Saturday, November 08, 2003

Phil Helmuth Poker Blog

Phil Helmuth is my hero. I wish there was a Phil Helmuth reality show on TV.

Yet another Phil Helmuth related nugget. I had no idea that the WSOP used a rebuy format for their Omaha hi-lo tournament. That's asinine, imho. But here was a post regarding said tourney and Phil Helmuth:

The risk of going broke is high in PLO. Phil Helmuth had 14 rebuys (a WSOP
Record-total investment of $22,500) in the 1996 WSOP $1500 PLO event and still didn't cash. Doc Earle (who won the event in 1995) and Phil Helmuth got into a pissing match over table talk during a hand. Phil tilted and the rest is history.

Oh Lord, I am mightily hung over and it's mid-afternoon. The Guinness put on a hurting last evening.

Only played for about 40 minutes last nite. Long enough for AA to hold up and scoop a $66 pot in 2.4, however. The winning thankfully continues.

The value of pocket pairs:

AA 73 times 71% winning pct
KK 123 times 65% winning pct
QQ 84 times 49% winning pct
JJ 72 times 45% winning pct
TT 76 times 38% winning pct
99 78 times 37% winning pct
88 84 times 29% winning pct
77 82 times 21% winning pct
66 81 times 17% winning pct
55 103 times 24% winning pct
44 106 times 12% winning pct
33 93 times 16% winning pct
22 101 times 11% winning pct

PRESTO at 24%!

Tonight is home game poker night! Woohoo! This will prolly be our last game of the year but I'm planning on running a no-limit tournament in January. The last one was a ton of fun.

Two of the best regulars can't make it tonight and their chairs will be filled by some GAMBLOORS! Ought to be a funny, drunken game per usual. I think we'll be ten handed.

I cashed out my Empire account a week ago in hopes they would send me an email with another deposit bonus offer. Badda Bing! Got one today, although it's only for $50, damnit. But still, free money is free money. God, I love Party/Empire.

So I wonder - if I cash out my Party Poker account while playing Empire, will they then send me an email with an invite for that account? What a wonderful vicious circle this could be. If anyone knows, please give me a yell.

If you want more Phil Helmuth content, dig around - i've posted a ton on Phil.

Phil Helmuth > Russ Gorgiev

Link of the day: Let me spoon you. Sadly, EBay removed this auction.

Friday, November 07, 2003

Phil Helmuth Poker Book Rant & Poker Blogs
Poker is life, the rest is just details


Poker link of the Day: A behind the scenes view of the World Poker Tour in Aruba. It will be on TV next year and Linda was dealing. Great stuff.

Flash Links 'o the Day!
End of the World

Thankfully, Mister Decker made me feel much better by admitting that he, too, has the fireworks animation (shock and awe!) enabled on Party Poker when scooping a pot. And here I thought I was the only one.

For the love of God, I can't believe anyone would actually try to use the Phil Helmuth poker strategy book. Honestly. Don't get me wrong, he's obviously one helluva tournament player but from everything I've read, he's a terrible ring game player. Phil Helmuth poker advice: Apparently he has you classify your opponents by animal type. WTF? Is this a pop-up book? Mice, elephant, lions and rabbits? I guess the book is geared to beginners?

Oh the humanity. Perhaps I shouldn't judge the book without actually reading it, but Phil Helmuth and his nine bracelets are somewhat of an anomaly. How many WSOP events has he entered over the last 10-15 years? He's nine for what...

Phil Helmuth says to always raise and cap preflop with any pair of 7's or better, no matter the position or situation. Yikes.

I will admit that I admire what must have been Helmuth's sheer determination in getting this book written. After all, it must be damn tough to write a book with one hand while patting yourself on the back with the other.

I pity the newbies who picked Phil's book as their first. Personally, I'd recommend a heavy diet of any Ken Warren, Lee Jones, Gary Carson, Lou Kreiger or the Mad Genius, Mike Caro. Any one of them would be preferable to Phil Helmuth, IMHO.

He's just so much fun to hate. :)

Received a Party Poker email telling me they closed the investigation on "colluding players" (please see prior post about this incident). They will continue to monitor them, blah blah blah. At some point, I will post greater detail (hand histories) about this because I'm still irked.

Been playing exclusively 2.4 this week. Won $39 last nite in about an hour and a half. Sometimes I feel silly posting such small, incremental wins/losses but that's the reality of low-limit poker. I've been steadily moving up since my tragic 50 BB loss last week.

I managed to grab some poker chat last evening when a regular (Rock) started bashing a gambler.

Maniac: whats nh (no hand?)
Rock: only the worst possible player would call those raises with that hand
Rock: am i right?
Maniac: 56o is a decent hand
Rock: in a capped pot yeah right
Maniac: i like long shots - big payoffs
Maniac: only so many of each card in deck
Rock: you play this like bingo
Me: Rock, shhh, no teaching, please
ThirdParty: look who has the money though Rock
Rock: what u mean?
ThirdParty: he's made money so far
Third Party: Maniac, it's been entertaining, let's keep it that way!
Maniac: good call
Maniac: amen to fun
Me: Amen!
Rock: yeah
Me: Maniac > Rock
Rock: ill hush
Me: please do :)

And he did stfu and the Maniac gladly gave it all back. Now THAT'S what I'm talking about.

I love Party Poker!

Thursday, November 06, 2003

Celebrity Strip Poker

Best blog on the web. Actually, the blog is here.

Down early on 2.4 last night but managed to end up even. I have to admit, my table selection has become uber-lazy as of late. I've been doing the first table available, and that's just sad.

This is a terrible thing to confess, but on Party Poker, I still have the fireworks and Congratulations animation turned on. Yes, I am ashamed.

Interesting article about poker bots.

Oh yeah, have you all heard about the upcoming celebrity poker tv show? Woohoo! More poker on television. From TwoplusTwo:




October 29, 2003 - New York, NY - Beginning Tuesday, December 2 (9-10 p.m.
ET), Bravo will offer viewers a look into the private world of Hollywood poker
games with the new original six-part, weekly, one-hour series, "Celebrity Poker
Showdown," hosted by Kevin Pollak.

"Poker has been a cultural phenomenon for decades and it is currently one of
Hollywood's hottest underground activities," said Joshua Malina, executive producer of "Celebrity Poker Showdown" and star of "The West Wing." "I know viewers will love to be a part of this event. The intensity of the competition and the sharp, funny interaction among the celebrities were everything we hoped for."

Filmed recently before a live audience at the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas, each episode of "Celebrity Poker Showdown" will feature five celebrities competing against each other for a piece of the $250,000 prize pool in a game of No Limit Texas Hold’em poker for the charity of their choice. Each week a new crop of stars will take to the table to challenge their peers. The winner from each week’s game will go on to compete in the championship final sixth episode. Viewers will have the inside track on the hands the different players are holding via hidden cameras. They will also be able to hear from the eliminated players, who will watch the remainder of their respective matches from the 'Loser’s Lounge,' via closed circuit television.

All players are guaranteed at least $5,000 in prize money. Just for making it to
the finals, fifth place will win $7,500, fourth place will win $10,000, third place will win $12,500 and second place will walk away with $20,000 for their charity. The "Celebrity Poker Showdown" champion will walk away with $100,000 for the charity of their choice.

The twenty-five players, including seven Emmy Award winners, three Golden Globe
winners, two Grammy Award winners and one Academy Award winner, are broken down into five games:

Game 1 - Premieres Tuesday, December 2, 2003
Ben Affleck, Don Cheadle, David Schwimmer, Emily Proctor, Willie Garson

Game 2 - Premieres Tuesday, December 9, 2003
Martin Sheen, Allison Janney, Richard Schiff, John Spencer, Timothy Busfield

Game 3 - Premieres Tuesday, December 16, 2003
Hank Azaria, Michael Ian Black, Peter Facinelli, Nicole Sullivan, Mo Gaffney

Game 4 - Premieres Tuesday, December 23, 2003
Paul Rudd, Ron Livingston, Sarah Silverman, Shannon Elizabeth, Coolio

Game 5 - Premieres Tuesday, January 6, 2004
Mimi Rogers, David Cross, Tom Green, Carrie Fisher, Scott Stapp

The Championship Game - Premieres Tuesday, January 13, 2004

"Celebrity Poker Showdown" is hosted by comedian/actor Kevin Pollak ("A Few
Good Men," "The Usual Suspects") joined by expert poker commentator Phil Gordon. Gordon is a world class poker player who has won nearly $1,000,000 in poker tournaments in the last two years including a 4th place finish in the 2001 World Series of Poker and a first place finish in the World Poker Tour: Aruba (professional division) in 2002.

"Celebrity Poker Showdown" is produced by Picture This Television in association
with Bravo. Marcia Mulé and Bryan Scott, Andrew Hill Newman and Joshua Malina are the executive producers. Frances Berwick, Amy Introcaso-Davis and Shari Levine are the executive producers for Bravo. Cingular Wireless is the official sponsor of "Celebrity Poker Showdown."

Picture This Television, founded in 1997 by partners Marcia Mulé and Bryan Scott, has produced numerous series and specials for television worldwide including the Emmy Award-winning series "TV411" for PBS and "Intimate Portraits: Jennie Garth" and "Weddings of a Lifetime" both for Lifetime. An avid poker player, Joshua Malina is best known as Will Bailey on NBC’s Emmy Award-winning "The West Wing" and Jeremy Goodwin in the critically acclaimed series "Sports Night." Malina has also appeared in Aaron Sorkin's "The American President" and made his professional acting debut in the Broadway production of Sorkin’s "A Few Good Men." Andrew Hill Newman has written, produced and acted in various television series including producing and writing three series for Nickelodeon, "The Amanda Show," "All That" and "Drake & Josh." As an actor, Andrew has appeared in seven feature films, two Broadway shows, three Off-Broadway shows and guest-starred in fifty episodes of over three-dozen
different television series.


Jennifer Harmon, Mat Sklansky and Phil Helmuth need Poker Blogs

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

Poker Blogs, SuperSystem and This American Life

I'm a little disconcerted about all this talk of Microsoft acquiring or partnering with Google. The problem with a Microsoft search engine is, much like JFK once said in private about Richard Nixon, "The trouble with being such a well known liar is, no one believes you when you tell the truth."

Didn't play last nite (gasp!). I was reading SuperSystem before going to bed, though, and Doyle Brunson talks about how little he check-raises. He (as an action-type player) is usually the aggressor so it's unusual for him to do so. Plus, he points out the simple arithmetic of potentially getting three bets in when you bet and are raised as opposed to only two with the check raise. And as basic as that sounds, it struck a chord with me. I mean, hell, an opponent never three bets me after I've check raised them. So I'm likely missing some profit here, over the long term, eh? It's good to re-learn the basics.

Thought I'd share yet another message board rant from today about how online poker is fixed or rigged. This guy (per usual) is a winning player in brick and mortar card rooms, yet just can't beat Party Poker or Poker Stars. I wonder how many of these I've read over the last several years?

I guess I am just a lousy player, but I cannot take it anymore. I win
consistently in areal casinos and cannot win shit in these rigged online
poker dumps.

I am sick of losing with the best hand time and time again by some
miracle river card. Sick and tired of having to deal with incompentant
support staff. Sick of always getting my pocket kings or aces beaten out by
3-8 off time and time and time and time again.

I am pissed off that it is so easy to deposit and take it out of my bank
account. But, it it such a hassle when I try to get my money out.

Why in the fuck would anyone put up with this online poker shit. Just go
play at a real casino. Atleast there odds are you wont be getting
screwed out of your money by some greedy ass scam site, and colluders.
Maybe you guys are really really good and can even push out a small win
rate even though all odds are against you. Sorry I am just not that
LUCKY. It is hard enough to win let alone having to fight tons of
bullshit factors against you.



And yes this is how I really feel!

LOL, priceless.
The most appropriate response:

Online poker values different skills and is very different than casino
poker, y'know. Or maybe you don't....

Some players lose at poker simply because they refuse to get better. Saying "change the deck" or "the game is rigged" is easier than spending months and years to improve your game.

Mitigating note: I'm not addressing collusion here.

BTW, for all of you folks who haven't read Positively Fifth Street yet, by Jim McManus, here is the abridged version of the story. Superb stuff and oughta encourage you to buy the book after reading.

For those of you with Real Audio: there is a fine show called This American Life on public radio. It's a documentary radio show that explores all sorts of themes and discourse on America, generally through three or four segments.

They have a great feature on poker at the WSOP that I heartily recommend. It's about poker pro's and wanting to be a texas hold em pro. Excellent, funny poker content.

You can either listen to the first segment (good stuff - it's about the best basketball trick guy in the world, doing tricks over some hiphop beat, just an average joe, featured in that badass Nike commercial a few years back) or skip ahead to minute 20 to hear the hold em poker segment. Good stuff if you're stuck at work. :)
Meet the Pros
The story of one man's journey from obscurity to international professional celebrity, aided only by his own hard work, a sneaker commercial, and mad handles. And other stories of amateurs hurtling themselves at the pros whose jobs they covet.

Act Two. Know When to Walk Away, Know When to Run.
Host Ira Glass travels to Las Vegas for the World Series of Poker, gets hooked on poker, and tries to figure out what it would mean if he'd ditch his job in radio to become a professional cardplayer. What he learns: a professional gambler can suffer two heartbreaking losses back to back, costing over $100,000, yet moments later, at the casino bar, calculate the million-to-one odds of his unlikely losses... in his head. (26 minutes).

Click HERE to listen.

Do it now. But ignore the third segment.

Last but not least, the Russ Georgiev web site is still not up. Russ has resorted to yet again pounding RGP with the same old posts. Geezus, Russ, I know there is cheating in poker, enough already!

TwoPlusTwo software still sucks.

Tuesday, November 04, 2003

Poker Blogs

I hate Barbra Streisand, truly I do.

Random and unrelated poker notes: 2.4 on Party Poker has been treating me well. Barely broke even overall last nite but won enough in 2.4 to cover the costs of two $30 unsuccessful no-limit sit and go's.

Related to prior posts about bashing the fish: I'll be damned if the minute I sit down last evening that some buttmunch is screaming about some goof rivering him with A2 when he held KK. Good Lord, I tried to provoke him to no avail. Maybe ten minutes later he starts ranting again and going off about how his flop percentage is at 21%, blah blah blah, all these morons, blah blah blah. Table immediately tightens up. I blast him, pointing out his impact on what was a loose, sloppy table, and thank the jackass (jackass does NOT get XXXX'd out on Party, btw) for ruining a good thing before leaving the table.

I didn't really think too much about it until he messages me half an hour later through the Party Poker buddy list thingy, apologizing profusely, thanking me, and stating that he now sees how stupid he was.

That's a freaking first.

I just noticed the banner on CardPlayer that is offering a 40% deposit bonus to PokerRoom. Damn. I have a buddy who plays there during the day and he enjoys it, but reading the fine print, it sounds too much like UB.

To get the bonus you need to collect player points. A bonus requires 7 player points for every dollar. For example, a deposit bonus of $20 will require 200 player points. As soon as you have collected the points needed, your bonus will automatically be transferred to your PokerRoom.com account.

Anyone out there have any experience with them?

A reader asked about PokerStars. Yup, I've played there from beta. I personally think they have the best software, tournaments and customer support, bar none. Do I play there now? Hardly at all. The games are just much tougher than Party Poker, imho. I've seen the influx of new players there, so perhaps it's softer than it used to be but Party still has the easiest games. Just my two cents.

Interesting post from RGP about O8.

I have been reading about O8, and apparently if it is played with a
solid mathematical understanding at the low limits, it is very easy to
make money (mainly through tight play), because everyone plays so

Also, I read (on Steve Badger's site) that "$3/6 Omaha requires only
about half the bankroll of $3/6 Holdem, but your hourly win rate
should be higher." Is this still the case? I am a winning player at
LLHE, but who doesn't want a higher win rate?

Badger had an interesting reply:

Interesting. This has never been true in the history of the galaxy before,
as bad low limit Omaha players have always been drastically "badder" than
bad low limit Holdem players, but with the advent of the ESPN and World
Poker Tour, it may have changed dramatically. Naturally almost all those
totally inexperienced players will first try Holdem. Still, having a
positive expectation playing low limit Omaha is not hard at all.

Also, bad players have a much better chance in Holdem than they do in Omaha.
Even if Holdem has more fish, the fish have a shot. Bad players in Holdem
commonly have some outs: a gutshot, hit a kicker, spike their underpair.
Bad players in Omaha commonly are drawing 100% dead.

I've gotta start playing more of this.

Monday, November 03, 2003

Poker Blogs - Positively 5th Street

BlogDaddy at work was checking out an ad we did for a client in the latest Forbes FYI magazine and lo' and behold, there's a feature article about Jim McManus, the author of the best selling book, Positively 5th Street, ("It's selling like frozen margaritas in Hell," said Jim in the article) titled The Gamblers Edge.

I wanted to see if it was online and got this message:

The Gambler's Edge
Sorry, this story is not available online. In the case of a few authors, Forbes does not own the electronic rights. You will have to read this story in the print edition of the magazine. We apologize for the inconvenience.
The Editors

Booooo! Anyway, it's an interesting read. This guy basically follows McManus around to both the poker room and the horse track.

Random snippets from the article:

Jim McManus is playing pot-limit Omaha at Harrah's East Chicago, on a docked riverboat on Lake Michigan. Understand: This is not gambling, at least the way McManus sees it. W.C. Fields had his own take. In My Little Chickadee, Mae West asks if poker is a game of chance, and Fields replies, "Not the way I play it."

To a real player, gambling is only a certain part of what happens at casinos or at the track. Gamblers are people who either don't know what they're doing, or like to bet against the odds. Good poker players, like good horse players, search for value. They leverage advantage. They look for small truths they hope other people don't notice. They manage risks, and expect rewards for playing well. They like the sport. They like knowing. Call these people sportsmen, cardplayers, horse-players. Don't call them pure gamblers.

"Casino's don't make any money on poker," McManus explains, "These games out here are played against the house. They treat poker players like shit."

Jim played maybe five full hands over the course of the five hours we were there. Probably fewer.

It's too long to write out but there's a fun last hand where Jim ends up going all-in ($7 grand) on the flop with a set of kings against a young Asian gambler who calls with a flush draw. The flush makes it on the river and Jim is irked.

K, that's enough on that.

Segue: Why is a flat tax (15%!) good enough for Iraq, but not the USA?

+$76 in about two hours last nite. 2.4. Top pairs stood up, that's all.

I love Party Poker. We need more Poker blogs!

Sunday, November 02, 2003

Poker Haiku


A Japanese lyric | verse | poem form, traditionally invoking an aspect of nature or the seasons.

I oughta save this for the next rgp contest but the majesty of fall (and Guinness) is inspiring me.


"If I could use cards
Like falling leaves,
What a bonfire
My cards would make."


David Sklansky > Mason Malmuth
Theory of Poker is still the Torah

OK, so folding kings pre-flop is rarely correct in no-limit poker. Did I really need to reassure myself of that fact? After yesterday, yes. Thanks to all who provided feedback.

I really enjoy tournament play. It's fun to play poker under the pressure and immediacy instead of my normal reality of "life is one long ring game." Note to self: play more tourneys.

A big thank you to veteran blogger Love and Casino War (pursuing the arrest of vince van patten since 1976) for the links to our humble poker blogs. Top notch site. Check out his superb post on bad beats.

Hrm, anyone out there trying the OIC thingy from Two+Two? This is just me, but wouldn't this experiment be much easier on Party? Am I missing something obvious? Is it because it's free poker?

I hope Mister Decker doesn't mind, but I wanted to quote his poker blog about my online poker pet peeve: berating poor/loose players. He wrote about it better than I could, so here it is:

After a little while, some asshole at the table started harassing my buddies! Seriously, if someone is playing awful, what would possess you to try and make them play better, or worse yet leave the table??? I will never understand the logic.

Preach on, brother! I've become adept (it's Pavlovian at this point) at immediately attacking the "educating" player. It's pretty easy to draw the wrath of a guy like this since he's obviously pissed off and ready to chat about it. I prefer deflecting the attack upon myself. I'm just amazed that anyone knowledgable would attack the fish. Damnit, let the gamblers gamble in peace!


Didn't play today. Too pretty outside. Now that it's late and the wife went out with the dogs to feed the horses, I shall jump on.

Last snippet is a repost. Just posting it for my benefit before tackling some higher limits on Party Poker.

So I have a protuberant piece of paper hanging above my monitor that provides three little rules for online poker play.

1) Other players bad play will make me far more money than my fancy or brilliant plays.
2) The guy that leads with a bet on the turn after not betting out previously, has a big hand.
3) Folding costs me nothing pre-flop. If it's a close decision, I can't go far wrong by folding.

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