Thursday, April 03, 2014

Weight Loss Bet

Just won a weight loss bet I made with my in-laws.  In two months I lost just under 29 lbs.  No exercise (three little bitty kids and always on the move--don't really have time), so all this just with a change in diet.  Essentially, I created it on my own.  Though it's very similar to atkins and other low carb diets.

Basically, I ate everything that I've read recently that helps manage weight or might contribute to weight loss (including):
-Dark Chocolate
-Green Tea
-Chia seeds

I found healthy substitutes to foods I love.  I allowed myself one or two treats a week (though swore off them in the homestretch of the last two weeks).  That means a snow ball here, some pizza there, and occasional cookie.  99% of the time I went low/no carb/almost no sugar.   I also have abstained from alcohol entirely.

I have a sweet tooth so that was tough.  I also stayed mostly away from sugar substitutes as I've read they can make you crave sugar and drive you to eat more calories (in some ways worse than the real stuff).  Thus, my options were limited a lot.

The dark chocolate (got 85%+ cacao--very important to be high in cacao) mixed with nuts, mostly almonds, in the morning would constitute breakfast.  (I learned on the paleo (?) diets and some other diets nuts are a no-no but they worked for me). Instead of Frappucinos or chocolaty coffee drinks I make as a morning ritual, I'd take some cold brew coffee, mix it with a 1/4 cup Kefir (like a yogurt drink loaded with Probiotics),  a splash of my kids chocolate milk (loaded with Omega3s), and water the rest of the way.  I ran out of regular water and used Perrier one morning, and it actually tasted like one of those old Soda Jerk floats.  Pretty good.  Unexpected.  That would leave me satisfied for most of the morning.

Lunch many days would be "meat wraps"--no bread.  I'd take lean turkey, put some kale chips in the middle, some cut cucumbers, carrots, lettuce and lots of sirachi.  Sometimes roast beef, mustard, and or other vegetables.  Other times, I'd eat packaged salmon or tuna.  Lots of Sirachi.  I would overlook the carbs in foods that are really healthy so I was just some meat-pounding heart attack victim waiting to happen.

I love crunch, so I found some chips called Beanitos, that were fairly low carb.  They were bean based (not corn).  I'd take two or three chips and break them up and sprinkle them over the salmon or tuna or on salads.  Surprised how far a few chips will go in giving you that crunch you crave when broken up.   Invented some pretty good meals out of necessity.

My wife, also on a diet, but low calorie not low carb, was super helpful in making dinners that I could streamline to stay on track. She is great about getting healthy foods in our kids, so no big changes in dinner from that perspective.

I've read how a protein rich diet can curb depression.  I've always been a pretty upbeat guy, but I have to say that I've been feeling great the last couple of weeks.  I get over setbacks a lot easier and am even more positive than I normally am.  Helps with poker.

Ahhh, Poker.  That game can be difficult to play because casinos apparently want to fatten you up, maybe so it's harder for you to tleave.  To survive the long days required by a poker tournament  or cash I used to gas up with sugary caffeinated drinks.  Now, instead of pounding cokes for the caffeine, like I used to, it's been all unsweet iced teas.  Big improvement.  Somehow, the caffeine from the tea isn't as bad as from the soda and I can sleep easier at nights.

Going forward, I still want to lose maybe another 8 pounds.  My goal was 30 pounds for this two month period so I just missed that.  I'll try and hit that by losing a couple more pounds soon, and then maybe get to my next goal but at a less breakneck pace.  I want to slowly integrate some carbs (and even some sugar) back into my diet but  I'm going to be a lot more conscious of what I eat.  I think maybe two treats a week will be fine.  My friend says he eats/drinks whatever he wants on the weekend but is regimented in his weekday diet and he's been shedding pounds.  So, maybe I'll follow that course of action.

I've got a beer in the fridge I've been waiting to drink and a Mexican Coke (cane sugar baby)
in a glass bottle that is beckoning to me.  I got them as rewards for when I finished this back when I started.  I look at them every time I open the fridge.  Unfortunately, I'll wait another week before cracking either, because after our weigh-in last night I ate spaghetti, garlic bread, and chocolate pie.  Think I maxed out on carbs for the week.  It was okay to reward myself though.

I've talked to a lot of guys on similar diets.  Maybe when you get around this age it's just time to get healthier I don't know.  Everybody seems to be on successful diet right now and focused on being healthier.  The important thing for me will be staying on track now that the challenge is over, and doing it as personal improvement/maintenance rather than just rising up to win a bet.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

I forgot to Wrap-Up the Mid States Poker Tour...

A bridge to nowhere.  After my day two ended I went out on the deck the boat to see this.  Had I taken the picture just a little sooner it would better as the fog was covering both sides of the bridge.  Just the top of a bridge in the sky, clouds above, and fog all around it.   Pretty symbolic as day two began with the promise of a bridge in the sky heading somewhere to something.  Just the fog of bad hands was too thick to find an on ramp.    As I got closer, and closer to the bridge or to "In the Money" and the final table it seemed even further away.  I just could not chip up.

The day began and nothing much of note happened.  Then I chopped a pot with my nemesis.  Why my nemesis?

At the end of day 1 when we were bagging up one of the Mid-States pros, a guy I had sat next to and had a pleasant idle table conversation with, got very angry with me.  With two tables left we drew a set amount of hands to play out the night.  I caught a break by dodging the big blind with my short stack by exactly one hand.

The other table finished first.  It was late, and with one of my friends over there, I was hoping to hurry up and get out using the buddy system for that pretty dark and scary parking lot.  We dragged on, and we when were done playing they were almost done bagging.   I noticed an employee was coming to our table light a few bags.  She started at the other side, and knowing there wouldn't be enough to get down to us, I turned and talked to some guys to my right.  I hoped she'd be back for more.

When I turned back there was a bag on the table in front of the Mid-States guy's stack.  I looked around and didn't see him.  I didn't see him leave but he must have cut out to go the bathroom right after play ended.  I didn't consider that he might have taken a bag before he left, I just thought that one was free and nobody on our side of the table had grabbed it when it was passed down.

I took it to bag up my chips.  He reappeared vey quickly, very angry and very belligerent.  He said "Are you taking MY bag."

I responded "Yes, I took your bag" and was going to make light of it as he seemed agreeable, though my the warning lights were already flickering in my head as  I wasn't sure how this was "his" bag if it was just sitting on the table.  Regardless, initially I intended on giving it back, even though I was in a hurry, I was pretty sure there would be more bags momentarily, so if I made the mistake... no biggie, right?
Then this dude gets irate and rips it out of my hands.  I'm not a fan of bullies, and am pretty stupid in terms of standing up to them.  Growing up with a 6'6 brother who I obviously never matched in size I got roughed up a good bit.  I should be a lot more afraid of people than I am, but because rarely are they 6'6,  and I figured out how to hold my own against my brother, I'm not.  I remember once when I was five or six at a day camp and this big kid asked a younger kid if he wanted a knuckle sandwich, I stepped in and said he doesn't but I do.  What a "brave" protector.  Well, he gave it to me punching me in the jaw and then turned around and ran away like he had a firecracker in his pants.  The little kid just looked at me like I was an idiot.  

I have also aged, have kids and my default is to back down and swallow my pride.  However, this sudden unwarranted elevation by this dude that flipped the switch about his bag, got to me.

We a "conversation" about semantics.  He suggested because I referred to it as "Your Bag" I knew it was his, and I therefore was taking it and I was therefore an ahole.  I tried to explain I was only repeating his words back to him, but that fell on deaf ears.  For the record, I thought he had left before the bags were distributed, and since I didn't see him I thought new bags would be there before he got back.  Granted, logic was on his side, since nobody else on my side had taken the bag it probably had been claimed.  Anyway, he angrily bagged up, following none of the instructions and took off.  He ran away, but I must be getting smarter as he didn't leave me with a bruised face before doing so.

Anyway, we shared the same table on day two and I think both put the bag incident behind us.  I asked him about something to test it and he politely responded.  I think I was probably in the wrong and should have been swifter to correct the problem.  I don't think the escalation was warranted but nothing really happened.

Nonetheless, I still wanted to outlast him (I did) or bust him (somebody else did).

Anyway, I shove with Ace King.  He calls with Ace King.  I made a remark like normally I hope we chop in spots like this but I'm too short to think that.  When the flop hit Allan Kessler quipped, "I bet you hope you chop now" as he had outs to a flush.  I fade them and split the meager blinds and antes  

The very next hand I got 33, shoved and stole the blinds.  The guy in the big blind said, "I wish I hadn't looked I was calling with any two."  He showed 4-2.  I resisted showing the 3s but also wished he hadn't looked.  Then I got moved to three different tables in a matter of minutes.  Always behind the blinds, so in some way I was running good.

But I didn't get a hand no matter where I sat.  The Baton Rouge fog continued.  Pretty sicko, that the streak would carry over from the day before.

Nonetheless, the other players were getting eliminated and peeling out of there like they had a stomach flu.  So, despite being card dead I was getting closer and closer to the money.  I've come back from near nothing before so I stayed patient.  I traded ten per cent with two of my buddies who had decent stacks and were both alive.  Wow, if I could get a run of cards this could be a pretty good day for us I thought.

Eventually I think we were down to seven on each of three tables, when I saw my first two face cards since the AK.  I had bounced around a bit, so this group didn't have the greatest understanding of my table image.  I shoved from EP and it got around to a guy in the small blind who just called.  The big blind called too.
I thought it was a little too early for checking it down, 9 or so from the money, and my stack was a little too big compared to theirs to not aggressively seek it out.  Therefore I wasn't too worried about both players seeing all five cards.  Somebody would either want a side pot or make a play for the money.  I flopped top pair.  Yum.

The small blind led out.  Oh?

The big blind Mihail Karasoulis stewed and then flashed pocket threes.  (I've discussed this hand with him since and I thought he should have raised preflop to isolate me and steal the small blinds' weakish contribution to pot.  He made a very sound justification for not doing so which I understand--course had he done it I would have tripled up and who knows what would have happened :) ).

The board was I think Qs5s2.  The small blind flashed A2 with two spades.  Yeah, he hit his flush on the turn.  Oh well.

I became a rail bird and apparently made an endorsement for some Beef Jerky on their twitter feed than I enjoyed.  It cost $7 it had better be good.  I don't like to railbird but with , ten percent of two players with a lot up top, could still be a nice little payday.  21 became ~15.  15 became 14.  Then I saw one of my players, GeneD, make a great fold when a guy just getting run over by the deck flopped a straight and Gene conceded the hand folding an ace that matched the ace on the board.  Course his preflop and postflop bets were gone and now he was on a short stack.  Ugh.

Two or so from the money Gene was eliminated after a valiant battle.  As Gene tends to do he was way too hard on himself.   Now
my eyes were on Dave Chocoles.  He started to get short as the stone cold bubble lasted an improbable three and a half levels.  Then he won some hands and got back on solid ground.  Then the bubble kept going and he got  short again.  Finally, there was a bustout.

Dave didn't last too long after that, as the guy who ended up second I thought made a little bit of a loose call, taking out both Dave and Justin Truesdale in the same hand.  With three players out of 20 something left, we ended up cashing just about the minimum possible.  By the way, Dave played great I thought.  Same with Gene.  Same with Monkey and a few other guys I got to watch a good bit from the rail.

Sucked hard as I kept waiting to get some sort of traction and was positive my patience and short-stack wizardry was going to be rewarded.  It wasn't.  Then for Gene and Dave to go out where they did.  It was just disappointing.  So much promise.

Friday, March 07, 2014

What You Are Selling Isn't What They Are Seeing...

I don't typically post strategy as I feel there are better places for it, but sometimes when I re-learn a concept maybe it's best to post it as instruction even if the audience or student is just me.

I've played a couple of hands recently that reinforced a core concept that I think is vital to beating lower buy-in tournaments and cash games with bad players.  Why I let it be a leak to me of late I'm not sure.

One thing, I think I've repeated on this blog over the years, is the enjoyment I get from watching good players bitch about bad players.  To me, if it's always your fault and never the other guys fault when they misstep.  You should know they are capable of anything and everything.

Granted there are times when an individual has a self conflagration that is so bizarre you are entitled to bitch about it.  Most of the times, though when you walk away from the table because of their misguided attempt to self-destruct you should probably find some solace in their folly.  Obviously, time and place shape your reactions (in the money on or on the bubble can be especially painful) but most of the time once you have played a great deal underestimating your opponents ability or conversely their inability is most times your own fault.

To that end, we should be aware when are telling a story in a hand if they are capable of reading it.  Here's a hand that describes that concept.

I open Kc9c.  I get called by a lady who is a bit of station preflop but to her credit she can be really aggressive post-flop.  Flop comes 10c8c5x (might have been 7x but not TOO relevant).  Maybe I should have cbet my draw but I decide to check.  She bets and I call  (I considered raising).

Turn is an Ace.  She lets me see the river for free (and I decide to not bluff the big card) and it's a Queen.  My clubs didn't hit but I think the turn and river improved my position.

I decide to steal the pot and fire a value bet bluff but given stack sizes is not going to be an easy call.

She says she thinks I had a club draw.  I like that as though I missed my clubs, but I would have hit a hand with almost every club draw (except for the one I have).  The story I thought my bet was telling was that I missed clubs... but I got there.  That was my intention and she seemed to have got it.

Then she calls and sees my hand and giggles and says, "I knew you missed your club draw."

Now, maybe she had a read or she said one thing but didn't mean it.  I sometimes give a different rationale for calling then the real reason I called.  I did this once in front of Kathy Liebert and she mocked my "stated" rationale, I told her on the side, that just because I said one rationale didn't mean it was THE rationale I used.  She disparaged that line of thought a little too or maybe she thought I was trying to save face.

If Kathy really didn't see the value of that strategy, that surprises me as it seems a natural tactic of misinformation on a table full of strangers.  If you sit with me and I give an idiotic explanation for calling with Ace high... there was probably more to it, especially if none of the faces are familiar.  Against strangers I'm quite happy to give misinformation in an effort to collect information.  I think all players should employ this but I cant tell you how many times people genuinely discuss strategy with one another within minutes of sitting down with one another.

Against this player, perhaps she was doing the same, so maybe I shouldn't use this hand as a teaching lesson to me, but to be fair her giddy reaction afterward seemed too genuine when she showed pocket sixes.

So, point being just because you can read the board and tell a story, doesn't mean your opponent can.  I should have understood she can be a little bit of a call station and that she might not be able to read board texture that suggested she shouldn't call.

If anybody doesn't get what I'm saying... Let's look at all the club draws, I could have: Suited Aces.  Yep.  They beat her.  Some suited Kings.  KJ makes a straight.  KQ made a pair.  Suited Qs made pairs.  J9?  That made a straight. Jack 10 made a pair.   Depending on whether or not that last card on the flop was a 5 or 7 means some other suited cards could have made straights too.  Granted she has blockers with 66, but if she indeed put me on a club draw pretty much K9 is the only hand she can beat.   I'm not opening K6, K5, K4, or J8 or lower.  So the odds are such that may be precisely one missed club draw she beat--the hand I held.

Now, I still think betting there is right for other reasons, but there is something to be learned.  What you see is not what everybody else sees.  Empathy is vital in playing against opponents of all skill levels not just from an emotional perspective but also from understanding their concept of logic.  Some players have a tendency to only ask themselves "what would I have in their spot."  She'd bluff a missed draw.  She'd also open a much wider range of hands.

So while, my perception of hands I could have is rather limited on the flush draw, she might have a range of any two clubs and therefore if she was playing against herself calling beats a lot more hands then calling me.  It's hard to figure out people's defaults.  Does she default to her own ranges of hands or is she tracking my ranges of hands based on what I've shown down.  It's also possible she didn't even consider the fact all the club draws got there.  Maybe she made an early read and didn't dig too deep into the hand as the board shifted.

One other non poker item.  That has a bit of a parallel...  Was in Target the other day, and saw a decent prize on razor blades (yeah, they must be made out of gold these days) at a corner display.  So I pulled the trigger on a four pack for my Gillete Octo blade or whatever it is I own that shaves my face far better than I need it to.  Then I saw them on their own aisle and went to see if maybe I'd get a better deal on an 8 pack or more.  I didn't bit but I did notice they had the same pack of blades I was buying with a higher price tag.  Hmmm.

I take out my phone and take a picture of the price where I picked up the blades originally.  I get to the register and surprise, surprise, the price I though I was buying at wasn't what matched the receipt.  The funny thing is, it was higher than the other price too.  I showed her the pic and she paid out the difference.  In life as in poker, what you think you are selling (or buying) isn't necessarily what's actually being transacted.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Long, Long, Day at the MSPT:

Showed up for the 1030 am satellite for the MSPT at the Belle of Baton Rouge.  I had previously won a $60 satty to qualify for a $250 with a seat in the Main Event on the line.  I played so much poker yesterday (all the way to 1:30 am today) that I can't remember much of that tournament early.  I know some good players were at my table and I was looking enviously at the other table, but I had position on a couple including Danny Doucet.  I busted him when he flopped top pair and I had Aces.

When we got to the final table I arrived as the chipleader.  I got some good hands and saw my advantage disappear as we limped toward the four seats they were giving out.  Next thing I knew two or three stacks had swollen up.  One player had no idea he was in a satellite and played like he needed every chip.  Short stacks kept doubling and after hours of play I became a shorty.  Twice I got Aces to get critical double ups including once when on the stone cold bubble.  Ran good with Aces in this event.

One player kept gifting a short stack chips (raise fold or limp fold), when he was supposed to call anything and after a long time of play we were all even in chips.  By this point we were under an hour away from the Main Event start time of 5:00 pm.  I was pretty tired of it.  I felt if we were at a final table, I was quite comfortable.  But we were in a mega and it was now basically shove or fold for most of us.  Gene D had been the stone cold bubble the day before and they round down so he ended up with nothing.

It was going to come down to a cooler type hand to decide things, so I suggested we each pony up $100 for the bubble so at least everybody made some money.  After agreeing one player said he'd take $900 (each pay $225) and we'd get the seats.  Since it cost me nothing (well $60) to play the $250 I wasn't that opposed to it, but I had visions of winning the Main Event off of that $60 satellite--would be fun to do.

Anyway, the other four quickly agreed.  I hemmed and hawed and the dude offered it for $200 a piece.  I didn't really like it that much because I did feel I had an edge and it was only a 1/5 shot that I would be the unlucky bubble boy.  Still he was going to get $300 less than the rest of us and I needed some sort of break before beginning the Main so settled for the deal.

They got 54 in Day 1A and I got to say the MSPT ran a first class tournament.  The Belle's staff was little new to a multi-table tournament of that size but were in good spirits and taking advice/criticism well.  There was some grumbling about their competence but I think it was just inexperience.  They did up the third floor well, and if not for the way too loud slot machines, you almost forgot you were on a boat casino.

Lots of players showed up and I think I landed on the toughest starting table.  I chipped up a little bit with most of my cbets getting through.  In fact, so many were not getting contested by the better players that I f'd myself a bit.  The eventual chipleader Austin "The Kid" Bursavich raised, as he did every third hand, and I spied Kings.  I decided I would call instead of tipping my hand and let him walk me through the pot.

Flop came A99.  To be honest I was almost more worried about a 9 in his hand then an ace.  We went check, check.  He fired the turn which was another Ace.  I thought about raising, but didn't want to bloat the pot.  I felt I had the best hand, but if wrong I'd just be building it for him.  Also, I didn't want him to click back and make me make tough decisions on the turn/river.  River was a 5 ball.

Previously, we played a hand where he bet called all three streets on a king high board.  Then the five hit that time as well and he made a bet with a bit of a flourish.  I called and he had rivered two pair with K5 to win the pot.  When the 5 hit in this second pot he did the same thing, this little confident flourish.

I had planned to call most cards, and knew I might need to evaluate if it came a QJ or 10 (possibly because he might have rivered a better two pair than the board but below my kings so maybe some value in raising where he'd likely just call).  That would also put a straight possibility out there so I would be careful about those cards, but generally I was calling the turn to call most rivers.  Except he did the same flourish.


I stewed for a while.  I felt still he didn't have an A or 9.  Could he have 55?  Ugh.  That would suck.  Would he fold 55 to a raise?  Yeah, in his mind I easily have an A there.  Maybe he had an Ace all along and my read was off.  Would he value bet 55?  Thought that hand had too much showdown value to risk getting blown off the pot .  So no?  Only hands he could value bet 55 into were KK, QQ, or JJ that might get a call.  Though my hand might be transparent to him.

I didn't know what to do but decided my plan was to call most rivers I needed to stick with it and called.  55.

That would be the first of five times he cracked Kings on the tournament.  No wonder he's an overwhelming chip leader.

Big pairs which saved me in the satellite went south on me in the Main, but I got away from them pretty good.  Maybe could have played the hand more aggressively against Austin but I got two outed and most of the time I think I'm getting good value there.  Later against the tightest player at the table I threebet and cbet the flop, for him to shove all in on me.  He had flopped a set of fives.  Then against the same guy, when short I limped Aces hoping somebody picked up something behind me.  They didn't.  He completed from the small.  Big blind checked.  Flop came 984.  tight player opened.  Big Blind called.  I raised.  Tight player overshoved again.  Big Blinded folded an open ender.

I showed my Aces to Mihail who was next to me and mucked, tight player showed top two and I think would have called a pf raise so I got a little lucky.

Okay, life as the short stack.  I hovered around and under ten big blinds.  Finally, I got called by Austin when I had 4k with blinds at 300-600.  The hand made PokerNews.    It was about the only thing notable about my day after the suckouts and coolers.  Short stacks don't garner much attention.

Then unexpectantly, I went on a little rush, don't remember the hands though and got up to just under 30k when this hand happened.

Ben Thomas opened under the gun to 1200.  I looked at QQ.  Thomas didn't open many hands and was pretty solid yesterday in position so I knew he had something.  I was willing to go with QQ though, especially after exchanging some messages with Jeremy Gaubert about when to press in that structure and the need to chip up.  As I considered my option, I noticed Austin's brother who had just been sat to my left get his ~7k in chips his hand and felt he was ready to ship.  I immediately decided I'd call, he'd ship, and if Thomas tried to isolate with a shove I was calling.  If Thomas tried to reraise I was shoving--which I was hoping would happen.

First part went all right because Austin's brother shoved.  Then things got funny.  Justin Truesdale, who was won a circuit main event, pushed all in for 17k on the button.  I don't think he's ever light here even though you could make an argument it's a good steal spot.  Michael Horchoff does it that's different.  Thomas who had me covered went into the tank.  If he had insta called/shoved I might have folded.  When he finally tanked,  it look authentic, not a hollywood job to induce me, I thought I might have to get it in fourways.

Eventually he folded but before he did Truesdale gave me a little more information about his hand.  He starting talking to Thomas and I was confident he wasn't sitting on AA or KK.  His hand was vulnerable.  That meant Ak.  The short stack likely also had an ace and maybe Thomas did too.  I felt it was a great spot for Queens and called.  I was right A10 for the shorty and Ak for Truesdale.   Flop was clean.  Turn harmless and then Ace ball on the river.  Ugh... good bye five minutes of safety... back to the grind.

And grind, I did.  For hours and multiple levels I survived always threatened to bust by only being able to shove.  A couple of times going to showdown but most times just pulling in the blinds and a limp or the blinds and a raise.  Fortunately, I got some good hand to shove with but never got callers. Means I'm still alive but never could chip up.

One hand of importance came right after an uncalled shove.  The break started just after the hand was dealt.  Normally, I try to steal here as everybody decides to just go to the bathroom instead of getting involved in a hand, but whenever I try that I always get crushed on those hands.  So I stopped "break-stealing" and have cursed whatever book I read that in as a good strategy, as it just hasn't worked out for me.  When I saw AA, knowing some are aware of the stealing before the break, I had just enough chips to put in a small raise but could also limp.  I opted for the shove thinking they would put me on a steal, especially the new players to the table who hadn't seen my other shoves get through and were watching me shove two out of three hands.

Nope.  None of that thought.  People mucked and ran off the table.  Oh, so that's what a "Break Steal" is supposed to look like.

I survived until the end of the night and bagged up a paltry amount.  Which I hate because I won't have time on Sunday to condition my table that I'm shoving a narrow range and invariably run the risk of getting called early and making that trip to Baton Rouge for nothing.  I will need to shove fairly early in the day.  Still, on the bright side of things, I have chips and many young guns came with big stacks to my table and busted while I just nursed my short stack hoping/waiting for a run.  A double up or two early on Sunday and I'm back into the thick of things.

Friday, February 21, 2014



I just read your pitch for the low juice at the $1k tourney in Baton Rouge.  I’ll take your word on the 11% juice for this particular tournament and that sounds good on the surface.  However, I’m a bit confused as follows:
1.  You only mentioned the $1k tourney.  The series actually consists of quite a few other tourneys, none of which actually pay cash winnings, only entry to the next level of play.  What is the juice on them?
3.  The vast majority of the entrants into the $1k main event will probably have “won” their way into the tourney by way of the “qualifiers”.
4.  MidStates will be taking juice from the qualifying rounds too, right?  (11%??)
5.  A lot of the people in the “qualifiers” will probably have “won” their way into the “qualifier” tourney through satellites.
6.  MidStates will be taking juice from the satellite rounds too, right?  (11%??)
7.  As a result of the above statements, it looks like the vast majority of the people playing in the “main event” will have actually already paid juice at least once and probably twice.  Their entry into the main event will constitute a third round of juice.
8.  Therefore, the total average juice collected from the entrants to the main event will probably be more on the order of 25% and could be (theoretically, if all entrants qualified through satellites and then qualifier) as much as 33%?
If I’m right above then you either have missed my simple mathematical line of reasoning or you’re intentionally misleading your readers.  I have doubts that you misinterpreted the math and certainly don’t want to believe you’d mislead your readers.
Please tell me I’m missing something and explain to me what I’m missing.

Those are good points. I meant juice on the main. While many will win their way up, and I will note that on the next update, I've never talked about the juice of any tournament with regard to single table or multi table satellites. If I erred and suggested everything was 11% juice then that definitely was an error and I will clarify. If i didn't, I think I'm being consistent. Say I talk about a $365 and only 291 goes to the prize pool, I wouldn't mention that somebody might have won their way in via a single table and been juiced there too. Either way I will bring up what you said and I hope I'm not misleading anybody. Thanks for the heads up.


You were technically correct in stating that the juice is 11% on the main but that’s only true if you enter the main directly.  I think the big difference in the series in question is that the main seems to be the only tournament they’re actually paying out in cash.  Every other tournament in the series is only a stepping stone into the main.  My point is that they aren’t actually holding a tournament for only 11% juice if most of the participants have actually paid juice up to three times.
It sounds to me that if you enter the main directly you’re getting a really good deal but if you enter a satellite to get into a qualifier to get into the main juice has been taken three times.  Consequently they are actually collecting as much as 33% juice on a lot of the participants (won their way into the main via satellite then qualifier), 22% juice on a lot of others (won their way into the main by directly entering a qualifier), and only 11% juice on the few who enter the main directly.  It’s impossible to do the math unless you know the path taken by every participant but they are probably collecting 25% to 30% juice overall on the entrant pool for the main.

Sunday, February 02, 2014

Belle of Baton Rouge/Mid States Poker Tour

I went to the Belle for the first time to check out their poker room and play one of the satellites for the Mid States Poker Tour.  When I arrived they had one seat open.   45 players (including rebuys) meant there would be 9 seats (20% of the field).

The play, ummm, was suspect at best.  People calling off with marginal hands and huge stacks.  Short stacks calling every raise to see flops.  I felt if I didn't get unlucky I'd be alright.  I took a couple of beats and got short right before the first break.  I decided I'd rebuy if necessary, so it was time to double up (or double up by rebuying) and called with J10 in late position. Flopped open ended in a multi-way pot (they were all multi-way pots) and made broadway on the turn with a Ace.  We got it in.  The very next hand one off the button I limped with suited connectors.  A call station raised from the button and then an older fellow in the big blind who called everything stewed and called.  I was ready to proceed very cautiously.  I flopped a flush.  Checked to me.  I led out.  The button shove and so did the blind.  I called, but not too happily based on the action (different players different format I might consider a fold).  Surprisingly, based on they action they held AA and KK (King of hearts).  Both had a story to tell as they got snapped by 56.  Lol.

So, I went from 6k to 40k in two hands.  When I made the final table on the stone bubble 40k was plenty of chips to have.  In fact, I actually had less than that.  I took a couple of gross beats along the way including a guy who shoved with a flush draw and a gut shot.  I had a bigger flush draw and top pair w/ AK (flopped an Ace).  He hit his gutterball.  It happens.  I remember this only because a few rounds later when somebody sucked out on him he was trolling the player and bemoaning his luck.  Short memory I guess, especially considering he called a raise with J4 suited or some such nonsense.

Deep, the play didn't improve.  I watched guys with huge stacks mixing it up when they could have folded to a seat, people overplaying Aces, short stacks with like 8bbs calling every raise and hitting one out of four hands to stay alive.  A good player with a bunch of chips, not paying attention, folded to a shove of 11k, when he was in the big blind with 8k.  He thought it was 11k more instead of 3k.  I made a point after that  anytime a shortie shoved and action got to me, of asking how much the shove was for and asking how much the big blinds were from there on out before looking at my cards to keep people thinking.  One time a lady limped and a guy barely doubled the big blind on his shove.

Somehow the big blind folded (with a ton of chips) but the limper called and won.

They played a cash game afterward where the capped the rate for an abusrdly small amount and promise to do the same during the Mid-States Poker Tour.  I will be back, and be back often to play the $250s.  I believe there is only a ~10% juice on the Main Event.  We all bitch about the juice but now there is finally a tournament with a reasonable juice in our backyard and I'm not sure there will be a huge turnout.

Even if it's a hassle to play, we should go en masse and in force to show all the tour operators how well we'd support a reduction in rake, no matter the locale.  So if you get some annoying facebook message from me do your part and show up.  10% juice.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Long Time Gone--BCS lookback

Keep meaning to blog and even started one or two, but never got the chance to finish on all sorts of topics, so rather than one long here are a series of short ones.

Auburn-FSU (yeah it's been a while):

Great game.  Hated the result though.

Seemed like variance finally caught up to the Tigers.  I think if they hit that fg in the first half they win.  At the time, I knew it was critical, just as I knew FSU were likely to fake punt as they absolutely had to get something before the half.  Lots of reverse parallels to games Auburn played in recent history.  Take this year's Iron Bowl, all Bama had to do to win was hit one more field goal (probably) and they win.  The same is likely true for Auburn when they missed early in the National Championship.  Should have been one last nail to FSU's chances.

The late first half touchdown reminded me of another late touchdown before the half (rewind to Auburn's national championship season with Cam Newton) in the epic comeback in the Iron Bowl.  While Brent Musberger was crowning the Tigers the game in the first half, I kept thinking it's not enough... yet.  That Iron Bowl stood out in my head.  So I kept feeling these moments where things that went exactly Auburn's way once were now setting up to go opposite (if only poker worked that way... lol).

The kick off return, a back breaking special teams play, also had multiple parallels to other games.  Credit to Auburn as they regrouped and marched the ball down the field.  This time though, they gave the other team too much time.  I think you can make a case that Auburn (Tre Mason) should have stopped at the one and burned more time then taken four shots to win it.  Risky, yes, but Auburn gets that one yard.  The biggest risk in that situation was getting penalized and moving the ball back, but I take my chances needing one yard at that point in the game and basically creating a scenario where only a miracle would win it for FSU.

Speaking of miracles, Auburn had another miracle up their sleeve, and after an incredible play set up just didn't execute as they did in every other close game.  The way that played unfolded at the very end it was kind of amazing.

Both my parents went to Auburn so I've been a lifelong fan, so when Mason got stuffed it stung.

Feel like on the last play, if Mason had tried to beat that one FSU player on the outside, maybe just barrel him over, instead of cutting it in... there might have been another miracle. There was a line of blockers and the sideline was open.  (This guy disagrees with me, but the evidence he uses only reinforces my belief had Mason taken on and beaten Joyner, he would have been in a slow moving convoy--we'll never know though)>  After the game when Mason was blaming himself for not getting it done (yeah, he had an MVP type performance) but I felt he was more focused on that one decision than his performance in general.

Great season though.  So much fun to watch and live through. Taking Auburn to win it all after the Georgia game with great odds and then settling up before the National Championship made it a little sweeter.

One last note, strategy and momentum wise I thought there were some real layers and nuances to the game maybe unnoticed by the Media.   Malzahn believed in bulldozing his opponent with the run this year and the fourth quarter he smashes them over as the defenses can't handle the unrelenting attack.  At half-time he predicted it would be true again.  However, I don't think he took into consideration, that the first half was atypical for Auburn.  Far more passing and less in the trenches.

The change of style got them their big lead and had FSU on their heels but they weren't wearing down the defense as usual.  I don't think FSU was beaten from a fatigue stand point, as most defenses have been by Auburn, until Auburn's very last touchdown drive (made obvious by FSU's stud dying on the sideline and too gassed to go back into the National Championship game).

Rather than be able to bulldoze them through the part of the third quarter and entire fourth quarter, Auburn struggled to find the easy points that wear-them-down offense normally manufactures in second halves.  Obviously, I'd never suggest not taking what the defense gives you, nor advocate forsaking scoring opportunities, and I'm not being critical of Gus for doing either, but I do think the failure to move the ball most of the second half as they usually did, had a lot to do with success in the first.