On the Above Malibu boards today, four of us were conducting a gory post-mortem on one of my hands from live 1/2 NLHE play at a NYC club two nights ago, and there was an interesting comment made about table image. If you haven't read about the hand (two posts below this one), let me recap it quickly:
I had 77 in early position ($400 behind) at a tight-passive table. Well, it was tight-passive except for one player two seats to my right who had recently joined the table and was definitely loose-agg. A tight player ($300 behind) raised to $10 from MP and was called by the button (bit of a calling station, $150 behind), the loose-agg in the SB ($300 behind), the BB and me. $50 in the pot.
The loose-agg led out for $25 and the BB folded. My action.
On the A.M. board, we debated back and forth various strategies for the hand. We all agreed that if I raised, I had to check-fold if the pre-flop raiser or the button called me. The wild card player was the loose-agg in the SB. One thing that BkynPlague said really struck me while debating the difference between a raise to $75 (someone else's preference) and a raise to $100 (his preference):
I'm sticking to my $100 bet. If the PFR calls, you are in check-fold anyway, so we're ignoring him.
There's a macho thing that goes beneath analyzing pot odds. And the difference of $25 from my "loss" perspective isn't that bad. But I think that the image of pushing out a clean $100 stack rather than pushing out $75 is a stronger table image move. [and by this, I'm assuming that like me, BkynPlague keeps his redbirds in stacks of $100 in front of him]
I have no math to back this up, of course. But I still think that raising to a $100 has a larger chance of getting the SB to fold than raising to $75. So now if you end up losing the extra $25 to the PFR in the end anyway, it was worth the gamble of the PFR not having anything at all, in order to better your chances of the wildcard SB leaving the hand. [if all he has is two overs]
Table image is often something that gets left in the dust by online players (and, I suppose, bloggers, since so many of us play online more than we do live). Online, there really is no such thing as table image apart from your betting patterns, and I'd consider that to be more "play style" than table image anyway. Table image is a facet of the game that never really comes into play, which is one of the reasons why getting live play experience under your belt -- and lots of it -- is something that I would consider a requisite for anyone who wants to improve their play.
There is so much more information available in a live game than there is online -- information that we can both glean from our opponents and give off to our opponents. Some of it is false information, at times, and we need to be able to sift that as well. (I would say that most people who try to give off false information are pretty bad at it and easy to spot, but it's something to think about.) The thing is, it's all out there, waiting to be interpreted. In the same way that "every hand tells a story", every action of every player at every table builds a story. When it comes to our own actions, we are the narrator of that story. Like all good writers, we have to be careful to "show, don't tell", but we do have the ability to manipulate people who might be following our story. By the same token, we have to be aware of those who aren't.
BkynPlague expanded upon his thoughts a bit more later in the day:
One thing that I know I need to improve on, out of the many things, is not being so quick to act when I know what I'm going to do, and take time when I don't. Calculating those pot odds isn't something that comes natural to me, and since it takes me more time, I need to hide that fact by taking time when I DON'T need the time. So that every move is the same.
And when I'm able to calculate faster, then I can make every move faster. And then every move seems confident, and pre-ordained.
The only time you want to seem like you are thinking hard about calling, folding, or raising (if I'm correct about this, anyway) is when you want action, because you are supremely confident in your chances of winning. So, unless it's an act, I want my ideal poker image to be a short amount of thought, then a smooth, impressive move of my chips to the pot.
All you bloggers heading to Vegas in June might want to give this some thought!
Thursday, March 31, 2005
On the Above Malibu boards today, four of us were conducting a gory post-mortem on one of my hands from live 1/2 NLHE play at a NYC club two nights ago, and there was an interesting comment made about table image. If you haven't read about the hand (two posts below this one), let me recap it quickly:
97th out of 109. Woohoo! I made a horrifically bad call all-in preflop with QQ in Level 2. No Pauly Painting for me as I ran into AA and did not improve.
I then proceeded to drop $50 in a half hour at a 3/6 HE table after my own AA was cracked and I missed a few flops. The Stars interface is normally quite slow, and last night it seemed downright sluggish. Combine that with the fact that I was at a crazy table and just couldn't catch a hand, and I could feel my impatience (and probably my blood pressure) rising. It was like waving a lit match over the head of a guitar player for an 80s hair band -- potentially incendiary.
Rational thought prevailed, for once, and I ditched the 3/6 game. Razz would calm my nerves. I opened up Full Tilt and found a rare 3/6 razz game going. Perfect! I even knew one of the players at the table as a fairly soft target.
Twenty hands later, I was up $63. Mission accomplished.
One thing I'll say about razz: it is addictive. Not only is it addictive, but it is far more interesting than holdem and supposedly, the skilled player has a far greater advantage than in holdem, where no two cards are really THAT much of an underdog.
At low limits on Full Tilt (at least, up to 5/10), I really haven't come across too many "skilled" players. In fact, there are quite a few people that are content to call all the way to the river needing running cards after fifth street to make a decent hand. By the way, I should point out that I don't consider myself "skilled" simply because "I read a book", but sometimes I think brown cows could beat some of these players. Last night, I saw somebody limp in showing a jack, with three low cards to act behind him. Really? A jack? I mean, I guess I'll give you credit for two babies in the hole, but YOU'RE SHOWING A JACK. That means I already know that the best hand you can have on fifth street IS A JACK. But hey - it's your money. Play how you want.
The hand of the night:
Me: A-2 / 3
Bring-in is to my immediate right, and there is only one other card below 8 that is out - my friend the soft target is showing a deuce. I limp in, hoping to entice him in, and he completes. One thing I have learned about this player is that if he completes in that situation, he usually does have at least a three-card eight. I call.
Fourth street: x-x / 2-8 v. A-2 / 3-4
Ha! I caught a wheel draw on fourth street. It should be time for me to catch kings all the way to the river... I bet, he calls.
Fifth street: x-x / 2-8-A v. A-2 / 3-4-8
This is shaping up to be an interesting hand. He bets, and I go for a raise. Why? Well I've got a smooth eight here, with all of the 5s, 6s and 7s live. Chances are better than average that he has a slightly worse hand than me, so I'm getting good equity on every dollar that goes into the pot. He reraises (ok, most likely has a made eight, we might even have the same hand) and I cap.
Sixth street: x-x / 2-8-A-9 v. A-2 / 3-4-8-6
There's my made six. I bet and he calls. The river is irrelevant, and he calls and shows down an 8-6 with 6-4 in the hole.
Love that razz!
Wednesday, March 30, 2005
If you're not already registered for tonight's WPBT tournament on Poker Stars, it's not too late! We're under the Special tab, slated to start at 9pm. $20+2, password: thehammer
I thought I'd be reviewing a new poker room in this space today, but it turns out I was given a slightly wrong address for the club, and wound up three blocks west of where the club actually was.
Oh well, we decided to make some lemonade (and by we, I mean me, Ferrari, Friend of Ferrari, and BkynPlague) and headed to the nearest poker room, about six blocks east of where we were.
We all finished as winners after two hours of 1/2 NLHE.
BkynPlague was the biggie, clearing just over $400, while Friend of Ferrari and Ferrari each booked solid $150 wins. Yours truly finished up $61. I was on a rush early and turned $300 into $500, but then got called after I put a numnuts all-in on the turn. He had to call $30 to win $70 and called with nothing but a flush draw, which of course got there. Two orbits later, my KK ran into his AA and so much for that $200 I had been up a half hour earlier. Still, I'll take my $61, thanks.
I really only had one tough decision all night, and like a true weakie, I folded. Here comes the analysis:
I have 7-7 in early-ish position. A new player had recently come to the table, and given the table talk (and the fact that I've seen this guy before), I knew he was a real loose-agg type of player.
Anyway, somebody raised from MP to $10, and the CO called. LA guy called from the SB, the BB called, and I called. $50 in. The flop was 8-8-8, and our LA friend, correctly recognizing that he was at a tight table, fired $25 into the pot. The BB folded, and there I was with my small full house. What to do?
Problem: the pre-flop raiser is behind me, yet to act.
Problem: my hand isn't going to get any better than it was at that moment.
Smooth-calling didn't seem to be a good option, because I would get no information, and if even one of the other two players called as well, I'd be in some serious doo-doo if any card bigger than a seven hit the turn.
Raising seemed like a bad play as well, for three reasons. 1) If LA called, I'd still have the same problem with an overcard on the turn and/or river, and there was absolutely no way I could check through the turn. That would bring an immediate large bet from LA on the river. I knew that. 2) On the other hand, if LA had the case eight or a bigger boat (9s, Ts), I'd be milking myself on the turn, never mind where I would be if he check-raised the turn. 3) Let's not forget the pre-flop raiser, who himself could easily be on 9s through As. It was a tight table, after all.
In the end, I chickened out and folded. The PFR folded, and then the button said he was laying down a full house - 8s full of 2s. Did I fold the best hand? Quite possibly. But it would have been so ugly and difficult to play after the flop that maybe I made the right move by folding it.
Tuesday, March 29, 2005
For those of you that think razz isn't worth the trouble, you might be right:
I start with 4-6 / 5. One 4, one 8 and one ace are dead. Ts brings it in, I raise, folds back to him and he calls.
Ace to him, deuce to me. I'm now sitting on a six-draw against his exposed ten. I bet, he calls.
We both catch a queen on fifth street, so nothing is really changed. He is showing T-A-Q, I am showing 5-2-Q. I am a huge favorite here, as he has to be drawing at a ten and I know I'm drawing at a six. I bet and he calls! Amazing.
Sixth street: nine to him, and another queen to me. Crap. Well, he can't have anything better than a made ten right now with a draw to a nine, and I have (let's count) four threes, three aces, four sevens, and three eights. 14 outs. He checks, and I check it right back... and catch the case queen on the river. He rivered a nine-six (not that he needed it, he had the made ten on sixth street) to take it down.
Love that razz!
Despite telling myself that, with this Party reload, I would only play two tables at a time (at most), and that I wouldn't play 1/2, and that I'd only go for half the bonus so I wouldn't feel jammed trying to cram in the required number of raked hands, yesterday found me with less than 24 hours remaining to clear the bonus and still 225 raked hands short. And so, I was 3-tabling 1/2. Again.
Overall, my results for this reload were much more encouraging:
$3/$6 - 231 hands - ($17)
$1/$2 - 776 hands - $51.87
Woohoo, I actually netted $34 while clearing the bonus. How about that. But forget that. I know 776 hands does not a sample size make, but I was much more relieved (I think that's the right word) to see that I didn't get slaughtered this time. My river play is still really atrocious, and I'm sure I'm leaving money on the table, but I seem to be moving in the right direction. And I certainly had my share of suckouts that cut back what otherwise would have been larger profits, so I feel pretty good overall about my play.
One leak I noticed was overplaying medium pairs - the 6s, 7s, 8s and 9s of the world. In a tight, aggressive game, there may be more value to doing so, but in the loose, calling-station filled world that typifies lower limits (especially on Party), these hands rarely hold up without improving.
Since my "comeback" to online poker, I've cleared $277 in bonuses at party, and before the bonus I am net ($15) in that span. So right now, the bonuses are the only thing keeping me in the black, but that doesn't worry me, because that first bonus stretch of bonus clearing was pretty brutal, and I think I'm playing better than I was then. It doesn't help that QQ and JJ are net losing hands for me in that span and have taken some brutal beats (including losing three out of four flopped sets with QQ).
I'll probably spend a bunch of time working of my Full Tilt bonus next, where I'm currently down about $10, which I attribute as a learning cost of playing razz - which is what I'm doing almost exclusively. I've played enough over there to qualify for their WSOP Main Event freeroll this Saturday, which I think Derek and Sir Waffle competed in this past Saturday. My understanding is that this is a winner-take-all satellite, no booby money for anyone else at the final table, so I have to think about how that impacts my strategy. Clearly, chip accumulation will be even more critical than normal, so taking more "gambles" is probably correct (and what the hell, it's a freeroll, so it's not like I lose anything by busting).
I hope I can convince my tight ass to take those gambles, at the right times, AND have them pay off!
Monday, March 28, 2005
Real poker content coming soon... I've got a reload to finish off tonight, a new poker club in NYC tomorrow, and WPBT on Wednesday. I've also got a post rolling around in my head about table image and bluffs. We'll see what comes of it all.
Wednesday, March 23, 2005
Back in bonus whoring mood. This time, though, I'm only going after $100 in bonus money, rather than the full $200. This will allow me to scale back from three-tabling to two-tabling without worrying I'm not gonna play my 700 raked hands. Hopefully that will improve my bottom line over last time. I'm also going to stick with 3/6 - those games have been fairly good to me lately, on Full Tilt and on Party, so I may as well stick with what's working. Got in a quick 40 hands last night. Nothing spectular, finshed up $10.
Scurvy Dog recently posted some theory-ish type thoughts, and one of them was entitled "Table, Schmable". He wrote:
...more and more I think table selection is overrated, especially at lower limits. Yes, with GameTime+, PokerTracker, and other tools you can definitely cherry-pick situations that are more optimal than others. But table makeup changes so rapidly in online poker, with players coming and going, that a "juicy" table suddenly becomes un-juicy. The real, underlying point is that you're eventually going to need to be able to adjust and compensate for what's going on at the table.
I both agree and disagree with him. I disagree that table selection is overrated. Table selection may be *somewhat* overrated at Party Poker, where conditions can change in an awful hurry, but at less popular sites that have fewer tables spread per limit, table selection is huge. If I see three 3/6 tables at Full Tilt, and two of them have average pots of ~$20 (I actually saw a table the other night at $18.90!), and one has an average pot of $30, I know which table I want to be at. Now, sure, these "average pots" and "players per flop" statistics are somewhat misleading, and they're probably not even rolling averages or anything as complex as that, but they do at least offer a starting point. And believe me, I opened up that $18.90 table the other night - there was a reason the average pot was $18.90.
The point is, at least when you are first sitting down for a session, especially at a large site like Party Poker, you always have a choice. Choosing the best table, or a table that is at least better than another, is +EV, because you are effectively selecting to sit with the players that are most likely to pay your hands off. Pure and simple.
That said, I do agree that table conditions on the large sites like Party can change quickly and that you need to be able to adjust - that's what good players do. You can't constantly spend your time table-hopping, and on some sites like Full Tilt that aren't as popular, you generally don't have the option of table hopping anyway.
For me, if my table conditions start to become rockish, I open up my preflop raising standards a bit while continuing to stick with the table. If another two orbits go by and things haven't improved, and I'm talking about a span of 8 out of 10 unraked hands, that sort of thing, I will a) get up and look for another table if I'm on Party (because the fact is that on Party there is NEVER a reason to sit at a table full of tight players since you will always be able to find a better table); or b) decide if I'd rather just end the session if I'm playing at place like Full Tilt. If I'm in a poker playing mood, I might stick around and try to adjust, loosen up the table with more frequent raising, etc., but I'm also just as likely to try again another time/day.
This philosophy applies to live play as well, by the way. Obviously, in some of the smaller card rooms you don't have much choice but to adjust your game, but at the "card barns" (as Al likes to call them) in LA and at the larger rooms in places likes AC and Foxwoods, it's generally pretty easy to get a table change.
Go where the money is, and where it's most likely to wind up in front of you.
Monday, March 21, 2005
Case No. 3, where he catches a good one and you catch a bad one, while cut and dry, is one of the most important situations in razz. It is your major money maker because unless there has been a double raise on third street, or your hand is extremely good in that it is very low and live, you should fold when he bets.
--Sklansky on Poker, p. 124
Anybody want to guess how my two razz sessions went tonight? Let me give a brief synopsis:
1. Complete with a three-card eight or better.
2. Get called by a decent player showing a low card.
3. Catch a queen or king on fourth to his good one.
Throw in a few strong hands on fifth street that got called down by garbage and then turned into junk by the river, and that's how my night went. I dropped 6 big bets in the 5/10 game and 9 bets in the 1/2 game. Most frustrating of all, being called on fifth street showing A-6 / 7-A-2 by someone holding T-4 / 5-7-Q, and losing. I guess he figured I paired my ace? I can't figure it out. This seems like an automatic fold on his side for me, but maybe I'm missing something. I mean, forget the fact that I could already have a made hand. Even if he thinks that I've paired, I'm drawing at a seven and he's drawing at a ten. Translation: even if he catches on sixth, he needs me to catch a bad one as well. Since sixth street is almost automatic, I can still potentially outdraw his made ten on the river if I don't already have it beat on sixth.
In between, I had probably the worst holdem session I've played in some time. It started out ok, but then I lost my focus and started to play horribly. That was another 7 big bet loss at 3/6. So, total loss for the night about $120. And this is supposed to be fun?
I keep telling myself "big picture, big picture, play 'correctly' and it'll even out" but clearly a) I'm not playing correctly all of the time, and b) I'm getting frustrated by this extended downslide / break-even slide, so that even small losses are starting to gnaw at me. I've now completely wiped out the Party reload bonus from earlier in the month, so for the month I think I'm dead even - but that's only counting the bonus money. Without the bonus money, I'm in the hole $175.
It's not fun, and it hasn't been fun for a while now.
[Edit: I decided to give it one more crack, and sat down 3/6 HE again after I posted this. I wasn't catching much the first two orbits, but then in a span of 4 hands I hit $60, $72 and $49 dollar pots (net to me $124 total) with top pair that survived three callers to the river, a turned flush, and flopped trips, so net loss for the day was only $20. Still, my "it's not fun" comments stand.]
The other time to consider playing a non three-card hand is when you are the high card and there has been a raise back to you. At this point, I can say categorically that the high card is played much too often in Vegas even by good players.
I caught Guns at a 5/10 Razz table with Perry Friedman on Full Tilt last night. After he confused me with Sean, a seat opened up and I figured "what the heck!" and sat down.
First hand, I was dealt a three-card six. I think I took down the pot on fourth. The second hand, I started with 4-2 / 5. Perry brought it in with a king; two people folded to me (including another 5) so of course I completed against the remaining four players, who were showing three tens and an eight. They all folded back to Perry and he called.
We both caught a good one on fourth; 7 for me, 3 for him. I bet and he called again.
Fifth street brought a 9 to me for a board of 4-2 / 5-7-9 and a six to him for x-x / K-3-6. I was still ahead, but I figured he had to at least have an 8- or 7- draw. I bet and he called, and I was starting to get a little nervous that my three-card bike wasn't going to get there. Then sixth street brought a beautiful three for me to give me a made 7-5, while pairing up Perry with another king. I bet and he folded.
A few hands later I got a phone call and had to take off. It's ok; while I was there Bad Blood was laying bricks like Shaquille O'Neal at the foul line, but after I left he turned it around. Good job, BB!
Sunday, March 20, 2005
Straight off the top, Party is having another reload bonus. Typical Party reload: 20% bonus, up to a max of $200, 7x raked hands in 7 days to clear it. The bonus code is BONUSMAR and is good until midnight on Wednesday (11:59 Tuesday night).
With that out of the way... I played a few hours of 3/6 this weekend in the monumental effort at working off my $500 bonus. At the rate it's going, I estimate that I will need about 125 table hours to do it. No wonder they give you four months to work it off.
So far, I'm in for a total of about two hours, and up (yes, up!) 11 big bets. My table yesterday was super soft, and I hit a bunch of hands in a row to build up a nice little stack. I moved between two tables today, but couldn't get much going. One big loss was with J8s in the SB against UTG and the BB. The flop was K-8-8 and wouldn't you know, the UTG player had A8s. Didn't see that one coming.
For me, that's one of the most difficult aspects of poker. I can put people on hands, and I can also decently deduce what hands people put me on. The thing is, I always forget that not everybody plays the way I do. Here's a great example:
Player to my right open-raises. With AKs, I make it three. Folds back to him, and he calls.
Flop is K-7-3, two clubs (not my suit). He check-calls.
Turn is a brick. He check-calls.
River is a third club, I check it through. He turns over AJo, no clubs.
I was very thankful that he called the turn bet drawing dead, but what on earth was he thinking? This is my problem. I can't get into the head of this kind of player. During the WPBT HORSE tournament, I watched someone call a bet on fourth street in seven-card stud with 3d 5h / 7d Th. Against a board showing two overcards to his ten, that had led the betting on third street and again on fourth. It had me scratching my head.
In other news, I may be reviewing a brand new room in NYC real soon.
Thursday, March 17, 2005
You may have noticed that, lately, I haven't posted very much about my own play. For the most part, that's because I haven't been playing. Sure, I played in the HORSE tournament on Sunday, and spent a little time in a Razz cash game before that, but for the most part my time has been spent playing World of Warcraft. Yes, my inner geek has been truly unleashed.
Tonight, though, I sat down and analyzed my play during my Party bonus clearing binge earlier in the month. My net result for 1600 hands of 1/2 was down 50 BBs, with an offest in 25NL of some of that money. But to hell with the results, what do the numbers show?
For the most part, I think I'm playing "correctly". A little too tight, but I attribute that to playing 3 tables at once. I've never been much of a multi-tabler. I also was being a little over-aggressive - AF of over 4 on the flop and turn, but a mere 0.9 on the river. Either I was seeing shadows everywhere, or I was overplaying a few hands.
Then, for comparison, I took a look at the 1100 15/30 hands I have logged. I played just a tad looser, dialed down the aggression just a little, and was clearing 1.6 BB / 100. Not much, maybe, but definitely a step in the right direction. I was winning my share of the hands I should have been winning, as opposed to going a combined 7 for 36 with AQ/AJ (suited and offsuit).
What's the upshot of it all? I think I need to just have faith, have confidence, and get back to my game. I'm going to play some more small limit and see how it goes. If I get my confidence back, I may make a large deposit of some "free money" that's coming my way soon to see what I can do with it.
You can be sure all the gory details will get spilled here.
Talk about keeping Putin in power is swirling through the halls of the Kremlin, the Federation Council and the State Duma. Little of the talk has made it onto the public record, but Federation Council Speaker Sergei Mironov acknowledged in an interview published in Izvestia on March 2 that Putin might stay if there is "a real danger that a new fuehrer with a fascist-type, nationalist ideology" might win the presidency.
I couldn't make this up if I tried.
In a related story, Russians seem to think that maybe Stalin wasn't really that bad of a guy:
The answer came in the form of a survey conducted this month by the state-controlled VTsIOM polling agency. Pollsters asked Russians if they thought that their country needed a ruler similar to Stalin. Almost half of all respondents, 42 percent, answered yes. In the age group that most of the political elite belong to -- 45 to 59 years old -- 52 percent favored Stalinist-style leadership. But most worrying was that 45 percent of young Russians -- 18 to 24 years --were also positive about the tyrant.
Tuesday, March 15, 2005
I don't understand why I'm losing. Maybe I have some kind of tell.
[looks at cards]
Hot mama I'm livin' in flush town! Population: Artie!
No, no, not another post about losing. There have been plenty enough of those! This one is about yet another unique holdem tournament, albeit somewhat more conventional than the last tournament I posted about.
A friend today sent me details of a WSOP Main Event super satellite being run here in NYC. The game is No Limit Holdem, $385+45 entry, food and beverage to be provided, entrants capped at 50. So far, nothing all that out of the ordinary, eh? Here's the prize breakdown:
1st: Entry into 2005 WSOP Main Event ($10,000 value) + $2,000 in cash
2nd: 50% of remaining prize pool
3rd: 30% of remaining prize pool
4th: 20% of remaining prize pool
Still pretty ho hum ordinary. Then comes the fine print:
"If the winner of our satellite wins $100,000 (gross) or more in the WSOP, he/she will pay all of other satellite players (including 2nd, 3rd and 4th) a total of 10% of his/her winnings. Note: Winner will take responsibility for all taxes, to keep this simple."
Personally, I think it's a bum deal. I don't play satellites into bigger events just so I can give the other satellite players their money back (and then some) if I cash in the bigger event. They all have just as much of a shot as me to win the satellite and get the buy-in to the bigger event; why should I subsidize their bad luck / bad play if I am successful at the second stage?
It probably shouldn't come as a surprise that this tournament is being run by investment bankers. Always trying to hedge their bets...
Monday, March 14, 2005
There was *another* article about poker in the NYTimes today. I'm not even going to link to it - to borrow from a list of cliches, if the NYTimes is giving poker this much coverage, it must already be past its prime.
Ok, so HORSE tourney time. First off, let me say that I am EXTREMELY disappointed that Full Tilt doesn't have hand histories. That blows BIG time. Why do I want to play at a site where I can't learn from my mistakes as easily as at other sites? Then add to the mix that there were only 3,000 players connected last night, AND the fact that the fish were few and far between, and it's a recipe for "me-no-wanna-play-here".
Anyway, I really wanted to go through my HORSE tournament hand history blow-by-blow and dissect a few key hands, but clearly that can't happen. I did have the foresight to grab my "stats" from the site's stat page before closing up my session last night.
[Bleh, I was gonna post the stats here, but I can't seem to get Blogger to format them properly. No matter what I do, it keeps deleting all the whitespace between my columns.]
Remember, a HORSE tourney is played 8-handed, so on average you would expect to win 12.5% of your hands. My Holdem (7/60), Omaha (4.5/34), Stud (4/37) and Stud-Eight (3.5/27) stats are all fairly average, but look at those Razz stats! 9 for 43, and a whopping 3 for 3 on showdowns. Clearly, my Stud game needs work, as I was only 1 for 3 on showdowns there, meaning I'm either over-valuing what's a good hand or not reading people's boards well enough. I'll take 3 for 4 in Stud-Eight, even if they were all splits, and 2 for 3 in O8. The one 08 showdown that I lost, I knew I was beat before I called the river.
If only I hadn't self-destructed with those Hellmuths in the fourth round of holdem... ah well.
Sunday, March 13, 2005
Last night saw the first ever WPBT HORSE tournament on Full Tilt. For those not familiar, HORSE is a rotation game of five different fixed limit card games: Holdem, Omaha Hi/Lo, Razz, Stud, and Stud Eight. I played well for most of the night, clawing my way down to the final two tables before going out 11th out of 93. Two bad plays sunk me: the first in Stud Eight, and the second (which was even worse) in holdem.
We can dispense with the holdem hand first. With about 10k in my stack, I caught kings in the BB. We were 5-handed at that point. The button open-raised, and I figured it was a steal raise but rather than re-raise, I called, hoping no ace would flop. Which, of course, it did.
I bet into the button for 1000, and he raised me to 2000. On an A-T-3 board, with a short stack, the smart thing would have been to throw away my kings. The evidence was there that I was beat, but I stubbornly reraised to 3000. He called. When a blank hit the turn, I led out again for 2000, and he raised again to 4000. At this point, I only had 4200 behind, so with 16,000 in the pot, I surrendered, I guess. I pushed the rest of it in. He called and turned over AQ. IGHN.
I think I played the hand well, until I reraised the flop. That was the key mistake. If I had folded there, I would have had 7000 left. Not in great shape, obviously, with blinds of 500/1000, but it would have been something. Who knows what might have happened.
The stud-eight hand I don't quite recall the details. I think a short stack moved in ahead of me with a junk door card, I reraised with 3d4s/As and got called by a big stack on my left. I think I bet fourth street when I paired my three, checked fifth street when the all-in guy made a pair of fives against a queen to me and a junk board to the other player. I made queens and threes on sixth street, which brought a third heart to the third player's board. When he called my sixth street bet, I had a feeling he had made his flush. I checked the river, and then called his 1600 to see his flush. Crap. That moved me down into short stack land. I was doing ok in holdem, despite the high blinds and short-handed game, until the kings hand. Oy.
Oh well, first HORSE tourney ever for me, first time playing tournament ORSE, I think I did ok. 11th out of 93 is not bad. I was gunning for the final table. Maybe if I hadn't self-destructed, I would have made it! More tomorrow.
Friday, March 11, 2005
I've been woefully deficient in posting a few thoughts this week, but I wanted to throw a quick one up this morning. More news from poker hostess land!
I'm pushing back the event to next Wednesday due to not enough time to plan. The girl I emailed may or may not be the one...she's starting to get annoying and she's asking if her boyfriend can participate with she and the winner of the event!
I have several other prospects who are sending pictures and info so we can have a better selection pool. Also, some of the higher end girls are, obviously, more money. I'm working on a few ideas I will share with you.
I'm not sure where to begin with this, and unfortunately now is really not the time anyway.
Monday, March 07, 2005
A couple of odds and ends to cover today, including a rather odd NLHE tourney:
1. Stepped it up to 3 tables on Party yesterday, and the results weren't any better. 6 table hours, -26BBs for a net loss of 4BBs per hour. If you throw in my 25NL results, I'm down about $50 trying to clear this bonus. Thankfully, I only need about 200 more raked hands. I noticed an interesting stat in Poker Tracker yesterday that may help explain what's going on, but I need to do some more research.
2. Second, vying for the "Best Themed NLHE Tournament I've Heard of in Some Time" award comes this little doozy, forwarded to me by a non-blogger in Los Angeles who responded to an ad on CraigsList seeking tournament poker players. My comments follow:
Very simple concept. Wednesday night from 6PM until 11PM, No limit Texas Hold 'em tournament at a "to be disclosed" hotel in downtown Los Angeles near Wilshire and Flower (at least 4 star) to ensure security, privacy and comfort for all. Ten men will play with a $300 buy, the top 3 finishers will receive prizes.
The third place winner will receive his entry fee back and will spend 15 minutes with our hostess, a highly ranked lady you can research on TER. Once she has been confirmed, you will be emailed her info so you can check her out...I can assure you, you will be very eager to play for her!
The second place winner gets his entry fee back and 30 minutes with her.
The grand prize winner gets the honor of being champion for the week and will then entertain our hostess until 6AM that Thursday morning.
Sound good? There are a few rules.
The location of the event will be disclosed to the participants the night before via email. Do not bring anyone else to the game. You can refer them to this email if you like, but everyone must have clearance!
Everyone will be required to place their licenses in the hotel room safe while they are in the room. Once you are eliminated from the game, your license will be returned and you can go home and brush up on your game for next week!
Our hostess will show up late in the game. When she does, please treat her with respect and courtesy. We want her to come back, don't we?
NO activity other than poker playing will take place in the room...the winners will follow the hostess to another room where you will have your personal time with her!
Snacks, beer, liquor and mixes will be provided.
No aggressive behavior of any kind will be tolerated. Violators will be removed and dealt with by hotel security. Let's just play nice.
Please drink responsibly at the event...if anyone is getting more than buzzed, he may be cut off. We're gentlemen, so let's act as such.
Also, the next few events may see the opportunity to book adult film stars. That will require a higher buyin but the structure will remain the same. Please email any stars you think would be exceptionally interesting to act as event hostess.
Finally, the entry fee goes to pay our hostess for hosting the game, cover the cost of the room and food and drinks, and nothing else...whatever goes on between the hostess and the top 3 winners is their business...I have nothing to do with it. Also, please do not offer our hostess money at any time. This could be construed as solicitation which is illegal in California.
Ok, ok, I have a NUMBER of things to say about this.
* Straight off, this is taking the "satellite" concept to an extreme. Instead of a buy-in to a high stakes tournament, you get a buy-in to a high stakes call girl.
* Does it seem odd to anyone else that the winner doesn't get any money, even though second and third place do? I don't know about you, but a half hour and $300 seems like a better deal to me than all night and no money. I mean, how much are those extra orgasms really worth? We all know it's diminishing returns after the first one anyway.
* Speaking of money, let's look at the numbers: $3,000 in the kitty. Deduct $300 for a hotel suite, $300 to the third place finisher, $300 to the second place finisher, and $100 for booze and snacks (a gross estimate I know, but AlCantHang could show). That's $1,000 off the top, meaning that this "hostess" is charging $2,000 for her "time". Yowza.
* What's up with putting the licenses in the safe? Is that supposed to ensure "security" and that nobody gets out of line during the tournament? I should probably direct the author of the email to this article in the New York Times yesterday about how easy it is to make a high-quality fake ID these days.
* "Exceptionally interesting" and "adult film star" don't really fit in the same sentence.
* Finally, I have to be amused that after all of this, the author is kind enough to point out that offering the hostess money for any sort of favor could be considered solicitation in California. That's real swell of him.
Yeah. Moving on...
3. It would be remiss of me not to point out that yesterday was the one year anniversary of this here humble blog. Yes, one year ago, back when this blog still had potential to be something other than a hideously boring pile of crap, I was pounding out posts on topics other than poker. Imagine that.
Saturday, March 05, 2005
Late last night, I decide to open two $25 NL tables on Party and just kind of veg out for a while. At one of the tables I happened to pull up, Chad was seated. I didn't realize it until about three hands in. Sure enough, Drizztdj showed up a while later and we had a mini-blogger table going.
On the other table, I wound up being joined by Sir Waffle, MisterD2U, and THG. So there I was, playing two blogger tables at the same time! All I needed to do was fire up an O8 table to complete the trifecta.
Now behold the awesome power of the hammer: MisterD2U raised one limper from late position to $2. I was in the SB with the black kings, debating how I wanted to play them. I opted just to call, knowing that the limper would come along too (I did not see him fold to a single raise all night). The flop was the hammer special: 2-7-2 with two spades. I led out for 2/3 of the pot, hoping to get raised by MisterD2U. Instead, he typed into the chat:
MisterD2U: any other table
and then folded. Boooooooo.
Friday, March 04, 2005
Yes, it's true. I put in another 3 hours two-tabling 1/2 last night in an attempt to work off my bonus, and I wound up dropping $53. I don't know what the problem is -- data-mining will commence tomorrow -- but I did notice a few key numbers last night for the 600-odd hands of 1/2 I've logged.
VP$IP: 17%. A little tight, not terrible though I suppose.
Pre-flop raise: 7%. Decent.
Post-flop aggression: Can't remember the exact number, but I believe it was around 2.5 [Edit: actually it's a tad over 4]
Won $ When Seeing Flop: 24%
Won $ at Showdown: 56%
The first three numbers are historically accurate for my style, perhaps slightly underneath where they usually are, and the last number is usually closer to 60%, but that's not such a large difference. The fourth number, however, is way, waaaaaaay off. Typically, my Won $ When Seeing Flop percentage is around 35%. The current number is below that by a third. Is it just a case of variance?
As far as leaks go, I seem to be having issues with AQo, AJs and AJo again, although there's some variance at work as well, as I am a combined 0 for 12 with those hands, and I know for a fact that my AJs last night made trips on the turn, only to fall to a rivered flush. I need to look at those hands more carefully to see where I may be leaking chips.
Table selection is also a problem. I hopped between a total of 6 or 8 tables last night, and I once again encountered some very, very tight tables. Tables where most flops were taken heads-up or 3-handed. Ugh. That's not what 1/2 is supposed to be about! Too many bonus chasers. I may move to a different limit to finish off the rest of the bonus.
A little after 11:00, I gave up on 1/2 for the night and decided to open up a $25NL table to see if I could double through once and halve my losses. Within about ten minutes of sitting down, Daddy joined the table. Then Helixx sat down. Before you could say "I've got the Hammer", the table turned into a full-blown blogger table:
Seat 1: me
Seat 2: DonkeyPuncher
Seat 3: Daddy, later Poker Penguin
Seat 4: Joanne
Seat 5: Dr. Pauly
Seat 6: Drizztdj
Seat 7: non-blogger
Seat 8: non-blogger
Seat 9: helixx
Seat 10: Poker Nerd
It's been a long time since I've sat at the blogger table. It was nice to play with all those folks and blow off some steam from a losing day, but dammit I wanted to rape some fish! At least I finished in the black.
I do have to share a rather amusing hand that occurred with a non-blogger. Yes, yes, it's a rare hand history posting. It's the chat which makes this hand priceless.
$25 NL Hold'em - Thursday, March 03, 23:44:22 EDT 2005
Table Table 36603 (Real Money)
Seat 10 is the button
Total number of players : 10
Seat 6: Spdfrk ( $23.7 )
Seat 7: LesiW911 ( $31.03 )
Seat 8: death_hand ( $21.45 )
Seat 1: asphnxma ( $24.65 )
Seat 10: SCBeach ( $25.5 )
Seat 2: Joshbo283 ( $16.25 )
Seat 3: SnailTrax ( $33.3 )
Seat 9: He1ixx ( $22.6 )
Seat 5: Dr. Pauly ( $27.65 )
Seat 4: Joanne1111 ( $25 )
asphnxma posts small blind [$0.1].
Joshbo283 posts big blind [$0.25].
** Dealing down cards **
Dealt to asphnxma [ 7c 8c ]
Dr. Pauly folds.
LesiW911 calls [$0.25].
death_hand calls [$0.25].
SCBeach calls [$0.25].
asphnxma: I have 7c 8c.
asphnxma: should I call?
Dr. Pauly: raise
LesiW911: all in
asphnxma raises [$1.4].
Joshbo283 calls [$1.25].
** Dealing Flop ** [ 5c, Qh, Ah ]
LesiW911: XXXX u have nothing
asphnxma: XXXX, I don't have anything
asphnxma: what do I do?
LesiW911: all in
LesiW911: push him out
** Dealing Turn ** [ 9d ]
asphnxma: hmm, I have a gutshot now
asphnxma: is that worth a bet?
LesiW911: dude all in
** Dealing River ** [ Qs ]
LesiW911: stop meessing with josh's head
asphnxma bets [$3].
asphnxma shows [ 7c, 8c ] a pair of queens.
asphnxma wins $6.6 from the main pot with a pair of queens.
Dr. Pauly: LOL
Joshbo283: mother XXXXer
=D I suppose I could have bet out the flop, but it was more fun the way I played it.
Thursday, March 03, 2005
Last night marked my triumphant return to Party Poker. And by "triumphant return", I mean that I didn't suffer any mind-blowing losses or want to throw my laptop down a well. Given my recent stretch of failure, that's about as triumphant a return as I could have hoped for.
I played 250 hands, two-tabling 1/2. I moved my roll in (plus a little extra) to take advantage of the reload bonus. Hopefully the "extra" will still be there to move out after I clear the bonus. Anyway, after 250 hands, I was down $0.50. Yes, another red session, and probably at least 12 big bets off of where I wanted to be, but at this point break-even poker looks like Olympic gold to me.
Haven't had a chance to run all the numbers yet, but I did pull some quick data down off PT before I went to bed. My VP$IP on one table was around 18%, a little tighter than I'd like, but at the other it was below 11. Geebus. I guess it's probably no surprise that I was playing super tight, but that's waaaaaaay too tight for 1/2, I think, even if both tables were averaging only 3 players to a flop. That seems a bit low for 1/2, but I imagine the bonus chasers like me have swelled the ranks of the 1/2 games.
Two hands stick out in my mind as hands that I didn't play well, but I think I got stronger as the night went on, so hopefully it was just a bit of limit rust. I also need to remember that most players at 1/2 are not that deceptive and play in an extremely straightforward manner. If they capped pre-flop and then made it 3 on the flop, they have a big hand, probably KK or AA. That sort of thing.
More to come later tonight.
Wednesday, March 02, 2005
Still no luck with my copy of Poker Tracker Guide. I'm throwing it out to the masses. I have my access code; I'm running WinXP; I'm connected to the internet through a Linksys wireless router; and I've turned off the firewall. Every time I plug in the validation code, a box pops saying that the program hasn't been validated. I've sent an email off to the PTG support team (which I imagine is just a Phil Hellmuth bobblehead doll conveniently positioned in front of a laptop), but in the interim, does anyone have any suggestions?
Speaking of Phil, we all know that Phil is the biggest shill in the world (next to Iggy, maybe) and will put his name and face on just about anything. Here's the latest, with a tip of the hat to BkynPlague:
Just got a brochure for the "Banc of America Securities: ABS,MBS & CDO Issuer/Investor Forum" to be held 3/20-3/22 at the Four Seasons in Vegas.
Among the many scheduled programs/seminars....
Poker Seminar with Phil Hellmuth
Four Seasons Pool
8:00pm - 10:00pm
Do you know when to hold 'em or fold 'em? Come learn the sophisticated skills and strategies of poker from one of the most successful tournament players of all time. Phil Hellmuth has won more tournament money over the last 10 years than any other player and has a record nine gold bracelets. Find out what makes him so successful as he takes an evening out during a professional poker tournament in which he is competing to host our exclusive Poker Seminar.
Texas Hold'em Poker Tournament
8:00pm until ?
Enjoy an exciting game of Texas Hold'em hosted by poker great Phil Hellmuth or, if he's still alive in the Las Vegas Tournament, one of his leading fellow players. You'll have the opportunity to show what you learned during Phil's Sunday night poker seminar - without putting your purse on the line - and to ask a "free" question from our host. Are you ready to lay your cards on the table?
From the "we thought Sklansky was the biggest poker math nerd" department: an article by Jesus Ferguson and his father, a professor of math and statistics at UCLA, on the application of game theory to poker. Seriously, folks, this one is NOT light reading. If you're the type that symbols and variables put immediately to sleep, I'd suggest skipping out on it altogether. If he's really that smart, maybe Jesus can help me crack my copy of PTG...
(Tip of the hat to Deke for this one.)
Now that March is here, my self-imposed exile from internet poker has ended. I'll be putting some money into Party Poker tonight to take advantage of the February reload offer. Let the bad beats commence!
Tuesday, March 01, 2005
Since I'm having some issues getting my copy of Poker Tracker Guide validated (yet another internet scam, I knew it!), I thought I'd spout off about a few random-ass different things. Enjoy.
* A big thumbs up to the Santa Monica small claims judge who declined to grant an 11th hour continuance request to the defendant (phoned in from Oregon) in my rent overcharge complaint. Default judgment in the plaintiff's favor. Put that in your pipe and smoke it. Now to figure out how to collect.
* I must again compliment the Commerce Casino on the tastiness (and multitude) of food that $5 can purchase at their establishment. The drinks weren't bad either, and were reasonably priced. Too bad I'm not much of an alcoholic.
* The "nice try" award goes to the captain of my flight from LA to SanFran on Sunday night. Despite some delays and a narrow layover window, he promised to do his best to get "the group of you trying to connect to New York" to our flight on time. He got us there with fifteen minutes to spare, but I already knew there was not a chance my suitcase was going to make the connection. Speaking of which...
* A hearty "FUCK YOU" to the jackass baggage handler at JFK that felt the need to rifle through the pockets of the coat that I had packed and walk off with my winter gloves. Those gloves were one of the best bargain purchases I've ever made. You suck. Your airport sucks. In fact, if I had my way, I'd bomb that entire hellhole to the ground and then rebuild it into a right, proper airport.
Hmm, I guess that's all for now.