Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Poker Eyes, Up is a high card...

I love tells and reading people. I invite myself to get snapped off by a lot of reverse tells by broadcasting my reads on here, I imagine. If you are smart another to do that, and remember what I fall for enjoy the pots. I once told somebody two of my favorites and coincidentally I got snapped off twice later that session by somebody else employing them both as fake tells. That was fun. That's what I get for teaching a poker school. Granted no tell, false tell, or reverse tell is 100%, but just odd to have them go just opposite the day I was coaching their importance... was a little bit humbling.

There is an article that trys to tie into poker tells and eye movements but I'm not so sure of the worth of it. Read it here. I suspect in games like Razz, Stud there may be some significance to it, but even then the research doesn't show a concrete connection.

Basically, they have shown that if a person is thinking about a number if it is bigger than their previous number they were thinking of their eyes move upward and to the right. If it is lower they move their eyes downward and to the left. The Science article I read suggests this is bad for poker players, but I find the connection tenuous at best.

For one, the people studied where abstractly thinking up numbers. So let's say dude was thinking of the number 12. Prior to saying his next number, if it was higher number, he'd look right and up. If it was lower he'd look left and down. The brain processes at work here are involved in creating a number. The eyes movements mirror where the number would be if the particpant were looking at a board of numbers in front of him-left to right = smaller to bigger, same with down to up. The bigger the separation between the two numbers the more exaggerated the person would look.

It's nice to know, and probably somewhat predictable, when the brain is concocting a number the physical body mimics the process of looking for a new one. It makes sense in a way. You ever find yourself physically moving when anticipating a conversation as though you were actually speaking to a person. Same principle I guess.

Here's the but... But in poker you don't concoct numbers. You look at cards with ranks on them. If the study showed that when you saw a higher rank, or perhaps your hand improved, your eye movements reflected the same positioning then it would be information you could use.

Logically, that may be true. May be. But there is no evidence to suggest it is. What is also interesting there is some credence to liars looking up when coming up with a lie and to their creative side while they tell one. Here, if they were lieing about a smaller number they'd be doing just the opposite. Sometimes you can test a bluffer by asking about his hand and seeing which way his eyes move upon his reply. If you know for sure he's lying you might be able to proceed.

Now, there is your application. Course you have to sort out if the guy is lying about a lesser hand or telling the truth(or ranked hand). Couple of variables there. The pertinent information for poker players would be a follow up study to see if the same movements occur when there is improvement or possible weakneing of a holding. Surprised Mike Caro isn't funding these types of studies.

Still, I will be monitoring whether or not players eyes reflect these improvements on my own next time I play live poker. Maybe I should just video tape myself as I play online and sync it with the session, just to study eye habits when cards are revealed.

Alright, that's it for today. To win money off me don't bother looking up or down just take your eyeballs out like Keith Lehr does. I'll be unsettled enough to just give you the pot.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Multi-Level Poker-Like thinking on Survivor Part 2

Back to Survivor where we were breaking down the gameplay and logic behind this weeks moves. Very similar to poker where two players who have a lot of experience vs each other and a bet sometimes isn't what it's meant to represent, and sometimes it is. This multi-leveling of thinking plays out on Survivor as though it is poker strategy reality TV.

Russell told Tyson that he had capitulated and he was going to vote for one of his allies just to survive another week. This appealed to Tyson because their team won a challenge and as reward they'd get to eat hotdogs and watch the other teams elimination discussion. Tyson said he'd consider voting for Russell's ally just to skip the whole revote and get the evening over with--which borders on being so stupid as a viewer you almost didn't believe it.

The producers of survivor have a great ability to always present a player as arrogant or prideful right before they get blindsided. Tyson has always been one of the most arrogant players but this time, helping to confuse savvy viewers they should very little of that arrogance--which made the swerve even better.

From the viewers perspective (and even Tyson's perspective), Russell's talk with Tyson made some sense. If he voted for his ally, he could possibly get away with not playing the idol and keep it another week (thus the votes would be 4 for his ally, 3 for him and 2 for one of Boston Rob's team). From a perspective of self-preservation this would make sense, it would insure Russell another week at the minimum, and likely two if he had the balls to not play the idol, and give him a chance of making it to the merge where anything could happen (maybe even with the idol).

However there was the risk if Tyson reported that back to Boston Rob, the team would just vote 4-2 for Russell. But there's the problem. If Russell is lying about his intentions, then the vote would be 4 votes for Russell (he plays the idol), 3 votes for one of Boston Rob's allys (Boston Rob won immunity and that's why it's not Boston Rob), and 2 votes for Russell's ally. Thus, Boston Rob's team loses a member.

It gets really tricky there. The conclusion you reach is the safest thing for the Boston Rob team is to vote 3 and 3. Worst case is Russell votes for his girl and doesn't play the idol and survives. But there is no chance they'd lose an ally.

In the other situation, they risk losing an ally if Russell is lying.

Shocker, Russell was lying. Shocker still Tyson didn't have the strategy talk with Boston Rob, he just went rogue and voted on his own. And Russell survived because he gave the idol to his ally. Tyson also voted for Russell's ally making the votes a 4-2 split. She got immunity. Russell and his two allies voted for... Tyson. With three votes he was eliminated.

Boston Rob was seething. He had said to Russell "You aren't playing with the amateurs any more, watch your back," earlier in the episode (the moment of pride going before a fall that I had missed to some degree) especially when Russell rebutted "You watch your back."

The interesting aspect of this maneuver by Russell, who tried to curry votes from one of Boston Rob's allies the moment he did it by claiming he was doing it because he had integrity and honesty and loyalty to his teammate (all traits the cartoon character of a person Coach says he personifies), is that he might have been better served by not playing the idol and trying to somehow gut it out to the merge.

With five players left in Boston Rob's group, if Russell can't swing Coach to his side, Russell is done. Course Russell is banking on a couple of things. One he'll find the next idol, just as he did last season with every single idol, and if he has it, his group has the edge in numbers because Boston Rob's group can't split votes. Two, the villains have won almost every challenge. Most likely they won't have to vote somebody off and if they do it might not be until the merge, or it might be in enough time for Russell to swing a vote his way.

The other players have to realise that Rob is an obstacle to them winning the million dollars. As strongly as there are aligned with him at some point they have to cut the throat of the king if they are going to win. At some point they will have to blindside him, and it's better to do it before they get to the individual challenges where Rob will have a chance to win immunity on any given week.

Round one goes to Russell the Houston native who sounds like he's from Western Louisiana. We'll see next week if Boston Rob can't get the edge in round two.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Multi-Level Poker-Like thinking on Survivor Part 1.

Boston Rob, noted for his attempt to become a professional poker player, and has become a Gulf Coast rounder of sorts (he's at most of the tournaments locally driving in from Florida) kind of got blind sided by an ally's lack of foresight on Survivor. I realize most of you may not watch the show, but I found it an intellectual battle of wits with Rob and his rival Russell going one level over the other. It was a bit like poker strategy where you start asking yourself why would he bet a hand like that, only if he wants me to call, but if he knows I'll think that, he wouldn't do that...

Survivor used to be predictable where they would frame every elimination by making one outcome, the wrong outcome, look most likely. So after a while you'd expect the opposite to always happen. And to a degree they still do that, but evey once in a while they surprise you by the most predictable outcome actually happening or presenting two outcomes as equally viable.

In this week's episode, there were two eliminations one from each team. In one, they framed it that Colby was going home, and they did so by him announcing the conclusion was foregone. He didn't go home. No surprise there. Strong is weak... so to speak for the producers. If he was really going home, they would have editted that part out to heighten drama.

On the other side of things, was the interesting part. Two of my favorite players circled each other and announced their intentions that they were coming for each other. Russell an unknown to Boston Rob, was on last season's Survivor, which aired while they were filming this one. Russell, made a habit of snatching victory from the jaws of defeat and finding immunity idols when other players weren't even bothered to look (a strategy I always thought I'd employ if I were ever on the show). I'd be searching for immunity idols from the moment I landed there, whether or not they had clues or not. Russell also played those idols better than anybody before him.

This season he found the idol, however, he did so after his team, the villains had all agreed not to search for them. If somebody did, they'd ferret it out by making them play it during the vote, by voting for them. That didn't faze Russell.

So, now Russell has an idol and in finding it has ostracized himself from the bulk of the team. He has two female allies and though in the previous season he looked at the females as disposable and early turned on them and voted them out with impugnity this season they are all that he has.

Boston Rob's group decided to vote Russell out and make him play the idol. They control six votes. They realized that Russell's three votes put them at risk if they all voted out Russell and he played the idol. The rules stipulate if the idol is played the person with the next amount of votes is eliminated.

Therefore they realized they had to split the votes evenly between Russell and one of his allies. That would create a three way tie. In the event of a tie after the idol has been played there is a revote, and at that point Boston Rob's team would have six votes to three and eliminate either Russell's ally or Russell (if he chose to give the idol to his ally).

Sounds like Russell is doomed. However, Rob as leader of his team made one fatal mistake. He didn't make sure no one diverted from the strategy. He watched Russell approach one of his allies Tyson and failed to get in Tyson's ear after the conversation.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Poker Thursday Night and the Worlds Worst Sports Bar the Fox and Hound in Elmwood Part 4

She laughs... a fake laugh you know when wait-people put in the absolute minimum effort after just a terrible showing to be nice because of the tip possibility, even though it’s pretty unfathomable anybody would tip, and she was failing even at this.

She tells us of how overworked she is and I look around the now empty restaurant, the herd of staff looking like buffalo on the plains 400 years ago in one massive grazing entity, stepping over sweet and low packages as though the were cowpies, I give her you got to be kidding look. I might not yet be at the poker game but this was one bluff I wasn't falling for but apparently she was bluffing herself. We need more folks like here playing online poker that's for sure.

She's pretty oblivious even for the bovine. Perfect match for an online poker fish. She isn't even self-aware how is she going to know your cards if she can barely read her own.

I say, "I'll clear out only if you can get the rest of the games, you know the march madness games, on those other tvs up there. I think we've seen about enough of Nitro in his prime."

"The manager is working on it."

Really, is it like splitting the atom. Is she back there soldering wires together? Does she have to beat big blue in a best out 21 series in chess just to get access to the remotes? Or is busy not doing anything at all like the rest of her crack staff, I think to myself.

"I tried to help her with it but she got kind of mad."

"Oh that's because you are a demanding customer."

"A what?"

"You are demanding."

"...I've been here for three hours to watch college basketball, and for the first hour I didn't have a beer or the game I wanted and for the second two hours we've only had one game on, I'm demanding?"

"Well... The satellite system isn't like your cable box at home."

"Really?"

"No it's direct TV."

My friend quips, "So it's just like my DirectTV at home?"

"No... this is a satellite."

"Yes, you got that DirectTv cable coming in through your dish," I nod to him.

She nods in agreement. She's sincere.

"Gotcha," he says.

"Tell you what," I turn to her, "you get those games on I'll clear you out."

"On it," she walks away for the first time like she has a purpose.

You know you are a sucka when you let a nitwit outsmart you. This brainless bison wandered over to the manager (taking her sweet time as always... the other games were coming down to the wire and nary a TV had them on) and then smiles and nods and points in the direction of the TVs. The manager goes toward the receiver embankment, also known as the toughest mental challenge for the Fox and Hound sports bar managers since Sudoko premiered in the newspaper, and I think wow, i might actually be able to watch more than one game at once. There might actually be a reason to come to a SPORTS BAR with multiple TVs instead of watching it on the internet at home.

So the waitress comes back, I want to stiff her, but I can't, because I can't stiff waitpeople, I feel if they are miserable at their job, they are likely to soon be fired, and they will need the money. So I give her a tip.

Then she walks away and the games never come on. I feel like my dog bested me at Tic Tac Toe.

I corner the manager 10 minutes later when she reappears after her trip into the wardrobe, with a lion, a witch and four english kids, and she tells me the waitress never asked her to put the other games on. Wow, did I really lose a battle of wits with the witless?

I resist the idea of stating the obvious once again to the manager, making a some weird series of grimaces of restraint, and then decide why not in a flury.... "It's march madness every game should be on TV at once. This shouldn't be a request. It should already on there. I'm in a sports bar. There should be sports and there should be beer... at a minimum. Your bar has neither. It's like having a tanning salon without a tanning bed, a gas station without a pump, or a zoo without animals."

Never, ever, ever, ever go to the Fox and the Hound. The worst Sports Bar ever. I'll get to the poker next time, but considering I was going to play a mind game after failing to outthink a girl in the witless protection program it didn't bode well.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Poker Thursday Night and the Worlds Worst Sports Bar the Fox and Hound in Elmwood Part 3

I ask the waitress about the Richmond game again. She says, "I don't know if I can put it on. They might be watching those TVs."

I look around the desolate sports bar, see some pieces of sweet n lo tumbleweed and little else, and then see the couple that asked for the Vandy game a full 30 minutes after I got there and requested the Richmond game. We are in a room with 20 tvs and three big screen tvs and there are three of us. I'm dumbfounded.

Is it possible this girl isn't playing with a full deck is she trying to play Texas Hold'em with no cards in the hole? She'd always be playing the board and thinking she'd won.

"You mean they might be watching all 20 tvs... If I ask them if I can watch on one of these screens do you think you'd be able to handle that?" She looked blankly, actually that was her standby face, it was always on blankly, so she simply stood there with her normal face apparently thinking.

"Well, it's going to take some time." I look at the flurry of activity in the rest of the restaurant and by flurry of activity I mean wait people on their cell phones, and huddled around in packs of inactivity.

"Okay, in the meantime, you want to get my friend a beer and see how that team changing the kegs has done with my beer."

I ask the couple if they'd mind only watching the Vandy game on two of the large screens (I omit that technically I was there first, and requested a game first). They agreed they only needed two of the big screens as they were facing different directions (what?) but they guessed... I could have the third. I wasn't complaining, this forced half-ass compliance was the closet thing to a victory for me all day.

Surely, the staff was fucking with me. Surely, it couldn't be this bad. But no it was, and it got worse

Sometime later, after watching the manager look at her watch and walk over the scattered sweet and lo packs, and the entire staff of roughly 40 with a clientale of maybe 10 (and four of us in one room) standing around like 17 year olds in front of a seven eleven hoping somebody cool enough would just buy them beer without them even asking, she disapears into her rabbit hole.

I get up to go see if maybe by some good fortune there is the Richmond game in one of the other two sections of the restaurant and in doing so see the manager step back into reality. "Oh, you wanted the Richmond game right," she seems borderline nice, i guess she had punished me enough. "If you want the volume on I'll put it in there."

Okay, so we move to a different section of the restaurant and get the Richmond game, and American Gladiator, and girls softball, and hunting and fishing shows. Our waitress had tucked back into the the ninth dimesnion her iPhone app would pull her into and not be seen for a refill until the second half. I said refill, oh yeah, she finally showed up with my beer and for my friend gave him a green beer of the same size. "What was left at the bottom of the keg," from St. Patricks day. Oddly my beer wasn't green, and they were changing the keg before they could serve mine. Just typical fluctations of time and space in that miserable, hell hole of a bar.

So of course, after that fiasco, the game is going to pieces and Richmond looks like a shell of the team they were in the second half of the season. St. Marys rode the no respect card all the way to a blowout victory. I go to the rest room with the outcome of the game pretty clearly determined, and I see the manager appear to be walking somewhere with a purpose.

"Is your team winning," she gleefully asks.

"Yes, the game is going quite well," I lie, knowing she knows the ass whopping we are enduring and go do my business. I contemplate administering a double-decker then I realize I'm a grown ass man and just pee.

The waitress apparently freed from under Fraggle Rock where puppets had hidden her for the second half of the game comes over all smiles. "Can you do me a favor my shift has ended, can I clear you out."

"Oh, you were working today?" I can't help but ask.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Poker Thursday Night and the Worlds Worst Sports Bar the Fox and Hound in Elmwood Part 2

The place is now empty. Now, it's just me waiting for a friend in one section of the restaurant. The other games start to tip and still just the one feed. A couple walk in after me, and they request the Vanderbilt game. As much as I like the spiders postseason chances I can't help but think they had a bad matchup and this definitely a game I wouldn't have done any sports betting on. Which is on the local feed. I watch the manager struggle with the satellite as it keeps saying the game isn't available in her region (because it's on the local channel).

Anybody with direct TV and a sports package, or who has been to a bar with a sports package, knows this pretty quickly. Apparently, if you manage a bar with a sports package this is not apparent. So, I decide to help her and try to explain why the feed is off and she not so subltely tells me to F off without saying it. I was so shocked by the reaction I didn't even bother to confirm the Richmond game was on.

I had decided I was trapped in this twilight zone of stupidity, ineptness and customer service that surely explained the dearth of patrons because it would take me until halftime of my game to get to another venue. Apparently the local feed portion that I was able to get out before the manager let me know she was struggling with Big Blue in a chess match to get the college basketball games on, got through to her because the Vandy game lit up through the restaurant.

Next, i try three successive times to wave down my waitress. She does the stare over look and spin each time. There are three people in her part of the restaurant, and there are more wait-staff than a football team. A girl and a boy waitress and waiter throw sweet and low packets at each other. When I say packets I mean they empty the container on the table and toss at one another. Then wrassle a bit and leave them on the floor. Classy.

My waitress in one of her spin-away moments feigns picking up the litter, then has second thoughts about showing some sort of initiative or professionalism shrugs and walks away. One of my other attempts at waving her down to get my beer and my game (IN A SPORTS BAR!) was amazingly turned into a glance at the iPhone and full pivot showing only her lumpy rear end, which even the blackness of her uniform didn't slim down, and a full on texting session.

Now the Richmond game has tipped. I'd been there forever. Another group comes in and as my waitress sits them and is trying for a fourth time ignore my wave, I scream out, "Excuse me can we get all the games on?"

She looks at me like I shot her dog, how presumptious of me to want to watch college basketball during march madness at a sports bar, "Our manager is working on it."

"She is?" I look to where the bank of tv receivers is and no afternoon shift manager.

"Can I get my beer please?"

"... they just changed the keg, you'll have to wait." Yes, foolish me to expect their advertised special to be readily available especially when it's a beer and they are a sports BAR!

My friend arrives. We are kind of stuck here. We see Richmond is off to a fast start, which 3/4s of the time in the NCAAs you don't really want. It's like the team that starts out quick, especially if a higher seed, kind of relaxes, and the team that is knocked to the canvas wakes up and plays out the rest of the game on fire. As the game isn't on, I can't tell if this is likely to happen.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Poker Thursday Night and the Worlds Worst Sports Bar the Fox and Hound in Elmwood Part I

After a terrible butt whomping by St. Marys and one of my worst experiences ever at a restaurant/sports bar ,the pathetic and apathetic, Fox and Hound sports bar in Elmwood, I play some poker. Got hot early and then whittled away most of my winnings. Wish I'd hit and run, I wish they'd teach that in poker school. I'll get to my poker later but first that terrible day.

The day of course started out pretty miserably.

Arrive to the bar in plenty of time to watch the Richmond-St. Marys tilt but of course in the drive over miss most the tight endings of the Nova and BYU games. Actually, I didn't miss them in the drive over, I got there in time, but what I didn't realize was that, I got to a place billed as a sports bar, that had 20 big screens and plenty of small screens but only one March Madness game was on the big screens. Welcome to the twilight zone, where logic has no logic, time stands still even as a game speeds by unwatched, and people are somehow underqualified to work in a bar.

Instead, horse racing, college softball, baseball, ESPN classic, and a host of other things I looked at barely long enough to know they weren't the exciting down to the wire action of March Madness. I immediately ask my waitress who looks overworked if I can get all the games on, you know each game, on at least one TV. She looks at me vaguely incredulously.

"Which game do you want?"

"I want them all... but specifically the Richmond game. Definitely the Richmond game" I look down at my toolish too sportsfanish sweatshirt that has Richmond broadly emblazoned across the front. I know, I know, who dresses up to go a sportsbar? I'm normally not that guy, but as opportunities are so rare for the Spiders to be on the National stage, I had to be him on that day. Plus, I've learned when you are wearing your schools colors you never have to deal with people requesting them to change your game from the TV you are watching. Sometimes, a necessary evil. In school spirit, I also dressed up my baby before dropping him off at my inlaws. In the latest example of me reading precognitive game changing abilities in my infant, I immediately took him spitting up on my sweatshirt and his spider onesies as a bad omen. Back to the conversation though...

"What do you want to drink?" she asks me and hands me a menu.

"I'll take a coke... and a big beer."

In scouting this dump, I found out they have a $4 beer special on Thursdays, I also saw some terrible reviews. Go here to read them.

Behind thick glasses that make some girls look sexy, but with this girl's personality, she could have vintage Pamela Anderson's body draped over hers and she'd still be the furtherest thing from sexy, her eyes widened, "You know what you want to eat?"

I look at the menu... "You just gave this to me."

She seemed confused.

Fortunately, the one game on cuts away to the last few minutes of the Nova overtime game, but then the BYU game gets gripping and I can't watch both at once. Unfortunately, 15 minutes later I see based on the channel changing attempts on the other screens this confuses the manager and she assumes they are all the same thing. Okay... I'm in a SPORTS bar, during the March Madness, and the manager can't figure out how to operate the satellite television. I also don't have a drink. Neither the sports or the bar part of their description is being filled.

The customers in there, maybe the tail end of lunch hour, pack up and leave. As I'm distracted listening to them grouse about service, food, and other things, I notice the waitress walk over with my coke and a beer on her tray. When I look back at the table it's just a coke. She and the beer have disappeared. What? No wonder they were bitching.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Bobby Mo up 7, 22-15

Nova trapping and Bobby Mo not having too much trouble with it as yet. I remember last year Nova looked TURRIBLE in their first round game for much of it, regathered and then marched to the final four. So this can be fleeting.

NCAA early day 1 thoughts...

Bobby Mo, Robert Morris, up on Villanova. I like it. Villanova not starting two of their studs. I like it even more. Course if this result was to stand (mid-way through the first half so still unlikely), after the first game I will already have no chance at a perfect bracket.

BYU is legit. Got to root for the mids against a major. Since Richmond already beat Florida this year we couldn't draw them but they seem a vulnerable 10 seed.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Zero Poker and Coke Zero

Haven't played any poker since I last blogged which was what two days ago? I had the mouse over my favorite online poker site at about midnight last night and decided I was too tired to log on and crush people, soul read, and write random non-sequiter in chat. I get punch drunk when I'm tired and I'm not above just rambling aimlessly until I get a response.

Recently my favorite introduction to inanity is the following:

"That was a bad beat, but I'll tell you about a bad beat, a bad beat called my life"
"Anybody want to hear?"
"I'll take that silence as enthusiastic confirmation..."
Then I'll just go on in mind-numbing fashion like...
"It all started a long time ago when I was born with an extra toe..."
"NH. You are probably wondering why not just lop it off? It's just an extra toe?"
"Well, my dad was shoe maker and he took it as challenge, so rather than let the oral surgeon that delivered me trim the extra digit, my dad decided to make me a special shoe"
"He made a cut out for my extra toe which oddly grew perpidicular to the rest of my foot."
"Thus my childhood was a awkward one of dribbling basketballs into by bare toe appendage, one of being stuffed into lockers and called Pepperoni Papa Johns Pizza Face, but that was because of my love of pizza and hand nothing to do with my acne or my toe, but I think when they called me Six Toe Freak it did."
"I know you are compelled by my narrative to feel sympathy for me"
"And that's kind of the point. NH."
"When you take my chips you don't steal from a ten-toed comrade you pilfer from a mutant, and I wish harm on your pet rabbits for doing so."

This kind of stuff continues unabated until my opponents hate me or love me. I question those that love me. Though I do advise to get your Mike Caro on in the comments box... Never, ever, ever make sense to make your opponents think you are an idiot and keeps you playing from playing Q9 suited in the face of multiple reraises.

Okay, enough of that tangent, let's get to Coke Zero. I'm not a soda fan, but I gave up my coffee frappocino vice for Lent and I'm struggling without the caffeine. I decide to get some no carbs, no calorie coke Zero, and I have to say I'm dissappointed. The first taste when it hits your lips is all coke, your body is on alert because delicious nonnutritious corn syrup is about to fill up your belly, and the first taste is just like Coke. Then, like a bad movie sequel it all goes wrong. The after taste is Diet Coke but arguably worse. You get this taste like you just ate some styrofoam penuts.

All drinking a Coke Zero makes me feel is somewhat more awake and mostly wanting... It's like 30 minutes after a Chinese meal when you feel like you haven't eaten, waving a car into a lane and not geting a thank you wave (I hate you douschbags), or expecting to eat the last Oreo in the bag and finding out somebody beat you to it. Zero fulfillment.

So I got a bunch of Coke Zeros if anybody would like their own disappointing refreshment let me know.

Monday, March 15, 2010

NCAA Tourney 2010 Sports Betting thoughts part 2

The A10 apparently was the league to screw over this year, but don't let that get in the way of profitable sports betting. Richmond also underseeded as a 7 when probably had the resume to be a five or if I'm not being too much of a homer, definitely a 6.

They play St. Marys in the first round... and St. Marys may be a favorite according to Vegas. Remember what I said about lower seeds that were favorites? Bad news for the Spiders, who match up poorly with the West Coast team. The early start all the way in Providence Rhode Island is an underlooked advantage, with it feeling like 11 am to St. Marys. So expect this line to be close.

I also like that the Spiders lost the A10 championship narrowly. They looked sluggish all game vs. Temple and the OT vs. Xavier the night before seem to have worn them out. They'll be approaching St. Marys with an aggressive mindset.

Xavier is the third team from the A10 and because of the ineptitude of the committee gets a first round game vs. Minny in nearby Wisconsin which will be like a home game for the gophers. That breaks one of the scheduling rules the committee has set up. All three A10 teams have great backcourts and different strengths but each of those strengths are qualities many teams haven't faced too much before.

Temple's teamwork and passing is exemplary. Juan Fernandez is a taller version of Pepe Sanchez, and to stay on Argentinians probably what Mano Ginobli would have looked like in college if he was a better ball handler. They also have some tough inside players and good perimeters sharp shooters. You don't want Temple in your bracket.

Xavier is as tough as any team in the country. They come in waves with a posible NBA backcourt and again some powerful inside players. They easily could be right in the mix at the top of the big east and another team nobody wants to prepare for.

Villanova right now is pulling their hair out. They have a fairly competent opponent in the first round and then just two days to prepare for St. Marys or the third A10 team Richmond. Richmond plays a zone defense that is stifling. If you have played a steady diet of man to man, your players are going to be confused. As with most zone defenses, their hole is rebounding, but unlike many teams that zone Richmond is exceptional at getting back and defending the fast break.

So while they don't get a lot of boards they aren't exploitable in the transition (surprisingly rare). Richmond also plays a modified Princeton offense called the Richmond offense. In it there is an intricate pattern of backcuts and passing for shot creation, but at the same time there are sets that allow their impressive backcourt to create their own thing. Playing against that offense has defenders heads on a swivel.

Do they defend the sets and have their backs are turned as the point guard breaks down his man and gets an easy lay-up? Or do they worry about the motion and Richmond will just drain three point shots. Villanova has two days to prep for that? Or if St. Marys wins Villanova's guard heavy offense has to deal with an incredibly tall front line.
So in short the A10 teams are probably all underseeded, all three got hosed on matchups so you can't just start penciling them in subesquent rounds, but if you think they can overcome their first round you might want to have them advancing a game or two more.

The preparation for any of those teams for a 1st round winner is going to be difficult. If Wisconsin beats Wofford (don't sleep on them either but they are a far easier first round game than Cornell) Bo Ryan brings a similar toughness and taking care of the ball mentality as Temple but I'd have to think Wisconsin would be the underdog here.

As for Xavier they get a team like Minnesota that is hot as can be. Don't know enough about the Gophers, but I do know Tubby Smith wins and can win ugly. This will be a bruising battle if Smith's current team is anything like his personality or some of his less talent laden Kentucky teams. Pittsburgh will be waiting in the wings should they topple Oakland and that promises more of the same. Again, I think Xavier might be a small favorite in this game. Xavier is probably more talented.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

NCAA Tourney 2010 Sports Gambling thoughts part 1.

Here's some thoughts on the NCAA tournament. I'll include some tidbits for sports bettors to distort, but if you like sports betting there is no better time than the NCAA tournament. Of late this had changed, but for a good 15 years there were some easy rules to win money in the NCAAs.

Used to be that in the first round take all dogs and you'll win at a surprising clip, enough to beat the juice and profit. Second round the lines schew the other way load up on the favorites. The profit is smaller than the first round but still enough to return a winning two days.

Nowadays, perhaps because of more savvy bettors, and Vegas taking into account the trends, the favorites have had a little more success in the first round (pendulum going too far) and the lines in the second round are tighter. Good news, bad news there.

Good news if you got a feeling about a team and a line don't worry about the old trends go with your gut. If you want to bet a game but know nothing about the two, in the first round lean more to the favorites, and in the second round, flip a coin, pick your favorite color or have fun rooting for the underdog.

You'll notice that oft times a team may be an underdog according to seed but a favorite according to Vegas. As far as brackets go, those teams have a high return of wins, so take that into account as far as advancing lower seeds. Many in your bracket pool probably won't be looking at the lines when they make their picks and won't know how good a particular underdog is.

Also, when the analysts all love a team--listen to them. Sucks that it's paint by numbers but these guys have sniffed out teams that have won early round games in years past. Look for quasi-consensus. Sienna was on everybody's tongue the last couple of years and sure enough they won. Davidson's run was a little deeper than most thought but EVERYBODY was telling you how dangerous they were.

Interested fact about Davidson, and how they contradict the principle there is no such thing is a good loss. That squad played a tough regular season schedule but lost to every big name team they played. Didn't win one single meaningful game. Fortunately for them they won their conference because they might not have merited selection had they not. Once there they discovered how to beat big teams and almost went to the final four.

So look for little teams that had tough schedules and don't dock them too much if they lost a lot of tough (close) games. Cornell didn't beat anybody of note, but on the road they almost beat Kansas. Arguably, their resume justifies their seed despite Jay Bilas telling you they should be a five, but he is right about their ability far exceeding their placement.

Their first round opponent Temple is a tough, disciplined team and really got the shaft not only with their crappy seed but getting Cornell as their opponent. I'll get to more on the A10 in my next post as they have three teams that could be bracket busters only because the public and the BCS committee members don't realize how good that league is.

Staying on point with sports betting trends from the first round you also want to look for team names from the lesser conferences you've seen a lot of, because experience equals first round success. And don't fall in love with teams that ran hot in conference tournaments. If for most of the year they were mediocre, don't think they are suddenly good.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Poker Cash Game afterwards part III

I later got into a hand with a guy that was steaming and he was just firing bets into the pot. I had top pair (jack maybe with a weak kicker). The draws missed and he put out a big bet. I had already seen him bet draws, and bluff when they missed. I had better than a bluff catcher but then I saw him staring off into the distance, head up, looking like he didn't want to scare me away. I folded but I really wish I knew what he held.

My chip stack went up and down. I would have made a nice profit on a hand with top pair king kicker, then this idiot stuck around for a gut shot draw wheel draw, hit it and didn't even bet it. Okay, he was an idiot but... I got a great disdain for people that chase these improbable draws, hit them, and never bet their made hands to give them anywhere close to the value to draw. One of the problems I think I'd have with Omaha is knowing what I should be to make chasing the right play if I catch. I'm a guy that would need some Omaha Tips.

I thought my hand was good but there was another guy in the pot so I didn't want to play that big of pot with just one pair. Anyway, based on the pot size I'd have to stack off if I wanted to bet some hands out. The other dude called as well. Lucky for me when the first dude flipped his rivered bullshit wheel hand.

The guy changed tables, so did another idiot that was burning through buy-ins and Heinkends at our table, but craved the action at the 2-5. Please don't leave, please don't leave, please don't leave, I tried to will the two doctors to stick with our table but they left. It's not that doctors are stupid, it's just that their egos don't allow them to realize being smart and being good at poker with no experience doesn't go hand in hand.

Orthopedic surgeon conventions are juicy. Later I see the guy who caught the wheel against me at Joe B's table. I tell him what the dude did to me, and Joe says he's already down three buy-ins in the 20 minutes he's been there argh! Hopefully, Joe got some of my money off of him if I couldn't.
The rest of the day was fairly uneventful. I got either AJ or nothing. I played AJ every possible way. Limped it and got snapped off by a dude that limped AK when an A hit. I thought about opening with bull-shit but when I’d pop it with suited connectors it’d be all face cards. Kind of frustrating.

I built my way back up after the doctor wheeled me, and just couldn’t catch hands. The table wasn’t giving away any money. Later another regular joined and he seat changed to my left. That’s a compliment I guess . Good thing was I was playing so tight if I opened he got out of the way. I didn’t want to play pots with him either. So in a way, it was better that he moved because rather than me folding to his openings with some decent hands he was folding to me.

That’s a dynamic that is undervalued in the concept of sitting to the left of a tight, good player. If he is going to accord you the same respect, I think you’d rather be on the right of him. That way you get the relative first in vig, and garner the same position. If he doesn’t give you that kind of leeway then to the left is good.

I have a friend that always tries to sit on my left when we play cash together. Always. That’s fine by me, because he’s going to let me dictate the action and if he’s choosing to not mix it up with me and lay down so be it. These guys assume there are going to be hands they are going to lead out into, and that I’ll call with position, but they forget I’m focused on getting the easy money at the table. When I catch big hands yes, I’ll play with them, but they should know where they are at anyway.

Poker Cash Game afterwards part II

I promise I'll get to the cash game... not that anybody is on the edge of their seats to read a hand history for a standard 1-2 cash game. I realize that, but I keep thinking of more hands from the tournament. True the cash games are usaully sprinkled with more colorful characters like the degens from the rest of the casino treating it like a blackjack table.

These are the sort that play online casino during their work hours, and skip over to Harrahs with a little drool in the mouth and can't wrench themselves away from a one armed bandit. Not that I have anything against people that play online casino or play in a live casino, it's fun, but generally they are easier targets in poker.

Here's where the kid's strategy I mentioned in the previous post, the min-raise could have helped me in a spot or two. Once in early position I held Aq suited, I fired out a 3x raise when blinds were 300-600. I wanted to take it down and there were some tight players in late position that might lay down some additional hands then if I made it say 1500 or 1200. A lady quickly shoved when it got to her.

I've played with her numerous times, and made a few final tables with her, so I know her game. She ain't shoving with nothing there. At best I was in a race with JJ, at best. So everything else basically crippled me. I had chipped up to about 16k to start the hand so even though her shove was only for half my stack I thought better of it and quickly laid down flashing her the AQ.

She was kind enough to oblige and showed my AK. Course sometimes AK gets snapped by AQ. She's another player I like to see do well if it doesn't directly effect me. She's got a great attitude when she plays and is there to have fun but keeps a level head no matter what.

It's funny I folded 99 in the face of an early position raiser from mid position early, two guys called. One guy folded to a post flop bet and said he had 66. The other two guys got in on the flop the first guy had KK, the other JJ. So I was in a bit of a zone (even if it was a nit zone). Nobody made a set by the river including me, btw.

Yet, later in the tournament, right after I folded to the lady, I open again for a l3x bet with 88. A short stack on the button shoved for half that. I had to call, of course. He had jj and neither of us improved. I had lost a third of my stack. In retrospect I could have limped-called/folded or more moderately raised and called.

Okay, in the cash game. I played with a regular who I thought was the best player at the table fortunately I was directly on his left. I think we only tangled in one hand in the blinds, I made top pair he made two pair. Later, he limped I raised, he called and we went to showdown.

I had a AJ (for the fortieth time that cash session), I missed the flop, he quickly checked and so did I. Turn was a brick he quickly checked and I followed suit. They were all babies. River was a blank and he checked. For a split second I had thought about betting if he checked.

It dawned on me that if he had nothing he couldn't call and I'd scoop the pot. In that case my AJ was already good. There are a few hands that I could get him to lay down but with the action he might call thinking pocket pair of 3s, 4s, or 5s could be good. Or he could have a monster.

I expect to win the pot and turned over AJ. He flopped a set of Kings. Oh... People looked at him funny, and he correctly said I couldn't call, his only hope was to induce a bluff or pray that I hit a piece. Correct.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Poker Cash Game afterwards

So I played some cash after my bust out. I cooled off enough after the tournament because of a long list to get onto the table. I reflected and thought I had done a couple of things wrong. One I was being aggressive enough in general and while playing cautious with those short stacks is not a bad idea I think I nitted it up a little too much.

I drew inspiration from a kid I played with almost from the start to my bust-out making the same table changes all along. Watching him was a bit like a personal poker school. He tried a strategy which I had employed in the past there and he had a lot of success with it. He actually took it further, I've been 2.5 x bets or 2.25 raising in the past where he was straight up 2xing it. Min-raises everywhere.

Weird thing was he never got pounded by anybody. In the past I felt like those small raises have drawn a lot of late position raises or shoves on me and I've since reverted back to 3x for almost any hand until the blinds get up there and it's about 2.25 - 2.5. I watched him exhibit good discipline the few times he ran into those hands. Even better i couldn't believe how many pots he raked in by c betting the bare minimum.

Wow... that was an eye-opener. A tactic I'll probably give a go at the next one I play. He got short a couple of times but always seemed to chip up. I played a big pot with him fairly early on and laid down to a big raise by him. I didn't see him play for those stakes much afterward so I suspect my lay-down might have been good.

I didn't have the courage in one hand to call with king high. I had that gut feeling I've had in the past. The guy shoved on the river when no draws hit and it just felt like a bluff. Course I couldn't come over the top and win the hand that way so I could only call if I thought King high as good. Too many weak Aces came to mind but I think I regret that decision. My gut is usually right and I usually profit by listening to it, this time I couldn't pull the trigger for some reason.

Anyway, I mulled over those items and waited, and waited, and waited for a table. As I did I watched Spider who's been on a Donkley heater get closer and closer to another final table (and eventual chop). Great job spider.

Saw David A. and the good captain but really didn't get a chance to talk too much to either. They are a couple of good guys I always root for when i'm not in a pot with them. I hope their days were a little better than mine. Looked like they found a decent cash table to play and unfortunately a spot didn’t open up there. Not that disappointed because I’m not really looking to take either one of them’s money and I hate having friends at a table with me.

I respect both their games so I would probably try to avoid pots with them and that just ruins my full ring approach. Invariably, I catch my biggest hands vs. friends and getting felted by somebody tends to leave a bad taste in your mouth. The Captain bolted for his game in Baton Rouge I think but knowing him he probably left a winner. That guy was running as good as anyone a month or so ago.

Question, if you want a coke and nobody is at the bar, and you see the bartender in the back just chatting along with a waitress and not even peeking out to his station (granted it’s a dead hour) do you tip the guy when he finally comes out and discovers your presence? I did, but as I went to sit down at my cash table I sort of regretted it. What’d I tip him for? Leaving me thirsty for 10 minutes? Am I reinforcing that kind of job shirking is okay by tipping a guy in spite of it? I'm too nice sometimes.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Wednesday Poker Tournament at the Big H

What to say, been a busy week but finally got some live poker in. Went to Harrahs on wednesday and got dowwn to about two tables left (pay final table and they did an even chop hooking up the short stack). I shoved an unopened pot from the cut-off with J9 suited with five bbs. Older nit reg shoved a large stack over the top from the button. Uh-oh.

Fortunately I was up against AK. Unfortunately, I got no help nor any sweat from added draws on the flop.

My day started off like it was going to be a great one. On the first hand, I got there on time so it was the first hand in the tournament for once, I considered raising from EP with Q10 which is normally an auto-fold for me. Something told me to fire, I didn't. Flop brought two 10s and was bet twice and called for a nice pot.

Next hand I had pocket 6s. I limp. Flop came 667. Two spades. Oh really. Check, check, check, check, check. Turn is the 8 spades (please, hit one of these guys). Checked to lag who bets it. Couple of callers (sweet). River is 9d. Okay, every draw basically hit here. Wouldn't it be nice if somebody had pocket 9s, pocket 7s, pocket 8s or whatever.

I check, guy bets a weak bet, another dude calls, I pump it up three times his bet which is a third of both their stacks. First guy stews forever and just calls. Second guy folds.

I turn over my quads. He shows J10 for the best possible straight. I guess I got maximum value out of that hand. Still, watching every draw hit, and short of the straight flushes crushing me, I thought I was going to stack somebody.

I took me a little bit to adjust my poker strategy because of the difference of play from the Donkley to online that I have been playing mostly. I don't think I made the necessary changes in retrospect. Way too underaggressive and too much just playing the cards.

Later, I watched a guy in late position check the nuts twice on the river (last to act). Yeah... twice. That's a penalty in some places. I thought about asking the floor if it was a penalty at the Donkley but hey if this guy was going to check the nuts twice so be it.

I remarked, I wouldn't know what to do if that guy bet the river.

Later I get AK in the big blind. It's limped to me. I up it and it's folded to that gentleman on the button. He calls, now with a massive stack. Flop is A high. I put out the same size bet I folded to a reraises with in a couple of hands in a row just before.

He shoves for my stack.

I stew for a long time. This guy had only shown the nuts. Plus, if he was silly enough to check the nuts last to act, he was probably silly enough to shove top set on a flop and extract no value on the hand. Oh well, I call and he has Arag o/s. Oh. That makes sense.

Those for the most part were my notable hands. I won a race with A10 vs. 77 later in the tournament and I thought for sure I wasn’t going to hit. Sure, I’ve been Secratariat online but I’ve felt like anybody lining up next to Usain Bolt in live play of late.

Did get to see Alex Todd in the house. Back from his time in Africa. We talked about the World Cup there and the fact that flights were already booked up a year in advance. He works with South Africans and told me about the culture, the crime and some of the hurdles the World Cup will be facing. He will not be taking a jaunt down the continent to watch a game.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Online Poker run bad

Played a couple of the online Sunday poker tournaments and was a mixed bag for me. Satellited into one on my second try and bought straight into the other. I like Texas Hold'em, even better if I get a discount. Those hyper turbo satellites are fun by the way. You basically just got to double up once or twice and you can coast to the payout. I will be playing those kind of games again. Online poker is fun.

Once the poker tournament started I got trapped with pocket aces due to stack sizes. Online poker is not fun. There was raiser in front of me, I repopped it from Early/middle postion. Big Blind called. Raiser called.

Flop came KQx two to a flush. I don't like that board at all. Checked to me. I make a pot sized bet for half the chips of each of my opponents we were all about equal in chips. BB shoved, other guy folded.

KQ methinks. Yes obviously he does. I call, he shows them, I don't hit any of my outs. Not so bad. Why do I like to play online poker?

In the other tournament I raise with 99. Get a caller. Flop comes 10 high with three hearts. Guy leads out kind of weakly, folds before me. I put half his stack (and mine) into the pot (I have the 9h). He pauses for a while and shoves. I quick call, he's got 88. River 8, bink you very much. I'm short, win the next 5 or 6 pots kind of crawling me way back. Shove AJ from the button unopened. BB has AK. That was fun.

Can't really complain with my recent dosage of run good, but I would like to just go on a life heater. Jason Mercier seems to do that that last couple of years. There is one woman I've played with on the coast who always seems to make final tables, just making one huge mistake after another, and constantly gets rewarded for it. Let me get my money in bad, on a bluff, a guy can't possibly fold too if he has anything much less the big hand he likely has and catch runner-runner to scooop the pot. Don't know if that is her strategy but that's the way it seems to work out.

For something more entertaining the members of the Handsome Mens Club


Quite a variety of big hollywood names. One thing about Jimmy Kimmel the dude is connected. Seems to be buds with Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, and a host of others. You got to wonder how many of those people were in the room at one time?

Ethan Hawke, Lenny Kravitz, Rob Lowe, John Krazinski, Matthew Monaghy and others. It was like Ocean's 22 with all those names. Course nothing a hollywood actor likes better than a bit of ego stroking if they aren't getting paid, and telling them all they are in the Handsome Men's club might be incentive enough. Sting and Ted Danson got in on the fun as well.

Krazinski stole the video though, besides Damon's cackle at the end. Showed a lot more range than on display weekly at the office and nailed the sycophant role to the tee. More I see of Kimmel, the more I wonder what all the fuss is about Leno and Conan and Letterman, maybe we should all just be watching Jimmmy.

Speaking of Jimmys late night, Jimmy Fallon started out terribly and NBC stuck with him. I remember Conan when he stared and thinking he wasn't going to make it and same way with Fallon, it just felt like I was watching an awkward, uncomfortable conversation. I couldn't help but changed the channel weeks into it, all that had changed and both felt at home.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Swallowed Some Run Good in Online Poker

Recently, I played some sit 'n gos. In those massive online poker tournaments after a great start, I've just been min-cashing or bubbling and didn't have the time to stay up all night. So I played two 90 men Texas Hold'Em sit 'n gos and a 27 man sit 'n go. I went three for three with Ws, yes first place in all three. So much for not staying up all night as some of those final tables and heads up play took forever. I know it's poor form to brag but it was so tasty I wanted to share. Course it was for small stakes as that's all I'm risking on online poker for now but the bankroll is growing.

I've come and gone online usually playing well at the start and then getting frustrated and less patient. I keep reading about how many reloads this young whiz kids had to go through before they got "it." There are those few that have deposited only once but I already know I'm no poker prodigy so I'm not using them as models. Just feels like I'm turning a corner a bit in terms of online poker "feel." Hard to put a finger on, but I know when they are bluffing and i can get them off a hand and when to pitch good hands myself.

First off, any conclusions I make is clouded by running really well, you have to run well to win outright no matter who you are. That being said, I feel a lot more comfortable in this foray in online poker playing than I have in the past. I'm developing that sixth sense of timing tells and picking up betting patterns that people generally fall into the more hands I play. Couple of times I've found myself missing the flop, checking it with the intention of c-bettting the airball continuation bet of my opponent.

Online everybody is so much more willing to put chips in the middle and be aggressive at these low stakes they just aren't selective enough I find. You can let the donkeys do the pulling, so why do the pushing. Great thing is if you hit a monster you check it enough they'll bet for you. What I do find is there is little reward in representing a weak steal bet. You come over the top only a monster is going to come back over on you. Weird. Almost better just shoving and hoping for calls. At the same time, it doesn't cost much to get people off of hands and that fear that you have reopened the betting isn't as warranted.

Okay... those conclusions are from a tiny sample of run good and none of them may be of any use long run, and I understand that, but they certainly scooped me a lot of pots. Last night in those three tournaments I only got my money in really bad when I was crushed once. I almost got away from it, of course I was running good, so I hit.

We were middle stages of one of the 90 man sit 'n gos. A tight player bet, I was on the button with QQ, I raise. I had been lucky enough to get a number of hands to raise or reraise from late position so I thought I might get a call. He shoved over the top. I forget the stack sizes but I could have gotten away from it. I thought about a conversation with Reid recently where he says he's just looking to double up with those hands and I need to play them stronger.

This guy had been playing so tight and had yet to do anything like this, I felt this guy was on AA, maybe KK. I called (having some chips left over) hoping for AK. Now, I don't want it to appear I let Reid's advice effect me. Other than being more open to playing a big pot and starting a new tournament (or sit 'n go) if I missed, he's also very clear about not putting your money in bad, if you know you are behind.

I was fairly certain I was, but I slipped up and it was one of those brutally bad decisions where you call hoping you are wrong and you never are. He had KK (bottom of his realistic range... lol).
Long story short, I didn't hit a queen but the board did put a straight out there for us both, even better it went up to the jack so my queen played. Ha, I'm sure he didn't like it but oh well.

In both the 90 men I really had no doubt in my mind I was going to win. Strange confidence. Obviously, I knew I was a bad beat or two away from elimination, but barring that I felt like I knew my opponents tendecies well enough to win. In one this Russian had all the chips but he was... turrible. He'd donkbet every flop and fold to any type of aggression, even if his stack mandated it. You could steal all day from him with min-raises.

I knew I just had to outlast some other players and I tiptoed through that trouble to get to heads up with him and then I kind of steamrolled him. Oddly, I was still confident despite going 0-4 in coinflips in short stacks that made me have to rebuild shorthanded all over again. Every time I would have been sitting pretty.

So, that was fun. I felt like I'm picking up some timing tells, and I was lucky when I sniff out a bluff my hand would hold. In one big pot I did it with A7 the flop all rags and the opponent shoving. Took me a while to call for their stack (and a healthy piece of mine). Sure enough King high. Just felt like a spot they'd shove any two cards and they didn't have babies, so I was likely ahead of most of their holdings. The way they led out with Ax and pocket pairs made me feel I was good.

It's one thing to be good and another to have it hold.

Okay, surely tomorrow I'll get my wake up call and poker will humble me all over again like it always does, but for today I feel good.

Did want to share a hand with ya'll. I think I played it right but I'm a little unsure about bet sizing. Please educate me without stabbing yourself in the neck.

Limit - Level IV (50/100) - 2010/03/04 1:54:58 ET
Seat 1: 2010towin (7520 in chips)
Seat 2: jubelen1 (2600 in chips)
Seat 3: akjordan16 (4240 in chips)
Seat 4: raoulduke521 (2650 in chips)
Seat 5: ME (4063 in chips)
Seat 6: flanno30 (2470 in chips)
Seat 7: camssterg (3490 in chips)
Seat 8: bigmick1722 (3637 in chips)
Seat 9: Jameslol (11720 in chips)
jubelen1: posts small blind 50
akjordan16: posts big blind 100
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to ME [Kc Ks]
raoulduke521: folds
ME: raises 300 to 400
flanno30: calls 400
camssterg: folds
bigmick1722: folds
Jameslol: folds
2010towin: folds
jubelen1: calls 350
akjordan16: folds
*** FLOP *** [5c 2d 3h]
jubelen1: bets 100
ME: raises 1200 to 1300 Good raise here? Pot size bet, I don't like the straight draw from an Ace. Or too cowardly? Should I have tried to keep one or two in?). Felt like the Hundo was a blocking bet. Also, regarding stack sizes do I do it different?
flanno30: calls 1300

jubelen1: calls 1200 **Both call
*** TURN *** [5c 2d 3h] [6d]
jubelen1: checks
ME: bets 2100 **Not like either of them can go anywhere (I wonder if I wasn't paying attention to their stack sizes at the time based on the bet or if I knew I they were both short and just fired the bet bar far enough over to have them all in...)
flanno30: calls 770 and is all-in
jubelen1: calls 900 and is all-in
Uncalled bet (1200) returned to ME

River don't really matter but scroll down if you want.


*** RIVER *** [5c 2d 3h 6d] [4d]
*** SHOW DOWN ***
jubelen1: shows [Jh Jd] (a straight, Deuce to Six)
ME: shows [Kc Ks] (a straight, Deuce to Six)
jubelen1 collected 130 from side pot
wildbillgcp collected 130 from side pot
flanno30: shows [5d Kd] (a flush, King high) ***Certainly tagged this guy calling an early position raiser for 1/6th of his chips with K5 sooted.
flanno30 collected 7510 from main pot
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot 7770 Main pot 7510. Side pot 260. Rake 0
Board [5c 2d 3h 6d 4d]
Seat 1: 2010towin (button) folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 2: jubelen1 (small blind) showed [Jh Jd] and won (130) with a straight, Deuce to Six
Seat 3: akjordan16 (big blind) folded before Flop
Seat 4: raoulduke521 folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 5: ME showed [Kc Ks] and won (130) with a straight, Deuce to Six
Seat 6: flanno30 showed [5d Kd] and won (7510) with a flush, King high
Seat 7: camssterg folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 8: bigmick1722 folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 9: Jameslol folded before Flop (didn't bet)

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Shady? Hmmm....

Hmmm... You've heard of people called shady because they are well shady. You've heard of the dark-side too I imagine. Well, it turns out people in the dark make moral transgressions more readily than people in well lit places. That means stealing, lying, and cheating. Seems like if I were a casino I might want the joint more well lit. Though, I guess the other side of things is people might be willing to gamble money they shouldn't if they feel like they maintained the anonymity darkness offers.

And it is the anonymity that plays with people's psyche more than anything else. Turns out subsequent studies have shown people in hoods are more likely to steal, people in sunglasses are more likely to be greedy and lie, and people in masks are far more likely to do worse. What's that mean in relation for poker? Well if you play poker on a mac or on a pc you already have some degree of anonymity, but in live poker there are some considerations to be made.

I think the answer is obvious. If you are a player that has trouble stealing blinds or bluffing start wearing sunglasses and a hoodie. This probably doesn't apply to players that play poker online as you are as anonymous as they come. If your user name is easily traced to you, you might want to give yourself the psychological advantage of having a less identifiable username. Forget RobSnee go with Robber1901.

Now, on the other side of the coin if you normally play wrapped up in a hoodie or under Roy Orbison sunglasses and you bluff too much, steal too often, and spew chips from being underhanded, maybe disrobe a little bit, and make it morally tougher for you to lie (bluff). Can't hurt, at least. Also, if this is true for you online, maybe you need to change from an ambiguous name to your real name.

This study has other potential value to players. First thing I'd do is widen my range for players wearing sunnies or hoodies. I'll make a lot more calls in marginal situations then I would for somebody else. I'm also going to track my interactions with these players to see if they match up. Little guy in the Unabomber hoodie at the end of my table let’s see how often you steal.

I find this interesting because I can think back to a few players in middle stages of live tournaments where I felt like they were opening too much and three betting way too often, and many of them were in sunnies and hoodies. I’ve long felt I’m more aggressive when I wear shades and now I might know the reason.

I personally am not big in maintaining eye contact and getting into stare downs with people but I use a lot body language for information to make my decisions. As people won’t let you stare at or study them long before locking eyes with you sunglasses has long been a way for me to stare with impunity.

Also, I’ve worked on a move where I tilt my head down and play with my cards or chips, letting my opponents think I’m not looking at them, but in reality my eyes haven’t left them. Many of them will break character and emote just a little bit to give me insight on how to play a hand the minute they think they are not under the microscope.

You’d be surprised at how effective this is. If you have the right angle you can do this when you are not in the hand. How many times was it obvious to you a player did or didn’t have the hand, yet the guy mulling over the decision had no idea? Happens a lot, right? Well, it may be because you saw the one guy let his guard down when the other dude wasn’t looking. If you can see them both you can see it action sometimes. That’s why I find the exercise of removing yourself from the hand to be a little bit overrated. More times than not it’s obvious to everybody else because of information not available to you.

In one of my early tournaments when I just started playing after one bad call I made, a guy asked me how I could have missed the other dude’s excitement. It was so obvious. Well, maybe but at that time I was staring at my chips and not studying him, and replaying the hand in my head and ignoring the information which was available. He was also being obvious because he knew I wasn’t looking at him.

Now, I understand that it's not just reading people that gives me an edge, it's the fact I up my aggression and my thievery too, because of the accoutrements I'm wearing.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Gulf Coast Poker Magazine Edition 2

We are getting together our second edition of the magazine and we are pretty pumped with some of the stories that will be in there. We have added stories from some of the bloggers on the site and think they'll contribute some valuable perspectives and content. If you don't see your favorite blogger this go round they'll probably be in the next issue. So look for that magazine in one of our 120something distribution points, and at every Casino on the Gulf Coast (well, except for one--we still like you though). If you want to read to the magazine and your local poker room is out, don't be afraid to ask them where it is. Several places we had to send them more issues after the first batch.

We have expanded our online poker section as well as some of our live tournament coverage.
We are happy with the growth of the magazine and though we have no misconceptions of being Cardplayer magazine or Bluff any time soon we think we offer a product that is distinct and fills a void for the marketplace. As always the more advertisers the better, we have very inexpensive rates, and as we grow it's a great time to get on board. Email me if you are interested wildbill (at) gulfcoastpoker (dot) net there is still time to get in on this issue.

Okay, with that promo out of the way... what's up with me...

Working hard on the magazine as mentioned writing a lot of stories. Haven't played the Donkley at Harrahs the last couple of weeks as its been difficult lining up daycare for the little one. Shouldn't be a problem for next week, so I'm excited to get some live action in. Truth be told, I've also been on a little bit of bankroll management problems. It's weird I haven't been able to play much and I've been paying bills, birthday present for the wife (Wii, Wii Fit plus, Balance Board - like I haven't spent too much of my time playing that either), and spending money during Mardi Gras, Superbowl, and on other needless things out the bankroll without replenishing it. Basically, the same thing as running bad for a month or so.

Course, I have to remind myself had I been playing as much as I think I should, I could have been running bad at the same time and gotten into some real trouble. So we'll see. I'll be back playing a little more live in the near future. Couple of times I almost made it over to the Big H. Was going to do a little coaching but my friend has a really ill family member and had to cancel and I wish him and his family the best. Ya'll are in my thoughts and prayers. Also, was going to go over there with Big Smoove but guy is a little bit too much of a night owl. With the Olympics and the baby I got on a more traditional sleep pattern.

I've been able to scratch my itch by playing online, as noted below. Things are going pretty well. Though the ebbs and flows are a little more difficult than live I find. I haven't figured out just how many tables to play at once. Or if distractions are a help or truly a distraction. I find, online as opposed to live (where I feel patience is one of my assets), I play a few too many hands if I only have one or two tournaments or games on the screen. If I have three or more I play less, but at the same time sometimes I'm not as clued in to what's going on in each game. I might let myself get too short when I should be shoving. At times I've called huge raises in one game thinking I have the stack from the other game and realizing I just put half my chips into play.

I did that to start off a sit 'n go where I got down to 30 chips from 1500 on one of the first few hands, and somehow got all the way back to chip leader before two people had been eliminated. One guy doubled me up three or four times and even better was getting heckled by some dude he had snapped off previously. If my hand started off good it held. If not, it came back. All the while the heckler was just going off. I thought I had saved the chat but I didn't. Sorry, some good stuff there.