Thursday, January 31, 2008

Girl Groping Donut to Full Fledged Riot

Where I last left off, four random girls decided to sunbath in the center of the donut for no apparent reason, and the donut found a new focus. The center contracted once again. The thickness grew to close to 500 people trying to understand what all the commotion was about. Again the center contracted tightly to just wider than the towels the sun bathing girls were on. Then in just about 30 seconds this time it completely collapsed again in another grope fest. A top may have been ripped off this time according to reports issued later. It took a bit longer this time, but once again an undercover cop, this time with the help of a uniformed cop reopened the donut. They tried to get the center widened up. Then a couple beach cops on ATVs road into the center of the donut.

The donut had a new center of attention. This time it was the H.B. Police. A couple of beer bottles flew into the center of the donut. One actually hit a cop. One of the cops then sprinted into the donut, and dragged someone out of it and into the center, and started beating him with a Billy club. The Beer bottles really started flying into the center at this point. The donut was getting angry. The donut was focused on the cops. The donut continued to grow. Its center was pretty wide now, but its outside diameter was huge. The Donut was more than 1000 strong now.

The cops made a tactical decision at this point. Since this crowd was behind the grandstands, and was being fed by people defecting from watching the Surfing contest, they decided to try to separate the two, and starve the donut of its potential for growth. The cops started slowly moving towards the lifeguard headquarters to the Southeast. The Donut followed them. It was amazing to watch from the top of the grandstand this gigantic donut of people slowly drifting away from the grandstand. When the Cops made it across the wide stretch of sand to the Lifeguard headquarters, they panicked I guess and went inside and locked the doors behind them. The donut had lost its focus. They donut was mad though. Mad at the H.B. Police. Some cop cars were parked at the lifeguard HQs and the donut happened to be surrounding them. The crowd moved in once again. The center collapsed around a police car. The crowd rocked the car back and forth eventually managing to flip is over. Someone set it on fire. On to the next car. Rinse, repeat. There, 300 or so yards behind the grandstands, there were cars on fire and an angry rioting crowd. I turned to miss Jane bottoms, who had rejoined us at the top of the grandstand and said, "Can you believe that you caused all of this?"

She cried.

Fast-forward about 45 minutes, and the police from every city around were staged there on the beach. It must have been eerie living in Orange County that day and watching cop after cop from random cities speed by towards the beach with their sirens blaring. A line formed of cops stretching from the parking lot to the water just south of the surfing contest. They started inching their way north clearing the beach and the grandstands. When the line reached our grandstand, I decided to leave then, rather than wait to be forced off the grandstand by the cops. It was a good decision. I was able to scramble off the beach as the cops pushed north and also started to block the exit to the east. Some of my friends who waited including my brother would not be so lucky. They would need to fight their way off the beach and got clubbed a few times by the cops for good measure. The entire remaining crowd was basically pushed onto Main Street, and anyone loitering was getting beaten by the cops. My brother was running from the cops at one point and turned to go into one of the surf shops where he new the employees. They had locked the door, and were not going to let anyone in. He went back to the street, and got beat down by the cops.

Eventually the cops would clear the downtown area of the rioters. Changes would be made to the timing and set-up of the OP Pro to try to prevent a future occurrence. Things like removing the skate ramp from behind the grandstands. These changes don’t really exist anymore. This could all happen again.


Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The Anatomy of a Riot - How I Instigated the H.B. Riots

The year was 1986. The scene was the annual summertime OP Pro surfing contest in Huntington Beach, California. Above is the before image, and below is the after. When all was said and done, multiple vehicles would be burned to the ground, over a dozen arrests would be made, and a massive response was required by every police agency in a 50 mile radius to stem the rioting. I have not told my story publicly before. You see me and a group of my friends were ultimately responsible for instigating this riot, and had a very unique vantage point of its progression. I will actually describe in scientific terms riot formation and progression before this is over. Now don't get me wrong here. We had no intentions of starting a riot, and I do not feel any criminal responsibility for the events that took place. Lets just say that had I not been there on that day with a group of my friends the HB Riot would never have happened. It required a spark. A seed. We unwillingly provided that spark. After that it evolved on its own in front of our eyes.

I had been going to the OP Pro for years. It was a great place to hang out with friends, watch world class surfing, and of course world class girls. We would typically set up shop at the top of the grandstand. From there you can get a 360 view of everything going on from the surfing out front, the the skateboarding on the backside, to the Bikini contest and MTV broadcasts on the right. The black arrow indicates where we were located on the day of the riots. The first white tent to the right was where they were broadcasting for MTV. Dweezil Zappa was a VJ and we had a blast making fun of him. We would organize chants of "Dweezil's a Dick!" among the 10-20 of my friends there at a given time. It was great because we were right over them, and it would disrupt the filming of the show. The area behind the skateboard ramp indicated by the red arrow is where the Riot began. This was directly behind the grandstand where we were located.

In 1986, G-Strings were not in yet. What did exist was "Jane bottoms". Remember Jane from Tarzan. She wore a leather semi tattered skirt. So the farthest you could go then was a G-string, with flaps of leather looking material flapping down over most of the exposed area. By Sunday, most of us had already hooked up with various hotties attending the OP Pro throughout the week. My friend Jay was no exception and had landed a super hot, Jane bottom wearing, L.A. 9, who was hanging out with us and her friends on that faithful Sunday in 1986. But hanging out on a grandstand is no way to work on your tan, so she decided to grab some rays with her friends behind the grandstand. So there we were, watching the Semi-finals of the OP Pro, and glancing over the back from time to time to check out the sunbathing beauties. At this point a gust of wind manages to flip one of the flaps over exposing a full 1/2 cheek. It seemed like she did not notice! She just continued to lay there, 1/2 cheek exposed to the world. This was creating a bit of an uproar. People walking by would stop and stare. Photographers would stop and take pictures of the half-ass. It was great fun, until I guess she noticed the issue with the flap and remedied the situation. This was a huge disappointment to my group of friends, the bystanders, and the photographers. Half-ass was pure gold at the time. Now to further date this, there was a song that was played in decent rotation on KROQ called "One More Shot" by C-Bank. I came up with the idea of chanting "One More Shot" at the girls to see if they would expose a flap again. So we chanted "One More Shot" a few times over the back of the grandstand, and that is when the donut formed.

The evolution of the HB Riot can be described as the evolution of a donut shape. It has a center location (center of attention), and an interior diameter. It also has a thickness to it. The riot area is the area between the interior and exterior diameters of the donut shape. The number of rioters is typically the maximum number of people who can fit in this space, crammed as tightly as possible.

A donut about 2-3 people thick formed around the sunbathing girls as a result of our chant "One More Shot". Reports several days later said that someone yelled "Take it Off" but that was not correct. The Donut started to thicken. The interior diameter shrunk tightly around the three sunbathing girls. The exterior diameter increased as well as people came over to see what was going on. This donut continued to grow for about 1-2 minutes, before it suddenly and completely collapsed into a full on grope fest of the girls. Almost immediately a undercover cop broke the donut back open and became the new center of attention for the donut. He did a decent job of spreading the interior of the donut out to a decent size. The crowd did not know what to do so they looked to us at the top of the grandstand. A group of three girls were walking trough the middle, and we all pointed at them. They noticed this, and luckily scampered out of the middle before they could be properly contained by the interior of the donut. Then for some reason a group of about 4 new girls decided that it would be a good idea to sunbath in the middle of the donut. Again the donut found a focus, and gained strength and size. It contracted around its new target.

I will stop for now, and continue in a follow up post. We will eventually get to the property damage and scene below as the donut evolves into a full-fledged Riot on the sands of Huntington Beach.

Edit.  Here is the link to the follow up post. Anatomy of a Riot Part 2

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Thursday, January 24, 2008

How to Spend Your Bodog MTT Credits

If you are like me, and have been playing in the Bodonkey whenever possible, you probably have more Bodog MTT credits than you know what to do with. One thing that's nice about Bodog script is it is actually worth more than face value if you know what you are doing. Not true at PokerStars where you can get .90-.95 cents on the dollar tops on the open market for PokerStarts T$. At Bodog they are worth close to 2x face value. Ok, I must be nuts, but their are a couple simple facts. They players at Bodog are pretty bad compared to the other sites, and MTT overlays are in quite an abundance at Bodog. The obvious place to go is to take your T109 straight over to the Sunday 100k guarantee, where you will start with mega-deep stacks, and be looking at around a 20% overlay. If you can't do the Sunday thing, let me tell you below about how Rebuy MTTs work on Bodog. They have a small change, which makes for a pretty huge difference.

I was planning on doing a post about the math involved in determining if you should take the add-on at the end of the rebuy period. It is fairly interesting stuff, but in most cases you will not have enough chips at the end to decline the add-on, so it would not be a huge help to understand the math as you can almost auto add-on. I will not go to the depths I was planning on but will summarize the concept here real quick before talking about the Bodog rebuy MTTs.

When you take an add-on in a rebuy MTT, the cost of the add-on must exceed your Expectation Value increase from the additional chips, or it is a bad idea. If the cost is $10 for the add-on, and your expectation value for the MTT goes up $8 then, you should not take the add-on. Now quickly look at the cost of chips. For FullTilt you get T1000 for rebuys and T1500 for add-ons. So if you double buy at the start (T2000), and build your stack to T3000 during the rebuy period, you can see that the cost of the chips is the same for the rebuys/add-ons. The going rate in both cases was $10 for T1500. So I will just state that if it costs less to add-on chips, than the cost it was to obtain them up to that point, you automatically Add-On. So if you have sunk a bunch of money in rebuys, but have not accumulated chips, you take the add-on automatically. If you are low in chips for any reason (T3000 or less in the example) you take the add-on. So when do you not take it? When you have accumulated a ton of chips without a bunch of rebuys. In that case the chips you have obtained have a value, much less than the Add-On chips. I think you could use trial and error and one of the MTT expectation value calculators to get to a real number, but I will not bother. Lets just use an example. A player double buys immediately and gets to T10,000 at the break without additional rebuys. His rate for the chips was $10/T5000 and is offered $10/T1500. He can increase his chip stack by 15% by paying 50% more in entry fees. I think this player should pass. My guess is you want at least 25-30% more chips from the add-on, or you should pass. 15% more chips just does not improve your chances enough to be worth the additional expense. Save your money.

Ok, so now back to Bodog. What Bodog does different is they give T1000 for buy-ins and rebuys, but the Add-on is T2000. That's a pretty huge difference. The add-on chips are 1/2 the price of the initial chips. I have always played rebuys by double buying immediately and playing tight looking to get to 4x or better in the first hour. In the case of Bodog, I think you can't take the double buy at the beginning, as the chips are relatively too expensive. I think, you single buy, and play tight until the break. If you bust, you single buy back in. Then take the T2000 add-on always. They run a $10,000 guarantee with a $33 buy-in (30 Rebuys and Add-ons). Typically you are looking at 100 to start, 80 at the break and a decent overlay. It is tough to tell because the Bodog software does not tally rebuys and add-ons. So if you can avoid rebuying, you are in for $63 at the break with on average T3600 in chips (T3000 + 20% of the dead chips). With 10k being paid. That's $125 for each of the 80 players left. You may be a bit below average, but there is still a ton of play left with the bodog blind structure. Seems like a pretty easy way to get $2 cash for every $1 in Tournament dollars, but that's just me. The interesting thing, is how making this small tweak to the add-on, completely changes the correct rebuy strategy. The donks playing at Bodog will never figure this one out.

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Friday, January 18, 2008

Cheating at Online Poker

Absolute Proof!

I was digging into the Absolute Poker cheating scandal, and the whole thing is just so interesting, and at the same time so horrible for the online poker industry. There was always the argument that the sites would never rig online poker, because it would cost them to much if they got caught, and they make enough money already anyway. The argument is pretty much gone now. Cheating was rampant at AP by insiders, and from what I have heard it pretty much still continues to this day. Even without the insiders cheating, the security is so lax, that it is no problem having 25 accounts with your same name, address, IP..., and no problem entering the same MTT with all of those accounts, or filling 8 out of 9 seats at a cash game with those accounts (The poor mans way of viewing every ones hole cards). Guess it might have cost some money to close those gigantic loopholes, so they never bothered and they still exist today. By the way Ultimate Bet is owned by the same company as AP, so watch out over there as well. I have never played on either site, thank God. Makes me wonder whats going on at the sites I play at though. Even ones with good intentions probably have exploitable security flaws by insiders. When you pile this on to all the cheating in big MTTs through multiple accounting, ghosting, and like 10 other ways I have never heard of, it is pretty sickening. I offer no solutions here, other than to legalize online poker so it can be properly regulated, and crimes like this can be properly punished. With the way things are now, these foreign companies have no problem stonewalling us, and letting huge security issues like this remain open with no fear of any real punishment.

The best thing about the story is the smoking gun evidence of the cheating. The image at the top of the post is from PokerTracker, and shows a lone data point in red in the upper right corner. A player who earns around 475BB/100 hands while voluntarily entering 93% of the pots preflop. Not a single other player in the data is close in either measure. There is no way that data point could exist without cheating (unless the sample size was small). I would imagine a bunch of the other outlayers on this chart that are in the direction of the red dot, are also cheaters, but a bit better at it. If you have not seen the replay of the hand history, click the link below. It is absolutely amazing. Any real poker player, can see in just a few hands, that that is exactly how you would play if you can see the hole cards of all of your opponents. It is pretty crazy to watch, but definitely well worth it.
One thing that is great about Fantasy Sports, is that all forms of cheating are pretty much impossible. To compare it to poker, it is like you are allowed to choose the cards you will play before hand. Once the contest starts, everyone sees what you have chosen, and the real world games are played to determine who wins (vs. the flop/turn/river). Once the contest (hand) starts, no cheating can occur because you could determine the winners from all the information provided up front independently. I guess it could be possible to find a way to multi- account, and enter the same contest more than once. That is against our rules, but it does not really provide much of an advantage if any. Our biggest competitor actually allows a single user to enter the same contest as many times as they would like. Their only restriction is that you can't use the same fantasy team twice in the same contest. We may at some point allow this as well. Unless you know a bunch of NFL or MLB players on multiple different teams, and our able to coordinate all of their actions, you can pretty much give up on cheating in Fantasy Sports Contests.

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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Bodonky Bridesmaid

I had another nice run at the Bodonkey last night. I was getting Astined pretty good with AA four times, KK once, and QQ twice. Both QQ hands I would get it in preflop against TT for massive pots. We need a name for someone who is always on the right side of set-up hands. I would build a nice chip stack, and eventually overtake the chip leader around 2 hours in. I would then hold the chip lead just about all the way to heads-up. While I love the structure at Bodog, it is almost too deep. I love all of the play early, but what usually happens is you get to the Final Table, and there is still a ton of play left. We would play 6 handed for what seemed like an hour at the Final Table. Even after #6 would get knocked out, it would take a long time to get down to me and wonka69 for the title. By that point, wonka had just better than a 2-1 chip lead on me which is really no big deal. One double through and I would have the 2-1 chip lead. I normally play hyper-aggressive heads-up, but I was not getting cards and it just was not working. I raised preflop with air a couple times, and wonka either reraised or put me all-in. He was also raising into me a bunch, and I never got anything to take a stand with. About a dozen hands in I got my best one of heads-up (Q9o), and rerasised wonka's open. He jammed, and I called getting pretty sick of bleeding my chips away heads-up. He would have QJo and would take down the title. I would collect $72 + T109 for my efforts.

The hand below from the Bodonkey is a great example of why you really should not be playing speculative hands after a decent raise preflop even with deep stacks. You just don't have the odds to hit the flop hard enough, and even when you hit the flop perfect, you may still get sent to the rail.

Online Poker Blogger Tournament

WhatsTheNuts Set dealer/Bring in spot 2
pokerpeaker Ante/Small blind $ 30.00
budohorseman Big blind/Bring in $ 60.00
WhatsTheNuts Card dealt to a spot A A
domTheMatador Card dealt to a spot Q 10

domTheMatador Call $ 60.00
Mondogarage Call $ 60.00
HighOnPoker Fold $ 0.00
odets Call $ 60.00

I am on the button with AA and there are a couple of limpers. Pretty nice situation. I need to raise enough to get a few folds, but would like a single caller, or better yet a reraise.

WhatsTheNuts Raise $ 280.00
pokerpeaker Fold $ 30.00
budohorseman Fold $ 60.00
domTheMatador Call $ 220.00
Mondogarage Fold $ 60.00
odets Fold $ 60.00

Card dealt to table

domTheMatador Check

I flop top set. It is a bit of a scary board I guess. You could slow play this, but I have been c-betting in this MTT like it was my job, and that gives me the right to c-bet this monster.

WhatsTheNuts Bet $ 380.00
domTheMatador Raise $ 1,250.00

The raise caught me a little off guard. This guy could have KK or JJ I guess. I see that QT would be the nutz, but who takes the limp/call line preflop with QT. Best to just jam now.

WhatsTheNuts All-in $ 3,500.00
domTheMatador All-in $ 1,100.00

I see now that dom, did in fact flop the nutz on me, by calling close to 1/10th of his stack preflop with QT. I have a lot of outs though. 7 on the turn, and 10 on the river to be exact. I still have over 33% equity here.

Card dealt to table 9

Card dealt to table J


domTheMatador Showdown
Show card: StraightA K Q J 10
WhatsTheNuts Showdown
Show card: Full HouseA A A J J

You simply can't call off 1/10th of your stack preflop with QT after a large raise. You need to hit the flop hard. Flopping 2-pair is a 40-1 shot. Flopping a seeing eye straight is much, much more rare. Even when you flop 2-pair or the straight, you also need the other guy to have a strong hand, or you will not get the required double-up. In this case he flops perfect and still gets stacked. If his plan was to hit a Q or T on the flop and then go to war with the preflop raiser, you can see the problems with that line. I have AA here but my range simply dominates QT. There is no need to be spewing chips like this when it is this early, and you are this deep. Fold and find a better opportunity. The type of line used works best with a medium/small pocket pair. At least then you will hit the flop one out of eight times hard, and will get the correct odds (again only if you double through post flop). Miracle flops are rare. Double throughs post flop are rare. If you are spending too many chips making -EV moves even early in a deepstacks MTT you are making a big mistake.


Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Bodonkey Tonight & West Coast Blogger Only Events?

I'm off to a pretty slow start in 2008 pokerwise, but plan to kick things off tonight with my favorite blogger tourney of them all, the BODONKEY. I know it is new and everything, but I just can't get past my Bonus Whoring ways. I used to just love to bonus whore, and it was quite a motivation to play more poker when people are throwing cash my way. Since I have not had a deposit method in over a year now, my bonus whoring days are long gone. But the Bodonkey makes me feel dirty all over again like the bonus whore that I am.

The Bodonkey has the best structure of all the blogger events. The blinds start at 5/10 for God's sake. This is even deeper than a double stack MTT, even though you only start with Edit: T3000. It also has an overlay of nearly 300% every time. They add $600 to the pool, and take in a bit over $200 on average. This is the sickest overlay in the business, and no, this is not an Ad for Bodog. Their software sucks, but who cares when you can bonus whore just like the good ol' days.

I also planning on playing the Skills event, and possibly the 50/50 if it is running tonight as well.

I have been toying with the idea of having a weekly West Coast Blogger MTT hosted by FullTilt or Bodog. (Bodog, if they want to contribute something). It would start at 9:30PM West Coast Time, and give us Left Coasters the advantage of a good start time that the other coast always enjoys. Blogger events just don't mix well with my family life, as they all run during prime mid-week family time. You probably will not be seeing me at many blogger events this year until another BBT series with huge added prizes is announced so for now I will focus on the Bodonkey. I will not be playing the MATH again, as it has switched to a 6-max format, and I can't stand 6-max. East coasters would probably not bother with a west coast event due to a past midnight start, but oh well. If anyone out there is interested, let me know, and I will try to make it a reality.

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Wednesday, January 09, 2008

2007 Year In Review

This is going to be a tough one I guess. When I look back at my poker goals for 2007, I have to admit that I did not hit a single one of them. Not even close. As I set these goals up in early 2007, I was still in the middle of what was a highly successful ladder challenge, and was feeling great about my cash game. The ladder challenge had finally moved me off of the .50/1 NL tables, and got me to crush the 1/2 NL tables, and even hold my own at the 2/4 NL and 3/6 NL tables. To me the sky was the limit for 2007, and I wanted goals that would push me hard. But things changed quick in early 2007, and that would leave me no chance at all of even coming close. First off, I got the funding together for my Fantasy Sports website, and went into full development mode in January. Since I already have a full time job, this ate up nearly all of the free time that I had for poker. Shortly after that, Neteller pulled out of the U.S. market freezing a 3k+ withdrawal that I had pending, and the balance of my funds there as well. The Neteller pullout was even bigger than the passage of the UIGEA in rapidly drying up the cash games at the remaining poker sites allowing U.S. customers. It became too difficult to get on good tables using my table selection criteria that I was using during the ladder challenge. The games were much tighter, and in general had better players. My attitude towards poker made a huge shift very early in 2007, and as a result, my goals for the year became meaningless to me.

Prior to 2007, I was a cash game specialist. I improved my game by closely tracking my win rate, and tweaking my game in ways that would maximize this. I played poker mainly to get better at it. I made approximately 8k in each of 2005 and 2006 at this partime hobby on the virtual felt which was pretty nice. Extracting $100/hr off the tables was in site. Just a level or two up for me. If I could make that, I had the potential to go pro. If I was not making the kind of money that I make in my regular job, I probably would have already gone pro, as I was making more per hour at the tables than a lot of people make working for the man. So I was improving my game with the goal of making enough someday to have the ability to quit my high paying job, and move to Maui or something, and have the ultimate flexible job in paradise. Those dreams came crashing down (temporarily I hope) with the toughening of the cash games in early 2007. I figured out right away, that I would need to drop back down to the .25/50 or .50/1 NL games to find the same level of competition I was seeing at 1/2 and 2/4 NL. Even those levels would likely toughen up as well over time. I had no shot of working my way up to the $100/hr level I was seeking anymore. At least until online poker became legal again.

So I decided to completely change my approach to poker. I would go into a holding pattern, and just try to maintain my skill level in case online poker became legal. I completely stopped playing cash games early in 2007. Since I would have little time to play if any, I did not want to grind cash games, that was for sure. So I decided to just play for fun. To put some work into my MTT game. To not care at all about profits anymore. That is what 2007 was about for me, and this continues to be the case in 2008. My blog just about died as a result. Gone was the endless supply of material for me. But things would change a bit to keep my blog alive. Much of this was thanks to the BBT

2007 was not a bad year at all though for me and poker, and even for the blog. I would put up the best year of my life in online MTTs without playing very many. I took 3rd in the 4k HORSE on FT in January. I would final the table the 50/50 for a $1300+ score. This was my first ever 4 digit online cash. I only played the 50/50 I think 4 times in 2007. I am up close to $1500 in Public MTTs for 2007 0n FullTilt, enough to push me positive for my life in online MTTs. I would have a pretty good run through the first BBT, playing just over 1/2 of the events, and finishing in the top 10 in nearly every metric based on number of events entered (I could not really compete with those who played them all). I won a Riverchasers event with around 100 entries. I won a Bodonkey. I won a couple of CCs private tourneys on PokerStars. I finished with over $700 in cash in the MATH despite only playing it about 10 of them all year. I played 6+ hours in both times I entered a Venetian deepstacks tourney, cashing both times. I finally figured out that the way I play MTTs is absolutely correct for me, and made some huge improvements in my MTT end game. I cashed in the BBT1 freeroll, and was one of the few profitable players through the BBT series. I played just a hand full of BBT2 events, not giving me much of a chance at the TOC, but was very profitable throughout the BBT2 as well. To me this is not very bad considering my extreme lack of time at the tables in 2007 and my play for fun attitude. Lastly, because I was playing for fun I stopped multi tabling, playing one or two tables max vs. my typical 4-6. Playing a single table, got me to become much better at reading the table, and reading players (I would just use the numbers from PokerTracker/HUD before to base my decisions). This had a ton to do with my success in the blogger MTTs. It is almost like cheating. Before 2007, if I played a blogger event it was one of 5 tables open. This year, I got to intimately understand the game of a lot of you guys, and that would have never happened in past years.

Best of all in 2007, the blog did not die. I found a way to continue to write even though I was not playing much. I learned how to properly apply Game Theory when analyzing hands and situations, and did my best math related posts ever. I even got to pick on Hoy a bit. He provides such a wealth of material with his daily, lengthy posts and rants. A few of these inspired me to go into some pretty deep hand analysis which was pretty cool.

So I guess that even though I did not hit a single goal in 2007 (not even close on any of them), I am still pretty happy with the year that I had. I had a great MTT year for me, and brought my MTT game miles forward. I had some decent success in live MTTs at the Venetian, and on the OCPT. I am sure my cash game has gone south, but I am ready to come back with the donkeys when they legalize online poker. I was also able to launch Fantasy Sports Live in my spare time, and I am very proud of what my baby has become. I am not going to bother with any goals for 2008, because I really don't have any other than to have fun at the poker tables, and possibly show some more MTT improvement. For the blog, I want to keep doing the types of posts that I do best, by finding angles in poker that others do not always see, and beating them to death with words and numbers. Should be a great year.

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Monday, January 07, 2008

Football Musings

The 2pt conversion, is one of the most abused plays in football. Coaches really have no clue about how to properly use it. First off, it should never be used before the 4th quarter. There is too much scoring that is unaccountable for 2pt conversions to be attempted that early. I don't have an example from this weekend, of it being used before 4th quarter, but it is pretty easy to argue that Pittsburgh lost their playoff game by going for the 2pt conversion when they should not have. With approximately 10 minutes left, they went for two to get within three points. I guess this is an automatic type play, but to me it is questionable. Ten minutes left is too much time, and you need to question what will happen if you miss the attempt, and give up a FG to your opponent afterwards. I would not have done it, but I guess you can call it a very marginal choice. After you take the 10-yard penalty you absolutely must kick the extra point though. Pittsburgh decided to still go for it with a 12 yard QB sneak which had no chance. Jacksonville of course did get a FG, and as a result Pittsburgh had to attempt another 2pt conversion, which they failed. Ultimately at the end of the game, Pittsburgh had a 1 pt lead, instead of a 3 point lead, and were eliminated from the playoffs as a result. Will coaches ever learn.

Now on to Phillip Rivers. The guy is a joke. The worst move San Diego ever made was letting Drew Brees go. They probably win the Super Bowl last year with Brees at QB. They probably have a shot with him at QB this year as well. They have no shot with Rivers. In the first half, Tennessee challenged Rivers to beat them, by focusing entirely on LT, and he could not. They shut SD out. In the second half, Rivers was able to hit completely wide open WRs with horrible passes anyone could have made. His only TD was to a completely uncovered Jackson, who could have walked in, but was forced to stop his route, and allow the defenders to close while waiting for the ball to get there. He then made some great moves to earn the TD on his own, with no help from Rivers. On the deep ball to Chambers, again he was completely uncovered, and had an easy TD, but rivers made him stop his route, and come back for the ball. He was stopped as a result around the 10 yard line. Those are both easy TDs for Brees, or just about any other QB in the league. Rivers is a joke. If you take away those two huge defensive breakdowns, and a fumble by Tennessee deep in SD territory, San Diego loses that game. Don't blame the coach for SD crappy season, blame Rivers. SD has zero chance next week against Indy, and you can quote me on that.

Tonight is the BCS championship game. I usually do tons of betting on the bowl games, but have not bet on one yet this year. I think it was a result of the very strange season we had, where no team could hold the #1 spot for more than a week or two. College bowl games are usually pretty easy money, because it is like the Superbowl for the teams involved, except they get about 6 weeks to rest and prepare. As a result, more often than not then better team wins, and usually wins pretty big. If you can figure out who the better team is there is quite a bit of money to be made. Tonight the better team is LSU, and that is where my money is. Ohio States schedule was a joke, compared to LSUs, and this is a freaking home game for LSU as well. I guess I am trying for the Smokkee/Love Elf hater of the year hear as they both love San Diego, and the Elf loves Ohio State, but I like to call them like I see them. I hope I am wrong about San Diego, but I got to pull for the team my money is on tonight.

This one was pretty easy money me thinks. Anyone still think Ohio State had the #1 defense in College Football? That's whats great about college football. There are like 120 teams, and if you never play a top 20 team all year, they still compare your stats to those who played 5 top 20 teams. Its like allowing an NFL team to play a 1/2 their games against college teams, and then claiming they have the best defense in the NFL because they shut their college opponents out. I was not buying it, sorry. The funniest argument for Ohio State that was made by tons of people, is that because they lost as a big favorite to the SEC champ last season in the title game, that they would win as a dog this year against the latestest SEC champ. What the hell are you guys smoking? The SEC is simply a tougher leauge nowadays than the Big 10. Its arguments like that that will continue to line my pockets indefinitely.


Thursday, January 03, 2008

Final Table Bubbling a Massive MTT Sucks

I played the riverchasers and the bodog 5k guarantee last night. I would flop a set early in the riverchasers, get it in on the flop, and lose to a flopped flush. Oh well. But, the bodog 5k was another story. I really felt like I was playing the tournament poker of my life in this thing. I may not have been, but it was one of those nights where everything you do just seems to work out. Every time you bluff they fold. Every time they play back, you have the goods. I did not really get a sick run of cards at all, but I was making all the right moves at all the right times for several hours straight, and it felt great. About 90 minutes in I smooth called a button steal from the SB with QQ. Not a move I normally make, but I guess I learned this one from love elf, as she knocked me out of the bodonkey earlier in the week with a similar play. I would check raise a Jack high flop, and call a reraise push (AJo of course) and double through to a comfortable 12k in chips. Then about 2 1/2 hours in, I would play back to back massive hands against the chip leader. On the first hand, I had AQs and raised preflop. The flop would come K high with 2 of my suit. I raised the chip leader when he led out on the flop. He just called. I missed on the turn, but went ahead and fired another bullet after the chip leader checked. He would call. The river would bring the flush, and I would make a nice sized value bet that got called. On the very next hand it would fold to the chip leader in the SB and he min-raised my BB to T1200. I picked up TT, and overbet jammed for 28k in chips. I did this for a couple reasons. I thought the chip leader might be tilting and may call a bit light. Also, I really did not want to play a semi dangerous TT hand against the chip leader at this point in the MTT when I had a comfortable chip stack. To my surprise he called with 88, and I would get to about 60k with 60 out of 491 runners left, and a nice overall chip lead.

For once I played the big stack very well for about the next hour. Pressuring the crap out of the table, and stealing chips left and right. I would still have the chip lead when we got down to 2 tables. I was really feeling it, and thought there was a great chance I was going to take it down. It may not have been in the cards (literally). I would not see another pair or decent Ace, and would watch my chip lead go away as we headed towards the final table. I finally took a massive stand against the new chip leader on the FT bubble when I jammed KQs over the chip leaders typical preflop min-raise. He would make a bad preflop call and ultimately river a 3 outer in a 67k pot to send me to the rail in 10th. My normally unflappable self freaked out a bit at this, but who wouldn't have (I actually cursed at the screen a bit). My dream run came to an end a bit too soon, but it was quite a run. I may be playing the best MTT poker of my life right now, but only time and some more results like this will tell. It sucks a bit to be feeling so good about your game, and get sent to the rail like this, but only 1 out of 491 gets the win here.

On a side note, the bodog poker software is just plain horrible. For the first hour of the MTT it was stuck showing 488/491 entries remaining. I needed to reboot the software during the break to fix that. Also, if you look at the screenshot closely, you can see that they shorted me about a buck on the payout. Not sure how they can screw that up, but they managed to. It's pretty scary when your account is not credited properly, and who knows who often they do this and it goes unnoticed. If I did not have so many tourney credits, the MTT structure was not so good, or there were not overlays in nearly every guarantee that they run, I probably would not bother with bodog. I guess you just need to take the good with the bad with them.

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Can A Tight Player Profit From Knockout MTTs?

Everybody knows I am about as tight as they come. Its one of the reasons for my success at the poker tables. When I play MTTs I make no effort at all to knock other players out. It is not even a consideration. If I think I have the best of it, or I feel I am priced in somebody might get knocked out, but I am not making that play to specifically knock someone out. I could care less about that stuff. I would not mind at all if I never knocked anyone out of an MTT, but ended up heads-up at the final table with a chance to knock out the chip leader for the title. The only exception I take is if there is an exceptional player on my immediate left, that I feel due to their skill level and positional advantages over me will make the going very tough. In that case, I may gambool it up a bit early, to try to get them out of my way and give me a fighting chance. That's it. This happened recently at a 6-max MATH event were I was at a very tough starting table, and had Lucko21 on my immediate left. I decided I would need to play a big pot with him sooner rather than later, and went ahead and donked out of the MTT early.

So on the surface you would have to think that knockout MTTs would be a very poor value for me, and my playing style. They seem to be increasing in popularity on FullTilt, and I have to admit I am a bit interested in them. So I thought about it a bit, and you know what? I think they could be highly profitable even for a tightly like me. WTF am I talking about here? Lets me explain.

The most profitable situations in poker are found when you play against the grain of the table. You play tight when the table is loose. You play loose when the table is tight. That is how you make extra money when all other things are equal. Now a knockout MTT has got to be much looser than a regular MTT. First off, it inherently appeals to the looser players, who are always knocking people out or getting knocked out themselves. They must think knockout MTTs are the best thing since sliced bread. So you got a high proportion of looser players signing up for these things. On top of that, they are incentivized to play even looser, and try extra hard to knock people out. You would be surprised what a bounty can do for some people. They can go freekin nuts trying to get it. So you got a bunch of loose players trying extra hard to knockout other players. Seems like a dream come true for me. What could be better? Most MTTs have a mix of tight and loose. Knockouts are probably all loose with a sprinkling of tight players here and there.

So whats the negative? Well you need to shell out 15-20% of your entry to cover your own bounty. Sounds pretty bad at first, but you only need to knockout a single player to get that back. On average in an MTT each player knocks out one player. The average player gets this bounty back. Sure many players will knock out many others, and many will knockout none. My point is that one knockout is all it takes to break even. So should the tighter player average one knockout in these things? I think they can, based on the concept of Gaussian distributions.

Gaussian distributions occur in nature and in MTTs. Anything where randomness around a mean is involved. In an MTT everyone starts with the same number of chips, but after a while the distribution of chip stacks always follows a Gaussian pattern. All this means is that most of the values are located near the mean or average value, and the farther you move away from the mean the fewer results you will find. In other words if you look at the distribution of chip stacks, most are near the "average" chip stack, and few are near the chip leader or the shortest stack. Loose players, have more randomness in there play, and are more likely to be found away from the mean near the chip lead, or near the bottom of the pack. Tight players who "roll the dice" less often tend to stay more near the middle of the pack.

Where the hell am I going with this, and will it be worth this refresher course in statistics? This is where I am going. A tight player is less likely to get a knockout early before the Gaussian distribution forms, but will have some great opportunities to get some in the middle stages. You obviously must have more chips than your opponent to knock somebody out, and short stacks are the easiest to knockout because they tend to be desperate. In the middle stages of a knockout MTT, the tight player most likely will be in the middle of the pack, but will have more chips than 1/2 of the loose players. Most of the shorties will be loose players who did not have things go there way early, and are looking to chip-up. The tight player has this opportunity to get some knockouts at and recoup their bounty. The loose players who are already eliminated do not get this opportunity.

As a result of all this, I think Knockout MTTs can be highly profitable for me, even if I make no adjustments to my standard MTT strategy at all. There is no way I will ever get the most knockouts in one of these things, but I should easially be able to average at least one, and recoup my bounty. Eliminating the one negative I can see, I am now playing in a MTT with a bunch of loose players who are incentivized to play even looser than normal. That's about as profitable as it gets for me in an MTT I would think. Plus these guys are going to be actually trying to knock me out, which is even better. Jamming for value has got to be a great play in these things, as you know they will not be able to resist calling for the knockout potential. So I will just sit back and play my normal tight as can be style, grab a knockout or two in the middle stages, and then start jamming for value late. Easy money!

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