Saturday, January 03, 2004

Russ Gorgeiv & Party Poker Blogs

"Your first duty is to the Game; then come Mother, God, and Country."
Motto at the National Press Club, Washington D.C.

Tons of poker links below, so please humor the next paragraph.

Sign up on Party Poker with bonus code IGGY.

Or if you are playing on Party already, but haven't signed up for Empire Poker, the exact same site as Party Poker, just packaged in soothing blue tones, (endorsed by Chris Halverson), you owe it to yourself to take advantage not only of the deposit bonuses, but the SECOND identity. If you track regular players or fishies, you are truly missing out on an opportunity to play under a new name.

Empire Bonus Code: IGGY1

My humble apologies for the shilling but I've received some new traffic and wanted to let people know they could play on Empire for Party Poker. Hell, I didn't know this back in the day. Plus I've posted some good stuff the last two weeks - so I'm rewarding myself with a shill paragraph. :)

New readers should dig through the archives. Poker blogging has been an interesting experience, to say the least. I've found more new poker blogs below - let's hope even more join the fray.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: it's not how you win at poker, it's how you lose.

As Steve Badger says:

The problem is: you just can't will yourself to win -- be it a tournament, a single day's play, or even an individual hand. And then, unfortunately for some, not winning is something many players simply can't handle. And being able to not win well is a fundamental, key ingredient of being a winning player.

There is a new poker blogger out there who realized he was steaming and found the intestinal fortitude to walk away for a few days. Kudos to him for knowing he needed a break. Denial or allowing yourself to play in that 'threshold of misery' as Mike Caro calls it, is a very expensive leak, usually fatal to your bankroll.

I think a particular strength of mine has been my persistence in using losing as opportunities for learning. I rarely have many epiphanies while the deck is hitting me in the face but I am very diligent about analyzing my play while losing.

Whenever I get hit with bad runs or a big session loss, I typically blame my poor play first. This is my natural tendency after indoctrinating myself in Sklansky and the ilk - they ingrained in me the knowledge that a good player can suffer large losses - in fact, they are unavoidable. How you handle them is the key.

Geez, RGP is still a cesspool with little value, but I did see a question posed about a very successful and profitiable ring game player who refuses to play tournaments. Steve Badger chimes in again with the reply:

> I won't specify who it is, but I'd like to know the logic behind not
> playing tournaments. Is it an EV argument?

Some skillful ring game players suck at tournaments. Some skillful
tournament players suck at ring games. Some great free throw shooters suck from the three point line. Some great sprinters suck at marathons.

Also, it's a matter of taste. Some people like to quit whenever they want.
Others live to exploit the moments when the weaker players hit "the wall"
towards the end of tournaments.

A quick appeal to readers: per the poker blogger SNG, the FatGuy:
If, by chance, you run across or are aware of any Linux software out there that we can use, I'll be happy to install it for our World Series of Bloggy Poker Goodness. We could even use PayPal as the bank.

I'm at a loss for what to do. I'm sure one of the smaller sites would oblige us but not everyone will want to put their money in those. Arrrg.

Alrighty then. Massive poker linkage time:

Izmet rules.

The PokerGrub has posted Part 1 of his Vegas Trip report. Always entertaining reading.

Here's a new poker blog, 665 Livejournal Ave, with a pleasantly long Las Vegas trip report as his last entry.

For any of you college students out there, I saw this link in Felicia's blog and although I'm not quite sure what the hell they are doing, thought it worthwhile to post.
College Poker Championship

Brian's poker journal is a new poker blog from a Vegas local. As I always say, Vegas is a great place to visit, you just don't want to live there.

Another brand-new poker blog, Poker Code, is off and running. Let's hope he keeps it up.

Don't forget to bookmark the Royal Poker Blog. I enjoyed a fascinating discussion with Royal on the subject of 'Why Play Poker?' What makes it so compelling - is it just about the money - is there ever an end-game? How about goals?

Veteran blogger Cards Speak has a nice recap & explanation of Morton's Theorem. If you aren't up to speed on this concept, go read his post now.

Chris Halverson's interesting post about Izmet and application of ramming and jamming in the low-limit games. So far, it's +EV for Chris.

Up for Poker has posted his New Years Poker Resolutions.

Stick and Move finally made a brief poker post. I like the idea of doing a Mark Gastineau sack dance around your computer when you scoop a big pot.

And let me leave the best for last. Digging through some of my old bookmarks again and found these gems. Excellent writing and insight into a player taking a shot at the big game.

Patri plays in a huge poker game at the 2000 World Series of Poker.
Wow, There's A Lot Of Money On This Table!
(or How Seven Hours Can Cost $12000 in Blinds)

Also, Patri's first World Series of Poker.

Whew, that's a buttload of links. Enjoy. I may have to start another damn poker blog so I can actually WRITE about poker again.

Speaking of which, did anyone else notice that Party Poker hit 26,000 players last evening? I wonder how much of a spike we'll see after the NBC World Poker Tour broadcast on SuperBowl Sunday? Thank you Poker Gods!

Whoops, turns out this is the truth:
PartyPoker.com broke records again on New Years Night.

PartyPoker.com exceeded 27,000 in total players logged in, had over 7,600
real money live game players and over 9,600 real money tournament players.

Why on earth would you play anywhere else?

I'm gearing up for my shot at the $200 +$15 NL tourney this weekend. Wish me well.

Link of the Day:
My favorite Iraqi blogger. Anyone who likes to drink cold beer and play Counter-Strike is OK in my book.
Healing Iraq Blog
The eve of the New Year for me has always been the gloomiest and most depressing time of the year. While the rest of the world celebrates till the early morning I would be sitting over drinks with friends while wearily staring at each other, cursing our lost youth, and wondering what the future will bring us. At some of these occasions we don't even notice the clock striking twelve, sometimes we just blurt out a half-hearted hurray, greet each other and sit back drinking ourselves to oblivion.

Friday, January 02, 2004

I've been asking Fuzz to write another post about beating the 50.1 games. Please dig into the archives if you missed his first one. For the record, Fuzz has ran $50 into $1000 on Party Poker, almost exclusively on the 50.1 tables.

The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of management. :)


I will try to sum up my whole post in one sentence, if you do not have the time, or inclination, to read my entire post.

If you are going to win at low limit poker, you must learn how not to lose.

Notice, I did not say anything about maximizing bets, or even about winning pots. If you know when to fold, everything will fall into place over time. You WILL win pots, you will take players money that are worst than you. But, if you take every loss personally and say "I can't believe he played that" then you will lose.

Another very important point, one that I know Iggy has mentioned, table selection is one of the most important aspects of LL poker. If I sit down and I see a check-raise or the flop or turn, I leave the table. If I see someone check the flop around and he had hit the nuts on the flop, I leave. If I don't see at least 4-5 players seeing every flop, raised or not, I leave. There are 100 full $.5/$1 tables on Party every single night. I don't need to sit with sneaky players. There are too many other tables for me to sit at anything less than an ideal table. Every now and then I hit the jackpot with 2 or 3 players that burn through all $25 in 2 orbits.

What follows are a few scenarios that seem to popup quite a bit, interspersed with my random thoughts on how you can win at low limit poker.

UTG bets out. I have AA. Ends up getting capped preflop. Long story short, I couldn't lay 'em down I lose to 62c when the turn gave him the flush. Shit like that happens several times a night. What pissed me off was not the fact that my AA lost to 62, but that I couldn't lay it down. I knew I was beat, but I kept rationalizing why I should stay in the hand. I lost $2 on that hand. Now to those big boys out there, that isn't shit, but in the $.5/$1 that is the difference between a winning player and a losing player.

I lost for close to a year before I finally started winning. In thinking back, I can't say why I lost. I had a solid foundation. I knew correct starting hand requirements and the importance of position. But I still lost hundreds of dollars playing little 'ol $.5/$1. I am only now starting to realize I was never that bad of a player, but I just couldn't let go of hands. Here is how my thought process has changed: AA in the hole, it gets capped preflop. Flop comes 722, UTG bets out. Before: "It was capped preflop and he is UTG, there is no way he has a 7 or a 2." Now: "Of course he has a 7 or 2, or even better 72." Now, to be fair, I will normally call this bet on the flop, hoping for an A on the turn. If no A on turn, I let it go when it gets expensive.

Another scenario: KK, 4 people see the flop. Flop comes K93, all hearts. If you think you have the best hand, you might for the moment, but the second that 4th flush card comes out and suddenly someone in front of you bets out, you have to really think. This is where pot odds come into play. Is it worth the call knowing he has the flush for the chance you will hit your boat on the river? That will only come with time and experience.

If you ever find yourself calling river bets for the sole purpose of "I've got to see if he has it." You WILL lose money. This is not high limits poker. This is not the WSOP. LOW LIMIT PLAYERS DO NOT BLUFF!!!! If you take one thing away from this post, it should be that. LL players might as well play with their cards up. It would really make no difference. They are telling you what they have, especially in limit. NL might be a little different, but not really.

My closing thoughts:
If you do not have a hand that can beat whatever 4 card straight/flush or paired board that is out there, then you MUST fold. If you can not lay down AA when the board shows 789T2 and the only guy sticking with you bets out, then you will lose money. If the board makes their hand, they will scream it out loud. If you choose to ignore their screams, you will lose money. It goes back to my previous point, ll players don't bluff. The players you are playing with might be bad, but they are not stupid. Remember, its only a game, have fun and make money!

Thanks Fuzz!

Thursday, January 01, 2004

"Judged by the dollars spent, gambling is now more popular in America than baseball, the movies, and Disneyland combined."
Timothy O'Brien

A few tasty things to post.

Most importantly, thanks to the ever-alert HDouble, I discovered that my links to Abdul, were in fact, linking to Izmet Fekali's web site. Turns out that Izmet is as much the expert as Abdul (they are close friends) and both sites are MUST reads.

Best of all, Izmet actually took the time to read a little bit of my blog and sent this:

Omigod, I just saw this on your weblog:

"When in doubt, fold. If you like winning, you'll have to do lots of folding. Flee and live to tell."

This is incorrect and harmful. Gosh, I need to update my pages pronto...

Duh, I was so stupid then...

I asked if he'd explain, which he graciously did:

Tight play is essential preflop, but suicidal postflop (!). By tight I
mean excruciatingly tight, usually tighter than anybody at the table.
Meaning, when you do enter a pot you can afford to play extremely
aggressive postflop (as your average hand is so much better than
opponent's). Meaning, you could almost *always* go to showdown and make a profit (again, because your average hand is so much better than

Also, because of my default aggression, pots get mighty big that I
cannot afford to be bluffed. It is much better to waste a bet than a
pot. Call. Better yet, raise.

Folding is a disease.

Izmet rules. Here are a few more tidbits:


Preflop fold, fold, fold. Postflop pound, pound, pound.

> with 5 callers on the flop in low limits, is the increased variance
> worth this aggressive post-flop play?

In multiway pots aggression is even more important. But, it must be
much more selective than usual. In other words, you have to pick your
spots. When you do, you usually pump *really* hard.

> many uber-tight, intermediate skilled players probably still fall
> on the side of weak - how big of a profit leak is this?

It is a huge profit leak. It is a no.1 downfall of many big name
players. The no.2 is playing too loose.

I have little respect for big names, you'll note. Online gaming
surfaced a lot of truth. Poker of yesterday is gone. For the first time
players from all over the world can play at the same table (or just
watch). Online poker is a huge Darwinian ecosystem on fast forward
(because the play is so much faster and one can play multiple tables).
Only the best can survive and the weak must give way.

It is my belief that there is no tougher hold 'em game than Paradise
$20/40 anywhere in the world and that's including $200/400 games and
up. Anywhere.

> i reference morton's theorem

Remember, the pot must be just the right size for Morton's
theorem to apply. Usually and especially in loose games the pot is too
big and is out of the "Morton zone".

More important than Morton's theorem is the concept of multichance outs
(I'm searching for a better term). A good example is when you hold say
AKh on a flop of 2s3h9h against an opponent with Q2d. He has current
best hand on flop, but because you have *two* opportunities to hit your
draw (on turn or on river), your hand is much more valuable (has more
pot equity) than his on the flop and should pump it up not as a bluff,
but for *value*. In this particular situation, AKh wins with any heart
(9 outs), ace (3 outs), king (3 outs), trey (3 outs) and 9 (3 outs). 21
outs translate to about 80% chance of winning the pot on turn or river,
and I didn't even count the possibility of a runner-runner like TT or
54. The current best hand is definitely fucked on the flop. This is an
extreme example but nevertheless a very important one. Note that this
concept has nothing to do with Morton.

I love this. Izmet, if you are reading this, thank you so damn much. Again, I highly recommend anyone wanting to deepen their understanding of poker concepts and strategies, to read both Abdul and Izmet. It doesn't get much better than this, and best of all, it's all online.

Izmet > Phil Helmuth

Moving along to blogs, Jay posted about online poker. Sadly, he just moved his game from Paradise to PlanetPoker. Good Lord, Jay. Why? WHY?
Slight Uptick.

Here's some great stuff. A new poker blog from my man, Royal. I've known Royal for several years now and can attest to his poker acumen and all-around smarts. Most chemical engineers are pretty bright kids, even if they do play Magic (obligatory dig). I am stoked that Royal has decided to write his poker thoughts online. He's been a big-bet specialist over the years and has had fantastic success in tournaments, with many cash wins this year alone. Trust me, he knows poker.
Gaining Acceptance (Permission) from that Significant Other

As an old married guy, I related to that post, especially about being honest and accountable. If you can't be accountable with your poker play to your SO then you will have major problems becoming a successful player.

I've been bugging low-limit (50.1) champ, Fuzz, to write a post about beating low-limits after he parlayed $50 into $1000 on Party Poker these past months. And voila, he has! I'll be posting this tonight or tomorrow. I've got a dinner party tonite and must get rocking on the Beef Wellington and crab bisque.

Thanks for reading!

Link of the Day:
That Snot Attractive
"Ever since I was a young boy I knew I was gay and I knew I had a sneezing fetish," says the publisher of Sneezing Men 4 Men, a multimedia site that offers "insights into the world of sneezing and sex between men."

Wednesday, December 31, 2003

Howard Lederer & Annie Duke Poker Blogs
Or: How to prevent bad beats by always going in with the worst hand.

"The smarter you play, the luckier you'll be."
Mark Pilarski

Happy New Year!
This is amateur night, of course.
The pro's stay home.

This is gonna be a long post, so let's get right to it, shall we?

My regular readers have heard me squawking about wanting to tackle satellites to the big weekend poker tourneys that award $60,000 first place payoffs. Thanks to a little encouragement from HDouble, after finishing 20th outta 550 players last time, I ponied up $9 for another one last nite. And played very well again, damnit.

I'm looking at my notes and with 85 players left, I was 5th biggest chip stack at 80k (average stack size 28k). Sadly, I was also drunk as a skunk by that point. Damnit, five hours of playing poker and drinking extra stout will do that to you. I just wanted to go to bed - I did have to work the next day, after all.

Anyway, down to 27 players, costing 15k an orbit in blinds/antes, I see AA in the SB and move in after a button raise by a pretty large, loose stack. He makes a terrible call with A9s and my aces hold up. I'm at 260k now and essentially shut down, coasting into the final table, WOOHOO.

So hell, now I get a shot at the big money for my $9 investment. Can you say overlay?

All of you Chris Moneymaker wanna-be's better brush up on your no-limit game because online WSOP qualifiers are gonna be fast and furious this year. I hope my ten eleven readers will keep us appraised of the different qualifiers at different sites when the time comes.

Of course, my readers are smart and play at Party Poker (sign up with Bonus Code IGGY damnit!) but I'm sure we all do our share of random poker message board surfing and information gathering. Please do your part and share.

Speaking of WSOP satellites, I told a good friend today that I would possibly sell my WSOP seat if I ever won one. He threatened me with bodily harm if I did so. I'm pretty sure he was serious.

Let's do some linkage:

Binion's Horseshoe may be shopping World Series of Poker
Three likely potential buyers for tourney say they have not received solicitations
Meanwhile, Nevada gaming regulators are looking into television commercials and a Web site operated by an Internet casino that refer to Binion's Horseshoe and the World Series of Poker.

The www.truepoker.com ads feature the 2004 World Series of Poker logo, promoting a contest offering a chance to win a seat in a "super satellite" tournament at Binion's at the World Series.

The ESPN 100 list of the top stories of 2003, Poker on TV ranks 98th. We
rank right ahead of Lewis University Volleyball and right behind Hip-Hop
and Sneakers.

Are you ready to peruse some brutal threads on Russ Boyd and Pokerspot? Head to RGP where Russ foolishly attempts to rationalize his actions once again. Hit the archives for plenty more than this long, vicious thread. Russ Boyd needs to STFU.
Info on Russ Boyd

On a lighter note, I discovered this info about professional poker players user names on Ultimate Bet:

Joe Buttons is Phil Ivey
Howard Lederer is Jack Walsh
Phil Gordon is Tall Phil
Rafe Furst is Tiltboy
David "The Devilfish" Ulliot is Devilfish
Others like Annie Duke, Phil Hellmuth and Lane Flack use their own name
(Duke and Hellmuth are paid contract UB players)

Damnit, Phil Helmuth, your book sucked ass.
Is it any wonder he is mocked by Sklansky and the ilk?
Oh the humanity.

Poker blogs - Whoa, Mister Decker came back with a vengeance. I've got his back.

My inspiration for honest, intelligent, no-bullshit poker blogging. he was prolly my only reader for my first month of blogging. Now he's one of ten eleven readers, but that's still an improvement, right? Anyway, he hasn't posted the last few days, but today he weighed in with a doozy. go read today's post. Now! And yes, I concur 110% both with falling in love with my starting hand too often and his thoughts on poker vegan.

Falling in love with my starting hand has been a problem for me in the past, and seems to have resurfaced. KK is only a good hand until an A shows on the board. Right? I need to remember that and dump them. My own stats have proven that to me.

Ok, those easily offended read no further.. you've been warned.

Hdouble pontificates about John Feeny and the "strategic moment" in a hand. I'd love to see more posting about this because Feeny has in some small way captured the essence of poker with that concept. And that's why it's so difficult to grasp.

Tao of Poker is in Miami, beating the hell out of the recently legalized Florida low-limit hold em games. Phish fans should read his phish reposts and poker players should read his poker reports. Pauly's life is a fantasy camp. People should PAY to live as Pauly.

The Fat Guy rules. Trust me, it's worth a daily visit.

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention Poker Odyssey - Sophomore Project. Excellent idea, but it doesn't interest me. Focus on playing correctly - the results will take care of themselves. Playing poker is a marathon, not a sprint. Small sample sizes mean nothing.

Thanks for reading.

Link of the Day:
Jesus Saves ... Your Business
For a reasonable fee, ISeeJesus.com will make an image of the Son of God visible at any "business, house of worship, building, farm, restaurant, car lot, or retail outlet of any type."

Monday, December 29, 2003

Phil Helmuth Poker Blogs

"Shallow men believe in luck. Strong men believe in cause and effect."
Ralph Waldo Emerson

What's the best way to shake up an otherwise boring Monday nite? No-limit multi-table tournament, that's what! I've shed the grinder persona and am solidly in no limit tourney mode. I'm one of those types who doesn't excel when playing both limit and no-limit. SNG's are a different animal, of course, but in terms of mind-set, I prefer to be focusing on one or the other.

But's that's just me - recognizing a weakness in my play. I know that my grinding game suffers when I'm playing and studying no limit poker. Yours may not, but be aware of potential leaks, if you jump back and forth.

I lost about thirty five bucks playing $50 no-limit ring games last evening but I won't saddle you with the ugly details. Suffice to say, I didn't play well. Zagged when I shoulda zigged and vice-versa. Kept waiting to double-through and it never happened. Coulda been much worse than $35, that's for sure.

BTW, interesting factoid: on PokerStars big-bet ring tables, they have removed all-in protection on some tables. As someone who has never intentionally disconnected, I think this is very cool. It's a loophole too easily abused, imho.

But Stars is still far tougher than Party.

BTW, PokerStars support alerted me that they could not honor my request for a single-table private SNG. Apparently, they are deluged with said requests. Doh - what next?

Please read my prior posts relating to chip tricks and table image, but this page is worthy for anyone interested in being the next Russ Boyd:
Poker Chip Trick Tutorials

Mene Gene with yet another excellent long poker post.
This was a move I returned to time and time again. If no one made a strong play at a pot after the flop and the board didn't look especially ominous for anyone I'd check, wait for some smart-guy to make a feeble attempt at a steal, and raise him. Recently I read (I wish I remember where) that a check-raise on the turn is a powerful play, and I definitely learned the truth in it.

Maybe from David Ross, a few weeks ago? If I wasn't playing right now, I'd go dig up the post in the archives.

Best of all, Gene is finding Party to be to his liking.
I'm not pauperizing anyone, but I'm now up $140 after three weeks on PartyPoker. This after clearing only $2.75 after six weeks at PokerStars. Thank you, Iggy, a case of Guinness is in the mail!

Hmmm. Guinness.

Ok, that's the deal now. Send me Guinness or sign up with bonus deposit code IGGY on Party Poker. :)

I found this snippet about Microsoft's hiring habits:
Poundstone highlights two reasons why puzzle interviews have caught on at Microsoft. The first is that most senior executives, including Bill Gates, are puzzle solvers and game players by nature. Gates is a competitive bridge player and I saw him playing $3-$6 Texas hold 'em (the same game played in the World Series of Poker) at the Mirage hotel in Las Vegas to see how he stacked up against the locals.

I've discovered a few newcomer poker blogs that I'll link to once they have a few posts under their belt. Lotsa promise there.

Allow me to leave you with Abdul, Playing With the Fish. You should spend lots of time here if you are serious about poker. Thanks to HDouble for reminding me of this resource. Go read the emails back and forth between Sklansky, Abdul and Carson. Ignore at your own peril.

When raised, stop, think, re-evaluate. A raise is an incoming message. What is the sender trying to communicate? Does he have something to say or has he just pressed a wrong button at the wrong time? Bets and calls are often automatic, not so with raises. When in doubt, fold. If you like winning, you'll have to do lots of folding. Flee and live to tell.

Think about the game. Listen to pros, listen to losers. You can learn both ways. Make your own opinions. Make your own mistakes. Re-evaluate. Post. State your opinions. Ask. Comment. Disagree.

Link of the Day:
Making Friends in Afghanistan

Sunday, December 28, 2003

Russ Gorgiev - GCA Poker Blogs

"The commonest mistake in history is underestimating your opponent; happens at the poker table all the time."
General David Shoup

Quick post of a few random thoughts.

Anyone else notice Russ Gorgiev's - GCA conspicuous absence from RGP? For the record, he sent me a nice holiday greetings email. Sorry Russ, I'm still not giving you my credit card number even if your mythical site ever goes live.

I truly look forward to reading Felicia Lee every day. I'd be happy if I could be half as interesting as her. If you aren't a member, go join her Yahoo group now - you won't regret it. She's having to deal with a significant other who isn't quite as successful as she at the poker tables. Imagine the quandry if your (losing poker playing) mate refuses to read poker books and asks you to "recap them." Yikes! A must read.

For my long-time readers, you've read my trip reports to Lexington for the monthly BlueGrass Poker Series, a no-limit tournament set up to send a player to the WSOP this coming spring. Sadly, I received this email over the weekend.

"I appreciate your inquiry about renting a room at ********* for you and your friends to play cards. Unfortunately, we cannot provide
accommodations for you until we get confirmation from the proper local and state authorities that there is no state law or city ordinance that would prohibit this type of activity."

I was waiting for this. Their setup has been TOO perfect. Huge banquet room, lavish cash bar and smoking allowed. I kept wondering how they got away with it.

I'm gonna keep alive the idea of a poker blogger sit and go. I have written PokerStars asking if they would allow us a no-limit SNG at their site. I'll prolly get shot down, but it's worth a try.

I'm gonna go sit some NL ring games. Wish me luck.

I leave you with this post analyzing (who else?) Phil Helmuth and his style of play in NL tournaments for all you WSOP wanna-be's. Hopefully, one of us lucky bloggers will win a seat in the Big One this year and can actually use this advice to knock his ass out.

Operative statement:
"Folding to reraises is often a poor pot odds decision that many allow by stating Tournament strategy supersedes pot odds."

Phil Hellmuth Question:
I am curious about the wisdom of Phil's chronic "offended" reaction /
constant belittling of players who call with weak hands against him (like
his reaction to Sam Grizzle calling his pre-flop raise when Sam held a weak K-J offsuit). If you believe he is simply unable to control himself, stop
reading (and, you might be right).

Lee Munzer's reply about Phil Hellmuth:

From Phil's perspective:

He wants to be called by players who hold weak hands. By "intimidating" us he might stop us from calling him headsup when we hold real junk like 10s-9s or 4-4. That's bad for Phil. But, I think what he really wants to
accomplish is having us fold to his many steal raises when we hold marginal hands like 8-8 or A-J and he semi-bluff/steal raises with A-x or 6-6. If he can accomplish that goal, he wins big by intimidating us (takes the pot with the worse cards). He also can *reraise* with 7-7 and wants us to fold 9-9 or two connecting overcards. Folding to reraises is often a poor pot odds decision that many allow by stating T strategy supersedes pot odds. When Phil makes us fold to his reraise, that's almost always what he wants (unless he holds A-AS or K-K). So, on balance, by attempting to bolster our calling requirements through "fear of harassment" I wonder if Phil Helmuth gains or loses equity against the average T player?

From our perspective:
In most situations we should consider calling Phil's raise or reraise more
than we should consider the average player's raise. We should also try to
put him in when the decision is close (between call and raise). Why?
Because Phil can raise and reraise pre-flop with a larger array of hands
than most (similar to Phil Ivey). In addition, Phil Helmuth lays down many coin-flip situations because he loses his self-perceived skill edge. Finally, from the other side of the equation (analyzing our opponents), Phil Helmuth is a very good (if not top ten) player, thus we should be more willing to gamble with him pre-flop as opposed to outplaying him on the flop or "gambling" with a poor player.


Phil Helmuth Poker Blogs

"Las Vegas is the only town in the world whose skyline is made up neither of buildings, like New York, nor of trees, like Wilbraham, Massachusetts, but signs. One can look at Las Vegas from a mile away on Route 91 and see no buildings, no trees, only signs."
Tom Wolfe

From a prior post of mine:

John Feeny talks about the "strategic moment" in hold em in his fine book, "Inside the Poker Mind." He's referring to the moment when a strategic decision is made during the hand - the brief time before and during the moment finds a player assessing the relative merits of his playing options and choosing the one he deems best.

One of the major elements he says separates an average player from an advanced one is a well developed tendency to think about what opponents are thinking.

But playing on Party Poker more often than not causes me to think, "What the HELL was that guy thinking?"

Here I am, wanting to knock out a long, rambling post but I'm doing well in a bigass multi-table NL tourney. Maybe I'll get knocked out so I can complete this tonight.

Update: I finally decided to stop the grinding and sat in a satellite for a $500 no limit tourney on PokerStars. About 550 players. I got off to a roaring start, building up to 30k when the average stack size was around 11k. When we were whittled down to 100 players I was 8th biggest stack, which bode well, because only the final nine players won an entry into the big tourney.

Down to 20 players, blinds at 3000 - 6000, I caught AKd on the big blind. One raise by the biggest stack in mid. I move in. He calls. He shows K9h, woohooo, domination! But alas, he catches a damn straight with that nine and I'm out, in 20th place. As TJ Cloutier says, you gotta win with *and* beat AK to win a no limit tourney. Pivotal hand.

Iggy: raises 37844 to 43844 and is all-in
Kashan: calls 37844
KING TONE: folds
*** FLOP *** [7s Th 7c]
*** TURN *** [7s Th 7c] [8d]
*** RIVER *** [7s Th 7c 8d] [Jc]
*** SHOW DOWN ***
Iggy: shows [Kd Ad] (a pair of Sevens)
Kashan: shows [Kh 9h] (a straight, Seven to Jack)

The problem with these tourneys is the damn time you have to invest. For a drinker like me, this could be problematic. ;)

So.... I finally picked up Phil Hellmuth's book. I want to be nice, but I can honestly say it's likely the worst poker book I've ever read. To be fair, I'm not done with it yet, but his advice on limit hold em is terrible.

But Phil Helmuth knows tournament play, so I'm trying to glean some nuggets of wisdom from his no-limit section. I won't go as far as to say the book helped me in my tourney last nite, but his ideas did help me to play mid pocket pairs much stronger than I normally would. Because I was typically playing very tight (18% of flops seen last night) and enjoyed solid table image, I could push thin edges with success.

However, I would highly recommend SuperSystem over Phil's book when it comes to learning the heavily aggressive no-limit style that many pro's use. Plus, esteemed blogger, Alan Bostick, warned me to ignore the Omaha and Stud advice in the book, so I skipped over that. From the little I did read, it's quite obvious that Phil is out of his element.

I have much more to rant about Phil Helmuth but I thought this post from Daniel Negreanu a few days ago on RGP spoke volumes. It was relating to Phil's latest Cardplayer column that publicly takes Phil to task.

You know, this goes way back. Back before Alan Goering, Toto, and more
recently Hoyt. I remember a while back at the WSOP Phil Helmuth was down to three at a pot limit Omaha final table with Amarillo Slim Preston and some total unknown who obviously had no clue how to play poker.

Phil and Slim were bantering back and forth, clearly certain that when
they got heads up it would be an entertaining heads up match. The young unknown stayed quiet. Phil complained about having to fold this hand and that hand to the youngster. I mean, how lucky can this kid be to get AA like twenty times against me at the final table???

Somewhere around this time Phil Helmuth wrote a nasty column about an
excellent european player named Dave Colcough. In that column, he
basically called Dave everything but a donkey. Well Dave Colcough is far from a donkey, and if you read his column about the events you would see a
completely different story from the one Phil presented.

Anyway, back to our little story. Phil Helmuth finally lost to that little
unkown punk and went out in third place. In fact, that unknown donkey
went on to win his first bracelet at the age of 23. Eventually, he went
from being that "unknown rookie" to none other than... Phil Ivey.

Mr. Phil Hellmuth, you are a better human being than this. While I consider you a friend and don't want to bash you, you leave me absolutely no choice. You bash Toto, you bash Alan, now you bash Hoyt. Why? I KNOW you don't want the same treatment in return, so why not give credit where credit is due and show "some humility?"

Yes we all know you play no limit very well. Why do you find it so
appealing to use your column to discredit those that were lucky enough to beat you?

I know this is not who you are, because I know the "good Phil."
Unfortunately the rest of the people here, and those who read Card Player are left with reading your hateful words about those who have accomplished things you have not.

Toto won the USPC... you have not
Alan won the WPT championship... you have not
Phil Ivey won five bracelets in several forms of poker... you have not
Hoyt won a WPT event... you have not.

After reading your column, how could anyone possibly either sympathize
with you, or see you as nothing more than a toddler throwing a temper

I never thought I would make a post like this, especially now. Yet
reading your latest column made me think ??#$#@$##!??? What is Phil
thinking? Dude, you need to chill for real. You don't have to be an ass
to get attention. You write a great column WITHOUT all the negativity
towards your peers.

Stick to the facts, and show EVERYONE the same respect you would like
them to have for you. Yes, that INCLUDES the donkeys who hit three outers on you!!! :-)

Daniel Negreanu

Gotta love that Canadian guy for having the temerity to write posts like this. Wonderful stuff. I'll save more Phil Helmuth bashing for future blog posts.

Interesting thread on 2+2 about taking notes on your opponents.
As I'm starting to play "serious" online I'm trying to think of a good system for player's notes, at least a better system than my current one, which is either nothing or "retard". Does anyone have a good system that works well?

I'd encourage everyone to check out the thread in the Internet forum. Poker Odessey chimed in with a response as well as Ms. Sunshine, who submitted an expert's thesis on said topic. Amazing stuff.

For the record, when I sit at a table for the first time, I'll copy and paste the limits and date on every player in the notes box.
3.6 12/28
$50 nl ring

Whatever the game is. I'll do it on any site that allows it. There's so many damn players now, it's important to tag the players you have sat with before. It's the smart play and takes 20 seconds.

It's a big help when I'm sitting with a couple regulars and can easily delve into their past play via PokerTracker. I'll never be a Ms. Sunshine, but I think player tracking is extremely important to be a successful grinder.

TheFatGuy continues his foray into online poker, offering up this hilarious witticism:
No-Limit is like playing against Danny DeVito in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.

He also asks for some advice:
I want some of the long-time online players to cut loose with some of the tips for finding those schools of sandies that they're always talking about. No matter what table I sit down at, it seems like I'm playing against all of the poker bloggers out there.

There's far too many tables available on Party for you to waste time on a tight table or to play with tricky, aggressive players. Table-hop! Keep hopping till you find a table to your liking.

Per game selection, mentioned in a prior post and discussed with blogger extraordinaire, HDouble, here is some insight from a veteran player per 2+2:

It's amazing but the crackheads dry up above 3/6 at party and then multiply like fruit flies at 15/30. The best advice I could give would be to take a shot on the stupid loose 15/30 full tables. You should be able to beat these tables

Speaking of Party Poker, I did some digging on the three other skins and deposit bonus situation. Here's my findings:

Eurobet - 25% first deposit bonus up to $50
Intertops - 15% up to $70
Multipoker - No bonus for players with existing Party accounts


Sports Illustrated had a column on the legality of online sports gambling.
Gray area

Lastly, I'll leave you with some solid advice from a grinder:

You should be cold calling so infrequently that you can't even remember the last time that you did so.

Cold calling raises with medium and small suited connectors is the fast track to the poorhouse. Yes, even with 3 others in the pot. No matter WHAT Phil Helmuth says, he's flat out wrong.

K, gotta go root for the Bengals and Steelers!

Link of the Day:
Heroic PETA Commandos Kill 49, Save Rabbit

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