Some random stats from my personal history of 10,281 hands:
Most Frequently Dealt Hand - T7o, 131 times
Least Frequently Dealt Hand - (tie) AJs, K9s, 94s, 19 times
Most Frequently Dealt Pair - 88, 57 times
Least Frequently Dealt Pair - 99, 36 times
Most Profitable Hand - (duh) AA
Biggest Leak - AJs
Friday, October 29, 2004
Some random stats from my personal history of 10,281 hands:
Thursday, October 28, 2004
Earlier this afternoon, I found myself on a NL $100 6-max table on Party Poker, my first session online in over a week. Things were going fine. I was slowly incrementing my stack and then managed to bust a guy slowplaying a set of aces when I caught a free gutshot broadway straight on the turn. My table was the usual collection of tight-passives, but something about the guy in the 6-seat was a little... off. I couldn't put my finger on what it was, so I turned to PokerTracker to see if it could shed some light on the mystery. I'll show you what I discovered after some delving:
# Raise% Bet% Call% Check% Fold%
-- ----- ----- ----- ----- -----
Pre: 75 5.33 0.00 18.67 9.33 66.67
Flop: 23 0.00 26.09 0.00 43.48 30.43
Turn: 14 7.14 14.29 0.00 50.00 28.57
River: 7 14.29 14.29 28.57 28.57 14.29
Interesting, n'est-ce pas? This player never calls or raises on the flop, and almost never calls or raises on the turn. At the table, it was difficult to see, probably because he checked and bet often enough not to appear as a maniac or a calling station. But the cold, hard numbers illuminate a stark reality.
Of course, 23 actions on the flop and 14 on the turn is a miniscule sample size, and I might consider it an aberration, but for the fact that Mullansky (of Above Malibu) has previously confirmed that he has run into three or four opponents who play similarly. It's raise-or-fold poker taken to an extreme.
Developing an effective strategy for that opponent was child's play after I discovered what was up. If he bet the flop, I raised him. If he checked the flop, I could either bet to take the pot right there, or check and hope to induce a bet I could raise on the turn. It once again proved that poker is as much a game of information as it is intuition and guts. The $55 I spent on PokerTracker was by far one of the best investments in software I've ever made.
On a side note, for those keeping track, I failed miserably in my quest to review two more NYC poker rooms by the end of the month. After the blogger tournament, all but home game poker took up the back burner as I focused on some writing, finding a job, and a few other things. I even made it to a movie for the first time since I left LA. I'm hoping to get to a new poker room on Saturday night, however, so I should have a fresh review up on Sunday.
True to my word, I went into loose-aggressive mode at Above Malibu last night, after standing on the fire escape to watch the lunar eclipse. While out there we also spied some chick in the building across the alley giving a guy a hummer, made all the more interesting by the fact that she was alone, crying with her face in her hands, twenty minutes later.
On the first hand of the tournament, I raised out of the BB with a crappy king. The button called and folded to my flop bet. On the second hand, action folded to my SB, QTo. I raised. The BB called for a Q-8-x flop. I bet the pot, he called. The turn was an 8. I bet just shy of the pot, and he pushed. Oops. Fold.
I stayed in loose-aggressive mode, though, raising more than my share of hands and slowly building my stack back up. There were two unfortunate hands that sent me packing early.
Hand #1 - 94o in the BB, three limpers and I saw a flop of 2-4-6. I was worried that one of the limpers in particular, the player UTG, had an overpair. I checked. Everyone else checked to a turn of [2-4-6]-2. Now I felt I had to take a shot at the pot, because if he did have an overpair, he couldn't stand to give a free card on the flop. Only the UTG player called my pot-sized bet. I was confused to say the least. I thought he might have caught the river ace with a holding like AQ. We both checked it and he turned over KK. Suffice it to say that although he confused me (which, I guess, is good from his standpoint) I was not impressed with how he played the hand.
Hand #2 - 99 in the SB. The button made it 3xBB to go. It meant he had a hand, but was it overcards or a pocket pair? Stuck with an ugly decision, I called for a flop of 3-5-7. I decided to take a chance and pushed. He called with TT. That crippled me, and I went out a short time later when I pushed 96o as the limits were about to increase and lost to KJo.
On to the ring game, where I made a nice $50 profit on my $20 buy-in. Key hands: K5o in the SB turns into quad kings on the turn and gets action from a full house; 44 in EP turns into quads on a flop of 4-4-6; 45s makes the nuts on the river when a flopped set of deuces gives the other four players two free cards (he mistakenly assumed that a player to act behind him would bet the turn); 42o for a raise turns into a straight on the turn.
Ok, ok, so this isn't the sexiest write-up ever. I promise better from Foxwoods next week. I'm focused on other things today.
Wednesday, October 27, 2004
I got offered a job today. A job that pays a comfortable salary without requiring hellish hours. A job that tailors some of my skills together with some of my interests. A job that I think I might actually enjoy.
In celebration, I plan to play extremely loose-aggressive at Above Malibu tonight, and I think I shall definitely be making the trip to Foxwoods at some point next week to meet up with Felicia et al. Watch out, world.
Tuesday, October 26, 2004
One of the female players at Above Malibu recently returned from her first poker trip to Las Vegas, where she was bankrolled by a current love interest in some high stakes poker games. I found the thread on the AM message board so funny that I thought I'd repost it here.
**** POST #1 ****
Better known as Ali
AMII: The Dutchess
I've got tons of stories to post. Doyle Brunson, Phil "The Unibomber" Locke, Abe Mosserri, Paul Wolf, Tobey Maguire, Ron Rose, Leo DiCaprio, Scotty Weng, Antonio "The Magician", Jenn Harmon, Mike Sexton...
These are the people I met. I played with.
I check raised Doyle Brunson in a 25-50 game.
I got congratulated from Scotty Weng on playing my Aces perfectly.
I got winked at by Ron Rose.
I insulted Mike Sexton by not knowing who he is.
I got drunk with Tobey Maguire.
I played 60-100 rotation with Abe Mosserri. (This was clearly after I was drinking, because I don't know how to play 2 out of the 3 games in rotation...)
The best part? I did this all for free, and ended up $1000.
Details about hands to come.
**** POST #2 ****
**** POST #4 ****
New York, NY
Originally Posted by youngcat
...and that's when I laughed out loud, because I had no idea who the hell she was talking about.
**** POST #5 ****
Better known as Ali
AMII: The Dutchess
Oh. Right. I just called him "baby" anyway.
My poor poker readers. I'm not sure how many of you had the fortitude to wade through yesterday's comments section. Every once in a while, I feel the need to toss my non-poker readers a bone. Yesterday, that bone turned into a giant skeletal dragon spewing gouts of flaming nonsense all over my comments. Unfortunate. Let's return to something less controversial -- a small-stakes night at the Blue Parrot.
Signor Ferrari was kind enough to organize and host a small-stakes game for those of us with either 1) limited bankrolls, or 2) limited knowledge of poker. Perfect for me since I fall into both categories. ;) The players included the good Doctor, Diane (with whom I played one other time, briefly), and three unknown-to-me individuals: Marie, Julie and John. At least, we think his name was John. The introduction when he arrived with Marie was rushed, and after that he didn't talk much the whole night. Perfectly agreeable chap, just not very talkative. John seems like the right name for that kind of a person, even if that's not his name, so John it is.
Small stakes meant the alcohol was out in force, chips with tasty guacamole were being consumed, and the buy-in was only $50 with limits of $1-$2 for structured games (holdem and omaha hi/lo) and $.25-$3 for spread games (7-stud and anaconda). There were no crazy "push, replace, take off your socks and hang them from your ears" games, nor were there any wild card games. Just holdem, O8, 7-stud and anaconda. Sanity. Well, except for anaconda.
Things started out ok for me, but the moment when it all turned south was when I decided to call multiple bets from Pauly all the way to the river with pocket 5s. He was holding A-T and hit a ten-high flop. That was an expensive hand, and I should have known when Pauly 3-bet both the flop and the turn that he actually had something that could beat my measly presto. After that, I got a chance to 3-bet pocket aces preflop, only to be called by four people. The flop was 4-4-6 with two clubs. I check-raised and got only one caller, Diane, who hit her inside straight (no flush draw) on the turn. I knew I was beat on the turn, showed Pauly my aces and said "I'm beat", and then called to a river showdown. These would be two running themes of the night: people catching gutshots (or in Pauly's case, the runner-runner Pauly special), and me calling bets when I knew I was beat. I have a tendency to do that, especially with unknown players. Until I'm comfortable with my reads, I make my reads with chips. It gets expensive, but occassionally it pays off, like when my hammer bluff caught a pair of deuces on the river to take down Julie's J-4 busted flush, which she had been aggressively betting, raising and reraising the whole way. Hammer!
I took a few more beats, lost one or two pots to bluffs that got called by only slightly better semi-bluffs, and just like that I was digging into my pocket for more money. Out came another $25 when somebody called Fold-aconda, one of my least favorite games ever. I started with A-2-3h, and Pauly was kind enough to pass me a 4 and a 6. Marie, Ferrari and Julie all folded before the first expose, leaving four of us. Diane rolled a ten, John a seven, and Pauly a jack. Thus, after only the first expose, I knew I was a lock for low. I declined to pump the pot early, hoping to drag as many of the other three along as possible. This turned out to be a bad decision after both Diane and Pauly folded after the third expose, Diane because her straight flush bluff was totally busted, with both ends of her straight flush already exposed, and Pauly because he was convinced that his trip jacks/jacks full (whichever it was) was going to lose to John, who was showing 7-K-7. He was right; John had kings full.
The game broke down somewhere around 2am. There was one very notable final hand, but I'll let Pauly fill in the details on that. Despite being down almost $60, I clawed back slightly in the last hour to finish down $33.
Sunday, October 24, 2004
Rick's Gonna Have a Field Day With This One
Huge Cache of Explosives Vanished from Iraq
The Iraqi interim government has warned the United States and international nuclear inspectors that nearly 380 tons of powerful conventional explosives - used to demolish buildings, produce missile warheads and detonate nuclear weapons - are missing from one of Iraq's most sensitive former military installations.
No words, no talk, we'll go dreaming.
This morning I finally got around to requesting the hand history from the poker blogger and reader tournament on Thursday that Iggy was kind enough to organize. (You rule, guy.) It's pretty sobering how poorly I played and how a little bit of luck can really carry you a long way. Let's take a look, shall we?
To set up the scenario again, the table started as:
Seat 1: Maudie
Seat 2: gaamblor (on hand #7)
Seat 3: asphnxma
Seat 4: Lassiter
Seat 5: jdmoore99
Seat 6: T-F-G
Seat 7: TheFilmGeek (on hand #7)
Seat 8: performify
Seat 9: The_Venetian
Ok. Hand #1, blinds were 10/20 and I started in the SB with Jc Ks. Venetian raised to 50 and was called by Maudie on the button. I know better than to play KJo so badly out of position (even in the early going) and gave it up. Hand #4, I caught one of my absolute favorite hands, J8s at MP1, but Maudie was in for a 3xBB raise and I sent it to the muck. Hand #6 was the fated Hammer bluff from UTG that got reraised by jdmoore99, who said he had a pocket pair. Good raise.
Hand #11, I found Qs 9s in the CO. Action folded to me, so I opened for 70. Nobody bit, and I won my first (small) pot. I have to say, by the way, that the CO and UTG are probably my two favorite positions to steal from. You can't steal from UTG early in a tournament though. That becomes much more effective later in a tournament. Lassiter and Maudie both point out that they are paying bounties.
The Hammer showed up again on Hand #15 at UTG+1, but I mucked it. It was followed by my first significant stretch of doing laundry. Wow. Looking over these cards, it's a wonder I didn't brain myself. If not for the free flop I got with Kc 9c in the BB on Hand #26, where my king-flush held up to performify's queen-flush, I would have done tons of folding until Paris and Nicky stopped by on Hand #31. Blinds were 15/30, Venetian was in at UTG for 30. I raised to 120. Everyone folded.
Hand #38, still folding. Take your pick: 45o, 73o, Q5o, 67o. performify said, "now would be a good time to start catching some cards, eh?" and I responded, "nah, wait until you bust" Finally, on hand #39, I caught ATo 2 off the button only to have Maudie raise to 150 right in front of me. After cursing her out for stealing my move, I folded.
Pocket 9s found their way to me on Hand #42 at UTG+1. I limped and somehow made it to a 5-handed flop without being raised. [Js 4c 5c]. Not terrible, but then Maudie, out of the BB, went and bet 75 into a 250 pot. What the hell could that mean? It looked like a sucker bet. It was raise or fold territory, and with a couple of people yet to act behind me, I knew I could stand a reraise. I sadly folded. Lassiter was the only caller. Turn 7h, river 3d and they got it all in the middle. Lassiter had Ad Qs, while Maudie had 8c 6c for the inside straight flush draw on the flop.
You can argue that I played this one all wrong, and you'd probably be right. Hand #43 was the AK limp-from-UTG hand. Ugh. I really did play like total shyte on Thursday, didn't I?
Back to doing laundry for a while. A Qd 9c on Hand #52 might have been playable, but for the fact that The_Venetian went all-in for 780. Fast forward to Hand #63 Ah 9d at MP1. I thought about bringing this one in for a raise, but it's a pretty weak holding, especially that far out of position, and instead folded. My fold was followed by the entire rest of table folding. Bah.
Hand #67, Kd 8d on the BB was starting to look pretty good, as the blinds were 50/100 and I had 1560. SirFWALGMan, who joined us on Hand #65, raised two limpers to 400. Oh well. Muck. Same thing on Hand #71 with Kd Jd. SirFWALGMan raised one limper to 400 and I had to fold. Both times he had the goods -- AQ on Hand #67, QQ on #71 -- so I didn't feel bad about folding, but frustration was building.
The blinds went up to 75/150 and I was running out of time. On my BB, I took a free heads up flop against Tiger Trainer with Kd 3h. The flop: [4d Ks 2h] A pair of kings had to be the best hand at that point. The only question was whether or not Tiger Trainer also had kings, with a better kicker. I led out with a pot-sized bet (300), which he min-raised to 600. I took some time to reason it out. He probably would have raised KJ, KQ or AK. Would he be willing to get it all in the middle with a holding like K9 or K8? Probably not. And, I had the advantage of being in the blind. My push could mean I had just about anything - even 42o for two pair. So I pushed, and he folded. Very good.
Ac 6c on the next hand in the SB spelled doom for the severely short-stacked Editguy, who went out by calling his last 100 with 9h 2h. Hand #78 brought TT on the button. Finally, some cards! performify min-raised and I just called. (Why? Are you trying to lose, asphnxma?) [Jh 8d 5s] was an excellent flop, especially when performify bet the 150 minimum into a 600 pot. Smelling weakness, I pushed for over 2k, and he folded. My stack was over 3k, out of the danger zone. It got an added boost on Hand #86 when Venetian tried to raise my blind and I popped him back. Tsk, tsk, Venetian.
DrPauly [observer] said, "nh hammer boy". Haha.
Hand #88 brought my first good bluff of the tournament. At MP2, blinds still 75/150, I raised Kd Qh to 500. TigerTrainer, on the BB, was the only caller for a flop of [2c As 5s]. I have jack-squat, and a draw to his brother, bill-squat. Tiger checked, I bet 1,000, and he folded. Did I have the best hand? Maybe. Was it a hand I was especially fond of continuing to play? No.
The blinds went up to 100/200, and on my SB I caught the snowmen, 88. performify limped in. With everyone else folding, I raised to 600. BOTH poboys31 and performify called my raise. Crap. Flop: [Kh 7c 5d] In a heads up situation, I would have no problem betting this flop. But with two opponents and me being first to act, my 8s didn't like so hot. I felt I had to check. Both checked after me for a turn of [Ad]. If there was any doubt I was beat on the flop, it was obliterated by the turn card. I checked, poboys31 bet 600 and was raised all-in by performify for 300 more. Adios snowmen! They showed 5h 5c for poboys31 and As 6s for performify, who was drawing dead. The river was a meaningless Kd.
Catastrophe averted. In the end, I should probably thank performify for calling, otherwise I would have led at the pot on the flop and gotten totally burned by poboys31's set.
I was dealt pocket tens a second time on Hand #98. SirFWALGMan limped, I raised to 800, and that was that. Limits up on Hand #110, 100/200/25. I hadn't seen a face card in a while. That changed with Ah Jd on Hand #112 in MP. My raise to 600 got no callers. The very next hand brought suited Slick (Ac Kc). I raised again, and this time TigerTrainer, my favorite whipping boy in this tournament (sorry about that, Tiger!) popped me back all-in for 2050. I didn't have much trouble calling -- I thought he would make that raise with lots of holdings, assuming that I was trying to steal for a second hand in a row. Imagine my dread when he turned over the Hilton Sisters.
*** FLOP *** [4c 2h Ts]
asphnxma said, "crap"
*** TURN *** [4c 2h Ts] [3c]
asphnxma said, "club"
*** RIVER *** [4c 2h Ts 3c] [Kh]
SirFWALGMan said, "oh oh"
*** SHOW DOWN ***
TigerTrainer: shows [Qh Qc] (a pair of Queens)
asphnxma: shows [Kc Ac] (a pair of Kings)
SirFWALGMan said, "nice"
asphnxma said, "whew"
I had lots of outs on the river, but I hated the fact that I got so much of my stack in there on a race. Bad read, but at least the outcome was favorable. That pot boosted my stack to a very comfortable 6145. A few hands later, Hand #116, I received pocket Hellmuths in the BB. jdmoore99 limped, and then called my raise to 700. The flop was [9h 3c Jh]. With 1500 in the pot, I led out for 1200 and he folded. This time, I showed.
Hammer again at Hand #122, UTG. Good time for a steal, but I let it go. Next hand in the BB brought presto (5h 5c). Venetian raised to 700, which didn't mean much given the number of hands he'd been raising, but then SirFWALGMan had to go and min-raise him. Dammit, why'd you do that? Now Venetian would be able to reraise. I thought some before saying "bah, can't handle both of ya" and folding. Sure enough, Venetian went all-in and Sir called. Kc Kh for Venetian, Ks Jd for Sir. Ouch. He picked the wrong time to challenge Venetian and was eliminated.
After that, I got timid, it seems. With the antes, I should have been more aggressive and at least attempting some steals, but I couldn't find spots where I was comfortable trying the steal. So, fast forward through all the crap to Hand #133, the first hand at 200/400/25, where I was dealt Ks Js on the CO. malice51 raised to 1600 from UTG, and my hand hit the muck pretty damn fast. I was still sitting on 6k in chips. Ugarte joined the rail to sweat me at that point.
Ugarte's [observer] said, "hey nixma - great set, and now i sweat"
asphnxma said, "nice!"
asphnxma said, "you can watch me do laundry"
Wow. What utter garbage I was getting dealt. When I had position where a steal might be fruitful, it seemed someone was in for a raise ahead of me. Finally, on Hand #149, Kc 9h in the CO and the action folded to me. I raised to 1200 and picked up the blinds and antes. Yay! That brought us to Hand #154.
We were down to about 30 or 35 players at this point, with 18 making the money. badblood44, who had been moved to the table a few hands earlier, pushed his button for 1317. With 8s Ad in the BB, this was an easy call for me, until a104I9 called in the SB. Ugh. I called anyway, intent on checking it down to the river. The flop was no help: [3d Kc Kh] and a104I9 bet 400 into a 4,000 pot. I should have called, I guess, but I thought he would check it down as well unless he had caught the king and thus folded. Imagine my surprise when he opened JJ! To make it worse, badblood had Qs 5s for a few outs. The turn brought an ace, of course, but no queen on the river. This hand chapped my ass, a bit, but why did I fold a 4,000 pot to a 400 bet?
Hand #155 brings TT (again!) in the SB. endless4727 with 4800, raised to 1200 from MP. I pushed for 3700, inducing a fold.
Ugarte's [observer] said, "and back to where you started..."
Ugarte's [observer] said, "but you should have called the 400"
Shut up, Ugarte. Damn you for being right.
Fast forward to Hand #162, or "asphnxma gets lucky again." Blinds were 300/600/50, I had 4400 after posting the SB of 300. Ks Js. jdmoore99 raised to 1800 from UTG. Sometimes you just have a sense, based on observation of the table over long stretches of time, that somebody is full of it. When the action folded to me, I pushed, figuring I could push jdmoore99 off of whatever crappy hand he was holding. Wrong! He called with 99.
asphnxma said, "ruh roh"
Caught my king on the flop, though, and no help for jdmoore99. Bam! I rocketed to 6th chip position with over 10k in chips. Which was good timing, because my cards went super-dead. Every time I did have something marginal, someone was in for a big raise ahead of me. And, looking at this hand history, I mean *every* time. I basically coasted on post-and-fold for a while, into 400/800/50 and into the money. When we made it to the money, a couple of very big stacks joined the table who were wielding their stacks pretty effectively. Fold, fold, fold. Finally, on Hand #191 (yes, that's 30 hands later!) I caught the hand that is my biggest leak: Ks Qs. Venetian raised from 800 to 2800, and I pushed for 5100 from the SB. He called with AK, and that was that. Out in 15th place.
Oh well, just goes to show that sometimes you can play like crap and still make the money if you get lucky at the right time. Congratulations again to all the winners, especially MtDewVirus.
Friday, October 22, 2004
Road to Kaupo, Maui, Sept. 2004
Sort of a lame submission this week, but it was prompted by Karol's photos of her drive to Durango, Colorado. This is the "back side" of Maui, the dry side, the side that nobody ever goes to. Take a close look at the road; it may be difficult to discern because of the compression, but this was the "good" section of the "highway". And by "good", I mean "sorta paved", and "not an insane number of blind curves and/or switchbacks".
All you need is ignorance and confidence; then success is sure.
What a turnout, eh? 133 players. If I recall correctly, the last tournament, on Pacific, had about 70 players. I can only imagine that a combination of 1) pimping from Wil Wheaton and 2) having the tournament hosted on a major site is what caused the tremendous turnout. Whatever the reason, it was great fun. Here's my recap.
After realizing at 8:59 that I was not logged in even though I had PokerStars open, I quickly logged in and got taken to my table. Here was the starting crew, with links where I know them:
Seat 1: Maudie
Seat 2: gaamblor
Seat 3: asphnxma
Seat 4: Lassiter
seat 5: jdmoore99
Seat 6: T-F-G
Seat 7: TheFilmGeek
Seat 8: performify
Seat 9: The_Venetian
For my music selection, I settled on BBC Radio1's "The Essential Mix", Dec 2, 2001 broadcast, feat. Richard Dorfmeister. Ah, the soothing sounds of acid jazz. People may say that Kruder & Dorfmeister are passe, but I've never been one to stay on the cutting edge of anything.
Maudie took down the first pot. She seemed to be trying to take control of the table in the early going by raising more than her share of hands. I was content to sit back and let her do that as I tried to peg people to a style. It helped that my cards didn't tempt me to play too many hands. I did try to raise the Hammer from UTG, but a large reraise from jdmoore99 shut that down pretty quickly. I was dealt the Hammer a second time an orbit later at UTG+1, but that time I just let it go. (This is where Ugarte would link to some sort of weird picture of a chicken. I can live with that.)
Level 2 saw my first interesting hand. With Kc 9c in the BB, I got a free 3-handed flop that came down 9-high, two clubs. Top pair, good kicker and a draw to the second nut flush. I bet the pot and was called by only one player who had position: performify. The turn was a third club, giving me my flush and I elected to pot it again. performify called, telling me that either he also had the flush or that he was chasing the ace. The river was a blank, and I got a bit gunshy, because of a shelling that I had taken the day before in a NL cash game when my flopped king-high flush went down to a flopped ace-high flush. I checked. He checked as well, and my king-high flush stood up to his queen-high. I'm surprised he checked it down, honestly. I would have had a tough decision if he had bet or pushed.
Paris and Nicky stopped by later in Level 2, but neither the blinds nor the one early limper were interested in calling my raise.
On to Level 3. With a stack of about 1900 (starting stack was 1500), I caught AKo at UTG. I sometimes like to limp Big Slick from UTG, to see how things shake out. It also gives me the opportunity to trap a weaker ace when the flop comes with an ace. Yes, it can be a bit of a dangerous play, as much of Big Slick's value is in folding equity. You have to be able to release Big Slick 1) when you miss, and 2) even if you connect and take quite a bit of heat. I'd like to think I'm getting better at that. Anyway, with this group, I thought a trap was the best option. Venetian called on the button, Maudie completed her small blind, and then gaamblor, on the big blind, raised all-in for 900.
Decision time! This was the first unusual play at the table. It smelled like a steal. The problem was that if he didn't have an ace or a king in his hand, I was only a mild favorite (1.5 to 1), and if he had a pocket pair I was actually a slight underdog. In the end, I decided it was too early to be racing half my stack like that, and I folded. By the time Level 4 came and went, my stack was right back to about 1,500.
After the first break, I caught a mini rush. With K3 in the blind, I was against only one player (Tiger Trainer) for a free flop of K-4-2 rainbow. This looked pretty good. Even if he had the king, he probably didn't like his kicker much. I bet the pot, he min-raised me, and I pushed. He thought about it but ended up folding. The next hand gave me Ac 6c in the SB. The BB had only 110 chips behind his 150 blind. When the action folded to me, I put him all-in. He called (of course) with suited Montana but didn't get any help from the board.
The very next hand brought TT on the button. performify was in for a min-raise. This was probably a good spot for a raise, but I chose to see the flop first. J-8-x looked pretty good. performify bet the minimum (150); I pushed. He folded like a tent in a tornado. On the next orbit, Venetian tried to raise my BB, but I pushed back at him and he let it go. Just like that, my stack was over 3,000. Very good.
Then, my notes suddenly stop. I was having too much fun with the chat and not paying enough attention to taking notes. For once, my steel trap of a memory isn't helping me out, probably because I wasn't paying as much attention to the tournament as I should have been. I know that I had to switch the music after the second hour (BBC Radio1's "The Essential Mix", May 5, 2002 broadcast, feat. Pete Tong and BT live from the Coachella Festival in Coachella, Calif.), and I think I caught pocket Hellmuths in there at some point. I also remember pushing KJs against what smelled like a weak raise 3xBB raise from UTG at 300/600. He called with 99 (yikes!) but I got my king on the flop and was up to 10k in chips, good for 6th chip position. I folded quite a bit after that. My cards were crappy, and I couldn't seem to find many opportunities to steal the blinds. Either someone was in for a raise ahead of me, or the players in the blinds had large stacks compared to my medium/small stack. We made it down to two tables and I was just looking for a hand I could push. I eventually went out when I stupidly pushed for about 5k into Venetian's raise to 2800 holding KQs (of course! This hand is my Achilles heel for sure.) He called with AK and IGHN. No great loss, though, as then I could spend the rest of the tourney chatting it up with the railbirds.
Great fun. Congratulations to all the winners!
Thursday, October 21, 2004
MtDewVirus wins the latest blogger tourney!
133 entrants paid 18 places, here's the breakdown:
4. Johni D.
More on this tomorrow, and yes that is yours truly squeaking into the money at No. 15.
Wednesday, October 20, 2004
With Iggy having scheduled the next $20 NLHE blogger and reader tournament for tonight (have you registered yet?), I set up an account on PokerStars and dumped $50 into it yesterday. Given the spread of games at Party Poker and the success I've had there, I've never felt the need to start an account at any of the other online poker sites. Oh sure, I put money into Pacific Poker for the last blogger tournament, but I yanked it out as soon as the tournament was finished and vowed to stick to Party Poker. So much for that vow. That's me, Master of Willpower.
With a spanking new account funded and ready to rock, I wanted to check out the PokerStars interface. Problem was that after registering for the tournament, I had a bankroll of exactly $28. Not exactly adequate for my normal limits. Oh well, down to $0.25-$0.50 limit holdem I went. I have heard that the PokerStars playerbase is generally one of the "best" out there, but at the micro limits I don't think it really matters. Players are equally bad from one site to the next, and to beat bad players, all you have to do is play ABC poker. It's sort of like a little review course tucked at the back of one of those "Learn to Play Texas Holdem" books. (I guess?) I sat back, waited for premium holdings or holdings with excellent drawing potential and good pot odds, and then just pounded the pot relentlessly when I connected. End result: 45 minutes of play netted me 15 BBs. I even snuck in a bluff with the Hammer, something I wouldn't have thought possible at micro limits.
Where is all this going? Gah, it's late, the Yankees lost -- no no, they didn't lose, they got destroyed -- and I can't seem to focus. I think my point was that stepping down in limits can't ever be a bad idea, if only for a confidence boost and a reassurance that "yes, I really can play this game". My confidence wasn't lacking at all, mind you. It was just a thought I had while playing. It's easy to tilt and move up in limits without being properly bankrolled, looking for that payday that helps erase losses at the limits that you are properly bankrolled for. (Who, me?) It is rarer that people move down in limits in an effort to staunch the bloodflow and re-assert proper technique and emotional discipline.
Good luck to everyone tonight!
There's been an ongoing discussion on the Above Malibu message board about different playing styles. One of the better players (JCatz of Borgata $2500 "fame") is so loose-aggressive that he puts crack whores to shame. I've got 350 hands captured in PokerTracker for him at the NL $100 6-max tables on Party Poker. I know that you can't be super-tight on a 6-max table, but his numbers are pretty staggering: Voluntarily Put $ in the Pot is 63.1%, Pre-flop Raise is 19.8%, and BB/100 is 52.3. After the flop he relies on his reading skills and his own ability to release a hand. His style generates lots of action for his big hands. Sometimes too much action.
My own playing style is as close to tight-aggressive as I can get. 10,000 hands in PokerTracker have my VP$IP at 14.9% and my PFR at a shade over 5%, with a post-flop aggression factor of 2.5. The vast majority of those hands were played at full, 10-handed tables, though, and I was curious to see how I would do adopting a more JCatz style. Off to the 6-max $50 NL tables!
Everyone on the Above Malibu message board agreed that JCatz' style has the most noticeable effect on extremely passive tables. Those were the tables that I set out to find, and find them I did. Almost 400 hands later, here are the stats: VP$IP 37.0%; PFR 13.3%; BB/100 55.
Of course, 400 hands isn't really much of a sample size, and those hands only represent about five hours of play. What I found interesting, however, was the willingness of players on a passive table to fold on the flop in a raised pot. One of the cornerstones of the theory hashed out on the Above Malibu message boards was that, on passive tables, you should raise, raise, raise preflop and then make a pot-sized bet on the flop, even if you don't connect. It's truly amazing how often the one or two callers to your preflop raise will simply fold right there. Occassionally, someone decides to chase a flush or straight. Assuming they don't hit on the turn, another pot-sized bet will claim an even bigger pot.
Eventually, someone at the table will either hit something big on the flop or wise up to what you're doing, and since you're raising pot after pot, they will confidently check to you on the flop and then check-raise you. Usually an easy release, especially at a passive table. In the meantime, however, you're dragging down pot after pot and building your stack by 4 BBs here, 5 BBs there. Once one or two opponents do wise up, then it's time to change gears. You have to be more careful against those individual opponents and start attacking them with more solid holdings -- but you can still cheerfully run over the rest of the table. It's an odd little balancing act.
Sometimes, you put the opponents who "catch" you so far into their own heads that you don't even need solid holdings to take them down. Here's a great example:
***** Hand History for Game 1066742004 *****
$50 NL Hold'em - Saturday, October 16, 18:10:27 EDT 2004
Table Table 14379 (6 max) (Real Money)
Seat 5 is the button
Total number of players : 6
Seat 1: ( $159.43 )
Seat 10: ( $42.35 )
Seat 3: asphnxma ( $74.6 )
Seat 8: ( $72.82 )
Seat 6: ( $20.9 )
Seat 5: ( $53.3 )
Seat 1 posts small blind [$0.5].
asphnxma posts big blind [$1].
** Dealing down cards **
Dealt to asphnxma [ Th 3h ]
Seat 5 folds.
Seat 6 folds.
Seat 8 calls [$1].
Seat 1 calls [$0.5].
Seat 8 had previously caught me making my standard pot-sized bet after a pre-flop raise one too many times, and check-raised me all-in on the flop, causing me to fold. I had shifted gears a bit with him, but this hand was in the blind for a free flop. Overall Seat 8 was an easy read. If he flopped a four-flush, an OESD, or middle or bottom pair, and he was NOT in EP, he would min-bet. He would also min-bet in LP with anything if the pot was checked to him. I was waiting to take advantage of his easy-to-read style and the fact that he thought my raising standards were loose/non-existent.
** Dealing Flop ** [ 3c 9c Qh ]
Seat 1 checks.
Seat 8 bets [$1].
Seat 1 calls [$1].
asphnxma calls [$1].
There it is, the standard min-bet. Bottom pair is worth a call here, as he could easily be betting a flush or OESD. Or nothing.
** Dealing Turn ** [ Td ]
Seat 1 checks.
Seat 8 bets [$5].
Seat 1 folds.
asphnxma raises [$20].
Seat 8 calls [$15].
I decided to raise my two pair here because a) with Seat 1 out of the way, I felt I was in the lead, and b) Seat 8 "caught me bluffing" earlier and assumed that I have no betting/raising standards. Plus, in the 40 minutes I'd been at the table, I had never had to showdown a hand, and I'm sure he realized that I had been bluffing quite a few hands. He was slow to call my turn raise, and when he just called, I put him on a nine -- I didn't think he would call with only a draw at that point, even if he did think I was pulling a fast one, and his style suggested that he would have raised anything bigger than just one pair.
** Dealing River ** [ Qd ]
I knew he didn't have a queen, because he min-bet the flop. I was confident that I had the best hand, even though the river queen overcoated my two pair, and that I could get him to call a large bet on the assumption that I was "bluffing" again.
asphnxma is all-In.
Seat 8 is all-In.
asphnxma shows [ Th 3h ] two pairs, queens and tens.
Seat 8 doesn't show [ 7s 9d ] two pairs, queens and nines.
asphnxma wins $1.78 from side pot #1 with two pairs, queens and tens.
asphnxma wins $145.64 from the main pot with two pairs, queens and tens.
Wasn't it the Texas Dolly who said "You have to give action to get action"? He was, of course, absolutely right. On this hand, I got someone who had been playing reasonably well (albeit predictably) to call an all-in bet on the river for $50 with nothing more than third pair with a crappy kicker. He did not reload after this hand.
I think that, perhaps, this is the next evolutionary step for me: the ability to "change gears" mid-stream. If I'm able to comfortably play more than one style of poker, based on prevailing table conditions, my play will not be as predictable and I'll be more able to adopt the most profitable style given the conditions. In the long run, that can only help my bottom line, as long as my common sense doesn't fly out the window whenever I "change gears". It could be especially useful in tournament situations, where the ability to constantly accumulate chips is a precious commodity.
I'm sure that there are going to be some bumps in the road along the way, as I refine the aspects of the loose-aggressive style that I like and those that I don't. The massive, slowplay stack-busters are lurking, waiting for an overaggressive player like me, and the "too much action" monster's slavering fangs are waiting to devour me. Until then, I'll be out there tinkering and experimenting and, hopefully, relieving passive Party Poker players of their stacks, one by one.
Tuesday, October 19, 2004
As many of you who have explored my blogroll have probably noticed, I have a few non-poker blogs mixed into it. They're mainly blogs of friends or blogs that have at least a token amount of engaging intellectual discourse. In that vein, I give you the non-poker blog Rumblings from a Misanthrope, written by someone who is humble enough to subtitle the blog "I Might Be Wrong". He probably is, but that shouldn't stop you from taking a peek.
Monday, October 18, 2004
Sunday night, I was invited to Above Malibu 2 for some NLHE ring, but I declined in favor of watching the Yankee game, only to see Mariano Rivera walk the leadoff hitter in the ninth inning. That turned into the tying run, and the Yankees later lost in extra innings.
Monday night, I was invited to the Blue Parrot for a NLHE tournament, but I declined in favor of watching the Yankee game, only to see Tom Gordon come unhinged in the eighth. The Red Sox tied the game, and then won it in the 14th after Esteban Loiaza walked two hitters and allowed a broken bat flare single to David Ortiz.
I am not a happy camper.
Normally, I stay out of the turbulent seas of U.S. politics, but for everyone who has ever railed about "media bias" (whether left or right, spin v. no spin, whatever), do yourself a favor and watch this clip from Friday's "Crossfire".
Jon Stewart Slams CNN's Crossfire -- on Crossfire Tip of the hat to Ugarte for this one.
Stewart was a bit too "snappish" at times in his effort to confront the hosts, and it was clear that he had more disdain for Tucker Carlson than he did for Paul Begala, but the interview made for fascinating viewing while simultaneously providing some food for thought. I think my favorite exchange was this one with Carlson:
STEWART: What you do [as members of the media] is not honest. What you do is partisan hackery. And I will tell you why I know it.
CARLSON: You had John Kerry on your show and you sniff his throne and you're accusing us of partisan hackery?
CARLSON: You've got to be kidding me. He comes on and you...
STEWART: You're on CNN. The show that leads into me is puppets making crank phone calls. What is wrong with you?
CARLSON: Well, I'm just saying, there's no reason for you -- when you have this marvelous opportunity not to be the guy's butt boy, to go ahead and be his butt boy. Come on. It's embarrassing.
STEWART: I was absolutely his butt boy. I was so far -- you would not believe what he ate two weeks ago.
STEWART: You know, the interesting thing I have is, you have a responsibility to the public discourse, and you fail miserably.
CARLSON: You need to get a job at a journalism school, I think.
STEWART: You need to go to one. The thing that I want to say is, when you have people on for just knee-jerk, reactionary talk...
CARLSON: Wait. I thought you were going to be funny. Come on. Be funny.
STEWART: No. No. I'm not going to be your monkey.
Again, fascinating television. Go have a gander.
Iggy announced yesterday that he has finally quit his job and is intending to turn pro. As in, pro poker player. At the top, I want to congratulate him and wish him all the best on this new direction in his life. I can only imagine the stones it takes to make such a choice, one that I know he did not arrive at lightly. With that out of the way, though, I also want to take a closer look at just what such a decision entails, beyond "Awesome! I get to play poker instead of going to work!"
Before I delve into this topic, I should say a few words about my own situation. I am currently unemployed. My primary source of income (meager as it is) is poker. For example, this month I am currently up about $3300. In effect, then, I am a "professional" poker player, if, by "professional", we use the generally accepted definition of participating for gain or livelihood in an activity or field of endeavor often engaged in by amateurs. Certainly, when attractive women that I meet in various random locales ask me what I do for a living, I tell them that I'm a professional gambler. (Side note: I'm still not sure if they find that attractive or if it causes them to run screaming in terror. What I do know is that it's a better alternative than saying I'm unemployed.) So for me to take any sort of stance against turning pro, which is exactly what I'm about to do, is hypocrisy to the extreme. So be it, Jedi. My conflicts on this matter are out there.
I also want to point out that I am not, in any way, trying to slam Iggy. Everything I know about him, his bankroll, and his style of play suggests that he has all of the necessary ingredients to be successful as a pro. His announcement just led me to reflect on the issue in a more general, abstract way.
Ok. Enough disclaiming. To the issue!
In order to be a successful poker pro, I believe you need four things: skill, discipline, a sufficient bankroll, and an understanding of just what it is you're about to do. Let's take each one of these items individually.
Skill -- This is the most obvious of the attributes necessary to become a poker professional. Frankly speaking, if you can't beat the 2/4 games on Party Poker or at your local card room with any degree of consistency, you probably do not possess anywhere near close to the level of skill necessary to have poker become your primary source of income. I do not mean to suggest that if you CAN beat the 2/4 games, you DO have the skill, because I don't think that 2/4 games are any sort of litmus as to success as a pro. They ARE a litmus as to failure, though, a sort of "laugh test" that you have to be able to pass to even consider turning pro. If you can't beat those games, you're in trouble.
Why even make this point? Because people often have illusions about just how good they are. These are the same type of people who don't track their progress, don't keep an accurate tally of their winning and losing sessions. Even if they do tally their wins and loses, some lower-limit players too often think they're better than they really are, and that the losses at low limits were because of "suckouts", and schooling by the fish, and whatever else. It is easy to have an inflated sense of skill. I certainly did when I first started playing on Party Poker about a year ago. I thought I knew what I was doing, but couldn't understand why I was unable to consistently beat the 3/6 game.
What is the litmus test for skill, then? I don't know. Consistently being able to beat a middle-limit game (10/20, 15/30, 20/40, $200NL) is probably a good place to start, though. Of course, on Party Poker, the 15/30 game isn't really all that much tougher than the 3/6 game, but that leads us into the next attribute -- bankroll.
Bankroll -- this is probably the most common area for failure as a pro. Simply put, if you're going to quit a job that was paying you $60,000 a year, you need to be able to replace that income with your net poker winnings. Basically, you need to net $5,000 a month playing poker. In order to do that, you have to play at a limit that will allow you to net $5,000 a month, which, in my mind, requires a bankroll of at least $10,000. In the grand scheme of things, $10,000 is both lots of money and not that much money, but I think that younger players considering turning pro often don't realize just what sort of upfront commitment they need to make in order to ensure that they handle the swings without going broke. If you can't comfortably pony up $10,000 to start your endeavor, you'll have the added pressure of not losing your stake. If you're going to seed yourself and turn pro, you'd better be able to lose every last penny of that $10,000.
[SirFWALGMan's post on his blog made me realize that I wasn't clear about one other issue regarding bankroll. When I suggest you need $10,000, I mean you need a poker bankroll of $10,000. You should also have money saved up in a non-poker bankroll besides that -- again, so that if you lose every last penny of the $10,000, you're not destitute. SirFWALGMan suggested one year's salary in the bank as an appropriate non-poker bankroll, and I think he's dead on.]
Discipline -- Discipline is one of those intangible qualities that winning poker players possess. It's what keeps you from tilting off half of your buy-in, it's what keeps you from adding those extra BBs to the pot even though you know your strong hand is beaten, and it's what keeps you playing your same A-game even though you have been bad beaten three times in the last fifteen minutes. In short, it's helps you to maximize your profit at the table and minimize your losses. It's something that can be learned, but I also think that it's something people naturally either are predisposed for or against. What I mean by that is that I think it's much more difficult for certain personality types to learn, and practice, discipline than it is for others. I know some really great players who can force themselves to be disciplined only through maximum effort of will. Otherwise, they're all over the map. It's one of those areas that requires an honest assessment by the player, because without discipline, you will have a much, MUCH harder time becoming a successful pro. There's also the discipline required to sit down at the table every day and play when you'd rather be doing something else, but that's a different sort of discipline.
Understanding -- By "understanding", I mean an understanding of what becoming a pro entails. For example:
* You will be playing cards for a living. Every day, every week, every month. After all those months, will it just feel like another job?
* You will not receive any benefits. All of those nice things that your salaried job might have provided -- health insurance, 401(k), vision/dental, whatever -- will need to be funded on your own.
* You're not really contributing anything of social worth to the world. Some people don't care, and that's fine, but to others this point may start gnawing at them the longer they shuffle chips back and forth across the felt.
* You will have days "at the office" when you lose money, rather than gain it. How will you be able to handle those days? Can you keep a proper long-term perspective?
* If you're an internet player, you will be severely reducing your day-to-day contact with living, breathing human beings by spending all of your time in your living room at your computer playing cards.
I could go on, but I think I've made my point. Turning pro is not an easy or simple decision. There are a host of factors and skills that need to be considered, and to often I think players -- especially younger player who have had some success with internet poker -- rush into it, having seen the lifestyle glamorized on (where else) television, or because they think it would be "cool".
Great. Wake up. Playing poker is a tough way to make an easy living. If you can't make some similarly tough, honest self-assessments as to some of the issues I've identified above, it's probably not for you.
[Note: after I finished this post, I found a few columns in the CardPlayer magazine archives by Roy West which also cover this topic. We share some points, he makes some additional ones, whatever. I'm including links in case anyone wants to do further reading:
You Probably Can't Be a Professional Poker Player
Maybe You can Be a Professional Poker Player
Answer a Few More Questions (Correctly) and Become a Pro]
Friday, October 15, 2004
What's going on here? The top picture was taken on a typical sunny Southern California day from the Santa Monica pier at about 2:30 in the afternoon. The bottom picture was taken from the Santa Monica beach at about 2:30 in the afternoon during late October of 2003, the time when three separate wildfires (in San Bernardino county, San Diego county, and Los Angeles county) were ravaging Southern California. The closest fire to Santa Monica, in Simi Valley -- about thirty miles away -- caused perpetual twilight for a few days.
Thursday, October 14, 2004
One of the blogs I read recently (and I wish I could remember which one it was, to give proper credit) had a discussion about poker goals. "Poker goals?" you're probably asking yourself. "Other than 'try not to lose'?" Well, yes. There's more to poker than just winning or losing -- and I'm not going to offer some cliched phrase like "it's how you play the game", although in poker, maybe more than any other game, such a hackneyed turn of words is certainly true.
I think having long-term goals is a good way to motivate players to focus on 1) playing their best game, and 2) constantly improving. Those goals can be as simple as "I want to have a winning month this month" (even if it's only a $20 win), or as complex as I want to average a win-rate of 1% of my bankroll every day. Some people like to set goals in terms of moving up in limits; a $1/$2 player, for example, might set a goal of winning 300 BBs at that level so that he can than progress to the next level, $2/$4.
Others root their goals in the real world. Take my situation. I'm unemployed, and barring a miracle not likely to be employed any time soon. I live in NYC, which means my monthly rent payment could probably feed a small Afghan village for a year. In July, I set a monthly goal for myself -- make enough money on Party Poker to cover my rent. The first month I was a little over what I needed, the second month a bit under, the third month a bit under again, and this month (barring catastrophe) I will be way over. I'm firmly convinced that having that goal helped break me out of a "break-even" cycle that I had been stuck in for several months prior to July.
I should stress that I don't NEED the money to pay the rent; if I fail to make my rent playing poker, I have other sources of funding that I can tap to cover the shortfall. I think that's important; players shouldn't set goals that they MUST make, that they absolutely HAVE to make. It creates an environment of too much stress and pressure while they're playing. After all, we're all trying to have a good time and enjoy ourselves while we're playing poker, right? Rather, the idea is for players to set goals that if they make it, great! and if not, well that's ok too. Then the next step is to figure out why the goals weren't attained (unrealistic? didn't play well? bad streak of cards?) and take appropriate remedial action.
Long-term goals are important in another way -- they keep players fixated on the long-term results of their play, rather than on the day-to-day or even hand-to-hand results. Poker theorists dictate that players should never be "results-oriented"; that is, the short-term outcome of any particular hand is not an indicator of poker success. If there is $50 in the pot after the flop, one player pushes all-in for $50 on fourth street, and a player who is a 22-to-1 favorite calls for a total pot of $150 and then loses on fifth street, did he play the hand poorly? The result was clearly unfavorable; the player lost $50. But he wants to get all his money in as that big of a favorite, because in the long run he will lose $50 once and win $100 twenty-two times for a net expected result of $2150. It's easy to see how, in the long run, this is the "correct" play, but sometimes, when players are too fixated on short-term results, they get blinded by "the unbelievable suckout" that they suffered, often leading to a further erosion of their bankroll.
Thus, the key to setting poker goals that maximize a player's development is to ensure that they're long-term goals. Now get out there, challenge yourself, and start relieving players of their stacks. And remember, it's not whether you win or lose... oh, the hell with it. It's precisely whether you win or lose. ;)
(Speaking of goals, I have no less than four poker rooms on tap to review! Hopefully I'll get two reviews up by the end of the month, leaving me two for November.)
Wednesday, October 13, 2004
Homer: From now on, there are three ways to do things: the right way, the wrong way, and the Max Power way.
Bart: Isn't that just the wrong way?
Homer: Yeah, but faster!
In my post about table selection last week, I mentioned that I've been playing quite a bit of live NLHE. My preferred limit these days is the $50 buy-in tables because of their softness, although Double As has assured me that the level of play doesn't increase all that much on the $100 or $200 tables. I'd like to revisit some of my other thoughts on table selection for these games.
We've had some discussions on the Above Malibu message board about which tables are the best to sit at - those with a large average pot, or those with a small average pot. On the one hand, it would seem that a table with a large average pot means that there are more people making more mistakes, and that big hands are "guaranteed" (if you can use such a word) to get more action and be paid off. For the most part, my experience suggests that these suppositions are accurate.
On the other hand, a table with a large average pot probably also means that there are a few loose aggressive players at the table. Loose aggressive players force you to make tougher decisions more often, as they will bluff and semi-bluff more often than a tight-passive player will. All it takes to tank your entire day is making one bad decision at the wrong time.
What about tables with a small average pot? It's true that you won't get as much action on your big hands. Those tables tend to be filled with players who don't like raising preflop (but will call a preflop raise), and won't continue past the flop without at least top pair, unless they are getting something close to "correct odds" to draw to their hand. That's why the average pot size is so small. The flip side, though, is that your bluffing and semi-bluffing opportunities are practically limitless, and the number of tough decisions you will have to make is minimalized, because if you get any heat from a player at one of these tables, you can be pretty sure they've got a hand.
In the end, it comes down to a question of style. Lately, I've been experimenting with a slightly looser, more aggressive style of play, which favors passive tables with a smaller average pot size. I don't like making tough decisions, especially since I need my online profits to cover my rent every month until I get a job. You'd be surprised at the number of passive players that will call just about any raise out of position and check-fold the flop to a pot-sized bet. That makes the decisions pretty straightforward (especially if you're raising with the Hammer).
If your preferred style of play is tighter with less bluffing and semi-bluffing, however, the tables with the large average pot size are probably your best bet. You just won't get paid off often enough to justify sitting at the more passive tables, whereas the looser tables will be filled with people that think they can push you off of your made hand. You can sit back and wait for a big hand, or, if you're lucky, the nuts. There's nothing better than someone pushing his entire stack into you when you're holding the nuts.
I've said it before, but it bears repeating: online, there is no reason to ever remain at a table which is unprofitable, whether your style is loose-aggressive or tight-aggressive. Don't just sit down at the first available table. Find one that works for you.
Tuesday, October 12, 2004
Never Lose at Poker Again, with Phil Hellmuth, Jr.
Learn the tricks of the trade from the seven-time "World Series of Poker" winner Phil Hellmuth, Jr.. Phil is to poker what Tiger Woods is to golf. He knows he craft and has decided to pass on his wisdom. It costs people up to $25,000 to learn how to play poker from Phil. You now can learn for only $29.99!
Yep, one two hour class for $30, and Phil can teach you to never lose again. Awesomeness.
Monday, October 11, 2004
I need an echo, not your praise.
Yes, race fans, it's that time of month -- the time of month when we check in with our protagonist to find out if he's lost his marbles yet. If you're looking for poker content, I'd skip this one.
So how the hell am I? Well, I've been back in NYC for five months now and still don't have a job. Christ, if I had known it was going to be like this I would have just stayed in LA. One position seemed so close -- I had a fourth interview in mid-September -- but with each passing week that the company claims it will be "just one more week" until I have an answer, I lose a little more hope of getting it. This after it was supposedly down to just me and one other person. Ugh. If and when it finally falls through for good, it will be back to Square One -- again -- as I only have one thing in the pipeline at the moment.
What's frustrating about all of it is that I have a nice, tidy little plan laid out to move back to LA within two years, but it requires me getting a job in the meantime (or coming up with a tax-free $100k). Stupid employers are not being nice and helping me out in that regard. Didn't they get the memo?
And so, temping is rearing its ugly head. My recent tournament payday on Party Poker is helping keep me out of the poor house a bit longer, but there's no avoiding temping at this point. I don't play at high enough limits (or often enough) to support myself through poker, and quite frankly I don't think I'd want to. Good ol' risk-averse lawyers like me usually like a bit more job stability than gambling provides, and take comfort from the fact that when we go to work in the morning, our co-workers aren't going to be taking swipes at our paychecks. Benefits are nice, too.
Last night I had a dream that I was on stage singing a duet with someone to roaring approval from the audience. The song? "Almost Paradise", from Footloose. You know the one. It's a real POS. Don't ask me why it was in my dream. I don't get it either, and it was my dream. Speaking of public singing, though, the evil Dawn Summers claimed once that she would be up for a karaoke night, but it hasn't happened yet. Why not, Dawn? Hmmmmmmmmmmmm?
At least the Yankees and Jets both won this weekend. On that level, my condition could be considered "Highly Satisfied". The rest of it? To steal a line from W.C. Fields, on the whole, I'd rather be in LA.
Sunday, October 10, 2004
Piper, a relatively new addition to the blogging world:
Short story... Nut flush, followed by quad A's in back to back hands. Table was very passive.
Wired Aces, trying to make his way through the world of online SnGs -- and doing pretty well so far.
I'm fairly proud of my earlier post titled 10 SNG Don'ts, and I have a feeling that if I can continue my measured success, I'd like to put together some kind of free pdf/txt booklet on SNG strategy eventually. In order for me to feel confident about leading others down a path however, I'd like to actually have gone down that path myself... and that's what I'm trying to do: become a long-term winning online SNG player.
After a successful night spent watching the Yankees win (in a room full of Minnesota fans, no less) and then hanging out in TriBeCa, I staggered home after midnight last night. I'm not really one for going straight to bed as soon as I get home unless it's really late, so I opened up Party Poker to blow off a little steam playing $25NL before bed. Imagine my surprise when I opened a table filled with bloggers: Bad Blood, Pauly, and Studio Glyphic. Shortly after I sat down, we were joined by Otis:
asphnxma: hello otis
badblood44: there goes the neighborhood
Dr.Pauly: will strom & hootie be joing us later?
St_Glyphic: crap you kids are crowding out the fish
...and then hank. So much fun! If you ever have the opportunity to sit down at a table with a bunch of bloggers/readers, definitely take advantage of it
Saturday, October 09, 2004
Congratulations are in order for Dr. Pauly, who recently won a 160-person qualifier for a $300 Aussie Million super-satellite on Party Poker. The super-sat is tonight; here's hoping he plays well and catches some cards en route to a vacation Down Under.
Thursday, October 07, 2004
I've been reading lots of poker blogs recently, and thought today would be a good day to link up a few, since I still haven't gotten around to writing my NLHE theory posts on JJ and KQ. First, Felicia Lee has been providing daily tournament reports on her web site for the fledgling WPPA. It sounds like things are off to a great start for the WPPA, and of course Felicia's tournament reports are first-rate.
Next, there have been rumors recently that Mike Matusow was arrested for a drug-related offense in Nevada. The folks at lasvegasvegas recently got to the bottom of the story and posted a write-up. Long story short: Matusow's going to do six months in Clark County jail. Ouch.
They also have a sneak preview at the latest online poker site, ChecknRaise. So many sites these days! I'll be keeping my eye on this one. Is the market saturated yet? Are they legit, or are they going to turn into another Choice Poker? Time will tell.
Finally, I want to wish Iggy a belated congratulations on the one-year anniversary of his uber-post-filled blog. Iggy has arranged the next poker blogger and reader tournament for Thursday, October 21 at 9pm on PokerStars. He's the reigning champ, so sign up and take him down!
Wednesday, October 06, 2004
A Bronx Cheer
Yankees 7, Twins 6 (12 innings); Minnesota Manager's Blunder Snatches Defeat from the Jaws of Victory.
One of the Above Malibu boys recently qualified for a super-satellite to the Party Poker Million IV, but because of scheduling conflicts couldn't play the tournament. He called me the other day and asked if I would play in his stead -- a most humbling honor (thank you, Deke). Bottle of coke in hand, I fired up Party Poker at 10:15 last night and got ready to try to win a cruise for my friend. This one's a long one (does that mean a happy ending for our hero?) so I hope you weren't planning to be productive at the office today.
Levels 1-3: 346 players ponied up $200 bucks each, creating five cruise packages and bubble money for three other players. Within the first two orbits, I caught AKo (no takers) and AKs. One person called my AKs, I flopped TPTK and we were off. I tried to play the Hammer for a raise from LP, but an EP limper called and then pushed the flop. So much for that! Catastrophe struck later, when my connection dropped as I was dealt AQs. It would have made a full house with a flush on board. I got bounced to two new tables, and at the second one limped ducks from the SB. The board cooperated by coming J-5-2. I checked the 180 pot, and there was a bet of 100 and two calls by the time it got back to me. I pushed my whole 1200 stack and got called by KJo. Nice. At the end of Level 3 I had 2740 and was my table's chip leader. 214 of 346 players were left, with an average stack of 1617.
Levels 4-6: Big Slick came around again, and I called a raise from a shortie (~500) on the button. The flop was K-high, and he pushed with 66. Easy call, and I was up to 3220. UTG stealing, other steals to stay level at 2800. I slipped down a few hundred, and catastrophe struck a second time when I accidentally folded 66 in late position in an unraised pot and the flop came T-5-6. I was saved just before the second break when my QQ took out AJ. End of Level 6, 4245, avg 4119, 84 left. So far, so good.
Levels 7-9: I hit a rush in a BIG way after folding the first 15 hands or so. My button brought me pocket Hellmuths. The CO raised to 800 and I took a chance with a smooth call. The poker gods rewarded me with a harmlesss 6-8-T flop, which she graciously pushed. I called, of course, and her pocket 9s went down in flames. Up to 7000. Several hands later, the Hilton Sisters made an appearance at UTG+1 to push me up to 7900. The very next hand, I limped TT UTG. The SB (a big stack) raised to 700. Two of us called for a flop of 6-7-9 (pot 2300). The SB led out for 1000 -- and after some consideration, I folded. The short stack called with some piece of garbage hand that got stomped on by the SB's Hilton Sisters. Whew -- great fold asphnxma!. THE VERY NEXT HAND, 88 in the BB turned into a set on the flop, followed by a semi-steal with KJ in the SB, and Big Slick on the button. I open-raised to 600, the SB pushed for 1300 and the BB (6000) reraised to 2100. It smelled like an isolation reraise, with the BB not crediting me for a hand, but I didn't want to be wrong, so instead of pushing I mucked. The SB opened QT, the BB opened A9. A9 held. Damn. But the average stack at that point was 5500, and I had 8800, so I didn't see the need to get involved in a speculative hand.
After folding a while, I got moved to Table 1. Just needed to stay put until the end! Pocket Hellmuths showed up a second time at UTG+1. The button called my standard raise, and I pushed the 5-3-2 flop. Gimme those chips -- no more cards! She had 2200 behind, thought about it, and then folded. My stack was up to over 10k when Big Slick showed up (again) in the BB. A short stack(2700) raised to 900, which elicted a push from me. He folded. THE VERY NEXT HAND, pocket aces show up in the SB. One limper before the button min-raised to 600. A reraise to 2200 got both of them to fold and pushed me over 12k.
The first disater hand came with A7 in BB. Action folded to the SB, who completed. Rather than raising, I chose to check. The flop was A-Q-9. He bet the pot (600) and I raised to 1800. The turn was a 3, and he pushed. Without much thinking about it, I call and he shows Q-3. Oops. Back down to 6000, but on the next hand I get pocket jacks. MP raised to 900, I pushed 6000 and he called with AK. JJ made a full house to beat his kings up and just like that, my little mistake with A7 was corrected.
Next orbit, I found AA (again!) in the BB. UTG min-raised to 800, and the button re-raised to 3800! Delicious. I pushed and the button, who had me covered, called with KK. My aces stood up and -- BOOM! -- I had 26k. The next three hands are 77, 22, and 77. Unbelievable. A short stack moved in from UTG with 2000 on the second pair of 7s, and I took down his A4. I was over 30k and chip leader.
Levels 10-12: The cards kept on coming. The first hand after the break, Paris and Nikki showed up again to take out a short stack who was all-in with JJ. The next hand, I smoothed call a 1200 raise with TT. (Geebus, how many pocket pairs can a guy get?) A K-7-8 flop was problematic, especially when the pre-flop raiser chose to overbet the pot by double and for half his stack, committing himself to the pot. Muck. Maybe I misplayed that one, but the stacks on the table were too big at the time if I was wrong. The other table shorty went down a few hands later when his TT was called by a big stack with KJ who hit running kings. I think it was then that I realized that there were a FUCKLOAD of chips on my table. Fold, fold, fold. I was trying to stay tight, to wait for good
moments. There were simply too many big stacks on the table -- 5 stacks over 20k when the average stack was about 12k. Meanwhile table 3 had ALL stacks below 10k!
Paris and Nikki stopped by for a third time, but this time a raise to 2000 from UTG got no callers. Damn, I figured I still needed more chips. 40k would be good. Next orbit I got a walk in the BB. That's always nice, but I was still at only 26k. Next hand, a 13k stack pushed in the CO with TT and ran into KK in the blinds. KK made quads and became the new chip leader with 39k. Directly to my left. Bleh.
My stack didn't change much as we got down to 20 players, average stack 17300. "Cards would be nice soon," I thought. I was definitely getting a little nervous, and I felt like I hadn't taken a flop in a decade.
77 arrived in the CO. A big(ish) stack raised to 3xBB and was called by another big(ish) stack, and like a pussy I folded. Ugh. I hate my play here. The BB also called and the flop came T-6-6, which would have been difficult to play, but that's not the point.
Then came the hand of the tournament for me. Still at about 25k, I raised to 2400 with AQ in MP. A small stack reraised to 8.3k. I knew we were racing, but I decided to try to make a move and get me into nice position for the final table. She had 55, and the flop was Q-5-x. Crap-a-lama-ding-dong. It was a big hit to my stack, pushing me down to 16.5k. TT on the button got me the blinds. Then I folded KQo to a raise from MP, which of course brought the mandatory Q-high rainbow flop. Maybe it was a blessing though. The pre-flop raiser, in EP, led out at the pot. Maybe he had it.
Down to 15 players. 7 more to the money, 10 to the cruise. Average stack was 23, I had 16.5k. Crap. Stupid 55 had to hit a set!
I got broken to Table 2 to balance the tables and discovered two monster stacks. Ick. The first hand was 72s in the BB. Ha. Bye-bye! The second hand was the Hilton Sisters (geezus, you two are back for more?) in the SB,but I could only pick up the blinds. In short order, we collapsed to the final table. The final 5-handed hand before the collapse, I was in the BB with Big Slick. The button raised to 3k (ok, that doesn't mean much), but then the SB reraised to 8k. I had 13k left, making for an agonizing decision. Was it a resteal, or an actual hand? Either way, he was calling if I pushed my measly 13k, and who knows what the button would do. I folded. The button then pushed (ha!), eliciting a fold from the SB.
Wait a second. Did we just collapse to the final table? Yes, yes we did! My first final table on Party Poker. Not that I've been playing ANY tournaments recently, but still. Two places to the money ($1900, $2800, $4800), five to the cruise. I had 12.5k, and there was one shorter stack. Ah, in with the short stacks. Just like always. Well, I think I'm a decent short-stack player, now I'd get a chance to see if I was right.
Levels 13-15: My notes get kind of spotty here, as I was simultaneously posting to the Above Malibu message board as the hands were being played. In no time, two short stacks were all-in, each time with AK. Each time, a big stack called with a pocket pair, and each time AK won. Damn. Somehow we got down to 9 when a big stack lost with 99 on a ten-high board to AT. Another short stack doubled with 88 v AJ, and there I was in 9th chip position with only 10k left, blinds 750-1500. The next shortest stack, with 12k, was on my left though, so all hope was not lost. Then came one of the oddest plays of the entire tournament.
A big stack, on the button, open-raised for his ENTIRE STACK (~55K). He was CALLED by the SB, a slightly bigger stack. They opened AQ for the button and JJ for the small blind. What are they thinking! A spade flush hit the board, but the guy with JJ had a spade in his hand, and AQ did not. BOOM. From 2nd chip position to bubble boy, in one fell swoop, and we were in the money. Three places to the cruise.
My button, with 8k left, brought presto. The CO opened for 5k, I pushed, he called with AT and presto was good. Next orbit I caught TT in the BB. The SB tried to raise my blind, and I responded with ruthless aggression and popped him back all-in. He folded. Very nice. Same thing next orbit. Big Slick in the BB, the CO opened for 4k, I popped him all-in and he fled.
Somebody else dropped. Down to 7 and I had 23k. Q9 on my button brought an open-raise to 6k. The chip leader, who had over 120k at that point and could easily have posted and folded his way to the cruise, called. Ick, I thought, until the flop was Q-7-2. I pushed, he folded. Another pick up with JJ moved me to about 35k and fifth chip position. Hope for the cruise after all?
Of course not! I caught KJ in the SB and the action folded to me. The BB had 18k left, so I purposefully raised to 8k to pot commit myself. He came over the top, and I called. His A5 held. Damn! I took a chance. I was trying to put myself in position to coast to a win. Instead, I was back down to 6th of 7. I caught a break when the other shorty went all-in with AQ, was called by A5, and lost when a five hit on the turn, but it just wasn't meant to be. The cards went dead, my blinds were raised mercilessly, and I was finally all-in when, with 5000 behind my big blind of 3000, I called a raise with K5 and ran into AA.
So close! Oh well. I don't regret the two hands that decided my fate in this one. Both times, I was trying to make a move to grab some chips and knew I was probably taking slightly the worse of it. I made sure that both times, I was taking the worse of it against somebody who couldn't bust me. In a tournament where only five places get a prize, I think you have to do that once or twice and cross your fingers. You have to accumulate, and accumulate, and accumulate. It helped for me that the deck kept hitting me over the head. In five hours, I must have caught at least 10 or 12 Group 1 hands, and not a single one was cracked. Not one. With cards like that, how did I not win the cruise?
Sorry, deke, no cruise for you, but I did win you $4800. Better luck next time! Tho, really, I'm not sure how it could have been much better.
Tuesday, October 05, 2004
Here's an example of what kind of night it was:
I was dealt 43o in the SB. There were four limpers, so I figured "what the heck" and completed to $0.50. Then the BB raised to $2.50. Bastard. EVERYBODY called, so again I decided "what the heck, it can't be reraised" and called.
The flop came 3-4-5, two hearts. Ok!
I was pretty sure the BB would lead at the pot, so I checked and was rewarded when he bet $6 into the $15 pot. Testing the waters, I guess. Then the insanity ensued. UTG+1 pushed for $20. He was called by a LAG, and then the button, a very tight player, reraised all-in to $30. Huh. My bottom two pair didn't look so good anymore, and into the muck it went. UTG had QTh, the LAG had 56o, and the button had 67h. The poor guy in the BB had QQ. He would have been better off with a $4 preflop raise.
The rest of the night was a combination of cold cards, missed flops, and getting run down by draws. It didn't help that I gave away $20 on one hand. It was an odd thing. I called my hand to the table before the flop, I called my opponent's to the table after the flop, and then pushed knowing he would call and that I was drawing to 8 cards. I guess I felt like playing like a Party Poker fish for one hand. Or something. He did call, he had the hand I put him on, I had the hand I announced to the table, and I missed my two shots at hitting my 8-outer. It was fun, anyway. $20 worth of fun? Hmm.
The final hand, with only $6 left of my second $20 buy-in and no intention of rebuying, I found AKo under the gun. I decided to take a chance by limping it and then pushing if I hit my flop. There were a few callers for an A-T-2 rainbow flop. I decided I could give one free card, which was a blank. On the turn, the BB led for $2, I pushed $5.50 and got called by a player in LP. I knew I needed some help, and I was right when he turned over T2s. No ace, no king on the river. That's all folks, you've been great. Good night.
...Sound of a Suckout to the blogroll:
I think one of the more interesting aspects of poker is how the brain filters and groups largely random results into larger "units" of, for lack of better terms, good and bad results. When running hot, it's all good, and poker is the easiest game in the world. When running bad, the universe itself is against us, smiting the unwary down with one outers on the river left and right.
Also welcome the newest female addition to the blogroll, who I have been meaning to add for several weeks (but in typical me fashion, was too lazy to do so), The Nut Heart Flush:
I played in a new home game on Tuesday night which was dealer’s choice. I haven’t played dealer’s choice since my regular game in Texas and I was surprised to find that I now cannot stand to play games with wild cards and that take no real skill, such as guts, which you lose or win a lot of money in one hand based almost entirely on luck.
Monday, October 04, 2004
Steve Badger has a new essay on his website about the "open secret" of Andy Glazer's death. There's also this thread on TwoPlusTwo discussing the Badger essay. The thread references some posts on RGP, but I didn't have the patience to wade through RGP to find them.
Tip of the hat to Iggy for pointing this out.
Sunday, October 03, 2004
I plunked myself down at a $25NL table on Party last night when I spotted an open seat on the table my friend Mullansky was playing. Things got interesting when DanPokerello went all-in with KTo on a K-Q-x board, got called by QQ, and won by sucking out a runner-runner flush. Cue log:
DanPokerello wins $17.44 from the main pot with a flush, king high.
Clutch240sx: lol i had ace
ZippyChippy: what a joke
ZippyChippy: catching runners to win....only on pp
DanPokerello: its fixed
asphnxma: definitely. I know a guy who works for PP
asphnxma: he told me it's fixed
borgata17: no XXXX, I've never seen a flush in my home game
DanPokerello: yeah ok....and you still play
asphnxma: he gave me an in
DanPokerello: youve never seen a flush????
csullivan13: pp and their flushes...
asphnxma: I have one losing day a month, but the rest of the time he rigs it in my favor
DanPokerello: oh stop
got_nugs: by chance, is that day today?
asphnxma: no really!
asphnxma: nah, today I'm up $150
asphnxma: he gave me a piece of software that I run when I open the PP software
asphnxma: it tells me when I should raise, fold, etc.
borgata17: omg, he had a pair, I've never seen a pair in my home game
got_nugs: what are you gonna do on this hand?
DanPokerello: dude stop your lying
borgata17: I haven't
asphnxma: I'm not lying man
borgata17: that's why I play on PP. I like pairs
csullivan13: is that against TOS?
asphnxma: he's an indian guy. that should prove it
got_nugs: finish the term snow _____.
DanPokerello: the only thing you gotta look out for is party phone lines
borgata17: I wonder who has a pair
got_nugs: getting warmer
asphnxma: fort! it's gotta be fort
asphnxma: I've got the catanzariti
got_nugs: falls from the sky
asphnxma: but my program is telling me I should fold it
asphnxma: it was right
DanPokerello: let me guess, you cant share your program right??
got_nugs: asp, it falls from the sky "snow _____"
asphnxma: nah, he swore me to secrecy
asphnxma: made me sign a conf. agmt and everything
DanPokerello: youre doing a good job dope
csullivan13: his program also tells him when he has to take a piss in case he forgets, so he can get up to go to the bathroom
asphnxma: that's what my cat's for, silly
DanPokerello: sign something that could get you in trouble...nice
got_nugs: Frosted _____S
got_nugs: Bran _____S
got_nugs: popular cereal Frosted _____S
asphnxma: anyway, like I said, my cat tells me when it's time to pee
asphnxma: only thing she's good for.
csullivan13: how convienet
asphnxma: she's scared of mice, if you can imagine
got_nugs: yep...cheerios. nice work.
asphnxma: cheerios are ok, but beerios are better
got_nugs: <----thinking flake
asphnxma: I think borgata17's a bot
At this point, I got involved in a hand. Notice that got_nugs has been trying REALLY hard to call me a flake, but I'm so dense I'm just not getting it!
** Dealing down cards **
Dealt to asphnxma [ 3c 3h ]
got_nugs calls [$0.5].
DanPokerello: shut up
asphnxma calls [$0.5].
vanburenUCB: well well
davidj38 calls [$0.25].
** Dealing Flop ** [ 9s, 3s, Ac ]
asphnxma: shut up? tha'ts not nice
DanPokerello: borgat?? tell him to shut up
got_nugs bets [$1].
asphnxma raises [$3].
borgata17: cannot process
got_nugs calls [$2].
** Dealing Turn ** [ Tc ]
asphnxma: better watch out, man
asphnxma: my program is telling me I'm gonna win this one
asphnxma bets [$5].
got_nugs calls [$5].
** Dealing River ** [ Jd ]
asphnxma is all-In.
got_nugs calls [$13.25].
got_nugs shows [ Qc, Ad ] a pair of aces.
asphnxma shows [ 3c, 3h ] three of a kind, threes.
asphnxma wins $42.30 from the main pot with three of a kind, threes.
asphnxma: told ya
MathP: Very nice program..
DanPokerello: what a goof ball
MathP: How do you call it?
vanburenUCB: good random table to check out
asphnxma: well, that makes $167 for the day.
asphnxma: thanks for your contribution nugs
asphnxma: I'll make sure to give you proper credit
And so I have!
How do you like that, it's also illegal to put squirrels down your pants for the purpose of gambling.
--Chief Clancy Wiggum
Thanks to Grubby (who I just realized I don't have linked up -- sorry about that!), I spent several hours this week working off a $100 reload bonus on Party Poker. All of that time was logged playing NLHE cash games, games that up until about a month ago I generally avoided. Why? At first I was afraid of the swings; a single mistake in NLHE can be very, very costly. Even when I got past that fear and decided I had enough skill to play decently in live games, playing online presented an additional challenge. NLHE is a game of playing your opponents and their styles, much moreso than limit holdem. Since my memory is very visual, I've had a hard time in the past with online NL cash games, where players are nothing more than a screen name and where they move on and off tables like drunken college girls at a frat party.
Experience breeds comfort, though, and PokerTracker has also helped me get past those issues by giving me empirical evidence of my opponents' playing styles. So there I was this week, eyeballs glued to the screen of my laptop, mug of Earl Grey tea on the table, playing NLHE. I had to play 1,000 raked hands to work off my bonus, which translated into about 17 hours of play over five days. All of those hands got me to thinking about one fact of the game that newer players often overlook.
Poker is a game of decision-making. Call or fold? Raise or call? To be sure, these decisions are influenced by the information available to us -- the cards in our hand, the cards on the board and the actions of our opponents -- but ultimately the game boils down to making decisions. For a game that is so fundamentally decision-based, newer players often fail to actively make the first choice presented to them: table selection. All tables are NOT created equal.
Here's an example from my days in Southern California. My name was called for 3-6 holdem, and a floorperson seated me in a typical California low-limit game: nobody folded, and several players actively jammed pots. Within one orbit of the button, I had seen some squirrelly two pair hand made by my opponents three or four times to win pots against players who were leading the whole way until the river, and it was clear to me that if I stayed at the table, I needed to be prepared for huge swings in my stack and massive suckouts by hands that I would have a hard time putting my opponents on. There was one poor soul at the table who kept playing what I will call ABC poker, and was getting more and more frustrated as his big pairs and top pairs got cracked hand after hand.
The choice was: stay at the table, incorporate more drawing hands into my play than normal, and grit my teeth through the swings; or request a table change to a table that I felt was more manageable and more within my comfort zone. I chose the latter alternative, and got moved to a much more passive table, where players were actually capable of folding a hand. I doubled my buy-in that day and had a much better time doing it than I would have if I had stayed at the table at which I was originally seated.
Online, it's even easier to switch tables, and changes in table conditions occur even more rapidly than in a B&M poker room. Tables can go from extremely profitable to rock garden within the span of a few hands. There is absolutely no reason a player should ever feel compelled to stay at an unprofitable online table, whether the source of the problem is opponents who are maniacs or opponents who are rocks, or even opponents who are cagey, expert players. There is always another, more profitable table that is just a few mouse-clicks away. It may take a few tries to find it, and the profitable table conditions may evaporate within a few orbits of finding it, but it's out there.
Newer players should learn that this is a choice they can take advantage of. Table selection can and should be an active choice on the player's part, rather than a passive choice of sitting down (and staying) at the first available table, no matter what the conditions. To do anything less is to miss an opportunity to maximize EV.