico ran us all over and posted a big win. Two guys just about equally split the cost of paying for his winnings and everyone else was roughly in between with modest wins or losses. Yours truly won about $5 in total for 4 hours of work.

After analyzing last night's results I think that I need to play more loosely in NL because I'm giving a bad image (thus giving me very little action) and I think I am sacrificing implied value by playing too few hands for big draws.

Props go out to Todd B - it's been a while since I played with him and I was impressed with his large amount of improvement.

I plan on making the NL game a monthly occurrence, probably on Wednesdays this summer because I will need to be sleeping on Sundays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays with my early morning summer workout program. Email me if you are interested in getting on the list for the next game, tentatively scheduled for May 19th and the third Wednesday of every month thereafter - at least through August before my imminent wedding in September.

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Posted by Johnnymac 12:52 PM
I am going to New Orleans this weekend to speak at a business conference and I plan on playing a lot of poker at Harrah's when I am not networking or otherwise attending work events.

The last couple of times I have been there the games have had good action but otherwise the room itself and the game selection and limits were not all that impressive. From what I understand now though, the big poker boom of the past year has led to some significant changes so I am looking forward to the weekend. I will post a report when I get back.

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Monday, April 26, 2004

Posted by Dr Fro 6:18 PM
Jayson, Curtis and I are in for Friday....anybody else?

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Posted by Dr Fro 6:17 PM
A player at the Top Hat on Friday had top pair with an open ended straight on the flop. That's 8 outs to the straight and 2 outs to trips plus 3 outs to TOK. Thirteen outs with two streets is roughly equal to 26 outs. There are 5 known cards, so he has 26/47 or 26:21 to win. The flop was bet and he came over the top all in. The all-in bet pushed out a third player and got a call from the original bettor, which as expected had an overpair. Two more cards were no help an Hero went home.

As the door was closing, the winner piped in with "Why would you risk your entire stack on a draw?" There are two things that are very wrong with this statement.

1) The "drawing" player was actually the favorite in this situation
2) There is a huge difference between betting your stack and calling with your stack.

If you don't understand these two points, then you could be critical of this decision. But, I beleive strongly that the all in move was the right move.

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Posted by Johnnymac 4:00 PM
Blackjack Also Ain’t Gambling (but it’s close than poker is)

Today’s been a rather slow-moving day for me – I got in late last night from a weekend excursion to Lake Tahoe with my fiancée. It was a nice trip and the scenery is absolutely beautiful, but the flight home was a killer with almost four hours in the air, a two hour layover, and adding two more hours for the time change. We flew out of Reno at 2:45 yesterday afternoon and landed in Houston around 10:45. I didn’t get to bed until almost 1:00am and the alarm came way too soon this morning.

A few people have asked me about the poker there and I have to say that I didn’t pay much attention. I was there with my future wife and thus I was more interested in spending time with her and poker wasn’t really on the agenda. And from what I saw there was mainly just LL holdem and stud in a couple of small rooms, anyway, and those types of games don’t interest me these days.

That’s not to say that I didn’t partake in some gambling: Fiancée had never spent time in a casino before and she was curious to check it out and maybe play a little bit. I was happy to show her around and we spent a couple of hours watching a craps game and playing nickel and quarter slots before we finally settled down and played some blackjack. Before we sat down I asked her if she was familiar with Basic Strategy and she said she was. But once she got the mechanics of the game figured out (ie tapping the table and not shouting “Hit Me!” before each card) and after watching her play for a few minutes I can confidently answer that she most certainly is not familiar with Basic Strategy. I cringed every time she hit her own 13 or 14 against a showing dealer bust card but her explanation that “we’re going to end up losing anyway” was perfectly satisfactory for me because it’s the right answer. And it was fine too because this was the first time she’s ever played, anyway. (next time I’ll let her play with her own money, though…)

Naturally, as any of you who are familiar with casinos can attest, the other players at the table started getting angry at her when she made “dumb” plays because they felt that her poor play was influencing their own chances of success. This is dumb beyond words because any freshman sitting in Statistics 101 can tell you that with a properly shuffled deck the cards are completely random and each card is completely independent of any other card. For every “bust card” that she “took away” from the dealer she also took a low card. I am not a statistician so I can’t mathematically prove this point – I’ll let others do it for me – but I shouldn’t have to. Intuitively it makes sense to realize that if the cards are shuffled and dealt completely randomly there is no way that any decision to hit or stand can have any effect on what the next card will be. The only way that Fiancée could influence whether the dealer busts or not would be if she knew the next card and acted appropriately and I doubt that any of those people would have been willing to make that assertion.

In other words, no matter what Fiancée did, it had no influence on anyone else’s success… Anyone else’s success that is, but her own, because while she could not control whether the dealer was going to bust, she absolutely could control whether or not she busts herself. That’s the allure of blackjack – that there is an element of control to the game and not just some random payout based on the whim of a computer chip or pair of dice.

I had a difficult time trying to explain this to her, that she was right in ignoring the used-up casino wench at the end of the table but wrong in blithely taking cards whenever she felt like it, and I realized that this concept is the essence of why poker (and thus blackjack to a lesser degree) isn’t necessarily gambling.

You have a choice.

In blackjack, the player can lose in two different ways: by exceeding 21 (“busting”); or losing to a higher hand held by the dealer. Conversely, if the player loses, then the house wins, so then the house can win in two different ways. The rub, however, is also where the house edge comes from: the player can only win in one way, by beating the dealer,* and the house can only lose in that same way – by getting beat by the player. But if the house busts after the player busts, the player still loses – he doesn’t get his money back. That’s the house edge right there – because the player has to go first and thus can lose in a way that, theoretically, should be a push because both parties have the same result.

So what the hell does this have to do with poker? Easy – deciding whether or not to hit or to stay is a decision that can be solved mathematically based on the probability of a specific outcome. In certain situations Basic Strategy dictates that you try to win by drawing to a high number and in others it tells you to avoid the risk of busting and instead hope that the dealer busts instead. In all situations the strategy is based on the probability of what is most likely to happen. Therefore, if both the player’s and the dealer’s hands are so high that they both risk busting with the next card (assuming the dealer will be required to hit) then it’s always proper to stand and thus transfer that risk to the dealer. As I (somewhat futilely) tried to explain to Fiancée on Saturday, it’s true that the player may lose if the dealer draws and ends up with a higher total than player’s but it’s also true that the player will lose if he busts and then in that case it doesn’t matter whether the dealer busts or not. The point of standing on a lower is to transfer the risk if you can.

This is getting long-winded so I will get to my point: many people who follow Basic Strategy at blackjack are oftentimes the same people whose poker strategy is little more than the usual “any two cards” junk. They’ll get in and gamble with no thought to the strength of their hand before the flop and don’t seem to realize that premium starting hands are designated as such because of the cumulative probability of being the winning hand relative to others, taking into account one’s position and the action that has already taken place. Just like Basic Strategy tells you exactly what to do in blackjack that has the greatest chance of winning, a proper understanding and application of starting hand strategy tells you exactly what to do in any specific form of poker. Calling a raise with 85s from early position is just like hitting 18 in blackjack – the odds of winning are very low – you have the worst of it – and thus you are making the wrong decision. True, the flop may come 679s in holdem and you might draw that 3 in blackjack but more often than it’s gonna be AK3 rainbow and you’ll draw and bust. In both situations you’ve simply upped your chances of losing by not adhering to a pre-determined strategy.

Just as in blackjack you can choose to hit or stand, you can choose whether or not to get involved in a hand of poker. Stick to a strategy that has the best of it and you’ll be on your way to winning.

*(Even though the payoff is higher getting dealt a blackjack still fits this definition because it’s still just only push if the dealer has blackjack, too… think about it, the blackjack still has to beat the dealer to get paid)

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Posted by Johnnymac 11:44 AM
For the first time ever I am going to advertise a game on the poker blog.

NLHE tomorrow night at my house. $100 buy in to start up to the largest stack on the table.

BYO everything. We will start at 7:00 sharp and finish by 11:00 or midnight at the absolute latest. I still have 4-5 seats open. Email me if you are interested and I will save you a seat and send directions if you need them.

UPDATE: I damn sure forgot to mention the blinds. 25-50 cents to start.

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Sunday, April 25, 2004

Posted by Dr Fro 1:16 PM
Lost $25 on Friday and won $16 on Saturday. Net of $9....amazing given the pot sizes this weekend.

I am out of town until Friday night...anybody want to play Friday? Jane has the girls over, so I cant host. Can you?

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Friday, April 23, 2004

Posted by Dr Fro 4:06 PM
Starting hands – No Limit Holdem
There are several ways to evaluate starting hands. Below are the factors that I use to consider if I will play 2 cards:

1. Inherent value. This is the basis of most groupings of hands you find in books and it basically corresponds to the answer to the question of “How likely is this hand to be the best at the table on the river, based on all possible combinations of boards?” This is easy to understand. Inherent value increase when hands can win multiple ways (suited connectors, for instance)

2. Potential dominance. Dominance has been discussed here before, but a quick reminder may be due. If you hold KQ, that is just wonderful. Unless, of course, someone else holds AK. If this is the case, then you have 3 main outs (the three queens). If you held something that wasn’t “dominated” like 2-7, you would have 6 outs to beat AK that doesn’t pair up. Imagine that – ignoring straights and flushes, in this scenario, 2-7 is twice as good as KQ. This is important.

3. Deceptive value. Clearly 2-7 has more deceptive value than, say AK. For some reason, people are always expecting others to be holding AK. If a King is on the board, Hero will say “well, I got a King too, but I think you got a better kicker.” Same goes for when an Ace hits the board. Hero says, “Yeah, I got an Ace, too, but I know you’ve outkicked me.” What a dumbass. When he played A-7, wasn’t he hoping to hit an Ace? And when it hits, he folds?!? Anyway, when you have AK, you don’t fool anybody. Your preflop raise makes it even more obvious. The only way to be deceptive with high cards is to not bet them. But then you lose the inherent value in the “value bets” which defeats the purpose of playing high cards. So, my point is that crap hands like 2-7 have a lot of deceptive value. As a matter of fact, that is probably their primary value.

4. Betability. I just coined that word. I’ll define it as how possible it is to bet your hand. A-X suited has greater betability than K-X suited because when the flush comes, the King-high guy is scared of the Ace-high guy. The Ace-high guy knows he has the nuts and can bet without fear.

Sklansky and others have made their Group 1, Group 2, etc hands, but I want to quickly define my personal Group A, B, C and D. After reading this, you will know how I play No Limit Holdem. My secrets will be out and you can take all my money. You are welcome.

Group A – corresponds well with others’ Group 1. These hands are so freaking good, you would have to either be an idiot or be facing multiple re-raises to fold. They largely include AA, KK, QQ, JJ, TT, AKs and a few others. The exact cutoff of Group 1 v Group 2 (or for my listing A v B) isn’t very important. The important things I have to say relate to groups B & C.

Group D – Group D is complete trash. It consists of hands that are neither suited nor connected nor even 1-spacers (ala 6-8s). You would only play Group D hands if you were in the blind or if you had so little respect for any other player that you knew that whater EV you give up pre-flop, you can make up by outplaying your opponent post-flop. Example, if playing Ted Hoth heads-up, I would take a proposition bet that I could take all of his money by calling every single unraised hand pre-flop by outplaying him post flop. However, there aren’t many Teds, so don’t play Group D hands.

Group B – These are very high cards that aren’t Group A. Any two cards 9 through A unsuited definitely fall in Group B. Let me skip Group B

Group C – These are medium cards that are suited and either connected or a 1-spacer. Some unsuited connectors

OK, lets compare Group B to C on my criteria above.

1. Inherent value. Group B may have slightly higher inherent value. Interestingly, though, if you use any poker calculator, you will see that the difference is quite slight heads up. In multiway action, the difference is even less slight. Advantage: Group B, barely.

2. Potential dominance. Group B’s biggest liability is potential dominance. Play 9-J often enough and you will hit a lot of pairs, two pairs, straights, and even trips only to LOSE. In limit poker, this isn’t as big of a deal, but in NL when you have the straight with a board of 2-3-T-Q-K, you will be tempted to call (or lead) with the ignorant end of the straight. What if the flop comes 9-J-A? Great, two pair. Bet it and get arse-raped by AJ. Plus, there are a lot of straights that can suck out on you. Group B hands will cost you a lot of money in NL poker. Group C hands are seldomly dominated. IF you hit the board, you are probably the only guy that did, so bet it up. The overcards will call, hoping to hit their 6-outer.

When you play 5-6s to 5 callers who have Group A and B hands, it is analogous to you needing Georgia Tech to win the NCAA pool. They all need Uconn, but it will come down to their tiebreaker to decide who wins if Uconn wins. Even though Georgia Tech had a 33% chance of winning, these guys are sharing 66% 5-way, or getting a 13% chance. Be different, take Georgia Tech.

3. Deceptive value. People expect people to hold high cards. Clearly Group C has more deceptive value than Group B

4. Betability. If the board helps your Group B hand, then it helped everyone. It is hard to bet it now unless you have the nuts. It is hard for a group C hand to hit without holding the nuts. I mean, you either got your straight or you didn’t. The only toughie is when you back into a baby flush.

When you add up the score on 1-4 above, Group C beats Group B. Add the bonus benefit of the fact that everyone thinks you are a maniac for playing “such God-awful trash” while they play such monsters as unsuited face cards. Let them laugh at you. You get the last laugh.

So, yes, I throw away a lot of hands that others call with. Nobody knows what I throw away, because they don’t get to see it . People do know what I call with, and they appear to not be strong cards. They are a lot stronger than you think.

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Posted by Johnnymac 7:23 AM
Incidentally, this is also a good example of another reason why holding a set is better than holding trips - because quite often a player with a big pair in the pocket has no way of knowing that you have him beat with three of a kind if all he sees is a board with unmatched little cards.

A paired board looks much more dangerous to a good player who knows that he should be afraid and thus it may be harder to extract value from him without inducing a fold. This is especially true of making trips with a face card because the other player knows it's more likely you may have a higher card in your hand than a smaller.

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Posted by Johnnymac 7:17 AM
I think that the Badger article that Fro posted last night is great - you really must be able to recognize good poker playing skills before you can actually apply them. I do have something to add to the article, though, because I think that the article only goes halfway.

Not only was it a bad play because the player with JJ gave the other player a chance to beat him by just calling and not raising - it was also a bad play because he didn't give in to his recognition that he was beat.

This is one of the primary signs, I think, of a good poker player: recognizing when one is beat and then surrendering to play another day. One of the clearest situations where this holds true is when the the flop cannot improve your hand but shows a pair or otherwise obviously completes a drawing hand right from the start. Sometimes your opponent will come out betting and sometimes he won't, but the higher the "winning" cards may be (ie 2 cards to a broadway straight or 2 face cards on the board), the more likely it is that your maybe be holding those cards and have your quality starting hand beat. Giving up and folding is especially hard for many players to do when they are holding a big pair because AA and KK and other Group 1 hands don't come very often and it's hard to let them go and admit defeat. Iif you can learn to dissociate yourself from past expectations and play only in the present you will make more money in the long run because of the money you save.

However, this also brings up a slight contradiction - that this particular observation seems consistent with the bad poker maxim of "any two cards can win." How can "any two cards" still be bad advice and how does this mesh with the concept of "quality" starting hands? Quite simply it's that quality starting hands are quality hands in expected value only in the long run. Over time, JJ will beat 63o, and many other poor hands, much more often than will the poor hands beat JJ, but JJ will not necessarily win all of the time. It's the all the time expectation that causes many guys to lose their cool and start to complain about bad beats and it's the good players who recognize this and shrug, "shit happens." Don't put yourself in a position for shit to happen to you (the point of Badger's piece), and if it does, recognize it and reduce its damage to your bankroll before you're really sorry (that's the point of my piece).

Great article find from Fro.

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Thursday, April 22, 2004

Posted by Dr Fro 6:16 PM
Not any new insights here, but old advice is still good advice.

Mike Caro discusses the exact topic I covered after my loss at Junell's.

Thoughts on bad beats. You know, JG and I have a policy against telling our own bad beat stories here.

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Sunday, April 18, 2004

Posted by Dr Fro 8:15 PM
Tournament results:

19 players x $100 +
3 rebuys x $50 +
19 addons x $50 =


1st-$1,500 Juan Miranda
2nd-$ 750 Jerome Solomon
3rd-$ 450 ?
4th-$ 150 Mark Luthman
5th-$ 90 ?
6th-$ 60 ?

I got 15th, which paid nothing. Baird got dead last. Baird and I played fantasy poker, and since I selected Jerome and he selected nobody in the money, I got $5 from him. We did a PL side game, where I won back some of my money, but not all of it. Oh well. Congratulations, Juan - that makes 2 1st place finishes in 5 weeks - good for you, bro.

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Friday, April 16, 2004

Posted by Johnnymac 7:57 PM
And if you don't get the "Troy Aikman Face" reference click here and scroll down to item #9.

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Posted by Johnnymac 7:55 PM
This might not really be in the same theme but I am always a fan of Murphy's simple yet understated cries of, "Who didn't know that?" I use it myself sometimes, too, out of habit whenever someone blindly and blithely throws money away into an obviously unwinnable pot and then ends up with the Troy Aikman Face when he gets creamed by the guy who hasn't played a hand in an hour.

More than once I have been told to keep my mouth shut... but it's just so much fun I can't help myself!

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Posted by Dr Fro 5:29 PM

I've always liked "You can shear a sheep many times, but scalp him only once"

Some good ones of Don Murphy:

"I had draws at 2 separate flushes pre-flop"
"He's luckier than a 2 dick dog"

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Posted by Johnnymac 3:40 PM
Have a good weekend - I'm off to ride the MS-150 tomorrow and Sunday. I've never done it before, but I hear it's a lot of fun. (and if you care to make a donation to my efforts, you can do so here - thanks in advance)

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Posted by Johnnymac 3:35 PM
I also feel like describing what I think is the hand of the night from Wednesday (at least up to the point where I left the game). By far, this is one of the biggest suckouts I have seen in some time.

Names have been changed to protect the innocent:

"Rod" is a very loose and aggressive player who is already in very deep and had even borrowed more money to stay in the game - at this time he is probably stuck for $500. After winning a couple of big hands he is almost back to even.

"Luke" is patient and solid player. He doesn't appear to be playing any hands but somehow has turned his $100 buy in into about $500.

"Myron" arrived late and started pressing from the go. He is very aggressive but seems to at least know well enough when he's beat. Myron has also turned his $100 into around $500 by this point in the game.

Rod is in the small blind, Luke is in the big blind, and Myron is in the cutoff seat.

Rod makes a preflop raise of $10 and gets three callers: Luke and Myron plus the dealer. (pot = $48)

Flop comes 3h 5s 3c.

The action checks to Myron who leads for $25. The dealer folds. Rod and Luke both call. ($48 + $25x3 = $123)

Turn is 4c.

Rod checks. Luke bets $100. Myron and Rod both call. ($123 + $100x3 = $423)

River is 8d.

Rod bets $100. Luke calls. Myron sits and thinks.

The board is now 3h 5s 3c 4c 8d

Thinking that Myron has folded, Rod briefly turns over his cards to show 8c8h. Everyone starts to yell and Rod realizes his mistake and quickly picks his cards back up. I was standing behind both Luke and Myron, so I know that both of them could have seen his hand, but apparently neither of them were looking. Rod has the nut full house. Unless one of the other players has the other 2 threes, he has the best hand.

Myron raises another $100. Rod very quickly goes all in for the rest of his chips, about $250 worth.

Luke thinks for a while and calls.

Myron thinks for a while, curses, and eventually calls.

The pot is now well over $1000 ($423 + $250x3 = $1173 to be exact)

Rod wins the hand. Myron has A3s and Luke has 6x7x.

Keep in mind that Rod was already losing after the flop to Myron's trips, that Luke made the nut straight the turn, and that Rod called all of those bets and raises with only two outs on the river. Later, the dealer admitted that he had folded the 8s, so Rod had only one out to make his hand. That's what I call a gambler!

It's also what I call the Suckout of the Year. (so far)

I don't normally like to publish bad beat stories, so here's the thing: if you were a witness to a similar bad beat or suckout, then by all means send me your story and I will publish it. I will not publish anyone's own personal bad beat story because I am not interested in hearing you cry. Don't send, because I am not publishing. That said, if you think it's a really good story, convert it into the third person and then send it to me.

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Posted by Johnnymac 2:48 PM
That doesn't mean I don't play aggressive, either, because I do. I will muck 15 hands in a row and then come shooting with both barrels and I am proud of that. Ask anyone who was in the game on Wednesday night to which Fro makes his epic post - if I was in the pot, I was betting or raising the size of the pot every time. No, I'm still pretty aggressive and I'm not afraid to make large bets. If the pot's $100 and all I have is top pair with 88 and I think it's good, I'm going to bet $120 to discourage any draws.

Patience is my game. Then aggression, and if necessary, a strategic retreat every now and then. Kind of like this book.

Grind, Grasshopper, grind!

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Posted by Johnnymac 8:45 AM
We can't all be Doyle Brunson, but Fro's obviously been reading his book.

I wish I could play that way, if only for short periods to deceive my opponents, but it's just too hard for me to do it. I don't like to bluff and yet I don't necessarily need to because I have yet to find a game where someone won't call me most of the time. And when I do win nothing more than the blinds, well, that's good too because now I can play for free for 10 more hands.

Am I really a grinder? I guess I will have to answer yes to that question.

It may not be glamorous and it may not be macho, but it wins. Maybe not tournaments, for reasons I have detailed many times, but definitely cash games.

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Posted by Dr Fro 8:35 AM
My style is simple. I play very aggressive and unpredictable. The downside is that I piss away a lot of money by tripling or quadrupling the blinds on a very large number of my hands that I have to release later. However, that sets me up for the big score. All those $12 bets I piss away are easily recovered by the 1 or 2 $1,000 pots. On Wednesday, I was not winning any of those big pots until I finally hit one for $900.

For the first time since early February I lost more than a token amount. I lost around $350, which sucks. However, to put it in perspective, posts were typically in the hundreds with only 5 players left. Thus, I was really only one pot away from being a winner on the evening. Had we played longer, I may well have got it all back.

And when you read my logic above, you understand my biggest weakness – I place too much emphasis on “winning nights”. I don’t view poker as the “poker game of life” where I should not sweat losses or wins on any given nights. I try to win each and every night. This causes bad play, like bluffing $485 into Wilson to win a pot that would put me at even for the night – even though it was a silly bluff. I only made that play because I was down and wanted to get even. I need to learn that it is ok to lose and learn to play each hand based on its own merits.

Another reason to walk away when you are down (rather than staying up all night to get even) has been discussed here before. In all likelihood, you are now up late with 4 guys who are big winners. They don’t want to lose their stack, so they take no chances. They will only play you if they know they have the best of it. The juicy potential to win that was there at the beginning of the night has disappeared and you are playing against rocks, stealing their blinds each hand and then getting hit over the head with their monster hands.

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Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Posted by Dr Fro 11:13 AM
Regarding the payout on Sunday, if you notice, there is a huge drop from 3rd to 4th. Thus, if you are among the final 4, it is largely in your best interest to tighten up and back into 3rd, even if it means laying down some big hands. However, as the difference between 3rd and 2nd is slight (a 66% increase), it may be worth the gamble to loosen up here. The downside is small (being on the bad end of taht 66% increase) but the upside is huge (ending up heads up with your stack and somebody else's stack against a guy with only his stack)

The blind structure allows for patience in the early rounds with blinds way below the initial stack. Rebuying should not really happen unless you are stupid or have horrible luck. The add-on should generally be taken unless your stack has multiplied by a ridiculous amount and you are in the top 2 or 3 in the chip lead.

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Posted by Dr Fro 11:04 AM
Rules on this Sunday, April 18:

For your $100 entry fee you will receive $1000 worth of tournament chips. During the first hour and a half re-buys are permitted. $50 Re-buys will get you an additional $1000 in tournament chips. A player may re-buy anytime his chip count falls to $500 or below. If a player loses all of his chips, he must re-buy before any forced bet (the blinds come to him) if he wishes to continue playing. There is also an optional add-on at the break after the hour and a half re-buy period. Regardless of chip count a player may add-on $1000TC at the first break for an additional $50.

1st 50% 4th 5%
2nd 25% 5th 3%
3rd 15% 6th 2%

Remainder of rules are fairly standard and do not warrant posting.

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Monday, April 12, 2004

Posted by Dr Fro 5:33 PM
The tournament on this Sunday, April 18, noon:

Entry $100
with $50 rebuys for first 1.5 hours
and a $50 Add on at the break

No-limit the whole time

You will get 1000TC and as it stands right now. And the blinds will be 1,2 and 3,6 for 45minutes a piece then break time. So there is no reason anyone who doesnt want to play very aggresively should have to rebuy unless they get a monster cracked by a bigger monster.

Juan, Mark L., and I are going...let me know if you are interested

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Posted by Dr Fro 5:25 PM
LAS VEGAS (AP) — A man who put his life savings on the line took home
$270,600 in a double-or-nothing roulette wheel gamble at the Plaza Hotel and
Ashley Revell, 32, a London man who said he liquidated all his possessions to
fund his leap of faith, put $135,300 on red at the roulette table Sunday as a
film crew videotaped his wager.
Wearing a rented tuxedo, he brought cash to the casino, said Rich Rose, the
Plaza’s president of sports and special events.
After trading the cash for chips and engaging in some low stakes gambling as a
warm-up, Revell placed it all on red.
A crowd, including his mother and father, watched as the roulette wheel was
spun. The ball bobbled into various slots before landing on Red 7.
His winnings were paid at the table, Rose said. The cash is now in a safety
deposit box at the hotel.
Messages left for Revell by The Associated Press were not immediately returned.
Rose said Revell claimed he came to the hotel “with nothing but the clothes
on his back.”
The idea for the bet was hatched earlier this year during a casual conversation
between Revell and a friend, Rose said.
The two explored their options and enlisted a film crew to record the event for
possible future release.
Revell received a bottle of champagne and a suite from the hotel. The hotel had
him sign the roulette felt and will put it on display in the lobby, Rose said.

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Thursday, April 08, 2004

Posted by Dr Fro 7:33 PM

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Posted by Dr Fro 9:55 AM
I typed this up last weeked but forgot to upload:

Friday we played NL Holdem at my house. I won $350. Some bad moves I observed:

1) When to slowplay and when to bet your hand.
In general, you should bet your hand and drive out people on the come. But, you must slowplay from time to time to maintain a level of deception in your play - otherwise, nobody will ever call you. So if you must slowplay:
- slowplay sets (2 in hand, 1 on board) not trips (1 in hand, 2 on board)*
- slowplay straights with a rainbow on the board; straights with a 2-flush on the board should be bet aggressively
- slowplay pocket pairs that are "overpairs" to the board; bet when you hit the top pair on the board
There three scenarios have a lesser chance of getting drawn out on, and you can consider slow-playing

2) This relates to "*" above. Beware trips. It is very likely that you are facing a full house. Test the water before you go diving in head first

3) Overbetting. Why would you bet, say $30 into a $4 pot? You will only get a call if the guy has you beat. Ideally, you bet just a little more than the bet the gives other players pot odds. If they call that, it costs them. But overbetting like that serves little purpose. I am a PL player, so I tend to not bet much more than the pot. In NL, there is room for more betting, but a multiple of 7 times the pot is too much.

That's it.

Oh, I went to the Hat on Sunday, lost the tournament and then lost $35 over 8 hours. So, it was a winning weekend.

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Posted by Dr Fro 9:16 AM
There are still 50 spots left in the second charity tournament

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Saturday, April 03, 2004

Posted by Johnnymac 1:29 AM
I - HATE - 727 !!!

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Friday, April 02, 2004

Posted by Dr Fro 1:19 PM
Article from yesterday

Interesting how a person can just turn into a pro like that after a big score. Maybe Pinion will win the WSOP and be a pro.

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Posted by Dr Fro 8:52 AM
We played at NL Junell’s last Wednesday. The contrast in styles of play of different people led me to think of poker in this way…What you win in the long run is roughly equal to:

+ $0, which is the net sum EV for all players assuming that they play without flaw, and ignoring “game theory” decisions such as bluffing
- $x, which are the stupid mistakes you make (say, calling a bet when you aren’t getting pot odds)
+ $y, which are the stupid mistakes others make
+ $z, which are the pots you successfully steal on bluffs
- $a, which are the bluff bets you make, which get called and lose
+ $b, which are the bluff bets others make, which you call and win
+ $c, which are the bluff bets others make, which you don’t call and lose the pot

It seems to me that bad players tend to have an EV that is mainly $0-$y. Quickly they either lose a lot of money and quit, or they graduate to an ok player. The ok player considers how each decision should be made independently, aims to minimize his errors and sit back and capitalize on other’s errors. The win $0 +$y. When you play this way, you can last a long time at a poker table. You win more often than you lose. You are basically a rock. Your game is well suited for limit poker, but NL will only bring you success if you avoid good players.

Good players graduate from this level and employ tactics to get $z and $b, while minimizing $a. Minimizing $a for the very good player is different than “minimizing” $x for the ok player. The ok player can get $x to = 0. However, the good player intentionally allows $a to grow, as long as $z grows at a greater rate.

There were 2 players that I don’t think ever bluffed and at least two others that seem to hardly ever employ it. This is missing an opportunity. And if anyone else at the table is taking advantage of these opportunities, your EV is taking a beating.

The ok player cannot overnight graduate to a good player by reading this and deciding they need to bluff more. Proper bluffing takes a lot of experience, and I am not going to re-hash all the bluffing pointers we know. I would like to point out one key point:

Bluffing is inherently different from other poker decisions. Most poker decisions can be evaluated independently, and you long run expected return is simply the sum of the EV’s of every decision. Each bluffing decision, however, affects the profitability of subsequent decisions.

You need to be willing to let players steal some pots. You may know they are bluffing, but you should let them have this pot. They will take another shot later with a bigger bluff and that is when you hit him over the head and tell him to stop stealing your pots. If they are going to get burned once and then get gun-shy, let it be for a very large pot.

You need to be willing to get caught stealing a few times for small change. Seriously, make a bluff with 35o even if you think the other guy will call. Let everyone see how stupid you are. Then, when you flop a full house and start betting big, you’ll get call(s) that will easily pay you back for the cheap advertisement.

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Thursday, April 01, 2004

Posted by Johnnymac 8:49 AM
Jayson writes to tell me that after I left he went on to finish in fifth place on Tuesday night and won a small cash prize. I happened to draw a seat right next to him at the start of the tournament so I got to watch him for a couple of hours. He played well and won a couple of very large pots (one of those hands flopping a set of 7’s against a lucrative AK7 board) right before the break and was able to parlay those pots into the chip lead and an eventual finish in the money. Nice job.

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Random thoughts from a lawyer, an accountant, a commodities trader, an ex-Marine and a WSOP Main Event money finisher that don't know as much as they wish they did...



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