Friday, December 29, 2006

Posted by Padilla 1:19 PM
My December as "Pud Knows":

Happy New Year
(Nevermind that it was the beginning of a rebuy when anything goes.)

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Thursday, December 28, 2006

Posted by Johnnymac 11:25 PM
Unfortunately I can't take credit for this astute observation, but someone on Hornfans just pointed out that the Aggies were just 46 points away from an undefeated season this year. Good catch.

(1) comments

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Posted by Dr Fro 11:33 AM

You need to read this story about Dutch Boyd.

I wrote here before (can't find the link) about his mental illness. If I recall correctly, I made the similiar point that if you are known to be off balance, then probably just about the worst way to spend your time would be as a professional high stakes poker player. Hell, I'm mentally well balanced, at least that is what the voices in my head keep telling me, and I sometimes get really f***ed up in the head when I take a bad beat. Up the stakes and it could easily send Dutch over the edge.

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Friday, December 22, 2006

Posted by Dr Fro 5:34 PM
The other night at our poker game, I was wrong when I explained H.O.R.S.E. Here is the skinny:

In a H.O.R.S.E. poker game or tournament event, the kind of poker played in each round rotates as follows:

Razz is a seven-card stud poker game where instead of the highest hand winning, the lowest or worst hand wins the pot. The lowest hand in Razz is A-2-3-4-5, because straights and flushes don't count against a hand being low, and aces are counted as low. The ace to five straight is also called "the bike" or "the wheel," and is the best possible low hand. Unlike split-pot hi-lo games like Omaha 8, Razz doesn't have an "eight or better" component to it's play.

In 2006, the World Series of Poker introduced a $50,000 buy-in H.O.R.S.E. event (all games played with structured limits) and rotated games after each hour-long round until the final table, when they switched to no-limit hold'em.

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Posted by Dr Fro 1:30 PM
So I am playing a little poker today and I get my favorite hand, KK. Guy to my right raises 6x the BB to $3, I make it $7 and the button goes all-in (has me covered). Original raiser folds and I call for about $22.

He had 55, and I won.

So just one day after I made my post justifying calling with KK when your opponent plays super fast and you fear AA, I applied my own advice was damn happy I did!

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Thursday, December 21, 2006

Posted by Dr Fro 9:18 PM
Check out the Mr. Bill video on Pokerati.

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Posted by Junelli 4:16 PM
Poker: The Story of America's National Pastime
by James McManus


In this column I'll do my level best to narrate the history of poker, from the game's arrival in New Orleans as 20-card poque (or poqas), its evolution into 52-card poker aboard Mississippi steamboats and later in the camps of Union and Confederate armies, its migration to the Dakotas and California, its importance as both entertainment for servicemen and a tactical model in war games and nuclear diplomacy, through its emergence as a tournament spectacle at Binion's World Series of Poker and its mushrooming popularity in scores of other countries as well as in cyberspace, the fastest growing segment of the $100 billion poker industry.

The industry is now under attack from puritanical congressmen and the Justice Department of George W. Bush. By lumping poker together with lotteries, blackjack, and other mindless schemes guaranteed to fleece their constituents, these cynical politicians have conveniently forgotten that eminent statesmen and judges and business people - including Henry Clay, Daniel Webster, Ulysses S. Grant, Nathan B. Forrest, Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, William Rehnquist, and Bill Gates, to name just a few - together with tens of millions of ordinary soldiers and citizens, all have played poker for profit and enlightenment. Even before New Yorkers like Alexander Cartwright began tinkering with the English game of rounders, our other national pastime was being cooked up in the unruly polyglot gumbo of New Orleans during its turbulent first decade after Thomas Jefferson's Louisiana Purchase, news of which arrived from Paris on July 4, 1803. Both baseball and poker have been among the brightest, most durable threads in our social fabric ever since.

My goal is to give a clear sense of how the story of poker helps to explain who we are. The game, after all, has gone hand in hand with pivotal aspects of our national experience for a couple of centuries now. The ways we've done battle and business, chosen our leaders, and explored our vast continent have echoed, and been echoed by, poker's definitive tactics: cheating and thwarting cheaters, leveraging uncertainty, bluffing and sussing out bluffers, managing risk and reward. Memoirs and diaries of ordinary citizens as well as revealing presidential biographies by David McCullough, Garry Wills, Robert Caro, and Doris Kearns Goodwin have brought into sharper relief poker's distinctive double helix in our evolving DNA.

Yet sometimes outsiders can see our traits even more clearly than we see them ourselves. The Budapest-born historian John Lukacs, for example, called poker "the game closest to the Western conception of life … where men are considered moral agents, and where - at least in the short run - the important thing is not what happens but what people think happens." Our keenest observer of all, Alexis de Tocqueville, wrote in Democracy in America: "Those living in the instability of a democracy have the constant image of chance before them, and, in the end, they come to like all those projects in which chance plays a part." This was true, he deduced, "not only because of the promise of profit but because they like the emotions evoked."

It remains unclear which gambling games Tocqueville had witnessed, but the perceptive Frenchman came to appreciate our allegiance to chance while traveling in 1831 aboard the steamboat Louisville along Mark Twain's Mississippi, the original American mainstream, at the very moment poker was coming of age. Twain himself was a highly paid steamboat pilot before the Civil War closed the river to commercial traffic. Forced to become a writer instead, he produced numerous reports and tales about the game, the best known being "The Professor's Yarn" in Life on the Mississippi. Echoing both Tocqueville and Twain, a headline in the April 23, 2003, New York Times declared: "Whoever wants to know the heart and mind of America had better learn poker."

This column won't always proceed chronologically, because I want to explore a few themes (luck in poker, political poker, advice books, female players) independently of the historical timeline. But since timelines are crucial to any story, here is the one I will work with: prehistoric dice - the invention of playing cards - vying games that gave rise to poker - Old Poker in New Orleans - Mississippi Steamboats - The Cheater's Game - Civil War - Wild West and Rough Riders - Gilded Age - World War I - Relief Poker During the Depression - World War II - Poker and Game Theory During the Cold War - The Bicycle Ace of Spades in Vietnam - The World Series of Poker - Vietnamese Masters - Internet Poker - Televised Poker - The Iraqi Most Wanted Deck - Andy Beal vs. Team Brunson - Plutonium Poker with Iran and North Korea - The Boom. Along the way I'll describe major variants, including Old Poker, five-card draw and jackpots, stud, lowball, high-low, Texas hold'em, Omaha, Badugi, and H.O.R.S.E.

Above all, I hope to trace poker's development from what was accurately called the Cheater's Game, a cutthroat enterprise that for much of its first century was dominated by white male cardsharps, to what is today an honest contest of cunning, mathematic precision, and luck that is open to everyone. America has been a melting pot since New Orleans was defended in 1815 by Andrew Jackson, Jean Lafitte, and a sizable contingent of freed Haitian slaves, but it wasn't until about 30 years ago that poker became a crucible that welcomes and tests a few hundred million male and female contestants on every inhabited continent.

But before we return to Creole New Orleans, it might be useful to understand poker's emergence in light of some other games humans have played, going back to the origins of dice, chips, and the Korean divinatory arrows that gradually evolved into playing cards.

Loaded Knucklebones to Donkeys in Cyberspace
Despite what some preachers and politicians may tell us, nothing is more natural, or more crucial to human progress, than gambling. For two and a half million years, our brains have evolved by genetic chance amid environmental uncertainty. Actively taking other kinds of chances has been necessary to basic survival since long before we walked on two legs. In the 21st century, risk haunts nearly every decision we make - whether to cross the street or board a 757, invest in real estate or the stock market, enroll in an MBA program or go on the poker circuit, figure out whether or when to have children.

But it's not only humans, of course. Every organism needs to constantly manage a series of life-or-death risks. Ants and beetles, algae and trees, hyenas and monkeys all must maintain their physical safety while competing for nourishment and opportunities to copulate. When either of these pursuits could be lethal, especially to our early human ancestors, success became all the more satisfying - caused all the more dopamine, that is, to be released by the hypothalamus, while failure caused the anterior lobe of the pituitary gland to release more prolactin. Today, when we take a "sick" beat at the poker table, what we're actually experiencing is too much prolactin, the result of both our genetic heritage and the coolly vicious laws of randomness. We somehow got lost in the shuffle.

As far as our genes are concerned, the urge to embrace chance developed along the following lines. Pleistocene hunters risked life and limb for the best opportunities to slaughter ferocious but protein-rich animals. The closer they got to a scared, angry buffalo with a chipped-stone spearhead, the more likely they were to be trampled or gored, but the better chance they had of actually killing the beast. Courage and aggressiveness counted. Avoiding risk by hanging back from the fray may have helped a timid male survive the day's hunt, but it wouldn't have served him well otherwise. Hunters who took down fresh meat, after all, were lionized within the tribe; they received larger portions of protein and more opportunities to mate with nubile females. Meanwhile, the females were competing among themselves - via face painting, hair grooming, displaying their breasts and genitalia - for the chance to mate with the best food providers. Once this mating was accomplished, protection became even more vital to the females who might have become pregnant, so the sexual bounty was even more lavish for the hunters-turned-warriors who defeated enemy tribesmen. By this means and others, a taste for bold risk was efficiently bred into our species.

We no longer hunt or fight with spears, but in every tribe and country today, physical sports represent, and often have whopping monetary value attached to, hunter and warrior skills. Since our ancestors depended for survival on the ability of elite males to run fast and wield lethal projectiles, it shouldn't be surprising that today's male and female athletes mimic those feats in symbolic rituals, sometimes called games.

The penetrative power of a golfer or fullback or pitcher, the home-protecting prowess of a center or goalie or catcher, evokes the life-and-death urgency felt on hunting grounds and battlefields a thousand generations ago. This is why most of us have such intense emotional interest in the outcomes of sporting events.

But at the higher symbolic level on which many modern humans also operate, cerebral games like chess, bridge, poker, and what we call handicapping - betting on the performance of animals, humans, teams, corporations, or currencies - mimic what scouts, hunting-party leaders, and tribal chiefs used to do and, nowadays, what captains, coaches, CEOs, generals, and presidents do. While our physical and mental skill sets are both still evolving, the competitive goal in our brains feels pretty much the same as it did 12,000 years ago on the Colorado plateau or Kenyan savannah: don't starve to death, or get eaten alive by hyenas, or pillaged and raped by the guys from across the river. Go, team! Who's your daddy? She's all in. He scores!

Our most advanced ancestors also wanted to understand the nature of their perilous world: to divine the will of their war god or decide which direction to send the hunting party. Lacking even rudimentary science, they searched for meaningful portents in the patterns of thrown sticks and bones, or by studying the entrails of eviscerated animals. Patterns in splashes of urine and fresh piles of feces were also believed to be telling, if sometimes overwhelmingly pungent. It was high time, more than one feces decoder must have thought, to come up with a better system for divining what the gods held in store.

As humans evolved further, their systems for reading portents grew more complex, and the step from divination to wagering games was a short one. Archaeologists tell us that astragali, the roughly cuboid huckle-bones (or, in a common mispronunciation, knucklebones) above the heels of goats and sheep, began to be widely used several thousand years ago. The bones were cleaned and dried, then marked with crosshatching or drilled with holes that were either left empty or, ominously, filled with lead. With different values ascribed to each side, they were tossed across a flat surface, then tallied. Whichever side landed faceup was believed to indicate, for example, where a herd of antelope would be grazing the next morning - or, saving one tribesman the trouble of hunting, to establish that the guy grunting the Neanderthal version of don't come owed the shooter a couple of flank steaks by sundown.

Long before they had words for such concepts, some of these early bonesmen must have thought dice were the conduits of chance or fate, while others believed them to be messengers of one god or another. Still others must have thought they were both. (For much more detailed discussions of all this, check out UNLV professor David G. Schwartz's brilliantly informative and entertaining new book, Roll the Bones: The History of Gambling, and Edward O. Wilson's 1975 Pulitzer Prize-winning masterpiece, Sociobiology.)

In any case, few things were more intimately connected to fate, or to the will of the gods, than the emotions accompanying a wager. Indeed, it's easy to imagine humankind's very first prayer being hopefully uttered as a couple of huckle-bones tumbled across a flat patch of earth. Yet because of variations, inadvertent or otherwise, in shape or lead content, the astragali were inevitably "loaded," which must have led to some hairy exchanges among people with inch-high foreheads to go with their spears, clubs, and questionable hygiene.

One obvious next step was to grind down irregular edges to produce freely rolling four-sided dice shaped like pyramids. Thousands of years before Roman numerals, or before numbers were introduced by Arabs and Hindus around 700 A.D., an arrow, antler, or trio of dots on the surface of a bone indicated to our ancestors what the future might hold - or, less grandly, who had won a bet. For chips or counters in their betting games, they used colored pebbles. The statute of limitations in both Nevada and Egypt declares, however, that it would be a faux pas to bring any old pink and white stone to the Bellagio cage and ask for $25,000.

By 3500 B.C., Egyptians and Sumerians were tossing pairs of dice to determine how many spaces a piece could advance in their complex, warlike board games. Their gods gambled, too. Thoth, the great god of science and writing, was believed to have defeated the moon god, Sin, in a game much like checkers. Thoth's prize was 1/72nd of each day, which he combined into five full days and added to the 360-day lunar year to create the first solar calendar.

Yet four-sided objects could be cast only as quartenary lots, though tossing two of them doubled the range of possible outcomes. So the next stage of gaming R&D yielded a six-sided die. Precisely carved from ivory and wood, cubic dice began showing up in Mesopotamia around 3000 B.C., along with painted wood objects resembling backgammon boards. The elaborate scoring possible in such dice games marked an appealing leap forward - appealing in that almost by definition, the more civilized a tribe, the more complex the games it preferred.

A game much like backgammon is under way on a famous Greek amphora painted by Exekias around 530 B.C. but depicting an earlier epoch. Holding spears in one hand, dice in the other, the black figures of Achilles and Ajax compete across the surface of a low, legless table during a break in the battle for Troy. Their shields are leaning close by, at the ready. Achilles, on the left, in his tall plumed helmet, calls out, "Four!" while Ajax pleads, "Three!" Since April 2003, more than a few female art historians have claimed to make out a faint background image of either Odysseus or Gus Hansen imploring Achilles to "Double!"

Homer's Iliad tells us that Patroclus, when young, in a wrathful act worthy of his future lover (or close friend) Achilles, had once killed a boy with the eyebrow-raising name of Clitonymus over a game of dice. Forced into exile by this murder, Patroclus eventually sought refuge in the house of Peleus. It was here that he first met Achilles, the demigod whose rage and lethality would soon doom the Trojans, his friend, and himself.

The Romans upped the ante by betting on gladiatorial contests on the floor of their Colosseum, the oblong design of which both concentrated the butchery and allowed bloodthirsty spectators to view it up close - and may have inspired the shape of contemporary poker tables. Roman artisans also produced dice, called tesserae, exquisitely carved from bone or ivory, while the cleverest gamblers were concocting new games in which up to four dice were rolled across a board. The worst possible throw, in which all four sides showed the same value, was called canis, the dog, which may well be the etymological root of our term "underdog."

What's certain is that dice-throwing figured prominently in the works of Tacitus, Dante, Chaucer, Cervantes, Goethe, Moliere, and numerous other European writers. Shakespeare's King Richard III was speaking for a long line of existential risk-takers when he said:
Slave, I will set my life upon a cast,
And I will stand the hazards of the die

Yet more than two thousand years before Shakespeare wrote these lines, the great Hindu epic Mahabharata tells of dice carved from nuts being used for both divination and gambling. Sanskrit poems even more ancient tell of the god Shiva throwing dice with his wife, Pravati, and their sons. And the 34th hymn of the 10th mandala of the Rig-Veda, a collection of religious hymns dating back to 4000 B.C., is known as the gambler's hymn. "These dice nuts," goes one verse, "born of a lofty tree in a windy spot, which dance on this gambling ground, make me almost mad. These nervous dice intoxicate me like a draught of soma from Mount Mujavant.

"Without any fault of hers I have driven my devoted wife away because of a die exceeding by one. My mother-in-law hates me. My wife pushes me away.

"In his defeat the gambler finds no one to pity him. No one has use for a gambler. He's like an aged horse put up for sale."

Whether or not a stuck gambler is like an old horse, or his mother-in-law and wife are both nags, modern Indians who fail to place at least a small wager during Diwali, the Festival of Lights celebrating Shiva and his family, are believed to be reincarnated as donkeys. So thank Shiva that making such wagers became dramatically easier in 2000 A.D., when the Bengali software whiz Anurag Dikshit (pronounced Dixit) wrote the platform for

That site quickly became the world's busiest by enabling tens of thousands of players in 24 times zones to compete at thousands of virtual tables. Is it thus fair to say that the religious dimension of gambling seems weirdly confirmed when playing pitifully at one of these tables, during Diwali or Festivus or any other occasion, is to risk being labeled a donkey?

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Posted by Dr Fro 3:05 PM
Last night was, by all measures, a disaster. In a 2-hour span, the following happened:
  • I was all-in preflop holding KK against AA (and lost)
  • I flopped middle set (7's) and he flopped top set (Queens)
  • I flopped top set (Jacks) and bet. He raised all-in with an overpair (Queens) and I called. He rivered a Queen.
These were not the only ugly hands, just the ugliest. Somehow, I managed to only lose $70 on the evening, for which I am thankful. The above hands alone cost $140, so I had my fair share of successes as well.

The AA vs KK hand got me thinking a bit. When you have KK and your opponent seems very excited to get it all-in, what should be your thought process? Well if you know that he has AA, you are a 4:1 underdog, so you will want at least a 4:1 payout. But what about the possibility that he has, say, QQ or AK and is simply overplaying his hand? You'd hate to fold KK to either of these hands. So what is a good rule of thumb for when it is o.k. to call with KK? Let's assume that the bet to you is pot-sized, so you are getting 2:1 payout, meaning you want to win the hand at least 33.3% of the time to make calling a profitable play. You should call if you think that the odds of him holding AK or QQ is 11% (each) or higher. The math:

Hand...Odds to win......Likelihood to have

Multiply these out and add them together and you get 33.3% chance of winning.

So if you are, say, 76% sure that he has AA, it is correct to call. There are only a small number of opponents against whom I could ever be >75% sure that they have AA. People play hands like QQ, JJ, AKs super fast all the time. The above math is for a pot sized bet, but if there has been a lot of raising and if this is not a game with deep stacks (can you find a "deep stack" NL game anymore?), you will probably be facing an all-in raise that is less than the pot. Therefore, the threshold of how certain you must be that your opponent does hold AA is set even higher. Can you really tell yourself that you are, say, >85% sure that Bob has AA and fold? I can't. Not unless Bob has a mirror in back of him.

Daniel Negreanu wrote recently (no link, dig up the Houston Chronicle sports section, Thanksgiving weekend) that he has only folded KK preflop (in a cash game) once in his life. He has played a lot of poker and he is also capable of assigning high probability to the chance that his read is correct. He is a helluva good player and in his poker wisdom, he folds in this situation about once every 15 years. Since he plays poker many times more often than I do, in Fro-years (or should I say "Dawg-years"?), this is equal to once in a lifetime. So, if I never do (and I might not) fold in this situation, I may be making an unprofitable (measured in EV, not by actual results) play once in a lifetime. I can live with that.

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Posted by Junelli 2:19 PM
My name has reach ubiquitous status.

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Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Posted by Johnnymac 7:26 PM
Is it wrong to be watching Cool Hand Luke and think , "Wow, I bet being on a chain gang is a great way to be in shape!" or is it just me?

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Posted by Dr Fro 10:37 AM
I watched this happen and almost fell out of my chair laughing. What an IDIOT!

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Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Posted by Dr Fro 2:38 PM
2006: The Year in Review

I am thankful for the Port Security Act of 2006. I mean, before the act was passed, all of our ports were like Mos Eisley. But now, well now with internet gambling illegal more difficult to play, our ports are more like Alderaaan. That is, more like Alderaan was before it was blown to pieces. Actually, the Port Security Act has had no impact on the frequency of my play, but it has made the market somewhat illiquid, which means waiting 10 minutes for a table to fill up instead of of 10 seconds. So, why was the Act the landmark event of poker in 2006? It is because it will have the exact opposite effect on poker that Chris Moneymaker's WSOP victory in 2003 had. Whereas Moneymaker's victory seemed to make a previously seedy activity all of the sudden legitimate, the Act will make it seedy again. The WSOP Main Event will shrink significantly, as Harrah's has decided that it will not take entries from U.S. citizens that win their way online. Sponsorship will dry up (including TV ads) as the media try to steer clear of anything seedy (especially in the post-Janet Jackson nipple era). Poker, I guess, has peaked. This could be reversible, but it will take a lot of political action, and that sort of action is about as slow as the $1-$2 NL game at Aladdin.

Of course, the biggest thing to happen to me in 2006 was the birth of my baby girl. She is 3.5 months now. Her boyfriend Knox is 3.49 months. Her best friend and gambling buddy, ____ GlazeDog will be born tomorrow. Of course, her future calculus tutor, _____ Greene is in utero.

College football has had an interesting season in 2006. Of my six predictions, numbers 1-3 were very close, two of which may well have panned out sans a Colt McCoy injury in the Little Apple. I was definitely correct that the NC game would not have 2 undefeateds and that Notre Dame would underimpress. Ohio State has looked more impressive than anybody else this season, but I can name 4 teams that are better than the 06 Buckeyes: the 05 Trojans, 05 Longhorns, 05 Nittany Lions and the 05 Buckeyes. They mainly won this year due to the lack of any contenders, Michigan included. The worst performance by a coach award goes to Larry Coker, who is currently sharing a bunk bed at the Star of Hope mission with Donald Rumsfeld and who managed to turn a perennial contender into a middle of the pack ACC team playing in obscure bowl games. My Favorite Expression on Face award goes to Pete Carroll after losing UCLA. That look said "Holy shet, I was on the verge of 4 straight national championships (!sarcasm alert!) and UCLA just got really lucky and beat us." What else happened in college football in 2006? Well, there was that little game in Pasadena back in January. Time has passed, and I still think that that game will be a perennial contender (and frequent winner) in year 2030 in all 2 a.m. drunken arguments in bars across America when two guys argue over the best college football game ever.

In baseball, the Astros missed the playoffs by this much, and the Cardinals proved why playoffs are not the best system for giving the championship crown to the best team in the sport (pay attention, college football).

World Cup 2006 was, of course, amazing. And the as soon as the first team lost in the round of 16, all of Europe said the same thing: "You know, the World Cup is the greatest thing ever, but the single-elimination approach after the group stages really sucks." Pay attention, college presidents.

It will be interesting to see how my gambling ledger ends up for 2006. I am so close to even that I could be positive or negative based on 2 poker games and 7 bowl game pools that will play out over the next 2 weeks. That is weird to me that after tens of thousands of dollars of wagers, I am within about $50 of even right now.

Dallas poker rooms were raided right and left in 2006. I am all for enforcement of the law, and I won't complain that the DPD did arrest some law-breaking citizens. However, it does seem odd that they would spend that much effort with that many officers, carrying that many machine guns to bust up such a victimless crime. Really, (read this week's Dallas Observer) we have crack houses in Dallas with real victims that the police seem to ignore, so it does seem like a grossly disproportionate use of resources to have the SWAT team raid a poker game.

The movies of 2006 followed the general trend of the past 11 years: they sucked more than the year before. There were some gems, but no Rounders. I would like to give the Best Movie of 2006 Even Though the Acting Completely Sucked Award to End of the Spear. The book is better (gawd, I cringe every time I hear that phrase, and I just typed it, but really, isn't the book ALWAYS better?), but the power of the (real life) story comes through in the movie just fine.

LOST was still good in 2006, but not as good as it used to be. I am getting tired of some of the characters such as Jack and I wish Mr. Ecko was still alive. At least Locke is still alive, and from all appearances, taking charge of the island. Anybody that knows me well knows that I will always root for the John Lockes of the world over the Dr. Jacks of the worlds. It is part of who I am. It is why I loved Good Will Hunting. I love the story of the less fortunate kid getting his due over the kid with all the priveledge. I wonder why I like that storyline?? Maybe because I am friends with Ferruzzo, the ghetto-sexual, self-hating SRF that came from nothing to have everything we all want. Maybe not.

The Office had, IMHO, its best episode ever with its Christmas episode (we belong, we belong together, Ryan...) High Stakes Poker proved that you don't need slick production for good poker programming. Of course, Jamie Gold made an ass of himself on TV to be the first WSOP Main Event winner to be hated since Phil Hellmuth.

I played poker in Texas, Oklahoma, Nevada, British Columbia and London. The Nevada one was the best. Not only did I win a lot of money, I did it over a very long haul. And ARH CCM and I had ball. We looked like Hollywood when we went to the Pink Taco and laughed for days over my confusion over the "blue triangle in that chick's dress" which was actually her martini sitting in front of her. As a result of that trip, I have had two consecutive trips to Vegas that A) were profitable and B) didn't involve airport security, two things that lacked from the two previous trips. (That wasn't a figure of speech or internet hyperbole.)

Well, maybe it is appropriate, but as I write this, I am up about $90 online, so I guess 2006 is profitable after all (so far). I suspect I will go + and - a few times before we close the books. In summary, 2006 was like most years; full of highs and lows, but unlike some people (TJG and ARH excluded) it will always be the year of my first national championship in the only sport I really care about and the year of my first born. I loved 2006.

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Posted by Junelli 8:10 AM
D*ck in a Box

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Monday, December 18, 2006

Posted by Dr Fro 12:06 AM
This is interesting; it tracks where the stars are playing. Right now, John digesting is playing $200-$400 NL Holdem. I should join him. Small problem: I can't afford the small blind. Oh, well I guess I will just get back to crushing our little 25c-50c home game. Oh wait, I can't beat that either. Maybe I can convince Ferruzzo to cut the deck and play a little "high card" because that is where I have a serious advantage. Seriously, I couldn't beat my grandma at tiddleywinks right now if you spotted me 3 tiddleys and 2 winks. If you want all of my money, this is the week to take a shot at me. Online yesterday, I lost with JJ against TT when he flopped his set. I then lost with AK to AQ when he runner-runnered QQ to beat my flopped two-pair, Aces over Kings. An hour later I get dealt pocket pair 5 consecutive hands, 2 of those were AA. Four out of five times, I raised and got folds all around. The other time, I had TT in the BB and it folded around to me. Then, tonight in our home game, I flop a boat, only to have my opponent hit a two-outer to get a higher boat than I did. This is how bad the night was: once in a hand with 4 of us, I mucked my hand (even though it checked around on the river) thinking it was impossible that K-high could win. The pot went to J-high. My sister's dog died (hit by a car) and I lost in Omaha with AA23, suited. Dude, come play me and take all my money. Do it now. But if you would rather take it from John D'Agostino, follow where he is playing here.

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Sunday, December 17, 2006

Posted by Dr Fro 12:10 AM

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Saturday, December 16, 2006

Posted by Dr Fro 11:26 PM

Check out the identified gangs in Houston and see if you can find Naughty Dawgs.

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Posted by Dr Fro 11:19 PM

So, I am not stupid, I am just sick.

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Posted by Dr Fro 8:40 PM

Personally, I struggled a bit to concentrate on the chip tricks in this video; something (or 4 things) kept me distracted.

I remember when I used to have no game at chip tricks at all. The inflection point on the rise of my game happened at Junell's bachelor party when I sat in between two guys that had magician-calibre chip tricks (something that should be a warning to leave the table!) in my marathon 20 hour session. They spent about 12 hours teaching me tricks, including my signature spin. I have been in a rut on tricks - just more deviations of "chips over the stack" and "spins". I think my new challenge will be to learn the bouncing the chip onto my stack, one that is in this video (not that I paid any attention).

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Friday, December 15, 2006

Posted by Padilla 1:20 PM

(Sorry to push you so soon Mark) First off.....Who uses a broadband laptop card? I need good service in remote areas. Anybody know of a reliable carrier with reliable service?

Back to our regularly scheduled program:

I’m logging back on, literally and figuratively, with unbridled enthusiasm for the game of Poker.

I failed miserably, by any standards, at the WSOP this year. Since everything about that trip is my motivation for playing poker, I fall into a self-imposed poker coma after the tournament. You just can’t play live with that array of talent, with those prizes, in Vegas, etc etc at any other predictable time of year. Plus, I have little desire to play online after playing live for a week, wherever I play.

Nature has taken its course again, and with the allure of a fresh start that comes with the new year, and with the announcement of next year’s WSOP dates, I awaken from my slumber to play again.

I won’t go so far as to say that “I’m on a mission from GOD”, but I am definitely approaching “we’re getting the band back together” type of focus.

My new year’s resolution will not be to get in shape, lose weight, or get healthy. It will be to do those things as related to NLHE. Incidentally, our company has built a gym downstairs and is holding a “Biggest Loser” type competition as we speak. I expect that I will win the damn thing come January 2nd. (Based on actual body fat %, not weight % lost) Take away the 4 hours of basketball per day I used to play, and I’m as fit as I was back in the (gulp) mid-90’s.

So armed with improved physical condition, a healthy bankroll, and a strong focus, I will start 2007 with the goal of rekindling (if I ever had it) my solid NLHE tournament game. Thus, the pic substitution on the right side of the home page.

I’ll do my best to have this site represented again in the Main Event in 2007. We seemed to get a lot more traffic that way. Wish me luck.

Have a Merry XMAS, Killer Kwanza, Happy Hanukkah……& Happy New Year.

(1) comments

Posted by Junelli 11:42 AM
Awhile back I wrote that my poker game is in shambles. And for the most part, it has been. That is until recently. I've finally turned a corner and figured out how to win again. I know it may not be permanent, but I've now booked 7 wins in a row, totaling over $3,500. Dr. Fro and JohnnyMac, stay clear of me on the 29th!

Last night was a particularly nice win, because I fought for it. I bought in for $400 into a $5-$5 NL game.

I made a great play on a hyper-aggressive kid and took down a big pot. I held 77 in the cutoff seat. The kid is sitting 2 seats in front of me, and he raises preflop to $30 (the standard raise in this game). I called along with 2 other people. Pot is $125 before the flop.

Flop comes 854 rainbow. My 77 gives me middle pair with a gutshot. The first 2 players check to the kid, who fires out $75. I smooth call the $75 and the other 2 players fold. Pot is now $275.

The turn is another 8, and the kid hesitates and then checks to me. I bet $150. He check-raises me for $200 more. I immediately move all-in for $675. He folds QQ before I can even push my chips in.

I turn up my 77, and he goes ballistic. And by "ballistic," I mean the worst tilt you've ever seen. Raising every pot, playing every hand, etc. It was funny. He was bitching out loud at himself for at least an hour.

I finally busted him when I held A8 against a board of 873. He had raised preflop and fired on the flop. The turn was an Ace, giving me top two pair, and hitting his AK. He moved all-in and I finished him off.

All in all, I'm feeling good about my game right now, and am starting to rebuild my bankroll. We'll see how long it can last.

On another note, the PokerStars experiment is still ongoing, although I haven't been playing at all lately. My account is at $76 (from an original buy-in of $25). I'm hoping to grind it up some more this weekend.


(1) comments

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Posted by Dr Fro 8:54 PM
I have been playing at the $2-$4 table getting beat, so I demoted myself to the poor table, where the following hand happened. Why can't this happen to me at the bigger tables????!!??
379peterbilt Posted Big Blind $0.25
Dealing Cards

You Were Dealt (, )

sfskeet Calls $0.25
SlammerT Folds
phreaux Calls $0.25
budmaster444 Folds
homtail Calls $0.25
4theemony Calls $0.25
moebobv Folds
dobiescobes Folds
sauces Calls $0.15
379peterbilt Raised to $0.50
sfskeet Calls $0.25
phreaux Calls $0.25
homtail Calls $0.25
4theemony Calls $0.25
sauces Calls $0.25


Dealing Flop ( )

sauces Checks
379peterbilt Bets $1.00
sfskeet Folds
phreaux Calls $1.00
homtail All In for $6.90
4theemony Folds
sauces Folds
379peterbilt Folds
phreaux Calls $5.90


phreaux has (Jc Ac)

homtail has ( )


Dealing Turn ()


Dealing River ()


phreaux Wins $16.91 from pot 1 with : Flush Ace High
homtail Sits Out

(3) comments

Posted by Dr Fro 8:39 PM
All readers of this blog should sign up at to cure their PartyPoker ban blues. Once we are all signed up, we can do a private tournament someday. Winner gets nudey pictures of Johnnymac.

(1) comments

Posted by Johnnymac 2:54 PM

I want one of these for Christmas, although I doubt you can honestly call it a "pocket" knife.

(check out the dude's thumb, does that knife come with some nail clippers?)

(0) comments

Posted by Johnnymac 2:50 PM
It looks like the poker game for Dec 29 is full, but since it is so early and is set for a Friday it's likely that someone is going to drop out. Someone always does. If you want to be kept updated and on the list, send an email to me or Fro.

If you're eligible to play you should already have our addresses anyway, or you should know how to get in touch with us, so I'm not posting one.

(0) comments

Posted by Johnnymac 8:08 AM
Someone forwarded me this this morning. It's a good warning to be on the lookout while you're shopping this holiday season - you can never be too careful.


From: David
Sent: Wednesday, December 13, 2006 2:23 PM
To: Johnnymac
Subject: Fw: Serious Warning !!!!!

Be careful. Word is this scam is being carried out at Academy Stores and Carter's Country as well.


Serious Home Depot Scam

Heads up for you and any of your friends who may be regular Home Depot customers. Over the last month I became a victim of a clever scam while out shopping. Simply going out to get supplies has turned out to be quite traumatic. Don't be naive enough to think it couldn't happen to you.

Here's how the scam works:

Two seriously good-looking 18 or 19-year-old girls come over to your car as you are packing your shopping items into the trunk. They both start wiping your windshield with a rag and Windex, with their breasts falling out of their skimpy T-shirts. It is impossible not to look.

When you thank them and offer them a tip, they say "No" and instead ask you for a ride to another Home Depot. You agree and they get in the back seat. On the way, they start having sex with each other. Then one of them climbs over into the front seat and performs oral sex on you, while the other one steals your wallet in a very blatant and despicable criminal act.

I have personally fallen victim to this scam: I had my wallet stolen November 4th , 9th, 10th, twice on the 15th, 17th, 20th, three times just yesterday, and very likely again this upcoming weekend as soon as I can buy some more wallets.

(0) comments

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Posted by Dr Fro 9:59 PM
This is pretty funny, esecially if you are a child of the 70/80's.

Who is up for poker on 12/29 in Houston? Champ, Johnnymac, Morris, Junell, Juan and I are in.

(0) comments

Posted by Johnnymac 12:40 PM

(0) comments

Posted by Junelli 10:55 AM
Anytime you start feeling bad, just think about Oliver Hudson...

(1) comments

Friday, December 08, 2006

Posted by Junelli 1:13 PM
Daniel Negreanu held a little 3-handed tournament with 2 sick kids from the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Then he crushed them.

(0) comments

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Posted by Johnnymac 8:09 PM

(0) comments

Posted by Junelli 2:14 PM
On Monday I had a deposition outside of San Francisco. Because I had two nights to kill in Cali, I decided to check out the poker scene.

On the first night I played at the Bay101 which is home to a WPT event. Bay101 is in San Jose which is about 40 minutes South of San Francisco and Oakland.

When I walked in I learned that, although California has poker, it has weird rules. NL is still against the law in most places, but not all. If a club has been open for a long time, it is "grandfathered" in and allowed to play NL. Apparently if they bribe enough people they are also allowed to play NL (e.g. Commerce and Bike). The rest of the clubs are prohibited from offering NL games.

Bay101 is one of those places. How they can have a WPT event is beyond me. In any event, Bay101 has found a loophole to fill customers NL needs. They offer a $5-$200 spread limit game, meaning that all bets must be between $5 and $200. You can never bet/raise more than $200 at a time. The buy-in is capped at $200.

The blinds were also a little strange, $5-$3-$2. The $2 blind is on the button. Again, I have no idea in the logic of this rule, but oh well. Like I need "more" encouragement to play my button!!

It played just like a NL game, because most bets were well below the $200 cap. In fact, I was only hamstrung once when I held a 4h 5h against a flop of 6h 7h 7s. I wanted to move all-in for $600 with my open-ended straight flush draw. Instead I was capped to $250 on the flop ($50 of it was a call). A player with J7 called and another short stack moved in.

I hit my flush on the turn. The short stack turned over Ah 2h and took the main pot, and I won the side against the guy who had trips.

This is a relatively low stakes game that was friendly for the most part. I found it extremely soft, and was able to crush it for a $1,000 profit in less than 4 hours.

All in all, Bay 101 is a nice large card room with approx 30-35 tables. It was filled to near capacity on Sunday night, and the action was good. I recommend it.

On the second night, I decided to try a place closer to Oakland, The Oaks Card Club. The Oaks is not as nice, but it was much closer (only 10 minutes from Oakland) and there was a lot of action.

The Oaks only offered limit games, ranging from $.50-$1 up to $30-$60. There were about 16 tables and they were completely full on Monday afternoon at 5:30 when I arrived.

I haven't played live limit poker in almost 2 years, and even then, it's only been about 7-10 times. However, I've played an enormous amount of limit online. I've read several books on the subject, and consider myself knowledgable of the game.

I walked in wanting to play $10-$20, but they didn't offer that game. Instead they had $8-$16 and $15-$30. I put my name on both lists and then thought long and hard about which game to play. $8-$16 is easier on the bankroll and won't require as high a buy-in. However, that game is a little below the stakes I like to play, and there's a good risk I might play poorly if I don't take the game seriously.

On the other hand, the $15-$30 game is much more expensive and will likely require a buy-in of $1,000. It's a little higher than the stakes I'd normally play, but I'll definitely take it seriously and play better. Aside, I always play much better in high stakes games because I concentrate harder on cutting down on poor decisions, playing with weak starting hands, etc.

Anyway, I get called first to the $15-$30 and decide to sit down. I buy-in for $500 and hope it'll last.

Some differences I quickly noticed from the previous night at Bay101: Nobody folds! Nobody folds! and nobody folds.

There were an average of 5-7 players seeing each flop. This obviously diminishes the value of AA and KK greatly. In fact, proper play "by the book," is almost a surefire way to lose money.

I had KK cracked when a player with 57o called 3 bets cold before the flop, again called the capped bet, caught a 5 on the flop, called flop and turn bets and chased all the way to the river where he caught a 7 and scooped a $500 pot.

I suffered more bad beats in one session than I ever thought possible. AND, I dished out more bad beats than ever before. You almost didn't want to be ahead on the flop. And you certainly didn't want a hand like top pair against 4 players who won't go away. It's just sick!

The chip swings were enormous. I was in the game for $800 and went on swings where I was up $700 to down $700 in less than an hour.

At one point I had $110 left, and got AQs in early position. I bet/raised as much as possible the whole way through the hand, and was able to get my last $30 in on the river, which by the way, was where I finally hit my pair with a Q. My hand held up and I more than quadrupled up to $450. How's that for limit!

But I managed to adapt very well to this game, and thoroughly enjoyed it. I booked a profit of $550, and have decided to find more limit games around Houston.

**Aside*** Another reason I may try and play more limit, is because my NL game is in total shambles. I can't win at all and have completely forgotten how to play properly. I lose against good opponents, bad opponents, young men, old ladies, and the deaf dumb and blind. It's kind of funny that now that I know so much more about the game, I'm actually exponentially worse than I was when I was first learning, and didn't know the "proper" thing to do.

(2) comments

Posted by Dr Fro 6:42 AM
Oh I'm happy as Christmas...all wrapped to be seen
I am typically pretty Stoic in response to ups and downs in poker. I rarely get too upset or excited at the table, and when I do, it isn't for long. But I am just absolutely giddy about last night…

A bit of history: I moved all my Party Poker and Planet Poker money to Neteller and then $100 from Neteller to about 2.5 months ago. That $100 got to $130 over 2.5 months (that means earning 66 cents a day!). Last night I sat down at a 2-man $0.50-$1.00 NL HE table (actually I sat at two tables simultaneously, but nothing of interest happened at the 10-man table) and played against a dude for about 45 minutes.

After about 40 minutes of heads-up action, I had played 72 hands and won a mere 26 hands. In that span, dude got AA twice, flopped THREE straights and TWICE made a higher flush than my flush. Clearly, it was an absolute disaster. But, I am much better at protecting my stack during terrible runs than I used to be, and I am quite proud of the fact that I managed to keep $55 of my $100 buy-in during this stretch.
Baby Dr Fro's feeding was going to be over soon and Mrs. Dr Fro would be coming downstairs to hang out with me, so I only had about 5 more minutes of play.

I quickly won 4 consecutive medium-sized hands and doubled my stack to $110. Then, I got AA. We re-raised each other several times pre-flop and I eventually suspected he had KK. We were both all in and, lo and behold, he had KK. I have been on the ass end of this situation (that is, having KK) many times, two of which I have described on this humble blog. I have also had the AA cracked by KK more than once. Well, this time, it worked out the way it should: the Aces held up, and I doubled up when I scooped the pot of $220.

I have had bigger wins that I have taken more or less in stride in the past, but this one just left me feeling downright giddy. It seemed to solve many frustrations for me:
  • a lingering frustration over my KK going up against AA in Vegas
  • a lingering frustration over my KK going up against AA against ARH
  • a frustration at my inability to win any more than $30 cumulatively over the past 2.5 months.
Well, I'm feeling better now!

(1) comments

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Posted by Johnnymac 9:04 AM
A couple of things:

1.) Football picks - I admit I kind of fell off the wagon once the horns lost to KSU, which was also roughly the time I moved in with my in-laws. So the blog picks kind of fizzled. I also kind of quit caring about either of the pools, too, but that was more a function of just getting out of the money and having better things to do.

I have continued to wager, however, and after last weekend for the season I was 29-15-2 for $349 in college and 18-17-1 for $81 in the pros, so it has still been a profitable year so far.

As far as the bowl games go, my initial feeling is that I love Cal just giving the Ags 5 points in the Holiday Bowl, which, incidentally, is not being played in College Station, nor against the Longhorns, so I don't see the Farmers doing much more than showing up in San Diego and enjoying the weather. This one feelings like lock much the same way as USC did against Notre Dame.

Speaking of the Domers, I also like LSU giving less than 10 against Notre Dame - Brady Quinn will be in pain by the end of that one; and I like Louisville giving just 9 against Wake, mainly because Louisville will score a lot of points and as we saw last Saturday, Wake won't, or more precisely, can't. I'm sure I'll have an opinion on some of the other games, too, when we get closer.

As far as the Gallery Furniture ("Texas") Bowl goes, I was disappointed that neither Texas Tech (my dad's alma mater) or Oklahoma State (my father-in-law's) were selected., because I would have purchased tickets and attended the game. But even if I don't care to go to the game, I really like Rutgers getting +7 against Kansas State. Rutgers was a missed FG away from beating West Virginia on the road and going the Orange Bowl, KSU's claim to fame was that they hurt Colt McCoy and subsequently surprised UT in a trap game. I don't think their respective seasons warrant a full TD going the other way. Wow.

2.) Canonico and I reference this game all the time, and I finally found a version of it online. I present to you, 1994 Tyler John Tyler versus Plano East. God bless these kids!

(0) comments

Friday, December 01, 2006

Posted by Dr Fro 5:28 PM

I have been on a pretty sick roll of great, winning sessions. Hands like this make me feel invinsible! (he should have bet more than $1 on the flop and turn!)

atomic8712 Posted Small Blind $0.50
FruitBatCat Posted Big Blind $1.00

Dealing Cards

You Were Dealt (, )

EfBbksupport Calls $1.00
PresZaphod Calls $1.00
phreaux Calls $1.00
MacDino Calls $1.00
BUNKIE333 Folds
neafcfan Folds
DonPrez Calls $1.00
pajasen Folds
atomic8712 Calls $0.50
FruitBatCat Checks


Dealing Flop ( )

atomic8712 Checks
FruitBatCat Checks
EfBbksupport Checks
PresZaphod Bets $1.00
phreaux Calls $1.00
MacDino Calls $1.00
DonPrez Folds
atomic8712 Folds
FruitBatCat Folds
EfBbksupport Calls $1.00

Dealing Turn ()

EfBbksupport Checks
PresZaphod Bets $1.00
phreaux Calls $1.00
MacDino Calls $1.00
EfBbksupport Calls $1.00


Dealing River ()

EfBbksupport Checks
PresZaphod Bets $6.00
phreaux Raised to $16.00
MacDino Folds
EfBbksupport Folds
PresZaphod Folds


phreaux Wins $35.65 from pot 1

(0) 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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The Doctor is IN

Dr Fro
aka "slow roller"

Which one is the fish?

aka "Sunday Stroller"

You go now!

Johnny Mac
aka "Chop Suey"

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

aka "Mo roller"

Old School

"Baby's Daddy"

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