Go check it out when you get a chance. There are still some formatting issues to be resolved and the design will be evolving for a while (like this cobbled together POS has over the years), but I think you will agree that things will be better on our self-hosted site.

That's not a very nice thing to say. I't's also not a very nice thing to type on a blog.

It was the last sentence I uttered as I stepped away from my table at Winstar on Saturday.

I sat down at 1pm and got up just before 7pm. I played $1-$2 for about 20 minutes before my $2-$5 table got going. I stayed there for the remainder of my 6-hour session.

It was 2:30 - an hour an a half after I started - before I won a real hand. During that hour and a half I split a pot (netted $3 profit) an won the blinds ($7 profit) once.

Over six hours I never got AA. Nor KK. Nor QQ nor AK. Do you know the odds of that? There is a 2.56% chance of getting one of those on a give hand. There's a 97.4% chance of avoiding all those hands on a given hand. Assume that they deal 30 hands per hour. For my 6 hours play that makes 180 hands. .9744^(180) = 0.9% chance. So less than 1 time in 100 attempts would you never get those hands in a 6-hour session.

The best hand I got was JJ. She had QQ and won a big pot.

Once I got 66, and the same chick got 55. She flopped a set. I did not.

On the last hand of the day, I found myself heads-up holding top pair (King) against a known bluffer. He made a big bet on the flop which I correctly called. He then runner-runnered a backdoor flush. I lost a $650 pot on runner-runner. I was so pleased with how brilliant I was to call his bluff that I simply couldn't believe my eyes when the river was dealt. It must have been a 20-second delay before I uttered those two words and walked out to my car.

For the most part, I lost because of terrible cards. There was no way to win that day in that seat. Yet, I think I could have played differently and limited my losses substantially. One common problem was getting junk cards that I intended to chunk. By the time it came around to me, there were 7 limpers in the pot. For a small price, I could see a cheap flop. So I called with junk. It seems that every time I did that, I ended up with the second best hand at the showdown.

I'm not exactly taking a poker break due to my loss. However, with March Madness coming up, with an international trip coming up, with some family coming in town, etc., I don't think I will play any/much poker between now and my Vegas trip in late April. And that's fine with me. I'lll finish Dan Harrington's book and spend some time analyzing the 4,600 hands in my poker tracker hand history. I could do with a break any way.

Posted by Junelli 2:03 PM
My little sister has been seeing a guy who fancies himself a poker player.

Yesterday he entered the $200+$15 NL tournament on Pokerstars. There were 8118 players. Below is the email he received at the end of the tournament...

=============================

From: PokerStars Support [support@pokerstars.com] Sent: Monday, March 09, 2009 4:13 AM To: XXXXXXX Subject: Results for PokerStars Tournament 144032321

PokerStars Tournament #144032321, No Limit Hold'em Buy-In: $200.00/$15.00 8118 players Total Prize Pool: $1623600.00 Tournament started 2009/03/08 17:30:00 ET

Dear XXXXXXX,

You finished the tournament in 1st place. A $198,891.00 award has been credited to your Real Money account.

You earned 2,974.72 tournament leader points in this tournament. For information about our tournament leader board, see our web site at http://www.pokerstars.com/poker/tournaments/leader-board/

Posted by Dr Fro 1:59 PM
High Stakes Poker Season Five debuts tonight. I haven't been this excited to see something on my TV since I stole Junell's "video collection" when we lived at the frat house.

Actually, I have several leaks, but I have one that I recently discovered.

Here it is: I never suffer bad beats.

Seriously, and I should be concerned.

Let's do a little math to prove a point we already know. Say you have a made hand on the turn and your opponent is drawing to beat you. There is $200 in the pot. Let's say he has an 18% chance, which is about an average amount for the various things to which he could be drawing.

If you bet precisely $56.24 then he is getting exactly the 4.56:1 odds he needs to call. To bet anything less than that would be giving money away. If fact, from an EV perspective, you give away $36 in equity by checking instead of betting.

If there is a 100% chance that your opponent will fold to any bet of $56.25 or more, then there is absolutely no difference between the EV of betting $56.24 or betting anything more than that. Of course, there is never a 100% chance of your opponent playing perfect poker. So, you should try to figure out what is the highest bet > $56.24 that will still get a call. I bet that if you throw $75 into a $200 pot, you will get a call from a drawing hand quit a bit more often than not. A $75 bet gives you $12 more equity than a bet of $56.24 does. Each incremental dollar bet both increases your EV if called and decreases the chance of getting a call.

Of course, getting called means that you will lose sometimes (bad beat). But when you win, you will win enough to more than compensate for that. I have been letting my fear of the bad beat keep me from betting optimally.

So here is my problem: I'll bet something like $150 in that situation. I almost never get a call because few donkeys are so donkelicous that they would call for those odds. So, I get to feel good about myself for winning the pot, but I should be criticizing myself for not trying to win more money. It's one of those leaks that hard to spot because it doesn't involve losing a pot. It is just an opportunity cost of not winning a big enough pot.

I'll pause right here and admit that we are only talking about pot odds and not implied odds, which are more relevant. Implied odds require a lot more math and words to work through, and they wouldn't change the gist of this post, which is that you should try to get the biggest possible call you can get that is -EV for your opponent.

A simple formula helps determine what the right amount to bet is. Figure out the pot odds your opponent needs to call...let's say it is 4:1. Subtract 1 off that first number and get 3. Divide the pot by 3, and you have your magic number. Then just bet an amount that is a bit higher than that. Using our example from before, we'd take 4.56:1 and subtract 1 to get 3.56. The $200 pot divided by 3.56 gets that magic number of $56.24. Now that we have our magic number, we can comfortably bet an amount that is a little more, say $75. Doing this math will make sure you don't accidentallyunderbet. It should help you to not overbet, either, as you know the target from which you shouldn't stray too far. Betting $150 is so far above $56.24 that I should realize that I am needing to slow down a bit. Of course, the other (circumstantial) evidence that you need to bet less is if you never suffer a bad beat.

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...