Sunday, December 14, 2003

Poker Journal

"Money effects emotions, and emotions control most players. Poker involves the winning and losing of money. Common emotions of anger, excitement, greed, masochism, sadism and self-pity will often take control of players during the action. Most players fail to recognize or are unable to suppress these emotional influences that decrease their objectivity and poker ability. The good player recognizes his own emotions and prevents them from influencing his actions . . . He avoids acting on whims and feelings."
Frank R. Wallace
Poker - A Guaranteed Income for Life by Using the Advanced Concepts of Poker.

A banner day, Saddam captured and the Bengals won. Maybe I'll get lucky with the wife tonight and hit the trifecta.

Ready for a Guinness-fueled, rambling poker post? Good.

I lost nearly $60 last evening but it coulda been much worse. I was down $125 at one point but the game was outrageously crazy, loose and I was playing fine so I hung in there and got half back. It makes me sad to lose on Saturday nights.

Speaking of Party - Empire Poker craziness, the $200 no limit tournament is down to 150 players right now. First prize = $59,520. This week I'm (seriously) going to play some satellites for that sucker. It's only $9 for the multi's - what the hell. That's some serious overlay.

OK, let's share some links and posts, shall we? First off, let me explain what a SNG or "sit and go" is to any of my uninitiated readers. It's a one table, ten-handed shoot-out where everyone pays a fee (from $5 - $200 on Party Poker) and plays until only one remains. These are called freeze-outs. Party pays out 50%, 30% and 20% of the prize money to 1st, 2nd & 3rd, respectively. These are ten-handed tables so in a $30 SNG (+$3 entry fee to the house), first gets $150, second $90 and third $60. If you can win, place or show 40% of the time, it's profitable. Until the WPT, it's how I spent my time on Party Poker.

Here's a real post from veteran poker blogger, Alan Bostick. I can only admire the quality of his posts from a far-off distance. Go read Roshambo and Luck right now. Trust me, it mentions Phil Helmuth.

Hrm, I lost the link (sorry!) but I read a poker blog post referencing Russ Gorgiev and his opinion that seven card stud is the best poker game to improve your overall poker. I must respectfully disagree and only say that Russ's arch nemesis, Mike Caro, has always stated that texas hold em and draw poker are the best games for teaching high powered poker concepts. In my own experiences, I must concur with Mr. Caro. Your mileage may vary.

But allow me to quote David Sklansky from SuperSystem. This is about Stud 8, one of my very favorite games that I tackled with earnest after reading these passages.

"Throughout my experiences, I've discovered that most poker players are continually looking for an excuse to get in the pot. And High-Low split offers the average player more opportunities to get in the pot and play than any other form of poker. They want to play . . . and they'll do almost anything to justify playing. They'll play hands that have almost no chance of winning - because they don't know any better. High-Low Split is that kind of game - it's full of traps. I'd rather play against weak players at Stud 8 than Hold em, even though Hold em is my best game. This is because your chances of losing playing High-Low Split against bad players . . . well, you're just hardly ever going to lose."

Who am I to question David? I went out and learned that damn game ASAP. In a twist of irony, Russ's post on Stud Hi-Lo on RGP was one of the very few I found worth a shit.

David Sklansky > Russ Gorgeiv

RE: my asking for a Phil Ivey bio in a prior post. BoyGenius hit the nail on the head with this comment:

You wrote: "I've never been able to find a complete bio on Phil Ivey. Anyone know of one?"

This statement totally backs up the point I was trying to make in regards to manufactured personalities in televised poker events. A player like Phil Ivey has the potential to be one of the posterboys for the new poker movement (trust me, they want frat boy/young male professional money if they had their preference), but the fact that you only really know the Phil who's being dealt cards is purposeful on his part, I'm sure.

Would you treat a player dressed in sloppy clothes with three days of stubble differently if you knew he had a PhD in Mathematics from MIT? Would you figure Annie Duke, if she were an anonymous player in a medium limit game, for a dangerous player? Does it make a difference that you know she's Lederer's sis? Abso-friggin-lutely.

I respect Ivey for his table image as much as his play, and I'm betting we never get a good chance to know a whole lot about his background. And I bet that's how he prefers it.

Amen, BG. You confirmed what I've always thought.

In a RGP thread about Chris Moneymaker getting lucky in the WSOP I enjoyed this response:

All you poker regulars should be grateful that Moneymaker won (Varkoni
too) as they have brought a flood of amateurs to the game who are loosing
money left and right... If you haven't got a piece of this "dead money"
cash over the last six months, it is time for you to give real thoughts
about giving up on poker... MONEYMAKER is a POKER GOD for what he has done to bring all the fresh cash to solid poker playing regulars...

Yes. Yes, he is. I should tithe him.

So here's a doozy of a thread, from the fine shitty software at 2+2.

Prima Poker, owner of the Gaming Club and twenty other card rooms, froze several player accounts, ultimately confiscating $25,000 from one poker player. The post is long, outlining why they did so. Ultimately, this raises many ugly issues that I'm not prepared to get into here. But for a site to take twenty-five large from a player and refuse to give one shred of evidence seems dubious to me.
Gaming Club responds to dako et al (LONG)

To view the entire thread, just head to the Internet forum and you'll see it, trust me. Chip dumping with stolen or illegal credit cards, legal foreign jurisdiction, netteller, consumer confidence & integrity, fraud. So much murky water to navigate through. Yet another reason I don't play high limits, online.

This group has been caught multiple times attempting (and sometimes succeeding) to chip dump to their friends / co-conspirators, using funds that were brought into the system through fraudulent means (for example, using stolen credit cards and the like).

from dako:
Talked to my attorney...can't sue them, no jurisdiction, and even if there was they're covered (as all sites) by their TOS.

Any time you deposit money to a site, it's at your own risk. You have no recourse.

Party Poker > Prima Poker

God, after reading a thread like that, I'd never play there. Ever.

Let's shift gears and post a Gary Carson response to a newbie's question on RGP about what to read after reading the basics (Sklansky, Kreiger and such):

Read Gary Carson's book, and Abdul Jalib's web site (www.posev.com).

Yes, those are good suggestions. Also maybe something by Caiffone for a different perspective in the other direction. Also, the Frank Wallace book available online has a fresh prespective. If you can find a copy of Sherer's NoFold'em Hold'em, that's also a different view.

Gary Carson

Solid advice, all around. I like the way Gary always focuses on 'thinking' about poker, rather than telling you 'specific ways' you should play. If you haven't read Frank Wallace's book, you should give it a whirl. It's over 30 years old but still worthy. I bought it for a dollar at a used book store. Best of all, as Gary Carson said, you can read it all online at Neo-Tech: Poker.

Continuing in this 'newbie' vein, I'll close out with this atypical post on 2+2 about losing in low-limit and how it can't be beat because . . .
Full thread entitled:

Honestly, can ANYBODY beat these $0.50 games? .... (on the Internet forums)

Somebody tell me honestly, is it really possible to beat these stupid micro-limit games on Party Poker, or am I just kidding myself?

I started studying hold'em a few months ago because I can beat blackjack but can't get to the casino on a regular basis and wanted to develop some other card game skills. I did well my first week on Party Poker but have hemmoraged funds ever since, mostly via bad beats by nitwits who call to the river with junk.

Tonight is a prime example. I have played 180 hands and have raised preflop with AA, AKs, AJs, and KK once each, QQ twice, and with AKo three times. ALL of these hands save one AKo have gotten cracked, and all but one of the losses have come at the hands of some dolt who entered the pot with a trash hand but caught a miracle card on the turn or river.

This has been the story for several weeks now. I am seriously thinking of quitting, as I have begun to believe that until I can afford to play at a higher limit with players who actually FOLD their pocket threes on occasion, my time would be better spent honing my blackjack game.

This message is mostly me venting...but somebody tell me: is it REALLY possible to beat these micro-limit games or should I just wait until I can afford to play at a higher level?

Perfect response amongst the many flames to this post:

"I have played 180 hands and have ..."


Yes, the micro-limits can be beat, if YOU are ready to beat the micros is a completely different question.

"I started studying hold'em a few months ago because I can beat blackjack but can't get to the casino on a regular basis and wanted to develop some other card game skills. I did well my first week on Party Poker but have hemmoraged funds ever since, mostly via bad beats by nitwits who call to the river with junk."

I know you are new to poker, so don't take this harshly, but blaming your loses on nitwits that play junk to the river is like wearing a T-shirt with the words "Poker Idiot" on it.

MS Sunshine

p.s. I meant that in the nicest way possible.

Go read the thread for more perspective.

Good God, this has been a three Guinness post. Nothing like a combination of being thirsty AND long-winded.

I bought a damn domain name. Finally.

Also spent some time today reading Iraqi blogs. Interesting perspectives. Is it too much to hope for to find Bin Laden next?

Link of the Day:
Paintball Equals Tragedy Plus Time
Columbine Paintball offers a chance for individuals and groups to re-enact the school massacre with paint in place of precious life-giving fluids. "Come and shoot your friends and family members in remembrance."

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