Thursday, November 29, 2007

Hands, Hands, Hands...

I've decided to play the juicy cash games running concurrently to the donkaments. I've heard how outrageous the busted tournament players are but I had no idea. Why aren't I a busted tournament player and now merely a cash gamer? I'm tired of the bubbles or min-cashes. Like Austin Martin alludes to in his blog, I feel entitled to win because I see "lesser" players riding luck to bigger cashes. The frustration has built to a head. So, I should take a break from the heartache. That means, I'm heading to Harrahs early 2morrow morning. If I win $340 plus before the 3:00 tournament, I'm playing it as freeroll. I never learn.

Playing stictly cash today I was amazed at how EVERYBODY takes a bad beat to get knocked out of the field. Nobody gets their money in bad anymore? I thought it was just me (sarcasm). Every 5 minutes somebody walked into the poker-room talking about flopped sets and runner-runners to put them on ice. Granted as stacks get smaller and people are forced to call with less it's only natural that a lot of people get knocked out when they started ahead in the hand. I don't quite agree with the guy who left my table to play in the 3:00 and returned at 7:00 who said he thinks 75% of the time the worst hand wins. Hmmm... Maybe he needs some help in the hand rankings.

I'm tired of writing about bad beats so here are two hands that definitely do not qualify. The first one is from last night. I still can't figure out what my opponent held. Mustang Mike was there and I've asked several people their thoughts and none of us can exactly figure out what the guy had. So far, I've been told I was priced out of the call but I'm starting to have some second thoughts.

Some background: The villian is in the small blind. Today he made me and 8 other people richer, last night, his ruthless aggression was coupled with a run of good luck, and despite overplaying his hands, he was bulldozing the table. He bet EVERY SINGLE FLOP. He bet almost every single turn. He called almost every single preflop bet and many post flop bets if somebody had the temerity to bet before he could. If not for his bad river calls he could have made a mint last night. He had a fat wallet and the unmitigated belief that blind aggression leads to riches and not ruin. He's also a good ol boy that ran an angle on me, which I love, and I'll get to later.

In this hand I was in one off the button facing a few limps. I have KhQh and have been inactive for a couple of orbits. I fire out 12, my raises are given the respect my tight image warrants for the most part, so I'm thinking I could isolate. Of course the domino effect ruins that. He calls with no hesistation. Three more limpers follow suit. Pot of 60. It's amazing how much a call station to your left can create a mountain of multi-way pots in a 1-2 game. I think I'm going to put some thought into that and how it affects strategy in a column at some later date.

Back to the action: Flop is Jh9h4s. Villian, unusual for him, checks and others follow suit waiting for my continuation bet. I give it to them with 25. I've become predictable of late trying to be unpredictable and betting my draws. Villian calls. Tough to put call stations on hands. Turn is a 6c. Okay, that didn't help either one of us. I'm hoping for a check from him but I'll call just about any of his typical bets for my draw and the implied odds of him calling what could be the nuts on the river. He is looking skyward and the dealer has to remind him it's his turn. He looks at me and sez "All in." Pot is 110. He's got maybe 275-300.

I'm flabbergasted. Huh? Before I go through my thought process I want to go back to the angle he shot on me earlier that night. In the second hand I'll focus on... I have a weak ace in one of the blinds. Flop gives me two aces. I check. He bets out everybody folds to me. I call. Turn: Bricko. I check. He bets the turn, I call. With all the second pairs he's shown my ace may be good despite the rag I got riding sidecar. The river hits and before I can do anything he pushes a bet of 50 into the pot. Right into his style of bet and they'll go away. I deliberate for a long time. This angle of betting out of turn is almost always a sign of weakness. Most of the time I raise with anything and take the pot as if I checked, but sometimes I stew on it.

Here, I felt he probably had a weak ace too (at best) and wanted to control the pot and eliminate me betting a similar holding. In these situations position is almost inverse with the power being to first to act. Here I have to decide to call with a mediocre hand, or to muscle up a bluff, but now I can't bluff 50 I have to bluff 150 or so, which is tougher to do. On one hand I realize he's got a $50 spliff sitting in the pot for me, but on the other knowing his tendency to be a call station and married to hands, I decide a different course of action was better. His 50 in the pot might force him to call a raise with a secondary holding. So, I tell the dealer I didn't check.

She didn't think so. Nice control of the game by the way. She pulls his bet back. I contemplate making it $55 to be a jerk but I decide I don't want to anger him into reraising or calling so I go for the confusing number of 50 the exact same amount he put out. Here I want him to make the decision of calling my $50 or raising me in the face of a river bet. He folds. I win with my weak ace. I don't doubt he could have had A8 and the 8 would have played. He could have had less but I think I made the safer play. Clearly, the man did not like me calling out his angle and folding the hand to me. One player told me well played, another guy said, "You lost that $50 why didn't you just let him leave it out there." Twisting the screw a bit I say loud enough for the guy to hear, "What if I was bluffing?" Some laughs, one red-faced enemy.

So back to the first hand... This incident replaying in my head I face the villian's all in bet. In one way, maybe he thought this was the only way he could steal this 110 from me. Did the 6 really help him at all? Why bet so much if he has a made hand? Did he put me on a draw and wants to protect something? Is he trying to sucker me in with an overbet? Is he making a semi-bluff with a draw?

If has two pair or a set, I lose my overcards (Kings and Queens) as draws. Then I'm left with trying to hit a heart or a 10. If he's got the set, I lose the 4h as another out. Yet, my gut tells me he's making a move. Then he does one of those lookaways when I catch him studying me, like he doesn't want to scare me. Argh. Ultimately, I was priced out. Still, the hand vexes me. I don't know what he had. In playing with this guy for hours today and yesterday, he didn't making a move as audacious as this one. So, now I think he might have had 78 or 10Q and been way behind me with a semi-bluff OR he had a set of sixes and wanted to get me back for embarassing him earlier.

Still, it's a fun hand to contemplate. Would he really call that board with pocket 6s?

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Donkey in a donkament

Played in the first event. Thought I did well. Ended up in the 60s or 70s out 380 players. They pay 36. Seemed every time I got some momentum I took a beat. Three or four times I had to rebuild my stack after getting snapped back to starting chips. Fun stuff like Ak getting called by A2 for all his chips when we hit an A on the flop. Hello 2 on the river.

A critical hand for me had nothing to do with a bad beat. Got Q rag in the big blind. Middle position min raises with one caller. Small blind folds. With the antes I feel I'm getting the right price, plus the raiser and caller are somewhat tight so I can steal when the flop misses my weak holding. Flop gives me nothing, but my image has been so tight I planned on firing away if the texture was weak. It's 10 6 4. Two clubs. Not too bad. As I calculate what to bet and read my opponents, I see both guys double check their hole cards. Hmm... I put this as a good sign. Lots of time in the face of an impending bet, most people in my experience do this to see if they at least have a draw after missing the flop. I fire away. Middle position thinks for a long while and calls. Two clubs on the board. Flush draw. Second guy folds. No draw.

I decide if a club doesn't come on the turn I'm firing and getting him out. K of hearts hits. Blam I fire. He moves all in. Math says I have to call if I have anything, but I don't. My two bets have put my stack on life support no need to pull the plug yet. I fold. I tell him he's got K10. I find many people are more likely to show when you've guessed wrong because they can reveal to the table they outplayed/out-thought you and he does just that showing QJ of clubs. Do that next time you want to see a guy's holding and guess wrong with some assurance and you'll be surprised how often they show.

So he was ppen ended with flush draw (and Light years ahead of me). My read was right, my instincts were true, but I run into just the wrong card. King gives him more outs. Course if he thinks his Q and J are live with me having a holding of say A10 then he's priced in as a 45-54 dog. If that's his thinking he was also right to make the flop call as he was a 61-30 favorite.

Here's where I hurt myself. I got a draw read on him and I was right. Yet, he had such a strong draw he was a favorite to the hand I was representing. Ultimately, it goes back to the fact I was playing Qrag out of position. I easily could check the flop with two opponents and bail in the face of a bet. Hell, this hand could have been checked down and I could have paired my rag for an unlikely win. Or I could have said pot odds be damned I got Qrag and folded preflop.

Then again, I've never won a tournament or gone deep without making moves of this type every hour or so. I had the chips to spare but not to spare what I bet. Maybe I could have put out a smaller feeler bet instead of trying to steal. Or not bet the turn as he seemed commited to the hand and maybe my draw read was off. Maybe he was double-checking his pocket 10s to make sure his set was still there.

This was the critical hand for me, as it was one I could control. Beats happen, and I'm going to get my money in good and take them, but this time I got it in bad and got slapped stealing from the cookie jar. It's definitely a hand I'm going to contemplate a little more.

The final hand that took me out was Deja Vu all over again. Like last wednesday I flop top two with AQ. It's all in. KJ hits his straight on the turn when the 10 comes out. Lusky took a bad beat too as he seems to whenever he plays these live donkaments. He had Aces. Flop came out K high. Guy with Kx puts him all in. River came x. Ugh.


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November 26, 2007
According to a recently revealed source, the US Army Corps of Engineers conducted an early intentional plan to hide their role in the metro New Orleans levee failures.
Dr. Ray Seed, co-chair of the respected U of Cal Berkeley levee investigation submitted an ethics complaint on October 30 documenting how the Corps of Engineers systematically hid their mistakes in the flooding and intimidated anyone who tried to intervene.
All of this was done, according to Dr. Seed, with the help and complicity of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), the same group the Army Corps chose to peer review the official Corps-sponsored levee investigation.
Write your members of Congress and demand the 8/29 Investigation, a truly independent analysis of the flood protection failures in metro New Orleans.Click here:
There are now abundant reasons for us - the public - to lack confidence in the quality and the independence of the Corps-sponsored evaluation.
Click here to demand the 8/29 Investigation now!
Thank you,Sandy RosenthalExecutive Director, Levees.Org
You can read Dr. Seed's letter on our
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Monday, November 26, 2007

I nominate...

Virge, or The Verge... as my candidate for MTV's new True Life "I'm an Online Poker Player." After talking with Lusky, Virge, seems a great candidate, though I feel Lusky and Eddie are equally capable and would give us some good drama.

Anyway, tomorrow the Bayou Classic at Harrahs begins. I think I'm firing my first bullet at noon depending on the turnout. See ya'll there.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

I had great hands until they went through the wood chipper

So with 20 left in the tournament today, payout the final 10 and usually chopping at 1k a person, I've amassed 10% of the chips. I've built my stack at that point with ruthless aggression in the tight bubble play aspect of the tournament after spending 4 hours convincing everybody I'm the tightest at the table. No need to mention the suckout I made in a battle of the blinds with A10 suited against Kings to give me half that stack. I raise almost half my stack against the big stack in the BB showing him I was pot committed. He quickly looks at his cards and sez... "All in." Oops, once again dug my own hole. He's got kings. Ace spikes for me. Sweet, I think, finally a tournament where I get the suckouts. Oh, the karmic justice headed my way.

I played with Parfait from Houma, and watched him get knocked out of the tournament with pocket Jacks vs. a guy who called with 3s. He said to the table, "I'll never win those because I never play that bad." It's true and that what's stings about this tournament there's that kind of head-scratching play from start to finish. How do you make that call with threes?

So, at the break I talk to a guy I final tabled it with last week and try to encourage him as he's short stacked on the other table. Then I tell him I'm just going to coast to the final table. Reflecting on that, now, sometimes I can be such an ass without even realizing it. Like he wants to hear about me in the catbird seat "coasting" to the final table. Just like tonight in the drug store with Jess, I hear this Rick Astley song from the early 90s "Never Going Give You Up..." I start teasing her for liking it, as she's privately admitted in the past. Of course I'm oblivious to the fact that the counter dude was whistling along, and I continue to pile on Jess some more. I finally catch the dirty/hurt look he's giving me and ask her about it outside and she pointed out the obvious.

Anyway, after announcing my easy path to the final table, I take a swan dive into a wood chipper. I lose half my stack with AK v. J8. I was in the big blind and the guy made a move on me from the button going all in. He's clearly read Harrington on Hold 'em because he's pushing all-in from late position way too much. I get a read of weakness from him and I'm hoping weak ace. However, I nearly fold because I'm not dictating the action here and I probably was only a small favorite. I call and everybody is astounded I took so long. My nit rationale was simple, I didn't need to sacrifice my chips at that point and time, when I had the chips to pick up free pots or get it in after a flop as a bigger favorite. Why be at the mercy of a coinflip. I still think that was the right rationale. My tell of weakness was correct but it didn't change the odds any, to his benefit he had less than a weak ace.

So there goes half the stack. Then I push at a small stack with KJ he goes over the top with K5. I have to call. Yes, the 5 hits. There goes 10 grand more.

Next hand is A6 v. A4. I push and a small stack in the BB calls. Yes, he hits his straight, but to add insult to injury, I'm losing the hand to a guy who is calling for his 4 to come on the river, giving me a higer straight because he didn't even know he was ahead.

Then crippled I get lucky in the big blind tripling up w/ AJ suited against a board of KK10107. Q4andQ6 check it to the river. A fellow player was kind enough to compliment me for my dignity in the face of the mawling I was taking. Hmm. That was nice... but oh so short-lived.

Two hands later, I get AQ on the button. I think about pushing but the big blind has chips and I think he's liable to call with anything because he doesn't know any better. I call. He checks. Flop comes AQ7. I bet all in. He calls. He shows KJ. Turn is a 2. River is 10. Yeah...

So I end up being like 13th or something and endured all those hands in about 2 orbits of the table. Thankfully, I didn't have that yoboo from Boomtown jeer me with his "From the penthouse to the OUTHOUSE" taunts when I went from chipleader to busto with KK and JJ (v. QQ and A7) in two successive hands earlier this year.

When I left, Ruttley from Houma was going deep on the other table. I didn't get a look at his stack, but on the way to car I thought back to when I played nice to him with three tables left. He raised into my big blind from middle position with a slight overbet that sniffed a bit of a middle pair. Course he's a good player so I throw that read out the window. I look down at Rockets. Already heads up, I usually like to min-raise like I'm weakly defending my blind and get most people to push again over the top all-in. However I wasn't after his money... yet. I wanted to avoid him until late in the final table. Too much other money there, so I felt I was doing him a bit of a favor when I went over the top all-in. I tried to radiate strenght, relaxing in my chair for him to pick up on it and get out. He stewed for a while and then laid down. He had 10s. Good lay down. That sort of soft play on my part had karmic consequences too, so I guess I deserved the woodchipper on two accounts.

A topic to come that I hope to touch on over the vacation if I have the time is... The New Orleans Po-Boy Festival from last week.

Okay... Happy Thanksgiving everybody.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

WEEKLY COLUMN: Wild BIll on Tells

Yesterday, I had a pretty good run. At critical time I utilized some tells and though I didn't turn a profit on those hands, in fact my tournament strategy told me to go against my reads, it did get me thinking about tells, when you should listen to them, and the perils of internet strategy in live play because they don't listen to them.

Rewind to yesterday. I got that warm and fuzzy feeling as my stroked ego told myself, "You are the best poker in the world" as I luckboxed into these 3 hands:

1. Middle set over bottom set. I'll double up thank you. Yes, I'm a genuis not just lucky. It was amazing how I extracted every possible dollar out of that hand (sarcasm alert for those who can't read it).

2. Short stacked and bubble time with two short handed tables left, I got 6-4 in the big blind. SB limps. Flop is A57. I bet out with my draw. He calls. For some reason I'm fairly confident he doesn't have an Ace. Actually I'm sure, he's raised every top pair so maybe he has two high cards or the 7 which I might be able to get him off. Turn is an Ace. I bet again. He calls again. River is 2. He checks, again, I study him and he starts making funny faces. I get almost 2/3rds of my chips together. I ask him how much will he call (egad, strong is weak, weak is strong I might induce a call rather than counter one I subconsciously curse myself). Thankfully, he looks sheepish. I push my tourney life into the pot. He folds, saying, "I was just on a draw." "6-4?" I ask. "Yep." To quote Borat, Niiii-ice, thank god I didn't check the river.

3. A player is all in, I got AK and a medium-stack. Big stack calls. I call. If I push preflop big stack has to call me and has shown a willingness to do so. Flop brings an Ace. He checks. I push. He says quite dismissively, "I was going to just check it down but you did it to yourself." He turns over AJ. My K kicker holds. Suddenly, I'm the tourney chip leader.

Also, though I took some licks early, I didn't get down. I won most of my races and tossed a lot of good hands rightfully into the muck. Yet, even though I got my share of lucky hands I think at pivotol times, tells got me to the final table. Oddly, I'm going to focus on me avoiding hand despite the tells telling me otherwise.

Twice people exhibited the same tell on me as they pushed my tight-aggressive ass around. I knew they were bluffing. First time I had pocket nines but the board was all high cards. I get the "get out of my pot stare" as my opponent puts all my chips at risk. It was a draw heavy board with two diamonds and three overcards to my hand kq10. I laugh at the guy and said I was going to insta-fold until I got the stare then I didn't know what to do. You got 8s or something? Angry glare continued. I folded choosing to wait until another time... even if I was ahead, he probably had a better redraw then me and why put my tournament at risk. All he needed was a 10 and I was behind. He was weak but how weak? Then I go mad at myself that I outed his tell a little bit. He didn't glare at anybody again so I gave out helpful information rahter than harmful.

The next guy used the death stare on me at the critical bubble stage. This time I had pocket 7s in the small blind. He's been card dead and in late middle position and I'm thinking it's about time for him to either make a steal attempt or finally get a hand. He makes an overbet when it's folded to him. Hmmm. It gets to me. I'm pulling a GeneD and working it a little bit, as now there are some shorter stacks at the table, and the blinds are about to go up, so I got some time to deliberate (in fact 1 minute and 30 seconds according to the clock). I'm confident I have the best hand because as I stew, he locks in harder with that glare. Damn, he's definitely weak. Maybe I should go all-in. Then I think about it, maybe he thinks 99s are a vulnerable hand, and he doesn't want to get into a race but he's committed to it. He also might have to make a crying call and I did not know if I had any fold equity at all. As I stew, the more confident I am that he has trash but I can't pull the trigger on the move

Finally, I lay them down. He turns over Q,9. We would have been in a race. I guess he did that to tilt me a little bit, but instead it told me my reads were still good and actually put me at ease. I wasn't at the point where I needed to win races to stay alive or to win the tournament. So making a move with 7s and maybe inducing a dumb call (or a smart one) on his part could have knocked me out of the tournament.

Going back to Firday at the turbo I took down at the IP, there was a very solid player, decked in Crimson Tide apparell (actually you would have though half the players there were on the coaching staffs of Auburn, Alabama, and Ole Miss) who I played with all the way to the final table. He made an interesting comment and his read of a tell was different than mine. He got into a hand with a board that had a lot of danger elements with a weaker player. The flop hit and the weaker player fondled his chips and then hesistantly put them back on his stack and checked. Bama guy eyed him strangely and checked too. The turn hit and the weaker player picked up his min bet started to put it out, pulled it back and then threw it in.

Normally, weak is strong, strong is weak, so this guy must have hit that board right on the nose BUT I didn't give him credit enough to be an actor. My read of that tell was real hesistation and weakness, and I would laid into him with a raise and felt I could have scooped the pot right then and there if I were Bama guy. Sometimes people really throw their chips into the pot like they are fishing or genuinely asking a question. Let's see maybe I'm good? And that's what the guy did in my opinion. At first I thought the Alabama guy was bone dry and giving a speech for nothing or to get a reaction when he said, "You really, REALLY want me to call, huh? All that..." and he motioned toward his chips mimic-ing the weak player's movement postflop. I put that in the bin to think about later.

Is that really such an overt and obvious tell of strength and transparent attempt at weakness? From good players, I've certainly seen them feign their true holding by appearing indecisive, and I did the very same thing yesterday and I'd rate me as an average player, but is that a standard part of a lesser player's reportoire? I thought not. So why would Bama boy think it was definitive and the opposite conclusion of mine?

Later, me and Alabama boy get into a hand, and he was either brilliant or forgetful of the information he had leaked to the table. I had a strong preflop holding (can't remember what), he called my raise (strange because in general we hadn't really crossed swords... I thought it was because there was easier money at the table but maybe it was just timing) the board came out and helped me giving me a straight draw too. He then pulled the exact same chip juggle the novice did to him and pulled it back to check. Sometimes people make that play when they are weak, want to get to the end of the hand as cheaply as possible and want you to think they were almost strong enough to bet. Yet with him, that didn't feel right, so I checked as I'm apt to do when confused.

I went back to the storage bin and stewed on the earilier exhange as the turn card was tabled. Reviewing that, he had made a jibe to the novice when the novice had done the same thing as though it was obvious to him the novice was strong. My logic was this: if that is such an obvious tell to him, even though it can mean different things for different skill levels or actors-vs-nonactors, it must be something that is a part of his arsenal and only signifies one thing. He must use that with a monster. Yet oddly, the only monster I could see was a set, but even that was vulnerable. As the exchange had taken place an hour earlier him banking on me picking up on that and remembering it was kind of slim so I didn't think it was a ruse for me (if it was it was absolutely brilliant on his part). But, then again, the board didn't have any kind of made hands. With so many draws and the relative strength that move seemed to signify with him why wouldn't he protect his holding?

The third heart hit and I said, well if he's got a set let's see how he feels about me representing a flush. I bet and he reraised. Either he had the flush, saw through my steal attempt and sniffed some sort of weakness on my part, or he was playing his set/two pair to showdown. I read him as still strong and I laid down. I also decided I'd try pull the same chip indecision move on him later just to f' with him. I never got the chance.

That's the interesting thing about tells, as a rule there are no rules. A tell on one person can mean a completely different thing on another person, just as one person's read of a tell can be completely different than another's.In all three of those situations, I laid down even though twice I might have had the better hand. In a cash game I probably would have pushed on both the first two guys and taken the pot, yet in a tournament I didn't want to get into that situation with no rebuy. In the third, my gut told me he was strong, so the donkfish that I can be I bet into him with the scare card and he smacked my hand like I was a schoolboy.

Dolye Brunson, is getting some internet juice (and I use the term juice like people use the term heat or abuse), because in a game of high stakes poker he laid down a higher flush to Jaime Gold. Internet players think it's a shining example of the passivity and unsound thinking of the old school. Long run, they argue he wins more money by playing that hand out, BUT what they fail to take into account is Doyle had a read on Jaime, the right read in fact, that Gold thought his hand was not only good but best. Here Jaime didn't know any better and Doyle has to give the guy credit for King or Ace high flush (0r whatever the two higher flushes out there were as I think the A or K were on the board) because he got such a read of strength. Plus, Jaime just won a main event a year ago, why would he think a mid flush is the nuts? Can't fault Doyle for giving the guy too much credit.

Well, they argue since Doyle was wrong what good did his read do if he laid down the better hand, in fact, he laid down an unbeatable hand versus Jaime's. How quickly they forget last year's horse championship. Doyle laid down pocket Kings (or Queens) preflop to Chip Reese. Andy Bloch (pseudo-voice of the new breed though you could argue he 's more old school then new except for his math foundation) was incredulous. No way Doyle laid down Kings he said. TJ Cloutier, another old-timer, rightfully said, "He did if he thought he was beat." Dolye had a tell on Reese, probably decades of playing with the guy and his betting patterns moreso than a physical one, and got rid of his inferior holding. To a guy like Bloch, who incidentally wrote a slim book Poker Tells for Dummies (which is for Dummies and vastly inferior to twenty other books out there on th same subject), folding that hand long run has such a negative expected value (or e.v.) that he can't comprehend Doyle laying it down.

Now, where were the internet players on this one? Doyle laid down the second best possible starting hand which is even better than the third nuts he had vs. Gold. Yet, instead of praising the old school this is overlooked. If you are results oriented like in the first hand the result was the right play, but since it doesn't fit into their pre-established conclusions about the old school it's not referenced.

I know I'm a little bit all over the place with this post, but these things somewhat tie together. I feel the new school gets into a brick and mortar casino and ignore short term information a little too much based on their internet schooling. On the internet, when you have six tables going at once and you can play 5 times faster at each table it should all be about e.v. I get that. If you bust out of one tournament, so what, you are also playing in 5 others at the same time. Making correct e.v. decisions wins you money long run and long run on the internet is a much shorter time period than long run live. So when an internet player watches a live game with somebody like Doyle laying down third nuts and cites e.v. dictates that's a bad play, their thinking is somewhat sound but they are also wrong.

You hear people tout how live poker is just one long game. And you should make as many positive e.v. moves as possible and long run you'll win more than you lose. That's true. And it's not. Poker is also a short run game, and you can only sit at one table at a time, and for the most part only play one tournament at a time. You may not have the bankroll to attack every tournament in a way that will give you deeper cashes more oftern and you may have to play just to survive every hand. Even some pros to a degree take this mindset. Take a guy, a nit like Chris Ferguson, who utilizes the math to make his decisions but incorporates all kinds of reads into a intangible decision making matrix.

I'm not claiming that Internet players don't use tells when they play live (though they certainly give away a lot of free information) or use them to help their games BUT when the groupthink is that Dolye made a bad laydown based on e.v. they clearly don't understand that experience factors into a live players e.v. a lot more than they realize. In fact, those haters are completely backasswards on this one. It's definitely positive e.v. for Dolye to make those kinds of laydowns even if in shortrun he lost with it, because long run when he gets that read of strength on someone he's beat more often then not. Even if the math says shove it in, it takes a special kind of player to go, you know what, I'm behind I have to lay down. And sometimes, like Doyle, and like I might have been in the third example, you are wrong or simply outplayed, but if more often than not (positive e.v. in a nutshell) you are profitable using this in your game you should do it.

What's the conclusion to this scrambled post. Tells are good but like poker itself are purely situational. Sometimes situations dictate you ignore them, sometimes situations dictate you oblige them even if everything else tells you to ingore them, and sometimes they can save you money when all other things are equal. Tells are a difficult to calculate part of a live player's e.v. and an overlooked part of a internet player's limited view of live strategy.

Wow, you read all that for that little nugget of genuis "Tells are good" (yeah, that's sarcasm too)? I guess my point is that players like myself that are struggling to go up to the next level have to be aware of the importance of utilizing every piece of information and false information, the pyschology and motivation behind them, and be on the look out for this at all times. To me, the internet game misses the complexity and deeper levelled thinking false tells, real tells, and silent information affords you in live play. In fact, as a live player I think your profit or long run e.v. is most influenced be your ability to read people. So read some books away from table, as long as they aren't written by Andy Bloch, and start paying attention at the table and stop the book reading at it.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Thoughts on the Acadiana Poker Series

The two day tournament to benefit the United Way was in a way a victim of its own success. I talked to a number of players there and they told me last years event had over 700 people play. The event was slammed and understaffed to accommodate such a swell of people, again this is according to the players.

This year, with a great effort by the Small Town Poker Tour, they had plenty of tables, dealers, chips, drinks, and anything you could ask for. Unfortunately, I fear many of the players didn't return because of the chaos of last year. Team GCP didn't get on board to promote the event until three weeks prior to it and I think the traveling players from New Orleans, and Mississippi were really torn.

The IP Classic, which Team GCP attended on Wednesday and Thursday, had started and held their biggest event turnout wise that Friday. We were in Lafayette and heard stories of many of the players we know opting to go East instead of West. To be honest, they missed out.

The Acadiana Poker Series benefitted a great cause and was a terrific tournament. The hard work of all the volunteers from Chevron, ULL, the other corporate sponsors, meant the event could have handled another 700 easily. The rebuys, add-ons and deep stacks really afforded a lot of play. For rounders the opportunity was there as Friday's tournament had an overlay and a lot of people were there for the experience and not for the prize.

Heck, Team GCP was there for the experience and for the United Way, but it was hard to ignore the guaranteed $20,000 prize pool for Friday's tournament. The IP only guaranteed 15k if I'm not mistaken. I truly hope the Acadiana Poker Series accomplished its goals, and encourage our readers to contact them to donate more to the charity if they have time or money. Also, the event was so first class it'd be a shame to lose it from next year's calender. We plan on keeping info up on our front page for the near future about the tournament just as a reminder to the people that missed out to make a donation and to play next year.

Also, as soon as we get pictures and results we will post them on the players that went deep into the event.

Congrats to Gene D

He represented TEAM GCP well this weekend. I sweated him a good bit in his mega on Friday and was very impressed with his play. He induced calls when he had the best hands and he laid down when he needed to. There is tactic of Gene's, which I won't give away, but he is a big proponnent of that he really worked to his advantage. For those in the know, he "worked" it.

At one point, the only stack at the table that could knock him out, when they were 5 handed (4 seats) went all in for just the blinds. It got to Gene and he mulled it over for a long time. In my own head, maybe the only hand I play there is Aces (don't need to win the tournament just need to win a seat) and I might even lay that down. After an excruciating amount of time he pitched it. A couple of hands later he asked if the guy could beat pocket 10s.

What?!? Pocket 10s. I figured I had to call a T.O. and get Gene's head straight. I actually tapped him on the shoulder and got him to step away from the table. He smiled and said he didn't have 10s and agreed he probably wouldn't even play aces there. He was doing it for an ulterior motive. Sweet. At that point I knew he'd win the seat. Great job Gene. You were one step ahead of everyone.

In the main event, I didn't get to watch but I was impressed by how composed Gene was as we talked during the breaks. He went card dead but hung around. Pitching a lot of hands that could get him into trouble and simply surviving until he hit his run. He really played well and kept his focus on the prize. Sometimes the cards just don't go our way as after he doubled and tripled up late, he lost a coin flip.

Oh, yeah, I took down the turbo with a 3-way chop on Friday night (we gave the small stack a smaller share for 4th). I think the only reason why I went from the short stack at the final table to the big one was I realized a level before everybody else it was all in or nothing. I actually took down some HUGE blinds and limps by being willing to throw all my chips in with hands I wouldn't dream of shoving with early. Playing so tightly with most of these guys really aided me in dragging pots without opposition. At one point, I pushed 4 out of 5 hands, went uncalled and guaranteed myself a deep finish. The other players caught on a little late that I had switched gears and wasn't just on a rush. Most of them then got picked off when they were forced to call as short stacks in the blinds with marginal hands. It was a good uptick for me after a bad week.

For the weekly column, I'll put on my journalism hat and try and recap some of the highlights from the IP's tournaments. I'll get it up the next day or so.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Licking my wounds...

Tough Friday night in southwestern Louisiana.

Had a blast at the United Way Acadiana Series of Poker. There was a great opportunity to play for prizes and it was an entertaing field interested in having fun. Those that didn't make it really missed out on a well-run tournament and a great facility.

My strategy was simple. I thought there was going to be a lot people being a little too aggressive with their rebuys as a plan B and the blind schedule gave me enough time to wait around to snap them off.

I made it through the rebuy period, doing just that and doubling up on some big hands: AA, and AQ (vs. AJ who called my button semi-bluff). I had plenty of chips to make it through the first night and I was glad to see at my table the best hand for the most part was holding up. Well, with one exception. A gentleman kept getting it in bad and kept sucking out (44 vs. AA). Though he kept overplaying his hands to see flops but if he didn't hit he'd get out.

I look down at 10-4 suited on the button. There had been a few limpers, including the older gentleman. I decided I'd isolate him with a raise. If he'd check the flop I'd steal all those chips. My raise was enough to get out the other limpers, who realized I'd only shown big hands. The older gentleman of course called. Flop came J104 with the two hearts. Old guy sez, "All in."

I deliberate for a little bit. Ultimately, I decide he must be on a weak Jack. I call. He has Jack 7. Turn is another heart. River is another heart. His jack of heart takes the pot with the runner runner flush.

Sweet. Later that night I end up at Lake Charles and overplay top pair top kicker AK (hit my A) vs. a set and then I make a preflop repop to a lag raiser with AQ, guy after me calls, initial raiser folds and I hit Q44. I bet, get raised, reraise, he shoves the rest of my now short stack in. I call like the donkfish I am. I knew I was beat and expected KK, maybe A4 suited, and then I was thrilled to see he called a big preflop reraise with 6-4 o/s.

Fortunately Tex had a big night so it wasn't a total loss.

Today Gene and I have another meeting concerning the website so let's hope the beats stop coming.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Acadiana Series of Poker

Just another reminder the acadiana poker series is tomorrow. We hope to have hand outs at the event. Looking forward to seeing everyone at the Cajun Dome.

Early thoughts on the IP

Played Halloween day at the IP and it was ghoulish for me. In the noon tournament I finished in the 30s in a small field. With only 119 entrants it felt like a Harrahs wednesday tournament, except the structure allowed for some play. I started out pretty hot, flopping a flush in the big blind (82) and winning a pot as chasers called and didn't connect. Got aces with everybody folding to the button who limped. I raised, BB folded, button called. He folded post-flop. Then I made a good read on a guy that he held more than me. His Ace-five (Aces full of 5s) would have crushed my AK (aces and 5s with King kicker). I list those hands because they were the only significant ones I got involved in until I went card dead.

When I say card dead I mean zombie dead. 7-2, 7-2, 7-2, 8-2, 8-3, 7-2. It was also one of those days where I didn't even get to sweat flops. Even my folded hands weren't connecting. I guess if I were a better player I could have made something from nothing. However, every move I tried to make was usually smacked down by real hands. Very frustrating. I kept reminding myself poker is a game of patience. However, when I realized I could have let me stack blind out and I would have had more chips and finished higher it was more than frustrating. I got knocked out when I got outkicked--at least I got one sweat.

I played the 2nd chance tournament at 6pm with about 40 heads. Things did not improve. I truly don't remember winning a pot. I played with Monkey Boy, maybe the most well known "talkative" player on the coast, and have to admit I like his card selection and his "rap" works for him. At least he gave me something else to focus on. Me and him both sniffed out aces from a limper two under the gun when he pushed after a raise. We were right. The guy who called him, despite Monkey Boy's table chatter almost giving it away, was wrong. I got short-stacked and didn't connect when I had to make my stand.

Time for a change of venue, so we went to the Beau Rivage. After a brutal hour or so at the cash tables where my hands didn't improve but I was able to steal some pots, I return to the IP for the capper. The midnight turbo $60 deep stack tournament. 24 players paid the $10 dealer toke, the $10 registration fee and ignored the fact the satellites or sit n' gos offered more bang for the buck.

Sho 'nuff I don't recall winning a hand in that tournament either. I fell into woe is me and comparing misfortune with another player and realized I was becoming the donkfish I hate from afar. Mercifully, that tournament ended and I called it a night.

Now for some general thoughts on the IP's tournament.

They held everything on the third floor with most of the play in a room I didn't even know existed until that day. The room was a step down from the spacious facilities they had at the last two tournaments but had about 16 tables. The old area is under construction for what looks like some great new restaurants and a new playing space.

The sit 'n gos and satellites are held where the slots used to be surrounding the poker area. I don't know where slots went to. As for accommodations, I must say this, the room I was booked in was significantly nicer than the rooms I had stayed in the past. The beds were higher quality, so too the new flat panel TVs, and shower. Not yet on par with George at Gulf Coast Rentals luxury but getting there.

I will get back to the IP next week and hope to cover the tournaments in a little more detail. Right now I'm gearing up for the Acadiana Poker series.