Monday, February 28, 2005

Posted by Johnnymac 9:21 AM
Hopefully Junior will find the time to post the final results from his last-minute tourney that he threw yesterday. I finished 9th and was relatively pleased with the afternoon (I think, however, that there is a reason that "Ned" rhymes with "Ted").


We threw a big housewarming party on Saturday night - about 50 people showed up in all and everyone had a great time. In fact, my wife had such a great time that she went to bed relatively quickly after everyone left and I stayed up with my aunt (who was visiting for the weekend) and we cleaned the house until after 2 o'clock in the morning.

When Mrs Johnnymac woke up yesterday morning, she wandered into the kitchen to get coffee and was very pleased that the house was already clean and thus wasn't going to be something that she was going to have to worry about for the rest of the day. I then took the opportunity to casually mention that Mark was playing poker later and asked if she would mind if I went to play. She was very happy to let me go and wasn't even grumbling when I got home 6 hours later. She did however call me "Eddie Haskell" as a sort of shorthand description of my "deviousness" (personally I would call it cleverness), but that was the extent of her protest. I had a plan and it worked.

I think I am getting this marriage thing figured out.

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Sunday, February 27, 2005

Posted by Dr Fro 9:51 PM
March starts in 2 hours. It is difficult to put into words just how excited about March I am. Not only will work ease up, but I have the following to look forward to:

1. March 13 - Selection Sunday. Ahhh, Selection Sunday...I love Selection Sunday. The first day of the tournament is exciting because of the basketball and all, but it is only on Selection Sunday that I can completely convince myself that my bracket is infallible. Unfortunately, halfway through the first day of the tournament, my bracket will be in shambles.

2. March 17 - the first day of the tournament...Although I come <this>close to hanging myself after finding myself 0-4 by lunch, there is solace to be had. I am skipping work and I have a buzz before 1:00. It is a good day. March 17 doubles as St. Patrick's Day. It triples as my birthday.

3. March 31 - head to Vegas. Play in the Bellagio Friday night tournament, likely flanked by Morris and Junell. Win buckets of money. Order a bottle of champagne. When the waitress says, "that will be $250" I say "I just won 50-large, and it is not possible to kick any more ass than I do."

March will be good.

All I can think about is the Bellagio tournament. Mrs. Dr. Fro and I have discussed it and I have clearance to play. I have permission to pay the $1,000, but that is not my first choice. Plan A is that I will have already won $1,000 by Friday night and will press my winnings as my entry fee. Plan B is that I get in doing the $240 satellite tournament. Plan C is just to pay the fee. I prefer Plan A.

Junior will be playing and many of the guys there that weekend will have a stake in him. I think Morris is looking into Plan B - win the satellite. I trust he will; out of the 3 of us, the smart money is on Morris. He won more money in tournaments in Lake Charles last year than you can shake a stick at. This is a different crowd that Lake Charles and the Bellagio calls for a different strategy, but Morris has the ability to adjust.

I like the format of the tournament - there is plenty of time to wait for a real hand. I'll wait.

I was looking at recent winners and notice that it ain't exactly the WSOP. Who are these guys? They ain't Doyle. Maybe I will win. Yes, I am sure I will.

I also noticed that the $1,000+$60 ain't $1,000+$60. In addition to the $60 fee, evidently $30 per person disappears (to M. Wynn). If you multiply the entrants x $1,000 and subtract the prize pool it is off by $30 per player. Hmmmm. I guess that's how they afford to build a faux Lago di Como with dancing fountains.

That's Friday of the big weekend. Saturday is going to be very little poker: I intend to sit at the sports book with a portion of my 50 G's on the Final Four. More champagne for Signore Friou! We have dinner plans on Saturday night. After doubling up my fitty, I reckon I'll be living large.

"Cheese on that burger, signore?"

"Two slices!!!!"

(2) comments

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Posted by Dr Fro 4:09 PM
I'll be in Houston playing in a friendly 25c-50c NL Holdem home game on Friday March 4. If interested, let me know and I will see if there is space.

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Thursday, February 24, 2005

Posted by Junelli 7:36 PM
This guy used my table design website to build this incredible table (which he sold for $1,200). It's the same as mine except he added pedestal legs and tack/buttons under the rail (both of which make it appear much classier).

(4) comments

Posted by Dr Fro 8:03 AM
A comedian that will be at the Improv in Dallas tonight was on the radio this morning and said:

"If Holdem is a sport, let's put it in the Olympics. Countries would have to buy in for what they are worth.

Costa Rica: I am all in - 15 coconuts
United States: I call"

He was pretty funny, but I think he missed an easier joke:

Germany: I raise
France: Fold

(2) comments

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Posted by Dr Fro 10:50 AM
Continuing on my poker fashion posts is this nice summary.

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Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Posted by Johnnymac 6:02 PM
I just deleted a comment to the post I made last night because I didn't particularly appreciate the content coming from an anonymous poster. I then just spent 30 minutes writing a profanity-laced tirade in response to that comment but decided against posting it. Blogger doesn't let me disable anomymous posts - if I want to let all of the readers here leave comments, then I am forced to allow anonymous posts as part of that. Nonetheless, I don't have to keep them if I don't like them.


If you are the person that left that comment and you have the balls to leave your name this time around, please restate your comment in the original post and I'll provide a thoughtful response as to how I disagree with your main point, particularly as it pertains to the game on Friday night. But if you're only going to make anonymous comments, then I'm not going to put up with you calling me out like that and you can keep your comment to yourself.

I will go ahead and ask you a question though, please tell me what the proper starting strategy is - the strategy with the highest expected return in the long run (assuming one chooses to play) - for a friendly game of 727. And furthermore, please tell me how "good player" can not use this strategy and still win with "bad cards".

And if you have to go look up the rules for 727 as I kind of suspect you do, then my point is already going to be made.

(6) comments

Monday, February 21, 2005

Posted by Johnnymac 6:11 PM
I haven't made many posts lately I guess because I haven't played cards much lately. I got tired of Pokerstars and quit when it started taking up most of my time and affecting my emotional state during the day when I would obsess over the bad beats and Now that the weather is warming up I would rather work around the house anyway.

I did play cards on Friday night in our formerly regular home game. We played at Funk's house (he's a good friend of Fro, btw) and I can at least say the food was good. He smoked some ribs and some shrimp and did us right. Unfortunately, I can't say I was as pleased with the cards. I didn't get a playable hand all night and by the end of the night I was cold (we were outside) and cranky and decided to go home early. Funk invited a couple of new guys to play with us and they were nice enough, but when the "bet all your money and then match the pot if no one scoops both the hi and the lo on the last card" type game started being called, I had had enough.

One of the new guys played A LOT of hands and almost immediately noticed that I wasn't playing many myself. Early in the evening, before the pattern of bad cards made itself known, we were playing holdem and I put a sweet move on him when I raised from the button and announced my 73 offsuit out loud. I flopped topped pair and bet it all the way and made a pretty pot off of him when he didn't make his gutshot. I showed him the 73 and his eyes just about popped out of his head that I would sit quietly all night long and then play those cards. So I had him perfectly set up to make a lot more money for the rest of the night - after that hand he was going to call me down with anything - but as I said, the opportunities just didn't present themselves.

We were playing 50c antes with $3 max bets and a 3 raise limit. In just over 4 hours I won exactly 3 pots and split another and lost a grand total of $24. Canonico, on the other hand was up close to $200 when I left.

But at least the food was good.

(2) comments

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Posted by Dr Fro 7:41 PM
For those of us headed to Vegas on March 31, I am thinking about organizing a $100 entry x 10 player or $200 entry x 5 player tournament before-hand. The winner plays in the Friday night Bellagio $1,000 tournament. The catch is that all players share ratably in the winnings - the only benefit of winning my satellite is that you get to be the dude that plays.

I am figuring that me, Junior, Morry are shoe-ins, but I need to wrangle up some more folks. It will be an online tournament, probably in a private room on Party Poker. We'll play in mid-March. So, if you are interested (and you are headed to Vegas w us) let me know via the comment section below.

(5) comments

Posted by Dr Fro 7:31 PM
I like this one for Johnny Mac:

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Posted by Dr Fro 7:24 PM
Party Poker is run from Kahnawake. That's the relevant jurisdiction if you ever end up in a lawsuit.

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Posted by Dr Fro 7:17 PM
Some of these are pretty funny. I like this one best:

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Posted by Dr Fro 3:18 PM


It took me a while to understand Party Poker's stats. "Hands played" is easy. It is every hand where you are dealt cards. "Hands won" is simple, too. FYI, it counts heads-up split pots between the blinds as a win, but obviously you lose a few cents due to the rake.

"Showdowns won" is wierd. If there is no showdown, there is no impact on this stat - like a walk not affecting your batting average. The wierd bit is that if you get all in before the showdown, it counts it as if there is no showdown - win or lose, the stat is unaffected. This explains why I was at 100% even though I played this hand: I went all in on the flop of AQT with QT and got called by AK. OK, I win unless he gets a Jack. Guess what he got? He then typed in "sucker" in the chat box. Nice touch. Anyway, the point is that the stats still said that I won 100% of showdowns.

"Flops seen" is straightforward but misleading. PokerTrackers uses a stat called "voluntarily put money into play" that makes more sense. PP's "Flops seen" includes everytime you check with the the big blind. Last night we played with app 7 players most of the time. With very little preflop action, I saw basically every single flop from the BB. This accounts for 14% of the flops I saw. This means that I saw 37% of the flops when not in the BB. This is still high (AA, KK 3 times, QQ twice JJ twice - very nice hands) but not as high as the 46% would lead you to believe.

"Flops seen" also excludes hands where you raised pre-flop and everyone folded. I think it is misleading to exclude this as you clearly wanted to see the flop, but nobody would see it with you. This effect is quite small because nobody folds on PP.

"Winning % if flop seen" is self explanatory.

I have been keeping all these stats on myself and have seen some interesting patterns - patterns that poker software has been telling me all along. I am too loose pre-flop, too tight on the flop, about right on the turn and a bit tight (but extremely aggressive) on the river. Fisrt of all, if you find my old post about "Junell house strategy" this description fits JHS like a glove. The 100% of showdowns won actually happens for me quite regularly - I am typically betting a ton on the river or folding. When I fold, it doesn't count as a loss. When I bet a ton, it is usually because I have a very good hand and therefore win.

Winning 18% of the hands you play is very good for a table with 7 players. Of course, in NL, it matters more what happens on just a few hands than what % you won. For me, it really came down to one hand that I completely misplayed. I had 99 and there was a big preflop raise. I wasnt freakin thinking and I decided to move all in.

99 is a is 56% favorite to Big Slick (and most big unpaired big cards). So, assuming he doesn't have a big pair, I win 56% if he calls. Add in the fact that oft he will fold and I will the pot right there. If I am certain he doesnt have AA-TT, it is the right move. Even if he does have KK-TT, he may put me on AA and fold, but don't count on that - especially on PP.

Well, he had AA, which made him an 80% favorite. I completely dropped the ball by doing my math with the assumption that he did not have a big pair. It was late and I was tired and I got sloppy. I should have called pre-flop and run away when the flop didn't help. Stupid stupid stupid. And I sooo know better than that! Lesson: go to bed if you aren't at 100%. In NL holdem, 1 mistake can wipe out hours of good decisions. The good news is that since I was all-in pre-flop, it didnt hurt my "showdowns won %"! ;-)

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Thursday, February 17, 2005

Posted by Dr Fro 7:15 PM

The Houston Chronicle had a story on my favorite art genre.

A Bold Bluff was one of a pair of famous paintings of dogs playing poker by Cassius Marcellus Coolidge that sold Tuesday for $590,400 by Sotheby's in New York.

Perhaps I should sell mine.

It reminds me of an old joke:

A man walked by a table in a hotel and noticed three men and a dog playing cards. The dog was playing with extraordinary performance.
"This is a very smart dog," the man commented.
"Not so smart," said one of the players. "Every time he gets a good hand he wags his tail."

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Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Posted by Junelli 1:28 PM
The awards for the poker blog community are up, see who was picked as the most insightful, geekiest, funniest and best poker blogs around.

Unfortunately, "It Ain't Gambling" didn't make the cut. Maybe next year...

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Posted by Junelli 11:26 AM
For those that are interested, here are some links to previous posts about the different poker games/tournaments found in Vegas. Some of the information may be dated, but I imagine it's still pretty accurate.

Link 1 from Fro
Link 2 from Fro
Link 3 from Junell

Here is a great link to Current Vegas Tournaments.
They also have a nifty tournament calendar here.

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Monday, February 14, 2005

Posted by Junelli 4:08 PM
Super System II just came out. I was about to order it on Amazon, until I read the user reviews.

It appears that's it's not worth the paper it's printed on (basically just a rehash of the 1st book). Has anyone seen it yet?

(2) comments

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Posted by Dr Fro 4:40 PM
Yet another pro-gambling in Texas site, only this one is just about poker.

Texans For Poker is a group of poker enthusiasts who are tired of the statutory ambiguities of the legality of poker in the state of Texas.
The primary organizational goal of Texans For Poker is legalization of the game of poker in the state of Texas.

(0) comments

Posted by Dr Fro 4:26 PM
You can buy a piece of Dutch Boyd on Ebay.

That gives me an idea. I am going to sell a stake in myself for Party Poker today. Mail me 10 bucks and I'll let you know how I did. I am feeling pretty lucky, so you should probably hurry up.

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Posted by Dr Fro 2:04 PM
Beavis pointed me to this site that proposes casinos in Texas. Their belief:

LetTheVotersDecide believes Texas needs to focus on economic development tools
that will bring needed growth and prosperity to our state. That is why we
support limited, casino-anchored development projects in Texas.

You can help out, too.

My personal belief is that casino gambling is inevitable in Texas. (This is based not only on demand by gamblers but also non-gamblers that want better education without raisig taxes). However, full-fledged casino gambling is not a prerequisite for poker cardrooms. For instance, Garden City in California has legal poker but no traditional casinos. My guess is that is less than 5 years poker will be legal in Texas.

(1) comments

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Posted by Junelli 9:50 AM
"Bill would put slot machines near you"
Turner files a measure to place them in 9 regions across the state
Feb. 9, 2005, 9:41PM

AUSTIN - Video slot machines would be within driving distance of nearly every Texan under the session's first gambling legislation, introduced Tuesday by Houston Democrat Sylvester Turner.

In addition to allowing slot machines at horse and dog tracks and Indian reservations, the legislation would legalize the games at one location in each of nine areas around the state. It would raise more than $1.2 billion a year, Turner said.

Turner, a key member of Republican House Speaker Tom Craddick's leadership team, said the gambling legislation represents a change of heart for him. He said he even talked with his pastor about the issue, weighing the need for better health care for children and the state's limited revenues against his opposition to gambling.

"Two years ago I would have voted 'no' on this," he said. "We can't be asking for additional revenue for children, pay raises for judges, significant property tax cuts, without trying to come up with legitimate ways to pay for those needs."

He filed two proposals, House Bill 897, the actual legislation, and House Joint Resolution 38, a constitutional amendment necessary to expand gambling in Texas.

The bill doesn't specify a location for slot machines in Houston or Galveston, but there could be one site in each area. Last session, a Houston lawmaker proposed turning the Astrodome into the world's largest luxury casino.

Getting the video lottery measure on the ballot in November would require a two-thirds vote of the Legislature. Turner said the issue is being introduced in the House first because that's where it faces the stiffest opposition.

A proposed constitutional amendment to allow slot machines at horse and dog tracks was voted down in May during a special session on school finance.

That proposal was part of Gov. Rick Perry's effort to cut local school taxes. He said at the time that video slots would cut into the illegal, unregulated gambling now practiced with machines called eight-liners in parts of the state. However, last month, Perry backed away from gambling, which is opposed by the Texas Republican Party. He said that with the state in better financial shape, he didn't think gambling is as attractive to the Legislature.

If the Legislature approves the proposed constitutional amendment, it is not subject to a veto by the governor.

Turner said he thinks video slots may be more attractive than ever as the state struggles to find revenue sources to pay for a property tax cut and more funding for education and other priorities.

Craddick has said he thinks video gambling will at least get to a vote in the House, but he decided not to link it to school finance legislation. He said it will be treated separately because of the uncertainty of getting the two-thirds vote needed to place the issue on the ballot.

Turner's idea of having a location for video slots in every region of the state is reminiscent of a plan floated by Sen. Ken Armbrister, D-Victoria, during last spring's special session. Armbrister won the support of many senators by including locations that could boost their local economies.

Turner's bill would give the Texas Lottery Commission authority to issue a video lottery retailer license in Houston, Galveston, Dallas-Fort Worth, San Antonio, El Paso, the lower Rio Grande Valley, East Texas, the Panhandle-South Plains area and Central Texas.

(3) comments

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Posted by Junelli 2:59 PM
Just a random question about posting blinds.

When playing online, does it not make sense to skip the blinds, and then post both the BB and the dead all in a single hand? It seems to me you're right before the button (so you have good position). You also put the same amount of money in, except this way you post it all in one hand (as opposed to two separate hands). It seems you would save countless dollars that you would've spent: (1) calling up to the BB and/or (2) catching some piece of the flop that compels you to stay in. If most of a players money is lost in the blinds, then wouldn't you rather have only 1 blind hand, instead of 2? Even if you pay the blinds you have to play them out of position. I'd rather be in position.

One possible downside is that you're losing out on playing the button, and you miss that hand. Let me know your thoughts.

(3) comments

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Posted by Junelli 4:34 PM
Some quick and rough comments for my online strategy. I mainly play $5-$10 tables.

First, have enough bankroll to survive the swings. I've found that you need at least 600-700 to play 5-10, and hopefully more. Let's say 100-150 times the BB.

Starting Hands:
Obviously you have to play very tight at the limit tables. Here's what I generally try to follow:

Avoid Ax (where x lower than 9) from early position. You can however play it from late position, on the button, or in the blind. Generally I want to have AT or better to play, but am more liberal about this the later I am in position.

I almost always raise preflop with AJ or better. Not so much as a value bet, but more to drive other players from the pot. Remember that your odds of winning increase expontentially if you can drive people out. Preflop raising is very important in this respect.

Small Pocket Pairs (99's or lower). I always raise with these hands unless I am late to act in a multiway pot (button, blinds, etc.). In other words, I always raise with small pocket pairs from early position. My hand needs protecting and cannot win a multiway pot. However, I stand a decent chance of winning with 1 or 2 people in it. If there are 5 or 6 limpers and I am last to act, because I'm on the button or in the blinds, I will usually just check/call and see the flop.

If the pot is multiway and 1 or 2 overcards hits on the flop, I usually fold. Sometimes I will pay a small bet to peel off the turn card, but that's it. It pays to fold these hands and not chase your 2 outs. I will only go to the river with an underpair if there are 3+ players in the pot and I'm getting good pot odds.

AA, AK, AQ, KK, QQ, JJ, TT - I always raise with these hands no matter where I am. However, I only reraise with AA, KK, or sometimes QQ. I never reraise with AK.

From middle to late position (cutoff or button), I will play marginal hands such as KQ, KJ, KT, QJ, QT, etc. I may even call a raise to see a flop. However, I rarely call a reraise or capped pot unless I have AA, KK, QQ, AK. I've gotten to where I love folding hands like KQ and QJ, because I smile when I see how much money it saved me.

Small suited connectors (67s, 89s, 45s, etc.). I like these hands but will only play them on the button. I will fold to any raise.

Essentially, I play very tight, but loosen my requirements as I get closer to the button (that is where all the money is made).

Moves I like making:
1. If I am first to act on the button, I will almost always raise with any 2 cards. Sometimes you steal the blinds, sometimes you get called and still win, and sometimes you lose. You make money in the long run though. You have to be disciplined enough to fold if you miss. However, if the flop is checked around to you, you can often win with a quick bet.

2. When you want to take down the pot, click auto-bet or auto-raise. It generally shows strength if you bet instantaneously and is often respected. Be careful using it for bluffs though. If you show down once, it'll be worthless.

3. When in position and on a draw, raise the flop. This only costs 1 small bet more, and will usually save you a big bet on the turn when everyone checks around to you. This is a fail safe way to get a free card. Note, you should take the free card when you get it. Don't be fooled into thinking that those 4 players are weak enough to fold if you bet. You will rarely win the pot right there. They just don't want to pay more than 1 bet to see the turn.

4. If I have a pretty good made hand (top pair/top kicker, bottom 2 pair, etc.), I usually decide I'm committed to a showdown. I will bet if it's up to me. If it's raised or there are players behind me, I usually check/call all the way to the river. It only costs you $25 (if unraised) and you'd be surprised by what you win with. People will bet busted draws.

5. When to raise a monster. If I flop a monster hand, I usually check/call the flop, and will set a trap on the turn. I try to make it 2 (or 3 bets if possible) on the turn. Then bet out on the river. That way I'm ensuring 2 bets on the turn (they've already made one bet, so they'll almost always call the extra bet). Plus I'm getting a bet on the river. For example,

I hold JJ, and the flop is J88. I check. 3 others check, and the button bets $5. I smooth call along with everyone else. I check raise the turn and get additional bets from all remaining players. I lead out on the river, or act first if it's checked to me to pick up an additional bet.

6. Raising (or checkraising) the flop to see where you are. This is a good move. A strong player will reraise you back, giving you the information you're looking for. You should fold to a reraise if you're hand isn't strong. However, this is still a good move because, you're driving out other hands. Also, if you're in position on that player, he'll almost always check to you on the turn. You can check, save a big bet, and get a free card. If he bets on the river the total cost of the hand is 1 small bet cheaper than it would've been if you hadn't raised on the flop (i.e. you're getting turn for free when it would've cost you 1 big bet).

7. I never chase a gutshot, although I may peel off a turn card if I also have other outs. I will sometimes chase a flush or open ended straight draw but I have two requirements: 1. There has to be a good pot (several players and/or lots of money) and 2. If I hit it, my hand figures to be the best. I won't chase 9 high flush draws or straight draws with a 3 flush on the board.

That's all I can think of now.

(4) comments

Posted by Junelli 10:41 AM
I learned some important lessons this past weekend in Lake Charles...

On the spur of the moment Friday night, Morris and I decided to take a road trip to Lake Charles to play poker. We left at 11pm and arrived at 1am. Before I talk about what I learned, or should I say "paid to learn", I need to put the weekend in context. We were in Lake Charles for 34 hours. I played $5-$5 No Limit for 25 of it. The other 9 was spent sleeping (4 in the car in the parking garage and 5 in a hotel room on Sunday morning). Lesson No. 1. Get a room, and get some sleep. I'm not in college anymore, and I was in bad shape on Sunday.

The first night I managed to book a profit of $187. The second night should've been much better, but ended up terrible. I bought in for $300 at about 1pm on Saturday. Although the game was incredibly juicy and there were some truly terrible players, I took a few hits early and had to reload twice. I was stuck $600 after about 3 hours, but I wasn't too worried as I knew I'd get a chance to win it back.

I started grinding my way back up. At about 6pm I was moved to the main table with about $700 in chips. For those that have played in these types of must-move games, chip stack is even more important than it normally would be. First, the buy-ins are limited to $100-$300. No more, no less. That means that the must-move tables generally have smaller stacks and poorer players. By the time a player has a chance to build up his stack, he is usually moved to the main table. Also, with the constant influx of new players, the chip stacks are relatively even (about $300). Also, the poorer player usually can't survive until the main game, so there is constantly new fish arriving. These games are juicy and worth playing.

The main table however is another story. People there are generally better (if not because they simpy survived long enough to get moved). They also generally have much larger chip stacks, because they've been playing for a longer period of time. At one point I counted approx. $17,000 in chips at the table. That's an average of $1,700 per player on a $300 buy-in table. See what I'm talking about.

I moved to the main table with about $600 in chips. Luckily I hit my stride and fell into a nice rhythm and started winning some good pots. At about 10pm I had built my stack up to $1,800 (for a net profit of $900). I spent about 3-4 hours as the commanding chip leader and was successfully using my chips to push people around and buy lots of semi-small pots ($50-$100 each). I was in the zone. A picture of my chips is below (~ $1,775).

The problem that I noticed was that about 7 of the players had a lot of chips ($1,200+), and the shortstacks (< $600) were generally new players from the must-move who rarely lasted more than an hour or so. Most of the "regulars" were in lock-down mode and weren't willing to risk tangling their big stacks with other big stacks. Therefore, we were really just trading money around without too much risk.

Looking back, I should've cashed-out with my $900 profit, then waited the minimum 1 hour before buying back into the must-move game for $300. This would've been a smart move. Instead I played and lost all my chips due to one big mistake.

I flopped a Q high flush against another player who flopped the nut flush. He led out on the flop for $60, and I raised it to $120, and he smooth called. The turn was a blank and he checked. I bet $150, and he moved all-in for $590 more. I should've really paused to think about this bet. First, he was an older man, and we all know that older people generally don't bluff as much or expose themselves to unnecessary risk. Second, he was a fairly tight player who I had not seen get involved in many pots over the past several hours. Third (and I didn't notice this, but other players did), he was shaking so much when he went all-in that the player to my right later told me he thought "the guy was going to fall out of his chair." I didn't see it because I wasn't looking. Fourth, I was drunk and delirious from playing for so long. I wasn't thinking clearly. Fifth, I had a nice healthy profit on the night, and shouldn't risk so much money on a hand my vulnerable hand. After all I had only committed about $270 so far to the pot. Sixth, it was a checkraise. I should've just given it to him.

Instead of thinking all these items through, I decide to call. I guess I thought I was invincible and figured he didn't have one of the 2 cards that could beat me. He flips over A3 and I am drawing dead. I lose approx $860.

The next mistake came 30 seconds later when I didn't get up and cash out. I still had $600, and could walk away with a total weekend loss of only $100. Instead I stay and try to double up and get my money back. I consciously know that I am tilting, but I can't do anything to stop it. I try to tell myself that, "it's no big deal and it was almost all profit, so just relax." I don't listen. In less than 1 hour I have pissed the rest of my chips off. On the final hand I flop top two pair and slow play it like never before. I have $300 in front of me, and there are two players in the pot. I decide I'm going to triple up. I wait until the river to move all-in (big mistake), and lose to the river card which completes a set for one of the players. I played it terribly and deserved to be sent home broke.

Total poker loss for the weekend = $815.

Lessons learned:
1. Get up and book a profit.
2. Don't tangle with big stacks when there are better fish to target.
3. Don't go all-in for $900 with a vulnerable hand against a tight player
4. Watch players more carefully for tells (physically shaking)
5. When you're profiting, try to win a bunch of small pots instead of going after the "big one"
6. Don't drink 35 cocktails when you're playing big stakes poker.
7. No Limit is a game of mistakes. Capitalize on other's mistakes and try to limit yours. When playing in a big game, one mistake can cost dearly.
8. If you get popped for a bunch of chips, and are now short stacked at a table with good players, it makes sense to get up and leave. The chances of you winning it back (in a short period of time) are very slim.
9. Recognize when you're on tilt, and walk away.
10. Get a hotel room before you start playing so you don't have to sleep in the car in the parking garage. :)
11. Recognize check-raises from old men who have been playing tight.

My only consolation is that I didn't have to pulse a single time, and that all the money I lost came from Northside winning last week. Oh well, back to the drawing board...

Oh yea, and the funniest moment of the trip came when I was concentrating on the cards with a cigarette in my right hand. I didn't realize it, but my cigarette was touching a man's jacket next to me (he had gone to the bathroom). I burned a hole clean through the shoulder of the jacket. I wiped it off and tried to conceal it so he wouldn't go cajun-style on me when he returned. I figured that if he saw it I would just buy it from him (since it was an old London Fog Piece of Shit Windbreaker). He never noticed.

(3) comments

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Posted by Dr Fro 10:32 PM
While I try very hard to stay on topic, this is a link that is too damn good to not pass along. It is several months old and has been played on 102.1 in Dallas many times and discussed at length on Hornfans' Cactus Cafe as well. I can get away with calling this a poker topic, because all my poker buddies from last night were listening to me talk about it last night. Anyway, I think it is on helluva mashup.

Last night we played at my house. First we did a 2 hr mini-tourney in which I was doing pretty well. Unfortunately, after doubling my stack, I had two consecutive hands where at some point I was ahead and got drawn out on. In tournaments, there is a very fine line between greatness and failure. In my case, that line was clearly drawn (no pun intended) with the Jack of clubs. I lost $15 on the "SnG"

Next came the cash game - oh the wonderful, lovely cash game; how much I love thee. I was gettin whooped most of the night and made a bad mistake around 10:00. I was quite busy hosting, eating, drinking, and talking while I was involved in a had that had me with A2xx in O/8 seeing a river that qualified the low for me (not the nut low for me, as it included the 2 on the turn). Anyway, you know how it is when you hold A2 in O/8, you withdraw yourself from any real thought on the game. Your thought process devolves into simply "I have the nut low" or "I don't have the nut low". I settled on the latter and checked the river. Skipping some additional confusing details on what ensued, I ended up splitting the pot with a guy with a very bad low (that beat my roughish 8). Huh? Yeah, I woke up with the nut flush on the river. Can you say "missed bet"? So, I split a pot that I coulda scooped with a simple bet. Brian admitted he would have folded had I bet. I started paying attention after that.

Paying attention is not mutually exclusive of drinking like a sailor. So I did both. Fortunately, my new style is less incompatible with my alcoholism than my old style. Specifically, my new angle (on which I will elaborate in another post) is tighter. Of course, alcohol has less opportunity to ruin my night if I am in less hands. The analogy is that the shy, quiet guy is less likely to say something he regrets after being hammered than the loud obnoxious guy (me). I've simplified my game and eliminated the Super System moves and focused on my little league fundamentals. Even drunk, I can hit the ball off of the tee. I don't advocate making a living off of drinking and gambling, but when hosting a home game with friends, it is certainly ok (just don't kick over any trash cans!! :-) ).

I won $85 and slept well.

Oh, and since I started this with music, I will end it in kind. Paul McCartney did a great job tonight. What a refreshing change from the Orange Bowl.

(0) comments

Friday, February 04, 2005

Posted by Junelli 10:42 AM
Last night I went back to Northside for the $2-$5 PL game (with Morris this time). Yes I know that's 2 nights in a row, and yes I'm fully aware that I'm a degenerate junkie. But hey, Dabney had other plans and I would've been lonely sitting at home by myself.

Anyway, I wanted to write about my hand of the evening. I like writing these stories for two reasons. First, I enjoy hearing your comments. And second, I want to memorialize the events while they're still fresh on my mind, so that in a year or two (when I don't remember the facts), I can revisit it. If you don't like these posts let me know and I'll stop. Anyway, on to the hand...

We have a full table, and I was playing pretty well. Despite losing with some very strong hands (2pair vs. set, etc.), and going down early, I've managed to grind my way back up. I'm into the game for $600 but I have about $650 in front of me.

Across the table (in the 10 seat) is the most agressive guy at the table. He is a young college student from ATM, and I think he drove in for the game. He bought in for $500 and hit some big hands early. At one point he had $1,100 in front of him, but over the course of 3-4 hours he gave some of it back. The kid was not a horrible player, but I hadn't seen anything that impressed me.

At one point he raised $25 preflop approx 10 hands in a row. If he was in the hand, you could expect that it would cost $25. Also, some showdowns revealed that he wasn't always as strong as he represented (A9, KQ, AQo, etc.).

There are really 2 hands that must be mentioned. The first one I'll call the "setup hand." I'm dealt 33 with a flop of TT3. I flop a full house. He begins betting into me. I smooth call on the flop, but pop him for a raise on the turn. He folds (the right decision) and gives me the $200 pot. Of course I don't show my hand, and he is visibly pissed off as he believes he laid down a winner. This belief is further reinforced by several other players at the table berating him for folding. Aside: I also have an aggressive table image, and they've seen me make pot sized bets with top pair no kicker, middle pair, etc. Several players are verbally making comments that I'm running over the table, and that he should've called me.

I knew immediately the significance of that hand. He was stewing, and for the next several minutes, was shaking his head and gruffing about folding to me. He was clearly on tilt (even though he still had over $600 in front of him). You may not believe me, but I leaned over to Morris and whispered, "That hand is really bothering him. Watch, because he's going to self-destruct within the hour."

It actually took only 15 minutes. I'm dealt 88 in the SB. He limps from early position, along with a couple of others. I raise $20 to go. He reraises me $40, making it $60 straight. Everyone folds around to me. I really consider folding it because in my mind, I'm either a 4:1 dog or it's a 50:50 race. I like to avoid either of these situations when a lot of my chips are at stake. And since he and I are the clear chip leaders at the table, it's a pretty good bet this hand is going to get nasty. Last, there's the chance that he's still steaming and trying to steal my pot. I decide to call.

Pot is about $130 before the flop. Flop does not help me at all. Axx. I'm terrified of the Ace as there's a very good chance he's holding AA, AK, AQ, etc. I pull chips out and am about to bet at the pot to see where I am (would've been a terrible mistake). I stack the chips, think about it, look at him for a second, and then put the chips back and check.

He checks!

Turn is a beautiful, wonderful, glorious 8. And I swear that when the 8 fell, I heard a hymn from above.

I check, and he quickly bets the pot ($130). I pause and act like I'm trying to put him on a hand. And yes, I did consider the possibility that he held AA and that I might be virtually drawing dead, but I decide I can't lay it down, and I'm in it all the way (either I double up or go home). I raise the pot making it $520 straight.

He quickly stands up and announces all-in (for about $175 more). I call. He has AK and is drawing dead. I scoop the enormous pot while he looks like he's about to cry. I try to offer some consoling words, "Sorry about that man." "That was a tough one." He won't look at me, and doesn't say a word. He paces the room for 3-4 minutes and then storms out the door.

I must say that it was a very good feeling being able to mix it up with the chip leading table bully and bust him out. I continued to do well and left with an $800 profit on the night.

(3) comments

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Posted by Junelli 10:38 AM
Last night I played $2-$5 PL at Northside. I bought in for $500 and after an hour I was up about $150. There are 2 notable hands from the evening.

After 1 hour of play, I got popped on the button with AA (with one heart). 5 people limp in for $5. I raise to $20 and get 3 callers. The flop is 3 rags, but all hearts (952). I have an overpair with the nut flush draw. The first 2 players check and the cutoff seat goes all-in for $45. I decide that calling is not an option since I would be giving the other 2 players odds to call with potential draws and beat my strong hand. I raise the pot for $210 more (making it $255 straight to the 2 players that initially checked). My goal was to eliminate those 2 players and and get heads up with the all-in. Unfortunately it didn't work out like I'd hoped.

The player behind me moved all-in for $170 more (making it $425 straight). The next player to his left went all-in for less (~$150), and I now have to call $170 into a pot that's now $915 (of which, I've already committed $265).

I fully expect for someone to have already flopped the flush, but there's a chance they may be on a draw (for a straight flush or a big flush). And I have an overpair (AA) with the nut flush draw. The pot is laying me approx 5:1 odds, and I have a 2:1 chance of hitting the nut-flush (with two cards to come).

However, if I assume they have the flush already, then several of my outs could be gone. If 2 of the players have already made the flush, there would only be 5 hearts left (21% chance or 4:1). If only one has it I may have 6 or 7 outs twice (25% chance or 3:1).

I think about it for a minute and decide that the pot is just too big and the odds are too good (if a heart comes I stand to win $1,085). I feel compelled to call fully expecting at least one player (and hopefully not both players) to have already made a flush.

I call the last $170. Total pot size $1,085 (Main pot $275, 1st Side Pot = $450, 2nd side pot = $460).

The original all-in (short-stack) turned over A9 for TPTK (no hearts). The other two players both had the flush (Q3 and KT). I have 4 outs and try to barter a deal with the Q high player (because he was the one who I matched for all his money), but he doesn't accept.

Two diamonds come and the King high flush takes $725, while the Q high takes $460. The Q high is an asshole who is notorious for hit-and-runs. I've played with him a dozen times, and he's never played more than 45 minutes. If he loses a little (~$100) he'll leave and if he hits a big score, he'll immediately cash out. Of course, he cashed out 5 hands later.

I still have some chips, and slowly grind my way back up. Later I hold A2 in the SB and flop the wheel. There are 2 other players in the pot. I manage to get both players all-in to win an $875 pot, and ultimately finish the night with a $300 profit.

(2) comments

Posted by Dr Fro 8:00 AM
This weekend I got beat up in $5/$10 on PP, but the beating could have been much worse. In one hand, I guy kept betting into me and all I had was top-pair, King-kicker on the river. With a straight and a flush out there, I would have ordinarily folded (maybe as early as the turn.) But the notes I had on the guy said “bets on every street to run you off”. So I called and won. The second hand was when I had AJs on the button. I faced a raise that came from UTG and had to cold call or fold. My notes on this guy said “played with him for 4 hours, and he only played 1 hand – AA, and he raised”. I have very low starting hand requirements on the button, but I decided to trust my notes and folded. Sure enough, he had AA.

The point of this little ditty is to show the value of taking notes on players on Party Poker. My biggest weakness online is the fact that I have trouble putting people on a hand (a strength I have in spades in B&M games). The note taking function in the software helps to mitigate this weakness.

After all, a huge component of poker is playing the player, especially in NL and higher limit. Poker is a game of incomplete information; the player with the best information (or the best ability to process information) should come out ahead. Other players are taking notes on you and you put yourself at a real disadvantage if you don’t do the same.

(Postscript: I recovered 1/3 of my losses last night, thanks mainly to quad 5’s and an opponent that bets flushes when the board pairs.)

(0) comments

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Posted by Junelli 1:27 PM
I'm going to start a little side business building tables for people. Let me know if you know of anyone who might be interested in purchasing a table similar to the one I built for myself. I don't know the exact cost yet, but hope to have it all figured out soon.

(4) comments

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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