Sunday, September 30, 2007

Cake Challenge - Marsh

Update: Played for 3 hands on Thursday night, picked up KK on the third hand and doubled up when a guy with an 8 on an 8 high board just couldn't get away.

Thursday night: Played for about 20 min, and ran QQ into KK for a full buy in loss preflop. Scraped back .50 of it at another table and called it good for the night.

Same format as Ryan's here roughly. I need to get the spreadsheet he made and get that linked up too.

So far my strategy has been to play the smallest stakes I can on Cake, (.02-.04) and the 1.00 tourneys. I have mainly played the 6-max cash tables, but I have played quite a few tournies also. The first day I played I had an awesome day at the cash tables and had my roll at 59.00. That lasted one day exactly. I biffed all of the winnings back on SNG's and poor cash play. That left me at about 48.00 after my second session. Bummer.

Since then I have rinsed and repeated those steps 3 times total. Going to as high as 60.00 with the roll, then getting back down to basically even somehow. I mixed legitimately bad beats with legitimately bad play to achieve the downswings.

I have kept strong though, and am now sitting at 72.00. I have made incremental steps in the cash games, and have ran pretty well in them also. I also have had decent results in the 10 and 30 person SNG's, with 2 firsts, 3 seconds (one of them in a 30 person), 2 thirds, and 1 fifth place in a 30'er.

The mindless fray that is online poker never ceases to amaze me still. Bad beats are delivered left and right, and poor play abounds. It's pretty awesome.

I have been taking this very seriously also, and the stakes haven't been affecting my play at all I don't think. I haven't caught myself saying things like "Well its only a quarter" at all. I think its because I know that A) I am making these records public and don't want to disappoint my hoards of screaming fans, and B) I don't want to "lose" to Ryan. For me, the competitive part of this is pretty key. If it were just me alone, I think I could have just said hell with it by now and played my bankroll on the .25-.50 table.

I think that once I create some wiggle room, I can start looking at different options as far as bankroll management goes. As it stands now, I am pretty much forced to play the smallest stakes possible, but once I make the monumental step up to .05-.10, I might have some more to take shots with etc. I have to say its very tempting to play those stakes now as I am very comfortable there, but putting around 20% of my total roll on one session doesn't seem like the way to go.

Any of the other participants have any updates? Is anyone busto yet?

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Perfect storms

I forget which book I read but it said that No Limit deep stack poker is about raking in huge pots. Sure you can steal blinds and make continuation bets to take down a lot of pots but they recommend putting yourself in position to take down a monster.

Last night in Area .50/1 I found myself in the middle of a perfect storm. I don't remember all the details (where is my personal video camera running film continuously through my eyes?) but I have to think it was a limped pot based on the hands. Flop comes out 568 (rainbow I'm pretty sure), I check and it gets around to Jason who leads out pretty heavy with 15 which was about pot sized so maybe it was a family pot or pre-sweetened. Mitch, his friend visiting, makes a drawish call. With no flushes in sight Mitch is basically turning his Seven face up. Winds are picking up and the ocean is starting to roll. Yes I have an open ender here but what I am really chasing is a magical gutshot. If the Nine comes off I know that a middle-filled straight is really hard to lay down and I don't give many people, particularly Mitch the credit for being able to do it. I call the 15, I'm not getting proper pot odds but implied odds are ginormous.

Cross winds pick up now as the turn card reveals the glorious Nine from heaven. Yahtzee! Bingo! Gin! Monopoly!...OK, not Monopoly but you get the idea. I am in the stupid SB position and have to decide how to make sure someone opens the door so I check it. Jason is crestfallen about the Nine. Funny how one man's best card ever is another man's worst card ever. I know he fears the open ender that got there and now whatever he had is no good. I forget if he opened betting or if he checked to Mitch but all I know is by the time it got back to me it was 25 to go and I needed to raise to a) get Jason's presumed boat outs out of the picture b) get more money into the pot so I can push in on the river and make it callable and c) throw a little camouflage into my bet since I think it will be harder for Mitch to credit me with the 7T since it would be such an easy flat call to make with the immortal nuts. 85 is that number. I have 117 behind and if Mitch calls the turn bet I don't think he can fold for 117 more. Jason is severely disappointed that he is not invited to the party and folds. I knew exactly where Jason was at and I can also give him credit to fold when he thinks he is beat and particularly when it is so obvious from the board exactly how he is beat. Jason makes the arduous but correct fold.

Now it is Mitch's turn in the wringer. He looks at the board and sizes it up. I'm quite sure it was rainbow because I think I even made a comment when Jason was mulling things over that his flush was coming on a four suited four card board. To Mitch's credit, he doesn't insta-push there. He is astute enough to know that a 7T is the absolute nuts. He's deep in the tank and I'm just itching to hear him announce "all in" so we can get this thing done. He calls! I almost jump out of my seat with an insta-call to his non-existent shove. I get a quick visit from the Weak/Tight conscience character who appears on my shoulder to whisper "you better hope the board doesn't pair or that the river is not a Ten in case he has J7." I shooosh him away because I'm going with my read about him having a Seven, a paired board may kill the action but I don't fear losing to it. The J7 scenario is interesting though. Why would Mitch only *call* the turn when I'm going to push the rest in on the river? Could he possibly be on a J7? But even still, he's got to figure he is going to chop anyway so why not just get it over on the turn? Curious decision.

The sea has swells that would swamp an ocean liner as the rive is a glorious beautiful Ace. The blank to end all blanks. I am all in for the 117 left in my stack. Mitch is in a bind and now has to decide if he wants to call off and additional 117 ($58.50USD) of his stack. It is an insidious situation. You *know* that you can only be beat by one hand. But thanks to a swollen pot from the turn bet, there is just so much in there now that it's hard and maybe even an incorrect fold. I mean seriously, you have a freaking straight! On an unpaired rainbow board! That's a good hand! Yet there is a twist in your gut making you question the wisdom of dumping stacks of chips in the pot...just to get them back! Mitch even vocalizes the hand that can beat him. I am trying not to do or say anything to scare off business. I just try to keep cool and let him jump in the trap. After a mull over time he finally calls and I show 7T to scoop that pot. I then stand up with my fists clenched and at the top of my lungs announce: "BULLLLLLLDOOOOOOOOOOZER!!!" OK, no not really. But the table consoles Mitch with what is a nearly impossible laydown. Even second nut flushes have an escape hatch because if you have the King high, you know that an Ace high beats you. With four continuous to a straight and you having the card to cap off the top, you can plausibly see a connector beating you by notching you. But with a straight having a one gap in the middle, that is just screaming "chop pot" because it is so hard to put someone on a random hand as a two gapper 7T. Why would anyone be in a pot with that?

Chips change ownership and the winds die down. The ocean again returns to the quiet place it once was...until the next perfect storm stikes.

Thursday, September 27, 2007


First of all, I've never, ever seen any evidence that online poker is unfair. I love typing 'RIGGED' in chats when someone gets a beat put on 'em, but I've never been serious about it. Until now.

First, read this blog post at freakonomics:

Then, if you want to, wade through the massive megathread at 2p2:

Basically, a group of players on AbsolutePoker has been discovered, all of them with completely ridiculous poker-tracker mined stats. They play 80-95% of their hands preflop, win over 66% of their hands at showdown, and have a river aggression factor of 20, 40, even infinity (this would means that they only fold or raise on the river, NEVER just flat call).

Hand histories have been posted where they make 3x the pot calls with (a winning) ten high. They raise every hand preflop, and then open limp with TT when another player (yet to act) has AA. Time after time, they make a ridiculously thin river over-value-bet with a shaky hand (I'm talking third pair, here). More than once, they've raised preflop and check-folded a flop where an opponent has flopped a boat.

They have made literally hundreds of thousands of dollars in the last three weeks. When discussion about their play came up, they started dumping money to people in heads up matches (presumably for money laundering purposes), and then intentionally playing bad to draw attention away. One hilarious hand involved the 'DOUBLEDRAG' player calling $5k on the river with 4 high.

No one knows what the entire story is here, but something strange is definitely going on. AbsolutePoker has not acknowledged that any cheating is going on yet, and from all accounts is completely incompetent as far as security goes. Some people think it's an inside job, others think
it's some clever hackers who have somehow compromised the site's security.

I don't know what this will mean for online poker. I am convinced that this is an isolated issue only affecting AbsolutePoker, so I don't plan on pulling my money out of cake. However, with the recent crackdowns on online gaming, I can't imagine our lawmakers will handle this in a rational manner. Ideally this will cause us to form some sort of regulatory committee to keep online poker safe and fair, but I feel that it's more likely that it will give someone a reason to shut it all down for good.

Very interesting times are ahead.

Chinese Poker

The bad news about WNP last night was that it was four handed. The good news is that it allowed Chinese Poker to sneak its way into the rotation! Such a silly game. Maybe not a lot of skill involved but you want to at least adhere to basic strategy. Who woulda figured? For those that are not familiar, Chinese Poker is where each player is dealt 13 cards and must order them into two different five card poker hands and a three card poker hand. The three card poker hand can only be trips, a pair or high cards, no three card straights or flushes, and obviously no quads or boats, duh. The trick is that each hand needs to be stronger than the one before it. There is a rules guide on Tiger Gaming which comically enough has an example hand of trips up front, quads in the middle, and a straight flush in back (results not typical). I also found some helpful hints on Scoring is by points won by having one of your rows beat other players' rows. Payouts are on a pre-determined amount of chips per point.

Didn't realize this until I read more today but there are also some "auto-win" hands which scoop everyone. If there are multiple players with hands in the "clean sweep" group then the higher one wins. The granddaddy of them all is a 13 card straight flush not surprisingly. Stands to reason that anyone with a Royal Flush or Straight Flush in back and a Straight Flush in the middle is likely to win even though their front is going to be "only" AKQ at best. Second is a 13 card straight. 3rd is a 12 card flush. 4th is 3 of a kind with 5 pairs (quads qualify as two pairs for this). 5th is three straights, one for each row. 6th is three flushes. The 7th and last one (actually came up a couple of times but we didn't know the rules) is six pair. Payouts on those vary based on the rank.

There are variations but two that stood out to me are:
* Greg Raymer's twist where everyone gets 17 cards and you make the normal 3-5-5 sets but you also add in a four card Badugi hand!
* A high-low-high version where you try to make your front and back hands the best you can but make the middle hand the worst possible hand you can based on 2-7 lowball rules where straights, flushes, and Aces all are bad to have.

A great way to kill time and swap chips around! Maybe even make some money like when Ivey took $536K off of Hellmuth in one night playing $2000/point. Oh and Chinese Poker is (OK...*was*, 95 and 96) an official WSOP event.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Daily Hand Quiz

Stumbled across a neat little site today. They post a hand every day and provide some commentary on it after you choose your action. There's no right answer, they just provide their opinion on what you should do.

Check it out, yo!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Room for improvement

Recently, I was fortunate enough to buy into Full Tilt Poker, run up my stack to just over 7 times my buy in and then cashed out for just over 3x buy in. I then proceeded to donk off all my remaining dollars, for a net gain of just over 2x buy in. I think I made every mistake in the book on my downhill slide, tilted, played too many hands and tried to outplay everyone, and then started way too much negative thinking - all the times I was raised I assumed I was beat, bluffed at the wrong times etc. I, of course can blame a bit on bad luck, lost my stack with Kings against Aces 6 handed, then picked up aces in a tourney, got all in against Kings, and a King hits on the river. But it was mainly donk play.

Time for an adjustment. Cut way back on poker, stopped playing on line and joined For those of you unfamiliar with cardrunners, it is a site started by a guy named Taylor, who bought in on line for $35.00 and ran up his stack so he can comfortably play on line in NL Holdem ring games for $10,000 buy ins. Brian Townsend, who is supposed to be the best High Limit NL Holdem player in the world, regularly contributes to the site. Brian plays $400/$800 NL Holdem and Pot Limit Omaha, mainly on line. He claims to have a 58% Win RATE, and he is likely telling the truth. Unless his blog is filled with BS, which I doubt, he appears to be making a handsome living, likely in the low to mid 7 figures annually (just a guess).
Brian too started playing in $10 tourneys on line.

What is the site like? There are a bunch of good articles written by pros similar to the strategies and analysis articles in Cardplayer magazine. Some are just brushing up on the basics - things like position matters, playing in a casino vs. playing on line, and sit and go strategies. Others concepts are more advanced like betting based on board textures against tight weak opponents, and a concept called ghosting, essentially using position and reads to get opponents to fold. The other cool thing is watching videos of pros playing on line games while they provide commentary on why they made certain moves.

The basic philosophy of the site is to play LAG poker (Loose aggressive) and then make your decisions based upon your equity in the hand. Your equity is determined by your hand vs. a range of hands that you put your opponent on. To get this figure you need pokerstove (applause to Martin for pointing out this site). In a real game, you obviously don't have time to put the range of hands into pokerstove, but, with experience, you can have a pretty good idea where you stand.

Some decisions are still made on feel, like Marsh did recently on a hand against me. The flop was 3,4,5 rainbow, it was checked around, the turn was a 3, I made a weak bet from the small blind and said "I think I have the best hand." Marsh raised me with what he said was 10,7 os, ( I believe him). I call with Ace High. The final card is a Q, I check Marsh throws in about a 3/4 size of the pot bet, and I fold. Great play by Marsh who essentially ghosted me, using position and feel to get the opponent to fold the best hand.

I encourage you all to take a look at the site. It would be really cool if someone from the WNP crowd could mount a big stack, either on line or with casino play, to make us all proud. Many of us have the aptitude, but since we all have still have day jobs (except of course Martin), I don't think any of us can yet confidently say we have a substantial EV with our stack when we play against other good players. The cardrunner guys, especially Brian, are playing against the best, as I doubt there are many casual players at the $400/$800 NL Holdem games. With continued improvement, one or more of us, can hopefully achieve long run EV against tough tables.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Multiple account tip

If you share a computer with someone else (i.e. Steph) or run multiple blogs or for some reason just need to have multiple different accounts running on the machine, try using different browsers. For instance, you could have a couple different email accounts open if you used Firefox for one and IE for the other. Or if you are opposed to using the software from hell then you could download the Opera browser or any number of other free browsers. Then just use one browser for one account and another browser for the other account and voila! No more cross ups.

Question about odds to win? Throw it on the stove.

If you ever wanted to know if you were ahead or behind in a hand you can run it through Poker Stove. It is a free piece of software where you can enter multiple hands to find out who was ahead pre-flop. Or you can add in board cards to find out where you stood after the flop or the turn. I had heard Nick talking about it before but I didn't realize it is FREE FREE FREE! Just use an world wide web browser and enter H-T-T-P colon forward slash forward slash W-W-W period PokerStove period C-O-M as the web address and you will be able to copy the software from their server to your personal computer.

One of the best features is that it will allow you to run a hand against a range of hands of an opponent. For example, someone raises, you pick up QQ and re-raise, then they push all in. Should you call? Well it depends on pot odds and the range of hands you put them on. If you think they would push in that situation with AK, AA, KK, QQ, or JJ then you can run the numbers to see if you were getting correct pot odds to call against their range. Neat!

It will also let you pit hole cards against a random hand to judge relative strength so if you are playing heads up against someone who will push all in blind every single time, you can use PokerStove to see where you stand in the hand. As an example I've listed some various hole card combinations against a single random hand and their percentage to win.

85.2% AA The mother of all hands is only about 5:1 over a random hand.
65.8% AKs or AKo The hand that "never wins" is about 2:1 over a random hand
59.9% As5s Martini special
54.1% Ks3s The Muncie
54.0% Js8s SpainR
51.8% Q7o The computer hand that was supposed to be the Mendoza line of Hold'em
46.0% J3s or J3o J-trey
38.8% 64s or 64o T. G. I. Don't play this crappy hand
35.2% 52s or 52o (for illustration purposes only, this hand should not be played)
34.6% 72o So called "worst hand" in Hold'em
32.3% 32o Nut low still only a 1:2 dog against a random hand heads up

Download it and give it a try. It's fun and educational!

Cake Challenge - Ryan

Ryan's Cake Challenge Results

I will keep that link updated.

My Ground Rules

Basic Ferguson rules for the most part, plus a couple riders and observations. For all future discussion of this challenge, I will refer to stakes that adhere to Ferguson's guidelines relative to one's current bankroll as "Ferguson stakes."

* I can buy in short at higher tables instead of just full buys at Ferguson stakes
* I can take occasional shots at higher stakes so long as losing my buyin at the higher stakes won't put my bankroll below 20 buyins at Ferguson stakes
* I won't be playing in as many tournaments as I'm sure a tournament specialist like Ferguson did. I prefer cash to begin with, and I like the flexibility of being able to quit at will.



$4 - $5.04

10 Hands

NLHE 30-Player Tournament

$1.00 + $.10

In classic microstakes form, everyone is throwing their chips around like drunk Steve. “Corina” in particular has been raising and calling with anything, and has been pretty lucky. I’m looking to let “her” do the betting for me when I finally catch a hand. I get AKo UTG and just limp because it’s likely someone will raise based on the table action. That doesn’t happen, but the flop looks good for me and I get what I was looking for: Corina making a terrible call against me. Pass the Sklanski bucks.



I can’t take it. This is the kind of shit that busted me online last time. And this. I’m not saying these were great plays, but they are what I think you have to do: overplay premium hands because somebody with a worse hand will play back. They just keep winning against me lately.

$4 – $0

43 Hands


Nice flop, meh turn, nice river.

But it’s Omaha, so naturally I throw away my profit on the next hand because I’m stubborn and ignore my gut too much.

Wow. Sets in O8 just suck ass. Fucking donkeys.

$4 – $0

11 Hands


I guess I just suck at this game. I think the poker gods are just hitting me over the head with how vulnerable sets are in Omaha, especially undersets. These tables are soooo beatable…I’m just not playing optimally, and I’m getting unlucky to boot.

But Omaha sets! Holy crap! Unless the board is as dry as they come and you have top set (you have KK on a board of K92 rainbow), they are drawing hands. Let’s say the flop is 9h 8h 2s and you have 9c 9d Ad 2c. You don’t have “top set.” You don’t have “the nuts.” That’s hold’em thinking. You have six outs on the flop, and maybe three more on the turn, assuming an overcard doesn’t have you drawing to a one-outer, and it’s probably to a chop, not a scoop.

Here, poker stoving (well, ProPokerTooling) this hand and this flop against four random hands (and in microstakes O8, you will have four opponents), you have only 30% equity. You are the “favorite,” but you should treat it like a typical open-ender in hold’em.

$4 – $0

1 Hand


OK, look, just folded two pair without a thought (Q325), I’m getting better! Of course, the hi winner ends up winning with two pair.

Sob, I can’t do anything right…Folded A2 on the turn with no diamond flush. OK, not a bad fold, I am being openly ROTey, but crap I want some dollars!

I think I finally played a flopped set correctly. And one finally connected on the river.

Folded 3dAs8s5h which would have won the low, but I like the fold. That’s a terrible place to take a stand.

$4 + $2 – $5.42

25 Hands

OK, I feel like I just got roofied. Was up at $90, now I’m almost sugar-free.



Busted on the second hand. I made what I hoped would be a sweetener raise with A24x and a good shot at a nut low, but it got bumped by a short stack. I had a nice low draw, and decided to go with it figuring that I would take half the pot if a low came barring a nasty counterfeiting. Turns out another guy had my exact low, so I was quartering at best.

I knew it was risky, but also figured it couldn’t hurt to set a rep as a gambler for a rebuy with so many big stacks at the table. Plan B it is.

$4 – > $0 – 2 Hands


Awesome lolmaha. Had to run the numbers on that hand. If I had joined in with my 6h2h6c4d, it would have looked like this. Interesting to note that the guy with AA had the worst EV because of his lack of a winnable low.

More Awsome lolmaha, this time I’m the recipient of the jackpot.

This time it busts me. Very next hand, too. Good old flop nuts that fail to hold up. This is an interesting one to stove. I have the absolute nuts on the flop, but with no low draw and my vulnerability to straight and flush draws, I’m actually in third place in the EV race! By the turn, when I get it all in there, my EV is 40%, but the river killed me.

This underscores the importance of seeing flops in O8 with solid low draws. You lose so much EV without a shot at the low that the flopped nuts only had 27% EV in that hand!

$4 --> 0 - 5 hands


Major gambly table. Hand history feature went on the fritz during this run, but I couldn’t even make it around to my BB to cash out up before I was compelled to shove with the odds. It didn’t work out and I busted again.

$6 --> $0 – 12 hands

So, O8 decimated my bankroll in this session. I knew it would be a swingy game to play in the challenge, but if I had just enforced a “cash out immediately when 10% of bankroll is on the table” policy instead of waiting for my BB, I would have finished near-even. Also, this table was just insane, even relative to normal microstakes O8. Total gamble-fest.


$4 +$4 -- > $4.49


$3.30 Tournament

Down to under $1k, I find KK and get healthy. Many hands later…OMFG, this is just brutal. And I’m out.

Gotta play more microstakes MTTs, the gambling is outrageous, should be well profitable in the long run.



Flopped a set and top pair, was sure I was still ahead on the flop, pretty sure I was ahead on the turn, and dead sure I was behind on the river. Buyup!

I never play 92o, but double it for O8? Sign me up! I had no idea how I was still good by the river, I thought I was busted for sure. (V1=6cAcAd2d, V2=Qc2c3c4c) Both were aiming low and didn't have two spades on them.

Wait for the blinds and bail…

$4 + $3 --> $11.72 – 16 Hands


Down a little after a big preflop raise with AJo and a c-bet, then doubled up with QQ. I knew this guy had an 8, just didn’t know what his other card was.

Then had my big score. lol. 1eyetex had a random king.

Oh, and this hand could be the cover of a book…

$4--> $9.90 – 43 Hands


$4 +$1 --> $7.06 – 21 Hands


On a whim I tried moving in with QQ on my second hand after a minraise and a call in front. Nobody had anything good enough to call with, but I thought I might look like your basic microstakes gambler by making that move on my second hand.

Tried a bluff and got reraised on the flop. Doubled up later. Wasn’t enough to avoid my first losing session in a while.

$4 --> $3.30 – 12 hands


Let’s try some six-handed.

Traded a few minor blows before the game collapsed.

$4 --> $4.26 – 14 hands


More O8

I swear, I don't even know what happened here with that river call (8433hh). If I can't avoid bad Omaha calls like this, I can't include Omaha in my cake-challenge game selection or I *will* destroy my bankroll.

Well, I added on a couple times and got some sugar in the end.

$4 +$1 +$1 --> $7.04

Let's go again!


And Again!

Sat down in the BB, and bought in for $6 because I wanted to get bought in before the hand ended and blinds passed. Won my first two hands, was up over $4, cruised the rest of the orbit and cashed out.

$6 --> $10.61



Omaha 8!

I really wanted to play some Omaha, but with no .02/.04 available, I bought in for $4 at the .05/.10 O8 table. Took my chances with this hand early on, but it didn't work out, and I busted. My "draw" that I liked turned out to be horrible after seeing the winner's hand. Gotta watch out for going to the felt on a nut low draw that will quarter you when it hits. Quartered nut lows happen all the time in O8.

$4 --> $0

I know swingy Omaha isn’t an ideal "bankroll management" game, especially at a touch over Ferguson stakes, but I think my bankroll cushion is big enough--and people play it badly enough--that I can risk the inherent swings in the game for the reward.

To that end, another shot; if I bust out, I'll get off the Omaha train before it decimates my bankroll…

I guess if I couldn't get away from the second nut low here (which I couldn't), I should have bet it.

Well, Omaha smiled on me in the way only Omaha can, when I went all in with a set, a flush draw, and the nut low draw, missed them all and hit runner-runner Broadway for the nuts and no low instead. (I thought I got the hand link, but I can’t find it).

I quit at my next blind like a good boy. I even folded bottom set (A633hhh) to a big flop bet. I had no straight or flush redraws and an awful low draw, and look what ended up happening. This is what I mean about playing Omaha smart…pick and choose when to gamble, because most of your opponents will be set to “always.”

$4 --> $13.60


I played at this hold'em table at the same time as the Omaha table. Had a couple key hands (villain = 8s7c) to put me ahead about $3.50, then had this hand on my last orbit. Solid sugar from both tables despite the early Omaha stumble.

$4 --> $10.16


$4 --> $4.33

In this hand, The min-raise preflop and the min-raise on the flop confused me a bit. I'm not sure how the hand would have gone down if I didn't catch one of my 3s or Qs to make things more straightforward. A more serious raise on the flop would have got me to fold, but he did have me confused.

On this hand, I get 99, and I'm facing an EP standard preflop raise and one caller. In spots like this, you have to decide right then if you are going to treat 99 like a better pocket pair, or a worse one. You certainly can't treat them like nines; that would be a disaster.

On the previous hand, I raised in the CO with QJ off, c-bet a K-high flop, got called, checked it down, and won with a river J. I had to show the table my marginal raise, though, which is an image adjuster. Because of that last hand, I felt re-raising with the nines would get me more action than I wanted, so I decided to treat them like a worse pair and set mine. With that many to the flop, I'm done when the board pairs jacks. Aficionado2 doesn't show, but I'm certain he held a jack.

If there's no reraise, I'm happily calling this obvious short-stack gambler with my ATss. The iso reraise works with QQ, though, and I correctly fold what would have been a big winner.

(AKcc) I liked the raise to $.30 (slightly more than pot-sized) preflop, because someone is probably going to pay that awful price to see a flop. When they do, and I hit top top with a flop that dry, I should have made a callable bet and not the microstakes overshove, but he did take until the last second to decide to fold.

(AQo) God, just when I'm doing great, I fuck it up. Classic, I was going to quit when the blinds got to me, too. Layla had been playing pretty loose, betting and calling with lots of marginal hands postflop, so I don't think it was a horrible call, but I didn't have to lose a buyin on that hand. I should have cut my losses on the river.

OK, I hit a flush and made $.33 of sugar. Good enough for now, if frustrating that I don't have my almost-$4 in sugar…


$4, +$2.89, +$2.02 --> $3.82, 40 hands

Sometimes you have to fold quads. (32o)

Expert play at the microstakes! I love the minraise war on the turn where the guy with trip sixes lets the gutshot hit with his awful betting. Really, I'm including this hand to show manderson's $2 bet into the $1 pot with the straight on the river. I think most 100%+ pot-sized bets on the river at $.02/$.04 are just the mircostakes equivalent of value bets.

6h5h - OK, the micro-stakes value bet on the river didn't work out on this one, but the whole min-bet-the-flop-and-turn thing created Jason's dream scenario: the chaseable gutshot/runner-runner!

Brutal. If he had pushed instead of check-min-raised, I might have thought I was behind and folded. Well, I got him to make a big mistake, so there you go. That's why proper bankroll management involves such a big cushion. You need to be able to withstand a ton of beats like that in a row without busting, because at some point, you will get tons of beats like that in a row.

I lose a coinflip with AK. I will pretty much never fold AK preflop at microstakes. I had AA the previous hand and won without a showdown, so my short-term image was very aggro. When I raise again on the next hand and someone overshoves, it's almost certain I've got a coin flip at worst, and maybe even domination. Also, sometimes that third player will gamble in terrible shape in that spot as well and make the call.

And that will do it for this nasty little session.


Hand 1

Hand 2 (I have AK)

Hand 3

Despite the help from RJ, I’m going to skip putting hand links in the spreadsheet, and instead use this post. That way I can more easily include commentary on the hands.


Villain's river bet felt like a go-away move, so I made the call.

9/24 $4.00 --> $8.10

Three-club flop wasn't ideal, but I bet strong to make any draws pay, and to check for any made hands.. If the one big stack had raised I would have folded, but I couldn't sweat that one of those small stacks might be made or suck out.

These are the laydowns I have to make regularly online if my online game is going to ever match my live game. I keep forgetting it doesn't save the Hero's hand info in the link if Hero folds. I'm pretty sure I had JJ, QQ, or KK here, and gave him credit.

I'd be interested in anyone's thoughts on this very common online maneuver that "get a beer" pulls here: tiny-betting the flop and turn. I make my hand on the river, but since any T beats me, I can only call on the river. Sometimes it seems to be a "feel for check/fold" buttons. Other times it's "I have a monster and I am going to make a big bet on the river." Sometimes it feels like a blocking bet. In any case I see it frequently at every stake level I've played online. In this case, it just gave me a fine price to draw, and at $.04 tables, I'm not even going to semi-bluff that often.

9/26 $4.00 --> $7.90

I wasn't even in this hand, I folded A7o preflop, but it illustrates something important about microstakes online poker: at least half the table is there specifically to gamble cheaply, not to play good poker. Just wait for great hands and play them super-aggressively.

I somehow failed to make a page out of it, but on the next hand I played a strong hand aggressively and busted someone.

Sometimes they catch you. Not that KJs is a great hand, but against this guy it was an instacall, especially with his stack. You can ID the ones really there to gamble pretty easily after a few hands.

AcQd played aggressively. Give people chasing the chance to make huge mistakes, because at these stakes, they will. With two flush draws on the turn, I overshoved to do just that, but he went away.

Beware of the person overbetting at you, they may be playing the style I'm suggesting, as this guy is here. He made two pair, massively overshoved, and ran into my better two pair, but I certainly like his overshove more than a standard raise in this spot.

A nice hand to quit on.

Today's microstakes lesson: be the overshover, don't call the overshover. That's "everyone on here is a donk" thinking that will turn you into a donk faster than Pinoccio on Pleasure Island.

Mixing it up - review

With the first night of Dealer's Choice in the book, it's time for a review. This was a new thing for me so I apologize for not being more on top of the rules and procedures but we as we all improve our skills at mixed games I will be more effective at running the floor for them. If you have feedback, comment away on this post. My stuff is below:

* I looked it up and verified that the bring in goes to the worst (low in high games, high in low games) card by rank and suit. On subsequent rounds the ties are broken by going clockwise from the dealer.

* I don't know if some of us were doing this or not but in stud games there should be a burn card before dealing a round of cards like in Hold'em.

* In stud games, if there the person opening has a pair on fourth street (second up card) then any player has the option to bet either the small bet or the big bet. Once someone opts to go to the larger bet, all subsequent raises must be increments of the big bet amount.

* How were stakes? I thought 4/8 worked out OK. I think the limit structure allows plenty of time to bail on a draw and keeps crying call amounts manageable. Also I picked 4/8 because it provided for a reasonable 4:1 ration between the small bet and the antes. As we get better I think we could bump those up to maybe a 6/12?

* I have a post out on a forum to get answers to the irregularities that happened last night and will get back to you guys with answers when I get them.

* Too many people? I'm glad we got not only enough turnout but a full table (you don't want more than eight people for 7cs games) but having more than six players prevented us from playing 2-7 triple draw. Do we want to cap the number of attendees on the next mixed game night? I think we need to at least cap it at eight players if we are going to have stud games available. Or another option is to have players sit out. For example, if we have eight and offer 2-7 triple draw for an orbit then we can have the two players behind the button sit out so everyone has to sit out a couple of hands in a row as that game proceeds on its orbit. It would serve as a good time to take a break too.

* How do you want to handle playing these games in the future? Convert one night a month of mid-week poker to dealer's choice? Play an orbit where the dealer can call his own game for one hand at the beginning of a mid-week poker night then switch to Hold'em like normal? Just save mixed games for occasions like last night and not mess with the normal WNP program?

Sorry again about the rough edges last night, I'm sure next time will be smoother after we process feedback and I do more research on rules/procedures.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

TNP Online Poker Challenge Update?

I’m curious — how’s the challenge going? I’m not in the running, so if you who are aren’t ready to give an update, just ignore me.

How about weekly totals with a rough estimate of the amount of hours played?

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

"_______-ing" up is the new plaquing up (fill in the blank)

For those of you at Tuesday Night Poker last night (and that would be everyone) you might have noticed that we now have new 100 unit markers instead of the wimpy plaques that I've never been too happy with. The question is what to call them since they are not plaques. The phrase that comes up most often is something like "Hey, can you plaque me up?" when there are many chips in front of you and you want to make room for more. So what in your opinion should be the term for the new markers? Post a comment to forward a suggestion and/or give an opinion on any existing options.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Poker videos online

Ran across a link to a video on a new (to me) site, Their main side bar menu lists:

Aussie Millions 2007
Aussie Millions Cash Game
Best of High Stakes Poker
EPT Season 2
EPT Season 3
EPT Season 3 Final Monte Carlo
High Stakes Poker Season 3
High Stakes Poker Season 4
Irish Open 2007
National Heads Up Championship 2007
Nations Cup 2007
Party Poker Premier League
Poker After Dark Season 1
Poker After Dark Season 2
Poker Den - 24h Cash game
Poker Masters of Europe Final
William Hill Grand Prix Season 2
WSOP 2007

Plus I saw WSOP years buried deeper in the site.

Now admit it, you were dying to know who won the 2007 Irish Open, right? Videos are nicely organized and in order (unfortunately reversed but at least you can easily find the next vid in the series). Quality seems maybe half a step better than YouTube and no branding so it looks like these are fresh transcodes and not just recycling YouTube vids. It's no HD quality like off of a torrent but will work as a quick fix for anyone Jonesing for some poker.

Clicky clicky. (™ jsola)

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Back to School tourney structure

Not sure what happened last night. I heard/felt the mood that people felt like they were being blinded out. With 25/50 starting blinds and 10K(!) starting stacks that was a 200xBB ratio which is on the higher side of the spectrum and is incidentally the same as the classic Main Event opening round. The tourney ended right around midnight as planned which is about 4.5 hours or as long as you want a standard recreational tourney to go. I think that part of the issue was that everyone played very tight in the opening rounds, at least at our table. With only three people out after the first six rounds (two hours) the average stack was roughly 12,700 and blinds were 500/1000 so the average player had about eight orbits of blinds. Even with 11 players still in, the feel was definitely like being near the bubble. I was fully expecting that we would have already collapsed down to one table before the break and thought we might have thinned out twice as many players as we did by the break. Not a lot you can do about players being tight (except steal blinds all day like Joe did). Antes would help that situation but I'm reluctant to implement that in a casual tourney because most players are not used to them and making sure everyone posts is a hassle that slows down the game. I'm disappointed in the play of the tourney because it should have allowed for a lot more flops and plenty of post flop action but it turned out to be a whole lot of raising pre-flop taking down the blinds.

Last Man Standing

Scenario: 14 person tourney $30 buy in. There is an optional $30 "last longer" or "last man standing" side bet. Marsh, Joe, and I are the only players to partake in the LMS so the payout is winner take all. Shockingly enough the three players who wanted to put more money on the line ended up placing 4th, 3rd, and 1st. After I went out in fourth it was Joe and Marsh and Andrew with Andrew being the only player who did not have an extra $90 riding on placement. Payouts for the main tourney were $210, $105, $63, and $42.

While the final table is shorthanded, Marsh tells me that he that he wants to talk to me about something after the tourney. My heart goes pitter patter. After he donks his way to the checkered flag by getting all in with AA pre-flop (hello...five more cards to come), he pulls me aside and brings up his point that Andrew had the opportunity to hammer on pots knowing that Marsh and Joe each had an extra $90 on the line and had extra incentive to wait each other out.

I have two thoughts on this:
* That there is not that much to be gained with this knowledge. The tournament structure to begin with is predicated on trying to take as much chips from each other as possible. And it is your right to steal from a player who is playing tight, whether it is their playing style, due to a side bet, or because they are stuck for the month and really wants to get into the money. This doesn't really seem much different than a bubble situation and two short stacks trying to wait each other out.
* It wouldn't be that hard to implement a system of silent entry into the LMS. If people paid me then I'd be the only person to know and since I'm doing it also then there would not be undue advantage. However, in that case I would know everyone I needed to beat whereas everyone else would only know that they had to beat me. I could complicate matters by giving everyone an envelope with their name on it and leave a drop box out. If at the end of the tournament there is LMS money in your envelope then you are eligible. If your envelope is empty then you are out of the LMS. More complicated but that would ensure that no one knew who else was doing the side bet though I think we all would have opinions on who would or wouldn't partake. Kinda gimmicky but I like that there is a perfect solution possible.

I am getting feedback from the forum and one of the comments is that a LMS bet can affect your performance because it is taking you off of your A game. So one thought on that is to not get into situations where the stakes are going to make you change your game. By the same token, that's what tournament strategy is all about and why you would play hands vastly differently in a tourney than in a cash game situation. I'm torn on this: on the one hand I see Marsh's point and the procedures geek in me wants to come up with a solution that gives complete anonymity. On the other hand, the LMS scenario above is not so different from tournament pressure in general.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Poker on This American Life

If you've never heard TAL, it's a radio show on... well, just about anything; every week they pick a theme and do a series of short mini-documentaries on various topics illustrating the theme. This week they're rerunning a program from a few years back, various stories of amateurs dipping into the professional versions of their hobbies. The middle act is a segment on the WSoP, and it's a fantastic sliver of the life -- even better for having been done about 3 years before poker became huge. Worth listening to if only for Phil Gordon betting on Rock-Paper-Scissors. And kicking ass.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Standards for Completing the SB

You bought in for 100BB at a ten-table NL game. You've been there for an orbit and don't know much about any of the players. There are a mix of stack sizes, but nobody with fewer than 70 BB. You are in the small blind and a limpfest started with 3rd position, and by the time it gets to you there are five limpers.

You peek down at J7o. Do you complete or fold?

What is the worst hand you would complete with, here?

Quote of the Day

Today's QOTD is brought to you by the game of Omaha:
"Pre-flop I had a good hand, but I'd only seen 4 of my 2 cards."

Ran across that on the Internet and was really reflecting on how much Omaha seems like high stakes coin flipping.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Loose Calls, Implied Odds, and Reads

This hand from tonight has been bugging me since it happened, so I figgered I'd throw 'er up on the ole' blog and see what people think about it.

The setting is Wednesday night poker. It's 6 handed late into the night, effective stacks are around 200 BB at this point. I'm in middle position, and I have 4 3 offsuit. It's limped to me, I limp along, and a few more limpers come along as well.

The flop is 4 6 Q, rainbow. Jason leads out for 6 into the 10-ish pot. There's a fold behind me, I call the 6. Marshall calls the 6. Matt, on the button, raises to 26.

Jason calls, and here's where it gets tricky for me. I'm putting Matt on at least a Q here, but I'm definitely not ruling out two pair or trips. I'm looking at bottom pair and definitely do not feel good about it, but I have 5 outs to two pair or trips. My outs are all very clean, I don't expect someone to make a better two pair or a straight if I hit one of them. Therefore, I call the additional 20, hoping Marshall will come along as well.

He obliges. The turn is a beautiful 3, giving me bottom two pair and bringing a flush draw to the board. Jason checks to me, and I check, intending to checkraise. Marsh checks. Matt puts out a very sizable bet of 60 into the 100+ pot. Unexpectedly, Jason calls!

All the sudden I feel like I'm in a tricky spot. Do I raise? My two pair's probably good here, and given my flop assessment of my outs I should feel great about it. But what's going to call me? A better two pair is definitely possible given all the junky hands we were limping with. And Matt is betting HARD here, do I really want to push into what could be a flopped set? Top pair is going to start getting freaked and will likely fold.

I ended up just calling, and Marsh called the 60 as well.

The river was a four, giving me bottom boat. Here's where it just gets embarassing for me... Jason checks, I try to think of a pay-me-off bet, and accidentally make a checking motion with my chip handlin' hand. Oooops. It checks through and I win.

So where did I go wrong here? Should I have stuck to my read and raised it on the turn? I'm completely denying myself the implied odds I thought I had on the flop if I miss a bet here. In addition, I'm letting Marsh or Jason call profitably to draw out on my fragile two pair.

I felt like I won the pot through lucky donkey plays, and did not feel good about my play at all here. What should I have done differently?

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Man versus machine

John Henry versus steam power, Kasparov versus Deep Blue, and now...Phil Laak versus Polaris, a poker playing computer program. Everyone knows that you can pick off online n00bs on the Internets with bot software. But can a computer stand up against professional players like Phil Laak and Ali Eslami? The University of Alberta wanted to find out. To their credit, they set up a very fair format. There were four rounds of 500 hands per round. In each round there are two heads-up matches between a carbon player and a silicon player. The hands however are identical so Phil gets AK versus the computer's QQ on the same hand that Ali gets QQ against the computer's AK in order to factor out card rushes from the competition. The other main thing that struck me was that the game was limit Hold'em. With all due respect to Andy Beal, I think getting a robot to play limit is a much easier nut to crack than PL or NL.

Cliffs Notes version: Statistical draw first round. Polaris wins second round. Humans win final two rounds. Not sure if humans just took a little while to dial into the bot tactics. Phil Laak was up. Ali Eslami was down but not enough to offset Phil's winnings. Overall: Humans were up in cash total as well as match results.

Details of the challenge. And for those ROT'ers out there, here are the results including link to hand histories.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

TNP Online Poker Challenge

Ok kids lets set some guidelines and goals. It was brought up in the other bankroll post, and I think it's an awesome idea.

Whomever is in starts a CakePoker account, deposits the same amount as everyone else, and we see what we can get it to in a given amount of time or whatever.

$50.00 (ahem play money naturally since we live in WA ahem cough) seems reasonable. I think the guidelines should be something like you can do whatever you want (SNG, micro, take shots) strategy wise, but you have to be honest and report your situations. What limits did you play? How were you playing? Hand histories?

We should set a time frame and see who can build it up the most (or not go busto at least). It would be really really interesting to see we all approach it and what works and doesn't work.

I think this would be more of a learning experience than a competition per se. I know you guys have to have more ideas involving this, so let's hear 'em!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Forward motion binding?

If any of you saw the HSP episode where Laak and asks for a ruling on whether or not Todd Brunson's forward motion is binding, here is the post on his blog about that incident.

As for WNP, if anyone pulls a stunt like Brunson and does a fake bet with forward motion of your hand but pulls it back, you are going to get a frowny face on your next report card instead of a gold star. Please don't do crap like that. Let this serve as a warning. Oh and by the way, I think the best penalty for doing that in a heads up situation would be that the other player gets to determine if the forward motion is considered a call or a fold. Thank you.

Ryan controlling pot size

I'm just going to make a blanket disclaimer for all blog posts from here on out that I can have really crappy hand recall. So if I ever screw up a hand just correct me.

Anyway, as I recall, this hand with Ryan went something like this: Shorthanded five way action at Kahlua's table last Friday. Based on the action I think I must have been in one of the blinds and Ryan was in position on me. He tells me later that he had AQ so I have to assume that he raised (probably to seven or eight) and I called with Ac3c. As Ryan knows, Ax suited is definitely within my range of hands. I'm a sucker for the nut flush, it gives me an excuse for hitting low paired boards, it is simple to calculate pot odds if I hit four to the flush, gives me a disguised two pair, and I can get away from hitting my Ace/crappy kicker. So back to the hand, the flop comes out 9TQ two clubs so I fire a pot-ish sized bet. Ryan hems and haws and makes what appears to be the most painful call of his life. Turn comes a non-Club K. Well now my hand is improved to a double nut draw because I can catch a Jack for Broadway or a club for the nut flush. I fire a second shell with my Ace high/no kicker double-nutter. Ryan makes a reluctant fold.

Immediately after the hand Ryan jumps into the confessional and divulges his hand, AQ(os?). I remarked that I found it surprising that he didn't pop my bet with top/top. He then went on to elaborate that he knew that I (being stuck at that point) was willing to gamble and if he raised that I could very well re-raise him if I had any reasonable draw, then he would have to either commit more chips or fold. At that point of the night I think Ryan had already had his stack dented in a JJ-AK race with Marsh but with still a healthy stack to worry about which I think entered into the measured response. During the play of the hand I specifically recall being perplexed by Ryan's call on the flop. It truly struck me as an odd response. I did not read it as a slow played monster hand. I did not read it as a "let me calculate odds" pause. After Ryan's explanation the whole thing made a lot more sense. The strategy was to let a blank fall on the turn and then proceed from there. Worst possible card would have been Kc but the K alone was enough for Ryan to be done with the hand. I was surprised that he took that tack because Ryan attacks pots as much as I bleed of chips on draws. Can't say that I blame him though. That flop was certainly not the most AQ friendly Q high flop ever invented and his read on my state of gamble was definitely spot on so it ended up being a reasonable exercise in not getting involved in a pot bigger than he wanted. As is he got away with only investing about 30 chips in a hand that I could easily have dumped my whole stack into. I'm actually reading a book currently that has a lot of information about controlling pot size and pot commitment so seeing Ryan base his unorthodox (for him) call on the flop made a lot of sense since it achieved his objective of trying to not invest too much until he saw the board develop more.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Found: Steamboat Timmy

Marsh burnt me a DVD with some WSOP coverage. I was watching the 7cs final table and who should be dealing to Lisandro, Negreanu, and company but my good friend Steamboat Timmy from Caesars Palace as chronicled here.

Back in May he sat down at my table and this guy was steaming bad. He was in a yelling match at a different table before coming over to my 1/3 table. Then after he sat down at my table he got into a couple of heated discussions about the rules or procedures and he insisted that the dealer was incorrect. He wasn't to the point of calling the Floor over but he just could not let the disagreement drop as he kept bitching about it for a number of hands after the infraction. The ironic thing was that after he raked in a pot he would STILL tip the dealer then added a comment to the table with words to the effect of "I'm pissed but I'm not a dick! I'm in the industry!" Well it looks like we found out his role.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Bankroll management

Since the topic of bankroll management came up last night I thought I post about Full Tilt's Chris Ferguson Challenge. Jesus started an account with zip, zilch, nada. He then played in freerolls so he didn't have to post any money and placed high enough and often enough to build up a real money bankroll that he could play either tourneys or cash games with. He had passed the $10,000 (in real money!) barrier a while ago though he has dipped below that for now.

Of course he has skill and experience but he also credits his bankroll management as a reason he was able to generate so much money from nothing. His rules were as follows:
  • He never buys into a cash game or a Sit & Go with more than 5 percent of his total bankroll (there is an exception for the lowest limits: he is allowed to buy into any game with a buy-in of $2.50 or less).
  • He doesn’t buy into a multi-table tournament for more than 2 percent of his total bankroll, but he’s allowed to buy into any multi-table tournament that costs $1.
  • If at any time during a No-Limit or Pot-Limit cash-game session the money on the table represents more than 10 percent of his total bankroll, he must leave the game when the blinds reach him.
In his blog post about the challenge he remarks:

"Even today, people don't believe it's really me when I sit down at Full Tilt's small stakes games. They ask what I'm doing down here, and often tell me stories about how they turned $5 into $500 or $100 into $1,000. Usually, these stories end with the person telling me that they went broke. There's no surprise there. These folks tried to quickly build a bankroll by gambling. They'd play in a game that was beyond their bankroll and, if they happened to win, they'd move up to a higher limit and risk it all one more time. Inevitably, they'd lose a few big hands and go broke."

I think this is a brilliant campaign by Full Tilt and I applaud Jesus for having the patience and discipline to execute the challenge. Looks like he started in about Mach 2006 and you've got to figure over that year+ that he must have had so many times when he was down at micro-limits and shaking his head in disgust at the screen as he watched severe d0nkage. His perseverance is remarkable especially in light of the fact that he could probably whip out 10K in cash as easily as we could pull $100 out of our wallets. Congrats to Chris on his accomplishment and take from it what you will about bankroll management.

Monday, September 3, 2007

lol internet

A few internet hands for you guys to ponder.

All of them are short handed (5-6 players) with $0.25-$.50 blinds. No reads on anyone I'm playing against because I'm a multitabling superstar who doesn't have time for reads.

Hand 1

Hero's got J♦J♥ on the cut-off. MP folds, I raise to $2. Button and SB fold, BB re-raises to $6.50. (No reads on him at this point)

The flop comes 4♦9♦2♦. BB bets $8 into the $13 pot.

Hero calls, turn is a Q♦. BB pushes his last $37 into the $29 pot.


Hand 2

Hero has 3♠3♦ on the button. Villain raises it to $1.75 from the hijack. Cutoff calls, hero calls.

Flop is 6♥8♥9♦. Villain bets $2.85 into the $6 pot. CO folds.

Hero calls. Turn is T♠. Villain bets $5.85 into the $11 pot. Hero calls.

River is A♣. Villain bets $5 into the $23 pot.

Hero raises to $25... Villain has $50 left and covers hero. Good or bad?

Hand 3

Hero has K♠K♦ in the BB. Three people limp, SB folds, and hero raises to $3. Two callers to the flop...

8♣5♦J♠. Hero bets $6 into the $9 pot. Button calls.

Turn 3♣. Hero checks, button bets $2 into the $22 pot.


BONUS BAD BEAT HAND!!! (I'm 'tgijvs')

Stupid river. Worst street in hold'em imho.