Thursday, February 28, 2008

Folding Kings pre-flop

According to some comments in the DNR blog, Jason is apparently able to fold KK pre-flop in a .05/.10 game instead of making a crying call for another $5. Personally I didn't think any one of the TNP'ers (if anyone at all) is making that laydown there. As Ryan pointed out at lunch and Jason later said, if there is any time for someone to throw Kings away it is when there is a shove after you, an insta-shove afterwards, and both of the shovers dancing around the poker room clearly insinuating that they had Aces. OK, maybe ONE of them is messing around but I think you have to give credit to one of them having Aces. Anyway, watch the footage for yourself and try to decide what you would do in that situation.

Is the optimal play always the optimal play?

I was reading Ryan's DNR blog and came across the following post where Ryan picks up AA and decides he wants to take down the pot on the turn by intentionally overbetting. His comment (below) was that it was suboptimal since it made it too difficult for villain to pay an incorrect price. But the question is: is the "optimal" play always the optimal play? Is locking up a pot ever better than risking the loss of a bigger pot? What conditions would need to exist to justify NOT not making an optimally sized bet (as in slightly the wrong price to villain).

T1, Hand 30. After the gift of a turn uberblank on a draw-heavy board, I overbet the turn to seriously charge for the villain's apparent draw. He folds, and it was a suboptimal play because I didn't bet so he could make a mistake on the turn, but with my run of late, I really just wanted to take down the pot.

Here is the hand history

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Paired flop versus all low flop prop bet

Follow up to Jason and Marshall's prop bet last night. Jason offers Marshall his choice of taking paired flop (which presumably includes three of a kind) versus an all low flop (all three cards a different rank of 8 or lower). I consider myself not a slouch at math so I can't understand why I'm having such a tough time at this one.

At the time I thought that paired board would have better odds. Just seemed that paired flops would be easier than getting all three cards to do the same thing. Then the next hand came along and I didn't think about it any more until I got home. I tried to crunch numbers to see which one had the edge but couldn't get numbers that sounded right.

For low, I figured it is a 32/52 chance of the first card being low (four each of A-8), second card has only seven ranks left so a 28/51 chance for that, and finally 24/50 for the third card to be low as well. So (32/52) * (28/51) * (24/50) = .615 * .549 * .480 = .162 or roughly 16%. Back of the envelope calculations say that three low cards are roughly three coin flips in a row which would be 1/8 or 12.5% so that seems correct. However I know that for some calculations you actually have to find the odds of *missing* then multiply those together. Since all of these values are close-ish to 50/50 I could be doing the wrong method but still getting a similar number.

Then for the paired board I figured the odds of the first card coming from the deck are 100%. Easy peasy. Now the next card matching it would be 3/51 or .058 and the odds of the third card matching either of the two others would be 6/50 or .120. But multiplying those numbers together gives you .007 or less than 1% and that seemed way wrong. Actually as I was blogging I think that I need to ADD them together since they are independent events. Is that right? So .058 + .120 = .178 or almost 18%. Do paired boards really show up almost 1/5 of the time? Back of the envelope says that three cards need to make a pair at least as often as two cards do so the correct number must be > 6% but is it that much more?

Are those the right numbers? Paired flop 17.8% favored over all low flop 16.2%?

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Blog design stuff

OK Ryan, either change your design of DNR back to the Scottish marching band photo and groovy background or take the poll off. I'm on the hook for saying that your blog design is 12 times better than Royal's but now that it's been dumbed down to blandsville, my vote no longer represents my opinion of the blog design.

Chasing the d0nk, patiently

Patience is definitely a virtue, and I learned how virtuous it can be today on Cake.

I had a guy sitting at my table who was willing to gamble well beyond the odds in many different spots. And the nice thing is he kept showing his cards, win or lose. I targeted him early, as you can read in my full session post, but I had to patiently await the right moment. Turns out practicing this sort of discipline isn’t easy, but it definitely works.

I don’t want to name the target here, because in the way-off chance he’s looking for his username in a Google search, I don’t want him to come across this post. My own blog is unsearchable.

He was on a roller coaster for a while, but rarely against me, fluctuating between $3 and $5. I had to fold (or simply lost) a few key hands (TT, Q9d, 99) to him, but they didn’t feel like the right spots. I was ok with that, because I knew that moment would come, provided he didn’t bust out to somebody else. I’m guessing that’s the only way he would have left the table.

The climax of the story arrived about half an hour after I first targeted him. Here’s what I wrote in my blog:

Ahhhhh. Sweet victory. God that feels good. He had KTo on the first hand. He left right after I felted him. I gotta give thanks to MAXXX_34, who added a bit to [redacted]’s stack right before these two hands.

Patiently waiting paid off, literally. A lesson I think we all can benefit from.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

So about this board lock thing

Last Friday Ryan and I were playing Razz at the lunch game and in one hand he filled his wheel early. Was it 5th street? 6th street? Regardless, there was short conversation between us afterwards where he said he had "board lock" on his opponent (I think that opponent was me by the way). I seem to remember looking down and seeing that I had two wheel cards showing and I took issue with him saying that he had board lock since I too could possibly have had a wheel. He replied that with the wheel there was no way he was losing the hand which I obviously agree with. He had the nuts and clearly could not *lose* the hand.

But for some reason, don't know why, I had always defined board lock as the state where, based on the upcards of my opponents, everyone else's best possible hand is worse than mine. In other words, it's that they must have losing hands, not that I have a non-losing hand. I think that board lock would realistically only apply for low hands since high hands could always end up being totally hidden Quads.

Furthermore another condition that I had assumed was part of board lock was that it is good for the remainder of the hand. If you have the Nut Flush on the Turn in Hold'em, your nut hand is vulnerable in case the board pairs. The way I see board lock, if you achieve board lock for low on 5th street (i.e. you have the wheel versus pair of Sevens and a Six) then you can jam at every opportunity knowing that there is no way that anyone can catch up to you since based on the upcards they cannot beat you or even tie you.

I think board lock would also apply to PtT when you are going for low with a crappy J high but you see the other two players in the hand showing pairs after the second flip. As soon as you see that happen you have a green light to raise knowing you are a lead pipe cinch for low.

Anyway, still doing research on the matter. The other thing I wanted to mention was that while Googling for "'board lock' poker" the TNP blog showed up in the #2 spot!

Friday, February 22, 2008

O/8 tourney structure

Just as a caveat, I have no idea how this Royal's O/8 tourney is going to play out. We are using the same blind structure as we have before but with even deeper stacks of 5000 instead of the 4000-ish range that we've been using before. I wanted to allow for plenty of play and with as swingy as Pot Limit O/8 can be I figured the stack depth would allow for everyone to withstand high variance dents to their stack in the early stages. The other change is to make the blinds 25 minutes instead of the normal 20 minutes. That was to help compensate for the fact that we are likely going to get fewer hands in per round than in Hold'em due to the math of making pot sized bets and for chopping up high and low halves of the pots. I don't know how much of the variance is going to be mitigated by the occurrence of splitting pots hi/lo either. On top of all of those factors it looks like we will be a shorthanded table with T&I out and Jason and MB in Mexico. Ryan is also a tenth hour scratch.

We'll soon find out I guess! Look for a follow up post digesting the tourney this weekend.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Play 'em like they're Aces

For those of you who "missed" watching the television event of the century, the new Knight Rider movie, here is a screen grab of the hallowed Deuce-Five being flashed by the protagonist after he shoved on a raise with KJos by Phil Laak. I guess he figures if his girlfriend can crossover from acting to poker why not try to crossover the other way. Laak folds and the pot is swept to the son-of-Hoff.

Hand of the night

Since Ryan, Marsh and Jason all missed Tuesday Night Poker this week, I'll recap one of the more interesting hands of the night. Once again it happened on the last orbit of the night, after stacks have gotten nice and juicy. Royal had just busted out previously and was near full strength after a rebuy. He opens for 10(?) and I call in LP as does Jeh in one of the blinds. Flop comes out 234 with two Hearts. Jeh leads out on the flop for 10. Royal, the original raiser, makes it 30. I flat call the 30. Back to Jeh now and he now bumps it up to 100. Royal thinks about it for an while and makes a begrudging fold. Action back around now to me who having previously flat called, now goes deep into the tank. Since it was the last orbit we have already started to rack up chips and Jeh has about three more racks behind after his bump to 100. Martin now picks the number 180 and it's time for Jeh to ponder. He spends some time in the tank then finally makes the call. Turn is Jd. Jeh and I discussed this afterwards and we both knew that was as much of a blank as there could possibly be. Jeh checks to me and I bet 246 which was my best guess as to what Jeh had behind (it was actually 245, close enough). Jeh is repeating to himself Ace-Five, Five-Six. He asks to see a card and that request is politely declined. He finally folds and he is then allowed to turn over a card which ends up being a Deuce.

Royal's overpair of Queens was pulling up the rear in third place. Jeh flopped top two with his 34. Martin had bottom set. The interesting thing was seeing how everyone put the pieces together based on the betting and the history of knowing the other players at the table. Royal made a disciplined and correct fold. I was willing to boat mine on the flop since I was concerned about a possible straight out there which is why I just flat called Royal's bet. But then things got out of what when Jeh raised. And when Royal folded I wasn't sure what he was re-raising with that folds now but the QQ makes sense. When it was 100 to me I decided that I could not flat call because I don't know what a good card or a bad card is for me. If I am behind a straight already then I want to flat call and hope to boat up. As it was, I was behind most of the hands that would be making a re-pop there. both straights and oversets had me in a bad way. I was only beating two pair and since I had three ducks accounted for, almost certainly 34 which means I don't have any boat outs. After Jeh's flat call of my bump and his check on the Turn I felt positive that I was ahead and that futher strengthened my theory that he is on exactly 34. Jeh even mentioned to me that I probably knew his two cards. Anyway, interesting hand and more proof that we play too much poker with each other when we can peg each other so squarely on a hand.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

I knew there was a reason I liked these

I don’t know how many of you TNP readers out there know who Errol Morris is. He’s an amazing documentary director, and you may have seen his movies or TV shows in the past.

But I know you’ve definitely seen some of his work in TV commercials. I really liked these commercials when I would see them on TV, and the fact that he directed them totally makes sense.

If you want some more good Errol Morris commercial watching (if you’re into that sort of thing), his Miller High Life commercials, like this one, are among the Best. Commercials. Evar.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Converting Cake files into word

I'm starting to try to write a word document on how I play Omaha 8 and my strategies during specific hands. When I pull up the cake history and copy and paste the document into word (I am using word for the Mac if that makes any difference) the betting history and pot size is accurately documented (albeit in a word format) but the hole cards and the board cards disappear. Any ideas??

If these hand histories are not easily copied, any preferred formats that you have seen in books and magazines for how to present a hand. I kind of like the card player columns titled hand to hand combat for those of you that have seen them, but this format is a bit too detailed for what I had in mind.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Bankroll managment, schmankroll management

Has anyone checked out the latest on the Chris Ferguson Challenge? He's down to 9K and change which is less than his 10K goal and WAY off of his peak of what looks to be around $27K or $28K, or roughly three times his current stake. Biffing off 2/3 of your roll with only 5%-10% of your roll at risk is remarkable especially since your buy-in is going to (or at least SHOULD) shrink proportionally as your roll decreases.

I wonder what is happening in Jesus-land? And could it be that we have it all wrong and that Jason-land bankroll management is right? I mean he has the biggest roll of any of the Cakers and ROT will tell you what that means!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Hand dissection: PLO/8

I'm hazy on this but am going with as much as I can recall. Anyone can feel free to let me know details I've fluffed up. Pot Limit Omaha hi/lo last Saturday. Relevant players are all deep stacked enough to be relevant. I pick up As6sQh2h in MP and bump it to six with the nut low draw, double suited, and a bit of counterfeit insurance. Call to my left (Tiff?), Jason, and Ivan. Flop comes out low straighty (something like 678?) and two Diamonds one Spade. I have the nut low and a backdoor flush draw. Ivan leads out for small, maybe 8 or something? I flat call to find get more information. Jason is the only other person to come along to the Turn. Turn I believe changes nothing and the nut straight is still the nut straight. Ivan bets 20. I pop it to 60 now. Jason is like "I can't believe I'm laying this down" and folds. Ivan calls. River changes nothing. Ivan checks to me and I pot it for a big amount. Ivan calls. He has 69 for nut straight and I take the lower portion.

Salient points: Jason successfully put me on A2 from my pre-flop raise AND bowed out of the hand because he was sure he was getting quartered.

I flat called the flop to see what else was going on though I could surely have raised there. Right, wrong? I think A2 in Ivan's hand would have been a bigger bet relative to the pot but I recall it was kinda light. Not sure though. My idea was to wait for a scare card like a Diamond or paired board to allow me to potentially scoop but the Turn didn't help me out. After Ivan bet I raised it as a feeler. If both Jason AND Ivan call I feel an imminent visit from the Q Fairy. Fortunately Jason folds and I'm heads up. Once the river blanks I think my only chance to scoop is to make a big bet and go with my read that Ivan doesn't have a two way hand with a nut low but it is called.

Not sure what the right thing to do here was. It's funny because if I HADN'T raised Jason might not have put me on the nut low and stayed in, much to both of our detriments.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Starting Hands in Omaha 8

Ryan asked if I would post my starting hands in O8. A difficult question but one I am happy to try to answer. Since I play heads up, 6 handed and 10 handed, starting hands will change for different positions, different # of players, and different types of tables. I have played with the aggro types and 10 handed tables where virtually everyone limps. I will try to rank hands as super premium, premium, OK, speculative, and don't bother. Then adust as you see fit based on table dynamics.

Super Premium

AAxx, I never fold AA preflop, the only hand I will never fold. It is ideal to be heads up with this hand or against a small field. I will occassionally limp with AA, UTG or early position 10 handed with AAxx with xx being junk like 6-10 cards, and rainbow.


A2xx. I will fold A2xx to a big raise if I limped in early position. A2xx actually plays better against a field than heads up. I raise typically with A2xx single suited, and almost always raise with A2xx double suited.

A23x. A great hand because yhou have counterfeight protection.

KKxx. I love this hand because when a King hits, unlike when an Ace hits on the flop, you are guaranteed there is no made low and the low hands will have to chase. Bet out or check raise with KK when the K hits on the flop and virtually always go to the mat.

QQxx. Another great hand for the same reasons.

Ax suited. I will sometimes fold if facing a big raise preflop but I love to see flops with this hand for obvious reasons. Ax with 6-10, would fall into the good hands category

Good Hands

Pocket 10 tens or Jacks with connecting cards and/or double suited. I like playing JJ,Q,9 single or double suited, but will throw away JJ,6-8 rainbow.

2,3 with another wheel card or double suited. What's so great about a 3 high flush draw. If 2,3 is the obvious nut low being bet into you I would typically just call with another 2,3 and no redraws. If I have a flush draw to go with it, I will raise here and freeroll against the villain.

2,4,5x. 2,4xx is just too hard to play. You are hoping for a A and a 3. It happens just not often enough to get excited.

4 Broadway cards. I know most people like to raise with these hands but I rarely do. I just find this to be a somewhat speculative hand because unless at least 2 of the flop cards are above an 8 I am fighting against the low who won't go away and can scoop against me.

A3xx. Rarely will I fold preflop unless rainbow with 6-10 cards.

A45x. Typically will play even if rainbow.

Speculative hands

2,3xx. Something like 2,3,KQ or 2,3,J,10 I will typically play.

4 connected cards. Hands like 4,5,6,7 are not great, but if you get a few limpers you might get a couple A2xx or A3xx to quarter themselves while you get a straight.

Junk hands

Double pair hands. I hate low pairs, as when you hit trips you are scared of bigger sets, flush draws, straight draws and sharing with the low. Double pair hands like JJ,88 (sorry Ryan) are junk.

All pairs 22 thru 77 unless it comes with premium cards. I tossed 44,xx today when raised by AAxx. The flop was 4,4,x, the turn was an A, but thats ROTTy thinking.

Rainbow hands not connected. Obvious.

4 of one suit hand. Obvious. I played a hand like this today because the ranking of the cards were good. I think it was A,3,Q, 10 or something. 2 of my suit hit on the flop but I did not chase knowing I had so many of my own outs.

Pure Trash

3 of a kind. I will rarely play a AAA,x hand. Maybe if it comes with a 2 or is suited. All other 3 of a kinds I throw away.

Still have yet to be dealt 4 of a kind but I am sure it is coming.

I use a concept called reverse implied odds, meaning what are the chances I will pay off the villains when I am chasing with pure trash hands. Even great poker players pay off villains. In O8 showdown value is so important as the pots tend to be huge and showdowns happen much more often than in Hold'em.

Hope this helps but the real key to success is post flop play just like in Hold'em. This is where are villains are failing. I will try to give some insight to post flop play on my blog when I post at the end of this month.

Good luck at the tables.

Chinese Poker exposed card during deal

As Dealer's Choice was winding down, we ended up by playing a round of Chinese Poker. During one of the hands a card was flipped up and exposed for the whole world to see. We ended up getting the second deck and redealing but I posted the question about mis-deals on a poker forum. The funny thing is halfway through writing up my post I realized just how irrelevant seeing one card from another player's hand is. If Royal is positive that I have a 7c in my hand, how can he maximize use of that knowledge? We were four handed so if the 7c was not in his hand it was guaranteed to be in someone else's. And obviously by extension, ANY card not in his hand was guaranteed to be in someone else's. And as we have seen, there are plenty of cases where having another player play his hand face up would not affect the point outcome of the matchup. Even if the action were shorthanded I wonder if there is any utility to knowing a specific card is in someone's hand. Going to have to mull this one over some more.

In the meanwhile, even though there may be a strong case to suggest that it doesn't matter if there is a single known card in someone's hand, I think we should shuffle the card back into the stub and continue dealing as long as there are enough cards left in the stub for any player to receive that card. If it happens while dealing the last card to everyone then I think that a (admittedly lengthy) re-deal should occur.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Tough PLO8 Hand

Setup: You have been playing for a few orbits at full-ring .05/.10 PLO8. As you would expect, there are a lot of flop junkies and not much preflop raising.

Your image: one of the few preflop raisers, you are showing more preflop discipline than most, but it’s doubtful that anyone is paying attention anyway.

Opponent’s Image: sees most flops, and does a lot of calling on the flop and turn. In the previous orbit, you pot-bet him on the flop, turn, and river, and he eventually folded on the river, so he seems to like to call along with drawing hands. He is the big stack and has been since you sat down, but never has stack size had less correlation to player skill than at PLO8.

Your hand: As Ah 9s 2s

You raise pot in MP, getting two callers, including our hand villain from the cutoff seat.

Flop: 8c 7s 3h, giving you the nut low and an overpair.

You bet pot ($1), and villain calls.

Turn: Kd

You bet pot ($3), and villain calls.

River: 2c

What’s your action?

  • Lead large
  • Lead small
  • Check-call any bet
  • Check-fold to any bet
  • Check-fold to a big bet, check-call a small/medium bet
What actually happened.

Monday, February 4, 2008

wife/girlfriend/best friend with benefits rake

Hello WNP and SLP geeks,
Oops, I mean studs. It's mb here. For some reason I can't post on my own account and I have a very pressing question for all of you. Please post your thoughts on what you believe the appropriate rake for those who are "on-line widows" should be. Joe, you are required to consult with Steph regarding this issue. In fact, all of you should be inquiring. Here is my take on it:

1. Time spent on the computer is similar to what a casino or on-line site would charge for the privilege of playing. Because we allow you to take very precious time away from face-to-face time, we should be compensated for this.
2. The standard rake is 10% but I think that more than 10% is appropriate given the fact that the "average" joe (oops, I mean just guy) is way less interesting and thus worth less than you brilliant and oh so engaging gentlemen. Time that is "taken" from us should be duly compensated.
3. This is a win-win situation. You guys win money... the sig. others win money. I mean, what is there to actually think about?
4. For those of you who are not legally committed (dating or engaging in benefits), I think that 10-20% is sufficient. However, for those who have more at stake (wives, children (current or soon to be) and/or pets I believe that 25% is adequate.

Thoughts? Please feel free to share...

Sunday, February 3, 2008

An Omaha/Hold'em hybrid Tuesday?

With the unrelenting popularity of Omaha, I was wondering if there would be interest in maybe squeezing in some Omaha on Tuesday's. Maybe if we got people to show up early and we could do a 6:00-7:30 stint of Omaha then cut over to Hold'em since we haven't really been starting right at 7 anyway. Or is it going to be too hard to get people to the game on time to start at 6:00? I don't know how unfettered we want to leave Tuesday Night Poker. We could do Omaha on a weekend I suppose but it sure seems like there is strong interest among the weeknighters to play some Omaha. Thoughts?

Saturday, February 2, 2008

And it begins.

Bring on the Bacon Cake.