Sunday, November 22, 2009

Getting Raked

So last night's fundraiser was an interesting experiment. MB had originally proposed that everyone bring a can of food to poker and I ended up proposing that we do a rake instead. I knew a standard 10% rake would be ludicrous and I was trying to figure a way to raise some money without totally draining the table of chips. I figured 5% would be like online and would be .50 (one BB) out of a ten dollar pot. I also thought we could cap the donation per hand. I settled on 1% with no cap figuring that we would definitely have some big hands with Omaha on the slate. With some $100 pots, a few bigger pots, and a smattering of $25-$99 pots we'd get a couple bucks from everyone which would equate to a can of food or so.

The results were surprising. $52.75 from a 1% rake with $2010 in play. One might immediately conclude that a 10% rake would have meant over $500 would have been raked or 1/4 of all the money on the table but that would not be the case. True, with an uncapped rake we would have exceeded the $4 cap on at least one occasion (largest was a >$575 pot, which was chopped) and maybe one or two times more. But those few instances would have been more than outweighed by the starting rakes on lower amounts. There were many >$20 pots coming up just shy of the $25 threshold where the rake started which would have contributed much more money. Even if we went with the online equivalent of 5% rake and a $3 cap we would have still raked substantially more money than we did.

I know that we all know the numbers and have read the stats on how rake affects your yield but it's not until you actually see the chips pulled out of the game that you truly appreciate how devastating the rake can be.

Other side notes:

* I realized that dealers at casinos have an easier job calculating rake since they just need to count up to $40. Doing the math of a $38.50 pot with a $18 bet and two calls on the river involved more math than I was anticipating. Casinos also typically cap out early so they don't need to worry about counting the total amount of the pot after two big stacks both push all in.

* Though we've joked about it, beating a 1/2 table with a 10% rake does have its challenges. Not impossible of course, but highly dependent on a steady stream of fish to feed the tables.

* It is really deceptive how much money gets taken off the table in rake. I know that over one session there is a lot of churn from the same chips being bet over and over. Still, the nickel and diming that happens every hand is so subtle that it is difficult for players to get a sense of just how much money is being bled off bit by bit.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Folding with no bet to you

The discussion came up last weekend about whether or not players should fold when there is no bet to them. My take on it is that it is a legal move but bad etiquette since it can affect the play of the hand. And when the game involves showing cards such as in Stud games or Pass the Trash then the potential effects of open folding are even more pronounced. As an example, let's assume that Player A has a Ten high mixed suit low. Everyone else at the table has paint showing except for Player B showing a Trey. The player who has the Ten high would almost certainly fold to a bet if he had to act before the Player B but if Player B open folds his hand before Player A acts then Player A knows he can for sure lock up the low and will seriously affect the play of the hand. Additionally, every card that the open folder turns over is potentially critical information since those cards cannot show up in other player's hands.

In PtT I don't feel that any significant information is given away by flipping cards over in a hand that one doesn't plan on playing. And I'd say that any modicum of information that is given away is far outweighed by the importance of protecting other players in the hand.

There is much discussion about the matter in this 2+2 thread.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Putting it all on black.

Jack Shedd is a developer and designer that I enjoy reading. Just so happened he blogged about blackjack card counting yesterday, and I found it an interesting read. Thought you might, too.
I built a quick simulator in Cocoa that dealt cards from a shuffled six-deck shoe. As each card was flipped over, slowly at first, the background of the application flashed either red, for -1, or green for +1. At random intervals, the application would stop and ask me whether I should bet low or high. If I was wrong, it flashed and beeped like a expensive car in a hail storm. If I was right, it kept going. Over time it randomized its speed, so I’d never fall into an easy rhythm.

Now that’s a way to train yourself on something. Big Contrarian → Putting it all on black.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

2009 HU tourney wrap up

Well, that's another heads up tourney in the books. Wanted to get feedback on the format.

Short story is that there was no "game money" this year, blind caps changed, payouts moved from 50/25/12.5/12.5 to 40/30/15/15, and the tie breaker system is new. Also wanted to ask about the duration since the first portion went from 7:30 to 10:30 and brackets finished about 1:50 versus a projected 1:00 finish. For more details see long story below (yeah I know it is squarely in TLDR territory, if you want to just jot your thoughts without reading below I don't blame you).

* No "game money" this year. Last year, every win in the first stage of the tourney would be worth a couple bucks. That ended up depleting the payouts for the top finishers and didn't add up to a substantial amount of money even if you won a lot of games. Based on feedback from last year it was dropped this time around. Turns out that it took a long while for someone to be so far behind that they couldn't qualify even if they won out.

* Changed blind caps for the bracket rounds. It was unfortunate that Marsh didn't make a run into the brackets because he was the one who felt that the blinds got too oppressive at the end of last year's tourney and once the blinds capped you really just couldn't fold. It would have been nice to get his perspective of the changes. The difference was this year, even with the BB at 20% of the average chip stack I did feel that one could fold when the blinds capped as I saw happen on multiple occasions.

=== Disclaimer === serious tournament math geek discussion below ===
* Different preliminary matchups. Last year we had fewer people and just did a true round robin. Since that would have been too many games for this year the tourney used pools of players instead. In a true round robin the player records are about as fair as you can get it. Ties were broken by head to head matchups. This year since not everyone played everyone else I went with the ranking system described below.
- Win/loss percentage
- Strength of schedule (a win over a player who ended up 6-2 counts marginally more than a win over a player who ended up 4-4)
- Secondary strength of schedule (a win over a player who ended up 6-2 with tougher opponents weighs in more than a win over a 6-2 player with victories over weaker opponents)
- Record within your pool
- Strength of your pool (if players are tied after all above tie breakers then a player who had to play two players from a stronger pool would be seeded higher than one from a weaker pool)

A couple of things came up while working on the format. At first I had it set up where everyone played all nine players from outside of their pool but changed that to help prevent tie deadlocks since two players could happen to beat the same players since each pool member played the exact same players as everyone else in the pool. The tie breaker system also ignored head to head records which would have changed things. Jeh, Drew, and Joe all had the same record and Drew beat both Joe and Jeh and was seeded highest of the three. But Joe was seeded below Jeh despite defeating him. I did consider using head to head record but didn't for two reasons 1) in simulations it was too easy for a three way circular tie to happen where A beat B beat C beat A and head to head wouldn't help and 2) I could tell it was going to be a total pain to write a formula for the spreadsheet that did that. As it turns out the difference was only in seeding and did not affect someone being bubbled out because of the ranking.

* The tourney ran late. We actually started pretty darn close to schedule which was great. We had a situation where one player was playing longer matches on average than other players. Not saying that's bad or anything. Just pointing out that despite the flexibility afforded by the format for the prelims we still were gated by one player before starting the bracket round. I was tinkering around with a format like ELO chess rankings which would allow any player to play any amount of games against any other player but it would have to provide incentive for players who went 4-0 to continue to play games at risk of breaking their win percentage yet guard against players having nothing to lose and playing recklessly. In the end I couldn't get a system figured out in time but I think that system has potential since it would let us just set a time limit for the first stage and we would be able to stay closer to schedule.

That's it for the wrap. Let me know if you have any comments on any part of the tourney.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Really Cold Deck

It is hard to lose this many coin flips and take as many bad beats as I did in a 2 day span. Somehow I still have half of my roll in tact and hope to grind my way back up. I don't think I tilted too much though I did play a few more hands than usual to try to get unstuck. I believe I lost somewhere in the neighborhood of 17 all ins, the 15 recorded here, a cooler, and 1 hand I put in chips drawing dead. I think I won about 5 all ins.

I am going to have to drop down in stakes but can still comfortably play $2/$4 PLO and PLO8. Long way from Durr land though.

If anyone can survive this session, there is little chance it could get worse.

Here are the 15 all in losses I recorded.

Flopped Nuts then hit a bad turn

One of the 6 outs on a 3 way all in hits

Lose a Coin Flip I am slightly ahead

Bad River Way ahead when Money goes in

Lose on Pot Committed Aces

Way Ahead then a Bad River

Better Wrap with Bigger Flush Draw Does Not Work Out

Aces against 2588 single suited all in Preflop Bad Result

Lose a Flip Slightly Behind

Lose another Flip Slightly Behind

Bad River ahead when Money Goes In

Ahead on Coin Flip Bad Result

Brutal 2 Outer on the River

Flopped Nuts Can't Hold Up

Coin Flip Slightly Behind

As bad as this run was at least I was not one outed. Look at this poor soul, though I am not in this hand.

Top Boat No Good

So I temporarily have an enforced no online poker rule. MB changed my password. Still not twitching though I am getting close.

My Son's Gamble

An interesting article about a mother’s struggle with her son’s perceived gambling addiction. It all works out pretty well for all parties. A good read: My Son's Gamble -

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

How to deal with the odd man out

Time for some more discussion folks. Since we no longer have access to the room we had been using we are going to be moving the game around on a rotating basis. The question becomes how to determine who gets seats when there is more demand than supply. Fortunately, we will only have to do this some of the time since Adam has generously offered up his place which has plenty of capacity and Ryan is willing to try two tables by converting his game room to hold a second table. However, we are not always going to have access to high capacity venues. We may be limited to 10, 9, or even 8 seats.

There are many different factors which could be used to decide who gets priority. They include but are not limited to the following:

* "Seniority" as in the people who have been playing mid-week poker the longest. Should people who have been with the group longest get priority?

* Attendance - people who have shown up the most regularly over the past few months. Does it make sense that the players who always show up get spots over those who show up periodically?

* Duration - players who show up and play the longest each night. Should a person who plays from 7pm until the game breaks trump a player who shows up late and/or leaves early?

* Hosts - people who have offered their place to play. Clearly anyone hosting would play while hosting. But do people who host get priority over people who don't host
when playing at a third party location?

* First come first served? - True casino style would be that those who show up first get seats and after the table is full they can either wait or leave. RSVP order to the email invite could conceivably be used but I don't think that would be a good solution.

* Rotation - everyone would take a turn sitting out. Does it make sense for everyone to have to skip a week every so often when the seating is limited?

* Other? I'm sure there are other ways we can determine who gets a seat and who doesn't which are not listed above.

Also, as a sidebar, I want to know what people's opinions are about player versus shuffler. I am working on a way to get the shuffler to take up less rail space, ideally the solution would take zero rail space. But if the choice had to be made between having the shuffler or having people shuffle the cards but squeezing in an extra person, what would people prefer?

Please comment on what you think would be the best method for distributing limited seats. I'd like to get this resolved so that we can have the procedure in place for next week's game. Thanks!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Donks are Back

For a few months it seems like I was just eeking out small wins as the players just seemed to keep getting better and better. I sat down at a $5/$10 table, only to find Mesorucky and Waterpologuy, two really good players who I really can't figure out how to beat. Mesorucky said something interesting in the chat, he said the fish are back, something to do with cake's affiliation with the sport book site. He claimed to be up $100K, playing $25/50 PLO. Since then, I have been on a major heater and have found a few fish along the way.

Here are 3 bad beats I took yesterday and I still came out ahead for the day.

Nut Flush on Turn Cracked

In PLO8, I have the nut flush on the turn and check raise all in. Not a horrible bad beat as villain has 4 outs for the boat and 2 outs for the straight flush, plus he has a low, albeit a terrible one. Villain hits the boat.

Terrible call against obvious AAxx Hand

I am screaming here that I have AAxx hand and would expect a call from a run or a double suited hand like 789T double suited. Instead I get a call from A358, single suited which is going to match up terribly against an AAxx hand. Villain then hits bottom pair and figures he is priced in at 3.5:1 to call my all in bet. He hits trip 5's on the river.

2 Outed on the River

This dude figures I must have a super draw as he shoves all in with top 2 and a gutter to the bottom end of the straight draw. There was no way I was going to give a free card here so I bet out with a pot size bet into the original raiser. Pocket T's would be a bummer but the chances are so remote with 2 people checking and the original raiser is highly unlikely to raise with a TTxx hand. He hits his 2 outer.

Even with these beats, I can still come out ahead with donks like this one who can't figure out that I would only be raising with the nuts as there are zero combo draws on a rainbow, straighty board.

Second Nuts is No Good

Deep stacked all in push with non nuts

Generally not a good idea to go on a boat draw deep stacked. I Push U Pay is normally a very good player so I don't know what happens here.

Another Bad Beat 2 outer

Tony is uber aggressive so I decide to go with my top 2, only to be rewarded with a brutal 2 outer hit on the river by villain.

4 Outer Here

Nut flushes on the turn have a tough time holding up.

So there you have it, even with all these donks hitting imagine all the other hands I had where villains put there money in way behind and missed. Fish are swimming, time for the sharks to come out.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Marsh's Kings

Below is Marsh's hand history of the hand that busted him out of Event 9:

Blinds were still 25-50. I had about 3000. Table was 5 handed at this point. I raise utg with KK after being active early, but missing all flops and now in drum mode. I make it 200 straight. Folds to SB who flats. He is my target at the table so I am pretty happy. Flop is J 9 4r. He donk bets into me for 300, I raise him to 1300, he tank-flats. Turn is a 6, he checks, I ship the rest and he calls. We roll over KK vs 69o, river is an 8.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Please Don't Mix Food/Drink and Chips

After years of use the Bellagios finally got to the point where they needed to be cleaned. While not quite as bad as chips at Kenmore Lanes they were clearly not up to original condition. Some of them were sticking together so badly that people were putting in extra chips into the pot because there was a chip hanging on to the bottom of another chip. That is clearly a state which is below standards.

So I am currently in the process of cleaning all the chips that we use regularly. So far I'm a little more than half way through and it will have taken a few hours by the time all of the chips are done. Apart from the time, throw in the expense of a few jugs of distilled water, chip cleanser, rubber gloves, sacrificial towels, haz-mat disposal fees due to the lead content, etc. and it all adds up to something that I don't want to do again for a long long long time.

As such, I am requesting that all food and drink residue stay clear of the chips. Food and drink on the chips significantly contributes to the sticky chips which we all find less than desirable. If you want to eat, fine. Please do it away from the table surface. If you use your hands to eat do not handle the chips. The lead content of the chips alone should be enough reason for you not to eat and handle chips at the same time. If you do eat with your hands please either wash your hands in a sink or use wipes which I will keep in the equipment cases. Drinking at the table is fine. If your fingers get wet from condensation on the side of a bottle or glass that's OK too. However, if you get any beverage on your hand please either wash it off or ask for a wipe.

Thanks to everyone in advance for your cooperation. By keeping food and drink well away from chips we will all reap the benefits of nice clean chips.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Exciting River Action

As Ryan correctly points out I play a gazillion hands on line every month so it is hard to find one that is truly interesting. Here an $18 pot with no betting until the river balloons into a $664 after the river card hits. I have to make a calculated guess against the uber aggressive I push U Pay that my low is better than his low as it is obvious we both have the nut high. I push U Pay raises a ton of pots with good to great hands so the likelihood of him having an A2 or A3 hand in a limped pot is pretty low.

Drew should especially like this hand as his mistake of putting in chips with a strong chance of being quartered is pretty minor compared to this pot. Check out I Push U Pay's position of being last to act, the anti position in this pot.

Monster River Action

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

I ♥ Barney Frank

I know you all know about this already, but when it gets prominent placement in the NY Times you know it's a good thing.

Aided by Poker Devotees, Lawmaker Pushes to End the Ban on Online Gambling from today’s NY Times.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Pro-Poker Bill Gettin Introduced Tomorrow

Barney Frank is the man.

Something to keep tabs on. We'll see how it goes, hopefully this goes through and Washington state follows suit in repealing its own ridiculous online gambling ban.

Why are we playing this loser game...

when the real money is in slots?

Thursday, April 30, 2009

More dealer errors this month

Well this should be the last installment of dealer errors for the month...hopefully.

* Joe versus Martin. J33 flop. J on the turn. Martin checks, Joe fires a second shell, Martin tanks for the cameras (holding J3, natch) and tries to figure how to extract maximum value here. When reaching back for the stub brushes the top card off of the deck and flips it over. Since action was not complete the stub should have been re-shuffled since Joe acted without knowledge of that card. Instead the deck was left untouched. My bad. In retrospect I was thinking that I should have exposed my Trey explaining that it was the case Trey, reshuffled, then (as long as the Trey doesn't come out on the river) fired a small five dollar bet on the end accompanied by a WAWB speech to look like a blocker bet and hope Joe raises me.

* Jokers at Dealer's Choice. MB and Ryan ended up with jokers in their hand. A joker should be replaced by the next card off the deck just like a boxed (face up) card like earlier this month. I see no reason why two jokers shouldn't be treated the same way. Two exposed cards during the deal constitute a misdeal but there is no rule specifying that two irregular cards create a misdeal.

Apologies again folks. The good news is that each time irregularities like these come up and I research the procedure then I know what to do the next time the same situation or similar situations come up.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

High Stakes HA on "TV"

Hey, those pros are copying our idea of playing HA! At the Aussie Millions cash game this year they started doing a NLHE and PLO rotation. And wouldn't you know it? They happened to film it and it is now on the Internets for our viewing pleasure.

Link to first segment of first episode: You're on your own for the rest of the links!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


Heard about this interesting game on a podcast. And I realized that what our mixed-game nights really need is more ways to play Badugi!

I'm having a hard time finding clear rules for how it's played, but this is what I've been able to gather from random internet forum posts.

Baduci is a hybrid of Badugi and 2-7 Triple Draw. Players are dealt five cards, and they are trying to make both the best 2-7 hand and the best four-card Badugi hand. Betting and drawing follow the same rules as Triple Draw, so you get four rounds of betting and three draws.

Baduci is a split pot game. Half of the pot goes to the player with the best 2-7 hand, and the other half goes to the player with the best four card Badugi hand. Three (and fewer) card Badugis do not count.

I've seen some discussions as to whether Aces are high or low for the Badugi portion (they are always high for the 2-7 pot). I'm leaning towards Aces high for both, as that allows for a truly nut-nut hand (2-3-4-5-7, 2345 rainbow), and the only rationale for low aces I've been able to find is that "it confuses the fish."

So there it is, yet another way to play Badugi! Just what everyone wanted. Who's up for some high stakes NLBaduci? How about a Baduci/Badugi/2-7TD cycle tournament? HU Baduci freezeout for rolls???

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Free Trip to Vegas

MB and I just returned from Vegas. It was a very successful trip with our winnings exceeding the cost of the trip. MB crushed the tournaments with 3 entries and 3 cashes. All tournies were over a $100 buyin and she dominated each one. On day 1 she entered a 27 person tourney at the Wynn, $10,000 in chips 30 minute blind structure. At midnight, exhaustion set in and she gladly accepted a chop 5 ways based on chip counts, she was 3rd at the time, although essentially tied with fourth and fifth. Day 2 she crushed the cash games at Mandalay Bay. A set and the nut flush helped. Day 3 she entered a tourney at the Venetian with 135 players and she final tabled, finishing 8th at about 2 a.m. after a 7 p.m. start. Day 4 she entered a satellite sit and go, finishing 1st out of 10 players. Wynn cash was $140 entry, $450 cash, Venetian tourney was $120 entry and $385 cash, Venetian sit'n go was $130, $570 cash. She attributes her success to listening to Rhythm of the Saints on her IPOD, same routine every tourney. Her only significant down session was a loss of $200 at a Wynn cash game when she moved all in on a AJx flop with pocket Jacks and lost to AA. Unfortunately, MB's memories of specific hands is weak at best, but with this kind of success, who cares.

My run was equally successful but with a much bigger roller coaster ride getting there. Before I get into any of my specific hands (as the brother of a real Rainman I can actually remember them), I would like to share one of the more interesting hands I have ever seen in Vegas, one that I was not involved in. We all see boneheaded plays by the novices in Vegas but this one seems to defy all logic IMO. The flop is taken with 2 or 3 limpers plus the blinds at a $1/$3 table NLHE. Flop is 3,6,7 all hearts. Checked around. Turn is a blank, checked around. River is the Jack of hearts. Blinds check early position player bets $100 into the pot of about $12. A little unorthodox but not yet a bad play. This guy is a heavy set guy maybe late 20's. Stack size is about $250 to $270. Older gentleman reraises to $200. Everyone else folds. Heavy set dude without much thought goes all in for his remaining $50 to $70 in chips. Older guy thinks for about 10 seconds then calls.

Heavy set dude tables Kx os with the King of Hearts. Older guy tables Ace,x os with the Ace of Hearts. Heavy set dude looks dejected and gives the face like how could this possibly happen to him. Older guy says I thought you might have the straight flush but I had to call.

As for my hands, I hit my first flush in a cash game in at least 2 years, capping an amazing run of cold decks with zero flushes at showdown and zero sets at showdown over about 12-15 sessions. It was a four to a flush board and a paired board and I got 2 callers on a river bet. One was the flopped flush, the second a Queen high flush. Day 1 was relatively uneventful other than breaking my cold deck streak as I broke even for the day, winning about $70 in the unbeatable NLHE and losing about $90 in limit $10/$20 PLO8.

Day 2 I played in the unbeatable $10/$20 PLO8 game with all locals, all good players. Besides hitting a cold deck and a number of second best hands, I probably chased too many gutters and runner runners, none of which seem to get there. Net loss for the session $600. I am a bit dejected but remember an email I got from Martin before the trip. Play games that are EV positive. The daytime PLO8 game at the Wynn is not one of them, so I retool my strategy for the rest of the trip to concentrate on nightime NLHE with drunk people or PLO, evenings at the Venetian.

We saw Chris Angel's I Believe Magic show that night and loved it. After the show we went over to Mandalay Bay and ran into drunk Steve, or at least Vegas version of drunk Steve. I am in seat 4 and a dude in Seat 10 just folded a big pot to an all in raise of the turn. He goes on tilt and the subsequent 5 hands he raises to $25 preflop and gets no callers each time and all limpers fold. I am down to about $80 in chips and pick up ATos, good enough for me. I limp. Drunk Steve raises to $25. Blinds fold and I shove. Table seems delighted. Flop has a T in it and my hand holds up against A5os. About 7 hands later after drunk Steve was just felted, I pick up QQ. Drunk Steve announces after his felting that he is rebuying for $300 and it is going all in. I shove all my chips in the middle, about $170, drunk Steve is in the SB. Seat 8 wakes up with a hand and asks the dealer if the all in by Drunk Steve is binding. A big controversy arises as the dealer is trying to figure out if Drunk Steve had cards when it was announced. It is finally ruled that Drunk Steve must go all in and his verbal declaration is binding. Inexplicably, seat 8 folds anyways after a 5 minute discussion. Drunk Steve goes all in and I double up again. I lose some chips later when I raise to $10 with pocket 10's and get 3 callers. Flop is 8 high, all hearts, I have the 10 of hearts, I throw out a bet of $25, everyone folds to the blind who goes all in for his last $31 as he was almost busted by Drunk Steve when his AK ran into 2,4 all in preflop on a 44xxx board. I call as I am likely priced in to runner runner boats and SB might not be there yet. He tables KQ suited in hearts. No runner runners. Net gain about $40.

PLO $2/$5at the Venetian

I sit down in the Salon at the Venetian, the cool private room in the back with glass doors and two tables. I recognize about half the players from the last time I was at the Venetian in January.

Here is the line up

Seat 1 unknown dude, who later turns out to be the only bad player at the table.
Seat 2, Massive Stack big dude, aggressive and good. At least $6,000 on the table.
Seat 3, Chris, attractive married 30 something female that I saw last time. Solid player.
Seat 4, 20 something young guy, playing about $800 in chips, must be an internet player as he only says pot.
Seat 5, loose aggressive 20 something, playing about $600 in chips.
Seat 6, Mr. ADD, I later find out he is in the Poker Stars Nova Club, which apparently means you play a boatload of hands and generate massive rake. Way more massive than me as this guy plays up to 23 tables at once, PLO, 6 handed, stakes between .50/$1 and $2/$4. Dude also has a massive wad of $100s in his pocket at least $5K.
Seat 7, another guy I recognize from January, early 30’s average stack size
Seat 8, older gentleman, well dressed, resident of Las Vegas.
Seat 9, me, playing my normal short stack as I bring in $140 in chips from a $1/2 game and put 2 $100 bills in front of me for a total of $340.
Seat 10 empty.

BTW, as this is a real action table, everyone determines that it would be way more fun if we have a mandatory straddle. We all agree so we are really playing like a $5/$10 PLO table. Almost every hand has an initial pot raiser, followed by 2-4 callers.

Table pretty quickly notices I am playing pretty nitty as I am probably playing 20-25% of the hands dealt to me, the rest of the table is about 50 to 60 percent depending on the player.

First decision:

Flop is 894 rainbow. I have KT89 in the blind. I check, seat 5 pots it, he is the initial raiser so this does not mean that he really has anything. Seat 7 repots. Do I want to play for all my chips with top 2 and no redraws? I decide not. I fold. They both end up all in. Seat 5 had a run of high cards, Seat 7 a set of fours. The board double blanks and the set wins. I tell seat 5 I folded top 2 no redraws and he gives the baaack, baaack, baaack, chicken sign to the guy next to him. Whatever, I thought it was a good fold.

First big pot.

I am down $200 as I have reached into my pocket twice to pull out $100 bills. I have about $340 in front of me. I pick up an AAxx hand on the button. Seat 6 opens for a raise as he does with about 60% of the hands dealt to him. I grab a $100 bill announcing raise. The blind calls my raise in Seat 2, now an Asian dude who replaced massive stack. Mr. ADD calls and we take the flop 3 handed.

Flop is T52 with 2 spades, a pretty good flop for Aces. Blind checks, Mr. ADD checks and I bet pot, putting me all in. Asian dude in the blind calls and Mr. ADD grabs about 7 or 8 $100 bills and puts them in. Asian dude says lets do it and puts his stack in, about $1000. Mr. ADD calls. We all agree to run it twice, very common at this table.

First run goes 2,2 and I announce full house 2’s full of Aces. Mr. ADD says I know what you have as it was pretty obvious that the nitty player made his first reraise with something.

Second run, 2 random blank cards. I announce pair of Aces. The blind can only muster up KKxx with a spade draw that did not get there. Mr. ADD says I can’t beat either, I was just trying to isolate and mucks. I rake the main pot winning it on both runs. The blind takes the pretty significant side pot.

Fish in seat 1 loses his stack and is replaced by a bigger fish, the only one at the table. Fish in seat 1 makes the worst fold ever, while getting a massage. I am not in the hand but there is $20 in the pot with 4 limpers. The straddle crowd has long gone.

It is checked around to the river on a board of King clubs, Queen Spades, Queen Clubs, blank, T Clubs. Seat 1 bets $5 into a pot of $20, Seat 2 raises to $15, Seat 1 calls. Seat 2 shows KQxx for a full house. Seat 1 then goes to muck but mucks in such a way that the dealer, myself, and one other player can see his hand. The dealer says are you sure you want to muck. Seat 1 half asleep says yeah muck it. He mucked AJ3 of clubs.

Second Decent Size Pot

I have QQxx in the blind and complete on a raised pot, about 5 handed. The flop is Q78 rainbow. I check in first position, hoping to check raise. Checked around. The turn is an 8, bingo. I check as I know if I bet out everyone will fold with the possible exception of someone with an 8. Fish in seat 1 announces pot, about $90 to go. Everyone folds to me and I throw out 3 $100 bills. Seat 1 calls. River is a deuce, bad card, as it is unlikely fish boats up. I throw out 4 $100 bills and fish says, did you slow play those queens and mucks. Good read, but I am not sure why he called my turn check raise.

Win a few decent size pots and never seem to hear from MB, a good sign as she final tabled that night in the 135 person tournament. I decide I am exhausted at about 2:15 a.m. and cash out just under $1600 for a net profit of about $1050.

Day 4 at the Wynn

I sit down at a $1/$3 table with $200 chips trying to beat the unbeatable daytime game. I call a raise of $10 in the blind with A3 suited and we take the flop 3 or 4 handed. Flop is AJ3, checked to the button who makes it $20. I have 2 pair and the button is in the anti position, the I have to play a hand because I am on the button position. I check raise to $60, button folds, I win. I pick up AA in early position and raise to $17, a fairly standard raise at this table. Folded to the button who must play as she is on the button. Not only does she play but she shoves all in with her short stack about $75. I call. She loses with the AK hand and the button, a double curse.

I then pick up 77 in the cutoff. No limpers so I make it $15 to go. Big blind calls. Flop is QT7 rainbow, wow this could be the first set I can show down in the last 2 years of Vegas cash game play. Blind checks and I bet $25, he calls. Next card is the 4 of clubs putting a club draw out there. I bet $45 and the blind announces in an annoying voice “Let’s make it $100.” I recheck my cards and the board to make sure I don’t make a boneheaded play. I announce all in and the blind folds. I leave the table with $440 and have beaten the unbeatable game.

I play 2 orbits of the other unbeatable game $10/$20 Limit 08. I pick up an AA23 hand and raise. 5 callers. Flop is K68. I bet everyone calls. Turn is low card giving me nut low. I bet, 2 callers. River is a 6, I bet, 2 callers, one had a six and the other mucked when I showed my hand. I leave up $30 from this game or up $270 from play at the Wynn today.

$2/$5 PLO back at the Venetian

A new table is formed at the Venetian and I am in the first group seated. An aggressive very good player is seated to my left that I recognize from the night before as he came in and out of our game. I also have Johan to my right, who joined us last night very late. Johan plays poker for a living on line. To Johan’s right is another Sweedish player that the table refers to as team Sweeden. Fortunately, the fish is there too, seat 1 that folded the Royal Flush.

First Big Decision

I have KKxx in early position and raise. 4 callers. Flop is T52 rainbow again, another good flop for an overpair. I bet out about $60. Tricky aggressive player to my left calls as does the button. I say to the guy on my left thank you for the call. He says I am not sure I like that when I am thanked for calling. Turn is a jack and I have a jack. There are now 2 clubs on the board. Normally, I would just bet out there, but for some reason I freeze up and check. Tricky player bets pot, button folds and I decide to reluctantly fold. Tricky player says will you be mad if I show to myself and the button. We say no. He shows 776X and 2 clubs for a good semi bluff. I say nice play but why were you calling me on the flop. He said to take it away from you on the turn as I did not figure your hand had enough strength with a likely one pair. Plus, I picked up a club draw. O well, bad fold, but a good play by tricky player.

I then lose my stack shortly after to the same player. I limp with a low run and a pair and he pots to $40, 5 callers. Flop gives me bottom set. Checked to me and I bet out my remaining chips about $140 into a pot of $200+. Tricky player calls, everyone else folds. He has a pair and a gutter which gets there.

Later in the night after being down a few hundred I pick up AAQ8 in early position, no suits. 7 limpers and the BB repops to $90. I look in my money clip to make sure I have enough money for a rebuy. I do. I ask the dealer how much a repot is. He says $330. This sounds good to me as any callers will be pot committed. I repot. Tricky player to my left calls with a run of middle cards and everyone else folds. We run it twice, I win the first board as all he has is a pair. The second flop is 777 and he is drawing dead. A $20 tip seems appropriate for giving me Aces and 2 winning boards.

I go on a mini heater and cash out for $1160, having invested $840 for a net profit of $320.

Very successful trip with almost $1100 in poker winnings, just under $200 in craps losses, and with MB's winnings, the airfare hotel and meals were all paid for.

Dealer errors

In order to become even *more* of a rules nazi I do check to make sure if I handle irregularities correctly. Recently there were two incidents which came up where I inadvertently used the wrong procedure.

* Wrong colored card - there was a gold card which showed up in one of the other decks at WNP. Having a card from another deck is one of the few instances where a hand is invalidated. At the time the card showed up (it happened to be pre-flop, during the deal) I don't even think there had been any action yet. If any money had been put into the pot then all bets should be returned. What I did was to replace it with the card below it which is incorrect procedure for that case. Speaking of which...

* Boxed (face up) card - a face up card was dealt as one of a player's hole cards. Correct procedure here is to treat the card as a "meaningless scrap of paper" and to deal the card below it to the person who was dealt the boxed card. I had used this procedure to address the wrong colored card above. What I did was treat the face up card as a face down card which had been exposed by the dealer so I completed the deal, gave the person with the boxed card the burn card, and used the face up card as the burn.

I apologize for the errors. But following up on irregularities helps me to make sure that they are handled properly if/when they come up again. By the way, once the hand is complete all action stands.

By the way, after the hand is complete all action stands.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Dime Night Dealer's Choice

As if Dime Night is not fun enough, you throw in Dealer's Choice on top of it and then you're cooking with gas. We were short handed but that didn't really change much. We tried out some other games.

* Poppyha - still hasn't quite shown its full potential but it is definitely easy to see what Doyle was talking about. I'm looking forward to this game under regular conditions.

* 2-6 Badugi - Not that different and I like the Kansas City low style. I think this was the game that busted Joe out for good. Something like Joe's 7543 to Chuck's 7432 or some other cooler like that.

* Forgot about playing Greek Hold'em.

* 7 Card Stud Hi/Lo with declare - kickin' it old skool. I've been meaning to call this for a while but Chuck was the one who mentioned it. Declaration games are the bomb. No contest.

* Heads up Pass The Trash - So eventually it is just me and Brant left at the table. It was interesting enough playing PTT with just three of us but after Chuck left it got really good. After a few hands of the regular, it was time to step it up. First change: nine cards, pass five. This allows bigger hands to happen. Good stuff but not enough. Next step: pass one card at a time. After Brant and I *both* passed each other a pair of QQ we played passing one card at a time. New cards had to stay in their own pile. This allowed you to adjust on the fly to build a killer hand. After a few more orbits then it was time to bump up the antes. No longer was one chip good enough but rather we went with ten chips. Enough to make it worth going after. This game is a lot more fun heads up than I would have thought. A TON of stuff going on. You have to keep track of what you are passing and what you dump. And you get N level thinking deep because scooping is everything. I had been planning a PTT tournament but hadn't resolved how to handle shorthanded and heads up play but now it seems like it is feasible to do it. I had originally planned it for April Fool's weekend because...well, what better time for a PTT tourney? Still need to work out particulars but this should be a fun tourney. And I agree with Brant that this is way more interesting to play heads up than Chinese Poker.

Anyway, that's the wrap up from Dime Night Dealer's Choice. Tons of fun!

Friday, April 3, 2009

High Stakes Poker Season 5 - Episode 5

Monday, March 30, 2009

Mini-WSOP tourney format

That didn't take as long as projected. Given the stack sizes and blind structure I had expected the tourney to go longer than it did. Previously I had poo-poo'ed the idea of using the same structure from a large field event for a small tourney but by just cutting down the round lengths the blinds are OK for a little one or two table affair. I think part of the accelerated conclusion came from the antes which drain off people's stacks faster than just blinds alone. Starting off with two short handed tables would seemingly have sped up the action as well. Overall I thought the progression was smooth which is again partly due to the effect of antes bleeding off chips more gradually instead of lopping off a chunk once an orbit. I still prefer deeper starting stacks but 90xBB stacks were workable. I cannot fathom how they played $1500 buy in events with T1500 in chips and 25/50 starting stacks. That sounds like pure donk-fest poker in comparison.

Any feedback? We can throw this structure into the rotation if there is enough demand.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Monthly poker night schedule

Here is the general schedule I'm going to follow for poker nights. Keep in mind that this is subject to change.

*New* Dime Night Poker .10/.20 $20 buy in the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month

Wednesday Night Poker .25/.50 $100 buy in every Wednesday night except for the Wednesday after the second Tuesday of the month.

Wednesday Night Poker Double Stakes .50/1 $100 buy in on the Wednesday following the second Tuesday of the month. This is often, but not necessarily, the second Wednesday of the month. For those of you who are calendarily challenged, that would be Apr 15, May 13, June 10, July 15, Aug 12, Sep 9, Oct 14, Nov 11, Dec 9, etc.

Other assorted formats such as High Stakes, Deep Stack, Dealer's Choice, Tournaments, and Mixed Game nights on Friday or Saturday nights.

The idea of Dime Night Poker was bandied about during the Stakes and Chips discussions. Joe and Brant finally pulled the trigger this week and it was a lot of fun. The lower stakes allowed people to open their games up a little more (as in shoving with 2.83% to win) while still playing for real money. The first Dime Night of the month is the same week as .50/1 stakes night for Wednesday Night Poker so players who want to play that week but don't want to play .50/1 now have an option.

Again, this is subject to change but it will be the default schedule I will be using going forward.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

New Dealer's Choice Games?

Jason sent me a link to a CardPlayer article by Doyle where he welcomes anyone to play some lesser known games for high stakes in Bobby's Room at the Bellagio. (I'm going to link to the Poker Road article instead because CardPlayer doesn't know how to properly set up deep links.)

In the article he lists a dozen or so games, many of which are variants of games that we are familiar with. And within the list, all lowball games can be played in one of three flavors: A2345 nut low, 23457 (Kansas City), or A2346 (London Lowball). It also includes different betting structures like Pot Limit Razz.

The general guideline that we have used so far is to only include WSOP games in pool of games for Dealer's Choice nights. Badugi and Pass The Trash are clearly exceptions but less face it, those are awesome games that *should* be in the WSOP. I wanted to forward on the article that Jason found so that we could discuss the pool of games that we have when we play Dealer's Choice. If we want to trial a new game we could play it at low stakes so we can all get our feet wet without it costing too much to dabble with a new game. Then if we reach consensus to add a game we can raise it to full stakes status.

Some of the games that caught my attention:
* 2346 Badugi - Badugi is such a screwy game to begin with then why not adapt Kansas City lowball rules for defining the nut low?
* Greek Hold'Em - Hold'em but you must use both hole cards so it's kinda like Omaha a bit. No more one card straights or flushes and full houses get trickier too.
* Poppyha - I'm still researching this one but it sounds like everyone gets two hole cards on the flop, a third hole card on the turn, and their last hole card on the river. Doyle refers to it as a "FUN Game" (*his* capitalizations, not mine!) so that's good enough for me.

Comments welcome.

(I should also add that none of these games are crazy wildcard or pass cards to your neighbor type of games)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Some good news, some bad news

Bad news first. An appeals court has rejected a case calling for the Washington state online poker ban to be repealed. Apparently our fine state thinks it's too important that we be protected from the evils of online gambling. Why not enjoy one of our fine brick and mortar casinos instead?

And in slightly better news, two congressman are planning on introducing pro-online poker legislation in "2-3 weeks." Ironically, one of the congressmen is from Washington state.

Monday, March 23, 2009

High Stakes Poker Season 5 - Episode 4

Orange Belt on UD

Orange belt.

Come on, give it some thumbs-up love. ;)

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Options in how to handle Pot Limit betting

House rules differ in how they handle Pot Limit betting as described below (excerpt from Wikipedia's article on betting in poker).

Some pot-limit games make exceptions to the method described above when calculating the maximum raise in the betting round before the flop:

* Some structures treat the small blind as if it were the same size of the big blind in computing pot size. In such a structure, a player can open for a maximum of four times the size of the big blind. For example, if the blinds are $5 and $10, a player may open with a raise to $40. (The range of options is to either open with a call of $10, or raise in increments of five dollars to any amount from $20 to $40.) Subsequent players also treat the $5 as if it were $10 in computing the pot size, until the big blind is through acting on the first betting round.[7]
* If the action folds all the way around to the small blind, the maximum amount the small blind can raise is also not universally agreed upon. Some games treat the big blind as a "raise" of the small blind for the purpose of calculating the maximum raise—the small blind is allowed to call the big blind, and then make a pot sized raise of twice the big blind, for a total bet of three times the big blind. Other games treat the blinds as dead money for the purpose of calculating the raise, and allow the small blind to make the same size raise as any other player, i.e. a total bet of three times the big blind plus the small blind.

So if there are no objections I would like to switch to the method where the SB is treated as the same size as the BB so that the opening bet can be 4 times the BB instead of 3.5 time the BB. In a .50/1 game this would mean an opening bet of $4 instead of $3.50. For example, an opening raise and two calls followed by folds from both of the blinds would result in 4 + 4 + 4 + .50 + 1 = 13.50 but the SB will be rounded up to 1 so the pot pre-flop would be an even 14 and all betting afterwards would be based on a $14 pot. Handling the betting this way would speed up the game by making the pot bet calculations faster.

I would also like to explicitly adopt the method of the SB being able to raise to 4 in an unopened pot.

Would people be OK with treating the SB as a BB in our Pot Limit games?

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Game changing new procedure

Unless there are serious objections I would like to implement a new procedure for any time we are doing either Dealer's Choice (one orbit of a game called by each player in sequence around the table) or Mixed Game format (a pre-determined set rotation of games).

The new procedure for game changes would be:

* Button starts on me for each orbit of a game. This is so it will be easier for me, and everyone else, to remember when a complete orbit is complete. Since we always play a complete orbit of each game there would be no advantage or disadvantage to having the button start in a specific spot since everyone would have one one hand in each position at some point in the orbit.

* For Dealer's Choice nights we will still draw high card to decide who picks their game first since each player does not necessarily get the same amount of picks as everyone else.

I would like to implement this effective immediately and use it on Saturday. Let me know if you have any input on the matter. Thanks!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

High Stakes Poker Season 5 - Episode 3

They're getting better at cracking down on hosting the episodes, even the pokertube links to season 5 have been disabled, but papa's got your medicine right here:

Get it while it's hot!


An interlude

OK, this isn't about poker specifically. But it features cards, and it's pretty cool. So there.

Take a look:

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Stakes and Chips IV

Now that we've completed the transition to .25/.50 $100 I wanted to ask if people still felt that we should do a .50/1 game once a month.

Where to play, which day to play on, and when to start

I wanted to do a temperature check on the location/day/time aspects of the midweek game.

* Location - I think the current location has been great. Plenty of room for two tables, easy access, nearby street parking, uber-convenient for players who work there, nice view, accessible smoking porch, etc. etc. As long as we have a host I don't see a reason to play anywhere else. The trend lately has been for Chuck to maybe play, Joe to leave earlier than midnight, and Brant to take breaks from poker from time to time. Not that I'm complaining, everyone has the right to play whenever they want and I think I speak on behalf of everyone when I say that having Chuck, Joe, or Brant host at the office is very much appreciated. And I certainly don't want anyone to feel like they are obligated to host or stay later than they would like. All that said, if we could find an alternate location and a host who plans to play the entire session on a regular basis then we'd have a backup plan for those weeks when we do not have a host at the normal location. Enough room for two tables would be a bonus but having any second site at all would be a good thing. Does anyone have suggestions for an alternate location?

* Day - I know there are some like me who largely don't care if I play on Tuesday or Wednesday. However, I know that one day works out better than the other for some people. I also think that people's preference should be weighted based on attendance. If there is a strong preference among the players who show up almost every week then I think that would carry more influence than an occasional player's preference. Does anyone have preferences for which day we should play?

* Time - The time listed to start is 7pm though we basically never get going by then. Sometimes I don't have everything set up by then but we rarely have everyone ready to play by then either. Is 7pm too soon or would making an 8pm start just mean that we're going to start as late after 8pm as we are doing now at 7pm? I know that many players like playing Magic as well and that it is hard to determine the end time of a game but people who do show up on time cannot start until we have enough players. Personally I wouldn't mind showing up earlier and playing a little extra on the front side instead of going past midnight. At what time do people feel they will be ready to play by?

Thanks in advance for everyone's input. Hopefully we will get a smoother running poker night that works out better overall for everyone.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

How many handed at a table?

There are evenings when we end up with a number of players where we are either crowded at a single table or short-handed at two tables. It is convenient when we either have clearly enough for two tables or clearly not enough for two tables. Take for instance tomorrow. We have nine commits. Jason said MB is "likely," Mike "may come," and Chuck said he is 50/50 which leaves us with anywhere between 9 and 12 players. Further complicating the issue is the recent trend of two players playing Magic. So I would like to bounce the following rules of thumb off of you (exceptions could always come up of course).

* In general, with 0-9 players everyone plays at the large table, with 10-17 players half play at the large table, half at a round table. Large table gets the extra player if there is an odd amount.
* A pair of Magic players welcome to leave the table when we are 9-11 handed and we will stay at one table as long as it seems likely that there will be enough interest in keeping two players out playing Magic.
* Magic play discouraged if we are 8 handed or less so that we can keep a full table of poker.
* If we have at least 12 people say that they are in for poker then we will start at two tables. Anything short of that we will start at one table and break out a second table when we reach 10 players present.
* We will keep both tables balanced to no more than one player difference with the extra player being at the larger table in event of an odd amount.
* If a player needs to be moved, the player and the new seat will be determined by random draw.
* If we are at two tables and enough players leave to bring us to 9 players we will condense down to one table.

Do those guidelines sound OK? I don't think they differ much if any from what we have been doing but I wanted to see if that was working for everyone.

Monday, March 2, 2009

High Stakes Poker Season 5 Premiere

GSN has posted the first episode of the fifth season in full to youtube!

Watch and discuss in comments.

Friday, February 27, 2009

WNP back to Tuesdays?

Just wanted to throw the idea of WNP moving back to Tuesdays. Of course, if Chuck is still playing TF2 on Tuesdays, we should keep it on Wednesday, but the week works out better for me if we play on Tuesdays and opens up Fri/Sat night poker more for me. Any thoughts?

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Is Position Overrated?

Every poker book you ever read, every forum you go on, all suggest the same thing, position is really important in poker. By inference this also implies that playing cards in position will give the player "in position", a higher EV over time than the players playing out of position.

The problem I have with the "position is everything" hypothesis is that no one to my knowledge has actually proven that position really matters and gives you a higher EV by playing a hand on the button vs. UTG or any other position in a 4,5,6,9 or 10 handed game. The proof would in fact be relatively easy to conduct. Marsh, myself, Ryan, Joe Sola, Woody, Phil Ivey, Tom Dwan, and many others have played a statistically significant number of hands on line with all of the data captured in a hand history analysis. Why don't any of the poker mathematical geniuses like Caro, Ferguson or other smart mathematical minds (Ryan), go back, mine the data, and then prove whether the data support the theory that the button gives a higher EV than any other position.

I think everyone would agree that they would rather play AK suited (a hand everyone plays) from the button vs. UTG. But what really happens in practice? In practice players are much more nitty (in general) playing from early position than from late position and consequently play hands with greater showdown value from early position vs. late position.

I bring this up because I have a feeling, though I am too ADD to go back and mine the data, that my early position holdings in Omaha give me a greater EV than late position or button holdings. Several reasons I think. I am really nitty in early position. In Omaha, showdowns are much more common than in NLHE, so nittiness pays. Many players hate being check raised in Omaha and just call you down with mediocre holdings. I check raise plenty in Omaha but virtually always have the goods. In a double checked around pot, I will often bet out with air from early position prior to the button (likely also with air) stealing the pot from the late position player.

Similar phenomenon happen in NLHE I think. Jeh and I had some interesting hands between us (as always) and although far from statistically significant, this is how they played out.

Hand #1

My stack 47 chips. Jeh's stack, a gazillion chips, Adam's stack, about 200 chips. My position, button, Jeh small blind, Adam BB. Chuck and Fred fold. I raise from the button with J9os to our standard table raise 7 chips. Why? I have the button, this is one of Jeh's favorite hands (a good hand to try to beat him with), and I raise alot in case anyone has not noticed. Jeh calls, and Adam calls.

Flop is T,4,4 rainbow. Jeh checks, Adam checks and I think this is a good flop for me. Why? I have a history of always having a 4 and have a favorite hand with a 4 in it so I can sell the 4. Plus I am pretty sure no one will call me unless they have a 4, possibly a T, or an overpair which is highly unlikely given the lack of a repop preflop. Worst case, I have runner runner straight and I always count my runner runners as at least a 1/2 an out. I shove all in from the button.

Jeh calls pretty quickly, and Adam raises to 120. Jeh goes into the tank for about 3 minutes, and finally decides to go all in. Adam calls pretty quickly. Well, I am pretty sure one of these guys has a Jason 4.

Jeh tables AA, explaining his in the tank dilemna, Adam tables 3,4 suited and I pray for my runner runner. Turn is a K, a good card but the river is a J.

Moral of the story, from my perspective, the psychological "value" associated with the button cost me my short stack. I am pretty sure that the hand would have played out entirely differently if we all had the same hands with the same flop had I been in a different position other than the button.

Hand #2

4 handed Jeh and I have just rebought and have roughly equal full buyin stacks. I raise UTG to 7. Jeh calls from the "button" with 2,3 (I assume suited). Let's look at the hand from Jeh's perspective as he has the valuable "button." Jeh likes 2,3 one of his favorite hands. Jeh also likes to try to outplay me and figures he has a much better chance of doing so from "the button."

Flop is T,J, A with 2 clubs. I check Jeh checks. Turn is a J. I check Jeh bets 10, I think and then raise to 27. Jeh, relatively quickly raises to 65. I think for a bit then call the 65. River is the 9 of diamonds. I move in and Jeh of course has to muck. It turns out that Jeh pulled the worst possible time to try to pull another K8 style bluff as I had JJ for the nuts and threw it on the table face up.

Point is Jeh is much more likely to try to pull this multistage bluff from the button, and it is debatable if this is profitable (although if anyone can do it, Jeh can).

Final hand though not from last night was the only big hand I can ever remember Jeh losing in Vegas. Jeh has one of his usual garbage favorite hands that he typically folds in Vegas but decided to play it because he had the button. I think it was 2,6 suited. He tried a multi stage bluff which of course is typically not profitable at 1/2 in Vegas. Hand had no showdown value and he loses a big pot.

I realize the button can be wonderful when people are betting into you and you have great made hands. But too often I think players get trapped into the psychology of "I have the button", I am not going to lose and make either unprofitable EV plays or play too many holdings with limited showdown value.

UTG is my new "button" type preferred position. Anyone wish to join me?

Heads up Challenge

OK here is a proposed structure for a microchips version of the drrr HU challenge.

Players will play HU NLHE on cake 2 tables running simultaneously, 500 hands, stakes of .10/.20. Each player will buyin for 60BB or $12.00 Once a player goes below 20BB he must rebuy for $8.00 putting the player at or near 60BB again. Winner will be determined by the biggest stack minus the additional $8.00 add ons. Assuming 4 players (or more) winner will go to the next round, loser is out. Winner will then play winner of another match between 2 people. Winner of that match will then be crowned HU NLHE champion, assuming 4 entrants. More entrants would require more matches before the champ is crowned. $20.00 sidebet will be required per person. Winner take all of the sidebets in a 4 person match, plus the winnings from playing HU.

HU PLO will be a bit trickier but I think we can still do it. The lowest stakes available are .25/.50. We can run two tables simultaneously, buyin for $30.00 and rebuy in $20.00 increments when we get below $10.00.

Since I may have a competitive edge here and I don't think the intent here is to bankrupt anyone, I think the winner of each match should refund (via player transfer) 90% of the opponent's losses in any one given session. The winner will still then win something, although it won't be much. I can also help fund players rolls from my roll for cash so they will have an ample roll to play 500 hands. We can do the same mandatory $20.00 sidebet with winner take all in a 4 person match.

I am open to different structures, this is a suggestion, but I think it will work.

Who would be up for HU NLHE?
Who would be up for HU PLO?

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Stakes and Chips III

We have tried playing .50/1 for the past two weeks. Let's hear the feedback on how you think it is going.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Anyone want another online challenge?

As many of you know I have had tremendous success playing PLO and PLO8 on cake although my success is slowing in 2009. I am considering moving some funds over to Full Tilt for a number of reasons, if I can successfully obtain another rake back account. I think I can, but won't know for sure until I register with a new email. Rakeback for me is huge as about 1/4 of my total winnings have been funded by rakeback.

Playing on line on Full Tilt will help me determine if I am a really good on line player or just a really good online player against the competition on cake. PLO8 action is weak on cake though there is plenty of PLO action. It will also be good practice for the WSOP as well as Marsh, myself, and Jeh are planning to attend.

Rather than all of us starting with $50.00 and grinding it out at the micro stakes, I would envision each of us starting with X, X to be determined by each players comfort level with their own bankroll. The challenge would be to watch each player progress to 2x, 4x or 10x or a bust out, using reasonable bankroll management principles.

I would be happy to share my knowledge if anyone wishes to attempt the challenge concentrating on PLO or PLO8. With my comments subject to group scrutiny, it will be helpful for me as well as I try to continue with my success as an Omaha player.

Anyone up for another challenge?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

My apology for a dealer error last week

At last week's game I committed a dealer error which had significant ramifications. It was a forum post that I read today which caused me to realize that I screwed up last week. My best recollection of the hand was that it went something like this:

Four way limped pot.

I was either the SB or BB, probably the SB.

The other players were Royal, Paul, and Lee.

Flop was J63 two spades.

It checks through to Lee who is last to act.

Lee bets somewhere around 6 into the pot of 8 chips.

I have 25os and call with my gutshot straight draw.

Royal has two crappy spades and he calls as well.

At this point I burn a card and deal Qs as the turn card which would complete Royal's flush. Only after I dealt the turn was it apparent that Paul had not yet acted. He ended up folding.

Dealing the turn card early was a mistake but those happen. What I did was compound that mistake by not following the proper procedure for addressing that situation and that is where the serious error occurred. What I did was leave the second burn card under the pot, I then announced that the queen of spades was in the stub and reshuffled the remaining cards and dealt a new turn card. That turn card ended up being the 4 of diamonds which filled my straight. As first to act I lead out. With approximately 26 chips in the middle I estimate I would have bet about 20. Royal folds. Lee then raised me an amount I don't recall but let's say it is about 50. I recall feeling that he really liked his hand so I went ahead and shoved having him well covered. He insta-called so fast that I momentarily game him credit for 57, he instead turns over 36 for two pair. My hand holds up and I stack Lee for what I recall to be approximately one rack of chips.

What *should* have happened is described in Robert's Rules of Poker, the de facto standard and the rule set in effect for our game.
8. A dealing error for the fourth boardcard is rectified in a manner to least influence the identity of the boardcards that would have been used without the error. The dealer burns and deals what would have been the fifth card in the fourth card’s place. After this round of betting, the dealer reshuffles the deck, including the card that was taken out of play, but not including the burncards or discards. The dealer then cuts the deck and deals the final card without burning a card. ...

This procedure maintains 4/5 of the original board cards which is as close as you can get to what would have happened had the error not occurred. This is also different from how to handle prematurely dealing the flop or river. In each of those cases the board card(s) get reshuffled back in the stub and are re-dealt. I had erroneously used that same procedure on the turn card.

So even though it was an honest mistake I am offering to chop the pot with Lee by crediting him a rack of chips which is the approximate amount that I recall him having in front of him. Though I have no obligation to do so I do not want there to be even the slightest hint of a conflict of interest or of any impropriety. The extremely unique set of circumstances of my procedural error erroneously dealing the gin card which led to me stacking Lee is why I am offering him a rack of chips as resolution for the situation. I take the integrity of the game very seriously and I want to do whatever I can to ensure that the game is on the level. I also want to assure others involved in the game that it I am taking efforts to keep the game square. I hope that my settlement with Lee and my commitment to following established rules and procedures are evidence of my desire to maintain a fair playing field for everyone involved.

Also, Royal, if you would like I will refund you 8 chips to cover your BB and call on the flop. ;)

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Semi-bluffing with no fold equity

Following situation came up at WNP. I'm foggy on the numbers but the principle is what I'm wondering about.

Multiway hand, at least four to the flop, maybe five? I think it was raised to six pre. I have 8c9c and would be capping betting with my call. So let's say there is 24 in the pot. I guess I was the BB. Flop comes out JQx with two clubbies so I have four to the flush and a gutter. It was not JcQc so I didn't have a GSSFD. SB bets 15. I call. Player to my left raises to 30(?). Player behind re-raises to 60(?). SB gets out. I am assessing the situation. The player to my left is pretty short had maybe another 40 behind. The re-raiser I think maybe had another 60 behind or so. Again, numbers aren't important. All I know is that I feel totally priced in to shove with two calls as long as I have all 12 outs that I think I have. If someone is willing to go to the mat with AcKc that would really suck for me but with the original stabber out I really feel that both of the other players in the hand are protecting their hand and that I am the only one drawing with my double draw.

So here's the question. Is raising the right move if I have no fold equity? I totally fell like both players are willing to go bust with their hands on that flop and I think they are both pot committed as well. If I flat all and there is a flat call behind me then a Club comes I figure that kills all my action but I also likely take the pot down there. If a Ten comes I think I'm still getting paid though a three straight on the board isn't as inviting as a less coordinated board for the bettors. Isn't the idea behind a semi-bluff to give yourself two ways to win, either from a fold or a draw out? So if a raise won't elicit a fold then you are just getting money in hoping only to draw out, even if you are getting the right overlay on price. I suppoe it is in general always better to be betting your chips and not calling but is it better to raise instead of call chips when you need to catch up and there is no way villain is going to fold?

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Team Poker

I actually preferred the more-interesting way that Marsh, Martin and Jeh explored "team poker" with their tournament that used shared stacks and information, but it's worth noting that Caesar's Palace is running a more mundane team poker tournament in March...

Short version is that you play a tournament as normal, but you score points for where you place, and your team score is a total of your (three) team members' scores.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

$400+ pot with Spainr, correct play?

This hand took place last night at hollywood, at the time I liked my play but Marsh and I are now on the fence, comments appreciated. The game is 2-40 spread with $1/$2 blinds.

So I'm in middle position, I limp with J8 of diamonds. The game has been fairly limpy at this point, so I'd been getting away with weak moves like this to some success. 2 seats to my left, it is raised to $6 and the waterfall follows. It's a family pot when it comes around to me if the guy on the left of me doesn't pop it, so I'm in, he calls and we go to the flop:

4d 7h 10d

Good flop for me, inside straight draw, 4th nut flush draw. It checks around to me, I check, original raiser pops in another $6. It folds to the small blind, who now pops it up to $14. The action folds around to the player to my right, who jams for $40 more (maximum raise), bringing the bet to call up to $54. I had witnessed this player limp with big pairs earlier and was pretty sure he held an overpair to the board, which I'm about even money to.

Now, here is the play in question. The player to my right who has reraised has about 50 dollars and change behind, enough to cover one more inevitable big bet and a little extra. Initially I ponder just calling, but, deciding that since I would call another $40 on the turn if I miss everything anyways, and knowing that if I repop and isolate I'll only have to commit another $15 or so to the pot against the near all in for the rest of the hand, I decide to hit the gas. I pop $40 on top of that, bringing the bet to $94 total. (This is the move I generally want the most feedback on, the rest of the hand, as you'll see is fairly self-explanatory)

Folds around to the kid under the gun, who takes a long think, and finally shoved in the additional $80. (Side note: This kid is stacked, having me well covered) Now I'm not sure I want my diamond. The turn brings my absolute gin card: the 9 of spades. The kid under the gun checks, the short stack plops in his last $15. Now I have the under the gun villian squarely on a diamond draw, so I decide to make him pay for it just in case it is better than mine, and drop $40 on top, which he immediately calls.

The river brings the Queen of spades. Beautiful card, all my worries melt away as I am sitting with the mortal nuts. The kid under the gun checks, I bet 40, and in an EXTREMELY questionable move, thinks for a minute or so and then open folds 9d 7d, busted flush draw come 2 pair. Sick read, but overall an unprofitable fold in my opinion. The all in flips over a rivered set of Queens and I feel pretty bad for him when I flip over the nuts, sick river for him to see.

Anyways, what do you think of my attempt to isolate against the short stack so that I don't have to commit a ton more money to the pot if I miss? Good, no good?



Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Stakes and Chips II

Thanks for all of the feedback so far. After going over people's comments I wanted to throw out the following proposed format to see if people would be willing to give this a shot:

.50/.50 blinds
$20-$100 buy in
each chip worth .50
optional straddle allowed

This structure would have the following attributes:

* Largely the same blind structure as we are currently playing. In theory this looks like everyone would be paying one extra quarter per orbit though in practice it will be less than that due to the amount of times that the SB actually ends up playing their hand.

* Having chips be worth .50 will cut down on chip bloat that has increased over the years yet still allow for fine resolution betting amounts like seven, 17, or 31.

* The standard $60 buy will provide 120 chips, a rack and a stack, which remains 120xBB and is still deeper than the usual 100xBB buy in for cash games. That will give people buying in for $60 the same amount of room to maneuver as before as opposed to having only 60xBB in a .5/1 game.

* With the straddle on, the game will largely resemble the .50/1 game which some favor.

* An optional straddle is what we currently have and having a "bigger BB" worth $1 is established territory.

* $100 maximum buy in would basically move the middle/late stages of the evening up to sooner in the session. After rebuys the table ends up having a similar amount of money on the table anyway.

* The same stakes would be used whether we are playing one table or more and everyone would have the opportunity to play with each other player.

I think that the above proposal strikes a reasonable balance of addressing everyone's varying concerns which have been voiced so far. Players who don't want the stakes increased would still get 120xBB for a standard $60 buy. Players who want to up the stakes can buy in for $100 and straddle for $1 and have it play like a .50/1 game. Unless anyone feels strongly that we should not head in this direction I would like to use the proposed structure on a trial basis. Then based on feedback from the group we can either keep the format, revert to the original format, or try a different direction. Let me know what you guys think.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

This just in...2009 WSOP schedule

For those interested, the 2009 WSOP schedule is finally out. Main Event final table is again delayed until November, yawn. A summary of the events here.

Some notable ones:
* A 40K NLHE event to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the WSOP.
* 57 bracelets this year.
* No more rebuy tourneys.
* A "stimulus" 1K buy in tourney which sounds like a giant donk fest.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Stakes and chips

Though the days have switched back and forth, Midweek Poker has been running strong for well over two years now. In the beginning we started at .20/.40 stakes so that a $40 buy in would get you two full racks of chips and we would play in the familiar psuedo 1/2 format. We next moved to .25/.50 stakes where it took a $50 buy in to get those same two racks. Then, in a blatantly transparent effort to deal with less change, the buy in was bumped to $60 so that everyone could just pay in $20s. And so it has been for quite a while.

I believe that the time may be right for another change.

Even on average single table attendance nights we routinely get all of the chips and many of the straps into play. Not that that's a problem because I like the deep stack play of the 1/2 "unit" format. I think that it plays better and that we get better poker out of it. The side effect is that we can end up mountains of chips in stacks by the end of the night. Fortresses, towers, or mounds of chips I think work fine...mountains I think are a little excessive. I think that part of the cause is the chip structure and the other part is that the stakes are not as relevant as they used to be. Whether it is inflation, different players, or just the fact that we are used to the stakes, I feel that the .25/.50 game as it is set up now is not right sized. I think changing the stakes and/or the structure would suit the game. Below are some ideas I've been mulling over. I think that one of the options or a combination of options would fit our game better than the current setup.

* Deeper maximum buy in
Changing the buy in from $20-$60 to $20-$100 would allow for deeper starting stacks. Everyone would still be allowed to buy in for the standard $60 still of course and the minimum of $20 would remain untouched so no one would be forced to buy in over their comfort level. We end up averaging around the same chip depth by the end of the night anyway so this change would primarily just be accelerating the process of getting everyone to deeper chip stacks. My impression from the mega-deep stack nights that we have played on the weekends is that deeper stacks promote better play since people have more potentially at stake. It would be a way to raise the stakes without really raising the stakes since blinds would remain .25/.50.

* Higher stakes
The next convenient step up the food chain would be .50/1. Many of us have played that on the weekend and with the frequency of straddles we are often essentially playing those stakes much of the time anyway. We do have the option of intermediate stakes due to the pseudo 1/2 format that we use. Just like we used to play .20/40 we can make the SB/BB any arbitrary amount and just convert at buy in and cash out. Though it would be unconventional we could bump to basically any stake amount between .25/.50 and .50/1.

* Blind chips
At Fixed Limit night we used the $1 chips at face value and introduced a .25 ante chip. Likewise we could give everyone a stack of quarter chips at the beginning of the night and use the Blues at face value. My prediction is that all betting post flop would be in even increments of $1 and that stacks of 60 chips (minus some for blinds) would end up in the middle pretty quickly. I've seen LV casinos switch from 200x$1 chips to 40x$5 chips. I've also seen Ryan's lunch game switch from .25 and $1 chips to just using .25 chips. In both cases I prefer the deeper stacks because I feel that better poker is played when people don't feel short stacked. Despite the fact that there may be an equivalent amount of money represented, fewer physical chips has a definite effect on the play at the table.

* Switching to .50/.50 blinds
In this scenario the chips would be worth .50 each and both SB and BB would be a single chip. The main effect would be cutting all stacks in half. Leaving the max buy at $60 and going to .50 units would provide for a starting stack of 120 chips which I think is pretty reasonable.

* Allowing/disallowing straddles
Regardless of the stakes or chip format, allowing or disallowing straddles will change the effective stakes of the game. Straddle policy in conjunction with other changes can provide a tweak to tune the play one way or another.

* New denomination
As much as I like how the 1/2 unit system works I do see room for another denomination to come into play. I would prefer to stay away from a $5 chip since I think that it would lead to the game being played in increments of 5 after the flop. I had previously floated the idea of a 20 unit plaque before we brought the straps into play. Though I'm lukewarm about the actual use of a plaque I think that a 20 unit marker could work. I was thinking along the lines of a small packet of bills folded in half. The working term I have been using for these is "sugar packet." The packs would easily exchange for a stack of chips which I think is the biggest Achilles heel of the current system. With bets so large happening so often moving bunches of full stacks across the table would be simplified by sugar packets but without diminishing the ability or likelihood of betting in fine increments like 9, 17 or 23.

So there ya go. Maybe others don't see a problem and if everyone wants to proceed with business as usual then that's fine by me. But trying to look at it from as unbiased a view as possible, I believe that there is room for improvement to make the game run smoother and be more enjoyable for everyone. Let's hear everyone's thoughts on the matter and we can figure out what the Midweek Poker is going to look like going forward. Thanks!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Is this thing on?

Clearly the amount of content has declined from its peak. Is this the best venue for discussion of issues or should we go back to email?