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?