Friday, June 27, 2008

The Influence of Arousal

Read post below before viewing. This is not a funny video.... Though, it is unintentionally funny when he says the "person you want to tap is the hot person" --true on different levels. Or when you consider the get up he's in.

Learn on Tilt

So like those f'ing teenagers I'm on the YouTube. (You can never show your age better than throwing a THE before something that doesn't need it, like "I saw it on THE Television (better yet call it The BOOBTUBE), maybe it was on THE Cable", or maybe " I found it on the THE Google--adding inappropriate ssss enhances the effect, "I was shopping THE Internets" ). and I found some pretty good videos from Dook University. Normally, I hate all things dook related but I love the mental aspects of poker and trying to understand decision making processes. They have six videos dealing with different aspects of irrationality. Lots of decision being made based on irrational thought process at a table so a lot to be mulled over.

I got a lot out of few of these videos applying them to poker. I will probably review them and some of the rather elementry lessons I took from them. In the first video, on arousal, they show how emotions effect motivations and decisions. Basically you are of two minds, the cool calm rational mind, and the tilting mind where emotions fuel your decisions. We learned that a little bit of arousal was good for stock-brokers ( and can apply that logically for poker players it might give you an edge to see something racy before playing. Anecdotally, Tao of Poker has something they call Procedure where they've profited from poker after strip clubs ( you may have to dig to find it but there's plenty to read.

So, with that in mind I watched this video with some interest. It went into a little bit different direction. It basically shows how state of mind dictates a decision, and to learn to make the right decision in that state of mind, it stresses, you need to learn it in the same state of mind. Take the American classic film Beerfest and yes I'm being somewhat sarcastic, where a character says I play much better when I'm drunk. That's an example of state-dependent learning which is similar to the video's point.

In college, I'd tell my friends who'd study drunk, they better be willing to take the test drunk because they won't retain what they learned drunk when they were sober. Yet, oddly had they taken the test drunk they'd have better recall of what they learned drunk. That really fuels the cycle. Can't remember what you did the night before? Get blackout drunk and you might remember again for a short-while. Hmmm... I know there is a movie in that somewhere. Shoot pool better after a couple of beers? You probably do, if you mostly play pool when you are drinking. You have no experience to lean on playing sober. Same holds true with poker. Pros like Gavin Smith will tell you they play better after a couple of beers--and they probably do, because they probably mostly played after having a couple of beers. You mostly play stone-cold sober and alcohol could kill your game. Obviously, with stimulants and depressors (red bull and alcohol) there are limits that each individual has. You get too wired you might not play your best, you get too drunk and you are sure to be playing worse then when you are mildly buzzed.

It falls short like the logic drunk drivers delude themselves with--I'm a great drunk driver. Yeah, but the drunker you are the more apt you are to drive even drunker and eventually you fall off the blank and end up like Mel Gibson or Norman Robinson locally. Though some pros like John Phan and Min the Master and John Hennigan are rumored to be at the top of their game when blitzed. Most people probably can intuit state-dependent learning from experience so I'm not saying anything that new. And those that don't know it should be exploited on the felt.

So, what'd I learn from the video? The research Dook did on arousal was more on state of mind impacted by emotions rather than substances. In their experiment, they noticed that when aroused (hot) people had completely different reactions, impulses, and decision-making abilities then in their rational state (cold) where hormones and emotions weren't effecting their brain. The example they used is you can teach people (cold) to put on a condom and they could learn and promise to do it, but it doesn't do any good because they make that decision when aroused (hot)--so, if you want people to learn to wear THE DAMN condamns (a THE and an s, plus a damn--I'm old it's a theme this week) you might be better served getting them aroused first.

So, to apply to poker Tilting (or being hot) not only is a state of mind where you are making emotional decisions (akin to arousal but in a bad way) but it is also a state of mind you can't educate when cold. How does that help? Well, it means you can't train yourself to not donk off chips when you are tilting... by teaching yourself when you are not tilting. You say you are never going to do it again and you do it anyway, it's because you aren't training yourself in the right state of mind. Here's some tips to teach yourself to play better when you are tilting--by teaching yourself when tilting.

1. Next time you are tilting after a sick online beat, pick up your poker book and read rather than play. I know the last thing I want to do is read while I'm tilting but it has two effects. It'll get me off tilt better and I'm educating myself so when I'm tilting next time I'm in a tournament and I take a sick beat from an utter donkfish, I might be able to reign myself in and apply what I learned in that state of mind ("like don't play AQ o/s utg at full table"--Kenny Tran, FULLTILT's newsletter-- that's a rule most tilters probably violate every chance they get because the rest of the quote is "because you can get into so much trouble out of positon that it undermines the value of the hand).

2. While you are still on tilt, record your hand-history (I'd advise moving to smaller stakes if you employ this) from that point on. Play 5 hands and review it, seeing any mistake you made (click the deal me out box) if any, and repeat until you are off tilt. Analyze youtr tilt factor, while on tilt and not rushing to make a hand.

3. I'd advise moving to smaller stakes or free stakes for this one. UBER-tilt yourself. Follow all your bad tilt impulses, with their predictably calamitous results and track it as you do it. Which presumably will put you further and further on tilt. After a point, review the costs of those actions while you are still tilting--if your computer survives the experience.

4. If you are a tournament player, you need to learn how to cope with tilting so don't follow this one, but if you are strictly a cash game player. Maybe you should not bother learning what to do on tilt, just don't play on tilt. Make a resolution every time you take a bad beat to walk around the casino twice, if online do a load of laundry or a chore you've put off. Need incentive while playing live? Create a tilt jar, where you sneak a couple of red birds off the table before you take your walk, put them in your pocket until you get home. Put them in a jar, keep doing that until you got a buy-in, play off the money you earned by not playing on tilt next time you get to the casino like a freeroll. Or save up and buy something with them.

Some people tilt, and donk off their chips other people clamp up like a vise when on tilt and miss opportunities. Everybody does both. I personally don't tilt much, I used to think I didn't tilt at all, but if I'm honest with myself, I tilt, everybody tilts and it's effects are damaging no matter who you are. What's deceptive is I go into vise mode on tilt far more than I do slinging chips around. Which is a cheaper form of tilt but not if you alter your play and miss winning opportunites. Course using the tips above you can train yourself to be the almost oxy-moron and be a good tilt player.

5. Another good coping strategy for me when tilting is I do an assessment of my table image. I can take myself off tilt quickly if I see everybody thinks I'm on it. I got enraged once in a tournament, when short-stacked in the big blind I look down at aces, action is completed by 6 players including folds, a limp and a bet (sweet), to have a player on the button request a misdeal after waiting to recognize he had three cards (after looking at them all). This was deep in a tournament. Floor came and ruled against me even though I knew I was betraying the strength of my hand by calling him. I was genuinely angry, and I still question the ruling, and I tossed my Aces face up. Then I saw everybody looking at me cautiously, and I thought whoa if I catch a hand in the next orbit or two they'll think I'm steaming. Everybody thinks this even on tilt, so that's not exactly new, but what I'm focusing on was paying attention to the other peoples image of me.

So, I kept bitching even though I had really put the hand behind me. It was funny because GeneD came over to calm me down and console me, but I had to whisper to him my plan. And yes, I managed to double up that orbit with a huge overbet post-flop after hitting top pair, and some tard called me with bottom pair.

Obviously, I'm never so transparent as those guys that catch a big hand and say, "I'm on tilt" and shove, but if I recognize the table thinks I've slipped, I'm praying to catch a big hand to get a big call from a marginal holding, and at the same time I'll bitch it ie using my tilt to advantage and at the same time venting. It's a good coping method. Don't just steam internally. Also, I recognize that I'm going to get a lot more calls, in the next orbit, so I'm not going to press with potential coinflip hands (if I don't want coinflips) or I will press with them (if I do). You focus on how you think your opponents would play if they think you are on tilt and use it as an opportunity instead of internalizing it. That's the worst thing about tilt, you perception is all internal and your focus is on you and not the game. So, train yourself to focus on what your opponents are perceiving.

Anyway here's the first video, check out the dudes heff attire. I guess he thought it was appropriate when discussing arousal. Hope this stuff is helpful even though I realize a lot of it is basic.

Old Man Rant...

Today I realized I'm old, because I now believe teenagers are pigs and they are so annoying I thought I'd blog about it. I call them the iGeneration.

Kids these days...

1. Lots of little, tiny dumb kids live on my street. Often times I see toddlers ramble into the street (lord knows where the parents are). So when I see a teenage doing 40 on my street I get ticked. Yeah, I'm old. I'm now the stooge that used to shake his fist at me. Okay, I give kids a pass on that, they are just young, dum and full of... you know hormones. Every generation did it. People probably galloped horse too fast 120 years ago. Fine. You get older you know better. A kid can run out between two cars and it's game over. As a teenager you think that won't happen. Fine. That's all on me for knowing better.

2. There is no pride in anybody's job these days. I worked a menial, laborious job that kept me in and out of a hot oven with little to no ac, and I worked nonstop as a teenager. Sure, I had co-workers that slacked and did nothing, but most of them usually got fired and even the street kids usually did their work and didn't ignore customers... because they needed the money. Now, they can't get fired because people are so desperate for workers it's ridiculous. I say open the borders to every Mexican that wants to work in a McDonalds or fast food joint. Teens that don't do their job will lose out. I treated the customer with respect unless they were an ass to me, but only then I was subversive but I did it with a smile. These kids these days (whoops I'm old), look at a customer as an inconvience and an imposition. They give you the wrong change (always in their favor) and get mad when you correct them. Then they look at you like your an f'ing idiot the rare time they overpay you and you give it back. We used to be surprised by the honesty of a person when this would happen, today they are surprised only at your "stupidity" in giving it back. I'm sorry to interrupt your text messaging and phone calls but could please just do your f'ing job. Course nothing is more important than what is on their "i"phone because it's all about them.

3. They don't learn a thing in school. I was watching a thing on HBO about Baltimore public schools, with students that come and go as they please. One kid failed and wanted a second chance... his teacher gave him an open book, open notes test, and he missed an entire section because he never got the material. Course when he chose to go class it was usually late and the section he missed was a day he showed up after half the class was completed. On top of that, Students were allowed to borrow and copy other student's notes. And on top of that in class, the teacher gave every single answer to the final. Yet, he shows up with his mom bitching about not graduating. You have got to be kidding me. I've got no sympathy for people like that. None zero. Zilch. Null. Nil. Zippo. God, I'm an old man. I used to skip class and figure out how to pass, these kids just skip and expect it to be handed to them. My dumbass friends at least learned how to cheat without getting caught if nothing else. That skill and ingenuity at least counted for something. Not anymore though. Just show up and beg and you'll get a free ticket for the real world where you can't even do basic math or read a contract you sign.

4. What they do learn they learn from their parents and it's usually wrong. You hold a door open for somebody they don't say thank you. You wave somebody in during traffic, they don't wave thank you. It's like everybody walks around thinking they are entitled to something. It's their "i"Right after all. I'll soon have a kid, and I realize that when I do, I'll defend them to end of the earth, and they will do no wrong because they are my kid, but come on surely I'll realize that I was a dumbass half the time and at fault and lying to my teachers and my parents. I hope they get teachers that put them in their place and they better not come home crying about it. If a teacher mismarks them half a point, I'll say life ain't fair. Deal with it. Parents these days will raise holy hell if their kid was somewhat slighted. What's that teach them? Only that the world revolves around them. I suspect even some of my level headed friends will be guilty of this. It's a shame. Kids need coaches, other parents, and adults to put them in line. Try that to somebody's kid today and you are looking a fist coming your way or some indignant excuse about not parenting their kids. Right, cause your way is working you f'ing loon.

5. Girls dress like sluts. Worse than that they are sluts. We used to make fun of sluts. Now it's cool to be sluts. In our day, the hot chicks might put out but certainly weren't flashing their tops for any Joe Francis wannabe with a handi-cam. I read a survey about the insane sex lives of high-schoolers. It'd probably be impossible to be under 20 and fairly sexually active and not contract an STD these days. A few short years ago when I was a kid, you'd have to really sink to bottom of the barrel (sluts) to worry about it. Now, they give out pencillin like it's a vitamen. God, I hope I don't have a daughter. If so, I hope the pendulum swings back to more conservative apparallel. Otherwise she's getting home-schooled and having the social skills of a spelling bee champion. Once upon a time the movie KIDS was an eye-opener and a harbinger of bad times to come, now it underestimates teenagers. Parents don't let your daughters dress like sluts. AND stop dressing that way yourself, MOMS OF BEVERLY HILLS wannabees.

6. They got no role-models to do things right. Paris Hilton and Cottage-Cheese-in-a-garbage-bag-ass-girlfriend-of-Reggie-Bush-buttaface, are famous for doing a sex-tape. Jenna Jameson is considered somewhat hip (even though she's veering to plastic surgeon addict). Porn-stars used to be laughed at because they are such dooschbags of people they had to have sex for a living. That's like getting paid for eating or taking shits. Now you can just be a slut and be famous. Don't wear underwear and be on every news outlet. Go to rehab if you are cool: Amy Winehouse, Linsay Lohan, F'ing pyschotic Britney Spears. It used to be those were the exceptions and tragic, cautionary stories... now if Miley Cyrus makes it out of her teens without a meth addiction it'll be a surprise and a miracle. No wonder kids reminsce about their first blow job like we used to think about our first kisses. Kids think having a baby at 20 is a good idea. Lindsey Spears, nice role model. Wow. We are de-evolving at a tremendous rate, did I mention I'm f'ing old now.

7. I don't have much use for organized religion, but I don't begrudge anybody that does. In fact, short of fanatics I respect them for their commitment. I believe in God and believe in a personal relationship with him, and one day I'll be judged how I live my life (and I hope I'm right), but that's neither here nor there. It's just to be clear that I'm not a bible-thumper even though I'm about to sound like one. Perhaps, the universal rejection of organized religion today is part of the reason kids are what they are. Granted, I'm not leaving my kids alone with any man of the cloth, but they are going to church. They are going to learn morality. I won't force them to embrace the church but they will be exposed to it and learn right from wrong.

As for the pediphiles, when I was a kid, my mom feared this Freddy Mecury lookalike of a coach had a crush on me, nothing concrete but she was weirded out, because he did things like change the practice times just to keep me on the team (for the record I was also a stud and he wanted to win... but who knows maybe he aspired to sniff my underroos) so, what did she do? She didn't keep me from playing that sport she just never left me out of her sight. If she couldn't watch a practice or a game I didn't go. I was never ever alone with the guy. Now people are lining up to let their kids sleep over at Michael Jackson so they can sue the guy. Please people, send your kids to church/synagogue/mosque/tabernacle/temple or whatever. Don't let them sleep over or go to private quarters with any adult, but give them a once a week lesson on the golden rule and other universal truths that will make them a better person.

8. It's everywhere. Probably doesn't even matter how you parent which is the scary thing because it's so pervasive. Even the Amish are thugs. I saw a show on ABC about the Amish kids that run away from home so they can watch TV, drink a beer, and drive a car. Fine all honorable American past-times, but then this Amish kid within a year of shaking the shackles of Amishness, sets fire to an Amish buggy, cusses like a sailor, and is kind of boastful about the time he served in jail. Huh? How does that happen. He looked like one of many Amish kids doing this. If we can't keep the Amish teens in line, we are in trouble.

9. Remember the frat president that knocked over a bank because he wanted to play more online poker. Back in the day, when a bookie could break your legs if you got out of hand, you learned your f'ing lesson unless you were born with a chemical imbalance predisposing you to be a denegerate--then you just got killed one day and dropped in the river with concrete shoes. These days they just get a new credit card and default on it. No wonder we have a mortgage crisis. Sure, you don't have to pay for anything do you. We police the wrong things. We hurt our kids by sheltering them from the wrong things and we don't shelter them from things we should.

F'ing kids.

God, I'm so f'ing old. It's embarrassing.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Turkey v. Germany

About to start. Turkey is so short on players they can't put up the three subs they are allowed.

Reminds me of an epic hardyball game in college, a weird UR intramural game which is like a fushion of flag football and ultimate frisbee. It's basically football from the hike and then rugby except with forward passes allowed at any point. In essence it is the type of game where being short a player would be lethal. Kind of like playing Keep-a-away 2 v. 3. Somebody is always open It also involves a ton of running as one play could cover the width and breath of a football field twice over, so subs are a good thing.

For playoff game, we showed up with a total of 6 players for some reason. You field 7. Our opponents had about 22 players. 7 on offense 7 on defense and a least 6 subs they circulated pretty regularly. Obviously, we won or else it wouldn't be a story. I realize this reference is about as bad I can make. Worse than an Australian rules football or cricket reference, but just trust me on this, winning down a man and no subs would be like a team of one-armed players winning a basketball game. It shouldn't happen. Trust me on this.

So, am I saying Turkey is going to win? No. But if Germany acts like our opponents, who finally took the lead late in the game and ordered their pledges to secure a victory keg (only to have us go 99 yards on the last possession FTW), and anticipate the finals before winning the semis the industrious Turks can pull off another shocker. Four years ago, the Greeks didn't bare any gifts and won a tournament where they were clearly outclassed talentwise because nobody took them seriously. They'd steal a goal and defend for 90 minutes.

This would be a HUGE, HUGE, HUGE upset.

I'm picking Germany, as I root for them. I think they'll come out flat and then win because Turkey's remaining players wouldn't sniff the fielded teams of anybody else still alive. Talent will prevail. I'm not counting out the Turks because I've been involved in the impossible happening but it might.

I like Spain tomorrow but I'm interested in watching the young Russian stud. For Spain, Torres is one of my favorite players and Spain, like the now gone Holland and Portugal, have been one of the more entertaining teams of the tournament.

Kobe how my ass taste?

Shaq-fu. It's easy to hate on Kobe and I do, but in this rap Shaq blames his divorce on Kobe and says his absence was the reason the Lakers didn't win. Wonder if he realizes his presence was the reason the Suns didn't either. That being said, it's funny. "Kobe how my ass taste."

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Live Action--Totally New, Totally Wild, Texas Style

As hinted at in my last post, me and Big Smoove played yesterday at Harrahs. Got there at about 1:00 left about 5:00. 4 hour day? Actually 16 hours--wish I could say it was all dragging pots and highfiving Ray about the donkeys around us but it was a grind. Though it certainly had its moments.

I got there before Ray and immediately sat down at a new table and it instantaneously became the wildest table I'd ever played at. Hand 1, two all-in prelop and a double up to a Yuppie in town for blackjack tournament (yitfbt or YIT for short). Hand 2. 3-way all in and YIT wins again. Hand 3, another guy, local business owner and carouser, a guy who laughs at everything ( HAHA for short) with plenty-o money to burn doubles up from through YIT. Hand 4 another 3 way all in to YIT. 5 hands into it, where your initial buy-in is capped at $200 YIT is sitting with over 1k. And for the most part the showdowns have been marginal holdings vs. one another. Guy to my right says he's going to get a table change where he can actually play poker. I'm thinking he's f'ing crazy. FREE MONEY, FREE MONEY, FREE MONEY is flashing in front of you in neon lights from 4 different seats and you want a table change so you can lead out for $13 every once in a while or try to minraise preflop?

Hand 5, mr. big winner gets involved in another pot with HAHA, and loses again. Hand 6: HAHA is just having a grand ole time, and says to YIT after clearly and unabashedly looking at his hand "Hey man, let's just play this blind and go all in then." YIT, says "No problem," the all-in buttons are tossed to each player and the rest us continue to watch the show. I'm pretty sure I know what HAHA has. They don't turn up their cards but play out the flop, turn and river. YIT hits second pair with his pocket queen and his 4 does nothing, HAHA giggles outrageously as he pairs up the ace on the board and then giggles even louder turns overs a second ace. It was bad acting for bad dinner theatre as he swore he never looked at his rockets.

Just as I'm about to pity YIT, for HAHA's subterfuge, YIT informs the table he's up a 1/4 of a million on his trip and emphasizes we should clearly understand money is but a trifle to him. We realize he wants us to grasp that the cash is a burden to the supple leather of his wallet all I think dress your age douschebag while eyeing his popped collar. He was 40+. Then to show off his cavalier attitude toward currency he gives HAHA an extra $100 bill for getting so lucky with his pocket aces when shoving blind. What a dbag. Later I find out from another player HAHA wipes his arse with hundos, but that doesn't stop HAHA from sticking into his pocket proud of scamming somebody else with his Ben Affleck like poker skills and acting ability.

If you are doing the math, you'll realize YIT, is suddenly short of money. No way he'll let this continue so he drops a stack of hundos onto the table to reload and to rebuild a comparable phallus to the one he just pissed away to HAHA. In seven hands, at the start of a table he went from $200 to over 1k to rebuying. So HAHA, challenges YIT to another all-in blind hand, and YIT agrees. Meanwhile, he just has the chips in transit button, and the chiprunner has his 3 bills on the way. Oh, and the obvious answer is yes, this was after HAHA looked at his hand--again, before the challenge. So of course, the chiprunner walks up and give HAHA all of YIT's chips after he loses again. Another reload and a verbal reminder that he's up a 1/4 of million and this table's action is just a pittiance to him.

Another all-in blind challenge and YIT gets lucky this time, and drags the whiner to my right's A10 and his stack with it, and doubles up through HAHA.

This abates to some degree as other players start getting hands and proper poker is played. Then YIT gets up to play in the finals of his blackjack tournament. He takes a good chunk of change with him. Bad development. Immediately after I get pocket Queens in LP I consider open shoving my stack with HAHA to act after me. He might call. I don't. I open raise to $35 after not playing a hand. HAHA calls. Sweet. Seat 1, a risk-taking older asian does also. The limpers get out of the way. Okay. Flop comes out Ace high.

HAHA checks. Asian bets. I fold. HAHA continuation calls (ha-ha). Turn is another Ace. Asian bets and HAHA c-calls again. River is 2. Asian shoves. HAHA calls. Asian has the ace for trips. HAHA has 35. It gives him the wheel with the 42A on the board.

HAHA, later is too bored to play and departs with his chips. This is a terrible development.

Suddenly the table is somewhat poor though a couple of us have added to our stacks, with one guy that got two big scores from HAHA an orbit or two before. Then as HAHA leaves another player gives him a bundle of hundos for a loan HAHA doesn't even remember making at their home game. HAHA laughs about it and pockets those bills too.

Then, a kid sits down at the table and pisses away half of his $500 buy-in. He shrugs and says to hell with. He doesn't feel like walking to the cage to cash out or he's not feelin' playing poker anymore so gives the guy next to me the remainder of his stack to just have. To say money was literally being given away is a factual statement. Three times in my first hour I watched players just given cash for these reason for conning a guy so well they were congratulated for it, sitting next to a guy, or getting paid back for money owed they didn't remember loaning.

Ray gets there after the table has calmed and he goes through a roller coaster of play. He's snakebitten like me when Tex is at my side, by getting a steady diet of second best and getting outkicked time and again. He sustains and drags some BIG pots by firing a third bullet in situations I wouldn't have and getting lay-downs where I didn't think they'd do it.

The early excitement turned a grueling grind as the rocks that had patiently soaked the chips from the table didn't let a dime go. And me not getting any hands worth playing. I maintain my stack by conservative c-bets and timed bluffs, but nothing really exciting.

Fast forward to the end of the night. Ray's gone home, after cementing in mind that guy is a bonafide poker celebrity. Literally every dealer or chip-runner or familar poker player recognized the dude and came over to say hi and ask where he's been. His answer got trimmed to: Got married, got a baby, got a new job with long hours. One guy drags a pot from Ray, and tells him he's admired his play from the first time he played at Harrahs and that's the first pot he's won off Ray in two years. Another player tells me I must be a good player because Ray only talks to good players. Wow, goondingy, big smoove, you the man.

When Ray has to go home, after getting his sweatshirt from me, a group of drunkards from Texas show up. The guy that clearly dominates their homegame with unchecked aggression falls like manna from the heavens to my left. The other guys take his abuse quite willingly and tout his prowess. Yes, a homegame hero in our very presence. I'm honored. And... finally, I get some hands.

Good player to my right leads out. I look at black bullets. I flat call the $10 raise and as I expected Mr. Talky HomeGameHero (or Mr. T HGH) re-raises. Good player to my right eyes my stack and ask me how much I got left as he's considering the re-raise (nice!) and then folds (later says he laid down Jacks--maybe he got a read on me). I get a genuine read of strength from Mr. Talky and think he'll call if I open shove especially after I just flat-called initially. I had planned on letting the donkey do the pulling but figured this time I'd do the pushing as he's kind of baiting me into action, as he's done when he's shown down big hands vs. other players. I bite the bait. I push. He insta-calls tabling the queens and confidently looking at his friends. I unveil the painkillers and they all hoot and holla taunting the hero. Then then good player is trying to high-five me. I refuse until the board is finished and the aces hold.

Later I get AK suited and do almost the exact same thing. I limp, Home game hero raises (as he does every 4 out of 5 hands) and action gets back to me after two callers. I don't shove here but decide to thin the field. I pump it large. Hero can't help but call. We lose the guys in the sidecar. Flop is AQQ. I check. He laughs, "You don't have a piece of that after a reraise. You trapping me of something?" He checks. On the turn, I decide he probably doesn't have the queen but check again hoping to induce a bet. He checks again. This worries me just a bit. Is he savvy enough to check the queen twice. He normally bets regardless, so either he's gunshy from the painkillers vs. ladies or he's the scary LAG player (loose-aggressive) who only check their monsters. River is harmless. I say f it, and value bet it. He tells me I've priced him in and after vacillating calls. He's got a 10 to go with the one on the turn.

Sleepy-time gets the best of me and I leave. I had to wait about 14 hours until I got some hands and got paid off with them. I guess patience is a virture. When I left I saw Joe Bush with a big stack eating up the last of the 2-5 game. Maybe I outghta start working mornings. Sorry, Ray only got to play the boring part of the day for his comeback.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Catch Up

What have I been up to? Have I played any cards at all? When will I be in Vegas? These questions answered and more in the latest, thrilling installment of the death of single Bill.

Went to Delaware, met my 2nd niece and got to talk to my first niece. My first niece calls me Uncle Bull, I like that. That's part of the reason I sometimes use the Bull picture on the page. The 2nd niece doesn't say much. She's not walking or crawling either. I saw the family and crunched a years worth of visits in one weekend. Surprising how much you can condense in a short amount of time. We were almost comfortable enough to fall back into the familar pattern of bickering around old sibling rivalries but didn't quite make it. I guess as you get older you get more civil.

Bad thing was, I didn't have time to call up old friends or really visit with anybody. Watched my brother graduate from his master's program. He only got a 4.0. He maintained a full time job, two infants, and was a full time student, and yeah got a 4.0. He also adds his adult soccer team took states twice while he was studying. This is the same guy who nearly failed out of college three or four times for not going to class. I believe my sister got a 3.8 or so getting her masters while working full time, so when I finally want to add some more letters behind my name best I can hope for is a push with the bro. May have to get a PhD so he has to call me Doc, even if I don't get the gpa he got.

My sister-in-law set up a card game for me when I was there too. Played a few micro tournaments winner take all. I came in second everytime. My brother's best friend was getting slapped upside the head with the deck. His J6 would crush my Q6, J8 would land a straight vs. my AA, and well, you know the drill. It was fun though.

My two year old niece, the one who calls me uncle Bull, sat down and took some chips. She wanted to play with the chip stacks and besides splashing the pots was better then many of the table mates you get at Harrahs. When she announced all the letters on the dealer's button, D is for Dog, E is for el-phant, A is for Amany (Amanda) and so on... I thought she spoke better english than many of the drunks at the felt. On one flop, she goes "Two Diamonds"... if she said flush draw I probably would have started training the next Anette right then and there, but two diamonds was impressive enough. Yeah, she's two. She's got no formal schooling, knows all of her letters, the suits of the cards, plenty of numbers and she's two. Her mom's a doctor and her father is my brother an engineer and a 4.0 student, did I mention they are smart?

When I got back, the fiance has had me on a short leash. Maybe it was seeing how nice my brother's house is but she's out for summer break and trying to redecorate our house, NOW. For some reason, she thinks the METH LAB CHIC thing I'm cultivating with the concrete flooring (ripped up the existing carpet but haven't laid the new flooring) is a bad thing. I wanted to stick with that theme and put some burn marks on the walls, and scatter the floor with empty cold medicine boxes, but she ain't having it. Which is fine but I keep spending all this money to improve and upkeep the place, but I'm not able to get out and earn anything. Never a good thing for your bankroll when money goes out and no money goes in. We put some paint up in our future master and the first thing she says is she hates the color. Ouch.

We've also been trying to shore up the nitty gritty details for our wedding like sending out save the dates. I think I may try and do an email invitation. Is that tacky? It is? Sweet.

Haven't even been able to play online. Had some freeroll opportunites that I passed up because I'm been running like crazy. Oh well, goodbye free WSOP seats. Speaking of which, I'm really upset because I might not be able to get to Vegas to cheer on Philly Tom in the main event.

Alright though. That's my whining and complaining for one week. I'm back and focused on the site and on poker this week. I think I might witness the Big Smoove's coming out of semi-retirement party too, so that's cool.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Thoughts go out to Javon Walker

I know that he'll be making a full recovery soon.

I'm back from my travels and will be making a full post later today.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Poker Monkey speaks no evil...

Here is the complete interview with Will Souther. He's currently in Vegas with a number of Gulf Coast players. We conducted this interview online via email.

When did you start playing poker?

In high schoool and colllege we played a lot of draw poker and mix games. ButI didn't start playing No Limit Hold Em until 2003.

Favorite hand?

Everyone knows its K9! In tournament play whenI move in short stack with K9 I am 24 for 28. Amazing. 2nd favorite hand is 6-7...I was born in little sister in 1976.

What would you consider the the best poker game?

Omaha hi/lo or Stud...because there is so much more thinking requireed.

Which game would you say is your strongest?

Probably Stud because I have a photogenic memory....but I really think 5 Card Draw may be my strongest because of my ability to read my opponent, and my ability to smack talk. Would love to see a WSOP 5-Draw event.

How did you come up with the moniker..."The Monkey"...or "Monkey

What was the factors leading up to the name? I am tall, have long arms...and am very spastic at times. Its funny,people who dont know me think maybe its drugs! But its not, I just havea lot of nervous energy! I say NO to drugs! I have been running sportspools for 10 years (March Madness, NFL SURVIVOR, etc etc) and someone a few years back started calling me the Pool Monkey...kind of stuck. Sold wine for a while and assumed the moniker the Wine when I decided to play Poker fora living it was only natural that I become the Poker Monkey!!!!

Where is your favorite place to play live?

I love Lake Tahoe. And Las Vegas. I least like New Orleans butI have my three biggest cashes there...strange huh? Should love the place! Online I play primarily on Poker Stars...but I am not going to say I LIKE IT...Online poker in general is a nightmare!

What do you consider your most memorable poker moment?

Tournament moment if it is not the same?

Honestly...I dont think I have had it yet. I have cashed 27 times in Cardplayer eligible tourneys....and none of them have given me the satisfaction I am truly seeking. I did enjoy my 2006 Main Event when I had GUs Hansen to my left and Juha Helpe on my right...I completely RAPED Gus for 6 hoursand drove him nuts. He was very cool about it, and to this day I respect and admire him a lot.

Who would you consider are the best players on the Gulf Coast?

Who " " " " " " " In the Poker world?

On the Gulf Coast? Hmmm. Well, Cub and TK are both pretty solid. Darryl Fish is good, when he is focused and dialed in. Rick Rudloff is very underrated, and cashes constantly. Captain Tom Franklin is solid, although he is a royal pain in my butt. "Smoky" Jim...whose last name escapes me, but who owns a local tobacco shop and might be one of my most sincere supporters has a very solid game. He also gets very unlucky a LOT! REally, in traveling around the country as much as I do...I have found that we have some of the toughest players around. I am always kind of relieved to get away from Biloxi and get out I can prey on the dead money!!!

Who and when was your most memorable experience playing a top professional?

The Gus Hansen deal Oh and the Main Event in New Orleans when I had Josh Arieh at my table and never once let him take a pot off of me. He is every bit guilty of everything people say about him. And then some.

How are you planning on getting in this years WSOP ME?

Hopefully I will win enough before that to just buy in. But most likelyI will try to satellite in through a Mega Satellite, or if it comes down to it let one of the MANY people who have offered back me in it for a 50/50 split deal.

What were the variables that you would suggest to up and coming players to improve their game? How did you do it? How did you get ramped up?

There is such an evolution involved with poker, which I love, the fact that youare always learning and growing as a player. Having some success and getting to know ALL the players is also a tremendous factor, as it allows you to play a completely separate game from those just starting out with no results or relationships with the other players they are competing against. As far as the skill level simply have to be born with SOME abilities when it comes to playing the game...but as far as understanding strategy and applying knowledge to game situations...I just really think it is gained through playing thousands..even millions (3.5 million hands on PokerStars in two years...they will do an audit upon request) of hands to gain the insight necessary to REALLY become a strong player.

Where do you see yourself in 2 years...5 years?

Interesting question. I am about to be married to a wonderful girl I have been datingfor 7 years. I feel and so does she that I spend way too much time playing poker both live and online. If my success continues, I see myself crossing over the million dollar threshold...paying off everything I owe...and once we get married, having children..spending a lot more time with my familyand dogs (!!!!) and doing some traveling while cutting back my poker a lot. I want some quality of life that most poker playing pros seem to neglect taking the time to enjoy.

What are your thoughts on playing poker professionally and having
a family?

I just addressed that didn't I? I think it is important to balance the two and not let one over burden the other. Its a good idea to sometimes just COMPLETELY take a couple days off from Poker completely. Of course my girl is a pretty decent poker playerso that makes it a little easier. We have had some fun nights just going to dinner and then some $1-$2 cash game!!!!

Where do you and your future wife plan on settling down? Gulf Coast?

Cheryl, or Squirrel, as everyone calls an Alabama girl, who is VERY, VERYclose to her there is not much of a chance that we will ever move too faraway from where we are. I might possibly get a place in Vegas sometime, but I cant ever see us moving there full time. My family lives in Seattle, and I love it there, of course, but she couldn't live there...its just too far from her family. I love it about her that she is so tight with them...and they are truly wonderful people.

How effective is table talk in putting an opponent on a hand?

Oh my gosh, it might be the most important feature of my game. I have refined it too...used to be in the past there were times when my talking not only figured out what they had,but inadvertently also told them what I DID or DIDNT you have to be real careful.But table talk is huge for me. The tourney directors are trying more and more to hamstring us in thatdepartment too but not letting us talk in hands very much. I joke about myself being a "shrimp boat" in thatlike a shrimper putting out nets to gather shrimp, I put out banter to collect chips. Its amazing too how Ijust about NEVER LIE at the table, and just how often people THINK I am lying....and usually go broke. The truth is the most powerful weapon in poker!!!!

What's the first thing you'll buy when you win the big one?

I have very few material needs or wants. The first thing I would buy wouldbe a house for me and Squirrel and our future children. I kind of would like a cool 2nd car, like a Porsche of BMW...might do that. I would get something nice for my little sister. But what I really want to do is take the 20 most sincere friends and supporters off on a 10 day vacation somewhere that they unanimously decide they want to goto...I have pretty much been EVERYWHERE I would ever want to go...and just go and have and havean amazing time with people I know are with me NOT because I won a bunch of money...but becausethey are genuinely my friends!

What's the most important lesson you've learned in poker this last year?, I dont know. I guess one thing I have learned is to handle my losses a little better.I am very competitive, and hate to lose...and I used to, at times, show my ass a little bit when getting knocked out. When a donkey makes a horrible play, and gets rewarded with a win...its SO NOT necessary to point it out to him and belittle him while leaving...since the WHOLE TABLE can obviously seewhat a CLOWN PLAY the guy just by berating HIM you just supercede his idiocy by making yourself look like a bigger chump. Losing gracefully is very admirable in players and so I have tried very hard to do that more than I used to.

Monday, June 09, 2008


ZLATAN plays today even if you think soccer is for sissies you'll probably be impressed with their skillsets.

EURO 2008

Some Babes from the Bosporus...

The boyfriends of all these scandis are the guys crushing you in online Omaha right now. Or they playing in the Euros.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Played MSOP today

Satellited in. Arrived an hour late. Not on purpose though, assumed because the window didn't open when I was on full tilt the tournament hadn't started. It had. Finally an hour later it opens with my stack shorter and the "I'm Back" button on. What? Doubled up with Aces, which actually held. Got outplayed with a better ace rag then mine. Board had the Ace but was scary and big blind had more guts then me and fired an all in over the top after some action. I'm a nitdonk. From there I literally got a live action zombie session of 83, 72, 29, 49 for about two rounds.

Finally, I'm moving with anything before the blinds hit me, and for some reason I'm focused on something else and click fold with what for that table looked like the nuts to me 89 o/s. Argh. The break hits and I'm in the BB for half my stack when I get back. Yeah! I'm a nitdonk can't you read, I've already said that. We return and before the action gets to me we get a raise, a reraise, a shove and me with the healthy holding of K2. Great. Call. Shove, fold. AA vs. AK v. K2. Hmmm. I get a two. Other guy gets a K, and then wins with a flush. Fun.

I'm just a donk.

Also played BBTIII freeroll. Probably three quarters of the field didn't show. Of course I had a full table of live players, including one that liked AJ. I have JJ one off the button. I raise. He reraises from the button. I shove over the top. He calls though easily could have and probably should have laid down. Call could hurt him, but he's still fine if he lets it go.

You know how this one played out. I believe the Ace showed upped on the turn. Then I go to see how GeneD is playing. He's on a table with two players just alternating raising the blinds because everybody, including Gene, isn't there. Then he gets table switched and just one guy is attacking the blinds because nobody else is there. He's just hitting raise every time and stockpiling chips. There is a 2k prize for this freeroll. Gene would have had to very little to amass chips and go deep in this event. Probably only 40 or so live players (1/4 at my table).

I enjoyed playing the other bloggers and checking out their blogs while doing so.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Some odds and ends before the weekend.


1. Homeless woman lives in man's closet, cellphones take pictures of cellphone thieves, and how technology is protecting you...;_ylt=AhonTyABGB_fiNspuHXfmu6s0NUE

They are so many ways you can adapt a cellphone or an iPod or any small electric device these days it's no surprise Harrahs prohibits their use at a Poker table. I enjoy listening to music when I play but... there really is no place for these do it all devices at a table.

2. Tywon Lawson at UNC got pulled over for drinking while driving. Turns out he didn't even blow the legal limit .08 (in North Carolina). Problem is he's a minor and any alchohol on the breathlyzer leads to an arrest. You want to bet if he wasn't exploring the NBA draft, the good policemen in Chapel Hill send him on his way with pat on the back.

3. People are creatures of habit. In the no-kidding, heavy sarcasm department, researchers spent a lot of money discovering that people drive the same route at the same time on most days. Yes, I think it's called a commute.;_ylt=Aj9d6.4nWfNXiWF2KuLAP.ESH9EA
1. Won a satellite for the MSOP of poker on Fulltilt. I think the Full Tilt Points satellites are the easiest games in existence. It was 4 handed after about 10 minutes and not a turbo. Sunday, I'll be playing in the Battle of the Bloggers and whatever that low-buy in event is I'm freerolling into.
2. Got in touch with Monkey. Thank you random reader at the Beau that gave him our message. We should have an update and some thoughts from him soon. Currently he and some Coast players are renting a house in Vegas. Hopefully his hot run is continuing.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Been lying low

Played the shootout satellite for the Full Tilt Mini Series of Poker. Won my first table and then got a cold deck at the second table. They were giving away three seats and we were 7 handed. I got KQ vs. AK with a king on board. He limped preflop. That merely rounded out a series of second bests. Standard top two pair vs. a superchaser who got to his flush, and kicker problems when I'd hit top pair in the blinds. I managed to minimize the bleeding but eventually I was short-stacked.

I've been playing a lot of hands online recently, obviously not at Absolute or Ultimate Bet, and I feel I'm really improving as a player. Unfortuately, when I say improving as a player it's a very specific range. I've developed a successful strategy for multi-table donkaments which I don't think is as effective or even the right skillset vs. anybody but the standard low buy-in fields (sit 'n gos and mtt). Certainly, I think some things translate well, such as trying to minimize my coin flips, but live play you have fewer opponents trying to shove at every moment and less idiots.

I've been playing 4 tournaments at once and I find that keeps me on my toes, but I've had some bad experiences where all four require action on big hands at once. Usually, the four tables and my inexperience at playing them, has me tightening up my starting hands (with good results) as I try to focus on one or two when I got a good hand.

The worst is when we get short-handed or if I'm playing heads up on two tables at once with action required on the others. That really keeps me jumping, especially as I don't have a supermonitor set-up for multi-tabling. What I like to do is start a sit n' go if I'm heads up on one, because my sit n' go single table strategy doesn't involve much action ealy on.

A funny thing, in the book I'm reading now and I'm feeling like a high school student doing homework again, Bill Chen's Mathmatics of Poker, he refers to some guy asking him about how AQ always beats AK online. Chen informed the questioner about how the sample size was too small and other factors like not seeing all the AQ vs. AKs that may be happening in hands etc., etc., yet sure enough after reading that section I went through about a two day period where AQ would outdraw my AK every time. And any time it was shown down, I'd see AQ beat somebody else's AK. I started to think maybe that guy had a point. Especially when a knucklehead went runner-runner 10J to give him the queen high straight vs. me late in a big tournament.

Then when I watch pocket jacks go on a 4 day tear busting the Painkillers, Cowboys, and New York's finest burough, I really started scratching my head. Maybe that's why the guy at the Bayou Classic Main Event pushed with his Jacks. They always win online. Thankfully, that craziness abated for the next run of days, especially when I was holding the favored hands.

Anyway, been having some computer issues and have been traveling a little bit. Though I promise to be back with a vengence later in the week and finally put some focus on the just started WSOP.