Friday, June 27, 2008

Early Bodog Beginner S&G Results

Above are my results through my first 30 $16+1.60 Bodog Beginner Sit and Goes. These S&Gs pay the top 5 $48/$40/$32/$24/$16. As I expected I am just crushing these things.

Trials = 30
Entry Fees = $528
Prizes = $792
Hours Played (3x utilization)= 10
ROI = 50%
ITM = 77%
Hourly Win Rate = $26.40

I basically played these things 3 at a time for about (10) one hour+ sessions, and never lost money during any of the sessions. This is the LOWEST variance poker that I can imagine, and though I guess I was running good, I think I can keep this up as I get more used to the structure (6 "I"s in that last sentence, count em). The players on bodog are not so great BTW which probably helps. The interesting thing about the graph is the spike at 8th place, and the small amount of bubble activity (5th + 6th Places). I think when I am getting no where in these things, I tend to take my first major stand at around the time 8 players are typically left. In most cases I don't need to do this, but when I do, I double up, and cruise through the bubble, or get knocked out in 8th. The bubbles in these things are pretty easy, as you can see by just a single bubble finish in 30 attempts. If you can stay north of T1000 in chips you will never be threatened by the blinds before the bubble bursts. If you have chips at bubble time, you can easily abuse the shorties, but if you don't you just wait for somebody to donk out. The bubble simply can't last because in a 10P S&G with 6 left there are just not enough chips in play as the blinds push up to the 75/150 level. They drop fast at this level even though if you got T1000 in chips you can go another 20+ hands. Once the bubble breaks, It all depends on my chip stack. If I am low and there are other shorties low, I just let them donk out first to get a profit. If I got chips, I start playing for the win by 4 handed. I think this is why I so rarely finish 5th. It does not take much work to book the actual profit by holding out just a bit after the bubble bursts. I just got 4 wins over the 30 trials which is decent, but not great. By starting three at about the same time, if I get heads-up it will be on the last table open, and we will be only playing for $8 at that point ($48 or $40). Its pretty easy for me to just force the issue and get things over with vs. grinding down the other player. If I was playing these in longer continuous sessions, I think I would focus a bit more on getting the win through more patient heads-up play.

The best thing about the beginner S&Gs is that you book a win almost every single session. That's something that you can't do at all playing MTTs, and cash games can have huge variance as well. Its nice to know when you sit down for a session, that's its just going to be about how much you win, not if you will win.


Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Gus Hansen Card Player Hand

The following hand is from the final table of the WPT championship as described by Gus Hansen in the June issue of Card Player.

6-Handed 80k/160k blinds, 20k ante.

Gus Hansen picks up T9s UTG and opens to 415k
Fold, Fold, Cory Carrol Calls from button
Jeff King pushes All-In for 1,855k from the small blind
BB Folds

Gus Hansen Calls the 1,440k more
Corry Carrol Folds
Jeff King has AQs

Gus rivers a Ten for the win, and Jeff is eliminated.

In the article, Gus defends the call by putting Jeff on a range of any pair, ATs+, AJ+, and claiming he read Carrol as not "particularly strong". Based on the range, Gus is getting 35% equity and will need to contribute 32.7%, a "must call" in his opinion. Lastly, Gus mentions that if you are getting 2-1 pot odds against an all-in shorty you must call unless convinced you are seriously dominated.

Overall the hand is interesting in that when you are trying to win an MTT and you have a safe amount of chips, you simply can't pass up any +EV situations no matter how small your actual chances are to win the hand. If you are going to call a bunch while semi-dominated late in MTTs because you are priced in, you better know the math in advance like Gus does. Anyway, I did not want to look at the hand from Gus's perspective. You can argue back and forth about that all-in call and never really get anywhere. It was borderline, and Gus leans a bunch towards the aggressor in borderline situations. He also did not reveal the chip stack sizes of everyone which is important, though I believe he was the leader at the time.

I want to look at it from the shorty pushing all-in's perspective. If you think Gus was "priced in" look at how priced in shorty with AQs is here. He is jamming 1,855k and looks to win 2,430k while being a 62% favorite to win the pot. I don't play MTTs like Gus, so I am normally on the short stack side of a hand like this. Its nice to know how easy you can win some nice pots late just by picking up a decent hand, and having someone think they are priced in. So does AQs want the call here? Surprisingly not. If Gus (and Cory) fold, AQs Chip Expectation Value for the hand is +T1090k. If Gus Calls AQs wins T2430 62% of the time and loses T1855k 38% of the time for a total EV of +T802. So AQs does not want the call for two reasons. First, he is giving up some expectation value by getting called. Second, he can get eliminated if called, and an elimination is the worst possible result from a Cash Prize Expectation Value perspective. So when you jam AQs in a situation like this you don't want to be called by T9s even though you are better than 60/40 against it. Since you don't want the call, it is obviously correct for the caller to call, as they are picking up the expectation value you give up by getting called. From this angle you can see how right Gus was, and how important calling shorty pushes down from way behind can be late in MTTs.

Another thing to consider is Gus's table image. If he is aggressively attacking the blinds as the chip leader, he may be a bit generous with his range for Jeff. Jeff has an M of about 5, and could easily be jamming with a wider range. But, if Jeff knows that Gus uses a 2-1 rule for calling a shorties push, and those are the odds he is laying, you need to start planning on a call, and making sure you have the right type of hand to jam with (i.e. Gus's range for Jeff). Also, Gus may want to consider what showing down T9s in a borderline situation will do for his image. I tend to think it will actually help as people will be afraid to Jam over his preflop aggression, because he will call down slim. It also may indicate how AA or KK should be played against Gus. Just price him in and wait for the double up!

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Friday, June 20, 2008

Fantasy Sports Live One Year Anniversary

Sunday June 22nd marks the one year anniversary of It has been quite a ride. Though I can’t really discuss all the details here for competitive reasons, let’s just say it was a successful year of tremendous growth for us. We have already run over 20,000 Fantasy Sports Contests with cash prizes at FSL, which is not too shabby for a 1st year start-up. As our first year ends, we are by far the leader in daily fantasy sports contests, and face no serious competition at all in the fantasy sports niche we created. There have been no challenges to the legality of what we are offering, and no intellectual property issues either. Our second year in operation is shaping up to be absolutely huge.

1st Year Highlights Include:

1) Launching all of the five major fantasy sports at the start of each of their seasons (excluding Hockey which launched 6 weeks late).
2) Adding the ranking cap draft method for a total of three unique draft methods on FSL.
3) Defining an additional 4 draft methods that will be added to the site overtime.
4) Improving the draft interface, home page, and overall functionality of the website through several major upgrades.
5) Having zero reported scoring errors for our entire first Fantasy Football and Fantasy Basketball seasons, and just a single error so far for our second Fantasy Baseball season. The Majors don’t even come close to a record like this on scoring accuracy.

The main first year lowlight was getting our concept ripped off by a fellow poker blogger (Chris Fargas) who was told of the idea in confidence prior to our launch, and stole the idea anyway. Fortunately for us, IFS launched with little fanfare and sits empty today having not run a single fantasy contest in several months. Matt Maroon also took our basic idea, got some VC funding through Y-Combinator and launched a very similar site to IFS around Week 13 of the football season. Matt loves to bash our site and claims his idea is unique, but what are the chances that three poker bloggers came up with the same idea at the same time and all launched businesses around it? We launched 3 months before IFS and 5 months before Matt’s site, and both were early FSL Users. Matt’s site has a bit more traffic than IFS, and are consistent in that they tend to lose money on their contests every single day.

The rest of our competition falls into three categories.

1) US based lottery style fantasy contests
2) Offshore based sites offering illegal versions of what we have
3) US based sites offering bastardized versions of fantasy sports that meet the exemption.

Lottery Style fantasy contests allow an unlimited number of entries, and a big grand prize that is an unknown percentage of the prize pool. There are several of these, but they do not really compete with us, though many use a similar draft method. We offer value for those who would like to profit from fantasy sports. Lotteries offer a big-payout, but no value. The number of entries is a secret as well as their fat profit margins. You can’t make money long-term playing fantasy sports lotteries, while you can at FSL. A couple offshore sites with similar offerings are the most successful of our competition. FSE, is an identical copy of our site created by a large offshore sports book with a huge budget. Being an offshore sports book, they do not need to be in compliance with the UIGEA, and chose not to with this offering. You will have the normal transferring of funds issues like any poker site with them, but they do have a decent amount of traffic consisting of their poker and sports book user base. GDD launched 6 months before us and uses a pick from groups method of drafting your team, vs. the salary cap method we use. GDDs traffic has remained steady, but our traffic exceeded theirs almost immediately after we launched. Lastly, there are some interesting legal sites like USFL that have found unique exceptions, but do not really offer a compelling product.

So we find ourselves in a great position starting our second year. We are addressing a market that is around 20 million people strong and around 5 billion dollars annually and growing. We are only scratching the surface of how large we can become and how quick we can grow. We are a bit ahead of the curve in Fantasy Sports which can make things a bit difficult, but also positions us well for the future. I want to thank all of the poker bloggers who helped us obtain a very important critical mass of users after our launch in June, and have worked hard promoting FSL this past year. I also want to thank Dr. Pauly whose initial exposure and private contests during Fantasy Football were a key component of our first year’s success. Year 2 looks to be another exciting year of rewriting the rules of Fantasy Sports for Fantasy Sports Live.


Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Summer Gathering 2008 Report

I was out for week 1 of the summer blogger gathering a couple weeks ago. I have not missed any of these since Summer 06. This one was by far the least attended, but still a bunch of fun. For me it started Thursday night at the IP. FallStaff, Easycure, and bwop were hanging at the IP Hooker bar when I arrived. I played a bit of Pai-Gow with StB before we got a 2/4 HORSE game going in the IP Poker Room. Mattazuma, and a few others showed up at that time. BWoP was crushing the split pot games, and knew all the terminology. She would shout “Straight to the 7 with the low” and scoop a pot. Then she yelled “nut – nut” and scooped another one. Then she said something like “straight to the 9 with a naked Ace low” and scooped another one. Let’s just say I was very intimidated. My entire live mixed game experience consists of the HORSE games at these gatherings. I was on the slow drain program and dropped about $60 over several hours. F-Train eventually showed up after his shift at the WSOP. The table broke around 3am and I called it a night.

Friday morning, I got up around noon, had some lunch and walked over to the MGM for some ½ NL. I got a call from Don who was going to be playing over at the Venetian starting around 3. I booked a win of about $80 at MGM without catching any starting cards, and headed over to the Venetian. I found Don, and got transferred to his table. We played for about 4 hours and I remained completely card dead and watched my $200 starting stack get down to about $120. I made a big river bet call with Ace high to win a nice pot when the other guys betting pattern made no sense to me. I would then flop trips, and slow play it all the way to the river. On the river there was a $25 bet and a call, so I re-raised to $50 and got called twice by losing hands. BOOM! Now I was nicely up over two ½ NL sessions, while never seeing a pocket pair higher than 99 or AK the entire trip. A couple orbits later I split and headed back to the MGM.

At the MGM a blogger mixed game table had formed and Zeem was in the house. The waiting list was long though, so I decided to play some more ½ nl. After about 90 minutes, I got my first big pocket pair (KK), and played it well to stack a guy who started the hand with about $80. Another decent win, and now I was up about $200 for the trip at NL Holdem. I booked the win and headed over to the mixed game table, but it had broken by that time with no bloggers left. I called it a night.

Saturday, I met up with Don again at the Venetian for another lengthy ½ NL session. ½ NL live is a very frustrating to play. The play is so bad, you know that you can crush it, but you need some real hands, as these guys will call with anything. I was card dead and sitting out forever. I limped with Ax on the button, and the flop comes 4 way all hearts. It checked to me, and I thought I might have the Ace of hearts so I bet from behind. The guy on my right calls. Turn is a black, and I check to find out that I don’t actually have the Ace of hearts. It goes check/check on the turn. The river is another heart, and it is checked to me. I fire out $25 into about a $35 pot, and the guy on my right thinks and calls with the Deuce of hearts for the lowest possible flush. This is why you really can’t bluff at ½ NL live. I got in a hand later with the same guy where I had bet the flop, and checked the turn. I knew the guy was weak, and was considering another river bluff, but thought better of it. After checking behind he has J6 for second pair crap kicker, and the win. I figure he auto-calls my river bet there so why waste the chips. See how this works. Any kind of a hand will get paid off big-time, but bluffing is just going to get you in trouble with these donkeys. Shortly after this, I would call an open raise to $10 with 33 for a four-way pot. Flop came down a nice 532 rainbow for my first and only set of the trip. First to act opened to $25. Initial raiser reraises to $75, and I just go ahead and jam all-in for about $140 total. Initial better folds, initial raiser calls with KK, and I am stacked by a K on the river. Poker is so easy. Then the maniac from Chicago pulls up in the seat to Don’s left. This guy was drunk, and “thought” he was a good player. He was all about jamming all his chips in there, preflop, flop, river it did not matter. He had to show what a poker player he was by jamming. He won a bunch early, but then had to reload a few times. Then he started complaining about the lack of drink service (valid complaint BTW). He complained twice to the manager, and was going on and on, until Don said he was acting like a 12 year old. That statement seriously bothered the drunk from Chicago, and for a while it looked like it was going to be fight night at the Venetian before cooler heads prevailed. I never got the situation I was looking for against drunky to Don’s left, or calling station to my right, and dropped about $50 more before quitting.

A bunch of us had dinner at the Café at the Venetian. It was a lot of fun. Zeem literally ate Wawfuls for dinner, and we talked about a bunch of food related prop bets, but never actually did one. Chili talked about how he likes to pour M&Ms into a jar of peanut butter, and then mix it up to eat out of the jar. We decided to head back to the IP and get another HORSE table going. This time the made us do $1 antes which were pretty steep compared to the ½ blinds. Columbo, Shamus, and FallStaff would show up later. We were discussing NASCAR for some reason, and StB asked Chili what he would think if the M&Ms car crashed into the Skippy car, lol. I gave up my seat to Falstaff so I could head over to the Rio and try to track down Pauly who I had not seen yet.

I found the good doctor in the media mezzanine of the Amazon ballroom. We were shooting the breeze as the 10k Stud event went to break, and just about every big named pro walked right past us. They all know Pauly, and all greeted him by name as they went by. It is kind of surreal if you are not used to the scene there, especially during the star-studded highest buy-in events. We discussed our second year plans for for a while, and then both decided to call it a night.
I decided to take off for home early Sunday to get back for the NBA finals. I was a bit disappointed that Chad avoided the gathering altogether, and that Don did not attend any of the planned nights, but oh well. If this is a trend, and the gatherings start declining in size, the few who still attend will be moving up a notch or two in my book (Possibly as high as B-listers). Overall, it was a great group, but still a bit of a disappointment over the debauchery of previous gatherings. If you were had to miss one this one was probably it.


Monday, June 16, 2008

Profiting From Beginner Sit and Goes

Now that the BBT3 and Bodonkey Series have completed, I have even less incentive than before to play online poker. I am pretty much done with cash games until the UIGEA is repealed or the games get much softer or both. I like the concept of cash games as I prefer to play shorter sessions, and don’t like the open ended time commitment you get when playing MTTs. I have grinded Sit & Goes in the past with decent success. I could win around 50% as much per hour long term playing S&Gs versus Cash Games so I basically settled on cash games as my game of choice in the pre UIGEA days. What is nice about S&Gs is that although you just can’t quit whenever you want, you have a pretty good idea of how long they will take once you start one. That’s when I stumbled upon the “Beginner Sit & Goes” on Bodog. These look to be an absolute goldmine and potentially much more profitable for my style of play than standard S&Gs.

Bodog Beginner Sit & Goes

Bodog beginner S&Gs are 10-Player single table S&Gs that pay out the top 5 positions in a very flat payout schedule. If you can get through just ½ of the field you win money. With my normal playing style I almost always get through ½ of the field, so in these things it’s just a matter of seeing how much I will be winning when I play one. With a flat payout schedule and top 5 getting paid, the variance is reduced dramatically and you can see in short order your potential for beating them. Bodog currently has 4 Buy-in levels ($2, $8, $16, and $32). All versions payout like shown below:

1st = 3 buyins
2nd = 2.5 buy-ins
3rd = 2 buy-ins
4th = 1.5 buy-ins
5th = 1 buy-in

With the 10/20 starting level at Bodog, the S&G structure is even slower than on FullTilt or PokerStars, making it pretty easy to get into the money before the blinds threaten to knock you out. The other players may be trying to play it safe as well in some cases, so it’s just a matter of if your early MTT or S&G style is better than the others on average. I ran three of them as a warm-up for the Bodonkey TOC and got a 1st, 2nd and 3rd. I ran three last night and got a 3rd, 4th, and a 6th. The bubble out was when I got three outed on the river. The first and third place finishes were in the $32 ones, which so far have been the softest of the bunch. It seems counterintuitive that the games could get easier in the higher dollar buy-ins, but historically my style does a bit better against the higher buy-ins. I think it is because at the middle levels like 22-33, the play is more aggressive, and as a result the eliminations come quicker which is exactly what you want when the top 5 pay. Also my style of play works better against aggressive opponents than a bunch of tight wads. Another great thing about these is that the bubble is 6-handed which is very manageable. With a normal top three payout the bubble is 4-handed. A 4-handed bubble with short stacks that lasts 10-15 minutes is actually quite a crap shoot. In a 6-handed bubble that comes earlier with deeper stacks, your skill advantage becomes much bigger.

So I have played 6, and cashed in 5 for a nice profit so far. Very small sample size, but like I said, the variance is dramatically reduced in these things. You just want to sit tight, and only get involved when you very likely have the best of it. This alone should get you to the money. If you have chips after the bubble breaks, you should continue to sit tight until you get down to 4-handed and have secured a profit. Then at four-handed you start playing for the win. Formulaic and boring I guess, but counting your easy winnings could get boring after a while as well. I plan on playing about 20 of these a week at various levels ($8 to $33), until I can get a good handle on my hourly rates. I am thinking $20-$30+ an hour profit three-tabling them should be a slam dunk. They also fill-up at a decent clip so no problem keeping three going if I plan to play an extended session. If you got S&G skills, you are missing out if you don’t try the beginner S&Gs on Bodog. The funniest thing is the name. The experts will crush these things, while the beginners will suffer. Hopefully the fish can’t tell the difference.

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Friday, June 13, 2008

Hoyazo the Poker Cheat Part Deuce

I bunch of people think I went way over the top with my last post. That is possible I guess, but I simply have zero tolerance for cheating at online poker. The integrity of online poker is very much in question lately, and stunts like this don’t help at all. I think that in order for you to believe that Hoy had no intention of cheating, then you need to believe his explanation of the events. His explanation and lack of understanding that he had done anything wrong bothered me just about as much as what he did. However, when I go back and read his “explanation” it appears to be completely fabricated. It is not believable at all. So to put this whole thing to bed, I am going to go through his explanation and point out how many ginormous leaps of faith you must take to actually believe his version of the events. So let’s start with the premise that he was approached by backers to do this.

“It all goes back a few months, when some people got together and decided I should play the Bodonkey and they would write a blog around my play, and we would all have a financial interest in the winnings, if any. So we did it.”

So “some people” got together and decided for Hoy what he would be doing with his Tuesday evenings for the next four months. See how he loses all responsibility here? He claims he is just a puppet to the ideas of others. He also says that they would have a shared financial interest or what is normally called a “backing” relationship. So some people got together and decided that wanted to back Hoy in some $10 MTTs. This is normal stuff I guess. I sold off 20% of my action for $2 last time I played the Riverchasers, lol. Give me a freaking break. Normally you back someone to play in a series or event that they are under bankrolled for. Are we supposed to believe that after multiple 4 figure MTT cashes this year that Hoy does not have the roll for a $10 MTT. This is absurd. There is no way hoy would accept backing for a $10 MTT, and there is no way “some people” would even approach him with such a silly idea. Now let’s take the specifics of the Bodonkey. It would take $198 to enter all 18 MTTs and on average there is more than a 100% overlay with the added T600. This means that through “average” play you should double your money in the bodonkey. It would take absolutely horrible play for 18 weeks to not at least break even. So to believe that Hoy needed backers you need to also believe that he thought he would play so horribly that he could not even break even with a massive overlay. Assuming 2 hours per event, Hoy will spend 36 hours in the Bodonkey, and through average play win $200. By accepting backers, he now has to split these winnings, and I guess potentially tens of thousands of dollars if he won the seat, with his backers, who took on zero risk of losing any money. Hoy has absolutely nothing to gain and everything to lose by accepting backers in the Bodonkey. I don’t think the backers will ever come forward because they simply do not exist. That actually makes me feel a bit better about the whole situation, once I realized that this is most likely Hoy is doing this all by himself.

“I would play all the tournaments (which I have) as ICrushBloggers, and they would watch me play and interview me over email and girly and then they would write the posts.”

OK, now that we realize a backing arrangement makes no sense, you get this interesting statement. While “ICrushBloggers” is a great name that I have no problem with at all, he is talking about not posting about the Bodonkey on his own blog (hiding his identity from others in the MTT). No explanation is given for this. I would like a real explanation as to why Hoy wanted his identity hidden in the Bodonkey. So his backers that are likely to make $60 each for 4 months work watching all the MTTs, interviewing Hoy, and posting on a fake blog. Seems like a ton of work for nothing. But wait a second. Hoy already has a blog where he discusses blogger MTTs. Would it not have been much, much easier to just post to his own blog. Then the backers don’t need to watch all the MTTs, he doesn’t need to be interviewed, and he does not need to screen what they write. I think it was here that it was clear to me that Hoy did this to gain unfair advantage on the other bloggers. It was much more work for Hoy to take on this arrangement then to simply do like everyone else and not hide there identity when playing the Bodonkey.

“In any event, the whole Bodonkey proposal was brought to me by this group purely as an investment, and I agreed because of the prospects for free money for me and what sounded like it might be fun.”

Now if you believe an investment is you doing all the work (playing in all the MTTs), and then splitting your earnings with people who had nothing at risk, you can believe this statement. Either that or you need to believe that Hoy is retarded and would agree to such an arrangement. He is a corporate lawyer who does negotiations. He must be horribly bad to take this deal, or more likely the whole thing was made up (there were no backers). To top it off, it sounded like fun to him to hide his identity, and gain unfair advantage against the others. Hoy thinks cheating is fun I guess.

“I was clear that I would not be devoting any more time to blogging than I already do, and that I would never even be posting about the Bodonkey here at my blog since all of the Bodog stuff was supposed to be written by them, and the ICB blog contributors were fine with that.”

So rather than simply mentioning the Bodonkey in his existing blog, he found it to be less work to have his backers interview him via email and girly chat, and then screen what they wrote, vs. just mentioning it briefly in his own blog. The fact is that the ICB posts were long and would have been more work than a brief mention in his own blog. He took a path that was actually much more work, and then spins it like it was less work.

“Bodog wants to link to my blog here instead of the ICB blog. Personally I think this does not make sense since I am not and have never been the writer of the ICB blog. But it's what they want to do, and with my idiot writers at ICB not able to control themselves from saying stupid things, the decision has basically been made for us all.”

Was anyone else confused by the poker blog link requirement like Hoy? I mean he is claiming that he does not understand why in a poker blogger MTT series, that you would link to the poker blog of the person playing in it. He thinks it’s perfectly fine to link to a blog that is not written by the person playing in the series, and is confused as to why bodog would want a link to his own blog. This whole thing is absurd. If he would have done like everyone else who were not confused by the linking requirements, and linked to his own blog, we would not be having this discussion.

“So I asked them earlier this week to please delete the blog, and that should be done by now.”

This statement basically proves to me the whole thing was a scam, and there are no backers. Earlier on, he claims that he had to delete some posts that he did not like on ICB. Now he claims he had to ask his backers to delete the blog, and he is waiting on them. Well if he is waiting on them then they must exist right? Not so fast. If he had the ability to delete posts, he certainly had the ability to delete the blog. Do you think he would really allow “monkeys” to write under his persona, with no ability to control what they did? Also, why would you delete the ICB blog anyway? The only reason to do so is to destroy the evidence. If the whole thing was fun and games, why not let the fun go on by keeping the blog alive. The fact is this was to destroy the evidence. A link to the ICB blog archive is below. If you read though it carefully, it is pretty obvious that the entire thing was written by the same person. A person who has a long-winded talkative style to his posts. A style that is no different than how Hoy writes. It is pretty clear that the whole thing was written by Hoy, and that this was much more work than simply posting in his blog about the Bodonkey. Why go to all this trouble?

ICheatBloggers Archive

“The free stuff we are getting as idiot bloggers is pretty amazing these days isn't it?”

Yeah, it was pretty amazing until certain bloggers stopped giving the host sites there due publicity, by angle shooting for the prizes. And yes Hoy you are an idiot.

In conclusion, I find Hoy’s entire explanation for the scam to be complete Bullshit. There were no backers, or monkeys writing posts. He came up with this whole thing on his own, and is now trying to hide behind fictional backers who will never be revealed because they do not exist. He either did this to gain advantage by hiding his identity, or did it to be a complete asshole and anonymously bash other poker bloggers, and was too stupid to think this might be considered cheating after the fact. His biggest mistake was qualifying for the TOC. He should have dropped out before that happened if this was fun and games. The second he qualified for the TOC, he had to know that what he did would be considered cheating. There was simply too much at stake to be angle shooting, playing games, and cheating bloggers like he did during the Bodonkey.

If Hoy did all this alone, I feel a bit better about the whole thing. He is one very bad apple in a large group. The idea of a coconspirators in the know, IM ing each other and laughing at the other bloggers makes me sick. The idea that a group of backers would not see anything wrong here makes me sick. Hoy doing this all alone is not quite as bad.

Lastly, I think this whole thing would have worked out better if somebody demanded that ICheatBloggers out himself while the series was running. Somebody should have said, to ICB during the Bodonkey, that if he is a known blogger and continues to hide his identity than he is a scumbag cheat, and will be ridiculed as such once his identity is revealed. I wish I would have done that. Unfortunately, I only had ICB at my table twice during the entire series. Both times were early on, and ICB was way down in the standings and not looking to qualify for a seat. I was pretty sure ICB was a known blogger (I thought Hoy myself). Then I skipped a bunch of the bodonkeys late after securing my seat, and that is when ICheatBloggers came back and got into the top 18. Hopefully this will be a lesson for all of us, into the seriousness of cheating at poker, and this type of BS will stop. If I am wrong about all this, I am assuming that the coconspirators will be revealed at some point. Prove me wrong by outing yourself.

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Thursday, June 12, 2008

Calling Hoyazo Out As a Scumbag Cheat

When I read Hoy’s post about how he cheated all of the bodonky entries by playing under a false “persona” and not as himself I was appalled. I was really going to rip into him in the comments, but figured he would just delete it like I know he already has to other negative comments on that post.

Let’s just face the facts here. What Hoy did was unethical, and he is nothing but a scumbag cheat for it. Same goes for all of his backers. I would really like to know who the fuck his backers were so I can avoid playing poker with them in the future as well. I don’t give a shit if Hoy wants to describe the whole thing as fun and games. What he did was complete bullshit, and if this happened in the good ole days, they would have shot him dead at the table for doing it. Since we can’t shoot him dead, at least we can out him for the scumbag cheat that he is.

Every other blogger in the bodonky did not attempt to hide their true identity. Hoy chose to hide his. While this was not technically “multi-accounting”, he got to earn all the ill gains from multiaccounting, from his supposed cyber friends (other poker bloggers). Hiding your identity is an advantage, period. You can read up on 2+2 or other forums about multiaccounting in MTTs and the advantage that is gained by it. Hoy also violated the terms of the bodonkey by not linking to a blog that was three months old. For this alone they should have DQed him from the TOC. I was amazed that they let him play it. Had he won, the shit would have really hit the fan.

Hoy cheated his fellow bloggers who played in the Bodonkey. He cheated Bodog, and to top it off, he created a blog where he (or his backers) did nothing but rip on fellow bloggers anonymously. I did not read the ICheatBloggers Blog, but Hoy was quick to get it deleted when this all started to come out. Why would he do that if he was not ashamed of what he did?

1) He cheated his fellow poker bloggers.

Hoy gained an advantage by hiding his true identity from the other players. No other player in the bodonkey had this advantage. When he talks about the $900 or so he won for the series, this is money that was essentially stolen from the other players in the Bodonkey and from Bodog as well. The T$ added to the MTT are for bloggers, not for “personas” hiding their identity from the other players. Also, bodog should get some sort of publicity from adding T600 to every Bodonkey. They don’t get that when a player who wins $900 refuses to mention this on their actual blog, because they are too busy cheating at poker.

2) He cheated Bodog.

Thanks Hoy for killing the golden goose. Bodog is generous enough to add T600 to each MTT and T12000+ to the TOC. All they want in return is for the bloggers who play in the MTTs to mention Bodog, like they would any other site they play on. Hoy always talks about the blogger MTTs on his blog, but never mentioned the Bodonkey, because that would limit his ability to cheat his fellow poker bloggers. Had people actually known Hoy was playing in the bodonkey, it would have been more popular with more weekly entries. People love to knock hoy out on a bad play and get a rant. Bodog adds the bonus to pump up the MTT. Hoys little scheme denied bodog of the extra players they deserved, and greatly reduced the chances that they will continue to be generous with us. Thanks a fucking lot Hoy.

3) He got to rip on his fellow bloggers anonymously

This had to be the gheyest thing about the whole scam. To add insult to injury, on top of cheating poker bloggers and bodog out of cash, he also got to rip apart the play of the other bloggers in a completely anonoumous way via a fake blog. Real classy their Hoy. Oh, but he actually deleted some of the worst posts, and has now deleted the whole thing, and acts like he did us a favor for this. Sorry, why not do as a favor by not cheating us in the first place. And if you want to rip on another blogger, be a man and do it in your own blog like I am right now.

What Hoy (and the others if they exist) did was inexcusable. It was not funny. It was cheating. It’s not the first time Hoy has lowered his ethical standards for personal gain at the expense of poker bloggers. In the BBT2, he controlled the MATH one of the main MTTs. After running bad for a while, he decided to use his power to manipulate the structure of the MATH to his advantage (something only Himself, Mookie, Al, or Don could have done). He switched the format to 6-max where he holds an advantage. The other hosts did not change a thing. There were not a bunch of complaints back then because Hoy was running so bad, no amount of cheating would help him. I actually thought that ICheatBloggers was Hoy during the Bodonkey, because he was the only blogger I was aware of who would stoop to such low levels.

So where do we go from here. I personally will boycott the MATH from now on, because I prefer to not play with poker cheats. I know Hoy is a big IMer, and with low ethical standards it is just a matter of time before he starts using this to his advantage as well (assuming that he is already not manipulating IM to his advantage). I would suggest others boycott the MATH as well. I would like to see his coconspirators named immediately. Just come forward and out yourself if you have any class at all. I would like to see all of the ill-gained winnings from the bodonkey distributed to the bloggers who did not cheat during the bodonkey in some way. It is absolutely not fair for him to keep any of the winnings after cheating us. He will of course argue that he would have won a similar amount had he played as himself. Well if you played as yourself then keep the prizes. If you cheated into the prizes, then give them back. I would like to see Hoy make a sincere apology for all of this to the poker bloggers. I would like to see hoy make a sincere apology to Bodog and smokkee who worked their asses off to put this together under the assumption bloggers would play fair. I sincerely doubt that any of the above will happen. I simply can’t understand why Hoy would do this, and think it was ok. I really would prefer to not associate with these types of people. Luckily IMO this is the exception and not the rule, but I am very interested in who the co-conspirators were in this case. They are equally scummy IMO, and I can’t believe none of them thought that this scam was wrong. Poker is full of low life scumbags, and I was under the illusion that our little group was above all this. This illusion is now shattered.

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Monday, June 09, 2008

Defective Poker Calculator

Have you ever played live with a “Defective Poker Calculator”? That’s what you call someone who calls time to agonize over the number of outs they have, and then after two plus minutes of calculations as indicated by their lips silently counting away they make the completely wrong decision. I was playing 1/2 NL Holdem at the Venetian Friday with Miami Don. On the turn and with a flush draw on board, Don fires out $50 (about pot size) into a defective poker calculator. DPC in turn cranks the numbers through his lips and head for a couple minutes. He has $65 behind and I guess can just fold or push. He ends up with the push in for an extra $15 decision with his 9 outs once to the flush. Don calls and DPC stacks out. Well played Sir. After heading to the ATM I guess he comes back for some more mental gymnastics, but I was unable to put him to the test. I wish all live players had defective poker calculators, but from the looks of this weekend, only about 75% do at 1/2 NL.


Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Increasing Expection Value of Big Hands in MTTs

As your stack gets short relative to the blinds late in MTTs you are faced with the pressure of "Blinding Out". Your successful deep stacks approach to playing hands will start to lose some expectation as the depth is no longer there for proper implied odds. With a deep stacks approach you are really letting the chips come to you vs. going out and getting them when you want or need them. All good MTT players will at some point in an MTT abandon the safer deep stacks approach and start fighting for pots late when the stacks get short, to avoid blinding out or attempt to build a stack for a late run. An extreme example is "push or fold" mode, where you will look at your hole cards and then either push all in or fold preflop as you don't have the chips to play any hand post flop anymore. Lets look at ATo as an example. Below is the chart for my cash game expectation value. I fold ATo preflop over 75% of the time. I lose a bit in the blinds, and win a small pot from time to time from a blind or when in position. Overall with a small chance at a decent pot, and almost no chance of getting stacked, I have a very small expectation of +0.10% for this hand.

AT0 Deep Stacks Expectation Value
Now lets imagine it is late in an MTT and your stack is 5x the BB. If we are not into antes yet your M is about 3. You are in push or fold mode, and look down at the powerful ATo. With an M=3, I am going to just assume you push this no matter what, even if the pot was opened up before. About 30% of the time you will be able to open push or push over a limper and take it down right there. About 70% of the time you will open and get called from behind, or not be able to open and call all-in or push over an opener who will auto-call you. Since you will likely be behind when called in these situations lets say you are called and lose 40% of the total times dealt ATo, and get called and still win 30% of the times. A rough calculation shows the EV for the hand is now -1.0%, and the curve looks radically different than before.

AT0 Push or Fold Mode Expectation Value
So I am playing ATo, now in a way the forces the action. 60% of the time I will pick up chips, and 40% of the time I will be going home. Before I never went broke with this hand. By playing it this way I am giving up a small amount of expectation value (+.1% to -1.0%), but I am willing to do this because the fold and get blinded away option is worse from a MTT equity perspective. Lets just say that when you get into push or fold mode or any other huge departure from ideal deep stack cash game play, you are giving up a bit of expectation by doing so.

But not so fast!

If Mr. Push or Fold Donkey is giving up Expectation Value, who gets it? The game is not played in a vacuum. MTTs are zero sum, chip-wise so somebody is picking up this expectation. Who?

The guy who wakes up with AA-JJ, AK, AQ late. These hands go up in expectation value late as the other players get desperate and there hand values go down. Think of it as a sliding scale with some hand value in the middle (not sure which one). The top hands pick up the most expectation value, and the bottom hands lose the most expectation values when MTTs get late and the pressure builds to fight. When the table M is low AA has its highest expectation possible, and T8s expectation starts to plummet.

So take some comfort in that the big hand you have been waiting so patiently for all MTT, will get paid off even better when you finally catch it. Busting before you got dealt it would not let you take advantage of this.