Sunday, October 31, 2004

Posted by Dr Fro 9:06 PM
I played one hand tonight:

#Game No : 1124472062
***** Hand History for Game 1124472062 *****
$25 NL Hold'em - Sunday, October 31, 19:50:05 EDT 2004
Table Table 15675 (6 max) (Real Money)

Seat 6 is the button
Total number of players : 5
Seat 1: owenbucks ( $20.7 )
Seat 6: crazycarl26 ( $10 )
Seat 8: tlh61 ( $81.5 )
Seat 10: Daveeyboy ( $47.15 )
Seat 5: phreaux ( $25 )
owenbucks posts small blind [$0.25].
phreaux posts big blind [$0.5].
** Dealing down cards **
Dealt to phreaux [ Ah Th ] - WOOHOO-FIRST HAND OF THE NIGHT!
tlh61 folds.
Daveeyboy calls [$0.5].
owenbucks calls [$0.25].
Daveeyboy calls [$1.5].
owenbucks calls [$1.5].
** Dealing Flop ** [ 7s, 5h, 8h ]
Nick47_IL has joined the table.
owenbucks bets [$5].
Daveeyboy is all-In.
owenbucks is all-In.
** Dealing Turn ** [ 4d ]
** Dealing River ** [ Jc ]
owenbucks shows [ 5s, 8c ] two pairs, eights and fives.
phreaux shows [ Ah, Th ] high card ace.
Daveeyboy shows [ 6h, 7h ] a straight, four to eight. GREAT...THERE WERE 6 CARDS THAT HAD BEAT ME, AND HE GOT ONE OF THEM.
Daveeyboy wins $22.15 from side pot #2 with a straight, four to eight.
Daveeyboy wins $8.6 from side pot #1 with a straight, four to eight.
Daveeyboy wins $60.1 from the main pot with a straight, four to eight.


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Posted by Dr Fro 1:23 PM
This is what I have learned so far about poker in Vegas that I may be interested in (not inclusive of games where I have no interest such as $2-$4 Holdem or any stud...):

I found a complete list at CardPlayer and some good info at rgp.

No-limit $1 & $2 blinds $100 buy in
Aladdin, Bally's, Excalibur, Binion's, Cannery and the Golden Nugget.

No-limit $2 & $5 blinds $200 buy in

No-limit $2 & $4 blinds $200 buy in
Mandalay Bay

Medium Limit Games
Bellagio, Mandalay (6-12, 10-20)

Daily Tournaments:
Binion's - 7 Days a Week: No-Limit Texas Hold'em $60 Buy-in: Players will start with $1,000 in Tournament chips $10 Bonus-buy: $500 Extra Tournament chips $40 Optional Re-buy (1) Registration starts at 12 p.m. Tournament starts at 2 p.m. 20 minute rounds 5% of prize money will be withheld for a drawing one hour after the tournament ends. All participants that entered the tournament & playing in a live game are eligible.
Golden Nugget - daily
Orleans - at noon.
Luxor - $25 Every day at noon and 8:30 pm; except Monday and Thursday 8:30 pm $100 Freeze Out; also Saturday and Sunday at 10 am.
Mandalay Bay - Monday through Friday 10am $30 Buy-in Texas Hold'em Freeze-out. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday Evenings 6pm $60 Buy-In No Limit Texas Hold'em Freeze-Out. Sign-ups start (Day of Tournament): 7am for 10 am Tournaments and 3pm for 6pm Tournaments. Players' in live games receive first sign-up. All Tournaments are limited to 30 players.
Sam's Town - Friday, Saturday and Sunday Nights: No-Limit Hold'em Tournaments 7:00 PM
Sunset Station - daily
Sands - evening tournament
Sahara - Daily no limit poker tournaments $40 buy-in. One optional $20 re-buy except for Saturday, which is $60 buy-in with one optional $40 re-buy.

Weekly Tournaments (none of these are Monday or Tues, which is when I will be in LV):
500 + $40 buy-in No Limit Hold 'em tournament every Wednesday at 1:15 p.m. Entries have jumpedfrom about 30 to almost 100. Event winners used to collect about $6,000, now they get about $20,000.

$1,000 + $60 buy-in No Limit Hold 'em tournament every Friday at 5:00 p.m.

Friday & Saturday Evening: No-Limit Texas Hold'em
$125 Buy-in: Players will start with $1,500 in Tournament chips
$25 Bonus-buy: $500 Extra Tournament chips
$50 Optional Re-buy (1)
Registration starts at 6 p.m. Tournament starts at 8 p.m.
25 minute rounds

Sunday Evening: No-Limit Texas Hold'em
$325 Buy-in: Players will start with $2,500 in Tournament chips
Registration starts at 6 p.m. Tournament starts at 8 p.m.
30 minute rounds

Open questions:
Where is a good High $ buy-in (probably weekly) NL Holdm tournament on Monday or Tuesday? Preferably no-rebuy.

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Posted by Dr Fro 1:20 PM

I was dealt JTo in 4 consequetive hands last night. I won all four hands. I built $50 into $190 and should have gone to bed. Instead I gave it all back.

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Posted by Dr Fro 1:19 PM

Let me know if you have some fold-out chairs I can borrow on Nov 14. We are a bit short of chairs right now.

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Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Posted by Johnnymac 8:30 PM
Don't forget that Fro and I are hosting a tournament in two weeks, on Sunday Nov 14th. The link to all of the information is here.

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Sunday, October 24, 2004

Posted by Dr Fro 7:44 AM
From Returning Champions. Seems appropriate for the newly wed John and soon-to-be-wed Junell:

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Posted by Dr Fro 6:55 AM
Just found this on Hornfans:

Then, from different directions comes Phil Ivey, Johnny Chan, that Greenstein
guy, and a couple other pros whose names I don't know. Oh, and also Flynt
himself, in his gold plated wheelchair. They played a nice quiet little game of
$4000-$8000. No shit. I don't know who won what, but our dealer was on the
rotation and was dealing a little over there, and said that Ivey walked with
about half a million, and a lot of it was Chan's.

It does put things in perspective. Most fish like us sit around and dream of getting lucky in a $100 super-satellite to enter the WSOP....these guys can win the buy-in to the WSOP main event buying stealing the blinds a couple times in the above game.

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Friday, October 22, 2004

Posted by Johnnymac 6:56 PM
My Quickest Tournament Exit Ever

After getting an endorsement from Junell, I had been thinking about going to check out John Smiley's game on the north side. This afternoon I got an email advertising their $100 NL tournament beginning at 6:00 this evening, so I decided tonight would be the night.

I showed up. I drew for a seat and sat down with the other 15 players. Then I paid my money and drew the big blind at the start. My strategy going in was to play very aggressively because of the fast blind structure the rather low number of players. On the first hand I checked my blind to the lone limper at the end of the table and then folded when my trash BB hand didn't meld with the trash flop.

On the second hand I played a marginal hand from the small blind (J8s), caught top pair on the flop (J 2 4), and got one other caller to my 2x overbet. I was surprised by the call - as opposed to a raise or a fold - and figured then that I was up against a better kicker.

Then an Ace came on the turn and I checked with the full intention of folding to any action. Instead, he checked too and now was pretty sure that I was up against something like KJ or QJ or that he had caught one of the tiny ends of the flop and called in hopes of catching trips or two pair on 4th and 5th streets.

Either way, when I caught two pair on the river, I was certain it was good and I went all in. I knew right away that I was beat by the way he quickly and eagerly called. I announced "two pair", he announced "straight", the dealer confirmed his straight, and I got up and walked out, eliminated on the second hand of the tournament - a new record for me.

I wasn't particularly bothered by being eliminated, nor was I bothered by the incredulous looks that I got from the strangers who gawked as I got up to walk out so quickly - (I know they were thinking that I must have been a true dumbass neophyte to be eliminated so quickly in a tournament - heaven forbid that anyone would not play timidly and defensively!). None of this botherd me because I am fully aware of and quite comfortable with the fact that quick elimination is a necessary risk of the fast strategy that is required in a small tournament like that.

No, what bothered me was that I had - again - missed seeing a straight on the board. That the 8 on the end had hit him right in the gut and that I was blinded by dollar signs from my two pair that I never saw that it could have helped someone else more than it helped me. That once again I was so caught up in my own style of play that I forget to remember that even thought I don't usually play 9To or 79o, that doesn't mean other people are so selective. I will sometimes miss a straight on the board and get clobbered thinking that my top pair or set or two pair is good because there is no flush or paired rank on the board. Yes, that making that little mistake once again was what was annoying me as I drove home, but I could figure out how he had made a straight with just a Jack and an 8 on the board.

I was beginning to think there had been some mistake - that the guy had misread his hand I had left too soon. But then, I realized it. It all became clear.

He limped before the flop with 35, probably suited. A marginal hand that I probably wouldn't have limped in with, but I could defend it as an appropriately aggressive play given the structure. And besides, Fro would have definitely approved of a play like that from late position.

The he caught a perfect flop - I had piece enough to be interested and he was open ended. This was such a perfectly disguised trap hand that if he did catch the straight, he was going to make a lot of money off of me.

The Ace was probably the perfect card on the turn, at least against me - because I always just assume the Ace is high and I never look at an Ace as a low card unless I'm playing Omaha. I also like to believe, until I see otherwise out of an unfamiliar player, that most people arounda poker table are idiots who will play any Ace dealt to them. Both of these assumptions thus led me to believe that when he checked, the Ace was blank for both of us. I was licking my chops, and instead, he was slowplaying the shit out of me, hoping that I would either still like what I had seen on the flop or would at least catch a little something on the river to induce a bet that he could then come in over the top. I stepped right into his trap.

Now, before I go nuts, let me quote "The Wolf" and caution myself not to blindly suck anyone's dick - either my own because I'm a genius in figuring this out 10 minutes too late, or his for being such a brilliant player. The fact is that he still limped before the flop with 35 (whether suited or unsuited) and then simply called a big overbet with nothing more than an open ended draw - not so much as a semi-bluff. Then, the turn and the river were perfect cards - a 6 on the turn instead of an Ace would have probably been a more obvious danger signal to me and had I not caught my own two pair on the end I would have probably just checked and surrendered to whatever he did at the end because I was out of position with a marginal hand. In a sense, he caught a runner runner beauty for me to have played like I did, or even more generally, it took a perfect 5 card sequence for him to get all of my chips.

And before the comments start rolling in, yes, I should have seen the possibility of a straight when the Ace came on the turn - I play against Fro enough that I should be used to those hands by now. I also agree that there could be an argument made for being more cautious so early in the tournament before I can get a good read on other players. But I also figure that in a small tournament that escalates as quickly as that one does - it's a race to catch cards before your out of chips, and I had a great opportunity to make a significant windfall so early in a tournament.

So I will say this - the slowplay was genius. Ths hand was interesting. And I'm ready to go try again next week, for a whole lot of reasons, mostly that I would like to make it around the table one time before getting eliminated.

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Posted by Junelli 5:19 PM
Do you think this guy has some time on his hands?

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Posted by Johnnymac 11:51 AM
And another thing I've been wondering all morning - how in the hell does a guy hit a walkoff series-extending home run one night, then make a spectacular running game-changing catch in centerfield the next night - and not be named MVP? Sure, Albert Pujols is a great player, but was he more valuable to the Cardinals this week than Jim Edmonds?

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Thursday, October 21, 2004

Posted by Johnnymac 11:07 PM
If Edmonds doesn't make that catch in the 2nd inning, it would have been a much different night. The Astros would have been up 3-0 with a man on 2nd base and one out with the top of the lineup coming up. They would have been on the verge of blowing the game open after 2 innings and Clemens would have been able to go after batters and ignore the occasional runner on 1st base.

But Edmonds made the catch and that was that.

This sucks, but I think it's still better than just mailing it in on July 15.

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Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Posted by Dr Fro 1:21 PM

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Posted by Junelli 11:27 AM
I'm hosting a game tonight at 7pm. $1-$2 Pot Limit. $100 Buy-In.
4714 Waring Street.

Email me if interested.

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Posted by Junelli 1:33 AM
Excellent forum:

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Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Posted by Johnnymac 8:56 AM
Also - I was at the ballgame last night. What a rush! That place was rocking and rolling and when Kent hit the home run it was pure euphoria everywhere. Beer was flying, strangers were hugging and slapping hands, and everyone stayed in the stands and screamed for 10 minutes straight after it was over. No one wanted to go home. Wow!

I was thinking this morning that it was the first time I have ever been a spectator at a postseason sporting event that mattered for a team I actually followed. I was lucky enough to attend both the Super Bowl and the Final Four this year and neither was as exciting as last night - I mean, I liked seeing the Patriots win (I used to live in Boston many moons ago) and I picked UConn in all of my March Madness pools, but this was much different. I actually cared about the winner and was legitimately happy when my team won.

I think I am hooked. Let's go World Series.

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Posted by Johnnymac 8:43 AM
Fro, don't forget about our "lounge" idea that we came up with on the way back from Louisiana last December. I doubt we can get Coolio, though...

Does anyone have any suggestions for a local celebrity who might want to sit on a couch and get drunk with eliminated poker players?

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Sunday, October 17, 2004

Posted by Dr Fro 10:50 PM

Beltran delivers.
I will not make a post about all the trials and tribulations I have gone through in life as a Houston sports fan. It has been written many times and usually by much better writers and occasionally by bigger fans than I. So while I lived through Renfro's TD, the Fuckin Mets, The Mother's Day Massacre, the NC State game, the big Choke in Buffalo, and the ensuing death in KC, I believe that the Astros trials and recent success belong in a category all of their own.

Only in MLB and college football are the odds completely stacked against the have-nots. In a weird irony (or a moment of insightfulness) I realize that the only two sports I truly follow are MLB and cfb, with cfb ahead by a couple lengths. But in both of those sports, there is zero sense of parity. There are the haves and have-nots, and the system is stacked to favor the haves. This is the exact opposite case in the NFL, which makes any long term success that much more impressive and, say, the Oilers complete lack of success that more difficult to comprehend. Only in college football can Northwestern LOSE the Rose Bowl and be remembered forever as overachievers. Only in baseball can the Astros get 1/2 way through the NLCS and already be considered winners. No matter how this NLCS plays out, these guys are winners. They will never have the Yankees' payroll. To be fair, they won't have the Expos' payroll either. But, we are something like the 20th largest TV market. We don't have the payroll or other advantages of either team in the ALCS. To go as far as we have is just unbelievable to me. I want to keep going, but if we lose, I can sleep well knowing that the Killer B's showed that they COULD bat in the playoffs. As a matter of fact, they have been unbelievable in the 9 post-season games this year.

If we lose, I am ok to lose to the Cards. Everyone talks about 'what great fans the Cubs have. Neat. I agree they are knowledgeable fans, but so are Cards fans. And they are loyal, too. There are only 2 differences between Cards and Cubs fans:

1. Cubs have an enormous city and their own network. Aka: advantages

2. Cardinals don't go on and on and on and on about what great fans they are. They just are good fans and that's it. Cubs fans never freaking shut up. Cards fans = Nebraska fans. Cubs fans = Texas A&M fans. If you don't get the regional comparison, then I will give you USC fans. Fans that talk just a wee too much about what great fans they are.

So good luck, Astros. Win game 5 or 6 and you set up Game 7 with the Rocket on the mound. I hope you win, because you have shown a lot of heart. (As I click 'post' the Sox just scored the tying run)

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Posted by Dr Fro 9:33 PM
We have 14 entries for our tournament + a couple uncashed checks + about 20 "dude, i just mailed you a check!" emails. Of course only cash in (my) hand guarantees a spot.

If you need info, shoot me a note.

It is in Houston on Nov 14.

We are hoping to get Farha to come....Morry - mention it to him if you see him.

We are also hoping to get Ted Hoth to come.

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Posted by Dr Fro 8:32 PM
Jeremy at Love and Casino War had a link to this site which has an interesting table on starting hands. I also like the table selection article.

Jeremy also posts this tool for researching starting hands.

J9o did better than I thought, but this appears to be only covering limit poker. NL changes things quite a bit.

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Posted by Dr Fro 1:45 PM
Last Tuesday was the $1-$2 NL Hold’em game at Scott’s. Things started out rough. For the first 1.5 hours, I won a $3 pot when everyone folded to my raise and then split a big heads-up pot to take down $1.50. My stack was missing $50 from a few hands that completely missed the flop.

At this point, I noticed, based on my opponent’s folds and comments, that I had developed a Tight-but-Aggressive table image. They preferred to fold if I came in, knowing that they likely had the worst of it. Following Mike Caro’s advice, I avoided the temptation to try to change my table image. Rather, I tried to exploit the table image that existed.

My plan was to steal a big pot with a big bet. So I loosened up my starting hand requirements to give myself more opportunities to implement my plan. Three key hands were dealt:

Hand #1
I got AK and saw KsXsX lop. I bet $100 into a $60 pot, and I drove out all players except Ted. Ted is a gambler and he wanted 1.6:1.0 payout when he had a 2:1 odds of making the flush. To boot, he had only a pittance left in his stack, so even if the flush came, he would be unable to bet it. Of course the flush came, and he won. What is particularly interesting is that he played 8s5s, so he wasn’t even drawing to the nut flush. (Type A&B Bad Beat).

Hand #2
I can’t remember my exact hand, but I do know that I made a big bet with rags and lost to Ted, who held middle pair, bad kicker. Ted likes to call. I like Ted.

Hand #3
I fucked up. Don (Scott’s dad) had been “playing the fool” all night long. He kept acting like he didn’t know how to play. I should have caught on. Clue #1: Don is Scott’s dad. Read earlier post on Scott, but he also does a bit of a Hollywood routine, pretending that he has less experience than he really does. Clue#2: Don won every showdown he was in but 1 and always had the nuts. Maybe he was too tight, but he certainly wasn’t foolish enough to dance with a bad hand. Clue#3: He made a very smart bluff once when he sensed weakness. He got called (by Ted) and lost that one. I had ignored these clues and played with him on Hand #3. The turn made a possible straight with 3 suited cards. Based on his betting and my (incorrect) assumption that he was a fool, I decided that his $50 bet on the turn was on the straight and that he didn’t appreciate that the flush had come. I had a draw to a higher straight, a draw to a middle flush, and lots of chips, so I called. I missed the river and called his “come on over and kiss me” $5 river bet to see the nut flush that had been flopped. That’s when I figured out (upon flashing back to clues 1-3) that Don knew poker and was no fool. Me=fool. Mr. Hollywood took $55 from me.

Change of strategy again.

At this point I had bought in $200 twice and had $100, so I was stuck $300. It was time to implement the Junell House Strategy. The JHS involves 1) very low starting hand requirements followed by 2) a very disciplined approach to the flop and then 3) tricky play on the turn. Part 3 of the JHS is successful at Junell’s because the players are either very good or very bad, with very little in the middle. So, I run away from Morris when he bets big on the turn, but go for traps, slow plays, induced bluffs, etc against inferior competition. Part 1 of the JHS just gives me more opportunities to implement part 3. Part 2 keeps me from being another sucker quoting Rounders, wears sunglasses, and acts like a pro (or an assclown – it is a thin line) but steadily loses money. On fantastic side effect o the JHS is that the good players see me show 43 on the river and win with the wheel and conclude I am foolish. This gives me more calls. More calls give me more profits.

The JHS only works when a) I have an accurate read on all players b) there are a number of poor players that can be outplayed and c) I have deep enough pockets to bully when that is the right trick. The JHS would be destructive in Vegas or even the Top Hat because I don’t have a read on all players, there are few if any horrible players and my pockets are relatively shallow (except perhaps in comparison to Don Murphy). Plus the preflop raises against good competition keep me from coming in the pots.

Scott’s house shaped up perfectly for the JHS. I definitely had a read on everyone (app ½ good and ½ not-so-good).

I played a ton of crappy hands (but no J9o!!) but folded on almost every flop. Since my reputation of Tight-but-Aggressive was set, nobody noticed my playing 90% of the unraised flops. I got credit for holding good cards and stole some pots on the turn when the flop checked around.

I won maybe 7 of the last 10 hands of the night. On one, I played 56s to see a flop of 56X – all hearts. Vijay made a small bet, and I called knowing that he token bets on the come. Turn was a 6 ( FULL HOUSE!). Only a fool would bet here, so I check, he token bets and I call. River brings a heart. BINGO. He made a flush. I bet, he raises, I re-raise and he calls all-in. His King high flush was surprised to meet Mr. Full House. He was a gracious loser and I was a $150 winner.

Next I hold J4 (much better than J9o) to see a turn of 4433. Ted and I tangle and the 7 comes on the river. I know he will bet if he has any hand (I put him on 3x) and I KNOW he will try to steal if he doesn’t. Check. He bets like $20, to which I make a big raise, knowing Ted loves to call. He called with a straight (56) and he was surprised to see my boat.

Another hand in this streak involved me having high pair nut kicker versus Ted’s draw (again). This time, his loose call didn’t payoff and I won $60.

All the other wins blur together, but I took Dolly’s advice to go with the rush, and I bet, bet, bet, knowing that the powerful winning force that surrounded me (that phrase in Caro’s) suggested to my opponents that they should fold. And fold they did.

All together, this rush took me from $100 to $646, making a net profit of $246.

The whole point of this post is not that each unique game determines a unique strategy. The point is that over the course of the evening, the texture of the game changes, and you should continually adapt. I went from T&A Strategy to Big Bet Bluff Strategy to Junell House Strategy to Powerful Winning Force Strategy. And although I only won money during the last 2 of those 4, I believe that each strategy was correct at the time I used it.

Pay attention to those key turning points in a game that change the texture - a big hand, people leave, new people sit down, people are consuming alcohol, a big bluff is called, whatever. Constantly adjust to the new circumstances and you will be glad you did.

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Friday, October 15, 2004

Posted by Dr Fro 1:16 PM
I am headed to Vegas on December 27. The last day I spent in Vegas was December 29, 1996. I am anxious.

Could my favorite readers send me their thoughts on different poker rooms and:

- stakes available
- structures available
- tournaments, both daily and bigger ones
- WSOP sattelites ?
- jackpots
- and any other useful information so I can maximize the poker part of the trip?

Any links to site that have the above info?

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Posted by Dr Fro 10:14 AM
Thanks to Iggy for this one....intimidate your opponents (according to Dutch Boyd) with chip tricks.

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Thursday, October 14, 2004

Posted by Dr Fro 4:52 PM
There are two types of "bad beats" in my opinion. I don't mean that there are only two buckets into which bad beats may be grouped. I mean that I can tell you right now two groups that make for a meaningful blog, and those two groups are mutually exclusive and collectively exhaustive. Kinda like "There are two groups of people in this world: boys and girls." Or, ""There are two groups of people in this world: those in the eastern hemisphere and those in the western."

Where was I?

Ah yes - bad beats. I define a bad beat as when a hand loses due to the fact that another player made an incorrect move. I use "incorrect move" here to a move that, if repeated often enough, would consistently yeild a negative expected return.

The two groups I would like to discuss are: A) When the winner calls two cards pre-flop that do not warrant a call and B) when a person calls a bet post-flop where he is getting incorrect pot odds.

As a quick aside, you will notice that my universe of bad beats only includes hands that called. No raises/bets can be called a bad beat in my opinion. I don't care if a guy bets his 59o all-in to your KK, you call, and you lose. This is not a bad beat. You were unlucky, but not the victim of a bad beat. At the time he made that bet, he clearly assessed a reasonable probability that you may fold. You don't know how high of a probability he assessed, so you can't call it a bad beat. If he assessed the probability of you folding was high enough, his bet may be justified.

A call on the other hand is based primarily on pot odds. Implied odds are considered too, but lets place them aside to simplify the discussion. Yes, there is also a consideration of the probability that the bettor is bluffing, but lets temporarily put that aside too.

Why do I put bad beats into these two categories? Because I believe that players are correct to draw certain assumptions after a Type B bad beat that they should not draw after a Type A bad beat.

Type B bad beats indicate a few things. For starters, you now know that you are playing against an inferior player. You know that you are up against a player prone to make stupid calls. Yes, you just lost $100 and that sucks, but the glass is half-full. Now, next time you are out of position with a great hand, you know you can make a big bet and Goofy will probably call you. You know that you don't need to switch tables, because payday is sitting right across from you. Stick around, play for a while. The long run will be good to you.

And if the called because they thought you were on a bluff, you now know they are prone to be the bluff police. Again, bet good hands into them and they will pay you off.

It is a bad beat. Consider him an idiot if you choose. He is an idiot.

Now Type A bad beats are different. For starters, people tend to forget what tanspired pre-flop. I have had people ask me "how can you play those hands?" when I was in the big blind. Seriously. Even more astute players will ask "how could you play that hand when it was raised, twice?" forgetting that each call happened separately; thus, while I would not have played KQ for 3 bets had I known it would cost 3 bets, each stand-alone decision of calling 1 more bet was completely justified.

However, even if you have perfect memory of what happened pre-flop, you still don't know what was going on in the players mind. There are lots of reasons to lower starting hand requirements, including:

1 No players have been raising pre-flop all night. There are some hands (like baby suited connectors) that should be folded when you fear a raise. Take away the fear and they are worth playing

2 Loose calls post flop all night. This raises the value of all hands. The ordinary downside to some hands like A7 is that if you hit top pair, top kicker (say 7-5-2) there are very few hands that will call you. If you know you will get called when you connect, you lower your starting hand requirements to take advantage.

3 Unsophisticated post-flop play in NL and PL. I don't mind giving away a BB every hand if it gives me the opportunity to outplay some fool on the river that doesn't know the nuts from his nuts

4 The number of players in the pot - For instance, in a family pot, I will play almost anything from the SB.

The list goes on. The combined effect of more than one of these characteristics of the game being present can justify playing some pretty crappy hands. The fact is that no player can really know how another player is perceiving the above items. I really think it is a waste of time and energy to get bent out of shape when you lose to a person with low starting hand requirements (Type A). I don't care if you are Johnny Chan, you will never have the insight into exactly how a person is processing these factors. So if you lose to 76o when they flopped the straight, the question you should not ask is "Why did you play 76o?" The question is "How did you outplay me on the last 3 streets?"

So, consider people foolish after Type B bad beats. Question your own post-flop play when you take Type A bad beats.

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Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Posted by Dr Fro 11:47 AM
I won $246 in a very juicy game. My post is under construction and it may be a few days before I get through it. Look for a marathon post soon

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Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Posted by Junelli 1:53 PM
I just got an email about a $100+$14 NL tournament on Saturday, October 23 at 2pm.

40 players. Pays to 5 places (50%, 25%, 15%, 7.5%, 2.5%)

It's at The Backyard Grill, 9453 Jones Rd., Houston, TX 77065, (281) 897-9200 (

If you're interested, you can call these guys to reserve a spot:
Jason McShaffry @ 281-830-6685
Sam Sheldon @ 281- 272-1400

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Monday, October 11, 2004

Posted by Johnnymac 10:37 PM
OK, OK, I take it back.

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Posted by Dr Fro 2:55 PM
I can relate to Junior’s story below. I have been there too many times to call it a beginner’s mistake. It’s like when Homer keeps touching the hot pot and goes “ouch” only to touch it again and say “ouch” only to touch it again…

For me, I find that point #3 is the key one. There comes a point in the night where one person is down and all the old men say to themselves “I have all the time in the world to sit here and wait for him to give away the last of his chips. I figure I get about 1/9 of his stack and I will wait all night for that if I have to….and I ain’t gonna play with anything short of the nuts."

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Posted by Junelli 1:10 PM
When to get up and leave.

Saturday night I played $1-$2 Pot-limit for about 7 hours. I lost $600, and just couldn't get anything going all night. It wasn't that I didn't get any good hands, it was that my good hands consistently ran into better hands (top two pair against flush, flush against full house, two pair against sets, etc.). I won my share of pots but they were usually small. The ones I lost however, were much larger.

Driving home I started thinking about why I should've quit earlier in the night. All signs indicated that I wasn't going to win, but I ignored them all. I should've paid attention to the following "get up and leave signals":

1. I couldn't get any action on my big hands. I was dealt AA 3 times. Two of those times I won the pot pre-flop and picked up about $7. The other time I lost $125 to a flush. Slowplaying didn't help (or it ended up hurting me), and value betting resulted in an immediate but small win.

2. I got all the action I could handle with my second best hands. I'm not going to tell any bad beat stories (because I hate hearing them myself). However I should've recognized the clear trend: my strong hands consistently weren't good enough.

3. The table tightened up when I was down. At the beginning of the night the table was loose and agressive, and I was sure it was going to be a winning night. About 3 hours later, some of the money left the table, but more importantly, the wild betting stopped. It seemed like hours would pass between each sizable pot. In a $1-$2 Pot-limit game, it's very difficult to win your money back in this situation. I guess I had hopes of doubling-up once or twice, but that was extremely unlikely given the posture of the game. I would first have to get a good hand, hit the flop, have my opponent also hit the flop (but with a slightly worse hand), and get action on all my money. Sometimes it's just too much to hope for.

4. I was tired (after having watched the Horns embarass themselves), and probably not as focused as I should've been. I'm not saying that this caused me to play poorly, but I really just didn't have my heart into it. The best analogy I can make is when you're playing blackjack, losing, tired and pissed off. You don't get excited about the hands you win, and you get extra angry at the ones you lose. That was me on Saturday. Confidence and energy plays a big part in poker, and when you leave them at home, you might as well get your checkbook out.

5. I started "chipping off" at the end of the night. You know you're dead when you start rationalizing, "Just let me lose these last chips so I can leave and go to bed." At about 12:30am, I was stuck $350, but still had approx $250 in front of me. Instead of leaving I was hoping to double-up. "Screw the $25 pots! I want to double up or go broke!" I played marginal hands into raises, got caught trying to steal some pots, and generally just gave away my chips little by little. At 2:30am I had $100 left, and was anxiously awaiting the chance to put it all in play. On the last hand I had 88 against a flop of 567. Open ended with an overpair. When the most aggressive guy at the table bet the pot ($30), I raised all-in. He called me with 89 (the nuts). Whoops!

I don't know why players (myself included) believe that you must lose all your chips before you're allowed to get up and leave. It's like we're desparately trying to make miracles happen. If you're not winning, not enjoying it, and not likely to turn things around, just go home! If I had left at 12:30 I still would've been down for the night, but I'd be $250 richer. I guess that's why they call it "stuck".

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Posted by Dr Fro 1:07 PM
Tomorrow, I play in my first big game in Dallas. NL Holdem with $3-$6 blinds and $200 buyin. Yummy. Look for a good post on Wednesday.

I have hope for the Astros tonight. The main difference this year is that Bags and Big' are batting well, so I think they enter the game with plenty of confidence. Roy will do well, so it should only be our middle relief that could let us down. I hope Roy goes 7 innings.

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Posted by Johnnymac 9:27 AM
(And with regards to the Fantasy Football team, I think I am going to change the name of my team to the "Collarbones". First Charles Rogers and now DeShaun Foster. Sick.)

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Posted by Johnnymac 8:32 AM
I had a wonderful weekend hanging around the house and working - I painted the hallway, did some repairs to some kitchen appliances, hung pictures in the den, and spent some quality time with the wife.

I had an awful weekend with spectator sports. The Longhorns almost made me cry, Priest Holmes and Donovan McNabb were both on their bye weeks so apparently the rest of my fantasy football team decided to take the week off as well, and then, of course, the ASTROS REVERTED TO FORM.

When I moved to Houston a few years ago it seemed like the Astros got eliminated every year being down by one run with a man on third base and no one able to hit a simple fly ball. Yesterday was a really disappointing flashback.

My hopes are rather grim for tonight, especially with the Caminiti news weighing on the team, the fact that the Braves have ALL of the momentum and homefield advantage, and the Astros being, well, the Astros. I think I'm going for a run after work today and then I'm going into the garage to work on my new poker table project. I'll have the radio on, but my hopes won't be unecessarily high. No television for me - I might as well do something productive instead of sitting in front of the television.

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Friday, October 08, 2004

Posted by Dr Fro 10:01 AM
Can't concentrate on work today...too much on my mind.

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Posted by Johnnymac 9:07 AM
Lance Zierlein said it best this morning:

"Go ahead Astros fans, the monkey is off your back. You may now get back to what you do best, bitching about the Astros!"

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Posted by Junelli 1:33 AM
I bluffed Matt Dean out of a nice pot tonight. I held J9o on the button (Friou's favorite). I raised 5x BB and Dean called. Flop was KQJ, giving me bottom pair with a (sucker end) gutshot. Dean leads out with a $20 bet and I come over the top of him for $40. He laid down a King. Woo Woo!

"I had to know."

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Thursday, October 07, 2004

Posted by Johnnymac 7:00 PM
I sent this to Ebay customer support. I hope it helps.

Dear Sirs:

I think that auction #5525803703 is of stolen plans from my friend's poker table.

As you can see from the attached URL and photos, this table was built by my friend Mark Junell during the month of September. It appears that "Onlinepokerking" has altered his photos in an attempt to counterfeit Mark's plans and make an unethical profit:

Please pay particular attention to Mark's custom "J" logo and to the way that Onlinepokerking has cropped all of the background images from mark's photo of the table.

Please do all that is necessary put an end to this. Thank you.

John Greene

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Posted by Junelli 6:36 PM

Some cocksucker has stolen my poker table plans as well as my pictures and is selling them on Ebay.

See his listing.

I've sent him a cease a desist letter also threatening suit, and demanded that he cancel his auction within 24 hours. I'm absolutely livid about this, and will do whatever I can to make his life miserable.

Any ideas??

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Posted by Dr Fro 5:02 PM
I played on Tuesday night with a new crowd of guys. The host is a neighbor of a coworker that I met. When he said the buy-in was $200, he got my attention. They play dealers choice, but only 4 games are called: HE, O/8, 7-stud, and 7-stud Hi-Lo. Mainly HE and O/8. The stakes in HE and O/8 are interesting: $1-$2 blinds with a spread limit of $2-$5 on all streets. Without increasing stakes on later streets, there is less incentive to draw. I tried to adjust my strategy to bet as much as possible on made hands and throw away all draws except where cards were free or maybe from the SB.

The gang was interesting…a bit eclectic in backgrounds and age. The majority were professional types – I banker, programmer, CPA (me), consultant, etc. One guy may have been an outlier here. All nice. More importantly was their skill, of course. Nobody was a sucker; nobody bet up a straight with 3 suited cards on the board, etc. Then again, nobody was particular clever in their game. All around, it was a pretty straightforward group that played slightly looser than normal, but bet good hands and tossed bad hands. This made reading hands pretty easy.

I hit some great hands early and quickly was up $130. I think I (incorrectly) got labeled as lucky because I rivered some big hands. What was not analyzed in these situations was:
- Yes, I once hit a flush on the river, but I had a draw to the flush and the straight
- Yes, I once hit a gut shot, but I had top pair, which was ahead anyway.
- yes, I once made trip 4’s on the river, but I got 2 free cards to get it.

So all of the situations put money in my pocket AND make me advertise that I am a bit loony. Perfect.

Unfortunately, that perfect situation deteriorated when I went over an hour without winning a hand. Over 2 hours, I only won a couple hands. In the final hour of play, I finally got some hands and ended up +$17 ($27 minus $10 for pizza). Not impressive, but my luck was pretty shitty and I didn’t lose. That makes me very optimistic for the next time when I get even average luck or possible good luck on the cards. I think I like this game.

Next week they are stepping it up. They are dumping the$5 max bet rule they have had for years, and playing NL Holdem only. Blinds increase (I don’t know why…perhaps because people can’t separate WSOP from a ring game of NL) from $1-$2 to $3-$6. That could be quite the opportunity to recover the cost of my OU tickets.

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Posted by Johnnymac 8:49 AM
ESPN's "Principled" College Pickem

A few years ago ESPN decided that in response to the "problem" of college gambling, it would no longer be associated with point spreads of any sort for college athletics. Spreads for college games in any sport were no longer posted or mentioned anywhere on the website and part of that change involved revamping the popular "College Pickem" game on the website as well. One can argue about the legitimacy of ESPN's stated reasons for making the change, but one cannot argue that their changes to the College Pickem game have been pretty useless. Why? Because the point spread is one of the most elegant and efficient gambling devices ever conceived for betting on football.

As most of us know, the point spread exists in football betting to encourage equal dollar volumes of betting on both teams involved. And as action disproportionately increases on one side of the spread, it's adjusted to a new equilibrium point that better reflects equal sentiment on both sides. By definition, it's not necessarily intended to be an accurate predictor of the outcome of football games - just a reflection of what bettors think the outcome will be - but as any student in a Freshman Statistics course can tell you, with a sufficiently large pool of bettors the point spread will move around until it does indeed approach the actual score of the game. As I have said many times, I love gambling and poker because of the way that it's a reflection of economical theory applied to an everyday situation. The point spread is a perfect reflection of this - anything other than the "true" score of the game presents an arbitrage opportunity that is eventually corrected through a form of market activity.

(David Sklansky has a very good book that, among other things, explains the theories behind sports betting, if you are interested)

So what's the point with ESPN College Pickem? By changing the format of the game, it's inherently inefficient.

This post is specifically about the current incarnation of the game, which is the third. The second version, which was in place up to last year, was completely bogus in such a way that the results of the individual games didn't really matter - so long as you picked one or two big underdogs correctly each Saturday you were disproportionately rewarded with more points than you would have received by correctly picking six slight favorites in the other games of the day.

The current version is slightly different, but is quite illustrative of my point that the point spread is an elegant invention, because by trying to avoid the point spread ESPN has created a game that is easily arbitraged by players who use the spread's efficiency as an indicator of each game's result. The new rules require the player to pick each game heads-up and then rank each game for confidence from 1 to 10. Points are then awarded equal to the confidence level for each correct pick.

Now, I have never been a big better on college football, but I follow it a little bit more than I used to. Nonetheless, I don't have the time or desire to follow every single team out there year in and year out and I can't tell you off the top of my head if Florida is going to beat LSU this weekend and whether or not I feel more confident in my pick in that game than I do about my pick between Oklahoma State and Colorado. But I do care about scoring more points than my buddies and having bragging rights in the game, so how can I accurately pick the games and assign accurate confidence levels? By using the point spread.

To do well at this game, all one has to do is look at the point spreads for the week, see which teams are favored to win by more points, and then correspondingly pick the bigger favorites to win with higher confidence than the teams that are favored by fewer points. While the point spread is designed to turn a lopsided matchup into a 50/50 bet, the scoring system in the ESPN game turns a 50/50 matchup into a lopsided matchup. It's like shooting ducks in a barrel and is the very definition of "insider information". Economics in action.

So I guess I have to compliment ESPN on being principled, but I can't say that somehow their principles are more important than a competitive game.

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Sunday, October 03, 2004

Posted by Dr Fro 1:17 PM
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Friday, October 01, 2004

Posted by Johnnymac 7:35 AM
So the book I was reading yesterday (and have been slowly getting through for a couple of weeks now) is TJ Cloutier's Championship No Limit book. I know that they were trying to make it seem "authentic" by writing the book to match the vernacular of his folksy Dallas, Texas personality, but it's really hard to read in places ("You ain't gonna win with two ladies in the whole against a drowned dog" etc etc) and would benefit greatly from just a little bit of editing. Geesh.

But I digress. It's actually a very good book when you understand what he's trying to say.

Specifically, I think he points out some very specific differences between No Limit and Limit Holdem and some points of strategy that are slightly different than some other authors like Doyle Brunson or David Sklansky would typically offer (although in fairness Sklansky has hardly written anything about No Limit). For instance, where Brunson advises to see just about every flop from every position if it can be done cheaply (see Fro and Junell, 2003-2004), TJ's advice is to be much more selective with starting hands, especially from early position. Brunson also advises a lot of bluffs and semi-bluffs with aggressive raises while TJ says to be much more selective about picking spots to bluff, if you even bluff at all.

TJ also has some different thoughts on starting hands, the most interesting being (at least to me) his thoughts on Ace-King and that, consistent with his advice that "No Limit is not a drawing game", AK (or any AX) is just another drawing hand and is therefore very expensive to make, especially after the flop. He says that playing AK is one of those big differences between Limit and No Limit holdem - many players will overplay AK before the flop in NL and get stuck in an expensive situation when they miss it and are already committed for a big portion of their stacks.

Really, the summary of TJ's advice is this:

1.) Play very tightly before the flop, especially from early position (most other authors cite increased implied odds as an excuse to loosen up)

2.) Play much more aggressively, especially from late position, as the game gets shorthanded

3.) Stay away from most drawing hands and never chase if you miss the flop.

4.) Try and get a read on the other players in the game, and then once you do it's OK to make exceptions to these rules when making one-off decisions in shorthanded and heads-up situations.

So where does this lead? Last night I went and played for the first time in a few weeks in Junell's semi-regular NL game and had this information in mind. I tightened up from my usual NL starting hands and was especially careful with hands like AK, AQ, and AXs. I did OK and saw a lot of the things that TJ said to watch for (like how other players played AK) and felt much better prepared.

Whereas Doyle Brunson advocates a fast and loose style with NL, TJ says many times that, "No Limit is a game of patience." I can see the benefits of both styles and that brings me to one more point - TJ also advises his readers to "play your own style and do what you're more comfortable with." Some players like to play loose and fast and some players like to play tight and slow and there's no wrong way to play if you're comfortable with your strategy and know how to produce winning results. So in that vein, I recommend the book. It offers a significantly different perspective on NLHE than does Super System and it's a lot faster read than Ciaffone's NL book (that I mentioned in yesterday's post), which can be rather dry and slow going at times.

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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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Dr Fro
aka "slow roller"

Which one is the fish?

aka "Sunday Stroller"

You go now!

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You got to know when to hold em;  Know when to Mo' em ...

aka "Mo roller"

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