Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Posted by Dr Fro 8:52 AM
Was it cast for the mass who burn and toil? Or for the vultures who thirst for blood and oil?

On Sunday, I was walking with Baby Dr Fro and spotted a neighbor in his front yard with a broom, slowly approaching the biggest, strangest bird I have ever seen.

On Monday a.m. on the Ticket, I heard that a vulture escaped from the Dallas Zoo. I called the zoo to tell them what I saw, and they told me that a lot of people in Lakewood had called in with the same report.


(2) comments

Monday, January 29, 2007

Posted by Padilla 4:21 PM
IAG just misses final table at 'All-In for ALS'

In what was announced as the largest charity poker tournament in the country, the 3rd annual 'All-in for ALS' tourney was another worthwhile event.

From its infancy a few years ago, when the tournament of less than 200 took place in about 5 hours of play at break-neck speed, the event has grown to nearly 400 players, very generous sponsors, and a re-buy structure that allows players to go "All-in for ALS" at a moments notice during the first 5 levels.

A few interesting notes about this tournament:
1. A tradition has started that even before the cards are dealt on hand #1, people will toss their baggie full of 10,000 tournament chips into the pot, knowing that only one will win, and the others will have to rebuy, effectively donating nearly $300 per table right off the bat.
2. There were 88 prizes, but the final 20 (of the greatest value) were handed out in a draft format. It was correctly presumed that the winner of the event would take the $10,000 Entry Fee into the 2007 WSOP Main Event. Though it took a while, the 2nd place finisher "correctly" chose the 42" Plasma TV. However, instead of the (2) First Class Airline Tickets, or even a Suite for 16 people at Reliant Park for the upcoming Monster Jam, the #3 item chosen was valued as the #16 item. A Lance Berkman autographed first baseman's glove listed went ahead of 13 other prizes to #3. Who knows, maybe that's a steal for a piece of future Hall of Fame memorabilia.

On to the fun.......

1. I was not advised of the "all-in on hand #1" charitable act prior to arrival, and though I brought some extra cash to play around with, I didn't bring enough to waste an entire re-buy. So I decided to at least wait until I saw my hand, and if was half-decent, I'd go with it, seeing as that others were going in blind. I'm UTG and I get A-Q suited. Seconds later, I have 50,000 in chips.
2. 2nd hand.......big blind.............J-J.........all-in-for-ALS...........60,000 in chips.
3. 3rd hand...To test the humor level, I don't complete the small blind. Nobody laughs.
4. I'm ready to gamble, but get a bad feeling when I see 6 players in a raised flop and 3 to the river on a lot of hands. I wait for drawing hands, but I've gone cold. Seriously though, I have 600 big blinds, do I need to bluff to get to 601.5 big blinds?
5. Disaster strikes when last year's champ is moved 3 to my left even before the rebuy period is over, and he has chips too. So much for pushing around the table when the blinds went up. Then they move John Granato to the table, and he's playing fast, and has chips. The 3 of us are all 2 spots apart.
6. Within an hour or 2, both of those guys are busted and I'm watching the other players get healthy while chipping up into the 130K area.
7. Blinds blinds blinds...as charity tournaments go, they'll even skip levels to finish a tourney, so things are getting faster and faster, and the dealers are getting slower and slower, counting antes and all-ins on nearly every hand. My "M" is down to 12.
8. I get moved and am no longer Chief Big Stack. I avoid trouble for a while noticing that this table has callers as well. Imagine that.
9. I have no thoughts of losing the entire table when I get AA in 2nd position and raise the 8000 blind to 20,000. Didn't really expect 3 callers though (one all-in), but oh well. With over 80K in the pot, I push my last 89K in post-flop. I get 1 caller and another all-in. I avoid disaster and am pushing 300K just as they announce "we're in the prizes". Did I really get AA on the bubble....again? (wow, just thought of that as I'm typing)
10. 80,70,60...I move a few times and get to table #2, so I'm not moving again until I'm out or at the final table.
11. Blinds are now a blur, there is no "m", it's only whether or not you can get the table to fold to your all-in. A few people have 6 bb's, but that's about to be slashed when the blinds double.
12. I start watching the prize list, cuz I don't want to get stuck with a year's supply of sweet tomatoes. I fold K-8 suited when we're on that prize, at #21.
13. By folding that hand, I have to play K-4 for my life, and I win to see another orbit.
14. Nada. No face, no ace.
15. I recall the draft format and I decide to blind down to get a better draft choice...unless I get a hand.
16. I push my last 35,000 in when I get AK suited, but I'm not even completing the small blind, or matching the total amount of the antes. Luckily, nobody else played because the 2 big stacks were in the blinds.

Alas, the big blind hits a straight on the river holding 3-5, and I'm out in 16th place.

My prize?
I managed to get a hold of the 7th most valued prize with the #16 pick, as they were ranked by dollar amount.
Luxury box at an Astros game, parking, food, beverages...for 4 people.

(0) comments

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Posted by Dr Fro 11:43 AM

Masun Malmuth has a thing or two to say about the Poker Player's Alliance.

Poker Grub, always a good read, pointed me to the Nevada Gaming Revenue Reports which would probaly bore the piss out of most of you but appeals to the beancoutner in me. Keep in mind that those numbers are in thousands (i.e. add 'ooo to each!)

Eye on Gambling tells us that "Whilst winning the WSOP may seem like a dream to many poker players things do appear to be turning very nightmarish for Mr Gold." Oooooo poooor guy. Bhwaaahaaaaa booooo hoooo. Coudn't happen to a better guy.

Evidently, Dallasite David Williams is still on Team Bodog and doing well for himself.

Woman Poker Player, Cameron's favorite periodical concurs that it ain't gambling.

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Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Posted by Dr Fro 9:33 PM
Bluff has an interesting article on ZeeJustin, the dude who lost $100,000 when he was caught breaking PartyPoker's rules on multiple accounts. We discussed this at IAG.com, and I noted that I really didn't think it was that big of a deal. Yes, a breaking of the rules, but hardly the naughtiest thing done in the history of poker. That said, I didn't feel at all sorry for him when I read:
Justin made it clear to me that he read every single post, many of them very harsh and attacking his character. He admitted to taking it all very seriously, and how the chain of events left him very depressed. He let his parents know about what had happened, and they too read the things said about him, and it led to what became a very trying and difficult period for Justin and for his family.

(1) comments

Posted by Junelli 3:31 PM
A few days ago Dr. Fro mentioned that in high school, he used to skip fourth period. Maybe he should've gone. I was going through some old files and came across one of Dr. Fro's exams from college...

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Posted by Junelli 3:19 PM
The following was written during the war from the British Ambassador to Moscow to Lord Pembroke in 1943. It has only just been released under the Freedom of Information Act. It is without question excellent.

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Monday, January 22, 2007

Posted by Dr Fro 12:53 PM
On NPR today, they discussed online gambling:

This has certainly raised quite a few eyebrows on this side of the Atlantic. Not just because of this particular inquiry but actually because it fits in with a sort of pattern that's been developing over the past few years. Then this action seems to be taking it a stage further whereby you've got U.S. domestic courts demanding of U.K. authorities that overseas information — records, telephone calls — be handed over. And this is seen as a further extension of American, I suppose, interference.

What??!?!! America interference!!?!?!! Outside its borders? No way, not my America. Our typical approach to the world outside our borders is: Live and Let Live. Maybe we should send 20,000 troops to Fleet Street to make the UK a shining beacon of democracy and capitalism to the rest of Europe.

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Sunday, January 21, 2007

Posted by Dr Fro 9:53 PM
How bout that for a nice session to end the weekend...I won darn near 50% of the hands! (We were 5-handed for most of it.)

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Posted by Johnnymac 9:25 PM
Argh. I had the Pats +3 and I just knew for the last 5 minutes of the game that I was going to end up losing by 1 point.

I don't particularly care for Peyton Manning, although I am happy for those long-suffering fans at least..... But why couldn't the Pats have been up by 4 before giving up the winning TD?

Dammit, I'm never going to bet on football again.

OK, that's a lie.

(0) comments

Posted by Dr Fro 9:42 AM
Poker news

Another poker movie is on the horizon.

They lost me at crapped a pineapple.

My favorite site, Poker.com is crapping pineapples over Full Tilt Poker.

More news on payment processors.

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Posted by Dr Fro 9:33 AM
Try out PokerNickname.com and post your nickname under comments. Mine is:

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Posted by Dr Fro 9:08 AM
I used to skip 4th period (which was 1.5 hours due to lunch) everyday my senior year of high school and play Super Mario and Tecmo Bowl at Glaze Dog's house. This video brought back some old memories. The guy has some mad skills, but what I find particularly interesting is how many bugs in the game he shows (i.e. he does some things you simply should not be able to do).

I have been so busy watching Poker After Dark, I missed the start of Season 3 of High Stakes Poker. Anybody catch it? Pokerati has a good clip. This is real money, Mr. Gold.

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Posted by Johnnymac 5:11 AM

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Saturday, January 20, 2007

Posted by Dr Fro 3:49 PM
This is a pretty good summary of all the hullaballoo regarding online payments.

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Friday, January 19, 2007

Posted by Johnnymac 8:13 PM
Little kid crashes

Short and sweet.

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Posted by Junelli 3:53 PM
Although I may never be able to get my money out....

My Poker Stars experiment is still going strong. I haven't played much at all in the past 2 months (only a few occasions), but my account has crossed the century mark. It's now at $102.11 (from a starting point of $25).

I'm still playing micro limit hold em and occasionally mixing in a SNG. Yesterday I played a 4 player heads up tournament (double shoot-out) and won first place.

Things are still going. More updates later.

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Posted by Junelli 2:00 PM
A very personal blog from Kid Poker.

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Thursday, January 18, 2007

Posted by Padilla 7:30 AM
Neteller - OUT

Due to some changes in the online poker industry, NETeller has decided to no longer process payments as of January 17 to customers within the United States. We noticed you have used NETeller in the past to fund your UltimateBet account, and we are pleased to offer you a wide variety of safe and secure methods.

UltimateBet offers you the following easy-to-use payment methods: Visa, Mastercard, Instadebit, ePassporte, ATMonline and Click2Pay. Funding your account has never been easier. Get more info in the Cashier section of our software.

When I got this message from PokerStars, it said that Neteller wasn't completing "InstaCash" transactions, so I figured all was OK, I'd just do it the old way. This message doesn't mention any type of suitable means for US customers to fund a Neteller account.

Oh well, on to the next one.

(3) comments

Monday, January 15, 2007

Posted by Dr Fro 9:35 PM

Didn't this happen to Padilla recently?
The King was bad enough, but the Ten on the River just sucked.

(2) comments

Posted by Dr Fro 10:04 AM
Padilla, in answer to your question about WSOP not accepting third party registrations, here is a Link with an interview with an exec from Harrah's

As in 2005 and 2006, Harrah’s will not accepting (sic) third party registrations from online poker sites (.com’s) that do business with U.S. residents. PokerStars.com and PartyPoker.com could not register players directly last year because they did business with American customers. Ladbrokes could because it wasn’t doing business with U.S. residents.

In the midst of this multi-billion purchase is the fate of the WSOP in regards to the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, which was signed into law on October 13, 2006, long after the final card of the 2006 WSOP had been dealt. The record-breaking field of nearly 9,000 hopefuls entered the Rio, and Jamie Gold walked away with a WSOP bracelet and $12 million. We have tried to figure out the landscape of WSOP in 2007. We have a players advisory committee consisting of several poker professionals who are close to that side of the industry. They’ve come back to us with estimates ranging from 2,000 players in the Main Event to 12,000 players. These are players who are more familiar with it than we are and even they can’t come to a consensus. We just don’t know what the impact on the Main Event will be.

When Harrah’s first heard that the UIGEA had been passed in a last-minute political maneuver, we were very disappointed. We had been under the impression that there would be support for a study of online gambling. The current legislation does nothing to protect consumers nor allows companies to compete on a global scale. It also encourages operators to develop that do not have the best interests of the consumer in mind. What would Harrah’s support, then? We think regulation makes a lot of sense. Online sites would be paying taxes; money would stay in the U.S. instead of flowing overseas. The reality is poker is a quintessential American game. To me personally, it’s like banning football because a couple of players get hurt each year. If Congress tried to ban baseball or football, I would hate to be sitting in Washington when the public’s reaction to banning football came out.

Two things come to mind when I read this:

  1. I don't understand what they mean by "as in 2005 and 2006". This is completely untrue.
  2. It is complete BS to say that they were disappointed with the legislation. The Congressman to whom Harrah's gives the most money is Bill Frist, author of the bill. Harrah's was the thrust behind it all.

(4) comments

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Posted by Dr Fro 8:38 PM

(1) comments

Posted by Dr Fro 2:44 PM

Thanks, Al.

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Posted by Dr Fro 1:43 PM
In case you haven't heard, the newest poker T.V. show is Poker After Dark. It comes on NBC long after Dr Fro goes to bed, but I Tivo it and catch up on the weekend. Overall, I would give it two thumbs up.

What PAD does well is taking the best elements of all of its predecessors:
  • Nobody wants to watch Eric Molina battle it out with Steve Danneman's poker buddies. This was a fatal flaw in WSOP and WPT: The popularity of those shows drew thousands to the tournaments they covered which diluted the talent (i.e. name recognition) of the field, which in turn made the tournaments less interesting. High Stakes Poker understood this and only let "name" players on their show. PAD followed suit.
  • When HSP used the single-table cash game format (as opposed to the multi-table tournament format) in order to force the issue of keeping the no-namers off the camera, the consequence was a format that was inherently less exciting. Simply put, cash games have less drama than tournaments. PAD's solution: single-table tournament.
  • WPT made the decision to not allow players to advertise vis a vis logos on their apparel. The thought was that by not allowing any free advertising, they could increase the value of paid-for advertising. Unfortunately, this pissed off some big-name pros who began to participate in WPT tours less and less. PAD looks like NASCAR with the logos, which means that the people who make their living off of sponsorships (or in Doyle's case, out of an equity stake in a site) are very excited to play. Presumably (and this is just an educated guess) sponsors will pay the $20,000 entry for their players. If this is the case (and I am quite certain that it is), the show should attract the biggest names - nothing to lose, $120,000 (and further name recognition) to win.
  • The WPT had Shana Hiatt. PAD understood that she was a lot more interesting to look at than Norm Chad, so they hired her. Evidently, she had a non-compete agreement with WPT that almost precluded her from gracing the screens of PAD, but she won in court on this matter based on the fact that she never signed the agreement. I guess she is smarter than we gave her credit for.
  • Not only do the play-by-play guys rarely talk, their voices are muted to the point that you almost don't notice they are there. This is vastly superior to hearing about Norm Chad's ex-wife. The focus is on the banter between the players, which I find endlessly fascinating.
  • The prop bets (which were killing me on High Stakes Poker) are not allowed.
So given all the above best practices poached from other shows, it shouldn't be surprising that the show is great. You should check it out. I have not seen every episode, but some interesting bits I have caught include the interview between Sheiky and Shana. The total brainpower in that interview exceeded the total IQ of most ant farms. Yet, it fell somewhere short of the Lincoln-Douglas debates. You may have missed it, but Daniel Negreanu mentioned that the "executives at Harrah's are expecting an increase in the size of the WSOP Main Event despite the change in landscape...hah!" If true, the executives must be suffering from irrational exhuberance.

One thing PAD has tried out that other shows haven't is little to no editing out of hands. This makes for poker with less populist appeal, but with a truer representation of real life. Methinks this is good.

The website is interesting, too. First of all, it is covered with pictures of Shana, proving that the show is not above populist appeal. Second of all (as pointed out by longtime blog reader, Plantation Owner), it is in the nbcsports domain. A subtlety, but an interesting observation. Hey, if driving a car in circles is a sport, I say sitting in a chair for 12 hours straight is too! The website has a blog, which supplements the show. The blog even makes the same point I did about the play-by-play guy letting the players be the stars of the show. I guess great bloggers think alike.

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Posted by Johnnymac 7:37 AM
I have done it twice, Fro has done it once, and he'll probably agree with me when I say that this weather is awful for running a marathon. It's cool and wet out there - 55 degrees and foggy - and I don't want any part of it this morning. Just watching this on TV is making me feel miserable. The TV people have no idea what they're talking about when they're saying, "it's perfect" because it's not - undoubtedly none of them have ever had chafed thighs or armpits, which is what happens when you run more than 30 minutes in this soup. Ugh.

UPDATE: So of course after I post this some guy comes out and sets a new American Record in the half marathon, so as always, I don't know what the hell I'm talking about. I think I'll go to church now.

(0) comments

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Posted by Dr Fro 2:16 PM
So I have been experimenting with a new style of play. My theory is that the tight but super-aggressive strategy prescribed by all the pros in their books may well work in the bigger games, but it isn't appropriate for the smaller games. In fact, I have been observing the guys on poker.com that seem to always win and they are no doubt tight, but they are far from aggressive.

It seems that they have figured out that they can make more money by letting people bet their hand than by betting it themselves. This seems to work better at the lower limit tables where players do not grow skeptical of an opponent that check-calls on every street. Thus, the best way to "get it all in there" when you have a goodie is to check.

This also means not much pre-flop raising, as the whole goal is to "lie in the weeds" and bite them in the ass when they get too aggressive with a mediocre hand (or at least one that is worse than yours).

So, I have been doing this for a week (it is about as contrary to my nature as being gay or rooting for OU or listening to Rush Limbaugh), and it has worked out quite well. I have won 100 BB's using this strategy. In fact, the only time it bit me in the butt was on the illustrated hand, when I checked the turn, gave away a free card and lost to a 4-outer. Oh well, every strategy has a downside to it. So far, this one has worked out well at 25c-50c NLHE. I imagine it won't work quite as well at the bigger games, but we will just see when I get there.

(1) comments

Posted by Dr Fro 1:41 PM
Harrah’s Entertainment Announces 2007 Schedule For World Series Of Poker Presented by Milwaukee’s Best Light
June 1 to July 17 Event Offers New Variety Of Games, Buy-Ins

See here. Noteworthy items are as follows:
  • Additions to the schedule include: $2,500 HORSE event; $5,000 Mixed Hold’Em Events; and a $5,000 Heads-up No-Limit Hold’Em Event.
  • The 55-event 2007 WSOP schedule compares with 46 events in 2006.
  • The 2007 World Series of Poker will offer players more space, with up to 300 tables available for tournament and live-game play.
  • As in 2006, World Series of Poker officials will allow players entering the WSOP Main Event to choose their start dates as long as seats are available on the selected dates.

Not mentioned is the fact that Harrah's won't accept direct buy-ins from online sites, thereby sending the Main Event back to the Stone Ages.

(0) comments

Posted by Dr Fro 12:15 PM
I just played in a SNG on Poker.com. It was unbelievable: I won every single hand on which I saw the flop until it was heads-up. During heads-up play (which lasted a while), I only lost 1 hand on which I saw the flop until the second to last hand:

I had 60% of the chips and get KK. My opponent goes all-in and I call. He has A7s. After the flop, I am ahead as we have both failed to connect. He types, "oh well, gg!". Runner-runner clubs come for a flush. with just shy of 20% of the chips and a stack = 5 BB's, I lost the next hand and took second place. That little doozie of a runner-runner was the difference between $100 and $60. Not a fortune, but it does help to illustrate a cardinal rule in tournaments: better to be lucky late than lucky early.

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Posted by Dr Fro 12:14 PM
Who's the pretty girl?

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Posted by Dr Fro 12:11 PM

This is what happens when Belgian accountants drink. Warning: This is not pretty.

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Posted by Dr Fro 10:54 AM
I was telling this story recently and figured it was blogworthy....

Five years ago, I was playing blackjack in Spain. As usual, my dealer and I didn't get along due to an irreconcilable difference: I was a jackass, and she didn't like jackassery.

I was pounding scotch and waters and betting entirely too much. I had a couple thousand Euros in front of me and decided to make a 500 Euro bet. I was dealt 11 to the dealer's face card. Easy decision for me.

"Double down."

I don't recall how exactly it played out after that, except that I lost and I would have won had I just hit.

"You should have just hit" she said. It is not all that common for dealers to rub salt in the wounds of gamblers, but I seem to get this treatment more often than most. Well, not everyday-me, just scotch-and-water-me.

If you know me (and especially if you know scotch-and-water-me), you can envision with crystal clarity just how condescendingly I spoke when I said, "Actually, I should have doubled down. I have been playing this game for a long time, Sugar, and I don't need you to tell me how to play."

"You should have just hit," she said, unfazed.

"Well, evidently, you don't understand basic strategy...Look here," I said as I pull the business card sized summary of basic strategy that was purchased at the Rio in 1994. "See where it says Dealer has ten and player has 11? Yup, it says to double. So, don't tell me how to play blackjack, just shut up and deal."

She couldn't read the card from where she was, yet she said, "You must have a card for basic strategy against an 8-deck shoe where dealer peaks at hole cards when dealt a face. This is an 8-deck shoe where the dealer does not peak. Basic strategy here differs in 4 different scenarios, and your 11 against dealer's ten is one of them. The others are 8-8 vs a ten, 8-8 versus an ace and A-A versus an Ace."

I looked at my card, and sure enough, she was completely right.


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Thursday, January 11, 2007

Posted by Dr Fro 9:30 PM

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Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Posted by Johnnymac 9:37 AM
I love this time of year. Things move fast on the coaching carousel.

Sources close to Nick Saban say the Alabama head coach has instructed his agent to express his interest in the newly-vacated Miami Dolphins job.

"Nick feels he has some unfinished business in the NFL and the Dolphins job is a pretty good one," said a close friend of Saban's. "But mainly, though, he heard Wayne Huizenga say that he'll pay any price to turn the Dolphins around and that really got his attention."

"I am happy to be here at Alabama. There is nothing to these rumors," he added, before excusing himself to conduct a phone interview with the Dolphins.

via Sportspickle

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Friday, January 05, 2007

Posted by Junelli 8:52 AM
I wish I could write a German cease and desist letter!

(4) comments

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Posted by Johnnymac 7:51 AM
Thoughts on the Sugar Bowl (and the bowl season in general)

The best bowl season ever just keeps on rolling: Aggy gets exposed in the best way possible, the Horns actually sniff out a trick play and win the game, OU gets embarassed on national TV in a great game, and the Domers get killed once again. My God, I knew he was big and strong, but that was most time I have ever devoted to watching Jamarcus Russell and I am impressed. He is built like the proverbial tank, right down to the cannon. Some of the throws he made last night - for instance, the 20 yard deep outs to the far side of the field with 2 guys hanging on his back - were just incredible.

A lot of people keep saying that Notre Dame is playing over their heads and that's why they keep getting killed in bowl games. I think that's exactly right: they're like a rich poker player who insists on playing in the biggest game he can afford, but who regularly gets his ass kicked because he's not up to the competition. Just like our fictional poker player might be able to regularly beat the $4-8 game, Notre Dame would have a lot more bowl wins if they would swallow their pride and go play in an Alamo Bowl or Liberty Bowl or whatever, but their ego and the whole, "We're Notre Dame" attitude won't let them and thus you end up having to go back to the 1993 Cotton Bowl to find their last postseason win (think Lou Holtz and Jerome Bettis). They schedule a lot of patsy opponents every year, get destroyed by the 1-2 good teams they do play, and ride their reputation to an undeserved ranking and a BCS invitation. This has now happened two years in a row and is likely to happen next year, too: they have replaced North Carolina with Duke.

I laid 8.5 points last night betting on LSU and it was the easiest $100 I made all year. Counting last night's game, I am +$240 on the bowls this year with 4 bets: Cal, Auburn, UH (a teeny $10 bet that was a big disappointment), and LSU. For the season I am 32-16-2 for $589 in college games and 18-18-1 for $31 in the pros. This seems to confirm my hypothesis that I am better picking the colleges than the pros, but it might also mean that I need to be a little more disciplined and pay more attention to the details when I make my pro picks because the matchups are a lot more even and the lines more accurate - there are never any gimmees in the pros like the game last night. That will be my goal for next year.

And if you are still reading this and care about my opinion on the BCS Championship game next Monday, here it is: I wasn't completely sold on tOSU this year, but the only team that I think could have challenged them, USC, was unable to maintain enough focus to beat Oregon State or UCLA. Thus Florida, another team I wasn't completely sold on, and who backed into the Championship game, will get a shot. I think tOSU wins a completely uninspiring championship by default. As far as betting goes, since I'm not a huge believer in either team, I've been planning on staying away but the line is currently tOSU -7 and seems to be pushing -7.5. I think that hook is key and I might go small on it just for fun if I can get the extra half point.

(2) comments

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Posted by Dr Fro 9:11 PM

I think I played this correctly. Let me know if you would have played it differently. The best move I made was making that two of spades come on the river: pure skill.

jryer1 Posted Small Blind $0.50
swamptiger1 Posted Big Blind $1.00
Dealing Cards

You Were Dealt (, )

Cely67 Calls $1.00
tommyla112 Folds
playing Calls $1.00
icecoldkillr Calls $1.00
festoon Folds
JROCK3480 Calls $1.00
mattymags Calls $1.00
phreaux Calls $1.00

jryer1 Calls $0.50
swamptiger1 Checks

Dealing Flop ( )

jryer1 Checks
swamptiger1 Checks
Cely67 Checks
playing Checks
icecoldkillr Checks
JROCK3480 Checks
mattymags Checks
phreaux Checks


Dealing Turn ()

jryer1 Checks
swamptiger1 Checks
Cely67 Bets $1.00
playing Calls $1.00
icecoldkillr Folds
JROCK3480 Folds
mattymags Folds
phreaux Calls $1.00

jryer1 Calls $1.00
swamptiger1 Folds

Dealing River ()

jryer1 Checks
Cely67 Checks
playing Bets $2.00
phreaux Raised to $6.50

jryer1 Calls $6.50
Cely67 Folds
playing Folds

phreaux has (, )


phreaux Wins $25.65 from pot 1 with : Six High Straight Flush

(4) comments

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Posted by Dr Fro 8:26 PM
Here are the 10 greatest bowl games of all-time, according to FOX. This is obviously inspired by last night's game which thrilled me until midnight and made me quite tired at work this morning. But, damn that was a good game!

I noticed that:

a) Of the 20 teams (10 games x 2 teams/game), many teams are listed multiple times:

3 - Miami
2 - Nebraska
2 - Notre Dame
2 - Ohio State
2 - Penn State
2 - Texas

b) Boise State/OU is one of 2 non-National Championship games, the other being the Joe Montana Cotton Bowl.

c) The Fiesta Bowl is the Johnny-Come-Lately of major bowl games, yet they make 3 appearances on this list. Compare that to the self-proclaimed Grandaddy of Them All, which shows up twice.

d) I was thinking on the way to work today of the 10 best bowl games. I came up with 9, and all 9 are on this list.

e) For all the criticism the BCS takes, in its less than a decade of existence, it managed to get 30% of this list, including 3 of the top 4. That is not to say that there is not a better alternative to the BCS, just that it has given us better football than the previous systems(s).

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Monday, January 01, 2007

Posted by Dr Fro 4:26 PM
I read Freakenomics over Christmas, which I thoroughly enjoyed. The authors attack a lot of "conventional wisdom" in their book. I am often skeptical of conventional wisdom, a tendency that earns me the label of "contrarian" from some friends and motivates other friends to tell me that I have my opinions "just for the sake of being different." Of course, I disagree. When you recognize just how
  1. hesitant people are to stray from the pack and
  2. lazy people are when it comes to substantiating / corroborating experts' claims and
  3. the very people that spout opinions out the the public are the same ones that have a self interest in their claim being true,

you should quickly put these things together and realize that much of what is commonly agreed upon is quite likely to be false. The best contemporary example of this was the lead up to the war in Iraq. A high percentage of Americans in 2002 would argue until they were blue in the face that there were, in fact, weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. (I was one of those people). Not even Karl Rove would try to convince you of this now. We were duped because we do not question what is commonly assumed to be true. (this is not a partisan thing, people on both sides of the aisle suffered the same lack of skepticism)

So, anyway, I make it my policy to not believe much of anything I hear. That is not to say that I immediately believe the opposite to be true; I just don't immediately take a side. There are a lot of hot topics out there with experts arguing both sides, both claiming to have the facts on their side: global warming and "peak oil" both come to mind. Anyway, the book has reinvigorated my skepticism.

It also got me thinking on a few other matters. The first one is randomness. I have found that sports media do not understand randomness at all. You should read the entry on the Freakenomics blog on randomness. Sports media types are quick to make bold claims based on results that partially are a function of a team's abilities but also a function of randomness. When Ohio State won the national championship in 2002, they won a lot of their games by < align="justify">Same goes for poker. When we win, it is because we are fantastically skilled, but when we lose, we were "unlucky". If you don't have this hypocrisy embedded in to your poker self-assessment, you are in a very small minority. So, when I lost on Friday night, I attributed it to luck. After all, in over 5 hours of play, I won 2 pots, split 1 and quartered 1. That is some terrible luck. And I am sure that the next time I win a big pot with AA, I will convince myself it was my fantastic skill the deserves all the credit.

Speaking of some crazy luck (or skill), Huge managed to win almost $900 in the $0.50-$1.00 NL game over the same 5 hours. Winning 900 big blinds is f***ing nuts. Sure, the game has a lot of action and a lot of bluffing and a lot of Juan, all of which up the potential for big nights, but 900 BB's is just a lot.

I often wonder what length of time is sufficiently long to be considered "the long run." That is, over what stretch of time should most of the effect of randomness in results be sufficiently minimized such that the good poker player can expect to have profits. This can be calculated with inputs such as the desired confidence interval and the standard deviation. Problem is, what the hell is the standard deviation in poker? Quite a lot, I imagine. After all, I read all the time about professionals (on their blogs) going through terribly long slumps, often lasting several months. I play a lot less often, so I would probably need a couple years worth of play to glean any meaningful analysis of my results. I track my gambling results by the year, and for 2006, I lost about $200 gambling on the year. Interestingly, if we had stopped playing poker 12 hands earlier than we did on Friday night, I would have had a winning year. So, one of two conclusions can be drawn from this:

  • the sample size is too small, or
  • I really am a darn close to break-even player

The evidence is starting to suggest that the latter is true. Although I won a ridiculous amount gambling from birth through 2003, I have been pretty much break-even from 2004-2006. The data includes all gambling, but it is overwhelmingly related to online poker. All the usual explanations come to mind: the opponents have gotten better, we have all read (and we all apply) the same books, yadda yadda yadda. But I think I have identified the true cause...

I have a formal system for my online play that resembles Junell's system. One component of that system is that I never buy in for >20% of my stack. This has the result of moving up in stakes when doing well and reducing the stakes when doing poorly. If you believe that better players are at the higher tables (which is true enough) and that I can (in the long run) easily beat the lower limit games, it is easy to see how this system of mine almost guarantees that I stay near break-even. I eventually promote myself to table stakes that I am not good enough to beat. This knocks me down to games that I do beat, which then knocks me up again to the tables I can't. It is like an EV equilibrium.

I am beginning to question if this means that my system is fundamentally flawed. Perhaps I should put a cap on how high of stakes I will ever play at. I have evidence to suggest that if I set that cap at the $1-$2 game, I would do quite well. But such a cap is contrary to my nature. I am only happy playing at the low stakes games because it helps to build a bankroll to fund the high stakes games. Take away that carrot, and fighting over nickels and dimes suddenly loses its luster.

There is another solution, of course. I could improve. If I played better at the higher tables, I could keep my current system and make a ton of money. Ah, but how? Hell if I know, but I do think that in 2007, I will be more vigilant in implementing a fundamental belief of mine related to poker: Playing by the book is not the way to make money. This often shocks poker enthusiasts, who love "the book", but consider an analogy. Most people intuitively understand that in a large March Madness pool, if you pick all favorites to win, you have no chance of winning the pool unless all the favorites actually do win (which is highly unlikely). I won't get into all the math, but you are going to have to trust me here (if you need reason to believe me, consider that I have run a pool for 20 years that has grown to 400+ entrants and I have done an extrordinary amount of research on the data I have). One of the most interesting results of the research I have done is that consistently, the people that have a set of 63 picks with the least in common with the other participants' picks consistently outperform others. In fact, in all but one year, all of the money winners were in the top quartile on this statistic. Of course, picking all favorites means you have the most in common with other participants' picks. Anyway, if you want circumstantial evidence, I also use a dummy entry every year that picks only favorites, and it has never cracked the top 10% of the pool.

Oh geez, where was I? Ah yes, I think that playing by the book sets you up to play equally as well as the other players at the table (who can also read books). But game theory and my poker experience both say that there may well be a strategy that foils the the by-the-book strategy (assuming that all other players will continue to play by the book when they realize you have strayed from the pack). In game theory, most complicated decision-making scenarios have an optimal strategy, but every strategy (including the optimal strategy) has a strategy that dominates it. Thus, there is no transitive property in poker. The optimal strategy is only considered "optimal" because of an assumption that your opponents could be playing any strategy. But if you know that they are in fact playing optimal strategy, this assumption no longer holds.

Take an example: Mark Junell. I don't know if he wins in the long run, but I have seen him do quite well. He is just as likely to check raise you pre-flop with 8-3 offsuit as he is to do it with AA. He is very difficult to figure out, and I think that does well for him. People do little to adjust their strategy against him, and he is all the richer for it.

So, I will continue to play "by the book" at the lower limits (since it seems to work, presumably because some of the players actually can't read books) but trick it up at the higher tables. What do I have to lose? I was losing at $2-$4 and above anyway, so I can "afford" to experiment with different approaches.

* * * * * *

I had a blast on Friday, and I quickly pinpointed why. My old Houston poker friends are capable of doing something that no other home game can do: talk while keeping the action going. Every other home game I have played in comes to an abrupt halt if someone asks something as benign as "who won the ball game tonight?" I am naturally impatient and more so at poker, so slow action just bugs me. I love that old saying about whose turn it is: it is the guy who is asking "whose turn is it?".

With 12 hands to go, I had $306.50 in front of me, representing profit of $6.50. I then ended up all-in and quartered, losing $125. I lost another hand for about $100. On the last hand of the evening, I re-raised Juan to go all-in with 22. You may think that was stupid, but then I would reply that you must not know Juan Miranda. We ended up with 4 all-ins: 22, TT, AA and KJo. Juan had that AA, but the jack-king-off (hee hee) won the pot. As a result, JBaird won $400 and broke even on the night. Talk about randomness.

* * * * * *

If Minnesota and Missouri won their bowl games, I would be in first place in two different pools (they each have scoring systems that use a "confidence rating") As you know, they both lost in improbable and dramatic fashion on Friday. As a result, I am near last place in both of those pools. The college football gods seemed to continue their assault on my happiness during the first quarter of the UT-Iowa game. Then a penalty took a touchdown away from Iowa and led to a UT touchdown. I am certain we would have lost that game absent that penalty. So, in a sense, the game was decided because one guy on Iowa accidently lined up in the wrong place. Had he not done that, we would have lost and Mack Brown would be ridiculed for being an idiot and people would be concerned that Colt McCoy never fully recovered from his injury. But instead, all is peachy keen in Austin. Again, sportswriters attribute too much to teams and not enough to randomness of events.

* * * * * *

I rarely make New Year's resolutions. I find them to be a little silly. Why, if there is something wrong with my life, do I need to fix it on January 1? If I recognize that smoking is harmful on July 23, why not quit smoking then? But I do have a resolution this year. On December 31, I stepped on the scale and for the first time since 1998 was > 10 pounds (11 pounds to be exact) over my ideal weight. I could have started my diet then, but I waited until today. I have no idea what diet I am going to do. For now, I am just going to "eat less, eat better" and only trick it up if that does not work. I had a handle on my weight for 8 years, but fatherhood has led to more time at home, which means less exercising and more snacking.

* * * * * *

This is a pretty good read on cheating in poker. Some of it is a bit technical, but the gist is that that you are probably a lot safer than the conspiracy theorist believe, but far from entirely safe.

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



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