Friday, November 14, 2003

Poker Journal

TGIF. Rough day today in the non-poker world so I'm gonna make this quick.

Party Poker update. Won about $91 last nite in 2.4 and 3.6. Played VERY tight and hardly ever called a preflop raise. Funny, but I caught some big cards that got cracked, yet I caught a few big blind specials that more than made up for it.

From the latest column by Lee Jones:

My friend, Tommy Angelo, plays professionally and makes a living at it. And he is both gracious and literate enough to describe quite well how he does it. Tommy loves position the way little boys love puppies. If he's on the button, he's getting ready to raise before he's seen his cards. If he's in the blinds, he's getting ready to fold before he's seen his cards. Much of Tommy's game is built around being one step ahead of his opponent, and hey, when you have position on your opponent, you're exactly one step ahead of him, because he has to act exactly one step ahead of you. It's beautiful to watch Tommy fold blinds and raise buttons all evening long, and I have come to be more generous with blinds and more aggressive with the button because of it. I believe it's made my game stronger.

Party is down again in prime time. Oh the humanity.

Up about $40 in 3.6.

Thursday, November 13, 2003

Poker Journal Ramblings
We needed money real bad at home and my daddy told me I had to stop work or stop gamblin'. And I said, "Daddy, if I don't work how can I get money to gamble?" And Daddy, he said, "Son, that's what gamblers got to figure out." So I quit work.
--Johnny Moss

To celebrate our ninth wedding anniversary, I took da wife out to the Maisonette last evening. This fine French restaurant has received Five-Stars from the Mobil travel Guide for forty consecutive years, the longest in the country, making it one of the finest restaurants in the good ol USA. Starved myself all day and then gorged on:

BISQUE DE CRABE Dungeness crab bisque
FOIE GRAS CHAUD AU PANAIS ET AU RAISIN pan seared Hudson Valley foie gras with parsnip puree, grapes, and walnuts
CHATEAUBRIAND BOUQUETIERE double filet mignon, served with fresh garden vegetables "rossini" style with black truffle and foie gras

I couldn't even move when we were done. I literally had to be wheeled out of the place. And how does this concern poker, you might be asking me....well, I paid for this out of my precious poker bankroll, that's how. Yet another reason to love Party Poker!!

I still haven't made the switch back to Empire. Perhaps this weekend. I haven't played too much this week but did get hurt on the 2.4 tables one night. It was my favorite kind of game - a very loose, aggressive one, but sadly, I got my clock cleaned. I don't mind the downswing after a game like that, however. Those games are profitable more often than not for me and I realize there's a bigger variance.

Sat 3.6 and 5.10 late, late last nite and didn't do well. The 5.10 was far tighter than the 3.6. The 3.6 nearly played like 50.1 preflop but the players were playing fit or fold for the most part. Lost $60. The 5.10 was tiiiight and I broke even. Thinking about sitting 3.6 from now on.

I'm up about $50 tonite and it's still early. God bless the nut flush.

RGP has been worthless lately. So I've been spending much more time in TwoPlusTwo. Speaking of which, DavidRoss rules. I really look forward to his weekly posts. Here's a snippet:

I have decided that the turn check-raise may be the most powerful play in poker. Almost always, the player will call down afterwards. I don't know if it's anger at getting raised or what, but I do it too. Usually player 1 bets the flop and player 2 calls. Then player 1 checks the turn and player 2 bets. Player 1 now raises and you know he's got a big hand. But player 2 will call the turn bet and also the river bet. I've rarely seen this as a bluff, but it works almost every time. I've used it several times this week when flopping monsters. Raising with position never seems to work as well, quite often there is a fold, but I've seen some horribly weak hands call down the check-raise.

That TwoPlusTwo crowd is still tough as nails, though. They don't cut anyone any damn slack. There's one guy on there who basically responds to every hand posted with:


Gotta love that kind of support from your fellow poker players.

Playing 5.10 last nite really drove home the differences between a mid-limit tight game and the perpetually loose low limit poker games. There's one thing I really need to watch and that's river play. When it comes to calling a bet on the river, you can make a mistake two ways. One will cost you a single big bet and the other is - you can commit the mortal sin of not calling a river bet and losing an entire pot. When the pot is big it's a no brainer. But when it's heads up on the flop it can be tricky at the end. Those $10 bets can add up quick and suck up your profit for the session if you aren't careful.

I probably should post about thin value bets versus checking on the end but I'll save that for a future post.

My man Fuzz update: Started with $100 on PartyPoker. Currently up to $850 - almost all through 50.1. That's some amazing poker.

Does anyone have any insight about the Sklansky tournament book? Is "the system" even worth reading about? I'm somewhat sceptical - I've never heard the phrase "no-limit and David Sklansky" uttered in the same sentence before.

Link of the day:
Easy Money for Easier Women
Adult Porn Careers is looking for people who have at least one opening that needs to be filled. "Just about every model that we have shot wants to come back again for another shoot!"

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

"Patience, and shuffle the cards"
Don Quixote

From this week's Business Week in the UpFront Section:
Poker is back in the chips.

Since poker players can't bet against the house, the card game has long been a low-margin biz for casinos. But this year, poker revenues at Connecticut's Foxwoods Casino and Las Vegas' Bellagio are up about 25%. The Bellagio expects to take in about $12 million this year, charging players up to $100 per half-hour. Why the popularity? Online gaming, for one. Also, World Poker Tour, on the Travel Channel, and ESPN's World Series of Poker have drawn record audiences with a reality-show feel. Poker is "not a big profit factor," says Jefferies analyst Lawrence Klatzkin. Still, more poker rooms may still be in the cards.

Poker journal ramblings:

I've known a few degenerate gamblers in my day. Hell, I remember (barely) living in Las Vegas and watching co-workers spend entire paychecks on video poker machines. It was stunning to watch, like a car wreck. I couldn't even conceive of the mindset, the compulsion.

I heard or read of a story of a casino in Las Vegas receiving a bomb threat one night. Over the loudspeaker, management advised everyone to leave the casino floor ASAP. So who were the stubborn gamblers? The blackjack players were the first to leave, then the crapshooters, then the baccarat players; finally the roulette players left. But the damn slot machine and video poker addicts refused to leave. I don't know if this a true anecdote or not, but I sure as hell believe it.

I'm not sure how to tie this into poker except to say where are all these fish on Party Poker coming from? I mean, I'm sitting here playing 2.4 as I type this out and am stunned - my table is five, six, seven handed to the flop every hand. Amazing stuff.

I guess I wanted to rant about losing versus winning poker players, maybe bash the online poker conspiracy theorists again (head to the archives if you want a sample). Seems like some losing players have a propensity to blame losing on outside forces like bad luck, bad cards or rampant cheating. Winning poker players (to me) believe that winning is a direct result of their own studying, ability and preparation while losers, because the idea of incompetency is so damaging to their ego, tend to point to reasons outside of themselves.

I'm not disavowing bad luck or a terrible run of cards, believe me. It's accepted that even good players will experience long losing streaks - it's unavoidable. I'm just referring to the gambloors who whine and complain and post about "fixed" internet poker instead of taking a hard, cold look at their game.

Good God, I'm sounding like a shill here and that wasn't my intention. I just firmly believe that you can only get better at poker by learning from losing, plugging leaks, studying to gain a deeper understanding of concepts and certain game types - not by complaining about "rigged sites" or "action flops."

I wonder how many of these whiners are older types?

Contrasting a younger scientific player with an older, presumably unscientific one, a pro poker player stated, "The player who knows his mathematics, psychology, and can read and intimidate others is what I mean by a scientific poker player. That player is just overkill against some of the older players. It's not even close even though the older players have 70,000 hours at the poker table."

Link of the day: Buy yourself an Imaginary Online Girlfriend for under 50 bucks on EBay.

Sunday, November 09, 2003

Home poker game

Only a few of the guys in my home game read this blog so I could insult with impunity. :) But nope, I love my home game group - we've been playing for, hell, almost six years now? Our hosts, (FilmGeek and Meaux!) are incredibly gracious to let us play in their abode. Read my prior post to discover how far we have come.

Our home game is only a 1.2 game, full of booze, good music and lotsa laughter. We've got our gamblers, our sheriffs, and our weak-tights.

I did my typical lose early, win late routine and ended up the big winner +$90. It's bizarre but it happens all the time. I was prolly down $30 until drunkboy kicked in (I'll typically start playing "raise or fold" with only one eye open) and I managed to catch some cards. I think we played till 2.30 am. Good fun.

A huge thank you to Alan Bostick on his no-limit tournament poker book tip. My main book influence for nl tourneys has been TJ Cloutier and Tom McEvoy's book, Championship Pot-Limit and No-Limit HoldEm. Also, Reuben and Ciaffone, Pot limit and No limit Poker was very valuable.

Zero online action today. Recovering from last nite. Thanks to whoever told me that the vicious circle of Party/Empire bonus deposits is true. This is wonderful news. I'll be heading back to Empire this week!

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