Wednesday, July 30, 2008

iPhone Photo Contest Number Deuce

Alright, lets do this again. This time you don't need to name the girls (Rockstar, duh) just name the event that I took this photo at last weekend. First poker blogger to name the event in the comments gets a $10 transfer to the poker site of their choice*.
* Must be FT or PS & Smokkee is not eligible for this promotion.

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Thursday, July 24, 2008

Fun Poker & Boring Poker

Poker is a very different card game than most others. Let’s compare a non-drawing poker game like Holdem to a card game like hearts, spades, or gin. With Holdem you get two cards to start, and you need to decide right there if those two cards have enough value to continue on with. Because money is the measuring stick in poker, and it generally costs money to go deeper into a hand, a lot of times you will need to quit the hand right there after the starting hole cards show up. Other than possibly being able to bet your opponent off of a better hand, there is nothing you can do to improve your chances to win this hand when the board is complete. With other card games, the starting hand is important, but there is no penalty to continue on with the hand, and through the use of strategy/skill you can improve your poor starting hand into a winner. So in other card games even if you are dealt a horrible hand, you still get to play it to the end. Playing a hand is more fun than sitting out watching other people play. Poker actually comes down to who is willing to limit their amount of fun more. The people having the least fun are the ones who win, and those out to have fun are the losers. It is almost as simple as that.

The correct way to play NL Holdem live is to not try to have fun ever. If you can do that you will take money away from those at the table trying to have fun. Think about a typical ½ NL Holdem game in Vegas. To play a profitable tight aggressive strategy, you will need to fold 80+% of your hands preflop, and ditch about half of those hands you do play by the flop. You will get to the turn once per orbit on average if you are lucky. In live poker you get about 30 hands/hour if you have a good dealer. So with correct play, you will only be playing three hands per hour to any depth of the board. Boring! Now watch what actually happens at a live ½ NL Holdem table. You typically get about ½ the table limping or limp calling preflop. You get calling stations going deeper into the board than they should. You have big bluffs being made. What you have is a bunch of people out to have some fun playing poker. Seeing the flop is more fun than not. Calling down to see more of the board, and see what the other guy does is fun to. Making a monster bluff is fun. Fun, fun, fun. The guys out to have fun are not playing correctly. Every time they make a decision to have fun, they are giving up EV. Having fun at the poker tables is a big leak. It is most apparent live where people simply do not have the patience to play boring poker. The play at similar stakes online is much, much better than live because you get twice as many hands per hour, and can multitable. It is not nearly as painful to play correct, boring poker online vs. live. Playing live poker correctly is way too boring for 90% of those who play it, so they play incorrectly as a result.

This concept is nothing new. It takes a ton of discipline to play poker correct. Some people have it and some don’t. Even those that can play with discipline may still stray due to sheer boredom from time to time. The money flows from those without disciple to those with. The money flows from those having fun to those that are not. Play a boring brand of poker and collect your winnings. This is something that I picked up on early when I started playing poker, but it is pretty easy to lose track of.

The reason I started thinking this way again, is I just picked up the NL Holdem Application for the iphone (There are several, but the one by Apple is best). It is the number one selling application or the iphone, and is a very well thought out game. The problem is there is no money involved. I have not played poker without money on the line in years. You are so tempted to see every flop, because you can for free (virtual chips). You are tempted to play fun poker (bluffing, calling down…). I decided to go ahead and resist the temptation and try to play my normal game anyway. The first MTT is a single player S&G in a garage. I folded into heads-up, and then started catching cards, and overcame a 10-1 chip deficit. I am not sure if the cards are completely random, or they are trying to teach you to fold your starting cards early in MTTs, but it was an interesting first tournament. The cool thing about the game is your opponents are video taped people with real tells. Also, it is so much fun to flick your crap hole cards into the muck with your finger, and to check by tapping on the felt. You can also play real MTTs over wifi if all of your buddy’s have an iphone which could be pretty sick. Check this app out if you have an iphone, and remember to play as boring of poker as possible next time you sit down. That’s if you want to win. Otherwise, I will be out to take your money if I catch you trying to have fun.


Monday, July 21, 2008

Leveraging a Weak Image at the Final Table

I played in the OCPT event Saturday at Smokkee’s house. I did not play very well for most of the night, but I ended up on Smokkee’s left at the final table, and he was just running over the table with his big stack. I figured my weak image, and the fact that I was on his left would cause him some problems. I even predicted that I would double through him three times to bust him (he was so far ahead of me in chips it would take three double-ups). But before I get to the FT lets do a proper recap.

We had 11 runners which meant an awkward arrangement of a 6 handed and 5 handed tables to start. I was on the 6 handed table, and was on the slow bleed program. I figured this was a rebuy, and 6-handed as well, so I would need to loosen up quite a bit and see some flops I normally would not. I was not catching any strong starting cards, and I was not connecting with any of the flops I took with drawing hands. I bled away ½ of my T300 starting stack over the first hour. Rebuy! Again I bled down some more, and ended up taking an ill advised stand with about T150 and 20 minutes before the end of the rebuys. I was just trying somehow to build a stack. When I lost that one, I was in big trouble. I only brought $100 with me, and now I only had enough for one more rebuy plus the add-on. I decided to just rebuy once to preserve a shot at an add on. I picked up 33 in the SB, blinds 7/15 and I raised to $50. PokerPoison was calling me down every single time I raised preflop all-night, and she did once again. I completely whiffed the flop, but decided to just open jam and hoped she missed as well. She had a fat draw and called. I dodged a ton of outs and doubled through back to my starting stack just before the break. I took the add-on, and brought about T500 to the FT. I had one of the shortest stacks.

At the FT, Smokkee was on my right, and had a monster stack. He was obviously abusing the blinds, as he was open raising from late just about every time he could. I was still not catching anything so I just stayed out of his way, but realized I would need to get his chips if I wanted to win this thing. I was just happy to be at the FT after catching no cards and playing pretty poorly for the first two hours. That was when Smokkee pushed all-in blind from the SB into my BB. I was down to just over T400, and the blinds were 30/60 at the time. If you are going to push-in blind you may want to keep that one to yourself, because you are announcing that you hold ATC. I looked down at the powerful K3o, and figured I was way priced in against an ATC push. I was also short with an M of around 5. After I convinced myself that smokkee actually did not look at his cards prior to pushing, I made the call. He had Jack high, and I doubled through to a more comfortable chip position. Smokkee announcing that he was jamming blind is a showoff move, and it is –EV. Don’t try that one at home if you want to win an MTT. A few orbits later, I would pick-up AA and smokkee would make his typical T350 preflop steal raise. I smooth called. There were two to a suit on the flop, and I checked and smokkee checked behind. On the turn, I figured that I needed to start building a pot, but wanted smokkee to stick around. I made a “weenie” bet of T200 which was way too small, figuring smokkee would call or shove over that. He shoved with Ace high, and I held up for a double through. A few orbits later, smokkee was continuing his aggressive ways, and I picked up KQo. I figured if Smokkee raised again I would take a stand. He open jammed, and I “snap” (insta) called. This time he had AT and was ahead of me, but the board was my friend, and I took a massive chip lead, while crippling smokkee. From that point, I would cruise to heads-up, and get the win and the $330 cash after a heated 20 minute heads-up battle with Russ. I regained the all-time cash lead on the Orange County Poker Tour, and have taken over the 2008 money lead as well. Weak-tight is the new tight-aggressive.

I was pretty happy with my Final Table run. I had no chips, and an aggressive big stack on my right attacking my blinds. Once you realize that the aggressive player is raising light and assuming that you will fold, you need to disappoint them. Jam over their raise light, or just call down light, and take their chips. Sure you will need to survive a coin flip or 60/40, but you are already in trouble when you are short at the Final Table. When I play MTTs I am not trying for the win, until I get to the FT. When I get to the FT I am usually a bit short. If the chip leader is aggressive though, I look directly to them as my source of chips. That is where the easy chips come at Final Tables

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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Beginner S&G Update - Bodog Software Issues

I have not played a ton of Bodog S&Gs since my last update. I was on vacation for about a week, and then played several of them before an Internet issue last Thursday. Everyone knows the software at Bodog is pretty bad and glitchy. I have been able to overlook this so far, as the tables are just too juicy to resist. Last Thursday the software issues became a real problem. I am trying to 3 table these beginner S&Gs, and the Bodog software seems to get confused very easily as to how many tables you are on. Thursday it thought I was on 4 tables (not allowed), when I was only on two. Since it would not let me open another beginner S&G, I was stuck running just two of them. It actually turned out that I was in two S&Gs and was registered for a third, but I could not open or see the third table I was registered for. The only way I have found to resolve Bodog software issues is to exit the software, and sometimes reboot the PC before reloading the software. So I exited out of the software, and rebooted. When I tried to load the Bodog software, it would not load. I was having some connectivity issues I guess, but I was also playing in the Riverchasers on FT at the time with no issues. I was never able to get Bodog to run again in the next two hours and ended up blinding out of three $16+1.60 S&Gs for a $50 kick in the nuts. Shame on me for trying to get the software to work correctly. Needless to say this pissed me off, and I have not played on Bodog since.

I think I may test the waters one more time, but if I run into another issue like this, I think I will just cash out my Bodog account. I understand that connectivity issues are not Bodogs fault, but I was connected to FullTilt the whole time. I have never lost connection while online, and not been able to get back in a reasonable amount of time before unless there was a severe disruption of service which this was clearly not. It is just too dangerous to put money at risk online if the connection is iffy, and Bodog seems to be as iffy as they come right now.

Anyway, back to the results. I ran just over a dozen more, and got 4 wins and a bunch more finishes near the bubble. Not sure now why the bubble was not much of an issue in my previous runs at these, but I was having a more issues clearing the bubble in this batch than the last one. These things are still very profitable, and have almost no variance. I ran into smokkee during one session, and we played a $16 and $32 together. He has been just playing the $32s, and I think I may need to focus on those ones soon as well. The play is not really any better in the 32s than the 16s. In the $32 I ended up taking second, after knocking out smokkee in third place. $16 Beginner S&G Results are below:

Total Entries = 45
Entry Fees = $792
Prizes Won = $1112
Profit = $320
ITM = 76%
ROI = 40.4%
Hourly Rate @ 3x Utilization = $21.33

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Monday, July 14, 2008

Blue Ballin The WSOP Main Event

Today they will play down to the final 9 of the WSOP. Then there will be a 3 month break, and they will play the final table. What a letdown. I never really commented on the idea of delaying the ME FT, but I was against it when I first heard about it. Now after following the WSOP ME with help from the good Dr. Pauly, I think this will be a disaster. The Main Event Final Table is the climax of the biggest tournament series of the year. This year we don’t get the climax, and are all left with blue balls here. It does not help that the final table will be a bunch of no names, but that would have been pretty easy to predict. I do not need to have the hype built for three months about a bunch of no-names. Play the FT now while I still care! In three month, I can care less. It must really suck for those out covering the series this year. Their writing building up as the series progressed, but now they don’t get to blow their collective wads. What a joke. The only other sport that attempts something like this is the superbowl. The comparisons end there. The superbowl is the most watched, most anticipated sporting event bar-none. If any event can take two-weeks of hype, it can. But, this is the WSOP ME. Not in the same league. Not close. Just give me 20 minutes of hype from the good doctor tomorrow morning and let’s play the fucking thing. Otherwise I don’t care. Screw you and your stupid ideas Harrahs.

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Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Fold the Hammer Pre-Flop?


Saturday, July 05, 2008

Botched Procedure & IPhone Survival Story

I am back from a 5-day Vegas vacation. I had my kids with me so it was more of a family thing, but I got some time in at the tables at night, and even made a solo run at "The Procedure". This is not something that I would recommend, but we will get to that later. We left Saturday morning, and stayed at Buffalo Bills at Stateline the first night. We had an all inclusive package that included room, unlimited rides at the amusement park, free food, free movie tix, and a gas card for next to nothing. After checking in, we headed over to the Desperado roller coaster. For those unfamiliar with the Desperado, it was the worlds fastest roller coaster with the largest drop when it was built about 15 years ago. A few coasters have passed its records, but it is still up there on my list of top roller coasters. So we strapped in for the first ride of the day and as I was getting off I noticed that my IPhone was missing. I had it wedged in my pocket with my wallet that was still there. I looked around in floorboard area, but it was gone. I did not even bother reporting it to lost and found as I figured I was either 225 feet in the air, going 85 MPH, or some combination of the two when the phone flew out, and there was no way a touchscreen device is going to survive that. With the new IPhone coming out next week with a $199 price tag, I just chalked this one up as a $200 bad beat to start the trip.

A few days later I would find out that they had recovered my IPhone (it did fall from the coaster), and believe it or not other than scratches on the backside of it, it is perfectly fine and everything works. So the only real bad beat was having to live without it for a few days, and not being able to use the contact list to get a hold of Miami Don.

I played a ton of craps on the trip. Mostly $2 when I could find it, and turned a small profit overall from craps. Poker was nicely profitable as well. I was winning every single session that I played. If I was not catching cards, I would get gifted a Flush over Flush situation. When I was catching cards they were holding. That was until what I will call "The Solo Botched Procedure". BadBlood invented "The Procedure", and he and Pauly have written about it. The Procedure is defined as "Booze + Strippers + Poker" in that order. It is not clear under what circumstances one should attempt the procedure. I always thought it was a way to break up a slump or something like that. So Wednesday night, the eve of the WSOP ME, I met up with Dr. Pauly and Otis at the Rio, and Pauly mentioned the Bluff WSOP party at Sapphire. I asked for an invite, and after getting the kids put to bed I headed over to the Bluff Party.

I am not a big strip club guy, but I have been to a fair share of strip clubs. To describe Sapphire you would need to imagine if they converted a BestBuy into a strip club. This place was a 70,000 square foot stripatorium. If it is not the worlds largest, it must be close. The invite got you into the club for free, a bag of DoylesRoom swag, and a free open bar. An open bar at a strip club is a pretty sick thing that I have never experienced. After I got there, Pauly, Change100, MeanGean, and Otis would show up. We would pound a bunch of free drinks at the bar. One interesting thing about the party was that DoylesRoom had hired about 30 spokesmodels to hang out. They were all dresses in jean miniskirts, a small white tank top, and cowboy hat. Now why they thought they needed to bring models to a strip club that already had 100+ barely dressed strippers is beyond me. The funny thing was the models were way hotter than the strippers which created a bit of a competition. The stripper talent in Vegas is world class on the weekends, but this was a Wednesday night when most of the top strippers had already flown home to Texas or wherever they come from. So you are left with a bunch of tier 2 strippers who would be considered top notch in any town but Vegas, but not the normal top notch strippers I am used to seeing on a Vegas Weekend. So you have a bunch of super hot models, barely dressed, but not willing to go any further, and a bunch of even less dressed tier 2 strippers willing to do anything to make some big bucks on a Wednesday night. With the open bar the whole lot of us were getting wasted pretty quick.

I have to say the Dr. Pauly has a pretty cool girlfriend in Change100. Not only does she go to strip clubs with him, she was not even phased when he disappeared with a stripper and did not return for over 1/2 hour. Read Pauly for details, but it had to do with a stripper on Ecstasy who could not keep track of the number of lap dances (BOOM). Shortly after midnight, Pauly and crew had to take off to rest up for the WSOP ME, and I was 2/3s of the way into the procedure. Since this would be my last night in Vegas, I was too drunk to try to sleep, and I had been just crushing the super soft 1/2 NL game at Circus Circus, I figured I might as well go for the solo procedure.

I bought in for $200, and just started spewing chips like mad. I was bluffing big on the river and getting called, folding to massive bluffs, and calling down big value bets. I dropped 1/2 my stack in just a couple orbits. I can play pretty good poker while drinking, but not this drunk that's for sure. Who the F invented this thing anyway. The idea is to get super drunk and play poker smelling of strippers? Anyway, I got gifted AA, and played it pretty well to get back to even, and then got back to my chip spewing ways. The capper was when I flopped 2 pair in an 7-way pot, and built up a pretty massive pot before I lost to a rivered flush. I guess that just happens, and was not "procedure" related, but it still hurt. I ended up giving back about 1/3 of my poker winnings for the trip to the botched procedure, and stumbled my way back to the room.

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