Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Gulf Coast Poker Championship and Lessons Learned

Just wanted to let everybody know we got some server issues again. Sorry about that. Lots of Gulf Coast Poker Championships Results ready to be dropped on the site. Great news is Kai Landry and Monkey have made the final table and really shown they know how to play Texas Hold'em poker. Jonathan Little also made a decent run into day two until the cards caught him in a VERY cold half hour where he went from three times average to out. Ouch.

Last night I played some online poker and upped my aggression level. Played four Sit'n go tournaments
and won two, came in fourth in another, and third in the other. Not bad. I was really pushing the chips in when I felt I had the edge. I won most but not all of my coinflips. The third place and fourth place I also had sizable chip leads and watched them erode as my two good Ethiopian friends Runner, Runner visited multiple times. Was kind of sick. As I was playing all four at once, I expected the wheels to come off on the other two sit 'n goes.

I'm trying to practice more aggression and tweaking my game by being loser and almost overvaluing hands I formerly looked at as marginal. I went fairly deep in the tournaments I played at the Beau but in all but one of them I found myself nursing a short stack even if I started with a big one. With the quickness of their levels and the jumps in the forced bets I'm not as upset to be short-stacked there, but you can't wait too long to gamble.

As the blinds and antes escalate there is always the hope and the legitimate chance you can't start amassing chips and get on the other side of things. There is so much in the pot and if you have cultivated a steady tight image, I find the relative ease with which I can steal. In two tournaments right as I felt comfortable putting my foot on the gas and wielding my stack against opponents I could hurt I saw the floor men hovering to balance the tables.

Yes, I had paid enough attention to the way the tables were being broken to influence when I was going to hit the gas, but as both times I was to be big blind I was the unlucky guy that had to move. So much for carefully laid plans. Instead of the 8 or 9 other players who had seen me as tight as a submarine hatch fearing my shoves I get 7 or 8 fresh players who don't know me from Tom Dwan.

Yeah. Queens were also the hand that seem drawn to me this trip. I got AA once and won the two blinds when I limped from the button to induce action. SB called and BB checked. I led out on a textured flop and scooped two big blinds. I got KK in the big blind and it was folded to me when I was in need of a double up. Yes, the only walk I got all week in the BB.

QQ kept showing in my hand maybe six times? I think I won all but one of them. I flopped a set a couple of times with them. One time there was an Ace. That was a tough hand. I think I was in the Big blind. Aggressive older dude with black shoe polish for hair dye (at least it looked that way) raised from the hijack seat as he liked to do.

To be continued...

Monday, August 30, 2010

Dinner at 630. No quotes since this morning. I'm short.
Table switch. Lot less chips on here.
18k 60 til money. Blinds 600 1200
16k 80 until the money.
About 12k. Boring. No hands.
15k in chips. Blinds 300 600. Half field gone.
15k in chips. Blinds 300 600. Half field gone.
Double up qq again.
Another fifth gone.
Kk in big blind folded to me. Fun.
8k blinds 200 400 50
One fifth of field gone.
Up to 9k. Qq for the win
Keep em coming.
Quote number 1; where ya from. I'm outta bangladesh.
Table decent. Good player on my left. One or two other strong spots but not too much to worry about.
Going wrong way. Under 6k.
Made two great reads. Played one awful. Got hamstrung by the board on the other. Outkicked by 1 on both.
Won blinds with aa.
At 7k. Blinds 50 100.
Lost a big one
Won 1st two pots. Lost small one.

Playing for many today...

Below is the text of an email I just sent out. I will be playing today's event at the Beau basically for my friends amusement (and hopefully profit).

Hello, hello,

Not quite sold out for today's session of "fantasy" poker, we have a couple of spots left. If you want 5% of my action today text me (before 1 pm EST) that you are shipping me $25 (504.496.2023). There are a couple of slots open so you can book more than 5% if you want, but I'm going to limit it to 10%/$50 a head to maximize the number of people participating. Again, I will be playing in the $300 +$40 (+$10) tournament at the Beau Rivage today.

I will confirm if you are in as long as I'm not sold out.

For those of you that already have a piece of me I will be blogging with photos ( http://www.sleepwiththefishesdineonthewhales.blogspot.com/ ) and updating with chip counts and big hands as long as I have phone service and battery life and am still in the tournament. Comments welcome.

Also, for those that have taken action, I offer the enjoyment of being able to text me something I have to say at the table. I will chose one gem every level. They frown on taking pictures in the tournament area, but I will attempt to get some pics of my tablemates, if you'd like to direct my comments to specific people. Remember profanity is penalized so you have to be creative. Also, please refrain from being mean spirited as I see many of these same faces OVER and OVER and OVER again in these tournaments. Weird, crazy, off the wall that's fine, I'll adapt it to my advantage.

Alright, the horse is about to drive to Biloxi and play. Let's do this and have fun with it fellas. Hopefully, I'll last a long time to give you some entertainment punch, and even better long enough to fatten your wallet a little bit.

For now texting is the best way to get a hold of me. I'll be updating through out the day
Giddy up. Horse for a lot of partial owners today. Game time is 1 pm est at the beau.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Harrahs 1-2 NL Poker Action Post Saints Preseason game vs. Texans cont.

Brian told me he had a number of winning Texas Holdem sessions at Harrahs but had gone into bankroll rebuilding mode and would pull up when he was far enough ahead. Then eat and come back for the minimum buy-in. Third night he did it a dealer he didn’t even have that night told him he had to put all his chips from his first session on the table if he wanted to play.

So, after dinner, Brian left a winner, again, I guess he's not just an expert in online poker strategy, he's pretty good live too, and I rejoined our old table. I then ran into Mr. Luckbox. Irony is I heard a big stack at the other side of the table lamenting about how lucky the guy was and I thought to myself, that’s poker get over it, somebody is always getting all the cards. Yeah. Then I proceded to get the dealer down from hell.

Yeah. So, I sit down and take a look at Mr. Luckbox’s chips and think I’m going to double through him and maybe follow Brian’s lead and head to the exit a solid winner. He raised from early position, was called by the guy that played KQ vs me, and then I see 67 suited (diamonds). I’m not normally the type to play that but why not in this spot—I dumbly ask myself. I can’t get too hurt with this one right? We get two more callers and the pot has swollen preflop.

Flop comes 5410 (54 of diamonds I have a straight flush draw). I look up at the bad beat jackpot at just under 150k and I’m trying to will the dealer to peel off 8 diamonds and another 10. The first guy fires out a protective bet. Doesn’t have the set of tens must have an overpair. The guy in between calls for the rest of his chips.

Hmm… I decide that the first guy has jacks or queens hence he betted so much to protect his hand. The guy in the middle could have anything. There is actually already a side pot just from the initial raiser and I see one of the callers after me itching to throw his short stack to the middle.

Perhaps somebody has my outs with an Ace high flush draw. Oh well, hope not. let’s see if I can get the first guy off his hand. I shove it. 99% of the time I’m rock solid here with the best possible hand.

The short stack contributes to the pot and then action on the first guy who I’m trying to get to fold and just win his bet, basically freerolling me on the rest of the pot. He stews for a while and then calls. Turn and river are bricks. He shows kings. The guy in between us mucks , so do I, and then the guy to my left shows A10 of diamonds. The pocket kings included the king of diamonds.

Maybe if I had a bigger stack or if it was a different guy I could pick up the pot right there, but not to be. Now, I’m trying to rebuild. I run pocket queens into his hand with all the right betting, except I might have missed the correct bet size on the turn. He hit a gutterball on me. Then I had pocket jacks. Made it stiff on the flop with a three bet. It came all babies and I put in 75% of my stack. He called. On the turn I put in the remaining 60 or so dollars and he called again. The river was an 8, he said, “I think I just got lucky again.” He called me with 86 o/s. “Nailed” second pair on the flop and rivered an 8. Fun.

I picked up then sat down at another table where thankfully maybe the worst most passive poker I’ve seen in months was played, did I mention I went to the Saints game that night and so apparently did this entire table. I just opened up the throttle on a table full of short-stacks and reclaimed my money. Let one guy shove on me when I turned the nuts and bet them, had to double check they were in fact the nuts before calling. It went from one of the worst dealer downs I’ve ever had to a pretty decent night afterall.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Harrahs 1-2 NL Poker Action Post Saints Preseason game vs. Texans

Having had my fill of online poker recently I headed over to Harrahs on Saturday night for some live action Texas Hold'em. When I was coming in to sit down who do I see but Lusky call me to his table. He's just returned from Vegas he had some really high highs and some low lows. He's newly married and he and his wife had gotten involved in the real estate game. Anybody that's familiar with what's been going on in Vegas knows that's a tough line of work or in strong terms a financial death-wish. Course they got into right before the crash so they had no idea it was coming.

Fortunately, the poker has been going well, and he's been crushing the cash games since he's been back though probably misses out on the dearth of Pot Limit Omaha games. After playing for a bit he opened under the gun, the next guy re-raised him, and then action was on me. I looked at AA. I decided Brian wasn't opening in that spot with air too often, the guy that popped him seemed to chose his hands fairly diligently so I didn't know what to do.

I thought for a while, and decided that I thought the second guy was strong enough to call me if I raised and Brian would probably get out of the way knowing I wasn't making a move there. That's exactly what happened.

Flop came out three spades, king high. He checked, I bet, he called. The turn was a brick. I bet he called. The river was a fourth spade. I knew my aces were red so I didn't flush check. He put me all in. After a while I called... actually, I can't remember the hand too well, I think I might bet, and he put me all in on the turn turn... or maybe he check-raised me all in on the flop and I called. What I'm now confident of is the fact, I was all-in and neither of us were eager to show when the river hit.

I showed my aces first and he folded, flashing what looked like two red queens. He later said he had kings. I said "You had a set?" and he replied, "Wait, there were two kings on the board." Oh, he had a pair of kings. Maybe King-Queen is what I saw... wtf.

Funny, Brian and I were discussing what he could have had right in front of him. When I thought I had seen two red queens I was ready to bet Brian that's what he had. The board was 4 spades a king, a jack, and a 10. Just brutal for most of the range I should have been up against. I guess I would have lost that bet considering what the guy said.

Brian said that guy and had gotten tired of Brian winning a lot of pots and just started isolating him with reraises with garbage. Hmmm. Brian had AK and said had I flatted he would have reraised and built a big pot because that guy might have shoved and there were a number of players willing to go to the flop for 3bets (but not 4). So who knows. Brian didn't have a spade either, but possibly I let some numbskull in late position into that hand and I get felted.

I picked up some pots here and there and then I joined Brian for some sushi to catch up. Glad to hear things are going better for him and he's getting a new start on life in New Orleans. I haven't met his wife yet, but she sounds like a great girl. He told me how they were renting in Vegas and every time they'd move to somewhere new they'd never get their deposit back.

In one neighborhood it was just them and one other family the rest of the complex was completely empty. I've seen specials on TV about how bad things are getting there but it's kind of crazy to put it in that perspective. Must feel like the last person on earth, "I Am Legend " style, when you get home. Then they moved out leaving that one family completely alone like that.

To be continued..

Monday, August 23, 2010

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Couple of Poker Article Related Thoughts... Cont.

To continue with yesterdays post mulling over the value of virtual goods in Online Gambling sites. Several sites are becoming one stop casinos offering everything from online horse bettingto being able to gamble on Plinko or Scrabble. Okay, maybe not yet, but they are headed that way.

Let's Poker was an early innovator in the concept of virtual goods to players. Unfortunately, for Let's Poker they were an American based poker site just getting start when U.I.E.G.A got passed (or is it U.E.I.G.A I can never remember if the "e" or the "i" comes first--somebody should come up with a mnemonic device for that). So, unable to build a player base to test out their theory and not wanting to move to Costa Rica for the foreseeable future the site went under. Which is a shame because they had a lot of fresh, at the time ideas, like moving quickly on a mobile betting platform.

So, we don’t know if the Gamer inspired variations of poker would have been a lure to those new to the game. It makes sense to some degree but at the same time poker players, even teen-aged ones are there to make real money not necessarily to spend it. Most of them look at poker as a possible income source not a stress release or a place to entertain themselves. In that perspective, the appealing aspects of a site are probably the antithesis of what appeals them to online games.

In poker, they want the easiest place it is to win. If you could guarantee them money playing in a text based game every time out, the players would FLOCK to your site. Also, as most of the players that play on any poker site are losers why would they want to spend any more real cash at a place they are already shipping cash through? The winners 30%, 15% or as few as 10% depending on what source you cite might spend some virtual cash there but is that enough to supplement your business on?

Well, the simple answer to me is why not offer it? There is no overhead, or little overhead, to virtual goods, once you’ve upgraded the game engine to allow it (essentially a fixed cost), you can offer the product and “manufacture” millions of it. If the cost of programming is met or slightly superceded why not do it especially if it brings a few more people to your product.

It might build brand loyalty for those that enjoy that. It might get people curious to try out the experience once the marketplace becomes barely perceptible differences in vanilla (a state we might already be at). On first blush, the dynamics are different for gamblers and gamers but there are some great ways for a casino, poker site, or horse racing site to sell that they might be able to better utilize than anybody else.

Talk about an impulse buy… when is a person more readily willing to frivolously spend money than just after he’s won some. A pop-up saying congratulations after a won bet (or tournament or poker or blackjack session) with a link to an Avatar improvement or the offer to upgrade and more personalize a profile with virtual status talismans could be seized upon.

Poker players like to be “balla” and show off new found wealth and bling. Why wouldn’t they like to do that with virtual products as well. $10 for a virtual rolex—why not? For that matter $1000 for a virtual diamond encrusted necklace with sparkle—why not—especially for today’s young high stakes players. Actually, the more I think about this idea, the more I’m starting to change my opinion. Maybe with the right bit of marketing this could be a huge growth industry within the online poker and gambling industry.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Couple of Poker Article Related Thoughts...

Read an article recently on whether or not online gambling sites should sell virtual goods. I say yes. The article brought me back to one of my favorite now defunct online poker sites "Let's Poker." Let's Poker offered a little bit of everything from poker (including California Poker), to casino games but no sports book or Horse race betting.

Anyway, one of their ideas in building the site after they had built up a player base was to appeal to gamers transitioning over to poker. Gamers have been very receptive to virtual goods and the thought was they'd be very receptive to a poker experience that was similar to a gaming experience.

Kevin Flood wrote the article that brought these memories back. Read it here.

The influx of poker players from strategy games like the original Starcraft is evidence the guys at Let’s Poker had tapped into an emerging market for the future of poker. The “Internet” kids are no longer the emerging market, they are the market. For all intensive purposes they’ve take the game, through primarily an Internet poker experience to new heights. Those kids start playing at 16, 17, 18 and log hundreds, thousands, and millions of hands.

That begs the question, if the Gamers like virtual goods why wouldn’t they like them on a casino, sports betting, or poker platform. One quasi-virtual good, though in a sense it’s tangible information, would be for a site to offer betting tips. Information goes hand in hand with the experience but rather than the bettors going somewhere else for wager advice why not buy it through a team of experts on the site.

I guess an answer for why it’s not commonly done or sold, is this would put a gambling site at cross purposes. Why try and funnel clients to making the same picks, and if the picks fail, the clients would then become suspicious of the site’s experts and perhaps generate bad will. However, if they were to make it appear that the tips were coming from an outside source, offering multiple outside sources, the second problem could be somewhat alleviated. The first problem of steering their clients to certain bets could run the risk of schewing which side of a line is be more heavily.

Anyway, that was a bit of a tangent. Back to poker, and Let’s Poker specifically… Let’s Poker geared its emerging platform toward gamers and as a way to attract them Let’s Poker was going to be on the leading edge of graphics for avatars and virtual goods for players. Even as an early start up they offered far more variety in avatar choices than many sites do today.

The question is… would that type of model draw in players? Maybe a 16 year old… maybe. However, 16, 17, and 18 year olds are not (explicit) targets for these sites especially one that used to do business in the USA. And even, if graphics lured in the kids I’m not 100% sure it was the kid gamers that were spending real dollars on virtual goods. Many of the virtual economies are done in game platforms that attract adult players, establish large communities, and in a sense become a virtual reality. I don’t have the information on who was spending what but I’d imagine, and I don’t think it’s too large a leap in logic to suggest it, that the larger income base of the older players was responsible for most of the buying and selling of virtual goods.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Online Poker... A World Series of Disappointments part four

Yes... so back to my tale. Instead of a quiet evening of online poker, I'm playing a gut-wrenching and ear-splittingly loud night of online poker. Yeah, ferberizing your baby is like voluntarily scratching the chalkboard with your fingernails and then peeling them off your fingers.

Weird but in Japan they encourage their babies to wail and wail loudly. It's said to generate good health. Uh... excuse me? This 400 year ritual involves mothers giving their babies to... Sumo Wrestlers and high priests. There the babies are encouraged to wail long and loud. The babies that cry longest and loudest are recognized as the winners of the Naki Sumo. I'm not making this up. Talk about starting life with a bad beat.

So, I guess if my wife and I knew this we would have invited a Sumo Wrestler over as we ignored the cries of our infant to coax him to cry even louder. I'm new to the parenting thing but I thought part of it was keeping your children from crying. Granted my wife was praying for the baby's good health, as mothers do in Japan, and we were both praying for the baby to stop crying but we didn't have the high priests or the man-thongs to guide us.

So, the bad beat I bitched about last time was tilting, the crying baby even more so, and I still had some tables going. I was alive in the big event despite my hasty exit in the other. 72? Really?

"How's it going?" My wife asks above the din.

"Umm, just great dear," I say and then think to myself, "I didn't just lose with pocket aces again. I certainly just didn't lose to 7 effing Deuce that's for sure. My unhinged mental health made me wish my mother had let a sumo hold me as a priest exhorted me to wail as a baby.

I move in with queens in one of the smaller events I'm in. Yeah, snapped off again, underpair that made a set on the flop. Did I mention the screaming baby? I want to join in the ruckus.

Still, later the only table that is open is the big buy-in event I satellited into. I was still going to reclaim my evening with a solid win there. I have double the chip average, we are about 30 away from the money. Any cash, considering the cost of the satellite, is a big win so I'm feeling good.

I got a good feel for my entire table. One player we'll call Briiick is on my right and has abandoned my big blind any time it has been folded to him. He's got two thirds of my stack. Suddenly, I look up from a sit 'n go I got on another screen and the guy open shoves after everybody folded. What?

I look at my cards KK.

I'm so confused. Is this a level? He folds all day to me and then he open shoves? I know he's going to think i'm slow rolling him but I'm confused by the situation. Finally, as I have to do I call.

He's just making a move with 95. You know how this goes. 9 ball on the flop. Turn it's a five. I felt the punch to the stomach before it hit. Ca-chunk.

I'm short-stacked and then the break hits. I return and double up. I remind myself it's never over. Then I look at AQ a guy opened from mid-position, I decided to take it all and shove. He's got AK. Sometimes it is over.

O-fer on he night.

Oh yeah, did I mention the baby was crying? No? Well, the baby was crying. I get up from my computer exasperated but kind of laughing thinking of all the big pairs and repeated the word variance like it's "Serenity Now." Then the baby stopped crying and all was quiet.

I want to shout "Really? You stop crying now? Really?"


-Don't believe me about the Japanese wanting their babies to scream? Go here.

-The Feberizing process guy is a genius. The next night our kid cried for five minutes and then went out like a light. The next night no crying and he just went down. Read more on him here.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Online Poker... A World Series of Disappointments part three

Where were we... excuse the purple prose... it was a dark and stormy night, one I thought I was going to finally get some time for online poker games. I was playing in four tournaments with a screaming, angry baby as a soundtrack. Bit like watching the Godfather with a screaming, angry baby as a soundtrack. Hard to put together two thoughts much less contemplate poker strategy. I had just bet twice with pocket rockets.

Turn isn't a club but puts a Jack on the board. I bet big again. Call. River is a queen. I don't like it. Hhe shoves for not much more. I feel beat, I look at the wife and shake my head. She shakes her head. Call.

Broadway he had A10 in the hand. Oh, that's fun. I still have chips.

The wife feels vindicated in her understanding of proper poker strategy. "Just fold 'em," she raises her eyebrows in knowing school teacher fashion. I nod like an attentative student and return to the screen.

In the background, if it was possible the screaming baby was becoming more disconcerting. Now it's not just because the screaming is annoying actually that's not the tough part of feberzing at all. It's the knowledge that your baby is pissed and crying because of something you are doing. It's gut-wrenching far worse than some idiot sucking his way to broadway on you.

Especially if your child is not a crier or a complainer. Literally we are blessed as parents as this kid just rolls with the punches and seems perpetually happy. Once when a chihuahua snapped at him, he took out his nu-nu and threw it at the dog but that's the closet thing we've seen to anger in him. Though, he did find it hilarious when we'd point our fingers at the same dog like a gun and say bang, bang.

Think that's smart? When we'd do it to the other dogs he didn't think it was funny at all. While I'm bragging about my kid, I liked it a month ago when (probably by sheer conincidence) he took the remote control from me, somehow put it on Clifford the Big Red Dog, and then handed the remote back and watched (have i told that one before?).

Alright, so anyway this little bundle of joy is now screaming in the background and we can't pick him up and comfort him. Not fun to put it mildly. I don't think I'd be cut out for being a torturer.

So, the poker continues. I'm about 50 away from money in the highest buy-in tournament I played. I look at AA again, I can't help but look over my shoulder to see if my wife the poker expert is looking to tell me fold. She's not, I click raise.

A guy reraises me. O... really?

I shove it in. He stews and then calls me. He has about three time my stack. My shove is about 10 to 1 on his bet. He calls with... wait for it... 7-2 suited. Yeah. I don't notice the two on the flop as I focus on suit, it's diamonds not hearts so I'm in the clear. The turn pairs the board with a four and I don't even pay attention to the river but I'm not scared. Then, I see in surprise the pot shift to my smiling opponent. Okay, I don't know if he was smiling for sure, but as he nailed another 2 on the river I'd like to think so.

To be continued...

Monday, August 16, 2010

Online Poker... A World Series of Disappointments part two

Where was I? I had a free night to play Texas Hold'em poker online, yes, then I mentioned Feberizing a baby. That's right.

Feberizing a baby? Or as Brian H calls it Febreezing a baby. Yeah if we were Febreezing a baby we'd just spray it. For those that don't know Feberizing a baby is conditioning the child to sleep on its own. Usually this is best done somewhere around month 8 or so, before they are really aware they aren't in the same room as mom and dad. A little bit later and it's a little bit tougher.

We had gotten into the bad habit of letting our little guy sleep in between us and he really enjoyed that. Course if you don't get 'em out about by age one you run the risk of having a third wheel in bed until they hit puberty. Okay, not quite that long but for far longer than I want a third person hanging out with me and my wife in bed. Well, not counting Shanna Marie (pictured go here for more you pervs). Okay mom... just kidding about that second girl in bed.

So, for those that don't know to Feberize a baby you follow Dr. Feber's tactics which are a little brutal. You put the baby down for the night in his bed in his room and walk away. Usually the baby is screaming. You wait for five minutes (still screaming) come in, don't pick up the kid, pat them on the back letting them know you haven't abandoned them and leave. 10 minutes more (still screaming and crying) you come in again and reassure the. Then 15 minutes (still screaming). Then 20 (still screaming). Then 25 (stills screaming). Then 30 (still screaming). It's not uncommon for this last over two hours especially for older kids who has parents too soft to do this to them earlier (like us).

Ever tried to play a poker tournament with a screaming baby in the background? Not so easy. They don't teach you this at bwin poker school
Probably the wrong night to Feberize but I had to do what I had to do right? So with the soft gentle background music of a baby screaming bloody murder, amid the fear the police are going to show up because they had calls about a massacre, and with a spouse's reassuring lear because I left her to feberize on her own I played poker.

The tournaments continued to go well. I didn't find myself in too many spots. I had a good feel of where I was in every hand and even if I didn't like it, I was finding folds when I was supposed to. I also made some "hero"ish calls when things just didn't add up. In short, I was tuned in.

Under the circumstances something I might equate to trying to play at the end of a runway on an Aircraft Carrier I had to feel pretty good about my performance. Again, I couldn't resist the opportunity to peek at my possible winnings in multiple tournaments. The fields cleved and cleved again. At the very least I was going to cash in four tournaments... or so I thought.

My wife pops in to see me with AA. She says I should fold because I always lose with it--which is true, but I raise. I get one caller. Flop is king high two clubs. I make a large bet. Call.

To be continued...

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Online Poker... A World Series of Disappointments

Before I get started on the Texas Hold'em poker online I played this weekend, I bitched on here about the SPAM in my comments section and apparently angered the Gods of spam. Just got the deluge of comments on my last few posts. That was like deleting a hotmail account in 2000. (Speaking of Y2K little more than a year to the next Faux-pocalyspe Y2K-2?). Though the end of the world feels a lot closer to happening 12 years later with the madness that is the global climate and the speed that everybody is going nuclear.

For the record, I don't believe the Mayans foresaw the end of the world... let's just use simple logic, if they could do that why wouldn't they have foreseen the end of their culture and prevented it. Hell, they would have landed at Spain and conquered it, instead of vice-versa. Okay, that's tangent number 1, sorry.

Let's get back to the poker part of this blog. So, I had a bit of a free evening on Saturday with the lovely and vivacious wife away from home with my (chose your superlative... any works for me :)) son. I quickly find myself on four tables playing tournaments with a wide variety of low buy-ins. For some reason I didn't play Rush poker but I did play a lot of Hold'em poker tournaments online.

I'm a big fan of late registration. I don't care if people have a mammoth head start on me in terms of chip accumulation, I feel like I missed the needless early rounds and instead of needing to beat 90% of the field it's only 80% or sometimes as low as 50%. So in effect, the fact I went deep in every tournament is also a byproduct that I started somewhat deep in every tournament.

At one point after the first of many disappointing knockouts I entered a tournament without really looking (i love making that mistake) and discovered later I was in a satellite for bigger buy-in tournament. One flaw about late registration is once you click you are in... you are in. No unregistration for you. You'll be pleased to know (or maybe angered if you hate me) I was short on chips all day long but determined.

With the action on the other tables I didn't really monitor the tournament that well except when it got close to the bubble. I rivered a five outer and made the money. Three places later was the bubble for the entries. I looked down a KK with two shorter stacks than me all in. Alright ship it. They hold and I've done most of the dirty work myself.

The last player to go was this short stack on the other table that kept winning all ins. As is the nature of such tournaments as I moved up to second in chips, I realized that if somebody didn't bite it soon we'd all be at risk. Eventually, the short stack got it in with the best hand (that's a mistake) and it didn't hold.

So suddenly, I had a tournament ticket for later that night. Then I get a phone call that my divine and delightful wife was on the way back and needed some help with the youngster. Hmmm… that free night for poker didn’t work out so well.

I continue to play until she returned. I took a lot of hands off when she did and found myself with plenty of chips in the bigger buy-in event. In the others, I was climbing to the top of the leaderboard.

I started counting the top of the prize pools I was in the mix for and realized the evening had a lot of promise. Did I mention we are Ferberizing my baby?

More to come…

Monday, August 09, 2010

Back Online, Poker, And Red Turf Part 2

Where were we? Let's see I chronicled again my lack of playing poker though I did click some online links in my down time that looked a lot like this: https://www.bwin.com/play-online-poker. I was pressed for time so I mainly just played one sng after another. I ended about even. Well... then I went into link dump mode and was talking about the dude going the length of the Amazon and mentioned my friend who cycled across the country.

My friend accompanied by his own Cho (see article) who joined him shortly into the adventure completed the trek and I often think back... damn I'm glad I didn't waste three months bicycling across the United States. Still, the bicycle journey was impressive, a similar one undertaken by a Dane who biked from Scandinavia to South Africa for the world cup more impressive, but the walk down South America most impressive. Read here about the Brit that did it. By the way, why is it always Brits that do these things, don't they have anything better to do?

--Spurned by Spurrier. Emmitt Smith treated Florida like that Karate Kid girl treated her husband. You know the female boxer that got killed in that Clint Eastwood movie, the Hilary Something that won an Oscar and didn't thank her husband Chad something else. Turns out one of the greatest running backs of all time, forgot to mention Florida in his Hall of Fame acceptance speech. I think Emmitt is one of the most underrated backs of all time simply because he was surrounded by greatness. Emmitt finished his career behind a lot of bad lines in Dallas and later in Arizona and still churned out numbers. Emmitt's stint as a TV guy on ESPN was shortlived (to our benefit) but as a class act (surrounded by classlessness), a bull of a running back, and as dancer on Dancing With the Stars there were few better.

Can you imagine a poker player with that kind of consistency? Can't imagine it? Well, Emmitt will probably get a least a cameo on this years World Series of Poker Broadcast as he gave it a shot. Spoiler alert, he's a better running-back than a poker player. Makes me think that guy I played poker with that looked and sounded suspiciously like Emmitt Smith at the Beau Rivage was in fact... Emmitt Smith.

Though you can't blame Florida fans for hating on Emmitt a little bit after the omission. You may remember, the guy was returning for his junior year when Steve Spurrier joined Florida to save the program (he did more actually building it) but Spurrier didn't even look up the star running back to talk about the upcoming season. Smith took it as a snub and headed for the NFL and a quest to find the other two triplettes. His journey into his family history he repeated on an NBC show nobody watched even though those people were actually related to him.

--Tiger Woods is now no different than your philandering married buddy. He's just human afterall and he's playing golf like your average weekend duffer. It's fun to see people fall from grace if they portray themselves to be an exact contradiction to who they are. The Stanford educated family man turned out to be a freak. Now that the freak can't even play golf he's not even interesting. You know if Tiger was who Nike said he was, and who he represented he was, this humanizing struggle in his golf game would only draw more fans to support him. Sure the people that have stayed loyal to him, many of them also philandering freaks, may like him even more but the rest of the world is laughing at him. Go get 'em Tiger! And please, don't pick him for the Ryder Cup. This article from a month ago ties it up nicely. He cheated on his wife with a girl from the Tool Academy, if only they could land him on that show.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Back Online, Poker, And Red Turf Part 1

We're back after a spat of technical difficulties, able to get GCP back up and running and updating. We had a smattering of problems the last few weeks and we wish you our sincerest apologies. Note to self, just because a beach place says Wi-fi doesn't mean you'll be able to load a page any faster than one of those modems that used to sound like a rusty R2D2. Sorry to those of you that missed us, and for those of you that didn't notice, check in more often. I've been able to get in a few sessions of Texas Hold'em poker with some success, mostly online. While in Pensacola I wanted badly to hit the Greyhound race track to see what things were like and unfortunately didn't get the chance. Maybe next go round I'll check in there, does anybody know if the run poker tournaments?

I'll catch up with some back posts that I haven't loaded up to the blog in the last week or so in a little bit but first a little bit of a link dump about what I've been reading.

--But do the drapes match the carpet? First there was grass, than there was astro turf, later there was smurf turf, and now there is a field bathed in blood colored synthetics. Eastern Washington, a school in Eastern Washington, is going Red. This is sure to start a trend of people turning the channel when this school gets its few games on air. Really, red? Blue I get? Light shades of other colors might work, but in your face, flame throwing red? Don't think so. Alabama and Nick Saban will not be signing up for this any time soon. Want to see more pics? Of course you don't, but if you just like clicking hyperlinks, here's another one to click.
--Vodka does not put out fires. I feel bad for the Moscowites and a large portion of Russia. I think some of this fire related toxic smog was kind of the worst case fears after the oil spill in the gulf so I have a lot of sympathy for what they are going through. 700 people a day are dying Moscow (apparently double their 350 a day average). What's worse is some of the denizens have even given up smoking because of the terrible conditions made worse by their worst heat wave in 1000 years. Read here for more.
--Water puts out fires but can get you arrested. In better tasting news, a woman went to a water park, wearing a tee-shirt, got wet, got kicked out of the park, got arrested and is now suing the water park. The mother was wearing a bra so it's not like she was showing everything. While her mug shot could be mistaken for somebody arrested for running a meth lab, drug addled skin while offensive isn't an arrestable offense (...but looking at other photos it was probably poor lighting). Go here for the mug shot and video.
--Walking is overrated. A dude hiked the entire length of the Amazon, taking two years to complete the feat (lazy bastard). For the last 20 months he was accompanied by a guide that was supposed to take him five miles down the river. He did it to bring attention to the deforestization of the rain forests. The guide did it because the dude kept saying "Just a little bit further." I have a friend that dipped his back wheel into the Atlantic Ocean to start his bike ride across the United States which he finished when he dipped his front wheel in the Pacific Ocean. Panamians weren't that impressed. He asked me if I wanted to go with him on this trek. I thought about it and decided ultimately, "No F'ing Way."
To be continued...

Response to Comment on Rush Poker Part V: Coaches, Poker Immersion, GCP Forum and more

Obviously, these last few posts aren’t just in response to the questions posed by the anonymous reader, more the comment just got me running on several longwinded trains of thoughts. Though certainly a couple of these posts are directly related to it and who might best help my chances I play online poker. Picking a coach is also difficult because there are some styles of play we probably can’t just adopt from the get go. Just like Sit and go poker tournaments strategy does not necessarily translate to multi-table tournament strategy.

Monkey recently blogged about watching Tyler Smith borderline maniacally challenge a table with aggression. It wins him tournaments and it has him flame out of televised final tables, but when it’s working it’s inspiring and oh so, tempting to duplicate. Just raise, raise, raise. Some of my best results have come when I’ve been able to channel that mentality (so, too some of my worst) but that's usually only at a table I'd define as soft. With Tyler, I think he thinks of every table as soft. However, we can’t just watch Tyler Smith and be able to do what he does, or else we’d all be Tyler Smith. He has a gift to know when to apply pressure and when to not overextend himself. I digress, as always…

Of course there are also the sites like Cardrunners that people seem to swear by. However, I’m not sure of your budget constraints and where Jarrett, Little or Cardrunners fit into that. I know I get a lot of free learning from forums that when I have the time, offer a lot of new perspectives that I can apply, though I’m sure you’ve already exploited them if you take the time to read poker blogs you probably check out messageboards (when GCP will get ours up is anybody’s guess—moderators welcome…).

In terms of coaching sites with lesser rates and where I think a good place to check out solid online players that have an established history of winning that might be able to quickly pinpoint holes in your game I’d recommend Poker Immersion. Full disclosure they pimp my services as a live coach and I am friends with two of the owners and principals involved. However, they are a site I would consider trying out in terms of bettering my online poker skills especially to try and find leaks in my play.

When I have called Brian Lusk or Steve Lawrence to discuss poker hands in the past, I have gotten far more interesting and thought provoking, game expanding answers than I have with many other players. I've really improved just from casually talking poker with them, and I could only imagine how much I could better my online success under their wings as coaches.

They know their games. But again, I consider most of the people I mention in these past few posts as friends of mine (and many are GCP bloggers) so I am certainly biased. To that end, I think many of the other bloggers on our site have a lot to offer too.

Reid G and Southpaw Rounder, the Honest Player just about everybody on the site are players I lean on for their math perspectives, or their different skillsets, when thinking about my hands or gameplay. I know Reid has often been willing to discuss hands and maybe he’d be able to go over your hand histories, maybe for a nominal fee, and help you out if he could. I certainly can put you into contact with any of them.

Anyway, I get a lot out of deconstructing hands or chatting about strategies so you are welcome to comment here and I’ll bounce things off you too. Hopefully, when we get our forum up there will be plenty of that too. Again, moderators welcome...

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Response to Comment on Rush Poker Part IV: Coaches

Continuing my meandering ramblings loosely in response to a comment that got my brain aflutter, in this post I kind of continue to actually answer the question posited to me and discuss a coach for when you play poker online and who I'd recommend.

I was talking about what works in poker coaching. I don’t know how much I could learn from Phil Ivey instructing me in stud or Texas Holdem poker, I would probably learn a lot if he were to verbalize the rationales for his decisions to the nth degree but that doesn't really seem like Phil, you know.

Therefore, I see what you are saying teaching and excelling at poker are sometimes two different things. The makeup of a successful poker player may not make a great poker coach. However, I'd imagine Brandon could be a great coach as he has sound reasoning for the decisions he makes and could probably pass that on to an eager student as he's an articulate person.

Granted, you may learn more from a lesser poker player who is a better teacher than from the better player who struggles to articulate his concepts. A bit like having Michael Jordan as coach is probably far worse than a guy like Doc Rivers who had to figure out things on a basketball court a bit more than Jordan who just knows it. Granted as poker is a mind game and basketball a physical one, even the players that are just gifted are intelligent and though they might not know the numbers to not chase in a particular spot they understand innately when to give up on a hand. So, great poker players are far more likely to be able teachers than say great natural athletes.

So, you can obviously learn a lot from good players. I do know that I learned a lot from Jonathan Little’s sites and have touted him before. He mentions a book coming out which I think will be very interesting to people that have seen the quickness that he can make situational decisions because of his foundation of understanding the game. Though, bringing him up brings up another aspect of teaching and that’s the student.

I was talking to a live player once in a tournament about Little for some reason and that guy spoke about playing one of Little’s students in a cash game. He said the player was one of the worst he had ever seen, so Little must be a terrible teacher. I guess that's one way to look at it, but not the only way to look at it. I said, maybe the player was just a terrible student. I’ve learned a lot from those free videos Little has up on his many sites so I know for a fact he’s the opposite of a bad teacher. Or maybe the person was starting off a terrible player and had improved but certainly wasn't the equal of the live player I was discussing this with (who is a proven steady winner).

I guess it could also be sometimes it’s just some people do better with certain types of teachers than others. So, I guess somebody I might have success with might not be a good fit for you. Or if you are a bad student and don’t study the principles being taught, or struggle in their application, it might not matter who is teaching you.

And more to come...

Friday, August 06, 2010

Response to Comment on Rush Poker Part III: Math Whizzes, California Poker...

To continue with my loose response to the commentor I almost missed.

Really, games like Rush poker are custom built for the next generation to figure out ways to quickly exploit the gameplay and lessen the aptitude of feel players. Even now those of us not privvy to that kind of information (or lacking the disposability of time to learn it and innovate) are probably at a massive disadvantage. We all want to learn poker and figure out seams of strategies on our own but sometimes it's better left to those who have done the work and applying their concepts.

My friend ran an online site that went busto (in part because of U.I.E.G.A) and on it they were offering California Hold 'Em. In that game they expanded the deck from 13 cards in every suit to I think 14 or 15 (but with two ranks unsuited to keep flushes from being easier than straights). That game never really took off, in part due to the demise of the site, and its attempt to debug Texas Hold'em robbed it of some of its intrinsic gameplay and charm.

Anyway, for a window of time there was this opening for math whizzes to figure out strategy and instead of catching up to "feel" players, force them to catch up to them (as you could argue they've successfully done in dominating the online world after catching and passing live players).

So, I think at the very least finding a poker coach for online play is something we should all be doing especially if we are barely ekeing out a profit because many of them have already invested into that strategic thought we don’t have the time to do (but should probably find if we were to be exclusively poker players).

I think there are so many other variables in live play that can allow you to exploit players, that if you are barely winning money there too you should seek out a live coach. I for one, am not confident enough in my online play to ever think about coaching there, but I think I overcome that in live play because of all the other information at my disposal and a certain knack for reading people.

Take Monkey, he’ll be the first to tell you he like most of us has difficulty beating the online game consistently, yet his talents as a live player are as good as anybody elses. You want to learn about live poker watch him play when he's exploiting his personality and his people reading skills is a good start.

He knows when to apply pressure and when to duck for cover. Unfortunately, you may see what he excels at and not be able to duplicate it. I don't know how Monkey would be as a coach, I'd imagine if he wanted to, he could be a great one.

I’ve done live coaching and given some very solid players some great tips and areas to exploit their opponents. I think what I do translates really well for people that already have a solid understanding of fundamental poker. I wouldn’t dream of trying to coach anybody in online play.

As for suggestions, you mention Brandon Jarrett, I think he’s got a good head on his shoulders and his results speak for themselves, but I have never seen him in a teaching environment. He may be quite good at it and able to separate the lesson plan from his ego (as you imply) but I don’t know for sure.

More to follow...

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Response to Comment on Rush Poker Part II: Stalling, Quickfolds and Math Whizzes...

To review I was opining on whether or not stalling is an angle shoot in live poker and or online poker (especially rush poker). Not that many of us really care because unless you get out of hand it is maybe dancing in a gray area or a tiny violation/infraction of poker ethics. Nothing that is really going to distract us all that much when it comes to decision making in Texas Hold'em or our next tournament of Pot Limit Omaha.

In live poker, by definition it kind of is because you are exploiting the rules of the game and maybe even worse exploiting people's politeness in letting you make a decision to affect the game outside the constraints of normal gameplay.
You could make the same argument, to a degree in online poker, but there is a set time that everyone is given to make a decision. Using it for anything you want (whether playing 10 tables at once and barely executing your play at time) or for extra thought or a bathroom break is at your discretion.

But in live poker, yes, even if you min-stall to force the guy to your left into a higher blind the next level is kind an angle-shoot. Admittedly, it's a minor one, maybe the most minor of all, and an impossible one to get caught doing, but at some level you are doing something outside of standard gameplay to impact the game.

As for the Quickfold strategy you mention, I think at times it's important and useful. I know if I'm short in a rush rebuy tournament when the rebuy level is about to come to a close and I'm going to rebuy or add on anyway, I'm going to bang that quick-fold button to look for a hand to play for a double-up. Others are in the same spot so shoving can garner a call or two. Even better you can speed through a lot of hands with the hope of finding one to go with and getting some action on it.

I wonder what the math genuises are doing in terms of figuring out the optimal situations to stall or quickfold in Rush. Surely, they've already figured out edges. You read about some of these young millionaires and the level of analysis they use to make decisions is off the charts. Talking about charts, I read about one, I forget who, that papered his "office" with charts about decisions based on stack-sizes and situations with hand-ranges about optimal plays.

That kind of studying is staggering. Just think about playing that kid who merely looks around his room to find a close approximation for the decision he is faced with, to either call or fold. What you actually have is irrelevant, that guy factors in what you could have, you likelhood of bluffing, your stack size, his hand and everything else into a flowchart and fires out a response in the form of call, fold or raise.

Can you imagine Doyle Brunson, Archie Karas, or Stu Unger walking into that kid's room. Even Phil Ivey would probably be aghast at the analysis done. Still, those feel players just kind of instrinsically know this stuff, but they'd have to be impressed with the methods a self-taught math whiz, can figure out the same things. Those guys could say goodbye to "edges" until they adjusted and they'd likely adjust quicker than the math guys with their Hold'em Manager programs.

To be continued... will I finally answer the question about poker coaches?

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Response to Comment on Rush Poker Part I: Stalling..

First off thanks for the compliments and the comments. It's always nice to see that somebody is reading these things. Sometimes after finishing a session of online poker games I wander to my blog, put something up, click publish and wonder if the blog post is just bouncing around an empty internet. Are the only people reading spammers looking to drop some links on here? I know from my page views people are reading but comments always make you feel good (even the bad ones mean somebody is paying attention).

Nice score on the $600. I'm sure like all of us, at the time you wished 6th was 1st but any time you outlast all but 5 people in a +1300 person field you've played great and finally got a little share of run good. I'd take 6th place in every tournament I played in and be a rich man. I'll respond to the coaching in my next post, as we all need to learn poker in a fluid manner because the game is always changing and progressing. Especially these days.

I see you tinkered with some of the same concepts I played with when playing the Rush tournament and I'm glad to see you had some success with it. Stalling, I think online is perfectly legitimate because you have a time bank and are entitled to use it to your maximum. (***I'm about to go on a tangent for the rest of this post, my apologies but fair warning)

I have a friend who likes to milk the clock in live tournaments to an almost dastardly degree. He tries to time it so at the next level he'll be on the button if he can and he's not afraid to sit for two or three minutes preflop to do it--if he's late in a tournament. He and I may disagree if he pushes it to an excessive level but I've never seen too many other players take him to task for it.

Though, in one tournament a guy told me he wasn't going to angleshoot me by stalling, and folded. Here was the situation, I was short and UTG, I quickfolded hoping to get the BB before the level ended (and the BB doubled), a guy in middle position put in a raise and the clock was into the seconds when the guy in the Big Blind had nothing made that comment to me and folded. The dealer motivated in part by the comment quickly shuffled and got my BB in that level.

Up to that point, I had never really thought of milking the clock as an "angle shoot." Especially in that guy's situation where he could have "min-stalled" and (just taken 10 seconds to fold) and really put me in a situation where the next hand is almost impossible for me to find a fold based on the chip stacks. Granted the guy also got a reduced small blind by folding quickly and perhaps was just saying that to exploit an opportunity to look honorable when he wasn't (just like you should never trust people that frequently say "to be honest" or any variation of that).

Still, the word choice was interesting. Angle shoot. Is milking the clock in live poker an angle shoot? Clearly, in online poker it's not. I'd contend the clock is so short in online poker, particularly in Rush poker (and the fact people can quick fold and get jettisoned to another table immediately), that it's anything but an angleshoot.

To be continued...

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Comment on Rush Poker

Recently my blog started getting spammed hard and I had to set up comment moderation. I think I can fulfill the maximum quota of links in a day, on my own right? I don’t think they get too much in the way of the people that read this blog though. I mean who cares if I mention I like to play at an online casino or two. Or if I mention my favorite bwin casino blog that I occasionally check out.

Unfortunately, every week or so I get about 20 comments which are just veiled attempts to spread links (spam) and I’ve since been neglectful in sifting through them to find the real ones. These guys are slightly sophisticated, starting off with an endearing compliment vaguely about the content of the post (flattery doesn’t get you everywhere) but then falling into some tripe about whatever product they are hawking sometimes completely unrelated. So my apologies to the anonymous author of this comment below for not responding in a timely fashion or getting back to her/him soon enough. The mistake I made is the first sentence is just like the first sentence of all the spam… “Great blog about XXX:) so I almost just deleted (the my comments just list the first line of each). The irony is I will be far more likely to publish a comment quickly if it starts out with an insult. Glad I read this one today, turns out it was authentic. Here it is…

“Great blog about RUSH. I too play at FT and tried out rush for the first time Saturday night. Very odd at first, $10 BI and about 1300+ people.... I thought oh hell what have I got myself into, this is gonna run for 8-10 hours to the final table (if I were to get lucky [which I am *not* normally a positive ROI player :-])
But I was so so wrong, 6-8 beers later I glare over at the field size and it was down to about 200 or so... and I turned it on. I finished 6th for $600. I, too- like you- think there are some cool exploitable things there with RUSH which actually makes it easier! I must admitt I think there are a lot to be said about the quick fold and getting more hands... I used that to my advantage by NOT using quick fold... stalled quiet abit and when I did hit- I raked in big pots.

I think I left out that the tourney only lasted 4.5 hours, which was blazin speeds compared to non-rush. Excited to play again- I looked over the Rush tourneys and noticed they only play them like every three hours or so- ugh!
Well- I've babbled too much.

Great blog, I've been reading yours for a long time and never commented before!
Hey; While I've got your attention- do you have any suggestions for a poker coach? I'd love to see you blog about that, maybe drop some names ... etc. It's not like I have a ton of cash to invest into one, but it just occured to me that Ive played 5-7 years, only tourney's and my ROI seriously is break even. Im missing something huge with my game, I just need someone to look at my hand historys etc and say "OH- there it is right there, you suck at xyz..."

I've played live and online, fair well with most- I just need an edge. Thanks!
Oh yea, please dont name drop Brandon Jarrett for a coach... cause I'd like someone to talk about ME if Im paying them lol... and he'd just wanna talk about HIM lol!


I’ll respond in my next blog post about poker coaches.