Sunday, May 24, 2009

Cash Session

I've been running well in tournaments and it seems my cash game has suffered. I go through spells where I feel like I'm a good cash game player or a good tournament player but rarely do both go well at the same time. Obviously, I ran well in the tournaments of the Bayou Classic, winning single table satellites and doing well in big MTTs.

Sure enough I sit down at the cash tables and it's like the wind is completely out of my sails. No longer is my tight image enough to isolate one opponent after the flop, I'm playing three or four players everytime. I try and protect a smaller top pair and nobody goes anywhere. Course an overcard comes and it all breaks down from there.

For a while, I started to question my ability. I refocused and did some thought about the differences between the two games. What did I do different after a slate of tournaments vs. what I was doing beforehand in cash? I did some reading including this blog and self-reflection.

Number 1, I am playing the cash games too tightly. I think part it is buying in with a smaller stack in a game with no fold equity. Whatever the reason, the results include me losing money when I win the pots by not building them bigger or leading out on the river, and I'm not quick enough to take the pots nobody wants. Too much of my tournament survival caution is costing me money. That same caution enables me to bluff in tournaments and induce folds from good players but it basically goes unnoticed on a cash table.

Number 2, my reads, are now made against two or more players instead of one or two (usually). The players range seem to be more unpredictable on a cash table then the boxes I can put them in when playing a tournament. Also, I'm missing information or sometimes just not listening to it. Case in point, I had pocket Kings today. There was the call station in a blind who was hitting everything, and also not afraid to bet with nothing and show his successful bluff (to opponents that never had a hand to call him down with). In short, he was having a wet dream for a poker session because everything was going his way, despite his terrible play.

My strategy was to get a big hand and fire out a big preflop bet and play him one on one. So, I bet out bigger than I normally do with the KK, because he'd call. He did. $20 a head. I didn't like it when a regular joined the fray too. But I knew I'd know where I was at with him, so I didn't mind him riding sidecar.

Flop at first looked sweet. No ace. Then it bothered me QQJ. Target stewed and then said "CHECK." Ding-a-ling-ding-a-ling danger. The regular checked. My KK might be good here. I was about to bet 25. Then my groggy gears recalled the reason my spidey senses were tingling... earlier when slow playing the nuts, pretty much the only time the Target checked-called, he said "Check" aloud. When he was on air he'd pat the table and then fold.

The regular wasn't afraid to lead into pots and I was a preflop raiser. The target wanted somebody to do his dirty work and he had two good candidates. Great. I check. We go to the turn which is a brick. Target fires out a $40 bet. The regular folds and I contemplate folding. I stew a good bit and then push in the $40. River is a blank and the target checks. I check behind.

I think he knew I wouldn't call a bet, but maybe I'd bluff at it. He was probably right. Or he thought I was trapping with AQ. He doesn't show his hand once I checked, maybe pissed I didn't bet. This annoys me. I turn over my Kings. The table oohs. He sighs and shakes his head, the picture of a beaten man. He flips over a 4 and the sloppily shows his queen. Slowrolled. Ah, the cherry on top of a second best day.

Though I lost $40 post-flop to the guy, I shouldn't have lost anything. I was drawing to two Kings and I knew it. I just didn't listen to my read. In a tournament, I'd have to, and right or wrong I'd move on to the next hand. In a cash game, with a rebuy in the wallet it's easy to hope you aren't right and call anyway. So much for reads if you can't obey them. IE Daniel Negreanu on High Stakes Poker.

This is the same guy, who I got AK suited and AQ against. Same tactic, bigish preflop bet and he called when everybody folded. Both times I flopped flush draws, straight draws and over cards. I'm a favorite. He'd bet the flop, turn, and river and I'd call, call, and fold hitting nothing. One time he had a measley 7 which my neighbor saw him pitch to the muck after he dragged the pot (giving him a straight with 68910 on the board). I had AQ with two spades.

I could tell my river folds were met with some derision from some players on the other side of the table. How could I call his bets and not call the river with my stack decimated each time. I made the right folds, but here is an example of where my lack of agressiveness hurt me. In the AQ hand instead of calling I could have seized the initiative and bet my draw. I don't normally like to do that vs. a call station, I figure with them if I hit my hand they'll pay me off anyway. Why pour money into the pot if I know he's ahead (even if I'm a favorite).

After the slowroll it's tilting time... but I didn't. I had pumped three buy-ins into the game and had another a half buy-in in my wallet. I was going to reload to a starting stack but I decided to leave it there and played with the measely 15 reds in front of me.

I kept folding crap hands. I did a better job laying down decent hands... ones that felt beat and just stuck around biding my time. I dragged my first pot after an hour and half of second bestitis. Put me over 20 reds. Then I caught fire. I'd bet my hands, hit my hands, bet them again, they'd hold and I river bet for value.

One scare came when I had A10 flop came KQJ all hearts. I had the 10 of hearts. I forget the action but neither the turn nor the river was a heart. I kind of played it weird in a multi-way pot. On the river, I looked at my opponent, we lost two others along the way, and I shipped it, I trusted me gut, that despite him calling two big bets he didn't have a flush maybe two pair.

He groaned, "This is a terrible call." Uh-oh, baby flush? I turn over the A10 (the A the diamond) like it was the nuts and he looked at it funny. Someone alerted him I had a straight (not the dealer... btw, that player should shut the fudge up and not read hands for a guy). He couldn't beat that either.

He called me a Mad Genuis. I think that, too, was derisively as all he saw me do for fours hours was lay down hands late in the action and rebuy. Then I overbet the pot and got him to pay me off.

I got AK, and took down a massive pot. Then I got AA. Then I finished off the guy calling me Mike Caro when he shipped it with a flush draw. He got a caller and I called too with KJ same flush draw. J hit the turn on a board of babies I tried to build a side pot, no takers. I revealed KJ. He showed Q10 and I only had to sweat a queen. Suddenly all three of my buy-ins were sitting in front of me again.

Somebody new to the table groused about my rush.

I looked around at the faces, and most of them had missed me bleed hundreds into the table for the hours leading up to that moment. Yeah, I got the Federal Pentirary treatment until you folks got here and now I'm back to even.

I cleared a small profit and went home. My patience was rewarded today and I saw some areas which I can improve upon next time, so it was a good day. Even when I had a sliced artery in my wallet, I'm glad I maintained composure and didn't question myself or deviate from solid plays. Getting a mad rush didn't hurt either... lol.

Now time for some online Texas Hold'em.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Dream Team Poker

Gene and I are talking about playing in the Dream Team World Series of Poker Event in Mid July. Or perhaps helping the buy-ins to a team that agrees to wear Team GCP jerseys if we can't make it. Obviously, bloggers would get first preference, and by helping it wouldn't be much but it'd be a little something.

That is an event I'm really looking forward to playing and I'm happy and surprised the World Series snapped it up so quickly. Hopefully, future tournaments will incorporate it into the schedules for a couple of events. I think they'd get a big participation and take some edge off all the midweek seriousness you get in a typical tournament. You get three players and there are two prize pools. One for the top finishing individuals and a seperate one for the top finishing teams.

The reports from all the pros that played it was it was the most fun they had playing poker in years. The team concept gave even more of a sweat for the guys on the rails. Also, there brought several different strategies into play. On one hand does a player simply try to survive to ensure team money or does he try and win the event.

You could see all sorts of tactics be based on the two tournaments in one effecting play. I believe eliminated players are allowed to discuss hands and strategies with the remaining players so their input is still worth something.

Many people trade percentages of each other, this would essentially be the same except it would be out in the open. I'd imagine a lot of players would also trade shares of the individual prize pool too.

Course, collusion and or chip dumping is next to impossible as the team portion is usually decided before teammates get to the same table and all table breaks are done being mindful of that dynamic. If the WSOP event is anything like the one recently completed at Caesers despite the small buy-in a lot of the top pros may be participating. Too much fun not to.

I also imagine side prop bets are going to be off the chart for this tournament. As well they should be.

This is definitely a event I'm excited about, and if I make it out to Vegas in July I'm going to try and plan my trip around it. I wonder if anybody is offering team poker strategy, and I mean LEGAL team poker strategy. Definitely will bring fun elements to the normal game of No Limit Hold 'Em.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Dan The Man

Dan the Man...

Last week we just discussed Dan possibly blogging on GCP. This week he's the chipleader 10 handed. Yes, right now in the New Orleans WSOP Circuit Event Bayou Classic he's hours away from another final table (after final tabling at the Beau). Go Dan!

It's funny, I quasi advised him not to buy into the Main Event. Glad he didn't listen. Though, I did say, "Are you here to play? Then play." That was before I asked him about some other poker matters and changed my tune a bit advocating a little bit of caution.

My wife and I met him for dinner and I enjoyed getting to know Dan a little better. (He's rocking the GCP hat which he told me he'd wear when he wins the whole kit and kaboodle tomorrow and they take some pics). Dan's a great guy, and I always root for the nice guys to finish first.

After dinner, he woke up to pocket rockets... shortly after cracking them and sent Shaun Deeb to the rail and now sits on the biggest chip stack. GCP good luck continues at the Bayou Classic!

BTW, Pokernews and pokerpages are both doing a great job with their updates. I'll probably be sweating Dan from the rail tomorrow if he can hold on to his chips. Would be fun if you could gamble on the final table. Gambling makes any contest more challenging.

Main Event Update...

Dead Money Tournament Champion David Anderson gave it a great run yesterday. Seated at a loaded table that include Michael Binger, the world's loosest player Soheil Sommesadenorother, and another pro with slightly less eye-popping results, David held his own.

Anderson played three memorable hands with Michael Binger. On an A22xx board (with three hearts) David made a huge river call with AQ to split a pot. He also doubled up through Binger with top two pair on a QJx board when Binger called with Q10 (?). Later he crippled the Ultimate Bet patch wearing pro when he nimbly tiptoed through a hand inducing a even looser call from Binger.

David ran into a similar problem as Tex last year. Nine hours into the tournament his table lost exactly 0 players. Binger was the first to fall. Soheil Somethingorother stack went up and down like piston but he didn't get knocked out.
Late in the night David got moved to another table to suddenly be a chip dwarf. The pressure was quickly applied and he headed to the rail, a victim of circumstance as much as anything else.

Saw today that GCP friend Dan Walsh is hanging in there. Before I left yestereday he was still contemplating playing, so far it looks like he made the right decision. Unfortunately, Kai Landry could not follow up on winning event 15 (which I took 12th in) with a Main Event win. I'll write about Gene D, Kai and my deep runs when I get caught up on something other stuff I put on hold to play poker 10 hours a day the last week or so.

For now, congrats again to Monkey for more cashes, Davey Bourg two cashes, Parfait (one cash), Gene D's cash, Kai's win, Brandon Jarret's 4th place (it's all pot control Bill), and a stellar week for GCP bloggers in general. Doesn't look like any of the bloggers need poker school any time soon.

Will be back soon.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Circuit Update

First off want to give a shout out to Alex Wood. Frequently see him at the last two or three tables of the Harrahs weekly tournament. Just saw he finished second in event 10 for over 11k. Great job man! Send us a pic to get you on the site and destroy your anonymity.

I ran well in the 9pm second chance tournament last night. Got there an hour early with the intent to play a satellite and free roll the small buy-in. Got seated in a turbo, which I hate, but we had to do it to finish in time.

With three handed and the 9pm already kicked (they pay two winners), I twice watched my opponents suck out on each other with baby cards runner-runner straights to stay alive. Since they were doubling the blinds every hand, we finally agreed to chop three ways.

Turns out, I got overpaid in a satellite last week because they gave us a $500 chip and $100 cash. Last night we each got $350 after paying the dealer a $50 tip. So one prize pool was 1200 and the other was 1100. I'm guessing I didn't get screwed last night and got an edge the first night. Hope it wasn't the reverse.

I got big hands in the tournament like I asked for... Course many of them didn't hold up. Late I got crippled when my Aces called pockets 9s all in preflop. He turned a 9 and I was short with two tables left. There was one shorter stack. I shoved on his Big Blind with QQ and he woke up to Aces. Now, i was micro-stacked. After folding for two revolutions. I was all the way down to just a couple k over my starting chips with 11 people left. Yeah that short. Kudos for Gene D in reinforcing in my head over time that with big blinds and antes you don't have to shove immediately, you can still pick a spot.

I decided that when the big blind got to a particular player, the only guy short enough, that a shove on him might hurt, I would push with any two cards. Sure enough, first guy folds and I thow it all in with 85 o/s. Amazingly, he folded (my tight image probably factoring in). He said, "I'm not doubling YOU up."

Then, I got AA again and shoved on the big blind and the huge stack. Another guy called (dude who cracked my other AA with 9s) and he had 7s. No second set for the guy and I was rolling. After that nobody played a pot with me when I shoved even if they led out for a raise (timing is one of the most underrated aspects of luck in tournament poker... last night it was in my favor).

Let's see I also had to lay down KK earlier in the tournament. Flop came Ace high. Two bets. I fold. Both had an ace. Later it came A high, and I had KK again, and it went bet (me) call, check, check, bet (him) call. He had Ace rag.

Another big hand I had was AK, I fired out a preflop bet. Old guy claimed he couldn't read the board, so the dealer would read out the flop to him. He called. Flop came KdJdx. He checked, I bet, he asked the dealer what the board was and then raised me. Uhhh... I got leveled. I call.

He shoves the turn (which was a 10 I think). I deliberate knowing I'm beat but not wanting to fold. They call clock. I fold. Not before a player not in the hand said something to me that I've never seen before at a poker table. It didn't effect my decision as fold was the best play there with so many hands crushing me but it bothered me. Ask me in person and I'll tell you the story.

So clearly the structure even for the second chance tournaments is phenomenal. So much play to weather bad beats. I also got big hands that stood up too. So, no griping here. Can't say enough about how it rewards the better players and there are fewer morons deep in these things.

However, as happy as I am with the structure, saw a lot of weirdness. Take this hand, late, I'm in the BB, folded around to the kid in the SB. He gathers his chips to raise, takes them up to the line. Doesn't say anything. Picks up and fires in the amount to call my BB and then goes back and fires in the raise. I want to say it's a string bet... it obviously was. I kind of point to the action but don't say anything. I have A10 and am playing regardless. I don't want to be that angle shooter that makes a stink and then makes a play with a possible big hand (though A10 is not a big hand). Didn't have to. Guy next to me says it's a string bet. Dealer says he wasn't looking. Kid says he did it all in one motion. Which he clearly didn't.

Then he said his hands never left the chips, so now, I do speak up because he's not being honest. BTW, I'm picking up on his weakness and feel good about A10. I also watched him take a while to bundle up the courage to try and raise the pot, so I thought I was leading. Floor comes and the kid backs off on his statements after me and the other guy basically deny what he claimed he did.

Then, he shows, and to his credit, honestly, exactly what he did. And amazingly, the floor, Robert (who though I disagreed with a couple of his decisions mostly this one, I thought did everything a floor guy should and ran a great tournament, great job, even if it's the wrong decision (imo) delivery is sometimes more important), said it wasn't a string bet because clearly he intended to raise. WTF? The kid reenacted a perfect string bet. He called and then went back picked up additional chips and fired them in. If that isn't a string bet, I don't know what one is. He never verbalized his intentions either.

I call (was going to write "flatted" but it annoys Southpaw Rounder so I'll not use it every single time). Flop comes A high (bingo). He bets. I should have flatted (:)but I shoved and he folds mumbling I got him outkicked. I think the way the action went down he might have bluffed at it on the following two streets. Bad play on my part.

Speaking of craziness, I watched a guy at showdown, wait for his opponent to show out of turn, make a speech and then fling his cards down on the table for the perfectly executed slowroll, ONLY problem is they hit the edge of the muck face down. He makes no effort to spin them, and the dealer with nobody asking picks them up and shows the winning hand and awards the slowroller/mucker the pot. Then he did it again, two hands later, exact same speech, bs, and misfire muck of his slowroll. WTF?

If I were the opponent and I got slowrolled by an idiot too dumb to flop his cards face up without hitting the muck I would have screamed bloodly murder. The two guys didn't say anything. One got busted that way. I wasn't involved in the hand and didn't speak, and truth be told I was happy the slowroller got the chips because he was terrible, but later I asked the dealer "Wha happened?". And she said, clearly he intended to show down he had the winning hand. Wow. Again with the "intent" what are they mind readers? Then, somebody said the second botched slowroll hit her hand... okay, I buy that, but not the first one.

Later, the same dealer 5 minutes into a new level was informed by me and another guy the blinds had gone up. It was the slowrollers big blind. She turned to them and said the new blind level and they ignored her. She kind of trailed off and shrugged. Passively letting them keep the old blind levels. Not quite the efficiency of internet poker huh?

So, I say, "You know you are the boss of this table. Don't be afraid to be the boss." Then she gives me a withering look like I'm the ahole and I'm the villain she should stand up to. What? If anything, I was trying to let her know we were supporting her so she could enforce the rules. Then she says, "Well, I didn't hear the announcement and their blinds were up." Umm... I'm not deaf or blind, I just watched you try to tell them the blinds were higher and then give up. Whatever.

Oh yeah, I chopped the tournament 6 ways. Fun, nice little payday.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Random Things

Some thanks yous. Again, thanks go out to the Honest Player and Southpaw Rounder for getting Byron and Ray to contribute to the logo. Also, thanks Byron and Ray as well. Very happy with the final product. Thanks again to the Mighty Mac who put the final touches on a truly collaborative effort. Taking my scrawled concept drawing and tweaked all the way to the end was an nice evolution to watch.

Got the rest of the hoodies in, so bloggers contact me when you want to pick them up. Should have the rest of the hats in tomorrow. I got three testers done (as seen in the pics below), red, gold, and silver logo. Red comes out best, and is what we are making most of them. But we'll take orders in most colors. If you got a request, we might be able to do it, too.

I'm ordering another batch from some folks that want to buy some gear, and might have them done by Monday. So, get your order in if you want one by then.

Okay, enough, Gear pimpin...

Congrats to Kai, Southpaw Rounder, Honest Player for cashing (the latter two both cashed in their new hoodies, the first still waiting on his but it's coming. Kai must think I'm a ghost we keep missing each other). Also, good job Monk on all your deep runs.

Looking forward to the Main Event where David Anderson will be representing our satellite tournament. Usually it's for the Real Main Event but we came just short of the necessary players to pull that off so awarded second and third place cash prizes and David the New Orleans 5k Main Event. We'll be pulling hard for him. Hopefully, he'll remember us little guys when he wins it.

Personally, I've been running bad. I haven't looked down at a pocket pair higher than 9s in any tournament I've played in. AK has been a rarity too, might have seen it once. AQ once and AJ once (my elmination hand vs. QQ--did flop three clubs to go with my Ace and a Jack... but bricked turn and river). Fortunately, I get spanked by the deck in the satellites so I'm freerolling all the MTTs basically. Though the one time I got AA, I had to pitch it post flop (board kk7). Guy showed his K6.

Not losing money but not winning anything. Seems to be a running theme in my poker life, card dead in the wrong places and on rushes in the smaller buy-ins. Can't complain too much though because some people have been just card dead period.

I have to say in the tournaments, I've survived fairly well, just bluffing at pots or making correct thin calls. My apparent tightness (when you look at 9-2 every two hands) also gives me a lot of blinds and antes with little friction. If I were playing me, I'd call any preflop raise, and reraise any c-bet I make because the flops I've seen can't be further from my hands if the dealer were picking the cards from the 42 in his hand. The only hand I regret is a thin call I didn't make where I could only beat a bluff. My gut told me I was good, but I didn't pull the trigger. Post hand... the guy pretty much tipped me that he was on air, or a nut flush on a paired board where he might not been able to call a shove. I didn't shove because... so many people can't pitch flushes on paired boards, but I think he would have. Besides, I doubt he even had that after the fact.

Also, made a mistake in not open shoving KQ suited and allowed a button re-raise to get me off my hand when she had A10. She probably would have called the shove and I would have been behind but it was at a stage in the tournament I'd be willing to gamble because of my dwindling chip stack. Not shoving allowed me to wonder if I was dominated and made me fold knowing I still had chips to play. Course if she had shown me AK, would I have then thought I made a good laydown? Not sure.

The rest of my tournaments will be dependent on satellites or cash games. I keep freerolling I'll keep playing.

I'm expecting a massive field for Friday night's 9pm tournament. I have a couple of part time players that are circling that event and I think there will be a big prize pool for just a 200 buy-in.

I've found the cash games to be randomly odd. I've sat at two tables that were nitfests, and one that was a shovefest with almost any two cards. Of course, at the time none of them were games I was looking to play. The nitfests, I can usually exploit, if I'm willing to dedicate the time to it, but on those I had short windows before the tournaments. The wildgame I felt I had edges on a lot of players and wanted to see flops with them, but wouldn't get the chance. I think I'd like to play pot limit hold 'em cash games may need to brush up on my online omaha poker in the meantime..

Oh, and one other thing. I want to apologize to some folks who have asked me about hands. A couple of times within earshot of players from my table, I've flat out lied to friends about what I've held, in case one of my opponents was listening. So, in the theatre or poker room, my recount of the hand might be entirely different than outside of it or on the phone later.

Anyway, see you guys at the tournament and good luck everybody!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Taking Orders now...

Alright here are some bad photos of some our gear. Better photos coming.

Help support Gulf Coast Poker.NET by buying some gear. I think the logo came out pretty sweet.

The hats come in black. Logos can be red, (San Antonio Spurs) silver, or Saints Gold. The gold one is a good alternative to your typical Saints Sunday game day Fleur De Lis. Hats are $25 a pop. Silver is my favorite. Red is sharp too, though.

Don't stop with just a hat. We are also selling hoodies. Your choice zipper or unzippered. Hoodies come in Navy(red logo), Gray(red logo), Black (red, silver or gold logo). Hoodies go for $35 up to XL. Sorry big boys they charge us more for 2XL and 3xL ($40.00)

I know these photos are turgid. We should have some T-shirts and other stuff soon enough. Drop me an email at Wildbill (the "at" sign) if you want to order. We do paypal but you have to pay their juice. Otherwise we accept checks or cash. Shipping is on your end too. Best way is to schedule a drop off at a tournament.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Online Poker is Rigged... uh... Celebrity Apprentice is Rigged

Ultimate Bet ultimate user, Annie Duke, discovered what it's liked to be in a Cereusly rigged poker game. With an outcome that was predetermined no matter what the flop or the turn were... Rivers won. That seems to be the story in all the poker sites coverage of Celebrity Apprentice. And yes, they use equally bad and unoriginal poker analogies.

Annie did everything right and got bad-beated (won't be the last one). Worse yet, with a Trump relative or in-law (as I've seen written) on the board of Joan River's charity, everybody knew it was going to happen. Also, suddenly with monster fund-raiser Annie going up against Joan Rivers, a woman who's been in show business since people wore the current state of her face as a mask in Vaudeville, yet has no deep pocketed friends to speak of (save perhaps Trump himself), the criteria was skewed in Joan's favor. Suddenly, it wasn't just about raising money for charity it was about decor and other ambiguous factors.

Then when Annie was going to crush Joan in design, suddenly the design team quits on Annie, the evidence starts to pile up like a 2+2 spreadsheet the fix was in. They also said Joan had more Celebrities. What? She had none, she had celebrity impersonators. Kathy Griffin, who also makes her money impersonating a real celebrity, and admits to being on the d-list trumps Bernard Hopkins (considering Trump is a judge and he's a boxing fan)? I don't think so.

There are good reasons to say Rivers won because it was rigged, but let's go deeper into the finale, and perhaps there is more to it.

Let's not ignore the fact, just about everybody asked who should win... said Joan Rivers. Including Piers Morgan, the smarmy Brit from the year before that was almost as into fellow egomaniac Annie Duke as he is into himself just one episode ago. Course he based his "informed" opinion on the criteria that was obviously weighted in Joan's favor.

Here is something I didn't realize until just last night. Everybody thinks Joan won because she was the good guy. But I think Trump could cover his ass, and say he picked Joan because she was the BAD guy (I started this thought in Wicked Chops' comments section).

In the board room, Joan Rivers would destroy Annie verbally and then Annie would calmly try to point that out. Joan Rivers would then talk over her with (false)righteous indignation and accuse Annie of doing the very thing Joan was doing. Which was comical. Annie wouldn't say anything and Joan would berate her for berating her and insulting her. At first, I thought how is it Trump is missing this? I'd love to play Trump in online poker if that was the case. America is stupid (no offense Red, White, and Blue) so I get how most of them missed it, but isn't this obvious to the Donald, I asked myself.

Some would say, it was obvious and he chose to ignore it because the fix was in. Which may be true, and every poker site seems to be saying that, but that rings a little hollow like every time a poker player gets bad beated he thinks he got cheated. No, it happens and once you get deeper into it, there could be a good reason Trump picked Rivers that actually makes sense and is consistent with decisions he's made in the past.

It was obvious, Annie maintained class the entire time (in the board room). It was not until last night that I realized that was a bad tactic. She thought business was about having class and being above the name-calling but that was an error in judgment. Duke thought, like poker, results are everything... BUT for Trump that's not always the case.

Trump mistakes name-calling and insults for being a stronger player, so you can see perhaps Annie was mistaken in how to appeal to the Don. She suggested Joan would be fired in any board room in America for her behavior (which is a solid appeal to rationality) but perhaps the exception is Trump's boardroom.

Certainly, seems to be a pattern in his TV boardrooms. Piers the year before ripped his opponents as badly as Joan did and won, so maybe Annie made a mistake in strategy by taking the high road. You could argue Don didn't pick Joan not because he got snowed into believing she was the Good Guy (like the viewing audience did) but because he recognize she was the Bad Guy.

Similar evidence, Brandi Rhoderick didn't get saved until she screamed at people and showed a spine, something Melissa Rivers never did until outside the boardroom, and Annie refused to do inside of it. Joan Rivers was on blast the entire time. The Don seems to think in your face conveys competence because that's the way he does business.

From that perspective, Trump is an open book about who advances in his game. Omarosa, the first season's reality show villain, we all thought stuck around way too long merely because she was good for ratings but maybe that wasn't the reason. Perhaps, we made the same mistake with Piers Morgan last year, and Joan Rivers this year, and the truth of the matter is they stuck around because as Trump says nice guys finish last.

Cut-throat Annie Duke's fault was she chose not to be transparently cut-throat in front of Trump.

Or... it was fixed and Annie never had a shot. It's AK vs. QQ (told you there'd be more bad poker analogies).

Sidenote: if anybody has a screen grab of when Annie got slowrolled and Trump made her think she'd won, where she lights up like a Christmas tree, before he tells her she's fired and it takes her a second to process it, please forward it to me. Like getting kicked in the balls, it's funny because it happened to someone else.

In the end, I've read enough bad things about the way Annie handles people, saw enough of it as she berated her team members, to not really care that she lost. I've seen people so upset they said they'll never watch NBC again (and miss the office? I don't think so). Which boggles my mind, Annie Duke lost a game show on the whim of the arbiter of the game show, because he picks the winner based on whims.

There was nobody to root for and the only intriguing thing all year was to see the Rivers blow up like Phil Hellmuth. I thought Duke did a much better job defending her profession and her fellow players last night, and I rooted for her only because of the way Rivers ripped the entire industry. She's is still one of ours, and we have to back her. And, I have. But, I don't care if she won or lost. But I care if she represented poker well and that was what I rooted for her to do.

While, taking the high road MIGHT have been a losing strategy I think it reflected well on her and poker when in the boardroom. However, she undermined that entirely by saying she wanted Rivers to die outside the boardroom, and being two-faced about saying niceties in front of trump and then ripping the woman any time there is a camera on her.

In fact, being duplicitous actually caused her to fail in both regards. The public never took to her because there was a lot of truth in half of the insults Joan flung at Annie. Had Annie been able to take the high road the ENTIRE TIME the camera was on, she might have still lost but the public would have been behind her more and seen poker in a more favorable light. She couldn't do that, and I think to a degree failed us as representative. As much as I would enjoy watching Hellmuth or Layne Flack on a reality show, if our in-laws are ever going to accept our profession we need some stiffs like Andy Bloch or Jesus Ferguson representing us to the rest of the world.

Why is it important? You know it's bad when Tom Green thinks poker players are beneath him. He told Rodman, "I just got yelled at by a... poker player." This is a guy who made his living dressing up in a padded suit and bashing his genitals with a bat in front of people and saying "Crotch, crotch, crotch. Crotch, crotch, crotch." That's a bad beat.

Annie Duke Got Slowrolled

Joan Rivers wins Celebrity Apprentice. At the very end Trump looked at Annie and asked if she knew what he was about to say. She perked up thinking she had won, and he gave her the bad news.

More to come...

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Rivers vs. Duke, Celebrity Apprentice Fireworks

I talked with my in-laws earlier this week about Celebrity Apprentice. "I hate ANNIE Duke!" my sister in law said. "I can't stand her," my mother in-law agreed. Oh.

Joan Rivers who for 90% of the show is likable (she's the only one who gets out of saying who should be fired most of the time--this past week an exception), has won a place in their heart. I guess. Maybe the dislike her least. The whole "POOKAH PLAYER!" rant, I hope wasn't met in agreement.

Last week, Annie did nothing but set herself up to make the final. Of course her self-loving and pride was poured on a little too thick. You can't fault her for rejoicing in beating Clint Black at his own game (writing a jingle) but the unrestrained jubilation was a little thick to say the least.

I hate when big time pros over celebrate a hand because their opponent lost it. Professionals should be above this. Duke, while not quite rubbing it in Clint Black's face, came close to it. Yes, Duke is full of herself, but she's also the only one playing the game.

Jesse James has hinted he was saving his Hollywood contacts for the finale, in the past, so there seemed to be a deeper game strategy at work his part. However, his unwillingness to drop the cool demeanor and to give, last seasons C.A. Piers Morgan, an interviewer who would influence who the final two selection, the answers he was looking for showed James wasn't in it to win it.

Duke clearly was. Her game skills and positioning of herself would probably make her hated by her peers if she was in the business world, and her willingness to be cutthroat when it matters gives her a HUGE edge vs. her finals opponent Joan Rivers.

Clearly, Duke was most deserving and clearly it didn't matter if Jesse James or Brandi Rhoderick was second most deserving. The finals had to be Joan Rivers and Annie Duke and NBC and Trump are waiting with glee about the fireworks that will ensue.

Here is footage of Annie Duke finally fighting back:

I think Joan should brush up on her poker strategy and her game strategy if she is going to have any chance of winning the Celebrity Apprentice.

And NBC has renewed the show for next year. Please Phil Hellmuth find the time. Or Layne Flack.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

More Learnings from the felt.

In one of my cash sessions with Eddie, I played with a guy I've seen around the room quite a bit. He always seems to have chips so I was eager to study his game. As the rest of the table was pretty piss poor, I felt like me and him would do the carving.

We played one hand, together and I think he outplayed me. I couldn't call, contemplated making a move as he was good enough to get away from a hand, but I gave up knowing their were easier spots on the table.

He had a ton of chips and was using them proficiently. One fat kid, who looked as comfortable in his own skin as I felt the day after camping in a posion ivy patch. He was overmatched but didn't realize it. Anyway, he stare menacingly at the good player whenever they'd get into a hand and then raise into him.

The guy picked up on it from the get go, and would casually roll out a bet that was half the fat kid's stack. He'd winced like he took a fastball to the stomach. Then he'd fold.

Then, he'd do the exact same thing two or three hands later. And he get crunked in the stomach again. I laughed internally and gave some props to the other player. I also knew what to do when I faced him again to induce some action.

The good player picks up, taking a ton of the table's chips with him, and now I'm feeling very comfortable. Lots of opportunity here. I look down in the small blind with AQ. The fat kid looks at his cards and then very casually raises it. Weak means strong. Okay, he's got a good hand.

I'm not folding AQ in this spot despite possbily being crushed--there is just too much room in the rest of the hand for him to make a mistake. However, I feel I WAY behind. Flop comes queen high. I'm ahead of all but two of his possible three holdings AA KK and less possible QQ. I'm crushing JJ, AK, 1010 and AJ. AJ I'm discounting.

By the way, there is a third guy riding shot gun in this hand, an average asian player who is more call station than anything else. I lead out. Both players call. Hmmm.

The kid is not trying to stare me down at all. All the obvious tells of false strength were absent. I don't like that. I got a read the Asian guy didn't like his call as soon as the kid followed suit, so I know we are about to lose him.

The turn is a brick. The texture of the board isn't threatening. I bet out. The Asian calls, and I'm looking for his draw, again, not one. I credit him with a weaker queen. Then the fat kid shoves.

I stew. My first thoughts are to build a side pot with the asian, and I mull over poker strategy on how to extract money from him. Even if I lose to the fat kid, and I may be behind I want something out of the hand to "hedge" my call. As I get into the thought process of what to bet, I see the Asian, unfortunately, telegraph his fold and I'm now solely focused on the fat kid. The shove is for around half my stack. The pot is giving me a reasonable price.

He won't make eye contact with me and he is looking away to try and keep from scaring me out of the pot. Then he does a tell, which is A HUGE indicator of strength, Caro advocates folding the majority of your hands in the face of it when it's a non-actor (I'll refrain from stating it, reread your Caro if you want to guess).

Now, it's not an obvious call. If he's sitting on AA or KK he would feel pretty good here. I got a A so rockets are slightly less likely. I got a Q and I put the asian on a weak q so a set of Queens is unlikely and probably impossible. KK makes the most sense.

I'm contemplating folding now, and it might have been the correct play. I can justify the call, after the fact, but at the time the reason wasn't part of my thinking (though it should be and I think gives me a little insight into the hand I blogged about two entries ago). I made the call probably because the pot was too big and I had chips to spare (neither a very good rationale).

He turns over his hand like it's the nuts... KQ. I scoop the pot, and I hear him bitch about me not calling sooner. Here's the lesson that reaffirmed. Tells give you great information but you have to know what level a player is. This guy was a top pair is the nuts player. Granted the only hands I had seen him play was he was bluffing so I didn't have a guide to go on what he had, but I did know that he was inexperienced. Still, I should have known that he was bad enough, despite strong indicators of strength, he didn't know what strong was.

His parting comment, was indicative of that. There are many situations were I'll toss top pair top kicker for a profit (or a the appropriate stop-loss) as will many players. To him, it's an insta-call. Maybe he didn't know he was broadcasting "I have the nuts" type strength.

However, moving forward, I'm reminded that you need to get inside a player's head or his level to know what strength to him means. This reaffirmed lesson can be reapplied to the hand I folded a straight to. There it was an example where the Indian guy might have thought his second pair was best. He was too bad a player to realize I had cards too, and just because he connected with the flop didn't mean he had the best hand.

Perhaps, he wasn't executing a perfect bluff, until the point I flipped over my 10 for a straight. That he bitched about the tactic afterwards makes me think he had no idea I was so strong and his holding so weak. Kudos to him for revealing nothing when he got shocked by 10 roll. Still, the bad player's concept of the nuts is so different from a good players or an average player's that I have to take that into accord when considering the range of hands I call with. A good player can't possibly call my turn bet, a bad player can.

Busy Weekend

So Eddie Baby was in town.

Got plenty of jazzfest, poker and a little disc golf in there. The eating, as always is the best part of the fest, and my one day joining him there the wife and I tore up the food booths. I try to get something different every year, this time it was Jamiacan food. Jerk Chicken, jerk chicken patties were good. While waiting in line though I eyed the african chicken skewers and spinach and know what I will try next year. Think it's Gambian food. The Duck Po-Boy which I loved last year, disappointed.

The wife tried a Vietnamese dish very similar to one at a restaurant Gene introduced me to. She loved it at jazzfest. When I tried to get her to try Vietnamese food she didn't like it. I'd say they tasted exactly the same. Least she'll give it another try, maybe. She was in heaven with her Fried Green Tomatoes and Iced Tea a little later.

We decided to watch some Bon Jovi, a band I'm not really a fan of per se, but one who I debated with Ed is probably one of the most successful of any band since 1980. Like Aerosmith, and to a degree the Stones slightly before them, Bon Jovi keeps having second and third acts. Rare to do in music. Usually subsequent teenagers are slow to embrace a band that was hot 5 to 10 years ago. Sure, teens "discover" Led Zeppelin around high school, but it's not new material Led Zeppelin is cranking out--it's classics.

Granted most of Bon Jove's is fluff pop, done worse with each passing year, but those guys stay relevant. I realize it's not so much kids buying it but their parents still listening but that says a lot when consider a band like Pearl Jam struggles to retain fans with their underproduced new stuff.

Most of it probably is jon bon jovi's ability to draw a camera or stay out there, either through acting or owning a successful sports franchise, and you look at them in the context of 20 years and there are few bands that can say the same. U2, Aerosmith has hit in what 4 straight decades, Kiss (kind of, more as a touring band than a hitmake since say 1993), anybody else (must be a band)? Probably a few more but not many.

So, with that mindset I prepared to enjoy the band that everybody else gets. I think of the first 7 songs I enjoyed, one maybe two. It's a shame because I think the rest of the crowd just couldn't get amped either and Bon Jovi could feel it. Just wasn't happening. I think everybody wanted the old hits and not the wafer thin tripe they are producing these days.

Jon said some great words about the resilency of New Orleans and mentioned some of the charity they did immediately after Katrina, and of course I rooted for them more but after 45 minutes we decided to beat the crowds rather than wait for the hits.

Ed and I also took on Kyle, the baby-faced bad beat jackpot killer, and his buddy Jonathan in 24 holes of disc golf at Lafreniere Park. Ed and I also stole away to play another round. When it was just Ed and me, I made three birdies in a row, and later on a hilly hole we each took two shots and both of mine had hole-in-one potential. I birdied them both.

Course as a team playing best ball (disc) I don't know if we made any birdies. It was par after par after par. We won the first 8 in our side wager, getting shots and winning outright, lost the second 8 playing even, and chopped the day by losing over 24 but winning the last 8 with the handicap. Sports is always more fun when you are gambling on it. Even if nobody wins anything.

I figured we'd come in as dogs as I've played once or twice in years, and Ed even less. Thanks to an early tee-time, and by tee time I mean when we agreed to meet, we jumped on them early, but when the course lengthened up our arms were shot. Probably will look to play a little more this spring.

next post back to the poker...